January 30, 2012

Music Fueled My Writing Career: A Guest Post by Susan Helene Gottfried

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie: Susan Helene Gotttfried. Check out her website here for more information: http://westofmars.com/

I have this policy: whenever I see someone broadcasting that they are looking for authors willing to write them a guest blog post, I check out their blog. I want to make sure I will fit in, of course. A Rock Fiction author probably won’t be winning over many fans if she writes what she thinks is this great post about how she hates country music – and then hands it over to a blogger who posts exclusively about her love of country music.

That’s why I got excited when I poked around Larissa’s online world. We have a lot in common, and that’s always so very nice to see. It hopefully means that you guys, her friends and readers, will like me and my books, too.

Ahh, my books. Rock and roll in a book, that’s what I write. It’s the utter truth to say I turned down more than one job at more than one record company because I couldn’t figure out how to work for a label and have the time to devote to my fiction.

It wasn’t an easy call to make. I’d spent about five years pining to be one of those people behind the magic of a rock band. I wanted to stand in the wings and look out, beyond my band, and see the expressions on the faces in the audience. So hungry, so passionate, so happy to be there...

The biggest problem with this dream was that it did – and still continues to – fuel my fiction. The more I’m around music, even listening to it, the more I want to get inside it and write about it. About the people who make it and the people who help make it – the promoters, the radio station personalities, the stage crew, and on and on. Even the spouses and birth families. It all fascinates me.

Most people outgrow these fantasies of their youth. While I am at peace with the road I chose, there’s still a part of me that misses the music world. There’s something about it that gets into a person’s blood; it truly is one of those things that you either have or you don’t.

But life is full of compromises and sometimes, you have to step back in order to gain the most. In my case, I gained a full-time life as a literati. I write books. I edit books for others. And now, I review them, too, for a very old, well-established review organization.

The only way to get here was to walk away from the music world I loved. I had to give up sixteen-hour days, endless hustling, music and more music. Dinners out, followed by nights spent in clubs, hearing my band, or my friend’s band, or some band we were all about to fight over...

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? As much as I’d have loved to have been part of that world until I got too old and had to be put out to pasture, I love what I do even more. I’ve become an expert in Rock Fiction, I get to spend my days with fictional people of my own creation and, as an editor, with fictional people of someone else’s creation. I get to play with words, with language. This lets me see, daily, how important the words we use really are.

Best of all, it lets me get out and about the blogosphere and meet new people. Many of them, like Larissa, are people I want to become friends with. Oftentimes, I get to watch that happen.

Here’s hoping it does.

Thanks again, Larissa, for hosting me today.

Thanks S for gracing us with your presence on my blog! :D Anyway, if you want to know more, here are the links once again!

Check out here ALL of her books here

Trevor's Song  

Demo Tapes -- Year 2 Demo Tapes -- Year 1

January 25, 2012

Unpublished: Another Tough Decision for a Writer

After a lot of consideration and debate, I have decided to unpublish Iwishacana/Acanawishi indefintely.


Well, as you guys know, I've been getting a lot of negative reviews. The first couple of reviews were lovely, but as I continued to get more and more bad reviews, I've realized that they are absolutely right: This isn't the right time to release this novel.

Therefore, I have unpublished it.

And, if you guys have noticed, I have also removed it completely off my indie wall on the right. I've also decided to keep that book on the back burner and not look at it until the fall of my first year of teaching. 

I've tried over and over to edit it and I even hired an editor to go over to. Actually two. But if I really want to get this book in shape, I have to hire an editor that they can actually do their job correctly.

And yes, you read it right: I partly blame the editor (who will not be named) who screwed me in the first place.

I'm not going to rant and rave at how horrible he is (my poor friends have heard enough of that) but I will say that he didn't do his job. I asked him specific questions about the plot, characters and dialogue and unfortunately, those problems have not been fixed or addressed by the editor. 

Therefore, they continue to be a huge problem in Iwishacana/Acanawishi. 

I know the big elephant in the room is, "Why can't you just hire an editor, fix the problems, and republish it? You did it before!"

Yeah, I certainly did, but I seriously cannot stand to look at my book right now. I know that sounds weird coming from an author, but it's the truth. 

I can't look at it. 

