Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

I'm thrilled to say that Monday is over and I managed to survive it. Trust me you don't even want to know! The good news is we're one day closer to Friday!

To start off with, today I would like to bring to your attention an awesome new blog started by six bloggers at various stages of their writing journey. Operation Awesome is brought to you by Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella), Amparo Ortiz, Kristal Shaff, Katrina L. Lantz, Kelly Andrews and Angela Townsend. These ladies are full of wicked talent which is certain to equal a must see new blog! To start things off, on September 1st...and I quote "The awesome will explode with a bang." So be sure to visit these lovely ladies for something certain to be...well awesome!

Now for the big book releases of the week! I'm absolutely over the moon over about the release of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. What's my dilemma you ask? Which to read first...

This one...

Or this one???

So what about all of you? When faced with two wonderfully awesome books how do you decide? And if these books are on your wish list, which one will you tackle first?
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, August 30, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library. You can find more information on how to participate in the In My Mailbox meme by visiting The Story Siren.

This week in my mailbox:

The first book In my mailbox is of course...
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and it was well worth the wait!

Coming in second is..
The Haunted (The Hollow #2) by Jessica Verday
The first installment in this series left me hanging, so I can't wait to get through this one! And just look at the cover! I could just sit and stare at it!

Goodreads Description:
After a summer spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with by the bridge where her best friend drowned - the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows that he is dead - Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, determined to leave the ghosts of her past behind. She throws herself into schoolwork, perfume-making and her friendship with Ben, her cute and funny lab partner, who just might be able to help her get over Caspian once and for all. But Abbey is never going to truly be able to move on from Caspian and Caspian has no choice but to return to her side: for Caspian is a Shade and Abbey is his destiny. The two are tied not only to each other, but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow and the famous legend that binds their fates - a legend whose true ending and dark truths they are only just beginning to guess...

Meridian (Finestra #1) by Amber Kizer
I've had trouble finding this little number, but when we visited a large Barnes and Noble...there is was.

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old Meridian has always been surrounded by death. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders burrowed into her bedclothes to die. As she grew, the animals got bigger, and soon they were finding her at school to die in her presence. Meridian became an outcast, labeled by her classmates as Reaper, Gravedigger, and Witch. Each death she witnesses weakens her body, and loneliness weakens her spirit. On her sixteenth birthday, she witnesses a deadly car crash. Though she’s untouched, Meridian's body explodes with the victims’ pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she's a danger to her family and rushed to her great-aunt's house in Revelation, Colorado. It's there that she learns the secret her mother has been hiding her entire life: that she is a Fenestra, the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. It's crucial that she learn how to transition human souls to the afterlife and preserve the balance between good and evil on earth. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. Dark, lovely, and lushly romantic, MERIDIAN introduces a powerful heroine who will entrance readers.

So there you have it! I have a couple of days before more awesome books will be added to my mailbox and I can't wait!

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thank Goodness For Friday!!!

Words escape me when I attempt to describe how elated I am that it is finally Friday!!!!!
I know for my awesome fellow bloggers this week has gone by in a blur.
Not so much here in Back to School land...
But I promise, I am over the shock of being back to work so you will hear no more pity parties about it from me!

So let's get to the good stuff! First of all I would like to welcome all of my new followers! Thanks for joining me on my little adventure! Once in a blue moon, I'm certain it's just sheer dumb luck on my part, I just might post something helpful. (At least I try to be helpful!)

So here's my lineup for the weekend...I'm sharing with all of you because the civilians (non-writers) that I see day in and day out look at me like I have a third head when I tell them!

So here goes...

Sleep in...Starbucks...Finish revising Radiant Fury...print out Radiant Fury...more Starbucks...edit Radiant Fury...Go to dinner...possibly movies...get caught up on Young and The Restless.

Pretty much the same thing...I'll add the edits to my MS and send it off to the lovely Lindsay who has so graciously agreed to beta for me!

So there you have it. Barring the unforeseen this is my action plan for the weekend. Now do you see why the nonwriterly folks think I'm crazy?
What do you all have planned for the weekend? Whatever your plans, I hope it's fantastic!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Get Organized!

With the new school year well underway, a boy starting middle school and a diva daughter that keeps things lively...I've had to create a way to get organized. And fast. Either that or give up writing. And that's just not going to happen.

So how does one go about making such changes? What can you do to accomplish more of what you want to do? Here are some immediate suggestions that I've implemented at my house:

1. Choose the easiest place to start-
You don't always have to start at the beginning. If that first step seems the hardest, start with another part of the project instead. I started by listing everything I had to accomplish each day, and went from there.

