Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking The Shelves / What's Up This Week? (Aug. 24th)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews where people can share the fabulous books they've bought, borrowed or received during the week.

For Review

Breaking The Reins by Julianna Haygert
Snapshots by Patricia Lynne
The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
If You Leave by Courtney Cole
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins 

Hey guys! 

I know--it's been a bit of a barren wasteland here for the last couple weeks. I've been insanely busy with the Sealer's Promise rewrite, though, and anyone who's been here a while knows how bad I can be about balancing blogging and writing. 

My plate's about to get even more full. Today is the start of Early Access for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and I'm logging on there the moment I'm done here. <3! For those who don't know, I'm a huge gamer geek. :D I don't play as much as I use to, but I've been waiting months for this and the experience I had last weekend for their open beta was totally awesome, so I'm pretty excited. Anyone want the occasional screenshot in my "What's Up" posts? :) 

Are you attending the Ontario Book Blogger Meet Up? If so, you might want to go here and get involved in the book swap going on. :) I attended last year's meet up (my recap is here) and had an absolute blast. I can't wait to go again this November! :) 
Breaking The Reins
by Julianna Haygert
Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.

After a fire takes her grandma's life and kills her horse, Hannah's immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can't turn away even though she's not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.

Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.

But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.

**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**
**Contains scenes of domestic violence**

I don't accept that many review requests, since I can't always get to them. This was a rather unique situation, though. I got contacted by Julianna after putting my name in for a twitter giveaway. I've been interested in this book for months, so I'm pretty thrilled to have it on my Kindle right now. I'm not reading quite as fast as I'd care for--which is why I'm only listing Breaking The Reins this week--but I am genuinely enjoying the book so far. :) 
Sealer's Promise Word Count Update: 45,000 words 
16 / 25 planned chapters. 

The blog is admittedly suffering, but progress on this rewrite is exceeding my wildest dreams. I started on August 3rd and have been writing four nights a week. I should be done by the middle of September by the latest, which should keep my lined up with my goals. 

I think the most shocking thing is how much the characters have grown in the jump from YA to NA, and how certain elements of the story have basically kicked it up a notch in response to this. Sealer's Promise won't be as long as my last draft (at 135,000 words) but it has a lot less fluff and a lot more meat.

Sarena has a lot more humor this go around and seems to know more what she wants, while Kesyl is doing things I could never have planned in a draft. (My drafts are like tourist guides--they'll help you find the landmarks, but they're not the same as living the experience of going somewhere.) I'm having an absolute blast writing this and am so glad I finally sat down and got to it. :) 

I'm going to be starting to look for betas in the coming weeks. If you think you'd be interested, feel free to leave your e-mail and a note that you're interested in the comments, or e-mail me. (The address is on my contact page.) 

So, did you get any awesome new goodies this week? Has anything exciting happened? Feel free to share in the comments, or link me to your STS, IMM, etc. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: Dungeon Crawl by Robert Bevan

Anyone whose been here a while knows that I've read all of Robert Bevan's Caverns and Creatures stuff--both his novel, Critical Failures, and all of his "mini-adventures" (short stories).

Dungeon Crawl hits a spot in between these two things, providing a more lengthy adventure that should be satisfying for those who are awaiting Critical Failures' sequel.

As always with these stories, though, I do strongly recommend that readers start with Critical Failures, especially if they don't have a D&D or RPG background.

But we're not here for me to give you a reading order. Have Tim, Julian, Dave and Cooper gone on another successful adventure? Or have they finally gotten in a bit too far over their heads? Read on and find out. :)
(Summary from GoodReads)
Tim, Dave, Julian, and Cooper go shopping, explore a dungeon, and interact with black people.
Since this blog focuses on mostly YA I'm going to explain something from word go: this book is *not* racist. It does veer on being politically incorrect, but its due to a univerally evil race of elves known as the Drow. (Or *are* they? Hmm...) 

Now that I've gotten that landmine out of the way... 

Dungeon Crawl is an excellent addition to the Caverns and Creatures series, bringing all of the things I love most about Robert's world, characters and writing, and providing them in a slightly meatier format (longer story). The humor here was spot on and did not fail to disappoint, and that's crucial considering that this is comedic fantasy. 

