Thursday, March 31, 2011


For those of you that don't know it, I'm a mom of four. About a year ago, my son asked me to write a book about Pirates. I knew that I had to really do it up for him, I wanted him to read it soooo much. Well he did, and he told me what I needed to do to make it even better - but most of all, he said, "Mom, you nailed this!"


Check them out, please comment and support these wonderful bloggers that took a chance on BANDITS and gave it a read.

Okay, I'm gonna cry...JOYFUL tears. More awesome amazing reviews of Bandits!!!

LovLivLife Reviews

The Bo0ki3 Reviews:

Writer's Alley

All Consuming Books



Oh yeah baby!!! There's going to be a Launch Party for Bandits! We'll be giving away some awesome prizes.

So until then, stay tuned.

NOW TO THE PRIZE! First Come First Serve!

We have a ton of books! So we are going to give away a YA Pack.


THE PACK by LM Preston
OTHER by Karen Kincy

To get the prize....

Follow me on:

Tweet about it: TWITTER:
Like ME/Friend Me: FACEBOOK:

and send Email to publisher on : to confirm or
Post your email for notification.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Self Publishing All The Rage? Huh?

Okay, I’ve been hopping around blogs lately and all the talk about this writer going from Self-Pub to Traditional, and that writer turning down traditional pub big $ to self-pub oh my!

Here’s my take, and let me tell you – I know the ropes inside and out. How?


We have choices! Yep, that’s what is going on. Again I say it. Writers should now see themselves as a true business entity. An entity that has the ability to decide what is the best way to sell their work (and each work has a different road to be sold). That work being short stories, poetry, novels, comic books, scripts or whatever. That means that an author no longer has to define the potential of a sale based on one avenue. Now we have many avenues.


I, an African American, who grew up in Washington DC which has been a known to have a diverse group of people desired to read books that identified with my personal struggles in life. Where did I find these books? Many places like, street vendors that sold books written and published by African American Writers, colleges where I attended (since I went to a predominately black college) and Indie bookstores that specialized in those authors – self published African American authors.

Truth is, when I was just a reader (not the writer pursuing to sell her own stuff) I didn’t even look at the books to see who published them. I first checked out the cover, then the back of the book, and a few of the first pages. Viola’ then I’d decide to shell out my cash for it.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still purchased mainstream books that were in the bookstores and libraries, but the ones I found at the street vendors, my college, or when an author came to speak – they were gems.

I still own all of those books today – you know why? Because no one else has them. Some of my friends from college even ask me if I still have one or the other.


If you just want to only write and have someone else do all the selling – those days are gone. Sure, famous writers seem to have all the promo – but remember, in life there’s a price for everything. Don’t waste your time hating on someone that’s got something you want – make it happen for yourself!

Authors of all sorts have to do some of the work. Publishers don’t have full pockets and now don’t mind investing in authors that they see are willing to do some of the investing in themselves in order to be successful. Truth is, my small publisher, doesn’t want a pre-Madonna author that refuses to help promote their book in some way. Now, many of the small publishers need an author willing to invest time and efforts in promotions just check out some of the small publishers forums.

For an self-published author to have success, they have to have a decent cover, good book, BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE (so they should research what they are getting into first), and time. It takes time to be successful in the Indie game. My friend who is self-pub invested 3 years of constant marketing care and feeding before she hit number #35 on the NY Times Best Sellers list.


First and foremost I tell you to pursue getting a Lit Agent, then selling your stuff to a large publisher or submit direct to publishers. Before you do that – LEARN THE PUBLISHING BUSINESS! If that road doesn’t work out for you – consider other roads for that ONE piece of work. Then write something else, pursue the above, and it that doesn’t work – consider other roads.

Now, see yourself as a business. Each work you produce has a different road to be sold. Figure out that road for each, but be willing to try them all. You just may find out that those large publishers – are doing the same things to sell their work that you do as an Indie – it just may take you a little more time :-D

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Fandango Description
: Locked away, a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantasy world where she is free to go wherever her mind takes her. Determined to fight for real freedom, she finds four women -- Rocket, Blondie, Amber and Sweet Pea -- to join together and try to escape the terrible fate that awaits them. With a virtual arsenal at their disposal, the allies battle everything from samurais to serpents, while trying to decide what price they will pay for survival.


Let me just say I didn’t have high hopes for this one. But hey, it was STEAMPUNKish looking and I just wanted to check it out. Also, while on twitter, Cait, shouted out she loved it. So, I had to check it out. Let me say, I was not disappointed. There was a story of deceit, great feeling, and it was woven in several layers. So you had the reality, what really happened to Babydoll that placed her in a mental institution, then you had her 2nd layer of dreamscape that told the story of girls trapped in a brothel of sorts, then the 3rd layer was her and the others fighting for freedom in a Steampunk world that had a twist of everything you could imagine. Even my husband enjoyed it (not for the mini-skirts only that the women wore) for the fight scenes were simply awe inspiring beautiful. I give this a 4 our of 5 steam engines only because the ending was decent, but could have been better if they would have had her dream sequence with her dying but fighting in an all out battle to the death. (But hey, that may just be the writer in me being picky).

