Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fourth Stall Part II

The Fourth Stall Part II (Fourth Stall, 2) by Chris Rylander, 2012. 288 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: Won.
The life of crime is good.Mac has taken down legendary high school crime boss Staples, business has been booming, and Mac and Vince are getting ready for middle school baseball tryouts. But this can't last. Mac has always tried to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. But what happens when you can't tell the difference? This dilemma walks into the fourth stall in the form of Trixie Von Parkway--an eighth grader with a mean look and an even meaner predicament. The new science teacher is terrorizing her, and she needs Mac to get him off her back. Seems simple enough, but as Mac starts to dig deeper, he finds even more trouble brewing at his school, including a new administrator bent on destroying his business, and indications that Trixie isn't who she claims to be. In the past, the worst thing that could have happened to Mac was that he might lose a little money, maybe catch a beating. In "The Fourth Stall Part II," though, there's going to be much more on the line than that.
First sentence:
I knew she would be trouble from the moment I saw her.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's My Birthday

I'll see y'all tomorrow. Because today I plan on celebrating my birthday by watching my all-time favorite movie...the graphic should give y'all a hint as to what that is.

Be safe and enjoy the final days of the year, and I'll see y'all come Monday.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Apollo's Outcasts

Apollo's Outcasts by Allen Steele, November 6, 2012. 311 pages. Published by PYR. Source: Publisher.
In the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein's juvenile classics, crafted with a modern sensibility. Jamey Barlowe has been crippled since childhood, the result of being born on the Moon. He lives his life in a wheelchair, only truly free when he is in the water. But then Jameys father sends him, along with five other kids, back to the Moon to escape a political coup detat that has occurred overnight in the United States. Moreover, one of the other five refugees is more than she appears. Soon Jamey is front and center in a political and military struggle stretching from the Earth to the Moon.
First Sentence:
On my sixteenth birthday, I went to the moon. 

Cover Reveal: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun + Giveaway

Guys, today, I am helping to reveal the cover for Terah Edun's YA fantasy, Sworn to Raise. Which let me tell you is quite nice. There's also a nice giveaway to the bottom of the post.

About the author:
Terah Edun is an international development professional and author/lover of all things Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is a native Georgian, adoptive Washingtonian, unrepentant expat currently living in South Sudan, brilliant dreamer, lover of dogs and not-so-closet geek. Her first novel, Red Madrassa, was released on November 8th and her second novel, Sworn to Raise, comes out in March 2013.
You can haunt Terah Edun at-
Website | FB | Goodreads | Twitter |

Sworn to Raise (Courtlight, 1) by Terah Edun, March 15, 2013.

Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the  kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond  initiations.
Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.
But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.
This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.

Don't forget, you can add Sworn to Raise to your Goodreads shelf.

Enter to win a $60 Amazon giftcard from Terah. Ends 12/31

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wish List Wednesday

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher, June 18, 2013. Published by Harper Collins Children's Books.

Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game of spying on their neighbors, but when they stake out the home of notoriously phony middle school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward), they stumble across a terrifying scene.
Or do they? The girls are convinced that Dr. Agford’s sugary sweet façade hides a dark secret. But as they get closer to the truth about Agford, the strain of the investigation pushes Sophie and Grace farther apart. Even if they crack their case, will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a Rear Window twist.
Why: I first heard about The Wig in the Window in October and it sounds perfect! The cover is also absolutely adorable. This sounds like it will be just as good as Kim Harrington's Sleuth or Dare series, which I loved.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Merry Christmas to All

Just wanted to drop in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May you have a blessed day with family and  friends. I'll leave you some awesome Christmas quotes.

Fulton J. Sheen:
The simple shepherds heard the voice of an angel and found their lamb; the wise men saw the light of a star and found their wisdom.
Agnes M. Pharo:
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

Lenore Hershey:
Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
Ada V. Hendricks:
May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; the heart of Christmas which is love.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Order of Odd-Fish

The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy, February 9, 2010 (originally published in 2008). 416 pages. Published by Laurel Leaf. Source: author.
JO LAROUCHE HAS lived her 13 years in the California desert with her Aunt Lily, ever since she was dropped on Lily’s doorstep with this note: This is Jo. Please take care of her. But beware. This is a dangerous baby. At Lily’s annual Christmas costume party, a variety of strange events take place that lead Jo and Lily out of California forever—and into the mysterious, strange, fantastical world of Eldritch City. There, Jo learns the scandalous truth about who she is, and she and Lily join the Order of Odd-Fish, a collection of knights who research useless information. Glamorous cockroach butlers, pointless quests, obsolete weapons, and bizarre festivals fill their days, but two villains are controlling their fate. Jo is inching closer and closer to the day when her destiny is fulfilled, and no one in Eldritch City will ever be the same.
First Sentence:
The desert was empty, as though a great drain had sucked the world underground.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guest Post: Jack Brody (author of The Moroni Deception) + Giveaway

Today, I have a very excellent guest post from Jack Brady the author of The Moroni Deception on "Why I Write". Hope y'all will enjoy his great post.

