What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Baaacck!

WUW

(ooo, lookly they changed the button…pretty!)

Hello wonderful people!  It’s What’s Up Wednesday time for the first time in many many weeks on this blog.  What’s What’s Up Wednesday?  Well… It’s this super cool awesome weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  If you want to participate you should link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog so that we can all stop by and say, “Hi!”

What I’m Reading

17286818I have so many books on my tbr it’s ridiculous.  I’ve also received a lot of ARCs lately whether in giveaways or contests or from publishers so I really just need to up my reading A game.  Right now I’m reading RELATIVITY by Cristin Bishara.  It’s been on my Kindle forever (sadness), and I meant to finish it before it came out (failed) but I’m almost there now.  It’s about this super smart girl (love that!!) who finds a wormhole to nine alternate realities of her life…including one in which her mother is still alive.

It’s great, it’s poignant, and it’s really thought-provoking.  I’m sure there have been times we all haven’t been happy with our lives, thought that if just that one thing hadn’t happened the way it did, everything would still be the way it used to be.  Well, this is that book, and as I read it I’m learning a lot about the importance of loving your present and making the best of every situation.

You can check the full blurb out on the author’s website!

What I’m Writing

ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX IS FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s for those of you who recall that on July 31st (my last WUW post) I was at 15,000 words.  Buyah!

I did edits and I have to say it’s my cleanest MS yet.  Obviously I’m biased but it’s really good.   Damn, go me!! Now I’m at this really odd place where I have to decide if I want to go back to revising BLOOD OF ISIS or start a new MS.  Well, technically I already started a new one.  It’s actually an old one since I’m not allowed to start any new ones until I complete all of my WIPS, which are at various stages of being finished.  It’s just that it’s this scary new point where I basically have to start all over.  I think this will be my hardest MS to write, if I actually write it, which I might not since I’ve been on/off with it for a while now.

It’s tentatively titles WHIMSICALLY YOURS (idk why), and it’s about a young girl who is queer and black and enters her sophomore year at a new school miles away from everything she has ever known.  It’s her story of the ups, the downs, and ultimately forging for herself the person she wants to be.  There’s a TED talk that further inspired this story.  However it’s a Contemporary novel and though, for now, I’m just working on forming a strong MC, there are some heavy bits I’ve always known will be included that are from my own life.  Some not so happy moments.

Contemporary is hard because it’s so raw and fresh, there’s nothing to hide behind.  I might end up putting it in a fantasy setting.  In fact there’s another WIP I have, titled UNTITLED (for now), about a medieval-esque world where magic is strictly forbidden and those who posses it are hunted and killed two young women, one a princess and one a warrior mage, must journey to a far land, where magic is rumored to still exist, in order to gain the skills necessary to defeat the ruthless emperor and bring peace to their lands.  I know they seem completely unrelated but they’re not.  I guess it’s really just a matter of whether or not I want to write an “issue book” or a book where the MC happens to be queer.  And I don’t even know if there will be romance, it might just focus on two girls who forge a strong friendship like Code Name Verity (which I still have not scooped up the courage to read).

Okay, this section was longer than expected.  I’m done.

What Else I’ve Been Doing

I have been collegeing.  Haha.  I’ve been loving my classes.  I’m taking three Political Sciences classes, two of which are Political Theory (yes, I know I’m crazy but I love crazy), and a Writing for Children course that I adore.  The professor of my Writing for Children course is an author herself, Susan Meyer, and she’s phenomenal.  Right now we’re focusing on Picturebooks (we’ll do MG &YA later).  I never thought I could write a PB until I had to for class.  It’s so fun and what a great stress release, abandoning myself to such a simple childlike state.  The other day she had us draw a house, any house for a character to live in.  I drew the Seelie Queen’s lair from ALEX DE VEGA, I must admit it was pretty darn good for someone who always says she couldn’t draw to save her life.

