Friday, February 25, 2011

Why are we yelling?!

Do you remember when you were in elementary/middle/high school, and you used to pass notes? Do you remember what those notes said? Please, allow me.

Hey! Oh my gosh, today has been the worst day EVER! Guess who totally walked by me and didn't even say hello?! It was like he didn't even see me!! I was so mad!

So...maybe not everyone had something as trivial as that to say. Perhaps it was just me who felt my tiny, teenage heart being squeezed by the un-affections of the male species.

Moving on.

When looking at the "note" above, I see nothing wrong with it. It's not meant to be literature, it's supposed to be venting.

Emails, blogging, texting, etc, are all similar. Do you have to be grammatically correct all the time? No way. That's exhausting. (Though when dealing with business communications, one should endeavor to be as close to perfection as possible.)

Novels, on the other hand, well, let me say I learned things the hard way.

Here is an unedited line from the very first book I wrote. (Someday I'm going to go back and rewrite the entire book.)

“Gilbert what’s going on?”
“Nothing! But it’s got to be the red ones. I don’t like the green ones!” Gilbert shook his head vigorously and furrowed his brow in disgust.

There are many things wrong with this scene (not just this little passage). In the interest of time, I'll refrain from dissecting it and get to the point.

The characters are talking about apples. Gilbert is a pudgy little boy with a big heart. He's got dirty cheeks and holds his hands behind his back as he talks. Can you imagine someone asking him suspiciously, "What's going on?"

Gilbert, who is innocent, shakes his head, his eyes as big as saucers. "Nothing," he insists.

Does he really shout the answer? Probably only if he's being defensive, which, in this case he isn't. When he also insists that he can't stand green apples, does he really have to yell?

If he were strapped to a table and men covered in lab coats and masks were forcing his mouth open to shove in a sliver of green apple, it would probably warrant him shouting, "I don't like the green ones!" Other than that? No raising of the voice is necessary.

But the real question is, how do I know he's shouting? Because of this nifty little invention: !

When my sister announces to everyone she's pregnant (hypothetically speaking, of course), I will say, "Congrats!!!" and put as many exclamation points on there as I please. In literature, however, the exclamation point should be used as sparingly as possible and only when appropriate.

For instance, if your character wakes in the middle of the night to a smoke filled room and heat licking at the door, he will probably sit up and shout, "Fire!"

If, as the author, you were to write something like: "Fire," he shouted. - The meaning would be totally lost. Your reader would lose confidence in you and probably write horrible things about you on their blog. Just kidding. I hope.

If your character is really, honest-to-goodness shouting, give him an exclamation point! (But only one.) If he is insisting, scolding, excited, nervous, issuing a warning, and a bushel of other adjectives and verbs, well, then, some discretion is advised.

I just started reading a book that is not exactly published by a major publishing house. I put it down after the first page and rubbed my temples. 

"Are you alright?"
"Well, I'll leave you to it!"
"Yes. I'll be home in time for supper!"

(Not a direct quote.)

The dialogue consisted of so many exclamation points, I finally had to ask myself, "Why is everyone screaming at each other?" With the exclamation point, I read it in my head as yelling, and that's enough to give a person a headache.

What you really have to remember is, yes, there are times when your character will shout. And when those times come, you must make sure enough emotion is otherwise portrayed in the scene so that the reader knows the exclamation point is warranted.

Punctuation is not used to show an emotion. You are the author, that's your job. You are the lead detective, punctuation is just the back-up. Pin It

Review: Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner

*Sequel to Nobody's Princess*

Princess Helen of Sparta manages to make her way aboard The Argo, with the help of her best friend Milo, disguised as a boy and hiding from her older brothers - who are also aboard the legendary ship. She forges new friendships, falls in love, discovers Hercules has fallen in love with her (as a boy), and suffers heart-wrenching tragedies. Along the way she discovers one painful truth: people aren't always what they seem.

Nobody's Prize is not a particularly long book, but there is so much action packed into it that I felt like I'd traveled so far, only to discover I was merely 20 pages into the book.

Helen seemed a little to unobservant at times for my taste, but at others she was quick witted and cunning. She nearly managed to think her way out of every problem she got herself into (and there were a lot), and the ones she couldn't think her way out of, she just used her sword.

Helen seems a very capable and human heroine. She manages to wear many faces during the book and slips into each mask perfectly. Helen is truly a wonder.

