Friday 31 May 2013

Three Things I've Learned in Five Years

As some of you might know, Dorothy has been away at BEA most of this week meeting publishing professionals, readers and the like, and signing books. In other words, being a REAL AUTHOR! (So excited for you, Dorothy!) Because of that, Dorothy had nothing scheduled for the blog this week, except Monday's post. But, since I'm available to post today, I thought I'd switch it up a bit and give you something a little different.

I've been seriously writing for almost five years. Over the years, I've learned quite a bit about writing and publishing. Some of it helpful, some of it... not so much. So, for a change of pace, I thought I'd give you a short list of those tough lessons learned that made a huge difference in my writing journey.

1. Beta-readers and Critique Partners Are Gold

There are two extremes with beta-readers/critique partners: the cheerleaders and the ass-kickers. And they are both incredibly valuable.

*record scratch* What? Yes, you read correctly. They are BOTH valuable.

My work would not be at all publication ready if not for those beautiful, golden, ass-kickers. A writer NEEDS someone to tell them exactly where things are going wrong, with no bias or coddling. Does it hurt? Sure it does. But it is SO worth it when that agent/publisher phone call comes. Really.

Most serious writers know this. What they don't know is the importance of those heaven-sent cheerleaders . Those are the angels that keep you going. If not for a few amazing cheerleaders, Call Me Grim would probably still be a work in progress. Knowing there was someone out there who was excited about my work and who really wanted to know what happened next kept my butt in the chair pounding those keys. And what is a writer, if she/he's not writing?

(Hugs and kisses to my betas and crit-partners. You guys ROCK!)

2. Rules Are There For a Reason. Break Them Wisely

Show, don't tell. Cut the adverbs and excessive adjectives. Avoid purple prose. Don't write your query from the POV of your MC. We've heard them all.

They are all valid and important rules to know and follow. They will improve writing and the chances of getting in the publishing door.

Except when breaking the rules makes the work better.

Sure, there are a few hard and fast rules that really should NOT be broken, like the Follow-Submission-Guidelines-To-The-Letter Rule. Don't mess with that one. Unless you want your query to see the bottom of the trash-bin before it's even opened. But, some rules cry to be broken...wisely.

I learned not to be a rule-breaker simply to prove that I could. I know the rules and break them when I have to, because to do otherwise would sacrifice something valuable, like voice, pacing or character development. The act of breaking the rules, for me, is now a very thoughtful process.

3. Know When To Let Go

This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. It's important in two ways, both, I'm afraid to say, I've learned from personal experience. Let me elaborate.

After months (who am I kidding? years) of writing one novel, I KNEW it was a masterpiece. I queried and queried and after several rejections, I decided I needed beta-readers. I revised and revised and out the door it went. Again. Only to be rejected. Again. And so it went. I poured all of my efforts into revising that first novel and the query, trying to get it picked up 'cause, darn it, it took me FOREVER to write and it DESERVED to be published.

Then I got this awesome idea. It was pretty and shiny and I decided I would NOT screw this one up. It wasn't leaving the door until it was PERFECT. In every way. I got some feedback from betas, but they had some negative comments. It wasn't ready. I fixed those issues and sent it out to a few more betas who had different negative comments. Still not ready. Rinse and repeat, while my pretty, shiny idea grew a fine layer of dust and went absolutely nowhere. When I finally got around to submitting, the desire for that kind of a manuscript had waned.

With both of these novels, my problem was my inability to let go. And learning to let go was the way I eventually moved on to bigger and better things. With the first novel (which is under the bed, where it belongs) I wasted a ton of time on something that, looking back, was not worth it (Yeah. It was really that bad. Purple prose. Muddled POV. The works). With the second novel, I nearly lost my opportunity obsessively picking it apart.

Lucky for me, that second novel got me my agent and eventually my publishing contract with Month9Books, so there's that. But that never would have happened if I hadn't eventually learned to let go.

Monday 27 May 2013

Book Excerpt: The Earth is for Dancing + GIVEAWAY!

