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!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Feature: Insight by Jamie Magee

Insight: Jamie Magee

Page Count: 314

Publisher: lulu.com

Publication Date: July 20, 2010

Before that fateful summer night, Willow had balanced the insight of emotion, and the vivid images. That night, the figure in her nightmare marked her wrist with a star, giving her father no choice but to tell Willow a family secret that would abruptly change life, as she knew it, forever. Before Willow had time to absorb the shock of her father's secret, her soul mate that had shared every stunning dream with her, found her, and darkness captured her closest friends. In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. In the end, Willow discovers that at the moment of our birth we are all given a divine gift.

This book is currently on tour via the Book Lovin' Bitches...so please, go check it out and visit the others stops along the tour!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Have a Winner!!

A big thank you to Lani Woodland for stopping by my blog on Monday for an interview...I really enjoyed it!

And another big thank you to those of you who also stopped by to read said interview and leave a comment--some of your book choices were great (War & Peace seemed to be a hit--probably for the sheer size I'm sure)!

Without further ado, the winner of a signed copy of Lani's debut YA novel Intrinsical via Random.org is



Congrats ajmitchell! Please, email me your mailing address (check the 'About Me' page for contact info) and I'll forward it on to Lani. She'll sign a copy for you and get it in the mail post haste (well, I don't actually know if it'll be post haste, but I imagine it will!).

And to those of you who didn't win, don't fret. My blogoversary is coming up in May and I'll be having another big giveaway, so stay tuned!

Waiting on Wednesday: Eternal Starling

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 marks the first time I've chosen a book without a cover, but I really wanna read this book! My Wow selection this week is...

Eternal Starling
By Angela Corbett
Pub Date 12/2011

product description from author website

Stubborn and independent Evie Starling has never had much luck with boys. Her last boyfriend told her she looked like a marshmallow and she has a sneaking suspicion most guys think her 1966 Mustang is sexier than she is. Evie is not the type of girl to let her clothes size define her, but her experience with men has left her cynical to say the least.

Evie moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and it’s there she meets the men who are
about to complicate her life. Alex Night has an ego bigger than his massive biceps and Evie
doesn’t know whether to kiss him or punch him. But Alex decides for her when he tells her his
presence puts her in danger and then he disappears from her life—or so she thinks.

Still reeling from Alex’s sudden departure, Evie is shocked when she’s kissed by a guy she
thinks she’s never met, in front of most of the Western State College student body. After
deciding not to slap him and then finding out his name, Evie concludes dangerously sexy Emil
Stone might be exactly what she needs.

But when Alex returns to give Evie a warning and Emil a threat, Evie finds out about a past she
doesn’t remember and secrets that would send a less tenacious girl running for the hills. Emil
and Alex have a long history of rivalry: both men are connected to the Amaranthine Society, the
keepers of souls, and the Daevos Resistance, the soul destroyers. Each group has ties to Evie
and her soul is about to become the rope in a celestial tug-of-war.

Doesn't that sound amazing? And look, just in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, March 29, 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:

When you go 108 hours--four days--without sleep, your body starts to do strange things. Mine was panicking and shutting down at the same time.

~opening lines, Branded by Keary Taylor

Monday, March 28, 2011

My first author interview...and a giveaway!!

Today I'm so over-the-river-and-through-the-woods excited to have the awesome Lani Woodland over for dinner and DVRed Vampire Diaries episodes! Wait, that's my dream date. Sorry.

Ahem...what I meant to say is that I'm so happy to have her stop by my blog for an interview--my very first author interview! Well actually it's technically not really my very first (wow, hello adverbs!), but it's the first time I've interviewed an author outside of a blog tour, so that counts, right? And since I'm starting this All-New! feature -- Meet an Author Monday -- Lani is the first!!

So without further ado, please enjoy my mini-interview with the author of Intrinsical (and soon-to-be-released Indelible), Lani Woodland!

Welcome to my blog, Lani! So nice to have you here. Tell me, how has being a published author changed your life? Do you spend a lot of time dodging paparazzi and signing autographs for rabid mobs on street corners?

You know it’s made it so hard to go to the grocery store. The worst is when they follow me to my kids’ bus stop. ☺ I’ve recently hired a body double and that has helped. Honestly, it wasn’t me they had shoplifting on video last week. I need to do a more extensive background check on my next double.