There was one detail about the ending that I was disappointed with, but I see why it had to be that way.

Good read. A little bit of language, some suggestive references, as well as homosexuality.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Giveaway: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

I recently read and reviewed The Oracle of Stamboul, and I loved it. I'm spreading the love by hosting a giveaway for my advanced reading copy.

Yay! This really is a beautiful book.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment with your name and email address. (you can write out the dot and com so you don't get hit by spammers: janedoe(at)yahoo(dot)com)

For additional entries, you can do the following:
+1 Follow my blog
+1 Follow The Gifted on Facebook
+1 Leave a comment with an interview question for me
              Limit 2 questions, and they can be anything appropriate for an author interview.

Leave a separate comment for EACH entry. A winner will be chosen using Invalid entries are subject to deletion.

Contest closes Monday, February 28th at midnight MST. Winner will be announced Tuesday, March 1st.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

Young Eleonora Cohen, a Jewess born in 1877, is a girl of many talents. She can read and write in 7 languages, she learned to read and memorized entire books by the age of eight. Eleonora is a quiet, reserved girl who loves to read and is constantly thinking.

When her doting father, Yakob, plans a business trip to Stamboul, Eleonora does not plan to stay behind in the care of her resentful aunt and stepmother, Ruxandra. She stows away in one of Yakob's trunks. It is there, on the shores of Bosporus, Eleonora meets her father's business partner and friend, Moncef Bey, and realizes a new life awaits her.

This new life includes tragedy, an American Tutor who could be a spy, and meetings with the Sultan Abdulhamid II.

Let me first start by saying I don't love historical fiction. I don't know why, I just usually don't necessarily enjoy it.

I had heard that the beginning of The Oracle of Stamboul was a little slow, and I found this to be the case. Luckily I pushed through and found the jewel within.

The writing is simply fantastic! The descriptions were natural and flowing. I felt like, for a time, I was tucked into this world or warm sunshine where everything smelled like lilacs with a hint of orange. I was a little hesitant to enjoy a book where the main character is 8-years-old, but as you will find, she is no ordinary girl. And truly, this is no ordinary book.

The jury is still out on whether or not I appreciated the ending, but I suppose it's the only way Eleonora would have wanted her story to end.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads Firstreads program.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Princess Poppy and her eleven sisters were cursed to dance every night for over ten years in an underground palace with half-mortal princes. But Princess Poppy's brother-in-law broke the curse, and now they're free. Poppy has vowed never to dance again!

Poppy, now 16, is sent to a foreign country in a royalty exchange program. She meets Prince Christian, who is also on the exchange program. He is so easy to like, they immediately become good friends.

From here, the story is very Cinderella. Enter a ball, a mysterious beautiful princess who wears slippers made of glass and disappears at midnight.

Princess Poppy can see the mystery princess for who she is, and she knows what a curse is when she sees once. She rolls up her sleeves to tackle the challenge, but she must hurry. The mystery princess has her sights on Christian.

This is the sequel to The Princess at the Midnight Ball.

I adored this story. I love fairytale retellings, and this was no exception. Poppy was sassy but lovable. The descriptions were natural and beautiful. I really enjoyed escaping to the "princess" life while reading this book.

The only thing I did not like was the ending. I felt it was a little abrupt and forced. Maybe that's because I wanted the story to keep going? I don't know. Either way, this was a fabulous read.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things I am learning about myself through my writing.

Yesterday my sister-in-law handed back the proof copy of The Gifted. You should see this thing! I looks like it's 40 years old and it's covered in red. It looks like we broke the top off a red pen and smeared it on every page! Fine, it's only half that bad.

Going through the edits, though, is actually kind of fun. And trust me, you'll thank us for working so hard. At least, I hope you will. Ok, I'll thank us and call it good.

So here are some things that I've learned about myself as a writer.

I'm a pretty funny person (in my humble opinion). I appreciate humor. I laugh loud and often. I've even been described as giggly. (Don't ask.) But I guess it's just not in my stars to write a funny book. I have no talent for it. Apparently I'm more suited to write about teenage angst. (Insert shrug here.) Who knew?

