It’s YA Scavenger Hunt time!!!

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Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt!

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for only 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a blue team, an orange team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
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Today I’m hosting Madeline Dyer, author of several books including the book I’m hosting for her today, Fragmented.

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Synopsis:

After the terrible battle against the Enhanced Ones, Seven and Corin find themselves on the run. With the Enhanced closing in, Seven knows they need to find other people on their side. So, when the opportunity arises to join the Zharat, one of the last surviving Untamed tribes, it seems like the perfect solution. But the Zharat lifestyle is a far cry from what Seven’s used to. With their customs dictating that she must marry into their tribe, and her relationship with Corin breaking down, Seven knows she has to do something before it’s too late. But that’s easier said than done in a tribe where going against the rules automatically results in death.

And, with the Enhanced still out there, nowhere is truly safe for the Untamed–least of all for the most powerful Seer in the world… and Seven soon discovers how far people will go in order to ensure that she’s on their side in the War of Humanity.

Battling against the emerging web of lies, manipulation, and danger, Seven must remember who she was meant to be. Her life has never been more at stake. Nor has humanity itself.

Exclusive Content:

 

Inspiration Boards for Fragmented

 

When it comes to writing, I’m a very visual person. I have to know what my characters look like and really be able to visualise the setting before I even begin writing my first draft. So, it’s no surprise really that I collect hundreds and hundreds of images, that I’m a big fan of Pinterest, or that I create inspiration boards for each manuscript I write.

 

I tend to use three boards when collecting inspiring images: one for setting, one for characters, one for conflict. And I’m delighted to share with you my three inspiration boards for Fragmented, book two in my dystopian fantasy Untamed Series.

 

Board #1: Setting

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With Fragmented being the second installment in my Untamed Series, this board is a little different to the ones I create for standalones or first books, as I’ve primarily concentrated on the new settings that appear in the novel. So, this board is all about the Noir Lands—the home of the Zharat people, one of the last surviving Untamed tribes.

 

The climate of the Noir Lands is very loosely based on the mountainous regions of the East African Rift in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—I spent weeks researching this—but, my creation of these lands also drew heavily on fantastical elements, as the Noir Lands are home to many malevolent spirits. With the Untamed being hunted down by the Enhanced Ones, the only place the Zharat tribe can prosper is in one of the most dangerous lands of the world—a place that the Enhanced Ones won’t go to because of the spirits who also live there.  As such, the Untamed Zharat tribe is threatened by two forces: there’s the archetypal dystopian threat of human advancement and oppression (represented by the Enhanced Ones and the lifestyle they try to enforce on everyone), as well as the more fantastical threat of the unpredictable and dangerous spirits that inhabit the Noir Lands.

 

I really wanted the dangerous atmosphere of the Noir Lands to be apparent in my writing, and therefore with my inspiration board I’ve primarily picked images that emphasize the unpredictability, gloominess and darkness within nature, as well as how things can hide amid the natural world and remain undetected—rather than images that are completely accurate in the depiction of the terrain (as I have pages and pages of notes on this anyway). My boards have to be visual and make me feel something, especially as I use them as motivation to delve back into this world if I’ve taken a break from writing. So, when I look at this setting board, I see the Noir Lands are full of darkness and concealment, danger and unpredictability, as well as the huge power of nature and the potential for natural disaster.  Yet, ironically, these are also the safest lands for my Untamed people to live in and escape the Enhanced, who control the cities (and the more traditionally dystopian settings).

 

Board #2: Characters

 

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I think board #2 is always my favourite one to put together as it’s all about the characters—and, after all, characters drive the plot. For this one, I mainly concentrated on finding images that not only say a lot about the Untamed characters, but pictures that I used when creating aspects of the Zharat culture, such as their dress code and how one’s hierarchy is written on a person for all to see. Female status within the Zharat tribe is symbolized through colourful clothing—red indicates the highest power, with the colour-hierarchy based on the bands of the rainbow. However, male status is shown through the number of tattoos a man has, and how he chooses to reveal them (whether or not he wears little clothing all the time, or only shows off his tattoos during the ceremonies).

