Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Writing on Tuesday: Four Lessons by Foz Meadows + The Rare: Solace & Grief

Hi guys! Today Foz Meadows, the author of Solace & Grief, is here to share something about writing!

Hello all, and thanks to Precious for the invite! Writing is obviously a passion of mine, and because of that, it’s never far from my thoughts. Having spent a not inconsiderable portion of my life jotting down story ideas on tram, bus and train tickets, old receipts, school handouts, scrap paper and, quite frequently, my own arms, I’ve developed the habit of keeping multiple notebooks in my bag at all times. The fact that I still inevitably resort to writing on myself and various bits of biro-friendly flotsam does not make this any less of a good idea, although it possibly suggests that I cannot be trusted to define terms like good idea without strict adult supervision. The point being, you are a gazelle, and inspiration is a leopard. It does not care that you have herd-related activities scheduled, such as grazing or pronking or playing video games, because it is hungry now, and no sooner have you looked away than it chases you across the savannah, grabs you by the throat and hauls your carcass up into the fork of a tree, to marinate at leisure.

Therefore, lesson one of writing: always have a pen.

Character names are important to me. At any given time, I have a list of favourites on hand culled from baby books, random name generators and daily life. Last names are harder; I don’t want to make them up, but I generally want something more original than Smith, Jones or Wright, which is why they have a special notebook all their own. Solace began as just a name I liked, as do most of my characters: once I know what they’re called, I find it that much easier to figure out who they are. From there, I start to get an idea of the world they inhabit – modern or magical, cruel or kind – and then a story starts to come together. These early ideas are simple, centred on a single person, but as I generate more and more people, hoarding them away like winter acorns, the greater the chance that a particular few will suddenly stand out as belonging to the same world. From their personalities and likely interactions, I go on to configure my plots, hunting out the narrative arc that ties them all together.

Thus, lesson the second: know what methods work for you.

Of course, while the above pattern describes how I’ve put together the majority of schemes and fables lurking in the vast wilderness that is my Documents folder, it doesn’t fit with how I wrote Solace & Grief. In that case, the opening prologue leapt into my head, leopard-like (see lesson one) and literally refused to let go until I’d well and truly done something about it. Solace had a name at the start, but none of her companions did; they popped up as the story dictated, flowing together and drifting apart as I decided, through the course of writing the first draft, who was most important to the plot. I’ve written stories before where one or two characters appeared that way, and it’s always been a good thing – spontaneity is, after all, the kissing cousin of creativity. But Solace & Grief marked the first occasion where virtually the entire cast came to life via a meandering process of elimination, favouritism and plain ole’ narrative Darwinism. It was a little awesome, and a little scary, because it was outside my Zone of Familiarity. But, in the end, it worked. I’ve come away a stronger writer for letting this particular story tell me where it was headed, rather than trying to put a bridle on it, and that is a satisfying outcome.

Lesson the third might seem like a contradiction of lesson the second, but really, it’s more of a rider: don’t be afraid to try new things.

Right now, I’m seriously mired in the gumboot-devouring quagmire that is the Third Act of Book Two, being The Key to Starveldt. I am so. Completely. Sick. Of trying to write. This recalcitrant story. If it was a person? I would stab it in the face, because hypothetical Stabbity Death as a means of anger management has long formed part of my personal mission statement. I have deleted scenes, replaced them with new ones, deleted those, chopped both sets together to form a seamless patchwork of double-deleted wrongness, and am in all respects on the brink of flinging my laptop into a fiery volcano – or at least, I would be, if we lived near a volcano, and I hadn’t just paid the damn thing off (the laptop, not the volcano we don’t have), and anyway, all my KOTOR saves are on here. It is hard work, and often agonising. But I love my characters. I know where they’re headed next. (No, I’m not telling. Not yet, anyway.) I want to see them get there. And if that means I have to sweat metaphoric blood, or possibly actual blood, to do it, then I will.

Which brings me to the fourth and final lesson of this particular Fozrant, viz: despite appearances, writing can be hard.

But it is also – spectacularly, gloriously, impossibly – rewarding. It is the music of glyphs and the stampede-song of consciousness. I wouldn’t be without it for all the Crazy in CrazyTown.

And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, that’s saying a quite lot.
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Thanks for sharing about your four rules Foz! I strictly follow rule # 1! I even have a handy notebook to scribble ideas in.

