Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Quote: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Quotes Vampires Holly Black

The above was my favorite quote from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. To completely understand the quote you have to read the book. But I love this line because I love the contrast between love and pain. The speaker of the line is about to watch the one he loves scream in pain and it's spoken by a somewhat psychotic vampire to the girl he loves.

There was nothing exceptional about the book, but Holly Black would drop these beautiful lines of beauty that spoke to my spirit and reminded me why I heart all of her books even when I don't.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The 2015 OWFI Conference

The last time I went the Oklahoma Writer's Federation, Inc (OWFI) conference I didn't have much fun. See the posts here  and here 

This time, I had a plan for the OWFI conference:

1.   I'm not pitching. So I'm neither desperate nor nervous.
2.  Interact with my tribe. This year the homies from the YANA sisterhood (Katie Trattner, Vanessa K. Eccles and my OKC Facebook writers' group were there.  Social networking is a good thing.
3. I stayed on location despite living around ten minutes away that way I wouldn't go home during the breaks, start watching TV and then get too lazy to return.

In the end, the OWFI conference was awesome. My introverted self talked to people and I learned writerly things. Thanks to the free liquor from 5:30 to 7:30 in the hotel lobby. Special shout out to Justin Herd for giving me Create Space tips.

Y'all know I'm all about diversity. Well the number of POC at the conference can probably be counted on less than two hands, however the GOH Speaker Les Edgerton did discuss race. And he addressed it without seeming racist or like he was apologizing. Sometimes that can be a hard line to balance. If Les is ever in your town for a conference, you must go.

Here is some juicy tidbits from his speeches:

Always end the chapter before the scene will be resolved

There is nothing wrong with writing slow and thinking about every word you put on the page

There is a difference between home and business burglary.  Home burglars do more time because they are more likely to hurt someone.

The amount of people who are actual psychos are small. Don't believe what you see on TV.

There is very little rape in prison. The rape that does exist is usually a black guy raping a white guy to show dominance.

There was a guy in jail who had his teeth knocked out so he can give better blowjobs.

In the 1960s, drug addiction was a black crime.  White guys were sent to rehab. Blacks were sent to jail. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday Scenes: COAL Chapter One, Scene 3

Table of Contents:

Chapter One, Scene 1

Chapter One, Scene 2

Coal stood outside of Chalcedony’s thick wooden door and straightened his brown pants and the white shirt he wore underneath his green jerkin. He ran a hand over his braids and noticed one of them had unraveled. He cursed under his breath as he re-braided his kinky textured hair as fast as he could before he knocked on the door.
“Who is it?” asked a gruff voice from inside the room. He immediately recognized the voice as Chalcedony’s advisor, Madoc. Coal was convinced that Madoc’s primary goal in life involved making Coal miserable.
“It’s me,” Coal said in his most formal voice. “Legacy told me that Chalcedony is looking for me.”
The door opened and Princess Chalcedony stood on the other side. “Legacy’s right. I am looking for you.” She wore a black sleeveless shirt and matching pants that were only a few shades darker than her brown skin.
Coal bowed, bending low at the waist, while happiness surged in his chest at the sight of his oldest friend.
“How can I help you, Princess?” he asked.
“Come in.” She stepped back from the door, her muscular arms flexing as she motioned for him to step into the room. “Since when do you bow or call me princess?”
Since last week, when Madoc lectured me for ten minutes about properly addressing a future queen, Coal wanted to say, but instead he kept quiet. The least he said, the least Madoc could use against him when Chalcedony left.
Once he stepped in the room, he saw there were three other fey sitting around the table in Chalcedony’s office. Madoc sat closest to the door, scribbling on a sheet of paper. He scoffed at Coal before he turned towards the stack of papers.
“If I am no longer needed, I’ll be retiring to my room,” said Binti, the female waif who had been sitting at the end of the table. She had a jumbled network of tiny blue veins that showed underneath her pale translucent skin. As she stood up from the table, the loose pink dress she wore buckled around knobby knees before she pulled it down. 
Binti and her twin brother acted as a tether between the two realms. If a rogue fey used magic in the human realm, her brother felt it. Through the link the siblings shared, her brother would let Binti know. Then Binti would alert Chalcedony in the fey realm.
“Go ahead,” Princess Chalcedony said. “Thanks for your help.”
Binti nodded briefly at Chalcedony as she walked away from the table and towards the door. Coal shivered as she passed. The waif lowered the temperature of any room by five degrees just by her presence. They were rumored to be children of reapers sent into the physical world to live until they replaced their parents as harvesters of souls.
Motion next to Chalcedony caught his attention. He was drawn to the blonde, blue-eyed elf standing next to Chalcedony.
Chalcedony had spent the past two years with the high-born elf. He was appointed by his mother, Queen Tasla, to teach Chalcedony how to patrol her part of the human realm for fey who were there illegally. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to escort you, Princess?” Tetrick asked.
As usual, the royal elf paid Coal no attention. Coal didn’t know if it was better to be ignored and made to feel like he wasn’t worth a second thought or to be constantly ridiculed and belittled like Madoc treated him.
“No, thank you, Tetrick,” Chalcedony answered.
“You should let him escort you,” Madoc said with a tone that suggested it was more of an order than a choice.
“No,” Chalcedony said with such intensity that her long, sharp incisors were visible. “But thank you anyway,” she said to Tetrick, her temper back under control.
“Very well, Princess.” Tetrick bowed and then the elf disappeared as if he’d never been there.
“You should have let him take you,” Madoc said.
“Take you where?” Coal asked. “I thought we had plans for today.”
“We do.” Chalcedony’s red eyes were wide with joy. “It’s a surprise. But first, go get your clothes. Then I’ll meet you upstairs in my room.”
“What clothes?” Coal asked, confused. She’d changed from all business to playful so quickly it took Coal a moment to adjust.
“The ones you bought back with you from the human realm.”
Coal hesitated. He was seven the last time he’d worn those clothes. “Why?”
“You should not question a princess’s orders,” Madoc said.
Chalcedony huffed and turned to Madoc.
“You’re dismissed, Madoc,” Chalcedony ordered.
Madoc shot Coal a hateful look, before he bowed towards Princess Chalcedony and left the room.
“Don’t worry about him. He’s in a bad mood.” 
“He’s been in a bad mood for eleven years,” Coal said. “I think it’s safe to say he just really hates me.”
“He doesn’t hate you. He treats you just like he treats everybody else.”
“Really?” Coal asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Okay, he may dislike you a little bit. Go and meet me upstairs.”
“But—” he began.
“No more questions or you’ll spoil the surprise. Just go get them.” Her voice was full of joy and mischief. He’d missed it. He’d missed her.
Coal bit his lip, stifling his next question before he left the room.
What could she possibly want with his human clothes? They were all he had that proved where he’d come from, but he hadn’t touched or thought about them in years.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Amazon Excerpt:

