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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'll put your poison in my veins//They say the best love is insane

I don't even know where to start. I hope this post doesn't become a jumbled mess of my thoughts. But there are so many things happening, I don't know how to keep track. 

-The Moving Situation-
I move to Vegas in 15 days. It doesn't even feel real. I don't think it will officially hit me until the last week, when I am fully through with work, and my furniture begins disappearing. I have so much to take care of before I leave, it's a little overwhelming. I've never moved out of state before...and I did not prepare myself well.

-The Work Front-
I asked Children's place if they could seize scheduling me after the 3rd of August. That means I only have two shifts left there before I'm done for good. Ben & Jerry's had me scheduled all the way up to the day before I left. I have been privileged enough to find cover for my entire last week of shifts, therefore allowing me more time to spend with family/friends and prepare for my big move. 

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I will be working for my best friend, Thien-nga Palmer and her entertainment company. As I understand I will eventually be taking on more responsibility as I am trained. I'm excited to help her out, I know she has worked very hard for this...but I am also happy to be able to work in an industry I love.

So much great news for Madalynne & Parker! I received my first round of paperback proofs. While they were not the size I wanted, and essentially will end up being throw away novellas, I'm happy with their outcome. Createspace was affordable, timely, and easy to use. 

I am almost finished with the second round of beta testing for M&P. And it has been very enlightening. I made quite a few changes based off of feedback or suggestions the readers left me. And then I re-published M&P again with the new sizing and changes. I am waiting on five more proof copies before it can be for sale again. 

But the general consensus was favorable. I received many great comments about the characters, the names, the ending, the writing, etc. 

And then something incredible happened to me. I finally found an eBook in the YA genre on Amazon Kindle, called The Soundtrack of Summer by Taylor Nordike. I was ecstatic to see the authors writing mirror a style I felt reflected my own. It's difficult for me to even open any YA novels without cringing nowadays by the juvenile writing style, so I knew I had to buy the eBook and support the author.

At the time her novel was #150,000+ paid kindle store. M&P is somewhere near the 500,00' obviously Nordike is doing something right. I even wrote a review, but for some reason Amazon would not allow me to post it. So I am going to post the review here, in case anyone was interested:

Soundtrack of Summer
By Taylor Nordike

The book description was originally what drew me in. Musicians, tour, a love triangle? Yes please…And then I decided to take a look inside and was even more excited when I was able to preview six chapters before even purchasing it. I was already invested in the story at that point, I had to know who she would end up with, how the tour would turn out; I wanted to know everything.

Now, let’s get to the character of Ashton. To be quite honest, I hated her from the very beginning…which was a very bittersweet feeling for me. From the book description, I found myself relating to Ashton, and already dying to know what the outcome was without even opening the book. However it didn’t take much time at all for me to feel like Ashton was the most conceited girl in the world and that she felt like the world revolved around her. Within the first ten chapters it was noted time and time again how many guys fawned all over Ashton or were drooling over her body or her hair, her voice. It was almost like she was too perfect. Can Ashton do anything wrong?

Jordan’s POV was bittersweet for me to read. There would be sections where I liked him and sections where I couldn’t stand his personality or dialogue. I loved the idea of her falling for the asshole (Jordan) and somehow reforming him…but whenever he called her “kid” it pulled me right out of the storyline cringing.

I loved Levi from the beginning. I found myself secretly rooting for him to win. His character was likeable, relatable, and his dialogue was interesting enough to keep my focus. But the break up kind of came out of left field for me. Why didn’t Levi address any of the problems with Ashton? He apparently loved her but he was so willing to give her up without a fight? Hmm….

There were some smaller issues I noticed in the novel. Minor editing issues, awkward transitions between sentences or paragraphs; Inconsistencies with certain details in the story. And the awkward POV switch to Ashton without a warning.

And lastly, HOLY SIMILES! There had to have been at least one per page. Don’t get me wrong, the way Nordike wove some of them together was magical…but her overuse of similes was actually more detrimental for me. It pulled me right out of the story, every time wondering if she was just trying to weave the best sounding sentences.

