Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Revisiting A E Rought

I’m super excited to have my awesome friend, A E Rought, visit my little blog again. 

*bounces in, pulls up a chair*

This time, though, super exciting things are happening for Ann. Yep, she signed on with Strange Chemistry—a two book deal, and one of those books is her Young Adult, BROKEN, which I’ve had the privilege of reading. 

Let me be the first (well, maybe not the first, but I’m gonna claim it anyway) to tell you BROKEN is a must read. And when I say "a must read," I mean when it comes out go and buy it. Ann has a wonderful flare for imagery and her writing will suck you right into the pages for a dance around a dark world for a few hours. Beyond beautifully written.

You’re making my blush already! It’s my goal to give readers images they can see, and give them the emotions my characters feel. BROKEN has wrung tears from every reader, and given a few the willies >:} (Including myself. That one scene, with the deer? *shudders*)

Oooo.. yes the deer. Creepy in dark, broken (no pun intended) way.

Let’s get to know where you can find Ann and lurk…um…stalk…errr…follow (yes, that’s the word) follow her.

Woot! Yes, I need Followers! We can have a whole BROKEN Hearts Army! *maniacal laughter*

Ann is already an established published author, writing adult fiction spanning genres from westerns to steamy (when I say steamy, I mean toe-curling—yeah, I’ve read those, too) romances. Go check out her blog, Love Light and Shadow. You can also find Ann on facebook and twitter

Don’t forget about my Pinterest boards! BROKEN has its own, so readers can see images I think relate to the story.

She also co-hosts another blog, Oasis for YA, with my other adopted sisters, Jessica Souders,whose novel RENEGADE will be released Nov. 2012, Jessie Harrell, Nikki Katz, Sheri Larsen, and Larissa Hardesty.

Ann was lucky enough to land Gina Panettieri as her agent from Talcott Notch Literary Agency. Gina was kind enough to do an interview and a contest with me last year. Want to know a bit more about Gina? You can check out her interview here, and you can stalk her on twitter.
Gina, being the excellent agent that she is, sold BROKEN to Strange Chemistry, which is due to come out early 2013. 

Want a teaser of BROKEN? Good, cuz here it is.

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein where a young couple's undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. 

Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.

The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

Be sure to mark it as a “to-read” at Goodreads. Seriously, go to Goodreads and mark it.

Please do! BROKEN hearts need love too ~_^

I’ll wait while you go do that.
*twiddles thumbs*
*sips tea*

Back? Good. Let’s get to know A E Rought.

Thanks Ann for coming back to my blog.

I’m happy to be back. ^_^ What an awesome opportunity to talk about BROKEN with my Beta Bestie! Thanks for the invite.

So, since the last time we talked, lots of cool stuff has happened. Would you care to share with us your journey over the last month?

Um. Can you combine a roller coaster and a tilt-a-whirl? The waiting was suddenly over, and I had a high like being the only rider on a coaster, at the top of the tallest hill and wanting to scream about it, but someone put duct tape on my mouth. Then we announced the sale, and had interest immediately in BROKEN. It’s so surreal, like the world is spinning and I’m on the ride, and still on the middle watching it whip around me. 

Beyond that, it’s been paperwork, bouncing back and forth with Gina and my editor Amanda, and doing guest posts and interviews (already!?), and trying to work on a new WIP all at the same time.

When Gina told you she sold BROKEN, what was your first reaction?

I literally stood up from my typing chair, thrust my fist into the air and shouted “YES!!” Such a huge rush of energy, of knowing that dream I’d been chasing was in my claws. It makes your heart swell, and your throat tighten to know someone loves what you’ve done and wants it. Then, of course, I picked up the phone and called people!

Breaking into the young adult market must be very different than the adult genre. Can you tell us a little about the transition?

