Wow, I have so much to catch up on today. Let’s get started with the important stuff first.
I have to announce a few winners of some MAKE BELIEVE goodies. Every day I award a lucky commentor on my blog with either a digital signed cover of the Make Believe anthology or a signed bookmark. The winners for the past few days are:
December 6: Missus Tribble – digital signed cover of Make Believe
Dec. 7: Jo – signed bookmark
Dec. 8: Emaginete – signed bookmark
Dec. 9: Tonja Drecker – digital signed cover of Make Believe.
Congratulations winners!!! Please send me an email at kford2007(at)gmail(dot)com with your e-mail address (digital covers) or physical address (bookmarks).
Next big and great thing…I’m hanging out over on Julie Reece‘s blog today as part of the MAKE BELIEVE blog tour. For those of you who don’t know, Julie wrote the amazing and fantastic YA novel, CRUX. It’s getting killer reviews and I will promote this book to the moon and back. If you like Cassandra Clare novels, you’re going to love this one. Why it’s not on the NY Times Best-seller list is beyond me.
I also participated in Sip-Swap this year sponsored by Jessica Love and Kelsey Macke. It was a great way to meet new authors. Everyone who participated sent their ‘sip swap’ partner a coffee mug. That way, every day when you get up and sit in your writing space, you have a mug to remind you of your new writer friend. Mine came from the lovely Amanda Heger! Look how pretty. And she even included chocolates!!! I love her!!!
Thank you so much, Amanda!!
Last but not least, I’m starting something new, the Quote of the Day. Enjoy.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. ~ William Shedd
Wow, I can’t believe half the year is gone. 5 months to Christmas. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE Christmas holidays. All the cooking and the parties and the wine. I hate the gift giving because I have no money to even buy stuff to make gifts. I do have my Amulet of Ormisez coming out in December in the Make Believe Anthology on December 3. Now that would be a good Christmas present, huh?
As to what’s going on now…I finished reading two books in the last week: Cinder and A Monster Calls. Reviews will be coming soon but may I say right now I really, really enjoyed Cinder and A Monster Calls left me a crying, blithering mess. I’ll explain all that when I do my review in a few days.
Today, I’m beta reading a query for a writer buddy. I suck at queries. I don’t know how much help I’ll be, but I’ll try to work some sort of magic.
Also, the lovely Julie Catherine has tagged me in a post called Work in Progress Challenge. I will post this tomorrow and tag a few others to post along with me. I owe CB Wentworth a post – she tagged me with something a week or so ago and I need to answer it.
Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a paperback copy of Crux by Julie Reece. All you have to do is follow my blog and answer 3 questions about Thor. Why Thor? Well, because I thought it was appropriate since Julie’s book centers around Nordic mythology. (Psst…you really need to read it. Crux is awesome. Tell everyone.) Winner will be announced on August 3. Good luck!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention…I have a digital copy of a signed Make Believe book cover for everyone who leaves a comment on my blog today. Just let me know what’s on your mind and I’ll e-mail you one of these little beauties to print out, set as a wallpaper, sleep with, drool over…whatever you want.
Isn’t it beautiful? And it can all be yours if you talk to me. 🙂
Okay, that’s it for today. See ya tomorrow, same time, same bat channel.
I love blog awards. It’s not so much the award itself but why they even exist.
Think about it. The person handing out the award recognizes the blogger who gave it to them, usually with a link back to the blogger. The receiver of the award recognizes and passes on the award to one or more bloggers with links to their blogs. What a great way to spread the word about other bloggers! Word of mouth. The oldest and most successful marketing tool. I can’t tell you how many fantastic people I’ve met because I hopped around to other bloggers’ sites who won these awards. What an awesome way to drive traffic to other blogs and to get other people to connect from all over the world.
When I get an award, I don’t post it to say “Hey, look at me and how great I am.” It’s actually to say, “Hey, check out the blog of the person who gave this to me AND check out the blog(s) of those I’m giving it to. Sit back with them and strike up a conversation. They’d love to hear from you.”
