Saturday, June 1, 2013

Teaser time - Heart of Kylassame

It's teaser time! I've been taking a short hiatus from these so that I don't reveal too much of the story, but with Heart of Kylassame releasing in just 28 days (Eek!) I thought I would give you a little appetizer.

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     Mikel turned toward Rhea, who had remained seated on her mare, Kalar. “Welcome to Asimina, Lady Rhea. It has been too long since we have had your grace shine among us.”

     Rhea glanced at him before shifting her empty eyes to the village. “There isn’t much to shine anymore.”

     Mikel exchanged a sharp glance with Sebast. “Well, we will just have to fix that now, will we not?”

     Rhea ignored him and, with the quiet encouragement of Sebast, slid off her mount. “Some things can’t be  fixed,” she whispered, but allowed the long-time protector of Asimina to lead her into the village.

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What is happening to poor Rhea? I seem to really be giving her the raw edge in the book. Hopefully it will all work out for her, but who knows?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

5 top guilty pleasures

Welcome to the first installment in the Top 5 series.

This week's post is Top 5 Guilty Pleasures.

1) Reality TV Shows
     I am addicted to this stuff, even though, in most cases, I can feel my brain rotting as I watch it. Some of my less proud ones are Myrtle Manor, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and Real Housewives of Orange County. I will admit, part of me watches them because no matter how insane my life may be, it is NOTHING compared to that.
    My less brain rotting shows include Sister Wives and 19 Kids and Counting. While they are definitely not depicting mainstream cultural ideals, I find them fascinating. Once you open your mind, both shows do have very good advice for keeping marriages strong, raising children to be responsible adults, and healthy conflict resolution.

2) Chips and Dip
     But only Lay's regular chips with Dean's French Onion Dip. I could eat an entire bag/container of this stuff and have absolutely no qualms about it. (Until I enter it into My Fitness Plan or SparkPeople trackers and see how much fat/sodium I just consumed)

3) Long showers
    I know, I know, conserve water to save the environment, save money, help the world, but dang do I love taking a long, steaming hot shower. Especially now that I have a toddler and the shower is my only private place. It's just so nice and warm and quiet....

4) Ipad games
    Top contenders include Royal Envoy 2, My Horse, and Pocket Frog. These things could entertain me for hours and I would gladly let the world run without me.

5) Smart Food Kettle Popcorn or Smart Food White Cheddar
    Similar to the chips and dip, I could eat an entire bag of this stuff (and not the little snack sized bag, oh no) without even blinking an eye. Nom...

There you have it, my top 5 guilty pleasures.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why I gave up writing - for a time

Now, obviously I didn't give up writing at all, or I wouldn't have a book out there for all of you wonderful fans to be enjoying. But I did give it up for a little while, about 8 years in fact.

See, I was a very susceptible teen. I trusted those who were older, wiser, more experienced than me. Now that I look back, I want to shake myself and say, "Just because they have a high degree/teaching experience/have submitted works to a publisher," does NOT mean that they know what they are talking about.

I can actually peg it back to two teachers who killed a small part of my soul in high school.

The first was an English teacher. Any time we were given writing assignments to, "free write a story," I would go the fantasy world. It was what I enjoyed doing, even back then. And every single time she would give me an incomplete, and tell me that I needed to re-write the story because "fantasy is not real writing". I was told that I needed to get my head out of the clouds, that I needed to get serious about my writing, that I needed to grow up.

So I stopped writing fantasy. Even worse, I stopped writing completely.

The only good part of that is that it turned me towards poetry, because, for some reason, she loved my poetry. In fact, she loved it so much that she took one of my poems and, unknown to me at the time, it won a state poetry competition. Ironically enough, even though she hated the fantasy stories that I would spend hours and days writing, she loved my poem, which was about a girl who could form fire in her hands, which I scribbled in the 5 minutes before class because I forgot the assignment was due that day. *shrug*

The second teacher was an art teacher. In a similar theme, he hated my fantasy stuff, most of which was quite good (if I say so myself). Once again I heard to "stop dreaming" "get your head out of the clouds" "get serious about your drawing" "stop wasting time on scribbles". If a drawing/painting wasn't anatomically correct or realistic enough, he would point that out to me, by drawing in red Sharpie where something was supposed to go (in his world, not mine).

So I stopped drawing fantasy, I stopped drawing completely.

College was actually a really hard time for me as well. I went to JMU where there is an incredible writing and art department, and most of my roommates/friends were artists/writers. My artwork could never stack up to theirs, which further made me just stop doing it. It was never good enough, realistic enough, professional enough. I no longer enjoyed it because I was always focused on the end result.

But now, I do both. I write the book that I want to write, because I know that somewhere out there, is a reader who will want to read it. There are still a lot of people out there who refuse to acknowledge my writing because I "did not face thousands of rejections before signing with a big publisher", but I no longer care. My fans like my book, and I love my book, and if you aren't willing to even read it before judging, there is nothing I can do about it.

My daughter gets me drawing now too. She doesn't care that my flowers aren't in proportion, or perfectly shaded, or casting a correct shadow. She can identify when I draw a ball, apple, orange, horse, cat and dog (which is pretty dang impressive giving my drawing abilities and her not being two yet). I'm having fun with it again, and negativity be damned.

