Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurriance Sandy, Meet NaNoWriMo

For the last three days, I have been without power. 

Let me open the book on that statement; for the last three days, I have been savoring each check on Facebook, knowing it would consume portions of my cellphone battery I may need for an emergency. The last three days have put myself and my family cut off from the world, leaving nothing but silence and whatever our neighbors may care to tell us.

In a nutshell, I'm going INSANE. 

Can you believe I completely forgot today is Halloween? Two weeks ago, I was getting so giddy for the 31st, planning a video blog dressed in my Hogwarts costume, or putting in my fangs for a little vampire show. I had make-up planned to perfection, a small sheet of terrible one-liners to use in my video, and even showcase a part of Riven in it. Now, I'm merely savoring the internet I can borrow, scrambling to get this post out with everything that was intended to go live on Tuesday. 

Hurricane nightmare or not, most of us East-Coasters are still planning on participating in one of the best writing face-offs ever; NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, as it stands for. In 30 days, 50k in words towards a draft, completed novel, or random writing excursion pour from the fingers of thousands eager to tell a story, to revel in the craft of world building and character development. 

And I, hurricane or not, am participating. 

While most go for the idea of finishing a novel, however, I am not. I'm going into this with the intention of the following: 

1- Possibly finishing Unwanted's first draft. It's a little shaky right now, and could use some stabilizing. 

2- Storyboard all of A Shard of Ice and its novellas, finish at least one novella. 

3- Complete my short story in time for the November 11th deadline for MHAFH's charity anthology. Rayne, Ken, and the Echomiron, which still needs a title. 

All three of those are HUGELY important, and at the least number 3 needs to happen regardless. If I manage to finish a full novel (Unwanted) before November 30th, awesome, great. If not, I won't be heartbroken. 

Each week I will post a round-up of articles I find on various other blogs about NaNo, as well as post my current progress. This post will go up like clockwork (!) each Monday in November. I may or may not also have a guest post from a fellow NaNoer author if I can manage. Until then, game on NaNoers. Don't forget, tonight is a big night. At midnight, we rush to fill the first daily quota of 1,667 words or more, and do so with a leap in our hearts, or whatever motivation garble you read for it. 

Point is, write, you NaNo Nuts. Write, and stare the power outages Sandy has created with an eye of challenge. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

As the months are winding down, and we're slowly (not slow enough) creeping towards Christmas and ultimately the end of the year, we're getting to my favorite time. 

Riven's Blog Tour! 

There's roughly a month solid until the mass event happens online, and all I can really say is, I'm so excited the urge to type in wild caps is starting to consume me. I'm holding back, but barely. BARELY. 


But in a semi nice way of me trying to tie you all over until the tour, I have three nifty things for you. One, ILLUMINE'S pretty facelift (with an author blurb from upcoming author PT McHugh! SQUEE!) RIVEN'S quote from another upcoming author Linda Foster, aaaaaand the blurb that's going on the back of the RIVEN paperbacks! 

It has a quote, ohmygosh. 

I'm in love. Utter, complete LOVE. 

But if you think that's cool, check out this one. 

Another quote! LOVEEEE.

And the blurb that I'm positive will probably have you Kayden-Essallie (would that be Eyden fans, or Kallie fans? I kind of dig Eyden) up in arms. 

One, Ari swerved into the clouded mass, knocking me aside and onto my shoulder. 

Two, an army of Vens ascended from the ceiling, surrounding us in our small defense. 

Three, Kayden’s eyes turned a violent, bold white, and he lunged for my throat.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hey all! Guess who is today's stop on the DAZZLE Blog Tour?! That's right, me!

Okay, so let's do this semi-formally.

Title: Dazzle
Author: Amber Garza
Published: October 10th, 2012
Rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Delaney Scott possesses a special gift. Ever since she was a child, she has known about her calling and the duty she’s expected to fulfill.
However, all Delaney wants is to be normal. That’s why she is drawn to Sam. He can offer her the life she’s always desired. Only Sam has secrets of his own.
Secrets that are deadly. Secrets that can change everything.

