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    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    By Blood by Tracy E. Banghart

    By Blood

    by Tracy E. Banghart

    Giveaway ends April 26, 2014.

    See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

    Enter to win

    Monday
    Apr142014

    Writing Process Blog Tour

    My good friend and crit partner Laurie J. Edwards asked if I wanted to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour, which is actually a really cool version of a chain letter. I had to say yes! Laurie is an incredibly hard-working writer and editor, with tons of projects going and much success ahead of her. She has TWO books coming out this year: Grace and the Guiltless under the pen name Erin Johnson, and Cyber Self-Defense, which she's co-writing with expert Alexis Moore. Both sound amazing, no? For more info on Laurie and her upcoming releases, check out her website here.

    Thank you for tagging me, Laurie!

    So on to my answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour questions!

    1) What are you working on?

    I am currently writing the first draft of the sequel to SHATTERED VEIL, called TANGLED PROMISE. I also have a YA fantasy, A SEASON OF SINISTER DREAMS, that I'll be revising this summer for an August release.

     

    2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

    My Diatous Wars trilogy (SHATTERED VEIL, TANGLED PROMISE, etc) looks at first glance like a dystopian, in the vein of The Hunger Games or Divergent. But it's actually not...the main character, rather than fighting against a corrupt and oppressive government, is in fact fighting FOR her country against an outside threat. I think the love story is also an interesting take for the genre.

    3) Why do I write what I do?

    I have always enjoyed reading young adult fiction. It's my favorite genre, in particular because I found the stories so inspiring when I was a young adult. I write YA because the voice and types of stories are comfortable to me, and also because I'd love to think that my characters could be inspiring to someone as well. I feel really passionate about showing strong girls growing up to be empowered, empathetic adults. I also really enjoy exploring healthy female friendships in my stories, which I think is somewhat lacking in current YA fiction.

    4) How does my writing (or writing with pictures/illustrating) process work?

    I tend to do some but not a lot of plotting before I start writing. I need to know where the story and characters end up...and figure out the important details of the world and major plot points. But that's about all the planning I do. I try to write my first drafts fast, so my inner editor doesn't have time to rear her red pen and slow down the process. I enjoy revising more than I do writing first drafts. But I LOVE the moments when a character takes on a life of their own, or a plot snag suddenly untangles itself. Drafting is exciting and exhausting! 

    I tend to write shorter first drafts and fill out in revisions, rather than writing long and having to cut. And I am eternally indebted to my wonderful critique partners and beta readers who offer their feedback and support throughout the process!

    I'm tagging Ali Cross to continue the chain! Ali is the author of the popular Desolation series, as well as the exciting new scifi Blood Crown (which I absolutely LOVED). She likes to say she holds a black belt in awesome since the only kind of kicking-butt she does is on paper. She's a virtual ninja.

    Friday
    Apr112014

    New Indie Releases!

     

    Courtesy of the AWESOME Susan Kaye Quinn!
    Indie Extravaganza: New Book Releases You Should Check Out - PLUS Gift Card Giveaway! Looking for some great NEW indie reads?
    All of these books are New Releases in the last few months. Skip to the genre you love, sample a new indie author... and enter the giveaway at the bottom! (Also check out the FREE books associated with these New Releases at the bottom.) And THANK YOU for supporting indie authors! (click on covers to learn more) p.s. is it me, or are these indie covers amazing?

    Young Adult Science Fiction
       
    Science Fiction/Dystopian
      
      
       

    Young Adult Fantasy
            

    Fantasy
     

    Young Adult Contemporary Romance
      

    Contemporary/Historical Romance
      
      

    Young Adult Suspense

    Middle Grade
     

    Steampunk/Alternate History
     

    Thriller/Suspense
      

    FREE Books
    Connected with New Releases Above
      
       

    Giveaway includes Gift Cards, Original Art, paperbacks, ebooks, and a mug!
    Thursday
    Apr102014

    Bookanista Review: STAR CURSED

    My life has been just a LEETLE busy lately, but I've still had time to do a little reading, thank goodness! I've been wanting to read STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood, the sequel to her incredible BORN WICKED, for ages but I put it off because I wanted to read it closer to the third book's release. Well, SISTERS' FATE doesn't come out until August, but I couldn't wait any longer!

