Monday, April 30, 2012

ELEMENTAL Release Day + Interview With Emily White!!

Emily White
Hi guys! Today I am featuring my friend Emily White!! She's here to talk a bit about her brand-new release, ELEMENTAL, available today for purchase!!

I first met Emily here on Blogger, and her cheerfulness and friendly spirit immediately made me feel at ease. She reviewed my first book, The Curse Girl, and she hosted me on her blog for an interview. Later, we both became members of the same critique group. And now her debut novel is here!!!

So I asked her some questions about Elemental...

*clears throat, acts professional*

Here is the "scrawled" version of Emily.
1.    Welcome, Emily! Tell us a little bit about Elemental. I’ve read the teaser description, but can you summarize the story in a few of your own words? What kind of readers will like this book?

Elemental is sci-fi (specifically, space opera) with big explosions, danger at every turn, war, a little bit of kissing, bad choices, and fairies. That's right. Fairies.

I think people who love sci-fi, or anyone who's looking for something a little different from most YA books coming out these days, will like Elemental.

2.    Sounds really unique! I love the idea of mixing fantasy and sci fi. In fact, I've been working on a "science fantasy" story myself, so this is really cool. And I love the title of the book, too! It’s very simple and yet very evocative and distinct. What was part of your thought process when choosing it?

Most of my thinking gets done in the shower (and during those times, that's when I usually put body wash in my hair instead of shampoo, but I digress! :P). This was no exception (to both points). I'd been struggling with renaming my book AND the MC. Both were just too complicated and not very memorable. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Hey! What if everyone in the MC's family line has a name that starts with "El." (I'd already had at least one character from her family that had this). And that's when I came up with Ella. Well, it took only moments for me to then think, " crazy...Ella mental. Elemental!!" It also worked perfectly because Ella is (obviously, since she can control an element) an elemental. So yay! There's the story, and you got to see a little deeper into my mind. It's a very scary place. ;)

3.    Tell me a little about the journey you had when writing Elemental—how long did it take you to write it? Did any of your original plans or ideas for the book drastically change in the course of drafting and revising the story?

It took about 2 years to have it all completed. It went through some MAJOR changes during those 2 years, though. I started off trying to write Adult Sci-fi in the Omniscient POV. It was going okay, but it was never more than "eh." Unfortunately, at the time I had no idea I was naturally suited to writing YA. I just didn't understand why I couldn't get the story to work.  Then I read my first YA and everything changed. I completely rewrote the story into first person and let Ella's voice really shine through.

4.    I love that. The YA style really works for me, too, so I totally understand. Now, who is your favorite character in Elemental (excluding the main character)?

That is such a tough choice! It's either Meir or Cailen. Meir is so wonderful and selfless. He makes the ultimate father figure. But Cailen IS gorgeous (hehehehe!). Actually, there's a lot more to Cailen than that. He THINKS he's being helpful and selfless, so I sympathize with him. Also, he's gorgeous. :P

5.    Your good friend Vic (and my friend, too!) designed the beautiful cover. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Oh but of course! :) Back when I was going to self-publish this baby (before SHP approached me with an offer), I realized I knew three absolutely wonderful people who could help me with the cover! The first was Kelly of Glimpses of You Photography, the second was a family member who I knew would work perfectly as Ella, and the third was Miss Victoria (my brilliant artist friend)!  Kelly very graciously offered to do the photos of my family member  and once I had a few poses I liked, I sent the pictures over to Vic to come up with my beautiful cover!

 It was a pretty long process because I change my mind a LOT. But Vic was patient and eventually I said, "Hey! What about a nebula in the background??" Well, it may sound easy after that, but it's not! This very talented Miss Victoria took my abstract thinking and put all the lovely pieces together to make a perfectly seamless cover. And, AND! She created that beautiful font. She really is a genius.

6.    What a great story. It makes the cover that much more special when it's designed by a friend! I understand you’ve been working on the sequel, Fae. How is that coming along? Is this going to be a series or trilogy?

