Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Winner!

As promised, I'm announcing the winner of the MIND GAMES contest today. The winner is RU.

Please email me at kprwrite at hotmail dot com with your address so I can get that book off to you. Thanks for commenting!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CONTEST!! Win MIND GAMES by Kiersten White.

JUST ONE MORE DAY PEEPS!
CONTEST CONTEST CONTEST CONTEST!!!!

Hows about a contest to win this little lovely? I realize after I posted that 'fake' contest that I probably teed off a lot of people. =) It's what I do best. So, let's do it for real now, shall we?

I'm going to do this the old fashioned way (since I'm not contest-savvy like so many of you are. Yet). 

 Here's what you have to do to be entered to win:
  1. Leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book, and one fun thing you did with or for someone you love, preferably a sister (since this book is about sisters)
  2. Must be a follower.
  3. You can earn extra entries if you send people my way, Post, Tweet, Facebook. Must include links.


YEAH! Let the party begin. You'll have 'til this time next week, Wednesday,  July 24th. For Utahns, we'll call this a Pioneer Day celebratory giveaway. Winners will be announced the following day.

Thanks!



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Contest teaser

So, what would y'all think if I had a contest to give away my very special copy of 

MIND GAMES

 by Kiersten White?


Let's see how many people comment in this post, and if I think I get enough response, I'll put it up for grabs. What do you say?

Anyone interested?

I can see that you are....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MIND GAMES by Kiersten White--short review

                                                          

















 WOW! There are only two words that come to mind after reading a book like this: HOLY CRAP!
 There's a reason this book is entitled MIND GAMES. I seriously felt terrorized reading about these girls' lives. I guess that's a good thing. But if you're reading this thinking it's going to be anything like the humorous warm fuzzies that the PARANORMALCY series was, think again.

 Kiersten White blew me away with her writing skills in this book. Not only does she keep you on your toes, but she creates a terrifyingly real setting where lady hit-woman can be born. The deep characterization lends itself to the reality perfectly. I'm not going to add much more than that. No spoilers here. But if you're looking for a scare, this book is great to read around the proverbial campfire. Youngsters beware. Read with caution.



For those looking for a 'clean read', I will say that this has teenage drinking in it (although it might make sense to you why while reading). And violent scenes. Although, it isn't too graphic or overly sexual.
                                                             

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A New Beginning

Before y'all freak out that I have changed the 'glamour' of my blog, I better say something. I do this occasionally. It keeps things interesting. But rest assured, you're in the right place.

The reason?

Since I decided to do an overhaul of my first book--I've set the second one aside for now--I thought I should have a new blog look as well. This new look represents the feeling of the first which I am now Titling, DEAD LIBRARY. which is Sci/Fan YA. I'll try to update my synopsis in my 'In the Works' tab. I'm changing quite a bit in this new round of edits. Going from third person to first, taking away a couple characters, and applying what I've learned in other areas as well. Should be much better! I'll let my critique partners tell me if it is =).

Let me know what you think. If it's terrible, I'll change it. Always trying to please.



PS. Since writing this post, I have updated all my tabs. Please check them out!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: THE PARTIALS SEQUENCE



FRAGMENTS by Dan Wells, is the book I'd like to concentrate on in this post. First, I have to admit that my 'bad review' in the post before (the book with all the guns) was the first book in this series. And although I don't retract my comments, I'm obviously here to support this author. He did a much better job in the second book, though not perfect, and I gave him another chance. Obviously the story line was just good enough that I decided to buy the second book. 

Without giving away too much, the thing I think Dan Wells did well in this series was to create a believable post-apocalyptic world. There was a great, and I might add obvious, purpose to the story. The main characters were all very well thought out. There were rules to this new world that worked and were clear. And the theme ended up being excellent. (When I say theme, I mean a sort of moral to the story). 

That being said, I'm going to try to sandwich in the things that I think needed to be worked on, so that I, as well as anyone reading this post, can learn from Dan's mistakes.  As much as I liked this book, I didn't love it. A lot of what went on could have possibly been done away with. One thing we're taught as authors is to make sure your settings vary. You don't want to have the same thing popping up all the time. Now, in this case I understand that the whole world is in shambles. Fine. That's okay. The thing we need to consider is, how can I make the same thing interesting? 

First: DON'T put the exact same descriptions in all the time. This gets old. Find new things to focus in on. Maybe make a list of characteristics and then only share some at one time and then some another. 
Second: You still need to be creative enough to figure out how to change things up. Be in different circumstances, ie. don't have the whole book be about shooting people down constantly. We know they're at war, let's have some variation OF that war. 

This isn't to say that there wasn't. I am being hyper-critical here. It could have been a little more varying. 
The next thing I learned from this (I do this in my own writing to a degree. Now I won't) is don't continue to ask obvious questions all the time. Throughout these two books, the author had the main character asking herself questions all the time. I mean, ALL THE TIME. Every other page or so there would be about five lines devoted to--sometime very obvious--questions. Like, What are they going to do? type of questions. Is it this? Or will it be that? Do they mean this? Or is it something altogether different blah blah blah? 
This is something I will be scouring my work of. 

Ask one or two questions tops, and not every few pages. Let the reader as these questions naturally. You raise questions best through SHOWING, not telling. If you are doing your job as an author, the reader will ask these questions automatically.

One more thing, and then I will go back to praising the rest of the book =). As writers we need to be very careful to make sure each of our characters are independent in thinking from each other. Dan did a great job with his main set of characters, but the lesser (but still important players) often had fits of saying the exact same things the main characters would, even when they hadn't been around each other to indoctrinate them with their ideas. Or even if they had, there should be a different colored lens we can look through for these characters, to color what they see with their own personality. For example, a sixty year old man isn't going to start talking like a seventeen year old boy. (Unless he's making fun of him.) Right? It strips away his believability and breaks the reader from the powerful trance you've induced.

