Sunday, December 30, 2012

13 Reasons Why...Book 51

I'm reviewing the audio book.

"Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list."

This is not my normal sort of book, and it caught my attention from the very beginning. I'd heard a lot about this book from the blog and knew it was about a girl who'd committed suicide. I didn't know about the tapes, but you find out from the very beginning. And from the moment they start rolling, you can sympathize with Hannah.

I find this book to be amazingly well written. Hannah's telling her story through the tapes, and Clay is telling his story between the tapes--we get his thoughts as he's listening. At first, I thought Clay was a jerk--afterall, he is on the tapes. But as the story progresses and things become more and more clear, it was interesting to see that he's not. This was a brilliant debut novel. It addresses the issues of bullying and mental health head on. (Hannah was bullied, but I think she had depression). And what I loved is that the story was so engaging and sparked my attention right from the start that I didn't even care it was an issue book.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christ-Mass

Long, long ago in a land far, far away, in the dead of winter priests walked through the dreary night as not to be seen. The priests searched for a candle flickering in a window. The candle's warm glow indicated the home as a stopping place--not just a safe haven but the location of a celebration. The priest would stay in the home and the owners would invite friends and neighbors for a feast. Before the break of dawn, the priest would offer a mass honoring the birth of the Christ child followed by the feast.

Today, millions around the world still set out late night through the December cold to honor this tradition. Not I, for my little ELF melts if not sleeping tight by eleven, so we shall celebrate by day.

*I don't know if any of this is true. I got the info from a book of Irish folklore. But I do know Irish Christmas music rocks*

Merry Christmas!

Love Beth

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: What have you learned from book blogging that you didn't know before about the publishing industry?

OMG! So incredibly much. In fairness, this is as much a writing blog as it is a book blog, so I started meeting lots of writers and getting involved with industry organizations about the same time. But I've learned so much from blogging. How to write a decent review, what an ARC is, how to write a query, voice. I even taught myself to plot on the blog. I often say I learned more from one year of blogging (and I've been at it three now) than from four years of college.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Point of Retreat Book 49

"Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’"

The crazy good sequel to Slammed. I loved the first book so much I immediately bought the sequel, but I admit I had a little bit of apprehension about it. Slammed was so complete with so much going on that I didn't see what could possibly happen in a sequel or why it needed one. Point of Retreat is like a continuation of Will and Lake's life. It just takes what happens in the first book and builds on it. It's a whole new complete story with the same roller coaster ride intensity. Truthfully, Lake did get annoying for about 1/3 of this book, but she starts acting sane again, and something else big happens. These books are so beautiful.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slammed Book 48

"Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart."

OMG! This book was crazy. Crazy Good! It's hard to talk about this book without giving too much away--things that would ruin your reading experience--but I'm going to try. Layken moves from Texas to Michigan, because after he dad's death her mom can no longer afford their home. This was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard until the middle of the book when the truth about the move comes out. Lake isn't looking happy about the move, because it's her senior year and she had to leave the only house she'd ever lived in and the only school she'd ever attended. But her next door neighbor is hot, nice and into poetry. That makes it easier. After their first date, she discovers something that means they cannot be together but will have to see each other. And from this point on the book is an emotional roller coaster. I pretty much read it one sitting. I didn't start it until late night, so I stayed up unitl 3 am.
5 stars!!! READ THIS BOOK!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Question for Paid Blog Tour Hosts

If you're here for FF go here.

In recent weeks, I've seen several posts on how tired people are of blog tours, yet they seem to continue to be the best way to get the word about your book out there. (And if you write a great book but no one knows about it, it doesn't matter). For a writer, this is scary. People aren't reading blog tours anymore. They're ignoring cover reveals. And how do I get my book out there?

I'm no marketing expert, but from the number of books sold on my blog tour earlier this year, reviews got the most sales. Why then are there so few options for review only tours? Or am I wrong? And people still seem to be reading reviews.

If you're an experienced book promoter (marketer/publicist), I want to talk to you. I'd like to get a guest post or an interview. Maybe, you can answer this question for us.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Follow Friday

Q: What is the last book that made you cry? Tell us about the scene...

Where She Went almost made me cry in several places. It's been a long time since a book made me cry. Dear John definitely did and that was in 2010.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slayed Book 45

First of all, thanks to everyone who has shown interest in my crit group. I'll get back to you early next week, I'm recovering from oral surgery this week, and haven't had time to read the samples.

"The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk.

But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family.

What's a teen vampire slayer to do?"

Okay, so I read this the day before I had my wisdom teeth removed, and I don't remember much, except that it was fun, quick read, different than a lot of PNRs. It didn't have as much romance as I'm used to or as I like, but it still held my attention well. This book is kind of dark. It got scary in places. And it has an interesting concept. Kiki was my favorite character. She becomes the mc's bff. I think this is a 3 star book.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Looking To Start an Online Crit Group

Okay, so I got this idea from the YA Novel Writing Class I took with Nova Ren Summa earlier this year.  Everyone wrote and posted 15 pages/week. It's slightly less than 4000 words, but at 15 pages a week, you can totally finish a book in six months or less. Probably less, because if you stick to 15 pages/week you get on a roll and lots of weeks you'll write more.

We posted these pages for feedback from our 2 crit partners and Nova. But the class is over and I find myself a) needing somewhere to post a required # of pages/week and b) in need of feedback. I'd like to start an online crit structured the same way. This is my hope/goal: If you're interested send a five page writing sample to bethfred08(at) I'll pick one person to help me review 5 page samples from one to two more people. We'll work together to determine a due date for pages and a due date for critiques. We can either share these documents via google, or I'm willing to create a private forum depending on what the group is most comfortable with.

