Wednesday, July 25, 2012

YOU GUYS! Today is photoshoot day! ZOMG!

I am beyond excited, slightly nervous, and completely amazed that I get to actually post this. 

I have a book. 

My book will soon have a cover. 

Today is the day. 

As if having a finished manuscript wasn't awesome enough. Then I found someone who actually liked it and wanted to publish it. THEN I discovered I could have artistic freedom with the cover, and be totally involved in the process! 

YOU GUYS! Does it get any better??? 


The short answer? YES.
 It gets better. THIS is who is doing the photography for the cover:


My talented and selfless friend Tammy, from FACE ON BY TAMARA, has volunteered to do the photo shoot, and guess what? She's as excited as I am! 
She's amazing, and her work is ridiculous. I mean, she's so freaking good its crazy. 

Here are a few shots from a family photo shoot we did with her a few years ago. 
How rad is Tammy? Seriously! 








I still can't believe I even have a COVER to talk about - its so surreal. But I am so beyond happy, and so blessed, that I get to work with Tammy. She is going to make this cover AMAZEBALLS.

Tamara's links:
TWITTER
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
BLOG

Buccaneer Blogfest - WEEK THREE - Day Two - Best of the best!



The assignment today is to give you a list of my TOP FIVE favorite books of all time. 

Um...

You want me to do what? 

Well, as most of you are also avid readers, you can probably imagine how difficult that is.  This was recently circulating on Facebook, so I had to post it here. It says my sentiments perfectly. (Of course, I only have one kid, but I still get it.) 

Thank you to the Belcastro Agency for creating and sharing this! 

This one is also quite fitting: 

Thank you to the Belcastro Agency for creating and sharing this one as well! 

So as you can see, I love all books and all authors and all the words! But, if I were to list my top five (books or series), I would have to include these, without a doubt: 

THE TWILIGHT SAGA by Stephenie Meyer
(I'm including the entire series as one item. I can do what I want. lol)
Oh I know, I know. Before you say anything, let me tell you that I already know. You're either shaking your head at me in disgust, like I listed 50 Shades as my top five pick, or you're nodding emphatically because you get it
Let me tell you what TWILIGHT did for me. 
TWILIGHT made me realize I had ignored my love of reading for far too long. 
TWILIGHT made me realize I had neglected my inner bookworm. 
TWILIGHT made me realize I DID have time to read. 
TWILIGHT made me realize I had stories inside me, begging to be told. 
TWILIGHT inspired me to write them. 

UNRAVELING by Liz Norris
Pure awesomeness, with everything I love about young adult books - the love story, the creativity, the excitement - Liz got all of the good stuff into this book, and I LOVED IT. Seriously, go read it now.


VAMPIRE ACADEMY = LOVED!!! 

ANYTHING by RICHELLE MEAD. ANYTHING.   
Hello hiiiiii! Crazed superfan over here! Seriously, I love EVERYTHING Richelle writes. My top favorites are the Dark Swan series, and Vampire Academy. Team Dorian and Dimitri! lol

The NIGHT HUNTRESS Series by Jeaniene Frost
Oh em gee, YES. If you haven't met Cat ... and BONES ... I suggest you run out and do so immediately. Did I mention BONES? *swoon*

And because I can't stop at just five (which if you're paying attention, I surpassed long ago), I have to add this one too. My list wouldn't be complete without it! 
The FEVER Series by Karen Marie Moning

THANK YOU, KMM. Thank you so very much for introducing us to your amazing characters and worlds. This series I could read again and again. And again.

And maybe even one more time after that.


So, have you read any of these books or series? 


What are your thoughts? 


Can you narrow down to FIVE top favorite books of all time?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest - WEEK THREE - Day One - What I'm Reading

Week THREE is already here! Time flies!

The assignment this week is to tell you about what I'm reading - the last three books I've read, and what's currently in my Kindle/Nook/on my bedside table. 


So, the last three books I read:


WILDE'S FIRE by Krystal Wade - FIVE STARS


My Goodreads Review:
My disclosure for this review is that Krystal Wade is my editor at Curiosity Quills, where my debut novel will be published by the end of the year. I am only disclosing this information because I have to admit that I was worried about reading WILDE'S FIRE. I'm ridiculous, I know. But here's a sneak peek into what was going through my mind: What if I didn't like it? What if I didn't like her writing style? What would that say about me, or about my own book that she picked out of dozens of manuscripts to offer publication to? What if .... aaaaaaaaaaaah!