Going back to the aforementioned Drow for a moment, I thought they were a fantastic addition to the list of races and creatures we've seen in this series. The overall mood and personality given to the Drow contrasts beautifully with the antics of this series four main heroes, resulting in an adventure that both expands the world Robert has created while maintaining the humor his series is known for. 

I particularly liked the twist with the introduced side-character, Dusty, and as with Critical Failures, I feel that Dungeon Crawl will provide an interesting surprise to its readers. 
Dungeon Crawl is bound to give those who love the Caverns and Creatures series more crazy antics to laugh about. For new readers I stand by my stance that starting with the novel is best, though I will say that anyone who loves D&D, RPGs or comedic fantasy should check Robert Bevan's series out. Just keep an open mind--here there be swearing, cat bladders filled with goat's milk, and hairy orc nipples. You have been warned. 

Buy It Now on Amazon !

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Blitz The: Defiance by A.G. Henley

Today it's my pleasure to be part of Xpresso Book Tours blitz for The Defiance by A.G. Henley. This is the sequel to her first book in the Brilliant Darkness series, The Scourge. Honestly I can't believe I hadn't heard about this series until now. I think I'm gonna go ahead and buy book one once I'm done setting up this post. :)

But you didn't come here to listen to me babble about my latest Amazon shopping spree. I've got the cover and summary for The Defiance, the cover and summary for The Scourge (for those like me who've somehow missed it), links to buy the books, a great guest post about A.G.'s journey as an author, and (yes, there's an and...) a giveaway! :)

Let's get this party started. :D

The Books:

I know we're here for The Defiance, but I'm going to list the summaries in order for anyone who, like me, is new to this series. If you've already read The Scourge--in which case I'd love to know what you thought!--go ahead and scroll down.

The Scourge
by A.G. Henley
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.

And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.

The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.

Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.

As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.

Did that grab your interest? Add it on GoodReads! :) 

Buy It Now! 

The Defiance
by A.G. Henley 
Read The Defiance (Brilliant Darkness, #2), the highly anticipated sequel to The Scourge (Brilliant Darkness, #1), a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist!

Suspicion Trust. Fear Compassion. Hate Love.

It hasn’t been long since Fennel, a Sightless Groundling, and Peree, her Lofty Keeper, fell in love and learned the truth: the Scourge, and their world, are not what they seem.

Fenn and Peree are determined to guide their people to the protected village of Koolkuna, but first they must convince them that everything they believe is a lie. An impossible task, especially when someone seems hell-bent on trying anything—even animal sacrifice and arson—to destroy the couple’s new bond and crush the frail truce between the Groundlings and the Lofties. Not everyone wants to uproot their lives in the forest, and those who stay behind will be left terribly vulnerable.

Fenn and Peree’s resolve to be together, and the constant threat of the Scourge’s return, push both groups to the breaking point. Unable to tell friend from foe, Fenn must again decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to ensure the future of the people of the forest.

Only this time, the price of peace may be too high to bear.

Ready to continue reading the Brilliant Darkness series? Add The Defiance on GoodReads!

The Hero's Journey

For this blog post celebrating the release of The Defiance, my second novel in the Brilliant Darkness series, I thought it would be fun to take a meandering stroll back along my publishing path. As I look over the past two years since I published my debut novel, The Scourge, I realize my journey mirrors that of the traditional hero’s quest. Only with fewer swords, dragons, and wizards and stuff.

Here are the eight steps involved, as outlined by Phil Cousineau in his book, The Hero’s Journey. I’m probably going to skip a few steps, just so you know.

· The Call to Adventure
· The Road of Trials
· The Vision Quest
· The Meeting with the Goddess
· The Boon
· The Magic Flight
· The Return Threshold
· The Master of Two Worlds

My Call to Adventure began in 2008 while sitting in a hot tub. Yep, I was in a hot tub with six of my closest friends and a margarita in hand. (Seriously. This isn’t the inciting incident of an erotica novel or anything.) We went around the circle answering the question: if you could do anything when you grow up (I was the youngest of the group at age 35), what would it be? And I said I would write fiction for a living. My answer surprised everyone, including me. I loved to read; I’d never really written anything creatively before; I just thought I would like to write a novel “someday.” It occurred to me in that moment that someday might never get here if I didn’t towel off, sit my butt in a chair, and put my hands on a keyboard. So a few weeks later I did just that.