Baby Doll and her crew! I wish I was one :-D

Sunday, March 27, 2011

There's GONNA BE A PARTY! Here's a Party Favor!

Oh yeah baby!!! There's going to be a Launch Party for Bandits! We'll be giving away some awesome prizes.

So until then, stay tuned.

NOW TO THE PRIZE! First Come First Serve!

We have a ton of books! So we are going to give away a YA Pack.


THE PACK by LM Preston
OTHER by Karen Kincy

To get the prize....

Follow me on:

and send Email to publisher on : to confirm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Worst Impressions by K.L. Brady - book review by NYIA

Please welcome NYIA our teen Book Reviewer! She enjoyed this Urban YA Romantic Comedy by K.L. Brady, author of the adult novel, The Bum Magnet. (Purchase click here)

SMASHWORDS description: WORST IMPRESSIONS is a YA urban twist on Pride and Prejudice featuring Liz Bennett, a basketball phenom whose already dramatic world is turned upside down when two popular boys enter her life--one vying for her affection and the other plucking her nerves. It's a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for teens 13 and up.

Back Cover:

From the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner for Multicultural Fiction and Third Place Grand Prize Winner for Best Fiction of 2010 and author of The Bum Magnet (Simon & Schuster) comes part one in a hilarious series of coming-of-age romantic comedies for young adults of all ages.

Pride and Prejudice with a Teen Twist..

Sharp-witted basketball phenom Liz Bennett just wants to finish high school under the radar...and without constantly defending herself against false rumors about her sexuality. With two trouble magnet kid sisters and a mother obsessed with protecting her virginity, she's already dealing with more drama than an Emmy-winning daytime soap opera. But sparks fly when two popular new guys enter her life, and she's forced from the shadows and onto center stage.

Trent Whitman, Liz's hot new admirer, pursues and woos her with his silver tongue and hazel eyes. He turns on the charm, and Liz turns off all common sense. Darcell Williams, on the other hand, is a star football player, who sticks his cleats in his mouth from day one. As far as Liz is concerned, Trent is a dream and Darcell is a devil reincarnate.

During the Back-to-School dance, Darcell spews an oh-no-he-didn't insult that cements Liz's contempt for His Evilness. Oh yes, their feud is on and popping! Driven by spite and embarrassment, Liz instigates a series of misunderstandings that propel her into an inevitable confrontation with Darcell. But when a Bennett family crisis reveals Darcell's and Trent's true colors, will Liz's pride prevent her from accepting each for who he really is?


This was so funny I was laughing most of the time I read this. I finished this book in just three hours. Liz was so funny. Her mom was over protective and her dad reminded me a lot of mine. The love story had a lot of drama and boyfriend stealing, and her sisters were funny too. But what I liked most was Liz, who was a good girl that loved her sisters who she thought were more pretty than she was. I give this 5 stars out of 5, because it was just so funny.

BUY Book here: for only $0.99 on Smashwords!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DEBBIE MACK Indie Author of Identity Crisis - hits NY Times Best Seller List!

Yeah, you heard me. Another Indie Author, one that's not featured in the news, has hit the NY Times Best Seller list at number #35!

I'm so excited for her since I met her a year ago and she shared how her book, Identity Crises, was picked up by a small publisher, only for that publisher to go bankrupt and fold. She got her rights back but had major challenges getting another publisher to pick it up.

SHE WENT INDIE! and published it herself.

Sure there were naysayers, and snobs who figured her work wasn't 'good enough' to be published, but now Debbie has proven them wrong and I'm so proud of her!

NO SLACKERS need apply. Now don't get me wrong, this didn't happen overnight. She's been promoting this book for about 2 years. But hard work, promotional care and feeding has paid off.

Interview provided kindly by CRIMESPACE

Please welcome Debbie where she shares a bit about herself with us.

1. Who is Debbi Mack and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

Those are tough questions. Much tougher than they look. I can tell you that I’m the kind of person who would never claim to be the most fascinating person in my city, because I live near two cities full of fascinating and eccentric people – Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. I’ll let you guess which trait is prevalent in which city.

I will say that I’m a good listener. I love to listen to other people’s stories. And I have a few of my own that are pretty interesting. I’ve lived through some unusual experiences and survived some close calls. A few near death experiences, even. It gives me pause sometimes and makes me appreciate what I have and life all the more.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

I can imagine there are a few things about me that would surprise or even shock people, but I’ll pick just one: In my senior year of high school, I skipped school so many days during one grading period that they marked the number in red. Somehow or other, I managed to pass all my classes with decent grades. I think I had a B average. Maybe. I’d lost interest. Clearly. In fact, I didn’t even attend my graduation. I just picked up my diploma from the office. I was more than ready to move on to something else at that point.

