Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liebster Blog Award (Again!)

I have been tagged for the Liebster Blog Award again by Sara over at Sara in Bookland!! I always secretly love to get tagged because I get to write about ridiculous things. Fun things. Things that you all probably could have gone your whole life without knowing and it wouldn't have affected your destiny in any way. At all.
For the Liebster Blog Award, I must answer 11 random questions from the blogger who tagged me, and pass on 11 random questions of my own to some more blogs that I will tag. If you get tagged, you don’t have to participate if you’d rather not. 
This is a game, not the 2012 Olympics, people.
But it’s really fun, so I would urge you to keep it going!

On to the questions!

Sweet or Savory?

Both. My favorite snack is French fries with chocolate ice cream. A perfect combination of salty goodness and sugary gluttony. I realize that sounds terrible, but hey. This is America. I eat what I want.
Yeah…moving on.

Who’s Your Book Boyfriend?

Muahaha. My book boyfriends tend to shift, but I will always love Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments, as well as Jem from The Infernal Devices. I also adore Four from Divergent, Kishan from Tiger’s Quest and Will from Angelfire.
Way more than one, I know.

What’s your favorite book ever (not of a series!)?

Quite possibly To Kill a Mockingbird. I absolutely adore that book. The Only Alien on the Planet, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Secret Life of Bees run right behind that.

Beach or Mountain?

Mountain. I grew up near and around the mountains, and there are plenty of beaches within the mountains, too. There is absolutely nothing like the smell of fresh pine trees, the scent of wet dirt or the slight panic at seeing bear tracks on the trail. You can scratch that last part. You know what I mean.

Who’s your favorite author and why?

I don’t really know. My favorite YA author is Cassandra Clare – I think that woman is all kinds of genius. My favorite author outside of YA is probably Mark Twain. He’s a mastermind, I tell you!

What would you say if you got a chance to meet with him or her?

I would get down on my knees in front of Cassandra Clare and kiss her feet.
Okay, not really. I would probably thank her for giving millions of girls and woman alike all over the world Jace Wayland. She should get the Nobel Peace Prize or something. But if I were to meet Mark Twain…I’d probably ask him to adopt me as his godchild. I’d freak out. I love that man.

Why did you start blogging?

I had no purpose in life. HA. Just kidding. I wanted to create a platform for myself as a writer and explore the worlds of the many, many authors out there. It worked out pretty darn good. I’ve got an online business off the ground because of it, as well as extra employment and the publication of my first book.

What’s your favorite weekly meme?

My favorite is actually my own: Indie Monday. I get to meet a ton of awesome, creative peeps from all over the world.

Skirts or Pants?

PANTS. I don’t wear skirts. I haven’t really worn a skirt since I was seven years old. Even then I was more prone to wearing jeans and a tee-shirt so I could chase the dog around in the mud or declare war on the local community of wasps. If I find myself having to go to church with the family I will fight tooth and nail for wearing jeans.
(This is why I don’t get invited to weddings.)

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading many different books (I like to dabble. I’m a chronic dabbler.), but the main ones I’m reading right now are Wings of the Wicked, by Courtney Allison Moulton and What a Boy Wants, by Nyra Dawn. I love the Angelfire series but I don’t really like What a Boy Wants.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Obsessive compulsive reader. ;P

OKAY. That was interesting.
I tag the following bloggers for this meme:

Summer Day @ Pride and Princesses
Bridget Bowers @ Rants ‘N’ Rambings
Victoria @ Confessions of a Twenty Something Fiction Writer
Kris @ A Book From Snowy River
Kimberlee @ The Element Odysseys
Christine Benson @ Christine Benson

And that concludes my little list.
Here are the 11 random questions…..

