The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: YA Review

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .


Wow, what a page turner. The dates across the tops of the pages really push the story along and create a heavy tension. You’ll want to read this in one sitting.

Romy was born on The Infinity, a star ship despatched with the mission to create a human colony on a new planet. Romy has never ever known any other life then that onboard The Infinity and after an incident takes both her parents away from her, she is alone. Romy is further away from earth than any human has ever been, hurtling towards the unknown. The weight of a new human colony, by default, resting on her teenage shoulders. Romy has to grow up fast! to have any hope of completing her parents mission.

Poor mental health due to the toll that guilt and grief cause is a big part of three integral characters storylines and there were some beautiful scenes, like the one where Romy makes peace with her Mother (I cried). But the highlights for me were the sections of the book where Romy is fast thinking and fighting for her life. I was ripping through the pages desperate to see what happened next.

There is so much more I could talk about; Romy’s parents, ‘pen-pals’ and psychological torture, Romy’s cute-as bits of fan-fiction (kind of Rainbow Rowell Fangirl-ish – but it enhanced rather than detracted from the main story). But it’s so much more fun If you find these things out for yourself. Off you go.


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New Release Q&A with Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: TODAY
Publisher: Walker Books
Add to Goodreads

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Lauren James – Q&A

  1. Where did the inspiration for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe come from?

Funnily enough, it started with a question from some Physics coursework at university! The question was about special relativity, and went something like this:

An astronaut travels in a spaceship to a new planet. After a few years, a newer faster ship is developed and launched, which overtakes the first ship. How old are the two astronauts when they each arrive on the planet?

I started thinking about what it would be like to be that first astronaut, and dedicate years to travelling alone in space, only for your ship to be overtaken by a faster one before you even arrive! What would that feel like? What kind of relationship would you have with the person on the faster ship? From that, the story of Romy Silvers was born.

I’ve always loved stories of isolation – it’s a great way to really get to know a character. I knew that if I was writing a whole book where there was only really one person, I would need to create a character who would keep the reader’s attention and loyalty. It was a big challenge, but I fell totally in love with Romy while I was writing about her, and I hope everyone reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe does too.

  1. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?

I started writing The Next Together when I was sixteen, and finished the first draft when I was nineteen. I never intended to get the story published – I was writing just for myself, for fun! The first draft was very self-indulgent, and included cameos from some of my professors, and lots of in-jokes. There was no pressure to write something good. I was just writing for myself, telling myself a bedtime story after classes. I never saw it as doing something scary or difficult.

I always loved the idea of being a writer, but I absolutely didn’t think it was possible. I thought people who became authors must have spent their whole life writing, and I was too interested in doing other things for that.

My second novel The Last Beginning, which I wrote after I’d got a book deal, was about twenty times harder because suddenly there was all of this pressure. I had to push past a lot of fear which had never been there before.

Being an author is quite similar to how I imagined it, though – spending a lot of time alone, staying up late at night to write, summoning the devil in exchange for book ideas..….wait, what?

  1. How did you feel when secured your first publishing deal at 21?

It was very exciting and scary, and I still feel very lucky! When The Next Together was finished I left it for a few months, and when I came back to it, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered. It even made me laugh a few times. I decided to send it off to some literary agents, just to see if they could give me some useful feedback.

I had absolutely no idea how the publishing industry worked, and I think I read one How To article on query letters before writing one and blithely sending it off into the aether. I found an A to Z list of agents and started emailing with the Z’s, because I thought they’d have the least submissions. In the end, I found an agent on W, after I’d emailed only six agencies. It was a very naive way to apply, but I got very lucky – my agent is incredible, and last year she was shortlisted for the Bookseller’s Agent of the Year award.

We then submitted to publishers after a whole year of revisions (I was still at university so could only really work on it during the holidays) and within two weeks, two publishers had offered. Saying it now, that seems so easy and fast, but at the time it was the most stressful, delirious fortnight of my life. I’ve been through the submission process several times since then, and it does not get any easier.

  1. What is your favourite book?

I love Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Lirael by Garth Nix, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke and Far From You by Tess Sharpe.

  1. What authors have influenced your writing?

Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Waters, P. G. Wodehouse, Audrey Niffeneger.…..I could go on all day, I think! In particular I’m always making notes when I read books by Douglas Adams – he’s the master of humorous sci fi. I’ve adored his work since I was young.

