Monday, August 21, 2017

Classic Books Everyone Loves, But I Hate

I've read a lot of classics. Up until a couple of years ago, a vast majority of the books I read were at least 50 years old. What can I say? I like old books. :)

But there are some classics that I can't stand. I know they've endured for many reasons, but these books make me angry.

Jane Eyre



I know--it's a shocker. I can't stand Rochester. He is so repellent. Read it again, you say. You'll appreciate him more. Alas, dear reader, I've read Jane Eyre three times (thanks to high school and college professors who assigned it), and the subsequent readings aren't changing my mind. Oh well.

Wuthering Heights



I'm not exactly sure why anyone loves this book, although I know many do. Heathcliff is an absolute monster. He's physically and emotionally abusive, manipulative, dishonest, greedy, and altogether hateful. No fictional character has made me as stabby as he did.

The Jungle



No book has made my stomach turn like this one. It's yucky. 

A cool aside: my mother in law recently moved to a darling little community, and she lives right down the street from where Upton Sinclair lived. I may have gotten a little excited about it. It's a gorgeous house too.

So, what about you? Are there any classics that leave you scratching your head or wishing to throw the book across the room? Do tell.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Books at the Top of My TBR Pile

In between reading the classics I haven't read, but should, there are tons of books I want to read. I'll never be able to read them all.

I also feel that way about my list of recipes to try: so much food, so little time.

Anyway, here are some that are at the very top of my virtual stack.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline



Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood



Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart


Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett




Write This Down by Claudia Mills



My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul



The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr



The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi




Tell me, what books are at the top of your list?

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Do You Organize Your Books?

We organize ours by color because it looks amazing. See?


I'll admit that it's a bit tricky when I'm trying to find a book and I don't remember what color it is, but I think it's worth it.

Do you notice the clock on the second shelf? It was my grandma's. It's an Ansonia clock and it's about 110 years old. It's one of the few things I inherited from her and I'll keep it always.

How do you organize your books? Alphabetically? By category? Do you stack them wherever there's room? A curious mind wants to know. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Classics I Haven't Read, But Probably Should

There are hundreds of books that people consider to be "classics," and not everyone agrees on which ones qualify. There are even lists you can check off to see how well read you are. I've played those games, and they're fun because I've read more of them than a lot of people. I like old books. :)

But there are some classics that I haven't read, for one reason or another, and I probably should. Have you read these? Are there any you have been meaning to read, but haven't yet?

1984 By George Orwell


Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison



Honorable Mentions

The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Let's connect on Goodreads

Friday, August 4, 2017

Get Malignant for Free from Now 'Til August 8

I'm so excited about the launch of Life Among the Ashes that I'm giving Malignant away for free.


Happy reading,

- Emily

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today is Release Day - Life Among the Ashes is Available on Amazon

You guys, it's finally here. Life Among the Ashes is available on Amazon. And guess what? Because I'm so excited about it, I'm making it $0.99 for the first three days. So get over there and grab it.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Interview with Jack Vaughn About Why I Write Stories Like Life Among the Ashes

I recently did an interview with fellow author Jack Vaughn about Life Among the Ashes. Jack asked some great questions! Here's an excerpt:
Life Among the Ashes releases August 1st! Always an exciting time for an author. Introduce us to your main character, Tess.
In many ways, Tess is a typical 22 year old. She’s trying to figure out what her purpose is in the world and what her passions are, aside from her husband and young son. She and her husband, Michael, agreed that she would be a stay at home mom until their son, Kavan, started school, and Tess is already wondering what type of job she wants when our story begins. She’s a little clueless about how the world works. And in Life Among the Ashes she has to grow up and stretch herself to find a career she’s passionate about, and to love and support Kavan well.
Without spoiling your novel, is there any part in your novel that you especially loved writing?
I really enjoyed writing the first scene because I knew exactly how it was going to go before I sat at my computer. And I really enjoyed writing Tess’s conversations with her best friend, Beth, because friendships are important, and I wanted to portray healthy, positive friendships that can be a lifeline when a person is struggling like Tess does throughout the book.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Title and Cover Reveal

You all know that I've been working on a new book. I have it almost ready to go; all it needs is a proofread. ;)

In the mean time, I want to share the title and cover with you. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm so excited.

