Monday, December 24, 2012

Blog Chain - Author Advice

Today's blog chain topic was chosen by the lovely Cole who said :

Christmas is a time of gift giving. If you could gift aspiring authors with one piece of advice, 
what would it be?

I always have a hard time with this because I want to say something witty and wise. But really for me, I think it's quite simple. I actually have two little tidbits for you. And I know writers hear this a lot (probably because it's true) ;)

Follow your gut - and - Don't give up

The first one I've learned over many years of writing and editing and getting critiques and revising and repeating the process over and over. I get a lot of good crits from my crit partners. They catch A LOT of mistakes, help me patch a lot of plot holes, brainstorm with me and really help make my manuscripts shine.

But sometimes I think you can have (to use an old cliche) too many cooks in the kitchen. I remember one instance where I got a crit back, I revised incorporating the suggestions I'd received, sent that out to a new person for another crit only to get suggestions that advised changing what I'd just changed back to what I had before.

At some point, you just have to listen to your gut. YOU are the author. It is your book, your creation, your story. You know what's best for it. Now, if everyone is telling you there is a problem, you might want to listen :) But always follow your gut. It's usually right.

For the other - well, it's self-explanatory :) Don't give up. Yes, being an author is hard. If it wasn't, everyone would do it. Many people say they want to write a book. Some even do. Fewer write one and rewrite it and polish it and revise it again and make that baby actually publishable. Fewer still actually get the book published (though there are so many wonderful options out there for authors now that are enabling more books to hit those physical and virtual shelves).

If writing is what you want to do, don't let anything stop you. If being published is what you want, keep at it. Don't ever give up :)

I hope everyone has a very very happy holiday! Don't forget, I'm over at Kate Evangelista's today giving away a copy of To Trust a Thief!! Head over and enter!

Also be sure to stop by Alyson's blog tomorrow and head to Lisa's blog to see her advice. To follow the chain from the beginning, head over to Kate's :)

Kate Evanglista's 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways!

I'm over on Kate's blog today sharing my top 5 favorite stocking stuffers AND giving away a copy of my soon-to-be-released novel To Trust a Thief (previously Treasured Lies)!!!! Stop on by and enter!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Funnies and an OA Giveaway!

Today I bring you our regularly scheduled funnies, but also, the ladies over at OA decided to start gearing up for the New Year's Revisions Conference by doing a little giveaway! :D Just fill out the rafflecopter below or head to OA for more details :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now, for funnies :) Have a great weekend!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Entangled Under the Mistletoe Winner!!!

And the winner of my Entangled Under the Mistletoe's blog hop giveaway (a copy of To Trust a Thief) is.....


Congrats!! I'll be contacting you to get all your deets :)

Thanks to all who entered and if you didn't win, stay tuned because the release festivities for To Trust a Thief will be commencing in just a couple short weeks. There will be lots more opportunities to win copies of the book along with TONS of other really fun things. Starting with another celebration I'm participating in, the 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways with Kate Evangelista. I'll be giving away a copy of To Trust a Thief on her blog on the 24th!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funnies

Here's a little funny for your Friday :) And don't forget! Today is the last day to enter the Get Entangled Under the Mistletoe blog hop! TONS of awesome authors giving away an amazing amount of stuff :D Go to Entangled's blog for the full list of participating authors (and scroll down to enter mine!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Chain - Do You Like the Dark Side?

You know, it's really embarrassing that I've now missed two blog chain posts in a row seeing as how I'm the person who makes the schedule *facepalm* I blame the deadline :D Anyhow, won't happen again, promise!

This round's topic was chosen by our lovely Christine who says:

I've been described as a writer of highly emotional and dark stories. So much so, that some could not read Transcend saying that while it was "beautifully crafted and written", the story was just too dark. So I ask you...How dark is too dark for your asthetic? And is writing "dark" and "emotional" a "bad" thing?

