Friday, September 28, 2012

Reading Firsts

No one forgets their first time. Wait, I think the person who made up that saying meant something else by it.

Regardless, there are many firsts in reading that I will never forget, like . . . .

The First Book I Ever Read To Myself And Enjoyed

If you've read some of my old posts, you already know that I didn't learn how to read until the summer before I was in the 3rd grade. I started kindergarten in a poor elementary school with bad teachers. We didn't do any work in our classes because the teachers had already given up on us. We ran around like wild animals instead. I remember my first grade teacher crying because she hated her job and the principal trying to comfort her. I felt bad, but I was just a kid. What was I supposed to do?

My family moved to a new area when I started second grade, where the kids knew how to spell "happiness", while I didn't even know how to spell "cat." My Mom got me a tutor that summer and I quickly caught on.

She bought me a book called "Ready....Set....Read!" I fell in love with it instantly.

I still remember the majority of the stories in that book because I re-read it so many times. I was reciting the poem about "Sheep in a Jeep" to my boyfriend the other day and he thought I was being weird.

My First Book Series

My father read to me a chapter every night before I went to sleep as a child. It gave me something to look forward to, especially since he was reading to us about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I quickly fell in love with her adventures on the prairie and insisted that we read all of her books.

My family even visited her house once on a cross country trip. I was amazed by how small it was. I was a little kid, but the cabinets looked liked they were built for someone my height to use.

My First Chapter Book

The first chapter book I ever read was given to me by my grandmother. It was a book in the popular Sweet Valley Kids series. Little did I know, I'd wind up reading Sweet Valley Junior High, Sweet Valley High, and Sweet Valley University obsessively growing up.

All I remember was that they were having a slumber party because it was their birthday. I read the entire book in one day. It was only 80 pages, but that was quite a feat for a girl as young as me.

I told my grandmother that I'd already finished the book. She laughed at me and didn't believe me. In fact, no one in my family believed me, even when I recited the whole story to them.
The First Time I Stayed Up All Night Reading

I grew-up on Francine Pascal novels. Not only did I read all the Sweet Valley books, but I also enjoyed her Fearless series as well.

As much as I tried to put the books down, whenever a new release came out, I'd stay up all night reading the book. I was addicted to reading about Gaia and her adventures. I loved her even more than I loved the Wakefield twins.

The First Adult Romance Novel I Ever Read

I will never forget this book or what the cover looked like. I found it by accident. I was only twelve years old and at one of my library's book sales where they let you take an entire box full of books for only five dollars if you want to. I was reading Sweet Valley High at the time and knew I wanted to read more romance novels. What I didn't know was that adult romance novels had sex scenes in them.

I'm pretty sure that the author would be upset that a twelve year old read one of her novels, but I loved it and started reading lots of adult romance novels as a teenager. (And then later I became an adult who read only Young Adult novels for awhile. This is backwards!)


What are some of your reading firsts?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Lay-Out

I decided to update the lay-out for the blog today. I may tweak some of the colors later or change the lay-out a bit if I can figure out why the blog isn't showing up correctly for certain people.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It Doesn't Matter What People Think

"It doesn't matter what people think."

I always think that I believe these words, but find myself getting insecure regularly anyway.

Like when someone at my mother's church asked her when I was going to get a "real" job and stop trying to be a writer. I got mad because I forgot that it doesn't matter what people think.

Or when another writer talks about how self-published authors (which is what I'm about to be) aren't as good as other authors, I need to remember that it doesn't matter what people think.

I remember reading a blog post awhile back about twitter. I follow back everyone who follows me and additional people on top of that, so I have more people I'm following than people who are following me. According to this person, entertainers like me are losers because we only have the followers we do because we follow people back. People with lots of followers who aren't following many people are supposedly the only interesting people on twitter.

I got mad at first because I forgot: it doesn't matter what people think.

I follow people back because I want to interact with them if possible. They showed an interest in me, so I'd like to do the same thing for them. I read tweets whenever I can and respond to them when I have time. I have wonderful conversations because of it.

I'm not going to stop doing this either because I feel like it's the right thing for me to do.

So if you're a writer who has gotten a bad review today or a person who has been insulted by someone you considered to be a friend. Just remember: it doesn't matter what people think! People do good things all the time and still get criticized over them, but those who continue on the right paths and don't give into pressure, are the ones who will get to live the best lives.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Medusa's Desire - Cover Reveal

I'm finally able to reveal my cover for my upcoming book: Medusa's Desire! Both the blurb on the back and the cover may change, especially if I get some good advice on how to make it better before I publish it, but this is what has been sitting on my desktop for awhile.

Medusa's Desire should be released as an e-book by the end of the year!

It all started the day her god raped her.

