Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Sun Award!

It may be pouring rain outside while I'm writing this, but I feel all warm and fuzzy inside having been nominated for the Summer Sun Award by my my awesome Twitter and Pinterest buddy, Shanah Wooldrage.

I had a whirlwind vacation in the States this summer and was busy every day.  My only regret?  Not having time to meet up with Shanah in person.  Hopefully, my next trip to Wisconsin won't be so crazy and I'll get to see the woman who regularly brings a smile to my face with some well placed words on the net. See Shanah's Summer Sun Award on her blog, Sisu Diaries.

So what's the Summer Sun Award?

A bit of fun! You nominate people who warm your heart or brighten your day.

Here are the rules:
1.     Display the Summer Sun Award logo and link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.
2.     Answer the questions listed below.
3.     Nominate a further eight recipients (one for each sun-ray).

 And now to the questions:

Favorite song with summer in the title or the lyrics (give the line): Summer Nights from the movie Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  I actually just bought the movie last week and forced my family to watch it with me tonight.  They, uh, didn't appreciate it as much as I did and were off in their relative corners with their various hand-held devices by the third song.  Pfft. No taste.

Favorite book about summer: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.  If I'd have known I'd cry until my eyes puffed out like pillows, I would never have picked this book up.  Very glad I didn't know because it was a very good read.

Favorite hot summer film:  Ha. The only films I've seen this summer are animated ones.  Oh, and I was forced to watch Teen Beach Movie.  While sober. 

Favorite summer memory:  The summer I when I was fourteen.  That was the summer I chewed Big Red, listened to Billy Squier on the 8-track and kissed some boys.  It was also the summer I got the chicken pox.  I was too ugly to be seen but didn't want to miss an instant of fun, so I went to a party wearing a shirt sideways over my head, looking out the spaces between buttons.  Ahem.  Yeah.  Well, I was a big hit, okay? 

Favorite summer holiday destination:  My parents' house in Wisconsin.  Not exotic, maybe, but there's no place like home. 

What books will be in your suitcase this summer? I'm still on my indie author kick and have just started the first on my TBR list.  A Human Element by Donna Galanti.  It's an adult horror novel, a bit of a detour from my usual YA list, but I won it in a giveaway! So far I'm enjoying it.

What’s your likely destination this summer? Just got back from Wisconsin.  We have guests most of August, so we'll be doing the usual mountain and lake and cave tours here in Switzerland.  Hell, we might even mix it up and go up to an amusement park in Germany if we have a few bucks left.

 What hottie would you most like to be sharing the hot days and long nights with this summer? Sorry to break it to you, Shanah, but Robert Downey, Jr. is MINE, I say.  ALL MINE.

Whew!  Summer questionnaire done.  Drum roll, please!  Here are my nominees:

DL Nelson

Nancy Freund

Wendy Storer

Amanda Callendrier

 Andrea Cumbo

Toni and John Rakestraw

Darcie Duranceau

And of course two of my fave book bloggers (not sure how they'd do this post on their blogs, but want to nominate them anyways because they work hard for nothing and make lots of people smile!)

Toni at My Book Addiction

Lexxie at (un)Conventional Reviews

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Cover Discovery: Guest Post by Emma, 10 and Elodie, 6

I saw this on a different blog a while back (sorry! can't remember which one since I follow so many!) and thought it would be fun to do with my kids.  So, since it's the last day of vacation and my brain is butter, I figured this would be a great time.

I showed the girls the covers of books and asked them what they thought the book was about.  Here are their answers:

 Looking for Alaska

 Emma: Somebody who's dying and his soul is coming out.

 Elodie: A ghost with a tornado who haunts kids and papas and mommies.

Emma: A girl who got hit by lightning and after is all by herself.

Elodie: A girl who wants a boyfriend and doesn't have one because she's dead. She's a ghost.

The Host

Emma: A girl who is obsessed with somebody and she can't stop herself.

Elodie:  A girl who transforms into a werewolf in the full moon.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

Emma: She's at a carnival and there's a protest.  People shoot and she hides. Because she's smoke she can go wherever she wants.

Elodie: She's lost and she found some bones.  They are the bones of her mommy who is dead.  She can't live without her mommy so she's going to kill herself.


They vaguely know what the story is about, but wanted to say for my book what they'd think if they saw it on the shelf.

Emma: It's about a girl calling for a cab.  "Hello!"

Elodie: A girl was in a tornado and was taken away.

Thank you, Emma and Elodie.  I still worry about getting you into therapy.  I believe you are around your mother who loves dark fiction and creepy tales way too often.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Guest Post: Giveaway on Fae Books (yep, Untethered is in there)