I found myself wishing for fewer similes but maybe more like this one, which was brilliant by the way, “The weight of the heavy silence that hung in the air like an executioner raising his axe…” That has outstanding imagery!

All in all it was a quick, pleasurable read I finished within a couple of hours and I would definitely recommend to others! I give it 4 stars!

And then lastly,  I took a step back from Reality Squared. And it's helped me a lot with the anxiousness that takes over. I am so close to finishing it fully, only three chapters remain. I'll probably work on it a bit today. 

Here's a teaser, but I wont tell you who's POV it is in:

                I never belonged there; the polls said I was a ‘futuristic Robin Hood’, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. What was the harm in that? There were never more picketers than there were at my trial. The Jury was unevenly stacked against me and I was detained; sentenced to a decade behind bars. Riots poured out into the streets, angry with the jury’s verdict. 

I wish I had a clean way of ending blogs, but I don't. Most of the time after I get the information out that I needed, my brain shuts off like mush. So I'm going to go--Tata!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life- Are You Living It?

Lately, I've had the most incredibly anxious and stressed feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like if I don't finish Reality Squared by tomorrow, my original deadline I set for it, the end of the world will come. I'm obviously aware of this deep down, but my body and my mind are not. 

I guess I feel like the quicker I finish Reality Squared, I can get back into Pieces of Me and then some other new titles I've been thinking on. But I don't want to rush the storyline. So, I will force myself to write sometimes, but only if the outcome is good.

The good news is, I'm 30k words in for Reality Squared. My original plan was to write a 40k manuscript, but looking at the normal regulations nowadays it seems as though 60k is more so the average. A rough estimate I came up with was around 45k-50k which seems decently long enough for me. I have every intention of continuing the Looking Glass series, but not necessarily from the same parallel. More on that later!

If I hunker down and do nothing else, I could potentially finish Reality Squared within the next two days, it is the most difficult novel I have ever had to written, and yet, I have a feeling, it will be the most rewarding. I only have six chapters remaining. Send a little luck my way will you? I typed more than 15,000 words yesterday, that's gotta count for something, right?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I SHOULD be doing vs. What I AM doing

The title says it all doesn't it? Procrastination. I move to Vegas in less than 25 days and I'm not sure I'm prepared. I have so many things to take care of before I go. And so little time.

Both of my jobs have been scheduling me together a total of six days a week, and for someone who is as ill as I am, it's definitely taken it's toll on me.
Instead of being productive and preparing my move by listing my furniture on Craigslist like I should be, I'm going to spend today attempting to write as much as I can to Reality Squared. Pieces of Me and Reality Squared are really the first two novels I have loosely modeled characters after my friends or family.  I'm going to share with you how I chose one of my characters for my upcoming novel, Vixen Mills.

In an earlier post I mentioned my friend Sara and her jewelry. Sara is actually one of my closest friends whom I not only got to form a business connection with, but a lifelong friendship. Sara is also someone who is honest and blunt to a fault. It's her best and worst feature at times I believe.

During the beginning stages of Reality Squared, I contacted multiple friends and asked them the age old question, "If you could have any super power what would it be?" Sara replied with "teleporter". And so it was, I began outlining a character with that special power, who I also felt like needed to be a bad ass in some ways. It quickly became apparent as I envisioned her character that she would be an Immoral. What surprised me even more is how much I ended up liking her when I was seeing her through other characters eyes. 

I modeled little characteristics after her or twisted them to fit into the novel. ie: Sara and I have always shared a  love for Indian food. But in my novel, her reality self, Vivienne Miller, is a stunning Native American. In the alternate universe Vixen has blond hair, something Sara is not fond of, however, her head is shaved on one side, something my friend Sara has pulled off in the past.

The one thing I wanted to portray was that image has nothing to do with kicking ass and saving lives, hence why I attempted to create the most ethnically diverse cast of characters. If the novel ever does get adapted for television or the big screen, I'd love people from all walks of life to be apart of it.

I have to get back to writing if I ever want to finish the novel. But I will leave you will a little excerpt from Reality Squared involving Vivienne her reality self and a young gentlemen she encounters along her travels, enjoy!

