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Friday, December 19, 2014

My New To Be Read Pile (Thank You 2014 YA Superlatives Blogfest!)

I had plans to join the YA Superlatives Blogfest this year, but I didn't make it. Fingers crossed for next year. That hasn't stopped me from hopping from blog to blog, seeing what books other voracious readers have enjoyed in 2014. These are the books I discovered:


A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray
When eighteen-year-old Marguerite Caine's father is killed, she must leap into different dimensions and versions of herself to catch her father's killer and avenge his murder


A MAD, WICKED FOLLY bySharon Biggs WallerIn 1909 London, as the world of debutante balls and high society obligations closes in around her, seventeen-year-old Victoria must figure out just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

REVOLUTION by Jennifer DonnellyAn angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.

SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson
Quiet Emily's sociable and daring best friend, Sloane, has disappeared leaving nothing but a random list of bizarre tasks for her to complete, but with unexpected help from popular classmate Frank Porter, Emily gives them a try.


THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.



TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han
Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent.


Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.


Eighteen-year-old Vivienne, lady-in-waiting to the future queen Guinevere, is secretly apprenticed to Merlin the magician and helps him try to create a steam-powered metal beast to defeat Morgan La Fey, King Arthur's sorceress sister, when she declares war on Camelot.

The Swap by Megan Shull
When seventh-grader Ellie, who is having best-friend problems, and eighth-grader Jack, who is under tremendous pressure from his father, switch bodies and lives, they learn a great deal about themselves and the opposite sex.

                                                                                          

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday



What's up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers keep in touch with each other. If you'd like to participate, sign up on the linky at one of their blogs, and use one of the cute WUW buttons provided. Thanks!

WHAT I'M READING

I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and I feel rewarded for persevering through. I never loved this series, but always liked it just barely enough to read the next book. The language and the drug overtones in the second book were very off putting to me, and I've been frustrated by what I saw as a lack of compelling reasons for the dogged way they were pursuing their goals. But I really liked BLLB. It solved all my problems. I will never love it with the devotion so many people feel, but the third book was far and away my favorite.

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ ONE WRITING GOAL)

My mind has been whirling with all the things going on in my real world--the kind of whirling where I can't even figure out what I'm thinking about because there is just so MUCH. I'm slowly learning that the cure for that is to sit down with a pencil and paper and see what comes out. Usually I end up with a lengthy list, but this time, to my surprise, I outlined an entire novel. It's a rough outline, to be sure, but I hadn't even realized it was in there! I'm pretty psyched about it.

My goal for this week is to see if I can flesh that outline out some. This isn't supposed to be my next project. So maybe I should work on the outline for my next project too, and see which one catches my passion.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Trusting my intuition. Some people write down extensive rules for their world, and because of that, they can verbalize why something works or doesn't work. But while that is nice, I find my subconscious does a much better job at it than my conscious mind ever could. I just have to trust it.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

I really wanted to participate in the Superlatives Blog Hop, and maybe I'll end up doing some kind of shortened version, but I am really enjoying going to all the blogs and seeing all the incredible books that came out in 2014. Keep it up, bloggers! I'm a fan!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Voice of Prophecy


 The Dual Magics series are exciting high fantasy books. I read The Voice of Prophecy years ago, when it was still being dreamed up, and can't wait to see what has happened to it after all this time. If you haven't yet read anything from the Dual Magics series, I am excited to introduce you to it. Meredith Mansfield is a talented writer, (and an amazing beta reader). 

Two kinds of magic—each unknown to the users of the other—until they combine in one young man.

