Sunday, March 31, 2013

By the way...

I can't believe I haven't posted about it yet, but here is some good news I'm hoping you'll all be pleased to hear: From the Shadows is finished!

You read that right, it is FINISHED! 

I struggled long and hard with this book for just about eight months, which strikes even me as odd when my previous two novels took less than two to write -- in fact, I wrote my second published work and a short story in the midst of writing this one. I don't understand it either, and can only think that perhaps I let too many outside influences get in the way. I suffered and struggled with stress, depression, and anxiety throughout the writing of this book. I lost some friends to foolish misunderstandings, my car to an accident, feared I would lose my job when it looked like I might not be able to get another one... So many things happened, there were times I just wanted to give up on it. Times I got sick of it not being done but feeling powerless to do anything about it (which probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you when I'm the one who was writing the story). It wasn't so much that I had writer's block, because the story was in my head, and I'd get ideas all the time as to where to take it. There was simply too much of a lack of motivation to do the work. More than once I opened up that Microsoft Word file intending to work and would look at the words already on the page and think... I just can't. And I'll be honest with you in that I fear that taking so long to get the story done has left me with a product that is not as captivating as it's predecessor. Only the readers, I think, can tell me different.

I know there is still work ahead with editing before I can publish, but I am feeling so much more relaxed now that it is done. I don't feel so stressed out anymore over a project that was taking far too long for my taste to complete. I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from professional writing for a week or so to work on some other projects. I've read and reviewed a book by a writer friend, and I've got a story to edit for another. I've also a possible editing job lined up which will earn me money, and I'd like to get back to work on a couple of fan fiction projects that got left hanging in the wind when I embarked on my professional writing career.

Yes, I still write fan fiction. Not because I lack imagination and originality, as I saw another person suggest fan fiction writers are without, but because it is fun. It's really quite amusing (and a challenge, in some cases) to take established characters on an adventure the original author might not have, all the while endeavoring to stay true to the character's established traits. It's also fun to create your own set of characters and insert them into in an established fictional universe. How would they handle that strange, wonderful, or frightening world? Far from lacking imagination and originality, fan fiction writers must have an abundance of it in order to make their stories as "real" as those penned which inspired them. They must work as hard, if not harder, than the professional writer who creates their own world. I can now proudly say I have done both.

Book Review: Ménage à Trouble

Today I read and reviewed Ménage à Trouble by Eva Marie Paulliere. I found it to be a surprisingly pleasant diversion on this Easter Sunday (by the way, Happy Easter, everyone!). 

Book: Ménage à Trouble

Rating: 4 black roses

"Having read other works by Ms. Paulliere, I have come to the conclusion that she has a flair for writing messed up stories." To read the full review on Amazon, click here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I can see the finish line!

I've had a very productive day writing, so much so that because of the lateness of the hour (after 4 a.m. right now; and my day doesn't end until I go to bed), I may not get any done tomorrow before work. We shall see. If not before, I shall try and get it done after, because by golly the book is nearly finished and my goal is to get it done before April 1st!

I really am feeling super-excited, folks. Many of you know I've struggled for various reasons to complete the second Shadow Chronicles novel. But the Lord has blessed me and my Muse and over the last week or so, and though I've not been writing every day, I've definitely gotten a lot done -- I'm on page 7 of chapter 20, looking at at least three more pages to finish out the chapter, and then I have to write the prologue. It's getting there, it really is, and then, of course, the editing phase will begin!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More good vibes means another sneak peek!

Because I'm feeling pretty good about the work I've gotten done, here's a little snippet of the scene I am working on RIGHT NOW!

My hope was short-lived. As Merrick was pulling open the sliding door on the passenger side, he ordered his goons to search us. They took their time rubbing their hands all over us, their rough fingers lingering between our legs, on our asses, squeezing our breasts. Panic began to overwhelm me, and I fought desperately to control it. I couldn’t go through another experience like I had, not again. But I also couldn’t fall apart and give in to fear because Caroline needed me. I had to be strong, to keep a clear head for both of us, if I was going to devise a way out of this mess.

