Tuesday, October 11, 2016

THIEF'S CUNNING Cover Reveal!

TODAY'S THE DAY!

Head on over to YA Books Central to take a gander at the THIEF'S CUNNING amazing cover and to enter for a chance to win a hardcover of ASSASSIN'S HEART!

CLICK HERE FOR THE AWESOME!

 

Monday, October 10, 2016

In Which My Cover Will Be Revealed!

Book 2, THIEF'S CUNNING, is just zooming along! Which is great news!

And what's ever better news is tomorrow the cover will be revealed on YA BOOKS CENTRAL!!!


Guys, this cover. I can't even wait for you to see it. When I first saw it, I literally gasped. It's so pretty and amazing, and fits so well with the ASSASSIN'S HEART cover, too.

THIEF'S CUNNING is a sequel/companion to ASSASSIN'S HEART.




That means that it's set 18 years later, and focuses on a different main character, but the events are related directly to what happened in ASSASSIN'S HEART.

And all our favorite characters from ASSASSIN'S HEART are present and accounted for!

I'm so excited about this book, and I'm so excited for you to see the cover. And because I want to share some of my excitement, there will be a giveaway on YA Books Central along with the cover reveal!


I really hope you stop by tomorrow, at 9am (EST) sharp!

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

YA Scavenger Hunt



Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM--but there is also a blue team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.



SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the green team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 9th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

SCAVENGER HUNT POST








Today, I am hosting K.C. Held on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!


K.C. HELD is the author of the young adult mystery HOLDING COURT. Born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France, she holds an MFA in costume design and has worked as a freelance costumer in opera, theater, film, and television.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here!


http://www.kcheld.com
Holding Court


EXCLUSIVE CONTENT



When a sixteen year-old girl with an embarrassing psychic gift she can't control takes a job at a castle-turned-dinner theater, all she wants is the chance to wear a fancy gown and ogle her crush from afar, but when she stumbles over a dead body that promptly disappears, she must prove she didn't hallucinate a dead girl before the killer strikes again.

And now for the exclusive content: an inspiration board!



Here are a few sneak peaks of the board:










And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Sarah Ahiers, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 35. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the green team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Lish McBride





FINALLY!!!


One last Giveaway!

I will personally be giving out a copy of ASSASSIN'S HEART along with a copy of HOLDING COURT!


Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In Which I Had To Say Goodbye

Loving dogs is a hard thing.

I mean, it's really easy, actually, and I know that contradicts what I just said. But we're hardwired to find puppies cute, to want to take care of them.




And they're hardwired to love us in return, to crave human affection.

And so we take them into our homes, and they love us, and we love them so much. Just as much as the people in our lives, science says.

But the thing about dogs is, they don't live as long as us.

Every dog owner knows the moment they take that puppy or dog into their home, they have issued an invitation to heartbreak and grief, who has rsvp'd for a future date.

George was going to be 11 next month.

 


He was my healthy dog. Rarely sick. Never injured.

Until last week, when we noticed he wasn't feeling well (licking his lips (nausea) and shaking)

We took him to the ER Vet, but after an hour and a half wait, he was back to normal, even playing with the vet tech, so we took him home.



He got sick again that night, and all the next day. But after that, he got better, and was back to normal for a few days.



Then it happened again.

The vet discovered he had low platelets, which besides causing his problems, also contributed to a growing lethargy we had noticed with him (he didn't really enjoy walks anymore. We thought maybe he was just getting a little too old for them.)

The treatment was steroids to build his platelets back up, and antibiotics, in case this was a tick borne illness.

And George got better again. For 4 days.



Sunday, we were gone most of the day and when we came back he was in such a good mood. We wrestled with him a little, he played with his tennis ball. He scarfed his dinner, including the delicious canned food his meds were stuffed into.



Then, before bed, he started feeling sick again. He couldn't get comfortable in bed. He spent the whole night pacing around the house, laying down for 15 or 20 minutes, coming into the room to check on me. I heard him scratching the chair a few times, trying to fluff it up.

When I got up in the morning I found vomit. And he was so sad.

I picked him up to carry him outside (and he didn't even grumble at me) but outside he fell over, onto his butt.




I called the vet. He needed to have his platelets checked anyway.

This time Anne came with and we got our usual vet, whom we love.

She told us some of the possibilities, none of them great. And then they took him to run some tests.