About the author:

Jack Brody is a writer, ex-military, and an avid traveler. After his Army stint and then deciding to pass on law school, he went to film school, wrote screenplays, and held a number of jobs which ran from everything to working for a newspaper for one day, to film production, to then going into real estate (with at least five others along the way).  He's fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in his novels (yes, he already has two more in the works). When not writing, he can often be found hiking with his two faithful dogs, occasionally breaking out the old BMW bike for a ride though the mountains, or playing volleyball or bar trivia with his friends.  He divides his time between his home in the Southern Appalachians and wherever his passport will take him. After reading Jon Krakauer's bestselling "Under the Banner of Heaven," he was inspired to undertake a full year of research in preparation for the novel. Taking what he'd learned, along with a bit of imagination, the result was the conspiracy thriller, The Moroni Deception. 
 You can read more about Jack Brody's The Moroni Deception on his website.

Why I Write
The following is a quote from the late Kurt Vonnegut, my favorite writer when I was in my late teens.
"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem for a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." 
And I would agree. While I loved listening to and reading stories growing up, I loved making them up and telling them even more. When I was in high school and feeling like I didn't really belong (which I later learned almost everybody else felt that way), while I played sports and participated in various extracurriculars to have some interaction with other human beings, I turned mostly to books and films to find those who I could relate to (J.D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut are the first two who come to mind) and who I believed understood me--which again, I later found was not that unusual. Somewhere along the line I got the crazy idea that maybe I could create the stories that people would shell out a few dollars for to go watch in the dark for a couple of hours. I think it was not long after I'd read A Confederacy of Dunces, still my all-time favorite novel, shortly before going off to college, that I got it in my head to become a filmmaker, because an Academy Award-winning movie, I felt, absolutely had to be made of this amazing novel (although, surprisingly, after numerous starts and stops, it has still yet to be made).

I was fairly certain, however, they wouldn't turn over the keys of a $50 million movie to an 18 year old, so I would have to somehow work my way up to find myself in a position to one day get that film made (as well as Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, another of my all-time top five novels). At that time in the 80's, I didn't have a very clear idea of how to do that, although at some point it occurred to me perhaps through writing I might. Prior to that, aside from multiple research papers I recall writing on either Porches or Vlad Tepes, the historical Dracula, all I had written were a few short humorous skits in high school which had never been more than maybe 5 or 6 pages (I vaguely remember an updated version of Antigone that I wrote, enacted with clay figures in a shoebox stage and performed in the vein of Mr. Bill, in which everyone died a gruesome Mr. Bill-like death in the end--and if you don't know who "Mr. Bill" is, ask your parents, or maybe even your grandparents). Looking back, though, now, I realize I also wrote for not only my high school and college newspapers, but at the end of my 3 year Army stint, I was editing and writing most of my battalion's newsletter.

Clearly this compulsion to write was a part of me, but yet during this entire time I had never really thought of myself as a writer. Perhaps in my youth I somehow thought of it as effete to write, or perhaps there were no writers I had ever heard of who I really wanted to emulate since it seemed like most of them were either alcoholics, drug addicts, recluses, mildly crazy, or at the least badly depressed. Even John Kennedy Toole, the writer of my very favorite novel committed suicide before his opus had even been published (or discovered for that matter--his mother solicited the help of famed Southern writer, Walker Percy, to get publishers to finally take a look).
After the Army (during which time I'd also attended a night-time filmmaking program) I worked on several films in production (at the low end--not producing), and then went on to a film program at NYU. After that I worked in a number of different (relatively menial) jobs, all the while working mostly on my film scripts, the first of which I'd started writing while still in college. The first two were mostly autobiographical comedies, both probably pretty bad (they're lost to the ages now), but both I'm sure were necessary to get out all the biographical stuff that writers need to sometimes first get out of their systems and move past. Which is not to say that your personality and everything that you've gleaned from your life experience shouldn't be used, but all the little real life episodes that probably seemed so cool and hilarious and in which you probably starred in, probably really don't have the makings of anything much more than a short story (I don't know if it was true, but T.C. Boyle's "Greasy Lake" is a classic "you won't believe what happened the other night" story). After I got the first two out of my system, I went onto to complete five pretty good ones (okay, four, but the fifth one is probably the one that would have racked up at the box office), although none were ever produced. Without going into too much detail, I did, however, send my very favorite, and probably best one off to two different director/producers I'd made the acquaintance of in somewhat roundabout ways. Both I'm fairly certain (read my script and then watch their two movies) went onto "borrow" large chunks of my screenplay for their films, both, of course, without any acknowledgement or payment.

