Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Big Dark YA Thank You!

So, Weds is here and I was supposed to blog on Dark YA and the books I can not wait for. But, instead I shared my confidence and competition angst.

Since there are a ton of books I really am excited about - I thought I would just mention a couple:

1) TEN by Gretchen McNeil....SO SO SO AMAZING. I read a very early version, and HOLY COW - FABULOUS (you can read about the journey of TEN here)

2) SURRENDER by Elana Johnson - yes, I read and early version of that too - and it is amazing. Those who felt like you had a ton of questions at the end of POSSESSION will really LOVE this book


And next, I need to THANK HEATHER MCCORKLE for her lovely post about my writing. She brought tears of joy to my eyes when I read it this morning. You can read her post here.

Thanks to all of you for keeping me focused and moving forward. I have no words.

What Dark YA books are you excited about?

A Little Confession

Happy Wednesday all. It's time for a little Christine confession -

But first, the set up. I have been thinking long and hard about my career of late. You see, it's feeling a little stagnant. My transition from nonfiction into fiction is marred with some serious lack of progress and far too much frustration.

Nothing necessarily surprising given the current state of publishing. But definitely crazy-making.

So, I decided to try a different route -  I discovered another genre I LOVE to write (psychological thrillers), started drafting novels and again entered the query fray. I also developed a nice plan to forge a path into this crazy business on my terms (to a point), without sacrificing some of the long-term goals I have.

This all sounds good, right?

Fast forward a few months. My plans are trudging along. More bumps, more twists, and the plan is adjusted. Still, I am feeling really good.

And then it happens - a good friend develops her own plan for her own career path. It's also a FABULOUS plan. And I am completely confident that she will achieve her goals.

Fantastic, right?

Maybe....
Hmmm....something is amiss....

I am not feeling so right about everything. Not at all. What the heck is wrong?

Given that I am self-reflective by nature, I pick apart my feelings and motivations, trying to figure out where the new angst is coming from. Why my friend's new plan - one that has absolutely nothing to do with me or my plan, mind you - is bothersome....

And it hits me....

I am too freakin competitive.

UGHH!

I AM TOO COMPETITIVE

You see, even though her plan has nothing to do with mine - like at all - I am feeling angsty because I am so much more confident in her abilities to achieve her plan than I am in my own.

Yes, I know - you all think I am ridiculous now, don't you? It's okay - I think I am ridiculous too...
because I AM!

You see, being competitive is not a bad thing all by itself. BUT....
being competitive to the point of either a) feeling bad of your own accomplishments and goals because you know they won't measure up to someone else's, or b) being paralyzed due to fear of failure is just silly! Seriously.

After this little discovery, I had a nice chat with myself ("Self, stop it. You only feel this way because of your own angst and your own fear. It has nothing to do with anything else. It serves no purpose...so knock it off!") and I can happily report that I am back on track with no more feelings of yuck....

So...
there you go...
A little confession.

(bet you wish you hadn't read this post, huh??)

What's your Wednesday confession? I shared - it's your turn!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finish Strong

Hey everyone! I hope my US friends have recovered from the turkey/ham/feasting last week. I know I have. As much as I love having the family over, it is nice to get back into a routine.

And what a routine it is!

Last January I had several goals, including finishing a nonfiction and several fiction projects. While that has not completely panned out, I so expect to finish and accomplish some exciting things this year.
Towards that end, I thought I'd share with all of you my goals for the last month of the year:

  • Finish the sekrit project (I promise it won't be a secret much longer)
  • Finish a book trailer (yep, I can't wait to share this with all of you either - soon!)
  • Finish the draft of another novel (I am about 35% completed with this one)
Looks like December will be very NaNo-ish for me!

In order to complete these projects, I am sticking to a blogging schedule of three days/week - Mon, Weds, Fri.

What are you guys doing to FINISH STRONG this year???


PS - Thanks Elana J for the fabu pic!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Adam Sandler Style...

Hello everyone! Today is Thanksgiving in the US and I am spending it with my friends and family. As is tradition in my family, I want to share just a touch of the things I am thankful for in 2011 -

My family

My faith

ALL OF YOU!!!

That's right, I am thankful for all of you - for sharing a part of your life with me, and for caring about my life.

I am taking the rest of the week off but I thought I'd leave you with my favorite Thanksgiving Song...lol




HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday and a Kissing Scene.

Well, it's been a while since I have shared any of my writing, so I thought I would share a steamy kissing scene from LACRIMOSA, my YA gothic romance.

