Thursday, November 29, 2012

December 2012 Releases

All three of this months books are actually novellas from different series I've been reading. Which is good, because I'm way behind in a lot of reading and I need to catch up. These novellas are usually quick reads.

Radiant (Unearthly 2.5) by Cynthia Hand(12/4/2012)

This particular novella takes place in Italy when Clara and her best friend, Angela, try and escape everything that has happened in Wyoming. It alternates between the two friends' perspectives. I can't wait to see what Angela is like for her own perspective, not from Clara's. Also, it will be fun to see Clara through someone else's eyes. 

Neverfall (Everneath 1.5) by Brodi Ashton (12/26/2012)

Yikes! This one is from Cole's perspective and I can't wait to see what he's like on the inside. This novella follows him around as he tries to put the pieces of what occurred in the last book together. (I hate to list spoilers, so I'll be vague on what happened in book 1.) Anyways, I've been dying to read book 2, which comes out in January! So this is a perfect get-ready-for-book-2 deal. 

Annabel (Delirium 0.5) by Lauren Oliver (12/26/2012)

This one looks so good! Annabel is Lena's mother and this novella is told from her perspective about her life. I'm hoping all those questions that are burning in Lena's mind throughout the first two books about her mom will be answered in this installment. Also, notice this is considered book 0.5. I'm curious if there will be a 2.5 before the third book releases in March, since there is also a 1.5. ??? The things I wonder about. lol

What books are you looking forward to this month? I know there has to be other books I just haven't realized come out this month. It can't just be these three novellas. :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sporatic Blogger

That will be me over the next month, The Sporadic Blogger. I usually try to get my blog posts typed and scheduled ahead of time, like a week or two, but I don't think that will be possible this month. I don't have any blogs written and scheduled at the moment, aside from my new release posts for December, January, and February. The holidays always make me antsy and I get too involved with other things that I have little time for blogging, if I haven't already written and scheduled posts.

Add to that the fact that I got absolutely zero editing done this past week and a half for personal reasons and I am way behind in reaching my December 15th deadline. I am now facing a fact that I must use my little time for blogging as editing time. Not to mention I will be in physical therapy for issues with my neck that have been leading to migranes, shoulder pain, and hand numbness. After years of issues, it's time to get this taken care of. And of course, being me, I had to add that into the busiest time of the year. *deep breathes* lol At least there's plenty of time during physical therapy for reading!

So with in mind that please forgive me if I seem a little out of sorts this month. I will still try to blog when I can. Hopefully in the new year things will calm down and I will be back to my regular routine. :-) 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

I hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to stuff yourselves silly today. Maybe have a couple plates like the one below. :-) 

~ Heather & family

Photo: Hillary Hartley on Flickr

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #8

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


I know Waiting on Wednesday is technically supposed to be about books we can't wait to get our hands on, but I couldn't resist this one. It's not out yet, but I got a chance to read an e-arc and had to pass on the word! Again, sorry, but I couldn't resist.

How to Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings by Laura Pauling:





Goodreads blurb:

Convinced that her grandfather, Zeb, needs help, twelve-year-old Bianca persuades her family to fly to the Mayan ruins of Tikal on a search and rescue mission. Impatient, she and her brainy cousin, Melvin, sneak out in the middle of the night and follow the clues to the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years.

The cousins must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy—one that says in three days the city will be destroyed. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. No problem.

Except, Bianca starts to care for her new friends, and Zeb does not want to be rescued. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.
Seriously this is such a great book and if you like middle grade novels you really need to read it! :-)

To read more about How to Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings stop by Goodreads and don't forget to add it to your to-read shelf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deadline or Bust

The deadline is set! I am constantly setting goals for myself and occasionally I meet them, sometimes I fall short. Things happen along to slow the process down, constantly. My summer was not nearly as productive as I had hoped it would be. Then I started cleaning house and that slowed me down. Most recently it was Hurricane Sandy - that put me back by two weeks, one for the power outage and another because I was emotionally strained from seeing everything so messed up here on the shore.

