June 28, 2014

Book review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

June 23, 2014

Cover reveal: With Tide and Tempest by Kate Avery Ellison

I recently raved about Frost and other books by Kate Avery Ellison, so I'm very pleased to participate in the cover reveal of her latest book, With Tide and Tempest. Doesn't the cover look wonderful?

With Tide and Tempest by Kate Avery Ellison
(Secrets of Itlantis #3)
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Free or not, life beneath the sea in the republic of Itlantis is less idyllic than Aemi might have imagined when she’d been just a surfacer slave. She’s been accused of spying for the enemy thanks to her connections with the traitorous Nautilus family, not to mention her own tangled and mysterious family history. Her mother has arrived, and is determined to take over her life. Oh, and someone is trying to kill her. Again.

When Aemi receives word that her best friend might still be alive in a village on the surface, she and a crew of friends set out to find him, regardless of the danger from Nautilus’s men patrolling the open sea and the mysterious threats on her life. But the sea is not the only thing that holds secrets.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22404371-with-tide-and-tempest

I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I'm not writing, I'm usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he's eating.

Learn more about my writing and books at my blog (http://thesouthernscrawl.blogspot.com/), find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kateaveryellison), and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores (https://tinyletter.com/kateaveryellison)!

June 21, 2014

Damn you, Internet!

The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in my lifetime. It makes so many things easier to do: researching a topic, ordering a book, connecting with friends I haven't seen face-to-face in years. But it's also my worst enemy when it comes to trying to get things done.

During the week, my golden period for getting "author-y" work done is the hour and a half between 4:30 am (when I wake up) and 6:00 am (when I start to get ready for my day job). But before I start to write, I check my author email account, social networks, blogs I follow, etc. Two years ago, that took about 10 minutes. Nowadays, it can take up the entire hour and a half. Part of the reason is that I've gotten to know other authors and readers, so there's more to read and respond to. (There are people who actually want to communicate with me!) If that was the only reason, I'd still finish my pre-writing routine in about half an hour.

The problem is that when the Internet was invented, they made it really easy to jump from one web page to another. Throw in search engines and social media, and you can reach just about any web page from any other through a series of links. So when I see a fellow author tweet about an interesting blog article, for example, I may read the article, only to find that it's linked to two other articles that I want to read, and so on.

If the Internet were a cigarette manufacturer, I'd say it was making itself addictive on purpose. However, since no one owns the Internet, I can only blame myself. I've tried to wean myself off spending so much time on the web, but it's a tough thing to do. I don't know if there's any going back. Maybe I need to start picking a different writing schedule. Or just wake up earlier than 4:30. I really don't know of a good way to reclaim my time, and maybe I won't. But the first step in overcoming your problem is admitting it, right? Anyone else get sucked into the Internet for longer than they want to? How do you deal with it?

June 14, 2014

Book Review: Frost by Kate Avery Ellison

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In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, compassion might get a person killed, and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After the monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides, she can't afford to let her emotions lead her astray. But when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest, a young man from beyond the Frost named Gabe, Lia does the unthinkable. 

She saves his life. 

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the "Farthers," as ruthless and cruel. Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent-and handsome. And she might even be falling for him. 

But time is running out. The monsters in the forest are growing bold and restless. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Is compassion-and love-worth the risk? Finally, when a startling discovery challenges everything she thought was true about her life, Lia realizes exactly what she must do.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

June 7, 2014

Mid-year writing update

It's been a while since I blogged about my writing progress. I had three writing goals this year:
  1. Publish a sequel to "Drive"
  2. Write a short story for another collaboration
  3. Write my fifth novel

So far, I've accomplished #1 already. "Protect", the sequel to "Drive" was published on March 10th. Depending on how things go, I may even write the third installment in the series this year!

Last year, I had the good fortune of collaborating with a group of great YA authors to produce the anthology, Through a Tangled Wood. I'm happy to say that most of the same authors -- and a few more -- are back at work on a second anthology! My short story contribution is almost done. I got feedback from the editor last week, and I'm putting the finishing touches on it. Expect an announcement about the new anthology in the August time frame.

As soon as I finished writing "Protect", I started the first draft of my next novel. All I'll say for now is that it's a YA fantasy story, which is slightly different from the YA sci-fi that I've been writing. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first draft, which is a little slower than I expected. The problem has been that as I write, I discover new things about the world I created and the characters in them, so I've had to go back and revise as I work. (I know that some authors believe you shouldn't do that while you're writing a first draft, but I do it so that I don't forget later on.) In the end, my hope is that the book will be better than what I had first envisioned when I started.

After finishing the first draft, I plan to set it aside for a while before revising it. During that time, I want to write another short story. I'm not sure yet whether it'll be a sequel to "Drive" and "Protect" or whether it'll be something different. I have lots of ideas in my head at the moment. :-)

Hopefully, I'll reach my production goal by the end of the year, which means another anthology and my fifth novel. If I'm lucky, there will also be an extra story thrown in.

June 1, 2014

Book review: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood.

By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.

How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)