Nov 27, 2009

Vampire Academy

Today I spent 17 dollars on a book that I already own. From the title, I'm pretty sure you can guess which one. Why? Because, at the very end, is the first chapter of Spirit Bound and I've been dying to get my hands on this book. I have to say that it was worth the damn 17 dollars. It put my mind at ease about when the novel will take place. 

Takes a moment to let the chapter sink in.

Okay, I'm back. Seriously, if you're a VA lover you should read this first chapter. Amazing how one simple chapter answers so many of my questions about Rose, Adrian, Lissa and the rest. Just thought I'd let you know because Razorbill only has a limited number of these babies and I snatched the very last one at the Borders near me. 

Anyway, I'm heading off to work now. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving : )

Nov 24, 2009

Mine, Mine : )

So, I really didn't want to post this because I wanted to keep this all too myself. Seriously, I sooo want Hush, Hush and Evermore, but anyway the kindness of my heart won out (okay, and the extra points I get in the contest).

Check out the contest here. Hush, Hush, Evermore, Ender's Game, and City and the Stars are just a few of the awesome books being given away. Enjoy : )

Now, A Teaser from my Novel

So, I just realized this Thursday is Thanksgiving and I doubt I'll have time to post anything during my excessive burning of food. Yeah, I'm a horrible cook. I'm surprised I haven't found a way to burn water yet. Awell, give me time and I will.

Anyway, here's a snippet involving Evie, Derek, and a few skulls. Enjoy.

*Now Closed. Thanks for the comments!*

Teaser Tuesday--Book of Shadows

Today I'm rather crunched for time, so I figured I'd share a teaser of my current read. 

My Teaser: Book of Shadows (Sweep Book 1) by Cate Tiernan

"Now that I know about it, it seems like traces of Wicca are everywhere I look. My mom was talking about going up to Red Kill to buy a pumpkin for Halloween, and I realized where that tradition really comes from." --Spoken by Jenna on page 121

Feel free to post yours in the comments section. I'd love to know what my fellow bloggers are currently reading! You know the rules: open up to a random page and share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. 

Nov 21, 2009

Author Interview: Carrie Jones

A Q&A with the amazing Carrie Jones!

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

From Ramblings to Interviews: When and why did you begin writing?

Carrie Jones: Well, I first started writing in nursery school. The teachers insisted. I didn't feel as if I had much choice. I had a hard time with the letters "P" and "D" and "Q" and "B" I was always flipping them upside down and the opposite ways so "P" would become "d."


RI: The magical beings in Need you've created are so unique. What inspired you to write them, seeing as the genre is different than your previous novels?


CJ: I really thought of it as a big experiment. I get bored terribly easily, and I had this strange experience that sort of pushed me to write.


I was at the Common Ground Fair, which is this huge, cool fair in Maine that’s sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA). To get to the main part of the fair you have to walk through this sweet trail that curves through these tall spruce trees.

Right in front of me was this guy. He had a weird vibe. He was wearing all corduroy – blazer, pants. And sticking out from his blazer was this long tail-like appendage that was wrapped in different colored earth-toned cloth. I guess he could tell I was checking him out because he turned his head and looked at me. His eye was this startling silver color. How startling? So startling that I actually gasped and got creeped out. Then when we were in line to pay we made eye contact again and his eyes were brown.

I know! I know! I probably imagined the silver eye color.

It doesn’t matter. That was one of the main things that got me started. Then, I just had this image of a man standing outside an airport pointing at an airplane this girl was on.

It also creeped me out.

So, I started writing.


RI: Captivate, Need's sequel, will be finally be released on January 5th, and we've all read the summary on Amazon (sounds great btw!). But, can you tell us any more about it?


CJ: Um.... My editor made me cut out a lot of the love scenes, but there are still some in there....


I'm actually not supposed to talk about it. It is SO hard to not talk about it.

RI: When it comes to writing, do you outline, write blind, or have a mix between the two?


CJ: It depends on the project but usually I start out blind, get to about 50,000 words and then go back over it and create a chapter outline from what I have. Then I tend to cry, throw my hands up in frustration, and ignore my outline.


RI: Is there anything particularly challenging in your writing?

CJ: I tend to be a minimalist, and I tend to like love scenes and dialogue, so I'd say description and structure (see that last question about the outlines) are my biggest challenges.



RI: Any weird writing quirks?


CJ: I don't write naked.

I don't write upside down.

I don't write in a bathtub of strudel.

So, I think I'm a pretty boring writer, actually. 

I am one of those writers who writes better when they are happy. If someone is cranky at me or I watch the news before I write then I am pretty much blown for the day. Pathetic, I know.

