Wednesday, March 30, 2011

♥.•*¨ Book Review: Star Scout Rising, First Trail by Gary Darby ¨*•.♥

It's been years since I've read anything science fiction, and only a few books before that, too. But after reading Star Scout Rising, I realize that I've been missing out.

Star Scout Del has a secret that could destroy him, but he keeps it well hidden as he trains as a peaceful protector with his team of 5. Fate hurls them into the hands of danger and the horrifying beauty of other worlds. Del faces the perils that test his Star Scout creed. Will he remain faithful to his beliefs?

Darby's world building is vivid, fantastic and rich; I was drawn into the thick of it. He can really spin gripping scenes; I cheated, and skipped ahead to see if my favorite characters survived! He is masterful at body language—a small description that reveals a great deal without weighing it down.

The story starts out with a lot of detailed flashbacks and inner thoughts. Sometimes the dialogue between two characters felt like narrative lecture. Because of these factors, I was either lost or sidetracked until I picked up on the thread of the story. I'm fairly new to this genre, so it's probably just me. Grammatical discrepancies drew me out of the story here and there, but didn't ruin the fun.

The ending has a pleasant surprise! Darby is a wonderful story weaver. I enjoyed the wild ride!

I most definitely will pay more attention to the science fiction genre because of Gary Darby. Thank you, Gary.

Visit Author Gary Darby!


Order a copy of StarScout Rising: First Trail!

Monday, March 28, 2011

♥.•*¨ Author Interview: Introducing . . . Elana Johnson! ¨*•.♥



Bio: Elana Johnson’s debut novel, Possession, will be published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) on June 7, 2011. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or TwitterShe also co-founded the Query Tracker blog and contributes to the League of Extraordinary WritersElana is represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.

 


Elana is one of the most cool, motivated people I've met. I decided I wanted to find out more about her and braved asking her for an interview. And she said yes! How cool is that?

Thanks, Elana, for humoring me!


Without further ado, Elana Johnson!


What is an average day like for you?

In two words: Pure insanity.

In more than two words: It’s a lot like everyone else’s, I imagine. I sleep too late, rush to get ready, pack a lame lunch of canned soup (because I MUST eat something hot for lunch), drive too fast to work, work a lot, constantly check email, and return home.

Then I sometimes cook, sometimes clean, sometimes read with kids, sometimes run them to their activities, sometimes watch TV, sometimes laugh, and sometimes write, and sometimes sleep.

It’s exhausting. The only thing that saves me most days is my Google calendar.

What is your day off like?

I clean my house on Mondays. Do all the laundry. Go to lunch, and take my daughter to school. Then I have approximately 1.3 hours before my son gets home from junior high (dang you, short days!), and I commence with the “average day” up above.

How did you develop your keen sense of query-writing?

I studied and printed and evaluated what worked in successful queries. And we all know if something is interesting to read or not. If we’re confused or not. So it just sort of bloomed from there.

What scene did you enjoy writing most in Possession?

Ahhh, excellent question. I rewrote so many of them, that it would be hard to choose. But there’s this one scene with Zenn and Vi that makes me a little weepy every time I read it. I can’t really tell you about it, because it’s sort of a spoiler, but it really shows the depth of emotion between the two of them. And I love that.

What have you discovered as the most effective marketing tool?

Uh… I don’t know. For me, it’s been my blog. But for someone else, it might be their relationships on twitter or the connections they’ve made on Facebook. I think, in the end, YOU are the most effective marketing tool. So just be yourself.

What is the perfect formula for forming a logline?

Well, “perfect” is hard to come by. And I think of a logline as a hook. So the hook should do two things: 1. Sum up your entire novel and 2. Prompt the reader/listener to know more. This can either mean they read more or your query, ask you a question, or go buy your book to read it!

Words to live by?

“Never give up! Never surrender!” ~Galaxy Quest



I had so much fun learning about Elana, thank you so much for letting me interview you!  If you haven't visited her blog, you're missing out. Stalk her right here!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

♥.•*¨An Interview of a Different Kind¨*•.♥

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Hi, gang!

I've just been hit hard by the muse bug, not for my novels, but for yours! I'm so excited, I hope you guys love what inspired me!

I would LOVE to interview your *MCs from any one of your books. If you have 8 books, I could do 8 different interviews per character in there. Or I could your villain--whomever you want. I will post it on my blog along with your site and book. How's that for a marketing promo?

If you would like to join me on this adventure, please send me 1) some strong highlights and basic synopsis--okay, it can be a rough and as unedited as you like, I just need to know what your book/s is/are about 2) along with basic info about the character you want me to interview with your blog/website and 3) book title, and book jacket if you have one along with your e-mail address.

