Friday, December 31, 2010

Split Book 52

*Flash to Beth levitating as gold coins drop all around her like when u beat level 13 in Mario Bros. (Yes, I know this dates me). I finished the project with 6 hours to spare!* WOOHOOO

Now for a brief (and I do mean brief) review of Book 52. Split is a book that deals with domestic violence, but what I liked about it was that it didn't just deal with the abuse. It dealt with what the abuse does to a person. How child abuse still affects the victim in adulthood and I thought it addressed this quite well dealing with all the complex angles of it. I also liked that it dealt with the relationships of two siblings who grew up in an abusive home and how they relate and interact with each other.

I didn't like that it was in the present because as previously mentioned it just annoys me. Also, there were some things I didn't find believable and I thought the abusive father was a bit overplayed.

It's a good book. I recommend it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Intertwined Book 51/Contest Winners

I'm sorry I'm late on announcing the winners, but they're at the bottom of this post. Promise. Although, I will be up front it will most likely be the last week of January before I can actually mail your books due to some changes coming in my life that I can't post about yet. Soon though, very soon.

Now on to Intertwined. The premise gave a whole new spin to paranormal romance. Aden Stone is shipped from juvey home to mental institution and back again his whole because, well, when you walk around talking to yourself that is likely to happen. Except he's not really talking to himself. He's talking to the souls that reside in his head. He meets a girl.--She's not the one, but they can still be friends. (Heard that one before, lol). And so they are, which is probably for the best since the girl is in love with a rabid wolf. Aden falls for a vampire princess who the werewolf is supposed to be protecting. They're all running from packs of faeries/witches/goblins and Aden has a special disdain for...zombies. That's right, zombies....As you can see an intriguing read. I liked that it pretty much took off from the beginning.

I didn't think the romance was there though. The book was well written with all the perspectives that had to be covered but it just missed that special little spark for me. All in all it was a good read.


On to the winners: Two books for Maggie and one for Jen Albin.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest

For those of you who saw my check back message earlier I'm sorry. Chris, thanks for the official forgiveness.

Be Jolly by Golly  is hosted by Jen and Melissa.

As far as decorations go we usually decorate for Advent first with wreaths.  If I have young family members coming over I've been known to make pink and purple paper chains as well. (They can easily be replaced with green and red on Christmas Eve). We don't have children yet, but I've made a pie plate Advent wreath with my little nephew one year and we enjoyed that. You just buy the aluminum pie plate, three purple candles, one pink one, and one white one and arrange them nicely inside the pie plate. (The fat candles work better for this). Then you can buy either a wreath or evergreen garland, or whatever you want really from the dollar store or hobby lobby and decorate the outside of the pie plate. He really seemed to love this and it was a good way to teach him the prayers too. Usually, on Christmas Eve I would put up my tree but this year we don't have one. LOL.

I don't really do a lot of cooking for the holidays. We like to go somewhere really nice for Christmas brunnch (the kind of place we'd never be able to go to the rest of the year). But I do love puppy chow (you can find the recipe here). It's great for gift bags or just sitting out to munch on before the meal starts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Contest Reminder

Hey just a reminder that my contest is open until Christmas Eve. It's open internationally. The first prize winner gets two books of their choice. The second place winner gets one book of their choice. You can find the details and how to enter here. And I have to go Christmas shopping so that's all for today.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yep. Nothing. Sorry. I just had to get that stupid letter off my blog. It's kind of saddening to think it almost got worse every time! LOL. Well, I sent version #8 with the materials to be critiqued. I had to copy and paste the first 50 pages after I made what little corrections I was able to into its own document on a comp. I don't usually use. I don't know how but somehow even with the same font style and size 50 pages in the full document was 61 in the new. I didn't get to send the scene I really wanted to. Not to mention I exected to have about 3 rounds of edits left. (I've done about three). After last night I'm convinced I have ten rounds of edits left. I, also, won't be surprised when my critique comes back looking like this:

Dear Ms. Fred,

Have you ever heard of a comma? They have handbooks for these things you know. You might benefit from one. I usually don't recommend them but in this case I feel it's appropriate. And is not the only conjunction in the English language. You do know English, right? Seriously, did you even read this? I think my suggestion is keep your day job.


I guess the only upside is since I know it will look like this, I won't be devestated when I see it? Haha. I'm not sure. I know it's just a critique and that this wasn't supposed to be a submission to begin with, but I just hate for any professional to see my work in that state. The irony is when I finished the last round of edits and clicked save I was so proud! I thought I'd really fixed it. Oh sure, I knew there would be more revisions. I figured they'd be of the following sorts: 1)omit passive voice 2)tighten verbal tics of characters 3)grammatical errors. I had no idea the backbone of the plot was still confusing and that there were still some holes to fill...AND THAT UNFORTUNTATELY MOST OF THIS WAS IN THE BEGINNING...the part I would be sending. But I survived. I guess.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Try for a While

I bid on an auction for an agent critique on ebay. Irene Goodman is going to critique my first 50 pages, query letter and synopsis. While it's just a critique, I still want my work to be as polished as possible. This is going to be my last try for a while, because I know that I have a draft of another project to finish and when I get comments back for PF there is more work to do before I'm ready to query. Still, I find my heart pounding against a tough exterior as I make final changes. But I love the blog, because I could barely think straight when I started typing. So this is going to be my last try for a while, but can you give me one more look?
Thanks so much guys.
Dear Agent:
Eighteen year old Brandi O'Malley knows phantom flames want to whisk her next door neighbor, former friend, ultimate enemy and long-time love interest (whether she would admit or not) Laurent Stephens (also eighteen) away forever. But she can’t mention this because she would have to admit her family bears an ancient curse causing her to sometimes live in a moment that hasn’t happened yet. A moment that unfolds to be watched by all like a play.
Laurent torments Brandi in anyway that he can and with the help of his girlfriend, he does a good a job of it. When the handsome charmer, eighteen year old Damian Cooper, dances into Brandi’s life, Laurent’s actions go from cruel to protective. Laurent knows what he’s protecting her from. A secret he will never tell for fear of turning their love-hate relationship to pure hate.
Laurent must find a way to protect his girl next door from the menace he brought into her life without letting her find out exactly how he knows Damian. But Brandi has her own secret: the fire she watches Laurent disappear in every night.
If she's going to fight the flames, the secrets and lies must end. If she loses, the fire claims her love forever.
With your interest in young adult Phantom Fires, a young adult urban fantasy complete at 104,000 words, should appeal to you. I look forward to hearing back from you as I believe together we could both tell and sell a good story. You can reach me at or by phone at ___. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoy Brandi's story.
Thank you,
Beth Fred

Take 10

Thanks for all the critiques yesterday. I appreciate all your commentary. I realize it's a long story but I've cut just over 10,000 words since the first draft and there isn't anything left to cut without harming the story...I tried again.
Dear Agent:
Should she keep her secret, phantom flames would whisk her neighbor, friend, enemy, and long time love interest (whether or not she's realized it) eighteen year old Laurent Stephens (who antagonizes her) away forever. Should she confront the mysteries and try to find a cause for the mystical fire, eighteen year old Brandi O'Malley would be forced to admit her family bears an ancient curse causing her to sometimes live in a moment that hasn’t happened yet. A moment that unfolds to be watched by all like a play.
To further complicate matters, a stranger danced into Brandi's life turning Laurent's actions from cruel to protective in a heartbeat. Aware of Damian's dark side, Laurent's insistent on keeping Brandi safe. He knows what he’s protecting her from. A secret he will never reveal for fear of turning their love-hate relationship to pure hate.
Brandi knows the boys share a secret that neither are telling her. She even suspects it has something to do with the fire she watches Laurent disappear in every night. To fight fantasy flames she must uncover the truth behind the lies.
Phantom Fires is a young adult urban fantasy complete at 104,000 words. I look forward to hearing back from you and appreciate your time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Insanity by Query

You wanna know what happens after you've written 9 versions of a query and your CP says 9 is worse than number 8? Well, the truth is to be able to answer that ? my brain would still have to be forming coherent thoughts. It's not.

