Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Sunday Scene(aka I Need Volunteers)

Last year, I posted a scene that I had cut from my WIP. 

I really loved that scene- and still do- but it just wasn't going to work out w/the direction the story was going. But I didn't want it to wither away in a folder somewhere, and so I decided to share it(you can read it here). I've had a lot of fun times on this blog, but that was one of my highlights, letting you guys see that scene. It wasn't perfect, wasn't the best writing in the world, but it still made me happy.

And I think moments like those are important in this writing journey we're all on.
So I'm going to try a little experiment, called The Sunday Scene. Every Sunday, I'd like to post a scene from one of you. It can be a cut scene you're sad to see go, but it had to b/c it didn't advance your story line. It can be a scene from a current WIP that you just insanely love b/c it features lemon drops and you think lemon drops are the Grand Poohbah of the candy world. 
{Image courtesy of candy.com}
Or it can be a scene that contains the bestest and wittiest dialogue you have written and every time you read it, you snort pop out your nose(hope it wasn't Big Red, that stuff really burns).

{Image courtesy of facebook.com}

Anyone think this sounds fun? And I don't mean the snorting pop part... ;)
If so, then please email me at leandrawallaceatgmaildotcom. Put 'The Sunday Scene' in the subject line. In the body of the email(no attachments please) place your scene, which may be up to 500 words(I won't ax you if you go a little over). Also, in one paragraph, please describe why you like the scene so well: it reminds you of a special day w/your grandmother, the romance is some of the best you've ever written, it features pink plastic flamingos which you adore, etc. 
{Image courtesy of getflocked.com}
If you have a picture that goes well w/the scene, then please feel free to send that too(an attachment for that is perfectly fine). When I posted my cut scene which took place in a cafeteria, I found a pic of a stack of trays. If there's anything that screams 'cafeteria!' to me, it's those divided trays from my school days.

This will be on a first come, first serve basis. The first submission I receive will be scheduled for April 6th. Following that, each Sunday will feature a new scene in the order I receive them. I'm thinking this will be a spring/summer segment on the blog, if I have enough people who'd like to join in the fun, that is. 

And feel free to include your social media links in your email. We want to get to know you in a non-stalkerish way! =) 

Also, this is open to anyone, published or unpublished. And the purpose of this is not to receive critiques. It's just to celebrate that special feeling you get when you know you've created something that's dear to your heart, b/c of a memory, a special enjoyment of something, or even a triumph in your writing. Like finally nailing that pesky kissing scene. I don't think I'm EVER going to get those just right...  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Introducing: Anna Soliveres & Violet Storm (+ Giveaway!)

Gor-geous!!!

The above is my one, hyphenated word for Violet Storm's cover. =)


VIOLET STORM
YA Science Fiction
Release Date: Friday, March 28, 2014

A champion athlete with all the skills of a fighter, augmented to become a weapon that will change the fate of our world.

A brilliant surgeon known for his invention of Modi’s—the only cure for the deadly disease, vaincre—has gone rogue with his experiments, and the Monarchy is desperate to shut him down. That's where Aeva Storm comes in, a champion athlete with an ego to match. Aeva is the surgeon's secret weapon against the Monarchy. And they'll never know what hit them. After reconstructing her body to become a Modi unlike any he's ever created, Aeva is forced into a fight against all odds. She'll have to break loyalties, hurt family, and turn her back on newly awakened love. Thousands of lives hang in the balance in a battle that will set forth a new era.

Join Aeva on her quest to see whether she's got what it takes to go up against the most powerful humans ever created.

VIOLET STORM can be found here:




* * *

It sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Plus, Anna has shared w/us some intriguing images that go along w/her publishing journey, and her thoughts about them:


This was a fun way to leave an impression with new acquaintances who were interested in learning more about the book.


Scrivener screenshot of my world map. If there was one tool I couldn't live without as a writer, it's Scrivener.
This is the original theme inspired by the artist who created the cover of VIOLET STORM.




