Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Yeah. I hate it., but heres the good news. I am officially done with school on May 17th! woo hoo! So relatively 20-ish days left?
And that means this sporadic updating will stop then because honestly I'm getting tired of it, but once summer comes it will be tons easier.
I'm almost done with Radiant Darkness so expect a review on it tomorow-ish. It may be Thursday, but I doubt it.
Sorry for the random rant.
Also. For your listening pleasure if any of you are fans of Switchfoot I have an amazing band for you. Fiction Family, who are composed of two guys (including Jon Foreman the lead singer of Switchfoot) and it just so happens that their CD is amazing! I've been listening to it constantly, in fact I was late to school today because I didn't want to get out of my car and stop the music. Yeah. Check them out. :]
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Alright so, my father is a huge Tennessee Vols fan - me and my friends call him Darrell the Orange (because he is also obsessed with LOTR) so anyway, every year we go to the Orange and White game and meet players and what not - and at this game is where we get to use our connections lol which is primarily my Cousin who is a High School coach and is an aquaintence of Peyton Manning's, but anyway not part of the story...
2. Autographs. :D
3. I high fived Eric Berry who will probably be going pro next year...
Me my Dad, and Rico Mccoy.
And this is my favorite recruit...just because my Uncle coached him lol.
Anyone else a fan of UT? Anyone?...lol. Or if you like football in general let me know because I am in love with it, especially college and the SEC. :]
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Anyway, I have really enjoyed talking with Heidi and am very happy to have this interview. Enjoy!
1. What inspired you to write Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?
A. Miss D is a bit of a caricature of the regency romance genre, a book genre that I love and was reading a lot of at the time I wrote it (which was about 15 years ago--so, yeah, it's been sitting in a drawer for a very long time). I had always wanted to write a book and after devouring about 400 regencies, I figured, "Hey, I can do that!"
2. How long did it take you to write Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind?
I was taking a romance novel writing class on Tuesday nights via adult education. Every Tuesday my mother-in-law would pick up my four year old, I would sit down with a bowl of chocolate (an essential element of the entire procedure) and write a chapter. That night I would read it to my class which, after 8 weeks, evolved into a critique group that met at our instructor's home. It was very helpful to have an audience who appreciated what I was doing, especially when it came to the comedy. Imagining their laughter was super motivating. The book originally had 24 chapters, so at one chapter a week, it took six months.
3. Do you listen to music while you write or do you prefer peace and quiet? And just in general what kind of music do you enjoy?
I love music! I listen to a wide range, everything from alternative, classical, Celtic and show tunes to pop, rock and roll, and bagpipe music. However, when I write, I prefer peace and quiet (which is why my m-i-l took my son for the day when I wrote). Since I started blogging, I have learned how to write admidst a certain amount of chaos (our large, flat screen TV is about two feet away from the only computer in the house) which is a big plus but I still prefer to have absolute quiet when I do my serious writing.
4. Are you anything like your character Ginny?
Absolutely, yes. I'm very outspoken. I wouldn't have "taken" well in the Regency time period. I would have been one of those poor relations who lived in the tower with her cats mooching off her cousin or nephew. Either that or the crazy wife living in the attic in Jane Eyre.
5. Do you have a fictional character that you would consider a "favorite"? (doesn't have to be from your book but any book)
This is hard. I am never able to narrow down any kind of favorite to just one. Or even just ten. It's like asking which is my favorite child (the youngest, but shhhhh!) b/c it would just be WRONG! However, if forced to narrow it down, I would have to admit that Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Jamie Fraser of Outlander are currently duking it out in my mind's eye for the honor. Having said that, Laurie (short for Lawrence)of Little Women was my first literary crush. And, then, of course, there's Cyrano de Bergerac. Who can resist him? I could go on and on(see what I mean about narrowing it down?)
6. Christina or Britney?
Christina comes across to me as being slightly less intolerable but I don't listen to either of them. I couldn't even tell you the name of any songs they sing.
*From Me* It's the name...what can i say... :]
7. What is the weirdest place you have gotten a burst of inspiration?
8. When do you write? Do you have a specific time of day you prefer or does it happen sporadically?
I wrote Miss D when I had just one little guy running around. Once my daughter was born, I no longer had access to my mother in law and b/c of my oldest's eccentric ways, babysitters generally ran screaming from the house. Then the third came along. I never had the peace and quiet to seriously write again until just a few months ago. I decided the Miss D formula was a winner so that is how I do it--I don't do anything else on Tuesday's, just novel-write. As before, chocolate's essential. (I blog-write whenever inspiration strikes but it's usually when the kids are at school.)
