Performance Anxiety

Catchy headline, right? Now that I have your attention, I’m probably going to disappoint you in that I’m not going to talk about what you thought  I would be talking about. I’m going to be discussing what I’m sure many other writers go through: stage fright. I am about a fourth of the way through the first draft of book 4, and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling a little gun shy. There are a couple of reasons for this:

It’s time to say goodbye: Like all writers, I’ve gotten attached to these people that I’ve created in my head. Cain and Riley have been a part of my life for years, and at least for the near and somewhat far future, we are going to be parting ways so I can work on some other projects that I’m excited about. It’s time to make some new character friends, but you never forget the old.

(THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SONS OF ANARCHY SPOILERS SO DON’T CONTINUE IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING THE SERIES)

…….

These people are real: I bawled like a baby when Jax Teller  (Sons of Anarchy for those who don’t watch the show) died. My husband looked at me like I had two heads. I was a swollen mess of tears. Because for the last several years, Jax Teller had been just as real as any person we’d see on the news. I will never meet those people either, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Writers create real people in our heads, real for all intents and purposes. So when they die, they take a piece of us with them. For book 4, there will be some definite bloodshed, and I don’t think some of my precious friends, who I have spent the last six years with, will make it out of the book alive.

I want to do right by the characters: When you spend that long with someone, as a writer, you want to make sure you do it right. You’ve poured your heart into something and you want to exit with the color and circumstance that it deserves. But rough drafts can make you wonder if you’ll ever get it right. I want the closing act to be the best one yet, and that’s a lot of pressure.

I want to do right by the readers: For every reader that has stuck with me and my books, I want to make you proud. I want you to get to the last page and feel like your journey was worth the trip. And maybe I want to make you remember these peoples’ stories for at least a little while. Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll let your children read it when their old enough (and PLEASE wait till they’re old enough). I want to do right by you, and thank you for taking this journey with me.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll take the next one with me too.

 

 

 

 

Review of Dreamer by Amy Reece, Book 2 in the Seeker Series. 5-Stars!

amy reece

Reece has done it again. Her voice is superb and I’m very excited to see where this story goes in the next book. My one critique would be that there was one random section from Jack’s point of view instead of Ally’s that I didn’t think was needed. But that’s just my own opinion and doesn’t affect how I see the book. In this part of the story we find Ally getting mysterious dreams about a dead girl. These dreams turn out to be a new depth to her powers that she was not aware of. She also must deal with a breakup that she didn’t see coming. Nothing like dealing with the garbage that goes along with being a teenager on top of everything else. I also very much commend the author for her treatment of sex in the novel. Ally and Jack do love each other but are unwilling to compromise their values by having sex before Ally is 18. I think that is a FANTASTIC message to young readers who may think, with the way media portrays teen sex, that everyone is doing it and that it’s something people just do because it’s “the thing.” That’s not necessarily true and I think it’s great to see a series of young adult novels talk about teenagers making a different choice. There ARE other options. Well done to Ms. Reece and I can’t want to read the next one!

Purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-The-Seeker-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00YG43NFA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Review of Seeker by Amy Reece- 5 Stars!

Reece is a master of voice, something that I cannot praise enough. Ally our heroine is as real as it gets, making us want to shake her insecurities out of her one minute and high-five her the next. Every bit of her makes her believable, and as a reader you can’t help but root for her. A victim of a gift that she’s not sure she wants, she discovers that she has the ability to get psychic visions, and those visions have a way of wriggling into her life at the most inopportune times. I just picked up the second one in the series and am excited to see where Ally goes from here.Seeker-461x732

To purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Seeker-The-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00W8UEL5K/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book Review: Empath by S. Usher Evans- 4 Stars

empath

I picked up this book because I am a fan of the author’s other writing. I usually am not excited by dragons and such but I trusted this author to wow me again.

And I was right.

I could talk about the fabulousness of the writing, the wit of the main character, and the well-fleshed-out minor characters, but this book has such deep and important element to it that I am going to focus on it instead. This book reminded me of the amazing book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a book that will stick with me forever. It is one of the highest compliments I can give, trust me on that. Both authors took the horrors and realities of depression and gave them a face and a name. I thought it was smart that she took a problem that, unless you happen to meet the love of your life when you’re eight or something, everyone faces at some point: a breakup. The main character is afraid to tell anyone that she is not, in fact, doing ok after realizing the person she had devoted 5 years of her life to is not the one she is going to eventually call “husband.” She is afraid to give voice to the fact that her heart is broken and, at least until the end of the book, she doesn’t think it will ever be whole again. I wish I could remember something that a secondary character said verbatim, but I’ll paraphrase. Lauren basically said that she didn’t think her problems mattered/were important in the light of other things going on/etc, to which the secondary character replied “but they are important to you, so they are important to me.” There may be bigger problems in the world as a whole, but it’s important to remember that doesn’t make the problem any less devastating for the person going through it. So in the spirit of this amazing book, ask your friends how their doing…and then ask again. They might not tell you the first time. But eventually, knowing you are there when it counts can make all the difference in the world.

