Friday, June 29, 2012

Review-Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer Armentrout

Goodreads Summary:

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is.

Publication Date: November 29, 2011

I have a complex relationship with science fiction themed novels. Whenever I hear aliens I either think of cheesy Star Trek episodes with ray guns and bad special effects or the hilarity of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. After I read The Host and absolutely LOVED it, I decided to give more sci-fi novels a chance. Someone recommended Across the Universe which I thought was okay, but I wasn't blown away. I was BLOWN away by Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout. I loved it so much that I'm seriously contemplating starting a Daemon Black fan club (if there isn't already one lol).

What I Liked: Daemon, duh! Seriously though, Armentrout created the perfect male hero (anti-hero?) with Daemon. He's arrogant, gorgeous and also happens to be an alien. I usually don't like jerky guys in books, but his guard is up with good reason. I loved his protectiveness about his sister (and later Katy) and this definitely helps endear him to readers. Plus, the chemistry between him and Katy was amazing!

Katy was a great protagonist for the story. She's tough and doesn't put up with his crap just because he is good-looking and has "issues" (I'm looking at you Anastasia Steele).

The plot was exciting and the pacing excellent. The Arum was a good choice as villains and the ending was the perfect set-up for the next book. The Kindle version I purchased also included bonus chapters from Daemon's POV which was also very enjoyable.

What I Didn't Like: That the book ended =)

Rating: Five out of five stars

Interview on My Neurotic Book Affair and Giveaway

Shari from My Neurotic Book Affair was awesome enough to let me pop by her blog as part of my tour through Bewitching Book Tours. She gave First Visions an AMAZING review and asked me some questions about writing and the book. Stop by her blog to leave a comment or tweet the stop to enter a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card and autographed book. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.

1) In three words can you describe First Visions?

Haha, you're gonna ask the tough ones, aren't you? Hmm, I guess I would choose: YA psychic romance.

2) If you had to choose a theme song for First Visions what would that song be?

I have two: Where Have You Been? by Rihanna and Trouble Is a Friend by Lenka

3) Which of your First Visions characters is your favorite? Why?

I would have to say Kate. I love writing her and I usually have her say things I would love to say, but never have the nerve. I also like that she's not perfect, but still someone you can root for. I'm a fan of non-traditional female leads in stories and I think Kate fits that description.

4) I've always thought it would be super cool to be physic (which is why I was drawn to First Visions). If you could chose to have one supernatural or super power which one would you want to have?

The first thing that popped into my head was being able to read minds. But the more I think about it, I probably rather not know what people are thinking most of the time!

5) What are a few of your favorite supernatural books and tv shows?

I have a ton, so I'll try to narrow it down. For TV, I love the shows True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural. For books, a few favorites include the Existence series by Abbi Glines, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, Lothaire by Kresley Cole and Ethereal by Addison Moore.

6) Are you an organized writer with everything being just so, or are you more of fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?

I am desperately trying to be more organized, but I am more of a fly by the seat of your pants writer. I'm attempting to work off of an outline for my next novels and schedule times to write, but instead I find myself pulling all nighters or walking away from one story because I feel inspired about another tale.

7) When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

A part of me always wanted to be a writer, but I never considered it a very realistic goal. Then, I went through a long period of time when I wanted to be a nurse which is funny since I can't stand the sight of blood.

8) How many books are you planning for the Second Sight Series as of now?

I'm almost certain there will be total of four. I have the majority of them worked out in my head and partially outlined. I wanted an end in sight before I began because I find it annoying sometimes reading a series that goes on and on well past its prime.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review-Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Goodreads Summary:

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

Due to the subject matter, this book was definitely a tough read. However, since it was only 126 pages and had plenty of tension I finished it in one sitting. This book explores the emotions of a young teenage girl as she deals with the aftermath of a rape. The novel had plenty of discussion points that would make it an ideal addition to a classroom or book club list. A few things I felt could have added more to the story, but overall a highly recommended read.

What I Liked: This was actually the first YA novel I've read that dealt with rape. I really felt that since the novel was told from Valerie's POV, readers were able to connect with her. She's not perfect, she drinks, flirts, gets into fights, and I felt that helped bring home the point that no matter how she acted, she didn't deserve to be raped. Her emotions were described in rich detail, especially where she blamed herself for the attack and had to learn to take back her life. The conflicts with her peers were unnerving and made the horror of her attack continue on well after the actual act. The ending was very different than I was expecting and the non-resolution gave it an even more realistic feel.

What I Didn't Like: The bluntness of the title made me think the actual rape would be described in a similar manner. However, very few details are given and I think a more unfettered look could have helped drive home the themes in the novel. Also, the story takes place in Utah and the conservative ideals of the Mormon community are touched upon in relation to Valerie's rape. I think this theme could have been explored even more. The actions of the principal seemed slightly unrealistic (I kept thinking of the lawsuit Valerie's family could have against the school), but it did make him another terrible villain for the story.

Star Rating: Four out of five stars

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Latest Book Tour Updates and New Excerpt from First Visions

Earlier this week, It's All About Me and Arianne Cruz were kind enough to let me appear on their blogs as part of my tour hosted by Bewitching Book Tours. Today I was interviewed on Tana Rae Reads and she gave First Visions a fabulous review.  Stop by their blogs to leave a comment or tweet the stops to enter my latest giveaway for an gift card and autographed book (Details are here and this is the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway). Here's an excerpt from First Visions that's been featured on this blog tour:

Jared and Kate meet at a diner to discuss Cori's abduction:

I get you? What the hell was that supposed to mean? His comments were making her feel unsure and suddenly exposed. Quickly, she decided to change the subject. “Your aunt doesn’t have any abilities?”

“No, she just always felt there was more to the world than we could see. Most of her major life decisions are based on answers she receives during tarot card readings. Some of her ideas are pretty out there. But I learned from a young age how to take things with a grain of salt,” he explained.

“Is she local?”

“Not anymore. Kind of lives off the grid now. She met this guy from Maine and moved up there about five years ago. He makes these amazing homemade brooms and Aunt Lizzie helps him run his business.” He gave a fond smile as he thought about his aunt. “You should meet her one day, you’d love her.”

“She sounds cool. Although introductions might be a little awkward. How would you present me? As your psychic sidekick?”

Before he could reply, the waitress returned for their order. He ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and potato salad. Against her better judgment, she went for the cheese fries with a side of gravy.

Jared gave her an undisguised look of distaste once the waitress had left. “How can you eat that crap? Sounds disgusting.” As he let his gaze run over her body, she felt heat rise to her cheeks. “Why are you so thin? You should be a hundred pounds overweight if you eat that kind of stuff.”

Kate snorted. Jeez, she really needed to stop snorting in his presence, talk about one of the least attractive qualities. “I’m hardly thin, I saw your girlfriend. I look like Cartman from South Park next to her.”

“Ugh, girls with their weight issues,” he said and waved her off. “Want to show me that sketch now?”

