Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

What am I reading now?  Surrender (Elana Johnson)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? I just got this in the mail and I'm only a few pages into the story. So I'll give you the back cover blurb. This is a companion novel to Possession but the story closely relates to the story that began with Vi. 

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


What am I reading now?  Girls Don't Fly (Kristen Chandler)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  I was so excited when this book came out. I had loved her other book, Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me. The same thing I loved about that book (BTW--the stories couldn't be more different than each other) is that the characters seem so real. Kristen has an affinity for writing characters that you could really meet. In this story Myra has problems and has to deal with manipulation. She has to decide who she is. This felt real. Great book for teens and those who love teen lit.

Quotes! Here are a few favorites about writing:

“Plot, or evolution, is life responding to environment; and not only is this response always in terms of conflict, but the really great struggle, the epic struggle of creation, is the inner fight of the individual whereby the soul builds up character.”
—William Wallace Cook, July 1923
“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
—Leigh Brackett, July 1943
“You yearn to turn out a book-length, your typewriter is silently shrieking abuse, you are itching to go. First read! Read the work of top-notch writers in your field. They know how! Read first for entertainment, then reread for analysis. Soak yourself in their stuff—for atmosphere, color, technique.”
—Fred East, June 1944
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
—Lawrence Block, June 1981
“The trap into which all writers have, will, or should fall into, of writing The Great American Watchamacallit, is such an uncluttered and inviting one that from time to time I’m sure even the greatest have to pull themselves up short by the Shift key to remind themselves that it is story first that they should write.”
—Harlan Ellison, January 1963

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


What am I reading now?  Balthazar (Claudia Gray)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  I admit that Balthazar is my favorite character from the Evernight Series. Bianca and Lucas are ok, but I think Bianca should have chosen Balthazar. Of course that would have spun the story in a completely different direction.
Oh, back to this book--Balthazar is such a great guy, for a vampire. What I really liked about this book is that it goes back to what makes a good series--it's about the relationships among the characters! It isn't about epic battles and hordes of evil creatures in conflict. Have you noticed that? A series starts off so well, then the third book is about a war.
Seriously? Yes, there's conflict in a war, and there is danger in a war, and there are choices to be made. It is false to believe that that kind of tension-building increases the reader's satisfaction to continue to read a series.
This book didn't forget that the tension YA Paranormal readers enjoy is between people. This book reclaims that. The tension is between many interrelated characters. Great book!
On Co-Authoring
This past week Tristi Pinkston asked Deanna and I how we work together as co-authors. Before I answer that question watch this video (Walk off the Earth)--I'll use it as an analogy to how we work together:

Yeah--so it's kinda like that!
Kinda sorta.
We each have parts that we bring to the story.

Usually one of us owns the idea. We thought of the premise of the story and present it to the other. We might have written a bit to try it out.

**This is the most amazing story!**
Then we get together and talk about the main plot points we see for the protagonist. We might draw a picture of how we see the plot moving, or what changes we might see in the character.
The person with the original idea takes over on the first draft. She writes scenes that could develop the plot points we chose. Sometimes the scenes veer off into ideas we didn't anticipate--that's ok, go with it.

**This is the point where we are sure we HATE-HATE-HATE this story**
The other person will read the draft now and again to give input.
If one of us gets stuck in a story, they can pass it off to the other person to take over for a while. But the original idea-person maintains control of the story and can veto anything they want to.

**A little glimmer of hope here**
After the first-draft of the story is written, we print it and each read it, jotting notes in the margins.
If a scene is flat we'll get together to flesh it out.
Then all the notes are addressed in a second draft of the manuscript.
That draft is sent to Beta-Readers.

**Maybe this isn't such a bad story after all**
When we get back their comments we sit together, side-by-side, usually on a couch or on someone's bed, and go over each scene for revisions--AGAIN! Grrrrrrr.

**DONE! Will this never end?**
Write the query.
Write a one page synopsis.
Write a two page synopsis.
Send it out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

think, dream, discover

What am I reading now?  Tempest Rising (Tracy Deebs)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? How had I not heard about this book? My Goodreads Paranormal YA friends are missing out!

Tempest Maguire swims and surfs like a natural. Everything about the ocean makes sense to her--almost like she can read the waves. That's probably because she's half mermaid. At 17, she must choose if she will embrace her mermaid heritage or stay on land. Everything in her heart says to stay; Dad, brothers, Mark, surfing, college. Life under the ocean has no appeal--until she sprouts a tail and gills. Oh Freak!

Tempest doesn't want anything to do with her mother, or her mother's choice to abandon her family and return to the ocean. Now she has the same choice to make.

I really enjoyed this book. And in case you wondered--Yes, I will be reading the second book. It comes out in June and it will be on this blog June 5th.

Thought for the day:
I've heard there are no new stories and every theme has been explored. Though that may be true, I continue to write. It's probably got a lot to do with the message of this quote. I write to think and to dream and to discover.

I admire authors who can create worlds we want to explore, characters we come to love and situations we live through and overcome.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hunger Games Movie

What am I reading now?  Goddess Interrupted (Aimee Carter

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Soooo glad Aimee Carter didn’t follow the traditional Greek mythology when writing this tale! I enjoyed the first in this series very much, Goddess Test. I immediately started reading the second, Goddess Interrupted. This is a fun series. Easy read. The plot twists in both books surprised me—didn’t see either of them coming!

Quicky of Book 1:
Kate Winters is raised by her single mom—who’s dying of cancer—soon. Kate moves her back to her mom's childhood home. While there she meets Henry, who claims to be Hades. After an accidental drowning, Kate makes a bargain with him that will save one life but forfeit the freedom of her own.

Book 2: Goddess Interrupted
Kate is immortal, but it’s not like she has the promise of living forever. I know how it sounds. Immortal = live forever. Wrong. What could kill a god? A titan and there just happens to be one. Looking for her. And another dilemma, does she really want to be the Queen of the Underworld or should she get out of Hell before she’s trapped there. Right, not Hell, the Underworld. Still. Henry seems to be in love with Persephone and has no room in his heart for her--and because she's deeply in love with him, that's Hell in my book.

I think at this point in the story, I didn’t breathe for at least four chapters. The cliffhanger! The cliffhanger? I will definitely be buying the next in this series.

The Hunger Games Movie
So, what'd ya' think?

I was surprised how right Hollywood got this one. It actually followed the storyline of the book! It's so disappointing to have read a book only to go to the movie and see nothing familiar, except maybe the names of characters.

I cried in the same places as I did in the book. In fact, I had the same emotions throughout.
CONFESSION: I'm not a Hunger Games fan--book or movie. Yup, read it. Saw it.

Here's why. 1) Provocative, this one's good.  2) Depressing, this one's not.

     •Great themes to discuss from this story? YES!
           How does civilized people justify their inhumanity?
           Does media desensitize us to blatant abuses of civil rights?
           What are you willing to do or to be to survive?

     •I'd rather have something that lifts the soul. There is nothing in the story that gives me hope. Nothing to leave me a better person from the experience. I know that's the point. I got it. I just don't want it.

My bet is--what ever you thought of the book, you thought of the movie too. If you loved the book, you loved the movie.
Tell me--What'd ya' think?