For me personally, I tend to lean toward romances and comedy. I also really enjoy mysteries, but I like them to have a good spark of humor. I do occasionally go for dark (depends on my mood) but it also depends on what kind of dark you are talking. Transcend didn't bother me. I enjoyed it, very much. For me, it's sort of a case-by-case scenario.

I don't think writing dark and emotional is at all a bad thing. However, there are a lot of people out there who won't want to read it, just because that is their personal preference, as it is usually mine to stay more toward the light-hearted end of the spectrum.

For me, personally, I read or watch movies to escape and relax - and delving into dark worlds doesn't usually allow me to do that. Again, I have my moments and there are some dark books and movies I simply love. But for the most part, when I can carve out a few moments, I want to laugh and fall in love. :)

How about you? Do you enjoy the dark? How dark is too dark for you?

Be sure to check out Lisa's and Alyson's posts and if you want to follow this chain from the beginning, head over to visit Kate :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Amazing Elana Johnson!!

Today is the birthday of the absolutely fabulous Elana Johnson. And that simply must be celebrated :) The equally fabulous Christine Fonseca and Ali Cross have put together a party of epic proportions. They are giving away a complete set of Elana's books in print, in ebook, and there are a few other fun things as well. All you have to do it wish her a happy birthday and fill out the rafflecopter form below or on Christine's blog!!

What exactly can you win? Glad you asked :)
  • A complete print set of Elana's books (Possession, Surrender, and Abandon (which will ship when it releases))
  • An ebook set of the above books AND a copy of the Possession short, Regret
  • A paperback copy of Winter Wonders, the anthology to support Literacy, Inc
  • A print copy of Bethany Wiggins' awesome book Shifting
  • A complete set of Ali Cross' Desolation series
  • and a special edition SIGNED hardback copy of Christine's Transcend
There are also links for the Holiday Hullabaloo giveaways which you don't want to miss.

Oh yeah, and a grand prize of a $200 GIFT CARD!!!! 

Elana, I hope you have an absolutely amazing birthday. It has been my pleasure to be your friend and I hope this year brings you everything you may wish for :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cover Reveal! DOMINUS by Christine Fonseca

I am thrilled to help reveal the cover for Christine's newest book in the Requiem series!!!

Short Blurb for DOMINUS
“It’s been six months since my memories returned. Six months since Aydan was again ripped away from me. Six months since I broke a piece of my best friend’s soul.
Six months...”

Nesy has found her memories, her life. Now all she wants is to forget and be human. Only human. But fate holds a different destiny. Forced into a war she wants no part of, Nesy is put to the test in ways she never thought possible as she seeks to fix the mistakes she has made. And the mistakes of her former master, Mikayel. Will she be the Sentinal she was destined to be and put an end to the fighting once and for all? Or will she fail and send humanity into slavery?

The future of three worlds depends on the choices, and sacrifices, she must make in this final installment of the Requiem Series.

Buy information will not be available until October, but it will be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.

Additional Titles in the series include:
• DIES IRAE (a Requiem Novella),
• LACRIMOSA (Requiem Series #1)
• MEA CULPA (a Requiem Novella)
• LIBERA ME (Requiem Series #2)

About Christine Fonseca
Critically acclaimed nonfiction and YA author Christine Fonseca is dedicated to helping children of all ages find their voice in the world. Drawing on her expertise as an educational psychologist, her nonfiction titles address issues of emotional intensity, resiliency and giftedness. In fiction, she explores the darker aspects of humanity and delivers gothic thrillers that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. In life, she teaches her own children to embrace their unique talents and find their voice by being a force of positive change in the world.

When she’s not writing or developing programs to support children with exceptional needs, she can be found spending time with her family, sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or playing around on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about Christine Fonseca or her books, visit her website 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Get Entangled Under the Mistletoe Blog Hop!!

