31 December 2013

2013 Book Challenges Wrap Up!

The Debut Author Challenge was hosted by Hobbitsies this year so definitely check this challenge out next year if it is still running because it is so fun! 

My Challenge: Read 12 Debut Author Reads in 2013
Completed: 9 out of 12 books (75% Finished)

The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge was hosted by a variety of different blogs so I am not going to list them all but they are all pretty amazing!

My Challenge: Read 15 books from my TBR pile
Completed: 14 out of 15 books (93% finished) SO CLOSE! I'm so bummed that I only had to read one more book, If I realized I would have read one more a few weeks ago!

The Sophomore Reading Challenge was hosted by Chick Loves Lit

My Challenge: Read 5 Sophomore Books in 2013
Completed: 8 out of 5 Books (160% Finished) WOOHOO! I FINISHED AND THEN SOME :)

The YA Contemporary Challenge was hosted by Katies Book Blog

My Challenge: Read 5 YA Contemporary Books
Completed: Read 8 out of 5 books (160% Finished) Haha finished and then some again but only because these two challenges were small goals. 

My 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Paige has read 64 books toward her goal of 80 books.

30 December 2013

Vision of Shadows Blog Tour

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Vision of Shadows by Vincent Morrone. Vision of Shadows is published by Entranced Publishing. This blog tour runs from 30 December till 19 January, you can view the whole tour schedule on Vincent Morrone his website.

Vision of Shadows (Vision #1)
by Vincent Morrone
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 30, 2013

Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life...or her killer?
After the death of her parents, Bristol Blackburn's life is thrown into chaos and she's forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne McKnight. Soon she’ll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it — and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.
And that's not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they're up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.

You can add Vision of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can find more about Vision of Shadows on the Entranced Publishing website.

Want to chat with Bristol, the main character of this series? Well she has her own twitter account.

Vision of Secrets (Vision #0.5) 
by Vincent Morrone
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 2, 2013

Bristol understands secrets. She's got plenty of her own, ranging from the annoying ghost that keeps showing up and attempting to sing Copacabana, (badly) to the visions of a terrifying future that is getting closer each day.
Bristol knows secrets can kill. She's getting flashes of a boy racked with guilt over his secret. And a girl who's prank might lead to someone's death.
Vision of Secrets is a free prequel introduces you to Bristol Blackburn before the explosive events in Vision of Shadows and let's you see how a young girl deals with her Visions of Secrets!

You can add Vision of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads

You can download Vision of Secrets for free from smashwords

About the Author:
Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs.

Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks.

As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say to Vincent?
Check out http://vincentmorrone.com/ where you can learn about Vincent and leave him a comment. You can also connect with Vincent on Twitter https://twitter.com/Vince524 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Morrrone.

Guest Post:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an author. At first, I thought it would be comic books, then in high school I became enthralled with Stephen King and went for horror. By the time I had graduated, my transformation into geek was complete and I really wanted to work on a Star Trek TV series. It seemed logical to believe at the time that they were going to continue to spin it off, over and over again. (I even had my own crew worked out.)
However, life got in the way and I put my writing to the side for a while. My wife encouraged me to keep trying. I’d often have these great ideas, start them, but then hit a wall and never finish. 
I then found a new approach. Plotting out the novel in advance. I plotted out an epic tale about a group of kids living in a magical world who would all help take care of a small dragon. They were witches, wizards, elves & fairies. It was called the Dragon Club.
At the time I was writing the Dragon Club, my daughters were old enough to understand it. I think they were about 8 at the time. They were constantly on me to continue to write so they could listen to me read what I had written. When I’d get to the end of a chapter, they’d beg me for the next one.
Dragon Club was never published. That may or may not have something to do with the fact that it was nearly 200k words. (No, really.)
I eventually decided on my next project. A girl who was psychic. She’d seen this guy in her dreams. And this guy would either love her for the rest of her life, or murder her. Once again, my two biggest fans followed along as the story of Bristol Blackburn came to life.
So when someone asks me what the most rewarding part of being a writer is, it’s watching my girls lose themselves in the story that I’ve written.

