Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How Dare You Read Books

How dare you read books.

In order to read them, someone has to buy them. And in order for someone to buy them, books must be available for purchase. How do books become available for purchase? Authors must write them and get them published.

Have you ever pondered the agony we manipulators of the written word must suffer in order to satisfy your urges? You can’t wait to find out what happens to Harry or Katniss or whoever, yet you put no thought whatsoever into the pains we must go through to bring their stories to life.

We are isolated from the world in dungeons imposed by your unending desire for more. This imprisonment is not so bad when the writing evokes euphoria in our souls—it is moments like these that we live for. But this euphoria is fleeting and we can fall into a well of despondency before we know what has happened to us. We remember that we are alone, our minds falter, and suddenly words are too difficult to jot on the page. Fear sets in: What if I am unable to finish? What do I make my characters do now? Will anyone care about this in the end? Will my works and I be forgotten after my death like last week’s rubbish? 

We become depressed. Some of us turn to alcohol. Some turn to more illegal substances. I personally turn to mindless websites so I have something to laugh at. It beats flinging my computer across the room and curling up into a pathetic ball of anguish in the corner.

Now, readers, you may be wondering if my fellow writers and I are insane for subjecting ourselves to such torment. You may even think we are masochists. 

Perhaps we are.

Yet we do it anyway. We do it for ourselves. And we do it for you. 

Words cannot describe the gratitude we feel when someone tells us that they love our books. We live for these moments, as well. It tells us that our outpouring of words and emotions has made a difference in someone’s life and may even change the world for the better. What could be greater than that?

We thank you for daring to read books. I thank you. And I will be eternally grateful for your support and kind words as I continue my journey as a writer. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meet the Author: Abby Ryan

Today let's give a welcome to my fellow Tate author Abby Ryan! Abby has written many stories over the years, including her debut fantasy novel Orphan of the Shadows. Abby's second novel in the series, The Black Trinity, will be published by Tate within the next year.

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first start writing?
First, let me tell you all that I am quite young. I'll be 20 January 11, 2012. However, I am a very focused and ambitious girl. I wrote my first novel when I was a sophomore in high school, and it got published! I don't say that to rub it in, but to encourage you all. If I can do it, so can you! You just have to work your butt off!

That said, I'm from small town Iowa. Bremer County, really. I've moved 9 times in the past 19 years, but never left Bremer... My family and I, we are pro-movies, I must say.

I started writing when I was 8. Funny too, cuz before then I hated books. However, my elder sister and I shared a room and she started reading to me. That made me realize books were cool. Even if I had dyslexia. (Yes, I did say books are cool. I am a nerd and proud of it!) 

Have any specific authors or books been an inspiration to you? If so, which ones? 

A lot of books have inspired me. But they all come from a small group of authors. I only read fiction-fantasy books. If there's no magic or swords, I probably will stop reading... Not always, but usually.

My favorite author right now is Cassandra Clare, who wrote, and is still writing, the Mortal Instrument books. She's also writing the Infernal Devices. I absolutely love, love, LOVE her!

J.P. Taylor was also great. I read his book Shadowmancer between my 5th and 6th grade year. Before 7th grade I read it 4x. I credit that book will really launching my writing career.

I also like Becca Fitzpatrick (the Hush, Hush, sage) and Kiersten White (the Paranormalcy Trilogy)

Describe for us your writing process. Do you use an outline or do you go by "the seat of your pants"?

Well, I prefer the term "Following the fire of passion" to "the seat of my pants"... well, not really. I just made that up. But it sounds cool.

Generally, I have an idea for how the book will end, and a huge surge of passion when I start my book. The scenes just fly at me. I can write about 7-10 chapters in a week when I start my books. After that, the fire dies a little and it's an upward climb.

Sometimes I have to force myself to write, but I've learned that if I just sit down and write, something will come. If I don't exactly love something I wrote, I try to tell myself to not worry about it and just keep it. I go on and finish the book, then come back and fix the story. However, the book is not completely done until I've read over it about 10x and absolutely love the entire thing (meaning I've tweaked the parts I don't like until they make me squeal with glee. The sound is like a little girl getting her first puppy…-- that's when I know a part is perfect :) )

Was anything in your novel Orphan of the Shadows inspired by real people or events? 

Yes, everything was actually. The book itself is an allegory. Elon is me. Even though I'm not an orphan, I'm a middle child, so I often felt like one. Sheva (scary to say) is even a reincarnation of me. I get all my anger out through her... I'm really a rather cheery girl, I promise!

Albree was inspired by my brother. Glynnii was inspired by my best friend. Cäel was inspired by a guy I knew from my youth group. Jorik is Jesus, and I think that's enough for now...

