Dystopia What-ah??

One of my favorite YA series out now is the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know your jaw just dropped because you can't believe that I read something other than paranormal romance and urban fantasy. But I do. In fact, I've been craving it recently. Something different, something original, something that doesn't feel like the author created a replica of the exact same supernatural world that existed in the last five books I picked up off the shelves. It doesn't mean I love my PRUF writers any less. Hell, I am one of them! But it does mean that I was eagerly searching for something different to fall in love with.

Boy did I get my wish. I discovered the Hunger Games after attending a YA panel at DragonCon last year. Their were several librarians who basically went through about a hundred YA books out today and gave quick summaries/reviews on each. We had the opportunity to follow along on our own list and mark off anything we wanted to check out based on their comments. Hunger Games was one of those books.

I wasn't certain if I would like it but like many readers, I feel in love with it as soon as I picked it up. It was a surprising delight (not the story, but my love for the story and the characters) because it was so unexpected. It was the same feeling I had when I picked up my first Twilight book back when no one knew what Twilight was.  But, I digress!

So you get the point, I love the books. I can't wait until the third book comes out (which happens to be the week of my birthday).  As I was browsing blogs for the blog hop I discovered an interesting little challenge that Parajunkee was running over at her site and I just had to join in on the fun.

No I know you are thinking, what the heck is Dystopian Fiction! I could answer you, but Parajunkee does it so much better.  Click on the link above to learn more about Dystopian Fiction and the Challenge that ParaJunkee's View has thrown down. There is also a great entry on Wikipedia that lists out Dystopian novels by decade. So no matter what you prefer, the classics or the new stuff, there is something on the list for you. I think I can conquer the challenge. I'm excited about trying, even if we are a few months in. I've already got three books that fit the bill right now. Anyone going to join me?

Book Blogger Hop!

It's that time again!! Okay, well technically it was that time again last Friday, but I have been so busy I haven't had an opportunity to post about all the good finds! So without further introduction..."It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!! Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!" And by that I mean it's Book Blogger Hop Day.

For the full list visit www.crazy-for-books.com

First off, if you aren't familiar with the Book Blogger Hop let me take a few moments to explain.  Basically, every Friday Jennifer starts a post in which anyone with a book blog may add their link. After listing your blog (along with some basic descriptors such as new, old, type of content, etc.) you can browse the list and discover great new sites. I discovered the site about a week ago, so this is my first official time participating but I did find some great reading buddies that I am now following. I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favorites.

1. Confessions of a Book Addict http://bookaddictchris.blogspot.com/ 
A fun YA book review site done by a teacher (Yea, we love teachers!). I was particularly impressed with her review of Hex Hall, as I had just finished reading the book and was looking to get other folks opinions on it.

Another YA blogger, this time focused on my favorite, Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy! I have to admit, Bella won my heart over with her post on the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It is more science fiction than PR or UF but one of my fav books out in the YA market right now. Bella is doing a huge give-away with some great new and gently used books. I encourage you to check her out!!

And last but certainly not least

3. Parajunkee's View http://www.parajunkee.com
First off this site is gorgeous!! I love it, I love it, I love it. Aside from great reviews and news updates on her site, she does fantastic blog design work and get this: you can commission her to work on your very own project! How cool is that?  You know that old saying, "you can't judge a book by it's cover"? Yeah, its true. Or at least partially. Covers sell books and I am of the strong opinion that a professional looking blog will get you followers. You only have four seconds to capture a new visitor and convince them to browse around on your site. Wouldn't you want to make it count?

Alright folks, that is it. I have more things to do. Can't play all day. If you find a fun site on the blog hop let me know! I can't visit the whole list each week! It's ridiculously long now, but that is a good thing.

New Resources for Authors

I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about a new site that I joined a few months ago called Savvy Authors. This is paid membership group for writers of all genres, new and established. Their focus is on promotion, networking and craft. They offer a lot of great writing resources including a query tracker, an auto critter, craft worksheets and a plethora of free and low-cost workshops. You do not need to be a member to sign up for the workshops but you do get a discount on workshops and the annual fee for membership is relatively low cost.

One of the most exciting new projects they are piloting is a new Blog Tour Wizard, which helps members find blogs for which they can do guest posts! It is still a work in progress, so it is not perfect, but I have high hopes for this and Terry, who is managing the development of the tool is really committed to making it work. Now here is the good news for some of you.

You do not have to be a member to sign up your blog!

Woo Hoo.

So if you are interested visit www.savvyauthors.com. Right now I am taking an amazing workshop by Holly Lisle on Crash Course Revisions. I am really excited about this because I find the revision process to be frantic, stressful, and anxiety producing. Her method of doing revisions is very structured. It is focused on getting through the edits in a timely manner and avoiding things like doubt or perfectionism. I have a habit to fall victim to both! You may still be able to sign up. We are only two days in.

What's On My Bookshelf

I went to the bookstore this morning and bought two knew books. Both of them YA, both new authors that I am excited to read. One of which will be doing a contest for Wicked Jungle next week!

