Tag Archives: Books

It’s the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt! Are you ready to win a ton of signed paperbacks?

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Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. And to make it even easier here is a special “how to hunt” Link.

There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting the lovely and talented Bree Despain for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the Into The Dark trilogy.  Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.
 
Find out more information by checking out the Bree’s  website or find more about Bree’s book here!
 
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
 
 
So, Ms. Bree, what are we going to be looking at, here?
This is an exploratory scene I wrote when I first got the idea for THE SHADOW PRINCE way back in 2007. I was trying to figure out who my characters were and what they wanted. This scene didn’t make it into the final version of the book–mostly because a lot changed since I wrote this initial scene (like Daphne lives in her father’s mansion not at a boarding school with a roommate, and the book is written in first person instead of third). However, it was the way I FELT when I wrote this scene–and how that feeling stuck with me–that caused me to return to write this book in 2012. Now I’m thrilled that seven years after writing this little exploratory scene, the story is a shiny real novel sitting on bookstore shelves.
Awesomeness!  Let’s take a looksee!
Swish Swivel 3
            Her scent was everywhere, circling Haden as he stood in her room.  It was a sweet smell, but not too sweet, like fresh fruit just on the verge of being ripe.  There was another scent also, much more bitter and distasteful to him. The roommate, he thought and shut and locked the bedroom door, afraid of being interrupted before he got what he came for.

            He bypassed the bitter smelling bed and the track trophies and went straight to the side of the room that smelled the most like her.  Her walls were bare, her drawers held nothing but clothes.  Her bed was covered in the plain green bedspread provided by the school rather than something brought from home.  He was hoping her belongings—pictures, posters, letters, anything—might give him clues about her.  Help him know her.  But her lack of belongings told him more than any picture could.  She was alone, lonely.  She didn’t belong here—just like him.

Her rumpled blankets were permeated with her scent.  Haden crouched down to breath her in, letting the tantalizing taste roll over his tongue.  His hands grew hot, his fingers burned red.  He stepped back.  He shouldn’t be here. How could he even think of inviting such pain and danger into her life?  He was about to leave when he saw something that made him pause.  A black case stuck out from under her bed.  He pulled it out and placed it on top of her blankets.  He popped the locks, sensing her hands had recently been in the same place.  He pulled out the instrument he’d seen her playing.  It had had a voice almost as beautiful as hers.  He held it in his arms the way he had seen her do it and placed his fingers on the strings.  The cool metal felt soothing to his scorched fingertips—that is until he tried to strum them the way she had.  The metal stung his burned fingers and the pain radiated up his arm and pierced his shoulder.  He almost dropped the instrument but caught it in his arms, cradling it because he knew it was important to her.  Determined, he tried to play it again.  He ignored the pain and strummed the strings and tried to pick out the song he had heard her play.  Frustrated he tried again and again.  He cursed when the notes came out sour, nothing like her music.

Most things came easy to Haden—it was his gift.  Like how it only took one turn around the campus with Dax to learn how to drive a car or how he mastered the English language in a matter of days when it took others months of practice.  But for some reason, mastering this instrument eluded him—just the way she eluded him.  He had to find a way to her. A way to make her trust him.

He heard voices in the hall.  That bitter scent wafted under the door.  Haden realized he had stayed longer than he had intended.  Classes were over now.  He carefully put the instrument away and went to the window.  As he climbed onto the sill, he saw something that could possibly help him sitting under the filmy green drapes.  Haden tucked it into his pocket and opened the window.  It was three stories down with thorny bushes directly underneath.  There was a jangling sound outside the bedroom door that sounded like keys.  Haden patted his pocket. With his prize secure he jumped lithely from the window.

Swish swivel 1

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Jennifer M. Eaton, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 5Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GREEN TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Elizabeth Holloway
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What the heck is the YA Scavenger Hunt?

scavenger hunt

Let the games begin!

Well, in a few days, anyway.

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The YA Scavenger hunt is this awesome web-based scavenger hunt where you can win tons of signed paperback books from some really great young adult authors!

scavenger_hunt_2All you have to do is follow the links between the blogs, find the magic numbers on each post (don’t worry, we won’t make it that hard), tally up the winning number, and then enter to win a signed paperback from EVERY author on the team!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Yes, you read that right. If you win, you will receive TWENTY signed paperbacks (Including mine if you play for the green team) And you can follow the hunt for more than one team for the chance to win more great books. There are a hundred paperback books in all up for grabs!