RI: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


CJ: Everything I could say seems like a cliche.

I mean it's cool if you:

1. Write every day (At least 100 words)

2. Read every day (At least 100 words)

3. Believe in yourself and your character and your story.

4. Have fun

5. Study the craft

6. Eat strudel

7. Don't get hung up on being the most awesome writer in the universe because once that happens you get writers' block.


But all the rules can be broken and everyone works in a different way

RI: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


CJ: Thank you for reading! It is so nice of you! And thank you for not ripping the books in half and trying to flush them down the toilet. I really REALLY appreciate that.

RI: What's one question that no one ever asks, but you wish they would? (And answer please!)

CJ: Q. Carrie, why do you like puppies so much?

A. Because they wag their tails and lick you and they let you pet them all day long and they ALWAYS ALWAYS love you.


3 Quick Facts:

Book you're currently reading- 

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Movie you've fallen in love with-

Dude, I am so easy. I love almost ALL movies. Seriously. It is sad.

Author you've grown to admire- 

I admire pretty much all of them. How about... um... oh! That's so hard. Today it's Rita Williams Garcia, but I've ALWAYS admired her.

RI: Again, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions!

CJ: Oh, thank you for asking them!

Nov 20, 2009

Must Read This!

So, I came across this upcoming release (April 2010 to be exact) and have vowed to buy it the day it comes out. I'm in love with Greek life in college--hence, the name of my favorite show to your left. And, the cover even looks amazing! Check it out.

Read the summary here. Man, I can't wait for this novel.

Nov 19, 2009

Teaser Thursday

A little late, I know, but this is a good Derek & Evie moment. Enjoy : )

*Now Closed*

Baaa Baaa

Go sheep!

Nov 18, 2009

How NOT to Write a Novel

Read this. I bet you'll find it as amusing as I did.

Nov 16, 2009


I'm going to talk about the importance of story structure today. Everyone knows that all stories should have a beginning, middle, and end (i hope). And, I believe all forms of story need some sort of structure whether it be drawn, written, or pictured in your mind.

What is structure? There are so many types of structure geared toward specific genres, but the most commonly used is the three act structure, which dates back centuries. Another is the five act structure, and those of you who watch desperate housewives can see it in the show.

***I'm a Gabby & Carlos fan. There's something about his personality on the show that I find absolutely adorable.***

I'm going to talk about how I approach story structure. Keep in mind that writers work in different ways. I know writers who set out with no written planning and only an idea in their head of the general concept/plot. I also know writers who plan out each scene from the dialogue to character movements.

I would have to say my style is somewhere in between. I outline my novel chapter by chapter, but only with a sentence or two for each one. And, usually, the chapter doesn't correspond with my first outline because I found another path. But, I don't just go with the new path. I re-do my outline and make sure the story has a fast-paced feel. (I'm not one for MC's who go about daily routines. I know how to brush my teeth, so I don't need two sentences on how the MC's gums are being treated.)

Some people storyboard it. You know, the story structure diagram you learn in, like, seventh grade and you attach post-its along the way. I can see how it works for people, its a great way to truly visualize how your story's going. My characters never shut-up in my head so its pretty easy visualize what they are doing along the way and during the dialogue. THey love showing it to me.

The best advice I have for writers is to be open to change. Planning too much detail beforehand can confine yourself to that story line and you may never see a better one that's dying for your attention.

Also, if you have trouble understanding structure and outlining, I suggest sitting in front of a t.v. and writing outlines of some of your favorite movies. You'll begin to noticing how journeys start of and how (if it's a good show or movie) there's a point to every spoken word and the low points the characters always face before the big boom.

I'm interested in hearing from you guys. Do you outline? Do you write blind? Is there a mix to your writing? Structure relates to the age old argument of whether writing is an art or a teachable craft. Do you think structure helps create solid blockbusters?

Nov 14, 2009


Okay, so I decided to stop with the revisions today and pick up a book from my TBR pile. Yeah, the book was Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast. I'm on page 50 and don't know of ANY teenager that would talk like that. Poopie and turd. . .Really?

Does it get better?


Okay, the last thirty pages are good, but they don't make up for the rest of the book. Not sure if I'll read the next one. There's something about vamp guys with face tattoos that I find so. . .unattractive. Maybe if I pick up book 2 it may change. Not sure.

Before reading it, I read reviews on how beautiful the ceremonies were in it. I feel sort bad cause I completely skipped over them! They were just so long. Did anyone else feel the same way?