So I think it's best if I just relay the following set of events.

Briana, my mc's overachieving older sister, got so frustrated by my thoughts she wrote this.

"Dear Agent:

Your arbitrary process is grating on my creator's nerves so badly she is ready to start killing off my family members, that punk next door, and myself. This is a rather unfortunate situation but as you know I protect my family, so if I'm forced to I will resort to using the book. The problem is I don't know whether to use it on you or my creator. I trust you will remedy this.

Thank you,

Which got a rise out of Brandi and before she passed it to me to be mailed she screamed (as only a teenage girl can) "Quit calling him a punk!" Yes, that's love.

Of course, I'm not nearly crazy enough to mail something like that. (Though, if you've read this far you're probably questioning that).

But Briana's letter really did lighten my mood. And all I could do was think if Briana were in this situation what would she do. I laughed because I knew what Briana would do and that inspired query # 10. (Which, if I were being honest I would have to admit I've though more than once. However, I need an agent so this blog does not promote honesty. I've never thought this. It's merely part of my query inspired insanity and tomorrow I will remember nothing about it).

Dear Agent:

Phantom Fires is way better than Twilight. The heroine is not an overly altruistic 30 year old woman trapped in a 17 year old girl's body. The hero is not dead (though I must admit I have a thing for hot dead guys that sparkle and shine). No one is drained, or even threatened of being drained and it has fire. If you would like 15% please call me. If not, peace out. *flash to Beth pulling Armani shades over icy blue eyes as she single handedly pulls a cherry jollyrancher lollypop out of her mouth to blow you a kiss*


Disclaimer: I'm terribly sorry if I have offended any well meaning, arbitrary system using agents. In a moment of honesty, I'm sure they would understand just what queries can do to a person who already walks a fine line with sanity.

Wed & Writing: 8th Try (PLEASE HELP)!!!

First of all, thanks to everyone for all the comments last week. Since most of them were about the projections and I don't think that's the focus of the book, I've completely rewritten the query. Eight times to be exact, including three versions I never intended to use because they were from different characters' povs. So now, I'm asking again, please critique my query.
Dear Agent:
Three people have become connected in a web of secrets, but only two should have ever known each other. Brandi O’Malley is the girl next door. Laurent Stephens grew up in the house beside her and has made a hobby of tormenting her. Damian Cooper is a mystery man with an alleged dark side.
When the handsome charmer, Damian, dances into Brandi’s life, Laurent’s actions go from cruel to protective. Laurent knows what he’s protecting her from. A secret he will never tell for fear of turning their love-hate relationship to pure hate.
Brandi knows phantom flames want to whisk Laurent away forever. She can’t mention this because she would have to admit her family bears an ancient curse causing her to sometimes live in a moment that hasn’t happened yet. A moment that unfolds to be watched like a play.
To fight the flames she must uncover the secrets. Failing is not an option because a phantom fire wants to steal the love of her life.
Phantom Fires is a young adult urban fantasy complete at 104,000 words. I look forward to hearing back from you and appreciate your time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

13 To Life Book 50

First of all, look at that heading. Book 50, I might make it through this project after all! YAY!!!!

Okay, I'm okay now.

No joke, I like romance, especially that of the paranormal/magical variety. I just really do. Very few books really do it for me: Twilight, Shiver (Book 1), Shade (until she jolted me at the end) and The Iron Daughter (Ash really manned up). I looked at the title and assumed the girl was 13 and that it just wouldn't do it for me. But my friend and CP kept going on and on about how great it was and sent me a battered copy from where she had thorougly read it more than once, so I thought I'll give it a try. I'm glad I did.

So what do you get when you throw hot guys, werewolves, the Russian Mafia, Cold War Politics, and the CIA together? Defintiely not Forks. The answer is 13 to Life. There is so much more to this book than werewolves. And occassionally the author throws in a little tidbit that really reflects on issues but it's just enough to give the book a taste of the real world and hopefully make people think about things without being preacy. I really enjoyed that. (There is a brief discussion about health insurance and a one liner about justice for immigrants).

Now I can't lie. This book isn't perfect. I felt there were some serious problems with the pacing for the first 150 pages. It would get really good and then just slow almost to a stop. Beginnings of books can be hard (not just for the reader, but the writer as well). There is so much to set-up. But 150 pages for the pace to really pick up is a bit too long for a 300 page book. The good news is that once the pace does pick up it doesn't stop until the last page. And then you're screaming for the sequel.

The other problem I had with the book was the MC, Jessie. She just never seemed quite believable to me. She has a best friend who did something so horrible, she should probably be in jail and though the book doesn't say this I'm guessing she would be had she not been a rich kid.(But that's the law school drop out coming out). Jessie was way too forgiving of this. At first, I really liked her, liked that she could overlook that. Then I realized they were never friends to begin with and I was just like wow. She needs to be institutionalized.

But all in all it was a good book, and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent--Crazy Holiday Blogfest

I'm not sure if it's an actual holiday but I think my favorite holiday of the year would have to be Advent. In fact, I love it so much I'm hosting a contest for it here.

I could tell you that I love advent because the entire church is decorated in pink and purple. While the readings can be ominous the music is upbeat. I could tell you I love Advent because it is the one time of the year I can push my entire home into a blur of pink and purple without listening to my husband complain. All of this would be true. But the thing I really love about Advent is the anticipation--the anxiously waiting. The way the story unfolds.

Most holidays last a day. They are the event. Family comes or family leaves. There are customs to be shuffled through without ever wondering why the became customs in the first place. We get through the day. It ends. It's over until next year, because, well, tomorrow is just another day. But Advent is not the event. It's the coming of an event. It's the preparation for the event. It's the well manicured tension of a complex plot building to a climax. It's a month long. Each week a new candle lit until it unfolds, dissovles. Advent fades into Christmas, the climax. In a lot of ways Advent is a writer's dream holiday not only blanketed in often beautiful language but color and ceremony.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Contest Reminder

Hey just wanted to remind everyone that I'm giving away two books of the winner's choice. A second person will receive one book of their choice. The contest and rules are here. I'll announce the winners the day after Christmas. They'll tell me the books they want and I'll send it.

Also, my friend Jen at Unedited is four followers from 1000, so if four of you could hop over and follow her, I know she'll appreciate it!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Shade Book 49

All I can say about Jeri Redi Smith's Shade is wow. Really wow. The book is well written with an extremely interesting premise(duing a winter solsitce a massive shift occurs. Everyone born after the shift sees ghosts in shiny shade of violet. Only a handfull of people before the shift could ever see a ghost and they they were in color). All the way through the book stays interesting, but it's not one of those books where there is so much going on that you just can't keep up. It really is a twist on the paranormal romance.

But as good as this book was I'm not sure it'll make it to my faves list. I didn't really care for the ending. I won't give it away but I can say that I didn't care for the ending enough that there is a good chance I won't be reading Shift, the sequel.  I suppose you could say I'm a bad sport. This is the first time I've ever been on a losing team in a paranormal romance drama. My heart now goes out to all those Team Jacob people who had to watch Bella marry Edward Cullen, especially those who stuck it through to the very end. However, I can't watch my guy lose, so I'll cut bait.

There is one other thing that really bothered me. I can't give too many specifics of it without giving a whole lot away, but a situation arises where an authority figure attempts to "persuade" a teen ager to do something and in doing so the adult admits that they don't really want anyone to know of their practices. I admit I'm bit older than 17, but I do talk to a lot of teen agers and it just seems to me the first thing any teen ager would have done at the point is fb, tweet, blog, text, utube the world. And if this character had done that I think she might have saved herself a whole lot of trouble. Not doing so almost seemed like a plot device.

That being said Jeri really is a brilliant writer and if she hadn't put my guy on the losing team I'd so be scarfing the net looking for ARCs of the sequel right now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wed & Writing: HELP!!!!


Dear Agent:

Brandi O'Malley is just the girl next door. Well, she is once you've overlooked her uncontrollable projections. The projections force her to live in either the past or the future simultaneous with the present. She constantly lives the worst moments of her life or projects horrid possibilities. The worst part of it is these projections are vividly real and play out for anyone to see.