I feel bad about singling out bloggers because all of the ones I follow are fantastic. I decided for most awards when I get them, I’ll forward them all onto those who stop by my blog and want them. Hopefully they’ll comment and say thanks and build more connections that way.
Today’s blog award is a little different because it is specific: it’s the ‘Thanks for Writing’ award.
The lovely Charissa Stastny, author of Eyes of Light, gave me this very tasty delight on July 9 and I have been very lazy in thanking her publicly for the award. Charissa…thank you so much. It means a lot to me that you thought of me for this award. I am humbled and grateful. It was also one of the most original and yummy blog award giveaway posts I’ve ever read.
I’m going to pass this award to two ladies who have impacted not only my writing but my life so much that I can’t thank them enough: Jennifer M. Eaton and Julie Reece. I met both of them online through writer’s forums, Jennifer through Nathan Bransford’s website and Julie through Scribophile.com. These two women, every day, keep me grounded, keep me laughing, keep me motivated, keep me reaching for the stars and have become my writing soul mates. They are both amazing authors with hearts the size of the universe. They are not just fellow bloggers, writers, beta readers and critiquers. They are my friends and I would be lost without them in my life.
Jennifer, Julie…thank you for everything you bring to my life every day. Because of you (and my family), I push on to complete my novel and get it published. Because of you, I am reminded every day that there is nothing I can’t accomplish. Because of you, I don’t feel so alone in this writing and publishing world. Thank you for standing behind me to push, beside me to hold my hand, and before me so I may follow your lead. You are both amazing women and I’m honored to know you and have you in my life.
There is nothing you need to do to accept this award. Take it and know that what you do and who you are does affect someone in a positive way. Thank you for being you. Thanks for Writing.
Today, one of the best YA books of the year, Crux, releases to the world. I’ve had the opportunity to read this novel and it is fantastic! A must read. No wonder I’m floating on cloud 9 since author, Julie Reece, agreed to do a blog takeover. So, without further ado, please welcome the lovely and talented Julie as she talks about what inspired her to write Crux. Take it Julie!
What is a heart story?
Ugh. At first blush, this sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me a second. I read somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where, (if it’s you, thank you) that most writers’ have one or two ‘heart’ books inside them.
New writers write from inspirations and ideas closest to their hearts. The emotion is usually raw, the descriptions vivid, and the angst, well, it’s often something we’ve experienced or empathized with as someone we knew suffered. We might be living an unattainable dream through our character or creating the person we wish we were. The details are, of course all make believe, but the strength of character and plot comes from deep within each writer.
So what? You write one or two books and it’s over? No, if anything, a writer will probably grow and improve. The point is, if you agree with this hypothesis, that no matter how many books you write, it’s those early works that retain a special place in the author’s heart.
When Jenny invited me to appear on her blog, I was so excited. Jenny’s a great writer and runs a fantastic blog (so no pressure). She urged me to share what inspired me to write Crux in the first place, so what the heck, I’ll take a stab at it.
Atlanta, like plenty of other big cities, has a homeless population and that unfortunately includes its share of runaways and prostitution. My family has spent time working in a soup kitchen downtown, handing out clothing and trying to serve people who’ve had a hard time. Some of those people are teens. I have two teen daughters myself.
So I’m sitting on the asphalt at a downtown shelter, across from a young woman who appears mentally ill. She’s pretty. The girl rambles incoherently, but I hardly hear her, because as she picks at her cornbread and nibbles at her chili, I’m thinking: Who are you? How did you get here? I wonder about her parents, and how her mind became so broken.
Cold seeps from the ground penetrating my jeans and numbing my butt. I’m not saying anything though, this girl might sleep out here and who am I anyway? She lets me brush her hair, and I feel the honor keenly. I hand her a coat that’s been donated, a bag of toiletries and a bottle of water. The day ends, but I’m thinking of her, and hundreds like her.
