Tuesday, February 28, 2012

YA Paranormal Activity Blog Hop Winner(s)!

Thank you everyone who participated in my first ever blog hop! I had a whole lot of fun and I hope you did, too. Now, it is the time you've all been waiting for - the time to announce the winner!

But wait...

Before I do, I have a little announcement. Halfway through this giveaway, I set a goal of reaching 150 followers. And if I reached that magical number, then I would also choose a "runner up" winner who would have the opportunity to receive one of the books presented in this giveaway. And with your help, I reached 154 followers! Thank you!

So please help me congratulate the winners of my YA Paranormal Activity Blog Hop:

Winner - Elizabeth Gomez

Runner Up - Miki

 I hope many of you will come back to visit me again for more giveaways and updates on my novel, soon to be out on Amazon, Provex City. I'll see you around the blogosphere!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Young Adult Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop!

February 24th to 28th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & vvb32 read

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my giveaway! It's my very first one! I'm so excited for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop and offer one lucky winner  TWO  of these four paranormally awesome books:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
~Goodreads description of Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout

There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.

But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.

There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.
 ~Goodreads description of Banished by Sophie Littlefield

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.
~Goodreads description of The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…
~Goodreads description of Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Here are the official rules/guidelines for the giveaway:
  1. You must be a follower of this blog. Just click the Join this Site box below "Followers" on the sidebar.
  2. You can gain extra entries by following me on Twitter and/or "liking" my Facebook fan page.
  3. This is open to international followers. (Only if The Book Depository ships to your country; please check this link to see if your country's included.)
  4. Even though you don't gain extra entries, feel free to friend me on Goodreads or leave a comment below because I'd love to hear from you!
  5. This contest runs from February 24 - 28.
  6. The winner will be selected on March 1st via Rafflecopter random selection and announced in this post. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner.   
***As the winner, if you are just dying to get another YA book, then you may substitute one of the books listed above for another of similar value from The Book Depository***

Thanks Again & Good Luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Waiting for Inspiration

The Lorne Family Vault Series was born one day in December of 2008. I accompanied my sister and her boyfriend to a hospital in LA. He was going into a long awaited surgery and I wanted to be there to lend moral support. My sister and I were in the waiting room for much of the day, praying the surgery would go well. And it did.

It's in the moments you least expect when inspiration strikes, and a few of those times it's a direct hit. On that nervous day, sitting impatiently in the waiting room for more hours then I care to remember, I envisioned the Lorne Family Vault Series in fast forward. I had begun working on a young adult book a few months before, with ideas to make it into a series. I was three chapters in. But it was that morning in the hospital that I decided that the book wasn't working. I didn't really want to start over (like I had already written so much), but I knew I had to significantly change where my story was going.

I started bouncing ideas off my sister. It definitely took our minds off the surgery that was in progress a few floors away. But also the ideas really began to flow. I didn't bring a notebook to write anything down, but the ideas were so vivid I could see the story unfolding like a movie. Thank God I remembered nearly everything we discussed that day. Kafka Lorne and the rest of the Lorne family had been born.

I divided all the major plot points and cliffhangers into four books. Much like what J. K. Rowling said about Harry Potter, I saw how my series was going to end. I saw the climax sequence. Now all I had to do was get to it.

As you can see in the sidebar of this blog, I'm well into a first draft of the second book. And I'm so excited about it, almost more so than I am about Provex City! I've loosely outlined the third book and have major plot points for the fourth book. If I develop more twists in the adventure, then I'm not opposed to adding a fifth book. I still know the ending.

A few days after the successful surgery, I scrapped the chapters I'd written and began writing a book titled Shroud Lifted, which, after it was completed, I renamed Provex City. It's been a long time coming and it is almost here.

Welcome to Provex City!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Growing Up

I read all kinds of middle-grade and chapter books in elementary school. I think my mom still has many of them, which I'll have to get back one day for when my little girl gets older. I've always loved scary stories, from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to Wait Till Helen Comes. Then in the summer between 5th and 6th grade I read my first adult book--Stephen King's Pet Sematary. I didn't want to read any "kid" books after that. All I wanted to read was Stephen King. All throughout junior high school, I devoured as many of his books as I could get my hands on. My parents were less than thrilled. It was also the first time I told them I wanted to write a novel. I wanted to be the next Stephen King!