3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming an nuclear scientist?

I think my interest in writing began with reading. As I grew older, I started keeping journals and even tried to write stories, without much success at first. It wasn’t until high school that I wrote my first short story. It was science fiction, inspired in part by 1984, with a bit of Star Trek thrown in – in retrospect, I think, I was ripping off a few ideas here and there and combining them. Boy, was I surprised when the teacher gave the story an A-!

Despite that, and even though I ended up majoring in journalism (after starting off in electronics technology – long story), I ended up going to law school, because I figured I could practice law for a living and write as a hobby. But practicing law is time consuming and demanding. Life is too short to spend on things you’d rather not do, when you could be spending that time on things you want to do. Writing was what I wanted to do. So I changed careers.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Oh, boy! How big is the table? Let’s start with Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald and Margaret Millar. These four are among the classic hardboiled mystery authors that have most profoundly influenced my writing. Margaret Millar wrote both hardboiled mystery and psychological suspense. I’d love to add the late Mercedes Lambert to that group, since she wrote a hardboiled mystery series about a crime solving female lawyer in Los Angeles similar to mine. Judith Van Gieson has also written a hardboiled mystery series about female lawyer Neil Hamel in Albuquerque, NM, so I’d include her, too. And, of course, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, and the late Robert B. Parker, because these three are among the best known contemporary mystery authors that have influenced my work.

Outside the mystery genre, I’d love to add Mark Twain, because I imagine he’d tell great stories. Erica Jong because of Fear of Flying. Sylvia Plath because of The Bell Jar (yeah, I was a teenaged girl once). J.D. Salinger because of Catcher in the Rye (boy, is the seating going to get awkward or what?). Isaac Asimov, because he was a genius and a visionary. Harlan Ellison because he’s a no-nonsense, straight shooter and a writers advocate. Douglas Adams because he wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide and he was funny. John Kennedy Toole because it’s tragic that he didn’t get to enjoy the success of A Confederacy of Dunces and I’m sure he’d be great company. I could rattle on and on … but that would get boring fast.

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?

My books tend to combine the feel and structure of a hardboiled private eye novel with the fast-pace and action typical of a thriller. At the same time, I like to write about real issues, and the characters and situations are often gritty and realistic. Somehow, I think I’m able to strike a balance between realism and the more plot-oriented action/adventure feel to end up with a story that both informs and entertains, and ends well, but not always due to the right reasons. There’s usually a bittersweet or ironic aspect to my endings, sometimes almost a touch of noir, without going so far as being tragic.

6. Share the Mack process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.

Ideas can come from just about anywhere. For example, my idea for my latest novel Least Wanted was sparked after reading about girl gangs in The Washington Post and listening to stories my husband’s friend told about working as a security guard at a Prince George’s County middle school. The two things got me thinking and I wrote a rough draft of an outline for the story. I did some research on girl gangs on the Internet. I read a book about girls in gangs. I also spoke with someone in the PG County State’s Attorney’s Office who had direct experience with the subject. I spoke to an attorney who handled juvenile court work and corresponded with a school guidance counselor. There was also an embezzlement storyline that I had to research and vet, too, and I was fortunate to meet a financial auditor to help me with those details. Otherwise, I tried to read as much as possible on the Internet, including articles, government reports and other documents on various subjects including girl gangs, juvenile crime, juvenile incarceration, embezzlement, money laundering, pawn shops and other topics.

Regarding my writing schedule, every night I always plan out what I intend to do the next day. Usually, I’ll plan to write from around 2 to 4 or 4:30 p.m. (afternoons are best for me), after I’ve set aside time to handle email and marketing chores. I usually write a little every day, unless life absolutely makes it impossible, because that’s my job. My only day off is Sunday. Generally, as I’m writing the first draft, I’ll give the chapters to my writers group. They review them and comment on them, so I’m usually revising and updating as I go. So, by the time the first draft is finished, I have a pretty good idea what changes I want to make for sure. Then I take another look at the whole thing again and go over it once more and make any more changes I think are necessary before I hand it off to my editor.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”

First of all, just start writing. Don’t edit yourself. Just start and see what comes out. Get the bones down, as someone once put it. Check your local community college to see if they offer adult education courses on fiction writing. I took a course on mystery writing at my community college when I started out. It helped me understand story structure. You also might want to read books on writing, such as (to give a few examples) Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or (if you’re into mystery or thriller writing) Carolyn Wheat’s How To Write Killer Fiction. Also, you can learn so much from reading well-written books. Whatever else you do, I encourage you to read, read, read other books of all kinds. Read them with a critical eye and figure out what makes them interesting. As a writer, you may eventually find yourself doing this automatically.

