Years in the Making…Changes…

I love how much writing I've been doing and though some parts are a bit shaky, I'm okay with that, for now. I've also come up with trying to decide whether to make my novel an actual novel or splitting up into a novella. Both are great, but ultimately its up to dipping my feet in the proverbial waters and being comfortable to diving head first all the way, or slowly walking in. If the water is cold: jumping in is the best option. Sure there is a lot of uncertainty, but sometimes that leap is all you need to soar and swim the fastest and best that you can to make sure you do not sink. If you do happen to sink, you stay calm and do your best to make it to out alive; even leaning on others for comfort/help. If the waters are warm: walking in can be just as amazing, because you feel safer and better and can really pace yourself to swim and succeed. You might still need just as much help, but you are doing it slowly and you are setting the pace. Either way: you're getting in the water, and that means WAY MORE than how you get there.


Off of my metaphors….I have decided that my novel will now be a novella instead. At least that is what I'm thinking I want. I love the idea of a quicker read and breaking it up, rather than having one extra long novel that may or may not turn into two (depending on the response I get). I guess the novella could go the same way and not turn into another, but I want to give these characters the "baby" treatment and give them an extra fighting chance. 


Now some have asked me: What is a novella? What's the difference between the two?

Novel: There is no SET length (past 80 pages), but it usually ranges from 60,000 and up, and usually more up then at 60,000. 

Novella: Is usually 20,000 to 55,000 words (roughly 50 to 110 pages).

At least that's how I've seen it within my research of other authors and through searches. 


I'm excited for this novel/novella to actually see fruition. There are a few versions of this story started where I tweaked a few things (place, people, powers) HAHA! But now I have finally settled between 2 versions I like. Although many have routed for me and have read almost each (sans newest version) begged me to finish; I always put on the back burner. I finally got around to the outline and I realized if the main idea has never changed, then this story deserves to be told. Who holds on to an idea for a story for 5 years without seeing it through? Maybe a lot. Who decided to do something about? This girl.

Although I am still working on a few other projects (to be named later, as one is a secret project for/with a friend that may or may not see fruition despite both our time), short stories, and poems. As well as one more project (trying to get it off the ground first); I am devoted to this novel/novella.

I hope it's a success, but to me success would be if 5 non-family/friend read it and decide they like it. I'm hoping that's true, and I hope to find time to possibly make this into a fantastic series. I have slated out ideas for at least 1 novel and 2 more novellas if all goes right. Who know? At least I'm willing to try. Right? Right?

*Looks into abyss*

Poem: From the Archives

I have been musing over the idea of putting up stories, poems, lyrics; that I have been put on the back burner and slowly put into old archives to be pulled back up to be re-worked, or just looked at. I am a self-described pack rat of pictures and old written works. It's who I am. The perfectionist in me tends to almost always find something wrong with one of my works and I deem it unfit and send it away. Only two of my works have truly been published (a short story and a poem) and that was only because a family member found them and submitted them to a publisher to be published oh so long ago. My passion for writing remains as consistent as it was, (and possibly burning brighter), from my former, younger self. I have learned and grown, and ultimately (I'd least I'd like to think so) grown as a writer. I prefer pen and paper (I'm faster too) then my computer, but needless to say it is much easier to archive on said computer. Ah technology. 


 When the light hits the sky
And the darkness draws near
Remember to fly high
And be a good little dear
Bombs are exploding
Life is unfair
Moms are holding
On with care
If you feel so lost
Unsure where to turn
At any cost
Keep on to yearn
From the past to the present
Love finds a way
Keep following the scent
Of loves true way


Short: yes. This was written for a class actually in middle school (groans) and I remember not being utterly thrilled with it, but I did it and received a high mark with a note on how I should be a writer and she would love to see more. It sparked something more in me and resounded with family and friends telling me I should "write more" and "you should be a writer". It's hard work, rewarding work. My hats off to all you writers. Keep it up. 

Was thinking of adding on to it all these years later. What do you think? Back burner it or add to it?

Music & Writing

Why does music and writing seem to pair perfectly together? Every author seems to have their own soundtrack to each book, and I am constantly eager to hear the picks they choose. Almost like a full on movie (I cannot be the only one that while reading a good book starts to envision characters) being brought up. Yet, sometimes delving in to the music of your favorite books choices seems very raw and really personal to reach in and ask. Music is an expression, an extension; and one of the greatest assets of all time. As with writing, it as been around for centuries.