My Take: 

I must admit right off the bat, I haven't read any of Amber's books prior to DAZZLE. Now, I know I'm going to have to give her other series a definite read, and hold my breath for the second in this series to show up. 

DAZZLE stared off with one heck of a bang. When you first read DAZZLE, you're essentially tossed headfirst into the middle of Delaney and Micah, the two main characters of this book, saving a girl from a rather untimely death. But what looks like a simple save-the-damsel plan bursts into smoke when it's revealed the damsel, Ariel, is just like Delaney and Micah; she's one of the gifted. 

Two factions divide this book; those who follow Zerach, and those who are Sarafites. Zerach and his followers are essentially the Gryffindors in this series; good-hearted, brave, and strong. To compliment them in the worst way, the Sarafites are the Slytherins of the series; dark, twisted, and looking for power and domination. Delaney, Micah, and Ariel are all members of Zerach's army, where as a few secondary characters make up the current fold of the Sarafites. Amber crafted a nice tug-and-pull with this half sub-plot, half main-plot, weaving it in and out of the whole story. 

Through-out the series, we get to see multiple points of view from both Micah, Delaney, and Sam, the boy who acts as both Delaney's weakness and strength. Delaney is a conflicted, headstrong kind of girl. Gifted with the ability to see visions of the future in sporadic bursts, she keeps almost everyone at arm's length, unable to tell anyone of her gift, but aching to be free of her confined space. That's where Sam, the troubled, dark teenager steps in. Early on we see that Sam is out for a new life, one that would free him from his jerk of a father, one that would earn him recognition. So what does he do? He makes a pretty stupid plan, and promises to give Delaney over to the Sarafites in exchange for becoming one of them. 

But his plan falls to the side as he fall in love with Delaney, and as she ultimately falls in love with him too. Their love can never be, as Sam isn't one of the gifted. Still, she tests the waters, going against all she knows to pursue a love she believes could be the real deal. Add in a mix of possible betrayal, some serious battle scenes, and you have one punch of a story. 

My only real gripe with the whole thing was character POV and voice. I'm not big on the 1st person type of story, and when it's multiple POVs for a first person tale, it can be hard to keep up with who you're reading. That's not to say the story isn't good, it definitely is different than what's on the market right now, and in a fresh and exciting way I am curious to learn what happens next. My only hope is that the next book has a little better way to tell who you're reading when you switch to a different person; different mannerisms, different phrasing, something. 

If you haven't grabbed your copy of DAZZLE yet, now is your chance, especially if you have a Kindle! DAZZLE is only 0.99 on Amazon right now, and I grabbed a copy for my Mom before I had even finished the book, because some parts in it left me totally in awe of Amber's storytelling. Make sure you get this, don't miss it. 

*I was given a copy by the author for this tour in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. And you know I wouldn't sugar-coat it anyway. ;) 

About the author: 
Amber Garza lives in California with her amazing husband, and two hilarious children who provide her with enough material to keep her writing for years. She LOVES to write. Amber has had a passion for writing since she was a little girl, making books out of notebook paper and staples. As an adult she has worked hard to make her dream of being a published a reality. The PROWL TRILOGY was her first published series and the books are YA Christian thrillers. She also has a suspense novel entitled ENGRAVED which is currently available. DAZZLE is the first book in her new YA paranormal romance series.  
Amber Garza's website -
Delaney's Gift Series website:

Friday, October 19, 2012

I have a huge list of upcoming work. 

Surprise? Not really so much. If you've been lurking on my Facebook page, you'll notice I've been a little project-photo happy as of late. I figured before we all get confused on who and what is coming out and when, I'd sort of give you all a list of stuff to expect over the end of 2012 and into 2015. Each photo will be linked to its Goodreads page, so you can add all these pretties to your to-read lists! 