I'm so tired of editing it and all of the drama behind it, just makes me sick. So I have to just take a step away from it and give it a rest. Besides, I need to reconnect with those characters and that's going to take some time.

I'm so sorry for the readers who love the story as it is, but I can't stomach anymore horrible reviews. I can't. And the saddest thing of all: I know they are right.

I tried to fix those same problems all on my own but I realized that I simply can't. I'm the creator of this world.  Iwishacana/Acanawishi is my baby. I can't look at my book from a clear standpoint, therefore, I will wait for the right time when I don't feel like chucking it down the street and let a car run over it.

Anyway, stepping away from the bad news.

And yes, there is some good news: I have decided to publish Angel Diaries a bit early.

I thought I would spend this time editing and writing Angel Diaries 2 but since Iwishacana/Acanawishi tanked (again), I had to consider what I could do about my current situation.

At first, I thought I didn't have the resources (a.k.a. money) to publish Angel Diaries, but after looking at my bank statement and looking at the editing costs (which is WONDERFULLY cheap thanks to Ricki!), I have decided to publish Angel Diaries instead.

Angel Diaries is the book that actually got me a publishing contract, so I know it's in great shape. I'm still hiring an editor since let's face it: The book was written back in 2007.

A lot of things have changed since then.

Therefore, I hope to publish Angel Diaries by early March. So be on the lookout for it!

And unlike Iwishacana/Acanawishi, this book is ready to be out in the spotlight. It is. I promise! :) 

I just have this gut feeling that a lot of people will like it. Even when it is in it's rough stages (and I mean ROUGH), people wanted to buy it.

Yes, I'm dead serious. People really enjoyed therefore, I have all the confidence in the world that it'll be fine. 

I won't lie, there is one thing I am worried about: The cover.

It's not what I expected, especially since Angel Diaries is considered a paranormal romance (and you know it's a requirement for the cover to be GORGEOUS), but we'll see.

I can't wait to share it with you. Anyway, sorry for the depressing news, but I think I owed it to everyone who helped me along this journey to know.

Thanks for listening! 

January 24, 2012

Um . . . What happened to the Background?!

Hey y'all! I don't know if you noticed, but my background disappeared today. Unfortunately, I don't know what is going on but the background to this blog will be constantly changing until I find one that I like as much as the last one. Hopefully, this will be the very last time I'll have to pick out a format.

I'm sorry for the confusion and inconvenience but until I pick a great background, this one is staying for the week. Thanks for understanding!

January 23, 2012

New Review of Iwishacana/Acanawishi and An Interview!

A new review! Check it out here. And hey, would you look at that, it's positive! :D

Check out this interview here too. 

Author Interview: Anne Hargrove

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, Anne Hargrove! The wonderful author of Survival.

Check out her blog here!

When and why did you begin writing?

I didn’t begin writing until I was in college. I never realized until then that it was something I enjoyed. I minored in journalism (majored in Public Relations) and fully intended to pursue that career. However, I was lured away by the pharmaceutical industry and my love for medicine (I had also considered going to medical school—I know, completely different path but, what can I say?). I ended up loving the industry and staying in it for quite awhile until my job as a district sales manager was eliminated due to my company being gobbled up by another firm. When I suddenly found myself unemployed, I decided to pursue my first love, which is, of course, writing.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The most difficult part was the beginning (which most readers I am sure will agree)! I knew what I wanted to write (a series, naturally J) and I knew who my characters were. I had so much information about Maddie (the main female) that I found it difficult to get it all down without writing an entire book just on her background! Once I did that (and I am still toying with the idea of revising the first 6 chapters), everything seemed to flow. The easiest part was the writing itself—I get so absorbed in doing it I have to make myself quit. That and writing about the yummy male characters. That’s definitely the best part!

What music do you listen to while you write?

I love music and listen to it all the time except when I write! I know…I’m weird, but I find if I listen to music while I write, I tend to start singing (not good!) and even worse, I start writing out the lyrics. So I have to skip it altogether. But to answer your question, I love all kinds of music from classical, to metal to alternative. Right now, my faves seem to be Adele (I SO hope her vocal chords heal!), Coldplay, Linkin Park and The Decemberists, just to name a few.

