When Stars Die Quotes

When Stars Die Quotes

Although my novel is still in publishing purgatory, this doesn’t mean I can’t entice you with a few quotes. I hope you’ll add it to Goodreads and follow my newsletter. You’ll find the link to that on the home page of my website. This newsletter will keep you updated on my publishing journey, offer writing advice, recommend books, and have a main article helpful to both readers and writers

pretty-gothic-angels-timeAmelia: “Marriage won’t make me happy, but I feel like I need it.”

Colette to Amelia: ‘”You have to clear your mind of everything, every bad feeling, every good feeling, every doubt.”‘

Oliver to Amelia: ‘”This is why I love you Amelia, your ardent passion, your willingness to do something. So you should understand why I will not turn back.”‘

Nathaniel to Amelia: ‘”Why did you take us away from Mother and Father three years ago?”‘

Amelia: “My life should fly out on a film reel. It stays locked in the prison of my mind.”

Mother Aurelia to Amelia: ‘”If I didn’t care, I would have kept you here [Cathedral Reims], making you endure trials with the knowledge that you weren’t ready for them. I don’t put my girls through the trials knowing they can’t handle them.”

Amelia: “The nuns are allowed to beat us. Most don’t, but some do.”

Keep in mind that no matter what path my book goes through, there will be some editorial changes.

Trends in YA Book Covers

Trends in YA Book Covers

Recently I stumbled across this article on Jillian Audrey’s blog on recent trends in YA covers and decided I wanted to share all of these with you.

I would post all the pictures of the current trends right here, but I want you guys to click on the links and look at the covers yourself just so I can spend this blog post explaining each one and either giving my approval or disapproval to several of these trends.

  • The Beheaded: I hate covers with beheaded characters. Why are they all beheaded? Is there some types of social commentary these covers are trying to make? They’re all beheaded women, too. Are these covers just trying to reduce women to just their parts, instead of showing the whole person behind the cover? This one bothers me because it reduces women to just their parts. I don’t know what the marketing department/cover designer is thinking of when they choose to behead the characters on the covers. What say you, Stars?
  • The Big Head: Yes, I know that When Stars Die falls into this trend. But, in my defense, my publisher and I originally wanted Amelia holding her little brother as the original cover, but that didn’t seem like it was able to be done, so we went the big head trend anyway. And you know what? I love my cover to bits, and many of the ‘big head’ covers in the trend’s list are beautiful anyway, such as Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. At least they’re showing the faces of these characters, too, and especially their eyes, which can convey a lot. I like my cover because it really puts Amelia out there, and you can see her innocence, which points to the fact that she isn’t a very worldly person.
  • Baby’s Got Back: This trend doesn’t bother me too much, but, again, it makes no sense. Sure, some of the covers are beautiful, but, admittedly, if you see enough of these, you begin to wonder why the marketing department/cover designers are choosing to take their models and show their backsides. Maybe these covers are trying to portray that these characters are going somewhere super important. I don’t really know.
  • The Mope: This trend doesn’t bother me at all because at least it’s showing the entire model and not just her parts, and at least ‘the mope’ is conveying the darkness of the book. Plus, some of these gorgeous covers just suck me in and make me want to read these books.
  • The Dead Girl: This one doesn’t bother me so much either because at least the characters are varied in how the cover designers chose to portray the deadness of the models. Plus, I read one of those books among the ‘dead girl’ trend, and I can tell you these types of books point to the overall theme of death, and that these ‘dead models’ point to the fact that death is going to be an enormous part of the book, that the main character is just going to be surrounded by it.
  • What Big Eyes You Have: This is another trend that I don’t like. While the eyes are pretty, they don’t really tell much about the story. I especially hate the big eye trend on opaque faces. It’s very tacky. There was this one middle grade book at the school where I do my observation that is called Escaping the Giant Wave, and this cover has a beautiful tidal wave, but there are freaking opaque eyes above it, and I think it’s stupid and cheesy and ruins the whole cover of the book. The eyes also look like they belong to a girl, and the main character is a boy. The cover would have been beautiful without the eyes, and those eyes serve absolutely serve no purpose at all–unless it’s trying to explain that the kid is going to have to escape this tsunami himself, with no adults present to help him. Otherwise, it’s a crap cover.
  • What Big Lips You Have: This is a trend I really hate, especially in YA covers. It’s oversexualizing the model, who is supposed to represent a teenager. Are there erotica books in the YA genre now, because those big lips definitely signify something pornographic going inside of the book.
  • What Big Hands You Have: This one doesn’t really bother me at all, especially the cover of Anna and the French Kiss. I mean, I suppose it’s arguably bothersome because it makes the book seem like it’s all about the hands, but, otherwise, I have no problem with this trend.
  • Kissy Face: Yeah…I don’t like this trend at all, but I’m probably being biased because I don’t like pure romance novels. Plus, some of these covers show the characters about to kiss, or they show the characters barely kissing. Too Nicholas Sparks for me.