Sam is a fifteen-year-old drug orphan living with her custodial grandmother who is stricken with late-stage Alzheimer's. She struggles to fill the role of caregiver to her grandmother while keeping her little family a secret from the authorities who would send Gamma to a state facility and Sam to foster care. Just because her life isn't hard enough, there are still boys to have crushes on, essays to write for horrible English teachers, and a squad full of bullies to torment her on a daily basis.



The blaring laughter that followed the processed lunchmeat outburst could only mean that my usual tormentors were wide-awake and on the prowl. I turned up the volume to my headphones and dropped my purse and backpack on the nearest cafeteria table, far from the center table where they were still sitting together snickering over the name they had baptized me with way back in third grade. The males in the crowd literally high-fived each other when they saw me drop my head and turn away from their table, while the females did that giggle-snort-behind-their-hands thing that girls usually did when they didn’t want to be caught laughing too loudly.

How original. Spam. Because it rhymes with Sam. The young poet laureates of Benton, Florida, had put their heads together in this think tank of a public school wasteland and come up with a real zinger. And it’s been with me ever since.

I’m sure the fine people at the Discovery Channel could do an entire documentary on the high school food chain, the survival of the fittest, the evolution of the various packs that make up the society, the workers, drones, and queen bee of the hive. All that stuff. Because maybe then their researchers could explain to the rest of us what exactly sets some students apart as carnivores and the rest of us as their prey.

I mean, I’m a completely ordinary girl. I wake up, come to this war zone of a school, and go home. I’m absolutely the most typical looking person, with plain brown hair, hazelish eyes, a little on the skinny side. I don’t stand out, I don’t call attention to myself, I don’t try to overthrow anyone’s Homecoming Queen throne, so how come I’m the total victim? I guess it still wouldn’t change how some of these mental midgets treat me, but I don’t bother anybody. So why me?

The “Spam! Spam! Spam!” Spam-chant began at one table towards the middle of the room, whispered at first, but getting louder, punctuated with some good rhythmic table-pounding until finally a teacher looks up from her lunchtime coma and tells them to quiet down.

A few of the tables scattered around the oversized room are filled with kids who typically ignore the brutal and out-loud teasing, probably because they’ve been Professional Victims at some point or another in this inferno. I’m sure they’re feeling super embarrassed for me, so they look out the windows or at their lunch trays or anywhere else but at me. If they see me looking at them, they’ll have to acknowledge that they sat silently on the sidelines and watched the gladiator match of me versus the cool kids without throwing me a lifeline. Or at least putting me out of my misery.

About the Author:
Lorca Damon is a young adult writer and teacher. Her fiction focuses on the very real issues that teenagers
actually face today, scenarios she learned from her students in the juvenile correctional facility where she teaches. She is the author of an Amazon bestselling title on autism, Autism By Hand, as well as a book of bizarre humor essays entitled It Was Like That When I Found It. Her two previous titles, Autism By Hand and It Was Like That When I Found It, are available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.


And now it's time for a GIVEAWAY!

You can win a $50 Amazon Giftcard!!
This giveaway is sponsored by the author and is open to anyone who can receive Amazon Giftcards.
 Giveaway Ends 9th June 2013.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

A Shift of Focus

In February 2010, Dorothy started We Do Write as a way to highlight writers (including yours truly) on their paths to publication. Over the years, some of those up-and-coming writers have become up-and-done-it authors (me again! Eep!) and We Do Write has morphed to showcase those authors and their new books.

This is good! We love this! 

However, after much discussion, Dorothy and I have decided to slightly shift the focus of the blog.

As I'm sure you are aware, we are both YA writers with novels soon available to the reading masses (Dorothy's MY SISTER'S REAPER is due out in June! My novel, CALL ME GRIM, is set for release Fall 2014). Moving forward, we expect (hope, wish, and pray for) an increase of young adult and middle grade aged readers to our blog. With that in mind, we have decided to limit the authors and books we showcase to YA and MG ONLY.

However, we are huge suckers for writer's success stories. So, if you have already been featured on this blog in the past, and you have achieved some level of success (obtained that illusive agent or publishing contract, or your debut is about to be released), please feel free to contact us and we will see if it's possible to make an exception. 

Happy writing!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Happy Book Birthday, PRAEFATIO and TRANSPARENT!

