Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And the Winner of the Personalized Signed Copy of TWENTY BOY SUMMER is....

Ashley G! I'll be emailing you tonight :) I want to give a special thanks to Sarah Ockler for being so awesome and personalizing the book for you! 

Thank you all for participating. I have several other giveaways lined up, so be sure to check back! 

I really enjoyed all of your answers to why you love reading. There is a special place in my heart dedicated to reading and it sounds like we all have that in common. 

I look forward to getting to know all of the new followers. Thank you all for making this giveaway such a success!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday - Blog Recommendations and the Appreciated Follower Award

Last week I received the Appreciated Follower Award from the lovely Kelly Hashway. *Smiles* Thank you Kelly! I truly look forward to Kelly's blogs. They are insightful, informative, and tons of fun to read. I hope you hop over and check out her blog.

So, here are the rules for the award:

  • Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  • Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog.
  • Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
  • And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun.

Here are my five followers that I truly appreciate and look forward to their comments.

Wow, I'm at five already? Thank you all for following. I appreciate each and every one of you :) What are some of your favorite book/author/writing blogs you follow?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guest Post - Oli from Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono

Courtney:  Tell us a little about yourself.

Oli:  My name is Oliver Drayke. Oli for short. I'm a true blue from Tasmania. I'm 22. My birthday is September 9. My heart is taken by the most beautiful girl in the world.

Courtney:  Tell us a little about your author.

Oli:  Author? What author? Kidding. She's a great shelia and an even greater listener. It was heaps of fun sitting down and talking with her about everything that happened. I know Callie enjoyed talking about it with someone else. Cesya is the sweetest shelia you'd ever meet.

Courtney:  Is there anything you wish your author would have made easier for/on you?

Oli:  Getting my Kitten to myself. Cayden was a challenge for me. It was hard getting close enough to Callie when he was controlling her.

Courtney:  What was it like to feel the pull toward Callie?

Oli:  For me it was heartache. Not being in the same place was hard. You feel empty. It's like being clean or sober for years and then one day that addiction starts up again and you're consumed by it. It was an awful feeling because we were so far apart. I thought my heart was going to shatter until I found her. The addiction calmed and I felt whole once more.

Courtney:  Are you a helpless romantic, or did Callie turn you into one?

Oli:  I'd like to consider myself one. I never dated anyone because I was afraid I'd feel the pull to my soul mate and I didn't want to hurt the shelia I was with when it happened.

Courtney:  What do you think of Lola? I love her. She's so spunky and full of personality. Wait I asked *you* what *you* think of Lola.....sooooo, I'll be quiet now.

Olie:  (chuckles at you) Lola is troppo. I mean that in a good way. She's heaps of fun to be around. Totally keeps you on your toes with her sense of humor and wit.

Courtney:  Have you ever accidentally caught anything on fire? Tell us a little about it if you have.

Oli:  Our couch. It was the first time using my fire because that element scared me when I was younger. I decided to play around with it when my oldies were out. I was actually doing good until I heard the door open and got scared. The fireball flew out of my hands and landed on the couch. I was up shit creek without a paddle once they saw it.

Courtney:  What's your favorite part in Elemental Reality?

Oli:  Kissing Callie for the first time. Though seeing her for the first time was just as amazing.

Courtney:  What's your least favorite part?

Oli:  Having to deal with that bloody mongrel, Cayden. I would have been much happier if he weren't involved in Callie's life at all.

Courtney:  Do you have any parting words of wisdom?

Oli:  We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love...and then we return home.

Thank you, Oli for the wonderful interview. Thank you to Cesya MaRae Cuono for creating such a swoon-worthy guy in Elemental Reality, out now from Revolution Publishing.

Cesya MaRae Cuono hails from a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Alvernia University where she majored in Business Administration and she's also received her certificate of Multi-Media & Production Makeup from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry. You can find any updates from Cesya on her website.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Giveaway-Win a PERSONALIZED autographed copy of Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer

So, I'm hosting a giveaway. The giveaway runs from Friday, August 26 (NOW) at 12:00pm ET, until Tuesday, August 30, at 7:00pm ET.