Just kidding. My life hasn’t changed at all. Well, except for the fact I’ve met a lot of really nice people who love books as much as I do. I love talking books with people. I spend more time writing and editing than I used to. But other than that, life is the same. It is weird when people call themselves my fans. I consider them friends who share my passion for books.

I know from the Pendrell Publishing website and blog that you were their first author and venture into publishing. What has that experience been like, starting from scratch with a new publisher?

I didn’t have the experience of working with a big publishing house so I’m not sure of the differences. I will say I feel very blessed to have been working with Kamilla. It was exciting and nerve wracking to be the flagship book. What if the book tanked and it brought down her company? But I think going with a small publisher was right for me. I think I get more personal attention. While Kamilla has the final say in things, she listens and considers my point of view. She has been fantastic to work with, and I'm very grateful she took a chance on me.

Typically with small presses, authors are able to work directly with a publisher without an agent. Is that the case with you and Pendrell? If so, do you feel that route is better/worse than having an agent?

Yes, I work directly with Kamilla, president of Pendrell Publishing. I know having an agent can be very important, but I really can’t make a fair comparison since I’ve never had one. I tried to get an agent for almost two straight years but found no one to represent me. Over the course of submitting, I did receive some fantastic feedback from agents that helped me improve Intrinsical, and I know they do a lot of work on writers’ behalf. But after not finding representation, I submitted directly to publishing houses. I was lucky to have made contact with Kamilla right as she was starting up Pendrell. Working directly with the publisher, I was guaranteed to get published, and with an agent that isn’t always so. I know lots of writers who have fantastic agents but still haven’t had their book picked up yet.

What's a typical writing day in the life of Lani Woodland really like (minus the glitz and glamor of course)?

My work uniform is my pajamas. I sit on the comfy office chair I stole from my husband and write. I take a lot of catnaps and reading breaks. Being creative seems to drain my energy so I need to recharge often. I write as much as I can in between real life happenings, like my photography business, laundry, cooking, kids’ homework, dishes and general housewifery.

And finally, the go-to question I ask all interviewees... If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book to read, which would it be and why?

Besides Surviving Desert Islands for Dummies? The novel I’d bring would be A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. That book is what reawakened my love of reading and writing after college murdered it.

Thanks so much for doing this, Lani. You rock! Aren't those answers great? She has such a great sense of humor, too! A huge thank-you to Lani for taking time to visit with us today.

And as a bonus to my loyal followers, I'm giving away a copy of Lani's first book, Intrinsical...and it's SIGNED! All you need to do is comment on this post by Tuesday 3/29 at midnight and tell me what book you would want on a deserted island. Though I don't offer extra points, feel free to spread the word! I'll use random.org to pick a winner and announce it on Wednesday by noon CST (sorry, US only)!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Author Interview - Ami Blackwelder

Today I would like to welcome the talented Ami Blackwelder to my humble blog. Ami is the author of countless novels (just visit her website to peruse the massive list) and is currently on a blog tour for her latest work, The Shifters of 2040. A huge thanks to Ami for letting me be a part of her tour, and for stopping by today!

Please, enjoy the interview!

So Ami, I must begin with the obligatory question: How long have you wanted to be a writer?

I can't really say I wanted to be a writer, I've just always been a writer...as far back as I can remember, telling imaginative stories in my head. In elementary school I tried to convince people I was an alien and playing hide and seek, a robot. I was always fibbing...in an innocent way :) . I was always writing stories my teachers would share out loud as well and then in college, I majored in English and wrote a story winning Best Fiction that year and semi-finals in the Laurel Hemingway contest. I wrote short stories and poetry following that and eventually novels.

Imaginative at an early age...I love it! I see on your blog that you are a Teacher with a BA in English. Do you think that's a necessity for becoming a writer, or can anyone with a love of reading/writing and a gift with words be successful?

I majored in English, but not grammar. My focus was actually creative writing which is where I think the importance is when telling a story. Grammar can also be handled later. All you need is passion, imagination and dedication.

I couldn't agree more! Judging by the EXTENSIVE list of forthcoming Ami Blackwelder novels (seriously, it's a lot!) displayed on your blog, do you manage to find time to do other things--like eat and sleep?! What's something you enjoy doing in your "free" time?

