New Adult Review: With Me Now

New Adult 
Book Review: 

With Me Now

With Me Now, by Heather Hambel Curley, is exactly what a new adult novel should be, but I wasn't a fan of the ending. In a book category that seems to lack a definitive definition, this novel is a prime example of what New Adult should be.

The story follows Madison Monroe on a rocky start where getting in trouble for underage drinking dashes her plans of going on an archaeological dig that would set her up for grad school. Feeling like her life is over, she instead is shipped off to Gettysburg, PA, for a routine dig. Only nothing is routine about the dig, nor her ability to see and hear the dead. Things are complicated by her dig team, including Mike who she is beginning to have feelings for. With the help of her paranormal friends, she unearths a discovery that could be the making of her career or might just end her life.

Overall, the characters were relatable, lovable, and the protagonist was normal, strong, but beautifully flawed. I'm a bit unsure about the overly stereotypical gay guy, as I felt he was too over-the-top. He could be real, and perhaps I'm being too sensitive, but I felt he was more a cliched stock character rather than a unique individual. The love interest as well was adorable but bland. I found I liked this because he was realistic and he was given some PTSD issues that made him unique. I wasn't exactly enthralled by him, but it was refreshing to see a guy who wasn't the hero type. Mike doesn't brood, condescend, or save her. Madison can get herself out of a situation.

The love story is great, as well as the plot. The scenery of Gettysburg gives you that historical and realistic vibe. It was obviously well researched when it comes to location and archaeological digs. Details were painted out well for the reader enabling us to picture it clearly. The paranormal aspects with ghosts was cool and weaved well in with the romance. The sex in the novel is not blatant or pornographic, but quickly told without any cheesy or crude detail. It was executed better than I have seen in other NA novels.

The biggest drawback for me was the bad guy and the end. Without spoiling much, I didn't understand the bad guy's motivation. Yes, I understood what the author was trying to execute, but it rang false. And I don't want to spoil the end, but the protagonist acted out of character, was honestly being stupid, and everything could've been prevented with a phone call. When something could be prevented by something simple and the character is normally intelligent, it seems like a plot cop-out. I had absolutely loved the novel up until the end. However, if you like a dramatic end and do not mind a character acting rash, then you would love this book.

Overall, it is worth the read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it's ending and villain could be fleshed out or planned better, this is a prime example of what authors should do with a NA novel when it comes to romance, sexuality, setting, plot, and a heroine. Anyone interested in history, romance, or anyone who wants to write NA should purchase this book here.

Coming soon! Cover Reveal: FYR

Cover Reveal:

My publishing team and I have been hard at work getting my book ready, and I honestly never had so much fun tinkering around with ads, drawing maps, and all the other little things that go into a book, aside from the actual writing and editing. Today, I'm revealing the book cover, but I want to explain the process and why we chose this route.

First, my series Celestial Spheres take place in a different world imbued with fire, light, and stone magic. Tapping into my network of friends, I reached out to an old college buddy Tiff who owns The Wild Blue Bear Studio (check her out on Instagram) and is into the lapidary arts (works with stones). She was able to take some fantastic photos for me to use in ads.

Sneak Peek
Second, my novel gets complicated when it comes to geography, particularly later in the series, so the publisher suggested a map. I felt so Tolkien-like and special putting my world onto paper. I sent it to my publisher and they traced and enhanced it digitally.

Last, my husband is an illustrator and drew the stone for my cover, while Authors 4 Authors Publishing incorporated it and designed the rest. The stone is a labradorite sphere, a stone that looks kind of like Earth but is the magical transportation that takes Toury, my MC, away from here and lands her in the land of Fyr. Without further ado here is the cover of Fyr, book 1 of the Celestial Spheres.

Marble frame is not part of the cover--for viewing purposes

Overall, I'm pleased with how everything is turning out and glad I went with a publisher who lets me have a say in a very collaborative process and is much more savvy than I am when it comes to digital arts. If you'd like to see the map and read the synopsis of the novel please visit my website Celestial Spheres series.

Grammar Woes: Commas (Part 4)

Grammar Woes: 
Commas (Part 4)

To see previous blogs about commas see these links: the rules, rules in detail part 2, part 3.

6. Between adjectives that don't relate before a noun
  • When adjectives relate to one another, you don't need commas: The dark green house describes an olive green house
  • When you use adjectives and they don't directly relate, you need commas: The dark, green house describes a regular green house with the lights out.
The trick? If you can put "and" in between the adjectives, use a comma.

7. Before you shift into quoting
When your characters go to speak or you're introducing any quote really (like in an article or paper), you offset with a comma. There's the exception if you can read through the quote, but I rarely see that in fiction: he said that "[quote]."
  • Arms crossing and eyes narrowing into slits of rage, she said, "What do you want?"

And the hardest rule of them all...

8. Whenever it's needed
Commas can be used for a shift in content, a needed pause, to offset the end of the sentence that relates to the beginning. This is difficult to determine, but ask yourself these questions. Does it make sense with it? Does it makes sense without it? If it makes sense with a comma, put a comma in. If not, leave it out. These are the commas not to stress over since professional editors should help you with them. I don't think an agent or publisher would judge the value of a manuscript on these gray-area type commas, but they might if it comes to improperly using all commas and creating comma splices. Multiple kinds of grammar issues would show them a lot of work might be needed.

In the end, commas are hard work. I leave them out all the time because I'm in a hurry, which is why editing is key. Knowing how and when to use them can sharpen a manuscript and that cannot hurt your chances of getting published.

What other grammar issues would you like me to discuss in upcoming blogs? Comment below.

Playing with Fyr: Where to House a Series

Playing with Fyr: 

Where to House 
a Series

I have had a blog with a couple pages on it for a few years, and I have books coming out. I wasn't interested in trying to run a bunch of additional websites, but I recently got two separate book-1 novels of series picked up. I wondered how I should go about promoting my work without overburdening myself.

I read plenty of articles. A bunch said to create social media accounts for characters, create separate websites, create complimentary content--A LOT of work. But these articles were a bit dated to be honest, about ten years ago. Yet I still saw some authors doing these things. I do want to support other authors, but these accounts clogged up my feed when I really just want to engage with other authors and readers on a personal level. It would be cool if I was really into the series, but the ones I saw didn't convince me to buy it. Then there were articles proclaiming that making series and book alone websites were "so yesterday." I decided to investigate further.

What I did next was cyberstalk a bunch of famous YA authors (important to note because results might be influenced by the age of their target audience). Their websites varied, but I noted similarities--simplicity, accessibility, and personality.

Less is sometimes more. I prefer the look of a sleek homepage. A lot of authors had everything on the home page and links on both sides. Some authors had waaaaay too much going on that I was almost intimidated and did the typical moving on instead of actually reading. To defend myself, quite a few of these sites did not have a mobile version which is necessary in this day and age. It's kind of rough browsing on the phone to find a website that is like a novel and the words are too small to read without zooming in and having to move constantly left to right. People like simple, particularly my young adult audience whom I teach; they freely admit they will not read it if it's too complex.

On those simple websites, everything was on one page or linked to it. My favorite template was one main page with just links, so I revamped blog to emulate that. I created several pages and had to fight with coding and settings--as always--to redirect my domain to a home page and move my blog to a new page. The point is, they are all on one site, easy to get to via a page bar at the top and links on the home page. On each of my pages there are links to my novels (or will be for some). With my audience, it must be mobile friendly. It took a lot of time to work the kinks out, but I hope it's worth it.

Every author I looked at had a blog or the super famous crew had an updates page. Here was writing advice, opinions, projects, etc. You really felt like you got to know the author. I've been blogging for a few years. I change it up but mostly stick with what I know: grammar, publishing, book reviews, writing, etc. You should have a target readership in mind. I focus on aspiring authors and anyone who reads YA. I like to help people learn the craft--especially young adults who read and may want to be writers. The blogging seems essential to me. I've read a lot of blogs via Twitter and end up following, sometimes buying books, and engaging with fellow authors. Blogging seems to be a net to pull in potential readers if done properly.

In the end, I kept my blog and, as I mentioned above, revamped it to try to emulate these three things. I would love if you could take the time to check out my home page, the various links, and see what you think. I'm open to suggestions to make it even better since it is still under construction.

Link to the series Celestial Spheres, book 1 Fyr can be found here.
Link to my homepage can be found here.


Tales in Publishing: Query example

Tales in Publishing:  Query example I'm sharing my successful query to others in hopes it exemplifies what to do and helps other au...