Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Idea is Born!

Yay! Blogger is back! Did anyone else have trouble with it yesterday? I was so bummed out...

Also, for those of you paying close attention (and following this blog!) I set The Wrong Path to publish tonight on Amazon! It said it can take up to 24 hours for English and 2-3 days for other languages, so I decided to play it safe. (Call it a soft launch! LOL!) Pretty soon The Wrong Path will be out there for the world to see! /scared


But--this post is about ideas, and writing, even though I have a ton of books I want to talk about. (Boy do I...!) As I'm about to embark on my next publishing adventure, I want to share a little bit about ideas!

For a while now, I've been thinking of my next male and female leads.

I knew exactly what kind of hero I wanted--someone funny, witty, mischievously intelligent, and full of sarcasm.

I knew exactly what kind of heroine I wanted--someone friendly, outgoing, personable, and with a sharp tongue when crossed.

But I didn't have a plot. No story. Nothing to DO with these characters. And I struggled, trying to figure out what I would do with these characters building in my head.

And then it happened.

It started about a week ago, when I was driving home. I was telling my husband a funny story about this guy I work with who I've never met because he lives in another state, and thinking that I really hope I get to meet him some day. I wondered if I'd be able to recognize him just by his (rather distinctive) accent, and laughingly thought to myself, "I bet I would."

Of course, this started me thinking about how I would translate that into a story, and a young adult setting, and the characters I would write and how I would set it up.

After several days of mulling over it, I finally came up with a way to use my characters, and include a plot (at least enough of a plot to get the story started):

A girl and boy were friends and neighbors from the time they were born until they were twelve. When the boy moved, they kept in touch over the phone, and over the years their friendship continued to grow. Whenever anything went wrong in the girl's life, he was the first person she would call. When he was picked as a starter on the basketball team, hers was the first number he dialed.

Meanwhile, the girl is having trouble at school. She's got a sharp tongue on her, and not everyone takes kindly to her attitude.

One day she walks into the school, and she hears his voice. She stops short, turns, and someone says her name. He turns to face her, and they have an excited, exuberant reunion.

And that's what I got. I never actually have a plot before I start writing, and I don't actually know when I'll start writing this one, but as soon as I came up with the beginning of the story I began to feel calmer--like the buzzing in my head had become peaceful and the puzzle solved.

So... how do you come up with ideas?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review: Hush Money

Title: Hush Money (Talent Chronicles #1)
Author: Susan Bischoff
Find it on Goodreads!

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Kids with psychic abilities tend to mysteriously disappear when they get noticed. Joss has spent years trying to hide. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss, who is best friends with her long-time crush, who is actually talking to her. Life just got more complicated.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me, and while the description sounded interesting, it didn't really entice me enough to want to read it over the others in my TBR list. But tonight I was looking at my books and thought, "I'll give this one a try." And I am so glad I did! This book was amazing!

The Plot
Some special kids are gifted (or cursed) with special abilities called "Talents," and those who have Talents tend to disappear to government facilities--and are never seen or heard from again. There are rumors about how horrible the place is, and that the kids are being tortured and put through rigorous training, but no solid evidence. Joss is trying to keep her Talent a secret, because her family doesn't want her to get kidnapped and taken away. As a result, she spends the majority of her time isolated from the rest of the students, thinking a friend means spilling her secret and possibly ending up in one of the government facilities. When a new girl, Kat, comes along and befriends Joss, Joss finds herself opening up more--and risking her safety as a result. After a party at Kat's house goes horribly wrong, and the government comes looking for one of the Talented kids, the others with hidden Talents band together to save him with Kat as their ringleader and Joss as their reluctant mastermind. Then they discover there's a spy amongst them, a Talent, who is telling the government which students possess a Talent. And they need to find out who before they're all sent away for good.

Joss was strong in a self-assured, confident kind of way, not a rude kind of way. She was realistic in her thoughts about high school and while I didn't always agree with her choices, the author does get you right inside of her head and you totally understand why Joss is behaving the way she does.

Dylan (the love interest) is cool: a bit of a slacker-delinquent, laid-back, but secretly wants to be the hero. He goes out of his way to protect Joss and stand up for what he thinks is right, and even though there are times he backs down, you can understand why. And it might pain you, but you can't help agreeing he probably made the right decision. There were several times where I found myself cheering for Dylan.

I love Kat. She was witty and a little dryly sarcastic at times, but she was so friendly and encouraging I couldn't help but love her. I hope she's not the spy. (Please don't let her be the spy!)

The Writing
I loved the writing in this book. It was simple, easy reading, but didn't undermine the readers intelligence by only using small words. It was conversational and descriptive without being wordy. A very easy read, and I must say, my favorite writing style.

I, personally, cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I can't believe I even paused long enough to write this review of it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scene Sunday! #4

Scene Sunday Concept: The 5W1H Rule--answer the questions, and create a scene based on it!

