"...her secret is patience..." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What I've Been Up To: April 2013 Version

Hello darlings, 

So I've been MIA again. Are you really that surprised? Life has a tendency to run away from us and I'm just trying to stay in the race. Lots has been going over here. Not all of it book related. Actually, come to think of it, a lot of it hasn't been book related. But more on that later.

1. I've been spending much time in my room. Building furniture. Yep, you heard it right. I'm completely remodeling my room so manual labor for the win! I'm actually a big fan of this but Oh. My. Word. is it time consuming. Why hasn't anyone told me? (Pictures will be posted when I'm FINISHED)

2. I've also been spending much of my time painting. I haven't done this in, probably, years. I'm such a temperamental artist (which I guess is normal), but there are times when I get so busy I don't take out my brushes for months at a time. Since my creativity has been on a fritz, but the need to create is still there, random paintings it is. I'm a huge fan of Mixed Media at the moment, so I've been trying my hand in that. And because I'm trying to be brave here, I'll share a few with you. Please no laughing. 


3. I went to a tour stop for the amazing ladies: Tahareh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, Anna Carey and Cynthia Hand. I'm a huge fangirl of these talents and it was so good to see them again. They're as sweet and amazing as ever!

4. I've been reading. Or trying to do so in between work and everything else. A few of the recent ones I loved are below. Seriously, huge fan. 

5. I decided to finally finish my Masters so classes here I go. It's online so it's a bit more flexible, but still So. Much. Work. Why do I do these things to myself? 

I kid. I kid. I love all that's happening in my life. Minus the writing fritz I've been on. Seriously guys, I've started three different projects and nothing feels right. Which is probably why I've taken the last month to take a step back and reevaluate where I'm heading. I'm a lot closer to figuring that out so don't despair, you will see things from me soon. Isn't that the biggest part of writing? Not to despair? Well, I'm working on that.

That is all. Hope you're having a fabulous day!!! 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Zenn Scarlet by Christian Schoon - The Research Process Behind the Book

Hello lovelies, 

Today, I have a special guest on the blog. Mr. Christian Schoon himself has prepared an inside look into the research for his debut science fiction novel, Zenn Scarlett. But first, a little about the book. 

When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year....

From goodreads.com

The Research Process for Zenn Scarlett or: "Hello, I'm an Author, Can I Please Speak with the Exovet-Info Librarian?"

When your book’s heroine is a teen in her novice year of exovet studies, specializing in humongous alien animals, in a science-centered cloister, on Mars… there aren’t a lot of reference books or websites to turn to for background info. So, it’s a good thing I never believed the platitude “Write what you know.” In fact, I think taking that moldy old chestnut in anything like its literal sense has probably confused and hindered a lot of writers over the years. But, on the other hand, I have nothing whatsoever against taking stuff that I sorta know something about and wrapping it in a sparkly layer of what-ifs and whoa-that’d-be-cool and there’s-no-precedent-for-this-so-I-can-just-make-it-up-yay. And that’s how I approached my so-called “research” for much of Zenn Scarlett.

So, the stuff I sorta know something about is exotic animals and veterinary medicine as applied to them.

Let’s pause here for a quick info-dump: I lived in LA for a number of years, worked as an in-house writer at Disney, then freelanced, then wrote scripts for genre TV shows like Power Rangers, Warner Bros. animated Batman, Gravedale High and a few others. Moved to Iowa (I grew up in the Midwest; I missed it….). Bought a farm. Volunteered with a group that rescues abused/neglected horses, have had up to 18 equines in my various pastures/barns. Then got hooked up with a group that rescues exotic animals. So I got to know critters like black bears, cougars, coyotes, emus, llamas, big pythons and constrictors, alligators.  Have also been a life-long science fiction geek. When I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, I had this vision (sort of…) of a youngish girl perched high up on the snout of a huge animal of some kind, and she wasn’t afraid, she was barely nervous. She had a job to do. Heal that beast. And that became the opening of the book (then, after I split the book into two books, that scene opened the first chapter after the prologue. Why add a prologue? That’s another post entirely.)

