Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Update and I Know Lucy Teaser....

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, my life is about to get even more hectic for the next few months. I have three book releases planned - April, May and June. It is going to be FULL ON!!!
Because of this, I'm going to cut back on my blogging. I'll still keep my YAlicious blog going, because I just love being able to highlight other authors and run weekly giveaways, but for this blog, I'm going to cut it back to once a week. So from now until the end of summer, I'll only be blogging on a Tuesday (except for the special occasions like cover reveals and release days of course :D)

A couple of days ago, I posted on Facebook to ask people what types of things they liked to read on author's blogs. I got a bunch of ideas and I'm going to try and cover the topics you guys suggested. Thanks for helping me out. I'm super excited about some upcoming posts!

For today, I wanted to highlight my next release - I Know Lucy.

Lucy Tate is on the run. After witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, she's spent five years in hiding -- taking on different personas and faking her way through life. The authorities can't be trusted, so she remains in the shadows, always one beat ahead of the man who is forever hunting her. That is, until she meets Zach Schultz, a senior at Monte Vista High and the one guy she can’t bear to leave. Suddenly her natural instincts to lie, steal, and run are overshadowed by something else...the desire to stay. It’s her one shot at a normal life.

Curious by nature, Zach is immediately drawn to the new girl at school. How can a person look both confident and vulnerable all in the same moment? Determined to learn more about her, he tries to get close, but is thrown into a world of lies and confusion. The only thing that becomes apparent is that discovering the truth may get him killed.


The cover reveal is March 20th. 
If you'd like to help me flash the cover around on the day, please sign up at this link: IKL COVER REVEAL.

The release day is April 20th and the second book, Set Me Free will be out just one month later on May 18th. These two books are closely tied together and I didn't want to leave readers waiting to find out what will happen.

There are going to be some pretty fun things happening in the lead-up to the IKL Release, but for now, here's a little excerpt from Zach - my gorgeous MC.

I'm not usually a sap, I swear. My friends give me grief that I'm always attracted to girls with big issues. Like somehow I can solve all their problems or something. I don't think that's it. I think sometimes you just see a girl and something about her captures you.
She was walking towards me. Mr. Simmons, Dean of Students, was talking her ear off as they headed down the corridor. He was no doubt rabbiting on about all the school could offer and how she would enjoy the rest of her year here at Monte Vista High. She was nodding, feigning interest. I could tell.
Her blue eyes were perfect, not too big and round, just gorgeous ovals that gazed up at Mr. Simmons with slight tension. Who wasn't tense on their first day of school? But there was a quiet confidence in the way she held herself. Her shoulders were back, her pointed chin up. She nodded and looked the dean straight in the eye when she did it.
She wasn't afraid to be here. She looked determined and focussed.
That was appealing in itself, but there was something else about her too. A mystery.
I could taste it.
She glanced at me as she walked past, her eyes touching mine. I grinned and her lips twitched. Not a smile, but her gaze warmed for a second as she hustled past.
I turned to watch her go, I couldn't help it.
Her paradox enticed me.
She was like an ethereal waif, if there can be such a thing. Strength and fragility all blended into one. An intense need to figure the girl out embedded itself in my chest.
Rubbing my forehead with a slight frown, I turned towards homeroom.
When it came to girls I was a fool. I wouldn't deny it. My track record sucked, but maybe this time it would be different. I wouldn't label it love at first sight or anything, but intrigue. Yeah that's it - intrigue at first sight. That girl, whoever she was, had captured me...and it had only taken a glimpse.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Release Your Characters by Alastair Rosie

Every now and then, it's nice to have another author visit your site and entertain readers with an interesting guest post. I haven't had one in a really long time (as I have so many guests on YAlicious). This post, however, is for us writers and I thought it'd be more appropriate to share it on this blog. So, it's my pleasure to have Fantasy writer, Alastair Rosie, with us today.

Welcome, Alastair!!

RELEASE YOUR CHARACTERS!
Being locked in a cell was a disconcerting experience for me. It was a mere twenty-four hour stretch in a police cell in suburban Mooroolbark, Melbourne for failing to pay a parking fine. Not exactly the crime of the century, I know. My cell was ten by fifteen with a stainless steel toilet, vinyl-covered mattress with no sheet and the light stayed on all night. By day I was allowed out into the covered yard, which was some thirty feet long by about ten feet wide, the only natural light came from a clear perspex hatch in the yard. Whilst I was secure in the knowledge that I’d be out by midday the next day, I felt claustrophobic. A week later I was sitting in the penthouse apartment of a friend of a friend in South Yarra looking out over the lights. The man pacing the floor looking miserably out over the city was also trapped inside a prison of his own making and I found myself reflecting on the grand irony of it all.

