May 31, 2013

A Little Bit of This and That and Love

A week ago I wrote this piece for ADR3NALIN3, the other blog on post on, on what insta-love really is. I still stand by what I wrote there, but I do want to clarify a few things. 

"And while we might not see every single trial and tribulation they go through, there are very few literary couples that have everything so perfect from beginning to end. Actually, I can’t think of one. So much of the criticism surrounding insta-love is that it happens so quickly. One moment and it’s over. Love has been had. That’s it. In reality, those moments of instant connection are just the beginning of a more delicate love. There are different stages of love, each of them simple and complex at the same time. And while there are those who think literary criticism and real life opinions should stay separate, I think that, like love, nothing is so black and white. So, to call the idea of “insta-love” or “love at first sight” unrealistic would be accurate only if that was all that happened. But that’s not exactly the complete version of love, it’s the beginnings of it. A much better term for the insta-love connection we see so regularly in literature would be “insta-kind-of-love-but-really-thinking-about-becoming-love” because love, in reality and in literature, is so much more than that first connection. It’s about building upon that first connection, whether it’s a good or bad one. Through the tough times and the easy. And while it does all have to start somewhere, that moment of first sight is not where it ends. That, after all, wouldn’t be any kind of love story. Love surrounds all the great moments in life. For some of us, these moments just happen in an instant and stay around long after."

What I mean is this: The stories we read about in novels are just moments of much larger stories. Like looking at a photograph, we're only giving a moment in time. So, perhaps we're looking at the moment in which love happens. Perhaps not. Either way, I think it's important to realize that even though love or something like it may happen within the first few pages of a story, that certainly doesn't mean it's the end. Or even the beginning. There are all different kinds of love, but not one that ends as quickly as it begins. A first connection should not define a story. Rather, it should enhance the urgency we often read about in literature that is so often missed in real life. 

So, fall in love. 

Take risks. 

Live in the moment.  

Love surrounds all the great moments in life.


May 28, 2013

Shades of the Stars Playlist/Cover Reveal Tour coming June 3-7!

"Includes The Witch's Curse, The Warrior's Code, and an exclusive novella called The Enchanter's Fire. Playlists, essays on the magical world of the Order, deleted scenes from Light of the Moon and an author interview are also included. And a special look at the sequel, Shadow of the Sun. 

 In The Enchanter's Fire, Lily Woods is a girl on fire. Literally. Her element burns as fierce as her heart, and very few enchanters want to get close to a girl with such radiant power. None except for Shane Spencer, a boy as calm and cool as his icy element. But fire and ice don't mix, and the element Lily burns inside her is growing stronger. Unstoppable. Soon, Lily's fire may be the end of them all. Taking place during the final, pulse-pounding moments of Light of the Moon, The Enchanter's Fire burns with action and romance." 

 Lily plays a HUGE role in the events that happen in the sequel. Her story is taken from this quote of Calum's: 

 “I saw a woman in red, her hair like embers burning, touch her hand to a cold 
lantern and light the flame with a snap of her fingers.” 
 Light of the Moon - Legend of the Dreamer, Book 1 

 Shades of the Stars is on sale July 2nd! 

 And get ready for the exclusive 
 Shades of the Stars Playlist/Cover Reveal Tour 
 coming June 3-7!

May 23, 2013

More Book Poetry

If I stay
where you are,
don't let me go
before I fall

The space between
what I didn't say-
where things come back
fallen in love.

May 22, 2013

On Diversity (Again)

Quick post today.

I came across this awesome photo on Twitter today:

Divergent. The Hunger Games. Percy Jackson. Harry Potter.

Seriously and without sarcasm, this photo is awesome. As are the books. As are the authors. As are the characters. As are (for the most part) the movies. 

But when I saw this photo, I looked at it for a few seconds. I didn't like something, but I didn't know exactly what it was. I couldn't put my finger on it. And then it hit me. 

Where is the diversity?