In addition, I’ve been working a lot on my Internship with Spencer Hill Press/Contemporary.  We have two books RECLAIMED & THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM both coming out back to back so that’s kind of exciting especially since I’ve been organizing the blog tours, not as easy as I thought but still fun.

Oh and I’m a 1st round judge (panelist) for YA Spec Fic for the Cybils.  I’m so excited to read YA 24/7.  I’ve read some amazing YA Spec Fic this year so I’m pumped to immerse myself in YA.  Afterward I’ll probably be so sick of YA that I’ll only read MG or Contemporary for a year (doubt it).  However I do have a feeling that I’m about to get very good at picking up on similar trends which will be great for my writing so that I’m even more driven to write something fresh and new.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Myself.

This is probably one of the hardest quotes for me to accept yet one that is very true.  Believing in myself & persevering has gotten me far, very far.  I just have to keep believing in myself or as Dory says, "Just keep swimming."

I posted the above picture and below text on my tumblr the other day:

“This is probably one of the hardest quotes for me to accept yet one that is very true.  Believing in myself & persevering has gotten me far, very far.  I just have to keep believing in myself or as Dory says, “Just keep swimming.“”

How have you been?  What’s inspiring you?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Blog Tour: ALL OF YOU by Christina Lee

Hello Readers!

Today I’m excited to be a part of the ALL OF YOU blog tour hosted by The SubClub Books!! My review is below, enjoy!

all of you leeBook Title: ALL OF YOU
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: New Adult/Romance
Publishing Company: Penguin
Expected Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Book Blurb

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more.

As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

Add ALL OF YOU to Goodreads

Buy Links
AmazonBarnes and Noble | Kobo

Excerpt*

We pushed our way to the middle of the writhing bodies and I started swaying my hips in time to the music. I raised my arms in the air and got lost in the slow and sexy song.

A minute later, I felt warm breath stroke my neck and a strong hand brace my stomach. I knew it was him without turning around. Those same long fingers had been splayed against my body all week long. I closed my eyes and savored his skin touching mine.

“I like when you wear your hair down.” He twined his fingers through the ends of my curls and it sent a shiver ricocheting through my body.

“You haven’t come up,” he breathed against my ear.

“I figured it was time to be a big girl and sleep in my own bed,” I said.

“Understood.” He held on to my waist and swayed along with me. His fingers trailed beneath the hem of my shirt and a couple of inches upward. I fought to keep my breaths under control.

“I know this is going to sound crazy,” he whispered. “But I kind of missed you.”

He pulled me flush against him and I sucked in a breath. I felt the hard wall of his chest, the strong and steady thud of his heart at my back. I laced my fingers around his neck and leaned into him.

His fingers blazed a trail along my rib cage and stopped just above my navel. I rocked my hips back and forth in time with the song and he let out a slow groan.

“Jesus, Avery,” he said. Suddenly he pushed away from me. “I need some air.”

He stormed off the dance floor, leaving me speechless and way too aroused.

 *This is one of my favorite scenes!

Giveaway Code: A Rafflecopter Giveaway

About Christina Lee

christina lee phototMother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives near Cleveland with her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

New Adult/Young Adult author. NA Contemporary Romance, ALL OF YOU, releases September with Penguin. BEFORE YOU BREAK in 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow.

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.

Connect with the author!

Facebook | Twitter | Website

My Review

Owl rating:

I LOVED this book.  Not only was it moving, steamy, and sweet but it was different.  I really appreciated how the “tables were flipped” with the girl rather than the guy being the more experienced one.  However I never felt it crossed into the realm of slut shaming.  Avery, the main character has a lot of past issues and as a result she has developed some very tough skin especially in relation to relationships.  She is not at all interested in long term dating however Bennett (who also happens to be a tattoo artist) has had a past that has made him want to wait for the woman he loves.

It’s a wonderful pairing and the chemistry and tension rocket off the pages from the first time the two are introduced.  I mean I love bad boys.  Let’s just be honest about that however it’s nice to have something different and Bennett is just that.  He’s kind, he’s protective but not overly so, and he’s respectful.  He’s also interesting.  Too often when you have “perfect” guys they turn out very one dimensional however from the first couple chapters you can tell there’s more to his sexy self than it seems.