Check out her new book:

The Rare: Solace & Grief
Release Date: March 1, 2010 (*edited.sorry!)

Book Description:

Solace Morgan was born a vampire. Raised in foster care, she has always tried to keep her abilities secret, until an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away. Finding others with similar gifts, Solace soon becomes caught up in a strange, more vibrant world than she ever knew existed. But when the mysterious Professor Lukin takes an interest in her friends, she is forced to start asking questions of her own. What happened to her parents? Who is Sharpsoft? And since when has there been a medieval dungeon under Hyde Park?



Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog Tour: Angela Morrison's Plotting Secret

Hi guys, welcome to Angela Morrison's last stop for her Sing Me To Sleep Blog Tour! Today there won't be an interview. There won't be an excerpt. But there will be a guest post about plotting. I hope this helps all the aspiring writers out there.
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Precious asked me to share my secrets for a good, fast moving plot. TRUE CONFESSION: a great editor. My editor for both SING ME TO SLEEP and TAKEN BY STORM was Lexa Hillyer (she's started a new company called Paper Lanterns, Inc. that sounds really exciting). I learned so much from her about pace and plotting.

She taught me that in romantic stories, especially, it is key for the characters to have at least one huge secret between them--and you can't divulge the big secret halfway through. You have to build up to it. Surprises are good, too.

I'm a seat of your pants plotter. Not a planner by nature. I ask myself, "What if?" to discover my characters. The characters I gravitate to are always wounded or vitally flawed in some way. Once I've got the voice of a character, I move on to, "What happens next?" Simple stuff, but it works. The key is to make things worse and worse for your character. Build in conflict every chance you get. Let your character make the wrong choices.

When I've got the guy and the girl and their basic situations figured out, I put them together and scribble down what happens. I do that again and again.

As I get deeper and deeper into the story and the character's open up more and more, they will haunt me as I go to sleep, wake me up in the middle of the night arguing, or be there in a scene on the edge of a dream in the morning as I wake. I scribble down what they say and build scenes and chapters out of those conversations.

Now that I'm writing full-time and publishing, I've got stories lined up waiting to be written, so I end up thinking about what happens and scribbling conversations for years before I get to write them. That time investment helps a lot when it comes to writing the novel, but the characters will still surprise me.

I don't think in terms of PLOT or I choke. I think in terms of the journey each character is one. I build in tests and pitfalls, let them fail and try again, send mentors and side kicks, but rely mostly on an overpowering love for each other.

I highly recommend Vogler's THE WRITER'S JOURNEY to all writers. He breaks down the journey archetype scene by scene. It's a great tool. Study it.

Take care!
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Thanks Angela for taking your time to share!

To those who haven't read any of Angela's books...You're missing half of your life. Both of her novels are heartbreakingly romantic. You won't ever regret reading them!

You can read my reviews of her two novels here:

Taken by Storm Review
Sing Me To Sleep Review

Sing Me To Sleep is a story about Beth, an ugly duckling who has a very beautiful singing voice. In a singing competition in Switzerland, she meets Derek, the soloist of Amabile Boys. She knows she's falling. But can Derek possibly fall for her?




Sunday, March 28, 2010

Undercover Booklover Awesome Contest

is holding a huge Pick Your Publisher Contest!



Ends April 22!
Open internationally!


Fast Forward Monday (6)


Fast Forward Monday is a Meme that I will be starting in Fragments of Life. It features books that will be released in the next three months.

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw
Release Date: May 1, 2010

Book Description:

“Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”


Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

Feed by Mira Grant
Release Date: May 1, 2010

Book Description:

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.


NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.


The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzales
Release Date: May 11, 2010

Book Description:

The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.


In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

The Red Umbrella is a moving story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead
Release Date: May 18, 2010

Book Description:

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…


After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever.

Sooooo many great books coming out in May!

Heavenly Saturday (5)

*photo credit to my friend Luce

Heavenly Saturday is a new meme hosted by Precious (me) from Fragments of Life, which features verses from the Bible that can spark inspirations within our lives. Personally, I have experienced God in my life and I can attest to the fact that He is 'real.' If He isn't, I don't think I'll be where I am right now.





The fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace.


- Galatians 5:22


Saturday, March 27, 2010

SPOTTED: Caragh O'Brien + Birthmarked

Hi guys! Caragh, the author of Birthmarked, is with me today to answer a few questions about her writing and about her debut novel! You can read my review of Birthmarked.