I read a wide range of genres, and because of that I try to make my books a little bit of every genre – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a bit fandom, a bit thriller, a bit romance and a bit sci fi.

I think if I didn’t write a variety of different genres, I’d probably get bored. My next books are a mix of different genres again – my latest book, which I’m still writing, is a paranormal supervillain origin story. So something completely different, again!

  1. What book do you wish you had written?

I love The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. She has an incredible way of really making her characters seem like real people, and I learn so much about writing different perspectives from her work. The set up of that series is just absolutely my favourite thing, and I’m forever jealous I didn’t invent the character Gansey.

I also read Laura Ruby’s writing with a huge amount of jealousy. Her latest, YORK, is so so so good.

  1. What issues do you like to explore in your writing?

I always try to include LGBT+ characters in my books. I was so frustrated as a teenager because, as a huge sci fi fan, I could never find diverse characters in the worlds I loved. Recently there’s been some amazing progress in this direction (like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet) but at the time, it felt a completely barren wasteland. I wanted to write about a character who was gay, but the book wasn’t a coming out story. I wanted them to get to do things, while being gay.

  1. How has your interest in science influenced your writing?

I studied Chemistry and Physics at university, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be a research scientist focusing on physical chemistry. I would love to go back to science one day – I really miss it!

I always try to make the science in my books as accurate as possible, and I did a lot of research into space travel and the theory of space travel behind NASA’s equipment when writing The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

The time machine in The Last Beginning is also based on real life research into sub-atomic particles at CERN, like the Large Hadron Collider. Based on the predictions physicists have made about the possibilities of time travel, I thought that was a logical starting point to progress from. I wanted to feel very real and possible – it’s simplified a lot in the book from how these things might actually work, but the grounding of the science is very plausible. I hope! [crosses fingers no physicists immediately call me on my mistakes]

  1. What was it like to see your books translated into another language?

It’s huge. Seeing my words in another language is something I’ve always wanted to have – so it’s incredible that it’s actually happened! I can’t quite believe it still.

I’m especially proud of the Brazilian edition, as I studied in America for a year, and spent most of my time hanging out with Brazilian students who were also studying abroad for a year. So there was a LOT of excitement amongst my friends when the translated edition came out in Brazil. They keep sending me pictures of it, and trying to persuade everyone to buy it!

  1. Would you go into space if you could?

I’m not sure. I think I’m probably not as brave as Romy. I might go after tourism space travel has been running for a few decades and it has been proven its safe, but definitely not yet!

Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.

She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

The Next Together described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’ and Kirkus as ‘An ambitious, promising premise . . . James is one to watch’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first-time writer.

Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together which was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for kids and young adults by the Independent. Two short stories set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together and Another Beginning, are also available.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature scientists in prominent roles.

Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books, in the US by HarperCollins and in translation in five other countries around the world. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk, where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content.

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

29486766The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Laini’s Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

 Amazon US | Amazon AU | Booktopia | Bookdepository

Thank You Hachette Australia and Netgalley for allowing me a copy to read and review.I don’t think I’ve ever been more full of wonder when reading a book then during Strange the Dreamer. I finished it over a week ago and I am still just contemplating. THAT ENDING! I wanted to cry. I wanted to break something. I needed a hug. Love, love, loved it! You’re a brilliant woman Laini Taylor and your imagination is phenomenal, but damn you, that epic cliff hanger has caused me one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve had in years.

At the start of the story we meet Lazlo, dubbed Strange the Dreamer, as a small energetic orphan boy with a vivid imagination and love of stories. We get to see him grow and find himself a safe haven with a job as a junior librarian, where his love of stories and desire to learn all he can of the lost city of Weep flourishes. Lazlo becomes a mild mannered, intelligent and kind hearted young man. A twist of fate sees Lazlo going on the adventure of a life time, taking his lifelong dream by the reins and traveling to find the answers his heart truly desires.

Straight from the start I felt a strong connection to Lazlo and Sarai (The Muse of Nightmares) and I grew to love many more characters along the way. The Characters were deeply developed, most likeable, some lovable, some scorn worthy and with one to be feared.Laini’s writing is beautiful, her world building is intricately beautiful, the underlying plot is beautiful, the whole gosh darn book right down to the cover, is beautiful. Actually beautiful really isn’t even a good enough word. This story has it all; mystery, adventure, magic, romance, forgiveness and revenge.

