Friday, March 30, 2012

TGIF {24}

TGIF is a fun post created by Ginger at GReads.  It’s to recap what you’ve posted about through the week and Ginger asks a fun book related question.  

Friday, March 30th - Book Blogger's Retreat: If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.

This is such a fun, awesome question. And there are a few book bloggers that I would love to be able to meet in real life, and some I may get the chance to down the line. Though I'm torn between two things, so I'm going to have two answers. 

For my first getaway, I'm thinking something fun and simple (something that I know could actually happen). A trip to the beach! I used to live RIGHT near the beach and loved it. We could lay on the sand talking books, go around the city finding different bookstores, have dinner at a local restaurant and get drinks later at a small bar.

For my DREAM (as in I doubt it would ever happen but wouldn't it be fun) getaway, I'd have to pick a book event. Something like ALA or BEA in New York. This is one that I would love to happen, but I'd have to become super rich super fast. Maybe I should start playing the they had it in this state.

So where would you go?

This week on the blog:

Make sure you check out my giveaway!

Tune In Tuesday - The last of the book play list edition

I've also got two reviews (A Million Suns and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) up on the Quest for Books site. More to come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tune In Tuesday {36}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted b Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  We're back in a "theme" month. March is all about book soundtracks. Either songs that remind you of the book or songs from the authors playlist.

For the last week of book playlist month I'm going with another Three Days Grace song, though I'm not talking about my book this time. Back in 2010 the movie Dear John was set to release in February. I was dying to see it, but wanted to read the book first. I knew I wouldn't make it to the theater, so I had a few months before the movie hit DVD. Right around the same time I was going to see Three Days Grace in concert (along with Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf). I had been listening to their Life Starts Now album over and over. What does one have to do with the other? The themes of their song Last to Know and Dear John seemed so similar that one day while reading the book and listening to the album, that song in particular, I broke down in tears. Now every time I hear that song I can't help but think of that book/movie. And, if you're wondering, I do prefer that movie over the book. It's all in the ending. 

Also be sure to enter my giveaway!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Double Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ended

Anyone know what April 24th is?! It's only the day that two awesome books come out. Blood Born by Jamie Manning and Old Soul by Dan Haring. I've got to know both of these guys through twitter, blogs and email (Jamie's also one of my amazing critique partners) and am so excited for both of them. Here's a little about their books (alphabetical, of course. So not picking a favorite) if you haven't seen them already.

Waking up in a coffin hungry for blood is only the beginning for sixteen-year-old Ava Blue. When Chance Caldon, the hottie who dug her up, tells her that she’s half vampire, Ava’s world really turns upside down. 
Half vamp? Ava can’t believe it...she doesn't even know what that means! Not until Aldric, a thousand-year-old vampire, shows up and tells her it’s true--and that he’s the one who turned her. Then Ava truly begins to believe what she is. Now, she has to deal with a sudden and powerful bloodlust, the desire to see Aldric dead, and her growing crush for Chance. Ava knows she's a monster now, she can feel it; and her life is over. 
But redemption isn’t lost. Aldric is giving her a chance to regain her humanity. The price? Kill a hundred vampires, or remain a bloodsucker forever. 
So Ava sets out to get her life back. But killing vampires begins a battle that could destroy everything she is working toward. In the end, Ava's decisions will forever change her life and the lives of those she loves. 

Jason Gouvas doesn’t want to believe he has special abilities or that he's an Oldsoul-- a vessel for the souls of people who have passed away, but the dead girl in his mind can be very persuasive. 
Her name is Erin, and through her Jason is able to access the knowledge and skills of the souls within him. And with a group of power-hungry immortals bent on destroying the Oldsouls and overthrowing humanity, he's going to need them all. 

Now the reason for this post! I wanted to do something special to help promote these books and when I heard the kindle version of their books would be available early, I knew just what I was going to do. A double giveaway!! All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter form below. You can enter to win one book or both, but can only win one book for this giveaway. If you do happen to get picked for both books, I will contact you first to see which book you prefer and draw another winner for the other. Contest starts now and ends at 12:01 on March 31st. Once you've entered, scroll down to check out the trailer for these books.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lucky 7: Peek at my current WIP

So I've been tagged in this meme by two amazing people: Cherie and Jamie. Figured if it happened twice, I better get it done (and tag others before there's no one left. Ha!)