Photo credit to Tomy O'Brien.
(From Caragh's website)

What inspired you to write this dystopian novel?

I was driving over a bridge in Alabama where the lake water was incredibly low, and it frightened me. The southern states of the U.S. had a terrible drought in the winter of 2008, and as my family drove across the country, it looked like a wasteland to me. I started thinking about what would happen to political power with climate change, and the dystopian setting for Birthmarked and Unlake Superior emerged from my concerns.

What is your purpose in writing Birthmarked?

I wanted it to be just plain fun to read. My version of fun is a little dark, I suppose, but I did my best.

Why did you make Gaia a midwife?

I made Gaia a midwife so she would be powerful in life situations. It turns out she’s powerful in death situations, too.

Will there be a second book?

I’m writing a sequel now.

Does the Dead Forest really exist?

Ha. Gaia thinks so. She’s in trouble if it doesn’t.
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How does your mood affect your writing?

More frequently, my writing affects my mood. When my characters are in crisis, I feel it along with them, and it’s awful. I’d like to write more happy scenes, but they don’t make for very good fiction.

Is it important that you are in an ambience that you like when you write? If yes, why?

I only need a bit of quiet to work. I’m writing in a university library carrel with my laptop right now, for instance, and I’m usually on my couch at home. I very quickly disappear into the setting of my book, so I can write anywhere.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third draft of Book 2. Gaia’s thirsty right now.

What tips can you give to aspiring writers (like me)?

I could tell you were a writer from your questions, Precious. You must already know how completely satisfying it is to be in your head. I’m not sure you need to know anything else. Seek out what fascinates you and obsess.

What would you like to say to the people who have read Birthmarked or have included your novel in their wishlists and/or to-be-read piles?

I hope people who read Birthmarked enjoy Gaia’s story and care about her.

Let me say thanks, Precious, for inviting me by. This has been fun!

All best,
Caragh

Thank you for your time Caragh!
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Caragh's links:

Caragh's Official Website
Caragh's Facebook

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Birthmarked will be released on March 30!
That's just a few days from now!

You can pre-order Birthmarked in Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Want to read Chapter 1 of Birthmarked? Go here!

Blog Awards

First of all, I'd like to thank Yasmin from iRead n iReview for the wonderful awards!

Beautiful Blogger Award

Rules:

-Thank and link to the person that gave you the award.
-Pass this award onto 5 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and think are fantastic.

I'm going to pass this to:


-Contact said Blogs and let them know they’ve won .
-State 7 things about yourself.

1. I adore Paramore!
2. I'm an only child.
3. I've always wanted a big brother. (And that's just impossible!)
4. I don't like the idea of keeping a diary.
5. I want to take my MA in Madrid, Spain.
6. I'm deeply interested in learning languages, particularly languages that developed from Latin.
7. I want to grow a few more inches taller. I didn't inherit my dad's tall gene. *sighs dramatically*


Rules:

Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your cell phone? Thin.
Your hair? Long.
Your mother? Awesome!
Your father? Cool.
Your favorite food? Sinigang
Your dream last night? Fantasy
Your favorite drink? Latte.
Your dream/goal? Author
What room are you in? Bedroom
Your hobby? Reading
Your fear? Drowning
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Spain!!
Where were you last night? Home
Something that you aren't? Unproductive
Muffins? Chocolate!
Wish list item? Books.
Where did you grow up? Philippines
Last thing you did? Emailing.
Your TV? Downstairs.
Your pets? Zero.
Friends? Lots
Your mood? Happy.
Missing someone? Uhuh.
Vehicle? None.
Something you aren't wearing? Leggings
Your favorite store? Fullybooked
Your favorite color? Black.
When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
Last time you cried? Forgot
Your best friend? Amazing.
One place you go to over and over again? Bookstore
Facebook? DefinitelyFavorite place to eat? Bedroom

I'm gonna pass this award to:


Stylish Blogger Award

I'm passing this to:


Featured @ Star Shadow and Bookworming in the 21st Century!

Hi guys! So...this day is a blessing. First, I woke up to read awesome emails that made my day. Second, I check my blog and see that lots of bloggers connected with me and are interested in my blog. Another bonus here is that people appreciated my review of Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien! Third, I found out that I'm featured at Star Shadow by Reagan!


Head over to Star Shadow to see her Feature Friday that is featuring no other than me and Fragments of Life!