              “Good luck Romeo,” She laughed lightly, before pulling a pistol out from her handbag. I watched her kneel down in front of the bed I was chained to.

                “What the fuck are you doing?” I sat up, attempting to get a better look at the floor where she was kneeled.

                “I’m praying for my sins,” She exclaimed before standing up unexpectedly and charging at me with the butt of her pistol. That was the last thing I remembered before it all went black.

Procrastination is opportunity's assassin

I really should be working on Reality Squared, but it's been really difficult to even write half a page recently. I am almost through with Chapter 8 and there should be 16 chapters if my outline sticks. But what I really came on here to talk about was some more great news for Madalynne & Parker! I ordered 5 proof paperback copies of it, so I can check it out, and maybe even use those for ARC's. Everything is coming together and I am excited beyond words. 

So even though I've been finding difficulty in writing the novel I should be working on, I haven't stopped writing entirely. I was brainstorming some new ideas at work and check out this prologue I wrote out for Lee & Jacqueline:

Madalynne Johnson was the first girl I ever loved, whole-heartedly, without question. After she chose between Parker and me, I was left broken.   

I never imagined myself the relationship type, but Madalynne had changed all that for me, she opened my heart to the possibilities.

 After her decision, she kept in touch, sending me countless letters with updates and eventually I couldn't remain angry with her any longer.

So was it a stretch that I agreed to be a witness for Madalynne and Parker at the courthouse prior to his deployment? Probably. But I was ready for an adventure of my own...and who knew they wouldn't disappoint...

Also, while at work I wrote out this blurb, and actually it got me thinking about writing a book about a Dhamphir. And I think I may have a working title just from the blurb, check it out:

She couldn't shake his mysterious gaze, so dark, yet alluring. Her heart was doing summersalts all on its own accord. But little did Holland Jacobson know, this dangerous stranger was going to change her life forever...

With one glance from his eyes, one word from his lips, he had Holland Hooked. She had no idea what drew her to him, but secretly wished for the next time their paths would cross so that she could feel alive again...

I also forgot to mention, someone, the first someone ever, bought my eBook of M&P!!! It's only one sale, but I was pretty ecstatic when I found out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Entertainment at it's Best!

I don't have much to say really, but I had to get on here and tell you how much fun I had with the website I Write Like! You copy a few paragraphs of your writing and then they compare your writing to other famous writers. Some of my works are completely different than each other, so I took pieces of everything I have done or am working on currently in fiction, and here are the results I got!

For Madalynne & Paker my writing was compared to Stephanie Meyer, the best selling author of the Twilight series.

For 'Pieces of Me' my writing was compared to James Joyce, one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century.

For 'Reality Squared', I decided to have some fun with it and use a reality bit and an alternate reality bit.

Reality: The generator compared me to Cory Doctorow, Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author.
Alternate Reality: The generator again compared me to James Joyce.

Also, just one more quick update on Madalynne & Parker, quite a few people have been asking how to get their hands on a paperback copy, well hopefully that's soon! ;-) I will keep you updated!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Through the Looking Glass: Reality Squared

A few months ago I began having a series of dreams that were ongoing; as in I was in the same places, with the same people, fighting the same war. Each dream that delved me further into this world made me wonder more the possibilities of alternate realities. This reality was based in a post-apocalyptic future. 

Everyone who knows me knows I never remember my dreams. I am a heavy sleeper for the most part and the most I can usually take away from a dream is a few details. Nothing major. But this dream was different; and to this day, I'm still being drawn back to that world in my dreams. Not every night, but there are certain nights I know without doubt I've returned there in my sleep.

This spawned an idea for a new book. I'm not a terribly creative person when it comes to writing. Shocking for an author to admit, right? But, the books I flock to are YA/NA romance or possibly the biggest trend, ie: Hunger Games Trilogy. But I have always hoped for an idea that would change it all for me, and I think 'Reality Squared' is it.

I have so much faith in this project, I wake up thinking about it, I go to sleep thinking about it, I dream about it. I don't know if there is a minute that goes by in my day when I am not anxiously thinking about my newest novel and finishing it and what people will think. I've never been so sure of anything in my entire life. If there was any book that was going to do well for me after being published, 'Reality Squared' takes the cake.