LOL- I write about 3 chapters a week, so really that is not so much. Honestly, I don't understand why some writers take years for just one novel. If you write something everyday or every week...you can do it. I do teach, I am training for Montessori teaching now, and work as a teacher's assistant. I also have another online job.

Wow, it looks like you can add Master Juggler to your resume'! It seems that successful self-published authors are showing up practically daily. Do you think self-publishing is the new future of the publishing industry? And what swayed you to go the self-publishing vs. traditional publishing route?

YES! Independent authors are the new Independent movies. As long as we match the standard, as in editing, cover design, etc...we will set a good record for readers to trust us. Unfortunately a lot of crap still gets through and hopefully in the future websites will have quality indie and self published authors only. Big publishers will have to adapt. I do believe that. The world is changing, the way readers can access information and novels is changing and writers see that!

I had a publisher at first with my first novel The Gate of Lake Forest, and she still handles that series. But after learning the business and watching my writer friends fail this way and that with "publishers"...I decided to go my own way. I saw other writer friends succeed with their books through self publishing. I mean really succeed. Best sellers lists on kindle and nook, picking up BIG publishers after dramatic sales increases, and of course there are those older writer stories (Eragon and Beatriz Potter and even James Patterson) who self published before they got picked up by that BIG house!

I love that you're traditionally and self published, that's so great! Finally, the question I like to ask: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book to read, which would it be and why?

One book? Ok, I'm going to take this as a fiction and non-fiction option:) My Bible/or Rumi (or a spiritual guide), and the The Shifters of 2040 of course! :)

Of course! Thanks so much for doing this, Ami!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Hunted & Indelible

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.

Normally I choose one book for the Waiting on Wednesday meme, but this week I just had to list two. I'm eagerly awaiting these two books--both of which come out closer to the end of the year (so far away!)--and the authors have become online friends of mine (I've never met either one, but I hope to one day). So please, add these books to your lists today!

By DJ DeSmyter
Pub Date: 8/9/11

product description from goodreads.com

Seventeen-year-old Lily Atwater has always kept to herself, living a lonely life with her workaholic dad. Not the most thrilling life, but it’s quiet and ordinary, two things she’s come to expect from living in Victor Hills, Michigan.

When kind and mysterious Alex takes refuge in her home, she is suddenly thrown into his world of werewolves, a world he wants to keep her safe from. But while the two of them grow closer, a relentless hunter continues his search, stalking the woods with hopes of catching the wolf that got away…

By Lani Woodland
Pub Date: 9/27/11

product description from author blog

Yara is beginning to understand just how much her life has changed now that she is a full-fledged Waker.

After narrowly escaping death during her junior year, all she wants is a ghost-free senior year at Pendrell Academy with her boyfriend Brent and her best friend Cherie. But Yara soon discovers that there are more dark secrets in her school’s history than just the curse she broke last year.

While an angry ghost makes Yara question everything she thought she knew about spirits, she and Brent learn that they might not have escaped last year as unscathed as they thought.

Yara finds herself in the center of another deadly mystery, and this time all of her enemies might not be dead.

Don't they both sound so amazing? I read the first book in the Yara Silva trilogy (Indelible--read my review here) and I loved it, so I can't wait to continue the story. And I love all things paranormal, so I know Hunted is gonna be right up my alley!

Tuesday, March 22, 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:

His fingers crumple but still hold tight to the folds of my skirt. I drag myself across the ground, trying to get away.

~pg. 226, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cuzzes are having a Giveaway!!

As you may have noticed, I did not post anything this morning. Of course, I'm sure most of you didn't notice...which is fine--I'll deal with you later.

Today I wanted to mention a super-cool giveaway being held over at Y(A)? Cuz We Write! by my awesome blogging friends Pam and Quita (yeah, you know who they are). They've reached 200 followers (yay for them!) and decided to give away TWO prize packs...one for readers, and one for writers.

So head on over to their blog (just click on their title above) and enter now. Or don't, cause that'll increase my chances!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: Secrets & Shadows by Shannon Delany

Secrets and Shadows: Shannon Delany

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Publication Date: February 15, 2011

product description from shannondelany.com

The supernatural stakes are higher than ever now that more than just werewolves prowl the town of Junction--friendships will be formed, choices will be made and allies may become enemies...

Nothing's simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she's seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she's suspected.