The Voice of Prophecy, the second book of the Dual Magics series, releases December 19th.
When the two kinds of magic combine in one person, unexpected things happen.
Sensing the presence of lions is one thing. Any member of the Lion Clan could do that. When Vatar sees the hunt through the eyes of one of the big cats—well, that’s something else altogether. And that’s only the beginning of the unusual manifestations of his magic.
When a mysterious voice only he can hear volunteers ancient wisdom, Vatar knows he’s in trouble. After enduring an Ordeal to prove he isn’t haunted by an Evil Spirit, Vatar thinks he may be possessed after all. Or losing his mind. Or cursed.
He must hide his Talent from his magic-fearing people or face consequences that don’t bear thinking about. But he has to control it in order to keep it secret. And now he’s not sure he can. It’s enough to make him want to give up on magic altogether.
But he’s going to need all his wits—and all the magic he can muster—to defeat those who want to use him and his unique abilities for their own ends.
The first book in the series, The Shaman’s Curse.

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend--and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that--a dream. She’d better be.
Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know--or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.
Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

 The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.
You can find The Shaman's Curse here, and The Voice of Prophecy here. She's also written a novella from the same series called Becoming Lioness, which is free here.
Good luck Meredith!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's Up Wednesday 12/10/14


What's up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers keep in touch with each other. If you'd like to participate, sign up on the linky at one of their blogs, and use one of the cute WUW buttons provided. Thanks!

WHAT I'M READING

I just finished reading Mortal Heart! It was such a beautiful story. I love her messages of forgiveness, and I love the way she weaves the three timelines of the stories together. It's so unique.

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ ONE WRITING GOAL) *

And even more copyediting. But my brain is beginning to move onto other projects...I need to cobble together some enthusiasm for my next writing project. Perhaps a good outlining session would help. But that's not going to happen this week.

My goal: Finish this round of copyediting. 
WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I've begun spending 10 minutes a day making a list of things that need to get done AND I've started carrying around a calendar nearly everywhere I go. When I take the time to write a list, and to check my calendar, I am much less likely to fritter my day away. For years now, I've known I needed these things, but FINALLY they are becoming a habit for me. I fought it awfully hard, but I'm starting to like it. 

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

OUR COVER REVEAL! Today's the last day of the cover reveal, and I would like to thank all awesome WUW bloggers who participated. If you click here, you can see a list of who participated, AND you can enter a drawing for a $25 gift card. The drawing closes today. Here's my shiny new cover:



ABOUT PROPHECY OF THE SIX

Book 2 in the Prophecy Breakers Series

We didn't know how much we had to gain by being infected with magic. We found a purpose, we found a destiny, and we found each other.

But California isn’t the new start we were promised. Dr. Child may be gone, but now we must face a military school, dangerous secrets, and a prophecy that has half the country wanting us dead. When the line between enemies and allies blurs, Sam, Juliette, Ana and I need to choose between love and sanity, between magic and survival.

Paradise has a cost. When the authorities are suddenly giving you whatever you want, they’re going to demand everything in return. And that’s a price not all of us are strong enough to pay.
Freedom feels like safety, but it’s not. There are no walls here. No place they won’t be coming for us.

No place we won’t destroy.

The adventure began with Alchemy:
Book 1 in the Prophecy Breakers Series!
In 2014, Alchemy was named on of the top 50 self-published books worth reading. On December 8,9, and 10th you can buy it for free here

Monday, December 8, 2014

Prophecy of the Six Cover Reveal




It's here! It's finally here! I wasn't sure this day would ever come, but I am excited to reveal the cover (and title!!!) of Book 2 in The Prophecy Breakers series. The cover was designed by Darren Boekweg of Boekweg Books Publishing and Cover Design. In conjunction with the cover reveal, several of our books are free today, and we have a contest for a $25 amazon gift card--right in time for the holidays!

Please visit these other blogs that are helping to celebrate with us:
(This list will be updated as I find new ones)

Monday

Tuesday




About Prophecy of the Six


We didn't know how much we had to gain by being infected with magic. We found a purpose, we found a destiny, and we found each other.

But California isn’t the new start we were promised. Dr. Child may be gone, but now we must face a military school, dangerous secrets, and a prophecy that has half the country wanting us dead. When the line between enemies and allies blurs, Sam, Juliette, Ana and I need to choose between love and sanity, between magic and survival.

Paradise has a cost. When the authorities are suddenly giving you whatever you want, they’re going to demand everything in return. And that’s a price not all of us are strong enough to pay.
Freedom feels like safety, but it’s not. There are no walls here. No place they won’t be coming for us.