How_stinking_cool_is_that

Here’s the team breakdowns, and the books that you can win. So start planning!

The YA Scavenger Hunt begins at noon pacific time on Thursday, October 2nd and runs through Sunday, October 5th.

scavengerhunt450

TEAM RED INCLUDES:

TEAM GOLD INCLUDES:

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TEAM GREEN INCLUDES:

TEAM ORANGE INCLUDES:

TEAM INDIE INCLUDES:

TEAM BLUE INCLUDES:

There are so many books here I don’t even know where I would begin. I hope you all are as excited as I am! The YA Scavenger Hunt begins at noon pacific time on Thursday, October 2nd and runs through Sunday, October 5th. That means to get through the entire hunt you’ll need to go through 1.5 teams per day!

Leave a comment below to tell me which team you are the most interested in checking out!

If you are skimming a book, why even read it? What the ease of self-publishing has done to the “great” novel

I recently picked up a book that I was really excited about.  The premise was new to me, and the cover was stunning.  The five-star reviews on Amazon helped a bit too.  So I nestled down with my E-reader and delved into this wonderfully imagined tale.

swish swivel squiggle

***My bubble soon popped***

The idea of this story was great… elves live among us.  They look just like us, only a little shorter, and they are all quite beautiful.  The story is about an elf girl who is predestined to marry a particular elf, but they cannot meet until her eighteenth birthday. (Of course that gets screwed up or there wouldn’t be a story.) There is also this great buildup of a huge battle between dark and light elves.

(In respect to the author, I am not going to reveal the title or author. No one likes a bad review. And everyone should form their own opinion.)

The story sounded so exciting, but as I read, I had to wonder where all these five-star reviews came from.  Has the influx of bad novels stilted people’s reading so much that they would consider an average novel to be extraordinary?

I found tons of things wrong with this novel.  Long, unnecessary conversations with friends that have nothing to do with the story, several typos in the first few pages. (missing words) Scenes that seemed placed into the text just for page count that had nothing to do with the story, and so on.

But I delved on.  I figured all these stars had to come from somewhere.  So I started to skim, and skim, and skim. Then all of the sudden, the hero (future husband) pops up and gets jealous of a drunk guy hitting on his future bride (who he has not even officially met yet)…

AND HE KILLS THE DUDE!!!!! 

Yeah… cold blooded murder. And then there is a conversation with his Dad about how it really didn’t even bother him to have killed someone.

Say_What

Whaaaat?

I sooooooo don’t like this guy anymore. And I should like him, because the main character loves him. Right? (Or am I an old fogey and it is okay these days to have a murderer for a fiancée?)

I was resolved to see how the author would write her way out of that one… but she never did.

At the end, when I reached the big battle, I stopped skimming, but continued to be dissatisfied.

When I was done I shook my head.  How was this possible?  Why did I dislike this book so much when the premise seemed so good?

I looked back and checked to see who published it.  Yes, there was a publisher listed, so I looked up their website.  Guess what? No website.

[[Smacks herself in the head]]

Yep, I was duped.  This appears to be a self-published book with a fake publisher name to hide behind.  And the author did a great job…  good marketing and a gorgeous cover. I think they paid more attention to the cover and marketing than writing and editing.

Now… I am in no way shape or form saying that there is anything wrong with self-publishing.  There are some great self-published books out there. I think I gave a four star review to Sweet Blood of Mine.  It deserved it.

I know that many self-published authors paid their dues, learned their craft, and produced great works of art.  The problem is, these people are getting swallowed by the influx of people producing skim-worthy… or just plain HORRIBLE books.

I don’t even know what my point is. I guess I would not have been so bothered if there weren’t something like 250 five-star reviews on this work.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you have never edited your manuscript, or had a beta reader other than your mother, or if you did have a few real beta-readers, and you ignored their shouts of “Show Verses Tell” or their requests to delete a scene, or NOT HAVE YOUR LOVE INTEREST KILL SOMEONE.  (Yeah, that part really bothered me)

Anyway… If any of the things above apply, but you went out to query anyway, and your received rejections, you may not want to take the easy way out and self-publish. Maybe you should really look at your writing, and try to figure out WHY you are getting rejections.

