Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mockingjay Review Book 31/Linger Winner Announced

In holding to true Bethness the proud owner of the autographed and doodled in copy of Linger will be announced after my pithy review of Mockingjay.

Dum, dum, dum....Mockingjay Okay, seriously, it wasn't horrible, but I can't say I loved it as much as the first two either. Collins built a world we were intrigued by, gave us characters we loved, and built suspense like no one else could have. The problem is it came crashing down to a rather abrupt ending. (I won't disclose that, though)!

We saw Gale's true colors, which I saw in book one. Peeta doesn't seem like the same person, which I guess with everything he's been through is understandable. The ending wasn't really tragic though I know a lot of people viewed that way. I think the problem was it came crashing out of nowhere. I stuck out 400 pages, I need a little more than an almost happy kind of sad one page end of story!

And now the proud new owner of Linger is Ebyss. Please email me at within seven days so that I can mail this to you.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Okay, I'm seriously lost in an endless sea of edits. I want to throw the pages in the floor and make swim in them--that's how many there are. I see this as going on for at least, well, maybe, PERPETUALLY? So this post will be short and sweet.

A promise to CPs--If by dumb luck Phantom Fires gets published I will send you each a pound of chocolate tea.

And now as I have nothing of substance to say I will remind everyone about my Linger Give Aawy and also tell you that you should not expect consistent posts from me for a few weeks as I am drowning in the before mentioned sea. But I love you and as I'm re-writing these teen age idiots and all their supernaturalness I am thinking of you.


Friday, August 20, 2010


Okay, so my mc Brandi O'Malley really looks a whole lot like my little cousin Brandi Moore. (yeah, yeah, lazy I know). It worked like this. I researched Irish names for a brother and sister and came up with Brandi and Brandon and since I had one of each at easy access I decided just to let the characters look like my brother and cousin. The problem is she's no celeb and trying to find a celebrity look a like hasn't been a cakewalk. I found this pic and I think with the hair and eyes it's as close as I can get. But our faces are just a bit rounder.
My cuz refuses to give me a picture of her from high school. So here you go...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guess That Character

Snippet (Rough Draft)
“We’re still covering our unit on the Ten Commandments.” Mr. Meyer said. “Today, we’re going to discuss ‘Thou shall not steal’ and what that really means. There are lots of ways to steal. Children steal from their parents. Employers steal from their employees. You have employees that steal from their employers. Can anyone add to this?”
I raised my hand. Since no one else did, Mr. Meyers called on me. “Corporations steal from consumers. Sometimes they bill a frivolous fee that they really shouldn’t have and sometimes they just blatantly steal and since most people either don’t know their rights or can’t enforce them they get away with it.”
“That’s a good point. Very good. So if you’re doing your job and you’re acting on behalf of a company is it stealing?” he continued.
“Of course. We don’t just get to practice morals when it’s easy. We have to be Catholic all the time.” I answered.
For many years, Laurent’s dad was the president of that giant retail superstore that is the biggest corp in northwest Arkansas, the USA and probably the world—the oh so ethical one, that everyone loves. I guess, he must have spent a lot of time charging distributors frivolous fees because Laurent took offense. “Many times you have fiduciary duty to your client to obtain all sums possible in their favor. Depending on your profession if you don’t do those things you could lose the privilege to continue your profession or be charged with breaking the law. So how could it be a sin?”
“I worked in my daddy’s law firm with him from the time I was 9 years old till the day he died. I was reading law books before I knew who George Orwell was, so I know something about this and if there is one thing I know, you can’t associate the laws of this country with morality. They’re two totally different and often contradictory things. Sorry, Laurent.”
He glared at me. So did the bleached blonde sitting beside him. I guess they didn’t think I could argue with the quarterback of the football team. Non-cheerleading red heads weren’t allowed the privilege.
“Well, if you’re so objected to those laws you could leave.”
That was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. Lots of people didn’t want to be here that couldn’t get out.
“Yeah. If you have money for a passport, and a visa and airfare elsewhere if you don’t like the laws you can leave. Otherwise, you’re pretty much stuck here and everyone deserves equal protection under the law.”
He glared at me. Then leaned over and whispered something into Jennifer’s ear. The discussion continued. I took to doodling on my notebook. Five minutes later I cast my head to the side to mouth something to Sara and I noticed Jennifer staring at me and then whispering back to Laurent. I forgot what I wanted to tell Sara. I looked at Jennifer and said out loud, “Hold a grudge much? It’s not my fault your boyfriend was absurdly wrong.”
Somehow the discussion moved on from “thou shall not steal” to service for the poor. I’m not sure how because I wasn’t paying attention anymore. I just remember hearing Laurent say that poor people in this country choose to be poor. Bri made me work for a food bank on Saturdays. It charged the poor $35 for a “one month food supply.”
My parents got mad at Briana when she moved to California after high school. They cut her off. Bri used the same food bank there. She said it usually lasted her about two weeks, but she could buy an extra package and it was still much cheaper than trying to buy groceries for a month. Briana had never been lazy. That’s the primary difference between us and probably the fault that kept me grounded. When I worked at the food bank, I saw people I never expected to see, like the school librarian. She was at school every day before it opened and she’d still be there for two hours after it closed. I wondered if she would get paid more working for a public library, but probably not enough to matter, I guessed.
“You’re stupid.” I said out loud, not meaning to. Those words just struck me.
“Brandi, we don’t make personal attacks and we don’t resort to name calling. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
My sister is more respected than me. She is a former vallidvictorian of St. Joseph’s High and I assume middle school and elementary too. She just didn’t get a plaque for that. “Briana’s not lazy.” I said very matter of a fact.
“Briana’s not poor.” Laurent said.
“She was broke when she went to California. Scholarships only pay tuition. She relied on a food bank to eat, which by the way is a Protestant service since I guess the new church stance is it’s the poor’s fault their poor.”
“I think she was the exception.”
“Yes. My sister was the only poor person in the country to work and still be poor.” I rolled my eyes. I didn’t add how stupid his logic was, because I didn’t have to. Most of the class was laughing already.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with Brenda Pandos

