Saturday, November 26, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Recipe for Plotting

This week's YA Indie Carnival topic is Recipes for Plotting Stories. To this I say…nothing I do is customary.  I learned early on that there was an expectation for me to write a book following the 'perfection' of traditional formulas.  Instead, I created a series unlike any before it. It’s one that could only be written and published by an indie author.
My recipe is simple:
·         1 Distinct Idea
o   A physician with the ability to heal the dying 
·         1 Story Filled With Enough Realism To Make the Paranormal Believable
o   The real-life hospital emergencies act as the perfect balance to the main character’s miraculous abilities.
·         3 Great Main Characters (and lots of great supporting characters)
o   Allison La Crosse (beautiful resident)
o   Brody Kennedy (gorgeous chief resident)
o   Clark Ardent (amazing friend, land lord, and attorney)
·         More Than a Dash of Romance…Drama…Action
o   Allison & Brody  OR  Allison and Clark
o   Suri Chan’s (who has a stalker-like crush on Brody)
o   Good vs. Evil
·         18 Chapters (432 pages) To Tell The Story
Chapter 1   – A Bridge to the Other Side
Chapter 2   – Satan’s Sect
Chapter 3   – The Catalyst
Chapter 4   – Roses are Red
Chapter 5   – The Salvadare
Chapter 6   – Observation
Chapter 7   – Good Luck Charms
Chapter 8   – Stranger Anxiety
Chapter 9   – Betrayed
Chapter 10 – It Is What It Is
Chapter 11 – Breaking and Entering
Chapter 12 – Lighthearted
Chapter 13 – God Grant Me the Serenity
Chapter 14 – Deadly Sins
Chapter 15 – Warriors
Chapter 16 – Disciples
Chapter 17 – Violated
Chapter 18 – Miracles Do Happen

After combining the above ingredient, you will read and re-read.  With each pass, you will build on every detail, fine-tune each aspect of the story, and edit, edit, edit.  When you think that you are completely finished and the book is perfect, put it aside for a few weeks.  Then, got back and read, build, fine-tune, and edit for as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable.  After you’ve vetted the story and its editing through someone who is completely objective, and they’ve given you the thumbs up, you can publish your book.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - A Thanksgiving Story

This week's YA Indie Carnival topic is A Thanksgiving Story. Since I don't have any Thanksgiving passages in my books, I thought I would share an excerpt from Guardians of the Cross. The scene is one immediately following a horrific attack on Allison La Crosse. In the center of this meal – and Allison’s speech – is love, family, and God.  This is as close to Thanksgiving as I could get.
✥✥✥✥✥
Chapter 12
Control

When we made it to the beach house, The Sisters ran from the deck to welcome us.  While awkward, I found it was possible for three people to hug one person at the exact same time.  As soon as I was cocooned within their embrace, they broke out into prayers filled with pleas of mercy and love. 
“God.  Thank you for the miracle you’ve allowed us to witness….for delivering Allie, Brody, James, Clark, Trevor, and Mallory back to us.  Give those who lack faith in you the ability to understand the magnitude of your power and your love.  Please keep your almighty hands on your Warriors, your Disciples, and your Judiciaries and bring them safely back to those who are unable to follow them into their battles.  In you all things are possible.  Amen.”    
Amazingly, their loving and spiritual words were spoken in unison as if they’d recited the same phrases a thousand other times.  I kissed them for all the prayers I knew they had uttered while I endured my newest attack.
Afterwards, they ushered us to the deck where they’d prepared a meal fit for the army we were fast becoming.  I hadn’t eaten for days so the food spread before me made my stomach rumble.  Before I could make a plate, Lita had one prepared and was shoving it toward me.  The scent of the garlicky tomatoes covering the noodles and meatballs was every bit as appetizing as Daddy’s homemade gumbo had been when we were in Louisiana. 
The instant I sat down, a basket filled to the brim with warm buttered bread made its way to me.  I quickly grabbed two pieces and passed the wicker container to Clark, who was next to me.  I noticed him seize a piece of the bread and take a bite before he’d even passed the basket along to the next person.  It occurred to me that he’d been as unable to eat while I was held hostage as Gillian had been.  I reached over and took his hand, secretly apologizing for everything I was putting him through.  He kept his hand squeezed around mine. 
Watching my family and friends, I saw them celebrating the win of our battle.  I was thankful and happy, but I could not fully enjoy the moment because I knew there was still a war to be won.
✥✥✥✥✥
To all my friends, family, followers, and fans: Here’s to hoping you've lived well, laughed often, and loved much over the last year.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7.Lexus Luke8.PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy10.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed12.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13.Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 16.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18.Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19.Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind20.Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler22.Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter24.TG Ayer
25.Melissa Pearl, author of Golden Blood26.YA Fantasy

Friday, November 18, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - The Rise of YA Fantasy

This week's YA Indie Carnival topic is The Rise of YA Fantasy. The fact that I just finished reading (okay...listening to) Destined (House of Night #9) by , makes the timing of this subject perfect.