First, and easily the more exciting release to-date, is RIVEN. This pretty baby, the third to the Illumine Series, gets released December 7th. Essallie is about to get her butt both kicked, and kick some butt. I'd say this is probably the most action-filled one of the series yet, but you'll have to read it for yourself to discover the madness I've been brewing all summer long. 


Next on the list, is actually one book, and one novella. UNWANTED, a stand-alone YA dystopian novel I've been slowly working on, comes out July 30th, 2013. The date is still tentative, and could bump up or bump down depending on how much I get done over the winter season. 

And now it has two covers, which makes my decision for a cover hard. Oh, boy. 

Then comes the first novella to kick off the #WhoIsLilix hunt. AN ICE PRINCESS HEART is set for release sometime in July 2013, too. I can tell you for certain that the novellas are strictly a digital release, but you'll be able to get them through B&N and Amazon easily. 

The second novella to the #WhoIsLilix hunt, AN ICE PRINCESS KISS, releases sometime in September 2013. Again, it's only digital, but so very worth it to learn some neat pieces of who Lilix is before the SHARD OF ICE release. 

Third novella in the #WhoIsLilix hunt, AN ICE PRINCESS SYMPHONY, hits in November 2013. 

The fourth and last novella pre SHARD OF ICE release, AN ICE PRINCESS DREAM, releases January 2014. 

In April 2014, just a few months after all the novellas are out, the ever-gorgeous tale of Lilix, A SHARD OF ICE, the first in the Black Symphony Saga, hit shelves. I have a neat surprise for this book, too, but I can't share the details just yet. When we get closer, I'll make sure to clue you in to the surprise. -wink-

Not to mention, there's still the cover reveal for it... the picture below is only a teaser until next Spring. 

Cover reveal? Just wait for Spring 2013, you'll LOVE it.

And then, at last, there's one more book with a 2014 release date so far. This one doesn't even have a cover (yet), but I can tell you the name of the book! PROJECT HALIELLE has an estimated, very rough November 2014 release date stamped on it. 

Of course, then we get into 2015, when A BRUSH OF FIRE, the sequel to A SHARD OF ICE, releases. I have nothing for this pretty book yet, and all I can say is, if you think the first cover will be chilly, this one will be smoldering hot. 

Mwahaha. I love these secrets! 

Oh yes! And then, I have some extra news. 

I'm happily designing covers for TWO anthologies releasing through a new publishing house in 2013, called Red Alice Press. One is a summer anthology, called SWIMMING SONGBIRD, the other a Halloween-based anthology called HALLOWED. The house should be doing a call for submissions sometime early next year, I'll make sure to post about it when they do. Until then, you can see some of my cover work for them below. Don't know about you guys, but I love SWIMMING SONGBIRD. It's so light and simple. 

That's about it for the list right now, but I know to never say never when it comes to new projects. What do you think, am I in over my head? Or am I finally getting the hang of this cover-design stuff?

Monday, October 15, 2012

This is freakishly insanely. Two cover reveals in ONE day?

Yes, ohhhh yes. Now who's ready to see some TOUCHING ETERNITY? 

Check out those eyes! Talk about gorgeous.  

Want some deets? You got 'em. 


What would you choose? 

She had everything but freedom. 
He had nothing but his loyalty, his wits and his training. 

She was a prisoner, a disease, not fit for the world, and she didn't know why. But she did know she wasn't allowed to die, she wasn't allowed to live and she wasn’t sane.

He was a soldier, a protector, but his foundation will be tested when he must destroy the only light in his dark world.

Thrown together, prisoner and keeper, their rebellion will splinter through time, changing the course of history and the fate of the world. Their love will challenge their greatest enemy and immortalize them forever.

Loyalty. Freedom. Love.

What would you risk? 

"Let me die."
Pain darkened his eyes. "Never."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Today is an awesome day. As in, pure awesomeness by default. Why? Because I get to help Glass House Press unveil a wicked cover today for an AWESOME book that'll be coming your way before you know it! 