But I need to set a deadline and stick to it. In an email last week I told my critique group that my current deadline is December 15th. I want to have the revisions completed by then so I can send them out to my lovely beta readers, and maybe a new pair of fresh eyes as well. While they look over the manuscript I will be stressing over the synopsis and query letter. *cringing*

Once I get back comments and have both the synopsis and query letter completed it's off to agents. I am already super nervous about this entire process, but I know this particular project is ready, almost. I just need to finish the revisions, by December 15th.

Now you have to hold me to this deadline! I am counting on my writer friends to keep me on target. If you see me goofing around on Twitter ask me if I have achieved my daily editing goal. If not, you have my permission to yell at me to GET EDITING! lol

On that note, I am headed off to do some more editing. And I will leave you with a couple of pictures from my trip to San Angelo, Texas where Barely There is set. 

San Angelo Visitor's Center, the Concho River side.
Historic Fort Concho, the barracks side.

Monday, November 19, 2012


It's a Cover Blitz and Blog Giveaway!!!

OCEAN KILLS, the first book of the Ocean Breeze Series by Jade Hart, will be released in early December 2012. In order to celebrate, free copies of Ocean Kills are available to be won, either by simply liking Jade Hart on Facebook, or finding the words "Ocean Breeze" in either the current book you're reading, a TV show, or on any item such as air-freshener, shampoo, or body-wash! When you start looking, those words are everywhere!

For example, this was found a few days ago:
A bottle of body-wash
Without further ado, here is what OCEAN KILLS, a sexy New Adult Urban Fantasy, is all about:


Around the world, murderers and rapists pick off the innocent. Killing loved ones, separating families, and ruining lives.

As an eight-year-old girl, Ocean witnessed her family’s massacre and something altered inside her. Twisting her genetic code… unlocking an ability to teleport.

Ocean Breeze was never destined to be normal, especially being named after air-freshener. She’s a shadow, a ghost—a dark saviour of the innocent. Armed with a switchblade in her bra, and a box-cutter in her pocket, she hunts the filth of the world.  

Callan Bliss is a Sydney Police Officer whose skill set is far above a normal cop. All his fellow officers see is a hard-worker who loves to catch perpetrators and surf, but that’s because they don’t know his past. When Callan arrests a suspicious looking prostitute, coming face to face with a self-confessed vigilante, his secrets aren’t that easy to keep silent anymore.

Ocean hates the police with a passion, and has no intention of being held captive by a cop, even if he is sexy as hell. Teleporting from under his nose, Ocean hunts her next target—a man responsible for the largest sex ring in South Africa—and he’s about to die. But she doesn’t count on Callan giving chase, nor the body-quaking lust which consumes them. However, Ocean's dark hobbies take precedence over what her heart wants—her thirst for murdering is killing her too, and not even Callan can save her.

You can TBR on GoodReads HERE

There are 10 free copies to be given away... so get searching :)

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Contractions - To Use Them or Not?

Contractions are a part of every day life, especially with today's teens. My own daughter and her friend use them constantly. I use them all the time when I write blog posts, and then I go back over my post and take most of them out.
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

So what is the problem?

Well I have heard in a bunch of places that you should use contractions when writing YA, because that is how teens usually talk anyways. Fine, in dialogue I get that. But then I question it constantly when it comes to the internal thoughts of the protagonist. My inclination is to leave them out, but I have had critique partners say it sounds funny and does not flow well. So I put them back in only to be irritated with it myself.

As I edit the heck out of this manuscript I find myself wavering between having contractions scattered throughout or taking them out unless they are in dialogue. It is about to knock my poor brain over the side of a cliff. 