The journey from freedom to a police cell actually took a good twelve to eighteen months to happen and at any time I could have avoided a night in the cells by paying the fine. The man in the penthouse probably took a lot longer to get to the stage where he felt like jumping and I confess I never saw nor heard of him again to this day, but he too could have taken an alternative path. Neither of us were bound to our fate.

As writers we often doom our characters to a particular fate because as their creators we feel we know better than them. It’s a common scenario, we’ve all been there. I’ve got my game plan, a plot, characters, conflict and resolution and now I have to arrange my characters on the page to get them from the call to adventure through to denouement. Along the way some will be wounded, some will die, love matches will take place and other lovers will part and hopefully we readers will fall in love with your characters.

But what if one of your characters, let’s say the heroine, had decided that the main man, your alpha male wasn’t such a good catch after all? What if she took a step back and refused his advances. Would your novel founder? You’ve set it all up, arranged the characters and scenes and like actors, they’ll play their parts because you’re the director and there is something to be said for discipline and keeping a firm hand to the tiller, but what happens if you let go of the tiller?

My novel, The Deepening Dark, actually started out as The Calling, the protagonist was Murron but after a hundred thousand words I was shipwrecked and so I took a break from the book and emigrated to Scotland. A few years later I went back to The Calling and at chapter three I rediscovered a minor character, Rhianna, leading a revolt against an imperialist occupying army, the Bulkarans. She was fighting lizard men and had to be rescued by Murron’s father. I kept going back to that chapter and more out of curiosity began a new story with Rhianna as the main character. Along the way I kept Murron for a later book and lost the lizard men, they really were silly creatures.

When I got to chapter four I did the unthinkable. Rhianna had a son, Emdahl, a delightful little boy with blond hair and blue eyes, but in chapter four I had my Bulkarans kill him in front of Rhianna. I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted to see what she’d do and I discovered what happens when you just let go of your characters. I subjected that poor woman to the mockery of a false trial, fifty of her villagers were hanged in front her, they killed and butchered her horse, she was pack raped, beaten and taken out to the forest where she was to be torn to pieces by the general’s dogs at dusk. She’s rescued by elves and taken deep into the forest where for all intents and purposes she may as well be dead, her mind is stretched to breaking point while all about the Bulkarans and their goblin shock troops are ravaging the land. Now Rhianna had a reason to raise an army against the Bulkarans if she could recover in time and you’ll have to read the book if you want to know more.

This then is the challenge. I’ve read dozens of books over the last few years where I get to the end and wish the writer had’ve just let go of their characters, opened the cell door and allowed them a little freedom to make their own destiny. One of the more famous cinematic examples is Cal in Titanic. What if he hadn’t been such a nasty piece of work and actually loved Rose? She would have faced a moral dilemma and Jack would’ve been forced to work that much harder to turn her head.

Like real people going their merry way along predictable paths, your characters are also real, in your head at least. Certainly they’re based on real people and if you want to lift your novel above the thousands of others out there you might have to open the cell door and let them step outside for a bit. Where will they lead you? Letting go of your characters is risky, with some I’ve had to rein them in because like jealous actors they stole the limelight from my main character. In an early draft of a WIP, The Vessel, I let Harriet sleep with Elizabeth and while I discovered that Elizabeth might sleep with a woman, she wasn’t gay and definitely wouldn’t tie the knot with Harriet. I was left with a steamy love scene that was eventually taken out of the book because there was no point to it. Elizabeth actually became a much stronger character in the end. The point being that while the love scene might have gotten the blood racing, it ended up emasculating Elizabeth and steering the novel to a place none of my characters wanted to be.

It may be an experimental draft, a what if scenario, but if you feel your novel is floundering it may be just the thing you need to do. Throw your characters a lifeline and let them make other decisions. It has the effect of freeing your mind to consider other possibilities and while some might become dead ends, others might lead to a fresh new look on your WIP. You might find yourself sitting back with amazement. Did I just write that? What will she do now?


*****

THE DEEPENING DARK
An exiled queen, a band of elves and the warrior cult known as the she bears are all that stands between General Bolksta and his conquest of Haydutia. Rhianna will need the luck of the gods if she is to hold back the tide of evil as an imperial army invades her country intent on turning Haydutia into just another province.

Smashwords / Amazon

*****

You can find Alastair on his GOODREADS BLOG or TWITTER.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Time For Reflection

After every big event, I always think it's good to take a moment to reflect on your hard work.

The True Colors Masquerade Ball was a huge success thanks to the amazing authors who participated and the enthusiastic fans who just made it so much fun. I came away exhausted and elated all at the same time. It was a very creative and epic way to launch a book into the world.

I'm so glad I took the time to get super organized before it started. The event ran like clockwork and although it was pretty full on, I was never stressed out. Involving other authors was a great way to cross promote and I highly recommend supporting each other in a release endeavor. It felt so good being able to shine the light on other people's work, while highlighting my own at the same time.

Would I do it again?

