Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #5

*"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited about.

*Spoiler Alert* If you have yet to read the first two books in the Across the Universe trilogy, do not go past the cover. You have been warned. ;-) 

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis: 
I'm so excited to see what life is like on the planet. For the entire first book I kept wondering if maybe they were already there, but just hadn't landed for some reason. Then in the second book, I thought 'Oh, poor Amy stuck in the middle of space without a planet.' Now, I'm super excited to see what happens when they thaw out the others, find out what's on the planet, and how they all mix together! Yipee!! 

To find out more about Shades of Earth and to put it on your to-read list stop by Goodreads.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November 2012 Releases

I only have three books on my list this month, which is really good with the holidays on the horizon. I also have a ton of books to read through in order to hit my forty book goal this year. And I still have to fit in editing and blogging.

Echo (Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noel (11/13/13)

Why -> This is on my save list. My goal is to buy all four books in the series in hardcover and then devour them back to back. I did this with her Riley Bloom Series and it was fun to do. I already have the first book, Fated, sitting on my shelf waiting for the other three. I love Alyson Noel as a writer and her books are great! I am super excited to read this series and can't wait to see what her next project will be. 

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie (11/13/13)

Why -> I have noticed that people either loved or hated Matched when it was first released. Me? I loved it. Yes it was a slower pace than a lot of the dystopians out at the time, but that's what the story needed. I quickly feel in love with Cassia and Ky, and yes I'm curious about Xander as well. I loved how we got to not only hear from Cassia in the second book, Crossed, but we also got to hear from Ky. I can't wait for this book and to read from Xander's perspective also. I'm sad, though, that this is the final book in the series. I can't wait to see what Condie's next project will be.

Black City (Black City #1) by Elizabeth Richards (11/13/13)
Why -> Well, I just found out about this series last month thanks to a Waiting on Wednesday post and I was intrigued. The post was actually for the second book which comes out in June 2013. So, I checked out this one on Goodreads and was surprised to find that so many of my Goodreads friends had listed it as to-read. And, the ones who had already gotten their hands on an ARC loved it. So what's it about? It's a post-apocalyptic love story which could ultimately lead to the deaths of both, Ash, a half-blood darkling, and Natalie, the human daughter of the Emissary. Intriguing!

Your Turn -> What are you looking forward to being released this month?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

After doing NaNo the past two years I'm completely in love with the concept and fun of it all. However, that said I have decided not to participate this year. I know! *gasp*

Why? Well that's an easy three part answer.

1 - I have way too many things going on right now. I'm still working on doing a major cleaning (purging) of my house. Over the years I've accumulated a ridiculous amount of things that I no longer use or need. So, I'm working a little each week to get it cleaned up.

2 - I am still knee deep in working on edits for Barely There. I'm beyond determined to have this manuscript ready for the query process this Christmas. I refuse to turn my attention to anything other than this project at the moment. This very project has been sidelined the past two years by NaNo, but not this year. It's taking priority instead.

3 -  I failed to brainstorm and outline an entirely new project for this year. I have several story ideas waiting for their turn, but I also have Barely There and last year's NaNo driving me nuts. Not to mention I had an ah-ha moment pertaining to my very first manuscript, Stone Magic, the other day. I've decided not to take on any other projects until these three are edited and ready to query.

Even thought I will not be participating I still want to cheer everyone on. Let me know if you will be participating in the comments below, or via Twitter, and I will make sure I cheer you on all month! If everything works out according to my plans I will have a new project to work on next year for NaNo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #4

*"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited about.
Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder:
Here's my take: Two guys, one right, one wrong, and a girl hanging between life and death.

I'm a huge fan of Lisa Schroeder's verse novels and her middle grade novels, so I'm super excited to read her very first YA full length novel. That's right, this one is not a verse novel. Her books always pack a punch emotionally, so yes, I'm gearing up to be on the edge of my seat during this one.