Who: The shadows in the shadow realm.
What: Are overjoyed to see one another again.
Where: On the streets in New York.
Why: Because they only see one another once a day at the same location.
When: Dusk/evening.
How did it go: They danced until they couldn't see each other anymore.

It was almost time.

There had been so many cold, dismal, gray days lately she hadn't been allowed to come outside. She hadn't been able to see anything, let alone him, in what felt like years. But now the sun was out, and slowly setting behind the large buildings, with plenty of light to allow her to roam freely.

She watched the corner intently, waiting for him to come around it. The man he was attached to walked slowly, but she appreciated his slowness just as much as she appreciated the woman's she was attached to. Once upon a time, when the woman had been a young girl, she had loved the girl's fast pace, and as the girl grew older, began to resent the slow speed in which she strode. But now her patient, steady amble presented more than enough time for her to wave an excited greeting to him. He waved merrily in response, as ecstatic to see her as she was to see him.

She curtsied to him, elegant and graceful. He bowed deeply in response, and as the two humans drew closer they drew closer as well. She straightened, holding her arms up tall to fall into his arms. He caught her as she knew he would, and for a brief moment they embraced, holding one another, and she lost herself in the moment, blissful at the sensation of being enveloped in the darkness that matched her own.

The woman's slow gait began to take her away, and it was with great reluctance she released him, curtsying deeply. He bowed again in response, and as the woman turned the corner of the old stone building she was pulled from his sight--the worst part of her day.

But tomorrow, she reminded herself. Tomorrow might be another day with sunlight. And tomorrow she might see him again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TBR List #7

Thanks a lot, Goodreads.

I got all excited about these books, and because I'm a sucker who just can't say no, went to buy them. Imagine my horror when I discovered they're NOT EVEN OUT YET. Epic fail. /sadface

But that's okay! I'm still going to share with you my awesome new finds, and we can all pine away together!

Title: The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring #1)
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Expected publication: September 27th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

Debut novelist Kiki Hamilton takes readers from the gritty slums and glittering ballrooms of Victorian London to the beguiling but menacing Otherworld of the Fey in this spellbinding tale of romance, suspense, and danger.

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…


Title: As I Wake
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Expected publication: September 15th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.

Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust.


Title: Half-Blood (Covenant #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Expected publication: September 15th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure-bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


Title: Dearly, Departed
Author: Lia Habel
Expected publication: October 18th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune, and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, steampunk meets romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.


Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Expected publication: November 15th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

Words are the most dangerous weapon of all...

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


Title: Eve (The Eve Trilogy #1)
Author: Anna Carey
Expected publication: October 4th 2011 (my anniversary!)
Find it on Goodreads!

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Wither

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
See it on Goodreads!

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

My thoughts:
The summary of the book did not summarize the actual book itself. I really expected the book to focus a lot more on the world itself, and less about the polygamist marriage. In fact, the overarching story of their lives being short seemed to take a backseat to the polygamist lifestyle--as if the author wanted to tell a story about polygamy but needed to modernize the story in order to do it.

But this is not a negative review. I absolutely loved this book and if you haven't already bought it, you need to get it.

I'm going to go spoiler-heavy, so you've been warned. Skip this if you don't wanna know.

The author's style of prose was incredible. I mean, second-to-none. If I can ever write like this, I will die a very happy woman. She has a talent--a pure gift--that that is truly quite breathtaking. She can set a scene with a few simple, carefully selected words. And she's not afraid to throw in some large words to do it, undermining the YA audience's intelligence level.

Her craft of characters was both brilliant and disappointing. (Again, this is not a negative review. Buy this book.) She had extremely strong characters. You liked each of them. You understood each of their motivations. I would have liked to see more of the hidden story/motivation behind the big bad guy, but since this is part of a series, I guess the author couldn't give away too much in book one.

A lot was hinted at, but nothing really resolved, and I found that incredibly disappointing. It wasn't even not-resolved in a cliffhanger sort of way, it just left you with a vague, unfinished feeling that makes you both want to immediately pick up the next book and find out what's going on, and kind of irritated at the same time. If I had the second book in front of me, I probably wouldn't feel this way. For example, you know the big bad guy is a big bad guy, but you kind of wonder if he's really not the big bad guy everyone makes him out to be. You know he's doing horrible things to everyone, but you never really find out what. Things we'll find out in the next book? Probably. Irritating to not resolve in book one? Yes.

Summary of the book:
Rhine (what kind of name is Rhine? Really?) is kidnapped and forced into a polygamist marriage with two other girls: Jenna and Cecily. Their husband Linden is already married to a woman who is already twenty and therefore dying, since all girls die at the age of twenty and all men at the age of twenty-five. His father is fabulously wealthy, and so Linden can afford these fancy new wives. Rhine strikes up a friendship with the dying Rose, who tells Rhine that she's going to become Linden's new favorite when Rose dies. Meanwhile, Linden's father, Vaughn, is a mysterious figure in the background, a doctor at a hospital "trying to find a cure" to fix the disease wiping out humanity.

