Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bianca Bags a Vamp

This is a short, short, ever so short story by Kimber An featuring Bianca, the twin sister of the heroine of my Ophelia Dawson stories.
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This is the pattern Bianca used to create their matching costumes, as she is an accomplished seamstress.   http://www.simplicity.com/p-1951-costumes.aspx

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Ophelia parted the dangling orange and black crepe paper streamers as she stepped through the gym’s doorway with her twin sister.  The Thriller pounded through her skull.

              “Wait, you’re hung up.”  Bianca untangled some of the streamers from her filmy white wings.

              “Fairy princesses.”  Ophelia folded her arms and glared at the monster mash on the dance floor.  “I can’t believe you talked me into fairy princesses.”  She fixed the green antennae tilting to one side among her sister’s swirled red hair.

              “Don’t you get irony when it smacks you in the face?”

              “I hate you.”

              “I hate you more.”  Ophelia felt a surge of evil and clasped her sister’s hand.  “Feel that?”

              Bianca drew a deep breath and closed her eyes briefly.  She was still getting used to her empathic senses, but there was no mistaking the presence among the Regular humans.  “Oooh, shhh…”

              Ophelia clapped a hand over her sister’s mouth before the naughty word could get out.  It was habit, even when their devoutly Catholic mother wasn’t around.

              Bianca shoved her hand away.  “Don’t we ever get a night off?”

              “Come on.”  Ophelia groaned and dug her hand into her purse.  “Let’s just clean house, so we can party.”

              “Fine.  You packing heat?”

              “Souped-up iPhone.  What do you got?”  Ophelia held it aloft.

              “Holy Water breath spray.”  Bianca tapped it against the phone.  “Not only will the Blood-Sucking Dead Guys get fried, they’ll also be minty-fresh!”

              “Ooh, nice touch.”  Ophelia saw the red eyes approaching through the crowded dance floor, like little pinlights.  “Four Mallies and one Bennie.”

              “I call the Bennie.  He’s got a nice butt.”  Bianca purred over her shoulder, watching a tall boy pretending to sip punch in the far corner, his back turned to them.  Maybe he dined on the red stuff, but he was all goodness and light.  “Dang.”  Her lips curled.

              “Fine, but try to keep your hormones together until we’re done with the Mallies.”  Ophelia flipped open her iPhone and started tapping the secret code.  “You ready?”

              “As I’ll ever be.”  Bianca made snarling come-on at the Bennie as he looked their way.

              “Oh, good grief.  Better warn lover-boy over there.”

              Hey, Snookums, put your fingers in your ears.  Bianca kissed the air in the Bennie’s direction.

              He picked up on the telepathic communication.  Huh?

              Hello?  I’m a Borean Empath.  Just do what I say.

              Surprise washed over his adorable face.  Borean Empath?  He set down his drink and plugged his ears.

              “I can’t believe you’re name-dropping to snag a guy.”  Ophelia groaned, for she knew how enticing empaths could be to telepathic vampires.

              “Whatever works.”  Bianca snickered.

              Ophelia pressed her finger hard into the keypad.

              Instantly, a high-pitched sound  out of human range pierced the Malevolent Vampires’ senses and the dropped to floor, screaming.

              Bianca’s laughter came up like bubbles as the blood-suckers flipped themselves and fled the Halloween Dance.

              “Aww,” said Ophelia, nodding to her sister’s Holy Water breath spray.  “You didn’t get to use your thingamajig and you’ve been working on it all week.”

              “That’s okay.”  Bianca stuffed it back in her purse.  “I have other ways of bagging a vamp.” 

              Ophelia watched her sister swagger through the dancers, flirty skirt swaying with her hips, to the Benevolent Vampire and pull his fingers from his ears.  She smirked.  “You sure do, sister.”
***
Happy Halloween, Fall Fesitval, or whatever you celebrate this time of year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Horrific Summer...

So, I've always been a big fan of books. I can't even remember NOT knowing how to read. I wore out my library card, and always had more books than would fit on the shelf in my room.

But 25 years ago, there were only so many young adult books available. Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High - these are what I read the most of because that's what girls my age were supposed to be reading. And there's nothing wrong with those books, it's just that, well, I craved...MORE.

Every summer I would spend a few weeks at my aunt and uncle's house. They were book lovers as well, and truthfully, passed that passion on to me through many a trip to the library or out of the way bookstore. They had loads of books at their house, so one summer, I decided I was going to read some grown-up books.

What did I pick to start with? Salem's Lot by Stephen King. Probably not the best choice for a 12 year old, but I was determined and could not be swayed.

The book scared the crap out of me.

I was mesmerized, and read it all in one day. I read until my eyeballs felt like they would pop out of my head and every noise that house made was a vampire about to get me. I was frightened and exhilarated, and...couldn't wait to read the next one.

Thus began my love affair with horror and the paranormal. I became obsessed, and that summer I also read Cujo, Carrie, Christine, and Firestarter. The world of horror and the paranormal opened up and swallowed me whole. Something about finding fear in the everyday or that there's more to this life than we know totally appealed to 12 year old me and made my imagination take flight.