And my Road of Trials began. I spent about a year and a half writing Untimely, a YA paranormal romance about a girl who is given a photograph of herself kissing a boy she’s never met. Before long she’s mixed up with two time-traveling boys from the past: one who’s determined to seriously mess with the future, the other who has sworn to protect it.

Does that sound like something you might like to read? Yeah, well, you’re the only one. I queried a slew of agents and got one request for a partial, which led to a polite no-way-in-hell. Okay, I thought to myself, I’d certainly been warned repeatedly that rejection was part of the deal. I’ll just shelve it and write something new.

I began to brainstorm, and while traveling in Louisiana I had the idea to write the story of a blind girl who must face swarms of terrible, flesh-eating creatures in order to gather water for her people to survive. The girl is mysteriously protected by her Sightlessness, but she hasn’t been tested . . . until now. The Scourge was born over the next year and a half. I applied all the lessons I’d learned from writing Untimely and then failing to find an agent, and I confidently set out to approach agents again. I was so sure this time would be different.

And . . . nothin’. Zippo. Nada. Not even a request for a partial. I won’t lie, folks; I was crushed. I considered giving up on writing. It was a highly chlorinated, margarita-fueled pipe dream anyway, wasn’t it? That was the dark night of this hero’s soul.

But then I Met the Goddess. Her name was Amazon. Something had changed in the year and a half since I queried Untimely: the rise of self-publishing. I have to admit that I resisted the Goddess for a while. I already had a job as a practicing clinical psychologist, and I didn’t really want another job as an entrepreneurial author. But my husband kept urging me to figure it out. “Just try it,” he said. “What do you have to lose?” Well—sleep, hours and hours of free time, and fingernails being bitten down to the nubs, as it turns out. But that’s beside the point. I published The Scourge in January 2012 with no fanfare, no website, no Facebook page, and no Twitter account. No platform whatsoever. Predictably, I sold about three and a half copies to my long-suffering friends and family the first few weeks. Maybe about ten copies in the first month, which I was over-the-moon happy about.

But. By April 2012 when The Hunger Games film released, scores of readers were looking for other dystopian novels to read, and The Scourge was gathering steam. By July 2012 it was selling better than I could have imagined in my wildest hot tub dreams. I was astonished to find that in the span of about six months, I’d become a paid, published author. That was the beginning of The Boon.

I decided to query agents again, but only one this time—one of my dream agents. She said yes. (She might be the Goddess, come to think of it.) My agent began working on finding a traditional publisher for the series, and I continued to write The Defiance, which is the sequel to The Scourge, and The Keeper, a companion story set in the same universe. Meanwhile The Scourge was chosen as a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Wow. Talk about a boon.

Still, it hasn’t all been elf-darts and princes since then. You might notice that I’m self-publishing The Defiance. We didn’t have luck finding a traditional publisher, thanks to the passing tides of dystopian novels and zombie-ish creatures. No matter. Self-publishing has quickly become an efficient way to find an amazing readership for a debut author. Now that I’ve published my second novel, I’m crossing The Return Threshold to tell you that it is possible to learn, even at my (ahem) advanced age, how to craft novels, self-publish and publicize them, and earn a decent living doing so.

My adventure isn’t complete just yet. I still have aspirations of becoming The Master of Two Worlds by finding a traditional publisher for my work-in-progress, a novel unrelated to the Brilliant Darkness series. It would also be nice to hit the NYT bestsellers list with any titles, right? But whether or not that happens, I’m grateful for every lesson I’ve learned—triumphant and painful—along my bumpy publishing journey. I’m humbled by the enthusiasm of my readers, the help I’ve received from other authors and publishing support professionals, and the solid support of my family and friends. I’m thrilled to be able to do what I love—write.

My publishing quest has been an adventure, to be sure. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

About The Author: 

A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series. The first novel in the series, THE SCOURGE, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award.

A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they’ve had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she’s not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she’s inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Author Links: 

So, what do you think of the covers / summaries for The Scourge and The Defiance? Do they seem like books you'd like to read? For a chance to win a copy of The Defiance, let me know what interests about this series, along with your e-mail, in the comments below. 

Want extra entries? 

Note: Links will open new tabs to the necessary pages for the bonus options.

I'll choose 1 (one) winner at 4 p.m. EST on August 21st

As always, many thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me along! :) 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cover Reveal: All Of You by Christina Lee

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for All Of You by Christina Lee. Ready to see what the cover looks like? Then go ahead and scroll down!






