Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Forever Kinda Love by Clara Stone

Today, I'm thrilled to review Clara Stone's new title: Forever Kinda Love. But before we jump into the story let's cover the facts:

Title: Forever Kinda Love
Author: Clara Stone
Release date: August 15th, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Cover Design: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design &Photography

Ebook available at: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

And here's the blurb:

Life’s. Little. Surprises.

The last thing seven-year-old Carrigan "Ace" Casper foresaw was an eight-year-old Heath Lovelly walking into her life the day her mother died. From that moment on, Heath sticks by her side, slowly becoming her strength, her confidant, and her entire world. What she doesn’t know is, she's his saving grace, too.

Ten years later, Ace is handed another crippling challenge that threatens everything in her almost perfect life. Only, this time, she doesn't turn to Heath, hiding the truth instead. But Heath knows Ace too well and won't back down easily. He's ready to do whatever it takes and will stay by her side until she accepts that their love is the kinda love worth fighting for.

Will he be her forever triumph or her unexpected downfall?

Two lives.

One story.

And an unexpected journey to falling in love.


Sounds awesome right? And let's get another look at that beautiful cover:


Isn't it pretty? I love how it's sweet but haunting at the same time. The cover definitely lets me know this is going to be a tug-at-the-ol'-heartstrings kinda story and it did not disappoint.

REVIEW TIME (Don't worry, this review is Spoiler Free)

Forever Kinda Love is a tender, upper YA. But don't worry, this book contains NO graphic sex scenes. In fact, there are no sex scenes at all. Just a couple of make out scenes that are pg-13 but high on sizzle. This story might be considered upper/mature YA due to the tragedy that the kids face as the story develops. Also, there are a few mild, curse words included. If you're looking for a clean(on the steam), but mature YA read, this is your story.

Clara Stone accurately captures the awkward struggle we all endure when we love someone we think could never love us back. The couple is forced to deal with a terrible challenge that no one, let alone teens, should have to face. Forever Kinda Love is a sweet, fast, fun read full of flirty, awkward, heartbreak. It's a great read and I really enjoyed it which mean - I give it 4 screaming kitty heads!


Well done, Clara Stone.

Grab your copy here: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

Want to know more about the author?
Priya Kanaparti writes Mature YA and New Adult romance under the name Clara Stone. She lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID. Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Priya reading YA and NA books, mostly romance, and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict.

Her debut novel, Dracian Legacy, is available through Reuts Publications.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

11 Random Fun Facts About Me

Last month my blog turned two (they grow up so fast). And that means my About Me fun facts are two years old as well. So I decided it was high time I pulled together 11 Random Fun Facts About Me for everyone's reading pleasure. Enjoy the nerdiness that is yours truly:

1. I’m an official member of the captain planet and the planeteers fan club. Joined at the tender age of 23, I think. I have a patch and everything.

2. My first major in school was art. I wanted to study sequential art at Savannah College of Art and Design. In fact, I still have the portfolio I submitted in my application. I got in, but in the end, I never attend. I decided to pursue English Lit.

3. Speaking of sequential art, I drew a comic strip in middle school called Peanut and Butter. Peanut was a sentient nut that fought crimes with the help of his resourceful sidekick, Butter (Literally, a stick of butter). I remember spending a lot of time trying to get his butter-wrapper cape just right.

4. I’m a huge Anime/Manga fan. My first loves were Sailor Moon, Inuyasha, and Fusigi Yuugi. I spent hours and hours drawing the characters. I guess that's the art nerd version of fan fiction.

5. The first novel I read in a single sitting, start to finish, was a 90210 (the original years) spinoff. So, that was YA before YA was a thing, right? *adjusts hipster eyeglass frames* Such drama. So Amaze. Much Wow.

6. The first book I remember crying over was A Wind in The Door, the sequel to A Wrinkle in Time. It was summer before 6th or 7th grade. My siblings and I would take weekly trips on our bicycles to the local library. Until that point I ‘read’ mostly comic books (like Garfield compilations) and chapter books. Then I stumbled across A Wrinkle in Time and fell in love. Just thinking of A Wind in The Door still takes my breath away.

7. I was rejected by an Army recruiter because my neck was too big. Literally, the recruiter said my neck was too big to fit in their uniforms. Doesn’t seem legit, especially considering my brother served in the military and is universally acknowledged as having the biggest cranium known to man, ah, I mean, in our family, at least. Wouldn’t his neck be even bigger than mine? It would have to be to support his giant skull. Right?

8. I have a gold medal for band – well, not technically band. I have a gold medal because I had the honor of being part of a world championship drum and bugle corps. Which, for those who don’t know, is like professional marching band. We tour and compete all summer long against corps from other parts of the country and world. It’s one of my most prized possessions.

9. I once auditioned for my universities production of a Cabaret-style musical review by singing a Disney song: Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid. One of the best Disney songs eva! I got in, too. Which is hard to believe, I know.

