Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear Christine, What a year!

Dear Christine of 2010 - 

2011 is going to be harder than you think. You will be faced with darker feelings, harder times, bigger obstacles. But, don't be afraid. Don't hide in your room, under the covers and wait for it to be over. You'll want to - oh man, will you want to.

But now is not the time for that. 

Now is the time to square your shoulders and face each blow. Now is the time to stand up, no matter how often you are knocked down. There are great things on the horizon for you, but only if you are willing to stand up once again.

You will want to cry, scream, wail. And you will do all of those things. It will be harder than you know, harder than you think possible.

You will also want to laugh, cheer, jump for joy. And you will. Often.

You will meet friends and build connections. You will change and grow.

And you'll miss your mom even more.

But you will also speak with her in your heart. Every day. She will be closer than you can imagine. And she will help you in ways you won't believe.

So, Christine of 2010. Be ready. 2011 will be a hard year. And a blessed year. It will start with great sadness, deep grief. And it will end will great joy, and profound love. You will grow more than you ever have, and deepen your understanding of life.

Be ready. Be prepared. And be open - to everything.

Christine of 2011.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Special Thank You!

"Being a writer is a whole way of life, a way of seeing, thinking, being..." ~Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
The above quote sums up everything being a writer means to me - it is a way of interacting with the world. And once you travel along this path, once you begin to see the world in a new way, there is no going back. Even if you cease to write.

I believe writing is a team sport. Yes, we writers tend to be solitary, secluding ourselves in some cave, writing for hours on end and ignoring our friends and family while the muse has her way with us. But, we do emerge from the cave at times, ready to catch our breath and reconnect. We reach out to our writerly friends - other writers addicted to the same muse. People who understand the world we belong to. Friends who motivate, support, critique, and push us to become better than we ever thought possible. We rely on these connections. And so many more -

Which leads me to a special thank you for the writing community - the entire writing community. Readers, writers, editors, agents, publishers, book sellers, everyone.

To the writers - Thank you for connecting and understanding me; thanking you for sharing your wisdom, your ups and downs, your joys and sorrows. Thank you for your stories that inspire and entertain. And most of all, thank you for connecting and helping me know I am not alone.

To the agents - Thank you for digging through the slush and finding the gems. For tirelessly dedicating yourself to the craft and pushing authors to new levels of excellence. Thank you for support and guidance, wisdom and mentoring.

To publishers and editors - Thank you for dedicating yourself to brings readers books that will engage and enlighten, entertain and teach. Thank you for remaining open minded in the face of great change; and for moving confidently forward, even though it may be scary.

And most of all, to readers - Thank you for being life to our stories through your love, through your reading. Your love of stories, need for adventure, and hunger for more keeps me writing. Thank you for challenging the status quo, pushing all of us to write more, do better, go deeper. Thank you for keeping us honest, loving words and connecting.

Thank you!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I Write...

I once read a great book about writing in which the author challenged all writers to examine why they write. And not the superficial "I write because I like it" self-examination, but a deep soul-searching that requires writers to examine all of the reasons we choose to remain in an industry that is so difficult - why we hear and respond to our "calling" to write.

You know how I love an excuse for more soul searching. So, of course I have gone through this exercise - often actually.

Most recently, before my book deal and such, I had a major crisis of faith - a moment when I was certain that quitting was the best thing for me to do. I soul searched, prayed, contemplated -
and ultimately, reaffirmed all of the reasons I continue to write -

  • Writing to me is so much more than stringing the words of a particular story together. It is my chance to explore what it means to be completely human. All aspects of this shared experience called humanity is worthy of exploration - the light and hope, as well as the shadow and darkness. Writing allows me to explore things I may never get to directly experience, as well as connect with people on a more intimate level. And I am all about connections.
  • I write for the adventure. The chance to go to new places, embrace new things, experience depths of emotion I would not otherwise know.
  • I write for the transcendence it brings - the things I learn from the story itself, from my characters, from the experience of writing, and the feedback of readers.
  • I write because although I have tried to walk away more times than I care to admit, I am inexplicably chained to the form of expression, this type of art. As my mother was tethered to her need to create through painting, I am forever linked to my need to create through words.
Your turn. Time for you to explore the reasons behind your passion. Why do you (fill in the blank)? Your answers may just surprise you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favorite Writerly Advice

