How We Fall Book Blast

Hey all! I am so glad to get to share this with you today. Kate is such a talented author and when I started to read the first chapter of her upcoming book, HOW WE FALL, I couldn’t stop. After you read the first chapter below, I know you’ll be hooked too.

The #YAlaunch book party in celebration of HOW WE FALL and Nikki Urang’s THE HIT LIST is happening November 10th (today) from 6-9pm central. It will be a great opportunity to connect with other readers, hear from some great authors, get your questions answered, and possibly win one of 100 books they’re giving away! Not to mention, I’ll be there, so now you have to come 🙂


 

How We FallHow We Fall
Kate Brauning
Merit Press, F&W Media
Releasing November 11, 2014
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1440581797
ISBN-13: 978-144058179

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much–and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

Praise for How We Fall:

Kirkus Reviews: “Debut novelist Brauning tells a touching story of young, star-crossed lovers caught in a drama they have tried hard to avoid…. A sweetly written mix of mystery and romantic turmoil.”

School Library Journal: “Heartbreaking and well-paced, this mystery novel challenges readers to look past preconceptions and get to the know characters, rather than focus on an uncomfortable taboo. Brauning’s characters are well developed and their story engrossing. An intriguing thriller… this title will raise eyebrows and capture the interest of teens.”

ALA Booklist: “…an unusual combination of romance and suspense…There is also something universal about Jackie’s struggles with her feelings and her desires, and readers will identify with her emotions, while going along for the plot’s ride. This quest for identity, wrapped up in an intriguing mystery, hooks from the beginning.”

How We Fall is available through:

Barnes & Noble Indie Bound Walmart.com Book-A-Million Book Depository Powell’s

Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk

All book lovers are invited to attend #YAlaunch, a giant book party for How We Fall and The Hit List on Monday, November 10th, from 6-9pm central time. Broadcast live over video, the party will allow you to see, hear, and interact with the authors. 10 YA and adult authors will be discussing everything from writing a series to how they write love interests. They’ll also be playing book games with the audience, taking questions, and giving away 100 books to guests attending online. Authors attending include NYT bestsellers Nicole Baart and Tosca Lee, Kate Brauning, Nikki Urang, Kiersi Burkhart, Bethany Robison, Alex Yuschik, Blair Thornburgh, Kelly Youngblood, and Delia Moran. It will be a fun and interactive evening for anyone who loves books and wants to spend some time with great authors. For more information and to sign up to attend, please click here. We’d love to see you there!

Author Bio:www.jenniophotography.com

Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at http://www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.

The Fog

It’s inescapable and suffocating, a fog that consumes me entirely.

No, I’m not talking about that fog–the killer horror movie kind–but the kind that is always inside of me, all the time. Its name is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and today it came out with a vengeance.

If you know me or are familiar with this blog at all, you’ve likely heard me mention it before. Honestly, I don’t talk about it very often because I try not to focus on it. I refuse to let my illness win, become a part of every aspect of my life, and suck the joy out of everything that I enjoy.

But today, it did just that.

Sorry for the past few days of relative silence, but I’ve had a good reason I promise. Normally, I’m good about “powering through” my bad days. I’ve been living with my illness for more than seven years, so I’ve gotten pretty good at managing it. But if you are one of my unfortunate comrades who have chronic illness yourselves, you are all too familiar with the fog.

I’ve been reading the Shadow and Bone trilogy, so I am comparing it to the Fold. A lot of days, I am able to summon enough light to pierce through the fog, just like Alina, but others, I don’t have the strength, or it’s just not enough.

Today was one of those days. After I was up all night being physically ill, my body is completely wiped. I slept for twelve hours, then napped, and still didn’t have the energy or strength to get out of bed. I haven’t been able to sit up for more than a few minutes at a time without feeling dizzy, let alone make it out of room or down a single flight of stairs. I didn’t even have energy to hold a conversation with my boyfriend or family, and spent the day more or less in isolation, but for my ever present cuddle buddy and sick day companion.

