A review of Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead. Second chances offer tough decisions.

Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead

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I just finished the latest release by Katie Hamstead called Deceptive Cadence published by REUTS. Here’s the blurb that’s listed on Goodreads :

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determination to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

My take on Deceptive Cadence

What a mind blowing concept. Cadence awakens in the hospital after a wreck that has taken the life of her husband and sweet baby girl. She’s given the chance to relive her life from the age of fourteen onwards to slightly change the end result and save both her husband and daughter. (There are a few golden caveats she must respect – no warning of large events, no benefitting, etc)

Hamstead handles the plot with ease as she sends Cadence back to the 9th grade armed with a greater understanding of life and more maturity than a fourteen year-old could ever posses. But Cadence is thrown a few curveballs as she settles into her new- younger body and finds herself once again victim to emotions and hormones of that age. Although she’s armed with a certain understanding of what the future holds, the decisions she faces in securing that future are not as easy as anticipated. Her influence on those around her begins to slightly change their lives and hers in turn.

I enjoyed reading Deceptive Cadence not just for the almost squirm-worthy memories it elicited of my own high school experience, but at the thought of reliving those years as a wiser and kinder person. I found the concept both wickedly brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I’ll certainly read the next installment as Deceptive Cadence leaves the reader unsure about the decisions Cadence will make as she heads off to college.

I would definitely recommend Deceptive Cadence.

Deceptive Cadence was written by Katie Hamstead and is available at Amazon.

Katie TellerBorn and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.
When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels now available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

Stop by and see the gorgeous cover to LINK by Summer Wier

link-final-front
For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.
Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, LINK pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Go  Add Link to goodreads

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Summer Wier Author PhotoAbout The Author:

Summer Wier grew up spending Saturdays with a maxed out library card and her nose in a book. But as much as she loved reading, and even writing, both took the back seat when it came to career choices. With her sights set on law school, corporate greatness, and even a hankering to become the first female president, she set off to conquer the world. As life would have it, though, she didn’t attend law school, nor did she become president (although, one day, your vote may be appreciated), finding her strengths, instead, in accounting and business management. After finishing her MBA, she revived her love for reading and began writing with dreams of finishing a book of her own. When Summer isn’t working, reading, or writing, she’s trying to keep up with two energetic girls and her husband, and dreaming of the mountains of Montana.

LINK is her debut young adult sci-fi novel, the first in THE SHADOW OF LIGHT trilogy.

Find more of Author Summer Wier on her website

Check out the awesome cover for Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead

I’m thrilled to share the cover for Katie’s new book.

deceptive-cadence-reveal

Deceptive Cadence

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determined to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

 

Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?

 

Add Deceptive Cadence to goodreads.

 

Katie-Teller-Author-Photo-2About Katie Hamstead:

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dogs.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an Acquisitions Editor to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

 

Find Katie Hamstead on twitter, facebook, and her website.

Check out my interview with the talented Melody Winter, author of Sachael Dreams

Melody Winter Author PhotoMelody Winter’s debut novel Sachael Dream was just released. I was lucky enough to score a bit of her time to ask a few questions about her writing process, critique partners, and new projects.

 Are you a panster or a plotter? How do you approach a new idea?

I’m more a plotter. I tend to have an idea and run with it from start to finish. I even outline each chapter of a book with what needs to happen. Having said that, I tend to be a panster while writing within my outline. Many times my writing wavers from the original outline, and I love it when it happens, it usually means my characters are leading the way. It’s a wonderful feeling.

For example, with Sachael Dreams, I had a quite detailed outline of the story, but as I planned the chapters it became apparent that there was too much material for one book. So it became two books. And, as I wrote the words, more and more ideas came into my head. I got to know my characters even more than I originally did, and realised that the full story was going to take even more than 2 books. Hence I ended with a rough outline of chapters and events for 4 books. I like knowing where I’m aiming with a book. It keeps me focused even though my characters like to lead me astray at times.

So, even though I plan, I wander from the outline many times.

I approach a new idea by letting my mind wander. I listen to music, look at images and write copious amounts of notes around my idea. Gradually a clearer outline emerges and it’s only then that I start to plot. I’m currently pulling together ideas and information for a new book, The Ascent, after the Sachael books. It has a pinterest board and I already have a chapter breakdown—28 chapters, but it’s looking as if this could turn into more than one book. I’m still exploring ideas within the main thrust of the story and they could have a dramatic effect on what’s already there.

