Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tip Tuesday - The Night Before My Launch

Wow, I really can't believe this day is here - the eve of the official launch day for my first venture into fiction. I should warn you, this post may be a little personal, and I may actually be typing it through tears. But I just wanted to share a little bit about this journey to all of you.

I always thought my first published works would be fiction. That was back when I was naive about how hard it can be to break into this industry. After attempting to get an agent with my first books, I switched gears and jumped into nonfiction, my other passion. The process was smooth in many respects, and I quickly found both an agent and a book deal. And then another. Within a couple of years, I had two books on the shelves and a bright speaking career.

But, I still had made little to no headway with my first passion - writing fiction. While I was busy breaking into nonfiction, I wrote an angel-demon story and queried it. The response was great. But not great enough. So, after a year of querying and coming VERY CLOSE with a small press, I decided to shelve the book.

Over the next year, I lived on a roller coaster. I published my second nonfiction book, had two additional nonfiction books get passed over in acquisitions, and parted ways with my agent. In my personal life, I got seriously ill, went through a fatal round of cancer with my mom, and struggled to find balance at work.

Shortly after my mom passed away, I wrote what I thought was my best work. I edited it, and queried it. For months. And like the novel before, I came very very close. But, I did not find an agent.

In a moment of desperation, I seriously considered quitting. More than once, actually. Many of you who followed this blog during that time know how much I struggled.

An then the miraculous happened. I fell into a book deal that has changed everything, breathing life into what I thought was a dead fiction career. In addition, I got a promotion at work, started several exciting new projects related to my nonfiction, and lost much of the weight that was literally holding me down.

Interesting how life turns, isn't it?

And now, on the eve of my fiction career becoming more than just an idea, I find myself humbled and thankful for the journey, with all its twists and turns. I have a long way to go before I'll achieve what I have set out to achieve. But I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to connect to readers with my fiction. And I am thankful for the reactions it is getting thus far.

What's next? Um...breathing. In and Out. Every day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Proud To Announce...

The RELAUNCH of my other blog, An Intense Life. Dedicated to the world of gifted children, their social and emotional development, education, and life in general, this blog is one of my favorite endeavors. However, with my current busyness, there was no way I could maintain that blog.

Enter my crazy idea to bring on more contributors. I approached a few of the organizations I belong to and voila...I now have the most amazing group of contributors adding their unique view of giftedness and issues facing gifted adults and teens.

Today marks the official relaunch of that blog. Hope on over and check it out. I've posted a nice post introducing my new contributors and a little about the schedule.

I am so excited!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

On the Chain: Evoking Emotions

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

Post pictures, songs, movie clips, poems, or novel excerpts that make you feel. Feel what, you ask? Feel anything. Happy. Sad. Angry. Nostalgic. Hopeful. Hopeless. Jealous. Joyful. 

When I first read this post, I thought "Hmm, no problem. I get emotional about everything. It comes with being intense." And then I thought, "Oh man, I get emotional about EVERYTHING! How on earth am I going to streamline my thoughts into a coherent post. Yikes!"

I never did come to a decision on how I was going to streamline my thoughts. See, I approach the world from a very intense place. This poem sums it up best:

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
To him...
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
– Pearl Buck


As a result of my intensities, everything elicits some kind of emotional response inside. Writing has enabled me to harness that emotional response and funnel it into something more creative.

But, back to the question. Given that I am inspired and emotional just by getting up most mornings, I thought I would focus this question into the things that inspired the emotions behind DIES IRAE and the Requiem Series.

It started with Mozart's LACRIMOSA from Requiem.



This particular video encapsulates the original emotions I was working through with the series, and it is still my "go-to" song when I need to "find" the voice of the series. This section of the Requiem Mass inspired everything that followed, including the decision to title each of the stories based on the section of the mass it represented.


Next, some pictures that inspired the story of DIES IRAE, the prequel novella to the series:






Each one of these images (which are in my trailer for the series) inspired some aspect of the emotional content of the story.

And finally, the opening quote from DIES IRAE that focused the storyline for me:


“Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophets' warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!”
~DIES IRAE, Requiem Mass
English Translation by William Josiah Irons (1849)


So, there you go. Some of the things that evoke the emotions of my writing. Each story I write, each concept I approach has its own music and pictures that help me harness my emotional self and pour it onto the page.

What inspires your emotions?
For more from us, check out Jon's post from yesterday, and Abby's post tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Post....

I have this FABULOUS Teen Talk Friday post about social networking and Teens. Sadly, it just wasn't finished in time to post it today. I have just been too insanely busy with events, real life, everything (see Monday's post for more on that...)