Yeah - I probably would, but not in a hurry. It was really time consuming and took a lot out of me. Expenses for giveaways, etc. add up too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so, so happy True Colors got this kind of introduction! One day I'll do something big like this again and I'll enjoy it just as much, but for my next book, I'm thinking of doing something just a touch quieter :D

Have you ever been involved in a big online event before?
What do you like about them?
How effective do you think they are?

I'd love to hear your thoughts - both readers and writers :)






Friday, February 14, 2014

Fun Friday - Be Mine


Yay! I love FUN FRIDAY. Today all the YA Storytellers are going to share romantic excerpts from our books. The perfect posts for Valentine's Day. Get ready to swoon ;D

True Colors is due coming out THIS SUNDAY! Sweet! So in honor of that, I have chosen an excerpt from my upcoming novel.


   Eric drank me in as he leaned towards me, his lips cresting with a smile.
   I couldn’t believe it. I mean I seriously could not believe it.
   Eric Shore!
   My teeth brushed over my lower lip as I quelled the urge to bust out with nervous giggles. “I never thought a guy like you would be interested in me.” My voice trailed off as his lips hovered before mine.
   “Well, Caity Davis, you thought wrong.”
   His warm, breathy words were followed by two tender lips. They pressed against mine, soft, sweet and magical. There was nothing hungry and demanding about it, just a warm kiss that sent my brain cells spinning to Pluto. Closing my eyes, I melted into the kiss, running my fingers around the nape of his neck and into the back of his hair.
   I couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me. Eric Shore was kissing me. Not my idea. His!
   His tongue skimmed along my bottom lip. It felt natural to respond, to let him in, so I deepened the kiss, the pleasure of his tongue against mine sending shivers down the back of my legs. I wanted to pull him on top of me, to feel his weight pressing me into the beanbag, but I’d never be that bold. Not with him. I didn’t want to come across as some hungry slut. His hands stayed on my face, his thumbs gently running up my jaw before he pulled away and leant his forehead against mine.

   He didn’t say anything, just looked at me with those dancing eyes. I grinned back, that giddy feeling winning the giggle battle. I let out a breathy laugh.

And this is why I love Valentine's Day, because we get to celebrate love. There's nothing like the magic of a couple's first kiss.

Enjoy reading the other Storytellers excerpts. I know I will :D - FUN FRIDAY

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Countdown Has Begun!

True Colors comes out THIS SUNDAY! Squee!!!
I'm so super excited to be releasing this book. I've been having so much fun prepping for this big release party. There are going to be a bunch of authors participating, fun games to play and plenty of giveaways. If you haven't joined in yet, please click the link below. We'd love to have you be a part of this celebration! I've already started posting excerpts and tidbits about the book!



The True Colors Pre-Release Blog Tour has begun. If you'd like to check out the schedule to read reviews, interviews, guest posts and enter giveaways, you can click the link below.



I'd like to take a moment to thank Len Phelps who has been helping me out while my PA was away. Len - you are pure gold. Thank you so much for all your hard work. It's meant so much to work with someone so willing and efficient. xxx

Thank you to everyone for your support of my writing. It's great having you along for the ride and I am so looking forward to sharing some more of my work with you on February 16th!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop! ~February 8th to 14th~


Valentine's Day is almost here! I have a special post today for you! I am a part of the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop!

To win an eBook of your choice (any one of my books, your choice) please enter in the Rafflecopter below! 
Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, February 7, 2014

Good Stuff To Know

I haven't done one of these posts in a really long time and I apologize. Life keeps catching up with me and this is one of the things I had to drop. However, I am hoping to do it a little more this year, because I know how helpful it can be.

So - what have I discovered this year that has been really helpful to me?

First off, I want to highlight Indies Unlimited. There are SO many helpful posts on this site and they are popping up faster than I can keep up with them. It is a great place to check in on a daily or weekly basis depending on how much time you have. You can subscribe to a daily updates email, which I find really helpful.

Are You Targeting The Wrong Readers? by Gary Korisko
Here is a really honest on article on how to hit the right kind of readers for your work. What's the point of writing your masterpiece if the right people can't find it? There are 7 helpful tips at the end too!

Book Marketing Predictions for 2014 by Mike Lowndes
I always love book marketing prediction posts. I read a few in January and I liked this one the best...and also this one by Bob Mayer - Ten Publishing Predictions for 2014.

An Explanation of the Criteria by Awesome Indies
This post was pointed out to me by a writer friend of mine, Leigh K. Hunt. It is a really LONG post, so make sure you have some time up your sleeve, or save it to read later. It is WORTH IT. This post is packed full of awesome tips on writing collected from various experts in the field. There's SO much good stuff on editing, story structure, character development. It's simply brilliant. Thank you Awesome Indies for putting it together. There is a wealth of information here that any author can benefit from.

So that's me for this time around. If you have any other helpful posts you've stumbled across this year, please mention them in the comments below.

Have a great February everyone!!