His touch sears me. I pull away, barely able to speak. “Aydan? You’re here?”
            “Be with me,” he says, kissing my jaw, my neck, my shoulder. Every spot his mouth touches closes the empty spaces inside.
            A storm of desire gathers in my soul. Not just desire – need. “I shouldn’t…can’t—”
            Aydan stops and looks at me, his amber eyes as beautiful now as the day we met in Germany. “Tell me you don’t love me.”
            I try to form the words. Try to lie. But every cell, human and angelic, reaches out for him. Every thought – only him. I fall back into him, giving in to everything I desire.
            He wraps me in a hungry kiss, erasing the pain, the torment, the anguish. All that remains is my need. My love.
            "Let me have you. Love you," he says, his voice trembling.
            I open my mouth to respond, the words nothing but dust. A single moan escapes as he draws me into another kiss.
Somehow he reaches every dark corner of my soul, healing the betrayal and pain from so long ago. I want for nothing but him. This moment.
For an eternity.
For more info about LACRIMOSA and to read the blurb and see the playlist I created for the story, check out last week's DARK YA post.
Don't you just love a kissing scene? Tell me, what's your fav??

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being AWESOME and POWERFUL...Words of Wisdom from Ali Cross!

I am so thrilled to be part of Ali Cross's BECOME blog tour. Ali and I met through a mutual friend. As soon as we started chatting, I knew she was destined for great things. And then I read BECOME - not this version (this one is EVEN BETTER), but one of the versions while she was deciding what she wanted to ultimately do with it - query, shelve, indie publish. I knew the minute I read it this was NOT a book that should be shelved. And I am so glad Ali found the courage to follow her gut and her heart and see her dream realized. She has been such a source of inspiration for me.

But this post is about ALI and BECOME.

When I asked Ali to come over and visit my blog, I asked her if she could share a bit of her wisdom - tell us about her shift in thinking and how she has managed to embrace Indie publishing as she has. Man, she did not disappoint.

So, without further adieu, take it away Ali:


Self-publishing used to be a dirty word. And then it became a trend. Well, no one likes dirty words and no one likes to be a follower. We all want to be trend setters, movers and shakers, powerful and awesome.

So I’m here to today to say be awesome! Be powerful! Don’t follow a trend, define it.

I’m grateful to Christine for letting me post here today. She and I have been talking a lot lately about self-publishing and whether or not it’s for her. Because it’s not for everyone. Traditional publishing requires you to put your faith in others (a hard thing to do), while self-publishing requires you to put your faith in yourself (equally hard to do—maybe more so).

Self-publishing is not a dirty word. True, there are many who self-publish without properly vetting their novel. But just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean everyone will do it well. But this road to publication isn’t a bad one, it’s just a different one.

Sure, self-publishing is on the rise. It’s becoming more and more acceptable to choose it. Choosing to go that route does not mean you’ve failed at publishing or that you are settling for something else—because this road isn’t a bad one, it’s just a different one.

Publishing today reminds me of the old Scottish song, The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomand. You know the one that goes, “Oh! Ye’ll take the high road | and I’ll take the low road | and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye . . .” Self-publishing will get us to published sooner than traditional publishing, but it’s neither better nor worse.

You are not less for choosing to self-publish, nor are you following a trend—not if you choose to travel this path for the right reasons.

Choose to self-publish because it’s the road you want to travel. Because you have faith in yourself and in your ability to publish well. Choose to publish traditionally because it’s the road that suits you. Because you desire to work as a team, and you have the opportunity to be well-represented.

Whichever road you take, make sure you are prepared for the journey—that you are ready for what will come, for what will be asked of you and, most importantly, that your story is the very best it can be. Set your own trend of awesome and whichever road you choose will take you exactly where you want to be—published.

See what I mean! Isn't Ali amazing. 

But don't take my word for it - go and read BECOME for yourself. Trust me, this book is amazing (I'll be reviewing it in the next week).

Monday, November 21, 2011

A little announcement....

First, let me say a congrats to the vast majority of my friends who have BLOWN AWAY NaNo this year, already hitting the 50K mark - that is simply amazing.

I was not so fortunate. Well, actually I am, but not where NaNo is concerned. Having only achieved about 30% of the goal, I decided to change my focus. Yes, I probably could have finished given that I am off until 11/28 and typically do a lot of writing when I am off. BUT...
Not this time.
This time I really need to switch gears a bit. I have a super sekrit project I can't yet talk about - one that required some revisions and some other writerly things - this is what has been occupying my mind of late.

