Thank you for visiting Jagged Edge Reviews. We have a lot of exciting reviews, guest posts, cover reveals and book blitz coming up! I apologize we are going through a bit of a change as we have been away for a short time but we are getting back into the swing of things! Just getting a bit organized again, please be patient.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crescendo

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
How Received: Purchased
Rate: 5 

Summary:( as quoted from book jacket)Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever (if that’s possible) and what’s worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora’s archenemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he is hiding something.
If that weren’t enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly difficult situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

My thoughts:
Crescendo was a lovely companion to Hush, Hush. Although a bit slow in the beginning, once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down. As Nora tries to find out why Patch is being so distant, she also uncovers very interesting clues about her father’s murderer. Vee gets funnier in this book, and the loyalty between her and Nora increases. There is a big cliffhanger ending and I am dying to see where the story goes from here.
5/5 

~Moujnir

Guest Post with Katie Salidas

What a better way to celebrate books other then to have a Guest Post! 
Thank you Katie Salidas for being here with us!


Process of Editing
Aka: "How long it took and the steps hit between first draft and finished"

The path from first draft to finished product is a lot longer than many people think. What you actually read in that published book is the product of sometimes ten or more revisions.
We start with the first draft. Think of this as the bare bones of the story. The characters are there, the scenes are there, but they are in a natural and raw state. Needless to say, they are often filled with plot holes, spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. And that’s ok. “First drafts are supposed to suck.” That’s my mantra. I don’t mean the story is crap, what I mean is, it’s unedited. Trying to edit as you write is the worst thing you can do with a first draft. It stops the creative flow and makes you focus so hard on the mechanical stuff. That often leads to a writer getting frustrated and not finishing. Once you have a complete story on paper, you can go back through and clean it up a little. Then it’s time to move on to the next step in the process.
For me, that step is submitting to a critique group. A good critiquing group can help the story on a substantive/developmental editing level. What that means is :they read (usually chapter by chapter) and tell you what parts to tighten, what doesn't make sense, what plot threads need to be developed, etc.
It’s a slow process, going chapter by chapter, but it really helps to focus on each scene individually. After a few rounds with a critiquing group, and multiple revisions, your manuscript begins to look a lot like the final draft you see in books. Notice I said “begins.” It’s not ready for publishing yet.
After I’ve finished the critiquing phase, I move on to beta readers. I like to choose about 5 people for this. These people are different from critiquing partners because they read the story as a whole. A beta reader can be anyone (other than friends or family). You want someone you can trust, but also someone who won’t be afraid to tell you where there are issues in the story. They might find some obvious editing errors, or they might find major plot holes that weren’t caught in the critiquing phase (sometimes working chapter by chapter means larger story issues are missed).
Once I have all of the notes back from the various beta readers, I go back for yet another round of revisions. At this point I am on about draft 6-8, depending on how much revising I had to do in the critiquing phase.
After that, you move on to an editor. This editor takes care of the final copyediting. A good editor will usually take a two-pass approach (at least mine does). They edit a section of the manuscript and send back editing notes. You go back and correct things based on the notes and resubmit. The editor then takes another look and makes final tweaks before sending it back. Then you move on to the next section and so on, if all goes well, the manuscript should be very clean and ready to publish.
So, you see, from first draft to published book, it takes quite a lot of work, and multiple revisions. At times they seem endless, but in the end, they are all worth it to produce a quality story that you can enjoy.

KATIE SALIDAS

Author of the hot new Urban Fantasy series, Immortalis, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she's dreamed up fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires at an early age, she devoured every book, featuring those mysterious, blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find. She claims that, of all the monsters out there, vampires had always been the most interesting.
It was only natural that a love of reading about vampires, and a love of writing, turned into a desire to write her own stories.
A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories.
Amazon

Amazon UK

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cryer's Cross

Author: Lisa McMann
Series: - - -
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
How Received: Purchased
Rate: 5


Summary:  The small town of Cryer’s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD- addled brain. When a second student goes missing - someone close to Kendall’s heart - the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school - messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there - Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions. Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross - and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.