During the exotic animal portion of the above, I ended hanging around not only the very cool animals, but also the equally cool veterinarians who had acquired the specialized skills to diagnose and treat bears or mountain lions or pythons. Now, my book isn’t a technical, “hard-SF” or medical-procedure-intense kinda book. It’s more a matter of current science/tech extrapolated in some imaginative ways, but always making sure the vet science I use, even if it’s on an alien creature, is reasonably consistent with “known factors” of earthly biology or pathology. Then, I’m also careful to keep my veterinary inventions consistent with the level of technology I’ve come up with for my future world.

I also had to conduct some net-excursions or reference-book-hunts to search out data about the Martian environment. Like, just how deep is the Valle Marinaris canyon system, what’s the average temp at the equator, how extensive is the permafrost layer.

In Zenn Scarlett, I proposed a mini-terraforming approach where, instead of going to the colossal expense of making the entire surface of Mars livable, my colonists devised a technology that enabled them to put a “roof” over some of Mars’ great canyon systems and live and raise crops on the canyon floor. This was achieved by employing barymetric ionizing generators on the canyon walls and projecting a thin, translucent layer of coherently energized molecules that would trap oxygen and moisture beneath it, allow sunlight to pass through, but keep out the frigid, near-vacuum of the thin Martian atmosphere above. I did zero research on this canyon-topping tech, but simply decided that human capabilities had progressed far enough to make this possible, then dressed it up in language that, to me at least, makes it sound real. Again, I was careful to match the science involved to the general established rules governing my world.

So, in the end, much of the “research” for Zenn, especially concerning exovets and their patients, came not from sleuthing out specific facts, but from drawing on my past experience with earthbound animals and vets (and science fictional tropes) and using this experience as a foundation for my imaginary, but Zenn’s-world-consistent, creations.

Thank you, Christian, for sharing your story.

Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses.  He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about - and received an education from - these remarkable animals and the awesome veterinarians who care so deeply for them.

Zenn Scarlett is out May 7th, 2013. 

Pre-Order Zenn Scarlett on Amazon:

Find Christian at:


Author blog:


Publisher’s website:

Happy reading, 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Spotlight: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be. 

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

From goodreads.com

     Arclight is a story of a world where light is coveted and darkness is dangerous. In the first pages, we meet Marina and her classmates in a middle of a lesson. However, what starts out as any other night quickly takes a turn for the worst. The Fade have invaded the sanctuary that human society has built, and Marina seems to be right in the middle of it. Marina must figure out the secrets behind the teachings she grew up with and discover for herself what the Fade is all about. 
     Guys, I seriously enjoyed this book. Honestly, going into it I wasn't sure how I would feel about it. But once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Marina is an interesting character. She has a lot to deal with and I think she deals with it pretty well. The circumstances that surround this girl are less then pleasant, yet she continues to fight for the truth. The fact that she seems to be the only person to ever survive the Fade puts her into an uncomfortable position. The others don't exactly accept her, and that includes Tobin. 
     In the beginning, Tobin seems to dislike Marina quite a bit. That's what Marina tells us. And he does have a good reason for it being so. However, everything changes when the Fade invade. Tobin and Marina start off on rocky ground, but I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop. I love the romantic side to Tobin, the little things he does to bring a smile to Marina's face when everything seems to be going sour. I liked this kid a lot, people. A lot. 
     Overall, this book is one thrill ride. Once you get into the story, it doesn't want to let you out. Sure, I saw the "surprise" developments coming before the characters did, but it didn't really take away from the story. I enjoyed getting to know these characters and the world they live in. 
     Arclight hits the shelves on April 23, 2013! Go get your copy now! 