No place we won’t destroy.




About Alchemy

Book 1 in the Prophecy Breakers Series!
We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.  
Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone. 
We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.
In 2014, Alchemy was named on of the top 50 self-published books worth reading. On December 8,9, and 10th you can buy it for free here. For a limited time, Funny Tragic, Crazy Magic and Hidden Magic are also available for free.

About the Authors


Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West met online, (which isn't as weird as it used to be) and blog together at theprosers.blogspot.com. Their first collaborative project, Alchemy (Prophecy Breakers #1), was voted one of the top fifty self published novels worth reading by Indie Authorland.

Sheena Boekweg is the author of Funny Tragic Crazy Magic, and The Waxling (forthcoming). She is a mom of three from Utah and is prepared to survive a zombie apocalypse.

As a mom of four, Melanie Crouse thinks that parenthood is exactly like a zombie apocalypse. Melanie Crouse is the author of excuse notes, thank you cards, and the novel Hidden Magic.

Sabrina West is a writer and wildlife biologist living in San Diego, California. Her short fiction has appeared in markets such as Cover of Darkness; Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine; and Kayelle Press’s Night Terrors Anthology.

We love hearing from our readers, so drop us a line at theprophecybreakers@boekwegbooks.com, on facebook, twitter, or Internet stalking Benedict Cumberbatch.


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: A Snow Day!


What's up Wednesday is a blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers keep in touch with each other. If you'd like to participate, sign up on the linky at one of their blogs, and use one of the cute WUW buttons provided. Thanks!

I love that cute "What's Up Wednesday" picture. It's adorable.

Alchemy and Hidden Magic will both be free during the cover reveal, so mark it on your calendars! Because of things, Hidden Magic will probably only be free for Monday and Tuesday. 


WHAT I'M WRITING (+ 1 WRITING GOAL)


Copyediting! If you ever decide to go on a collaborating adventure, I recommend that your partner be someone with mad copyediting skills, like Sabrina (but you can't have her--she's taken). 

If you are interested in helping with the cover release, book release or in reviewing an ARC, please email me at thecrousefamily @ yahoo . com  (But without the spaces, of course). There is a raffle for all blog hosts and reviewers, with an amazon gift card as the prize. 

Writing Goal: Next week is the cover reveal!!! My goal this week is to get that all worked out so it runs smoothly. 

WHAT I'M READING

This week I attempted to read a book called Elizabeth Is Missing. It's a mystery story where the POV character is an elderly woman with dementia. It was very well written--so well written in fact that I had to stop reading it. I was disoriented for at least an hour every time I set the book down. I'm one of those people who can get very caught up in the emotions of a book anyway, and when those emotions are accompanied with dementia...it was kind of awful. I have Blue Lily, Lily Blue AND Mortal Heart waiting for me at the library...if only I could get there!



WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Our copyediting has three main phases--this first part, where Sabrina goes through and fixes every little mistake and we clean up behind her; the second part, where our copyeditor, April, finds even more stuff to fix, and then the third part, where we each get our own hard copy of the book and find even more things to fix. It's ridiculous that it takes so long, and that there is so much to find, when we've been editing it for ages, and when we've had so many beta readers (including Connie, who spent a tremendous amount of time copyediting). But that's what it takes.


WHAT ELSE IS NEW

It's a snow day today, so all the kids are home, and we've all been pretty lazy. The boys did A LOT of shoveling, so they would like to be exempted from the lazy list. My lovely friend and neighbor always has a video party in the afternoons on snow days, so the boys are headed there, while the girls still have some shoveling to do. Poor girls...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Work In Progress - Melanie

My friend Irene is doing Nanowrimo this year.

http://inkygirl.com

I've got lots of friends doing Nanowrimo actually , but unlike the rest of them, I know Irene in real life. We stood in the corridor of the church after an activity on Wednesday, and she told me about the book she's been writing. I hope she doesn't mind if I tell you that it's got a raccoon in it. A cute raccoon who pops out and chitters whenever she's at a loss to know what to have happen next.