 

Do you have the same critique partners for all your work or do you have different sets? And why?

I have a small group of people who I can really rely on. I’m not one of these people who send my MS out to loads of people for feedback—I keep my manuscripts very close to me. I have a pre-reader who also doubles as a ‘google junky’, a friend who does the first edit—she’s very blunt! And then I have a CP whose advice is incredibly valuable to me. I have two other great people who read for me, but my initial three are the ones who really dig deep and give me so much of their time. So I sort of have a little Melody Winter team who love my work but aren’t afraid to tell me when it’s no good or a really bad idea! I’m hoping to have the same team working with me on The Ascent which is a dark romantic fantasy. My pre-reader and first edit person are very excited about it. But again, I’ll keep things pretty quiet until I need to start shouting about it.

I suppose the reason I keep the same team is because I trust them and their advice. I’m very lucky to have found people who love my writing and feel as attached to my characters as much as I do.

 

What is the most difficult aspect about being a writer? 

For me, without a doubt, it’s time. I work, have two teenage boys, and a husband to split my time between. Life can get pretty hectic and at times I want to just shut myself away from them all and forget what’s outside the door and concentrate on writing. It’s been hard, as my writing has always been seen as a hobby and not to be taken seriously by my family. That is gradually changing now I’m published. I’ve seen the looks passing between the three males in the house, and the willingness to cook tea so I can write. But I’m not sure how long it will last.

 

Do you have any suggestions for editing drafts?

I don’t necessarily think there is a right or a wrong way to edit drafts. Some people write a very clean first draft, other just want to get the story down. But I can tell you the way I work:

My first draft is usually pretty much how I’d like my final version to be in terms of plot and story. My pre-reader see’s each chapter as it’s written so I’m alerted to anything major while writing. My first edit person tightens things up. We go through each chapter and she tells me what works, what doesn’t, where my characters aren’t reacting strongly enough or where things get boring (Yes I’ve deleted whole pages due to her critique) After this I go through a full 2nd edit by myself. I tweak the original MS with the feedback and suggestions from the edit. I remove ‘dead words’ and then send the whole document to my kindle. It reads very differently to on the screen on my laptop. I tweak sentences, see areas to expand/alter and I read straight through marking what needs to change. I’ll then do all the alterations back in my word document. Then I leave it alone for about a month. I write something else, do meme’s, or plan another book. But I leave my current MS alone. After that magic month I give the whole MS another read through and tweak before sending it to my CP. Once back from my CP, I attack it again taking into account her comments. After that it’s another full read, then it’s as ready as it can be. It’s a long process getting from that first draft to the version I’m eventually happy with, but I see each step as getting nearer that published version.

For me, I also have the expertise of Kisa Whipkey, my editor with Reuts, but if I didn’t have her and was looking to self-publish, I would definitely have my MS professionally edited. I want my words to shine as much as possible.

 

Do you have other stories in the works?

As mentioned earlier, I have a dark romantic fantasy planned—‘The Ascent’. I’m really excited about this one as it’s completely different from the Mine Series. I keep drafting little scenes that come into my head because the characters are already speaking to me, but I refuse to spend any large amount of time on it before I’ve finished writing the Mine series.

Sachael Dreams is finished. SD2—Sachael Desires is going through its final edit and then it’s ready for Reuts with publication later this year. SD3—Sachael Delusions is written and is currently undergoing its first edit with my friend. And SD4—Sachael Destiny is being written – I’m 2 chapters in, but a few of the later chapters are already drafted. So there’s plenty going on. At times it feels weird jumping through different stages in Estelle’s head (my main character). But it’s also interesting to see how much her character had grown during the series.

 

 If someone wrote a book about your life, who would star as you in the movie version?

Ohhhh, heck, let me think. Firstly I think it’d be a pretty boring book so this would never happen, but the person who I think could play me would be Rene Zellweger. I’m thinking mainly about the character Bridget Jones that she so famously played. Perhaps that’s because I see myself more of a Bridget Jones character, daft at times, but with a heart of gold. And let’s face it – who wouldn’t want to kiss Colin Firth!!!!

 

Please check out Melody’s new release Sachael Dreams.