You can find and contact Vincent Morrone here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

Vincent also participates in a group blog called YA Rush which consist of YA and NA Entranced authors. You can find YA Rush here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Pinterest

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Vision of Shadows.
Here is what you can win:
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen
- 1 Vision of Shadows Calender
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen & calender
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen and calender in a Vision of Shadows canvas bag
- 1 Vision of Shadows Pen, calender in Vision of Shadows canvas bag and an e-copy Vision of Shadows

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win:
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27 December 2013

Review: Where Beauty Lies by Elle & Blair Fowler

Where Beauty Lies by Elle & Blair Fowler
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Book Format: Hardcover
#  of Pages: 256
Synopsis: The London sisters return in this charming new novel about love, friendship, and the perils of fame. Despite their very public arrest, Ava and Sophia London are about to discover that in L.A. there's no such thing as bad press. Suddenly, they are the hottest "It" girls in town and are one step closer to making their brand, London Calling, a household name. Their newfound celebrity status takes them jet setting to New York City to expand their brand into fashion and home goods. Their first stop is fashion week, where they're about to put on their inaugural fashion show...but not if their rivals have anything to say about it. The same unseen enemies responsible for framing them in L.A. are back - and determined to ruin the sisters for good this time. Can Ava and Sophia find out who's trying to destroy them before it's too late?

My Review: 

I borrowed Where Beauty Lies by Elle & Blair Fowler from my job, and this is my honest review.

This novel is the sequel to the first book Beneath The Glitter which I LOVED so you can imagine my excitement when I saw it at work and was able to borrow it. The sequel was a continuation from book one so I cannot really go into detail without spoiling the first book. But I will say that it involves a lot of crazy but entertaining drama! Now do not be put down when I say there is drama, because its the interesting kind of drama not the annoying high school kind. To go along with the drama there was a fair share of boy problems/love triangles as well, which just makes the story complete.

Something I have to say is that I am so impressed how well the Fowler sisters write. When you watch people on YouTube you do not really think “hey they would probably write a nice book” so yeah I am sure many people were a little skeptical, but I was intrigued from the start, and they have not let me down. I am really hoping there will be more books in the series, I would love to go on another London sisters adventure.

Lets start with the negative so I can end with the positive. Do not get me wrong I loved this book, but there were a few things that were a bit annoying. The first thing was that there was like not one chapter with the exception of one or two maybe that were calm and non drama related. I loved the drama that went with the book but it would have been nice to have a break now and then too. My only other problem was the guys. I know what you’re thinking how could the guys have been a problem. But the thing was that throughout the whole book, neither of them were really content with their love lives and so that going along with the crazy drama was a bit much at times but in the end everything worked out okay.

Something I love about the Fowlers’ writing is that when there are low key sweet moments they totally make me swoon! For example there are some books when the “romantic” moments are completely dull. But in the first book and this book the romantic moments are amazing and I love it! Another great thing about the book is that there was the main group of friends which included Ava, Sophia, MM, Sven, and Lily and no matter what happened they all stuck close to each other and kept each other on their feet. I loved the friendship circle and how tight it was.

Overall the series so far is fabulous and I do not regret reading them. I am not the type of person to re-read books, but I would so read these books over and over. Again I am hoping that there are more books in the series but if not, I hope the Fowler sisters write more books in general.

24 December 2013

Book Blitz: Insanity by Cameron Jace

Insanity by Cameron Jace
Publication Date: December 20, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
Synopsis: After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.



Meet The Author: 

Wonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters      I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales.      I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles.


