Tag Archives: young adults

Edge of Truth

EdgeOfTruth.indd

Edge of Truth is a dystopian tale by author Natasha Hanova. Trapped in a world where she can never achieve more than the society has ‘approved’ for her, Rena Moon is a typical teenager. She rebels against everything from the Overlord to the Synbots to her father and aunt. Rena wants more and determines she can get more. The slight wrinkle to things is her ‘secret’. She’s an Other, one of those gifted with a hidden ability.

Like most girls she’s got a bestie, Blaze, and a crush, Nevan, and she has a lot on her plate. There’s the Solstice Celebration, avoiding her problematic little brothers, and her constant search for a way out of ‘Hollowdump’ as she calls her hometown. On one search into Westrock, she stumbles upon a treasure. That might be an understatement since Rena’s ‘Other’ trait is the ability to sense earthquakes. In this case, the quake unearths the cave of riches.

The fortuitous find represents freedom from the oppressive Overlord Andrick and the way of life she’s fought against. A reluctant Blaze agrees to help her market the treasures. Unfortunately, they don’t make it home before curfew and seek refuge from the Synbots at Nevan’s home much to Rena’s horror. Embarrassing moments pile up for her there, and she’s still got to face her father the next day. Rena’s grounding forces Blaze to go to market without her and attempt to sell the goods. This is Blaze’s strength and she does well. Both girls gear up for the Solstice Celebration now that they have outfits fit for who they really are, not who society has made them.

The first sign of a problem is when Rena shows up, but Blaze doesn’t. When it becomes apparent someone has kidnapped Blaze, Nevan joins Rena in the search for her bestie. Balancing her growing attraction to Nevan with her worry for Blaze and her guilt that her desire to leave Hollowdump is what caused her friend to go missing, Rena follows the path of clues. She knows her ‘directions challenged’ best friend is completely unable to lead her kidnapper to the cave and fears what he’ll do when he realizes it. What results is a suspense filled ride across uncharted territory during the ‘burn’, a dangerous sun without the protection of the ozone layer. Problem with her ability is she also causes quakes. She has to worry about and control her emotions as they search. This would be totally easier without Nevan by her side.

Rena is an independent minded female character, which is a huge plus in YA. Blaze is also a strong character although quite different from Rena. Nevan is the quintessential guy crush who can send a girl over the edge causing her to almost forget everything, even her missing bestie, by simply touching her hand. Power is at the heart of the book. In a dystopian society, it often is. However, independence and hope and loyalty win the day in Edge of Truth. The book is an edge of your seat roller coaster ride through a mine field, at the same time it maintains a sweet tale about friendship and first love. It’s a YA must read.

I received an ARC of Edge of Truth for the purpose of this review.

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Ripple, Pulse, Flow…

One of my critique buddies, Natasha Hanova, has started a blog chain on the ripple effect. The premise behind the blog chain is for you to write this question at the top of a post, link it back to the person whose blog you read it on, answer the question, and invite others (consider this your formal invitation) to participate. Last, post a link to participant(s) who link back to your blog to complete the chain. For this chain, Natasha asked the following question:

Has your manuscript (WIP or completed) experienced a ripple effect, where one change affected the manuscript from beginning to end? If so, how?

My YA novel is about a girl who discovers she’s genetically engineered. This news sends her on the run from good and bad guys alike with the help of lifelong friends, Toad and Mayo. As I wrote the first draft of the initial scene with Toad, he stunned me by  “rolling into the room” behind Ginny. It wasn’t something I thought about in advance or planned. The character told me he was in a chair. That one small detail caused ripples throughout the rest of the book and has ramifications in the next books as well.

Some were big, leading to ample questions for me like how could genetic engineering be used to help him and how might that impact Ginny’s mixed emotions about her status as a “freak”? Some were smaller, happening within my world building, such as a ramp that her dad built on his back deck for ease of access since Toad was there…a lot. The one simple detail enriched both the character of Toad but also impacted his relationships with Ginny and Mayo, his history (how and when did he end up in a chair?), and complicated his ability to help Mayo rescue their best friend.