She pulled the picture out of her purse and he examined it thoroughly. After a moment of thoughtful consideration, he remarked, “You did a good job, I have a few ideas of what type of car it may be. Looks like an older model Ford or Toyota sedan. You said about ten years old and dark green?”

She nodded and he continued, “I’ll work on getting printouts of models from around that time period. See if we can get an exact match.”

“I wish I could’ve seen the license plate, but it wasn’t visible from the angle he brought Cori out in. The garage was well-lit, but the rest of the house was dark. The layout of the house looked like a Cape Cod style, but honestly he dragged her through so quickly I couldn’t say for sure.” She sighed and then took a sip of her diet soda. She figured ordering the diet soda helped to cancel out the massive amounts of calories in the cheese fries.

“Do you have any idea of a timeframe? How long she was in the car for?”

“She was unconscious for part of the ride. She didn’t have a good sense of time, but I would say he was driving for no more than twenty minutes while she was awake. It was very dark in the house which makes me guess it could have been a lot later after he left the Prestons. Not sure if he went anywhere first before heading to his house. Maybe someone near Cori’s house will remember seeing that type of car. I can’t imagine too many of the Prestons’ neighbors drive a hoopdie like that.”

He leaned back and chewed on his thumb. “With the damage to the front, it would definitely stand out. Of course, I wish we knew more, but this has been extremely helpful, Kate. Thank you.”

Closely, she watched his movements as he patted her hand. It only lasted a second, but Kate felt the touch long after he pulled away. Suffering a loss for words, Kate was grateful for the interruption when his phone rang.

After answering, he put his hand over the receiver and addressed her. “I’m going to step outside and take this. It’s a call from another one of the detectives working on the case.” After her nod, he disappeared out of the diner. While she waited, she fidgeted and tried not to think about how right his hand felt on hers.

A couple of minutes later, he returned with an apologetic look on his face. “Sorry about that. He wanted to let me know that they’re organizing a search party for tonight. The plan is to comb a few wooded areas in town to look for Cori. We have other detectives going door to door with Cori’s picture to see if anyone has any information,” he explained solemnly. It was hard to not get drawn in by his intensity as he spoke about Cori.

As the food arrived at the table, she became convinced greasy food would help get rid of these butterflies she was feeling. She saturated the fries with the gravy. After shoving a forkful in her mouth, she closed her eyes and sighed. “These are heavenly.”

Jared gave her a dubious look while taking a bite of his sandwich. “I can see your arteries clogging right before my eyes.”

She held out her fork to him. “Go ahead and try them. You know you want to.”

He looked on the verge of denial, but eventually caved. “Fine, but I have a feeling I’ll be regretting it.”

She grinned as he took a large bite. He showed no reaction, but she giggled as he reached over and took another large forkful. “I can’t tell if I like it. I better taste some more in order to make a sound judgment.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she said. She grabbed a side dish plate and piled some on it. “Here, stop denying yourself. One serving of disco fries will not kill you.” Her grin could not seem to fade as she pushed the plate to his side of the table.

“So, that’s what these are called? Now that you have me addicted to them, I can blame you when I get too fat to chase anyone down,” he commented between bites. He cut his sandwich in half and held out a piece to her. “Wanna share?”

She took the sandwich from him and felt a jolt as their hands brushed. She was in big trouble and she knew it. More of this and she was going to ask him to procreate on the table right then and there. He returned her smile and seemed to also revel in the intimacy of the moment. She wished she could’ve thrown his phone against the wall when it rang again a second later. Kate felt embarrassed that she was weirding him out when she noticed how uncomfortable he suddenly looked.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Top 10 Characters Who Remind Me of Myself or Someone I Know in Real Life

I've been neglecting my participation in the Broke and the Bookish weekly meme, but I'm back in it this week! For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is to pick ten characters who remind you of yourself or someone you know. This is a tough one, but I'll try my darndest. I haven't named names since I don't want any family or friends pissed at me!

Becky from Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella-I love Becky from the Shopaholic series! I pretty much find everything she says hysterically funny. The friend I'm thinking of spends a zillion dollars on toys, clothes, etc. and justifies it because it's for her kids.

Jeb from The Host by Stephenie Meyer-You know how in the book they said the crazy and the paranoid people would be the one to survive an alien invasion? Well, this describes a certain family member of mine to a T. She believes a planet called Nibiru is coming towards Earth and has prepared by putting together survival supplies and cashing in her 401K plan. I bet she can't wait to say I told you so if the world does end.

Charlie Swan from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer-I've always been a fan of Bella's father and I've known a single dad who sometimes struggles to connect with his teenage daughter.

Meredith from Everyone Else's Girl by Megan Crane-In this book, the main character tries to escape her family, but finds herself suckered back in and ends up taking care of her injured father without any help from her siblings. The person I'm thinking of is the people pleaser who ends up feeling like a martyr as her family takes advantage of her time and time again.

Ben Page from Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer-The main character is the daughter of a famous novelist with an inflated sense of self-worth. He also revels in tearing others down who he deems inferior to him. I know a not so nice guy who has these same qualities.

Lizzie from Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot-I love Lizzie and think she's hysterically funny. I also know several friends (and probably myself included) who have a tendency to put their foots in their mouths and blurt out whatever they're thinking.

Joe Morelli from One for the Money by Janet Evanovich-A Trenton cop with a down to earth personality. Definitely reminds me of a certain guy.

Mrs. X from The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicole Kraus-I wish I didn't come across as many Mrs. Xs as I do, but raising a preschooler close by the city, it's almost impossible not to.

Cannie Shapiro from Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner-I think Cannie is an enjoyable character and I think many girls see themselves in her and the struggle to learn to love yourself in spite of your weight.

Andrea Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger-I've think many people (myself included) have had to deal with a boss from hell.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review-Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for an advanced copy for my review (no cash was exchanged blah blah blah).

Goodreads Summary:

Every night I'd lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there'd be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn't wash off.

Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.

Publication Date: July 24, 2012

I feel like I've been through an emotional wringer after reading this book. I've gone from despising it to getting into it to feeling sort of blase about the whole thing. I think this comes from the book having many highs (the main character's wicked sense of humor) and many lows (James and Quinn's relationship). If you do pick up this book, don't expect your run of the mill YA paranormal romance.

What I Liked: I love non-traditional main characters and Quinn certainly fits that bill. She's snarky, lazy and has intense relationships with her friends. I enjoy humor in novels and many of her inner musings were definitely laugh out loud funny. The 80s and 90s throwback pop culture references were also fun and gave the novel a unique spin. The writing style was conversational which made it a quick and breezy beach read. The characters use cool catch phrases too which makes the novel extremely quotable.

