Opportunity for A Feature on My Blog

writingI am once again officially open to accepting volunteers for my Feature Friday posts. If you’re a reader, writer, blogger, cover designer, editor, movie watcher, music lover, artists, etc. and are interested in being featured on my blog please let me know in the comments below or message me in Facebook or via Twitter.

Review: Second Sign by Elizabeth Arroyo

SecondSignTitle: Second Sign
Author: Elizabeth Arroyo
Genre:  Paranormal
Reading level: The Second Sign is recommended for readers 14 and up due to graphic content.
ASIN: B00BBK3BYU

Available on Amazon

Add it to GoodReads

 

Summary

Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake. Much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.

When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.

As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever.

The Second Sign is recommended for readers 14 and up due to graphic content.

Personal Reaction

Second Sign is a fantastic read! The romantic tension between the main characters, Gabby and Jake, ranges from sweet to intense. The plot was packed with twist and turns that kept me engaged throughout the story. I wasn’t quiet sure what was going on in the opening scenes, but I’m so glad I kept reading because those first pages turning into an ‘aha’ moment by the end of the book. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Jake and Gabby in Second Shadow!

Recommended?

I’d recommend this book to fans of paranormal. Also, be sure to check out the sequel, Second Shadow!

New Release: The Zodiac Collector by Laura Diamond

Zodiac collector by Laura Diamond

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance 
Faire means three things—her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she’s going to do things her way.

On the eve of the Faire, Anne (along with a reluctant Mary) conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event. Little do they know that it’s a literal request.

After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they’ve invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That’s the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac—and the world—will be hers.

Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they’ll get a 16th birthday they’ll never forget.

Book Details

Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
Paperback, 328 pages
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Advance Praise

“I knew this novel was promising when I read the blurb on Goodreads, and it far surpassed my expectations. A dystopian with mounting suspense, tons of conflict, and an interesting theme, this novel was hard to put down! Anything but predictable, Laura Diamond had me guessing what was going to happen next, throughout!” ~April Wood, blogger of A Well Read Woman

Purchase Links

Amazon     •     Barnes and Noble     •     Kobo     •     Goodreads

 About the Author

LauraDiamondLaura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. She’s a lucid dreamer, meaning she can direct her dreams while they’re happening. When she’s awake, she pens stories from her dreams and shares them with her readers. Laura has many published titles including the Pride Series (New Pride, Shifting Pride, soon to be re-released, and Tsavo Pride), the Endure Series (Endure and Evoke, soon to be re-released), The Zodiac Collector, a novella Sunset Moon in the Lore anthology, and several shorts stories. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

Find Laura Diamond on the Web

Facebook     •     Twitter     •     Goodreads     •     Amazon     •     Blog

How Being A Writer Is Like Snorkeling

CocoPlumThis summer, I had the opportunity to go snorkeling for the first time. I loved the idea of observing marine life in it’s natural habitat…coral patches, colorful fish, maybe even a sea turtle. Then, it was time to get in the water and put the snorkel mask on. This was the moment of truth, a moment that taught me something about myself that I didn’t know. Like many writers, I took my fear and shaped it into something useful. I hope anyone considering a writing career will find the following tips helpful.