So my question today is what do you prefer to read? Contractions only in dialogue? Or contractions in both dialogue and internal thoughts?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7

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

Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton:
 
 Goodreads Blurb: 

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.
To read more about Everbound run over to Goodreads and add it to your to-read list. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Editing Spreadsheet

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen a few tweets this past week where I mentioned an editing spreadsheet. Thing is I knew I needed to do a major revision on Barely There and I didn't want to spend the time aimlessly fixing this here, going back to fix that because of x, then doing another round of edits because issue y came up, and so on. Instead I wanted to make sure I had everything fleshed out before diving into those edits.

My solution to this issue was to create a spreadsheet where I could go over every chapter, character, plot lines, setting, and note what needs to be fixed. In order to do this I had to read through the entire manuscript, chapter by chapter. As I read the manuscript I used the spreadsheet to sort it all out.

This past weekend was all about reading that spreadsheet and going chapter by chapter through it to make sure that everything flowed seamlessly, that each chapter has a purpose, and to figure out if I have included everything that needs to be included. And I hope I caught it all, because I started working on the manuscript, with the help of the spreadsheet, yesterday. And ringers crossed I will have the revisions completed by early December so I can get it out to my Betas.

If you're wondering just what that spreadsheet looked like, here it is. 



Chapter #
Character
Emotion / Struggle / Plot Points
1
Character #1


Character #2


Setting


Weather


Plot Points


To Fix


Character Purpose


 
Your Turn -> Do you have certain methods you use to revise and edit? What methods work best for you?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Editing List

So, I've been editing this month and it has been taxing on my brain to say the least. Over the summer I showed my dad my "Editing Folder." Literally a manila folder I carry around when I edit. If I have a chapter or pages that I must print out to look at I will toss them in. That, however, is not its main purpose.

I write all kinds of notes to myself on it. What to look for, delete, and so on. My dad said I needed to take a picture of it in case I ever lose it. The horror of the idea of losing it nearly struck me dead. lol

I thought I would share those notes with you today and link to where I found most of them. Unfortunately, I didn't write down where I got some of the information from, so I don't have all the links.

I do a search when I have finished editing each chapter. Sometimes I am able to delete a word and fix the issue in one simple step. Other times I must reword the entire sentence. Occasionally I find deleting a sentence here or there makes the piece better.


Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Plot: (All from Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass) 
  • How could things get worse? 
  • When would be the worst moment for them to get worse? 
  • Public Stakes! 
  • Personal Stakes! 
  • Emotional danger
  • Choices (a) suffering & (b) sacrifice

Character: (From chriseboch.blogspot.com)
  • "Could I develop this character more, to make him or her more complicated?"
  • "How could this secondary character to be causing problems for my main character?"
  • "If the character is already causing problems, could they be even worse?"

Delete These Words: (These are my overused words, or implied words, or filler words I use often)

that, just, seem, like, really, feel, start, already, felt, very, still, up, down, over, but

Dialogue: 
  • Who is speaking? 
  • Do they sound convincing? 
  • Are they in character? 

Tension: (In each chapter)
  • Story tension? 
  • Romantic tension? 
  • Inner tension?
Words that can be axed!!! (Rachelle Gardner)

about, actually, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were


Passive Voice: (The Other Side of the Story - Janice Hardy - If you don't follow her, I highly recommend doing so.)

was, saw, heard, felt, knew, watched, decided, noticed, realized, wondered, thought, looked, is, am, are, were, has, have, had, being, been

Telling words: (The Other Side of the Story - Janice Hardy)

time (unless important), to see, to hear, could tell, to watch, to decide, to notice, to realize, to wonder, to think, to look,

Your Turn -> Do you have an editing list?
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #6

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


Boundless by Cynthia Hand:
Goodreads Blurb: 

The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

I'm completely enthralled with this trilogy and I can't wait to see what twists lay around the corner in this final book!

To read more about Unearthly Trilogy run over to Goodreads and add it to your to-read list.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy



As some of you may know I live on the Jersey Shore. A week ago everything turned upside down. It seems so long ago that I was at the grocery store doing my weekly shopping, although I have to admit I did a little more shopping than usual in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane was the topic of everyone’s conversations. And we were all hoping it was going to be like Hurricane Irene from last year, which turned out to be less than expected.