Grab your copy here: 

Signed copies available from her website: www.melodywinyter.com
 Add to Goodreads

sachael-dreams-front-cover

And here’s an excerpt from Sachael Dreams

 

Jumping to my feet, I took in the scene. Azariah was standing completely still, like a beautiful statue—the skin along his spine and the back of his arms raised in spikes as he faced the strangers, silently daring them to come closer. I wanted him to run. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t turn away. I backed up the beach, my breathing short, shallow, and hurried. One of the pebbles, slipped from my hand as the men charged at Azariah.

Three against one—he didn’t stand a chance. Why hadn’t we run into the sea? Surely, it was the safest place for us?

I turned away, not wanting to witness what I was sure was about to happen. If everything Azariah told me was true, these men would kill him. They wanted him dead.

Scrambling footsteps, the sound of pebbles being dislodged, shouts, and cries for help echoed across the beach, and as I hesitantly turned to where I had last seen Azariah, I saw one of his attackers lying motionless on the sand. Azariah was dragging the other two by their feet, heading to the sea. They were kicking ferociously with their free legs, shouting and swearing at him. He didn’t register the blows of their feet as they made contact with his body. One of them pleaded for him to let go, and the other cursed loudly. The sight of Azariah, the man whose arms I’d been lying in only a few minutes ago, dragging two big, muscular men into the sea, pulling them as if they weighed practically nothing, was a shocking scene to witness. His skin, raised in tiny silver scale like spikes, caught the bright light from the rising sun, but I could easily remember its softness, the way he had quivered under my touch, and how his eyes sparkled with pleasure. It was difficult to reconcile this angry, beautiful man with the one I had lovingly spent the past two nights with.

I glanced at the dead man lying on the beach. Two others would be joining him soon. Strangely, the fact didn’t scare or shock me the way his admittance had the other night. If Azariah didn’t kill them, they would kill him. This is what he had warned me about.

The two men he was dragging into the sea thrashed wildly. They were helpless against Azariah’s strength as he held their heads under the surface of the water. I was so intent on watching the calm, controlled way he stood looking out to sea as he willingly drowned his opponents, I was unaware of anyone else on the beach. But hearing the sudden crunch of pebbles behind me, I spun around.

There stood another man, smirking at me.

I screamed at his menacing appearance, and turned to run. But I moved too quickly. My foot slipped on the damp pebbles and my ankle buckled beneath me. I stumbled. The man grabbed me from behind, lifting me off the ground. I kicked my legs, trying to hurt him. I scratched at his arms. Nails raked flesh, but nothing made him release his hold.

“Let me go!” I cried, continuing to struggle, trying to hit him with the pebble in my hand.

“You are coming with me,” he growled, managing to hold me with only one arm. Wriggling with determination, I managed to free my arm and swung it through the air, aiming for his head. The pebble made contact with the side of his face before dropping to the sand. Unfortunately, the blow had no effect on his hold, and as I took in a ragged, desperate breath, preparing to scream for Azariah, a cloth was placed over my mouth and nose. Within seconds, I slumped against my captor.

My head spun, and my vision became distorted. My heart beat fast, rapidly thumping in my chest. I drew in a panicked breath, realizing too late that whatever was on the cloth had now been inhaled deeply into my system. As my body was dragged backward across the pebbles, the cloth was held against my nose and mouth. My limbs wouldn’t react; they ached with a forced weightlessness, unresponsive to any demands from me.

Pain jabbed at my eyes, and I screwed them shut. Whatever was on the cloth was having a dramatic effect on my body. Desperate to catch sight of Azariah, I managed to open my eyes. My view was blocked by a hooded, cloaked figure. Jerked upright from my slumped position, the cloth was removed from my face. Free from the suffocating substance, I took several deep, lung-filling breaths of air. Bony fingers grabbed my chin, and I was forced to meet the eyes of the cloaked figure. Haunted dark brown eyes stared at me. It was the woman who had passed Azariah and me the other morning, the woman from the farm shop a few weeks ago.

“Well done, Pactolus.” Her words were angry and short. “Take her back. Orontes wants her.”

The thudding of my erratically beating heart filled my head. I tried to force a scream from my lungs, but it wouldn’t come.

The woman released my face, pushing it sideways, and the cloth was shoved onto my mouth again. I held my breath, not wanting to take in any more of the substance.

As the woman moved away, my vision became increasingly blurred, but I saw Azariah. He stood in the water, the bodies of the two men floating motionless next to him. He was safe. It was all I could ask for.

Spots sprang onto my eyelids, grainy specks of darkness that slowly increased. My sight disappeared.

“Estelle!” A tremendous, angry roar rang out across the beach.

