Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review - Messenger in the Mist by Aubrie Dionne

Two factions on the verge of war… A countryside overrun with beasts… A love tested against duty…

Star, a messenger for the Elite Riders of Evenspark, races through the misted countryside delivering correspondence to the bordering Fortress of Ravencliff. The route is haunted by the mysterious beasts that lurk in the moors. Star risks her life for the hope of relocating her parents, for the glory of her illustrious career, and for an unrequited love.

On one such mission, Star discovers she carries plans for the assassination of Prince Valen of Ravencliff—the man who has captured her heart. Weighing love against livelihood, she must decide what’s more important…the safety of her country or her love for the Prince, who is betrothed to Princess Vespa of Evenspark.

With the mist rising, enabling the Elyndra to gather and threaten the borders of both kingdoms, Star must unravel the mystery of their existence and forestall a war.

I've enjoyed reading Aubrie Dionne's blog, Flutey Words, for quite a while, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest eBook, Messenger in the Mist. Since it's a romance and fantasy, two of my favorite things, I went in with high hopes. Aubrie delivered an action-packed adventure that did not disappoint.

I immediately liked Star, the resourceful young woman who dreams of buying her parents a home in a part of town where they'll be safe from the Elyndra, flying beasts who terrorize the countryside but have not yet crossed the boundaries into Star's homeland, Evenspark, or the neighboring land of Ravencliff. The setting is an integral part of the plot, and Aubrie describes it beautifully, bringing it to life with skillful description and vivid imagery.

Star's love for Prince Valen of Ravencliff threatens to bring both kingdoms to war. When the mist which sustains the Elyndra begins to rise, Evenspark and Ravencliff are both at risk of the Elyndra breaching their borders. When Star is forced to team with the delightfully dangerous Fallon Leer to stop the beasts, her loyalty to Valen is tested. In the end, she must choose only one man to give her heart.

Aubrie's well-drawn characters, suspenseful plot, and masterful storytelling make Messenger in the Mist pure pleasure to read. I hope you'll check it out!

Sidenote: You can read Aubrie's short story, Rainbow's End, posted at A Fly in Amber, by clicking here. Make sure you vote after you read her story by clicking on the stars beside the title.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


One of my favorite games ever is Balderdash. This game was made for writers. You play by making up definitions for the odd words they give you and trying to fool your opponents into thinking your definition is the real one.

Let's give it a try. I'll give you a word and four possible definitions, and you try to guess which is the correct one. I'll post the answers at the bottom (under the picture) so don't peek!

#1 - A hairball
#2 - A trained female elephant used to attract wild male elephants
#3 - The reproductive arm of an octopus
#4 - Wild boar droppings

#1 - The upper lip of a camel
#2 - A worthless weed known as the nipple nightshade
#3 - A fruit grown in the West Indies
#4 - A high collar worn by Italian noblemen during the 17th century

#1 - A group of two or more monkeys
#2 - A mosquito's tongue
#3 - A fine paid by people who didn't join the army during medieval times
#4 - An antelope with very wide hooves

Ready for the answers? Don't peek unless you're ready!
Koomkie - #2 - A trained female elephant used to attract wild male elephants
Golilla - #4 - A high collar worn by Italian noblemen during the 17th century
Schemozzle - #1 - A group of two or more monkeys.'d you do?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guiding Blog

Wednesday again already? Sheesh...they sneak up quick.

Writing News:
I'm chugging right along on the wip, trying to maintain my 1 chapter/day revision pace, though some chapters need a lot more work than others. Thanks for all the encouraging words last week about the seemingly never-ending revision process!

Reading News:
I'm reading Messenger in the Mist by Aubrie over at Flutey Words and loving it! I'm hoping to post my review on Monday, but since I've never written a review before, that may be overly optmistic, so stay tuned.

Contest News:
These are repeats from last week, but I added them to that post late, so I'm putting them in again in case any of you missed them.

Carolina Valdez Miller at Carol's Prints and Sara McClung at Babbling Flow are both giving away ARCs.

Ann at Inkpots n' Quills is giving away signed copies of The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible.

Blogfest News:
I just signed up for the Guess That Character Blogfest hosted by Jen at unedited. This one looks like a lot of fun, and I don't have to write anything new for it (that's key!) It runs August 19 and 20. Why two days, you ask? I can't explain it all here, you'll just have to stop by Jen's and check it out.

DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude hosts the High Drama Blogfest/Giveaway on Saturday, August 7.

Lilah Pierce at Thoughts by Lilah Pierce hosts The Funniest Blogfest Ever on Wednesday, September 1.

