Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Book Giveaway

As part of the Young Adult Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole. I am giving away a young adult book of your choice up to $10 in value from the Book Depository or Amazon. This giveaway is open to entrants from any country that the Book Depository ships from. Please check their website if you are unsure. The giveaway runs from Friday, January 27 to midnight on Tuesday, January 31st. Please enter using the rafflecopter entry form. If it’s being wonky, then enter in the comments and I will enter you by hand. There are four ways to enter: 1. Enter your contact info, 2. Follow me either on google friend connect, twitter (@engelsigh), or google plus, 3. Tell me your favorite young adult book and 4. Tweet about the giveaway. Be sure to check out the other 200+ blogs giving away books.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (1/18/2011)

Hello!  ::waves:: I haven't been on here in two weeks, sorry bout that, but I have had my nose buried in books.  I have a ton of books to report that were in my mailbox so here goes:

From my boyfriend and his parents:
Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls by L.J. Smith
Born at Midnight by CC Hunter
Spells by Aprilynne Pike
Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
Leatherbound copy of Edgar Allan Poe books

From the Author:
Watched by Cindy Hogan (review and giveaway forthcoming)
Patient Zero by Jim Beck  (stop back for my review and giveaway February 21st as part of his book tour)

Bookworm Secret Santa:
Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Random Buzzers:
Blood Sun by David Gilman

Books I ordered bargain from Amazon and B&N:
Wish by Alexandra Bullen – Amazon bargain book

Meridian by Amber Kizer – Amazon bargain book
Possession by Nancy Holder – Amazon bargain book
Reign or Shine by Michelle Rowen
Reign Check by Michelle Rowen
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

Next time I will try to have some pictures of all my treasures!

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by the Story Siren. 

What's in your mailbox?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Author Post: Writing by the seat of your pants – hold on, this may be a bumpy ride! by Vincent Tuckwood

Writing by the seat of your pants – hold on, this may be a bumpy ride! by Vincent Tuckwood

To write to an outline or by pure intuition?

Ah, the artist’s endless dilemma!

With structure and plan, we know where we’re going, so get to travel easier, safe in the knowledge that there is a destination; comfortable that we will arrive, even if the journey meanders.

Riding the intuitive lightning? It’s a mercurial roller-coaster of channeled creativity, while in the background, the whispering critic challenges us that we don’t know enough, aren’t clever enough, aren’t worthy enough to bring this crested wave to fruition. An extreme activity for sure, and it carries its fair share of highs and hangovers.

In the past twenty years of writing, I’ve written books at both ends of this spectrum. Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? Still feels like it wrote itself. Family Rules was a longer write, but certainly felt like I was discovering the story as I went. While it’s non-linear structure works for the invention of the lead character, Kenny, I confess that the story was stuck for a long time as I decided what would happen in the final chapters – knowing it needed to be strong, yet with no idea what it would be. In the end it came, after lost months of not writing.

Karaoke Criminals was structurally mapped before I wrote a word – actually, its outline was written as an extended joke while on holiday in Spain. It didn’t end up a comedy, but the overall structure remains intact.

If you’d asked me the question a year ago, I would likely have given it 20% structure to 80% intuition.

Since then, though, I wrote Escalation – my first novel without the distraction of the day job, the first where I was writing fully in my story-telling self. At just the point where I might have expected intuitive writing to take over, I went the other way – and completely, totally and utterly enjoyed the experience!

By way of background, in early 2011, I adapted Family Rules into the screenplay Inventing Kenny with my screen-writing partners, James Patric Moran and Timothy Quinlan, and completed my first original screenplay, Team Building. Through these experiences, I’d been learning about movie structure, beats, archetypes and everything else that gets distilled into the ideal movie script.

