Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop

The Summer Giveaway Hop is here!

 So I'm giving away a hard back copy of My Life Next Door. Winning is simple. You don't even have to be a follower. Just comment on this post. Of course, I will give one extra entry for every social networking shout out, but you have to count them and leave links. No extra entries for following. Stick around if you want to. If not, no hard feelings. Oh, and I should say the contest doesn't open until midnight and runs through the 7th.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Advice From Indie Writers

I plan to self publish a short story or novella (depending on who's guidelines you're using) and hope to release it the Friday before Labor Day. I'm planning/hoping to organize a cover reveal and blog tour and would like to give away some ARCs. 

I'd like to know from other indie authors how does this work best? How many ARCs do you usually give away? Should you not give away too many? Is there a good number? How do you organize a blog tour? What works best? (It should be said I don't want to launch a huge marketing campaign just create a little bit of buzz. I'm more interested in writing than marketing).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Where She Went Book 20

Woo-hoo! Only 32 books to go. Hopefully, I can do it.

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night....

And this was a new experience for me! I've never read a sequel and actually liked it MORE than the book. There it is. I said it. Where She Went is better than If I Stay. 

When I finished If I Stay, I thought I'd probably read the sequel some time. I liked the characters enough, but not right away. Then I read the first chapter of Where She Went and immediately bought it on my kindle because book stores were closed. It's a longer book than If I Stay, but I read it quicker. 

Adam has a great voice. (This one is from his pov). He is the best guy in YA, and I like that the characters are older in this one. I've been rallying for college aged YA protags since 2010. Ironically, I think there is more conflict in this one. Most of the book is still flashbacks, but Adam and Mia see each other for the first time in three years. He's still desperately in love and she seems to have moved on, or maybe not. And you're working your way through this journey with them. And you really want it to end well. And lots of minutes I was afraid it wouldn't--or at least not the way I wanted it to. I heart this book Five stars.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Think back to your first love. From that undeniable first spark to the first kiss to, often, the last everything is new and exciting. It's the kind of experience you don't forget, and the second time around may be just as meaningful, but it's not the first.

First loves are often like infatuations. You can't get enough of the person and nothing else matters. You'll spend every second of the day together whether it's good for your (or them) or not. And first loves usually don't last. When they do last, there are usually lots of other loves or almost loves in between. But we learn about life and relationships from first loves.

They prepare us for real love. Real love isn't always as exciting, but it's real. It lasts. Real love is mature, healthy, and takes into consideration your love's best interest, not just your desire. I think I have found real love with my current WIP. It isn't as exciting as Phantom Fires (which ironically wasn't my first ms and will always be my first love so to speak) but it is enjoyable, fun even. It makes some great points, but never gets preachy. It has a solid plot--seven points-woo-hoo! But more importantly, when I get feedback for it, I can usually see want the critter is saying. It takes me a week, but I can see how to change it, and how the change will help. I want to change it. I want to make it the best it can be. I want to give it it's best chance in the world. And that's growth, because Phantom Fires, I'll probably never be able to properly edit. I still love it with the burning desire of a first love.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good Things

This post was inspired by my teacher Nova Ren Suma who recently blogged about what it means to be a girl, and a woman, and a female with ambition. You can find that post here.

In this post, Nova says that she has only one thing in her life, and she's completely happy with it: writing. She talks about all the things she doesn't have and doesn't really even care to have in her life, because with the writing there is no room. And I read this, with a bit of jealousy at first. Because if I didn't have other things in my life, I could get so much more writing done--and not just quantity but improve quality too. Then I read on as the things she didn't care to have got more personal, and I thought well I have other things in my life, but they're good. I want them. I don't want to give up some of the things that consume time. I have an awesome husband and a beautiful baby, and I can't always make it to workshops I want to go to, or squeeze enough writing time out of the day because I have other commitments. But it's a small sacrifice when I consider the amount of joy my family gives me.

So I originally planned this post thinking well, I have other things in my life, but it's okay. It's a trade off I'm happy to make. THEN I GOT STUCK--sinking in quicksand kind of stuck--WTH was I thinking when I started this manuscript kind of stuck? How am I ever going to get published. Then I got a request for FURTHER revisions. So, I'm passionate about writing, but it's sinking me on one side, and striking me from the other.

Then I realized I have other things in my life, my family, a part-time job, this blog, because some days I need NOT to write with the same amount of urgency that I need TO write other days. If I didn't have these things in my life, I'd die an artists death. Thank God I have these other things in my life even they often--and in the case of my family, always--come before my art. It may take me longer to get where I want to go, because sometimes I have a tough balancing act, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The other things I have in my life are amazing just as an amazing as the writing.

I need more than one thing in my life. Emil and Emily I love you ;).
(But this should not be taken to mean I think everyone needs more than one thing in their life. I do).

