Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Release! DARKSPELL by Elizabeth Mueller

Today in honor of blogger buddy Elizabeth Mueller’s release of her debut novel DARKSPELL- I’m supposed to finish the phrase ‘If I had all the magic in the world, I’d…’


I don’t want to finish that phrase- for the simple reason that I feel I should use all the magic in the world to create world peace and harmony- enlighten all human, animal, vegetable and mineral suffering on this planet.  Stop the exploitation of natural resources.  Promote peaceful interaction with extraterrestrials. 

But the truth is…

I’d probably use telekinesis to start coffee in the morning.  And then make it float to my bed so I won’t have to get up. 

I’d fly places. Especially when grocery shopping.  Who needs to walk all the way to the other side of the store when you forget something?  I’ll just fly.  And when I only have two items to scan- I’d totally fly over people’s heads to get to the check-out counter before the dude with the over-flowing shopping cart. 

Or maybe I’d make food replenish itself.  Especially Japanese food.  All you can eat sushi.  And lobster.  Every night. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to go grocery shopping at all.

I’d make my children’s voices mute (only on occasion).  With a wiggle of my nose their brain-popping cries of ‘That’s MINE!!!  She HIT me!!!’ will disappear in a flash and be replaced with…silence….aaahJ

Yes.  It is the ugly truth.  Which is probably why I have yet to be bestowed with magic powers.  Though it isn’t through lack of trying mind you.  I was one of those creepy kids who would try to bend forks with their minds and stare at unlit candles for hours.  My attempts at flying never really worked out to my benefit either, as you can imagine.

But I’m sure Mueller’s magic users of the Stormhold coven will put their powers to better use than I would!  Be sure to check it out!

Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary…until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.  As seer of the Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her.  Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.

Darkspell doesn’t fit into a typical YA genre box.  As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most original books I’ve read this year.  A richly woven drama unfolds as young Winter Sky meets two handsome and mysterious neighbors, both fighting for affection. 

But one boy, the boy of her dreams—literally—has already won her heart.  But in short order her life is turned upside down as she enters the Stormhold world, a coven of magic users (I’m hesitant to use the world witch/wizard here.  This is really something very different) where she is being hunted by the Shadoweaer.  Suddenly everything is in jeopardy as she searches for her gift and fights to keep the boy she loves.

Elizabeth Mueller gives a great story, full of normal teen angst without tipping the scales to be annoying, she keeps us guessing, dropping nuggets for us throughout the story, but never tipping her hand.  Combine that with the fantastic use of illustrations that give it almost a graphic novel feel as we read, and this is easily a five star read.  I can’t wait to pick this up in paperback and you should too!  Mueller is a great addition to the YA world and I can’t wait to see what comes next from this talented writer!- YA Book Babes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Ghost Story

The funny thing about brushes with the paranormal is that most often than not, I didn’t realise anything paranormal was taking place until after the fact.  What I found very strange is how 'normal' the paranormal can feel while it’s happening:) In my experience- there were no cold spots, no hair raising on end, no shadows or apparitions, no warning that anything was amiss.

As a teenager- I actually tried to have a real honest-to-goodness ghost experience. (Doesn’t everyone?)  I visited haunted places. (Not alone, mind you. I did stick to the rules of how-to-survive-in-a-horror-movie 101) The reported ‘witches grave’ hidden in the woods off a desolate road.  The street that everyone says if you’re going too fast on, your car will shut down mysteriously due to the ghost of a driver who died going too fast around a corner. I even used ouiji boards!

In graveyards.

And sat through the Warren’s (the ghost hunters who investigated the actual Amnityvill Horror incident) presentation at UConn every Halloween.

Alas, I can’t say I ever had a true ghost experience until I came to Europe.

My junior year in college I lived in a Paris appartment on the Rue Campagne Premiere, a few down from this building- the notorious art deco facade of Andre Arfidson created in 1910. 

Another American girl and I were assigned the one bedroom apartment- one of the only ones owned by the program.  The rest of our study-abroad class stayed at the Cite Universite.  The apartment was old- perhaps constructed in the 1800’s.  The front door opened into a hallway with the bedroom door at the very end.  The door on the left led to a spacious bathroom with an old claw-foot bath.  The right entrance-way led into a large living room with a small kitchenette off to the right side.