I sent out the first three chapters for Beta reading. My first one, ever. And it went amazingly well! My beta reader Lin sent me extremely detailed notes and comments and the overall feeling was that the writing was done well and the idea/premise held a lot of promise.

The writing is also meant to attract a wider audience. The reality bits are more juvenile and for the YA audience that reads Amanda Hocking or Stephanie Meyer and the alternate reality bits are suited more for a wider range of audience. I think that 'Reality Squared', if not the entire 'Looking Glass' series has the most potential to be made into a television show or movie. Although the idea of a television show catering to an audience of fans of Lost or Vampire Diaries or Continuum sounds fantastic to me. 

I began writing the novel around May, and during that time have also been working two part time jobs and going to school full time. I have completed 20,000 words so far, and by my outline I seem to be on track for half of the book being done. I have never written this fast or with a purpose in my life, but seeing how much success Amanda Hocking received has really put a fire under my ass.

I know I am as talented if not more talented than her. We have similar backgrounds. I know that my novels would appeal to her audience. My goal before I move to Vegas in less than a month is to finish writing 'Reality Squared', as well as possibly 'Pieces of Me'. 

My idea is that 'Reality Squared' will be the first book in the 'Looking Glass' series. I have an idea for the second novel, and am excited to see where that will lead. A month or so ago I jumped the gun and created a Kickstarter for Reality Squared, but at the time was only about four chapters in, so I have held off finishing the creation of it until closer to finishing the novel.

I spoke with Sara about an arrangement to use her jewelry in the Kickstarter pledge packages. I have so much faith in what she makes and I think it's a shame no one has been able to appreciate her jewelry like I have. I think it will really help with progressing my Kickstarter.

Here's a excerpt taken right off the Kickstarter:
What is Reality Squared?
It really began as a continuing dream I could not seem to shake, and thus, Sahara was born...
The book centers around the stunning protagonist, Sahara Rose/Samantha Ryan. Sahara Rose lives on a planet in the year 2058, a war broke out years ago pitting Droma against Droma. Kill or be killed. She has been able to narrowly escape along with a few others, but time is running out and the Immorals are outnumbering the unaligned Dromas remaining. 
The novel is written through many of the eyes of the Dromas encountered by Sahara. Each section ends with someone going to sleep or waking up, thus sending them to the alternate reality.
The really cool thing I have discovered while writing this novel is that it can be read 1 of 3 ways. You can simply read the reality bits. You can simply read the alternate reality bits. Or you can read it all as a whole. Any of the aforementioned ways flows almost identically. 

Here is a snippet from Reality Squared:
Sahara Rose
I never imagined such cold, heartless, hatred. But after the city lost power, it was every man for himself; Droma against Droma. Kill or be killed. Two sides emerged early on in the war for survival. One was all about power; the other was all about family, survival, and hope. Good Droma’s vs. bad Droma’s. Unfortunately for us, the bloodthirsty bastards had the upper hand. They had the resources, they had the man power. Join them or be killed, simple as that; they were starting a revolution.
It was three years into the war and nearly half of our planet had been wiped out by its devastation. I had been on the run for so long; I didn’t remember what a real meal tasted like, what a real bed felt like. I had been lucky enough to align myself with a few other good Droma’s I found along the way.

Pieces of Me

During the time I was re-writing Madalynne & Parker, I began work on a new novel titled 'Pieces of Me'. I had read this book by a YA adult author by the name of Cheryl Klam called The Pretty One. 

Here is the description of Amazon if you want to check it out for yourself:
All Megan Fletcher had wanted was to be like her sister Lucy: a beautiful, thin girl whom everyone at the Chesapeake School for Performing Arts worshipped and adored. While Lucy was a star actress with lots of fans, Megan had always been hiding behind the set designs that she and her best friend Simon had created, hoping that no one would notice her. And then one day, life as Megan knew it had changed forever. Megan was in an accident that disfigured her face and plastic surgeons had to
restructure it very carefully. Only no one would have thought that when the bandages came off, Megan would be even more beautiful than Lucy . . .