So what are some other trends you’ve noticed in YA books lately?

The Beauty of Romance as a Sub-genre

The Beauty of Romance as a Sub-genre

Some time ago I wrote a post on my least favorite genre, which is romance. I don’t like pure romance books because it seems a prerequisite for writing one is to have crap happen that muddles a relationship, and then it ends happily-ever-after. It’s not that I don’t believe that happy relationships aren’t possible, because I am in one myself, but it’s very formulaic. If I know they’re going to get together in the end, I frankly don’t give a crap what happens in the book to bring them up to that point because I basically know the ending, mmkay? I think romance is a sweet, beautiful thing, but if the outcome is predictable, I will not bother with the book. Period. And, really, most of the outcomes are predictable because romance is a wish-fulfillment genre. But the beauty about romance as a sub-genre is that the plot can do anything to that romance, and you have no idea what it’s going to be.

I am about to spoil The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, so if you have not read it and want to read it, I suggest not reading this next part. The primary genre of this book is basically sick lit, even though it is shelved in your basic teen fiction and is considered literature.The Fault in Our Stars.jpg But it is also a tragic romance, which I didn’t know upon picking up the book. I knew there was romance in it, muddled by cancer and teen things, but I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I began reading it.

This has become one of my favorite books of all time partly because of the sick lit and partly because of the romance as sub-genre.

As I began reading the book, I melted at the sweet romance, but I also began to realize this romance wasn’t going to end well, but I had no idea who it wasn’t going to end well for and why. Hazel has stage IV thyroid cancer and Gus is an amputee whose cancer is in remission. Now John Green masterfully creates foreshadow to show who is going to bear what tragedy, but it is symbolism that you have to really pay attention to. As the end of the book draws near, Gus’s cancer returns and it is Hazel who must bear the tragedy of witnessing Gus’s dying. This was completely unpredictable because Gus’s cancer had been in remission for a while and even though Hazel is on a treatment plan that has kept her cancer at bay, her lungs were basically useless, so she has to carry around an oxygen tank, and she still struggles with her cancer in ways Gus daoesn’t have to struggle with his. So Gus dies at the end, a rather horrific death, let’s be honest, and your feelings have been left slaughtered and bloody because you spend x amount of pages reading the romance between Hazel and Gus, only for the sick lit aspect of the book to tear it apart. It is sad and tragic, but Hazel draws strength from the tragedy and knows she can survive it.

TFIOS has made me fall in love with romance as a sub-genre because, really, the main genre can send the romance spiraling in a thousand different directions that romance as a genre doesn’t seem to do. And the romance itself can really muddle the main plot in a thousand delectable ways.

Do you remember some time ago when I said that When Stars Die’s sequel was not going to have romance? Well, I’m back to working on it now and have discovered that there is some romance. It’s not as much as WSD, but there is still romance in it and I have decided to keep it because, well, a lot of crap happens to Alice, and she deserves something amongst all the crappiness. But, of course, the romance aspect is completely unpredictable. I don’t even know where my MC and her love interest are going to end up. But I hesitate to say that this one can be defined as paranormal romance like WSD can be. This one will just be flat out paranormal. Possibly paranormal suspense.

Once I finish with the Stars trilogy and this contemporary fantasy, I am going to start on a sick lit, sort of tragic romance book myself. I’m thinking of doing a novel-length alternative version of a YA contemporary short story I did last month. But that won’t be for some time–but I’ll probably start outlining it anyway just so it’s there.

