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.