8. I saw an amusing t-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

I think my life’s philosophy can be best summed up in one of my favorite quotations from Helen Keller: “Life is either daring adventure or nothing.”

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

Stop writing? Perish the thought. I’ll stop writing when I stop breathing. Right now, I’m working on the third novel in the Sam McRae mystery series. I’m almost finished. I have lots of ideas for more Sam McRae novels to come. I have two other standalone novels I’d like to revise at some point and publish eventually. I have an idea for a young adult novel that I’d like to work on next. I’ve also written a feature film screenplay. Any producers out there interested in hearing the pitch? Hmm?

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

You can read about me and my work on my Web site at and on my blog at I also have four other blogs (yes, five blogs total – insane, I know ), which you can find listed on the sidebar of my Web site.


Link to her site:

Link to her reveal:

Link to NY times Best Sell List:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



Oh, c’mon writers you know you thought about it. Heck, even tried it. Yelled it, or whispered it quietly to yourself.

I SHOULD JUST QUIT WRITING, I have better things to do with my time than setting myself up for rejection, then spending hours upon hours in hopes of making it in the big time, or making peanuts for the five years it took to write and get published.

WHY don’t I? WHY can’t I? Because I love it. I love to create worlds, characters, stories, twiddle away at them to perfect them. I truly couldn’t stop even when I’ve wanted to. Whenever I get in a funk, and say, why am I doing this…my fingers start to itch and my imagination gets going and you know it…I’m writing again.


Surround yourself with other writers. You know, those that get where you are at. Those that don’t bring you down, rip you up, but those that lift you up, those that encourage you, and those that love your work and want to help make it better just like you do. Get involved, blog (blogging garners amazing support), write :-D and talk yourself back in the game.


Just because your works aren’t out there, you can still be a great inspiration to others as a writer. Writing is like a portal to so much more than most can comprehend. There are things we do because we write that grow you as a person. To work on something endlessly until you perfected it…is quite frankly a gift, one that’s not to be wasted.


Don't give up! I didn't and have been awed by the fruitfulness of my labors. Tell me your advice on not giving up ….

Sunday, March 20, 2011

YEAR OF THE FISH-Movie Review by Monique Movie Diva

Please welcome MONIQUE the MOVIE DIVA

credit: Google

Plot: An updated version of "Cinderella", "Year of the Fish" follows Ye Xian (An Nguyen), a nice, mousy, unassuming, yet highly beautiful girl who is sent to New York to make money for her ailing father. She's taken in by massage parlor madam Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin). When she refuses to do the more salacious tasks at the parlor, she is relegated to a janitorial position and treated harshly by Mrs. Su, whom all of the massage girls call "Ma", and the head girl Hong Ji (Hettienne Park). Through the help of a goldfish, a mystical woman named Auntie Yaga and an old man (both played by Randall Duk Kim), Ye Xian finds love with musician Johnny (Ken Leung) and escapes the parlor.

My opinion: "Year of the Fish" showed at Sundance, and I can see why it was selected. This film is a greatly told story, and, to me, has the most heart out of all of the "Cinderella" adaptations I've seen. This is possibly due to the realistic setting and problems Ye Xian has, being a newcomer to America and forced to do menial and demeaning labor.

However, quite a bit of the heart comes from interweaving the magical seamlessly with the realistic. At first I wasn't so sold on the rotoscoping the movie's filmed in, but as the movie wore on, I understood why the movie was filmed this way. By using rotoscope, the mystical elements are able to blend effortlessly into the story, making the whole movie cohesive in its storytelling. Also, the rotoscope makes magical characters like the fish, Auntie Yaga and the old man, appear even more magical and intense.

Ye Xian's plight is very well told and acted in this story, her silence reflecting her inner pain and turmoil at her current situation. At many moments, especially when the music (composed by Paul Cantelon) swells, the film becomes extremely poignant.

Overall, this is great film. Also, if you're a fan of "The Joy Luck Club", you might want to check this film out, as this film was helped by the producer of that film.

Friday, March 18, 2011


10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before

When I first started on my writing journey, I was extremely naive. If I had it to do over again I would have researched the publishing business inside and out. Hired a writing coach if I had the money or taken some classes before I sat down to write the first word. It would have saved me a school full of hard-knocks :-D

Here’s my list, read it, breath it, learn from it.

1. Being A Writer Means Being Able to Take Rejection, Critiques, and to grow and thrive in spite of it.

2. Being A Writer means I do have to sell myself, learn how to, and it all starts with selling your stuff to a beta reader, then to a Lit Agent, then to a Publisher, then to a reviewer, then to your audience.

3. As a writer I’m a business owner, and my business is my career, my product is my works.

4. Being A Writer opens doors that you wouldn’t believe! And you don’t even have to be published to get those doors opened! There are tons of Soon-To-Be published authors doing amazing things that they only would have pursued if they were writers.