  • The unknown can be scary. As a newbie snorkeler, I had a lot of questions. How am I supposed to breathe? What if a current throws me into the corral? Should I be concerned about manta rays, sharks, barracuda? There were many things I didn’t know, but taking the time to do a little research and talking to people who’ve been there done that, helped calm my worry. Starting out as a writer can be scary, too. Tip: Reach out to other more experienced writers who are willing to offer guidance. These days, it’s easy to connect with other writers online. If you’re more comfortable with face to face conversations, check your local library for writers’ groups.
  • Be sure you have the right equipment. For snorkeling, this means a mask and fins. At it’s very basic level, this means paper and pen/pencil for a writer. Tip: Don’t let lack of access to a computer stop you from making progress. It’s too easy to make excuses for not writing. Write everyday. No excuses. Chances are you won’t be able to use everything, but that’s not the point. Practice makes perfect, or in the case of a writer, words on the page that can be revised and tweaked into something brilliant.
  • There are times when you will feel uncomfortable with what’s expected. When snorkeling, you have to put on a mask that blocks airflow to your nose and forces you to breathe with your mouth using a tube. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. It feels like suffocation, which for some people is how attending conferences, doing book signings, self-promotion may feel. Tip: Remember everything will be okay. It’s important to network with writers, readers, bloggers. This goes beyond creating a fan base for your work. It’s about connecting with other like minded people who share your passion for books. It’s weaving together a net of people whom you can cheer on and who will uplift you during the ups and downs of a writing career.
  • You might not get it right the first time. After jumping in the water and moving away from the boat, it was time to snorkel up. While struggling to stay afloat, I put on the mask and tried to breathe through the mouthpiece. For whatever reason, I couldn’t manage such a simple task. Self-doubt consumed me: “I’ve made a huge mistake.” “I have no business snorkeling.” “This is too hard.” I seriously thought about doggie paddling back to the boat, but I’m not a quitter. I forced myself to calm down, took it one breath at a time. Then, it was time for the last step. Tip: Writing a novel is hard. You’re not gonna get it right the first, second, third time… Don’t let that make you think you have no business being a writer. It just means you need more practice. Write more. Read more. Write more. You’ll eventually get it right.
  • You have to commit 100%. I’m not gonna lie, when it came time to stick my face in the water, I panicked. Like I said, the idea of snorkeling sounded fun. Putting it into practice was harder than I expected. I was floating in the ocean all decked out in my gear. This close to the goal, I refused to give up. I took a deep breath, and stuck my face in the ocean. When I exhaled, the sound reminded me of Darth Vader saying, “Luke, I am your father,” which made me laugh and promptly choke. But I’d stumbled upon a way to cope with my fear. By calling upon my inner Vader, I was able to snorkel. Tip: If you want to write as a career, not a hobby, you have to commit to it. You have to put in the time with your keyboard (or pencil/paper), you should connect with other writers/beta readers who can provide feedback/critiques on your work before you seek publication or an agent, you have to be willing to keep pushing forward no matter what.

What tips do you have for people looking to take writing from a hobby to a profession?

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4 Ways to Beat the Sequel Slump by Teri Harman

*** Black_Moon_CoverGuest Post for BLACK MOON Blog Tour ***

I’ve read a lot of sequels, a lot of book number twos. Most are disappointing, some as good as the first, and a rare few better than the first. Those rare few are the ones we all hope for when we start a series.

But for the writer, sequels are hard. So when I sat down to write my own, I had one goal: Make it a rare few kind of sequel.

I started writing. I had a general outline in mind, certain things that had to happen – especially the ending – but exactly how I would get there was unknown. I got 45,000 words down, a little over half a standard book.

It was crap.

I threw it all in the trash – all except a few scenes, anyway. And started over.

That was a hard day. But here’s what I learned about sequels.

1. Make the HARD Decisions
I knew things weren’t right as I wrote that first draft, but I kept going because it would be harder to start over. Sequels have to push the limits of the first book, so it requires making bigger and better choices about the story and the characters. Don’t be afraid to work harder.

2. Stay True to YOUR Story
I talked with a lot of readers about my first book while writing the second. This was good and bad. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the expectations of readers. It’s easy to let their opinions of what book two should be cloud your opinion. Sift through the expectations, use what is valuable, and always stay true to your ideas.

3. Go For the UNEXPECTED
The best sequels feel fresh and offer lots of surprises. When working with the same characters and basic story components it’s easy to get stale or stagnant. If you feel your story is going that way, expand your imagination. What could happen that would be crazy, difficult, unexpected? Do it.

4. Get Yourself Some EXCELLENT Beta Readers
Find one or two people who know you, your work, and your story. Good beta readers see things that authors miss. They help tighten plots and perfect characters. When you hit problems they can help hash things over until you get it right.

BLACK MOON was difficult to write, but when it was finished and right – man, that felt good. I’m proud of it and hope readers enjoy it.

Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today!

Teri Harman 2013 pic4For more about Teri Harman and her books, including BLACK MOON, the sequel to BLOOD MOON, which Kirkus Reviews calls ‘unusual and absorbing,’ check out the links below…

Blog     •     Goodreads     •     Facebook     •     Twitter

 Instagram: @teriharman