Rose dies, and little Cecily, who is not even fourteen, becomes pregnant shortly after Linden marries the three girls. Rhine starts to fall for the servant Gabriel (BE STILL MY HEART--GABRIEL IS EPIC AWESOMENESS AND WE WILL DISCUSS HIM AT LENGTH LATER), and mourns her twin brother, who she was stolen from. She also starts to strike up a friendship with her sister wives, including Jenna, whose sisters were shot and killed in the van the girls were transported in when they weren't selected to be Linden's brides. (Jenna is a freaking badass, y'all. Love Jenna.) Rhine and Gabriel are stuck in the basement, where they see Rose's corpse wheeled by on a gurney and see some men discussing it, but the book resolves without finding out to what end.

Soon Rhine finds herself developing a fondness for Linden, who of course was oblivious to the plight the girls had suffered to become his wives--he thought they had wanted to become wives and the ones he didn't select were sent back to their orphanages or to their homes and not murdered or sold into prostitution--but she still doesn't abandon her hope of wanting to escape.

Eventually Rhine and Gabriel escape together, and that's sadly how the book ends, without anything getting resolved.

Memorable quotes (mostly courtesy of Gabriel--seriously, he was SO awesome... serious, funny, witty, sweet... I might have melted a few times...):

She looks to me for help, but the only game I know is the one where my brother and I set noise traps in the kitchen and try to survive the night intact. And when I was taken by Gatherers, I sort of lost.
I laughed out loud at this.

“No,” I say. “He won’t know I’m gone. He doesn’t notice me.”
“He notices you,” Gabriel says. I look at him, unbelieving, but he has turned his blue eyes away from me.
I might have swooned. Gabriel. Oh Gabriel.

The homesickness that comes with my brother’s memory is not so bad. Not with Gabriel for company and a tray of pancakes and the June Bean he’s hidden in the napkin.
Another super cute, super sweet moment. GABRIEL. I LOVE YOU!

A party in the orange grove. The pain on Linden’s face is immediate. I am unwavering. He has cost me more pain than I will ever be able to repay.
Rhine is a freaking badass right here.

Jenna looks at her lap, and her lip quirks in what I think will be a smile or a laugh, but her eyes well with tears and her voice is broken when she says, “My sisters were in that van.”
I might have teared up a little here.

Her smile is her revenge.
Jenna rocked this freaking hardcore, and I absolutely love the author for this line. I got chills.

[Rhine and Gabriel see a movie marquee for an all-night zombie-fest]
He says, “What’s a zombie?”
Oh Gabriel. You're so cute.

“This is what Manhattan is like,” I whisper to him.
“People crawl out of their graves in Manhattan?”

I might have LOL'd again.

“Think you can steer us out of this place on one of those boats?” I say.
“Oh, absolutely.”
“You sure?” I say.
“Well, if I’m wrong, I guess we die.”
Have I mentioned how much I love Gabriel? That dry wit just killed me...

Now. If you haven't bought this book already... Why not?!

The Wrong Path - First Review!


The Wrong Path has its first review! I am so excited, oh my gosh! Maria at reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac wrote a review of The Wrong Path--check it out!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Manga Monday! #7 - MeruPuri

Title: MeruPuri
Author: Matsuri Hino
Available: Amazon and wherever VIZ Media LLC are sold!
Price: $8.99/book
Books in series: 4

All high school freshman Airi Hoshina ever wanted was to someday live in a cozy home with a loving husband and find joy in the little things in life. As a result, she makes it her daily mission to get to school on time because school legend has it that the longer one's non-tardy streak is, the better boyfriend one will find. But just when her daily routine is working like clockwork, an occurrence of fairy-tale proportions threatens to disrupt her grand plan.

On the way to school one morning, Airi loses her mirror—one that has been passed down to her through generations—and suddenly finds herself in a bizarre situation. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect Aram, a little boy from a magical kingdom, to have emerged from the mirrior in the short time it took her to track it down!

Why you want this manga: This is one of the cutest mangas of all time. (Also, while I was looking this up, I discovered this author is behind Vampire Knight... Holy crap!) It's about a girl who meets this little boy, and he quickly falls in love with her... and sometimes he grows up into a teenager her own age! Don't worry, it's not super creepy--she only likes him when he's a teenager. But he has the cutest line of all time in this story... At one point he's a teenager and he tells her to kiss him to return him to his normal size because, "She seems uncomfortable around him when he's grown up." It's so sweet! *squeal* It's your typical fantasy shoujo manga, a cute little love story, and you can't help but fall in love with Aram--a true prince!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

TBR List - # I-Lost-Count

I have found some amazing books recently, and I had to share. I also recently discovered my TBR list on Goodreads, and there are so many books on there... Yikes! I really need to clean that thing out...

Title: Above
Author: Leah Bobet
Release Date: Spring 2012 (so far away!!)
Find it on Goodreads!

