12:15 PM

Books Read in 2010 - March

I seem to have outdone myself this month with over 30 books. I'm a little concerned it may mean I need an intervention, but it's so worth it.
So without further ado, I give you my book list for the month of March:

Moon Called – Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound – Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed – Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed – Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson – Homecoming – Patricia Briggs
From Dead to Worse – Charlaine Harris (re-read)
Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris (re-read)
Captivate – Carrie Jones
Storm Glass – Maria V. Snyder
Sea Glass – Maria V. Snyder
Some Girls Are – Courtney Summers
My Soul to Take – Rachel Vincent
My Soul to Save – Rachel Vincent
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
The Bermudez Triangle – Maureen Johnson
Girl at Sea – Maureen Johnson
13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
Devilish – Maureen Johnson
Fire – Kristin Cashore
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Chasing Brooklyn – Lisa Schroeder
Wake – Lisa McMann
Fade – Lisa McMann
Gone – Lisa McMann
Cry Wolf – Patricia Briggs
Stray – Rachel Vincent
Rogue – Rachel Vincent
Prey – Rachel Vincent
Pride – Rachel Vincent
Wondrous Strange – Lesley Livingston
The Faerie Path - Frewin Jones
Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr (re-read)
Ink Exchange – Melissa Marr (re-read)
Fragile Eternity – Melissa Marr (re-read)
Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Scarlett Fever – Maureen Johnson
The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

2:00 PM

Another Award?

Mizzez Melly Mel, another aspiring author, blogger and twitter friend has kindly graced me with an award!
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As an author, we have to be creative, yet keep things believable, no? So the rules to accept this award are as follows: I have to make eight statements about myself. Two of them will be truths while the other six will be...not so true, although they might be based on dreams and wishes! You get to guess which are true. I'll post which two are true later in the week.

1. The only two articles I ever wrote for my high school newspaper ended up in the yearbook.

2. I write Smurf erotica under a pen name. (It's hard when there's only one female smurf!!)

3. I spent the night in Amsterdam's Red Light district.

4. I speak two other languages (conversationally) besides English. They are Spanish and Japanese.

5. When I went to Vegas three years ago, I got married but had it annulled the following day.

6. I'm hard on cars. I've gone through six of them in the past four years.

7. I climbed Mt. Fuji on a dare.

8. At the age of 27, I tried out for American Idol, but didn't make the cut.

11:20 PM

Teaser Tuesday

Kirin glanced at Ryan’s profile and anger surged through him again. He abruptly stood up. Saven looked up questioningly at him. They exchanged a couple of words in their own language before Kirin left the home. Ryan looked at Saven inquisitively. The Felinian flushed and looked embarrassed.

“He uhh…he said he can’t stand to be in the same room with you and that he had to get out and do something to work off his anger.”

“I see,” commented Ryan. “Nice to know I made a new enemy today.”

“He’s not a bad person,” Saven explained to Ryan, “but he’s got a bit of an anger issue…not to mention a hero complex…” Again Ryan gave a quizzically look. Saven sighed.

“A hero complex is when one feels compelled to help others and make all right with the world. While it’s not an awful thing to be, it makes him put everyone else before himself, not caring if he gets hurt or killed in the process. Honestly, it’s amazing he’s still alive. He was always a reckless kitten and has had more broken bones and injuries than any other I know. Our mother must have rolled over in her grave a million times over his antics.”

“Your mother?” questioned Ryan. Saven nodded his head with a small smile.

“He is my younger brother,” Saven explained.

“You don’t really…” Ryan trailed off.

“Look alike?” Saven asked. Ryan nodded, feeling embarrassed, but the two really did not look similar. Saven was a ginger color with cream colored markings, almost like a tiger’s stripes. His eyes were a deep green color and he was on the short side, shorter than Ryan’s 5’10” anyhow. Kirin, on the other hand, was gray with black markings, if Ryan had to classify him as a type, he would call him a tabby. His eyes were a piercing bright yellow and he was tall and muscular. He had a very serious look about him. Ryan wondered if he always looked like that or if it was just because of the current situation.

“We have the same mother, but different fathers,” said Saven. “It’s not uncommon here as men tend to outnumber the women but in this case, my father was killed and my mother sought comfort from his best friend. They ended up marrying and he became Kirin’s father.”

“I’m sorry,” Ryan said knowing the pain of losing a parent. Saven gave him a sad smile.

“Thank you, but I was very young when he passed and I don’t remember him much. Kirin’s father Samus, has always treated me well and took me in as his own son. It was much harder when our mother passed away.”

