Saturday, December 4, 2010


(This review might be especially appropriate for those who have already read this book or Hush, Hush; some of my frustration may not make complete sense otherwise. If you want to skip my personal complaints and just scroll to the bottom line, be my guest.)

What a great cover, isn't it?

A few days back, instead of delving into my Oceanography book, I read "Crescendo" because it was staring me in the face at the library. All I could hear in my mind was "Go on, read it. It's right there. Think of all those great reviews of Hush, Hush. Think of how relaxing it'll be to read something that's NOT about picoplankton or the photic zone."

So I grabbed it and ended up checking it out, and MAN was it a page turner! I couldn't stop. I had to finish it before I could study for my exam. Obviously it really got to me. I wanted to know what happened, I wanted to know more about how the angel stuff worked and about the characters. Given that I hadn't read Hush, Hush I'm sure there are things that didn't quite click while I was reading, but for the most part I understood what was happening. The characters were pretty well defined, and Nora's voice especially was very strongly her own. There weren't any moments where I was like "This doesn't make sense for HER to do." I loved the exchanges between Nora and Vee, especially during their "detective" work; sometimes it almost reminded me of the antics of Lula and Stephanie from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. A lot of the imagery really struck me. There was one scene, if I'm remembering correctly, where the lights were going on and off as Nora was pursuing someone (or maybe it was vice versa). Whatever it was, I remember it working really well, helping me see it all more clearly in my mind. Some really great fight scenes. And the kissing scenes between Patch and Nora? Very hot. The last couple paragraphs of the book even threw me for a loop!

THAT said...

Okay, so maybe I didn't have moments where I thought Nora's actions didn't make sense for her...but there were plenty where I thought they didn't make sense. And maybe I didn't have a ton of trouble understanding the story, but I sure had some questions. My biggest question throughout the book seemed to be, "WHY can't she just ASK him?!"
But it was soon clear to me that Nora is incapable of truly asking anyone anything, especially not male characters. She instead has to follow them, search their houses, go through their rooms, or ask everyone else about them. Sure, it made the story more exciting and it certainly made for more suspenseful scenes, but it made it challenging for me to suspend my disbelief because before the scene even began I was thinking "What? Why does she have to follow him in her car?" or "Why is she searching his apartment?!"
The other part of the story that made me REALLY frustrated was her relationship with Patch, or more specifically, her confusion and distrust where he was concerned. Every time they fought, it seemed to me that a great deal of the angry words or final decisions were declared by Nora, and yet immediately after she would behave as though all of it were Patch's fault. For those of you who haven't read "Crescendo" yet, Nora breaks up with Patch not long into the book because of an inconvenience that has to do with nosy, meddling archangels who have it in for Patch (to find out why you'll just have to read the books) as well as some odd events surrounding Nora's arch-nemesis, Marcie Millar. I could certainly understand Nora's anger where Marcie and Patch were concerned; that would have bothered me to death if it were my guardian/boyfriend. But Nora almost breaks up with Patch instantly once he tells her that the archangels are watching (and why).
Once I got to this point in the book, I almost shut it because I was having "New Moon" deja vu. I couldn't STAND the book New Moon. I'm ashamed to admit that I skipped through almost the entire second half. (I liked the movie, though. Good fight scenes in Italy.)
At another point, Nora yells out that Patch is no longer to be her guardian angel, and doesn't seem to understand it when this actually becomes the case. She was so quick to be cruel to Patch at times.
In a way, I can understand. We all have moments where we're angry, we want to hurt feelings, and we say things we just don't mean. But he kept coming back. She almost took his protection for granted (maybe that's what you're supposed to do with guardian angel's anyway?) and she'd deliberately throw herself into dangerous situations either to SEE Patch or to show him she was okay on her own...and of course, she usually wasn't. This aspect of the book was a little reminiscent of New Moon as well, but I do think that Nora is a little more proactive as a character than Bella Swan is. Her voice was still entertaining, even when she was whining or venting out anger. I didn't skip through any huge chunks of pages with this book, which to me indicates relatively good writing (either that or I've become a more patient person). Point being, Nora Grey is a frustrating character, but not to the point where I had to slam the book shut.

Still, all the stuff with Patch bothered me. If he didn't care for Nora, why would he keep coming back? Why couldn't she figure that out? After all he did for her in the first book (er, after all I gather that he did), why would she think he'd just turn around like that? Why would he keep pressing, keep trying to tell her what was going on, etc. For a large part of the book, Nora thinks Patch has killed her father. This was a little hard to swallow, especially when they were like totally making out.
Basically, my problems with Nora and her Patch stuff all came to the surface in one scene, when Patch visits Nora in a dream and says he's been trying to tell her the truth in a place where the archangels can't see...and Nora leaves. Nora is DYING to know the truth, but she leaves because she thinks Patch is the killer. Even though she's still, of course, unbelievably attracted to him.


Why wouldn't she stay and hear what he had to say? If she's so determined to figure everything out, why not at LEAST listen to Patch's side of the story and THEN leave? What Nora does instead is frustrating as all hell. Just thinking about these parts of the book make me want to wring her neck, make me think "what a STUPID main character." But she didn't strike me as a completely stupid person....just extremely mixed up.


So the conundrum for me is, how did I manage to get through this book, like it, and still think the main character's teetering on the edges of ridiculous and idiotic? As annoying as Nora's odd decision-making could be, I couldn't stop reading this book, so I do care for her a little (or maybe I was looking for hot Angel sex?).

Another thing about this book...sometimes I can really tell when the writer was really into scenes and having fun writing them, and when she/he wasn't so interested. I know that even in my own work, this comes through, and in that respect I have a long way to go as a writer. (Maybe this is something I notice because I write, but I doubt it.) Anyway, the point is that the great thing about Crescendo is that when you're reading it, you get the sense that Becca Fitzpatrick was having loads of fun writing the whole thing. And that just makes it an even better reading experience.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have a presentation I have to work on for the rest of the week, but on Saturday I'll post my review of Crescendo. Because I kind of just...picked it up...and started reading it and couldn't stop.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ivy

I made a whole big list of books to read and buy over break, but I'm going to be so very very busy in the two coming weeks that I decided to put most of them on hold.
There is one book, though, that from the moment I opened it up at Barnes and Noble, I knew I had to read it right away. And that book is The Ivy.
Since coming to college myself, it's been my opinion that there just aren't enough YA books that are about college. I've read very few that actually take place AT college. ("Better Than Running At Night" is one book that has a college setting, though.) That's one of the many reasons I am DYING to read this book. I'm only a few pages in, but I'm already hooked. Those Harvard students don't mess around, man.

Another reason I'm so interested in YA books with a college setting is because the newest story that I'm working on is set on a college campus. (Set in? Set on?) There's so much you can do with a story within a college environment that it surprises me that this type of setting seems so hard to find.

However, it's occurred to me that perhaps I'm mistaken, or looking in the wrong places, or just completely oblivious. Can you think of any great YA titles that take place in a college setting?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things Didn't Quite Go As Planned...

...because it just so happens that my mom is a librarian. And it just so happens that once I got home, she brought home about eight YA books for me to read. And it just so happens that I started reading those instead of the ones on my list.
But! There's still hope for Low Red Moon and The Duff, because I will be visiting Barnes and Noble this weekend.

So, what DID I end up reading so far? Well, only two books. And those books are...

OTHER by Karen Kincy
This book was pretty awesome. I have to admit, I was excited to read it as soon as I read the back cover. If you haven't already seen this one reviewed, it takes place in a world where "Others" —that would be beings such as werewolves, vampires, animal spirits, dryads, mermaids, pookas (a type of shapeshifter which applies to our heroine), and so on— are known to exist, and some even live out in the open, though they suffer a great deal of prejudice, even from OTHER Others!
Before I get into any symbolism or even political stuff, here's what the story is about, in my own words: Gwen is half-pooka as a result of a fling her mother had with a Welshman (is that even the correct term?). She can shapeshift; in fact, she MUST shapeshift relatively often or she feels discomfort, her "pooka side" acting up. She doesn't reveal her Otherness to many people (not even her boyfriend, Zach). But she does have her best friend, Chloe, who is a dryad, a sort of tree spirit, to share secrets with, and she suspects that Tavian, an attractive Japanese guy she met via the BLOGOSPHERE, might have some Otherness to him as well.
Who knows of Gwen's Otherness isn't so important, however, until someone begins to murder local Others of Gwen's Washington state town, Klikas...Klika..oh man, it's such a cool name, too...(looks it up) Klikamuks! Doesn't that name just remind you of the sounds your rainboots make when you walk through a puddle? Anyway, suddenly Gwen has bigger problems than worrying about how to tell her boyfriend she's a shapeshifter, because she and all of her Other friends are in danger!
I really enjoyed this book. I know it's not exactly a unique premise, what with all the YA authors scrambling to find the latest paranormal gimmick for their novels (myself included), but it was a fun read, and man was it quick! Even if you aren't sure you'd like this one, try it anyway because it won't take a lot of your time and it's a great ride. The characters were pretty well-developed, the dialogue was snappy yet believable. There was action, romance, mystery, paranormal-ness, danger, and politics. Yes, politics. Maybe Karen Kincy didn't purposely do this (I find that unlikely, or maybe it was just unavoidable), but the problems the Others ran into were so similar to those faced of any minority group. There was also mention of Alaskans hunting werewolves by helicopter (Palin, anyone?) and an Other-hatred based group called the White Knights (perhaps a bit like the KKK?). Not to mention the term "other" in general. As in, the way we tend to place people who are different from us in the "other" category? "Other" or maybe "exotic"? (Anybody see that post on the Story Siren?) My point is, not only was there a decent, fast-paced story that I found quite hard to put down, but there were some great messages involved. Kindness, tolerance. Okay, so you don't HAVE to read it that way, but it's in there to find if you want to. Plus it could make for a cool paper! (for those fellow college students out there)
You can find out some more about this one here:
And I'm sure there are some much more detailed and thoughtful reviews out there in the blogosphere, too. I should probably add that I didn't always take the book as seriously as could have, probably because I have a friend who used to call her boyfriend a "pooka" or "pook."