About the author: Anna Soliveres has always been a storyteller but it wasn't until her early twenties when she began writing novel length works. The result was an enthusiasm to get better at the craft until her work could be shared with the world. Releasing in March 2014, Violet Storm is her debut novel. Anna is currently working on another young adult science fiction series, titled Snow Dolls, set to release in late 2014. To learn more, please visit her at www.annasoliveres.com.

Connect with Anna on Facebook!
Connect with Anna on Twitter!

Also, as most you have probably figured out, I enjoy sponsoring giveaways whenever I have an author stop by. But I have never tried to find a giveaway to go along w/a science fiction novel and... was at a bit of a loss. So instead, the giveaway to celebrate Violet Storm's release day will be a $5 Amazon gift card. And don't miss the chance to stop by Anna's blog to enter another giveaway there as well too! 

As always, just comment to be entered to win, and please follow Anna at one or more of her social media links. The winner will be announced April 2nd. And last but not least- Congrats, girl! =)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Kidlet's Bday Party

Today is the kidlet's birthday, in which he turns two! Due to work schedules we celebrated it over the weekend and I snapped a few pics to share w/you all. I did a slight theme centered around one of his fav picture books, All Through My Town by Jean Reidy & illustrated by Leo Timmers. 



The cupcake toppers feature vehicles, which he loves to point out in the book. And you can see the 'road' I created to run along the front of the table. I'd also made little trees and bushes and a stop-sign to put in front of the presents, but they were so light-weight that the breeze from someone walking by would knock them over so...no go.

 {Chocolate-Chip Banana Cupcakes}

This was my first time buying an icing decorator set and boy...did it not go as I'd imagined! Reality was much harder and messier. By the front two in the middle, you can see where I got over it and just smeared icing on them. If you're sensing a second theme to this party, it's that I was sweating and frantic before it even started- and it was just for family! No way could I ever be an event coordinator....


This is my fav pic, even though you can't see his face. He's taking in all his bday splendor and I love how you can tell he's smiling by his bunched up cheek- and he's looking at his book! Makes a mommy's heart proud. =)


And here's the booger, who kept trying to back up under the table while I was taking his pic. There's my messy-haired, big-eared boy! 


It was a fun evening of taco salad, cupcakes and ice cream, and of course, presents. We got him a little putt-putt set, a three pack of 'men' (robot figurines), and Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman. Anyone remember that classic? Anyway, I'm just amazed that he's two already! Also, Happy 2nd Birthday to another kidlet, Ben Giarratano! (yup, me and my critique partner's little guys were born on the same day- crazy, huh?) 
 
AND!!!
   
In other exciting news, a fellow Hoosier's book released today! Skila Brown's CAMINAR. Check out this intriguing cover:

Set in 1981 Guatemala, a lyrical debut novel tells the powerful tale of a boy who must decide what it means to be a man during a time of war.

Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet—he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist.

Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her. . . . Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’s abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is.

Available at: AmazonB&N, IndieBound


As for more about Skila, you can visit her at skilabrown.com where you can learn what her first job ever was, as well as something she's terrified of- so w/you on that first one, Skila! A great big congrats, and I hope you and Caminar celebrate w/some yummy cake today! =) 

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Writing Process + Giveaway Winner

I was tagged by my CP, Kimberly G. Giarratano, in the My Writing Process blog hop. But real quick, before we get to that, the winner of the Holy Smokes card giveaway is......Liz Blocker! Congrats!  Plz email me your address at leandrawallaceatgmail.com and I'll get it right out. Now back to the hop! 


1. What am I working on?

A YA dystopian(I know, what am I thinking, right?) that's been up on my WIP tab for awhile. Time to get rockin' on this baby. I'm a little over halfway to being half done w/it. And anybody have to read that sentence twice? I did! Here's my inspiration board for Chain Gang:
{The hand writing, starting in the left-hand corner & making your way clockwise is: I stretch for her hand- too late. "You're lithe and lean and I'll make it so the chains are your second home." "No co nghia la trai tim." The anger spikes, a red hot flare of lava rising in my core.}
 
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Wee-eell... Since it's dystopian, I'd have to say that it differs b/c the focus isn't so much on how the outside world has changed. The focus is more on a captive girl and the surroundings in which she's now forced to live in(a giant skyscraper doing death-defying tricks). So in a nutshell, the dystopian setting isn't a main character so to speak. It's more like on the edges, waving at you from the sidelines. And holding a sign that says- "Hi, Mom! I'm in the big city!" Or something like that... 

