Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Better Late Than Never…. Song of the Week & Other Updates


Greetings and salutations!

Long time no blog! Yes, I know, I didn’t post a book review this past Monday, thus my reason for an ‘update’.

Last Friday, I spent a day away from work (an official vacation day) to write. In return, I finished the first draft of my book, ending with a total of 77,000 words.

Yessss!!!!! Woo-Hoo! *throws confetti*

Now, the hard fun part: Edits & Re-Writes Smile with tongue out

I began editing and re-writing this past Sunday, and may I just say that I feel like a nerd because I know this is supposed to be frustrating, a headache, yada, yada, yada, but, I’m having just as much with edits and re-writes as I did with researching and writing the book. My word count has now grown up to 77,800 words and I’m only 4 chapters in! 

Thus the reason that I have not been reading *too* much (other than catching up on The Black Dagger Brotherhood books). And when I say *too* much, that means I’m no longer reading two books at a time, and am slowly working through one book at a time. 

Striking while the iron is hot (so to speak), I’m going to continue on this path that’s running 90mph and edit, edit, edit, re-write, re-write, re-write. I do plan on finishing and reviewing Goddess With A Blade – just not within the next few days. Who knows….tomorrow my muse could decide to take a small vacay on me, and I’ll be posting a review again next week.

Until then, I will be stopping in every few days to share my thoughts, progress on my edits and re-writes, posting/sharing links for favorite music and/or videos, and, especially, sharing my favorite part of the week on the blog: ‘This Week In Favs….’

Now, onto the ‘Song of the Week’:

During the re-writing process on Sunday, my MC was being hit hard. I mean, world-falling-apart, punch-in-the-heart hard (and this is just within in the first two chapters).

While re-writing these pivotal scenes, I found myself listening to ‘Heavy in Your Arms’ by Florence and the Machine over and over again as the tears were pouring……flat-out balling.

Therefore, this week’s song is ‘Heavy in Your Arms’. For me, a strong song has the ability to either bring you up when you’re down, make you shake your booty (even while driving), or evoke a strong emotional response, whether that’s crying tears of sorrow or joy.

Once again, please share your favorite songs that you like to read, write, drive, or boogie to! 

And as always……

Happy Reading!


Friday, June 24, 2011

This Week in Favs………


Welcome to my first ‘This Week in Favs’ post! Each Friday, I will post my top 10 favorite blog articles, contests, videos, songs, and general happenings of the week. These can range from writing to movies to TV shows….well, the top 10 can cover pretty much anything that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout the week.

Here we go……..

10) ‘An Old Man and His Sea’ – This is the first editing I have done for a fellow writer, and it must be said that I enjoyed every second of it. JC Fiske wrote an inspiring piece based on Hemmingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” that reminds writers to silence their inner ‘sharks’ and that “…victory and defeat is not determined by size, strength or power but by will, determination and desire.”

9) ‘Five Openings to Avoid’ – This blog post from Nathan Bransford was posted on Thursday. Due to both Nathan’s article and the wonderful comments on what to avoid and what readers dislike in an opening, this posting has made it into my infamous writing binder <---this would be a binder that holds all of the great writing articles/tips that I’ve picked up from various sites/blogs over the past several months.

8) A new season of So You Think You Can Dance has begun, and I have experienced my first goosebumps of the season! For me, inspiration comes in many forms and can be found anywhere. I not only pull inspiration from watching these amazingly talented dancers, but this is where I also find more songs for my growing writing playlist (last season is where I, like the rest of the world, discovered Christina Perry).

Here is the performance that gave me those goosebumps. There is a short opening about the contestants, so wait a few minutes and you’ll get to experience their inspiring performance for yourself. 

7) ‘A Bucket of True Blood Season 4 Clips’ – Needless to say, I’ve been counting down the days until True Blood returns on Sunday. Luckily, HBO released eight clips from the upcoming season, and the folks over at Entertainment Weekly placed them all in one convenient place. Each clip focuses on one main character from the series, although there isn’t one for Tara, so we shall see if/when she pops up. From what I can tell though, this season will not disappoint ‘cause the witches are comin’ to town!

6) My first author giveaway with Virna DePaul! Being given the opportunity to host this on my blog was incredibly exciting since I *literally* just got my blog up and running two weeks ago. I can’t wait until the next book in the Para-Ops series, Chosen by Fate, is released in October (and yes, I do plan to review that one as well)!

5) Gods of Justice contest from Lisa Gail Green! This is one contest I have gotten super excited about. In honor of Gods of Justice now being available via Smashwords, Lisa is holding a contest on her blog, Paranormal Point of View. Lisa’s story, Identity Crisis, can be found within the pages of this superhero anthology that also contains stories by DC Comics writer Ricardo Sanchez and Star Trek author Dayton Ward. Get on over to her blog and enter to win a pdf copy and a first chapter critique!

4) ‘Puddle Books vs. Ocean Books’ – This is a wonderful, inspiring blog post that I discovered earlier this week. Kat Zhang reminds writers to put all they have into their writing because not only will it reflect in your characters’ dancing from the pages, it will kick your writing up and make your story memorable.