Review: Bloodline by Tara Ellis- 4 Stars

This book was a suspenseful take on alien takeover (actually it’s referred to as “evil” but as a reader I assumed the evil came from another planet given that it was released by a meteor shower. I could be wrong but that’s what I thought) with an Egyptian twist.

After almost everyone in Alex’s town changes into a non-feeling shell of a human being after a meteor shower, she must decipher her dad’s cryptic beyond-the-grave messages before the whole planet becomes infected. With the help of her friend Chris, her brother Jacob, and their dog Baxter, it’s a race against the clock to save everyone she loves.

Though there were a few spots that I thought could have used a little less backstory, the plot was super interesting and kept my attention till the very end, which is hard to do. I also enjoyed that unlike a lot of young adult novels, Alex had a good relationship with her mother (at least until she turned). I would like to think the vast majority of teenagers have pretty good relationships with their parents, yet most of the ones in young adult novels seem to be either dripping with hostility, the parents are idiots, or the parents are out of the picture completely. It was a nice change to see Alex and her mother on the same page. I’m excited to see where the next book takes her!

Get it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Bloodline-Forgotten-Origins-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00ILPL7K8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435345981&sr=8-1&keywords=bloodline+tara+ellis

Author Interview: Mia Hoddell

miahoddellfalsefinder

I am very excited to introduce Mia Hoddell, author of False Finder, a book with a concept that intrigues me greatly: what if someone had the ability to detect lies? Read on!

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1) Tell us a little about your book.
False Finder is a standalone, urban fantasy, dystopian thriller aimed at upper young adults and new adults. It’s an action-packed novel about secrets, lies, betrayal, and family ties as a girl with a unique ability fights for survival in a country run by criminals. Here’s the blurb:
Cora has been able to detect lies since she was born, she’s…a False Finder.

However when blackmail, betrayal, and lying are all the population has to protect themselves, it makes her dangerous. It also makes her a target.

Because of Cora’s ability, Rogan Carvelli—London’s biggest criminal leader—has been trying to acquire her for years.

Cora has learned to survive and remain undetected—at least until one careless mistake causes her friends to betray her.

Sold to Carvelli, Cora is only left with the help of a secret organisation to escape. She knows nothing about them, but they have saved her too many times to ignore.

However, the closer she gets, the clearer it becomes…
Their motives are far from innocent.

2) What is your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?
I love all aspects of writing. However, my favourite part is when the first sentence of a new novel comes to me. That’s the point I get most excited because there are so many possibilities and I can’t wait to get them down on paper. Although, seeing the final book for sale is pretty great too. My least favourite is probably when I’m nearing my final rounds of edits. The first three rounds I enjoy it, but after that I just want to get back to writing my next idea.
3) A director tells you that you have complete control over casting the movie version of your book. Who plays who?
I’ve never liked this question if I’m honest. The problem is I don’t really watch many movies and therefore have no idea who I’d choose. Generally, I base my characters on image I find on stock websites. For my female lead in False Finder, the image on the cover is exactly how I pictured Cora when I created her. I also like for the reader to create their own version of my characters when they read the book rather than give them a celebrity.
4) If your house was burning down and you could save one thing, what would it be (don’t say photo albums, everyone says photo albums)?
It definitely wouldn’t be photo albums. I can’t begin to describe how many pictures of me there are I wish had never been taken! This is probably going to sound bad and unsentimental, but it would be my iPod because I use it for everything, including writing my books. I have all of my notes, plans, vague ideas, chapters, and backups on it and I’d hate to lose all of that work (I may be a workaholic). It does also contain my photos, music, ebooks, videos, and other stuff I’d hate to lose.
5) If you could choose what one message that a reader takes away from reading your book, what would it be?
False Finder is different from all of my other novels. It’s darker and an urban fantasy thriller, whereas most of my other novels are romances. In my romances I like write about characters struggling to find themselves or accept who they are. I’d like readers to take away that it’s never worth compromising who they are to get someone to accept them. In False Finder I’d like people to take away that it’s worth fighting and standing up for what you want.
6) Imagine a world where everyone wears a t-shirt that says something about who they are as a human being, i.e. “Doesn’t play well with others” or “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee.” What would yours say?
Um … either “I love books more than people” or “I like to party and by party I mean stay at home because socialising stresses me out.” Actually, any of the 22 mentioned here work: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/introshirts#.muPRVD286
7) Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing?
My family. Without them none of this would have been possible.
8) What writer do you admire the most and why?
At the moment I admire those who started out as indie authors (Colleen Hoover, Jennifer L. Armentrout, J.A. Redmerski etc.) and are now topping best seller lists or have become traditionally published authors. Because my roots are in self-publishing I look to them as a sort of role model because they’re great with their fans and have made it work.
9) If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life what would it be?
Dragonfly by Julia Golding. It has a little bit of everything: romance, adventure, action, mystery, and a new world. She’s my favourite author and it’s one of the few books that has stuck with me since I discovered my love of reading.
10) Favorite quote about writing, life or otherwise:
It’s kind of cheesy, but I like it anyway. “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
*Also, just a side note. The box set for my #1 Amazon bestselling series, Seasons of Change, is currently on sale for the summer. You can get all 4 books, plus 2 free exclusive stories, and save 40%!

