Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop (2 winners, INT)


Welcome to this stop on the My Favorite Reads blog hop, hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. There will be two winners on my blog (open INT). One lucky person will win an ecopy of TANGLED TIDES and another lucky person will win an ecopy of GRASPING AT ETERNITY, both by Karen Amanda Hooper.


Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.
A human girl turned mermaid discovers she is the only soul who can save a world of sea creatures.


Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she’s supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

X-MEN meets MY NAME IS MEMORY in Karen’s latest young adult release.

Before we get to how to win, I have to wish Karen a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a way to celebrate. :)

Entering is easy:
  • Simply follow my blog via GFC and/or Networked Blogs. Leave a comment telling me you follow, which book you would prefer, and leave a way to get ahold of you if you win.
For additional enteries:
  • Follow Karen's blog, here. Leave a comment telling me you've done so.
  • Follow Karen on twitter and leave me a comment.
  • Follow me on twitter and leave a comment.
Please have your enteries in by midnight on June 6th. Random.org will choose the winner that weekend. It is in your best interest to seperate comments. Thanks for stopping by! Once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Karen! Be sure to stop by the other participating blogs.




Book Review--Charlie Bone and the Red Knight

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo. I love this series! To begin with, I thought it was a Harry Potter wannabe, but it is far from that. I love all the characters and their unique powers. The villians are terrific. The mystery is wonderful. This book wound everything up so well and put a nice bow on top. Anyone who loves a getaway, especially into the world of magic, would love this series. I highly recommend it picking it up.

:):):):):)

The highly anticipated conclusion to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Charlie Bone series!

Charlie and his friends take on a powerful and dangerous magic in Book Eight of this extraordinary series. Wicked forces come to a head at Bloor's Academy, and Charlie and his friends must use all their skills and magic to fight the evil and save Charlie's parents. In his greatest adventure yet, Charlie must discover the fate of his family, the evil intentions of the Bloors, what has become of Septimus Bloor's will, and, most important, the destiny of the Red King's heirs. But are the Children of the Red King strong enough to defeat the darkness and find the answers?

Monday, May 28, 2012

On Little Wings by Regina Sirois--ABNA voting, Book Review & Interview

ON LITTLE WINGS by Regina Sirois.

I know this isn't my normal day for book reviews, but this one couldn't wait. ON LITTLE WINGS has been nominated for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and voting ends tomorrow night. Be sure to stop by here and vote. Believe me, this book deserves all your votes.

This book had me sucked in from the first page. The descriptions were incredible. The characters were easy to fall in love with and symphathize with. Just as I expected to get bored with the story, Regina threw in a new character or twist that left me wanting more. I couldn't put it down. I would highly recommend this one to any person who loves a great story. There were a few cuss words, but a very clean, fun, fascinating, entertaining, lovable, intriguing story that I will read again and again for years to come.

:) :) :) :) :)

Jennifer must do the impossible – bring her mother home. When a family is torn apart by death, two sisters take violently divergent paths and the story of their family appears to end terribly and abruptly. Two decades later Jennifer never dreams that the photo she finds stuck between the pages of a neglected book will tear open a gaping wound to her mother’s secret past. Abandoning her comfortable life with her parents and best friend in the wheat fields of Nebraska, Jennifer’s quest for a hidden aunt leads her to the untamed coast of Maine where she struggles to understand why her mother lied to her for sixteen years.

Across the grey, rocky cove she meets Nathan Moore, the young, reluctant genius surrounded by women who need him to be brother, father, friend, provider, protector and now, first love. The stories, varied, hilarious, and heartbreaking, unfold to paint a striking mural of the shattered past. As Jennifer seeks to piece together her mother’s story, she inadvertently writes one for herself.




What made you decide to become a writer?

I decided to write a story to find out if I could. I knew I could get
the words right for short periods of time (hence my background in
poetry) but I had no idea if I could maintain a prolonged dialogue
with readers. I saw it as a great and worthy challenge.
Who inspires you?

I'm inspired by my husband's love, my daughters' vibrancy and my
sister's support. Every kind word inspires me to plow forward and try
harder and do better. Kindness inspires me.

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?

I would love for the words to be delicious to them. I would love them
to remember a phrase and use it in their own lives. I want them to
feel like I put every ounce of my soul into my sentences because I
care about the people reading them. I want them to feel better about
themselves when they finish one of my stories.