  1. YA romance or Adult romance?
  2. If you could embody any single figure throughout history – from Marie Antoinette to Michael Jackson – who would it be?
  3. Do you play a musical instrument?
  4. Who is your favorite actor?
  5. What’s your favorite thrilling movie (think Die Hard or Mission Impossible)?
  6. Favorite uplifting, touching song?
  7. Modern or classical art?
  8. Do you prefer Kindle or “real” books?
  9. Cats or dogs?
  10. Disneyland or Universal Studios?
  11. Birthday or Christmas? * wink * 

There you go. Have fun, friends! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Indie Monday: Superheroes Wear Faded Denim

Happy Monday, folks! While Monday may not symbolize rainbows, unicorns and winning lottery tickets, it does mean that I get back to featuring one Indie Author for the new week. Are you ready? Great. Today's author of the week is the lovely Law Reigns, who wrote a New Adult book called Superheroes Wear Faded Denim. Is it just me, or is that title one of the best I've come across all year? I love it. 

Cute cover!

Blissany Cherry is tired of sleeping around. Her neurologists’ sleep solutions have failed her. Now that her bizarre sleeping habits have begun to include week long dreams she has resorted to her own methods for a cure. (Click HERE to read more!)

Law swung by to talk about her novel, and some of the things that inspire her as a writer of fiction! 

 Hi Law! Thanks for stopping by. Why don't you introduce yourself to everybody? 

Hello all love fanatics and adventure druggies. I am a fellow love fanatic, and nothing pleases me more than giving you a glimpse into my life. After reading this and you find I am cool, people, please do not be afraid to connect with me over social media and share a little bit about yourself.

A lover of all things romance, my friends can attest to my odd interest in their romantic endeavors. When they forced me out of their love lives, in order to get revenge, I turned to writing books based on their failed attempts to find love.

Just joking.

Though I find real life experience makes writing easier, I try not to steal my friends’ lives and gift wrap it in book covers.

When I am not writing, you can find me in the theatre. I just love plays and musicals. Other things I love are Asian cuisine, Sunkist, and little black dresses with a nice strand of pearls.

You're a New Adult writer - which is an awesome category to dabble in! - and your book is called 'Superheroes Wear Faded Denim.' Tell us a little about the story. 

It is a fantasy romance. Two University of Florida students become trapped between destiny and desire when they learn they were divinely created to fight a war. My goal was to examine the evolution normal people go through when asked to take on a role they may not be mentally ready for. To be honest my main character, Blissany, is not really ready for anything. She’s not ready to be in love and she is definitely not ready to be a hero.

But really? Who is?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I doubt if most people had a superhuman come knocking on their door and say, “Mankind needs you to save them,” they’d reply, “Alright, let me pause Project Runway and get my gun.” Not only did I try my best to create lots of intense action scenes in Faded Denim, but I had to sprinkle it with romance. My reading tastes are all over the place, but I just love a sassy romance with well-developed characters.

What inspired you to write this? 

I was inspired by three things really.

One of them was my sleeping disorder. I was born a narcoleptic. Due to being in a car accident with a drunk driver, the effects of the neurological disorder worsened. Some of the effects are: gaps in thinking, sleeping for hours and not feeling rested, and lack of focus. This disorder led me to constantly feeling left out and misunderstood. I am sure there are times we all feel like this. People do not need a sleeping disorder to feel different really, and I wanted to write a story for those moments in life when we feel like we are worthless. Blissany definitely has that feeling. She has to overcome it like we all do if we want to be successful.

College was the second thing that inspired me. I would admit to being a lover of all things diverse and different. Joining cultural organizations and partying with the Greeks was fun for me. Believe me, I did not discriminate when making friends in college. It not only allowed me to meet tons of different people, but it taught me a lot. I wanted to capture the beauty of those experiences in a novel.

The third thing that inspired me was the desire to find true love. What good romance does not get dirty and personal with that concept?

This is a favorite question of mine: what's your favorite reading snack? 

I am an eater. Every food is my favorite reading snack. Thank goodness P90x was invented. Even though you’ll find me trying to eat barbecue while reading my Nook, I have learned to settle on popcorn. It’s much cleaner.