There was no way around it-our bedroom was creepy.  It had a big condemned marble fireplace build into the facing wall- causing us to push our small beds into the room at odd angles.  Mine had to block across the extra door leading to the bathroom in order to fit. 

But the creepiest thing was the huge intricately-carved gold-plated mirror.  It looked heavy and you could tell it was old by the way the mirror itself was yellowed and cracked in some places.  It took up the whole wall above the chimney.

The first night in that room I woke up several times and could have sworn my bed was moved into a different place every time.  Once I woke up and felt like I was in the middle of the room.  Then I awoke but my head was facing the foot of the bed.  I was too drowsy and out of my element to be frightened- I just figured it was jet-lag giving me the impression my bed was moving around the room while I slept.

And when I was awoken the next night by a piercing noise and a woman’s voice talking frantically in the night- I was sure it was just some parent calling and leaving a message on the answering machine-  not realising the time difference.  But in the morning, there was no message.

My roommate had some experiences as well- feeling as though her body was being lifted and flattened against her headboard until she was in a sitting position every time she fell asleep.  When she finally got sick of startling herself awake, she ‘went with it’ and told me later that she dreamt my bed was no longer in front of the bathroom door- that the door was open and the light was on in the bathroom.  And behind the big double windows with the wrought-iron barrier- a woman was trying to get inside.  Even though we lived on the second floor with no platform or latter, she was there, behind the window, slapping the glass and trying to say something but my friend couldn’t hear her.

I also experienced what I later discovered was the ‘old hag’ syndrome.  Several times- sometimes in broad daylight, while I was falling asleep or just waking up, it would feel as though someone had stretched out on top of me- like a heavy weight.

 I couldn’t move or react.  But I could see clearly that nothing was there and hear what was going on around me.  I just couldn’t move. 

Or the time I dreamt I was bitten by a snake and my hand felt pinched and swollen for a full five minutes after I woke but there were no marks.

I chalked it up to fatigue- I was going out and staying out late.  Had a lot going on socially and academically.  But I had never experienced the ‘old hag’ syndrome before then. And I haven’t experienced it since.

And yet, throughout all of that- I wasn’t frightened.  Not really.  It’s now, writing down the experiences- that I know in my gut that all was not right at our little appartment on the rue Campagne-Premiere.  And probably still isn’t.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN Everyone:)  I hope I was able to contribute some spook to your day!  Mwahahahaha!

Have you ever had any close encounters of the ghostly kind?  Did you realize something weird was happening while it happened or only afterwards? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I idea.

People have thousands of thoughts a day- those synapses are constantly snapping together to form ideas. But only ONE out of a million will grow up to be nurtured and molded into a fully-formed story by our own hands.

But the question is: Which one?  And more importantly: Why? 
How and why do we choose to write the stories we write?

In my case, I’ll have an idea for a book every few days or so- usually when I’m driving.  If my enthusiasm fizzles out in the first ten minutes of daydreaming about the possible plot- I don’t usually bother retaining the idea.

If it doesn’t, and the story idea keeps coming back to me over the course of a few weeks- I’ll go as far as to write it down.

The bar usually stops there.

But then, every once in a blue moon, an idea will pop into my head that I just can’t seem to get rid of.  I’ll write it down but then different scene sequences and character details will keep invading my mind until the little story blurb I wrote down begins to grow.  I add details as they come- scenes, bits of dialogue, supporting characters...until I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough material for a rough outline.

I plan the plot, add what I’ve come up with so far and brainstorm the rest.

Then I start writing.

Of course- the manuscript inevitably takes on a mind of its own from there.  Sometimes I’m able to stick to the basic plot outline- sometimes the plot changes as new twists and turns present themselves, surprising me as though I were reading the book rather than writing it.

But the point is- I never brainstorm story ideas.  I write what I feel like reading when I feel like reading it- and so far the hot thrill of creating something from nothing always gets me through the process.

I’m writing this now because I was surprised this week idea.  It’s one of ‘those’ ideas.  One of the ones I know isn’t going to go away until I write it and I’m excited about it!  What caught me off-guard, though, is that after I wrote and began querying FOSSEGRIM, I went through a six month drought.  I couldn’t write for the life of me- the querying process just sucked all my hope and creative energy down the drain. 