My thoughts:
Cryer’s Cross was an awesome read! It’s the type of book that you pick up expecting to read only one chapter, and end up reading ten. Suspenseful and surprising, I was on the edge of my seat the entire book, trying to figure out why these two teenagers disappeared without a trace. Like the cover, the book was creepy and dark, but it also had a sweet romance that worked surprisingly well with the story. McMann has managed to create another amazing novel, and I’m truly looking forward to see what she does next.
5/5



~Moujnir

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Series: - - -
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
How Received: Purchased
Rate: 4


Summary:  Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City - shopping sprees at Barney’s, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her very own horse at the country track. At least it was …
When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if life B. R. - before the recession - was as perfect as it seemed.


My thoughts:
The beginning of this book was a little slow for me. Corrinne was snobbish and it made me think how far is going to take it just because she can’t buy a 1000 dollar dress every other day? But when Corrinne moves to Texas, she becomes smarter and a lot more humble. Where I Belong is a well crafted coming of age story, about finding your place in life, and learning that money is not the answer to everything. If you’re in the mood for a slow, light read, I would definitely recommend picking up Where I Belong.
4/5



~Moujnir

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with Margaret Sarah Bechtel

Welcome to Jagged Edge! 
Thank you for being here with us today would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in New England, but I live VA now. I have three beautiful niece and nephews, and one more on the way. I'm luckily enough to live down the road from them. I love to read and of course write. I love eighty's shows but I'm a total glee fan aka Gleek.

What is your favorite Quote? 
All who wondered are not lost. J.R Toilken Lord Of The Rings.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be? 
Harry Potter for sure, I want to have a butterbeer or an every flavored bean.

What is the one thing that every writer needs to have or do? 
Every writer has to believe in their story and let it out, and you must always edit, it's a must.

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors? 
Yes I think they are because I usually like to read fantasy like Harry Potter or Twilight or Lord of The rings, yet my first two novels were dramas.

What author in the same genre as you do you think is going to be the next big thing? 
Mia Castile (Review soon)

Funniest question you have ever been asked? 
Am I team Edward Or team Jacob, I'm team Edward.

What happened while writing one of your books that you did not expect? 
That I was get so emotional at the end of writing them that I cried.

What inspires you the most when you write?
Music it really opens me up.

How did you start writing? 
I starting writing in journal as a teenager, I needed an outlet, I think everyone does.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on The Ten Kings Of Atlantis, it's a YA novel and the squeal to In The Land Of Winter. The squeal surprised me, I have a dream that makes a good opening, so I wrote it down. I was not planning on a book 2.

What are you most excited about this year? 
My niece or nephew being born. And the last Harry Potter film, and Breaking Dawn Part 1.

What book do you wish to see come out as a movie (Doesn't have to be your own)?
 Valley Of The Horses by Jean M. Auel

What is the worst job you have ever had?
I worked as clerk at Walgreens in the ghetto, when I was in college, in a city in RI. Sometimes we would hear gun shots outside the store, and people used to steal all the time.

LAST QUESTION:
Was their a question you wish I would have asked but didn't? 

Which Character I loved the most. A: I love Kate from in The Land Of Winter because her voice was so powerful, at least to me. I had a dream about her and that what made me write the book.
Thank you for having me 
Margaret Sarah Bechtel

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hot Guys and Baby Animals



Author: Audrey Kuhner and Carolyn Newman
Series: ---
Publisher:Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pub Date:11/08/2011
How Recieved: 
Rate:5



Summary:

Are you sick and tired of studly male models showing off their perfectly sculpted muscles? Have you had enough of cuddly baby animals flaunting their perfect newborn fuzzy cuteness? We didn't think so. Shirtless guys and puppy dog eyes take over Porn for Women titles with this collection of Hot Guys and Baby Animals by Audrey Kuhner and Carolyn Newman.
In addition to benefiting the SPCA, Hot Guys and Baby Animals features 40 photos of gorgeous guys and their fuzzy friends, along with tongue-in-cheek captions detailing the likes and dislikes of each guy and baby animal. Let the "ohs" and "ahs" begin as male models play with puppies, snuggle kittens, nuzzle lambs, and even coo at a few chicks (baby chicks, that is). Perhaps the Sundance Channel says it best in its review of the California calendar that started it all: "Hot guys + baby animals = genius."



