Saturday, August 25, 2012

THE NIGHT CIRCUS

I finished a book by Erin Morgenstern called The Night Circus (Yes! No Clowns in this book) earlier this week. I decided to let it settle before I said too much about it. Unfortunately, that doesn't really matter because I STILL can't come up with a better way to sum up this book.
In a world full of copycat plot lines, stale story lines and horribly written books, The Night Circus was a breath of fresh air, to be cliche. My "Goodreads" review was as follows: 

One of the strangest most unique pieces of fiction I have read in a long time. Or, is it fantasy? Science Fiction? It seemed to contain all genres of literature. If I had to say, "this book was like ___" I think I would have to say it's like Harry Potter, The Eight and Water for Elephants all rolled into one, but it only accounts for maybe 60% of the theme of the book. The other 40% I can't put my finger on just yet.
(I would now change this to the other 40% is truly unique, Morgenstern's own creation.)
 I can't imagine how hard it may have been for Morgenstern to keep every character straight and to keep the timeline consistent. I am very intrigued on how the idea came to her and how she made it flourish beneath her pen (or laptop). 

This is a book you should own, so you can re read it again and catch everything you didn't catch the first time. It's one you should loan out to people but ask for it to be returned. It's a book to read with your book club so you can talk about the theme and what you would do if presented with the opportunities the characters had bestowed, or forced, upon them.

If you want a more succinct summary, look up the blurb one any of the numerous book websites as I can't describe it any better than they can!

After I finished this book, I read two more in a new series. They are your typical young-woman-finds-out-she-has-a-power-and-uses-it-for-good-while-meeting-an-attractive-new-cop-in-her-small-town. The jacket caught my eye, then I noticed that the second book in this new series was on a stand alone display in B&N under the title "Cooking Mysteries". There must have been 10 books that fit this bill (this one doesn't) and I began thinking, how many books are copy cats of others? I know this has been the case in the past. Now, because ANYONE can write ANYTHING and put it up on Amazon for ANYONE to buy, the ideas which flow out of many an authors hand just aren't  unique anymore. Another book I am interested in is called Every Day by David Levithan. When I read the summary, I immediately thought, "This sounds like one of my favorite books A Certain Slant of Light." To see if this is the case, I will be reading Levithan's new book as soon as I can get my hands on it at my local library. I have chosen not to read anything beyond the author's blurb so nothing is given away.

In sum, plot lines that sounds the same, or are similar in nature, is why The Night Circus stands alone. It kept my attention, had me up late a night trying to get in just one more chapter and is unlike anything that I have ever read. I'm wondering how long until the movie comes out? If you've read it, who would you cast as the main characters?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

KIRKUS Review of Transcendent

It's been awhile since I posted. I've moved from Maryland to Massachusetts, took a month to get the house in order (and we still have boxes in the basement), registered children, found new doctors, orthodontists etc. I haven't had time to write at all. However, I have been buying bookshelves and getting those books that were in boxes for so long out into my office! I am hoping once the school year starts, I can begin a schedule of writing (revising, editing current works) that will work around volunteering and adjusting to a new environment.

When I woke up this morning, I found an email from Robot Publishing with the Kirkus Review of Transcendent. I thought we did pretty well as a group of new authors. You can read the review HERE.

Look for more posts in the future. Thank you to everyone who has read and to everyone who has reviewed on any of the various sites (Goodreads, B&N, Amazon.) Have a wonderful summer!

Monday, May 7, 2012

On Hold Until I Move...But I Did Get My First Royalty Check!

The last contest didn't have any participants--officially anyway! It created a host of conversations on my personal Facebook page though, which was great! I will be getting ready to move from MD to MA at the end of the month and once our office & internet are set up at the new house I will resume blogging, and writing! Thanks to everyone who has supported me. Yesterday, my first royalty check came. I cashed it, took my son out to lunch and the rest is waiting for me to buy something for the new house! ~Heather

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A host of thoughts from spring to book fairs to appropriate clothing plus a contest!

It's been a month since I last posted, which is about three weeks too long. I have my excuses: we moved my husband up to Boston to settle him into his new job (the rest of the family is following in the summer), I work part time and I began writing up 15 preschool assessments (I made sure I wrote a paragraph about each and every kid because having your 3 yo attend school for the first time is a huge step and a typical "he's doing great" ain't gonna cut it). Earlier this month, I ran an elementary school Scholastic Book Fair and worked it for 7 days...but now I have settled down and found time to write.