Time to bring another list of favorites. This one focuses on advice. I've been really lucky over the last three years, making friends with an amazing group of writers and learning from some of the best. So, I've collected some of my favorite tips I've gotten over the past few years and put them into a list just for all of you -

10. Read, read, read. And not just in your genre, but in many genres. The more good books you read, the better writer you become.
{I actually first heard this at a book signing with Cassandra Clare. I've never forgotten it!}

9. Remember that this is a business first and foremost. Treat it as such and remain professional - always.
{This came from my dad originally, and changed by me to fit writing}

8. When editing, remember that they are all just words. They can be moved, deleted, changed. Never get so attached to them that you are unwilling to change them.
{My CPs and I remind each other of this on a sometimes daily basis!}

7. At the same time, remember that YOU are the author. You know the story you are trying to create. When taking suggestions from CPs, betas and even your editors, remember that you are the architect of the story. YOU.
{Another nugget from my CPs}

6. Always read your work out loud. Or even better, use the text to speech feature on your computer or your kindle. You will catch many many many more errors this way!
{I know this from my work as a developmental psych, actually - but I was reminded of it recently by one of my betas, LK}

5. When drafting, don't think. Just write.
{Write or Die has helped solidify this in my head}

4. Writing is an adventure - so take a deep breath, muster your courage, and jump!
{My publisher and friend Heather always says I am a brave writer. After many conversations and a little soul searching, I finally understand what she means - I am always willing to jump off the cliff for the story}

3. Even in the depths of the muck you can find your inspiration.
{I have endured some difficult years recently. It was through the most intense of those moments that my best stories have been born.}

2. Give yourself permission to SUCK! To write the worst stuff ever written.
{This has been one of the hardest things for me - the perfectionist and inner editor just won't have it. But thanks to my amazing CPs, I am finding my through this little pearl of wisdom, and drafting with more freedom!}

1. When in doubt, write!
{Yea, I covered this one yesterday. Bottom line - I must write, something, daily. Even if it only a sentence.}

What is your favorite piece of writerly advice?

I have more exciting things to talk about over the next few posts - I hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite Reasons NOT to write

Happy last week of 2011. Can you believe it? I'm not certain I can!

Today I'm talking about excuses. That's right, all of the excuses we give ourselves for why we can't do what it is we want/need to do. In particular, I'm talking about excuses for not writing. You know, all those reasons you give yourself for not getting you butt in the chair and writing.

Oh come on, you know you do it - we ALL do it!

And I'm about to share my excuses with all of you (why, I don't know.....)

Okay, my top ten reasons excuses I don't write as often as maybe I "should"

10. The house/office/cave/whatever is just too noisy
{ The truth is, a headset and some blaring tunes and I can work through Armaggedon!}

9. I'm just too busy with work/life/kids/whatever
{The truth, now that I have write or die on my iPad, I can literally draft in 10 minute increments ANYWHERE - so much for that excuse}

8. I am about to launch/promote/whatever my new book - I have to focus on that
{The truth, while that is important, if I don't draft the next book, I may not have another launch to prep for. Life is about balance}

7. I've got nothing to write about
{The truth, inspiration is all around me. I simply need to open my eyes. And my mind}

6. It's hard
{The truth, nothing worthwhile is easy. And really, drafting is not hard. The words are all changeable. If I'm stuck in the "it's hard" mode, it's only because my inner editor is going a little nuts}

5. Oh, look....SHINY!
{Yes, yes - I do get distracted. But I'm committed to being a career author - so, um, this excuse won't fly!}

4. I'm stuck in the story
{When in doubt, outline. Period. So, rather than being stuck and wasting my writing time, I need to move on, outline, write out of order....something}

3. I need to work on my website/fb page/blog/whatever
{None of that matters if I am not also drafting/editing/writing}

2. So-and-so doesn't write everyday, lots of authors don't - so why should I?
{Yes, I know. Lots of authors don't. And that works for them. But, for me - I do much better if I write something - anything - every day}

1. I just don't feel like it.
{Yep, the ultimate excuse. For me, I can usually "write" my way out of the problem. And sometimes, it doesn't work. But I ALWAYS feel better for the attempt.}

The Bottom Line:
I am the queen of excuses at times. But, I've set some lofty goals for my writing future. AND I have some serious, fast deadlines - deadlines I am only going to make if I demonstrate a little discipline.

Guess it's time to tame my excuses a bit.

What are your favorite excuses not to write?