My Review:

Secrets and Shadows is the continuing story of high schooler Jess Gillmansen and the people (human and non) who surround her. The second installment in this paranormal series was just as entertaining as the first, with humorous dialogue, plot twists and romance. Jess's love interest Pietr is back, though this time much more intent on keeping Jess safe. In the beginning of the book I actually didn't like him, but by the end I was rooting for the couple once again.

Delany's prose is very enjoyable to read, with vivid descriptions and spot-on teen voice. Though a couple of points in the book were a tad slow to me, overall the pacing and flow were quick and seamless. Before I realized it, I was on the last page...which is always a sign of a great read!

With well-written characters, snazzy dialogue and an interesting and ever-changing plot, Secrets and Shadows is a great addition to the 13 to Life series. I'm happy to give it 4 stars, and am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Supernaturally

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 I'm probably the only person on Earth who is waiting on this week's selection (yeah right), but bare with me. I read the first book in this series and loved it, so (super)naturally I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of...

By Kiersten White
Pub date: 8/30/11

product description from goodreads.com

A lot has changed in the six months since Evie escaped from the International Paranormal Containment Agency with her shape-shifter boyfriend, Lend. She finally has the blissfully normal life she’s always dreamed of, including:

1) A real live high school
2) A perfectly ordinary after-school job
3) Her very own locker (and by the way, rusted metal is every bit as awesome as she imagined)

But Evie’s not-so-normal past keeps creeping up on her...and things get pretty complicated when you factor in:

1) A centuries-old, seriously decaying vampire stalker
2) A crazy faerie ex-boyfriend who is the perpetual bearer of really bad news
3) A major battle brewing between the faerie courts where the prize in question happens to be...Evie herself.

So much for normal.

I could really use that faerie ex-boyfriend right now to transport me to August 30th!

Tuesday, March 15, 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:

His brow lowered, nostrils flaring; his concentration shifted. Could he smell her fear?

~pg. 204, Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany

Monday, March 14, 2011

So I misspelled a word, big deal...wait, it IS a big deal?

I think something has gone wrong in my brain, because I'm having crap luck at titles lately. But I digress. You guys didn't come here to listen to me rant about titles. No, you came to listen to me rant about spelling.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said spelling. Or more importantly, spelling in your writing. Stay with me, folks. It won't be long (too late, right?). Just imagine that you're reading along in your absolute all-time favorite book ever and you come across a misspelled word. It's jarring, gut-wrenching, painful.

Much like this:

Yeah, it hurts to read, huh? Which is how it feels when you see a misspelled word in your absolute all-time favorite book ever. It hurts. It rips you out of that wonderful world you were in, where only you and those beautiful words exist, frolicking together in a meadow full of similes and metaphors and perfectly-placed adjectives. Basically, it stops your groove. And that sucks.

Now, do you want that in your own writing? Of course not! You don't want someone to be totally engrossed in your work (whether it's a critique partner or an agent or an editor or the public), head-over-heels in love with your prose, only to be yanked from the abyss of blissful reading by something as trivial as a missing "P" (see photo above). And you certainly don't want to boast with pride that "Yes, this is MY book" when the contents contain something as blatantly obvious as this:

Yeah, just when you thought it couldn't get worse. At least that first one was done by hand. This was printed, people. Printed. Like, on a computer, where it was probably looked at by several people. So, so sad.

Please don't get me wrong. In no way am I condemning those books that make it to print with misspelled words. It happens because in the end, we are all human. But, if you can in any way contribute to the betterment of your printed book, don't you want to? So start now. Don't rely on spellcheck to verify your words are spelled correctly. Print that sucker out and check each word yourself. Sure it'll take a long time, but at least it will save you from this kind of embarrassment:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Crawl by Vincent Kale

Crawl: Vincent Kale

Page Count: 391

Publisher: Lulu.com

product description from Lulu.com

A monster lurks in the sleepy town of Oakdale. Its home is Fairweather Manor, once a beautiful example of Victorian architecture and suburban pride. Since the untimely death of its caretaker, the grounds have fallen into disrepair. It has become a cursed house, a murder house. A family from the neighboring metropolis of Steel City has recently moved in, looking for a fresh start. The Carsons have heard stories of strange occurrences in the house, the deaths that have taken place there. They'll risk the rumors rather than returning to the deteriorating city. What they aren't aware of is that they share their new home with something else. Something that moves within the walls and under the floorboards. Something that watches them from the shadows. Something that has waited for them for a very long time...the creature known as Crawl.

