Need a Custom Design for Your Blog? Check Out Calimera Web!

So it’s been almost eight weeks since my new blog design went up, and I still absolutely love it.  Every time I see it, I have to smile.  Every. Single. Time.

I mean, just look at it! Pretty colors, sweet pictures, and bubbles…what more could you want?  It’s exactly how I feel when I read a good YA romance novel, and how I want my readers to feel when they read mine (ya know, someday.)

Linda Tieu of Calimera Web created this custom design, and I don’t think anyone could have done a better job capturing my tone.  When we started the process, I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but Linda knew the questions to ask to get the information she needed. I sent her my rambling answers, sure the whole exercise was going to be a waste of time. After all, if I didn’t know what I wanted, how could I possibly communicate it to someone else?

My jaw dropped when I saw the first mockups Linda sent me.  A few small revisions later, I had a blog design that truly felt like ME.  I hadn’t told Linda that purple was my favorite color because I didn’t want narrow the options of what she might create,  so it felt like magic when that was one of the colors she’d picked from the very beginning.

It didn’t even matter that Linda lived on the other side of the world because everything was done via e-mail. The entire process was simple and painless, only requiring a bit of thinking on my part.  Although I was primarily interested in her blog design services, Linda is very knowledgeable about WordPress and took the time to answer some questions I had.

I absolutely recommend Calimera Web for anyone looking to build a WordPress blog or just redesign their existing blog.  Linda is professional, easy to work with, and responds quickly. She can help you get set up, even if you’ve never used WordPress before.


Friday Finds: 4 Romances, 1 Writing Craft book (October 5, 2012)

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Some weeks I add several books to my list. I’ll be limiting my Friday Finds posts to 5 books each week. Those that don’t make this week’s list will be on next week’s. So many books, so little time!


Twin Sense by Lydia Sharp
[cover not revealed yet]

Why I Added It: I’ve been following Lydia’s blog for a while now and am looking forward to reading a book from her. I love the voice in the summary, and young adult with a gay theme is always something that catches my eye. Usually I go for gay boy characters, but perhaps it’s time to broaden my horizons and try some lesbian characters. 🙂

Goodreads Summary:

two boys + two girls = one big mess 

As girlfriends of the Taylor twins, Layna and Sherri have only been friends by association. But when Sherri breaks up with Keith (for real this time), and Kevin gives Layna a promise ring (whoa, what?), Layna’s whole world spins off balance. She avoids Kevin’s unwelcome pressure to commit by spending more time with Sherri.

Without the twins around, Layna and Sherri are tempted to go beyond friendship status. Then Keith tries to win Sherri back, and Kevin apologizes for rushing Layna. Now she’s stuck inside a double-trouble love quadrangle that has her reaching for the consolation cheesecake. The only way to sort out this mess is to make an impossible choice—between the one she wants and the other one she wants—or she might end up with no one.



Send by Patty Blount

Why I Added It: Romance with a redeemed bad boy. Also, it tackles a very relevant teen topic: cyber-bullying, but from the (former) bully’s perspective rather than the victim’s.

Goodreads Summary:

It’s been five years since I clicked Send.
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.

All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi-normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he’s done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it’s like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

Now the whole school thinks he’s some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn’t really Daniel…



Passing Shadows by M. King

Why I Added It: Originally I was intrigued by the protagonist  murdering his abusive father, but the devoted boyfriend sealed the deal. Sounds like an angsty romance novel, which usually isn’t my thing, but there are some thematic similarities between this and my WIP and it’s important to know what’s already out there so you don’t unknowingly repeat something.

Goodreads Summary:

After serving six years for murdering his abusive father, Tommy Hawks is released from prison. He moves back in with what’s left of his family and tries to negotiate a new life with them and his partner, Brett, who has stood by him through everything. But moving on isn’t so easy.

For six years, Brett Derwent sacrificed any chance of a normal life: he spent his college fund on defense lawyers, drove hundreds of miles to visitation days, and had his love letters read by strangers and his phone calls monitored by jailers. Now he and Tommy are faced with the monumental task of starting over as adults when they hardly had the chance to begin together as teens.

Resentment simmers just below the surface, but so do gratitude and guilt. Brett and Tommy need to give each other the time and space to discover who they are individually, and Tommy especially needs the opportunity to stand on his own—even if that means another separation.



Breaking Faith by M. King

Why I Added It: I discovered Passing Shadows first, then learned that it’s a sequel to Breaking Faith. Like Passing Shadows, there are similar themes to my WIP.

Goodreads Summary:

Soon-to-be medical student Brett Derwent thinks he has everything all planned out. That is, until he meets Tommy Hawks. Over the course of one incredible summer in Northern Montana, this easy-going, kind-hearted guy turns Brett’s life upside down…but Tommy isn’t everything he seems.

Brutalized by his violent father, desperate to protect his mother and four siblings, and terrified of losing the love he never expected to find, Tommy is pushed to the edge.

When Tommy’s father is found dead, Brett must face some impossible questions: how much is he willing to sacrifice for Tommy, and will having faith in him be enough?



Fiction First Aid by Raymond Obstfeld

Why I Added It: I found this in the library, but didn’t have a chance to do more than flip through a couple chapters. What I did see looked very good, despite the “Get Rich Quick” feeling of the subtitle (Instant Remedies for Novels, Stories and Scripts).

Goodreads Summary:

Just like a first aid manual, this reference quickly offers writers easy-to-follow steps and specific remedies for fixing the parts in their manuscripts that “just aren’t working.”

Road Trip Wednesday: Season Changes

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week’s Topic

October!! It is SO fall! How does your writing (place, time, inspiration, etc) change with the seasons?

My Answer

Although I’ve been writing since 2009, it’s only been since May of this year that I’ve been writing seriously and consistently with the intent to publish.  The major change in my writing due to seasons was simply that over the summer, my son was home from school. It meant more time traveling to activities during the day, more time playing referee between him and his sister, more time spent away from home on vacations… In short, less time to write.

Over the summer I took Candace Haven’s Comprehensive Writing class, hoping it would help me get Brotherly Love finished.  I did a lot of thinking about my story. Perhaps too much. I’m still lost in deciding which way the ending should go, and that’s freezing me up from revising any part of it as well.  *sigh*

Now that I think about it, the fall has changed my writing thought process, because NaNoWriMo is coming up. October will be about planning for NaNo…if I can get the Brotherly Love boys out of my head!

Road Trip Wednesday: Retelling Fables and Stories

Road Trip Wednesdays with YA HighwayRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic

In honor of this month’s Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, name a fable or story you’d like to see a retelling of.  If you’re feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!

My Answer

This is a timely question for me, as the story I’m considering writing for NaNoWriMo this year is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  I’m a bit nervous about it though, because re-writing  fairy tales seems to be very popular right now.  “They” tell you to never write to trends because by the time your book is ready for submission, the trend is over-saturated.  But, “they” also say that any well-written book with the right hook can be picked up regardless of the trends.

So all I can do is write the best story I can and cross my fingers.

What story would you retell? Check out everyone else’s answers at YA Highway.