Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG March 2015 Calling All Pantsers!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

I'm currently #80.

Wow, the weeks are flying by! Here we are again and I don't know that I've made much progress since last month. I have thought some things through though and that's got to count for something.

First the good news. People are reading FADE INTO ME and the reviews are good. Really good and that's nice. I feel validated and ready to get back to work on the next story.

The bad news isn't really bad either. In January I promised myself that I would finish the sequels for Talia's book this year. It has to be priority, but until last week I wasn't really feeling it. I made myself sit down anyway and think about the story. Where was it going at the end of THE MAGIC WAKES and where do I want it to go now? Most importantly, I asked myself what I needed to do to fall in love with Talia's world again. I think I've come up with a plan.

The insecurity lies in the fact that it's been a long time. Two years have passed since the first book was released. Does anyone remember?  Do they care? Will my publisher be interested in this next installment?

And the big one...What if the second book is no good?

You see, now that I know the story in its entirety (yep! I've plotted out the next three books in the series with beat sheets) I'm not experiencing the excitement of writing. There are no surprises for me to discover. My concern is that if I'm not excited my readers won't be. I'm hoping this is stupid because I LOVE the story. It's just all in my head in its complete glory so I don't feel the need to write and find out what happens.

Does that make any sense? Have you ever had this problem? What did you do?

My goal is to remind myself this is my career choice and that means butt in seat working! Maybe I can find the joy in little details?

And, to share something that happened yesterday...

Yeah, that happened. I started to boil eggs for my mom, sat down to write and forgot all about them. After the water evaporated the eggs exploded. I was drawn to the kitchen by a strange popping sound. The smell soon followed. Ug!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Author Interview with Cady Vance

Last week I posted a review of THE MADMEN'S CITY by Cady Vance. I won a copy of the book in a BookLikes giveaway and really hit the jackpot. I emailed Cady and asked if she'd like to answer a few questions for us this week.

Writing Questions:

Where did the idea for The Madmen’s City come from?
The idea for The Madmen's City originally came from the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Snow Queen. At first, the plan was to write a modern day YA thriller as a retelling of that fairy tale. There are still traces of that in the final version, but as I outlined and wrote the book, it morphed into the vigilante, Batman-style story that it is now when the thought popped into my head, "What if Batman had a daughter?"

Which character from the book do you relate to the most and why?
I probably relate most to Kole, the nerdy friend who holes up inside and tries to get to the bad guys through technology. Kole's idea of a fun night is chilling out on the couch with his laptop, and as lame as it is, I'm the same! I'd love to say I'm most like Gwen, but I don't have the chops to go picking fist fights with mobsters!

What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm working on an Alice in Wonderland inspired short story that will be published in an anthology called Falling for Alice in April. My story follows a teen astronaut Alice aboard an International Space Station called Wonder as she struggles to deal with zero gravity and a breakup with her boyfriend in space.

Some Fun Questions!

What's your favorite book?
My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. It's hard to pick a favorite of this series, because I love every single one of these books. The final volume is the one that really stands out to me though because we finally see how all the pieces fall into place and how Harry and his friends make it through. I could read these books again and again--and have--and never get tired of these characters and their stories.

What do you do when you are not writing?
My life for the past few years has been full of academic work. I'm a PhD student, and I've been studying children's and young adult literature (and their authors) over in Wales. I've been able to interview some New York Times bestsellers and some newer authors just starting out and attend some incredible publishing conferences like Book Expo of America and London Book Fair. When I'm not doing PhD work, I like to go to the gym, go for a run, read a book or binge-watch Netflix.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
The hardest thing by far was the dual narrative. I've never written from a boy's POV before, so that was a difficult exercise. And I wanted to make sure both characters had a very distinctive voice. I structured the story so that alternating chapters were from each character's POV so it was difficult to nail down timelines as well. I had my work cut out for me, but I wouldn't have had the story any other way.

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and Drink Lots of Coffee!

Bio: Cady Vance is the author of YA and NA speculative fiction. After growing up in small-town Tennessee, she decided to embark on a grand adventure by packing up her bags and moving to NYC. Now, she studies for her PhD in the UK and dreams of seeing the universe.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review THE MADMEN'S CITY by Cady Vance

From Goodreads:
Teen vigilante Gwen Kane uses her fists and a strict moral code to flatten any lowlife who dares prey on the innocents of Towton City. Her rival, Silas Snow, opts for a pistol, a silencer and a shot in the dark. To Silas, death is the only suitable punishment for the iniquitous criminals who prowl the seedy streets. And to Gwen, Silas is just another murderer. Working together would only end in World War III.

When someone frames Gwen’s father for a mob death that Silas actually caused, their paths seem destined for a head-on collision. Silas doesn’t want an innocent man to take the fall, but if he fesses up to the crime, he’ll only land behind bars himself. But Gwen will stop at nothing to discover the truth. The clock ticks down to her father’s date with death row.

It’s time to stop playing nice.

