Crossed Out

Crossed Out

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Five

1. Started week off with hosting a YA Books Central chat with NYT Bestselling author Rachel Caine--author of the Morganville Vamp series and a brand new series.  It was fast-paced and very fun!

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: There's suspense, adventure, the grittiness of war and loss, betrayal, secrets, and more! The build up to the final reveal has Jess confront the very thing he fears. 

Fascinating new series with an alternative history where the Library of Alexandria still exists and the few brave enough to stand up to the controlling power that means to silence them. Highly recommended!

2. Right now reading THE FIXER by Jennifer Barnes

Think YA meets SCANDAL with a dash of VERONICA MARS.  Really enjoying!

3. Younger brother went to a Frida Kahlo exhibit in Tijuana, Mexico and brought me back stuff!  His fiancee, who is a Mexican national, recommended.


4. Have to fix patio cover.  Looks like we have some dry rot going on.  Joys of being a homeowner.

5. Finally went and saw PAPER TOWNS at the luxury theater.  Really enjoyed though I thought Margo was a tad bit selfish.  Overall, though?  This is more a coming of age story.  Highly recommend.  **I also have a confession--I liked more than FAULT IN OUR STARS which I felt didn't feel YA at all.  The actors in PAPER TOWNS at least felt like seniors in High School.  Plus, liked the 'bro' factor between the friends.

**Guilty pleasure:

After yoga session in the morning with fab Linda, I hope to get at least a little more writing in.  I'm getting antsy to start another project.  One that isn't YA per say but a romance.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Friday Five

1. So I've been in a mega funk with my writing.  Need to motivate self to get up earlier, say 'no' more(during summer this seems harder to do), and just:

Tell self this:

Exactly?  What am I afraid of?  It's not as if I haven't had three books published so far( and one was a reissue).  Getting rejections is scary but one thing I've learned from being a Staff reviewer at YA Books Central is it's all subjective.  Someone might HATE my work, while another person might actually like it.

But it's very daunting to get out there.  I just need to:

And get through this:

2. Saying that, I am working on edits for my sequel right now.  I'm finding that I tend to overuse certain words and phrases.  Sigh.  But I'm trying to look at this in a more positive way by using this experience to help me hone the craft so my latest books will shine more!

3. I'm eighty percent done reading GO SET A WATCHMAN


Or don't read past here if you haven't read the book yet.  

So I finally got to THAT chapter in the story where Jean Louise finds out her beloved father is in fact a racist.  But the problem is it doesn't really say that but shows how she walks in at a meeting at the court house where a very racist man is sprouting off the most disgusting racism ever.  Her father is in the room.  He doesn't object or walk out but rather just sits there.  Jean Louise is horrified and it literally makes her sick.  It's then that she looks around her and realizes that the town hasn't changed but she has.  A meeting with her former nanny, Calpurna, also is hard as she sees a hardness in her eyes.  For once, Jean Louise feels 'white' and she can't reconcile this.

There's some very powerful insights into coming to terms with how  childhood hero worshipping of her father is shattered to reveal a flawed, individual.  Atticus isn't a racist per say but a product of his times.  He lives in a small Southern town in the 1950s right after the Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education ruling on desegregation.  One other reviewer nailed it when he stated that this novel feels more like an accurate portrayal of the South at that time then GO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Not done yet, but will give my overall expressions of this novel, which is no first draft, when I'm done.

4. Finished reading:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Red herrings pop up when you least expect it. Just when you think you figured out who might behind the smuggling ring, you are proven wrong! I love when you have to figure out the mystery and don't know until the ending!

Fast-paced adrenaline ride through Turkey where danger is around every counter. Mystery, International intrigue, and hints of romance will make you want more! Another Diana Renn winning novel!

5. Shout outs to this paranormal with a Latina protagonist:

The only bummer is this is only available as an ebook.  You all know how much I LOVE protagonists that reflect my own culture, which in this case is Latino.  

**Had hair cut and colored.  Going more for an asymmetrical look.
Me minus makeup.  Hair is an inch longer on one side.

***Guilty pleasure:

Scheduled in Coffee House time so I can finish this dang revision!!!!  Send me positive vibes so I can get pass my fear and just complete this!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Five

1. Now with scoring over till a promised Fall project, it's back to writing.

Only it's been slow as it's hard to get back into the swing of things and it's summer break!