I am in love with the ellipsis, and I use it often. (An ellipsis is this: ...) Yeah, I may enjoy using it on my blog or in emails, but I've discovered it looks terrible on a printed page! Not only do I over-use it, but I use it incorrectly. In everyday use, I insert and ellipsis to indicate a dramatic pause. Sure. Fine. Whatever. In literature, a comma is used for a pause, and ellipses are used to denote intentionally leaving out a word or statement. Or one can use it in written dialogue to trail off the end of a sentence (because there should be words there, but I intentionally left them off. See?). It's been frustrating to see how often in insert those three little dots.

My SIL says she can see some of my personality in the main character, Pyper. I'm afraid that Pyper doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities, so that makes me a little nervous. I plan on making her a little bit more likeable. She's pretty sassy, and I'll keep her that way. But I'll at least give the male hero in the story a reason to be attracted to her.

I am not really good at writing kissing scenes. If I've learned one thing about YA novels, there has to be some kissing, otherwise the romance is kind of a let down. Yesterday, I asked Kadie, "Do you think this needs  kissing in it?" That's not a question I ever thought I'd ask someone. :) I don't know why it's so hard for me to write a kissing scene. It's almost like I'm too shy to describe it.

Most of the time when I describe a feeling, it's visceral. A lot of fear, pain, fear, excitement is felt in my stomach. Apparently.

I've learned a lot of other things, but I think I'll stop there. I do have a lot more editing and formatting to do. Pin It

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review: The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

He was a king, but 200 years ago a wild magic man turned him into a bear as punishment for his cruelties against animals and magic. He's had two centuries of loneliness to think about the pathetic ruler he was.

She was a hound who lived as a human for a year in the body of a princess. Now she's a hound again, and she's found companionship in the oddest of places: an enchanted bear.

The two live in peace until a strange death of unmagic plagues their forest home. The only person who can help them is the wild man who turned the king into a bear. When they find him, the answer is not what they thought it would be. He will return them to human form and send them back in time to the day Richon was turned into a bear. It is there that they must risk everything, even each other, to battle the evil magic that will destroy everything: animal, human and magic alike.

This is the sequel to The Princess and the Hound. The title is a little misleading because even though Chala inhabited the body of a princess, she never actually was a princess.

I enjoyed this installment better than the first. The chapters alternate between Richon and Chala's point of view. It was interesting to see the characters battle within themselves. Chala is a hound but finds she's also human. Richon is a human, but after being a bear for 200 years, he's bound to pick up on some of the mentalities.

The love story is simple and sweet and genuine.

There was a lot more gore than I expected. Richon and Chala find themselves in a battle between kingdoms as well as a battle between magic and unmagic, so there is a lot of killing and gory death.

Like I said, I enjoyed this book better than the first in the series.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Want to know what your teens are reading?

I have a hip aunt who likes to read the same books as her teenagers. She does this so she knows what they're reading and she can chime in on conversations and know what they're talking about.

I think this approach is quite brilliant, actually. It's a great way to stay in tune with what your kids are up to as well as have a way to connect with them.

But what if you don't have time to read every book your kids are reading? Or what if you don't have teenagers, but you see a popular book and wonder if it has offensive material? Just because we're adults doesn't mean we want to read explicit material or be submerged in foul language.

Well, a few days ago I stumbled upon a book blog that is so ingenious, I had to share.

Photobucket Here's how it works. Three teenagers read YA books and then post reviews. Then they hand them over to a parent or adult to read. The adult then posts a review on including ratings on violence, sexual content, language, and anything else they think you, as the parent or interested reader, might need to know. (A link to the parental review is at the bottom of every review on In some cases, they even break down by page where the sexual references are or list the number of each swear word.

There is a list of books for guys (because not every teenage boy loves to read Twilight) and a list of recommended clean reads. Still all popular YA novels.

This is fabulous! I feel like this is now my go-to website for wanting to know about a book. In fact, the other day I saw a book I thought looked interesting. I went to this website and found it had more swearing than I wanted to read. So I didn't check it out.  (I admit I can stomach a handful of "mild" swear words, but any more than that and I start to lose confidence in the author's lack to create an intriguing story. It starts to sound crass and cheap.)

Anyway, this is so cool.

Thanks to everyone who makes this service possible. It is really amazing. Do them a favor and check out their website. Follow them if you'd like. It seems like a worthy cause to me. That and they do giveaways at least once a week:)

Any other good book reviewing blogs or websites you would suggest? Pin It

Teaser Tuesday -5-

Pick up your current read. Flip to a random page. Post 2 spoiler free passages. Include the book name and author for interested readers.

