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. 🙂

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You Just Never Know + Making Connections


Today I have the privilege of participating in the Making Connections A-Z One Year Anniversary Blog Hop (They’re giving away 3 eReaders!) and hosting Elizabeth Arroyo during the blog tour for her new book The Second Sign (You gotta see her stunning cover below!).

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Making Connections Blog Banner

 ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

It all started with an idea. Why not make a place where we can bring authors, bloggers, publishers, and reviewers together all in one place?

December 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of the Making Connections group. Since then, we have grown beyond our imagination. Not only have we listed almost 850 books in the original Making Connections group for review, we have also branched off and made a Young Adult group with 200 books listed for review.

Thank you for being part of this group and for helping us celebrate our one-year anniversary! We look forward to see where 2013 will take us.

MakingConnections

My letter is F

Fantastic Reads: I’m always looking for a good book. The Making Connections Group (which I discovered on GoodReads) has over 700 listed to Read & Review.

Find links to the rest of the alphabet here.

Help this wonderful group celebrate by sharing this post to help spread the work AND enter the  Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three eBook Readers (Paperwhite Kindle,  Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, Kobo Glo Ereader)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Now, please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Arroyo

I’d like to welcome Elizabeth, my first Guest Post for 2013! I LOVE the cover of her book. It immediately drew me in and the premise of the story hooked me. It’s my honor to introduce Elizabeth Arroyo…

Thanks for having me here! I’m so excited!

I’ve always found it inspirational when authors put up their stats, so here’s mine.

  • THE SECOND SIGN is my fourth completed manuscript.
  • MS 1= Submitted to 25 agents. I realized early on that it needed a lot of work and stopped submission.
  • MS2=A vampire romance story. That one never saw the light of day for obvious reasons.
  • MS3= A YA Contemporary piece. This one was heart-wrenching for me to let go, and I haven’t truly let go of it yet.  I sent out 105 queries, received 6 requests for more, no representation.
  • THE SECOND SIGN= I sent out 50 queries, won 2 contests, and got a publication deal.

The number one thing I learned through out this journey is: you just never know.

I’ve read queries that ultimately left me scratching my head…and an agent ask for more. Mine.

Books beginning with dreams, ending with cliffhangers, and recycled plots, and these were on bookshelves.

If this reality hasn’t hit you, then it will as you tread those query waters.

You. Just. Never. Know.

Write the best story you can, and let the other pieces fall where they may.

About the book…

Title: THE SECOND SIGN
Genre: Dark Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Available: February 7, 2013 (That’s today!!)
Find it: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

TheSecondSign_350Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake. Much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.

When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance, and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.

As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever.

The Second Sign

About The Author

Author Pic Formatted-ElizabethArroyoElizabeth has worked in the community for the bulk of her professional career. She enjoys quiet moments, action flicks, and dancing with her four-year-old.  THE SECOND SIGN is her debut novel. You can find more information about Elizabeth at:

Website: http://www.elizabetharroyo.com
Blog: http://chandarawrites.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elizabetharroyo.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EArroyo5
Watch the trailer at http://youtu.be/omcmt6q8PIw

Want to Know More

Follow Elizabeth on her tour…

Paranormal Tropes


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Photo Credit: PyroSikTh

Yesterday, one of my critique partners, Dawn Allen, wrote a post on our group blog titled Finding Your Genre. She touched on the basic genres: paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, suspense-thriller, romance, fantasy, historical, and contemporary. To read her post, click here.

Today, I’ll be discussing paranormal and paranormal romance tropes, or certain elements which often appear within these genres. Paranormal stories revolve around supernatural beings such as vampires, zombies, werewolves, angels, ghosts, goblins, dragons shifters, etc. It also encompasses humans who possess otherworldly abilities such as clairvoyants, super-human strength or speed, mind readers, or (excuse the shameless plug for my debut novel 🙂 ) a girl who can trigger earthquakes, etc.

Common themes which appear in paranormal and paranormal romances:

  • Reluctant vampires, or characters who experience difficulty with The Change
  • Possession by demon, alien, ghost, etc.
  • Chill of being watched/stalked by something unknown
  • Character who possess a natural scent which allures the opposite gender, sometimes to distraction
  • Crazy clairvoyants
  • Communication from beyond the grave, through mirrors, phones, TVs, etc.
  • Characters who hate each other when they first meet, but are inseparable by the end of the story
  • Arrogant heroes who meet reality
  • Feeble heroines who discover they possess supernatural powers
  • A journey from this world to another realm

As a paranormal and paranormal romance reader, I enjoy watching characters experience and/or fight to overcome the obstacles and situations above. I love it when I think I know what’s going to happen next, and then BAM! Something unexpected happens.

Can you think of other tropes used in this paranormal/paranormal romance?

Be sure to visit Leatrice McKinney’s blog on Tuesday (1/29) to see what she has to say about sci-fi and fantasy tropes. Dawn Allen will post about horror  and mystery tropes on her blog next Thursday (1/31).

Also, there’s still time to sign up to join the Let’s Get Organized blog hop. I’m planning to add guest post, book reviews, and book tours to my blogging schedule. Find the Linky list at the bottom of this post to join the fun.

Other Resources

Happy Holidays & U Got the Look Meme


Neve_em_folhas_de_Chamaecyparis_pisifera_01Winter break is here just in time for the first snow! My kids woke up bright and early, and were out sledding at 7 a.m. The wind made it colder, so we didn’t stay out long, but we had a blast.

I’m taking a break from social media and will return with a regular post on January 10, 2013.

