Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Bloggy Awards - Congratulations!

Book bloggers and reviewers are such amazing advocates of the written word. I heart them to death.

It's cool to see hard work recognized in The Bloggy Awards. I'm especially proud and excited to congratulate the following blogs I've had the pleasure of appearing on for their nominations:

Giselle at Xpresso Reads
Xpresso Reads

Jenni at Alluring Reads
Alluring Reads

Stephanie and Kat at Cuddle Buggery

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

and GraveTells
GraveTells: Paranormal Romance News & Reviews

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Burning of Isobel Key

My apologies to author Jen McConnel for this belated reveal - at least I'm within the same week, yeah? :) I love the color combination going on here with the reds, black and grey.


When Lou travels to Scotland, she’s a mess.  She’s twenty-six, unemployed, and unsure of herself. It doesn’t help that she’s traveling with Tammy, her best friend, who is everything Lou is not.

At first, the trip pushes Lou towards the brink of depression, but then she meets Brian, a handsome local tour guide.  When Brian tells the tourists about the countless witches burned in Scotland, Lou starts to listen. And when she discovers information about Isobel Key, one of the victims of the seventeenth century, Lou finds renewed purpose.

She sets out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but she isn’t prepared for the knowledge that waits for her. Lou must face her demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Meet Jen!:

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child.  Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

The Burning of Isobel Key
is her first novel. She also writes YA fantasy.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Sister Reading Entangled

My little sister emailed me this photo of her reading Entangled at the beach. How come I suddenly feel like eating s'mores?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce - Review in Pictures

Featuring Lichgates (The Grimoire Trilogy, 1) by S.M. Boyce

Alice in Wonderland...

Meets Lord of the Rings

Kara literally falls down the “rabbit” hole and from there enters a wild and beautiful world with all manner of creature and kingdoms to cross.

She stumbles upon unfamiliar species and customs.

A journey through the land of Ourea... and no ruby slippers to wish her way back home.

The Grimoire has chosen Kara to save Ourea. It's a perilous journey, but with the help of her new friends and a magic book, Kara might just have a shot at making it through.

Find Lichgates at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Goodreads. And don't miss S.M. Boyce's snarky blog complete with reader and writer resources. She's a wealth of information... kinda like the Grimoire!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Last Day of Freedom Giveaway Hop - Winner's Choice!

mmm… actually, my last days of "slaving" are upon me and I can’t wait! (I live in a tourist destination in the San Juan Islands and summer equals extra hours, extra hard work and burn out – not the fun in the sun kind, but enough of that!) 

Let’s talk GIVEAWAY!!!

Your Wish is My Command.

Winner sends me a list or link to their novel Wish List. I choose a book from the list and have it delivered. Voila! A happy surprise in your mail box.

Thanks for helping me get the word out about Entangled. Two of these say “tweet about the giveaway.” I couldn’t figure out a way to get Rafflecopter to say “tweet about the book” so there you have it!

Click here to return to the full list of hop stops, courtesy of I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Elliott Review.

Good luck and enjoy those last beautiful days of summer! In Friday Harbor, WA we JUST now (yesterday) crossed the 80 degree F mark. It's always pretty pleasant in the San Juan Islands, but sheesh - send us some heat already!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cinematic Scenes: Featuring "Vaempires: Revolution" Author Thomas Winship

Hello everyone. I’m so excited to be Nikki’s guest today! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution, Væmpires: White Christmas, and the upcoming Væmpires: Zombie Rising.

Today, I’d like to speak about cinematic scenes—specifically, my cinematic scenes.

Well, let me back up a few steps first.

When Nikki invited me to write for her, I had no idea what to write about—a frightening admission for a writer, but one that was nevertheless true—so I asked for her assistance. She suggested cinematic scenes and I readily agreed.

I then Googled “cinematic scenes,” because I had no idea what she was talking about.
Another frightening admission? Perhaps. But I’d rather disappoint you with the truth than entertain you with a lie.

Well … that’s not exactly true, but it sure sounds good, so we’ll just move along.