This baby drops in the Amazon store in one week, on August 1. I'm holding onto my hat!

Want to know what it's about? Here's the blurb:

Tess is devastated when her firefighter hubby dies on the job. She wants only to grieve, but a young son and a dwindling bank account balance compel her to return to waitressing. Meanwhile, Tess searches for a career that evokes passion in her, like the zeal Michael showed for helping people and fighting fires.

Tess’s memories of her brief time with her husband inspire her to reach for a new dream. With her friends and family by her side, she discovers that the heartbreaking struggle she has endured has made her stronger, more self assured, and serenely prepared for whatever comes next.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Roundup of Free Young Adult Books

Hi there,

Sorry I've been absent. I've been typing away at my second novel. I actually finished my first draft in three months, which is a miracle since it took me forever to write Malignant.

I'm editing it now and I'm excited to share it with you.

In the mean time, look at what I made (with Mom's help) today: apricot jam. My favorite!



Also, I've rounded up some goodies from across the internet so you have something to read on this finest of Wednesdays.

Bonus: You can get the first three chapters of Malignant for free by clicking below.

Click here.

Go here.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Short Story: Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Have you ever heard of flash fiction? I hadn't either, and then I saw Rosalie's Tweeted challenge to writers to participate in a flash fiction writing event. I impulsively signed up because why not?

I have to say, it's really hard to write something compelling in only 1,000 words. Try it sometime and you'll see. One particular flash fiction story is mentioned a lot, and for good reason. It's powerful and evocative in only six words!

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Bam. It hits you right in the feels. 

Here is the prompt Rosalie sent me. I quite like this song.

So, here's my attempt. I hope you like it:

***

Rosamund rolled onto her left side in bed, then back to her right. She pulled the covers over her, then pushed them down.

“Rosie,” Desmond whispered. “Are you okay?”

Rosie faced him. “I can’t get comfortable. I’m dying to lie on my stomach.”

“Sorry,” Desmond said as he reached over to put his hand on Rosie’s round stomach. He leaned down and whispered to baby Roberta. “You’re keeping your mom up, Little Girl. Knock it off.”

Rosie laughed. “Fat chance.”

“She’ll be here before you know it,” Desmond said. He let his arm rest over her. “And you’ll miss having her all to yourself.”

“I doubt it,” Rosie said. “I can’t wait to see her, see what she looks like.”

“Me either. Try to go to sleep.”

“Okay,” Rosie whispered. “Goodnight Des. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

Rosie lay still and listened to the crickets outside the window. Nearby a cat yowled. She forced her eyes closed and focused on breathing in and out, hopeful that it would put her to sleep.

Rosie’s eyes popped open. It registered in her mind that she was lying in a puddle. “Desmond, wake up,” Rosie said as she tried to roll out of the bed. As she stood, water gushed from between her legs. “DESMOND!” Rosie screamed.

Desmond sat bolt upright in bed. “What? What’s going on?”

“I think my water broke,” Rosie said as she started to cry. “Desmond…” A contraction built inside her. She stood unmoving until it passed.

“Rosie?” Desmond was beside her, his hand on her elbow.

After a moment she could speak. “We have to go to the hospital.”

“Are you sure your water broke? Isn’t it too early for that?”

Rosie nodded. She looked at him with wide eyes filling with tears.

He hugged her gently. “It’s going to be fine. We get to meet our baby tonight.”

“But it’s so early… What if she doesn’t...”

“She will,” Desmond said. “I’ll get your bag,” he said as he let go of her. “You just get to the car.”

Rosie nodded and moved down the hall. She had to stop twice for contractions, and water continued to trickle down her leg. She could hear Desmond behind her opening and closing drawers.

Finally she reached the car. She tried to open it, but it was locked. “Desmond!” she screamed.

He ran into the garage with a bursting duffle under his arm. “Let’s go.” He unlocked the door and helped Rosie duck into the seat. He strapped her in. “Ready?” he asked.

“Please hurry,” Rosie whispered.