The winner will receive a PERSONALIZED autographed copy of Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer. This book is fabulous, Sarah is fabulous, and you will *squee* from all the fabulous!!

All you have to do to win is follow this blog and leave a comment saying what you love most about reading. Does it take you to your happy place? Offer you a chance to escape reality? Whatever reading does for you, just tell me in the comments section. Only one comment per entry, please, and the winner will be chosen by random.org.

I'd appreciate it if everyone would help spread the word. I hope everyone is having a fabulous day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post - Patti Larsen, Author of Run

Welcome, Patti! Thank you for joining us today. How about you tell us a little about yourself to get this party started.

Patti:  I know you don't want the shiny, polished version, right? I'm a writer by choice and passion, a cat lover extraordinaire. I adore summer above all other seasons if only we could get rid of the bugs. I'm a blonde and always will be no matter what Mother Nature thinks. I work far too much and love every second of it. And I'm addicted to the voices in my head. I joke about wishing they would leave me alone, but I really love having them around.

Courtney:  Now tell us a little about Run.

Patti:  Oh dear. Poor Reid is the main character. I'm so mean to the lovely boy. He thinks life is finally going back to normal, you know? He's spent the last year in foster care, waiting for his sister to rescue him. And when she finally does? He gets kidnapped and dumped in a forest, with no idea why he is there. He quickly learns to run from the hunters who chase down kids like him. And kill them.

Courtney:  What inspired this story?

Patti:  I love this question. I receive my inspiration from any number of places--sometimes a title comes to me first, or a face. In this case, it was Reid. Running down a path, panting, breathing coming in hoarse gasps. He froze, looked around (it's a movie already in my head, can't you tell?). And out of the darkness something howled.

I mentioned the voices, right? Yup. Crackpot. But that's how I roll.

Courtney:  Can you give us a brief description of your writing process?

Patti:  I'm super organized because if I leave it to chance nothing gets done. I have a day planner where I keep my plan at least six months in advance. I have to schedule everything. So, an idea comes, I jot it down on a onepage, or an outline sheet. From there I work with index cards, developing conflicts and connecting them until I have a giant stack from beginning to end. I transfer those into a Word document, giving me a full outline. Then I break the outline up into individual docs as chapters and voila! I typically write between three and six chapters a day, depending on how hard I'm pushing myself. When I'm writing the book, I do so straight through until it's done, usually between six to eight days.

Courtney:  What's your writing fuel? Chocolate? Cake? Cookies?

Patti:  Diet Pepsi, Sea Salt and Pepper chips and Hershey's drops. OMG. I'm drooling. And I'm out of stock. I've tried to break this habit but I just can't seem to.

Courtney:  What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Any useful websites or tools you'd like to share?

Patti:  Two bits only.
One:  Never stop writing, no matter what. If the passion is in you, the skills can be learned. Don't quit. Ever. And if you do quit and it keeps at you, the tickle remains and won't leave you alone, go get some help polishing your skills. That need is the important part. Everything else is trainable.

Two:  Don't be sheep. Educate yourselves on all aspects of the industry. Don't fall into the DREAM of big publishing before you examine each and every option. There is so much false information out there, contradictory views, it will take some time for you to form your own opinion. But be open to everything and be as objective as you can before you make a choice. It's your career and your work. You are the only one who is allowed to choose for you.

As far as helpful sites:  If you're using Google Chrome, StayFocused is wicked. I use the nuclear option that blocks me from the web for an hour at a time. I get so much done!

Courtney:  Who are your influences?

Patti:  Stephen King, definitely. Anne MacCaffery. Isaac Asimov. David Eddings. I grew up  in a family of hard core fantasy and science fiction readers. My father read me The Lord of the Rings when I was six a and even got us hooked on Dungeons and Dragons when I was only nine. So I grew up in a world of make believe. I never expected to be writing YA, but I'm thrilled I found it. In this genre, J.K. Rowling because she got the ball rolling for me when my niece insisted I read the first book of Harry Potter. And Suzanne Collins who showed me with the Hunger Games that no, my work isn't too dark, thanks.

Courtney:  Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Patti:  I hate mornings. HATE. I'm usually up around eight and writing before lunch. I tend to stay up until at least eleven or so, often awake between 2:30 and 3AM writing down ideas or something the voices told me to write. They are relentless.