So, I preempted the unfinished post and decided to let you all know that DIES IRAE is up and available on Amazon. 
 I also found it up on Barnes and Noble.

WOOT! I am sort of in shock right now, as my real life and my writerly life collide via fiction. Somehow this is much more surreal than my experience with nonfiction....

Surreal!

Have a great weekend. I'll be back next week with my regular features, the start of the tour for Dies Irae and hopefully some actual progress with Book 2. What are you guys planning for the weekend or next week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Special Guestanista Review of Sprinkles and Secrets





HAPPY THURSDAY everyone!  Today, Erika (age 11) returns with her review of Lisa Schroeder's SPRINKLE AND SECRETS. But before we get to that, I wanted to give a quick WOOT to Elana Johnson and her NEW, PRETTY covers for the POSSESSION Series.
  
Just check this out:




The new cover for POSSESSION




The new cover for SURRENDER


What do you think?


Now, check out what the other Bookanista's have on tap:



Christine Fonseca  brings you a special Guestanista review of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS
Shannon Messenger delights in DEAD TO YOU – with giveaway
Beth Revis interviews TEMPEST author Julie Cross – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby takes a shine to the SURRENDER and new POSSESSSION covers
Stasia Ward Kehoe adores IN HONOR
Jen Hayley gushes over THE GIRL WHO LOVED A CITY
Veronica Rossi  is crazy for INCARNATE
Nikki Katz marvels at A MILLION SUNS
Gennifer Albin   is on fire over CINDER
Tracy Banghart  is all about THE OTHER LIFE
Jessica Love wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hilary Wagner mourns over THE DEATH OF YORIK MORTWELL -- with giveaway


On to my special Guestanista Review for SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. Take it away Erika: 


SPRINKLES AND SECRETS by Lisa Schroeder is an amazing book and a great sequel to IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. Told from a new prospective, it fills readers in on Sophie's thoughts, dreams and goals. Sophie is faced with a major dilemma that will either ruin her career or her friendship...or both. With help from new friends, and a little bit of humor along the way, she manages to keep it together. In addition to Sophie's happenings, the book answers the question that hung in the air after the first book--Did Isabelle win the contest? I just loved this book and I can't wait for the next one...there is a next one, right? There had better be...or I will be so sad. This book realy deserves another SWEET sequel (with a cherry on top!)
As Always,Erika!
Thanks for you great review Erika! She will be back with her take on another sequel in a few weeks.

Until then, what are you reading lately?

Oh! One more thing - I am over on the Pots N Pens blog talking about my favorite things. Food and writing. Check it out and see exactly what meal I would serve for some of my characters.

See you next time...




What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WWO: The DIES IRAE Blog Tour



Happy WWO Wednesday! I can't believe the day is almost here - the beginnings of the blog tour and official launch of DIES IRAE. I have been honored, humbled, thrilled with the early response as the book has begun to find its way into the world.  Here are a few of the comments from Goodreads:
"Dies Irae is a fast paced story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Once you set your eyes on this book you will find it very and I mean very difficult to walk away from. It overflows with emotion: love, anger, and lust." 
"Ho. ly. wow. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions. This is just a taste (novella) of the series to come and I cannot wait to read the rest. It's dripping with emotion. Betrayal, confusion, heartbreak, desire, they don't seem to be strong enough words to describe it. This book is both powerful and dynamic."  
Yea, humbled. THANK YOU!!!


DIES IRAE has been uploaded and is starting to be distributed out into the world. I would love to hear your thoughts if you decide to read it.


In the meantime, I wanted to share my tour stops with you. I will be doing many, many giveaways for those who comment AND as gifts, so be sure to stop by and check it all out!


TOUR DATES - 2/1 through 2/17

Before I close this post, I want to share a tiny snippet of DIES IRAE with you as well - just a teaser:
My cheek stings with Demi’s anger. On my lips, the taste of her skin lingers. The two sensations mix, intoxicating me. It’s all too much. And yet, it’s all so much more real than anything I’ve experienced before. I want to drink it up, let the rush crest over me. I feel alive. Powerful.
And I want more.

What do you think?

Next up for me---Working on LACRIMOSA's final edits and beginning the drafting of book 2, LIBERA ME. I am beyond excited to get started on it! I will give you all an update sometime next week. Eep.

What are you all working on???

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tip Tuesday with Renee Pace - Writing In Multiple Genres


Today I am joined by Renee Pace for another installment of Tip Tuesday. Renee writes both erotica/romance and YA. She is joining us today to talk about this difficult switch and handling the jump between genres. Take it away, Renee. 