Meeting an Agent

*closing my insider scoop on the encounter. sorry if you missed it!*

 Now, I'm off to work on revisions the rest of the day. Have a great weekend!

Nov 13, 2009


Just got out of one of my jobs (waitressing, which pays my student loans) and lo and behold, there was a literary agent there with her family. Because of where I'm going to school, I'd have to say she was either in the town because of family event or vacation. Anyway, I'm posting the story tomorrow because work was hectic and i'm exhausted.

Email Alert

"I read your blog/comment a lot and was wondering what your novel is about. I myself am writing YA and look for a beta-reader."

Well, its still in editing so I don't want to say too much, but I will say that it's a YA mystery novel about a girl on the school newspaper who has a knack for solving crimes. Thrown in is a blooming romance between her and her new gym teacher who has some crazy secrets(and, no he's not a cop). So, that's all I'll say for now, but once I'm done editing and have my query ready to go, I'll post my query on here so you can get the scoop. 

About the beta-reading, I'm sorry to everyone (except the person who sent this email, which I offered to take a look and see if its something I feel I could offer a valid opinion on) but I have loads going on this month. Now, I'm beta-reading for two people, which is more than enough at the moment.

Also, remember THAT guy? I kicked his butt in a training session. Man, it felt great.

That's all for now! 

Sick of...

Here's a list of some characters I'm sick of seeing in novels:

1. B&B cheerleaders (blond & bitchy)--Not all cheerleaders are like this!

2. Native Americans who know all the old stories and traditions of their tribe to further a plot. Okay, I have a bestfriend who's NA and she knows nothing about her heritage. At least make 'em research their heritage to make it slightly different.

3. The evil clergy man. Yeah, enough said on that one.

4. The buffy replicates. Newsflash: You can't beat Buffy. Never. Stop trying.

5. The female protagonist complaining about the male-dominated world and using sexuality as a way to always get what she wants.

6. Angsty teens with no good reason to be. Can we get a sense of humor?

7. The hot jock who's suddenly attracted to plain jane.

8. This is a given, but I despise Mary/Gary Sues.

9. MC's that are written as bitches to prove their "tough."

10. Comic relief sidekicks that always have  a comment. It can get annoying sometimes and feel like theirs a laugh track in the novel.

11. Cops that the MC claims are oblivious to everything. Give them credit sometimes! I've never read a YA book where the cops were helpful.

Also, I think we should have more African American characters in novels. My MC's best friend, Lara, is and she's a non-bitchy cheerleader, too. See, you don't need stereo-types!

Win Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Great book for a gift or to read on a lonely night. The contest is being held over at Mindful Musings. Go on and enter!

Nov 11, 2009

Ahhh, the Rejectionist

Another post that makes me realize how much I love that blog! Read it, my friends, and you will not be disappointed. 

Nov 10, 2009

Characters, Characters

A great post by Rachelle Gardner prompted me to share with you how I develop my characters and give them life.

Generally, I draw a quick sketch of how I picture the MC. An example is the one below that I drew a couple minutes ago. I didn't want to use my original because it's loaded with my MC's information and quirks. I really want you guys to come up with your own/give you ideas on how to round out your MC. I say MC because I rarely sketch out the other main characters. They form themselves in my first draft, and when the time comes for re-writes I strengthen them. 

So, there's a basic character sketch of my MC. She's an amateur sleuth named Evie Dawson. I always try to set my MC's apart from the inside out. If you've noticed her hair is darker at the ends due to dye job gone wrong a couple years back. Luckily, its almost grown out. No, I don't mention this in my novel because its one of those quirks who have to get t know your MC better. Hopefully, plenty of traits will stand out in your manuscript that helps the reader form the character in their heads. More than likely, they won't see your MC exactly like you do and that's okay. You want your readers to use their imagination.

After sketching out my MC's appearance, I create various boxes that normally fill up an entire page with traits and goals and background info. Then, I put x's through boxes that practically replicate myself. I don't want to create any Mary Sue's after all. Then, I generally dedicate a page or two to bullets on what may or may not happen to her. Slowly, the main plot will create itself and many of the others can be used as subplots.

There's one thing I never plan out however (as weird as it sounds) and its romance. I never plan out who my MC ends up with because normally he makes himself known in the first draft. And, by using this method, I know the relationship develops on its own and I don't really have to worry about forcing any scenes. If by the end of the novel all that happens is a kiss, so be it. If by the end they've had so many obstacles that they're professing their love to one another and doing a heck of a lot more than kissing, so be it.

Like I've said in previous posts, romance isn't my forte. I only incorporate it when it works and use it as a delicious subplot. Also, be sure to include a few things that may surprise your reader about your character so they aren't some cardboard cut out. 