My Take:
First off, this didn't read like a dystopian. It was more like an Arrow/Batman comic world read, and I LOVED that feel! Seriously, Towton City is just like Gotham in my mind. This book was easy to fall into and keep reading. The only reason it took so long for me to finish was simply lack of time to sit and do just that. Last night I picked it up a little before 11 determined to find out how it was going to end. I finished right before midnight and then lay in bed another hour imagining out the scenes.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Gwen and Silas. It made sense and progressed logically for me. They both had their own idea of how things should be handled, but in the end they realize they have more in common "moral-wise" than Gwen originally thought. Perhaps the best part for me was there were no "seriously, you're going to kiss her now?" moments. They start to like each other but nothing happens until the bad guys are vanquished and all is as good as it gets in Towton.

This was a well written, fun read. There is some language. I give The Madmen's City a solid 4.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review "Of Love & Magic"

Amazon * B&N * KoboiTunes

I'll put my notes in italics below the Goodreads blurb.

From Goodreads:
Five intriguing romances wrapped in love and magic

Angel in a Black Fedora, by Sherry Gammon

Ciel Björk died a tragic death...but she got over it. Now she works as an undercover angel, answering people's prayers. She's sent to the sleepy little town of Port Fare, New York to help turn Chloe's dreams into a reality. As secrets are revealed, Ciel soon learns that things are not as simple as they seem.

This was an okay story, but it was hard to get into. Probably me? There was nothing wrong, I just didn't get the perfect girl in the fedora. Yes, she's an angel, but ?? Chloe is so tunnel visioned on this perfect guy that she never sees the love that's in front of her. I did like the twist at the end. You assume you know who's prayer Ciel is there to answer, but like the blurb says, nothing is as simple as it seems. I give this story a 3.5

A Wish in Her Hand, by Amberlee Day

Professor Miri Keeler's life is perfect, and she knows just the sort of man she wants to share it with. When she meets a genie who's willing to grant her a favor, she uses her wish to get the attention of her crush, poet Jamison Arbor. But has the genie's magic missed its target? Miri suddenly has the attention of not only Jamison, but also of Alex, an attractive maintenance man. How will she know which is the right match for her, or what's real and what's magic?

I liked this story better than the first, but here is another woman with a set idea of who Mr. Perfect is. Luckily, she at least gives another guy a chance while she's waiting for Mr. Right. I give this story a 3.5

Reality Ever After, by Cami Checketts

Pregnant at eighteen, Sydney Richland's happily ever after is in serious peril. Her grandmother's ghost can work miracles, but she also might ruin Sydney's chances with the man of her dreams.

This might have been my favorite because it was different. It wasn't all hearts and roses. There is real heartache and real choices to be made. I love when stories hurt because life hurts. I give this one a 4 

Prom Diaries, by Taylor Hart

Sixteen-year-old Lacy O'Donnell discovers her best friend has cast a spell, putting everyone in a time loop, forcing them to relive the same four days before prom over and over. The good thing--Lacy doesn't remember the loop. The bad thing--Drake Davis, the guy she's been stalking, does. Only true love's kiss can break the spell, but true love's kiss has to happen at a precise moment. It's not exact's exact magic.

This one felt like Twilight emotionally. Two people that have to be kept apart for the greater good until the exact right moment. It did have a nice twist at the end though. I give this one a 3.5.

What If Wish, by Lucy McConnell

Morana is doomed to a life cataloging spells deep below the palace unless she can make her magic bloom. If her deepest wish comes true, it would open up all sorts of possibilities. The whispers that she was a fluke of nature would hush. The King would stop stalking her. Her parents would no longer live under a cloud of shame. And, Adam could look at her as more than a friend. Despite the promises magic holds, Morana will quickly learn that the thing she wishes for most, could quickly be her undoing.

This is the beginning of a larger story. It's more of a traditional fairy story, meaning it has fairies. :) I did enjoy the way McConnell built the world--when and how magic blooms. I also loved the romance part. It's bittersweet and although it's a typical romance trope it didn't feel stale. I give this one a 4. 

All in all this was a nice read. It didn't suck me in though, so I'm going to give it a 3.5 for Like, not Love.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure

Monday, February 16, 2015

Redeem This by Cami Checketts--Blog Tour

Some men are beyond redemption. Alex is one of them.

After Alex Chakhota was blackmailed and manipulated into becoming a hit man to protect his sister, serving time as the FBI's assassin doesn't do much to ease his conscience. His next assignment brings him face to face with Brittany, a beautiful woman that believes he's more than the killer he's been made into. The road to redemption is long for someone with a blackened soul, and with lives hanging in the balance, Alex has a short deadline.

Detective Scott Bentley's days of law enforcement are behind him. When he's asked to host agents at his secluded ranch for an FBI sting operation, Scott cannot refuse. Ivy McMahon shows up with the team, and Scott gets more than he signed up for. Not only can she hack into the any computer system, she's found a way into Scott's heart. The trouble is that she's in protective custody and when the job ends, she'll disappear.

Is redemption possible for those whose lives are scarred by the past? With danger crowding close, not even love may have a chance to redeem before it's too late.

Don't miss the exciting sequel to Blog This by #1 Bestselling Inspirational author, Cami Checketts

Find Redeem This for only $3.99 at these vendors:

Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo

If you haven't had a chance to read Blog This, it is FREE until February 19th.

Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo 

Praise for Blog This

"Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards."

Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy

Don't forget to enter below to win an audio copy of Dead Running and an ebook of Shadows in the Curtain

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