Review:
This was surprisingly very entertaining. I was funny and cute! It's more then just pictures. Make sure to check it out it is cutee. They said it best "Hot Guys + Cute Animals = Genius"
Of course the image is of the calendar (Not something I reviewed)

Monday, April 25, 2011

MM

First I apologize for the music. 
Sill trying to think of questions for the FAQ if you wanna be awesome and help just ask me a few questions!
Link to my world:
Facebook
Goodreads
Shelfari
Fb link page
Twitter @JaggedEdgebooks


I'd be so happy to talk to you guys contact me at any of those places or e-mail me! klearboredom@yahoo.com


I have a book giveaway blog if your interested http://usbookgiveaways.blogspot.com/

Giveaway:Jen Wylie

"What I often offer is the winner will get the story as a gift from OmniLit (to receive they just need a free account from there) and they can then download in whatever format they like. I would only need their email address for this."

For the Giveaway you get the choice of Banished
or the winner can choose one Short Story


To enter:
Leave a Comment
With e-mail address.


Open until May 25 and 12:59 Central Stranded time.
The winner will be told on the 26.. Unless I get on the computer after Graduation (Not Likely) 


Bio:
Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.
Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.
Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011.
Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.


Series: Tales of Ever

#1 Banished

Series Blurb:
Welcome to Ever.
Ever, a deadly realm where feared, powerful and dangerous magical beings are banished. Though very large, it is not a world but a magically created prison. You can’t break through its circular boundary. Who, or what, made Ever? I’ve no idea. They were powerful, and cruel. That is all I can tell you.
Ever is like and unlike every other world. Nothing is safe. Safety is a dream. Ever is a nightmare. Few survive their first day. Nothing is what it seems. If something appears safe, it isn’t. If something appears dangerous, well it is, but probably more so than you think.
Ever has no sun, no moon, no stars at night. Time is told by the ever changing color of the sky where portals open, dropping new inhabitants, or new terrors. Time does pass. Don’t worry, you won’t get old. You won’t live that long.
The landscape changes without reason form dessert to jungles. The flora isn’t safe at any time. There is food, if you can find it without getting eaten yourself. Most plants and animals are poisonous. So is the water.
Are you afraid? You should be. This is the end. It gets worse of course. Remember the portals? Do think angels come through? Rarely the innocent do. Mostly, it is people of evil, people too powerful to kill. Their magic works here. The creature’s are worse.
Do you understand? Well you will eventually, or you’ll die. There is no escaping Ever. Ever.

Banished Blurb:
My life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nose dive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn’t normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.
If I’m lucky, I might survive my first day.

Excerpt:
Fire.

I see it everywhere.

When did it start? I don't remember. A year ago? Maybe more. I see it more now than before.

Flames dance just out of sight. They flicker on school lockers, in windows, anywhere.

Now they hover over the road as I run.

I glare at my watch as I round the block. School sucked today. I've run farther and faster than I usually do, trying to push all my stupid problems away. I wonder if Mom waited for me.

Probably not.

The last year I've been unsettled. Sometimes I get these hot flashes. I don't understand why. Mom gets them sometimes, too. She says not to worry about it.

I can't tell her about seeing the fire, or about the dreams.

We do Yoga and that helps. So does running. I've done a lot of both over the last year.

It hasn't been the best year. Mom lost one of her jobs. She found another, but it doesn't pay as much. Lack of money really stresses her out.

I hope she'll let me get a decent job soon. Something other than yard work and babysitting. I want to help. Mom looks so tired lately. She is really starting to worry me.

In a few months I'll be sixteen. I haven't asked about getting my driver's license. I'm sure Mom won't bring it up either. We don't have money for a car, anyways. We don't even have money for lessons or the stupid license test.

What will I do if something happens to Mom?

I have no idea. We don't have any really close friends. A few people we sort of talk to, like our old neighbor Mrs. Green. No family either, at least not that Mom ever talks about.

