Monday, June 25, 2012

SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols, Yes please!

Lately, the stress of getting my manuscript ready to send out has been overwhelming. My kids have driven me nuts, my kitchen's a mess, and the laundry pile needs it's own address. Life is ridiculous right now. On top of that, it's wedding season, so Saturdays are nuts. Whoa is me. I needed something to get excited about.

Imagine my delight when I found an email from the awesome ladies at Small Girls PR asking me if I'd like to read an advanced copy of Jennifer Echols, SUCH A RUSH. Well, HECK YES I would. (By the way, Small Girls has the most fantastic website, check it out!)

How gorgeous is the cover?

Until last year I didn't read a lot of Contemporary YA. (Yes, I get the stupidity of that, considering I write it.) So in an effort to associate myself with the genre more fully, I set out on reading as much as I could. One of the first authors was Jennifer Echols, and I immediately fell in love with her style.

First review is HERE.  Another one HERE.  Another one HERE.

When blogger (and fellow contemp YA writer) Katy recommended I read her more "mature" YA books, I didn't hesitate, and I loved those even more. Don't get me wrong, romantic comedies are fun, but a romantic drama is definitely my first choice. I love the flawed characters, the tension and the development of two people who are fighting the inevitable...that they are totally going to make out whether they like it or not!!!
Jennifer's latest does not disappoint.

Leah was such a complex girl, and I felt for her, I really did. She has a rough upbringing, and let's just say her opportunities are not endless, but she makes the most of them. You know what? I also liked her mother. Call me crazy, but I felt for her also. I didn't hate her, although she was a piece of work.

I won't give a lot away, but Grayson was my ideal hero. Alpha, brooding, and bossy. I know, I know. I'm such a cliche', but I'm being honest. But you have to admit, the payoff is so wonderful when you deal with these boys. Echol's does them well,  my favorite still being John in GOING TO FAR. (Because let's be honest, the only thing better than a bossy, brooding, alpha, is one in a uniform!! Yes??)

The last thing I adored about this book, was the setting. These young people fly planes, and this blew me away. I found myself googling things, and I LOVE it when a book makes me do that. It's usually only historical, so this was a fun surprise. 

The best part?? This book comes out very soon. July 10th to be exact, so I would get your pre-orders in now peeps, because this is the perfect summer read!! Oh, and I'm soooo excited to hear that Jennifer Echols has a deal to write ADULT ROMANCE!! That was music to my ears; I know they will be amazing! :) Also, another deal for more YA romantic comedies, so if you loved those, you are in luck. Point being? Lot's more of her for us, which is a very good thing.

Thanks again, Small Girls PR! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Top 10 Favorite Series

As all writers, or anyone for that matter do, I've been questioning my abilities. Am I good enough? Is my voice strong enough? Is my idea unique, big,or  interesting enough? Ugh. It's a constant nag in my mind. I know I'm not alone in this, and from what I've read, this ugliness doesn't cease with agent, publication, or multiple publications. (So let's get comfortable with this feeling, folks!)

Any way, this line of thought got me thinking about some of my favorites books. I wanted to share, but there are many. So I thought I'd break them into groups. The following are my favorite series. Oh, and I'm sure after I click "publish" more will come to mind. Whatcha gonna do?

1. Harry Potter  JK Rowling. 
    This really needs no explanation, seeing as everyone in the universe loves this series. If they don't, they're
crazy! During my prego/birthing/breastfeeding/madness years, this was nearly the only book series I read. Or book at all for that matter. It was a rough time for this book lover. But I'll tell you this. Nearly every book came out during a time of one of my babies due dates, but come hell or high water, this huge pregnant girl got herself out of bed early in the AM to get herself to Target and get her reserved copy. Oh yes she did!

2. Outlander Diana Gabaldon
    I'm about to get sentimental up in here. I love these characters with every cell of my being. LOVE them. Jamie and Claire are real to me folks. Real. This series has a huge cult following, and let's be honest, it has it's critics because Diana does not hold back. (If you've read it, you know what I mean.) But that is exactly what I love about these books. They are real, raw, and perfect in every way. And long. Yay! I'm gonna forgive her for making us wait so long, because perfection is worth waiting for. Plus I've seen her speak in person, and her writing process is insanely unique and awesome. Do your thing, I'll be waiting!

