Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIP - First Review of Transformation

I missed last week's WIP day because I was in the middle of a move and without iternet. Sadness.

It's almost pathetic how much I rely on the internet these days, but it's so much more than a web of information. It provides connections to friends, outlets to vent, and a way to publicize...though some uses are admittedly better (or used more often) than others.

It's easy to get on here and check facebook and e-mail while reading blog posts about things you love. It's not so easy to put yourself out there, leaving others open to criticize and potentially tear you apart. The hope is that they will take that opportunity to build you up, boost your self esteem a little, but unfortunately there are no guarantees as to what will be said about you.

Why am I ranting about this?

I had submitted my first book, Transformation, for review shortly after it was published last month. I want to submit a few more copies for review, but with my move and the expenses that are necessary for that, I couldn't afford to at the time.

Since the submission I have been waiting for that first review to pop up. I've known friends and family who have read it and it's been well received, but it's always hard to tell if people like it because it's good or because they know you, the author. I'm still not sure.

I have been privileged to read the review before it will be posted on the internet. I'm not sure when it will go up, though I would assume it will be some time in the next few days. (I will post the link when it does.) I will admit upon reading the review my heart sank a bit. It wasn't the rave review my subconscious had been hoping for, though not really expecting. Though, it wasn't the worst review I could have received either. I appreciate that the reviewer took the time to talk about the specifics that bothered her and she made sure to point out the things that she liked. That's really all I can ask for as an author.

My biggest frustration is that the first review of Transformation is not the best one it could be. I'm hoping over time a few great ones will show up, but in the meantime I will take her criticism and work with it so I can be a better author for my next project that I'm currently outlining. For a first novel, I'm awfully proud of Transformation, and though I know there are things that I'm constantly wanting to change about it, I will leave it as it is.

It's a starting point for my writing adventure.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muse Monday - Can you say overdone Love Triangle?

It's Muse Monday so of course it's time for me to share one of my incredibly random dreams with you all in the hopes that you may be inspired for a story:

I had a dream that Neil Patrick Harris and David Schwimmer were fighting over a woman. She kind of resembled Patricia Clarkson...the mom from Easy A...but she just resembled her, she wasn't actually her. Each guy had a huge thing for her and they were trying to hide it and be the bigger guy. They started out being nice, giving each other the opportunity to go after her so she could choose between them.

For whatever reason, the two guys got frustrated and decided they didn't want to nice anymore. They both wanted her, and one of them was going to have her.

Next came a ridiculous display of manliness. I don't remember all the details, just that I'm sure I was laughing out loud in my sleep. Patricia ended up choosing Neil but they hid their relationship from David. Of course he found out about it. In a fit of anger, David let loose a bunch of snakes out that covered the ground between the hotel they were at and Neil's car. He didn't want to back down, so he attempted to cross the snake infested parking lot anyway but he kept getting attacked by snakes. He'd have to pull them off of himself and throw them away, but they would just leap back at him and re-attach themselves. I woke up as he was trying, without any luck, to get in his car.

As far as writing potential, the only thing I see is maybe an Indiana Jones type love triangle. Maybe it will be helpful to one of you readers. On the bright side, I wouldn't have any trouble casting the parts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

About the Book (Froom Goodreads): Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

My Review: Divergent was amazing. I calculated and found out I read it in just ten and a half hours. I couldn't put it down. There were NO slow parts in the entire book! For me, even the best books have a point, (whether it's a conversation, transition scene, informative section, etc) that just drags on and you think, "Get on with it." I never hit that spot with Divergent. Every scene flowed wonderfully and kept my mind engaged in the story. And, more importantly, every scene contributed to the story. It's a long book, 485 pages, and every word is important to Tris' experience as she makes the choice between factions and then as she goes through her initiation.

I love that the book takes place in Chicago and that Roth uses the buildings and sites that are there to help build this world. It makes it extremely believable. It helps that I've been to Chicago so when she describes Navy Pier in it's abandoned state with Lake Michigan dried up and turned into a marsh, I can really picture it. It makes it so real and believable.

I like that Tris doesn't focus on what her life would be like if she chose Dauntless, she just knew she wasn't who she needed to be in order to be in Abnegation. It made her surprise at what was required of her real when she gets to the initiation. If she had asked too many questions, or dwelled on it too much, she might not have been able to chose Dauntless and then we wouldn't have a story. I know I wouldn't have chosen Dauntless, it is definitely not the life for me. I think I'm more of an Amity person myself, or maybe Candor. Thankfully, I don't actually have to choose.

The characters are amazing, the plot is amazing, the world that is created is amazing. I can't believe this is Roth's debut novel. AMAZING. This book definitely didn't disappoint in the hype that it has received and I know the sequel won't disappoint either! I'm so excited for it! Go and read Divergent, you won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Muse Monday - A pledge

I don't know what it is, but lately I keep coming up with new plots for novels. My muse must be inspired because I can't seem to stop these random ideas.

