Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing for a Cause

Heather McCorkle is a talented writer and blogging buddy of mine, who's novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll, has more than just a compelling story line! Each book sold sends a percentage of the proceeds to a charity to help endangered species. Read below to find out more about Heather, Spruce Knoll and her oh-so-worthy crusade to help save our planet... 

1) So Heather, I recently finished your book, Spruce Knoll (woot, woot!!) and I couldn't help but notice that in-between the totally-kick-butt cultural diversity, hot YA boys and awesome magic powers, that "going green" was a BIG part of your book. Considering your efforts to help endangered spices, were these environmental concerns what inspired the story in the first place?

Heather: They were! This story was born when I was watching a special on the shrinking habitat for polar bears. There was a commercial with a teen girl talking about saving endangered species and Eren’s character sprung up from that.

2) Tell us more about the charity you're helping to support and how Spruce Knoll is helping with the cause!

Heather: Due to legal reasons I can’t say who it is but I can tell you that they are one of the top charities in the world that specializing in protecting endangered species. They’ve made great strides in preserving habitat, stopping poachers, and even helping to bring species back from the brink.

3) I was shocked by your statistics about the rate of decline for animals that I've grown up my whole life learning about. This is very sad. If our readers would like more information on the statistics and ways we can help, where can they go?

Heather: It is terribly sad. Tigers will be extinct in the wild in less than ten years. There are wonderful sites all over the internet but two of my favorites are the World Wildlife Fund and the National Wildlife Federation.

4) And lastly, we all want to know... what's next on the horizon for Spruce Knoll? A sequel, perhaps?! *squee*

Heather: There is! Actually book two, Channeler’s Choice, just came out in paperback! The third book in the trilogy will be out this fall.

Heather is the author of The Secret Of Spruce KnollBorn Of FireChanneler's Choice, and coming in May of 2012, the historical YA fantasy, To Ride A Puca. A short story of Heather's is also available in the free In His Eyes eBook anthology. 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Famous Feet

This little piggy went to the market... this little piggy stayed home... and all MY little piggies are goin' "Weee, weeee, weeee," all the way to the cover of a book, soon to be published by World Castle Publishing! Woot, woot!! YEAH!

You think I'm joking... I can see it your eyes. 

Its okay, it'll be better to show you anyway...

PRESENTING... Saving Gracie, by Terry Lee:

Remember the part when I told you I was going to have famous feet? Yeah... those are MY feet!! Hahahaha! Don't worry young grasshopper, I shall explain... 

I met Terry about a year ago at my first meeting with the Houston Writer's Guild! We hit it off right away, and ESPECIALLY had some rock-awesome-totally-kick-butt times at the writer's conference we all attended together. Later, when we got sick and tired of the drama in the HWG, Terry Lee, Lauren Hennessy (S.L. Hennessy), Jay Jay Takahata, Kristi Pritchett and I started our own group...

...Writer's 2.0!

Holla, peeps!! Love you guys!

Remember these mugs... these awesome writers are gonna be famous someday!!

Anyway, since I'm a photo junky, I offered to make Terry a cover for her book. Ya know... something she could show off whilst in the midst of editing throes. Since her ideas for said cover revolved around beaches and footprints, I snapped a few pics while I was in the Bahamas recently. This was the product I came up with:

When Terry got picked up by World Castle Publishing last month, I was ECSTATIC!! My Mamma Terry is gettin' published! WOOOOOO!!!! I think I jumped around the house with excitement for a full 24 hours! Haha! And then she dropped the bomb on me... "Oh yeah, Jules, I totally submitted YOUR cover to the publishers." 

Gasp!  *drops dead from excitement*

Long story short... they LIKED the cover and after changing the font up a bit, are using it to represent my dear Terry's story for the world to see! Which means, of course, my feet will be famous. 

Eeeeeek!!!! SO. CRAZY. AWESOME!!!

About Terry. And the cover. Not about my famous feet ( : Haha. 

Terry is without a doubt, one of the sweetest, most talented, loving people I've ever met in my life! Her stories are beautifully written, full of quick wit, and jam packed with characters you just wanna pick up, put in your pocket and take home with you! I consider it a GREAT privilege to know Terry, and to have been able to help edit and support this wonderful writer. She's an absolute gem!!! Definitely keep your eye on the horizon for her debut book, Saving Gracie. Terry is one talented woman you won't want to miss out on!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My, what big eyes you have!

All the better to READ you with, my deliciously good new read recommend! I bet you wanna know what it is, donchya? Du, du, du, du, du, du... [that's my drum roll, don't judge]... 

Sisters Red, by Jackson Pearce:

So besides the ridiculously cool title, which--lets be honest--is ridiculously cool (I'm such a sucker for a good title!) this book was soooooo good! Its kind of a modern day Little-Red-Ridding-Hood-and-big-bad-wolf-meets-twilight-meets-girls-with-awesome-ninja-knife-throwing-skillzzzzz book. (Did you catch all that?) For the life of me, I can't figure out why I've never heard of it til now, because--did I mention?--IT WAS SO GOOD!

And, here's the thing. Most attempts at modernizing traditional fairy tales fall along the "Meh... it was OKAY..." lines for me. Like Red Ridding Hood, for example...

I mean, really. 

LOVED the cloak, Amanda, but that movie was a FLOP. As are most of the modernized fairy tales. (Someone please correct me if there's one out there that ROCKS that I haven't seen/read!)

But unlike most of its contemporary counterparts, I actually REALLY liked this modernization of Little Red and her ridding cloak. It had enough of the traditional story--such as the "All the better to see you with" line at the beginning, and a swoon-worthy huntsman--that I could tell where the inspiration came from. BUT, at the same time, there were NEW elements that were just totally kick-you-in-the-pants awesome! 

Like a sister with an eye patch. 

And ninja knife throwing skillzzzz. 

And totally CREEP-tastic wolveS (plural).

To name a few. 

Forget the damsel-in-distress fairy tell princess version of Red... these sisters will KICK YOUR BOOTY. Literally. For those of you of the red hood, wolf, and ninja-knife-throwing-skillzzzz persuasion, I highly suggest you read this book. 

Come on, you know you need a break from your A-Z blogfest. 

And really? Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, anyway?

Friday, April 6, 2012

BELATED Insecure Writer's Post...

... just like the birthday card I sent my brother. 

But, as they say, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!! Haha!! How's that for incredibly cliche, my lovely writing, critique buddies?

Anyway, this ol' time around, I'm struggling with the insecurities that arise after a HUGE re-write. Yes, you've all been there... feeling the thrill, chills, and (yes) RELIEF at finally reaching the finish line once again, only to go back, read your first chapter and FREAK OUT because... 


...Um.... yeah... 

Okay, so maybe I'm the only one who freaks out like that... [cue awkward music]...

But seriously... what brings on this insecurity? Here I just finished SLAVING over a draft, excited because I'm about ready to send the revisions out to the agenting wolves again, and I'm SCARED?? Why? If memory serves me correctly, I just freakin' busted my butt to make the book BETTER. I pined over every word. Every sentence. And every character flaw. Again and again and again. I didn't move on until I was totally satisfied. So why do I suddenly panic, thinking that while I was making it better it suddenly got worse? 

I have a theory...

Is it because we are CONSTANTLY improving our writing craft? So much so, that as we revise a book, it gets better and better, until finally--at the end--there is a VISIBLE difference between our skill at Chapter 1 and our skill after the final battle?


Okay, THAT, or its just a mental mind freak-out game we play with ourselves. 

Your thoughts? I'd really love to know I'm not the only crazy maniacal writer out there that needs to be tranquilized after every draft round...