Hmmm. . .I guess what I do next is type up a sample chapter of solely dialogue between the main characters so I can develop their special sayings and stuff like that. When I'm done with my character sketching and light outlining, I stop and take a break before diving into the novel. I let the plot stew to be sure nothing else introduces itself. Normally, stuff does emerge, but its only little sidelines moments that I wind up deleting anyway because they don't further the story. 

Here's a great quote that I save to my computer with no recollection of where I got it from:

"As authors, it is our duty to create lovable, enticing characters. And do horrible, evil things to them."

To some extent, I listen to this saying. My characters aren't always super lovable. Even Miss Dawson has a snarky side that slowly breaks down throughout her investigation. BUT, I make her snarky side more funny and less bitchy so that way the reader isn't thinking, "Oh my god, what a bitch!"

So, er, there's my basic character sketching. Hope it helped!

Nov 7, 2009

Book Quiz

You Are Mystery

You are a natural problem solver. You like figuring out the best way to do something.

You are very intuitive. You are good at picking up on people's moods and predicting the future.

You can't help but being a bit of a detective and a snoop. You always want to know what's going on.

And while you may have the scoop on everyone you know, you're not a gossip. You're a pro at keeping secrets.

Nov 6, 2009

Editing 101

Passive verbs. Half the battle is figuring out what they are, so you incorporate them much less the next time around.  

Many people also don't realize their abuse of the "to be" verb. (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, become, became) First off, I suggest using the Find/Highlight option on your computer to check how often you're using them. You may or may not be surprised how much these words eat their way into your pages.

Today, I'm going to talk about was, were, and other variations of the "state of being." 

"Was" and "were" are my safety blanket. They're the verbs I use when nothing else pops into my mind.  If you are using these verbs, I can guarantee you there is a stronger, more active verb just itching to be used.

1. How to recognize active and passive sentences.
a. Find the subject (the MC of the sentence so to speak)
b. Find the main verb (the action that the sentence identifies)
c. Examine the relationship between the subject and main verb
-Do the subject perform the action of the main verb? (If yes, then its active.)
-Doe the subject sit there while something else performs an action? (If yes, your sentence is passive, my friend.)
-Can't tell? If the main verb is a linking verb (the ones mentioned above) then the verb functions like an equal sing. There's no action involved.

2. Basic Examples
"I love you." --> Active
"You are loved by me." --> Passive

3. Difference between Passive Voice and Past Tense
a. Many people confuse the passive voice with the past tense. The most commong passive constructions also happen to be past tense (ex. I've been framed.), but "voice" has to do with who, while "tense" has to do with when.

Past Tense:  
Active: I taught  Passive: I was (have been) taught [by someone]
Present Tense: 
Active: I teach    Passive: I am (being) taught [by someone]

4. The Passive Voice is not always Wrong!
a. passive verbs are not automatically wrong. When used rarely and deliberately, the passive voice serves an important purpose.
-When you want to downplay an action
-When you want to downplay the character
-When the character is unknown

Here are some trickier examples of passive voice:

"Punctuality seems important." & "Remember to brush your teeth."

There's loads of information online that, when it comes time for editing, you can use for research. As for me, I found this information here. And, they have a lot more information on their website if, like me, you're working on draft 2.

Nov 5, 2009

Teaser Thursday

As usual, I'm posting my teaser on thursday rather than tuesday because I like to be different. Here's a scene from my Veronica Mars-esque YA mystery that I'm currently working on draft 2. Enjoy because this is the first scene I've posted between her and Chad (if it's your first time reading my post I usually keep the scenes with her teacher)

*Teaser Now Closed. Thanks for the comments!*

Nov 4, 2009

Helpful Blogger Award

Helpful Blogger Award 
A recent comment on Roni's blog inspired me to create this award. I haven't seen one like it yet, which is a shame because there should be! In my following list there are tons of bloggers who help out the rest of the blogging community and it's amazing. I'm going to make up the award rules as I go, but I promise not to make them corny.

The Helpful Blogger Award Rules
Include the award logo in your blog or post.
Link to post where you received the award.
Nominate seven blogs that you feel are helpful to others.
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know they've received the award by commenting on their blog.
Share one thing that no one knows about you & quote a sentence from your favorite book.