So, for the rest of the calendar year, I will be focused on my that sekrit stuff, as well as finishing up a draft or two. I will share more when I can. For now, I just leave you with my inspiration -

See you tomorrow, when I get to host the ever-amazing ALI CROSS!!! I am so freakin' excited....

How have you guys been doing with your projects?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dark YA Blogfest and Playlist

Well, better late than never on my entry for the Dark YA blogfest this week. The truth - I have been swamped of late! It's all good things I am working on - NaNo, Super Sekrit stuff I hope to spill soon, etc, etc....

But, my time for blogging and social networking has really been diminished!

Okay - a playlist. I decided to share the playlist for my novel LACRIMOSA. Here's the blurb for that novel :
As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. 
  
Nesy is the best of an elite group of angels – warriors called Sentinals – charged with the job of vanquishing the fallen. She’s never made a mistake, never gotten emotionally involved. But when she comes face-to-face with Aydan, she freezes. 
He is evil incarnate. A fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the human love of her former life. Now she must choose between doing her duty – damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell – or saving him, and condemning herself. 
I hope to be able to share a little news about this soon - but until then, here is the soundtrack I created last year for the novel:



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Enjoy!

OH! And don't forget to join me this afternoon on TWITTER (4pm PST) for my turn to host a little #BECOME party!

Day 4 of the #BECOME Epic Giveaway

Time for Day 4!

Copy and paste this graphic for your blog! Help spread the word. 




I can't believe the giveaway is almost over. Today, Go and visit the amazing LT Elliot's blog for a chance to win a copy of #BECOME!


And be sure to join us on twitter for another #BECOME twitter giveaway with me, 4 pm PST, 7 pm Eastern. I think we are gonna talk about the hot boys in #BECOME...yes??? YES! 

What will you BECOME?



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#BECOME giveaway Day 3!!!


Copy and paste this graphic for your blog! Help spread the word. 




Welcome to day three. We are 1/2 way through the epicness that is this giveaway. Today you can stop by Stacy Henrie's blog for a chance to win a copy of #BECOME! And be sure to join us on twitter for another #BECOME twitter giveaway - 1 pm MST, 3 pm Eastern 


What will you BECOME?



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#BECOME Epic giveaway - DAY 2

DAY 2 of the epic #BECOME giveaway:

Copy and paste this graphic for your blog! Help spread the word. 




Today, stop by Sara Larson's blog for a chance to win! And be sure to join us on twitter for another #BECOME giveaway - 7 pm MST, 9 pm Eastern. This is so fun!!!


What will you BECOME?



Monday, November 14, 2011

My Non-update for NaNo and a #BECOME reminder...


Copy and paste this graphic for your blog! Help spread the word. 




Well, I was going to give you a NaNo update...but honestly, my progress was almost non-existant and I am SERIOUSLY behind at this point. I have not given up - not even close. But I did have to give myself a break and get caught up many RL projects and things. I will say, I was crazy productive and feel better than I have felt in weeks!

I'll report progress next week, I promise...

And today, I'll just remind you about the AMAZING BECOME giveaway extravaganza. I am beyond thrilled to be part of this, as I love love love this book. But I will tell you more about that later.

In the meantime, be sure to visit Michelle McLean's blog to enter the daily giveaway. Or, come and hang out with us on Twitter today 11 am MST, 1 pm Eastern. We'll be chatting with the hashtag #BECOME so join us for your chance to mix and mingle and win! 


And...there are still 5 chances through filling out this Google form. 


So join us in the BECOME celebrations for your chance to win, or just to show support of Ali! 


What will you BECOME?



Friday, November 11, 2011

HAPPY LAUNCH DAY ALI and #BECOME!!!

Yep - it is 2-fer Friday with a second post screaming accolades for Ali Cross and #BECOME. You see, today is her launch day, and even though I am hosting a leg of her blog tour later this month, I can't let the day go by without saying...

WOO HOO!!!!!

So there you go!

You can get your copy of BECOME. It's only $3.99 and a great read. Click here to get it. Click here to add it to your Goodreads list, or to leave a review once you've read it. Be sure to visit Ali on her blog, and here to keep up with the whole Dark Carma team. AND. You didn't think there'd be an AND, did you? 

Well, there is. There's this:
Copy and paste this graphic for your blog! Help spread the word. 