What inspires you?

Running! I can work out any scene, issue, conflict, etc. while I am running with my iPod. I put those little babies in my ears, take off and I return home with a plethora of ideas, story/plot lines, scenes, etc.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I LOVE to cook…and eat!

What are your current projects?

I am finalizing the edits on Resurrection, Book 2 of The Guardians of Vesturon. I hope to have it to the formatters in a few days so it can be online by the end of January. I have also started on Book 3, which is currently untitled and I am in the process of conjuring up another series. I am sort of thinking about doing an adult PR series vs the YA genre.

What book are you reading now?

Blood Warrior by H.D. Gordon

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Vampires. To me they are so much sexier. I am a total Team Bones girl and I was always Team Edward. Jacob drove me batty. Maybe that’s why I prefer vamps. And shifter fans, please don’t hate me for this, but there’s something about wolf breath that just doesn’t sit well with me L!!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yeesh… I hate to give advice when I need so much of it! I would say though, if you can afford it, always hire an editor. Beta readers are also great. And don’t let the criticism get to you because it is actually a good thing (when done in the right manner). It can make you a much more polished writer.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

This may be vague because I don’t want to give any spoilers so forgive me if it is. Please check out Survival-- it is a bit of a roller coaster ride as I’ve tried to capture a multitude of elements from sad to funny and everything in between. It ends with a cliffhanger so beware, but I’ve been told by my beta readers (and I wholeheartedly agree with them) that Resurrection puts Survival in the dust! (I hope that was a strong enough teaser J)

January 20, 2012

New Reviews and Interviews!

A new review! Woo hoo! Check it out here and here

And lookey, lookey two interviews! Check it out herehere and here.  

And lastly a review of Iwishacana/Acanawishi! Check it out here

And the Winner is . . . of the entire Rippler Series

And the winner is . . . Drumroll please!

Congratulations Gloria! 

You are the fabulous winner of the ENTIRE Rippler series! 

Shortly, you should receive an email with the details of your win!

Thanks everybody for entering this giveaway! I wish you all the best! :)

Tune in next time. You never know what books I'll be giving away next.

Feature and Follow (5)

FF 2012 Feature & Follow #80

It's that time of the week again: Feature and Follow Friday! 

And here are the Features of the Week:

Along with the question!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

Well . . . No, just kidding! I don't think I've done anything crazy crazy even if my sister thinks so (and yes, I drag my sister along to carry my books). But the craziest thing I've ever done to get my books is to wait in a line and practically get elbowed by women. Maybe even elbowed them back. :)

Very interesting question. What do you guys think? Did you guys do anything "crazy" to get a book or are we all just like, "umm . . . No?" 

January 19, 2012

New Schedule: Author Interviews Galore

I know you guys have noticed the TONS of authors who have been interview on my blog which just tickles me pink! Therefore, if I continue to get many request for interviews, this is how it is going to go:

Monday: Author Interview
Tuesday: Review (of my book from other bloggers)
Wednesday: A Word from Me 
Thursday: Review (of my book from other blogger)
Friday Morning: Feature and Follow Friday
Friday Evening: Book Review of the Week (Indie Style)

Well, I think that is it. I'll talk to you all about the interesting developments of my indie author life next week. Some changes are about to occur. I'm not particularly excited about it, but this is for the best.

And yes, I'm leaving y'all in suspense about what it is. I don't think it would take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but I'll explain it all next week on Wednesday!  

January 13, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Entire Rippler Series by Cidney Swanson

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year: Giveaway! As part of the Unfurl Blog Tour, Cidney Swanson is giving away her ENTIRE Rippler series!

Now let's get on with the glorious interview and giveaway by the talented YA author Cidney Swanson.


Image of Cidney Swanson
Cidney Swanson grew p within spitting distance of the central California foothills and learned to drive on the crazy highways linking gold rush ghost towns. She began her first novel at age eight; it started with "Ouch," and she's enjoyed creating painful situations for her characters ever since. Cidney worked as a costume designer, clothing designer, and kitchen gadget salesperson prior to giving it all up for literature. Cidney lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley with her husband, three kids, a dog, and two cats and entirely too much rain.


