Waiting on Wednesday: Loop

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  
  This week's can't-wait-to-read pre-publication book is Loop


by Karen Akins
Publication date: October 21, 2014

From Goodreads:

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Being a Beta Reader: Is beta reading for you?

Beta reading... not at all like walking a tight rope!
I'm not sure why, but for the past couple of days I've been feeling that I should do a post on beta readers. After seeing two separate posts on it today, I've gotten the hint, so here goes. For those of you who don't know what beta reading is, it's basically reading a manuscript before it's ready to be published. Authors use betas for plot feedback, to get ideas on what works and what doesn't with characters, and much more. A lot of times, beta readers who've read the author's previous work are great at pointing out series inconsistencies that we authors tend to gloss over after reading a 70+ thousand word MS fifty times already (like, But two books ago you said her eyes were orange, not yellow, or whatever).

Betas are our friends. At least, my betas are. When I send stuff to them, I know they're going to point things out that readers will notice. I expect suggestions, knowing I might not use them all (but better to conteplate now rather than later, once the book is out and changes can't be made, right?). I expect my betas to tell me things politely, but they do have the right to disagree with my decisions, as long as they're tactful about it. It's important to remember that all beta readers are different, and that, if you choose to beta read for someone, it's okay for your personality to shine through. Some betas send back two pages of notes. Some have detailed suggestions on every page. Some only point out their favorite and not-so-favorite things. Some don't say much other than "yay" and "I'm so excited for ____" (thanks, guys). The point is, reading it and saying, "It seems decent" isn't going to help anyone, nor is sending twenty negative comments per page. 

Last, betas, a lot of times, end up being your core team of fans. And by fans I don't mean crazy fangirls who squee over you and stalk you online and get confused and think they ARE you (although, I could deal with that); I mean people who are your advocates. Who spread the word about your work, because they get it. Who you can count on in a pinch to read that novella or ask about a character list and if you missed something before sending something off to print. I don't know where I'd be without my beta readers. (You guys know who you are. Coffee hugs.) 

Oh, and authors, if you DO use betas? Please please please make sure to thank them in your acknowledgements!

Now that I've explained what betas do, here are some great articles on beta reading that I've come across, as well as a great recent #k8chat regarding beta readers (lots of tips from readers and authors). I'd like to point out that most of these are written for the writer, not the beta reader, but they're still great and will also potentially give you ideas as to what to request as a beta reader (like knowing what format you'd prefer the document in, for instance). 

Another point real quick: it's important to remember that betas are not editors. It is not their job to point out the technicalities of punctuation (though, if that is your forte, you are more than welcome to mention that to an author before beta-ing... they might appreciate catching that stuff before their MS goes to the editor). I think of betas as the person you go to and say, "Hey, do these shoes go with this outfit?" To which they respond, "Well, last month you wore them with this dress, and it kind of goes but you seem to do better wearing these with pants. Oh and those earrings you had on last week would go great with it! That eyeshadow is not working for me at all, though." (Bad example? Oh well.)

Without further ado, here are some great tips on beta reading: 

* What is a Beta Reader and Where Do I Find One? via Casey McCormick (@Casey_McCormick) ***make sure to read the comments in this post!

* The "Art" of Beta Reading via Kati Brown

* Copy-editing and Beta Readers via Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn)

* An important tip to keep in mind while BETA READING via Monica B.W. (@Monica_BW)

* Beta Reading Etiquette via Trisha Leaver (@Tleaver)

* Beta Reading Etiquette: How to Give a Critique via Misti Wolanski

* Five Things You Should Know About Working With Beta Readers via Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas of Beyond Paper Editing

* Beta-Readers and Beta-Reading: #K8chat on Twitter with Kate Tilton (@K8Tilton)

* Beta-Reading Community at Pub Hub (@PubHub_blog)

If you have any experiences, suggestions, or questions, feel free to share them in the comments!

This week's writerly news, smores, and smore < --- pun... ha ha

So... I have a lot to say this week. Considering I don't have much time and I know you guys don't want to read for ten years, I'm going to break it down as quickly as possible. (Because I care.) But first, a quick FYI... I have some kinda cool news at the end of this post. (*wink wink*) Okay, here goes:

1) Last week I totally forgot to share our neat-o, homemade fire pit that we made while on vacation. We didn't want to go down to the beach for smores (although we ended up doing just that the last two nights we were there, anyway), so we bought a clay pot and well, I'll let the pictures tell the story. :D*

 YUM!!!! And also...

Our first itty bitty bonfire AT Oceano.

*Note: wanting to go to bed but wary of leaving the charcoal burning away in the alley behind the home we rented, we poured a bottle of water over the charcoal. BAD IDEA! The amount of smoke was enough for someone suspect the worst and call the fire department! So make sure you let it go out on its own.