This will be a trilogy. Yay! Right now I'm working on revisions of Fae for my editor. They are going very well, but they are taking a LOT of time to do. I'm one of those annoying authors who writes very light for the first and second draft. So right now, I'm working on filling in the details, strengthening motivations and characterization, and basically getting this baby up to standard YA novel size.

7.    What is your favorite piece of writing advice?

Kill your darlings. I always think of that Seinfeld episode when the gang goes to their friends' house to see the baby. Well, the baby ain't so pretty and Kramer does his standard falling against the wall or onto the floor when he sees the ugly little thing. But the parents just couldn't see the hideousness these four friends very obviously detected.

I think that's very often true of writers. We get attached to our WIPs and actually see them as our babies. When a group of beta readers (or an editor) says, "Eek! Hideous! I don't like this one part at all. It doesn't flow with the rest of your story," we tend to get defensive and tell ourselves they're all wrong. Well, the thing is, they're probably right. We just can't see it because we're looking at our WIPs with rose colored glasses, marveling at the simple (or way too complex) beauty of our babies.

8.    Very true. What is your least-favorite part of writing a book?

Writing the first chapter. Out of everything, I feel like this is the part that should start out perfect. It's the foundation for the whole book! But boy does it change. A lot. And that frustrates me more than anything.

9.    Yeah...first chapters are tough. There's a lot of pressure in those initial pages! 

Tell me a bit about yourself...what is one interesting fact about you that most people wouldn’t know?

Hmmm...interesting...I am an AMAZING cook. 'tis true. I don't normally toot my own horn, but I do have to say, I know how to make delicious food. And I love cooking from scratch. I've even been known to make my own butter. :)

10.    Okay, now I'm hungry! :D

Can you tell us where we can find out more about you, and where we can go to order our copies of Elemental!

You can visit me at my blog, facebook,
fanpage, goodreads, twitter, and pinterest!


You can order Elemental at Amazon and B&N.

11.    Awesome! One final question. Do you have any other books in the works besides Elemental and its sequels?

I'm always working on other things. In fact, if anyone wants to see my other projects, they should check out my pinterest account. I have a several boards dedicated to the crazy ideas brewing in my mind. :)

Thanks, Katie!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Writing Is Hard

It's funny to me how I sometimes flat-out forget things sometimes.

Like the fact that writing is HARD.

I am currently working on what will be my fourth published book, and there's this part of me that thinks, subconsciously perhaps, that by now I should have it all together. By now I should be able to sit down, stick my fingers on the keyboard, and produce something perfect the first time I try.


Such a thing is never gonna happen.

But still, when it inevitably doesn't, I end up getting discouraged.

So I read two posts recently that slapped me upside the head (in a good way). I think everybody, writers or not, should read them:

Embrace That You Are Doing Something Hard (Natalie Whipple)

My Lack of Pixie Dust (Amanda Hocking)


Don't get me wrong--there are high points where the words flow like music and the glowing reviews pour in and I'm busy in that way that makes me feel energetic instead of tired. And then there are times when every sentence is lifeless and the characters just glare at me, tapping their feet and waiting for better dialogue, and I want to tear my hair out and the clock on the wall ticks too loud and there's so much blank SPACE...on the page and in my head.

At times this journey is thankless, exhausting, and emotionally draining. I often wonder if I'm nuts for pursuing this dream, especially given the fact that I have a mental disorder that makes the whole independent author thing feel completely impossible sometimes. But I keep doing it, feeling like a failure the whole while because "success" is about as easy as swimming through wet cement.

HELLO. Writing is hard. Finishing a novel, even a crappy one, is an accomplishment. Heck, writing a decent essay or short story is an accomplishment.

I think I need to give myself more freedom to struggle...and more freedom to not feel bad or lesser or incompetent because I'm struggling.