What I'm looking for:
--people who write YA/NA/Clean Romance
--strong writers who have not yet reached their full potential

Critique Style
This group will use a very specific critique style--gentle but honest. Nova never told students something was wrong. She would say she wasn't sure she believed something or she wasn't sure she understood something. The very next line would be "would it be better if ____." The "If" usually was better or at least gave us something to think about to come up w/ something. This critique style pointed out problems without crushing souls, and supplied the writer with options. We will use this critique style.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book 44 The Vampire Stalker

"What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction."

I read this whole book in a day! It was that good. I can remember being skeptical about things a time or two, but never enough to put the book down. I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last page. The concept is fresh for YA paranormal which in a saturated market is nice, and I liked the characters too. I felt all the characters were well rounded and believable. I even found the paranormal concept believable, and I love the term "literary physics." In truth, the romance was not as strong as I usually like, but the story was solid enough that I didn't mind. This is four stars!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG Uncertainty

Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cauvenaugh.

As writers we're always in the face of uncertainty, and that does something to your nerves. I'm not even sure insecure is the right word, maybe the feeling that comes with uncertainty is just nervousness, but I have a lot of it right now.

I've sent ten queries of my YA contemporary romance. More than half of my queries are still out, and I've already got a full request, but we all know a request doesn't mean anything and with all those queries still out, I can't help but wonder what those letters will say. And at the risk of sounding ridiculous, I kind of expected five immediate requests with this manuscript. I know. I know. Don't we all. Hey, in 2011, I once got a rejection letter within seconds of sending the query. At least, I've surpassed that right?

I've applied to a couple of MFA programs and well vetted schools. I expect I'll be accepted to at least one, just because I sought out inexpensive low residency programs that would allow me to write YA and/or romance. It's not so much that I think I'm a great writer or a genius, it's more that I found schools I feel I'm a good match for. Still, it's another chance for a rejection. LOL. And more than that, this is my last week at my part time job as my position was eliminated. I'd planned to work through school to pay the tuition, because I already owe the government more money than I will ever make from undergrad. (It's a hard part time job to replace, because I did it from home taking care of my six month old). I'm attempting to look for scholarships, and I have plenty of time before school starts. But so far, I haven't found any to apply for.

I know that all this stuff is manageable, and it's stuff that most writers will face. But in the face of so much uncertainty, it's hard not to be nervous.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book 43 Lindy's Diary

See the #1 New York Times bestselling story Beastly through Lindy's eyes! This is her diary, kept while living in captivity with the beast. Lindy's Diary captures all the romance and edgy mystery of the original!

I loved Beastly so much I had to read Lindy's Diary. I enjoyed getting to know Lindy more. In fact, there was a line about how she knew it wasn't politically correct and women should rescue themselves, but she wanted a hero. She wanted to be rescued, and she didn't want a guy that needed her. And I thought wow I love Lindy! There did seem to be  some inconsistencies between Lindy's version of events and Adrian's, but other than that I love Lindy's Diary too. I'm not sure I'll read Bewitching, because I don't see any mention of romance. But these were great.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book 42 Beastly

"I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly."

You guessed it. This is a retelling of Beauty & The Beast. And it's my absolute favorite fairytale retelling ever! I heart beastly. It's such a cute story. I think the romance develops in a very mature and adult way, but the teens are still true teens. I loved it, and I think it meets every element of the traditional Beauty and The Beast story exactly.  Five stars, and that's rare around here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goals #2

Update on November's Goals
1. Finish editing A Missing Peace. Done.
2. Write 10 book reviews I wrote 8 (2 haven't been posted yet).
3. Complete my grad school applications Completed one
4. Write Dhamir This did not happen
5. Lose 4 lbs. Done.
6. Work out twice a week  This happened some weeks but not others.
7. Start girl with the dead sister novel This did not happen.

December's Goals
1. Send remaining grad application Done 12/5
2. Write 9 book reviews. (In other words complete P-52)!!!
3. Lose 4 lbs.
4. Write proposal to teach online class
5. Write Demir
6. Work out 3 times/week.
7. Check into costs of blog tours
8. Drink 6 cups of water/day

What are your goals this month?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

And that's an easy answer. 

Ready To Talk

First of all, I want to say thank you for every one who commented or emailed me after reading my last post. Things are already looking better, so I'm ready to talk now. I said that I was upset about things that didn't matter and that wasn't completely true. While the things I was upset about weren't huge, they were small either. I got laid off my part time job the week before Thanksgiving. I totally understand the situation and the decision my employer had to make, but I was still sad. It's true lately I've wished I didn't have a job, because taking care of my little ELF takes A LOT of time. Still, I planned to keep working, because the check was helping with the med bills from delivery and padding our savings.  Now, I'm hoping to teach an online writing/blogging course. Actually, I registered for a class on teaching an online workshop months ago. I just hoped to have my day job, until I was selected for one. I'm sure the competition is steep, but now I'm looking at this as an opportunity, and because I have some ideas for some things that helped me that I would like to share, I may even teach the classes from my own website.

The other thing which may sound trivial is the major dental work I'm in the midst of. I've got seventeen cavities almost to the bone. I may need a root canal and I'm getting four wisdom teeth cut out that should have been done a decade ago. I can't have any sugar or splenda until the whole process is complete, because my teeth are in such bad shape. I know that this is a minor problem compared to things other people face, but geez it has been a loooong holiday season!

Still, I'm feeling better. I appreciate all the support, and my only reason for sharing this is so you know that I wasn't just being a superficial b**** in my last post.