Where did this idea come from?

Out of the big, blue sky. I honestly have no idea. I start stories
with the tiniest detail. I might see a person with a purple elephant
keychain and begin wondering why that purple elephant would be
important to them. I imagine who gave it them. What the weather was
like. What it meant to them. How long they've had it. Tiny details
trigger a character and a character triggers a story and enough
stories woven together trigger a plot. This story began when I
imagined a ceiling fan switching over a kitchen table in a house
beside the side. I saw a girl. The rest followed after years of
collecting details.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

Little! Or the Jacks. Or Cleo. This is hard. I've spent so many funny
and heartbreaking moments with each person. But I am going to stick my
original, gut instinct and say Little. She is precious to me.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

I always advise writers not to write to a crowd. Don't write to a
trend. Don't write to the world. It's too confusing that way and you
lose focus. Think of one person who is smart, who you trust, who loves
you, and write to him or her. When you get stuck sit down and think of
their gentle, encouraging face and keep tapping the keys. Keep going.
If you work until one person honestly loves it, others will also.

What can we expect next from you?

My book is currently a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award
(amazon.com/abna) so I do not know exactly what to expect. If my book
is the winner it will be published through Penguin with some new
conversations and scenes so I am excited about that. If it is not
published through Penguin I will continue to look for an editor while
I finish my second book, which is an unrelated YA novel that deals
with a sharp-witted boy and his relationship with his Air-Force pilot
father. It has been a joy to write and I've even taken some flying
lessons!

Where can we purchase your book?

You can buy my ebook or paperback at Amazon.com http://goo.gl/HiJVb



THANKS REGINA!

Be sure to stop by and vote for ON LITTLE WINGS for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Outlining Part 3--The Snowflake Method

Welcome to Part 3 of my outlining saga. If you'd like to look back at how it all began, here's the intro, along with Part 1 (Hero's Journey) and Part 2 (How to Beat Out Your Novel).

Now, for today I'm going to be talking about the Snowflake Method. From what I gather, there's 10 steps.

1) Write a one sentence summary of your work
2) Expand that sentence into one paragraph about your work
3) Using step 1 & 2 as a guideline, write a on page summary for each of your characters
4) Take each of your sentence from step 2 and expand them into a full paragraph, making sure all but the last sentence ends in disaster. The last sentence tells you how the book will end
5) Write a one page description of each of your main characters and a half a page for the minor characters in your work, character synopsises
6) Now take your one page plot synopsis (step 4) and expand it into a 4 page synopsis
7) Take your character synopsises and create a full blown character chart
8) With your four page synopsis, write a list of scenes you'll need to turn the story into a novel
9) Begin writing a narrative description of the story
10) Write the first draft

This is really bare bones and may not make a lot of sense. There is a great website that details each step a lot more, here, but this is the basic idea of the snowflake method. You start with a big piece of paper, like you do a snowflake, and you cut, trim, pull, splice, and create a beautiful snowflake in the process.


I can see how some of these steps can help me flush out my stories faster, but all this research is still leading me to one conclusion. You have to do what works for you. I think I'm still going to pick and choose what I think will help me out the most.

Here are some other posts about the Snowflake Method. Some are personal experiences with the method, and others are informational. In the meantime, Happy Outlining!

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php
http://www.ehow.com/how_6737829_write-novel-snowflake.html
http://caethesfaron.com/fiction-friday-how-im-writing-my-latest-novel-using-an-outline
http://jordanmccollum.com/2009/10/pros-cons-snowflake-method/

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop--Int


Welcome to this stop on the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop (INT), hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. On my blog, you have a chance to win an eCopy of A Royal Elf of Alabon by Anna del C Dye. Take a look at my review here.

The deep relationship between Amaria, the princess of Abalon and Marken, the chancellor’s son, comes to a halting stop after their kingdom is almost annihilated. However, death isn’t the only thing this battle brings. Elfs come to their rescue and, as a souvenir, take the princess home with them. 

Blinded by fury, the overprotecting queen orders the extermination of the mighty elfs. Her captains know they can never win, so they are pleased when Amaria intervenes so desperately that she loses her mother. The unprepared princess is left to care for a kingdom that will demand her true love.

A Royal Elf of Abalon is the stand-alone continuation of Anna’s Elf series. Once again she has crafted an exciting new tale full of jealousy, betrayals, and death. A Royal Elf of Abalon is a masterpiece created in the genre of Tolkien that you’ll love to the end.