To learn more about Falling For You check it out on Goodreads

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm. Stop by their blogs to see what they are giving away. There are hundreds of blogs participating, just check the linky at the bottom of this post to find more contests. 

I've always seen this one and never jumped in, but this year I'm in. I'm giving away a copy of Ruined by Paula Morris.

Blurb from Goodreads

Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads Tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city.

  • The blog hop begins Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at midnight EST and ends Wednesday, October 31st at 12:01am EST. 
  • But, the giveaway begins accepting entries Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at midnight EST and ends Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 12:01am EST. 
  • Winner will be announced Thursday, November 1, 2012. 
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond to the "Congratulations" email. If you have a problem with spam please add me to your email contacts [Simone7304 (at) gmail (dot) com], this has happened in contests before and I never got responses on where to send the book.  
  • US residents only. Sorry!
  • Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Slow Down and Speed Up

I know that title really makes no sense, but it will by the end of this post. I am in week 2 of my experience over at Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing's The 1st Five Pages Workshop and I wanted to share with you something I learned in that first week. I had a bunch going on in the first 1,250 of Barely There, but too much of one thing and not enough of another.

1) Slow down and let your main character and reader enjoy the experience.

While I thought I was slowing down and letting the reader experience with my character I was actually dragging it all out. I spent too much time on Phoebe's reaction to being dead. While the reader, and Phoebe, already know she is dead, I was still forcing her to linger in that process of learning. I needed to move it along, a bit. So, I pushed Phoebe along and made her understand the predicament a bit sooner. Instead of drawing out her reactions of making sure she was dead, I pushed her into slowing down and reacting to the actual fact that she's dead.

2) Jump into the action sooner, don't draw out scenes too long.

Because I had spent so much time on Phoebe trying to access whether she was dead, I was neglecting interaction and pushing the story forward. It was stalling out. As a result of getting rid of some of Phoebe's lingering on making sure she's dead I opened the story up to adding in Fin's character sooner. Their dialogue and assessment of one another came into play much sooner, as did more of the actual plot.

You can read the first round here and the second round here

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #3

*"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited about.
This week I thought I would spotlight another Spencer Hill Press book.

Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston:

Have you seen the movie Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves? This sort of screams that to me, only in YA, with a much larger time gap, and mountain bike racing. I'm so intrigued I can't wait to read it!

To read more about Whisper Falls run over to Goodreads and add it to your to-read list.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Smart Edit

Okay, so I can't remember how I found out about this application, but it has made my writing is so much better. This program is awesome!

Smart Edit is a writer's best friend application. Seriously.

Okay, so what does it do you ask?

Well, first you need to save your chapter or manuscript in rich text format (rtf). Once you have done that it will scan your document for:

  • Cliches 
  • Dialog Tags
  • Repeated Words
  • Repeated Phrases
  • Monitored Words
  • Adverbs

It is excellent for finding those words you don't realize you are using entirely too much and those nasty cliches. It also tells you exactly how many times you have used each of them.


I have used this program a few times and I prefer to use it chapter by chapter. If I search the entire manuscript at one time I'm usually overwhelmed and not sure if the numbers are too high or not. I feel better looking at it in chunks.

Anyways, do yourself, and your manuscript, a favor and run over to download it. Oh, unfortunately it only runs on Windows, so if you have a Mac I'm sorry!!!

The best part it's FREE! That's right, completely free of charge. There is absolutely nothing holding you back from giving it a try.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2

*"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited about.

Okay, so last week I suddenly got the urge to start participating in Waiting on Wednesday. Last week's post had a lot to do with a particular contest, but this week it has to do entirely with the excitement of getting my hands on this book.

Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller:

Seriously, the Bermuda Triangle & a cruise ship make a winning combination. I can't wait to get my hands on this one! And since I've started doing giveaways, I will definitely be doing one for this book! 

Okay, I know a few of you are going, "Hey, don't you already know her?" And while yes I do, this has nothing to do with me knowing Kimmy. In fact even if I didn't already know how absolutely wonderful she is and how awesome her writing is, I would still be doing this post.