What are three things that people would be surprised to know about you?

Hmm, That’s a toughie... I have a fish named Aqua Mello, but I call him Mr. Mello. He's a beta and scares me every day cuz he always looks like he's dead... If that's not really surprising, then maybe the fact that I also sing and draw. People always get big eyed when I say that. I'm also an obsessive writer cuz I'm working on 24 novels. All will be published one day, too. 

What do you do when you aren't writing?

Well, that's hardly ever a reality... but on the chance I’m not, I watch movies (only ones that make me think of my characters) I draw (but only my characters) I sing (but only my characters songs)... Did I say I was obsessive? I also work at Pizza Hut, where I think of my books. Lol. Lately I am also learning A LOT about marketing a novel.

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?

CASSANDRA CLARE! Anyone want to hook me up? Seriously, if I met her, I'd faint! 

What emotionally 'moves' you? Do you incorporate your emotions into your writing? 

My books are only there because I am emotional. My best friends call me Emo because of it... 

What kind of music do you listen to?

Ha, lots! I love Demi Lovato (reminds me of Sheva and Lyv's singing. They are both divas, but Lyv doesn't come in til book 2.) I also love Within Temptation (Sounds like Sheva) , Flyleaf, Tokio Hotel, The Call, Paramore, Paolo Nutini, Linkin Park, Evanescence, 30 Seconds to Mars, There for Tomorrow, Breaking Benjamin, and Kill Hannah... In short, punk/rock and alternative rock. (it's another slight obsession of mine...)

If you could visit one place in the world, where would you go?

ONE PLACE! Are you kidding me? I can't just pick one! I have too big a passion for the world to do that. So I'll give you my top places: Japan, France, England. Why? Cuz Japan is like my kingdom, Sarden. France is like Hûloden, and England is like Mádárèn. ^.^ 

And last of all, where can readers purchase your book, and where can you be found on the Web?

Readers can get my book all over the net. Amazon,Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million,IndieBound, Tate Publishing. I can be found at my blog, http://secretsector.wordpress.com/. Other places to find me are shown on the Secret Sector.

I didn't exactly dream of you, but I was told in my dream that during a time of great pain I would meet a young lady with grand power. I was told that power would save me from death and bring peace to my world... Somehow I know it is you...

In the faraway kingdom of Mádárèn, Elon Amæloriey, a young orphan girl, lived a life of pain and struggle from the day her parents passed away. But the lonely life she knew changed forever the day she stumbled upon a gang unlike any other. Elon learns to fight alongside the Dragon gang while they strive to keep their territory free of their rivals and of the Niesin–Bratched's demons. No longer an Orphan of the Shadows, Elon's life seems to be brightening until she learns of the Darkness looming over her.

The Dark side believes the King has chosen Elon for a place of authority in the realm, and they will do anything to capture her. The Dark princes of Jasikx, Tarrek and Albree Vaydmehn, are desperately trying to find her. The Light prince, Zedikajah (Kaj), is also frantically searching for her too, in order to keep her safe from Darkness. But his efforts are failing. When the safety of a realm relies on the safety of one girl, will one boy succeed?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My review of Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

Author Tosca Lee's novel Demon: A Memoir tells the story of Clay, a recently-divorced editor who has become disillusioned with his job and life in general. One evening when he arrives at a cafe for dinner, a stranger greets him by name and welcomes him to join him at his table. In fact, this stranger seems to know more about Clay than Clay himself does:

"I know you're searching, Clay. I know you're wondering what these late, dark nights are for. You have that seasonal disease, that modern ailment, don't you? SAD, they call it. But it isn't the disorder--you should know that. It isn't even your divorce. That's not what's bothering you. Not really." (page 4)

The stranger introduces himself as Lucian. Lucian is a demon. He wants to tell Clay his story, because it is "very closely connected" to Clay's. Clay is instructed to write down everything that Lucian tells him.

Over the course of several months and various encounters in which Lucian appears in different human forms (sometimes male, sometimes female), Clay learns the story of the demons' fall from glory and how they have sought revenge on God ever since by corrupting God's favored people: human beings. The demons despise all humans because they sin constantly but God still forgives them, despite the fact that the demons were eternally damned after making a single mistake. However, Clay still cannot see how the story connects with his own life, even though it is quite obvious to the reader. He is essentially blind, and that blindness just may seal his fate in the end.