3) I have found a partner in crime/critique partner: Katie of KT’s Korner! We’re both working on getting our manuscripts ready, and we’ve had a great chat about what each other want/need in a partner. I must say that I’m incredibly excited as we have more in common than just our love for writing/reading PNR & UF. I can’t wait to not only hear what she has to say about my MS, but to also dive in and edit hers as well! As a writer, having a strong support system is needed required. I am proud to have Katie as my CP and she joins my super-awesome support system at home: the hubby (aka ‘Lurch’), who edits all of my blog posts, my bestie (aka ‘Piece of My Heart’), Jenn, who gives me great, honest critiques and helps me brainstorm (to just name 2 of the million ways she supports me), and several others that would take too long to name (and you know you who are).

2) JK Rowling gives us the final reveal of Pottermore! I won’t be able to do this listing justice, so I’m going to give it up to fellow blogger and writer, Susan, who has been diligently following the clues and owls left by JKR. She has posted an analysis, an interview of JKR with BBC, press conference video, quotes, images, and more! Get on over to Harry Potter for Writers to check it out and don’t forget to register for Pottermore!

1) Last but not least, I am ready to get on with my incredibly busy day of writing! I planned ahead and took the day off from work today to purposely get a TON of writing done (from 9am-9pm). If today proves to be successful (like it should), then my plan is to take at least one day off from work each month and dedicate it entirely to writing and editing. Wish me luck!

Everyone have a wonderful weekend!!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

And The Winner Is…..


As most of you know, on Monday, I posted a review of Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul, and held an author giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.

So, without further ado: per, the winner is <insert drumroll>….

Danielle W.

Congratulations, Danielle!!!


Thank you again to everyone who participated! I had so much fun hosting a giveaway, so keep your eyes open for more in the near future! Winking smile

Also, don’t forget to check out my Song of the Week: Over and Out by Alkaline Trio.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Song of the Week: Over and Out (Renholder Version) by Alkaline Trio

While writing this past Sunday (over 4,000 words added to my current WIP), I found myself listening to this song over and over and over….and over.
It’s a sad one, but it managed to strike a perfect chord with my writing and pushed me to dig fairly deep inside myself and project those emotions onto the page.
So, of course I felt the need to share with everyone!

Continue to send me your favorite songs! As always, I love listening to any and everything and I’m forever looking for additions to my playlist (special thanks to Lisa Gail Green for sharing last week!)
Happy Reading!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review & Author Giveaway!! Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul

Chosen by Blod
Chosen by Blood by Virna DePaul
Pub. Date:  May 3, 2011
Published by: Berkley
Format: E-book, 310 pages
Synopsis from Virna DePaul’s Website


United by fate. Bound by desire.

Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and otherborn – humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA – still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills.


Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with Special Agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their very first meeting.

"Every human and Otherborn for himself."
Chosen by Blood, the first book in the Para-Ops series, opened quite shockingly. After reading the prologue, I could tell that the romance in this book was not going to be ‘generic’. Knox Devereaux and Felicia Locke open this world with such intensity, that it’s hard not to overlook the circumstances surrounding them. When these two first met, they literally knew they were soul mates. But, between them stood Felicia’s best friend -  and Knox’s wife - Noella. Forbidden love? Yes. Typical? No.

A few years later, Knox steps right back into Felicia’s life as the half-born leader of an Otherborn vampire clan. After the humans created a vaccine that keeps their blood from nourishing the vampires, Knox’s mother, Bianca, had to step down from her role as the Vampire Queen due to the weakness her body has suffered. As a dharmire, Knox’s human blood kept his body strong, unlike the full-blooded vampires in his clan.

Given the opportunity by the FBI to save his clan by securing an antidote to the vaccine, Knox agrees to lead the Para-Ops team, but under a few conditions. One in particular in regards to Special Agent Felicia Locke - the woman of his heart that has been avoiding him like the plague even though her best friend no longer truly stands between them, and her feelings ran just as deep for him.

Against Knox’s wishes, Felicia joins the team. As a human, she stands along-side an absolutely wonderful cast of characters, known as the FBI’s Para-Ops Team: Dex Hunt, a bad-ass werebeast, Wraith, a ghost, Lucy, a powerful mage, and Caleb O’Flare, a fearless mountain-climbing, human-psychic medic.

Immediately after being introduced to these individuals, I could tell this diverse group was going to be fun to watch. Most of them are not too happy with working for the FBI, which is why they were baited with something that they each desperately wanted or needed. But eventually, they begin to grow on one another – even Felicia begins to let down her wall that has kept her feelings for Knox at bay all these years.

As the discovery and location of the antidote, and a hidden agenda is uncovered, the individual relationships between the Para-Ops team members grows by leaps and bounds – none more so  than that of Felicia and Knox (though Caleb O’Flare and Wraith begin to have you wondering).

I started reading Chosen by Blood knowing that it most definitely was a romance, but I soon discovered that this particular romance was only the beginning in a strong series set in a world that was built beautifully by Ms. DePaul. Every character has been fleshed out among the pages exceedingly well, and every detail made this book extremely interesting and the wonderful flow kept me enthralled so I couldn’t miss a single one of those details.