 

 

 

Help With Cover Reveal for When Stars Die

Help With Cover Reveal for When Stars Die

StarsYesterday I received the mock covers for When Stars Die (they’re gorgeous!), so it’s getting fairly close to being done. I don’t have a formal date for the cover reveal. I’m pretty much going to do it once I get the okay or whatever, but I would love some help with doing it. Basically, should you decide to help me, I’ll e-mail you with a small media packet with like the synopsis and all that (and hopefully a release date with it), and you can post it on your blog or whatever social media site is most convenient for you, or whatever has the most followers. Twitter probably isn’t the best site to use in this case, but things like Tumblr, Facebook, ect…

In exchange for helping me with this, I’ll enter you in an Amazon gift card giveaway I’ll do, that way you can buy whatever books you want–or whatever you want, really.

All you need t9 do is comment below that you’d like to help, along with your e-mail address. Or you can e-mail me at thedancingwriter@gmail.com that you’d like to help if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your address in the comments below.

Thank you so much everyone!

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

2013-05-23-CoverFlip2 If you’ve been paying attention to the world of publishing lately, then you’ll know there’s been a lot of complaints regarding the book covers of young adult books. They’re too gendered, appealing to one gender over another, instead of trying to appeal to both. Here is a good article on the subject. The article basically states that due to the nature of the covers, pink covers, or “girly” covers, will turn away boys and suggest that they don’t need to concern themselves with the female experience. It is acknowledged that girls will read almost anything but boys won’t, so to gender neutralize covers will draw in both. At the same time, the article also acknowledges that this isn’t full-proof because then it’s just feeding into sexism, whereby masculinity is seen as the norm, seen as gender neutral, and femininity is not.

I don’t think covers need to be gender neutralized. I don’t think that’s where the problem lies. I think the problem lies in the misrepresentation of the book, and the article does acknowledge this–briefly. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar received a rather, *ahem*, jarring cover makeover that is actually rather insulting. This cover makes the story of The Bell Jar seem frivolous. It’s not that it’s “girly”, because there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s that it’s completely misrepresenting what The Bell Jar is about!

images (3) I don’t even like the term “girly.” We grow up thinking pink is for girls and blue is for boys, but pink was once for boys and blue for girls. Funny how marketing changed all that.

There isn’t anything wrong with a pink cover, as long as it’s not misrepresenting what the book is about. I frankly enjoy the color pink–a light pink though, much like the satin on pointe shoes. But I rather hate the thought that boys are turned off by pink covers. We’ve made it such  a threatening color to the point where pink covers on books scare boys away. That needs to change–not the book covers, unless they’re misrepresenting the book.

I think pink is sassy, outgoing, and bold. So, pink wouldn’t fit with any of my books because my characters aren’t sassy, outgoing, or bold. But I don’t see it as inherently girly. Wanting to get rid of pink covers or anything “girly” is just feeding into sexism, and that doesn’t need to happen.

When I do my book covers, I don’t even think of the gender of my readers. When I do a book a cover, I think of an object, something symbolic, that would relay the overall theme of my novel. Then I think of a background color that would best emphasize the object and portray the book. The cover for When Stars Die has not yet been approved, but I chose a certain object that symbolizes the freedom all witches seek, but yet they’re tightly bound by the rules of their mortal world. I then painted a dark blue, snowy backdrop since the book takes place in the freezing winter, and dark blue hints at the darkness present in the book.

Of course, if this cover is not approved, I did mention what kind of cover I wanted, and it’s a cover that will emphasize the darkness in the book. It’s a paranormal romance, more heavy on the paranormal/darkness aspect than on the romance. The romance is important, but the book isn’t just about that, so to have a cover that tries to convey the romance in my book would be total misrepresentation.

Overall, what I think needs to happen with book covers is that the stories need to start being properly represented, without publishers worrying about what gender to market to. An attractive cover is an attractive cover, and I think both boys and girls can agree on this, whether or not that cover is trying to market to one gender or another. The Bell Jar, for one thing, could use a total cover overhaul. It’s completely disrespecting both Sylvia Plath and her story.

Seeking 9 More Reviewers for Paranormal Romance (Free ARCs included!)

Seeking 9 More Reviewers for Paranormal Romance (Free ARCs included!)

My MC goes to a cathedral like this. This beautiful photograph is by Joshua Holko.
My MC goes to a cathedral like this. This beautiful photograph is by Joshua Holko.

