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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine's Giveway-CONTEST CLOSED.


Two weeks ago I reviewed The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder and mentioned I’ll be giving away a couple of her books. With Valentine’s just around the corner, I wanted to do a love theme with a touch paranormal. Now I’m not the sappy romantic type of girl even though I do read and write romance. My favorite types of story are those of survival, redemption, finding love after loss and forgiveness. That is life. I love rooting for a hero or heroine that has gone through hell and back. I like a practical approach. Although sometimes I really enjoy escaping away into fantasy.

Blurb:

Girl meets boy.


Girl loses boy.


Girl gets boy back...


...sort of.


Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.


Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

The emotional ride of dealing with loss and guilt are perfectly portrayed as Ava deals with the death of her boyfriend. The message I found in this beautiful story is that to heal, forgiveness of one’s self is a prerequisite.

Chasing Brooklyn is sort of a part 2 to I Heart You, You Haunt Me. It takes place in the same town but another girl loses her boyfriend and her another friend too. Both ghosts come back to haunt, but for very different reasons. They want to help her move on, so they can. Through their help she learns to trust and love again, but first she needs to learn to love herself. 

Blurb: 
Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

I’m giving them away as a set. And yes, they are signed!  They are novels in verse. Here is your opportunity to try out two of my favorite.

What do you have to do to win? Post a comment telling me what is your favorite type of romance (action, mystery, paranormal, historical, etc) and spread the word by tweeting, facebook, Google +, and whatever other social media you are on.

The contest is only for US and Canada only residents. Sunday, February 5th, I’ll be randomly drawing one lucky winner at around 7 pm, PST. Thanks again for reading and good luck.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

4th Sunday Surprise: Fins

Image courtesy of Google Images





Did you notice the blog title banner? Take a look, I can wait...




*whistles*



*checks email*



*checks twitter*



*tickles kitty-on-lap's head*



Oh, hi, you're back. So did you notice anything different? Yup, I did it again and there ain't no oops about it. I changed the title to match my writing and what this blog is about.

Why fins? Well, if you somehow missed the picture above, it's referring to mermaids. Yes, I'm working on a merfolk series. Last summer I wrote a short fantasy story that was inspired by a really cool dream I had. Every month I would add little more to the story. In November I took the plunge and added a mermaid. Suddenly a whole series of plots involving merfolk began to develop. Currently my short story is out in submission, hopefully the requesting editor likes it enough to say the long awaited yes.

Meanwhile, I've been getting my butt whipped by Editpalooza from Savvy Authors. My new year's resolution was to learn to edit. Holy mole, I'm learning, but it's worse than getting a bikini wax and a root canal at the same time. In the last two weeks I've had more emotional outbursts and breakdowns than my entire writing life. But this is good. I need to be pushed to outside of my comfort zone because ultimately I want to publish my writing and learning how to edit will be the key to success.

Hopefully I'll have some good news for you soon. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for next Sunday.... hint a giveaway will be commencing....

Cheers,

Melania

Sunday, January 15, 2012

3rd Sunday Sweets: The Day Before


I met Lisa at Wordstock last October, but I’ve been a fan of her MG book It’s Raining Cupcakes since my niece declared this book was her favorite and her dream is to open a cupcake shop someday. At Wordstock I bought the sequel Sprinkles and Secrets and had Lisa sign it for my niece. Now I’m officially the coolest aunt EVER in my niece’s eyes because I personally know Lisa. 

*sigh*

In the short conversation I had with Lisa at Wordstock, she introduced me to a new style of storytelling called novel in verse. The best way to describe it is telling the story in a poetic style by focusing on the emotional bones and cutting out all the prose. The very next day I was at the library and her novel The Day Before sat on display as I walked in. It was about a week before I actually read it and I was blown away.

Blurb:
One moment can change everything.

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him.  And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.


I couldn’t believe the multitude of emotions portrayed with so few words. I laughed, cried, sighed, and repeat. Never once did I feel like I had been cheated by the simplicity. Every scene was full and rich with description, yet short and sweet. I ached for both Amber and Cade. Their romance warmed my heart and reminded me why I love YA so much. Young love can light up even the darkest moments of life.

In the next two weeks I read all of Lisa’s YA novels in verse. I loved each and every one of them. 

AND *coughs* I might be giving a couple of signed copies next month. *coughs* 

Her books have given me so much perspective in my own writing. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is less is more.

I leave you with the book trailer for The Day Before. Click here to order your very own copy.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

2nd Sunday Savors: E-pub & E-readers

Meet my new friend.



The above picture has nothing to do with the topic I'm going to be discussing. In fact it has nothing to do with writing or creativity or anything else I talk about on this blog. He's actually a huge stuffed elk (I think or a very large buck) in the Arrowhead Travel Plaza at the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon. Every time we go to the cabin, we stop to fill up before heading into the mountains. I've always wanted to take a picture next to him, so I did. There you have it. Now you know the story.

Okay so moving on to the topic at hand.....

Three years ago when I started writing and having visions of publishing books, e-readers and e-publishing never crossed my mind. Sure the Kindle and Nook had come out. My techie hubby was all excited about the development of technology. But e-readers were so sticking expensive--I wrote them off. I sorta of ignored the whole e-pubing thing too. I knew whatever I eventually published would also come in e-format, but nothing about it appealed to me. Damn it, I want the real thing. Something I can hold and smell the fresh ink on paper. I'm sorry but there is nothing like the smell of a new book. And an old book for the matter.