When I decided I wanted to make the leap, my adult romance CP told me I had always written a young-adult type story anyway. I adore the “first love” stories, and all the entanglements and emotions that come with them, so YA was really the place to be, for me. I found it wasn’t just about age and First Loves, YA is more than that. I had to nail the tension, pacing, tone and voice, too. A tricky balance when still keeping a foot in my adult romance publisher.

Why did you start writing young-adult?

Well, I’m a Young Adult reader. I reached a point in my writing where I needed a change, and writing YA turned out to be it. I might as well write what I read, right? ~_^

Which do you prefer, writing adult fiction or young-adult? 

Oy. They both have the challenges, and boundaries, and joys. When you pare away the differences, I’m always going to gravitate toward the First Love stories. Right now, that’s definitely YA for me. I have a couple adult romances on the back burner, though.

What spurred the whole idea of BROKEN?

I’d finished rewriting (yes, rewriting, not revising) my first YA story, and couldn’t connect with anything else I had started. Horror, sci-fi, paranormal, dystopian…I batted them all around, all while the type of story BROKEN is grew and pressed and demanded attention inside my head and chest. I felt BROKEN before I knew what it was. 

Finally I called Lexie, my young adult YA beta reader, the one I bounce plot ideas off from and told her I HAD to write something dark, and twisted and heartbreakingly romantic. She started tossing out ideas, and we both hit upon a rewrite idea at the same time. Fairytales are having a hayday on the shelves right now, and I’m not one for following the crowd. Plus, I didn’t really care about writing BROKEN for sale, I just HAD to write it. Lexie and I talked Gothic fiction, and from there the dark, twisted, gutwrenching heartache of BROKEN started taking shape. 

Share with us your pitch for BROKEN.

Well, this is what heads the synopsis I eventually pitched to Gina: In Broken, a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a string of suspicious accidents ended in the death of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend. Her loss comes back to haunt Emma when newcomer Alex Franks shows up with her dead boyfriend’s quirks, and a fascination for her that could destroy them both.

Gina took that and made it into this for submissions: Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein where a young couple's undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.

Can you tell us a little about Emma, the main character in BROKEN? Who is she to you?

Emma is that girl who loved so deeply it fundamentally changed her. She carries her loss like a torch, using the burning pain to keep her memories alive. This isn’t to say she’s a wuss or whiner, because she’s got a quick wit and a hard right punch, and knows how to use them both. (Ask Josh, he’ll tell you…)
To me, Emma’s the metal I heated and twisted, heated and twisted, to see how much heartache one character could take before breaking. I still think I’m rotten for what I put Emma and Alex through.

Tell us a little about Alex.

Ah, Alex. Tall, athletic, tortured Alex. My heart hurts just thinking about him. Before the book opens, he’s hurt in a horrid accident, and the scars from the surgery afterwad go soul deep. If I could, I would hug that boy, press his head to my shoulder and apologize for what I did to him. He was Mr. Popular at his academy, on the fast track to med school, until he woke up in recovery and shunned the life his father was trying to shove down his throat. Plus, he kicks some ass. Being an MMA student can do that. ^_^

Would you share with us your favorite line from BROKEN?

Oh hell yeah! It’s one of Alex’s, whispered in a darkened room. “It doesn’t beat for me.” *sigh*
Ahh, yes, my favorite, too.

I can’t wait to see the book on shelves next year. As I said, it’s a must read. Just beautiful.

Thanks, JL! I love BROKEN. The story is beautiful and pained, the writing has a lyric quality, and what Alex and Emma have together (despite what I did to them) still gives me chills.

Any teasers you’d like to share of the next book you’re itching to write?

Sneaky devil, you. Being my Beta, you know how close I played BROKEN to the vest. This one is, too. I’ve done more research on this story than on any one previous, YA and adult. There is less romance than in BROKEN, but way more action, a mass homicide/missing persons mystery couched in a sci-fi/paranormal. What kind of clue can I give your readers? Hmm… Very, very little of it happens on land.

You know what’s great about Ann? She has many talents. Not only is she a great writer, but she makes stuff. 