My most recent idea came as I was driving through Missouri last week. Out of nowhere I had an idea for a murder mystery.

I love mysteries and thrillers. (But I love a lot of genres so that doesn't really mean much.) I've always respected those who write them because of the work that it takes to create a great mystery. In order to be amazing they need to be well thought out, creative, and have a few twists and surprises. I've never thought I would ever tackle one because it seemed like so much work.

It still seems like a lot of work. It requires so much more planning then what I am used to, but I don't know if I can just pretend I never had this idea and turn my back on it.

What would happen if you chose to ignore your muse? Would you stop receiving inspiration all together? That thought is too scary to even dwell on. I need my muse. I need the ideas to keep pouring in so that I always have something to work on. I don't ever want to crave writing without anything to put in words.

With that in mind, I will take this mystery challenge. It will, unfortunately, have to wait a bit to be born because I have other ideas that presented themselves first. However, I WILL write this mystery. I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my muse.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review - The Giver

Title: The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

About the Book: (From Goodreads)

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

My Review:

I will admit that growing up I never read The Giver. A friend of mine found out and was appalled, so of course I had to borrow it. I'm so glad that I did.

The Giver is fascinating. I loved the idea of a world full of control. One that removes the fear and pain of choosing for ourselves and of the loss that you experience with bad choices and heartbreak. I could actually understand how they would have created that world of structure for themselves over the generations. In some ways, it is tempting to want to live in a society that tells you who to marry, what job to perform, what meals to eat every day. But it is ability to make those decisions that create joy in our lives, and Jonas discovers that.

Jonas is an amazing MC. At twelve years old he understands the world better than all of the adults around him, save one. Jonas develops into this amazingly strong character. I love how brave he becomes even though he has no idea what bravery is.

I don't want to give anything away, but I love the moment that Jonas realizes how fake his life has been, that it has all been a charade. Reading that fire light in him is what makes The Giver a fantastic book, and one that I think everyone should experience. It is a quick read. I read it in a day, so there are no excuses to not pick it up.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP - Some characters were born

My husband and I have been driving across the country and in an attempt to keep my husband awake in the wee hours of the morning I asked him to help me create some characters for kleoS.

It was exciting to see how into it he became. He had so many great suggestions and insights. It helps to have another person to bounce ideas off of in the early stages. It would have been frustrating to create a character that I felt was believable, that I had put hours of time into developing, just to find out that it didn't make sense or that it could have been done better.

An amazing thing about my husband is his ability to be honest without being cruel. He knows how to let me down gently and tell me what he really thinks. He is one of my biggest supporters and he is amazing. He also loves to read so he has a great imagination and understanding as to what makes a character good and what makes it flop.

Within two hours we had created the antagonist for kleoS, including a name(which is so perfect I can hardly stand it) along with an important supporting character. He also helped me to fine-tune the main character, Kleos. I am really getting excited to finally start writing kleoS in November. I just hope I can create it on paper the way I see it in my head in a way that does it justice.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Muse Monday - What's in a dream?

It's amazing how a great story idea can pop into your mind out of nowhere. You can be in the middle of making dinner, playing make believe with your children, reading a novel, goofing off with some friends, or most commonly sleeping.

There are so many people who get their ideas from dreams, myself included. Dreams are amazing because they capture something in a way that inspires you because it was your mind that created them.

In my experience, I have found that combining dreams is a great way to develop a story. Not all dreams are great on their on. In fact, a lot of them are quite boring full of every day, mundane tasks that we're forced to relive even when we're resting. But when you put those dreams together, something amazing can be created.

On that note, I hope to either inspire you with my dreams, or even better, inspire your mind to start producing some inspiring dreams of your own. So here we go:

Last night I had a dream that I was living with my in-laws in a condominium that resembles my late grandparents. We were getting things ready for a party and I used a special room down the hall that was like a miniature apartment, but I'm talking miniature. (I am trying to be vague here, I can't give away ALL of my ideas.) When I was ready I went back to my own apartment and the party was in full force. I walked past a man who asked me a question about a tourist attraction. I ignored him because I didn't know the answer, but as I was about ten steps away I felt guilty and turned back to answer the question. When I got back to him, he had changed into a little girl, no older than eight. She was upset that I had ignored her so I tried to comfort her and answer her question. At the same time, we kept getting crawled over by random children that were trying to get away from their parents. I finally got the little girl calmed down and as I was heading back to be with my family I woke up.

It was a very strange dream and I'm sure buried inside of it is a great idea for a story. It didn't inspire me, but maybe it will inspire you. Happy writing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Red Riding Hood

Title: Red Riding Hood

Author: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

About the Book (from Goodreads):

Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die.