"This" is a little (okay, BIG) giveaway that will happen next week, from Monday November 14 - Friday November 18. 
The finer print: You have 15 chances to win Ali's BECOME. 
5 chances on blogs according to the following schedule: 

5 chances on twitter according to the following schedule: 

  • Monday, November 14 - 11 am MST, 1 pm Eastern 
  • Tuesday, November 15 - 7 pm MST, 9 pm Eastern 
  • Wednesday, November 16 - 1 pm MST, 3 pm Eastern 
  • Thursday, November 17 - 4 pm PST, 7 pm Eastern 
  • Friday, November 18 - 3 pm MST, 5 pm Eastern 
We'll be chatting with the hashtag #BECOME so join us for your chance to mix and mingle and win! 


5 chances through filling out this Google form. 


So join us in the BECOME celebrations for your chance to win, or just to show support of Ali! 


If you still haven't changed your twitter avatar, it isn't to late...just let me know and I'll set you right up!


And... What will you BECOME?



Jessica Bell's Debut STRING BRIDGE Amazon push

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


jessica.carmen.bell(at)gmail(dot)com


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.


If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:



Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Give me a WOOT for Ali and #BECOME!!!

I am so excited about this Friday. You see, Ali Cross's AMAZING book #BECOME officially launches on Friday. And to show her our love, several of her friends and I have a little surprise planned....
but before I talk about that at all, we thought we'd get the party started with a little twitter action...

Here is what I want you to do -

  1. Choose if you are good or bad.
  2. Pick an avatar and use it on Twitter
  3. Spread the word with this tweet: It's never too late to choose. Read 's  this Friday! Get your avatar from  or  
That's it! 

Be sure to check out Elana Johnson's blog on Friday for a special surprise for Ali. Let's all spread the love for #BECOME!!!

OH! And here are the avatars:

#BECOMEGOOD



#BECOMEBAD

If you would prefer to use an overlay over your existing picture, just let me or Dustin Hansen know and we will try to hook you up!

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo Update - Week 1

Well, the first week of NaNo is behind me. And while it did feel good to get started on a new project, it was a pretty stressful week to. You see, I am behind. Already! DANGITALL.

According to my NaNo calendar, I really should be at or near a word count of 11,700. And yea, I'm at a mere 4K. So...I have a LOT of making up to do.

Based on my schedule this week - here are my goals for the week:
Mon - 2K
Tues - 2K
Weds - 2K
Thurs - OFF
Fri - 5k
Sat - 5k
Sun - 2k

If I do this - I will be back on track in no time. And yes, I think I can do it!

How are you guys doing?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blog Chain: Monster Mash

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Matt M, who asked the following:


What is your all-time favorite monster? 


You can take this in any direction you'd like. For example: my most bad-ass monster would easily be a dragon, and it is my favorite in some ways, but you don't have to go with that kind of measurement. Like me, you could go with the most ridiculously hilarious monster you ever heard of, or, like Stephanie Meyer, you could go with the most romantic creature to ever grace the pages of mythology. Or like Carrie Ryan, you could choose the old standby: Zombies. One alone might not be much to handle, but the horde is probably the single most powerful monster force ever invented in gaming, film, literature, or legend. 


It's up to you: what's your favorite monster?

Anyone who knows me and my writing knows I LOVE to write about creepy characters - monsters in some way. These monsters are typically not some supernatural creature. No, that's not what creeps me out. My monsters are normal, highly disturbed people.

Yep, there is nothing scarier to me that the monster a human being can become.

So I thought I'd highlight two of my favorite "monsters". These two are not only epically disturbed characters in their own right, they have had amazing influence on how I create these types of characters in my writing.

First, The Joker character played specifically by Heath Ledger. This is one disturbed individual. And man, did he have flair, right? He hurt others for the sake of hurting others. His motivation was purely the chaos he had the power to create. As he said about himself, "I'm an agent of chaos".

And my all time fav monster - Hannibal Lector as played by Anthony Hopkins. I mean really, this is one of the most powerful disturbed characters on film. He is brilliant, calculating, and in control. And nuts!

Both of these characters have been great lessons in crafting disturbed characters. With both, although the characters are inherently evil, and although they enjoy killing, they also both are drawn to the main character in a way that is different. They are complex characters with unusual motivations. And that is what makes them so interesting to me.

How about you? What kind of monsters do YOU like?