5. I wished I would have researched the publishing business from the author side, publisher side, indie publisher side, promotions side, marketing side … dog on it every side!

6. Being A Writer Means having a platform – yep, friends on twitter, a meaningful blog, involvement in a writers’ organization – as an active member.

7. I can market my book before it’s even published! Create a book trailer, share teasers, promo samples on twitter, do contest, and get myself out there!

8. Conferences, Pitch Sessions, Agent Inbox (on are great places to get face time with agents. I should have hung out there.

9. Use Beta Readers, Critique Partners and Writing Groups to build a better product. As the writer you want to know what the reader is getting out of your work.

10. Realize that anything I write is marketable (once it’s edited professionally, beta read, critiqued and flushed out) I need to figure out what that market is and not be afraid to go into unknown territory to promote it and myself. (ie, Anthologies, magazines online or print, or even sell it myself.)

I end this list to say, once your learn the business, you’ll know how you fit in, how many ways you can create your own success, and you’ll know that giving up…simply isn’t an option when you decide your destiny.

Writing stories for and about kids that overcome the impossible...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson - Review by NYIA

Welcome our Teen Book Reviewer - NYIA! She's in the house to talk up her fav series! and writer James Patterson.

Angel is the 7th book in the Maximum Ride Series - which has been NYIA's fav, fav, YA Series. Action, Action and more Action!

Amazon's description:
Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.


Let me just start to say, I love, love, love all of the Maximum Ride Books. They are so stuffed with action and characters that are so fun. I love them all. You have to check out the series if you haven't. Even my dad is hooked. This book, Angel, had me angry, then happy, then sad, but I could not put it down. The action kept me turning the pages even though the story made me mad at sometimes. I would recommend this book to anyone that doesn't want to read a boring, mushy book, but want to be taken on a Maximum Ride. I take off one feather because I was torn with the ending, but would still read it again. The characters stayed true to themselves. So, this gets 4 out of 5 FEATHERS.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Well, if you didn’t know it, I’m a female writer of young adult novels. My debut novel, Explorer X – Alpha’s main character was a male. A boy named Aadi that was fourteen years old is a stretch from a grown female writer that created him. For me though, writing a male was much more exciting than writing a female. My novel, The Pack has a female, blind vigilante as the main character. Shamira was a lot harder for me to write than Aadi, simply because I take being female for granted. But, now my upcoming book, BANDITS has a main character named, Daniel, who's a thief.

Many authors I’ve met write female main characters, because they feel as though their understanding of the male psyche is vague. Also, they think that girls are the larger reading audience and that it’s a lot easier to sale a book written with females in mind than males. I personally disagree. As a girl, I liked reading books from a boy’s point of view. I felt that it allowed me to delve further into boy’s thoughts, and enjoyed reading about both sexes.

As a writer, writing something totally different than I am everyday is like living out an adventure of my own making. Picture a writer as an actor, playing a part out in their head as they write. In order to feel comfortable writing a character – you have to study people that fit that character’s profile.


Although my initial inclination is to write as a male, I still have tons of challenges trying to portray male characters correctly. Since my career as an engineer is a male dominated profession, it’s been a great source of subject matter to use when writing.

Male character’s experience emotion, they just show it in different ways than females. Not to mention their dialogue is different from most females. Those subtle differences a writer has to take the time to notice. Society has certain expectations and rules for males and writing as a male should fit those boundaries – otherwise, the reader will notice.

Aadi was easy for me to write, because I have a son that’s the same age as my main character. My kid somewhat fits Aadi’s character profile because he’s a jock and a good student. Most writers pull their character profiles from someone they know, researched, or imagined.

Writing Daniel was sooooo fun. He was bad, had attitude, a chip on his shoulder and got to fall in love, and seduce a girl - just the way me (a girl) dream of a perfect guy falling in love with me.

When I write in boy, it’s like I’m acting out that character’s adventure and it becomes my own. Writing Aadi was exciting to for so many reasons. I was able to shed my daily makeup as a girl, and for the months it took me to write him – I was able to be young again, strong, and powerful. Not just young, but be a boy.


Writing a female main character allows me to express deeper emotions, to be what I am everyday – a girl. You know what? For me, it’s difficult, because writing as a boy I get to imagine a totally different persona. I’m a girl, and being a girl in my writing isn’t quite so exciting. So I cheat, I make her into a tough girl.

My main character in The Pack, Shamira, was especially challenging to write. I had to make it fun, because if my characters aren’t interesting, it’s hard for me to write them. So, I gave her it all - cool girly clothes, a motorcycle named Pearl, and a too die for hottie on her tracks. She’s a girl – but she kicks major booty and is somewhat cocky. I gave her outer appearance a feminine softness. However, she’s a trained fighter that carries herself with the sureness of a male that can protect himself.


