Tag Archives: young adult

Errand Girl of the Undead, Open for Business!

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Happy book birthday to The Trouble with Werewolves! For a short story, it certainly took me a long time to get this one out into the world.  I think a lot of the reasoning was because I wasn’t completely done with the series and wanted to hold off. I’m still not done (the 3rd book is nearing completion but has a ways to go yet) but I figured if I published then it would push me to get it done.

I really enjoyed writing this story, I think because Ellie’s a tough chick but with a definitely vulnerable side to her. She’s had an interesting upbringing but still wanted to be “normal”. Like most teens, she is trying to find herself, love, and a great pair of jeans to highlight her ass…ets.

I hope you enjoy her antics as much as I enjoyed writing about them!

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Ellie Weston may look like a blonde Barbie wanna-be, but call by her full name of Elvira and you’ll find she can take you down with nothing more than a paperclip and a hair tie. Having been raised by an ancient vampire, a faerie and a demon hardly makes her a normal teen. She’s trained in self-defense, with a bit of magic thrown in, but those talents are going to waste as she picks up dry cleaning, walks three-headed dogs and collects grave dust by the light of the full moon.

Her job as an errand girl to the undead–and other paranormal creatures–has kept her busy and relatively safe, until she receives a job to hunt down a rogue werewolf who is brutally butchering norms in her father’s territory. As she tries to track down the bloodthirsty beast, she finds the clues aren’t quite adding up. Will her wiles be enough to keep her safe and solve the mystery, or will she become the next victim of these ghastly crimes?

 

Pick up a copy for 99 cents!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Werewolves-Errand-Girl-Undead-ebook/dp/B01CC5FSF2

Nook: pending (check back!)

Top Five – Reinvent or Retire

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When you read a lot, you can’t help but come across similar themes, or tropes. Some of them I don’t mind, but others…others need some serious reinvention or they need to be retired for a while.

Here’s my top five tropes in YA books that needs new life breathed into them or that need to go away on an extended vacation:

1) The Love Triangle

I admit, I’m guilty of using this trope myself (see Tears of a Clown).  While it has been around for a while, it really gained steam with the Twilight books and the whole Bella, Edward, Jacob bit. I can understand how a reader would love to put themselves in Bella’s place and have two hot guys fighting over her, but it’s since showed in every other book I’ve picked up in recent years making it a yawner of a theme. I still have to guess who the main character will end up with but even that ends up being pretty predictable.  Let’s face it, romance is hard enough, especially as a teen.  The readers don’t need an extra person to add to the dramatics of young love.

2) Boarding School

I think, for American writers, the boarding school is pure fantasy because it’s not a common thing here.  An American being put in the foreign setting, away from parents, allows for more shenanigans, culture shock, longing and homesickness. It ends up being repetitive though: “Oooh I’m the outsider and sooo alone” “Why does everyone laugh when I talk about a fanny pack?” “Foreign guys are so much more sexy than the boring guy I left at home” (okay, the accents are always swoon worthy but more so in movies than books!). Some authors are doing it right, Maureen Johnson’s The Shades of London series comes to mind, but I think this trope needs some serious reinvention. Make the American the bad “guy”, give the school secret passages or doors to fantastical worlds, etc. I’m interested in seeing what else can be done with it.

3) Vampires

This just needs a bit of a break. I think, given time, I can enjoy a good vamp story again, but I need some time away from the bloodsuckers.  I don’t mind seeing them as secondary characters but the libraries were so flooded after Twilight that I overdosed on the trope. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking vamps need to go back into the coffin for a while.

4) I’ve hit my x birthday and suddenly: have powers/am a mermaid/am a wizard

I can still go for more mermaid stories (hehe) but the whole latent powers that get released by a certain age has grown a bit dull. I’d rather see them have their powers from birth and struggle to hide them as a rambunctious toddler or how they get out of control when puberty hits.  I know a lot of these stories stem from Harry Potter success but I have yet see more than a handful of books do a good job of it.

5) Absentee Parents

This happens in many stories via tragedy or drug and alcohol related problems. I can understand that like the boarding school trope, not having adults around allows for the characters to do more with less consequences, but having a parent or guardian around helps keep the story more realistic and adds more depth to the characters. Absent adults can work but I think there needs to be someone the characters have to answer to.

What tropes are you tired of seeing in YA today? What can you stand to see some more of?