I love books. Working the book fair was fun, rewarding, time consuming and made me realize how awesome my kids are when I wasn't home as much as I usually am. I found many new books to read like Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper which you can buy here, got to know many of the teachers that I only knew by sight before this and loved watching childrens' faces light up when they'd walk through the bookfair to use the restroom or go outside. I only had two small issues with Scholastic. One: I asked for Hunger Games because children and adults were requesting it. I was told it's too adult for that grade level so it wasn't going to come. However (this being my second issue) they found it appropriate to send stickers that said, "What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook" and "Does this sticker make my notebook look fat?" Um, hello? "Legally" you have to be a teenager to use Facebook and these kids are 11 at the oldest. And the fat comment was uncalled for, makers-of-that-sticker. You have girls entering puberty in 4th and 5th grade and who may already feel they are fat or are uncomfortable with their changing bodies, and you want to call MORE attention to that? But, being the avoid-conflict type of person I am I just didn't put the stickers out and left the email about Hunger Games alone.

Then I read the following blog, I "like" their FB page, and am now going to write my Scholastic representative an email, a nice and courteous one, about how they contradicted themselves. I urge you to read Pigtail Pals blog about Sears. Especially if you have a daughter and are having issues buying her clothing that isn't revealing or has inappropriate sayings on the shirts. This leads me into the next item of business...

Since winter just up and left and late spring took it's place, I saved a bit of money as I didn't  need to buy my children spring jackets. We went from winter coats, to no jackets at all at the bus stop in the morning. This also means allergies, mowing in March but I'll take it even though I love and miss the snow.
With spring and having three children going through growth spurts I have to buy new clothes for each of them! Boys are relatively easy. Dark shorts, plain/sport/college t-shirts, a few golf-like shirts for special events, church etc but my daughter was harder.

First, I went to a local consignment shop and scored there. I found some nice comfy shorts, cotton Land's End dresses, t-shirts with butterflies on them that weren't too tight or revealing but she needed some more. My second clothing trip, I went to my standby, KOHL'S, where I found zero--for me and her. The adult styles are all flowers or large print shirts--some have a cropped 1980s look about them--and others were just plain busy, for me, in their pattern. My daughter's clothing however was a disaster. If it didn't have sequins, low neck lines or was cropped, it was tight fitting, had pictures of stars she doesn't even like or wasn't her simple, comfortable, sporty style. I scored a pack of 3 undershirts and that was it.

Next was our local store, BOSCOV'S (kind of like a JC Penney's with a furniture and toy section). Same issue there on the clothing although they had a nice, but expensive, selection of Adidas shorts and Levi tshirts. I bought two t-shirts and a pair of shorts because she needed stuff ASAP. However, some of the shorts were short-shorts. VERY short shorts. This was in the size 7-14 area.

I ranted a bit on my FB page about it then during one soccer practice I had an hour, so I went to KMart. Usually, I stay away for reasons I won't get into on here, BUT I scored on clothing. $80 worth of clothing! They had bermuda shorts, comfy, stylish shirts that had a simple tie in the back, capris without all the bling or ripped look...you get the point.

As hard as it is to find clothing that I feel is appropriate for my children, I know it can be hard to find books that appeal to younger boys and girls. The most often asked question at the book fair was "what do you recommend for my son? He's 13." Well, we weren't selling Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal there so I recommended Maze Runner, Out of My Mind, some James Patterson Young Adult novels and a few others that our book fair didn't have.

So, my message is this. Take the time to search for what you think is appropriate, because what you do now will take root and influence them in the future.

Those of you who took the time to read the title will notice I didn't mention a contest yet :-) Well, here we go. It's odd. I have something that pertains to my book that was hand made, a necklace, but I didn't want the usual "be first to comment here" or "if you can prove you bought two copies you win" type of contests. In addition to the necklace, you'll receive two books, Out of My Mind and a signed copy of Transcendent. Instead, I would love for you to do some research. Look for a book, card or item of clothing (in a store or online) that you'd never buy your child. By child I mean something you'd see in the "young adult" section in a book store or the size babies-juniors section of a retail store. Take a picture and send it to me or post it here, on my Facebook page here or provide the link in the comments section and tell us why you wouldn't purchase the item.

How will I pick a winner? Well, I have someone lined up who is well versed on this issue. Melissa, founder of Pigtail Pals, has graciously accepted the challenge to find the worst example of advertising/clothing etc for children so she will be seeing the links/pictures you post. This contest starts now and will run for about two weeks! Take this time to do some online shopping, use your new iPhone to take a photo of that horrible book or card or t-shirt at the store. The winner will receive the handmade necklace, pictures to come, and a copy of one of my new favorite-must-read-books for everyone Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Oh, and of course, a signed copy of Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal! Please make sure you leave some contact information if you post your entry into the contest.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The hard work of our publisher...

