Sunday, April 28, 2013


I may have mentioned this before (once or twice), but I'm kind of a big reader.  Don't believe me?  Well, you can go to goodreads and check out my profile.  That will tell you better than I can that I'm an official bibliophile—or as my husband likes to say, book addict.

I was reading a friend's blog the other day and she gave us a list of her favorite books and how she'd discovered them.  Which got me thinking about MY favorite books.  I thought I'd share them with you here.

Before I do, though, I just want to say that in some cases, it's not so much a favorite book as it is a favorite author.

Anyway, on to the list, which I shall try to pare down as much as possible.

1) No list like this can take place without Pride & Prejudice.  Oh, boy, I'm going to start out my pretentious list with a classic, I can hear the groans already.  Actually, the first time I tried to read Jane Austen was in high school.  I hated her book (no it wasn't an assignment, I'm one of those weird book geeks that tries out classics on my own) and put it down for about 4 years.  It was too wordy, too descriptive and I was an action girl at that point, loving on Anne McCaffrey.  Then, for whatever reason, I picked up Emma a few years later and I was hooked.  I laughed out loud and proceeded to read every other Jane Austen book I could get my hands on.  I bought all of them.  I can't remember at what point I read P&P, but the fact that Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth for "the liveliness" of her mind sends me into spasms every time.  Yes, I am a romantic.

2) A Game of Thrones.  I'm not sure if this is my favorite book of the series or not, I'm pretty fond of book 3 as well, but this was the beginning of my LOVE for George.  (Oh, George, how I heart you!!!)  I heard about this book from my friend Jeff, who said to me, "He is the best fantasy writer of all time."  As a self-named fantasy freak, I was skeptical, to say the least.  But winter break was coming up, so I grabbed all the books that were out at the time (the first three) and went home for Christmas.  I honestly don't know if I would have caught on to George's genius if I hadn't gotten sick and been bedridden for literally a week straight.  I DEVOURED those books.  I laughed, and cried and raged and by the end I knew that when it comes to character development, George has everyone else beat.

3) A lot of my book discoveries are random library events.  I go to the new books section, pick up something that interests me by title, cover, or synopsis.  Poisonwood Bible was one of these.  How could I resist anything with bible in the title, I ask you.  This book was transporting!  Kingsolver's prose is among the best in the world, in my opinion.  Each of her character voices in this book was so different that I could picture their voices and faces in my mind during each chapter.  I loved this book so much that as soon as I finished it, I picked it right back up and read it through again.  Amazing!  Oh, and I discovered her before Oprah ever did.

4)  I adore thought-provoking sci-fi.  I love to mull over social issues related through far away galaxies and fought among fast moving space ships.  So it is no wonder that I love Orson Scott Card.  Everyone always quotes Ender's Game at me.  My former boss, who was my introduction to Card, certainly did.  But for me, it was Speaker for the Dead that really resonated with me.  The questions that book asks about what is alien, what is good or bad, are good intentions really worth anything, is there such a thing as doing the wrong thing for the right reason... still stump me to this day.

5)  I'll keep this list down to five for today.  I might talk about my other favorites later.  The most recent addition to my list is Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor.  Talk about another writer whose prose is mindbogglingly good.  When I read her work, my heart twists with envy and admiration, because I know I'll never be able to write like that.  I was turned on to Taylor by my favorite reviewer in the whole world, Kat Kennedy.  She has been responsible for quite a few of the wonderful books I've discovered lately.  The first story in this book blew me away.  Then there was the second, then the third.  Honestly, I felt drained and starstruck from her talent after I read this book.

So those are my top five (For now.  The list is constantly changing!).  What are your favorite books?  How did you discover them?

