Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shawn Kirsten Maravel--Author Feature!

Shawn lives with her husband in Germany where he's stationed in the Army. She's the author of two books, Volition and Severance, which I have on my TBR list (and in my Kindle). Can't wait!

Shawn, tell me a bit about your writing bio: (when you started, fav genres/authors)

I started writing when I was young. I once wrote a story about a family going on a trip…the brother, after being attacked (I forget why) resorted to using his Bop-It as a weapon of self-defense. I actually really enjoyed writing that story…but I remember that the word “plunged” was used A LOT. Anyway…I started to write seriously about three years ago when my husband enlisted in the Army and even more seriously when he deployed in 2009 for a year to Iraq.

My favorite genres are Young Adult, Literary Fiction, and Romance Novels (as sort of a guilty pleasure). I write both YA and Literary Fiction and…to be honest, I would love to write romance novels but I’m pretty sure I’d have to create an alias for that! As for young adult, I like paranormal and just good old everyday stuff. The main ingredient for me is a great love story…if “love story” was a genre, that’s what my favorite genre would be!

My favorite authors are Stephanie Meyer for her fluid and easily relatable writing, the kind of story that feels written just for you. And Nicholas Sparks, who, though predictable at times, has written some great love stories…some of which I watched the movies, others that I read, most of which I love! I idolize J.K. Rowling, though I haven’t read the Harry Potter books…I know, it’s a disgrace. But I started to read them when I wasn’t into reading and never got into them simply because I hated to read up until about three years ago when I started to write more seriously. By then I’d already watch the movies and I have an issue with reading a book after seeing the movie. It’s just not something I do.

What was the first writing project you ever did?

I’ve written a lot of stories about my pets in first grade…but I’m going to assume that you mean my more recent projects! I wrote a book called “With Eyes That See” three years ago, are you sensing a pattern? It seems everything picked up around the same time. I finished it and knew that it wasn’t publishable. And I recently tried to rewrite it but it needs so much work that it may not actually be a workable story. It’s sad…but in truth, it still provided me with a stepping stone to advance in my writing.

What's the most thrilling part of writing?

I think that the most thrilling part, or the best part, is falling in love with the characters. Learning their personalities, and handing over the reins a bit to let them tell their own story. It’s kind of surreal and non-writers often look at me like I’m nuts when I say it…but every book I’ve written has gotten to that point. There’s nothing else like it.

The worst part?

Writer’s block. Some writers claim that they don’t get it and for them…I’m glad, but I do get it. I often feel that if I continue as is I will ruin the story because I’m simply writing to write. If it doesn’t feel solid and it feels forced in any way I can’t continue. I hate that feeling, wondering if the story will never be told.

Tell me about how/why you wrote Volition and Severance

I wrote Volition while I was taking online classes and my husband was deployed. When I didn’t feel like doing homework, I wrote. When I didn’t feel like writing, I did homework. By the time I wrote Severance I’d stopped going to school to focus on writing. My major was English and all I wanted to do was write books…school was distracting from that and with the crazy seat-of-your-pants lifestyle that is the Army I figured, hey, I’ll just focus on writing for now.  The idea was spurred by my need to fill the void of my husband being away with a new and fresh love story that was exciting and mysterious. The story sort of told itself, and with the help of my sister and friends, it grew to be something great!

What are your long-term writing goals?

Ideally, I would like to make a career of it but, hey, wouldn’t we all? Realistically, I just hope to be able to keep writing and to share my stories with my family and friends and as many others as I can! The writing world is a crazy and unforgiving one so I’m just trying to stay positive and keep doing what I love!

Thanks, Shawn! I'll be blogging more about Volition and Severance when I've read them. Until then, check out Shawn's website and her Amazon Author Page!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter--Chills, Tears, and Honor

I only just started the books about a year ago and read them out to my kids. We didn't have time to finish them before the last film, Deathly Hallows Part 2, which we wanted to see in the theater.

We did and it was superlative. Aside from the compelling characters, incredible direction and amazing FX, what impressed me most was the realization that the author cared about her readers. J.K. Rowling never forgot her responsibility to her fans and she treated them with utmost honor and respect.

We can easily see times when the almighty dollar takes precedence over storytelling (think most film sequels), when what made the movie or book so good the first time is absent the second time around. Why can't the powers that be recognize what originally made the story great and replicate it?

I believe J.K. Rowling did not bump into success, instead, she wrote from her heart and continued writing that way through the series. She knew what made them good and didn't have to cobble something together to continue cashing in.  It was as if Harry, Ron, and Hermione were her children, and like any good mom, she saw them through to the end.

And fans of Harry Potter recognized this. It's a symbiotic honor between storyteller and reader--as a good story is meant to be.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Help Spread The Z Word Contest Form

A cool shortcut to entering my contest Help Spread The Z Word.

Hat tip to Shawn Maravel for leading the way. Contest details here.

Check the entry form out and don't forget to get your FREE copy of The Z Word here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Help Spread The Z Word!

My contest to promote my new release, The Z Word, is live! The best part, is no cost is involved. It's free, baby, free--at least on Smashwords (Amazon is charging 99 cents, so a heads up there).

The Z Word is the first book in the Apocalypse Babes series.

It's been said that a sure sign of the coming apocalypse is an 80s roller skate disco movie coming to DVD (with special features). In the science-fiction novel series Apocalypse Babes, a stylish group of twenty-something friends are torn from the Babylonian arms of 2006 West Hollywood and flung nearly thirty years into the past. It might be because one of them purchased the taboo film in a nostalgic moment, setting off a chain of events more disturbing than a roller skating conga line. They wake up in an apocalyptic but strangely familiar landscape, complete with a hidden mountain compound and retro survivalists, hinting at hidden and retro secrets they must face if they want to survive.

Book One follows Seffy Carter and her longtime friends Gareth, Addison and Lani. The four besties share a past dysfunctional and dark enough to keep them bound together under do-over identities. But rends develop in their relationships from the flesh-eating pressures of ending up in 1980, in a Montana desert, surrounded by zombies wearing dated disco duds

If you want to help promote the book--tweet, leave a review, friend me on Face Book, etc, send an email to detailing the ways you promoted. Each action is worth points and you'll be sent a confirmation email with your total. The drawing will be in October by See for all the details. Click on the contest sparkles.

First prize is a Juicy Couture tracksuit (tho the author cannot guarantee magical properties). Second prize is a bottle of Pink (Seffy's favorite, natch) perfume by Victoria's Secret, and third prize is a $25 Amazon gift card (more free books!).

So help spread The Z Word, like a zombie infecting a human--but in a good way!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Just Got A Little Cheaper!

For the month of July, all my titles are FREE at Smashwords.

Just go to the Smashwords website, click on any of my titles and at checkout, enter the code SSWSF.

And don't forget to enter my contest. Where else could you get the chance to win a pink Juicy Couture tracksuit??