I read another series as a teen where the author did a more extreme job of this exact thing. EVERY SINGLE character had the same personality. Maybe I've mentioned this before. It is worth mentioning again. DON'T re-use the same personality for every person. I don't care if you think their sense of humor is hilarious. I don't care of they are all noble and brave. Or popular, or whatnot. They shouldn't all be the same. There should be personality quirks. 

And this is where I'll praise Dan again. As I said, his MAIN characters were awesome. Each one could be easily distinguished from one another just by their reactions to events. And they weren't small differences either. Each person, could in their own right, be a scene antagonist. They were friends, but they argued, or got in one another's way. This is good writing. 

I hope I'm not giving anything away with this next item, but I have to talk about the theme of the story. As I see it. You pretty much get a hint of this throughout the first book, but it becomes very clear in the second. There should always be something you're trying to teach the reader, something to get them thinking. But in a non-judgmental, helpful way. Dan succeeded in doing this very eloquently in this book. There were obvious sides, obvious notions of people being 'racist' in this book. Although not in a way that we, in real life, have thought of before. But the bigger issue was the war. And killing. When there is a greater good at stake, are we willing to do what it takes to get there, and how far is too far? Are we going so far that we lose our humanity along the way? 

Dan looked at things equally from both sides and his main character wants to find that medium where everyone can be happy. In fact, she's willing to do, in the end, what it takes to do the right thing by all parties. This is a great debate that gets you thinking. Giving both sides equal support for their causes, but in the end there is a clear choice. The right one. There's also the realization that we as people are afraid of what we don't understand. That's true of everyone. These are issues, when it comes down to it, that we can all relate to. And I think if you can do that with your story, really connect to real issues that people understand, then you've created a great story.

Well done! Now I have to wait for the next book. 

What are your thoughts. Have you read this series? Were there things you loved about it that I didn't cover? 

Also, big shockers in there. I love the turn of events. Every story should surprise you. 
Anyway, I could go on, but that's what the comments section is for.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Things that kill your story. Or: Life after the first chapter.

Tell me if you're like me. You research a book, the synopsis sounds intriguing, so you read the first chapter (if it's available) online. And: It's superb! It grabs you at the first line! The story problem is introduced right away in such a heart-wrenching way that you MUST HAVE THIS BOOK!

And then?

You click "Purchase".

Two weeks later you get to read past that first chapter and you find out you're reading an entirely different book. Nope. Same book.  But where did the Ooomph go? What happened to the pace? The voice was lost somewhere between page 4 and page 5. It dropped right out of the book and into the garbage pail, that's what it did.

I've read a few books lately and this is basically what happened. Each book had its good qualities, but they each had undeniable problems.

First off, you probably know I'm not the type to blackball people on my blog. I'll leave that to the vicious heartless critics out there. This blog's purpose it to learn from--not tear down--other authors. But let's look at the three samples I have.

Book one, I'll admit, I wasn't as into the story line as I thought I'd be. They just didn't take it in the direction I was hoping for. But book one and book two had the same problem. They had a dynamic first chapter and then their pacing went out the window. Book one had very few important events happening and a lot of every day activities. Book two was the same way, but let's add that there were events happening off and on, but no real road blocks. If you have action sequences, that doesn't mean you have good drama. It's just melodrama. This book was full of guns (boy, did this author like to write about guns! Holy cow!), and people were shooting at them, there were bombs going off, but every time (and I really paid attention to make sure I wasn't missing something) they went after their goal, there were no real obstacles. Nothing barring their way. No re-tries. (Oh, and this author was a man, and boy was there a lot of flirting going on! I was surprised =).

The third book I will still say I liked, but for all intensive purposes I will still not use the title and show it as an example of what not to do. Granted, with book three, I love this author and think they have a great voice. Usually. They've tried other voices and done just fine. But I was expecting something akin to that caliber and it didn't happen. Sometimes I think authors are only good at one kind of genre or voice and when they stray from what they're good at, it doesn't work. Sad, but true. And that's fine. Stick with what you're good at.

Book three had an interesting plot, but I didn't really feel that link to the characters. It was set so far in the future where the people are so different, that you couldn't really relate to them half the time. Also, I'm all for a good moral, I really really am, but this book was a statement piece where every other chapter there was an obvious complaint about the way (for example: the government) things are in our country. Now, I totally agreed with everything this person was complaining about. But when you make a book your platform and not about the characters' story, then you lose touch with the reader. Morals are great. EVERY story should have one, but there's a good and a bad way to do it. Preaching at people in a negative way every five pages isn't going to get people to join your side of the podium.

So, to reiterate, this is what I learned:

  1. Make sure you keep your voice throughout your book.
  2. Don't forget about pacing. No one wants to hear about mundane everyday activities.
  3. Every action (basically) needs to be thwarted and worked through. Try, try again.
  4. Don't preach. Subtlety is best. Get your reader thinking, and seeing your point in a more uplifting way.
  5. And just for my own sake, Don't have a romance in your book if you start out with the characters totally mush-faced about each other and constantly flirting. Give a little, give some more, and then reward the reader with the appropriate amount of mushiness in the end. (PLEASE don't use sex in teen novels. There are far too many unplanned pregnancies in this world already! Let's not encourage children to be immoral.) PS. It's okay to have a platform on a blog =). This is where you learn about ME. 
So, there are some tidbits for you. What are some of YOUR pet-peeves when you buy a book you were excited for and it left you hanging?