“When was that?” asked Ryan. Saven sighed.

“Let’s see. I was 13 and Kirin was 11 so about 9 years ago. That was when Kirin’s hero complex kicked in.”

“Why is that?” questioned Ryan although he had an idea of the answer he was going to hear.

“As you can see, our valley here is very green and lush with vegetation. It’s due to the way the water collects here when it rains. There have been many occasions over the years where the river has flooded. Sometimes it comes up quickly, without much warning. The currents then are very strong…” Saven trailed off for a moment, lost in his thoughts. “Our mother and Kirin were down on the river bank. Kirin was fishing while our mother was cleaning some clothing. She was standing in the water, her dress hiked up and tied as to not get wet. She was beating the clothes against a large rock. The flood appeared in the blink of an eye and she was swept off her feet. Kirin dropped his pole and raced to save her. He waded in the water as far as he dared while holding onto a tree branch that hung over the river. He grabbed our mother’s hand and tried to hold onto her and bring her to the shore, but he was only 11. Just a child who’s strength was no match for that of an angry swollen river. She slipped from his grasp and continued down the river. She must have hit her head on a rock in the process and drown. Kirin has never forgiven himself.”

“But…he was just a child!” Ryan exclaimed.

“I know, but understand that this is just how he is. He will always carry the burden and guilt in his heart. Many of us have explained to him over the years that there was nothing more he could have done and that he was lucky to be alive, but he always says it should have been him and not her. Now he feels compelled to save everyone and everything. I guess he’s trying to make up for not being able to save our mother, but I’m afraid he’s going to get killed in the process.”

12:16 PM

Author Appreciation - The Many..

A week is not nearly long enough to discuss all the great authors out there I enjoy and appreciate. As this is the last day of our week honoring them, I'm going to fit a bunch of them in here!

At the top of my list is one Miss Hannah Moskowitz. Why is she at the top of my list? Because I'm simply amazed at what this 18 yr old published author has accomplished. She's exactly where I wish I had been at that age: a fantastic book on the shelves, another due out shortly, several other manuscripts to show her agent, etc. On top of all that, she's a college student and an amazingly friendly, helpful, down to earth, funny gal. She also has a great voice for her characters. If you haven't read her book Break yet, I highly recommend picking it up. Thanks Hannah for well..just being you I suppose! Keep up the great work!

The next slot is going to go to Cassandra Clare. She's another fantastic YA author who does an amazing job with world building and voice. I read her Mortal Instrument books right after I finished the Twilight books and then I recommended them to everyone I knew because I felt they were great and ought to be as popular as Twilight was, if not maybe more so (Sorry Stephanie Meyers, as much as I love Twilight, Jace beats out Edward for me, hands down!.) Beyond being a great author, she is another who seems really down to earth and not above talking to her fans, offering information and encouragement. I admit I was a bit star struck when I had a conversation with her about cover art. Thanks Cassandra for putting out great stories and for being friendly to me. I cannot wait to read Clockwork Angel!

The next two authors kind of go together for me. I learned about Holly Black and Melissa Marr around the same time and picked up Marr's Wicked Lovely and Black's Tithe in the same shopping trip. I hadn't read anything involving faeries before these books and I found myself hooked and heading back to the book store to get the companion novels for both series. Since I'm a Jersey girl, I love Holly Black for setting some of her stories in my home state. I feel this extra sense of belonging when I read a story and know of the places the author is talking about (that broken down carousel is in Asbury, right?). Melissa Marr's great works really taught me about all the different kinds of faeries and got me out of the notion that they are all pretty and nice like Disney tried to tell me. She also has an amazing fanbase and is quite active within it, which I love. So thank you ladies for my journey into the world of the fae and I am so excited to read more works by the both of you!

This post could go on and on, so I am going to just list a couple more authors I adore and a line or two why:

Suzanne Collins: Hunger Games & Gregor the Overlander. Fabulous and captivating. Need I say more?

Scott Westerfeld: Sci-fi for girls? A retelling of a war story I actually enjoyed!? You sir, are a hero.

Tamora Pierce: I wish my characters could be as bad assed as Becca Cooper.

Maureen Johnson: I had put myself into the paranormal so much, I had forgotten other great genres are out there. Thanks for the reminder with your great works. You're also hysterically funny.

John Green: Nothing makes me cry like your books...but they also crack me up and give me a look into what life for a teenaged guy is like. Thank you for that.