For today, I’m participating in Elise Fallson’s “U Got The Look” meme in which Melissa Maygrove inadvertently tagged me.

The rules are simple: Track down the word “look” in your current Work-In-Progress (WIP) and post the surrounding paragraphs, and then tag 5 other people with the meme.

WIP titleBlink
Genre: Paranormal
Category: Young Adult
Orientation:  This is the point where Lexi’s world begins to spin out of control. One minute, she’s at a client’s house preparing to walk their dogs; the next, she wakes up in the hospital and something’s different.
###

“I’ve been here for two days?” There went Lexi’s perfect attendance record. Worse, two days were plenty of time for rumors to ruin what little social status she had. “How did I end up here?”

Mom tightened her hold on Lexi’s hand. “Mrs. Anderson said soon after she answered the door you blanched. Before she had a chance to offer you a seat, you passed out. Peanut cushioned your fall.”

“She okay?” If Lexi had hurt the Great Dane, she’d never forgive herself.

“She’s fine, it’s you we’re concerned about.” When Dad gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, his fingertips curled around to her back.

The touch stung, like a fresh sunburn. She shifted away and the heat subsided. As Dad studied her, his lips twitched to the side the way they did whenever something bothered him, and he was strategizing the best way to broach the topic.

Oh, no. What if she was sick? “Is it skin cancer? A tumor?”

“Carolyn, will you get Lexi a cup of ice?” he asked Mom.

Must be something terminal. Her eyes blurred again.

“Sure. I’ll find the doctor, too.” Mom squeezed her hand before she left.

“What do you remember?” Dad whispered in an urgent tone.

“Peanut and Blue meeting me at the front door.” She balanced the lavender towel on the bedrail.

“What else?” The bed dipped where he sat.

“Why are you whispering?”

“Just answer the question.”

“I had this stabbing pain in my temples.” She touched the left one. “Made me nauseous and dizzy. After a blinding white light, everything turned cold. Freezing cold. Then, I woke up here.” Struggling to recall more brought a rush of pressure to her eyes and made them feel like they were about to pop out of her head. Her heart monitor beeped a fast pace, until Dad clicked mute again. “Am I sick?”

He shook his head. “This can’t be right.”

“What’s going on?”

“I hope I’m wrong. For your sake.”

“You’re freaking me out!”

He glanced at the open door where footsteps clacked up and down the hall. “Let me see your right shoulder.”

The IV catheter pulled when she reached out. She winced and tugged the gown to the side. Dad leaned forward. She knew the exact moment he spotted what he was looking for. His eyes bulged and his face paled.

“What is it?” She angled her head, struggling to see. Her fingertips probed at her shoulder. She jerked her hand back when she brushed an area where it felt like someone had snuffed a cigarette. “What the hell?”

“Oh God, Lexi. This isn’t supposed to happen to you.”

“What’s not supposed to happen to me?”

Footsteps in the hall grew closer.

“Don’t let Mom see.” He straightened the material and stood before he whispered, “I’ll explain everything later.”

“Why can’t you just explain now?”

###

As for the tagging of five people, I’m feeling generous. If you took the time to stop by my blog and want to participate in this meme, please considered yourself tagged!

Are you planning to join the party? Please let me know in the comments below so I can stop by and read a sample of your WiP.

Thanks, once again, for visiting. I wish you all happy holidays!

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! 

Real Or Fake?


Where story settings are concerned writers have options: real, fake, or both. I’ve used them all. My short story ZOMBIE KIBOSH CREW is strategically based in St. Louis, MO. I used Google Maps to help me get a satellite view and when I zoomed in close enough, it gave a virtual point of view. It’s awesome. Give it a try. My WiP BLINK is based on Golden, CO with a major fictional spin to it. The setting in my debut novel EDGE OF TRUTH is set in 2248. I used a real calendar (cause I’m a geek like that), but created the setting through world building.

Of the three, I find faking it a.k.a. world building the most difficult, yet fun and rewarding.

How about you? Please take my poll and/or leave a comment to let me know what kind of settings you like to use and why.

Related Articles

Slow Reveal


One of the things I love about having a writer’s critique group is the learning opportunities it provides. I learn by reading the work of my CPs, through them critiquing my work, and through critiquing them. I’ll be the first to admit some of the things they suggest to help me strengthen my work are things I already know. Every now and then I’ll let a passive sentence slip by when it can easily be converted to an active one. Sometimes, I don’t dig deep enough because writing can feel like frothing egg whites by hand. It takes concentration, dedication, and by the end you ache from the effort.

Photo credit: Jon Rieley-Goddard aka baldblogger’s photostream

During a recent review of my current WIP Dark Intent, an adult paranormal romance, one of my CPs busted me on this very thing. My main character has a severe fear of the dark. I established my MC’s distress by showing her emotional/physical reaction to darkness. After watching her internal struggles for a while and not understanding the root cause, her responses lost impact. To avoid ‘info dumping’, the source of her terror must come out in bits and pieces.

The ground work for this was already there, I just didn’t dig deep enough. My CP helped me see how I could use the existing framework to strengthen my story. She recommended I go back to all those places where my MC attempts to confront her fear and reveal snippets of the inciting incident of her anxiety. Nothing major, just incomplete glimpses because in the dark, its often the thing we can’t fully see which scares us the most. It took my story from ‘can relate’ to ‘now I have goosebumps’.

Have you come across something similar in your writing/revising/editing process? Do you have any tips on slow reveals? Do you have character(s) coping with phobia?