Sunday, July 31, 2011

Contest Winner has declared Beverly Stowe McClure the proud owner of the Cold Kiss ARC and autographed Forever. Congratulations! But it will probably be next Friday (12th) before I can get the books out to you due to the SCBWI con this week and preparations for it.

On the same note, that is why there is not much of a post today! Posts this week will probably be short and sweet. I'll be reading blogs until I leave thurs and probably even from the conference, but much of that will be from my phone so if I'm not commenting this week, that's why.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Allison Can Read.

Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

I have no idea. I own 3 t-shirts, 2 with a hideous red hog on them from the University of Arkansas and one with Edward, Bella, and Jacob on the front and Jake's face is exed out with permanent marker. It's my fave but obviously has no slogan, except maybe that I take paranormal romances way too seriously.

Thursday, July 28, 2011



You can also see what author Amy Garvey thinks about writing here and what she thinks about her new book here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amy's Answers Part II

Cold Kiss is definitely heartfelt. What inspired this book?

A bunch of people were talking about YA trends, and someone mentioned zombies. And I thought, yeah, a girl with a zombie boyfriend, that would be funny. But then it stuck with me, and I realized it wouldn’t be funny at all. I have a lot of issues around death and loss, and the idea of someone bringing a loved one back to life really appealed to me, just to explore what that would mean.

If you had to describe Wren in 3 word what would they be? ...And Gabriel?

This one is so tough! I think for Wren it would be: headstrong, curious, independent. And for Gabriel: steady, challenging, protective.

Wren learns a lot through the course of the book. What do you think her most important lesson is?

I think the most important lesson she learns is that love is so much more than a happy ending. It’s not just about how you feel, either. Love comes with a responsibility to the people you care for, and sometimes that means letting them go. Love has to be selfless to a certain extent.

Both Wren and Gabriel have rather unique abilities and the magic that runs through the books is unique. How did this idea develop?

I’ve always loved the idea of ESP or any kind of psychic ability, which is generally purely organic – you either have it or you don’t. I don’t see why magic couldn’t be the same kind of thing – one of those “humans generally only use ten percent of our brain capacity” things. If it’s part of the ninety percent that doesn’t usually get tapped into, I thought it would be something that ran in a family, like a gene or a talent.

But I also like the idea that magic is out there the way electricity is, and that if you can figure out how to harness it, you can use it. So someone without that natural ability, but with focus and determination, could use spells, too.

One thing that was important to me was making the story feel as real as possible, as if everything that was happening could actually happen to any girl in the world. That’s why I didn’t want to create a whole magical school or community. I wanted Wren to have to figure out what to do with her power, the same way I would have if I had suddenly realized I could turn a paper bird into a live one, or change the color of the walls with just a thought. It works better as a metaphor for me that way, too.

Don't forget you can win a Cold Kiss ARC  & autographed copy of Forever here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wed. & Writing: Amy's Answers

In honor of Cold Kiss week, this Wed. we have words on writing from Amy Garvey.

Who is your greatest inspiration in writing?

Probably writers like Nora Roberts and Stephen King. Writers who just kept at it, as long as it took, and who value story as much as style. There are probably a dozen more I could name, but I really respect an author who spends the majority of his or her time writing. There are a lot of distractions out there, and some of them are necessary and even beneficial, but the most important part of being an author is giving yourself space and time to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It’s a big cliché, but I was a kid when I knew. In elementary school I always went all out with the creative writing assignments, and I was lucky to get a lot of them. I have notebooks from those years with these nascent, completely embarrassing stories, but they were my greatest joy aside from reading. Writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, even when I knew I’d have to do other things to pay the bills.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

To keep at it. To study the market, because in the end, no matter how brilliant some stories are, if there’s no audience for them, they won’t be published (traditionally, anyway). Know what you’re getting into if you decide to self-publish. Work on your ideas and your use of language more than you develop your Twitter persona or expand your network. Know that there is no magic formula and that publishing, like a lot of other arts, usually involves as much luck as talent. And always keep reading.

Were there any specific resources that helped you in querying process?

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful agent, Maureen Walters at Curtis Brown, Ltd. So all that stuff gets left to her.

Was there one moment or event that you really feel catapulted your career?