As an awesome jump off to the holiday season, I'm participating in a couple blog hops. The first of which is Entangled's Under the Mistletoe blog hop! An amazing group of Entangled authors has decided to get together and spread a little holiday cheer :)

What will I being giving away?

A copy of my soon-to-be-released historical romance 
Treasured Lies!

(note: Treasured Lies doesn't come out until Jan so the winner will receive their copy as soon as the book releases)

Just leave a comment below if you'd like to be entered in the drawing. Winner will be announced on Dec 15th!

Don’t forget to check out what the other authors participating in the hop are giving away!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fun Stuff on the Way!

For starters, I'm participating in two blog hops. The first one will go up tomorrow so come back and check it out. And my post for the second one will go live on the 24th, but it's all ready going on and there is so much awesomeness happening you really don't want to miss it!

Every day from the 1st through the 24th, Kate is featuring a different author on her blog. Everyone is sharing lots of holiday fun AND giving away tons of great stuff. So head to Kate's blog and check it out!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Revision Help is on the Way!!!

Finishing up this manuscript (that was due last week *ahem*) so this will be short and sweet. Just wanted to remind everyone that Operation Awesome's New Years Revisions Conference is coming up in just a few short weeks!!!

Here is the original post if you missed it.

So if you have brand new NaNo books waiting to be edited (and even if you don't) you definitely don't want to miss this!!

Also, Entangled's Scandalous line launched yesterday!!! As this is my imprint, I am just ridiculously giddy to see it finally out there :)

The first two books released are Robyn DeHar'ts A Little Bit Wicked and Catherine Hemmerling's Taming Her Forbidden Earl. Check them out!!! My Treasured Lies will be releasing next month so stay tuned for some fun celebrations!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hey all :) I'm participating in a fun event for Christmas - 24 Days of Guest Posts and Giveaways. Every day through Christmas Eve, a different author will be featured on Kate Evangelista's blog. So don't miss out on any of the awesome posts and giveaways! And take a look at the FB page for more info :)

And head to Kate's blog for all the deets, posts, and prizes!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blog Chain - What Settings Do You Love?

Okay, so I completely spaced my blog chain post that was supposed to go up yesterday. I blame the terrifyingly looming deadline I'm facing at the end of the week and the fact that my kids have been home since last Tuesday. This little writer needs a good vacation LOL And nuts, I also just realized I missed another post I was supposed to do yesterday *sigh*

Anyhow, our topic for this chain was chosen by the wonderful Alyson, who asked:

How important is setting when crafting a story? How do you choose where your stories take place? How do you research setting? Do you have to have been somewhere in order to write about it? What are some memorable settings from books you've read?

Being a mostly historical writer, setting is extremely important for me. It's a huge part of the story. It dictates how my characters act, how they think, their motivations. In short, the setting often influences almost every aspect of their lives.

I usually choose to write about places I would love to go. It gives me a chance to live vicariously through my characters for a little while :) This means, since I usually haven't been to these places, that a lot of research is involved. Luckily, I love me a little research :)

Some of  my favorite settings, both those I've written and those I've read, include, ancient Egypt and Greece, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy.

My first novel (releasing in just a few short weeks!!) is set in Victorian England. My current WIP (the first book in the Blood Blade Sisters trilogy) is set in post-Gold Rush California. Having grown up in California, this is actually a setting I'm familiar with. We used to take family trips to Sutters Fort and see the old Gold Rush towns. However, I think to date this is the only book I've written set in a setting where I've actually been :)

Be sure to stop by Alyson's blog today and see how important settings are to her and check out Lisa's post from Friday!

How important is setting to you? What settings do you love to read about?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Trailer Release for Jennifer Armentrout's OPAL

I'm so excited to share the book trailer for the newest book in Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series, OPAL.
Check it out!!!

