Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kristin Smith Book Release: FORGOTTEN


Welcome back, Kristin!! Kristin's book FORGOTTEN released yesterday!! WOOT WOOT and major congrats!! It's definitely not easy to write a book, and to have it published is an even bigger feat in itself! Plus, it's currently marked down with the 1st book in the series, CATALYST! And, there's a giveaway at the bottom of the blog post. too! What a steal!

So, dare we ask what FORGOTTEN is all about?? Let's find out...




Forgotten
Kristin Smith
(The Deception Game #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.
 Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers.
The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.
 When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.

Grab book 1 for only 99¢!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Zane parks his Aria on the lake side of the dam, and we both climb out.

“Bring back memories?” Zane asks with a wry grin.

“How you thought I was trying to kill myself? Again?” I laugh. “I don’t know why you thought I was so suicidal.”

Zane shrugs. “Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to rescue you.”

My heart trips over itself. “Zane,” I say softly, “you can’t keep saying things like that.”

He moves around the side of the car. “Why not?” When he takes my hand in his, the warmth of his fingers heats up my whole body.

“This isn’t a good idea,” I mutter, but I make no move to extract my hand from his.

He looks down at me, then at our entwined fingers. “But what if it is? What if it’s the best idea in the whole damn world?”

“Because—because you’re engaged. To someone else.”

“But I don’t want to be,” he says, his voice low. He takes a step closer until he’s so close that I could wrap my arm around his back if I wanted to.

“Zane,” I warn, but the warning gets caught in my throat. He’s giving me that look. The same one he gave me before he kissed me that first time on the couch in his house.

“What?” he whispers.

“Please, don’t—” But he’s already leaning down, his eyes focused on my mouth. My breath comes out shaky as his fingers slip from mine and his hands touch my waist, gently bringing me closer. Before I can stop myself, our lips meet, and a thousand nerve endings converge to a single spot. His lips are fire and warmth and need. And that single spark ignites an already-smoldering flame.




Author Bio: 
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.



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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Guest Post by Kristin Smith: Love Triangles - Do They Work?