The Saturday night before the hurricane hit one of my Facebook friends who happens to be an arson detective posted that we really needed to get out and be proactive this time. His motivation to his Facebook friends? His knowledge that the state took before pictures of the shore! I saw that and went into freak out mode. I pulled everything into my shed from outside, took pictures of everything, and put my signed books in a plastic bin in the living room – no way were they getting water damage.

We found out the hard way that Hurricane Sandy was exactly what they expected and then some. In just over 24 hours everyone along the shore had their lives turned upside down. Within two days my daughter found out that eight of her friends had lost their homes and were now living in shelters. One of her old friends from Girl Scouts had two feet of water in her house. To say she’s devastated for her friends and the loss of the Seaside Boardwalk is an understatement. I’ve been fighting back tears for the past week.

Last Wednesday night my husband and I spoke to a man in passing. My husband asked where he lived to find out how bad things were there. He replied, “In a shelter now. My home’s gone. My whole town’s gone.”  My heart tore into pieces. While this man fought to save his island home he nearly lost his life. It was his neighbor who came back for him just after the hurricane passed and made him leave. He was sure that if his neighbor hadn’t he would have died. He lived in Ortley Beach which a complete disaster zone now.  

Over the weekend I poked through my daughter’s Facebook friends looking for one girl in particular. She was a good friend of my daughter’s. She lived on the island, one of the ones deemed unsafe for the residents to even return to check on their homes or get what’s left. I heard over the weekend that the infrastructure will not be safe enough for residents to return to begin fixing their houses for 6-8 months. In that time anything that would have been salvageable will be destroyed by mold. Her posts on Facebook have been very depressing and my heart is torn into pieces for her.

As of Saturday morning 70% (17,000+) residents of my township still did not have power. My street was a mangled mess. There were at least three different locations with downed power lines. We live on a dead end street and everything hinges on the downed poles, lines, and trees at the bus stop. The corner went through three stages by Saturday: a mangled mess to a cut down tree and pole still lying in the street to a taped off area with traffic cones. 
The mangled mess.

A sort of cleaned up mess.

We did alright, though. My in-laws had a generator that powers half their house at a time. We switched it from one area to another throughout the day. Depending on which area it was in we had internet. That’s when I checked Facebook and emails. It made life interesting for the kids. Also at my in-laws’ house are my husband’s brother, his wife, and their two young boys. It was a full house and tensions were strained, but we got through it. The knowledge of how much worse it could be kept us from complaining. 

We were half way blocked in at my in-laws. My husband’s parents have a flag shaped lot and a tree fell across the driveway on top of the power lines, making it impossible to get cars out. Luckily my brother-in-law and his wife parked their van in the garage of the house they are building and offered us the other spot. Their Hyundai was low enough to drive under the fallen tree to get out. Still my husband’s parents’ cars and my brother-in-law’s work van were blocked in. They couldn’t get out to get to work. We had three tree guys stop by and all told us they needed verification from the electric company that the lines are dead before they could cut the tree down. The power company wouldn’t send someone out at all until the tree was cut down. To make matters interesting there is a nor’easter headed our way this week.  
On the left is the empty lot my hubby & I own, my in-laws driveway w/tree, and the shed behind our house.

The tree that fell over the driveway barely missed our shed.
We have a tree leaning over our shed at the moment. I’m sure the nor’easter could cause the tree to fall and possibly take out our shed. I’m hoping it won’t. This nor’easter is causing panic around town. 
Our shed. No we didn't loose siding, we're still in the process of siding it.
The local high school just opened as a shelter in anticipation of more people losing their homes. Needless to say school will not be back in session this week. They are hoping to have everything back up and running for the kids to get back into a routine next Monday. Still, from reading posts my daughter’s friends have made on Facebook, they aren’t feeling the need to get back. They are more upset that they are expected to move on after all of the devastation they’ve seen. I see some serious therapy in the future for some of these kids – which kills me.  