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It has been a long time since I have had such a bad day as far as my illness. But I am reminded, even now, when it is difficult to summon enough strength to write this post, that no matter how bad things are in this body, I can escape to a hundred others.

Being trapped in this bed can feel an awful lot like sitting in a jail cell–but books and writing are a portal to an endless possibility of worlds, and freedom.

This is why I love writing, and why I will never, ever stop being a writer. I can’t. Words and ink are like oxygen and blood to me. They are my light, to pierce through the fog and the muck of this life, no matter how dark it seems.

Reading Siege and Storm got me through today. For a few hours at least, I could forget the pain and discomfort of this body, and become someone else entirely, lost in a rich, vivid, fantasy world. What could be better than that?

The reality of my illness means that I cannot always push through, and I will have to miss out on things, sometimes things that I love. I’ve missed staying connected with the writing community, work, a party, and interacting with friends and family. Please be patient with me in times like this, and know that I have not forgotten about all you lovely people, I am trying my best 🙂

I will have this illness for the rest of my life, and nothing can change that until there is a cure.  In the mean time, though, books make life a whole lot better.

And with that, I am going to finish this book, and then nap for the third time today.

My Writing Process Blog Hop

So, Hayley from Books Are Delicious tagged me in the writing process blog hop forever ago, but somehow I just never got around to it. Then, Sabrina from Books and Bark tagged me this week, and it was kind of a kick in the butt (I may also be restless while waiting for CampNano to start). So thanks so much to both of these ladies for nominating me, they are both awesome blogs that everyone needs to go check out, now 🙂

What Am I Working On?

My current YA fantasy work in progress, called Nightfire, is about 16 year old Kera who survives in the wilds, in a world ravaged by shape-shifting monsters called Shadows. When she and her mother are attacked by the Shadows, leaving her mother half-dead, and Kera with fragmented visions, she must turn to the humans she has been taught to fear her entire life, to  help her find her missing sister. You can check out a better summary here, or follow my progress under the tag To Build A Story.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

Something I have a habit of doing, unintentionally, is genre-bending. For a long time, my first manuscript was strictly sci-fi, but it wasn’t working. When I added magic and the fantasy element, something clicked–but I still loved the technology and the world I had created. So why not have both? Nightfire is similar in that it has magic and monsters, but also strong post-apocalyptic elements, such as machines, some tech, and a collapsed society.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

I really don’t limit myself to genres. While my two main manuscripts happen to be fantasy, I’ve also written contemporary, sci-fi, even paranormal. I don’t really choose what I write, the stories come to me.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

First, I start with an abstract concept. This can be a setting, a premise, or a voice, that strike me one day. I have a lot of these ideas floating around, so usually when I’m first inspired I’ll write as much as I possibly can about this idea. This is mostly major concepts and characters, kind of a rough outline, or particular ideas. Then I sit down to write, and just let the words flow. I take this abstract idea, kind of a mound of clay, and let it form and shape itself into something more concrete. If I fall in love, I keep writing. Usually I can tell by about the 15k mark, if an idea is novel-ready. If it’s not, I store it for later (I have dozens of these, waiting to be written). If it is, I keep letting the story tell itself. I don’t plan very much, just main story ideas and arcs, because often the story takes itself places I never imagined. I also have a heavy editing phase, but I actually enjoy this part almost as much. This is where I get to take that half-formed stone and chip away, bit by bit, to reveal the masterpiece inside. 🙂 Don’t underestimate the importance and power of editing!

I wish I had some great advice, but I really don’t. Everyone is different. I’ve been writing my entire life, and the stories tell themselves for me. I’ve kind of learned through years of trial-and-error what works for me and what doesn’t. While I think it is important to learn the craft, I think you will improve most through just plain writing, and figuring it out for yourself.

Tag People!

