Between my day job, online classes with Margie Lawson, critiquing, and revision–the last two months have been as nuts as a can of Planters. I’ve loved every second.
After reading Margie’s packets on Empowering Characters’ Emotions and taking two of her classes–Deep Editing, Rhetorical Devices and More as well as Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist–I have new, incredible lenses to use in revision. Also–no surprise–I have a lot of work to do. I cannot recommend Margie enough. Check out her courses here.
In the fall, I wrote my first New Adult paranormal (geeky, creepy, fun!) and am beginning to work on revisions with new momentum from these classes. Sooooo excited to get back to this MS!
Take any good classes lately? Read any good books?? 🙂
Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the ‘L’, a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it’s directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn’t pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, “Run, Mo!”
Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend’s murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo–quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo–will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she’ll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys–protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc.
One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?
I am huge, huge, HUGE on setting description, and this is where O’Rourke shines. Mo’s reality–all the details of her life–are rendered sharp and clear.These intense descriptions bleed into the paranormal world, making magic that much more believable.
Mo is an incredible character–a good girl driven out of her corner by incredible circumstances. This book is a tale of friendship lost as much as it is a romance. Flashes of Verity make the pain of her death fresh and real. Mo is bent on revenge, and we’re right there with her.
I’m not huge on books with love triangles, but this element works very well in TORN because Mo isn’t just torn between two guys. She’s torn between two worlds: family mob-ties in her everyday life and a world of magic introduced by hot-as-hell Luc. If I were to choose a “team,” I’d be Team Colin (sorry Luc!). Colin–construction worker by day and muscle by night–is hired by Mo’s uncle to protect her after Verity’s murder. Colin is the strong, blunt alpha-type I just can’t resist.
O’Rourke has an incredible, authentic voice, and a dark, unapologetic story-telling style that draws the reader in. She is true to her characters and is unafraid to take risks. I hope you check out this incredible title!
Read more about Erica O’Rourke and her books here!
This YA debut left me spellbound. The cover of THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER encapsulates both character and concept. Twylla is trapped–bound by duty and myth to her country’s castle. Destined to be queen, Twylla is also poison–her skin enough to kill anyone unfortunate enough to touch her. That is, except for the prince.
I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.
Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…
This novel’s high concept hooked me immediately, but it was Twylla herself that reeled me in. Conflicted by a duty assigned to her by fate and what she feels is right, Twylla is an incredibly complex character. And she isn’t the only one. The prince, the queen, and Twylla’s guard, Lief are each revealed to have incredible depth.
The play of imagery in this book and feast of the senses draws the reader deep into Twylla’s opulent and twisted world. Salisbury’s world-building reaches wide in terms of geography and deep in terms of history. She’s thought the fabric of this society through, its enemy kingdom upholding a different mythology, history, and set of values.
Twylla’s guard, Leif, is from that kingdom–a place that questions the traditions Twylla and her people have stubbornly held up for centuries. Through the course of the book, Twylla opens up to seeing both the world and herself from a completely different perspective. Salisbury achieves this transition in her character masterfully.
Check out Melinda Salisbury’s website for more on this author and her books!
THE RAVINE: New Adult Paranormal Romance. This is my newest project.
Both can see ghosts after dark. Both struggle with silence. They’ll need to work together if they hope to defeat his malicious poltergeist and stop her ex-boyfriend’s blackmail by the end of the summer.
THE RAVINE finaled in the following contests (2018):
A Reaper princess turned lifeguard and a skater boy, soldier of Death are our only chance to save the Netherworld’s most powerful city.
This project took first place in the YA/NA category of Virginia Romance Writers’ 2016 Fool for Love Contest! It also finaled in the Chicago-North Romance Writers’ Fire & Ice Contest, North Texas Romance Writers’ Great Expectations Contest, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers’ Golden Claddagh Contest, and New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Contest.
