Monday, April 29, 2013

Books that Reel You In: Hook, Line, and Sinker

One of my favorite things to do is read a good book, but I have a short attention span, so it takes a lot to draw me in and hold my interest long enough to read past the first page, let alone finish a book. I’ve thought a lot lately about what it is that entices me to read an entire novel, and I’ve come up with a few things that captivate me as a reader that I’m trying to incorporate into my own writing.

  1. I read some books purely for the beautiful language. I may not be that interested in the story or the characters, but the language lulls me. For instance, reading Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy is like riding a raft down a gentle river, the way her words float across the page enthralls me. Crossed, the second book in the Matched series starts out “I’m standing in a river. It’s blue. Dark blue. Reflecting the color of the evening sky. I don’t move. The river does. It pushes against me and hisses through the grass at the water’s edge.” Notice how the words flow, smoothly, rhythmically, like a river. You can see it. Feel it. Hear it.
  2. Another thing that grabs me like a Pitbull and won’t let go is a unique , engaging voice. I just finished reading Supernaturally, the second book in the Paranormalcy series. The fun voice is part of what carried me through the first two books. It starts out “Oh, bleep. I was going to die.” Whenever the MC swears she says bleep. Cute. Original.
  3. Then there are those books I read simply because I adore one of the characters. And it might not even be the main character. Even more than the voice in Paranormalcy, I liked one particular character, who only popped up once in a while and is portrayed as bad, but whenever this character came on the scene, I cheered. In James Dashner’s Maze Runner, my daughter fell in love with one of the side characters and followed him through to the end of the series.
  4. Humor is another thing that compels me to read. Even though horrific things happen in Maze Runner, there’s a lot of humor in the dialogue, thoughts, and actions of the characters that tickled my ribs and made me laugh out loud. I especially enjoyed the made up swearwords like “klunk” and “shuck”. One hilarious character named Jorge cracked me up every time he opened his mouth.
  5. The story itself, the plot, can hook me and reel me in. Hunger Games is one of those books where the plot, more than anything else, is why I couldn’t put it down.
  6. My favorite books, the page-turners, have several or all of these strengths combined. Plot, character, voice, humor, great writing. Some examples of brilliant books I could read over and over again are: Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Rings. The Poisonwood Bible, and Harry Potter.

So why do you read certain books? What is it about them that you find irresistible

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rock Harbor: Search and Rescue Promo and Give Away

Rock Harbor: Search and Rescue
Release Date: April 9th 2013
From Thomas Nelson
292 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
In "Rock Harbor Search and Rescue," a middle grade fiction novel based on Colleen Coble's bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults, kids will enjoy the mixture of pets, adventure, suspense, and a mystery.

Emily O'Reilly is obsessed with all thingsSearch and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search andRescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor's fall festival andEmily is accused of the crime, it looks like she'll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescueteam.

Emily isn't willing to give up on herSearch and Rescue dreams that easily, andshe sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn't prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescuedogs sniff out in the process. This exciting mystery is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seatsand have them pining after a Search andRescue puppy of their own!

"Colleen is a master storyteller."-Karen Kingsbury
About the Authors
Carol Award winner Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart.
3 print copies of Rock Harbor (US only)
2 e-books of Rock Harbor (INT)
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Ways to Add Word Count to a Novel

Have you ever had the same problem I've had where your novel was too short and you had to add drastically to the word count to make it long enough? If so, what did you do to lengthen your story?

I've been working on revising my New Adult Adventure Romance Novel, Jump the Line, for an editor who's interested and who asked me to add 30,000 words, make a love triangle, and change the ending. That's all! At first I wasn't sure if I could do it or if I wanted to, but I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did.

With a lot of help from my writer critique friends—I never could have done it without you guys! Thanks so much!—and some hair-pulling moments on my part where I wondered if I should just ditch it, I'm finally almost done, and I'm happy with the results. I think it's a much better story now. At least I hope so after all that work!

I learned a lot along the way and want to share some of the things I did with you in hopes that it will help. Here are a few suggestions people gave me that worked:

1. I added a lot of details—something I love to do and usually overdo and have to try to hold back on.
2. I added more scenes, ones I'd skipped before.
3. I added more interaction and dialogue between the characters.
4. I also added more introspection for my main character because I tend to go sparingly on that, so my readers have no idea what my MC is thinking half the time. Not good.
5. I completely had to rethink and change the love story and add a lot more romance in, which was the fun part, but not easy to do since I originally had only one love interest. At first I wasn't even sure which guy she'd end up with, but I decided to go with the one the editor wanted, and it's working out nicely. I just had to do a complete "switcheroo" in my head.

