Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Memory Challenge

(From Reading in Winter)

I haven't wanted to do a post in a while, just a mood I guess, but this looked so fun over on Kristilyn's page that I thought I'd try it.

The rules: answer the questions without searching the Internet or looking at your bookshelves and tag five bloggers.
*If you want to try this yourself, do it before reading my answers:)*
memory challenge_thumb

1. Gone by Michael Grant
2. Eragon (I think that's the name of it?)
3. Does a Curious George book count? I'm counting it.
4. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.
5. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crawley.
6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
7. Um, a knife...I'm guessing one of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books has to count, but let me try to go more specific...nope, drawing a blank.
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
9. Epony-what?
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Now...checking my answers...
After cheating with the internet:

2. Yes!!! Eragon is by Christopher Paolini. I feel like he's the same guy who wrote that children's book about the pasta that flowed over the whole town, but as I look it up on Goodreads, I get nothing. Maybe it's because he has an Italian last name.
5. Yep, except the author's name is Cath Crowley. A cute love story.
7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I have a version with a different cover, so thanks for your help, Google.
8.  Embarrassed to say that I didn't know the author was Ken Kesey. I wonder if this answer is a popular one?
9. Does anyone not have to look this word up? I believe it means giving of one's name to something, so I'll go with Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.

I'm breaking the rules by not tagging five bloggers, but definitely try this! I appreciated the break. Plus, you'll never know when you'll be on Family Feud. I could imagine some of these questions being asked to 100 people...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal other-wordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?" -Goodreads
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Page Count: 418
Buy Link:
Favorite Quotes:
"She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if if might expand and...cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust."

"It was like stepping into the pages of a book-- a book alive with color and fragrance, filth and chaos-- and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seeming to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place were a story about her."

"The blade of his long sword gleamed white from the incandescence of the wings-- vast shimmering wings, their reach so great they swept the walls on either side of the alley, each feather like the wind-tugged lick of a candle flame."

"It was a remarkable sight, the sky beginning to flush pale at the roots, all the towers bathed in a soft glow, the streets of the city still shadowed and aglitter with fireflies of lamplight and the weaving, winking beam of headlights."

"The sun climbed above the hills and she watched as its glow herded night into the shadows where it gathered, all the darker for its density-- all of night crowded into the slanting places beyond the reach of dawn."

"Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort."

Wow, wow, wow. Liani Taylor, you are my new literary hero.

Karou is a normal girl, if you consider normal knocking on doors behind which lie the portal to another world. She has tattooed eyes on her hands, wishes on a magical beads from her necklace, and meets bounty hunters to collect teeth. She was raised by Brimstone, a Wishmonger, and three of his chimaera hybrid friends. She fills her sketchbooks with pictures of her creature companions but feels a void inside. She doesn't know her parents or her past or what Brimstone does with the animal teeth.

Creative and fantastical storyline. The made up mythology blew my mind, especially about the sun and two moons. The connection between characters was electric. Not just between our two main characters who have the hots for each other, but even the friendship between Karou and Zuzana was entirely believable. I absolutely adore Zuzana's patience with Karou. She puts up with her "errands" without explanation, gets really protective when meeting "the new guy," and artistically carries out Karou's semester project idea.

You'll love this book if you like...
- Artists or hobby driven characters (Karou and Zuzana both attend an art school in Prague)
- Exotic locations intrigue you (Did I mention Prague? That's only the tip of the iceberg)
- People leading double lives (Behind door number one is...)
- A good love story that builds in tension
- Creativity
- Mystery (I couldn't guess the twist)
- The non-traditional angel (fiery wings, guys)
- Wishes and/or knives (Be surprised)
-  Writing that sweeps you away

I couldn't put this book down. And even though a ton of the book was flashbacks, they built the world up in such a strong way. I know this has set the second book up to be amazing. I even saw there's a 2.5 volume that goes into Zuzana's love story!

The best thing about discovering a series so late...all the books are already out.  I don't have to wait that agonizing year in between books and forget all the details.

This brings me to my question for you:
What awesome series did you discover after some or all of the books were out?