I just finished THE GHOST CHRONICLES by Marlo Berliner and had to give a shout out to my fellow Jerseyite for this incredible YA Paranormal! Berliner’s high-concept storytelling and sympathetic hero had me hooked on this title immediately.
Can Michael get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?
Michael Andrews had everything – a loving family, a great girlfriend and a promising basketball career. That was before the accident that took his life. Now, he’s a ghost, wandering among the living, struggling to understand why he’s stuck. All he wants is to move on.
That is until he meets Sarah, an attractive young girl who died just as tragically as he did. The only trouble is falling in love and binding oneself to another soul is forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be.
To make matters worse, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the “joining” of two souls in the afterlife is also strictly forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far. Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another.
Things get even more complicated as Michael learns he’s being pursued. Demons are after him because he’s a marked soul, a soul the devil wants very badly for some unknown reason.
So, maybe falling in love in the afterlife isn’t such a good idea.
I can’t help beginning with the setting because (holla!) a large part of it takes place in New Jersey. Michael, our ghostly hero, grew up in central Jersey. The description of this area is especially fun for local readers who can connect to the landmarks mentioned a la Evanovich.
The heart of the setting, however, is the Angel of the Sea, a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ that’s rumored to harbor the ghost of a teenage girl, Sarah. Love crosses boundaries of time, space, and death as Michael falls for Sarah.
Berliner pulls out all the paranormal stops by rolling explanations of other paranormal creatures besides ghosts into her world-building. I don’t want to give these pieces away, but look forward to meeting incredible creatures as well as historical figures.
Michael himself had me hooked from the beginning–a teen character who looses his life, his girlfriend, his future in basketball, and his family. He begins the book alive, so this loss is more deeply felt, and his journey to move on from his ties to the mortal world has its own perils. Travel with Michael to several historic locations as he seeks the answers to the big questions of his afterlife and flees the demons that want his soul.
I just wanted to share a couple of Twitter parody accounts that I was dying while reading. They also made me think a bit about some of the common pitfalls in the genre. I always feel every book should be judged on its own merits, but there is something to learn from taking a peek at accounts like these:
I’m proud to announce that my YA paranormal, BENEATH US, finaled in the specialized division of the NTRWA’s Great Expectations Contest! *shamelessly dances The Charleston* The final results will be announced in March.
BENEATH US also recently took second place in the YA division of the CHRW’s Golden Claddagh Contest! I owe so much to my critique partners and beta readers–Aryn Youngless, Arell Rivers, Noella Phillips, Kimberley Ash, Keri Elizabeth Parry, and Barbara Zjawin. I couldn’t do it without you guys. ❤
Hey everyone! So excited–logging on today, I see that my blog just rounded 800 followers! I’m feeling guilty because I haven’t been on as often lately, but I’ve been working on a couple of projects that make my heart siiiiiiing!
BENEATH US took second place in the YA division of the Golden Claddagh Contest. 🙂 I had an amazing time building this book’s dark world and tangling my quirky characters in its problems. I’ve got my fingers crossed that maybe this book will be “the one.”
I recently began revisions on my New Adult WIP, and I don’t know how I ever lived without Scrivener! I don’t compose in the program, but it helped me to plan much more carefully so that the revision of this book will go faster than any of my previous projects. I also incorporated Michael Hauge’s story structure and other planning tips I’ve picked up over the years into the pre-writing stage. In drafting, I owe a lot to Margie Lawson’s workshops which helped me to tune up the visceral and literary elements. I’m holding back on details about the book itself (the title is still eluding me!) and thought it was completely nuts while writing it. But now, as I’m looking back, I’m feeling like: Yesssssss. This.
I’ve also been catching up on my reading, the most amazing of which in the past few weeks has been: Shatter Me, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Isla and the Happily Ever After. Reviews to come!
The list is out on the BNTEENblog for the most anticipated YA fantasy reads coming up in 2016! Most of these titles sound like they’ll knock my polka dot socks off, but here are the two I absolutely can’t wait to read:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
How about you? What’s your most anticipated read? It doesn’t need to be YA–just share away!