One thing I enjoyed about reading this book is the beauty of Ms. Lee's prose. Her style flows easily and creates some vivid imagery that I found moving:

"But here was the most terrible thing: El went down to Eden and laid himself out over the waters, there to brood in trembling sorrow. And it infused me, this sorrow. It saturated my being. Beside me, seraphim huddled with long faces. Some of them wept. I had never seen such tears before--dark, remorseful, bereft of joy. There was only sadness and dread, that terrible sense that had I been a god, I would have set it all back. I would have erased everything, returned it all to the way it had been."

"Why couldn't you?" I said. "For that matter, why couldn't God?"

The kid gave a jolt of laughter that sounded slightly hysterical, and then his lips curled back from his teeth, and spittle flew out with his words. "I'll tell you why: Because we were damned! Oh, not that I knew it then--how could I? There was no precedent for any of it. Wrong had never existed. Lucifer had to manufacture that first aberration himself. Until then, there had been one law dictated by the sole fact of our creation: Worship the creator. And now, as surely as Lucifer's throne had broken into a thousand splinters, we had violated that order." (page 57)

As much as one may feel sorry for the demons, Ms. Lee does not diminish the fact of their true nature: they are evil. And through the grace of God, we humans have the opportunity for the redemption to which the demons have been denied.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Show, Don't Tell!

One thing I frequently hear regarding the writing of fiction is the mantra "Show, don't tell." Readers are not dumb and can generally figure out things on their own without the author going into excessive details. Adjectives and adverbs should be used sparingly (this is something I have personally tried to improve in my own writing), and usage of relevant, appropriate imagery should be encouraged.

Here are some examples:

1. TELLING: The walls were brownish-gold.
SHOWING: The walls were the color of honey.

2. TELLING: Audrey walked quickly across the room.
SHOWING: Audrey strode across the room.

3. TELLING: The moon was full and very bright; unlike the dark lawn below.
SHOWING: Moonlight cast shadows across the lawn that reached toward the house like bony fingers.

4. TELLING: Hank was a workacholic.
SHOWING: When Hank's wife forced him to go on vacation, beach combers looked at each other and shrugged when they saw the pasty-white accountant sitting in a lounge chair with a computer on his lap and a cell phone in his hand, discussing payroll and audits and a dozen other things he should have left at home with the dog.

What examples of showing versus telling do YOU have?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Before The Land Beyond the Portal, there was... THE ENCHANTING RAINBOW

I've been "writing" pretty much since I learned how to read. Some of my writing is really bad. In fact, many of my early attempts at writing are downright horrible. But practice makes perfect, right? (You can be the judge of that.)

Here is a short story I wrote at some point between 1996 and 1998, which would have made me anywhere from seven to nine years old. Alas, I did not put a date on the book, so I cannot know for certain when the idea for The Enchanting Rainbow came to me. But here it is, in its entirety. I probably thought it was a fantasy story. Now I just think it is a work of pure horror. Why, you may ask?

Because after writing it, I developed a fear of rainbows.


I don't care that it was only a dream. Anthropomorphic rainbows that stalk poor little girls are scarier than anything Hollywood can cook up these days. [shudders]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Countdown to the December Book Tour!

As many of you already know, I have been blessed to have six book signings scheduled for the month of December. These signings will be held at six different locations in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. I will be selling copies of The Land Beyond the Portal and giving away free bookmarks with the purchase of each book. It is my hope to be able to meet some of you in person at these events, which will be held during the first three weekends of December. Please check the schedule of events to see which one is closest to you!

Mammoth Cafe
December 2, 12-3pm
515 Monmouth St.
Newport, KY 41071

(just down the street from Newport-on-the-Levee)

Big Apple Bagels
December 3, 11am-3pm
7157 Beechmont Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45230

(at the corner of Salem Rd. & Beechmont Ave.)

Jefferson's Java House
December 9, 9am-12pm
453 W. Main St.
Mt. Orab, OH 45154

(located at Roades Crossing)

Sugar Cupcakery
December 10, 11am-3pm
32 Main Street
Milford, OH 45150
(across the street from Park National Bank in Old Milford)

Avenue Brew
December 16, 9am-12pm
310 Fairfield Ave.
Bellevue, KY 41073

(located on Route 8 in historic Bellevue)

Everything Bagels
December 17, 8am-12pm
792 Eastgate South Dr. Ste. #200
Cincinnati, OH 45245

(corner of Eastgate South Dr. & Eastgate Square Dr.) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meet the Author: Rhonda Kooyman

Greetings, friends! (I guess if you're an enemy, I can still greet you, too.) Anyway. As part of this new blog I have constructed, I will be featuring some of my fellow writers so you can get to know them better. That being said, today's featured author is Rhonda Kooyman, author of the novel Choices of the Heart. Let's all give her a warm welcome!