This book could have been AWESOME. The writer just needed a heavy line edit, and a proofreader. A good developmental editor could have made this sucker EPIC.  I mean seriously, this book could have been stupendous!

Was it that bad?

Well, no, but the work reads like little or no attention was given to make this story sparkle.

Yes, self-publishing may give you personal satisfaction.  Yes, most of your friends will not know the difference and they will be excited for you… but all these books out there make it really hard to find a good novel these days.  And with all those five-star reviews on this one particular book, I have to wonder if readers, in general, are losing their capacity to even notice a well crafted book when they read it.

It makes me sad.

Then again, maybe what a “good book” is has changed. Maybe I’m the one who needs to catch up with the times.

Jennifer___Eaton

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Keep it to yourself, jerk! — Rule #28 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever

Writing_A_Great_Novel

I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #28

28: If an opinion expressed through dialogue makes your POV character look like a jerk, allow him to think it rather than say it. He’ll express the same opinion, but seem like a lot less of a jerk.

Hmm.  Depending on how this is used, he can still look like a jerk just thinking about it.

I’d like to expound on this and say be careful of making your main character unlikable. Period. I’m reading a novel for crit right now in which I really can’t stand the MC, and she has no concrete reason for doing the dumb things she does.  If I had picked up this novel in a bookstore, I would have put it back by now.

The author said “It’s good that you don’t like her. I’m doing my job.”

This author just doesn’t get it, and is waiting with bated breath for rejection #215 on her queries.

You need to connect with the main character.  No one is going to want to read about a character they do not care about.  They can be a jerk, but you have to make them relatable, and your reader has to care.

If you don’t have that engagement with your reader, you don’t have an audience.

Jennifer___Eaton

Cut your weakest player — Rule #26 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever

Writing_A_Great_Novel

I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #26

26: When you finish your book, pinpoint the weakest scene. Cut it. If necessary, replace it with a sentence or paragraph.

I have contradicting views on this.  If I was reading this with my first novel (that I pantsed) in my hands, I’d say “yes”… and to probably more than one scene.  However, now that I am outlining and clearly plotting my novels, I’m not so sure this is true.

I’d agree to cut it is it has no conflict, or does not draw the story forward. That’s a given.

My fear is that if everyone follows this rule, they will take out important scenes, and replace them with three sentences of summary… which is a form of tell.

I’m going to put my foot down and NOT agree with this one.

What do you think?

Jennifer___Eaton

Don’t Dump on Me! Rule #17 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever

Writing_A_Great_Novel

I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #17

17: When writing a novel, start with your characters in action. Fill in any necessary backstory as you go along.

Everyone PLeeeeeese read that again.

Yes, I am an admitted action junkie, but I’m not asking you to explode something on your first page (although I have been guilty of doing this)

Buuuuuttt…  Your character should be doing SOMETHING when the story starts out… and even at the start of a chapter.  You need to grab your reader right from the first line.  That’s hard to do when nothing is happening, right?

Make it fast, make it clear, and grab your reader.  Make them want to read on.  You only have a page to make an impression.  Make it a good one.

Jennifer___Eaton

Related articles

The Little Blue Lady from Mars – Day After

Free_Fridays!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Yawn.

[Stretch]

Jennifer13There you are.

Where have you been?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Sleeping.

I’m tired.

Jennifer13Tired?

From what?

.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Do you have to ask?

Planning to take over the world, of course!

What have you been doing?

Jennifer13I started my new book, Optimal Red.

Oh, and I signed a contract

for Paper Wishes.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You need to get out more.

I mean, seriously,

you need a hobby.

Jennifer13Like what?

Taking over the world?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Yes!!!!! That’s the best hobby ever! 

And then we can have tea and crumpets and make totalitarian plans!

Jennifer13Umm,

How about we just do an interview first.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Piff. You are just not fun.

But I guess I have no choice.  Who’s here today?

Jennifer13Emi Gayle.

You’re gonna be nice, right?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387What’s that supposed to mean?

I’m always nice.

Jennifer13Umm—

Yeah whatever.

Hello Emi!

Hello!

Do you know there is a little blue lady on your table?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Who are you calling little?

How dare you waltz your tallness in here and…

Jennifer13So, Emi,

I hear you have a new book out this week.