Which is why I’m really surprised by the rapidly growing book idea that’s haunting my days and nights.  I just finished KISSING FOR COFFEE in June and began querying it in August.  I was almost looking forward to a break between books and figured my creative juices would take awhile to restock. 

Alas, this book – another Romantic Comedy with a Paranormal twist- is demanding some attention.   

Which is why I’m thinking it might be a good time to give the National Novel Writing Month of November (NaNoWriMo) a shot.  I’ve always been too terrified to try.  But I figure the book idea is here and raring to go- What have I got to lose?  (besides time for sleeping, eating, thinking, and perhaps a good part of my sanity)

Anybody ever attempt NaNoWriMo?  Any advice?  How do you usually decide which ideas will become full-blown novels?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bloffee. Stat.

To anyone who isn’t familiar with Friday MorningFollower’s Bloffee- welcome!  Hope you’ve brought your appetite.  If not, we’ve got what you need to bring you back to your bright-eyed, bushy-tailed selves.

All you need to do to participate is: 1.  Comment. 
2. Tell me what you’ve brought for morning bloffee.  (Today I’ve started out with some pumkin spice coffee sent fromt the U.S. by my mother dearest.) 
3. Click on someone you don’t know in the comments section and check out their blog!  Voila- a new friend and potential follower connection has been made!

In the meantime- this week has been absolutely crazy in KatieLand.  Oldest daughter had an asthma attack last weekend and was home from school.  I had another teaching seminar to go to Tuesday along with my new work schedule. I’ve been preparing Halloween with my classes and today I’m doing workshops at my daughter’s school.  And it’s also my middle child Julie’s birthday today.  6 old years:) 

The good news is, I finished and sent out my agent revisions this week! Can I get a collective ‘whew’!? *wipes brow*  I’m really happy with the final product and as I was reading through the manuscript one last time, it felt so much cleaner and more ‘living, breathing’ than it ever has before. Thanks so much to my beta readers and to everyone who's wished me luck! All that’s left to do now is wait and hope!

I’ve been trying to check out blogs during breaks on my phone but haven’t been able to comment. What have I missed in blogland this week? Any big posts I should know about?  Any noticed themes or trends?  What did you guys blog about?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Gossip Girl- How Thou Hast So Unrealistically Portrayed the Publishing Industry !

Why do movies and television series make getting published look so easy?  Agents and editors wonder why they receive thousands of queries a month, pitches on planes and in bathrooms...why writers start querying their books right after typing the words ‘the end’ and expect all their publishing dreams to come true?

Well, after Monday night’s Gossip Girl episode it has become painfully clear to me.

The character Dan Humphrey has written a fictional memoir about his upper elite friends.  Never planning to publish it, he stuffs it literally in a drawer.

His best friend Vanessa finds the manuscript, takes it and delivers it BY HAND to an editor at a big publisher

Low and behold, the editor loves it and plans to publish it even though 1. This is a rough draft and has seen no editing.  And 2.  They don’t know who the author is.

Give. Me. A. break.

Then by some powers-that-be, the book creates major buzz around Manhattan.  Dan’s mentor steps forward and claims the work as his own in an attempt to get Dan himself to take credit.

Dan takes the bait, and at the launch party it is revealed that he’s the author of the book which has now obtained a top –four spot on amazon and will go on to receive rave reviews in the New York Times.

Oh, come ON!

The entire plot line just had me shaking my head and screaming at the television.  Only in tv land are things so incredibly, stupidly simple.

I definitely notice in TV and film we watch the characters either after they’re already published or they manage to get published in some easy, unrealistic way.  When you think about it-of course we like to see people succeed but part of me wishes the entertainment industry would show someone who actually struggles beforehand.  It makes it all much more worth while, don’t you think?  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Love-Triangle Crack: DOUBLE CLUTCH by Liz Reinhardt

I read a lot of different kinds of YA.  I enjoy everything from dystopian to historical to urban fantasy, supernatural, contemporary and everything in between.

But no matter what kind of YA I’m reading, I can always be guilty of turning the pages in search of one thing:  
The romance.

Sometimes the romance in the story kind of feels like the cream filling in an oreo cookie.  You nibble and pick at the chocolate cookie but all you really want is the good stuff in the middle. Throughout all the life-threatening situations, the mystery, or the mind-control I can’t help but feel an involuntary flair of excitement when the MC and the love interest are finally getting some attention.  And if there’s a love triangle- I am usually one happy girl.  Don’t ask me why, but I’m a sucker for a really well-done bad boy/good guy face off and if the lines that determine which is which are blurred enough so that I’m not really sure who the MC should end up with? - Even better!

