Month: October 2013

Great Trilogy

Posted October 30, 2013 by Victoria in Contemporary/Historical Romance, New Adult/Young Adult / 0 Comments

Here’s a fantastic trilogy for you. It’s different. It has a love triangle. An unusual one. One man is dark, one is light. One is unpredictable, the other is true. It’s romance and suspense, just the way I like it.

sinsandneedles shootingscars boldtricks

4-star-rating

The trilogy is more of a 4.5 star read for me.

Here is my review for Bold Tricks:

This was a satisfying and epic finish to this trilogy. This could be one of my favorite series this year. It was action-packed, punctuated with interesting self-reflection and discovery by Ellie—who she really loves and who is the man for her. Camden continues to prove that he would do anything for Ellie whether she chooses him or not, he stayed true, he was her constant as was Gus. There are some big revelations toward the end, although I kind of figured it out. The sex scenes were hot, I will never look at mud the same again. Ahhh, Camden, you are such a swoon-worthy hero. I wasn’t so sure of him in the beginning, I thought he was too wimpy to hack it in book 1, but we’ve seen his growth throughout the books as a soulful tattoo artist to one serious badass.

Javier, ah, what a complex character he was, but I did not buy his character development in the third book.

The other books in the series:

On Every Street – a novella

Sins and Needles

Shooting Scars – I loved this alternate Ellie and Camden point of view.

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Amazing New Adult book: Making Faces

Posted October 24, 2013 by Victoria in My 5-star reads, New Adult/Young Adult / 0 Comments

making faces

5-star-rating

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

I almost skipped this book because some reviews said the romance didn’t start until the middle of the book. For me this wasn’t a book about romance, it was more about friendship and boy, how i loved Bailey, Fern and Ambrose. Bailey had a disease called muscular dystrophy and became wheelchair-bound at an early age. It’s interesting despite his disability he had such a big view of the world. In some ways this book was personal because it reminded me of my own brother who doctors said wouldn’t live past three months when he was born. He lived until he was 26—he was wheelchair-bound all his life but like Bailey, he had so much wisdom and he was a hero to me.

Anyway, back to the book—from the blurb, Ambrose comes home from war horribly disfigured and suffering an emotional turmoil of losing all his friends—friends whom he had convinced to sign up to join the Army. How Fern and Bailey draws him out of his survivor’s guilt becomes a strong part of the plot. I loved it when Bailey faced Ambrose and called him on his bullshit of self-pity. The development of the romance between Ambrose and Fern was very sweet. The insecurity of Ambrose that Fern loved him only because she wanted to take care of him like she did for Bailey was kind of heartbreaking. And though it’s an overused cliche, real beauty is what’s on the inside is a recurring theme throughout the story. There were no hot sex scenes and I was fine with that although I did ugly-cry my way through the last 15% of the book.

In the end, one realizes that “there isn’t heartache if there hasn’t been joy.” One wouldn’t “feel loss if there hadn’t been love.” Would one rather not have pain than never have known that person one loved and lost?

The epilogue was short, but darn did I go for the tissue all over again.

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James River Writers Conference 2013

Posted October 21, 2013 by Victoria in Author Ramblings, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

douglas

Thanks to a tip-off from a good friend of mine, I was able to attend my first writer’s conference right here in Richmond. My first impression was, Boy, there’re so many serious-looking writers. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and charisma of speakers Brad Parks and Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run).

I was kind of put off by how some speakers derisively labeled New Adult as soft porn. They obviously have not read Colleen Hoover’s Slammed and Hopeless series. There wasn’t much smut in Beautiful Disaster either. I think they should not ignore the generation of readers that Fifty Shades of Grey have spawned. I myself have no interest in reading pulitzer-prize winning pieces, because I love my smutty reads. 😉

I had my eye on the Improving your Craft track. Some were helpful, some were not what I was expecting.

Suspense across Genre

Always lead with your best stuff. Create compelling characters—balance the good and bad in him. Make the readers care for that character and then raise the stakes. Chop up the suspense—no info dumping. Build the suspense, but slow it down at some points.

*My own thoughts. Since I write romantic suspense, I build the characters by having them react to the circumstances/danger I throw at them. How they react will shape their existing characterization helped along by a backstory. Create life-threatening scenes, although, since I write HEA endings, these make them a bit trickier to be suspenseful.

First Draft Method and Madness

Don’t get too attached to it. The predominant advice was to push through to finish your first draft. Cut out the editor in you. If you have to use the word “Suddenly” to introduce a scene, do so. If you have to use adverbs to get it moving forward, do so. It’s important to get all the way through to the end to get a sense of your plot…to see if it’s working or not.

I’ve also read this before. The first draft is always messy. If it’s so orderly and clean, then you did not allow yourself to give it your all. And that’s what you have to be: reckless and crazy.

Ernest Hemingway once said: “The first draft of anything is shit.”

Revising like a Rockstar

So you have your first draft. It’s time to cut or to add in. Revising is NOT editing. So turn off that little editor in your head. If a scene doesn’t advance the theme, cut it out. The best thing to do is to distance yourself from your work, so you can come back and look at it with fresh eyes.

I’ve done this with Silver Fire. I let the manuscript sit for a few weeks before going back to work on it.

When you are ready to edit, read it aloud. See where sentences are bleeding. An attendee suggested diagramming your sentence.

Take a look at the Paramedic method, by Richard Lanham for a way on writing concisely.

Now, some of favorite authors like Kristen Ashley have a way of writing run on sentences that have so much heart. To be honest, sometimes too perfect sentences are boring. Don’t you think?