I'll tailor the questions according to your info and email them off to you.

This is a great way for you to connect with your characters as you answer the questions I will send you! I can't wait to get this started!

What reader wouldn't like to get know more about their favorite character behind the scenes?

updated:*This goes for unpublished WIPs, too! ;)

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Tongue are You?




We have recently added 4 more authors to our wagon--welcome! You can visit them to see how they apply languages to their work: 
Anastasia V. Pergakis,  J. D. Brown, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Deirdra Eden-Coppel, M. Pax,  Jeffrey Beesler, Charlene A. Wilson, and Andrew J. Cooper! 


I love to invent words. I have a list of made-up words in my writerly sketch book. My first novel is a high fantasy read using invented words for native creatures. The goblins have their own language, which I didn't translate. Oops.


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Nowadays, I keep a dictionary in a separate file and refer to it as I write the novel.

I keep my words simple, pronouncable. I don't always directly translate what a character says:

"Fermer la porte." Collette shivered.
"Do you mean close the door?"
Collete nodded.

V.

"Fermer la porte," Collete pointed to the door with a shiver.
"You get cold too easy, I swear." John kicked it shut. "You're welcome," he taunted.

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Like in the second example, I drop clues so you won't catch a headache. I do the same with real languages such as my Viking novel and Eros.


 


How do show your character language?




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Kite: a Novel in Earth Obrit , by Bill Shears

KITE


Mason Dash is your ordinary man who enjoys being his own boss. He works high over Earth's atmosphere in a satellite-like machine that cleans up floating debris. All is yawns and boxers. That is, until . . . unexpected chaos unfolds when a computer program becomes self-aware and hungers for power. Dash's virtual 'doll', Sheila, stows away during one of his shifts. Sheila is the only 'person' who can communicate with this software tyrant, but there are other dangers afoot!

Science fiction has such a different feel! The possibilities are expansive. I had fun reading, in vivid detail, the twisted mind of a tiny module living as software inside Kite. Rich detail explains the world it lives in, always moving the story forward. If computer programs wanted to take over the world, this would be the right book for them.

The story is well-written and well thought out. There is swearing here and there, and a 'joining' of programs similar to mating for those who are wondering about content. I had the feeling that the story didn't want to end--you'd have to read to find out yourself!

Visit Bill Shears to find out more about his work!

Order your copy of KITE!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Servers and Writers are Related.

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We went to the Olive Garden on our date night. It was very pleasant. Our server made sure our drinks were filled, our empty plates removed, and our food just right. So, is there a relation between servers and writers?

Yes, yes, yes!

How, you ask?

What if the waiter forgot to fill your drink? Or your food was cold? What about forgetting the cutlery for your juicy steak?

We don't notice the server if everything goes smooth. But oh, boy, we notice alright when she messes up, don't we?

Well, that's how it's like for writers. The reader won't notice the writer as s/he reads our work, but if we don't polish them books, our authorness screams in their faces and reminds them that they are reading a book.



How do you feel when you stumble across author intrusion?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Like the Pioneers--

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The Mormon Pioneers fled the eastern coast for a place where they could find hope and life. Many had to leave by the seat of their pants: pack only what they needed.

Heirlooms? Abandoned.

Blankets? What could be piled in the tiny handcarts.

Cookware? Only the bare necessities.

Shoes? What was on their feet.

Children? Well, only the tiniest got to ride, while the older ones helped pull or carry the younger ones.

I was praying earlier this week about my writing dilemma, and as I prayed, I a sudden thought about how these people struggled with the thinnest of things came to mind. I can only imagine having to pack up and leave immediately, taking the stuff that would help keep my family of 6 alive in the wild.

The reason why I bring this up is because it relates to my writing. I've been burdening myself with figurative heirlooms, the extra blankets, extra shoes, a few more pillows, a handful of plates and extra tin cups and maybe a jar of pickles for the craving.

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I've realized that, on my journey across my writer frontier, I should only take with me what I absolutely need and not what I want. I've found my thoughts to be cluttered with things that have been weighing my heart down to the point that writing has lost pleasure. I need to review my inventory and weed out the things that aren't aiding in my adventure to publishdom.

Since then, I can feel my internal balances shifting to a better fulcrum; a new starting point that has promising venues with a lighter weight to pull as I go along this terrain that is familiar, yet strange. Daunting, adventurous and magical.