I am sitting at 41 interested reviewers and have 9 spots left to review When Stars Die, a paranormal romance that is more heavy in the paranormal than the romance. You will receive a free ARC in exchange for doing a review and/or quote. You may not receive it for a month or two, but all I would require for now is an e-mail address to put on the list. It is being published by AEC Stellar Publishing.

In any case, here is a bare bones summary of what the book is about:

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption for a witch, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

 

Comment if you are interested! You can either e-mail me your e-mail (you can find my e-mail in the contact tab), or leave your e-mail in the comments.

My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

Leave a comment if interested in receiving a free paranormal romance ARC of my soon-to-be-pubbed novel by AEC Stellar Publishing.

This book is looking for reviewers to do, well, reviews and possible quotes for the book before it is released. I am already creating an e-mail list of potential reviewers to give to my contract manager and would love to include anyone interested in reading a paranormal romance. Here is some more information on When Stars Die:

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being…

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My Least Favorite Genre

My Least Favorite Genre

Licensed for CC use
Licensed for CC use

My dislike for the romance genre at first seems odd. After all, I wrote a paranormal romance whose plot hinges on that romance. Well, let me explain. First off, the rest of the books in the trilogy won’t have any romance. I was never interested in trying to cash in on the paranormal romance genre. In fact, I’m so disinterested that while When Stars Die is a paranormal romance, I turned that romance aspect on its head. Unfortunately you won’t see that until the end, but I decided to do something different with it because the paranormal romance genre has me burned out in general (unless your romance is unconventional, like it was in Shannon Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset, but you don’t find that a whole lot).

Another facet of this romance thing is I don’t like pure romance novels. I do like romance as a sub-plot because it can complicate things, but pure romance novels I find dull and cheesy. I mean, some of the taglines authors use to lure readers into their romance books are so cheesy, like ‘wrangle into my heart’ if it’s a romance about a cowboy. I’m pretty sure you readers have seen a fair amount. I also HATE the covers of romance novels with a passion. I get these books are trying to attract women, but I’ve always hated books with over sexualized characters because your average person doesn’t look that way. Of course, I suppose romance is trying to play into some serious fantasies.

But back to the dull portion. I guess I find pure romance so dull because romance is something all of us experience in one form or another. I don’t want to read a book that reminds me of my messy turbulent relationships, and since I’m engaged, I don’t need a fantasy to escape into when I can just escape into another book where I know this stuff will likely never happen but still has relatable characters nonetheless–and where the romance sub-plot can really screw up the main plot but the main plot isn’t overshadowed by the romance. I care more about the romance as a sub-plot than a main plot because so much more seems to be happening that can tear it apart. It’s just not interesting to me when the main plot is a love triangle, or a jealous ex-lover, or she has two to choose from. That’s just all very, very boring, and while there are myriads of ways an author can go about creating a romance plot, I haven’t read a book where the outcome is unpredictable–and while I’ve only read a few, those few were enough to turn me away from the romance genre forever.

Romance just may not appeal to me because I don’t have a fairytale view. My relationship with my fiancé was very turbulent in the beginning, and I learned early on just how much work it would take to maintain it. It’s worth it, but it’s certainly no happily-ever-after, and romance books primarily play upon that. Everything is all great at the end, but you wonder what it’s like a few years from then or even a few months. I’m not cynical about romance, but I certainly harbor no more puppy love. But I can see how it’d appeal to others, like those who are looking for their Mr./Ms. Right, or those just so easily swayed by romance, or those looking for hope, or those who are romantics in general.

It just isn’t for me. Romance isn’t targeted for people like me, and that’s okay. It’s thriving on its own, and while I will never read another romance novel again and may never write romance again, there are plenty of other books out there for people like me.

As a side note, don’t forge to enter my double book give away here. You must be following me to be considered and must comment in the linked post to be entered. This will go until Saturday 9 PM.

The Madness of Romance in Young Adult Novels

The Madness of Romance in Young Adult Novels

While When Stars Die may be a paranormal romance, romance overall isn’t my thing. I had to play up the romance in When Stars Die to elicit the appropriate responses for the ending, but the sequel, I can tell you right now, will not be packaged into a romance genre.