The writing on the wall says it's January 14th. I am not sure what year. I haven't been sure of many things lately, but I’m wondering if it’s my handwriting I’m looking at.
There is an strange key drawn underneath the date. It's carved with a sharp object, probably a broken mirror. I couldn’t have written this. I'm terrified of mirrors. They love to call it Catoptrophobia around here.
Unlike regular patients in the asylum, my room is windowless, stripped down to a single mattress in the middle, a sink, and bucket for peeing--or puking--when necessary. The tiles on the floor are black-and-white squares, like a chessboard. I never step on black. Always white. Again, I'm not sure why.
The walls are smeared with a greasy pale green everywhere. I wonder if it's the previous patient's brains spattered all over from shock therapy. In the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum, politely known as the Warneford hospital, the doctors have a sweet spot for shock therapy. They love watching patients with bulging eyes and shivering limbs begging for relief from the electricity. It makes me question who is really mad in here.
It's been a while since I was sent to shock therapy myself. Dr. Tom Truckle, my supervising physician, said I don't need it anymore, particularly after I stopped mentioning Wonderland. He told me that I used to talk about it all the time; a dangerous place I claim I have been whisked away to when my elder sister lost me at the age of seven.
Truth is, I don't remember this Wonderland they are talking about. I don't even know why I am here. My oldest vivid memory is from a week ago. Before that, it's all a purple haze.
I have only one friend in this asylum. It's not a doctor or a nurse. And it's not a human. It doesn't hate, envy, or point a finger at you. My friend is an orange flower I keep in a pot; a Tiger Lily I can't live without. I keep it safe next to a small crack in the wall where a single sun ray sneaks through for only ten minutes a day. It might not be enough light to grow a flower, but my Tiger Lily is a tough girl.
Each day, I save half of the water they give me for my flower. As for me, better thirsty than mad.
My orange flower is also my personal rain check for my sanity. If I talk to her and she doesn't reply, I know I am not hallucinating. If it talks back to me, all kinds of nonsense starts to happen. Insanity prevails. There must be a reason why I am here. It doesn’t mean I will easily give in to such a fate.
"Alice Pleasance Wonder. Are you ready?" the nurse knocks with her electric prod on my steel door. Her name is Waltraud Wagner. She is German. Everything she says sounds like a threat and smells like smoke. My fellow mad people say she is a Nazi; that she used to kill her own patients back in Germany. "Get avay vrom za dor. I an coming in," she demands.
Listening to the rattling of her large keychain, my heart pounds in my chest. The turn of the key makes me want to swallow. When the door opens, all I can think of is choking her before she begins to hurt me. Sadly, her neck is too thick for my nimble hands. I stare at her almost-square figure for a moment. Everything about her is four sizes too big, all except her feet, which are as small as mine. My sympathies, little feet.
"Time for your daily ten-minute break," she approaches me with a straitjacket, a devilish grin on her face. I never get out. My ward is underground, and I take my break in another empty ward upstairs, where patients love to play soccer with a hedgehog’s head.
A big muscled warden stands behind Watlraud. Thomas Ogier. He is bald, has an angry-red face and a silver tooth he likes to flash whenever he sees me. His biceps are the size of my head. I have a hard time believing he has ever been a 4-pound baby.
"Slide your arms into the jacket," Waltraud demands in her German accent, a cigarette puckered between her lips. "Slow and easy, Alice," she nods at warden Ogier, in case I misbehave.
I comply obediently and stretch out my arms for her to do whatever she wants. Waltraud twists my right arm slightly and checks the tattoo on my arm. It’s the only tattoo I have. It’s a handwritten sentence that looks like a thin arm band from afar. Waltraud feels the need to read it allowed, “’I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.’” I was told I have written it myself while still believing in Wonderland. “That Alice in Wonderland has really messed with your head.” She puffs smoke into my face as she mocks me.
The tattoo and Waltraud’s mocking is the least of my concerns right now. I let her tie me, and while she does, I close my eyes. I imagine I am a sixteenth century princess, some kind of a lucky Cinderella, being squeezed into a corset by my chain smoking servant in a fairy tale castle above ground, just about to go meet my Prince Charming. Such imagery always helps me breathe. I once heard that it was hope that saves the day, not sanity. I need to cool down before I begin my grand escape. 

