Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review of ASHFALL

I know, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever do anything besides reviews and giveaways, too. Not that it's bad, yeah? But thou shalt not be a one trick pony...eventually. Truth is, I'm barely even managing reviews at the moment. My family and all their needs are a full time job. Like for real. But in addition to that and to some volunteer obligations, I'm also working on preparation for a medical mission trip I'm taking to Haiti in January, organizing paperwork and meetings and emails and the like, but also starting up a fundraising campaign as well as trying to convince people to donate medication to take with me. It's all good work, worth every minute, but it saps me of energy and my time. What little I've got left I've had to devote to my writing. Or mindless television. Eh, you know how it is. (Remind me to write that post on Terra Nova. Seriously. Gawd.)

So, I'm glad to see you stop by when you do. I've got several non-review blog posts written (in my head). I'll try to get them posted soon. I promise I'll make them as controversial as possible. Or maybe just add naked people. Or something.

Be sure to check out the giveaway below the review and the other Bookanista reviews.

P.S. As always, thank you.



ASHFALL by Mike Mullin
Ashfall
Summary: Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.


Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.


MY REVIEW
I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic-y stories lately, so I went into ASHFALL wondering how it might be different from all the rest. And here's what I concluded: Holy crap. ASHFALL is somehow one part terrifying and one part hope. And really, it's that hope that sets it apart. For starters.

Okay, so for the terrifying--as far as world-altering catastrophes go, this story is totally possible. We're not talking an outbreak of a disease that will eventually run its course after killing off a large sector of the population (or a disease that turns people in crazed, cannibalistic zombies), or cyborgs that take over the world, or some mind-altering drug that heightens the intelligence of apes and turns them against humans. While all these make for super cool stories, there's always the knowledge that these scenarios aren't that possible (or if they are, they're likely not permanent). But a supervolcano eruption? In our lifetime? Totally feasible and totally world changing. It's this knowledge that underscores every page.

There's also the genuine way in which the story is told. Thought it's not present in an in-your-face sort of way, I can imagine serious research went into the writing of ASHFALL. Science and psychology play a large role, from the way in which the eruption affects the landscape to the ingenious McGyver-y methods employed by characters for overcoming hurdles, as well as the human reactions to catastrophe. Alex, the mc, faces some really dark times in this, as you might imagine when food and supplies are scarce. This story is a fresh, realistic depiction of what happens when governments collapse and survival is threatened. Alex faces danger far beyond starvation, and is forced to mature very quickly.

But there's hope, too, and this is what I found particularly refreshing about this story. While some truly horrendous things do happen, we also see some of the best sides of human nature. See, catastrophe doesn't bring out ONLY the worst in people. I'm so happy to see a book illustrate how amazing humans can be in the face of tragedy and despair. And in the midst of it all, there's love, too. A bit of romance, but from a male POV, which is awesome. And he's not some hunky stud of a male either, but a geeky 15-16 year old in the height of adolescent splendor (*cough*). This too is treated genuinely, so, yah, there's some awkwardness and blushing. Great fun, I tell you. ASHFALL is at times quite grim, packed with heart pounding action, but there's humor too and moments of respite. It's a book you won't be able to put down.

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Up for grabs today (click on book covers for summary in a new window:

Ashfall
 Signed ARC of ASHFALL
by Mike Mullin







Without Tess
 ARC of WITHOUT TESS
by Marcella Pixley







Unforsaken ARC OF UNFORSAKEN
by Sophie Littlefield







TrisandIzzie
 Signed ARC of TRIS AND IZZIE
by Mette Ivie Harrison







This giveaway is international and ends Monday, October 3, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.

Click Here to enter the 4 ARC International Giveaway


Thanks for entering!


THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CLOSED


Here are the winners:


Signed ARC of ASHFALL
Mary D.

ARC of WITHOUT TESS
Julie W.

ARC of UNFORSAKEN
Kristin L.

ARC of TRIS & IZZIE
Roselyn C.



