Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Winner of Elemental has a Sequel Giveaway Announced!

You guys are amazing! Thank you so much for making this giveaway as awesome as it could be!

There were 102 entries total and random.org chose...

...

...

...

...

#67!

Gianna!!

Congratulations, Gianna! I'll be sending you an email by the end of the day!

Thanks again to everyone for participating! And remember that if you'd like Elemental swag, you can always check out the Swag! Stuff! Free! page up above. Also, I have LOTS of t-shirts, so I will definitely be doing more giveaways over the next few months. Some will be done here, others will be done on twitter and the Elemental fb fanpage, so keep a lookout! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last Day For Giveaway

Today's the last day to enter for a chance to win swag, fire-related goodies, and a locket that is very important in Elemental!

If you haven't already done so, check out the giveaway, and good luck!

Oh, and as an added bonus, there will be a special message in the locket for the winner (which is also important in Elemental). What are you still doing here? Get to entering!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm a Sprinter. How About You?

Why yes, that is exactly how I look when I run, throbbing muscles and all :)


One of my least favorite things to do is run. I really hate it. With a passion. In fact, it's one of the primary reasons I decided not to extend my career in the military. I just couldn't stand the running portion of the PT tests. Situps? Pushups? Bring 'em on! I could do them all day. But run? My stomach is twisting just thinking about it.

Two miles of pure hell.

Except for the last hundred yards. I loved that stretch. Why? you ask. Because I'd sprint the rest of it. And I LOVE to sprint.

Ironic, I know. But I'm not a long distance runner. I'm a sprinter. I love the rush of wind against my heated cheeks, the way my body works like a perfect, well-oiled machine. When I'm sprinting, I have perfect form. When I'm running, I look like a flopping rag doll, and I'm usually gasping for air. 

And you know what else I loved about the last hundred yards? There were always a group of soldiers there to cheer me on. During the rest of it, I was always on my own with no one to push me forward but me. 

And believe it or not, I hate first draft writing. When I look at the sheer length of what is before me, I become overwhelmed and discouraged. This is why I have to break it up into manageable lengths. If I don't, I'll end up walking through it all, like I was often tempted to do during a PT run.

But just the other night, a friend of mine and I did a word sprint. And boy did I love it! One hour of writing abandon. And just like how my body performs when I sprint the last hundred yards, my brain pushed all those words out with precision. Over 1,600 of them!

At the end of the hour, my friend and I congratulated each other and joked around. It was fun! It was just like the encouragement I'd get at the end of my sprint in the military. 

So yes, I'm a sprinter. How about you?


You still have time to enter my 300 follower and Elemental has a sequel giveaway! There's swag and a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind locket that looks shockingly similar to a locket in Elemental!

Also, please help me out with the Goodreads debut authors of 2012 list. I was so close to hitting the top five last week, but plummeted to #10 in just a few short days. I'd really appreciate it if you guys could vote for me. Thanks in advance!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Interview with Jessica Bell, Author of String Bridge

Today, I'm very pleased to announce, I'll be interviewing Jessica Bell, author of recently released String Bridge! Please join me in welcoming her! And also, please stop by her blog and pay her a visit.


Let's get started!





So, Jessica, for anyone who didn't see my review yesterday, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your debut novel, String Bridge?

String Bridge:
Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage--and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits

I wrote this book because I wanted break into the women's fiction market and steer it away from the stereotypically glorified woman that is most commonly portrayed today and replace with pure honesty instead. Not every woman in this world lives without regret, knows exactly what they want, and has the courage to put every essence of their being into achieving their dreams. Not every woman is inspirational to others. Not every woman can leave their comfort zone to better their future. But, so what? Does that mean a less strong-minded woman doesn't have an interesting story to tell? Definitely not.

Can I just say that this was EXACTLY why I loved String Bridge so much! I felt like Melody was real and I could completely relate to her.

Me:
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s. I spent much of my childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. I currently live in Athens, Greece and work as a freelance writer/editor for Hellenic American Union, Cengage Learning, Pearson Education, Education First and Signature Manuscripts. I have published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found on my website. Additionally, I have written various English textbook materials and am also a singer/songwriter/guitarist.

In September, 2012, I will be running The Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. The workshops are designed for both aspiring and established writers and used primarily as a playground for sharing a passion in an inspiring environment.

Did you always want to go with a small press?  What's your favorite part of working with Lucky Press?

Not in the beginning. I think like every aspiring author the dream is to get an agent and hit the bestseller list, yeah? But that’s not always realistic in today’s publishing climate. I soon realized that my style of writing better suited a small press and decided to start submitting to those. Lucky Press is perfect for me and has been amazing. My favorite part about working with them is most definitely the bond we’ve developed. They are more than my publisher, they are my friend.

If you could pick one line or one paragraph out of your whole novel to share with everyone, what would it be?

