Wednesday, January 30, 2013

World Building Post 2

Much of my story stems from Native Amercan Legend and the fact that research was required to write my book just made it that much more fun.  Many of the Native American tribes share the same belief systems of creation.  I took the legend and changed it to meet the needs of my story in small ways.  The legend of the skin walker was a huge influence in my story as the antagonist is one.  Here is a bit of history as to what and who they are and just one of the many articles I used to develop the world my MC has come to know.

Navajo Skinwalker Legend

The Navajo skinwalker legend is one of the more complex and terrifying stories, steeped in mystery and evil intent.
navajo skinwalker legend Many Navajos believe firmly in the existence of skinwalkers and refuse to discuss them publicly for fear of retribution. They believe skinwalkers walk freely among the tribe and secretly transform under the cover of night.
The term yee naaldooshii literally translates to “with it, he goes on all fours.” According to Navajo legend, a skinwalker is a medicine man or which who has attained the highest level of priesthood in the tribe, but chose to use his or her power for evil by taking the form of an animal to inflict pain and suffering on others.
To become a skinwalker requires the most evil of deeds, the killing of a close family member. They literally become humans who have acquired immense supernatural power, including the ability to transform into animals and other people.
According to the Navajo skinwalker legend, these evil witches are typically seen in the form of a coyote, owl, fox, wolf or crow – although they do have the ability to turn into any animal they choose.
Because it is believed that skinwalkers wear the skins of the animals they transform into, it is considered taboo to wear the pelt of any animal. In fact, the Navajo are only known to wear two hides, sheepskin and buckskin, both of which are only used for ceremonial purposes.
Those who have talked of their encounters with these evil beings describe a number of ways in which a skinwalker will try to inflict harm. Some describe hearing knocks on the window or banging on the walls.
Others have spotted an animal-like figure peering in through a window. According to Navajo skinwalker legend, they are seldom caught. Those who do track a skinwalker and learn of their true identity must pronounce the name of the evil one in full. Once this happens, the skinwalker will get sick or die for the wrongs they have inflicted against others.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Word Building Blogfest Day 1

Today we are suppose to look at what inspires us to use descriptive words to bring the reader into out worlds.
My book takes place in a location where I actually grew up and one where I vacationed.  Grayland, Washington is a costal fishing/loggin community.  It is named Grayland due to the constant gray weather and heavy rain, although there are some sunny days sprinkled in during the summer.  Tokeland is a small town near by which borders the Shoalwater Reservation where the "boys" in the story live.  I used these pictures to make a story book to use for aiding in my descriptive writing or when I needed some inspiration.

This is a cranberry bog where Emma is attacked by a Raven.

The community hall where Emma goes to the Cranberry festival dance.

Beach where Solomon and Emma have their heart to heart talk.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

18 Things by Jamie Ayres

I was excited to get this book and support a fellow new author and put it on my kindle on its day of release.  The book is listed as YA Paranormal.  Having that title I read the majority of the book guessing when something paranormal was actually going to happen.  When I was at 88% read...finally the paranormal aspect came in.  It was a good twist, one I will not spoil here, but I found it distracting that it waited so long to come into play.  The theme of the story was interesting, come up with a list of 18 Things to do the year you turn 18 in a way to deal with the death of a friend.  I liked how the supporting characters moved through the main characters list and supported her.  My biggest compliment for this book is that I found the prologue and the first chapter very well written.  They totally pulled me in.  However, the pull of the book wained for me after that.  Being the mom of an 18 year old and a 16 year old I found the language the characters used immature. More middle school than high school.  I read some of the dialogue to my boys and they agreed.  There were many literary references in the book, I know the author is a teacher and can guess she probubly teaches English.  I had a hard time connecting to some of the references and wonder if younger readers may be at a loss as well.  The author chose to have the characters be huge Star Wars fans, which reminded me of the guys from Big Bang Theory.  I didn't mind that the characters were suppose to be geeky but there were a lot of references that I missed out on as I am not a big fan myself.  At the end of the book the MC gives a long speech that refers back to many aspects of Star Wars and I got a bit lost in reading it. Overall I thought the message was positive.  I kept waiting for a bit more spirituality and felt like the author was going to go for it and then pulled back.  I was confused as to where this book actually falls in the genre world.  My favorite line in the book is when a Dr. tells Olga, the MC that kids these days have it wrong when they text YOLO, You only live once.  They instead should text YODO, you only die once.  You live every day of your life but only die one day.  I would give this book three stars and would recommend it to a younger reader.  The next book in her series is sneak peeked at the end of this one and I have to say I give the author props for writing killer beginnings.  Not sure I will read the next book but the teaser makes me think I want to.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

