About Me

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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Wildefire

The lovely Jill (a fellow Alabamian!) over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on.

Now I know that you all have heard of this one. It's popped up on Twitter, Blogger, Goodreads - basically everywhere. But it's cool to pick it anyway, I think. Because it just sounds so good.

But don't take my word for it...read the synopsis and judge for yourself. My pick for this week's WoW is

By Karsten Knight
Pub date: 7/26/11

Product description from Amazon.com

Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

See, I told you it sounded good. Now if I can just find a way to time travel.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

"The laddie is restless," Seoras said. "I saw him walkin' by the shore side of the castle."

~ pg. 95, Awakened by PC & Kristin Cast

Monday, January 24, 2011

Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge!

Hello all, just wanted to tell everyone that I've decided to enter my very first Reading Challenge! I've heard lots of great things about The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, but I have yet to read any of them. So what better way than with a reading challenge, right? I thought so.

So I signed up for the Black Dagger Brotherhood Reading Challenge over at Reading with Tequila (not Tila Tequila of A Shot at Love fame - at least, I don't think). I could list all the details, but it'd just be easier for you to click here and read 'em for yourself.

Like I said, it's my first reading challenge, but I've found that I work better with an imposed deadline, so maybe I'll make it. Come join in the reading fun, guys!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Dust & Decay

The lovely Jill (a fellow Alabamian!) over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on.

This week I'm going horror. Well, sort of. The awesome Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry isn't your typical zombie story, so no fear if the George Romero Day of the Dead zombies scare the bejeezus out of you. Pick up the first of this series - Rot & Ruin - and start reading...you'll love it! For my WoW pick, I'm going for the 2nd in the series,

Dust & Decay
By Jonathan Maberry
Pub Date: 8/30/11

Product description from Amazon.com

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

Oooh, sounds great, right? But man, oh man, August is such a long wait!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Y(A) Cuzzes Giveaway!!

The lovely Pam and Marquita over at Y(A)? Cuz We Write! is holding their 100 followers giveaway, and trust me, you guys wanna go enter.

What are you waiting for? Go. Now. Here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Firespell by Chloe Neill

Firespell: Chloe Neill
Page count: 256

Publisher: Signet

Publication Date: January 5, 2010

From Amazon.com

New Girl.
New School.
Old Evil.

From the author of the Chicagoland Vampires novels.

A new series about a boarding school filled with something worse than homework.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

My review:

Chloe Neill's Dark Elite series begins with Firespell, which sets up a wonderful world of Adepts and the bad guys they seek out. The main character is Lily, a snarky teen who is shipped off to boarding school in Chicago so her parents may take sabbatical in Germany - or so Lily thinks.

At St. Sophia's, Lily meets and quickly befriends Scout, the loaner and seemingly outcast young girl who's just as snarky but way more mysterious. Lily follows Scout on one of her many nightly outings and discovers a hidden world of magical teens and monsters - the latter of which attacks Lily, ultimately "marking" her and giving her powers of her own.

The Adepts - the group Scout secretly meets at night - are a rebel group of magic users who want to keep peace and harmony in the normal world. They are willing to give up their powers once they reach the age where they would have to steal the "essence" from others to keep their magic. There are only a few of them - taking on the rest of the magical world who are abducting people. Lily is shunned by most members of this group for her lack of "abilities", but once she develops a power of her own, she leads the team in search of Scout, who has been taken.

Firespell is very well written and has a nice flow. It's a tad slow at the beginning - like most first installments in a series - but the characters are so well-developed and enjoyable that you barely notice. Lily's crush - a werewolf named Jason - is the one member of the Adept team (other than Scout) who believes in Lily and draws the other reluctant members to her side to find Scout.


Chloe Neill has begun such a wonderful world of magic and mystery and well-written characters that I find myself eagerly waiting for the next installment. I give Firespell 4 stars.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

waiting on wednesday: Divergent

The lovely Jill (a fellow Alabamian!) over at Breaking the Spine created the Waiting on Wednesday meme for us bloggers to showcase books we're waiting on.

I know that probably everyone in Bloggerdom has heard of this one and is already waiting on it, but I just had to choose Divergent as this week's pick. I so wanna read this book!

By Veronica Roth
Pub Date: 5/3/11

Product description from Amazon.com

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Okay, who doesn't wanna read that?! Hurry up May 3rd and get here already!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

signed Firespell winner!!

Thanks to those of you who stopped by and enjoyed my interview with the awesome that is Chloe Neill. I really enjoyed having her as my very first interview here on my blog...so much fun!

But I know no one is here to listen to me gush, so I'll get on with it.

The winner of the signed copy of Firespell, the first in the Dark Elite series, is....

Elena Solodow!

Congrats, Elena! I need you to email me your mailing address in the next 48 hours so I can forward your info to Chloe and she can get your book out to you!

And thanks to everyone for commenting and for generally being supportive of my blog...I heart you all!

And don't worry if you didn't win...I have plenty more giveaways and such coming up, so stay tuned!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hexbound blog tour...plus Chloe Neill interview!