We smiled nostalgically as I regaled her with stories about all the times I've used a shovel to kill someone, and how fun it is to try to make the murder so natural that no one says "Ah! The Travelling Shovel of Death." Talk about pulling people out of the story, right?

As we spoke, people regarded us with wide, wide eyes, and stayed as far away as possible. Good times.

But I know you're dying to know the status of my work in progress. I can hardly blame you. Today is our deadline to finish Editing. From here on out, we're calling it Copy Editing.

Sheena, Sabrina and I have got a new title. We've got a gorgeous cover, which we will showcase in early December--I think December 8th. We've got a release date: January 6.  It's all exciting and stressful and not nearly as shiny as writing about chittering raccoons.

Here is an excerpt of one of my favorite scenes from the beginning of the book. It's a little hard to find scenes that don't contain major spoilers, but I did my best. In our book, Juliette, Sam, Ana and Company have been sent from Maine clear across the country to military school in California. In this scene, Ana is making some new friends, and getting a new nickname:

   "You've got to use your imagination," Chad said, and I nodded. Two other guys had joined our group, and we were standing on the beach, looking out at the ocean. The sun had burned off the fog, and the day was sunny and bright. Chad gestured to include the whole ocean.
   "The first time Suzi brought me here, there was a huge flock of pelicans. How many do you think, Suz?" he called out to her, and she answered his question as though she'd heard every word he'd said.
   "Thirty, maybe?"
   "No way," Chad said. "At least 50. And some other kind of little bird, hundreds of those. Right, babe?"
   "Definitely hundreds," she said, and continued her conversation with the other guys as though she hadn't been interrupted.
   "Now close your eyes and imagine those pelicans flapping their wings up, up, up." Chad flapped his arms in demonstration. "And then, when they get to a certain height, they hover for a minute, and then..." He grabbed my arm and pointed out to the sky above the ocean. "They dive. They tuck their wings right in and freefall. Boom." He slapped his hands together and looked at me with wide, impressed eyes. "Over and over again. Like the coolest party ever."
   I made the appropriate "Woah" expression, and he continued. "Then they come up out of the water and the little birds attack them."
    "Oh. Poor pelicans," I said, and Chad nodded solemnly.
   "But then they do it all over again. Dozens of pelicans divebombing the water. Lucky pelicans," he said. "And that's when Suzi had her genius idea. Suzi!" he called, and Suzi jogged up to us, wiping her hands on her legs.
   "Are you ready?" she asked me. I stared at her, confused.
   "For what?"
   "To be a pelican," Chad said, grinning maniacally.

   I can't even express how amazing it is to stand on the beach and have a Pusher lift me into the air and out over the ocean. Terrifying? Yes. But it's a great way to take my mind off my problems. And then they let go. I tried to freefall without screaming, but it was physically impossible to contain that much joy and anticipation. Because right before I hit the water, Suzi grabbed me in a cloud of air again, and lifted me back up, squealing with delight and terror. Eventually it was their turn to Push each other into the air, and I lay on my back and listened to the waves and their loud laughter. It was nearly a perfect moment.
   I felt a twinge of guilt when I lied to my new friends about my primary power being Prophecy. Suzi smiled and shook her head thoughtfully. "It's always the one you'd never suspect," she said, and Chad laughed and agreed.
   "I dare you to land in the water, Daredevil," he said.
   "I don't even know how deep it is," I said. "And it's cold."
   "But you're the Daredevil," he said. "And we won't let you crash into the bottom. Scouts honor."
   I was already striding toward my launching spot. "Divebomb!" Chad shouted as Suzi lifted me into the air. I shivered with anticipation. As I began my freefall, I twisted into a dive. The water wasn't as cold as I'd expected, but that was probably the shock. Suzi slowed my impact at the last moment, which was a good thing, because I think I brushed the ocean floor as I turned and pushed for the surface. At the very least, I hoped I'd just cemented my new nickname. And that maybe they'd let me do it one more time.