1. Jackie Smith – A Platform of Sorts

2. David Ben-Ami – Fiction All Day

3. Stephanie Allen – My Personal Fairytale

4. Writing Smarter

5. Yawatta Hosby – A Writer’s Blog

What Am I Getting Myself Into?

My very first blog post had this title, but it’s been a long day, my creativity is spent, and that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now.

I’ve heard so much about NaNoWriMo, for years now, even before I jumped into this whole thing. I just never thought it would be possible for me. First of all, being in school full-time, I would never have time in November. Plus, before a couple months ago, I’d  never tried a monthly word goal. So, 60,000 words in a month?? Impossible.

Now I am signed up for CampNaNoWriMo, with one day left before it starts.

Cue panic mode? Check.

At the time I didn’t know that you could aim for anything less than the 60k, but you can. So, I am aiming for the much more manageable 20,000. After all, this will only be my second monthly word goal ever, and I do have an actual life too. 🙂

I’ve only been signed up for a few days, but am already finding all kinds of lovely people. Once again, the writing community is amazing! I’m all snuggly in a cabin with a few awesome bloggers, and have taken a break the past few days to rest my creative juices.

To get ready, I’ve outlined the next 20 chapters or so on notecards, as a general guide for where to go. This is new for me, since I really don’t plan before I write, outside of major concepts and arcs. But, I know that with no direction, and pressure to write everyday, I would find myself coming up blank too often. Here’s the first half of my notecards ready:

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The organization and planning help to lessen the panic, but also make me feel a little stuck and forced. I’m not used to so much planning! Campers, how are you getting ready? Are you meticulously planning every detail out ahead of time, or are you ready to fly by the seat of your pants? If you’re not a camper, then you really should look into it. It’s not as scary as it seems, I promise.

With one day left, I’m feeling nervous, but I’m looking forward to this. I’ll tag all posts under both To Build A Story and CampNano, and I will keep you updated on my progress and my journey as I go through this 🙂

Good luck!

 

Book Review: FROI OF THE EXILES

So I’ve been reading this one for a while (it is a long book, give me some credit) but I’m finally done! Here it is, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, or need a reminder:

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta is the second in the Lumatere Chronicles series (which I didn’t know when I bought it, and didn’t realize until I was about halfway through reading it, haha). I’ve said before that I have a love/hate relationship with this book, and after finishing it, I still do.

The Jist: An ex-street thief (Froi) is sent on a mission to a rival kingdom (and his homeland), impersonating someone who is supposed to break the curse with the half-mad princess, while he discovers ties to his past and plots to kill the king.

The Good: Wow, Melina Marchetta is a master with emotions. Some scenes were so raw and believable that it just struck me. She created some complex, dark, tortured characters that made me feel for them. I mean the feels. Even with the strange world and characters, she managed to make some realistic, relatable emotions and relationships. I think the emotions and the dynamics of the different, complex relationships were my favorite part. Unfortunately, some of the most interesting characters were side characters rather than main, and I would have liked to see more from them.

The Not-So-Good: While she’s good with emotions, I didn’t feel the same about her storytelling. Besides the overwhelming, confusing cast of characters which make things hard to keep track of (half the time I couldn’t remember who they were, so I didn’t really care) the pace is incredibly slow. Honestly, I ended up skimming a lot (blasphemy, I know). Even in the supposedly climactic scenes, or scenes with huge revelations, it would take so long to get to the point that I was just lost and bored by that time, and then sometimes would miss the huge moment. Other times felt like a huge info dump, and there was a lot of backstory that felt kind of unnecessary, confusing, and for characters I didn’t entirely care about.

Favorite Part: Definitely Froi and Quintana’s (the half-mad princess) relationship. Probably the most interesting, bizarre, but endearing love story I’ve ever read. I didn’t even find Froi particularly interesting or likeable, but every single scene with them was just brilliant. I would have loved more time with Quintana’s character period, as she was by far my favorite.

