Wednesday, January 15, 2014

COVER REVEAL: The Devil's Temptation by Toni De Palma

The Devil's Triangle by Toni De Palma
Published by: Crescent Moon Press 
Release Date: March 14, 2014 

Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Stay up to date on everything Toni De Palma! 

Toni De Palma was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a child she spent many summers in Ischia, the Italian island where her father was brought up. Her first middle grade novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was published in 2007 and selected as a Kirkus New Voices Pick and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Her second middle grade novel, Jeremy Owl, was published in 2010. Her third book, The Devil’s Triangle, A YA paranormal is getting rave reviews. The sequel, The Devil's Temptation releases. Toni holds her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and she is a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship. She currently resides in New Jersey.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Series vs. Stand Alone

If you read my posts each month about the releases I'm excited for you may have noticed that I tend to be excited for books that I still have to read the prequels for. I have learned over the years that I like to read a series straight through. This is because I have a tendency to forget things that happen and have a hard time remembering what a character is referring to in a sequel. Not that I don't read books as soon as they come out and then have to wait a year for the next book and then another year for the final book. I do that a lot, too. I like to read both stand alone novels and series novels the same.

But marketing them as an unpublished writer is near impossible. The advice I've heard over and over is to write a stand alone novel and try to get an agent or a publishing contract off of that first. Great advice, but I tend to think along the lines of writing a series. Not so great with the advice given to me. I need to put on the brakes and find a good stopping point. One that will leave a reader satisfied.

This past weekend I heard that same advice yet again. Only this time the way it actually dug itself into my brain enough that I was able to realize problems within some of my current manuscripts.

I've been trying to get an agent or publisher for both Barely There and Midnight Raynne. Barely There is definitely a stand alone, but does have the potential for a series if it actually makes it in this tough world of publishing. Midnight Raynne, on the other hand, is not a stand alone and was never intended to be one. Huge problem on my part. I should have reassessed it a long time ago and worked it into a stand alone, instead of writing a crappy first draft of the sequel that will probably never see the light of day to begin with anyhow. But, somehow this time the advice really stuck with me. Within hours I had a completely new ending for both Midnight Raynne and the untitled manuscript I have been revising this month. The untitled one was also created with hopes it would be a series.

I was on a roll Saturday reworking what needed to be done in order to alter the endings. As a result I have a new found take on both manuscripts. I feel they are stronger as a result of the rewrites to take place. While I wrote out my plans for the new endings Saturday I still have to actually write them. For Midnight Raynne I need to rewrite the entire ending, which will alter the final two chapters and probably add on a couple more. For the untitled one I was already planning a rewrite on the ending, but now it's just going to be a little different. Not much of a change in my current plans for editing that one.


I feel like some of the stress of wondering if I have the right ending for the first book in a series has been lifted. They're no longer series, they're no longer stressful. Now they have a set ending, just as Barely There does. I now see why I didn't stress over the ending of that one as much as the other two. And honestly turning them into stand alone manuscripts has not completely killed the possibility of turning them into series if I'm lucky enough to get a publisher who wants to do that. 

What are your thoughts on working stand alone or series books?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Don't Compare!

I've heard this on multiple occasions -> Don't compare your writing to the writing of others.

I did this last month. It was bad. It was a mistake. I won't be doing it again.

So what happened you ask? Well, I had previously edited the first few chapters of a current WIP. I liked the new chapters. I thought they were great edits. Then I went on a reading binge and compared my current WIP to those I was reading. This cannot, and did not, lead to anything good.

I ended up editing the first chapter over. I had decided based on several of these other books, that I was not approaching the first chapter correctly. I spent two days pouring over this one chapter trying to figure out what to cut out, what to add on to, and what to keep.

I then sent both versions to a couple of very trusted readers. It was unanimous. They didn't like the re-edited version. But they loved the original edit. In the end second guessing my work based on the work of others was a very bad thing. It took two days away from editing further chapters. Yet at the same time it helped me learn two very good lessons. Stop second guessing myself and don't compare my work to that of others.

Problems with comparing your work to that of others:

1) They are completely different stories. Unless you're writing the exactly same book, which is pointless, they aren't going to be the same. They can't be compared. 

2) The voice in all of the stories is different. Very very different. The circumstances of your character's existences different. Their whole story is different. Trying to change the voice of your story based on another author's is very, very bad for the story.

3) The pacing can't even be compared. It all comes back to the stories themselves. They are all different!

So trust me when I say this, don't compare your writing to that of others. Trust your instincts and don't second guess yourself.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Top Twelve Most Anticipated Debut Author Releases of 2014

Every year in addition to books being released from authors I am currently reading or love I try to create a list of debut author books. Here are the top twelve I'm most excited about releasing this year. Again, with another twelve instead of ten. I couldn't choose just ten. Some of them have yet to reveal their covers, so not all are added. They are also in order of release date.


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
Release Date: March 4, 2014 
Goodreads Blurb:
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.


Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Goodreads Blurb: 
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.


Sekret by Lindsey Smith
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
From debut author Lindsay Smith comes an espionage thriller with a dash of both history and dystopia.

Yulia’s father always taught her that an empty mind is a safe mind. She has to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia, especially because she seems to be able to read the minds of the people she touches. When she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power where she can trust no one.

She certainly can’t trust Rostov, the cruel KGB operative running the psychic program. Or handsome Sergei who encourages her to cooperate with the KGB. Or brooding Valentin who tells her to rebel against them. And not the CIA, who have a psychic so powerful he can erase a person’s mind with his own thoughts. Yulia quickly learns she must rely on her own wits and power to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.


Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.


Library Jumpers by Brenda Drake
Release Date: April 2014 
Goodreads Blurb: 
A sixteen-year-old finds that a simple flip of the page can transport her to the library of her choosing, thus thrusting her into a Mystik world hidden amongst the pages of library books, where evil abounds, secrets unfold, and mortals are running out of time.

End Times by Anna Schumacher
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
Carbon County, Wyoming is like a current running through Daphne’s heart.

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.
            
Daphne landed in Carbon County for a reason. She only has to read the signs—and believe.


The Murder Complex by Lindsey Cummings
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.


Glimpse by Kendra Leighton
Release Date: June 19, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
Liz only wants to be normal.

Seven years ago Liz was in a car accident which killed her mother and left her with no memory of the first ten years of her life. Since then nothing has felt quite right: on top of the perpetual nightmares, she keeps catching glimpses of things, things that can't really be there, that no-one else can see.

When she inherits the famous Highwayman Inn from her grandfather, and moves to live there with her dad, she is convinced it will be a fresh start: but if anything, life at the Inn is stranger than ever. The sinister caretaker and his creepy son seem to be watching her constantly . . . A boy called Zachary keeps haunting her . . . And out of the pitch-black night, the Highwayman comes riding.

Inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem 'The Highwayman', Glimpse is a ghost story, a love story, and a story of overcoming trauma.


(No cover)

Falls the Shadow by Stephanie Gaither
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Goodreads Blurb:
When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died.

Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet’s replacement, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to grant their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

Or at least, that’s what the paparazzi and crazy anti-cloning protesters want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She’s used to standing up for her sister too, and she’s determined to prove her innocence now—at whatever the cost. But the deeper she digs for the truth, the further Cate's carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, unveiling a world filled with copies and lies, where nothing and no one—not even her sister— is completely what they seem.

In a pulse pounding debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?


(No Cover)
Beholden by Martina Boone
Release Date: 2014  
Goodreads Blurb:
Three plantations. Two gifts. One curse that will destroy them.

Seventeen-year-old Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her disabled, shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie’s godfather makes her promise to put some mileage on her fabulously high-heeled shoes, but at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation, Barrie finds a new kind of prison instead. A prison guarded by a lane of moss-shrouded oaks and an ancient spirit who, long ago, cursed one of the three founding families and gave the other two magical gifts that became compulsions.

For 300 years, the Watsons of Watson’s Landing have been bound to their plantation and forced to find lost things. Now Barrie may never be allowed to leave. Stuck on Watson Island with the ghosts of a generations-old feud between the founding families, and hunted by forces she doesn’t see, Barrie has only one chance to save herself. She must solve the mystery of what happened on the island the night her mother left, She must also learn how her mother escaped.

With the help of sunlit Eight Beaufort, the boy who always knows what she wants even when Barrie doesn’t know herself, she follows a trail of clues. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


What debut author books are you excited to read in 2014?  
And if you want to see more debut author books I'd like to read this year check out my 2014 DA list on Goodreads. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

COVER REVEAL: A Whisper in Time by Elizabeth Langston

Book Blurb:
“I have never been useless in my life…”

Rescued from a life of servitude by the boy she loves, Susanna Marsh escapes across two centuries, only to be plunged into a world she’s ill-prepared to face. Unable to work or go to school, Susanna finds herself dependent on others to survive.   

Immersed in the fun and demands of his senior year of high school, Mark Lewis longs to share his world with the girl who’s captured his heart. But first he must tackle government bureaucracy to prove Susanna’s identity.

Overwhelmed by her new home, Susanna seeks refuge in history and in news of the people she left behind. But when she learns that danger stalks her sister, Susanna must weigh whether to risk her own future in order to save Phoebe’s happiness.

Links:

Book Information:
Paperback: 360 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2014 by Spencer Hill Press
ISBN: 1937053814

Author Bio:
Elizabeth Langston lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two teen-ish daughters and one husband (a geek like her). When she's not writing software or stories, Elizabeth loves to travel with her family, watch dance reality TV shows, and dream about which restaurant ought to get their business that night.

Elizabeth's debut novel WHISPER FALLS released in November 2013. Its sequels, A WHISPER IN TIME and WHISPERS FROM THE PAST, release in 2014. Learn more about her at http://www.elizabethLangston.net.

Author Links: