Saturday, July 27, 2013

One became Three

I wanted to share about some writing stuff I'm working on! I've finished another round of revisions on my book, "Defiance" and the wheels started turning. There's so much more with those characters, the minor ones who didn't get their story told. One thing led to another and I believe it will be three. Three. "Defiance" is becoming a trilogy. :) I'm pretty excited about it, though I admit I've only written single novels and one book I wrote has two novels I put into one later on. I wanted to give you a little sneak peek summary of what I'm working on!


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Defiance (Book 1 - Written and revised)

Her name is Kaela, but they call her 244. She lives at the Center, a secret research facility for others like her. She has since birth. She’s never met her family, never been outside the walls of the Center, never been hugged. Her days are a regimented existence devoid of the most basic human contact. Trent, a boy in the room—cell—behind hers, is her one source of contact beyond the researchers who hold her captive. But he’s not human, and neither is 244.

When they learn of another resident’s murder, Trent and 244 plan their escape from the Center, discovering a web of deceit and abuse disguised as scientific research. Unable to leave behind the other residents of the Center to endure the senseless abuse, 244 and Trent create a daring and dangerous plan to destroy it. But if 244 follows through with the plan, she’ll be forced to kill the one person who can answer the questions that have haunted her—who is she and where did she come from?

The Damned (Book 2 - Currently being written)

Persephone (Effie) is a siren, mercilessly pursed by the Center. She's deadly and stubborn. Effie is captured by the Center after they have killed everyone she loves. Nothing can stop her hatred. After she escapes with the help of Kaela and Trent, Effie has a chance to start a new life. But she believes her past is too dark. Galen, an extremely rare genie, understands how she feels and tries to break down her walls. He seeks to love the unloved. As the darkness grows, the two grow closer and realize they need each other to stop the evil which surrounds them.

Untitled (Book 3 - Being outlined)

Book 3 will be written from the perspective of Kyle, Kaela's brother. Focuses on the friendship with Declan, a seer, we met in the first book. Someone has to die to protect their world, but who is willing to give up everything to protect the Freaks?

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Book 2 and 3 are pretty rough, but I'm working on "The Damned" right now and whew, Effie is a stubborn character and a challenge to write. But it's a good challenge. The only thing I'm concerned about is the perspective change. I've never really liked books where the perspective changes to several people every other chapter. I'm worried that people won't like that the books change from Kaela's perspective to Effie to Kyle.

Would you read a series where the perspective changes in each book? All of the characters will still be there, but the lead character will be different. What are you working on?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Writer-ly Moods

I'm taking a quick break from writing on my current MS to talk about writing moods. I admit I'm a fairly sensitive person - really, sad scenes in books and movies make me cry. I once went any entire day not speaking after I read "Daughter of the Forest" by Juliet Marillier because the main character couldn't speak without breaking a spell and it really affected me, so I was quiet all day. Don't even get me started on how the last episode in series 2 of "Sherlock" affected me....


My current manuscript, which I'm tentatively calling "The Damned", is being a bit of a bugger to write. Yes, bugger because I've been watching too much British TV again. :) Anyway - my main character's name is Persephone, but she prefers everyone calls her Effie. I introduce her character in my other novel, "Defiance" and this book is the continuation of the story from her POV and more about her background and future. (We do see the other characters from Defiance, but this book is Effie's story, which nagged me until I started writing it.) Effie is a siren. She's deadly and stubborn. Her bitterness and hatred puts me in a weird mood when I write her and I have to step away or I start grumbling at everyone.

At the same time, if I'm reading something or writing something that is totally bad ass - I feel invincible and have a tendency to walk around with a soundtrack playing to make me more cool.

In the chapter I just finished writing after wrestling with it for two days, I introduced Effie's minor love interest and killed him. We don't feel a lot of sympathy for Effie because we don't know him for long, but I wanted it to have some emotional impact. *Cue sad music* But then she got super angry and deadly again. Yikes. Writing break!

It just makes me wonder if any other writer has the same problem. I personally think it makes the emotion of the character feel a bit more real when the writer puts it all on the page and feels it.

Do you fall into weird moods when writing your characters as angry or sad? Or are you someone who can push themselves back?

I'm off to go find some chocolate and funny "Ellen" videos to cheer me up before diving back into writing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PODs - A Review

I'm very pleased to be sharing my review of "PODs" by Michelle K. Pickett.  She's seriously an incredible writer and one of my lovely critique partners! As soon as I read the book jacket summary for her book, I knew I wanted to read it and patiently counted down the days until it released.

