Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Recommendations - Conferences (Oh, and I'm Alive!)

This Monday I'm recommending writers' conferences.

First off, I want to apologize for my absence. I've been writing like a crazy woman! The past two months have been insane. I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference and the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI conference (back-to-back weekends). Needless to say, I'm worn out, but it was worth every bit of exhaustion.

Both of the conferences were fantastic. I was immersed in the art of writing for a total of five days and each day filled me with motivation, encouragement, and inspiration. I came home and applied everything I learned to my manuscript (and I'm still applying, hence my absence). I received two requests for pages and after attending Sara Megibow's First 30 Pages workshop, I realized I needed to make my inciting incident stronger, and I'm rewriting the first sixty pages (give or take) based on her workshop before I submit. It's amazing how much stronger my story is now. Don't get me wrong, my novel had been rewritten, critiqued, workshopped, edited, etc., but after hearing Sara Megibow's talk, I knew it could be stronger, and it is.

Then I started thinking, "Does anyone ever think their novel is 'finished'?" Even if several close, trustworthy critique partners tell you, "It's good! Submit already!" You've studied the craft, taken classes, sought advice, etc. At what point do you take the plunge? I often find myself getting in my own way. What about you? How do you know when yours is ready?

Hope everyone is having a fabulous start to the week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Ari's long silver hair and teal eyes draw (unwanted) attention everywhere she goes. Ari was raised in foster care and doesn't know much about her past. She desperately wants to know more about her mother and why she is is so different for everyone else. Her search takes her to her birthplace of New 2, the rebuilt city of New Orleans, that is no longer part of the United States. When she arrives in New 2, she notices immediately that she isn't different. In New 2, Ari is seemingly normal. Will she find the answers to her questions? Or will her search leave her asking even more questions?

Darkness Becomes Her was a quick read. I love New Orleans, so it was interesting to read about a new version of the city. Ari is a tough girl who tries to figure things out by herself and not rely on others. She soon realizes that in New 2, she needs all the help she can get from the people she's met. Overall, the book was entertaining and the story was captivating. If you like paranormal fiction, you will enjoy Darkness Becomes Her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday - Book Review Roundup: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Emerson has never had an easy life. Not only does she see things that aren't there, but her parents died in a terrible accident that left her damaged and broken. After a long stint in a mental hospital, she goes to live with her brother, Thomas, in Tennessee. Thomas knows about Em's ability and wants to help her find some answers. He hires Michael, a consultant from the secret organization called the Hourglass. Michael not only believes everything Emerson tells him about her visions, but wants to help her define her ability to prevent a death that should have never happened.

You know that feeling you get when you really don't want a book to end? Hourglass definitely left me with that feeling. This is a wonderful and refreshing read. I fell in love with Emerson's sarcastic and snarky (yet authentic) voice immediately.

I can't wait to see what else Myra McEntire writes. The concept for Hourglass is unique and original, and probably one of the best books I've read this year.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday - Book Review Roundup: EVERY OTHER DAY by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Kali is half human and half demon hunter. Every twenty-four hours she switches from a typical sixteen-year-old girl into a demon hunter. Kali doesn't know what she is, or how she became that way. She lives with her dad who doesn't know about her every other day activities and they barley speak a word to each other. Kali doesn't have many friends until she sees a mark on one of the cheerleaders at her high school. The mark indicates the girl will die in twenty-four hours. Kali decides to help her, and in doing so she lets people in--something she's never done before.

I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes and EVERY OTHER DAY does not disappoint. I was hooked to Kali and her dilemma from the first page. I've read the Trial by Fire series and this is definitely different, but in a good way. EVERY OTHER DAY is chalked full of emotion. I was drawn in to the characters and I was sad when the book was over (always a great feeling!).

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good paranormal read. EVERY OTHER DAY has action, friendship, doubt, despair, and hope. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more of Barnes' work.