Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whew! These past few weeks...

I completely forgot that I never shared my good news with all of you!  I'm an infant teacher; I got a new job at the beginning of August.  That's why I haven't been blogging much.  I've been pretty exhausted after work.

I pretty much felt like this when I got the job offer!

I get to interact with twelve little ones between the ages of 8 weeks and 15 months.  They are a handful, but there are three teachers (me included) in the room. It can be overwhelming and I always leave work with various bodily fluids dried on my clothing.  Yep, babies are messy.  But I really love my job.  I'm sure I will have some great little anecdotes to share about the silly things little ones do.  Despite the screaming and crying, rocking a little infant to sleep and having them in your arms makes the day worth it.

Sorry that I haven't been keeping up on reading all your blogs!  *embarrassed look*  I am definitely planning on catching up sometime soon!  Once I get a little more settled, I will have more time for writing and for reading all of your lovely blogs. 

I'm still writing and slowly making headway with "Unless", the companion novel to "Nameless".  I sent a few queries and got a few rejections, but I'm not bothered by them.  I will keep pushing forward.

Hope you are all doing well!  Tell me what exciting has been happening for you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue - A Review

Here's another review from one of my blogging friends, Nessa Toale!  This is her debut novel, "The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue" - the name is definitely catchy!

Title: The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue
Author: Nessa Toale
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: July 22, 2012


Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Plot: First, here is the summary of "The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue" from Amazon - Rathmara seems like an ordinary coastal town in the north east of Ireland but it is holding a deep, dark secret. Rachael Dunn, who has lived in the town all of her life is about to discover more than she wanted to know.  Rachael is 26 and likes to keep her days busy. Even when she has time off she spends it drinking to blot out the hollow place inside. In fact, Rachael does not even know it’s there until a chance acquaintance with the local shop guy, Chris. Chris is not the ordinary shop assistant Rachael thinks he is. He is a quantum physicist from the past and he needs help to get back to 1949. He is determined to continue his life with his pretty wife of 3 months and save the life of his best friend. As Rachael helps she discovers if Chris goes back to his own time it will destroy her life as well as those of her mother and sister. Unsure what to do next Rachael decides to follow Chris back to the past. Using her knowledge of physics Rachael helps Chris repair the damage to the gravity generator and they create the wormhole to travel back. Chris has no idea about Rachael’s plans and is shocked when she falls out of the time machine into 1949 a few minutes after him. However, the past is not as safe as it first seems.

Rachael comes across an interesting problem - to help a stranger that she barely knows, who is important to someone she loves or to risk her own future by altering her past.  It's an interesting plot progression with the twists.  At parts, I honestly didn't know what Rachael was going to chose or how the situation could possibly have an ending.  Time travel, it's confusing and there's a reason it shouldn't be done in real life.  Though time travel does make a good novel.

Romantic Element: The relationship between Rachael and Chris, albeit not romantic was a little hard to take.  They seemed to get along and then not really.  Also, the relationship between Rachael and Rob was a little too sudden for my tastes.  I don't know many who would say "I love you" after knowing a person for a week.  It was a bit sudden, although the characters were on a time limit.  At times, it almost seemed that Bren was meant as a romantic interest, but he was just a close friend.  There needed to be a little bit more depth to the relationships to help the reader believe they were more plausible. 

Overall: It took a little while to get into the book (about 1/3 of the book) and it didn't really start to pick up until Rachael finally visits Bleeker Avenue and the reader starts to understand the direction the story is taking.  There were a few details that were confusing.  Chris calls himself "Chris" but everyone besides Rachael called him "Mac".  I didn't really understand why and it wasn't explained that I caught.  Overall, the story line moved at a good pacing once she finally discovered Bleeker Avenue and it had my interest.  It did become a bit of a page-turner for me.  I was a little disappointed with the ending.  It was a bit abrupt and the reader isn't completely satisfied that there is a conclusion, but it does end with a sensible outcome. 




I enjoyed reading it and I would recommend it to others that have an interest in time travel and light romance. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Childhood Monster Blogfest


 What Was Your Childhood Monster? Blogfest is in honor of Tawa and the release of FEARLESS - by Christine Rains. :) All you have to do is talk about your childhood monster. 


Tucked in the corner of my room, behind the wooden door leading the walk in closet, cluttered with toys and fallen clothes, was a monster.  Many nights were spent dreaming of this monster.  It didn't have purple eyes or two horns or eat people.  My monster was a "who" to be exactly.

The three ghosts from Casper; Fatso, Stinky, and Stretch.  They used to give me nightmares.  I would dream that they were in my closet, looking like this:


Absolutely terrifying!!  I couldn't watch Casper for years, until I admit, I was sixteen and they finally didn't give me nightmares anymore.  I hate ghosts, though Casper is a little cute.  I think they could scare any child. 

Did ghosts scare you as a child?

I am off to buy FEARLESS, so I can have my own copy of this awesome story! :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Masquerade (Creepy Hollow #4) - A Review

The lovely, Rachel Morgan has released the next book in her Creepy Hollow Series and I just had to read it! :)  She was even wonderful enough to award me with a copy of her book!  Her voice is unique and her books will not let you put them down.  Also, she designs her own covers and they are beautiful!