What I Didn't Like: I was very confused over the time frame of the novel. I was certain it took place in the 90s (Quinn wants to marry Leonardo DiCaprio, she listens to a Discman, her friend plays Super Nintendo, etc.), but then she mentions "I was going to rock these super-fitted black matatdor pants with little red pom-pom balls going up the sides that Stella scored from some nineties Madonna video shoot she had styled." Also, the whole romance thing between her and James was god-awful. She describes him as a "greasy pretty boy" and falls in love with him (spoiler alert although you can guess this in the first couple of chapters) despite him being a vampire that kills innocent girls. At least when Whit was introduced, I could root for him as a potential love interest. Quinn comes off as majorly unlikable at times which may bug readers who are expecting a different sort of heroine.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (I'm stuck right down the middle on this one)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Casting Couch for First Visions: Second Sight Book One

Can't believe it, but we're almost through the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors! Today is Day 23 and the question is:

If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it?

I LOVE these kinds of questions because of my extreme love of pop culture. Here's my thoughts on the casting for First Visions:

Jared Corbett-A gorgeous detective with dark hair and gray eyes. He's tall with a phenomenal body and a casual fashion sense. He can be tough when his job calls for it, but also has a very sensitive and kind side. I had to narrow it down, but my casting choices would be between Henry Cavill, Jake Gyllenhaal or Ian Somerhalder. I think the three actors fit the physical description, but Henry and Jake would probably be able to play Jared's personality the best.

Kate Edwards-Light brown hair and hazel eyes with an average height and build. She's an unwilling psychic with a snarky sense of humor. I tried to think of actresses that would do well with Kate's sense of humor and also had similar physical attributes. My picks were Leighton Meester, Ellen Page and Anna Kendrick.

Julie-Kate's best friend who is described as a gorgeous brunette. Seems shallow at first, but has a big heart. For Julie, my casting selections would be Nina Dobrev or Vanessa Hudgens.

Gage-Julie's boyfriend is tall and stocky with an obnoxious personality to boot. I kind of picture Kellan Lutz in the role of Gage whenever I write the character.

Cori Preston-A sweet eight year old girl with blond hair and blue eyes. I can't think of any current child actresses, but I think Dakota Fanning's character in War of the Worlds would work for Cori.

Nikki Preston-Jared's not so nice girlfriend is a petite blond with blue eyes. Diane Kruger always comes to mind when I think about how I picture Nikki.

I'm not sure about director since most directors I like work on superhero movies. Can't wait to see what actors and actresses other writers picture for their characters.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Character Interview on Simply Infatuated and Book Tour Giveaway

Simply Infatuated was kind enough to let Kate from First Visions: Second Sight Book One stop by their blog yesterday to give an interview. I printed a portion of the interview below, but make sure you stop by their blog to read the interview in its entirety. This tour stop is also the launch of my new giveaway for a $20 gift card and autographed copy of my novel. The Rafflecopter giveaway is being hosted on my FB page and there are plenty of chances to enter including liking my page, following my blog, commenting at one of my blog tour stops (schedule is here) or tweeting about one of my tour stops. Just a reminder First Visions will be on sale for $1.99 through 6/24 at and Barnes and Noble.
What is it like to be in someone else’s mind?

You would think it would be really exciting, right? Nope, not usually. Since I can’t control the visions I see, most of the time I either witness people’s most mundane or grossest memories. I really don’t want to know about the affair my dentist is having or how my neighbor stole fifty bucks worth of undergarments from the local Wal-Mart. This is not to say all of my visions are horrible. They can help me understand a person’s motivations better. Sometimes they also offer up the chance for me to help others.

How did your family react when you told them about your gift?

I think most of my family thinks I have daddy issues and I’m making up the visions to get attention. Believe me, I could do a lot more outrageous things if I wanted to get my father’s attention. However, my mom has been super supportive and thinks maybe there’s a reason I developed these powers when I almost died.

Is it hard to hide that you are psychic?

Most people think psychics are full of it, so it’s easy to play it off and pretend I don’t really have this strange ability. When I do confide in them, they ask me to predict something. Believe me I wish I could predict something. I’d buy a lottery ticket with winning numbers and move me and my mom into the biggest McMansion in all of Franklin.

Do you plan on returning to college?

I’m doing online classes now and majoring in English. I wanted to take a few art classes, but that’s not really possible since you typically need to be physically present.

What do you have planned for yourself after you graduate?

Well, I’m going to have an English degree and I don’t want to teach, so that’s a tough question to answer. I may end up having to set up a psychic booth down the shore and charge the tourists tenners if I can’t decide on a real job.

If you could choose to have a super power, would you keep the one you have or choose another?

Hmm, I probably would want the ability to see into the future. I see into the past and there’s nothing you can do to change what’s already happened.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NJ?

That people always expect you to be a cliched representation of a cast member of the Jersey Shore. Just kidding, you get the best of both worlds and live close to both the city and the beach.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: White Witch (Coven #1) by Trish Milburn

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and uninhibited opinion.

Goodreads Summary:

Witchcraft Is Her Family’s Business. No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It.

“Jax” Pherson has power, enough power to know her future will end in service to the dark coven her father controls. Unless she can stay hidden in a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. She must find a way to live without magic and deny the darkness she feels welling up inside her—the same dark power that fuels the covens around the world. All she wants is a normal life. A boyfriend. Friends. Some place to belong, but all too soon Jax’s barely begun new life hangs in the balance when she discovers that the boy she’s attracted to is sworn to kill her kind. He’s a hunter with good reason to kill everything that goes bump in the night. Even the most fleeting use of her power is tantamount to signing her death warrant and will bring both hunter and coven down on her. But can she walk away when her friends are threatened by an old evil? Something created by the magic of witches? Jax’s only hope of survival is to convince the boy she loves to forget everything he’s ever been taught and help her find a way to fight the covens. To believe there is some good in her.

Publication Date: March 1, 2012

This book was the first witchcraft based YA novel I've read in a very long time. The last one I read approached the whole witch thing in a cheesy way which made me feel like I much rather have spent my time watching old episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. With White Witch. I have to say that wasn't the case and I liked it more than I expected. It was suspenseful with a likable cast of characters.

What I Liked: The action in the book starts immediately since Jax is on the run from her evil coven. The first few chapters focus on her assimilation into a normal high school life, something I found interesting. Her friendship with Toni and new romance with Keller felt natural and didn't come across as forced or unrealistic. The final third of the novel is really what lifted this book from a three star to a four star book for me. When Egan was introduced, he instantly became my favorite character in the novel. It doesn't seem like him and Jax are going to have a romantic relationship, but his protectiveness over Toni was very sweet. Also, Jax's father made a terrific villain which I hope to see more of in the sequels.

What I Didn't Like: I have to say I'm not a super fan of the cover and I think it was one of the reasons I didn't expect to like the book. It has a little bit of a cheesy look and the figure reminded me too much of Storm from X-Men. Pop culture references don't usually bother me, but the ones in White Witch felt very dated, especially since the book came out a few months ago. A few examples: Scott Speedman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly were all mentioned over the course of the novel. I would have also liked to see a little more back story on Keller and about his family's history of hunting.