     Happy reading, 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Road Trip Wednesday: Sister I'm a Poet

Hello lovelies, 

     So I haven't done one of these in a while. I know, bad me. I've been very book review oriented on the blog lately, mostly because I've been trying to restart my MS and focus on that. But I actually do have a couple of writing blog posts planned for the near future, so make sure you come back for those. 
     Anyway, back to Road Trip Wednesday! 
     This Week's Topic: April is National Poetry Month! Share your favorite poem(s) or poet.

      This Week's Road Trip Song: Still Into You by Paramore

     This is actually a tough question for me because poetry is something that was part of my life for a while and now is a sporadic occurance. I've loved Robert Frost and his poems for ages, but I feel like that would be an easy answer. So I went deeper. Of course, I couldn't pick just one, so I'm sharing two with you. 

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou 

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

I Loved You by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
I loved you, and I probably still do,
And for a while the feeling may remain...
But let my love no longer trouble you,
I do not wish to cause you any pain.
I loved you; and the hopelessness I knew,
The jealousy, the shyness - though in vain -
Made up a love so tender and so true
As may God grant you to be loved again.

(Translated by Genia Gurarie, 11/10/95) 
What about you? Any poems that stuck with you through the years?

Happy Wednesday,


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Spotlight: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

   Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. 
   So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. 
   But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. 
   In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

From goodreads.com

     In the first pages, we meet Stephen, a boy who is invisible. He's lived his whole life, never being able to be seen by anyone. Not even his parents. When his mother dies, Stephen is left all alone and it's all he knows. Until Elizabeth moves into an apartment across the hall. Because Elizabeth is unlike anyone Stephen has ever met before. Elizabeth can see him. 
     I was very excited to have the opportunity to read Invisibility as part of the ARC tours. I've been looking forward to this book since the premise came out. I'm a huge fan of Andrea's writing, and though I am still to read Bloodrose (a few people kind of spoiled the book for me. No I'm not bitter. Much.), I really enjoyed her Nightshade series. I was also very interested in reading a duo of authors because I have read both good partnerships and bad. After all that, Invisibility left me with mixed feelings. 
     The writing is still beautiful. Even lyrical in parts. I could feel Stephen and Elizabeth's struggles throughout the book. Stephen is a sad creature, but also a lot happier than you'd expect someone to be in his shoes. That's the part I really enjoyed about him as a character. You really see his appreciation for the little things in life as he works to find the best in the hand he's been dealt. 
     On the other hand, we meet Elizabeth. She has a few things to deal with as well. I liked her fine as a character, although her stubbornness did get on my nerves a bit. However, that could be a good thing, I'm not sure. My favorite part about Elizabeth was her brother Laurie. He was my favorite character in the whole book. His fierceness, love, and devotion is absolutely beautiful. There really should be more sibling relationships like Elizabeth's and Laurie's. Just saying.
     Overall, the book was nicely written but it didn't have as much conflict as I expected leading into it. Sure, there are certain aspects that had to be dealt with in the story, but in the end, I felt like a bit of a let down. One big thing that stood out is that there was no resolution at the end of the book. Well, maybe a tiny little one, but not really. Is this book part of a series? For some reason, I thought it was a stand alone and if that's true, I'm not sure how I feel about it even more. 
     If you enjoy the writings of Andrea Cremer and David Levithan, you will enjoy Invisibility. There is just something beautiful about love that over comes obstacles, whatever they are. Invisibility comes out May 7th, 2013!

Happy reading, 


Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Spotlight: Night School (Night School #1) by C.J. Daugherty

Allie's world is falling apart...

She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she's just been arrested.


Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn't know a soul.

But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she's happy there. She's making friends. And then there's Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.

Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets.