“Don’t worry,” Desmond said. He ran around the car, threw himself into the driver’s seat, and put the car in motion. He hit the brake too hard upon backing into the street and made Rosie jolt forward.

“Careful,” Rosie growled. Another contraction wrapped around her back toward her stomach. She tried to breathe through it as her lamaze instructor had taught her.

“Remember, he he who who,” Desmond mimicked the breathing she had practiced.

Rosie glared at him.

Desmond drove carefully to the hospital.

Rosie was at once thankful and furious. The ten minute drive felt like an eternity.

Desmond stopped directly in front of the hospital doors.

An orderly came out to meet them. “Can we get a wheelchair?” Desmond asked.

The orderly retrieved one and directed them to the elevator. “Third floor,” he said. “I told them you’re coming.”

The nurses at the desk smiled at them as they approached labor and delivery. “Good evening,” one said.

“She’s only thirty weeks,” Desmond said. “Isn’t that early?”

The nurses glanced at each other and one of them walked briskly away from the station. The remaining nurse smiled gently at him. “Don’t worry. We’ll take good care of you. Maria has gone for the doctor on duty.”

Desmond exhaled. “Thank you.”

#

Desmond could barely breathe as Rosie gripped his hand. She let out a guttural cry with each push and went limp between them. He tried to get her to look at him, but she kept her eyes clamped shut.

Finally, nurses flooded into the room. A bright light came on as they set up the warming tray and receiving instruments.

“She’s coming,” the doctor said. “Two more pushes Rosie. You can do it.”

“No I can’t,” Rosie whispered. “No,” she said more forcefully.

“You have to, Rosie,” Desmond said. “She’s is almost here.”

Rosie gathered strength from deep within her and bellowed as she bore down with all her remaining strength.

Desmond looked toward her legs in time to see a tiny, bluish baby girl slide out from between Rosie’s widespread thighs. She was so tiny. And silent.

The doctor picked up the baby and gave her a quick whack.

The baby let out a garbled wail. Desmond broke into a grin and kissed Rosie’s temple. “You did it, Rosie. She’s here.”

Tears streamed down Rosie’s cheeks. “Can I hold her?” she asked, but the doctor was handing off the baby to one of the nurses.

“Take her to the NICU,” he ordered.

“What’s going on?” Rosie asked. “Where are you taking her?”

The nurse carried the swaddled baby out of the room.

“Rosie, your baby was very early,” the doctor said. “She needs some help breathing.”

“Is she going to be okay?” Desmond asked.

The doctor didn’t respond immediately. “I’m hopeful,” he said finally.

Rosie let out a loud sob.

“What’s her name?” the doctor asked.

“Roberta… Birdie,” Desmond said.

“The nurses will take good care of her,” the doctor said as he sat between Rosie’s legs, stitching her up.

Desmond held Rosie close as she cried.

#

Rhythmic beeping was the only sound in the room as Desmond watched Rosie. She sat beside the incubator that held their tiny Birdie.

Rosie was permitted to hold Birdie’s hand, so she sat unmoving, staring at their baby girl and caressing her wee fingers. “Mama’s here,” she whispered.


Desmond leaned down past the IV poles to smile at their preemie girl. “Keep fighting Birdie. We’re with you.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

YA Summer Scavenger Hunt Kickoff **Closed**

I'm excited, you guys. Tomorrow is the day the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt begins! You COULD win fabulous prizes, including over $1,000 of books and prizes. All you have to do is visit each author's website to find their secret keyword, string them together to find the hidden story, and submit it.

And, because I'm feeling generous, I'm going to give away four brand spanking new paperback books. Here they are:

- Malignant by Yours Truly
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (read it and see the movie!)
- Someone Else's Summer by Rachel Bateman (read it before the movie comes out!)
- The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (Not pictured)

See?




All you have to do to enter to win these four books is to click here to subscribe to my newsletter, then comment below to let me know you did. You'll get sneak peeks of new books I'm writing, free short stories, and more. If you are already a subscriber, comment below to enter. :) I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

If you've got more questions about the rules for the scavenger hunt, visit this post.

In case you missed the stop before mine, go visit Gina Marie Long here.