I researched the topic, going through a good portion of the 74.7 million results that Google returned (“good” being shorthand for “a good five or six”) to gain a rudimentary understanding of the topic.

Once that was achieved, I checked out the newest Makayla Maroney memes, re-watched Will Ferrell’s Trampire video, pre-ordered The Hunger Games on Blu-ray (it includes an ultra-violet digital copy!), and realized I had allowed myself to get distracted.

Dragging myself back to the topic, I also realized that I had forgotten most of what I’d learned about cinematic scenes … but that didn’t matter—when it comes to writing, I’m used to flying blind.
My next order of business was a self-test. Do I write cinematic scenes?

I think I do, but I know enough not to take my word for things, so I checked with the experts. In this case, I didn’t have to look any further than to my fellow authors. Here’s what a few of my favorites had to say about Væmpires:

“I think it would make the coolest video game in a long time. Seriously, read it and tell me that it wouldn’t kick ass as a multiplayer -or- an individual campaign game!” S.M. Boyce, author of The Grimoire Trilogy.

“His fast-moving, cinematic story is punctuated by vivid fight scenes.” Wynne Channing, author of What Kills Me.

“There are no lulls in this book. You catch your breath just in time for more battles.” Christie Rich, author of The Elemental Enmity series.

And even my gracious, talented host had this to say: “Vaempires is action packed from page one. The fight scenes are some of the most descriptive I’ve ever read.”

With feedback like that, I have no choice but to accept the fact I write cinematic scenes. Furthermore, readers seem to like them.

How awesome is that?

To anyone who’s read my books, it probably comes as no surprise that cinematic scenes are my favorite things to write. Of course, some might argue that it appears that cinematic scenes are the only things I can write … but we’ll just label them as “haters” and block them on Twitter.

Confession: I don’t actually have any haters, but I’m excited about the prospect of having haters one day. How else will I ever be a relevant artist?

Anyway, back to cinematic scenes. Believe it or not, a lot of work goes into creating them. I’ve got to figure out which character has the most dramatic need, what each character’s motivation is, define the core conflict …
Actually, I don’t give a hoot about any of that. I just want two things: action and reaction.

I visualize each scene in my head; before I write it, as I write it, and again, after I write it. Each engagement has a rhythm and flow that gets worked and reworked until it feels right as I read it. Each move is considered and weighed, accepted or rejected, based upon an ever-changing group of factors dictated by the fight (and story) itself.

Even the dialogue is fluid. When Cassie battles Vielyn, there’s a history between them that needs to color everything and bleed through now and again. When Daniel faces an undead army that’s incapable of speech, the lack of dialogue has to be overcome.

There is no one, formulaic, approach that I employ.

In a fantasy, I’d have a big gymnasium connected to my office and a team of people—gymnasts, acrobats, martial artists, dancers, athletes—at my disposal for research, roleplaying, and visualization purposes.

In the real world, I rely upon my own imagination and a lifetime of watching action movies. So far, my characters have fought with fangs and claws, so much of their action scenes are based on hand-to-hand fighting and martial arts, which are quite prevalent in the latest generation of films. Everything from The Matrix trilogies, to the Star Wars prequels, to the glut of superhero films has served as resource material.

The introduction of humans in subsequent stories will require cinematic scenes that employ more weapons-based exchanges. It should be fun!

Now, there are a few things I absolutely require when I’m getting into action writing mode:

1.      A few minutes to mentally prepare
2.      Rock music
3.      Sugar

#1. This probably speaks for itself. When I hit the point where a fight breaks out, I get excited. The adrenalin starts pumping, my mind starts running a mile a minute, and I become a bundle of energy. It’s a bit overwhelming and counterproductive. So, the first thing I do is walk away from my desk for a minute or two. I’ll get a drink, visit the restroom, or even just stare out a window, while I calm down to the point where I can actually write again.