It's easy to enter.



  • Simply follow my blog via GFC and/or Networked Blogs. Leave a comment telling me how you follow with an email address for me to contact you if you win.



For an additional entry



  • Follow Anna on twitter & leave a comment telling me you've done so.
  • Friend Anna on Facebook & leave a comment.
  • Follow me on twitter & leave a comment.



It is in your best interest to leave seperate comments as Random.org will choose the winners. Please have your enteries in by midnight on the 31st of May.


Be sure to stop by all the other participating blogs. Happy Summer Reading!


Tangled Tides--Book Review & Interview

TANGLED TIDES by Karen Amanda Hooper. I have to say that I had a really hard time putting this book down. It was refreshing to read something with a new and different topic. The characters were fantastic. I fell in love with them immediately. The twists and turns in the plot were intriguing and I found myself somewhat surprised at the end. This is a book I can recommend to anyone. There was a little bit of language, but a delightful read. I look forward to more of Karen's books. Stay tuned for a giveaway of TANGLED TIDES on June 1st.

:):):):):)


Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.
A human girl turned mermaid discovers she is the only soul who can save a world of sea creatures.






What made you decide to become a writer?
I've always loved writing. As a teen, I mainly wrote poems and short stories, but I didn’t attempt to write my first novel until my late twenties. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I had found my true passion. 

What inspires you?
So many great books have inspired my craft. I can't even begin to list all of them. As far as ideas and such, I get inspired from all kinds of stuff: an old legend, music, nature, something from my childhood, a great quote, or even people I've met. 
What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
I'd like to give them an escape--because that's my favorite part about stories. I love getting lost in a different world with characters I love so I try to provide that experience for my readers. 
Where did this idea come from?
Oddly enough, it started with dead worms. While walking by a neighbor's house I noticed an excessive number of worms dried up on his sidewalk. I thought how sad it was that they were probably trying to cross into the grass but the heat and sun killed them. Poof! My imagination kicked into overdrive and I took that concept and combined it with my love of mermaids and sea creatures. My mind works in some very mysterious ways. ;) 

Who was your favorite character to develop?
Probably Pango or Nixie. I love all of my characters, but there's something about the two of them that was just so much fun to write. 
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write what you love. If you truly loves this emotional and crazy world of writing then never give up. And finally, build a great support system because having a dream team is vital and priceless. I have so many awesome people who have supported and encouraged me along the way. I'd be lost without them. 


What can we expect next from you?
I'm releasing book 1 of a new series on May 25th. It's called Grasping at Eternity and it's a YA love story about a group of perpetually reincarnated people with supernatural powers. I'm planning a minimum of 3 books in that series, but it might be more if readers love those characters as much as I do. I mean, they've lived many lifetimes and remember all of them, so they've got a lot of stories to tell. 
Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13505141-grasping-at-eternity


Where can we purchase your book?
Tangled Tides is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at Rhemalda's online bookstore.  
Grasping at Eternity will also be on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

LINKS:
Rhemalda Bookstore: http://tiny.cc/BuyTangledTides


THANK YOU KAREN!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Surviving Denmark--Book Buzzin'

Here's an interesting one. Take a look!

SURVIVING DENMARK ON A BAG OF PEACH RINGS by Tina Scott.

Before your next trip, learn things the experts don’t tell you. Surviving Denmark on a bag of peach rings is loaded with photos, ratings, and over 30 tips on how to better prepare yourself before leaving home, and as a result, can help you to survive your own vacation.


Why did you write a travel book?
My book has two purposes. I wanted to entertain readers with some of my experiences, and I wanted to share things that I learned about being prepared when traveling. I also rate the places we stayed at and the sites we visited, so I guess that’s three purposes.
Why should a person buy your book instead of a more popular travel guide?
Surviving Denmark isn’t intended to replace books like, The Rough Guide to Denmark. I wrote it as a personal accompaniment. The Rough Guide is full of useful information, but there are hundreds of places listed, and all un-objectively. It’s like reading a textbook, and because none of the places are rated, it’s hard for a novice to know which sites to choose for a vacation. 
What if I’m going on vacation somewhere other than Denmark?
I believe that many of the travel tips in my book can be used for any vacation. Some, of course are specific to Europe.
The economy is pretty tight right now. What if readers can’t go on an expensive vacation?
Because of the travel experiences and the pictures included, I think readers will enjoy my book even if they aren’t traveling to Denmark or Europe. Plus, I’ve heard that cyber-vacations are becoming more popular these days.
Here’s the link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Surviving+Denmark+on+a+bag+of+peach+rings

