Wednesday
Apr162014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Last week, my critique partner (AKA Partner-in-crime) Seabrooke tagged me in the writing process blog hop. I've been blogging for From The Write Angle, and Novel Thoughts, but not here; so I thought this might be a nice way to kick off my own site again. 

Questions!

1. What am I working on?

 I'm working on a non-linear story, with a Cloud Atlas-esque structure, that deals with what happens to humanity without the ability to fear. In revision I've got a odd little kind of time travel story about a girl who can never be remembered. 

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This question is hard to answer, because whatever I say is probably going to sound braggy. However, I like to think I approach things differently than most people. I had a different childhood (travelling the world as the child of a diplomat) that gives me a different view of the world than most people my age. I think that comes into my writing, especially when considering the stories of every character--even the villain. 

 

3. Why do I write what I do?

The simple answer to this question would be that I write YA because I am one, or was one very recently. However, that's not the only reason. I believe that people of any age have stories that have merit and are valuable. Many people think that any stories about teenagers are worth less simply because they are about teenagers. I disagree. I think teenages are powerful, and passionate, and are just finding out what it means to be in this huge world of ours. Teenagers are the people just on the edge of changing the world, and I want to write stories for those people. 

 

4. How does my writing process work?

It does vary a bit from book to book, but the general process is the same. 

Every book I have written has started with a seed. A little idea that leads to a scene in my mind, or a question that needs answering. 'What would happen if no one could remember you?' 

My ideas usually occur at the start of the book, so I'll write the opening. Then my CPs think I'm crazy, because I'll just start writing. I'm a non-linear pantser. I will write whatever scene I want to, in no order. If I'm stuck, I flip to a different section in the book. This helps me discover the characters and the plot very organically. 

What changes is the speed with which this happens. Sometimes it's fast. Last summer I drafted a 75K book in six weeks. The book I'm working on now is coming out in little splashes of 200 words at a time. It varies.

Once I have a solid structure, I fill in any gaps I may have missed in skipping around, and I read through the book to make sure I have a full story. Then I put it away for a month or two before I start revising!

--

I know that usually from here the blog hop is supposed to move on to others, but everyone I asked had already done it or said no. So it looks like this branch of the blog hop ends with me! I hope you enjoyed reading about the process. Much love!

CV

Tuesday
Oct292013

Summer Line-up -- Part 1!

Since I've been a little remiss in my blogging duties this summer and getting back on the Fall bandwagon, I thought I'd do the Summer line-up of all the YA I've read this summer. I read so many things that I'm going to have to break it up into more than one post! Here's the first batch for y'all to consider.

Oh, and never fear, NO SPOILERS AHEAD.

I snagged an ARC of this book at this year's BEA. I loved the first book (THRONE OF GLASS), and was pretty much over the moon to have the chance to read the second one early. It didn't disappoint either! 

Crown of Midnight is filled with more intrigue, romance, fighting, magic, pretty much everything you could ever want in a book. 

I will say that I liked the original cover design of THRONE OF GLASS much more, and am not a huge fan of the re-designed cover. 

If you like badass heroines, sexy guards, and mysteries, this book (And THRONE OF GLASS) is one you need to pick up immediately!

The series untitled book 3 is scheduled to come out next year. I can't wait!

 

 

This series is a ridiculously rich high fantasy. The magic system is super cool and intriguing (who DOESN'T want to be able to shoot the sun out of their hands?

Also, This may be the first series I've ever read where I like the Villian more than the main love interest. Let's face it, the Darkling is HOT. 

Based off of Imperial Russia in what author Leigh Bardugo calls 'TsarPunk' this series is definitely not one to miss!

The series third book RUIN AND RISING is due out June 3rd, 2014.

 

 

 

 

My Summer, it seems, began with sequels. 

GODDESS is the 3rd book in the Starcrossed series (STARCROSSED and DREAMLESS).

I've loved this series from the beginning. It's a unique take on the Greek myths and how they've trickled down to the present. 

DREAMLESS set us up for one heck of a battle and boy did we get it! 

I can't say too much about this without spoiling the series for others, but I loved it, and hope you all pick it up!

 

In case you missed it, SERPAHINA won a bunch of awards this year. 

It's a book about dragons, and how those dragons can take human form. Also about rare dragon hybrids. It's very much a social commentary about how we treat those who we percieve to be different from ourselves. 

Despite the accolades and awards, I just couldn't get into this one as much. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. But the spark I feel when I LOVE a book was missing. 

However, if you like dragons and political intrigue, this book needs to move up on your to-read list!

 

 

 

THE COLOR OF RAIN by Cori McCarthy is a gorgeous Sci-fi that deals with the realities and horrors of sex and human trafficking. I love this book. 

However, I've already written a very long post about it, so if you want to check that out, feel free to click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you know me, you probably know that I'm not a fan of the Wither series. of the taboos to read about, polygamy really isn't my thing. 

But when I got a bound manuscript of PERFECT RUIN at BEA, I decided to give it a shot. I liked the synopsis a lot better.