Opal (The third book in the Lux Series)
Available in both print and digital version on December 18, 2012

Official Opal Book Trailer

Check out Jennifer L. Armentrout on the following sites:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Time for the Blog Chain again :) This topic was chosen by Sandra:

During National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writers attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Do you set daily writing goals for yourself, either a certain word count or time spent on writing? Does this include other writing-related activities, like research, plotting, or revising? Do you focus on reaching the end of the journey (such as finishing your current project), or do you enjoy the writing process along the way?

Well, I've attempted NaNo several times and real life always reared its ugly head to prevent me from getting more than a few thousand words every time lol

I much prefer to revise than to write first drafts. I love it when the story is already down on paper and I get to go through and polish and polish until it really shines. I'm a fast reviser, almost obsessive. When edits come in from my editor, I sit down and barely do anything else until they are done and I enjoy every second :)

Not so much when I'm getting that first draft out. I struggle with those. So I do try to set daily word count goals when I'm working on a project - usually 1000 words a day. Unless I'm up against a deadline - in which case the goals get crazier the closer to the deadline I get :D At the moment, my daily goal is 4,000 - 5,000 a day :)

However, I do best when working with other people. My writing buddies and I will often set up write/chat sessions where we will write for 30 minutes and then take a break to chat for a few, and then go back for another 30. I find I am most productive when doing these sessions.

Or when I'm up against a deadline. I really need that pressure to get me to write every day. It's not that I don't love writing. I really do. But I'm a bit weird with it. I tend to go in spurts. I might have an idea hit me that I love so much I can't rest until it's OUT. I can crank out a full novel in 2 weeks or less if I'm really on a roll.

But most of the time, I'm more the slow and steady type. But self-set goals don't usually help me too much because I know I can break them without consequence. Hence, my love of a good deadline. Speaking of which, I'm up against one now so....time to write! :D

How about you? Have you done NaNo in the past or are you doing it this year? Do you set goals for yourself during the rest of the year?

If you want to follow this chain from the beginning, start with Kate's post on the topic. My fellow crazy writer Lisa posted just before me, and the next link in the chain is Alyson so be sure to swing by her blog tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I've been such a horrible blogger lately. In my defense, I'm up against a tight deadline so I'm slacking on pretty much everything :D

A few updates:

  • I will have some very fun news to share in the hopefully very near future :D
  • Operation Awesome's New Year's Revisions Conference is going to ROCK. So be sure to stay tuned for updates
  • I'm not doing NaNo this year - well I guess I sort of am, just unofficially. In order to meet my Nov 30th deadline on this manuscript, I need to be writing 2000 shiny new words a day. It has not been going well...hence the blog silence :D Working on both :D
  • I will have some very fun news to share in the hopefully very near future :D Did I say that already? Sorry...a bit excited ;D
  • Treasured Lies releases in just a couple months!!! Lots of fun activities planned for the release, including some fun opportunities for some EPIC prizes (and I don't use that word lightly) :D so stay tuned for info on all that 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blog Chain - Book Adaptations

It was my turn to pick the topic this round and I want to know:

There are so many book-to-movie adaptations out there. Which are your favorites? Which are your least favorites? Why? Do you make sure you've read a book before you go see the movie adaptation, or do you prefer to read it after, or not at all?

I am almost always firmly in the "the book is better" club. However, this does not mean that I don't love the movie versions. I tend to read the books before I go see their movie adaptations whenever possible. I know that this biases me a bit. And yes, I often sit there thinking of what got cut, etc. But I also think it helps me understand what is going on better.

Take the Hunger Games movie, for example (one of my faves, btw). So much of the book took place in Katniss' head. And while they did a great job adapting this book for the screen, I think knowing what was going through her head in each scene helped make the movie better for me. My hubs agrees (and he's not a reader at all).

After seeing the movie, he read the book. And then went with me when I went to see the movie again :D He enjoyed it much more the second time around with the book to help bolster what was happening on the screen.