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what I love reading, and that's YA(and maybe MG one day- though it's such a fav genre of mine, that I'm afraid I'll give it an attempt... and crash and burn miserably). 

4. How does my writing process work?

Night after night of making myself put in the work. Some nights are easier than others- lets compare it to the joy of eating cotton candy to the blah of eating plain 'ol steamed asparagus. I usually take breaks on the weekends, but other than that I try and fit in anywhere from a half-hour to an hour of writing the rest of the time. Though in all honesty, I've not been doing too good at that lately either. Bad me! Oh, and I am a hybrid pantster/outliner. I pants it until I get stuck, and then I jot down a loose outline.
 
To continue the My Writing Process blog hop next week, I'm nominating the lovely Carol Anne Shaw(check out her blog header, it's so cozy). And as for you, dear readers, feel free to answer any of the questions above. I always love getting to hear what others are working on. Tam biet! (which is Vietnamese for goodbye!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Interview w/Mike Mullin + Giveaways!

 
Today Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall trilogy has stopped by! I'm super excited to be hosting a fellow Hoosier. *grins* He so kindly answered a few questions, entertainingly and informatively. Can't beat that, eh? Lets begin:

1. Did you ever make a 'volcano' out of baking soda and vinegar as a kid? Or did you make any as research for the Ashfall trilogy? =)

Yes, I made baking soda volcanos at least twice when I was a kid. About a year after ASHFALL came out, my wife, who teaches fourth grade, decided that since I'm allegedly some kind of volcano expert, I absolutely had to come help her students make baking soda volcanos. We did it outside, thank goodness. It was a chaotic mess! They had made more than a dozen volcanos, and they erupted each one three times using different quantities of baking soda and vinegar so they could observe and record the results. A few of the more squirrelly boys wound up wearing volcanic ejecta rather than merely observing it.

2. What past volcano eruption in history fascinates you the most?

The Lake Toba, Indonesia, super-eruption of about 73,000 years ago. It was a massive eruption- releasing at least 1,000 times as much ejecta as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption in the United States. The eruption roughly corresponds with a genetic bottleneck in human evolution that occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. Therefore, some scientists hypothesize that the Lake Toba super-eruption nearly wiped out the human race, although this view is controversial. The eruption certainly caused a global volcanic winter that lasted between six and ten years, and may have played a role in a 1,000 year cooling episode. There's an excellent overview of the Lake Toba super-eruption on Wikipedia(link).

3. As far as secondary characters go, who is dearest to your heart out of the Ashfall trilogy?

Ed, the former flenser that rescues Alex in ASHEN WINTER. I love the idea of Ed, of a character who seeks redemption despite a vile past. Ed also plays a critical role in SUNRISE.

4. Having completed a successful trilogy in the post-apocalyptic genre, what is it that you're excited to do next in your writing career?

I'm about 30,000 words into the first draft of SURFACE TENSION, a young adult thriller. It's about a teen who sees a group of terrorists crashing an airplane from the ground. He's the only one who knows how they did it, and they want him dead. I haven't sold it yet, so I don't know when or even if it will be published. Wish me luck!

5. When writing, do you have a favorite drink or snack on hand?

Coffee. I know it's a cliche- the writer with coffee- but that's what I drink. Oceans and oceans of coffee. If you prick me, I bleed brown and smell wonderful!
 
