Tag Archives: Maggie Stiefvater

Give An Author A Second Chance

6 Mar

Recently I came across a poll on Twitter.

How many times do you give an author a chance before you swear off their work indefinitely?

Before I get into what everyone said, please take a minute to consider this question for yourself. Do you pick up every book someone writes and try it out? Do you skim the first chapter or so? Why did you pick it up in the first place? Was it because the author is extremely popular or because you liked the cover/genre/concept? Is it a debut or an author with numerous books under their writing belt? How many times have you given them a shot? And how do these questions affect swearing someone off indefinitely?

This week, check out a book from someone you've tried to read before.

This week, check out a book from someone you’ve tried to read before.

Personally, I’ll pick up any author’s work, numerous times, before I decide they are not for me. Why? Because authors grow and change. So do their ideas. Even their voice will morph overtime. If I only read authors’ debuts—or only one of their books—I would’ve never found some of my favorite authors. For instance, I literally just tried Maggie Stiefvater for the first time, EVER, this past year. I loved the Raven Cycle so much, I am now buying all of her books from the past decade. In contrast, I read Claudia Gray’s Evernight series when I was younger…and wasn’t the biggest fan, but her Firebird trilogy was one of my favorite reads last year. I didn’t even consider her past when I picked up her new work. It’d been eight years. It was also a different genre. All I care about is the storyline, the voice, and how it resonates. If I had considered how much I didn’t like her previous book, I would’ve missed out on one of my favorite reads of the year.

Granted, I have authors I stalk admire. Cassandra Clare is one author that I always buy. Maggie Stiefvater and Claudia Gray are now on that list, too. But if I read their next book and didn’t like it, I doubt I would remove them from that list.

That being said, I understand not liking an author. I do. I would name a few I dislike, but personally, I like to focus on the positive ones I’d recommend more than the ones I don’t enjoy—because everyone is different. That being said, I am sitting here, at my dining room table, trying to recall an author I’ve sworn off indefinitely, and cannot find one. Not a single person. Because I don’t know what the future holds.

So how many chances did the average reader of this poll give before swearing off an author indefinitely? Most people said one. ONE TIME. One book. One poem. One whatever. I was shocked by how many people said one.

I sort of understand—there are a million other authors on the market. Why keep disappointing yourself with the same person? But what if that same person was like Claudia Gray was to me? You could miss out on a lifetime of brilliant works, because one didn’t suit you.

I’m not asking you to read an entire book or even check out every book someone releases, but I am saying to keep an open mind. If something catches your eye—history or not—check out the synopsis. Check out the first chapter again. Before you swear off an author’s entire career because you didn’t like their vampire book back in 2007, or their dystopian book in 2010, or whatever craze comes next, give them another shot.

I’m not saying you have to pick up every book by every author that ever was. I’m just saying not to give up at the first go.

Writing styles change. Trends change. Stories change. So do authors.

Give an author a second chance. Or maybe even a third.

~SAT

P.S. Calling all book bloggers, the Bad Bloods book blitz is April 10-16 by Xpresso Reads. The sign up form is here. You will get exclusive excerpts, ARCs, and more. ❤

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#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko

3 Sep

What I’m Writing:

I worked with some awesome writers this week on various projects! I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the future, because I love, love, love where everything is going. All that being said, I work with a lot of writers from all kinds of backgrounds every day. So many of us are not full-time writers, and I know how it feels to work numerous jobs and still try to find time to write. When I finished my first novel, I was a full-time student with a full-time job, so most of my writing time happened in fifteen-minute breaks behind a hostess stand at a sports bar. I still work a full-time job now. 😀 So, please don’t give up hope.

What I’m Publishing:

Sue’s Reading Corner reviewed Bad Bloods this week, and said, “November Snow was amazing!” I’m still working on the Bad Bloods sequel, so once I know more information, I’ll post it! I will say this, though. I worked on it extensively. I know I sort of froze at 38,000 words two weeks back, but it’s a good thing. Trust me. I need to rework it, and it’s coming along beautifully.

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads 

What I’m Reading:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I laughed, I cried, and I was terrified! The third novel in The Raven Cycle is even bigger and better than the first two (which is saying a lot)! These books are amazing. In particular, I enjoyed the creepy depths of the caves juxtaposed against the new (sometimes obnoxious, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes psychotic) characters we met. What a great continuation! I cannot wait to read The Raven King. Recommend to fans of magical realism, paranormal romance, and fantasy. Readers who want their imagination stretched and their fears confronted. Oh, and a little psychic fun. Favorite Quote? Weapons and poetry go hand in hand.

I also started Rook by Sharon Cameron, and I couldn’t help myself from buying more books. I went to the bookstore and bought The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele. I read the first chapter of that and The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, and I cannot wait to read those in the near future!