 

One of the things that I always find interesting is looking back at my inspiration boards after the book has been published to see how accurately the images match the final story. And, I’m really pleased with this one. Although Fragmented went through many, many editorial rounds—and I developed and rewrote multiple aspects of the Zharat culture several times—these images still perfectly represent the characters and their personalities. There’s the sense of someone always watching another person within the Zharat community, and how there are no secrets. These images also speak to me of the literal freedom these people have, yet it’s darkened by the danger within the Noir Lands, and the danger within the tribe itself—after all, living among malevolent spirits isn’t healthy. And Fragmented definitely shows what this land does to people, and how my main characters are irrevocably changed by their stay in the Noir Lands.  

 

Board #3: Conflict

 

conflict

 

Sometimes finding images that perfectly sum up the conflicts in a book can be hard, especially when conflicts are often a result of character interactions, different belief systems, and, of course, societal structures (Fragmented is a dystopian novel, after all, and although the majority of the action takes place in the Noir Lands, leaning heavily toward the fantasy side of things, the Enhanced Ones do still play a considerable role in the oppression of the Untamed).

 

I’m pretty happy with how this board turned out—and how accurately it matches the published version, especially when the conflicts (and the extent of the conflicts) changed quite a bit during revisions and edits.

 

Conflicts represented on this board include:

  • violence
  • oppression & entrapment
  • snakes
  • deception
  • manipulation
  • arranged marriage
  • spirits
  • Seers
  • death
  • demonic intervention
  • fire
  • natural disasters

 

 

 

If you’d like to purchase Fragmented or any one of Madeline’s other great books, visit her Amazon page.

 

14593418_1392062640807449_154186165_nAuthor Bio:

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and holds a BA honours degree in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, Untamed (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. Her second novel, Fragmented, released in September 2016.
 For more information, visit Madeline here.

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Don’t forget to write down my secret number:untitled

For your next stop on the scavenger hunt, visit Amalie Howard’s site!

 

Google yourself, seriously.

What do you do to while the time away when you should be doing something worthwhile, like editing your next novel? I google myself. It sounds vain, yes, but how else was I supposed to find out I died a couple years ago in Arizona, have quite the criminal record in Florida, or write terrific poetry (spoiler alert: it’s not really me. I write terrible poetry).

Anyway, back to writing. Flight is due at the editors on the 22nd and the book won’t finish itself! (another spoiler alert: you’ll like this one, a lot).

What a crazy summer this has been!

Oh, I had great plans for this summer! I wanted to finish Flight and get it edited, finish Harbinger and start the second 3/4 draft, and then get that out to betas and then start finding a cover artist and/or an agent for Flight.

I didn’t get any of it done. I could go on and on about excuses, such as having a baby in June, to navigating life as a mom of two, to re-working my curriculum for the fall (didn’t do that yet either, but I still have a few weeks before school starts, right?).

I still plan on getting Flight (Gah! I sooo need a new name for that book, but nothing fits, willing to take suggestions) edited and have  a slot scheduled the third week of September  with what looks like a great new editor. Then it’s back to Harbinger, book 3, that I really wanted to get finished this year, but… life. After that, I have a great adult paranormal romp planned called Cursed! which I hope is the start of a new, fun series.

But only time will tell!

Bookciology review for Burning Bright!

It’s been quite a long time since I last read a book. To say that I have been in a mild reading slump would be the best way to put it. My college schedule became too much to handle that I couldn’t even stay true to my “one book a week” agenda. Other than that, I also have a lot of books I’m currently working my way through, and I’m glad that Burning Bright has been the first one I finished reading from that lot.

Starting off with the novel, it actually wasn’t hard to get into Samantha Gray’s world. It felt so real that it turned out to be really easy knowing everything that occurred in Alegria, Arizona, which is where our main character lives in. One of the good things in the novel is that it readily discusses timely issues, those that happen in real life and can’t really be denied no matter how hard the society tries hard to hide it. Another is its discussion on the importance of animal shelters, and of the knowledge that animals should not be treated any less than how humans are treated. We are all created by one Creator after all. We all deserve life and we should never be neglected nor killed by another.