She has always known her family was “special” but as she tries to make sense of her new found abilities she struggles to understand the sometimes cruel actions of her former best friend and next door neighbor Laurent Stephens.

Laurent's actions turn from cruel to protective the moment Damian Cooper dances into Brandi's life.

As Brandi's projections grow stronger so do Laurent's reactions to her new found love interest, the perfect gentleman, Damian. Is it possible Damian is just a bit “too” nice? Contemplating this, she begins to realize Laurent has a dark secret, a secret connecting him to none other than Damian Cooper. The only thing he will say is that Damian is evil, but it's Laurent Brandi continuously projects disappearing in phantom flames.

Caught at a crossroads, she knows either the boy she grew up with and has known all of her life or the sensitive and charming Damian is lying to her. Join Brandi as she journeys towards the revelation of secrets and true love.

Phantom Fires, a young adult urban fantasy, is complete at 104,000 words. I believe this could be the first book of a series.

I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,

Beth Fred

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book 48 and a Plea to the Powers that Be

Reminder, you can enter to win two free books here. And the first person to leave a comment telling me how to make a sidebar on this post gets one extra entry.
Heather Swain's Selfish Elf Wish is book 48. It's a cute story about an Elvin family who moves from their hidden town of Averland to Brooklyn. It's actually a sequel, though it's easy enough to understand without having read the first book. It's another teen age love story with a splash of supernatural.

I found Zephyr, the main character, to be a pretty typical altruistic YA mc. On the other hand, I found her cousin Briar to be refreshing. Briar seemed more like a real teen ager (or real person) to me. She's not a bad person. She has no desire to really hurt anyone, but she wants to get what she wants too and she's willing to take some risk and be michevious to do it. But she's not mean girl. Briar and Zephyr each have a crush on a boy that can't make up his mind. Their reacations are totally different. Briar is waiting for him to make up his mind and Zephyr just waits. I don't really like that Zephyr felt she had to wait around forever for this boy to decide he was over his ex, but I think a lot of young girls (and even old ones) find them self in that situation. But at least in the beginning, I didn't really like Zephyr's crush, Timber. She freaks out and gets kind of jealous, but she admits it. He just tells her it won't work if she's going to act "crazy." And Beth would have said, "Loser, if I tell you I'm jealous that you're making out w/ your ex on stage and she's glaring at me while kissing you, you say "Sweetheart, you have nothing to worry about." Not that I'm acting crazy! You wanna see crazy??? But Zephyr admits to acting crazy and goes home feeling bad.

Throw in some almost accidental love spells and a pair of dark elves and things get a little crazy. But all is well that ends well. Everything works out.

Now for my desperate plea to the powers that be in YA, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE quit publishing present! This book was okay, but present always annoys me and it gets awkward. It's not just this one, several YA books have been printed in present recently, and I can't think of a good reason for it. I've only seen one author be able to use the present tense in such a way so that it was not distracting. Even she had moments that could only be described as wordy awkwardness. Meanwhile, many a good book have suffered from this presentitis. So let's cure the plague and root the words back where they must be by the time something has been reduced to writing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Six Things Before 6 A.M.

1. Win a book of your choice by entering my contest here.
2.  Follow my friend Maggie because she likes to write and has a blog that needs to be followed.
3. I woke up at 3 am. Obviously, I did not go back to sleep. I spent two hours trying to go back to sleep before finally giving in to consciousness.
4. It is not even 6 am and I have used half of my calories for the day. Is it any wonder I'm obese?
5. Now I must write.
6. Recap--cool contest, cool friend, up way too early and must write.

Bye-bye for now but ttyl.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Contest, Book 47, Etc.

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and my favorite Sunday of the year ;). As an apology for my extended blogcation I'd planned to post an Advent contest but never quite made it there. I missed the first Sunday of Advent and know that not everyone celebrates Advent. So I thought we'd make it a Christmas contest. (I know--not everyone celebrates Christmas either, but most people seem to know it's a holiday). So leave a comment on this post, follow me, blog it, fb it, tweet it, buzz it. Do what you gotta, just know you will get 1 entry for leaving me a comment and 1 entry for each social network you choose to post me on every day you choose to do it and 2 entries for following me. (Please provide links to electronic shout-outs). What will you win? Any book you want (under $25 Come on. I'm a writer). You choose it. I buy it and mail it. (Two for the first place winner and one for the second name chooses). Contest is opened internationally. Contest ends midnight EST on Christmas Eve. (I will be in Florida).

Now for a quickie review of P-52's 47th book Ghost Town the latest Morganville Vampire book.  It didn't catch my attention quite as well as they usually do. In fact, I was about 77 pages in before I was completely hooked. This is probably because these books usually end on a cliff hanger and I read the last one in the spring so whatever the cliffhanger was I don't recall and could also be partly because the book before this kind of felt like a filler to me.

Once it got started it was pretty good though. It kept me reading. Things with the confusion, allicance shifts, memory loss, and machine seemed to feel too familiar though. It's starting to get repetitive.

Now for Etc. What did I do on my blogcation? Not much of the editing I was supposed to! I think I kind of had some sort of a mental breakdown instead. Haha. No worries. I'm back to my usual bouncy self now. The editing will continue with the blogging and I'll be back to commenting this week too. So look for me to make my rounds. I'm out of my cave!!! Hear me roar. (Okay, that was just quirky, but I've been out of this for a while what do you exepct)?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whisper Book 46

Whisper "Joy is used to hearing Whispers. She’s used to walking down the street and instantly knowing people’s deepest, darkest desires. She uses this talent for good, to make people happy and give them what they want. But for her older sister, Jessica, the family gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people’s lives—especially Joy’s—miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own." (Blurb from goodreads).

I like books with things going on outside the realm of possibility. I bought the book because of this line, "Still, when Joy Hears a frightening whisper from Jessica's own mind, she knows she has to save her sister, even if it means deserting her friends, stealing a car and running away with a boy she barely knows—a boy who may have a dark secret of his own."  In those words, I found potential for romance, adventure, and a series of action packed events.

The problem is she doesn't understand her sister is missing until page 220 of a 280 page book. Everything that happens, happens in the last sixty pages and unravels rather quickly too.  I didn't find the characters that realistic either. I don't like to give harsh reviews, but I can't say I would recommend this book.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kiss of Death Book 45

Kiss of Death takes the Glass house-mates out of Morganville. They're road tripping to Dallas for Michael's music. On the way they get into trouble in some one-horse town much like Morganville...The town even has vampires, vampires struggling wit the same disease Claire and Myrnin found a cure for in Morganville.

But these vamps aren't Morganville vamps. They're more out of control. I liked that there were vamps else where though. It raises questions of how many towns like Morganville could there be.

I enjoyed it more once they go to Dallas. I liked having them out of Morganville where things could be more optimistic. But I hated that they had to go back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Train Ride

I gazed at the lush green mountainside through the little window, beautiful. I moved my head from the window to scan for a seat. I’d spent too long in my day dream. There were no seats to be found now.

As the train took off my body spiraled forward. I reached for the nearest pole, but there really wasn’t one within my grasp.

I felt a strong hand on my hip steadying me. I wanted to shriek but there was something familiar in the touch, something that told me the hairs on my arm weren’t standing up because I was in trouble.

“I’m sorry.” He said. He had a drawl. A little inflection from another part of the world called to me from the voice. I knew that place. Home. But we were so far from there. “I thought you were going to fall. You look like a girl I knew. She’s clumsy. I just didn’t want to see you hit the floor. I’ll move.”The drawl told me he was from my place but something else called to me in his voice, tender words more familiar than the hand still supporting my hip, though the man had said he would move.

“I—my—if—I.” I needed to tell him something but I couldn’t remember what. It left me. I turned my head to look back at the person standing behind me. My throat locked. I could be a child again. My breath caught. Now I could be a teen ager again. Vertigo slipped over me not without his notice and he slipped another arm around me to keep me off the floor.