2.Fix your workspace- During the summer I make it a habit to sit and watch TV with the laptop nearby and leisurely write throughout the day. Not going to happen when I have to work. So I fixed an area that is all mine. Everything I need to write is at my fingertips. That way when I have a few minutes I can jump right in and capitalize on my time.

3.Work from a to-do list- Tackle the more difficult tasks during your prime time. During revisions, I need absolute calm and quiet. The only time this happens at my house is early in the morning while everyone else is still asleep, so I make sure that's what I'm working on at this time.

4.Be realistic about what you can do-don't set unrealistic goals when you only have a set amount of time each day. This will only stifle your creativity and ruin your efforts.

5.Use the minutes available to you
Remember that even five minutes is enough time to get something done.

6.Reward yourself
This is the fun part! After you meet small deadlines, promise yourself a little treat. When the entire project is completed, think on a little grander scale. I'm thinking shopping spree in Kansas City!

7.Create more time
If it seems like there really is no time, carve out a half hour or so from your existing schedule. I found that if I waited until the end of the day, I didn't always get as far as I wanted. To remedy this I get up a half hour earlier.

8.Get started
The hardest part is getting started. Once you're in motion, it will be easier to keep going. I thought going back to work was going to set me back by miles, but with my writing tools organized and my schedule set, I've actually been more productive in the past week than I have been all summer.

So take it from can be done!
Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally Mockingjay!

Today's the day we've all been waiting for! No, not the first day of school...It's time for the final installment in The Hunger Games trilogy!!!! Now I just have to make it through the work day and book it home to start reading!

But before the excitement begins, I wanted to share a message from Suzanne Collins herself that she released just a few days ago:

"One of the most important things to me is that everyone in the world is going to be able to experience the final book of The Hunger Games all at the same time, and be able to discover what happens in the book without hearing about it elsewhere first. Word will certainly travel fast, but I urge you – before or immediately after August 24th – to please respect the other Hunger Games fans worldwide and avoid sharing any spoilers, so that the conclusion of Katniss’s story can unfold for each reader the way it was meant to unfold."

Okay, you have my solemn vow that even though I'm a superfast reader and will probably be up until the wee hours of the night finishing this very book, I will not post any spoilers. (I wouldn't do that to you guys!)

So here's to happy endings...may this series conclude the way I'm hoping!

Go team Peeta!
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Skip a Starbuck's Day

This is why I adore blogging. Never in my life have I witnessed such generosity from a group of individuals. While I was making my usual rounds around the blogoshpere before making my own post, I soon realized that I had to abandon my original topic and post this instead...

If you haven't yet discovered C.J Redwine then you are truly missing out on an awesome blog!

But she needs our help.

A little over five years ago, after surviving cervical cancer and a full hysterectomy, C.J. and her husband began proceedings to adopt an orphaned baby girl from China. Being adopted myself, I've seen first hand the roller coaster of emotions that couples go through when embarking on this entire process.

Well, a few weeks ago they got news: a court date was set. But the problem is, travel and adoption fees have gone up and even though they had money set's not enough. So in order for them to avoid losing the chance to welcome this beautiful little girl into their homes she has devised Skip A Starbucks day.

The basic idea? Give up one tiny indulgence today (like a $5.00 coffee) and use it to help save an orphaned baby girl and make a family's dream come true. In return, you get a chance to win some seriously AWESOME prizes. I mean seriously awesome!

C.J. has a ton of amazing giveaways going on at her blog--ARCs, book sets, and all kinds of other cool stuff--and anyone who donates to her adoption fund can enter to win.

Even better? She's asked some of her friends in the blogosphere to run contests of their own. So anyone who donates can enter a number of other awesome contests with some incredibly fabulous prizes (tons of ARCs--including ones from Bree Despain and Rachel Hawkins--gift cards, merch, it's some crazy awesome stuff)--not a bad deal if you ask me.

How to Enter:
*Go to C.J.'s blog and donate to her adoption fund
(The link is in the upper right corner, and she's suggesting a $5.00 minimum)

*While you're there, enter her grand prize drawing, and check out the links to all the other awesome contests.

*You can also read her story in its entirety.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

As I was perusing through my booklist on Goodreads, I discovered this little gem of a series that looks right up my alley...The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

First in the series...My Love Lies Bleeding

The Blakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.

Second...Blood Feud
The action and romance continue as the Drakes face a new vampire with a 200-year-old grudge. It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

The clans are gathering for Helena’s royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha’s reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.