L.A. Fiore: Beautiful Damaged

This book is a combination of Fifty Shades and a few other books that have reached the for front of the book stores lately.  Using the format of the damaged man and the meek girl that tries to save them.  This one is definitly tamer than the Fifty books and leaves the mature content to a minimum.  What I really liked about this book is a mystery aspect that comes through after the romance is solidified.  They discover that they have a past that is intertwined and a future that is uncertain until they figure out the past.  I thought the writing for the most part was strong and I thought the author did a good job of giving the female character, Ember a back bone when standing up for herself.  I appreciated that Ember didn't down grade herself as not being good enough for Trace and didn't constantly go on about being afraid of losing him.  She was aware of his past but put the potential of them drifting apart on Trace and not her short comings. 

Is there such thing as too many fingers in the pot?

Yes!  I think there is.  Since I started writing I have struggled with finding a beta reader that is willing to stick with me through a manuscript so I have had to find other ways to get opinions of my writing.  In doing so I have joined many blog hops and taken every opportunity to get my first pages looked at.  I don't change everything that is mentioned, but I do take common complaints into account and change what I feel will make my writing better.  Over the last six months I have improved my piece and I think I have improved my own writing by helping others with theirs.  But when does it become too many opinions?  What do you do when you finally have a piece that overall is getting good feedback, but then a few agents look at it and complain about the very things you changed and wish it had more of what you edited out?  The pendulum swings to the right and then swings to the left.  Do I go back and put the ideas back in or do I trust the help I got and wait for an agent that likes what I have.  When does the piece stop even being mine and turns into just a lesson on revision?  When is it time to put it on the shelf and accept the fact that this manuscript isn't ever going to get there? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Opinion: Stop reading gif you are looking for a review

I was sifting through my technological links yesterday....twitter, Facebook, the blogs I follow...and I saw an author post a comment about a number of books she had recently read that had Rape as the antagonist for the main character.  I also have noticed many books that have abusive situations or near abuse at the forefront of the book.  It made me wonder... is it an easy way to show the "guy" as a hero?  Is it an easy way to show angst?  Or is it an excuse for the character to act the way they do?  I don't know.  What I worry is that this may reflect the plight of our YA readers.  Are the people who are using this as a thread in the story survivors of this violence?  Do they know someone who is?  Is this so prevalent in our society that we are seeing it pop up again and again in the books of today?  I don't know but I worry that either we are taking the easy way out to find flaw and tension in our characters or there is a need for a greater awareness to violence against woman.