If you’re like me and have ever been guilty of getting more excited about the love triangle in a story than about the bigger picture, I’ve got something special for you here.  I discovered Liz Reinhardt through the blogosphere the same week she self-published her first novel ‘Double Clutch’.  The premise sounded like something I’d enjoy so I downloaded it onto my kindle.

I started it one evening earlier this week.  And finished it the next day.  

Brenna Blixen is living a double life. She goes to two different schools- regular public school in the morning and the technical institute in the afternoon as a participant of the program ‘Share Time’.  She has two sets of teachers, two sets of friends and two very different boys vying for her attention.  

But what happens when the two worlds collide?  Brenna might discover that the lines that connect Saxon and Jake could make or break her relationship with either.

The pacing in Double Clutch was fantastic, the characters charismatic (Jake and Saxon were just awesome.  I totally wanted them both. I mean *ahem*I wanted her to end up with both. Of course.) and the dialogue authentic.  I honestly enjoyed every minute.

This book has officially become my love-triangle crack-- totally addictive, sexy, and Reinhardt captures the exhiliration of falling in love for the first time perfectly. 
'Double Clutch' is the oreo cream without the cookie; made up of only the good stuff I find myself constantly looking for in other books.

Congratulations Liz on a job well done!  Wishing you tons of success and I look forward to reading your future books!

If you want your own love-triangle crack, get your copy here!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Have a Cup of Bloffee and Pay It Forward...

Today I’m combining my usual Friday MorningFollower’s Bloffee with Alex and Matt’s Pay It Forward Blogfest!  To anyone who is new to the blog- all you have to do to participate in breakfast bloffee is:
1.  Comment. 
2. Tell me what you’ve brought for morning bloffee.  (Today I’ve started out with some coffee and a box of all-important wheaties.) 

3. Click on someone you don’t know in the comments section and check out their blog!  Voila- a new friend and potential follower connection has been made!

In the meantime, I’m going to give you three blogs newly discovered by my creepy self:

One Little Spark- A Writer’s World by blogger CDMeetens. – I was immediately hooked by the flashy but classy deco and the straight up posts about writing and publishing.  The train poem was totally adorable too!  Check ‘em out!

Rebecca Mahoney- Writer  Becca is a ‘twenty something assistant extraordinaire with a  love of good food, animated films, and budget-busting fashion. I’m an aspiring YA author, and I write fantasy, mystery, and horror- sometimes a mix of all three!’ – There’s nothing I enjoy more than meeting aspiring YA authors like myself.  We’re all in the same boat!

Crystal’s A Pistol – Well written and introspective posts on life, love, and creativity!  Love this woman’s energy!

Hope you guys enjoy the blogfest and bloffee!  Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Everything You Never Wanted To Know...

...About Creepy Query Girl.  I haven’t done an awards post in forever so here I am. Since most of the awards require sharing seven facts, I’m going to try and get that out of the way before presenting the trick'or' treat bag of blogger goodies.  All you have to do to grab an award from the bag is comment! 

Without further ado, Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me:

 1.My parents wanted to name me Christopher Robin if I was a boy.  Yes, I am serious.  And thankful we avoided the whole situation.

2. The only thing that I’ve ever had an allergic reaction to is the red dye found in a lot of processed foods.  I found this out when dye from a fireball candy got on my skin and made me break out in hives my sophomore year of high school. But the same thing happens if I get ketchup on my face.  Does this stop me from eating either of these foods? You would think but No.

3. My feet seem to be the temperature regulators for my entire body.  If my feet are too hot, my whole body is too hot.  Same thing if they’re too cold.  I’m barefoot throughout most of the year (while in my house.  I don’t, like, go out for jogs around the neighbourhood barefoot like those weird caveman sports extremists)  and only wear socks in the dead of winter.

4. I don’t listen to music on purpose.  Like, I don’t own cds or watch MTV or have any kind of play lists.  BUT I do like to have the radio on while I’m in the car which brings me to my next tid bit:

5. For some strange reason, I prefer to listen to hard core Hip Hop and R&B with the occasional rap while driving alone in my car.  I’ll turn it up until the windows are trembling and sing along.  Call it nostalgia.  In any case, I pretty much look like the creepy lady in the minivan from 'Suburgatory' to any of the conservative French drivers expecting to see someone who looks like 50cent pull up to their side.
Yeah- that’s totally me.