The LOVELY and BODACIOUS Kristin Smith has stopped by to give a little 4-1-1 on Love Triangles. The big question is - DO THEY WORK??? Let's find out what she has to say about all the love triangles in the literary world!

~~~~~~~~~~

I know there's quite a bit of controversy about "The Love Triangle", a trope that is often seen in YA books. So the question I pose for you is, do love triangles in YA books work?

I borrowed this from totallythebomb.com. I thought it was kind of fun! :)

Let's first take a look at some bestselling YA books that have a love triangle.


1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: Bella with Edward and Jacob


I know there are many naysayers who didn't like the whole Twilight saga, but I'm sorry, this love triangle was EPIC! Fans of the book were divided on their love for Edward versus their love for Jacob. And some people were downright MAD when Bella chose Edward. (I was NOT one of those, by the way.) Did this love triangle get people invested in the book? Did people want to know who Bella would choose? Absolutely! In my opinion, this love triangle was a huge success!



2) Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Catniss with Gale and Peeta


I think this love triangle was a little more subtle. The book starts out with Catniss having "hidden" feelings for Gale, but she spends the rest of the book with Peeta either preparing for the games or in the throes of the game. As a reader, it was hard for me to connect with the idea of Catniss and Gale being together because I hardly saw them together during the book. I know there were some Gale fans out there, but in my mind, it was Peeta. It was always going to be Peeta, even though Catniss spent 80% of the books only "pretending" to be in love with him.

Did this love triangle work? I would say yes. It created just enough tension that left the readers wanting more.


The Selection by Kiera Cass: America with Aspen and Maxon



Okay, so this one was a little frustrating for me. I didn't see anything good that would come from America ending up with Aspen. At the beginning of the book, she claims he's her one true love, but then she falls so quickly for Maxon. And, hello, Maxon is a PRINCE! And with America by his side, they could better their country together. Every time America snuck off to do something romantic with Aspen, I felt a little uneasy. I wanted to shout at her, "Get back to your room! You don't want Maxon to catch you kissing Aspen!"

Did this love triangle work? Well, I devoured the entire series in the space of 3 days, so even though I didn't AGREE with some of America's decisions, I would give a half-hearted yes. I loved the series; now whether or not the love triangle added to that love, I really can't say.

Now, I've shared with you a few of my favorite book series, and they ALL have a love triangle. The last one is from my own book (and you'll have to be the one to decide whether or not this love triangle works). :)

Catalyst by Kristin Smith: Sienna with Trey and Zane



Basically, amidst all the craziness in her life, Sienna develops feelings for a genetically modified poster boy (who is completely off-limits because he's been engaged since birth to his perfect genetic match). But when she joins the extremist group, the Fringe, their young leader (who's too hot to be bad) takes an interest in her. There's tension, conflicted feelings, and some pretty awesome kissing scenes. But you'll have to be the judge of whether this love triangle "works".


So to sum it up, if we're deciding whether or not a love triangle works based on the success of the book, then I say with a resounding YES that love triangles WORK! Our main goal as an author is to entice readers to want to read our books. And if a love triangle is executed well, I think it can add tension and dynamics to the story. I personally don't mind a good love triangle, and I will gladly read a book that has one.

What are YOUR thoughts? Do love triangles work?



About the Author:

Kristin Smith is the author of the young adult novel Catalyst and its sequel, Forgotten. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five sons. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.









Thanks so much for stopping by, Kristin!! Don't forget to buy your copy of CATALYST and see for yourself how you like her version of a love triangle! *click here to redirect to Amazon!* Next week, come back to see Kristin talk about her new release, FORGOTTEN!! 
 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wimpy Protagonists No More

Have you ever read back lines from your main character, your protagonist, and thought: Wow, he/she is kinda...wimpy. For shame! But they can't be wimpy! Well, mine can't be wimpy. NOOOooooooo... (deep breaths).

I had this same experience happen with the oldest sister in my YA fantasy. She was supposed to (wo)man up, but after reading her back, she wussied up. And that is NOT cool. In fact, her younger sister was more brute than she. What the what?? Nah. Some changes had to be made!

The good thing is, the fix was easy. Truly. And fixing your wimpy character into a more (wo)manly character is easy, too. Here are some quick tricks to get your character to re-establish their role of cajones holder.

1. Paralanguage - stop making them timid, make them have a "straight spine". Look for descriptive words with their paralanguage and tweak them to say more profound/regal things.

2. Language - simply put, try not to make them "ask" so much as "demand". The character should tell people what to do, rather then ask if they're willing to do it. I made this change in one line, and the difference was astounding. (caution: not everything is a demand because that's just...rude. 😉 )

3. Move with a Purpose - make sure you're character is creating some of the problems rather than all the problems happening around them and they just seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If their creating some of the problems then they're showing their unwilling to settle for mediocrity.

4. React with Purpose - BUT if there is going to be problems happening, because there always needs to be, then make sure they react headstrong and not cower. The old phrase "move with a purpose" is very relevant here.

5. Think and React - sometimes strong characters need a moment to show vulnerability before they react strong. This shows a very human side we all have, and the reader relates to. Once that second-guessing part happens, return to react with a purpose. That will show a super strength of going beyond our own doubts and striving to prove even our own selves wrong.