This second adventure in the Drake Chronicles—told from both Logan’s and Isabeau’s perspectives—has all the same butt-kicking action, heart-pounding romances and snarky humor that readers loved in Hearts at Stake, as well as exciting new revelations about the vampire dynasties to keep readers coming back for more.

And the most recent...Out for Blood
Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, whe ...more Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?

Will I ever get to the bottom of my to be read pile? Time will tell! At least I know I will never run out of fabulous books to read!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest Day 2

*But before we begin, be sure to visit Matthew Rush's blog today for my guest post! He is the most amazing blogger and has been ever so generous with his comments on my query letter! You simply HAVE to check it out! Thanks again Matt!!

And now it's time for the big reveals. I can't wait to see all of your wonderful characters! I am a wretched guesser, but this blogfest has been so much fun! I would like to extend an enormous thank-you to the wonderfully awesome Jennifer Daiker for hosting such a phenomenal event!

Now without further deliberation here is Anna...
I absolutely loved all of your guesses! And for those of you left hanging, Anna does die (a horrible death on her seventeenth birthday) but is brought back as a Fury. Furies are marked not only by their beauty, but their brightly woven hair. Their purpose? To ensure that no other humans fall prey to their same yeah Anna is a petite edgy little huntress with fiery red hair, green eyes and skills with a blade like you can't imagine!

So how did you do? There were two guesses that were pretty much dead on since I know I didn't give you much to go on. So mean of me I know! But Clara and Hanna way to go!

Thanks again Jenn! I look forward to seeing all of the intriguing characters that everyone has created!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guess That Character Blogfest

The lovely Jennifer Daiker is hosting a
“Guess That Character” blogfest.
Today participants are to post a snippet that introduces a character without any description and then everyone tries to guess what the character looks like. Descriptions will then be revealed tomorrow. To see the rest of the entries visit her blog Unedited.

For my entry, I chose a snippet from Radiant Fury featuring my main character Anna. That’s all I’m revealing because I’m terrible about giving things away!

The moment I was plucked from my unconscious stupor, I found myself on the floor surrounded by a captive audience. Their faces were clouded with a mixture of empathy and sadness as they watched me with apprehensive intent.

The closest girl, a petite little thing helped me to my feet. Despite the state I was in I couldn’t help but notice her beauty. Her features were identical to the others yet she sported a severe electric blue bob with a lone streak of silver running freely down the side of her face.

"Don’t be frightened,” she said. The girl helped me back into my chair. Her eyes shone brightly with a rainbow of color against a backdrop of equally brilliant blue as they assessed my state of being. “You gave us quite a scare, we heard you screaming from our rooms.”

I looked at her for the longest moment while the truth sank in. “Oh crap! I died didn’t I? That’s the only way to become one of you.”

Okay that's all you get folks! So what does Anna look like? See you tommorrow for the big reveal!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just A Couple of Things Before I Go...

So I'm sitting here in my living room enjoying the doom and gloom outside my window wishing I could just stay indoors and curl up with my laptop. Unfortunately my classroom is far from ready and school starts next Tuesday. (Boo!) But before I head over to school I had a couple of things I just had to share with all of you wonderful bloggers out there.

How about we start out with an awesome contest? I love, love, love Halloweeen! It's my favorite holiday and I love the scary stories that go along with it. But I'm horrible at writing scary. The curl up under your covers and jump at every strange noise kind of scary...yes that's what I mean. I can't do it. But for those of you that can you simply must check this out.

To celebrate this up and coming day of scary, D.M. Cunningham is having a Halloween short story contest on his blog Literary Asylum. He is looking for super scary super creepy, short stories and one lucky winner will be published on his blog along with some other cool prizes. I listed the rules below and for complete details visit Literary Asylum.

1) The story needs to be about a celebration of Halloween.
2) Up to 750 words, no longer. Anything longer will be sent to the Underworld.
3) Keep your story for young readers up to 12/13 yrs old. Not looking for YA.
4) Deadline for the story is October 15th, Midnight PST
5) Please send your submissions to
6) One story submission per person
7) Illustrations are welcome (as long as you own the rights to place them with your story), otherwise we will put an image along with your story.

In other new and I am soooo excited about this one! Yesterday Cassandra Clare posted the following message...

"’s Hollywood Crush has just confirmed that they will debut the Clockwork Angel trailer tomorrow (WED) at 2pm EST (that's New York time)."
Don't miss it! You'll be able to watch it today from 2pm on at

And last but not least, I'm thrilled to be a guest blogger on Matthew Rush's blog this coming Friday! I've placed my query in his very capable hands and he's given his critique/feedback along with my thoughts on it. It's fun and he's an amazing blogger, so you HAVE to check it out!