That repeated experience definitely took the wind out of my sails with regards to breaking into the film industry (which I've since gone on to learn that plagiarism and outright theft is apparently an everyday occurrence, and merely viewed as a cagey business move if you change just enough of it to keep it from being identical, as opposed to something reprehensible, as its regarded in the academic and literary world). I still love movies, but along with those episodes, I've since found myself reading a great deal more, especially now that I also seem to have "aged out" of the demographic that most films are made for. As far as writing The Moroni Deception, I'd always thought of trying to write a novel, and, in fact, had made several half-hearted attempts over the years, but never really had either an interesting enough story, or enough of a story to complete an entire novel--that is until I happened across Jon Krakaur's Under the Banner of Heaven. It was then I knew I had found my source material, and I was so confident I then went on to research the LDS faith for a full year before I ever really even put pen to paper (other than for the copious notes I took).

Looking back, the interesting thing I find about this whole writing evolution is that it was never just about making money. In fact, it's not been until just fairly recently that I've finally been able to even see the first dime. Yes, part of my hopes in all of this was to write professionally full-time one day, but the main reason, I truly believe, was just as Mr. Vonnegut said, to feed my soul, to "create something" as " a way of making life more bearable." For the younger readers (and those few older one to which this applies) I would just conclude with the advice that if you've not yet found your creative outlet, I would highly recommend that you do. While I won't go so far as to say that it's the meaning of life (that would, of course, be "to love and be loved" which I learned from Peter O'Toole in the film, Creator--and biologically speaking, to procreate), but it will give a richness and an added layer to your life that if you haven't yet discovered, you will treasure when you do.
The Moroni Deception by Jack Brody, July 31, 2012. Published by Visigoth Press.

Michael Chenault, award-winning investigative journalist with the New York Times, is rousted in the middle of the night by NYPD detectives and accused of the bizarre murder of a complete stranger. After clearing himself, Chenault finds that Martin Koplanski, the retired history professor he’d been accused of murdering, was likely killed for a mysterious Mormon relic long thought to be just a myth. Twenty-four hours later, Chenault receives an email with a photo of the recently murdered wife of Presidential candidate, Brockston Ratchford. She too appears to have been ritually killed in the exact manner as Koplanski, right down to having the same cryptic character scrawled in blood across her forehead. With way more than just a hunch to now go on, Chenault heads out to Salt Lake City, the site of the Ratchford murder investigation, to find out what, if any, connection there is between the murders.
With the help of a beautiful young reporter he meets along the way, Chenault comes to learn the dark family secrets of a rising political star, along with the rather strange but true history of the Mormon church. As he pieces the story together of what appears to be an ever-growing conspiracy, Chenault is pursued by The Brothers, two murderous zealots who will stop at nothing to retrieve the Mormon relic Chenault is also trying to find. What Chenault eventually discovers is that what he’s uncovered may not only affect the outcome of the next Presidential election, but decide the fate of an entire religion–if he can manage to stay alive.
Open to residents of the US
Must be 16+ to enter.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Lazarus Machine

The Lazarus Machine (A Tweed & Nightingale Adventure, 1) by Paul Crilley, November 6, 2012. 280 pages. Published by PYR. Source: publisher.
An alternate 1895... a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well...
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
Professor Moriarty.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.
First Sentence:
Tonight, seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed was going to be the voice of a fifty-year-old woman.

Cover Reveal: Dangerous by Suzannah Daniels

Today on the blog, I am helping reveal the cover for Suzannah Daniels upcoming YA contemporary romance, Dangerous

About the author:
Suzannah Daniels has had an affinity for words for as long as she can remember. She grew up in North Georgia with four brothers, so she learned at an early age to admire snakes and motorcycles.  When she wasn't pestering her brothers, she could usually be found reading or writing.
She is the author of Viking's Embrace, a historical romance, and Ghostly Encounter, Book One of her Ghostly series (young adult paranormal romance).
Currently, she lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband and her teenage daughter. Her son lives nearby. The family pets include a Lab mix, a Basset Hound, a Shih Tzu, and a sweet, little kitty.
You can haunt Suzannah Daniels at-
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | FB |

Dangerous by Suzannah Daniels, February 10, 2013.

Stone Hamilton had never known fear…until the accident.  Since then, his life has spiraled out of control.  He’s been kicked out of private school, deemed a disappointment by his father, and forced to endure his own guilt, anger, and grief.  The last thing he wants is a relationship with someone who will have expectations of him.  But once he’s enticed by the shimmering pink lips of the oh-so-popular, academically-excelling, straitlaced hottie from his new school, he knows he’s in trouble.  
Seventeen-year-old Dara Golding has one goal for the summer.  Make enough money to buy a car, so that she can drive to school her senior year.  After starting a new job, she realizes that she’ll be working with the brooding, motorcycle-riding, bad boy who started attending Quail Mountain High last year.  With his less than stellar reputation, he’s everything she’s afraid of…and that makes him dangerous.
Their undeniable attraction has Stone struggling with his inner demons.  As Dara slowly allows Stone to claim her heart, a little white lie to cover an ugly truth could determine whether she’s his savior or the final straw that will break his sanity.