I also read The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.
I think that this one was first and foremost, beautifully written. The style was lovely, and the way Lena, the main character's relationship with her family was developed was excellent, very strong. I read this one quickly, too, and didn't want to put it down. The ocean imagery, the eventual mermaid village, even the descriptions of surfing lessons were kind of magical.
But it was sad, and I'm not quite sure about the conclusion that was reached at the end. Okay, wait...


Lena's father, once a surfer and ocean-lover, can never again enter the sea. If he does, he will be ripped to pieces by sharks at the command of his former mermaid lover's own mother. So really, the purpose of this story seems to be so that Lena can discover her mermaid heritage and have her father's sea death penalty lifted upon her return to land. But in order to have this lifted, Lena must sacrifice seeing her mermaid mother, Melusina, and the merman boy she grows to love, Nix. She has to promise never to see them again or return to the mermaid village. At the end (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) Lena returns to land and reunites with her friends, her younger brother, stepmother and father. Finally, she and her father can surf together. I guess that, for Lena, it takes seeing her possible mermaid life and heritage to really appreciate, fully enjoy, and help her land family and life. But what about her mother?! She's just going to forget and absorb happy mermaid thoughts so that her memories don't depress her?! That really bugged me, a lot. Since I just spoiled the ending, I'm going to kind of leave the rest of the book for you to read.


I suppose it was sort of what had to be done, but it didn't all work for me. Still, it's a very pretty story, and I think anyone who loves mermaids, the ocean, or stories of finding one's self might find enjoyment in this book. (Check out the blog Escape in a Book- pretty sure she has a deeper review of this one as well as some second opinions!)
Oh, here it is:

I guess I'd better visit some other blogs and then go to bed before Black Friday comes!
Happy shopping, all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Books...and books....and MORE books!

Thanksgiving break is rapidly approaching! And not a moment too soon, thank goodness. (I've been actively procrastinating in preparation for the occasion.) I have even made a list of books that I want to read over the break, just to have a little vacation from the usual textbooks and what not:

(I don't know if the pictures will work.)

1. You Wish by Mandy Hubbard..because how could I resist a book with a CUPCAKE on the cover? Also the plot sounds like so much fun! Imagine if suddenly you started to receive all of the birthday wishes you've ever made, since you were little. That's what's about to happen to the protagonist of this book. (Also, it's been sitting on my shelf since August!)

2. Annexed by Sharon Dogar...the story of Anne Frank's housemate, Peter. An imaginative, heartbreaking, YA story about the Holocaust, all based on true events and the written work of a thirteen-year-old girl. Also I've heard some good stuff about Sharon Dogar. There was no way I could pass this one up at the bookstore!

3. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger- Everyone in the book blogosphere has to have heard something about this book by now. DUFF= Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and the main character of this book. Apparently though, when it comes to this girl, there's more than meets the eye. To put it bluntly, this sounds like a book...and a character...that we can all relate to. And I have not read ANY bad reviews.

4. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin...I've read a lot of reviews about this one and the only conclusion I've reached is that I'm going to have to read it. People have said a lot of sh*t about this book, man. Others thought it was, eh, okay. And others still valiantly defend it! I must say, I'm intrigued. If I can track down a copy, I'll definitely be reading this one.

5. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab...I bought this one a while back, seduced by that magnificent, unsettling cover. I started it...and something came up. (I have a serious commitment problem when it comes to reading, I think. I got halfway through Dracula a few years ago and just stopped. Same thing with Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. I should be ashamed!) So the goal is to finish this one. If I keep buying books and not reading them, well, that's not really fair, is it?

So that's my list, short and sweet, of books younger and older. There may be some changes, and if I can't find DUFF or LRM in time, well, sadly I won't be able to read them. But I will be letting you know what I think of them soon after the break.

I've been reading a lot of different blogs lately, sampling and what not, and I just want to make a promise that I will never expressly say here NOT to read a specific novel. I'm an author. That would be ridiculous, counterproductive, and not fair. Everyone thinks and reads differently. One person's "ugh" is another's "OMG SO GOOD!" (I was going to make that second part "ooo" but then I thought it sounded vaguely sexual. :/ ) We all appreciate an honest, outspoken review, but I would never say anything like "Man, toss this stupid book in the trash!"

Anyway, I'll be posting some of my own work up here soon too! Thanks for following.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I was so sure that Angels were going to be the Next Big Thing but now it looks like Mermaids are getting their chance too! And I LOVE Mermaids! I used to want to be one.
Yeah, really, I did. I love water, and I love and respect the sea.
Anyway, if you haven't already, you should check out the Bloody Bookaholic! Her latest post is all about some upcoming Mermaid books, and I was so excited to see it that I just had to share.
Did I mention how much I love the blogosphere?

In other news, I have some stuff for my new work that I might want to post in the near future. Thanks for those who've come and take a look at my blog even after my super long blogging break!
For those who see this post, what's your favorite paranormal/supernatural/fantastic/fairy tale creature? Mermaid? Vampire? Werewolf?

I don't think I'll ever be able to decide, but that's okay because there are books about all of them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hi all!
Or no one. I haven't been keeping up this blog at all in the past few months, but truth be told it's a little bit of a challenge to be a college student and a YA author.

Be that as it may, I have two little bits of news! I'll be updating the blog once a week now, because I am working on some new stuff and I may post some pieces of it here. Also, once the weekends hit I'm going to be looking for some book reviewers (and maybe reviewing some books on here myself). I just read a really adorable, almost magical story called Austenland, by the author of Princess Academy. Also worth mentioning soon is Poison Study (which I read because I saw consistently excellent reviews across the blogosphere).

The other news? I'm going to Paris next semester. That will likely lead to this blog getting pushed into some dusty corner for a while. So I'll try and keep up for the next couple months as best I can!

I have to say, I miss "being an author" a whole lot right now. It's so much fun, and through the book and the blog I've talked to some really great people and learned about some really great books. I've read more than one piece of advice on authors' websites, saying that it's a good idea to wait to write a book, that it's a good idea to live your life while you're young and write later on. And yeah, it's hard to do both and be consistent (at least, it is for me). But I wouldn't change having had this book published. It's helped me learn so much. So here I am again, for a limited time. If someone happens to take a look and wants to review my book (or know more about it, for that matter), email me or leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

(also look at this, it's funny and related to another excellent book)

A Bad Bad Blogger (and a very good book!)

I've been the world's worst blogger this summer, but I had to poke my head out of my non-blogging turtle shell (did I ever mention that dialogue, not description, is my strength?) because KIRSTEN MILLER'S NEW BOOK IS OUT!
Kirsten Miller is one of my very favorite authors (and the reason I add "very" is because there are so many favorites that I have to classify them) and has just released her book "The Eternal Ones." I read an ARC that she was kind enough to send me in the winter, and I highly, highly recommend it as well as her Kiki Strike books (best read while eating Twizzler's pullnpeels). The tagline?

What if love refused to die?

It's beautiful, isn't it? It's really a great story, about past lives, love and mystery.
I have to admit that the idea of reincarnation scares me to no end. I've been pretty happy in this life, I see no reason to have another go around (especially if I come back as, say, an ant). But Kirsten Miller makes it sound so enticing, with a secret society that shows re-incarnates the way to their true selves, with a mysterious lost love guided only by broken memories. Haven goes from the South to New York to Italy and back, meeting a girl who chants a deals with snakes, avoiding mysterious men who are following her, finding out terrible secrets about her family and a man who was supposed to be helping her. She finds Iain Morrow, who's been haunting her mind with visions and dreams her entire life, and discovers that he is her reincarnated love, Ethan. Then she finds out that, in their last life, Ethan may have murdered her.

Look, it's good. Just read the thing.

Anyway, I think I'm going to come back to the blogosphere. I'll probably start with some reviews (I'm fighting to finish Beautiful Creatures) because reading has helped me get back into the writing groove. Then I think I'll get back to talking about my own book and what I've been writing for the past few months. Because it's all beginning to come together...