Now go put her book on your to-read list on Goodreads. We all know you want to! *wink, wink*

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

August/September Progress Report

It's time to see what I've been up to the past two months. Since I didn't do my usual post back at the end of August I decided I would add it to September's report. And it's a little late since I was knee deep in Banned Books Week last week when I would have normally done this post. So what have I been up to?

August was extremely productive with regards to writing. I also only read one book! But, it was all in the name of getting Midnight Raynne completed before WriteOnCon. Yet, once it was done, I didn't feel the excitement I thought I would feel. Instead I realized it still is not ready. The voice I thought was there, just is not there. It still needs work.

So, in September I pushed it aside in hopes that I could go back to working on Barely There. Yet, I was not ready to write or edit. I needed a break. So I started reading again and working out plot kinks for Barely There and last year's NaNoWriMo while cleaning house. I also did research for my NaNo project. I am at a point where I feel that before I delve too far into edits and rewrites on it I need to know everything I possibly can about certain subjects. That's okay, I have time as I am currently knee deep into edits on Barely There. I am trying to flesh out all of the kinks my critique partners found in my last draft and tighten it all up.   

Goals For October
I would like to have Barely There ready for another round of beta reading by November/December. I feel that manuscript is stronger and further along in the process. I would love to have it ready to query by Christmas. I'm not putting a time frame on this one, though. I have a lot of household chores to get done this fall. Therefore, I'm going to pace everything out and go little by little. If I have this manuscript done by November, then I will be stoked. If not, no big worries.

I love doing NaNoWriMo, but I do not have the slightest clue what to write this November. I have a middle grade series begging for attention. I began outlining that series, but still have a long ways to go with the outlines. I would love to possibly write one or two books in it this November. However, I'm not sure that will happen. And I'm okay with that. Hopefully I can have a book outlined and ready for next year. In fact I have a few ideas floating in my head that will be perfect for next November, I just do not have the time to really get them fleshed out in time this year.    

One, Two, Three by Elodie (Commutinggirl) This was a beta read and I LOVED IT! She's currently working on edits and I can't wait to see what she's done with it. 
Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) by Alyson Noel
Dreamland (Riley Bloom #3) by Alyson Noel
Whisper (Riley Bloom #4) by Alyson Noel
Ocean Kills by Jade Hart - Another beta read - This was a dark book, but great! I really hope this one is published soon! Be on the lookout for her upcoming book Samsara from Curiosity Quills Press!

Books Purchased:
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Underworld by Meg Cabot
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Denard
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Need by Carrie Jones
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich-Smith
Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
Eve by Anna Carey
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Ever by Jessa Russo

Your Turn -> Was your end of summer productive?

Monday, October 8, 2012

1st Five Pages Workshop

I have been following Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing for a while now through my Googlereader. Each month they, Martina Boone and Lisa Gail Green, run a workshop called The 1st Five Pages. I have watched this from afar thinking that maybe, sometime, I will work up the nerve to enter.

Well, I did. I sent in my first 1,250 words from Barely There on Saturday at noon and got a reply back that I was one of the first five entries received! Yay!

And now I'm quaking in my shoes. I mean I have sent this to my critique partners and received great feedback already. But I want to make sure that I have made the right changes and used their advice correctly. The part that has me shaking, is that this is on the web and not in the hands of my trusted few. It is out there for others, I do not know, to form an opinion on. What if I got it all wrong? *Okay, breathe!*

In addition to my first 1,250 words going up on their blog today I will have two revisions. I thought I would link to them through my blog each Monday when they go live over on their blog. If you would like to stop by and read through and give feedback as well, come on over.

AND, they have two multi-book prize packs from Random House Kids they are giving away to commentors, not involved in the workshop. So you definitely should stop by and leave a comment on one of the five entries. :-)

Here is my entry to The 1st Five Pages Workshop.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BBW - Interview With a Teen - ttyl

Emma is my 14 year old daughter who just started high school this year. For Banned Books Week 2012 she decided to read ttyl by Lauren Myracle. The series was challenged in 2011 because of offensive language, religious viewpoint, being sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group. Here is what she has to say.