You can add Dangerous to your Goodreads shelf.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wish List Wednesday

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster, February 5, 2013. Published by Harper Teen.

The girl with no past, and no future, may be the only one who can save their lives. 
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.
Why: First off the title, its kind of creepy but has me completely intrigued to see how it plays into the book. It also sound like one fascinating read, so I'm definitely willing to give this one a go.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt

I see that we meet again for the 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt. Hope that y'all are having fun and remembering all the awesome books that you have read over the year.

Looking for this, hunters? I have today's trivia questions from Fiction Fervor's 2012 YA Story Scavenger Hunt here for you. 2012YASSH challenges you with your knowledge of young adult books published this year, and if you enter, you might win a prize! Check out it here for more info. And be sure to read the rules!

Without further ado, today's questions come from The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen.

Easy: Who are the four orphans competing for the role of impersonating the lost prince?
Medium: What is the most likely reason for Prince Jaron’s disappearance?
Hard: How many orphans live in Mrs. Turbeldy’s Orphanage for Disadvantaged Boys at the beginning of the book?

Enter your answers in the form below!

About the author:
Jennifer Nielsen was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won't play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; of The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; and will write the sixth book of the Infinity Ring series. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Framed & Dangerous

Framed & Dangerous (Sleuth or Dare, 3) by Kim Harrington, June 1, 2012. 192 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source:

Who's the culprit?
Norah and Darcy are still in a fight, but crime doesn't stop just because the girls aren't speaking. Someone has set fire to their school's brand-new field house. And the prime suspect is Zane Munro, the cute boy Norah can't help crushing on.
When Zane asks Partners in Crime for help, Norah and Darcy must band together to investigate. Norah knows Zane is innocent, but the clues are not in his favor. Can she and Darcy mend their friendship, crack the case, and clear Zane's name before it's too late?
First Sentence:
A dark cloud followed me to school Monday morning. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond

Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, September 4, 2012. 48 pages. Published by Walker Childrens. Source: Publisher (unsolicited).
When the news of the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound broke, the SEAL team member that stole the show was a highly trained canine companion. Throughout history, dogs have been key contributors to military units. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent follows man's best friend onto the battlefield, showing readers why dogs are uniquely qualified for the job at hand, how they are trained, how they contribute to missions, and what happens when they retire. With full-color photographs throughout and sidebars featuring heroic canines throughout history, Dogs on Duty provides a fascinating look at these exceptional soldiers and companions.
First Sentence:
When people learned that a dog had been a key team member of Navy Seal Team Six in the successfully raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in May 2011, everyone wanted to know more about the dog.

All About Middle Grade Challenge 2013: Sign-Ups

All about (the) Middle Grade Challenge:

Over the past two years I have fallen in love again with middle grade books. There have just been so many amazing MG books coming out and even ones that are older that I have come across that are flat-out incredible. So this year instead of focusing on my lengthy TBR pile or putting together yet another young adult challenge, I decided why not host a challenge dedicated to all the fabulous MG books out there and their equable fabulous authors.

So, if you are an author of a new and upcoming middle grade book and would like to have your book featured on the blog, as well, as be interviewed, please, fill out this form because I would love to shine a light
on you and your book this year.

Readers, all you need do is read and review any middle grade book that you want. It can be new or old because the goal of this challenge is to share the love of MG books with as many people as possible.

I hope that y’all are as excited about this challenge as I am. Authors’, please, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

Challenge Levels:
1-3 Freshmeat
1-7 middle grade rookie
1-10 Master of all that is MG

  • Open to EVERYONE
  • Bonus karma points for reviewing the MG titles that you read next year and linking them on the blog each month and for sharing the challenge with others.
  • Any middle grade books counts. It doesn't matter when it was written; all that matters is that you read an MG title. 
  • Create a post stating your acceptance of the challenge and what level you're going for
  • The All about Middle Grade Challenge will run from January 1 through December 31, 2013. Sign-up at any time to participate.