Not YA authors, but definitely worth mentioning:

Charlaine Harris: How can one not be sucked in by Sookie and the fantastic blonde viking? Also, I swear if I ever have a boy child, I'm naming him Quinn.

Patricia Briggs: Even after Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse books, I never realized how much I loved werewolf stories until someone recommend your Mercy books to me. Even in such a saturated genre, your works stand out at the top.

There are dozens more out there I could mention, but I've taken up enough of your time! Thanks to each and everyone of you for creating such interesting and compelling stories that have made my heart hurt and laugh, that have made my mind swirl with the possibilities of my own stories being displayed on shelves next to yours, for bringing me into a world I had forgotten and hadn't realized I missed so much.
Thank you all.

1:36 PM

Author Appreciation - Lisa Schroeder

There are a lot of great YA authors out there today that have really inspired me to get back into writing and reading, and I will go over many of them tomorrow, but today I wanted to dedicate a post to one specific author, Lisa Schroeder.

When I really got myself back into the YA scene, I kept hearing from people that I needed to pick up this book I Heart You, You Haunt Me. I checked it out online and thought it looked like something I'd like so I added to it my list of books to read. I remember when it came in at the library. I brought it home and put it at the top of my pile to read first. I grabbed it later in the day and curled up on the couch. When I opened to the first page, I have to admit, my smile slipped away a bit. A poem? UH OH. Poetry is so not my thing. I thought, well, maybe it's just the opening and then it changes to a standard format. Nope. I flipped through and it was just pages and pages of skinny one sided text. I was briefly disappointed, but I told myself I was being stupid and I should give it a chance. So many people had gushed to me about how great a book it was. So many people couldn't be wrong! I turned back to the beginning and started to read. Two hours later, I was closing the book with a big smile and that special little sadness one feels when a great story is over. I immediately rushed to put another of her books, Chasing Brooklyn on my to read list. Her verse style writing really pulled me into the emotional state of the characters and kept enough of the background information to make the plot move, without forcing me to plod through the sometimes unnecessary extras that make their way into a story.

Now maybe you're wondering why I picked to single her out this week. Maybe you're thinking I'm going to try my hand at verse writing. HA! I love how she does it, but it's definitely not something I could pull off, nor would I attempt to. I chose to discuss Ms. Schroeder because I admire her courage and perseverance. Novels written in verse are not a very common occurrence these days (although thanks to her website I've found more to enjoy!) and I think it probably took a lot on her part to defend her style and to get it out there to the public. All aspiring writers need to have courage and a strong backbone to continue to push forward through rejections and criticisms to get our babies out there, but when you opt to do something a little out of the ordinary, I think that job is much more difficult. I also want to thank her for opening my eyes to the fact that stories do not have to follow the same format as everything else out there in order for it to be enjoyable and interesting.

So many thanks to Lisa Schroeder for writing amazingly emotional stories, turning me on to novels written in verse and for taking a chance on something out of the ordinary which turned out to be extraordinary.

12:50 PM

Brief Interruption..

Just because I have to gush a little and be excited for my first blogging award!

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Fellow aspiring author and lovely follower, Liz Czukas has honored me with the above Sunshine Award! Thanks Liz!!

Here's what is needed to accept the award:

◦Put the logo on your blog in your post.
◦Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
◦Link the nominees within your post.
◦Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.
◦Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I do promise to comply and do these things, but I will say I'm going to at least wait until Author Appreciation Week is over before I spread the love, so stay tuned to see who else is worthy!

Thanks again Liz!

1:20 PM

Author Appreciation - Stephen King

To continuing to show love to some of my favorite authors could not be done without discussing the king of horror novels, the one and only Mr. Stephen King.

I couldn't begin to tell you the number of strange looks and double takes I had gotten through my childhood years when I was seen reading a King book. From a young age I was always able to separate fiction from reality, so horror books and movies intrigued and entertained me, rather than leaving me scared of the dark and things that go bump in the night. King always has an amazing voice for his characters, making them compelling and easily able to draw you into the story. It always amazed me how he could write such complicated and intricate stories, like The Stand, keeping all the characters and their own little subplots straight while still being able to have them lead to the main plot. It makes my head spin to even try to think about how he managed that.

I loved that he could keep pumping out all these great books while keeping them different enough so I didn't feel like I was reading the same thing over and over with different character names. He certainly has quite an arsenal of stories running around in that head of his. I especially loved when he came out with something different from the norm, case in point: Eye of the Dragon. I love that book sooooo much! It showed me a much more comical side of King.