The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

Page 241

"You must be a very stubborn Man," said Chala.
Richon laughed. "I thank you," he said with a short bow.

"Closer your eyes," said Richon.
Chala closed her eyes.
"Do you feel the magic within you?" Richon asked.
"Yes," said Chala.

This is the sequel to the Princess and the Hound. In some ways it's much better, and in others it's just a little stranger. I am really enjoying it though. Pin It

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to break through Writer's Block.

I am no Stephenie Meyer, but I have been around the block when it comes to writing novels. Did I mention I've written five?

And I've banged my head against that mental brick wall before.

Scientifically, there are some very good reasons for experiencing writer's block. It has to do with brain waves and such. Anyway, if you've never hit that barrier before, let me explain it to you. Wait, first let me explain the writer's block I'm talking about is the kind that occurs in short periods of time. Not the kind that stalls a novel for weeks at a time. OK, here we go.

Sitting at the keyboard, my fingers flying so fast I think they're tying in knots, the story comes alive on the page before me. Seriously, this is really how it happens! Ok, focus. So, the story comes. The character is afraid. He/she sees a door, and it's the door we all see in a movie and we shout, "Don't open the door!" But what does the character do? He/she opens the stupid door and steps into the dark.

And then...

And then...?

And then my fingers hover over the keyboard. Literally, they wait and wait as my brain goes, "Uhh...what? Did you say something?" Like it had been asleep the whole time and is just waking up, completely oblivious to the fact the story is depending on it! And still my fingers hover, waiting for the words that don't come. Sometimes I look over my shoulder at nothing, and Mr. A says, "What's wrong?" I just shake my head, conveying, "Don't bother me, I'm in a daze."

So how do I get out of the mental black hole, around the brick wall, out of the bottomless pit?

Simple. I dance around the kitchen with my son. Crank up some peppy music, dance, laugh, make a fool of myself, get my blood flowing and my mind flying.

You don't have a child? Dance around the kitchen with your spouse. Don't have a spouse? Dance around the kitchen with your significant other. Your dog. Your cat. Your gerbil. Yourself. You at least have that readily available. Don't have a kitchen? Dance around the living room, your office, the bedroom, in the shower, down the street...whatever! (Just try not to do it in too much of a public place. :) )

You think I'm kidding, but I mean it. Sometimes you just have to get up and move before there are permanent hiney indentations on your writing chair.

So. The next time you are caged in by your own mind, get up and turn on some music. After your heart is pumping and you feel like you've got the giggles, get back to work. You will have to get back in the groove, but at least the words are coming once again.

Anyone else have any good ideas? Pin It

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Anyone found with Animal Magic is burned at the stake. What would the citizens of Kendal think if they knew their beloved queen had Animal Magic? What would they say if they found their Prince, George, also inherited the evil?

But to George, it isn't evil at all. He can speak the language of the animals around him, and it's a wonderful world he shares with his mother. But when the queen dies because of a strange fever brought on by the magic, George does everything in his power to suppress it in himself without letting it overcome him.

10 years later the king falls ill and George, who is 17, is betrothed to Princess Beatrice of Sarrey: a nation Kendal has warred with in the past. It's a political marriage, but George has no desire to be close to anyone, even his betrothed wife. He does everything for the kingdom, and he has accepted that responsibility.

When George travels to Sarrey to meet Princess Beatrice, he finds something strange and unsettling about her. She has a beautiful, wild hound that is with her every moment of the day. How can George marry a woman who is so close to an animal? It will be near impossible to keep his Animal Magic at bay. But slowly George discovers something even deeper in the bond between woman an hound. A different kind of animal magic. And the strangest twist of all? The King's illness is connected.

Now George must hurry to save a love he didn't think could exist and a king he doesn't want to replace.


The storytelling in this book was fantastic. There was a lot of myth, legend and folklore involved.

I was very surprised to find The Princess and the Hound was written from George's point of view. He is a man who feels deeply and sometimes does the right thing for the wrong reasons.  His sense of duty propels him, and he has no need for human or animal relationships.

There were times where I felt the love triangle was a little strange (I won't tell you who is involved in said triangle). But the author did a fantastic job trying to make it as not awkward as possible. :)

All in all, it wasn't my most favorite book ever, but it was definitely worth the read. I already have the sequel in my hand, and I think that says something.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

I just thought I'd share.

I feel a little funny saying this, but here it goes: I have a website.

