Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday with a twist of lime.

I suppose you can use lemon if you'd prefer, but I'm a lime kind-of-gal.

Life is full of obstacles, hurdles, twists and turns. I've spoken many times about the importance of setting goals, having a finish line. But each finish line should bring about new and bolder goals. The purpose of setting goals is to grow.

Keeping this in mind, lets play a little campfire game. I'll start a story and each of you add to it in the comments and we'll see how much we grow.

As the road twists and winds before me, I stop for a moment to take a breath. Lavender and cedar whirl around my head, soaking my pores in the memories I must leave behind.
'K, now your turn. 

Have fun with this. There are no right or wrong paths this story can take. It's all up to our growth.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WRITER WEDNESDAY: Playing the Field

No, I'm not talking about dating ... (although that would be totally appropriate for a YA blog, right?)

This post is actually on the topic of writing in different genres, age groups, story lengths, POVs, etc. For my first couple manuscripts, I tended to stick with the same formula ... first person POV, past-tense, YA paranormal romance, first draft complete at about 65k.

And then I started playing around. I wrote a couple short stories. I wrote a manuscript that was in multiple 3rd person POV. I toyed with ideas in science fiction, contemporary, horror, and my latest project involves dabbling in high fantasy.

I think it's important sometimes to break out of your comfort zone and try new things. See what works and what doesn't - especially if you haven't been published yet. Because once you're published it's very easy to find yourself stuck on a platform. Your agent and editor may want you to write several novels in that genre in order to establish your audience before you start playing around with something else. Or you may choose to have a penname if your topics are drastically different and you don't want your audiences overlapping!

Do you ever try different styles of writing? Could you see yourself writing something different?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SURRENDER BLOG TOUR: Interview and giveaway!

Since my time first dipping my toes into the YA waters, and paddling in the stream of social networking, I’ve made a few online writer friends. I’m proud to be part of the Oasis here, not just for the posts on the blog but the writers behind them. Equally amazing are our readers, and author friends. Elana Johnson is one of those Oasis friends, and we all adore her.
Surrender, her second book released last month, and Elana has been all over the blogosphere with guest posts and giveaways, etc. Since this blog was founded on the principal of providing an Oasis of calm and support for our readers, I wanted to make sure to give that to Elana, too, when I signed us up to help out with her promo.
So, instead of more questions about her books, I decided to try to get to know the author behind those stories better. So, thank you readers for your time and attention, and thank you Elana for gracing the Oasis for YA with your presence!
Oasis: I’m not sure, but I think it might have been an online discussion about bacon, or my #Hated posts on Twitter that brought us together, but I remember having that fangirl moment. “OMGee! Elana Johnson is talking to me?!” Are there authors out there who make your heart pitter-patter, that you feel blessed to know?
Elana: Um, all of them. I especially like it when I’m reading my friends’ books, and I’m like, “I know this person! This is so cool.”
I will say that if Scott Westerfeld would just once—just ONCE—tweet me, my life would be complete. I would even take a re-tweet. Just ONCE, Westerfeld!
Oasis:  I see from you League of Extraordinary writer’s bio that you like dystopians because of the limitless possibilities. What in you do you think draws you to the no-boundaries type of story?
Elana:  My rebellious streak? Ha. But no, really. I’m a black-and-white person. There are things that are right, and things that are wrong. There is good and evil. There is bacon and there are vegetables. (HA.) So I like things that line up and are neat and organized. I follow almost all the rules, and I always have.
But in writing, I don’t want to follow the rules. I don’t want someone telling me I can’t do something. I want to be free to create whatever I want. So my rebellious nature comes out loud and clear in my writing, which is why I love a good dystopian novel.
Oasis:  You’re involved in Write-On Con, are a tireless supporter of writers, an activist I’m proud to know on some level beyond the typed word, and am deeply honored to have blurbed my book. Your blog is a wealth of information on the publishing world, and you’re a founding author of the Query Tracker blog. Your free downloadable ebook From the Query to the Call is available on your website. What prompts you to be so involved in helping and encouraging writers to become authors? What led you to write, and make From the Query to the Call for writers?
Elana:  I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was like, five years old. I think some people are born teachers, and I think I’m one of them. I don’t mean that like, “I’m so much better than you,” but you know what I mean. Some people are born to dance. Some are born to draw. Some are born to teach.
So it’s an innate quality. I can’t imagine not helping and encouraging other writers. I have an “You can do whatever you want with your life,” mentality that extends out of my classroom and into my life. Into writing. You want to be a writer? Great! Do it. You can do it. Anyone can do it.
I wrote and released From the Query to the Call because the querying stage for authors is one of the most debilitating. It’s hard to write a query letter. It’s hard to be rejected. It’s hard to know exactly what to do. And I was living it. (Over and over.) So I thought someone could benefit from my experience.
Oasis:  I know I’m still in awe of all you do to help lift up and promote wordsmiths on their path navigating the publishing world. Someday when I gather my legs under me, I hope to take a few lessons from you. If there were one thing you would want left as your legacy to the publishing world, what would you choose?