How do you pack your handcart and handle the journey?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Self Sabotaging

The road ahead feels unsure, rocky and precarious. I know I can do it, I know I can! I've made it this far!

I am preparing one of my manuscripts for submission and the hardest part is for me to take courage and do it. I am afraid of the what ifs, you know, the little devil on my shoulder telling me that I can't?

How do you do it?

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Something to Hide




I've been struggling lately, to my chagrin, with writing. Yes, I've actually considered giving up because it hasn't brought me the pleasure of thrills I used to experience. Even the thought of attending my most favorite writers conference where I feel like queen, made me feel numb.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Magic Powers in your MC


Today we are writing about magic and the rules for usage. You can read what the Fantastic Friday Writers think think of this as well: Deirdra Eden Coppel, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Anastasia V. Pergakis, and J.D. Brown!

 I like free-range kinda magic. It would be as easy as doing a karate chop or a round house kick. I apply that same technique to my characters. I don't do Eragon kind of magic where the user "borrows" from their surroundings--for me, that's limiting. It's like being solar powered, there's only so much and so deep you can go on borrowed energy.

I've written 2 books that have magic in them. My high fantasy Tragic Innocence (yes, the name sounds like a soap opera, but it's just a Band Aid title), my heroine has the ultimate power once she realizes it's within her reach. All she has to do is believe in herself and the gift is hers.

In my Paranormal Romance Darkspell, Winter achieves hers when she hits 18. Not even the evil that stalks her can compare--that's why he tries to make her his queen. I do give Winter's love interest limited power as his talent will allow, but he doesn't "borrow" or deplete unless beaten like  normal person in a losing fist fight to another magic user.

I base it to real life: if you're a skilled fighter, you win, if you are wimpy, you lose. If you are skilled with magic, you win, if you're wimpy, you lose--but I have a discrepancy that separates this concept from fists. It is the ability of using your brain. So my magic users are mathematical geeks to an extent, like playing Chess.





Strategy strategy strategy.




How do you weave your magic?


Next on FFW: March 25th, on languages.




photos' from Photobucket.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stephenie Meyer, the mother of YA?

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Do my books have a home? I've promised myself to keep my books clean, but then which genre would they belong?

After reading several YA books, it was like the Heavens opened. No questionable language. Violence. Or even sex.

I've been excited ever since!

I can't help but feel that ever since a single woman braved her talents and pitched them into the sea of publication, that she has opened doors for all YA possibilities. Harlequin came up with a new imprint for teens not too long ago. The YA sections are exploding with books. I've come across more writerly blogs aiming for YA than any other genre. Could it be that Stephenie Meyer created the trend of YA, even though it's always existed?

Let's say she never followed her muse to write her first novel. She never decided  to submit, or she even gave up with her first draft; would YA be as hot as it is now?

I doubt it.

I feel the same with MG. If another woman hadn't have obeyed her integrity, J.K. Rowling wouldn't have opened doors for high adventures for young kids. Would she?

If J.R. Tolkien had decided to take up sea diving instead, would we have developed our fine sense of fantasy novels?

I believe that these great authors were lead by a greater force to open the floodgates, the possibilities for the rest of us. A Renaissance for Writers, if you will.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Comfort Zone



I've recently read Don Carey's Bumpy Landings (book review posted February 18th). It's a fantastic read about an LDS returned missionary who struggles to find his place. Why? Because of the pressures of work, home, and school. Not to mention girls!

The moral of the story is integrity. How true he had to be to himself, even if it took him out of his comfort zone. That was when he did the MOST growing.

I wonder. How many of us do everything we can to stay within our comfort zones? I know I do. But I ask myself, how much growing am I doing?

















Can you think of any instances where you ventured from your comfort zone? What happened?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Super-Snooper Blogest!

Today is Alison Stevens' blogfest, thank you for the fun! We are to tell you about our character's stuff, that way you get to know him or her that way!

You can click on the button to read other participants' entries===>

Ready?


A double neck, electric guitar has recently been added to the bass, electric guitar with an old acoustic in the 1400sq bedroom. There is a waste basket filled with music sheets half written, then wadded into tight balls. Beneath the paper mess is a pile of guitar picks, all cracked between my character's teeth. A Mercedes-Benz SLR Roadster,  McLaren F1, Saleen S7 Twin Turbo, Farrari Enzo, and Bugatti Veyron are just a few of the favorite things in the garage. Okay, I'll give a hint of my character's gender: would use Athena Pheromone 10X™, but the occupation takes care of it all! ;)

You can read my character's interview here!

Can you tell what my character's quirk is? What is your character's quirk?