      First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first start writing?
I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa.  I am the youngest of four children. I have been married to my wonderful husband for twenty-eight years.  I have two grown sons who both are working their way through college and I am the grandmother of one precious five year old little girl. I live in a small town in Nebraska and work a part time job at a Fitness Center. I started writing about eight years ago after the encouragement of one of my favorite teachers from my high school days.
      Have any specific authors or books been an inspiration to you? If so, which ones?  
I have many authors and books that have inspired me over the years to write, but if I had to choose one or two I would have to pick a couple of old classics. “Wuthering Heights” (my all-time favorite) by Emily Bronte and “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.
      Describe for us your writing process. Do you use an outline or do you go by "the seat of your pants"?
I probably am not the most conventional writer and most likely broke some writing rules along the way, but I wrote from the seat of my pants.  Creativity came as I continued to write my story.  I would be in the shower, and an idea would come to me, or out at a restaurant having dinner with my husband when I would see or hear something that would trigger an idea. It was very common for my husband to hear me say, “Wait a minute. I have to write this down before I forget it.” Actually the beginning of my novel was written after I had completely finished my second draft. 
Was anything in your novel Choices of the Heart inspired by real people or events? 
I would have to answer this question with a yes and a no. It was not inspired by any one particular individual or event. However, I worked six years as a victim advocate in the state of Nebraska.  I listened to the stories of many different men and women who found themselves in an abused situation and it was the similar lives they lived behind the closed doors of their home that inspired me to write the story.  I guess you could say it was a combination of many different people and events all rolled up in one.  I say this because, the personality does not vary much from one abuser to another.  They pretty much have the same characteristics of being a master manipulator and treat their victims in the same way.  Some cases were more severe than others, but all in all, the type of lives the victims lived under the heavy hand of their abuser were very similar.    

What are three things that people would be surprised to know about you?
I love to visit old Castles across the country. The history behind the people who lived in them years ago seems to intrigue me. I am a big animal lover and someday I wish to live my retirement years out by volunteering my time at an animal shelter. Last but not least, I love to mix my cottage cheese and baked beans together on my dinner plate. 
Have you ever visited a place that changed you as a person? 
This question is an easy one for me. My church! 

Do you have any pet peeves? 
Drivers, who doesn’t give the right- away to pedestrians crossing with their dogs at a stop light. People who crack their knuckles. A person who has a tendency to interrupt you when you are speaking. Shoppers at Christmastime who are rude to one another.
What kind of hobbies other than writing do you have?
I love to spend my summers boating, fishing and camping.  I exercise every chance I get and I like to ballroom dance with my husband.
If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be?
I think I would like to go to Jerusalem and walk down the same street that my blessed Savior walked down.
And last of all, where can readers purchase your book, and where can you be found on the Web?
My novel’s official release date isn’t until December 13th.  It then will be available through Tate Publishing at www.tatepublishing.com , Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at your neighborhood book stores.  However, you can order an autograph copy today through my web page at  www.choicesoftheheart.weebly.com. I can also be contacted by email at kooypenn@msn.com

In Choices of the Heart, seventeen-year old Tracy Dewitt finds herself entangled in a web of evil as she allows her heart to search out revenge on the two people in her life who are closest to her.

After receiving the shocking news of her parents’ plans to divorce, Tracy allows anger and bitterness to lead her down a long road of bad choices that snowball...s out of control. She runs from the loving arms of her parents into the arms of a dark prince named Spencer, who swallows her up into the black hole of spiritual, mental, and physical abuse. Spencer uses mind-controlling techniques that cause Tracy to lose her identity and her identity in Christ.

She spends the next fifteen years running from the clutches of the enemy of her past, only to find out through the help of a few of God’s chosen ones that the enemy lies within herself. She realizes she is the only one who holds the keys to unlock the secrets of her tormented soul.

Tracy’s Choices of the Heart affect not just herself, but everyone around her, especially the ones she loves the most.

Will Tracy escape Spencer’s manipulative clutches and reclaim her stolen identity? Or have her Choices of the Heart sealed her terrifying fate forever?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well, I started a blog...

Starting my own blog was never a part of my "to-do" list when it came to promoting myself as a writer. After all, I already have a Facebook fan page and a website. Why would I need a blog in addition to those?

The reason, of course, is that many other authors also have blogs. So do many book reviewers. A blog can be another way to network with fans of the written word. So I might as well give it a try.

What will you find here? I will probably be posting random thoughts, occasional book reviews, maybe even an author interview or two, and whatever else comes to mind. The possibilities are endless!

If you are reading this, I welcome you, and I thank you for the support!

Yours Truly,

J. S. Bailey