6. When I get anxious, I cover my ears.  Whether it’s a scary/sad/suspenseful scene in a movie or the ‘big game’ France-Italy, whenever something’s got my adrenaline going, you can be sure my ears are covered.  My husband finds this totally weird.  Especially when his friends are over and they’re like ‘why is she covering her ears?”

7. I put soy sauce in my scrambled eggs.  Don’t knock it ‘till you tried it.

Okay, now for the awards given to me by the wonderful owners of the following blogs: LTM at That's Write,  Miranda Hardy, All About Growing up and Becoming a Famous Author, Mainewords, Angela Brown, Catherine Ensley, N.R. Williams, Jodi Henry, Jaded Love Junkie, Meandering in a Field of Words, Hold On to Your Bloomers.  If I missed anyone, please let me know so I can add you!

Take only one now and no pushing!:)

 Have a great Wednesday everybody!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kick A** Debut Author Spotlight

Today I’m joining a group of fellow bloggers in showing our support for debut authors with the Kick A** Debut Author Spotlight- organized by the wonderful Christina Lee.

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

Between the beautiful and mysterious cover art and the cryptic story blurb, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer went immediately into my must-read pile.

After a tragic accident that left her closest friends dead, Mara’s family decides to move to Florida in order to help her cope. But the past comes back to haunt her-the memories of what happened that night slowly seeping back into her subconscious until she must face a terrifying truth.

Let me tell you right now, there are some downright creepy moments in this book. And I know creepy. The emotional investment in Mara is immediate- she’s funny, pragmatic and strong. And the seeping doubt in her own sanity makes the fine line between paranormal and psychotic episodes even more unsettling. The tension stayed with me like a cemetery mist every time I put the book down and wouldn’t go away until I picked it up again.

Michelle Hodkin’s eloquent descriptions, vibrant characters and pitch perfect dialogue had me turning the pages until the very end.  Definitely a worthy read for fans of paranormal romance. Congratulations Michelle- Here’s wishing you a long and prosperous career!

Be sure to check out the other blogs and authors participating in today’s Kick A** Debut Author Spotlight:

Rachele raves about IMAGINARY GIRLS
Susan is featuring RIP TIDE
Matt loves SOLSTICE
Nicole wants to tell you about POSSESSION
Janet tells why she loves LIAR SOCIETY
Sheri admires IRON WITCH
Jen would like to tell you about WITHER
Shannon celebrates DARK PARTIES
Michelle tells you about SHIFTING
Stina gives you a taste of BAD TASTE IN BOYS
Jessie spotlights SPELLBOUND and BIRTHRIGHT
Willow admires DESTINED
Christine raves about POSSESS
Kristin really really likes CLARITY
Anne features READY PLAYER ONE
Meredith wants to shout about DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
Amy Rose loves THE NEAR WITCH
Theresa talks about DIVERGENT
Kelly focuses in on EARTHLING HERO and A SCARY GOOD BOOK
Christine gears you up for THE LIPSTICK LAWS
Laura is wild about GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
Patti tells you about HEREAFTER
Ali has plenty to say about POSSESSION

Friday, October 7, 2011

Useless Without My Bloffee...

Welcome everybody to Friday Morning Follower’s Bloffee!  -A way to meet new people and up your followers during your normal friday morning rituals.  Place your breakfast contribution on the counter and settle in!

 All you have to do to participate is 1.  Comment. 
2. Tell me what you’ve brought for morning bloffee.  (Today I’ve started out with coffee and some honey glazed croissants.) 

3. Click on someone you don’t know in the comments section and check out their blog!  Voila- a new friend and potential follower connection has been made!

In the meantime I’ll be available for chat in the comments section. This week has been the first week in a long time where I couldn't participate in my usual blogging schedule so I've missed everything! :( 

Pretty please fill me in!- what did you guys blog about this week?  Have you noticed any major themes around the blogosphere?  And I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for all the kind and encouraging comments I recieved about my 'news' in the post below.  I don't know where I'd be without the support of the blogging community.  Ya'll give me the warm & fuzzies:)

Have a great weekend everyone!



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