Friday, September 28, 2012

LOOK At That! A Writer's Challenge

Claire Gillian, author of The P.U.R.E. issued me & four others a ‘show don’t tell’ challenge!

Here it is: Count up the 'LOOK's in your current WIPs and choose your favorite three. Then post the paragraphs around the word.

What is ‘show don’t tell’? HERE is my take on it. Basically it means to portray things / emotions / responses with action verbs rather than tell the reader about them. Here's my favorite go-to example:

Sally was sad. (tell)
Sally's eyes filled with tears. (show)

But onto the challenge ...

I had 7 'Look's in my 60,000 word (of an estimated 80,000) in-process draft of Pool of Souls, the first of a 2 book fantasy series.

Here’s my 3 favorite paragraphs:

1.      “Thank the gods for that.” Hyla studied the human man before her. It was the first opportunity to look without seeing through her Talent. Thick wavy hair as dark as his eyes fell low across his brow. His gaze softened as he smiled at her. Curly lashes framed twinkling eyes—they were doubtless the envy of every woman he came into contact with.

2.      Crunching on a pear, Hyla studied Jadon as he bit into a cold meat pie. He didn’t look like someone manor-born with seemingly endless coins at his disposal. He’d traded his soldier uniform for the threads of a peasant. His tunic stretched across broad shoulders, his brown cloak and dark breeches blended with the shadows of the trees behind him.

3.      Hyla’s hands flew into the air once more, but she didn’t storm off in a fit of female furry as he thought she would.  A thoughtful look filled her eyes. She chewed on the inside of her lip.  “I’ll just have to trust their hearts will be changed.”

Honestly I believe 'LOOK' is perfectly fine in all 3 examples. How else would I write these paragraphs? Suggestions please??!?

Now I’m passing this challenge onto five other authors:

Summer Ross
Kirkus MacGowan
Mark Stone
Samantha Memi
Kim Flowers

#CoverReveal : Forbidden Forest by @TenayaJayne

Paranormal / Fantasy Romance  
Release Date: October 13th

Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced obey him, no matter what.


Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.  


Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden. 

I LOVE this cover! It's one I'd see on a shelf & grab without even reading the blurb. But since I have read the blurb, can I just say I LOVE the idea of shapeshifter / elf hybrid??? How freakin' cool is that.

So whatcha think? Like it? Find the blurb interesting?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meet Aimee Laine, Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire, & Win A Signed Bookmark!

Aimee Laine

Ms. Laine was sweet enough to let me participate in her Surrender Blog Tour. Click on the widget on the right to find out where else she's hanging this month to celebrate her new release!

Also be sure to read my review of Surrender HERE. On to the interview ....

Q. Wife, mother, author, blogger, photographer, employee, business owner – how many hours do you have in a day? Seriously, though, you must be extremely organized to do everything you do. Between real life & work, where do you find time for writing?
I write in the mornings, at lunch and in the evenings. Or not. Some days I write nothing. Other days, I can pour out 2000-3000 words in an hour. Just depends on the muse. :) But I'm a major multi-tasker, too, so it's not like I do any one thing a time. I have learned to write while watching TV, or while conversing with my children—when they don't REALLY need me, they just think they need me. :)  
Q. Can you share with us a summed up version of your successful journey to become a published author?
Super summation:
Write 11 novels. Send out 8 of them to agents and get fully rejected. Send out 1 of them to a few indie publishers and get acceptances by two. Pick one. :) History is made!
Seriously, this is what happened. The reality is that these days, there are lots of options for authors and not all of them are right for all people. So for me, going the Indie-Pub route was the perfect way for me to go.
Q. Would you mind offering a smidge of advice for other new authors struggling with their own aspirations of publication?
The #1 thing I tell people is to surround yourself with really good WRITERS and really good storytellers. The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, nor synonymous. You have to find a way to combine both to really get somewhere and if you go Indie or decide to self-pub, you need to become a fantastic marketer. You are your brand. Even with the Big 6 ... YOU are your brand. Always remember that.
Q. Surrender is the 2nd of the Mimics of Rune books – a rockin’ series IMO. Where did the inspiration for the changling stories come from?
Ha! Where? From my standard place : driving in the car and not paying attention when an idea hits me and it's all I can think about. For Little White Lies, it was like that. For Surrender, I already had Lily's character developed a little a knew just enough about her background that I could really pull on the heartstrings. She's such a sensitive, tortured soul and hurting her more was how I really brought out her strength. Ultimately, Lily is a mom without a child. She'll do anything for the right people but if the wrong people mess with her, she's got the strength of steel horses. :)
Q. Would you mind sharing your favorite 6 sentences from Surrender to tease the readers?
These 6 are my favorite, but I can't give you the context around them or it will spoil the story. Just know that THIS is the spot I love the most.

