Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sneak Peak at "A Different Kind"

Stephen Groeneveld
I've been dropping little hints here and there about my next novel (Note the new starry sky blog header). Now that I'm on to my revisions stage of the process I thought I'd take a moment to share with all of you what I've been working on.

I've had a few people asking me if there will be another book in the "Into the Deep" series, the answer to that is...probably, but what I have coming out next is unrelated to my previous two novels.

The next book will be called "A Different Kind" and I'm labeling it a YA SciFi Romance. I was really hesitant to call it Science Fiction, but considering the story revolves around an alien abduction that is technically what it is. At the same time though it's set in the real world, and like with "Into the Deep" I really wanted to ground my supernatural elements in a story filled with characters and a setting that are completely normal.

"Once again, great job on giving me a story that felt contemporary with realistic issues that were only better highlighted by the paranormal elements." - Beta Reader

As with "Into the Deep" this is another Young Adult novel. However, my main character in "A Different Kind" is very different from "Into the Deep's" Ivy. Payton is a little older, more confident, and she has a very different journey to take than Ivy did.

"I also really love how you always spend just as much time on the friendships as you do the romantic relationships." - Beta Reader

Below is a blurb about "A Different Kind". To see more inspiration art for this novel follow my Pinterest board for it, and check out this post at The Writer Diaries to find out what song inspired a few scenes in this book. The cover reveal will be coming soon!

Back Blurb:

Payton Carlson’s life is perfect, until the night she’s abducted by aliens. Now she’s plagued by pieces of memories from a night that feels as hazy as a dream, and that’s not the only strange thing that’s been happening. When Payton’s neighbor, Logan Reed, who spends every night sitting on his roof staring at the stars, starts to pay extra attention to her, Payton starts to wonder if he knows more about the night she can’t remember than she does. Suddenly finding a date to the Homecoming dance and cheering at the football games aren’t as important as they used to be - especially when the aliens return for a second time.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tips for Choosing Character Names and 7 Names to Avoid!

Some writers don’t put a lot of stock into names; they just pick something that comes to mind, something that sounds good. For me, names are incredibly important. I scrutinize over every name as if I were naming my children and not just fictional characters in a book. I look at how many syllables are in a name, at how a name makes me feel, what it makes me think of. Does it remind me of someone I know, of something or some place? Does it sound girly, or masculine, or androgynous, and does that fit the character I want to give it to?

I also look at the names of my other characters in a story. Do I have multiple characters with names that start with the same letter? Will this be confusing for my reader or are they different enough in sound and syllable? In the end I pick my names looking at my book as a whole and not just on an individual character basis.

I also don’t stop with first names. I give all of my characters last names and sometimes middle names, even if I don’t end up using them in the story. Part of this is just to be prepared in case I need to use a last name at some point, but it also makes the characters feel more real. Picking their last names helps me give my characters an identity. It makes me wonder about the heritage connected with their last name, about their family and the place this character came from. I think it helps me write a more well-rounded character.

Emily Rose

Some basic rules of thumb I like to follow are:

1. Don’t use similar sounding names for multiple characters. I try to start every (main) character’s name with a different letter to help avoid confusion.

2. Make sure your reader can pronounce the names. Names with different spelling can be fun, but don’t overdo it.

3. Check your name’s origin; does it match your character? Knowing the origin of your character’s name (both first and last) will also help you know the background of your character.

4. Stay away from names that have already been done to death by other authors.

Some names I would avoid include…

1. “Kat” - Katherine, Catherine, Katy, Cat, Katniss, Katsa – The Kitty-Cat sounding names have been around for a long time. You’ll find this character name in The Taming of the Shrew, and Wuthering Heights, but it’s in A LOT of newer stories as well.
-Other Books with “Kat” Characters: East of Eden, Graceling, Halfway to the Grave, Hunger Games, Obsidian, Original Sin, The Vampire Diaries

2. “Damon” – Damon sounds like the ultimate bad boy name, and it’s been popping up in all sorts of forms lately. So avoid all Damon’s, Damen’s, Damian’s, and Daemon’s. This devilish sounding name has been done to death.
-Other Books with “Damon” Characters: Evermore, Marked, Obsidian, The Vampire Diaries