What I’m Listening To:

Melanie Martinez’s double feature music video released! I love her.

What I’m Watching:

Jane Got A Gun

Jane Got A Gun

I saw Sausage Party and Jane Got a Gun this week. Jane Got a Gun is on Netflix, much to my surprise, because it’s fairly new. But that movie is fantastic, albeit a bit difficult to watch at times due to violence. But I loved the well-structured plot, the old Western feel, and the dusty, dirty imagery. I grew up watching old Westerns, because of my father (who still watches them all the time). One thing I never liked about those old Westerns was how all the women (or almost all of them) seemed like damsels in distress. I highly doubt women of that time period were weak at all. So, it was nice to see a tougher, believable chick, even though bad things definitely still happen to her. (I also love Natalie Portman.)

So, now Sausage Party. Not going to lie, it was just not my thing. It basically makes fun of some pretty offensive stereotypes, so if you’re into that, you’ll enjoy the movie. But it just made me uncomfortable.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Galaktaboreko! Granted, I did not make this lovely dessert. (A lovely lady did.) But it is basically the best dessert ever. Between that and a collection of baklava, I have wayyyy too many sweets in my house right now. (Yay, for roommate birthdays.) That being said, I also sort of promised I would stop baking desserts for a little while, because I’ve been giving away too much sugary desserts to everyone I know. Guess it’s time to pull out the veggie plates and hummus.

What I’m Wearing:

 Boo Boo the cat

Boo Boo the cat

Blue! Boo Boo the cat was all over my writing gig this week. We went out on the rooftops with a notebook and imagined new worlds and new characters and new everything. We had a pretty blue day. And by blue, I mean awesome. I’ve missed climbing rooftops. I’m glad the rooftop weather is back!

What I’m Wanting:

American Horror Story! (Come on, tell us what this season is about before it starts!) All of these teasers are killing me! I mean, did you see that doll? I think the teaser that freaked me out the most was the spider in the mouth. I mean, I know that’s probably someone’s super trained pet that loves them dearly…but spiders. ::shudders:: I am terrified of them.

American Horror Story Season 6

American Horror Story Season 6

What I’m Dreaming Of:

It rained a lot this week, so I’m assuming this is why I had a flood dream where I risked my life to save all of the kittens in Kansas City. I was successful, too! Yay, kittens!

What Else Is Going On:

My oven is finally fixed! Which means you can expect more baking posts in the near future. I even got my hands on a dessert book for this purpose. Nom nom nom.

~SAT

#SATurdate: An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, W – Two Worlds, & YALLFest.

27 Aug

What I’m Writing:

Honestly, I’ve put the next Bad Bloods books away for now. Sophia would not shut up, so I spent my writing time obliging her this week. Basically, I wrote in book 3 of the Tomo Trilogy, Take Me Never. I know. I know. Book 1 isn’t even out, so a lot of you have no idea what I’m even talking about, but I will not—and cannot give up—on this girl. She’s loud and stubborn and loves everything just a little too much. I’m 6,179 words in, and since this week’s #1lineWed theme was “work”—this line is from Take Me Yesterday, the sequel to Take Me Tomorrow (which is complete). I promise I will get this series into readers’ hands one day. 😀 I also worked on a brand-new story after researching for a ridiculously long amount of time. But that’s all I’ll say about that book for now. For those of you who follow even my books with only initials as titles, I rewrote the beginning of B, AGAIN. Why? I know I can write B. (B is a contemporary I’ve been attempting for about a month now.) I’m just trying to find my footing with it. I like giving these updates—even if they are crazily obscure—because I think, one day, (hopefully), if one of these books ever gets into the hands of readers, they’ll be able to go back on my website and see the daily grind of it all instead of thinking writing happens overnight. I want to share the journey, so other writers know the journey is the fun part, including the struggles and hurdles and writer’s block and rewrites and little successes. Every writer’s journey is different, but every journey should be fun! Now that I’ve said that, Bogart the cat was my editor this week. I received some awesome feedback from a great lady, and Bogart let me know what he thought via Instagram. Here was that photo series.

Bogart the Cat

Bogart the Cat

What I’m Publishing:

YALL Fest 2016

YALL Fest 2016

All my books for Penned Con St Louis arrived this week! I will be traveling with YA author Natasha Hanova (and sharing a booth), so check her out. On a side note, it’s almost certain I will also be at YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina this November, so look out for more news on that little trip of mine. I look forward to meeting more wonderful people. In book related news, I owed you guys Steven’s short story on the Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad this week, but I spent more time focusing on novels rather than shorts. I will get back to it, though! (And I will announce when it’s posted. Promise.)