The chirp of birds through an open window woke her.
        Lily rolled over and stared at the man next to her.
His eyes remained open, a gorgeous shade of blue-green.
"Lily?" His tentative question came out on a whisper.
"Hi, Cael."
         His smile grew as large as her own.

Q. The MC of Surrender, Lily Crane, has a hurtful, almost disturbing past she must face before she can move on with her life. Have you ever had a similar experience you drew from? Or is Lily’s story all your muse’s doing?
Lily's story is 100% my muse. I have never experienced what I put her through as a character — what she went through as a character. But I asked myself one question to push myself to feel: What would I do if my child were hurt like she'd been? What would I hope she'd become like? How would I hope she'd cope? and from there, Lily became Lily.
Q. Lily’s love interest, Cael, has waited silently for her for years. Did your own struggling long-distance relationship with the man you finally married, and are still madly in love with I’m sure you’re proud to say, influence these characters in any way?
You'd think, wouldn't you? :)  But, no, again, this is the muse talking. I'm sure my 3 years apart from my hubby helped in some deep-rooted, deep-seated way, but imagining him not around will do that, too. If I can tap into an ounce of fear and worry and distress and hope and love, I can write that into a pound. Or ten pounds and hopefully let you (the reader) feel it too. :)
Q. And finally, what’s next for the Mimics of Rune? I have some guesses, but give us something. Anything. (Like I NEED to be more excited for book #3.) Can’t help myself.  ;)
Redeemed is in progress, with a hopeful 2014 publication. I just need to get it written first and despite what people seem to hope, this IS James AND Maggie's story. Yes, some don't think Maggie is the right man for James, but that's because they don't know Maggie like I do. And who's to say James is as perfect as I've made him out to be? All these little secrets I know and will get to share in there! I'd say that book is about 3% done, so a long way to go, but I hope to have it done by the end of the summer. :) 


Other books by Aimee Laine


Stalk this lovely lady!


Want to win a signed Surrender bookmark??? Simply leave a comment to enter in the drawing & don't forget to leave your email address!

Monday, September 24, 2012

#BookReview : Surrender (Mimics of Rune #2)

Paranormal Romance, Shape-shifter

Surrender by Aimee LaineFace the past or look to the future? Both will hurt. One could kill her.

All her life, Lily Crane has suppressed her childhood memories, masking the signs of abuse with a variety of looks. From brunette to blonde, tall to short — as a Mimic, changing shape is her gift. Her right. Her achilles heel.

It’s Lily’s latest likeness, chosen simply by accident, which threatens to repeat a history she’s desperate to forget. Worse, she must do so without the one man who takes all her pain away: Cael Aldridge.

Cael has no intention of leaving Lily on her own. He never has. Now, with the woman he loves in the hands of a predator who wants Lily for her genetics, Cael will do everything he can to bring her home.


He can only pray he isn’t too late.

My Review:

I gave Little White Lies (Mimics of Rune #1) 5 stars, but this one I must admit captured me more. If 5.5 stars were available, that's what Surrender would receive. Perhaps I ought to change my star rating system.