...has paid off immensely! A copy of the email that she sent us:


The Kindle Fire giveaway & St Jude Donation that I'm hosting on my blog
has been featured on ENT. [E-Reader News Today}

Because of this, we sold about 450 books in the last 24 hours, and as a
result, our rankings shot up. In the Love & Romance, we are #7, right
after the Twilight books. In Fantasy & Magic, we are #6, right after the
Rick Riordan books...

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in
Kindle Store)
#6 in Books > Children's Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy & Magic
#7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Children's Fiction >
Literature > Love & Romance
#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction,
Fantasy & Horror > Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic


Do you know someone who would enjoy a new book to read? Would you like to donate to a wonderful cause, St. Jude's, and be entered to win a Kindle Fire? Then visit here to enter

Thanks everyone! And with the new month approaching, there shall be a new contest on my site where you can win a one of a kind necklace/bracelet that represents TRANSCENDENT and a copy of TRANSCENDENT.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Want to win a Kindle Fire? You know you want one!

Support St. Jude's Hospital and TRANSCENDENT! Details for the giveaway can be found here: http://afantasyfiction.blogspot.com/2012/02/kindle-fire-giveaway.html

Monday, February 6, 2012

Signing my first book!

On Saturday, TRANSCENDENT came in the mail and I got to sign my first book, for my contest winner, to Jen Conner. I struggled with, "Do I sign this neatly?" "Do I use a special pen?" Then I realized, it doesn't matter what I use or how I do it. So, I picked up the nearest pen (a black one in my junk drawer) and signed my usual signature (which looks like it says "Heath" and a bunch of loops for my last name) then put it aside so I wouldn't lose it.

It's interesting to read about authentic signatures. I sold a book on EBAY a few years back that I had signed by Stephenie Meyer and the research I read about her signature talked about how she signed it with "this" kind of pen in the first 3 books, then switched to "that" kind of pen. I have a copy of "Twilight" & "New Moon" signed at a small gathering in PA; her last book I had signed was years ago when I was in CA and I was at the end of a line consisting of about 5000 people. Her signature looks tired, just like she did. I know I'll never sign as many books as she has but each one of hers is a bit different. I can vividly remember where I was, about how many people were there and what she said to me (if anything) when she signed it.

(The reason I chose to talk about Meyer is she is the only author where I've attended multiple signings.)

Have any of you stood in line to get a book signed? Who did you wait for?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We have a winner!

We have a winner for the "Pick a Theme Song Contest", Jen's "Invisible Touch" by Genesis! She will be receiving a copy of the book and an iTunes gift card for $10!

Stay tuned for another contest where you can win a signed copy, a bracelet that represents the book and a book honoring my character's best friend's ghosty interests...!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Find A Theme Song For "Shadows of Promise" in TRANSCENDENT...

TEASER COMING UP: I have this very talented artsy-crafty friend that I've known since "forever". She has gracefully offered to hand make a bracelet that represents "Shadows of Promise" in Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal.  This bracelet and a copy of the paperback book will be the prizes for my second contest. TEASER ENDED!

For this contest (my first one) you will win a paperback copy of Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal and a $10 iTunes gift certificate!  Anyone has the ability to win the gift certificate and book--all you have to do is find a song for me.

What kind of song? Well, if you've read the story "Shadows of Promise" you'll have an edge for this contest, if not you can still participate--or download the e-book on Amazon or B&N.com. Look at the cover, think about the story you've read. What song (past or present) do you think should be the theme song for "Shadows of Promise"? It can be an unknown band you found on You Tube, a song you recorded and never let anyone hear, until now, or something from a Top 40 band. Doesn't matter what genre (just keep it clean, please) or the age of the song. When you found what you believe is the theme song, post the link and your name in the comment section. If you are comfortable posting your contact information there, or a link to a blog/site you may have, feel free. If not, email me via my blog with the link and your contact information.

This contest will end on January 13--a week from today! I will listen to the songs over the holiday weekend and post the winner the week of January 16th. 

Why did I pick "find my story a theme song" as a contest? Well, I realized that this is the FIRST story I've written where I didn't listen to music. I have an entire album dedicated to my full length novel (which I am contemplating putting up on Amazon.com after I've edited it one more time) but nothing for "Shadows of Promise"...so I open the door the readers & music lovers of the world. Find me a song, you'll win cool prizes!