And this could be applied to any area of life, not just writing. If you are struggling, remember that life is hard. Good things worth doing rarely come easily. Difficulty doesn't make you a failure. If anything, you're proving that you have the strength and bravery to keep going in the face of struggle. And that's really awesome.

...or the zombicorns will eat you. Just kidding. Kind of.
Don't give up!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing Sequels: Guest Post and Giveaway with GP Ching!

Hi, everybody!

Today we welcome GP Ching, author of The Soulkeepers Series, as part of her blog tour for her newest release Return to Eden! Since Return to Eden is the third book in a series, and we talk about writing on this blog sometimes, I asked her about to chat a little about writing sequels.

Hi, Genevieve!

Thanks for hosting me today on The Southern Scrawl for today's Return to Eden blog tour stop and, Kate, for your question about writing sequels. I think many authors struggle with sequels. It sounds like a great idea. You build a world in book one and then the rest is downhill, right? Wrong! Writing book two and beyond is in many ways more difficult than book one

There are three areas I think authors struggle with the most:

1. How much backstory to include
2. Maintaining consistency
3. Where to break the story arc


If you are an indie author and writing your series close together (publishing a new book ever 2-4 month for example) it's less important to include all of the backstory because your readers likely will remember the first books. However, even then, you will want to review plot strings or important character details that are important to the current work. Those publishing 6-12 months after the last release will want to pay particular attention to bringing the reader along who may have forgotten important information from book one.

Including a glossary at the front of the book that defines key words is a great way to start, as is working information into scenes and dialogue where characters reflect on what happened in the past as it relates to what is happening now. What writer's will want to avoid is pages and pages of flashbacks, blocks of prose, or telling that pulls the reader out of the narrative. Critique partners who have read the previous books will be valuable tools in finding the right balance.

Maintaining Consistency

Take notes and write a synopsis even if you hate them. I keep a notebook with details on character eye and hair color, traits, history, family, etc. My only caveat is that characters can and do change. In The Soulkeepers series, Malini changes significantly in book 2. I had to make sure that change followed her into book 3 and became even more pronounced because of her increased experience level.

As far as plot goes, it truly does help to sketch out the series before you start book one. However, even Rowling had some plot holes and inconsistencies sneak through into the HP books, so don't be too hard on yourself if you have to bend the rules of your world. Again, critique partners are invaluable for spotting inconsistencies that matter.

Where to break the story arc

You have it all in your head. Seven books, 60,000 words each. You know how the story goes. You know your characters. But you find yourself 80,000 words into book three. Are really writing part of book four?

Each book in your series must have a beginning, middle, and end. i.e. its own story arc. It is okay to have a cliffhanger but something about that man hanging off of that cliff must provide a satisfying ending for your readers.

A very high-level story arc of Weaving Destiny would look like this (beginning-middle-end):
Malini questions who she is and if her relationship with Jacob is fated. Malini finds her power and breaks up with Jacob when he kisses another girl because she takes it as a sign that they are not destined to be together. Malini and Jacob get back together not because of fate but because of choice.

However, Weaving Destiny has a cliffhanger. Dane is taken by Lucifer. Mara is taken by Death. While questions are left unanswered, those questions are not part of the primary story arc of Weaving Destiny. I think where authors alienate their readers is by ending a story in the middle of a primary story arc.

I hope this helps all of you contemplating your first series. Thank you for having me today and don't forget to enter to win this week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest posts and reviews

Hi guys!

Today I have a guest post up on Tiger Holland's blog, All-Consuming Media. You can check it out here!

Frost also has a new review over on Doodle's Book Blog.

Hope you're having a great Monday. The weather is absolute perfection here in Georgia today.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Frost Launch Festivities

Hi guys! Today I'm celebrating the launch of my newest YA novel, Frost! * tosses confetti *

Below, you can find some of the book launch posts that are spread all over the blogosphere:

Find out about the making of the cover at A Diary of a Book Addict

See my actor pick for Lia at We Fancy Books

See my actor pick for Gabe (if he dyed his hair darker!) at Journey With Books

See my actor pic for Ivy at Bookworm Lisa

I've been interviewed over at Megan Likes Books

Read my guest post about creating chemistry in your novel at The Princess of Storyland

Enter to win in the giveaway at Stuck In Books


And there's TONS more!