* * *
First off, good luck! SURFACE TENSION sounds fantastic! Secondly, here's the giveaway I'm hosting:

{Image courtesy of Banquet}

I'll admit, it was a little harder to find something that was volcano-themed. But when I saw this tongue-in-cheek card, I knew I had a winner. To be entered to win, simply leave a comment and kindly follow Mike at one or more of the following social links: Website | Twitter | Facebook. The winner will be announced 3/21.

And you can also enter this Rafflecopter to win a complete set of the Ashfall trilogy. Suh-weet!

About the author: Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget).

The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

* * *

The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions.

When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever—and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.

This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.

Available at: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, & Indiebound

Congrats to Mike and best wishes on Sunrise, the terrific completion of the Ashfall trilogy!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Confessions of a Jane Austen Sort

I have never read any Jane Austen. *ducks and covers as I'm pelted w/books* OW PEOPLE THROW YOUR PAPERBACK VERSIONS NOT HUGE MONSTERS LIKE THIS:

 {I threw in my little silver birdie for context}

I bought this whale of a book for $4.99 and it's a collection of four of Austen's works: Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. When I got it in the mail last summer I marveled at its massive beastliness and then read about five pages of P&P{ok, so I've read a tiny bit of Austen}. And I'll admit, I was a little underwhelmed. But I also know I didn't give it a fair chance.

Because as a professed Regency romance lover{Marion Chesney for the win!} it's sort of a crime that I haven't read any Austen stuff. And I love the hype of it all. All the stuff you can buy on Etsy: art prints, scarves, jewelry, bookmarks, bumper stickers, key chains, etc. I want to be part of the club, but I can't. *sniffle*

So starting tomorrow I will begin to weaken my wrists by hefting the massiveness and delving back into P&P. And we shall see how it goes. Oh, and here's a quick note to you, Mr. Darcy: I want to love you! I want you to be worthy of all these modern-day books & movies I see where the girl is hopelessly addicted to finding a man just like you. Don't disappoint me, sir.

 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: Over the Ocean

 

This is such a fun cover. I had to smile when I saw the luggage she was holding. I have one just like it(only light blue) that was my mother's. And the poofy skirt and red shoes are such simple, but effective touches. And here's an excerpt that leads me to believe Bree and I have a similar, active imagination. =)


Blurb: When Bree meets Logan, and hears his oh-so-sexy British accent, it's lust at first sight.
 
Bree thinks Logan feels the same way, especially when they're snuggled up on her couch with his tongue down her throat. But when Logan decides that getting into a relationship when he only has a few months left in the States is a bad idea, Bree agrees to be "just friends." 
But every time he flashes his swoon-worthy smile, complete with dimples, Bree has a hard time keeping her thoughts in the "friend zone."

About the author: Georgia St. Mane is married with four kids. She's passionate about writing, reading, and theater. She thinks everyone deserves their own love story. Georgia also writes YA as Rachel Schieffelbein.

 
Congrats to Rachel! Also, this was a great week for covers on the blog, so if you missed Meradeth's cover reveal, click here. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: Surrender the Sky

Add to Goodreads
 
Me likey! It's very ethereal and it goes perfectly w/the title. Here's the blurb:

Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.

When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidentally shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.


STS releases May 14th and is a standalone title that follows COLORS LIKE MEMORIES and THE CHEMISTRY OF FATE, with cameos from several of the characters in the first books. It will be available May 2nd wherever ebooks are sold!

Also, join in the celebration for a $10 Amazon gift card! Use the rafflecopter below:
 
 Rafflecopter
 
 
Find Meradeth online at: http://www.meradethhouston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeradethHouston
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeradethHouston
Instagram: http://instagram.com/merhouston#
Tumblr: http://meradethhouston.tumblr.com/
Blog: https://twitter.com/MeradethHouston 

Congrats, Meradeth!  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Having consulted a random number generator, the winner of the arrow bag is........................Kelly Hashway! Please email me at leandrawallaceatgmaildotcom and I'll get it in the mail to ya. Congrats!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Interview w/Christina Farley + Giveaways!

 
Christina Farley, author of the YA fantasy, Gilded, has stopped by the blog today for an interview! For more about Gilded, stick around 'til the end of the post, but for now lets start picking Christina's brain. 
 