And, for the record, I am NOT saying it is necessary to write everyday, every other day, or whatever. I think it is important to figure out what works best for YOU as a writer - and do that.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winners, Wishes, and Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve!

I wanted to sneak in and share the winners of the angel book giveaway celebrating the sale of my YA Gothic Romance series. I just finished a round of revisions on the novella DIES IRAE today, and I am so very excited. The story is some much more complex and rich that I expected from a novella. I really hope all of you enjoy it as well. I am hoping to share a tiny snippet in the upcoming weeks - just a little amuse bouche to wet the appetite!

But now, the winners -

  • BECOME by Ali Cross - JEN @ Midnight Book Thief
  • HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick - Danyelle Ferguson
  • CRESCENDO by Becca Fitzpatrick - Kathy Fenton White
  • CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS by Cassandra Clare - LT Elliot
  • CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Claire - Kayla Beck
Congrats to all the winners.

I wish for all of you a wonderful end to 2011. May the wishes of the year by magnified in your heart, filling you with peace and joy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Google!!!

Hello everyone!
I am happy to report that I AM BACK!!!!!!!!!! Google very quickly took care of whatever the problem was and I can now access ALL of my accounts once again.

Thank you Google, for fixing whatever the problem was.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Learning from Evan Almighty...

The other night my family and I were watching the movie Evan Almighty. It's one of my favorite, feel good movies. And it has one of my all time favorite scenes.

Joan (the wife) has just watched her husband go a little nuts and claim that God told him to build an arc. She leaves him to figure things out. This scenes takes place right afterwards, when she is with the kids at a restaurant. The kids go to the restroom, leaving her all forlorn. God (played by Morgan Freeman), posing as a wait names Al Mighty (gotta love that) talks with her, and in the conversation this is what he says -

Let me ask you something. If one prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If one prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other? Well, I got to run. A lot of people to serve. Enjoy. 
I LOVE these lines. Every time life gets a little difficult and I can't really find my balance I remember that I am being given opportunities to practice .... something. Sometimes it's patience. Or grace. Or humility. Sometimes its compassion. Once I remember that the things that happen in my life are merely growth opportunities I weather these periods so much better.

 2010 and 2011 brought me many many months of opportunities to practice everything from love, bravery, compassion and so much more. And now, as we end the year and I FINALLY feel like I am in balance (most of the time) I can reflect on the amazing things I have had the opportunity to learn.

I wish all of you a wonderful end to 2011, and an amazing start to 2012.

I will be back on Sat to announce the winners of my EPIC Angel giveaway (Have you entered?) and next year I will give you a little of my "Best of" to end 2011.

Thanks again to all of you for your continuing support for my work. It means more than you will ever know!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Visit From An Angel

Wow! I can't believe Christmas is so close. And the end of 2011. Where did the year go? 

I promised that I'd share one of my favorite Christmas memories... 

When I was very young - maybe 4 or 5 - my mother (then a single parent) made these amazing shadow boxes to sell at a local craft festival during the holidays. The festival was very well-known, themed around the Renaissance period during Christmas.

On December 23 of that year, my mom let me come with her to the festival. Actually, I think I came by default - no babysitter is my guess. Regardless, I distinctly remember the different craft booths, the smells of hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts, and the beautiful costumes everyone seemed to wear. My mom and I walked around for a bit before she left me at a child-care center located within the faire. Later that night, a quartet from the Robert Shaw Chorale was singing at the festival. They walked throughout the faire, dressed in historical garb - minstrels singing the most beautiful songs.

One of their first stops was the child-care center. I remember hearing them sing and knowing that a group of angels couldn't possible sound any better. One particular singer - the soprano - stood out from the group. Her voice was more beautiful than anything I had ever heard in my young life. The minstrels finished their songs and moved on to the next booth. I couldn't bear to have them leave, so I snuck out of the center and followed them. Kate, the soprano, talked with me, held my hand and made sure I didn't get lost. I really don't remember them singing, but I do remember Kate trying to help me find my mother's booth.

After some time past - in my 5-year old mind it seemed like it was the whole night - we made our way back to the child-center, unable to find my mother's booth. Mom was waiting for me. And after she was done chastising me for leaving, she thanked Kate. Before Kate left, I pulled off the bracelet I was wearing - a special charm bracelet given to me by my grandmother. The stone of the charms spelled out the word "dear". Kate tried to refuse the present, but I told her that Christmas was about giving and since she had given me the gift of her voice, I simply had to give her the bracelet. Reluctantly, she took my gift and left.