You guys are awesome!!! Thanks again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Hard Post To Write

A couple of years ago, I posted this heartfelt note of thanks. Ironically, on this eve of a day for Thanks, I desperately long to be back at that place. The place where I'm sincerely grateful for what I've accomplished and what I can still accomplish, and for all of those who have helped me along the way. But lately, I've felt blah. Blase. I feel ungrateful, and then I defend that feeling by telling my self I can wallow in my own self pitty if I want to. In spite of the fact, that nothing really bad has happened. Although, lots of small things have happened that I wish hand't. And on an intellectual level I know I have so much to be thankful for, but I don't feel like it. Yet I'm still truly thankful to everyone I mentioned in that letter and I have so many more people to be thankful for than I did two years ago.

Why am I writing this? Am I not afraid people will think I'm some kind of self-centered punk? Of course, I am, but I hope that by saying it out loud, I can get past it. Because as I'm writing this, I realize the problem is I don't have the kind of hope I had two years ago, and that makes it hard to be grateful.

There is one thing I am truly thankful for. My beautiful baby is healthy, and that is worth a lot. Don't get me wrong I'm thankful for my family, but I truly grateful that my daughter is healthy. I've seen so many posts about parents with sick kids, and about kids with cancer and my daughter is the best thing in my life. I can't imagine if having to watch her suffer or worrying I would lose my baby. Every time I see her smile I thank God my baby is healthy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Between the Lines: Edits and Everything Else: Holiday Raffle

Between the Lines: Edits and Everything Else: Holiday Raffle: Happy Monday everyone! It’s November, and the holidays are coming. In honor of the giving spirit, American Editing Services will...

Writing Negative Reviews

The past year and a half in YA has been tumultuous with reviewers piecing together often fair negative reviews, and writers attacking them for it. From authors actually attacking negative reviews of their books to that generic post about book bloggers from Maggie Stiefvater, the issue keeps popping up. I recently saw something from power blogger Parajunkee that said reviewers are not critique partners so she didn't think it was appropriate to openly criticize in public forums.

I've always handled negative reviews like critiques. I try to point out the author's strengths as well as what really did not work for the book. What do  you think is an appropriate way to handle a negative review? I'm not open to the idea of sugar coating or giving a positive review for a book I wouldn't recommend to someone who asked me. So what is a good balance? As an author, I always want to be fair, and I'm not out to hurt careers. Still, I feel for the integrity of my blog, the benefit of my readers, and my own devices (i review to learn) an honest review is necessary.

What do you think? How do you handle negative reviews?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

I have no idea! All of my favorite movies were books first, except for Titanic which did get turned into a book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Catching Jordan Book 38

"What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?"

This book has a voice that stands out from page 1. The characters are well-rounded, although they were hard for me to relate to, because I'm so not a football playing kind of girl. And I'm not really into jocks either. Still, the characters were likeable and there was more going on than just a romance plot. Jordan had issues with her NFL star dad too, because he didn't really want his daughter playing football. This is a love triangle, and it becomes obvious pretty early on that it will be, but it's well developed. And well played. This book was a page turner. I think I read it overnight and I'm home all day w/ a five month old who is in to everything!

There were a few things I didn't like. Lots of kids casually hooking up. Some people say this is realistic, and I saw one reviewer who said this was more realistic than teens having sex b/c "I'll love you forever." Unless, this is your first stop, you know me well enough to know I disagree. I guess it may be more realistic for some people, but my response would be that probably depends on the teen. Also, Ty threatens to break up w/ Jordan unless she's going to be "mature and serious" about him, so I'm not sure he thought it was more casual than love. The other thing I didn't like: Ty. OMG! This guy was so annoying. He was whiney, insecure and controlling, and while these may not be great qualities in a girl they're worse in a guy! Promise.He tells her to be friends with and what to do. He demands she "pick up the phone, when I call," and his excuse for all of it is he lost his parents. But these things were more preference than craft.

I give this book a four star rating. If you like YA contemp romance, you will love this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ISWG: Making It Count

The Insecure Writers Support Group is hosted by Alex Cauvanaugh.

I am insecure today. I'm not doing nano, but I have set some goals for November. I'm afraid I won't get through the list. But my bigger fear is that I do get through the list. I do get through another round of edits on my novel. I do write Dhamir(which I've already attempted and failed once). Then I read what I've written or what I've edited, and it sucks. It's back to square one.

This fear is eating me alive, and then behind that fear is the knowledge that I struggle with anxiety. And getting nervous is only going to depress me which will make me more nervous which will destroy more focus which will mean I can't do anything right, which will lead to more anxiety, further depression, more axiesty, less focus. Truth: the mental state will cause the writing to suffer. All I can do is fight through and hope the writing is good enough. And hopefully I can do that. So here's to making November count.

What are your goals this month?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nowhere Excerpt