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23 December 2013

Review: The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 25, 2013
Book Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 387
Synopsis: Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn't happening--not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls--rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he's in for the worst summer of his life.

Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he's ever met. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well.

Bestselling author Ned Vizzini delivers a compulsively readable and wildly original story about the winding and often hilarious path to 


My Review:
I won The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini a year ago, and this is my honest review.

The Other Normals is a story about a young boy, Perry who is according to his family not normal. He has not yet hit puberty, he does not really have any friends, and he plays this nerdy role playing game. He is absolutely obsessed with this game and it is one of the reasons his parents think he is not normal. So to fix this problem they decide to send him to a camp for boys to make friends.

This type of story is not the type I am used to reading so of course I was nervous that I would not be able to get into it. But I actually was able to get into it, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I think maybe I should start reading more of this type of books. I am not exactly sure what you would call the genre, action and adventure/fantasy maybe? But either way I would like to start reading more of these kinds of books every once in awhile.

Perry was interesting, I liked his character because from the beginning because he showed a lot of potential to change and that shows amazing writing skills. Which I long to have some day. I thought he was cute, and I felt bad for him many times because of how people treated him. I mean I know thats kind of how it works, nerds get made fun of but I feel like it is different when it is not happening in front of you, because I found myself feeling really bad for Perry and I totally wished I could jump in the book and stick up for him.

I also found myself annoyed with Sam quite often because he was so rude to Perry along with everyone else, and I guess that is what happens but it was just annoying because Perry only wanted a friend and he thought he had found one in Sam. Things ended up changing for the better which was good but I will not tell you what happens because that will spoil things!

The parts in the book that took place in the world of the other normals were interesting. Some of the parts bored me to death but the chapters were short so it was easy to get through some of the boring parts. But I have to give the author credit because there were some chapters in the other world were crazy action packed and I loved every second of those ones! Overall, I basically loved all the characters and the story kept me interested, and I definitely plan to read more of Vizzini’s books in the future.

18 December 2013

Book Blitz: Just Breathe Trilogy by Heather Allens

We are so excited to bring you the Just Breathe Trilogy by Heather Allen, now available in a single volume.

Title:   Just Breathe Trilogy
Author:  Heather Allen
Genre: Young Adult (YA)
Publication Date:  December 2013
Cover:  B Design
Event organized by: Into the Night Reviews

For the first time the three books in the Just Breathe Trilogy - Just Breathe, Barely Breathing and Forever Breathing - are available in one volume. This gorgeous mermaid trilogy from Heather Allen tells us the story of brother and sister, James and Ever Harding and their journey into an unknown world where unbelievable things are possible.

Through their adventure they each learn about love, family, and responsibility. They are faced with many challenges throughout the trilogy and they must choose to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

As an added bonus this three volume edition contains a new, extended ending to this wonderful trilogy, so be sure to pick it up to read the final chapter in James, Ever and of course, Jack’s story.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords:

Heather Allen is the author of the Just Breathe Trilogy, and The Sound of Shooting Stars.  Heather finally realized her dream of becoming an author with the release of her mermaid trilogy. She savors every moment on this new journey and the wonderful friends she has met along the way. She has many more books planned. More ideas pop up than she has time to write about.

Heather currently resides in the scorching hot state of Florida with her husband and three children. She holds degrees in education from The University of Central Florida and Nova Southeastern University. She is a hopeless romantic who loves to read just about anything, coffee and Jelly Belly jellybeans. When she isn’t teaching, writing or reading, Heather can be found at the beach or out on the water boating.

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Author Goodreads

About the books in the Trilogy

Book 1: Just Breathe

Ever Harding, an average teenager with a passion for swimming is about to turn eighteen. Out of the blue she has been dumped by her long time boyfriend, which is the ultimate of tragedies in her life. Little does she know that onthat fated eighteenth birthday, she will have to make a choice that will change her life as she knows it, forever.

