Tag Archives: YA

Chapter Twenty-Three of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The twenty-third chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or now also on Wattpad!

In writing news, NaNo is over!!! I was writing up until just a few minutes before midnight; I still came a little short of my goal (21k), but I still managed to hit 18.5k, which is still a very good writing month for me. That puts me at what I’m thinking will be the halfway point (35k) for my Beauty and the Beast and Aliens WIP–hard to say though, because who can tell how long it will end up being. I have a spidey sense that it will be a bit shorter than my previous books, but that’s just guesswork on my part.

This next week I’m going to be picking up all the other pieces of my writing life: blogging, Instagram, ARCs, Goodreads updates, etc. All that’s been terribly neglected in this NaNo push, and I don’t want everyone on social to take my radio silence as a sign that I’ve perished. 😛

Hmm, maybe I should also real quick jot down what I learned this NaNo so I have a historical record. First off, I’ve learned that my stamina doesn’t necessarily die after a couple hours of butt-in-chair time. I do have the capability of writing for eight plus hours and achieving a 1000+ word day. (That might sound ridiculous to some faster writers out there, but I am sloooooooow, and I do a lot of editing as I go, so more than a thousand words is a great day.)

I’ve also learned that I like letting other people know about my NaNo goals! I used to be pretty secretive about my writing life, but now I share it with the world. XD It’s pretty cool to go into work and have my coworkers ask me about my word count–I found it to be really motivating, since I didn’t want to be all “Oh, I’m doing this thing, but actually I’m slacking off on that thing, so just forget I said anything.” Nobody wants to be that guy. Gal. You catch my drift.

Lastly, I learned that getting out of my house to write really is the key for me. I wrote everywhere this month: many multiple coffee shops, a couple different libraries, work (sorry, boss!), an AirBnb writers’ retreat with my friends, on a Thanksgiving trip (another shout out to my amazing friends and husband who didn’t give a fig that I was desperately typing words while they were duking it out on Smash Bros).

Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up here. I’ve missed being present in this space, so expect way more posts for me in the run-up to Christmas. (Yay, Christmas!) Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Twenty-Three.

Chapter Twenty-Two of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

The twenty-second chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or now also on Wattpad!

First, I just want to give a quick update that Specter is still free on NetGalley right now. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep it up on NetGalley through the end of the year, but still not sure about that, so I’d grab a copy while you can! It’s also free on Kobo through the end of today. I’m curious–does anyone use Kobo as an alternative to buying ebooks through Amazon? I know it’s big in Canada; the majority of my sales through Kobo are from Canadians.

In writing updates, my NaNo’ing has been less than stellar this past week. One of my region’s municipal liaisons sent out a little note at the start of the second week reminding everyone to buckle in because the second week is always the toughest, and man, was she right. Not that I’ve gotten nothing done, but I’ve just had a couple little things happen personally that have sapped my energy. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to get a decent amount done, and I have to keep reminding myself that a decent amount is way better than a negligible amount, which was my output prior to November. 😉

Looking ahead to this next week, I’m excited–I’ve taken three days off work to relax and get some writing done, so I have a five-day (!) weekend coming up. 😀 Could not be more thrilled. Maybe I’ll also get the PDF/EPUB/MOBI packet up for the first part of The Gold in the Dark; I’ve only been promising that for, oh, months?

Anyway, I’d better wrap this up so I can get back to my NaNo words. Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Twenty-Two.

ARC: Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham

Thank you to NetGalley and Mascot Books for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. Hart & Seoul debuted June 4th.

I’m digging all the Korean- and K-pop-themed YA recently; this is the first of them that I’ve read, but I have a whole slew of them on my TBR. I used to be a big K-pop fan back in middle and high school–ya know, a hundred years ago or thereabouts–so it tickles me pink that everyone’s feeling the Korea love nowadays. 🙂

Anyway, Hart & Seoul is a cute, fast read that is not without its flaws. I enjoyed the MC’s voice, and I especially liked the banter between her and her K-pop star love interest. The details about the K-pop super fans were tons of fun, and I was so craving Korean food by the middle of this book that I had to make a pit stop at Bonchon on the way home from work.

However, I had some difficulties with this book. First off, I initially had a hard time placing Hart & Seoul as a YA book; for some reason I was getting the impression that it was New Adult from the first chapter, then had to walk back the age of the MC in my mind by a couple years. I also found all the plot twists very predictable, most of them by at least fifty pages. Reading was still enjoyable, but I was forever waiting for the very obvious other shoe to drop. I also wasn’t satisfied with the love interest’s explanations for some of his behavior at the end of the book. His words seemed cheap–no spoilers, but I wouldn’t keep dating this guy. Of course, I’m also a thirty-year-old lady, so I’m not exactly smack dab in the middle of this book’s target audience. 😉

I think if you’re into the K-pop scene or interested in Korean culture then you should really consider reading this book. I had fun with it, but that’s fun** with a couple asterisks attached. Now let me wrap up this review quick, before I start craving Korean barbecue again. 😀

Chapter Twenty-One of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The twenty-first chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or now also on Wattpad!