Not to mention there’s also a great supporting cast of characters that add even more dimensions to this already rich novel.  I’m so thankful for the chance to read an advance copy of this book and be a part of the tour.  As someone in the NA age range myself, I can promise that I’m going to be reading a lot more NA.  I’m looking forward to seeing the genre blossom.

*This is a 100% honest review, I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley to read & review*

Thank you to The SubClub Books for the opportunity to participate in the tour! 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

5 Days Left to Enter the DAMSEL DISTRESSED Cover Contest!

Hi-ya!

As some of you may know, the wonderful Kelsey Macke is hosting a contest to find the cover of her upcoming book, DAMSEL DISTRESSED (SHC, October 2014).  I think it’s such a cool and innovative idea, and I really hope she gets tons of entries.  Below is a letter from Kelsey she asked me to share.  Enjoy!

***

Hey everyone!

Kelsey Macke
My name is Kelsey Macke and I want to thank you all so much for your amazing support for the DAMSEL DISTRESSED Cover Design Contest!

We have already received some gorgeous entries, and we can’t wait for you all to VOTE on your favorites very soon!

But before we don’t want to miss out on any other creations, so I wanted to reach out and let you know that there are still FIVE days left to create an entry to submit!

As you know, the winner will be paid the design commission, and the 10 semi-finalists will win prizes as well, but I have to be honest. The part of the contest that makes me jump up and down like a crazy person is the fact that one of you will be creating a piece of art that speaks right alongside my own. That collaboration is an incredible and beautiful gift, and I am so grateful to each one of you.

That and the fact that my book needs a face.

Please, help my book find its FACE! ^_^

For all the info you need about the contest, how to enter, and even details about the storyline, characters, and design aesthetic, visit teamomgen.tumblr.com.

And if you are interested in sharing about the contest over the next five days, I’ve also got a special giveaway going JUST for you! http://www.damseldistressed.com/news/13887851

All my gratitude and love,
Kelsey Macke
@KelsNotChels

Whimsically Yours,
PnC

Judging the Cybils

I’m pumped & ready to read!!!

Waking Brain Cells

cybils

I am ecstatic to be joining the Round 2 Judging Panel for Young Adult Speculative Fiction at the 2013 Cybils.  Having done Round 1 in previous years, I have the utmost respect for the vast amount of reading the first round judges have to accomplish.  I am also very pleased that the amazing Sheila Ruth is once again the coordinator for the category. 

Here are the other judges.  I look forward to working with all of the others in Round 2!

Round 1

Sheila Ruth, Wands and Worlds
http://blog1.wandsandworlds.com
@sheilaruth

Tanita Davis, Finding Wonderland
http://writingya.blogspot.com

Hallie Tibbets,Undusty New Books
http://www.undusty.com
@hallietibbetts

Leila Roy, Bookshelves of Doom
http://bookshelvesofdoom.blogs.com
@bkshelvesofdoom

Karen Jensen Teen, Librarian’s Toolbox
http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com
@tlt16

Patrice Caldwell, Whimsically Yours
http://whimsicallyours.com/
@whimsicallyours

Sarah Gross, The Reading Zone
http://thereadingzone.wordpress.com
@thereadingzone

Round 2

Sam Musher, Parenthetical
http://www.parenthetical.net
@MsParenthetical

Tasha Saecker,Waking Brain Cells
http://wakingbraincells.com
@tashrow

Tirzah Price,The Compulsive Reader
http://thecompulsivereader.com
@compelledtoread

Kimberly Francisco,Stacked Books

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Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi…

sankofa bird

“Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” or “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”

For the longest time the Sankofa Bird has spoken to me.  It is the bird which flies forward while looking backward with an egg, symbolizing the future, in its mouth.  To me Sankofa means more than a second chance, it is the empowerment of oneself, of a people, to reclaim that which has been lost and use it to move forward.  It is also the surname name my father chose for himself, not wanting to carry the last name Caldwell with roots that most likely led back to some slave master.