3. “Ari” – This is another name that’s been popular in YA lately. Whether it’s Ariana, Aria or just Ari, this name is everywhere.
-Other Books with “Ari” Characters: Gravity, Paranormalcy, Smokeless Fire, Under the Never Sky, Unwind

4. “Claire” – Claire sounds sweet and innocent. I would expect a character named Claire to be pure, maybe the girl next door. The thing is it’s become the go-to name for this type of character, so I’d avoid this name as well.
-Other Books with “Claire” Characters: City of Bones, Glass Houses, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Unearthly

5. “Will” – Whether It’s William, Will, or Willow, this name gets around as well. Often Will is a secondary character, but this name is still too popular to ignore.
-Other Books with “Will” Characters: Angelfire, Clockwork Angel, Divergent, Slammed, Willow

6. “Lucas” - Again many Luce’s, Lucian’s, Lucas’ are secondary characters, but there’s enough of them out there that you might want to think twice before using this name.
-Other Books with “Lucas” Characters: Evernight, Fallen, Harry Potter, Starcrossed

7. “Jack” – This name was once more popular than it is now, but is still one to take note of. You’ll see a lot more Jack’s in detective or mystery novels than in YA, but the name is still out there, and probably more so than any other name on this list.
-Other Books with “Jack” Characters: All the Rage, Bloodlist, The Hunt for Red October, Killing Floor, The Talisman

Are there other names you think should be on this list? Do you get annoyed seeing the same name over and over again, or are there certain ones you love regardless of how many books they pop up in?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review for Origin by Jennifer Armentrout

Enthralling, Action Packed, and Emotional

5 Stars.
This series has sucked me in and I’ve loved each book more than the last. Origin was no exception. I was really curious about how this story was going to play out after Katie was caught by Daedalus at the end of Opal. With her locked up and Daemon on the outside I was nervous that there’d be good a good chunk in the beginning of the novel where they’d be apart, but I was glad to see that Armentrout quickly brought them back together.

Their reunion and time spent together behind the Daedalus walls is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. This is the steamiest, but also the darkest of the books so far. All of the characters are pushed to do things they never thought they would, but it’s the struggles they go through that make the good moments they have together so much more meaningful. Katy and Daemon really are just rats in a maze at Daedalus and they’re not Daedalus’ only experiment. Armentout has left bits and pieces along the way through the first three books on what Daedalus is really up to, but it’s in this book that we start to see their master plan. You really see how twisted Daedalus is and how the things they do could break anyone. And, when Katy and Damon do escape it’s not without a few scars – figuratively as well as literally. Still, they’re strongest when they’re together and despite everything they go through there’s still hope for them in the future.

Obsidian, Onyx and Opal are all set in Katy’s small town and for the most part the things that happen in those books stay within that small town. The events of Origin however have far reaching affects that are going to bring big changes in the final installment in this series. The events of Origin are not just going to affect Katie and Damon, but the entire world. This ends with an even bigger cliffhanger than Opal did and it sets up a completely different kind of war. I cannot wait for the last installment in the Lux series.

Read my Review for Obsidian
Read my Review for Onyx (Lux #2)
Read my Review of Opal (Lux #3)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Giveaway! Paperback Books and Amazon Gift Card!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my readers. With the season in mind I'm hosting a giveaway to win a SIGNED paperback copy of INTO THE DEEP, SIGNED paperback copy of HIDDEN BENEATH, and a $10 Amazon Giftcard! Enter from December 1st to December 10th to win!

One winner will be chosen at random and contacted within 48hours after the end of the contest.

About the Books:  

INTO THE DEEP: After almost drowning, 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.

HIDDEN BENEATH: Two years after an accident left Ivy with the ability to read minds she’s finally put her past behind her. Now, the summer after her senior year of high school Ivy is looking forward to going away to college and enjoying the rest of her vacation with her best friend Charlie and boyfriend Aden. The life altering events of her junior year of high school that made her realize things aren’t always as they appear have been pushed to the back of Ivy’s mind, and so has the memory of the one person who helped her though them – that is until he shows up on her door step a month before she leaves for L.A. asking for her help.  

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Indie Book Goal 2018