Congratulations on your win! Please email me an address to which I can ship your book. Huge thank you to all who entered! If you haven't done so yet, be sure to enter to win Signed Jay Asher books (an ARC of THE FUTURE OF US and THIRTEEN REASONS WHY).

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Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting:

Bookanistas_logo
Elana Johnson interviews Elle Strauss, author of Clockwise
LiLa Roecker discusses S R Johannes' e-book experiment
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The White Assassin - with giveaway
Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Lola & the Boy Next Door – with giveaway
Beth Revis delights in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells falls for Fracture
Carolina M Valdez adores Ashfall – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Shana Silver steps up to Audition
Corrine Jackson is crazy about Cracked
Stasia Ward Kehoe swoons for Swan and To Dance

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review of THE NAME OF THE STAR and Winners

THE NAME OF THE STAR
by Maureen Johnson


(Click on the book cover for summary in a new window)

The Name of the Star
My Review:

In THE NAME OF THE STAR, I probably chose the least representative of all of Maureen Johnson’s books to read first. From what I hear, she’s generally an all-the-way contemporary fiction writer, except THE NAME OF THE STAR is not exactly all the way contemp. Still, after reading this book, I’m so in love with Maureen Johnson’s voice that I’m pretty sure I’ll read everything she’s ever written and everything she’ll ever write, if only to try to find another book as hookish as that one. And by hookish, I do not mean prostitutish. Obviously.

So you know, although it’s the very first thing that snags my undying loyalty, it’s not just the voice in TNOTS that hooks me. There’s also the sheer cleverness of the story, seamlessly blending a historical event with supernatural fiction—not to mention the beautiful wit of its narrator. All the pieces just sort of fall into place, you know? There’s never any stretching or twisting or not-so-subtle patching to make the story work. It’s just, I don’t know, fluid I guess, merging past with present—and creepy. Because there’s that. It’s not a story to read to the little ones, even if you had a mind to read to them a modern-day Jack the Ripper story. I read right before bed and ended up sleeping with my closet light on. It would be impossible to tell you why without giving the plot away, but trust me—there’s an element of creepy-scary-awesome in this that glues you to the book. It raises a what-if that is terrifying to contemplate. You can’t help but think about what it would be like if that really were possible. Really, it’s only the best books that drive you to this level of thought and then keep you thinking it. All. night. long. Pretty cool, actually.

Aside from the fear factor, (which honestly, is not prohibitively prominent), there are two other major elements which really carry the story. Okay, yes, the voice (there’s always that, but it hardly counts as a mere element—that’s more like the whole periodic table), but:

1. The humor—carries much of the story. The thing is there are parts that are creepy. And sad. And surprising. But there’s almost always some humor. A feel of lightness, really, which should not be mistaken for a voice that takes the story too lightly. It’s merely a different approach that keeps the story from being overwhelmingly dark. It feels more accessible to a larger audience.

2. Authenticity—Johnson just nails teen behavior, from voice to actions to snogging, well enough that if I hadn’t met her, I’d wonder if she weren’t a teenager with a super wise brain. There’s a clear level of maturity in this, evident in the character arc (namely, Rory's progression of thought), but the choices, actions, and thoughts of the characters remain perfectly, gloriously teen from beginning to end.

3. Setting—I forgot to say three. There are three major elements in addition to the fear factor which really raise the bar for all YA. The story of TNOTS takes place entirely in London, with mentions of Louisiana as that’s where Rory is from. While I can’t speak for the authenticity of the Louisiana backstory (although it felt vivid), as I’ve only been to New Orleans for a very short time, the London setting feels alive and genuine, at least as far as an American encountering it firsthand might experience it (I lived in England for a couple of years, and it definitely sparked a number of memories for me). Indeed, the setting itself begins to feel like a separate character with its own personality full of quirks and misbehaviors. Thankfully, Johnson doesn’t load the dialogue with phonetically spelled dialect or bog it down with difficult to understand speech/slang for Americans/non-British, even with characters that have thick London dialects, but the richness of the language and the city comes through regardless. TNOTS is a transportive experience, taking you out of your comfy spot on your recliner and dropping you into the middle of a boarding sixth form in London.