9. What's your favorite movie?
Argh! There's that "favorite" question again which is just so hard for me to answer. If forced into a corner with a rapier at my neck, I would have to say The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews (the hero of Miss D is named for him) and Jane Seymour but I also adore The Princess Bride and the filmed version of Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline. The common thread amongst all of these movies is that I can watch them again and again, they are highly romantic with strong comedic leanings and tons of FUN (like Miss D).
10. If you could have been born in any other time period, which would it be?
I have often thought it would be wonderful to have lived in the regency or victorian time period with all the beautiful clothes, etc. However, the more I learn about those time periods, the more convinced I am that unless I were filthy rich, it would be pretty intolerable since money does buy a lot of comfort. (However, had I actually been born back then, I suppose I wouldn't realize how literally stinky everything was as I would be used to it.) In short, there is nothing in the past as appealing to me as having the regular use of a flushing toilet, running water, an electric laundry room, air conditioning and a dishwasher.
11. Did you do alot of research for this book as far as the language and events are concerned?
The 400 or so regency romance novels I read were research, indeed! The genre is (or "was" since no one is publishing the genre at this time--Miss D was published as regency-set historical romance) based on what was considered mainstream fiction at the time--the novels of Georgette Heyer who began publishing in the late 1920's. She was clearly very influenced by the works of Baroness Orczy (author of The Scarlet Pimpernel) and wrote mostly georgian time period romances, then moved into the regency era books. She did a massive amount of detailed research and her books were so well recieved that people began knocking off her work right and left. A genre was born. Reading Jane Austen, is of course, a must as well. I am doing quite a bit more research of my own for the novel I am currently working on.
12. Do you think you will write another book set in the Regency era?
Back when I wrote Miss D, I started on two other regencies which I am itching to get finished up but first . . .
13. Are you currently working on anything?
I have to finish the sequel to Miss D. People loved the characters so much, they asked when I was going to write a sequel, something I had never before considered. I am on schedule to finish Miss Delacourt Has Her Day in June. It is amazing to me how much more information is available online than there was 15 years ago when I wrote Miss D--I love that I just have to click to a new screen and do my search as the story unfolds. Love it!
14. What was it like to find your book was being published, and what were you doing when you found out?
That was a day indeed! I wrote a blog post about it which answers this question in detail. http://heidiashworth.blogspot.com/2008/05/day-i-got-call.html
15. What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I love the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, as mentioned. Some of my other favorite regency romance authors are Joan Smith, Barbara Metzger, Marion Devon, Marian Chesney, Carla Kelly and Elizabeth Mansfield. I read Little Women 7 times by the time I was 12. I also adore the Outlander series and many, many works of fantasy such as Lord of the Rings, The Dragonriders of Pern series, the Chronicles of Narnia, anything written by Patricia McKillip or Robin McKinley (esp her vampire book, Sunshine)and pretty much any fantasy novel based on the Arthurian legend. Surprisingly, except for Jane, I haven't made much time for the classics.
16. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read-read-read and write-write-write. Take a writing class, join a critique group and don't give up!
*Okay so, who is excited that Miss. Delacourt is going to have a sequel? ME! You guys should run out and get a copy of Miss Delacourt Speaks her Mind, I'm reading it now, and am really enjoying it :]
And thank you Heidi Ashworth for agreeing to do this interview with me!
And also, with my earlier post today, I got the pictures figured out after texting a friend...so it should work now, at least thats what it seems like. :]
When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore? (from Amazon)
Monday, April 13, 2009
So anyway, after reading that post I have decided to clear up some things, and explain exactly what I do and how I sort my TBR pile.
Okay so I don't like asking for books.
It's just a thing with me. There were alot of comments on that post about bloggers who became bloggers - to get free books...which honestly to me is insane.
This blog is ALOT of work, and alot of time and honestly, a free book would not be worth the effort of sorting everything out, that is unless I guess you wanted to be a slacker...which may be the problem.
If I ask for a book from an author, it means I really want it. I mean, it means that I know I would love it (which is probably why I have given like - 2 bad reviews...haha.) I have been at the book reviewing thing for awhile - just not here. I had another site on Free Webs, but the posts were way too difficult, so I came here...and discovered that there were alot of other people doing this too.
That was a shocker, because I had absolutely NO idea that other people did this. I was friends with the Not So Closet Geeks on Myspace, and other then me, they were the only others I knew of...so it was surprising that there was a...community.
Part of the discussion was the idea that people were asking for books that were already out. Really?
I can't imagine asking for a book that's already out. I feel bad asking for a book in general, so just that idea can't get through my brain.
I have requested a ARC before and the author or publicist has said, "I don't have this one, would you like this one instead," and if it sounds like I'd be interestead then I accept. Those are the only books I've gotten that were already out though.
My TBR pile is sorted in a really lame way, but it works for me.
I have different stacks and each stack is labeled with which Month the review needs to be done. Books that come out in the same month are grouped together so I know. Its really simple, but it is intimidating at times. As of right now I am behind, and it really saddens me, I'm only like...maybe four books behind but still, it does make me extremely happy when I finish a book and get on with the process.