The next day was Christmas Eve. I remember listening to a recording of the Robert Shaw Chorale over and over again. I just knew I could hear Kate's voice in the chorus, sounding every bit as angelic as she did at the festival.

The next morning, Christmas morning, I raced out of bed to see if Santa had come. Mom joined me and I opened my stocking. Tucked at the bottom of the stocking was a little package completely different from the rest. Carefully, I unwrapped the little gift until it lay in my hand - a mosaic pin with a little note.
Thank you for your kindness at the festival. You reminded me just how special Christmas and music are. Love, Kate
I couldn't believe it. How did she manage to get a present into my stocking? Surely she must be an angel.

To this day, I listen carefully anytime Joy to the World by the Robert Shaw Chorale is played, straining to see if I can hear the voice of my angelic Kate.

What special memories do you have about this season?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yes, Virginia...

Today I thought I'd share one of my favorite stories of the season - the letter to the editor of the New York Sun, 1897.

I first read this to my children when they were young - really young. And I am convinced that I've never had to field the "is there really really a Santa Claus?" question BECAUSE of this editorial. My children, 11 and 15, still hold belief in their hearts.

And what more could I possibly wish for them then faith?

And now - the letter:

Dear Editor--

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

- Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Ah yes - nothing is as beautiful as the innocence of childhood and the hope it brings. Tomorrow I will share one of my fondest memories of Christmas. And I would love to hear/read about YOUR favorite memories too.

And don't forget my angel book giveaway to celebrate the sale of my Requiem Series. Click here to enter. The contest ends in a few days - 12/23. 


Happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays!

First, let me start with a humble thank you for all of your support and kindness with my announcement last week. You're kind words filled me with a joy and excitement I can't really express. I am excited for the series release in 2012, and excited to keep all of you in the loop through this adventure.

But all of that is for a different post.

Today, I wanted to take a moment and share on of my favorite Christmas poems of all time.

I first found this when I was researching various poems for use on my Christmas card several years ago. I shared with my mom, who also used it for her holiday newsletter. Since that time, this poem has been reprinted in books, cards, stationary and countless other ways.

And now I am sharing it with you:

by Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.

Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
implore you to stay awhile with us
so we may learn by your shimmering light
how to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ

Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices to celebrate the promise of

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.

We look at our world and speak the word aloud.

We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

I wish you all a blessed holiday season, and a joyous, peace-filled New Year! 

I will be back all week sharing some of my favorite holiday things. What are you doing to end 2011?

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Big News - ((aka Move Over Sparkly Vampires...

...I've got Kick A** Angels!))

Ha! It's finally time to share new news - news I have wanted to scream for a few weeks! But first, a teaser -

Did that get you going?

Here's the full story - My YA Gothic romance series, THE REQUIEM SERIES, is being published by Compass Press for release in 2012 and 2013.

Yep, that's right - 2012 and 2013.

The series starts with a special digital novella, DIES IRAE, which will release on or around February 22, 2012.

Don't you love the cover?

And the blurb:

Some sacrifices should never be made – even for love.
Mikayel lives by one rule – obey the orders of the angelic Council at all costs. That is, until he and his friends, Azza and Demi, are sent to Earth.  Assigned as Watchers while they await their decision of which angelic order to serve, the three assume the bodies of teenagers and experience life as human.
The sensations are overwhelming, especially for Azza. Determined to experience everything humans do – rage, terror, love - he tempts Demi to break one of the unbreakable rules – never fall in love.  But being human isn’t the only problem facing the three angels. Unbeknownst to the Council, demonic activity is on the rise, threatening to break a tenuous peace that has existed for a millennia; a peace Azza seems bent on destroying.
Caught in a struggle for power with unseen demonic forces and Azza, and fighting against his rising emotional attachment to Demi, Mikayel must now decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for his new found love – a decision that could reignite an ancient war and will threaten the only thing that matters to the angels, the survival of humanity.

Next up is my novel, LACRIMOSA, book #1 in the series, which releases in March, 2012 in print and digital formats. 