I haven’t mentioned the creativity in this story, although perhaps that goes without saying. But truly, I was really surprised by TNOTS. It’s pretty unpredictable, but not in that unpredictable-because-there-aren’t-any-hints-all-along kind of way. It’s just well done, a proper mystery with a splash of supernatural thriller. And romance—oh the lovely romance (remember the snogging I mentioned? Plenty of that, which goes back to that authentic teen element I mentioned). And of course, drama and cozy friendship and adolescent shenanigans that make adults so jealous because it’s lame to do those things once you grow back hair. THE NAME OF THE STAR is a perfect combination of clever, quirky-dry funny and dark--and in every way memorable.

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My giveaways for GLOW and Maureen Johnson books have now closed. Here are the winners:

ARC of GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Lisa H.


Signed ARC of THE NAME OF THE STAR
Liza (the one who entered without a last name)


Signed DEVILISH
Stephanie A.


Signed THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE
Sharon M.

Congratulations, winners! Please email me an address to which I can send your book. Thank you so much to all who entered and for supporting my blog! Please stay tuned for the next giveaway, coming soon!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Giveaway of Signed Maureen Johnson Books (including ARC)

Yeah. Another giveaway. I've actually been hanging on to these for a while. I got new bookcases recently and shelved all the books I'd been keeping in dumb piles on the floor and on my dining room table and on my nightstand and on my mini fridge and in boxes and on a wicker chair and also in my daughter's bedroom. So anyway, once I shelved them I promptly forgot about them. So, today I went browsing through the shelves and started reading Maureen Johnson's newest book THE NAME OF THE STAR. I should probably mention this is my first Maureen book and also that several pages in I kissed the cover and said, "Where have you been all my life, Maureen?" The story so far (about half way in) is pretty awesome, but mostly it's the voice that's grabbed me. I don't think I've been this in love with just a voice since John Green. And there's the setting, too, which takes me back to London, one of my favorite places on Earth, and in the form of an American who's come to live (reminding me so vividly of my first hilarious days of my life abroad).

Yeah. I will likely finish this book tonight (It's currently almost 10 PM). Review to come soon.

So.

Anyway.

I'd like to share my discovery of Maureen with others in the form of ARCage and Signed bookage. Here's what's up for grabs today:

(Click on the book covers to see a summary in another window)

The Name of the Star

 Signed ARC of THE NAME OF THE STAR











Devilish

Signed copy of DEVILISH














the Bermudez Triangle
Signed copy of THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE











CLICK HERE to Enter to Win Signed Maureen Johnson Books


This giveaway is international and ends Sunday, September 18, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.


Also, don't forget to enter to win an ARC of GLOW by Kathleen Ryan. Also ends Sunday.












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THIS SPACE IS RESERVED FOR A REVIEW OF MAUREEN JOHNSON'S THE NAME OF THE STAR.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review of GLOW and SHIFTING (with ARC Giveaway)

I'm seriously backed up on reviews. I've read loads and really need to somehow catch up while continuing to read. Mega conundrum. So, I'll just dive in. Two reviews for you today.

OH! And a new giveaway. Check it out below the review of GLOW. It's got a soonish end date.



GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow  Goodreads Summary: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside



MY REVIEW
I know what you're thinking. Space travel to create a new world? Um, doesn't this sound like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE? I don't know, maybe you're not thinking that, but let's say you are.  Okay, yes, it does share a common concept, but it's not exactly a new concept. It's all about the execution, i.e. the clever unfolding of the story. Right?