Elana:  Oooh, tough one. I’d hope people would remember me for my overall enthusiasm and kindness. I try hard to put both of those out there front and center in all I do online.

Oasis:  If there were only one thing you would want readers to take away from your stories, what would it be?
Elana: This is also a hard one! My stories are all about free choice, and who’s influencing your choices, so I guess I’m hoping people will examine their lives and determine why they choose to do what they do.
Oasis:  Is there anything you would like to share with the Oasis readers about your latest release SURRENDER, or the world it’s set in?
Elana:  SURRENDER really widens the lens on the Possession world. We’re in the capital city, in the underground movement of the Insiders, and hopefully readers will get a fuller understanding of what Vi, Jag, and Zenn are up against. 
About Elana: Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

About SURRENDER: Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….


Elana has generously offered up a signed hardcover of both POSSESSION and SURRENDER!! Fill out the Rafflecopter thingy below for a chance to win both books, and a denim book tote sewn by me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: 5 Star Reads

Can you believe we're half way through June?  That means we've lost 5.5 months of this year already.  I mean -- REALLY? (Ok, I'm over it.  Sort of.) But since we're 5.5 months into the year, I thought I'd share some of my 5-star reads from the year.

Granted, they didn't all come out this year, these are just the ones I actually read this year.  If your tastes run to a sweet love story with any sort of paranormal twist, you might want to consider checking these out.  Some are Indie, some are mainstream, but I enjoyed them all.  I'm linking back to my Goodreads reviews so you can find out more about them and why I enjoyed them so much too.

Before you go, please share some of your favorite reads this year.  I can use the help organizing my TBR pile!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sirenz: Back in Fashion Review + Contest

Sirenz:  Back in Fashion by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Publisher: (June 8, 2012))
Paperback: 288 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Author
In Sirenz, boarding school roomies Meg and Shar learned the hazards of making a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The wearing of a Tiffany's diamond ring in Sirenz Back In Fashion reactivates their contract, they find themselves back in his employ as sirens. And things are a little different this time; Shar is whisked off to the Underworld to play hostess as the dark god attempts to win her affections, while Meg is stuck topside, obligated to send spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson to the Underworld. Hot gods, mere mortals and the Underworld have their secrets. Will Meg and Shar ever ditch Hades, and keep their wardrobes and souls intact?
REVIEW: Greek mythology retellings seem to be all the rage lately. And for good reason. Greek gods are hotties! I mean, they had Adonis, right?  :)  Anyway, Sirenz: Back in Fashion, like it's predecessor takes place in New York City, following the lives of former frenemies Meg and Shar and the incredibly hot, but overzealous Hades--God of the Underworld.  If you read Sirenz, then you know that Hades once gave Shar a HUGE ring. One that, unfortunately, resembled one of his dear wife's, Persephone.  Shar decides to try it on, just once, before she donates it to charity and, as is the problem with all Greecian gifts from the gods--this gift comes with a catch. Now Shar has to live with Hades and is ever half-naked and yummy self, while poor Meg gets stuck trying to deal with not only the aftermath of Shar being gone, but get her new roommate, Paulina, to trade places with Shar using the Cerulian Hind.
          Of course, that's much easier said than done, and the task is filled with hilarious twists and turns, including a point where Meg ends up being filmed on TV talking to a chocolate doll. 
  Characters: While most of the original cast is back, including the yummy Jeremy and Persephone, there's been some wonderful additions, including my favorite, Cerberus.  Who's definitely all bark and no bite. As long as you have a bone, or a whole body of them, to throw. Shar was much more palatable for me in this one (I had a hard time sympathizing with her in the first one.) and Meg is even more hilarious with her point on assessments.  Paulina was also another wonderfully drawn, full character and despite her obvious puppy dog way of following Meg everywhere, I found myself loving her more with each scene.

Cover: I love this cover more than the first, because I think it embodies the story better. It's got a more Greecian style to it, with the font and the lovely ladies themselves, showing off their togas. As well as the man himself on the back cover.  Much more complimentary to the style and voice of the authors than the first was.