I wrote the majority of this post on Saturday and then went back through to make edits for a great reason. We have POWER! Sunday morning power crews rolled onto our street and began working on the disaster of trees, lines, and pole at the bus stop. We were ecstatic and started hanging around the street watching, in anticipation.
The crews arrive.
That afternoon my father-in-law decided he needed to take care of the tree across the driveway. After grumbling over what to do, my husband, his dad, and my husband’s two younger brothers decided they would cut a new driveway through the empty lot my husband and I own on the other side of the driveway. It helps to have several lots in a row in one family, because it opens the options in times like these. About an hour later a crew pulled into the driveway to cut the tree down.   
My husband (in the middle) and his two brothers cutting another fallen tree to make a new driveway.
My mother-in-law said the crew was from Ohio & had just arrived that day at the Jersey Shore.
By the time it got dark the power crew was still hard at work up the street and still had not made it to our house. We began to think we would stay in the dark the rest of the night despite the promise the power crew had delivered to my brother-in-law that morning that we would have power before bedtime. Just before eight the power was restored and we went into celebration. My mother-in-law created a circle with all three of her grandsons and they began a chant, jumping around, about how we had power. All the lights in the house turned on and the boys were super happy.

About an hour later we drug all our bags that had made their way down to my in-laws back to our house. I turned up the heat and began unpacking everything. It almost felt too real to have the power on and I kept waiting for the power to go out again. I spent all day Monday getting the house back in order; sweeping, vacuuming, shopping to fill the fridge once again, and tons of laundry.
I didn’t write a word or edit a page since this storm hit. Instead I’ve been nose deep in books. I needed the escape. Without it I’ve been a mess worried and hurting for those around me that have lost everything. I am hoping to get back to my regular routine soon. In the meantime I am hoping that everyone stays safe and warm.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spooktacular Winner

I hope this post finds everyone safe in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I'm keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers.

On a happier note we have a WINNER in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, Wendy Railey!! Congratulations, Wendy!! I have send an email to you.

I know in the original post I said the winner had 48 hours to respond. However, in the wake of all of the devastation so close to my own home I'm extending it an extra 48 hours. Since we don't have power, well limited power with my in-law's generator, I want to make sure Wendy has the chance to get power and respond.

Congrats Wendy!!


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October Progress Report

This month was jam packed! It started off with a bang thanks to Banned Books Week. Then I added to it with a workshop. Sprinkle in editing, reading, and house cleaning.

Writing
October was all about editing Barely There. And I mean some serious editing. I found myself editing entire chapters, ones that didn't forward the story. I ended up adding in more romantic tension between Phoebe and Fin. Something I know a few of my critique partners were dying for! To do this I worked on a spreadsheet that I created while editing Midnight Raynne last year. I realized it's the best way for me to edit. It allows me to see the big picture and make sure I stay focused on what each chapter needs to do. (I'll be doing a post on this in November.)

I also took part in The 1st Five Pages Workshop over at Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing blog. I definitely learned a lot and had fun with this workshop. If you get around to it, try it out. And be sure to let me know so I can cheer you on and comment.

Goals For November
I would like to have Barely There ready for another round of beta reading by late November. That would allow me to have it out by the end of December for query. I already have my top five list to send it out to. I'm also already working on my synopsis & query letter.

Read:
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire  (Soooo Good!)
Hana by Lauren Oliver
Foretold (Anthology) edited by Carrie Ryan
The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter 
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (If you grew up loving fairy tales then you must read this one.)
How to Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings by Laura Pauling (Loved it! - Stay tuned for more on this one in December right here on my blog.) 

Books Purchased:
Endlessly by Kiersten White
The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus: A Writing Study by Sam Stone
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland
Hana by Lauren Oliver
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
On Haunted Ground by Lisa Rogers
Red by Kait Nolan

Your Turn -> Was your October productive?