I should be doing this:

Only it's been more like this:

This is totally me:

Need to gain more confidence in my writing ability and just finish this DANG REVISION!

2. Been listening to GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee.

Right before the release, there were a lot of naysayers saying basically, "Don't read as Lee was taken advantage of."  To, "Atticus is a racist in this book."  None of these naysayers have even read the book.  Uh, isn't it censorship if you tell others not to read a book just because you 'heard' things about it?

Right now I'm enjoying this novel that's more a reflection of Jean Louise's past and her coming to grips with her future along with her relationship with Atticus.  TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD(which I just finished) is mostly Jean Louise's reflections of her father Atticus.  She had him up on a pedestal.  Some out there say that book taught us tolerance.  I didn't feel that way at all.  Rather I saw an eight year old girl's vision of her father, who she worshipped.  Of course, as an adult this vision would be challenged(and it is) and she'd become disillusioned.  Just listened to one very powerful scene that is gut-wrecking with her painful realization that Atticus is human after all.

I'll share my overall impressions when I finish.

3. Finished this and really loved: 

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Think 60s Beach Party meets Cold War Berlin with suspense, excitement, & mysteries. Throw in espionage and a fated wall that will divide a city. Hints of romance too that make this the perfect summer time read!

4. Reading this right now: 

Zan is the daughter of a politician.  During a forced mother-daughter outing to Turkey, she stumbles among an antiquities smuggling ring.  She becomes involved as their criminals feel she can lead them to an ancient treasure.

Really, enjoying!

5. Getting two days of edits in with Liz at Zumaya on the sequel to GODDESSES.  Finding that placing character in a real city is challenging too.  You got to make sure your research is up to date.  For example, I had a scene by the Seine where my characters place a lock on the lock bridge.  Well, officials just took that infamous bridge down.

A writer who lives in Paris did share this with me:

Photo courtesy from Amy Plum

The big thing is you need to keep up to date on things especially if you decide to use that city in your novel.

**Guilty pleasure:

Going to mall to get some more makeup.  My eye shadows are really old!  Interested in the urban decay Naked set.

Plus, it's nice to just get away for a few!  Later, will be doing another round of edits!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Five

1. Finished scoring.  Yay!

2. Been working on edits for sequel to GODDESSES.  Liz does a fab job of bring the best out of my work.  Whenever I think of those who tell me that they don't need editors?  I cringe.  Maybe that's fine with them but I just know without a good edit job?  It's like night and day.

3. Finished reading this fab YA book.  Colleen Lindsay over on Twitter highly recommended.

Her comments on Twitter:  Yes! Nova is a fantastic debut novel! Tell everyone about it! And then tell the author @mara_fortune if you like it!

Let's just say, she was so right!  Loved this novel something fierce!

YA Books Central review link:

Teaser: Author does a great job of taking an otherwise unsympathetic heroine(in this case readers aren't sure if she's a suicide bomber or not) and digs deep to reveal a mind boggling truth. Mostly though, this is a story of one girl's faith-faith in believing in a cause of saving humanity but mostly in herself. Powerful ending! A total must read! Can't wait to read the next book in this series!

4. Finished this engaging YA paranormal:

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Engaging paranormal romance where betrayals and lies are on every turn. The bubbling romance between Tristan and Tessa starts out slowly and then concludes with a moment of trust. Who can believe who? And how far would you go to save the ones you love?

5. Read the sample of this latest YA on my Kindle and waiting very IMPATIENTLY for the book!

1962 and the Cold War!  I'm hooked already!

** Went to Omar's Exotic Bird store and checked out the latest group of cockatiels.  Still haven't purchased another one.  It's been hard.  Still, these guys are so smart, curious, and lovable.

***Guilty pleasure:

Went to Luxury theater and saw MAX.  This is a story of a marine service dog that after his handler's death, is sent back to the states.  He then is taken by the handler's family and Max only will listen to the handler's brother.  Really enjoyed.  There were some sad parts like at the handler's funeral and Max throws himself on the casket and cries. Son totally loved.

Highly recommend!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Friday Five

1. Son's been gone all week at Yosemite with his scout troop.  He was able to go on a white water rapids excursion and hike the Half Dome while there.

With son gone that meant husband and I were able to go out to the movies, dinner, and breakfast.  Plus, I was able to get some writing done!