Have you been inspired by any author's work or by a band's music? 

I would listen to 30 Seconds to Mars when writing Faded Denim. Night of the Hunter inspired my evil character, Apollyon.

To connect with Law, visit here. 
Check out her Facebook pages here and here. 
You can also find her on TwitterGoodReads & Pinterest!

Thanks for checking in, peeps! Have a great week!

Friday, June 22, 2012

'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' Blog Hop!

My heroines usually have an attitude. I’m not saying that their attitudes are bad, I’m just saying that they are a lot cooler and edgier than I am in real life. Which is why I love writing them into existence. For the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Blog Hop (hosted by Victoria Smith and Jaycee DeLorenzo)  my heroine is a hardcore chick from a post-apocalyptic world. Her name is Willow. Her best buddy is a girl named Maria, and together they run around, try to stay alive, kick tin cans down the street, fall in love with dangerous dudes and so forth. Ya know. The basics.

 Very cool! Okay, on to the interview. For this blog hop, Maria will interview Willow. Let us begin...

Maria: I have this thing about not asking personal questions. But for you, I’m going to do it anyway because I pretty much know every personal thing about you. Like that tattoo you got when we were in –
Willow: Can you just get to the interview, please?
M: Fine. Question numero uno: how would you describe your hero?
W: Like, my ideal imaginary hero, or my real-life hero?
M: Real life, stupid.
W: Oh. I would say he’s incredibly arrogant, self-absorbed and lacking virtue or morality. But he’s a good guy deep down inside.
M: * stares blankly * I really hope he doesn’t see this interview.
W: Don’t worry, he will.
M: What you forgot to mention is that he’s incredibly hot.
W: Don’t say that! The last thing I want him to think is that I’m infatuated.
M: Oh. You’re not?
W: Shut up.

M: Question two: what’s the best date you ever had?
W: I’ve never been on a date.
M: What? No way!
W: Um, yes way. Where was I going to go on a date? This is post-apocalyptic North America. It’s not like we could go hang out at TGI Friday’s.
M: Good point, but can’t you remember a romantic encounter that you had?
W: * smiles cryptically * Maybe. There was this one time that Gavin and I climbed to the roof of the aquarium on Santa Monica Pier…that was nice.
M: Your dates are so boring. I’m literally rusting over just listening to you.
W: Hey, you asked.
M: My mistake.

M: Question three: what’s your biggest date horror story?
W: Oh, that’s a better question. Remember how I said that the best date I ever had was on top of the aquarium with Gavin? It was also the worst date. We had the bad luck of running into some rabid nomads on the pier and I ended up taking a plunge in the water.
M: But Gavin saved you, right? Prince Charming couldn’t just let you drown.
W: Well, I’m alive, aren’t I?
M: That's debatable. * slaps Willow's hand away * Okay, okay. Yeah. 
W: I learned a lesson that day: never visit a pier without scuba gear.
M: Your attempts to be humorous are making me gag.
W: Stick your head out the window and breathe deep.
M: I hate you.
W: I love you, too.

M: Last question: What is one thing you believe can tell a lot about a person?
W: Their eyes. I’m telling you, their eyes say everything.
M: Yeah? What are my eyes saying?
W: * peers closer * I don’t think you want to know.
M: Again, your humor sucks.
W: At least I’m trying to be lighthearted.
M: Too bad trying and doing are two completely different things.

And as for a song that I best believes conveys Willow as a character and a heroine, check out this song. It's called Ache by James Carrington, and it's one of many, many songs that I love for Willow. 

Thanks, lovelies! Have a great Friday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Indie Monday (Featuring Wuthering Nights, by Summer Day)

I always get to play to host to such awesome indie authors, which is why I originally started this event to showcase just how neat they are. Today I want to introduce you to somebody who has been a wonderful friend of mine for the last few months, and who happens to share the same first name as me: Summer Day. Summer Day is the author of two published books, Pride and Princesses, and her most recent release Wuthering Nights. Summer likes to take the classics that we all know and love and put a modern twist on them. I love that kind of thing, whether it's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or A Cinderella Story. Take a look at what Summer has been up to!