#2. I can only write an action scene in two environments: complete silence or while listening to rock music. The former is reserved for times when I really can’t concentrate or I’m having difficulty nailing a particular exchange down … and is rather rare (thankfully). The latter really seems to complement my writing and really helps to keep my energy level high.

Portrait of an author
I love all kinds of music—pop, rock, and country—from the 50’s through today, but hard rock is my music of choice and the only music that can be playing when writing action. I can’t imagine writing a scene in which Daniel beheads a væmpire while Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” is playing in the background. Give me Godsmack, The Used, or Papa Roach for the tough stuff.

In fact, I wrote most of the final draft of Væmpires: Revolution while playing Bad City’s “Welcome To the Wasteland” on repeat. Halestorm’s “The Strange Case of …” and Vain’s “Enough Rope” provided the background music for Væmpires: Zombie Rising.

#3. I crave sugar when I write action scenes. Peppermint Patties, orange slices, gummy bears, a five lb. bag of Domino Sugar … I don’t really discriminate when the need arises. A few weeks ago I came across some leftover Christmas candy—leftover from Christmas 2008 or so, that is—and I didn’t turn it away.
I’m not saying it was the right thing to do … but it got the job done.

So, there you have it, folks: some random, and rambling, thoughts on cinematic scenes. I’d like to say that I hope it was as good for you as it was for me, but that would probably be misinterpreted, which would provide fodder for the “haters.”

Wherever they may be.

I’d like to offer a very special “thank you” to Nikki for inviting me to her site. I hope everyone enjoys the post. I’d love to hear what you think of it and/or answer any questions you may have. Post comments or questions below and I’ll be sure to respond.  

Feel free to stop by my website and reach out. I’d love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires.

Take care,
Thomas Winship 

Thanks to Thomas Winship for this most awesome - and action-packed - post. Tom is one of those authors you love to love. He's super nice and kicks butt in the cover, trailer and writing departments.

Check out Winship's blog and my review (in pictures) of Vaempires: Revolution HERE!

The comments section is now open... :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vaempires - Review in Pictures

Featuring Vaempires: Revolution (The Evolutionary War) by Thomas Winship

The cinematic fight scenes reminded me of The Matrix.

The main characters - Daniel & Princess Cassandra - put me in mind of Princess Leia and Hans Solo. Even captured, Cassandra knows how to fight back and join the fray. Total kick ass couple!

A futuristic setting with hovercrafts adds a fresh element.

When Daniel comes across a group of vaempires - with an "e" (big difference in this book) - outside drinking and celebrating the success of their attack on vampires (no e) and humans, it reminded me of The Great Gatsby and the obnoxious sense of entitlement of the higher ups.

What's scarier than mutant vampires? Mutant ZOMBIE vampires!

This is one gore fest that will leave you thirsty for more.

Find Vaempires at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords & Goodreads.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

October Book Signing

When: Wednesday, October 3rd at 5 pm

Where: Darvill's Bookstore on Orcas Island

Who: Visiting author Rachael Wade, Orcas Island author Keary Taylor, and myself

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interview with Lucy Swing & Giveaway

Losing even a page of your work is distressing, but an entire novel... Writer's worst nightmare! Today we have Lucy Swing author of Feathermore and JUST RELEASED book two: Fallenmore. Lucy has agreed to share her anguish and ultimate triumph in recreating a novel from start to finish. 

How to RE-Write a Book from Scratch

Lucy, can you tell us what happened?

*wipes tear away* My laptop met a not so pretty end. It fell onto the floor and shattered, and it seems the hard drive took most of the blow. Everyone said it was no biggie, but four different techs later, no one could get any data from it. I lost, not only Fallenmore, but everything else as well: other WIPs, all of our photos from the past 2 years, all of my other published work… A total headache!

What was your first reaction?

I thought I’d die. Yes, you can think of me as melodramatic, but when you have spent so many months working on something and building this whole world up… its shattering to lose it all.

How long did it take you to muster up the strength to start over from page one?

It took me a while, especially because I was hoping someone could recover my work. When a month went by and everyone said it was impossible, I had no other choice. I pulled out of my self-induced depression and got started… AGAIN!

