Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Reviews: THE LEGEND TRILOGY

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Best trilogy I've read in quite a while. All three books are out and available. I'd recommend having them all so you can read straight through the series. The only thing that bothered me about the storyline was the fact that the main characters were so young. They seemed to me to be older teenagers rather than younger ones. But other than that, great series. No offensive language that I can recall. No sex scenes. There is violence, but nothing over the top. I love having a strong heroine fight alongside a strong hero. I highly recommend this trilogy, and I look forward to reading more from this author.


Prodigy (Legend, #2)Prodigy by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Book two in the trilogy. LOVED it. Great writing. Great story. Great characters.





Champion (Legend, #3)Champion by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Seriously. What are you waiting for? Go read this trilogy. It is great. I loved it so much, I made my husband read it. He cried. Yup. Book three (CHAMPION) moved him to tears. No tears for me, but I'm a little more cold hearted. *wink*



View all my reviews

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We are celebrating our nation's Independence Day by enjoying the beautiful outdoors near Grand Jean, Idaho. These are older pictures from previous trips, but we'll be enjoying the same location.
I love Idaho.
And I love the United States of America.
 
Happy 4th of July to you!
 








Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: Reporting Back!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for ...
 

For complete details on this very supportive and awesome group - CLICK HERE and check them out!

So last month (I cannot believe a whole month has flown by!) - I blogged about the insecurities I felt as I was about to take my advance reader copies around to local bookstores.

I'm thrilled to tell you that overall it was a HUGE success. (But not a total success.) I finished feeling pretty high, but it was definitely a roller coaster ride. Some bookstores were thrilled to talk to me while others were quite hesitant. The hesitant ones gave me the impression that they get a lot of walk-ins who say, "Look at me! I wrote a book, and here's my three ring binder with my well worn manuscript inside." ;)

Some of the hesitant people warmed right up to me after they looked up the book on their computer and found it already listed in their system. That was a huge advantage.

And the work isn't over yet. I still need to follow up with several of the stores. Some of the decision makers weren't in when I stopped by, and some wanted to read the book before committing time and shelf space to it. I totally respect that.

From the stores I visited, I was able to schedule three events (yes, go ahead and click on that events tab up above now!), and I'm so very thrilled with the reception the owner of Hyde Park Books gave me. She was excited, supportive, and asked me to hold my launch party there. So, please, if you're anywhere within a hundred mile radius (seriously!) come and visit and eat a cupcake and of course, buy a book. ;)

The point of this post is ... even though something might scare the crap out of me, it's totally amazing when the rewards outweigh the cost of pushing through the nerves.

What scares you? Will you push through it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Book Birthday to THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT


Now available! 

The demons strike back!

Lily is working with the angels to stifle the last of the demon outbreaks and to figure out how to stop the Silence of God, so life can get back to boring normality. But all hell breaks loose when she’s stolen from school and brought face to face with the devil himself. Lily has to find her way back home to Luc, crack the prophecy that breaks the curse silencing God, and figure out how she and Luc can ever really be together; but Lucifer has other plans for her that don’t include her ever getting out of Hell in tact.

 

Book One, Speak of the Devil, is currently on sale for $2.99 for the Kindle.

 

Excerpt
 

Why me? I asked this question a lot, when I died, when I lived, when I’d lost my friends, when I’d hooked up with angels, when I was chased by demons, so it seemed trivial to ask it now, but why me? Why couldn’t I have a regular non-angel boyfriend to make out with and not worry about ruining, well, everything for everybody everywhere?

Snap out of it, Lily, I told myself. You have an amazing ability and super-hot— too hot— angel boyfriend, a blessed life that someone upstairs seems to think is valuable and worthy of protection. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and girl up.

“Right, girl up. I can do this,” I said aloud. My body was under control finally and I felt like I could go back to class as long as we got a new scene to work on. But I’d hurt Luc. I had to talk to him. I had to fix it and make it right. He was suffering with this as much as I was and probably more so since he had to have that pious-angel behavior and all.

I stood to go, pushing the vanity chair back as I did so.

“Lily!” someone whispered.
“What?” I turned to see if Cassie was there.
“Lily, look!” It was difficult to tell if it was a male or female voice since it was a whisper.

The voice was coming from behind me. I looked back around – that’s when I saw the surface of the mirror tremble, as though it were liquid. It rippled from the center. “Lilith!” The whisper came from the mirror.

Too late I remembered something Luc and Belle had said about mirrors. The surface splashed out toward me, and though I reflexively turned away and pulled back, the watery mirror grabbed me with its newly formed reflective arms and pulled me inside.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Shawna Romkey, teacher by day, writer by night (or day or whenever anyone leaves her alone long enough to get some work done). Bestselling YA / NA paranormal author of Speak of the Devil. The second in the series, The Devil Made Me Do It, will release July 1.