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Free Kindle Book: Bad Bloods: November Rain

Free Kindle Book: Bad Bloods: November Rain

What I’m Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I finished An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! If you love Game of Thrones, you will love this YA fantasy. It’s epic, it’s dangerous, and the world is full of surprises—magical and inhumane. I recommend it to epic fantasy readers, especially those who like a little mysterious magic and don’t mind brutality. There is a significant amount of rape threats in the book. But in regards to love, there is basically a love square going on. Each protagonist has two interests they go back and forth on, but it does not take up the majority of the novel. The novel heavily focuses on military power and rebellion uprising. You can read my four-star review here. My favorite quote? “But there are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

I also started Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s the third book in The Raven Cycle, and if you haven’t checked out this series, do so now. It is perfection.

What I’m Listening To:  

Since I was writing in Take Me Never, I returned to my lovely Take Me Yesterday playlist on YouTube. Check it out!

What I’m Watching:

I started watching W – Two Worlds, and I LOVE it. Special thanks goes out to Siamese Mayhem for recommending it to me, but basically, it’s the best K-drama ever. It follows the daughter of a web comic as she accidentally portals herself into the comic to try to save the hero from being killed by her own father. It’s thrilling, romantic, hilarious, and simply awesome.

W - Two Worlds

W – Two Worlds

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

My oven broke! I am so sad. Baking is basically the only thing that gets me off my computer addiction (because, let’s be honest, you can’t have a laptop next to a cake mixer), so…not going to lie, I drove an hour to borrow an oven to make cookies.

What I’m Wearing:

Rain boots! It was storming like crazy here. Great writing weather.

What I’m Wanting:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir! We’re so close.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So…I was a monk…and there were tons of monsters everywhere…and I had to defend the last glass of red wine on earth? I have no idea. But the fight scenes were epic. I managed to hold onto a glass of red wine while fighting the world at the same time. If only I were so smooth in real life. (I am the clumsiest person I know. In fact, I fell down the stairs for the SECOND time this year this past week. I’m in so much pain it’s stupid.) But thankfully, this time, I only caught rug burn.

What Else Is Going On:

I got more cat lady office décor! I’ll be sure to share it soon.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs What Changes From First Draft to Publication?

16 May

What changes from first draft to publication? So much. In fact, nearly everything. But if the answer was that simple, an entire article (or even whole books on the topic) wouldn’t be necessary, so there’s more to this answer than it seems. Despite that, I insist you take my article with a grain of salt. In the end, everyone’s writing method is different, so everyone’s editing process will be fine-tuned to fit that particular project. Figuring out what works for you and what needs to be done is key, but I wanted to discuss a few topics that almost always change for everyone, so you can prepare yourself for the battle ahead. (It’s a fun battle, I promise.)

1. Word Count

Please, please, please be open to changing your word count. This is especially true for those writers pursuing traditional publication. For every genre, for every age group, there is a “perfect” word count range you’re basically expected to fall into when querying or pitching. Yes, there are exceptions. You might even become the exception during an editing process, but knowing how long or short your story should be shows your knowledge for the market and for what’s appropriate for your audience. That being said, I’m going to contradict myself and say it’s better to be true to the story than to fit a standard, but keep an open mind when rereading your work to see if you can fit the standard. Maybe a scene isn’t necessary. Maybe two scenes can be combined. You might even find yourself contemplating a cut of your favorite scenes or characters, and sometimes, that’s necessary. Keep it in a folder. Share it as an extra on Wattpad later. But making sure everything is vital is one of those tricky but true things a writer must overcome. I struggle with this myself! Almost all of my novels’ first drafts are 130,000 words, but I quickly figure out a lot of it was repetitive information or information not needed for a storyline. I might save it for a sequel or condense it somewhere else, but I tend to find reaching those ideal word counts isn’t that hard as long as I allow myself to let things go and move on. Letting go can be difficult though, so to help you with that, I suggest you read The Disposability of Ideas by Maggie Stiefvater. She is the author of The Raven Cycle and a mad genius when it comes to letting things go, even when you don’t want to.

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2. Characters

Names. Descriptions. Backgrounds. Even their existence might change. Oftentimes, writers will find that two characters in a draft can be combined to serve one purpose, or visa versa (one character could become two). Publishers are notorious for changing names—especially of protagonists—but I always suggest writers face this problem themselves before submitting. Don’t count on publishers choosing the perfect name, and try not to get attached in case they do change it in the end. I personally like to take notes of a characters’ background while also keeping a list of other names used in the story. This way, I make sure I’m using different types of names, including the first letter, the syllable count, the sound, etc.—all while staying true to their background as a person. As an editor, I receive a lot of manuscripts where all 20-some characters have similar sounding names, and unless that serves a purpose (like twins named closely together), it can get really confusing really fast. Of course, names is a shallow example of what can be changed, but I think it’s a good one since many writers get very attached to names quickly…and I’m about to expand on characters a little more in my last topic.