I don't have any friends at school. Even though I go to a public school, most of the kids there have money. We don't, and it shows. People can be so fickle. Of course, I don't really try to make friends. I fall into the quiet and shy group. Years ago I gave up trying. Too many times I thought I'd found a friend and then got stabbed in the back.

Seeing fire sets me apart too. I know other people don't see it, not like I do. Some are obsessed with it. I watch them play with matches and lighters outside at school.

I'm not obsessed. What I see scares me.

I slow when I reach our falling down house. Flames dance on the metal mailbox. I look away and dash into the broken porch.

"I'm back!"

Mom doesn't answer, but I didn't expect her to.

She had started without me. Sitting on a mat, her body is twisted into a Yoga position.

I started Yoga when I was little because it was fun. Later, I did it to spend time with Mom. That was after Dad disappeared and Mom took a second job. The only thing Mom ever makes time for is her Yoga.

Tucking away how much that hurt, I join in quietly.

My thoughts don't want to calm. All I can think about is how unfair everything is. If Dad hadn't disappeared, we wouldn't be living like this.

I glance over at Mom, wondering if anyone knew the truth. The police listed him as a missing person.

Dad left work to come home one night and never arrived. They found his car in the next county. Someone had set it on fire too. At least Dad hadn't been in it. We still don't know what happened to him. Would Mom move on if she knew?

I feel another hot flash coming on and grimace. Breaking my stance, I pull at my T-shirt.

"Misha," Mom says quietly. "Find your center."

Mom never speaks during Yoga. Weird. "I'm fine."

Starting another position, I pull something in my side. Today so isn't a good day.

Last night the dreams had been bad. Fire roared through them, burning everything. Everyone.

Turning and flopping onto my butt, I fan my face. I don't want to remember. Heat spreads through me. Maybe water would help. Water puts out fire.

Mom stands and walks over before I can get up. "This is important," she says firmly.

"I said I'm fine."

Mom tosses her red hair over her shoulder and reaches out to me.

I don't want to be touched and push her hand away.

Mom shrieks in pain.

I stare in shock as the welts form on her hand. They look like fingerprints. They quickly blister into burns.

I jump to my feet. Reaching out again, I quickly stop myself. I panic. The heat within me grows worse. "What did I do? I'm sorry!"

Mom sucks in a deep breath. "It's alright, honey. Let me deal with this." She pauses at the door. "We'll talk in a minute."

I nod dumbly, having no idea what's going on. Had I done that? How?

Flames flicker out of the corner of my eye. Fire.

I run to the kitchen and get a glass of water. I drink two cups before Mom comes back. Her hand is bandaged. "What's going on?"

She sits at the table and puts her face in her hands. Her hair falls around her.

My hair is the same shade of red as my moms. It looks like pale fire. Ours is like wild fire, curls and waves going off in every direction. Mom keeps hers really long. I cut mine shoulder length a few months ago. Dad's hair was red too, but darker and straight.

Mom has flecks of gold in her green eyes like me. I don't remember Dads eyes.

She looks up at me. The gold flecks remind me of tiny flames. "I was hoping you'd be free of this."

"Free of what?"

She lowers one hand and holds it out, palm up.

I stare at her hand, confused. "What?"

Mom doesn't say anything.

A moment later a flame is dancing over her palm. She curls her fingers in and out, playing with it.

I do nothing but stare at the fire she created. It's impossible to look away from the flame.

Fear runs through me. Mom made this fire. I see fire, dream of fire. I just burned Mom.

"The current term for it is pyrokinesis," she says after a while. "The ability to start fire from nothing, to control it, has been around forever."

"So what, you're like a firestarter?" I've seen the Stephen King movie. I've even read the book. Perhaps that's what freaked me out. It wasn't a very happy story.

Mom nods. She isn't happy either.

"How..." I don't even know where to begin.

Mom sighs as she curls her fingers over the flames. They disappear. She leans back in her chair. "In science class, you've learned how everything is made up of atoms?"

I nod.

"We can manipulate atoms to an excited state until they burst into flame. We can create fire from nothing by doing the same with atoms in the air."

I don't know what to say. Is she serious?

"Like a microwave," she adds.

"And you're saying I can do this too?"