Two things have certainly boosted my self-esteem. I worked for Kensington Publishing as an editor for years, and the first books I ever had published were through them after I quit. But there was always a nagging feeling that it was a favor to me, that I was simply being helped out by friends. So when I sold a manuscript to Harlequin (for a line that sadly died before it was ever really established, although my book was released within Superromance), I was thrilled. Someone who didn’t know me personally loved my work! I felt the same way when Cold Kiss sold, because not only was it another publisher, but it was a new genre for me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday Cold Kiss Style

If you missed it yesterday you can enter to win a Cold Kiss ARC & Signed Copy of Forever  here.

Now that the serious business has been tended to we can get to our weekly word association game. You know the rules. I put a word in bold at the end of the post and the first commenter types the first word that comes to mind. The next person piggy backs off that comment with just the first word they think of  and so forth and so on.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cold Kiss Review & ARC Give Away

Author Amy Gavey, The Bookstall, and I have teamed up to bring you Cold Kiss week, which will feature a two part interview, and is being kicked off with an ARC contest! Details on how to win are at the end of the review, more ways than usual ;).

"Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. " (goodreads synop)

This book was brilliantly executed and just beautiful. Wren, the main character, has powerful magic that runs in her family, but her mother wants to deny it. She's never been taught how to handle it or what the limits are since her mother pretends it doesn't exist.  I think Wren is an awesome protagonist. She's strong but not damaged like Katniss. Though she is damaged in her own ways.

Because she has power she's never been taught what to do with, in heartbroken desperation she does something horrible and incredibly stupid. She brings her dead boyfriend back to life, but he comes back rather lifeless. She tries to be everything he could possibly need, and she can't. It becomes obvious she's going to have to do something about her zombie boyfriend. But she doesn't want to. She loves him.

To make matters more complicated the hot new boy at school is determined to help her with her zombie problems, because he "likes" her. Something else she's not ready for. But she maneuvers pretty gracefully through it all, in a story about love, loss, and letting go.  And she learns a lot along the way.

When I first started reading this story, I thought the author should have done more relationship building between Wren and zombie boy to make me care about him. But it's woven through out, which was a good move.  Because by the end of the story your emotions are as twisted as Wren's. You want her to have Danny back, but you know Gabriel is a good guy for her too. You know what has to happen has to happen and yet you don't want it to. And more up front relationship building would have made me hate Wren for talking to Gabriel. The way the author handles it is brilliant.

But the lesson that you can't hold onto someone you love just because you love them is the best part of the book. Most of us have lost someone, in one way or another, that we weren't ready to part with.

Now how to win Cold Kiss which you can't buy until September.

You don't have to follow me to win, but it will get you 2 extra entries. You will get 3 entries for fb, twitter, blogging, google buzzing, google plussing, the contest, you will get 3 entries for liking The Bookstall's fb page which you can find here and 2 entries if you just leave a comment saying Beth sent you. So there are lots of ways to rack up points. This contest is open internationally and it will be open until midnight Saturday 30 CST.

This is an amazing book so good luck!!!!

UPDATE: This ARC contest just got sweeter. My autographed stock just came in and since the B&N incident rendered last week's contest impossible the ARC winner will now receive an autographed copy of Maggie Stiefvater's Forever too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Epic Signed ARC Give Away

The epic signed ARC give away is being hosted by Sara at Babbling Flow. And it really is epic! She's got five autographed ARCs up for grabs, including the sequel to Anna and the French Kiss, and lots of paranormal goodies. Winning is easy so check her out, and be sure to tell her Beth sent you ;).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hereafter Book #4

I really enjoyed this book. The premise is fresh and intriguing, and for those of us who spend our lives in YA paranormal romance fresh is getting harder and harder to find. The characters are well developed and the story is AWESOME!!! Page one starts out with dead girl, Amelia, trying to help Josh out of the water before he dies, and the story keeps going from there. The romance is strong. I don't know if it's quite Twilight strong, but it's definitely stronger than what has become the status quo.

But as much as I loved this book, I can only give it a 3.5 star rating. Because I feel some things should have been done differently. A sub-plot magically appears somewhere between half way and 3/4  through the book. This bothered me in part b/c there was no evidence or reason to believe it was even a problem and the MC was overly concerned about it. Once I'd gotten to the end, I felt the new sub-plot was part of a set up for a sequel. That would be okay, except it didn't feel organic.  Also it's true that the characters were well developed, but that being said there were a lot of eye brows being raised. Sometimes, it felt like a natural reaction, when someone was questioning something. But it often felt like a default reaction which seems like that would be a trait of one person, rather than everyone in a novel. I've been told this is a picky  critique, but to me it didn't feel that different from an overused word, which many reviewers would point out.