(Summary provided by Xpresso Book Tours)
In this powerfully emotional debut New Adult novel, Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He's irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she's perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother's bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won't accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in

Did that grab your interest (I know it grabbed mine!)? Then why not add All Of You to your GoodReads? 

About The Author: 

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives near Cleveland with her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

New Adult/Young Adult author. NA Contemporary Romance, ALL OF YOU, releases September with Penguin. BEFORE YOU BREAK in 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow.

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.

Author links:



So, what do you think of the cover for All Of You? Does this seem like a book you want to read? I'd love to know! 

Sealer's Promise: Add It On GoodReads Giveaway!

This has been a long and challenging year for me as a writer, and my objectives have shifted and changed as the year has progressed. I have several projects in the works, but today I'm here to talk to you about the one which is probably the nearest and dearest to my heart.

Sealer's Promise.

I am finally working with all of the beta feedback that I have been given, and am in the process of writing my final draft. The book will be releasing Q1 of 2014. That's what we are here to celebrate today.

I'm thrilled to share the book's new synopsis, give you a taste of Chapter One, link you to its freshly created GoodReads page, and reward all of those who support this story with a chance to win a giveaway! Read on for complete details!

Check Out The New Synopsis! 

Some promises are meant to be broken.

After witnessing a murder where only a skeleton is left behind, Sarena Lengton knows it will take more than police to catch the killer. The Kindred, magic wielding beings who came to Earth five years ago, must be told that one of their people have gone rogue.

The plan is simple: go in, hand over the evidence, and get out.

When a mix up shows that Sarena has the potential to use magic, her simple plan gets shot to hell. The daughter of an infamous anti-Kindred assassin, the last thing she wants is to be anything other than human. Even if her new powers come with the bonus of being around handsome, mysterious Kesyl Veradayne.

But if Sarena wants her normal life back, there is only one man willing to give it to her. Zakariah, the God of Judgement, is desperate to obtain a physical form. He will free Sarena of her powers and bring her family together again--if she will give him Kesyl to use for his new body.

Sarena thought she would do anything to be normal again. Now she has to make a choice: between the life she had and the man she loves. The future that could have been, or the one happening right now.

And she must hurry, because Zakariah won't wait forever.

Oh, look! A Release Date! 

Sealer's Promise will be released on February 4th, 2014

Add It On GoodReads!

Yes! I finally made a page for Sealer's Promise on GoodReads. It would totally make my day if you'd take a moment to add it to your TBR pile. If you want to do that, click here

Read An Excerpt from Chapter One... 


For two weeks Kyden had been missing. For two weeks Sarena hadn't slept.

Now was not the time to be behind the wheel of her crappy '98 Sebring. Yet here she was, jockeying for position so she could make the hairpin turn that would let her cross the street and enter the parking lot outside her townhouse.

The crustini sitting in the Angelo's bag beside her tried to make a turn of its own, like it was being pulled by some magnetic force toward the floor. Reaching over, Sarena kept the meaty, cheesy goodness from meeting an early grave. It had a date to keep with her stomach in about five minutes.

She turned off the car, a sigh escaping her lips at the sudden blissful silence. Unbuckling her belt and opening the door, she grabbed her lunch and headed for the porch.

The house was in way better condition than her car. Cherry brick with a wooden veranda coated in a fresh layer of white paint, it oozed a certain elegance and charm.

Even if it no longer felt like home without Kyden and Cait.

Still juggling the crustini and her purse, Sarena managed to slip her key in the lock and turn the knob on the front door.

"She's not here." There was a pause which Sarena's roommate, Jessica, likely left to inflict maximum bitchiness on her hapless victim. "Why would Cait be here anyway? She moved out almost a year ago. Thank God."

Sarena walked down the hall, picking up speed as she rounded the corner that allowed her to peek into the kitchen. She stopped in the doorway, reaching out to keep herself from tripping over her own feet.

What the hell was Avish Grendell doing here?

"Then what's her new address?" Avish asked.

Sarena backed out of the doorway, glad no one had noticed her. She didn't need Jessica using her as a scapegoat so she could get out of this game of twenty questions. Sarena didn't like the way Jessica was talking about Cait. But she liked Avish even less. Cait had dated him during their first few months at York University, and there had always been something about him that put Sarena on edge.

