Thursday, March 29, 2012


Ah, spring is here! A time for chirping birds, delicate rain showers, and blossoming BOOK TRAILERS. Oh, and also generous bunny rabbits with baskets full of goodies.

Mr. Fluffy-Britches up there stopped by my blog to give away a Spring-tastic gift package to three lucky winners (only U.S. residents, please).

Here's a peek at the prizes:

I. YA Fantasy Book Package:
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Shadow by Jenny Moss
The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block

II. Adult Literary Novel Package:
Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

III. Alice in Wonderland Post Cards Package
Set includes one postcard of the following images:

-Alice portrait
-Red Queen portrait
-Mad Hatter portrait
-White Rabbit portrait
-Cheshire Cat
-Humpty Dumpty
-Tweedledee & Tweedledum
-The White Rabbit's House
-The Caterpillar
-Still Life with Live Flowers
-Alice and the Piglet
-The Mad Tea Party

And 12 matching cream envelopes.

I'll also throw in a signed bookplate for SPLINTERED in each package.

But, much like hunting for Easter eggs, these goodies must be earned, which ties in with the aforementioned BOOK TRAILERS.

Three of my dear friends have recently designed and/or created trailers for their debut novels. Two of the gals are presently on submission with publishers (Bethany Crandell and Angela V. Cook), and one has sold her book to Love Inspired (Jessica Nelson). Jessica's book hits shelves on April 3rd, so be watching for it at your local bookstore, or pre-order at Barnes&Noble or Amazon.

Now for the trailers (in no particular order):

#1 SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS by Bethany Crandell

#2 LOVE ON THE RANGE by Jessica Nelson

#3 SPARK by Angela V. Cook

In keeping with the three videos and the three gift packages, there are three steps to enter the drawing (you need only 3 points to get entered; any extra points earns you extra chances):

1. Watch the trailers. Using only the text, pictures, and music, specify what genre each trailer is: YA Paranormal, YA Contemporary, or Inspirational Romance. This will get you your three points to be entered. **If you're unfamiliar with literary terms like genre, contemporary, etc... I have them defined at the very bottom of this post.

2. For extra pointage, either tweet AND/OR like this blog post on FaceBook so we can get some traffic for these up-and-coming debut authors.

3. OPTIONAL: You may tell me which gift package you'd most like to win in the comment section, in case your name is drawn. Use Roman Numerals I, II, or III for reference. Also give me your second choice alternative. I can't promise you'll get the package you choose, but I'll do my best. :)

That's all! Please DO NOT leave your video genre answers in the comment section or I'll have to delete them.

**Use the RaffleCopter widget below to enter. If you've never used one, do not fear! It's awesome. The widget will lead you through each step and then you'll be entered.**

At 12a.m. eastern on April 2nd, the RaffleCopter widget will close. I'll announce the winners on a blog post later Monday morning, and give the winners instructions on reaching me.

Thanks for playing, and see you next week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


genre - A category of literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content

YA - young adult literature

contemporary - realistic fiction; a story you could actually imagine taking place in the world you live in today

paranormal - a story with fantasy or otherworldly elements such as angels, demons, ghosts, etc...

inspirational romance - a story that has strong religious undertones woven into the romance

Monday, March 26, 2012

Posie & Mosey Mondays

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.


Men Call you Fair
~Edmund Spenser (1552 - 1599)

Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
 For that your self ye daily such do see:
 But the true fair, that is the gentle wit,
 And vertuous mind, is much more prais'd of me.
 For all the rest, how ever fair it be,
 Shall turn to naught and lose that glorious hue:
 But only that is permanent and free
 From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensue.
 That is true beauty: that doth argue you
 To be divine, and born of heavenly seed:
 Deriv'd from that fair Spirit, from whom all true
 And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
 He only fair, and what he fair hath made,
 All other fair, like flowers untimely fade.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What the ER taught me about writing...

Almost two years ago, my son was diagnosed with epilepsy after my husband found him having a seizure on the living room floor. That in itself was scary enough; but ration in the possible side effects of the drugs available to treat this neurological condition and it goes a step beyond terrifying. We researched and researched, and resigned to try the most benign drug out there.

His pediatric neurologist started him off at the typical dosage for a child of his weight. His body reacted with jitters and what my son thought was the beginning of a seizure — a racing heartbeat and a “scary feeling” inside his head.