It's really unfortunate it only has eight reviews on Amazon, because I adored it. The writing was easy to follow and I became invested with the characters and plot. It was one of the first books in a long time, I thought about when I wasn't reading it and spent all my time apart from it wanting to be back together, reading it again. I had to know what happened to Megan. I think it's because I could relate to Megan, being a bigger girl all of my life. 

All the novels I have ever written have always had stunning protagonists, I would write descriptions of these girls based off of what I wished I looked like. Understanding that people can fall in love with anyone no matter their shape or size was really what I liked about the underlying tones...but in The Pretty One, that's not necessarily what happens. They all fall over her after she has constructive surgery and is suddenly "beautiful" and not ordinary any longer.

The really cool thing about 'Pieces of Me' is I have incorporated my real life lyrics into each chapter of the novel. And it flows amazingly well. Each novel I write has instances of my life or what I wish my life was like. Hence, the lyrics and band in the novel. 

I have written over 16,000 words so far, but still have at least 24,000 to go. I had stopped writing 'Pieces of Me' abruptly when I had my dream that spawned my 'Reality Squared' idea.  Last night however I revisited POM and found that it really had promise and made me excited for the time I will be able to spend finishing it.

Check out the cool new prologue I wrote for it:

Ordinarily, she would be far from my radar…but there was something behind those enchanting brown eyes that drew me in, kept me coming back for more. I felt her sadness, her sorrow, her pain. All I wanted to do with every inch of my being was make her feel wanted, loved. But something was holding me back, pinning me in place, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to confront that truth just yet. I cared far too much about my peers’ opinions to risk it all blindly. But Peyton was all I had been fantasizing about since we crossed paths, my yearning for her almost too much to bare; I wasn’t sure how much longer I could stand to be apart.

It is written in the POV of the character she will end up with. But that will not be revealed until the end of the novel itself. The rest of the novel is completely in Peyton's POV. 

Check out one more excerpt:

                We were seated on the couch in his hotel, close enough to touch, but far enough away to be appropriate in any situation. I was wiping away tears in the corner of my eyes from laughing so hard at something Colton had said, when he changed everything. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” He asked out of nowhere, tucking a stray piece of hair behind my ear.
                I was suddenly aware I was shaking, uncontrollably. It was an uncomfortable sight, so I got up suddenly and retreated to an adjacent wall, which I leaned upon. I couldn’t even look at him. No one had ever called me beautiful other than my parents; it had to be too good to be true. He obviously felt the awkward tension and didn’t waste any time addressing it. “Hey, are you okay?” He asked, as he rose and started slowly coming towards me.
                My heart was beating faster and harder with each step he took forward. I couldn’t remember how to breathe. I was pretty sure I was going to faint, but was surprised to see I was still alert when he finally made his way to me. “Hey,” He touched my cheek softly, “What’s wrong?”
                I couldn’t look him in the eyes with such an embarrassing confession, so I did my best to look away. “No one has told me that before.”
                “What? That you’re beautiful?” And suddenly something seemed to click for him. I saw pain in his eyes, the realization finally making its appearance. “You are beautiful Peyton,” He looked down into my eyes for a long time, willing me to believe him, willing me to see what he saw.
                I was still shaking, butterflies attacking my insides, and still having trouble breathing, when Colton gently caressed my cheek with his hand. I knew, this was the moment I had been waiting all my life for; my first kiss. He leaned down and gently pressed his lips against mine. Volts of electricity were shooting through my entire body, out through my fingertips, my toes, even my nose. With each brush of our lips, the magic increased. It began with slow, delicate kisses, and then before I knew it, they were hard, passionate kisses. Colton pressed me up against the wall, continuing to kiss me, but I felt his hands grace my hips and stomach. He was pulling me into his kisses, he was leaving me breathless. Before I knew it, he had my arms pinned against the wall over my head, and he was exploring my body with his mouth, my lips, my cheek, my neck, my ear, I could hardly bare it. I was fully aware I was moaning, but I didn’t care, this felt good.