Tell us about Emerald Talisman. What's it about? Is this the first book in a series?

To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves. TET is a paranormal romance, the first of a three book series. The Sapphire Talisman comes out December 2010.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration in writing?
This may sound cliché but Stephenie Meyers inspired me, but not in the way you may think. Her compelling biography encouraged me to try writing a novel. I had no clue what I was doing, but after 18 months, I had a rough draft for The Emerald Talisman.
Do you specifically write YA or are you open to other genres as well? Why or why not?
Right now I’m only writing young adult novels and I’m not sure if I’ll ever venture into the adult side. I’m a kid at heart and enjoy weaving issues kids face into my writing to show the consequences of good and poor choices. Plus, young love and all the emotion that surrounds that time in our lives is an excellent foundation for really juicy drama.
Do you have any suggestions for unpublished writers trying to get published?
Finish and edit your manuscript first. Have qualified persons read your manuscript and give feedback. Be open to the feedback. I found Self-Editing for Fiction Writers an excellent resource. Make friends with people who are doing the same thing and bounce ideas off them. Research the market and make sure your genre and topic matches what publishers are looking to buy. Look to see who the agent is of books similar to what you’ve written and research to see if they are taking new clients. Nathan Bransford has a great blog on all of that.
Are there any specific resources you found especially helpful as you made your way through the query process?
Querying is a scary process. You’ve just spent all this time and emotional energy on your baby for someone to arbitrarily reject and/or criticize with hopes of landing an agent or selling your manuscript. I have to confess, I didn’t go this route. Instead, I started my own publishing company and my novel was it’s first to be published. Knowing the market had been and continues to be flooded with vampire manuscripts, I didn’t think I had a chance. In the process, I’ve become my own designer, agent, publisher, promoter, marketer, and publicist and so far, my novel is selling and well liked. I did have a leg up though because I’m a graphic and web designer. But I’ve found, it’s not so uncommon these days and I get to keep all the profits for myself. I’m planning to publish other novels as well, the next being Soul Stalker by Laura Kreitzer this September. The internet has leveled the playing field and with print-on-demand, I’m able to do it.
If you were forced to evacuate your home with only two possessions what would you take?
Well, since my kids don’t count because they aren’t possessions, I’d take my laptop and their blankies. My laptop is basically my life which is priceless to me and my kids couldn’t live without their blankies.
Thanks to Brenda for the interview and thanks to all of you who voted for my short story. I won the flash match and will most likely post the patch tomorrow.I am still exhausted from this week's travels by planes, trains, and automobiles and am too lazy to snatch the patch from my email.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

These Seven Things

As advertised, yes, I'm giving away an autographed copy of Linger that the queen of YA, Maggie Stiefvater, herself drew a wolf in. But not till after everything else. Haha! Made you look! I'm feeling kinda quirky today. Can you tell?

