Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fave YA Reads of 2012

The last week of December is usually a great time to get lost in a book. This year I've decided to work on WIP instead of reading. But it's always nice to reflect on the work other authors have produced. This year was very exciting in YA and MG. Here are my top 5 reads of my fave reads of 2012:

1. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

And the blurb:
Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. And Sophie has a secret—she’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and almost instantly she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.

Shannon is active on twitter and fun to follow. I enjoyed her debut and Sophie's story. I couldn't put this one down.

2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

And the blurb:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

This probably goes without saying - this series is amazing! Divergent and Insurgent have received great reviews and are exciting reads. I think Insurgent transcends the follies of many middle-trilogy books and is a thrill ride in it's own right.

3. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

And the blurb:

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help--no matter what the risk.

Galen is dreamy. I fell for him right away. Emma is spunky and fun which makes me love her as well. The world Anna created is exciting and different. I couldn't put this book down. I can't wait for the sequel to come. When will spring get here?

4. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

And the blurb:

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

This book was a complete joy. It actually takes place in my former home town: Cartersville, GA. Anna is wonderfully conflicted and with good reason - Kaidan Rowe is bad (in the best way). I devoured this book and you should too.

5. A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies

And the blurb:

When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. It's not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories come flooding back. She tries to put the past behind her, but she knows she'll be forever haunted by the ruthless betrayal that almost took her life.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her newfound powers, Skye discovers that she's capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can't forget the terrifying truth she now knows about the Order, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

I loved the first book in this series: A Beautiful Dark. I didn't love the cliffhanger - but not because it wasn't thrilling. I just don't like the way cliffhangers make me long for resolution. Good thing A Fractured Light was ah-mazing.

These were my best-of-the-best books of 2012. Mermaids, elves, dystopian, and a little heaven and hell.

What were your fave reads of 2012?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cover Reveal: Dracian Legacy

One of my favorite Tweeps, @pkanaparti, is preparing for her debut on Feb 14, 2013.

If you don't know her already here is what you need to know:

Priya Kanaparti was born in India, grew up in Detroit, and is now living in Boise, ID. She attended Wayne State University for her undergrad degree in Bachelor of Science in Biology, and University of Phoenix for her Masters in Business Administration. Priya works as a project manager in software field during the day and lives in the world of her characters during the nights and weekends. She had found the love for reading and writing early this year, when she stayed home with her year old and needed something to occupy those 'downtime' hours.
She loves playing tennis on a good summer day and chess during the cold winters, but reading and writing has become a year round hobby.

She lives in Boise with her husband, son and a Yorkie. Dracian Legacy, a YA Paranormal Romance, is her debut novel.

All book birthdays are exciting but when writing buddies have book birthdays I get all twitterpated. Like this:

So without further delay.....

Here is the cover:

Isn't it lovely?

And here is the blurb:

Ren and Axel are caught between two powerful magical races: one destined to end the bloodshed, the other out for vengeance.

Seventeen-year-old Ren Pernell is prophesied to end the war between the Dracians and the Telalians. So when a Dracian, Axel Knight, is sent to find and bring back the prophesied one before she turns eighteen and Telalians discover of her existence, unexpected sparks start to fly between the two. Once Ren finds the truth behind Axel’s arrival, she wants everything to do with him and nothing to do with his mission.

Things prove to be difficult as Ren’s life is constantly threatened by forces that are beyond her control, including the leader of the Telalians.
With the clock ticking and Ren’s life in jeopardy, it is no longer just a mission for Axel. It becomes a personal endeavor to save the only one he’s ever loved. In a heart racing ending, they must find a way to evade the preordained war that won’t also end Ren’s life.

Sounds exciting! Congrats to Priya and her gorgeous debut. I know I'm looking forward to Feb 2013.

In the mean time here is a contest to wet your whistle until the Feb release.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 3, 2012

NaNo in Review (or 5 reasons I won for losing)

Let’s cut to the chase: I didn't win NaNo and that sucks. I lost the race and for a perfectionist-work-a-holic-type-A-personality-hot-mess like me it was a hard pill to swallow. On November 30th I looked something like this:

But I didn’t wallow in my sorrows for long. Ultimately, a lot of good came from my 30 days of writing abandon (even if it wasn’t words on the page). I figured I owed it to myself to be kind.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 reasons I won for losing NaNo:

1. I actually started a new WIP. I've labored over a project for a long time trying to get it *perfect*. Needless to say I was in too deep and needed some perspective. NaNo was the perfect writing vacation and it always feels good to start a shiny new project.