In a quick ROW80 update, I want to say that this week wasn't as good as last week.  It wasn't bad at all, I still got quite a bit written.  I paused Zyander's story to play some catch up with Nikka.  She and Zyander intersect quite a bit in the first part of the book, so I wanted to make sure her chapters were going to meet up with Zyan at the appropriate time.
Can I just say again how much more complex writing a book with 3 main characters is than writing a book with one?  I've done both several times now, and I now understand why most YA writers don't do it.  It's tough, people!  Writers who have more than one character in your books, how greatly I admire you.  George, who has like 30 main characters... I don't know how he does it!!!

That is all for my week.  Good luck to all my ROW friends.  And Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Heck Yeah!

Well, guys, I don't want to brag here, but I am seriously kicking ass.  My kid is sleeping. I'm getting good sleep (for once!  Seriously, I'm so paranoid right now that something is going to happen to ruin my wordcount that I'm constantly crossing my fingers.) and my creativity and output are at an all-time high.

I'm writing two, sometimes three times a day and the results are showing.  I finished up another side project, and started a new one, which is great.  My main focus has been Terris, though.  I'm almost finished with part one of Zyander's story and almost halfway through part one of Nikkas.

At this rate, I will more than make my goal of finishing all of part one and will hopefully be a significant amount of finished on the rest of the book.  And boy am I excited, because part two of this book is where stuff gets crazy!  Seriously, the second half of Terris sets up what goes on for the rest of the series.
It's a lot of pressure, frankly, but it's also really exciting!  When this book is finished, it's all downhill from here(in a good way).  Which makes me take a few deep breaths and tell myself to be CALM!!!

The audiobook is coming along.  I have my voice actor, and Compis should be ready in a couple of months, hopefully.  I've never done this before, but I'm hopeful.

That's all for my ROW80 update.  We'll see how things are going next week, but hopefully, they are still going well.  :)

Hope all of my fellow authors are doing well.  I'll have to check around and see.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I am Invincible!

Well, no, not really.  This is more like me:

I don't get it.  I try so hard to be tough, but in the end, I have a knot in my stomach and the blazing cheeks of someone who'd just gotten told off.

Have you ever met a meany in real life?  They're rare, in my personal experience.  I have to be careful in my descriptions here, because I don't want to make it seem like I'm picked on or that my minor experience is somehow more tragic than someone who has really been bullied.

I can stick with the word meany, though.  Meanies like to be above the rules.  Meanies like to be in charge.  Meanies are vindictive and boy did I run into one on Friday.
I won't go into details, but if you don't know me, let me assure you... I'm not the type of girl who enjoys public confrontation.  In fact, I will pretty much do anything to avoid it.  But when a meanie went out of his way to ruin my day on Friday, I found myself wanting to never go back to that place again.  I wanted to change my whole routine to avoid him, because I suspect, having been given a rather large dose of his vindictiveness, he will go out of his way to make my day hell again.

Sometimes, I wish I was invincible.

It made me think about this book I'm reading right now called, "To Name the Wind."  I've heard a whole lot of good things about Patrick Rothfuss, and I greatly admire his sense of humor... but his book is so dark!  So dark that I wish I could find more evidence of the humor in it.
In any case, I read about this main character and how he comes up against his own meanie.  And like me, he absolutely refuses to back down.  Except that he can't avoid the guy, he sees him everyday.  And so a vicious cycle ensues where the MC and the meanie have a throwdown every freaking day and the meanie basically makes his life a living hell, because he's rich and powerful and has a flipping lot of connections.
And I just get so exasperated with MC, because I end up feeling like he's just an idiot!  Why poke the bear over and over again.  I mean, I get the impulse and the guy is basically the world's worst human being... but you aren't gonna win!
Should he give up, then?  Should the meanie be allowed to triumph?  It's such an interesting question to try and answer in a book.  I'm not sure this is the right book in which to answer it, but there it is.

How do you deal with meanies, when you come across them?  Do you rise above?  Do you ignore them?  Do you avoid them?  I think I'll definitely be avoiding next time around, because I don't enjoy feeling shaken and weak afterward.