I walked around the truck and climbed into the driver’s seat. I started the engine and headed in the direction of her grandfather’s farm. The radio was on; I played with the dials, searching for a song.
Mikayla was the first to speak. “When you drop me off, do you have a sec’?”
“Yeah, I have a two hour break before I have to be back at practice.” Maybe my day wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
“Perfect.” She didn’t say anything else, but left me wondering what she had in mind. She leaned her head back and relaxed as the wind from the open window blew her hair all around. I wasn’t prepared for how happy it made me feel to see her riding in my truck. I could get used to having her next to me.
I waited until we were parked in her driveway to apologize. I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry about yesterday. Thanks for giving me a second chance. What can I do to make it up to you?”
“You just did by giving me a ride home. We can call it even.” She smiled. “Wait here.  I’ll be right back.” She quickly jumped down from the truck and walked toward the house.
Without even being invited, I followed her.
She stopped on the front porch and turned around to face me, “Wait here. And I mean it.”  She pointed her finger at my chest.
“Where are you going?” I asked, but she didn’t respond.
She disappeared into the house, returning a minute later. “Here’s your shirt. I washed it for you.” She held it out to me.
I was taken aback. This was not what I had expected. “I said you could keep it.” I pushed it back at her.
“You said a lot of things.”  She sounded both angry and hurt.
Finally I understood why she had me drive her home. She wasn’t giving me a second chance; she was paying me back for standing her up. She led me here on false pretenses only to let me down. “So you are mad about yesterday.” She didn’t say anything but the angry look on her face said it all. “I really was helping my dad change a tractor tire. I called. Did Emma tell you?”
“Yeah and she also said that you’d call back.”
“I took a shower and then crashed.” I didn’t tell her that I’d decided she’d be better off without me. “Changing a tractor tire isn’t as easy as it sounds.”  I took a deep breath. Lowering my voice and changing my tone, I added, “I’m sorry I didn’t call. Can you give me another chance?”
“No.” She turned to disappear back into the house.
I couldn’t let her go that easy. I had to get her to change her mind about me. I reached out and in one swift move I pulled her against my chest. I could feel her heart beating against mine. I paused one second too long the other night and I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. I dipped my head down. I couldn’t wait to taste the sweetness of her mouth. I was inches away from touching my lips to hers when she stiffened in my arms.
She pushed against my chest with both hands. I let her go. “It’s time for you to leave, James.” She stormed inside, slamming the door behind her.
I bent over and picked up my fallen shirt. I left it neatly folded on the swing. I wanted her, but I could wait. Forcing her to feel something that she wasn’t ready for was not my style. She’d come around. She wouldn’t have bothered to go to such extremes to get back at me if she didn’t care. I’d give her time to cool down and then I’d be back.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


November is here. The Holiday season is officially upon us, and in the holiday spirit I've decided to give everyone who participated in the Hollow Bloghop an ebook of Kismet. If you did not participate, but want an ebook tell me in the comments (and leave your email). If you participated but did not leave an email please do so. If you've already left an email, you can expect your book this weekend.

New meme! Kind of. Each month I'm going to post my goals for the month on the first day of the month, and on the last day I'm going to pop up to let you know how I did.

1. Finish editing A Missing Peace.
2. Write 10 book reviews
3. Complete my grad school applications
4. Write Dhamir
5. Lose 4 lbs.
6. Work out twice a week
7. Start girl with the dead sister novel

What are your goals this month? Check back at the end of the month!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WOW: Whisper Falls

WOW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. My pick this week is Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston and published by Spencer Hill. It's expected to be available November of 2013.

The cover caught my interest and I loved the blurb!

"While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she's crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.

Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering--and temperamental--barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she's trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can't stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Destroy Me Book 35

"Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release ofUnravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn inDestroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45."

I enjoyed this book, but I have no idea what Tahereh Mafi was trying to accomplish with it. I totally sympathize with Warren, and I want him to get Juliette. I remember how badly I wanted things to work out for Juliette in Adam in Shatter Me, but I don't care anymore. I need Warren to get his girl! Mafi's emotional writing style is back in full force. But I'm sure Juliette's not going to go for Warren who I think is the more interesting choice now. And I want to see her help redeem him. I think that would just be the most beautiful love story ever.

The one thing that bothered me about this book is that something big happens and the book just ends. Ends at what should be the midpoint. This is truly a 3.5 star book, but I'm giving it 3 because there is no half star on goodreads.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Follow Friday

Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

I used to hate present tense, but I've gotten use to it now. I guess there is no one trick that drives me crazy, but I don't like poor craft, especially underdevloped characters. And it's not really a device, but I hate reading a romance novel where the writer relies on sex instead of relationship building.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hollow Bloghop

Reminder, if you have a U.S. Mailing address, you can win a stack of books here.

The Hollow Bloghop is being hosted by Sunset Reviews and Forbidden Passions.

For my part, I'm giving away two ARCs of Kismet. The contest is international, and you don't have to be a follower to win. If you like me stick around.  If not, no hard feelings. But I would like it, if you would mark Kismet as "To Read" on goodreads.

The Next Big Thing Week 20

If you are here for the Hollow Bloghop go here, and you can win a stack of books here.

I was tagged by Rachele Alpine, and I think her debut novel just came out, so look for Canary.

What is the working title of your work-in-progress?
A Missing Peace

Where did the idea come from? 
I think from life. In college, all of my friends were international--Asian. My husband is Indian, like straight from India. We've faced a lot of discrimination (sorry, I don't know what else to call it). The green card interview we had to go through was both dehumanizing and alienating, and my own family members supported, because, "we have to make sure people that come here aren't terrorists." The government employee at the interview said the same and went furhter--"it's your fault you're here. You could have just as easily married an American citizen and you wouldn't have to be here." My Catholic sunday school teacher of a husband was and is not a terrorist. He has been mistaken for a Muslim or an Arabic more than once. The obvious answer is, "Wow, you're way off." But what if he was? I don't think it would matter. So I wanted to write something about a love that survived intercultural hatred. My thought was a U.S. soldier and a Muslim woman. Icouldn't figure out how to make it YA. Without knowing this, my husband told me to write something  about a refugee and a soldier's kid. I decided to make the refugee Iraqi, because I wanted her to have an upper class background. A Missing Peace was born.

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a film version?
I have no idea.

Write a one-paragraph summary

Angry seventeen year old Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen,Texas, where the main attraction is a military base, and army brats like Caleb Miller think it's okay to call her beautiful or anything other than her name.
Mirriam turns him down in front of everyone. But Caleb is not discouraged and volunteers to be her partner for a government project, so he can woo her to prom and win a bet. As the two start spending time together, Mirriam proves to be a good friend to have. When Caleb's leg is crushed in a hit and run, Mirriam is there to pull him out of the street and push him to keep living. She's also able to tell him the shocking truth about his soldier father's death. Something the other soldiers would never do. That single truth changes both of their lives and strengthens their bond.
Caleb and Mirriam have fallen hard for each other, but when her family finds out, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. She must find a way out.