Well time for work. (Huge sigh) Hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Okay, Now Focus

I know, I know. Easier said than done right?

Trust me I know. Lately my house seems to be crazier than Grand Central Station and with birthdays, back-to-school and football season right around the corner...the insanity promises to grow.

So how in the world can I get any writing done? I asked myself this exact same question when I was smack dab in the middle of revisions and I had been interrupted for what seemed to be the hundredth time.

Now I understand that some of the dishes in my kitchen do grow legs in order to hide from my husband and I always hide my son's X-box controller. So it really should be no surprise that they have to ask me where things are every five minutes. Needless to say my focus becomes evasive after all of this nonsense.

So I came up with a few solutions to my problem. Now I have capitalized on my writing time and have more free time to spend being finder of all lost things.

Below I've listed the quick fixes that anyone can use:

1. Headphones-I always assemble some sort of playlist when I start working on a new MS. Music always helps get my creativity flowing and it relaxes me.

2. Un-plug-Now don't panic. It's only for a little while and I promise the blogoshpere will still be there when you get back. Again, I told myself this over and over again when I was forced to do this very thing.

3. Find you own space-This is very important. Set aside a small area (or a large one if you have it.) But make it yours and yours alone. Have everything you need right there at your fingertips. My family knows when I go to my space to work that I'm basically on an island surrounded by sharks and they can't get to me.

4. Set aside a special time-I have a set amount of time set aside each day for me to work. It's not a lot, but without the constant interruptions I get so much more accomplished.

5. Give yourself permission-Give yourself permission to take breaks from your writing. Give yourself permission to celebrate even the smallest of victories. Just give yourself whatever you need you need in order to be successful in your writing venture.

Though nothing in my crazy life is foolproof, these fixes have helped me tremendously! So now it's your turn...when your world is spinning out of control, how do you focus?

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

Here are my picks for the week:

Entangledby Cat Clarke
Goodreads Description:
The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace's pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1)
Goodreads Description:
Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.

Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?

So what's on your wishlist today? Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back to Work

So now that WriteOnCon is over (sigh) it's time for business as usual. I apologize for the absence, but as I made my rounds throughout the blogosphere this morning, it seems that I'm in very good company.

Let me just say that WriteOnCon was amazing! For those of us who can't make it to writing conferences, this was a priceless experience. Over the past three days WriteOnCon's organizers have battled countless errors, sleep deprivation and just about any other bump in the road you can imagine to bring this online conference to 11,000 participants!

I want to take a moment to thank the amazing ladies that worked their fingers to the bone to make this conference a reality:

Elana Johnson
Lisa and Laura Roecker
Casey McCormick
Jamie Harrington
Jen Stayrook
Shannon Messenger

You ladies are amazing! Job well done!
If you aren't following their blogs you're truly missing out!

And before I forget...congrats to Matthew Rush for winning the query contest on WriteOnCon. Matt also has an amazing blog so be sure to check his out as well!

In other news, it is Friday the 13th which means The Thirteenth Chime by Emma Michaels is now available! Follow the link below for a free coupon.
The Thirteenth Chime

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Happy Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ready Or Not...WriteOnCon Is Here!

The waiting is over.

WriteOnCon starts today!

For anyone who doesn't know, WriteOnCon is a free online conference with a focus on kid lit writers (but free, and useful, for any writer). A group of fantastic bloggers have arranged this conference and it promises to be amazing! Thanks ladies for all of your hard work!

WriteOnCon Schedule of Events:
*all times EDT, LIVE events are noted in bold and will take place here. Content will take place on the main WriteOnCon site. Click here for more info about how this will run. Shannon Whitney Messenger goes into more detail on her blog here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010:
6:00 AM: Welcome Keynote by author Josh Berk
7:00 AM: Refining Your Craft with Each Book by author Janette Rallison
8:00 AM: Give Yourself Permission by editor Molly O’Neill
9:00 AM: Myths and Misconceptions by literary agent Holly Root, and editors Molly O’Neill and Martha Mihalick
10:00 AM: Illustrating Children’s Books by author/illustrator J.H. Everett and studio (series of 3, posted every 20 minutes)
11:00 AM: Bringing the Funny by author Rachel Hawkins
12:00 PM: Becoming a Career Author by literary agent Catherine Drayton
1:00 PM: Writing Middle Grade by author Jon Lewis
2:00 PM: Voice by literary agent Elana Roth
2:30 PM: Live chat with literary agent Suzie Townsend
3:00 PM: Writing a Query Letter by author Jodi Meadows
3:30: Joanna Volpe’s query critique
4:00 PM: In Defense of a Less Than Huge Advance by literary agent Michelle Wolfson
5:00 PM: Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Revision by editor Kendra Levin
6:00 PM: Pie in the Face (how characters react to situations) by author Rosemary Clement-Moore
9:00 PM: Panel of Professionals chat LIVE (Elana Roth, Kathleen Ortiz, Martha Mihalick)
10:30 PM: Working with Agents and Editors, a live Workshop with literary agent Mark McVeigh