How long did it take you to write Fallenmore the first time? The second?

The first time it took me about two months. In which I wrote every day Monday through Friday 8:30-2pm. The second time it took shortly over a month. Although it took less time, it was infuriatingly frustrating! There were scenes that had already been written, scenes I loved and on the re-write I just couldn’t get right. Fallenmore 2.0 as I call it is much different than the original, and I believe that is a good thing.

What did you learn from this experience?

*grunts* Every time I told someone what happened their immediate response was “And you didn’t back it up?” I swear I wanted to strangle people when they said that! No, I didn’t back anything up. I guess I didn’t think of it before, as I never expected something like this to happen. So, what I have learned from all of this is: BACK UP YOUR WORK!!!! I got myself a USB drive and every time I work on anything, I save it there.

Another cheap way to back-up, which Feathermore’s editor told me about, is every time you work on your MS, email it to yourself.

Is book three in the works and what can we expect?

Book 3 is on the works. I’ve written a few chapters already and I am hoping *crosses fingers* I can publish it by Fall. No date has been set yet as there are other projects roaming around, too.

Lucy Swing lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two children. She is a YA Paranormal/ Romance writer, whose works include: Feathermore (Feathermore Trilogy #1 ), Fallenmore (Feathemore Trilogy #2) and Bloody Valentine, a vampire/witch novella.

She is an absolute book hoarder and must always have a book at arm’s length. Music is her muse, and there is always a soundtrack that plays along her life.

For more information on Lucy Swing please visit her website: http://www.LucySwing.com and the Feathermore Trilogy blog: http://www.feathermoretrilogy.blogspot.com

Enter to WIN a Feathermore and Fallenmore Paperback.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Indie Author Island Party

I love meeting authors online - even more so in person.

Yesterday's treat was spending the afternoon with Stacey Wallace Benefiel and Keary Taylor. These ladies are as nice as they are talented. The time went by too fast!

We all met up in Friday Harbor, Stacey coming from Lopez Island (where she and her husband Rob are spending their 10 year anniversary) and Keary from her home on Orcas Island. On the way over the engine on their ferry went kaput. It managed to make it into the dock an hour late and the out-of-service Evergreen has been causing scheduling ciaos in the usually peaceful streets of San Juan ever since.

Alas, it didn't strand Stacey and Keary here with me and all too soon we had to say our good-byes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Support Great Causes & Enter the Mother Load of a Raffle

Signed paperbacks, posters, and eBooks by authors:

This is one of the biggest online book giveaways I've ever seen. Enter the raffle here. (No purchase necessary.)

My reasons for choosing Vegan Outreach can be found at my Lights On page.

Putting an end to factory farming and animal cruelty is very near and dear to my heart. I've read detailed undercover accounts and seen the footage of the abuse that takes place on factory farms which, tragically, account for 99 percent of the meat, dairy and egg markets in the United States.

"Ninety-nine percent of all land animals eaten or used to produce milk and eggs in the United States are factory farmed. So although there are important exceptions, to speak about eating animals today is to speak about factory farming."
                                         - Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Nikki & Cosmo

Books like Meat Market by Erik Marcus, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, even Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (hey, I like snark) have been highly influential, along with the documentary Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix... and my dog, Cosmo. :)

Oh yes, and I heart my vegan cookbook collection! Even my French husband converted. His choice!

Thank you to author Rachael Wade for putting this together. 

Show & Tell Thursday - eReader

Show & Tell Thursday is a four week meme taking place at Amanda Hocking's blog during Under the Seapalooza.

It's summer - show some skin! The kind on your eReader that is. This is my Kindle two in a Patagonia case and bookshelf skin with whimsical titles on the book spines like "War and Peas", "Lord of the Pies," and "20,000 Leeks Under the Sea."

Share and win prizes at Amanda Hocking's. There's still time to enter the bookmark giveaway (last week's S&T). Next Thursday show off your journals and enter to win fun notebooks for review writing, brainstorming or noveling.