Daughter of Smoke and Bone Giveaway

Daughter of Smoke and BoneI captured my initial reaction to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone on Good Reads, which I copied below:

“Holy. Crap.

This book was AMAZING!

I loved Every. Single. Word.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautiful example of what YA literature could be, and what I strive for in my own fiction. I wish books like these were available to me when I was a YA, but at least I can appreciate them and revel in them now!

Brava, Laini Taylor, for crafting such a remarkable story!”

Daughter of Smoke and Bone will launch on Tuesday, September 27, but I was lucky enough to read an ARC of it back in June, thanks to my dear friend and crit partner, Kayla (which I talk about HERE) and I remember gushing about it to my friend, Carol who was awesome enough to give me a signed ARC (which I talk about HERE.))

I plan on putting up a full review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone this week, because, DUDE, you all need to read this book. For reals, yo.

In fact, I believe this book is SO WORTH THE READ, that I will give away a finished copy to one lucky reader! (Besides, it’s my 8th wedding anniversary, so, I’m feeling generous!)

That’s right: I WILL GIVE AWAY ONE COPY of Daughter of Smoke and Bone because this book is ridiculously awesome! *confetti*

[Giveaway Entries Now Closed.]

This giveaway ENDED on the book’s release date, Tuesday, September 27.

(Again, all you really need to do is enter your info into that form, and you’re good to go! All the sharing stuff is for additional entries, and is completely optional!)

(Also, if you’ve already submitted entries and comments on my initial post, no need to do so again! You’re good to go!) 😉

(Don’t you love all these parentheses? It’s like we’re having a real conversation!) 😀

Congratulations to Sophia Chang, winner of this giveaway! 😀

Share the Love (this time with a giveaway!)

Cover of "The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)&...

Cover of The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

I’ve read a lot of good books since my last Share the Love post. Let’s see, there’s…

  • The Iron Queen, by Julie Kagawa
  • The Iron Daughter, by Julie Kagawa
  • The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa
  • Darkest Mercy, by Melissa Marr
  • The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
  • Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

I’ve actually read more than these books, but I list these specifically to showcase the inordinate amount of fantasy that  I’ve been reading lately. I wonder if that was a conscious decision on my part or not. I know I picked up Eon and Eona specifically to inspire me about an aspect of WIP2. And, I also picked up Ender’s Game (which I know is science fiction, but has fantasy elements I enjoy) and Among the Hidden for that reason, too. I know that somewhere in the recesses of my mind, my muses are tinkering with a post-apocalyptic fantasy, and I wonder if they’re hungry for more fantasy?

Maybe it’s a combination of the available e-galleys and ARCs that came my way, coupled with my need to read meatier works? After all, the fantasy genre does lend itself to intricate world-building, and often uses sociopolitical power dynamics to add conflict and tension to the narrative.

For example, take, The Girl of Fire and Thorns (newly released September 20). The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)This book is full of political intrigue, magic, and adventure. Set in a world reminiscent of medieval Spain, the story centers around Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza (aka Elisa), Orovalle’s second-born princess. Though she is royal, her privileged status comes less from her royal lineage, and more from being a Godstone-bearer.

Once a century, God chooses a bearer during a baby’s naming ceremony by placing a Godstone (a living jewel) on the baby’s navel. The Bearer is destined to perform an Act of Service, and the mythos surrounding the Bearer sets in motion harrowing challenges that Elisa must overcome.

What appeals to me the most is the sheer amount of terrain that Elisa covers throughout the story. I loved the big-ness of this world. I loved experiencing the lush climates of Orovalle; the seaside of Joya d’Arena; and the desert mountains of the rebel stronghold. I loved the concept that all these various countries and people groups are on the precipice of war. But, what I love most? Carson weaves these settings and power plays brilliantly through the narrative, making the countries so unique they were almost characters in themselves. (Interested in reading the full review? You can read it HERE.)

Honestly, though, now that I think about it, this year’s obsession with fantasy probably started after reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor. My initial Good Reads reaction to it was…

Daughter of Smoke and Bone“Holy. Crap.