Ripples are amazing. They continue to pay dividends long after that initial cause. Check out Writes by Moonlight’s blog on Ripples.

I’m interested in hearing whether you’ve experienced the ripple effect in your work and if so, how? If you decide to participate in this blog chain, please let me know so I can include a link. If you just want to leave your comments below, that works for me, too.

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Sidekicks

I have always had a thing for sidekicks. Everything from Lethal Weapon’s combo to Batman and Robin from my childhood. There is something about the dichotomy of a duo relationship that I enjoy. Unfortunately, it isn’t something writers always do well. We’ve seen duos fall short in books and film, leaving the reader or viewer disappointed. What makes a duo work?

Who’s the leader: While both characters can be strong, one must be the leader. Sometimes, this presents problems as he is usually the more intense of the two, more bound by rules, and irritating to his partner. However, as the writer it provides you chances to expound on what conflict this competition might cause.

Balancing Strengths: The characters should have different strengths. One character’s strength will offset his partner’s weakness, etc. This allows them to balance each other out in the trials you throw their way. It also provides for a funny partner to lighten a serious one, a quiet character contrasted by one who talks all the time. Opposites attract because the differences are where conflict and opportunity meet. Use it to your advantage.

One goal: Despite their differences, large and small, the two should share a common goal. If they are cops, it is to protect the people by catching bad guys. If they are doctors, it is to save lives, etc. Whatever they may have going on that pulls them apart, this goal should keep them anchored.

Successful film examples for me: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Doc and Marty, Thelma and Louise, and my favorite, Murtaugh and Riggs of Lethal Weapon fame.

What are your favorite sidekicks from literature, TV, or film?

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Kreativ Blogger Award

Kreativ Blogger Award

A BIG thanks to Natasha Hanova blogger and paranormal writer who passed this award on to me. Her blog posts are upbeat approaches to writing and the writer’s life and include insightful advice, as well as, personal experiences she and her critique group have had. (I’m lucky enough to be a founding member) Find Natasha on Twitter here.

The Rules:
1) Say thanks and link back to the awarding blog.
2) Answer the following 7 questions.
3) Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
4) Pass this on to 7 deserving others.

Questions

1. What’s your favorite song? This changes practically by the hour so catch me any time and you’ll get a different answer. Currently, it’s “Run” by Matt Nathanson (Featuring Jennifer Nettles)

2. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything pumpkin. I love it. If you need a specific dessert, I love spice cake.

3. What do you do when you’re upset? I have a prayer journal. I go there and pour it out. Sometimes I feel better. Sometimes it takes chocolate.

4. What is your favorite pet? We lost both our dog and our cat this last year. I admire traits of both but I find dogs are more my type of animal. Although they aren’t pets, I LOVE our horses best.

5. Which do you prefer – black or white? I’m Casper. Seriously, I’m glow in the dark white. Hate it. So, I will take black!

6. What is your biggest fear? Read my stories. Our work reveals our worst fears.

7. What is your attitude mostly? I’m a bit of a cynic, a child of the post sixties era. I accept nothing at face value. Prove it or I won’t accept it.

Ten Random Facts

1. My favorite age to teach is high school freshmen.

2. My favorite job is teaching college composition to college freshmen.

3. I danced for 36 hours in college to raise money for muscular dystrophy only to have my father be diagnosed at 82 with one of the diseases in the MD family.

4. I’m a lousy cook so I married a man who is a marvelous one.

5. Got my first kiss in kindergarten.

6. I’m not a girly girl and never have been. However, I have a fascination with jewelry. Costume because I’m cheap.

7. My critique partners are some of the best writers I’ve met.

8. I’ve visited every state in the union except Florida, Alaska, and Hawaii. My favorite was Colorado and my least favorite was Utah(apologies, I’m sure it’s a lovely state but I was fifteen and bored by it).

9. If I were graduating from high school now, I would go to school to become an FBI agent.

10. If I could bring someone back from the dead to talk to them, it would be Mark Twain.

I’d like to pass this award to:

Carol Riggs: She offers practical advice. Her blog gives actual critiques of manuscripts showing strengths and weaknesses. Invaluable to all writers writing for publication.

