Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 2013 Releases

May brings a whole new stack of releases that is going to break me. lol There are so many this month that I really want to read. And among them are three DAC books. Yippee! Luckily for me, the next few months slow down in the releases I'm excited for. I may be able to catch up on this month's releases, maybe, possibly, by the December. :-P

Slated by Teri Terry (5/3/13) 
Why -> This owe looks really interesting. Kyla's had her memory erased, lost her personality, and she's being told she's was a terrorist who is being given a second chance. However, her past is breaking through to her and the pieces are not adding up. The first DAC book of this month.

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (5/7/13) 
Why -> Seriously how can it really be over? This is the final installment in the Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire novels and I am so going to miss Sookie. At least I can still watch True Blood. lol As I write this post I have the previous book, Deadlocked, from the library sitting on my shelf. So, honestly I have yet to read the blurb for this one. Not that I need to read the blurb to know whether I will want to read it or not. I've read the previous 11 books in the series. Of course I'm going to want to read the 13th and final book, once I finish reading book 12.

Mystic (Soul Seekers #3) by Alyson Noel (5/7/13)
Why -> I love Alyson Noel's writing. No, I haven't read the first two books in this series yet, so I have yet to read the blurb. I do, however, have the first two books on my bookshelf waiting. Once the final book is released later this year I will read all four back to back. Is it October yet? lol

Reboot by Amy Tintera (5/7/13) 
Why -> This is one of those DAC books that has had me drooling for its release. The main character, Wren, is a reboot. A young girl who died and came back as the perfect soldier for the Republic of Texas. And now she's training new reboots. This looks so good, like a dystopian sci-fi. I can't wait to read this one.

Icons by Margaret Stohl (5/7/13) 
Why -> This is the first solo book for Margaret Stohl and it looks so amazing. Humans lost a war for Earth in one day, a war they had no clue they faced. But a few have survived. Dol is one of them, and now she is forced to learn why she's different. Why she didn't drop dead with the rest of humanity on The Day? 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (5/7/13) 
Why -> This is another end of humanity book that looks super good. Being alone is the only way to survive in a world where you can't trust Them, the ones who aren't human but look it. Yup, this looks really good.

If I Should Die (Revenants #3) by Amy Plum (5/7/13)
Why -> OMG I loved the first two books in this series. And with the way the second one left off, I can't wait to get my hands on this final installment. I need to know what happens to Vincent and Kate. I also still have to read the novella that comes just before this one, Die for Her, told from Jules' POV. I'm really looking forward to this one!  

Inferno by Dan Brown (5/14/13) 
Why-> Years and years ago my dad mentioned this book, The DaVinci Code. I read it and loved it. after reading it my dad mentioned there was a book before it, Angels and Demons, so I read that one and was only more intrigued. I truly love these conspiracy theory, mystery, fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, can't-put-down books. Especially since the protagonist, Robert Langdon, is so average, aside from his knowledge. He could be anyone, and that is what makes him such a great protag to follow. So, yet again, I will rush out and get this forth book, drop everything, and read it.

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins (5/14/13) 
Why -> I love magic is books. The first manuscript I wrote has magic in it, and it's still unfinished. This book only shows how much of a book buying obsession I have, and how I seriously need more time to read. lol This is a spin-off series from the Hex Hall trilogy, of which all three books are sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read. Once I read those, I will read this one. Either way, I can't wait to get my fix of magic in this book.

Transparent by Natalie Whipple (5/21/13) 
Why -> I've been following Natalie Whipple's blog for a while now, so naturally I am very interested in reading her debut. Not to mention the fact that the protagonist is actually invisible! Forced to do her father's illegal dirty work leads to Fiona and her mother fleeing. But her father isn't giving up on getting her back.

What are you looking forward to releasing in May? What books did I miss?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inciting Incident Questions

As I review my latest WIP and try to rework the original outline for the upcoming rewrite I find myself pondering my inciting incident. What really gets this story moving and upends my protagonists life.

Honestly when I wrote the story there was a different story line and it was set in a different world than I now want it to go in. As a result I have found that my original inciting incident is not working. It is not sitting well with me and feels as if it is lacking in some fashion.