I wanted to do this post because the trend lately for a lot of young adult novels is to have the MC and the love interest fall in love fast. The argument is that it is too fast and therefore unrealistic. The MC and her LI kiss on page 50 and perhaps go all the way on page 100. They weren’t even best friends before. Heck, they were hardly friends.

I want to posit that it accurately reflects not only princess culture but teens in general. I know I fell in love fast as a teen. I’d fall in love with the guy within two weeks–or so what I thought was love. The guy would love me back–or so what he thought was love. I romanticized love because I’d see all these long-term couples and how happy they were, and I wanted to be among them. I wanted to be talked about the way they were talked about–how cute they looked, how strong their relationship was, how inseparable they were. So when I fell in love with the guy, I was really just falling in love with love.

Young adult novels are primarily in the first person perspective. As readers, we have to remember that the unreliable narrator is common in first person. So the MC is going to think she is in love, but she might not be. There are no external forces in first person perspective to step out and say, “She only thinks she is in love, but she is a careless teen just in love with the idea of love.” Sure, some teens may realize this at the end of the book, but most teens do not have relationship experience and an adult’s perspective to step back and say, “I was just in love with the idea of love, not with the person I was with.”

So to say that the teens in these books fall in love too fast is to forget that there are teens in real life who do fall in love too fast. They just don’t have the life experience to be able to see that they’re not really in love. Now some may already be in love at the beginning of the relationship, but often it is with their best friends–so I’m not trying to argue teens don’t know what love is, because some of them surely do.

All I know is I didn’t know what love was until I met my current fiancé.

Edge of the Falls Review

Edge of the Falls Review

Nazarea Andrew’s Edge of the Falls bases itself off the timeless classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. However, do not mistake this to mean the plot is a re-make of this fairy tale, for it is far from it. Edge of the Falls revolves around Sabah, a girl on the cusp of becoming Majority–which simply means that a Citizen must take on a quota for humanity’s survival. However, Sabah is a gutterling, an outcast, a girl thrown out by the City and left to the mercies of the acid storms, ban-wolves, and other horrors the City protects itself from with a shield.

Sabah, however, lives in the manor with the Mistress, a woman so bent on collecting Starrbriars that she is willing to use small children to collect these. Sabah is not certain why the Mistress craves these Starrbriars, but she is certain of her love for Berg, the boy who saved her–or so she thinks.

Things begin to change when a ban-wolf named Arjun saves her. Ban-wolves are not known for human qualities, but it is Arjun who begins to distort her world and unveil truths Sabah had never been able to consider before.

Now I’m going to admit upfront that romance is not my thing. I had hoped the dystopic plot would have taken forefront, but this book is based off Beauty and the Beast, so of course the romance is going to take precedence. And Mrs. Andrews does a fantastic job with the romance aspect. However, one thing I’d like to nitpick is that Sabah seems to have fallen in love too fast with Arjun, especially considering that she has Berg. I could forgive this if Sabah were a young teen, but my disbelief was difficult to suspend, even though Arjun did save her, a creature that is supposed to be dangerous and deadly. But perhaps there is something more: she is intrigued by this supposedly dangerous aspect of Arjun and was at first in love with the idea that a purportedly dangerous creature saved her and that in itself was romantic to her.

Even though romance isn’t my thing, the world of Mrs. Andrews’s book is intriguing and well-developed. You have gutterlings, ban-wolves, rovers, people who follow the wind and live a carefree lifestyle; and then you have the Citizens, protected and coddled from the outside world. It is so intriguing that Mrs. Andrews’s explores the aspect of unwanted children and what can happen to them. As a reader, you want Sabah to be the one to rise up and do something about this, especially because she cared so well for the children in her own manor. However, this leaves more open for the sequel, and I for one can’t wait to see what Mrs. Andrews does.

Character development is spot on. Sabah goes from someone who accepts every word of the Mistress, to someone who no longer tolerates not having reasons and justifications for peoples’ actions. She is a very likable, relatable character. She has had a hard life, but she perseveres, and as a reader, I admire her for being able to push through such a difficult life in order to gain her slice of happiness in an otherwise bleak world that limits happiness to the few.

Overall, if you love romance or books with dystopic elements, then Edge of the Falls is perfect. I rate this book a 4 out of 5, simply because the sudden romance between Arjun and Sabah did not suspend my disbelief.