Matthew's father had lion's feet and his mother had gills, and both fled the modern-day city to live in underground Safe, a secret community of freaks, ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts hidden beyond the subways and sewers. Raised underground, Matthew is responsible for the keeping of both Safe's histories and the traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, the girl he took in, fell in love with – and can't stop from constantly running away.

But Safe is no longer safe: the night after a frightening encounter in the sewers, Safe's founder Atticus is murdered by the one person Safe ever exiled: mad Corner, whose coup is backed by an army of mindless, whispering shadows.

Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of unstable, crippled compatriots escape to the city that cast them out; the dangerous place he knows only as Above. Despite Ariel's increasingly erratic behaviour and with the odds against them, Matthew must find a way to rescue Safe from Corner's occupying army. But as his quest leads him through abandoned asylums and the dregs of urban poverty, Matthew discovers that the histories he's devoted his life to aren't true: Corner's invasion -- and Ariel's terrors – are rooted in a history of Safe much darker and bloodier than Matthew ever imagined.

And even if he manages to save both home and Ariel, he may well lose himself.

Why I want this book: It. Looks. Amazing. OMG! Love the post-apocalyptic feel. And it just sounds so intriguing!


Title: The Iron King (Iron Fey #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Find it on Goodreads!

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Why I want this book: I know what you're thinking: "Vivian, you sold out! You just want it because it's popular." But no. While I have been seeing reviews and mentions of this book everywhere, I read a review of this book that made me go, "Okay. I have to check this thing out." Before that review (and I've seen dozens of them!) I wasn't the least bit interested. Plus, the last part of the last line drew me in: "and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart." So I'm a sucker for romance! I can't help myself.


Title: Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Find it on Goodreads!

In the model community of Candor, Florida, every teen wants to be like Oscar Banks. The son of the town's founder, Oscar earns straight As, is student-body president, and is in demand for every club and cause. But Oscar has a secret. He knows that parents bring their teens to Candor to make them respectful, compliant–perfect–through subliminal Messages that carefully correct and control their behavior. And Oscar' s built a business sabotaging his father's scheme with Messages of his own, getting his clients out before they're turned. After all, who would ever suspect the perfect Oscar Banks? Then he meets Nia, the girl he can't stand to see changed. Saving Nia means losing her forever. Keeping her in Candor, Oscar risks exposure . . . and more.

Why I want this book: I read a review of this book on The Book Addicted Girl, and I knew I had to have it. Dystopian? Check. Romance? Check. Plus--read her review! Who wouldn't want it after that?! It has a Disturbing Behavior feel to it, and I loved the concept of that movie.


Title: Breath of Angel (The Angeleon Circle #1)
Author: Karyn Henley
Release date: Jun 21, 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.

When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Why I want this book: I'm vaguely obsessed with angels and demons. I wrote two different stories about angels and demons. Plus, the whole "in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven" sold me. So intriguing!


Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Expected publication: June 28th 2011
Find it on Goodreads!

UK Edition:
She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But ...They are brother and sister.

U.S. Edition:
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Why I want this book: I have been looking at this book for... a long time. It reminds me of V.C. Andrew's books, where the brother and sister always fall in love. I find the taboo subject of incestuous love fascinating--the idea of, "If we hadn't grown up together, could we have fallen in love?", and, "Why aren't adopted brothers and sisters interested in each other?" I don't know why I find it interesting and I don't know the answer to either question, but it all comes down to love, wrong or not. (And I love love!) There's an inherent drama in just the topic alone--more than enough to spawn an intriguing novel full of angst. I read a review of it on Bookchilla's Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac blog, and I immediately went to buy it. Imagine my disappointment when I saw it was still only available in the UK, and Amazon UK won't sell to the U.S. (ARGH!)


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Wrong Path on Goodreads!

Oh my gosh!!

So I posted about The Wrong Path yesterday, advertising eARCs of the book. You can't imagine how ecstatic I was when people started responding, saying the book looked interesting and they would like to read it. (You really can't imagine--I think I walked with a spring in my step all day! LOL!)

Today I was on my Goodreads page, and OMG! Someone posted the book details and linked it to my Author page! (I don't know who it was, but kind soul, I love you!) I was trying to figure out how to do that myself, but maybe I'm just a ditz because I couldn't figure it out. (I finally did late this afternoon.)

So now I present you The Wrong Path on Goodreads! Yay!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Giveaway! Advanced Review Copy: The Wrong Path

The time has finally come!

The Wrong Path is ready to be released!

They were the ones everyone wanted to be. Except on the inside.

Annabelle's life was finally going according to plan. She had the right group of friends. Her childhood crush had finally started to notice her. She was pretty, popular, and in love.

And then one terrible night at a party Will enters her life and everything changes.