First just a quick FYI that Specter is once again free on NetGalley through the end of the month, as well as free on Kobo through the end of today. Not to sound like a #ad, but Kobo is a great ebook distributor for anyone who’s leery of the Amazon juggernaut. This post is in no way sponsored, I just love Kobo to pieces and will keep shouting it from the rooftops.

These past few days have felt so festive because it’s the start of NaNoWriMo! I love how it feels like the entire bookish community comes together in November; even if people aren’t participating in NaNo, everyone’s still cheering all the participants on.

I’m so into this year’s steampunkish NaNo design; I’m going to try to pick up some swag. Also, I’m on track with my words. (On track with my own slower pace, that is–I’m trying for 21k this month, not the full 50k.) For anyone participating, my number one tip is to go to as many meet-ups as possible. That’s how I got to know all my writer friends, and it’s so motivating to be in that supportive, butt-in-chair environment.

Anyway, I have to get back to my NaNo words. (Literally writing this real quick at the start of a meet-up, shame on me!) Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Twenty-One.

Chapter Twenty of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The twentienth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and sometimes earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or now also on Wattpad!

These past few weeks I’ve been absolutely consumed by Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series; I’ve read three or four of them in just a couple weeks. I’m a bit intimidated to write full-blown individual reviews for all of the books (especially because the binge-reading is kind of mushing them all together in my mind), but I think I’ll do one big post about the whole series once I finish. I’ve been so impressed with the consistency of the series; I can see from the Goodreads ratings that the quality might start to drop off in the last couple books, but so far it’s been a rip-roaring good time.

You can’t help but really get in tune with an author’s style when you’re that immersed in their writing. I’ve found that this is the perfect series for me to be reading right now in terms of my own WIP; it’s voicey, it has a stream-of-consciousness feel, it combines a grounded-feeling MC and setting with magic, serious scenarios, and humor. There are a couple other things I really admire about Harris’s writing style, too. One is that she is a master of describing her characters in terms of each one’s unique physicality and look. I’m doing my best to take this to heart, since I’ve had issues in the past including character descriptions in my own work, mostly because I can often barely picture what each character looks like myself. XD I know that I’m not the only writer who struggles with this; I’ve met more than a few writers who have issues keeping their MCs hair color/eye color/etc straight. So I’m trying to force myself in recent days to include more detailed character descriptions; I think it’s only courteous to readers, and it adds a lot of color to the narrative.

Another thing I really admire about the Sookie Stackhouse books is that they’re very unpredictable, but not in a way that feels cheap. (I’ll exclude #7, All Together Dead, from this; I had that bitch figured out wayyyyy before the reveal. Still loved it, though.) I think that’s what makes them so binge-worthy: there’s always some twist right around the corner that makes sense when you think about it, but will surprise you nonetheless. I can only imagine that Harris is a plotter, but who knows, some pantsers are seriously amazing at what they do. I’m interested to learn more about her writing process. Has she had all the books plotted out since the start of the series? Or is she just that good? Either way is impressive.

Anyway, those are the things I’ve been mulling over writing-wise as I speed through the series towards the end. It’s so enjoyable to read a book where you know you’re in good hands. Have you read any of Harris’s work, either the Sookie Stackhouse series or one of her other series? Comment down below if you have!

That’s all for now, folks! Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Twenty.

ARC: The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. The Speed of Falling Objects debuted October 1st.

If there ever was a book to convince me that I don’t want to visit the Amazon rain forest, this is it. The book progresses from a page one plane crash to poison dart frogs, killer snakes, leeches, and all the creepy crawlies you could ever want. MC Danny, short for Danielle, must confront all these and more as she and her survival TV star father, along with a reality television crew and a teen heartthrob movie star, endeavor to make their way to safety.

But this book isn’t just about the perils of the Amazon. Danny’s mission is to use the time in the jungle to get closer to her dad, who, to put it bluntly, is a total dick. She hardly knows him, but has spent most of her life obsessed with his wilderness survival television show. Much of the book revolves around her hopes and expectations about her father being summarily dashed; she has to learn who her father really is and whether she can accept that reality or not. The book was a bit introspective for my taste, but that’s a personal preference thing.

The writing is strong, and Fischer holds no punches. The inclusion of the teen heartthrob character made me think at the outset that this would be a bit of a fluffier read, but it’s definitely not. People die in this book, permanently, and not just the ones you’re kind of hoping might. If you’re looking for a wilderness-themed page-turner, this is definitely a book to pick up!

Chapter Nineteen of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The nineteenth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or now also on Wattpad!