3. Major Changes and Rewrites

In the end, your plot, purpose, genre, or even cast could change completely. I, for one, just finished a manuscript that started off as a 62,000-word draft and ended up being a 92,000-word novel. Why? Because I was missing that much information the first time around. I wasn’t sure about my setting, I didn’t know my characters THAT well, and the secrets didn’t reveal themselves until the end. On top of that, I’m a plotter, not a pantser, so this was a painful book for me, but I followed my gut and did what I could and then, I faced my rewrites head-on. Let me use characters as an example for how much could change overall. A character’s gender, sexual orientation, secrets, lifestyle, background, and mindset could change simply because you didn’t TRULY know that character when you first set out to write the book (even though you thought you did). I recall Cassandra Clare discussing this at a panel I attended recently. For those of who are familiar with The Mortal Instrument series, she actually didn’t plan the big twist about Jace at the end, and she simply couldn’t understand why he acted the way he did for over 700 pages of the first draft. It wasn’t until she got there that she learned that vital aspect about his life, and so, naturally, she had to go back and rewrite the entire story to make his character real again. Don’t shy away from the right change, even if that change demands an entire rewrite. That change could be what makes your book.

The first draft is only the beginning, but that fact doesn’t have to be a scary thing. It can be an amazing thing. All writers go through it, and all writers come out of each stage happier than they were in the previous stages. Rewriting that 62,000-word draft I discussed above, for instance, was one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on. When it finally began to take shape, I was satisfied and proud of the work. Before I rewrote it, it simply sat on my computer collecting technology dust. Think of editing and rewriting as another writing adventure—one that will take you one step closer to publication—and what could be better than that?

Original posted March 20, 2014.

(On a side note, the original is VERY different than this article. I actually focused on a real novel of mine, so if you want to see a detailed account of what I went through with one novel, this is a great article to read.)

~SAT

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November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#SATurdate: MWG Conference, The Crown, Allergies, and Silicon Valley

7 May

Since last Saturday was a Ketchup post, this Saturdate post covers two weeks of information. TWO WEEKS?! Yes. Two weeks.

What I’m Writing:

13177904_1037600996287081_998105092686369145_nOkay! This is CRAZY, but I finished writing D, clocking in at 92,722 words! I’m officially in the editing stages, which is perfect, because this past week, I actually received some AWESOME feedback at the 101st Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference about this particular work, so I’m more excited than ever to keep fine-tuning this project. I mean, it has been in the works for nearly 5 years. That being said, I finally feel like it’s DEFINITELY headed in the right direction, so special thanks goes out to all the panelists behind all the workshops who helped me make a couple major decisions regarding this work. (Then, I can start working on The Tomo Trilogy again, right? Right?) For the record, D is a YA fantasy project I’d like to get off the ground AFTER The Tomo Trilogy, so trust me, I haven’t forgotten you tomo fans. I will get back to it. I will. But for now, I have a few things I’ll be adjusting in D for the coming weeks, so expect to hear more about that novel this month.

What I’m Publishing:

You can officially sign up for Bad Bloods Book Blitz through Xpresso Book Tours! I hope you’ll sign up to support this little author out. (You might also win some awesome prizes while you’re at it!)

BadBloodBlitzBanner-1

As many of you saw, the Bad Bloods book trailer released via YouTube, but in case you missed it, I am posting the video below. (Isn’t it beautiful and dramatic?)

Clean Teen Publishing’s lovely designer Marya also created Bad Bloods business cards and a banner for Penned Con. The first teaser released, too! Along with the next short story in the Bad Bloods Prequel. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, check out Michele’s story today. Who is Michele? Well, in Bad Bloods, she’s the “mother” figure of the Northern Flock, but in the prequel, she’s just a kid. A kid with a gift. And her prequel story actually shows up in November Snow, so reading her story will give you more details when you read the novels this July. Now…for more previews.

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All those lovely goodies discussed above

The #1lineWed preview one week was “pull,” so here is your preview: He pulled me against his chest, and either his, mine, or both of our hearts pounded between us.

The second #1lineWed preview was “pretty,” so here is that preview: Tessa was always there, growing flowers when we needed tomatoes more than pretty things.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

What I’m Reading:

I finished The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, and of course, I loved it as much as I loved it the first time. I recommended The Raven Cycle to paranormal YA fans and readers who love sass and class. Light romance (with great tension) and beautifully poetic prose. Favorite quote? Solutions were easy, once you knew what was in your way. A magical and frightening tale of secrets and sarcastic heroines. You can read my five-star review by clicking here.