Will is the polar opposite of his older brother Trevor—Annabelle’s new boyfriend—the popular, straight-A, quarterback high school star. He's wild, charismatic, and full of secrets. He's completely different from anyone Annabelle has ever known, and soon their accidental run-in becomes a pattern as Annabelle finds herself seeking him out wherever she goes. Despite his open hostility with his older brother, Annabelle is drawn to him, wanting to be with him. Will opens a new world for Annabelle, one where she can shed her carefully constructed mask and be herself.

But being with Will comes at a price. And when tragedy strikes, she has to make a choice between the two brothers.

And the wrong one means losing everything forever.

Watch the trailer:

Release date: July 2, 2011!

In honor of this exciting occasion, which I have to admit I have been eagerly anticipating, I'm giving away 10 review copies of The Wrong Path (sorry--electronic only)!

If you'd like a review copy, please send me an e-mail at or leave a comment below!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

City High - Chapter Two

I had planned on blogging another writing tip today, but then I got sucked into editing and decided to forgo it in order to post another chapter of City High.


City High

Seventeen year-old Lillian is used to being abandoned on a relative's front door while her father vacations on a distant island. But cousin Lauren isn't like the others. She's cool, fun, and genuinely welcoming. Lillian enjoys staying with Lauren and being with her friends in the city. There's even gorgeous, mysterious Jake, who Lauren solicited to keep an eye on Lillian.

But then the threats begin. Warnings written on her mirror. Dead animals in her bed. Eyes staring at her in the darkness. Someone is going out of their way to torment Lillian.

And then Lauren's friends begin dying.

Chapter one
Chapter two

Monday, June 13, 2011

Manga Monday! #4

I love Manga Monday. I should make a button for it.

Title: Tenshi Ja Nai!! aka I'm No Angel!!
Author: Takako Shigematsu
Price: Between $4.00 and $10.00
Books in Series: 8
Get it at Amazon or wherever Go Comi manga are sold!

Description: In the play of life, all Hikaru Takabayashi wanted was to be part of the scenery, but fate had other ideas. When the 15-year-old introvert transfers to an all-girls academy, her new roommate turns out to be the super-popular TV idol Izumi Kido! As if living with a celebrity wasn’t bad enough, Hikaru discovers that there’s more to Izumi than her “good girl” image—she’s a he! Now Hikaru’s the unwilling star player in a madcap tale of deception, abduction, humiliation and blackmail…you know—the usual romantic stuff.

Why You Want This Manga: Yes, it's your typical gender-bender shoujo manga... Boy (or girl) disguises himself (or herself!) as a member of the opposite sex, generally to get into an all-boys (or all-girls) school to achieve some goal. But this one is just so damn cute, and unlike most gender-bender mangas, the leading girl finds out pretty quickly that "she" is really a "he." And he knows she knows! Hikaru works with Izumi to keep his secret and keep the rest of the school, who worship Izumi, from finding out Izumi's real identity. And Izumi is still strong, tough, and masculine when he needs to be, which allows for just enough romance between the two. Definitely a must-read, especially if it's your first gender-bender!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scene Sunday! #3

Scene Sunday!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged a writing tip for creating "scenes" for a story. And I kinda dig it, and it's great for the idea journal (which you should have by now!) so here goes this week's:

Image from

Who: A woman.
What: Discovers her husband has left roses all around their hotel room.
Where: Paris, France.
Why: It's their anniversary and he wanted to make it special.
When: Winter.
How did it go: They danced in their hotel room.

She emerged from the bathroom, sliding her earring through the hole in her left ear with one hand and putting the backing on with the other. She had slipped on the long-sleeved red dress with the low-cut neck she had bought just for their anniversary dinner, and carefully curled her hair the way her husband liked. It had taken her longer than she expected to finish getting dressed, but she had been pleased with the results when she finally drew back to look at herself in the mirror.

"Honey, we need to go or we'll be late for our--" she broke off, stumbling over her own feet as she stared at the room.

The lights in the spacious suite had been dimmed, the darkness from the window highlighted by the twinkling gold lights decorating the surroundings buildings. Around the room were dozens of red roses, red petals scattered along the floor and the furniture. She gazed around the room in disbelief, breathless at the beauty staring at her.

From the open French doors joining the living room to the bedroom, her husband emerged, looking elegant and stunning in a classic black tuxedo. He held a single, long-stemmed red rose in his hand, a small smile on his face.

"What...?" was all she could choke out.

He approached, his black patent shoes clicking on the tiled floor. "We've been married for ten years," he began, his face so full of love she couldn't even miss it. "And in those ten years, I've never done anything romantic for you, even though I know you've always wanted me to." He finally stood before her, holding out the rose. "So this year, I vow to make every anniversary after this special and romantic."

She numbly took the rose, feeling tears spring to her eyes. "Why this year?" she managed to ask. "Why is this year so special?"

He gave her a gentle smile, tinged with sadness. "Every year has been special," he told her softly, the back of his fingers caressing her cheek. "This is just the first year I've been able to plan something I thought worthy of you."

