Blog Awards

Stina, over at, recently unloaded her hoard of blog awards and passed them along to a number of different blogs, mine included. There's a ton, lol, but I picked the one I thought was cutest. The Versatile Blog Award! For this one I have to list 7 things about myself. Here goes:

  1. I love dogs, the bigger the better.
  2. My dream (aside from being a YA author) is to open a Bed and Breakfast with my husband.
  3. My favorite colors are red and purple
  4. My favorite candy is Good & Plenty
  5. Charlie, the MC in my novel GREYSKIN, is a lot like me when I was sixteen.
  6. I like to eat the white part of the watermelon rind.
  7. I love to ride horses.
And there you have it. Seven totally random facts about me! Passing this award on to:

Valerie at because she's an awesome crit partner, talented writer (of books and films) and because her blog is super fun and helpful.
Kristi and Christi at Kristi, because she is an awesome crit partner and talented writer, and because she and Christi have a unique book review blog!
Angela at because who doesn't love the emotion, setting, and color thesaurus? And zombies.
Liz at because I love her book reviews and because the blog award sort of matches her blog.
A.J. Spindle at because she's my bff and her blog (and her writing) rocks.

Visual Inspiration - Greyskin

This post was inspired by one of my crit partners, Valerie. The following images are some visual inspirations from my YA Paranormal (no vampires), GREYSKIN.

These come from

This one came from
This one, I made myself. Charlie's desk.

Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautiful, poetic, timeless read. Fans of Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES and Carrie Ryan's FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH will devour this book.

Product Description

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life sheÕs known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

About the Author

Ally Condie received a degree in English Teaching from Brigham Young University and spent a number of years teaching high school English in Utah and in upstate New York. She lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rebel Moon: An Anthology of Supernatural Tales

Click the image to grab your copy of REBEL MOON! Includes PARALLEL, a YA supernatural short by me!

REBEL MOON: An Anthology of supernatural tales
Have you ever wondered what Death would look like if he approached you at a bus stop? Or what would happen if a vampire’s chosen victim turned out to be more than they had bargained for?

Rebel Moon is a collection of stories that will whisk you into worlds of vampires, werewolves and witchcraft so prepare yourself for a bumpy ride as sometimes the dead have more of a life than the living and if this book teaches you anything it is to always expect the unexpected!

From the teen witches you wouldn’t want to cross in One Witch Down to the dark comedy of Evil 101, this is a book you won’t want to put down.

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Rebel Books LLP (May 30, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0956503519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956503510
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
Can also be purchased from Amazon, WHSmiths, Waterstones and Book Depository.

Book Giveaway!

In case you haven't seen it yet, my critique parters (Valerie and Kristi) and I are doing a giveaway on our shared blog. THREE winners, 1 of 4 books to choose from! Hop on over there and check it out. All you have to do to enter is be a follower and tell us what you like about the blog and what you would like to see more of.
As aspiring authors, we want to do our part to help other writers along their journey to publication. And we love books!
So whether you enjoy (or loathe) the writing tips, the Friday book recommendation, or the general ramblings of our bookish minds, let us know!

The Importance of the First Line

Today the gals over at Adventures in Children's Publishing are hosting a contest judging first lines of completed manuscripts and it got me thinking about the importance of first lines.

With my first WIP, the opening had no real hook aside from the setting. It's a historical and takes place in an era we're all familiar with (or should be familiar with) so there's tension, but the line wasn't a hook.

With my newer WIP, I have a definite hook. The reaction to the two is very different. And not just because of content.

Someone said (and if I can find who, I'll post a name) that the first line sells the book, the last line sells the second book.

Out of curiosity I grabbed the closest book, LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin, and opened it up. The first line reads: I was covered in blood when the police found me.

That is a GREAT opening line! It catches my attention and it makes me ask questions. Why is she covered in blood? Who's blood? Was it a murder? Was it an accident?

Not all great books have a great opening line. In some cases, such as with TWILIGHT, the author uses a catchy prologue to grab your attention. This, in my opinion, is fine if that prologue serves a purpose. If you come back to it later. If you don't it can upset your reader. I can think of a few books who had catchy prologues that made me ask a lot of questions, but then those questions weren't answered in that book.

In most cases I think we as writers need to avoid prologues.

Suzannah over at Write it Sideways came up with a great list of what NOT to do in your opening lines:

  • Dialogue. Nice somewhere on the first or second page, but not in the first line. We won’t know who’s speaking or why we should care.
  • Excessive description. Some description is good, but not when it’s long winded. Skip the purple prose and opt for something more powerful.
  • Irrelevant information. The first few lines of your story are crucial, so give your reader only important information.
  • Introducing too many characters. I don’t like to be bombarded with the names of too many characters at once. How are we supposed to keep them straight when we don’t know who’s who?

And a great list of thing you want to do:

1. Make your readers wonder.

Put a question in your readers’ minds. What do those first lines mean? What’s going to happen? Make them wonder, and you’ll keep them reading.

2. Begin at a pivotal moment.

By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next.

  • “It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
  • “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” ~Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

3. Create an interesting picture.

Description is good when it encourages people to paint a picture in their minds. Often, simple is best so it’s the reader who imagines a scene, instead of simply being told by the author.

  • “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” ~Daphne DuMaurier,Rebecca
  • “She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance.” ~Michael Ontaatje, The English Patient

4. Introduce an intriguing character.

The promise of reading more about a character you find intriguing will, no doubt, draw you into a story’s narrative. Most often, this is one of the main characters in the book.

  • “I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” ~Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

5. Start with an unusual situation.

Show us characters in unusual circumstances, and we’ll definitely be sticking around to see what it’s all about.

  • “They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” ~Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked
  • Last night, I dreamt that I chopped Andrew up into a hundred little pieces, like a Benihana chef, and ate them, one by one.” ~Julie Buxbaum, The Opposite of Love

6. Begin with a compelling narrative voice.

Open your story with the voice of a narrator we can instantly identify with, or one that relates things in a fresh way.

  • “As I begin to tell this, it is the golden month of September in southwestern Ontario.” ~Alistair MacLeod, No Great Mischief
  • “I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.” ~Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants
Write what you love, write the book you want to read, but always know your target audience and keep your readers in mind. From the first line to the last.


The fabulous Dorothy Dreyer recently asked me for an interview after she read my entry of GREYSKIN on the Authoress blog! As weird as it is to talk about myself, I think I did okay without too much rambling.

If you're interested, here it is!

In My Mailbox post BEA!

With BEA and then the holiday weekend it's been hectic around here. As a result, this post is coming way later than it should.

Had a great time at BEA and I brought home about 50 books, but here are some that I am most excited to read: (Valerie got the same ones so I totally copied this from her blog)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver *signed*
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (e-book)
Matched by Ally Condie
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger *signed*
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles *signed*
Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles *signed*
Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff *signed*
Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan *signed*
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead *signed*
Torment by Lauren Kate *signed*

But as you can see from the pic below, there were a lot more than that IMM, and I am excited to read all of them. Also, add THIRST by Christopher Pike, books 1 and 2! Won over at!

And from Books of Wonder, I bought SHADE by Jeri Smith Ready, signed!

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