The Two Sides of a Writer
By Renee Pace

Like many authors I juggle a lot. Mother to four children, part-time work from September to May and full-time work in the summer and then of course my writing. And, like many authors I also juggle writing in two very different genres. I write erotica/romance under the name Renee Field and young adult under the name Renee Pace. I used to worry about the cross-over (sigh what if a reader finds out I write hot sensual books?). Well I’ve given up worrying. I can’t control everything in my life and while I try my best to keep the genres separate with different twitter/facebook/website accounts, I sometimes cross promote on both, especially if I’m talking about the craft of writing.

And it is that craft of writing I’d like to discuss today. My brain when I’m writing YA, which I usually write in 1st POV can only function when I’m totally focused with my teen characters. I can’t seem to switch genres. One day romance the next YA. I really wish I could, but I’ve discovered that when I do that it usually takes me a good week to get back in the head of my teenager. And that got me thinking why?  I usually work on two romance novels at the same time so why is it that switching genres is so hard for me as a writer. I think the answer lies with my investment. My romance writing is total escapism for me. I write about smart, sexy women and hunky, Alpha males usually with a paranormal twist.

My YA is always much more personal and hard hitting, and sometimes controversial. I also find I’m dredging up childhood memories, sometimes painful memories, to incorporate into my YA characters. But for 2012 I’m hoping for a lighter feel with my YA with my new series. I’m currently working on a Sci-fi YA in 1st POV and so far I’m loving it. Now, my girl in this story has her own issues but adding those sci-fi elements, which incorporate my love of the oceans and outer space is very thought provoking for me. In fact when I started to plot out how I wanted this series to go I engaged my 16 year-old in a debate. In fifty years do you think scientists will find life on other planets? Strangely we both thought yes and that got us thinking what type of life form would that be? He said something water-based and voilĂ , the story I’m working on came to life.

I’d love to hear from other authors who juggle writing in different genres. If any have tricks of the trade please let me know.

Thanks Renee for joining me and giving your advice. As an author who juggles between educational nonfiction and YA, I can relate to the difficulties. 

For a little more info:
Renee Field launched Rapture, a sensual paranormal in November 2011 on Amazon. Check out www.reneefield.com
Renee Pace launched Off Leash in October and Off Limits in December 2011 on Amazon. Check out www.reneepace.com for her YA writing.

How do you juggle multiple genres/projects?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering to Breathe...

Happy Monday All! 

I don't know about you, but I had an insane weekend. See, I am currently spread a little too thin...okay a lot too thin. 

I got a promotion at work and am trying to close up one job while prepping for another. In addition, I have the novella coming out in a few days (EEK!) and edits on the novel due shortly after that. And then there is the parenting/carpooling/cooking/real life stuff

Yep, it is a lot. A WHOLE LOT!

So, how am I getting through it with a measure of sanity?

BREATHING.

Yep. Breathing in and out. In and out.

That is all I can do right now. Narrow my focus, concentrating on one thing at a time, and just breathe.

How do you regain your balance and remember to breathe?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Teen Talk Friday - Cover Love

Welcome to the first installment of Teen Talk Friday. Okay, so today, I thought we'd talk covers - their importance, what kind of covers my teen group likes, etc.

But first, who is my teen group? Named T-Cubed (The Think Tank) by me,  my teen group consists of a group of 5 to 15 teens (it varies a lot), all between the ages of 13 and 18, mostly girls, and all in honors programs at my local high schools. They are voracious readers, and some of them what to be writers as well.

I asked my teen group the following question:

How important are book covers to you when deciding what books to buy, and what are some of your favorite covers?

Overwhelmingly, my group said that book covers were very important in getting them to check out the book. They did NOT cite covers as a reason for buying, but it is a major determiner of whether or not my teens look at the book in the first place.

As to the second part of the question - here are some of the book covers they really like:







The theme I see....blue works! LOL!

What are some of YOUR favorite colors? Do you have any questions for T-cubed? Leave them in the comments or drop me an email.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Bookanista Booyah for WOLFSBANE

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! I've been busy getting things ready for the launch of DIES IRAE on 2/1; but in between the busyness, I've been trying to knock out a few books from the TBR pile, finishing 4 books in the last few weeks. WOOT!


Now, before I get to my Bookanista shout out for one of those books, I wanted to wish a HUGE Bookanista welcome to our newest Bookanistas - Tracy Banghart, Genniger Albin, Jessica Love, and Hilary Wagner. I am so thrilled to have these wonderful peeps join the insanity!!!