So to an author who could get me to read a 1000+ page book in under two weeks at the age of 12, an author who made me realize how damn creepy and scary clowns really are, an author would made me first brave the adult reading section of the library, I tip my glass to you and offer a hardy thank you!

8:44 AM

Author Appreciation - Carolyn Keene

So the first author I'm going to discuss this week..is kind of an odd choice considering she doesn't exactly exist. Let me go back a little and give some personal details on why this is my choice before we move on.

Even as a child I was a voracious reader. I was using all my allowance, birthday monies, etc. towards books. While there were several books of the Sweet Valley variety, peppered with Babysitters Club, my main brain food of choice were Nancy Drew books. My mom had started me on the Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden books and I graduated to Nancy, Bess, George and of course Ned. I just couldn't get enough of Nancy and her adventures. The best? When she teamed up with the Hardy Boys! God I was in heaven with those books. Double the size, double the "crime" fighters, double the action and hi-jinx!

While I don't write mysteries, a certain aspect of the writing style has stuck with me in my own endeavors. I am speaking of the end of chapter cliff hangers. They are the reason I would breeze through the books so quickly. I'd HAVE to keep reading to see what happened. Just one more chapter would turn into two and three and four! I loved the anticipation of that and I try to put it into my own writing.

So enough of skipping down memory lane. Let me explain Carolyn Keene for those who don't know. There kind of is no Carolyne Keene (hence why it might seem odd for "her" to be my choice). Ms. Keene is actually a pseudonym for the ghostwriters who penned the many Nancy Drew books. I had no idea growing up that there were such things as ghostwriters and pen names, etc., but I still love that all the different authors stuck to the format and kept Nancy pretty much the same for me.

Therefore, my hat's off today to the many different authors posing as Carolyn Keene. For helping nurture my love of reading, for the cliff hangers that kept me up at night with a flashlight and for fooling me into thinking there was only one person writing all those books!

7:44 PM

Author Appreciation Week!

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As you can see, today starts Author Appreciation Week! A week dedicated to letting our favorite authors know how much we appreciate all the hard work that goes into crafting their stories. As an aspiring author, I know it's not a simple thing to get your ideas onto paper in a coherent and entertaining way. It takes a long time between an idea and a final product. There are outlines, research, first drafts, beta readers, edits, rewrites, etc. The process is long and tedious so that the readers can have the best experience possible with the stories they dive into.

The idea for this great week was the brain child of author Heidi R. Kling. Stop by her blog and drop her a line or thank her for coming up with a great idea!

Keep checking back as I will try to post something everyday this week to thank some of my favorite authors!

11:17 PM

Post of a different color - Book photos

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here, but besides being an aspiring author, I'm also an amateur photographer. I thought I'd use my other skill to show you guys about my reading habits. They say it's important to know your genre and to read all you can. I take that advice to heart and here is the proof!

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

8:33 PM

Teaser Tuesday

Natalie cautiously maneuvered herself so that she was sitting on the edge of the bed, her feet touching the cool wood flooring. She quickly threw up a prayer to the gods that today she’d be able to get up and move around without much difficulty. She would have to make it work if she planned to leave tonight. For a moment she stopped and realized how many more people were going to be upset with her once they realized she was gone, but she couldn’t let anything stop her from what she had to do. Not even her traitorous body. Grabbing the back of the chair, Natalie took a deep breath and stood She was still for a moment and let herself register the aches and pain. Eventually the lightheadedness pass. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before. It might just work. She let go of the safety of the chair back and carefully took a step towards the cabinet. So far, so good. By making it over to the cabinet, she felt triumphant. Tired but elated that she could do it. She rummaged through her bag before deciding it would just be easier to bring the whole thing down with her. Natalie easily made it out her door, but stopped at the stairs. Looking down she felt as if she was going to be descending down Mount Everest. She took a deep breath, and carefully stepped down the first step. There was a jarring pain that set her teeth on edge as she put her foot down. This would not be a fun excursion. Holding onto the railing for dear life, Natalie slowly and painfully made her way down the staircase. So involved and focused on what she was doing, she failed to notice Lindsay was sitting at the table drinking a mug of something hot. She only realized someone else was in the room when there was a smattering of applause when Natalie reached the bottom. Her head shot up and she thought for sure she was going to see Kirin standing there, a sarcastic grin on his pretty face. Natalie exhaled the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding in when she saw it was only Lindsay. The other girl was wearing jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt. Her shiny blonde hair was pulled up in a messy bun and her face was scrubbed clean of makeup. Her eyes were clear and bright as she assessed her patient from across the room.