From goodreads.com

     Allie is having a bit of trouble in her life. So her parent's decide to send her away to Cimmeria Academy, a school she's never heard of before. This school is a new start for her, a place with strict rules and no technology. Needless to say, Allie is a little apprehensive. Soon, she starts meeting people and discovering secrets. Things start happening around  the school that Allie can't explain, and she takes it upon herself to figure out what in the world is going on. 
     Night School is nothing like what I expected. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it, the book as whole that is. Allie is an alright character. She's had some misfortunes in her life, that lead her to become the trouble child. When she arrives at Cimmera Academy she has no idea what to expect. She's all alone in this new environment and she makes the best of it. I do give the girl props for using her brain to deal with all the crazy that starts happening at the school. 
     There are a lot of other characters in the book and I mean a lot. The book itself is a bit lengthy and I think a big part of that is the fact that those characters needed to be set up. Ms. Daugherty did a good job keeping up with the story  lines when it came to the characters because you start to suspect everyone. Out of all the characters, I enjoyed Carter the best. I felt like he was the most likable, even with all the broody. He was definitely the most likable boy out of the two. 
     I think the one thing that I really couldn't wrap my mind around is the whole mystery. I just didn't feel like it was much of a mystery and in the end it was kind of a let down. I was hoping for something...bigger...than what it ended up being. To be honest, I kind of expected it to be a bit supernatural. I'm not sure I why, but I did. Maybe it's the name? 
      Night School comes out in the US on May 21st, 2013. 

      Happy reading, 


Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Spotlight: Rise (Eve #3) by Anna Carey

How far will you go when you have nothing left to lose?

When she lost her soul mate, Caleb, Eve felt like her world had ended. Trapped in the palace, forced to play the part of the happy, patriotic princess of The New America—and the blushing bride of her father's top adviser—Eve's whole life is a lie. The only thing that keeps her going is Caleb's memory, and the revolution he started.

Now, Eve is taking over where Caleb left off. With the help of Moss, an undercover subversive in the King's court, she plots to take down The New America, beginning with the capital, the City of Sand. Will Eve be able to bring about a new, free world when she's called upon to perform the ultimate act of rebellion—killing her father?

In Rise, Eve must choose who to leave behind, who to save, and who to fight as Anna Carey's epic tale of romance and sacrifice in the chilling dystopia of The New America comes to a stunning conclusion.

From Goodreads.com

     Rise picks up a bit after Once ended. Eve is now a princess and a wife, struggling to overcome the grief of losing her true love, Caleb. Eve is no longer the little girl she was, and now with the help of the other rebels, she is working to finish the work Caleb started. Working close with the rebels, she is ready to bring down her father, the King. But not everything is what it seems and Eve must make tough decisions in order to survive. 
     I have so many mixed emotions about this book. There are things I enjoyed, and there are things I didn't. Eve has grown so much through the books. She started out this irrational child and in Rise, she finally becomes a strong woman. There are things about her life that have changed who she is forever. And there is still more surprises for her to discover. In this book, Eve must finally take a stand on which side she chooses and who will stand with her. I enjoyed getting to know Eve throughout the trilogy, and am glad to see the individual she has become. 
     I think the part that I missed the most in this book was Caleb. I loved him in the other two books, especially in the first one when we really get to know him. He was a part that was missing and it was hard for me to keep turning the pages and not expect him to be there. I understand why his absence was necessary to Eve's growth, but at the same time, I felt the book lacking from his presence. 
     The other characters played a part in the book as well, but Eve was the main concern throughout. And while, I once again understand, I really wish we saw more Eve and Caleb. I really enjoyed their relationship in the earlier books and I also really enjoyed Caleb's relationship with other characters. 
     Lastly, I kind of wish the ending had a few more pages after it. I won't spoil anything by mentioning particulars, but after reading the book and reading my review you'll understand. I think the fans of the series would've liked to see more, so they could feel it more fully. 
     Rise is the third and final installment of the Eve trilogy. I've enjoyed reading the series and hope others have too. Can't wait to see what Anna has in store for us in the future!
     Rise comes out April 2nd, 2013!

     Happy reading,