December 23, 2011

Giveaway: ARC plus Audiobook of TEMPEST by Julie Cross

That's right, you have a chance to win either an ARC or an audiobook (thank you, Macmillan Audio!). Awesome, right?

You can read my book rec here.

Book blurb (from Goodreads):
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy... he's in college, has a girlfriend... and he can travel back through time. But it's not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there's no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it's just harmless fun.

That is... until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he's stuck in 2007 and can't get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it's not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these "Enemies of Time" will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit... or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he's willing to go to save Holly... and possibly the entire world.

To enter, fill out the form below.
Details:
*One entry per person.
*Open to those with a US address only (sorry!).
*I ask that you please share a link to the giveaway (twitter, facebook, blog, whatever), but it's not required to enter.
*I will email a maximum of two times to ask for your mailing address. If you don't respond within a week, a new winner will be selected.
*Deadline is Wednesday, December 28thth.


Contest closed! Winners notified.

Good luck! ♥

December 22, 2011

Blog Vacation



HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Sevens Swans a-Swimming book sculpture

Aside from the giveaway of TEMPEST going up at midnight (keep an eye out for it! :D ), I will be on blog vacation for the rest of the year.

Until then, happy holidays and have a wonderful new year!

December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest - On Complacency


Go here to see full list of participants.

Ever feel like you know you missed that one kick-ass post of a favorite blogger somewhere, somehow?

This is your chance to do some major catching up, and re-post a favorite blog post of your own that NEEDS to see the light of day one more time.

And on December 16, re-post your favorite/most informative/most life-changing announcement/most ANYTHING blog post you want to re-share with the world.

Even though I only started blogging this year, I have over 100 posts to wade through. So I've decided to bring back one of my earliest posts.

On the Dangers of Complacency

*Originally posted Feb. 28.

Years ago, I started writing fanfiction partly as a fun way to keep writing when I was dry on ideas for original fiction and partly as a means of honing my craft. What I didn't know then is that writing fanfiction breeds complacency, and complacency is detrimental to an aspiring writer.

Instant Gratification vs. The Long and Winding Road

The thing about fanfiction is that it gives writers what the agonizingly long process of writing original-fiction-with-hope-to-publish doesn't: instant gratification. You whip up a story about ready-made characters fans of the canon (original source material) are already emotionally invested in, post it to a community like fanfiction.net, and BAM, an immediate audience ready to read and review. No need to wait on submission, publication, distribution, book reviews and advertising and publicity, all of which is a buttload of work and can take a minimum of a year or two to... infinitely longer.

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Lead to Doucheyness

But one of the greatest things about fandom is also the greatest cultivator of complacency--the fans. Don't get me wrong, I love a positive review. Who doesn't? Publishing is an extremely subjective business, but fandom and fanfiction is a million times more so because there are no gatekeepers and no quality control. I've seen countless fanfic writers post in their Author's Notes that they're open to concrit because they want to improve. But if a hundred people review a poorly written fanfic with glowing comments about how amazing it is, that writer who believed their writing needed improvement might begin to think otherwise.

The writer grows complacent, confident in their ability because, hey, all these reviewers said so and it's exactly what they wanted to hear. So when a reader comes along who takes that Author's Note to heart and leaves concrit, instead of reacting graciously, the writer responds with defensiveness and, in some cases, arrogance: "Well, all my FANS think my writing is awesome/didn't have a problem/haven't complained so who the hell are you to tell me differently? You obviously have no idea what you're talking about." (yes, I've seen this happen)

Concrit Is Not a Personal Attack (when it's actually concrit)

The thing about being an aspiring writer (and a writer in general) is that you must be able to take constructive criticism. It's a part of growing a skin thick enough to take all the rejection that will inevitably pave the way to success. You have to take criticism and rejection. You have to want to improve, to strive, to never give up.

Learn to be Objective

I'm not saying you can't love your writing. It's perfectly healthy to write something and be protective of it because of the hours spent laboring over it and the love and effort poured into it. But it's important to also acknowledge that it could be improved, greatly even. I look at my writing and I know, without a doubt, that there's a lot I have to work on. I rely on my crit partners to be honest with me, because I have trouble pinpointing my weaknesses myself. It takes quite a bit of effort, typically, to alter your style, to make changes that you maybe aren't comfortable with, in an effort to improve. So change can oftentimes be slow, painstakingly so. But is it worth it? Heck yes.

Being objective is hard, sometimes impossible, but try. If you become too enamored of your own writing, you risk becoming stagnant, which--by definition--is the greatest impediment to growth.

Fandom Fame Does Not Equal Published Writer

An amazing thing about fandom is that it opens you to this community of writers and readers, all of whom share a love of the canon. I've met some of my most enduring and best friends there. But I've also seen a lot of aspiring writers never break free of fandom. They've built a loyal readership, they interact and befriend their fans, they become "famous" in their own little corner of the internet. And for those in it just for fun, then hey, I've got no complaints. But for the ones claiming to be aspiring writers, it's easy to fall under the spell of perceived internet fame and forget what you began writing for.