I hope to be done with the story by the end of April (cross my fingers!) and send it in and hope the editor loves it enough to buy it. I'd love to hear some of your ideas on things you've done to add words to your novels.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Of Silver and Beasts Cover Reveal and Give Away

Of Silver and Beasts (A Goddess Wars Novel)
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Genre: New Adult Dark Fantasy
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound
Cover Designed by: Steven Novak

Summary from Goodreads:
In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena. 

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.


I open my mouth to say something comforting, but I’m unsure of what. In this moment, I’m reminded that I know little about him. Other than the sarcasm and desire to understand nothing of my queendom, he hasn’t allowed me past the surface. But then, I have my own walls, hiding things I’d never want him or any other to know. And I understand that need to hide them. You can’t trust anyone. “Caben…” I start, but still can’t find the right words. He lowers his hand from his face, never taking his eyes off the glinting water top. “You’re right,” he finally says. “Let’s find the access to Lilly’s section.” A hollow pang hits my chest, and I’m not sure why. Something in his voice sounds lost, broken. I imagine the gears around my heart spinning faster, trying to keep up with my racing heart. When he sidesteps me, I reach out and grab his arm. “Caben, I didn’t mean—” “It’s fine, Kal,” he snaps. “We have work to do.” “No, I’ve said something to offend you.” I drop my hand, but keep close to him, not allowing him to leave my side. Goddess, trying to understand the male brain is harder than anything in protector training. I’ve heard people say that you have to tip-toe around a woman’s emotions, but a man’s ego is every bit as fragile, if not more so. He releases a heavy breath through his nose and walks back to the pool. He sits down along the edge and rolls up his pants, then slips off his boots. “I honestly don’t think Bax or his goons will be returning tonight.” He sinks his bare feet into the water and sighs. Glancing at the back of the cave, I plant my hands on my hips. We don’t have time for indulgencies, but the prince is still my charge. If it were my empress, I’d give her anything she’d ask for. Allow her as much time as she needed to collect herself. I have to watch over his mental state as well as protect him, so I try to push the pending need to find Lilly aside and sit down next to him. “Here,” he says, turning his hand out near my crossed feet. “You have to feel this.” A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. “I can remove my own—” “Have you never been pampered a day in your life?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow. “I know that the Nactue are fierce and will put a hurt on any man for touching them. But try to relax.” “Is that the rumor in Perinya?” “What?” I bite my lip, suddenly regretting my blurt. “Nothing. Never mind.” From the corner of my eye, I see his lips pucker into a pinched smile, as if he’s trying not to. “Ah,” he says, like he’s made some great universal connection. “Well, there are many whisperings about the Nactue. Some I dare not repeat for fear I’d leave here missing a limb, but that’s one, yes.” He takes my booted foot and begins to unlace it. “I’ve heard that the empress’s protectors are untouchable—forbidden to give themselves to men. And that they’ll snap a man’s neck just for making an advance.” My mouth drops open. Appalled, I counter, “That’s not true.” “All right,” he says, as if he hasn’t just insulted my very existence. “It’s only rumors. Things men jaw about in pubs. The unattainable woman is a fantasy, Kal. Don’t be offended.” “Unattainable?” I grit my teeth, trying to maintain my composure. “Tell me, prince. Do men in your country just go around bedding every woman they can in order to keep them compliant?” I shake my head. “If their fantasy is a woman that would have nothing to do with them, it seems to me it’s their way of feeding their egos after being rejected.” His eyes widen. “No! How does your brain come up with these—” He bites off his words, his lips thin as he presses them together. “Look, it was a joke.” I nod, many times. “Another joke. I’m glad that our hard work and sacrifice is amusing to the men of Perinya.” Caben lets out another sigh and slowly pulls off my boot. His warm fingers skim my calf as he inches up my pant leg. “Just stick your foot in,” he says, then adds lower, “while I stick mine in my mouth.” Unexpectedly, I laugh. “At least it’s now clean,” I say. “Would you like some help getting it to your face?”

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