Overall, this was a good read, fast and fun. I recommend it for fans of the YA paranormal romance. Actually, if I have enough interest, I'd like to mail this one around for a blog tour. Let me know in the comments section if you'd be interested in reviewing it and sending it on to another person.

Wed. & Writing: Critiquing

Critiquing is a great way to improve your writing. Exchanging critiques is also a good way to get free input on your manuscript, and you all know what I think about having a critique partner. Not to mention, a lot of unpublished writers are REALLY good and it's an opportunity for free reads some of which are amazing.

Bottom line is if you're critiquing someone's work, most reasons you'll have for doing it are good ones. But the critiques need to be good too, and good intentions don't always translate into good suggestions.

So how do you critique? What makes a suggestion a good one?

I don't think there is any right way to critique/edit. I think most of the time our critique methods will be as different as our writing styles. But some basic standards can/shoud apply to all of us.

You should start out with an agreement of how thorough critiques need to be and a timeline for returning work. Clear expectations are easier to meet, which is better for everyone involved. You can avoid frustration on both ends this way.

But what about the actual comments? What you actually say when you critique someone's work is what I want to talk about today. You need to be as specific as possible. Don't use a phrase or expression you assume is common knowledge. There is a good chance it might be, but there is also a chance it's not. And even if it is what if the person you're critiquing for is from a different region of the country/world where that expression is not used? Or hasn't been writing very long so while "show don't tell" is ad nauseum to lots of writers it means nothing to them? So instead of "show don't tell," try "I need to know what the quilt looks like." An agent once left a comment on my query, "I don't care about any of these people." I read it and thought she just wasn't a nice person, because I had heard that there were things in my book that needed to be fixed, but it was pretty much a consensus that characterization is my strong point. A month later at a conference, I put my hook into a critique basket. The commentor read it and said, "This doesn't tell me anything about the MC. There has to be more to her than this."--That made sense. I suddenly understood what the agent meant when she said "she didn't care about my characters." They were developed in the book, but i hadn't described them in the query.

Ask questions. Sometimes asking Why? or How does the MC do this when X event is happening. Or any number of questions is more helpful than a comment. It lets the writer know what's missing, or what you're looking for. But sometimes you can see something is missing the writing and don't know how to specify what. Asking a question helps lead the writer to that detail of what exactly is wrong.

In a nutshell, be as clear as possible. Critiquing is hard work on both ends. It's a tough balancing act to have to point out everything that's wrong with someone's work product without feeling like a bully. And opening a document full of red ink is no fun either, but that writer would rather see it from a friend or partner than an agent/editor. Since it's such a painful process, it should be as productive as possible. Ambiguity doesn't help anyone. And if you think you've been clear, worded the comment as precise as words will allow, asked all the right questions and aren't seeing a change, you might find a different way to say it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

You know the rules. I post a word in bold at the end of this post. The first person to comment types the first word that pops into their head. The next person types the first word the last comment made them think of and so forth and so on. I will be back to play in the comments.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

4 Things on a Friday

1. I like this song.

2. Make sure you drop by the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be doing an ARC Give Away and my first ever blog tour!!!

3. Read Hereafter and Cold Kiss. They are awesome. (They are also what will be available via give away/blog tour in weeks to come.

4. There is no four. Happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Cliche of Cliches

I have to tell you, I think the most cliche I've ever heard is "That's cliche." I know you're rolling your eyes and scoffing at me right now, but just hear me out.

I wrote a book (an awesome one) about a girl and her boy next door. Before I'd even finished editing the book, I heard more than once "Don't you think the boy next door love story is cliche?" No, I really didn't. That's why I wrote it. But I finished editing it and the time to query came. I started researching boy next door love stories to compare to in my query. LOL. I couldn't find any. None. I met a writer friend who recently got an agent for her boy next door love story. But this is a rewrite of a previously queried project for her. She told me she got so much hell for writing a boy next door love story, and when she researched to find things to query she couldn't find any either! Yes, Beth is not crazy. They don't exist as much as you would think. We talked about it for a long time and decided that because "the girl next door" is a way to describe "every girl" and because the "boy next door" is a subplot in lots of things it has became "cliche." So because we have the notion that the concept is overdone, we're now underrated "cliche" artists for using it?