The rules? Very simple:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other victims--er, authors. ;P

Easy, right? Wish I could say that! I haven't really posted any excerpts from my WIP, I still get that sick feeling every time someone new reads it. So I went to that page and both cringed and did a little dance. Why it's not the most revealing scene, it's not the best edited. goes nothing.

Slouching down in my seat I watch the city pass by. I never get to see it at this time of night. Kathleen has a strict curfew and that’s one rule me and Danielle never break. I’m glad I get to see it now. It’s different, even more beautiful than during the day. With no streetlights down old ninety-eight, the stars shine brightly and the shaded palm trees seem to dance in the wind along the purple and blue backdrop of the early night sky. Calming my heart and holding my breath to listen, I can almost hear the rush of the waves crashing along the wet sand. It’s peaceful, relaxing—nature’s lullaby. I don’t feel tired, but my surroundings relax me and my body gives into sleep.

This is an Avery POV chapter. We get a little glimpse into her favorite place in the whole world just after she's seen it for the first time at night. The picture above is of the beach she's just left. I don't have a shot after the suns down, and don't live 1/4 mile away anymore to get one. *insert sad face here*

Here's the same beach early in the morning

I hope you've enjoyed the little look into Dream Maker! Now, my victims.
1. Christa
2. Joy

3. K T Hanna
4. Kristin
5. Heather
6. Melanie
7. Tim

And if you haven't, check out my review of A Million Suns and Tim's review of Blood Ninja over on the Book Bender site.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tune In Tuesday {35}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  We're back in a "theme" month. March is all about book soundtracks. Either songs that remind you of the book or songs from the authors playlist.

So I decided to take advantage of Ginger's play list month and talk a little bit about my book. If you want to learn more about it, keep reading. If not, skip down to the song. 

For this third week of book playlists edition I'm covering the creep factor of Dream Maker. While the original idea came from a sweet song by Taylor Swift, Get Out Alive by Three Days Grace is what helped shape the story. It gave my female MC, who is now called Avery, her real voice. I needed depth. I needed a reason for Avery to be afraid, to be paranoid, for her not to trust Mason. I need more characters for her to almost rely on, and not want to leave, but deep down, know it was for the best. And I'm hoping I achieved that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

TGIF {23}

TGIF is a fun post created by Ginger at GReads.  It’s to recap what you’ve posted about through the week and Ginger asks a fun book related question.  

Friday, March 16th - Social Networking: Do you use Twitter or Facebook to promote your blog?  How has it benefited your book blogging experience? If not, how do you promote your blog? Share your twitter handle and/or Facebook link!

I do have a face book page, but I tend to forget about it because I use twitter more for writing/reading stuff. Maybe forget is the wrong word...ignore? A LOT of my family and friends have "liked" my FB page and I get a little shy about posting more than just an update on there. In theory I *know* my blog is linked there, but if I don't provide them with an updated link then I pretend none of them read it. Have I ever mentioned that I'm kind of shy and don't like to talk about myself or some things in front of people? That's how it would feel because they *know* me. I know, you don't have to tell me, I'm weird. I've accepted it. Moving on.

The biggest way twitter has helped is by introducing me to so many awesome people (one of them being Ginger herself. She is made of win. Speaking of win, make sure you check out the Young Adult March Madness going on at her blog as well as a few others. And be sure to VOTE FOR TOUCH). Other writers, readers, bloggers, authors, fun people to chat with. It's also expanded my personal library, which I don't mind, but sometimes my wallet does. Though, I do enjoy hitting up the BAM "clearence" YA section where I've found some awsesome titles for under $4!

And, I rambled again! Basically, I'm addicted to twitter, I fear FB and I enjoy getting to know everyone through those, as well as their blog.

Look me up:



This week on the blog:
Tune In Tuesday - Book Playlist Edition
Cover Reveal - My Super Sweet 16th Century

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tune In Tuesday {34}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  We're back in a "theme" month. March is all about book soundtracks. Either songs that remind you of the book or songs from the authors playlist.

So I decided to take advantage of Ginger's play list month and talk a little bit about my book. If you want to learn more about it, keep reading. If not, skip down to the song. 