The good news is GLOW has a pretty kicking storyline. It holds its own, and beyond the first page, similarities really fade away. I was hooked from the beginning, and I have to tell you, did not see the twists in this coming. Taking its cues from pretty much most of YA lately, GLOW is a bit of a genre buster. It's got a space opera feel as well as a strong dystopian element with a hint of Lord of the Flies slash Matched--BUT, it's faster paced than either one of those with a love triangle that...isn't. It's a sort of coming of age story dropped into the middle of a survival book--where survival is a constant quest...in space.

The story is actually told from two points of view, but it's not constantly alternating. You see a block of time occur in one POV, and then a block of time occur in another. But the important thing is it works. The sections weren't jarring, each section just the right length to make you anxious to see the other POV. And I never stopped to think, "I wish this were in the other person's POV." Really well thought out.

Most of all, I was impressed by how much GLOW made me stop and think. It indirectly presents ideas, and then, as if listening to a debate, you get to see contrary ideas that seemed just as valid. Boils down to where you're standing and what you stand to gain or lose. Talk about verisimilitude in science fiction.

But when I say science fiction, I don't mean it in the hard sense. GLOW is really accessible. A lot of cool, realistic futuristic concepts, but there's a strong emphasis on characterization. Love, hate, hopes, dreams, loss, humanity, inhumanity, greed, loneliness, desperation, and above all, an unquenchable need to continue existing. This is what any good YA-space-opera-dystopian-survivalist love story is all about. I, for one, am digging the genre busting, but I'm especially taken with GLOW.

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CLICK HERE to win an ARC of GLOW

This giveaway is international and ends Sunday, September 18, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.

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And now, review number 2. You'll possibly be seeing me double up on reviews for a while, if I can manage it. I have so many books I want to talk about. And a bunch to give away.


SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins

Shiftingtwo
Goodreads summary: After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.
Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.


MY REVIEW

Just as a side note, this is actually the third cover I've seen for this book. The first was a girl facing a cheetah head on. The second was a shot of a girl from the back with the braid morphing into a snake. And then this one. And I must say, I like this one best. It suits Maggie's personality well. Her eyes really say it all, revealing the depth of sorrow within her as well as her fierce determination.

Which brings me to my first point. One of the greatest qualities of SHIFTING is that it isn't afraid to go there. In SHIFTING, we see a foster child who has faced abuse and real hardship. And through it all, her reactions to her life feel real. She's not artificially wise, capable of adult-level introspection . When she buys a pretty outfit--from Wal-Mart--she feels glamorous because it's new. And she's not ashamed of wearing charity clothes. You know what they say--it's not until Eve was made to feel ashamed that she was aware of her nudity. And her foster mother, as kind as she is, isn't made of money either. SHIFTING bypasses the old cliché of the poor kid getting taken in by the rich family and given a new lease on life. At times I cringed, wanting so much to give this girl a hug. She's really suffered, and yet, she's really strong regardless.

And that's not even getting into the paranormal aspect of the story. If you read the summary, or...eh hmm...the title, you know Maggie's a shapeshifter. But not just any shapeshifter. SHIFTING has a clever new spin on the whole concept, incorporating the Navajo legend of the skinwalkers--also given a clever twist. What's more, Maggie's reactions to the shapeshifting ability feel truly genuine. It made for some pretty humorous scenes. There were some sad ones, too, as well as a bit of youthful drama that you would expect in YA, all of it adding richness to the story and making Maggie feel like more of a 3D character.

Did I mention the romance? Because there's that, too. But that doesn't come any more easily to Maggie than the shapeshifting. Bridger's got his own secrets, which adds to the tension, and as the summary says, the intrigue. There's a great mystery and a certain level of darkness that stems from her difficult past, her troubled present and unknown future in love and shapeshifting. You can't help but feel pulled in. SHIFTING is a fairly quick, enjoyable read with surprising twists and a clever new spin on old ideas.

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If you missed the giveaway for the ARC of GLOW...

CLICK HERE to win an ARC of GLOW


This giveaway is international and ends Sunday, September 18, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.


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Also, be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting today!



