Saturday, June 23, 2012

Displacement

New project, new genre, new approach. Entitled Displacement, for now. I'm really excited about this one. Tell me what you think!



Sixteen year old Jessica Rodriguez hates her life. Really, what does she have to live for? Dumped on the first day of school. Flunking Trig. Dateless for prom. Not to mention the big junior/senior trip’s coming up, and she can’t afford to go, much less watch her ex-boyfriend wrapped around another girl every day.  She’s destined for the high school humiliation hall of fame, unless something changes—and fast. 

Two hundred years ago Colin Ferris hung for a crime he did not commit—the gruesome murder of his fiancée.  Now, as an angel, he’s been given the chance of a lifetime.  Protect the reincarnated soul of his long lost love and earn the chance to be whole again. 

But Jessica’s not the same innocent lass Colin’s kept in his heart for two centuries.  She’s an intoxicating combination of smart, sassy, and independent. And she’s in love with another guy. With only a small window of time from here to an eternity of servitude in the Divine Court, Colin must forsake every tactful part of his being and start over with the girl who once loved him fiercely. 

Will their past be enough to win their future? 

Or will two souls remain separated forever?

Fan Art by Jennifer Brown

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reading Lists!

One would imagine since not only am I a writer but an avid reader that I'd have some sort of planned reading list. But I don't. Why? Beats me. I'll use the fact that I'm a pantser, not a plotter. Sounds like a good excuse.

Or, as my dear momma says, "It's not an excuse, but it's a reason."

Here's the problem with that reason, though: There's SO many good books out there!! And I know what you're thinking: yeah, yeah, duh, Alyssia--where have you been? But seriously. Sometimes it feels as if I'm drowning in books to be read, and that's partly my CP's fault, because she's addicted to downloading free and cheap ebooks off Amazon, so she's (in turn) always telling me I need to read this or, good Lord in Heaven, don't read that. And, naturally, she has great taste for the good stuff, so I listen and download and, as a result, have LOADS of books just waiting to be read on my Kindle.

Then, of course, I troll Blogspot and forums and, yes, Amazon, and suddenly there's more books to be read. Great books. Phenomenal books. And I'm thinking, "I want to read all of them at once!" Because it seems like such a shame to let those genuinely delicious stories go unread, doesn't it? You must partake, right, right? You readers and writers out there are doubtless nodding your heads.

All the rest of you, bear with me a moment, please.

The whole point of this post is that I feel the need to make a reading list.  A bona fide, 100% Genuine, to-be-followed-at-gunpoint-if-necessary reading list, so that I can feasibly squeeze in all those lovely books I've been waiting and wanting to read since I-don't-know-when.

Figured I'd start small--3 books. That'll work, right? So, without further adieu...

1. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
2. SLAMMED by Colleen Hoover (my CP's foaming at the mouth for me to read this one; she'll probably cut out my liver when she sees it's #2)
3. BORN AT MIDNIGHT by C.C. Hunter

All YA's, yes, because my current WIP is YA, and really, YA floats my boat lately. Maybe it's because I have a kid now, who knows? But there it is. I'd also like to check out some Jackson Pearce novels; I hear she's great, and that her newest release PURITY is amazing. Decent reviews.

Do you have a reading list? And if so, what's your next to be read? Any author you've been meaning to check out?

Peace, Love, and ooey-gooey Junior Mints (just had some at The Avengers, which was a-MAZING!),


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Choosing a New Project


So, now my first book's published, online, available for purchase (squee!), and I'm running through edits on its spinoff, Enraptured, which will be available in August, I've arrived at the point where I'm ready to create again. To meet new characters or, perhaps, revisit old ones whose story has yet to be told in full.

The easy part of this? I've decided to complete a YA (Young Adult).

The hard part? I don't know which one to choose!! Paranormal, Steampunk, or Contemporary with a Paranormal twist. All have elements dear to me, characters with the potential for fantastic adventure.

I don't believe in writing for the market. That kind of pressure makes me clam, leaves the cursor blink-blink-blinking at me in that mocking way only a cursor and a blank page can. Which means I'll have to pick the one pulling the hardest, then go with it. Or, more accurately, allow the story to pick me and pray that I do it justice.

Easier said than done, am I right?

If you're a writer, how do you get yourself into writing mode? How do you delve in, submerge into your world, move next door to your characters? Do you have a method? Or do you just wing it?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass


The Selection, Kiera Cass, 2012, Harper Teen, 336 pages.

This is one of the many books whose cover caught my eye from the get-go.  I mean, how much more gorgeous can you get?  Pretty, young redhead. Beautiful, porcelain skin. Dress fit for a princess.  In fact, that’s exactly what America Singer’s bucking for in The Selection by Kiera Cass.  Her slightly lower than lower-middle-class family’s hoping she’ll be the next princess of Illéa and, ultimately, the next queen.  She’s one of thirty-five girls entered into the Selection, a contest to find Prince Maxon of Illéa a right proper wife. 

Back blurb: 

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.  The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth.  To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels.  To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. 

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare.  It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her.  Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want.  Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. 

Then America meets Prince Maxon.  Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. 