All of my books are composed of a strong array of male and female characters. I love to write with multiple lead characters. Why? Because when I was a kid, I loved to have friends around. Also, it allows me to write characters that are both male and female yet bonded together in friendship.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kirsten Hubbard author of Like Mandarin talks Release Day!

Spotlight Blog and Author:


Welcome Author, Kirsten Hubbard dropped by A Writing Process or a Write of Passage

Learning the craft of writing
for her Release Day Interview: Like Mandarin available today!

Some of you know I'm a travel writer as well as a YA author. I've been fortunate to visit some pretty colorful places, and certainly, I'd love to celebrate my release day in Thailand or Tikal (or more appropriately, the Wyoming badlands!). But I'll be spending it right here in San Diego, mostly in my house and home office. My launch party isn't until Saturday, and my friends and family won't come down until Friday. So it'll be and the dog til the husband gets home. Maybe it's a little mundane, but it fits, since it's the site of my most exciting journey of all: writing and publishing LIKE MANDARIN.

That all sounded really zen, didn't it? Really, I expect my release day to go like this:

7:30 - Wake up (if I ever got to sleep), butterflies with harpy eagle wingspans twirling in my stomach. Linger in bed and check my email on my iPhone while Husband heads off to work. Like every morning.
8:00 - Shuffle (bounce) into the kitchen and make chai. Like every morning.
8:05 - Sit at my computer, in my office or at my kitchen table or coffee table, and prevent myself from checking Goodreads/Amazon/Bookscan. Except really I'll check all three, immediately.
9:00 - Repeatedly.
10:00 - Eat some Thin Mints. Get stressed about launch party Saturday.
10:15 - Read some Metafilter and CNN and so forth, and talk to my YA Highway co-bloggers, but every fifteen minutes head back to Goodreads/Amazon/Bookscan.
12:00 - Realize how ridiculous I am being, and that I need to get out of the house. Take shower and sing "Afraid of Everyone" by The National at the top of my lungs. Decide to leave my iPhone at home. Except really I'll bring it.
12:30 - Treat myself to a Thai iced tea with boba.
12:45 - Take my Thai iced tea with boba somewhere scenic and relaxing, like Balboa Park, or the beach, and walk around a little bit, maybe for ten minutes, until early sense of refreshment is replaced by debilitating sense of off-the-grid terror, and then I will sit on a rock and check Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon and Facebook on my iPhone.
2:00 - Arrive home and head straight for my computer.
2:30 - Eat more Thin Mints. Call my mom. Get stressed about launch party Saturday.
4:00 - Walk the dog -- but only a couple blocks. The internet awaits!
5:00 - Put on An Outfit and get bouncy waiting for Husband to release me from my own head.
5:30 - Husband gets home! Talk a SoCal mile-a-minute about all the internet things that happened today. Like every evening.
6:00 - Get in car and head to indie bookstore.
6:10 - Locate my book.
6:11 - Cry.
6:30 - Head somewhere with happy hour margaritas or mojitos.
8:30 - Arrive home and head straight for my computer. Intend to spend some time working on third book, but instead, get wrapped up in great conversation with great friends.
12:00 - Can't believe it's over! Fully initiated. I am an author.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter

Goodreads Blurb:

It’s always been just Kate and her mom–and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld–and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy–until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails…


I liked Kate the main character. She started off shy and afraid to meet people since she'd been taking care of her sick mother. But then after her stupid friend set her up she didn't think about what scared her, she saved her friend. I liked the way the author, Aimee Carter made Kate realistic. She didn't believe in Greek gods and she didn't always make the right choices. I really enjoyed this book, there was always something happening and people in the book were believable. I give this book a 5 out of 5 Scepters!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BEASTLY Movie Review & Book

Movie Synopsis from

Prone to mocking and humiliating "aggressively unattractive" classmates, Kyle zeroes in on Goth classmate Kendra, inviting her to the school's extravagant environmental bash. Kendra accepts, and, true to form, Kyle blows her off in a particularly savage fashion. She retaliates by casting a spell that physically transforms him into everything he despises. Enraged by his horrible and unrecognizable appearance he confronts Kendra and learns that the only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is -- a task he considers impossible.


I loved, loved, fell in love, again with this movie. We didn’t spend much time getting to know the old Kyle, but they showed just how much he thirsted for his father’s love and that was priceless. They let us get a peek at his ugly side. But I must say that is cute as he was, I really loved Mary Kate who played the witch – that girl played that role to the hilt. I loved her! And to the love story, he was kind of stalkerish of belle and they changed small bits of the movie from the book but it didn’t hurt the movie at all. This is definitely a movie I could keep for my sweet love story collection and re-watch it again. If you like the Beauty and the Beast story, you will truly enjoy this updated, from the Beast point of view movie. And yes, I teared up at the end when they kissed. Only issue I had was that when he turned into the 'Beast' he didn't look that bad to me. He actually looked kind of badassed. I give the movie 5 out of 5 roses.


by: Alex Flinn

I really enjoyed this book and passed it on to my daughter to read. I've always been a sucker for a good fairytale and Beauty and the Beast is one of them. The hardest part of this read was getting into the mind of 'the beast' and staying there for quite a long time before his interaction with others showed his changes. Even so, I read on because I knew change was coming and was pleasantly surprised and happy with the way this ended. Both NYIA and I gave it 4 out of 5 roses.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Alicia “Kat” Dillman - SPOTLIGHT Guest Author & Illustrator

Please welcome our SPOTLIGHT GUEST!