Here's a little more -

As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. 
Nesy is the best of an elite group of angels – warriors called Sentinals – charged with the job of vanquishing the fallen. She’s never made a mistake, never gotten emotionally involved. But when she comes face-to-face with Aydan, she freezes. 
He is evil incarnate. A fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the human love of her former life as a teen; a life that ended too soon, tying her to the emotions she was never supposed to feel. Now she must choose between doing her duty – damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell – or saving him, and condemning herself. 

EXCITING YES???? I'm planning some fun things around both launches, so be certain to check back and get in on the fun. If you want to participate in any of the tours or the fun, fill out this form.

But, that's all later. For now, it's time to celebrate. So, I am doing a little giveaway between now and Dec 23. Just follow this blog, leave a comment and you could win one of FIVE separate giveaways - each containing one of my FAVORITE angel/demon stories! Which books am I giving away, you ask? Just check it out:

BECOME by Ali Cross
HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick
CRESCENDO by Becca Fitzpatrick
CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS by Cassandra Clare
CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare

So, follow the blog, leave a comment and I will draw FIVE winners! WOOT WOOT!!! Contest is open internationally, and closes 12/23 at 11:59pm PST. I will announce all the winners on 12/24.

Thanks for all of the support over the last couple of years, and I really hope you will enjoy my new series!

Winner of Day #4 giveaway

Hey guys - just a quick announcement for Thursday's winner of SHIVER....


Woo hoo!!! Congrats to everyone. And come back in a couple of hours when I reveal my big news and a MASSIVE giveaway!!!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Giveaway And Some Opening Lines...

Here we are at Day 4 of my Random Giveaway Week. Yesterday, I gave away BEFORE I FALL. And the winner is:



For today, I am giving away something by another amazing author - Maggie Stiefvater -

SHIVER - (blurb from Amazon) -From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Grace, 17, loves the peace and tranquility of the woods behind her home. It is here during the cold winter months that she gets to see her wolf—the one with the yellow eyes. Grace is sure that he saved her from an attack by other wolves when she was nine. Over the ensuing years he has returned each season, watching her with those haunting eyes as if longing for something to happen. When a teen is killed by wolves, a hunting party decides to retaliate. Grace races through the woods and discovers a wounded boy shivering on her back porch. One look at his yellow eyes and she knows that this is her wolf in human form. Fate has finally brought Sam and Grace together, and as their love grows and intensifies, so does the reality of what awaits them. It is only a matter of time before the winter cold changes him back into a wolf, and this time he might stay that way forever. Told from alternating points of view, the narrative takes a classic Romeo & Juliet plot and transforms it into a paranormal romance that is beautiful and moving. Readers will easily identify with the strong, dynamic characters. The mythology surrounding the wolf pack is clever and so well written that it seems perfectly normal for the creatures to exist in today's world. A must-have that will give Bella and Edward a run for their money.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY END --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I loved this book from page one through the end. And I can honestly say, I was a bit influenced by her writing, yep!

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment and I'll draw a name! Easy peasy. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST and is open internationally. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see if you won AND...

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! I was trying to think of something to tempt you with - a clue....something. But I've got nothing except this -

A few opening lines. They will have no meaning to you until tomorrow, most likely - but here you go:

#1 - "It always starts the same."
#2 - "I shift in the booth, careful to remain hidden in the shadows."

Yea, I know - these don't help at all....
Oh well. Come back for my news (before I burst), some special reveals and more stuff I am giving away! It is gonna be EPIC! No really....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day #3 of the Epic Random Giveaway Week

Here we are at Day 3 of my Random Giveaway Week. Yesterday, I gave away THE BODY FINDER.
And the winner is:



For today, I am giving away something by Lauren Oliver -

BEFORE I FALL ( in hardback) - (blurb from Amazon) - Review
In this Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls teen hybrid, Sam Kingston is pretty, popular, and has a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a late-night party everything goes terribly wrong, and the life that she lived is gone forever. Or is it? 
At the start of Before I Fall, Sam is self-consumed and oblivious about the impact of her actions on others. But as she repeatedly experiences slightly altered versions of the hours leading up to her death—and her relationships with friends, family, and formerly overlooked classmates bloom, end, or shift—it’s impossible not to feel for the girl whose life ends too soon. Oliver’s adept teen dialogue and lively prose make for a fast, page-turning story in which the reader is every bit as emotionally invested as Sam. --Jessica Schein

This is an amazing book that is still burning up the shelves!

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment and I'll draw a name! Easy peasy. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST and is open internationally. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see if you won AND see the next giveaway.