2. I learned I’m a Plotter in training. I always thought I was a plotter. All of my projects started as a short summary and built into an outline. I thought I was totally great at plotting…and then NaNo kicked me in the face. Something like this:

I was 15 days into my NaNo project and realized I had exhausted my plot. I needed more depth and I hadn't done enough prep. Lesson learned? I should take plotting more seriously for better productivity. I bought a few books to help and have been soaking up as much about plotting as I can.

3. I LOVE SCRIVENER. I had never used it before embarking on the NaNo project and I am madly in love. Maybe even stalker-restraining order-obsessed. Still, Scrivener is a very useful tool and I can’t see myself using anything else for my projects in the future.

4. I learned a lot from Tweeps. The writing community online is amazing and NaNo is 30 days where it truly shines. There were all sorts or tweets, blog posts, and stories online and on the NaNoWriMo site to offer insight, assistance, and encouragement to NaNo plebes like me. See my twitter feed for some of my favorite posts over the last 30 days.

5. Even though I failed to hit 50k I got words. On. The. Page. Yippie!

*F&@$ Yeah*

In true perfectionist-work-a-holic-type-A-personality-hot-mess I took on more than I could realistically deliver. I had one out of town trip, 1 party, several long days at work, 2 Thanksgivings (yummy), and 1 Half Marathon during November. It was a busy 30 days and I still managed to get 17,690 words. This month reminded me that there is never a *perfect* time or circumstance to write.

Writing requires discipline and commitment to yourself, your craft, your vision, etc. NaNo reminded me that I can do more than I thought. It’s a nice feeling.

What about you? What did you learn from NaNo?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Panic Attack

What am I thinking? I've signed up for my first NaNoWriMo and it starts in just a few hours!

Luckily I've been needing this kick in the butt so I can't complain. I've been nursing a draft for too long and am in need of a story vacation. NaNo is my story vacation.

Story vacation? What's that? Just check out Aimee Salter's wonderful blog. Aimee is a YA author, represented by Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her blog is one of my favorite sources on the web for writerly advice. She recently published a post about when, or if, it's ever okay to consider 'giving up' on a book. Her wonderful words of wisdom can be found here.

She proposes that sometimes all you need is a vacation from the draft you've been living and breathing for the last - oh year or more. Now, when you think of a 'vacation' you're probably picturing this:

And not.....this:

But that's how I roll. I like hard work so NaNoWriMo is my kind of party.

How do you #NaNoWriMo?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Awesome Author Interview with Cassandra Marshall

We are joined today by the wonderful Cassandra Marshall, freelance editor, lit agency staff member, and debut author of the steampunk adventure The Stars Fell Sideways.She is active on twitter and you can follow her here: @CA_Marshall.

Here is a what you need to know about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS

I wanted to take some time to get to know Cassandra and her creative process. Here's what she shared:

1. So many authors say their story came to them in a dream or was inspired by real events. How did the idea for The Stars Fell Sideways come to you?

You know what's really sad? I honestly don't remember where the idea for STARS came from. I know parts of it, but not the first spark. :( It wasn't a dream and it certainly wasn't based on a real event. :P

2. Pom has such a wonderful name, how did you come up with it?

I ate an unlawful amount of pomegranates during writing. They were on sale (and they never go on sale) so I took advantage. Pom was originally just a placeholder until I could come up with something different, but I loved it so much that I kept it.

3. Some of the story takes place off the coast of Portugal. Why did you pick that location?

You never hear about anything happening off the coast of Portugal, right? Seems like the perfect place for an island to be hiding! I think the Portuguese language is beautiful. I first heard it spoken by a native in a youtube video (you can see it here: and knew it would have to be in my books somehow! Plus that super cute part in Love Actually with the writer and the waitress :)

3. 1. (Follow up question) Have you ever been there?

Sadly, no. :( Someday!