And this isn't the only reason the term "cliche" bothers me. When I was in college, the final project in my media class was to debunk a stereotype. My group chose to debunk the stereotype that all college kids party on the beach for spring break. Interestingly enough, spring break came in the middle of this. We thought we'd interview some people from our group who didn't party. Unfortunately, I was the brokest college kid in our group, had three jobs and still managed to party on the beach. I rode to Galveston with a few friends. We took a $30/night hotel room (something you can only do at 20 because once sanity kicks in you stay away from $30 hotel rooms)and because we were splitting it 3 ways it was $10/night ;). We expanded our search to the rest of the class and finally ended up interviewing random people in the student union. We found a couple of kids who went on a mission trip together and one girl who wanted to party but had to work. We edited the film to cut out the part about she wanted to party and left "I worked." Obviously not every college kid parties on spring break, but our research indicated at least at our school most of them did. Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. So does your character being the norm make them any less interesting? Or does it just make them easier to relate to? And my guess is if 30 college kids party on the beach, some of them had more fun than others. Or they partied for different reasons. (I'd never seen a beach before and the only way to get there was to ride w/ my partier friends). Are their experiences less important because it's "cliche?" If 15 football players are rich jerks who drive convertibles, but have 15 different reasons for being a jerk does it matter? Is the guy who is a jerk because he feels like he's messed up to bad to be on the straight and arrow now the same as the guy who is a jerk, because he thinks the world just revolves around him?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wed. & Writing: The Bottom Up Technique

Most of you know, I come from a stage background, and when I changed my major and went to law school I thought those wasted years were the end of the world--until I started writing YA. Because methods for charicterization and stake building I learned for stage translate easy into my writing.

I've been contemplating writing two very different paranormal romances at once. The worlds, characters and "rules" of reality will be very different. And anyone who has ever tried to live in multiple worlds at once can tell this is very difficult. To make it easier on myself I've decided to write in character.

You're probably wondering what on earth I mean by that. Doesn't everyone who writes in the first person write in character?

Well, probably not like this. I've decided that on days I'm writing Katie's story, I'm going to be Katie (who is actually Rachel) and on days I'm writing Emily, I'll be Emily (who is just Emily, thank God).

Katie is a Vegas show girl. I'll start with sexy heels and build a show girl costume complete with jewelry and make up around it. The bottom up technique always starts with the shoes. Shoes matter. They have a serious effect on your posture and often your confidence. Not to mention a character who spends 14 hours on her feet would most likely not wear the same shoes as someone who sits in an office, or moves at leisure.

You've heard the expression, "walk a mile in his shoes," and the bottom up technique wants you to do just that. Because by walking in your character shoes, by being confined to their wardrobe you start to understand their movements and reactions better.

Emily is an Arkansas school girl. She wants to be comfortable but cute. I see her in flip-flops with a skirt that rides above the knees and a tank top. Very different, from Katie's risque dress and four inch heels. And Katie has some skeletons in her closet but those four inch shoes are hard to walk in, don't you know? ;)

If you get stuck this week, I challenge you to walk a mile in your character's shoes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

Okay, it's that time of the week again. Time for random word fun!!

You know the game. I put a word in bold at the end of this post, and the first person who comments types the very first word to pop into their head. The next person types the word the first comment made them think of and so on and so forth.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Proof That My Followers Are Awesome & Contest Winners.

I couldn't find a good visual of my MC Evey for my book Chance Encounter, so Maggie sketched her out and mailed her to me.

[caption id="attachment_576" align="alignnone" width="81" caption="Thank you Maggie!!!"][/caption]

That's awesome. Thank you guys for following me, and thanks for helping me clean out my bookshelf.

The YA winner is Kelly Hashway, and the adult winner is Bonnie.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A post for my Grandpa

Today is my grandpa's birthday, and those of you who followed me from P-52 know he's not here for it this year. So this post is for him. I've got his favorite song and a song for him below.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Thanks to fellow blogger Nutschell at The Writing Nut for giving me the Liebster Award.

I'm now passing it on to 5 people with less than 300 followers.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wed & Writing: Conferences

Since the season of conferences is upon us, I thought we'd talking about that instead of craft this week.