I really liked it! It was a refreshing little utopian world. Not a perfect book by any means, but fun and very entertaining. My favorite part of this book are by far the epigraphs. If you've read it, you know what I mean.

 Another sequel. This one to the book GRAVE MERCY which I loved

Strictly speaking, this isn't a sequel but a companion. The events in the book both overlap with and move beyond those of GRAVE MERCY. 

It's a book about yet another beautiful French assassin, this one with much more damage in her past. The character is beautifully broken, and the way she finds love with another broken character is really wonderful. I heartily recommend this series to everyone. 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first book of the Summer that I genuinely didn't like. I thought that the premise (A town where boys mysteriously disappear on their 18th birthday) had so much promise. 

No spoilers, but to me what happened in this book was a cop-out and a cliche. So much so that I'm not even sure I will continue onto the sequel FROZEN, which is due out April 15th, 2014. 

 

 

 

Back to back books that didn't do it for me. 

I had had Burn for Burn for quite a while and hadn't picked it up. I finally decided to give it a shot, and wasn't happy that I did. 

I will put out a disclaimer that contemporary YA is not my favorite genre, but that wasn't the heart of my problems with it. 

These girls have no regard for the consequences their actions will cause, their grudges are petty, and there's a paranormal element to this book that is neither acknowledged or explained! Plus, the ending leaves your mouth hanging open--and not in a good way. 

Normally I can recommend a book even if I didn't like it, but this time I'm going to say you can probably skip this one. And the sequels. 

The cover art on TUMBLE & FALL is aboslutely gorgeous, I'm a sucker for a beautiful ampersand. But that's about all I can say for it. 

Tumble & Fall is a contemporary Sci-fi book about the end of the world. The entire book is a countdown to when a meteor is going to hit the earth and destroy all life. 

Aside from numerous meterological mistakes, this book didn't feel cohesive to me. There's three main characters who all go their separate ways, and all have thier own set of secondary characters. So much so that you never really get to know any of the characters well enough to empathize with them.

Also, I thought the ending was a cop-out and it made me want to throw the book across the room. However, I know that this judgement may be subjective to me, and I welcome you to give this book a try. 

 

 

Ending Part 1 of this post on a good note, I love this book. LOVE LOVE LOVE. 

OCD LOVE STORY gives you a behind the scenes glimpse of what it's like living with true OCD. 

This book is painful in the most exquisite and beautiful way. It's so uncomfortable, but you can't stop reading and you feel so much for these characters because their struggles are so real. 

Go read it RIGHT NOW. 

 

 

 

 

What have you been reading this summer and did you like it? Let me know in the comments--More of my Summer Line-up to come!

CV

Monday
Oct282013

100 Books

This is my first fall without school in 20 years. TWENTY. 

Because of that, I've found I have a lot more time for reading and other things when I don't have to worry about homework. Shocking, right?

I usually start out every year with a goal of 52 books--one per week. This year I reached that around July. A weird experience considering I had been reading novellas like a mad woman New Year's Eve in 2012 to make sure I finished. 

I finished that too, so I upped the goal to 100 books. 

THIS IS CRAZY! I'm currently at 86 and counting. I want to make to 100, or possibly beyond. (I may not be reading much in Nov. due to NaNoWriMo, which I will be attempting to complete. For the first time in actual November!

What have your book goals been this year? How are you coming along on them?

 

CV

Thursday
Aug152013

Coming and Going--A Wishlist

So I asked on twitter what to blog about (I'm always open to suggestions, by the way. Feel free to speak up.) And one of the answers I recieved was 'Things you're sick of seeing in YA right now.'

 

That's actually a pretty good topic, because I've had several conversations with friends lately about repeated trends that have been bugging me. Now--I must put out a disclaimer: There are of course exceptions to everything. Just because I want to see less or more of one thing doesn't mean I hate it, or am bashing any particular author's work. I read a LOT of YA, and this list is a personal assessment of what I have been seeing lately.


Things I'd (personally) like to see LESS of in YA.


1. (LESS) Heroines who don't remember who they are, where they come from, how they got there, or really anything about their history.

Oh my goodness I am so sick of this. The heroine inevitably had her memory wiped for some terribly important, threatening, and world changing reason. (Of course, DUH, she's the heroine) But for me, the search for finding clues about a past you don't remember is less interesting than dealing with the issues you may have in your past.

I'll be perfectly honest, it's gotten to the point where if I pick up a book and I see any variation of the phrase 'she doesn't remember who she is' I will put the book down immediately.

That being said, there are a couple of books with this predicament being released soon that I'm really looking forward to, and I'm sure they will be awesome. But please, let's be kind to our heroines and let them have their memories back?

2. (LESS) TOTALLY HOT, Adonis-like love interests.

Huh? You might think this is a weird one. I don't doubt it, and don't misunderstand me, I LOVE hot men in books. I also LOVE hot romances. I love it all.