So as I often do, I totally psyched myself out about it. PS. I psyche myself out about anything and everything, and almost always without reason. :-)

This was one of those times. Because wow, I LOVED WILDE'S FIRE! LOVED IT! I was immediately drawn into the story. I fell in love with the relationship between Kate and Brit, and I especially fell in love with Arland. *swoon* 

I set the book down upon finishing it, with tears in my eyes, and immediately ordered WILDE'S ARMY, which I am now reading with fervor. The worst part about this is that it was only just released, which means I will have to wait a very long and painful amount of time for WILDE'S MEADOW. Boo. 



WILDE'S ARMY by Krystal Wade - SIX STARS (Six out of five is fantastic!) 


My Goodreads Review:

If I could give WILDE'S ARMY six stars, I would. It was BETTER than WILDE'S FIRE, which I gave five stars to already, so a SIX star rating is the only thing that makes sense!!!

I cried so many times in this book because I felt SO MUCH EMOTION. Happiness, love, fear, sorrow ... to name a few.

I finished the book with tears streaming down my face, not knowing what to do with myself next. I honestly had that confused, shocked, stuck-in-an-imaginary-land feeling you occasionally see 'somecards.com' referencing.

There are a select few books I would read again. This series is one of them.

*NOTE: I want to add that this review may seem biased because Krystal Wade is my editor. I am telling you that it is not, and you have no reason to believe me. However, because she IS my editor, had I NOT liked the book, I would have remained silent and never bothered to leave a review. That's my honesty in all its glory.

WHAT A BOY WANTS by Nyrae Dawn - FOUR STARS


My Goodreads Review:
I loved this book and finished it in under 24 hours. I flew through it. Reading from a boy's point of view was a big change for me - aside from Jacob's chapters in TWILIGHT (which I loathed). Now, because the book was written by a woman, I still have no idea what the thoughts of a boy actually sound like, but I thought Nyrae Dawn did a great job with Sebastian. I believed that these were thoughts a teenage boy would have. 

I loved Sebastian instantly, and though other reviewers have said he was conceited and treated women poorly, I thought he treated women how most teen boys do. Sometimes, the truth hurts. *shrug* Pretty much all the guys I knew in my youth thought they were the cat's pajamas and their goals were to hook-up and hook-up OFTEN. So in this sense, Sebastian was exactly who he should have been. 

My only issue with the story was the amount of typos, which is why this was a 4-star review and not a 5-star. BUT even with the typos, I was completely immersed in Sebastian's world, which speaks volumes for the writing and the story itself. 

I should also add that this is the first book that I've read in longer than I can even remember, that didn't have some sort of paranormal, mysterious, suspenseful element, and I STILL loved it! That's saying something! ;-)

My current book is FAERIE TALE by Raymond E. Feist

Um, hi ... the cover art terrifies me. 

Now, you might be wondering WHY. I mean, if the cover art scares me, why am I reading this book?

Well, that's easy! You may not know this, but I am one/sixth of the SUPER REVIEWERS!  Saving the world, one book at a time. ;-) There are 6 of us now, and we each take turn picking the books. Then we post a group review that has 6 viewpoints.  It's really a great idea that Jalisa (JM Blackman) came up with. 

What's so awesome about the SUPER REVIEWERS, is that we're all different in our reading tastes, so you'll get varying reviews. You can visit the ABOUT US page to see who fits your reading style most, and their review will be the one likely to be most like yours.  Its a good way to see if a book would be a good fit for you. Our first review has been posted - BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig.

So, FAERIE TALE was picked by one of the review team, and I've been told not to worry - the book isn't nearly as scary as the cover - and we should have our group reviews up in about a week or so. Stay tuned!!



Buccaneer Blogfest - WEEK TWO - Day Three - THE LIGHT-BULB MOMENT




I skipped this specific Buccaneer Blogfest assignment last week because, well ... I never really had a "light-bulb" moment for writing EVER. 

I honestly can't remember where I got the idea for EVER. All I know for certain is that the character was in my head for a very long time. I knew her name was Ever, short for a name she hated, and she was a teenager. 


I also knew her story was a ghost story, but didn't know who/what/when/where/etc. 


She started as the patient of a psychiatrist who I may or may not write a story about some day. The psychiatrist was of course blown away by the fact that Ever was in love with a ghost in her home. I imagine you just don't hear that one very often.  