I tackled my first conference recently, all be it a small one. But I'm glad I did it. I feel more prepared for the big one coming up in LA.  I wanted to come up with some practical real world advice for people who may be going to their first conference this year.  I'll give you as much as I can for how to handle the overall conference, and then we'll talk about pitching.


First thing is first. These things aren't cheap, so get as much as you can out of it. Be prepared for workshops with whatever you need to write with. We're writers. I know most of us have a blank book and pen tucked away somewhere on us anyhow, but make sure you do while you're there. It doesn't mean you have to be overly prepared like me with your mini and a journal, but have something to take notes on. Take lots of them. I know every workshop isn't going to apply to you, and you're going to hear lots of things you already know, but even in those workshops there is usually some tidbit you can use. If you're at a conference big enough to have choices choose the option most appropriate to what you write and where you are in your career. If you know you don't have an agent, a seminar on how to launch a book and market it might not be as helpful as a query workshop or another seminar aimed at unpublished writers.

Another thing you can do to get the most out of it is be prepared. If you're ready to query or almost ready to query have your pitch and your query on you. You never know who you might run into and while being prepared might not lead to a request (though it often does) it could lead to a good critique, or insight. Information that could help you for the long haul.

And participate. I write too. I know it's hard to have your pitch read in front of 300 people even if it is anonymous. Do it anyhow. If the pitch sucks, you'd rather learn it here were no one knows who wrote it and you're not losing an opportunity then when you use it as the hook of your query.

Make friends. Really, this is a good place to connect to others with the same interests as you. We spend lots of time alone in our writing cave, so it's an opportunity many of us don't have often. And being friendly and charming is a good way to meet a mentor.


The hook of your query or your elevator pitch (often one in the same) is a good place to start.  I've heard different things from 35-50 words to three sentences. Honestly, I believe a sentence or two is good, and I think tweet is a pretty good length.  The big thing I learned at the conference is you need some sort of description of your MC and if it's a romance your hero/heroine too. You'll combine this with the major plot elements. You don't want your last pitch session to impact your next one.

So you'll deliver this line and wait, but you don't want to sound over-rehearsed. The agent will probably ask you a few questions at this point. Just answer them. Be confident in your work and yourself. Do not let anything that happens during the pitch session bother you.

Best Advice

Find the goody room as soon as you get there so the good things like ARCs, autographed books, and interesting swag are still available. If you wait, you'll only get bookmarks ;).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday

So I tried this for the first time last week, and it seemed to go over well. I know I had fun, so we're going to play again.

It goes like this, I'll put a word in bold at the end of this post. The first person to comment will type the first word that pops into their head, just the first word. The next person who comments will type the first word that word made them think of and so forth and so on. I will be playing in the comments to.

Because it's summer even in Wisconsin: SUNSHINE

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nerdier Than I & Leaving Paradise Winner

The winner of Leaving Paradise is Beverly Stowe Mclure.

So the hubs took me to see Bad Teacher this weekend. It was funny, but there was more moment I found more a relief than slapstick.

"I am a member of al'ge'bra. I have weapons of math instruction."

And while fellow movie watchers laughed hysterically at the stupidity of this statement and the fake mid-eastern accent the woman used to deliver the line, I drew a heavy sigh of relief. You see, I am well aware that I'm a nerd. But even though I stood in line at midnight for the release of Catching Fire and every edition of Twilight, even though my favorite band sings Celtic, and my husband and I used to cruise the hills of Fayetteville, Arkansas jammin' to White & Nerdy there are people nerdier than I!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

We're Playing Let's Make Room on Beth's Bookshelf

Yep. Pretty much says it all. As far as books go I'm pretty much living outside of my means. I had to shred my first manuscript tonight just to make room for my new ARCs. *clap clap* I LOVE ARCs. Thank you bookstall.

That being said I'm sure I'll buy more books, and at this point I don't even have space to neatly put my autographed books on the shelf, and I really like for those babies to be shelved.

Now, I have way more books that I've read, but right now I can only part with five because I'm attached. (Of course, this probably means there will be more contests to come, so stay tuned).

If you're into adult I have The Maiden's Hand, The Charm School, and Scoundrel's Kiss. If YA is your thing I have Raised by Wolves and The Magnolia League.

In the comments section tell me if you want the YA or the adult. Contest ends at midnight Tues. The winner will be posted on Wed.
2 points for following
5 points if someone follows and says you sent them
2 points for each social network shout out provided you leave a link.

I'll add points and if there is a tie, I'll use to break.