Becca Weston: A humorous, often irreverent, approach to writing and writing process, her blog always makes me smile even about things that often cause me grief.

Carla Luna Cullen: Into research or it’s important to your genre, check Carla’s blog out.

Laurie Dennison: Another blog with a humorous approach, her down to earth voice is relaxing when I’m tense from my writing demons.

Alice M. Fleury:Go to Alice’s blog to make sure you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your i’s in terms of craft.

JE Fritz: A great writing site with a literary approach.

Regina Kennedy Linton: A potpourri of anything and everything writing related.

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Coveted

One of Novel Clique’s members has a video pitch up for her YA novel, Coveted. Hop over and give it a listen. It’s a fascinating novel full of scary creatures but also rife with humor and twists. Give it a listen.

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Writer’s Voice Contest

The Writer’s Voice is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.). The gist of it is, writers “audition” by posting the plot summary from their query as well as the first 250 words of their manuscript. Then the blog hosts pick their teams and the agents come in to vote later down the line. Click any of the above links for more details.

Here’s my YA Sci-Fi/Thriller

THE GENIE PROJECT

Until now Ginny Carrera believed she was a normal teenage girl with concerns about zits, boys, and trig, although, not necessarily in that order. Then she discovers her life is a lie. Her parents are not her parents, scientists designed her, and a U.S. senator has her on his agenda.

In the space of a week, she finds herself fleeing a past she didn’t know existed. Worse than discovering she’s a genetic freak, is being chased by government factions who want the ‘proof’ of the program, the genies, to disappear. Senator Emerson wants to sell her valuable DNA – whole or in parts – to the highest bidder. Designed to survive a nuclear war, she is the most valuable of the genies. With the help of lifelong friends, Toad and Mayo, she sets out to bring down the senator and his crew of human engineers.

Can Ginny stay alive long enough to blow the lid off the biggest scientific scandal of the century? THE GENIE PROJECT is 67,000 words.

The overhead light flared on. Ginny grumbled as she opened one eye, and the green numbers on the alarm clock glared at her. 12:01. “It’s the middle of the freakin’ night.”

“Get up. It’s time,” Dad said, his eyes wide, his lips thinned. “We told you it’d be this way.” He punched the code opening the panic room at the back of her closet. He installed it last month while spouting a detailed explanation involving as much intrigue as a political thriller.

After the tenth kidnapping, parents all over town took extreme measures, but panic rooms? Get real. She thought her parents were overreacting.

She stumbled on Grace, her stuffed pig – a gift from friend, Toad. “Where’s Mom?”

The door silenced any response, if there was one. A sharp clank followed the sucking of the vacuum seal, and she found herself imprisoned by iron walls, cold and unwelcoming. A steel door threw back her distorted reflection. The pads of her bare feet froze against the concrete floor. Scrubbing her eyes to clear her vision, she groaned when she realized her fluffy white robe lay on the floor beside her bed.

On the other side of that door.

I’m so totally screwed.

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Feed the Wolves

I love quotes, proverbs, old sayings. As a teacher I used them. I had entire books of them. I love to find fiction books that begin with one. How does the quote connect with the text? It has me asking questions before I’ve even begun reading. A mini-mystery. So, when I stumbled upon this one on Facebook, my inner reader engaged. I’ve heard it before and it’s one of my favorites for a host of reasons.

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, & truth.” The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Unfortunately, we all know humans are flawed and too often we feed the wrong wolf more than we should. In fiction that is what makes our characters raw and real. Recently, I saw Captain America. Nerd that I am, I enjoy the comic book heroes. As I watched it though, I thought about the nature of those super heroes. Granted super humans qualities and one flaw. Can you imagine humans with only one flaw? Or with multiple super traits?

When we create characters, we have to remember those inner wolves the Cherokee spoke of, and we need to feed the demon wolf more than once. Otherwise, we risk the super hero archetype of a character with merely one flaw. I love crusty characters so feeding that demon can be fun.

How do you feed your characters’ inner wolves?

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