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE these books, their authors, and the characters that live on their pages. I wouldn't change a thing about them. But I do think it's time for diversity to grace the literary stage in the form of heroes and heroines. See my posts HERE and HERE on diversity. And the truth is that there are a lot of amazing and diverse books out there (Legend by Marie Lu). So, why not? It's time, I think. Although I will say (like I say HERE), a diverse point simply made for the sake of being diverse can ruin the entire point - it's about leading by example not by lecture. Story must come first, of course, and nothing should ever be forced simply to make a point - when that happens, often the point is lost. And I think it's time for some new colors (also, gender/sexuality/age/etc) in the way of heroes and heroines.

What do you all think? 

Mythology: The Wicked by Helen Boswell

Book two of the MYTHOLOGY series by Helen Boswell 

In MYTHOLOGY, readers are introduced to Hope and Micah. Book two belongs to the good bad boy who will capture your heart all over again:


Book description

"A demon with a pure heart, Micah Condie lives his life by a code of ethics, but breaking that code may be the only way for him to survive. A supernatural entity in her own right, Hope Gentry would do anything in her power to protect her loved ones, but she may be the one who puts them in peril.

When the Demon Impiorum challenges the laws that keep guardians and demons in balance, ancient enforcers of justice intervene. Micah, Hope, and their mentor Jonathan become entangled in a conspiracy that will test even the deepest love and trust.

Someone will commit an act of betrayal. Someone will forever abandon a loved one.

Someone will enter The Wicked."

Add MYTHOLOGY: THE WICKED to Goodreads today!

Want to get to know Micah?
Follow Micah on Twitter.

Want to meet Micah and Hope before THE WICKED comes out late summer? (You really should!)

MYTHOLOGY on Amazon:  ebook/paperback
MYTHOLOGY at Barnes and Noble:  ebook/paperback
MYTHOLOGY on iTunes: ebook
MYTHOLOGY on Kobo: ebook

A message from the author, Helen Boswell:

I think every kid is gifted in some way. For me, I was a complete bookworm, and I will always be thankful for my mother allowing me to read at the kitchen table during mealtimes. Reading naturally led to writing by the time I was eight or nine – I started with fantasy stories, dabbled with writing a bit of romance, and finally published my urban fantasy MYTHOLOGY in 2012. I've lived in several places throughout the U.S., including upstate New York (the setting of my novel), and steadily moved out west. I currently live in Utah with my husband and two young sons and spend my time teaching, writing, and playing. I wouldn't trade my life for anything. J

May 21, 2013

Shades of the Stars synopsis and secrets

Shades of the Stars is a Legend of the Dreamer anthology. 

 "Includes The Witch's Curse, The Warrior's Code, and an exclusive novella called The Enchanter's Fire. Playlists, essays on the magical world of the Order, deleted scenes from Light of the Moon and an author interview are also included. And a special look at the sequel, Shadow of the Sun

 In The Enchanter's Fire, Lily Woods is a girl on fire. Literally. Her element burns as fierce as her heart, and very few enchanters want to get close to a girl with such radiant power. None except for Shane Spencer, a boy as calm and cool as his icy element. But fire and ice don't mix, and the element Lily burns inside her is growing stronger. Unstoppable. Soon, Lily's fire may be the end of them all. Taking place during the final, pulse-pounding moments of Light of the Moon, The Enchanter's Fire burns with action and romance."

Note: As an author, I'm a big fan of connecting the dots and hiding secrets in layers within my stories. We actually see Lily in Light of the Moon, and will see her even more in the sequel, Shadow of the Sun. Lily plays a HUGE role in the events that happen in the sequel. Her story is taken from this quote of Calum's:

“I saw a woman in red, her hair like embers burning, 
 touch her hand to a cold lantern and light the flame with a snap of her fingers.” 
Light of the Moon - Legend of the Dreamer, Book 1

Shades of the Stars is on sale July 2nd!

And get ready for the exclusive 
Shades of the Stars Playlist/Cover Reveal Tour 
coming June 3-7!