A few hours after that, I just got a tweet saying I've been featured at Bookworming in the 21st Century by Kristen!





Thanks to Reagan and Kristen for featuring me! I really appreciate it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Blogger Hop


I've found this interesting new Meme called Book Blogger Hop. It's a weekly event that lets bloggers and readers find new  blogs to read and follow! Personally, I think this is wonderful opportunity for new bloggers, like me, not only to gain readers that are interested in the books that I review, but also to discover other amazing book blogs out there! Further more, it's a great way to connect with other people that have the same interests as I do. Go to Crazy-For-Books to find out more and to participate!

If by any chance you stumbled upon my blog, comment so I can follow back! Thanks!

Review: Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

Release Date: March 30, 2010
Book Description (from goodreads):

After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.

Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

Source: Roaring Brook Press (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Birthmarked takes place in the future. But despite this big leap in time, the line of social division is still clear. In developing countries, like my country, there is a wide gap between the privileged and the underprivileged. The same thing happens in Birthmarked. The rich (the people who live inside the wall) have all the advantages in life. People like Gaia have to work really hard for water, for food and even for their own entertainment - Tvaltar, which is their movie house. They are powerless over things dictated by the Enclave, such as the baby quota.

Every month, the first three babies who are born are advanced to the Enclave. In Gaia's memory, it has always been like this. For me, the baby quota is a big sacrifice that weighs down on the heart of every mother. Despite the compensation for the advancing of a baby, it still feels unfair. The pain of losing a child is something that can never be erased with a mere compensation of goods. What's worse is that the parents are not given a chance to know their child. Cutting the familial connection between a mother and a child is just heartless. It causes not only emotional pain, but also psychological blows on the mother.

In Gaia's dangerous journey within the walled Enclave, she witnesses the hanging of a pregnant woman, an act that stripped the beautiful facade of the Enclave and revealed the cruelty beneath. Then the one mistake she commits taints her clean record and lands her in prison. With her freedom taken away, her parents scheduled to die soon and her own life at stake, Gaia moves mountains to escape the prison and save her parents. Every move matters especially when the Enclave is always watching. With the help of Leon, the soldier who interrogated her the day her parents were arrested, can Gaia accomplish what she set out to do and flee to the Dead Forest?

I loved Gaia! She's very loving, fiercely loyal and undaunted. Seeing how she was teased and laughed at because of her scarred face makes me want to reach in the pages and defend her. Leon, cold and handsome, is very interesting. There's something with the way he looked so hollow that told me he was keeping chunks of emotions and secrets about himself. And I was right! He was! As the story progresses, Gaia finds an ally in Leon. Their relationship buds gradually and bursts open in a beautiful bloom near the ending.

O'Brien writes outstandingly with attention to detail. She captivates readers with a world baked dry by the harsh sun and characters baked fresh from strong emotions and survival struggles. She poured life into this dry world with her pen and drew a gripping story of an underprivileged girl who risked her life to save her parents and to bring hope to her people. I was stunned with her words. I kept reading obsessively over the lines that I loved the most. Her flashbacks were colored with the sweetness of childhood.

Overall Birthmarked is a wonderful read. Eventhough the story was awful because of the bad experiences presented, at the same time, it also inspires readers and makes us realize the worth of the things that we usually take for granted. I loved to be in Gaia’s action packed world. I highly recommend this!

Birthmarked is a dystopian novel that will mesmerize readers with vivid imagery of the future world and mark readers with a refreshed appreciation of life and of Mother earth.

Rating:


Angelic Friday: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick



This week I don't have an angel-related book to review. *sighs* I'm out of angel books!
Instead, I'm going to post the summary of one of the most wanted books of 2010!

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick


Summary from Becca Fitzpatrick's Website:

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

On Sale November 16!

Yay! I'm excited for it! It sounds even better than Hush, hush! And Hush is hard to beat.
I miss Patch and Nora!

Can I Be Your Book Fairy Contest + Signed Copy of Rampant

Faye at Faye Flame Reviews is holding Can I Be Your Book Fairy Contest! She will be giving away 12 ARCs + surprise swag to 1 very very very lucky person.

Here are the ARCs up for grabs:


Open internationally!
Ends on April 25!
Enter here!

Monica from The Bibliophilic Book Blog interviewed Saskia Walker, the author of Rampant - a new book from Harlequin to be released this April.