Not much to report for these past two weeks; I’ve been drafting, which for me is always a painful process. I won’t lie, things are slow-going at this point—I’m still working on getting into the groove of this story, establishing characters and back story. I’m by-and-large a pantser (as opposed to someone who plots out their books), which can cause the process to be slow but also allow for creative spontaneity. So hello to the insight that aliens really like hot sauce—but heaven forbid you look at my pathetic writing speed. Oh well, it’s just the way I work. :/

This may sound funny, but I’ve also spent the last few weeks paying close attention to bookstagram. There’s kind of a long-winded explanation to this… As an indie author, I do all my marketing and social media, and there’s not enough time in the day to be on all platforms, so I have to pick wisely about where I want to be posting. It might be surprising to some people, but common wisdom in the indie community is that building up your personal newsletter is key to success. The reasoning behind this is that you don’t have to rely on algorithms for your posts to reach your audience; even if you’re following someone on Facebook, for example, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see their posts. (As an aside, I don’t think that newsletters make you immune to an algorithm effectively gatekeeping you from your audience, given that it’s really easy for Gmail to drop your carefully constructed newsletter into the dumpster that is the promos tab.)

All this said, I have a strong suspicion that newsletters are not the best way to keep a YA-reading audience updated on new releases and updates, since the demographic skews younger. (And yes, I obviously understand that older people read YA too. I am one of them.) Which leads me to Instagram/bookstagram; if I had to guess, bookstagram is the current best way for YA indie authors to connect with new readers. That means that I need to be more participatory on Instagram in a way that best connects with readers… which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m going to be going for a more “bookstagram” feel on my Instagram account, so I’ve been hard at work on that. Maybe it takes some of the magic out of all those beautiful pictures to think about things through this marketing slant, but that’s where my head’s at right now.

Anyway, drop a line down below if you actually read any of the newsletters that you’re subscribed to! Do they even arrive in your main inbox or do you subscribe and then get them relegated to a spam/promo folder? I am mega-curious about this. Myself, I have been a major slacker at newsletters; I don’t think I’ve sent one out since March. Gotta be better at that.

That’s all for now, folks! Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Nineteen.

Specter is on NetGalley through 9/30!

Hey everyone, I just want to drop in real quick to say that Specter is free on NetGalley through the end of this month! Specter is a YA paranormal thriller that is perfect for Stranger Things fans or anyone craving a Halloween read. It received glowing five-star reviews from Indie Author Central and Indies Today, and it has a 4.64 rating on Goodreads, as well as 4.5 on Amazon.

Here are some things people are saying about Specter:

“Ghosts, treachery, risky business and first love bundled into an unputdownable YA adventure.” – author Julie Embleton, Indie Author Central

“You don’t want to miss out on this enthralling, exciting, and eerie book!” – Indies Today

“Would I recommend this book?  Abso-bloody-lutely.” – Bookish Beyond

It doesn’t matter if you get a copy from NetGalley and can’t finish it before the end of the month—a review on Amazon or Goodreads sometime in the future is enough! Here’s the blurb if you’re interested:

Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie. Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest.

Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy. If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

All right, I’m all done with the self-promo. Have an amazing start to your weekend! ❤

Chapter Eighteen of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The eighteenth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m conscious of the fact that a lot of people don’t particularly want to read a story in their browser. To that end, a pdf/mobi/epub bundle of The Gold in the Dark Part One will be out soon (October sometime). The plan is to get it up for free on Amazon as well. I’m also uploading each chapter to Wattpad for those of you who like to read there—if you’re a Wattpad user, please vote and add it to your reading list, etc!

These past two weeks have mostly been working on the Beauty and the Beast and Aliens WIP. I’ve realized (with the firm advice of my alpha reader) that the story needs a bit more of a lead-up to the point where we actually encounter the alien for the first time. I normally like to start things more in medias res, but this just wasn’t enough to build up enough sympathy for the main characters, who undergo a lot of anxiety and turmoil in the opening segment of the book, and it also wasn’t enough time to allow readers to buy into aliens. Vampires, ghosts, and other creatures are easier to swallow, it seems, than extraterrestrials. So now the book has a new first chapter and a few more characters as well, which should hopefully patch things up.

Also, just a quick reminder that Specter is on NetGalley until the end of the month! So if you’re a NetGalley member, definitely head over, give the cover a vote, and grab a free copy.

That’s all from me at the moment! Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Eighteen.

Chapter Seventeen of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The seventeenth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST! I know that this illustration was a lot of trial-and-error for Ally, but I love how the final illustration came out; I think it’s so elegant looking! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here. I’m also hopeful to have a pdf/mobi/epub document out soon for Part One for those of you who want to read on different devices and programs.

These past two weeks have been part of the busy season at my work, so my WIP word count has been less than stellar. Even so, I’m happy with where the new Beauty and the Beast and Aliens book is headed, even if it’s slow-going.

It’s also been a pretty exciting last week or so because Specter is currently on NetGalley! If you’re a NetGalley member, head on over to grab a free copy. The only reason I’m able to get Specter onto NetGalley is through the Kobo Writing Life team, so as ever: Thank you, Kobo! I love how dedicated they are to helping their authors succeed.

That’s about it from me! Things should hopefully be slowing down at my job, so I’m excited to dive back into heavy drafting. (And also a bit scared. Let’s face it—drafting is a bit like pulling teeth.) Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Seventeen. ❤