    I'm not going to include the Goodreads description because it has spoilers for the first book in the series, and if you haven't read BORN WICKED yet, get thee to a book store immediately!

    I'm a huge fan of Jessica's writing, particularly of her gorgeous, detailed (but NOT action-slowing) descriptions. This series is set in an alternate history of New England (with real witches!) and she does such an amazing job of bringing the world to life, blending actual historical details and customs with the imaginative aspects of the witches and Brothers, etc. In that way the series reminds me a little of Harry Potter, with the "muggle" and "wizard" worlds so interwoven you start to question which is which. LOVE that!

    The second book in the series continues the character arcs of the first in interesting, satisfying, and sometimes heartbreaking ways. I loved diving back into Cate's thoughts and meeting her friends - and enemies.

    There's a darkness, an ominous quality, to this book that kept me turning pages and had me not entirely sure the "good guys" were going to make it. I absolutely love when I can't see the resolution coming, and this series is definitely one that keeps me guessing.

    STAR CURSED has it all...romance, drama, suspense...relationships tested, surprises revealed, new questions asked. I plan to reread both BORN WICKED and STAR CURSED before SISTERS' FATE comes out in August...and will be counting the days until I can get my hands on a copy!

    I highly recommend this series, especially if you enjoy historial romances, witches, or beautifully written books. :-)

    ~~

    See what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week!

    Lenore Appelhans is nuts for NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley

    Tracy Banghart swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

    Rebecca Behrens raves about PUSH GIRL by Bookanista Jessica Love

    Christine Fonseca is riveted by SEKRET by Lindsay Smith

    Jessica Love sings the praises of OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord

    Kimberly Sabatini loves BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore

    Katy Upperman is crazy for THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf

     

     

    Saturday
    Mar222014

    Big News!!

    Okay, so today I found out that SHATTERED VEIL received a ::gulp:: STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly!!! ::faints:: OMG I AM IN SHOCK!!!!

    See it? See that amazingly beautiful, gorgeous LOVELY little red star next to Shattered Veil?!?!

    AAHHHHHH!!!!

    Here's the direct link to read the review, in case that screenshot is too small for ya...and my favorite line?

    "What starts as a tale of star-crossed romance quickly evolves into a gripping page-turner, with gender roles and identity explored and questioned at every turn." 

    Did you say "GRIPPING PAGE-TURNER"???? Squee!! :-D

    If you'd like to grab a copy for yourself, here are the links!

    Amazon

    Barnes & Noble

    iTunes

    Smashwords

    Happy Saturday! Hope y'all have a good one! I'm going to make myself a fizzy, yummy drink to celebrate and bask in this incredible moment with a little Veronica Mars. ;-)

     

    Sunday
    Mar092014

    In Which I Get Super Honest

    Blogging has been difficult for me lately. It's hard to find the time, when I have an adorable son to take care of and am trying to use every spare minute to write Tangled Promise, Shattered Veil's sequel. But I DO want to let y'all know I'm still here...and I have something I really want to say.

    If you've read some of my early posts you may know some of this already, but for newcomers, here's a quick, dirty history of my publishing journey: in 2009, I wrote Moon Child. I revised it, queried it in early 2010, and received three offers of representation from great agents fairly quickly and painlessly. I thought I was golden. The agent I chose had tons of experience, was forthright and honest, and super organized. We went on submission shortly after I accepted her offer. And...Moon Child didn't sell. I wrote By Blood. We submitted it to editors. It also didn't sell. MAJOR HOTSAUCE got deployed. I missed him terribly and awoke one morning with an idea for a scifi trilogy. Right from the beginning, I knew THIS one was going to be different. THIS ONE was THE one. I wrote the first draft, the second, the third. We went on submission. Dreams of three-book deals and auctions and general awesomeness danced through my head. Somehow, I'd been able to keep hope alive, despite my first two failed attempts. I told myself Shattered Veil was special. Things would be different. I was so confident, I started writing a fantasy just for me...not because I thought it might be marketable or because my agent asked me to (in fact, she didn't even want to read it), but because I just KNEW SV was going to sell and I'd be busy for years writing the rest of the trilogy, so why not have some fun and do something different now? 