3. The Rose Trilogy Jennifer Donnelly
    I wish every book I read captivated me like these did. First off, historical is an easy sell for this girl. It's my go to flavor, every time. She put me in this time and place so effortlessly, I nearly had to blink my eyes to get myself back in to 2012 (or whatever it was at that time.). My poor children...because I was gone. I loved ALL three books protagonists but I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for Syd.  *sigh* I fell in love. I really did. If you like suspense, romance, history and amazing tension...try these books. You will not be disappointed.

photo from

4. Wideacre Philippa Gregory
   If there is one character I LOVE to hate and hate to love, it's Beatrice Lacey from Widacre. How twisted the tale is. But oh Ralph. I adore him. Once again, this has some (clears throat) morality issues, but get over it. These books are insanely amazing.  In fact, I need to do a reread.

5. Pillars of the Earth  Ken Follett
  I'll go on record saying that I don't often read books written by male authors. This is not a concious choice, it's just a fact. I would guess because most of the genre's I enjoy are written by women. This is one of those exceptions. Good heaven's I loved this book and it's sequel World Without End. I really don't know which I liked better. They were both amazing. Have you seen the miniseries for Pillars??? Terrific!! Reader insight...he has a character map on his website that makes me want to weep!
 6. Sugar Daddy Lisa Kleypas
   When someone asks me for a book suggestion, this is what I go to. EVERYONE loves it. The story is touching, the characters beautifully developed, the guys hot, and the ummmm, physical interactions are really good. *grin* Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite romance authors, historical and contemporary. I could read these books over and over.

7. Black Dagger Brotherhood  J.R. Ward
   This is where you need to check your judgement at the door, because I'm not having it! These books will draw you in like nobody's business. I love when I find a fellow fan, and we can discuss with glee. It's like we have a wonderful dirty secret!!  (OLBFF? You feel me?) J.R. knows how to spin a tale and tap into every woman's fantasy. I'll admit the gangster lingo makes me laugh sometimes, I would now have it no other way. I love these guys and their shellans! ;)

8. Gardella Vampire Chronicles Colleen Gleason
    Vampires, slayers, and cute boys. I'll take it. I believe the author herself has called this series Buffy meets Pride and Prejudice and I agree. Fancy balls, stakes hidden in her dress, and a sexy love triangle. Sold. This series is really exceptional! I read it after the first three had been released and I recall driving to Borders three times in a week. (R.I.P Borders)


9. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
    Yes, I loved this series, as did many of you. It was so different. I was pulled right in, eyes wide through the whole thing. Want to know something ridiculous? I still haven't seen the movie. UGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  Right? At this point I'll be waiting for the DVD. I know, I know.

10. Twilight Stephenie Meyer
     I know it has become the thing, especially in the writing community, to discount these books as 'not good'. I don't agree. These books sucked me in with the rest of the world. Do i feel as strongly now? No, I don't. Do i want to re-read? Not really. In fact, I didn't even see the last movie in the theater either.  But I can't deny that I fell in love with Edward Cullen. For the way i ripped through these four books, it would be disingenuous not to include them in this list.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My wip in photos

I'm in editing mode on my wip. It takes place in a small town, on a farm. With a cute farm boy.

I came across this website. Please don't ask how, I'll be ashamed, but I'll be honest and say the bare chested guy is what got me there. Use your imagination. :)

But, how fun are these pics? All courtesy of FARM BOY brand.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I *heart* the library

When I was a child, going to a bookstore was my greatest joy. I still recall walking up to the little B.Dalton in my hometown. I adored the smell, the stacks of books, and the turnstile thingy that held the collection of Berenstain Bear Books. I could be sure that my parent's would let me get the latest one.

The next runner up to that, was going to the library. We went frequently, and I relished it. The children's section in my library had a huge coffee-table style bin, with chairs pulled up along the sides. It had hundred's of books just tossed in. I would dig in and sort through those for what felt like hours. A sea of delicious stories.