I was in Weep. I ran with Lazlo straight towards danger. I felt my hands pass into the Mesarthium. Strange the Dreamer is an enthralling story, cover to cover you can’t step away. I give it Five “just go and read it” Stars.

Guest Post: Author Yuri Hamaganov

What is your writing routine?

Practice makes perfect. It is extremely important for a novice writer to realize this simple and reliable wisdom. It doesn’t matter how big your talent is, no matter how good your idea is. Without practice – nothing will happen.

The GROND series will consist of eight novels. Four are ready, now I’m finishing the fifth, more than half of the work has already been done. And I reached this result only when I started working on my idea every day.

I live in a small town, next to a huge city. Every working day I go to Moscow to work by train, and then I return home. Two and a half hours there, two and a half – back. I used to spend this time without much benefit: I read, listened to music, slept, or just looked out the window. But then I started work on the first novel in the GROND series and realized that the usual routine must be radically changed, because I don’t have enough days off for my book. And then I wrapped this aimless loss of time in my favor.

Now I’m working on my book on the train, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can do there. The novel doesn’t write itself, it must be written. And then rewrite, edit, add new fragments, and re-edit. I’m going to Moscow and working on my book, putting on the headphones for a soundtrack to some sci-fi movie, a collection of old pop-music or rock radio. At work, I think about my book, and in the evening, on the way back, everything repeats. The screen of the laptop, text and music in the headphones.

Working on a book doesn’t mean writing a new chapter every day. Often I am engaged in planning – I state my thoughts on the new book in the text, I create notes and carefully explain to myself the logic of what is happening on the pages. I answer the question: why did these or those events occur, why this or that character behaved this way. Readers will never see these drawings, but without them the book would not be possible. You can also read the books of competitors in search of new, interesting ideas and watch the videos you need to work – anything for the benefit of the common work.

This is my writing routine – working on a book every day. Don’t wait for inspiration, there is always something to do. Write the text, read the text, edit the text, plan the text. Learn from others, get the information you need, develop a promoting strategy and again work on the text. The technique is simple, but reliable, I checked it on myself, which is what I wish for you.

All the best,

Yuri Hamaganov


GROND: The Raven High
by Yuri Hamaganov
Genre: YA Scifi
Release Date: April 2017

Summary:

In the year 2086, Earth is exhausted. The seas have been emptied, the bedrock and soil stripped of their resources, and the superheated atmosphere churns with terrible storms. Those who can afford to do so live in the limbo of virtual reality, and the billions who suffer in poverty have no work, no clean water, and no security from the chaos.

The only hope for those trapped on a dying Earth are the Changed—the seven bioengineered post-humans who work in their separate manufacturing facilities orbiting high above the planet. Raised from birth for their work and fully matured at ten years old, their genius provides the nanomaterials that have begun to cleanse Earth of the pollutants that have wiped out almost the entire ecosphere.

But for Olga Voronov, youngest of the Changed, the isolation and endless toil are not the greatest of her challenges. Down on Earth there are those who resent and fear her talents—and would prefer that humanity not be given the second chance that only she could make possible …

Links: GoodreadsAmazon US | Amazon AU

About the Author:
Yuri Hamaganov lives in Moscow. He created the eight-volume GROND series as a present for himself when he was twelve years old. This was the story he had always dreamed of exploring, and when he realized that nobody had written it for him, he set out to do it himself.


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Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Release Blitz: The Last Grand Master

Title: The Last Grand Master

Author: Andrew Q. Gordon

Genre: Scifi / Fantasy

In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, God of Evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard-king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns, and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost him and Miceral their lives.

Author: Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. Andrew’s imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic.

What’s better than discovering a new fantasy series to devour? Getting the first book free! Andrew is offering The Last Grand Master, book one in his Champion of the Gods fantasy series, as a free download if you sign up for his monthly newsletter. 

If you love free eBooks, you’ll want to keep subscribed to Andrew’s newsletter even after you get your free copy of his book as he has other sci-fi/fantasy authors  lined up that will be giving away free eBook downloads for subscribers throughout 2017.

*CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

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Review: A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt

28237538For fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett comes a hilarious new space and time adventure.

Teenagers on skateboards jumped off walkways, dropped a dozen floors and activated rockets to safely land walkways below.
Blake took a deep breath, inhaling something that smelt like a cross between burnt plastic and toffee apple.
Neo City, Blake thought. Home, sweet home.

NEO City, 2509.
After a series of operational bungles, as well as
the accidental death of his partner, special agent Blake Carter’s career at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation is in trouble.
To make matters worse, he’s just been assigned a new partner—and the beautiful and brilliant Nicki Steel happens to be a cyborg.
When universe-famous criminal Bartholomew Badde steals a weapon capable of destroying whole planets at a time, Blake and Nicki must work together to recover it—an investigation that takes them to all corners of the weird and wonderful galaxy.
But things get serious when Badde kidnaps Blake’s teenage daughter, Lisa. Can Blake prove he’s still a first-rate agent—not to mention father—and save Lisa in time?

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Thank You Netgalley, Darrell Pitt and Text Publishing for allowing me a copy to read and review.

My Thoughts: So straight up the synopsis has offered up some high expectation for this book to meet and as an Adam’s fan I was like “Bring it on Pitt”. While I did grow to kinda like the lead character Blake Carter, he was in no way the adorable Arthur Dent – but that’s ok because he wasn’t supposed to be.

We follow Blake Carter a middle-aged agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation as he gets kicked off his current long running case, assigned a Cyborg as a new partner and having to deal with his ex-wife after their daughter is kidnapped. And of course, *spoiler alert* getting the bad guy – with a lot of help from the Cyborg, the ex-wife, some Elvis’s and an odd pirate-like space captain.

The “Zeeb Says” sections throughout the story while humorous at times and very ‘Hitchhikers’ in the style of narration, which I should have loved, I found a nuisance. I’d just be getting into the rhythm of the story and they’d distract me from it. Why was this so? I really don’t know! Did they feel like a poor Adam’s imitations? No that wasn’t it. Was it just because I was trying to hurry and finish the book because it wasn’t floating my boat and they were slowing me down? Yeah, I think that was more it.

I thought this book was going to be right up my ally; sci-fi with silly humour etc. But no, while I liked the book and can see its merits, unfortunately we didn’t click. I had to force myself to stay focused and read on. This book is listed as Middle Grade, so I’m not the target audience. But I can’t quite get my head around this book’s listing.

I’m trying to figure out who on earth would be the right audience for this book, because it is by no means a bad story. I think it’s a good story despite my personal enjoyment issues. If it was a Friday night telemovie I could totally see my father chuckling while watching it on the couch with a beer in his hand as he’s sprawled out with only his green and gold footy shorts on unwinding after another week of working hard in the Aussie heat.

I would say it’s definitely not for Teens, those self-absorbed self-torturing darlings wouldn’t give two hoots about this middle-aged law enforcement officer from the future. I’m thinking 8/12-year-olds who have a love of sci-fi for sci-fi sake and don’t care too much about who the hero is if there is lots of action and adventure – yeah, it’d suit them. MAYBE even a “daggy dad” type who wants to switch off his brain after a long day at work and read something that’s simple and amusing – I totally thought I fell into this category, but apparently not.

I do intend to check out Pitt’s The Firebird Mystery and Diary of a Teenage Superhero and see how I go with them, because I think Pitt’s a good writer, just that this book wasn’t for me. THREE ‘I Liked It’ STARS.

Review: Hero by Belinda Crawford

Guest Post: The Writing Process By Taylor Hondos

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8284039Taylor is the author of the “Antidote” trilogy. She began studying at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013 and is getting a degree in English. She enjoys reading and writing instead of doing her homework. She is currently working on “Prospect,” the second book in the trilogy.

Guest Post: The Writing Process

Truthfully, I had no clue what I was doing when I wrote my first book. I had written many short stories and poems. They eased my mind and I realized just how much I loved to write. One night, my brother put on the movie, I, Robot. I was writing a quite terrible short story about aliens (*shakes head in shame), and it hit me. What if the world was turning into robots? I was a senior in High School with a big idea. I thought I would just write a quick short story and call it a day. But my heart wouldn’t let this idea go. My short story turned into fifty pages, then eighty pages. This is when “Antidote” was born.