A month before her birthday, Ever meets Jack, a mysterious new boy with mesmerizing eyes. He affects her like no one else. This meeting sets things into a whirlwind she never would have dreamed. With Jack's guidance she discovers a family line that leads her to the sea. She must make the ultimate choice, stay on land where life as she knows it, won't change, or go and live in the sea as a mermaid with Jack.

Ultimately her choice sets into motion an even bigger decision, in which she has the fate of a race of people, in her hands. The people in the sea are in a feud, she will tip the balance. She must battle the ageless moral delimma of prejudice and race. Once she comes to terms with her life changing choices, she must ask herself, Did I make the right decisions?and Is Jack really who I think he is?

Add to Goodreads | Amazon
 | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Book 2: Barely Breathing

Ever Harding used to believe in love. That is until she was left heartbroken by the only person she ever really loved, Jack, the mysterious boy from her history class. Little did she know he was born of the sea, on land to watch over her. But was he really? She made the ultimate sacrifice, to live in the sea as a mermaid, for Jack and for love. But she found that in the end, thatlove wasn't enough.

Now she finds herself alone, having to make a huge choice. She must decide whether to defend others against the choices she has made or fight for the freedoms of a population, she has just become a part of.

Ever's brother James, became a part of the sea not by any choice of his own, but he is willing to embrace it as long as a certain long legged, beauty is by his side. But as his sister found, things are not always as they seem.

In the end what they feared the most comes to reality, the battle, waged between staying true to life in the sea or changing a race of people to become more powerful and diverse. Will Ever and James survive the lines drawn in the sand or will they have to battle each other for what they believe?

Little do they know the battle in the end, will be something entirely different than what they were ready for.

Book 3: Forever Breathing

Ever Harding has finally found where she belongs, with Jack in the sea. Just when she thought she could start her new life, a new threat forms on the horizon. She must make her biggest choice yet. Is she willing to risk everything to save the love of her life and all she holds dear?

James discovers yet again that his purpose is greater than anything he could ever imagine. He thought he had it all figured out, but sometimes things can be very deceiving. Is he willing to stand up for all he believes is right?

In the final book of the ‘Just Breathe’ trilogy, Ever and James find themselves not against each other but fighting together to preserve the freedoms of others. Will they be able to defend the right to choose when the odds are hugely against them?

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Check out the whole series together on Amazon!

Also by Heather Allen - The Sound of Shooting Stars

Jamie Grey grew up tossed around between foster homes. At an early age he shut the world out, deciding he wouldn’t care. Whatever life had to throw at him, he would look the other way. Now his senior year is about to start and he’s been forced into yet another new home. This will be the last time, he assures himself. When an unexpected curveball comes his way in the form of a certain stubborn seventeen year old girl, Jamie soon finds out that life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it.

Beckett Chase has been entitled her entire life. Living in the plush landscape of Palm Beach, Florida, she’s never wanted for anything. She’s always taken what and who she wants with no remorse. When she sets her sights on Jamie Grey and she’s met with rejection, her descent from the top begins.

With a twist of events causing Jamie and Beckett’s worlds to collide, will they be able to put aside their differences or will fate intervene offering an entirely different option?

16 December 2013

Book Blitz: Positively Mine by Christine Duval

Positively Mine by Christine Duval (Freshman Forty #1)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Release Date: December 19, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Synopsis: It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide.
An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.

Meet The Author:
Christine Duval is an author and freelance writer who lives in New Jersey with her guitar-playing husband and two children. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey's Women Who Write, and the Authors Guild. When not creating fictional characters, she writes for an upscale real estate company and has overseen online content and social media for several well-known magazines.
Author Links:

Author Q&A
Excerpt from my Q&A with Goodreads New Adult Book Club

Raquel wrote: "Hey Christine! I'm curious about where you got your inspiration for the idea behind Positively Mine? It was unlike any book I've read, in a refreshing way!"