So, I have been toying with a couple of other ideas as for what the incident should be. I have also come to find that I have several questions I feel I must answer with regards to this new inciting incident. I want to make sure it works, and is without major issues. I do not want to have to rework this again.

My questions:
  1. Does the inciting incident upend my protag's life in a major way? 
  2. What were her goals previously in life? 
  3. What does she need to do now to restore balance to her life? 
  4. How does she feel about this? 
  5. What is her conscious goal? 
  6. What is her unconscious goal? 
What do you ask yourself when you are working out your inciting incident?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Favorite Reads - 1st Quarter

I've been reading a lot this year so far. And I mean a ton. A little over three months into the year and I'm nearly to my goal for the entire year. I think I'm going to have to up that goal, soon. So many of the books I've read have been fantastic, so I decided I would do a little post to highlight some of them.

In the first three months of this year I've read twenty-four books and five novellas. Yikes! For me, that's a lot. I tried to keep my list to only ten favorites and ended up settling on eleven. Honestly I've read so many good books this year already.

So here are my favorites from that time period:

The Dead and the Buried by Kim Harrington - Totally amazing ghost story and mystery. LOVED it! She does the mystery genre so well she makes me want to write mystery, but I'm not that talented at it. If you like ghost stories and mysteries, read this one. 

Altered by Jennifer Rush - OMG! This was so AH-Mazing! If you haven't read it, you seriously need to. Great debut!

Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi - I'm beyond obsessed with this series. I can't wait for the third book to release next year. And if you haven't read the short story, Roar and Liv, you need to as well. Love Roar! He's such an awesome secondary character.

Mirage by Kristi Cook - Oh, love me some vampire and paranormal fix. Loved this book and the ending, AHHHH I can't wait for Eternal to come out later this year. Seriously can't wait to see what happens! 

Boundless by Cynthia Hand - The final book in the Unearthly trilogy. So freaking good! I loved the ending, bitter sweet, I guess you could say. It ended the only way it really could, and should have. Totally loved Clara, Tucker, and Christian again.

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis - OMG! Another beyond amazing book. If you haven't read the Across the Universe trilogy yet, YOU MUST. If only to get to this book and read it. Seriously read it! You'll understand.

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray - So freaking good! I loved this book and the twists and turns and characters. Oh, so good. I can't wait for the next two books to find out what happens. Such a great series and world that she has created with this one.

The Infernal Devices trilogy: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, & Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. OOOOOHHHHHH the love of these characters and their world. I seriously love Cassandra's books. And now I find out there are two other trilogies she has planned in the shadow hunter realm. I. Can't. Wait!

What are your favorite reads so far this year?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Coffee and Cockpits: Happy Release Day

Happy Release Day!!!! 

 Coffee and Cockpits 

Blurb on Goodreads:
“If I had to die, I wanted it to be doing something I loved, with a man who wanted to fly me to the moon.”

By day, Nina Poppins is a professional flight attendant, who lives to travel, and isn’t afraid to chase her dreams. By night, she’s an award winning salsa dancer who wears sexy corsets and garter belts. She wants to keep her two lives separate, but Liam Mikin knows her secrets.

Liam Mikin is a co-pilot used to getting any air-hostess he wants with one blazing look of his blue eyes. And he wants Nina. But Nina is adamant she won’t end up as another notch on a pilot’s wingtip.

However, fate intervenes when their airplane malfunctions on a routine flight to Samoa, stranding all the crew on the Pacific island. Liam has his opportunity to prove to Nina he’s not what she thinks, but he wasn’t counting on competition in the form of an engineer. Nikolai Rivers dances as well as Nina and is linked to Liam’s past. As Nikolai fights for Nina’s affections, Liam is forced to face what happened all those years ago.

Being island-wrecked in a five star hotel is anything but relaxing. Fraught with male egos, dancing, and secrets, both Nina and Liam aren’t ready for what fate has in store.

I'm halfway through and I'm loving it! :-) If you enjoy dancing, air planes, and new adult, this is for you!!

You can find Jade here:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taking Risks

As I mentioned last week I'm currently reading a bunch of writing craft books. So far I've completed Story by Robert McKee and I'm in the midst of reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. One thing I noticed quickly was that both of McKee and Maass agree on piling on the risk, or stakes. No matter what you call it, it adds a whole new level to our stories.