Thanks for following!

Check out these links to Kiki and The Eternal Ones. Kiki Strike's website is worth it just for the creepy noises that sound when you first enter the site, but there's also an awesome blog of strange and cool things (and of course book/character info).
The Eternal Ones site has an excerpt and a trailer (and you've probably seen it all over the blogosphere lately!)

Monday, July 19, 2010


Cough cough.
Time to blow the dust off this neglected old blog. Poor little blog, left all by itself (sob).

Anyway, I've been gone, and I've also been lazy, so it's been a while! But, now I'm back, hurtling through the blogosphere once again! And there's nothing like a GREAT book to get things started. So before I get to my author-y stuff (translation, I have to get my followers back), I'm going to talk about Shade!

SHADE! The book by Jeri Smith-Ready. It was just awesome. It was extremely well-written. It's funny, you'd think good writing alone would be something we could take for granted in the world of published books, but nope, you do come across a few bad ones.
Shade was NOT a bad one.

The story itself is a really fascinating concept. The main character, Aura, lives in the same universe we do (same shows, same countries and cities, same bands)...except for one thing. Everyone 16 or so and under can see ghosts, because of a Shift that happened just before Aura was born. It's so common to see the dead people, in fact, that there are government procedures meant to keep ghosts out of certain areas. Of course, the ghosts can only visit places they've visited in life...unless they turn to Shade. A Shade is a ghost who loses all control (kind of like turning over to the dark side) and can suddenly manipulate objects and people physically, and go wherever he/she wants...until the government traps it in an obsidian container.

Smith-Ready does an AMAZING job blending her eyes into an otherwise normal world. Her writing and weaving seems effortless. That is something I'm still learning to do, and I sure do love to see it in books. By the time you're a few pages into the book, you start thinking "Oh yeah, I know everyone can see ghosts, it's because of the Shift." What's amazing is that Smith-Ready never COMPLETELY explains the Shift, and yet it's perfectly established. She has made this story so real, and also relatable.

And Aura? Well, she's with an amazing guy, Logan, who is in an Irish rock band (think Flogging Molly), and he's about to be offered a record deal as well as screw her brains out! (Ahem, sorry for the blunt language.) The problem? Logan gets too smashed to do it, and upon trying to sober up, he accidentally kills himself. I won't explain how, because YOU HAVE TO READ THE BOOK.

Not to fret, though. Aura can still see Logan, and so can a lot of his friends. His older siblings and parents, however, cannot, and are torn apart by his death. They plan to file a lawsuit for something like wrongful death, which means Logan's ghost must testify and Logan has to stick around a while. He visits Aura each night, and she's as in love with him as ever...for a little while. But when Aura starts moving on, she faces a unique problem: How do you break up with a ghost?

And this isn't even the whole story. There is ANOTHER sexy (Scottish) guy, and confidential information about the Shift, an event shrouded in mystery!

The dialogue in this book was another aspect that really struck a chord with flowed so naturally and realistically, as did most of the story (which you'd think would be difficult given the ghostly subject matter).

I'm leaving so much stuff out, but I am so excited about this book. I can't wait to read her next one.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Hello all! In just a couple of days I'm taking off for a big trip. I'll be writing and photographing, but blogging doesn't seem likely. I just wanted to post this so that those of you who ARE looking over my blog don't think that I have deserted it! I'll be back, and I'll have some posts ready!
Also, I just started "The Secret Life of Prince Charming" by Deb Caletti. I love discovering great authors, and I'm also looking forward to reading another book by one of my faves, Laurie R. King.

Thank you to those bloggers who will be reviewing my book soon! You are absolutely wonderful.

My next post will either be concerning one of the afore-mentioned books, or it will be about the two main characters in "A House Afire", Phyllis and Sid. Sid wins some over, but others find him a bit too questionable. My response? Well, I'll be posting it sometime in June.

Thanks for following!

Friday, May 21, 2010

How To Say Goodbye In Robot, The Mark, and The Six Rules of Maybe

Sometimes, the best thing to do to get back in the swing of writing is read. I didn't realize how excited I would be to come back from college and be able to just read recreationally, to read books that weren't, well, text books or ethnographies or filled with math problems.

This week I read three books, and all of them were VERY good, very inspiring. I can't say any one was better than the others, more that some things just appealed more to me, I suppose. I think my favorite was "How To Say Goodbye in Robot." "The Six Rules of Maybe" had a much happier ending, but "Robot" was offbeat and somehow completely hilarious even though it was sad and bittersweet.
"How to Say Goodbye in Robot" was about a girl dealing with a lot of changes in her life, moving to a new school yet again, and meeting someone of an even higher weirdness caliber. It was about making important friends. It was full of insightful observations and hilariously realistic high school moments and dialogue. I loved it. My favorite thing about the book, I think, was the late night radio show that the main character, Beatrice, found herself listening to before bed each night. Random characters called in to talk, and sort of formed their own little family. My favorite was Don Berman. This book is darkly funny and intelligent, and just painstakingly...real, I suppose. Real about unhappy things, like moving on. I also really love the title, which stems from Beatrice's emotional mother calling her a robot at various times when she doesn't seem to be feeling anything.

"The Mark" was the second book I read, about a girl who can see a glow around people who are about to die. It was different than I expected it to be, but still excellently written. If you just find Jen Nadol (it might be Jenn, sorry) reading the first chapter on youtube, you'll be able tell that it's a good book, and what a great idea, too. The end might seem a little hokey, but I think that's really only because of the way the rest of the story is so convincing, and a reader can so easily suspend disbelief. I really enjoyed the mystery of the book, the independence that the main character, Cassandra, learned, and I liked the way that Nadol wrote about philosophy and tied that into the way Cassandra thought about her ability. It really was great food for thought, and I'm quite sure that sequels and threequels are on the way, so that's exciting too!

"The Six Rules of Maybe" is the book I finished this afternoon. It was really just...beautiful. There was a lot of time spent inside the main character's mind and heart, but it was never tedious or irritating. It was interesting, and some of it rang very true. The main character is Scarlet, her sister is Juliet. Juliet is older, the one who seems favored by their single mother, the perfect one. Juliet comes home unexpectedly married and pregnant, and that's when the trouble starts. Scarlet falls for Juliet's incredibly good husband, Hayden, while Juliet seems to be falling away from him, further as his baby grows inside her. Scarlet turns out to be a very caring, loving person, who has made it her responsibility to take care of everyone, but she finds out that maybe through caring for others, she's been neglecting herself. She also finds out a lot about her family. It's a long, full book, and a superb read. Parts of it had me laughing out loud for like, five minutes, just little insights Scarlet would have and little things she would say or do. There were a lot of smaller characters who made the book even better. Wacky neighbors and misguided friends, an adorable dog.

All of these books are good choices. If you're looking for a more thrilling, mysterious sort of series, go for "The Mark"; if you want something new and eccentric with some biting humor and tears thrown in here and there, go for "How to Say Goodbye in Robot"; and if you want something uplifting, a story about a family who experience some problems and come away from them even stronger and wiser, if you need that happy ending, read "The Six Rules of Maybe."

Now that I've finished those, I think it's time for me to do some writing of my own. Before I go, though, I have to add that most of the books I read over the past week, these and the two I reviewed in my last post, were books I saw on blogs. So thanks again, book bloggers. I keep thinking "We need more good books," but then it turns out that a whole bunch of them are already out there!

(Also, I mentioned "Demon Princess: Reign or Shine" in my last post, but it was incomplete- I just wanted to say that the book was fast-paced, funny, and, well, fun! I can't wait to read the next one, "Reign Check.")

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More books! More book blogging! I'm back on the radar!

Goodness, I've been gone a long time. Hopefully I can coax some people back to reading my blog!
I haven't been doing a whole lot of author-type stuff lately, though the Book Pixie was nice enough to let Phyllis post on her blog!

So, for a while there I was thinking that maybe Angels are becoming the new Vampire, but lately I've noticed that Mermaids are starting to make a comeback! Such cool stuff in the world of books. I think I'm going to stick with my firebreathing girl for the time being, but who knows? Anything could happen.

I don't usually do a lot of talking about other books here, but I thought I would talk a little bit about the two latest books I've read/am reading. I just finished "Break" by Hannah Moskowitz, which I'd been wanting to read since January!

It was a good book, a quick read, and it inspired a lot of thought. There were parts where I became a little confused, though. I'M POSTING ABOUT THE END OF THE BOOK.
Okay, I think I'm covered now.

When the main character, Jonah, who's about 17 and has been on a quest to break all the bones in his body, is admitted into a mental facility, seemed like that all happened really fast. I mean, don't get me wrong, it happened really fast in "Girl, Interrupted" too. But is that really all it takes? One talk with a psychiatrist and BAM, institution?
Also, would a high school principal really take the time to find a troubled student at a hockey game? Would the staff of a mental facility really accuse a patient of hurting other patients within 1-3 days of being there? The staff of Jonah's mental institution seemed almost eager to accuse him when other patients began to follow his example; wouldn't they investigate it further before throwing him into isolated confinement with what sounded like gusto?
That part of the book bothered me, if you can't tell. Also, this was probably implied, but I wish someone had stated outright that going outside or fresh air had gotten Jonah's brother, Will, to stop crying. Maybe I didn't read the book thoroughly enough; that DOES happen, and frequently in my case. Otherwise, I would definitely say it's a worthwhile read, and a very interesting idea. I just felt that at times it went by too quickly, like Jonah suddenly is being called crazy and then he starts to BE crazy? I had a lot of questions, and one of the questions I asked most was "Does this really make sense?"