Last week I talked about Maddison/Megan/Regan who is now Avery. This week I'm giving a little info on my male MC, Mason. Though his name wasn't always Mason. In my original story line his name was Lee Driscoll. Lee just didn't fit my younger version and I picked the name Mason. And while my female MC's name has changed several times, he is now Mason and that will never change. He is Mason. A description of him would be "Tall, strong, tough, tanned, deep brown hair cut short on the side and longer on top and he stares at you with ice blue eyes that leave you mesmerized." Mason's also has a great sense of humor and can be a tad sarcastic. While he has a job to do, and does it well, he's still a bit put out by a few things. This Fucking Job by Drive-By Truckers just screams Mason (all the videos were live, so I've attached the lyrics below). 

Mason is given a task, a mission really, one that is normally left to someone with experience, someone who has done this job longer than he's been alive. But special circumstances call for a teenager, and he's sent from beautiful Boston to the beach in Desin, FL. His number one priority is to find the Dreamer, convince them he's there to help, and convince them he's there to help. Mason thinks it'll be easier than the Red Sox winning the World Series, but he's in for a big surprise. He's expecting a teenage boy and what he gets, is Avery.

Workin' this job is a kick in the pants
Workin' this job is like a knife in the back
It ain't gettin' me further than the dump I live in
It ain't gettin' me further than the next paycheck
Workin' this job is like lightin' two fuses
Workin' this job is runnin' out of excuses
It's like a dead-end when a road map is useless
Until I'm dead and there's nothin' to show for my uses

Nobody told me it'd be easy
Or for that matter, it'd be so hard
But it's the livin' and learnin'
It makes the difference
It makes it all worthwhile
It makes it all worthwhile

Workin' this job, there's nothin' left but to hate it
I won't get as far as my daddy made it
It aint gettin' me farther for all my strivin'
In the dead-end I live or the piece of shit I'm drivin'

Nobody told me it'd be easy
Or for that matter, it'd be so hard
But it's the livin' and learnin'
It makes the difference
It makes it all worthwhile
It makes it all worthwhile

Sometimes I dream that I had aimed my life in different ways
But there was nothin' to show me a way to get me outta this place
So I just did what my daddy did before me
Only to find the only door I found was closed to me

Workin' this job, I thought it sucked when I had it
Now it is gone and I'm learnin' what that is
I'm tryin' to hang in to the worst of places
But a family can't live on these fast food wages

Nobody told me it'd be easy
Or for that matter, it'd be so hard
But it's the livin' and learnin'
It makes the difference
It makes it all worthwhile
It makes it all worthwhile

Workin' this job
Workin' this job
Workin' this job

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cover Reveal - My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris!

I'm super excited to reveal the cover of My Super Sweet 16th Century by Rachel Harris (due out September 11, 2012). Here's the summary from goodreads.

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
How awesome does that sound?! Rachel has also been gracious enough to share and except from her upcoming novel.

Alessandra jerks back like I just suggested she prance around the square naked or something. “No! I believe I understand your meaning, and Lorenzo is certainly not my suitor. He is like a brother to me—the three of us grew up together.”
She resumes walking and I fall in step beside her, understanding there has to be more to the story. And as we near the end of the row, I finally ask, “If you’re not into the guy, then what’s the problem?”
At that same moment, a rich, deep chuckle hits my ears. My stomach involuntarily clenches and my gaze sharpens on the back of this mysterious Lorenzo.
Alessandra sighs. “That is the problem.” She places her hand on my arm and solemnly looks me in the eyes. “You must be careful. Lorenzo is beautiful, and it is not uncommon for a girl to walk away from meeting him with a piece of her heart left behind. But he is just eighteen, and not yet ready for marriage.”
I roll my eyes and laugh, then realize she’s serious. “Yeah, I assure you, there’s no danger on my end. I’m not exactly looking for marriage myself.” Because that would be crazy-town.
Alessandra wrinkles her nose as if she doesn’t believe me, but she removes her hand. We close the distance and Cipriano flashes me an open, honest to goodness, lighthearted smile.
“Lorenzo, this is the cousin I was telling you about.”
Slowly the guy turns and I fall head first into the richest chocolate-brown eyes I’ve ever seen. He blinks and long, luscious lashes feather across his bronzed cheeks. I can feel myself gawking, but I physically can’t drag my eyes away. Lorenzo doesn’t smirk or act all conceited, either. He simply stares back, his eyes casually skimming over me, causing my skin to warm and break out in a whole body tingle.
Time seems to stop, and the sounds of the market mute. Alessandra was right. This boy is beautiful.
And he’s looking at me. 
I'm loving the voice! And that boy, with those eyes?! *swoon* And now, for the cover!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How gorgeous is that? Love the dress and I think her nail polish color and over sized sunglasses gives us a good idea of what type of girl is being thrown into the past. I can't wait to read about her epic journey.

Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads!  Also, My Super Sweet 16th Century, by Rachel Harris is available for pre-order on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Friday, March 9, 2012

TGIF {22}

TGIF is a fun post created by Ginger at GReads.  It’s to recap what you’ve posted about through the week and Ginger asks a fun book related question.  

Friday, March 9th - Promote An Author: Is there a particular author you wish got more recognition? Pick one author & tell us why we should read their work.

Today I'm going to talk a little bit about Chelsea Fine and her AMAZING books! I was introduced to by Katelyn Torrey when she reviewed Sophie & Carter on her blog last fall. In the review she hosted a giveaway for the book, and I won. The cute little book arrived in the mail and I read it the first chance I got. And man, oh, man, I was IN LOVE! Katelyn's review had me excited, but still didn't prepare me for the cuteness that unfolded in this book. It was hands down one of my favorite books last year. 

While other high school seniors are dreaming about their futures, Sophie and Carter are just trying to make it through each day. Carter is overwhelmed by issues at home as he struggles to support his mother. Meanwhile, next door neighbor Sophie is left to care for her three younger siblings in place of their absent and troubled mother. All that holds these two best friends together is each other, and knowing that each night they'll sit together on Sophie's front porch swing and escape from reality, if just for awhile. But as their relationship reaches a turning point and high school graduation nears, will their friendship become something more?

After reading Sophie & Carter, I went looking for other books by Chelsea and found out her second novel, Anew (The Archers of Avalon #1) was due out in December. I downloaded it on my kindle the day it was released and started reading. I was a bit nervous at first, since Sophie & Carter is a contemporary, and Anew is paranormal, but that quickly faded. Anew was incredible and I'm left anxiously awaiting the sequel, Awry. And yes, I'm Team Tristan! 

Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice. 
Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer. 
Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past...might just be the death of her. 

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out Chelsea's books. I'm happy to say there are many more to come. 

This week on the blog:

Review of Pandemonium
A post about my writing
Tune In Tuesday - Playlist Edition

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tune In Tuesday {33}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  We're back in a "theme" month. March is all about book soundtracks. Either songs that remind you of a book or songs from an authors playlist.

So I decided to take advantage of Ginger's play list month (I hope she doesn't mind) and talk a little bit about my book. If you want to learn more about it, keep reading (and check out this post here). If not, skip down to the song. The choice is yours. ;0)

I started writing Dream Maker (still a working title, but it'll do for now) a few years ago. I got a good ways in, about 18000 words and stopped. It sat and it sat...until one night I was cleaning the house and a song by Taylor Swift came on my iPod. For some reason, in that moment, it reminded me of my story and what it was lacking...tragedy, depth, imperfection. The book was then called Dream Waker and about a early twenty-year-old female who was married to the perfect man and had an perfect almost three-year-old little boy. They lived in a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood. And I thought THE WORLD IS NOT PERFECT! While listening to this song over and over and over an idea formed. An idea that took twenty-something Madison and changed her into a teenager named Megan (later changed to Avery). An idea that took things and made them less than perfect. That song by Taylor Swift was White Horse. 

I know, I know. You're thinking "but this is a love story song". True. Sometimes when I hear a song I focus on one or two lines and take them out of context. Like with this song. I thought less about the guy and the relationship and more about the girl and her struggle and bravery. The lyrics "I'm not a princess, this ain't a fairy tale...this ain't Hollywood, this is a small town...I was a dreamer before you". THOSE are the ones that spoke to me. 

What do you think? Are there lyrics that mean something to you that are not exactly what the song is about? Also, be sure to stay tuned in next week for more on Dream Maker. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Dream

I honestly don't know when I thought "hey, I want to be a writer". I don't think there was just one thing or one time, I think it just happened. In school, I always did well on the creative writing exams and portions of tests (as for spelling and punctuation...not so well). My senior year in high school I had an idea for, maybe not a book, but a story, and I started writing it. I got a few chapters down, mostly dialogue, and showed it to my English teacher. She complimented me on my dialogue! I don't remember what else she said, it's been just over ten years, but I'll always remember that part. With school, starting college soon, working, I put the book aside. I picked it up years and years later and thought "this needs work" and so I did it.