“Katie? You know you don’t stand up on trains.” He made no effort to let go of me. “What are you doing here?” He asked as he shuffled us forward to a shiny silver pole.

“I.” I looked up at him again. My eyes spoke what my mouth couldn’t. They must have because he seemed to understand. He nodded once hard. His eyes wild like he tried to keep from passing out while trying to say something important the same something important I tried to spit out yet couldn’t remember, like he battled the same raw emotion I fought now. Like he knew we couldn’t be here, not together, but we could both breathe a sigh of relief because after all those years, we were here, together.

I grasped the pole. He threw his arms protectively around me and the pole. He wouldn’t let me fall. I didn’t need the pole because the boy that used to take care of me would compensate my weight with every jostle of the train.

The train stopped abruptly. My body tilted forward but not very far and only for less than a second before arms around my waist steadied me.

“You’re okay.” He whispered.

A couple of seats became available as two women exited the train. He towed me to them, helping me sit before taking the seat beside me.

We sat side by side, no longer touching now that there was nothing to protect me from, not even a dirty floor. But his body angled in my direction. He leaned just a little too close to me, just close enough that I could smell and feel a mint breath on me. I closed my eyes as I inhaled, letting it tickle my body the way it once had. I couldn’t keep that breath in me forever. I had to exhale and when I did it hurt like I was letting go a second time.

I felt the tears bubble around my eyes, but I didn’t cry, just a little leaky fluid in my bottom lashes. I leaned closer to him now. “Brendan.” I whispered.

“I know.” He said softly.

I brought my hand up to rest on his cheek watching in a serene contentment as he closed his eyes and sighed. I watched him surrender to what we knew to be true.

He made no effort to move my hand. Instead he sighed my name, “Katie.”

I let my lips turn up in a peaceful smile. He placed his hand over mine, running his fingers over my skin. I lost myself to bliss.

“What’s—that’s--.” He pulled my hand off his cheek and stretched it forward with his. “You’re married.” He said it like an accusation but he couldn’t keep the pain out of his voice.

I closed my eyes and fell further into the seat. The important thing I tried to tell him before we were back in our old roles again. The words I couldn’t get out, the thing I’d forgotten. I loved someone else the way I loved him now. Someone who would never do the things he did. Someone who loved me as much as he loved me, but who took care of that love and my trust like he never did. Someone who was my life now.

A daunting realization, I loved them both. One made my present and would be my future and as painful as it was to let my mind wrap around the other was only my past. The thing about past is it has to turn to ash for the present to be fruitful.

It didn’t change the fact that the man beside me still loved me. I heard it in his words and I felt it in his touch.

“Katie?” He whispered begging me to say it wasn’t true.

I choked past the lump in my throat through the tears in my eyes and nodded. “I’m married. I shouldn’t be here.”

“It’s okay.” He whispered. "You can touch my face. Nothing will happen. You’ll get off the train. Life has already gone on but we can have this moment.”

Something told me it wasn’t okay like touching his face was as much as acting on the forbidden love. I did it anyway. But this time as he slowly brought his hand up to cover my own I saw a shining piece of gold flickering light off his hand.

“You’re married.” I said.

Realization hit his eyes. He loved me. He just loved her too. He nodded as I watched his pain reflect my own. He would have to hurt one of us too.

“But we can have this moment.” I repeated his words.

“We have to, because I’m not strong enough not to.”

I let go of the tears. I watched his eyes water as he traced my tears with his finger. “Don’t do that. He has to be better than me. I know what I did.”

I fought past the lump in my throat again because I had to speak. “I—I hope she’s great—beautiful and she makes you pancakes. I love you, Brendan.”

He fought tears now. “You cook for him.” He said feigning an amused smile.

I looked at him.

“I hope she makes you pancakes. You cook for him.”

“I would have cooked for you.”

“I know. He—he takes care of you? He’s good to you?”

“So good. Deserves better than a girl clinging to her past on a train.”

I watched a bulge in his throat appear and disappear. “He can’t do better than my girl. Even if she’s evil enough to make a man cry on a train. Do you know how that looks?” He whispered.

I smiled. “It’s Europe. They probably won’t think anything.”

But I let my head drop to his shoulder now and didn’t fight when he tried to hold me while I—we cried.

Words carrying the same drawl as his rang from a feminine voice now. “Katie. You’ve gotta get out of here. Are you crazy? A reporter saw you. Jason thinks—he thinks.” She didn’t have to finish the sentence for me to know what my husband thought—that I betrayed him—that I didn’t love him. But I did and now my heart filled with a new pain.

The arms around me slid away for me to go do what I had to do. But he stood as I walked with Carrie closer to the door.

I looked back at him. He looked into me. This thing between us real and raging.

“Last kiss?”


“You’re in trouble anyhow, might as well make it worth it.”

I crashed into his chest and enjoyed every second of his hand on my chin tilting my head back, his lips crashing to mine his tongue tracing my mouth, Brendan devouring me. I pulled away.

“I love you. Take care of your wife. Be good to her. Don’t do this again, and please,” and now the tears flowed again, “don’t forget me.”

“I can’t I’ve tried. Katie, if he ever hurts you I’ll kill him. But I know he’s a good man because it’s impossible to look into his wife’s eyes and not know that with faith like that in the world you have to be a good man.”

Carrie and I got off the train and took a cab to where my husband waited. Too my surprise, he wasn’t angry. “I love you.” He said.

“I love you too. I’m sorry.”

He wiped a tear from my eye. “Do you mean that? I mean that you love me.”

“More than anything.”

He nodded. “You don’t have to be sorry. I knew you had a past. I’m not the first man you’ve ever loved and I can deal with that. Don’t leave me though, please.” A new set of eyes begged for my affection now. The set of eyes that I owed everything to and had promised forever.

“I—I didn’t even think about it. But I kissed him goodbye, umm…literally.” Now I sobbed with guilt.

A new set of arms were around me comforting me. “Shh—does he kiss better than me?” I think it was supposed to be a joke.

I laughed through tears, “Different?—he’s jealous that I cook for you.”

“He’s jealous that I got the girl. But I love her and I take care of her. I won’t give her up without a fight.”

“I’m—I’m not going anywhere.”

He was mature enough to understand everything. That the feelings I still had for the boy I grew up with didn’t take away from the way I loved him. That the way he took care of our love and my trust meant more than fifteen minute train rides even if they were bitter sweet. That I loved him, he was my life. I would never do anything to damage our life together.

I can’t say Brendan never crossed my mind again, or that I didn’t have moments where I hoped his wife wasn’t as pretty as me. But I can tell you we never saw each other again because he was in the past where he belonged.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bullying and My Word for the Nerds

It's been about a month, but not too long ago there passed a week in which several teens killed themselves as a result of bullying.

I've talked about my purple hair and lack of coordination and alluded to the fact that I was made fun of by pretty much the whole town, including adults. Obviously, I didn't kill myself. In fact, my goal in life became to get out ASAP and go back cooler than them. I don't really know that I accomplished that last part but I do know that I was far more motivated in life and as a result better off now than an English major could reasonably expect to be because of said goal. What I'm trying to say is I understood the pain of being ostracized. Purple hair or not, shouldn't I be left alone to thrive in all my freakishness? Isn't that what this "free country" is about? What I didn't understand was why a teen (or anyone--let's face it acceptance still matters to most adults) would take their life over it.

P-52 has a number of young followers still in school, one of which I've become particular attached to because she emails me/messages me quite often. I asked her what she thought about it like why do people let the actions of other people affect their world so much they would take their own life. We went around in circles neither of us coming up with an answer.

This week something happened that made me remember one particularly traumatic incident. Traumatic in part because, at the time the person who said it (we shall call this person X) was the one person in the world I wished hadn't said it. While X said their piece, the kids in the courtyard noticed the confrontation and circled around X, X's three friends, myself and my one friend. When X finished this tirade he/she then went around the circle that now encompassed us and asked every member of it if they hated me. Most people said yes. Others just laughed. At the end of the game, two people said no. One defended me. In fairness, X had just cause to find me rather annoying. I was fourteen too. But I didn't deserve that. Annoying maybe, weird yes, mean very seldom and only with cause.