Some of my favorite adaptations = Hunger Games, the Harry Potter films, Ella Enchanted (one of my exceptions for the whole "the book is better" thing - I actually enjoyed the movie more), John Grisham's books to films, Holes and LOTR (though I haven't read the books yet). The Twilight films...I'm a bit on the fence about these. They sort of grew on me and I like the later ones much better...the first film is my least favorite of the ones that are out so far. But I do enjoy them so I'll add them to the list :)

My least favorite = Queen of the Damned. I loved this series by Anne Rice. And Interview with a Vampire wasn't too bad. But Queen of the Damned was horrible. So far removed from the book that it was almost unrecognizable. I mean I get that changes have to be made, but the changes in this particular case were just too much for me.

Another disappointment (at least as a book adaptation) = the Sookie Stackhouse novels/True Blood. This one is a bit more complicated for me. I LOVE the books. And season 1 of the True Blood tv series wasn't too bad. But they strayed more and more from the book storylines until now, very little of the original stories exist anymore.

I still, for the most part, enjoyed the series in an of itself, even though it was no longer an adaptation of the books but more like a spin off....some sort of weird fan-fiction that used the characters and world but little else. This is the only example that I can think of where an adaptation has strayed so far yet I liked it for itself.

At least for a little while :) While it seemed as though some effort was being made to at least keep the characters true to the book characters (even if the story lines were waaaay out of left field), the characters, other than their names, are no longer even recognizable as belonging to the books that Charlaine Harris wrote. I take issue with that :) And yet still can't help tuning in (in large part, I think, due to Alexander Skarsgard LOL I'll put up with a lot just to watch him) ;D

How about you? What are your most or least favorite adaptations? Do you read the books before seeing the movies?

Make sure you check out Lisa's take on the subject and head to Alyson's blog tomorrow to see what she has to say! :) If you want to follow the chain from the beginning, start with the lovely Kate's blog :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Are Writers Neurotic?

My fellow Operation Awesome author Kelly Andrews wrote a great post the other day about how she feels that writers aren't really neurotic, as they often seem, but are actually very strong. I agree with her. This business would be impossible to stay in if you didn't have some degree of resilience, courage, strong work ethic, and downright sheer stubbornness :)

But I think the neurotic bits are there as well. And with good reason.

Think about it. Most people get a bit nuts when they are waiting for something big. When they are waiting to hear back on that job interview; waiting to hear if they got that part in the school play; waiting to see if that promotion is going to come through; waiting to see if the test results are positive or negative; waiting for Christmas morning; waiting to see if he/she will say yes or no :)

In instances such as those, we all get a little neurotic. And when you are a writer, your whole career is made up of these moments. Writing (for publication) is about 10% writing and 90% waiting.

Waiting for critiques to come back; waiting for query responses; waiting on revise/resub responses; waiting to hear back on editor submissions; waiting on contracts; waiting to see if your changes will be accepted; waiting to see your book for the first time; waiting on reviews to come in on that book; waiting for royalty statements and sales numbers.

Yes, it takes a very strong person to get through all that waiting and keep on going, especially when it's very often bad news at the end of it all. But when you look at all the big stuff a writer has to wait on (because really, every step of the way contains something major) it's no wonder that we have a tendency to be a bit neurotic :)

Though, perhaps neurotic is the wrong word. Are we fragile? Crippled by the things that we can't control? No. This business would crush us in a second if we were. But a bit obsessive, emotional, a little on the wacky side? Yeah, I think most of us are :D And really, with all we deal with, who wouldn't be? ;)

The difference is, we don't let it stop us. We don't let the waiting and the set backs and the disappointments and all the other parts that drive us nuts get in our way.

We can be neurotic, but we do it with strength, perseverance, and style :) We laugh through our tears and find a way to have fun with the waiting. We support each other and play with our craziness. We are neurotic, but it's a different brand of neurotic. We mix it with strength and courage and persistence. We have fun with it. We own it and work with it and through it.