How long did the first draft take to write?
With the exception of 20 pages I'd written earlier, about ten weeks. And I was taking care of a new born! GO me!

What other books would you compare this to, in your genre?
If I had to compare, I would say Perfect Chemistry. But I've never seen anything quite like this in YA. It's Romeo&Juliet meets a military cover up.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See where the idea came from.

What else about this story might pique the readers’ interest?
It's fast paced with a good deal of action and a whole lot of romance.

I'm tagging for next week:
Nickie Anderson
Patrice Caldwell
Lauren Ritz
Kate Larkindale

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 Sentence Pitch

Can you guys help me turn the stuff below into a three sentence pitch.
My Attempt...
Seventeen year-old Iraq war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen, Texas where the main attraction is a military base, and army brats like Caleb Miller think it's okay to call a gril you don't know beautiful, or anything other than her name. Forced to spend time together by a government project, the two become an inseparable pair, and when Mirriam is able to tell Caleb the hidden truth about his soldier father's death their lives are irrevocably changed.When her family learns about her new found love, their response is to arrange her marriage with an Iraqi man, and Mirriam is desperate to find a way out of this arrangement--to be with Caleb.

Query Blurb

Angry Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen,Texas, and hates that boys like Caleb Miller think it's okay to call a girl you've never met beautiful—or anything other than her name.
After Mirriam turns him down in front of everyone, Caleb's up to the challenge of taking her to prom when his friends dare him. As the two start spending time together, Mirriam proves to be a good friend to have. When Caleb's leg is crushed in a hit and run, Mirriam is there to pull him out of the street and push him to keep living. She's also able to tell him the shocking truth about his soldier father's death. Something the other soldiers would never do. That single truth changes both of their lives and strengthens their bond.
Caleb and Mirriam have fallen hard for each other, but when her family finds out, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. She must find a way out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Reluctant Bachelorette Excerpt

I love clean romance (and there isn't nearly enough of it) and supporting writers, so today we have an excerpt from The Reluctant Bachelorette!

  “So relieved to know you keep everyone’s orders private.” Taycee leaned across the table and whispered loudly, “Because I’d die if anyone found out I’d ordered a chicken salad sandwich with
curly fries.”
   “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that then,” a deep voice spoke from behind. “I’d hate to see you die before we have a chance to catch up.”
   Taycee froze even as her heart pounded. No. Not now. Not here. Not when she was wearing her oldest jeans and rattiest T-shirt and arguing with none other than Liza Woolrich. It wasn’t
   Slowly, Taycee twisted around, and then clenched her jaw to keep it from dropping. It was like watching the Captain America movie where the scrawny guy goes into the machine and comes out
looking . . . well, everything but scrawny. Not that Luke could have ever been called scrawny before. Skinny, maybe, but that was about it. Now, he looked toned. Robust. Solid. And drop-dead gorgeous. His dark, wavy hair was shorter now, but his eyes—those amazing, beautiful eyes—were still that rich coffee color that used to melt her heart.
   Used to. Used to, Taycee! Get a grip. It’s been ten years for Pete’s sake. 

To find out more about The Reluctant Bachelorette or author Rachel Anderson visit her here. What books are you looking forward to?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Follow Friday

You can win a stack of books here.

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q: When you step out of your usual genre what do you read? Best books in that genre?
I think it's safe to say my usual genre is YA though that may be changing. Most recently other than YA I've read clean adult romance(and I love this too). Best in that genre is Maddy's Oasis, or probably anything by Lizzy Ford.

Insane Contest

I'm giving away books! Lots of them. I would like to include pictures, but that involved moving to a computer with a card reader, and while ELF is being quiet I have to make a go of this.

So just trust me.

I have an autographed copy of Cold Fury available internationally.  For people with a U.S. shipping address I have:

Thou Shall Not Road Trip
Size 12 Is Not Fat(adult; cozy)
Where I Belong, and A Long Way From You (this is the complete series)
A Hero For WandLa (MG)
Geek High
You Against Me(hardback)
When You Were Mine(hardback)
Pregnant Pause(hardback)
The Future of Us(hardback)
Blackwood (autographed)

You do not need to be a follower. The one mandatory entry is that you go here and tell Robert, "Beth says hi." You will get an extra entry for liking The Book Stall's fb page (even if you did it for a previous contest as long as you have not "unliked" them). You will get five extra entries for grabbing my button. I worked hard on that button. Haha. I've been trying to learn to make a button since April. And of course one extra entry for every social networking site provided you leave links. I will  need to know in the comments if you're international or domestic. Thanks! Contest ends next Thursday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bright Star Cover Reveal

Can I just say that is an interesting cover?! Bright Star by Nickie Anderson will be available Nov. 21.

It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches theBright Star fall out of the sky.
The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.

What books are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why You Should Query That Horrible Manuscript

Yep. Time for more of Beth's unconventional wisdom. (If you don't like it, don't listen, but hear me out).

So you wrote a book. If this is the first time you've done that, chances are it sucks. It's okay. It's tens of thousands of words of experience you wouldn't have under your belt had you not taken the plunge. If you're like me, your instincts are strong enough to tell you it sucks, but maybe not strong enough to know how to make it not suck. You've heard all the horror stories of the dreaded first manuscript. How other writers are so embarrassed by their first ms they wish they hand't shown it to anyone, so you put that horrible first manuscript in a drawer, preferably one with a lock.