However, I might have found some issues with the overall pace of the story. It took more than half of the novel before what might have been the climax of the story was discussed, and a little amount of pages wherein the event was discussed itself. Although the development of Sam and Ben’s relationship along with Sam’s very frightening relationship with her foster father Daryl was more than enough to keep the story going, and me, reading. Sam and Ben’s relationship was adorable, to say the least. It didn’t feel rushed, and how Sam slowly opened up about herself to Ben kept me glued to my seat and turning pages on my e-reader. Daryl, however, frightened me. I felt Sam’s fear every time she’s in the same room as him, making me feel wanting for him to be in jail or anything else, as long as he won’t get his hands on Sam. His depth as a character felt so real that I have chills every time his name gets mentioned in the novel.

Sam as the main character was really interesting to read about, considering that she had a very rough past, and she wasn’t exactly the ‘nice girl who everyone from school likes’ character. There were times when I was frustrated with her, but all her other actions make up for those moments. She is a really strong girl, and her relationship with Ben somehow showed a completely new side of her. We discover who she is through Ben, and she develops  as a character with Ben.

On the other hand, Ben as the main male character was swoon-worthy. He helped us get into Sam’s walls and he helped Sam during her hard times. He is sweet and loving, although his indecisiveness at the beginning of the story was kind of aggravating. But all the things he did for  Sam did make up for his shortcomings in the beginning of the novel. And Emily, Sam’s best friend was alright. She came of annoying to me at some points of the story, but the way she stood up for Sam and understood her all throughout the novel made me think that she was a good friend after all.

Overall, the story proved to be a good, unique, and interesting. The pace of the story might come off slow to those who like fast-paced novels, but the content and the story itself make up for all those other shortcomings. This novel is not your usual YA contemporary read, and I find it recommendable  for those who love complicated, deep, and dark contemporary reads.

 

Thanks Jaymee! Check out her blog here!

YA Scavenger Hunt 2016!

YASH PINK TEAM SPRING 2016

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s YA Scavenger Hunt! Today, I’m hosting NYT and USA Today best selling author Dawn Rae Miller. I’ve heard rumors that she has plans for 39 more books, but I’m not certain.

Ms. Miller was awesome enough to provide a deleted scene from Crushed , a YA/NA Contemporary Coming of Age, and the Pinterest page created for this book. You can also check out her book on  Amazon.

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Here is the synopsis:

For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.

However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him – Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.

Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.

 

According to Ms. Miller, this scene was cut because the book went in a completely different direction, focusing more on Fletch’s internal struggle and less on the day-to-day lives of a group of boarding school kids.

 

The lull between Sarah exiting the stage and the first beats of the music stretches on

forever. The sound wafts around me, and I freeze staring out at the hundreds of eyes watching

Brady shoves me forward. “Sing you prick. I know you have this damn song memorized.”

 

He lowers his sunglasses. “C’mon, don’t wuss out. Sing it for Ellie.”

Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams Come True fills the air. Reid and Brady crowd around

me, singing back-up.

 

I focus on Ellie. She smiles, and I shift into normal Fletch mode – the cocky guy people

expect me to be. In my mind, there’s no one else in the room but her. Who cares if I’m not the

best singer? Hell, I probably sound like cat stuck in washing machine, but Ellie doesn’t seem to

notice.

 

When I’m done, I sprint back to my seat.

 

Ellie leaps from her chair and plants a kiss on my cheek. Over my shoulder, she says to

the guys, “Thank you. That was awesome.”

 

Brady laughs. “Seriously, it was nothing. He listens to that song all the time.” I toss up

my hands to stop him, but he smirks. “It reminds him of you.”

 

I groan.

 

Ellie slaps my arm. “Hey, none of that. I loved it.”

