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:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Got You Blogfest/Blunt Honesty

If the theme is pick a blogger who has impacted your life/writing/blog, then in a moment of brutal honestly I would have to admit, that while there are blogs I actually read, follow, and comment on the blog that has most significantly, is Julie Powell's blog.

I don't follow her blog. I thought about it after the movie. I checked it out. Honestly, I wasn't impressed. I didn't like the way she didn't mind telling the world that she had an affair and the day I visited the blog her tagline under the blog's title read, "Random Rantings of a Narcissistic Whore." Way to flaunt it, I thought to myself. Needless to say, I didn't click "follow me."

That being said when I watched the movie for the Julie/Julia Project, I was in a similar spot in my life were I was just frustrated with everything. I have/had a day job that I don't care. I'm a cubicle employee just like Julie. I'm also not where I thought I would be in life, just like Julie and my husband and I live in an apartment because we can't buy a house yet, just like Julie (at least at the time of the movie).

But I watched the movie one week after finishing my first manuscript, that didn't take me eight years to complete. I didn't know how to market it and it was controversial. I had never heard of a critique partner. I didn't know what yalitchat or SCBWI was. I read online that after you write a book, you need to write a query and send it around. I planned to do this, but something about it was stilted--broken and I didnt know why. I understood in it's current shape it wasn't marketable. I thought the only way to fix it would be to scratch and start over from the beginning. Same characters different story.

I knew I needed to be writing. (You can't improve if you don't write). I had no ideas. Then I thought if this cubicle employee can come up with a blog that sells a book and a movie, maybe I can too. And if not, at least if I'm blogging, I'm writing something. I racked my brain for something that I could. (I was not cooking fatty French food). The thing is I have no real talent. My degree is English and I'm a law school drop out. But something I read, made me realize that my vocabulary was incredibly weak for a writer and that to improve it  needed to read more. I also needed a project, because my life was way to boring to blog about. So from Julie Power and Stephen King Project 52 was born.

Project 52 has changed my life. I started following blogs which is how I learned a lot, and how I happened on to a lot of the books I read. The books bred ideas that crept into my sleep which became Phantom Fires, my recently finished manuscript and Chance Encounters, the ms I'm hard at work on. The blogs explained things from how to find a CP to how to revise. Then I got brave and started emailing authors/bloggers. They were open to it. Happily answered my questions. I learned of writing groups and book clubs, went to my first book signing had a blast, made new friends, learned more and now my life isn't quite so boring.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Firelight Book 32

Sophie Jordan, a published adult author, enters the world of YA with the soon to be released Fjrelight. I was able to get an ARC of Firelight from my friend Michelle at windowpane memoirs.

I'm not really sure how to review this book. Some moments of it were very good, but there were often many pages between those moments. To be fair, I will state most of the reviews I've seen have been positive. I think I'm going to start with what I liked and then list what I didn't like.

What I like: Most of the characters were very well developed with attributes and flaws. I always knew why they were doing what they were doing. The premise of a dragon girl was interesting. The romance developed very well and was very strong. I think that's what I liked the most.

What Ididn't like:  First of all, this book is written in first person present, which seems to be a developing trend, but I've seen it really work in very few instances. This is my personal preference though, so it may not bother you. Aside from that, there are many many fragmented sentences. I'm aware that that is the author's choice, but I think in this case, there are too many of them.
The girl is capable of shape shifting into a Draki, or dragon descendant. It was weird for me because she becomes the draki but it's constantly referred to as something she owns rather than something she is.  Also, while there were some really intense moments where I just couldn't put the book down, there were many times when I wondered when something was going to happen. *SPOILER ALERT* And finally, the hunter falling in love with his prey just rung a little too close to Twilight for me. But that again, could just be me as there are no vampires and Jacinda is a much stronger protagonist than Bella.

I saw a lot of potential in this book, but there were sparks missing for me. I think I would give it a two star rating. However, there was enough there that if Sophie Jordan wrote an unrelated book, I'd be glad to check it out.