Don't forget to enter to win The Hunger Games

Me: You mentioned in your interview last year about Crank that you do not agree with banning books. Do you still feel the same this year after reading ttyl?

Emma: Yes I do

Me: You are currently reading ttyl by Lauren Myracle. Now I know that you haven't had much time to read it with school, but at this point what are your overall thoughts on what you have read?

Emma: I love it. It is so funny.

Me: Do you like the book?

Emma: Yes
Me: What do you like the most about the book so far?
Emma: It is just overall funny. I like how it is color coded by character and it's really easy to read because its in text form.
Me: What do you like the least about the book so far?

Emma: Nothing
Me: What did you learn from reading ttyl? 

Emma: To not tell lies to good friends and mess with their heads because it can ruin your friendship.
Me: Did you find any of the language to be worse than what you already hear at school?

Emma: No. If they ban books because of the language I think that's just stupid because you hear worse stuff at school everyday.

Me: What about the religious aspect, did any of it bother you?

Emma: It hasn't bothered me.

Me: I know you had a rather interesting sex education course in school a couple years back (I saw the homework!). Did you find any of the book out of line with what you learned or have heard about in school?

Emma: No I didn't at all. It was a lot better than my sex ed class. haha lol

Me: That said, how about the age level, was it suited to your age or not? I know after reading portions of it myself, if you were much younger I would have asked you to wait on reading it.

Emma: I would not let people read it if they haven't had sex ed though.

Me: Are you interested in reading the rest of the series?

Emma: Most definitely.

Me: Are you surprised that ttyl is on the banned book list? Why?

Emma: I get why it is. Like I get why its banned, because of the language and barely adult content. It wasn't vivid enough to really be considered adult content but it kind of is.

Me: Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why?

Emma:  Yes I would, because I think it is quite funny. Some might relate to it because it's in text form.

Me: Are there other books on the list of the top 10 books challenged in 2011 you would like to read? Why?

Emma: I want to read The Hunger Games, What My Mother Doesn't Know, and Gossip Girl. Because they seem interesting and I watch the series Gossip Girl.
Me: Were you surprised by any of the books on the list?

Emma: Not really. I get why they are, I just don't like the idea of banned books.

Me: Are there any other thoughts you would like to share about banned books?

Emma: Nope :)

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on ttyl and banned books.

Don't miss this week's other Interview With a Teen posts:
Dawn on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Tuesday 
Jackie on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Wednesday

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting On Wednsday #1

*Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're excited about.
Hey, did y'all see this? The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington has a brand spanking new cover!!!

I liked the old one, but love this one, too! 

I can't wait for this book to be released. 

Why? I've pasted the tagline from Goodreads below. Tell me that isn't intriguing.

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Kim Harrington is giving away a signed ARC, a $10 iTuns gift card, and a necklace to go along with the book over on her blog. Go enter!

BBW - Interview With a Teen - To Kill a Mockingbird

Jackie is my 15 year old neighbor who is a sophomore at the local high school. For Banned Books Week 2012 she agreed to do an interview on her reading of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The series was challenged in 2011 because of offensive language and racism. Here is what she has to say.
Don't forget to enter The Hunger Games Giveaway.

Me: First I have to ask, what are your thoughts on banning books?

Jackie: I would have to say I don't like the idea very much but I can understand it in a way. I don't think that people should ban fiction books that someone has completely come up with by themselves. I mean, they took a lot of time and effort to create this story. On the other hand if people noticed that the story was really like a plot against us I can understand that they would want to ban that book.

Me: What are your overall thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

Jackie: I think that this book gives a good depiction of what it was like back in the 1930s. It shows what you would be doing if you we're a white child and what you were doing if you we're black. Also it exhibits a good understanding of how black people were treated in this time. I think that some people still don't understand how we treated the colored people in the past. Along with that it shows that all whites didn't treat colored people badly.