She grimaces. "Yes. The first signs are heat changes in your body." She shakes her head. "It's a very dangerous gift, Misha. More like a curse. It's not easy to control."

I think of Dad. Of his burned out car. "Dad?"

She nods. "He was like me. Like us."

"But did it kill him?" I can't stop thinking of that movie. Of the girl who could kill with her fire. I remember my dreams of fire out of control. At least I know his death hadn't been my fault. I just got this darn power. Hadn't I?

Mom looks away. "I don't know."

I sit down at the table. My feet just don't want to hold me anymore. "Okay. So what now? How the heck do I control this?"

She smiles a little. "You're growing up so fast."

I stick my tongue out at her.

"You've got to learn to control it. Keep practicing. Stay calm and steady."

It's fun when you suddenly understand something. "The Yoga!"

She nods. "It helps. I'll help you, now that I know..." her voice trails off and she looks away. She looks tired again.

I wonder if she's worried I'll burn the house down. If I'll hurt her.

Looking at her hand, I wince. I already had.

Mom smiles a little. "You won't need to worry about doing that again, honey. I just wasn't prepared. Our gift can't fully be explained by science. We can control fire as well, move it, strengthen it, put it out. We can protect ourselves from it."

"Maybe I should learn that first?"

She chuckles. "A good plan."

So began my lessons as a firestarter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pre-Monday Madness

Imm (18)



Thank you everyone who sent me books, Bookmarks, And Pens!

Also thank you so much to all my AH-mazing followers!

Rhapsody for lessons learned or remembered

Author: Georgia Ann Banks-MartinSeries: ---
Publisher: Plain View Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
How Recieved: For review
Rate:5



Summary:
Georgia Banks-Martin walks us through an art gallery. We view art, which she has processed and questioned, through her lens: Lawrence, Monet, Van Gogh, Beardon, Sargent, Degas, to name a few of the artists. She challenges the reader to face slavery, grief, and joy, to feel the weight the South bears, to examine art across centuries for lessons. These poems revive what has been omitted in our history books-individual life stories. She uses sound, music and voice to make imagery pulse in these ekphrastic poems.


Review:
Very descriptive she paints a picture. But these poems to me are more personal rather then lessons learned. Of course there were those few in the beginning you just understood and you feel. She expresses that well. You feel the pain. It just flows through you as you read every word.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Prom and Prejudice

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Series: ---
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
How Recieved: Purchased
Rate:5


Summary: After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be- especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy with her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season - prom or otherwise.


My thoughts:
Prom & Prejudice is an amazing novel. Elizabeth Eulberg is able to combine topics such as bullying and discrimination against different classes with a funny, romantic, love story seamlessly. Lizzie Bennet is a perfect heroine- strong and sassy, yet vulnerable and sweet. I would recommend that if you pick up this book; make sure you have nothing else to do, because you won’t be able to put it down. Eulberg’s writing is crisp and clear, and Prom & Prejudice is a book you will want to read again and again. 


-moujnir

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Announcement

Interview and Giveaway: Amanda Brice

Hello Amanda!
Welcome to Bewitching Books!


So your book Codename: Dancer is coming out in e-book today (April 21, 2011) and will be coming out in hard copies 30 days from now! How excited are you for that?
It's pretty surreal, actually. I've been writing with an aim towards publication for about 6 years now, and various manuscripts of mine have finaled in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Awards twice, and won the Jasmine Award once, so I've definitely been waiting for this day. But I can't believe it's actually here! I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of squealing and dancing around today, which is actually pretty fitting considering as my heroine is a dancer. LOL

How do you plan on celebrating on the release date (seeing as this is your first book!)
I'm playing hooky from work and taking my toddler to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Oh yeah, we know how to party in the Brice household. No, actually, it's a lot of fun. She loves seeing all the fishies. Oh, and of course my husband will be taking me out for crabcakes. Mmmm... Then next weekend I'll be at a writer's retreat.



What genre different from your own is your favorite?
Well, I write romantic mysteries for both teens and adults, so obviously I read a lot in those genres. But I also really love historicals. And suspense. Oh, and paranormals. And thrillers. And contemporary. And chick lit.  And classics. Yeah, I pretty much don't discriminate. If it's a book, I'll read it. LOL!