We spent several nights those first few weeks at the ER, trying to figure out what was going on. It wasn’t until I remembered my mom having a bout of panic attacks a year earlier with similar symptoms that I made the connection. My son was having drug-induced panic attacks caused by the dosage being too high for his system. After they adjusted the dose, his body slowly acclimated to the meds, and not only has it controlled his seizures, it’s now a rare thing for him to have any reactions.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Well, the last night we spent at the ER — before the panic attack revelation — I grabbed my laptop on my way out the door in hopes I could get some writing in. I was working on Splintered’s first draft, and had a self-appointed deadline.

I’d already dallied away enough nights (my most fruitful time for harvesting wordage) sitting in the ER waiting room and watching pointless TV shows. I was determined to finally get the scene done that I’d been toiling over for weeks.  What happened surprised even me.

In the three hours we were there, I managed to tap out all that was left of that chapter, even while worrying and wondering if my son was ever going to have a normal life again. My insides wound in nervous knots, my fingers trembled with tension, a mixture of emotions bled into every sentence, yet still I finished.

And not only that, I rocked that scene. In fact, when I had multiple offers of representation for this book, each agent commented on that particular chapter (chapter 12, The Feast of Beasts) being the most “Lewis Carroll-ian” in the book.  Why? Because I hadn’t held back. I put everything I was feeling into that scene, and it came across as wild and uncontrollable and absurd, which was exactly how life felt to me in that moment.

I always knew writing could be therapeutic to a writer, but I never thought about how good it can be for our stories if we write through the dramas in our life, choosing the scenes to match our situation. Had I tried to write something tender, maybe a romance scene, the outcome might not have been so good. But because I was feeling all of the confusion, angst, and bemused terror my MC was supposed to be feeling at that moment, it was golden, and the best thing that could’ve happened for my book, not to mention a great revelation for me.

So next time you’re having one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong, funnel that frustration into a scene where your MC is facing similar challenges in their life. Whether brought about by the same situations or not, the emotions will still ring true, and will add authenticity to your writing.

It's one of the perks of being writers. We actually get to broadcast our emotions while we’re working, as opposed to stifling them. (◕‿◕)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

Roses Can Wound
~Lascelles Abercrombie (January 1881 – October 1938)

Roses can wound,
But not from having thorns they do most harm;
Often the night gives, starry-sheen or moon'd,
Deep in the soul alarm.
And it hath been deep within my heart like fear,
Girl, when you are near.
The mist of sense,
Wherein the soul goes shielded, can divide,
And she must cringe and be ashamed, and wince,
Not in appearance hide
Of rose or girl from the blazing mastery
Of bared Eternity.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Varik & Marisa Duke it Out in the Streamerazzi Interview

Today, I'm honored to be hosting the fabulous Catherine Stine and her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, on their virtual tour around the web. In the link list at the bottom of this interview, there's a URL that will take you to a complete schedule of stops.

Here's a quick summary of the book:

What if only your very worst enemy could help you save the world?

 Fireseed One, a YA thriller, is set on a near-future earth with soaring heat, toxic waters, tricked-out amphibious vehicles, ice-themed dance clubs and fish that grow up on vines. Varik Teitur inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious drowning of his marine biologist father. When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd terrorist, who knows way too much about Varik's father's work, tries to steal seed disks from the world's food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a Fireseed cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for Fireseed, a seemingly magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. Illustrated by the author. Fans of Divergent and Feed will likely enjoy this novel, as well as those who like a dash of romance with their page-turners.

One of the things that caught my attention in the synopsis is the hot and cold aspect of the setting. Catherine actually weaves the same aspects into her characterization, bringing to life a "fire and ice romance."

To give us a little teaser, Catherine brought along her two main characters, Marisa and Varik, who, in spite of falling for each other, don't exactly see eye to eye on much else (lucky for us, because that makes it so very fun ... heh).

So, without further adieu, I give you seventeen-year-old Marisa and eighteen-year-old Varick, duking it out.  

Okay guys. Let's make this a clean fight. No biting, head-butting, or hitting below the belt. That means you, Marisa. ;)

Nationality? Birthplace?

Varik: I live in Ocean Dominion, which used to be called the Arctic Circle, but is now a series of floating islands and farms. Our sea farm is Teitur Farm.