Here's the next stop on the hunt.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Another Sneak Peek at My Current Writing Project

Hi guys,

I thought I'd post another scene from my current work in progress. It hasn't been edited, so keep that in mind.

***

Beth agreed to stay with Kavan while Tess went to the funeral home. She surveyed the building as she drove up. It was a large, old home in the middle of the cemetery. The home rose up—a yellow monolith with white columns and painstakingly shaped topiaries—as Tess maneuvered her car up the narrow drive.
She parked her car and walked between the large columns into the pristinely kept building. The mingling scents of flowers assaulted her nose as she stepped inside. The carpet itself was adorned with flowers and scrolls. She curled her lip as she stood in the foyer, waiting.
A young woman, she was probably close to Tess’s age, turned a corner and approached her. “May I help you?”  She held a clipboard in her arm.
“Yes, I’m here to see, um, visit, my husband. Michael Bello?” Tess shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She felt hideously unattractive in her dark jeans and heather gray long-sleeved T-shirt. Her wavy hair had not cooperated, so she’d tied it back in a tight ponytail at the nape of her neck.
The young woman turned up the corners of her mouth, but didn’t quite reach a smile. “Right this way.” She led Tess into what Tess assumed to be a viewing room; she’d never been in a funeral home before. There was a half-open coffin at the far end of the room, amid several large groupings of flowers. The walls of the room were lined with small sofas and chairs, all of which didn’t quite go together, although they didn’t clash, exactly.
“I’ll leave you alone,” the young woman said. “Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Oh, my name is Summer.”
Tess nodded and Summer left the room. Tess stared at the shiny black coffin without moving. She and Michael had picked it together just after he’d completed his training as a firefighter, but it didn’t seem real seeing it there on the stand. At the time Tess had thought it silly that Michael wanted to make arrangements, just in case. Tess had been adamant that she’d never need them. Now, Tess felt as though if she closed her eyes and opened them again, the entire scene would disappear and she would be back at home with Michael and Kavan, laughing at her boys as they wrestled and laughed together. She closed her eyes for a long second and then opened them. The coffin was still there, gleaming under the florescent lights.
Tess took a tentative step toward the coffin, and then another. Slowly, she advanced across the room. She rose up on her toes to glimpse Michael’s body inside the coffin but couldn’t see him. She took another step and could just see Michael’s profile. She took another step and could see him fully. Her hand flew up to her mouth to stifle the gasp that had risen to her lips. Her eyes filled with tears that spilled onto her cheeks.

The side of Michael’s face was burned and blistered. His skin was pale and the hair near the burn was shorn closely to his scalp. It must have been scorched, so they had taken a razor to it. Tess’s knees gave way under her. She turned toward the nearest sofa but fell with a clunk to the floor. Her head was swimming. Her vision went black and a wave of nausea came. She fought to remain conscious by willing herself to take deep breaths. After several moments her vision returned. She pulled herself onto the sofa and sat there, staring at the carpet.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Chatting with Fellow Indie Author Joey Paul

Today I'm hanging out with fellow indie author Joey Paul on her blog. Here's a bit of our conversation:

How does your average writing time go? 
I write late at night when everyone else in my family is asleep so I have fewer interruptions. :) Sometimes I've thought a scene through and I know exactly what I want to say. In that case it goes pretty quickly. I try not to correct myself too much when I'm typing because that just slows me down. If I'm not sure where the scene is going it takes quite a bit longer. I have to sit and think about word choice, character qualities and motivation, and that sort of thing. 

For more of our conversation, visit Joey's blog here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The YA Summer Scavenger Hunt

You guys, I'm excited to tell you that I'm participating in a huge scavenger hunt with a great list of YA authors. Watch this space for more details.

 ****

 In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

RULES

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.


THE MAP (PARTICIPATING AUTHORS)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Rose
  11. N.M. Howell
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Logan Keys
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Robert Jones
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Chanda Stafford
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Ginna Moran
  60. Mackenzie Flohr
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. K.T. Webb
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Cook
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Gwynn White
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Megan Linski
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. EE Isherwood
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Raven Oak
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy


TIMELINE


Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors sometime in June, and have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.