May 20, 2013

Book Poetry

I saw this awesome post on Smash Attack Reads site the other day and fell completely in love with the idea that books are literal pieces of poetry. How beautiful is that idea? That even the spines of books hold meaning. And, when we stack a few titles together, not only do we have the individual wonders inside each one, but also the added meaning of a new piece of art. So, here we go. Here is mine.

If I should die- 
unravel me. 
the last echo. 
the dark 
under the never sky.

Books I Want and Covers I Love

I want need all these as soon as possible. I'm so excited for these books to come out! What are some books that you're excited for? Any of these?

And remember that Shades of the Stars is coming in July!

May 19, 2013


Today is the final day to get all the books (so far) in the Legend of the Dreamer series for just .99 cents each. That means you could buy The Warrior's Code, The Witch's Curse, and Light of the Moon all for less than it would normally be to buy Light of the Moon! Deal.

May 18, 2013

On The Greatness of Gatsby (The Movie)

The Good: I'm not sure why so many critics and readers have been so apprehensive about another adaptation of The Great Gatsby, especially with such a talented team attached to it. The acting in this film is, as expected, incredible. There has never, ever been a better Gatsby or a more beautiful "fool" of a Daisy. In all honesty, the acting was the best part of the film. That, and the script that seemed to be an extension of the book itself - with lines literally coloring the screen. Those worried about the faithfulness of the film to the novel should rest easy, because while the coloring of the film may seem a bit different than what we're used to, even Baz Luhrmann's art direction stays true to the definition of the Roaring Twenties. In fact, Luhrmann's crew spent quite a bit of time researching buildings and inspiration pieces that Fitzgerald himself would have seen. The sets are equally fantastic and true.

EDIT: I've read a few reviews that claim the movie ignores the "heart" of the novel, and I completely disagree. One look at (2013) Gatsby and Daisy together and I wonder how anyone could question the complicated love they have for each other. If anything, this movie lives from the hearts of its actors.

Don't be afraid of something just because it looks a bit different, people. Look beneath the surface.

The Bad: Okay. Not so much bad, because I really did enjoy Gatsby. Still, I wish there would have been a stronger focus on art direction. Yes, I said it. With the film already being directed by Luhrmann, I was prepared for a Moulin Rouge-type spectacular show. And I got it. Sometimes. Sometimes, however, the madness of the Roaring Twenties just looked like a fun costume party. Which, actually, I guess it probably was.

Specifically, the party scenes came off as lacking (see above), with some of the decorations looking like they escaped from a Party City Sweet Sixteen party instead of a million dollar Gatsby party. Luhrmann decided to focus more on story rather than stay more than a few seconds on the jazz performers. For that he should be proud, because it surely pleased critics and stubborn readers. Those jazz scenes, however, are the places in the film where I wanted more. And while the art direction of the film was still incredibly beautiful, nothing compared to shots like this:

Or when we first meet Daisy. When she is giggling in a room filled with white curtains. That scene is pure movie magic, as though the book were living and breathing on screen. I wanted more like that. And while it's clear this is a more serious Luhrmann piece, though it does have a lot of comedic moments, some of the film felt uneven.

Like the soundtrack. Jay-Z's attempt was ambitious yet lacking (movie soundtrack vs. album soundtrack). Possibly the oddest part of the film's soundtrack was when "Crazy in Love" began to play during an already comedic (and romantic) scene between Gatsby and Daisy. Most of the soundtrack (except for the gorgeous and completely appropriate "Young and Beautiful") just felt off. There were beautiful moments when jazz met art and the Roaring Twenties came to life on screen - and a lot of those happened when the soundtrack was completely modern and filled with R&B beats and style - but a few times it just felt oddly flat. Especially after the beauty of the trailer. 

Still, this movie is beautiful and filled with accurate imagery that is also seen in the novel. Daisy always wears white. The green light becomes not only a metaphor for love, but life and the American Dream. The iconic Gatsby is stripped away layer by layer. And even Nick, the narrator of the story, is shown in the film as being lost to this incredibly intoxicating world of jazz and love and alcohol. 


May 14, 2013

The Warrior's Code IS OUT!