You can see all the Frost-related posts at A Tale of Many Reviews

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Here! Frost Lauch Day Par-tay!!

 It's heeeeeere!

Frost is finished, uploaded, and finally available! 

I am so thrilled to present to you my newest baby. Frost is a YA fantasy with dystopian elements, available in both ebook and print formats.

You can add the book on Goodreads, or snag a copy in these places:
My preciousssss...

(The paperback is also available on Amazon)

The lovely and extremely hardworking Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews is hosting my launch day party, so you might see some posts, interviews, excerpts, and swag giveaways around the blogosphere today! I'll try to do an update or separate post with some links later.

You can read the first chapter below!


IT WAS COLD, the kind of cold that made bones feel brittle and hands ache. My breath streamed from my lips like smoke, and my feet made wet, crunching sounds in the snow as I slipped through the forest. As I ran, my lungs ached and my sack of yarn thumped against my back. My cloak tangled around my ankles, but I yanked it free without stopping.

It was quota day in the village, and I was going to be late if I didn’t hurry.

The path stretched ahead in a white trail of unbroken snow, and on either side the ice-covered limbs of the trees hemmed me in with walls of frosty green. Even the light took on a grim, almost gray-blue quality here, and the world was blank with silence. I could hear only the ragged noise of my own breathing and my own footsteps. I felt like an interloper—too loud, too clumsy, too disruptive.

The Frost was always like that. The snow-covered trees had a deadening effect. They absorbed everything—animal calls, voices, even screams for help. Something could come from behind without warning, and you wouldn’t hear anything until it was right upon you. Until it was almost too late.

A branch snapped in the woods to my left. I flinched, turning my head in an effort to locate the source of the sound.

But silence wrapped the world once more. The shadows lay still and gray across the snow. Empty.

“It’s still light,” I whispered aloud, trying to reassure myself. In the light, I was safe. Even the smallest child knew that much.

The monsters didn’t come out until after dark.

I moved faster anyway, spooked by that branch snap even though a blue-gray gloom still illuminated the path. A shiver ran down my spine. Despite our often-repeated mantras about the safety of the light, nothing was certain in the Frost. My parents had always been careful. They had always been prepared. And yet, two months ago they went out into the Frost in the daylight and never returned.

They’d been found days later, dead.

They’d been killed by the monsters that lurked deep in the Frost, monsters that barely anyone ever saw except for tracks in the snow, or the glow of their red eyes in the darkness.

My people called them Watchers.

Color danced at the edges of my vision as I passed the winter-defying snow blossoms, their long sky-blue petals drooping with ice as they dangled from the bushes that lined the path. They were everywhere here, spilling across the snow, drawing a line of demarcation between me and the woods. Every winter, the snows came and the cold killed everything, but these flowers lived. We planted them everywhere—on the paths and around our houses—because the Watchers rarely crossed a fallen snow blossom. For some reason, the flowers turned them away.


I touched the bunch that dangled from my throat with one finger. My parents’ snow blossom necklaces had been missing from their bodies when they were found. Had the monsters torn the flowers off before killing them, or had they even been wearing them at all?

Another branch snapped behind me, the crack loud as a shout in the stillness.

I hurried faster.

Sometimes we found tracks across the paths despite the blossoms. Sometimes nothing kept the Watchers out.

My foot caught a root, and I stumbled.

The bushes rustled behind me.

Panic clawed at my throat. I dropped my sack, fumbling at my belt for the knife I carried even though I knew it would do no good against the monsters because no weapons stopped them. I turned, ready to defend myself.

The branches parted, and a figure stepped onto the path.