2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).
   Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

I bought The Crossover by Kwame Alexander for my son.  He wasn't feeling reading on a Kindle.  He believes Kindles are for playing video games not reading. So I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did. The Crossover was written in verse from the point of view of Josh aka Filthy. I can't tell you the last time I read a complete book written in verse, but my son has read quite a few. Is this a trend in children's literature?

As a novelist who started out with zero talent, I had to learn how to add internal dialogue, descriptions, and characterization in order to make my stories readable, it was very interesting to read a story that simply had the barest of ingredients for a novel. But nothing was lost in the story. I wouldn't have enjoyed The Crossover any less if it had been written in traditionally. Kwame Alexander handles metaphors like  Lebron handles a basketball (That was me trying to spit some verse).

 I hope my son reads this later. Boys need diverse books and The Crossover fits the bill.

Diversity: 5
Story: 5
Characterization: 5

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My First Book Giveaway: Daughter of Gods and Shadows by Jayde Brooks

Immediately, after reading Daughter of Gods and Shadows by Jayde Brooks, I was like where is the second book?! And then I was filled with questions. So inspired by Reader Meet Author and +Madhuri Blaylock  when she asked Jason Reynolds and Cindy Pon for interviews, I contacted Jayde through Facebook and asked for an interview. Not only did she say yes, but she agreed to give a signed copy of Daughter of Gods and Shadows away to a lucky reader of my blog.   SQUEE!!! And I'll be giving away two ebook copies (through amazon) to make the pot even sweeter. 

Enter below for your chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 27, 2015

Reader Meet Author

As a writer, I've learned how good praise feels.  I know it's vain, but it’s the truth. Therefore, as a reader, if I find a book that I enjoy I tweet and post about it.  And it's fun! As a bonus, most of the time the author tweets back.  I had a Goodreads discussion with Voss Foster about his amazing book The Park (Evenstad Media Presents Book 1) . I've also gotten retweets back from Saladin Ahmed the awesome author of Throne of the Crescent Moon and Jason Reynolds the author of The Boy in the Black Suit after I shared how much I loved their books on Twitter.

So readers, if you find a book you adore, post and tweet about it. Give the author love.  Writing is crazy hard  and a lot of us are scared that no one will like our books. But if just one person likes it, it makes the incredibly hard task of pouring our hearts out on sheets of paper (or e-readers) worth it.