And, um, a hint...okay, here are a couple:
1) No, I do not have a new agent
3) Yes, I am revealing more than one thing...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day #2 of Random Giveaway Week

Here we are at Day 2 of my Random Giveaway Week. Yesterday, I gave away INK EXCHANGE. And the winner is:



For today, I am giving away something by Kimberly Derting -

THE BODY FINDER ( in hardback) - (blurb from Amazon) -

A gripping tale of a girl with a morbid ability that could lead her to a killer . . . and the boy who would never let anything happen to her.
Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her unusual so-called gift. While her confusing feelings for her best friend are new, she has been able to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered—and the imprints that attach to their killers since she was a little girl. Violet has never considered her ability useful, but now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Fiercely protective of her, Jay agrees to help Violet search for the murderer. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

I loved this book! If you haven't read it, you are really missing out...

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment and I'll draw a name! Easy peasy. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST and is open internationally. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see if you won AND see the next giveaway.

Only 3 more days until my big news... should I give a hint? A teaser?....Hmmmmm

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Giveaway Week!

So, I love giving things away - I really do. And in honor of it being the LAST week of school for a few weeks, AND nearly Christmas, I thought I would give away some random books all week.
Cool? Cool!
And every giveaway will just be a plain ole' comment contest. But first, I want to announce the winner of Danyelle's ebooks -

Kayeleen Hamblin. 


For today, I am giving away one of Melissa Marr's books -

INK EXCHANGE (in hardback) - (blurb from Amazon) -

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

Ooohh....Cool, yes?

Just leave a comment and I'll draw a name! Easy peasy. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST and is open internationally. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see if you won AND see the next giveaway.

Oh! And did I mention that on Friday I have some epic news to share....mwahahahahaha!!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Spruce Knoll Endangered Species Blog Tour

I'm so excited today! A special edition of Heather McCorkle’s The Secret Of Spruce Knoll is releasing from Compass Press this month and she’s doing a special tour to go along with it. The special part, a percentage of the proceeds from every special edition sold (in every format) between its release date and 12-12-2012, will go toward Heather’s favorite charity that protects endangered species. Her goal is to make at least $10,000 for the charity.

WOO HOO!!!!! Books and charity - what a fabulous combination!

Of course there are prizes during the tour which goes from December 1st through the 17th. Prizes include a symbolic endangered species adoption of the winner’s choice (a $50 donation by Heather to the charity for the endangered species of the winner’s choice, and cute stuffed animal for the winner!), signed copies of her novels and great swag. For full details, and to enter, go here.

For the tour Heather has asked each blog host to pick their favorite endangered species and she will tell us a fun or interesting fact about that animal.

So I picked....

The Green Sea Turtle

I have had the pleasure of diving with these lovely animals off the coast of Maui - and they are amazing!

So Heather - what can you tell us about the Green Sea Turtle?

Heather: You’ve picked one of my favorite creatures! It breaks my heart that they have now been upgraded to the critically endangered list due to habitat destruction, hunting, egg collecting, and pollution. Much like humans, it takes sea turtles decades to be ready to mate and it takes two months for the eggs to incubate. Hatchling gender depends on the sand temperature.   

Wow! I didn't know about the gender. That IS interesting.

Thanks for letting me be part of this, Heather. And if you guys want to be part of the fun, check out the full tour and the prizes at

And don't forget to check out the book - you won't be disappointed!

Buy links for the eBooks:

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Hi everyone! I am taking a few weeks off of book reviewing to finish some projects (more on this later - next week, in fact). 
But, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Danyelle Leafty's Fairy Godmother Series (which I am giving away - check out this post) and post the links to the other fabulous reviewers this week:
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a special blog tour stop, and next week for the much awaited reveal of my sekrit projects. (yes, projectS - plural)

Until then, what are YOU reading?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Unofficial Danyelle Leafty Day - plus a giveaway

Hey everyone!
I bet you didn't know today was the unofficial Danyelle Leafty day. It is! Several of us have gotten together to throw out a little love for Danyelle and her books.

I first met Danyelle online and over the past few years we've gotten to know each other well. In fact, last summer we actually had a chance to meet in person - and she is every bit as amazing in person as she is online.

Danyelle reads most of my works, supports me and so many other writers, and is this wonderful voice of diversity in publishing. She is supportive of writers and seriously one of the most hard worker people I know.
And...she is an amazing writer in her own right!

