Book Review: Otherborn by Anna Silver


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Title: Otherborn
Author: Anna Silver
Genre: 
YA Paranormal, dystopian
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing (April 4, 2013)
Reading level: Young Adult
ISBN-13: 978-1938404320

Summary
London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.

Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.

What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.

When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

Personal Reaction

I’m fascinated with dreams, which are considered New, and therefore illegal in OTHERBORN. Silver handled the unique premise of outlawing New in a way that enriched Capital City where the main character, London lives. London has a brash and feisty personality, which is balanced out by her resolute and kind Otherborn counterpart. I loved the contrast between London’s bleak reality and her Otherborn’s lush Midplane. I found most of the characters likable and was impressed by the extent of loyalty between London and her crew. Silver built the right amount of conflict and tension to draw readers into her dystopian world and created characters who are leery, yet determined to embrace New.

Recommended?

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, paranormal, dystopian and feisty protagonist. 🙂

Cover Reveal: Edge of Truth


I’m beyond excited to reveal the cover of my debut novel, EDGE OF TRUTH. Thank you to Sapphire Star Publishing for believing in me and my work. It’s been amazing working with you! I’d also like to thank my Cover Reveal Team. I’ve added links for them below. Please stop by and visit these wonderful  people.

Now, the reveal…

Title: Edge of Truth
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Dystopian
Release Date: June 6, 2013

 

Summary:

Citizens who report to work on time, obey the Overlord’s laws, and stay off the Synbot’s radar, live long lives. Long, dull, monotonous lives.

It’s not a bad plan for someone with a hidden, emotion-based ability to trigger earthquakes. In a world pitted against her, sixteen-year-old Rena Moon strives for a life beyond working herself to death at the factory. Seeing an alternative, she risks selling relics from the forbidden lands at Market. It becomes the worst decision she ever made. Someone kidnaps her best friend in exchange for the one thing that would end her oppression.

Driven by loyalty, Rena and seventeen-year-old Nevan Jelani, soulful composer, green thumb extraordinaire, and the secret love of her life, plot to rescue her friend and reclaim her salvage. Still, the thought lingers whether Nevan is a true hero or another thief waiting for his chance at her loot. Events spin wildly, deepening Rena’s suspicions and pushing her limit of control. With more than her chance for freedom at stake, she must decide if she’s willing to kill to protect what’s precious to her. For once, the Overlord isn’t holding all the power, but can Rena live with being reduced to what she’s trying so hard to escape?

Where to find me:

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/natashahanova

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NatashaHanova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorNatashaHanova

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/Hanova.Natasha

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatashaHanova

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/natasha411/

An extra special thanks for my wonderful Cover Reveal Team:

Elizabeth Arroyo @ Chandara Writes
Dana Mason @ Dana Mason
Carrie Butler @ So You’re A Writer
Jennifer McMurrain @ Jennifer McMurrain
Melissa Maygrove  @ Melissa Maygrove 
Nicole McLaughlin @ Nicole McLaughlin
Dawn Allen @ Write On
Leatrice McKinney @ Info Dump a la El
Chris Reynolds (I’ve known this gal since college. :-))
Laura Diamond @ Author Laura Diamond
Nancy S Thompson @ Nancy S. Thompson
Carolyn Marston @ Carolyn Marston on Pinterest (This is my sister!!!)
Sarah Negovetich @ Sarah Nego Writes
Kelly Hashway @ Kelly Hashway
Ednah Walters @ The Guardian Legacy
Nickie Anderson @ Here’s The Story
Lisa Regan @
Lisa Regan
Livia @
Leave It To Livia

Thanks so much to everyone who visits this blog. It wouldn’t be the same without you! 

Connecting With Readers And Cover Reveal Team Sign Up


I recently read a post on Rachelle Gardner’s blog titled Are Writers Too Insulated From Their Readers. It made me re-think how I blog, because I’m guilty on this one. Most of my posts focus on the craft of writing. This is my passion, but I certainly don’t intend to alienate readers. 

To quote Mike Duran, “Writers must wrestle with the technical details of a story while trying to enjoy it. Readers only want to enjoy it.”

I’m not sure how to go about creating a blog that appeals to readers and writers alike. Do you have one blog dedicated to the craft and another just for fans? Do you dedicate a specific number of posts to non-writing topics? Do book reviews count as a non-writing topic?

What are your thoughts? Do you know of a blog(s) that balance the two?

PLUS….

I’m gearing up for a cover reveal (squee!) for EDGE OF TRUTH on November 23 and I’d love your help. You don’t have to have a blog to participate. Facebook, Pinterest (find me here), Tmblr, Twitter, etc. offer options for posting material.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form and I’ll contact you with the information you’ll need. You can also leave a comment below, tweet me, or Facebook me. Thanks!