I cried for a few days, not like gut wrenching sobs, though I did that for a while too. Mostly just tearing eyes, but even at school. I thought of transferring schools but couldn't convince my parents. (I suppose that's probably for the best. There were no good private schools and no magnet schools so it was the town school or the county school. I would have been weird either way). A couple of days later, another girl told X she was angry at X for making her friend cry. When X realized who the friend was, X just shot B a go to hell look and left it at that.

If I'd killed myself you wouldn't have read about X today and either known that you should not do this to anyone  ever because it's inhumane, or that if someone does this to you, you can survive. But I didn't. So why are we talking about X? What's the point in reliving something that happened twelve years ago? Well, looking back on it now--in some ways reliving it now--I remember the pain. I didn't kill myself but I wanted to die. I'm glad I persevered. I have my 58 blog followers, a few unpublished manuscripts, a husband who adores me, and few but GOOD friends.

I need to say I'm not angry with X. I understand X was fourteen and had some things going on. I think X has probably built a decent life that doesn't involve publicly humiliating anyone at this point. I don't think I was X's only target but I was one of the few. X was a fairly nice person where most people were concerned so I think we can assume as an adult X is a decent person. But I am angry that it still crosses my mind so vividly that I'm blogging about it at 5 am because when it reappeared two days ago, it took root and refused to go away. I think the fact that someone like that still has enough power over my life twelve years later to inspire impromptu blog entries in a month I've vowed not to blog to write in some ways resolves the question my young follower and I tried to determine. How could the actions of someone affect you so badly you would take your own life? Because it does. It erodes any self esteem you have and leaves you questioning your own worth. But taking your life in response to a person that needs lessons on how to be human is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

The truth is no one cares about the Homecoming Queen after high school. Time changes everything. Life goes on and jocks age like the rest of us, muscles turning to fat. The cool kids struggle like everyone else, but I think in life (which lasts far longer than high school) nerds/dorks/geeks have the advantage. See, we're used to the struggle. We know what it is to see the turned up noses and rolling eyes. We will walk through it. We will persevere.

So here is MY WORD FOR THE NERDS AND ANYONE ELSE WHO GETS BULLIED: ENDURE. That's right. Endure. Let the so-called cool kids make fun of you because of your purple hair, ripped up jeans, the neck jewelry you wear as a head piece, your star wars collection. Whatever it is that has you picked on, embrace it. Be the best you, you can be. Because you are the only you there will ever be and you hold a special place in the cosmic design of the universe. You have a role to play that ONLY you can play. If the cool kids make fun of you, who cares? It's very likely that as a nerd, in ten years you will drive a cooler car than the cool kids. You will one day be the cool kid and when you are you will be kind to the cool kid that used to taunt you, because you know what it is to be "other."

Beth Fred is glad she made it through middle school, junior high, and the bit of high school she was present for. Emil Fred says the joke is on X.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carpe Corpus 43/Fade Out 44

Carpe Corpus is another of my favorites in this series. Partly because I liked Lord of Misrule so much and it leads into this one. The romance between Shane and Claire is still getting stronger but Michael and Eve start having some problems. (I think this is where their problems start). The four friends and the town of Morganville start trying to take their town back from Bishop.

My favorite thing about this book is something that some other reviewers seemed not to like, but I love Ada who is Myrnin's(who has been one of my favorite characters since his introduction to the series) computer ghost assistant (and I think they were probably in love or at least involved at one point). After draining her Myrnin chose to imprison Ada into his a computer that runs the town of Morganville to keep her from being completely lost. But Ada gets a little too powerful and steps out of the box! I found that amazingly creative. There are hardships and struggles but as this is a series you know the show goes on.

Fade Out brings back time for honesty. This one was not a favorite. Shane's crazy ex-girlfriend is the new character in this one. She's a crazy ex. There isn't much more to say. I guess it might be worth mentioning that she bugs the Glass house to make sex videos.

Honestly, I didn't find much of a point in that whole part of the plot. But it connected to a media project  she was working on about the "situation" in Morganville. There were further vamp/human issues and Micheal and Eve's relationship becomes a bit more out of wack. Overall, it felt like a filler.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feast of Fools Book 41/ Lord of Misrule Book 42

Feast of Fools balances the battle of to keep from being food for the walking dead with something we all struggle with--parents. I really love this one actually because it isn't just that Claire's parents have randomly shown up, bought a house and try to make her move home even though she has been living independently. Amelie's (the vamp matriarchof Morganville)  evil father has also shown up which can and does only lead to disaster.

Our four friends step up and brave it out with emotional battles on the horizon as well as the run not to be lunch meat. As always the series ends with a cliffhanger which progresses directly into ....

Lord of Misrule which is a vampire war and everyone must choose a side. There are bad and worse among the vampires but the tension is this one is more built up than in many of the previous books. As the characters work their way through alleys and into/out of chaotic situations I found myself on the edge of the seat with this one so to speak. It's one of my favorites of the series.

Of course, it seems these books will never end any other way--it too closes on a cliff hanger...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guilty Pleasure: An Ode to the Morganville Vampires

At the onset of this P-52, having read through an insatiable appetite for paranormal romances, with a particular fondness of vampires, especially sparkley ones. Having blown through all my paranormals I hit a book store and picked up Glass Houses and The Dead Girls Dance in one volume. I read Glass Houses was not impressed and gave a rather harsh review of it.

I had no intentions of reading  The Dead Girls Dance (Book 39) even though I already owned it. Glass Houses left that kind of impression on me. Then one month, I got broke--it happens. I was out of books and my library orders were slow to arrive. I gave in and picked up The Dead Girls Dance which I read in one sitting. ;)

The Dead Girls Dance was still a little slow for me, but the pace had really started to pick up. The romance picked up. (That's what I'm after). And things started tying together to lay a good foundation and make sense. It ended with a cliff hanger. It was a lot better than Glass Houses.

I had no choice. I had to read Midnight Alley (Book 40). And so I did, again in one sitting. This one really picked up. The vampires became darker. The romance ran deeper. Claire Danvers, the MC, grew stronger. Honestly, all of the characters started showing sings of change.
New characters were introduced too. Some of which I absolutely love. New concepts were laid and the story really began to get intriguing.

So why haven't I reviewed the books sooner? Haha. Mainly, because I was embarrassed of my harsh review of Glass Houses, which I stand by. If I hadn't got broke that month I would have never read The Dead Girls Dance. It would have been better if Glass Houses and The Dead Girls Dance had been combined and woven into one book--they're the same story. Rather than being sold as two separate books, or marketed as two books in one volume. But as I find myself anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ghostown, it seems I owe Rachel Caine some positive reviews. I've loved the rest of the series, just not the first book. So I've declared this week Morganville Vampires Week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Random Ranting, Disclaimer, Contest Winner, Shout Out

Ranting: Evelyn Marie Hill you are making me insane. You make me want to vommit. You are so dark. I wish you could just get over stuff already. Writing you is like having a root canal with no novacaine. In short, you annoy me. I will be so damn happy when you get on that plane I think I will jump for joy. Seriously, in a way it will be like I am getting on the plane myself! You don't even know.  Why can't you be more like Joe easy and carefree? Really, Evey? You are making me insane. This book is never going to end and you are bring me down with you! You are that dark. Then again, I dont see how you can live through some of the stuff you've lived through and not be dark so maybe it's okay that you make me wanna die!!!!! OR SCREAM!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: I have created several posts of straight book reviews for books I read way back in the spring so they may not be as crispy as usual. I will be using these until they're depleted. After that you can expect sparse posts between now and December because editing one book and writing another has me SWAMPED. I feel like I'm letting down my CP at this point because I don't even have time to read. It's sad, really. I apologize to each and every one of you. I will not be avaialbe to comment very often for a while and I won't even be really posting. But I will come back. I promise. Hopefully you will even miss me. Thanks to all of you for sticking with me.