So while I agree with Kelly that "we are strong and brave and resilient", I don't think that means that we aren't also neurotic :) I think most writers are a good mix of both.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I meant to post this earlier in the week but got distracted with decluttering the house :D The lovely Christine Fonseca tagged me and I have tagged Angie Townsend, Amparo Ortiz, Cole Gibsen, Katrina Lantz, and Jeannie Ruesch.

The name of the game - to answer the following questions about your latest novel/WIP.

Since Treasured Lies is coming out in just a few short months, I thought I'd give you a little peek :)

1) What is the working title of your book? Treasured Lies

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The short answer - it was inspired by my love of gothic romances, a good chunk of my own experiences, and the movie National Treasures :)

The slightly longer answer - Treasured Lies began as a completely different book than it is today. At first, I was inspired by some sad romantic events in my own life. But I wanted anything personal I added to be disguised enough only I'd know what was going on, so I set it in Victorian England (a time period I love). I'd grown up devouring Victoria Holt's gothic romances and I envisioned Treasured Lies very much in that vein. A historical love story with a good dose of danger and mystery.

I wanted to write a slightly autobiographical story about a girl who gets her heart broken and overcomes it. I also wanted her to fall in love with her new man and stay in love and happy through the entire book, working together as a team no matter what happened. turns out stories like that have very little conflict. Which made it a bit boring :) I'd just seen National Treasure and thought that a treasure hunt would be a really fun idea. And the story evolved from there. Min became feistier and more determined; the stakes for not finding the treasure became higher; her relationship with Bryant became much more complicated; her fiance Arthur warped into someone unrecognizable from the first draft (I think he was the most fun to revamp); and Bryant changed from a fully reformed thief trying to be a good guy into a still-very-much-in-the-game rival for Min.

Very little of my original idea for the story has survived. And I'm glad. It is a much better story now

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? ooo this is always so hard for me - I can never find anyone exactly how I picture my characters :) But British actor Jake Hendriks is close to how I picture Bryant (if he had darker hair).

And Min...argh, I seriously looked for an hour. Maybe Kat Dennings....

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A young woman in Victorian England must trust a master thief she intends to betray in order to find a legendary necklace that could save her fiancé, but in searching for the necklace, she may lose her heart

6)Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Treasured Lies is being published by Entangled Scandalous.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

LOL this is almost an impossible question to answer. I wrote half of the very first draft in about a month and a half...and then took an almost 3 year break before I touched it again. I think I finished it up in about a month. So...we'll say 3 months for the original draft (which was 100k). I have since entirely rewritten the book 4 times (I think, it could be more) and then did extensive revisions at least twice. Each rewrite took a month or two - revisions only took a few days to a week (I'm a very fast reviser). :)

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

hmm it's probably Victoria Holt-ish. It's first and foremost a romance, but there is a lot of danger, suspense, and mystery going on.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?

See question 2 :D

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think readers will really enjoy my main character Min. She's a bit klutzy - an island-bred girl better at scaling trees than dropping curtsies, and often gets herself in ridiculous situations, but she is highly intelligent, a total bookworm who can't stand Shakespeare, she's determined to get her way and accomplish her goals, funny (though she usually doesn't intend to be) and fiercely loyal (which makes the situation she finds herself in with her love interest, Bryant, so miserable), and would do literally anything to protect those she loves

One of the little historical details I added into my book that I found very interesting were eye portraits, fascinating (and sometimes creepy) mementos that clandestine lovers used to exchange. I wrote a post about them a while back.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog Chain - What's in a Name?

Our blog chain is rolling again! I've missed it :D We have a bit of a different format now - each chain will run for 2 weeks, Mon-Fri and I will be posting the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month :) Our first topic was chosen by Kate who wants to know:

What's in a name? What if Harry Potter had been Larry Snotter? What if Edward was Jacob and Jacob was Edward? What favorite books had character names that you loved or hated? And how do you come up with your own character names?