Do you like YA paranormal as much as I do? Well, grab some popcorn and candy and settle in for an exciting double feature. Today is the release date of two books I, personally, have been itching to get my hands on: PRAEFATIO by Georgia McBride and  TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple.

First up, PRAEFATIO by Georgia McBride:

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway. After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety. Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true? Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

As a huge Muse fan, you had me at rock star and Stockholm Syndrome. But I digress... What an awesome premise! I am so excited to read this!

Now onto another unique concept. Pitched as a mash-up of X-men and The Godfather, I am equally excited to read TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple. 

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

So cool! I think I'll need a lot more popcorn and candy.

Congratulations on your book releases, Georgia and Natalie! 

Monday 20 May 2013

Happy Book Birthday: Runes by Ednah Walters

I really love the cover of RUNES by Ednah Walters. Isn't it eye-catching? And it launches today! Happy Book Birthday, Ednah!

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

Barnes and Noble

Cover Reveal: Antithesis by Kacey Vanderkarr

We Do Write is happy to join in on the cover reveal for author Kacey Vanderkarr's ANTITHESIS.


My name is Gavyn.

Liam doesn’t care that I only have one arm. He actually likes my red hair and freckles. I might forgive him for kidnapping me.

My name is Gavyn.

I lost my Liam. I’ve lost them all. And now it’s my job to make sure they don’t show up again.

My name is Gavyn.

I had a life with Liam, but he couldn’t give me what I need. Then I killed his father. I don’t expect he’ll forgive me for that.

My name is Gavyn.

About the author:

Kacey Vanderkarr is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, crazy cats, and two bearded dragons. Visit for more information.

Twitter: @kacimari

Saturday 18 May 2013

Interview with Brooklyn Skye

Here's a rare Saturday post for you! What's the special occasion? We're chatting with author Brooklyn Skye about her novel STRIPPED.

Welcome to We Do Write, Brooklyn! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here!
About myself? Hmm…do you ask this to watch people squirm? (Can you tell I’m avoiding the awkwardness of talking about myself?) Anyway, I’m just a girl who’s obsessed with words, who writes stories about the messy in-between time in people’s lives—also known as New Adult.    

How long have you been writing?

Seriously, for a few years now. Before that I dabbled in writing fiction, but college sort of got in the way.

Tell us about STRIPPED. What’s the story about?

College freshman Quinn Montgomery will do anything to avoid the mistake her sister made—killing herself over a boy. But when she is forced into nude modeling at a local college to support her family after a bankruptcy, she begins to crack, just enough to let Torrin, the university’s top varsity oarsman, see that the real Quinn is not as feisty and unapproachable as she wants everyone to think. But letting someone in comes at a steep cost and, it turns out, Torrin is connected to Quinn’s family in more ways than she could ever imagine.

SPOILER: Torrin is totally swoon-worthy! He’s my new favorite book boyfriend. (Is that fair to say seeing that I wrote him?)

Of course! How did the idea of the story come to you? 

The story is a mish-mash of ideas I had. I’d had the character Quinn in my head for quite a while, but until STRIPPED I wasn’t quite sure what her story was. One day while writing another manuscript, I logged in to my email and featured on the “news” section was an article about college girls modeling nude for extra money. At the time, New Adult wasn’t a thing—writing college-aged protagonists was sort of a no-no so I wrote it as YA. It didn’t really work so I set it aside until last year one of my critique partners suggested I rewrite it as NA. And here we are!

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit? 

This manuscript endured the eyes of five beta readers, two critique partners and was edited by Taryn Albright (who is absolutely a dream to work with).
Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Panster for draft one then plotter (or outliner?) during revisions. Lately I’ve been plotting out scenes before I write them to help stay focused, so there might be a bit of transition coming my way (gasp!).

Perfectly normal, I say. What’s the hardest part of writing for you? 

Finding quality time to work on it. Most days I wake at 4:00AM just to have a good chunk of writing time before life gets in the way.

I hear ya! What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing? 

Pandora and sticky notes.

If you could have any super power, what would it be? 

Would tuning out distractions count as a super power? That would be awesome!

Right? I agree! What's the weirdest thing you've Googled? 