While Ms. DePaul closed Chosen by Blood in a manner where it ‘could’ be a stand-alone novel, she did leave a few loose ends open for future books. Those loose ends are exactly what has me counting the days until the next book, Chosen by Fate, is released on October 4th. And, to hold me over until then, a prequel novella, Wraith’s Awakening, is available for download from Virna DePaul’s website.

As you may know by now, any author who pulls me into their extraordinary world and keeps me immobile for hours with a need-to-know hunger for what happens next, has officially earned themselves a loyal reader. Well, I can not only say that about Ms. DePaul, but I can also say that I am now a true fan of her writing since I felt it push me further with my own.

Author Giveaway!
Ms. DePaul has graciously offered to giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter!
How to Enter: Enter your comments on the book review below (and remember to keep them clean and respectful). Please include your email address in your comment.
Deadline: All comments made/entered by 8pm on Wednesday (6/22) will be entered to win.
The winner will be chosen via and announced on Thursday morning’s blog post.

Good Luck & Happy Reading Everyone! Open-mouthed smile

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Song of the Week: Bliss by Muse


This song is one of my favorites by Muse! I blast it in my car, after work, at least twice a week.

My favorite part of this particular song is the second verse:
Everything about you pains my envying
Your soul can't hate anything
Everything about you is so easy to love
They're watching you from above

Hope you enjoy listening to Bliss as much as I do.

Do you have a song that you absolutely love?
Please share! I love finding new artists/songs to add to my ever-growing playlists.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Graveminder by Melissa Marr



Graveminder by Melissa Marr          Pub. Date: May 17, 2011          Published by: William Morrow     Format: Hardcover, 324 pages    Synopsis from Melissa Marr’s Website



Three sips to mind the dead . . .

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.


What happens in Claysville, stays in Claysville….

Graveminder is the first book I’ve read by Melissa Marr…and it will not be my last. Her Wicked Lovely series – set it in the YA world – is going to be added to my ‘to read’ list.

The world of Graveminder is like no other I’ve visited before: a small town where anyone who’s born there, never leaves – and if by chance they ever do, they always return. Claysville’s citizens never question the strange/scary events that happen, and a council strives to maintain order by working with the two individuals whose shoulders bear the weight of the town’s safety. Hidden underneath the town lies the land of the dead – an intricate world run by the mysterious ‘Mr. D’ (aka Charles). Because of the deal the town’s founders made with Charles, the Graveminder (Rebekkah) and the Undertaker (Byron) must ensure that the dead stay in their grave. If a grave is not minded, the dead rise and begin to feed on humans. The more they kill, the stronger they become and the harder it will be for the Graveminder and the Undertaker to lead them to the land of the dead.

Rebekkah is a strong main character, yet beautifully flawed like the rest of us. When we first meet her, you can feel that she’s been in search of her place in the world. By the time the story ends, you leave Graveminder with a smile on your face, knowing she has not only found it, but she’s happy with where fate has taken her.

The concept of Graveminder took me a bit by surprise, but delivered every hope I had of an exceptional read. It’s a fresh, fascinating, mind-boggling, insanely-genius and beautifully written page-turner. Ms. Marr has built a truly extraordinary world. Any author who can pull me in and keep me sitting there for hours, immobilized by the need to know what’s going to happen next, has earned themselves a loyal reader.

This is a must for your summer reading list!

Favorite Line/Quote:

“Part of being strong is knowing when to hide your weaknesses, and when to admit them. When it’s just us, you can cry. In front of the world, you keep that chin up.”

Favorite Character: Byron Montgomery

Byron surprised me throughout Graveminder. He’s handsome, quiet, strong-willed, patient, caring, smart, and a bit of a romantic. He loves Rebekkah profoundly, but has never been able to hold onto her throughout his adult life. Part of his journey with her reminded me of the old saying: “If you love something, let it go. If it’s yours, it’ll return to you.” He’s known what he’s wanted for most of his life, and with patience, he’s waited until she’s ready to accept the love and support he has to offer. Only time, and hopefully another book in this series, will tell whether or not his love for Rebekkah will be fully reciprocated.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ahhh! I’m Finally Here!


Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to my blog: Muse, Rant, Rave

What do I mean about finally being here? Well, I’ve been meaning to set this up for a few months. Katie W is actually responsible for inspiring me to get off my lazy butt make time in my insanely busy schedule and do it! So…many thanks to Katie. Be sure to stop by her blog, KT’s Korner, and say ‘hello’.

Beginning on Monday, I will begin my journey of daily posts which will range between books, music, movies, and TV – but beware! There will be a fair amount of lit talk since I am an aspiring author and avid reader. Eventually, I will get to a point of having a weekly book review on Mondays, a ‘Song of the Week’ on Tuesdays, and ‘The Week in Favs’ on Fridays. (Wednesday and Thursday are still open) <--- I am always open to ideas, suggestions, requests, and guest blogs.

Here’s one of my favorite vids to get this blog started, though totally non-lit related, and a must since my darling son-of-a-cat does this on a daily basis.

Simon’s Cat

I look forward to sharing, discussing, ranting, and raving with all of you!


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