That's when I really started writing my own stories, filling notebook after notebook, all the while devouring books like a person starved. I specifically became obsessed with vampires, and to this day have one bookcase in my house devoted entirely to vampire fiction.

I owe that "horrific" summer the credit for steering me onto this path of a writer, showing me so much more than I could ever have imagined. Books are and always will be what sustains me. And I pray they continue to inspire and entertain generations to come.

Who knows? Maybe even one of my stories will spark a light in another 12 year old...

All I can do is hope!

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 24, 2011

SWEET BYTES Contest is Closed!

Now waiting on the winner's response.

My Favorite Young Adult Vamps...

There's something about this time of year that really encourages me to write a dark, delicious tale. I'm currently working on my second YA story, A Vampire's Soul. It's a major WIP, but I'll get there.

 From the time I was young, I've had a thing for vampires. There was something intriguing about them to me. Maybe it was the look in their eyes, the way they could hypnotize their prey or just the beauty that plagued them. Through the years, I've had a crush on many and one in particular bloodsucker has been the inspiration for my new story. I'll tell you who in a second, but first I thought I'd share some of my favorite YA vamps of all time. Many you'll agree with some.

I'll start with this blond haired, pale-skinned terror. Many of you may know him as Jack Bauer, but to me he'll always be David from the Lost Boys.



"Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You'll never grow old Michael and you'll never die. But, you must feed!"

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One of the most hilarious night walkers of all time has to be Spike from Buffy the Vampire. Some of my favorite episodes centered around him.



"You were my sire, man. You were my Yoda."

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And quite honestly, there'd be no Spike without his clairvoyant love interest Drucilla. She had a little more than bats in her belfry.



"I met an old man. Didn't like him. He got stuck in my teeth."

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And, I'm not going to lie, most of the Cullen coven makes me giddy, but if I must choose I'll go with...

Edward, of course, because who doesn't love a brooding, tortured vamp?



"What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?"

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I'll be honest, because I'm a little quirky, I tend to go for the more obscure characters (maybe it's the writer in me). So, Major Jasper Whitlock is my top Twilight Vamp. What girl wouldn't want an empath? And, it doesn't hurt that he's a southern gentleman either.



"It would be nice to not want to kill you all the time."

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And, my inspiration for my new YA vampire novel...

Angel/Angelus
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel



It's that whole tortured soul thing. So many directions to take a bad boy who really wants to be good.  The nice thing about Angel is he always had the potential to turn into Angelus. 



"Tell you what. I'll torture ya for a few unbelievably long hours, and you tell me if this is the lifestyle for you."

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There you have it. That's my short list. Let me know who your "go to " vamp is.














Sunday, October 23, 2011

SWEET BYTES Contest Ends Monday Night

Comment under any Sweet Bytes post

Interview with Noble YA editors

Electronic publishing has come a long way and is now a viable publishing alternative for both new and previously published authors alike. It’s our pleasure to welcome Jill N. Noble (Senior editor/owner) and Erika Galpin (YA acquisitions editor) of Noble Young Adult www.nobleyoungadult.com.

Can you tell us a little about Noble Romance Publishing and what brought about the creation of the Noble Young adult imprint?

Jill: Noble was established in June, 2007, by author & editor Jill N. Noble-Shearer and business executive James K. Noble, Jr. Jill and Jim bring to the table over 20 years experience in marketing, and Jill has 10 + years experience in publishing/e-publishing. Noble is a full-service, standard publishing house, and we do not charge our authors any fees. Noble started their young adult line in early 2011 to address the need for books younger readers can relate to. Noble prides itself on allowing authors to remain true to their characters and create stories that are real . . . even if the content might not be pretty at times . . . and the books in the young adult line are no exception. Our young adult books are entertaining, and while some might address important social issues, none of them are "preachy."

YA protagonists tend to fall in the 14--18 age range, does this hold true for Noble YA?

Erika: No our protagonists are generally aged between 18 and 24. This means authors are free to address some topics other publishers won't accept, like teen pregnancy and teenage drinking.

What sets Noble YA apart from traditional (print first) YA publishers ?

Erika: As I mentioned, we are more likely to look at taboo subjects. Noble Young Adult is the YA imprint of Noble Romance Publishing. Our adult line asks authors if they have books that are too dark for other publishers? Too controversial? Too unusual? The YA imprint is also happy to look at manuscripts that are a little outside the box.


Since it's relatively easy for one to e-publish through Kindle/Nook etc why should a YA author consider submitting to and publishing with Noble YA?

Erika: Noble Young Adult will professionally edit your manuscript, something that can cost a bit if a professional editor is used. Our cover artist, C.H Scarlett creates unique and personally tailored cover art, again at no cost to the author. Noble will also format and distribute your manuscript to third party vendors.

I know in adult fiction e-publishers are a great place for the niche stories, and shorter length stories to find a home. Can you give us an example of something currently released or recent submission that might not find a home with a traditional print publisher?

Erika: We have an upcoming release called the Night Ranger by Rusty Fischer. This is a fast-paced vampire adventure. At 7,500 words, this story would not be released as a single title by traditional publishers. But we treat each story equally, regardless of length. They all receive full edits and cover art before being released individually.