The characters were great, though. Jonah and his brother, Jesse, were both very interesting, and the descriptive language was excellent. I would definitely read more from Hannah Moskowitz.

Now onto the book I'm in the middle (well, more like the beginning) of right now. Demon Princess, Reign or Shine. The title is straight and to the point, and so far the pace is fast! I'm loving it; it's fun, smart, cute, and somehow not completely ridiculous. I'm betting it'll be a great read.

Okay, so more posts will be coming. I know I made a list of future posts a while back, and all will come to fruition over this summer. Now, on to getting some readers back...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Check Out The Latest Review!

Thanks Jami!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Latest.

Thank you for following everyone! I'm excited to have 41 followers. My new goal? 45.

Anyway, since these next 3 weeks are my last of the semester, I don't expect to be bouncing around the blogosphere at all, unless extreme procrastination sets in. But for those lovely people that may be checking out my blog anyway, please feel free to look at some older posts! I talked more about subjects covered in the book earlier on in the blog (I plan to do more of that this summer as well).

I also wanted to let you know that Kelsey of The Book Scout was kind enough to interview me! Her blog is beautiful, and she asked me some excellent questions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Recent Blog Posts I've Enjoyed (And You Might Too!)

Hooray, getting closer to my goal of 40 followers!

So, here I am in college with lots of homework and planning and blah blah blah...up at 2 am...not studying or sleeping...
Clearly time management has yet to become my most prominent skill, which, if anyone's been checking up here regularly, affects this blog as well as my book's circulation! Nooo!!!

Hopefully there will be a couple reviews and interview coming up in the next few weeks. For the time being, however, I wanted to do something to keep up to date on the blogosphere. So here are links to some of my favorite recent posts from bloggers:
A positively excellent post about book reviews.
Some hilarious book-related pins.
A lovely post about book blogger etiquette (yeah, I found this through The Story Siren)
Honestly, all of the posts on this blog seem in some way helpful to writers, which makes me love it even more! I can't pick just one post.

That's all for now, mostly because I'm tired and have an exam on Monday. But I highly recommend these posts, whether for laughs or for learning (or both, which is the best way to go).

Friday, April 2, 2010


So on Thursday night, I had my very first reading ever! Very exciting.

It was also kind of hilarious. Not what I read (although I'd like to hope parts of it were funny) but the event in itself. There were 3 other writers there. Two men who read poems, one woman who read a short story. I read a selection from A House Afire. The book's sort of fun and whimsical, once described as akin to a journal. The journal of a teenage girl with a weird home. So there's me, reading my silly scene full of various characters and dialogue, possibly hard to follow but obviously not very serious at all. I finished reading.

And then the next writer read some poems about death. He said that when you're alive, all of your relationships with other people are like balls you're juggling in the air, and when someone close to you dies, it's akin to dropping them all. And that wasn't even in his poem, that's what he said beforehand. And the next writer read about a girl with a troubled home life and a disappearing town, and a story that won't be published. She was witty and sarcastic and talked about her heartbreaking problems with humorous detachment and sarcasm, a matter-of-fact tone. The last writer? He danced around the floor in the front of the room, reading poems about human interaction, and his intricate psychological workings and problems, describing himself as "a dangerous intersection."

In short they were all amazing, and deep, and it was kind of hilarious that I opened for them. I have yet to reach the deep end. So to speak. Oh dear, I hope that isn't read and taken badly.
But it made me wonder.
To be a writer, do you have to be deep? Are all writers sad and complicated with bitter senses of humor and alcohol problems? I joke about that (not old enough to try out the alcoholic thing just yet) all the time. But do you have to have a tortured soul to be a writer? A tragic past?
I've heard that all artists of all types are very self-focused, but honestly, that seems to lately be a human trait. What are the traits you need to be a writer? Will pain make you a better writer? Can imagination alone suffice without experience?


Also, I've been a terrible writer and blogger in the last few weeks and must apologize PROFUSELY to those bloggers waiting for interview answers that I've been stumbling over and book copies to review. Just got those today, actually.

And thank you followers! I don't know who's still taking a look at this blog but my next stop is the Saturday Network and then perhaps more zooming around the blogosphere.
And sorry if this post reflects how tired I am!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book on Sale

A House Afire will be 7.99 on for the next two days if anyone's interested (otherwise, it's ridiculously expensive!).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Review!

Hi all! Just wanted to let you know that Anna from Anna's Book Blog was nice enough to review my book on her blog!
See the review here:

I've tried to announce all the reviews of the book here on the blog, so that people can look and maybe get a better idea of the story than I can give.
Anna is also doing a giveaway of the book because she's clearly awesome. Thanks Anna!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Blogosphere

This is what I love about the book-blogosphere. If you really need something, and you reach out for it, you're bound to get help. I've seen teenage girls (sorry, but sadly I've barely come across any male book bloggers...I think I've seen two) doing incredible things for authors and books! There are so many great ideas...I'm so impressed! I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I seem to keep forgetting how incredible the teenage crowd can be. Maybe it's because I'm on my way out?
Turning twenty WAS a little weird, and I was kind of sad that I wouldn't be able to call myself a teenager anymore. I know what I'm going to be asking every YA author I ever meet- how do write a convincing teenager?

Sometimes, I think it's not that hard. Everyone's different, it's not like teenage essence can be boxed or programmed. But we've all seen movies or read books where writers have gotten it ridiculously wrong, and that's the last thing I'd ever want to do. This is another reason that it's comforting to know that the book-blogosphere is there. And hell, so is the regular blogosphere. Blogs have been a big help to me these past few months, and even though I'll probably be annoyingly busy as this semester ends, I'm going to try and keep my blog going relatively steadily. We'll see what happens. Just wanted to thank everyone, especially my two new followers. :) 36! Hooray! New goal? 40. It'll take a while, and it'll make me do more (and hopefully, better) PR.

I know that whether we should be labeling books as YA or not has been up for debate, but honestly? I love that there's a YA section, even though which books go where can be hard to determine.

Okay, future posts:

My first reading on April first!

Sid, the male interest in my book whose character is up for debate.

Hopefully more reviews! I might be reviewing a couple of books myself, just for fun.

And more excerpts, of course.

If there's anything you'd like to see on the blog, let me know. My experience as an author thus far is a tad different from most, given my age and the nature of the publisher, but I'd love to help anyone and share anything I can. And if you want to know more about the book, or you just want to talk about YA stuff, leave me a comment and I'll get in touch with you!

Thanks bloggers! Thanks followers!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For bloggers:

I've been trying to steal buttons from bloggers left and write to throw onto the side of my blog, but for reasons that I presume have to do with my slowly moving internet, they don't seem to work properly. They show up in awkward places, they don't show at all, I can't move them on the layout settings page, etc. So I think I'm going to give it some time and perhaps wait until I'm in a place with better internet to add more blog-buttons.
Also, thanks for following Jami! You have brought me closer to my goal of 35 followers!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blog News!

It's time for me to get back on the blog-wagon!

Now there's a fun-looking word. I've distanced myself from the blogosphere in the last two months and now it's time to come back for a bit! Here is my big news:

I'm taking part in a reading at The River's End Bookstore in Oswego on April first! It should be interesting, it'll be my first ever (and no, I haven't decided which excerpt I'm going to read yet).

My book has had FOUR reviews on some great YA book blogs!

I know there are some things in the book that I'm going to have to answer for and explain, and I plan on doing so HERE, but that will likely be after more people read the book!

If you're a blogger, and you've taken a look at a review or the description on the side of the blog, well, feel free to leave a comment or contact me some other way if you're interested in talking about the book!

Depending on my networking within the next few days, there should be more news on the way. Meanwhile, my new goal is 35 followers. Whoa. It's a little crazy, but if I work hard I just might be able to do it!

Thank you all for following!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

MORE reviews!

Another review! Thanks Katie!

Another Review!

Amy Jacobs of "My Overstuffed Bookshelf" was also nice enough to review my book!
Take a look! :)
More posts in the future, I promise. March 12, perhaps? See you there?

And thanks for following everyone!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I am sorry to report that in the last two weeks I have been a very bad, bad blogger, and plan to get back into the swing when I have some time off in a week or so. But, I just wanted to mention that Eleni of lafemmereaders has been nice enough to review my book and post it on her blog! Take a look!

Thanks again Eleni!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book News!

So, Nikki from was kind enough to read my book, review it, AND post a contest and interview with me. Check it out!