And the proud owner of The Beautiful Darkness is Maggie.  Sorry, Maggie couldn't find a link.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How To Be Popular Book 38

Yep! 38 book reviews into my project and a passion for YA and this is my first Cabot book. It was a good one.

Stephanie Landry is a social pariah in high school and desperately wants to be popular. Partly because she's just tired of being the butt of everyone's jokes and partly because she is obsessed with a popular guy and need to be popular so he'll notice her. She finds a book in her best friend's grandmother's attic and thinks it's her ticket to popularity. With her new tool, she sets out on a mission.

The thing is Steph's book makes it seem like popular people are nice, respectful people and that's what it takes to be popular. She finds out that's not always the case. Although, she makes a comment that using those tips would make you popular. I think anyone who has ever been to high school could tell you that isn't always true.

I really liked the book. It's a light read. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. I loved the voice and found most of the characters easy to relate to, because you've either been one of these characters or you've known them. The one thing I didn't like was that I was pretty sure how would end from the beginning. But even that didn't bother me because getting to the end was a fun ride.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wed & Writing: Falls

I had a severe case of pneumonia as a small child. It caused a bit of inner ear damage, which as you probably know contributes to your sense of equilibrium. The damage contributed greatly to mine. However, I grew up in the sticks, literally. I periodically had purple hair and sometimes wore a gold necklace cascading onto my forehead from a Pebbles ponytail on top of my head. (I thought it was cute. In the sticks I was labeled a problem child in need of attention--mind you I never actually got in trouble--not only by the grown ups but my peers). So since I wanted attention and couldn't walk in a straight line, you can a) imagine my social standing b) understand that every time I fell on my face (which due to the middle ear damage was more than once) people accused me of purposely falling for attention. (People are great in small towns, what can I say).

But we don't care, because I graduated early and blew that town. Fortunately, I did this right after the blue braces and several pounds came off. I was glamorous. (It only lasted for a year or two but hey, it happened to be the year I started college). This was a new start. No one knew I had purple hair or wore a necklace on my ponytail. I wouldn't even need purple hair to make people look at me. This was my one year to be glamorous. Who cares if I was a reject in hs I was going to be cool in college. I set off to be cool, an "it" girl.

It was the first day of school, I had ballet on one side of campus (right behind Greek Row) and then one hour for lunch on the other opposite side of campus before algebra, every English majors favorite subject. I could have skipped lunch. I wouldn't have minded, but I was supposed to meet my roommate and her friends. (Being that I was six years younger than most of them, should have been in high school and would graduate sooner than a lot of them, they already hated me). I seriously didn't need to add to it. I must be punctual! I ran from the ballet studio down Greek Row. I'm not sure what happened, but me and my curls did a cartwheel through the air and landed on the concrete, with ripped jeans and bleeding where a frat boy scraped me off the ground and asked me if I could walk. (At least, he didn't accuse me of wanting attention). First day of school, needless to say social standing experienced no change.

Now I'm a grown up. My one to two years of gloriousness has long since passed. I have dealt with this. I'm almost comfortable in my own skin. I don't need acceptance (except on days when I do). Friday I walked from the building that I work in to another building owned by the job and I'm not sure how it happened. But I found myself laying on my stomach with a face full of concrete, recyclable to go coffee cup shattered just out of my reach. As I'm laying there, inching my mouth away from the cement I have two thoughts. 1) Does this ever quit happening? Seriously. 2)This is like writing. You fall. You get up again. You keep falling and you keep getting up again. It's a continual process. How many times must you eat a face full of concrete before you have a manuscript that struts its grace? I seriously don't know, but I hope it happens before my social standing changes! I think the more important question is do you have what it takes to walk back to the dorm in the ripped jeans and do it all again tomorrow. The thing about a less than balanced equilibrium is you develop a thick skin. I'll get up again when I fall. What about you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beautiful Darkness Book 37

First a reminder you can win an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness here.

If you're read Beautiful Creatures you know it had a rather open ending, and you probably like me, were counting down the days to the release of Beautiful Darkness. The sequel totally lived up to the expectations set by the first book in this series. The thing I love about these books is that while the romance is very stong, it's not the whole book. There is so much more going on, the struggles of good and evil and the both protagonists' struggle to find their identity. Identity--another thing I love about these books. Very often, in a series you have one book with a very strong theme and the next either has a completely different theme or no theme at all. Beautiful Creatures had a strong theme of identity mostly shown through Lena's struggle to claim herself. Beautiful Darkness continues that theme mostly through Ethan's struggle to determine where he fits in a universe where he's more or less rejected by and rejects the mortals and cannot be supernatural, but doesn't abandon Lena's need to claim herself.

I've said more than once that if Twilight is a love story with vampires, The Caster Chronicles is a magic story with love. That's one thing I absolutely love about this series. The romance is up to par with paranormal romances but the magic is so strongly weaven in that I think it could appeal to others, like my husband, as well. I've also enjoyed that Beautiful Darkness was from Ethan's perspective. I know the first one was as well, but that didn't matter to me. Lena isn't really a girly girl and it was a new relationship. I don't think either perspective would have changed the story that much. But this book was more about the struggles of maintaing a relationship and the feelings you experience when you lose someone you love. I think from a girl's perspective it would have been annoying, sorry. (I will own up to my political incorrectness). Finally, my last brag for this book is that I do not think it was a filler. The story unfolded, not the way I expected it to, but was an authentic story. There was a need for  a sequel the way the first one ended which supported the authenticity.

What I didn't like--the end. Yep, I said it. The book wasn't a filler the end sets up a filler. Lena's claimed herself, but messed up the order of things setting up one sequel. This was skillfully tied in and did not bother me. The claiming moon was called out of season and with the choice she made, there is still the need for a sequel. But some other things happened in the last ten pages that I felt was really just to set up a sequel and served no other purpose. It makes me think the third book might be a filler. Of course, with the way this one ended I'll have to read it anyhow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful Darkness & Halloween Goodies

I have a very special Halloween treat for someone, an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness. 2 entries for old followers, 1 entry for new followers, 1 entry for fb, twitter, chrome, myspace, (though you can do all of these multiple days and earn a new entry each new day) 2 entries for sidebar, blogroll, and blog shout-outs. The autographed book comes with some other goodies I snagged from the book event, like a keychain and pin. Contest ends on Halloween night!

And now I leave you with goody photos and pics of the signing:
Me with Anastacia Hopcus
Kami and Margie being interviewed by Anastacia

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday & Writing: What Writing Looks Like

Usually when I write it looks like me typing away on the pearly pink keys of my mini. This week writing has looked like a lot of things including but not limited to the following:

And like:
me: "I'm a scalar. Ask me what a scalar is."
Jennifer: "What's a scalar?"
me: "An object with mass but no direction. I'm a scalar, lots of mass but not much direction."
Jennifer: "It sounds like a dinosaur or some kind of reptile."

...which led to a whole lot of talk that my husband had to get involved in about scalars versus objects at rest. If a scalar were an object at rest, I would not be a scalar but since the house scientist says it's not I can still be a scalar.

Which led to my attempting to understand a scalar.
Jennifer: "If a car is going 70 mph down the highway and hits a brickwall"
me: "the driver dies?"
Jennifer: "Yes, but the speed is a scalar."