10. My brothers and I had video game RPG club called the Overlords. We would meet on weekends and pull our mattresses out into the living room floor. Then, they’d play FF all night while I drew characters and fell in love with their stories. (I played too, but had a hard time finishing because I hated when they would end.) My favorite RGPs include the FF series, of course, Chrono Trigger, and my first RPG love: the Secret of Mana. I still dream of these characters.

11. I still cry every time I cross the finish line of a Half or Full Marathon. It’s just such an amazing accomplishment. I hope that wonder and awe at what the human body is capable of never fades.

Yep, that's right, *takes deep breath* take it all in, I'm a nerd. Deal with it. *drops mic* *fades to black*

What nerdtastic things are your proud of? Share them here:

Monday, August 18, 2014

6 ways #Pitchwars changed my writing life (even though I didn’t get an agent)

Yay, Pitchwars submission just happened (in fact, it doesn't close until tonight at midnight). That means, if you submitted to a potential mentor, you will be compulsively checking twitter and email waiting for a response. I know, because I was in you shoes just a few months ago. Pitchwars is a terrific event that changed my writing in a lot of ways. Here are the top 6. Enjoy!

1. Pitchwars gave me a big ol’ confidence shot right in the arm. Getting selected by a mentor was some freaking awesome validation. I think I may have cried.

2. Then, Pitchwars swung its size 11 shoe straight into my crotch. So, almost immediately after getting into the contest you start hearing from your mentor. It’s not all good stuff. It’s hard to take criticism (even criticism you asked for) but keep an open mind. The advice you receive during this contest might be some of the best feedback you get.

3. Pitchwars introduced me new friends, colleagues, and CP’s. I met tons of new writers through the #Pitchwars. I even found and followed new agents that I hadn’t previously stalked…I mean followed. I also gained the CP support of the other writers on my team. We read for each other and provided feedback. It was fabulous.

4. Warning: Pitchwars feedback may apply to all your novels. Seriously. My mentor’s advice was not unique – she pointed out something you often hear but never think applies to you: I was starting my manuscript in the wrong place. Majorly wrong place. I had to scrap my first 6 chapters and write an entirely new beginning to my novel. What the what?! Yeah, I was skeptical at first but after talking it through with my mentor I really understood. Since then, I’ve re-evaluated the beginnings of my other finished WIPs and guess what – they started in the wrong place as well!

5. Pitchwars made me tired. I mean so tired. It’s a lot of work. Unlike some other contests, the expectation in Pitchwars is that you take the feedback and edit your MS, query, pitch etc with the goal of having a new and improved version for the Agents to read at the auction. I was scrambling to make changes in time for the final auction and I didn’t even come close. It’s a lot of work people. But it taught me to plan and schedule my writing time better.

6. Most importantly, Pitchwars was an ah-ha moment for me regarding subjectivity in publishing. Here is an accurate re-enactment of my thought process during and after Pitchwars: “Oh man I got in. This is awesome. This is really going to happen. OMG my MS sucks. I’m a terrible writer. All this rewriting. I’m never going to make it as an author. Wait, I’m starting to like these ideas. I really like them. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Yay Auction day – someone wants my stuff. OMG someone wants my stuff. I knew it. I knew I would make it. This is it. This is the beginning of my success story……(months later)….I didn’t make it. No one is ever going to love my story. I’m worthless…it was all a lie.

Its’ a rollercoaster, yes, so wrap your arms around the safety bars and hold on tight. But the above melodrama doesn’t have to be your story too. Getting into Pitchwars is an awesome achievement. You’ve caught the eye of an industry pro. That’s huge. Celebrate that accomplishment. Or, maybe you don't. Maybe you don't get into this contest. Maybe you get a request on auction day – maybe you don’t. Maybe the agent who requests your stuff loves it – maybe they don’t. Don’t let that diminish the weight of your achievement (You wrote a freakin' book and had the guts to show it to someone - always celebrate that). This biz is hugely subjective. Just because you wow the mentors doesn’t guarantee your story will be the next break out success. There are no guarantees on the business side of things.

But here’s what you can do: You can learn from every second of Pitchwars. You can focus on craft and improve. You can meet new people and gain wonderful friendships and even new CP’s. You can query your new-and-improved MS after Pitchwars. You can make the most of this MS, this contest, regardless of its outcome, and you can become the writer you want to be. You made it this far. You can go farther, if you’re willing to do the work, I guarantee it.

Want more on Pitchwars? Read my recap here.

Being graceful in public, being thankful.

On Rejection (or why losing is not the same as not winning.

Contest fatigue? Read about it here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

RWA14 recap (with cowboys!) #RWA14

RWA 14 is done and was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting writerly experiences of my career, to date. The conference, for those who don’t know, is the Romance Writers of America’s national event and is hosted in a different city each year (last year was ATL. Read my thoughts on RWA13 here).

The event draws romance writers from every stage of the process, all are welcome, whether you’re thinking about drafting your first romance or whether your Nora –writes-a-truck-load-freaking-Roberts. Self pub, indie pub, or big 6/5 pub – it doesn’t matter. The conference is attended by agents, editors, publishers, and other industry insiders. Most days can be spent taking classes on anything from how to write great sex to the in’s-and-out’s of ladies undergarments for the regency period (I’m not kidding). Lectures are held on other subjects as well. You can take classes taught by real lawyers and law enforcement officers. You can even learn the true slang used by cowboys, taught by real cowboys.