What authors influenced you as a writer?
Would it be too much of a cliche to say Jane Austen? Because it's the truth. Obviously her books are very much a part of her era -- you'd never mistake them for being set any time other than the 1800s -- and yet it's pretty amazing how contemporary they feel. Her heroines are feisty and smart and not afraid to show it. They're just very real, and are totally girls you'd want to hang out with. Actually, I bet Jane herself would have been a pretty cool friend. She was witty and snarky and I bet she always had the best gossip.
I also really love Meg Cabot. And of course, when I was a kid, I used to write stories about a cool crime-solving chick named Nancy Flew, so obviously Carolyn Keene was a big influence, too. But it was Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's Dirty Girls Social Club that actually inspired me to sit down and write a book for real, as opposed to all that Nancy Drew fanfic I wrote as a kid.


What is one book everyone should read?

Every romance writer should read Pride & Prejudice because it's just so perfectly plotted, and Jane Austen was the master of characterization and wit. And Mr. Darcy...oh, Mr. Darcy. Mmmm...



If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
Wow, that's a good question. I love the concept of time travel (one of my unpublished manuscripts is calledParty Like It's 1899), and I am fascinated by the turn-of-the-century/late 1800s/early 1900s era. Depending on where you are, it's either the Victorian Age, the Belle Epoque, or the Gilded Age, but the clash of social mores would have made for an interesting time. If I jumped into a book, I'd definitely have to also be able to time travel to live in that world. So I think my choice would either be Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy or Anna Godbersen's Luxe series. Both those series totally hooked me and it would be a fabulous era to actually live during. But probably The Luxe, because in real life I'm a wimp. Some of the things those English schoolgirls faced in A Great & Terrible Beauty would have given me nightmares.


Is it hard to be a reader when you become a writer?
I love reading and always have. But I'll let you in on the dirty little secret that most writers don't want to admit. Once you start writing seriously, you read differently than you used to. You don't mean to, but you start noticing things like "head-hopping" that you might not otherwise have noticed just as a reader. So there are certain authors (I'm not naming names) that I just haven't been able to read since I started writing with an aim towards publication, but that's ok, because my TBR pile is big enough as it is. There are still plenty of books left for me to devour. I don't think I'll ever catch up, especially now that I'm a new mom (my daughter was born last year). There just aren't enough hours in the day! And I'm reading a lot moreBrown Bear, Brown Bear and Elmo's ABC's than novels these days, but that's ok!



What made you want to start writing?
I've been writing stories as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of writing puppet shows and plays that I forced my cousins and brother to perform in. I was a bit bossy back then. (Right here my brother is saying "was a bit bossy?" LOL)  And of course I always gave myself the best roles.
Eventually I listened to my dad's advice and went to law school rather than pursuing either a writing career or a dance career, but I didn't stop either hobby. I actually still take a weekly adult ballet class, and one day while working on a paper for my international patent law class I decided it would be a lot more fun to write a chick lit novel than the tedious work I was doing right then. I'd just finished reading Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's Dirty Girls Social Club and was blown away. That's when I thought "I want to do this." So I sat down and wrote the first 80 pages of my first manuscript, but had to ask my professor for an extension on the paper.
Students out there, please don't do that. I did end up getting an A- in the class, but it was really stressful there for a while. I wouldn't recommend it. LOL



What lead you to writing in this genre?
I sort of fell into YA. I started out writing chick lit and wrote a manuscript that had some fabulous characters, but like Seinfeld, they didn't do anything. It had no discernable plot, just a bunch of funny scenes thrown together as a vehicle for (hopefully!) memorable characters. (Please note that I am not comparing my writing to Seinfeld...I wish!) So that one is "under the bed" as we like to say (or more correctly, "on the hard drive") and will never see the light of day.
Then one day a teenage ballet student starting talking to me about solving mysteries, and I couldn't get her to shut up until I wrote her story. Fortunately it turned out I had a good YA voice, because I'm having a blast writing for teens!