This book was AMAZING!

I loved Every. Single. Word.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautiful example of what YA literature could be, and what I strive for in my own fiction. I wish books like these were available to me when I was a YA, but at least I can appreciate them and revel in them now!

Brava, Laini Taylor, for crafting such a remarkable story!”

…and, since this book is holy-crap-amazing, I wonder if I just wanted to keep experiencing that awe, thus glutting myself on more fantasies. Hmm.

(BY THE WAY, Daughter of Smoke and Bone will launch on Tuesday, September 27, but I was lucky enough to read an ARC of it back in June, thanks to my dear friend and crit partner, Kayla (which I talk about HERE) and I remember gushing about it to my friend, Carol, that she was awesome enough to give me a signed ARC (which I talk about HERE.))

I plan on putting up a full review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone next week, because, DUDE, you all need to read this book. For reals, yo.

 SO, have YOU read any good books lately??

 

My Writing Groove

make it happen!

I’m roughly a third of the way into my current work in progress, nicknamed WIP2.

I really enjoyed writing the beginning. I felt like an utter genius, writing down all the scenes that zipped inside my head. Truly, I couldn’t write fast enough, and those who paid attention to my Twitter timeline knows I barely slept throughout the month of July.

I was ok with not sleeping. I had a goal. I knew that my paythebills job would be time consuming throughout August, so I wanted to write down as much of the story as possible.

Well, here I am now, after all the Stuff from my paythebills job has gone away (for the moment), and trying to get back into my writerly groove as before.

Hate to admit it, but I’m not there anymore. Nothing seems to be grooving together. My writing is awkward and cringe-tastic. Scenes aren’t making sense. As I’m writing them, I can feel how horrible they are and know that they won’t find themselves in the story AT ALL.

And…my body is ACTUALLY making me sleep. No joke. Like last night. I sat down to write on my laptop for a bit after dinner, and I literally fell asleep right there. (And, no, it wasn’t my writing that put me to sleep. I didn’t even get a chance to open my document!) Anyway, it was all rather surprising for this write-through-the-night writer.

Oh, but I long to get back into that writerly groove again! The feeling of my fingers flying over my keyboard, of my heart pounding because, yes, this scene makes so much sense, of laughing at how ridiculous my MC can be…I want to feel that again.

So, I’m reminding myself of some of the helpful things that I’ve done previously to get me this far.

First, I promised myself that no idea is stupid. Any fleeting thought or terminology that I think could be useful, I incorporated it into my story. I free wrote a little bit to see where the idea will take me, and paused for a moment here and there to check a few facts. Then, I re-read what I wrote, and smoothed out any rough spots.

Second, I told myself that no idea is sacred. Even if that idea, item, thing had a fixed meaning in this world, in my universe, I could do whatever I wanted with that idea. That way, I didn’t feel so trapped, and enjoyed the full range of possibilities that an idea sparked in my brain. (My brain elves had absolute free reign!)

Third, I loosely plotted out what the next logical steps would be through my MC’s perspective. I thought about any potential obstacles that may come up, and what MC would do to get around the obstacle and to the goal.

And then, of course, I wrote it all out.

Writing what worked makes the process look SO easy. But the major obstacle for me at the moment is my own fear of failure, and my desire to get the story just right, right away. I hate writing scenes that I know  will never see the light of day. And, what’s especially annoying is that I know that writing them is all a part of the process.

Or, as Melissa, my wise crit partner told me today:

“Sometimes you just have to keep going and any of the rubbish that turns out lining your recycle bin will have brought you one step closer to understanding your characters, their wants, needs, etc…All you’re doing is finding the paths that don’t work. This is just as important as finding the ones that do.”

(Sigh, I LOVE my crit partner! Especially since she’d be the first to tell me what’s not working ^_^).

Melissa also referred me to Laini Taylor’s blog…I’m pretty sure she meant THIS article when she referred me to it!

Ok, enough philosophizing about writing. My personal deadline for WIP2 is September 30. I will need to write four pages a day to reach my goal. Time to make it happen.