It wasn’t something I Googled, but a few months ago I entered a hackers’ forum to try to learn their lingo for an author I was working with. I posed as a hacker myself and was so scared authorities were going to be knocking at my door that night!

Yikes, that's scary. Bravo to you for being so brave in your research. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: syrup, stirrup, and stressed. 

Sticky syrup dripped from the stirrup as the doctor muttered, “Geez, could I be any more stressed?”
Don’t ask why there was syrup in an OB-GYN office, LOL!
LOL! Okay, I won't. Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... 

reading manuscripts. (My editorial assistant job has sort of taken over my life. Sigh.)

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs. 

Thanks to everyone who’s supported STRIPPED thus far. And to all of you who plan to read: I hope you all love Quinn and Torrin as much as I do!

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Friday 17 May 2013

Interview with Heather L Reid

We're very pleased about having the next author on the blog. Heather L Reid is the author of PRETTY DARK NOTHING, which released April 23rd by Month9Books and is already receiving great reviews. Let's get to know Heather.

Hi, Heather! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. At the age of four I started dictating stories to my mother who would illustrate them for me. By the age of nine, I was writing plays for friends and binding my own picture books with cardboard and string. At eleven I tried my hand at a first novel. (No, you can’t read it. It’s buried in a deep dark hole somewhere in the Tasmanian Outback and guarded by a three-headed dingo.) It was then I told my parents I wanted to be published by the age of sixteen. I also told them I wanted to be Wonder Woman, a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, a Broadway star, and an archaeologist. Those dreams faded. I never did get that invisible jet, and I would be a lot older than sixteen before I got a publishing deal, but the dream of being a writer stayed with me. After college I decided to stop dreaming and start getting serious. I joined the Society of Children’s book Writers and Illustrators, joined a writer’s group, read books on writing, went to conferences, workshops, and most importantly, I started writing every day. Some of it was crap. Ok, at first, a lot of it was crap, but writing takes work. After over twelve years of studying and writing, my first young adult novel, Pretty Dark Nothing, sold in a two book deal to Month9Books. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m still learning. I write because I have to. It’s a part of what makes me, me.

The cover of PRETTY DARK NOTHING is spectacular! What’s the story about?

Thank you. I LOVE the cover. My publisher and the designer, Mette Breth Klausen, did an amazing job. It’s even better than I pictured it in my head.

Pretty Dark Nothing is full of demons, and I don’t mean the hot fallen angel, bad boy types. These demons are the evil, hairy, sulphurous kind, bent on manipulating and destroying Quinn’s life. Throw in some romantic sparks with a psychic amnesic, an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite get over, and suspension from the cheerleading squad for failing grades, all while the demons are pushing her to the brink of madness, and I hope it’s a recipe for something darkly paranormal and not quite typical.

I can't tell you how much I need to get my hands on this book. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I think the spark of inspiration for Pretty Dark Nothing has been brewing my whole life. As a child, I suffered from night terrors and sleep walking. Although I eventually grew out of the sleep walking, the nightmares never went away. I would dream of faceless entities and demons on a reoccurring basis. I spent my pre-teen years trying to rationalize my fear while I spent my nights huddled under my covers with a book and a flash light afraid to fall asleep for fear of what would greet me in my dreams. I kept this a secret from my friends and afraid of what they would think. The dark torture of my imagination lasted through three years of middle school and finally faded. I still don’t think my mother knows how terrified I was of falling asleep and I have no idea why the nightmares stopped, maybe they were my way of coping with the stress of adolescence. I don’t know. When I reached college, I went through a particularly bad time in my life, suffered from depression, illness and the nightmares returned. I wasn’t frightened like I was when I was young; I recognized them for what they were. We all have inner demons we battle, those voices that tell us we’re not good enough, taunt us, paralyze us with fear. That’s when the idea for a novel started to form. I asked myself what would happen if those negative voices, inner demons weren’t imagined. What would happen if they were real and they started to manifest outside the dream world? What if they influenced things around us and what if you were the only one that could see them? That’s when Quinn and the idea for Pretty Dark Nothing was born. I didn’t start writing Pretty Dark Noting right away. I did some character sketches and jotted down some notes while I spent the next several years writing short stories and articles. But Quinn’s story wouldn’t let me go. When I finally decided to give my full attention to her, she blew me away. Quinn and I battled the demons that tortured her together and in the process, she taught me how to battle my own.