First Book: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall.jpg

Back Cover Blurb:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Book Two: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
The Body Finder.jpg

Back Cover Blurb:

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

I can't wait to check em out. So far the reviews for both look good.

Twilight New Moon Giveaway

Hey Peeps,

We have a contest running on Wicked Jungle and are giving away the NEW MOON DVD and SOUNDTRACK!!! It is really simple. All you have to do is post about the contest on your blog and add the link to the Wickedjungle.com comments so that they can verify your entry. You can get additional entries by adding Wicked Jungle to your blogroll or joining the Wicked Jungle Fan Page on Facebook.

Good Luck! Please feel free to repost!

Weekend Fun: Free Excerpts

Imagine my delight when I found this fun little link waiting for me on my Facebook page yesterday! Pocket Books is offering a free sampler from some of my favorite authors! Definitely check out Embers by Laura Bickle and Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready. Here is the rest of the line up:

MASTER OF NONE By Sonya Bateman
EMBERS By Lauren Bickle
SHADOW BLADE By Seressia Glass
SPIDER’S BITE By Jennifer Estep
WEB OF LIES By Jennifer Estep
NECKING By Chris Salvatore
BAD TO THE BONE By Jeri Smith-Ready

Enjoy! Let us know if you have a favorite!


That's right! I am in sin city for the first time ever and despite the fact that this was not part of my budgeted expenses this year and I paid a fortune the opportunitiy presented itself and I knew it would be critical for my writing.

Your writing? Yep. My writing. That's what I said. I am doing research for the sequel to Love Sex Magick and it takes place in Las Vegas. We have lots of new characters in this book. One owns a chain of casinos and hotels, the other, a very underground night club. Having never been to Vegas, I felt like it was essential to get the true feel of the city. I am a visual person and I really wanted an authentic and realistic representation. I also feel like the city itself acts as another character in this book given the plot, that did not exist in the first book. So it is really important that I get this right.

Thus I have a suitcase full of goodies. I brought my new flip cam, the tripod. I have my nikon for photos. I have my iphone for voice memos/recordings and I have been taking notes like crazy. Each day I do a quick video of my reactions. What new things did I discover, what was unique about the city that I wouldn't have found out in a book or online. I prefer to take cabs to all the places (though my mom and her roomie would disagree) because the drivers are a wealth of information. I went on a small tour of the strip and was able to learn a ton about the rhythm of the city and have an excuse to take video and photos without explaining that I am researching a book. Though I know some folks were probably like, why is she taking pictures of random things in the hotel? Hasn't she seen a food court.  LOL. Oh well.

I am still deciding but I think i am going to create a fictional casino/hotel but it will be a combination of several different pieces. I took photos of places that felt like they would fit the vibe and vision of what I am looking to create and will add them to the Book 2 Wiki. Yes I said Wiki. I am a nerd. I have a central document where I keep all of the basic stats of the series, character profiles, setting descriptions, timelines, and misc. research. It is so helpful, especially during the editing process to ensure consistency throughout three hundred plus pages of text. If you don't have one I suggest you get started. Especially if you are doing a series because you don't have to go back through the manuscript of book one trying to remember how you described a character's apartment when you are writing book four. It's a time killer! Just ask any of my published friends.

Okay I have rambled enough. I am going to be leaving the strip today. Should be interesting. I will post some of my favorite pics as soon as I get home. Well by the weekend for sure.

Theme of the Day....

Today was all about revisions...apparently the cosmos want me to know that I'm not alone in my struggles to get LSM ready for prime time.  Two quick examples that I just had to share....

1. The Simpsons episode this evening starred Mel Gibson who was screening a movie in springfield and obsessed with good reviews. Of course Homer gave a negative review and despite the fact that all of the other review were amazing he became obsessed with creating a movie that stood up to Homer's taste. Of course, that was a horrid idea and you can only imagine what happened!! It was pretty appropriate, given my mood yesterday.

2. Had to share the quote of the day that I randomly stumbled upon on the FF&P Blog. "We all know the secret to good writing is rewriting--or at least we should!  I’ve never met an author who turned out a perfect manuscript on the first go." Again the perfect sentiment for where my mindset is this week. 

Anyway, hope you all are doing well. Please say hello and if you get a moment hop on over to my side project www.wickedjungle.com. We have two new stories up and would love to know what you think.

Working out the kinks....

I thought I'd get a lot of edits done this weekend but alas, I got very few. Which is completely frustrating. To be honest I've been in a little bit of a funk the last two days. I'm struggling with the edits to LSM, getting feedback from a lot of different people and of course there isn't much agreement on anything. So now I am stuck with the challenging task of deciding which feedback is worth embracing and which is worth tossing. Because lets be real, you can't please everyone and that is certainly not my objective.  On the other hand, it is foolish to believe that your work cannot be improved upon. To be honest, I think it is one of the harder aspects of writing. Everyone has an opinion and some people are going to like your work and some people aren't.