McKee gives three questions to ask when working with risk:
  1. What is the risk? 
  2. What does the protagonist stand to lose if he does not get what he wants? 
  3. What's the worst thing that will happen to the protagonist if he does not achieve his desire? 

Maass gives three others when looking at stakes:
  1. So what? (In other words why does it matter?) 
  2. How can this matter more? 
  3. How could things get worse? 

I created a worksheet for myself to use while I work out my revision outline next month. And it's a mixture of both sets of questions.

  1. What is the risk? -> First I want to identify the risk. 
  2. What could my protag lose? -> There has to be something to lose. 
  3. So what? -> Why does it matter if my protag doesn't get what he/she wants? If it doesn't matter, then it's not a great enough risk. 
  4. What the worst thing that could happen to my protag? -> This is what needs to happen to raise the risks/stakes. 
I have yet to put this into play, but I'm shooting for next month being my month of outlining this project and raising the stakes throughout it.

How do you raise the stakes? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Sort of Break

I'm on a sort of break. It's a break from writing, but not really. Confused?

Let me explain. Since finishing Barely There I have decided not to dive right into my next project. I decided I want to really study up. This next project I'm going to tackle was my NaNo 2011 project. It is still untitled and needs to be rewritten. I've come to the realization that the world in which my characters should reside is not the one I've placed them in as of the rough draft. This will take some major rewriting. Major.

But, before I jump knee deep in those rewrites I thought I would finish reading some important books. Books that will help me bring this new project to the next level. So, for the past week instead of writing or editing I've been reading, highlighting, and taking notes. This may take some time yet to get through. I'm thinking it may be a while before I get to the actual rewriting especially with it being spring (finally), my house needing a major cleaning, and my studying up on writing.

So what am I reading?

Well, yesterday I finished Story by Robert McKee. It's actually for screenwriting, but has a lot of information that is more than relevant to writing. Mostly in the plotting and characterization. Personally I thought this was a great book! If you have the chance to read it, do. It's a large book that seems a bit daunting, but well worth the time and effort to get through it.

Aside from Story I also plan on reading the following books during my writing "break":
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass
Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole
Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron (My NaNo 2013 will be a mystery!)

Do you have any books on writing that you absolutely love?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I've been tagged!

I was tagged for The Next Big Thing! Thank you Carissa Taylor!!!! :-)

Unfortunately as soon as I was tagged I ended up sick, then my modem and router died, and finally a busy schedule got in the way, so this is a bit late. But better late than never! I love things like this. So much fun to talk about our manuscripts. 

I decided to answer the questions based on Barely There which I'm going to start querying in the next week or so. (I have to finish polishing those query letters first.) 

1) What is the working title of your book? 

The working title has always been Barely There. I can't remember exactly when I got the idea that it would be called that, but I know it was fairly soon after I came up with the idea. 

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 

The idea came from Phoebe, the main character. She sort of just appeared in my head claiming she'd been killed and suddenly it was up to me to figure out the how, what, and why. It took me a while and all three of those questions changed a few times before I settled on the right combination. 

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Barely There is a young adult paranormal. 

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Oh, this is one of the first things I do when I outline my manuscripts. I come up with the characters while I'm outlining and I make up characters sheets. Then I poke around on IMDb for actors and actresses that most resemble the characters in  my mind. It makes it easy when visualizing and describing them. So here is the main cast and the links are to their profiles on IMDb.

Phoebe -> Danielle Campbell
Finley -> Sterling Knight
Addison -> Stefanie Scott
Pat Jr. -> Blake Michael
Josh -> Chris Brochu

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

After learning her afterlife might not be what she hoped and her death wasn't accidental after all, seventeen-year-old Phoebe Price turns down her only chance to crossover to stop her killer - leaving her an earthbound ghost. 

