Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Epic Contest & Contest Recaps

Seriously, there's sooooo many great contests going on right's like so many books and prizes, so little time.

There's a bloody awesome(I'm feeling a Ron Weasley moment taking me over, lol) over at the Bloody Bookaholic. Check this:

30 Books Up For Grabs....3 winners....maybe even some preorder fabulousness!!!

Don't forget these other contests....

The Lovely Getaway is giving away the fantastic sounding Wither. Head over there to enter the contest to win the ARC!!!

RACHWRITES is running a contest that has the best of both worlds. Here's the blurb:

We're happy, excited, and thrilled to announce our Trilogy Contest. Your chance to win one of a gigantic stack of amazingly awesome prizes.

And here they are*:

3 x query or synopsis
(max. 2 pages) critiques (winner's choice)
3 x first 300 words critiques
3 x first 3 pages critiques
3 x first 30 pages critiques

*For the picture book writers, I'll convert any of the above prizes into a picture book critique! And if you win a 30 page critique, I'll critique 3 of your picture book wips instead!!!

Rather have a book? We've thought about that too!
If more than 50 people enter the Trilogy Contest, we'll share some of our favorites/dying to reads.

So Marieke will give away a copy of... The Mockingbirds
Tessa will give away a copy of... Unearthly
And I will give away a copy of... Across The Universe

Writing Influences: In Memory of Cooper: How losing my 1st student led to an agent

I've had many writing influences in my life from family to friends to my spiritual life. However, one of the strangest influences came out of fact, I wrote the story that landed me an agent because of it.

As most of you know, I'm a teacher. If there's anything God called me to be besides a future wife and mother, it's a teacher(and writer too, lol). Sure, I had dreams in high school and into college of being a newsreporter, but that wasn't meant to be.
I taught eight years before I lost a student. When you teach older kids, especially high schoolers, you know that losing one is inevitable. Two years ago on January 29th, 2009, I lost my first. I'll never forget that January morning. I was running a little later than usual, so when I heard my name, along with some other teachers' names, called over the intercom, I thought I was in trouble! I rushed into the principal's office where I found one teacher already crying. That's when I was delivered the news that my student, Cooper, had died.

I'd only found out a few weeks before that Cooper had heart problems and had a pacemaker. Since he was a tall, healthy, strapping kinda kid in ROTC, it came as a surprise. He had missed my class the day before because he was going to get his pacemaker regulated. Although his mom really didn't approve, Cooper loved playing sports, and he was playing in a basketball game when he simply collapsed and died.

As I started back to my classroom, I began crying. I even called my grandmother before school started to ask her to pray for the family, my students, and myself that I might be a comfort to the kids.

I had pulled myself together by the time all the kids got to first period. But I had to step outside when they came over the intercom to make the announcement. That's when long dormant memories of my junior year in high school came flooding back. There was an announcement that morning too telling the HS population that one of its most popular and most hilarious students had been killed in a car accident. His name was Travis Appling....he would have been the next Adam Sandler. He was one of those guys who was nice to everyone and made everyone, including his teachers laugh. Distant cousins, Travis and I were in the same homeroom, and we were often chosen by our homeroom teacher as the errand runners. We also sat together at lunch. At that lunch table was another sweetheart of a guy named David Wheeler. Never during that time of grief could we imagine that six months later, David and his girlfriend, Shelley, would be killed in a car accident.

Two lives lost within 6 months of each other. It was devastating to my class and my friends. And on that January day what happened with Travis and David came flooding back.

When I stepped back inside the classroom, I made the long walk to the podium in absolute silence. This morning there was not the usual noisy banter to quiet down. Staring out into the sea of expectant faces, my voice wavered as I tried to talk to them about what had happened and how we weren't going to do anything that day. And then I lost it....I'd never lost it in front of students before. Even during sad reading selections or movies when they would get teary, I would keep it together to be strong for them.