Now, check out what the other Bookanista's have on tap:


LiLa Roecker  adores AUSTENTATIOUS
Christine Fonseca  is wild about WOLFSBANE
Stasia Ward Kehoe gives cover love to GETTING SOMEWHERE
Nikki Katz takes a shine to UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Katy Upperman is dazzled by A MILLION SUNS
Shannon Messenger  welcomes four wonderful new Bookanistas
Gennifer Albin joins the Bookanistas with a great giveaway
Tracy Banghart is wowed by ON FORTUNE’S WHEEL

On to my Bookanista Shout out for WOLFSBANE: Book 2 in the Nightshade Series by Andrea Cremer


Release Date: 7/26/2011


Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.
Why I liked it: 
I'll be honest - I am very jaded when it comes to sequels. While I typically love companion novels, I struggle with many sequels. I don't know if this is because of the backtracking, or because some stories deteriorate into a tangled mass of cliches. Whatever it is, I am jaded.


Enter Wolfsbane. I really enjoyed it. And yes, there were moments when it was a tangled mess of love triangle cliche, lies and such. However, it was also so much more. There was a deeper exploration of the mythos behind the story, a deeper delve into the past history. And THAT is what I loved and appreciated so much.
I am truly looking forward to reading Bloodrose, the last of the trilogy, and will likely buy it soon.


For more about the Bookanistas, our own upcoming books, and our reviews, check out our website - The Bookanistas. You can also find us on Facebook, and find our crazy celebration vlogs on YouTube.


Yea, we're crazy like that!


What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Before I Draft.

Happy WWO Wednesday. Today I am talking about drafting. You know, writing that dreaded first - or in my case, zero - draft. As I've stated before, I am a thinker. I plot and plan and stew long before I can write a single word. That said, I am not at all rigid in my writing process. It's very fluid, allowing me the freedom to change direction or plot based on the whims of my characters.

I know what you're thinking - those two things, plotting and freedom, don't really go together. For me the freedom is IN the plotting. By having a loose structure, my mind is able to go where ever the character wants it to without worrying about getting lost in the muck.

So, what do I actually DO before I sit down to write that first draft. How do I instill a little structure in which my characters can play?

Here is a brief, and NOT all inclusive list of my typical pre-draft activities:

  • Premise - I always start here. What is the basic situation and problem in the story?
  • Theme - What are the BIG themes in the story?
  • Plot Points - Once I know the basics of the premise and theme, I sit down and sketch out (very loosely) the major plot points. For me, this means I use Blake Snyder's beats. For others, this could be a basic plot line. The point is that I need to have some sort of structure for the story.
  • Music - yea, I know, music. Soundtrack music to be exact. See, I can not write without music. Period. And for me, the music I listen too has to emulate the mood of the scene(s) I am writing. So, I spend time searching for just the right music. 
  • Time -  Once I pull that together, the book will start unfolding in my thoughts. I'll see snippets of scenes, get a feel for little pieces of the characters. At this point, I stew. And stew. I obsessively listen to the "right" music and steep myself into the vibe of the story. This process may last a day, a week, a few weeks.
  • Characters - During my period of stewing, I begin to have mental conversations with my characters. I get to know them in my thoughts. I may start doing some character writing exercise, asking them questions about love, anger, rage, hope - all the base emotions. As I write their answers down, I usual start to feel the story
  • Once these things are done - and the process varies highly for every book and every project - I start writing. And writing. I prefer to get the zero draft done FAST, though up until recently, I was not good at FAST. Now, I draft in 10 - 15 minute increments, and I get through the book in nothing flat.
There you go - my process. It's weird, maybe even wacky. But it works for me. 
What do you guys to pre-drafting? Anything?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday with Robin Reul - The Waiting Game

Today I am joined by Robin Reul for our first real installment of Tip Tuesday. Robin is a contemporary YA author repped by Bill Contardi at Brandt & Hochman. In her spare time she loves to foster her Facebook addiction, drink copious amounts of caffeine and enjoy her good standing as an equal opportunity cupcake lover. She lives in Southern CA with her husband and two kids. Her novel BAND GEEK is currently on submission.


Robin is talking about the waiting game with us, something she is very familiar with being on submission. Take it away, Robin. 


(this post originally appeared on her blog, Robin's Nest.))

Things To Do While You're Waiting To Hear Back From The Publishing World

Today I might, possibly, be one of the most impatient people in the world. I admit it. So, it's obviously completely ironic that I've chosen to be a writer and enter the world of publishing, which far surpasses the world of "Hurry up and wait" that the film industry is. But I survived that, and I'll survive this too, because there are many lessons to learn from the tortoise rather than the hare.