This year we were in San Antonio and it was hot. Wonderful, but hot. And the city was prettier than I thought it would be. Not that I necessary thought San An would be ugly, but I thought it would look like any other big city. We stayed right by the river walk and we could actually see the Alamo from our room. So, from where we were, San An wasn’t just your average city. I mean, look at this:

Gorgeous, right?

I arrived Wednesday and met my roommate in the airport. A quick cab ride delivered us to our hotel. We were within walking distance to the Alamo - isn't it lovely?

Immediately it was clear that RWA was going to rock. We checked in and made our way to the literacy signing.

At the signing we made the rounds, chatting happily with some of our favorite authors. And before we continue I absolutely must tell you that my roommate, @CA_Corneille, is the coolest. She had been to a few writers’ conferences in the past and knew authors from previous meet and greets.

Of course, as you can imagine, the vast majority of RWA is aimed at adult readers. There aren’t boatloads of YA and NA romance writers out there (since those audiences have only been recently carved out). So the YA and NA romance writers hosted a scavenger hunt, if you got all their signatures you would be entered to win a Kindle Fire. Since my roomie and I both write NA/YA we were thrilled to chat up these authors. After getting our last signature, we turned in our forms, and went up to bed, exhausted. But that happy, practically post-coital-bliss type of exhaustion.

The next morning, I was in session when I got an email letting me know I WON the Kindle Fire!!! OMG!!! Cue shock and surprise. I’m one of those people who never wins anything so I was floored and humbled to win so a fantastic prize.

Isn’t it lovely!?! I couldn’t believe how freaking beautiful book covers look on this thing (fyi, they were vibrant, jump-off-the-page, gorgeous).

Sessions were amazing. I learned a lot, ate a lot, drank…you guessed it (a lot) (but not too much)!

But probably the best part of any conference was the networking. I networked A LOT. Kind, talented, authors and book lovers were everywhere and so willing to chat. I even met some peeps IRL who I had only previously known through twitter. Twitter is great (I love Twitter) but let me make this clear, having real, live convo’s face to face is priceless.

Sometimes networking means posing for pictures with sexy cowboys. Kindle threw a party complete with cowboys, free drinks, and a photo booth (what could be better?). Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

My favorite sessions included the NA Marketing session, the High Concept session, and the publisher spotlight on Entangled (Liz was hilarious). I loved the Kindle party and the Literacy Signing.

In the end, I was more exhausted than I previously thought possible, but also excited and motivated to get back to work. Being present and a part of the amaze-balls, thrilling, and supportive RWA community made me so eager to do more, write more, and write better. But it was hard to say good bye.

Were you at RWA14 or another conference this summer? What was your favorite part?

Want more info on Writers Conferences? Check out these posts:

5 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference

Conference Confusion Cleared

Lucienne Diver's conference recap

Sex, Romance and the Happy Ever After

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Can Haz Productivity: July 2014 month in review

July was amazing! For a lot of reasons but it was extra special because of #RWA14! I’m working to compile my RWA recap post so stay tuned for more info on the conference.

In addition to amazing fun writerly times, I was able to sneak away for a family vacation on the lake. We fished, kayaked, and spent time around the fire. Here's a pic of my dad and I with a fish we each caught:

The time with family was rejuvenating. The house was amazing and the views were incredible. Loved it.

We also celebrated the 4th of July in the town square which was adorable. I’ve lived here for years but this year was the first time I was able to spend the holiday on the square. Lovely.

I wasn't the only one busy, either. Handsome Jack, my hubby, planned his first bike trip in which he took on the tail of the dragon. check out this pic. *fans self* It's swoon worthy:

As you may recall from this #RunDisney training post, we started training for the Dopey challenge in July. So far we’ve been running a lot of miles on local trails. Which has been good on my knees but bad on my foot. I’ve already started icing. See?

And while all this fun, fabulous stuff was going on I was writing. Lots and lots of words! Yay! Let’s take a look at the stats:

1 Partial beta for a CP
3 novels read for fun
1 out of town Vacay
1 out of town writers conference!
3 trail runs and several gym workouts

And words, not many words but I don't want to lose sight of the fact that any words are better than no words *does happy dance * For a grand total of 37, 885 words. WHAT THE WHAT?! That is my highest word count this year and let me tell you, guys, it feels so good to write that much. This brings my total ‘tracked’ word count to 84, 364 for the year! That's right, I nearly doubled my total word count in one month!! Things are starting to get back on track and that feels good.

And as for miles ran, I am happy to report, 32.5 miles logged. Which brings my total ‘tracked’ mileage to 112.1 miles this year. I’m happy to be falling in love with running again.

All in all, it’s not a bad month. Looking forward to making further strides in my draft next month.

#NeverGiveUp #NeverSurrender
How are your writing goals coming along?
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