My Review:

This book is based on the screenplay for the movie that came out earlier this year. It's odd that it's not the other way around, as per usual, and it shows. It feels like the author watched the movie, then sat down and wrote the book. Now, I haven't seen the movie yet, though I do plan on watching it, so I don't know if the dialogue is taken word for word from the screenplay, but the author constantly switches perspectives. She can't decide if the book is third person, first person, or omniscient. She does a little of everything. And it's distracting. And I hated it.

Now, that's just the writing style. As far as the plot goes, I thought it was a fascinating story, but it would have to be if it was a movie first.

I really wanted to figure out who the werewolf was before I got to the end of the book. I can usually figure these things out. Books feel like puzzles to me and I am always dwelling on the pieces trying to fit them together to get a look at the bigger picture. I couldn't do it with the book, though I was pleasantly surprised with who the werewolf ended up being.

I hate that they did a bonus chapter that is located online and not in the book. The ending to the actual book was not satisfying at all, it was rather frustrating really. But the bonus chapter ending is great, if you actually take the time to go and read it. At the very back of the book it says: "Is this truly the end of Valerie's story? Visit to find out." I never would have actually gone if a friend of mine hadn't already told me that there was a bonus chapter there.

I'm really curious about the movie now. I want to know which ending the movie goes with. I have the one I hope for, but I won't find out until I sit down and watch it. As far as my recommendation, you may as well just watch the movie. But if you can get past the weird perspectives, you may enjoy the book.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (The plot redeemed the writing for me.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP - Idea overload

I'm beginning to wish that I had been able to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is a challenge that takes place to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

Camp NaNoWriMo is the same idea, but it takes place during the summer. They are currently in the middle of the second session for the month of August. My amazing friend Jenni is taking part in it.

I'm in the middle of a cross country move, so my time is limited as far as creative outlets are concerned, but I didn't think I would participate in August regardless due to a limited amount of ideas swirling around in my head. I wanted to make sure that I had enough projects to work on without my brain running dry.

It turns out that was an unnecessary fear. I just had another idea hit me the other night while my husband and I were out with some friends. I won't say what the idea is, because it's still in the rough stages and I don't want anyone to steal it away from me, but I was so excited about this teeny tiny little seed of an idea.

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I could make much out of it. But this morning while laying in bed (I've been noticing a pattern, sitting in bed in the mornings seems to agree with my muse) and I had this sudden enlightenment on how to work that little idea into a full on novel.

Of course I had to write it down. I was so glad I gave in and bought a pack of three mini composition notebooks at the Dollar Store yesterday because I had a place to write down my ideas for this new story. I already had two, but they've been claimed by kleoS and another unnamed story that I'm developing.

For all you aspiring authors out there, I highly recommend acquiring some small notebooks that you can keep on hand to capture those fleeting thoughts. They may not seem like much, but with a little tweaking and nudging you can make that thought blossom into a full length book. I've done it, and I'm excited to do it again!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Blog Hop Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the Summer Giveaway Hop!

This has been such an exciting time and I hope you have all had as much fun as I have.

The winner was selected through After filtering out the few duplicate entries there were 296 contestants. The winner was number 106...Jasmine1485.


The winner has been notified and has 48 hours to respond or I will choose another winner. Thanks again to everyone who participated and good luck with the fellow giveaways that haven't chosen winners yet!

Summer Giveaway Hop Winner to be posted shortly

The Summer Giveaway Hop is now over. :-( What a fun ride this has been! Thank you to everyone who has participated and for the excitement that you've all expressed!

I will figure out the winner through, posting the result by the end of the day, Pacific Standard Time.

Good luck!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Final Day to enter the Summer Giveaway Blog Hop!

This is just a friendly reminder that today is the last day to enter the Summer Giveaway Hop.

To enter the Hop, click HERE.

Today is also the last day to enter to win a signed copy of my debut novel Transformation. To enter, go HERE.

(To read a small snippet from Transformation, go HERE.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review - Wither

Title: Wither

Author: Lauren DeStefano

About the Book: (From Goodreads)

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

My Review:

This book grabbed me from the first page. I was in awe of this world that DeStefano created. I was emotionally invested immediately as the reader is introduced to Rhine, locked away in the back of a dark van with a bunch of other girls, all terrified and unsure of their futures.

I love the idea of a society that is so advanced that it has this amazing technology but it can't find a cure for a disease that was developed as a result of it. I know there are some people who find that unbelievable, that there is this disease that they can't get rid of with the technology as advanced as it is, but aren't we still looking for the cure for the common cold, cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and that's just to name a few.