Lots of stuff.

Really cool stuff!!

What talent!

Tell us a little about your love of crafts. Where do you think you inherited your talent from?
My dad was a tinker by nature. Emma’s dad in BROKEN is totally based on him. He was always building something. My mom taught me the love of fabric arts, sewing, quilting, etc, and she started me on the path in the kitchen. Though, she is a lot more timid than I am, I wear a camouflage apron for a reason! *snort*

Do you have any other hobbies?

 I weave baskets. I bead jewelry. I paint ceramics. And, a rarely shared hobby…I collect Build-a-Bear and Squishable stuffed animals. Shhh…don’t tell anyone, okay? o_O

A woman of many talents.

Share with us an easy recipe that you make for your family.

Ha! Very little I do in the kitchen is easy. Mostly it’s time consuming and messy. One of the family favorites is Bacon Popcorn:
Cut ½ lb bacon into 1” chunks and fry in popcorn pan until golden crisp.
Pour 3scant handfuls of popping corn into the bacon chunks and grease.
Pop popcorn and pour off into large bowl.
Melt ½ stick of butter (no margarine!) and drizzle over popcorn
Season with garlic, salt and pepper.

Another favorite are Lavender Cookies:
Sugar cookie mix, plus 2 tbs of lavender flowers
Prepare and bake as normal (I double it, because they go really fast!)
Enjoy with lemonade.
Perfect for this crazypants hot weather!

OMG!! Both of those sound delicious!!!

Delicious yummy stuff!

Well, I guess I picked your brain enough. LOL!

I had fun, so no worries!

Thank you so much for visiting me again. And a huge GRATS to you for your sale. It is well deserved.

Thank you, JL. You were one of the main BROKEN supporters, insisting it was going to sell, and threatening violence if it didn’t. (Did my heart good!) You kept me up when I could’ve sunk and pouted.

Hopefully, you can stop by when your book is released. Maybe we can do a little contest. (hint, hint)

You betcha! We’ll figure something out. Maybe a signed, annotated copy of BROKEN in a snazzy book tote made by me? I’m up for it if you are ^_^

Ooooh.. That sounds beyond awesome!

Please leave Ann congratulations below.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

OMG! My Cover Reveal

I'm super excited to share my cover reveal with all of you.

I honestly can't believe it. May is right around the corner even if it is 2013. A whirlwind of excitement.

My daughter's design was used as a template and then...

How beautiful is that?

Here's a little teaser...

The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.

Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.

But he does.

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

Title: Perfection

Author: J.L. Spelbring

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (

ISBN: 978-1-937053-34-5

Release Date: May 7, 2013

Formats: paper & e-book

I'm so lucky to have a wonderful agent, Lauren Hammond, wonderful agency sisters, and an awesome publisher.

Just an fyi...
I'm working on another contest, AND my Ann Rought will be paying a visit soon to give us an update on all the awesome things coming her way.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finally.. The Winner

As I said, I am really sorry for the delay in announcing the winner. Once in awhile, life tosses boulders at you and, then for fun, tosses a few more your way just to keep you on your toes.

Lauren stayed on her toes but there were things within her work and personal life that fell behind. She caught up.

So, therefore, I am very happy to announce the winner....

"Release the doves!"

The winner is....
Bonnie Rae!!!

For the wonderful ending she shared with us from her manuscript, NETHER BOUND.

I love the title.

****Bonnie, please email me.****

I hope, even with the delay, that this was a wonderful learning experience for you all. I know it is hard to tell how a book is just from the end...or is it?

How many of you are a wee bit guilty of flipping to the last page to see how a book ends? I'll admit it, I have.

The whole point of this contest was not for you to figure out what rest of the story was about, but to read an ending that left you wanting to read the rest of the book. You see if the voice, the words, the whole ending in itself sucked you in and left you going, "Wow! I have to read this story."

Please leave Bonnie a well deserved grats!

And please thank Lauren for her time, once again.