I read an article from that said when promoting your book, the first thing you need to do is create a website and a blog. Notice the middle word there? And. Not or. And.

So, I created the blog first, then the website. Hey, the article never mentioned what order they had to come in.

There is really nothing on my website that isn't on my blog, but at least my presence is now on the internet. I keep changing the design of my blog trying to make it simple and not resemble my website too much. Bare with me during the "construction" phase of the blog...and probably the website as well.

Anyway, if you want to see my site, here is the address:

Pretty cool, huh?

I've been looking at other authors' websites trying to see what they post and such. It all varied so much that I couldn't find any common ground, really. Well, that's not true. I did realize that every author's personality was visible in their blog. I guess that makes my personality blocky and a bit empty.


I guess I'll find my way once I have more to add. Right now I have no interviews, no reviews, no additional books or projects. My presence in the writing world is somewhat in the newborn stage. Actually, I'm not even born yet, so I guess I should feel pleased that I had anything to put on my website! :)

By the way, suggestions would be helpful. Pin It

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's the little things.

As of right now, I have 15 "likes" on Facebook. I have 9 followers on blogger. And, get this, I have a fan on Goodreads! An actual fan! Yes, yes, yes, yes!

Who cares if he's a friend? I didn't have to ask him to be my fan, did I? For the record, no. I didn't ask him. His wife is one of my old roommates, and she periodically tells me that he's asking about my book. That sure makes a person feel good.

Yeah, right now, I'm feeling really good.

Thank you, thank you EVERYONE for being so supportive and so excited for me.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a cloud nine to float on. Pin It

Review: Keeper of Infinity by Haley Weilmuenster

Airyn and Trent come from very different backgrounds. Airyn has a loving home, doting family, loyal best friends. Trent has nothing. He has a father who hates him and no friends at school.

But the two have one very important thing in common. They're both dead.

After dying, Airyn finds her way into a colorful room, pictures of her life everywhere, and file cabinets full of her life. She has a decision to make: go to heaven with her memories (the good and the bad), or go to heaven with her mind wiped blank of her life.

Trent is there to help her decide; he is her Keeper of Infinity. In order to make her decision, Airyn must first face the nightmares of her life, and, ultimately, her death.


This book is short, more like a novella, or maybe even a novelette, ringing in at a mere 70 pages. The author is a Junior in High School, and I was impressed that she would be following her dreams at such an early age.

I am a little torn about this book.

I loved the characters. Airyn and Trent are good people, regardless of the mistakes they've made or the lives they've been thrown into. The story and plot were intriguing! What an idea, that you get to decide what kind of heaven you want to live in. The author gave simple, yet powerful, descriptions of afterlife. And the thought that you can find true love only when your life has ended seems a cruel irony, but it's better late than never!

Weilmuenster shows great potential as an author. Her creativity and gift for storytelling ensure she has a bright future.

However, there are a few things that I did not love.

First of all, given the length of the book, I was quite shocked to find there were about 15 uses of the f-word. Really? There is a lot of foul language, which I don't think is appropriate, even though the characters are primarily teens.

There is also a lot of mention of casual sex. There is no detail, thank goodness. But it's flippant and there's no remorse. Call me old fashioned, but it makes me sad to read about a girl who, at the tender age of 13, earned the reputation of being easy and responds with a nonchalant shrug.

The writing in Keeper of Infinity needs a little more development. There were times I was confused who was speaking. The timeline is sometimes disjointed. We meet Airyn, and then after a few pages, we read the story of her mother going into labor with Airyn. Then a few pages later we learn about how her parents met. It's fantastic character building, but it seems to come out of order.

Like I said before, Weilmuenster has a lot of potential as an author, but her writing is underdeveloped. She could have added so much more to make Keeper of Infinity more than an a short story, or novelette.

In the end, I did enjoy this book. I give it 3 stars. I was intrigued and loved the story. But I just can't appreciate alcohol, drugs, sex, and foul language rampant especially among teenage characters.

I received a complimentary copy of Keeper of Infinity by Haley Weilmuenster as a member of the    
    Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team.  Visit
    to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. You can find Keeper of Infinity on or here.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My own worst enemy.

I finished my proof read of The Gifted last night.

I was pleasantly surprised. Deep inside I was afraid that it was going to be terrible and I'd have to retract all the hard work I've done to market my book. I was breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about what I was going to tell people when they asked why they couldn't read my book.

"Sorry. It stinks." (Insert pathetic shrug here.)