She transformed into an abomination through his touch. Her skin grew scales. Her eyes turned red. She screamed for help, but all who saw her became stone.

Medusa thought she would be alone forever, until the day a man came to kill her and fell in love instead. Now Perseus is running from those who hired him as he continues to love a girl who could kill him with a glance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When It Explodes In Your Face

You're never expecting it. You post an innocent picture or rant on facebook, expecting it to get the likes that most of the stuff you normally post receives, when all of a sudden you find people getting angry in your comments. What do you do? How do you fix this?

This happened to me to a mild degree during the whole Chick-Fil-A fiasco - where people were taking sides about supporting homosexuals or freedom of speech because of certain comments that the COO, Dan Cathy, made. Another writer posted an image with directions on how to make a Chick-Fil-A sandwich at home if you no longer wanted to go to the restaurant. I thought it would be a good idea to hit the share button for any of my friends who might have wanted the information. I didn't post my opinion on the issue or even write anything in the comments, but several people posted heatedly, one of which wasn't even on my friends list at all.

I decided to stay silent and felt guilty, since some of the people arguing were authors who had been kind to me in the past. My heart told me to defend them. My mind told me to stay out of it and it would blow over.

Expressing my opinions has been an issue that's been hard for me to deal with as of late. When you speak your mind, there are always people who don't want to hear what you have to say. It didn't help that there was a thread recently on a forum I love to post on about a successful author and how she's kept most of her opinions to herself. She shows kindness to other authors and readers, which is why so many of us love her and read her books.

Me, on the other hand, I had expressed a strong opinion previously in the exact thread this was posted in. I immediately felt like an idiot and toned it done through editing my post. I've been nervous about expressing strong opinions ever since.

My parents and I have discussed the Chick-Fil-A issue in private and just so you know, we were on opposing sides of the argument. I won't say what my opinion was, but I will say we were able to love and respect each other anyway.

I also want to say that regardless of how I feel about Chick-Fil-A, I don't ever want to be viewed in a similar manner as Chick-Fil-A. You may not like the genres or style I write in. If not, that's okay. But I'd hate for you to buy my book just because you liked one of my opinions or refuse to buy it because you disagreed with me. It's about my products, not who I am as a person.

I'd love to have readers of all religious beliefs, political opinions, races, sexualities, and genders. You're all special and will teach me something different through interactions with you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Character Connections

Today, I'm happy to have a guest on my blog. Meet Tricia Drammeh, a fellow author. Be sure to check her out on her website, blog, facebook, or twitter. Here's her post:


Everyone has a favorite character, a hero or heroine who makes us re-read a book over and over again. Though a well-crafted plot is essential to a good book, the characters can make or break a novel. As humans, we are hardwired to seek out connections with other human beings. Books give us an opportunity to connect using our imaginations.

Who is your favorite character? Do you admire the humble heroism of Harry Potter? Or, are you drawn to a bold, brash, fearless hero? For those of us who like to identify with our favorite characters, we might see our own shyness mirrored in Bella Swan from Twilight. Or, we might admire the steely independence in the heroine from our favorite romance novel.

But, what if you prefer the antagonist? What if you prefer Professor Snape to Professor Dumbledore? Does your pulse race when your favorite villain takes his outrageous behavior to a new level? In some deep, dark recess of your imagination, do you find yourself rooting for the bad guy just a little?

A well-written antagonist elicits a strong response from the reader. One of my favorite series is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sauron is the big bad embodiment of evil. We don’t know anything about him, except for the fact that he’s the enemy and must be defeated. I know I’m supposed to root against him, and I do, but I don’t have any strong feelings for him—not really. But, let me tell you this—when Boromir was swayed by the evil of the ring and went a little crazy at the end of book one, he became one of my favorite characters. 
Okay, so maybe I’m a little twisted.

My point is this: characters must be multidimensional, even the bad guys. It was Boromir’s struggle throughout the book that appealed to me. He wasn’t evil, but he was influenced by it. I understood his dilemma and it made him more real to me. The antagonist in any novel is more interesting if there are a few flashes of likability. Is the villain sarcastic and sometimes funny? Is there something in his past that caused him to become wicked? Do we feel sorry for him just a little? If the reader has an emotional connection with the bad-guy, the story is a much better read.

The protagonist must have layers too. The main character, though admirable and wonderful in almost every way possible, must sometimes succumb to jealousy, impetuousness, vanity, or rage. Those flaws and failures make them human. They help us connect with the main character on an emotional level.
For those readers out there, ask yourself what you look for in a hero...and a villain. If you find a book with characters who really talk to you, don’t be afraid to recommend that book to others. Not only can you connect with the characters in the novel, you can connect with other readers when you sit down to discuss your favorite characters.