It's so awesome that you were able to turn a difficult situation into something creative. Besides your editor, do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I mostly self-edit, but I also have two critique partners that I trust and a few beta readers that I let read once I’ve gotten the manuscript to a point where I feel I can’t go any further without feedback.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Panster all the way! I wish I was better at plotting, but it’s not my process. I do know where the book is going, but for me, it’s about letting the story grow organically and listening to my characters as they go on their journey. Knowing every detail takes the fun out of writing for me.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The first draft is the hardest. Because I’m a panster, drafting is slow and sometimes frustrating. I love revising.

I'm a plotter, but I love revising too. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

My ipod and a cup of green tea.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would love to be a shifter, to be able to fly or swim or run with the wolves as I wished. The ability to experience life from so many different perspectives would truly be awesome. Imagine the freedom of it. I could still live a somewhat normal life if I wished, neither ruled by the moon like a werewolf or blood lust like a vampire.

Good choice! What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

The weirdest thing? How to kill an angel.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: darkness, suspicious, and gorilla.

A gorilla peered from the darkness of the cave, a suspicious look in her glowing amber eyes as I plucked the last banana from the tree.

Hehehe, dangerous! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

Playing the xbox.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I have been truly blessed by the people in my life. There have been so many people who supported me while I chased my dream. First and foremost are my parents. They always encouraged me to work hard and go after what I wanted in life. My sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephew have all cheered me on every step of the way. I owe a lot to all my friends, both writer’s and non-writers, who have offered an ear to listen to my struggles and celebrate my victories. My Scottish family, who took me in as one of their own and never once called me crazy, at least not to my face, for spending countless hours in my imaginary world. And to my husband David who believed in me, bought me chocolate, and took care of the house while I worked to deadlines. I also need to thank Month9Books, Georgia McBride, my editor, Courtney Koschel, and the whole team who worked on Pretty Dark Nothing for helping my vision find an audience and for making the publishing experience the best of my life so far.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

Heather, thanks so much for being on the blog. We wish you all the best for your books!

Thursday 16 May 2013

Happy Book Birthday: Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Yay for YA contemporary! Today marks the launch of FIVE SUMMERS by Una LaMarche, published by Razorbill.

The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring...
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth...
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle...
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

Barnes and Noble

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Book Excerpt and Trailer: RUNES by Ednah Walters

Good morning! Today, for your viewing and reading pleasure, we have the brand, spanking, new book trailer for Ednah Walters' YA paranormal novel, RUNES, plus an excerpt!

Sounds pretty amazing, doesn't it? And I don't just say that because I have a thing for YA paranormal. Check this out:


I followed the sounds to the garage, where Blue Eyes sat on a wooden box and tinkered with a greasy thingamajigger that looked like something one pulled out of a robot. I couldn’t tell where the music came from, but I recognized the classic rock tune. Not bad.

He didn’t glance up or move, yet the music stopped. Magic? No, I shouldn’t even think like that. It was illogical. Magic didn’t exist.

“I thought we agreed to stay away from each other, Freckles.”

I’m not letting him get to me. Not this time. “I plan to, but you fixed the Petersons’ mailbox, so I’m here to thank you.”

“Courteous? You? What happened to the snarky girl I met earlier? Raine with an E?” He looked up, a wicked smile curling his lips. “I liked her.”

I ignored the dig. “How did you do it?”

He wiped his greasy hands on a cloth. “Magic.”

“Don’t start. Magic is not real.”

“Says who?”

“Me. Science. Logic.”

“Okay, Freckles. We’ll play this your way. We’ll say I was inspired, and there’re no heights a man can’t reach when...” he got up, leaned closer, and whispered, “inspired.”

I stepped back. He was overwhelming up close. Vibrant. “Uh, well, I just wanted to say thanks and see how much I owe you for replacing it.”

He pulled a folded manila envelope from the back of his pants and offered it to me. It was the envelope I’d used for the Petersons’ mail, but the letter I’d taped on it was missing.

“Where’s my letter?”

