Borrowed Magic Giveaway!

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So, Siege has been out fora week now, and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped make it a success. It’s still in the top 20 on two of Amazon’s free lists and in the top 100 on three others!  If you still haven’t downloaded it, click on the “Where to Buy” tab at the top of the page and it will link you to all the places it’s available.  And it’s FREE (except for Amazon international, which still hasn’t price matched it yet.  But it’s only $.99 or the international equivalent)! And remember Borrowed Magic comes out a week from today!!!!

Also, I wanted to announced two things.

First, as soon as Siege gets 20 honest (yes, be honest) reviews on Amazon, I’ll post the entire first chapter of Borrowed Magic on my website (right now it’s just the first 3 pages). Because I know you all want to see Philip! (If you cross post the review on Goodreads, then I will love you!)

Second, I’m doing a Goodreads giveaway of 3 paperback copies of Borrowed Magic! It’s open for entries until January 31, 2016. Here’s a link to my website where the Goodreads widget right at the top of the page will take you right where you need to go to enter:

Thanks again!!!

I’m going to try this again…with Maggie Stiefvater

Don’t get too excited! I really don’t have time to post frequently, but I thought I’d see if I could catch up — at least a little.  I did update a lot of the content here and posted some new writing samples if you’re interested.

So, what have I been reading? A lot. But for today, here is one of my favorites.

The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater.

I LOVE THEM!!! Can I say it again. I LOVE THEM!!!

The characters are amazing.  The story is so creative.  And the writing is absolutely beautiful.

Here’s the blurb on Amazon for the first one:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

So…read it. That is all.

(I do have one disclaimer. There is one character who has a really foul mouth so if that is offensive to you, you might want to proceed with caution.)

Four books I’ve read (Book Reviews: The Graveyard Book, Forest of Hands and Teeth, Fragile Eternity, City of Glass)…and writing I haven’t done enough of…

Have you ever been talking with people, reading blogs, searching amazon, or just searching books in general and you keep running across a particular book or author?  Well, that’s how I was a few months ago.  I kept hearing about Neil Gaiman.  Now, I’ve read stuff by him before and I liked it a lot.  However, I recently tried reading “The Graveyard Book,” and I just couldn’t get through it.  I tried, and I really had nothing else to do because of the new baby, but I just couldn’t finish.  I was interested through the first few chapters, and then I just couldn’t get myself to read it anymore.  I stuck it through about a third of the book and then gave up.  Now, this rarely happens to me.  Even books I don’t love, I almost always finish.  So, nothing against Mr. Gaiman (like I said I’ve read other books of his and like them), but I just couldn’t get into his latest.

Another book I’ve read recently is “The Forest of Hands and Teeth,” by Carrie Ryan.  I had read the cover flap of this one and had heard about it from a number of sources.  It sounded interesting so I tried it.  My overall view is that it was really interesting.  I didn’t realize before I started that it was kind of a zombie book, but that didn’t really bother me once I got used to the idea.  I actually kept picking it up to see what would happen next (even when I had other things that I should have been doing).  I read the book in less than two days because I really really wanted to see how she would resolve the ending.  And here is my only criticism…there wasn’t enough resolution for me.  And it wasn’t just that the ending wasn’t fully resolved to my personal liking.  There were little things throughout the book that I felt were left hanging, things I would have loved more explanation for.  And this might be entirely just me.  I like resolution.  It doesn’t have to be a  happy white picket fence ending, but I do like resolution.  And there was some…just not enough, at least for me.  Still, I would highly recommend this book if only for its creativity and originality.  The characters are great and their growth through the decisions they make was fascinating.

All right, now for a book I’ve been waiting for.  I just finished “Fragile Eternity,” by Melissa Marr.  I’ve blogged before about this series.  I loved the first one, I liked the second one.  And…I loved the third one.  This latest book got back to the main characters introduced in book one.  It also escalated the conflict between the faerie courts.  Old friendships cracked, new ones were forged.  Alliances were constantly shifting and sometimes strange.  And it was great.  I couldn’t put it down.  Ms. Marr has created such a great world that’s fun to delve into.  It’s both comforting and scary at the same time.  “Fragile Eternity” really brought everything to a head and I can’t wait to see how everything is resolved in her next book of the series.  As a writer, I’ve had so many thoughts on how I’d resolve this one (do any of you other writers do this, think of endings you’d write to other people’s books?).  I’m excited to see how she does it.

