My Summer (Book) Fling

I am a major bookworm. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to go through 10-15 books per month…Well, at least, I used to. In high school, I would literally devour books. In 9th grade, my English teacher, having grown tired of my begging and nagging for a new book to read at the beginning of every week, gave me the assignment to ‘end all assignment’: I was to read 100 books from January to June. If I did it, and agreed to be quizzed on books at random, I could skip the final. So, I tried it…February to April, 118 books. BAM! I always wanted more- And I couldn’t understand it when adults told me that they didn’t have time to read. How could you not make time for something so important? But then, I graduated high school and moved into the real world. My days became filled with endless amounts of work and responsibilities, and I found myself without any time to read. There have been times where I have ridden the subway with no destination in mind simply for the purpose of having an undisturbed 45 minutes or so where I could read to my hearts content. Moments of peace and quiet are the moments where I go lunging for my book shelf, eager to read whatever I purchased six months prior but haven’t gotten around to read.  It wasn’t only that. I found myself with a lack of good books to read. I had the library of the world at my finger tips, yet I found myself picking one horrible read after the other. There was a period of about six months where none of the titles I can come across were memorable, which, for a dedicated bibliophile, was devastating. There were some titles from my ‘drought’ period that were absolutely mind blowing, titles that gave me confidence in my future reading endeavors. The pattern didn’t usually continue with successful titles. It became kind of a love- hate relationship which had once been the love of my life.

 

In the early stages of my promotion campaign of Shattered Illusions, I promised myself that as soon as things were more or less under control (right, because a book campaign and success of it can ever really be in a person’s control…), I would pick up my obsession once more and go out in search of the books I was missing out on. I made insanely long lists of titles from every genre and every year, just to feel like I was getting back in the game. My Summer Book Fling this Summer has been fantastic. I’ve had a chance to catch up with all of the things I’ve been missing. Of course, while most people see a summer read as something light and fluffy, I’m the girl shlepping Parade’s End (almost 1000 pages) with me to the beach! It has been incredibly fulfilling to bring my own novel to the world, I really, really missed the feeling of holding a book in my hands, just for the sake of it. I’ve had so much fun promoting and sharing Shattered Illusions with the world, but it kind of forced me to put my long standing ‘love affair’ with literature to the side. Well, now that I have dived back in, I’ll have to make room for both. After all, what is a writer without the books they read?

 
Advertisements

Love Triangles: Love Them or Hate Them?

Camp_Boyfriend_cover

I first learned about love triangles in Charles Shultz’ cartoon, Charlie Brown. My heart ached for Peppermint Patty’s unrequited love for “Chuck”. Her awkward attempts to move them out of the friend zone made me want to call him a Block Head! Yet I still cheered on Charlie, hoping he and Patty’s BFF, sweet-natured Marcie (such a great foil for the aggressive Patty) would finally get together. The hopeless situation was endlessly fascinating and equally painful. Kind of like growing up… and in contemporary Young Adult novels, that’s what it’s all about. Love triangles in novels work well when they represent a deeper conflict for the main character- figuring out who she or he is in order to know whom he or she loves.

In CAMP BOYFRIEND, our main character Lauren, has always identified herself as a lover of science, an outsider, and Marvel superhero fan- well… Spiderman to be exact. Don’t even get her started on why he kicks every other superhero’s butt. You’ll never win that argument… trust me. She’s found acceptance with her quirky cabin mates at Munchies Manor at Camp Juniper Point and love with her best friend and fellow science nerd, Seth. Yet his wish to avoid long distance relationship problems means he’s convinced her to end things at the end of the past two summers. So far she’s accepted that, but now she wants more… especially after a year spent in a new school where she lost her braces, glasses and catapulted to popularity by dating the school’s star quarterback, Matt. She’s come to realize that she’ll never truly fit in with that group and breaking up with Matt is the first step to returning to her old self… only it’s not that easy when his parents’ divorce means he gets to ask them for what he truly wants, to attend camp with Lauren.

In this way, CAMP BOYFRIEND’s love triangle is more than just a conflict of a girl deciding between two hot guys; they each represent a part of herself. Deciding between them isn’t just about knowing her heart, it’s about discovering who she is- part of her journey in the summer of CAMP BOYFRIEND. Some might say, why does she have to choose which type of girl she is- geek/outsider vs popular/insider… and that’s the heart of the book- the understanding that labeling is a stop sign on realizing your true self. Lauren needs to accept that she can be all things, even if her friends and the boys in her life are slower to come to those conclusions than her. Ultimately, this summer read is a fun romance that also speaks to issues of self-acceptance and not judging one another or ourselves.