Friday, July 13, 2012

ELF Reviews/ELF Critiques

Hi! I'm ELF (Emily Lace Fred). I'm going to start reviewing books with my mommy. If you have a recently published picture book (lots of pictures, little words) you want us to review, or an unpublished picture book you want us to critique contact my mommy. ;)

Here is my first review.

Emily Loves to Bounce 

ELF Says: I like this one. It's the first book I made it through in one sitting. And her name is Emily *clap, clap*

Mommy says: I liked that this had lots of big pictures with only a few words per page. It made it easier to read to ELF. It's also a rhyming picture book, which I love. (Although, I heard @ SCBWI-LA last year, agents are sick of them, but I love them so keep writing)! It was a cute book, but it didn't have much of a narrative, in my opinion. It was more of a description of a girl who likes to bounce than a story about her. I won't rate this, because ELF and I will need to read more picture books to get a feel for them before I feel comfortable giving them a numerical value.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Size 12 Is Not Fat Book 18

"Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two — and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York's top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen — not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives — even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective! 

But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong . . ."

So this is a cozy (a mystery aimed at women) and I've never read/reviewed a mystery before. I enjoyed this book which makes reviewing it hard, because it will never make my faves list.
For me, it didn't have enough romance to really suck me in. Yes, I'm a romance girl. I bought this book on the recommendation of such a good friend that I didn't even read the blurb first. If I had, I would have known this isn't really my thing.

But it was still a great book. I love Heather Wells as a main character. She has a strong voice (sometimes too strong, more on that later), and she's secure with herself. The book starts with Heather rebuilding her life after her music career has ended, her fiance has been caught cheating on her, and her mother left the country with her manager and her money. She's aware her life is in shambles and doesn't like it, but she's not wallowing in it either. And I love that she's okay with her weight gain.

The plot is interesting and well written, and I was surprised at some of the twists. The book was funny, and I will read the sequels. Although, because it doesn't keep me up at night like my romances do, it took me too long to read, so I won't be reading the sequels until after the new year when P-52 has concluded.

The one thing I didn't like (other than the lack of romance, which isn't fair since this isn't a romance) was that in some places it almost has too much voice. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of first pov. I rarely read a 3rd person pov that I can sit through, and I even like conversative narrators, but in some places the way narrator talked was too conversational, especially early on. It was awkward. I definitely give this book a 3 star review. If I were into cozys, I'd probably give it more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Book Stall Needs You

If anyone is around the Chicago area my favorite bookstore The Bookstall is looking for another YA blogger. They are super supportive of bloggers. They've sent me lots of ARCs and don't mind if I give away promotional stuff for the blog at signings. I find them way more supportive than a certain big box store.

If you're in the greater Chicago area and would be interested in helping an indie store (because they do lots for writers and bloggers) let me know and I'll put you in touch with my friend Robert.

Everyone else, I'm working on a button we can put on our blogs to show our support. And you can expect another contest with awesome YA giveaways coming soon from my ARC collection.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ISWSG: Trouble In Paradise

I've been so busy writing a novel, taking care of a newborn, doing the day job from home thing, and revising a short story for some requests that I totally forgot today was IWSG. A comment on my last post reminded me, and I'm glad it did.

See, I was already frustrated. I usually don't like for my WIPs to be read. Not until their complete, but I'm writing this one for a class. I've got some really good feedback, so it's been good in that sense. Except I got to this major plot point--something I thought was really profound and would amaze people--and heard "it's such a coincidence" more than once. The frustrating thing is I can't change the plot point. It's one of the things that made me love this book, and I thought it was fate. From the beginning. From the time I wrote the first chapter, I thought this was fate. To learn others didn't disappointed me.

Then there is the issue with tense addressed in my last post. For the first time ever, I'm writing in present tense, and in spite of blog posts and articles that say present tense is easier, I'm finding it HARD. So hard, that I gave up. I started writing in past tense. I'd rewrite the first eighty something pages. But it only took me two paragraphs to figure out that this is a fast paced novel with a lot of things going on--things I don't usually write about. With a pacing I don't usually write at. Present tense just seems appropriate. So present it is.

New comments say my pacing is rushed. It is. I could feel it. I didn't no how to get from point A to point B, so I leaped. When I have an outline, it never feels organic. This is why I hate outlining. Still, this time I have such a strong plot(my downfall) that I hate to abandon the outline. However, characterization and emotions have always been my strong point so  to hear I missed the mark there makes me want to jump off a cliff.

Sometimes, I just wish I could writing something amazing. Something where all the marks are met. It seems like I'm going to be completely rewriting the last 45 pages of my 92. While worse things have happened, I really thought this ms was coming together better than that. Now I'm lost. I don't know if it's better to try to continue writing at the pace I'm going and know the emotion isn't there(pretty bad since I write romance), or try to start rewriting from where I missed the mark. It's frustrating too, because for example, one of the things I'd heard before at cons and in past manuscripts is don't repeat info. This time it seems like people are begging for repeats.

Geez. What's a girl to do? I think I'll just read. I'm in no mood to write tonight.