“Check inside. It was a very sweet and sincere apology.”

Part of me was outraged he’d read my letter, but I wasn’t surprised. He was rude. “So how much do I owe you?”

He pushed his hands in the front pockets of his jeans, giving me a glimpse of skin around his waist. I quickly averted my eyes before he could catch me ogling him again.

“Let’s see,” he said slowly. “Fixing the mailbox, your car, sitting through tea with the two nosey ladies across the street, and listening to their gossip makes that—”

“You fixed my car? There was no dent on it.”

“Scratches. Mrs. Rutledge and Mrs. Ross believed you deliberately crashed into the Petersons’ mailbox. The scratches would have confirmed it, but I convinced them they were mistaken.”

“Convinced them how?”

“By drinking lukewarm tea and eating rock hard scones.” He shuddered.

I smiled despite myself. “Okay. So how much do you want?”

“I don’t want your money, Freckles.” His voice became serious. “But one day I’ll need a favor and you’ll drop everything for me.”

Put that way, it sounded ominous, like he already knew what favor he planned to ask. I shivered. “As long as it’s within reason.”

“I’ve been told I’m a reasonable guy.” The smile he gave me was slow and so wicked my breath caught. I stepped back.

“Well, uh, goodnight.” I hurried away, but I was aware of his eyes on me.

His laughter reached me when I stopped to check the rear end of my car.

You can find out more about RUNES at Goodreads and  Amazon! Happy reading!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Interview with Jaimie Admans

I don't think we've had anyone Welsh on the blog yet. At least, not that I can remember. But that changes today! Today we're chatting with Jaimie Admans, author of AFTERLIFE ACADEMY.

Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello – thanks for having me! I’m Jaimie Admans, 28 and from South Wales, UK. I write mostly chick-lit and young adult books, but would never say no to any genre if I had the right idea for it. Although it was chick-lit that got me started on writing, young adult is my main love!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was young, and writing seriously for about twelve years now. I always knew I loved it and I wished I could make a career of it but didn’t think it would ever be possible. About seven years ago, I wrote my first chick-lit novel, and I realised that people could and did earn a living from doing just that. That’s when I started to really concentrate on writing novels and started to take writing seriously, with the intention of writing something that could one day be published.

Tell us about AFTERLIFE ACADEMY. What’s the story about?

It’s about a girl called Riley who dies in a car accident. She’s not alone though as she discovers that the accident also killed a boy she hates and spends most of her time bullying. Riley and Anthony find themselves standing outside the gate of a school, except it’s not an ordinary school. It’s Afterlife Academy, a school for teenagers who die before they finish their education. Riley is convinced she had a perfect life and that being dead doesn’t apply to her. She desperately tries to find a way back home, but really the story is about her character journey and growth. Riley starts off as the typical popular girl who you love to hate, but gradually she starts to see that maybe her life wasn’t really as perfect as she thought it was, and death offers a second chance in more ways than one.

Interesting premise! How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was just thinking about teachers one night and how strict they are, and I started thinking ‘I bet they’d even make you finish your education if you were dead!’ and that was it – lightbulb moment! It’s usually a snowball effect – one simple thought just spirals out of control and becomes a book plot, and the more you think about it, the more ideas come in. Pretty quickly I had this idea of a school for dead kids, a previously popular girl suddenly finding herself the outsider while this boy she thinks is a loser becomes popular, the demon dinner lady she befriends. I think you know you’ve got a good plot when you let yourself think about it and you find your mind adding more and more things that work with it and suddenly you’ve got a book you want to write!

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I self-edit up to a point, usually four or five drafts, until the book is as good as I can get it on my own, then I send the manuscript to a professional editor, and write another draft when her changes come back, then I send it to a beta-reader and a proofreader. After that I proofread it myself about a hundred times – you can never proofread too much – and then it’s ready. But there is always at least one typo that slips through the net, and then it’s a mad panic to correct it and re-publish the book before anyone notices!