 

House of Night follows a heroine, Zoey Redbird, and her ‘circle' of friends who have the power, motive, and desire to make a world-changing difference.  In addition to the beautiful writing and the endearing characters, this series is written by a mother/daughter team.  That detail is the reason I read the first book, Marked (House of Night #1).  While I’m unbelievably impressed with every aspect of the storyline, I’m also reminded that I began writing Warriors of the Cross in order to get closer to my teenaged daughter.  I’ve often wondered if the House of Night series had the same positive impact on P.C.  & Kristen’s relationship that I’ve experienced with my daughter. 

Like most YA Fantasies, House of Night's heroine saves the world while finding and falling in love.  Keeping House of Night interesting, Zoey Redbird is constantly being torn between lots of SUPER HOT Vampyres, Trackers, Consorts, Guardians, and Immortals.
  
As with any great book, family and friends are great supporting characters in Destined.  I can honestly say I shed more than a few tears while Grandma Redbird mourns for her daughter, Zoey’s mother.  The death was treated like it was an important part of the story without making the book or its characters depressing.   

The final aspect of Destined (and most other YA Fantasies) is the battle between good and evil.  As with the rest of the books in the series, the battles are minor and ongoing.  I can honestly say that I’m living to find out the outcome of this particular war! 

If you read one or all of the nine of the House of Night books, you will not be disappointed. 

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7.Lexus Luke8.PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy10.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed12.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13.Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 16.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18.Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19.Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind20.Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler22.Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter24.TG Ayer
25.Melissa Pearl, author of Golden Blood26.YA Fantasy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie

✯✯✯✯✯ 5 Stars
How can such a benign thing as a book of white pages filled with black words – ones that mean nothing when uttered separately – become so powerful? DO NOT GO GENTLE… DO NOT GO GENTLE… DO NOT GO GENTLE. The words resonate in my mind, reminding me to stand up for all that is right…for all that have been wronged…for what I believe.

For me, the best books are those which leave thoughts in your mind and a passion in your heart. Yes, the characters are great; the story-line is fresh; and the descriptions are such that you can envision the blues, greens, and reds being described. But, it is the underlying morals and ethics and messages of love taking this book (series) to the level of timeless.

The way Ally Condie describes her character’s longing for lost works of art makes me want to go back and 1) read every great book ever written in order to appreciate the gift of words that author has given to us; 2) look at every masterpiece and admire the thousands of strokes it took for the artist to complete the work; and 3) most importantly, to thank every soldier who has died protecting the freedoms we enjoy. Because of them, we have the ability to choose our mates/our hometowns/our jobs, to freely read any genre we like, to enjoy uncensored art, and to travel anywhere our feet will take use. Only a great author could make us mourn that which we have as if it had been stolen from us when it was stripped from the book’s characters.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes - Early

In the spirit of the season, I’m thankful for lots and lots of things this year. As a mother/wife/friend, the gratitude deeply embedded inside of me specifically carved out for my family and friends will always be first on my lists. As a nurse, I’m thankful to have a job which allows me to give back to the community and make a difference to a cause near and dear to my heart, nonprofit healthcare. As a writer, I’m beyond grateful for every opportunity that I’ve been given during my debut year. The road has been long and arduous, but it has been every bit as rewarding as my healthcare advocacy job. Since the release of Warriors of the Cross, I’ve met dozens of great Indie authors (all phenomenal & special & talented people) and hundreds of friends/fans/followers/
commenters/reviewers who are passionate about reading, writing, and blogging. I have learned something from each of them, and their lessons will never be forgotten. 