 

Shawna is from Kansas City, Missouri, but resides in Nova Scotia in a house by the sea with her husband, two sons, and currently two dogs but that’s subject to change depending on the local homeless dog population.

 

For more info, check out her website at www.shawnaromkey.com.

 

Links:

Facebook  |  Twitter  | Pinterest  |  Goodreads 

 

Monday, June 23, 2014

HUGE Giveaway!


The authors at Darkly Delicious YA have banded together for a huge giveaway. With lots of fun prizes, there's something for everyone.

One lucky winner will receive a $40 gift card.

Plus there are lots of other amazing prizes to be had.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Share the news with your friends, and I hope you win!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Week with Teenage Girls

I'm off for a week of girls camp. I love spending time with these awesome people, and they always amaze me with the things they say, do, and share.


I hope your week is wonderful.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Omit Needless Words

Yep. I'm still in the revision trenches and working hard to tighten up my manuscript.

Every time I come across a phrase like: "She did not listen to me." I cringe, because Strunk and White's words pop into my head:

Omit needless words.

Sounds so simple.

And yet, I forget it so often. I'm a rambler, and I like to use a lot of words, but when writing a manuscript ... a lot of unnecessary words does not make it better!

She did not listen to me. = She ignored me.

That cuts the word count in half! That's just one sentence. Imagine how much tighter you could make the entire manuscript!

Here are some more examples:
Do not forget = Remember
A guy thumped his fingers against the microphone. = A guy thumped the microphone.
She put her hands on my shoulders. = She grabbed my shoulders.
He pointed his finger at me. = He pointed at me.
He snapped his fingers. = He snapped.

I'm not telling you to write only two and three word sentences, but I am telling (suggesting and kindly encouraging) you to omit needless words. Cut out the words, phrases, and scenes that readers skip or skim over. Make your manuscript as tight as possible.

Are you writing this weekend? Going camping? Me? I'll be revising.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Uncommon YA

Well - I have joined up with an awesome group of authors over at UncommonYA !!

 
So stop by their BLOG and check out their awesome posts.
 
I'm excited to be a part of their group!
:)
 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Writing Tip: Show What the Character is Doing

Seems simple. Right?

But how many times have you written something like: "She just could not make herself go to the party." or "He did not want to play baseball."

Sometimes sentences like these are necessary, but if you overuse these nondescript phrases, you will lose the reader. They won't be able to connect to the character or the story, because you're not showing what the character is doing.

Pull your readers into the story by putting "statements in positive form."

According to the ever popular book, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Strunk & White, "Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion" (page 19).

When you overuse the word not, your writing is weakened, and "Consciously or unconsciously, the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; the reader wishes to be told what is. Hence, as a rule, it is better to express even a negative in positive form" (page 20).

For example:
not honest = dishonest
not important = trifling
did not remember = forgot

And to rework the two sentences from above:
"She refused to go to the party, because she dreaded seeing her birth dad again."
"He wanted to practice the piano so that one day he'd play in sold-out venues."

When you go back to your manuscript, highlight the word not and any contraction with it (like couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't) and change the sentence to a positive statement showing what the character IS doing. You'll find that your reader will be able to connect with your story on a deeper level.

What do you think? Do you agree with Strunk & White that sentences are stronger in a positive form?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Favorite First Lines

[This post was also shared over at the Darkly Delicious YA blog.]


Reading a novel is a treat, an escape, a joyride, an amazing adventure; and it begins with one sentence. The first line of a story can captivate me or lose me. And my favorite first lines are the ones that are story specific … meaning: that first sentence could not be used to start any other story but this one. Also, I love a first line that poses questions, creates tension, and makes me want to read more … immediately!  

I grabbed a few books off my bookshelf and tested them to see if they met the standards above, and I’m thrilled to say: YES, they did! I loved reading these books the first time, and I’ve kept them on my shelves so that I can enjoy reading them again. While these aren’t all examples from creepy dark young adult books, they do all have great first lines!



ESCAPE FROM EDEN by Elisa Nader: “False prophets!” the Reverend Elias Eden yelled into the dented microphone.



WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson: So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
SEIZE THE NIGHT by Dean Koontz: Elsewhere, night falls, but in Moonlight Bay it steals upon us with barely a whisper, like a gentle dark-sapphire surf licking a beach.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher: Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.

 






 
 

STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova: Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

THE GIRL IN THE WALL by Daphne Benedis-Grab: What do you wear to the birthday party of your ex-best friend?

 

 







ALONG THE WAY HOME by Christi Corbett: Every Wednesday Kate stood on the same front porch, her hand poised inches from the door, willing herself to do the unthinkable – walk away without knocking.

 

 





So … my challenge to you: grab one of your all-time favorite books and put its first sentence to the test. Is it story specific? Does it pose questions, create tension, and make you want to read more?

Or … do you think the first line of a book doesn’t really matter overall?