I’m not sure I’m ready to wipe my skin dry; to drown myself in a new ocean, where my desire for fleeing this emotional cage hides like a mermaid ambivalent about growing legs.”

Wow. That is gorgeous writing.

What's your favorite thing about your MC, Melody?  Least favorite (if any)?

Favorite: that she is only human
Least favorite: that she is only human … J

Why did you pick her story to write?

Even though music doesn’t define me as much as writing does, it is still a big part of my life. And the idea for the book came about when I was thinking about a time in my life when music was all I ever wanted to breathe. Even though my priorities had changed, I still wanted to write about the power music has over someone who is so passionate about it. But I think music could be replaced by any sort of passion in String Bridge, because basically the story is about needing something more than you need yourself.

Is there any more you wish you could have told, but didn't?

Nope, nothing. But I still wake up in the middle of the night wishing I could change nit-picky things!

What draws you to the genre you write in?

I love playing around with different words and sounds and seeing how differently they roll off my tongue. Literary fiction is just like singing without a melody. It’s writing to a tempo.

Are you working on anything we can read in the future?

Yes! My second novel, Bitter Like Orange Peel, is about a twenty-five year old Australian archaeology undergraduate named Kit, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. She feels misplaced and comes to the conclusion that meeting her father, Roger, will make some sense of her life, despite him being worth the rotting orange rind in her backyard. Well, at least that’s what she’s been conditioned to think of him by the three women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clich├ęs, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed professional archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania, who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and who named her daughter after intravenous. Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger, but in doing so, discovers he is not the only rotten fruit.

My third novel, Muted, is set in Arles, France, in a totalitarian society where it is illegal to wear clothes. In some streets, it's also illegal to sing without accompanying instruments. Concetta, a famous Italian a cappella singer from before “the change,” breaks these laws. As punishment, her vocal chords are brutally slashed and her eardrums surgically perforated. Unable to cope with living a life without song, she resolves to drown herself in the river, clothed in a dress stained with performance memories from her hometown, Milan. But Concetta's suicide attempt is cut short as someone grabs her by the throat and pulls her to the surface. Is it the busking harpist, who encouraged her to feel music through vibration, acting as saviour? Or a street warden on the prowl for another offender to detain? From this moment, the reader will discover how Concetta came to be in this position, and what will happen to her after the suicide attempt.

Muted will explore a variety of themes such as overcoming loss, coping with mental illness and disability, dealing with discrimination, loss of freedom, inhibited self-expression, motivation to succeed, escaping oppression, expression through art and music, self-sacrifice, channelling the thoughts of the deceased, and challenging moral views and values.

Those sound great! I can't wait to read them!

Now for some fun questions:

You're trapped on a deserted island.  Which of your characters would you bring to keep you company, and why?

Tessa. Because she has her whole life ahead of her and she might have more motivation to get us off it! Hehehe …

Melody can only eat one meal for the rest of her life.  What does she choose?

Oh gosh, I think I came across a similar question elsewhere and found it really hard to answer because I never actually thought about what her favorite food was … Um … probably Greek Salad. Simple, tasty and nutritious.

And finally...

Is there anything about Greek music that Melody likes?

Probably the way in which it makes her want to belly dance when she’s had too much wine.

Ahahaha! Love it! Thanks again for stopping by, Jessica! 

And for all of you who would like to learn more about Jessica and her novel, String Bridge, here are some links for you to check out:

blog 
String Bridge website 
Jessica's website








Wednesday, November 16, 2011

String Bridge, by Jessica Bell

From the website:


"Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage—and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits, and she realizes she's been seeking fulfilment in the wrong place."













About the Author:


Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s. She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide.
Jessica has also published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found on her website.

What I thought about String Bridge:

Okay, so I think everyone should know by now that literary women's fiction is not my typical genre of choice. It's almost as far from YA sci-fi as you can get. But when it came to reading Jessica Bell's String Bridge, none of that mattered.

It's one of those books you take to bed with you, and when you wake up in the middle of the night, you're still thinking about the last line you read. And I'll admit there have been a few books I've read throughout my life that have touched me so deeply, gotten so under my skin, that I've had to remind myself I wasn't the MC. That those things weren't happening to me. String Bridge was one of them.

I cried at parts, I laughed at others. And I fell in love with Melody.

I would absolutely, 100%, give this book five stars. Aka, what are you still doing here? Go and buy this book now!!!

And because I like to make things convenient for you, dear readers, here's where you can buy it:

ebook:

Paperback:

And please tweet or share this post to help Jessica spread the word about her book! Thanks!



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 9 of NaNoWriMo

All you participants should have at least 15,000 words written by the end of the day.

Are you going to reach it?

If not, don't freak out. It's really not the end of the world, and if you don't "win" NaNoWriMo, it doesn't mean you've failed. It might mean you weren't prepared for it, though.