Here’s an excerpt in which we see Lauren struggling with this issue:

How ironic that I’d come back to camp to get back to the things I’d loved, especially Seth. But Matt had stopped that chance and, suddenly, I was glad he had. What was so wrong with liking dance and astronomy? Cheering and the science club? The popular and the outsider cliques? The problem was, I hadn’t realized I could do both, be both. If I’d gone back to Seth right away, I would never have learned that.

I looked over at my drying wedge sandals by the fireplace. They were awesome, even if they had slowed us down. And yeah, I was the girl who worried about weather-induced hair frizz.

So maybe I had changed. And Seth had a point about letting my dreams lapse. But why couldn’t he see through the make-up and clothes to the person who still thrilled at the site of a meteor shower and drew constellations on her notebook covers?

I laid back, tired of justifying myself. “That girl’s gone, Seth. I’m different now.”

Seth stretched beside me. His amber eyes searched mine in the shadows between us, a wistful smile lifting the corners of his mouth.

“It’s not a bad thing,” he agreed, his fingers toying with my curls. “I just miss the old you sometimes.”

I closed my eyes and enjoyed his touch, knowing it wasn’t going any further. After all, he cared about someone else, someone I’d never be again.

“Sometimes…” I edged a little closer to ease the empty ache inside. “…so do I.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. To learn more about CAMP BOYFRIEND, check out our website at http://www.campboyfriend.net or at http://www.facebook.com/JKRockwriters. Love triangles can be great, but- for me- the choices need to be more than just about the boys. Please share your thoughts on love triangles in the comments section below and be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of CAMP BOYFRIEND, currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Thanks so much for stopping by Scene 13!

Summer Reading … or WHEN DOES SCHOOL START AGAIN?

Ack!!

skinned knees

Summer … is NOT the time to catch up on reading. All July, I’ve only had time to be a Mom which has had its fair share of scraped knees and bug bites. (Summer legs!) And, honestly, it’s been pretty wonderful. We’ve blown bubbles, gone hiking, swimming, to hot springs, family and friend barbecues, summer evenings running up and down the streets chasing tricycles, wagon rides (where I’m the assigned donkey) and endless days that turn into when-is-bedtime nights.

So, needless to say, I’m ready for school to start. I’m feeling slightly guilty because I signed a contract with my daughters’ school to do homework every day. But somehow that’s gotten lost in chalk drawings, softball bats, and lazy mornings. I thought about it and have felt the crunch of pressure: What if my kid’s behind? (She’s five) What if she’s the only one not reading War and Peace when she enters the classroom?

What if my kid’s the only one who had a real, honest-to-goodness summer vacation?

Score.

We’ll get back into routines when we return home to Colombia (we’ve been visiting family in Nevada). We’ll get back to the books. But for now, the next two days anyway, I think I’ll just cart around my bandages and scrape spray.

Just DON’T tell her teachers!

Summer Reading

As the mother of a five-year-old home from school, the summer doesn’t give me a whole lot of time to do anything. In fact, as the unpaid taxi driver responsible foImager ferrying the kidlet to piano, swim lessons, and horseback riding, I must admit the summer months are my least productive. Any free moments I do have are spent writing instead of reading.

There is one exception, however, I do use the summer months to get caught up on my craft reading. I recently purchased The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi and I can’t recommend it enough as a stable to any writer’s library. If you’re like me, you use the same internal and external cues over and over again to explain emotion. What I love about this book is it gives you some new ones to add to your writing to keep it fresh. I bought the paperback version because I like to write notes and highlight. Definitely money well spent.

 

Summer Reads: Lisa Amowitz’s BREAKING GLASS — a gritty-ghostly-gothic contemporary YA

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz

NEW RELEASE!
Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz
Now Available!

ABOUT BREAKING GLASS:

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

REVIEW

BREAKING GLASS is a gripping, emotionally-raw story, which unfolds with the force of Lisa Amowitz’s unflinching storytelling. The themes here are darker than what I normally read, to be honest, but I really enjoyed it. At times reality-bending, BREAKING GLASS is also heartbreakingly real.