She threw her arms around him, hugging him fiercely. "It's beautiful," she whispered. "I love you."

His hands lightly wrapped around her waist, then lifted her right hand from his neck. She pulled back, frowning curiously. He suddenly spun her out of his embrace, a romantic, lovely violin sound filling the room.

She gasped, searching for the sound. He snapped her back into his arms, holding her right hand in his, spinning her to the melody. Her eyes fell over his shoulder, where three musicians stood in the corner in black tuxedos, two with violins, one with a bass. She looked up at her husband, wide-eyed, trying to hold back her tears.

"I love you," he said, giving her a little twirl. "I've loved you for the last ten years, and after tonight, I'm going to love you for ten more. And then another ten more. Until I've spent my whole life in love with you."

She felt a tear trickle down her carefully made-up face and nodded. "I'll look forward to it," she whispered.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

City High - Chapter One!

So, a while ago I wrote about my discovery of FictionPress. It's just like, but for original work.

Ever since I found it, I've been toying with the idea of posting a story there. I mentioned in that same post about my stories that aren't publishable for various reasons, but I really enjoyed them and wanted to share them anyway.

So last night I was scouring my folder of stories, and I found my story I affectionately named City High. (I don't know why I called it that--I think I'd been listening to that song "Sugar High" a lot.) It's one I could never publish because it deals with murder and crime and police--all things I know very little about. So I started reading through it, and thought, "You know... I could probably post this one... But it needs a lot of editing..."

Fast-forward several hours, and chapter one was ready. I stared at it, hesitant and afraid, and finally said, "Hell. I'll just do it. If nothing else, I can add it to my Stories page on my blog." So I signed into my FictionPress account and then froze.

I didn't have a story summary.

If you know me at all, you know I suck at summaries. I don't know why. I just really do. I can't capture attention in a few short paragraphs. I can't summarize what I'm writing. But I started writing out a summary (I usually go through about fifteen drafts of a summary/blurb) and to my surprise, it flowed quite easily. I was pretty pleased with it. I had to shorten it quite a bit to fit inside the 255 character limit for summaries on FictionPress, but it worked out fairly well.

So then I added chapter one to the story, and hit, "Publish."

Now, there's an inherent danger here. You'll notice I said I only edited chapter one. I hate posting stories before the entire thing is done. What if I want to change the plot/characters halfway through? I'd have written myself into a corner! But luckily, I've had this story sitting around for forever, and I'm pretty sure the overarching plot isn't going to change. (It can't, really, it's the plot.)

So chapter one is live, and now I'm waiting with eager anticipation to see if anyone reads it. Most of the time when I post a story, it takes about three or four chapters to really get readers--and then more show up as time progresses. I think that's why they say writer's are in it for the long-haul, and it's not a sprint it's a marathon.

If you're interested, you can read the summary and find the link to chapter one on the Stories page above. If you do, happy reading! <3

Friday, June 10, 2011

Indie-find Friday! Vampires Rule

Title: Vampires Rule
Author: K. C. Blake
Price: $0.99
Get it at Amazon or Smashwords!

Description: They don't call him Jackpot for nothing.

Jack has always beat the odds... at least until now. When he was attacked by a werewolf, vampires saved him. When he got tired of living the vampire life, another werewolf attack freed him, making him human again. Now Jack just wants to live a normal life, but what's normal about a hunter girlfriend, a brother who wants to stake him to be on the safe side, and a head werewolf building an army to rule the world?

Jack gets caught between his old friends and new, hunters and vampires. He wants to stay loyal to both, wants to protect everyone. Unfortunately, both sides are determined to kill the other. In the end, he'll have to make a choice.

Why I want to read this book: I found the author's blog on Goodreads, and I thought, "She sounds nice. I'll check out her blog." So I went. And then I read her post about being an indie author and all the things she's done to try and get her book out there, and I thought, "She kinda sounds like me. I'm going to check out her book." So I clicked on the sample chapter she had available on her blog. And I was immediately impressed by the writing. I was interested. So I went to the link to her book, and thought, "Wow. This sounds really good. I love vampires. I like a good romance with issues--and a vampire dating a vampire hunter is full of issues. Especially since he's not a vampire anymore. What!" I did check out the reviews she had up on Amazon already, and they were pretty positive--even the ones with "feedback" were pretty positive. I'd say that is an excellent thing.

So, to sum up: vampires? check. romance? check. indie author? check. I had the book on its way in minutes!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: The Warlord's Secret - Lizzy Ford

Title: The Warlord's Secret
Author: Lizzy Ford
Price: FREE
Get it at Smashwords!

The demon-possessed Warlord of Tiyan is at war with enemy kingdoms and her own impending madness. She discovers the answer to both her problems in Taran, a slave-turned-scout obsessed with vengeance and determined to have Tiyan and its queen for his own. Fantasy romance. Non-erotica.


I was entranced at page 1.

We found the demon when we took this land near the great cliffs.

