Tuesday, January 22, 2013

GCC Presents: Melissa Walker!

This week one of my favorite books by one of my favorite girlfriends from the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is being released in paperback. (Whew, trying saying that mouthful ten times fast!) I'm talking about SMALL TOWN SINNERS by Melissa Walker.

I seriously cannot tell you how much I adored this book, so if you haven't read it yet, now is the time to pick it up the paperback version with this lovely new zoomed-in cover:

When the hard cover came out, I did a full book lowdown/interview with Melissa which you can find here. In celebration of the paperback release, Melissa has sent me this fun little background tidbit about the book:

Before I write the book, I do little interviews with some characters. That information almost never makes it into the manuscript, but I like having it. Here's a tiny bit from Dean, one of main character Lacey Anne's best friends:
What you love about your town?
I like the way the sun sets. I like the sky at night in the dark, when no one can see me and it’s quiet—no one can even hear me, but I can see a million stars.

What you hate about your town?
The bullies. Is there a place without them?

What do you love about your church?
The messages. I do want things to be the way our pastor says they should be. I wish people actually lived by the rules, but it seems like they just repent one day a week.

Future dreams?
To get out of here.

In addition to this, Melissa wanted to let you know that she has A BIG CONTEST going on that you should enter here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The lowdown on my WIP

A couple weeks ago, my lovely CP Jenny Seay tagged me in a meme wherein you share some info on the novel you are working on. I've been doing my best to stay offline and work on said novel-in-progress, but I'm up early and thought answering a few q's about it might actually get me in the mindset to work on it after a weekend mostly off. Plus, I know I don't blog much anymore and it's been ages since I've had a book out, so I feel I owe you something besides my Rookie pieces.

What is the title of your next book?
Oh hmmm, this is not a good way to start off, but I'm very superstitious about sharing titles until the book is at least done and being shopped. So I have been referring to it publicly as The Contemporary YA... I will give you this, the working title comes from a Hole song....

Where did the idea come for the book?
In 2010, it rained so hard in my area that my basement flooded twice and the floods were exactly one month apart. It was stressful, but in dealing with it, I thought it could have been worse, especially if things of irreplaceable sentimental value had been down there. From there, my writer's imagination spiraled and I thought, what if a teenage girl's older brother had recently died and his room had been in the basement. I've found myself writing about grief a lot lately because I lost a friend in 2008, so this became an outlet for dealing with my own grief in a way. Also, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship in high school and have wanted to write a story that deals with that for a long time, When I got to know Meredith, my main character, I realized that in trying to run from her grief and be "normal," she'd wound up in an unhealthy relationship. Oh and last but not least, since my book is set in place close to where BALLADS is set, I thought it might fun to refer back to that book in some way (I love it when Sarah Dessen and other authors do this!). Meredith attends a grief therapy group and I thought who better to lead that group than a grown-up Cass.

What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh god, I am horrible at this sort of thing. The only actor I've ever imagined playing any of my characters is that I can see Madeleine Martin from Californication as Emily from IWBYJR. I don't have an actor in mind at ALL for Meredith. She tried very hard to be the normal teenage girl who blends in and she basically does. She's medium height with dirty blonde hair that she prefers to wear in a ponytail and she's thinner than she should be. So if anyone comes to mind, please tell me. It would be nice to have an image of her/start a Pinterest for this book.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Crap, horrible at this, too!!!! Umm....Okay, on the fly back jacket copy is the best I can do...
It's been almost a year since sixteen year-old Meredith Bell lost her older brother, Justin, and she's been trying to convince herself and everyone around her that she's fine. In fact her life couldn't be better, especially since she started dating Bret, a hot guitarist who she's been crushing on since freshman year. But when she discovers a connection between Bret and two people in her grief therapy group and Bret's grows increasingly controlling and overprotective, Meredith's perfect, "normal" world begins to fall apart.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be represented by my amazing agent, Adrienne Rosado.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's still in progress. Aiming to finish a shitty first draft by the end of February (with the help of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival!). Came up with the idea in November of 2010 and wrote the first few chapters while I was struggling with my bartender book. Started working on it in earnest in August of 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Um, my own? But I strive to write something as powerful as Holly Cupala, Sara Zarr, and Courtney Summers regularly do.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My own struggles with grief and an emotionally abusive relationship

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Structurally the book is written alternating present and past tense. We meet Meredith on the day when everything really falls apart and flip back and forth between that and how it all happened. I posted an excerpt from the first past tense section on facebook last week. Here's a chunk from the present tense. This is how the book begins: 

When someone destroys something that really matters to you it’s worse than a punch in the face.
At least I think it might be. He never hit me, but sometimes I wish he had.
Actually I wish he would do it right now.
That’s a sick thing to wish for, isn’t it? But if he took a swing at me—especially here, in the middle of our high school hallway when it’s at max capacity moments before the first bell—it would all be out in the open for everyone to see and I would be able to stop questioning if the things he does are wrong because hitting someone definitely is.
Black-and-blue is black-and-white. It’s not a misunderstanding, a signal I misread, a joke that I didn’t get because I don’t have a sense of humor anymore, or something I’m blowing out of proportion because I’m crazy. No one would be able to say, “Meredith, it’s all in your head.” Not him, not Abby, not even me.
That’s not how he operates, though.
I already have an idea of what is going to happen. When I accidentally glanced across the hall and made eye contact with him, it was like looking in the rearview mirror, seeing a semi-truck hurtling down the hill behind you and visualizing the whole accident before it takes place, but not knowing how to prevent it. I guess I could’ve swerved into oncoming traffic, slamming my locker shut and shoving through the crowd like I thought I was late or something, but my body isn’t cooperating with my brain.