What type of things are on your acquisitions "Wish List"?

Erika: I love post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction. I'd like to see some YA science fiction as there simply isn't enough out there. I'd also like to see some equestrian fiction for Young Adults. There are plenty of 'pony club' reads for children, but nothing for the older age group. We definitely need to see more GLBT fiction for Young Adults. I enjoy inspiring coming of age GLBT romances. But I also think it would be great to see GLBT characters in other genres. Wouldn't it be nice to see YA GLBT main characters slaying demons and vampires? Or navigating futuristic space? Or solving mysteries? I think it's important for young GLBT protagonists to be represented in all genres. I also have a thing for zombies. From the humorous to the downright horrific, I love zombie fiction.

This from YA author Rhonda Stapleton: I'd love to know what kind of marketing/promotion they plan to undertake to reach teens, given they're not going to have books in brick-and-mortar stores. Know what I mean? Marketing/publicity is crucial to sell YA e-books, and I'm curious what YA e-book publishers will do to reach the target audience.

Jill: Noble is approaching young adult bloggers, book reviewers, and owners/operators of other sites where young adults congregate, and working with them to get the word out about our YA books. The books are also available in the appropriate sections on e-tailer sites that reach a younger audience, such as Amazon.com. Very soon, we intend to do more marketing and advertising with social media, and extend our advertising to sites that aren't book-centric, such as college sites and other online, YA social sites.

This from YA author Joey Nichols: From an acquisitions perspective, how does she see the young adult genre performing in the electronic publishing arena? What are the advantages and disadvantages to pursuing e-publishing with YA?

Jill: We think the audience for YA e-published books will continue to grow, just like the audience for e-published books in general will continue to grow. As more and more young adults purchase iPads, Kindles, etc., the availability of these books will become more widely known. Noble believes it's more a matter of education - advertising and marketing that lets younger adults know these books are out there and easily available - than anything else. We are planning a targeted marketing campaign that will introduce young adults to e-reading and e-books, in general. This campaign will launch this winter, and I am excited to see the results.

This from YA author Terry Spear: Three of the publishers that I've been published with dropped their YA book lines because they weren't selling as well as their adult romance. And two of the traditional publishers also dropped their YA lines that I'd submitted to. Do you think that this is a problem with publishers who carry too many other kinds of fiction instead of one who deals mostly with teen fiction and children's fiction? Is it a marketing issue? I know YA sells, so I was just curious.

Jill: I think it's a matter of expectations. We know it's going to take time to build the YA line to the point where the sales mirror what we see for adult romance. We expect this to take some time and a lot of effort on our part, as well as the investment of a bit of money to make certain we're advertising and marketing to our target audience. Other businesses may have either expected or required instant success and high profits; we know that's not going to be the case. While some of our YA books are already selling well, especially on Amazon.com, we believe it will take some time and effort before we see consistent, positive results with the majority of our YA releases. We are willing to work toward those results, and we hope our young adult authors are willing to work with us to reach our goal of becoming *the* publisher young adults go to for their young adult fiction.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Halloween Tail

Since it is Halloween soon, and that also happens to be one of my favorite holidays, I thought I'd share a story with you all.
A little background for the story. Doc is a vampire-hunting dog and the stories are told from his point of view. He's a Border Collie. Doc hunts with his human, Kevin. This story assumes you are at least sort of familiar with the characters (hence the brief intro), and if you enjoy it, you are welcome to check out a few other stories on my website here: http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/docs-stories/


Doc's Halloween


I looked ridiculous.

And I wasn’t happy about it.

“Oh, come on Doc, it’s fine.”

I flattened my ears against my head and sulked, refusing to walk in the stupid human clothing. My human said I was a bat. I wanted to tear the fake ears from my head and the cape from my back, but I would leave them on to make Kevin happy. He’d been so sad recently.

My human was dressed in a similar cape with fake dead-thing fangs. I thought he looked stupid too.

“Let’s go Doc.”

I stared in horror as he went out the front door. He couldn’t possibly expect me to go out in public like this? What if Nelli found out? I snorted at that thought, Nelli had no idea who I was, but that didn’t mean I was going outside.

“Doc, come.” His voice was stern, and I had to obey. I slunk across the floor “Let’s go.”

I whined in protest but I followed him outside. I couldn’t even look at Rose, the poodle next door, as we walked past but I thought I heard her snicker. I wasn’t even comforted by the familiar surroundings of our park when we arrived. It was full of people who looked just as dumb as we did.

Kevin walked to a table and handed me a piece of meat. I grudgingly accepted and followed when he started talking to other humans. I knew some of them, some of them I didn’t, but I ignored them all, even when they tried to pet me.

“He’s not happy about being a bat tonight,” my human said.

I whined.

“I’m going to take him to the edge of the crowd for a while. I’ll be back.”

I followed Kevin, happy to be out of the crowd. He leaned against a tree and I leaned against his leg, anxious for the night to be over.

The only warning I had was a faint whiff of garlic and then my human crumpled to the ground, trapping me beneath his body.

* * *

“Doc!”

I lurched to my feet, staggered, and fell down.

“If you’ve hurt my dog!”

“Your demon you mean?”