1. What was your most memorable experience while traveling internationally?
That’s a tough one because I’ve been to so many amazing places around the world. But today I’ll stick with Korea. My favorite place is probably Seoraksan National Park. Its located north of where I lived in Seoul and the mountains are stunning with sharp jagged spikes. My husband and I went in the spring when the cherry trees were blooming. I’ll never forget how the blossoms fell like snow around us. The climb to the top of the mountain was rigorous but the view was spectacular. You can even see into North Korea from there.
{Christy and her sister, Jules, in Namdaemun}
2. For someone who has never tried Korean cuisine, what would you recommend as the yummiest?
There are actually a lot of food references in Gilded because I had to put all my favorite foods in the book. For lunch I love kimbap because the seaweed wrapped around Korean rice is just yum. As far as a main meal, I love dolsotbibimbap, which is rice, fried egg and vegetables cooked in a hot stone pot.

And now you’ve got me craving Korean food.
3. You have a list of Korean mythological creatures listed on your website. Out of all these, which is your favorite?

In Gilded, Haechi is my favorite. He’s fierce and scary, but he’s got a soft heart for Jae Hwa. And he seems to always understand what she’s going through.


4. What book (besides Gilded, of course!) would you recommend to readers who wanted to read more about Asian culture?
One of my favorite Korean books is The Royal Bee by Frances and Ginger Park. It’s a picture book based on a true story and it absolutely captures the feel and essence of Korea. Every time I read it, it pulls me back to living in Korea. My friend, Ellen Oh, has also written a Korean fantasy called Prophecy that readers should definitely check out.

5. For you, what is the hardest thing about writing a book?
The hardest part about writing a book is having enough time. I’m a working mom so there are always so many things that clamor for my attention. Yet because writing has become my creative outlet, I’m determined to find time to write even if it means I don’t get much sleep or get to watch my favorite TV show.

6. And last but not least, your mc, Jae Hwa, wanders down a dark alley. A figure rushes her from the shadows, a knife glinting in their hand. What would Jae Hwa do to disarm her attacker?
She would spin into a roundhouse and knock the knife from his hand. Then she’d kick him hard in the stomach and demand what’s his problem. She’s not exactly polite when being attacked.
7. Oh! And I lied- this is the last question! You're a professed fan of dark chocolate. What's your ultimate dark chocolate treat?
I love the Dove dark chocolates with those cute little messages inside. And Peppermint Patties. Both of those are writing fuel for me.
* * *
Ooh, Peppermint Patties- always a good choice! Alright, so there are two giveaways that you can enter w/this post: aRafflecoptergiveaway(Kindle paperwhites & Korean swagbags) that you won't want to miss and, and plus, this cute little arrow bag(Jae Hwa is good w/a bow, y'all). To be entered, just leave a comment. The winner will be announced March 6th. Also, if you enter, it'd be nice if you'd follow Christina at one or more of the following social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, GoodreadsWebsite (it's so pretty, guys!), Youtube, & Tumblr.

{Image courtesy of Retrodition}




YA Fantasy

Release date: Mar. 1, 2014

A Korean god. An ancient curse. Can she escape becoming GILDED?

A girl with a black belt and a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows discovers an ancient Korean god has been kidnapping the first-born daughters of her family for generations. And she's next.
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's  next.But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.

Available at: Amazon, BAM, Indiebound, and Barnes & Noble

CHRISTINA FARLEY, author of Gilded was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she loved to explore, which later inspired her to jump on a plane and travel the world. She taught at international schools in Asia for ten years, eight of which were in the mysterious and beautiful city of Seoul, Korea that became the setting of Gilded. Currently she lives in Clermont, FL with her husband and two sons—that is until the travel itch whisks her off to a new unknown. Gilded is her first novel. For more details check out her website, www.christinafarley.com. Christina holds a master's degree in education and has taught for eighteen years. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary.
 
 
 
 
And finally, a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Christina. Wishing you and Gilded all the best!