Marisa: I grew up in Land Dominion, which used to be Canada and Greenland way back in the dark ages. Now, Land Dominion and Ocean Dominion are rivals. (Sends Varik a wicked grin).

Fave food?

Varik: Flyfish with sautéed sea apples. My friend, Audun cooks this. He’s a gourmet cook.

Marisa: Restavik boar with Landlock peas. All products of Land Dominion!

What are your occupations?

Marisa I was a member of the ZWC, an activist group, helping out the climate refugees in the Hotzone… or (looks over at Varik) a terrorist organization. Depends who you ask.

Varik: I was hoping to go to college to be a doctor. I wanted to specialize in making prosthetic limbs like the flippers I made for my dolphin after his got eaten by toxic waters. But now that my father (swallows hard) drowned, I manage our sea farm.

What makes life worthwhile?

Varik: Living on the ocean, sailing my old Sea Tern, playing ball with my dolphin, Juko; going to nightclubs on SnowAngel with my friend Audun, meeting girls (laughs when Marisa elbows him).

Marisa: Exposing hypocrisy, helping the refugees—

Varik interrupts: Though she goes about it in the worst way!

What are you each most fixated on?

Marisa: Feeding the Refs. Finding Fireseed.

Varik: Finding out if Fireseed exists, if what Marisa told me has any basis in fact.

Do you have a temper? How does it manifest?

(Both explode into uproarious laughter)

Marisa: Temper, me? Nooo! But Varik… he put a fish tracker in my neck for starters!

Varik: Um, because you broke into my father’s underwater vault, because you shot me with a stun gun. Because… (Exasperated sigh). Me? I’m pretty even-keeled.

Can you keep a secret?

Varik: (Reddening, dead silence. Thinking of all the secrets he’s kept from Marisa).

Marisa: (brushes her long, red hair back defiantly) Sometimes.

May we ask you each to describe how the other shows affection?

Varik: By breaking into my father’s secret underwater vault!

Marisa: By locking me up in his father’s airless meditation room.

Varik: It has one small porthole.

Marisa: Not even big enough for a water rat to squeeze through.

Varik: That was the point!

Who are your love interests?

Marisa: (Snorts) I have a fatal attraction to tall, blond guys, who own farms and have a horrid sense of politics!

Varik: I confess: I’ve developed a taste for stubborn, impulsive redheads, who join crazed cults simply to rebel against their megalomaniacal dads.


 Round's over. The opponents are being escorted out of the ring so they can kiss and makeup. If you want a peek at that ... well, you'll have to buy the book.

Here's what other authors are saying about Fireseed One:

“Fireseed One is so full of startling ideas that I couldn't stop reading! Recommended for fans of science fiction, thrillers, or for anyone looking for a story full of big surprises.” -- Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow, the first novel in The Sky Chasers series

“Action, adventure, love, and loss, plus superb world building all adds up to an incredibly imaginative story – one that should not be missed.”  --Carolyn MacCullough, author of Once a Witch and Always a Witch

Want to know more about Catherine and where to buy her book? Here's a treasure trove of linkage:

Fireseed One on Amazon
Fireseed One's Facebook page
Goodreads author page
Catherine's Idea City blog

Also, be sure to visit the other tour stops for some fun interviews, contests, and swag:

Thank you Catherine, for letting me be a part of this. I loved meeting your wonderful characters! And thanks everyone else for stopping by. Have a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Three isn't always a crowd.

Today, over at ADR3NALIN3, I'm talking about love triangles. Please hop over and let me know who your favorite starcrossed lovers are.

Also, I hope to see you next Tuesday when I welcome author Catherine Stine for an interview with a character from her Indie YA futuristic thriller:

Until then, have a great rest of the week, and happy blogging!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Posie & Mosey Monday

On Mondays, I share word posies with my readers. Comments are disabled so you can enjoy this gift of poetry then mosey on along to your list of daily do's.*

*Hungry for more in-depth Monday posts? Visit any of the entertaining and insightful blogs on my sidebar.

LIFE IS BUT A DREAM~Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

A BOAT, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July--
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear--
Long has paled that sunny sky;
Echoes fade and memories die;
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?