Fast forward. I'm still a reader. A huge reader, and now I'm a writer too. (I wrote as a child, but I'm not counting that.) My point is that, now I feel a responsibility to the publishing community. To authors, which I love. I want to buy their books, and support them. Keep them writing for as long as they're willing.

There's a catch. I read a LOT. My budget doesn't allow me to support every author with every book. Heck, sometimes the budget doesn't allow me to support any authors, or any books. (Or even eating out for heaven's sake.)

So I go to the library, and sometimes I feel a little guilty about it. Don't get me wrong, libraries are wonderful places. But when I sit for three hours pounding away at my laptop on a manuscript that I dream of becoming a NY Times bestseller (don't we all?), and then take my butt to the library and pick up 10 new books to read, I feel a little hypocritical. Why? I don't know. It's just my issue.

Here is how I deal with this feeling.

1. I remember that authors are readers, and more than likely LOVE libraries also. They get it. In fact, about four years ago, I loved a book so much that I felt compelled to email the author. My guilt must have been great, because like an idiot I revealed to her that I got her book from the library, but I would be sure to purchase subsequent books because I enjoyed it so much! (Idiot much??)  Do you know what she responded to me?? That she was a librarian, and LOVED libraries? Who'd have thought?? :) I remember laughing out loud at my stupidity.

2. Libraries PURCHASE books. I don't know the in's and outs of this, but I know they pay money for them. Does it count toward bestseller lists etc? Not sure, but it has to count for something. Please chime in if you know!

3. I talk a lot about the books I read. Everyone in my sphere knows this, for the most part. I know for a fact, that my constant book talk has sold a lot of books. If I check out a book and love it, I can almost guarantee that either my sister, my sister in law, my mother, a friend, or maybe someone on this blog might purchase it. In fact, I sat and book chatted with a fellow mom at a baseball game in the bleachers about some books I loved, and she literally bought them on her phone from amazon as we spoke. Powerful stuff, friends!

Now someday, I would love nothing more than to have a beautiful room like this. Or five.

And to be clear, I still have way more than the average person's share of purchased books. Boxes and shelves full. Stacks. But until I have the means, (and maybe I never will) I will be using the library. When my book comes out, you can feel good about checking it out at your library. But please tell everyone you know about it!! :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer, Insanity, and EDITS!

School has been out for a few weeks now. We're all still alive. Why is that relevant, you ask? Well, I live with three young boys. Three. Summer is tough. Boys like to hit, run, crash, bang, yell, fight, make messes, and drive their mother crazy. They are also sweet, loving, adorable, creative, smart, and love to take care of their mother. So I'll keep them, but man it's hard day to day.

Throw in all the other drama that being an adult includes, like bills, cleaning, dogs, spouses, appointments, work, dinner, etc, and it's easily a recipe for chaos. Does this all sound familiar? I know I'm not alone when I talk about the crazy. 

For us aspiring writers there is an added stress. We want to fit writing, editing, query, (insert wherever you are in the game), into the mix. God help us all, something's got to give. Unfortunately it's my emotional well-being. Oh, and my laundry pile, but that's another matter.

Summer. Ugh. If I looked hot in shorts or bathing suits, it MIGHT help my  Summer blahs. It's not meant to be.

 I'll share with you a few things that have been helping me stay sane. 

1.  Reading. Duh.  Reading is up there on my "essential to survival" list. Lately I've read some good ones!!

If you're into adult romance, Julie James is fantastic. Contemporary and hot! :)

This morning I finished LEGEND, by Marie Lu. AWESOME!!! I absolutely loved June and Day. I seriously wish this would become a movie.

2. Instagram No explanation needed, right?

3. Making unhealthy snacks. Specifically things like, Chex Muddy Buddies, chocolate chip, and no-bake cookies.

image courtesy of tastebook

4. Writing. Yes, my manuscript is giving me lots of joy right now. I'm in the middle of a full edit and then will be sending it out into the world. I'm loving this process, although it's overwhelming and I'm obsessive about it. In about a week, I'm going to have the whole thing printed and bound. EEK. Does anyone else do that??

Happy Friday everybody!! :)
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