So, when the idea for Escalation struck in early April 2011, I decided to map out the structure as if it were a movie: 4 acts, 16 sequences, 48 chapters, each chapter labeled with the major decision or development that needed to happen, along with whatever reminders I wanted to give myself of my original intent. With that outline in hand, I wrote about 1500 words a day, Monday to Friday and, 4 months later, the novel was complete. The experience was a dream, each chapter its own little voyage of discovery. Effortless writing. Not only that, but the rewrite was minimal; a welcome relief when it had previously been like running a second marathon.

And, the funny thing is, when I went back to look over my ‘intuitive’ novels, they conformed pretty closely to the classic story structure I’d applied in Escalation, even though I didn’t even have it in hand at the time I wrote them.

Is structured writing somehow a lower standard, less artful? I don’t think so.

As Mark Rothko showed with his famous series of off-black rectangles, art lies in nuance AND in bold statements.

Unless we are born with deformity, or suffer an accident, we human beings have basically the same skeleton – number of bones, how they’re organized, etc. – yet we couldn’t be more different when the flesh and skin are layered over the top. It’s what sits atop, and within, the structure that makes us come alive.

It’s the same with story – the structure that has been distilled into the typical movie formula is as present in ‘Romeo and Juliet' as it is in an episode of ‘Teletubbies’. Story arcs form the skeleton of human existence.

There will doubtless be those who challenge that great art can never be planful. In my experience, those who shout that the loudest are those who most often say “I would… if only…”

As in:“I would write a novel, if only I could find the time”, or…

“I would start a business, if only I could come up with a killer product”, or…

“I would paint a portrait, if only I hadn’t been told at school that I wasn’t a good enough painter.”

As you can probably tell, I disagree with the premise that art always comes at the expense of waiting for lightning bolt inspiration.

For all we view Beethoven as a genius, he still wrote symphonies, concerti, preludes, etudes, and other accepted structural forms. He still formed his music in the tradition of the other romantic composers. Do we view his art as lesser because it was in these structures and context? In fact there’s an argument that, when he lost his hearing, those same structures enabled him to produce some of his most enthralling and compelling music.

I believe that the struggling artist is an archetype that society perpetuates to discourage people from stepping out of conformity. To make art is abnormal, and even the most inclusive society is uncomfortable with difference.

In pushing us to conform, society perpetuates the myth that creativity necessitates pain, and that only a truly gifted prodigy has the fortitude to prevail. Society pushes this myth to discourage as many as possible from seeking to question their normality…

I’m a Brit and, pardon my language, but I say that’s bollocks!

Of course, inspiration strikes and, honestly, there’s no feeling like the awakening of an idea. But, once you’ve ridden that wave a few times, you learn that it passes quickly, more often than not leaving extensive editing in its wake. And, if we lurch from one idea-high to the next, the ideas can drift off into the ether, falling prey to the ever-waiting voice of insecurity and criticism all artists have whispering in their ear. Better, I think, to capture those moments of connection and insight early, to remind us of where we intended to go all along.

So, structure or intuition?

At the moment, I would say I’ve flipped my opinion to 80% structure to 20% intuition.

As I learned with Escalation, if you give yourself a map, it lets you enjoy the journey a whole lot more. And it doesn’t preclude stepping off the path every now and then to discover what’s rustling behind those bushes!

To read more about Vincent Tuckwood and his writings at his personal website.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GUEST AUTHOR POST: 10 Things you didn't know about Key of Sea by Mary Stella

10 Things You didn't know about Key of Sea by Mary Stella

Thanks so much for inviting me to do a post for Waiting on Sunday to Drown.  I have to say that the topic’s fun and intriguing to me at the same time.  What can I reveal about one of my books that will entertain both the person who’s already read it and the reader who might want to give it a try?

Here, in totally random order are ten things you didn’t know about Key of Sea.

1)    I never expected the original publishing house to keep the title.  Since my first book was called All Keyed Up and both books are set in the Florida Keys, I wanted to include Key in the title of the second book, but I couldn’t come up with something that fit.  I finally put Key of Sea on the document so that I could refer to it as something other than “My next book”.  It grew on me, but I was positive that the publisher would change it.  Imagine my surprise when they didn’t!  Once they told me that the title would remain, I went through the manuscript and wove in a few things that would tie the title a little more to the story.