Am I the only one who wonders if centuries ago they hummed or tried to remember the music that they fixated on to write from? I'm not mentioning lyricists, songwriters…although in thought, them too. Everybody takes pieces from their lives, research, friends, family, but ultimately from music that was created.Of course their had to be original music that was not taking from music and I am sure books were not always created with music in mind.

Simple times away from electronics, wear moleskin and a quill sufficed, and I rickety grand piano was the muse. Which way is better? Both (then and now) have created masterpieces in their own right.

I guess it just boils down to entertainment now matter how you truly think about it. Maybe neither way is better.

So my real question is: Do you write with music? Or are you a moleskin and quill kind of writer?

My BF (But We're Different)

BF can stand for boyfriend and best friend, although a lot of people use BFF for friend. To have a best friend forever to me means you need to have had the best friend for most of your lifetime and consider them until old age. Maybe I'm wrong…I often times am. My opinion remains.

Then there are the best friends that are BF interchangeably. They start out as one and morph to the other and vice versa. I grew up having a best guy friend that never morphed into the latter, but there were feelings there at one point that I chose to act on. Did he feel the same way? I'll never know, and I never asked. Maybe I was just scared, but I'd like to think it was to try to keep our friendship in tact as well. Often at a young age it seems that the interchangeable means the end of one part especially if the love dies; it's hard to keep the other. It sucks. Maybe the foundation itself was never strong enough to survive the set backs. I don't know.

Why then in movies, television, and books do we try hard to make it be interchangeable and we try to always make it work out. Is it a fairytale mentality? Is it that we all secretly want that friend you grow up with that turns out to be your magic soul mate? Perhaps. It also tends to lend itself to the notion that look beyond what you see and go for the unknown. Taking chances makes life better (mostly). It can also lead to extra drama and emotion to grasp the reader/watcher. You root for them, regardless of similar experiences or not. Maybe, you wished you had that guy friend that was your best friend, but yet, your best friend was the girl. Now that would change it up somewhat; or maybe not. You would still have all the crazy attached to the interchangeable.

Do you add this dynamic to your books/scripts? If so do you like the characters to work out? If not, do you keep them friends? Can you remain friends after changing it up…? I'd like to think so…but that's just my human nature wanting the best outcome and the fairy tale friendships/endings.

Love Triangles Are Good (Sometimes)…Wait What?

Okay, okay…not always! I'm also talking books here people. Even beyond books via movies and television shows. It's a fact of life, it happens; and creates much needed drama sometimes. It's an out, or a meaty way of adding a bit of something to you're writing. 

Why do people hate them so much? Maybe because it is unrealistic (most of the time), and you want to see your favorite couple live happily without interference, but sometimes it not only creates drama, but a much needed clarification for couples. It is a hurdle they must overcome and a test to see if some are meant to be. I also think it is because as a reader or watcher you can root for a certain couple only to find that your couple were not the couple the author thought of. It can rear the emotional aspect if the reader is invested and possibly turn them off to the series entirely. 

Yet, there is also the possibility that the reader will watch or read until the end of the series to truly see who they end up with; I've also seen books were the author wrote to versions  showing what would happen if the triangle went both ways. It gives a clearer picture sometimes of why the author chose to go one way. 

Although, of course, there are those moments when a triangle is completely unnecessary and should remain a line without other lines veering into it. 

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Talent Spotlight (Part 2): Jena Leigh