About the review...
It's not a good review. Cough, well, it's kind of a terrible review. But I encourage you to read it, because honestly? This book isn't for everyone; I suppose no book is. Nikki described it as more like a journal, and she's right. It's more like you're living with Phyllis for a year. Thus far readers have either really liked that, or just didn't care for it, and well, that's how most books work, isn't it? One of the things about Nikki's critique that I liked was that she cited examples from the book- that's going to help me out immensely. Thanks Nikki!

There is, of course, that Ouch! after reading a bad review. But all things considered, it's good for me, and it's helpful- it'll help me improve my writing. I appreciate that, perhaps more than anything. So go take a look. Maybe it'll make you curious, or maybe it'll help you to decide that this is NOT the book for you.

Also, yeah, Phyllis and Sid's relationship? A little sketchy. I plan on addressing this in a future post- despite his flaws Sid is one of my favorite people to write. But he's not the best guy.

And thanks for following, Book Crazy Jenn! New goal is 33 followers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Next Excerpt: Fifteen in Blue

Without further ado, here is the next excerpt I am considering. Forgive me if it is long and full of typos- as I said, these are originals.
Thanks for following, Stacie! New goal is 32 followers.

“Quincy must’ve come back,” I told Johnny. I went to Aunt Chasey’s room, where there was a better view of the front of the house and the end of the driveway.

Ohhhh boy, said the voice exasperatedly inside my head.
Oh boy! I retorted enthusiastically.
There was Sid, going into the house.
I didn’t rush. I checked myself out in the mirror and walked down the stairs, just in time to hear cries of, “Sid!” “Sid, you’re back!” “We’ve missed you!” “How nice that you’ve come!” from the Aunts.
“Hi Kippie, hi Chase,” was pretty much all he could say as they smothered him in hugs.
“Who’s this?” Abe had been sitting on the couch. He was sizing Sid up intently.
I inferred that Quincy had met Abe after Sid left. I told Johnny this telepathically.
Johnny jumped out of my arms and headed for the kitchen. Food over Phyllis, I suppose.
“Hi Sid,” I greeted him from across the room.
“Hey Philly.” Sid pointed to me. “Happy birthday.”
“Abe, this is Dominick Siddons, better known as Sid,” Kippie introduced.
“Good to know you, Sid,” Abe said, flirting. “My name is Abe, I’m Quincy’s best friend.”
“Really? Nice to meet you. Where’s Quince?”
“He went out to run some errands,” said Aunt Chasey. He was buying me a “surprise” ice cream cake.
“I see.” Sid held up a bag. “I don’t know if you’ll like these, Philly, but I thought of you when I saw them.” He handed me two wrapped objects.
“Thank you Sid.” I looked to the Aunts. “I’m opening these.”
“Fine fine, it’s your birthday,” Aunt Chasey said.
The first present was a candle. It was made of black and red wax entwined beautifully. It came in a small black holder.
“I love it,” I murmured.
“Light it,” said Sid and Abe in unison.
I grinned and blew a flame onto the candle.
“Wow,” said Aunt Kippie. “That’s gorgeous.” She took it and placed it on a table.
The other gift was a poster.
“Johnny Depp! Thank you!”
Sid smiled. “I remembered the cat.”
I smiled back.
“How nice of you Sid!” exclaimed Aunt Chasey. “But you must have felt awfully strange purchasing it.”
Sid chuckled. “It’s all right. I don’t make a very convincing gay man.”
Abe sighed. “You’re straight. Of course.”
Suddenly the front door opened and in staggered Sarah. She looked at us all and blinked her eyes. Her hair was green and black, her face was worn and tired.
“H-hi,” she said. She stared blankly at Sid.
“Sid, this is Sarah,” Aunt Chasey informed him.
“I’m Sid,” said Sid.
“Hi. Um..I’m just gonna’ go to my room for a little whi..a little while.”
“It’s Phyllis’s birthday,” Abe told her.
“Oh really? Happy birthday Phyllis. Trust me, it just gets worse.” Sarah wandered to the back staircase and went upstairs.
“Intriguing woman,” Abe said sarcastically.
“She came to us a month or so ago,” Aunt Chasey told Sid. “I do wish I could help her.”
“She’s beyond all help, I’m afraid,”Aunt Kippie remarked sadly.
“Why’s that?” asked Sid.
“The poor girl’s on drugs, she’s sleeping around, she’s drinking. She doesn’t want to be helped.”
“She was in a gang,” I added. “She told me she’s a knife fighter.”
“Her rent’s always on time though,” said Aunt Chasey, adding a happier note.
Sid half-smiled and it was glorious. “Where’s she from?”
“California,” said Aunt Chasey.
“New York,” said Aunt Kippie.
“Hoo boy,” said Abe. “And you’re sure she hasn’t stolen anything yet?”
“Abraham!” Aunt Chasey scolded.
“I’m just saying.” Abe looked out the window. “Where the hell is Quincy? Can’t he find a damned ice cream cake?”
Abe flinched. “Sorry Phyllis.”
“Don’t worry Abe, I already knew.”
“No use keeping secrets from this one,” Abe told the Aunts, gesturing to me with his thumb.
“Oh, by the way. I need to discuss my options with you two,” said Sid.
“Options?” asked Aunt Chasey.
“For...every month.”
“Well, if you can remember how much the rent was before, I’m sure that’ll be fine,” she assured him.
Aunt Kippie gave her a look.
An understanding expression came across Aunt Chasey’s face. “Oh, yes, let’s go into the kitchen and discuss that.” She looked to Abe and I. “Why don’t you two stay in here and wait for Quincy to get back with that cake?” She smiled, and the three of them went into the kitchen.
“That was odd,” I told Abe.
Abe nodded. “Are you sure you want that poster of Johnny Depp?”
The basement door opened, and out stepped Bill.
“Hi-ya Phyllis! Abe.” He sat next to me on the couch, and swung an arm around my shoulder. In a second, I could tell he’d been watching a Jack Nicholson movie, or at least a Christian Slater one.
“How’s the birthday girl?” he asked me.
“I’m all right ‘bout you?”
“Lookin’ forward to some cake. Where the hell’s Quincy?”
“That’s what we wanna’ know!” Abe said, annoyed.
“If he doesn’t get here soon, things are going to get pretty ugly.” Bill cracked his knuckles. “Yep, I might need to get out the old axe.”
If Bill could’ve been slightly saner about who he really was, he could’ve been an actor. He didn’t often change his appearance unless it was a very small change like a hat or something...but somehow he always made it perfectly clear who he was. Aunt Kippie had described Bill’s condition (although she was no psychiatrist) as a “way to escape the real world and his true self.” Whoever that was. I would never know.
Let’s move on to another, better-looking subject — Sid. It had looked to me as though he and the Aunts were all keeping some big secret. No matter, I decided. The Aunts told me everything, what I wanted to know and what I didn’t want to know. They’d tell me after he left, if not while he was here.
The door opened.
“Surprise! Quincy is home!” yelled Quincy, carrying the cakebox. Butch was behind him.
Abe got up. “Thank God. Holy crap Butch! Your eyebrows are blue.”
“No shit sherlock.”
“Shut up you guys! Kippie and Chasey hate cussing. You know that!” exclaimed Quincy.
“Sorry,” they both said.
“But why are his eyebrows blue?!” demanded Abe.
Butch beamed. “I had myself a creative awakening.”
Quincy shook his head. “Some people paint. Butchie dyes his eyebrows.”
Abe raised a normally colored eyebrow and stared at Butch for a second. Then he shrugged. “If you like it, then I like it.”
“I love it!” Butch looked at me. “What about you, Phyllis?”
“Oh Butch, you know I’ve been saying all along that you should dye those things blue.” I did my best Quincy voice.
Butch and Abe laughed. Quincy smirked. “Very funny Phyllis.”
“So does Sid know Butch?” I asked.
“Butch is my man! Of course he knows Sid. Why?”
“He’s here,” said Abe. “Why did you not tell me about this man? He’s HOT.” “Sadly, he’s also straight,” Quincy sighed.
“He could be converted,” Abe insisted.
“Hey, if I can’t convert him then nobody can,” Butch let them know.
“He used to date Anna,” said Quincy.
“Sergeant Anna? The opera singer?” Abe winced.
“Dat be the one mon.”
“Never mind.”
“Hence the ‘used to.’ They couldn’t handle each other.”
“Ahem. Nice eyebrows Butch.” Sid emerged from the kitchen.
“Homigod, Sid Siddons!” Butch rushed up and hugged Sid, who looked a bit disturbed, then relaxed. “You’re back! I can’t believe it!”
“Yeah, I’ll be moving back in in a little while. I’m glad to see you’re still pals with Quince. How long have you had those eyebrows?”
“Since yesterday, actually.”
“You should do your eyebrows blue, Sid,” I told him.
He bounced his eyebrows at me. “You think so?”
My mind almost totally wiped out. “No,” I murmured, shaking my head.
“Hot pink might look nice,” Bill spoke up. “Now let’s open up that cake!”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello all,
I have been strangely busy, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does give me far less time for bloggin'. Anyway, the next excerpt will be up within the next few days after some careful consideration. Thanks to those who commented on the first one, and thanks Alyssa and Ina Box for following!
New goal: 30 followers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bookstore Reading Excerpts: Prologue

Hi everyone! Thanks for taking a look!