And the tests came back as a tumor on his liver. Probably more than one. He was anemic, which meant he was bleeding, most likely into his stomach. It was inoperable.

He was uncomfortable. He didn't want to eat anything. He no longer enjoyed walks. He didn't want to really sniff any sniffs at the vet office. The things he found good in life were no longer good.



So we called our family. And our brother and mom came over and we held him and told him we loved him and I kissed him so many times.



Then the vet came in and I held his head while we put him to sleep.

And he looked the same. He didn't look like he had just died. And so I kissed him again and told him I loved him and we left.

And that was the hardest part, leaving him there, when he looked like he was just resting, still.



I'm not a religious person. There's a study that shows faith is actually about 50% genetics, and I've often thought I'm just not built that way.

Sometimes I wish I was.

Because it's hard to ignore the idea that we are alone, here on this little planet in an endless universe. We are unique in our ability to reason, to build and think and create art.
But it's that uniqueness which brings about our loneliness. We are aware.

And so we are alone, here on this planet. Except, not really. How lucky are we, that we can bring dogs into our homes, and we can love them, and they love us in return? This entirely different species, sharing our lives, happily. It's a gift, maybe. A miracle.





George liked to pee on things so we couldn't have carpet. He hated other dogs so we couldn't go to dog parks. He was a runner, and would escape if given the chance. And he liked to steal seats, if you got up for a bathroom break.

But he loved tummy rubs and face massages. He gave the best kisses and he always smelled so good. He loved sunbathing and eating good food and taking walks where he could sniff all the sniffs and pee on all the things.





I was going to turn on the heated blanket for him when we got back from the vet. I was going to buy him some new toys for his birthday in a few weeks, even though I knew he'd just destroy them. I'd bought him a new fall coat, but he'll never get to wear it.

I loved him so much. I would spend the rest of my life cleaning up pee if it meant I could have just a little more time with him, where he was healthy, and happy again.




It is a hard thing, to love dogs.
It's a harder thing, to let them go.



 

Monday, August 22, 2016

In Which I've Been Away

Hey all you lovely nerds!

I've been away for awhile, due to a multitude of reasons (deadlines, vacations, events, etc etc, the list could go on. It's summer)

I have, however, been blogging at Fair & Fest Feasts with my twin sis and bro about the crazy and delicious and weird foods you can find at fairs and festivals around town.

If this is something you might find interesting (or if you just want to see pictures of said crazy foods) then stop on by!

Monday, June 20, 2016

In Which Characters Make Mistakes Pt. 3

Today is part III on my characters making mistakes rant.
Part I and Part II can be found by clicking on their links.

Recap:

Some readers hate books when they find characters making mistakes.

I do not, and I oftentimes find this reaction baffling, or sometimes just flat out wrong. So I'm writing posts breaking down why I think characters who make mistakes are the right way to go about things. Or if not that, why I find the hate for these mistake-making characters misplaced.

Part I was all about how mistakes make conflict and conflict makes drama.

Part II was about how real people make mistakes, so your characters should, too.

Today, is Part III, which is where Sarah's blood pressure really sky-rockets (and there may be more swearing) because we're going to talk about the bullshit that is the double standard.

So I've been talking about how some readers really hate when characters make mistakes.

But actually, that's not quite true.

What they tend to actually hate is when female characters make mistakes, especially if those characters are teens.


shocking, I know


I'm not kidding when I say there is a ton of hate out there for female characters who make mistakes (ESPECIALLY if the reader thinks the mistake is "dumb" (the quality of the mistake seems to be based solely on the reader's own scale. What's dumb to one may be dumb to another. And rarely is there any discussion about whether or not this "dumb" mistake is actually how the character would act.)

Those same readers who HATE a female character for making mistakes will often give a pass, or flat out love a male character who makes the same sort of mistakes.

And that's some bullshit right there.

Now, I want to step in and say, I'm willing to bet that 95% of the time, those people don't realize they are doing this. It's sort of an invisible sexism thing. We're raised to think of men and women, boys and girls, in a certain light, and therefore characters associated with those genders are judged based on those ingrained beliefs.

IE: our society has a boys will be boys mentality. Boys can and often do, do whatever they want and face no repercussions (ie: rape a girl, and then get sentenced to 6 months in jail because any more jail time might be hard for him.) Our society turns the other cheek when boys make mistakes.