And then again just a few pages later:
The demon’s triumph sickened her. Her father ruled a full thirty summers before the demon spoke to him and drove him mad. At five years into her rule and mere days from war, was she already toppling down the path of madness?

The beginning was intriguing, but a little confusing. (Probably because "war" isn't really in my genre.) But the writing was so incredibly breathtaking that I had to keep reading. I had to keep reading more of the wonderfully lyrical prose. The plot was unbelievably good and interesting--there's a demon inside of her? She makes the main (hero) her slave? Win!

The beginning of each chapter was absolutely the most fascinating piece of literature... ever. Each chapter began with excerpts from The Book of the Damned," and if the whole book had been written in the same format or using the same characters, I wouldn't have been able to put it down. It was so beautifully written and interesting--I kept wanting to skip the rest of the chapter to read more excerpts!

Was it my genre? No. Did I love it anyway? Yes. If I could write half as good as Lizzy Ford, I would be a happy, happy girl. Plus--it was a free download! (!!! Free!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Scene Sunday!

So last week I posted a writer's tip for creating scenes. It was kind of fun, so I decided to do it again today. If you feel so inclined, you're welcome to make up your own scene in the comment section!

Image from
Who: 17 year old high school girl.
What: On her way to meet her essay partner--at the beach.
Where: Malibu, California
Why: There's a project due at school on Monday, and they haven't started.
When: Early evening.
How did it go: They ditch working on the project to hang out with some cute surfers.

Brianne headed straight for her car, her assignment sheet and research papers in one hand, her cell phone in the other. "We've got to finish it tonight, Kim," she sighed into the phone. "It's due tomorrow."

"We'll be fine, Bri," came Kim's reassuring voice. "I've got a plan."

Brianne paused with her door open, one foot in the car and the other out. "Do you mean you have some weird scheme in mind that's going to end up with me grounded? Because I'm still mad about taking the fall for the fence-thing."

"That was Bobby fault--not mine," Kim reminded hastily. "I told him not to push the button."

Brianne sighed. Whoever had pushed the button, she had been the one trapped inside the field, and the one left to apologize to the owner for the mess they had created. Instead of calling the cops he'd called her parents, and she'd been grounded for nearly two months. She had almost wished he'd called the cops instead.

She finished climbing into the car, switching it to speaker phone as she drove. "Where are you now?" she asked.

"Sitting at the Malibu cafe, checking out a gorgeous group of guys who just strolled in."

Brianne groaned. "Kim," she said warningly. "We're going to finish our paper. Tonight. I can't fail this class."

"I'm just looking!" Kim protested defensively, her high-pitched tone a dead giveaway for the lie. Brianne sighed, backing her car out of the driveway. She knew Kim. Kim couldn't resist a group of cute boys, and more importantly, they couldn't resist her, either. Kim would have them at her table in less than the ten minutes it would take Brianne to get to the cafe, and their assignment would be abandoned in favor of spending the evening with this group of boys.

Maybe Mr. Sayer would give them an extension on the paper.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Semantics War - AKA - Why I Stopped Participating in Forum Discussions

Heads up: This is a rant. I read a forum post and it made me cry. And because I'm a writer, I'm writing about it. You can skip this if you don't care.

When you talk to someone, you're never really sure how your words are going to come across.

As a writer, I understand this better than anyone. When I write something, I am never sure how someone will interpret what is on the page (or screen!), and I accept that. I like to leave things a little open, to give the reader a chance to use their imagination. Because trying to write what's in my head word-for-word would be too many pages of minute detail, and I don't have the patience for it and I don't think the reader does, either. (My point--someone could take that and say, "You're making assumptions based on your readers. You can't make a broad declarative statement like that because you'll alienate a good majority of the population.")

So when I go to a forum to read a post, I interpret what the author is saying with my own unique experiences and background. Maybe I like what they have to say, and maybe I don't. But I will read it through my eyes, and I understand that they have written it through theirs. The same is true when I talk with someone. I hear them in my way, and know they are speaking to me in theirs.

I was hanging out on Goodreads, and I stumbled upon this forum post that summed up everything I hate about forum participation: semantics wars, people's unending cruelty, insistence to show off and be "better" and "smarter" than everyone else, and condescending nature:
Qualms with YA Adult Authors from an Avid Reader

I cried while reading this post.

Now that the internet has opened the doors of communication, people find it easier to be opinionated and feel everyone has the right to their opinions--and must listen to them and deal with them, whether they like it or not. You can no longer make declarative statements and have people assume it ends with, "in my opinion." Making a declarative statement means you are stating something for the general public--and how dare you? We must be politically correct. Never mind that the more politically correct we are, the more we perpetuate the idea there's something wrong with the topic we're all clearly avoiding.

The underlying argument in the semantics war is that everyone should be using the same terminology to say the same thing. But imagine, dear reader, how "interesting" a book would be if everyone spoke the same way. If everyone used the same wording to write. You could argue people need to clarify themselves in speaking or writing--but why? Are we not intelligent enough creatures to understand a person's statement is simply their own? What drives the need to correct each other's way of speaking, of writing, of meaning when communicating? So we're, "all on the same page"? We will never be on the same page. We can't possibly be.