For more on this topic, check out Jon's post from yesterday or hop on over and read Abby's tomorrow

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bookanista Interview with Kids Inventing! Author, Susan Casey

Time for another fabulous Bookanista Thursday! Today I get to talk with Susan Casey about her latest NF book for kids, Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors. But first, I want to welcome two new additions to the Bookanista family - Nikki Katz, Katy Upperman and Debra Driza. I happen to know some of these writers in real life, and I am BEYOND thrilled to have them join us!


Here are the Bookanista reviews today:
On to my Bookanista Interview with Kids Inventing! author Susan Casey -

CF: Tell me a little about yourself
SC: I'm a writer and teacher.  I love writing because it allows me to express
myself and my thoughts and pass those on to others.  I love teaching
because I can interact with students about ideas.  I've lived most of my
life in the Los Angeles area but also have lived in Northern California.
I've traveled to Europe, and Malaysia and lived in Africa, Mexico and
London.  I love to explore.  I致e had all sorts of jobs including some odd
ones:  testing the escape chutes for jets, delivering sandwiches, testing
recipes.

CF: Tell me a little about your book. What makes it unique?
SC: Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors is unique among invention
books because it doesn't just include a few tips and a few stories of
young inventors: it includes stories of over 50 young inventors and
detailed steps about how to become a young inventor.  Also, the stories
are not just a description of an invention by a young inventor but a
detailed account of HOW each of the inventors thought of the idea or HOW
each made a model, or  prepared for a contest, got a patent, or had the
invention manufactured or licensed.  It's a guidebook with many more
details than other invention books.

In writing the book I wanted to show young inventors the benefits of
inventing.  Students who invent can win scholarships and awards.  Awards
in an invention contest can help a young inventor when they are applying
for college.  And young inventors who sell or license their inventions,
can benefit financially.  For example, I included the story of Chris Haas
who at age 9 came up with the idea of putting hands on a basketball.  He
called it Hands-On Basketball.  Kids who don't know how to hold a
basketball can use his basketball to help them hold the ball correctly in
order to shoot a basket.  Chris and his father licensed the idea and the
trademark Hands-On Basketball to a company.  Chris is in his 20s now and
the basketball is still selling.  The profits paid for his college
education and that of his brother and sister.  And Chris contributes to a
lot of charities. (You can see a video of Chris on my you tube account.
http://www.youtube.com/user/susancaseybooks?feature=mhsn#p/u/0/Px1v20R7Dgo
)

CF: What advice might you have for writers?
SC: Advice to Young Writers:  Write about your everyday life.  For example,
what happens in the evenings at your house?  Details could include a
description of your home and of each of the people at your home. Tell what
each does.  Include comments back and forth between two of the people.
Include the sounds as well.  After you finish writing, ask someone who
lives in the house with you to read your work.  Ask them to tell you any
details you left out.  Then, add those details to your story.  And have
fun writing and rewriting until you have a terrific description of a night
in your house.  Or write about something interesting that happened to you.

CF: Where do you see the direction of publishing going? 
SC: Many children's book publishers that I致e spoken with are interested in publishing
books featuring characters that depict the lives of the wide variety
of ethnic groups that live in the U.S.  I think that's terrific since
kids from different countries around the world or kids whose parents
who are from different areas want to read about the cultures of their
families.  And publishers seem to be publishing books on more and more
topics related to our rapidly changing world.

CF: How do you balance teaching and writing and your other real life
activities? 
SC: What other real life activities?  Just kidding.  I'm just
like everyone else.  I try to make time for everything I like to do.
I usually write and teach during the week and visit my family and
friends on the weekends.  I also make time for exercise. I'm a member
of a rowing club so on the weekend mornings I row.  If I have a lot of
writing to do, though, I spend the entire weekend writing.  That can
be great fun since I enjoy writing.

CF: I noticed that you write on a wide variety of topics. What inspires
you?

SC: I'm naturally curious so I have followed that curiosity.  If an event or
topic strikes me as fun or interesting, I write about it and then try to
find a magazine or publisher that is interested in publishing the work.  I
am lucky to the wonderful skill of being able to describe events, or
complicated topics in a lively way and in a way that others can easily
understand.
CF: Tell me one interesting fact I may not know about you.  
SC: When I was younger I was fascinated by Africa and wanted to visit.  I took a trip to
England and when I was there saw an ad in the newspaper that read
something like:  'intelligent girl wanted to act as a nanny and accompany
Professor and family to Ghana, West Africa' for three months.  I answered
the ad, got the job, and was able to explore the country and its culture.
I wrote to my family about what I saw--open markets, drummers and other
musicians performing in the streets, villages--and those letters led me to
start writing non-fiction, stories about real people and their lives.