Elana Johnson is in a tizzy over Texas Gothic
LiLa Roecker celebrates Something Like Hope
Christine Fonseca  is transformed by Shifting
Shannon Whitney Messenger takes a shine to So Silver Bright – with giveaway
Scott Tracey is on board for Starship Academy
Beth Revis shouts out The Name of the Star
Shana Silver loves Lola and the Boy Next Door
Rosemary Clement Moore is distracted by Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences
Sarah Frances Hardy adores Birdie’s Big Girl Dress
Stasia Ward Kehoe takes a fancy to Fracture


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Revisiting: Making Your Super Characters Extraordinary

Dude. I feel horrible that I haven't posted in so long. Like every day nearly I've said, "Tomorrow I will post." But I'm still stretched pretty thin.  (Although, blogging is the goal first thing tomorrow, like as soon as I get home, which might not happen until about 9 PM since Wednesday are pretty much chock-full-o-nuts days for me, but IT WILL HAPPEN--I'm freaking stubborn.) And at the moment, I seriously have to get to sleep. I have to be up in just a few hours, but this is weighing on me, the not posting. So, for today, I'm going to do something I've never done before.  I'm reposting one of my more popular posts from a long time ago. Hope that's okay.



Making Your Super Characters Extraordinary

At dinner, over a discussion of Superman, my cousin’s wife brought up the notion of changing her hair color to hide her superhero identity (actually, first she said that Brandon Routh did not honor the suit—I think because he was too skinny; it’s a valid argument, but not the one I’m making here). Then I got to thinking what my superhero self would look like. I think I might do something with my hair. Maybe wear something shiny like any self-respecting superhero. And glasses. Can’t forget the glasses. Because glasses help to hide who you really are. And since I wear contact lenses most of the time, my superhero self would have to have glasses.

So here I am, in my everyday disguise. Boring ol’ Carol.

Carol2

And here I am in full superhero splendor. Meet me, AKA Cool Girl.

superhero_Carol

No, seriously. That’s me!! It’s crazy how little it takes to make yourself into someone else entirely. Look at Miley Cyrus. I bet it blew your mind when you found out she was really Hannah Montana with a wig on. And Lady Gaga? NEWS ALERT: She’s not always a superhero. Sometimes, she wears non-shiny clothes.
Unfortunately, you can’t slap a cape on an ordinary fictional character and make them extraordinary. If you’re struggling to make your characters more appealing (especially in UF/SFF/Paranormal), it may be because you’re only making your character extraordinary on the surface. You have to dig deeper than that. Can’t just give your characters a cool ability/job/location and expect that to do the trick.

Let’s face it, it wasn’t the shiny boots and tights that made Superman so fabulous. It wasn’t even because he was so super. Not really. It's just his real life personality was so impossibly different from Superman’s personality. He lived out the fantasy that so many of us have—to be able to put on a cape and become way cooler than we are (I may look like a nerd, but you should see me in tights).

So what can you do to make your characters extraordinary?


1. First and foremost, your characters must have DEPTH. This means that your characters MUST HAVE:

A. Motivations. You don't act without motivation. (You might think you do, but you don't. All acts stem from some motivation, whether conscious or unconconscious, so it should be the same for your characters.) So even if your characters don't know why they act the way they do, YOU SHOULD.

B. Human qualities we all have. Things like dreams, hatreds, desires, goals, weaknesses, strengths, longings, secrets, embarrassments...without these qualities, we become robotic and boring. So do your characters.

C. Emotions. Layers of them. And their emotions should correspond with their personalities. Some people might cry at funerals, others laugh uncontrollably. Bring in the prostitute mourner in the red dress, and watch the tears dry up, and the sense of awe/embarrassment/shock/discomfort/anger/confusion take over.

D. Internal Conflict. If Peter Parker hadn't worried as much about what might have happened to Mary Jane Watson (movies, not comic books), he probably wouldn't have turned her away and limited himself only to spidey kisses hanging upside down. He was SO torn, wanting revenge for his murdered uncle, feeling guilty it might've been his fault, his love for Mary Jane which has to go unfulfilled, and the many issues he has with the supervillains (the issues with the Green Goblin and his son alone could drive a therapist mad).