3.2. (Follow up question) If not, was it difficult to write about a place you never visited?

The only part that actually happens in the country is the arrival at the airport. Most airports are alike, so it's not hard to imagine for me the writer or for you the readers. Plus there's Google.

4. So many authors/publishers talk about how this business requires patience. How long have you been writing/revising this story?

I wrote it after NaNo '10. I was exhausted by that book so I wanted something new and fun and different from anything else I was working on. I wrote it quickly, spurred on by writing buddies that were loving the pages. I finished it, let it sit for a while, edited, edited edited, let it sit, edited again, and started querying widely in March 2011. So many agents were loving it, just not enough to rep it. I let it sit a few months without thinking about it and when I re-read it I cried, I loved it so much and didn't want it to just sit in a drawer anymore. Earlier this year I won a trip to NYC to Backspace and met a few agents there and did another query push. Those agents also loved it, but not enough to rep it. Some even said they liked me and my writing, but they didn't know who they'd sell it to. So I figured I'd sell it right to the readers myself, as readers aren't worried about imprints and sales thresholds and all that stuff. I've done more editing since deciding to release it, several copy edits, polishes, and more polishes. Hopefully it's about as perfect as I can get it. And I hope the readers like it. The best thing about doing it myself is that I'll be able to easily tweak if people come back with glaring errors :)

4.5 You decided to indie publish/self publish. What was the most challenging part of that process?

I think the hardest part is having confidence in yourself. The agents didn't like it enough, what if the readers don't either? But all writers feel that, don't they? Specific to self-publishing, it's finding reviewers. My people on twitter know me as an editor and introducing a book and asking them to spend their own money to read it... that's tough. I only hope I've done a good job.

5. You yourself are and editor, but did you use any additional editors to prep your book for production?

Yeah, I trained a friend of mine in copy editing and she gave it a once over, and then another friend did my copy edits and has read it a billion times. I hired another freelancer to give "big picture" edits and lots of friends have read it too. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, but hopefully enough eyes have been on it. :)

6. What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

Don't worry about what's supposed to happen. Follow your own writing path, do what you feel is best, what brings you joy.

7. Now that your book is out for the world to see, what will you do to celebrate?

Snuggle with MolliePup. Putting a book out takes hours and hours and hours of work and I feel like she's been neglected a little bit. Thankfully she likes staring out the window at the squirrels and birds and bunnies and turkey's but I think a lot of long walkies are in order. Getting off my butt will be good for
me too :)

Thanks for the awesome interview Cassandra! Now go check out The Stars Fell Sideways for yourself. Read. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS by Cassandra Marshall *Cover Reveal and Contest*

I'm personally thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS. Cassandra Marshall is a wonderful author and editor extraordinaire. THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS is her exciting debut, available October 1st. I've had the pleasure of being a beta reader on earlier versions of this story and absolutely fell in love. Who knew corsets and steam could be so tantalizing?

But enough is enough. You came here to see the cover, so take a gander. ((0.0)) *so shiny*

Here is a what you need to know about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS:

Alison Arroway takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. She has to, or she won’t get paid. Alison is a stunt double for pampered teen actress Pomegranate and when the director takes the shoot to Portugal, Alison is anything but thrilled to be rooming with Pom. But getting to hang around teen hearthrob Erik? Now that’s a plus.

Erik invites both girls on a sunset boat trip and Alison manages to have a decent time. Until the storm hits and the boat is shipwrecked on a small island, leaving Erik missing and the boat captain dead.

In the morning light, Alison and Pom find themselves on the lost island of Atlantis. Only one problem: now that the girls know the secret of the island, the Atlanteans don’t want them to leave. They're stuck with corsets, full-skirted dresses, and the strange steam-driven contraptions that are just a way of life for the islanders.

When a plot by the ruthless army Captain to take over the island and declare himself General over all emerges, an underground group promises to return the girls to the mainland if they can help stop him. They'll go through a mountain, literally, to find the Book of Blue, a book that will explain how to make ‘the stars fall sideways' in order to save the day and earn their freedom.

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS, a YA Steampunkish fantasy, coming October 1st from MolliePup Press!