Title: PODs
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: June 4, 2013

Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian

Plot: First, here is the summary of "PODs" from Amazon - Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul. After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters. Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

Eva never expected to become a chosen one. Once her number is drawn, Eva's life is changed and she is forced into the POD system to live for a year or more until the virus is gone. But she's stuck living with eleven strangers, knowing that everyone left on the surface is dying. She never expected to fall in love with David, in fact she didn't want to date at all. But David changed that. He's everything she thought she lost when the virus began attacking. When they emerge from the POD, they discover something dark. The virus isn't gone and the survivors are not the same. Eva tries to fit into the new system, but she cannot. It's all too much and danger is always lurking around the corner. Eva and David struggle to find a place in a world that isn't the one they once loved.

The relationship between Eva and David is sweet and romantic. I do think in the beginning, it felt a bit out of nowhere and awkward, but they are teenagers and it's never like the movies, especially when you are living in close quarters while escaping death. I really enjoyed how Eva interacts with David and her devotion towards him. David definitely falls on my list of book crushes. I did want a little more depth to the relationship in parts, but it felt fairly realistic.

PODs is a fast-paced and thrilling novel, complete with romance and a unique storyline! The beginning captured my attention and I read it in one sitting.  I enjoyed how Michelle wrote about what happened in the POD instead of just skipping a year ahead into the future. They didn't just sit around and watch movies. Bad things happened, though I won't ruin them for you. She also did a good job of showing how frustrating it could be to be stuck with some people. There was one character in particular I felt like slapping and shoving out an air vent. The reader also experiences a great deal of suspicion about the government and the POD system. I was skeptical. The ending (no spoilers) leaves the readers waiting for book 2. I know I will be anxiously counting down until the next one. :)
I highly recommend this book. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Winners of my Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who entered my 3 Year Blog-iversary Giveaway!  I'm happy to be announcing the winners.

$10 Amazon Giftcard - Cheryl Kutcher

3 Chapter Critique - Rachel Schieffelbein

"The Kissing Booth" - Laura Clipson

"if i stay" - J E Oneil



Congratulations to the winners! I will be contacting you shortly! :) Thanks to everyone else for helping me celebrate three years of blogging!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

3 Year Blogiversary / GIVEAWAY!

It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years since I started my blog on July 7th, 2010 with no followers and two poorly written novels. Three years later and I have finished SEVEN novels, and have over 250 followers. Maybe not as much progressive for some, but this is more than enough for me. :) I had a goal of reaching 200 followers and I made it last year.


 So, it's time for a celebration!!  To show my appreciation for all of you - I am doing a GIVEAWAY!

THE PRIZES

$10 Amazon Giftcard

3 Chapter Critique (From me)

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

if i stay by Gayle Forman


Yes, I possibly did clean out my bookshelf and I don't have a lot of money, but I wanted to share with my amazing followers! Both are great books and hey, you can buy 3 e-books from Amazon with $10. :) 



Also, I am sharing a few fun facts about myself that you may not know! :)

1. I am afraid of cotton balls. Yes, cotton balls. They make the awful sound then.... ah!
2. I once dated identical twins and I never messed up their names. No, I didn't date them at the same time. :)
3. My favorite superhero is Captain America. His morals, his character, his butt. :)
4. I'm a huge Trekkie fan.
5. Until I was eighteen, I was deathly afraid of roller-coasters and now I love them.
6. My favorite animal is a hippo.
7. I really, really like to write when it is raining.
8. I have a thing for guys with curly hair... I just wanna touch it. :)
9. My nickname as a kid was Kunta because my sister couldn't say my name.
10. I love singing in the shower, but only when no one else is home because I'm too shy.

Do we have any random facts in common?

I will pick 4 winners when the giveaway is over!!  Good luck to everyone!  And thanks for supporting me through these three years of blogging!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

After the series ends...

I've spent way too much time on Netflix lately and not enough time writing. Last night I finished the last two episodes of "Sherlock", the BBC television show with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. If you are not watching it, you need to be. It's fantastic! The characters are wonderful and Benedict as Sherlock is incredibly amusing.


(As a related side note: the episode - "The Hounds of Baskerville" terrified me! I probably shouldn't have been watching it at night in a dark room, but it was wonderful and scared me. I actually screamed at my computer screen and scrambled to turn a light on. I covered my eyes quite a few times. Delightfully intense!)

I watched the last episode and now I'm in a post-Sherlock funk. I cried the last twenty minutes of "Sherlock" - it was super emotional! I can't wait until series 3 begins. So many questions! I just have to find something to entertain me while I wait. But not another TV show...

So, this brings us to my current writing update. I'm working on my NA Fantasy Romance, Twisted (working title). It's another fairytale retelling with a twist. It's Snow White with a male being the one with dark hair, red lips, and being royal. But he doesn't exactly sing at wells... he owns the love interest, Elara, since she's a slave. It's different from what I've written. Stephen is a bit of a dick and Elara has a big secret. Oo, it's exciting. I just have to actually write it.