This gritty YA mystery has some really creepy supernatural elements and explores some disturbing & mature issues. This is not a “comfortable” book or a “sweet” book, but it’s amazing. I found the pov character, Jeremy Glass, to be deeply flawed, but also sympathetic. I was routing for him–even yelling at him at times!–but always on his side. I kept flipping through the pages greedily, wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Rx FOR SUMMER READING

BREAKING GLASS would be a great (creepy) book for one of those summer thunderstorm days when you’re curled up in a cozy armchair (praying your house doesn’t get hit by lightning lol).

Pompeii, Rome, Paranormal, and Romance

image (9)

I’ve just returned from our family vacation to Italy. We stayed in a hotel that had it’s own private beach. After breakfast every day, we would grab our beach gear and find a spot to camp – and since it was a private beach, we were set with a pavilion and lounging beach chairs each time. It was fabulous because I got to spend hours and hours reading. We also visited interesting cities, such as Pompeii and Rome. Let’s have a look at all of the above, shall we?

 

 

unearthly

When the trip began, I finished reading UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand (UK cover shown here). I really loved this book and found it hard to put down. Unearthly is about a girl named Clara who has recently learned she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans, but it also means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do.

A quarter way through the book, the plot completely twisted, and I was itching to get through the book to find out if my suspicions about certain characters were right. I love that in a book! If you like paranormal romance (and angels), give this book a try.

image (2)Now let’s scoot over to Pompeii. If you don’t know about this city, let me give you the short and skinny of it. The city of Pompeii was mostly destroyed due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which left the city buried under four to six meters of ash and pumice.Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. (I bet there’s a book out there telling this tale.)

 

image (4)image (3)

 

image (10)By the way, have you ever seen such HUGE lemons in your life? They’re bigger than the oranges! Crazy right?

 

 

 

Anyway, back to books for a moment.

The next book I started to read was THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa.

The Iron KingI’m not quite done with this one yet, but only have a couple of chapters to go. It’s more fantasy than paranormal, but I do admire Julie’s writing style. The Iron King is about a girl named Meghan Chase whose brother suddenly attacks their mother. She discovers that this “creature” isn’t actually her brother at all, but a changeling who replaced her real brother, put in his place by faeries. The book follows Meghan on her adventure into the faery realm as she attempts to rescue her brother, discovering shocking things about herself along the way.

 

And finally, let’s skip on over to Rome. I have to admit, image (8)I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if it wasn’t 100 degrees and scorching sun that day. The sights were beautiful, the food was great, but the heat and sun kind of put a damper on things. At least I can admire the pictures.

And that was my trip in a nutshell, albeit a mixed nut nutshell. 😉

image (1)image (6)image (5)

Summer Readin’ and Writin’

Summer writing, had me a blast
Summer writing, didn’t happn so fast

I wrote a book that made me crazy
I miss the days when I could be lazy

Summer days drifting away
To, write every summer night

Well-a well-a well-a, huh
Tell me more, tell me more
Did you get very far? (yes ½ of Prodigal is done)
Tell me more, tell me more
Like are there any tzar’s? (funny you should ask…)

I typed too fast, then got a cramp
Then when I stretched, I broke a lamp
My wife looked at me, and simply frowned
Then she said, go walk the hounds

Summer sun, the writing has begun
During all of, the summer nights

Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more
Was there love at first sight? (Not really, you’ll have to read it)
Tell me more, tell me more
Did you write a sweet fight? (Yep, a bunch)

BUT seriously, I did find some time to read in between writing and life. Here’s what I’ve read so far.

BreakingGlasscover

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

TRIANGLESHighResImage

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life–her father’s death years ago, her mother’s medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her–seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she’s gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they’re a happy couple… a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying “Happy Anniversary”… and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship’s doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she’s warned that these “alternate realities” could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

9897164

Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

I just started Kelly Hashway’s Stalked by Death.
15980368

Jodi knows that any slip-ups made by the Ophi–a special group of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac–will fall on her shoulders… and that Hades is just waiting for them to screw up so he can wipe out the Ophi line.

Unfortunately, Jodi has only convinced one Ophi to join her school: A hot guy named Chase who jeopardizes her relationship with Alex. Jodi loves Alex, but Chase can enhance her powers with just a touch—making her stronger than any Ophi has ever been.

Her mixed emotions send her powers surging out of control, and the dead start rising without her conscious summoning—exactly what Hades doesn’t want! If she chooses Alex over Chase, she may lose the battle to Hades, leading the Ophi race to extinction. If she chooses Chase, she might be able to stop Hades for good… but lose everything else.

Jodi needs to figure things out fast–because death is stalking her at every turn.