Saturday, August 23, 2014

PitchWars Mentee Bio: Just Your Typical Lifter-Upper

Hi! If you're here, you've probably been biting your nails, refreshing your inbox, and stalking Twitter feed for #PitchWars! Mentors and fellow mentees, let me tell you what I'm all about.
  • I, Jenna Klein, am a bubbly, lift-you-up-at-all-costs person. If you jump into my arms and you're twice my weight, I'll probably make a face similar to the one in the picture, but I will try my darndest to keep you up for five seconds. I find that walking around with a smile on your face can make or break someone else's day, and it makes me feel awesome! I teach, so if you see me in the halls, you will see me grinning because I'm happy to see you, even if my arms are full of butcher paper and I've been holding my bladder for three periods because they're back to back (I've stopped doing this, by the way. High school students are understanding when you talk about bathroom breaks. They want you to remember that convo later when they ask you if they can go.) (P.S. Love my students' style!)
  •  I adore grammar like the common citizen adores puppies. I'm one of those annoying people who gets pleasure from correcting punctuation errors. This comes in handy for critiquing purposes. Commas are practical and dashes are beautiful. I never correct anyone speaking to me. I don't even always think to myself, "She just said 'I' when 'me' was appropriate." On an airplane, that's the first question people ask when I reveal my job as an English teacher. I'm not correcting your grammar as we speak, but I will think you're rude if you make me straddle your lap to get to the toilet (has happened, quite embarrassing. At least she was female and got up the second time around).
  • The military and my family occupy approximately half each of my heart. My dad retired from the Air Force after 22 years. My mom got us through each move and expertly aced the role of military spouse (spouses serve as well!). My little brother (in the first picture) is a Navy nukes engineer. My father-in-law is retired Navy; my mother-in-law, active duty at the Pentagon. I work for the DOD school system in Puerto Rico, which caters to military children. People who protest anything troops-related boggle my mind. I try to excuse naive behavior the first time it happens. If you want to piss me off, don't freeze at 5 PM for the retiring of the flags on base or do say something ignorant about our soldiers. Also, we might have an issue if you don't shed at least one tear at Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American."

  • Traveling rocks, and I feel beyond blessed to be able to see exotic lands (thanks, in great part, to Lasik eye surgery). I've lived in Missouri, Italy, England, Japan, Texas, and Oklahoma. You can decide which ones fall under the above mentioned "exotic" category. My husband and I are cruise fanatics (OMG, the food!). Ireland is my goal; we're working on a trip at Christmas!

     We'll be staying in a bed and breakfast thanks to the appeal of the one in Leap Year!

Favorite things:
  • Going to the gym with my husband
  • Purple shirts
  • Nachos topped with all kinds of goodness
  • Spider monkeys
  • YA books (Maggie Stiefvater, Tahereh Mafi, Sarah Ockler, and Sara Zarr are among my heroes!)
  • Calligraphy
  • Fruity adult beverages (some concoction of orange and pineapple juice mixed with coconut rum and splashed with grenadine or cherry flavor...turns out brown, but my taste buds go crazy!)
  • Inspiring teenagers
  • The smell of grass after it rains
  • Dexter
  • Reviewing submissions for the Belle Reve Literary Journal.
Why I'd Make an Amazing Mentee:
I'm not huge on bragging on myself, but I am a hard worker.
  • For four years I was sponsor and editor of my school's 500+ page yearbook. 
  • I (just yesterday) oversaw and helped implement a new school-wide writing assessment. 
  • I'm co-writing curriculum for a new Honors English/history course for this year that will be adopted by other schools in the district. 
  • I sent out my first flash fiction pieces this summer and got 2 out of the 3 published!
  • My critique group pushes me (shout out to the OKC Plotholes!). We are HARD on each other. The kind of brutal honesty that could make a person go home and cry at night. But I don't. I just fix what doesn't work. 
  • I make time to write. I love my job, but I've been doing it for seven years. I don't need as much time for lesson planning as I used to. This means that after-school time is spent writing and revising (and sometimes binge-watching Netflix with the hubby).
  • I'm organized. These bulleted lists aren't just for show!
  • And finally, I don't use parentheses in my writing. Don't let this post fool you!
Why I'd Appreciate a Mentor:
  • I value experience.
  • I love talking writing with anyone who'll look my way, but bouncing ideas and books faves around with a passionate cohort is my dream come true.
  • I know my manuscript's not perfect, but I believe in it. 
  • My characters WANT YOU (cue Uncle Sam poster) to guide them on their journey.
So there you have it. That's me. I'm nervous for the results on September 3. I'm up late stalking tweets from the mentors rummaging through their slush piles. But I wouldn't trade sleep for this experience.

To all the mentees out there, I'd love to get to know you. Everyone brings a different talent to the table. It makes me insanely tingly to read your writing. Let's face it-- that writing's infused with your experiences, opinions, and a unique style. Bring on the chills!

Good luck, everyone!
To view other mentees' profiles, hop around our blogs!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: In the Rearview

Fans of Fiction is pleased to participate in a cover reveal blog tour for author Maria Ann Green.