It was only Cole, one of the village boys.

“Cole,” I snapped, sheathing the knife. “Are you trying to kill me with fright?”

He flashed me a sheepish smile. “Did you think I was a Watcher, Lia?”

I threw a glance at the sky as I snatched up my sack and flung it over my shoulder once more. Clouds were rolling in, blocking out the sun. The light around us was growing dimmer, filling the path with a premature twilight. A storm was coming.

His smile faded a little at my expression. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I should have called out to warn you.”

“We’re supposed to stay on the paths,” I growled, brushing snow from my skirt. I didn’t want to discuss my irrational panic. I’d been walking the paths through the Frost my entire life. I shouldn’t be jumping at every stray sound like some five-year-old child.

Cole pointed at two squirrel pelts dangling from his belt. “Quota,” he said simply, adjusting the bow hanging on his back. He moved past me and onto the path. “Speaking of which, we’re going to be late for the counting.”

“You’re a Carver,” I said, falling into step beside him. “Not a Hunter.”

“And you’re a Weaver, not a Farmer, but you still keep horses and chickens,” he said.

I shrugged, still annoyed with him for startling me. “My parents took that farm because no one else wanted it. It’s too far from the village, too isolated. We keep animals because we have room. I don’t bring them into the village on quota day.”

“The quota master gives my family a little extra flour if I slip him a pelt,” Cole said. He glanced down at me, his smile mysterious. “Besides, the forest isn’t dangerous this close to the village, not in daylight.”

“The Frost is always dangerous,” I said firmly.

Cole tipped his head to one side and smiled. He refrained from disagreeing outright out of politeness, I supposed. Having dead parents usually evoked that response from people. “I can take care of myself,” he said.

I looked him over. He was tall, and he carried the bow like he knew how to use it. He might be called handsome by some, but he was too lean and foxlike for my taste. He had a daring streak a mile wide, and his eyes always seemed to hold some secret. His mouth slid into a smirk between every word he spoke.

Our gazes held a moment, and his eyes narrowed with sudden decision. For some reason, his expression unnerved me.


“We’re going to be late,” I said, dodging, and hurried ahead.

I could hear him jogging to catch up as I rounded the curve. Here the path crawled beneath a leaning pair of massive boulders and alongside a stream of dark, turbulent water. I scrambled around the first rock, but then what I saw on the other side of the river made me freeze.

Shadowy figures in gray uniforms slipped through the trees, rifles in their hands. There were two of them, sharp-eyed and dark-haired. Bandoleers glittered across their chests.
Cole caught up with me. I put up a hand to quiet him, and together we watched.

“Farthers,” I whispered.

“What are they doing this close to the Frost?” Cole muttered.

I just shook my head as a shiver descended my spine. Farthers—the people from farther than the Frost—rarely ventured beyond the place where the snow and ice began. They had their own country, a grim and gray place called Aeralis, and we knew only rumors of it, but those rumors were enough to inspire fear in us all. I’d been as far as the roads that ringed their land once. I’d seen the horse-drawn wagons filled with prisoners, and the sharp metal fences that marred the fields like stitches across a pale white cheek.

The men crept down to the bank and stared at the dark water. They hadn’t seen us. One gestured at the river, and another pointed at the sky and the approaching storm clouds that were visible through the break in the trees. They appeared to be arguing.

“They won’t cross the river,” I said, confident of it despite my fear. “They never do.”

“They’re afraid of Watchers,” Cole said.

I laughed under my breath at the irony of it. The monsters in the woods protected us as much as they endangered us.

After another moment, the Farthers went back up the bank and vanished into the trees. Like I’d predicted, they didn’t cross the river into our lands. I sighed.

Cole spat at the ground in disgust. “Those Farther scum.”

I didn’t reply. Another glance at the sky confirmed that the storm was fast approaching with the night, and our time was dwindling. We still had to deliver our quota.

I turned back to the path and ran for the village.

Happy release day, everybody!!!


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