Saturday, July 27, 2013

Loyal Reader Award

I want to thank the wonderful Lucinda Elliot, fellow indie author and friend for nominating me for the Loyal Reader Award. Please visit her at her blog Sophie de Courcy and check out the awesome blogs of my nominees below.

As this award is called "The Loyal Reader Award" I wanted to take a minute to thank some of the bloggers who have read my debut novel, Into the Deep.

All of your reviews have inspired me to keep writing, so thank you!

My Nominees:

Jen Naumann at Jen Naumann
Lily at Bookluvrs Haven
Dejana at Poisonage
Carrie Penney at I Can Has Books
Sabrii at Fantasy Books
Bianca Calin at Bianca2b

Dear nominees the rules are simple. Answer a rhetorical question of the author’s choosing and nominate people you consider deserve the award.

Lucinda's Question was: "Would you rather be world famous after your death for writing something worthwhile, or rich in this for writing something you knew to be of no literary merit at all?"

Obviously I would prefer to be rich now for writing something worthwhile, but as that's not an option I have to say I'd rather my writing make me famous after my death than to write something my heart wasn't in just to make money. At the end of the day, even when I'm eating Mac N' Cheese for dinner and counting pennies to make rent, writing just isn't worth it if I don't love what I write.

So here's my question: "If you could have any superpower what would it be?"

Personally I think I would very much enjoy being able to read people's thoughts like Ivy in Into the Deep, but being able to fly would be good too.

If anyone else would like to share their opinions on the questions above please feel free to comment.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review for Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Morganville is a Strangely Fascinating Town with Unique and Colorful Characters

4.5 stars. I am hooked on this series. Glass Houses was filled with lots of fun imagery, interesting characters, and twists I didn’t see coming. Rachel Caine does a wonderful job making Morganville feel like a real place, freaky happenings and all.
A lot of this book felt like it was setting the scene for the entire series. There were a lot of people to meet and places to get to know. It wasn’t until I was about half way through that the plot for this book got interesting, but I was sucked in from the beginning just the same.

Morganville is a small college town run by vampires. I enjoyed reading about vampires that were truly scary, but at the same time there were enough interesting twists in their mythology to make them feel original.

The main character Claire is brave and smart. She’s an advanced placement student so she’s a college freshman but she’s only sixteen. Even though she was incredibly smart she didn’t come across as shy or nerdy, maybe  a little naive at times, but also gutsy. There are times when you notice how young she is and others when you can see that she’s really mature for her age. I liked seeing the give and take of everyone around her thinking of her as a kid, and then later thinking of her as an equal but still knowing that she’s only sixteen.

Claire’s roommates were fun characters as well. Eve was spunky and fun. She’s goth, and I loved that she rocked her own style. Eve is her own person and despite the black and skulls she has a bright and cheerful personality. Shane felt like your typical college guy, but he had layers as well. There were moments when he got a little intense, like when he did things to try and look out for Michael or eve, but he was also funny. And Michael is thoughtful and calm. He’s not really any older than Shane or Eve, but he’s the one looking out for them, and he’s the one they look up to. Michael is really the grown up of the group.
Claire crushing on the guys in the house was cute and completely believable. Also, I was glad that while she noticed the attractiveness of both Shane and Michael that Caine didn’t go the love triangle route with this story. By the end of the book it was clear where all the relationships fell and who liked who. The kiss scene between Claire and Shane literally gave me butterflies. It was cute and sweet, and just perfect.

Monica, however, bothered me. I felt she was portrayed a little too stupid, and her interactions with Claire in general felt too immature for her age. I believed that she was the kind of girl that got by on her looks, but there is an evil streak to her that I didn’t quite understand. It was more than just doing bad things because she could. I feel like there had to be a reason why she was so cold and it bothered me we weren’t ever told why exactly.
There were a few other small things that bothered me as well. For example, many characters had black hair? This is a silly detail, but it bothered me. Monica, Claire, Eve and Miranda are all described as having black hair. Couldn’t someone have dark brown hair? But, I did like the contrast between Eve, a human who dresses Goth, and one of the vampires who was blond and wearing pink, in essence dressing like a preppy human girl.