    Well, Shattered Veil didn't sell. There were reasons for this, I'm sure, and the book it became is vastly different from the version that was shopped to publishers. 

    And that's what I want to talk about. I worked with several professionals on Shattered Veil during my traditional publishing journey. One suggested I cut an entire subplot. One thought the beginning didn't work and thought I should cut the first 60 pages. And I did it all. Every change. Even though the book it became WASN'T what I'd envisioned. Even though it made the story feel incomplete to me. But I did it because I was so desperate to sell a book to a major publisher that I was willing to do anything. Change my main characters motivations? Sure. Cut a storyline because it was too "adult"? Why not? I lost myself in trying to please everyone else. 

    This is the truth: I'm happy my books didn't sell to a publisher. I would have liked the money, the validation, the bragging rights. And I have SO MUCH respect and love for my traditionally published compatriots. This is not a rant against the establishment, I promise. But what I've realized over the past couple of years is that traditional publishing was NOT the right fit for me. I was MISERABLE waiting to hear back from editors. I was MISERABLE not having any control over the process. The constant rejection completely sapped my confidence and desire to write. When I decided to self-publish, it was like I could take a full breath again. I absolutely love working with my cover designer, having actual input into what my book is going to look like. I LOVE that I had the freedom to tell the story I really wanted to tell in Shattered Veil. I put the cut storyline back in. I took the feedback about the first 60 pages and rewrote them, but I did it my way, instead of just cutting them. I made the book the story *I* felt compelled to tell. To say I feel passionate about Aris's journey would be an understatement. The way she is at the beginning of the book - even though some people find her annoying - was IMPORTANT to me, because her growth wouldn't mean the same thing if we didn't see where she started.

    The rub: It's scary putting your stuff out there, even when you feel confident that you told the story you wanted to tell. I've been scared that all those editors were right about me and my stories. What if nobody wants to read them? What if they don't sell? 

    And this is what I've realized: Sales and quality don't always coincide. Sure, seems obvious, but it's tough to remember when your rank keeps sinking lower and lower. I'm an unknown indie author just starting to build my social media presence, just starting to get my name out there. Are people finding my books? Not yet. But I'm okay with that. And I stand by my decision to self publish. Because recently, I've read some of the most amazing reviews for Shattered Veil. And I've realized that I'd be happy giving my books away for free and never making a dime if it means I get to read strangers say such amazing things about them.

    Example:

    "It's about a person being restricted and confined to certain expectations by everyone - lover, family, society - and growing beyond those and realising that she's grown beyond those. As many times as Aris doubts what she's doing and thinks that she will fail, she keeps fighting. She's determined and stubborn and proud and that makes her story a joy to read." Read the full review here.

    To have people "get" what the story's about, and who Aris really is, to read how much they appreciate her transformation...well, that's the reward. 

    Do I want to make money with my writing? Yes, yes I do. I want to contribute to my family's financial security and to my little guy's college fund. But I can honestly say I'm no longer willing to define my success by how many books I sell. I'll be defining it by the kind words people share about my books, and the emails I receive begging for the next one. It doesn't matter if the people reading my books get them for free through NetGalley or for a blog tour. They're still readers. And guys, readers willing to read your stuff - even if they DON'T like it - are the most amazing people in the world.

    <3 

     Do you want to read Shattered Veil? I'll gift a Kindle copy to the first three people who comment on this post.