Want to see it? Do you?!
Pssst, look down. 
/supremely cheesy drum roll

Expected release date: February 5th, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9816768-0-7 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9816768-1-4 (ebook) 


Jason Evans, a shy, introverted high school freshman, thought that his mundane life was all there was - girls, golf, physics, and the occasional bully. Until he found out about the secrets his grandfather had been keeping from him ... a set of stones that allowed him to jump though time ... a maniacal madman who used the stones to shape history to his liking ... and Jason’s role as one of the few people in the world who could stop that man. 

Against impossible odds, a fourteen-year-old boy must take up his legacy, learn everything he needs to know within one short day, and travel helter skelter into the Middle Ages, to join Henry VII’s fight against Richard III, end the Dark Ages, and stop the man who now holds his grandfather captive. In this romp through history, Jason and his friends must race against time to accomplish not one, but two missions. 

Save his grandfather.
And save the world. 

I'm definitely getting a vibe of interest over here. But hey, if the synopsis already has you clicking that 'to-read' button on Goodreads, then you're going to LOVE the sneak peek at the KEEPER OF THE BLACK STONES below! 


“What is this place?” he asked breathlessly. We were in a dark underground room, much smaller than our basement. The room was lined in thick concrete blocks. There was no light coming from the outside, and I guessed that the room was probably soundproof as well. Not a room built for entertaining. A room built for keeping secrets. 
Paul found a cord in the ceiling and pulled it. We both jumped as several light bulbs clicked on and flooded the room with harsh artificial light. The light revealed a small metal desk with an old wooden straight-back chair against the back wall. A computer monitor and hard drive sat on top of the desk, along with several pens and pencils and one red three-ring notebook. Beside the desk stood two wooden bookshelves, filled to bursting with books. Next to those, a large map of England was taped to the concrete wall. 
I ran my eyes over the map to the floor on the left, and froze. The desk and map were odd, but at least they were everyday items. The large black slab of stone lying next to them was not. The cold chill ran down my spine again, and I shuffled backward several steps. 
“Oh my God, is that it?” Paul asked nervously. 
I ignored the question and inched my way forward, toward the stone. It was large, perhaps 7 to 8 feet wide and 10 to 11 feet long. Easily 3 to 4 inches thick. Hundreds of symbols were etched into the dark surface, in a language I’d never seen before. The stone was glossy, but didn’t reflect light the way it should. Instead, it seemed to suck the light from the room around us, building its own dark aura. And it hummed. I could feel the pulse of the stone in my bones, like a giant, steady heartbeat. It beat again and again, matching my own heartbeat, and I forgot to breathe. Doc hadn’t been lying, then. The stone did speak to him. And it called to me the same way it called to him. I’d been hearing it for days. I just hadn’t realized it. 
As I stood there, transfixed and listening, the writing on the stone began to glow. I blinked and looked again, to see that the glow was gone. 
“Did you see that?” I gasped, reaching for Paul and taking my eyes off the stone for the first time.
“See what?” Paul whispered. “The only thing I see is that creepy stone.”
“The symbols … I think they moved,” I said, surprised that Paul hadn’t seen it. 
Paul shook his head. “Didn’t see anything like that, buddy.” He took a step toward the stone and bent over to look at it. 
I followed slowly, wondering if I’d been seeing things. Then the humming started again, louder than before. This time it went straight to my head, and I gasped and fell to my knees. The stone thrummed louder, and took on its eerie glow, burning brighter and brighter until the symbols themselves lifted up off the surface. They hovered just above the stone’s surface, ghostly, dark reflections of their physical counterparts. Then they began to move, dancing around the edges of the stone to the humming rhythm of its heart. 
“Holy…” I breathed. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. 
“Hey, what on earth are you doing?” Paul asked nervously. 