The Warrior's Code

"Live by the Code. Die by the Code. In the magical world of the Order, Warriors fight for justice, freedom, and peace. Becoming a Warrior is an honor given to few, and twelve-year-olds Zackery Solts and Kate Black will do anything to have a place among the elite. Zack and Kate must compete against eighteen others and pass three deadly tests of courage and skill. Above all, they must be strong because while the dangers of the tests are unknown, one thing is clear: not everyone will survive."

The Warrior’s Code (Book 1.2) is an e-format prequel short story in the Legend of the Dreamer series that can be read before or after Light of the Moon (Book 1). 


Secret: The last page of The Warrior's Code gives a HUGE hint at a love interest for Zack appearing in Shadow of the Sun (the sequel to Light of the Moon). I won't say who or why, but look for hint. It's there, (hint: "star blinked above") I promise. And it's a BIG kind of love. Who do you think it is?

May 13, 2013

The Warrior's Code Playlist (OUT TOMORROW)

The Warrior's Code is a story about survival in a dangerous world. It's about finding yourself. Finding a home. Told from Zack's point of view (a character who you meet very briefly in Light of the Moon, and who will have a much larger role in Shadow of the Sun), The Warrior's Code is a story about discovering freedom. To me, this playlist of songs really describes the tone of The Warrior's Code. You'll see that most of these songs are a little "heavier" than the songs I normal post, and I think that's true for the story as well. The Warrior's Code has a lot more action in it than The Witch's Curse or Light of the Moon, and I wanted to showcase that sense of urgency with this playlist.

"Way Away" - Yellowcard
This song, like The Warrior's Code, is about taking control of your own life. Realizing that good things are okay to have, and that bad things don't have to be just because they always were. In a way, "Way Away" is a kind of transition song about attempting to start over. 

"The Great Escape" - Boys Like Girls
Although this song is less serious than the issues dealt with in The Warrior's Code, it is about becoming a free individual. Taking hold of your own destiny. I really love that about this song, and it's something I wanted to showcase in Zack's story.

"Face Down" - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
In The Warrior's Code, Zack must overcome a lot of hardships based in his past. I actually didn't listen to "Face Down" while writing TWC, but the song fits perfectly with the story. Underneath the surface of Zack's strong, Warrior exterior, there is a troubled, very difficult past. And I really appreciate that this song is about taking control of life instead of letting it control you.

"In The End" - Black Veil Brides
"In The End" isn't the kind of music I usually listen to, but it really fits The Warrior's Code well. There's the sense of finding yourself, staying true to who you are. And I love how this song suggests that only you can tell the story of your life. "Who will tell the story of your life?"

"Stay With Me" - You Me at Six
While listening to "Stay With Me," I actually pictured a different version of the song. Instead of it being, as is, a song from lover to lover, I pictured it as a song from self to self. In TWC, Zack struggles with a lot of internal battles. His past and his future. Who is was and who he wants to be. This song represents how Zack wants to move on, but maybe can't let go.

"This Is War" - Thirty Seconds to Mars
Really. There could not be a more perfect song for The Warrior's Code
"It's the moment of truth, and the moment to lie,
The moment to live and the moment to die,
The moment to fight, the moment to fight..."

"False Pretense" - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
I love how this song takes ownership of things that might be too hard for a lot of us to deal with. The Warrior's Code is about dealing with the hard things in life. Difficult choices. Choices that move you forward if you let them. 


May 9, 2013

The Importance of World Building

Once upon a time, I wrote THIS post discussing world building in Light of the Moon. And then THIS post, which appeared on Smash Attack Read's wonderful blog (go check it out). The main idea in both of those articles was that world building should be a quiet whisper of what is actually happening in the story. Mainly, we should see the world through the character's eyes. I still think the "show rather than tell" approach is a great way to go, but I can't help but think there is so much more to world building than that.

I'm a firm believer that certain literary things have greater impacts if they are done quietly. Certain topics are better felt than lectured upon (see THIS post about diversity in Marie Lu's Legend). Certain elements of diversity are better understood through action rather than instruction. The point of this whispered theory is this: A reader will feel more, understand more, and be involved more if a character is taken on an emotional journey rather than simply placed in the middle of the action. For me, this is very true. I connect more with characters who grow and develop through the story. I understand more if they show instead of tell.