The next manuscript you write will be better. While I'm not willing to guarantee it because there is always the exception, it's almost a certainty. However, when you're ready to query that next stronger, better manuscript, you've never written a query letter. Your first query letter will most likely suck too. Why? First of all, they're hard to write. Knowing what to include and what not to is almost an art in and of itself. But also because like writing, and like most things in life, you get better at writing queries with experience. And there are things you can learn--valuable lessons--from a query it's hard to learn otherwise, like taking lots of rejection, what works/what doesn't, how to construct that intro research paragraph about how well you know a perfect stranger.

Your first manuscript has about the same odds of becoming the next bestseller as you do of winning the lottery, but writing a query doesn't cost a dollar. Keep this in mind while querying it (so you don't buckle into a spiraling depression). But you can learn, and what you learn from attempting to market your work is as important as what you learn about your work. Sometimes you get feedback, "I see potential, but ___." No one likes the "but," however that "but" tells you what to improve on next time.

For the record, I did not query my first manuscript, because it sucked. I had a friend who did query her first manuscript, though she later decided it was not so great. However, we started querying our second manuscripts at about the same time, and I was way behind the learning curve on the process. Do I regret not querying that first horrible manuscript that absolutely would not have gotten published? Sometimes. Because I think the experience for my second manuscript might have gone differently if I had. My second full length manuscript, received about 100 rejections. But by the time I queried the last 15 people, I'd gotten so good at queries I had started getting requests. Imagine what the outcome would have been if I'd started querying with that experience under my belt. 85 chances I wouldn't have wasted. I've only queried once since then. The second time I queried three small presses with a short story. I got two full requests. Not bad results.
Did you query your first manuscript?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guy Speak

Before we get started there is a review of Kismet at Art from the Heart today.

I got the suggestion early in my manuscript that I needed to punchier dialogue for a conversation--"guy speak" was the term.

I need help putting this convo in the lingo:

Josh and Matt both laughed. “You're on a roll man,” Matt said. “And that's sad cause Kailee...”
            He didn't finish the sentence, but he didn't have to. I knew what he was thinking. Kailee's easy. Everyone had said it since the freshman year. But all of my friends wanted to date her.
            I was glad I didn't defend Mirriam when Kailee called her a raghead. This girl had only been here for five minutes, and she already knocked me down. “I can still get any girl I want.” I leaned in, so Kailee couldn't hear me. “Kailee and I will be at Kevin's party Friday night.”
            “That doesn't prove anything. Kailee wants to jump your bones, and everyone knows it,” Josh said.
            “And you don't want her, and everyone knows that,” Matt added.
            I didn't answer.
            “I don't think you can get any girl you want anymore,” Josh said.
            Matt nods. “He's just another football player now.”
            “How do you want me to prove it?” I growled. I wasn't used to being humbled like this, and it grated on my nerves.
            “Get Mirriam,” they say.
            “Fine. I'm not really into Muslims, but before the year ends, Mirriam and I will go on a date.”
            Josh shook his head. “Take her to prom.”
            Well, that would only shave off two weeks I could still do it. “Or?”
            “If you don't, you owe me $1,000, and you have to drive around with one of those stupid on your gear shift and a fuzzy pink cover on your steering wheel for the rest of the year.”
            “And when Mirriam and I see you at prom, you owe me $1200 and you're driving around the same.”
            Josh laughed hysterically and Matt echoed him. “It's a deal, but just curious, how do I end up paying more?”
            “You don't have to put with Mirriam all night. Pain and suffering."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness...

I don't know. Twilight or The Secret Circle, because of the vampires and witches, or maybe something with a rich fall setting. 

Query Help

Dear Agent,

Insert research statement. I would like to share my contemporary YA romance, A Missing Peace with you. It's Romeo&Juliet meets a military cover up.

Angry Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen,Texas, and hates that boys like Caleb Miller think it's okay to call a girl you've never met beautiful—or anything other than her name.
After Mirriam turns him down in front of everyone, Caleb's up to the challenge of taking her to prom when his friends dare him. As the two start spending time together, Mirriam proves to be a good friend to have. When Caleb's leg is crushed in a hit and run, Mirriam is there to pull him out of the street and push him to keep living. She's also able to tell him the shocking truth about his soldier father's death. Something the other soldiers would never do. That single truth changes both of their lives and strengthens their bond.
Caleb and Mirriam have fallen hard for each other, but when her family finds out, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. She must find a way out.
Told in alternating points of view, A Missing Peace, is complete at 52,700 words.
Per your submission guidelines, I have attached _____.
Thank you, 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Admitting Defeat

Last week, I issued a challenge to help improve my use of language. I set out to write flash fiction limiting myself to words found in five books. I didn't realize skimming for words in a papberback is far more difficult than searching for them in a word doc. (Duh, Beth). So I've written a flash fic (yesterday's haven't started on today's). I made a list of words used in my story and started crossing them off as I came to them, but it's taking forever, and with my four month old incessantly screaming, it's just not going to happen. Once I determined what words I was/was not allowed to use I'd need to rewrite. So I'm admitting defeat. There's a story below if you're interested.

I perched on a large rock looking up at the land. At the life I would never have. A tall handsome man strolled along the sidewalk in front of the beach. I watched him like I did every day A bubbly blonde with a fake smile bounded at him from a cottage across the street, handing him a coffee cup. I saw more than the fake smile plastered to her face. I knew this girl was not who he thought she was. He deserved better. Like me. Yeah, right. I'd need legs to have a chance with him. One more thing I would never have.

As I was about to leap back into the water and swim away, a beautiful woman sat down beside my rock. She looked me right in the eye. Humans couldn't usually see me. Interesting.

"I saw you watching him," she said.

