Monday, December 31, 2012

Giveaway: A Memory of Light

In honor of the last volume of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, I'm giving away either a free copy of the first book or the last. What better way to celebrate and mark the last day of the year than a contest? One lucky winner can choose to either a new copy of The Eye of the World or A Memory of Light.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the third age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long pass, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."

Epic fantasy is my favorite genre of fantasy, and I'm hoping to add a few more fans to these fabulous set of fourteen books. It's a series I've been following since 1990 when I unwittingly bought the first edition of what would become my favorite series of all time. Now the last book, A Memory of Light, releases on January 8 and I'm jumping in my winter snow boots with anticipation.

My original, much tattered copy

So it has been epic, not only in genre, but in timeline, over twenty-three years, two authors, and countless days waiting for the next installment. All that is about to end. To enter just fill out the doohickey down below and leave a comment on this post. You can follow me on twitter, facebook, and this blog for additional chances to win. So tell your friends and come back on January 8th for the winner announcement.

"Till shade is gone, till water is gone,
into the Shadow with teeth bared, 
screaming defiance with the last breath, 
to spit in Sightblinder’s eye on the last Day."

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow and A Little Catch Up

I promised snow pictures for my friends in those warm climates who never see any of the white stuff. (Grumbles under breath about lucky SOB's in warmer climates. You know who you are!) We got our first snow fall on Boxing Day, not that we celebrate Boxing Day, but it's such a cool name. It was only a small amount of snow for us in Northern Indiana, about three inches. I'm sure we will get plenty more. So if anyone wants more pictures, shout out in the comments. I could mail you a few boxes of it, but they'd be soggy.

Here are some equal time pictures for my two dogs. The brown one is Robin--not named for the superhero, but for the bow and arrow guy. He doesn't like the wind. The black one is Pippin--yes named for LOTR's Pippin. And he is a pretty princess who doesn't like to get his feet wet. He also wouldn't look at me until I took twenty pictures. My fingers were freezing. You might be able to see Pippin is sticking his tongue out at me.

I did get to see the Hobbit movie. I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it. It seemed like they stretched the material a bit. Three hours is pretty long even for LOTR. We went the Saturday after the tragedy in Connecticut so that might have been on my mind also. I will definitely see it again and maybe it will strike me more favorably. 

In other news, I'll be starting the contest to win a copy of a Wheel of Time book this weekend, either the Eye of the World or A Memory of Light. I'll let the winner pick which one they want and whether an ebook or a paper version. Not sure whether the post will go up on Saturday or Sunday because my motivation is as uncertain as the weather. So stay tuned for that.

Oh, and Kindar's Cure is now on Goodreads in anticipation of a March 2013 release. I'll probably do another announcement about that. You can friend me here  or add Kindar to your 'to be read' list here. My editor is healing up after some surgery so there hasn't been much movement by the publisher. I wish her well and healthy and back to work soon. I wouldn't be surprised if the release date gets pushed back a little bit which give me more time to prepare.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting the Offer: Stephanie Diaz

I'm really glad to come back from my short blogging break in a big way. I've always wondered what it would be like to be on submission and I'm sure others have too. Here's your chance for an inside look. Thanks so much, Stephanie, for sharing. You bet I've added EXTRACTION to my Goodread's lists.


A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an author event in San Diego called “YA in the Sun.” I met some wonderful writers, both published and unpublished. A common question people asked me that day was: What are you? Reader or writer? My response was: I'm an agented writer on submission. I received lots of (sarcastic) replies of: OH MAN, fun times. And: ugh.

I heard stories from people who were on sub for months and months, and were even still on sub. I heard stories of lightning-fast submissions. These were all stories I'd heard before, but let me tell you, it's scarier when you've already been on sub for an excruciatingly long month, and writers are telling you they've been on sub for nine months with zero offers. Or that they had their first offer in a couple days. It leads you to horrible thoughts like these:




That day at YA in the Sun, I had actually already received the news from my agent that we had interest from two editors. Except, that didn't make me feel much better. It scared the crap out of me. “Interest” does not necessarily lead to an offer. The whole process of editors acquiring a manuscript has multiple steps:

1. They have to like the pitch enough to read the manuscript.

2. They have to fall in love with said manuscript (and believe that people will buy it).

3. Other people in their office have to read it and fall in love with it (and believe that people will buy it).

4. The entire team has to put forth an actual offer.

At any point along the way, that “interest” could turn into absolutely nothing. So, that day at YA in the Sun, I wasn't bouncing on my feet. I was terrified. And I remained terrified for the next two weeks, until on the lovely morning of Tuesday, November 19, I received an email from my agent (because the phones were out of commission in her office) that we had an ACTUAL OFFER from St. Martin's, an imprint of Macmillan. An offer for a three-book deal, which meant I'd be able to write the sequels I'd been dying to write.