Overall I enjoyed this fast, funny read and would recommend it to all those looking for something different than all the dark, sad, and scary books swarming the shelves.

Author info:

Nat: When not playing with pointed objects, Natalie Zaman is usually writing. She lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.

Char: Lover of sparkly things, Char doesn't have as many shoes as she'd like, but wouldn't have time to wear them anyway with her three boys, husband, cat with issues, demented squirrels and insistent characters all demanding her time. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and is hoping to get all her characters into print just so they'll be quiet.

And now onto the fun stuff.  CONTEST!

Enter to win a copy of Sirenz (provided by me) and Sirenz Back in Fashion (provided by Natalie and Char.)  US only. Winners chosen next Wednesday.
Just fill out the widget below and then come back next Wednesday to see who won.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TBR TUESDAY: Let the Sky Fall

(Cover extra large because it's frigging GORGEOUS!)
I think y'all know by now that I'm always on the lookout for something new in the YA world, and this week I've chosen to highlight a novel I'm highly anticipating, Shannon Messenger's LET THE SKY FALL. (Lifted from Goodreads) Set amongst the desert airstreams of Coachella Valley in California, LET THE SKY FALL is about two teenagers broken by their pasts, divided by their futures, and bound by love. The title piqued my interest, the blurb below cinched it, and then I got all drooly and manic once the cover was revealed. I'll let you read the blurb and see if you don't start dying from want, too. 

BLURB (lifted from Shannon's site):

Vane Weston should have died in the category five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past—except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She's swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real.
Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs. 
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, they start to realize the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Coming Spring 2013 from Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)

"Charged and romantic—a whirlwind of a love story.” 
—Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush Saga

"Funny, fast-paced, and slyly romantic, Shannon Messenger's YA debut dazzles.” 
—Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally

Shannon's fabulous site
Shannon's Twitter profile TWITTER
Let the Sky Fall on GOODREADS 
Pre-order on Amazon 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Summer Writing Prompt

It's time for another Whoseywhatsit writing prompt, from yours truly. This week's topic ...


Summer vacation? Fun at the pool? Desert heat? Sandy beach? Radiating sun? Paranormal seasons?

You have up to 250 words to get your character in a summer state of mind - develop a flashback, write a poem, try something new, whatever you want. Post those words below and then comment on at least one other person's writing. (You don't need to necessarily critique it, this isn't polished writing people!)

Ready. Set. Go!

(And here's mine ...)

I traced a finger lightly along his jaw, then brushed my lips against his. He stood there, still as a statue, like he didn't quite know how to react.

"Malia," The word was a question.

"Sh," I said against his mouth. My hand cupped the back of his neck in an attempt to pull him closer.

"We can't do this." He skittered back, blue eyes now a shade of slate. "You can't do this."

Tears stung the back of my eyes, bitter and dejected. I knew I shouldn't be here. I should be preparing for the summer solstice and the ceremony tomorrow. I should be getting a last fitting of my stola. I should be meditating to the immortals.

But I didn't care.

I wanted to feel.



I'd never felt so alone.

Who was I kidding. I'd always felt this alone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TBR Tuesday - TIMEPIECE by Myra McEntire

If you guys are like me, then you loved Hourglass by Myra McEntire.  This release of the second in the series -- TIMEPIECE -- sort of snuck up on me.  If the same is true for you, you'll be excited to know that it's releasing TODAY. Woot!

A threat from the past could destroy the future.

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples--cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers's return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum by a mysterious man. Either they find Landers and the research he has stolen on people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered--with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most. Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their extraordinary powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? Even if they succeed, just finding him may not be enough ...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.

Who's headed off to get their copy now??

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Realities of After Part Two

I had started a post for today, then read A.E.s wonderful post on the realities of after yesterday and scrapped it for this one.  I, too, have something to add to the realities of after. 

Basically being a published author is a heck of a lot different than I thought it would be. 

I know I was lucky enough to have a 3-book deal and for that deal to be for my Elysium Chronicles, but it’s not as easy as everyone makes it out.  Writing the first book of a series is easy, but with each book you write, you find it more and more difficult.

While I absolutely LOVE writing and I ADORE being a published author, being published was a LOT different that I expected it to be.

1)   It’s a heck of a lot more hectic than I thought it would be. 