Author, illustrator Alicia “Kat” Dillman is a life long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University and has spent the last few years working as a professional illustrator.

When not writing and illustrating she can found performing in historical re-enactments, participating in weekly industry chats, dancing, watching anime, or sewing cosplay.

Tell us about your upcoming book? Some of your other projects?

I actually have three upcoming books if you can believe it. Two picture books and my debut novel Daemons in the Mist.

Daemons in the Mist is a Young Adult urban-fantasy paranormal romance novel set in modern day San Francisco which will be published by indie publishers Korat Publishing. Here's a little blurb about it that's on the publishers website.

She could have been a perfectly normal, albeit a breathtakingly beautiful girl, but she wasn't, for I knew there were secrets hidden behind her eyes.

Seventeen year old Patrick Connolly has been drawn to Nualla ever since he first saw her, but as the years pass she seems to take absolutely no notice of him. Until, that is, he rescues her from a confrontation in the school hallway. Little does he know that he’s about to be thrust into a world of life altering secrets and things that shouldn’t exist, because the fog and mist of San Francisco is concealing more than just buildings.

As for other projects, in late spring I will be turning my novel Daemons in the Mist into a Visual Novel for the game company CWS Software. I've never done one before so it should be an awesome experience. If you don't know what a Visual Novel is you can learn more about them here.

I'm also in the scripting/story boarding phase for a full color graphic novel and a wordless picture book.

How long did it take you to illustrate the cover for your upcoming book?

It took me about 3 days to paint the cover for Daemons in the Mist. I actually drew two sketches for the cover but decided that the character (Nualla) looked too passive in the first design and she is anything but passive.

I included a process animation for the cover here.

You also write MG/YA books, can you share a bit about them?

Most of my stories are paranormal or magical in some way. It's the stuff I like to read and so it's what I create. But I don't like to play in other people's sandboxes so I tend to make up the creatures that are in the stories.

Some of them are simpler stand-alones but one of them COR, is a complex four book epic. COR's a project I have been working on since 2003 whenever I have free time. I built their world from the ground up, the calendar, creatures, races, religion you name it. It even has its own wiki which will be made public when the books are published.

You are also a talented artist how do you create your art?

I used to create my art differently but currently I work 100% digitally. I do my work in Painter 11 mostly with brushes I created myself. I usually work in a 4 layer process; sketch, ink, base, details. First I sketch the illustration in blue digital lead. Then I turn the opacity on that layer way down and ink over it on a new layer. When that's complete I turn off the sketch layer since I won't be using it again. Then I create a layer under the ink layer and do my base painting. Lastly I create a layer on top of everything to do my details. You can see visual examples of this process here.

In what formats, other than books, do you sell your art?

My personal artwork also appears on postcards, buttons, greeting cards, jewelry, clothing, and on prints and Giclées. My work for clients has been on clothing, websites, wedding invitations, instructional pamphlets and any number of other products. Come this summer my artwork will also be in Visual Novels.

What great projects have you worked on as an illustrator?

Wow I've worked on a lot of projects but I would like to think that the best is yet to come. The projects I'm working on right now and the other ones coming out this year are going to be some of my best work.

Please share something quirky about yourself?

I have a rather large collection of small and miniature stuffed animals. I have a good 34 in my studio alone. I have always loved stuffed animals, mainly because the idea of playing with miniature people (dolls) creeped me out as a child.

What was the inspiration for your main character(s) in your book?

The short answer would be music. When I listen to music I see stories; like small movies playing in my head. But in reality I do not create my characters and give them things to do. They create themselves and in turn tell me their stories. I feel more like I am eavesdropping on their lives than directing them.

How was your way to publication paved?

I'd say difficult. I graduated from the Academy of Art in 2008, considered by most to be one of the worst years in economic history. There seemed to be no work to be had and no one was hiring. But in the last few years things have steadily gotten better. Interestingly all the publishers I have worked with found me instead of me querying them. One of my current publishers, Flinders Press, found me through the Illustrators showcase at the SCBWI Summer conference for example.

The first book I worked on that actually made it to publication was Lions in my Tummy which came out last March from Viscus Vir Publishing. This year however I have a least 3 books coming out.

Do you have any other books coming out?