So here I am at 1 in the morning, rambling on my blog because I am feeling not so good about the status of my novel. Wait, I should clarify. I love the book. And having the feedback of my peers has given me some insight which I know will only enhance the story and the likelihood that it will sell. I think I am simply disappointed that not everyone loves all of the characters as much as I do. Which perhaps is my fault. I'm not sure. It seems that I failed to do my job as a writer and provide them with opportunities to fall in love with the characters or sympathize with them or at least stop hating them. Annoyance and hatred I didn't expect. But then I think about some of the books I've purchased and hated. There are character's that I cannot stand, series that I have stopped reading because I didn't agree with a major plot point, (like killing off a beloved character). Certain things are not my style or preference, but plenty of other people love it. So in general does everyone but me hate the characters or is it a matter of preference. Are people just being nice to spare my feelings when secretly they don't like or get the characters either?

This is where I get into trouble and have to distance myself.  This is also why I am writing this post. Because I, Missy Lynn Ryan,  am a people pleaser. I like praise, recognition and will often ignore my own thoughts or feelings in order to  receive the praise and approval of others.  I've been doing it for many years. In fact, some of my earliest memories deal with me sacrificing my happiness and well-being in an effort to seek approval from someone else.

On the flip side, I am also incredibly harsh on myself. I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that the fear of failure paralyzes my ability to move forward.  I just finished watching the Oscars and am reminding myself that I am willingly choosing to be in a business that is full of criticism. That in itself is a huge risk. You have to have enough confidence in yourself to keep moving forward even when some people think you should walk away. You have to have a vision of who you are and what you want to become even if the end seems impossible to obtain.  I know that I am not perfect and that is okay. I know that I am not defined by the thoughts and opinions of others, which if you can come to that point in your life, is an absolutely freeing moment.

That said, I am not posting this to whine about crits of my work that I don't understand or disagree with. I am posting this because I know there are other writers struggling with the exact same thoughts and emotions. As writers, we like to pretend that it is all so easy. Writing is hard. Rewriting is hard. Releasing your project for the world to see, judge, love or hate, is even harder. But you aren't alone and just as I am going to keep tweaking LSM and trying to get this book published, so should you follow your dream, no matter how far off it seems.

Peace out for now. I really need to try and sleep, or tomorrow I am going to be one cranky lady.

Writing Update

It's been a while since I posted, well by a while I mean two days! I know, can you believe it. My new MacBook has got to be my favorite purchase in a long, long time. Probably haven't been this excited about something since I purchased a Wii two years ago.  Anyway, I wanted to give some quick updates on my writing and various projects.

1. Love, Sex, Magick.  I am actively seeking an agent and getting ready to submit to some publishers that don't require an agent. In fact I sent out the second query this morning. I'm starting to get a little nervous. One woman told me that she sent out 62 queries before signing with her agent. Another only did four or five queries. Talk about a drastic difference. It makes me wonder, was the quality of the work that different or was it just a matter of luck and timing. So much of securing an agent is about finding the right person with the right need that can fully represent you and your work. That is not an easy thing to do. I guess my writing grants for non-profits has helped me mentally prepare for this. I know that you are going to get a certain amount of negative responses.  Inevitably people are going to say no and it doesn't always have to do with the quality of the validity of your project/work. Sometimes there are factors at play that you couldn't have known about or cannot control. That said, all you writers who are struggling on this journey with me: chin up! The sun will always come out tomorrow.

2. Wicked Jungle. It is up and running and in full swing. We posted our first round of fiction on Monday. Two really fun short stories that I think you will love. I've been tweaking the layout. All posts on the homepage now have thumbnail images. We are adding profiles on some of our favorite books. Let us know if their is a new novel coming out that you think we should feature. If you are a new author and want to do a guest post we can arrange that as well! Basically, it is a lot of time but I am having so much fun and the Mac has made my life so much easier. I can barely work on the Dell anymore.

3. General Writing. Started outlining next book in the LSM series. It takes place in Las Vegas and coincidentally I will be in Vegas next week. Hopefully I will have my new flip cam with me so I can document some of the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" moments. I'm planning on doing a few touristy things and exploring some of the hotels and casinos. One of my characters owns a Casino and I am curious to see if something their matches the vision in my head. I'll get off the strip a little bit. My company has an office about 6 miles away and hopefully I will work from their one day. I should probably think about general questions I want to ask residents of the city and see if I can pick their brains.

Anyway that is it. My life is all about writing, Wicked Jungle, and more writing.

Fun to be had for Writers

Just wanted to share a few fun things happening around the blogosphere this week. Writers, this post is for you!!

Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest has a weekly feature on her blog where she recaps the best writer tweets. My favorite one by @MarleneStringer "Received 12 rejections in one day? STOP subbing that Q! You are targeting the wrong agents, or the Q needs revision".

Check out the rest of the article here: Best Tweets for Writers

Also the Guide to Literary Agents blog is hosting its third "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest and this time the focus is on Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy authors. So if you fall into this category, I would hop on over to the site and check out the contest rules. I already sent in my entry.  I figured, what could it hurt. Apparently they do these contests a couple times a month and the genre changes with the agent.  So bookmark the site and check it out every so often to see what they have lined up.