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
6:00 AM: Romance in YA by author Lisa Schroeder
7:00 AM: Plot and Pacing by author/literary agent Weronika Janczuk
8:00 AM: Using an Independent Publicist by author Lauren Becker
9:00 AM: The Revision Process by author Cynthea Liu (series of 3, posted every 20 minutes)
10:00 AM: Transition From Self-Published to Traditional Publishing by author Jennifer Fosberry
10:30 AM: Joanna Volpe’s query critique
11:00 AM: Live blogging event: Queries with literary agent Natalie Fischer
12:00 PM: Creating Memorable Characters by literary agent/author Mandy Hubbard
1:00 PM: Reaching Out to Schools and Libraries Before You’re Published by author Stasia Ward Kehoe
2:00 PM: Sex in YA: The ABC’s of Hooking Up by author Suzanne Young
Live chat with literary agent Natalie Fischer

3:00 PM: Keynote Address by author Lindsay Eland
3:30 PM: Writing Genre Fiction by author Julia Karr
4:00 PM: Do’s and Don’t’s of Querying by literary agent Kate Testerman
5:00 PM: Authentic/Edgy YA by author Kody Keplinger
6:00 PM: How to Make a Character Collage by author Tera Lynn Childs
7:00 PM: Live chat with literary agent Jennifer Laughran
9:00 PM: Panel of Professionals chat LIVE (Anica Rissi, Joanna Volpe, Suzie Townsend, Mary Kole)
10:30 PM: Building an Online Presence, a live Workshop with author Daisy Whitney

Thursday, August 12, 2010
6:00 AM: Writing With a Real Life by author Lindsey Leavitt
7:00 AM: Writing Advice from PJ Hoover and the Texas Sweethearts
8:00 AM: Writing Realistic, Captivating Dialog by author Tom Leveen
8:30 AM: Author Branding by author Shelli Johannes-Wells
9:00 AM: How to have a Successful Author Event at a Bookstore by Calondra McArthur
10:00 AM: Q&A by literary agent Steven Malk
10:30 AM: Writing a Complete Story Even Though it’s Part of a Trilogy by author Michelle Zink
11:00 AM: From Submission to Acquisition: An Editor’s Choose Your Own Adventure by editor Martha Mihalick
12:00 PM: Transitioning from Adult to YA by author Risa Green
1:00 PM: Rhyme in Picture Books by author Tiffany Strelitz
2:00 PM: The First Five Pages by Kathleen Ortiz
3:00 PM: Writing Thrillers for Young Adults by author Kimberly Derting
3:30 PM: Picture Books and Easy Readers by author Shelley Thomas
4:00 PM: Staying positive in the face of rejections by author Crystal Stranaghan
5:00 PM: Avoiding Character Stereotypes by literary agent Mary Kole
6:00 PM: Creating New Mythologies by author Aprilynne Pike
9:00 PM: Panel of Professionals chat LIVE (Michelle Andelman, Molly O’Neill, Kate Testerman)
10:30 PM: The Revision Process from Both Sides of the Desk, a live Workshop with literary agent/author Regina Brooks

So, now you know where I'll be for the next couple of days! Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 6, 2010

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

With August already upon us, we find ourselves closer and closer to all of the highly anticipated new releases. The following are some of my must have reads.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Goodreads Description:
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

Torment by Lauren Kate

Goodreads Description:
How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else?

With so many new releases coming our way I've been reading like mad in order to lower the level of my TBR pile. So, do any of you have an out of control pile like mine? What are you reading right now?

Have a great day everyone!

Changes Blogfest

The wonderfully fantastic Elizabeth Mueller is hosting a Changes blogfest in honor of Sangu Mandanna. Sangu is in the process of settling into her new home. In her honor, Elizabeth is throwing her a housewarming party in the form of a blogfest. I told you she was great!

The theme is about change. Any kind of change. How did your character endure change? Did she crash and burn? Did he laugh and walk into the sunset? What kind of conflict was involved?

It can be an epiphany kinda change. A moving-away kinda change. A dealing-with-death kinda change. Any and all.

For my entry, I plucked a section straight from the first chapter of Fatal Beauties. In this scene Amber is having to endure yet another move thanks to the antics of her two out of control sisters Demonica and Fauna.