When handsome Mark Knightly arrives at Sunrise High School, Phoebe and Mouche (Best Friends Forever), invent a dating game to impress him with surprising results. Mix a modern version of 'Pride and Prejudice' with a dash of 'Emma' and the result is 'Pride & Princesses'. Click here to check this ebook out! 

New Release! 

When Heath and Kate meet as children they form a bond that lasts forever. By the author of Pride & Princesses, Wuthering Nights is inspired by the classic, gothic novel Wuthering Heights. Click here to learn more! 

You can always count on Summer for a fun read - and plenty of romance. I would even go so far as to say that her books could fit in both the Young Adult and New Adult categories. Summer stopped by to say a few words today - a big thank-you for that, Summer! - so you folks could get to know her better. Here she her own words. 

What inspires you to write books like Wuthering Nights and Pride and Princesses?

I love to use my imagination and I've always been creative. I like to write, read, paint, take photographs and go to movies!

Do you listen to music when you write? 

YES! Sometimes I play the Twilight soundrack because it's incidental music but familiar to me. I also like to play the soundtrack to the Hunger Games. I play movie soundtracks a lot and like everyone else, I have my favourite singers and bands but I find music less distracting (if I'm writing) when there are no words! 

If you could become any fictional character, who would it be? 

Oh, there are so many, I could only begin to choose. Probably Jo March from Little Women (and sometimes Amy); Katniss from The Hunger Games would be a rush, but a terrifying one; in the end, I'd have to go with Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice and Celia from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 

Who's your favorite hero? And heroine? 

There are many, at the moment Marco and Celia from The Night Circus. In teen fiction I'd have to go with Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games, since (as you know), I absolutely love that series.

Thanks for stopping by! Where can people connect with you on the web? 

- @summerdaylight on twitter. I'm also at my blog and I'd love people to join.

Summer Day is also giving away one free copy of her brand new book, Wuthering Nights. Enter for a chance to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

What do you think of when you hear the name Marilyn Monroe? I personally think of blonde wigs and hot red lipstick. And maybe a gold dress or a subway grill blowing air up a white skirt. In truth, Marilyn Monroe is as much of a mystery as she was a celebrity - which is saying something. In The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, we are carefully guided through Marilyn's early life, her rise to stardom and of course, her eventual tragic end. 

My thoughts on this biography are mixed, which is kind of rare for me. The author does an amazing job of piecing all of the scraps of legend and truth to create a story of sorts. Marilyn's mother was flat out insane, and as a result, she was raised in different orphanages and foster homes. In fact, most of Marilyn's family had a history of mental illness, so she lived most of her life in paralyzing fear that one day the "voices" would come to haunt her, as well. Some of the stories struck me as downright fabricated - and the author says as much. So much of the Marilyn Monroe life is submerged in her legend that it's nearly impossible to tell what is fact and what is fiction.

Several things are very clear, however: One, Marilyn Monroe had a wonderful life but she had an inability to enjoy the present enough to let go of the past. Two, she longed to be a serious dramatic actress, but due to her image as a seductive siren, was never taken seriously. Three, she was intensely unhappy and had pretty much convinced herself that she had become insane like her mother - even though she had not. Lastly, she had an image. Much like Michael Jackson or Elizabeth Taylor, her onscreen and public persona was vastly different than what she was like in real life. I really liked getting to know Marilyn Monroe in this book - but what a sad, sad story. When you read books like this, you become convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that fame and money are absolutely worthless in comparison to personal contentment.

A rarely seen side of Marilyn: Relatively makeup free.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pitch the Perfect Novel to Me, Please!