"You're very observant," I said not sure my voice worked in a pitch humans could hear.
"That girl isn't what he thinks."
"Again with the observations."
"If you had legs you could give him another option."
"I know," I said the sarcasm gone from my voice.
"I'd be willing to trade you. I could give you legs for a lock of your hair."
I plucked a strand of my hair and gave it to the woman. Lightning cut across the sky, and the next thing I knew I was stretching long slender legs across my stone. Exposed except for my bra top.
"Clothes?" I asked.
"I promised legs not garments. You're on your own," she cackled.
There was a public beach a little further down. I shot my head from side to side making sure no one was around. Then, I scurried across the sand wanting desperately to savor the feel of it against my feet but not daring to stop until I reached the coveted sundress thrown against the ground. Someone would be missing this later, and for that I was sorry. But I needed it now.
I pulled the dress over my head and not knowing what else to do walked into a little cafe along the beach. The man I watched every morning sat at a stool along the bar in the back of the room.
"I want coffee," I said. I always dreamed of drinking coffee.
My handsome man looked at me and smiled then back to the woman behind the bar. "On me, Chloe."
He touched the empty stool beside him. "Sit down," he said to me. I was lost on land with legs I wasn't steady on yet, but his warm smile told me everything would be okay.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Is it to one day become an author yourself, just for fun, maybe get some online attention, or maybe something very different?

For me, it's to improve my writing. I started my first blog to have somewhere to write every day, because I heard writing every day would improve my writing. I realized quickly I had nothing to say and started reviewing books. I learned so much doing reviews! I still do reviews, and now, when I find an aspect of craft I'm bad at, the blog is the perfect place to hone that skill. The greatest part is people with more experience often stop by and tell me how I'm doing. For example, when I was working plotting, I would post plot points to well known books and let people tell me how accurate my analysis was.

The Challenge

If you were around Wed. you know I issued a challenge. Here it is. Next week will be flash fiction week on Beth's Blog. I will be writing a story each day (less than 1000 words) using only the words available in the first five pages of well known books.

When I announced the challenge, I wasn't sure which five books I would use. Studying opening pages to pick five excellent books to use, I've already learned something. See, I was looking forward to the opening five pages of Wintergirls. "Body found in a motel room. Alone." How could you not craft a good story out of that? Then I realized body, found, in, a, motel, room, alone are seven individual words. Alone none of these words are especially dramatic. It's the combination, "Body found in a motel room. Alone," that sends a chill down your spine. But that's Laurie's combination not Beth's. I can't write an original story using her combination. So I've put a challenge within a challenge. I'll be writing a romance using only words found in the first five pages of Wintergirls, and a chick-lit style break up scene using only the words found in the first five pages of Lonesome Dove.Ha! McMurtry have a cow! (And fortunately he supplied me with the word pig)!

You're welcome to take part in the challenge. If you leave a link, I'll read your stories.

1. write a story using only the words found in the first five pages of that day's book.
2. Tell us which book you found words from somewhere in the post.
3. You may create names for your characters using something other than words found in the book. This is the only exception.
4. Push yourself. Do not borrow phrases from the author.
5. Get creative. You're limited by words not punctuation.

Mon-Imaginary Girls
Tues-Shatter Me
Fri-Lonesome Dove (I chose this one, because it's not YA so the language is different, it's well known (successful), written by a fellow Texan, and was my Grandpa's favorite book).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: Totally Secure!

As you know The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. And it's a funny day for it, because I'm feeling completely secure. Don't get me wrong, I still suck. I suck less than I did two years ago, and in two years I will probably suck even less. Recently, I talked about the progress I've made, and the way I still had to go here. But in spite of my use of language being weak (or maybe not even weak just not as strong as I would like it to be), my re-writes are going well. I'm enjoying my manuscript and feeling entirely optimistic today. Rather than ranting (which I have been known to do) I'd rather move forward. New goals. New lessons to learn. Progress.My vocab is limited for a writer, and my use of language could be stronger. Fine, I'll teach myself to use stronger language the way I taught myself to plot or blog.

In fact, I'm issuing a challenge. Next week, I'm writing flash fiction for five days. Each day, I will be writing a beginning, middle, and end limited to the words found in the first five pages of my favorite works. There may be a couple of poems thrown in for good measure. After all, we have five days to cover. Feel free to join me.

I can do this. I am confident. In the process, I will strengthen my use of language and learn to bend words before my third set of rewrites.


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Journey

Not so long ago I took a writing class taught by the amazing Nova Ren Suma. Her agent came to one of our chat sessions (it was an online class) and answered questions about the industry and about writing for one full hour. One thing he said really caught my attention, "It's a journey, not a goal post." I understood what he was getting at, but I didn't really believe it. I felt that if I got an agent (I'd still like an agent), I would be happy, because my writing has improved so much.
My writing has improved. In Dec. of 09, I started writing Redemption. I finished it in Jan of 10, and it sucked. Everything about it sucked. It mimicked Stephenie Meyer's voice (nothing wrong w/ her voice except that it's not mine), there was way too much physical description, and the characters were not well rounded. I knew it sucked. I did  not know how to fix it, so I didn't revise. I didn't even write for a while. I just read. A few months later (March or April of 10) I started writing Phantom Fires, which I still refuse to believe sucks. But it has some problems. Primarily, the plot. It does have one. It's just not strong and with all the subplots, it's hard to tell what the main plot is. Determined to improve, I wrote Chance Encounters. It sucked as bad as the Redemption. Back to square one. But the problem was still plot and pacing. With an identified problem, I could find a solution.