 

Win a Signed Copy of Rampant here!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SPOTTED: Amy Brecount White & Forget-Her-Nots (Interview + FHN Trailer!)

Hi guys! Today, I have with me, the awesome author of Forget-Her-Nots! I've SPOTTED Amy Brecount White!


I have questions for her that I've been meaning to ask...and I finally got the answers to all of them in this interview:

How long did it take for you to finish the draft of Forget-Her-Nots?

Far too long. From the first idea to publication was about 8 years. I was also freelancing and finished another manuscript while I was figuring out the agent thing, but it was much longer than I thought it would take.

But the long years are definitely worth it now that FHN is out in the stores!
When have you conceived the concept of using flowers in your novel?

I have always loved flowers, and my mom gardened. We also had a neighbor who had amazing blooms that no one else grew, like bleeding hearts. I loved her yard! When I knew I wanted to write a novel, I started thinking about what I loved and wanted to share with the world. Flowers came to my mind, and I also found a language of flowers book. Somehow it all came together. :-)

What a great source of inspiration! And I AM interested in that language of flowers book.

What inspired you to start writing Forget-Her-Nots?

I went to hear novelist Toni Morrison speak. She said, "Write the novel that ONLY you can write." I thought about that for awhile and came up with the idea. I had always wanted to write a novel sometime, but I felt a sudden urgency that I had to start it at that point in my life.

Tell me about the main character in your novel. What makes her unique?

Laurel is unique, because she has a special way with flowers. (I don't want to give too much away!) She is also unique in that she is mourning the loss of her mother at a young age, and she's an amazing soccer player. In many other ways, she's like most girls you know.

I think I want to know more about Laurel. *curious* I'm going to grab a copy of FHN asap!
Is there going to be a second book?

I hope to write a companion novel to FHN, but my second book, STRING THEORIES, isn't about flowers. It's about love and lust, the physics of relationships, connections and getting even.

Well, for me, String Theories sound interesting too, like FHN!

How does your mood affect your writing?

I try not to let it. I do my best to get involved in the world of the story and forget my own. I have three kids, so I have to use all the free moments I can whether or not I'm in a good mood. My mood does affect my story, because when I have a strong mood, I try to remember what that feels like so I can describe it in my writing.

Is it important that you are in an ambience that you like when you write? If yes, why?

The most important feature for me is silence. I don't listen to music or anything else, because I want to hear the voice of the characters and the sounds of the story in my head.

What are you working on now?

I've been wrapping up STRING THEORIES, doing interviews, and thinking about the next book. I'll probably do some freelance pieces for magazines while I'm brainstorming for the next novel.


What tips can you give to aspiring writers (like me)?

Your job as an aspiring writer is to try to figure out how good writing works. So read a ton, figure out what you like, and then decipher how it works. How does an author create suspense or add sensory details or make you want to cry? Writers read differently from readers. Writers are always looking at how the words work together to create both the parts and the whole.

I'll do that. Yeah, words matter a lot! My creative writing prof always reminds the class about word choice. Thanks Amy!

Do you tend to guess a person's personality through their favorite flowers? If yes, can you tell me a circumstance in which you guessed right?

Hmmm. Interesting question. I think people who like things simple love gerbera daisies. People who are higher maintenance might like gorgeous and fragrant lilies or orchids. I usually try to guess what a person will like based on what I know of them. Most people love to receive a variety of flowers, and I like to mix them up too.

Right now, I'm thinking if there should be "flower psychology" a branch of psychology that will allow you to predict the behavior of a person depending on the flower he/she likes. Interesting! You could do it vice versa!

Last question. What’s your favorite flower and why?

I'm very fond of gardenias, probably because of their scent. It's sweet but not overbearing, and they seem very pure and lovely to me. I even like their dark green wavy leaves. But I do love all flowers!

Thanks so much for having me, Precious!

The gardenias seem nice. I honestly haven't caught the scent of one. Now, I want to! Thanks Amy for dropping by and sharing!
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Amy's Links:

Amy's official website
Follow Amy on Twitter

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Buy FHN here!
Book Description:

When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.

Here's the trailer Amy made to help her readers see the world of FHN!



Forget-Her-Nots is available now! Grab a copy now and don't miss Amy's unique debut novel!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writing on Tuesday with Beth Fantaskey (Guest Post)

Hi guys! Today, the wonderful Beth Fantaskey dropped by to share about her writing experience!
Enjoy Writing on Tuesday with BETH FANTASKEY!