This book surprised the heck out of me.  One, the writing is simple.  Not bad, mind.  Just…simple.  No big words, no spectacular sentence structure.  Heck, even the dialogue gets corny at times.  And, like me, bless her whole heart, Miss Cass has an affinity for the word “simply.”   Two, I could not put it down.  The story sucks you in like nobody’s business.  Maybe I’m just a sucker for a love triangle, I don’t know, but Aspen and Maxon are both star-worthy heroes. They keep America on her toes, and I love that, because we’re in America’s PoV the whole time, and what’s a heroine without a whole lotta conflict?  And, boy, does she have conflict.  From the tension with the other ladies of the Selection, to Aspen, to her just a smidge above destitute family, and, yes, Prince Maxon, America faces conflict after conflict in a deliciously lovely environment well-painted by the author. 

What I loved most about this novel?  It reminds me of what I used to write in high school—princes, princesses, castles, etc.  It’s just that kind of fun, that kind of interesting.  The Selection is the first of a trilogy and, unfortunately, leaves you with a to be continued… at the end.  Good thing is that the second installment should be released before year’s end.  Yay!  AND—according to the author’s website, the book’s been picked up for a pilot by the CW.  Aimee Teegarden (Julie from Friday Night Lights) landed the role of America and is joined by many names and faces we recognize from various tv shows and b-movies. 

Overall, I enjoyed the story, the setting, and the characters, and so The Selection made my keeper shelf, as will the remainder of the series.  I give it a B+. 

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,





About the author:

Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her family.  Her fantasy novel The Siren was self-published in 2009.  Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. You can visit her website here. You can also order The Selection via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and (my personal favorite) Book Depository.


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Betrothed


Dreams really do come true.

That's the first thing which comes to mind when I thought about writing this post. And, boy, have I thought and thought and thought on what I would say once I was actually able to spit this one out.

Here I sit, however, cup of coffee at my right, infant boy in his bouncy seat at my left, and I'm at a loss for words. Could be because I haven't actually brainstormed and written on something new for what feels like a century; editing kind of takes over your life like that. Could be because excitement quite literally stole whatever brilliant post I meant to write. Could be both.

All that aside ...

Betrothed debuted today on Amazon.com for $2.99, and I am tickled in so many different hues of pink, I should've named the novel 50 Shades of Fuschia.

I know, I'm so funny. Go ahead. Wipe the tears from your eyes.

On a serious note: If you own a Kindle, hit that nice little Sample button and have a go at the first 3.25 chapters. And if by chance you like what you read, give the whole book a shot. Le Muse will be most grateful and I ... well, I may just send you a dozen roses. Or chocolates! Everyone loves a good Whitman's Sampler, right?

A few people I'd like to thank for making this happen:

1. God, because He gave me a love for words, and it's been an amazing journey thus far.
2. My family.  Especially my mother, who put up with hours of me being locked in my room as a teenager, writing until my wrist felt as if it was about to detach from my arm.
3. My friends. Bonnie, Kimberly, and Lela, I love you, I love you, I love you. You've held me up from the start, kept my thoughts on the "write" path, and for that, I am eternally in your debt.
4. My CP, who is the most awesome individual on the planet. Thank you for never being afraid to hurt my feelings.
5. My teachers. Especially "The Connies": Mrs. Connie Cole and Mrs. Connie Cox. The former made me realize this is what I want to do with my life, the latter made me realize it was entirely possible.
6. NOLA STARs. Because it's not about industry, but about believing in yourself, having a good support system, and living your dreams.
7. Junior Mints. Hours upon hours of editing would not have been possible without you.
8. Last but not least, to My Amazing Husband (yes, he deserves all caps) for learning to deal with a wife who gets up before the crack of dawn, sleeps at odd hours, and lets the house go way too often: I love you, Baby.

And to all of you, both old and new, thank you for taking the time to read my blog, for offering sound advice and thoughtful comments. You've enriched my life and my writing.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
 




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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kindle Amazon Uploading Woes


All right, so, I decided to go the self-pub route and publish my first book, followed by its spinoff.  Edited it for the sixth time, lowered word count, freshened up some dialogue, made a few better word choices. Formatted it to, what I thought was, perfection. Uploaded it via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, got my nice pretty sample, which looked great. Clicked the button to publish it live.

Voila! In a few hours, Betrothed was available for purchase.

As it turned out, this was not a good thing.

Final formatting was all out of wack.  Single spacing to start, then double. Single again. Then, double. Normal print, then bold. Normal again. Oh, and the paragraph indentations! Forget about it!

Needless to say, I unpublished it and started trying to troubleshoot.  Downloaded the free Building Your Book for Kindle ebook, followed it to a T. Still, major formatting issues. Searched the forums and was grieved to see a lot of people paid a professional just to format their novel for proper upload.  This is not an option for me.

Why am I posting about this, other than to complain?  I'm hoping one of you out there who has gone this route with your work can offer some expertise. Maybe point me in the right direction? How did you format your manuscript? What margins did you use? What font and paragraph spacing? Did you change the size of the page? Any tips of wisdom would be magnificently appreciated.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
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