      It took the bellman several trips up the service elevator to unload our things. Just as he placed the last of Demonica’s over abundantly stuffed bags in her bedroom, her eyes flashed with wild desire and I knew trouble was imminent. Though we had yet to even settle into our new home she was ready to begin her typical behavior at a moments notice.
      Wonderful. Fantastic.
      Leaning against the railing, I watched as the strategically placed game played out perfectly.
      Demonica poised herself luxuriously in the doorway. “Leaving so soon,” she cooed as the poor boy stood gazing at her like a rabbit snared in the most complex of traps.
      This scene was all too familiar. She was the hunter and he was her prey. Demonica slinked closer and closer toward her unsuspecting target until she was situated directly behind him. She stroked his hair before sniffing his neck. All the while the insignificant little fool just stood there, dazed like a lovesick puppy.
      “Mmmm, you smell positively divine,” she whispered hoarsely. Her touch was but a mere whisper as she moved her fingers from his hair and proceeded to stroke his delicate throat.
      Absolute putty in her hands, the bellman leaned against her all but gift-wrapping himself. She leaned in, ready to partake in what he had to offer. This had already gone too far.
      “Demonica that’s enough.” I stepped into the room, breaking whatever form of Entrapment she had managed to place on her unsuspecting entree.
      Fauna chose that particular moment to skip into the room, stopping abruptly when she took in the scene before her. She pressed her lips together in mock disapproval. “The two of you should be ashamed of yourselves,” she scolded. A resplendent pout tugged at her delicate features. “No fair playing without me.”
      I closed my eyes, rallying my strength before facing my other sister. “Give me a break Fauna, we haven’t been here five minutes and the two of you are already starting in.” Not willing to take any chances, I placed myself strategically between the boy and my two ravenous sisters.
      Demonica looked at me, eyes flashing in a psychotic manner. “You always ruin all of my fun and I’m starving.” She threw herself into a sitting position on the couch elevating her legs and crossing her arms.
      I cast my eyes skyward collecting her new toy. “Don’t be so dramatic. There’s blood in the fridge, you’re hardly going to starve.”
      “It’s not the same and you know it.”
      “Well I suggest you cultivate some sort of tolerance.” I smiled just a little myself at her discontent. “Besides it’s rude to play with your food.”

So there you have it, a little sneak peek at my sisters of destruction. Want to join in on the fun? Or read the other entries? Just visit Elizabeth's blog here. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Let's face it, without them what would we do? Ideas are an essential part of the creative process that writers simply can't do without.

When the idea for my first book came to me, I parked myself in front of my laptop and didn't move for hours. Of course I thought it would be the only idea I would ever have and at the time I didn't give it much thought.

Thank goodness, since that day I've managed to come up with a few other ideas. Of course these thoughts always surface at the worst possible times.

For example:
*When I'm smack dab in the middle of another manuscript.
*When it's full blown chaos at work.
*During my son's football practice or at my daughter's ballet classes.
*And my personal favorite,while driving.
You get the general idea.

There's just no way of knowing when an idea will creep into my mind. But I don't ever want them to go to waste. In order to avoid that particular monstrosity, I keep a simple idea file. Wherever I go I have keep a journal and pen with me. There's a section for ideas that I can transfer to my file whenever I get the chance. Whenever I'm ready to start a new MS, I can refer to the file to see if anything in there interests me.

So where do these ideas come from? I'm honestly not certain. But I can tell you what I do. I read. A lot. I love to watch movies and watch television. I love to shop and spend time with my family. All of these things bring me inspiration.

I also keep track of what's out there. I educate myself on what agents and editors are asking for and what they're begging to see less of.

In addition to all of this, I keep lists. Lists of things that captivate my interests. Lists of things that would add to a storyline.

But when all is said and done. I write what I love. I could never devote so much time to a manuscript if it didn't resonate with me on a deep unexplainable level. But that's just me. I don't pretend to understand the workings of my complicated mind. I just go with it!

So what about all of you? Where do all of your wonderful ideas come from? How do you keep track of them?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Create a Scene Tuesday

Kelsey Ketch over at Ketch's tavern is having a weekly event titled, "Create a Scene Tuesday." Kelsey has come up with an amazing concept which she calls "The Writer's Hydra." Each head represents a challenge that writers must face when constructing a manuscript...Setting, Plot Line and Characters. You can view the post in its entirety here.