And there you have it. My current project. Now I am off to work on it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

GCC Presents: Lucienne Diver

My Girlfriends Cyber Circuit buddy Lucienne Diver has a new book out, FANGTABULOUS, the latest in her VAMPED series. Here's the lowdown!


Gina Covello and her band of federal fugitives are on the run after taking down a secret (and sinister) government facility. Strapped without cash or credit cards—a fate worse than death for Gina—the rebels must find a place to lay low. They roll into Salem, Massachusetts, the most haunted town in America and the only place they have friends flying under the radar. But within a day, Gina and her gang are embroiled in a murder mystery of the supernatural kind.

Someone—or something—is strangling young women, and it's rumored to be the ghost of Sheriff Corwin, late of the Salem Witch trials.  Is it the ghostly Sheriff or is someone on this side of the veil using the famous story as a cover up? Gina is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, and she needs to do it before a paranormal reporter on the scene exposes them for what they are...fanged federal fugitives.

About the author:

Lucienne Diver writes the humorous, suspenseful Vamped series of young adult vampire novels for Flux Books, including Vamped, Revamped, Fangtastic and the most recent, Fangtabulous.  Her short stories have been included in the Strip-Mauled and Fangs for the Mammaries anthologies edited by Esther Friesner (Baen Books), and her essay on abuse is included in the anthology Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperTeen).  She also writes the Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series for Samhain (Bad Blood, Crazy in the Blood and the forthcoming Rise of the Blood).

The Interview:

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

LUCIENNE: The fact that my publisher made me an offer.  No, seriously!  When I turned in a proposal for the third book in the Vamped series, my publisher came back with an offer for two more.  Two!  Well, I didn’t have any idea in mind yet for the fourth book, but I was so thrilled at the faith they were showing that I went looking for inspiration.  I knew that I wanted to take my characters to Salem, Massachusetts, the most haunted town in America, and my visit to the town was so inspiring that the plot suggested itself.

Q: The main character of my first book, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, is the kind of girl I wanted to be (a rock star!), the MC of my second book has a lot more in common with teenage me. Is your main character someone you wish you could be, someone a lot like you, or your total opposite? How so?

LUCIENNE: My heroine is a fanged fashionista very concerned with beautifying herself and the world; she’s about as far from the teenaged me as I can imagine.  I was never the popular girl and I never had her confidence.  Maybe that was why I had so much fun knocking her off her throne—killing her off before the first book even begins only to have her rise from the dead with no way to fix her hair and make-up, her old life gone.  But Gina’s a tough one.  She puts on her big girl panties and deals with it.  I guess I admire her for the strength that she always shows and the new depth to her character that develops as the series goes along.

Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?

LUCIENNE: “Psycho” by Puddle of Mudd – for obvious reasons
 “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven - because it’s kind of creepy awesome and suggests possession of a sort, as in Fangtabulous (just check out the “Paralyzer” video!)
“My Immortal” by Evanescence - because really it’s perfect.
“Distance” by Christina Perri – this is how my heroine is toward her white knight
“Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls – because it involves the choice to run or to commit, and it’s one my characters have to face in Fangtabulous

Q: In addition to writing books, I also write for a website for teens called Rookie, which has a regular feature called "Literally The Best Thing Ever," wherein we write about a thing that we think is super mega awesome (even if it is the type of thing that others might call a guilty pleasure, we believe there is nothing guilty about pleasure!) and explain why we think it is literally the best thing ever. It's generally a kind of unexpected thing, for example I wrote one about the soap opera, One Life To Live. I don't expect you to write a whole essay obviously, but can you briefly tell us what either you or your character (or both!) would say is "Literally The Best Thing Ever" and why?

LUCIENNE: Since we’re on the topic of music, I’d have to say that Christina Perri is “Literally The Best Thing Ever.”  I’ve loved her since I heard “Jar of Hearts” on the show So You Think You Can Dance, which is one of my addictions.  I bought her CD Lovestrong in preparation to see her and Jason Mraz in concert, because I was very familiar with his work, but not as familiar with Christina Perri’s other songs.  It’s quickly become one of my favorite CDs.  Her music is haunting, her minor chords speak to me, and her song “Arms” is practically the story of my courtship with my husband.  In concert, she’s amazing.  So much stage presence, so much heart and soul and pain in her music.  I believe she mentioned that she wrote “Tragedy” when she was seventeen.  I’m blown away by her talent and the feelings expressed in her music.  If as a writer I can learn to express myself half so well I’ll count it a victory.

Q: What are you working on for us next?

LUCIENNE: Once I turn in the third novel in my Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series for Samhain and a short story in the same universe, I’m going to go back to work on a novel that’s been calling to me for some time.  It’s quite a bit darker than my tongue-in-cheek Vamped series and is going to be a real challenge for me, but I also think it’s going to be very rewarding in the long run, especially if I can learn anything from Christina Perri and her inspiring songwriting.