Orchid @ The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Margie @ Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
Nina@Jadore Happy Endings
Karl Fields
Heather @ Buried in Books

Friday, December 14, 2012

Blog Tour: World Building with S.M. Boyce

Today, I have S.M. Boyce, author of Treason, stopping by to talk about world building. Thanks to 

About the author:

S.M. Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist who also dabbles in contemporary fiction and comedy. Her B.A. in Creative Writing also qualifies her to serve you french fries. She updates her blog a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Fantasy Author S. M. Boyce’s Take on World Building

Because of the heavy high fantasy influences I’ve had in my writing career, I tend to give the setting a fair amount of detail. I do my best to keep it as secondary, but many tell me the worlds I create become characters all their own. That’s one heck of a compliment, right?
In my opinion, setting is crucial to a novel. It establishes the where and settles the reader into the novel by giving them a concrete location. With a stable setting, the reader can dream as big as they want and let the characters move through what is for all intents and purposes a real place. The background becomes solid, and in making the setting as realistic as possible, the author lets the characters take ownership of the space.
The process of world building itself is incredibly complex and subject to massive rewrites and revisions. It’s all about finding a balance between too much and too little description. Fact is, you’ll never make everyone happy. I hear reviewers say the setting was perfect just as often as I hear others complain the description went on too long. So I do what makes me happy.

Step One

When I sit down to create a place, I’ve already daydreamed about it. I’ve pulled in my past experiences or looked up amazing pictures (which you can see on my Pinterest boards “Swipes  & Ideas,” “Creature Swipes,” and “Character Swipes”). I’ve let my mind wander, and I have a sense of what it looks like. If you’re going to build a world, you need to already have an idea of how all its pieces fit together. That’s step one.

Step Two

Step two in world building is to start out small. Plan out how you’ll introduce your bits of the world and plan out why each bit of the world matters. You may not talk about every nook and cranny, but you should know about them. Realistic writing comes from understanding even details that are never shared.
If you’re building an entirely new world like I do in Lichgates (Grimoire Trilogy #1), you can’t info dump. Telling the reader all about this crazy world all at once in the first chapter will make them slam the book closed. Don’t inundate the reader; spread it out instead. Let the characters visit the various places in your world and explore it with the reader. Have a character who knows all about the world join up with one who doesn’t—having this dynamic will prompt dialogue that explores the nuances that aren’t visible to the naked eye, like the land’s history (or city’s, or whatever). It lets the reader learn along with the character.

Step Three

Step three to building your world is to sit down and actually write out your first draft. It’s okay if it sucks. The point is to get it out.
Visualize the location, right down to any movement within it. Ask questions. If you’re in a forest, what do you see? Are the trees close together, or separated?  What’s on the ground? What kind of canopy do you see—green leaves, fall colors, or dead limbs? Are there animals? If so, what kind? If not, why not? Are your characters taking a path, or are they wandering, lost?
Write the details as your narrator—not you—would notice them. Use cues from all five senses to bring about action, rather than just describing the world. So instead of describing the red and yellow leaves on the forest floor, describe the crunch they make under your narrator’s boots as he runs through the woods. Show us how a gust kicks them up, and how the wind’s biting chill races down the nape of his neck.
I heard someone tell me I used too much “telling” in my world building, and I’m sorry, but I laughed. That debate is so old. That’s a whole other post, but you’ll need to balance showing and telling in your world building, and that is why I bring it up. Visual cues will obviously be telling, and frankly, you’ll see mostly telling while establishing your setting. I mean, don’t get carried away with it or anything. “The woods were dense” is just weak. But, you can tell us how the trees congregated close together. Use active verbs, and you’ll make your writing both strong and interesting.
Continue to build the setting. Take risks. Let it interact with your characters as much as they interact with it. Let it breathe, and I think you’ll be impressed with what you create.

Step Four

Rewrite. And rewrite. And tweak. And rewrite again. Sigh deeply. Repeat.
That’s how I work, anyway.
First drafts are typically pretty bad. Don’t let that discourage you. As you build your world, it will teach you things. It will grow and develop, and your subconscious will uncover new nooks and crannies  you hadn’t realized existed.

Treason (The Grimoire, 2) by S.M. Boyce, October 27, 2012. Published by Imortal Ink Publishing.
Ourea has always been a deadly place. The lichgates tying the hidden world to Earth keep its creatures at bay—for now.
Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.
Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.
To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.

Cover Reveal: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein + Contest

Today, I am very excited to help reveal the cover for Lisa Burtien's upcoming release, Dear Cassie. Not only do y'all get to see the cover, but you can also check out an excerpt from it, as well, as enter Lisa'a epic contest (details at the end of the post).