NEVER stop doing what you like to do, ever. If you want to draw, write, dance, etc. it does not matter if you aren't at a professional level, or going to win an award, or meeting the standards of some person who thinks they are important. You do it because you like to do it, because it gives you joy. Never stop. Never let their negativity get you down.

Cover reveal - 15 Minutes Jill Cooper

I am super excited to reveal the cover for Hill Cooper's next YA release! A time travel thriller with deception, love, and a mind-blowing mystery. 15 Minutes takes a normal girl and places her in the center of a swirling conspiracy where only she holds the answer.

Along the way she'll fall in love, be torn between two boys, and be willing to risk it all to save her family before it's too late. A mind twisting adventure that will leave the reader wondering who is on Lara's side and who will betray her next, it has been called Back to the Future Meets Inception.

Available June 15th!

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15 minutes is all the Rewind Agency gives a person when they travel to the past, but for Lara Crane it’s enough for her to race through the city, find her mother, and stop her from being killed in a mugging that happened over ten years ago.
But the story she’s been told all her life is a lie. When Lara takes a bullet meant for her mother, her future changes forever. A new house, new friends and a new boyfriend turns Lara’s turned upside down. She thinks if she can save her father from prison, reunite him with her mother, everything will be fine.
15 Minutes is an edgy high octane YA thriller where the people Lara trusts change in an instant. She is in a timeline she doesn't understand, and is about to make one fatal mistake as she faces an enemy so familiar, he’s family.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FHS Book Club Meeting

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with the faculty at a local high school who had chosen the Lady of Steinbrekka as their May fiction novel! It is certainly daunting to have a group of teachers reading your work, and part of me was terrified that they were going to hate it.
Quite the opposite, it seems :) We had a wonderful question/answer session and everyone was also very excited about the bookmarks I handed out, as well as the sneak peak for the cover of Heart of Kylassame, coming June 26th.
Here are some of the wonderful questions they sent my way (paraphrased because I have a horrible memory, even of my own answers)

Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite is definitely Rowan. He's like my fantasy husband, you know, if I were ever kidnapped and taken to another realm. Savin is my second, and he's like my fantasy boyfriend. Obviously I have a hand in giving them qualities I like, but they also developed a bit on their own, and I like how Rowan "grew up" over the course of the book(s).

Are you Rhea?
I wish! Parts of me make up Rhea, like my archaeology background, horse experience (the story she tells KataOlya is a true story of my past), as well as my fondness for cats. But, I think it's safer to say that Rhea is who I wish I could be. When writing, I am able to think of how I would react to a situation and then have time to formulate the results. This allows Rhea to be stronger and wittier than me. I'm the type of person who thinks of the perfect response...5 minutes later.

How do you write? Do you use an outline?
(I will do a post on this later, but here's the short answer). I typically have a loose plot outline for each book. Normally I have a beginning and an end, but the details in the middle get kind of fuzzy. Mostly I just write down things I want to have happen on paper, and then they all begin to magically connect, sometimes with much frustration on my end. The Lady of Steinbrekka was much more outlined than Heart of Kylassame (due out June 26th), and I gave up within 2 pages of Soul of Asimina (due out Christmas 2013) because the characters weren't listening to me anyway.

What inspired The Lady of Steinbrekka?
It sounds cliche, but I had a dream about some of the scenes and the rest just kind of happened. I dreamt (from the pov of Rhea) about getting kidnapped and waking up to see this evil High Prince who wore my friend's face. I knew I had to save him, but couldn't figure out how. I also dreamed the scene with the Gormellyn. Then I just had to figure out how to connect them.

What is it like to be a famous author?
I wouldn't say I'm famous (yet?)! It's still processing for me. Some days, like when I get awesome reviews or make a profit, it's really incredible. Mostly, I just feel like a person who likes to write books, and who is lucky enough to be able to share them with the people around her and have readers who enjoy the work.

When do you write?
Whenever I can, which is not nearly as often as I like. I have paper near me so I am scribbling plot lines and ideas all day, but really can only sit down and write when my child is asleep. Of course, that's also when I have to clean/cook/pay bills, so that's why it takes so long in between books! One day I'll be able to just sit and write for 8 hours a day, but that is not today.

Cover reveal - Chasing Memories

I am so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Chasing Memories, by Tia Silverthorne Bach!

Cover by Jo Michaels

So beautiful and intriguing, I can't wait to have a copy of that on my bookcase!

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About Chasing Memories (Tala Prophecy, Book 1) 

There isn’t another way; not now. The others are coming. I can’t let them have you… 
Seventeen-year-old Reagan has a problem: She can’t remember what happened the night her brother was taken. Now, the dreams haunting her from the incident are becoming more intense by the day. All the while, the lines between what’s real and what’s a product of her paranormal-obsessed mind are becoming blurred.

Is she losing her mind or has she just stepped into a world she thought only existed in books?

Caught in a web of worried parents, competing boys, Wiccan relatives, protective amulets, and psychiatrist babble, Reagan must determine the truth before it’s too late.

Expected Publication Date: June 10, 2013

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Tia Silverthorne Bach is an avid reader, sometimes runner, involved wife and mother, and rabid grammar hound in addition to being a multi-genre writer. Her three daughters were born in Chicago, San Diego, and Baltimore; and she feels fortunate to have called many places home. She's the award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies, a coming of age story written with her mother. Tia's office is wherever her laptop takes her and any place that's conducive to allowing a wild imagination like hers to flourish.

Please visit her at her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on GoodReads.