I do, two in fact. Neither has announced a solid release date but both are scheduled for early fall. One, The Koi Who Cried Wolf, is a creative retelling of the classic story and is the second book I will be illustrating for Viscus Vir Publishing. The other book coming out is Lazy Saturday Afternoon, a hilarious book in song written by songwriter Bryant Oden and will be published by Flinders Press.

What do you like to do when you're not writing and illustrating?

Historical re-enactment, cosplay, mini bookbinding. I have been involved in historical re-enacting for over 10 years now. I used to do a couple different types but now I only do the Dickens Fair. For the re-enactment and cosplay I make all my own costumes and patterns.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I had to look up and research a lot of things for Daemons in the Mist from how long a broken arm takes to heal to electronic paper. But the most interesting was probably how retro-viruses work.

What would you like to tell your readers?

To my future readers, I hope that I have created worlds for you that extend outside the page. That the characters will stop being characters in a book and start being people; friends you might meet on the street.

How can we get our hands on your books? Your Art?

The books will be available through all the standard digital channels (ie amazon, B & N online, Apple etc.), through their respective publisher’s websites and select retailers. And of course you can visit KatGirl Studio for more info on each book and where you can get them.

All my art is currently available through my website.


My site:
Publishers site for Daemons in the Mist:
Book Trailer for DITM:

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Winner Isssssss!

Yep, there's finally a winner!

ARC Copy of BANDITS and a $20 itunes Gift Card. Yippeee!

Haley Hanes is the winner! Please email publisher your mailing address by clicking EMAIL on the publisher website:

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Okay, yesterday I read a lovely post that had a wonderful list of what all writer’s should know. I followed the link from twitter so I’ll hunt it down for you later. However, the #1 item of the list had me saying “Whoa!” and I’ll explain why.


Yep, this was the number one item on her list. At first I was in total disagreement. Then…then, I pondered on it and realized that in someways this wasn’t as bad of a rule as I thought.

This was driven even further home when I went to a writer’s group recently where another author was adamantly telling one author how she should finish her book. I mean WTHeck? Where does a writer that is in no way published have the right to tell another writer that they should seriously consider changing the ending of their book based on only reading the first 30pages of the manuscript. Sad thing was, my 13yr old author in training was at this meeting. She’d read the author’s book and heard what the author stated as the premise and ending of her book and felt that the other author was being just plain mean.

I stood up to the writer’s defense and stated to the other author that she shouldn’t make blanket statements about someone’s work after only reading the 1st 30 pages. Furthermore, it’s the author’s decision how to write their story.

Sadly, I had to agree.


Over the years as a writer I’ve explored it all. I’ve gone to writing class, critique sessions, online forums, had beta readers, temporary critique partners and truth be told it’s like finding gold when you find another writer or a beta reader that gives you honest feedback but RESPECTS the fact that it’s your story. Sometimes other authors want to make your book their story and only give advice on how they would write it.


When you put yourself out there while discovering yourself as an author, learn to TAKE THE GOOD and chuck away the bad. There is good to be had by having another writer review your stuff.

Pull out concrete mechanics issues.

Here’s a quick list of what to listen to.
- Grammar issues
- Plot holes
- Character Depth Issues
- Painted Scene Issues
- Inconsistency in the world you created
- Issues that are bought up by multiple readers that have in no way talked to one another. For some reason when you have many people together, they hop on the same bandwagon.


In short, I believe in general authors can help and do help other authors. But you as the author of your book need to own your story, and if another author rips your stuff apart outside of the areas of grammar, main plot, characterization or areas listed above, then throw their advice to the side.

I’ve been lucky to find great authors that have helped me carve a much better story. Truth be told, I’ve only had a few meanies and most of them I’ve met in online forums. Therefore, when dealing with online communities I’m very cautious and only exchange a few pages at a time to see where the relationship leads.


Do you use author critique groups? Do you disagree with the writer’s advice #1? I do, but do you? Have you dealt with a meanie? What did you do to get over it and keep writing?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plan B by Charnan Simon


Is this happily ever after? Lucy has her life planned out: she'll graduate and then join her boyfriend, Luke, at college in Austin. She'll become a Spanish teacher and of course they'll get married. So there's no reason to wait, right? They try to be careful. But then Lucy gets pregnant. Now, none of Lucy's options are part of her picture-perfect plan. Together, she and Luke will have to make the most difficult decision of their lives.


Plan B by Charnan Simon deals with a very difficult subject, teen pregnancy. It does so in a realistic manner. It's a quick read that gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges of finding out you are pregnant in high school. The main characters had a seemingly perfect high school love affair, that was greatly tested when Lucy finds out that love isn't as perfect as she thinks it is. She's always a planner, but this hiccup throws an awful blow to her future and her boyfriend's dreams. The story moves along pretty fast and you don't get to spend much time in their relationship before tragedy happens, but when it hits, you are able to see clearly the range of emotions Lucy experiences. I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. A quick read that packs a punch of reality.