Title: Masquerade (Creepy Hollow #4) 
Author: Rachel Morgan
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: July 31, 2012

Genre: Fantasy
Plot: First, here is the summary of "Masquerade (Creepy Hollow #4)" from Amazon -Betrayed by the guy who supposedly loved her, Violet deals with her anger and hurt by teaming up with her archrival Ryn to help him find his missing sister. Hanging out with Ryn isn’t high on Vi’s list of things to do, but she kind of owes him after he inconveniently saved her life recently. As the two of them struggle to put their differences aside, they find themselves drawn into a plot much greater than a single missing child. A plot with Violet herself at the center.

After a deep betrayal in "Traitor", Violet is left reeling and forced to deal with the pain that someone she cared for could do this to her.  She is beyond angry and furious.  The reader gets to see a deeper side of Vi as she struggles with the deepest heartache.  You can actually feel her pain as she tries not to think of what happened.  She doesn't have much time to dwell before she is thrown into a rescue that doesn't go exactly as planned.  But, when have Vi's plans actually worked out? :)  She's stuck working with her greatest annoyance, Ryn.  The reader gets to glimpse a little more about Vi's childhood and the reason for the hatred and distrust between Vi and Ryn. 

Romantic Element: The relationship between Vi and Nate is in shambles, but there's a new element to Vi.  We get to learn more about her past friendship with Ryn and what caused it to fail.  There's mystery between them and the circumstances that kept me flipping the pages!  I definitely want to see what happens next between those two.

Overall:  The fourth book delves deeper into the traitors and lies of the faerie world, twisting a path that Vi must travel to get the whole truth.  She's in deep and the mysterious developments keep coming!  Morgan has written another brilliant installment in the Creepy Hollow Series that will satisfy her readers and leave them wanting more at the same time!   Also, the comic relief Morgan writes always has me laughing! :)

 Seriously, you need to read her series. You won't regret it. :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Goals

Fail.  July goals - fail.

Yep, no.

Evil *facepalm*

Seriously, *facepalm*


Here's my goals from July:
* Continue revisions for "Nameless"
Continue revisions from critique partners, hopefully get through chapter 12.  
FAIL.  Both of my CPs are pretty busy and didn't get back to me. :( 

* Read "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
FAIL.  I didn't actually get any reading done this month.  Gah. :(

* Write to 10,000 words on "Unless"
Current word count is 3,553 so I have to write 6,447 words.
PARTIAL FAIL.  I made it to 9,083.  So I wrote 5,530 words.  Not bad, but didn't quite make it.

* Research ideas for an Elvish word to tattoo on my wrist
FAIL.  I forgot this one was on the list.  Oops.


Well, that was definitely not very productive, but I did move home to my parent's house for financial reasons and I did it in four days.  Impressive, but now I have to settle in.  Not the easiest thing, but it will get better.  Just don't really wanna think about it too much.  Thank goodness for coffee shops for writing time alone.


Goals for August:

* Write to 20,000 words on "Unless"
Yes, I can do this.  I am at 11,125 words - so I need to write 8,875.

* Finish revising my query for "Nameless" and start sending them out
Again, I need to stop delaying and do this. :)

* Read "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

* Read "The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue" by Nessa Toale


Hopefully these goals go much better!  How did your goals for July go?  What are your goals for August?

IWSG - Taking the Leap?

It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month.  Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

I'm struggling with taking the leap and sending out my query.  I want it to be perfect, but perfect doesn't exist.

"I want us to be a generation of finishers.  I want us to be a generation of people who follow through and sew the last stitch or give the final keynote or write the last chapter.  And in order to get there, we have to murder perfectionism.  I was going to write, 'put perfectionism to bed,' but that sounded too tender for this particular monster.  Murder feels right."   - Jon Acuff, "Quitter"

 Last May, I sent out several queries for my book, DOWN IN THE CREEK, and received a full request.  The agent requested to represent me, but didn't have an opening at the time.  I was told that I was at the top of the "list".  I never heard back from the agent again and when researching the company, it no longer exists.  That hurts a bit, but I had decided to possibly self-publish.  I think self-publishing is great, but I want to give traditionally publishing another chance.  I've dreamed of seeing my book in a bookstore or my library for a long time.  I don't wanna let that dream go. 

But at the same time, I'm delaying taking the leap, trying to get my query perfect.  My manuscript is finished and working with my CPs.  I absolutely love this book, more than anything I've written and I'm scared to take the leap again.  I just need to go for it.

Here's the query:  (It will be modified a little for each agent to personalize)



Dear Agent’s name,

Freedom was never worth the price that was paid.  Hundreds of children murdered with no end in sight. 

Seventeen-year-old Edom is the oldest healer in the country of Menrio where his kind are hunted and killed for their gifts. He’s a protector, guarding the life of his little sister, Liora, and any other healer he can find. King Alined is a lecherous man, intent on the slaughter of these children. After a failed rescue attempt, Edom is imprisoned by the king. 

A young woman rescues him, but in an effort to protect her from the wrath of King Alined, Edom kidnaps her.  It doesn’t take long to discover that she has a secret. She’s the princess, Dalia. She has been raised to hate healers, but after witnessing the mistreatment of the healers she decided to save him. With the Guard closing in, Edom and his friends travel through the mountains, desperation spurring them forward. Edom must find a way to save the healers or their kind will be lost forever.

NAMELESS is a YA fantasy, complete at 50,000 words.  If this book is successful, it could easily become a series.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services with a minor in English.  You can find my blog at Kjmclaughlin.com. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration. 


Any help would be appreciated!!

Do you struggle with trying to write the perfect query to delay sending them out?