This week's challenge:

Character – Young Witch

Action – Casting their first spell

Setting – School Setting

This is so perfect! The MS I've been revising is about Eliza, a young witch forced into a brand new life with a family she didn't even know existed. As she struggles to adapt, she finds herself drawn to Sebastian...the one person who stops her world from spinning out of control. But he's off limits, along with the rest of his family. This scene is from an unplanned encounter that Eliza has with this dangerous clan...

My entry:
      It happened seconds after the final bell. One minute I was minding my own business, vying to locate my biology notes and the next, I found myself tangled on the floor in a heap with some poor little fool scurrying to get away from an unforeseen tempest.
      The threat soon revealed itself in the form of Sevorian Black and the twins. They had us surrounded in a heartbeat...hungry predators intent on obtaining their prey.
      Sevorian narrowed his eyes at me as recognition washed over his face. “You," he growled savagely. Forgetting all about their original quarry all three of the menacing brutes focused their attention on me, watching hungrily as I rose to my feet.
      Perfect. The one family I had been ordered to stay away from and here I was, a fly caught within their tangled web.
Sevorian began advancing toward me with Tyler and Ethan flanking him. As if he needed back up.
      “What an unexpected treat to find the newest Ducayne all alone and unprotected." He stopped moving forward the moment my back pressed up against the lockers.
      “Stay away from me,” I demanded taking one step to my right. One step closer to the exit. But escape was deemed unnecessary because the moment the words crossed my lips, the evil trio went flying across the hall, landing in a heaping mass several feet away from where I stood.
      From a distance I could hear a familiar voice tickling at my subconscious. But like the complete fool that I was, I just stood there gaping at the scene before me. What had I done?
      Sevorian was the first to come around. “How dare you attack us at school, witch."
      "What?" I managed to choke out. I was stunned, like someone had slapped me in the face. What could he possibly know about me?
      Ethan stood and came at me with such brutal force that the two of us went colliding into a nearby locker. The wind was practically knocked out of me as we continued to struggle. My air supply nearly cut off, I attempted to take a much needed gulp of fresh air when the impossible happened.
      Ethan just...let me go. It was as if all the fight went out of him. Then there was a silvery whiff of smoke that wafted past his lips and snaked its way past my own. I fell back against the lockers feeling lightheaded from the surge of energy that seared through my veins. But as soon as it flooded my system, the vile cruelty and sheer evil of his power made me nauseous.
      “What happened?”
      There it was. That voice again. I closed my eyes, willing it to be a halucination. A cruel, cruel trick of my unstable mind.
      I almost laughed at my pious thoughts when Sebastian materialized in front of me and helped me to my feet. His eyes raked over the damage that had ensued at my hand. What could he possibly be thinking?
      “I… I don’t know what happened,” I whispered unable to meet his gaze. I was on the verge of tears and the thought of Sebastian finding out my secret made me sick.

So there you have it! I know I'm late, but it's been one of those days. Hope everyone else had a good one!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Author Interview with Anastasia Hopcus

To kick off the month of August, I'm starting off with my interview with Anastasia Hopcus author of the recently released Shadow Hills.

Hi Anastasia, tell us about yourself.

I live in Austin Texas and have lived there almost all my life, but I spent a few years in Los Angeles. I love to read, especially Young Adult paranormal, and I also spend a lot of time watching TV series on DVD. I'm a huge Buffy fan, but most recently I've been hooked on 30 Rock and The Office. Doing Sing Star karaoke with my friends is definitely one of my top ten favorite things to do.

Tell us your summary of Shadow Hills.

My novel, Shadow Hills, is a Young Adult mystery with a paranormal twist. After the death of her sister, my main character, Phe, has been having cryptic dreams, much like the ones her sister had before she died. Phe decides to go to Devenish Prep, the boarding school in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts that her sister mentioned in her last diary entry. But Phe soon realizes that the secrets of Shadow Hills are even darker than her own.

What inspired the story?

I saw a 60 Minutes episode on a gifted savant, and it started me thinking about what it would be like if an entire group of people possessed unusual intelligence and abilities. And this made me wonder about what an outsider would do if they stumbled across a group like this.

Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up? Why didn’t you?

I felt that way more than once. But the time when I felt the lowest was after I’d had several requests for my manuscript from good agents. This was, of course, very exciting, but in the end none of them offered representation. The let down felt even harsher because of how hopeful I’d been. But the absolute worst part was the vague responses that left me not knowing what was wrong about the book. Then I got a pretty blunt letter from one agent detailing the problems he had with my manuscript. I saw where he was coming from and that most of his criticisms were correct. But I also saw that it would take a great deal of revision to make Shadow Hills work. I was on the verge of just giving up and maybe starting something new. But then that particular agent happened to come to Austin, and he said he’d like to have coffee and discuss my writing. Though he was not interested in Shadow Hills, we had a great conversation about writing and he told me how much potential he saw in me. This really meant a lot, especially coming from an experienced agent like him. I went home energized and tackled the revision. Within a couple of months I had a manuscript that I was pleased with, and I sent Shadow Hills out again. And almost immediately my wonderful agent Meredith Kaffel called to say that she was interested in it.