Just check out the blurb for her book, CATSPELL - part of the Fairy Godmother Dilemma:

Catspell (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail. 
Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.

This is a great twist on the fairy tale genre, with great characters and a wonderful story line. Her two other books in the series, FIRESPELL and APPLESPELL are also available for Nook and Kindle and are every bit as fabulous. Check them out! Or better yet, leave a comment and win your own copy of the ebooks here. Contest ends Monday, 12/12.

Check out these other blogs featuring Danyelle and her books!

Monday, December 5, 2011

And Epic Day With The TATTERED Tour, Including a Giveaway

I am thrilled to be part of LK Gardner-Griffie's blog tour for TATTERED - the latest in the Misfit McCabe series. For today, I have the author and some of the characters stopping by -

Take it away LK:

LK: First of all, I'd like to thank Christine Fonseca for hosting the Tattered tour.
  1. For today's prize of a paperback copy of Misfit McCabe along with A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans, simply comment on this post.
  2. To get a free ebook copy of Misfit McCabe:
    • Put together the puzzle and write down the code. Each day will give another part of the coupon code. Please note at the top whether it is for eBook or Print.
    • Once you have collected the entire code, go to Smashwords and purchase Misfit McCabe input the code and download whichever ebook version you need for free.
  3. To get 50% off the print version of Misfit McCabe:
    • Put together the puzzle and write down the code. Each day will give another part of the coupon code. Please note at the top whether it is for eBook or Print.
    • Once you have collected the entire code, go to Griffie World Store and purchase Misfit McCabe input the code and receive 50% off the purchase price.
  4. To win the KINDLE FIRE
    • Support this tour by commenting on each of the daily stops -- It's only 11 days, not even as long as the 12 days of Christmas.
    • And since Christine was nice enough to help me promote my new book, please [enter whether you'd like them to Like FB, follow on Twitter, subscribe the blog, tweets, etc. ]
Tattered is the third novel in the heartwarming young adult series, Misfit McCabe. A little about the book:
What do Sunday afternoon court proceedings, cheerleader tryouts, and a book burning have in common? Katie McCabe is back in action.
After her nemesis Harvey is found guilty and sentenced to community service, Katie wants to believe her troubles are over, but Harvey won’t rest until he gets revenge. When blackmail rears its ugly head, she’s caught between friends and enemies putting her growing relationship with Tom at stake. Books go up in flames and Katie’s world rains down in tatters.

Christine and I met on Twitter (is anyone sensing a trend here?) through a mutual friend. First I noticed her because I'd see retweets of her book launch and even then I thought, This is someone I need to get to know. She has two books out: Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. She's currently working on a couple young adult fiction offerings that I have had the pleasure to read BEFORE they make it to publication, so be looking for good young adult reads from Christine in the future. Now I'll turn things over to Katie McCabe, the fourteen-year-old main character of Tattered.

Katie: Hi Christine! Thanks for having us visit on this tour. It's kinda exciting to get to travel around to all of the blogs. Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about Sunny Li. I think Sunny is the reason people say, Don't judge a book by its cover. I'll be honest with you, Sunny and I didn't exactly hit it off when we first met. And it was all a HUGE misunderstanding. I didn't even know why she started picking on me. But when we got in trouble for fighting in the library, I thought my life would be over. I'd be grounded until the day I graduated... but that didn't happen, and somehow Sunny and I became friends. So much so that when some biddy started picking on her for having pink hair, I jumped in to defend her (and then got the shock of my life when the biddy turned out to be Tom's mom. Oops!) There's a lot about Sunny that you don't see on the surface. She keeps her feelings hidden most of the time. *leans in* Although, I do know that she likes Tim... he just doesn't see it yet. And he even talks about how the two of us are alike... not that I see it that way. I hope he wakes up soon. They'd make a cute couple. They're perfect for one another.

LK: Put the puzzle below together for part of the code to receive 50% off a paperback of Misfit McCabe. And make sure you visit Julia Swank, the YA Book Diva, on tomorrow's stop on the tour. And for all details on the tour, the prizes, and the stops, please visit Griffie World.
If the puzzle does not load correctly, please refresh your browser and it should display correctly.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shelli Johannes-Wells Talks About Redefining Her Dreams

I am so excited to be hosting a leg of Shelli Johannes-Wells' Blog Tour for Untraceable. I know you guys have already heard about the book, and where to get it, and even a little bit about we aren't doing all of that here today.