I was literally about to walk out the door to drive to school when I received the email. I didn't want to be late for class, so I quickly responded with something like AHHHH and arranged with Alison to call her as soon as I got to campus.

The thirty-minute car ride consisted of me smiling giddily and singing loudly. I got to school, called Alison, and we talked the offer over. When I hung up with her, I called my mom right away. Then I had to attend college classes and pretend like everything was normal. I didn't tell anyone about the offer that day except for my parents because I was afraid of jinxing everything.

The next day, we accepted the offer, and I spilled the news to some of my closer friends and critique partners. I couldn't concentrate on anything else for the next couple days. I basically died of happiness when Publisher's Marketplace announced the deal.

I've wanted to be a published author since I was seven. Not just like, “Oh, hey, it might be cool to get published someday,” but more like, “THIS IS MY GREATEST DREAM.” I sent out my first query letter at thirteen. It took me six whole years and hundreds of query letters before I signed with an agent. Yes, I know nineteen was a pretty young age for that, but six years is still a long time. And it was really more like twelve.

In a little less than two years (assuming all goes well in editorial land *crosses fingers*), my novel EXTRACTION will be on shelves. I'm not sure I've ever been more excited for anything, or more terrified. People will actually be able to READ it and carry it with them in their purses and spill food on it and tell their friends about it. Maybe they won't pick it up. Or maybe they'll read it and hate it.

But you know, even if one person reads it and loves it, that will make me smile. EXTRACTION is a story that fell into my head one night when I wondered what life would be like if the moon were poisonous. I wanted it to be something thought-provoking and possibly heart-wrenching, and I hope I've accomplished that. I hope you'll give it a chance.

Of course, I have to finish making it shiny first. I should really stop writing this guest post, as it is allowing me to procrastinate.

To stay up-to-date on my journey to publication, you can follow me on:

Twitter - @StephanieEDiaz.
And you can add EXTRACTION on Goodreads  -

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blogging Break

In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, I don't really feel like chatting about movies or holding contests so I will be taking a blog break until later next week. Please enjoy your holidays with family and friends and keep the people of Newtown in your prayers. I am reminded how fortunate I am every time I go to work and see twenty shining first grade faces that are safe and healthy. Don't forget to thank the teachers in your life. They do their jobs out of love. 

Some notes:
The Memory of Light contest will start a week later than planned. 

I have a pitch for Dodge the Sun up at KTCrowley's blog as part of the Baker's Dozen Non-Chosen Entrants. It is number 37. 

If it should happen to snow before Christmas, I plan to share some pictures for friends in warmer climates. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Hobbiting I will Go

Just dropping a line to say I can't wait to see the Hobbit! Only one problem: schedules. 

Suddenly everyone wants to have a family party--just a few hours drive away. My son started a job at his high school and may or may not have to work. Since he can't drive yet, this falls on guess who. Daughter is still getting over the cold she caught from (oops) me. This on top of Christmas baking, shopping and merry making.

I see my Hobbit chances this weekend sliding into oblivion. Ugh.

Me: *Lifts chin* Will find time. Will slap the schedules around until I find a window. 

Gandalf schedule wizard: You shall not pass.

Me: Move over obligations. I'm being selfish this time.

Gandalf schedule wizard: The darkness is deepening.

Me: Don't bet on it, bub. I wish none of this had ever happened.

Gandalf schedule wizard: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

To be continued ...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Memory of Light and A Contest

It's no secret that I love epic fantasy. I read it and write it. One of the greatest epic fantasy series of all time and a favorite of mine is coming to a close. January 8, 2013 is the release date for Memory of Light, the last of a fourteen volume series. Yep, that's right. Fourteen volumes over thirteen years of the Wheel of Time. (Or WOT to its admirers.) Thirteen years of dedication to one set of characters. An incredibly intricate mass of world building that encompasses dozens of invented countries and cultures. And what impresses me the most is the individuality of the huge cast of characters.   

This series has a tragic history. The author, Robert Jordan, died after the eleventh book, Knife of Dreams, was finished. Knowing he had a short time to live, he wrote detailed plans and dictated notes, included whole pieces of future novels and most of the grand ending. His editor and wife Harriot help hand pick Brandon Sanderson to finish the series. The last three books are coauthored by Sanderson, using Robert Jordan's notes. In my opinion, Sanderson has done a pretty close job of matching the style and tone of Jordan.