Her book, In the Rearview, is one of the exciting new YA contemporaries that will be out August 19th. We love the cover, especially the font of the title. After you read the blurb, I think you'll agree that the cover model is a perfect fit for Meagan.

What's in store for you? A giveaway package will be announced on August 15th with instructions on how to be entered (and what you could win). 
Stop by Maria's blog or her website for more info.

Title: In the Rearview
Author: Maria Ann Green
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Release Date: August 19th
Main Character: Meagan
Book Tag Line: Heartbreak, Healing, Hope
Unique Features: The story is told through poems, journal entries, and narrative scenes.

Plot: When Meagan’s secret is found out, and she realizes there is no way to outrun her habit of cutting, she tries to work through it, and her depression, before she cuts too deep, making a mistake that can never be undone.

Meagan's problems aren't like every other adolescent's no matter how much she wishes they could be. Hers are worse. They've pulled her down into the depths of a depression that is anything but normal. She begins her pattern of self-harm as her depression threatens to drown her. She starts with one cut that leads to the next, and the next. After starting, it's apparent that there's no stopping, and Meagan spirals into a dark and cruel world she doesn't understand. Meagan cuts to feel better, but that comfort doesn't last long enough, and soon life is worse than it ever was before.

While learning to quit cutting Meagan faces life-altering obstacles and grows up in the process. IN THE REARVIEW is a story of pain, loss, confusion, and hope told through Meagan’s poems, journal entries, and a splash of narrative.

About the author: Maria Green currently lives in Minnesota, despite its bitter winters, with her husband. She graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in English. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to read with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of sweet wine, craft, and spend time with her family. This is her first published novel. 
"And so she wrote..."
Good luck with your release, Maria!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Calling All Teachers: Your Stories Are Needed!

Teacher faces. We all have them. The kind where you think, "What the hell did he just do?" 
I've had my share of yoga-doing, ball-hurling, curse-wielding catastrophes. It's funny later, but as it happens in slow-mo, you'd do anything to transport yourself to another place and let someone else quiet the zoo.
That brings me to my post. I need your help! I'm writing a book for 1st year teachers that tells the REAL story. The good, the bad, and the funny.

If you're a teacher and have a story or quote to share in one of the following categories, please leave a comment or email me at I don't mind keeping your name anonymous or only using your first name, but I'd also like to have your state or country. 

Here are the categories of stories I'm looking for:
Crazy kids – fights, outrageous things said, weird behaviors
Thoughtful kids – gifts or notes to the teacher, random acts of kindness
Cheating kids – ways that kids have cheated
Smart kids – things that have been said or impressed you, accomplishments

Crazy names – makes it harder to remember names with faces every year
Advice for new teachers
Time or grading savers
Classroom management tips
Creating a welcoming environment

And finally, any thank you letters you've received from students that you wouldn't mind sharing.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Winners of Giveaways!

Congratulations to the winners of the current giveaways on our blog!

Thanks to all who entered the Book Depository Giveaway.

The winner of a free $13 book from the Book Depository is Mia C. for entering Lance Conrad's giveaway on The Price of Creation.

The winner of the autographed copy of The Price of Creation is Lisa K. for following our blog.

Both ladies have 48 hours to get back to me (, or new winners will be chosen!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Chloe Miles

Today we have with us Chloe Miles of The Faded Trilogy!  She has kindly agreed to an interview, and a giveaway is going on at her blog until June 30th. Don't miss it!
Q1: What inspired you to write The Faded Trilogy?
I wanted to write a paranormal romance that was a little different to everything else that’s already been written. I loved the idea of earthbound spirits protecting the town from evil. And, being a hopeless romantic, I loved the idea of eternal undying love, especially between two characters who are so young but whose love is so rare and beyond their years.

It happened to be storming when I was coming up with the idea for the series, so that’s the inspiration behind the power over the weather that the characters possess and the unpredictable storms terrorising the town.

Q2. What sets Savannah apart from other YA heroines?
Savannah is a little shy and reserved and more at home with her nose buried in her textbooks than confronting a room full of her peers ... let alone coming face to face with The Forces and having to protect her entire town! 

We slowly see her emerge further and further from her shell as the series progresses, guided in the most part by Hunter’s unconditional love and undoubting belief in her. 

She isn’t your typical butt-kicking heroine in the beginning of the series ... but by the end ... well, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that she could give the best of the butt-kicking best a run for their money!