Then I got another idea for another book. It interested me a little more, and so I started Dream Maker. I got to 18,000 and stalled. I was running out of ideas on how to push the story further. Then I heard this song (check back tomorrow for more on that) and an idea formed (see that post here). I jotted it down and started plotting the story out. I created a little summary and emailed it to my sister in law, Anna Banks, and she loved it! I quickly got to work on a re-write. And found a critique partner, Jamie Handling. Then something incredible happened! I won a 50 page critique from someone well known, someone with multiple positions, in the writing community. I was floored!!! When I saw the email I sat there thinking "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit..." I emailed Anna and Jamie and they were both telling me how awesome this was. I had my 50 pages, but it needed some serious work. Over the next few months, and a few new critique partners (Jamie Manning, Jessica Leak, and Melanie McCullough) my story grew and was, what I thought, almost polished (a story is never perfect). I turned in my 50 pages, and waited. But I didn't stop, I kept going, finished the book, and edited, edited, edited. Then the critique came in. And it was both good (I HAVE GREAT VOICE) and bad (though I think the plot is pretty original, some of the elements creating the world are not). But I took them both and got to brain storming a mega huge re-write. Yes, ANOTHER ONE! Am I crazy or what?

I took Megan, my seventeen-year-old orphan who lived in an orphanage and turned her into Avery, a seventeen-year-old who, at the age of four, saw her parents beaten. She was jumbled from foster care to foster care because no one seemed to want the girl whose parents were really brutally murdered right in front of her. At least that's what the papers said, but Avery has a different story. Someone, and she doesn't know who, covered up the fact that they weren't killed, but taken. And how she lives in fear that they'll come for her too. She finally lands in a place she can call home. Kathleen, a social worker, takes her into her home because her history is similar to her niece, Danielle, who lives with her. Then strange things start happening to Avery that she can't explain. The people she lives with disappear one day and are back the next. The strange boy, Mason, who came looking for a teenage boy named Avery in her house, shows up at school as a student, but she knows better. Then one day, having spent her time in high school as an outcast, she's now the most popular girl. Something's happening to Avery, something only Mason can explain. Something that the two of them will have to learn to control because their lives--as well as the rest of the world--depends on it. Because there are people out there who want to control Avery, and others like her. They want her gift, her power, so that they can be the ones to change the future.

I've finished rewriting the first six chapters (and I mean deleting everything--except for a few paragraphs in chapter four--and starting over). Seven is being a bit stubborn, but I've got chapters eight through ten done. After that, it's not as much starting over as it is tweaking it all to fit the beginning. I've also started working with Joy Hensley as a new critique partner, and her fresh eyes have helped me find things that I've missed in the past. Now I'm more than anxious to finish and start the query process. And so far, I'm not scared. I've learned that I'm really good at taking critique and making it better. I wasn't sure I would be at first, but when I received a critique from a friend (Heather Rebel) I thought "OMG, I SUCK. THERE'S SO MUCH RED". Then I took a deep breath, read what she said and realized it, removed track changes, and my story was still there, only slightly altered, and for the better. She showed me that, while what I had was good, these small changes made it better. Since then, I have not received a critique that has brought me to tears or made me want to quit or think that I suck. Because they are all true and they will make me a better writer and make my story that much better.

And I'm not sure why I started this post or where I'm going with it. But I hope you've enjoyed a small glimpse into my writing world and my current story and it's progress. And be sure to check out my next three Tune In Tuesday posts as I give you a few more ideas about my story and how I got to where I am. And I'll end this post...finally...with my original idea for this book.

Have you ever dreamt of waking up and being somebody else?  Maybe not even somebody else entirely, but a different you, a better you?  To go to sleep and have your life change drastically, take something you weren’t so happy with and turn it around, even if for a moment?  If you have, I’m here to warn you against it.  If you haven’t, heed my warnings and don’t.  Remember what they say, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”  I did, except for me it wasn’t a happy ending.  It almost cost me myself, my family, and our freedom.

Also..I want to say THANK YOU TIMES A ZILLION to all the wonderful writers I've mentioned in this post. With out y'all, I wouldn't be where I am!!!!!!!! <3