Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Swim on over and find out some fun facts about how the idea came about, the characters, and more. Just click here.
Also, the uber cool DL Hammons invited me to participate in a post about voice.
Go check out several writing samples and see if you can tell which one is mine.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Personally, holding Monarch in my hands was a thrill in itself. See, I read some of Michelle’s story years ago while she was still writing and revising parts of it. I remember sneaking onto Gmail messenger at work so that Michelle and I could chat about her manuscript. Fast forward a couple years and it’s a real published book with a fantastic yet kind-of-creepy-but-in-a-cool-way cover. How exciting!
But not as exciting as the story itself.
Talk about a page-turning cozy thriller. Cozy thriller? I know. Such an oxymoron but Michelle pulled it off. The few thriller books I have read seemed to mostly rely on action and shock value to keep the reader engrossed, but Michelle went above and beyond great action scenes. She made Monarch cozy by creating a cast of characters I genuinely cared about. I even sympathized with the villains (and the people I suspected as villains but later found out they weren’t—or were they? Depends who you ask!) The location jumping from the Monarch Inn which was quaint and snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug (pun intended) to the dangerous and deadly Brazilian jungle left my emotions seesawing. One minute I felt comforted and wished I was a vacationing guest at the inn, the next minute my blood pressure was through the roof and I was giving thanks for my safe and quiet lifestyle.
Michelle managed to juggle several complex relationships and I was never bored with ANY of them. (Seriously, how’d she do that?) Just like the Monarch butterflies that remained a beautiful theme throughout the story, Michelle’s characters were sometimes fragile and in jeopardy in one way or another (even the tough and deadly ones), but they persevered and went through a metamorphosis of some kind. She tied everything and everyone together at the end and provided realistic endings with satisfying closure. Those are my favorite kind of stories.
Monarch was an intense and well-told story with a variety of elements, plots and relationships that make it an enjoyable novel for readers of many genres.
Now is the best time to order Monarch. Rhemalda Publishing is offering 40% off their books at the Rhemalda bookstore. Click here to get your copy of Monarch and check out the other great books in their lineup.
I'm giving away a copy of Monarch to one lucky winner! Just be a follower and leave a comment answering one or all of the following questions, or just say you want to win! The winner will be chosen at random. (Open to International as always.) Contest closes this Friday, 9/23/11.
Have you read Monarch yet? Do you follow Michelle's awesome blog? What do you think of that fantastic yet kind-of-creepy-but-in-a-cool-way cover?
Add Monarch on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10558689-monarch
Michelle on Twitter: @LadyGlamis
Michelle's blog: http://theinnocentflower.blogspot.com
UPDATE: Random number generator selected #11 which was CHRISTA!
Congrats, Christa. I will ship MONARCH to you right away.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Here's the old version because I'm sure no one remembers what it looked like...
It wasn't bad, but compared to the awesome new version...
I love it so so much. Rhemalda Publishing has been so freakin' fantastic throughout this process. Today is one of those days (there are many) when I'm extremely grateful and happy that my first novel is being published by them. They really do treat me like family and go out of their way to make sure I'm in love with my book. (Not just pleased, but ecstatic and in love.)
I. Am. Grateful.
Which version do you like better?
Also, in case you haven't heard, Rhemalda is giving away several copies of Tangled Tides over on Goodreads. If you're interested you can enter here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/14623-tangled-tides
Happy Birthday, Sara! xoxo
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Now, it's time for you to REALLY get excited.
We're giving away crits from stealth agents: Sarah LaPolla and Vickie Motter.
We're giving away ARCS. (Lots of amazing ones)
We're giving away operative fav prize packs that include all kinds of fun stuff.
Pretty awesome, huh?
Come on over and enter to win lots of great prizes. Oh, and have a slice of Spy cake. It's delicious.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today, you get to meet the TEEN SPIES.
Real teens. The ones out there on the front lines, reporting the nitty and the gritty, no matter how dangerous or shady the mission may be.
They'll sacrifice their time, opinions, and sometimes their safety (okay, not really) to dig up the truth and deliver the lowdown on everything YA and teen related.
Head over to the site and meet them, but do not--I repeat, DO NOT--provoke or threaten them. They are highly trained spies with stealth skills and lethally brilliant minds--and they aren't afraid to use them.
No, but seriously, please stop over and say hello to our teen spies. They are made of awesome and deserve a heartfelt welcome.
Oh, and here's some top secret scoop: Operative Cutta Mutha (aka Cambria) will be giving away 2 of Ally Carter's teen spy books, The Heist Society, to one lucky winner. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to leave a creative comment for the spies on their intro post. Best comment wins! Go!
Monday, September 12, 2011
"The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You're there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see - every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties." Graham Greene
I've always considered myself a professional people watcher, and maybe even a little bit of a spy, but now it's official: I'm an operative.