How did you come up with the idea for the Variant Series?
The inspiration for the Variant Series as a whole came from many different places, but the original spark for Revival came in the form of my morning coffee. One day at the coffee shop, the barista had drawn the shape of a phoenix into the foam on my latte. The image set my mind to wandering and I spent the next half hour writing out a scene where a young girl was being chased by a wall of flames through a burning bookstore. That piece would eventually become the opening scene of Chapter Four in Revival.
Can you give us a hint to what we should be expecting in your second book?
 In Resistance, book two in the Variant series, the stakes are raised even higher for Alex and the gang. As Alex struggles to get a grip on her newfound powers, she’s faced with a far more daunting assignment—survive the last few months of her junior year without accidentally losing control and leveling Bay View High.
 But the risk of outing herself and the Variant population at large would be a lot easier to handle if the Agency wasn’t still breathing down her neck… and if Declan weren’t quite so distracting in his newfound role as Alex’s bodyguard.  As sparks of all kinds start flying, Alex is left struggling to keep her head above water and her heart in one piece. And when her freedom lands itself in the Agency’s crosshairs, Alex will be faced with the fight of her life.
Where do you like to write?
 Anywhere and everywhere. I seem to do my best work in unfamiliar places. I’ve written on planes, at the mall, in doctor’s office waiting rooms… If I have my computer or a journal with me, I’ll usually try to get a few words on the page. There’s something about traveling that helps me to tune out distractions and focus, while at the same time inspiring my writing.
Do you decide character traits before you sit down to write the book, or as you go along?
Character traits are usually decided on as I write. I very rarely have an entire character in mind when I sit down at the keyboard. I usually start with a few random traits—a name here, a face there, a quirk or two to distinguish them, an important bit of backstory that forever changed their life or altered their personality—and then the personalities of my characters become clearer to me as I make it further into the story.
 Who is your favorite character in the series, and why?
 Oh, that’s a tough one! It seems to change from day to day. Right now I’d probably have to say that Declan’s sister Kenzie is my favorite. She’s sassy, sarcastic and I can always count on her for a witty rejoinder. Kenzie’s scenes are always enjoyable to write.
Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.
 I think the biggest challenge I have is in plotting out a story. When it comes to my writing, I’m a total pantser and I despise outlining. Writing only feels natural to me when my characters are the ones telling the story. I love being just as surprised as my readers are when something unexpected happens in the narrative. When you’re working on a series, however, that doesn’t always work. You need to have some idea of where the story is headed before you begin, otherwise it’s very easy to write yourself into a corner.
 If you could give a young writer any tip, what would it be?
Write constantly and read everything you can get your hands on. It seems like such an obvious piece of advice, but it’s quite possibly the most important things you can do to improve your writing.
If you weren’t writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?
Rock star! I mean, really. Who hasn’t wanted to be one at some point? Aside from writing, I’m incredibly passionate about music. I love it, but I haven’t got a lick of talent (although that doesn’t stop me from singing at the top of my lungs in the shower every morning). If there’s not a song playing in the background somewhere, I usually don’t know what to do with myself.
*What fun answers! Love it. 

Talent Spotlight: Jena Leigh

The Variant series is about a young girl named Alex Parker who has special powers along with a few others called “variants”.

(to buy click here and here)

********The author is Jena Leigh and I was lucky enough to get to send her a few questions based on both her, her book (and the rest of the series), as well as gain a few writing tidbits. I love the fun and honest answers that have been given. Thank you Jena for your quick responses! Check her out here. And you can follow her on tumblr too! Also make sure you check out both her books out now!

of Jena Leigh
Revival (the first in the Variant series) is about special people with amazing powers. The setting is mostly set in a cabin. Is there a special place you based this off of?
 I can only dream of one day discovering a home here in the real world that resembles the Grayson cabin! The design of their house in the Adirondacks was basically an amalgam of my parents’ home in North Carolina, a vacation cabin I once stayed in many years ago, and every multi-million dollar cabin I’ve seen on TV over the years.
There are the beginnings of a love triangle happening between Alex and the two boys she meets. Do you already know who (if either of them!) she ends up with, or are you just seeing what happens as it does?
I’d like to think that I know, but with a muse like mine you never can tell! She likes to keep things interesting and only rarely sticks to the original outline. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!
Speaking of love triangles; how do you feel about them (i.e. Do you think every story needs them)?
Oh, good question! I’m a bit torn on love triangles. I wouldn’t say that every story needs them, but I’m not opposed to them, either. A well-written love triangle can really make for an excellent story, both as a main focus for a novel as well as a supporting thread—but only so long as it works for the story you’re telling. As a writer, if you’re just throwing in a love triangle because you think it’s what your readers will want, you might want take a moment to consider what it’s really adding to your story. I think a big part of the recent backlash against love triangles stems from the fact that, so often, they’re been thrown into a plot unnecessarily.
Will we learn more about Alex’s family and more about herself throughout the series? Or are you leaving it open ended?
We will definitely be learning more about Alex and her family as the series progresses!  Much of what’s happening to Alex now is a result of the things that happened to Alex and her parents (and to the rest of John Grayson’s original team members) many years earlier. Those past events will be brought to light in later books.
How many books do you have planned on for the series to be complete? Or is it infinite and you’ll take it book by book?
 Right now, I’m planning for four books to complete the series, but it’s definitely going to depend on how books three and four turn out. Lately, I’ve also been working on a collection of short stories revolving around the Variant Series characters. With any luck, it will be ready to publish soon!
What do you love about being an indie author?
One of my favorite things about being an indie author is the fantastic online community for indie writers. Everyone is wonderfully supportive of each other and there are so many fantastic resources out there to help authors with creating and promoting their work!
What is the oddest thing you’ve found yourself researching for your books (if any)?
Oh, geez. The list of odd (and oddly incriminating) things I’ve googled while writing is practically endless! How best to get away with murder, the technical specs of a non-nuclear EMP, the effects of ketamine on a human body when it’s being used as a tranquilizer…  I’m pretty sure that if the NSA is tracking my search history, then I’m almost definitely on some sort of watch list.
Tell us a little bit about your next book.
In Resistance, book two in the Variant series (due out February 11th, 2014), the stakes are raised even higher for Alex and the gang. As Alex struggles to get a grip on her newfound powers, she’s faced with a far more daunting assignment—survive the last few months of her junior year without accidentally losing control and leveling Bay View High.