What’s it called?

Yes I do!

It’s called Day After and it came out just this Monday.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Piff! 

I bet it’s a tall book about tall people who…

Jennifer13So, Emi, I know this is book two of a series.  How hard is it to know that you’ve gotten it just right, and book two is good enough to follow book one?

An author never thinks her book is good enough, but sometimes, it’s time to let go and let the public have the story. I love the story, I love Mac and Winn, so now it’s time to share what’s been in my head.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Lame Response! Sounds like one of those lovey-dovey books.

Why would anyone want to read it?

Because it has a hot guy on the cover. Or a nerdy one.

Either way, *I* think he’s hot.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well, I’ll give you kudos that he at least has a head.

I hate novels with headless men.

What?

.

Jennifer13Don’t ask.

.

.

Okay…

.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I’ll be deciding if it is okay or mot MISSY.

Does anything explode?

Only my head when someone compliments my book.

.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387[turns to Jennifer]

She has an exploding-reappearing head?

.

CJennifer13ould be.  You never know.

I have an alien on my table doing author interviews.

You never know what the stink is going to happen on this blog.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Hmm. 

Okay Missy too-tall with an exploding head.

Tell me what this book is about.

I’m going to give you the blurb because honestly, it’s the best way to describe Winn’s side of things …

Demon crypts. Vampire lairs. Glowing angels. Sexy sirens. The stuff of fiction.

Or so Winn Thomas always thought. Since being accepted into the fold of the supernatural, he knows better. None of what he imagined is true, but everything he feared is, and binding himself to his Changeling girlfriend until her nineteenth birthday will give him an education far beyond what he’d get at his human high school.

Luckily, Winn’s not giving up, he won’t back down, and he definitely isn’t going to run away with his tail between his legs. After all, only werewolves have tails. Right? In this, the second of the 19th Year trilogy, Winn’s facing the challenge of one lifetime. If he doesn’t learn the truth about mythological creatures, his girlfriend Mac Thorne won’t either. That means, in six months, when she chooses her final form, she won’t know what to pick. Winn, though, has his own ideas about Mac’s final selection—plans she knows nothing of. He intends to have her pick human.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Hmmmm.

.

Well?

What do you think?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I think I’m angry,

Because I actually want to read this.

You do?

Yesssssss!

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Miss Too Tall and Exploding. 

Let’s be real.  Has your head actually ever exploded?

Well, no

But…

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I thought Not.

Have you even ever tried to explode anything?

No.

That sounds dangerous, I…

PKO_Alien 1 0003414Silence,

Too Tall!

Have you ever tried to take over the world?

Did she just get bigger?

.

Jennifer13Yes. 

Answer quick!

She’s getting mad!

Umm… ummmm… Yes! I have already taken over the world. Don’t you know that?

This is actually my interview and you’re just my pawn.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Whaaat?

.

Ha!

Gotcha!

.

Alien PKO_0003428Gotcha? 

Gotcha?

I’ll show you Miss Smarty Pants!

Wait a minute.

Is that a ray gun?

.

Jennifer13Emi quick! 

Get under the table!

PKO_Alien 2 0003417ZAAAAAAAAAAAAP

Ha Ha! No more Too Tall Lady’s book!

[Dances away merrily]

My Book!

She blew up my book!

.

Jennifer13Errr, yeah, that happens sometimes.

Did you remember to bring an extra?

I didn’t know I was supposed to bring an extra.

[Picks particles of half-disintegrated paper from her hair]

.

Jennifer13That stinks, because Day After sounds awesome.

I’d love to read it.

Shoot I wanted to give away a copy!

Well, there is still a Raffle Copter.

.

Jennifer13Oh great!  Can I sign up to win a copy there?

[brushes some book dust off Emi’s shoulder]

Sure.

Here is the link.

.

Jennifer13Great!  Here you go everyone.  To sign up to win a free copy of Day After by Emi Gayle, click on over to Rafflecopter to win

She’s… errr,

not coming back,

is she?

Jennifer13Luckily, not for a few more weeks.

We’re safe for now.

Since I don’t have a copy to give away here,

You guys can also leave a comment on my website for a chance to win.

Jennifer13Awesome! 

Thanks for coming, and I’m sorry about your book.