Pitch a Perfect Book

I’ve seen the best and the worst. Book review requests are sometimes called “pitching,” just like when you give the plotline of your novel to an editor. There’s a right way and a wrong way to get a blogger to review your book, and I’ve had a lot of experience with both methods as a publicist and reviewer. Here’s how to do it right.

How to Say Hi

Over the past few months, I have received review requests that open like this:
Greetings to You
Nice to meet you, Summer

I’m going to go out on a limb here and offer this piece of advice: if you’re pitching your book to me (or any blogger or reviewer out there) be sure to include my name when you say hello, and for goodness sakes, stay away from using non-traditional forms of greeting. Dear Summer or Dear Ms. Lane adds personalization to your pitch. It tells me that you have taken a little time to learn about me before pitching your book. It also exudes professionalism. 

Flatter Me

I’m not making this up. When you pitch a book to me to review, I want to know that you have done so because you have explored my site, enjoyed it, and found my genius irresistible. Okay, so you can scratch the latter part – but you get my point. Don’t just start. I hate feeling like I’m merely another blogger on someone’s pitch list. My favorite reviewer requests are those that say something like this:
I read your blog all the time – it’s great! I was wondering if you’d like to review my book: So and So. It would be awesome to see it posted on your site.
Sure, it sounds like I’m trying to get you to stroke my ego, but in actuality what I’m trying to find out is if you have taken the time to get to know my blog, my content, and of course, me.

The Pitch

Let’s face it: when we were in elementary school we were taught how to summarize plotlines in English class, and it sometimes took us a while to get it right. Well, drag those old memories out of the attic and dust them off. When you pitch your book, the story is everything. Pitch it to me as if you were pitching it to an executive at Paramount Pictures. It shouldn’t be longer than ten sentences – it can be, but once you get past that mark, it starts to get boring – and it should be SNAPPY. I use this word a lot (I even used it in the title of my first published book) because it’s true. A great book pitch looks like this:

The world has changed. Evil had overtaken good. Blackness and injustice cast a dark shadow over the planet of Agora. But in the midst of these desperate moments, a hero rises from the most unusual of places. A true warrior, a great man, and a fierce leader. He will tear the planet apart with war…and put it together again in peace. His name is Gabriel, and he is the True King.

Seven sentences. Short, simple, and to the point. You should be able to take any story, from The Count of Monte Cristo to The Old Man and the Sea and fit it into a few sentences. That is talent. That is the craft of the pitch.

How to Give Your Book to a Reviewer

Don’t assume that just because I have a website I’m a millionaire. I can’t afford to buy every book on the market (unfortunately), and if you’re offering a book up for review, it should always be free. Always. And you should makes this very clear to the reviewer, so they aren’t left wondering if they are supposed to buy the book and then review it. You should also read over their Review Policy to make sure you’re submitting in the correct genre. Some sites only review ChickLit, while others only review YA. In other words, don’t end up submitting a romance novel to a children’s poetry review. That would be awkward. 

Sending the Novel

PDF files are tough to read. It’s like reading a never-ending Word Document, and it’s a major strain on the eyes – especially if you have eye trouble like me. Either offer it as a Kindle/Nook copy or a physical copy. It’s the right thing to do, because it can be really hard to read a 600-page book on a computer screen. Unsure how to send your book electronically? Send it as a gift so your reviewer can download it. 

Say Thanks!

I always appreciate it when the author emails me or comments on the blog to thank me for reviewing their book. Then I really know that they are truly interested in me and my opinion, as well as the readers of the blog. Don’t be like an author who, a couple of months ago, went back and forth with me about a review, and then failed to respond when I finally posted it. Not a word, not a thank you, not a peep. This is not stellar etiquette. Always say ‘thank you.’ Being an author is about marketing yourself, so it’s important that you develop a reputation as someone who is always on top of communication and manners.

Easy, peezy. Writing a pitch is basically about utilizing something that God gave us when he was mulling over our blueprints in heaven: common sense. Just go with what you feel is right, make sure it’s professional, and always say please and thank you.

Later, lovelies.