My Review:

Crawl is only the second self-published book I've found worthy enough to review (not that I've read many others, but still). I'm not sure what genre this book is categorized in, but I would definitely call it Adult Horror. The gruesome ending alone makes it unsuitable for young readers, but do not let that deter you from some magnificent writing.

Crawl not only tells the story of the monster described above, but also of a tiny town and its inhabitants--all of which have some connection to the "haunted" house at center stage. When I first began this book, the style of writing was instantly reminiscent of Stephen King. Vincent's amazing descriptions of the "monster" and it's horrible life painted an eerie picture in my mind, keeping me on edge with every scene. The story is written in third person, told from varying "points of view"-- Crawl, Police Chief McAfee, the Carson family who have taken up residence in the house--and each scene is expertly crafted to move the story at a perfect pace. I never felt a lull in the story and was eager to turn page after page until the truth of what was going on reared its ugly head.

Vincent's ability to show vs. tell is spot on. With a descriptive and unique writing style, the spooky yet touching story of Crawl is brought to life, as is the assortment of other characters. At first the reader is led to believe that Crawl is something to be feared, but as the story progresses you can't help but feel something for the "monster" living inside the walls. And by the end, your heart is breaking for the horrible life Crawl endured and the cruel fate Crawl ultimately met.

Overall, Crawl is a masterfully written piece of horror that not only scares you, but also makes you see that nothing is as it seems. I happily give Crawl 5 stars, and urge all you adult horror fans to give this self-published author a shot...you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Bad Taste in Boys

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 think I may be way behind the gun on this one, but I just recently discovered this book. I mean, I saw the cover a while back, but I never knew what the book was about. But once I found out there were zombies involved (just yesterday), I absolutely had to make this week's WoW pick...

Bad Taste in Boys
By Carrie Harris
Pub date: 7/12/11

product description from amazon.com

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town . . . and stay hormonally human.

Come on. Zombie gridiron hunks? I'm so there! Hey, I wonder if I could eat enough brains and learn how to time travel to July 12th? Hmm...

Tuesday, March 8, 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:

Thomas shifted in his bed, felt a darkness around him like air turned solid, pressing in. At first he panicked; his eyes snapped open as he imagined himself back in the Box--that horrible cube of cold metal that had delivered him to the Glade and the Maze.

~pg. 1, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Monday, March 7, 2011

I bought my own book!...or, what I learned during revisions

I know that title is probably a tad confusing, so allow me to explain. The whole "I bought my own book" thing simply means that, well, I bought my own book (haha!). Sorry. Ahem. What I mean is that I decided to put my "book" on one of those fancy-schmancy book-printing websites and create a cover and format all my pages to their standards and pay a tiny bit of money and wait anxiously by the mailbox and grab my book from said mailbox and rip open the box and ogle the finished product. author's note: I promise I don't write run-on sentences like this in real life.

"What does that mean?" I hear you all asking. Which leads to the second part of the title, "or, what I learned during revisions". After I completed the first draft of my MS, I shelved it for a few days before opening it back up and printing out a copy to tackle revisions. To say that the entire idea of revising what I had spent so much time writing was a bit overwhelming is a major understatement. Was I seriously going to delete words or paragraphs or *gulp* pages from my story? I couldn't imagine doing it. No way.

But, I knew it had to be done, so I dove in and revised. And after that first round of revisions, I of course felt that the story was better. Not perfect by any means, but better. So I shelved it again and let the original ideas marinate with the revised ideas to see what I could come up with to change next. What?!! More revisions? NO!! Absolutely not!

I'm sure we all know what comes next, right? Yep. More revisions. So, I printed out yet another copy of my MS (my apologies to the trees harmed during my revision process) and started doing what I could. author's note: I'm horrible at revisions, so "doing what I could" isn't really that much. After making a second pass, I once again put the story away for a little while, mainly so my over-worked brain could have a break. Once again, though, that pesky Revision Bug started gnawing at me, and this time I didn't even bother to protest. I gave in and opened my document, ready to print out yet another copy.

But this time, an idea struck me.