[picks up remains of charred cover]

It’s been an interesting experience.

.

If you’d like to learn more about Emi Gayle and her books, click on over to http://www.emigayle.com

Alien Zig ZagAlien Zig Zag*The Little Blue Lady from Mars Copyright Jennifer M. Eaton

Yay! The big Announcement for Paper Wishes!

Yay1!

I am super-excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Astraea Press for “Paper Wishes”!

Paper Wishes is the Re-envisioning of “Jack and Jill, Volume One”, which went out of print about a month ago due to Still Moments being purchased by another publisher.

We’ve started new edits, and “Paper Wishes” will be bigger, brighter, and cleaner than ever!

I am totally excited about this new opportunity, and I am really looking forward to working with a publisher as diversified as Astraea.

Stay Tuned!

Release date and

new cover to follow

Wahoooo!

http://www.astraeapress.com/index.html

Best to “not so best” Books I read in 2012

I had a goal to read a book a month in 2012.  How’d I do?

Okay, yeah, I know everyone else posted this list in January, but hey, I’m different, you know (and maybe I totally forgot) :-)

But now I can say I’m original. Yay!

I gave myself this goal last year because as a writer, you are supposed to read – and I definitely wasn’t reading. Giving myself a goal forced me to go to bed earlier so I would have time to cuddle up with my book before I went to sleep, and made me feel good about saying “yes” when my husband asked if I wanted to read by the fire (which I love doing).

I’m glad to say that I am finding time to read again.  I can usually polish off a novel in a week or so if it is really good.   In 2012 I had a goal to read at least one book a month.  By the end of the year, I had read well over twenty books!  Yay me! (A few of them were novellas, but the important thing was that I was reading, and I scoped out books in many genres)

Here they are in order.  I kept moving these around for one reason or another.  I basically ranked them with a combination of great writing and general great reading experience.  (Which are two very different things)

My rating system:  Did I close the book and want to reach for another book by that author?  Then I ranked the book higher.  Was the writing fabulous, but something about the plot disturbed me?  Down the list you go.  (I don’t like to be ticked off or feel sick to my stomach after reading something.)

So here is every book I read in 2012 from best to “not so best”, weighing heavily on my emotional reaction to the story as well as all around great writing (and with the exception of maybe two books on this list, all the writing was really engaging.)

Crux, Julie Reece

The Glass Man, Jocelyn Adams

The P.U.R.E., by Claire Gillian

Read-hold up PKO_0016876Throne, Phil Tucker

Oracle, JC Martin

Instinct, JA Belfield

Mended Hearts, Olivia Devereaux

The Circle, Stella Berkley

Again, Diana Murdock

Surrender, by Aimee Laine

Hunger Games (Didn’t finish-watched movie instead)

The Secret Year, Jennifer Hubbard

Call of the Sea, Rebecca Heart

Darkness and Light, JA Belfield

The Sword, Bryan M. Litfin

Talbot’s Ploy, Kastil Evenshade

Soul of the Succubus, Lila Shaw

Fated Encounter, JA Belfield

Into the Unknown (Anthology)

Endless (Anthology)

A Touch of M**** (I feel bad listing someone as the worst, but this is that horrible book that I ananymously throttled for being so bad.  I will continue to keep its anonimity)

There you have it.  What were your favorites from last year?  Any recommendations for this year’s list?

JenniFer_EatonF

Road to Publication #12: My Author page – Somewhere other than HERE!

Wow.  Pinch me.  Every little step of this process that happens “in the public eye” that propels me closer to publication just makes me tingle.  Honestly, it does.

I feel like a little girl playing dress up.

You know how you lay in bed and dream at night of pretty photos of you, and interviews, and all that?  I mean, it’s starting to happen.

I know it’s not like Oprah has called or anything.  This is just an anthology release, not a best-selling novel, but I’m seeing things I’ve only dreamed about come true… if that makes any sense.

This is a big one for me… my author page.  This is the first time I have been featured somewhere OTHER THAN on my own web-site.  I know it is stupid, but I made a shortcut to it, and I keep clicking on it to make sure it’s still there.

Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look.  Come on, click me.  You know you want to.  I think I’ll pop over too, just in case…

Yep, it’s still there.  I am an official J.Taylor Publishing author.  Yep, that’s me.

Wow.  So cool.