"Life is but a Dream" is reprinted from The Hunting of the Snark and Other Poems and Verses. Lewis Carroll. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1903.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #17

Today is installment number seventeen of my "First Friday of the Month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

Today’s guest,
Ryan Graudin, is a very accomplished lady. She majored in writing in both high school (attended a a fine arts school) and college. She's also been a kindergarten teacher in South Korea, working around 45 hours a week while still fitting in time to write. To say I'm impressed by that feat would be an understatement. Her official QueryTracker success story can be found here.

Welcome to the interview box, Ryan!  

AGH: Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent and publisher?

RG: Luminance Hour is the story of a Faery named Emrys who finds herself forced to guard the partying Prince of England from soul feeders (ie. Spirits who prey on mortals). She soon finds that she has very un-Fae-like feelings for him. There are also assassins and paparazzi in the mix.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

RG: I queried a YA urban fantasy for about a year before I finally threw in the towel and started trying to find representation for this project.

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

RG: For my first book I sent around 200 queries and got 2 partial requests. (Yes, you read that right). For Luminance Hour I sent about 66 queries, got 12 requests (I can’t remember how many fulls vs. partials) and 2 offers for representation.

AGH: What genre(s) do you write?

RG: I write Young Adult novels with fantastical slants (paranormal/urban fantasy). They usually have a good bit of romance in them as well.

AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

RG: I can’t even really remember… I’ve been dreaming up stories ever since I was really little. For Luminance Hour, the inspiration actually came out of a submission to a short story anthology. It was an anthology that called for “sexy, modern” portrayals of faeries. I started thinking about it an thought it would be interesting to write a story from the perspective of a modern-day Faery Godmother.

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

RG: I don’t. (Ha!) I’m actually really terrible at titles and it’s likely that Luminance Hour is only a working title. It was originally called Godmother, but it wasn’t “sexy” enough for a teen audience (I have since removed all references to Godmothers in the manuscript too!). I really love poetic titles, but it’s hard to come up with one that it both poetic and commercial!

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

RG: I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. I was also really blown away by Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I love writing that is lyrical and poetic and carries weight. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I studied and wrote lots of literary fiction in high school and college.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

RG: I found QueryTracker just through a Google search. The forums there really helped me figure out what I was doing with my query letter and how I should mold it into something better! I also discovered a lot of agents through the listings and kept an amazing record of everything.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

RG: There is a lot of waiting involved in the publishing process. Be prepared to be patient. (This coming from one of the least patient people ever, just ask my husband.) Also, interact with your audience! Be active online by blogging, tweeting, tumbling and pinning (and whatever else is out there!). When you take the time to talk to people they will become loyal.

AGH: Have you been given a release date for your book yet, and do you have any other current news to announce?

RG: Sadly no. It is still ambiguously Summer 2013…

***Five for fun***

1)      In your opinion, what was the best thing before sliced bread?

RG: Caffeine. I don’t know how the world survived without it. How did people wake up with the sun? (I still can’t, even with a triple espresso).

2)      What’s your favorite breakfast?

RG: When I was a teenager I went with my parents to Paris and we stayed in a hotel where the breakfast was fresh croissants and thick, creamy hot chocolate every morning. It was the best thing ever. A close second? Pumpkin pancakes. Third? Hominy grits with cheese and butter. (As you can tell I loooove breakfast).

3)      Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

RG: Team Alaskan Malamute. I love them and I want one oh so badly. Perhaps one day when we don’t live in a hobbit-hole of an apartment.

4)      When would you go to if you had a time machine, and why?

RG: Oh wow. What a tough question. I think I would have to choose the 1940s. I’ve always been really fascinated by the history surrounding WWII and the great men who lived in that time. I’d probably go to England and try to crash a meeting of The Inklings.

5)   Drinking tea … pinky up, or heavy on the Long Island?

RG: Depends on the time of day! I love Earl Grey and Jasmine tea for mornings and afternoons. And Long Islands… let’s save those for a bit later in the evening!


Thank you for the interview, Ryan. Jasmine tea is one of my favorites, too! And I sure hope you get to keep your working title. Luminance has always been one of my favorite words. It's so lovely and evocative. 

To our readers, please feel free to offer support and kudos to Ryan in the comments. Also, you can follow her publishing star on the internet:

Hope to see you next Monday for some poetry, and have a safe and productive weekend!