 

Shortly before ten, Sarah takes the stage again. “You all know who I am – I mean, who I

am am – not my costume. I’m dressed up like Lita Ford, but I’m not singing a Lita Ford song. I’m

going to do a little Joan Jett.”

 

She lifts a finger and Do You Wanna Touch Me blasts from the speakers.

 

“Oh damn!” Brady yells as Sarah struts across the stage, pausing only to gyrate.

Libby convulses in a fit of laughter, and Ellie’s laughing so hard she can’t breathe.

Mr. Jensen, not knowing what to do, ping pongs his head from the stage to the crowd

back to the stage.

 

Ellie jumps up and claps her hands over her head, keeping the beat. “Go Sarah!” she

screams.

 

Libby, with Brady and Reid, join Sarah on stage in her flagrant flaunting of what the

school deems “acceptable behavior.”

 

Oh what the hell, if they’re going down, might as well make it group effort. I rush the

stage.

 

It’s the longest three minutes of the night, and not because she sucks – she actually has

a great voice – but I can’t stop wondering what in the world possessed Ellie and her normally

calm friends to do something so out of character.

 

When the song ends, the crowd goes ape-shit crazy, and Sarah blows kisses until Mr.

Jensen yanks the microphone from her, covers it with his hand and gives her what seems to be

a few choice words. Sarah recoils for a second before blowing one more kiss and running back

to our table.

 

“What’d ya think? Was it legendary?” she asks between breaths.

 

“Totally!” Libby says.

 

Ellie leans closer to her. “What did Jensen say?”

 

“Oh, the normal, I suppose. I have detention next week.” She shoots Brady, Reid and me

a dirty look. “Not that I’m a stranger to detention.”

 

It goes right over their heads, but I understand. She’s still pissed at me.

 

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I hope you enjoyed learning more about Dawn Rae Miller’s book, Crushed.  If you’re interested in even more YA Scavenger Hunt fun, enter my rafflecopter giveaway, and check out Karen Kincy’s website for your next stop!

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New review for Burning Bright from Book Haven!

Today I received an awesome review from Book Haven. It totally made my day! Thanks Caitlin 🙂

 

Burning Bright is a story you’ll never forget. I never will, at least. It’s about a girl, Sam, who is haunted by her past and now lives with crappy foster parents (I mean, you read the synopsis, right?) They foster parents are so bad that she decided to live in a tent outside of the house… yeah.
   I love this book because until others, it really shows you from the protagonist’s present POV the physical and mental abuse a person is going through. Most other books tell it from a past-tense “this happened to me” but this book is in present tense “this is happening to me” and it just really hits you how terrible some people can be. How this could be happening to someone right now. And that’s sad to think about.
   I also really like the tiger idea. It’s so different from what I’ve read and I liked how she had someone (something..?) she could relate to, because then she didn’t feels so alone.
   What I didn’t like was Ben’s… hesitancy. Argh it’s so arduous to try to explain something without giving it away. Anyway, I’m always against disloyalty and I just felt like he if he wanted to go towards another… path, he should make it clear the other path is no longer going to be taken… I feel like Chanda is reading this right now, laughing at my struggle to explain this xP
   I also wish there was more of a suspense with finding out Sam’s past. You don’t know until the end, but during my reading, I sometimes forgot about her past because at times, there wasn’t anything to remind me of what she’s been through. I wanted more hints here and there to keep me guessing.
   Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It really sticks with you.

Burning Bright is LIVE!!!

This one was very near and dear to my heart, so much so that I almost can’t believe it’s out there in the world. And, just the thought of other people reading it is awesome/terrifying/nerve-wracking/incredible! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it!

Check it out while it’s on sale! Amazon

 

Here are some of the pics that helped inspire this book.

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Book Bub, here I come!

Today I got the awesome news from my publisher (yay Lynn!) that First finally got a Book Bub ad! It’ll be featured in the Young Adult section and will be on sale for .99 cents from January 26th to the 30th. If you’re interested, please check out my Facebook event and say you’ll attend. It doesn’t cost anything, but it’ll help me get more exposure and hopefully sell more copies. Thanks!