But the good news is, it doesn't stink! :) I knew that, I just needed reassurance. 

I was also surprised at the number of edits I'm going to have to do. I went through last night and counted. Out of 256 pages, plus the dedication page, about the other page, and copyright page, so 259 total, there were 15 pages that did not have edits.

Very few of these were grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. A few, but not many. Mostly it's just things like redundant word use or a description that doesn't really fit. At one point, I even made Mr. A stand up and attack me so I'd know how natural Pyper's reaction was.

It wasn't natural at all.

The thing that makes me laugh, though, is how hard I am on myself. If you flipped through my proof copy of The Gifted, you would see things like, "This is weak." Or "What? That makes no sense."

Mostly I say those things so I will know what a reader is thinking at that point. Yes, I have read a book before and thought, "What? That makes no sense." So I'm doing everything in my power to keep my readers from doing the same thing.

My husband says it probably doesn't matter how many times I edit and review my book, I'll never be completely satisfied. I think he's right. I just want it to be perfect. I'm doing all this for you. Pin It

Teaser Tuesday -4-

Rules: Pick up your current read. Flip to a random page. Post two spoiler free selections from the book. Include the author and book title so interested readers know what to look for.

Anyone can play! Just post on your blog and give us a link, or post in the comments so we know what to check out from the library.

The Princess and the Hound, by Mette Ivie Harrison

Page 209

1. The implications of that fell on George slowly, producing a black heaviness in his heart. In a hoarse voice, he asked, "Are you saying my father will die soon?"

2. "What do you know of Princess Beatrice?" George demanded, distracted from his own doubts at the thought of her.

I am very excited to keep reading this book. So far I'm on page 8 or something silly like that. I've actually been waiting a long time to get my hands on Harrison's books. (There are 3 in this series.) Pin It

Monday, February 7, 2011

Come find me

Today is a momentous occasion.

This morning I put The Gifted on Goodreads. You can find the page here.

You will see the release date and...ready? The cover! Yes. The cover art is available to the public for viewing. I am confident you will love it as much as I do. So much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears went into it. I didn't design it, but I've been working closely with my sister-in-law, who did design it. Even I don't know how much work went into it, but I can guess how many hours. It's been Kadie's part time job for the 10 days or so. And she has done a fantastic job. Seriously marvelous.  I could not be happier. I told Kadie to be ready, her cover art is about to be famous! (That's me being optimistic.) If you totally love the cover art, leave me a comment so Kadie will know she did a fantastic job.

So head over and check out the page for the Gifted. If you are a Goodreads member, please do me a favor and add it to your "to-read" shelf. The reason I put it on Goodreads was so that I can start circulating The Gifted and spark some interest. When we get closer to the release date, I will have giveaways on there. I will post reminders and links, so fear not.

I have my application in to Goodreads right now to merge my profile to an author account. It'll probably take a few days, they said. But then I'll be an author on Goodreads. I'm not sure I can handle the pressure, but I'll sure try:)

Update: I am now on Facebook! This is a page just for The Gifted. I'm not personally on there, so if you send me a(n ignored) friend request, please don't take it personally! Pin It

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Proof reading.

The title of the post is actually a play on words.

I got the proof copy of The Gifted in the mail yesterday. I got out my red pen and my ruler and I've been marking up the book. The first mark was the hardest. I didn't want to defile my book! But after that first correction, things have been much easier.

The first time I went through, I measured the chapter headings and found weird spaces in odd places. I had a critical eye for just formatting.

The second time around, I am actually reading the book, looking for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. I am also looking for plot holes or things that don't make sense.

So far there are a lot of little things, but nothing really all that major. I'm about a third of the way through and am pleased with the results thus far. We're finally getting into the goods of the book...even though I think it's all "goods."

It is an incredible feeling to read this book and realize, "I did that." I'm not entirely sure I'll ever get over it. Pin It

Media Mail

I ran across this random article about 13 Things Your Mail Carrier Won't Tell You. They're pretty good to know, but the one that really caught my eye was number four:

4. Media Mail is a bargain, but most of you don’t know to ask for it. Sending ten pounds of books from New York City to San Francisco through Media Mail costs $5.89, compared with $16.77 for Parcel Post. Besides books, use it to send manuscripts, DVDs, and CDs; just don’t include anything else in the package.