“Look you stupid twits, I am not a vampire. It’s Halloween, this is a costume. My dog is not a demon.”

I heaved, and puked all over someone’s feet.

“Demon venom! It’ll infect me!” a human wailed.

I winced as the sound pierced my head.

“You poisoned him. Of course he’s sick.”

I heaved one more time and then lay down at Kevin’s feet and whined – then stopped when the sound rattled my head.

“You and your demon dog will be cleansed by the light of the rising sun.”

I didn’t know what the stupid human was talking about, I just wished he would shut up. He was hurting my head.

“What have you guys been smoking?” My human sounded more annoyed than afraid, so I guessed whatever had happened to us couldn’t be that bad.

The other humans didn’t answer Kevin. They did start chanting and placing candles all around the room. I watched until they lit one of them then I had to shut my eyes to avoid more pain in my head.

“What are you doing?” my human asked.

“Preparing for the ritual cleansing.”

“Don’t stop chanting!” The other human snarled at the first.

“Sorry,” the second muttered.

The chant continued and I started to feel better. In fact I started to feel down right thirsty, so I got to my feet, and stayed there this time. I cast about for some water and saw a bowl by one of the human’s feet. I wagged my tail and trotted over to him. He screeched as I stuck my nose in the bowl. There was a small amount of water and I lapped it up before going back to lie at my human’s feet again.

“The demon, he didn’t react to the holy water,” one of them whispered.

“Of course not,” Kevin said. “He’s a dog, not a demon.”

“Maybe we should just stake them and get it over with.” The other human slammed his book shut.

I could smell the first hint of fear from Kevin. He tried to get up from his chair and growled when he couldn’t.

“Come on kids. I’m not a vampire.”

I tuned my human and the other humans out. The things they said meant little too me, but I was starting to understand that Kevin and I didn’t want to be here. I saw the door, it was close but my human was stuck to his chair. I scooted around behind him and saw rope on his hands.

Inspired, I started to chew.

The humans noticed eventually, but it was too late. Kevin jerked his hands free just as one of the other humans cried out in alarm. Kevin stumbled forward and both he and the other human toppled to the ground, extinguishing some candles in the process. Kevin lurched to his feet and the one on the ground cried out.

The other human wasn’t a dead thing, but he did hold a big stick and he was swinging it at Kevin. I barked a warning and threw my whole body into the human’s chest, sending him to the ground. He hit his head on the table as he fell and didn’t move once he was down.

The other human moaned from the ground.

“Come on Doc, let’s get out of here.”

I followed and we raced out of the basement and into the early morning light.

“Now I think I might know how the vampires feel,” Kevin said softly as we stood in the driveway.

I woofed quietly.

“Ok, let’s call the cops. And next Halloween… we’re staying home.”

I wagged my tail happily when my human removed my stupid costume and ruffled my ears.

“What would I do without you Doc?”

I grinned.

Monday, October 17, 2011

SWEET BYTES Released!

Looks like the wheels are still turning, but it's up for sale at the Noble YA site!
https://www.nobleyoungadult.com/Books/342/Sweet-Bytes
Oh, joy, do I have a lot of work to do now. 
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Be sure to scroll down to the other Sweet Bytes release posts, especially this one-
http://fabulouslyyoungepubs.blogspot.com/2011/10/friday-news-release-festivities-for.html
Therein you will discover how to win prizes, especially the Grand Prize! 
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The Grand Prize Drawing ends October 24th!
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See ya!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SWEET BYTES: A Review by Kimber, Jr.

Welcome to the very first review of my new novel, Sweet Bytes.  As always, my daughter, Kimber Jr, gets the first shot.  She's also my first critic and editor, a thoroughly professional teenager who doesn't hesitate to tell me when my story is crap.  Take it away, Baby Girl!  Mommy wuvs you so much!  (Oooh, she's going to be so cranky when she reads that part.)
REVIEW by Kimber Jr
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Really Awesome Young Adult Fiction Review #1
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Hi, everyone! Miss me? Yep, I’m back, and this time I’m reviewing a rather good book about blood-sucking dead guys (aka vampires) called Sweet Bytes. Please note, though: this is the third in a series so if you haven’t read the others yet I suggest you either go do so or at least read my reviews of them. FYI, they’re called Crushed Sugar and Sugar Rush. They’re awesome books too! OK, now to the review!

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The story opens with Ophelia saying a final good-bye to her father, who had been killed the previous Christmas, right before the whole fiasco with Martin-the-ultimate-jerk-ex-boyfriend and his psycho family. She then meets Tristan who’s been assigned to protect her from attack. Her twin sister, Bianca, has also been assigned a protector-Maya.  Both are the adopted children of Joseph, the leader of the Benevolent Oldbloods (good vamps.)

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The whole family has been hit hard. Ophelia’s grief for her dad, Brandon (the very cute and lovable…uh-oh! In books, it tends to be an extreme hazard to your health to be cute and lovable. Just ask Dobby! L), Worf (her old dog), and her true love Adrian is driving her to smash everything from her snowman to Bianca’s new sewing machine. To be perfectly honest she’d probably give Harry Potter from Order of the Phoenix a run for his money! Bianca and Mom aren’t much better, and if anything Bianca’s worse. She won’t even sew, and that is a sign that we should all be extremely worried.