From there, Ever starred in a story about a girl with a houseful of ghosts, which was the first version of EVER. There was Mama Gert, an wise old ghost who was a grandmotherly figure in the household; two twins, a boy and a girl about 7 years old, who never said much, and dressed in clothing from a very far off past; a man in a top hat and ascot, who Ever's mom called her own personal Tom Selleck; and Frankie. Frankie began his fictional debut as an 18 year old greaser from the 1950's. Ever had lived with these ghosts in her home for 2 years, and had fallen in love with Frankie. Then I started killing off those ghosts one by one, and I realized I didn't need any of them. Just Frankie. Yes, I had a brief moment of silence for each. lol


THEN I heard the Pearl Jam cover of J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' LAST KISS - one of my all time favorite songs - and my light-bulb moment happened. I knew then that Frankie had died in a car accident WITH Ever, and that she'd been the sole survivor. 


From there, Frankie and Ever's love story morphed into what it is now.





Thursday, July 19, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest - WEEK TWO, DAY TWO - An Interview with Ever



So I'm like THE WORST pirate ever! I totally missed the post yesterday for the BUCCANEER BLOGFEST! Yikes! 

I'm walkin' the plank as we speak. Argh!

*splash*

Our task today (yesterday) was to interview a character from our book or work in progress. I figured we've already heard a bit from Jessie (Ever's best friend), Ariadne (Ever's worst nightmare), and Frankie (Ever's other best friend, and secret first love). You can read those interviews here: 

Today (yesterday) you will get to meet Ever - the main character from my upcoming debut novel, aptly titled ... you guessed it ... EVER. ;-)

Emma Roberts has graciously offered to play Ever in the movie. 
(No, she hasn't. The book isn't even out yet, you guys! I snagged this photo off of the world wide web. She fits Ever perfectly.) 

Jessa: What do you want more than anything in the world? 
Ever: This is easy. Frankie. I want Frankie back. I wish we'd never driven that road in the first place. We weren't even allowed to, but we were going to be late, and didn't want to sit in traffic on the 91 freeway. So we took the shortcut, and Frankie died for it.

J: What is your biggest fear? 
E: Watching anyone else I love die. Watching Frankie die was the worst thing I've ever been through, but then he wasn't really gone, and I sorta didn't have to mourn as much. He's a ghost, and I mourned for his physical self, but he was here to make me smile, and I could go on loving him, so he never truly left me, you know? 

J: Is that better though, really? 
E: Yes. No. I don't know. It sucks loving Frankie and knowing I'll never be able to be with him. But if he were to one day be gone gone, that would kill me. So maybe that's my worst fear. Losing Frankie. Again. But for real this time. 

J: What is one thing that most people don't know about you? 
E: That I'm in love with my dead best friend who secretly still lives in my house. I think people would really freak about that. So outside Mom and Dad, only Jessie knows about Frankie. 

J: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
E: My boobs. I hate them. They're way too big, and I'm scared they're not done growing. Yeah. I hate them. 

J: What about one thing that's a little less superficial? 
E: I am not superficial. I'm - 

J: Not saying you're superficial. I meant something less physical. Something on the inside. 
E: Oh. Okay, yeah. Um ... I guess I'd change how much I love Frankie. I wish I could get over him, and go out on dates with guys like Jessie does ... but I can't. It seems like a lie, like I'm pretending. I'm in love with Frankie, so going out with someone else would just be ... wrong, I guess. 

J: Last question.  If you found a genie in a magic lamp, what would your three wishes be? 
E: I only need one. Frankie. I'd wish for Frankie. 
Or well, maybe two wishes, actually. I'd wish for Frankie to be alive, and then I'd wish for him to love me like I love him. To see me as more. More than the girl he grew up with. More than his best friend. 


But there's no such thing as genies and magic lamps. 

J: You also didn't used to believe in ghosts.
E: Well played, Jessa. Well played. 





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

BROWNIE FIX by Ellen Cardona Blog Tour!


Welcome to today's stop on the ELLEN CARDONA BLOG TOUR! 