Cool! I can get a good deal when I send books through Media Mail - which I had never really heard of before. But what else caught my attention? One word: manuscripts. It's pricey to send your manuscript to publishers, but apparently not as pricey as I'd thought.

Also, with me doing all the promoting of my book, I'll be responsible for sending copies of my books to reviewers as well as giveaway winners. This will definitely save me some cash. 

So keep all this in mind if you're sending your work to publishers or even a CD of pictures to your baby's grandparents. Pin It

Review: The Redemption of Holly Dobson by C. Lynn Barton

I actually got this book in the mail the other day to review. I have to be honest here, I didn't actually finish the book. I just couldn't.


Holly Dobson is a woman who grew up in a dark childhood. Her biological mother (whom she calls her "real" mother, but as an adoptive parent I find that a little offensive. I cut the author and character slack because her adopted mother is verbally abusive.) dropped Holly off for day care when she was six months old and never came back for her. The day care owners decided to adopt her to replace the baby they'd lost the day after she was born.

The book goes into pretty good detail about the kinds of things Holly endured as a child. Verbal abuse, unclean living conditions, a father who sexually abuses her by making her watch things. This goes on for the first six chapters or so. Then everything changes abruptly and Holly is a grown woman. A new couple moves into the house across the street, and when Holly goes over to meet them, she is instantly lusting after the husband, Normal. Yes, that's his name. The wife, Kate, becomes Holly's best friend, even after she fantasizes about Normal every night.

Suddenly Kate gets sick and is hospitalized. Normal invites Holly to stay the night. And she does. Yes, this happens while Kate is in the hospital. She sleeps in a separate bedroom, but in the middle of the night, she wakes up and goes to see Normal. She finds him with horns on his head and fire coming out his hands.

Yes, Normal is the Devil. Holly even talks to her Catholic priest to confirm it. And he does. He and two other priests have been hunting Normal for 25 years.

Kate dies a few days later, and Normal seduces Holly. He impregnates her because, apparently, the only way he can continue to live on the earth is if he can get a woman pregnant and then lives in that body.

At this point, I put the book down. I'm sorry to the author and to the book, but I just couldn't read any more.

I don't enjoy reading about sex or the devil or evil spawn. The title of the book is the Redemption of Holly Dobson, but I can't make it to the Redemption part.

Besides the subject content, I found the author's writing interesting. She uses a lot of dialogue and I like that.

Unfortunately there were a lot of errors. Misspelled words, missing punctuation, etc.

I gave it one star because I couldn't even finish the book. In the author's defense, it wasn't the writing style. Like I said, I didn't mind it. It was the subject.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: The Light Bearer's Daughter by O.R. Melling

Twelve year old Dana lives in Ireland with her Canadian father. Her mother disappeared when Dana was just three years old. Her father, Gabe, decides it's time they move back to his homeland, and Dana is sent into a fury thinking when she realizes leaving means losing all hope that they'll ever find her mother. Suddenly a strange young woman appears and gives her a mission. Deliver a message to King Lugh, a Faerie king, and a wish will be granted.

Dana knows exactly what she wants to wish for. She takes on the mission, "Runs away" from home to find Lugh of the Mountains and tell him an evil has entered the Land. Where is the light?

Along her way Dana is met with insurmountable obstacles. But don't worry, every time she is met with a terrifying challenge, someone else is there to rescue the girl.

The Light Bearer's Daughter is Book 3 in the Chronicles of Faerie. The books are written so they can be read in any order. I read Book 2 a few years ago and loved it. I have always kept Melling's name at the back of my mind and finally rediscovered her. I have yet to read Book 1.

I found the first half of the book difficult to get into. It took me about a week to read the first 150 pages. I finished the second half in one day.

The descriptions of Faerie land were fabulous. They were fantastical and frank, which made them so believable. The characters were well developed.

There are religious undertones (which don't bother me at all). There is also a lot of tree hugging (literally) and a PETA type feel to some parts. I don't mind any of this, but if it bothers you, perhaps you might want to read something else.

I think one of the reasons it was so hard for me to get into the book was the story is fairly mature. Even the secondary characters are all adults. The main character, however, is only twelve years old. She acts and thinks age appropriately (though at times slipping into a mind set I never would have had at 12), which sometimes makes the story disjointed. Here you have a girl traversing the mountains in search of a king, facing demons and shadows, outwitting a clan of boggles and deciphering the mystery of a fae woman who is sometimes a magnificent Lady, sometimes the (literal) ghost of a young drowned woman...and yet she cries out, "Mama!" a lot.