When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing stories as soon as I could hold a pencil and form words with it. I was about seven, and I have no real idea why I wrote other than for the pure thrill of it. I certainly can’t imagine my life without writing.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The hardest part is revision. Especially, it’s tough to cut out huge parts I loved but which didn’t ultimately move the arc of the story forward. The easiest part is writing down conversations. I often feel as though I am transcribing actual dialogue as opposed to inventing imaginary dialogue.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I’m one of those strange ducks who can’t listen to music while she writes. I think the part of my brain that invents things is too close to the part of my brain that pays attention to music. If there are lyrics being sung, I can’t not pay attention to them. This is counter-productive if I’m trying to write.

What inspires you?

Words. Words. Words. (To quote my homeboy, Hamlet.) I love the flavor and texture of them in my mouth. Reading really gorgeous prose generally inspires me. Seeing a movie that brings out the tear-fairy also inspires me. However, the connection between inspiration and writing is tenuous, at best! (See my answer to question nine, below.)

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can whistle really, really loudly without using my fingers.
Also, I can sew pretty much anything.
And I make a wicked loaf of sourdough bread.

What are your current projects?

Incompletes: I have a satire in the deep freeze, and a fantasy based heavily on history on the front burner. First drafts done: I have book one in a projected sci-fi series and a stand-alone paranormal romance completed. Currently, I’m trying to decide which of these to attack next.

What book are you reading now?

I read several at once. On my nightstand right now are: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, and Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Shapeshifters. I mean, come on, how cool would it be to change your shape and appearance at will?

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, read, read. Read the classics heavily. There’s a reason they’re classics. Read widely in the genre in which you would like to write, and keep up-to-date in this area. (I.e., read what is selling well today.)
Write, write, write. The muse does not make visits with sufficient frequency to keep most of us writing. Write on a schedule whether you feel inspired or not. I find that inspiration follows B-I-C (butt-in-chair) pretty predictably.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’m so very grateful to those of you who are helping my series climb the charts. It is an incredible privilege to be doing what I love full-time, and I don’t take it for granted!

Win the entire series of Rippler!

Samantha Ruiz has a freak gene that makes her turn invisible, or ripple. She can’t control it, and it’s getting worse. Afraid of becoming a lab-rat, Sam keeps her ability secret, until fellow runner Will Baker sees her vanish into thin air. Will promises secrecy and help, and Sam begins to fall in love. 

Together, the two discover there are worse things than being a scientific curiosity. Someone’s been killing people who possess Sam's gene. A mysterious man from France sends letters that offer hope for safety, but also reveal a sinister connection with Nazi experiments. The more time Sam spends with Will, the less she can imagine life without him. When Sam uncovers secrets from her past, she must choose between keeping Will in her life or keeping Will safe.

Curious about what I thought about these lovely books? Check out my review here and here
Hint: These books are great! :)

Want the books? Then follow these instructions:

1.In order to enter this giveaway you must be a follower of my blog.

2. Leave a comment with your name and email address to enter the giveaway.

3. To double your chances, then like my Facebook page and/or follow me on Twitter on the right hand side of the blog.

3. This giveaway ends January 18, 2011 at 11:59pm.

Please make sure to thank this awesome author, Cidney Swanson!

January 11, 2012

Shiver: Aggressive Females and Knightly Males

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series #1)


From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Topic of Choice: Aggressive Females and Knightly Males

I know this sounds like a strange topic of choice but hear me out. 

In a lot of paranormal romance there is this trend of aggressive females and knightly males. What do I mean by aggressive females?

Well, it's very simple: The type of ladies who attack their males to have sex with them when the men simply do not want it.

And knightly males?
They are the men that every women dreams of: courteous, respectful and wants to wait to have sex.

Now the perfect example of this is in Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Grace wants to have sex with him and practically tears off his clothes to do so.

And the knightly male Sam constantly tells her no. Until he caves.  

Now, this aggressive female/knightly male is appearing all over the place, and I wonder if people are really getting the message behind what all of these authors are saying.

And don't fool yourself: There are multiple authors who follow this trend.

Here are some examples that I can think of:

Becca Fitzpatrick
Stephanie Meyer
Amy Plum
Simone Elkeles*

*Okay, so she's not in the paranormal romance genre but still, it's shown in her books too.