About the author:
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She lives in Portland, OR, with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Dear Cassie is her second novel.
You can haunt Lisa Burstien at-
Twitter | FB | Website |

Excerpt: Dear Cassie
We kept walking on the lake trail, the bullfrogs croaking. There was also a humming in my ears from the nicotine.
 It could only be from the nicotine. It had nothing to do with being outside, at night, alone with Ben. It had nothing to do with Ben coming to the cabin and taking me instead of Nez and it definitely had nothing to do with the stars above us shining like they were the sky’s tiara.
I stopped on the trail and looked up, taking them in, when all of a sudden bright colored lights exploded in the sky—fireworks, one after another, on top of each other, huge kaleidoscopes of light, like sparkling rainbow spiders.
“How did you know?” I asked, my voice going softer, like if I talked too loudly they would stop. It was so beautiful, after weeks of so much ugly.
Ben turned to look at me, the colored lights in the sky turning his skin pink, blue, green. “I’m magic.” He shrugged.
I geared up to tell him to fuck off, because that was some corny-ass shit, but then I realized that he really kind of was. In that moment he was able to actually make me forget being me.
 “I would try to kiss you,” he said, “but I’m afraid you’d kick me in the balls.”
“I probably would.” I laughed, the sky filling with noisy color like paint launching from a giant popcorn popper. “But like I said, it wouldn’t be about you.”
“I guess I’ll have to figure out how to make it about me,” he said, taking off his boots and socks and standing. “Come on.”
“There is no way I am getting near that water again,” I said.
“I’ll make sure nothing happens to you,” he said, holding his hand out to help me up.
            I looked at his palm, open, waiting, just wanting to hold mine. For once, I didn’t think about anything except that there was a cute, sweet, smart-ass boy standing in front of me with his hand out.
I pulled off my boots and socks and took it.
We stood at the lakeshore, our hands still clasped, the water licking our feet, fireworks decorating the sky.
I turned to him. He was looking up, his mouth open in wonder like he was trying to swallow the moment.
It was definitely one worth keeping.

Dear Cassie (companion to Pretty Amy) by Lisa Burstien, March, 2013. Published by EntangledTeen.

What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?
You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
You’d be wrong.
There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.
What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?
But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.
And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?

 Now that we have seen the awesome cover for Dear Cassie it is time to share with all of y'all the epic contest that Lisa is putting together.

To enter, all you have to do is pick a fictional character (TV, book, movie...) and write a journal entry between 500-750 words in length and then email by January 1st! We will choose the top 5 and then let the masses vote on their favorite. 
The favorite will be published in the final version of DEAR CASSIE. You read that right, published with the author’s name! The additional four will win $20 book buying gift cards.So get diary-ing! Send you entries to by January 1st!Voting for the top 5 will begin January 7th, with the winner being announced January 14th!

Want to read Pretty Amy, well, you can get your copy at-
Powells | Book Depository | Amazon | B&N |

Don't forget, you can pre-order Dear Cassie from any of the following-
Book Depository | Amazon | B&N |

Cover Reveal: Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock

Cannot believe that it is time to reveal the cover for the first Spencer Hill Contemporary book already. It just seems like such a short time ago that I heard about their new contemporary line.

About the author:
J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners - and sisters-in-law - Joanne & Karen Rock. After years of comparing notes on their favorites books and films, often dreaming up new endings to suit them, they decided to write their own stories. On their own, they’ve each sold solo projects outside the JK Rock name. Joanne Rock is an award winning Harlequin author with over sixty titles to her credit. Karen Rock recently sold her first adult romance to Harlequin’s new Heartwarming line. Together, they look forward to their first Young Adult book in Summer 2013 when CAMP BOYFRIEND is released,the first in a three-book series. CAMP PAYBACK will be a Spring 2014 release, and CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT arrives in Summer 2014. Visit the Camp Boyfriend website at
Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock, July 2, 2013. Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary.

The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.
They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.
But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?

Don't forget to add Camp Boyfriend to your Goodreads shelf.

So, my duckies, what do y'all think of Camp Boyfriend and the cover? I want to hear your thoughts. 

Cover Reveal: Timespell by Diana Paz

Today, I get to share another cover reveal y'all. This time I'm helping to reveal the cover for Timespell by Diana Paz. 

About the author:
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee.
You can haunt Diana Paz at-
Website | Blog | FB | Twitter |

Timespell by Diana Paz, April 1, 2013. Published by Rhemalda Publishing.
In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.
Don't forget, you can also add Diana Paz's Timespell to your Goodreads shelf.

Thanks to Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours.

Blog Blitz: Fang Girl by Helen Keeble + Giveaway

Today, I am excited to share with y'all Fang Girl by Helen Keeble, as well, as an excerpt from it.