2)    The opening of the book was inspired by a conversation I had one night at dinner with a close friend.  Many restaurants down here in the Florida Keys have at least one mounted fish or fish replica hanging on a wall.  Over dinner I studied the mounted tarpon – which is a large sport fish – on a wall and asked Marilyn, “Wouldn’t it stink if a woman suddenly realized that she meant less to her husband than his trophy fish?”  Mar agreed that it would indeed stink and I was off and running with the opening scene of Key of Sea.

3)    Like my heroine Dora Lee, I loathe land crabs and once dueled with one in my backyard.  My weapon of choice?  A long-handled pooper scooper!  I’m happy to say I won the battle, but it wasn’t easy.  FYI, pooper scoopers make effective weapons when necessary.  I have also used mine to vanquish a scorpion.  I told the story of battling the land crab to my friend Heather Graham and her family.  They insisted that I had to include it in a book one day.

4)    I named my hero after two men I’ve had big time crushes on at different times in my life.  Bobby was a neighbor many, many years ago.  Daulton is the last name of a former major league catcher that played for my favorite baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies.  Other than the borrowed names, any resemblance of any character to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.  Really!

5)    In each of my two books, there is a restaurant or bar inspired after one that I like in the Keys.  When a bartender I know read Key of Sea, she figured that out immediately!

6)    The first half of the book took me several months to write.  When the original publishers contracted for it, they asked me if I could deliver it in less than two months.  “Absolutely!” I promised.  I’ve never written so much so fast.  I got up an hour early each day, said no to a number of social invitations, but delivered on time – and even had a few days to spare to go over it for some revisions and tweaks.

7)    More than one writer cautioned me that readers would not be sympathetic to a main character who had been a trophy wife to an older, wealthy man.  I was convinced that readers would grow to love Dora Lee, flaws and all, and end up rooting for her to succeed.  I’m so happy that reader feedback has been 100% positive about Dora!

8)    When I started writing Key of Sea, I knew that Dora would have a best friend in the story but I honestly didn’t have any preformed ideas about that character.  Jo Jo jumped off the page with her voice, her clothing and her personality in the very first scene in which she appears.  Seriously, that woman practically wrote herself.  (I will admit, however, that I borrowed a little from my friend, author Beth Ciotta when describing Jo Jo’s ability to wear a variety of creative outfits and styles.  Beth used to be a full time entertainer and her fashion sense is inspiring!)

9)    There’s a scene where Dora visits her older friend Ruby’s dolphins at Dolphin Land.  The experience of playing with a dolphin really happened to me.  Yes, sometimes real life inspires our writing.

10)  Readers often think that we authors know everything there is to know about our characters and story before we write.  I knew a lot about Dora Lee and what I hoped to represent with her.  I reread the book for the first time last year, prior to putting it up for sale in e-format.  I have to say that there are things that Dora taught me about reinventing your life that I didn’t see as clearly the first time around.  I’m grateful for the lessons!

Key of Sea is Mary Stella's second book.  For more information about the author and her books please check out her personal website at

Monday, January 2, 2012

Huge Sale at Gold Canyon Candles!

Gold Canyon Candles is having a huge sale.  Everything on the site is 12 to 42% off.  The best sales are in the "On Sale" section and includes all the holiday scents, baking scents, soy candles, boutique candles and more.  You can get a pod warmer for less than $22.00.  All the baking line scents are being discontinued in their current format and reformulated.  You can buy them all now (19 oz each) for $13.45.  Scents include banana nut bread, warm apple crisp, cherry pie, cobbler on the porch, and more.  Be sure to stock up on all your favorites while they're on sale.