"How the hell should I know?" Jessica stared up at him like he was an insect about to get squashed under her shoe. How she didn't feel the holy shit he's creepy vibe that rolled off him Sarena wasn't sure. "You should go find Sara. After all, Cait's her friend, not mine."

He took a step closer to Jessica, totally invading her personal space. Whatever creepy factor he'd had back then was was still present and accounted for now. No way was she getting in the middle of this. Avish could find Cait on his own. The longer it took him the better.

Trying not to make any sound, Sarena started to turn around and head back to the front door. She had taken three steps when a bloodcurdling scream that belonged on the set for a horror film filled the house.Turning back toward the kitchen to see what the hell had happened, Sarena's hands went slack and the bag holding her lunch dropped to the floor.

Jessica had been rude. She'd made fun of Cait, and thirty seconds ago she would have been on Sarena's shit list. But Sarena was pretty sure she hadn't taken that thirty seconds to sign on as the leading lady in an erotic horror flick called Hump Me Dracula!.

Avish had Jessica pressed against the wall. One of his hands wrapped around her ponytail to lift her off the ground while the other pushed her face to the side so her neck was exposed. His knee was between her legs, leaving her with no choice but to wrap them around him to relieve the pressure on her scalp.

All of this would have been normal for Jessica on a Friday afternoon. What wasn't normal were the fangs buried in her throat. A trickle of blood slid down her neck, headed on a one way trip to the kitchen floor.

Good luck explaining that to the landlord.

Hands shaking, Sarena reached inside her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She couldn't just stand here like a mindless zombie. She had to do something. Turning it on, she stared at the little green phone button, willing it to dial 911 by itself.

What good would that do, though? If she told a 911 operator that someone was drinking her roommate's blood they were going to think she needed her head examined. This was not a situation for the police. Even if they believed her there was no guarantee they would be able to stop Avish.

If they got here in time to try.

Instead of making the call, Sarena pushed the camera icon, switched it to video mode, and hit record. Godless would know how to handle this situation. Footage of a Kindred behaving like a vampire was going to make her mother's day.

But that wasn't helping Jessica now. Her face looked pale and thin; her eyes lacked their usual sparkle. Avish was sucking the life out of her.


For a brief moment Sarena flirted with the idea of doing something to intervene. But if Avish had fangs, what else did he have up his sleeve? No doubt he'd find a way to overpower her, judo and muay thai be damned. Besides, the thought of actually using her martial arts training to attack someone made her want to barf.

Maybe it was a good thing she hadn't eaten the crustini. Yet.

A disgusting slurping sound, like someone was trying to use a straw to get the last drops of soda from a fountain drink, forced Sarena's attention back to Avish and Jessica.

He had let go of her. That was good.

But then a pulsing red orb rose from her body, tearing away every ounce of muscle, fat, and tissue. Avish opened his mouth and the orb slide down his throat.

He was eating her. That was bad. Really, really bad.

On the ground only a skeleton remained where Jessica had been only moments ago. Sarena's cell phone started to slip out of her hand and she tightened her grip on it until she was afraid she'd crush it. If it hit the floor, Avish would hear it.

What was she still doing here? Waiting for an invitation to become dessert?

Backing away from the kitchen, Sarena waited until she was in the main hall before making a run for the door.

As she struggled to get her car to sputter to life she decided that the first person who deserved to see the footage on her camera was Cait. Maybe now she'd understand why Sarena had always thought Avish was two sandwiches short of a picnic.

The Add It On GoodReads Giveaway! 

Thanks so much for taking the time to come and check out my giveaway! Have a great day! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stacking The Shelves / What's Up This Week? (Aug. 4th)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews where people can share the fabulous books they've bought, borrowed or received during the week.

It's been a couple weeks so I have a few goodies to share with you guys. :D Here we go! 

 1. The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

2. The Marriage Trap by Jennifer Probst

3. The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

4. Dungeon Crawl by Robert Bevan

5. Ink by Amanda Sun

6. The Academy: Game On by Monica Seles

7. Dare You To by Katie McGarry

8. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 

This week has seen the re-drafting I needed to do to get ready to do the final re-write on Sealer's Promise. That got finished yesterday morning, and I'll be talking about where that's at below. I also finally got Sealer's Promise up on GoodRead, and for the next two weeks that will mean an opportunity for all of you to enter for a chance to win a free book! 