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On the upside, though, she gets to go visit her grandma in Seward. There she discovers even little old ladies aren’t innocent anymore! Her grandma’s name is Victoria Greylyn, and she could give Buffy the Vampire Slayer a run for her money! Even the local vamps share this opinion!

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So Grandma starts educating Bianca on how not to behave like a proper damsel in distress and Ophelia on how to not stab herself in the forehead with a pair of rather sharp fighting knives. While at Seward, they find out that everyone’s favorite cute, lovable shapeshifter isn’t entirely gone.

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The bad news is the Malevolent Oldbloods (bad vamps) have this thing for Ophelia. See, to be perfectly honest, they’re not much better than the Newbloods. They know she’s a Sweet, and they have nothing against eating people like her. Except for one thing…..she’s also an empath. And this throws a monkey wrench into their chomp-Ophelia plans. So they really want to do one of two things: Turn her into a blood-sucking dead gal, or chomp away.

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Needless to say, Ophelia doesn’t much fancy either option. Eventually, the Malevolents (for future reference, they’re what I call the Nasty Faction) try to bribe her.
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 (Ophelia and the Benevolents are the Goodies (huh). Martin and most Newbloods are the Baddies. And the Malevolent Oldbloods join the age-old, intensely proud faction of the Nasties.)

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Some Twinkies, Supermario, and peppermint tea later, and Ophelia’s dealt with that little bribe to her own satisfaction.  If you’ve read Sugar Rush, you’ll be yelling “Yes!!!!”

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Unfortunately, before we can all start skipping around the room with joy, Joseph decides they need to return to Togo, because the Malevolents now know where Grandma is, and that is very bad.

So they do, and immediately Bianca stirs up some comic relief with a little help from a new/old accomplice.  They throw a massive food fight in the cafeteria! Between that and the cruise ship finally arriving, we get to have a bit of fun before the next major battle.

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Unfortunately, we don’t have long to wait. One day, Ophelia and Tristan KISS (yeah, you heard me-KISS!!!). Afterwards, Ophelia realizes-hey, I’ve done that before! But-I haven’t! What’s going on here?!

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It’s what I call Tristan’s “No Way Out moment”. See, No Way Out by Phil Collins (specifically, the theme version) is a song from Brother Bear. It’s all about being in despair-like Tristan is here-and then someone comes along and says…sorry, can’t say!  It’s a really great song, and it’s this scene here that inspired me to assign it as Tristan’s theme song.
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In Tristan’s case, that “someone” is Ophelia.
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Then, it’s time for the prom. Everyone has a rather good time-or, at least, they do until some Malevolents literally crash the party.
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One of them, our old buddy Jean-Pierre, captures another old buddy, Katelyn the super-bully, and threatens to kill her.
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When Martin makes an untimely entrance and kidnaps her from her kidnapper (whoah, that’s a lot of kidnapping), there’s only one way for her to get out of this fix, save her friends, and reunite with her beloved, Adrian. The only problem is…well, I can’t tell you.  My mommy won’t let me!
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All in all, it’s a great book! It has awesome themes of love, forgiveness, sacrifice, and loyalty. If you like Twilight but are sick and tired of Bella’s never getting to actually kick butt, this is totally the series for you!
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Don’t worry, I’ll still review. Until the next review, though, happy hippogriffs to you!
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Thank you Baby Girl!  (Yeah, she hates it when I call her that, but I just can't seem to help myself.)
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Okay, now scroll down or click on this link-   SWEET BYTES Release Festivities   Comment under this post and that one to enter the GRAND PRIZE DRAWING.  *This contest ends October 24th.*

Visit the other blogs and comment to win a free copy of the Sweet Bytes eBook.  Thank you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Not a Goody-Two-Shoes

Really. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm about as far from that as they come. But I am a mom, and I was a teenage girl...several years ago. Again, I'm not raising my kids in a puritan-type household. We're pretty open and honest about most things. Keeping something secret or taboo, in my opinion, just makes a kid want it more. So, we don't do that.

So I have no intention of sheltering them from things in books, and we're already pretty open as far as movies go. (I have a no rated R rule with regard to the kids...it's more like a guideline since I know it's been broken...by my husband.) And I like books that portray teen life with a degree of realism (no matter how unreal they might be). That means dating, and sexuality, and cheating, and driving too fast, and drinking, and drugs, and all sorts of things. And I'm totally okay with all of that...as long as it serves a purpose.

I read a young adult novel by a friend recently (great book overall, I hope it gets picked up) that had the main character and the love interest having sex. In general, sex in YA doesn't bother me, but in this instance (much like the problem I had with Shiver, the sex didn't seem important to the characters or the plot. In both instances, I missed it initially when reading and had to go back to make sure they'd actually had sex. Glossing over the details is okay, but making it so unimportant that it can be easily missed or misinterpreted? In those cases, why is it there? People can fall in love without having sex, so it isn't by definition needed for the romantic plot/sub-plot. So why is it there if it doesn't have some effect on another point in the plot or on the characters involved? (Okay, the Gossip Girl ad may be a bad example. I'm not sure since I don't watch the show, but I thought it was hilarious that they're using quotes like that in their ads.)