But the risk of outing herself and the Variant population at large would be a lot easier to handle if the Agency wasn’t still breathing down her neck… and if Declan weren’t quite so distracting in his newfound role as Alex’s bodyguard.  As sparks of all kinds start flying, Alex is left struggling to keep her head above water and her heart in one piece. And when her freedom lands itself in the Agency’s crosshairs, Alex will be faced with the fight of her life.
Any tidbits you wish to share for inspiring or other indie authors?
Without a doubt, the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone getting into this business is don’t forget to have fun! Because too often, and all too easily, the business side of self-publishing can make you forget why you got into this in the first place—your love of writing. Don’t get so wrapped up in marketing and promotions that you allow yourself to lose your desire to create. Find ways to make it fun and stay inspired, so that writing remains something you love to do, and not just another day job.
Quick Q&A
Which would you pick- fame, money, happiness, or easy inspiration?
Happiness, definitely! 
How many drafts from first to final?
I often edit while I’m writing, so sometimes it’s tough to gauge. Also, each book is a bit different. Revival took three drafts, Resistance was four (due to some pretty major rewrites)—here’s hoping book three is a little easier to get on the page!
Do you fit any author stereotypes (Cat owner? Coffee/tea Addict? Messy handwriting? Recluse? Late night writer? OCD spelling/grammer (i.e. hate others who don’t use it properly or even yourself)?
I’m addicted to both coffee and tea, a borderline recluse when I’m neck-deep in a project, I’m OCD about my own spelling and grammar (but am rarely bothered by the grammar of others), and I write best around eleven PM. So, basically, I’m a walking stereotype! Just need to get myself a cat.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People that talk/answer their cell phones in the middle of a movie at the theater.
What is one thing you love and could not live without?
Think I’ll cheat a bit and say that it’s a tie between music and books… The two loves of my life! Give me a great book and an amazing album and I’m one very happy girl!

(Variant Series) Resistance: My Review

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The Variant Series book #2 is here! After a long wait to see what happens to Alex and the gang, it is here. How exciting for readers and the author alike! Jena Leigh CONGRATULATIONS on book #2. I was beyond excited to read this (so you know book 1 was great!) and it did not disappoint. 

Alex is still on her journey to find out more of both her past and what the future holds. She is also very determined to beat all odds of fate and what others have planned for her. In the end she gives in slightly, but continues to stick to her morals and do things her way. Cassie continues to be the most amazing best friend that you would wish to have. While you'll root for Alex's romance with a certain boy (not going to give it away, but if you read this first book you'll have a good idea); I also had the secret hopes of another (my heart broke for him, while wanting to scream at him all in one breath). I am still torn (but that is what the semi-love triangle does) between which couple should truly be together due to the loves bring out different sides of Alex; both great. They also both love her, but in different ways making it that much harder to really choose (IMHO). The triangle is not truly explored, so it's not obnoxious and maybe it's because of the first book that you really know, but it's there. 