Rating: Four out of five stars

Blog Tour Take Two and Upcoming Giveaway

Tomorrow my Reading Addiction Blog Tour comes to an end. The good news is my second blog tour will be starting on Friday through July 9 and has been set up through Bewitching Book Tours. To celebrate this next leg of my book tour, I'll be hosting another giveaway. Prize will be a $20 Gift Card and an autographed copy of my novel. Since doesn't support Rafflecopter (totally lame) I'll be running my giveaways on my Facebook page. Like the page to keep posted on book news and upcoming contests. To enter, you can like my Facebook page, tweet one of my blog stops or leave a comment at one of the stops. Here's the link to the contest and the tour schedule is posted below.

By the way, if you're on the fence about doing a virtual book tour, I highly recommend it. It has helped expand my audience and receive more reviews on my novel. Tour hosts post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads which is helpful for new books or novels that do not have many reviews. Compared to other promotions, the price was very reasonable.

June 22 Character Interview
Simply Infatuated

June 25 Promo
It's All About me

June 26 Promo

June 27 Interview and review
Tana Rae Reads

June 29 Interview and review
My Neurotic Book Affair

June 30 Promo
Read 2 Review

June 30 review
Books, Books, and More Books

July 1 Interview and review
For The Love Of Film And Novels

July 2 Guest blog (review later)
Keeping Up With The Rheinlander's

July 3 Promo
A Bibliophile's Thoughts on Books

July 5 Review
A Case of Reading Insomnia

July 5 Guest blog and review

July 6 Promo
Mila Ramos

July 8 Review

July 9 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Psychic Kate Edwards from First Visions:Second Sight Book One

Kate Edwards from First Visions was kind enough to let me interview her for today's post. First Visions will be going on sale for just $1.99 starting tomorrow through Sunday June 24 on

When did you first realize you’re psychic?

Jeez lady, don’t you have to do a little research before you go and interview someone? I lived in a skeezy college dorm when I was 19 and caught meningitis. One near death experience later, I woke up with the ability to slip into other people’s memories.

Why did you keep being psychic hidden for so long?

When you’re psychic, it not only makes you uncomfortable, but the people around you. Everyone has dirty little secrets they don’t want you to find out. Since I don’t have much control over my visions, I often find out things about people I rather not know. It was just easier to say that the vision that led me to Matt Spencer two years ago was a one-time occurrence.

What changed for you?

I know I have my hang-ups. I’m immature and tend to have my guard up at all times. I think part of it comes from feeling like a freak of nature when I woke up from the coma with a second sight. But I’m not a horrible person. I want to help people and if my visions give me the chance to locate the missing, that’s what I need to do.

I’ve heard rumors you’re personally involved with a detective on the Cori Preston case, is this true?

Personally involved, that’s such a strange term, don’t you think? I mean my gynecologist gets an eyeful once a year, but you wouldn’t say I was personally involved with him, would you?

It seems like you’re dodging the question? 

Jared Corbett is a great guy and a very dedicated detective. And he just so happens to be genetically blessed. I mean everyone has a crush on him, it would be impossible not to.

If you were a color, what color would it be?

What kind of Psych 101 B.S, is that? What if I say red, does it mean I’m deep down an axe murderer or something? Anyway, I guess I would pick gray. I can have a bit of a stormy personality at times. Plus, this hot guy I know has gray eyes.

Favorite TV show?

The Maury Show. I know I’m psychic, but I can usually guess who is the baby’s daddy way before the paternity test results are revealed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review of League of Strays by L.B. Schulman

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. No cold hard cash was given for my honest review.

Goodreads Description:

When Charlotte Brody, a lonely 17-year-old student at a new school, receives an invitation to join The League of Strays, she's intrigued by the group's promise of "instant friendship." The League does provide companionship--and even a love interest--but Charlotte grows increasingly uncomfortable with its sinister mission to seek revenge against the bullies of Kennedy High. When escalating acts of vengeance threaten to hurl her down a path of remorse, Charlotte must choose between her new friends and the direction of a future she's never fully considered.

288 Pages

October 1, 2012 Publication Date

I was unsure of how much I would enjoy this book, but the plot kept me engaged enough to keep reading. I don't think this was a great book and the main character is in serious need of a lobotomy, but it was very suspenseful at times.  (Side Note: This book actually has some crazy controversy surrounding it. If you want to hear about the drama, check out the reviews over at Goodreads)

What I Liked: I think the concept of the book was interesting: a group of misfits band together to seek revenge against bullies in their school. School bullying is a hot button topic these days so I think the themes in the novel are very relevant to today's society (although the choices the characters make against the bullies aren't to be condoned). Charlotte is an interesting character because the reader sees how easily Kade is able to play off her weaknesses. Her actions make you want to smack her at times, but for me that made her seem more like a realistic YA character.

What I Didn't Like: For one, the name of the book. My inner geek kept expecting Dr. Jekyll and Mina Harker to show up (a la League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen) or a group of cats to form a gang and take  on humans. Moreover, there was this uncomfortable part where a prank went way too far and you're appalled over how the characters do nothing to stop it and Charlotte continues to be attracted to Kade. I didn't get why Charlotte's self-esteem was so in the toilet that she would continue being with him (or to be honest, being attracted to him in the first place). The book needed more of a climax too. It ends with a whimper more than a bang.

Star Rating: Three out of five stars

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How to Market to the New Adult Audience

For the Day 17 prompt of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors, the question is:

Describe the market for your book – to the tiniest detail (e.g., childless divorced women past age 50 who want to remarry). Why that demographic? How do you connect with them to market to them?

This is an interesting question because as I have mentioned in previous posts, I consider my book part of the emerging "new adult" genre. This term caught on back in 2009 when St. Martin's Press announced a contest looking for submissions from authors who have protagonists slightly older than teens. These books are intended to appeal to adults who read young adult novels and older teens.

The audience for the new adult genre is mostly females who are in that in-between stage of their lives. They may live in a college dorm or still live at home with their parents. New adults are typically at an uncertain phase of their lives. They may be looking for their first job, leaving home for the first time or beginning their first serious romantic relationship.

The reason I chose this audience and made my protagonist Kate 21 years old is because I find this stage in a girl's life fascinating. She has to find her footing for the first time without her parents and must make a decision on the type of career path she wishes to pursue. College is also such a fun time in a person's life and leads to experiences (bad and good) that stay with you forever.

Since agents and publishers are reluctant to take on older protagonists for YA books, it's a tough market to break into. Most of my marketing has been done via social networking, connecting to other NA writers, blog guest stops and online giveaways.

If you are a writer of new adult fiction or want to learn more about the genre, here are a few excellent resources:

NA Alley: This is a must for NA authors! The fabulous group of bloggers that run this site are both NA authors and fans of NA books. They review NA books, discuss the genre and host giveaways.