I'm sure there are plenty more, but I just started reading books in the paranormal romance genre, so bear with me on that one. 

Now what does this say about females and males in general? What should we the audience think about what the authors and readers eat and produce continually?

That it is okay for a female to practically rape a man?

I'm not saying that the characters did in any of the novels, but the illusion is still there. As long as "Well, he really wants me and loves me and I have to do everything in my power to keep him.", is that all right then?

Where's the line drawn in the sand between reluctance and rape?

There is also something under the surface that I really don't like: That females are sluts and the men are these noble creatures.

This is really the core of the issue for me: That certain authors think it is okay to portray females like this.

Do they know that younger females look to Bella as their role model?

Do they know that young girls may think that this is natural?

And don't get me wrong: There are females like this. I've seen girls act this way and to me it's just makes me question their worth.

How much self esteem do you have if you have to force somebody to sleep with you?

What does love mean to you if you think love=sex?

And I'm not saying that sex is wrong. Not even hardly. But I think sex is something that's precious and delicate. That when two people come together to have sex, that it should be meaningful and not just used as a desperate measure. Or as a "You have to prove to me that you love me! Or else!"

Which is something I conquer in my own paranormal romance young adult novel, Angel Diaries.

But enough about that, let's get back to this topic.

Let's view this from a cultural standpoint.

I haven't really seen this trend pop up in television shows except for the obvious one:

Gossip Girl

But other than that, I haven't really seen it lately. But it reminds me distantly of the Maury Show.

For those who do not know what the Maury Show is then I'll explain it in lamest terms: It's where young ladies come to a show and find out who the father of their child are (most of the time). 

Sometimes women tests 100 guys, and yes I'm not lying, 100. 

Where is their self-worth?

Between their legs?

What is the point of being in a relationship if you have to chase a guy or force a guy to love you?

I just don't get it. Why is our culture glorifying men and demoralizing women?

On the one hand, we are seen as the child bearers. These strong women in movies and television shows but we are weakened by our sex. By our beauty since in order to become the Megan Fox's of the world and be strong and powerful, we have to be sexy.

Which is a whole topic altogether but more to the point:

We are treated and portrayed as trash. 

By our own gender: Women!

That's where my mind is blown. Why are we attacking ourselves? Is there a point where men are seen as the saviors and women are seen as the evil doers?

Are we forever trapped by the Adam and Eve contempt?

Will we ever be seen as equals?

It's almost like we are given so much power and prestige that is well within our reach yet these messages bombard our goals like women being weak in the science and math because simply we are females and our minds are for english and history.

We are bombarded by mix messages that states that in order to be safe we have to travel with men. That in order to be happy we have to have a family which should consist of a man and children.

The more the better (children wise).

And we fail as women if we end up 50 years old with a great business but no family life whatsoever. We are constantly told that a life without love is nothing.

Yet in order to get the love of our life we have to spread our legs and take what we can.

Is that the message we should tell our kids?

Is that the message men get?

Absolutely not!

Marriage is an option for men. For women, it isn't. It's a requirement and an obligation to our race as humans that we have to reproduce. 

All of this to say: We cannot survive without men.

Now, I'm not saying I hate men. Because just the opposite is true: I love men. I think men often get criticized too much in our society about weight, height and what it truly means to be a man (a.k.a. men don't cry). 

All I'm saying is: Why do men have to be the center of any women's life? Why should men make the world go around?

Why are men the "good" ones and women the "bad" ones? Why are we the aggressive ones when usually it's the men who are aggressive?

There seems to be this acceptance that men can be the gentlemen and there's the splinter in my spine.

Why can't women be seen as the saviors/"good" ones?

Where are the good strong women?

January 9, 2012

Iwishacana/Acanawishi New Review

It got a new review, check it out here.

It's not a pleasant review, but I have to say, I learned a lot from it. Anyway, check it out if you dare!

Author Interview: Eric Edstrom

Please welcome to A Three Way Tie, Eric Edstrom! The wonderful self-published author of Undermountain.
Check out his website here for more info. 

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was about fifteen. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to finish anything back then. It took me many years, many false starts and fragments of manuscripts before I finally cracked the code on how to complete a story. It's funny looking back on all the pain I put myself through with that, because the secret was so simple. I just had to write something I would want to read.