I stood, keeping my eyes fixed on the dance in front of me. “You’re honestly telling me that you can’t see that?” I whispered. 
“See what? This isn’t funny anymore.” 
Paul grabbed my arm, and the dance ended as abruptly as it had begun. The symbols fell back into place, and the stone lost its glow. I moaned quietly. The symbols had been strange, eerie, and frightening, but they’d also been surprisingly familiar. Losing them was almost physically painful. I focused on the stone, trying to bring them back, or make the slab glow again. 
“So how exactly does this thing work?” Paul asked, breaking my focus. 
I cleared my throat and tried to find my voice. “Doc didn’t exactly leave directions in his journal. He just said that the stone … spoke to him.” 
“Well what the heck does that mean? That stone doesn’t look like it has any kind of speech capabilities.” 
I smiled. “Actually, I think I know exactly what it means.” 
Paul didn’t hear me, and reached out to touch the stone. “So this is it,” he said, bending down. “This is the stone that can take us into the past.” 
“Stop! What are you doing?” I grabbed his hand and pulled him back. 
“I’m just touching it. Why?" 
“I don’t know. Who knows what might happen? Maybe you’re not supposed to touch it,” I answered. 
“Ah.” Paul nodded. “Good point.” He shoved his hands back into his pockets. 
As he spoke, though, a jolt of energy shot from the stone into my bones, and the unearthly glow returned. I felt an irresistible urge to put my own hands on the stone, and allow the symbols to race across my skin. Confused, I closed my eyes, trying to focus and clear my head. All I could feel, all I could hear, was the stone’s humming, drowning out all other sight and sound. Drowning out thought. Then it was gone, leaving in its place a feeling of calm contentment. Of readiness. And a clear, precise light in my mind. 
I could feel the stone beneath my hands, as though I were already touching it. My mind explored the deep, cold grooves in the surface, and felt the light touch of the symbols as they moved. A shot of heat moved from the stone, through my hands, and down my spine. 
“I wonder what the symbols mean,” Paul said quietly. 
I heard him through the haze of the stone, as though he were standing on the other side of a wall, or under water. I suddenly became acutely aware of my surroundings – the smell of mildew and garlic, the friction of a cricket rubbing his back legs together outside. I could taste the sodium that clung to the salt water embedded in the concrete of the walls around us, and felt Paul’s heart beat as if it were in my own chest. I heard sounds that didn’t make any sense. Horses running, and the sound of metal screeching against metal. Men yelling, or cheering. 
Looking down, I saw a hazy, half-formed path in front of my feet. Listening closely, I heard exactly where it would lead. And when. 
I opened my eyes, breaking the spell, and turned to face Paul. His face had gone slack and white as he stared at me. 
“I know exactly what the symbols mean,” I said quietly. 
“How do you know that?” Paul asked. 
“Because,” I replied slowly, “the stone just told me.” 

Yeahhhhh, this is definitely going on my birthday list next year. 

If you want to know more about the author, PT McHugh, check out PT McHugh
And, of course, a HUGE thanks to Glass House Press, and Carrie for letting me join in on the unveiling! (This kind of stuff makes me so giddy, and I absolutely love that I got to do it!) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Oh. Em. Gee. 

Lately, everyone knows I've been sort of off-kilter with the world. Almost every post I have been trying to put on this blog since Wednesday (when I said I was going to post... oops) didn't work. But, this one will. Why? 'Cause I have something so cool to show you, your screen will set on fire. 

Hopefully not literally. 'Cause then you can't read my blog any more. And that's just no bueno. 

For the last few weeks, I've been working with MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME, yes the awesome blog with awesome people who like to do neat things like anthologies. So when I sort of made a cover out of sheer boredom for an anthology piece they were putting into print, and then begged into letting me make the whole thing because I fell in love with the project so much, THEY SAID YES. And thus, the creative cover-maker in me came to vibrant, dark, twisted life. 

Excuse me while I shamelessly admire my own work. Can I get a cookie for this? 

All I know is this; I'm definitely getting a copy of this to sit on my shelf.