I review every book that I receive If it's one that I didn't ask for and was just thrown in with another book, it goes down in the TBR pile, but I will review it. It just may take a bit longer for me to get to it.
The books I buy on my own (and there have been quite a few recently) sadly will probably not be read any time soon. I don't have time to read anything that I dont have to review, so I buy them and wait for a break.
Also with my reviews I always try to have them posted the week the book comes out in stores. Sometimes I ask the authors if they would prefer something else, or for it to be sooner and I am completely fine with whatever the author asks of me.
I have never traded books, and I dont think I really will, simply because I am not a fan of shipping costs - but I may do a few contests in the future, it just depends.
I can understand Authors frustration with the recent uprise in ARC requests. I can only speak for myself when i say that me, as a reviewer do buy books primarily because I have seen them reviewed on here, and it is also where I hear of all the books that I may want to buy in the future.
I am open to any requests for books to review, I have gotten a few recently but I do get tired of the generic ones like everyone else. Copy and paste messages just dont make me smile haha :]
I love talking to authors and really love when an author writes to me after reading one of my reviews. It's one of my favorite things.
Anyway, that's just some info on things. If anyone has any questions just let me know.
I may do a "About Me" type thing later this week. Who knows...
Also my review of Shrinking Violet should be up tomorow, and be looking forward to a interview with Heidi Ashworth, author of Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind some times soon :]
*And it's really late as I type this so I apologize for how long it is and any mistakes that might be there.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The Lady of the Sea by: Rosalind Miles
The Author was Sam Pickering - I know you probably have never heard of him, but I had as he is the teacher that the character John Keating in Dead Poets Society is based on. We were lucky enough to have him lecture us for two and a half hours - and we were never bored. He is a AMAZING speaker and was completely entertaining.
So Anyway. Here is a picture of me and Sam :]
If you ever have the opportunity to hear him talk you should jump on it - he is completely insane and extremely funny :]
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I prefer to not have hardbacks simply because they're not bendy and expensive. I tend to like mass market paperback and trade paperback. Both work for me, but I like longer books opposed to pocket sized paperback - but either will do.
Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Really neither...I like cheap book sellers, and neither one of these fall under that category. We have a discount Book store where I live that I frequent, and if I can't find what I want there, then i go to Books-A-Million and look for a good deal there.
Bookmark or dog-ear?
Really both depending on what I have on hand. If I have a piece of spare paper to use as a book mark - then I do, but if I don't I dog ear. It doesn't bother me to dog ear my books at all, I guess because I bend the very teeny tiny bit of the corner, but I hardly ever have a book mark that is actually...a book mark haha.
Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
Nothing will replace shopping for hours in a book store. Man it's the best. Amazon is fun to look at though and I plan out books that i want so when I go to the bookstore I'm prepared...but I actually hardly ever actually
Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random?
Organization? Please. lol No really I don't have a real system. I have it pretty random, though I normally try to keep books with the same author together, series in their order, and with Sarah Dessen her books in the order of which they came out. But that's it.
Keep, throw away, or sell?
I always keep, and I'm trying to get into BookMooch...so I need to let go of some lol.
Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep for sure.
Read with dust jacket or remove it?
Depends. With the Twilight Series I kept it, but now with Miss Delacourt I normally have it off. I dont know why. I think I have just gotten to the point where I like the feel of the actual hard cover. haha.
Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Deffinately Harry Potter. Although I liked Lemony Snicket too.
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Deffinately "Once Upon a Time" I love fairy Tales :]
Buy or borrow?
I haven't bought in awhile because I've been getting ARC's but normally - before that atleast I always bought.
New or used?
Normally always new, and I have some used books, but more likely then not I don't read them, because frankly - they're not very pretty haha.
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
I browse alot, and alot of that comes from viewing reviews. I see a book on a review and it doesn't matter what they say about it, if it intrigues me then i want it haha.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
I don't like it when series have huge cliffhanger endings. It makes me really mad haha. So I guess I like a tidy ending so i don't kill myself thinking about possibilities.
Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
Late at night, otherwise I get distracted.
Stand-alone or series?
hmm Both really. I love them both pretty equally but there are alot of stand alones I wish could be series.
umm It's between Harry Potter and Twilight with me. Both are amazing.
Favorite children’s book?
I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by: Roald Dahl. It was amazing. That and Pippi Longstocking.
Favorite YA book?
Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever is probably my All time favorite, that and Just Listen by her.
And of course Twilight, and Perfect You, Going too Far...there are just so many. haha.
Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Once Upon a Marigold by: Jean Ferris
I loved it when i was younger
and the Left Behind Kids Series (there are 40 of them and they are amazing)
Favorite books read last year?
