Second Annual Books are for Lovers!

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It’s that time again… last year I had a dream. In the wake of Borders closings and the little part of the book world that died with it, I wanted people to stand up and let the book industry know that we still love brick-and-mortar stores. And so I started a little baby initiative called Books are for Lovers.

The idea is simple: Buy a book for yourself on Valentine’s Day. Buy it from a brick-and-mortar store.

In the wake of Barnes and Noble’s announcement that they plan on closing 1/3 of their stores over the next ten years, this feels just as needed this year as it did last year, if not more.

Last year I got about 100 people to commit to buying a book on Valentine’s Day. Also, join the facebook group! 🙂

Updated list of giveaway items!

Author Carolyn Frank has generously offered the following:

  • A print copy of Promises (middle grade)
  • An ebook copy of Hunter (picture book)

Author Angie Lofthouse has also contributed:

  • A print copy of Covenant (adult religious science ficiton)

I will personally be donating a $10 gift card to either Barnes and Noble OR the local Indie bookstore of your choice (so long as you can order a giftcard from them online). AND a .pdf copy of Tales From the Hollow Tree: Volume One, an anthology of Hollow Tree stories by myself and Isabelle Santiago.

And finally, we have a special offer of an eARC of Nichole Giles‘ soon-to-be-released Young Adult novel Descendant, due out May 1st of this year from Rhemalda Publishing (though it will take a little bit to get this one to you!):

Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.

That is a total of five books you could win, along with a $10 gift certificate!

If you want to participate, comment below, and let me know that you’ll be buying a book on V-Day! I’ll enter you into the drawing… 🙂

Also, if you would like to check out our contributors’ websites or add their books to your Goodreads, please check out the links above, and feel free to give them a shout-out!

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Writing in a Winter Wonderland and New at the Writer’s Dojo

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As with some of you, my world is still covered in snow. I have to admit, as a San Diego native, this is the most serious winter that I’ve ever seen. The two other winters I’ve spent in the Rocky Mountains were definitely mild by comparison. Have you seen the videos of people sliding due to frozen rain a few days ago? I had to deal with that. Maybe not so much as in the video, but enough that

Meanwhile, I am drafting again. I need a little bit of space from my fantasy manuscript so that I can process better what kind of changes need to be made (I know there are a lot of them! Fantasy is tough, guys!) So I’m retreating to my more comfortable realm of modern day paranormal whilst nursing the damaged ego all writers are used to when they see that the lovely thing they just finished is full of flaws.

So for the moment I’m cozying up to my Paranormal (which isn’t hard… I love it!) and trying to stay warm. In the meanwhile, I have some great news…

In case you haven’t heard, (because I haven’t told you… sorry for that…) there is some exciting news going on at the Writer’s Dojo! Here’s a look at it:

Treat every month like NaNoWriMo!

Beginning February 1st, 2013, the writer’s dojo returns to its roots and ushers in a new age of ninjawesomeness. Each month we will open three training rooms at the writer’s dojo website. A room for drafters (Writing Month, aka WriMo), a room for revisers (Revising Month, aka ReMo) and a room for those querying (Querying Month, aka QuMo).

We invite you to set your own goals, whether it’s to write a thousand words a day, revise ten pages a week, or submit twenty queries in a month, and register your goal in the appropriate training room.

There is also now a Google + group for the Dojo, so don’t be shy, join up! This is a great way to connect with others and to keep yourself motivated.

My first goal for February 2013 is to finish drafting my paranormal YA, OR to have written at least 10,000 words on it by the end of the month. I like to give myself two options so I feel like I’m achieving something no matter which I’ve hit. Does that make me a cheater? Oh well, you don’t have to play that way! 😛

The Sapphire Flute by Karen E. Hoover

11806837 First book review of the year goes to the wonderful Sapphire Flute (The Wolf Child Saga, #1) by Karen E. Hoover.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann. In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret-a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy. At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayle must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

I finished this book the last day of December, and it was such a nice book to finish the year with. I have to admit, it took me a little bit of time to get into this book for me, mainly because to begin with, the two main character girls are a little too similar for my liking. They sound a little too much alike and have too similar of temperaments at the beginning of the book, that I had to really remind myself which story I was in at the moment, as the story goes back and forth between the two.

That feeling evaporated as the story developed, though, and especially as I was simply consistently blown away with the pure imagination and originality of this book. I was so pleased by some of the elements that were implemented: specific kinds of magical tools, the description of the magic itself, and especially, especially the correlation between music and magic—because really, music is the closest thing we have to magic in our own world. Imagine if music conveyed with it images, spells, and power?

While Kayla and Ember may have similar personalities, they are both very strong female characters, and their journeys are so very different (and yet intrinsically connected!) that they do end up being distinctly individual in their stories.

The second book of the Wolf Child series (The Armor of Light) is available and I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing where this journey goes!

*****

A little background history, The Sapphire Flute was originally published by a publishing house, but that publishing house closed, so Hoover now self-publishes the ebooks, but it is still available in hardcover, if you’d rather read an actual book (the cover is a little different, though) Ebooks are available on Hoover’s blog. 🙂

2012 in Review…

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My phone took this photo all by itself today, whilst I was taking snapshots of some perfect snowflakes (and I mean perfect. All snow-flake-y-like, though that’s not my picture). As I was flipping through my photos, though, I couldn’t help but stop on this one. This fuzzy, pretty accident shot.

This was kind of my year. Blurry, uncertain, not what I was expecting it to be… but ultimately a lovely thing.

2012 started out as a bit of a mess for me. The Mr. and I were broke, living down in Texas on some property my father had bought in a scary part of town and doing our best to clean it up and get it ready for business. And work on stuff for my Etsy shop, which was pretty much our only income at the time. And oh yeah, work on my writing. I was hoping to be finished by the end of June so that I could have the whole thing edited and ready to send out for submissions by December – that didn’t quite happen, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Then in March, without much real warning, my father sold his property in Texas, and The Mr. and I bundled up our stuff and headed back to where we met and started this crazy life together—Utah. We went on faith, mainly, because we certainly didn’t have anything promising waiting for us there. We were blessed to stay with good friends for a couple of months, and our hopes that we would find a soft spot to land from a long fall ended up justified. Soon I had a part-time job, and almost as quickly after that (thought it didn’t really feel quick at the time), both The Mr. and I got hired on at the same company—with a decent wage and benefits from day one.

Of course… it was a graveyard shift, so there was that to adjust to. And honestly, sometimes it feels as if we are still adjusting, a little over six months later. But we are under our own roof and paying our bills, which is a blessing some might take for granted.

With all the craziness, I read only a measley 22 books this year. And yes, that includes the one I finished today. I blame this largely on the fact that I’ve been trying to read both Bleak House and The Idiot without owning my own actual hard copy of either of them… but this might be a little crazy of me. It probably also had to do with the whole sleep-adjusting and moving twice thing.

I fell in love with the Android Librivox app this year, too.

As I said before, I did not write “The End” on my story by the time I was hoping—but I did write it. Now I’m working on edits and the new goal is to have everything triple-edited by the end of April and be on submissions after that, along with having another WIP done by this June.

2013 is my year! Hope it’s yours, too!