I think a character's name can make or break a book. But it depends on the book. Some books are just amazing no matter what the characters' names. There are books I haven't wanted to read because the characters' names seemed so ridiculous. Hunger Games, for instance. A girl named Katniss? A sister named Prim? Boys named Peeta and Gale? Ugh.

And then I read the books. And I can't imagine them being named anything else. The names fit. They worked. The story transcended the names and made me love them.

Then there are the Sookie Stackhouse books. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this series. It's one of my all time favorites, I've read the entire series (of 12 books and counting) numerous times, and if Eric the vampire ever knocks on my door, he is more than welcome to my neck ;) (I like his name, btw).

But every single time I see the name Sookie, I cringe. Bill the vampire made me cringe too, but it fits him in a way. It's a horrible vampire name. But then, Bill is a horrible vampire. But Sookie....I just can't used to that one. For me, the thought of "really? Sookie?" is always in the back of my mind, making every scene, no matter how terrifying, passionate, or intense, just slightly "less" because...well really....Sookie? *cringe*

For my own stories, I usually try very hard to choose the absolute perfect names for my characters. I want them to mean something. Sometimes a name will just pop into my head, sometimes I'll see it or hear it somewhere else and fall in love. I spend a lot of time with baby books and on naming websites to find the right name with the right meanings.

Interesting fact, I'm generally not that attached to my character names, except for my main heroines' names. I'll change any name in the book, but not that one.

The MC in my upcoming novel Treasured Lies is named Minuette (she goes by Min). It fits her so perfectly. I really can't imagine her with any other name. She started out as Noelle. Soooo isn't her. I heard the name Minuette (with Min as a nickname) on a Star Trek NG episode :D It stuck in my head and when I was searching for a more fitting name, it just clicked.

Min's best friend Charlotte went through two other names before she got her name. I love her name now but really, if my editor asked me to change it, I could without too much flinching. But not Min :)

For one of my WIPs, I needed an Egyptian or Arabic name, something that was short, easy to pronounce, cool enough it would fit in a modern setting but would still work in a historical setting as well (it's a complicated storyline lol). I found the name Kesi and instantly fell in love. It's absolutely perfect. Short, sassy, and beautiful. Just like the character it was meant for. And when I saw the name meant "born of a troubled father" it became even more perfect. :)

What about you? What books had names you loved or hated? Are there stories that were made or ruined because of a character's name for you? If you are a writer, how do you choose your character names?

Be sure to check out Lisa's post from Friday and Alyson who will post tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When Mama Declutters

Oh I had some fun last week. I like things cleaned and organized. The only problem with that is that I don't really like to clean. And I sometimes get to the point where I look around my house and just want to get rid of EVERYTHING.

I mean, if there weren't any pictures or knick knacks out, the surfaces of my furniture would be easier to clean and would look less cluttered, right? If there was less furniture in the house, well there'd be less surfaces to clutter up and clean.

So I went on a Craiglist spree. I sold a bunch of stuff. A bedding set. Some bar stools. A treadmill. A couch :D Tried to sell a piano but haven't had any takers yet, and one oversized arm chair I'm just giving away (but the lady can't come get it until next week). We did add a practice balance beam for my daughter, but it's not full sized or anything so I can shove it up against the wall and it's not too bad :D

It felt so good I want to get rid of more stuff. My family is scared LOL

Really though, it feels so good to just declutter and free up some space. It feels good to not be buried in STUFF. I can think better. I can clean faster which means I can get to the fun stuff like writing or reading even faster. It just makes me all around happier. Now, if I can just get rid of that piano, I'll be good to go ;)

Do you ever do this? Just go through your house and purge? :D

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unrequited Love

I was over at The Naked Hero this week talking about unrequited love. There are so many great examples out there - A Tale of Two Cities; The Last of the Mohicans; Andrew Lincoln's character Mark from "Love Actually" who was in love with Kiera Knightly's character. And of course, one of my favorites, Severus Snape.