Sometimes Never By: Cheryl McIntyre

I have to say again I simply love the way my new kindle puts a scroll bar of "If you liked that book you might like this one" at the bottom of the page.  So that is how I found this one.  Sometimes Never is told in alternating view points, which although I sometimes get confused and have to go back to see who is actually talking, I am beginning to really like.  I especially enjoy seeing the other point of view when it is a guys.  This story follows Hope and Mason.  Two characters I liked from the get go.  Hope lost her mom and never really had a dad.  Her mom was a pretty cruddy mom and she had some disturbing experiences with the men that frequented the house.  So she is a pretty flawed character who uses cutting to cope.  She has a great support system with either an aunt or uncle or foster parents, I was kind of confide on what exactly they were.  Anyway the teenage boy, Guy that lives with them is great.  He is written as a gay man but that is just a tidbit of info that never drives the story but does explain how he could be so close to Hope without the other boys freaking out.  Mason, although he seems to have a somewhat stable home life, has moved a lot since his Dad was murdered.  He uses sex as a coping method until he finds Hope.  f I could make one compliant, although at no the did I feel it hindered the story, but I would have liked to have gone deeper into Mason's issues.  HAve your father murdered is huge and although it was clear he was promiscuous it could have entered into a more conflicted character and might have supported the way he felt like he wasn't enough for Hope when they faced her cutting.  Although I loved the characters I have to say my true love was for Chase a secondary character who in my opinion had the best lines in the book.  I love boy bickering!  I think the way men communicate is fascinating and love good dialogue that shows that.  This book delivered.  It was a quick read and I was enthralled the entire time.  I hope the author continues to write.I give it 4 stars!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Call for Blogger's on Katie's Blog

This is copied from Katie's Blog

If your interested head on over and check it out!



We Want You...To Be Part of "The List"

I love waterfalls. :-)
Calling all bloggers!

Calling all bloggers!

Entangled needs you! *points at you*

Be part of The List.

Here's what you need to know:

One of my awesome publicists at Entangled is compiling a list of bloggers.

Here are the requirements:

Do you have a blog?

Do you love to review books?

Do you want access to books before they release?

If your answers to these questions is a resounding "YES" then you're the right blogger for the job.

We want you! Now's a great time to join The List.

If you want to be a part of The List, here's what you have to do:

1. Add Til Death to your Goodreads TBR pile:


2. Leave the following in the comments section:

a. Your Name

b. Your Blog URL

c. Your Goodreads Name

d. Your Email Address

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I don't usually do this...

So I make it a habit to not post negative comments of books I read.  I just pretend I didn't read them and let others make their own opinion.  I mean really...there are so many books out there that everyone's taste and interest can be meant.  Doesn't mean I have to like it.  But the book I am reading is hitting a nerve with me and I just couldn't hold back.  I won't tell you the title or author but this book is bugging me so much that I went on the web looking for who in the world agreed to publish it.  Looks like it may be a self-publish so that answered that question.  Then I searched the author.  Then surfed for some other reviews, all luke warm.  And I discovered this is one of three books in a series.  I am almost, ALMOST, tempted to read another just to see if there is something better coming.
Anyway, to all the want to be authors, (me included) lets come up with something new.  This book has the same story line as Twilight except with a shape shifter wolf like thing.  However you don't really know anything about the shifter until you are more than half way through the book.  The first half is just this sad, depressed girl.  each chapter takes us through her school day, class by class and even discusses the lessons she does.  Ugh.  It just drags.  I keep reading hoping it gets better.  My other peeve is that a guy wrote it from a girls pov. Now I don't have a problem with that except that his take on girls if off.  We are not as pathetic as he makes us.  I find this book a good example of what agents say when they tell us they do not sympathize or like our characters.  I don't like her and kind of wish the wolf like thing would eat her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I was reading an author's description of her novel and she said it was Historical Fiction because it took place in the 1970's.  When did the 70's become historical?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles

So lately I am a total sucker for anything Contemporary Romance...and I love it even more if the actual story is great and the romance just adds to the overall greatness.  I felt that this book fell into the catagory.  I especially appreciated the dual points of view that told the story.  Dylan and Alex are the main characters.  They met while still in high school, during a school trip.  In a not so cliche' way Dylan is the boy from the bad background that is trying to better himself and Alex is the girl that seems to have it all but in reality really only has controlling parents.  What I liked about this book was the driving force of Dylan's story.  An injured vetran of the Afghanistan war.  The two characters, sfter the initial meeting try and keep a long distance relationship going..but we all know how hard that can be.  So they end up moving apart (although there is more to it than that but let's not be a spoiler)  The book takes us through how they grow and change as people as well as how life sometimes throws us a curve that means we have to pull up our big boy pants and face life and just deal.  This was a quick read with endearing characters and I loved that the PTS of a soldier and rehab was brought in to show the depth of the struggle a man must go through when returning to a world very different from the war.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Where You Are: by J.H. Trumble