2) The other day I asked for help on Twitter and my Facebook page and BOY did ya'll come through! If you missed the six character names chosen from your suggestions, check it out HERE.

3) I'm excited to announce that I'm participating in I HEART YA 2014! Yay!

I'll be doing two separate features, one being a character interview (which is cool because I'll be doing a *different* character interview a few weeks later for the Open Thy Heart release blog tour)! The feature will be right around when By Sun and Candlelight comes out (August), so I'm excited. It's so awesome of Annabell and Bridget to do this for us authors!

4) I've officially joined the Goodreads Ask the Author feature. You can ask questions HERE

5) I'm looking for a few teen readers to interview. I have one more lined up (and one so busy, they can't participate right now, hence the lack of one this month), and then I'm going to need a few more peeps. If you're interested or know someone who is, email me at coffeelvnmom (at) gmail (dot) net!

6) Don't forget both the She's the Man #JLBgivesawayaDVD giveaway AND the Open Thy Heart cover reveal giveaway end SOON! 

7) Last, as you may or may not know, I try to give those subscribed to my Let Me Tell You A Story e-newsletter a heads-up on things before I announce them officially online. (It's only fair, you know?) In keeping with that idea, I've decided to share a rather long excerpt of By Sun and Candlelight with my pals via the Let Me Tell You A Story e-newsletter a few days before it's available to the public on August 15th. So... if you're itching to read a bit of Rowan's perspective, but aren't a subscriber yet, well, PLEASE let me tell you a story!!! (I only send out one to two emails a month, so no worries about spam or anything.) You can subscribe right over there ----- >

WHEW! I believe that was about 9 1/2 years! Coffee, anybody?

HAVE A BLESSED WEEKEND, and read SMORE books, my friends! ;D

Waiting on Wednesday -- I'm Glad I Did

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  
  This week's can't-wait-to-read pre-publication book is I'm Glad I Did
I’m Glad I Did

I'm Glad I Did

by Cynthia Weil
Publication date: January 27, 2015

From Goodreads:

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil's extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I'm Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.

JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.

Story Locale: New York, NY.

This week's writerly news: Writing Inspiration while on vacation

Hey, guys! Last week our family went on our annual summer vacation. I try not to post things about being away from my home while I'm gone, so even though I took a ton of pictures that I wanted so badly to share, I did not. And yes, this might have meant a bit of angst on my part, but guess what? It means more pics right now for you! Yay! (Didn't that work out swell?) 

We went to the beach, more specifically, where pretty much everyone from the valley goes... Pismo. (But if you go to Pismo Beach you basically always also go to Avila Beach, Oceano, Grover Beach, and the nearby San Luis Obispo, because they're so close.) 

As usual, we writers are always a few steps ahead of the game, so while the second Flora book is coming out soon, I'm already over here working on book three and the second Cozenage book (after Pity Isn't An Option). And sure, blogs and Pinterest boards are great to capture ideas and whatnot (oh hey, here are mine, by the way...) I love coming across visual inspiration the natural way. So here you go... a few photos I took recently that will most definitely end up in my books in the not-so-distant future. 

Do I even need to explain this one?

On the beach. Loved the sunset coloring and
how very dark that one low cloud was.

Looking up from inside a
eucalyptus grove.

Another beautiful sunset.

A house even worse than the Pulman residence!

Took this whilst driving down a lonely road.
It has the Cozenage series written all over it.

Through the passenger window. Soooo
someplace Jonas would come across! 

I actually filmed this. It was evening, and these
birds flew by in a continual line for almost FIVE
minutes. They were all heading south, further out
to sea. (To feed, maybe?) It was CRAZY.

Trying to look through the eucalyptus. 

The grove again -- wanted to show the
dense foliage on the grove floor and
also how dark it was inside even in
the early afternoon.

Have a blessed weekend! 

Waiting on Wednesday -- The Young Elites

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  
  This week's can't-wait-to-read pre-publication book is The Young Elites
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

The Young Elites

by Marie Lu
Publication date: October 7, 2014

From Goodreads:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Open Thy Heart -- It's Cover Time!!!

You guys you guys you GUYS it's HERE! It's finally HERE! 

Hafsah is an amazing designer and you MUST go to her BLOG RIGHT NOW (yes click that link there) and check out OPEN THY HEART and tell her just how much she rocks!

(Oh, and enter the giveaway, too, if you'd like.)



The bookmarks Hafsah made. No, the cover doesn't look like
this. It's on the other side, actually. Aren't they marvelous?

So... what do you think of the dahlia? Are you curious now? (What do you mean you haven't looked yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) 

Excuse me while I go dance and celebrate with heaps of chocolate. As Eva would say, hasta luego!