Writer's Digest: An article from 2010 breaks down the genre and talks about typical protagonists and the intended audience for the books.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ways to Self-Publish Your Book

Today is unbelievably enough the 16th day of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors (newbies can learn about the challenge here) and the prompt is:
Did you publish your book as a traditionally printed book, an eBook, or both? How did you come to your decision? Which company(ies) did you use for printing and distribution? How did you select them?
I published First Visions as both an ebook and as a paperback. Originally, I was only going to sell through Amazon as an ebook and enroll in KDP Select, but decided to forgo that route. I know some writers who are huge fans of the program, but I find it kind of lame of the retail giant to block other competitors and force you to give exclusive rights for three months in exchange for five free book promotion days.

After uploading my book to the Kindle Direct Publishing system, I created a seller account on Barnes and Noble's PubIt platform. I had to do some slight re-formatting to publish it (i.e. PubIt doesn't recognize page breaks), but otherwise the process was straightforward enough. On PubIt, for a $2.99-$9.99 eBook, you earn a 65 percent royalty rate compared to the 70 percent rate offered through Amazon.

Smashwords is an awesome platform for indie writers. Things I love about Smashwords: multiple supported formats, ISBN assignment, premium catalog distribution to sellers like Apple and Sony, and coupon generator. Royalty rate is approximately 85 percent. Their easy to follow guide also made publishing a cinch.

These are the three ebook retailers I've used for my book. Sales have been by far the best on Amazon, but my book has done fairly well on Barnes and Noble as well. Smashwords sales fluctuate and only about five percent of my sales have come from the bookseller.

I decided to publish my book in paperback mostly for promotional reasons. I've given out paperback copies for giveaways and to family members. I had less of a familiarity with print publishers and used Createspace due to the company's connection to Amazon. I have no complaints and the royalty rates offered seem fair. I didn't see a reason not to offer up my book in print when you can do so without having to pay any upfront fees. Createspace does not charge you anything for listing your book on and their own bookstore. Expanded distribution allows bookstores and distributors to order your book. You pay a one-time fee of $25. However, the royalty rate is very low. For each $9.99 book I sell on Amazon, I receive $2.38, but only $0.38 if I opted for expanded distribution.

Curious to see what other writers have to say about this topic!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Author Interview on the Queen of Teen Fiction Blog

Happy Friday! Today is Day 14 of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors (halfway point! Details about the challenge are here). It's also the start of the last week of my Reading Addictions Blog Tour. Tour ends June 22 which gives you one week still to enter my giveaway for a $30 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of First Visions. I'm also holding a giveaway on my new Facebook Page for a chance to win an Advanced Reader Copy of Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot.

Today Katie from the Queen of Teen Fiction featured me on her website. I posted the interview below, but make sure you check out her awesome blog and read her review of First Visions by clicking here.

1. Hi Heather! Where did you get the inspiration for First Visions?
It was actually based off an old story I wrote as a teenager. Most of my stories were crap and had melodramatic plotlines like teen pregnancy scares or were cheesy horror stories about virgin blood drinking vampires. However, the one particular story involved a psychic who helped find a missing child and I just expanded from there. I had actually forgotten completely about the story and when I started re-reading my old writings, it really struck me how great it would be to turn it into a series. I haven’t read too many books about psychics and I thought it would be fun area to explore. 

2. Kate is a fabulous character! Did you relate to her at all when writing First Visions?
I tried to make Kate as real as possible. Yes, she definitely has her flaws and I hope readers see she does grow a lot over the course of the novel. We’ll continue to see her grow and mature in the next book as well. But I’m a pretty sarcastic person, so you’ll definitely hear my voice come through at times. 

3. What made you choose to write for the older YA audience?
When I was in college, I had such a hard time finding books for my age group. I either had to read books about characters younger than me in high school or books about characters with “real life” problems like careers, marriage and children. I think when you’re 21, you are in this phase where you’re not a child anymore, but you may be still very reliant on your parents. I hope there will be more books that focus on this age group because it’s such an interesting time in a person’s life. 

4. There’s some great humour in First Visions. Do you think it’s important to keep a certain level of humour in a story?
I love books that can be suspenseful and still make you laugh to alleviate some of the tension. I try to think about the books that I like when writing and most of my favorites have parts that have me belly laughing. I try to inject some much needed humor when things are getting too heavy. 

5. First Visions is the first book in the series, how is book two coming along?
It’s going really great! I have an outline and a good chunk of the first draft done. In this book, we continue Jared and Kate’s story, but will also be introduced to another psychic. Kate has always wanted more control over her visions and this new psychic offers to help her. There will also be another missing persons case she’ll become involved in. 

6. What are some of your favourite YA novels?
I have a ton, but I’ll try to narrow it down: Hunger Games trilogy, Delirium series by Lauren Oliver, The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Fever by Lauren DeStefano. 

7. In your opinion, what is the most rewarding part of being an author.
You’re sharing these crazy little stories that occurred in your imagination with complete strangers and hoping to touch them in some way. I love to hear people’s opinions on my work and how they react to certain elements o

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review and Giveaway-Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot through the publisher. I'm sponsoring a giveaway of the copy on my Facebook page. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for the book by clicking here. Raffle ends June 21.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiance. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

Publication Date: July 10, 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks.

This is actually the first Heather Wells mystery I read and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. Heather was very funny and I didn't feel lost by not reading the previous novels. The plot was silly, but it was the perfect book to take to the beach.

What I Liked: Cabot gives readers a great cast of characters. They are colorful and funny with quirky personalities. Heather's inner thoughts were very entertaining and I particularly enjoyed her relationship with Cooper. I thought the two of them shared great chemistry and their scenes together were my favorite. The mystery aspect of the novel wasn't very suspenseful, but entertaining nonetheless. It also ended in a great way that tied everything up nicely.

What I Didn't Like: A few of the jokes really fell flat for me and became way too repetitive. There were these pages long diatribes on silly things like man purses and cargo pants. I think one or two jokes would have sufficed. I also wasn't a fan of the goofy song lyrics that started each chapter. I remember Cabot doing a similar thing with book excerpts in the Queen of Babble series. After the first couple, I skipped them altogether.

Star Rating: Four out of five stars

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter Review

I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley on behalf of the publisher (and no I did not receive a Porsche for my review).

Goodreads Synopsis:

For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimee Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness...

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal...

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another...

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before...

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope...

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.

Am I the only one who has mixed feelings about these in-between stories? I've read a few where I've been like the WTH was the point of that? The good thing about The Goddess Legacy is this doesn't seem like the case where the publisher is trying to charge some poor slouch eight bucks to read some short story that should have been given for free as a bonus chapter in the ebook. Since The Goddess Legacy is five novellas, it reads like a completed novel.

What I Liked: I breezed through this book in only a couple of sittings. I had doubts about my interest in the back story of the gods and goddesses, but this book explained a lot in regards to many of the plot points that occur in the previous novels. Since each novella was told in first person POV, you really felt like you understood the motivations behind each of the character's actions. My favorite of the novellas was of course Henry's at the end (albeit way too short). He's such a mysterious character in the novels, it was wonderful to be inside his head and understand his despair over his existence.