It takes an entire shelf on my bookcases to hold all the volumes plus, the prequel called New Spring. Back in 1990 I bought a book titled, Eye of the World. It was a first edition trade paperback. I had no idea that I'd be hooked for the next decade. Waiting on each new release. Soon I'll have to make room for the very last addition.

My favorite aspect of the WOT series are the clues Jordan put everywhere. Using prophecy and dreams, he hid clues to future book in plain sight. I do love trying to unravel events before they happen and WOT is the best around. There's nothing to equal the joy of finding your predictions coming true two books down the line.

In honor of this much awaiting book, I've decided to have a contest. I'll be giving away a new copy of either Eye of the World or Memory of Light. (Yep, you won't be getting my ratty old copies, but new ones.) Next weekend, I'll have a sign up for a chance to win. The winner will be announced on January 8th.

So what I need from you are comments on which prize you'd like to see. Are you new to the series and you'd rather have a chance at Eye of the World so you can start from the beginning? Or are you a longtime reader and want a copy of Memory of Light? Put your answers in the comments and let me know why you love WOT, then come back next weekend for the announcement.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reaping Me Softly

I hope you'll help me welcome the new release of a wonderful lady. This book is at the top of my 'to be read' list. From my bookshelf it is daring me to get done with this post and get busy reading.

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?


Arianne gave Ben a sidelong glance as they walked on the grass embank­ment running parallel to the road. Weeds tugged at his baggy jeans. The set­ting sun dyed his foul ball t-shirt orange. He’d picked up a stick and some pebbles and played “pitch and hit.” The bill of his Braves baseball cap smiled upside down over his boy-next-door face. Every properly timed whack plucked at Arianne’s nerves. The whole day she’d imagined how her conversation with Ben would go. One scenario ended with her running away in tears. Another involved Ben never speaking to her again. And in the last one, her personal favorite, an asteroid would end the world before she could confess everything.
“Did you change your hair?” he asked after his third imaginary homerun.
Arianne jumped at the sound of his voice.
“Boy, you’re nervous.”
“Mom decided to trim some off the tips.” Arianne twirled a length of the red strands, attempting to act natural and failing when she didn’t notice a protruding root and stumbled over it. She righted herself and said, “Split ends and all that.”
“It looks nice.” Doubt invaded Ben’s grin. He loved to smile. Even when he didn’t feel like it, he smiled. Sometimes, as exampled by this moment, other emotions would creep in and the result looked less than natural. “You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah.” Arianne laughed away her uncertainty, and failed in that too, managing to come off more awkward than before. She returned to the topic of her hair. “In this heat, I want to chop it all off. My hair, I mean.”
“Don’t!” Ben paused and checked himself. “I mean, you’ll regret it. Re­member the time you decided you wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe and your hair turned orange instead of blond?”
She shuddered. “Don’t remind me.”
“What are best friends for if not to warn you away from potentially devas­tating actions? Remember, you’d have to live with whatever you do to yourself, no one else.”
She considered what Ben said. Maybe telling him isn’t such a good idea.
“So,” he continued, tearing her away from her hesitation, “what are you going to tell me?”
Arianne scratched an itch on her arm that wasn’t there. “Who said I wanted to talk about anything?”
This time, Ben let go of his grin entirely and regarded her with full on skepticism. “I’m insulted. We’ve known each other since kindergarten and you still think I don’t know when you want to tell me something?” He grimaced. “Normally, we’d take the bus, but when you want to talk, you always suggest we walk the three miles home.” Just as Ben emphasized the distance, the school bus carrying their rambunctious classmates passed them, adding to his point. “Not that I mind the exercise.”
“Am I really that transparent?” Arianne shuffled her sneakers and adjusted the strap of the bag on her shoulder.
“I just know you better than anyone else.”
She smiled a small, shy smile. “You’re right. I have to tell you something.” She collected her thoughts like scattered clothes on her bedroom floor then said, “There’s no easy way to tell you this…”
All signs of life drained from Ben’s face. Eyes wild, he grabbed her shoul­ders. “Is it Carrie? Did something happen to her?”
At the mention of her sister, she held on to his wrists like she was about to fall off a cliff. “What? No! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you have to chill. No more coffee for you, mister.” She extricated herself from Ben’s death grip. “This has nothing to do with her.”
He took off his cap and ran his fingers through his sandy hair before jam­ming it back on. “Don’t scare me like that.” He huffed and strode away. “And I don’t drink coffee!”
Arianne pulled on her earlobe before scrambling to catch up. “You’re the one who jumped to conclusions. And if anything happened to Carrie, you’d be the first to know.” She came up to him until her steps matched his. “I’m trying to tell you that I see dead people. Well…technically, I see their souls.”
Ben kept marching on.
“Hey, did you hear me?”
“Happy April Fool’s to you, too,” said Ben.
“It’s September, you ninny.”
“Well, it sure sounds like April to me.”
Arianne grabbed his sleeve. Ben searched her face, and her gaze fell. An afternoon breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees lining both sides of the road. The sunset stabbed shadow knives all around them.
“As in M. Night Shyamalan ‘I see dead people’?”
Reluctantly, Arianne nodded. “It sounds crazy — ”
“You bet your ass it sounds crazy.” Ben paused. He heaved a long and weighty sigh. “Look at me when you’re revealing freaky things about yourself.”
She lifted her gaze. “I’m sorry I haven’t — ”
“Since when?” he interrupted.
It felt like melted ice dotted her brow. “What?”
“Since when can you ‘see dead people’?”
“A couple of years back.”
“A couple of years.” He took off his cap, ran his hand through his hair again, then replaced it on his head — his helmet against all things freaky. “Jesus, Ari. I thought we promised to tell each other everything.”
“Okay, not the reaction I was looking for.” Disbelief exploded in her head. “You mean to tell me you’re pissed because I took so long to tell you?”
“We’re best friends. That has to count for something. Isn’t listening to each other’s secrets what best friends are supposed to do?”
“So, you’re saying you believe me?”4
 “Why would you lie about something like that?” He engulfed her with his body, strong arms securely around her waist, his Dial scent coating her lungs. “Ari, you should have told me sooner. I’m sure you were scared the moment you saw the first ghost.”
She giggled. “On the contrary, it wasn’t scary at all. I was visiting Pops at the nursing home when I saw the woman. I pointed her out and Pops told me there was no one there. I did some research — ”
“Of course you did.” Ben broke the hug. “So, what are you? Psychic or something?”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Arianne dug her nails into the strap of her bag. “I don’t see the future or anything. My research says I’m more like a Medium, although I can’t speak to the dead. Or I haven’t tried. I don’t think I will, FYI. And I see them only for a second or two. They disappear pretty fast.”
“You’ve put a lot of thought into this.”
“Wouldn’t you?” She rubbed her forehead. “I mean, it doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s like having extra people walking around, you know? Well… they’re naked — ”
“Whoa!” Ben surrendered. “Too much information.”
“But it’s true!” she insisted.
“I’ll take your word for it,” he said. Then he crossed his arms. “Why tell me now? Why wait so many years?”
Arianne challenged the tangerine sun to a staring contest until the fading light made her close her eyes. A yellow orb still floated at the center of the darkness. She breathed in the post-summer air and said, “Seeing dead people, you know? I guess I’m just tired of keeping it all to myself.”
Ben wrapped his hand around hers. “Come on, I want to get home some time before dinner starts.”
Arianne thought she must have had an aneurism between the time she’d told Ben her secret and when he’d accepted it as nothing special, because it seemed so surreal that all the scenarios she’d played out hadn’t happened. Especially her favorite one.
“Thanks,” she said as Ben tugged her toward home.