Ok, I know this has gone on way too long, but I have one more.  This is another book I’ve been waiting for.  It is the third book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare.  It’s called “City of Glass.”  I know this series has gotten mixed reviews, but I have really enjoyed it.  The world she’s created is so imaginative and yet you can almost believe it really exists right alongside reality.  I also love the characters she’s created.  They are real, flawed, and likeable (most of the time, which is just as it should be).  Ms. Clare has taken urban fantasy (which I’m starting to get a little tired of because it seems like everything is UF these days), and applies her own twist.

Now about my own writing.  I’m actually really excited.  I haven’t written much, but I’ve had the greatest idea.  There’s always been a part of my book, and it’s the critical set up and introduce everything part, that I haven’t been totally satisfied with.  I’ve left it alone because I didn’t know what else to do.  All that stuff had to be in there and I just didn’t know how else to do it.  Well, I finally figured it out.  I think the book will start off quicker and trickle the back story out bit by bit instead of a big dump of information.  Much, much better.  Maybe now, when I send out a partial, it won’t come back.  I hope maybe this has been part of my hangup with getting someone to read enough that they just can’t put it down.  Here’s my fingers crossed.

My Beautiful Daughter…oh, and some books I’ve read.

Wow, what a month.  First, I was tired and miserable the few weeks before my daugher, Adrianne, was born on April 24, 2009.  Now, I’m just kind of tired.  I haven’t been able to do much writing lately, but I have done some reading (but more on that in a minute).  I know it has nothing to do with writing, but here are a couple of pictures.  The first was taken the day Adrianne was born, so I’m not looking so hot, but what do you do.  The second is just to show you how cute she is (at least I think so).


On the reading front, I have read a few interesting books while I’ve been getting back to a normal schedule.  The first seris is The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  It’s entertaining and an easy read.  On a little deeper level, I read “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  This book is definitely more of a thinker and I really enjoyed it.  It reminded me a lot of “The Lord of the Flies,” except I think I liked it better.  Anyway, for anyone who wants to read a great book about how people react to and approach extreme situations, this is a good one.

“Twilight” Movie Review

I freely admit to loving the “Twilight” books.  I don’t think I’d quite qualify as “obsessed” (I don’t own any “Team Edward” or “Bite Me” t-shirts, and I didn’t go see the movie at midnight), but I’m definitely close.  Anyway, this weekend I went to see the movie and thought I’d give me opinions.

Overall — I liked it.  Bella was perfect.  Edward was good but not out of this world, but how could any Edward be perfect?  My main problem with him was that sometimes there seemed to be too much weird emotion going on.  Now I don’t know if that’s an acting issue or a directing issue.  Don’t interpret this wrong, though.  I enjoyed watching and would definitely watch it again.

I did like how it really stuck to the book.  Some things were left out, some things were added, but the idea was the same.  I didn’t come away thinking:  “That’s not the book I read.”

As I sat there watching it, I did have one thought over and over.  I’d watch a scene that had problems and, as a writer, I’d realize that part of my problem with it was the lines the characters were given.  You can only do so much with the screenplay.  So, then I wondered if part of what I didn’t like with Edward was just a screenplay issue.  I really don’t know enough about movie making to know if it was acting, screenplay, or directing.

My final analysis is regarding the cheese factor.  There definitely was one.  Not that it was unexpected.  Heck, the book is written for teenage girls.  The storyline is about a vampire romance.  It’s going to have its cheesy elements.  My problem wasn’t that kind of cheese.  My problem was that there were some moments so cheesy that I laughed out loud — and I don’t think that was the intention.  And that brings me back to the screenplay thing.  How much of that could have been de-cheesed (is that even a word?).