And, for writers, I challenge you to analyze the characters you’ve created. How well do you know them? Have you created multidimensional heroes your readers can fall in love with, flaws and all? Or is your heroine too perfect? Do your villains have elements to their personality that add depth to the character? As writers, we need to connect with our readers by creating characters they can connect with.

Happy Reading!

The Claiming Words by Tricia Drammeh
The Alexanders have always kept their secrets hidden…

When sixteen-year-old Jace Alexander moves to the small town of Oaktree, Georgia, he attracts the attention of every girl in school. Shy, introverted Alisa Cole immediately casts Jace in the leading role of her latest fantasy, but she assumes he’ll never return her interest. After she saves Jace from a Hunter, everything changes. Her accidental discovery of Jace’s secret propels her into a world of magic and danger. Alisa’s newfound courage is put to the test when Jace introduces her to his intimidating older brother, Bryce, and she decides she would rather battle a Hunter than endure another moment under Bryce’s intense scrutiny.

Jace and Bryce aren’t the only ones with secrets…

Rachel Stevens is the girl who has it all. She’s beautiful, popular, and in possession of an ancient power which endangers not only her, but those sent to protect her. Jace is drawn to Rachel—and he isn’t the only one. The Demon Re’Vel will do anything to claim her—even if it means waging a war with the entire Alexander family. As layers of secrets are peeled away, revealing the truth of her heritage and her family’s betrayal, Rachel struggles to resist an immortal suitor who stalks her in her dreams. With the Alexanders fighting to protect her, can Rachel escape the power of the Demon and his Claiming Words?

Author Bio:
Tricia Drammeh is a wife and a mother of four children. Although she currently lives in Missouri, she has called many places home, including Georgia, Ohio, and California. She’s worked in retail, customer service, sales, and accounting, but writing has always been her dream career. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, drinking vast amounts of coffee, and spending time with her family and the multitude of animals who have taken over her home. Tricia is currently working on her sixth novel.

Twitter @triciadrammeh

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Death of Romance

Is romance dead? With divorces happening every day and people discussing how humans were never meant to be with just one person, it's easy to get depressed. If you're a hopeless romantic, like me, you might bury yourself in romance novels to shut out those voices.

I used to daydream even as a little girl about falling in love. My barbies had tangled relationships with one another where they fell in love and were heartbroken over and over again. I started reading seriously at the age of twelve. Most of the books were Sweet Valley High novels, but I also got my hands on several adult romances, that I probably shouldn't have been reading at the time.

It's why, as a writer, I always include a romance in any novel I write, regardless of what genre it otherwise fits into. I like to explore love and what complications it could face in different settings.

Most romance readers love romance novels because of the happily ever after. They like knowing that the couple they are rooting for will wind up together in the end. This is often not how things happens in real life, so its reassuring to see those joyful endings in books. At least there's happiness somewhere.

The problem is, I decided to write a romance series based on Greek myths. What is one thing the Greeks are famous for? Their tragedies. I want to keep the stories true to their roots, but it came with a cost.

Not all tragic romances are horrible. After all, Romeo and Juliet is a classic. Most of us remember going to see Titanic in theaters and bringing tissues with us as we watched it. The Notebook is sad, but enjoyed by many people.

But I wanted to warn readers anyway, just in case it wasn't their thing. I needed a name for my book series, so I wanted something that showed the amount of romance and passion in each story, while at the same time explaining that there wouldn't always be a happily ever after.

All the ideas I came up with were horrible:

"Greek Lovers" - Sounds like I'm talking about modern Greece and the people who happen to love that country. It shows nothing of the tragedy, romance, or mythology that it's supposed to.

"Tragedies of Greece" - This illustrates none of the romance and it's too generic.

"Myth and Romance" - Again, too generic. Not dark enough.

I came up with many more and was banging my head against the desk because I hated all of them.

I asked my boyfriend for help and expected him not to give me any good ideas (most of the time when I ask him or my family with help on these issues, they have no idea what to tell me.)

But instead he came up with this amazing idea . . . . .

"The Death of Eros Series"

He was a genius! Eros, if you don't know, is one of the Greek gods of love. In America, we more commonly know him by his other name: Cupid. It shows both the romance of my series and the mythology. And the death shows how dark and tragic the series can be as well.

So when my novel, Medusa's Desire, comes out (hopefully at the end of this year *fingers crossed*) and you see the words "Book #1 in the Death of Eros Series" you'll know what it means and why I came up with it!

The book is filled with swoon-worthy and sexy scenes. but I can't promise that everything works out for Perseus and Medusa in the end. After all, Perseus kills Medusa in the original story to save his mother, but in my book, things are a little more complicated than that . . . . .

Hopefully, you'll read it and find out!