&&& I award these helpers : )

1. Roni-- She did inspire me to create this after all. Check out her blog for amazing writing tips.
2. Lori @ Pure Imagination--Always posting helpful YA book reviews and encouraging others to read through giveaways.
3. Suzie Townsend--An amazing literary agent who even post book reviews, which can help aspiring writers can a true sense of her likes/dislikes.
4. Lynnette Labelle--Another writer with valuable tips she's willing to share with the rest of us.
5. Jodi Meadows--Always posting what's interesting. Plus, she has adorable ferrets. 
6. Julie--She's got the make-you-think posts down. And, she's my betareader, so I'm slightly biased.
7. Kirsten Rice--A now agented writer who's sharing her journey with us this very moment.

Secret: No one knows that I . . . *haha you missed it!*

Book Quote: "I wasn't thinking about the man who'd blown himself up." --an awesome first sentence that always stuck with me from the Temperance Brennan Novel: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. These are the novels the hit tv show Bones is based on. Great read.

Nov 3, 2009

Flying Sidekicks

You probably have no idea where I'm going with this post, right? Well, see the picture above reminded me a lot of one I used to see in the martial arts studio I used to attend. The photo contained two people (my instructor and his father) on the beach facing each other in the air. Yes, both bodies were in this position, but their bodies were in proper form--shoulders squared, head high, arms. . .not like that--unlike this guy. It was a beautiful picture, and it cost them some serious doe to hire a photographer in my hometown for it.

Anyway, the picture was inspirational. Every time I looked at it, I imagined me on the beach doing a kick-ass flying sidekick. I loved martial arts, but quit at red-black belt. I know, I was one belt away from getting my black belt but stuff happened. Life happened. Too afraid to go back, I took up kickboxing in high school. I did it for a while, even impressing the teacher to be bumped up into a more advanced class. I wound up being very close to making it into the "top class." Then end of my senior year, I quit. 

Do you see the pattern here?

Both times I had inspiration and loads of reasons to keep trying my hardest. Yet, when the time came to finally accomplish these things, I quit. I didn't keep going. I didn't keep trying. I'm now in college and regularly  go running at six in the morning to stay in shape for the inevitable moment when I'm (hopefully) accepted into an ICE academy after college. Running is something I've never quit doing.

Want to know another thing I never quit? Yeah, you guessed it. Writing.

Man, I've piled up a few manuscripts--or as I like to call them, practice runs. Who hasn't though? That's what it takes to learn the craft. A craft that, in my opinion, you can never stop learning. The writing knowledge throughout books, and agents, and publishing companies, and the internet is endless.

My love of honing my skills in the craft is endless, too.

There's no pictures that inspire me to write, or words of encouragement, or movies. I write because there's something inside of me that compels me to do so. Granted, the genre I choose to write for is probably slightly based on my studies in Criminology, but so what. I love writing YA mysteries.  I heard a great quote that you might like, but can't remember where I got it from.

"Don't worry about writing a novel. Worry about telling a story, your story."

Cool, right?

So, I'm posting this post to remind myself as well as all of you why the ability to write is such a wonderful gift and why you should NEVER quit doing it. No matter how many rejections you pile up in your inbox. And, for all you Nano participants (sorry to say I am not one, nor have I ever been) good luck telling your stories! 


According to Fox news, a Wisonsin woman called 911 to report a drunk driver. It turned out she identified the driver as HERSELF.

Yeah, read that again.

The 911 tape was released the day after. She called the emergency number on Oct. 24th at about 11:20 p.m.

Here's the conversation:

Woman: "Somebody's really drunk drivingdown GrantonRoad."

Dispatcher: "Okay are you behind them, or. . ."

Woman: "No, I am them."

Dispatcher: "You am them?"

Woman: "Yes, I am them."

Dispatcher: "Okay, so you want to call and report that you're driving drunk?"

Woman: "Yes."

To hear the audio version click here. Trust me, it's worth hearing.

Nov 2, 2009

I told you: NO SWIMMING

How'd they know my first instinct would be to dive head first into dirt? Damn it. I brought my bathing suit and everything! It's alright though. I can find somewhere else.
What the hell? Okay, now I'm really getting aggravated. Why won't these people let me go for a swim? It's Florida, the beach capital or something like that.
Whatever. I give up. How bout I have a nice taco that's been sitting out far too long. Oh, and I hear they're looking for someone with a degree in English. Yeah, they need a Sign Editor or something. . .

*note: this is a case of extreme boredom and should not be taken seriously*

Twilight Goodies : )

Hey! Yeah, I'm talking to all you twi-hards. Go on over to Pure Imagination for your chance to win Twilight Goodies. Soundtrack, New Moon movie tie-in, wrist bands, bumper sticker, key chain. . .Oh, yes, they'll probably be more added during the month.

So, um, what you waiting for?