Q3. If you could have just one of Savannah's powers, which would you choose? 
Teleportation. I mean, could you imagine only needing to think of any place in the world and then suddenly appearing there?! You could travel the world without needing to spend a single dollar on plane tickets. (And, as displayed by Madison in Faded, there’s no need to ever wait in line for anything ever again.) 

Q4. Tell us a bit about 'The Forces'
The Forces are a group of three evil half-spirits terrorising Savannah's perfect little town with violent and unpredictable storms. It is their mission to destroy Fort Everwick ... and to tear Savannah and Hunter apart by luring Savannah to the dark side. They know that Savannah has the potential to be powerful, and with her as one of their own, they know they would have complete power on their side.

Q5. Describe The Faded Trilogy in 3 words.
Inspiring, goosebump-inducing, romantic.

Q6. Where do you usually write? 
I usually write at my computer desk in my little home office. Ideas can come to me at any time though, so I always take a little notebook and pen with me wherever I go in case inspiration hits.

Q7. What is the one thing you always have with you while writing?
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate ... depending on what mood I’m in :)

Q8. What has been the most rewarding and most difficult aspect of being an author?
The most rewarding has been seeing the actual finished product of each of the three books in my hands!! The most difficult, I’d have to say, is self-doubt. There’s no assurance of success, which is a little worrying at times. But I’m nothing if not a dreamer, and I have huge plans in mind for the series ... specifically, world domination. That’s not asking for much, is it?!

Below is the giveaway. Thanks for joining us, Chloe!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Bad Query Contest

Sharon Bayless is hosting a wonderful contest for who can create the worst fake query letter. Since breaking all the rules sounded like fun to me, I gave it a shot below. If you want a few laughs, hop around and vote for the worst of the worst!
Even if you're not familiar with what a query letter should entail, it is clear what parts should be left out, especially when dealing with a professional agent who has the choice to represent you in the publishing world.

Dear Mr., Ms., or Mrs. (insert your name here),

(Please imagine the Jeopardy music countdown song that plays during the last round as you read this. It will impress upon you the serious nature of your time running out as other agents bid on this manuscript.)

Hook: Every time freckle nosed WANDA STOLER steps on a dandelion, someone between the ages of 10-56 dies suddenly. Without warning. You cannot imagine all the multiple and various ways these people die. Think Final Destination 4. Wanda, who lives with her head in the clouds (not literally) doesn’t realize what a murderer she really is. Until she goes to a fair once upon a September. There is a lady there who is part of Siamese twins who is a psychic and reads people’s funnel cakes.  Her twin just juggles.

When the powdered sugar on Wanda’s funnel cake spells out the word Murder-er, all bets are off. Wanda enlists the help of her pet donkey, SHERBERT,  and her Little Sister TINA whose really taller than her (their part of the Big Sister-Little Sister program so there not really related) to carry her around so she no longer steps on dandelions. But being careful is a tiresome process. Sometimes she just wants too give up, give in, and Kill. More. People.

WEEDS LEAD TO THE GRAVE, my 19,500 word novel which might technically classify as a novella  is half middle-grade, half new adult, part science fiction, part mystery, and 95% horror. SPOILER ALERT: There are a few romance scenes with “heavy petting.” I think this book would be a hit in health classes everywhere, as there is an explanation of the female reproductive organs in chapter 23. The other thing that makes this novel unique is that all the chapters have a name followed by an inside joke I have with that person. There’s an audience of 30 automatically, since I’ve written to each of these people letting them know they are featured in a book.

Has the Jeopardy music finished yet? Have you realized what an amazing seller this will be? I know I didn’t expound upon the romance, but I had a Nicholas Sparks look-a-like read this and give the following review: “This surprising debut from Carrie Ingram will quite possibly make you swear off dandelions for the rest of your life.” Such a strong emotional reaction from a wide audience is just what your looking for, I know it. My previous experience is N/A, but my writing speaks for itself.

If you don’t contact me (Twitter is the preferable method), I can contact you, no prob. If you want to spread news pre-publication, that’s even better—just use #CarrieIngramrocks so my ex-boyfriend knows all I’ve accomplished.

Counting the minutes till your response,

Carrie Ingram @Author4Keeps, Your most profitable future client

P.S. I am also very humble and can help with advertising when I’m not at work.
P.S.S. On second thought, I can help at work too. My boss never checks my Internet history.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Giveaway: Book Depository Book of Choice!

Who doesn't like getting free stuff? In this case, the free thing happens to be a book of your choice from the Book Depository, which means it ships worldwide. Here are a few of my recent favorite reads, but of course, you can pick anything you want if you're the winner.
 Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Lance Conrad

Today we have with us Lance Conrad, author of The Price of Creation and the soon to be released The Price of Nobility.