I am so honored to have with us today the super-awesome Chloe Neill! She's the very talented author of the Chicagoland Vampires series for adults, and the Dark Elite series for Young Adults. She's currently in the throes of a blog tour for the newest Dark Elite novel, Hexbound, which is why I was lucky enough to get to interview her! Enjoy the interview everyone, and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post!

I was born and raised in the South, but now make my home in the Midwest, just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia's to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit’s and Lily's adventures, I bake (a lot!), watch entirely too much television, root for my favorite college football team (Go Big Red!), spend time with friends, and play with my dogs, Baxter and Scout.


So I have to ask the obligatory question that all writers get asked: "When did you know writing was the career for you?"

In about 2004, when I started writing for the first time. :) And I actually have a day job, so it's not a "career" per se. More a really involved hobby.

We often hear that regardless of the author's planned trilogy/series, the first book they try to get published must be able to stand alone. Firespell has a somewhat open ending. Is that the original way you wrote it, or did you end the story and go back and add the opening for a sequel after it was accepted for publication?

The Dark Elite books were originally contracted for three books, so it was always planned as a series. I prefer reading books in series, so I've never actually drafted (or planned to draft) a stand-alone book.

What is a typical "writing" day like in the life of Chloe Neill?

It's really not very exciting since it takes place after my day job, exercise, dog walking, dinner cooking, etc. Usually it involves a few hours meeting a daily writing goal--generally 1,000 words--while in pajamas in front of the television!

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires: Book One) was your first book, followed by Book Two, and then Firespell. What prompted the jump to Young Adult (which we're so glad happened!)?

Thanks! It wasn't intended to be a jump from adult to young adult per se. I had the idea for the Dark Elite series--the idea that magic wasn't forever--and began drafting the book from there. My agent and I presented the idea to my editor, and she liked it!

The Dark Elite series has introduced us to some amazing characters (Lily, Scout, Jason, just to name a few) that leap off the page with their voices and attitudes and personalities. Did you take character-developing classes, or were you just born with the gift of creating realistic, fictional people?

Aw, thanks! I've never had a creative writing class, so I've never been "taught" how to write characters per se. But I read a lot (or did when I had time), so I'm sure I learned by seeing how other authors developed their own characters. I just try to be honest to the individual people and their motivations.

I have to say that Jason is my favorite in Firespell. He sounds complicated and I feel there may be a secret lurking (who knows, right?) - not to mention he sounds hot! And one thing mentioned in Firespell was that he had relatives in Alabama (yay!). I know you're originally from the south - any connection to Alabama, or did you simply pick the state randomly as the setting for Jason's past?

It was a random state. :) I'm from Arkansas, but have no connection to Alabama (other than driving through it). When I imagined a young werewolf running from his family, that's just the location I imagined for that particular scene.

Firespell isn't a tremendously long book, which is somewhat unusual for YA. Did you have to shorten/lengthen the original work to meet a standard set by your agent/publisher, or were they perfectly content with the length (as I was!)?

The length of all my books is set by the publisher in my contract. Thus, as I wrote FIRESPELL, I added or deleted scenes to make sure that I stayed on track.

Would you consider yourself a "plotter" or "pantser" when it comes to writing? Do you flesh out the entire story before writing a single word of the plot, or do you put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and let the ideas form naturally?

About half and half. My contracts require that I provide my editor with an outline for the next book in line. I try to keep the outline focused on big plot events so the individual evenings of writing still feel creative--instead of just rote filling-in-the-blanks.

And finally - though I could ask a million more questions! - If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one book with you (ah! the horror!) which book would you choose, and why?

I would bring "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. It's long, romantic, and intensely detailed. It would keep me busy reading for a very, very long time. :)

Thanks for an awesome interview!

Thanks for having me today!

A huge thank-you to Ms. Neill for being so kind as to answer my questions! And as if that wasn't enough, she's also kind enough to offer up a signed copy of the first Dark Elite novel, Firespell, to one lucky commenter...how cool is that!? (I thought Firespell instead of Hexbound would be best, just in case some of you may not have read the first in the series yet...and if you haven't, shame on you!)

So people, leave a "meaningful" comment on this post (not just "Hi!" or "Enter me!"), and you'll be entered to win a signed copy of Firespell. Did I mention, it's signed!? That's right. You know you want it!

I'll choose a winner (actually random.org will) tomorrow, Tuesday Jan. 11th, so be sure to check back then to see if you've won!

And again, a huge thanks to Ms. Neill for the interview and giveaway, and go check out her Dark Elite Series or her Chicagoland Vampires Series...you're gonna love 'em!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

happy 2011...and I'm sorry!

I'll start by saying Happy New Year to everyone! I do hope that as we reach the end of the first week of 2011 that you have all fallen into a nice, steady rhythm and that this year brings all your dreams to fruition.

Now that the cheesiness is out of the way, I also want to say I'm sorry for being absent from this blog. I took a much-needed and long overdue family vacation to the mountains, where of course there was minimal internet access. So I wasn't really able to post anything here. So to all my lovely, loyal followers, I'm Sorry (cue sad face).

But I do ask that you stick around, because I do have some things coming up on here soon. Like a couple of blog tours and some giveaways that you guys are gonna like. So please, don't unfollow me (it hurts, it truly does!) and check back for some cool things coming this way!