1. Me: "Agents are practically begging for realistic YA romances."
    Emil: "Maybe, you should write one."
    Me: "I read paranormal romances. It's what I love. I'm going to write paranormal and if they want to buy it they will, and if they don't they won't."
    Emil: Laughs."That's funny, the way you say it."
    Me: "I just relate to paranormal people better."
    Emil: "You're weird."
What's the point? I seriously don't know, but I thought it was funny.
2. Miranda: "Did you ever clamp butterfly clippies all over your velvet dress?"
    Me: "Yes, in the 9th grade. I got stares and snickers--it's a hard life."
    Miranda: Hahaha. "I thought I remembered that, but I wasn't sure."
The point in this one? You can still vote for my short story Home at death match
until midnight tomorrow.
3. Amy Holder is giving away ARCs of her book The Lipstick Laws and a few $30 Amazon gift cards, to find out details about the contest check out her site. The rules are fairly simple--follow her and fb or tweet it.
4. My posts may be sporadic the next few days, as my currently annoying, normally adoring husband, and I are going to Vegas/AZ/CA tomorrow.
5. I'm hoping to have my current edits done by Sept. 1st.
6. I'm delaying diverging into details about my Linger give away by writing more text primarily to annoy my husband, because he is really annoying me...

 Okay, you want the autographed  and doodled copy of Linger--"Follow me and it'll be alright."  Except for you Emil.
Must be a follower to win. You get one entry for putting a link to the contest on Facebook, 1 entry for twitter, 1 entry for blogging it, 1 entry for putting it on a side bar, 3 entries for putting me on your blog list, and 1 entry for leaving a comment on this post. You may fb/blog/twitter links to this contest multiple times and you will receive one entry for each time, provided you leave a link to your shout outs in the comment section on this post. The entries will be put into a hat and the winner will be drawn after 5:00 pm central/standard time.

And now I go off to pack and head into vacation leaving you with these seven things ;).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday & Writing: Jewels from Julie

As you guessed from the title today's Wed. & Writing will be part two of my interview with Julie Kagawa in which she gives  advice to writers. But before I start I just want to remind everyone that my short story Home is battling on YA Death Match and it would be awesome if you could go vote. (You don't have to vote for me, but I would love it).

Da da da! Now for the real stuff!

    When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you start working towards it?
I believe it was in high school, when I learned becoming a veterinarian as planned involved way too much math and science, so I decided to write stories instead. I had this ridiculous notion that I would write and publish a book before I went to college, and pay my way with my book royalties. Hahahaha, ah, naiveté.

    Was the Iron Fey your first manuscript?
I was my first published manuscript, but not the first book I’d written. I wrote a couple adult novels that never got published, and a whole slew of half-finished books that didn’t go anywhere. I used to write in 5-star notebooks that I carried with me everywhere, and if you stacked up all those old notebooks, up they would probably reach the ceiling.

    Do you have any suggestions for unpublished writers trying to get published?
Keep writing. Novel writing isn’t a skill we automatically know (most of us anyway). You have to practice to get better at it. Learn everything you can about the craft and the publishing business. But most of all, keep writing. It might take years of struggle, and practice, and rejection, but as someone once told me: “if you want something bad enough, you’ll get it. If you didn’t get it, you didn’t want it bad enough.”

    Are there any specific resources you found especially helpful as you made your way through the query process?
There are many, many great books out there on how to write query letters and approach agents/editors. What I found most helpful, though, was going to an annual writer’s workshop, where the instructors were all published and have gone through the process themselves. A good writer’s workshop is fabulous for learning the ropes about the publishing industry (and, it’s where I pitched my work to the person who would become my agent, as well.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Iron Daughter Book 30

I'm speechless. I don't even know where to begin. When I reviewed The Iron King, I said that the start was slow for me because I love paranormal but not so much fantasy. I also said that after the book was incredibly amazing. Well, if The Iron King was incredibly amazing with a slow start, The Iron Daughter is amazing from page one. It's beautifully written with unexpected allies and twists and turns on every page. It's eventful to say the least and love triangle between Ash, Meghan and Puck really picks up.

The romance between Ash and Meghan is forbidden as their parents are mortal enemies and that leave Puck readily available. It was a heart wrenching book all the way through to the end. And Meghan is still a protagonist as strong as iron. Both boys spend their time trying to protect her (like certain sparkley vampires and dogs) but Meghan doesn't need it. She's made of steel, though she still takes the time to acknowledge her heart aches.

I read on goodreads that some people found the ending predictable. I didn't but it was beautiful. In fact, I think I'm re-reading the last chapter tonight. I have to say this book was better than The Iron King. I think I gave that one four stars, this is five all the way.

The only thing left to say is, TEAM ASH!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Interview with Julie Kagawa, Author of the Iron Fey Series

I understand that the Iron Fey will be a trilogy. What can we expect to see from you after that?
After The Iron Fey comes to an end, I’ll be working on a new series with a new paranormal creature. Think: vampires. J

Where did you get the idea for this series?
If we’re being quite literal, while I was walking around Borders, trying to think up ideas for a new story. ^__^ But the Iron Fey stemmed from the question: “what are the fey afraid of?” The answer, in most myth and legends, was iron, so what if there was a creature born from the very thing that could kill them? And then I remembered we already have “monsters” in machines, gremlins and bugs and viruses, and from that thought the Iron Fey were born.

Are any of the characters or events in the Iron Fey or Iron Daughter based on people that you’ve known or things that have happened?

Well, not exactly. Meghan is a little like me in the fact that we were both loners and outcasts in high school. Truth be told, most of the Iron King characters come from bits and pieces of books, anime, and video games I’ve loved over the years. For example, Ash is a mix of Heero Yuy (Gundam Wing), Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy 8), and Tamahome (Fushigi Yugi). And Machina the Iron King is a straight up Sephirtoh.

Are you interested in writing outside of YA genre?
Not at the moment. I’m having too much fun writing for YA. I did try to publish an adult novel before I wrote Iron King, but that went nowhere and I like the YA genre better. For now, I’m quite content where I am.

If you were forced to evacuate your home with only two possessions what would you take?
Ooh, that’s tough. Assuming that my hubby and all my pets got out safely, I’d take my laptop (with all my writing), and my katana for protection (especially if it was a zombie apocalypse).

Also, I'm passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to Jen. Check back Wed. and find the advice Julie gives to unpublished writers. I'll be posting the review of The Iron Daughter this week as well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Flipped Book 29

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen is a delightful read yet has plenty of margin for improvement.

This book has several things going for it. First of all, the we've all known someone like Julianna or Bryce. Since the memory of your first love never goes away this is a book anyone can relate too. Both characters narrate in alteration so you get both sides of the story. The author does a very good job of this. Each narrator has a distinct voice but the book has a voice as a whole too and the continuity is never interrupted by the shifts in perspective. The overall voice of the book is light and refreshing.

The characters grew up across the street from each other and in the beginning Bryce "hates" her and she likes him, though things change. However, I'm not entirely certain that he ever really hated her because he knows what she's doing and where she is constantly.  As far as the story goes and the character development, I really loved this book. It also addresses some pretty serious issues without digressing too far into them. The ending seems to have taken some heat on good read, but I found it absolutely beautiful.

However, even though I loved this book with all my heart I don't think I could give it more than a three star review. There are several abrupt shifts in tense and I probably would have over looked that except that the setting seems to be sometime in the past but the big sister breaks out a CD player in a scene where they talk about shopping online. It threw me out of the book. It took a fair amount of time for me to get back into the book after that. I'm still not sure what decade I was supposed to be in, because I was in the 8th grade in the 90's and knew no one who consistently started sentences with "buddy" or used the word "willies." And there were other verbal habits that pointed toward  the past too, and I think auctioning boys with picnic baskets might get you sued today.
As an unrelated an aside, (but one I'm ecstatic about) C.Lee McKenzie gave me the Versatile blogger award today!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday and Writing: The World Is Round

I headed off to college as a theater major destined for the bright lights of L.A. I'd spent Saturdays in high school getting up at 4 am to drive into Dallas (the nearest city) for acting classes, spend the day there then be home in time for my fast food job to pay for the acting classes and the home school I attended for a flexible schedule. One day I just lost the spark. It died. Theater was becoming a pointless waste of time. Unfortuantely, this realization only came to me after the drop date. If I dropped my theater classes, I would lose my financial aid and not fiinish school, so I persevered through 15 hours of more acting classes, four labs, and three part time jobs.

I sat with my script and (because it was graded) wrote a motivation for each line of dialogue my character stated through the entire act. With news of more deaths in Iraq subtly playing from a 12 inch TV in the background, the pointlessness of this seemed even more pervasive.