Also, I had a hard time believing that Shane and Michael were so closed minded about Miranda being psychic. After all, they grew up in Morganville with vampires and freaky stuff happening all the time. I could understand Claire being skeptical, she was still new. I just don’t get why they had such a hard time believing that maybe Miranda had a gift, even if she was nuts.
Be warned that the  end is a huge cliffhanger. There was resolution with the main plot, and then pow – Caine makes it impossible not to pick up the second book, Dead Girls’ Dance, immediately. Which is exactly what I did. If you're looking for a series to suck you in pick up Glass Houses.

Monday, July 15, 2013

For Limited Time, ONLY 99cents!

Hidden Beneath will be coming out next month! So for any of you who haven't had a chance to read Into the Deep, you can pick it up now for only .99 cents until the end of July at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo. And, if you have read Into the Deep, please share this post and scroll down for teasers from Hidden Beneath.
5 Stars “Well-written and emotionally charged, I found this book to be a total gem.” – Jen Naumann, author of Shymers

5 Stars “This starts off as interesting, and gets more and more so.” – Lucinda Elliot, author of That Scoundrel Emile Dubois

4 Stars “…an interesting storyline, an original spin on the paranormal, and well-written.” – Jen Minkman author of Shadows of Time
About Into the Deep:
Ivy Daniels is a high school junior still learning who she is. After an accident, Ivy finds herself with an ability she doesn’t want, an ability to uncover secrets which quickly begins to redefine what she thinks about the people around her as well as herself. Because of this ability, Ivy becomes the one thing that stands between an angry teen and the death of every student on campus. The only problem is she doesn’t know who wants everyone dead. Will she figure out who has this dark secret, or will she fail to find him in time?

Through her search to do the right thing, Ivy discovers that knowing the thoughts and secrets of those around her may just tear her apart.
Get your copy:
Hidden Beneath Teasers:
It wasn’t until I realized that I was walking in the direction of the gym that I stopped.
The lights above flickered, dark, then light, on and off as if they were beating along with some uneven tempo. One bulb on, another off, like some malfunctioning strobe light, they set the hallway in eerie moving shadows.
I took one step backward. Then I turned around and began to run back the way I came.  It was then that I ran into something, into someone.
I sniffled and nodded. Then as he turned to walk off a sob broke free of my lips and it felt like my heart was breaking all over again as I watched him walk away. He was just going for a walk, I reminded myself, but it hurt so bad to know that I’d hurt him and felt unable to fix it.
For a moment I didn’t breathe and I felt him freeze as well. In that moment we were both perfectly still, the only movement I felt between us was from the pounding of my heart. He was so close. Then I heard just a wisp of a thought enter his mind, like a distant echo caught in the wind.
Kiss her, he thought, and he took a deep breath.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

10 Tips to Writing an Excellent Book Review

Reviewing books is a wonderful way to share your reading experience with others, but if you’ve ever read reviews to help you buy a book you’ll know some are more helpful than others. Here’s my advice to writing an excellent book review.

First I think reviewers should understand what the point of writing a review is. Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Goodreads, ect… allow readers to write reviews to help other readers decide whether or not they will like that book. Above all else your review should provide helpful information to other readers about the content and feel of the book.

Here are ten tips to being a good reviewer…

1. Finish the book – Many people write reviews for books they don’t finish reading. Personally I have a problem with this. Book ratings and reviews should be based on the entire book. Reading only part of a book and writing a review would be like watching only part of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and telling all your friends that it’s a horribly depressing movie. If you’re going to comment on a book, comment on the entire book. (And if you absolutely cannot make it to the end, at very least make it clear in beginning of your review that you did not finish reading.)

2. Don’t just give a summary – Readers can read the back blurb to know roughly what a book is about. Give information about the storyline but make sure you’re also sharing your opinion. Did you like the plot, characters, setting, writing style? Overall how did the book make you feel?