My world was plunged into darkness. I had no control over my lifeless limbs, my aching chest, or my shallow breaths. The cloth was removed from my face before I was lifted by my captor and thrown onto his shoulder. I concentrated on the names I’d overheard—Orontes and Pactolus. They were ones I never wanted to hear again.

 

Stop by and see the cover reveal for Golden by Melinda Michaels

golden-cover-reveal

High school senior Hanna Loch just suffered a blackout in front of her entire homeroom class. She hasn’t had one in over ten years, and she’s terrified—the last time she blacked out, she woke up with no memory of her life before. To make matters worse, no one can explain why it happens. For Hanna, bad things tend to come in threes.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .

When she learns she could be a descendant of someone who lived once upon a time, Hanna must put her trust in William Vann, a descendant of one of the most hated villains ever known. Their histories are intertwined in more ways than she expected, and he has answers about her past, answers even her family won’t share.

But is it safe to put her trust in someone who appears to be danger reincarnate, while trying to escape the darkness that tried to kill her ten years ago?

A loose fairytale retelling, GOLDEN is a story that’s just right, weaving together lost secrets, vengeful enemies, and what happens when fiction becomes reality.

 

Melinda Michaels Author PhotoMelinda Michaels is the author of Golden and currently lives in Milford, Pennsylvania. A self-proclaimed historian with a rare sense of humor, Melinda finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of coffee. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her own amusement or refurbishing old furniture.

Melinda loves Philadelphia and visits often to enjoy the city with her husband Andrew. Together they have three rambunctious pets. Archie the Beagle, Winston the Boston Terrier and Beatrice the cat.

Golden is the first in a Young Adult magic realism series. Find more now on facebook, twitter, or her website.

Want a challenge? NaNoWriMo is almost here!

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbNational Novel Writing Month is quickly approaching. This is the super fun and terribly taxing challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel which will begin on November 1st.  Folks all around the world will sign up for the task… many will succeed.

 

This year I’ve decided to pass on the opportunity (and I call it an opportunity because it truly is. Writers from all over the world ban together and offer each other support during the 30 days of madness). While I threw my hat in the ring last year for the first time, life has been throwing too much at me now to even consider making a 2014 run. (We are less than 3 weeks away from moving to a new house and I can barely find my socks much less coherent thoughts that I can stream together. More about this madness later.)

 

But for those of you on the fence about giving it a try, I say “go for it!” At the end of the month you will have more writerly contacts and even if you don’t hit the magical milestone of 50k words, you’ll certainly have more words than you started with month with. And who knows, you may be the next Rainbow Roswell.

 

Want another challenge with a different spin? Take a stab at the Reuts version of NaNoWriMo challenge called Project REUTSway. The official rules are here.

 

Remember: stay focused and write… as much and often as you can.

Photo Credit: AgenciaAndes

Photo Credit: Flickr by AgenciaAndes

Here are a few resources to help you prepare:

Writer’s Digest – Need an Outline? Maybe … Maybe not

Scrivener – Try out their trial edition for NaNoWriMo-ers

Curiosity Quills – Check out Clare Dugmore’s Tips for Success

Good luck, NaNoWriMo-ers!!! May the force and everything else be with you!

Want to sign up for the NaNoWriMo challenge? Click here.

An interview with Valentina Cano, author of The Rose Master

trm-revealThe talented Valentina Cano agreed to answer a few questions about writing. I love her honest and helpful answers, especially the three nuggets of wisdom for unpublished writers. Her debut novel The Rose Master released on June 24th. Look for more information about her book following her interview.

 

Valentina, are you a panster or a plotter? And how do you approach a new idea?

Definitely a pantser. I usually sit down with a new idea circling my head (insert Jaws theme here) and try to work out some basic things: who my protagonist is, what he or she is struggling with, and how do I want the whole novel to end. I don’t like to plot ahead too much because characters have a way of deviating from the “script”, so I no longer stress over that. What I do like to do on my daily walks, however, is plan the scene I’m going to write that day.

Do you have the same critique partners for all your work or do you have different sets? And why?

I try to change it up a bit. What I’ve noticed is that after a while, the reader becomes used to your style of writing, almost immune to your faults as an author, so you’re not getting the same kind of nit-picking critiques. A writer needs nit-pickers; it’s what makes a story better.

What is the most difficult aspect about being a writer? 