What I Didn't Like: The gods and goddesses are AWFUL. I mean like downright despicable that you find it hard to like them in the least. I'm not sure if the stories are intended to create sympathy for their characters, but it had the opposite effect on me. Most of them came off as egotistical and selfish a-holes. Calliope/Hera and Persephone were especially nonredeemable. James/Hermes story made him more likable in a way, but still didn't erase his previous transgressions against Henry. And you know I heart Henry/Hades, but even his behavior at times while married to Persephone made me want to reach through the pages and shake some sense into his immortal brain.

Rating: Four out of five stars

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Oh So Fun Process of Editing Your Novel

For the Day Eleven prompt of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors the question is:

Describe your editing process. Who edited your book? What was your relationship with your editor like? What could each of you have done to improve it? What might you do differently in the future?

Ugh editing, probably my least favorite part of the writing process. I know people who feel the exact opposite. They love going back over their stories with a fine tooth comb and fixing everything that's wrong with them. I consider my strength free writing. I spit out a first draft like nobody's business. Every scene has been worked out in my head a million times over before I even type a single word.

What I found the most helpful thing to do in editing is walk away for awhile. When you're writing at times, it's like you have beer goggles on. You may think you're writing the next great American novel one night and then wake up the next morning and wonder what the hell you were thinking. When I finished the first draft of First Visions, I forced myself to not open the file for a week. When I went back to it, I had a clear head and I could really look at it with a critical eye. After my first two rounds of edits, I had a few people read the book and get their feedback. Then made another round of edits.

I held off working with an editor at first because I received differing opinions on this. Writers told me to wait to hear back from my queries since editing can be subjective a lot of the times. During this time, I received some helpful (and some not so helpful) advice from agents and small press editors on things I could do to the story to improve it. Some of the opinions I ignored, but a few of the suggestions I took to heart during my next round of edits.

After I passed on two offers from small presses, I knew I needed to hire an editor before I published the book. Since I do freelance work on Elance, I decided to post an ad there (don't ask about the one I posted on Craigslist, I still have weirdos send me all sorts of crazy requests). Being on the other side, I found selecting a freelancer a tricky thing. There seemed to be no sort of average bid amount. I got offers starting at $100 to edit a 62,000 word novel to $750. Based on experience, editing samples and her profile feedback, I chose Trisha to work with. Overall, it was a positive experience. She used track changes and did all the edits I requested in a timely and professional manner.

Jeez, this makes me tired just looking at my process (and I'm going to do this all over again with book two? Gulp). Can't wait to hear about other writers' experiences with editing.

Monday Mailbox-June 11

Happy Monday All! My cold has finally left the building, so I hopefully will not longer sound like an incoherent mess. On the agenda for this week is the third week of my book blog tour and a continuation of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors. Today's stop for my tour is Workaday Reads where Sarah provided a wonderful review of First Visions. Leave a comment for a chance to enter my giveaway for a $30 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of First Visions. Details of the contest are here.

I received a couple of advanced reader copies this weekend that I'm pretty excited about. The first one was from Harper Collins and it's Meg Cabot's latest Heather Wells mystery Size 12 and Ready to Rock. This is actually the first Heather Wells book I've read and I'm enjoying it so far. It's definitely goofy, but since I have a cornball sense of humor I'm finding it pretty funny. Wonder if it will be worth it to check out the previous three books in the series (Pretty sure there's three?)

The second one made me put Heather Wells temporarily on hold. It's The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter. I received a copy of the ARC from NetGalley on behalf of Harlequin. I know I probably talked about this before, but I have a huge crush on Henry (aka Hades, I'm not the only girl with major crushes on literary characters, right?). This is sort of a prequel that contains a series of novellas about the gods and goddesses that have appeared in the previous books. Since the Goddess Inheritance isn't coming out until next year, this will hopefully not just be a piece of fluff to hold fans over.

Reviews of both books will be coming soon! Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fitting Your Book Into a New Genre

For the ninth day of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors, we have been asked:

If your book is fiction, how could you change it to make it a nonfiction book? If your book is nonfiction, what could you do to turn it into a story? Hollywood has done it, so how could you do the same thing?

This question is inspired by the string of movies that have been linked to non-fiction bestsellers such as What to Expect When You're Expecting and He's Just Not That Into You. To be honest, this trend seems sort of strange to me. What the hell did either of these movies really have to do with the books? Couldn't the movies just simply be about relationships and pregnancy respectively without having to hitch its wagon to the bestselling books. Even if the movies shared some of the principles found in the books, couldn't that be said about a lot of other movies? For instance, should they make a movie about a couple who are exact opposites and try to name it Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus?

Anyway, I guess it would be possible to turn my book into a sort of first person look at psychics. I could have them share their stories and how being psychic has affected their lives. Another possibility would be to write a true crime novel and discuss a case where a psychic helped the police solve an abduction case. My book also has coming of age aspects which could be explored through a non-fiction work about finding your footing as you enter early adulthood.

I'm sure writers with a lot of writers with fantasy concepts in their novels will certainly have a tough time with this question. The fictional aspects are a lot of times what transcends a story into something great.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reader Appreciation and Inspiring Blog Awards

Layla from Be Not Afeard was awesome enough to nominate me for two awards: Inspiring Blog Award and Reader Appreciation Award. She's a phenomenally talented writer who provides outstanding writing advice.

I have to say I am so psyched for this. I started this blog in February to promote the release of my book and it has grown leaps and bounds from there. I’m now involved in several blog challenges, weekly memes and review circles. I’ve met the most amazing readers and writers since then and I can’t wait to meet many more!

To receive the first award, you have to tell seven facts about yourself and nominate seven other bloggers. Here it goes:

1. It took me as long as "Tommy Boy" to graduate college with a bachelor’s degree (Tommy: “You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.” Richard: “I know, they’re called doctors.”)

2. I’m an avid eBayer (My husband often calls out, “Honey, where’s my watch?” My response, “Oh babe, you never wore that thing, I sold it on eBay.”)

3. I haven’t eaten pork since I saw movie “Babe” in high school.

4. I played the trombone from elementary school through high school (nothing girly like the clarinet or flute for me!)

5. Although I can’t draw a lick, I love art and make annual visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

6. My sister and I have a movie night every time a new Leonardo DiCaprio movie comes out.

7. I have two boys (ages five and two) who are adorable hellraisers that get their inspiration for trouble from classic “Tom and Jerry” episodes.

Here are the seven bloggers I nominate for both awards:

Magic in the Backyard is a blog run by Kellie Elmore that just has the most captivating posts. Her words are lyrical and I love reading the entries submitted through her Free Write Friday posts.

The Broke and the Bookish hosts my favorite weekly meme: Top Ten Tuesday. I love the topics they come up with! They also review a ton of books I’m interested in and I respect their book recommendations.

The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh is another great review blog that I stumbled on by participating in the Top Ten Tuesday challenge.