CF: What are your future plans?  
SC: I have just completed and am sending
out to prospective publishers a picture book about a young girl living
in Mexico and I am working on proposals for several other new books.
Also, I regularly write magazine articles about a variety of topics.

CF: Anything else you want us to know?
SC: On my website (http://susancaseybooks.com/kids_invent.html  ) there are a
lot of stories and pictures of young inventors and invention activity
sheets that young inventors can use to go through the process of
invention.  Here's the link to the activities:
http://susancaseybooks.com/invention_activities.html
And my Kids Inventing! Facebook page is:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kids-Inventing-A-Handbook-for-Young-Inventors/208752925806795

Truly a great book for those kids who simply MUST invent!

What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Fav Dark Stories and The Winner of The Spooktacular Giveaway


I so happy to be part of the Dark YA Blogfest sponsered by YAtopia this month! Today we are supposed to blog about our favorite dark YA books. 


OOHH!!! Love this. As I mentioned on Monday, I love to write psychological thrillers and dark stories. Well, guess what - I also like to read them.


I grew up reading Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley.  Their stories sent chills down my spine and made me jump at every unknown sound in the house. These authors clearly understood the power of exploring the abyss, not to mention the art of crafting suspense.


More recently, I have fallen in love with Gretchen McNeil, Mary Pearson, and Suzanne Collins to tempt with with their dark stories. While there stories don't necessarily involve monsters, they are dark. Each one of them forces the reader to confront the more base nature of humanity, and they do so with amazing artistry.


In particular, I loved POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil and the FOX INHERITANCE by Mary Pearson. Both stories were creeptastic in their own special way. And Gretchen's next book - TEN - is an amazing dark read!


And since we are talking about POSSESS and the FOX INHERITANCE, I think it's time to announce the winner of the SPOOKTACULAR Giveaway that ended on Monday - 


TEZZA VALEROS


CONGRATS! I will be sending out your books soon. Did I mention they were signed???


What are your favorite dark reads???

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Open Minds Virtual Launch Party

I'm so excited to be part of Susan Kaye Quinn's virtual launch party for OPEN MINDS. Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for all the links to the other #keepOPENMINDS posts, guest posts, reviews, prizes, and more.

When I originally agreed to be part of the fun, I was planning to post about tolerance and a time when someone show'd me an extra measure of understanding. But I fell in love with Susan's tagline on her prizes:

OPEN BOOKS ENCOURAGE OPEN MINDS

So, I decided to post about some books that opened MY mind and literally changed my point of view on life.

As a teen, I read a lot of what would have been considered literature - you know, the type of stories and books you are assigned in class. Titles that included Poe's short stories, The Yellow Wallpaper, and To The Lighthouse. All of these heavily influenced me growing up.

In college, the writing of Tillich, Emerson, Thoreau, Nietzsche, and Camus also had strong influences on my belief structure at the time, making me a more well rounded individual.

As an adult, I am still continually amazed by the power of books to not just entertain, but bring other things/ideas/thoughts into focus. Take the Fox Inheritance - this is a great book that makes you think and question. There are many of them, really - books that take us to far away places and cultures, books that make us ponder and dream, and books that make us question.

Books! They really DO encourage open minds.

What books have opened your mind?

Now, for the links, etc.

The Story of Open Minds (linked posts)


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PRIZES!
Susan Kaye Quinn is giving away an Open Books/Open Minds t-shirt, mug, and some fun wristbands to celebrate the Virtual Launch Party of Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)! (Check out the prizes here.)

Three ways to enter (you can have multiple entries):
1)      Leave a comment here or at the Virtual Launch Party post
2)      Tweet (with tag #keepingOPENMINDS)
Example: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. #keepingOPENMINDS @susankayequinn #SF #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds
Example: Celebrate the launch of OPEN MINDS by @susankayequinn #keepingOPENMINDS #SciFi #paranormal #YA avail NOW http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds

3)     Facebook (tag @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn)
Example: Celebrate the launch of paranormal/SF novel OPEN MINDS by @AuthorSusanKayeQuinn for a chance to win Open Books/Open Minds prizes! http://bit.ly/SKQOpenMinds
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When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye Quinn is available in e-book (Amazon US (also UK, France and Germany), Barnes & Noble, Smashwords) and print (Amazon, Createspace, also autographed copies available from the author).
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HAPPY LAUNCH DAY SUSAN!!!