The editing process. It’s absolutely necessary but I, along with every other author on this planet, hate doing it. You can easily get overwhelmed during the editing process. There’s suddenly all these structural things to fix, scenes to add, characters to move around…All my experiences with editing have been positive, though. The editors I’ve worked with, especially with THE ROSE MASTER, have been fabulous, so that at least makes things easier.
 
What are your top three nuggets of wisdom you would like to share with unpublished writers?
 
Write every day. It may sound obvious and it’s been said a lot, but it’s probably the most important thing that you can do as a writer. Even if you read what you wrote later and decide it’s jaw-dropping awful, you at least practiced your craft. Writing is like any other art, you can’t get better at it if you don’t practice.

I would also say that you have to hold on to your self-esteem with both hands, because as you start the process of looking for agents or looking for publishers, it gets really tough. You could have the next best seller curled inside your laptop and still, you will get lots and lots of rejections. It’s very hard to handle these rejections because this is your creation that you are peddling and realizing that no one is tripping over themselves to represent it or publish it can hurt.

The other piece of advice I always mention is that writers need to read. A lot. And not just the genre you write. Read everything you can, from poetry, to sci-fi, to romance, to YA and picture books. Every book on this planet can teach you something, even it it’s how not to write. As Stephen King often says, if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.
 
What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Oh, opening that blank Word page and formatting it to write the first sentence. The anticipation is delicious.
 
Do you have any suggestions for editing drafts?

I like to start editing as soon as I get the revisions. I find that my first thoughts and ideas at seeing what I have to edit are the best ones. If I allow myself lots of time to think, I end up rethinking everything, which is not good. I dive right in and start tearing the manuscript apart. Everyone is different, though, so for some people, it may be better to wait a couple of days before starting. The important thing is getting it done.
 
What do you think is the most important element a story should have?
 
I think a story has to have a satisfying ending. I don’t mean a happy one, but one that makes the reader feel like all the time spent reading was not a waste. There’s nothing I dislike more than enjoying a fabulous book only to be betrayed by a rushed ending. It’s very common, too. I know, as a writer, the need to get something finished, but the ending is just as important, if not more so, than the beginning.
 
Do you have other stories in the works?

Always. A few that are already completed and I’m polishing them up, and some that are just scribbles in my notebook but which I’m looking forward to tackling. I recently went to London to research the sequel to THE ROSE MASTER, as well, so I’ll start working on that soon.
 
I wrote a blog about self-doubt being a new demon I encountered. Do you have any writing demons?

Self-doubt is a tough one to overcome. It happens every time I get a rejection. I start worrying that maybe my writing is awful, that I’m deluding myself that this can ever be a career, and a number of other things. That lasts until I sit down again in front of my laptop, with my pet mynah bird, Loki, perched on my desk. As soon as I start writing, everything kind of falls away. I always end up at the same place: even if my writing stinks, I enjoy doing it too much to stop.
 
If someone wrote a book about your life, who would star as you?

Maybe someone like Natalie Portman. We’re both petite and we have similar features. Although she is older than I am, she usually looks very young, so it could work.

 

trm-revealBlurb:

The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:

There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.

Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.

As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.

When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help him stop it.

Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

REUTSGoodreads

 

Bio:

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Challenge Accepted

With a personal and public NaNoWriMo commitment of completing 50K words in one month hanging over my head, why would I sign up for ProjectREUTSway Bloody Ever After Challenge?  ProjectREUTSway is a NaNoWriMo contest sponsored by REUTS Publications. But they’re not hosting a create-50K-words-kind-of-contest. They’re looking for warped and creative renditions of the fairy tales in the Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm collections. Oh yeah, and they want gore, paranormal, and more over a four-week period… all in a short story format. 2 K to 5K range.

So why do it? Writing 5K takes significantly less time than 80K, but it still relies on the same type of creativity and planning. It’s like painting the Sistine Chapel on a piece of notebook paper. No, not really, but that seemed like such a super analogy. Writing a short story is not only a challenge, it’s great practice.

I accepted the awesome challenge ProjectREUTSway extended by writing a less than 5K story about a fairy tale I knew from childhood. I tried to include plot, tension, and character development using a fraction of the words I usually throw around.  And how did I do? We’ll find out if I hit or missed the mark when they reveal “Top Looks” this weekend. But regardless of how my story fares, I came out a winner because this offered me another chance to practice my craft. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. And it will make me stronger for round two.

Are you up for the challenge? Check out REUTS.com or follow them on twitter @ProjectREUTSway to find out more.