For this stop, I really wanted to get into Shelli's head a bit and see what led her to indie publish. And let me tell you, her post is heartfelt and inspirational. I have absolutely no doubt that many, if not all, of us have experienced some of these feelings - maybe even right now!

So, without further adieu - take it away Shelli:

Redefining your Dream - Christina

For the last several years – more like 8 years – I’ve been riding the publishing roller coaster ride.

Since I really got serious about writing in 2004. I’ve had 4 books go to acquisitions.  Two of those - a MG and Nonfiction book – went before I got an agent. After I signed with a top agent and a top NY agency, I had 2 more books go to acquisitions – a tween paranormal and this YA thriller – Untraceable.

Last spring, at some point early in the submission process of Untraceable, after only a few rejections, my agent felt I should shelf my book after the first round. Most books get about 3 rounds and I was determined not to give up on Untraceable. After some back and forths - we decided to part ways so I could get a fresh perspective on my writing and the Book. I believed in this book that much.

Over the next couple of months, I queried a handful of my top agents to see if they would pick up Untraceable for a couple more rounds. Unfortunately, since the book had already been seen a handful of editors – even thought it had gone to acquisitions at one house– no one wanted to touch the book. They were all more interested in my WIP that was still in its first draft and at least 6 months away from being complete.

I must admit, during this 6 months period from about April until Aug, I went into a deep depression. I’d been working so hard to get published for 8 years, gotten so close so many times with four different books. Through all that _ I had worked hard to stay positive. But this time, it was different. This time I could not pull myself up by the bootstraps and push forward.

What was I doing wrong? Why am I the only one that’s not selling? What is wrong with me? Do I suck? Am I on the wrong path?

My anxiety level over the last 2 years had magnified. The pressure to sell was overwhelming. The pressure to succeed was debilitating. And the constant failures left me raw and broken hearted. I was finally broken.

Unable to write. Unable to be happy for anyone else who was moving toward his or her dream of publishing. Unable to see past my defeats.

I dropped off line for several months. I could not see any success. I could not hear of any deals. I could not talk to most of my writing friends.

During that time, I began to see where my anxiety was really coming from. It wasn’t about who was selling or for how much; it was because I was tired of someone else being in charge of my own destiny and my own dreams. My gut was telling me to try another way. Even self-pubbing.  But for months I was stubborn- maybe even a little snobby – and my ego held me back those 6 months. I felt traditional publishing was the ONLY way to go. I didn’t want to settle.

Over time, I started to think more seriously about indie publishing. My writer friends encouraged me to put my book out there. They felt it was good enough. I still wasn’t sure. I paid for editing and when the editor told me it was ready, there was only one thing still holding me back. My ego. I even thought about using an alias b/c I was embarrassed to put my stuff out under my name. I have a lot of friends in this industry – including agents and editors – and I didn’t want them to think I was indie publishing because I secretly sucked.

It wasn’t until a friend encouraged me to do it under my own name and blog about it – that I came out of my funk. You see, if I blogged about my fears and dreams and the process. About my marketing. About everything. Then I was putting my heart out into the universe the authentic way.

In September, I decided to jump in and take the risk. What did I have to lose? Who cares what people think? I decided to look at it as a fun experiment – to test out all my marketing skills and see what I could do. The underdog in a cat dominated world. I let go of my ego – which was really the thing holding me back for so long – and knew it was time to go for it. But if I did it – I would do it the right way.

These last few months have been the best months of my last 8 years in writing. There has been no anxiety, no frustrations, no beating myself up.

Sure, at times, I think I’m fooling myself. I wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake but I just keep pushing forward. I’m not in writing for the money. Oh sure – it’s be great to make a living – but really - I just want my book to be the best it can be – best cover, best story, best marketing.

I am proud of Untraceable that I did not compromise my story at the suggestion of others, that I stuck by Grace, and that I have created a great book. It is everything I ever wanted or imagined in my mind and I would not change a thing.

I have no idea if Untraceable will be successful but somehow it doesn’t matter –

Because I did my book - my way.

See - inspirational! THANK YOU Shelli for stopping by and I am so excited to jump into UNTRACEABLE. I will be reviewing it soon, so be on the look out for that.

You can find UNTRACEABLE at the usual haunts, including BN, Amazon, and iTunes. Get your copy today!

What are you reading?