About the author:
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed   down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.
Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.
She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.
 You can haunt Helen Keeble at-
Website | Goodreads | Twitter |

Fang Girl Excerpt:

Extract from FANG GIRL by Helen Keeble
In which Our Heroine, Xanthe Jane Greene (unexpectedly undead vampire fangirl) tries to get to grips with her new state...
I was pretty sure I would have remembered being bitten by a vampire, but the last thing I could recall before waking up in the grave was . . . sitting in the backseat of Alice’s mum’s Volvo. I wasn’t really friends with Alice—I wasn’t really friends with anyone down here yet, as my family had only moved in two weeks ago—but we both played the violin and sat next to each other in the orchestra, and her family lived down the road from mine, so her mum had offered to give me a lift back from practice. We’d been coming up one of the twisty little country lanes, and I was trying to make Alice like me by laughing at all her jokes and agreeing that the boy she liked probably fancied her back, and then—a sudden lurch, my seat belt abruptly strangling me, and—nothing.
I must have died in a car crash.
In all my books, movies, and TV shows, I’d never heard of someone becoming undead through being hit by a vampire’s car. Not even in fanfic.
But however it had happened, I was definitely a vampire. I stood up and dusted myself off, then looked around. On the other side of the fence, a narrow country lane snaked away, leading from the Downs toward the south coast. I could hear the distant roar of cars on the main road. Lacking any better option, I started to walk toward the sound. Vampires were urban creatures, after all, and the nearest thing to urban around here was the grubby seaside town of Worthing. It wasn’t much, but it was better than an open sheep field. I could go and hide in . . . in the sewers, I guessed, since there were only two places feral vampires tended to hang out, and Worthing was really, really short on decadent Goth nightclubs. I’d hole up and wait for my sire, and then . . . then . . .
Then I guessed I’d have to start my new life. Unlife. On the plus side, there would probably be stylish clothes and amazing psychic abilities and really hot guys in leather trousers. On the negative side, I’d probably never see sunlight again, or eat chocolate, and I might slowly spiral into a sinkhole of angst and despair until someone staked me. And I didn’t have any money. Or a change of underwear. Or a way to have a shower. And—my stomach rumbled—it was looking increasingly likely that I was going to have to eat raw sheep.
And I wasn’t going to be able to see my family ever again.
My vision went a bit misty, and my lower lip started to tremble. I blinked the tears back. Vampires didn’t cry. Vampires were cool. Deliberately, I thought of all the things I’d be leaving behind. No more constant moving. No more always being the new girl, trying to break into social cliques. As a vampire, I’d be the queen bee with a constant circle of admirers. No more worrying that my exam results wouldn’t be good enough to get into university, or whether I was getting fat. I was going to be slender and gothically beautiful forever.
Well, I was going to be fifteen forever. That kind of sucked. Why couldn’t I have been turned next year?
Never mind, I told myself firmly. I was a vampire. This was going to be great. I’d get to hang out with other vampires, who would be effortlessly elegant and would treat me like an adult. No more fights with my mother over my spending habits. No more annoying little brother stealing my eyeliner. No more embarrassing dad wearing yellow spandex in public and making me go out with him on bike rides. No more, no more.
I stopped, tears streaking my face.
“Well, screw that,” I said, and punched my home number into the mobile phone.

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble, September 11, 2012. Published by HarperTeen.

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:
1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.
And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.
Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....
Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.
You can purchase a copy at-
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |

The Rafflecopter has an entry for blog following. It's open internationally, and the last day to enter is December 25th.
The prize pack includes:
- one signed copy of Fang Girl (can be personalised)
- a voucher for an ARC of Helen's next book NO ANGEL as soon as they are available (likely to be Spring/Summer 2013)
- a cheerful vampire goldfish paperclip
- Fang Girl stickers featuring the cover and quotes from the book

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wish List Wednesday

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington, January 1, 2013. Published by Scholastic Point.

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
Why: The Dead and Buried calls to me, especially since I happen to really enjoy books with haunted houses and a mystery to be solved. Cannot wait to read more Kim Harrington.

Blog Blitz: Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace

About the author:

Wonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters      I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales.      I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles.
You can haunt Cameron Jace at-
Twitter | FB | Goodreads | Website |

Excerpt: Snow White Sorrow

Excerpt from Snow White Blood Red
Dear Wilhelm Carl Grimm,

She is not that giddy, naïve, and helpless princess she pretends to be. Please don’t let her fool you with her innocence if you see her sing to the birds in the forest. Resist her charm from bringing joyful tears to your eyes, and shield yourself from her devious beauty before she deceives you into wanting to kiss her awake. It'll  be a kiss of death. Your death. That’s how she fooled the Huntsman, Prince Charming, and me, her birth mother.
I still remember the original script of the fairy tale, the one you wrote in 1812. It clearly stated that she was my own flesh and blood daughter. I don’t have the slightest idea why you altered it fifty years later.
What was the point of turning me into an evil, narcissistic, and heartless stepmother, blinded by jealousy and envy of the young princess?
For years, I have been looking forward to telling you the truth about her, but you were impossible to reach.
I am glad I found your brother, Jacob. He told me that you wanted to tone the stories down so children could sleep better at night, instead of having nightmares about the Queen who sought to eat her daughter’s heart and liver.
Shame on you, Wilhelm.
You, of all authors, knew why I wanted to kill her. My actions were justified. I was trying to save my kingdom from her wrath, before everything we loved was destined to an end. The same way you had to rewrite the true fairytales after cursing us, so the War of Sorrows would end forever after.
Night after night, and year after year, parents fed their children false bedtime stories, until your lies grew into inescapable memories. Your happily ever after lies, Wilhelm, shaped the so called fairy tale world.
I wondered why you didn’t burn the original scripts, instead of rewriting them. You must have figured out that sooner or later someone would dig up the truth and expose you. Altering it was the smarter solution. You let children believe that the bites were resurrecting kisses, and that torturing glass coffins were made for sleeping beauties, waiting for a prince to come and kiss them awake.
A wise man once said that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was someone else. You did the same with us, Wilhelm. You turned us into pastiches of the immortals that we really are, and made it harder for us if wanted to persuade the world otherwise.
I know that you did it to save us from her. And I appreciate how you concealed our real names, or we would have ended up like Rumpelstiltskin, tortured by those who knew of his real name.
But sometimes, I can’t help but wonder why no one ever questioned why I was called the Evil Queen, and why I was never given a real name in the books.
Was I so superficial to the world, so stereotypical and mundane? Why was I treated as if I were the monster of the week?
You know what I think? I think that the world never got the time to hate me. It just wanted to hate me long before it met me.
If I tell those who detest me about the true nature of their little princess, would they ever care about me half as much as they care about her?
I know that deep inside, they adore me. They like the way I talk, walk, dress, and even the way I kill.
They are just afraid to admit how much they love me. I am the Snow White Queen, strong enough that I don’t need anyone’s pity or love, because I am loved by the greatest and most majestic heart in the world:
Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace, February, 2013. Published by Akmal Eldin Farouk Ali Shebl .
What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?
Sixteen year old Loki Blackstar is no Prince Charming. His mother is a ghost. His only friend is a red Cadillac that talks to him through the radio. He looks like an Angel but acts like jerk. No wonder he has been banned from Heaven, which is the least of his troubles. Loki needs a job to pay for school and support himself.
Still, Loki has a rare gift: He is a Dreamhunter. One of the few in the world who can hunt and kill immortal demons in their dreams so they never wake up again.
When Loki is sent to kill a sixteen-year-old vampire girl the locals call Snow White Sorrow, he is pulled into a magical but dangerous world. The locals believe the monster to be Snow White.
The real Snow White... living in the ruins of an ancient castle in a small town. She is described as horribly beautiful, terrifyingly enchanting, and wickedly lovely.
What he finds instead is a beautiful monster girl filled with rage and hurt, who has an epic untold story to tell of things such like why the Brothers Grimm altered the fairy tale, who the Evil Queen really is, where the mirror came from, and who possessed it.
Snow White has killed every person who has dared come near the castle where she once lived with the queen. Mysteriously, she lets Loki live, and whispers two words in his ears; two words that will change his life forever.

You can add Snow White Sorrow to your Goodreads shelf.

Special Note: All "Likers" of Cameron's Facebook page ( will get to notified of the exact release date, which is also when you will be able to get Snow White Sorrow for only 0.99 for only that 1 day. Cameron would appreciate it if you would mention this on your post, along with the link to his Facebook. And don't forget to like it, too, if you want to take advantage of this great deal when it comes!

The Grimm Diaries prequels:
This Grimm Diaries Prequels are a number of short books in the form of epistolary diary entries. The diaries are more of teasers for the upcoming series: The Grimm Diaries, allowing you to get a glimpse of what to expect of the series. The 6 diaries are told by The Evil Queen, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, the Devil, Prince Charming, and Alice Grimm 

Author Warning: these Grimm Prequels are snap shots of a magical land you're about to visit soon. I like to think of them as poisoned apples. Once you taste them, you will never see fairy tales in the same light again.

You can also get a six book prequel bundle pack for your Kindle on Amazon for $0.99 Offer expires 12/13/12.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sleepover Stakeout

Sleepover Stakeout (Sleuth or Dare, 2) by Kim Harrington, June 1, 2012. 192 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: Publisher.

Norah and Darcy's detective agency, Partners in Crime, is taking on a new and chilling case. The girls' classmate, Maya, is hearing strange, crackling voices coming over the baby monitor while she's babysitting late at night. Maya is worried someone might be in danger.
To help investigate, Norah and Darcy join her for a sleepover stakeout. In between eating snacks and watching TV, the girls are on high alert for anything suspicious. Soon, they stumble upon a mysterious secret they never could have imagined -- but Norah and Darcy clash over how to interpret the new clues.
Can the girls get past their differences to see their way  to the truth?
First Sentence:
"The pizza is frozen," Fiona said, her green eyes shimmering with excitement.