I think this approach can also be said in reference to world building.

Once upon a time I said this: "For me, world building is about creating characters that are able to show things about your worlds you cannot."

Now I say this: The world you create should be as alive as your characters. It should live and breathe and be a character itself. 

The world should be detailed, real. Through the character's eyes, the world should come alive because it already IS alive. And we should see that as readers. We should feel the impact of the world instead of read a lecture about it. World building is incredibly important. It can make or break a novel. World building is a character. What do you think?

Of course, there are exceptions to every rules, especially when it comes to writing.

Go break some.

May 7, 2013

5 First Things (I Think) All Authors Will Always Remember

1) Typing the words THE and END together. At last.

For me, this happened a long time before THE END actually was THE END, but I still remember it clearly. The first time I finished a story, even if it wasn't ready for publication, I felt like I HAD something. I had done something good enough to type THE END. And that is something I still remember to this day. The first time.

2) Hiding specific lines or references in the story and hoping your editor doesn't catch them. And, if they do, fighting for them tooth and nail. Or reworking them into a different passage. Because that's not cheating.

Okay. I'll admit I've done this multiple times. During edits or revising, sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to, and sometimes lines have to be deleted. There's always that one line, however, that I want to MAKE IT more than anything. And if for some reason it doesn't make it in that first draft, you can bet I'll find a way to make it fit somewhere else. I pretend I'm a secret agent until I get the job done. 

3) Seeing your first cover for the first time.

Enough said. 

4) Looking around your house after the final round of edits and saying "So this is what it looks like when a tornado hits."

I always knew being an author would be hard work. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else, but it is tough work - especially during those finals deadlines. I remember my first "real" deadline, pausing about halfway through, and wondering if my work space would ever look the same again. Normally, I'm a bit of a clean freak, but everything was out of place. General madness. But that's what happens during deadlines. You let your work consume you. And, in the end, there is absolutely no feeling better than finishing a manuscript.

5) Seeing your book in an actual store for the first time.

It's real. It is a real thing. Not just an ARC. Not just for you. It's here for people to buy. People in real life, not just on Twitter. It's real. 

It. Is. Real.

May 4, 2013

Sometimes It's Good To Stand Alone

Lately, I've been wanting to read a lot of standalone novels. Not to say I don't enjoy series. I do. Very much so. But due to editing and finishing The Warrior's Code and Shades of the Stars, I haven't had much time to really invest myself in series as much as I normally do. So, I'm looking for standalone recommendations. What are some standalone novels you've really enjoyed? Since I normally read young adult and usually only the paranormal variety, here are some of my favorite standalone reads. Because sometimes it's good to stand alone. 

Brenna Yovanoff is an author I love. Beautiful writing. Beautiful story.

Above was a CRAZY read for me. And I loved it. Every single word held meaning.

Mystery. Great characters. Robin Wasserman includes it all.

Vampires. Magic. Excellent world building. I wanted more, but was so happy this was a standalone.

CREEPY MYSTERY. I loved Harbinger.

Zombies. High School. Perfection.

I had no idea what was happening and I LOVED IT. 

Beautifully written, Shadows Cast by Stars is a talk on diversity, finding a home, and magic.

May 1, 2013

Birthday Warrior Teaser!

Seeing as today is my birthday and I'm eating all kinds of cake and ice cream and being completely healthy about it the level of coffee I'm drinking, I thought I'd give you all a The Warrior's Code teaser! The Warrior's Code (out 5/14/13) is a novella written from Zack's POV and is set just before the time he and Kate are to become Warrior's. This story is very action-based, though there are a lot of heavier issues at play. Zack struggles with finding a home, a family, especially one that will accept every little thing about him. This story is Zack's past, and you will see his future in Shadow of the Sun (late 2013). And, like you'll see, there's a lot more to Zack's past than happy memories. The Warrior's Code shows what it's like to have a happy ending be your happy beginning.