Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Running on Empty

Honestly, I got nothin'. I'm running on fumes, and it seems like no amount of sleep is going to make me feel replenished. I sort of feel bad for whining because it's the teen's soccer schedule that's killing me. And let's face it: I'm just driving and sitting in the stands. He's actually running, non-stop, for 90 minutes, three times a week. And that doesn't count the practices on non-game days. But when the closest school is over 2 hours away, it makes for a tired bunch of travelers, parents and kids alike. And the hubs and I have committed to attending all of the teen's games because, well, he's a freshman starting varsity. And playing every minute of every game. It's a huge achievement, no matter what size school you attend. So, we're out there, supporting the team screaming and yelling, sometimes in Spanish. Okay, well, the hubs cheers in Spanish, I have to stick to plain-old English cheering. ;)

I'll be back next week with a shiny new post. But in the meantime, I'm going to give my brain a little rest. Downtime can be good. Really good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shaedes of Gray ARC Winner

Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment on my ARC giveaway post! I asked readers to guess who was hiding behind the SHAEDES OF GRAY galley in this picture:

There were some great guesses, my all-time favorite being Newt Gingrich (thanks for that, Hillary!!). I love that most of you thought the girl behind the book was my daughter. But the fabulous woman behind the book is none other than...drumroll, please...

My uber awesome, kick-ass agent, Natanya Wheeler! A correct guess was not required to be entered in the giveaway, so everyone who made a guess was eligible. I'll be giving more ARCs away over the next couple of months, so if you don't get one this go around, there will be other chances. Thanks to, I've selected a name from the pool of commenters, and the winner of the SHAEDES OF GRAY ARC is...
GiGi! Congrats! I'll be emailing you today for your mailing address. I hope you enjoy the first book in the Shaede Assassin Series!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Win an ARC of Shaedes of Gray

I find it surreal that people will soon be reading SHAEDES OF GRAY. These butterflies I feel in my stomach aren't unpleasant, though. I'm not terrified--well, not anymore. I'm excited! I'm anxious to share Darian and Tyler and Xander with readers. I can't wait to let Raif loose on the world. And yes, some people won't like the book, the characters, my writing style, whatever. But I also know that there will be readers out there who will love my characters like I love them. And so, since we're just under 3 months from the release date, I'm giving an ARC of SHAEDES OF GRAY to a blog commenter!

All you have to do is give a guess as to who's hiding behind the book in the picture at the top of this post. You don't have to guess correctly to win. Just throw a guess out there along with your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. I'll draw at random from all comments left between now and next Wednesday, September, 21st. You can comment as many times as you like. Each comment will count as an entry. Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Novel is Like an Occasion Cake

Most states now have senior projects that are a required research project/class necessary for graduation. When my daughter was a senior, she was obsessed with baking cakes. Not just some box mix thrown together, but the kind you see on Food Network shows. Occasion cakes.

It took her a year's worth of research and practice to build her skills up to make her senior project cake. And she didn't do it alone. I helped her make the flowers, roll the fondant, and stack the cakes. It took an entire weekend and one full school day to assemble this cake. Writing a novel is a lot like making an occasion cake.

A novel can't be thrown together over night. Just like an occasion cake, a certain amount of planning has to take place. The cake artist (because baker just doesn't do justice) develops the cake from an idea. That idea is sketched out from many angles. The flavors, fillings, and color schemes are chosen. Garnish and decorations are planned to match. Like the cake, a story is born from an idea. That idea grows and through plotting, outlining, and structure, a sketch is made. Characters are created and developed, the perfect garnish, and through those efforts, a novel is created.

Occasion cakes, just like stories, take time. My daughter didn't wake up the morning before her project was due and throw together ingredients. She did her research, baked many cakes from many recipes and through trial, error, and practice, found the best cake recipe for the job. A novel isn't born overnight, either. Drafts have to be written and revised. Plots have to be tested and restructured. And after many months of writing and re-writing, a solid story emerges.

An occasion cake isn't a one-person job. The sheets of fondant were huge and it took two sets of hands to knead the fondant, roll it out, and place it on the cakes. I prepped the cake with icing, while my daughter secured the gum paste flowers. Like the cake, a novel can't become a finished product without a little help. Critique partners give that helping hand that a writer needs by offering support, an extra set of eyes, and valuable opinions. Plots and story-structure can be as wide as a sheet of fondant. It takes more than one person to smooth it out.

And when everything is said and done, like the occasion cake, the artist can sit back and enjoy her masterpiece. I have to say, though, that there is one difference between a novel and an occasion cake. When we finished my daughter's cake, I felt that it was just too pretty to eat and I didn't want anyone to cut it! With a novel, well, my hope is that the spine will be cracked and the pages, devoured.