“That was impressive,” Lindsay commented, taking a sip from her mug, her long fingers wrapped around it for warmth.

“It was terrifying,” admitted Natalie.

8:54 PM

How about some smut with your romance?

I'm a healthy, single girl who enjoys some smut from time to time. While I'm all for a good romance, it drives me crazy, in a good way, when I read romances chock full of sexual tension, but no actual action! I have been known to occasionally yell at my books in the hopes that the characters will hear me: "KISS HER ALREADY!!"

I've seen some debates about whether or not smut should be included in YA books.I'm not so old that I can't remember being a teen. I was interested and curious about sex and all that goes along with it. I think it's a natural step in a relationship and that teens today can handle reading it. I don't think it should be immensely graphic and detailed, but alluding to things and some heavy petting should be acceptable.

That being said, expect it from me. I keep it relatively tame (I'm not an erotica writer), but keep it steamy enough that readers can picture it in their minds. I do admit to call it heavy petting, when the MC's love interest is a cat boy, cracks me up, but hopefully it'll get my readers a little hot and bothered rather than make them laugh!

I'd love to hear about others' thoughts on the topic. Do you think it's acceptable? Do you think some YA authors out there have crossed the line with it? (my 2 cents says "no"). Do you write it yourself? Do you enjoy writing it? (I find it HARD!). I do wonder if people struggle with it as much as I do. I swear I blush while writing some of it! Heh. It's a good thing I write in private most of the time...

10:27 PM

Teaser Tuesday

How about something steamy this week?

“Is this ok?” he whispered in her ear, his warm breath tickling her skin. Unable to reply, she simply nodded her head. He tightened his arms around her and told her to keep watching the lake. They sat in silence for several minutes when Natalie noticed something slide across the incredibly still body of liquid. She sat up a little trying to make out what it was. The one was followed by several more. They looked like stars shooting through the water.

“OH!” she exclaimed suddenly looking up. Just as she thought, there was a meteor shower going on in the sky. It was beautiful, but to watch the same show reflected on the lake top was incredible. She wished she had a camera to record the moment so she could remember it forever.

“Kirin, it’s beautiful,” she gasped.

“I’m glad you like it,” he told her, his voice deep and husky. Natalie turned her head to thank him for bringing her but when she saw his face, the words would not come out. All the passion and the heat from the night before had returned to his eyes. They were glowing bright with desire. Natalie was sure it was echoed in her own eyes. Kirin deftly shifted Natalie so she was sitting in his lap, facing to one side. Cupping her face in his warm hands, he turned her chin to meet him. Her hazel eyes closed in anticipation. The kiss was soft and gentle, at first, then the heat of their passion took over. It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other. Natalie ran her hands through his hair. As she gently scratched behind his ear, he became perfectly still. Concerned she did something wrong, Natalie opened her eyes and went to move her hands from his head.

“Don’t,” he choked out, his eyes closed in ecstasy. “Please, don’t stop.” Feeling emboldened by Kirin’s reaction, she resumed scratching him behind his ears while kissing his face and neck. Kirin let out little moans of pleasure and purrs. His breathing quickened and she could feel how fast his heart was beating. In one swift move, Kirin shifted their bodies again so Natalie was lying on her back and Kirin was hovering above her. Both of them were breathing heavily. Natalie lazily noticed that the meteor shower was still playing in the background. Kirin brought his head down and gave her a long slow kiss. He settled himself down next to her, propping himself up on one elbow. His free hand caressed the length of her torso. That hand crept under her shirt as he continued stroking her body. Natalie shivered.

“Cold?” he stopped kissing her to ask. She shook her head.

“I’m on fire.”

Spurred on by her admission, Kirin re-took possession of her mouth. Both of their hands were under each other’s shirt, exploring the unfamiliar territory. Each touch lit a new flame of fire. When Kirin began fumbling with the button on Natalie’s jeans, she grew still. She placed one of her hands over his and slowly shook her head. Looking in her eyes, Kirin realized that he had tread into uncharted waters. He removed his hand and gave her one last sweet gentle kiss while surreptitiously pulling her shirt back down to cover her bare skin. He gave her a compassionate and understanding smile while stroking her hair.

“It’s late,” he finally said. “I should take you home.” While Natalie never wanted the night to end, she knew it was for the best. It was breaking her heart to think that she might never see this man again.