An Award:
Today I'd like to pass on the Oh My Blog Award (given to me by the wonderful Shelley Sly at Stories in the Ordinary - thank you, Shelley!) to Bossy Betty. Betty's blog is one of the funniest I've encountered. I love hearing stories about Betty and HOB (Husband-of-Betty). If you haven't met Betty yet, hop on over and introduce yourself. You'll be glad you did!

And a Question Just for Fun:
What's your favorite type of candy? I recently rediscovered Blow Pops. They were my favorite when I was a kid and I still love 'em! The gum flavor lasts for approximately ten seconds, but it's still two candies in one. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


My 12-year-old son came home from a week at a sleepover YMCA camp yesterday. The first thing he did after coming in the house was hug his older sister. This suprised me slightly. The second thing he did was chase down his younger sister and hug her, too. This suprised me a lot! Those two can barely exchange a civil word. To see them hug (well, my son was hugging, my daughter was trying to get away) was a golden mommy moment.

One thing I love in books is the relationships between people, and one of my favorite types of relationships is the sibling relationship. I enjoyed the relationships between the reclusive Cullen siblings in the Twilight series. In Bridge to Terabithia, it's Jess's relationship with his little sister, May Belle, that left me thinking he was going to be okay despite the tragedy he'd endured. Of course, some sibling (or quasi-sibling) relationships are as bad as others are good - just ask Harry Potter.

In my current wip, my mc lives with her brother, sister, and a friend who's like part of their family. Creating these relationships was one of my favorite parts of writing the book. They tease, they fight, they get angry, they love and protect each other. Being from a family of five siblings, I know what it's like to be arguing one minute, laughing the next.

Can you think of any books with sibling relationships that you particularly enjoyed? Have you ever written about siblings?

Her name's Prim, she's just twelve, and I love her more than anything.
- Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A New Challenge

I've decided to tackle a new challenge - something I've been thinking about doing for many months but haven't had the gumption to try. I'm going to...drumroll please...write a book review!

Yesterday the wonderful Aubrie at Flutey Words sent me the pdf of her new Ebook (just released on July 19): Messenger in the Mist. When Aubrie asked for reviewers, I couldn't wait to volunteer. Messenger in the Mist is a Fantasy Romance. My two favorite things! I can't wait to read it and yes, when I'm done I promised to review it. Eek!

I also won an ARC of Hero by Mike Lupica from Michelle Hodkin's blog a while back. This was about the time I was starting to read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and once I got started on those, I couldn't even fathom reading anything else. But after I finish Messenger in the Mist and review it, I'm looking forward to reading Hero and reviewing it as well.

Writing a book review seems very foreign to me, though I've read plenty of them on other blogs and always enjoy them. Have you ever written a book review? Do you have any advice on writing one? What do you like or not like to see in a book review?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blog Hills, 90210

It's Wednesday again! Time for my update:

Writing News:
I'm still knee deep in revisions for Killing Kessler. This seems like a never-ending process. How can something that seemed so perfect two months ago now seem to need so much more revising? Will it ever be ready? I truly don't know.

Contest News:
Carolina Valdez Miller at Carol's Prints and Sara McClung at Babbling Flow are both giving away ARCs!

Ann at Inkpots n' Quills is giving away signed copies of The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible!

Since I just found out about these today, and this post is already a day old, I'll be sure to mention these contests again next week.

Blogfest News:
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude hosts the High Drama Blogfest/Giveaway on Saturday, August 7.

Lilah Pierce at Thoughts by Lilah Pierce hosts The Funniest Blogfest Ever on Wednesday, September 1.

And an Award:
Today I'll be bestowing the Blogger BFF Award which was given to me by Lynn at Place to Create and Jen at unedited. Thanks, Lynn and Jen! I'd like to pass this award to Old Kitty at Ten Lives and Second Chances and Anne at Piedmont Writer.

I love Old Kitty's take on the world, and her wonderful Charlie pictures! Her comments always make me smile, they're like getting a great big hug!

Anne is a talented writer who shares her work generously on her blog. I always look forward to Anne's Something-Something posts for my chance to catch up with Genna and Tony.

That's it for me. Happy Wednesday, All!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hard to Say Goodbye

Last week I finished The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and now I'm counting the days until my pre-ordered copy of Mockingjay arrives. While there are many reasons I'm anxious to continue with Suzanne Collins's wonderful Hunger Games trilogy, mostly I just can't wait to get caught up with the characters again. They're people I want to spend time with, people I wish I knew. That, to me, is the number one reason I love certain books.

My sister tells about how, when she was much younger, she actually searched for doorways into Narnia. She wanted to go there with Edmund, Lucy, Peter, and Susan, to be part of their adventures. Now her son cries when he finishes each Maximum Ride book because he so wants to be part of the flock and fly away with Max and her family of mutant bird kids. I know how he feels. I feel the same way about Katniss and Peeta and Gale. Okay, so I didn't actually cry when I finished Catching Fire, but I have been thinking about it ever since.