Mad panics are inherently part of the writing process. ;-) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little bit of both. I need to know the beginning and end before I start writing. I’ll also usually have a vague list of scenes in the vague order they’ll be written in. I haven’t always written every novel this way, and it’s been a learning curve. I learnt very quickly that if I don’t know how the book will end, then I end up rambling about nothing and giving up halfway through. The most important part is knowing how it begins and how it ends, and I just have to trust that everything else will fall into place while writing.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Just sitting down and doing it. I’m a terrible procrastinator, and even if it’s something I want to write or a scene I’m desperate to get into, I still put it off. I faff around on Twitter, and sometimes even resort to cleaning the house, just to avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Even when I want to be doing it! I know it’s stupid, and yet I can’t help myself!

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A cup of tea! I can’t start a day without one, and can’t survive a day without many!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I’d love to be invisible! I think it would be really fun to be a fly on the wall in some situations! The possibilities are endless. You could find out what people really thought of you, you could spy on people you liked, and you could frighten people you didn’t like by pretending to be a ghost and haunting their house!

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

You don’t want to know! If anyone ever checked my search history, I’m pretty sure I’d end up in prison! Last year I wrote about a serial killer and, honestly, if anyone had seen the kind of thing I was googling, they’d have been scared for their life! It was all the best, quickest, easiest, ways to kill a person. It was pretty grim research, and I would have been arrested if anyone had seen what I was looking up!

Don't worry, lol. You're in the same boat as most writers. They'd have to make a separate building just for us! 
Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: waffles, derogatory, and ambition. 

My boss waffles on in a derogatory manner and my ambition for the day changes to punching him in the nose without getting fired for it.

LOL, great one! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... 

… Gardening! I love growing fruit and veg in my little garden, so if I’m not sat in front of the computer, I’ll be outside, up to my elbows in mud!

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I hate doing this because I’m always convinced I’ll leave someone out! Everyone has been amazingly supportive, I never expected my family to get behind this whole writing thing, but their support and interest in what I’m doing has been amazing! My friends, new and old, from people I’ve known for years to other YA writers and bloggers I’ve only gotten to know through Twitter in the past few months, their support has been overwhelming! It’s so great to have people going through the same thing as you are when writing, editing or getting ready to publish a book. It makes so much difference to know you’re not alone. I’m sure I’ll never be able to thank everyone enough!

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

And you can follow me on Twitter @be_the_spark and Facebook at the jaimieadmansbooks page!

Thanks so much for being on the blog today, Jaimie! Good luck with your books!

Happy Book Birthday: The Glitter Trap by Barbara Brauner, James Iver Mattson, and Abigail Halpin

Today marks the release of MG novel THE GLITTER TRAP, written by Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson, illustrated by Abigail Halpin.

Middle school is far from a fairytale for adorkable misfit Lacey Unger-Ware. When Lacey ends up with popular girl Paige Harrington's smart-mouthed fairy godmother, Katarina, trapped in her hair, life gets more magical--just not in a 'prince charming' kind of way.

Katarina's wings are too damaged to continue her fairy duties, and Lacey must take over as Paige's fairy godmother. Distracted by her new responsibilities, Lacey's in danger of losing her best friend, Sunny. Can Lacey get the hang of magic, make Paige's dreams come true, and survive middle school?

Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson's debut novel is full of heart and charm. Get ready for the Oh My Godmother series to cast a spell on tween girls!

Barnes and Noble

Monday 13 May 2013

Book Excerpt: Fall of Sky City by SM Blooding

In a world governed by the opposing forces of the mystical House of Tarot and the tribal Great Families, Synn is caught in the crossfire. He witnesses the slaughter of innocent people, and the devastating murder of his father. This act awakens his Mark of power, a Mark greater than any the world has seen in a very long time.

Queen Nix thought she won a great prize when she destroyed Synn’s father, the leader of the strongest Great Families. She had no idea she’d be doubly blessed by capturing his son. However, before Synn can become her treasured weapon, before she can use him to bring the rest of the world to its knees, she must break him and bind his soul to hers.

She does her job with brutal brilliance. Synn’s mind is broken and his soul is seared to hers in an unbreakable bond.

That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be free. She may have broken his mind and claimed his soul, but he will find a way to destroy her.

Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!


I woke freezing, my teeth chattering.

I tried to sit up, but my head was pounding so hard, it made me nauseous.