I also finished The Young Elites by Marie Lu. It was a gorgeous, dark, and stunning story of betrayal and magic. Recommended to young adult fantasy readers who enjoy darker elements, Italian Renaissance type settings, and anti-heroes or villains as the protagonist. Also to those of you who love first-person, present tense. Favorite Quote? Beauty and pain go hand in hand. You can read my four-star review by clicking here.

saturdate

And while attending MWG, I got my hands on two Month9Books: Emerge by Tobie Easton and Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley. I’m currently reading Emerge. Granted, I had to put it aside to read The Crown by Kiera Cass, because I’ve been waiting on this finale FOREVER. And yes, I finished The Crown in one night, and you can read my four-star review here.

Despite some pacing issues, I thought The Crown was a lovely ending to The Selection Series. I recommend it to YA readers of romance. Despite being labeled a dystopian, The Selection Series has little to no emphasis on the dystopian elements, especially by the time you get to Eadlyn’s story. Still, I enjoyed it as a fairy tale-princess-prince-finding-a-soul-mate story. It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s definitely swoon worthy. My favorite quote? Maybe it’s not the first kisses that are supposed to be special. Maybe it’s the last ones.

On top of that, I received a LOVELY gift of 1800’s books directly from Scotland, along with a Thompson crest bookmark. I’m definitely in love.

What I’m Listening To:

What I’m Watching:

Season 3 of Penny Dreadful began, and so did Season 3 of Silicon Valley—two of my favorite TV shows (among the only ones that I watch), so I definitely started those seasons. I also watched the documentary Bridegroom and bawled my little writer eyes out.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I attempted to bake a rustic peach tart this week, but it came out more like a peach pie than a tart. I also burnt my thumb. Both of my thumbs. But not every baking experience can be perfect…and at least this mistake turned into a pie. I’m not sure mistakes get any better than that.

What I’m Wearing:

I have new sandals! Whew. Now to fight my cats from eating them…

What I’m Wanting:

13062327_1033327780047736_6389651930362409756_nMore time to smell the spring flowers. Despite my allergies… Wait. That just occurred to me. Can’t you tell this is my first time ever dealing with allergies?

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Lowes? I have no idea what I dreamt about, but all I remember is waking up thinking my dreams were sponsored by Lowes. I’m assuming this is because I get all of my paint palettes from there…so in a weird way, my dreams are sponsored by Lowes.

What Else Is Going On:

Allergies. I hate them. I’ve never had them before, but my older brother has, and I’ve constantly given him a hard time about them. I will never give him a hard time ever again. I can barely breathe. It’s terrible.

On a side note though, I managed to control my allergies enough to go to the 101st Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference, and I had a great time! I met some wonderful people, I received some wonderful feedback, and I am marching into the future more hopeful than ever. Attend those conferences, folks! They will make your day.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Pre-Order, Prequel, Bread Pudding, Mad Hatter, & Janitors

23 Apr

Bad Bloods is officially up for pre-order everywhere! You can find the links below, but I will have additional information come out this Monday as well. (That is, if you didn’t receive my newsletter…which you should’ve…because we all know you signed up…but if you haven’t…(insert wink)…you can sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.

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What I’m Writing:

I’m still working on D! But pre-order week is the craziest week ever. (Okay. Maybe not as crazy as release week, but alas…) Between my day job as an editor and my author goals, I was stupid busy, so I’m only 60,000 words into D. That being said, I also worked crazy hard on prepping the Bad Bloods Prequel. Yes, a prequel. And you can read more about that below.

What I’m Publishing:

Bad Bloods is officially up for pre-order! And because I’ve said it once before, here are those pre-order links again. You can read the first chapter on Wattpad by clicking here.

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wattpadAdamAs many of you heard, I’m also publishing a FREE prequel on Wattpad, but more news about that will come out on Monday’s blog post. If you want to get started anyway, you can read the How to Read These Stories and the first chapter—Adam—by clicking the links. I’ll be uploading a new origin story every other Friday. But, again, more information will be posted this Monday.

Other than all that craziness, Clean Teen Publishing is putting together a book trailer and business cards for me! (The book trailer is AWESOME. This will also release on Monday.) I also made five more teasers, which will start releasing THIS Tuesday. Seriously, from here on out, you can expect so much news on Bad Bloods to release on the regular. Get ready. This is going to be wild.

The #1lineWed preview this week was “nod.”

“You are not to say anything. Not a word. Don’t answer questions. Don’t look at them. Smile. Nod. Walk straight for the door.”

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

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Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

12998337_1025499567497224_5493488091969500484_oThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: Like everything else in my life, I didn’t have a lot of free time between work and pre-order chaos, so I’m still reading The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (and a little disappointed she’s going to be within a two-hour drive of me on the 29th, but I can’t go). ARGH. I will meet her one day. I swear on it.

What I’m Listening To:

Melanie Martinez—I’m a bit obsessed with her (and her music videos). If you all haven’t checked her out—including if you only know Carousel from American Horror Story—I’m telling you right now, go check out her other songs. Dollhouse is my personal favorite, but Mad Hatter and Cry Baby are definitely up there.