But I think I enjoy it when writing looks like this. I even think Emil's enjoying writing looking like this. And I'm starting to get attached to my new manuscript for the first time. So what  weird forms has writing taken for you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two for Tuesday

1. I met Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and Anastacia Hopcus Friday night. It was a lot of fun, a blast. Something about meeting successful people gives me the drive to be successful. I got some photos I wanted to post all about the event today. But being married to a genius comes at a price. You see I'm writing to you from a comp that I believe was probably originally constructed in the 90's. As  you can see it's still kicking. But not without flaws. Flaws a normal person would have kicked it to the curb for a long time ago. Flaws my nerdy husband finds endearing and rather than kicking it to the curb he just uses the opportunity to implore creativity. His creativity means for my pc to function it needs more extensions than an octopus. I know what you're thinking--Beth, what does any of this have to do with the Beautiful Darkness Tour. Well, one such extension is a black rectangular box with lots of slots for different cards. One such slot a perfect fit for my memory card. The problem is said extension seems to be MIA. Therefore, I can not post the pics. So I guess, all of our writing celebs must wait until a later date because let's face it: a picture is worth 1000 words.
2. Let's talk winners. (Something you're far more interested in, I'm sure). The winner of the hardback set of The Hunger Games is Jenn Draiker and the winner of Kiss of Death is Reading Lassie. (Sorry, Lassie I couldn't get the link to work). Please shoot me an email to so I can get your books to you.
This is really three but who cares. I have a special contest coming up which I will post as soon as I spot the rectangular box with lots of slots. I think you need to see this one to get the real effect. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

5 things....

1. A desperate plea--if you haven't already done so and you want to be my bff pls go to vote for Phantom Fires. I have been pushed out of the top ten :(.
2. Reminder the contest is still open till midnight CST today. The prize is a hardback set of The Hunger Games with a runner up receiving Kiss of Death.
3. Lots of book events going on in A-town this weekend so I'm one incredibly busy with blogger...and since I just left the day job at the moment, one incredibly busy blogger w/ bad hair.
4. If you're still reading (which after that last comment u prolly are not, but if you are) there are Halloween treats to come so check me regularly ;). In fact, those of who have entered a previous contest on P-52 will especially love the Halloween Goody Contest I will be bringing you shortly.
5. If  #4 is going to matter, I must get to my book event.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday and Writing: What kind of writer are you?

What kind of writer are you? That question was asked on many blogs this summer, and it always seemed to come down to two answers: character writer or a plot writer. Character writers get a character in their head which compels them to write. Plot writers get a plot, a storyline if you will, in their head and create characters to play out the story.

I--I'm neither. That really bothered me, especially this summer. Because I've been writing less than a year. Lots of people in the blogosphere have been writing much longer than me. They know these things. I felt that if I were neither a character writer or a plot writer, maybe it meant I shouldn't be a writer.

I tend to be stubborn, so I just kept going, refusing to accept that. I'm glad I did. I figured it out. I'm a premise writer. I dreamed of a fire annihilating a man, and Phantom Fires came to be. I saw a girl meet the brother she didn't know she had and Chance Encounters was born.

When I started Phantom Fires I had no idea who the characters were. Though, I figured out what kind of people they were and who they symbolized for me as I watched them interact. I didn't know where the story would go. I kind of made it up, or watched it as I went along. It was fun that way. I figured things out about the time the reader will. The premise served as my muse.

Chance Encounters was a similar story. It's a bit more personal so I had a good idea who most of the characters were, but I didn't know them all. And I wasn't exactly sure how the story would come together. I'm only about 20,000 words into it. I think that means I haven't figured it all out yet. (In fact, I know it does). But it will come together. Because for me the concept makes the story.

Now I'm asking you. What kind of writer are you? Don't box yourself in. If you can only write while skydiving you're probably a skydiver writing. Most of us have something that triggers the process. I'm just interested in hearing what those somethings are. So what kind of writer are you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Summer of My German Soldier Book 36

I don't know. Maybe, I'm crazy. Maybe, I wouldn't know a good book if it slapped me in the face. Maybe, I should consider another profession. Because I have to say I was just a little disappointed in this book. Yet my little paperback is a 30th anniversary edition so obviously someone liked it!

It's the story of a Jewish girl helping a German POW escape officials after breaking out of a US war camp (yep, we had them too) in Arkansas. She's being held by some blonde guy on the cover. It's so adorable, really. (Except the male lead wasn't blonde and barely there so I've no clue what the blonde dude on the cover was about). She risked everything to help him find freedom. I bought a book expecting to find first love and real passion. Instead, I got abusive parents, racism, and anti-semitism.I got a government that prosecutes 12 year old girls for feeding the hungry and kills 22 year old med students for being drafted into the German military. I got a book bogged down with details in which nothing, NOTHING happened the way I wanted it to.

Now I have to be fair. It was heartrending. I'd be lying if I didn't say that. I felt bad for the POW because he didn't even agree with Hitler. I felt sorry for the girl because her parents were absolutely horrible. But seriously, had I realized all this I wouldn't have bought the book!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Climbing the Stairs Book 35/Contest Clarification

First of all, I think I may have left some things out of the contest post. I’m going to post them here for everyone to see and then I’ll leave a comment on my contest post as well. Contest is open till midnight CST on Oct. 15. It is also opened internationally (provided you can tell me how to mail these books to you)!
Now on to Climbing the Stairs. As the future parent of half Indian children I have to say I absolutely loved this book. It will definitely go into a box of things to be saved for the ELF (Emily Lace or Edward Laurent Fred). But I think even without my connection to the Indian culture I would have adored this book anyhow.

For the most part it was accurate in its depiction of Indian culture (though it depicted India in 1941 not today). Many things have stayed the same. The one major flaw I saw in this depiction of a Tamilian (South Indian) Brahmin (Hindu faith’s educated caste) family was that they had a dog. Today, in India people don’t keep pets and Brahmin still believe they are untouchable. In 1941 there is no way they would have had a dog. But this book was intended for an American YA audience and I think most people wouldn’t have picked up on that. I did, but I can ignore because she uses the dog to set up metaphors for the treatment of women in pre-WWII India throughout the book.

It’s a historical fiction with a great deal of accuracy. It’s an issue book that stays interesting as it explores the treatment of women, the impoverished and really even the disabled. Though what I really loved, was the romance. The back of the book described it as a fairytale with a Cinderella (Vidya) who was unable to see it when her Prince Charming tried to rescue her. So I would have loved for the romance to come in earlier, but when it did it was strong. The thing that made it interesting was that the author was able to paint the romance so well and the characters couldn’t touch! It was a very interesting choice. It was a necessary choice. Even today in South India public displays of affection are tabu. Still, it was an interesting choice. Having a romance with characters that can’t hold hands, a Prince Charming who can’t hold Cinderella while she cries. This has me questioning all kinds of things. As a writer do I rely too heavily on physical touches to display emotion? Does my culture rely too heavily on contact to display love?

In fairness, I have to say the writing seemed to be missing something. There were elements that could have been stronger, still it’s a great book to read.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Contest To Help me Get 50 Followers & Total Randomness

Hey guys I appreciate all the comment love and new followers but this contest ended on the 15th and the winner has already been announced. However, I'm running a new contest if you want to check that one out. It ends Halloween night and is for an autographed copy of Beautiful Darkness.

Okay, let's start with randomness. I need help (in more ways than one)! I put a query up for my manuscript Phantom Fires and it needs votes, so if you have time and you like my letter could you please go to and give Phantom Fires a thumb up.

More randomness, I saw a post on Nathan's about the Prince Charming myth. Still convinced that Prince Charming is not a myth and I married him, I asked my husband:
 "Do you fantasize about rescuing me?"
Emil: "Yeah."
Me: "Really?"
Emil: "Huh?'
Me: "Do you fantasize about rescuing me?"
Emil: "You're not in trouble."
Then I start trying to tell him why I asked and before I can finish the sentence he says, "Shut-up. I'm trying to do something."
....Maybe Prince Charming is a myth! LOL.

AND NOW FOR THE FUN PART!!! I'm giving away a hardback set of  The Hunger Games and Kiss of Death (the latest Morganville Vampire). Leave me a comment on this post for 1 entry, tweet it for 1 entry, fb it for 1 entry, blog it 1entry, buzz it 1 entry, blog roll me for 2 entries. And of course followers get 1 entry. You can post on social networks multiple times for multiple entries. Please tally your points in the comment section of this post. I'll use to determine winners. The first name chosen will receive the The Hunger Games Trilogy and the second name will receive Kiss of Death.