On the off-chance that a couple people are checking up on my blog, I just want to say:


I'd post a picture of the book, but oh look, there already are a few! There is even a TRAILER if you decide to scroll down and check 'er out. There should be some interesting things to come in the next few weeks- good and bad reviews (possibly just bad, but there's no such thing as bad publicity right?), interviews, and guest posts.

So, as I am a small-time author starting out and also a full-time student, I can only do so much to promote the book at this time. I've been trying to use the internet as
my main vehicle of word-spreading, and I have some ideas to try and keep this blog going for those who read while my posts become a little less frequent. My news right now is rather limited, but what IS exciting is that I may be doing my first reading in April.

What part of the book am I going to read, you ask? How does one make that selection? What kind of scene draws attention, and how do you know?

Good questions. Here's what I'm going to do:

Like any other human being, I could use a little helpful input. I'm going to post ORIGINAL EXCERPTS from the book here each week for you to read, or videos of me reading certain parts, and based on your reactions and comments, I'll choose which excerpt to read aloud. Which means, pretty much, that you'll be deciding what I read for my very first reading EVER as a published author.

So, keeping this part of the post short— for your consideration, here is the original (=there may be errors) prologue to "A House Afire."

The Party.
Jeremy Heron was my good friend Janelle’s boyfriend. I would like to state for the record that he’d never said a kind word to me in my life. He always whispered nasty things to his friends when I walked by them in the hallway at school. He’d openly called me all kinds of names when I turned around and looked at him.
So what was I supposed to do? I wasn’t a big strong person physically, I couldn’t intimidate him. I’d been brought up to be kind to each and every person I met. It was discouraging. What had I done to him?
And it wasn’t as if I could burn him, breathe out flames during class.
But the party was different. It was just kids in the backyard, in the pool, in the house. Janelle’s older sister was the “adult” present. I wouldn’t have gone, shouldn’t have gone, but Janelle had told me she was going to have a fire, and she was the only friend I had.
I was alone at the party, mostly. I hung out with Cassie and Janelle until Jeremy and Trevor showed up. Then Janelle put on music and she and Jeremy started dancing, along with Cassie, Trevor and everyone else at the party.
Jeremy stopped after a few songs. “Hey Phyllis,” he said. I saw him glance at Trevor, like hey, check this out. “Hey Phyllis, you wanna’ dance?”
“Nope, I’m good.”
“C’mon Phyllis, you’re the only one who’s not dancing. Don’t you want to dance with me?”
“Well, when you put it that way, no,” I said.
“Hey,” Janelle had said to Jeremy, “you’re here to dance with me.”
“Yeah, but Phyllis is all alone,” Jeremy told her.
“Let’s go in the pool!” Cassie had shouted. Everyone had cheered at that, and we headed out. A couple of the girls and I played catch with a beach ball in the deep end, while everyone else played Marco Polo in the shallow end. Janelle’s sister brought out pizzas and soda, along with generic party snacks— chips, cookies, a punch bowl, and everything went quite well compared to my usual social experiences.
Until they built the fire.
We all sat around it, in the backyard. A bunch of kids went back in the pool and some others went inside to dance. That left me and a few others by the fire.
“Look at all the colors,” said one of the girls sitting across from me. Her glance flickered to something behind me. I ignored it, stupidly.
“Yeah,” I said, “I love fire.”
And right after the words left my mouth, my head was doused in cold, red liquid. No, not blood.
Jeremy and Trevor had dumped the punch bowl over my head.
Everyone burst out laughing. Okay, so there were only five people who saw, but that didn’t make it any less humiliating.
I ran and jumped into the pool with my clothes on. I didn’t care, it was just a T-shirt and shorts.
Janelle came out of the house as I came out of the pool.
“Phyllis, you’re all wet!”
“Yeah, don’t worry, I’m just gonna’ go sit by the fire and dry off.”
I went and sat by the fire. I was alone. There were a couple of guys kicking a ball around and two girls in the pool, but otherwise, everyone had gone back inside.
After a while I saw Jeremy come out. I looked at him, then at the fire, and, very quickly, I inhaled the fire. The whole thing, leaving behind just the pile of wood. The heat felt good in my lungs.
I stood up. Jeremy was flirting with the girls in the pool. They got out and left him to cover it.
“Janelle sent you out to cover the pool?” I asked.
He ignored me.
Now, that was just rude.
“Hey Germs, look out.”
I don’t know if he looked at me then or not, but either way, I blew the fire I’d inhaled at him with all the heat, smoke, and force I could. It must’ve looked like an explosion.
He screamed, flying backward to the other side of the pool. I breathed it back in.
I heard one of the guys on the other side of the yard say, “What the hell?”
But I didn’t care. I walked around the pool, down to Jeremy.
“Are you listening now, Jeremy?” I said angrily. “I want you to leave me the fuck alone. Forever. Because I don’t think you deserve to live.”
He looked at me. I loved the look on his face. I had never scared anyone before. I hoped he was in shock. Sadly I had somehow managed not to burn him.
“Do you understand?”
He nodded, got up and walked away. Quickly.
After that I’d called my Aunts to take me home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Profanity, Obscenity, and General Indecorum

It has been brought to my attention that there are readers who may be offended by the language in this book, and so this is what I'm addressing tonight.

There are a lot of different characters in this story, and while two of them in particular are very set AGAINST using curse words (in fact, I don't think the Aunts even like to say 'Oh my God'), a few of them use certain expletives casually. Most of these are in contexts such as this:

Phyllis confronts a bully, saying "..leave me the fuck alone." Yeah, it's harsh, but it's generally what people of the bullying demographic understand the best.

Quincy says "Oh shit, I'm late for work!" Quincy habitually uses expletives this way, as do many, EXCEPT for when he's around the Aunts.

Sid says "It's damn hard not to screw up in front of a crowd." Sid swears once in a while (Phyllis and Sid even discuss it later on) for emphasis, generally.

The word "fuck" appears several times in the book, and is generally used in anger or frustration (and a couple times by characters who are supposed to be "bad guys"). I completely understand being offended by expletives, and feeling that such language is "inappropriate." But the truth is, swearing's become a part of American culture. You can't sit through most movies without hearing swear words.

Yes, if my book were a movie, it would be RATED R.

You might ask, how then can it be appropriate for something who is under 17?

Look. If you've ever been to a public (or Catholic) high school, you've probably heard countless swear words, in halls, in buses, at lunch tables. And that's also where some of the swearing takes place in this book. Phyllis's friend Key swears an awful lot, and so do the jocks in the jock scene. In high school, you're going to hear about other people having sex, you're going to hear people being called horrible names; you're going to hear CURSE WORDS. It's apparently become a part of the human condition. No, it's not necessary. But it's true. And ESPECIALLY in portraying life in a high school, I was concerned with portraying the TRUTH.

The truth is guys call other guys faggots. Whore and slut are thrown around. Girls call each other bitches. And the F-Bomb is used in every possible way. The weirdest one is "ass." A lot of people like adding "ass" to the ends of adjectives. "A little-ass kid," "a pretty-ass girl" and such. It's true. In some parts of life (and high school, and town) you're going to hear curse words on a regular basis.

Now, Phyllis's house isn't supposed to be like that. Phyllis's Aunts are religious, they're pretty morally tight, I'd say. Phyllis isn't allowed swear- so when something goes wrong in her mind, she does it there. Not a lot, but it does happen.

The other instances where heavy cussing occurs are arguments. Anna the Opera Singer and Sid get into a couple of big fights, and even the Aunts can't get them to tone it down. These are two characters with volatile, uncontrollable tempers, and oftentimes when one is very angry and has little time to compose oneself, swear words are the quickest, easiest way to make one's point. In the heat of an argument people say things they regret, and may even do it using expletives.

I'm not a person who goes around swearing. I don't walk out of the house in the morning and yell out "FUCK" as soon as I see someone. But I acknowledge that some people swear heavily, that there are particular uses and times for particular words, and that sometimes, things just fly out. None of the main characters of my book's family are supposed to be trashy or utterly offensive (not in this book anyway).

I also acknowledge that there are those who find that sort of language to be inappropriate and classless. And, sure, sometimes it is. But it's a part of life, especially for most high school students. My little brother started hearing swear words on the bus in fifth grade. My younger friends assure me that they hear all kinds of bad words in school, whether they're in high school or junior high. And I did, too.

So my apologies to those who are offended by the language in the book, but it used only for purposes of personification, amusement, get the idea. I urge readers (and this is not only in the case of my book) NOT to let language that you disapprove of get in the way of reading or hearing a good story. There are plenty of classics that are chockfull of expletives, and plenty of best-sellers and appreciated works that include them as well. Certainly the way I use them in my book are not always the most intelligent, and it's completely up to reader discretion to decide whether or not to read books and to reason why. I don't read certain books for little to no reason at all, sometime.