What I’m Watching:

The Philosopher Kings, which is a documentary about the janitors who work at some of the most elite colleges in the US. Get some tissues, because you’re going to ugly cry with me. I highly recommend this documentary.

philokings

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

13006723_1027492807297900_4721895012803377268_nBanana Chocolate Bread Pudding: I used rye bread, heavy cream instead of milk, and dark chocolate chips instead, but here is the recipe I used. It was AWESOME. I will definitely make it again, especially when my bread is going stale.

What I’m Wearing:

Pajamas! (Sorry, Find Your Style KC. I know we talked about this during #AuthorinaCoffeeShop this week, but I simply love pajamas.) For those who didn’t make it to #AuthorinaCoffeeShop, Find Your Style KC is my personal shopper/lovely lady assistant. She helps dress me for public events. (Seriously. I need the help. I’m terrible at going out in public.)

What I’m Wanting:

Some serious writing time! Those weeks that really take that away from you can hurt. Bad.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had a dream of a sloth staring at me, and for some reason, I screamed myself out of my dream. Why? I have no idea. I love sloths. I think they are the cutest, ugly animal ever.

What Else Is Going On:

Have I mentioned Bad Bloods is up for pre-order?

Oh.

I have? Five times? Really?

Well.

This is awkward.

~SAT

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting an event – the #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter April 27! I’m REALLY excited about this live author-reader Q&A, and I really hope you all can make it. You can even win a CTP Mystery Box, which includes 1 to 2 print books, swag, and more. And that’s not all.

If you love free stuff, don’t forget that I’m posting a Bad Bloods prequel for free on Wattpad. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, is also free right now. Recommended to YA paranormal romance fans who want new creatures never seen or heard of before.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#SATurdate: Deadpool, Gangsters, Cake, & the Grisha Trilogy.

16 Apr

Rereads and rewrites and movies and cake. What else could a girl want?

What I’m Writing:

I’m writing in D, and as promised, here is more information. D is a young adult, portal fantasy. I know. I know. Portal fantasies tend to be frowned upon nowadays, but hey, I’m not one to listen to trends, and I truly believe this novel is worth pursuing, so I’m going after it! I’m currently 45,000 words into it, and I’m aiming for 90,000-100,000 words for this particular draft. Once the draft is done, I’ll figure out cutting and adding, but it’s a bit too early to tell, since I added so much information from the original drafts to this one. I’m really excited about it though! I even picked up more paint swatches this week. It’s a colorful book, and I’m spending a lot more time on the intricate details that make up the world.

What I’m Publishing:

This week, Clean Teen Publishing finished the final formatting of November Snow! I cannot wait for the release of Bad Bloods. The interior is beautiful. Other than that, this week’s #1lineWed preview was “back.” So, read your preview below.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

12977041_3201610677838_2820462666464715283_oI reread Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo this week. I actually read it a long time ago, but I never wrote a review, and I REALLY wanted to write one, so I decided to re-read it, because this trilogy is awesome. Leigh Bardugo is awesome. Shadow and Bone is magical fantasy with a touch of darkness and horror, a story where darkness is a physical THING. The setup was interesting, the culture was fascinating, and the overall plot was exciting, thrilling, and intense. Recommended to readers of epic fantasy, magical powers, dark vs. light stories, charming villains, and Russian culture. Favorite Quote? I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him. Read my five-star review by clicking here.

I’ve also been on quite a reread kick, so I picked up The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, because I cannot WAIT for The Raven King to release later this year. I’ll write a review for this book, too, since I haven’t written one before.

What I’m Listening To:

I listened to Dead Sea constantly this week. It’s become one of my main songs to write to while writing in D. Give it a listen. It’s beautiful instrumentals.

What I’m Watching:

deadpool-film-header-home-ent-itn-front-main-stage

I saw Deadpool. (Finally, I know.) And just to clear up my superhero hate from last week, I LOVED Deadpool. I thought it was hilarious. On a more serious note, I got my hands on Legend, Tom Hardy’s movie about Ronald “Ronnie” Kray and Reginald “Reggie” Kray, two gangsters that made their mark in the London underworld in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I thought Tom Hardy was fantastic, and although a lot of the real-life story was taken out, I really enjoyed this film. (And Emily Browning. GAH. I love her.) I’d recommend both of these movies for different reasons, but Tom Hardy is the best. Just saying.

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

No baking this week. I took the lazy way out and bought myself two huge slices of chocolate cake. I simply couldn’t help myself.

What I’m Wearing:

Sunglasses! I found them just in time for spring. (I lose sunglasses as much as I lose my pens…generally in the couch…or the fridge.)