2011 Book Log


1. "Radiant Shadows" by Melissa Marr 340 pages
2. "Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson 278 pages
3. "Tempted" by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast 319 pages
4. "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead 332
5. "Once Dead Twice Shy" by Kim Harrison 232 pages
6. "Grave Secret" by Charlaine Harris 306 pages
7. "Dead in the Family" by Charlaine Harris 311 pages
8. "Dreamfever" by Karen Marie Moning 388 pages
9. "Fear Nothing" by Dean Koontz 391 pages
10. "Paranormalcy" by Kiersten White 335 pages
11. "Dark Song" by Gail Giles 292 pages
12. "A Bone to Pick" by Charlaine Harris 222 pages LP

13. "The Hunter's Moon" by O.R. Melling 283 pages
14. "The Night Bookmobile" by Audrey Niffenegger 40 pages
15. "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls 288 pages
16. "The Reckoning" by Kelley Armstrong 391 pages
17. "The Final Warning" by James Patterson 256 pages

18. "The Haunted" by Jessica Verday 467 pages
19. "Real Murders" by Charlaine Harris 230 pages LP
20. "The Dark Divine" by Bree Despain 372 pages
21. "Beautiful Darkness" by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl 503 pages
22. "Spider Bones" by Kathy Reichs 302 pages

23. "Somewhere Inside" by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling 470 pages LP
24. "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce 324 pages
25. "Glass Houses" by Rachel Caine 256 pages
26. "Dead Girls Dance" by Rachel Caine 256 pages

27. "Shadowfever" by Karen Marie Moning 608 pages
28. "I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted" by Jennifer Finney Boylan 267 pages
29. "Seize the Night" by Dean Koontz 443 pages
30. "The Eyes of Darkness" by Dean Koontz, 384 pages
31. "Grave Sight" by Charlaine Harris 293 pages
32. "Dare to Surrender" by Lilli Fiesty 342 pages
33. "An Ice Cold Grave" by Charlaine Harris 280 pages
34. "The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening" by L.J. Smith 272 pages
35. "The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle" by L.J. smith 256 pages
36. "The Vampire Diaries: The Fury" by L.J. Smith 309 pages
37. "The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion" by L.J. Smith 312 pages
38. "Dark Visions: The Strange Powers" by L.J. Smith 230 pages
39. "Dark Visions: The Possessed" by L.J. Smith 224 pages
40. "Dark Visions: The Passion" by L.J. Smith 224 pages
41. "Daughters of the Moon: Goddess of the Night" by Lynne Ewing 294 pages
42. "The 8th Confession" by James Patterson 342 pages

43. "Just Kids" by Patti Smith 320 pages
44. "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare 485 pages
45. "City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare 496 pages
46. "Midnight Alley" by Rachel Caine 256 pages
47. "Feast of Fools" by Rachel Caine 242 pages
48. "Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood" by Koren Zailckas 342 pages
49. "Lord of Misrule" by Rachel Caine 244 pages
50. "Carpe Corpus" by Rachel Caine 241 pages
51. "Fade Out" by Rachel Caine 237 pages
52. "Kiss of Death" by Rachel Caine 241 pages
53. "Prom Nights From Hell" by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle 184 pages
54. "The Frenzy" by Francesca Lia Block 122 pages
55. "Secret Circle: The Initiation" by L.J. Smith 320 pages

56. "Hot Six" by Janet Evanovich 350 pages
57. "Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer 289 pages
58. "Vacations from Hell" by Libba Bray 156 pages
59. "Nightfall" by L.J. Smith 359 pages
60. "Fallen" by Lauren Kate 452 pages
61. "Plum Lovin" by Janet Evanovich 164 pages (AUDIO)
62. "Ghost Town" by Rachel Caine 353 pages
63. "My Horizontal Life" by Chelsea Handler 214 pages
64. "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick 391 pages
65. "Early to Death, Early to Rise" by Kim Harrison 247 pages