But this day, I didn't. And for the rest of the day, I became united with them in our grief. We cried, we talked about Cooper, and we even laughed. I feel especially close to that group of kids for what we went through.

Over the course of the next few days and weeks, the way the kids grieved, especially the boys, really hit me. I also thought back to the way my class and friends handled the deaths of Travis and David. Suddenly an idea came to me to explore how teenage guys handled grief. More specifically what would it be like for a guy, who has had the same best friend since kindergarten, to discover his friend really wasn't who he thought he was. Then the characters of Noah, the grieving best friend, and Jake, the dead friend came calling in my head! At first, it was much more a darker comedy with Jake, a manwhore, getting blown up on a tractor. There is still a lot of snark and humor, but at the same time, I tried to capture what becoming in touch with your emotions might do to a guy.
I guess I should go ahead and preface that Cooper and Jake aren't anything alike....Cooper was a good ol' boy who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and playing basketball. It's simply his death became a catalyst of what I explored before imagnation took over with the character of Jake Slater.
So, Don't Hate the Player....Hate the Game was written over the course of June 2009. I began querying it in mid July. It garnered a lot of agent interest, and then in October, three agents offered before I accepted my Agent of Awesome's offer. Although it came nail bitingly close to selling this past July, it didn't. However, I'll always have a spot in my heart for DHtP because of how the idea was conceived. And I'll always be thankful for teaching Cooper and having him touch my lfie.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Got ARCS? Pam and Quita Do!! Another fab contest

The very lovely and very talented writing duo of Pam & Quita are having themselves a little contest. They wanted to reach 100 followers before they had a contest, and now they're at 157.

So, these "kissing cousins", lol, are offering up ARCS for Across the Universe, Divergent, and Like Mandarin.

So head on over there!!!

Someone has a HELLA Awesome Contest: Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Starbucks!!!

So, my good writer buddy, STEPHANIE, is feeling a little generous....

How generous you might ask?

Like the EPIC of EPICNESS generous.

She's giving away a KINDLE folks!!!

No, you don't need to adjust your computer screen or check your hearing. I did say KINDLE!!!

She's also got a 2nd prize winner getting Barnes and Noble Gift cards and then a 3rd Place Winner for Starbucks Winner

TOTALLY EPIC, right?!!! Go forth, comment and win big!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: Angelfire

Book: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton


*I received this book for review from NetGalley

Verdict: 4 Thumbs Up

From Good Reads:

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle...

he Good:

(1). Will....he is ultra swoonworthy!!! He's probably one of my favorite YA LI's. I totally love how serious he takes his job as Ellie's guardian. I thought he brought the best out of Ellie, and he pushed her to be not only a better warrior--or the warrior she was meant to be, but also to be a better person. His internal struggle between keeping everything "all business" between them was very noble...and very sexy! :)

(2). The action sequences. I haven't read a whole lotta kick ass fight scenes in YA, and Angelfire seriously delivers. Just when you thought Ellie and Will were down for the count, they were back with a vengeance. I love how varied the settings were for the fights as well.

(3). The Angel/Hebrew/Summarian a history fan, I really enjoyed all the mythology and how it all tied in together.

(4). The "not love at first sight" romance between Ellie and Will. It's nice to see their relationship evolve.

The Bad

(1). Sad to say, but a lot of times Ellie. I just couldn't take her personality....she was a little too immature sometimes The excessive obsessing about clothes and cars didn't endear me to her. Really this was only the beginning of the book....the more she remembered her past life, the better she got, lol.

The Daddy factor....just didn't feel like it enhanced the book and some of the scenes. I'm hoping it will be explained in the 2nd Book.

(3). The "Whoa" moment--I can't say too much about this b/c I don't want to spoil it, but I'm not really sure whether I liked or disliked it...still kinda mulling it over and seeing how it will unfold in the second book.

The Ugly

*The Reapers--most def were some pretty hideous and unfortunate creatures!!

So, go forth and read Angelfire when it debuts next month!