First and foremost, when things are moving at the speed of molasses, it offers a great opportunity to work on your craft, and it might give you the spark that you've been looking for. Here are some great things you can do while waiting:


READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON IN YOUR GENRE
When I'm not writing (or packing lunches, shuttling kids, squeezing in time for a shower or doing laundry), I try and read everything I can in my genre. It's great to know what is selling and why. Further, it allows you the opportunity to learn from published writers that write in a style similar to your own. When I read, I will often sit with a notebook and pen and write down key phrases or lines of dialogue or things that caught my eye as well written. I may have written, or will write, similar things, but I study the eloquence with how they crafted those sentences and break them down to see why they worked so well. It's like a free master class. Further, as I query agents, I can use an example of an author they may know (or represent) to give them a sense of what to expect from my writing. Authors will often thank their agents in the acknowledgements, and it becomes a perfect way to target someone who might be an appropriate fit for your work.


USE WRITING PROMPTS
Many authors (like Laurie Halse Anderson, who does this often on her blog) will offer up writing prompts to help inspire you to write. If you have a day where you are simply looking at the blinking cursor on the page, this is a great way to get inspired. Who knows what it can bring forth story-wise? At the minimum, it means you are writing, and whether or not you trash every word or write something amazing, the key is to aim to get words on a page daily, to make it a habit like brushing your teeth or drinking your coffee.


READ WRITING BLOGS
There is such a wealth of free, insanely good writing advice out there on numerous blogs, many from agents and writers themselves. These tips can help you ask yourself the right questions when revising, hear their personal experiences to help you know you're not alone, etc. Often, agents will even put up stats like where they are in their query letters or slush pile, which can help you calm down and refrain from biting your fingernails to nubs, wondering why you haven't heard anything.


SUBSCRIBE TO PUBLISHERS MARKETPLACE
For just $20 a month, you can get a daily email elivered to your inbox that tells you what is selling, in what genre, who is representing it and what publisher bought it. This may also help you hone your focus and know if the work you are trying to get out there is something that certain agents/houses might be interested in. You can also track Agent Deals and find out what agents represent what authors.


ATTEND WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES
Workshops and conferences are excellent networking oppportunities - you never know who you will meet! Often, they have manuscript critiques available for that critical first ten pages, and it can be extremely helpful to get that insight from a variety of industry professionals, even if you've had it done previously. I have yet to go to a conference or workshop where I didn't leave with some new nugget that I carry forth and incorporate, and I can't find enough words to describe, at the minimum, how inspiring it feels to be in the company of fellow writers. You can't help but leave this environment and not want to go home and get busy. It doesn't matter if it's an SCBWI event, or something at your local community college. Get yourself out there and get involved. It will help keep up your momentum.


BLOG
If you don't have one, start one. You're helping establish your presence in the marketplace, getting your name out there, and offering yourself another outlet to write. See? I'm procrastinating today's writing by writing this blog right now!! Just kidding. (sorta)


And above all, keep on keepin' on. Don't give up!!


Thank you Robin. This is a great list! What do you guys do when waiting - for an agent, an editor, whatever????

Monday, January 16, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Just a quick post to say CONGRATS to

LAURA PAULING!!!

She won the little cover reveal contest on my blog from last week. WOOT!!! Thanks to everyone for all of the fabulous support these last few weeks. The launch is now just over two weeks away, and there are a slew of giveaways associated with the tour. More information coming soon.

Eep!

Marketing Watch Monday - Understanding Rights

I've been stewing over this post for a while, wanting to share a little of my thoughts regarding protecting the rights to our work - our stories. In this age of digital formats, etc, it is increasingly easier to violate copyrights, loose track of the various rights delineated in our contracts, etc. And as more and more authors are forging this road alone, it is important to read up on the basic legalese and understand things. (and have a lawyer or agent to work through some of this with).

My thinking on this was spurred by a recent interview I listened to with The Firm author John Grisham. He was talking about how the original movie of his book, The Firm, came to be. It turns out that someone had obtained a bootlegged copy of his book and liked it. That someone was hooked up with the film industry, and the rest is history, as it were.

I mention this not to condone bootlegged copies, per sea, but to acknowledge that they've been around. For ever. This is not something new with the digital age, but it is something that now has a bigger impact.

As luck would have it, I read a couple of great posts dealing with copyrights and rights in general this week. So, I thought I'd share a couple of links from these articles with all of you.

  • Iona McAvoy @ Downtown YA - Iona blogs twice a month on the Downtown YA blog, always talking about legal stuff. This particular post was great, and talked about copyrights with reference to not just print - but the exploding world of digital formats. It was well worth the read, and something I think we all need to be aware of, and open to.
  • Ash Krafton @ QueryTracker.net - Ash talks about rights and includes a couple of helpful links at the end of the post.