There's a lot of different advice out there for completing this month of word vomiting, so I'm not going to bore you by repeating it all. For one, this is only my second year participating (and admittedly, I'm cheating this year because I'm just finishing something I'd already started--Yes, you can throw your pitchforks and flaming torches at me). So, I'm not an expert by any means. And two, a lot of that advice is just plain bad. Like, not using contractions? What's the point of that? Okay sure, if you're not really hoping to send this book to agents or editors some day, go ahead. Use those little tricks that will add minimally to your word count. But if you ARE planning to submit your work, don't make your life harder.

It is possible to come away with a decent first draft in a month.

Let me repeat that.

It is possible to come away with a decent first draft in a month.


There are arguments to the contrary, although I don't understand them. Professional writers complete first drafts in a month or two all the time, but because they don't do it during NaNoWriMo, it's taken seriously. Whatever.

The problem isn't going into NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing a book in a month. The problem is going into NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month, even if they're all bad. And let's face it, 50,000 words is overwhelming. Really, REALLY overwhelming. And it's way too tempting to just start putting down whatever you can think of to get to the end of that goal.

And really, going from beginning to end can be overwhelming, too. So don't do it. Instead, read Story Structure--Demystified, by Larry Brooks. Reading this book has literally changed the way I approach writing the first draft. Instead of writing beginning to end, I write beginning to first Plot Point, first PP to first Pinch Point, first Pinch Point to Midpoint, Midpoint to second Pinch Point, second Pinch Point to second Plot Point, second Plot Point to end. It looks like a lot, but each of those sections is only a few thousand words long (ranging from 7,000-15,000--depending on the projected length of your novel). And when you're done, you have a first draft that looks like this:

Got it from here

Instead of this:


And yes, I still consider myself a pantser. I may have all those points generally figured out, but I let the story shape itself to get to them. So no arguments from all of you who say you can't outline. It's not outlining. It's preparing the story.

Have you noticed that in the second picture there's some green and purple, and that the blue and red don't even touch each other? Some serious editing is required to get that one to even begin to resemble the final product. Because you can't get that to this:

Got it from here, too.

The first one is at least on it's way there. A first draft that has a complete story in mind with connecting parts just needs a little more fine tuning to finish. The lines need only some embellishment, some more connective tissue.

So if you're freaking out because you think you need to vomit out words to be successful this month, calm down and remember what you're really doing is writing a story. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Let the life of your characters be the goal, not the numbers.

So, with all that in mind, how are you guys doing with your writing? Are you in love with the story yet? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

300 Follower and Elemental has a Sequel Giveaway!



Yes, I am combining two wonderful events into one amazing giveaway!

If you haven't been following along or if you're new to the blog, well, two very awesome things have happened recently!

I hit 300 followers!

and

I've signed with Spencer Hill Press to publish the sequel to my soon-to-be released debut novel, ELEMENTAL! The title of the sequel is FAE.

I am absolutely in love with the title and I wish I could tell you guys just how PERFECT it is.

Just trust me on this. It's perfect.

So in celebration of these two momentous events, I'm having a giveaway! (In case you couldn't tell already)

The prizes are:

A swag bag of splendiferous Elemental goodies! Including a signed Elemental t-shirt, a signed Elemental poster, an Elemental pen, and fire-related treasures that will remain a surprise.

AND


This locket!

I did a lot of searching and this locket CLOSELY resembles a very important piece of jewelry in Elemental. And it's totally one of a kind. I kind of wish I could keep it for myself. :o

To win, all you have to do is comment and spread the word! But wait!

There are other ways to get entries! 

Comment* = 1 entry
Blog, tweet, share on FB about this contest* = 1 entry each (aka if you do all three, you get three entries, etc.)
Old Follower =2 entries
New follower = 1 entry
Like Elemental's FB fanpage = 1 entry (new!)
Put Elemental on your to-read list on Goodreads = 1 entry
And my favorite entry (one I hope everyone does):
Write a short story (under 1000 words) with this prompt: You're going about your normal day when something happens and you discover you have power over one of the elements = 10 entries

All short stories will be posted on this blog, so I really hope you do it! I'd love to see what everyone comes up with!

You have from now until November 28th to participate! I might even give a special prize to the person with my favorite short story. *Hint, hint*  ;)

Good luck! 

And please mention in your comment which things you are doing and add up the entries for me. Thanks!

(for those of you who tweet about this, please include #faegiveaway with the tweet so I can keep track of it)

*mandatory to be entered into the giveaway

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Announcement of Elemental Proportions

:)

The second book in the series has been titled!!!

...

...

...

FAE

Here's the Publisher's Marketplace announcement:

Emily White's FAE, the sequel to ELEMENTAL, the story of a girl who may save the world... or destroy it, to Kate Kaynak at Spencer Hill Press, in a nice deal, for publication in 2012 (World English).



YAY!!!  And in celebration of such a momentous event, I'll be posting a giveaway on Friday! I just got some great swag in the mail from SHP, so this is a giveaway you want to participate in!