In preparation for December’s release of Guardians of the Cross, I’m sending out a Warriors of the Cross link along with a coupon which will allow the most-recent edition Warriors of the Cross to be downloaded for *FREE*. If you have an older version, please feel free to use the coupon to update your Kindle/Nook/IPAD/etc. 
Finally, you are welcome to share this on your blogs/Facebook/Twitter…if you like. It will be good until 12/20/11. As with any gift, there are no strings attached. If downloaded, there are no obligations to read, review, fan/friend/follow, or comment. All you have to do is sit back and ENJOY!
From me to you, have a great Thanksgiving!
T. R. Graves, Author

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - 11 Reasons Why....


This weekend I stared guiltily at my weed-filled rose garden, wishing for some time to prune every single stem.  The perfume-free bushes once decorated with radiant roses had become weighed down with thin-pedaled flowers sprouting from spindly stalks.
                     
I was completely surprised when I left for work a few days later and found a magnificent yellow rose growing from the fattest stalk and towering over the giant pile of thorns.  As an amateur rose aficionado, I can honestly say the pedals on this particular flower were as thick and velvety as any I’d ever seen, and its glorious citrus perfume was one even a connoisseur would have appreciated.
My absolute hope for Warriors of the Cross & Guardians of the Cross & Enemies of the Cross is for them to be strong and powerful books, which stand apart from the crowd of already-told stories filled with forgettable characters.  ALL YELLOW ROSES.
This week the YA Indie Carnival sponsors (authors/bloggers whose books/blogs are yellow roses by thier own right) are sharing 11 Reasons Why….  Rather than give everyone 11 reasons why I believe The Warrior Series is a powerful trilogy, I thought I would let the fans of Warriors of the Cross explain (in their own words) what about it intrigued them the most.
THE BOOK COVER 
kimyunalesca  “…4.5 stars,The book cover is really beautiful and related to the story. It has a very good and interesting plot I like how it starts off with a little bit of mystery between all of the characters.There's a lot of medical scenes plus very detailed terminologies I found very useful in imagining the whole story. I felt the characters emotions and struggles that kept me moving one page to another, within the story lies a great message to every reader such as close family ties, bonds, do the right ...more……The book cover is really beautiful and related to the story…”
THE SISTERS 
Maria “…I adored the sisters and wished they would have been around more!”
THE LOCATION 
Julie “…I loved the setting. I live in Houston and Galveston is one of our favorite places. And believe it or not, The Face Wall ... is real.”
THE MEDICAL THRILL 
Vanessa Eric most of the time, I felt like reading a paperback version of Grey’s Anatomy rather than a contemporary paranormal …”
THE UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE STORY-LINE
Im'a Vermonster aka Shawn “Even when I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about the book, the characters.”
THE SUSPENSE
Jennifer “I finished this morning. After keeping myself up until 2 a.m. reading. Only to grab the book at 6 a.m. when I awoke. I love the story line. I immediately fell in love with the characters. This is a very unique and absorbing story.”
THE STORIES MESSAGES 
Michael Maedo Breathtakingly beautiful This is the first book I have ever written a review on for amazon. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. I voraciously read multiple books a week but this is one of the best books I have ever read. The love of God and the desire to do the right thing permeates this book but does not hit you over the head. Brody, Allison, and Clark are so real. I feel like a better person after having read this book. I can't wait until the next book comes out.
Gloria “I have never wrote a message on the books I have read. But I have enjoyed this book. I am looking for the other books in this series. I am suggesting it to all my friends. It was amazing.”
Roseycortes cortes “This book was fantastic. I read about a book per day or two, don't love most of them. Characters are real. Living people. They are likable and you care what happens to them. Dying for the next book!”
ebgb Very Entertaining Read!“This book was so interesting, I read it twice! I can't wait for the sequel to be released. The plot twists are very creative, and being a nurse, I especially enjoyed the medical aspects.
THE LOVE TRIANGLE 
Dabs WOW! I couldnt put this book down and now Im anxiously waiting for the next book!! I keep telling myself not to read love triangles because I get all caught up, worked up and and hate having to wait for the next book to come out to find out what will happen!!! but here I am caught up in the Allie/Brody/Clark triangle, but really...who couldnt get wrapped up in these wonderful characters!
I really enjoyed the storyline about insurance/healthcare, being a RN working in the insurance portio
...moreWOW! I couldn’t put this book down and now I’m anxiously waiting for the next book!! I keep telling myself not to read love triangles because I get all caught up, worked up and hate having to wait for the next book to come out to find out what will happen!!! but here I am caught up in the Allie/Brody/Clark triangle, but really...who couldn’t get wrapped up in these wonderful characters!”
Jody If you are looking for a fresh paranormal romance thriller, Warriors of the Cross delivers. I found the summary of this book to be intriquing. Allison La Crosse is a resident doctor who was born and raised in a big family full of love in LA. She gets her residency at a University Hospital in Galveston, TX and moves there by finding a room to rent sight unseen. When she arrives she meets Clark her landlord who is a medical malpractice lawyer and has an instant connection with him. Clark make...moreIf you are looking for a fresh paranormal romance thriller, Warriors of the Cross delivers…Besides the Romance, there are many layers to this unique plot.”
THE HAUNTING PARANORMAL 
Rae Whew... I did not know I could hold my breath so long! What a great read! I finished it in two settings. I had to stop reading yesterday when it started getting dark; it is one of those books to read only during daylight hours. I finished it this afternoon as it is a bright sunny day in NC. lolol Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am fearless, sometimes to my own detriment. However, once in a great while a book will come along that is a strike too close to the truth and "War...moreWhew... I did not know I could hold my breath so long! What a great read! I finished it in two settings. I had to stop reading yesterday when it started getting dark; it is one of those books to read only during daylight hours. I finished it this afternoon as it is a bright sunny day in NC. lolol Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am fearless, sometimes to my own detriment. However, once in a great while a book will come along that is a strike too close to the truth and "Warriors of the Cross" is one such title. My house has a few ghosts, sad but friendly, hanging around and sometimes too much paranormal just gets to be too edgy in the dark.”
THE CHARACTERS
Loren Love this book! Started reading it last night after receiving a link from the author. Best link ever! Before I knew it it was well past my bed time and into the early morning hours. As soon as I got up this morning I had to know how it ended.
The characters are amazing and I fell on love with them almost instantly. Allie is so loving and positive and I enjoyed reading about her. I love Clark for the same reasons as Allie although he is a little darker and it was hard to read his motives but
...moreLove this book! …Before I knew it it was well past my bed time and into the early morning hours. As soon as I got up this morning I had to know how it ended.
The characters are amazing and I fell on love with them almost instantly. Allie is so loving and positive and I enjoyed reading about her. I love Clark for the same reasons as Allie although he is a little darker and it was hard to read his motives but Brody is my favourite. The story is a breath of fresh air different to a lot of the books I've been reading lately. I'm not particularly religious but enjoyed the religious aspects of the story. Overall it was a great and addictive read and I am eagerly awaiting the next book!
THERE IS MORE TO COME (Guardians of the Cross – December 24, 2011)
E “…I recently added this book to my to-read shelf, and was sent a link to this book by the author (for that, I am forever grateful). After finally getting around to read it, I realized this book would be one of my favorites.