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Outlining Part 2--How to Beat Out Your Novel


By Bonnie Harris
So, my journey to figure out how to outline continues. If you missed my intro to this journey, you should check it out, as well as Part 1.
This particular process I learned about at the LDStorymakers conference this past May. Elena Johnson shared how she’s adapted the Blake Snyder method for screenwriting to writing novels. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned some very valuable points. Here are my notes, (hopefully they make sense) as well as some links that may help.
Elana Johnson
Beat Out Your Novel (Adapt to how you write)
write the book out, then do the outline or beat it out
do a mix
For this presentation, I read, pored over, and loved SAVE THE CAT and SAVE THE CAT STRIKES BACK both by Blake Snyder. There is a third book in the series, SAVE THE CAT! GOES TO THE MOVIES, which I have not read as it seemed more for screenplays and less for general structure and writing.
That’s right. Structure. Seems strange in this class that’s sort of against outlining… But structure is necessary!
You can only take so much weirdness at one time. 
Three Acts, Fifteen Beats, One Board
ACT 1
  • the world as your hero knows it (normal)
  • theme stated—choices, careful what you wish for
  • a catalyst pushes us into Act 2, MC freely chooses to move to Act 2
ACT 2
  • Antithesis to Act 1—the normal world turned upside down

Start with 2
Opening Image
starting point
“before” snapshot
intro MC
Closing Image
proof that change has occurred
give yourself a destination
Opening and closing should be OPPOSITES
a plus and a minus
showing dramatic change from beg to end
SET THE MAJOR TURNS
Break into 2
moment we leave the old world
must be DISTINCT
hero must decide
Midpoint
an “up” or a “down”, false
stakes are RAISED
no turning back
pace increases
Break into 3
use B story characters
fusion of B story and hero finding a solution
synthesis at hand
Acts should stay the same length, Act 1 (25%, 50%, 25%)
ACT 1
Opening image 
Theme state
Set-up
Catalyst
Debate
Break into 2
THE BLAKE SNYDER BEAT SHEET*
PROJECT TITLE:
GENRE:
ESTIMATED WORD COUNT:
1. Opening Image (1): the normal world, characters
2. Theme Stated (15):
3. Set-Up (1-30): hook the reader to continue, can use relationships, worlds, events, plant flaws in characters that will change @ end, intro most characters in A story,
4. Catalyst (36): the world explodes, something that shows their different, forces characters to change, not good news, what leads the hero to happiness
5. Debate (36-75): do I go? do I stay? fear of the unknown
6. Break into Two (75)
7. B Story (90): love story, get to know person, doesn’t always have to be romance, relationship story—emotional story, provides a breather
8. Fun and Games (90-165): promise of a premise, get to see what you promised readers, must deliver
9. Midpoint (165): false up or down where they succeed or collapse, answer question are you real hero or fake hero? not one scene—many pages
10. Bad Guys Close In (165-225): bad guys regroup and send in the forces, doubt desinagrates bad guys team
11. All Is Lost (225): false defeat, looks like they’ve lost, something about dying, whiff of death, takes away mentors, could be secondary characters
12. Dark Night of the Soul (225-255): dark before the dawn, in the moment they have no idea what to do, utter defeat
13. Break into Three (255): blending of two worlds, new way of thinking, new hero, new person
14. Finale (255-330): Gathering the team—he’s alone, gather the team, break him out, rallying of allies, amend things, usually a plan
Executing the plan—they might actually do this
High Tower Surprise—finds out the bad guys knew he was coming, no princess in tower, reason the plan false, plan may actually be a trap, whatever hero has done may not be enough
Dig deep down—the whole plan is revealed, hero gets new plan, not exactly what reader expects, no back-up, go into new world with faith unseen
Execute the new plan—the answer comes from a place that we all hope exists, hero trusts themselves enough to use what we hoped was there, then he wins
15. Final Image (330): hero in new world, opposite of beginning
  1. Beat Sheet—can switch with write novel (good driving destination)
  2. Write novel
  3. Board it out—flip over paper
  4. Revise
Stories that have all fifteen beats are what we want to keep reading and watching
The 15 beats can use for synopsis
Act 1 can be used for query letter
*Adapted for novels from www.blakesnyder.com by Elana Johnson.