While not only rooting for Alex, you're rooting for them all to win and prevail against all odds. They do. Mostly. It's not overly dramatic, and although it is a fantasy novel, it also oozes reality in slivers. You can (or I could and I doubt I'd be the only one!) notice little bits of "that could be written about me." moments throughout the book. I think that makes this book a gem and a great read in and of itself. Besides that, we get to delve more into all the characters, and get introduced to some great new ones. 

Love. Drama. Supernatural. Perseverance. 

*Another quick read and if you have not read the first one, getting both will make sure you are not itching for number 2 already. I cannot say the same for book 3 (haha). I'll just have to wait patiently. 

(Fairville Woods Series) Into the Ashes & Through the Eyes


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Book #1: Besides being a fantasy junkie, I also love "olden times" based books. What I truly love about From the Ashes is that both characters were born in another time (early 1900's), yet it takes place much later than that. Olden times with a modern day twist! It also consists of romance, supernatural, and curses. From the moment you start reading you want to see what happens to Lundy, a beautiful young girl that is possibly dying. This is not just her story, but the captivating Harlan's as well. You root for them every step of the way in hopes of a happy ending. Simone Snaith does not disappoint with her twists and turns, and beautifully written words. Without giving too much away, the story guides you on a special journey the two take together not just for love, but for Lundy. Soul mates if it ever existed would be these two, and it is shown from the first moment they meet. It is not just a love story though, it is about overcoming destiny and making it up as one goes along. Just wait until you get to the ending, and the great thing is you do not have to wait for the second in the series!

First off: Congratulations to author, Simone Snaith for finishing and getting the sequel out. 

Book #2: Through the Eyes is the thrilling sequel to From the Ashes and it is filled with all the greatness of the first, but continued further. Simone Snaith has really taken the time to nurture the series and remain true to the first book. Although the curse has changed, which changes one of the characters slightly (enough to tell even from the beginning), it does not differ from the hopes one might have for Lundy and Harlan to get their happy ending. If anything, it makes you convinced they will, but with all the twists within you get the elusive feeling it may not end as well as you thought. I also loved how new characters are added, which makes it a bit more realistic, and lends to the new content fairly well. The ending wrap up of the book was fantastic, and although I wished for a few things to be different; it was a great ending. 

Vampires. Ghosts. Curses. True Love. = A recipe for greatness. 
*Another wonderful read that you do not want to put down and you definitely do not want to end. It will suck you in and possibly keep you an insomniac due to not wanting to put the book down and dreaming of a love like there's. 


Harlan has not changed (although he'd need a wig) for my pick for the actor, but for the actress I'm torn between the two of these.

(Variant Series) Revival: My Thoughts

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Fantasy novelists and readers unite! Do I have a fantastic book for you. It is called Revival (Variant Series book #1) and it about a young girl (junior in HS) who's life gets a bit complicated after her emotions (and unsuspecting powers) cause her to fry an entire computer lab. The life she had turned upside by this one act caused by watching her boyfriend KISS another girl in front of her (who wouldn't have an angry and sad moment?). All her life Alexandra Parker was normal (as normal as one can be; good grades, good boyfriend, great friends) and it was perfect, well almost perfect (having your parents die in a car accident when you are little and forced to move towns and go live with your free-spirited aunt makes it impossible to have a perfect life). Enemies, a stalker, a best friend caught in the mix, and new friends create a very wild ride in the life of one Alexandra Parker. Follow her journey as she learns to navigate her newly minted life, the truth of who she is and what really happened to her family (and others). I guarentee you'll root for Alex and friends (and her possible love life), and curse the enemies that makes you want to join forces to help stop the enemies all along wishing the book never had to end. Although the book is wrapped up rather nicely, there is still a bit of a cliffhanger (to lead into the next book, I am sure).

Love. Supernatural powers. Drama. Girl Empowerment. = AWESOME

A MUST READ FOR ANY fantasy, ya adult, love story with a twist FAN.

**Another great tidbit? I read this book in a 2 day span and is perfect on a kindle for a quick read on vacation (or during the trip to get there). There is also wonderful paperback versions (I prefer to feel the book, but kindles are amazingly versatile!)

I am also one of those individuals that really picture the characters and create my own fantasy cast (I am sure I am not the only one!): 

How did I do? Read the book and let me know what YOU thought! 

Leaving you with one more thought (because I am a fantasy/supernatural junkie): If you awoke with super powers, what would you want them to be?