Author Bio:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista

Find Reaping Me Softly on Goodreads

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bond is Back and Back and ...

I hope everyone is surviving the shopping season and having a good time with family and friends. I promised a quick post about how the James Bond movies give a great example of a successful and enduring series. Truthfully, I wanted an excuse to post more pictures of Bond.

The Bond movies succeed because they form a blend of the familiar with the new. They give us what we love and include something we haven’t seen before.

First off, the Bond movies stay true to the cast of characters. They create memorable characters, and they aren’t afraid to reuse them over and over, keeping their personalities intact. Besides Bond, there are M and Q, Moneypenny and Felix. Those characters are the foundation of the series, and it doesn’t matter whether the actors change as long as the characters remain essentially unchanged.

The core plots are always the same as well: A villainous mastermind out to destroy the world, only to be stopped by the physical and mental manipulations of the seasoned spy. Viewers know to expect grand action scenes, culminating in one vast final coupe of explosions and death.

But Bond always blends the known with the new and improved. There are always new gadgets to impress with their technology. New heights to which the action reaches in an unstoppable bid to outduel the last movie.

Thought many characters remain the same, we can always count on new and exciting additions. Almost each movie introduces a new villain. There are new beauties to admire and conquer.

Obviously there is much to be learned for writers about balancing content from previous works while keeping it all new and fresh. The scope should always be trying to be bigger, more impressive. It’s a can’t lose combination.