Courtney:  If you could have one superpower from any book you've read; what would it be and why?

Patti:  I always loved Storm from the X-Men. I adore the idea of controlling the weather. I'd make it summer ALL the time. With the odd fun lightening show thrown in.

Courtney:  Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?

Patti:  Chocolate. There is no other flavor.

Courtney:  How do you plan on celebrating the release of Run?

Patti:  Honestly, I haven't thought about it. I'm planning a release party of this book along with another series I have coming out in September. So I guess maybe my husband and I will go out to dinner. But really, every single day I get to write as my job is a celebration. I don't need much more.

Courtney:  Where can we find out more about Run?

Patti:  For now, go here for more information. You can score a copy here or here.

Courtney:  Where can we find out more about you and your other writing?

Patti:  I'm all over the Internet. At least it feels that way!
My main page
My writing blog
My book blog
My fan page
Author page on Amazon

Courtney:  Zombies are attacking. What three possessions do you take on the run with you?

Patti:  A zombie-proof tank full of anti-zombie shells. I drive it to my zombie-proof wharf and onto my zombie-proof yacht. I then sail to my zombie-proof island where I have my loyal servants to toil for me and bring me mangoes while I tsk-tsk over the state of the world. That's four things. But the servants come with the island, so...

No joke, I hate zombies. They give me the absolute creepies.

Courtney:  Can you share some parting words of wisdom for the readers?

Patti:  The Universe made you a writer for a reason. So write. Get your stuff out there. Don't ever let fear stop you. Trust you're doing the right thing. Because you are.

Thank you Patti for a wonderful and fun interview! I can't wait to read Run and see the world you've built for Reid. Stop by anytime!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday: Review Roundup--The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Sixteen year old Lucero-Elisa de Riquereza (Elisa), is the Princess of Orovalle. She is a self-conscious girl who thinks she is fat and finds solace in food. She is also a very important girl. She is one of the few Chosen humans to bear a Godstone; a jewel buried deep inside her naval that responds to prayer and alerts her to danger. Being a Bearer of the Godstone means Elisa will one day have to fulfill her Service to God and do his will.

In a marriage arranged by Elisa's father, she is set to marry King Alejandro de Vega of Joya d' Arena. She will leave her home directly after the wedding and travel to the King's land to assume the role of Queen. It isn't until Elisa reachers her destination that she realizes how many people are looking for the Bearer of the Godstone. Some are looking to her for help while others look for her to destroy her.

I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Rae Carson takes the reader into a world of war, prophecy, and sorcery. In a time of political unrest, Elisa questions her faith while dealing with secrecy and finding a little romance in someone she least expects. Elisa goes from a self-conscious girl into a mature young woman willing to take on the enemy and save her people. She learns to trust her instincts and believe in herself. She gains confidence through her journey and becomes a respected Queen to her people.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore (FIRE and GRACELING), and Melina Marchetta (FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World of Writing Wednesday - WriteOnCon

This week is WriteOnCon - a free online conference for writers in children's literature. It is a fantastic source of information for published and unpublished writers.

The conference hosts different live events such as:
  • Query critiques by agents, editors and authors
  • A first 250 word critique of your manuscript
  • Vlogs of authors sharing valuable information about writing and the publishing industry
  • Posts from agents about what they are looking for, submission guidelines, how they know the right piece when they read it, etc. 
  • Live Q&A with different agents
If you haven't checked out WriteOnCon, you should. Even if you miss the conference you can view the archives. This conference is so unique and professional and FREE. You can donate to help support next year's WriteOnCon. A minimum donation of just $5 you could win a query critique from literary agent Jim McCarthy, a query critique from literary agent Sara Crowe, or a ten page critique from literary agent Roseanne Wells.  Here is the link to donate

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday: Book Review Roundup--POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil-Guest Post by Rebecca Fields

Review of POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil--Guest post by Rebecca Fields

Rule Number One:  Do not show fear.
Fifteen year old Bridgett Liu is sitting in Latin class at her Catholic high school. It's the last class of the day and she's counting down the minutes. She watches as Monsignor Renault comes into the room and speaks with the teacher--he has a note and it's for Bridgett--it's time for her first exorcism.