Quite a while later I had a dream, a blonde, barefoot teen in a nightgown was running through the wet streets of Paris after a man with a suitcase. When she caught up to him, he stopped to open his case and I woke up. I wanted to know what was in that case, dang it, and I wanted it to help the girl on the street.
So I wrote Birdie’s story. From the heart.
Do I think I’m writing an ending for the girl’s life I met at the shelter? I wouldn’t presume. But I can’t deny life’s experiences all mesh together to make us who we are. They do, and who says that’s a bad thing?
Everyone has at least one heart story, whether or not you write it down, and now I’m wondering about you. What in life has affected or inspired you?
Everyone, give a big round of applause to Julie and make sure you head over to your bookstore of choice and pick up your copy of Crux.
Thank all of you for stopping by and please feel free to leave your messages for Julie. She’ll be around for the next day or so to answer whatever questions you may have. In addition, if you would like to wina signed Crux bookmark, please be the first person to answer the following question:
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, which stone did Bilbo give to the Elvenking to aid him in his negotiations ?
You can leave your answer in the comments below. Thanks for playing and good luck!
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!
I live in the metro Atlanta area with my incredibly supportive husband and daughter, and our twenty-two pound cat, Hurley.
In the immortal words of current YAs everywhere…OMG!
I had the pleasure of reading Crux by Julie Reece as a beta and I thought it was fantastic. The ARC of the final version blew me away.
From the moment the man with the mystery bag appears until the very last word, Reece held me spellbound, jumping seamlessly between Birdie’s real world on the streets of Atlanta, to a land overrun with menacing Vikings. Her quest, not one for the timid, is real in every sense of the word, and I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once. The story is unique and unfolds quickly, dragging the reader along effortlessly.
Reece’s descriptions are amazing, giving us clear pictures with few words. Her characters are alive and they have a way of embedding in your heart and mind. Like Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games and Jace and Clary in the City of Lost Souls, you will never forget Birdie or Grey.
This novel has everything a YA urban fantasy should have: action, snooty, lovable friends/family, thugs, a hot love interest and kick-butt pacing. The love story unfolds gently over time and it’s not without its problems. Grey is to die for gorgeous, charming, kind, and will even make adult women salivate and swoon.
Reece pulls off some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming even though the clues were there all along. Thank you, Ms. Reece, for making sure I was so invested in Birdie and her mission I didn’t see the signs until she did. Brilliant writing!
CRUX is one of the best YA novels I’ve read in a long time. If you are a fan of Cassandra Clare, Laini Taylor, Rae Carson, Patrick Ness, or Veronica Rossi, you’re going to fall in love with this novel.
Keep your eye on this author, folks. She’s destined for the NY Times Best-seller list!
I hosted a flash fiction contest that began May 8 and ran through May 26. If you missed it, you can read about it here.
There were only three entries, so I had to adjust prizes accordingly to one lucky winner. As the prize was a Crux bookmark, signed by YA author, Julie Reece, I asked the lovely Ms. Reece to pick the winner.
May I have drum roll please?
So who is the lucky winner of the beautiful signed Crux bookmark?
Hi everyone! Glad to see you stopped by. If you’re new to the site, please feel free to wander around and make yourself at home. Pull up a chair, grab a cup of jo and chat for a bit.
I am really excited about the contest I’m hosting. For one, it’s going to be a blast to participate. Second, I wanted to do something fun to help promote Julie Reece’s debut novel, CRUX.
You’re going to see a lot of promo on my blog about this novel because I absolutely believe in this diamond. If you want to learn more about this YA urban fantasy, click here. I had the pleasure of reading this as a beta and let me tell you, it rocks! It truly has movie potential. The publisher is J. Taylor Publishing and has a release date of July 9, so mark it on your calendar and put this one on your Must-Read list.
Okay, so what does that have to do with the flash fiction contest? Everything, since author, Julie, came up with the writing prompt AND she will be the judge of the contest. What’s the prompt and the prize? Pop over to my contest page to find out.