This is a novel spotlight for Ellen's novel BROWNIE FIX! 
BROWNIE FIX Cover

BROWNIE FIX blurb:
Chocolate. Love. Sex. Really, what else could a woman want in life? For Persey, the heroine of Brownie Fix, her days are fun-filled until what is normally one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, the birth of her son, leads her straight into a dark state of postpartum depression. Wandering in her own postpartum hell, Persey meets people that are absurd, like the swinging neighbors who want a little more than a cup of sugar and a group of mothers who become whipped up in worship to a climactic furor. On top of the madness, she keeps seeing a yellow-toothed old man who acts like he wants to breastfeed from her. Or is it her imagination? Add the voices in her head that become louder and louder, and it's little wonder that Persey reaches for brownie mix to soothe her insanity. Buckling under the pressure and lack of sleep from motherhood, Persey experiences the five stages of grief that lead her to uncover a buried secret, and gradually she begins to heal with the help of her family, friends, and, of course, brownies.
Ellen Cardona

Author Bio:
Ellen Cardona wrote Brownie Fix to help deal with the postpartum depression she
experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum
depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark
chocolate and even darker humor.
When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help
them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love
for literature and writing.
Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a
specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on
Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer.
Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two
children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.


Connect with Ellen!

Website (AND TO DOWNLOAD THE FIRST CHAPTER FREE!): http://www.ellencardona.com 


Buy the Book!







Monday, July 16, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest - WEEK TWO - DAY ONE - A Little Bit About My WIP


AHOY MATEYS!!!!!! 


For Day One of WEEK TWO, we are sharing the first paragraph of our WIP (work in progress).  Truthfully, I don't feel comfortable sharing any of my actual WIP's with you right now because they aren't even close to ready, and since I'm technically still in edits, EVER still counts as a WIP.

Soooooooooo, since you can already view the first 540 words of EVER, HERE, I've decided to open up the blog to answer any questions you may have about EVER.

Here's a mock-up of the cover. Note: I do not own the image. We are doing a photo shoot tomorrow so we'll be on the way to having THE cover soon!  YAY!  


So, if you've read the first 540 words, or seen my previous contest entries, character interviews, etc, and you've wondered anything about EVER, let me know! I will do my best to answer each question without giving anything away. ;-) 


Here are the questions so far. I will add them as they come in. 

From Feaky Snucker:
1. Where did you get the idea for EVER?
I honestly can't remember where I got the idea for EVER. All I know for certain is that the character was in my head for a very long time. I knew her name was Ever, short for a name she hated, and she was a teenager. I also knew her story was a ghost story, but didn't know who/what/when/where/etc. She started as the patient of a psychiatrist who I may or may not write a story about some day.  Then she starred in a story about a girl with a houseful of ghosts, which was the first version of EVER. Then I started killing off those ghosts one by one and realized I didn't need any of them. THEN I heard the Pearl Jam cover of J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' LAST KISS and my light-bulb moment happened. I knew then that Frankie had died in a car accident, and the story morphed into what it is now.

2. Worst part about the edits you've done?
Hmmm. The worst part of edits ... can I say editing in general? Honestly, it is two different parts of the brain - creative and technical. I am very comfortable in the creative part, writing and imagining, etc. The technical part, not so much. But i'd say that the very worst part of editing, aside from editing as a whole, would be changing the tense from first person present to first person past. What an immense undertaking that was! 

From Tonya Kuper:
3. So is Frankie a ghost now? Ooooooooh!!!
Yes, Frankie has always been a ghost - he just started out as a ghost who had been dead since the 1950's. I eventually changed that to having him grow up with Ever and *then* become a ghost.

From Carrie-Anne:
4. As a major name nerd, I have to ask where you got the ideas/inspiration for your characters' names. Did they just come to you, or did you look for ideas in name books and on name websites?
Well, Ever just came to me. I have no idea when or why, but her name has been in my head for a long time.

When trying to name Frankie, I was working with my original story - in which Frankie was a ghost who had been a teen and died in the 1950's. I was trying to come up with the perfect name for that time period and Frankie is what stuck. His full name is Franklyn Davis - the last name of a friend who passed away a few years ago. So I'm paying homage to him in my own teeny tiny way.


Toby is a different story. Tobias James is his full name, and James is an obvious one - it was my dad's first name, and a name I've always loved. I knew a guy named Tobias when I was in my late teens, early twenties, before I met my husband. I always loved that name, and even discussed using it if my husband and I had a boy one day. Its just a rad name (in my opinion). Anyway, fast forward a few years, and I was curious about whatever had become of Toby (Tobias), and in seacrhing for him on Facebook or probably back then it was Myspace, I found a memorial page. I was really saddened over it. We hadn't known each other well, but for whatever reason, I had a hard time with the news of his death. An auto accident, actually, which seems strange now that i think about it, with Frankie's death. But I guess the name stuck with me and I needed a rad name for a super hot character, so Tobias it was.