I, of course, love the unrequited love stories that end with the love finally being reciprocated, but some of the most beautiful stories do not have such a happy ending (the original Little Mermaid anyone?)

What is your favorite unrequited love tale?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Funnies

Jennifer Armentrout's cover reveal for OPAL is up on Operation Awesome today!! Go check it out!!

In other news, the new blogger set up has me all flustered, and not in a good way LOL I know I'll get used to it but.....argh....I don't deal well with technological change ;)

And now, for some funnies! :D

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Book Birthday to TRANSCEND and Christine Fonseca!!

I am thrilled to celebrate the release of Transcend by my dear friend Christine Fonseca. This book is different than any other I've read for a while. It's dark and poetic and just masterfully done. Here's the blurb and the gorgeous cover:

All seventeen-year-old composer Ien Montgomery desires is an escape from his family's rigid expectations for his life; someone to inspire his music. When he meets a beautiful violin-prodigy, Kiera McDougal, his life music takes on new life. With her, he imagines a future outside of his parents’ control. That is, until a horrible accident tears them apart. 

Sent to die in a sanatorium, Ien’s obsession for Kiera grows unbearable. Tortured by thoughts he can’t escape and the truth of his monstrous disfigurement, he flees, desperate to exact revenge on the people that ruined his life – his parents. But, vengeance is empty. Betrayed by those closest to him, Ien discovers that the price for his happiness may be his sanity. 

Set amidst the landscape of New York's Gilded Age, and inspired by Phantom of the Opera, TRANSCEND exposes the fine line between love and madness.

The early reviews on this book are AMAZING (and I whole-heartedly agree with them!) Christine's tour kicks off next week, but you can get Transcend on Amazon and B&N (the print versions aren't showing up yet but should be there any minute now) :)

Congrats Christine!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Victorian Eye Portraits....Creepy or Cool?

In my upcoming novel, Treasured Lies, two very important clues are found along with a pair of eye portraits. These portraits have an interesting history - the story of their rise in popularity generally stems from the illicit love affair (and secret marriage) of King George IV (when he was Prince of Wales) and Maria Fitzherbert. As he couldn't flaunt a portrait of his secret wife before the court and his politically recognized wife, Princess Caroline, Maria had a miniature portrait painted showing only her eye. This way, George could keep her portrait with him and no one could really say who it was depicting.

I find the concept of the eye portrait very intriguing and romantic. And some of them are quite beautiful. But some are....well, just a little creepy :)

I think it's the ones showing only the eye that creep me out a little. As long as the brow at least is included, they aren't too bad :)

What do you think? Romantic? Cool? Or creepy?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Manuscript Soundtracks

I've been thinking a lot about a WIP that is next up (after the one I'm currently working on) and as a result I've been pretty much listening to the Hunger Games soundtrack and Rob Dougan non-stop. And oooo does that music make me want to work on this book! :D It just fits my book so well - I can see the scenes playing out in my head with those songs as background music. I just want to close my eyes and watch :)

I don't always have particular songs for my books. And I very rarely listen to the music while actually writing (it's usually more of a mood setter). But I do have a couple books that have surprised me with my need to listen to something while writing them.

I have a feeling this next WIP (which I did cave and started a bit :D ) will be one of them. Another is a novella I finished recently. Rob Dougan was on repeat while I was writing - totally out of my usual comfort zone for writing. But with this book, I actually had a hard time writing if the awesome Mr.Dougan wasn't playing in the background.

With my soon-to-be released novel Treasured Lies, I couldn't listen to music at all while writing. Noise of any kind made it very hard to concentrate. And with yet another WIP, I sometimes listen to the soundtracks channel on Pandora (no lyrics, just instrumental tunes).

Do you create "soundtracks" for your manuscripts? Do you listen while writing or just to set the mood? And what do you listen to?