What are your thoughts about the changing face of publishing and the impact to our rights as authors? Do you know the various types of rights discussed in contracts? Even if you have a lawyer and/or agent, I think it is important to be self-informed. What do you guys think?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blog Chain: Childhood Memories, Wherein I Exposed My Inner Geekness

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Jon who asked us to the following:


Imagine the home(s) where you grew up, and start drawing a floor plan. As you draw, memories will surface. Grab onto one of those memories and tell us a story.

I consider my childhood home this fabulous old tutor I lived in until I was in high school. It sat on a corner lot and had more charm and character than most homes. My mom, my only parent in those days, was a bit of a bohemian-wanna-be-gypsy. And that bohemian-gypsy style found its way into the home. We had an art room that boasted a macrame wall, a kitchen will geometric shapes painted all over the walls, a private patio that I claimed as my "fort", and a partially finished attic straight out of some scary story. Yep, the house had loads of charm. And yes, I have often thought of using it in a story, and I likely will.

But that isn't what this prompt it about - this is about memories. Our childhood memories in our home.

Hmm....I have lots of memories to choose from, but the one that most readily comes to mind is likely the most geeky of them all. So, consider yourself warned.

I was a HUGE Star Wars fan. No really, HUGE. I saw the movies, often. I memorized the lines and the music. Watched the TV specials. And even analysed the mythology within the movies. Yep, I was a fan (still am.) .

The movie that meant the most to me, however, was the middle movie - Empire Strikes Back. I saw that movie 30+ times, wrote articles for my church and for school about the mythology and quest motifs, memorized every line. In fact, I still remember most of the lines.

Well, one day after seeing the movie yet again, I went to bed, thinking about the tragic reality of facing Darth Vader and how hard that must have been for Luke. I thought about Yoda, and the wise Zen-like beliefs he held. I thought all of this as I drifted off to sleep in my bedroom of my childhood home.

My room was in the front of the house, and my bed was next to the front windows. They had curtains and gave me a perfect view of the streets next to my home. At the foot of my bed was a fish tank filled with angel fish. And in the corner, diagonally from the bed, was my bedroom door.

As I drifted off to sleep, dreams overtook me, throwing me into the world of Leia and Han, Luke and Yoda. And of course, Darth Vader. While I no longer remember most of the dreams of that night, I do remember waking up (or at least, thinking I had woken up). I remember sitting up in bed, my breath coming in fast short spurts. And I remember feel afraid. Very afraid.

I sat, trying to shake of the veil of sleep, but my nerves wouldn't relax. My fear wouldn't yield. I stretched my neck, my back, my shoulders, all the while reminding myself that my fear wasn't real. I had been dreaming, nothing more. I moved the sheer curtain and stared to the street.

There, in the middle of my quiet suburban neighborhood, was Luke's X-wing fighter. I blinked once, twice, three times, jabbing my palms with my nails. I looked again. The X-wing was still there. My brows furrowed as my brain tried to embrace the hallucination.

And then I heard it, the deep rumbling sounds of breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
My flesh erupted in a flurry of chills. I slowly turned my head, looking towards my door. A massive figure covered the doorway, cloaked in shadow, blending into the darkness of my room.

My heart pounded too loud in my ears. My mind spun away from me. And still his breathing continued...

There you have it, one of my most vivid memories. Even now, sharing the story with you, I can remember my sense of fear as I think of his breathing. In and out. In and out.

What is one of your childhood memories?
For more walks through more memories, check out PK's post from earlier today and Tere's post tomorrow

Friday, January 13, 2012

And the Good News Just Keeps Coming...

I had this great intro post for my FABULOUS teen group all planned for today. Um, yea...NOPE. I received some amazing news (plus, one of my teens wants to design their logo!) so I pre-empted that post with this one.

First, I want to remind you that today is the last day to enter my cover reveal contest for LACRIMOSA. Just click here for that.

Now, today's news:

DIES IRAE IS NOT launching on Feb 22. Nope....

IT IS LAUNCHING ON FEB 1!

Yep - just over two weeks from now my novella will be in the world. To celebrate, I made this widget - 


(Which may or may not be working when you read this)


Then I made this "grab it" badge - 

Christine Fonseca, Author
And then, I started planning the blog tour. Which led to thinking about the LACRIMOSA tour. Which led to so much more that I can not yet share...

Suffice it to say I am planning some majorly awesome and epic things.
Stay tuned for more news...and you know I would just love it if you'd grab the widget or the badge for your blogs. 
Thanks for all of your support and for helping me SPREAD THE NEWS!

Have a fabulouso weekend. I'll be back Monday with my fab new features and more exciting fun!