Blurb on The Price of Creation:
"The Historian chances upon Surac, a land where people's destinies are defined by powerful pendants they have from birth, called Stones. Those whose Stones give them useful skills call themselves Creators, and isolate themselves from all others with a wall that splits the entire continent. When Aric, a Creator blacksmith, has a son born with a Stone that marks him for violence and destruction, they find themselves in danger from those they called their friends.
When the boy, Sadavir, is ultimately banished, he discovers secrets far darker than the villagers' petty prejudices. On the far side of the wall, he learns the origin of the Stones' magic and a war that dates back centuries. As he uncovers the true power locked in the Stones, he must find a way to unite ancient enemies in order to save his family. To stop a genocide, Sadavir must face his own destiny of violence." - Goodreads

Lance was kind enough to answer the following questions for us, interesting for readers and writers alike.
What inspired this novel?
Believe it or not, The Price of Creation was originally written as an allegory for third world poverty. Nobody got it, they just thought it was a fun story, and I’m ok with that.

Are you a planner or a panster when it comes to plotting your books?
I’m something of a hybrid. I like to have a vague storyline put together before I get started. Then I have a few scenes that I feel define the book. These scenes are vivid in my mind and are planned out in the extreme. Everything else is really fluid. I know I’ve got a good book going when it takes on a life of its own.

Have you ever been surprised by a book you were writing?
Oh bloody heavens, yes! I actually cried at the end of The Price of Loyalty (due out the end of 2014). The characters really took off without me. If I wanted to know what happened next, I had to type faster.

How long did it take you to write this book?
The Price of Creation was my first book and I was writing as a hobby, so it took me about eight years. I think I’m still caught in that loop, I don’t think I’ll ever consider that one truly “done.”

Who designed the covers, and did you have any input?
Noel, a wonderful graphic designer at Dawn Star Press, designed all the covers. On each cover in this series, there is a symbol just below the eyes, and I got to pick that. For The Price of Creation: a hammer and anvil. For The Price of Nobility: a roughed-up crown. For The Price of Loyalty: fire.

The self-publishing market is becoming widely lucrative and now a path that many writers choose. What’s your take on traditional versus self-publishing?
The whole industry is in flux, both traditional and self-publishing. Both formats are currently untenable. Traditional publishing is bulky and adapting too slowly to the digital revolution, both with e-books and the effect the internet has had on their marketing.
Self-publishing has been deluged with low-quality books to the point where it now has a stench to it. Bookstores, libraries, reviewers, and even bloggers don’t want to touch self-published books, which cuts your marketing off at the knees.
There is a third classification that will evolve over the next five to ten years that will take over the industry, but I feel I am already taking too much time on this question. Suffice it to say, it will satisfy the quality requirement for the booksellers and libraries, while still putting a lot more responsibility on the writers themselves for the marketing of their books.

What advice do you have for future writers?
Get out there and live. The glory days of writing, when an author could sit at home writing and the world would eagerly wait for their books, is over. We need to up our game, so to speak. We need to have adventures of our own, so we can make our books personal and powerful. We need to be able to meet new people and make friends so we can network in our industry. We need to be able to speak and present and sell ourselves so people want to buy our books.

Who would you choose to play Sadavir in the movie version of your book?
That’s a hard one, you’d have to take an actor who has proven himself with the deep emotional stuff, then turn them into an action star. Maybe someone like Dev Patel or Aaron Tveit would do well.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Believe in your writing. You’re going to waste a lot of time mucking around with a lot of unsatisfying jobs before you give in and give yourself a shot.”

If today was your last day on earth, what would you do?
I would go for a run, so I felt fit and alive. I would write something powerful, so I felt important. I would spend time with family, so I felt loved. Having done those things, feeling alive, important, and loved, I would face death with a smile on my face, because I would feel triumphant.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Absolutely. The Price of Nobility comes out at the very end of June. I will always remember this book as when a supporting character stole the show. The core of the book is two brothers who decide to kidnap their king. They do it to show him what his people are going through under his selfish rule. To pull it off, however, they join up with a dark creature of a man named Asher. He has his own agenda and reasons for getting involved.
While I didn’t mean for it to happen, Asher became one of the most compelling characters in the book. He’s the one all the alpha readers talk about. I actually had to do a full rewrite to try and get a bit more focus on the king.

One lucky reader has the chance to win a printed autographed copy of The Price of Creation. Enter below (U.S. only).
a Rafflecopter giveaway