“Lay back,” a soft voice murmured, gentle hands pressing down on my bare shoulders. “Be at ease. You are safe now, Synn Primus.”

I shook my head, falling back onto the soft pillows. My back felt like fire where the pillows touched it. “Not—” It was so hard to speak. My tongue felt thick. “Not my name.”

“Yes it is, you goose.” Something was draped over me.

I let out a startled yell and threw it off. Everywhere it touched burned.

It was draped over me again. This time the hands pressed it down on my shoulders, keeping it in place. “You have been Marked by the House of Wands, so you now bear our name. You are a Primus,
Synn. Welcome.”

My whole world stopped as my mind caught up.

I’d lost my father. He was—

I closed my eyes and fell back.


I’d watched so many others burned to death, their children made to look on as those they loved were lost.

And now? I’d lost my life to the Hands?

No. I shook my head and rose. No. “No. This can’t be.”

She pushed me back. “How else do you explain it?” A warm thumb ran over my brow. “You survived the fire, Synn.” She pulled the blanket away, a cool finger running over where I burned. “And how do you explain this? This is your Mark, Synn, the thing you have been waiting for your entire life.”

I remained quiet, concentrating on breathing.

“What I witnessed was a Marking. Aren’t you the least bit excited?”

My father’s strong, rigid face swam before my eyes, so fierce and powerful as the fire rose to claim him, writhing with the pain of it. A sob seeped from my chest. “Not like this.”

I was gathered in her arms. She held me close as she rocked me. She crooned a song I’d never heard. I wasn’t paying attention. I was overwhelmed with what I had lost; my family, my home, my self.

The pounding in my head lessened as the woman held me close, easing my pain. Visuals started registering. The red silk of the cover. The black leather of her bodice. Her long, dark hair.

“Nix.” My voice was a bare croak.

She pulled away slightly, staring into my face. She’d removed the odd crown with the spinning birds.

I didn’t have the energy to fight her. My eyes fell closed in a long blink. I opened them, even though I didn’t want to, my gaze falling to the ruby spider resting on her chest.

“Do not fear, young Primus,” she said, her full lips curved in a careful smile. “I am your family now. You will want for nothing.”

I rocked where I sat, my legs sprawled. “Why?” I barely had the energy to whisper. “Why?”

“Why what, Primus?”

“Why did you attack us?”

“You attacked first.”

“I went for a sword to save—” I paused, breathing, blinking back the tears. “—innocent lives. You killed them for no reason.”

“They would not submit.”

I stared at her in exhausted incredulity. “Did you give them the chance?”

She cupped my face and peered at me sincerely. “I do not want empty devotion. I want only to be loved and

“And so you scare children into fearing you.”

“Fear can turn to love.” Her smile was sweet. “You will see.”


She flinched and pulled back. “Do you want to see?” She didn’t give me a chance to say no or yes. She pulled away the cover, her eyes dropping to my chest. “Your Mark, Primus.” She reached out with
her diamond claw.

I stared in wonder. Rivers of fire coursed in a fine web of lines and runes under my skin. I twisted to see my back, but failed.

It’s the same there. Have you ever seen so powerful a Mark as this?”

I shook my head. No. I hadn’t. I touched the lines with a ginger hand. They were sensitive and hot to the touch, leaving the rest of me chilled to the core.

Her fingertips joined mine, her long nails gleaming red in the soft yellow light. “But what can one expect from the house of El’Asim and Ino?”

I jerked, staring at her in surprise.

She threw her head back and laughed. “But of course. Why didn’t I see this before? The two most power Families allying themselves through marriage. Oh, yes.” Her eyes were filled with greed,
her teeth bared in a smile that was more of a sneer.

She looked ready to eat me.

“Do you have brothers? Sisters? Any who are younger than you, unmarked?”

I stared at her in disgust and wonder. “No.”

Her pink tongue ran along her teeth as she dropped her chin and peered at me through her long, thick lashes. “It doesn’t matter. You are mine.”

I straightened my back and stared at her, gritting my teeth with all the will I had left. “Never.”

A smile slithered into place along her lips. “We shall see.” She pulled away and gestured, sashaying to a door I hadn’t noticed before.

Something heavy slammed against my head.

I fought to remain conscious.

But lost.

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