Hi Raquel,
A couple years ago my dearest friend announced she was pregnant and at the same time my babysitter was going off to her freshman year of college. I don't know why but I started thinking, wow, if you were newly pregnant and heading away to college, you really could hide it from people back home (I know I have a weird brain). I've had 2 kids, so I know how the weight comes on and realized Laurel could easily hide it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I just let Laurel tell me her story. 
Caryn wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed Positively Mine.How did you weave together elements of fiction with such a strong sense of place that was based on a specific area of upstate?"

Easy...I lived up in the Finger Lakes for 4 years. It is a beautiful place when the sun is shining but there are a ton of dark, grey, cold days. You live for the sunny ones but honestly, when I was there in college, my mom received more than her share of phone calls from me begging to come home just to see the sun. Ultimately, the good friends I made kept me planted but it is a long, hard winter (thus easy to hide behind a big coat).

Holly wrote: "Hi Christine! Really enjoyed Positively Mine! What is your writing process? Do you find you write better at certain times of the day or do you run to the computer when inspired? Also, how did you connect with your publisher?"

Hi Holly,
I am the most undisciplined writer that ever lived! I have no process. I drive a lot in my car and let the story unfold in my head and then go back home and recreate it when I have time. Still, that usually backfires because at that point my characters have changed their minds and all of a sudden I am writing a completely different story. A prime example of this is inPositively Mine. I never meant for Sheryl to end up pregnant. It happened as shocking for me as it was for Laurel! Seriously, I was writing and all of sudden she just cleared the room and announced it. I had no plan of this, no outline. Regarding Bloomsbury, I saw on NA Alley - a blog I follow - that they were starting Bloomsbury Spark and I sent an inquiry to Meredith Rich and a few months later the rest is history! 
Beatriz wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed reading your book. Congratulations! Are you working on a sequel? If so when can we expect it by :) I would like to know how long did it take you to complete your book?"

Thanks so much Beatriz! I am working on the sequel and hopefully will have it complete this winterafter Positively Mineis released. I wrote the first draft two years ago during aNANOWRIMO competition (National Novel Writing Month), where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Then I put it away for December, picked it back up in January and had it complete to enter into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest around the third week of that month. But it has evolved quite a bit since that version thanks to a bunch of beta readers and a really good critique group who demanded more of my characters and more from the plot.
I'd recommend doing NANOWRIMO if you are just starting out writing your first novel. It really is an inspiring month and around the clock, through Twitter, there is someone in the world working on their novel. I remember I used to do word sprints in the middle of the night with a girl in South Africa. We'd turn on the timer and race write for ten minutes then compare how many words we wrote. With NANOWRIMO, it is all about quantity, not quality. You push yourself to write as much as you can and amazingly by doing that, you let your guard down and really surprise yourself with what you come up with. Plus, it forces you to look at your novel every day so it is always with you, you are always thinking about your characters. And, there's one right around the corner since it is an annual event. Best of luck with your project! 
Sherry wrote: "One of the things that struck me about your book is the very strong and distinct voice of Laurel. She feels very real. Is she based on anyone, or a group of people, you know?"

She really isn't based on any one person or even a group of people. Some of the situations she finds herself in are based on real things. Not the pregnancy but the premature death of her mom, the places, the struggle to move on while her dad is building a new life with someone. I don't think there is one person out there who hasn't witnessed, whether first hand or via a good friend, someone who needs to accept a parent's new husband or wife. And the gossipy doorman...yeah. 

I think the choice to write the book in first person, present tense helped to strengthen Laurel's voice. It isn't an easy way to write because everything is happening to your character while you are writing it. I was very influenced by two books when I set out to create this story: Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak" and JulieBuxbaum's "The Opposite of Love." I loved how Laurie was able to keep Melinda quiet the whole year in a believable way when she had such a big secret to tell. And, I love the way Julie balances strong emotion and humor as her main character Emily is forced to face her fears. 


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