What we can do is be polite. Be courteous. Be understanding. And if we disagree, do it kindly, respectfully, and with decency. No one likes to be put down or insulted.

And you can rip that to shreds all you want.

Friday, June 3, 2011



My husband just showed me a text-based game he was making--an interactive text web page--for a Quest of Dai: The Eroe GAME. It is AWESOME. HOLY CRAP.

Dai bolted up in bed, gasping for air. The red eyes from her nightmare hung in the recesses of her mind, mocking her fear. Silent laughter echoed around the room and she shuddered, wrapping her arms around herself as icy cold wind snaked across her body. She looked over at the door, relieved to see Westly's sleeping figure.

Does Dai: wake Westly up or go back to bed?
[Underlined lines are links!]
[You select one of the options, and new text shows up! Let's say we selected "wake Westly up".]

Dai crept up from the bed, slowly making her way across the room to where Westly sat, guarding her even in sleep. She watched his eyelashes part, his head lifting to look up at her. For a moment she stood uncertainly, meeting his unreadable gaze, and then she slowly finished crossing the distance between them.

Does Dai: tell Westly about her nightmare or sit silently beside him?

Get the idea?! It's a choose-your-own-adventure! On a web page! With The Quest of Dai! /giddy

Tell me that isn't awesome! My husband is so cool.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Quest of Dai: The Eroe - Leaving Circulation!


The awesome people at Outskirts Press got back to me and told me they would be getting in touch with me shortly about removing The Quest of Dai: The Eroe from circulation for good. (I don't remember their exact terminology, but it sounded very final--I think she said something like "deleting the title" or something.) So... yay! The ISBN will still exist, so technically the book will still exist as having been written, but no one will be able to get it--and that matters!

They also confirmed I will be able to republish the revised version under the same title, The Quest of Dai: The Eroe. So, phew! on that one.

I did a little more editing on the opening chapters last night after I blogged, and I plan on doing some more after I finish typing this. (I just can't let go!) I find myself analyzing every little word, wondering, "Is this the right one? Does this sound okay? Does it flow?" And then I remind myself, no matter what, it still beats the first time I published it. :)

I think that's one of the dangers of indie publishing... You are your own worst enemy. I found myself staring at the Outskirts Press book package add-ons and eyeing the ghost-writer option, wondering, "Hmm... Do I need that?" (The answer, I sincerely hope, is no!)

So--that's where we stand. I'm removing The Quest of Dai: The Eroe for good, and publishing a new version that will hopefully be way more awesome...

Maybe I should hold a virtual launch party. Or a giveaway. HMMM...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Post-Publication Revisions? Not So Easy...

As we all know by now, I've redone The Quest of Dai: The Eroe.

Some day I'll write about everything I learned in this publishing process, but for now, let me tell you what happened in the last couple of days. I reached out to Outskirts Press, the publisher I used for The Quest of Dai: The Eroe, and ordered their post-publication revision package. I was ecstatic.

A very, very nice woman e-mailed me back with a Word document template asking me to fill in the line I wanted to replace with the new line to replace it with.

I responded and said it would be impossible for me to fill out that template, as I had revised the entire manuscript, and needed the entire book reformatted and revised.

To which she responded and sadly told me that I wouldn't be able to do that in the post-publication revision--I would need to order another package.

I quickly asked if I would be able to remove the existing version from print and make sure it was no longer available, and she said yes, as soon as my new book was ready we could get rid of the old one.


Having the old The Quest of Dai: The Eroe available and out there does not make me feel good. I don't mind paying the package price to have it replaced--that's fair. They have to do the work all over again. But what worries me is having to get a new ISBN for a book of the very same title, because that means the old book still exists. The old book is still out there. The old book will still be SOMEWHERE. Can they guarantee it will disappear from Amazon? Or will it just say, "Not available"? Can I still use the same title?

I don't know. But I am definitely not ordering the package until I know for sure. Outskirts (they're so awesome!) credited my account with the money I had paid for the revisions package and said I could use it to purchase a package. I e-mailed my author rep/publishing team and asked them for some additional info. I'm not spending $1000/$600 until I know for sure that the book will be gone for good. (I'm not exactly sure what my other options are, but I'll think of something I guess?)

I'm not going to say it was depressing, but it was kind of a bummer. At least the Outskirts team is always insanely nice to work with.

Also--and this is kind of funny... I was actually about to purchase the package, and I couldn't make myself hit "confirm." I kept flipping back to the manuscript and reading and re-reading the first few pages. Panicking. Wondering if it was good enough. Asking myself if I was REALLY SURE this time.

Turns out I wasn't, because that was when I e-mailed the publishing team.

And now I'm going to go read the manuscript one more time. Because I can't let go.