66. "Angelfire" by Courtney Allison Moulton 297 pages
67. "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich 166 pages (AUDIO)
68. "Captivate" by Carrie Jones 273 pages (AUDIO)
69. "Plum Spooky" by Janet Evanovich 345 pages (AUDIO)
70. "The Secret Circle: The Captive" by L.J. Smith 320 pages
71. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom 196 pages (AUDIO)
72. "The Secret Circle: the Power" by L.J. Smith 310 pages
73. "Entice" by Carrie Jones 264 pages (AUDIO)
74. "Cloaked" by Alex Flinn 341 pages (AUDIO)
75. "Finger Lickin' Fifteen" by Janet Evanovich 308 pages
76. "Twelve Sharp" by Janet Evanovich 320 pages (AUDIO)
77. "Jez and Morgead's Night Out" by L.J. Smith 59 pages
78. "Bonnie and Damon - After Hours" by L.J. Smith 32 pages
79. "City of Ashes - Kissed" by Cassandra Clare 5 pages
80. "City of Ashes - Because it is Bitter" by Cassandra Clare 5 pages
81. "City of Ashes - Deleted Scene" by Cassandra Clare 3 pages
82. "City of Glass - Deleted First Chapter" by Cassandra Clare 20 pages
83. "Lean Mean Thirteen" by Janet Evanovich 310 pages (AUDIO)
84. "Delerium" by Lauren Oliver 441 pages
85. "Bite Club" by Rachel Caine 340 pages
86. "Beastly" by Alex Flinn 304 pages
87 "Dream Dark" by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 76 pages
88. "First Frost" by Jennifer Estep Kindle ebook
89. "Nevermore" by Kelly Creagh 543 pages
90. "Visions of Sugar Plums" by Janet Evanovich 240 pages
91. "Goddess Boot Camp" by Tera Lynn Childs 224 pages

92. "Sweet Valley Confidential" by Francine Pascal 293 pages
93. "Ethereal" by Addison Moore Kindle book
94. "Tremble" by Addison Moore Kindle book
95. "Burn" by Addison Moore Kindle Book
96. "Wicked" by Addison Moore Kindle Book

97. "The Fallen Star" by Jessica Sorenson 449 pages
98. "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris 336 pages
99. "Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison 245 pages
100. "The Underworld" by Jessica Sorenson ebook
101. "Wither" by Lauren DeStefano 358 pages
102. "Touch of Frost" by Jennifer Estep 350 pages
103. "Shattered" by Sophia Sharp ebook

104. "Into the Cold Fire" by Lynne Ewing 264 pages
105. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne COllins 374 pages
106. "Supernaturally" by Kiersten White 336 pages
107. "The Vision" by Jessica Sorensen ebook
108. "I Am Not Your Victim" by Beth Sipes 320 pages

109. "Hex Hall" by Rachel Hawkins 323 pages
110. "Smokin Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich 308 pages
111. "The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson 372 pages
112. "Claimed" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
113. "Tricked" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
114. "Rumored" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
115. "Hushed" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
116. "Pursued" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
117. "Enticed" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
118. "Ruined" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
119. "Embers" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
120. "Smolder" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)
121. "Burn" by Lauren Barnholdt (kindle)

December RAK Wrap Up

For December I sent out:

 to Ambur at Burning Impossibly Bright

 to Damaris at Good Choice Reading

 to Tarra at Twilight Book Junkie

I received the following:

 from Ambur at Burning Impossibly Bright

and I received a box of books from Nicci at Paper Dreams that included all of these books:


If you would like to taking part in giving and sending RAK's for January sign up over at Book Soulmates.

My Bookworm Secret Santa Wrap Up

My bookworm Secret Santa was hosted by Michelle from Book Briefs and Bree from The Magic Attic.  For my secret santa I got Vi from Confessions of a Vi3tbabe.

I sent Vi the following:

I don't yet know who my secret santa was, but he or she sent me a book I've been dying to read:

I had a lot of fun and would hope to do it again next year.

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