I also got my ticket for the 3rd annual Ontario Book Blogger Meet Up! Extremely excited about seeing everyone on November 2nd. Last year's event was fabulous and I'm sure this year's will rock as well. :)

Aside from writing and blogging, it's pretty much been the usual: visiting grandma and aunt Brenda, spending time with Jay and trying to keep cool. Though the weather here has been pretty cooperative for the past couple weeks. 

Since I'm actively writing a project with a due date, the number of reviews I'll be doing will likely be between 4-6 a month until I have this done. What's at the top of my list right now? 


1. Dungeon Crawl by Robert Bevan: This will likely be my end-of-week or "OMG this draft is making me want to break something!" book. Robert's Caverns & Creatures stories are always good for a laugh out loud time, and I'm sure Dungeon Crawl will help preserve my sanity at that moment where the Sealer's Promise re-write threatens to squeeze it past a breaking point. 

2. If You Leave by Courtney Cole: Come on Tuesday! I madly loved If You Stay, so when I saw that this was going to be releasing, I had to make sure I listed it here. No doubt this will be a day one purchase for me. I just can't let it get in the way of finishing what I'm doing. (Bad!)

3. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I've heard such great things about this book and it seems like it should be a very different read from the rest of what I've picked. Grabbed it at Walmart for 30% off, so I may as well dive right in! 
Sealer's Promise v3.0 Word Count: 3,900 / 80,000 (guesstimated word goal.) 

The first two chapters are done. They'll need some final revision work, but when I saw this stuff is done in the next few weeks, what I mean is it's the way the characters say it *happened*. 

A lot of people hate revision. I'm not one of them. To me, revision is when you take a finished draft and get to tinker with it, like a car nut getting to change the various pieces of a vehicle, or give it a wacky paint job. The structure is there; it just needs refinement. 

I'm not so great at what I'm doing here, though. This is a re-write. I'm actually writing the entire manuscript from scratch. Sure, I do get to look at stuff from my previous attempts, and can even use lines, descriptions, etc. if they will work. But it's very challenging. 

Today I thought I'd share five things that made me feel doing this last re-write would be worth it:

1. Switching from YA to NA. The ages of the characters, and what it would be appropriate and believable to have them do, just plain fits better. Also, a lot of the themes of the Sealer Saga as a whole just make more sense this way. I'll be blogging about this in more detail in the future. 

2. Refining Sarena. The biggest issue a lot of my betas had was actually my heroine, and I won't lie, this is something I really struggled with. I knew what I wanted her to be, but coming up with a way that would allow me to portray that in writing seemed like it was going to be impossible. Then, as I restructured other aspects of the story in my final draft outline, I saw that the problem was that I gave Sarena too much too soon. What this was doing was making her inconsistent from one situation to the next--sometimes she would kick total ass, and others she'd be (for lack of a better explanation) using other characters as shields. What did I discover about Sarena? Will, you'll have to wait and see. But the good news is, I finally have a grasp on how she operates. 

3. Controlling the pace of the romance: Anyone thinking I switched categories to have my characters be more sexy is thinking wrong. I've got absolutely nothing against sex / love scenes in fiction if they move the story forward. And there's no denying I want there to be chemistry between Sarena and Kesyl. But that's not the foundation of their story and switching categories either to "add it", or feeling I have to "add it" because of my decision, doesn't sit right with me. There are things I don't care for in how their original romance paced itself, and I'm really hoping to get those right.

4. Exploring Hycanth and the culture of Kindred and Sealers: In my first two drafts the characters spent a lot of time with Sarena and Jayden's parents, but my betas were like, "Why didn't you put them at the school?". When I looked at this and saw how much more interesting I could make things and how much more sense a lot of my lore and background could be if I did it this way, I was totally sold. Plus, I'd done all my research for Hycanth since it's important in future books, so switching this was relatively painless. It just means writing a lot of new scenes and structuring things differently. But that's what a re-write is for. :) 

5. Characters taking action: I think this is something a lot of writers struggle with; it felt like I was throwing things at my characters, rather than them making choices and following through. When I worked on my new outline I tried to make sure that I didn't abuse the ability to just have things happen, because I feel that a character looking someone in the eye and being able to say "I made a choice." is very much at the heart of good fiction. 

So, did you get anything exciting this week? What are you reading? Did anything awesome happen to you? I'd love to know, so feel free to leave a comment. :) 

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