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

I would love to have an agent represent this one, but I also am not opposed to going the indie-publishing route either. I highly doubt I'll do the self-publishing route. Everything that goes into that scares me half to death. There's just so much I don't understand about formatting to the point that my nerves go berserk just thinking about going that route. 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

Ah, this is a trick question. Which first draft? lol Okay, so I started writing this at end October of 2010. Then I suddenly decided to do NaNoWriMo that year and did a different story leaving this one with only a few chapters written. I returned to it in January of 2011, but then I ended up hurting my hand and was in a partial cast for weeks. No writing for a while. I picked it back up that summer, but hit a road block with the plot around the seventh chapter. I was attempting to write the pantser way. In September of 2011 I trashed everything I had previously written and outlined the heck out of the story, and changed how Phoebe was killed and who killed her. That October I wrote the entire first draft (based on the new outline) NaNo style. It took me a little over three weeks to have it completed. Once I had a solid outline the story flowed nicely.

8) What other books would you compare this story to in your genre? 

That's a great question. I'm not exactly sure which books I would compare it to. I don't really read many stories with ghosts in them. I really do like Kim Harrington's The Dead and the Buried. But Barely There isn't as much of a mystery and the ghost is the protagonist. 

9) What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 

Phoebe was relentlessly tormented by one girl since Kindergarten, and she's the only one who can see Phoebe as a ghost. So the tormented becomes the tormentor for a little. I had a lot of fun writing that part.

I also thought I would add a few pictures from my trip to San Angelo, Texas where this story takes place.

This is the Concho River from the Visitor's Center. 
This is Fort Concho where Phoebe and Fin make their home.

This is a view of the Visitor's Center from the river side.

Now for the tagging! I decided to go with some of my lovely critique partners this time around.

Christine Attardo 
Archana Bharathan 
Kimberly Ann Miller 
Toni De Palma 

Here are the questions! 
What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2013 Releases

Oh the books releasing this month! So many good ones and I'm still catching up on books from the last several months, but eventually I'll get to all of these as well.

The Collector (Dante #1) by Victoria Scott (4/2/13)
Why -> Seriously, what's not to like about this one? Dante's a soul collector. One last soul to collect and he gets his ticket out of Hell. But this last collection will test him as a collector and his emotions. This is also another book from my 2013 DAC list, which I'm very behind in reading.

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire (4/2/13) 
Why -> If you have not yet read Beautiful Disaster you must read it now. And then grab this one, it's from Travis's perspective. I can't wait to read this. I was so glued to the pages during the first book. I'm excited to see how Travis saw things when he met Abby.

Die For Her (Die For Me #2.5) by Amy Plum (4/2/13)
Why -> I love this trilogy! I can't believe where she left off after the second book, Until I Die. While I wait for the third and final book, Should I Die, I will make do by reading this novella from Jules' perspective. I am excited to finally see what it's like for him. After all he's fallen in love with his best friend's girlfriend. And I definitely don't want to give away what happened at the end of book 2, but that only makes this more interesting to me. 

Dead River by Cyn Balog (4/9/13) 
Why -> I'm not too big on thrillers, but something about this one is just screaming at me to read. Prom weekend, a remote cabin, a river named The Dead River, and they aren't alone. Spooky!

Dead Silence (Body Finder #4) by Kimberly Derting (4/16/13)
Why -> This is the final book in the Body Finder Series and I have yet to read book 3, The Last Echo. So no I haven't read the blurb for this one, don't want to spoil book 3. But, I loved the first two books in this amazing series. I love Violet and her ability to sense where dead bodies are is very creepy, but interesting at the same time. I have both on order at the library and hope to have them read by the end of the month.

Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman (4/16/13)
Why -> Um, this sounds so good. In a town where there are no men and boys are taken on their eighteenth birthday the only option is to be taken or risk everything and climb the wall to the outside. I can't wait to read this one, plus it's one of the books on my 2013 DAC list.

The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass (4/23/13) 
Why -> I really enjoyed the first book, The Selection, and I loved Prince Maxon in it. I can't wait to see how America works her way through being in the elite group of girls vying for his heart. I'll admit it now, I didn't like Aspen much in the first book. So I'm not sure how I will feel about him in this second installment. I guess we'll see.

Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins (4/30/13) 
Why -> Honestly I haven't read the first book yet, Sweet Evil. It's patienty waiting for me to get through this pile of library books and to turn my attention to my Kindle books. But I heard such great things about the first book that I'm positive I'll want to read this one as well. So it's on my list of books to read this month, I just need to read the first book. Oh, and the cover - swoon. I love great covers.

Tell me what books you are excited about releasing this month that I missed in my list.