The Bitchy Bride always has me cracking up and lifting my mood when I read her posts. She blogs about so many different things: writing, weddings, food and literature.

The Reading Date is another YA review site that I love. Lucy shares the same tastes as mine and she hosts some super cool giveaways.

No Wasted Ink provides helpful batches of links for writers. Wendy from the blog has led me to some of the most insightful articles on writing, publishing and marketing on the web.

Book Lovin’ Mamas was a blog that hosted me during the initial week of my book tour. Reviews, giveaways and plenty of eye candy makes this a very much appreciated blog.

To receive the Reader Appreciation award, you are asked to tell what you’ve been up to lately:

The 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors has sorted of taking over my life. Between writing posts, retweeting posts and reading submissions from other authors, it has been fun, but definitely time consuming.

Book number two in the Second Sight series has been underway and it’s going really well. I’ve come up with some super funny scenes and I have a few chapters completed. I’m planning to devote all of July to getting my first draft done.

My first virtual blog tour is underway and it’s been a really positive experience. I’ve done interviews, guest posts and giveaways.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review of One Moment by Kristina McBride

I received One Moment by Kristina McBride through the publisher on NetGalley and this was the first novel I read by the author.

Goodreads Summary:

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

What I Liked: One Moment is a great beach read. You can kind of turn off your brain and go with it. I liked the writing style of the author and felt she depicted teenagers in a realistic and honest way. The first few chapters were really good and kept me reading. I also liked how we went through the phases of grief with Maggie as she came to terms with not only the death of her boyfriend, but finding out he wasn't exactly the person she thought he was.

What I Didn't Like: I kept waiting for MORE to happen. During 272 pages nothing much happens. The big reveal about Joey's secret can easily be guessed from the get-go. I think there was plenty of potential for a big twist to surprise the reader. I also felt the story lacked character development. I would've liked to know more about Maggie and her life outside of Joey.

Star Rating: Three out of Five Stars

First Visions Excerpt Featured on A Dream Within a Dream Blog

I'm all hopped up on cold medicine so hopefully my posts today will have some semblance of coherency. The Blog Tour for First Visions has been going great and I'd like to shout out to all my wonderful hosts! Yesterday, a giveaway and excerpt was featured on A Dream Within a Dream and today Olive from Read Between the Lines shared her fabulous review of the book. Please remember to comment on the blogs for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of my novel. Details about how to enter are here.
Kate comes to Jared’s apartment to give him information about Cori’s abduction:

I shouldn’t be here, Kate told herself for the millionth time. She had no idea what possessed her to come to the detective’s apartment. Weariness had set in after driving around for hours with intermittent crying spells. As it grew later and stores closed, she had the inspiration to head over and provide an explanation to Jared on the reasoning behind her lies. She had been shocked when he answered the door shirtless. If she wasn’t such a damn head case at the moment, she might have tried to jump him right then and there. He was perfectly built with lean and hard muscles. She imagined throwing herself against his chest and him wrapping his strong arms around her. I really need a boyfriend, she lamented silently.

He returned wearing a t-shirt and khakis. “Where’s your girlfriend?” she blurted hoping the reminder of his other half would prevent her from slipping into a frenzied state of lust again.

“She’s staying at her parents. Why don’t you sit down?” he motioned to a chair at the kitchen table.

She did a quick survey of the apartment. Instantly, it became obvious his girlfriend did most of the decorating. A modern white leather sofa set was situated in the living room while the kitchen had this sort of country chic thing going on. A small eat-in area was outfitted with a table for two complemented with a lace tablecloth and white French chairs. The apartment had an open floor plan with the living room, dining room and kitchen all connected with open doorways. It looked as though a master bedroom and a spare bedroom were situated down the hallway.

After they had both settled into their chairs, he questioned, “How did you find out where I lived?”

She gave him an incredulous look. “I’m psychic, remember?”

He looked uncomfortable. “Oh.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Jeez, you’re gullible. I put your name in Google and got your address,” she answered. “By the way, for a detective, that’s a pretty dumb move not to have your listing private. Any random psycho could show up at your door in the middle of the night.”

“Well, you have the dubious honor of being my first late night Google stalker,” he answered.

“Awesome,” she sighed. Kate felt drained at the moment and the speech she had rehearsed in the car on the way here escaped her. “It’s been a long day.”

“Are you ok? Sorry about creating a wedge between you and your mother. I never meant to complicate things for you. Have you spoken to her yet?” He was watching her closely.

“No, I need a little space. I’m not going home tonight.” His disapproval was written clearly across his face. “Don’t give me that look. I need a day to process things. If I talk to her now, I doubt I’ll be rational.”

“I don’t know. I think you should at least call her…” he started.

She gave him a sharp look. “I’m not asking you, Detective Corbett, I’m telling you. I’m spending the night at my friend Julie’s house. After I leave, you could phone my mom and pass the information along if you want. Seems as though you’ve become besties overnight.” She swallowed hard. “Anyway, I’m not here to discuss my mom. I want to tell you about the vision I had about Cori.”

He nodded and she described everything she saw in the dream in excruciating detail. Stopping only to answer a few questions he had during her recital, she could sense his disappointment over the vague description of the kidnapper. The words about the fall down the stairs were stuck in her throat and it took a few tries for her to force them out.

“I’m sorry I don’t have more to tell you. Physically, he was tall and wiry with dark eyes. The ski mask and his clothing hid any other distinguishing features. I wish I did see his face because I got the impression he was somehow connected to the family.”

“Why do you say that?”

“He mentioned her father. The way he said ‘your rich daddy’ with such malice made me feel like the break-in was a personal attack against him.”

His eyes were intense and serious as Jared asked, “Do you think she’s…dead?”

She closed her eyes and felt an overwhelming sadness. “I can’t tell you for sure. I’m sorry. The fall was probably not hard enough to kill her and most likely she only lost consciousness for a short period of time. I’m guessing she was alive last night though.

My visions don’t normally fit into a pattern. One night I might dream about an abduction, the next I could see my parents on a date as teenagers.

However, a few things have been pretty consistent. For one, I don’t seem to receive visions from the dead. If Cori had been killed, it’s not likely I would’ve been able to see how she was abducted.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Birth of My Other Baby

Today is Day Six of the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors and we're sharing the story behind the birth of our novel. If you're interested in participating, check out this link.

Describe how the idea for your book first came to you. Where were you? Who was the first person you told? How did they respond?

The story behind the conception of First Visions is kind of two-fold. I first wrote a story about a psychic finding a missing child when I was a teenager and recently revisited the tale. My grandmother passed away last year and since she raised me, the majority of my old writings were at her house. I was feeling very sad after her death and it made me feel nostalgic enough to want to revisit the past.

Although the psychic story was inspiring, I made a few keen observations as I re-read my old stories from my teen years:

  1. We were poor and I was hungry all the time (In almost every scene of my stories someone is eating and I describe their meals in painstaking detail).