While I'm on this subject-
There are also discussions of what some may consider "inappropriate" subjects, such as homosexuality, drugs (in the context of a renter who needs to be kicked out), sexuality, and loss of virginity. All of which, also, you're going to hear about in a public high school.

So, in conclusion, this book is RATED R for language and discussion of mature subjects.

Oh, and don't think that I think there has to be swearing in books. A good book is a good book, swearing or no swearing. That is my stance.

And in other news, check out Amber Skye the Reading Addict's blog! She was kind enough to interview me and post it there!

Also, soon I'll be posting a follow-up for "The Eternal Ones."

Thanks for following, Emma! New goal is 28!

Buncha Stuff

Thank you Lindsay for becoming my nineteenth follower! New goal: 20.
Whoa. THERE'S a big number.

So it has come to my attention that not everyone may be comfortable reading certain parts of this book. I'll be posting a little "rated R" disclaimer tonight.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Interview, and The Eternal Ones

I thought it might be time for another post, and I wanted to mention that Amber Skye, the Reading Addict, has been nice enough to do an interview with me. Here's a link to her blog:

The interview will be posted pretty soon within the week. Thanks Amber!

For the rest of the post, I'm going to stop talking about my book and me, because the book I'm reading right now is far too amazing to be ignored.

"The Eternal Ones" by Kirsten Miller, one of my favorite authors, arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, but I didn't start it until this evening. I couldn't stop reading. I finally did, once I'd finished Part One, because otherwise I just would have been up all night.

The book is about Haven Moore, a 17-year-old who lives in the god-fearing town of Snope City, Tennessee. Haven's had visions of her past life since she can remember, and while her late father embraced her visions, her grandmother believes that Haven is being possessed by a demon. So Haven's been trying to ignore them and stave them off for most of her life.

Haven and her best friend, Beau, are already outcasts of the town when Haven sees a familiar face on TV that brings her past life memories back full-force. As time goes on Haven realizes she can't leave her past behind, and though the town is beginning to turn against her, she is drawn further and further into her memories. Finally, Haven knows she must leave in order to find Ethan, her past love. After a confrontation with Beau and with the citizens of Snope City turned against her, Haven boards a train to New York. She does this in hopes to find the secret society that might be able to help her, and the man who may or may not be her soul mate.

That's as far as I've gotten, but let me tell you, this book will draw you in. The pace is excellent and the story is gripping. The book will be released in August, and I highly recommend it (along with Miller's Kiki Strike series).

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Hey, I made a teeny tiny trailer that's hard to read and very short and doesn't say a whole lot. But, it is a book trailer nonetheless! Check it out!

If anyone wants to post this video, I can send it to you. I doubt the one on youtube still has its audio track by now.

Reading Addict Amber Skye was awesome enough to post the trailer and the book on her blog, Thanks Amber!

Thank you DL, you are my eighteenth follower! New goal: nineteen.

Quincy and Taylor

I'm no artist, but I found these in a sketchbook from a couple of years ago. They're drawings of Quincy Herman Smith and Taylor Venchak. Quincy is gay and one of Phyllis's best friends in the house, and Taylor is Phyllis's best friend, whom she meets just before starting high school. They're not like, good drawings, they're pretty cartoon-y, but they might give you an idea of what's in my head when I'm writing them. Except, apparently Taylor has no skin? I'm thinking I just didn't have time to color her in. Trust me, in my mind she looks a lot different...and has skin.

As far as features go, though, Quincy's pretty spot on. I always picture him in red and gold for some reason, and he has just enough thick, dark hair for a little ponytail. His facial hair might be a bit neater than it is in this drawing, though.
Oh, and both of his eyes are probably the same size...facial features are more proportional...etc..
I figure it's time to write a new post, but I want to start this one by saying that I AM A DEBUT YA AUTHOR, and FEEL FREE TO CONSIDER MY NOVEL if you are taking part in The Story Siren's awesome debut author challenge.

So pretty soon, I head back to college. This winter break has been a little like one really super long weekend. I spent most of it sleeping, driving, seeing people, and on the internet. It was quite fun, actually.
One might think that heading back to college may actually cut into my blogging and emailing time, but if we're totally honest here, if I'm anything like I've always ever been, ever, then homework is going to end up taking the backseat. Who knows, maybe I'll suddenly change into an organized, efficient student instead of one who scrambles at the last minute.
I think not, though.

Anyway, the one thing I will NOT be able to do at school is mail out more books, to bloggers or otherwise. So after this Saturday there will be no more books mailed out until March 15th. Unless I go to Santiago, but the future of that trip is looking bleak.

Here are some things I'm planning to do in the blog's near future:
-start posting discussion questions
-start posting amazon/goodreads links
-start posting links to reviews on other blogs
-maybe some book reviews of my own
-more discussions and excerpts about the book
-character profiles

And here are some for the distant future:
-deleted scenes
-new ideas
-upcoming work
-trailer (still working on ideas for that one)

I would love to make a trailer, but I probably won't be able to really brainstorm and do it until summer. Unless I have something REALLY important to study for and need to procrastinate. :)

I've really enjoyed blogging thus far, especially some of the great blogs I've come across. I really appreciate the bloggers who are taking the time to read my book and review it.

I'm thinking my next post is going to be about Sid. I'm not sure how people are going to feel about him, but that's the fun of it.

Thanks Judy! You're Fourteen! Newest goal: fifteen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Debut Author Challenge: My Book

I'm well-aware that this is quite tacky of me, but I think I've mentioned that I'm willing to go quite far to get word out about this book.
I've seen The Story Siren's 2010 Debut Author challenge, on her blog and several others, and I would like to make it known that I'm willing to try and get copies of my book out to readers who want to try out my book for this challenge. (I've also said so in a couple of blog comments.)
So on the off-chance that someone comes to this blog looking to find out about the book, read the description, leave a comment and we'll talk.
And excuse my terrible business etiquette.

Thank you cynthial11, you are my thirteenth follower! Newest goal is fourteen!

Reading Discussions and Books

The director of my local library was nice enough to meet with me and offer some advice.
Among her many helpful suggestions was that I make some reading discussion questions for the book, so I think I'm going to try and come up with some before I go back to school. Goodness, but that's soon...

I'll probably post the questions or at least a link to them on the side of the blog, and on the book's Facebook fanpage. I'm looking forward to making these, because I think that people can find a TON to talk about when it comes to this book. Whether you like it or hate it, you'll be able to find something to rant about. There are controversial subjects, there's a whole lot about high school, about stereotypes, movies, books. Well, there's really only one scene that goes into books, but it's a fun scene. It's between Phyllis, the main character, and her best friend, Taylor. Phyllis isn't a big reader; she's far more musical (which I wish I could be). But Taylor LOVES to read. One wall of her bedroom is a bookshelf. She'll read anything. In fact, maybe she should have a book blog...

While Taylor will read anything, she won't buy just any book. Because, first of all, who has the money for that? Secondly, there are rules that apply. Time for an excerpt! (At this rate, I'm going to just end up posting the whole book.)

Jesse played his music loud (nothing wrong with that) so that we had to yell to each other.
“Can we go to the bookstore first?” Taylor shouted.
“Which one?” Jesse yelled.
“The bigger one!”
“Barnes and Nobles!” Key told him loudly.
“There’s only one Noble! It’s Barnes and Noble!” Taylor screeched.
“Whatever!” Key yelled.
“She’s right though,” Jesse told her. He had to tell her twice, practically shrieking the second time.
“So can we go there?” Taylor demanded.
“Yes!” Jesse shouted.
“Thank you!” Taylor screamed.
So, upon arrival, the four of us headed straight for Barnes and Noble. Jesse and Key went to look at CDs and DVDs. Taylor and I wandered about aimlessly.
Looking over the books, I didn’t spy anything tempting. I usually get books at the library or for Christmas, a habit started long ago when I was saving money for a keyboard. Now I was saving for a car.
First I just had to learn to drive.
Unlike me, Taylor was a book addict, and had something to say about every book she saw. She picked one off a shelf. “Phyllis, this author calls himself F. Paul Wilson. What do you think his friends call him. F? or F. Paul?”
“F. Paul, time for dinner!" I giggled.
“I wonder what the F. stands for.” Taylor put the book back.
“You know,” she said, “there are certain books I can’t buy. It’s not that the books are bad; some of them are probably really good. I’m just a bigot.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Bigot?”
“About books.”
“I thought you’d read anything.”
“Oh I would. I just don’t buy anything.” She looked around and pointed to a book on a bestseller table. It looked like one of those action/romance/murder type deals. “Look at this author. She’s the reason I can’t buy her book.”
“She looks like your mom.”
“Yes she does. And my mom would never—” Taylor scanned the book info “—never ever write a book like this.” She replaced the book, looked around for another. “And this one,” she said after she’d read the back. “This one is about a girl, narrated by a girl. But a man wrote it.”
“Doesn’t Stephen King do that? And Harry Potter?” God forgive me, but I’d never read a Stephen King or Harry Potter book. I don’t have enough patience and energy for all the pages. And I’ve decided my life is weird enough as it is.
“They’re different.”
“How’s that?”
“Stephen King switches.” She grinned. “And my mother abhors him. I just bought his books in the first place to piss her off.” She held up a defensive hand. “But I do read them. And Harry Potter is too good to apply stupid rules to.”
I pulled out a Janet Evanovich book. “What about her?”
“Her main character’s hilarious. But I get pissed because she eats donuts and cake all throughout the books, and she’s still being...sought after by guys.”
“She probably works out.”
“It never says she does.”
“Well I don’t tell everyone whenever I go for a walk or eat something less fattening than usual, but I still do.”
Taylor snorted. “If you got fat it’d probably just go to your chest.”
“You’re lucky I don’t say anything bad about you skinny people.”
She laughed. Taylor and I understood each other.
Taylor didn’t buy any books in the end, but Jesse got another loud CD.