 3. Read other reviews – See how other people organize their thoughts to help you find your review writing style. What did they do that you liked, were they funny, straightforward, well-organized? And, what did they do that you didn’t like?

4. Use proper English – Write in full sentences and use real words. This is a book review, not a text message. Remember, you’re writing this for other readers to use as a source of information in their purchasing decision. If it’s not worth your time to write something legible, it’s simply not worth your time to write it. Spell-check and re-read your review before you post it.

5. Double check names – I see reviews all the time where the reviewer spelled the author’s name wrong, or a character’s name wrong, or even misspelled the title of the book. Spelling mistakes like this stand out, and can even be confusing to those reading your review. This can also be embarrassing, so do yourself a favor and take a few seconds to make sure you spelled all names correctly.

6. Explain what you liked AND what you didn’t – This may seem obvious, but often reviewers will only state one or the other. Sometimes they love a book so much they have nothing bad to say. And if you’re writing a review for your all-time favorite book you may not have anything negative to say, but for every other book other than that one - or those few - favorites, you will have things you liked and things you didn’t. If you give a book four stars tells us about all the good things about it, but then also tell us why it didn’t get five stars. On the flip side if you write a negative review, don’t forget to mention things you were happy about with the book just because your overall opinion of it was that you didn’t like it.

7. Be professional – As I mentioned above a review is for the next potential reader. It’s not a way for you to send the author a note, or to bash a piece of work. Just because you have a certain opinion about a book doesn’t mean other readers will agree with you. For example don’t say a book is terrible because it has a love triangle and you hate love triangles, and you think all books with love triangles are cliché and not worth reading. Say that that was something you didn’t like about the book and that love triangles aren’t your cup of tea, but be respectful of the fact that some people love love triangles. Even if you gave a book, say 2 stars because it had a love triangle, that may actually be a review that encourages someone who enjoys love triangles to buy it. (Check out The Positives about a Negative Review)

8. Take notes as you go – I read on my kindle and will often highlight and type a note in when I come across something I love, hate, don’t understand, ect…. If you read paperbacks maybe try buying post-it’s and writing yourself notes as you go. Once you’re done reading being able to go back and be reminded of those little moments that made you think, or favorite lines can help you write a more in-depth review.

9. Don’t spoil the story – Sometimes it’s impossible not to comment on a part of the story that happens to spoil, or give away, part of the plot. Sharing spoiling information is fine so long as you put a warning. Maybe try and save spoilers for the end of your review and clearly mark them so those who want to be surprised when reading can be. Goodreads lets you hide your spoilers behind a clickable link simply by putting these html tags around the spoiling information <spoiler> Spoiling info here </spoiler>.

10. Be honest! – No one really has a hard time being honest about a good review, but it can be hard to write bad reviews, and if you find yourself unable to write an honest review, don’t write one at all. Remember, reviews are to inform potential readers about a book. Reviews are not a place for you to rave about a friend’s novel to help them sell more copies. Support friends by giving them honest feedback to help them improve their skills.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Help Make Morganville Vampires a Web-TV Series!

I recently read Glass Houses, the first book in the Morganville Vampires Series, and am now reading book two, The Dead Girls' Dance. I've found myself sucked into this series and wanted to take a moment to share with everyone about the Kickstarter Project to turn this wonderful series into a Web-TV Series.

Glass Houses is a  YA vampire novel that is nothing like the Twilight-esque romances we see so often. It has spunky, well rounded, and interesting characters; scary vampires, and a heroine that is brave as well as smart.

I'm now a fan of this series as well as a backer of this project on Kickstarter. You can find me listed on the Residents page of the Morganville Vampires Website. And you can become a backer yourself (and in turn receive some awesome prizes for your contribution) on their Kickstarter Page. Check it out ASAP! There are only 3 days left for this project to acquire the funds it needs.

I hope anyone out there who enjoys paranormal fiction will check out the Morganville Vampires series, and if you are able to, contribute to making this a Web-TV series. We're so close to our $75,000 goal, and it would be a shame for this to fall through.

Indie Book Goal 2018