Bloom by: Elizabeth Scott
Favorite books of all time?
The Truth About Forever- Sarah Dessen, Harry Potter, Twilight, Bloom - Elizabeth Scott, Perfect You- Elizabeth Scott, Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte, P&P- Jane Austen, Going too Far- Jennifer Echols etc...
What are you reading right now?
Miss Delacourt Speaks her Mind by: Heidi Ashworth
Favorite book to recommend to an 11-year-old?
oooh. Probably Treasure Island for a boy, and Island of the Blue Dolphins for a girl.
Favorite book to re-read?
The Truth About Forever and Twilight.
Do you ever smell books?
I love the smell of books :]
Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries?
I'm Obsessed with the Diary of Anne Frank. Everything about her I LOVE :]
Thursday, April 9, 2009
You can find her Website here- http://www.jennifer-echols.com/index.html
1. What inspired you to write Going too Far?
I had an idea for a romantic comedy about two teenagers who get in trouble or are doing a report on law enforcement for school...something to get them in the back of a cop car together for a ride-along. As I thought about this, I decided that it would be more interesting to make the romance between one of the teenagers and the cop himself. And then, of course, it wasn’t a comedy anymore.
2. I know some authors listen to music while they write. Are you one of them, or do you prefer peace and quiet during your writing? And just in general what kind of music do you enjoy?
My family is very loud, so I need my iPod to block them out when I write. :) I make a soundtrack for each novel. They usually contain a lot of Incubus. You can listen to the soundtrack for Going Too Far here: http://jennifer-echols.com/goingtoofarchapter.html.
3. How long did it take you to write Going too Far?
About 4 months.
4. Where is the strangest place you have gotten a burst of inspiration?
In December 2004, while I was living in Atlanta, my family and I went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. My husband very generously took our then-toddler with him so I could get the serious gift-buying done. It was at that moment that I unfortunately had a burst of inspiration. I sat in the cold car in the parking lot and scribbled the very best chapter of Major Crush (chapter 18) on the backs of napkins I found stuffed under the seat. I had to go back and finish my shopping later.
5. Do you have a specific time of day you set aside for writing, or does it happen sporadically?
It can vary but it’s usually in the morning. I am a morning person.
6. How old were you when you began writing, and did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
Every day in first grade we had to copy sentences off the board to practice our handwriting: “Today is Wednesday, April 8. It will be sunny and cool today. Our class will go to the library...” etc. etc. I remember taking the pertinent information from these sentences and composing my own paragraph because the teacher’s was too long. By third grade I was writing a lot of poems, and by fifth grade I was writing short stories. I finished writing my first novel when I was 20. My grandmother was a high school English teacher, an avid reader, a writer, and a terrific role model. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do this.
7. What is your favorite movie?
The Breakfast Club
8. What is your favorite book?
The Beginning Place by Ursula K. LeGuin
9. Are you working on anything currently?
I just turned in a proposal for a romantic comedy. Next I’ll write a proposal for a more serious book like Going Too Far, but right now I’m taking a few days off, reading a lot, and painting the living room.
10. What is some advice you'd give to young writers wishing to make it a career?
If you can possibly think of another career you’d enjoy, do that instead. It will be easier, I promise. (The real writers ignore this advice and write anyway.)
Thank you so much for the amazing interview Jennifer!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.
They say no land remains to be discovered, no continent is left unexplored. But the whole world is out there, waiting, just waiting for me. I want to do things-I want to walk the rain-soaked streets of London, and drink mint tea in Casablanca. I want to wander the wastelands of the Gobi desert and see a yak. I think my life's ambition is to see a yak. I want to bargain for trinkets in an Arab market in some distant, dusty land. There's so much. But, most of all, I want to do things that will mean something.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Ahh so I did this last night, but my mom's internet Sucks and I got kicked off right as I tried to post it - which made me lose EVERYTHING! So, I must do it again...ahhh.
Violet Greenfield's life changes forever when a lady in giant Chanel shades tells her she could be IT, the next Kate Moss-but taller, and without the PR problems. That's how Violet winds up with a business card in the front pocket of her jeans on her first day as a senior in high school. Angela Blythe from Tryst Models in New York City wants to put Violet on a plane and whisk her into the world of high-heeled boots and oversized sunglasses. Tall, skinny Violet, who's been P-L-A-I-N practically forever.
And guess what? She's going.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing.
Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist–after all, she's the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there are no good men after all.
It doesn't help that she's gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He's a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy...but he's her dad, and Quinn's just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he's treated the many women in his life, how he's stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the stepsister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father's wrongs...and in doing so, begin to uncover what they're really looking for: the truth.
Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy–in other words, real life.
*I love Deb Caletti, particularly her book Wild Roses so I absolutely can't wait to read this newest one - as it seems just up my ally!
So. What are you guys looking forward too?