Lily's story is emotionally moving. She's forced to face her haunting past and finds unexpected, but welcomed surprises along the way.

Yummies:  Cael. Faithful, rock solid changeling who would do anything for Lily. I could go on & on, but what woman wouldn't want a man as focused on her as he is on Lily? She's one lucky woman.

Lily herself is a troubled chracter whose story reaches out to entangle the reader in her woes. She gained my empathy & I couldn't wait for her story to come a-right. I didn't want it to end - I just wanted that HEA she definitely deserved!

Yuckies:  Ray *SPOILER ALERT* the villain came across as a slimy, sneaky, shiver inducing chunk of puke. However, he too was portrayed in such a way that I can't even call his character yucky. Just the changeling himself.

Recommend:  If you enjoyed LWL, you'll love this 2nd installment. If you haven't read LWL, do so!


Be sure to come back on Wednesday when Ms. Laine will be swinging by to answer some questions!!!

#CoverReveal : Resonance (A Halloway Pack Story #2.5)

Release Date: April 2, 2013
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Urban Fantasy, Werewolf

Back of the Book:

Guilt is a heavy burden for the one carrying it. 

Jem Stonehouse is no exception to this rule.

What if she’d acted sooner? What if she’d fully recognised the threat? What if she hadn’t allowed the male pack members to head into the witches’ ambush?

For one, youngest pack member Josh Larsen wouldn’t be trapped in the sleep of the dead.

Now, Jem is convinced it’s her job to bring him back to life no matter what it takes— learning more about her heritage, risking pack exposure, or travelling to places she couldn’t have imagined possible.

Even if the journey endangers her soul.


 Other Books in this series include:

Instinct (#0)
Eternal (#.5)
Darkness & Light (#1)
Blue Moon (#2) (Coming December 3, 2012)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuck In A Good Book #Bloghop #Giveaway

I'm loving these blog hops! So much fun - so many chances to win goodies!
Thanks this time around to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Stuck In Books for hosting.

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom & click on the links for a TON more chances to win!

My Giveaway:

An Ebook copy of No Turning Back
by Kim Flowers

The punishment for a seventh-grade dropout runaway is probably pretty harsh, but Ash Barker doesn't care. She can’t waste time or emotions on anyone but her brother, Matt. They were placed in separate foster homes, so Ash runs away to find him. If she fails, she’s headed back to juvenile detention.

Everything is going right on schedule until two kids, Dayna and Kevin, barge into her hideout -- which just happens to be in their house. She ditches the pair fast, but can’t stop thinking about those bruised, skinny kids.

Dayna and Kevin live with abusive parents who force them to stay in their room most of the time. If they go to the authorities for help, they’ll be split up, too. Ash knows how that feels, and she goes back to help, taking the two with her. With any luck, they’ll all help each other along the way.

Meanwhile, as Matt waits for Ash, he can’t resist telling his foster brother and best friend, Jon-Allen, about the plans. They stash food, earn money, and keep watch for the night Ash appears at their bedroom window.

Ash is so happy to be reunited with Matt and to discover she’s falling in love with Dayna that, at first, she doesn’t worry about what they’ll do next. But life on the road begins to take its toll -- they have to resort to shoplifting and scavenging to survive. Ash feels a growing sense of guilt at the disaster she’s made of everyone’s lives. Can she somehow keep her newfound “family” together despite hunger and sickness? Or will she be able to find the strength to reach out for help?

Click on the book cover to add No Turning Back to your Goodreads to-read list!

Kim Flowers began writing stories when she was seven years old.  She wrote the first draft of "No Turning Back" when she was eleven.  Her next novel, "The Divide, Book 1:  Uprising" is scheduled for publication January 2013.  She lives with her wife and son in Indiana.