I love the idea of reclaiming things, ideas, words that were used to oppress a people or that have been forgotten.  The act of reclaiming is such a powerful tool that whenever it is used wisely I can’t help but smile.  But it takes courage to reclaim things and sometimes you can’t always share what you have begun to reclaim with just anyone.

For me, I used and use the Sankofa bird and the saying so often associated with it, to empower myself to reclaim writing.  When I was younger I used to write all the time.  When I wasn’t reading, I was writing.  A letter to my parents, a journal entry, a story.  Anything was up for grabs to be told using the written word.  Then one day, I think around late middle school, early high school, I realized that to “be cool” you were expected to be an “active” member of society, to act like you were different but really just conform.  To sit in your room and read and write, that wasn’t cool.  Then I got to college and after a year of adventures (for lack of a better word), that could’ve cost me my life and led me to lose a lot of love for and faith in myself, I reclaimed writing.

I wish I could say I’m a writer and proud.  That this is what I do, what I am, my everything.  But the thing is that it’s hard.  Like Tim Burton said, “…it seems that if you’re passionate about something, it freaks people out. You’re considered bizarre or eccentric.”  It’s true.  People get scared.  They wonder why at such a young age you know what you like doing, they tell you to have a backup because you’ll probably fail.  This is especially true if you want to do something creative, innovative, different, people just don’t understand why, for instance, you would devote yourself to something that might never be a “lucrative” life decision.  And though I shouldn’t let their words matter, it’s scary, it gets to you.  So instead of calling myself a writer, I’ve always just said I like to write.  Not a huge difference but still, it’s those slight differences that can really tell you about a person.

However the thing is, I am a writer.  I like to write, and I’m good at it.  By saying that it’s important to note that I’m not taking away from any other writer, I can support the creative work of others while still being creative myself.  Writing is what makes me happy. Yes, I’m good at a lot of things.  Can I plan events for 500+ people?  Yes, been there done that.  For me writing isn’t the only thing I can see myself doing.  The key for me is that without writing, I wouldn’t be as happy.  In the end of the day there’s nothing like sitting down at my computer and letting my creative energy flow.  Sure one day, I might have deadlines but still, writing will always enable and empower me to hone into a creative core that so many people don’t allow theirselves to reach (possibly because they’re afraid they’ll like it too much and then have a “mid life crisis”).

I don’t blame myself for stopping writing, for playing sports, for joining theater, for partying every weekend, for drinking myself into oblivion those have all been experiences that have contributed to who I am today.  In fact, I would say that without those experiences I would’ve never looked back into my past, back to see what really made me happy, to reach a happiness that is not measured by how close I am to my home but rather creates a home for me within myself.

Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.  Not only is it not wrong but it is NEVER too late to get what you have lost, what you think you have forgotten.  That’s the amazing thing about us.  We have this magical ability to adapt to survive.  Sometimes we get so good at it, that we push aside parts of ourself so much so that they seem gone forever.  So it is equally important to think about how you really want to live, to survive.  I may be 20 but I’m already tired of the world’s bullshit.  I don’t want years to go by, for me to wake up in the middle of night, in some fancy house I don’t recognize beside some person who doesn’t even know me.  I want to live creatively, to live free, whatever that means, I not only want but need it.  I must allow myself to not be afraid of going after my desires.  Now.  Age does not define my ability.  I may not be “there” yet but I’m not too young to begin my journey (for the journey is equally as, if not more, important than the destination).  None of us are.  And if there’s ever a day you realize you’re on a path you don’t want to be on (not that you’ve taken the wrong one because you chose it therefore it is or was right for, at least at the time you chose it) just remember that it is within you to change your circumstances.  It definitely won’t be easy but nothing is impossible.

lion king - the past

Whimsically Yours,

PnC