WARNING: This may be the most boring guest post on the subject of writing that you will ever read.


Well, I hope that the way I handle the topic won’t be boring, but the information, itself… It might be a little tedious.

That’s because, when it comes to the subject of writing, I don’t have a revelation that will help anyone transform into a “writer.” The best insight I can offer, from my own sometimes difficult experience, is that writing is something you have to practice.

There’s the boring word: practice.

For me, it conjures up images of kids being nagged to play piano when they’d rather play outside.

But as we all know, practice pays off. You can’t be good at sports, or music, or… anything, without repeating certain actions, again and again, and building your skills.

And yet, I get the impression that some people believe writing is the one talent you either “have,” or you don’t. That, if you were meant to write a novel or essay or poem worth reading, you should be able to sit down one day and expect it to pour from your fingertips.

Maybe that’s true for some people, but in my case, I practiced writing for 20 years before I even attempted a novel. I worked as a political speech writer and a journalist, writing every day, and learning as I worked. I was fortunate to have good editors who taught me a lot, and putting words on paper, 9-to-5, also helped me figure out how to organize my thoughts and develop my “voice.”

I look back at my first speeches, composed right out of college, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe. Or both. They’re HORRIBLE. The only thing that ever made me a “writer” – to the humble extent that I am – has been practice. Lots of it. Decades of it. And I’m still practicing.

I’m sure there are prodigies who are “born” to write, just like the one-in-ten-million child who picks up a violin and plays Mendelssohn on the first try. But I have a feeling that most of us are like me, and need to work at it.

So if your first attempt at a novel didn’t flow out of you as naturally as you hoped – just like mine didn’t – I hope you won’t give up, if it’s really your dream to get published. I hope you’ll sit down and try again. And again. And again… Just like I’m still doing today, as I write this essay, one paragraph of which took me more tries than I care to admit.

Good luck and keep going!


Practice makes perfect!
Thank you Beth for dropping by!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: Fade by Lisa Mcmann

Book Description (from Barnes & Noble):

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open – but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabel’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability – and it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared…

Source: Won at Fallen Arcangel! Thanks Rebecca and Jenn!

My Thoughts:

Janie is working undercover, as Cabel's partner in Fieldridge High, using her talent as a dream catcher to help solve crimes. When Captain calls them to her office and gives them their next assignment, Janie is placed in the seductive seat of a bait and Cabel, worried as ever for Janie, rides an emotional rollercoaster that keeps thrusting them to the ground.

Things That I Love About Fade:

1. The Writing

Lisa Mcmann takes me on a fast ride with her simplified way of story-telling. But weaved within this simplicity is a face of description that satisfies me with just enough detail. There's something dramatic and exxpressive with it. The date and time also adds a sense of swiftness with the progress of the story, as well as emphasis on certain parts.

"He kisses her.
She kisses him.
They kiss."

- my favorite paragraph in Fade, p. 29

2. Dreams

I've always been interested in dreams. Seeing them via Janie is a great experience. The bizarre and sometimes disturbing quality of the dreams makes me curious, makes me review in my head the dream psychology lessons I took last year and try to connect the happenings in the dream to the possible struggle of the dreamer. Aside from this, the dreams are also pieces of the story itself, revealing bits of essential information.

3. The Catcher and The Lover

Janie and Cabel are both interesting characters with pasts that are flavored with pain, negligence and aloneness. And now that they've found each other, it's like they have found the perfect piece with which to make themselves whole. Love blossoms not without thorns. They struggle with their newfound love.
Janie-Cabel scenes are simply wonderful. Sometimes subtle. Sometimes blasting with emotion.

4. The Assignment

Janie's assignment is both exciting and scary. Dream surfing for any clues related to student-teacher dreams is hard work, especially if she's in a school where everyone is dreaming about sexual fantasies with other students. Tiring and draining. But in one incident, she finds a clue, not in a dream though but in real life. In front of her. Making the hairs at the back of her next stand in fright. As Janie progresses with the undercover work, things get more and more dangerous with every step she takes with the sexual predator himself.


Fade is a thrilling page-turner that will thrust the readers into dreams and pull them out just in time to see the struggle of Janie as a student, as an undercover and as a dream catcher. Hypnotic and gripping, Fade will satisfy readers with dreams and nightmares of life.

Rating: