Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo. Are you down for the cause?

I've never exactly "won" NaNoWriMo. The first time I did it, I think I made it to about 35K then said screw it. The 2nd time I went over the 50K mark with The Unexpected Clash of Strangers, made a ton of progress on it, but then crashed miserably in the end. Each time I've done NaNoWriMo, I've never had a fresh new idea. I know that's the jist of things, but really who the heck is going to kick me out for NOT having a fresh new idea? Exactly.

Last year while having the flu I read some of The Iron Fey series and watched an ABC Family movie about a princess and it struck me that I wanted to write my own world. I've never been a big fantasy reader, but I absolutely loved fairy tales as a kid. My favorite show? Grimm's Classic Fairy Tales. I would come a runnin' full force into the living room when I heard the theme song. The idea, like most of my ideas, kind of deflated after a month or so. Who was I kidding? ME write a fantasy book? I've only read contemporary novels forever. I had no business trying to come up with kingdom names. So I moved on to other stories then to a few months of not really giving a crap if I ever wrote again (that's for another post). Last month, my characters were tugging at my mind. I went back over what I had written (about 80 pages of stuff), and I picked it apart. Took the good out and left the bad in another file and started tackling the sucker.

I have a new plot.

A few new characters.

A whole lot of bloodshed.

And some awesome creatures lurking through my fairy tale realm.

And most of all, I have a kick butt MC who is about to go on a ride of her life.

Oh, and I have boys. Hot boys.

For my NaNoWriMo, I am working on what I've always nicknamed: Fairy Tale. I suck completely at writing a synopsis, but here's the jist:

Gabby stopped believing in fairy tales the night her father was brutally killed before her eyes. What she saw was a creature in a red hood, but that's not what the cameras caught. Nearly 10 years later, Gabby cannot help but notice how things are starting to get strange. She's seeing things she saw as a child. Like a fairy in her locker, trolls tripping the basketball players, and then the biggest nightmare of all: the creature who killed her father. The moment Gabby thinks she's safe, a realm opens up, and suddenly her and her best friend, Jesse, are sucked in to it. 

Determined to get back home, Gabby takes on the help of a guy named Mason and his band of not-so-merry men. But Mason seems to have his own agenda, and when they're found by a dark prince, Gabby is starting to realize that her father had failed to ever tell her the truth of who he really was. Who her mother was, and who Gabby is destined to be. 

Hey. Don't say I didn't warn you I suck at writing summaries. What about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Find me: sammyjones57 and let's cheer each other on! If you want to keep up with my updates, go check out my other blog (Which will probably soon JYTBB's new home by next year. Running two separate blogs seems a bit silly, and let's face it, I am not the best book blogger anymore.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crossroads: Jeri Smith-Ready and Amanda Ashby + Giveaway!!

You have two series – one in YA and one in Adult – is it hard juggling the two? 
It’s pretty challenging to keep up with competing deadlines, but I love having the variety of two different sets of characters. My adult series is a bit lighter than my YA, so it’s fun to have that as a change in mood once in a while.

If you could jump into either series and be apart of the story, which one would it be? 
Wow, good question! Do I want to live in a world where ghosts are everywhere and known by the public, or a world where vampires are living in secret? I guess it would depend on which one of the guys I’d be allowed to date. If I could be Ciara (from the WVMP RADIO series) and have Shane as a boyfriend, that would be ideal.

Do you have any other series you’re planning on starting? 
After SHINE, the third book in the SHADE trilogy, I’m writing a stand-alone YA contemporary. We’ll be announcing details about it later in October (probably by the time this interview is out!), but I can tell you this much: 1) it’s a boy book, and 2) I am SO, so excited about it!

Is there any book you wish you would have wrote? 
There are books I’m in awe of, like IF I STAY by Gayle Forman or LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green. But if I’d written them, they would’ve been different books. Every author brings his or her own voice and life experience to a book, which is why two novels can treat the same subject and be totally different.

Want to win one of Jeri Smith-Ready's books? Just leave a comment below with your e-mail address (no e-mail, no entry). This is ONLY open to those with a US mailing address. The winner will be chosen at the end of the tour. 

You have a great mix of all sorts of paranormal, is there one myth or creature you think you won’t ever write? 
I probably wouldn’t ever write vampires, not because they’ve been done to death, but because I love Buffy far too much to ever want to create a new vampire world. In fact the whole reason I wrote Zombie Queen of Newbury High was because I was looking for an alternative to all the vampires that were around at the time!

What is your favorite paranormal creature? 
Demons! They are smart and evil but I like to think that they have the potential for good as well.

Do you plan on writing any sequels to any of your books? 
No plans at present though I have been receiving a few emails asking for a follow up to Fairy Bad Day, so perhaps in the future that might be on the cards?!

Favorite thing about Halloween? We don’t really celebrate Halloween in Australia though I do buy lots of candy in case we get trick or treaters so I guess I like to eat as much of that as I can before I have to give it away!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crossroads: Joy Preble and Dawn Dalton

Do you always remember your dreams? 
Yes, absolutely. I still remember dreams I had when I was five years old. I am a vivid dreamer. I really did give that to Anne. Like Anne, I’ve had numerous dreams in my life that were more like movies – I was clearly not dreaming as myself. (although interestingly, since I’ve been writing the series, I’ve had fewer of those!)

Oddest dream you’ve ever had? 
Hmmm…. Once I dreamed that I swallowed a bird. It was black bird – like a crow maybe? – and it walked right down my throat. (I was sick with strep when I dreamed this so probably my throat hurt!)

What do you want readers to take away from your series? 
That there are second chances in this world. That destiny exists but we can miss it if we’re not watching carefully. That we can change our path. And that it’s never too late for love.

If you could jump into your book at any time, would you? 
I’d jump into almost any scene in book 3, especially the time travel ones. And the ending to book 3 – oh my! I hope you guys love it.

What do you love about the paranormal genre? 
I was actually late to jump on the paranormal bandwagon – authors were putting out amazing fiction I glossed over because I didn’t understand what I was missing. And then I read Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten. The book kind of changed my life – and turned me on to the paranormal genre. I love the great world building that happens in paranormal fiction, and the flexibility with characters. Somehow the romance seems hotter, the issues edgier. Truthfully, they’re highly addictive.

Why should we pick up your books? 
Hopefully because they pique – and then hold – your interest.

Favorite scary story? 
My favorite scary stories are the urban legends my uncle used to share around the campfire when I was a kid. He was born with one hand and used a mechanical hook – which made the “Hook” legend one his greatest stories. He should have been a writer. Amazing storytelling ability.

Did you always want to be an author? 
Not until Grade 6 when a teacher steered me down that path. My best friend in elementary school was an amazing artist. She could draw anything. From scratch. Another friend could sing like an opera star. I remember thinking then, “what if I don’t have a talent?” Mrs. Kratky was tough, but she was a fabulous mentor, and she believed in her students. She dragged me out of self-pity mode and into a creative writing class.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crossroads: Kitty Keswick and Linda Joy Singleton

Give us four reasons why we should pick up your book: 

1. It’s a fun paranormal romp.
2. British lingo and hot hero!
3. It is a series. You’ll have a chance to get to know the world longer.
4. Werewolves are a howl.

What is magic to you? 
Magic is something I wish were real. I think that’s why I write about it so much, trying to make my own wishes come true. Do you listen to music while you write? No. I usually have TV on in the background for company since I’m alone a lot.

Have you experienced any ‘rock star’ writing moments? 
Yeah, and I loved it. The first was when I was invited to BEA in Chicago, my air and room paid by my publisher, and my editor led me to the “Green Room” where Newbery winner (and online friend) Linda Sue Park was just coming out. Books were waiting for me on a signing table. Also signing were writing stars that dazzled me, like Daniel Handler and Meg Cabot. I had 30 minutes of floating on stardust. Amazing!

What’s next for you writing wise? 
I just finished a science fiction YA (mystery-romance) and my agent is shopping it to editors. Since it’s the first book in a trilogy, I need to get started on Book 2 soon, so I’ve started writing down ideas for the plot. I have a general idea of what will happen but expect lots of surprises along the way. I hope it sells soon – check my Facebook for news!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crossroads: Shannon Delany and Carrie Harris

What do you say to the people who think stories about vampires or werewolves are overrated? (For the record: I still love vamp and wolfie stories!)
Two things: don’t read what you don’t want to (and for heaven sakes, don’t complain about what you don’t know) AND consider the author’s reason for using a vehicle like a werewolf or vamp to tell their tale. We don’t randomly plunk a paranormal into a world because we think it’s “hawt”—the vast majority of us do it because of the subconscious meaning attributed to that vehicle.

Is Bargains and Betrayals the last book in the 13 to Life series? 
NOPE. Originally the series was set to end at three but after 13 to Life hit stores my publisher asked to add two more novels to my contract bringing our total to five. We still have Destiny and Deception and Rivals and Retributions (both releasing in 2012).

Who is your favorite character out of the series? 
Max. What?! Eh, I don’t know. I love and get ticked at them all equally most days. I want to shake Jess from time to time and throttle Pietr because they make some stellar decisions, you know? Max is easier to deal with in some ways because there’s not much subtext with Max. He’s just Max. He’s the guy I’d hang out with.

What upcoming project(s) can you tell us about? 
I’m actively developing two stories right now (both VERY different). One’s science fiction/cyberpunk and I’d like to see it as a trilogy. It connects to my short story in the Leap Books charity anthology SPIRITED: 13 Haunting Tales and is set in the future (beyond what’s popularly being termed “the Singularity”). The other one goes in the absolutely opposite direction and takes us into the past approximately 170 years to deal with an amazing moment that’s often overlooked in history. Both include rebellion. And kissing.

Would you survive the Zombie Apocolypse? 
I’d TOTALLY survive. I mean, I’m an expert on the subject! Not only do I write monster books, but I have a ninja doctor husband. No, seriously. He has a fourth degree black belt in ninjutsu, and I’ve actually seen him knock shuriken out of the air with his hands. It’s surprisingly sexy. Ahem. Anyway. I am not a black belt. I have a green belt, which means that I should be able to fall down without hurting myself, although sometimes I think that’s debatable. So my survival strategy is to stand behind my husband and yell helpful tips like, “GET IT IN THE HEAD! NO, IN THE HEAD!!!!”

What was the first idea that sparked Bad Taste in Boys? 
My books are less AN idea and more a BUNCH of ideas all mashed together like an algebra equation gone out of control. So I started off thinking I wanted to do a book about the dead football players from Beetlejuice. And I wanted to do a book about a rational person who became convinced that zombies were attacking her town. And I wanted to write a book in which the geek saves the day. And I think mad scientists are awesome. So you put all those things together, and the result is BAD TASTE IN BOYS.

Best thing about writing? 
Frankly, I still can’t believe that I get paid for making up stories about supernatural beasties. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?! My job can be hard and sometimes frustrating because I am impatient and things happen so bleeping slow. But more than anything, it’s fun. I never know what the day will bring. I might get into a heated debate with a copy editor over whether the word “awesomesauce” is one word or two (and clearly, it is ONE). I might finally figure out who the bad guy is. I might crack myself up with a scene and spit Dr Pepper all over my computer. And that is just plain awesomesauce. Which is one word, damn it.

Any new projects you can tell us about? 
I’ve just finished the copy edits for my sequel, which is called BAD HAIR DAY and will hit the shelves in November 2012. It’s about werewolves and nanotechnology and blueberry flavoured astronauts and killer coconuts, and it makes me snarf things out my nose when I think about it. I’m also working on some shorter Grable projects that I hope to release in the meantime through my website, because I AM IMPATIENT AND I’M NOT ASHAMED TO ADMIT IT. Ahem. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crossroads: Rachel Vincent + Giveaway!

Did you always set out to write series? 
The Soul Screamers books were always intended to be a series, yes. I like too dig deeper into the characters and world than a single book will allow.

Hardest part of writing a series? 
I actually find sequels (with a continuing POV character) to be easier to write than standalones or the first in a new series, because with sequels, I already know the characters and their world.

Do you have one character your favor from all the others?
No. I have some that are more fun to write, but I like all the characters. Sabine and Tod are particularly fun to write from Kaylee’s perspective, but difficult to write from their own. I love writing Nash, because he’s so angsty.