I know I've already asked about favorite characters, but do any come to mind that felt like old friends, that it actually hurt to say goodbye to? What is your favorite quality in a character?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Write Like James Joyce

I heard about this website over at Christi Goddard's Torch in the Tempest blog today, and I've been playing with it ever since. You paste in a sample of your writing, and it analyzes the sample and tells you which famous author you write like. Christi suggested plugging in just one chapter at a time (to avoid crashing the internet), so I analyzed the first thirty chapters of Killing Kessler, my YA paranormal romance, and the first thirty chapters of In the Seventeenth Year, my epic fantasy.

I expected the results to be vastly different, since the two are written in completely different styles. I was surprised to find that James Joyce came up most frequently in both books: 6 out of 30 chapters in Killing Kessler and 15 out of 30 chapters in In the Seventeenth Year. Okay, this knowledge probably isn't going to make or break my career, but it was fun to play around with.

So who do you write like? Find out here, and I'd love to hear your results!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Young and the Blogless

It's Wednesday again, time for news and an award, so let's get right to it:

Writing news:
I'm about halfway through yet another revision of Killing Kessler. I've been reading Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon and trying to apply what I've been learning (especially the section on imagery - great stuff!) I'm also trying to incorporate what I've learned from KarenG's and Marcia Hoehne's wonderful critiques - thanks so much, ladies!

Reading news:
I'm not typically a fast reader, but I raced right through The Hunger Games and am now thoroughly engrossed in Catching Fire. I don't know how I'll last until August 24 to read Mockingjay. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend you run out and buy it right now! And no, no money was exchanged for this endorsement. :)

Contest news:
KarenG from Coming Down the Mountain will buy, read, and review one lucky winner's book. This contest is open to authors with at least one book for sale. Karen will be offering more giveaways in her Let-tuce Be Writers Contest Countdown.

Al from Publish or Perish is celebrating his one-year blogiversary by giving away three 8"x10" prints of photographs from his blog. Al lives in Australia and posts the most amazing photographs. Whether you're a contest enterer or not, Al's blog is well worth a visit!

Two of my dearest blogging friends, Sharon Mayhew at Random Thoughts and Jackee Alston at Winded Words, will be giving away prizes throughout the month of July, including a grand finale prize of a group of gift cards. Good luck to all!

Marcia Hoehne gives away two 1000 word critiques each month. Marcia is an author, freelance editor, and teacher for The Institute of Children's Literature. Her contests begin on the third Thursday of each month, so that's tomorrow! I won this critique last month and it was so helpful!

Award news:

Today I'd like to give away the Blogger Buddie Award given to me by the lovely E. Elle at The Writer's Funhouse. I'd like to pass this award on to:

Aubrie at Flutey Words. Aubrie is not only a prolific author and amazing flutist (check out the link Aubrie left in her comment below to see for yourself - truly amazing!), but she also created the Fantasy/Sci Fi Blogger Award and passed it out to bloggers whose blogs promote the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When I first saw this award, I knew I had to have it, and Aubrie was kind enough to pass it my way. If any other fantasy/sci fi writers out there don't have the Fantasy/Sci Fi Blogger Award but would like to, just visit Aubrie and let her know.

How cool that she created her own award to support those in the fantasy/sci fi genre! Thanks, Aubrie!

That's it for me. Have a great Wednesday Everyone!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back to Reality

Now that was a whirlwind three weeks! I can't even believe my break is over. My youngest starts school this week, so I guess it's time to get back into the routine. But I had an awesome time with my family, made some serious progress on yet another revision of Killing Kessler, and I think I'm ready to get back to reality.

Even when I was on break, I had some great news over these three weeks - I received prizes from three blog contests!

First, Marcia Hoehne critiqued the first one thousand words of Killing Kessler. Her suggestions were right on and her encouraging words came at a time when I really needed to hear them. Thanks so much, Marcia! And don't forget to enter her next contest. Marcia gives away two critiques every month.

I won an earring and bracelet set made by the talented Jo Schaffer from Shoveling in a Jo Storm. I told Jo I'd like blue and brown beads with silver, and she took it from there. Isn't it gorgeous? Thanks so much, Jo!

I also won an ARC of Hero on Michelle Hodkin's blog. I am completely wrapped up in Catching Fire from The Hunger Games trilogy right now (love it! love it! love it!), but I can't wait to dive into Hero as soon as I'm finished! Thank you, Michelle!

One thing I've really missed while on break is reading everyone else's blogs. I'll be stopping by to visit in the next few days. Happy Monday Everyone!