And what I want to read are stories that fill me with a sense of wonder and discovery. I want to read stories where something big is at stake. I want to read about characters who are struggling with the same issues I struggle with.

So the short answer is, I write in order to experience the story.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

There are days when I write and the whole time I'm thinking, "This is the worst crap ever written." Pushing through that resistance and writing anyway is the hardest part. Then I'll read it back a day or two later and think, "Hey, that's pretty good." It was a hard lesson to learn—that how I feel when I'm writing has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.

The easiest part is when I get to one of those scenes I've had in my mind for weeks or months and I finally get to write it. For me, it's usually a line of dialogue that I know is this super big turning point for a character. In Undermountain, there's a scene toward the end where a character named Shiv delivers a line I had known was coming from page one. I had tears in my eyes when I got to that scene. But it was easy, because I'd been carrying the emotion of that line inside me for so long.

So tell me about your book, Undermountain. What was the inspiration for it?


Now, before I scare people off, this is NOT your run of the mill, Harry and the Henderson's bigfoot. This is a completely different concept.

I was driving along one day, probably after dropping my daughter off at school, and naturally I started thinking about bigfoot. Who doesn't think about bigfoot at random times?

Anyway, I had this flash of inspiration and said to myself, "Self, what if bigfoot wasn't some kind of missing-link ape, but something else? What if he was a member of an intelligent species, living in a great hidden city, deep under the mountains?"

The story is a group of six teens who are on an expedition in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They're led by a grizzled old mountaineer who knows there are some weird things in the mountains, but who has never been able to prove it.

The two main characters are Danny, a nearly sixteen year old white kid from Nashville, and Breyona, a sixteen year old, rich girl from Chicago. Both of them have difficulties back home, so this excursion is an escape for both of them.

Danny and Breyona are enjoying the beauty of the mountains and have even started up a sweet flirtation, when they encounter some truly amazing creatures in the wilderness. From that point on, it's a race for survival.

I'm calling it a YA adventure. It has elements of fantasy and science fiction, a dash of romance, and a lot of breathless action.

Here's an excerpt:

Danny’s eyelids fluttered open as he became aware of a high, keening noise—like a hawk shriek—in the distance.
Breyona sat up blinking. “What the hell was that?”
The shriek came again, a bit louder. Its echo sent a chill across Danny’s arms. “I think it’s in the woods behind us. Must be a bird or something.” Again the shriek, this time followed by two shorter calls.
“That’s too loud to be a bird,” Breyona said. She scrambled to her feet, then offered Danny a hand to pull him up. Another shriek tore the air. An instinctive impulse backed them away from the trees and toward the stream. “What’s keeping the old man?” Breyona watched the trees and rubbed her elbows.
Danny checked the far bank. No Harvin.
Crashing sounds thundered from the forest. Another shriek, this time loud enough to make the hair stand up on Danny’s neck. Breyona moved close to him, and they stood frozen, listening to the approaching racket.
Shriek. Crash. Shriek. Followed by a deep growl. Danny grabbed Breyona’s hand. “I think we should cross over to Harvin’s side. That sounded like a bear.”
Breyona nodded. “Maybe it’s chasing something.”
They scrambled back to the spot the old mountaineer had crossed the stream. A dozen birds took flight, startled by another piercing call.
Danny followed on Breyona's heels as she started across, stepping from rock to rock. The stream swirled and roiled below him, sending up icy splashes that soaked his boots. Halfway across, his foot slipped from a stone, sinking him knee-deep in the water. The force of the stream knocked him sideways, and he started to toppled.
Breyona caught his flailing arm and steadied him. “I said Shiv was going to fall in, not you!”
Danny tried to step back up onto the rock, but his waterlogged boots couldn’t get traction.
Another shriek.
The icy water had already numbed his leg below the knee. Breyona pulled, and he managed to get one foot up.
She adjusted her feet to get better leverage. “Come on, Danny. Time to get out of the kiddie pool.”
A roar froze him. He looked upstream, then gasped. “Holy crap!”
His expression got Breyona’s attention, and she followed his gaze. “Oh my God!”
Silhouetted against the blue sky, two strange creatures sloshed across the top-tier of the waterfall, kicking plumes of water behind them.
The first creature shrieked again and again as it splashed across. Its two long-snouted heads sat atop sinuous necks, which sprouted at the top of a tall, upright torso. The body stood upon four spindly legs that ended in sharp points; the tips glistened with every step.
Behind it loped an enormous man-beast, tall and fur-covered. Its arms swung in long arcs as it ran.
Both creatures struggled against the rush of water. The shrieker thrashed its way ashore, then disappeared in a blur of speed. The bigfoot paused, seeming to catching its breath, before it too dashed from view.
Danny stared, slack-jawed, then looked at Breyona. Her eyes were as wide as one of Vincent’s poker chips. “What the ...?”
A splash and a growl came from behind Danny. Breyona screamed and let go of his arm. He fell back into the stream. A bone-crushing chill engulfed him. His head cracked into a rock, sending a lightning bolt of pain through his skull. He kicked and clawed for the surface. He fought to get his feet under him, desperate for air.
 Huge hands grabbed and lifted him. He took shivering gulps of air as the water suddenly fell away below. An arm, strong as steel, clamped around his middle. His vision was blurry from the stinging water.
“Harvin?” he asked, half-choking.
No answer.
His hands went to the arm wrapped around his ribs.
He cried out and kicked his legs. He beat at the arm until it released him, and he fell, scraping his hands and knees on rocky ground. Pain and fear told him to run, but he could do nothing but cough, gasp and tremble. He turned his eyes just enough to see a giant, fur-covered foot next to him.
“Breyona!” he called.
She didn’t answer.
What had this—thing—done to her?
He looked up. An eight-foot tall creature towered over him. Black hair covered every inch of its body, shaggy on the limbs but shorter and smoother at the bear-like neck and head. Massive muscular legs and arms dripped with water from the stream. The monster watched him, head tilted to one side like a curious dog. Its wide unblinking eyes, green as emeralds, pinned Danny where he stood.
A scream built in Danny's chest, but only a raspy moan came out.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I dictate my first draft, so I don't listen to music at all during that process. But once I get into revisions, it's mostly instrumental, usually soundtracks. I'm addicted to The Last Samurai soundtrack. It's got a great rise and fall to it, which suits many different kinds of scenes. During the editing/revision phase I tended to put on Spotify and just listen to random stuff. Anything from epic progressive metal, to weird electronic stuff.

What inspires you?

I know that sounds kind of twisted, but it's true. It may be true for all writers because we create these characters we love, and then we put them through extreme pain. But that's the reason people read, because we want to witness the struggle, and we want to see how these characters triumph—or fail. I'm an optimist, so I see the suffering as the cost for learning or growth, so in the end the pain is a gift. Maybe I am bit twisted, but that's how I see it.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I try not to hide them too much. I spent several years travelling to Nashville, TN writing and pitching country/pop songs, and I've been told I'm a decent songwriter. I changed course and turned my attention to fiction because there's a greater outlet for it through Amazon, Nook, etc. That said, I'm planning on releasing some free mp3s as supplemental treats for readers. For instance, I've got a song on my website (www.ericedstrom.com) that's like a theme song for the romantic sub-plot in the  book.

What are your current projects?
I'm deep into the "pre-production" on the final two books in the Undermountain series. The first book stands alone pretty well, but there are some big issues remaining for the characters to deal with. I'm planning on writing straight through to the end of book three and releasing them both pretty close together.

I have a couple novel ideas and short story ideas percolating as well, but this is the time to focus on the world of Undermountain. I know readers hate waiting for the next book, so I'm moving as quickly as I can to get it out.

What book are you reading now?
My to-read stack is so high I'm even tripping over ebooks. My kindle weighs thirty pounds, and it's all electrons! That said, I'm starting a big Space Opera by Kevin J. Anderson, Saga of Seven Suns. I'm half-way through the first book, Hidden Empire. I'm also reading Alloy of Law by Branden Sanderson. I guess I'm in a genre fiction phase right now. I'm a very slow reader, so I don't get through nearly as much as I want to. I really envy people who read fast.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?
Vampires. And I like them in all flavors: sweet and sparkly, or evil and pasty. For me shapeshifters are all Teen Wolf.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Dictate your first draft.