BOOM. There you have it!! Do you feel like you can get your protagonist's cajones back in place now? Good! The best part of revisiting some of the wimpy stuff and revising back to headstrong, was that I didn't keep reverting back to those wimpier lines. And don't think your character needs to be gun-ho every single second. Make sure to dash and sprinkle plenty of those "I am human" moments where weakness creeps in every so often. Well, good luck out there, and keep on writing!!

~~LIST OF THE WEEK~~

READ: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (murder creates havoc amongst 3 kingdoms), Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill (girl on risky adventure to figure out her father's murderer), Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (camp fire tales of Norse gods/goddesses lives)
STILL READING: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (ARC), and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
MOVIES: Trolls (cute but not that cute) and Beauty and the Beast (Great but not as brilliant as everyone built it up to be)
WORD COUNT ON YA BOOK: 59,403 (that non-round number is murder!!)
WHAT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY: new book idea I can't start
WHY NOT START: because I know I won't stop, and I need to finish this one first!

QUESTIONS TO THE READER:
1. What is a wimpy characteristic you find yourself accidentally giving your protagonist?
2. What is one "wimpy" trait of your own?
3. Am I wimpy??

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Book Aesthetics

Last week, I told you how I was currently working on a YA Viking fantasy. I also said I would make a collage of book aesthetics to show you more about the world I've created. I would LOVE to show you only one, but there is so many little things going on, it's so hard to narrow it!

I'm currently near, if not on, the half way point. I'm breaking my book into three parts, and have started the 2nd part. Just when I think I know where I am going, I sit back and stare off and BAM...new idea hits. And it always happens when I brain fart how to get from point A to B. Suddenly there is some weird Z thrown in the middle making it all the more interesting. Those moments are the best!

Enough of my blabbing. Without further adieu...here are some of my book aesthetics. For more, you can go to my pinterest page! The link is on the left side bar.


this story is big on sisterhood and family, some pics are "backstory"


these blow my mind. omg. I want someone to make them for me.


each of the kingdoms are very specific in structure


these are just teasers...

**LIST FOR THE WEEK**

Read: COURT OF FIVES by Kate Elliot (a sister's love for the Fives game is put off to save family) and THREE DARK CROWNS by Kandare Blake (triplets raised separately and groomed to kill one another for the crown)
Reading: FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes, A FACE LIKE GLASS (Arc copy) by Frances Hardinge, THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas
Movies: For International Women's Day I watched LITTLE WOMEN, and even though I've seen it years ago...I don't remember choking up this much!
Newest Buy: A Simply Fit Board, and a 3/4 motorcycle helmet from Harley Davidson!
What I'm anxious for: Getting back on my Harley and riding in the wind!!

Questions for the Reader:
1. Can you tell my book has some dark tones to it?
2. Reading any good books lately?
3. Ever seen Little Women the movie?

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Madness Understatement

My gosh how time has flown by! I realized I hadn't posted since January. January! But I have very valid reasons. Very valid. Here they are:

1. I've been writing for hours on end. (Ok, that's not true, but it sure feels like it!)
2. Reading frenzy - I started reading more YA books to gear my arsenal (WHY??? Just wait...I'm getting there later! Calm yourself!)
3. Tomorrow my mental break ends - what does THAT look like? Well...NOT writing for hours on end and adjusting back to being an "adult". (Ew...I know.)
4. SUBMISSIONS - please, don't start...just don't (*pulls waiting room ticket and sits* praying for a bite!)
5. My first Writers Conference!!

"the gods have always
smiled on brave women"
I've worked hard on my new YA Viking fantasy draft scoring a word count so far of 41k since I started it on Jan 19th. And everything God said He would help me with, He has and beyond. When inspiration hits, and you go google said inspiration to find that what you're thinking about is actual fact (flowers, names, etc) it's like AHHHHHHH...(*cue angels singing*) Needless to say, I did have to go back through the 9 chapters written and do a tense change and create more detail/world building. (Thank you to Shallee McArthur - she is amazing for pointing it out early!) NEXT WEEK - I promise to make a book collage of some very dark and interesting inspirations!

Which brings me to #2! I wanted to be further inspired with amazing fantasy worlds so I didn't miss a beat. And that's pretty much summing up #2.

#3 - This just means I won't have my mornings anymore to sleep in (did I say that?), and work on my book at my leisure. I'll be back to my old title: NIGHT WRITER. I think I need like theme music for that.

Submissions time!! #4! My women's fiction book is currently out on submissions and I'm excited to see what happens with it! I still have several more women's fiction novel ideas, but they're coming up after this YA one. Because you have to follow your heart and when one burns brighter, you get to it first.

While on my #1, I found out through FB there was a writer's conference for SCBWI in Seattle! I looked over the itinerary and the sessions weren't what I was looking for. But then, another thing came up: Seattle Writer's Workshop! Basically a 1-day conference and the session choices were AMAZING and PERFECT to what I'm looking for!! I signed and am awaiting May!!

Usually I close with a list of things, but I'm in a rush to get back to my WIP. Here is a QUICK list of books/movies/things I have done since last time!
Read: Jennie Bennett's SNOWFLAKES AND KISSES, Bernard Cornwells THE LAST KINGDOM, Elizabeth LaBan's THE RESTAURANT CRITIC'S WIFE, Carrie Butler's AS WE KNOW IT (Awesome books!)
Reading: Sarah J. Maas THRONE OF GLASS, Kate Elliott COURT OF FIVES, Kendare Blake THREE DARK CROWNS
Movies: Labyrinth (David Bowe's tight-crotch pants were distracting, even my oldest was saying how he was tired of seeing "it"), Stork (cute!)
Things: hikes to cold beaches, parents vs. kids volleyball at elementary (I'm super competitive and rolled my eyes at timid mom's barely hitting the ball. HIT IT, DANG YOU!), cleaned out never-will-read books, and never-will-wear purses (you're welcome thrift stores)