That is until a couple of months ago when my dear techie hubby actually bought his first Kindle. I watched him take it out of the thin certified frustration-free packaging, turn it on and start buying books. The stirrings of heat fluttered in my belly as he handed me his new toy and said, "check it out."

My palms began to sweat and my heart raced with unbidden excitement. My nerves curled up into tiny little tight balls. I took the device in my hand and a shudder vibrated through my entire body. Every cell of my body cried out in pleasure and WANT.

And thus began my Kindle lust....

For the next two months I constantly dropped little subtle hints like. "I think Santa should bring me a Kindle for Christmas, don't you think honey?" or "You know a lot of my writing friends are e-published, I really should get a Kindle soon so I can read their stuff." and "Man reading on the computer is so hard on my eyes. It gives me a headache. *rubs temples* I so hope I get Kindle for Christmas."

Thankfully my dearest love is a smart man (duh, he married me), because I opened a lovely Amazon.com certified frustration-free packaging box on Christmas Eve which contained my most coveted gift.

So my point is.....and yes I do have a point!

Don't turn your nose up to e-readers or e-published books just because they are not the "real" thing. E-books are as real as the books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I've had my Kindle for two weeks now and have read five books, two of them being best-sellers. I probably would not have read that many in such a short period of time if I hadn't had the e-reader.

I personally know several respectable authors who are solely e-published and are doing well for themselves too.

What I like about my Kindle:

  • It's light. I can carry it just about anywhere.
  • I love how it feels in my hand (surprisingly).
  • I have access to a bookstore wherever there is Wi-Fi.
  • I can eat a sandwich and read my book at lunch without haven't to demonstrate unique body contortionist skills or wishing I had an extra set of arms.
  • It's easy on my eyes.
  • I have access to my Kindle books on my phone, which is not so easy on my eyes, but works for a few minutes here and there while waiting for a friend or the bus to come. 
  • The Kindle has rekindled my love for books and writing--something I had not expected or realized possible.*pun not intended*
  • And I don't get paper cuts. :)
What I miss about tangible books:

  • The bookstores, I love bookstores. I hate shopping, but I LOVE bookstores. I could live in one for the rest of my days and feel like heaven.
  • The smell of published books and hearing the paper sliding against paper as I turn the page.
  • And that's about it. 
And there is the short version of my lustful love story with e-readers. Happy reading and writing! Talk to you next week when I'll be reviewing The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder.

Till then you can catch me on twitter tweeting about who knows what. Cheers,

Melania 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1st Sunday Snippets: 2012

Rock Creek in December, view from main cabin window.




Happy 2012 Everyone!


Hope your holiday season was as fabulous as mine. I got two of the best presents EVER for Christmas-- a Droid 3 (from myself) and a Kindle Touch (from hubby). We spent Christmas weekend with friends and family. The week between Christmas and New Years we went to our little cabin in Eastern Oregon for some well-needed R & R, which in my case means sitting by the fire reading with a cup of hot coco in my hand.

Guess what I took with me?

My Kindle, of course! (Will talk more about e-readers next week.)

I bought six books to take with me:

The Hunger Games Trilogy (YA) by Suzanne Collins
Tempest Rising (YA) by Tracy Deebs
Radiant Desire (Adult) by Inara Scott
All I Want for Christmas (Adult) by Ros Clarke

I read the last two books of the Hunger Games Trilogy. Holy macaroni! I couldn't put them down for nothing. The only other books I've read that captured me this way are the Harry Potter and Twilight series. At night I would dream about the characters and the challenges they faced. During the day when I wasn't reading, every thought would lead to either Katnis, Peeta, or Haymitch. It's a good thing hubby already read them and loved them too, because for two days that is all that I talked about. What a brilliant series and a sweet ending.

I enjoyed the other books as well, but Hunger Games pretty much took the cake. If you haven't read them, shame on you!!!!

So it's the first of the year and usually people make resolutions around this time. For the last five or so years, I haven't bothered with resolutions, because well, they don't always work the way I would like them. What I've learned is to focus my intentions on something I would like to achieve and so far I've had better success.

This year my focus is on getting published. I'm super close. My writing has gotten so much better in the last 12 months. I see my mark and the distance is diminishing. The one hurdle I have to conquer is editing. I HATE editing, however, I know if I'm going to achieve my goal I must suck in my gut, straighten my back, sit my butt down, and freaking EDIT. All of yesterday leading to the New Years party, I sat down at my computer and editing my NANO project. So far I'm over 25% done, which by the way is the most I've ever accomplished on any of my manuscripts. Since that is what I'm focusing on at the present my snippet will be the first ten lines.


Scents of musty old soil surrounding the grave and the woodsy musk of the nearby forest tickle my nose. The chill in the air blends with the coldness of the rough stone pressing against my palms and thighs. Goosebumps ripple across my bare flesh. Where had the humid Romanian summer night gone? Right now it feels more like I've been thrown into an icebox than hiding behind a gravestone. Maybe the stories are true, this graveyard is haunted. 

Cool.

I grin like a silly girl in the dark. But only for a moment as I hear gravel crackling under the weight of footsteps. I let my body lie flat on the slab of stone covering the grave below me. It has the largest headstone of all the graves in the forbidden area, which makes it the perfect place to conceal myself.

Thanks so much for reading. Cheers,

Melania