Much thanks in advance!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday & Writing: The Fate of the Paranormal Romance in the Market Place

It’s been a few weeks but for a while, it seemed that every time you went online you couldn’t help but see some new article or blog post about how saturated the market place is with paranormal romance right now. There were posts advising writers how to overcome the certain doom their YA paranormal romance would face. There were posts stating there was no way to overcome the certain doom a paranormal romance ms would face. For those of us who write paranormal romance it was demoralizing.

I must admit I let all this get to me for a day or two. Phantom Fires is a paranormal romance. There isn’t much of another way to sell it, urban fantasy maybe, but then it’s an urban fantasy/romance. I spent four months writing it and so for another two revising it and I’m not done. The thought that someone might scan the words paranormal romance and toss it without reading sent heartbreaking shakes through my body.

But then I thought about it. Ann Rice sold paranormal romances long before Edward Cullen was dreamed up somewhere in the dessert. LJ Smith has pretty much made her living off of paranormal romances. I think these posts are right that there are probably some trend followers out there writing paranormal romance right now. The market is inundated. But for those of who love paranormal romance and write what we love this isn’t a problem. At the end of the day a good book is still a good book. If the paranormal romance wave is a trend (and I hope not), it will come back. In the meantime, while high fantasies, or sci-fis might consume the market place for a while, there will still be some nerdy little girl curled up on her bed drooling over the latest vampire book. She deserves a good book—the best story we can offer. In the midst of Twilight mania, it might be harder to get our paranormal romances noticed. But either way, the paranormal romance isn’t off to a certain doom. Our genre will still be here tomorrow. Maybe with less fans, but those remaining will be dedicated ;).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Skinny Book 34

Ibi Kaslik's Skinny is an insightful look at anorexia, a problem that plagues many young people. It's gritty in it's life like view of the disorder.

I found the alternating narrators refreshing. One was the fourteen year old, 8th grader Holley and the other was the Med student older sister Giselle or G. I liked having a young adult in young adult literature for as far as I know the first time ever. The alternating narrators really showed a lot about the eating disorder though, for instance how it affects family members. It also gives us an opportunity to get away from G, the anorexic and remember she is choosing not to eat. Even during the times she thinks she cant control it. The two narrators also had more distinct voices than what has passed for separate voices recently in the world of YA

There is a subplot of a dysfunctional family and parents with dirty secrets. It's another real world look at life. The whole thing is written beautifully well. There is one scene that I think is inappropriate for YA, but more than that I just didnt understand why it was there. It didn't add anything to the story, so in my opinion it should have been cut.

Would I recommend this book? Well, that depends. If you like artistic books about issues, it's intriguing and really well written. If you're looking for a page turner, look elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday & Writing: What I Love About Writing

I’ve said before when I started Project 52, I was a boring person. That’s probably not true, as I say that I have flashbacks of gold togas and green lipstick around my eyes. But my life was boring, that is completely true.

This blog went a long way towards sucking all of the boredom out of my life. It also helped to develop my writing, which was the reason I started this in the first place. As my writing developed, I realized what I love about it.

It’s not the writing words that paint a picture, though I do enjoy that. It’s not even telling a story that otherwise would remain untold. I enjoy that too. Writing makes me a well rounded person. That’s what I love about it. Phantom Fires was about a ballerina. I’m 26 years old and hadn’t danced since high school. I took a dance class. I felt like I had to write about a dancer. Now I’m writing about a high school girl struggling with physics. And I don’t remember anything about it! I have no choice I must learn Physics. It’s the only way. Should Phantom Fires ever sell the sequels will involve fighting demons. I will take a karate or street fighting class. I will have to. I seriously have no clue how to take down the annoying girl across the street, much less a band of demons.

I love writing because as I develop that talent, I develop! What more could you ask? What do you love about writing?

unedited: Life As A Princess

unedited: Life As A Princess: "Happy Wednesday! So last week I told you I was giving away a signed copy of Sophie Jordan's Firelight! Well today I chose the winner!!! Tha..."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bookshelf Muse: 1000 Followers Contest & Mentorship Opportunity!

The Bookshelf Muse: 1000 Followers Contest & Mentorship Opportunity!: "1000 followers. Really there's only one thing to say when something like this happens: THANK YOU. You are more awesome than baby seals and P..."

The Bookshelf Muse: 1000 Followers Contest & Mentorship Opportunity!

The Bookshelf Muse: 1000 Followers Contest & Mentorship Opportunity!: "1000 followers. Really there's only one thing to say when something like this happens: THANK YOU. You are more awesome than baby seals and P..."

Shadow Hills Book 33

Shadow Hills, Anastacia Hopcus’ debut novel is intriguing to say the least. Fifteen year old, Persephone (Phe) heads off to a boarding school in Massachusetts in hopes of finding answers about her sister’s death.

A variety of strange events start to possibly shed some light on what happened to her sister, Athena but raise a million new questions in the process. These events lead Phe on a journey that doesn’t really lead to definite answers, but does take her down a path that allows her to deal with her grief, be able to connect with people again, and find love in a hot guy named Zach.

Hopcus does a brilliant job of creating suspense in this work that gets a bit darker than most paranormal romances, even scary in places. The plot is great with twists and turns the whole way. However, I felt some of the characters could have been better developed, especially Zach. He didn’t feel real to me. I didn’t even get a clear mental picture of him and he was the male protagonist! I also thought the dialogue felt stilted in places and that the author sometimes gave too much detail in places it wasn’t really required.

The plot was great, the premise brilliant. (There is much more to it than a girl going to find answers about her sister’s death and the supernatural elements aren’t the ones that you see over and over in this genre). I really liked this book, to love it some of the technical issues would have to be stronger, for me. Remembering this is debut, I think we can expect great things from Hopcus in the future.
P.s. –I researched but found no information on a sequel.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Elizabeth Kolodziej Interview

Today I have an interview with Elizabeth Kolodziej, author of Vampyre Kisses. I was hoping to post a review with it, but my copy has yet to arrive. But from what I've seen it promises to be a great read.
1)    Tell us about Vampyre Kisses. What's it about?
Vampyre Kisses is about a young woman named Faith who meets a 400 year old Irish vampire named Trent. Trent sees something in Faith and eventually they both find out that she is a witch. Faith must embrace this a begin her training to learn about her family heritage. But, soon important gems go missing from the werewolf royalty and vampire master. Werewolves and vampires must work together for the first time and it won’t be easy. Faith becomes involved and it comes to a matter of gaining enough power in time to help her friends and find the gems. 
2)    Who or what is your greatest inspiration in writing?
What inspires my mind to start developing ideas is reading other books, fantasizing while listen to music, and talking my ideas out with a good friend of mine. When I read other books in my genre it helps me to see what else is out there and what other people have done. I think this helps me to try and be unique along with sprucing up my imagination. Also, being able to talk out ideas with another writing friend really helps cause you can bounce ideas off them and see what they think.
3)    Do you specifically write YA or are you open to other genres as well? Why or why not?
I do not write specifically for anything. I write what I like and what I have an idea for. I think putting yourself in one category would be stifling to an author’s writing in most ways. The reason why people write specifically for one genre might be because it is the genre they like though. For now I write YA but in my later years I might write mystery. Who’s to say? 
4)    Do you have any suggestions for unpublished writers trying to get published?
Do not ever stop believing in your writing. If you think you got gold then get it finished, edited, and polished! Try to get an agent. Go to book conventions of all kinds. Be open minded and never shrug off someone that is trying to give you advice because whether they know better or not all advice can be helpful.
5)    Are there any specific resources you found especially helpful as you made your way through the query process?
I find the query process so exhausting!  Mostly because everyone has an opinion about how your letter should look or what you should do different and sometimes those opinions clash with others you have gotten. But what was most helpful to me was getting a couple books on the subject and reading them through. Write the query. Then go on to a site where you can get the query critiqued. And make sure you follow the guidelines of whoever you are submitting your work to! They hate it when you don’t
6)    If you were forced to evacuate your home with only two possessions what would you take?
My computer and my dog… wait my dog isn’t really a possession though he’s my BFF. Well, definitely my computer and can I group all of my books as one and say that? :grins:   

Where to buy the book:
Publisher’s Website:
Barns and Noble: