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Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Stephanie Campbell

I meet the most AMAZING writers online. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, some of my best friends are people I will probably never meet. Stephanie Campbell popped into my life a couple months ago when our crit group was down a man ( or in our case a lady). Steph responded to our fearless leader’s call for applicants. I immediately connected to her because she writes YA, she’s a mom of three like me,  juggling a similarly crazy life. I knew I’d like this girl. Then, we started trading pages and I was right, and I LOVED swapping emails with her. She’s a gorgeous, funny, happy lady. You’d have to be a real sour puss not to be affected by her.

Steph has recently published her YA, Grounding Quinn. Here’s a little taste of her brilliance.

Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell

Eighteen-year-old Quinn MacPherson’s biggest fear has always been turning out like her mentally unstable mother. (Solving algebraic equations comes in as a close second.)

That is, until she meets Benjamin Shaw.

Quinn thinks hooking up with Ben over summer vacation will be nothing more than a quick fling. She can’t even commit to a nail polish choice, much less some guy.
Unfortunately for her, Ben is not just some guy. Ben gets her- the real her, flaws and all- and that scares the hell out of her.

When Ben does the unthinkable- tells Quinn he’s in love with her- she does what comes naturally. She pushes him away. Ben can only watch from a distance as Quinn lashes out, and punishes him for daring to care about her.

But how far can you push someone, even someone that loves you, before they are gone for good?

If you love YA, check out Steph’s new tome. If you like making new bookish friends, look her up! She’s everywhere <– said in creepy whisper LOL

You can meet Stephanie on Twitter at @stephcampbell_ or on her blog Under the Olive Tree.

Why UNDER THE OLIVE TREE? Because that’s where I did all of my best reading, playing, writing and dreaming when I was growing up- under the olive tree in our front yard. Now I’m the mom to 3 evil geniuses, wife to Chris for the last 11 years, nail polish addict and YA junkie. When I’m not reading, writing, or wiping someone’s nose I am usually baking something.

Find  Grounding Quinn on Goodreads or Amazon fro Kindle or on Amazon in paperback AND  Barnes & Noble for Nook

I know You Just Got Rejected.

Ah…watch me as I smooth and polish the crystal ball before me. I am Julie Anne Lindsey, knower of mystic things and full.of.crap. I know you were recently rejected by another agent or editor because you’re a writer. It’s a hazard of the job. Rejection comes right ahead of gaining weight cause you’re on your butt reading and writing instead of moving around, and on the heels of no sleep and caffeine addiction, possibly right behind social media obsession and that growing eye twitch.

Writers get rejected.

Let that sit. Think of the Twilight Saga. Stephenie Meyer scored BIG on that. She spawned hit movies, clothing with her MCs faces on it, you name it HUGE. But, people regularly gag and poke fun at the books, at the readers, at everything about how much it sucks. You know this. She’s a success isn’t she? But it sucked? Really? I guess it sucked all the way to the bank.  I’m saying even the biggest hits are rejected by someone. There’s always someone who won’t get it. So, if you judge your work by the number of rejections, you’re doing it wrong.

Judge your work by the effort. Judge your work by the improvement you see from draft to draft. Judge your work by the pride your feel to call it yours. Judge your work by what you’ve sacrificed: sleep, outings, time with family or friends to accomplish it. If you truly believe in your manuscript, keep your head up and plow ahead. If there’s no market for it and you get that, start something else, BUT keep the other on hand because tastes change and your manuscript could lead the next wave when your thing comes back in vogue. OR, maybe they just don’t know what people want. Maybe your manuscript will open a new door.  I think of Stephen King who was told that science fiction dealing with negative utopias wouldn’t sell. King needed to try something else. Ha! Bet that editor’s been kicking himself for decades.

The next time someone gives you a no, “I didn’t connect with the work.” or “I don’t think there’s a market for this.” or even “Your writing stunk up my office and please never call on me again.” Hang in there. I mean it. Do you remember a little best seller called Valley of the Dolls? One editor said this of the dolls’ now famous author, Jaqueline Susanne:

“She is a painfully dull, inept, clumsy, undisciplined, rambling and thoroughly amateurish writer whose every sentence, paragraph and scene cries for the hand of a pro.”

Ouch.

I also like what one editor said about Crash by JG Ballard “the author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.” LOL Now THAT is a rejection that would hurt  a little while.

Bottom line:

Writers get rejected. It sucks eggs and we eat our weight in chips, have something to wash ti down with, vent to anyone who’ll listen, shake fists at the gods of publishing, maybe wallow a day or two, but then we get up and do it again. Writing seriously belongs on the DSM IV. Writers can’t help writing. So, please know as you pull the covers over your face and vow never to write again…..I’ll be here waiting for you when you crawl back out. And you will because its what we do. And, We gotta stick together.

Review:Vanish by Sophie Jordan ARC Copy

Much thanks to fellow tweeter and book lover Ivy Hawthorn for making my week amazing. When I saw her tweeting last week about how much she was enjoying Vanish by Sophie Jordan, I flipped out. I mean, I loved Firelight. I’ve been waiting for Vanish since the moment I laid the first book down, and Ivy was reading it. She had an ARC copy. *Jealousy struck* I tweeted to Ivy that she was so super lucky and she simply said, “When I finish, do you want it?” Ahhh! Did I want it? Holy cow was she kidding me? Yeah I wanted it! A few days later it arrived in my mailbox. now, seriously, how cool was that scenario? She finished, got my addy and popped it in the mail.

Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Writing this review was tough. I started a number of times, only to erase giant portions because I loved this book, possibly more than the first and I really want to tell you all about it – somehow- without any spoilers. That’s the tricky part because I feel like it’s ALLLLL spoilers. I want you to gasp for yourself. Serious. She had me from page one.

Vanish begins where Firelight left off. Cassian has Jacinda and her sister Tamra and their mother in a car whisking them back to the pride. Jacinda’s stress is at an all time high. She never wanted to leave the pride and now she doesn’t want to return, but that too has been decided for her. She’s revealed herself and must face judgment, then accept her punishment. She’s lost her true love Will and her sister Tamra is very sick. Something’s happening to her. Their mother will most certainly be punished for taking them away. Going back is bad, but she cannot stay.

Life back with the pride is awful. Jacinda’s outcasted. She pines for Will while trying to make sense of Cassian’s affections for her, and hers for him. Her mother retracts into herself, into her room, into a bootle. Tamra’s living apart from them and Jacinda is on her own. All she wants is Will, but how can that be possible? How can she escape the pride? Leave her family? Sneak away? Could she escape even if she could make the firm decision to go?

The imagery and emotion Jordan paints in this book is phenomenol. I can see the village she describes, feel its protective mist on my face, smell the earth and trees and crisp air over them. In Vanish, the tension is palpable and coming at you from every angle. Every character is fighting their own internal battles, and creating mass havoc on one another. Every stake is higher. Every risk is greater. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Was Jacinda going to get out? Would she really leave them? Could she? What about Cassian? The pride? Her mother? The hunters.

Will’s presence is much less in this book than it was in Firelight, but his absence only adds to the tension, her heartbreak, her emotion. As she struggles at home in the pride, she and Cassian connect. Whether she wants it to be true or not, the one her sister longs for has only ever longed for her, and she cares for him too, but ….she couldn’t do that to Tamra or Will. She must get to Will. Her every thought returns to this truth.

But-

Around every corner there is another danger, another threat, another obstacle. I love the way Jordan answers enough of the readers’ questions to satisfy, all while sneakily dropping more problems in our laps. Then, what did she do to me at the end? She left me hanging with an unthinkable ensemble of characters standing together, in danger’s way, about to risk their lives to save another. If they succeed, it could unite them, bring a touch of understanding at the least, but that too would only create other bigger problems – IF they survive. Cliffhanger! The End. Sophie Jordan is killing me.

*Sighs* I loved this book.

You Say It’s My Birthday!! Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh

Hello world! It’s my happy birthday! Happy Birthdays on Fridays are a major bonus because they kick start a weekend of fuss-over-Julie. *sighs* I love fuss-over-Julie. I feel like I should say something about my birthday, so here it is: I am 36 today. The world keeps telling me I should be pining away for 26 instead, but the truth is I am infinitely happier than I ever was at 26. My life is filled with goodness:) Friends, family, health, faith, books and Y-O-U. What else can a girl ask for?

As a birthday gift to me, I’m taking the day off from blogging. A twist of perfection scheduled an interview about my blog on another site for this very day, so I’m just gonna go right ahead and point you over there if you’d like to hear my thoughts on blogs and books and writing. Thank you to the completely fabulous Mindy McGinnis for her invitation. Mindy has a site filled with awesome for you to explore. My mug happens to be on the home page today, so … bonus LOL

Come see me at Writer Writer Pants on Fire <– is there a cooler blog name on earth? chatting with my new bestie Mindy McGinnis!

 

I would also like to add: It has come to my attention that a writer girlfriend of mine who has become a close close friend despite the fact we’ve never met in person, Amazing, beautiful, talented Valerie Haight, has dedicated a blog post to me today and yeah, I cried a little. Make no mistake how much we impact one another online. It allllll matters. Come say Hi over there and meet Valerie. She’s absolutely phenomenal.  The Write One blog

Thanks everyone! My day has surpassed my expectations and it’s only 10am LOL

Do YOU Review? Maybe You Should.

If you’ve stumbled over here somehow, I’m guessing you love words as much as I do. Reading is one of my very favorite things to do. Authors make me giddy with their stories and intrigue and love and danger. How could I ever repay them? Sure, I could send them a basket of Poptarts, but I know what they’d rather have than anything else from a reader….A review.

Reviews are like precious golden tickets WillyWonka style for writers. Getting books published is tough stuff, but then what? How do they SELL them? PROMOTE them? Know if they matter? Answer: Reviews.

Reviews tell authors how the book is received, and it tells other readers they don’t want to miss out on this glorious word feast. I for one pick about 90% of my books based on blogger hype. I see the cover art and title over and over and think, “Man, I need to see what this is all about!” When people love it, I want to love it too.

A review is a powerful thing. Don’t underestimate it.

You can review the book on the site where you bought it. Blog your review. Tweet your review. Try Goodreads, or Shelfari. But, PLEASE, I BEG you. If you loved it, let us know. We WANT to know! I need to know what to read. Authors need to know their efforts matter. I figure I spend two days reading a delicious new title. Taking five to ten minutes to write a review can’t kill me, right? LOL And it really does matter. Your opinion matters.

I’m as guilty as anyone about NOT reviewing and part of that stems from the fact that I write. One day someone will read my book and want to vomit. Then they’ll review it and I’ll die a little inside. So, I think “If I stay very quiet over here maybe karma will squash my future haters’ efforts to write a scathing review.” Sadly that’s not how it works and I’ve read so much awesome lately. I need to be telling other readers and the authors how much it’s true.

So, tell me…do you guys review? Where and how often? Only good reviews? All reviews? And if you’re an author…do You review? What do reviews mean to you?

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