What I’m Wanting:

A new desk! I know I’ve said this a lot recently, but JESUS. Finding a desk is hard. Then again, I’m really picky. I don’t like sliders for keyboards, since I don’t have a keyboard. (They only end up banging against my knees.) I also don’t like a lot of shelves…or see-through desks. Those get so dirty so easily. (Lots of cat paws.) I basically need a living room table. Just a flat piece of wood. Why is that so hard to find? This remains a mystery.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So you know how most people wake up from their dreams before they die? Yeah…I don’t, and this week was a perfect example. It began with a giant cafeteria full of people, and then, a man—who looked strangely like Chris Hemsworth—walked in, and we all knew we were going to die. Cue the chaos. Everyone ran, but I made it out the door in the first wave. This cafeteria, apparently, was ten stories up, and we had to run down this twisting, dark staircase to get to freedom…but there are holes in the sides of the walls, and if you fell down them, you died, and if fell down the middle, you died. I was running too fast, so I tripped and I fell down one of the holes. Imagine falling down from the top of stairway where you bounce off all the railings as you go. At this point, I knew it was a dream. (This is pretty common for me to realize while dreaming, but most of the time, I can wake myself up or take control of the dream. This time was not one of those times.) I thought, At least you get to wake up now, but dream world had other plans. I fell what felt like a hundred feet and then I hit the ground. I was most definitely a meat pie. (Sorry for the graphic nature of this dream.) But then I reconstructed myself and I had to keep running. Unfortunately, Hemsworth caught up to me and killed me for the second death of the evening. Then, I woke up. (And people wonder why I write violent scenes.)

What Else Is Going On:

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter on April 27th, and I’d love it if you all came. I actually had a hand in making this event happen—since you all know how much I love Twitter from my weekly Twitter show #AuthorinaCoffeeShop—and it would mean a lot to me if you all can come hang out with all of the Clean Teen and Crimson Tree authors. They are a fantastic group of people, and I’m truly looking forward to it.

~SAT

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Get your free book today!

Get your free book today!

Website Wonders

28 Mar

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of March’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, and Mind-Blowing.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Favorite Article This Month:

The Disposability of Ideas by Maggie Stiefvater

Aside from loving The Ravel Cycle series, Maggie Stiefvater continues her awesome blog (that I also love). This article in particular is great, because I think many writers struggle to write, which makes it even harder to throw out certain scenes…or even whole books. The creator makes the idea; the idea doesn’t make the creator. You can move on, and you can improve. Much love for this article.

Writing:

The EPIGUIDE.COM Character Chart for Fiction Writers: These forms always help out writers.

John Steinbeck 6 Writing Tips: If you are using dialogue, say it aloud as you type it.

40 Words For Emotions You’ve Felt, But Couldn’t Explain: SO many hanker sores in fiction.

14 Perfect Japanese Words You Need In Your Life: Like the one below!

original-25684-1433762857-10

Reading:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, He Will Ruin Your Life: A satire piece on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I cracked up so hard, since I loved this book so much.

13 Books to Teach You Odd Skills: Because we could all use some more odd skills.

7 of The Most Cheesy Lines of Poetry I Secretly Want My Lover To Use on Me: If you need some cheesy poetry in your life.

INFOGRAPHIC: Inspirational Quotes from Fictional Mentors: “Do or do not—there is no try.” – Yoda

Mind-Blowing:

10 Amazing Powers from Genetic Mutations: Heck yeah.

16 Most Beautiful Trees in the World Will Amaze You: You could write entire stories about these trees. (Okay. So I’m a bit obsessed with trees.)

30+ Natural Phenomena That Actually Exist In Reality! There’s nothing like real-life phenomena to spark fantasy novels.

See you next month!

~SAT

trilogy

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#SATurdate: Lore, New Office, Paint Swatches, & Snow White

26 Mar

12718001_1008531982527316_2805994555122682398_nI moved this week to a brand-new office! I’m super excited about it. I have a ridiculous amount of room to spread out, and I’m hoping I can get a bigger desk one of these days. My current one was great for my previous, much smaller office, but now I can spin! I need to be able to roll back and forth for no reason other than dramatics. On a side note, my Sticky Notes did not survive the move. I’m challenging my Maggie Stiefvater and remembering that ideas do not make the author, the author makes the ideas. (Check out her article The Disposability of Ideas.) Plus…I sort of cheated and took pictures of them before they were ruined. I’m not quite at Stiefvater’s level. (But, really, who is? She’s a goddess. [Okay. I’ll stop being an obsessive fangirl now.])

What I’m Writing:

993078_1006450089402172_901225323950707552_nSo Take Me Yesterday was put aside this week. I worked solely on the mysterious manuscript known as “D.” I actually wrote D when I was 19, but numerous elements were missing until recently. Now I’m 18,000 words into the rewrite, which is awesome. I have 62,000 additional words already typed from the original manuscript, so it’s really a matter of cutting and pasting and editing and screaming at my 19-year-old self for not figuring out the missing elements…you know…until I was 24. (*Repeats to myself* It’s not a race, it’s not a race, it’s not a race.) I also shared a bit of “research” I was conducting, via my paint pallets. D is an extremely colorful novel. It’s difficult to explain without giving away the plot, but it’s been a lot of fun flipping through the colors while editing old scenes and adding new ones. On a side note, I also took some time to world-build a brand-new novel I shall call S for now. S is—more or less—something I’m currently writing for fun. Like a reset novel. A novel with no pressure to finish or to pursue publication with. Sometimes working on something brand-new with no deadlines or expectations helps me reset my writer buttons. But the more I work on it, the more I love it. </3 Gah! Decisions…

What I’m Publishing:

This week, I shared the content disclosure for November Snow, so I thought you’d like to know our rankings. If you need a handy guide about what these rankings mean, click here to check out November’s Snow disclosure system:

11987_1007269949320186_6557017595173577508_nFirst off, November Snow was rated YA(m) – Young Adult Mature – which means it’s written for a mature young adult audience.

Romance: 2: The romance picks up in book 2, compared to book 1.

Violence: 5: Also, no surprise here. Bad Bloods is a fairly violent duology, revolving around a political debate eradicating an entire group of people, which mainly consists of homeless children…but I promise you, the violence is not as graphic as the original book? Okay. That’s not saying much. But there is meaning behind it. The violence isn’t gratuitous.

Language: 3: Still cursing a little bit…but I mean, you’re talking about kids trying to NOT be killed all the time, so let’s give them break, yeah?

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: 0: No drug or alcohol use in the second part of the duology.

The #1lineWed preview was lines from page 23 or 123. This line is from page 23.

He confessed it like secrets were simply to share.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading The Young Elites by Marie Lu! I’m almost finished, and I must say, I definitely love Marie Lu. I was also envious of her trip to Tokyo this past week with Amie Kaufman, author of These Broken Stars (which I also loved). I mean, they went to an owl café. An OWL CAFÉ. This is one of my ultimate dreams. I’m dying of owl envy.

What I’m Listening To:

MxdXdQrTLore is my latest podcast obsession. It’s a bit like Myths & Legends, but shorter and creepier. Lore also focuses on overall myths, like vampires/werewolves, while Myths & Legends discusses tales like King Arthur. I highly recommend both of them.

What I’m Watching:

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime—a.k.a. Snow White with the Red Hair—which happens to be one of my favorite mangas. I had no idea it’d been made into an anime, so I binge-watched season one, and I’m enjoying season two now that it’s releasing. Love them! And Louie. I watched that, too.

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I learned how to make homemade spaghetti sauce, which was awesome…and very messy when I accidentally dropped some of the tomato puree on the kitchen floor.

What I’m Wearing:

10399523_1009113812469133_5506393239089674635_nShorts one day and coats the next. Seriously. This winter-to-spring weather is a strange mix of sunshine and misery.

What I’m Wanting:

A new desk! Preferably a larger one. One that will allow me to write on notebook paper and type on my computer at the same time…Oh! And hold coffee. I would REALLY like a nice bookshelf, too, since well—and don’t hate me—my books are sitting on the floor. I have yet to move my bookshelves from my second-to-last move. What can I say? I move a lot.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I bought a new cat, and I named it Happy…after my broomstick, also named Happy, because sweeping made me happy? (I don’t know.) But then my friend showed up and also bought a cat, and upon hearing my name for my new cat, she named her new cat Happy…and none of this made me happy at all.

What Else Is Going On:

Death Before Daylight is on sale for $3.99 right now! That’s pretty neat. That means you can read the entire Timely Death Trilogy for only $8.00…which costs less than one of those novelty horse masks. You know. Those ones.

~SAT

To celebrate, the sale of Death Before Daylight, here’s an excerpt!

DBDcoverShe moved again, barely, but she moved. “I can handle myself in a fight.”

“You’re okay in a fight,” I teased, watching the aggravation flicker over her gaze.

She squirmed again, trying to kick my leg with her boot. “Okay?” she repeated. “Just okay? I do better than okay.” She wasn’t lying. “You would be nothing without my help.”

“Oh, low blows,” I sang, forcing her shadows to solidify again. “You are mad.”

“I’m determined,” she corrected.

“I never argued with you,” I pointed out. “You make me who I am. I wouldn’t be anything without you.”

“Aw,” she cooed, smiling at my words, but right when I thought she was enjoying our time together, she swung her leg over and knocked my torso off her. This time, she was the one on top. “I win.”

I winced, stretching my neck to breathe. “You know, most girlfriends would have thought that was romantic.”

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

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