The Ripple Effect


It’s been a while since I started a blog chain and what more appropriate post than this one about the ripple effect to start one. I’m kicking off this chain with the following question:

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

The premise behind the blog chain idea is for you to write this question at the top of a post, link it back to the person whose blog you read it on, answer the question, and invite others (consider this your formal invitation) to participate. Last, post a link to participant(s) who link back to your blog to complete the chain.

Photo Credit: jeuxsansfrontieres

The other day during my critique group, we discussed how making changes to a story can have ripple effects. Sometimes, those ripples are small. For example, during one of many revisions to my YA dark paranormal EDGE OF TRUTH, where I’ve created a futuristic, dystopian world I realized my characters spent a lot of time outside without eye protection from their too bright sun. Everyone running around with sunglasses was too Agent Smith from the Matrix so instead, I added something more durable and literally flexible: sun hats. OMG, Rena’s (the MC) love interest Nevan looks so hot in a his hat.

As I moved through the manuscript finding scenes where hats were needed, I discovered how much something so simple enriched the world building. It gave my characters something to hide their face behind when embarrassed or angry, it gave them something to hold for comfort, it gave them something to wring in worry. Plus, something so normal helped make them feel real.

I’ve had stronger ripples as well, especially when I brought in a new character who I had to seamlessly work throughout the entire manuscript.

The movie Butterfly Effect is an extreme example of how one change can affect the future.

I’m interested in hearing whether you’ve experienced the ripple effect in your work and if so, how? If you decide to participate in this blog chain, please let me know so I can include a link. If you just want to leave your comments below, that works for me, too. Note: There’s no timeline on this, so link whenever you want.

Please visit these blogger(s) too to see how they answered the question:

∞ Dawn Allen at Write On
Consider yourself linked:

Be Inspired Meme


I was tagged by blogger Melissa Maygrove for the Be Inspired meme. The instructions say to answer the following questions, and then tag five people.  I can do that…
1. What is the name of your book?
EDGE OF TRUTH
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
As with many of my stories, this one started with a dream. The main character, sixteen year old Rena Moon, was hiding under the floorboards of her house while strange men beat up her father in an attempt to force him to reveal her location. This scene isn’t in the book, but it made me wonder why “they” wanted her.  I discovered she lived in an oppressive, futuristic society where turning over people with special abilities is profitable. At first, Rena only has a sensitivity to ground vibrations, but as she grows older her powers grow stronger and her emotions begin triggering earthquakes.
3. In what genre would you classify your book?
YA dark paranormal with sci-fi elements. There’s romance, too.
4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
  I often find my characters on Corbisimages.com or Fotosearch.com. The images I use for Rena and Nevan (her love interest) are not stock photography, so I can’t post them. It’s hard to find actors who resemble them. If I had to pick, I’d say Chanel Iman, only with a splatter of freckles across the ridge of her nose and cheeks for Rena;  Jason Momoa, only seventeen, bi-racial, and with one hazel/one blue eye for Nevan; and Anneliese van der Pol for Rena’s BFF Blaze.
5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
In the year 2248, Rena Moon, a free-spirited teen in a dictatorial society, struggles to control her emotion-based power to trigger earthquakes until her best friend is held ransom for the one thing that would free her from oppression.
6. Is your book already published / represented?
Shopping it around. I’ve had a few nibbles.
7. How long did it take you to write your book?
Writing it the first time didn’t take long. The editing and revisions that followed took a while.
8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
Like Melissa, I don’t want to compare my writing to a published author. I think readers who enjoy paranormal stories would like this book. Even though I love vampires, werewolves, books with fey, readers won’t find that kind of paranormal in EoT. Instead, my characters possess abilities like mind reading, supernatural speed, and I also have a clairvoyant.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
I’m a huge fan of L.A. Banks. Her characters are strong and down to earth. I also crush on Kresley Cole. That woman really knows how to breathe life into characters and I often take notes on her fight scenes. She’s a master of creating tension between characters. Overall, I wouldn’t say any one particular author inspired me to write this book, but I’m an avid reader and I read like a writer, so I’m always learning through observation.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book. 
See #5 and then ask yourself how well you might control your emotions when your loved ones are in mortal danger and you’re the one to blame.

Now to tag five others…

Laura Diamond @ Lucid Dreamer
Kelly Hashway @ Kelly Hashway (her link here)
Leatrice McKinney @ Info Dump a la El (her link here)
Dawn Allen @ Write On (her link here)
Nickie Anderson @ Here’s the story

I look forward to learning more about you. Please leave a note in the comments if you decide to participate. Thanks!

Balancing Critique Feedback


I have multiple critique partners. Four I meet with in person, one via Skype, and three online. They have varying backgrounds and critique methods. Getting feedback from so many people can get overwhelming. For me, the best way to digest input is to search for common denominators. Chances are if multiple people say the same thing doesn’t work for them, it needs revision. Sometimes, the critiques contradict one another. In those cases, I ask clarifying questions of my partners to figure out why they made a certain comment and weigh their answer against what I was trying to accomplish in the scene.