I spent five years writing fanfiction, and I'm still divided about it. On the one hand, writing fanfiction--and, more importantly, reading it by much better writers--genuinely, truly, without a doubt improved my writing beyond anything I learned in college. I will always be grateful for that and to the writers in fandom who are some of the best I have ever read, published or otherwise. They inspired me to keep improving, because I wanted to write like them. On the other hand, I completely put off original fiction until the last two years when I looked back at my time spent in fandom and thought, "I've wanted to be a published writer my whole life. What the hell have I been doing?"

Fanfiction doesn't apply to everyone, of course, but the dangers of complacency is very real for all aspiring writers and the message is universal.

Never stop striving to improve. Never give up. Write, write, write ♥

My fanart of Naruto, the fandom I loved longest and hardest (possibly why he is in a state of undress *cough*):

December 11, 2011

Special Announcement: I Have an Agent!

I am now represented by Suzie Townsend of Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation.

Yes, I know. SUZIE TOWNSEND. *mental freak out*


This is my agent :D :D :D MY AGENT. I'm never going to get tired of saying that.

I still can't quite believe this is happening, despite that I've had a week for it to sink in. Suzie is nothing short of my dream agent, and I'm fully aware of how fortunate I am to have her. *still freaking out*

I began querying this project in early November, and Suzie was pretty much the first agent I contacted (she was expecting my submission--I won a crit from one of her authors a couple months prior, which turned into a referral to Suzie). She finished my manuscript quickly, but due to an email malfunction, I didn't get her email asking to talk until almost a month later! But it all worked out :D

This past week has been insane--full of uncertainty and excitement and really tough choices. I found myself in the unbelievable position of having multiple offers, which was a dream I never quite dared to have. In the end though, my heart was set on Suzie.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them as best I can, but otherwise... *eee* I have an agent!!!

December 5, 2011

The Mighty Archetype: Good Guys Gone Bad

Good Guys Gone Bad - These are the ones who break your heart.

Exhibit A: Phoenix from the Marvel Universe

*Official art*
        When Jean Grey apparently died saving the rest of her team from a shuttle crash, she emerged from the depths of the ocean in X-Men #101 as The Phoenix, an incredibly powerful being.
        She maintains her new power level as a hero for about two years, before the Hellfire Club starts messing with her mind, guiding her toward, for lack of a better term, the dark side. (Source.)


Exhibit B: Chun-Woo Han from The Breaker

*Official art by illustrator Jin-Hwan Park*
        Also known as Goomoonryong, or "Nine Arts Dragon," he had some ambiguous morals, but he always pulled through in the end, including nearly getting himself killed a couple times to protect his pupil. But when the girl he's been pretending not to be in love sacrifices herself for him (and he fails to save her), it pushes him over the edge. He abandons his pupil and sets out for revenge. Now every time I see him, I cry great big, ugly tears ;_; (but I have hope he'll return to his senses by the end... *hopehopehope*)

So, as you can see, the transformation from good to evil can be a result of both external and internal causes. Maybe the character gets captured and fitted with a device like Sam's watch in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which forces him to betray his friends and comrades. Or maybe making the "wrong" decision becomes the right one in order to save someone important. Or, like Chun-Woo (and Riku from Kingdom Hearts or Sasuke from Naruto), maybe he's always had a little bit of darkness inside him, and all it took was a compelling push to cross the line.

It hurts most when, like Chun-Woo, the character starts out perfectly likable. He's flawed and kind of shallow, but he's a good person. Readers grow to love him, to see him as their security blanket for how insanely kickass he is and how he always pulls through. So when something happens and the light switches, it's devastating. If you can do that to your readers, you're doing something right :) (and they might hate you for it, but that might be okay too lol)

So what do you guys think? Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight would also be a great example of this archetype! Who else fits?



Previous posts in the archetype series:
1: Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold
2: The Hero Who Hides Behind a Smile
3: The Goofy Guy Who Secretly Kicks Ass
4: The Designated Psychopath
5: The Mad Scientist
6: The Child Prodigy

Have a great week!

December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop

First, the winners of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop. You guys BLEW MY MIND lol. There were almost 350 entries! Which meant I couldn't just pick one winner :D

The winner of THREE books (from choices listed) is: Rosie L.!
A second winner who will get to pick ONE book (from choices listed) is: Bekka H.!
And a third winner who will also get to pick ONE book is: Rachel B.!

Winners have been notified. CONGRATS!!! ♥


Click here to see the list of participating blogs (A LOT)

Since the previous giveaway was so successful, I'm going to offer up the same choices for this one as well :)

The winner gets to pick THREE of the following books: (titles not yet released will be preordered for you)






To enter, fill out the form below.
Details:
*Must be a follower to enter.
*One entry per person.
*Open to all countries Book Depository ships to.
*I ask that you please share a link to the giveaway (twitter, facebook, blog, whatever), but it's not required to enter.
*I will email a maximum of two times to ask for your mailing address. If you don't respond within a week, a new winner will be selected.
*Deadline is Tuesday, December 6th.


CONTEST HAS ENDED.

Good luck! ♥
 

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