I may be a little biased because I have a twin sister, but I loved Rhine's connection with her brother. It creates a realistic drive in her to keep trying to get away from the mansion, but it also provides the reader with an understanding as to why she cares so much about her sister wives and why she sometimes doesn't take advantage of certain opportunities that present themselves. In her brother's absence, she fills his void with the presence of these new females in her life and she truly cares about them.

The relationship between Rhine and Linden, her forced husband, was believable to me. I could understand how she would find her feelings confusing over time as she realized how in the dark and naive he was. At first, Rhine hates Linden, but after awhile she pities him, and finally she even begins to have small feelings for him. If you grow up locked away in a mansion, only being exposed to certain people, you're going to believe that is the way life is unless you're told otherwise. Linden's father kept things from him, so he didn't have an understanding of the way that life really was. I truly felt that he believed he was in love with these girls and that they had chosen to be wives. I couldn't bring myself to hate him, I just felt sorry for him like Rhine did.

The sister wives dynamic was fascinating. Jenna was fascinating because she was a mystery. Even when we find things out about her, her behavior still doesn't make complete sense and I liked that. It's one of the reasons that I like reading a book from one character's perspective rather than jumping back and forth. We only knew what she decided to tell Rhine which made her that much more compelling.

I loved how the book ended. I am excited to read the sequel. I have a few idea on how things might wind down, but not how she will get it there. I would definitely recommend it. I borrowed this copy from a friend and I have added it to the list of books I must own.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP - It's time for something new.

It's crazy to me that my updates for Transformation have started to prove futile. Until I can focus on promoting it, there's not much more for me to report. However, I do know that there will be a review posted within the next few weeks and I'll be sure to mention when it has been posted.

In the meantime, I will be talking about my other Works in Progress on WIP Wednesday.

This morning, I was laying in bed trying to convince myself to get up which I really didn't want to do (my daughters were sleeping at Grandma's house so I was having an unusually late morning) and I suddenly had an idea for my newest project, kleoS.

It is my next NaNoWriMo story idea and I've been brainstorming for a few months now, but it's all been pretty general, until recently. I am starting to feel the pressure to really shape this plot so I can be fully prepared come November. I've been working on creating characters and what I want the message of the book to be.

Just last night I decided it is time for me to start outlining individual chapters so I can really get a feel for the flow of the book. I've known how I want to open the book for some time now. The opening sequence was actually what prompted the idea in the first place, but I had no idea what I wanted to go from there.

It's amazing to me how an idea can pop into your head at such an unusual time. This morning in bed I wasn't even thinking about kleoS, I was thinking about our dinner the night before, but all of the sudden I just KNEW what the second chapter was supposed to be. I scared my poor husband half to death when I jumped out of bed to write it down before I would forget this amazing idea.

I'm not ready to tell what kleoS is about yet, but I am very excited to watch this story develop over the next couple of months. I'm thinking November won't come soon enough for me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reminder - Giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Transformation!

As an FYI to all of my new followers out there, whom I welcome with open arms, I am an Indie Author of a YA Paranormal novel titled Transformation. My amazing friend Jenni is hosting a giveaway of a signed copy for one lucky winner.

Along with the giveaway, there is an interview featuring yours truly. Check it out and get to know me a little better.

The deadline for the giveaway is August 7th, the same as the Summer Blog Hop so it's nice and easy to remember.

Click HERE to enter the giveaway!

Transformation Synopsis:
Nothing is magical about leaving.

Every time Emily thinks she might finally be able to settle down, her mother announces they are moving again. She is sick of it, and ready to do anything to finally find stability.

Desperation can do strange things to a person.

Little does Emily know that moving in with her estranged grandmother will not only be magical, but potentially deadly as well. Cursed by her grandmother's own hand, Emily finds something about her very being has been changed for good.

She has fallen prey to the full moon.

There is nothing Emily can do about
the cursed physical transformation.

But can she learn to be true to who she is inside before the change transforms her soul as well?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Giveaway Hop!

I am so excited to be a part of my first Giveaway Hop, particularly one that is all about BOOKS!

A big thank you to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and BookHounds for co-hosting the Summer Giveaway Hop!

The hop runs from August 1st to the 7th. The winner will be posted on Monday, the 8th of August. Now on to the really important stuff. What do I have up for grabs?

A $15 book from The Book Depository
(You may choose more than one as long as the total is $15 or less.)

This is open internationally as long as the Book Depository ships to you. Go here to find out where they ship.

To enter, just follow my blog through Google Friend Connect and leave a comment with contact information. It's that simple!

Be sure to leave your GFC identity as I will be checking to make sure you're following. You don't have to leave your e-mail, but if you don't you will have to keep your eye on my blog for the post of the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will pick a new winner. The winner will be chosen via

Good luck!

See below for additional participating blogs.