All of this leads me to consider books made into movies in general.  Having read a lot of books made into movies, I have to admit that sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t.  I loved “Lord of the Rings.”  Of course, Peter Jackson had nine hours to do it justice.  I’ve also loved the Harry Potter movies.  I know some people have complained about details left out, and I’ve felt the same about a few myself, but still, the movies portray the overall emotion of the books so well that I can’t complain.  When “The Firm” was made into a movie, I actually liked the ending in the movie better.  Go figure. 

And then there’s “Eragon.”  I liked the book a lot.  I liked the story and characters.  I didn’t like the movie.  And it wasn’t the casting.  I liked the casting (except for Saphira, which might not have been casting, but how the whole talking to the dragon was portrayed).  I especially liked Brom.  Perfect.  BUT…and as you can see, it’s a bit but, the story wasn’t even the same.  If you hadn’t read the book, it might have been all right.  But if you liked the book, you knew it was almost a different plot.  Why take a perfectly good story and change it?

Well, that’s my rant about movies for the day.  Tell me how you felt about the “Twilgiht” movie if you saw it.  I know other people who have hated it and people who have absolutely loved it.

The great search for an agent…

Yesterday I started seriously sending out queries.  Scary.  It’s not even that I’m devastated when I get a rejection.  I’m not, really.  It’s more worry that all I’ll get is rejections.  You only need one yes, but what if it doesn’t come?

I have quite an extensive list of agents who represent young adult authors, and who don’t specifically state they won’t accept fantasy.  My question to all of you is:  What names do you have of agents in this category.  I’ve looked at all the websites and data bases.  I’ve checked books I like and found who their agents are, and yet I still find names I’ve never heard of before.  I’d love anyone’s input.  Even smaller agents or newer agents would be fine.  (Sometimes they’re the best because they’re still building a client list.)

And thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

Book Reviews, 1500 hits, and a movie

I decided to start sharing my opinions on some of my latest reading adventures.  Be warned, a lot is YA fantasy or urban fantasy because that’s what I write, so I’ve been doing a lot of research into the market.  Today I’m going to start with Melissa Marr.  She has two books that have done extremely well.  The first was “Wicked Lovely.”  (Side note:  the cover is beautiful, and I have to say, isn’t that the best title ever?)  I like this book a lot.  There was just enough romance but just enough true urban fantasy.  I never want to give too much away, but it is about a girl who can see faeries and then gets caught up in their world, changing her life.  I would reccommend this book.  Ms. Marr’s second book is called “Ink Exchange”, and it just came out a few months ago.  I also liked this book but, have to admit, not as much as the first.  I’m not even exactly sure why, but it wasn’t as fulfilling at the end.  Still, if you read the first, you should read the second (some of the characters show up in both).

Now to the second part of my post title.  It took me almost two months to get to 1000 hits, and it’s only taken me a few weeks to get an additional 500.  Yea!!!  Everyone keep reading and commenting.

Finally, it has come to my attention (it’s come to almost everyone’s attention) that the sixth Harry Potter movie has been moved from November 21, 2008 to July 17, 2009.  That’s quite a delay!!  And while I was really excited about seeing it in a few months, there is one good thing to come of the move.  With a great pre-Thanksgiving spot opening up, the Twilight movie has upped its release date three weeks to take the now vacated Harry Potter spot.  So while I have to wait an additional eight months for Harry Potter, I get to see Twilight three weeks early.

What to do???

Ok, so I have been working with a few volunteer readers (who are also writers) to polish my book.  One of them has done the first two chapters, and I’ve made some great changes.  I decided to post the updated versions (also the versions here) on a writers forum and see what kind of response I got.  I’ve had about ten or eleven people respond — and here’s the strange part.  Some of them absolutely love the writing style, the dialogue, etc., and some of them hate it.  It’s just so strange to see two such contrasting viewpoints.  I know, I know, everyone isn’t going to like it, but I was just a little surprised at how different the opinions were.  Hopefully, I can be happy about those who loved it, and glean something useful out of the comments from those who don’t.  Anyway, if you happen to see a new version of the prologue or chapter 1 appear at any moment, don’t be surprised.