2. Second, you must latch on to the unexpected…

A. …in the characters' personalities and subsequent actions. Nobody ever expected vampires to fall in love with humans—or to go to high school. Nobody expected Forrest Gump to go to college or to win International ping pong tournaments or to inspire a nation. And nobody expected Superman would be some shy, nerdy journalist. Audiences can’t wait to see what unexpected things such unexpected characters will get up to.

B. …in the characters’ motivations. In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, nobody expected that Tiny Cooper, best-friend-of-Will Grayson/gay-football-player’s greatest motivation in life would be to find love and let his light shine through the most fabulous high school musical the world has ever seen.

C. ...in the characters' human qualities. A secret doesn't have to be big to feel HUGE. Not if it's unexpected. Say a boy carries around a rock in his pocket with a face drawn on it, yarn for hair. It's name is Albert. Occasionally, he pets it when he gets nervous. At home, he sets it on his nightstand and talks to it. But it's his secret. He'll never tell anyone about it. No one would make fun of him, especially because his mom just died, but to him, it'd be humiliating. He's fifteen.

D. ...in the characters' emotions. Have you seen HANCOCK? The depressed superhero? Yeah. Unexpected.

E ...in the characters' internal conflict. What could be more unexpected than a vampire fretting over having sex with his human girlfriend because he might get too excited and drink her blood and kill her? Seriously. Nothing. Totally UNEXPECTED.


Caveat: Make the unexpected believable. Or make it so freaking awesome that your audience will gladly abandon reason and force themselves to buy it.

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These are just some ways to make your characters worthy of kickass plots. I bet you have some tricks, too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Humbled

Just wanted to pop in and mention a couple things.

First, I WANTED TO THANK YOU!!!


thank-you for stopping by whenever you make it. I know I haven't been posting, but things are a bit chaotic for me at the moment as I settle into a different routine with new commitments and responsibilities. I hope to return to blogging more regularly really soon. I have several books I've read and loved that I need to review as well as more giveaways I need to organize. There are also a few things on my mind that I'd like to talk about--just need to organize my thoughts and find a way (and time) to talk about them.


Second, I WAS INTERVIEWED!!!


WBlogo_200pxWide Alison Miller recently interviewed me for the Write Brained Network, an online community for writers in every stage of their writing careers. It's a brilliant community, one of which I'm proud to be a part. I encourage you to check out this community HERE and join in. It's a great way to meet other writers and gain some insight on all aspects of writing and publishing. And if you'd like to check out my interview by Alison, she posted it HERE on her blog. PLEASE do stop by. Seriously. I'm begging you. Not only is Alison a beautiful person with a remarkable writer's blog that I know you'll love to visit (and follow, k?), my self-confidence is on the line here. Also, I divulge secrets.


Third, I'M TALLYING UP ENTRIES!!


for my last giveaway (DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, ASHES, and SHIFTING). I'll post the winners HERE, just adding them to the original giveaway announcement post as I've done with my last couple of giveaways. I think (hope) it makes it easier for people to find who the winners were, as well as ensuring that anyone who comes upon the giveaway post in the future knows it has already closed.  But please give me a couple of hours (right now it's 10 AM EST). It takes a long time to  tally up entries and randomize them for a drawing.

Daughter_Ashes_Shifting_giveaway So, stop by the ANOTHER GIVEAWAY post after 12 PM EST to find out the winners.


If you didn't get a chance to see who the winners were of my last couple giveaways, those are posted here at the end of the original giveaway posts:

Two ARC Giveaway (POSSESS and THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER)

4 ARCs 4 U Giveaway (FURY, THE SCORPIO RACES, NOCTURNE, and SHELTER)


I'm humbled by all of you who continue to stop by my blog time and time again, commenting, entering giveaways, and just giving your general support with your presence. It's an honor. Many, many thanks.