However, not every guy in the world has a chest that is chisled like a marble statue. Let's just make that clear. There are some that do, and that's great, but there are also a lot of really attractive/cute guys that aren't cut like a diamond. And there's nothing wrong with that. I'd like to see a really hot romance with someone who's a little flawed phsically, a little more normal.

I kind of roll my eyes now every time a heroine lays eyes on the potential love interest and says he's the most beautiful man she's ever seen. Let's just tone that down a bit.

3. (LESS) Happily-Ever-Afters

I told you, I am weird. I really love what I call 'the bittersweet ending.' Things are looking up, but also there has been pain and loss. The characters are a bit battered, and some are probably gone, but the world keeps spinning anyway. (The ending of Serenity, anyone?)

I've actually been seeing more bittersweet endings, which makes me happy. I get HEAs, and sometimes I like them, but not always.

 

4. (LESS) The Chase

Many YA novels involving romance (And let's face it, most of them do) focus on the first stage of the relationship--the meeting/courting/getting together phase, and possibly a little of the honeymoon phase.

Generally, I find that the story of the relationship after it has been established is more interesting. Okay, these people are together now, but will they stay together? How will they learn to fight? How will they learn to communicate and be together as a couple?

I like to call it the Hollywood syndrome, because rarely in movies do we see past 'I do,' but I'd like to see more books exploring the aftermath of becoming a couple. So I'd like to see less books focusing on the beginning of romance, and more on the middle or end. 

5. (LESS) Fat Shaming

I don't have a problem with skinny heroines. I don't have a problem with fat ones either. I do have a problem when it becomes obvious in a book that one is preferable to the other. I've been reading a lot of subtle, and frankly not so subtle fat shaming in YA/NA books lately, and I don't like it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that people shouldn't be healthy or free to disregard their bodies out of carelessness. I just am not a fan when someone is judged purely on their size in a book, or when the main character is heavy it is her defining feature, and therefore her entire worldview is poisoned by it.

Then there's also the reactions to this which I won't really get into here--AKA the reader's questions of 'She's not really fat, is she?' As if being fat were the worst thing in the world. It's not.

 

 Things I'd (personally) like to see MORE of in YA.


1. (MORE) Confidence

It's all too common for the main character to be filled with self-doubt, and also self-loathing. I get it--being a teenager is a fluid time, and those feelings are especially potent during that time. But there are also times when confidence is free-flowing and necessary.

I feel that there's an idea that if a teenage girl is confident, she automatically comes off as bitchy. In some cases this may be true, but I've known many girls who have been assertive, confident, and also the sweetest people ever. I'd like to see more of them as I read--being in the head of someone who is constantly self-deprecating is very exhausting. 

2. (MORE) Friendships.

As I said above, I love romance. LOVE IT. However, you rarely see a YA book without it now. And while romance is definitely a part of growing up, friendships are too. I would argue they're even more important. So the automatic 'there must be romance' idea in YA can get a little predictable. I wouldn't mind reading a book about a platonic relationship now and then. (And yes, there can be platonic male/female friendships!)

 

3. (MORE) Non-linear Plots

Pretty self-explanitory. Non-linear story telling is my favorite, and frankly there isn't a whole lot of it in YA. Give me more!

 

 

4. (MORE) Surprises

It comes with the territory of reading a lot of one category, but there are many times when I can predict what will happen in a book. Sometimes scarily accurately. This has (sadly) made me a bit jaded, and admittedly harder to please as a reader.

That being said, there are still books that I haven't been able to predict, and that surprise me. Those almost inevitably end up being my favorites, because my reading experience with them was the purest. So surprise me more!

5. (MORE) MORE!

Okay, fine, you caught me. I didn't really have a fifth one for this. But I just wanted to reiterate that I truly do love YA. I'll keep reading it as long as everyone doesn't stop writing it. So don't stop!

 

 

 

For the comments: Do you have pet peeves in YA? What are they? and what would you like to see more of?

Tuesday
Aug132013

Keeping Her Release Day!

Happy Release Day!

For those awaiting Keeping Her by Cora Carmack, the day is finally here! And let me tell you, it's really great. We finally get a glimpse into Garrick's perspective as he and Bliss travel to london to meet his parents. There's mishaps, mayhem, and a whole lot of blushing. What else could we expect from our favorite couple? I really enjoyed Keeping Her and if you're a fan of Losing It, I'm expecting you to buy it immediately, and I hope you love it as much as I did!

If you want even more Garrick, I have a MEGA surprise for you. Click here to be taken to bonus scenes from Losing It--from Garricks perspective. It's hot. Like, SUPER hot.

In addition, Cora is planning to donate 20% of all her roayalties from Keeping Her to the charity Planting Peace for the life of the book. You can find out more about Planting Peace here.

 

ABOUT KEEPING HER:

Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather . . . ahem . . . complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

ABOUT CORA CARMACK:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. 

WHERE TO BUY:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

This giveaway is amazing you guys. There will be two winners. The first will win signed copies of both Losing It and Faking It. The second will have a character named after them in an upcoming Cora Carmack novella! Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Happy release day!