“Cell phone on the piece of tail, Boss,” my captor said, pulling my phone from the pocket of my jacket.

Merrick turned, taking the phone from him. “Ooh, seems we’ve got a call in progress—I wonder who it could be?” he put the phone to his ear, grinning as Race began to bellow loud enough that even his mother could hear him.

You are fucking DEAD! I am going to rip your worthless fucking spine out with my bare hands, you sorry piece of SHIT, if you harm one hair on their heads!” 

Merrick glanced at his muscle. “Get ‘em in the van, and don’t worry about being careful when you tie and gag ‘em—oh, and girlie? Piece of advice: don’t even think about turning into that fucking mutt you become. I see one paw on you and Silas here gets to fuck lover boy’s mommy to death.”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A rave review for Chasing Shadows

There really is no better motivation than the words of a satisfied customer. Thanks so much to Shawn, whose words have helped me push through some doldrums and get some work done on From the Shadows. Click below to read her review for yourself!

Friday, March 22, 2013

5 more stars!

Check this out! Fire Born has gotten another 5-star review from reader Jana---thanks Jana! So happy you liked it!

"Couldn't put it down!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A sneak peek...

Because I am actually starting to feel good vibes and am planning on getting some writing done... Here's a snippet from my current WIP, From the Shadows. Enjoy!

After sitting for another ten or fifteen minutes just brooding over the conversation with my brother, I went inside to order something to eat. I hadn’t shifted in a while, but that didn’t mean my metabolism was less a furnace than it usually was, and I needed fuel. Of course, I’d lost my appetite by then, but I still ordered a mocha frappé and a cinnamon pretzel with cream cheese in the middle. I then returned to my table outside, where I mostly picked at the pretzel and barely sipped the frozen coffee. A moment later, Karen—the assistant manager who had come in shortly after I was hired and was close to becoming a friend—came and sat in the chair to my left. She said nothing at first, but I could feel her eyes on me, assessing me.

“Is everything alright, Juliette?” she asked finally.

I shrugged, trying to re-form the wall of indifference around my heart, which after talking to Mark had begun to crumble. “I’m fine,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, far be it for me to pry into someone’s personal life, hon, especially someone I don’t know all that well, but ever since you got that call from the English fella this morning—”

“He’s Irish,” I corrected her automatically.

Her lips twitched. “Okay, the Irish guy. Ever since he called you’ve been a bit…twitchy. And just now I observed you on a phone call that made you cry.”

I stiffened and looked away from her, now even more angry at myself for having allowed my moment of weakness to be observed. Karen sighed, then said, “Look, I know it ain’t none of my business. I’m sorry I asked. But I kinda thought we were becoming friends, so… I just want you to know that if and when you are ready to talk about whatever’s going on, I’ll listen. And I won’t judge you.”

Fire Born is still hot!

I woke up today to a simple, yet very satisfying 4-star review of Fire Born on Amazon (review #10!) today. Thanks a bunch to reader Roxannw for her kind words! Click here to see what she had to say.

Roxann doesn't have to worry, I definitely plan on continuing the Firehouse 343 series!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Getting lucky was great!

I have to take a moment here on the Diary to thank all the fabulous readers who have downloaded a copy of Chasing Shadows. Thanks to you, the book made it as far as #12 in Amazon's Paranormal category, and up to #14 in Romantic Suspense in the US/India market. In the German market, it's gone as far as #8 in Romantic Suspense!

The Get Lucky event has been absolutely wonderful, and I have the the generous Shayne McClendon to thank for allowing me to take part!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Do you feel...lucky?

Guess what folks? Tomorrow at 12 a.m. Pacific Time (1 Mountain, 2 Central, 3 Eastern) you can start to Get Lucky! 

Come join me and several other authors as we offer up some free books for your reading pleasure---books that will be free all weekend long!