Be careful not to edit out your voice.

**** I was disappointed in the last two sessions because they were the ones I was most excited about. I am the first to admit that I do have a problem writing run-on sentences and dangling modifiers.

Word nerds Unite! Advanced Techniques in Sentence Fluency

There were no advanced techniques given at all. I mean, the speakers just gave us what were their worse writing ticks.

  • Between you and me
  • Preposition with no object
  • Comma before which -> I covered this in an earlier post
  • Using that instead of who
  • Watch those adverbs
  • minimize helping verbs

You need clarity when writing a scene.

One of my goals this year is to let go of the conjunction “as” when writing action scenes. I seem to be using it too much like a crutch when describing simultaneous actions. There must be a way to rewrite sentences to avoid too much repetition.

Plot Mechanics

So I was hoping for something like Larry Brook’s story engineering—how to keep the plot moving forward, but all we got was a dissection of the authors’ book, which was also good to see how they plotted their novel. I think the engineer in me wanted to break down a book into parts (1st plot point, build up, 2nd plot point etc.), but what they’re trying to say was that writing is organic and you should just let your characters flow.

Know the vague end, because it may still change.

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Silver Fire Extended Epilogue

Posted October 12, 2013 by Victoria in Guardian Series, Silver Fire / 0 Comments

Yes, there will be one. Still plotting. Heck, I’m still writing Smoke and Shadows, but I have to correlate the extended epilogue somehow. Let’s just say that Viktor Baran involves Sophie in AGS  and Derek is not pleased (Especially when Viktor does it behind Derek’s back, although I couldn’t blame Viktor seeing that these MDI men are OTT protective). Remember that spherical detonator thingie? Looks like the Guardians are getting their own Q. (for those who watch James Bond) ;).

And yes, it will be free.

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Smoke and Shadows, Guardians #3

Posted October 10, 2013 by Victoria in Guardian Series, Smoke and Shadows / 0 Comments

I’ve started writing Smoke and Shadows—Viktor and Marissa’s book. It’s turning out to be an emotional one because Viktor’s backstory is very tragic. Anyway, it’s not all sadness because as I try to figure out how to write him—what he says isn’t exactly what’s going on in his mind and some of his thoughts are hilarious (and sarcastic). 😉

I’ve always had one casting in mind when I think of Viktor, check him out after the jump if you want.

Blurb:

Guardians are getting assassinated. When someone close to Viktor Baran becomes a target, it becomes extremely personal, and he vows a hellfire of a payback. But the enemy has avoided the trappings of the digital web and wisely employs a network of couriers to plan his strikes. With high-tech systems rendered useless, Viktor resorts to old-fashioned cloak and dagger methods to delve deeper into the root of his enemy’s hatred for the Guardians. What will happen when he uncovers a link to a past he is  reluctant to revisit?

Eight years ago, Marissa Cole walked away from the man she loved. New to the CIA’s Clandestine Service then, she was overwhelmed by the intensity of the man who would stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to get the job done. “Don’t get involved with the person you work with” has become her motto ever since—until a series of events throws her back into Viktor Baran’s world.

Danger and mayhem are the perfect formula to reignite their passion, but could they keep their feelings out of the equation this time?

For the stakes are too high, and they must battle a growing threat, not only to AGS, but to every government agency critical to the country’s safety. Is targeting the Guardians merely a distraction or is it the first step to the deadly end game of a looming entity determined to rain destruction on the nation’s capital?

Read More

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Some Q & A about Silver Fire

Posted October 3, 2013 by Victoria in Guardian Series, Silver Fire, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Silver Fire Sml

Silver Fire is one of my most risky writings yet, I think I’ve thrown some very uncomfortable situations in there that readers of my first book Fire and Ice may not be expecting. Anyway, I’ve opened up a blog post on GoodReads which enables me to put spoiler tags in case anyone has questions. I’ve already addressed the scene at the end of Chapter 2 and the “sexual deviant” meaning in the warning. So if you’ve already read Silver Fire or if you want to make sure that some uncomfortable scenes are acceptable, check out:

Q & A post, spoilers likely

Look inside feature of Amazon won’t be available for another week, so here are the chapters that include the uncomfortable scene.

Chapter 1 & 2

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Silver Fire now available

Posted October 2, 2013 by Victoria in Guardian Series, Silver Fire, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Silver Fire Sml

I hit publish on Silver Fire yesterday. You can get your copy at Amazon or Smashwords. It should show up for Nook and Apple iBookstore soon.

The excerpt feature of Amazon is not working. Download the first two chapters here.

  • New release promo price,99 cents, until October 15. (regular $2.99)

Blurb:

What if you hold the blueprint to a device that can destroy an entire city?

Sophie Marie Leroux is a genius nuclear physicist who runs Silver Fire Research, a laboratory that has developed the technology to enrich Zefinium—an element so versatile, it can be used as an infinite power source. It is also rumored to be an alternative to weaponized plutonium. Certain factions want to see that research buried, and the only way to make it happen is to get rid of Sophie. But greed has brought out sinister forces that may just coerce her into building the most lethal weapon since the nuclear bomb.
Derek Lockwood has avoided commitment all his life. His past involvements in high-risk missions with the Army Special Forces and Artemis Guardian Services (AGS) are not exactly building blocks for meaningful relationships. Now an executive for a defense company, he finds himself attracted to his new business partner. An angel with a mind like Einstein—Sophie just may be the one woman who will have him forsake all others.
However, behind Sophie’s brilliant mind lurks a dark past, and Derek will need all his intellectual and sensual expertise to break through her emotional minefield.

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