Happy Outlining & Writing! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

And the winners are . . .

I'm playing catch up. Thanks so much for being patient and for stopping by. I wish I could give a book to everyone, but random.org has spoken and the winners are . . .

TWO SOULS ARE BETTER THAN ONE--Darlene
SEEKING PERSEPHONE--Juana
ESPIONAGE--Linda

I hope to see everyone again soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review--The Billionaire's Curse

The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome. I really enjoy mysteries and this one was no exception. The characters were easy to get into and I really liked being able to see a new place through their eyes. The plot had me turning the pages and I was excited about the next installment. Until the end. There was some language that didn't need to be used and I felt it was out of place for the character already established. It left me feeling disappointed. It's a great story and I would recommend it for anyone of any age, if you're alright with some language toward the end.

:):):):)

Gerald Wilkins never considered himself a particularly exceptional thirteen-year-old. But that was before he inherited twenty billion pounds, a Caribbean island, a yacht, and three estates from a great-aunt he never knew. With this fortune, however, comes a letter. One from his great-aunt Geraldine. One that tells Gerald that she was murdered, and that it's up to him to find out why.


Along with his friends Ruby and Sam, Gerald embarks on a journey that will lead him from the British Museum to dodgy social clubs for the disgustingly rich to mansions in the English countryside to secret places far underground. Who was Geraldine Archer? And what secrets was she hiding? Unless Gerald, Sam, and Ruby can find out before the killer does, they may be next.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Royal elf of Abalon Book Tour & Review

Welcome to this stop for the A ROYAL ELF OF ABALON  by Anna Del C Dye book tour. Thank you to Prose by Design for hosting the tour.

I love Anna's books. She does such a good job of world building. You learn so much about the elf's world in a non-info dump way. It's refreshing. In this particular book, I was drawn in at the first chapter. There was a mystery and intrigue that I had to figure out as the story went on. The characters were fun and lovable, and the setting was beautiful.

As the story moved on, I'll have to admit it got slow for me in the middle. The pace picked up and the ending lived up to my expectations. This is a great fantasy read for anyone who loves, elfs, humans, love, mystery, or just a great story. I can recommend it to for just about everyone.

:):):)

The deep relationship between Amaria, the princess of Abalon and Marken, the chancellor’s son, comes to a halting stop after their kingdom is almost annihilated. However, death isn’t the only thing this battle brings. Elfs come to their rescue and, as a souvenir, take the princess home with them. 

Blinded by fury, the overprotecting queen orders the extermination of the mighty elfs. Her captains know they can never win, so they are pleased when Amaria intervenes so desperately that she loses her mother. The unprepared princess is left to care for a kingdom that will demand her true love.

A Royal Elf of Abalon is the stand-alone continuation of Anna’s Elf series. Once again she has crafted an exciting new tale full of jealousy, betrayals, and death. A Royal Elf of Abalon is a masterpiece created in the genre of Tolkien that you’ll love to the end.

Take a look at an interview with Anna, here. You can connect with Ann on her website, twitterfacebook, or her fanpage. To purchase her book, check out these links: Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, or Createspace.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hazzardous Universe 2: The Magician's Last Words--Book Buzzin'

Hazzardous Universe 2: The Magicians' Last Words by Julie Wright. Book two in a great series. I'm excited about this one!


Fourteen-year-old Hap Hazzard is the most wanted teenager in the universe. His life has been pure pandemonium ever since he and his almost-friend Tara were beamed from their boring lives onto a spaceship where they were needed to fulfill an insanely dangerous assignment: recovering nine hidden books-records that would give the Dark Ones power to dominate the universe. After overcoming a host of nearly impossible intergalactic challenges in the first leg of their journey, Hap and Tara have only two of the missing nine books-and the clock is ticking. Racing their nemesis Don Nova to a rock concert on the Lizard Comet, they meet up with Confucian, an eccentric young earthling who becomes their ally in the urgent search. But things go south quickly, and Hap and Tara and their unconventional crew must venture ever further into space, where dark and dreadful things lurk in the vast shadows. With the fate of the entire universe at stake, Hap and his friends press on against the odds-fighting their fear as they race toward the unimaginable perils that loom ahead