Fae Books 4K Likes Giveaway Hi there, I'm Sarah Fae from and I'm celebrating reaching an amazing 4000 Likes on my Facebook page  To thank everyone for following the page and supporting my own dream as well as the writers, bloggers, authors, graphic designers and everyone else I'm lucky enough to work with, I've organized a mahoosive giveaway for you all. I hope you like the list of prizes for this event. Everyone got involved in this, Authors, Bloggers, Crafters, Graphic Designers and more! So there are a bunch of amazing prizes for you to win!  Just take a look at the Rafflecopter form below and do each entry, following the folk who've made this giveaway possible is a great way to thank them and show support for what they do. Once you like all the first Facebook entries, more will open up so you can earn even more entries by following the rest of the Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as some extra entries I've left for you AND a chance to get 10 bonus entries when you complete everything in the list. Best of luck with the giveaway, and don't forget to use all the entries you can, more entries means more chances to win! Sarah Fae xXx
*~~**~~**~~* Start & End Dates: Start:  Friday 19th July 2013 12:00am UK Time End:  Friday 20th September 2013 12:00am UK Time *~~**~~**~~*
Prize Description Clarification:
Please find below a prize description where the prize listed in the Rafflecopter might need some further clarity.
World-Building Critique and Feedback ($70 value)  
Donated by: 
The Bearded Scribe
Prize is for writers
With this service, I'll review your manuscript's world-building material and notes for consistency and clarity, discrepancies and weaknesses, strengths and uniqueness, among other factors. I will offer a thorough critique with detailed feedback, pointing out places in your world that need work or reinforcement. The service includes the initial email exchange of your notes, my critique and feedback, and two, thirty-minute sessions via Facebook or iMessage.
Terms & Conditions:
One prize per person, except where it is a prize pack. Prize packs are classed as one total prize. Fae Books is not in control of sending out the prizes, the original prize donators are. Some prizes may be coming from all over the world, so please be patient. Any found cheating on any entries will have their entries removed from ALL Fae Books giveaways and be placed on the Banned list. This means you will be banned from winning any further prizes from my promotions. Not associated with any other entity. Only those legally allowed to may enter. Fae Books will designate prizes, prizes will not neccessarily be designated in the order they are listed as some prizes have specific eligibility criteria to be met. Prizes donated by Fae Books will be sent out with my monthly prize batches, this is because it's expensive and when I get paid, I do not get paid for anything to do with Fae Books, so please be patient. 
Enter the Giveaway:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Keeping it Real: Researching for Novels

Ten years ago I was reading a book by Anne Rice and didn't want to put the thing down.  I was so into the story, so entrenched in that world, that real life just fell away. I didn't question anything Ms. Rice wrote.  It's called "suspension of disbelief" because the writing and story carries you along well enough that anything can happen and you allow yourself to believe it to be real.

But then I got to the hospital scene that takes place in Geneva, Switzerland.  The scene where the main character goes unnoticed on the staff because she can speak perfect German.

Uh. Yeah.  We speak French here in Geneva.

My suspension of disbelief?  Blown wide open.  I found I just couldn't get back into the book anymore after that.  It was still awesome.  Still creepy.  But it now felt fake to me because of that practically insignificant detail.  Anne Rice probably never knew it was an issue.  German is the main language in Switzerland.  Had I not been living in Geneva at the time, I wouldn't have even
noticed this snafu.

Fast forward ten years. My book, Untethered, is published.  I spent hours and hours researching astral projection, sleep disorder tests and how to make explosions with Diet Coke and Mentos.  What I didn't do?  What never even occurred to me and the dozen or so people who read it before publication?  Laws on how to proceed should a kid faint in class.  A fellow author called me out on this in her review because that's what pulled her out of my novel.  That's what blew away her suspension of disbelief.

Dammit.  Why didn't I see that before publication?

I'm not going to rewrite the book since I've already done so eighteen times.  I'm hoping the writing and story carry most readers along well enough that a detail like that won't ruin the novel for them.  I mean, the girl is astral projecting.  It's not super realistic fiction.

But that's kind of beside the point. No matter how wild your story is, you need to keep the realistic stuff as close to real as possible.  You need to keep your reader engrossed at all levels.  And part of that is giving them no reason to doubt the world you've created.  Good writing makes it happen.  So do strong characters. Yet, unfortunately, there's no substitute for research.  (Big groan here.)

No author is going to get absolutely everything right.  There will always be a reader out there more knowledgeable in one aspect of your novel than you are.  It's going to happen.  But research makes it less likely to happen.  Or at least less likely to happen often.

Writing paranormal fiction gives me some leeway.  Some strange stuff can show up in my books and it's par for the course.  But paranormal research is probably the most fun.  Studying medical procedure is torture for me.  Studying ghost busting? Awesome! (Check out my guest post at the Cover Contessa on paranormal research HERE.) 

It's a research weekend for me, so I'm off to good ol' central Wisconsin to study setting.  I get to go swimming in Devil's Lake and eat local cuisine.  Now that's the kind of research I can handle.

Then Tuesday evening at 7pm EST, this week's edition of Slush Heap is focused on -- guess what? -- researching for novels.  Joseph Giacalone and Marguerite Ashton will be the experts.  I'll be there, too, to learn from them and to share my experience of not always getting things right. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest post over on The Cover Contessa

Our pet lightning bug, Gigi! (Don't worry, we freed her.)
Okay, I'll be honest.  I'm on vacation and I was too unorganized to have written something ahead of time.  In my head, my vacation consisted of lots of time to read and write while the kids played together for hours.  Well, it's not like that.

Actually, it's much better.

Switzerland is awesome in the summer.  But WI is even better because the only thing I ever miss overseas is here: my family.  The kids and I have been spending every day with family we rarely see. It's been so fun.  But forget the writing time.  I'm falling into bed happily exhausted every night barely having checked my e-mails, let alone having written blog posts.

But I'm working a bit. I am taking two days to go up to Devil's Lake to do research for the book I'm writing.

And speaking of research...

Just happens that today I have a guest post over at the super cool blog,  The Cover Contessa, on researching the paranormal.  Check it out here: Paranormal Activities Guest Post

In the meantime, I'll be going to Build-A-Bear with my girls, catching lightning bugs and eating way more food than is good for me.