2. Teaser on a secret project I've been working on:

3. Still scoring.  Should be done with project by this next Friday!

4. Read THE RULES by Nancy Holder

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: A bloody twist on the game CLUE with a huge helping of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Tons of twists and turns that leave readers second guessing on who the killer might be. THE RULES is sure to appeal to horror fans.

5.  Finishing THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent

Really loving this twist on the whole dystopian demon hunter series.

**Guilty Pleasure:

Finally going to see this movie.  Everyone's been telling me it 'nails' the whole depression thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Friday Five

1. Been driving all over town getting stuff for son's upcoming Yosemite and Half Dome hike trip.  He's now 5'8!  And of course all the camping clothing stuff from last year's trip don't fit so I had to get more clothing, hiking boots, and other gear.

This all equals $$$

He'll be going with his scout troop from church so he'll be taken care of.

2. Scoring some more.  Was put on a new project that is really ...


This is me after a hour of analyzing essays.

3. Just finished reading an amazing YA contemporary that deals with a girl in a cult.  I thought at first, yeah, another cult survivor story.


This is a raw, intense account of Minnow, a teen who was raised in a hidden cult  and the horrific trials she goes through by just questioning.  An insightful look into Minnow's journey from victim to survivor.

Total must read!

4. Listening to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and totally loving.  Son needs to read in 9th grade so I decided to get the audio book and listen to this summer.  Also plan on buying the sequel on July 13th!

5. Just got approved to read ACCIDENT SEASON but can't figure out how to download on my Kindle Fire.  Le sigh.  Hoping to get this taken care of soon so I can read!

**Guilty Pleasure:

The only way to get any real writing done is to sneak away to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf close to my house before 10am.  Seems that EVERYONE thinks that I'm the one to take requests to do things as I 'don't really have a job'-(that's what my 14 year old just told me).  Uh, HELLO, yes, I do.

Anyway, going to coffee house and hope to be doing this as I have a deadline next Tuesday on a proposal for a secret project!  **Can't share yet but will let you all know when it's for sure!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Friday Five

1. Been busy scoring essays.  This is me after 4 hours of scoring essays:

Looks like there's a couple more weeks of this project and after that, I'll finish that so-called 'quick' read of my latest project.  **Really need to get this done so I can make my Fall deadline of querying!

2. Speaking of projects, I've been featured over on my Lachesis publisher's site.

Tuesday there's a Q&A post:

Wednesday I share some of my Top 5 Horror books:

Thursday comment on your own favorite children/YA book!

Comment and have a chance at winning a free e-book!  Better yet, let me know you commented on Friday's post and I'll send you some swag.

And with all that I should be having some news to share on the writing front!

3. Doing some research for a possible romance set in the 1920s.

This series was suggested:

I'm really getting into this YA series set in 1929, right before the Crash.  There is a tad bit too much head hopping but other than that?  Very engaging.

Waiting for my second book as it's all sold out in brick and mortar stores:

Why the 20s?  My younger sister Autumn, who is a paid genealogist, came across some newspaper clippings from Mexico which mentioned our great-grandfather being arrested in the early 20s for having alcohol at his resort and being jailed for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  My grandfather used to tell me stories about that resort which was located in Reche Canyon, outside of Riverside County, Ca.  He said it was the place to be as everyone went to the parties and he got to escort the Silent Movie stars that came.

Grandpa in the 30s.  He was always very proud of dressing up!

The mineral water that won awards in the 1910-1920s and even bet out Arrowhead!

So much to go with including a diverse angle as Grandpa Console was half Mexican, half Italian.  Heard stories that were hushed about the discrimination they faced to the point that they denied their heritage to blend in and pass for being White.  Add a love story and this is PERFECT.  Of course I'll bring my own story magic and two love struck characters in the early 1920s.

4. Finished reading SWEET MADNESS

I've always been captivated with the story of Lizzie Borden.  Did she or didn't she ax her parents?

Engaging historical that gets readers right into the Borden home right before the deed.

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Engaging historical novel that gives readers another glimpse into the infamous Lizzie Borden.

5. Also finished the upcoming Alex Flinn YA novel MIRRORED

YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Unique spin on the classic fairy tale Snow White this story will resonate with readers with it's twist on what is really beautiful. Another winner from Alex Flinn!

**Guilty pleasure: Hope to sneak over to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and do some writing.  Will order my all-time favorite drink--African Sunrise iced tea latte with NSA chocolate powder and one shot.  So good!