Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The sequel to The Fifth Wave does not disappoint. In addition to having lots of fighting and action sequences, we get to know an expanded universe as we get inside the heads of new characters- people like Ringer, and Poundcake. Plot wise, this sequel has a huge twist at the end- one that redefines what it means to be a survivor of the war.

The only complaint I had was that there was too little time given to the main characters from The Fifth Wave. This is largely Ringer's story, and although her POV was gripping and well written, I still wanted more time with Evan and Cassie. There is a lot less romance in this version, as well.

But clearly, I loved it. It was an amazing follow up- pretty much everything I'd hoped for. Five stars, all the way.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Interview With Courtney Cole: Making Family and Writing Work

When I was writing my first book, I had a wonderful little routine established. After dinner I'd make
sure my two middle-school aged children were settled in with homework, a movie, or some other form of entertainment. Then I'd head out to the back yard where I'd converted a gardening shed into a writing studio. Surrounded by my prized quilt collection, I'd crank the music and write until I'd made word count, or fell over from exhaustion.

Enter Baby #3, She might as well have popped out holding a sign that said, "Hi! My name is Emma, and I'm here to turn your life upside down." I still have an office to write in, but it's slowly become a glorified storage room with a desk because I never get to use it. Instead of The National, I listen to Baby Einstein. I snatch writing moments in between diaper changes, snack time, and boo boo kisses. I'm currently writing at about 1/3 to 1/4 my former speed.

 I decided to reach out to other writers who are in the same boat, or have been there, to see what kind of advice they have. After all, I can't be alone in this struggle. Lots of writers juggle families and evil day jobs and still manage to produce. I need to unearth their secrets.

Today the amazing and talented Courtney Cole agreed to let me interview her on how she makes it all work. I'm a long time fan- not just of her writing, but that she seems to exude this "got it together" air when it comes to this writing thing.

1. So you’re a writer, mother, wife, and juggle a lot of other commitments, right? What is that like?

It’s like having a rabid wildcat inside of me, constantly fighting to get out. 
Kidding.  Not Kidding.  

2. Walk us through a typical day in the Cole household.

I get up at 6:30 now that school has started to get my 16-year old son up and around.  I’ve got to make sure he eats a big breakfast so he’s ready for football practice after school. Then I take my 11-year old demon  daughter to middle school, and I’m back at home and in my office chair by 9:45.   I stay planted in that chair until my word goal (3,000 words) is complete.   Sometimes that means not going to pee.  

3. If any one thing has to give on a stressful/ crazy day, what is it?

It will always be my sanity. 
But seriously, if something gives… it’s usually me showering.  Or putting on makeup.  Or real clothes.  Or sometimes, it’s me going to the store, so we have Chinese takeout.

4. How does having a family impact your writing process?

Lol.  Well, this is a loaded question.   Um.  It impacts WHEN I write.  For instance, writers like to write when their creative juices are flowing.  For instance, if I get a great idea at midnight, I’ll get up and write it.  BUT, if I get a great idea on a Sunday afternoon when I’m supposed to be spending family time around the pool, I’ll put off writing it.  And sometimes, when I get around to writing it, the spark just isn’t there like it was when I had the idea.

5.  Would you say your family supports your writing, and if so, how?

Oh, they definitely do.  Although my son gets aggravated because he thinks I work too much.  He just doesn’t remember the days when I also had a full-time day job, and wrote in the mornings and nights.  Kids have short memories. 
But they definitely support me. 

6. Any advice for fellow writers out there with families or similar time constraints?

Write when you can.  You just have to adjust your schedule to make time.  I know it’s hard, but everything that’s worth doing is hard.  If you have to, get up early.  Stay up late.  I know that’s difficult, especially when you have a baby, but it’s the best I’ve got.

7.  What are you working now? What’s next from the mind of Courtney Cole?

I’m working on an amazing, dark NA romance. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before—I’m so excited about it!  J



Courtney Cole is a novelist who was born and raised in rural Kansas, lived the next decade near Lake Michigan and has recently migrated to sunny Florida where she writes beneath palm trees.  To learn more about her, please visit www.courtneycolewrites.com

Courtney Cole
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Daughter of Glass Release Information!

I finally have a release date for the first ever Whitfield stand-alone novel, Daughter of Glass. The official release date is:

March 9, 2015!!!

I'm really excited about the idea of this book being released out into the world. It's been a long time coming, and I think it will offer fans of my Angel's Edge series a new insight into the town. Not only that, it will offer interior illustrations for each chapter that show parts of the town, like the fabled fountain in the town square, as well as individual characters from the book. Some of the same characters from Angel's Edge appear in Daughter of Glass, and I love how you can get a chance to see how they look and interact in different situations.

In the meantime, I'm working on a spin-off series featuring the twins from the Whitfield Coffee Shop, Amelie and Nicolas, that focuses on their journey out of the city to save a fellow citizen from enslavement by the Fae. I love stories about the Fae, and feel like I've managed to put a unique spin on this mythology. Even better, it allows me to keep writing in the Whitfield universe while exploring other realms at the same time.

That's just a snapshot of a few things I'm working on, and of course, Daughter of Glass will be available for pre-order prior to its actual release.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: The Curse Merchant by JP Sloan


I'm almost as excited to be a part of The Curse Merchant blog tour as I was to read the actual book! JP Sloan's debut novel is full of action, mystery, magic, and more, and it kept me up waaaay past my bedtime. And now I can't wait for the second book in the series! 

Dorian Lake uses his talent for magic to make hexes, and he tries hard to keep himself and his practice free of the dark influences of Netherwork- aka dark magic. He's built a solid life as a Baltimore hex maker, and all seems well.

Until the day the woman he once loved tells him she's sold her soul to a rival magician- one steeped in Netherwork- and she has only two weeks to  get it back. Dorian descends into a world of lies, betrayal, and evil to help her- at the risk of his own soul. Along the way, he has to stay one step ahead of the Presidium, a shadowy organization that polices magic users.

One of the things I really loved about this book was the setting. Sloan has a gift for making the city really come alive in his writing. Sloan presents us with a city that seems normal at first glance. Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll turn up a whole vibrant magical world full of good and bad magicians, buried secrets, exclusive secret clubs, and guardians both protective and menacing. It's a world where, once you scratch the surface, nothing is as it seems, and Dorian has to work hard to uncover the secrets and lies surrounding him. The Curse Merchant has twists and turns at every corner, and will keep you guessing until the very end. All in all, this is the start of a very promising series. Definitely a full five stars.

Buy The Curse Merchant on Amazon!