Jessie just named herself, honestly. Which is funny because my name is also short for Jessica, and Jessie's sunny personality is nothing like I mine. So I don't really know how that happened. I mean, I'm not not sunny, but I'm not super sunny all the time like Jessie is in my mind.

Ariadne - Toby's devious and gorgeous ex-girlfriend - needed an amazing, unique name. So I Googled Greek goddesses. The second I saw the name I knew it was hers.  I've been told it is a hard name to pronounce and people don't know how to say it when they see it, but I had her spell it out for Ever in the book because I just couldn't bring myself to change it. She is Ariadne, and there's no way around it. So I figured it added to her condescending attitude when she spelled it out for Ever, as well as helps the reader with the pronunciation. :-) Air-ee-add-knee. 


From Anthony
5. I really like the cover mockup, are you going for something similar with the photo shoot?
Thank you! Yes! The cover will probably be very similar to the mock-up, except much better and way more professional. I grabbed the picture off of Google images, and played with the cover in Paint, so when a professional photographer with professional models supplies the photo, and a professional artist designs the cover, I think its going to be AMAZING. As far as the actual people go, the only thing I want to change is to add Frankie (the ghost) to the background. We have a gorgeous model who is PERFECT for Frankie, and I picture him off in the back, watching Ever and Toby with sadness. His image will be translucent and ghostly. I think it will look really cool when its all said and done. 

FLASH FACTORY FRIDAY #12 - WINNER!



ANNOUNCEMENT: I have decided to quit hosting Flash Factory Fridays. It was fun, but there's not enough of a response each week to keep it going, and I'm getting busier with other things. Had there been more of a following, I'd make it work, but ts just not happening. 


Thanks for 12 fun weeks of flash! 





WINNER WINNER WINNER! 


THIS WEEK'S WINNER IS: 

Congratulations!!! 

Notes from our judge, Alissa:
It's fitting for the Friday the 13th winner to have a couple obsessed with graveyards! :) It was definitely fringe! It's crazy how you managed to make that seem so normal. Well done!


Carrie-Anne's Entry:
Word count: 340

Most couples didn’t take a honeymoon to Chicago, not did most couples take a honeymoon to tour famous haunted cemeteries. But Vikki and Avraham David had always prided themselves on not being like other people, on having interests and viewpoints seen as fringe by so-called mainstream society. And it just seemed right after they’d had their first kiss in Boston’s Granary Burial Ground.

“You think someday we’ll have one of these ornate tombs?” Vikki asked as she adjusted her hair clip. “I don’t want something boring that only has our names and dates.”

“I’d love to spend eternity in a haunted cemetery, whatever kind of stone I have. The older the better. It’s too bad Granary doesn’t do burials anymore. We’ll probably end up getting buried in our synagogue’s cemetery, wherever that is by the time we pass on.”

Vikki felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around to see a middle-aged woman with an oversized Grateful Dead T-shirt.

“Do you happen to know the way to Charles Hull’s grave?”

“Oh, no, we only got here a little while ago,” Avraham David said. “We’ve never been here before. I’m from Boston, and my wife is from Atlantic City.”

The woman stared in amazement. “So you got a parent or guardian to sign for permission to get married underage?”

“We’re both eighteen. We’re starting Boston University in the fall.”

“We’re well aware of the fact that it’s no longer exactly common to get married fresh out of high school,” Vikki said. “And to answer your first question again, no, we don’t know where Charles Hull is buried.”

“So what are you doing in Chicago?” The woman was struggling to compose herself.

“We’re on our honeymoon. We love old cemeteries and ghost stories.”

“We’re at Rosehill primarily to see the monument to Frances Pearce and her baby daughter,” Avraham David went on. “After this, we’re going to Bachelor’s Grove. I can’t wait to see all those ghostly sights and sounds it’s famous for.” 

The woman walked away in a daze.



Congratulations Carrie-Anne!  

Since this was the last Flash Factory Friday, I won't make you answer any questions. Thanks for participating! 

BIG thanks to this week's judge, Alissa Leonard!

Friday, July 13, 2012

FLASH FACTORY FRIDAY #12

HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th EVERYONE! 




As super into the paranormal as I am, I'm not a big Friday the 13th person. Its just another day. but wouldn't it have been cool if this was our 13th Flash factory??? But alas, we're only at 12. Oh well. You can't win 'em all.  ;-) 

Our judge this week is THIRD TIME WINNER Alissa Leonard! 