An even worse offender for me is adding drugs and alcohol...just because. Yes, teens drink. Yes, some do drugs. No, I don't think having drinking and drugs in books will encourage teens who wouldn't otherwise imbibe to give it a try. However, if it does nothing for the characters and nothing for the plot...why add it? I'm reading an ARC of an upcoming dystopian. Not a bad book so far, but it's very hit-or-miss on this. There are (for lack of a better term) rave scenes. The scenes serve the purpose of connecting the main character with others she wouldn't meet or be able to talk to in her day-to-day life. Drinking and drugs make sense at a rave. No problem there. But later, there's a public fair (again, lack of a better word), and the adult beverages are flowing like water. *blink* Why? Everything that happened in that scene could have happened with the teens sober.

I see the same thing on TV for teens.
Vampire Diaries. Those people simply cannot have a get-together without drinking--and usually someone getting wasted to the point of stupidity. I'm okay with it most of the time--teen parties, blah blah blah. But all the time? That bumps it from realistic straight to you've-got-to-be-kidding-me. I'm sorry, but someone's parents in that town are not going to let their kids celebrate with drunken debauchery.

Look, I don't want every book and TV show out there to be squeaky clean. I just have this thing about balance. Most teens are not drunk all the time. Most teens (at least the ones I know) don't hop in bed with their boyfriend (or worse, their maybe-he-might-be-my-boyfriend-if-he-was-human-or-not-lying-to-me-all-the-time) as soon as the opportunity arises. Yes, some do. But unless that's part of their anti-hero persona, I really want it to be important to the plot. I want it to be necessary and (forgive me for this) mean something.

I don't know about you, but I chose my high school drinking times very carefully. And I made choices about if or when to sleep with a boy over the course of a long time. I didn't kiss him once and then strip, and neither did anyone else I knew (okay, except the school slut, but..hello...school slut). I remember losing my virginity. I remember my bad, drunken decisions. (And no, the two don't fall into the same category for me.) Is it too much to ask that fictional characters do the same?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday News: Release Festivities for SWEET BYTES!

Good morning, Blog Buddies!  I just finished updating my Calendar page at main site.  You don't need to go there, because I cut and pasted it in this post.

Okay, so here's the plan.  Sunday, my professional Young Adult, my daughter 'Kimber Jr,' will post the very first review of Sweet Bytes right here on this blog, thus kicking off the celebration.  No, I didn't put her up to it, I swear.  I taught her to read a month before her second birthday (yes, I do mean right before she turned 2 years old!) and she hasn't hesitated to tell me when a book is crap ever since!  Even mine.  "That's lame, Mom!  You spelled that wrong, Mom!"  Since my readership is teens, I figured I'd better do as she says.  She used to review for me at Enduring Romance and had her own review blogs too.  Now, she's too busy being a teen for regular reviews, but she's still my first editor, critic, and the very first reviewer of each of my new books.  And to think, once upon a time, she was witto baby guuurl!

In any case, that post will kick off the Grand Prize Drawing!  At my guest posts and reviews, a free eBook of Sweet Bytes can be won simply by commenting under the post. 
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***These drawings are open to anyone in the world who has an eMail address I can send the eBook to.*** 
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There's only one Grand Prize and it starts here at Fab ePubs.  You must comment along with a way to contact you under the post, email address, Facebook, Twitter, something I'm on.  *This contest ends October 24th.*

***Sorry!  The Grand Prize Drawing is open to readers in the United States only!  The postage is just too expensive otherwise.***
***The prize moose is actually a sitting up, lighter colored version of this one!***
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Okay, here's the line-up of guest blogs.  I do have confirmed reviewers, besides Kimber Jr, but no exact dates on them yet.
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Guest Posts-
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October 14th- I Heart YA   This one's today!  Better pop over right after you finish reading this post!
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October 15th- I Post 'An Asian Hero?' at Noble YA
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October 16th- Kimber, Jr Reviews SWEET BYTES at Fabulously Young ePubs!
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October 17th- Nayu's Reading Corner.
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October 17th- Zombies Don't Blog
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October 21st- at the blog of Romantic Fantasy Author, Tia Nevitt
October 22nd- Sweater Cursed
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October 22nd- Reader Girls
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October 25th- Night Owl Teen
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October 29th- Getting Scientific at Bestselling Fantasy Author Lisa Shearin's Blog
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November 1st- The Long and Short Of It
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If you would like to interview me, blog-swap, have me guest-post, showcase Sweet Bytes, or ask me to participate in a blogosphere event, please Please eMail Me!
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My main site-   Kimber An

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are You Reaching Your Target Audience?

Let me rephrase the title of this blog: “Do you know who your target audience is?”

The simple answer, of course, is YA, but… it’s not so simple. From doing social networking in YA for over a year now, I can tell you that the interaction I have with actual young adults is far less common than the interaction I have with folks much, much closer to my own age.

From agents to editors, from bloggers to reviewers, from family members to “fans,” most of my daily, online interaction is with non-young adults. And that’s… awesome! I love it, because while very few of us are still young adults, we’re almost all still active in the YA culture.