Me: Did you like the book?

Jackie: Yes I really enjoyed reading this book. Even though at first I didn't really like reading the book, I came to love it in the end.

Me: Why did you read To Kill a Mockingbird?

Jackie: I had to read it last year for my English class in school. It was one of the required books to read in our class.

Me: Sounds familiar, I read the book for school as well. What did you like the most about the book?

Jackie: I liked how it was told from scouts point of view. It was interesting to see how a child's mind worked in a situation like this and just having the thoughts that a child would have.

Me: What did you like the least about the book?

Jackie: I would say the thing that I liked least about the book is in the beginning when it transferred from the present Scout back to her childhood. I was a little confusing at first. Also there was a little sections of the book that I didn't understand too much but other than that I found the book very interesting.
Me: What did you learn from reading To Kill a Mockingbird?
Jackie:  I learned that during the 1930s, tithing really helped black people at all. Even if they were proved to be innocent, people didn't care and said that they were guilty of whatever crime they were accused of. I also learned about how the life of a white child was in the 1930s.

Me: Did you find the language to be offensive?

Jackie: No I didn't find the language offensive in this book. I don't think that because during the 1930s that is the way that they talked. If they didn't have that kind of language in the book then it wouldn't be a good setting choice on the author’s part then. Also, the language in the book helped get the point across to the readers.
Me: Do you think the language is enough for the book to be challenged? Why?

Jackie: I don't think this book should be challenged just because of the language. If they were banning books because of that reason then why isn't Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck on the list. That book has similar language in it. In addition to that, if they were going by the language of the book, then they would have to go and ban all the books with that language because it isn't fair to the author that their book got ban because of the language when it is similar to others with the same language and they didn't get banned.
Me: I'll have to check on that. The list goes well beyond the top ten that I gave you. Now, it has been a long time since I read To Kill a Mockingbird and I’m curious, what are your thoughts on the racism aspect of the book?
Jackie: Well, in my opinion, this book gives a good example of how there was racism in the 1930s. It really shows how bad the African Americans were treated by the white people. The Americans really didn't give them any rights whatsoever. When I think about it I realize how cruel we once were.

Me: Are you surprised that To Kill a Mockingbird is on the banned book list? Why?

Jackie: Yes I am surprised that To Kill a Mockingbird is on the banned books list. I know that there are some schools that refuse to read this book but to me it was a good book that just shows how bad racism was in the 1930s.
Me: Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why?
Jackie: I would recommend this book to some of my friends that like learning about the past. I enjoyed reading this and I learned a lot from reading the book. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to someone who isn't in to this topic because I think that they might find this book a little boring then.

Me: Are there other books on the list of the top 10 books challenged in 2011 you would like to read? Why?
Jackie: Yes, I would actually. I would like to read the Hunger Games series that is on the list. I saw the movie and it was really good. I heard that the book was way better so I wanted to read it. I find the concept interesting too because it could happen one day. Maybe that's why they want to ban it.

Me: Were you surprised by any of the books on the list?

Jackie: I was surprised that The Hunger Games was on it. I mean it just became a movie not too long ago. If they were going to ban the book why would you have made a movie about it? I just find it surprising that they would ban something that is so popular and different from other stories out there.

Me: Surprisingly Twilight has even made it's own appearance in the top ten. Are there any other thoughts you would like to share about banned books?

Jackie: I think that the people who are deciding to ban books need to realize that the books are just stories. Someone came up with idea and wrote it out in a form that people can experience the idea they came up with. Also I think that if you ban books, it’s an insult to the author that spent so much time in writing the book. Especially if there are stories with the same things that you are banning that specific book for.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird and banned books. 

Don't miss this week's other Interview With a Teen posts:
Dawn on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Tuesday 
Emma on ttyl by Lauren Myracle - Thursday