I wrote several partial novels in junior high school, one of which I still have, in spiral-bound notebooks. I wanted to write adult horror stories, so I added as much b-movie violence and swearing as I could. It was what I thought made adult novels and my way of rebelling. I wasn't allowed to swear at home, but if it was for artistic expression in a story then it was considered okay. I used the same kind of shock value throughout high school, turning in horrific and obscene short stories. Those old stories now sit in a pile on a shelf in the closet, and I take them out now and again to see how far I've come, as a writer and as an adult.

When I was young I only wanted to write adult stories, and now that I'm an adult I want to write young adult stories. It's funny how things change. Values. Perspective. Shock value has its place, but it's not the essence of a story. I think I've grown as a writer over the years, enough so that I know I don't want to be "the next anyone else." I just want to be authentic to myself, my voice, and my story. I want to just be me, for better or worse. I want to tell the story my way.

I credit Stephen King with turning me on to writing, making me excited about the words I can use to create new worlds, whether he likes it or not. But now I have many other influences to give me a healthy balance. I have since reread some of the Stephen King books I read in junior high, and I was astounded at how much I missed! I had no idea what I was really reading back then and I couldn't appreciate the writing and storytelling. I had just thought it was cool. And it made me feel older. Grown up. Mature. It's funny how things change.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don't Interrupt Me While I'm Reading a Book

I'm serious much of the time, probably too much. But this is not one of those times. This video just makes me laugh every time I watch it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Tuesday is perfect for having a good laugh because the weekend still feels like a long way off. Laugh. Smile. Read a book that's been calling out to you. And don't interrupt me! Haha.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Game Time

I just finished watching the Superbowl and am now watching the Season Two premiere of The Voice. It has been a great day to spend with family. A hard day to write though. Too many distractions. But I need these days once in awhile.

I am a new father, as of almost three weeks now, and today my wife and I introduced our little girl to more members of the family. She was such an angel, quiet and lovable, until she pee'd on her aunt. And we didn't get a picture! But it was an incident that will live in infamy in one branch of our family.

Family's important. I wasn't too appreciative when I was younger, but the past few years have given me a real change in perspective. I sure appreciate them now with all the support they've given me over the years. I wasn't always encouraged to pursue a dream, but I was always encouraged to work hard. I'm just finally putting the two together, working hard to pursue a dream.

One of the things I like about watching The Voice, American Idol, SYTYCD, and AGT is to see regular folks pursuing dreams of greatness. I admire people who quit their jobs and go for it with everything they've got. I don't have the courage to do that, but I am working as hard as I can with all the available time I have. I want it just as bad. The lousy auditions can be funny, but they are not the reason I watch. I watch for inspiration.

I'm looking forward to get getting my final edit of Provex City back within the next few days. It's so close to being available to the public I can already feel the adrenaline creeping in. It's game time, baby!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thanks For the Hop!

So the YA Giveaway Hop officially ended at midnight and I only made it through 80 of the 226 blogs. I had hoped to reach 100, but it's okay. I still think I did a respectable job. Through the Hop I found a lot of cool book bloggers and authors, made a few connections, and officially launched my social media existence. Yay me! I'm here to stay and will most definitely hop again.

I had so much fun with the Hop that I signed up to participate in two of them over the next few months. I already put links to the ones I signed up for in the side bar: YA Paranormal Activity and Kick-Butt Characters. They both sounded awesome and I should be able to find some good prizes. They will be my first giveaways. So I'll have to do some research to make sure I set them up right. I promise they will be butt-kickingly awesome. I'm like 90 down on the list of blogs participating, so please look for me (and do check out many others)!

Thank you again for those of you who've joined me on this journey toward the release of my debut novel, Provex City. It's scary, but less so with friends like you at my side. And the journey has just begun. Call on a friend. Greet a stranger and invite him along. Everyone's welcome as we head toward a magical place. Onward!  
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