If you have the same problem as me, I found an article which may help and make you laugh hysterically.
The 27 Stages of Getting Addicted To a Television Show

I'm off to try to write while actually looking up photos of Benedict Cumberbatch... like this...

And this....

Yeah....


What are you currently work on? Do you have any coping methods for getting over a TV series?

Remember to come back tomorrow to celebrate my 3rd Blogiversary with a giveaway!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG - Revision Hell


 It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month and is run by our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. 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! Seriously, I love this support group!


Today, I'd like to talk about "Revision Hell". I've not been blogging very much lately since I've been deep in revisions for two of my novels. Quite a bit of work, but I've actually come to enjoy it. Yes, this means I haven't had to kill any of my darlings lately. Whew! I still suck at writing kissing scenes, but I've learned a few things that I wanted to share with you.

Krista's Sorta-Helpful Revision Tips


1. Double spacing.
I have a serious problem with this. My critique partner pointed it out to me recently that you are not supposed to put two spaces after a period at the end of the sentence. It used to be okay when we used typewriters, but it isn't necessary anymore. It's a really hard one to break!

2. He said, she said.
We are taught to use dialogue tags at the end of a sentence to tell the reader who is speaking. But it isn't always necessary. Show what the speaker is doing; the action not the telling. Here's an example from my novel, Breathless:

“Wanna go swimming this afternoon? I wanna wear my new swimsuit I found at the flea market last week,” Rachel said excitedly. “Pretty please?” 
“I don’t know. I have so many things to do,” Lainey said. “I have to plan my 401K and pick out my retirement home.”
Rachel was annoyed. “You waitress at Murray’s Café a few days a week; I doubt you need a 401K, and you aren’t old.”

And here's the same passage without using said:


“Wanna go swimming this afternoon? I wanna wear my new swimsuit I found at the flea market last week.” Rachel bounced up and down on her toes. “Pretty please?”
“I don’t know. I have so many things to do.” Lainey laughed. “I have to plan my 401K and pick out my retirement home.”
Rachel rolled her eyes dramatically. “You waitress at Murray’s Café a few days a week; I doubt you need a 401K, and you aren’t old.”


3. Active, not passive.
Avoid using "ing" and "was". Instead of saying "She was driving home after Peter's death, listening to the wipers thumping." - say "She drove home after Peter's death to the thump, thump of the wipers." It makes it seem like the action is happening, not that it happened, even if you do write in past tense.

4. Repeating the same physical action
My characters are NEVER allowed to roll their eyes. Never. The wonderful Cassie Mae did a read-through of my novel "Breathless" and pointed out how many times Lainey rolled her eyes. Yeah, be careful of writing your characters doing the same thing too many times. It gets annoying.


What tips would you add to give suggestions for those who are deep in Revision Hell? What's the word or phrase that you find yourself repeating too many times in your manuscripts? I'm not allowed to have a character roll their eyes or overuse the word "that".

Monday, July 1, 2013

July Goals

It's July, though hard to believe here in Iowa. We have a saying "Knee high by the fourth of July". It deals with the height of the corn. A lot of the corn here was planted late because of a ton of spring rains or never even was planted. So... most of the corn is pretty short. That makes it not really seem like July. Well, now you learned something about Iowa today. :)

Anyway, it's time for an update in goals!

Here are my goals from June:
* Complete another round of revisions for "Defiance"
Done and sent off another round of queries! Crossing my fingers!

* Read "Wake" by Amanda Hocking

* Finish CP's book - "Black and White"


Benedict Cumberbatch, because I'm currently in love with "Sherlock"
Not bad - I finished two out of three goals! I spent quite a bit of the month revising and didn't get much reading done. Hopefully I can get more reading done this month. I will be pretty busy, so I'm not giving myself too tough of goals. I'm moving on August 1st and I'll need time to pack and such. Super exciting to be moving out of my parent's basement! If you remember last July, I ran out of money since I only had a crappy job. August came, I moved home of my parent's and I found a great job. Finally, I'm ready to flee the nest! Again. :)

Goals for July:
* Another round of revisions for "Breathless"
Changing from YA to NA, adding slight romantic physical cues, and adding two chapters before the fair.

* Celebrate my 3rd year of blogging

* Pack to move to my new apartment!



Not a difficult list of goals, but a nice list. Be sure to come back to my blog on July 7th - I will be hosting a celebration for 3 years of blogging and doing a giveaway! :)  How did your goals for June go? What are your goals for July?

Good luck to everyone doing the July session of Camp Nano! I decided to stay home, away from the mosquitoes this session.