Rule Number Two:  Do not show pity.
Bridgett is a natural born exorcist--a very rare trait, but one she'd gladly give up. As if that weren't the only bad thing in her life, her father was murdered less than a year ago and her mother is already dating. The hottest boy Bridgett's ever seen wants to take her out, and being an outcast at school, his interest is the last thing she wants, or so she tells herself. The one bright spot in Bridgett's life is her little brother, Sammy.

Rule Number Three:  Do not engage.
There's been an influx of demonic possessions in Bridgett's hometown of San Francisco. No one knows why, and as a specialist, Father Santos from the Vatican, is sent to help Monsignor. He's also there to learn about Bridgett's skill. Bridgett doesn't trust him and she knows Monsignor doesn't either. A game of cat and mouse begins with very dangerous consequences for the loser. It would quite literally be hell.

Rule Number Four:  Do not let your guard down.
Only two people know about Bridgett's "gift":  Monsignor and Father Santos. Not even her mom is allowed to know, which makes the after school exorcisms difficult to explain. Bridgett's two best friends know something is going on, but she can't say a word, knowing they'd think she's even more of a freak.

Rule Number Five:  They lie.
During one particularly creepy exorcism (think a roomful of possessed dolls), she receives a message from the demons. They tell her not to trust him, but who is "him"?

Bridgett's life and those she cares about most are on the line. Along the way, Bridgett must take a leap of trust and learn who she really is. POSSESS is a debut novel by Gretchen McNeil, and what a debut! The pace is fast with a lot happening in a short amount of time. The characters are clearly defined and likable. While there's a lot that could be said regarding exorcisms and the history behind them, McNeil does a great job of giving enough information to keep the reader informed and the story flowing without bogging the reader down with too much detail. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In fact, I could't put it down. Very few books have literally given me chills, and the one succeeded....twice.

About Rebecca Fields:
Rebecca Fields is a modern day gypsy, roaming from place to place in search of--well, she'll let you know when she finds it. When she's not planning her next move, she's busy writing--and of course, reading her favorite genre--YA. Learn more about Rebecca and her writing by visiting her blog at: http://fatesisters.blogspot.com 
Or follow her on Twitter: @beckflds

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Blog Design, Means New Blog Schedule

I am in love with my new blog design! I hope everyone loves it. I am also starting a new blog schedule that goes into effect tomorrow.

I will be blogging on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Mondays:        Book Reviews, Recommendations, or Releases
Wednesdays:   World of Writing (writing related posts)
Fridays:           Flash Fiction Fridays

I hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend. Mine definitely wasn't long enough. My husband surprised me with a new MacBook Pro for my anniversary present and getting everything set up has taken some time, but I finally feel like I'm up and rolling!

What did you do this weekend? Did you get a lot of writing done? Did you read a good book?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review of Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex is in the mountains to spread her parent's ashes when she meets Ellie and her grandfather. They are chatting one minute when suddenly Alex and Ellie start bleeding and Ellie's grandfather dies. Alex and Ellie have no idea what is going on, but when they see a bunch of kids eating another human, they know it can't be good. They find an army soldier named Tom who worked as a bomb specialist in the military. He says all signs indicate a huge electromagnetic pulse has wiped out all common electronics and triggered something in the young and the old--the old die, while the young become cannibals. Alex, Ellie, and Tom do everything they can to stay together and stay alive.

No one is safe. in Ilsa Bick's world of Ashes (releasing September 6, 2011, Egmont USA). My adrenaline was pumping the entire time I read this book and I even had to take a few breaks because Ashes was stressing me out! It is an intense read that will leave you turning the pages to see what happens to Alex, Ellie, and Tom. The pace is quick and the writing is fantastic. Ashes is a longer YA novel at 480 pages, but it's not long enough. Ashes is unique in that it is spread out over a longer period of time. The reader is there pre-apocalypse, apocalypse, and post-apocalypse.

Ashes has one of those endings that definitely leaves you begging for more. If you enjoy fast pace plotting with high intensity action, Ashes will be a perfect read for you. I highly recommend this book.