I gave The Light Bearer's Daughter 4 stars. Once I was able to get into it, the story kept me intrigued. It is an interesting read for anyone who loves stories of Fae. 
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reaching out

Since I am in charge of marketing my book, I have to be a little creative. I found this article on that has been really helpful. It has 7 easy things to do to promote your book.

The one I am really excited about is getting someone to review my book. I stumbled across an article on that talked about how important it is to have your book reviewed by a top reviewer from their program. It gave some tips and advice on how to approach reviewers. I was so surprised. You mean, you want me to email them? By myself?!

Well, duh. Who else is going to do it?

So, I've been doing research. Long story very short, I found some awesome reviewers and I've contacted them to see if they're interested in reading The Gifted. I've already received one response. A big fat YES! Awesome! Now I'm just waiting on some of the others.

One reviewer specifically says she will not review self published books. But I sent her an email with my credentials (a review from publisher's weekly) and the book synopsis. I asked her if she would reconsider. The worst she can do is say no. And if she does say no, that's totally fine. She was completely up front about her policy, so it's not like I can expect special treatment.

Anyone else have any ideas on promoting The Gifted?

PS. There will be some giveaways. I plan on hosting one here and on Goodreads. Pin It

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Self-Publishing options

I recently came across an article on Promotion a la Carte that talked about how more and more authors are turning to self-publishing because it's getting harder and harder to break into the traditional publishing market. Read the full article here. It's short and very interesting. 

Traditionally, an author submits a query (a letter about your book) to an agent or publisher. They either accept the manuscript, suggest the author edits and then resubmits it, or reject it. The process is slow, painful, sometimes expensive, discouraging, but potentially worth it.

When your work is accepted by an agent, the agent then submits your book to publishers until someone decides to buy it. The publisher then edits, corrects, prints, ships, and markets your work. There should be little to no cost to the author, and sometimes the author has little say in what happens to his or her work, including the book cover.

An author also has the option of self-publishing. "Self-publishing is the act of publishing your work independently of an established publishing house." -

Vanity Press: A publishing option in which the press with (likely) proofread and edit the manuscript, design a cover, print the book and even offer some marketing tools. All this comes at the expense of the author.

This is a very expensive option, but it might be the only one for authors who don't have the resources to self-publish through a POD (discussed below). This is a good choice for family memoirs and non-fiction, such as a business book, cook book, etc. There is some opinion that this is not the best alternative for fiction.


Dorrance Publishing

Publish On Demand (POD): A press that has the technology to print books only as needed. This eliminates the cost of warehousing books and keeping an inventory on hand. The author has total control and responsibility for content, book cover, and marketing. Some POD presses have editing and marketing options available, but at a cost.These services are completely optional with POD. If you are required to pay in order to have your book published, you are dealing with a Vanity Press. Note that Vanity Presses can have POD capabilities and may not require you to buy an inventory.

The cost to print with POD is more expensive per book, and, like I mentioned earlier, the author is responsible for editing and content. If you don't have the resources for editing your manuscript, you can either use their editing services (for a fee), or try the Vanity Press.

Most POD presses have the capability of putting your book directly to a major online retailer like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as the option of offering your book as an ebook.


CreateSpace - Note is the parent company.

As you can see, if you are considering self-publishing, you have a few options and a little bit of research to do. Luckily we live in a day and age where making our work available is an option.

If you decide to try getting picked up by an agent or a publishing house, just be aware that you should never be asked to pay for any part of the publication process. If they tell you there are fees involved, that's a big red flag!

Good luck! Pin It

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday -3-

Grab your current read, choose a random page, post 2 teaser, spoiler free passages on your blog. Make sure to include the author and book title so interested readers know what they're looking for.

The Light-Bearer's Daughter by O.R. Melling, Page 11.

*It was the quiet tone that convinced her his decision was final. She stared at him speechless. Had she been the sort of girl who cried, she would have burst into tears.

*"You didn't even ask me! We didn't even talk about it! Like it's got nothing to do with me! You're just a...a dictator! I hate you!"

I'm only about halfway done with this book. It's the 3rd book in The Chronicles of Faerie, but the books can be read in any order. I've read the 2nd and now the 3rd. I really enjoy O.R. Melling's work. I'll let you know how it is when I'm finished. Pin It