What happened while writing one of your books that you did not expect?
I had a baby!
No really, it was about 6 weeks before my daughter's due date, and I decided I wanted to get a good start on a first draft of a new book -- and possibly even write the entire first draft. I made a deal with an author friend that we would both write at least 1000 words per night (and hopefully more) and send it to each other to keep ourselves honest. I sat down one night and banged out more than 10 pages (roughly 3 times what I'd promised) in about 2 hours. It was just crazy, the words were flying. I was so impressed with my output.
Once I reached the end of that chapter, I sent it to my friend, then realized I hadn't felt the baby move in a few hours, which was kind of disconcerting. At that time in your pregnancy, they say you're supposed to feel at least 10 kicks in the course of an hour, and normally I would feel 10 kicks in about 20 seconds. So this was pretty weird.
I went to bed, but woke up in a panic at 3 in the morning, still not feeling the baby move. My husband drove me to the hospital, where I underwent a series of tests. After several hours and lots of wires hooked up to my tummy, all of a sudden I felt a kick! Except it wasn't a kick. Apparently it was a contraction. About 12 hours later, my daughter was born 6 weeks early. I joke that it was all that creative energy that jump-started labor.
Needless to say, I didn't keep my end of the bargain with my author friend. I didn't send her any more pages after those first 10. *hangs head in shame* But fortunately we're both back on track now.



What inspires you the most when you write?
It used to be that I did my best writing while sitting at a table at Panera, people-watching, and covertly eavesdropping. (I know...) But now my writing time is pushed to late at night, after the toddler has gone to bed, so my new writing "soundtrack" is hearing her on the baby monitor. It's conforting. She falls asleep while listening to an ocean wave CD, and I can hear the waves on the monitor, too, so in a way it's almost like I'm in a beach house on a writing retreat. Almost. But not quite.



Favorite:

Color
Duke Blue!

Animal
My beloved Chow-Lab, Bailey, may he rest in peace.

:] Ice cream topping
Chocolate and peanut butter sauce

Drink
Diet Mountain Dew

Movie
Do I really have to pick just one? I have several favorites, depending on what kind of mood I'm in. But I guess the movie I've seen the most times is Dirty Dancing.  I was in 5th grade when it first came out, and it was a big taboo. Nobody I knew was allowed to go see it, but right around the time it came out on video (yes, I'm old!), my friend Becca had a sleepover birthday party. Her mom said we could watch it as long as we got permission from our parents. Needless to say, we all told little white lies, and we must have worn that tape out from all the rewinding. Um...we watched it 6 times that night. *blushes* But hey, nobody puts Baby in the corner.

Book
The one I keep coming back to again and again is Pride and Prejudice. No matter how many times I read it, it still shows me something new. I also really love Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Author
So many. Besides the ones I mentioned a few questions back, I also love Gemma Halliday, Rhonda Stapleton, Gwen Hayes, Diana Peterfreund, Rosemary Clement Moore, Melissa FrancisSarah Dessen, Michele Scott, Elizabeth Scott, Sophia Nash, Victorine Lieske, Courtney Milan, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jenny Crusie...I really can't name them all! And I don't want to try. LOL

Word
Twitterpated. It means lovestruck, as in "Everyone gets twitterpated in the springtime." Owl said that in Bambi.


What is the worst job you have ever had?
Oh wow. Hmmm...let me think. I actually haven't had any horrible jobs. I can't say I've *loved* all my past jobs, but I've been pretty lucky to have jobs that I could at least tolerate, if not love. Now, bosses...that's a different story. LOL. And I plead the Fifth, there. 
Instead of my worst job, can I tell you about my coolest job? Hands down, that would be the summer during college that I worked in the Protocol Office at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta (1996). We dealt with issues of deciding priority. Certain VIPs got free tickets to any event they wanted, just because of who they were. But other people had to put in a formal request. For example, Bill & Hillary Clinton could just walk right up to the VIP entrance at any venue without any warning whatsoever, and obviously we would have let them in. But Chelsea, on the other hand, had to request her tickets to Gold Medal gymnastics or swimming or basketball that morning. Psst...she always got them. Did you really think I was going to deny the President's daughter's request?


Giveaway:
Her book! Codename: Dancer She is giving out an E-book copy!
Rules:
 Follow
 International
 Fill out FORM.

Popular Posts