The Verdict: I don’t know what to say, honestly. The moments of brilliance were brilliant and will stay with me for a while. But I feel like I had to work so hard to get to those moments. So, for now, I will likely hold off on the next and final book until I am ready again. But these were definitely some characters that won’t leave me anytime soon. If you are a fan of epic fantasies, and don’t mind a long read or keeping track of characters, then those moments of raw, stark brilliance are absolutely worth it.

What’s Up Wednesday

KITE2

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. If you’d like to join us, check out the blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! 

What I’m Reading

Still reading Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, and still have kind of a love/hate relationship with it. Almost done, so expect a full review to follow 🙂 The Park Service is still on the back burner for now, but I haven’t forgotten about it! Just haven’t had much time to read lately, and Froi is a long one.

What I’m Writing

Working on my WIP, Nightfire! The words have literally been flying by, with writing every day last week, I’m now almost to the 20k mark overall, and feeling great 🙂 Sprints have been very helpful so far, and I encourage you to try them if you’re having issues getting words down. Sometimes I don’t even mean to, or know what to write, but when I sit down for the sprint, the words just come out anyways.

What Inspires Me

Other writers! The writing community has been great as always. Not only for support, but I love seeing what other people are doing, where they’re at, and getting to share this journey with them. Plus, like in my last WeWriWa snippet, a comment inspired me with a whole new idea I’d never thought of before! Y’all are great 🙂

What Else I’m Up To

Wow, life is crazy right now! I am getting ready to be a first time aunt in the fall (we just found out it’s a girl! 🙂 ) I am transferring to a university in the fall, moving to my first apartment in a month, helping boyfriend through his summer classes, working full days for my nannying family, planning for a trip next week, and trying to manage my health. I am trying my best to keep up with Twitter and blogging, but with everything else going on, I am getting behind, so don’t feel that I am ignoring you! I will get to all my comments and tweets eventually 🙂

Have a great week!

What’s Up Wednesday

KITE2

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. If you’d like to join us, check out the blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! 

What I’m Reading

I finished The Fear Trials by my friend Lindsay Cummings last week, and it was great! A quick read, and definitely worth it. What a great opening to The Murder Complex series (you can read my full review here).

I am still in the middle of reading The Park Service by Ryan Winfield, which unfortunately I’ve kind of lost interest in for now (don’t worry, I haven’t put it down for good, it’s just on the back burner. Still a great book, I’m just fickle when it comes to books)

While traveling this past week, I read a lot of Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. Honestly, I really didn’t like it for a long time, but kept it to read to help me sleep (sad but true). Then, somehow, some of the characters were just so intriguingly unique I was able to look past its major flaws. The jury is still out on this one, but I’m almost halfway through now.

What I’m Writing

As I’ve said, I’ve been working on a brand new (still untitled) WIP! So far, it’s going great. I didn’t think I could fall in love with another world and different voices, but I have. So far, the words have been flowing so naturally, and I get excited every time I sit down to write. I hope this can continue. 🙂 (if you want to read more about it, I’ll be sharing my journey under To Build A Story, and you can read the first post here)

What Inspires Me

As far as my writing, I’ve been inspired most by the new voices of my characters. They’re really what has made writing so easy and painless, kind of like they’re writing the story for me. I can only hope it stays this way 🙂

What Else I’m Up To

Illness has really kicked my butt this week. I went to California for my cousin’s graduation, and was looking forward to a week with my family where I could relax, enjoy the beach, and celebrate. My immune system had other plans. The second day I was there I became really sick, which only worsened throughout the trip. I was still able to participate in certain things, but most of my time was simply miserable.

After a visit to the ER right after I got home, I am doped up on pain meds, antibiotics, and cough medicine, and have my fingers crossed I can get better soon. The upside? The meds keep me better enough that I can write, and with all this time in bed, I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve also had a pretty good stretch of being healthy before this, so I can’t be too mad. Nothing lots of rest, medicine, and doggie cuddles won’t fix 🙂

Have a great week!