I thought it would get easier knowing that I have 3 books under contract, but it’s actually not.  I’m now in the spot where I’ve almost completely finished edits for book 1 and have entered the promotion and  marketing phase. I’m editing book 2 and trying to write book 3.  Plus I’m writing extra things that go with the series. I’m in a constant circle of write, edit, revise, promote.  And every time I think I’ve found a minute to breathe, someone throws a curve ball at me.

However, don’t get me wrong, I’m a glutton for punishment and seem to thrive on being this busy and am actually throwing myself into another book as we speak. J

2) There’s so much pressure!

So much of a series depends on what books came previously and not just in the form of content, but with expectations. And not just in the form of what readers expect you to do.  It’s you, the writer, too.  You have to be forward (and backward) thinking for every book.

You have to be VERY detail orientated and make sure there’s clues for what’s going to happen and that what DOES happen matches things you’ve already written.  Like I heard a story about an author who wrote and published book one of a series and then was trying to write something for book 2, but had completely written herself into a hole with it that she had to basically rethink the entirety of what she wanted with book 2.

I’ve done it to myself.  I wanted to write one thing for book 2, but it wasn’t working. I’d written almost half the book and the full synopsis before I decided that where I wanted to go with the series wasn’t working and I had to rewrite the entire book. Is the 2nd book stronger for it? Absolutely. Was it frustrating? HELL YES! LOL.  And I still have to wait for approval from my editor.  Maybe what I’ve written for book 2 isn’t the direction SHE wants the series to go.

I’ve heard of another author who had to rewrite his 2nd book 4 or 5 times for many reasons. Another author had to rewrite hers twice because her agent didn’t think the story was working the way it should.

(I think Rachel Gardner did a post on this a while back on how this can be a common situation. I’ll post the link if I find it. )

Not to mention, I have an obligation to my readers to make each book better than the one before it. But I’m constantly worried that I’m going to fall short. That even if Book 1 is a success, book 2 won’t live up to the promises of book 1.  You know what I mean? 

There’s so much MORE to consider when you’re writing for a series. Or even writing a 2nd book period.  No wonder writers back in the day were all alcoholics.  :P

Here’s a post from agent Rachelle Gardner on what being a published author is like. I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Being an author is hard (published or unpublished). And it’s probably only going to get harder, but damned if it isn’t the most rewarding and fun job I’ve ever had.  :)  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Realities of After

A late good morning, y'all. Please excuse the tardiness of this post. I've been fighting the worst case of sinus allergies EVER, and couldn't string enough coherent thoughts together to write  post until the decongestants kicked in. It's a Snot War this season, and I'm losing >_<

By now y'all know I sold my book Broken to Strange Chemistry. It was a two book deal, with no specified second book. Besides finally getting a sale (Yay! Huzzah! WOOT!) I was all excited thinking I had a second book and some wiggle room. I have a coupe completed YA novels, and a few promising WIPs. No problem nailing down that second title, right? We sold them one book, the next would be a piece of cake.


I'm here to tell you the Realities of After set in. Unless you pitch and sell that first book as part of a series, odds are no matter how much you love a particular story or idea, the next won't necessarily be a shoe-in. My agent pitched a second title shortly after the sale, and we waited. Between then and last week, we received a couple passes. (One was an idea I absolutely LOVED--hence the sad picture up there.) So, I gave a lot of thought to the types of books signed by Strange Chemistry so far and clawed together a couple more ideas, one I thought would be awesome and one I didn't dare hope for. Then, we waited some more.

The decision was a surprise, and one I'm not at liberty to share at the moment. But I will tell you it IS the one I wanted to write so badly I didn't even want to even think about it, let alone hope for it.

So... The Realities of After? Total roller coaster, people. Buckle your lap strap and grab the OhCrap bar. Authors with contracts can still receive rejections. Hopes rise and fall. Persistence can pay off. And sometimes, those secondary dreams and acceptances can feel just as awesome as the first!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Whenever I'm up on a Tuesday, I'm forced to fan through my mountainous to-be-read pile. I honestly don't believe I'll ever see the bottom of it. However, from the vast variety of my pile, it goes to show the wonderment in young adult literature today.

I've chosen a book from a wonderful writer, blogger, and friend.

Official Description: A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos's best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn't just anyone – she's determined to save her best friend's soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife. 

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she's captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city's endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn't – the dark city isn't the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.

Author Sarah Fine and I had a conversation a few months back about this book. From the moment she explained the premise, I was hooked. It's approximately 433 pages and has an expected publishing date of October 2012. I am so ansty to get my hands on a copy of this story. Won't you add it to your TBR list??
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