Write What You Love

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loveYou typically hear “write what you know” which isn’t bad advice but seems to hold writers back in my opinion. Stretch those creative limbs and write a male character if you’re female, write about sports if you’ve never played, etc. I’d prefer to see authors write about what they love, whether it’s romance, horror, high school comedy, etc. If you are writing about a subject you love, or feel otherwise strongly about, I think it comes across in the story telling.  When you try to write on a topic you’re not feeling, writing can seem stilted or drag on because you’re not really enthusiastic about it. The reader will know.

I’ve also heard, sadly often from other authors, down talk about writing in certain genres. Romance is beneath them. Young adult even more so. Erotica? Trash anyone can write. Not everyone wants to write the next great American novel and there’s nothing wrong with that. A good story is a good story regardless of who the intended audience is. Don’t let anyone put down your genre! Write what you love. Your great story is going to win over readers even if it’s not something that will become a classic years from now.

Write to entertain. Write to inform. Write what you’re passionate about.

Do you write about what you love or what you think others want to see?

Heavyweight News!

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Ocean Co. Library Main Branch, Toms River

Ocean Co. Library
Main Branch, Toms River

If you follow my Facebook, Twitter or Tsu, you may have already read about my good news, but I wanted to make sure I posted about it here as well. Heavyweight  is coming to libraries in NJ soon! This has me excited beyond belief.

Every writer loves to sell books; the thought that someone is interested enough to buy a copy makes any author happy. Some may think that having their work in a library means less sales because people will be able to read for free (the library does buy their copy but then obviously anyone with a library card can take it out), but for me, to know that it will be in libraries where people who wouldn’t have access to it otherwise can get a copy, makes me more than ecstatic.

LGBTQ literature is greatly under represented everywhere, but especially in libraries.  I think having stories with LGBTQ main characters easily accessible could save a teen who feels alone or that no one understands them. They need the escape just as much as anyone else and it’s easier for them to place themselves in the story if a character has the same thoughts, concerns, feelings, desires as the main characters. I think it’s also a good opportunity to learn about the culture through stories and if someone hasn’t come out yet, it’s possible to read the books and not have people question what they’re reading (of course that will depend on the cover images and occasionally the title).

I have already contacted libraries in other counties in the hopes that they will bring in Heavyweight or other stories from my publisher’s, Harmony Ink, catalog. While it will be great to see my books on the shelves of libraries, I would really love to see a larger selection of books in the YA/NA section over all.

If you agree, don’t hesitate to contact the YA librarian in your local libraries.  They can look into bringing in books they don’t already carry and it’s good for them to know what’s out there.

Have you ever requested that your library try to get a specific book that they don’t carry in their system?

Tuesday Teaser – Driven

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It’s been a while since I’ve shared a teaser with you guys, so I thought I’d share a little of my current project with you. It’s slow going but it’s getting done. As usual, it’s unedited at this point, so be kind with any typos or grammatical issues.

Here’s a taste, just to whet your whistle!

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The quick rising, breath-stealing frigid water in the drainage tunnel should probably have concerned him, especially since he didn’t know how to swim, but Oliver felt it was karma finally coming to exact its revenge. Others would argue he didn’t deserve it, but he felt it was long overdue.  Sure he had suffered in different ways over the years, but not in any one way that lived up to his guilt or equaled the horrendousness of his crime.  They were just the precursor, the appetizer so to speak, to the main course.

Coldness, like he couldn’t have imagined, seeped into his bones, seemingly bypassing the barriers of his clothing and skin.  It wrapped itself around the calcium laced supports and settled in the very marrow, spreading from extremity to extremity.

Oliver tipped his head back until it rested on one of the metal wrinkles of the tube. There was no longer feeling in his feet and he knew it was only a matter of time before that numbness crept up his legs, over his stomach and into his chest to finally lay to rest his broken heart. His lids fluttered and sad eyes closed on their own cognizant as he welcomed his impending doom.

A lighthearted joy suddenly skidded through him as he realized that his ending would reunite him with those he lost.  Oliver only hoped that if they met him at the gates, they wouldn’t turn him away, making his afterlife as painful as the earthly existence he would be leaving behind.  How does one survive a tortured eternity?

Maybe it would be his ultimate penance.

Maybe he wouldn’t even get to go to the place he imagined they were.

His head dropped forward, chin meeting chest. It would be what he deserved.  There was no forgiveness, only pain.

Never-ending pain.