What is your favorite thing about Halloween? 
It’s a great excuse to put a skeleton on my front yard.

To win a copy of one of Rachel Vincent's books, just leave a comment below with your e-mail address. (No e-mail, no entry!) ONLY open to those with a US Mailing Address! (Sorry outside of the states readers!). If you do not want to leave your e-mail in a comment, just shoot me an e-mail. Winner will be chosen at the end of the Crossroads Blog Tour.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crossroads: Lucienne Diver and Jackie Morse Kessler

Is Book 3 going to be the last book in Vamped series? 
Nope! I’m pleased to say that Flux Books has also picked up the fourth in the series, Fangtabulous, which I’m writing now. It’ll be set in Salem, Massachusetts, the most haunted town in America.

Did you always plan on this being a series? 
I didn’t even know that Vamped would be a novel. When it first came to me I didn’t even really have a story in mind. Just the idea of vamping out a teen fashionista whose own personal hell would involve the eternal lack of a reflection, giving her no way to check her hair and make up. I loved the idea of the initial freak out, having to dig her own way out of the grave, totally ruining her manicure and discovering that her parents had buried her in the one dress in her closet she literally wouldn’t be caught dead in. At most, I had in mind a vignette. But when my writers group wanted more, I had to give it a lot more thought and my heroine more dimension. My Gina, she’s tough. When life gives her lemons, she uses them to combat freckles. Unfortunately, she gets a lot more than she bargained for in the first book when she decides her first order of business is to turn her own stylist and start an undead entourage.

Favorite thing you love about the world you’ve created? 
I love that the way I’ve set things up. I can take my characters to a new location with each book and explore the personalities of the places as well as the people.

Any upcoming projects you can tell us about? 
Once I finish the fourth book in the Vamped series (books 1 and 2, Vamped and Revamped are out, and book 3, Fangtastic, will be released in January 2012), I’m onto the sequel to my adult urban fantasy Bad Blood, which came out in digital in June and will be out in print in May 2012. Bad Bood and the sequel, Crazy in the Blood, feature a Los Angeles P.I. Tori Karacis, who has the ability to literally stop men in their tracks due to some gorgon blood way back in the family line. She’s dealing in murder and mayhem from Greek gods in modern day who’ve decided they want to stage a comeback. Ready or not, here they come….

Do you relate to any of your characters? 
I relate to ALL of them! That sounds weird, maybe, but there’s a part of me in all the characters I create, from the heroes to the jerks to the villains to everyone in between.

What is your favorite thing about writing? 
There’s nothing quite like creating a story word by word. Everything from the visualization to the actual crafting of sentences is just intense. Okay, sometimes that intensity is another word for insanity, but hey, that’s part of the process. :P I especially love dialogue – when the right character says the right thing at the right time, I just want to cheer. Sometimes, I even do. Loudly. The neighbors don’t like it.

Favorite Halloween movie? 
If you’re talking the series Halloween, the first one. Utterly terrifying, in a cheesy, over-the-top way. I also love The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Why should readers pick up your book? 
Because I would love them forever. Also, Death rocks. And sings.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crossroads: Angie Frazier and Kiki Hamilton

Do you have a certain writing schedule you stick to?
 I would love to have a set schedule, but I’m stuck with grabbing my writing time whenever I can get it. Lately, I’ve been doing most of my writing at night after the kids are in bed. I require caffeine at that point! 

Favorite book you’ve written so far? 
A YA fantasy that is currently with my agent. I am so proud of this novel. It is such a departure from Everlasting and I really hope it sees the shelves some day. Wish I could say more, but…

What was the first story you ever wrote?
My first completed novel was a time travel romance that I wrote in high school! It was a terrible, historically inaccurate book, but I caught the writing bug and haven’t been able to stop since.

Your favorite thing about writing? 
I love escaping into new worlds, different times, and developing characters and watching them play out their stories.

Have you always had a fascination with the faerie world? 
I can’t say that I’ve always been fascinated with the faerie world, but what does fascinate me is the idea that there are other worlds or planes that intersect with our own, but remain unseen.

Is there one character in your story you relate to more than others? 
I do love all of my characters, and relate to them on one level or another but I’d have to say that I relate to Tiki the most.