  2. I had no boyfriend (I was clued in by lines like: Their lips met for the very first time. She pulled away, “I guess this means you’re my boyfriend now.” “Definitely,” he agreed eagerly.)

  3. I had a flair for the melodramatic (You could count on a pregnancy scare, a teen suicide or an AIDS scare in almost every single story).

The person I likely told the first time around about my story was my cousin Dana. She’s my creative soul mate and we started writing books together as far back as middle school. We always shared each chapter after it was completed and would lavish outlandish praise on each other about how amazingly talented and witty we both were. We grew up in unfortunate circumstances and writing stories was our way to give ourselves an escape.

For weeks, my husband had to endure every cheesy line that would induce me into a fit of giggles. I have no problems making fun of myself and I thought my angst induced tales were HILARIOUS. I asked him what he thought about me giving the psychic story a go and he said the concept sounded interesting. After that first dinner at Houlihan’s where we talked about the book, he became a major sounding board for different ideas I had. He’s been such a huge source of support-I really don’t know what I’d do without him.

This is a picture of my wonderful grandmother who I really credit for taking me down this path. I know she’s out there watching over me and cheering me on.

Fighting Dreamer Blog Interview-Blog Tour Continues

I'd like to thank Fighting Dreamer for allowing me to appear on their blog today. My appearance includes an interview, excerpt from First Visions and giveaway. Click here to read the entire post. Also, don't forget to comment to enter the chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of First Visions. Details of the contests are posted here.

1. Describe yourself Twitter style. (140 characters or less)

Freelance travel and fitness writer turned fiction author and lover of all things paranormal.

2. What inspired you to write First Visions?

My beloved grandmother passed away last year and I found some old stories I had written as a teen at her house. Although most of the writing was complete crap (with horrendous lines like “she let out a scream that could break even the cruelest of hearts”), I did come across a story about a psychic who helps find an abducted child.

3. How did you come up with the cover?

I spent hours going over different photographs and played around with a few different ones until settling on the selected cover. The photo came across as both beautiful and mysterious. I felt like the girl was seeing things that the rest of us couldn’t.

I love it. It's a stunning cover.

The Literary Characters I Will Always Love

We've made it to Day Five of the 28-Day Author Blog Challenge (details are here)! Need to spend the day catching up on some of the other posts from authors. Yesterday was the hubby's birthday, so we spent the day at the shore and even had a Sammi and Ronnie spotting from the Jersey Shore. Of course, the husband would rather have died than sign a waiver to go into The Shore Store, so it was simply a glimpse from afar. Anywho, onto the topic of the day:

Who is your favorite literary character? With which literary character do you most relate?

I would say my favorite literary characters would have to be Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. First of all, they have probably the greatest literary romance of all time. Some of my favorite book quotes come from Darcy declaring his love for Elizabeth: “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” and “I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

Plus, Elizabeth is such a likable character. She’s clever and virtuous and I love how she can tell off Darcy even as she’s falling for him. With many one-note characters in the book, she’s a breath of fresh air. Other favorite characters from classic novels include Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind and Benjy from the Sound and the Fury.

Although I love these characters, I don’t exactly find them easy to relate to. Believe it or not, the character that comes to mind is Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich series. She’s a Jersey girl like me with the story actually taking place in my neighboring town of Trenton. She’s sarcastic and has a wicked sense of humor. She’s dating a cop while I’m married to one. Wow with all of these similarities maybe I should think about going into bond enforcement and befriend a prostitute.

Great topic to think about it! I’m excited to see who was chosen by other challenge participants. I’m certain Elizabeth and Darcy must have made a few other lists.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Books That Change the Way I Write

Today is Day Four of the 28 Day Blog Challenge for Authors (More details here) and it's been such a pleasure to read other writers' thoughts on these topics. The prompt for today is:

How do the things you read impact your writing? What do you love to read? What do you avoid reading at all costs? How would your writing change if you read more of the things you typically avoid?

Since I write mostly YA, I do tend to read a large number of novels from that genre. I often follow the trends in YA fiction to stay in tune with what’s in style right now. For instance, I read a lot of the vampire novels after Twilight became popular and a ton of dystopian series after The Hunger Games became a hit.

Although YA books are usually the top of my list, I do like a change from time to time. During these periods, I typically enjoy a romance novel, a thriller or a true crime book.

A few favorite books from these areas include Columbine by David Cullen, Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane, Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, the Heiress by Jude Deveraux and Lothaire by Kresley Cole. These types of novels are astoundingly helpful for creating suspenseful and romantic scenes in my Second Sight series.

I used to loathe science fiction novels. I could never get into them and pretty much avoided them at all costs. But after reading one of my favorite novels The Host, I’ve grown to have a much better appreciation of them. Across the Universe by Beth Revis is an example of another sci-fi novel that I enjoyed. This urged me to not be narrow-minded and give certain genres a shot. You may end up surprised over the amazing books you stumble upon when sampling something new.

The only books now that I won’t really pick up are political writings and erotica. I’m guessing maybe my works would be much more scandalous if I did. I have very little interests in politics and I’m way too much of a cornball to read anything erotic. I’d probably childishly giggle during every sex scene.

I’m always on the look out for the next exciting read to inspire me and my writings. Can’t wait to see what other challenge followers have to say about this intriguing question!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blog Tour Stop-Guest Post on Behind a Million and One Pages

Today, I would like to thank Behind a Million and One Pages for hosting me on their blog as part of my virtual book tour. Be sure to stop by their site through this link and check out an excerpt from First Visions, a giveaway for a free ebook copy and an interview given by me. Leave a comment there or at one of my other posts on the tour for a chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card and autographed copy of my book. Rules of the contest are here. The following is the interview portion of the guest post:

1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)
I’ve done a massive amount of freelance writing work over the past five years. The majority of my articles have focused on health, fashion, food and travel (kind of a broad spectrum). A few notable publications I’ve appeared in include USA Today, Food Loves Beer magazine, Step in Style magazine and  I began writing fiction in my early teens (stories filled with plenty of angst and cringe-worthy lines) and just recently returned to it.

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
I was a complete head case after that first week First Visions went on sale. I just kept wondering: will people like it? Although my friends and family were fans of the book, I understood they were bias. These characters are so close to my heart which made it difficult for me to share them with the world. My next thought, of course, was will people actually buy my novel?

3. What inspired you to write this novel?
My beloved grandmother who raised me passed away last year. After collecting my things from her house, I came across the huge piles of writing I used to do as a teen. Life kind of gets in the way of things you love and her passing made me realize that you never know what’s going to happen and to pursue your dreams even if the timing isn’t perfect. One of the stories I had started was about a psychic who helps find a missing child and I decided to expand off of that.

4. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?
It sucks, no one can deny that, but at least there’s a conversation being had over your novel. Think about the best-selling book right now Fifty Shades of Grey. On, it has close to 1,200 one-star reviews! Everyone’s tastes are different and I’m not that self-deluded to think my novel is going to be the top of everyone’s list of favorite books.