What fab news do you have??

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bookanista Books - what an amazing 2012!

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! I've missed doing these reviews and am SO GLAD to be back! Today I'll be talking about some of the Bookanista Books coming out. But before I get to that, check out what the other Bookanista's have on tap:


I am blessed to be surrounded by these Bookanistas - all fabulous writers in their own right, with amazing releases coming up. Just check out this list of the releases coming out this month:


January:
  • Under The Never Sky - Veronica Rossi (1/3) ~ (from Amazon - Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.
    Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.
    A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.)

  • A Million Suns - Beth Revis (1/10) ~ (from Amazon -  Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. 
    It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies. 
    But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.)
  • Fracture - Megan Miranda (1/17) ~ (from Amazon Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine -despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it? Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?)
  • On The Bright Side - Shelli Johannes Wells (1/31) ~ (From Goodreads -  As if the devil’s food cake at her wake and the white fat pants she’s stuck wearing for eternity weren’t bad enough, fourteen year-old Gabby is quick to discover that Cirrus, the main rung of Heaven, is a far cry from the Pearly Gates. Here, Skyphones and InnerNets are all the rage. At her first Bright ceremony, G.O.D., the automated assignment system, spits out Angela Black, Gabby’s arch nemesis and longtime fencing rival. As a Bright, Gabby has to protect Angela, her assigned mortal, in order to move up through the training levels of heaven. 
    Back on earth, Angela starts hitting on Michael, Gabby’s crush and should-have-been boyfriend. Gabby’s pranks to quell the love are harmless at first until the school dance sabotage gets completely out of control. Then, Celestial Sky Agent, Clarence, who happens to have anger management issues of his own, steps into reveal that Angela has big problems, and what she really needs is Gabby’s help. Determined to right her wrong and ease her mother’s grief, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to earth for just one day. But if Gabby’s not careful, her well-meaning mission just might shift the very foundation of Heaven, Earth, and every place in between, causing the danger of the dark side to roam free.)
Other releases I can't wait for from my fellow Bookanistas include:
  • In Honor - Jessi Kirby
  • If I Lie - Corrine Jackson
  • Ten - Gretchen McNeil
  • Surrender - Elana Johnson
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities - Shannon Messenger
  • MILA 2.0 - Debra Driza
What are you reading these days?

OH! And I've started contributing to a new blog - DOWNTOWN YA. Stop by today and check it out (and find out more about me than you probably wanted to know!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Whatcha Working On?

For my first installment of W.W.O Wednesday, I though I would fill you guys in on my current projects.

As you all have guessed by my updates, etc, my time is consumed with the Requiem Series for now. I've turned in final edits for DIES IRAE, and am turning in edits on LACRIMOSA this week. Next up, writing the next two books in the series. (cue the picture - my motivation)

I am an outliner, so I am spending the rest of the next couple of weeks outlining (loosely) both books. I have a short story idea related to the series that I need to get on paper as well. Then, hopefully, I will be able to begin drafting book 2 by the end of next week. My day job is back in full swing, so most of my writing time is usurped with my RL obligations. So, I am working on carving time to write - in the morning, at night, whenever I can.

I am so excited to be drafting these stories. SO EXCITED!

What are you guys working on?
OH! And I finally posted a review of Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley at Afterglows Book Reviews. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, New Look, New Schedule

Well, 2012 is well underway, and things are already fabulous! In honor of a new year - a crazy busy year - I thought I would streamline a few things related to my blogging schedule. So, I will be blogging M-F for now, but only 3 weeks a month. And, my posts are sort of following themes (just to make life easier for me.)

  • Monday - Market Watch Monday: I'll recap articles or share my thoughts related to the ever-changing business of publishing.
  • Tuesday - Tip Tuesday: This is the column for writing and publishing tips. And not just from me - but from you guys too. I'm hosting guests to share their tips as well. Interested in participating? Just drop me an email at christine(at)christinefonseca.com or leave me a comment.
  • Wednesday - Whatcha Working-On Wednesday (WWW): Time to share snippets of my work, progress on the various projects, or just share news. Gotta a question for me? This is probably where I'll answer it!
  • Thursday - Bookanista Reviews: Yep, I am sticking with my Bookanista Review Thursdays. I love sharing books, covers, author interviews - and this is where/when I will be doing it.
  • Friday - Teen Talk Friday: I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by teens every day. So, when I have a question about a story, the importance of cover blurbs, cover-art, or pop culture, I just ask them. Now, I want to share that information with you. On Fridays, I will do just that - pose a question to my teen group, and see their answers. Topics will range from writing, to stories, to pop-culture, and everything in between. It's time to let our readers weigh-in on their ideas regarding the world of YA. Gotta a question for my teens? Drop me an email at christine(at)christinefonseca.com or leave a comment.
In addition to the schedule above, I still plan on participating in blog hops, giveaway hops, my blog chain, and other fun things. So, of course, my schedule is fluid!