If your series was turned into a movie or TV show, who would you cast? 
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. The girl in my trailer is close to how I’d imagine Tiki and I saw a shot of a model once that was a dead ringer for Larkin, but I couldn’t pick any actors to portray the characters right now. Plus, I wouldn’t want to change someone’s own mental image they get from reading the book. If Hollywood comes knocking then I’ll figure it out then!

Favorite book of all-time? 
The Harry Potter series, which is (as we all know) actually seven books. Thanks so much for having me over! xo Kiki

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crossroads: Stacey Kade and Judith Graves

What is your favorite quality in your character Alona? 
She often says what people are thinking. And there’s a freedom in that. However, a lot of what she says isn’t very nice which is WHY people aren’t saying it.

What do you love about writing the paranormal world? 
What I love about writing the paranormal world is that there’s still room to explore, discover new things/creatures/phenomena. But you can still blend it with the known world. A balance between the exotic and the ordinary. That’s what I like to read and write!

One book or series you think is highly over-looked? 
Well, it’s not overlooked so much as it is new and I LOVE IT and want other people to love it: ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake. It rocks, you guys. And it’s super scary.

I loved Anna Dressed In Blood! Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? 
I just turned in the first book of a new series, The Rules. It’s the first book in a new series. It’s about a girl who was raised as a genetic experiment hiding from her creators under the guise of being a “normal” sixteen-year-old, and the boy who tempts her to break the rules that confine her existence and keep her safe.

Tell us about a scary encounter.  
This isn’t quite the scary story you’re expecting, but it’s terrifying nevertheless. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that, “Approximately 50 percent of the nation's unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs.” Illiteracy is a scary thing. And it’s global. In the U.S. organizations like 826 National have rallied behind literacy awareness. “Author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari co-founded 826 Valencia as a place where students, parents, and families from the under-resourced schools nearby could access after-school tutoring, workshops, field trips, and writing programs, all for free.” How’s that for sending terror into the heart of illiteracy? Leap Books is doing its part in publishing Spirited: 13 Haunting Tales (set for release October 31, 2011), an anthology with proceeds going to 826 National. Particiapaing authors include,…and a bevy of big name authors: Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Jill Williamson, Shannon Delany, Kitty Keswick, Linda Joy Singleton, Dawn Dalton and more! Check out the trailer:

Did you always set out to write a series? 
SKINNED was always a series, yes, however, I’ve since expanded the overall story arc and the third book, Skin of My Teeth, may not be the goodbye to the macabre world of Redgrave that I originally intended. That being said, the establishing plot has remained consistent, there are just many more twists and turns before the dramatic ending I’ve planned.

Where do you find your best inspiration?

But I’m usually struck by amazing plot twists while in the shower – the dogs know to clear the path for the babbling woman bolting from the steaming bathroom for the coil notebook and pen ever present on my nightable. Hmmm….now that just makes me sound a bit crazy. If your series were to turn into a movie, who would you cast? Oh, that would be cool! I’d probably hope the director cast a bunch of brilliantly talented unknowns and together we’d take the world by storm. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blog Tour: Amplified by Tara Kelly

If you were to have a teenage garage sale, what would be in it? As part of the Amplified Blog Tour, author Tara Kelly is here to tell us what would be in her's!

This is hard since I didn't have a lot growing up. Most of what was precious to me I'd made or wrote in (like a notebook)

A skateboard
Fishnet tights
Fishnet shirts made from fishnet tights
Vinyl pants
Chainmail chokers
Knee-high Docs
Vintage Levi's with my art drawn all over them
Several dozen band T-shirts
Manic Panic hair dye in every color the rainbow
About 1000 books, heavy on the horror A plastic red lunchbox decorated with white-out, band stickers, and marker drawings
Loads of CDs, mostly of every goth and industrial band ever in existence.
Oh, and some local punk thrown in for good measure.

Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She's a YA author, one-girl-band, web designer, video editor, digital photographer, and literary agent intern. She lives in Portland with her ten guitars, supercool bf, and a fluffy cat named Maestro. Wanna learn more about Tara and her books? Make sure to swing by her website. And don't forget to pick up your copy of Amplified!

When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it...