What have you learned about promoting books in your publication journey? What worked well for you?

I learned so much that it would be hard to describe it all here. I was very fortunate to have a great group of fellow debut authors, the Tenners, who really believe in helping each other out. They introduced me to several bloggers, and of course the book blogging community is really at the core of promoting your books online. The bloggers are amazing people who are willing to do so much for books and authors. I can hardly believe how generous they are with their time. For me, getting advance reading copies to as many bloggers as I could was the most important part of promoting my book. I used bookmarks a lot; I thought they were the most efficient use of my promotional money, which was limited. The beautiful trailer of Shadow Hills that Vania of VLC made was another key element.

What was a waste?

I didn't really feel that anything I did was a waste. I think this is mostly because of the Tenners. The group of authors who had already debuted, told the authors still waiting what they had found the most and the least successful.

What are you working on next?

I'm not officially talking about that, but I will say that I'm spending a lot of time considering what might happen next at Devenish Prep. I have some intriguing questions to explore concerning Phe and Zach and their relationship, as well as their friends…and enemies.

What is your perfect writing situation?

I can’t be productive if I’m distracted so I like to have someplace quiet to write. I now have an office, but I often work on the couch in my living room---or even sitting on my bed with my laptop, just so long as there's no one around.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for aspiring authors?

I'm afraid my answer here is always the same. You need to be persistent. You need to read a lot and analyze what you read. And, most importantly, you have to write.

What is your favorite book of all time?

I don't think I could choose one favorite book. I love too many. When I was a teen, my favorites were Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas and the Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block. I also liked The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I also enjoy funny amateur mysteries---Anne George's Southern Sisters series, for instance, is my favorite. More recently I have loved Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready and Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell. (I’m seeing a title theme here: Shade, Shadowed Summer, Shadow Hills. I guess I must really like the dark and the letter S.)

What upcoming releases are you dying to get your hands on?

I have my hands on it, but I haven't had the time to read it yet---Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. (Here I am again with loving the dark.) I managed to snag an ARC at BEA but I promised myself I wouldn’t start reading it until I finished all my work for the Shadow Hills debut. I knew as soon as I opened BD, I would be sucked in and utterly unable to get out. Unfortunately the work never really seems to come to an end. ;) Which is why Beautiful Darkness is still calling to me from my nightstand.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.

Well, not many people know that I once got Trent Reznor's autograph. Nine Inch Nails was in Austin for a concert, and while my mother wouldn't let me go because I was too young, my best friend Katy and I happened to be staying at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin with my parents that weekend. It was right around Halloween, and there had been this cool Halloween party at the hotel the night before. We had seen several really exquisitely detailed costumes, including that really tall Grim Reaper from Scrooged (I loved that movie as a little kid). Anyway, the next morning as my mom and Katy and I were standing in the lobby waiting for my dad to check out, Trent Reznor came out of the elevator. I said excitedly, "Trent Reznor!" And if you've ever heard me speak, you know that I have a voice that could be heard all across the hotel lobby. He froze and gave us this sheepish little smile and nodded, knowing he'd been caught.
But I didn't realize it was really him. I thought it was a partygoer from the night before, still in costume as Trent Reznor. He was even wearing the same leather jacket he wore in the "Closer" video. So I just said his name as a kind of “Oh, I know what that costume is” remark. He stood there for a second, and when I didn’t say anything else, he started out of the lobby, looking a little puzzled. My mom asked me why I hadn't gone over to ask for his autograph, and that's when Katy and I realized that it was really him. So we took off running and caught up to him outside on the sidewalk. He was very nice and gave us both his autograph and we even got to meet his sweet golden retriever. Unfortunately, years later, my dad found this scrap of paper inside the fireproof safe that he and my mom kept important documents in. And of course my dad, who likes everything neat and clean, didn’t recognize that the scribble there was one of my most cherished possessions (which is why I put it in the safe in the first place) and he threw the autograph away. It’s still a little painful for me to even write out that part of the story, though I’ve (mostly) forgiven my dad.

Thanks Anastasia for taking the time to answer my questions!
For more on Anastasia you can visit her on her website or on her blog. And be sure to check out Shadow Hills! It's on my 2010 Debut Author Challenge list and I can't wait to read it!
Happy Monday everyone!