Bare Apple Trees & Belly Buttons

I’m taking a break from the blogging world of books and writing to share a smidge about … well, me. Or rather my life.
I think I’m a pretty private person – I keep my fb private anyway. (HERE is my author page if you’re interested.) But anyhoo … back to my post title. Two unrelatable things, both of which I’m looking at on this fine September day.
An old decrepit apple tree hunches over a bit of my back yard with leaves aplenty but no juicy fruit. ‘Too old’ I hear its leaves whisper in the blowing breeze. Soon it’ll be chopped down, its trunk ripped from the ground so new sod can be laid for my two daughters’ little feet.
And here’s where we get to the 2nd object - belly buttons.

Unlike this fully clothed child, my 2 ½ & 4 yr old girls love to run around naked. I have NO idea where they get that from.
Covered in sand and dirt, they traipse from swing to slide to sandbox sprinkling ‘glitter’ across the backyard. Like our lawn needs more sand.
Oh the innocence of childhood. To be so free - to see the world as they do and not be concerned about the mortgage or car payments - to not know how hard some dreams are to fulfill. (Still waiting on that first royalty payment!!)
Would you give up your knowledge - the wisdom you’ve gained - for just a taste of their world once more? Or are you looking forward to the days you get to say, ‘Too old’ and just rest your tired feet and mind?

Monday, September 17, 2012

#BookReview : Bridesmaid Lotto

Chicklit / Contemporary Romance

From Goodreads:

Josephine McMaster is pretty and smart, but very much a klutzy mess. Finally, at 26, she may have actually lost the dreaded ‘McMaster the Disaster’ nickname that has followed her around her whole life.

Josie’s quite content to be single, much to her mother’s disappointment. So when a bizarre contest is announced where a socialite is holding a lottery to pick her bridesmaids (and rake in a little extra cash), she can’t roll her eyes fast enough, even if it does mean meeting Jake Hall, her one and only movie star crush. Obviously, Josie doesn’t enter the bridesmaid lottery, so you can imagine her surprise when her picture pops up among the winners, thanks to Mom. With a little prodding -- okay bribing -- Josie agrees to participate.

The wedding turns into the event of the year, and Josie finds herself in the middle of a paparazzi feeding frenzy, which gets even crazier after Jake Hall takes a special interest in her.

Can Josie handle the pressure in the spotlight? Is it possible she might really have a chance with Jake Hall? And if she’s busy worrying about all that, how in the heck is she going to keep ‘McMaster the Disaster’ from showing up in front of the entire world?


My Review:

Society goes nuts when a well-known socialite announces she'll be choosing bridesmaids from a lotto that the public can purchase a ticket for & cross their fingers to win. Her brother-in-law to be, Jack Hall, is one of Hollywood's most sought after bachelors AND a groomsman.

Josie, the MC, is unknowingly entered into the drawing by her mother. She wins.

Yummies: The MC is totally believable & likeable, flawed to a T. I really enjoyed joining her on this unwanted but exciting trip. The flamboyant side-kick is a riot. I had fun as he drug her from place to place picking out clothing & accressories for each event she had to attend.

I liked too that it was an easy read, not needing too many brain cells or emotions. The pacing and tiny bits of tension evolved in perfect timing.

Yuckies: I'm a sucker for description. I don't need info dumps, but cleverly entwined bits here & there go a long way. Well description really lacked in this book. From setting to how people looked just a smidge more would have helped with that star rating.

There was also a lack of emotional responses which hindered my empathy from becoming engaged. Take for example the *SPOILER ALERT* first kiss between Josie & Jack. There is no emotional reponse from the MC. None. The scene fell flat & I was disappointed.

Recommend: As long as you're not looking for an in depth read, one to stir the senses, then this book is for you. I certainly wasn't jumping out of my skin and screaming, 'OMG this freakin' rocked!' It was good, though.

Kick back - especially if your brain isn't functioning all that well and prepare yourself to be entertained.