Get Lucky Facebook Event Page

Click this link to get a comprehensive list of the books being given away, blurbs on the books, and links to connect with the authors!

Get Lucky Free Books

Monday, March 11, 2013

Caitlin Hensley and the Inhuman Chronicles

I am proud to be hosting here at the Diary Ms. Caitlin Hensley as part of her blog tour for the the first book in her series The Inhuman Chronicles, Paranormal Legacy

Paranormal Legacy is a young adult paranormal fantasy novel. Here is a synopsis:
After moving to a rural Pennsylvania town, cynical teen Haily Long soon discovers that the next-door neighbors are paranormal creatures of darkness. Despite this little quirk, the Knight family seems friendly enough, especially handsome Nathan. Nathan is well-mannered and polite, your typical boy next door . . . except for the fact that he turns into something else once a month. In a matter of days, Haily is drawn deep into a shadowed world of danger and deceit, and learns startling truths about her own past. When sinister strangers come sniffing around town for Nathan, and Haily gets pulled into the resulting chaos, she must discover how to unlock her true heritage if she wants to survive.
And here's an excerpt!
There’s a noise behind me, a floorboard groaning under a cautious foot. I start to turn, but a sweaty hand clamps over my mouth, forcing my lips shut.
My attacker shoves me down onto the bed, and I bounce twice on the mattress, smacking my head against the headboard. 
I squint up at the figure looming over me, standing beside my bed. It takes a moment for the blur that’s his face to snap into focus, then I recognize him. It’s the guy from the coffee shop.
“What the . . . what are you doing in my room?”
My guest answered some questions about herself and her writing process. Here is what she had to say...

Are the characters in your book based on people you know?
Actually, no. Haily and all the others just popped into my head one day, and slowly evolved into characters that just seemed so real to me. I can’t seem to stop writing about them.
What books have influenced your writing?
I’ve read lots of books on writing that have really helped me. The first one I ever read was called How Not to Write a Novel, and it was both funny and informative. Since that was the first book on writing that I ever looked at, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Also, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare inspired me to strive to become a better writer.
Do you have a critique group/beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I used to have a critique group, but that kind of fell apart. Now I have two beta readers, though I still do an insane amount of self-editing.
Would you be willing to have one of your books made into a movie? Which one?
Hm, that’s a tough one. Probably one of the books I’m working on now, which is called Dust to Dust. It’s about a teenage drug dealer living on a futuristic planet plagued by hungry vampires. There’s lots of action in it, so it would probably work out as a movie.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
If I couldn’t be an author, I’d probably like to do something with animals. Or maybe become a psychologist.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Untold Promise, book two in The Inhuman Chronicles, will be released in a few months. So keep an eye out for that. :)
Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate! Definitely chocolate.
Pepsi or Coke?
I’d say Coke.
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Definitely a dog person. I have the sweetest little Chihuahua named Blair. :) ((Something Caitlin and I have in common! I have two Chihuahuas named Mojo and Daisy!))
If you gave your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Probably something sarcastic. It seems like nearly every character in Paranormal Legacy is at least mildly sarcastic. Which is interesting, because I almost never use sarcasm.

About the author:
Caitlin Hensley has been telling stories since she learned to hold a pen, and is pretty much obsessed with writing. She’s the author of The Inhuman Chronicles, as well as the novelette Together Alone. When not typing frantically on her laptop, she’s usually dancing, catching up on reruns of her favorite TV shows, or getting lost in a great book. She lives in rural Oklahoma with her family and a slightly nutty Chihuahua.

Want to know more about Caitlin and her books? Feel free to visit the following pages for more info, or to drop her a line and say hello!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Five stars from the UK!

Can't believe I never thought to do this before, but I was inspired to look up Fire Born's rankings on other Amazon sites and found that one of the UK readers who downloaded my book left a review! Here it is---thank you to kazza248!

"Compelling read."