I started taking books apart on my blog. All of my favorites, and I tried to stay with well known books, so I could ask people if I had correctly identified the plot points. I found I had a harder time identifying the main plot in a paranormal romance. Interesting, because this was primarily what I wrote. With a new understanding of plotting, I wrote a short story, and a novel for Nova's class. I did improve on plot and pacing--like ten fold. So much so that where my pacing used to be slow, now it's almost rushed. (I can fix this). My plot is strong. (Yay!) But now that I'm rewriting the novel I can see my use of language is weak. Too many overused words. Too many un-needed words (and this word count is already low). New problems. Now, I need to improve my use of language. At this point, I can see I will constantly be trying to take my writing to the "next" level. It's a journey not a goal post.

Any suggestions for improving actual language? Where are you on the journey?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison and Parajunkee.

Q: What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

I guess because I ready mostly YA, I haven't had to look a word up since 2010. I don't remember the book or even the word. But for a while I kept a chart of words and definitions, so I know I have had to look up a word.

If you stop by, please leave a link so I can visit you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I Feel About the Book Industry

Substitute "drunk girls" with nerd girls, and these are my thoughts exactly.

Edited: This was supposed to be funny. But I see I've gotten pageviews w//o comments, so I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've got questions & I'm seriously hoping you have answers!

  1.  I have a couple of other blog pages, but I can't seem to get them to show up anywhere, though I've published them. Does anyone know how to do this?
  2. Can someone tell me how to make a button?
  3. Marketing-- How do you market a book in a genre you have no contacts in?
  4. Has anyone ever paid to have a blog tour organized? What could one expect to pay for this?
  5. I had more questions than this, but can't remember the rest. Which probably means I'll be doing the same post again in the near future.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q: What hyped up book was worth all of the fuss?

TWILIGHT. Sure, lots of others were, but after I fell in love with Twilight, I started a book blog. Meaning, lots of times I read the book before the hype. Ha! ;)

OH... If you like to review "sweet romance," please let me know in the comments. I may have a short fix for you ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Digital Rights Management (It Doesn't Say What You Think It Does)

Before we get started, you can find an excerpt of Kismet at the Daily Harrell.

I think for an author I may have a unique view on digital rights management and piracy. I don't like DRM. I don't hate piracy. Yep. I said it. Hear me out, before you call me crazy.

DRM often limits the devices a reader can access your story on. That means if I want to buy your book, but your DRM software doesn't work with my reading device of choice, I'm probably not going to buy your book. If I do, and I can't read it or have a hard time reading it, I associate your name with a reading process that is a pain in the butt. Even if I associate your name with a story I love--it was still a pain in the butt. If I only liked the story, it wouldn't be worth it. In short, I think DRM can cost an author sells.

Piracy may cost an author sells, but it offers exposure. Yes, I know. Stealing is stealing. On the flip side, most people aren't willing to spend money on an author they don't know. If a reader finds your work for free from a slightly less than legal source, you may become his/her new favorite author. You wrote a book they illegally borrowed, but books are usually out legally long before they're available illegally. If someone loved your work (which they wouldn't have seen otherwise), they are likely to buy your next work, and the one after that, and the one after that. Don't get me wrong. I understand the business sense, that we have to be careful about how many books we give away, and I don't like the idea of a website making money off my work and me not. I just think when we consider DRM software, we need to think it through. Are we willing to give a book away for discoverability? Do we want to protect our work to the point of losing potential readers? Also, lots of times downloads come from countries where the book isn't legally available, so did we actually lose anything?

For what's it's worth my thought is that you should copyright protect your work. You should not use DRM. If my work is being illegally given away for free and still has my name on the cover, I don't care that much (unless and until I'm a best seller--then things get more complicated). If my work is being given away for free with someone else's name on the cover, I've copyrighted, so that will change and I will be paid restitution. If my work is being sold illegally, I sue.

What are your thoughts on DRM?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Setting

First off, congratulations to Ruth. She won my contest hosted by Kelly Hashway.

I've never understood that common thought in the writing community that setting should be another character. I've often thought setting wasn't really that important. Yet, I've often been told I'm good at setting. Ironic, because the  only thing I've ever really done to achieve a "quality" setting is write places and cultures I know.

I recently realized whether I knew it or not I've been good at setting, because I understood one thing. Whether a writer a hits you over the head with setting or not, a story takes place where it does for a reason. It could only happen to these characters in this setting. My husband's family is visiting from India right now. They've made it perfectly clear they're not fans of U.S. culture. My father-in-law picked my copy of Climbing the Stairs up and began reading it. Denying the whole time, that it's a romance novel. Finally, he admitted it was a romance, but there was a lot about Indian culture woven into it. This is true, because it's set in India during World War II. In that moment, I realized all books have culture woven intricately into them. A story can only happen in that setting.

That's when I realized I'm good at setting, because I write places I know well. I set stories in a culture I understand (a culture that I don't always agree with). When I start a new story, I think where does it make sense for this to happen. My brain links back to places I've lived and things I've seen and generates a match. This will almost always be in the South, since that's where I spent most of my life. Once I know my character's world, I move on to writing. That's it. That's all I do to be "good" at setting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me & Kismet Release

It is 9/11. I am 28 today, and Kismet is now available!

If you don't know what to get me, buy my book ;). LOL Just joking, but it would be nice though :D.

Tiffany is a hard-working accountant with no time for love. After escaping her sister's too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she meets a local guy, Luke in the bar. When they're forced to spend time together, Tiffany lets her guard down, but she still has to return to the US in two days. Will the airport be their final goodbye? 

The tour kicks off tomorrow on Kelly Hashway's Blog. I'll be giving away a couple of books, so please drop by and say hi. And I still have a few reviewer copies of Kismet to give away, so if you're interested email me at bethfred08(at) with a link to your blog. Thanks! 

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