I learned this from Kevin J. Anderson at the Superstars Writing Seminar (which is awesome, BTW). My first reaction was, "I could never do that!" But I was intrigued enough to give it a try, and I was amazed at the results. I had a fairly decent outline to work from, so I print out three chapters of it and headed out for a long walk on a bike trail. I was pretty self-concious at first, walking along and talking to myself, but two hours later I came home with the first draft of those chapters. That would have taken me a couple days to do sitting at my computer. Over five thousand words in two hours! Were they polished prose? No. But it's way easier for me to fix existing writing, than it is to create it from scratch.

I use a transcription service [wescribeit.com,] and they type up the recordings and send me a Word file in about 24 hours.

The first time I did it, I was sure the chapters were going to suck. And although that first draft was far from clean prose, the storytelling was actually pretty good, which is the most important part.

The reason it worked well for me was this: when I'm dictating, I can't look back at what I just wrote and mess with it. I have to keep going forward, so I get a lot done in a short period. I'm not sure how it would work for a seat-of-the-pants writer, but for outliners, it's an amazing productivity boost.

Short of dictating, my advice is get your first draft done as quickly as possible. Forget about grammar, forget worrying about passive voice or other, forget worrying about how what you just wrote is inconsistent with something you wrote three chapters ago. Just get to "The End."

Then fix the problems.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I feel immense gratitude when people choose to spend their hard-earned money on my book. I'm a complete unknown at this stage, so I recognize that people are taking a chance on me. I encourage people to download a sample and see if it appeals to them, and if it does, tell everyone you know!

January 6, 2012

Iwishacana/Acanawishi Review and Everblossom Reviews

Check out this awesome review of Iwishacana/Acanawishi here! :D 

I'm so glad one person caught some of my references. 

Yep, that's right: I got some more review for Everblossom! Check them out here and here

Enjoy! :)

Chameleon by Cidney Swanson

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Ruiz has a lot on her mind. The crush who kissed her but changed his mind. The BFF who thinks Sam is in an abusive relationship. The geneticist who wanted Sam dead but now wants her ALIVE. And of course, Sam’s still dealing with a tendency to disappear into thin air.

When Sam learns of her nemesis Helmann’s Nazi-like plan to establish a Thousand-Year Reign, she’s determined to fight him. Along with Will and Mickie, Sam flees to France to meet Sir Walter—their best hope for stopping Helmann’s brave new world.

But Sam isn’t any safer in France. Someone is following her. Someone invisible. Sam will have to figure out how to hide from an enemy she can’t even see.

My Thoughts:

Now, this is the second book in the Rippler series. Check out previous book and reviews here: http://teacherwritebookaholicohmy.blogspot.com/2011/12/rippler-by-cidney-swanson.html

Anyway, lucky or not, I won this book on LibraryThing, so I won both the first and second book of this series.

Normally, I would find this a good thing, but I'm torn about this book.

Feature and Follow (4)

It's that time of the week again: Feature and Follow Friday! 

And here are the Features of the Week:

Pawing Through Books  

Along with the question!
Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

Now that is an interesting question. Let's add it all up then . . .

15 eBooks in my TBR Pile
3 books on their way from B&N
52 books in box 1
40 books in box 2

Grand total: 110

How many books do you have in your pile?!

January 5, 2012

Everblossom News!

Got quite a truckload of reviews! Check them out here, here, herehere and here!

Quite interesting reviews. I would check them out! :) 

And yes, I almost feel like dancing but to save your eyes, I won't, lol. 


January 4, 2012

Perfect Chemistry: White Savior Syndrome


A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Topic of choice: White Savior Syndrome

Okay, I'm going to try something a bit different on this blog. But before you go screaming off in a direction cursing the word change, just hear me out.

Basically, I want to use books as a diving board into assessing and understanding western (mostly American) culture better. Sometimes for better or for worse.

Now, I know this may seem weird. Odd. Or even plain downright uncomfortable, but bear with me. 

This isn't exactly my comfort zone either. Even though it feels right, I don't know how many of you will stick around after this.

Now onward with the interesting yet completely out of the blue topic: Perfect Chemistry.