I mentioned above that I will be only blogging three weeks a month. That's because I am unplugging - COMPLETELY - once a month. Typically, this will be the first full week of the month, but I will always let you guys know when I am unplugged. I figure this should help with the whole balance thing, right???

And finally, I am also contributing to a few other blogs now:
  • Afterglows Book Reviews - my goal is 2 times a month
  • Downtown YA - the 12th and 26th of every month
  • An Intense Life - this is my blog related to giftedness. I am overhauling it at the moment, but I will be back at it in February, with regular posts.
Whew! What a schedule. Hopefully this will bring me closer with all of you while continuing to provide high quality content.

Do you ever look over your blogging purpose and schedule and change things up?




Monday, January 9, 2012

Another Sekrit Revealed (and a little contest)

Finally, the day is here - the day when I can reveal my AMAZING new cover for Lacrimosa, the first length novel in the Requiem Series.



Ta-Da!

Well, what do you think? I am madly in love with this cover. THANK YOU COMPASS PRESS!!!

To celebrate the cover, and the countdown to the releases of both Dies Irae and Lacrimosa, I thought I'd have a little comment contest.

So, leave a comment, follow this blog and you may win a $15.00 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. WOOT WOOT!!!

Want an additional entry? Spread the word in some way (twitter, fb, blog) and you can receive extra entries - up to three. Just let me know what you've done to spread the word.

Oh! And if you're so inclined, add LACRIMOSA and/or DIES IRAE to your TBR list on Goodreads.

THANKS for sharing this special moment with me! Contest closes on 1/13, and I will announce the winner next week. Good luck!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another little tease

My dear friend and fellow author, Heather McCorkle, just released her Channeler short story, BORN OF FIRE as a free ebook downloadable through Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120401

The story is fab. And much to my surprise you get a little bonus with it - an excerpt from DIES IRAE, my Requiem novella.

So, curious about the story? Check out it. Afterall - BORN OF FIRE and the excerpt are free. WOOT!

Could I? Should I?

I am DYING to share another little sekrit with you; dying to reveal something that has been done for a very weeks.

So, should I? Could I?

Well? I guess I could share a little...a taste...an amuse bouche...

Yea, I know. I'm a tease. Come on back on Monday for the full reveal AND a little contest to celebrate. See you then.

And in the meantime, take a look around. The remodel is almost done. And I have to thank my teen for my snazzy new header and post signature! You like?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a way to start 2012....

Happy New Year! I woke up nice and early this morning, ready to spend a few hours editing. After getting comfortably ensconced into my cave, I opened the document. In truth, I wasn't feeling it. You know what I mean - I was feeling a little too angsty, too...whatever.
So I went online and chatted with a couple friends. Finally, after squandering away too much time, I settled back into work, reading through the manuscript one more time to focus this round of revisions.
After an hour or so, I took a quick internet break. I cleaned through my emails, deleting a few announcements, and such without reading. Until I got an email saying congrats for the news in Publisher's Lunch.

What??? I didn't have news in Publisher's Lunch Weekly.

Or did I?
I looked through my trash, found the announcement and read this:

Children's: Young Adult
Christine Fonseca's DIES IRAE, and the Requiem series, in which the battle between good and evil just got a little more complicated, pitched as a Romeo-and-Juliet tale of demons and angels, to Compass Press, in a nice deal, in a four-book deal, for publication in February 2012 (US).

AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a way to start the year! I know most of you knew I was publishing the series from my announcement a few weeks ago, but I wanted to share the news officially.

If you are interested in participating in the blog tour for DIES IRAE or the first book in the series, LACRIMOSA - just fill out the form linked here.

And thank you all for your support over the last several years. This series is near and dear to my heart. I am so excited to get to share it with all of you.

Okay - back to cleaning, etc for me. I will be back on Monday with new features and new fun!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cleaning Up for 2012

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the beginnings of 2012 finds you happy and healthy. As is typical for me at the start of a new year, I am cleaning house - and my online presence. I am streamlining, cleaning, changing, etc.

So, for the next week, I will be unplugged while everything gets a bit of an overhaul. Oh, sure, you may stop by this week and see things in a bit of disarray. But, I assure you it will all be cleaned up by 1/9. And I will be back with new features and some exciting things to share. Maybe even a contest or two.

WOO HOO!!!

See you then.