After finishing Don't Let Me Go by the same author I immediately downloaded the second book.  Which by the way I loved.  I can't say if I prefered either one over the other, they were both great.  Again I can't express enough appreciation for the character development and dialogue that the author has, in my opinion perfected.  Such a smooth read and never a line that pulls you out of the story.  This story has two male Main characters in which the author gives us both points of view in the story.  That is a very difficult feat to pull off in a manuscript so kudos to you.  It is the story of a second year high school math teacher and a senior student.  I have to say that I did have an itch in the back of my mind while reading the book, about the love interest.  My being a teacher made the scenario a little close to home.  But for those aspiring writers out there if ever you wanted some steamy, against the grain subject matter for a book go no further than your local school.  Chaos ensues behind the staff room doors.  Anyway back to my review.  Seeing as I teach elementary, I seemed to have to keep reminding myself that the senior was mature and not some little kid.  The dialogue was mature and I am not sure why I kept slipping back to thinking he was too young. My issue not the writers.  Robert, the senior is dealing with a lot of personal turmoil, with a dad who is dying but never really a part of his life to begin with and Aunts that have invaded his home.  I wanted someone to wrap their arms around him and tell him it wasn't his fault. I enjoyed that aspect of the book a lot.  Andrew, the teacher, begins as a support for Robert and then their mentor/student relationship grows to another level.  The tension that they are going to get caught is well written and kept me reading.  I especially liked that the author pulled in characters from the previous book so it was like seeing how an old friend was doing.  As I said when I reviewed an early book with male characters, this author has a way of telling a story that makes the gender of the characters secondary.  It is the story I loved and the characters I felt for.  It didn't matter what the gender.  Great Read. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

Reading this book was a step out of my normal genre of interests.  I am a sucker for a good contemporary romance and lean towards these titles whenever I get a good reccomendation, however this cont. romance dealt with homosexuality.  Not an area I lean towards in my reading.  This book was recommended to me by one of my Goodreads friends, thanks Helene!  Having some trepidation about the topic I read her review, then went onto amazon to get a better idea of what I was stepping into.  I admit I have read my share of erotica but wasn't sure I was ready for it in this format.  The reviews raved about the book and I jumped in and started reading yesterday morning and thank the lucky stars it was New Years Eve and I have an excuse to stay up all night to finish reading it.  I have to say it was/ is one of the best books I have read.  This is the story of two young men and their developing relationship, the ups and downs of thier feelings for each other as one graduates and moves to New York while the other remains behind as a senior in high school.  It is not, and I repeat NOT a book with blantant sexuality. Although it is implied and discussed, as with any romance, it is not the focal point of the story.  I love good characters and dialogue and this book delivers!  While reading it I didn't even think about the gender of the characters, I just loved them both and wanted them to figure out how to be together.  Many of the books I have read lately have moments of drag while they try to fill in back stroy and sometimes the characters are stiff and say things that make me go Hmmmm.  This book does none of that.  The dialogue is realistic and funny.  The situations are realistic and relatable.  It tackles some tough issues of how each of the characters came out to their family and friends, it touches gently upon a hate crime commited against one of the boys, but mostly it focuses us on how hard two individuals are trying to figure out who they are as individuals while trying to keep their relationship.  It is primarily told from Nate's point of view, with the help of some understanding friends.  I wish I had friends that were so great in high school.  While tough topics are discussed in this book it is done in a smooth and easy way that just makes it a part of the story.  My heart strings were pulled again and again as they went through the trials of a long distance relationship and i root for them the entire time.  I highly recommend this book for its power of good story telling.  When the writing is so good it takes you out of your own head and into theirs.  Thank you for giving such a wonderful voice to a tricky topic.