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE *said in manner of Slap Chop guy from infomercial*

Cassandra Marshall is giving away a signed pre-order of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS! To enter, visit each of the blogs below to find special inside info about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS and Cassandra Marshall. The special inside info for this blog is:

"Pom was named that way because while writing the book Cassandra ate a lot of pomegranates for some reason. It was originally just going to be a placeholder until she thought of another name but she liked it so much that she kept it."

Best. Name. Ever. - if you ask me.

Be sure to visit all of the blogs to find all of the insider info and then visit to enter to win a signed pre-order! You can gain additional entries by sharing links to the cover reveals! Here are links to the other blogs. Have fun!

Here's a list of all participants and links to their blogs:

Shiela Blank -
Julianna Helms -
Liana Brooks -
Jamie Corrigan -
James Matlack Raney -
Colleen Hampton -
Ren Wilson -
Kate SitHere-
Erica Haglund -
Alice M. -
Becca -
Amanda -
Eleni -
Lauren -
Cassandra -

Monday, August 13, 2012

Writerly Resource: Conference Confusion Cleared

'Yes, I know exactly what you mean.' *no I don't*

IRL, if you're like me you've probably felt overwhelmed at times trolling through the writer blogs on the interwebs. The dreaded information overload leads to analysis paralysis. At least that's what my office dwelling colleagues and I call it. When this happens to me I try to pause *panic on the inside* and put structure around what I'm seeing. Besides, organizational ability is next to godly ability....wait, no. Organizationliness is next to godliness. Yes, that's it.

In honor of participating in my first conference, WriteOnCon, I've decided to shine a light on the wild world of conferences. If you follow agents, editors, or publishers on twitter your feed will be periodically consumed with acronyms.

What, you didn't know Backspace wasn't just a key your little finger likes to hit? No, ABA isn't a Swedish pop group (that's ABBA).

Now you don't have to pretend like you know what everyone is talking about. @yaHighway posted a brilliant piece defining the conference acro's. Check it out here. @yaHighway is a group of young adult authors living all over the world. You can join them on their global road trip as we read, write, and adore all things YA!. Or follow them on twitter.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Let the party begin. The writerly nerd party that is. WriteOnCon is Aug 14 & 15 this year and I will be participating as a newbie. I've heard a lot about this online conference from friends in the writing community and am really looking forward to it.

WriteOnCon has everything from contests to forums complete with ninja agents. Anyone looking to participate or lurk can find the forums here.

Be sure to scour the query and first 250 word forums and leave comments to encourage those writers who are getting started. I love reading query letters for ideas on structure. And nothing is better than reading a well crafted log line.

Get out there and Con. See you in the forums!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Fever

Olympic fever? I have it.

Whether its diving or swimming, winter or summer, running or ribbon dancing: I love the Olympics.

For me, it's the magic of human physical achievement and the unifying nature of competition that gets my pulse racing. I get chills when I think about these athletes and the way they challenge each other for years, refining their skills through competition and contest, until they are the best possible version of themselves. *sound familiar?*

It's similar to the process writers endure in their battle to get published. The same process publishers and agents go through to make and sell the best book possible.

So to all the athletes competing their guts out: thank you. And for all the story tellers and story sellers writing their guts out: thank you.

Keep inspired. Keep inspiring.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Finally, the third book in Kiersten White's trilogy is out today. *throws confetti* She is very active on Twitter and you can follow her here.  I ran out to B&N this morning and snatched it up. Isn't it pretty? 

I can't wait to find out how this story ends. It's been a fun ride so far. I highly recommend this series.

*Verdict Is In*  I loved it! The book was a blast. I really enjoyed the lush and vibrant world Kiersten developed. ENDLESSLY was the cherry on top of a fun and flirty series. I was falling in love with Reth there at the end. His glamour got me, what can I say?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hello world. Since I'm new to blogging I figure I should begin with a simple greeting. 

I'm thrilled to be starting this blog about my adventures in writing. The writing community online is excellent and supportive. I've learned much from all of you so far. As I continue to make progress on my WIP I plan on sharing the 'fun' here.

And being a voracious reader I hope to blog about my favorite books along the way.

So here's to the wacky ride we call writing, reading, editing, and revising. *cheers*
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