I said, "Hey, what about printing an actual book copy of your MS?"
"You mean, like a real book?" I asked myself.
"Yep. Like a real book."

And so, I hopped on the internet to see where I could buy a nice, bound copy of my MS. It didn't take long to find several websites offering this service, so I picked one and went from there. And that website was Lulu.com. And the result was rewarding in so many ways.

Not only did I get an actual book with my name on it and my hard work inside (okay, I know it's not technically a book since it wasn't technically published, but I can dream), but I also got what I think is one of the best tools for revising out there: your work, in book form, for you to read...like a real book!

Sounds simple, right? We all love to read (if you don't, then what are you doing here?), and we all know how easy it is to get lost in a book and not come up for air until we turn that last page. So what better way to find out how good your own writing is than to read it like a book?

I had thought when I printed my MS on my own printer (on those large, garish, white pages) that it would make revising much easier than staring at the computer screen. And it did. But trying to read them that way wasn't so easy. And since nothing beats reading a book I thought maybe nothing would beat revising a book that way, too.

So when I opened to the first page of my "book" and started reading, the entire story played out in my head, just like it does when I read any book. It was amazing. I could see my characters come to life and I could hear their dialogue and I could feel what my MC was feeling...I loved it! And, just like I had suspected, I could see where my story needed work.

Big and loud and slapping me in the face, the problems in my MS -- from misspelled words I thought I had fixed to lagging plot points and flat dialogue -- were so much clearer. But now I have a much better grasp on which areas need work and which ones are golden. So all I have to do is open up my word document and get to work. And if I run into a problem that I can't figure out, I can always go back and re-read my book!

Tell me what you guys think about having your MS in book form. Think it would help you in revising? No? Discuss!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: Intrinsical by Lani Woodland

Intrinsical: Lani Woodland

Page Count: 298

Publisher: Pendrell Publishing

Publication Date: August 20, 2010

product description from barnesandnoble.com

Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn't going to go quietly.

My Review:

I have to start by saying that the cover of this book is outstanding (FYI: the author took the photo). The colors, the model, the fontwork...it all goes together so well. Well enough that the cover was one of the reasons that I bought the book, and I'm so glad I did!

Lani Woodland has created a very descriptive and unique world in Intrinsical. She has taken the age-old story of ghosts and added a new, distinct twist that is very refreshing. Her main character, Yara Silva, is well written and complex, with an excellent YA voice. Throughout the book, Yara struggles to deal with a special gift that has been passed down through her family; a gift that she doesn't want and tries to ignore. Her conflict is expertly written by Lani, making us feel Yara's embarrassment and, ultimately, acceptance of her abilities.

Like all good books, romance is at the forefront of Intrinsical. Yara meets Brent, a handsome fellow student who has secrets of his own, and the two have an instant connection. Their love story, however, is very different from others (and no, I'm not telling you how!) in its premise, but all the traditional feelings of young love are there, magically written by Lani. Nearly from the first moment these two characters met, I found myself rooting for them the entire way, hoping that the surprise twist in the story was somehow fixable (yeah, you're gonna want to read this book to find out what that twist is!).

Lani's prose is beautifully crafted, weaving a world full of sights and smells that makes the reader feel like they are sitting right next to Yara beneath that tree enjoying the scents of nature. Her action scenes are engrossing and keep you on edge; but they are perfectly balanced with the right amount of romance and humor, so you don't feel like your head will explode through the entire book!

Overall, I adored Intrinsical. Beautiful writing, excellent story, engrossing characters...what more can you ask for in a book? The only regret I have is that I read it too soon, because now I have to wait for the second book in this enthralling series. Excellent job, Lani! I give Intrinsical 5 stars, and urge you all to pick up a copy now!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Awaken

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.

There may be some of you out there who haven't heard of this week's WoW. If you haven't, please go check it out. I mean, the cover alone is enough to make me want this book! This week's selection is

By Katie Kacvinsky
Pub date: 5/23/11

product description from goodreads.com

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

Wow. Doesn't that sound amazing? Come on May, hurry up and get here!

Tuesday, March 1, 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:

Brent smiled at me mischievously and lifted his hands above his head, mouthing words I couldn't hear and my mind didn't understand. The temperature plummeted, and clouds formed, covering the bright moon.
~pg. 194, Intrinsical by Lani Woodland