Maybe we’re “fabulous” YA authors, like my colleagues here. Or maybe we review YA, or blog about it, or just plain dig it for a variety of reasons. It’s so refreshing to find so many talented, active and passionate individuals revolving around such a sophisticated and worthwhile genre.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t actively court actual young adults as well. It’s just, as much as I write in their world, I no longer really “live” in it. As a former public school teacher, I studied it voraciously for nearly a decade, but I’m no longer teaching so that avenue is closed to me.

I communicate often with young adult bloggers who are, themselves, young adults but I tend to keep that fairly professional – on Facebook, Twitter and via email – kind of the same way I always treated my students when I saw them out in public.

I often wonder how “appropriate” I’m being when interacting with real, live kids and want to keep things safe and sound for all parties involved. But I love their enthusiasm, their passion, their pure joy about talking to authors and sharing ideas and working together when I do a guest post or answer interview questions for them.

And then there is that whole, other audience of “strangers” – adult and young adult alike – who you never quite communicate with, but wish you could. The random folks who buy and read and review your book and then move onto the next.

I often wonder, “Am I communicating with them? Am I reaching them?” I must be, if they read one book, but… how can I get them to stick around and read the second, or the third? Or my blog or this other blog I’m guest posting or my tweets or Facebook postings?

Lately, to reach a slightly – and I do mean slightly – “bigger” audience, I’ve been dabbling in something I never thought I’d do: making videos. First with a video blog and, later, with two book trailers and, now, a short film based on one of my free zombie poems, Zombies Don’t Trick or Treat.

Yes, it’s to promote my paperbacks and EBooks, but also, I think, it’s to reach yet another audience. Take my wife, for example. She knows about my books, has read a lot of them but she’s really, really gotten excited about watching and, later, helping me make these four short videos.

It’s been neat because I kind of see her as a neglected audience that I never really reached before, and it makes me wonder how many others I haven’t met because, frankly, they’d rather watch a short video clip than read an entire book.

So, as I wind down, I’ll ask again: “Are you reaching your target audience?”

Would a video, or a poem, or a short story, or even an audio version of your book or poem or short story open up a broader audience that you might not be tapping now?

I think the answer is fairly obvious, but I ask because if you’re like me, you kind of need that extra motivation to make the leap to all this “multimedia” stuff. I know I did!

Yours in YA,

Rusty

PS: If you want to check out the video, I’ve included it because, well, it’s kind of cool but it also goes to the point of this blog: some folks who won’t read the Ebooks will check out the video, and I’m happy for both!

So here it is, the short film for Zombies Don’t Trick or Treat:




Yours in YA,

Rusty

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Magically World of Trees....

Some kids dream of living in a castle when then grow up or on a beach or even a planet. Me, I wanted to live in a tree house. And still do...who wouldn't want to live like Robin Hood? Doesn't this look like a place to live where make believe become real?





Something about the forest has always drawn me. As a child I saw magically fairies dancing in the branches and it was a place of peace. I still enjoy walking through the forest surrounding our house and I still want to live in a tree house. This is the path behind my house....doesn't this spark all kinds of fantasy thoughts?













My Celtic horoscope I'm a Birch Tree: (December 24-January 20) The God Lugh is associated with the Birch sign. He is responsible for inventing all manner of arts and crafts. If you are a Birch, then the white stag is your guardian animal, which is symbolic of your ambition and high ideals.

And because it's October and only weeks away from Halloween…there are plenty of 'spooky' myths about trees. The devil's tree…the Hocak believe trees are inhibited by wood spirits known as Wakacuna…and there is the whomping willow in Harry Potter. And I found this journal….



Doesn't he look like he'd guard all your secrets? Or if you use him as a story journal, I'm sure he would keep your hero and heroine safe....








What places do you go to make believe can come real? Have a great month!

Tasarla

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good-bye, Lady Di

Good morning, Blog Buds! (just a little late)
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I'm supposed to be off the computer, resting my hands and cleaning house, while I wait for my final edits on Sweet Bytes to come back from my wonderful editor, Cynthia. But, then, I remembered it was my day at Fab ePubs, so here I am!  The release date is October 17th, by the way.  So, I'm going to be all over cyberspace and a very busy girl for a few weeks.  Anyway...
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I figured out months ago that Ophelia would experience a Prom Night From Hell near the end of the story, so I had to go searching for the perfect prom dress. I wanted something very 'princess-like,' but also powerful. I always loved this picture of Princess Diana from a shoot she did for Vogue magazine.

The dress is by Gianni Versachi. (Psst, Bianca mentions his name in the book as a tribute.) So, the dress became my inspiration for Ophelia's prom gown, which had a long, flowing, not-embroidered or embellished A-line skirt and was pale blue.
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But, then, C.H. Scarlett  sent my cover art to me and I was floored!  I mean, how stunning and gorgeous!  Luckily, I was still in edits, so I've gone back and changed the description of Ophelia's prom grown to match up with the cover. 
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As for Lady Di, well, she's an icon.  She'll always be with us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Haunting of Winchester House

HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER HOUSE
2009
Asylum
90 min
Directed by: Mark Atkins
Written by: Jose Prendes and Mark Atkins

Official Blurb: A family moves into the mansion to act as caretakers, but when a malevolent force abducts their daughter they discover why the house deserves its reputation as one of the most haunted places in America.