Thank you Mia!

miahoddellboxset

INFO:
Book title: False Finder
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Mia-Hoddell/e/B0093M18QQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1434537448&sr=8-1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610
Twitter: http://twitter.com/miahoddell
Website: http://miahoddell.blogspot.com/
Goodreads link: http://goodreads.com/miahoddell
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/GFF_1

Author Interview: Kendell Penington

kpenningtonbook2

Meet Kendell Penington, author of The Lost Realm Series. Read on to learn more about her books, her favorite quote, and the awesomeness that is her hypothetical t-shirt.

1) Tell us a little about your book.
The Lost Realm series is a 7 book series (with 3 finished thus far) and is about teenager twins, Emma and Evin LeFay, who discover they’re part of a supernatural race. Along the way, they’ll discover new abilities and fight mystical creatures. My books contain fighting, magic, and hot men—basically everything that’s great about YA fiction.

2) What is your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?
My favorite part about writing is that I get to call the shots. I have the ability to create characters in put them in a world I’ve created, something that’s always been amazing to me. My least favorite part about writing is that sometimes it’s not always as easy as I would like.

3) A director tells you that you have complete control over casting the movie version of your book. Who plays whom?I always saw a young Henry Cavill or Tom Welling in the part of Evin. They’ve both got that whole strong and silent and sexy thing going on for them, and I just melt every time I see them. For Emma, I could easily someone like Cara Delevigne or Grace Phipps take on the role, simply because they’re each so fabulous.

kpenningtonbook1

4) If your house was burning down and you could save one thing, what would it be (don’t say photo albums, everyone says photo albums)?
My toy poodle, Lily. The next thing would be my notebooks containing the original rough drafts for The Lost Realm Series.

5) If you could choose what one message that a reader takes away from reading your book, what would it be?
I just want those who read my books to know that it’s ok to be different. I feel like a lot of the times, we live in a world where we’re encouraged to assimilate into the normativity of society, but I disagree with that. To be different is to be special.

6) Imagine a world where everyone wears a t-shirt that says something about who they are as a human being, i.e. “Doesn’t play well with others” or “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee.” What would yours say?“I’m not actually funny. I’m just really mean and people think I’m joking.”

7) Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing?
Growing up, before I was published, my aunt was always very supportive of my writing. She was always very reciprocating of the things I would give her to read, even when I was eleven years old and my writing was crap. From the eyes of an eleven-year-old, it was always very cool that an adult was able to treat my writing and me as an equal.

kpenningtonbook1

8) What writer do you admire the most and why?I’ve always been a huge fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald. No one writes like Fitzgerald.
J.K. Rowling is also an idol of mine, simply because she made the most out of her circumstances and inspired me to write in a way that no one else could do.

9) If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life what would it be?
Definitely The Great Gatsby.

10) Favorite quote about writing, life or otherwise:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kendell Penington
INFO:
Book title: The Lost Realm Series. (The Guardians, The Secret Society, and The Apprentice.)
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/K.L.-Penington/e/B00EW4PVZE/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KL-Penington/541739525889863?ref=hl
Twitter: @KLPenington
Website: https://klpenington.wordpress.com
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7201902.K_L_Penington