I wrote the entire book out in my journal. Mind you, it was a horrible rough draft. Words scribbled all over the page, but when I was done. It was all I thought about. I began to extend it. I wrote out an entire trilogy on paper. I told my family about it. I told it to anyone who would listen to me. I read it out loud to people who wanted to hear. When I realized that people were into the idea, I began to type it out.

I typed it pretty fast. It took me about a month and a half to finish. I typed every night. Sometimes even ditching the journal ideas and writing new scenes. It was such a good time for me. The book came so naturally to me that it was as if I was meant to write this book. I was just typing it for myself but when I got to 210 pages, I said to myself “why not try and get published?”

I started to send it out to many places and finally self-published in 2014. I began typing out the next two books and sent my second book to Booktrope. That is when my dream came true. I have my dream team, my dream cover. Most of all, my goals seem to be closer than ever.

In 2016, what I thought sent my world crashing down, was actually a small earthquake leading to something great. Booktrope closed down. I thought it was kind of the end of the world. That’s when Patchwork Press came into my life and changed it once more, and for the better. I feel in control. I feel like I am with a group of writers who appreciate me and are behind me every step of the way.

My publishing story is much different than other authors, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have gained experience from self publishing and being with a small press. I know that I can use this knowledge for the rest of my book writing days.

My writing process may be a little different than most, but it works for me. As a writer, you MUST find what works for you. Not what works for others. This is your dream. This is your passion. When the time is right, it will come to you. By “it” I mean the story or even the patience to tell your story to the world. For me, it came naturally because I feel like this was the story I was meant to share.

Writing the Story:

                Dialogue is my strong suit. Character building? Not so much. Since I know my own self, it is easy to begin to work on the things that don’t come so easily to me. When it came to sitting down to write, I found my own habits and tendencies. I found what worked for me. Since I was writing in high school, school came first. Now that I am still writing, I am in college. So I have to put school first (yeah right) and writing next.

I had to find the perfect time to write as well. I write at nighttime. It is my way of cooling down from the day. Sometimes I’ll put music on. It helps me find the right things to say when I feel like I can’t find them. I’ve been able to find the time and place that allows me to be free of the world and write my books. That is my advice to writers; find that one place that makes you feel like you can do anything and write. For me, that is alone in my room, particularly at 11 at night, with music to escort my thoughts.

My goal every night is to write at least one chapter. If what I am writing is complete crap (and trust me, there are days like that,) I stop and go to bed. I reevaluate my life (kidding) and by the morning, I am refreshed and remember why I love this. This is a passion. Without it, I couldn’t stay up countless nights and sometimes forget my homework for school the next day.

Editing Process:

Basically I go through a lot of editing. I will be the one who goes into my book fifteen times and still miss a lot. My eyes, and my great friend, Edee’s eyes, alone edited the first edition of “Antidote.” I have found, it takes more than us to fix a book and it’s problems. Now that I have edited the book so many times, I have found my bad habits. I see that I can have plot holes without even realizing it! Here is my advice to you: When you think you’re done, you’re NOT. So the editing/publishing process for “Antidote” went like this (2016 edition).

  • Wrote “The Antidote,” which is the self-published version.
  • Edited the book about four times over before sending it to my friend, Edee, who is also a self-published author.
  • Edited all the mistakes Edee fixed for me.
  • Edited the book about another four dozen times.
  • Sent it off to Self-publication Land.
  • Wrote “Prospect,” which is the second book in my trilogy and sent that off to Booktrope (wait for the squeals when I got accepted and asked to republish “The Antidote”).
  • And so it begins. Process begins with me submitting the Self-published version of “The Antidote” for rewrite and edit.
  • Change name from “The Antidote” to “Antidote.”
  • Edit number one from my editor. I fixed all the mistakes I was foolishly making.
  • Send off my first round of edits back to her.
  • Editor sends me the second round of edits.
  • I fix all mistakes and send to Proofreader.
  • Finally “Antidote” is ready.
  • Repeat steps 9-13 with “Prospect.”

Now that I have republished “Antidote” one last time with Patchwork Press, I have started to edit “Prospect” with its finishing touches.

That is just a super dry run of how it went. I was an amateur. I had to change a lot. Sometimes I would write things that didn’t make any sense and would have “What??” in the margins. I look at writing completely different now. My mind is stronger and sharper now by seeing the mistakes I made. The editing process takes a lot longer for me now because I thoughtfully/logically put words together. I know that it isn’t just the story that matters. Every single word must make a difference and an impact somehow.

What I’ve Learned:

I have learned a lot from my experiences with writing. I have learned my own strengths and most importantly, my weaknesses. Most of all, I have learned why I am here, as a writer. I am here to write for my happiness. I am here to write so I can bring joy to others as books bring joy to me. I want to change someone’s life. Make them crave books as so many books have done to me. Right now, it isn’t about being successful in book writing. It is about learning the ropes and one day I know I will be a fabulous writer. It is a long road ahead. But it is the road I want to be on forever.antidotemedia

Antidote (Antidote, #1) by Taylor Hondos

Life sucks, and then you rot. No one knows how Dermadecatis is contracted, but its existence has changed everything for 18-year-old Lena, in this riveting debut from Taylor Hondos.

No contact with other people.

Masks must be worn in public at all times.

Four months ago men, women and children alike began to rot from the inside out, and the world as we know it changed forever. Life goes on, but now everything revolves around the need to survive and find a cure for Dermadecatis, the disease that Lena Alona’s father discovered.

Unfortunately for Lena and everyone else who is desperate to survive, her father’s secrets died when he did.

Published June 1st 2016 by Patchwork Press (first published May 30th 2014)

Taylor’s Links: GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE

**Cover Reveal** Demonic Pact by Majanka Verstraete

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Sixteen-year-old Halfling Angel of Death Riley Scott is on a dangerous mission. To save her friend’s life, she must make a pact with the man who just tried to kill them both and break him out of the Celestial Prison, guarded by Angels of War—fearsome warriors who can squash her like a fly. If caught, she’ll be sentenced to eternity in that impenetrable prison. Riley will have to make deals with demons and her number one enemy, turn her back on her most loyal friends, and risk losing her family forever. Worst of all, her very existence is in the hands of her devious new allies.

Title: Demonic Pact
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Series: Angel of Death, Book Two
Publication Date: March 2016

Majanka’s Website | Majanka on Goodreads

If you missed the first book >>

23168992The Soul Thief (Angel of Death Series #1) by Majanka Verstraete

When sixteen-year-old Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.

For My Review of Book One Click HERE

Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Saga, Volume 1 (Saga: Collected Editions #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

* * * * * *   My Thoughts   * * * * * * 

Saga debuted in 2012. This 160 page paperback ‘Saga Volume One’ collects the first 6 monthly issues.

In these first six issues we see Hazel’s birth, learn a back story for her parents romance and see her parent’s constantly fighting to keep her alive and free. We are introduced to some key players; Hazel and her parents Marko and Alana, Prince Robot IV, The Will and Lying Cat – all setting up for a truly epic long running comic series. I’M EXCITED. I only wished I hadn’t waited so long to get on board.

This comic series has action, humour, forbidden romance and a witty cross breed alien baby (Hazel) as the narrator. I would have to say it’s the best comic I have ever read – sorry Batman, sorry Batgirl, sorry Starfire, sorry Scooby Doo, sorry Xmen, sorry Green Arrow, sorry Outcast, sorry The Walking Dead. Ok so you really can’t compare most of those comics to one another, but you get my point.

This right here is an adult comic, and I’m not saying this because it’s got a few inter species sex scenes. Underneath the battle, the bloodshed and the humorous respite, this is a story of a mother and father battling the odds and the universe to give their little girl the best life possible.

I read Frank Miller’s Batman because I love bad boy heroes and vigilantes. I read Amanda Conner’s Starfire because she fricking adorable and orange. With Saga I had the action and fighting the good fight of Batman and Starfire, plus more. I connected with the characters. By the end I wasn’t just reading it for entertainment. I was reading it because I gave a shit about what happened to the world I had just entered.
I was enthralled from page one of issue one “Am I shitting? It feels like I’m shitting!” to the last page of issue six “And then my grandparents came to live with us”.

Not to mention the artwork is stunning!

I’m hooked, good thing I’ve already got the next four collections ready to go. Issue #32 is out today, but if you’re like me and prefer the compendiums over the single issues, it’ll be four more months before the ‘Saga Volume Six’ is available.

star.5

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