Right now, my partners are reviewing my YA paranormal dystopia Edge of Truth. It’s new to some of them, others have seen many drafts already. I think the recent version below is fun and shows Rena’s (Main Character) personality.

The first page then:

With a grip on a gnarled stick, Rena Moon trampled across the rocky terrain. The mountain’s shadow offered no relief from the afternoon heat, nor did the slight breeze. Sweat dampened clothes clung to her back and frizz sprang up along her hairline.

“Maybe I should change my last name to Canyu. Rena can you get water? Rena can you help the twins…? Rena can you…can you…can you…” She spun to face her best friend, Blaze. “And if Anata thinks she’s going to make me go to Solstice after what happened last year?”

“I know, but can you slow down a little?” Blaze slipped on a rock, but caught her balance before she fell.

Rena slowed. “I told you to pick up a walking stick. It’s not breaking a Conservation Law if the branch is already dead on the ground.”

“Keep it down,” Blaze whispered. “It’s bad enough we already broke one law today. I don’t know why I let you talk me into this.”

“We’re at least eight miles from the cities. The Synbots don’t patrol here.” The thought of the synthetically created robots in the Badlands made Rena cringe. She needed a break from the confines of the stupid laws they enforced every minute of the day.

“I don’t want to miss curfew. How long will it take to get home?” Blaze asked.

“I’m never going back to Dumpden.”

Blaze staggered. “Well, there’s nowhere else for people like us to go. Are you sure they can’t track us here?”

After compiling feedback from my critique partners, I found a few common denominators. The first line is descriptive and not much of a hook and the MC’s BFF sounded a little whiny. Also, having so many critique partners gives me the opportunity to learn from them as well. Often times, we are able to identify issues with each other’s work which we can turn around and apply to our own.

For example, one of my partners was working on a YA paranormal, only nothing supernatural happened in the first chapter. Even though my main character demonstrates her power by page four, I wanted to work it in sooner. Plus, I had a long talk with myself about why I liked the second half of the book better than the first. The answer was simple: Nevan. So, I revised the opening to demonstrate Rena’s paranormal ability quicker, bring in her love interest sooner, and introduce her BFF in a more likable light.

The first page now:

Rena Moon wished she could swap places with the water bottle, held tight and pressed to Nevan’s lips. Or even the sunlight peeking through the trees, tracing the contours of his face.

“Come on,” she said to her best friend Blaze. “Let’s move closer.”

“Why are you whispering?  It’s not like he can hear us from here.”

“Habit.”

“We’ll have a better vantage point from over there.” Blaze pointed to a shaded spot five trees to the left. “It’s just outside his peripheral vision, which means we can stand closer to him. Maybe even within hearing range.”

“Loving your attention to detail.” She tucked her fingers beneath her rucksack strap and strolled toward the tree, all the while stealing glances at Nevan.

“Sweet Mother Earth,” Blaze nudged Rena’s shoulder, nearly knocking her off balance in excitement. “They’re gonna do it again. He’s picking up the spoons.”

“Wha…?” Transfixed, she watched his biceps flex as he shifted and rested his forearms against the table edge.

After a quick glance down both sides of the bench, he nodded, once, twice, three times. Someone tapped a set of cups against the table, creating a deep, resonant beat. Nevan joined in, drumming the spoons and knocking his wrist in perfect rhythm to bring the music alive. The combined sounds pulsated through the ground. Rena honed her ability on the vibrations Nevan produced. Every tap thrummed through her, uniting her with his song on a level no one else knew about or could even understand. They tugged her toward him, as if he’d attached a melodic tether to her and was intent on reeling her in.

Reaching out to other writers for help and sharing knowledge about the craft can be an enriching experience. Our job as writers, is to examine the feedback we receive, decide what fits with our goals for our story, and put in the time to make the revisions.

Do you have more than one critique partner? How do you balance the feedback?

What’s in A Title?


My recent participation in the WriteOnCon, a free Online Children’s Writer’s Conference, made me re-evaluate the title of the piece I submitted for critique — Journey to Eden. I have actively pursued representation for this work and it even place third in the Lone Star Writing Competition.

Part of the requirements for submitting a piece for critique at WriteOnCon was critiquing at least five other pieces. I found myself selecting pieces based on genre first, then title. If the title didn’t intrigue me, I didn’t click the link. Journey to Eden is a nice enough title, but is it enough to catch someone’s interest? Probably not. So, I revised it.

Dawn, one of my Novel Clique critique partners,  she said, “I like Edge of Truth better because this society is balanced on a precipe. Any misstep and all crumbles into a valley of falsehood. You’ve got a great metaphor with Edge of Truth.”

Although editors/publishers will often make changes, there’s a certain joy that comes with finding just the right name for a manuscript, setting, character, paranormal entity.

Has anyone else experienced changes to names/titles in a completed work? How about a work-in-progress (WIP)?