This took me back to my youth in the dark ages of the 1970s before the Internet and Cable TV when many a Saturday night was spent staying up late to watch the locally hosted Chiller Theater. In fact, the no-name actors in this film looked as though they’d pretty much stepped out of that era–especially the father’s hair.

The story starts with a promising bit of supernatural havoc wreaking then officially opens with a family (mom, dad, teenaged looking daughter) leaving their home, evidently to get away from bad memories of a tragedy. We know this because of the lack of baby and infant car seat left with the trash on the sidewalk.

They head out of the city and drive along some desolate winding mountainous roads where they have a near fatal collision. But tragedy is averted and they reach their destination of the fabled Winchester House (or a craptacular facsimile thereof. It was pretty ho hum and almost didn’t pass my daughter’s “20 minute rule”–if it doesn’t get interesting within the first 20 minutes it never will.

I was looking at the clock as the minutes inched on but the promise of horrific goodies via the semi spooky music kept me watching. And once the mom had freaky visions/dream while trying to sleep I was determined to stay with it until bitter end. ^_^

The costuming was laughable, the general production values sparse, the acting, well, nonexistent, and while that’s not much of a recommendation, there were some things of interest. Unintentional chuckles with the bad continuity giving us “magic” growing/shrinking candles, the “Paranormal Investigator” who didn’t seem to have even one clue on what to do and the supposed teenaged daughter who acted like an ten year old.

I know what you’re thinking: Total waste of time and you may be right, but things did sort of pick up a wee bit with the appearance of some ghosts–some tragic some downright nasty– and a sort of surprise ending. Unlike The Village which hit all the big theaters this one didn’t make me long for those two hours of my life back, so that makes it a fairly worthwhile watch in my book.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The WOW Factor

One Sunday afternoon I found myself with some time on my hands. That is an amazing feat for a woman with three children who are six years old and under. With this occurrence, I would usually read a book but decided, instead, to see which movies were On Demand.

I decided to rent a movie I thought my husband would not be interested in watching and chose I Am Number Four, a movie I didn’t know much about except that it was categorized at Young Adult. I watched a few minutes before I decided that the husband would, in fact, enjoy it and I called him to come upstairs and watch it with him.

We sat and enjoyed the movie very much. A few minutes into the movie, in this modern age, I googled the title and—boom—wouldn’t you know—the movie was made from a book. I hadn’t read it but I decided that since I had enjoyed the movie I should read the book. If there was a series being written about these characters I didn’t want to find myself not having read the first book.

So I sat down to read the book on my Kindle a few days later. I had enjoyed the movie. The book is so much better.

Lucky for me, since I had discovered the book late, the second book in the series The Power of Six, was coming out later in the month. I pre-ordered it for Kindle and waited. The day it came out, I read the whole thing.

What is it that I loved so much about these books (and think I will love in the future for the next books?) It’s the WOW factor. Something about these books makes me go OH WOW when I read them. I am so transported to another world—the world from the viewpoint of Four, Six, and the others that I cannot wait to keep reading.

I think every author wants to do that—we want to make the WOW factor but I think it’s particularly important in Young Adult books. Lets face it. They have a lot to choose from when it comes to their reading selections. It is the WOW that is going to make the difference.

And as for me, I cannot wait to go WOW again about this series. Can I beg an author to write faster?

What makes you go WOW?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's So Great About Paranormal?

This is my first blog for Fabulously Young ePubs. My name is Melynda Price, and I am a lover of paranormal romance. It’s all I read; it’s all I write. Why paranormal? Because the possibilities are endless. It’s an amazing experience to dive into a world where the unseen is seen. The unreal suddenly becomes reality, and the rules and laws that bind us to this world no longer hold true.
The challenge in writing paranormal is finding the balance between “Wow” and “Oh, come on!” A good paranormal book will open the readers’ minds to a whole new world, and when it’s finished, they’ll sit back and think “What if…”
In a time when paranormal is so hot, it’s a challenge to write a story that sets your work, as an author, apart from the others. You’ve got your core group of YA paranormal bad-boys: The Vampires, Werewolves, Fey, and Fallen Angels. Putting a twist on these characters that hasn’t already been done can be quite a task. But again, that’s the beauty of paranormal—if you can dream it, they can do it.  
Unbelievably believable—that is what I strive for in my writing, and that is what I think Until Darkness Comes has to offer its readers. It’s a culmination of fiction with inflections of Biblical history  that weaves a tale of deception, temptation and romance.
I’m currently editing Shades of Darkness, the second book in my four-part Redemption series. Until Darkness Comes is currently under contract with Noble Romance.
A little about myself, I live in Northern Minnesota with my husband of seventeen years and two children, ages 16 and 10. With fall suddenly upon us, and winter quickly bearing down, I find myself looking forward to many snow-filled days where I can escape into a world where the impossible suddenly becomes possible and an amazing adventure is only a few keystrokes away.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fabulous Saturday!