I know I can get pretty discriminant when I'm looking for books to buy, which doesn't make much sense. I should be willing to try anything. I can't really describe what it is that draws me to books. New books, that is. If I see a new book by a favorite author, I'll buy it, of course. I'm dying to read Tangled by Carolyn Mackler, because I love her books. I have such a long list of books I already have to read, though! I can't imagine being a full-time book reviewer, I read far too slowly and lazily and I'm completely unorganized. I've been reading the same book all winter, with others in between. I guess I have trouble focusing. You might be able to tell from the direction of some of these posts...

Oh, but for those who are interested, I've been reading a book called "The Beekeeper's Apprentice." It's a new take on Sherlock Holmes- he's older, retired, and takes on a brand new sidekick. Her name is Mary Russell, and she's his match for brains and biting wit. She finds him when she's 15 and almost trips over him in a field. Great book. I keep reading and from case to case it just keeps getting better.

That book has reading discussion questions in the back (as do many others) so perhaps I'll look to them for guidelines when forming my own. I'm not sure if I want mine to be quite like others, though. I want some that'll cause huge arguments and scientific debates!

I'll probably start working on them tonight, and I'll post them for consideration as I think of them. I'm thinking I'll go for 10-15.

Also, thank you to my new followers! Like I said before, I'll work on getting you guys some company! My new goal is ten!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I read a little more of Shiver at the library, and I have to say, I've decided I don't have a big problem with Grace just yet. I only got a little over 100 pages in, but I haven't gotten to a point where I've started thinking anything about the character implies misogyny. She hasn't gotten on my nerves either- I like her attitude towards a lot of things, she isn't as passive as I was expecting (though I sometimes wish she would take her parents and shake them, I know I want to). In fact, she's pretty good at taking charge. And she's funny!
Obviously I'm going to have to actually finish the book before I can make my final decision, but she isn't getting on my nerves (and neither is Sam).

Last night, or actually, this morning, as I was falling asleep, I started assembling a list of things I like and don't like in books and characters and significant others. I know, it's a little odd for me to be thinking about all of those things at the same time, but given the circumstances it made sense. All I've been doing for the last two weeks (and I am so grateful!) is talking about books and seeing my family and friends. And, just as we all know what we like and don't like in books and movies, even pieces of art, we have to know what we like and dislike in people, or we could go horribly wrong in life.

These lists sometimes overlap, too, but I'm not going to go into some sort of heavy description of that because I don't want to put implications about my life in here. But there are a few things I CAN say. I LOVE funny people- my friends are generally the people who can make me laugh. Lo and behold, I love funny books! And I try to write funny scenes as well.
What I have noticed is that it can be really hard for me to find books that really make me laugh, so when I do, I remember them. For instance, last year I read "The Breakup Bible" by Melissa Kantor, and I can still remember how much it made me laugh, even though parts of it were really serious. Good book, that one.

What is the point of this? What does it have to do with "Shiver"? Well, Grace seems like someone I could be friends with. She doesn't seem like she looks at her peers with the same sort of condescension that I get from the Twilight books. Also, at some point maybe I'll make my pro/con book list an entry in here.

The Library

Today I get to journey to the library to visit the mom and to deliver a copy of my book to my friend Mahogany, who's going to READ my book. Mahogany became a good friend when I got her to talk about Twilight in this documentary trailer I made when I was a film major (shakes head). Anyway, she did a good job, very strong opinions on that one. Even as a big fan of the books she was able to criticize them (mostly Bella...) and so I'm hoping that she'll be able to do that for my book. Er...sort of. I think she'll be able to tell me where I went terribly wrong (aside from typos) and it won't be a quite as much of a punch in the gut coming from her.
So far, I've only gotten small criticisms, and I haven't spoken extensively with all of those who have read the book. The ones I got from my mom were more personal, being uncomfortable reading about premarital sex when I'VE written it, the use of certain names, etc. One friend of mine thought that Sid was a little too sketchy times, which, honestly, was kind of what I intended. Yeah I know, in some ways I'm no better, but Sid isn't a misogynist! He is, well, blunt, and he isn't afraid to invade comfort zones. He doesn't hit on Phyllis, but he hints at things, and he's quite a tease. What a jerk.
On the other hand, he's a great listener, a good advisor, and he clearly cares deeply about Phyllis and her family. So, we'll see where that goes.

Anyway, Sid can be dissected in another post. My friend also thought that Quincy was too encouraging of Phyllis's feelings for Sid, but I had kind of intended that to be jokingly, the way he approached the Sid-topic all the time. Let me see if I can find an hm hm....

Okay, here's a rather long-ish one from the earlier part of the book, that's Sid who's speaking first:

“I don’t say things that aren’t true, Philly.” He paused. “Well, not when I can help it.”
Quincy entered then.
“Sid! Phyllis!” He sat in the middle between Sid and me. “Did you have a good birthday?” he asked me.
“Lovely,” I replied. “What’d you come out here for?” I tried to sound curious rather than angry because he’d spoiled my moment with Sid.
Quincy leaned over, his cheek almost touching mine, and squinting, pointed at Sid. “That man, right there. I figured I’d try proposing one more time before I lost hope.”
“Very funny Quince. What’s up?” Sid asked.
Quincy got down on his knees. “Sid Siddons, will you marry me?”
Sid threw up his hands in a helpless gesture. “Where’s the ring?”
“The ring! Aw shit,” said Quincy, standing up and running a hand through his thick black hair. “Abe is quite taken with you, Mr. Man.”
“Where’d he come from?”
“I dated him for like a week. We decided to be friends.” Quincy shook his head. “Now he and Butch are in love, but neither one’ll admit it. What’re you gonna’ do?” He gave Sid a look. “It’s almost as frustrating as you and Anna were.”
Sid held up a hand. “Stop it Quince. Worst relationship of my life.”
Quincy’s eyebrows shot up. “Your whole life?!”
Sid considered. “Well...maybe there was one who was worse.”
“I should think so!”
“What happened to Anna? I mean, with Anna?” I asked.
“Nothing Philly, it was just a mistake on my part.”
Quincy raised an eyebrow at Sid. “Have you had anybody since then?”
“I mean a serious relationship, Sid.”
“You gotta’ open up your heart, Sid. You’ll never find your girl until you look for her.”
Sid looked at me.
“Dr. Quincy,” I told him.
“Phyllis is single if you wanna’ make your move.” Quincy winked at me.
Sid bounced his eyebrows. “Maybe I will.”
I just smiled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement and looked through the glass door to into the house. Aunt Kippie was looking at Quincy and pointing to Sid.
“Oh, Sid, what I came to say was, the Aunts need a word,” Quincy told Sid.

Quincy makes a few remarks like the "Phyllis is single" one, and I intend them all as jokes between friends. The other thing about Phyllis is that, while she hasn't had a father, she's grown up with older men as her sort of brothers and friends, so she's pretty comfortable talking to them about both their issues and hers. True, the men in her "family" are different than traditional brothers and father know, crazy, gay, a lawyer...;)

I know I'll get far worse criticism than what I've heard thus far, and I'm sure some of it will have to do with the controversial behavior of certain characters, so I'm trying to prepare myself for it. I was on a Book Blogs discussion about reviewers who don't post negative reviews, and I would never want someone to refrain from reviewing my book because they didn't like it (unless it was so bad they stopped reading it). I mean, great if you love/like the book, that's pretty awesome and thanks. But if you say you like the book when you really DON'T, or say NOTHING when you really hated it, then I would just feel cheated! Negative reviews are a matter of opinion, true, and authors are not required to agree, but hearing about what may be wrong with your book can help improve your writing in future pieces. And in my case, especially these days, there is always room for improvement.

Aside from giving my book to Mahogany, I want to see if the library processed my book yet (so far they're the only place where I know I'm guaranteed to get shelved, oy) and if they got Hush Hush, and I need to tell them to order all these books I've been reading about while floating through the blogosphere. I'm absolutely DYING to read "After," I think it's called, and now I can't even remember the author...Amy Efaw, perhaps?

I also have to return a few books...oops.

And thank you Zombie Girrrl (I hope I put enough "r"s in there) for becoming my seventh follower! In fact thank you all for following, hopefully once a few bloggers review the book you guys can have some company.