The semester ended and I got on with my life, kicking myself for so many wasted years. Then a few days ago, I glanced at pages from my manuscript ready to throw it. Not because I don't like the story. I love it, but because the pink in the margins says, "This dialogue goes on forever." Or, "This is completely unrealistic." Or "I'm not sure I buy this." And then the ultimate question "WHY???"

 AHA! And with that singular one word question a stroke of genius hits me. Why, that's all that matters. I'm holding four months of work in my hand ready to throw it, but it doesn't need to be tossed, just answered. Why? I'm instantly connected to my meaningless past. If I know why my characters are saying what they are, it's not really bad dialogue. If I don't know the motivation, or there isn't one, obviously it needs to be changed. It works just as well for characters I dream as characters I played. In an epiphany, I understand that incidents aren't isolated but interconnected. Things happen for a reason. The world is round.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Supporting the Writer's Alley: I Got U Blogfest

Sheri over at Writers Alley is hosting her first blog fest. She's got some cool prizes to give away, not to mention the opportunity to connect with other bloggers.

You get extra entries for facebooking or tweeting the blog fest but just follow the link, all of the details are laid out.

That's all for today. Short post, I know. But I'll have more to say tomorrow when I return to Wednesday and Writing...And for those of you who caught today's post before it was edited, my apologies. My eyes and I are still adjusting the the mini.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Maggie & Me

Me and Maggie--That's my idol!!!

Maggie Stiefvater was here in Austin at Book People last week as part of her Linger tour and it was absolute blast! Due to a two day stomach "thing" (no idea what it was) and my new found laziness I seem to be the only blogger in all of Austin not to post about it yet. I want to share some info from the Q&A and then bust out some narcissistic pics. (I'm in most of them).

Transcript of Q&A Disclaimer: Totally unauthorized and as accurate as my memory.
Do you believe in happy endings?

"I believe in them like I believe in goats. Goats exist. They're in this world; there are just none in this room right now. So I believe in happy endings. Sometimes they just aren't around and sometimes they are."

Does Isabel like Sam?
Okay, I can't remember the exact words on this one, but it was something like, "Maybe, maybe not." Again not an actual quote.

Will there be another book in the Books of Faerie series?
"Yes. It will be from narrators you already know and it will actually be the rest of Dee's story..." She went on to say that she can't promise when it will be released because it was already supposed to be released once and was delayed.

And I don't remember the question, but perhaps the most exciting news of all--summer of 2012 we will see an new Maggie book, unrelated to either The Wolves of Mercy Falls or Books of Faerie. She assured us it involved blood, beaches, and kissing but wouldn't say anymore. And now for the pics....

The Linger Girls

If you look hard, you can see Maggie reading.

Me & other bloggers

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Donut Days Book 28/Gift Card Winners Announced

The gift card winners' names appear at the bottom of this review. You each have one week to email a mailing address to to claim your gift cards. After that another winner will be chosen.

Donut Days is Lara Zielin's debut novel. It's about a teen-age girl whose parents are preachers at an evangelical church in a small and very religious community.

Emma, the main character, struggles to determine what exactly her beliefs are as she does not speak in tongues or have prophecies like the members of her parents' church do. Her situation is compounded by several factors. The church's wealthiest member/benefactor claims to have had a prophecy in which God told him women shouldn't preach. This is a problem for Emma and her family because her parents pretty much built the church and her mother is the associate pastor. In addition to this, she isn't on speaking terms with her best friend and her other friend, a guy, and she haven't spoken in months. She must determine what her beliefs are and how she feels about what's going on at the church alone.

She does this very well while fighting with her parents, and her friend and fighting to win a scholarship as her college fund is only to be used at a Christian college.

Emma is a strong character, almost too much so. But she does accept that she has flaws, which makes her very likable. As she struggles to determine her own religious beliefs, she struggles to find who she is. A struggle most young people face and a struggle many of us continue to face on a daily basis. It's a very real story. Unfortunately, it has a very slow start. I was about one hundred pages in before I really felt compelled to continue. (Before that I was reading it for this review). But after it takes off, it's gone. It gets really exciting, an explosion of events, of language. It gets really good. Then it finishes with an open ending. While neither option is something you really wouldn't want to happen to Emma, it would be nice to know how her story ended. I would give this book three stars for the stuff between the slow beginning and the open ending.

Now for the gift card winners: 1st place Izzy G and 2nd place is Liviania. You each have one week to send me a valid mailing address at Congratulations! And, everyone, be on the lookout as I have it on good authority a signed and doodled in copy of Linger will be up for grabs in weeks to come ;).