Whatcha think? Read it? Gunna read it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Editing = UGH

Those of you who follow me on Twitter & Facebook will notice something … I like to complain about editing. It is by far my least favorite part of creating a story. The necessary evil IMO. And I don’t ‘go’ this part alone. Oh no. I’m involved in a critique group over at Scribophile, a workshop for serious-minded writers.
I’ve gotten tons of feedback over the past year and not just grammar related. Plot holes, believability – you name it.
What do I use besides my forum? A biggie list.

Once a WiP is all on paper or in the computer I read for content. This is where I take into consideration all those plot holes or questions forum friends & beta readers bring to attention. I also address three other major items:

#1 Plot. Is it believable? Interesting? Are all my i’s dotted? T’s crossed? It must make sense and have an arc.
#2 Tension. Are there primal stakes every reader can relate to – facing death, fear, hunger, etc? Is the conflict (inner & outward) clear? Granted there will be down times. We all need to breathe and take a potty break. BUT a well-written story will keep those pages turning & e-readers clicking.
#3 Pacing. Is every scene essential to the plot? Does it drive the plot forward? If not then slash it. It’s fluff.  
After these three are mostly ironed out I go onto the finishing touches:
#1 Grammar. Spell check is always first. You’d think ‘well duh!’ but it’s amazing to me how many e-books I’ve come across with misspelled words. Sloppy & sad.
#2 Over used, repeated words. Ever get lazy & use the same verb over & over? Take ‘walk’ for example. How ‘bout spicing up the visual with a different word to convey how they walk? Amble. Hobble. Dart. Sprint. They create much better pictures in your brain, don’t they?
#3 ‘And then’ eliminations. Other than being ‘telly’ they’re boring and create no visuals whatsoever.
#4 Cliches. Gotta be original. Bring something new – something fresh – to entice readers and capture their imaginations.
#5 Vary sentence starts. It’s not pleasing to the eye or mind if every other paragraph starts with the MC’s name followed by a map-out of what they’re doing or have done.
#6 Correct word usage. There, their, they’re. To, too, two. I’m sure you get my drift!

Quite the daunting task isn’t it? Thank God for sites like Scribo & Writer’s Digest for helping with the vast majority of the first checklist.
The finishing is TONS easier when using AutoCrit or Pro Writing Aid. Never heard of them? Check those sites out. You can thank me later.
I know I need to stop complaining about editing. For me it’s just another twenty seconds of procrastination.

How ‘bout you? Have any tried & proven ways? Helpful websites?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

#BookReview : Onyx (Lux Series #2) by @JLArmentrout

YA Paranormal

From Goodreads:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies ...

Sweet. Alien. Babies.
How am I supposed to review this book?? I finished it over 5 hours ago and still can’t get my head screwed on straight. My emotions are still all a-jumble. What star rating to give it, I’ve been wondering? Can’t freakin’ figure it out!
Why ever not? You might holler – especially if you’ve already read it.

Because while I LOVED it, I hated it.

Hated that I’m still affected 5 HOURS LATER! Hate how it ended. Hate what happened to poor momma and she doesn’t. Even. Know it. Yet.
Oh, but the love. *insert cheesy dream-like background music here*
Characters – phenomenal. Tension – palatable. Plot – KICK@$$. What else can I say without giving anything away?!?!?!?!?
Ms. Armentrout sure knows how to write a story, let me tell you. She brought characters to life in Obsidian, ones that dwell in your mind FOREVER. To finally have their story continue ….
I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the words. Just call me simple, folks.
Wait. I do have one word. Daemon. Wait. I have another word. YUM.
Yup. Simple.
Smokin’ monitors, ladies. Smokin’. Read it. And read it again.
Need. Opal. Now.
That is all.

So my review??? 5 Stars. Of course.

 Purchase Links (Cuz you WANT to buy this series. Trust me.)

Shadows (Lux #0.5)



Obsidian (Lux #1)

Onyx (Lux #2)