I'm not going to go too in-depth with this because I don't want to give anything away. Everyone should read this without knowing any of the intricate details so they can be just as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Now, to be honest, I'm not a fan of romance. At
...more…..the pacing was impeccable, and it was a fairly quick yet fun read. It was interesting the whole way through, but the ending is what made me love the book rather than just really like it. Granted, cliffhangers are usually just annoying, but this one has made me very excited for the next book. As a whole, the book was intriguing and worth every moment spent reading it. I can't wait for the next to be released!”
RyleighC BEST BOOK EVER This is one of the best books that have ever read. was expecting some stereotypical book, but realized actually would have paid for it because it was so good. The second book, Guardian of the Cross, comes out December 24, 2011 and definitely am going to buy that.
momof2cuties Loved it and can't wait for the next in the series This was an absolutely wonderful read. I have not reviewed any of the over 100 books I've downloaded so far, for me to review means I was extremely pleased! Warriors of the Cross was fast paced with just enough romance, bonds of friendship and family, and suspense to keep me up late enough I had to take a nap the next day with my kids. Allie is a wonderful person who is so kind, caring, loving, and strong. Brody is gorgeous and just mysterious enough to leave you wanting more of him. Clark is a great friend that anyone would be extremely lucky to have. The Sisters were wonderful and I would love to get to know them a little better. Overall, I genuinely loved this book…I'm excited and antsy waiting for the release of Guardians of the Cross that will hopefully be real soon.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7.Lexus Luke8.PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy10.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed12.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13.Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15.Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews 16.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18.Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19.Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind20.Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler22.Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter24.TG Ayer