Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dark C.A.R.M.A.

Five fabulous writing friends are releasing their books on 11-11-11.
Here are the blurbs from The Dark CARMA Tour Blog.

BOUND (#1 in THE CRYSTOR Series)
by C.K. Bryant

YA Paranormal Romance 

When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive.

BOUND is a heroic tale of true friendship, infinite sacrifice and untamed love.

BECOME (first in the Desolation series)
by ali cross

Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she Becomes the evil she despises and the good she always feared. 

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her Choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is a reason to want to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

What she Becomes is neither Light nor Dark.

Something neither Heaven nor Hell expected.

by RaShelle Workman

Young Adult Science Fiction Romance

Stubborn sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become a kelvieri, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family. 

Now she wants revenge. 

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate. 

Only she doesn't know the first thing about love. 

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her. 

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.

Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human. 

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.


*Finished Book Cover Coming Soon!
by Melanie M. McCullough

Young Adult Contemporary

Life's hard. People make it harder. They tether you to them. Make it difficult to breathe, and damn-near impossible to leave...

One Moment Can Change You

Seventeen year-old Abby Rhoades knows this all too well. Born to a mother who could never love her and who vacillates between a sloppy drunk and a suicidal maniac, Abby's never had it easy. But Abby can swim. And Abby has a plan--win the state championship, earn a free ride to Penn State, and leave her small town and suffocating mother behind. 

One Action Can Haunt You

But then the body of Tom Ford, her mother's latest boyfriend and a man Abby adored, washes up along the shore of the Susquehanna River. His injuries suggest murder and suspicion quickly falls on Abby then on her best friend Garrett Scott, both of whom saw Tom the night he died. 

And One Misstep Could Destroy Everything.

They both know what happened that night, but neither one is talking. There's too much at stake and the truth could tear them apart.

by Angela Kulig

From the moment Lucia steps into Bayside Art Academy, she is fed a steady stream of lies, but it’s not until she meets Michael that she begins to question the people she trusts. Unraveling fact from fabrication seems impossible until Lucia finds her first painting, and discovers the dead do not lie--at least not to her. 

A dozen lifetimes ago, Lucia started a war. Not a war with armies or guns, but a bloody war nonetheless. The path leading Lucia to the truth is hidden within lovely art that spans the ages. In this life, however, Lucia doesn't know where to look. Lost, she turns to the one thing she knows with certainty--she is in love with Leo, and has been before.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shrimp Salad Topper

 What am I reading now?
  Loyalty's Web (Joyce DiPastena)

Annd. . . what do I think so far?  Normally I don't read books with words like knave, battlement or breeches in the text, but I really enjoyed this one! There were so many subplots to follow and twists in what I expected that my motivation to read it was effortless. This is full of greed, power grabbing, intrigue, herbs, treason and loyalty. Oh and romance--yay! Of course, it's the whole mix of the above that made it a can't-put-down sort of read.

Shrimp Salad Topper

I know you're drooling right now. I am too. Just one look at the picture is all it takes--Pavlov would be so proud.

This is a delicious salad for a quick meal. Just combine these ingredients and serve over your favorite mix of greens.

1 1/2 pound cooked pealed shrimp
1 stalk chopped celery
1/4 c. onion
3 Tablespoons dried basil (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh)
20 Kalamata olives, halved
1/4 c. mayo
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 c. cherry tomatoes (halve them if they're large)

See, here's proof--I don't only do desserts. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bridge Characters

What am I reading now?  Bloodlines (Richelle Mead)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?   At a hundred pages in, I wasn't sure what the main character really wanted. I just finished the book and I'm still not sure. Maybe it's just a slower start than I'm used to from this author. The Vampire Academy series was way action packed. This one--not so much.

Bridge Characters
This past Thursday, Kiersten White spoke to our book club via Skype. If you get a chance to hear her speak. you should. She's a lot of fun--I can see why her character Evie has such an interesting voice--Kiersten does!

We were discussing her book, Paranormalcy. When she talked about the different characters, something she said stood out to me.

She was talking about Lend, Evie's boyfriend. She said Lend is the "bridge" character. He had part of this life firmly in the paranormal and another part in the human world. But unlike Evie, he's fine with that. A bridge character helps the Protagonist see their situation in a new way.

Other books use this technique too. Hermoine could be a bridge character for Harry Potter because she's a muggle that's fine with being magical. That might help Harry come to terms with his own magic.

Are there others you can think of?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bad Verb Day

What am I reading now?  Seeking Persephone (Sarah M. Eden)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  What a fun read. Sarah has a knack for humor and tension. Laugh one minute, cry the next--in a good way.

I wondered about the beginning, the Duke decides he needs a wife, so he arranges to pay large sums of money to Persephone's family in exchange for her marrying him. Out of the blue. Sight unseen. Without warning. Nope never met before. Someone else arranged the marriage.

Does all this hit you as awkward?  Ding! Ding! Exactly why I loved the book.

Bad Verb Day

You've heard of a bad hair day, right?

You slept on it wrong.

Or curled it wrong.

Or grew it wrong.

What ever.

It just turned out bad.

Well, this is just like that. Only it's verbs instead of hair.

Dull: The dirt road was beside the river.
Shiny: The dirt road swayed with each curve of the river.

Limp:  She was a witch.
Curly: She stretched her crooked finger toward the cottage and blasted a curse upon all who lived there.

Thin: Falling leaves are beautiful.
Full: Red and gold leaves tumble end over end and whirl in invisible eddies.

"To be" verbs  tell. When we switch them out, the sentences show.

I know--we don't want to edit out all the "to be" verbs. Shakespeare himself did shy away when they were needed. 
"To be or not to be, that is the question."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Character Depth

What am I reading now?  Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover (Ally Carter)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  Crap! Crap! Crap! NO, NOT THE BOOK--I love it!
I just realized that I have skipped a book in the series. I read I'd Say I Love You but then I'd Have To Kill You awhile back. You might have noticed I also love the Heist series she is doing right now, so when I saw this one I was excited to read it. But I keep asking myself "Who is Zach?" "Wasn't his name Josh?" "What other school?"

I'd hate to admit how many times I've done this, except I just did.

This book is funny, interesting and twisty with smart-girl characters full of unique voice. LOVE IT!

Character Depth
Confession: Some characters in my first draft are just kind of hanging out on the page in some scenes. I write them in, they do something or they say something, but the reader won't get to know them better because of the scene. I know what is motivating my character. But by reading what I wrote, you wouldn't--which is ultimately what I'm hoping for.

Our latest book "Damnation" is in revision now, and I'm adding questions to my revision list that I hope will help me examine scenes more closely to develop the characters more.

Did I describe the physical traits? (Start with an easy one on the top of the list, start with success)
 Why is the character motivated to be here, doing this, with the other characters?
 What do other people in this scene say about the protagonist or antagonist?
 How can I show the character's reactions to characters, places or circumstances that will reveals values, inner demons or desires?
 What effect does that character have on the others?
 What actions are natural here? Which ones would surprise or reveal?
 How can I tweek the speech to add more understanding of the character?
 What did the character succeed at and fail at in this scene?

Here's another one for the revision list! Go through the Character Depth questions in each scene.