PS...Be sure to follow us because we're giving away TONS of ARCs, books, gifts, and agent critiques as part of our launch!
We're also on Twitter: @YaConfidential
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The wave of mermaid books is upon us.
I had no idea mermaids would be a “big thing” when I first started writing my merfolk/selkie story back in early 2009. I wrote about my fantastical and tormented sea folk because I loved them. I have loved them since I was two years old. (I have pics to prove it.) Like any other manuscript of an aspiring author, I had no idea if my story would ever be published, but I wrote it anyway. I couldn’t not write it. I loved it too much.
When I queried agents in the spring of 2010 many told me they already had a mermaid manuscript.
Slowly, I heard about one mermaid book deal after another. More and more mer tales popped up on Goodreads. People started tweeting about mermaids being the next big thing. USA Today even published an article saying mermaids are the trend in paranormal this summer, and that yes, Stephenie Meyer is working on a mermaid story too. *sigh*
As an author of a soon-to-be-released merfolk novel, I can’t help but worry. What if Tangled Tides is too late? There are so many great mermaid books out there. Some have been out for months, a year, or even longer. More are already scheduled to release throughout the next year or two. By the time mine releases will readers be tired of reading about merfolk, selkies, sirens and such?
So many times I’ve heard the success of a book depends on many factors: timing, marketing, competition, etc. I have stayed awake many nights wondering whether my timing is bad or good. Since signing my contract for Tangled Tides, I have seen new mermaid stories popping up on a regular basis.
The wave is getting bigger. The trend is picking up strength.
How do I not end up like one of those unicorns in the above photo that you can hardly see? Or, worse yet, one of the unicorns you can’t see at all? How do I keep from being invisible in the crowded wave?
How do any of us authors not get lost in a tidal wave of books? So many great novels are out there begging to be read. With self-publishing becoming more popular, it makes that number even higher. So how does a book or author—especially a debut—stand out in the crowd?
A good friend gave me a simple answer: Have faith in your story.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. As writers, we love our characters, our worlds, and our plots, and if we’re lucky enough to get published that means a whole team of people have faith in them. That’s a great feeling. But it’s easy to lose confidence when you realize you’re going to have A LOT of competition.
I keep trying to remind myself that strangers believed in my story, so maybe readers will believe in it too, and actually buy it. Actually read it. And maybe, if I’m really lucky, some will love it. Oh, how I hope so.
I also hope the wave of mermaid books doesn’t come crashing down anytime soon. Not just because one of the latecomer novels will be mine, but because I genuinely love sea folk. I’m excited to read all the different twists and takes that fellow writers come up with. I believe the ocean is big enough to hold all of our stories. And even though I have my moments of worry, I am happy and grateful to be part of such a fun and magical trend.
What about you?
Do you have faith in your stories?
Do you worry about trends when writing?
Would/have you ever read a mermaid book? ;)
Thursday, September 1, 2011
She invited me to participate in her Underwater Adventures blog-hop and I just couldn't resist. Swim on over to her blog and sign up for the readathon where you can win great stuff like:
- A Grab Bag from Harper Collins
- Hand Made Bookmarks
- Books of Your Choice dealing with the Water, Fish and more !
To help show my love for books containing mermaids, selkies, sirens, gorgons, or other water themed creatures, I'm giving away a prize pack of my own to one lucky winner. It contains:
- My book, Tangled Tides! (You can choose to have it this winter with the wave of first readers as an eBook, or wait for the printed version when it releases in spring of 2012. If my publisher gives me early copies you'll get one of those. And this is kind of cool IMO, THIS winner will be the first ever winner of my book. It's the first contest ever for TT. Aww. *tears up a little*)
- A treasured mermaid gift. It's kinda small and fragile, but so sparkly and pretty.
- A sea creature themed book of your choice. (I'll order from Amazon and have it shipped to you ASAP.) Choose from some greats like: EVERBLUE by Brenda Pandos, LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter, RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbard, FINS ARE FOREVER or SWEET VENOM by Tera Lynn Childs, SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA by Terri Farley, TEMPEST RISING by Tracy Deebs, SIREN or UNDERCURRENT by Tricia Rayburn, or any other book that interests you ($20 limit).
- You must be a follower of my blog.
- Leave a comment telling me you'd like to win and what your favorite underwater creature is. (Real or fictional: Dolphin, turtle, manatee, mermaid, whatever!)
- Visit The Reading Fish and leave a comment (doesn't have to be long or creative) in one of the Underwater Adventure posts. (Yes, I will check!)
If you blog about it you'll get 5 extra entries.
I'll announce the random winner on September 5th!
As always, contest is open to international peeps.
Thanks for splashing by! :)
UPDATE! September 5th! Happy Memorial Day! The winner of my giveaway is... May-Day_Aura!