On a lighter note, I decided to join up with Camp Nano, which is pretty much basically ROW80 on a different website and without blogs.  But you can pick a word goal and you have cabin mates to cheer you on, and you get to see a nice little chart that shows where you're at and how far it is to reach your goal, which is always nice.

It did help, as I got a few thousand words written last week.  Yay for me.  Little C. has some kind of cold that has led him to not sleeping, so boo for that.  Seriously can't wait till cold and flu season is OVER!!!

That's all for me.  Hope all my fellow ROWers are doing well and meeting their goals!
Happy Reading!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe...

Sorry, there was no official end of ROW80 posting last week.  Because my family celebrates holidays on days other than holidays.  So last weekend we did Easter Egg hunts with the kidlets and had a generally fabulous time with the family.  Little C. was a sight to behold.  He may be 18mths old, but that kid totally gets the idea of stashing loot in a basket. hahaha

So, how was my last ROW80 round?  Not great, honestly.  It could have been much worse, so for that I am thankful.  But MAN ALIVE did I get railroaded by the sick.  And just when Little C. started sleeping, too.  I'm much more hopeful that I'll get some major words out next round.  It will be warmer out and the cold and flu season will be nearing its end.

In case you were wondering about ME, I'm going to be just fine.  Got to the doctors just in time to figure out that I'd completely recovered from my own malady.  Isn't that just the way of it?  Like trying to take a twitchy car into the mechanic but your car won't reproduce the symptoms.

I probably got around 10,000 words written, total.  This is not a personal best for me, but it's better than nothing.  I'm not going to set a word goal for next round, but my goal is to be finished with part one of Terris.  That's about 30,000 words.  That means I'd have to do 10,000 words a MONTH, not per 3 months.

Instead, my goal this time around will be to write one hour a day.  In an hour I can write anywhere from 1,000-1,600 words, depending on my writing flow.

Will I make it?  I don't know.  Stay tuned to find out!  :)

Onward towards today's topic.  A week or so back I got a lovely fan letter from a reader of my Angelic Agents stories who wanted to know if there would be any new stories out soon.  Oh boy.

That really got me thinking about how my writing has gone thus far.  How do I decide what comes next?  How do I decide to do YA fantasy, or Western Fantasy Romance or Contemporary Romance or...

I'm a woman of eclectic tastes—in both my reading and writing.  So how do I choose what gets written first?

Well, I could go by what's popular.  I could say to myself... you know, those vampire books seem to be what everyone wants.  I should write a vampire book.  More likely, I should write a vampire, dystopian, New Adult book, if I really want to appeal to the majority of what's out there.  I should write more fan fiction about vampires and humans sexing it up.  I should write sci-fi about missile silos doubling as mass habitation(Hugh Howey's Wool, if you didn't catch the reference).

But I don't write what's popular.  I probably should, but it's hard to write well when you're just following a trend and not your heart or the spirit of your creativity.  Now if you have a brilliant story idea that also happens to be a popular trend (Angelfall comes to mind), then you've got it made.

I could also write what gets the most reviews.  Thus far that's my Five Tribes series.  But I don't write what I get the most ratings or reviews for.

I could go by downloads.  The Angel & Her Gun (permanently free) gets the most downloads hands down.  But downloads aren't an indication of READERSHIP.  Unless someone decides to READ that short story and tell someone else, or review it or email me... I have no idea if they actually read it or not.  I know that I don't read a significant portion of my freebies.  Some I'll start and discard, others I just forget about.  Sad, but true.

I honestly go by reader feedback.  What do my readers want more of?  So far, they seem to want more of The Five Tribes.  At least, if I go by the emails.  So, when the readers ask, I listen.

If you like something else, like The Angel & Her Gun then tell everyone you know to read it and email me.  It is free, after all.  It's not like it costs them anything.  If I get enough feedback saying that is what my readers want, then I'll break out my magic Wonder Woman notebook and get cracking!

And now, I'm off!  Happy Reading!