Congratulations on another win, Alissa! 



FLASH FACTORY FRIDAY #12
7/13/12


Alissa's 3 Word PROMPT: 
fringe, clip, guardian

***YOU MUST USE ALL THREE WORDS***



AND



 To make it extra fun, let's try to make it Friday the 13th related, shall we? 

AND 



I'm going to call on my HOST privileges here, and include THREE pictures. You may choose one, or choose none, but regardless of the pictures, you must use ALL THREE of Alissa's words. Sound good? 


Oh, and if you do choose a picture, let us know which one in your entry. 





*I took all three of these pictures, so no copyright issues here. ;-)

Ready ... set ... FLASH!  

To Review:
PROMPT (varies each week)
50 word minimum / 350 word limit
24 hours
The full rules are HERE
GO!


*Remember, post your entry right here in the comments, please!  Don't forget to include word count AND Twitter handle!  (Or another way for me to reach the winner!) 

Buccaneer Blogfest - DAY THREE - An Interview with Sharon Bayliss

An Interview with Sharon Bayliss

I'm so excited to get to interview Sharon for the BUCCANEER BLOGFEST! (If you don't know, we are supposed to be interviewing the person who signed up after us.)

Not only is she one of the co-hosts of the blogfest, but I have personal reasons for being excited as well. As some of you may know, she's a HUGE reason I have a publishing contract! It was her blog that hosted the WILDE'S FIRE Contest with Krystal Wade, who eventually became my editor and offered publication for EVER via Curiosity Quills Press. So I owe IMMENSE GRATITUDE to Sharon!  

*showers Sharon with ALL the confetti and gratitude*

I used questions from the "getting to know the judge" questions that I give to the winners of my flash contests because I like them, and well, its my interview, so I did what I wanted. ;-) 

Here are Sharon's answers to the questions. Links to her social media sites are below. Enjoy! 

Thanks Sharon!


Since your debut New Adult novel, THE CHARGE, is coming out soon with Curiosity Quills Pressplease tell us about the next project you are working on. 

I actually have a project that's pretty much complete, just needs some final polishing. But right now I'm just sitting on it because I want to give it the time it deserves! I think I'll submit it to CQ after I have my baby. It's rather different from The Charge and I'm quite proud of it. It's a fantasy drama about a man named David who finds his children after they have been missing for twelve years. They had been kept by a man the kids claim is a dark wizard. The social worker says it's all part of a "magical narrative" they use to cope with the years of abuse they've suffered. But as the story unfolds, David learns that dark magic is very real and a bigger part of who he is than he would have ever imagined.

How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember. :) I wrote a novel in high school, then again in college, then spent some time in the "real" world for a while, and in 2009 I got back into it again and I have been writing intensively since then.

Tell us about your writing style. Are you a plotter/outliner, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? 

I fly by the seat of my pants. I have never just sat down and thought, "hmmm...what should I write a novel about?" Or at least, I haven't had any success with that strategy. I prefer to just entertain myself with stories in my head and when one comes together that really interests me, I might start thinking of ways to convert it into a novel. I generally keep notes about where I want the plot to go, but it's very high-level, and I usually end up changing it anyway. I love the feeling that you have to keep writing because YOU want to know what happens next.

What is one piece of advice you would give new writers? 

As great as it would be to experience over-night success, that's not very common. Most people write a few projects before they find what works. And a lot of their first attempts may really suck. ;) So if your first novel goes down in flames, it doesn't mean your dream of becoming a writer is dead. The people who find success are the ones who stick with it.

If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why? (Stolen from Feaky Snucker's idea for Janet Reid's Pay It Forward contest.) 

I love this question! No doubt in my mind, it would be Dobby from Harry Potter. (I would say spoiler alert, but if you haven't read the last Harry Potter book yet, something is wrong with you.) I have read Deathly Hallows multiple times and I have yet to make it through that part without crying. It always gets me when Harry engraves the stone with, "Here lies Dobby, a free elf." So simple, but oh my god, I'm getting teary just thinking about it.


Is there one book from your childhood that sticks out more than the others? Why? 

From a young age, I was attracted to science fiction and fantasy more than anything else. So, I remember liking The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and A Wrinkle In Time. I also liked the paranormal spin-offs of The Babysitter's Club and the Sweet Valley Twins, and when I was a little older, The Vampire Diaries. Yes, that was around LONG before the TV show. :)