Girls, though. No way. Our society tends to value teen girls the least. We're taught that teen girls are dumb, and vapid, and they make mistakes and, most importantly, they deserve whatever's coming their way.

Therefore, it's no surprise that this crops up in reviews with teen main characters. No one says that Harry Potter is too dumb to live when he makes mistakes. But you have a female teen who does one thing wrong and all bets are off.

Newsflash - boys and girls make mistakes. We're all human. But it's not fair to hold female characters to some sort of alternate code of conduct just because of their gender. Yeah? Yeah.

So next time you hear or see someone talking about a character making dumb mistakes, take a note of that character's gender. I bet more often than not, it's female.

And that's it for my 3 part rant on characters who make mistakes! Hopefully I made you think about some things, or at least entertained you with those Harry Potter gifs.

If not, sorry. Here's another random gif just cuz.


"

 

Monday, June 13, 2016

In Which Characters Make Mistakes Pt. 2

Today is part II on my characters making mistakes rant.
You can see part I over here (it has Harry Potter gifs, guys!)

So, recap:

Some readers hate books when they find characters making mistakes.

I do not, and I oftentimes find this reaction baffling, or sometimes just flat out wrong. So I'm writing posts breaking down why I think characters who make mistakes are the right way to go about things. Or if not that, why I find the hate for these mistake-making characters misplaced.

Part I was all about how mistakes make conflict and conflict makes drama, so don't be afraid to check it out.

But today we're tackling part II, which is:

Characters that make mistakes are more fully developed.

Ahem.

Have you ever known a person who humble-brags about everything? Someone who's so amazing at everything and they want you to know?

(related: I just finished reading SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIENS AGENDA and there is a character in there who is just the worst at this. She says things like "I didn't even know a thigh gap is something girls should strive for because I've always had one" baaaaarf.)

Those people are hard to be around, right? Because they're just so perfect.

Well what do you think characters who don't make mistakes are like?

(side note: the character in SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIENS AGENDA has a great bit of character building that makes her fully formed, even for a minor side-character. It's a great book. You should read it.)

Here's another question for you:

Have you made mistakes in your life?
Do you know other people who have made mistakes in their lives?
Are these mistakes in spite of really knowing your shit about stuff? Yes?

Well welcome to the human race!

Real people, in real life, make mistakes all the time. All the time. Sometimes they're small mistakes, like forgetting to thaw the chicken for Tuesday night dinner (even though you always make dinner on Tuesday nights, and you always have to make dinner.)

Sometimes they're much bigger mistakes. Diving into a shallow pool. Driving drunk. Taking one too many pills. Not trusting people who you've always trusted. Trusting people you shouldn't.

That's life. No one's perfect. I mean, even Freddie Mercury tells us about mistakes.

Don't you talk shit about Freddie now


So why is it that there's so much hate for characters that aren't perfect? I don't see anyone saying Freddie Mercury was too dumb to live because of his mistakes.

Do you know what's boring? A story where a character doesn't do anything wrong. Because how do we learn if we don't make mistakes?

And if characters have nothing to learn from, then they have no way to go, which means there's no character arc.

(Unless of course the character's arc is that things happen and they don't grow. That's a different kind of arc and can totally work. Spoiler, though: those characters probably make mistakes too.)

You know who wrote about characters who didn't make mistakes?

H.P. Lovecraft.

You know why he wrote these characters like that? (well, white men, anyway. H.P. Lovecraft was not about making his own prejudiced mistakes in his lifetime.)

Because he was writing HORROR! It made it terrifying that his characters did everything right and still couldn't defeat the eldritch horror. His characters were perfect because it was a horror story!

As an author, I write characters who make mistakes. Mistakes that come about because of pride and ego, ignorance and prejudice. Mistakes because they're drunk. Or have baggage they carry with them. Sometimes these mistakes are dumb, sometimes they're not. But these mistakes that characters make is what makes them more real, more true-to-life.

If you have a character who's perfect in every way, who never makes mistakes, you don't have a fully formed character. You have a cardboard cut-out. And who wants to read about that?

Not me, anyway.

Part III is going to delve more into how these reactions are actually more BS than you'd think. Stay tuned!

Do you like reading about characters who make mistakes? Or do you prefer your characters perfect?

 
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