Kate's Novel Idea at TWC

So if you read my last In My Mailbox post, you know that I had the awesome opportunity to go to a Teen Writers Conference in Ogden, Utah. There were lots of other teens there (duh), and I got to meet a lot of awesome people, including Kate, from Kate's Novel Idea! All day, she was walking around with a video camera, asking people about their current projects and asking the authors for advice. Then, she posted it on Youtube for all the big wide world to see!

Well, as you may have guessed, I am indeed in this video. My hair is a mess and I did a bad job of explaining my work-in-progress, but that's all of little consequence. ;) Without further ado, please enjoy this awesome video: 

Thanks for reading (and watching)!


Guest Post - Handling Writers Block with Elisabeth Wheatley

Hello readers! I'm scheduling this post, so I hope it works! Anyway, today we have with us Elisabeth Wheatley, 16-year-old author of the Argetallam Saga. I'm hosting this guest post as part of a blog tour in honor of her newest book, The Secrets of the Vanmars, and her guest post just so happens to be about that dreaded writers block. 


Back when I first started writing my first book, The Key of Amatahns, it wasn’t important if I got writer’s block. In those days (all of two years ago), writing was an amusement, a diversion. If I got stuck I’d just drop it and leave it for a few weeks until another wave of inspiration hit me.

Then I got published, started taking writing seriously, and now writer’s block is one of the worst things that can happen to me. After I finish a book, I go through a period of weeks or even months where my brain feels drained, like all the stories were sucked out of my head and the reservoir of creativity needs time to recharge. But this isn’t a big deal because I’ve just finished a book, so there’s no rush for the next one.

But when the time comes for me to buckle down and finish a book, writer’s block is a very big deal. Few things are as infuriating, as maddening, as irksome. To be bluntly honest, I deal with writer’s block very poorly. I get cranky, snap like a rattlesnake at everyone, storm around the house like the White Witch, and glare daggers and dinner knives at my blank computer screen.

I’ve found that reading massive quantities of action-packed, fight-scene rich fantasy can help loosen my creative muscles, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I can’t even concentrate on the book I’m supposed to be reading. Walking helps, as does watching action-packed movies, but there are days that, no matter what I do, I simply won’t be writing.

I sometimes force myself to write through writer’s block, spewing nonsense onto the page, telling stories that would be outlawed as crimes against literature if they were ever published. But once I have spilled out all the gibberish, I can go back and re-write a story that is much better.

My closing thoughts on writer’s block...it’s treatable and it eventually goes away. The trick is learning what makes it go away faster for you. I still haven’t gotten the thing figured out, but at sixteen, I guess I’ve got time, right?

Thanks Elisabeth, for that awesome post! 

For anyone interested in learning more about Elisabeth's books, I included the link for her website above, and feel free to watch this book trailer. Thanks for reading!


Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Review: Best. Book. EVER. The end. That's all I have to say.

But seriously. I really, really, really love this book. A whole lot. Way more than Divergent. Why? Because it was laugh-out-loud funny in some parts, it had me nearly in tears in others, and a lot of it had me holding my breath. Best of all, it ended with the most killer cliffhanger ever. And despite my many complaints about them, I do love cliffhangers. 

Also, the characters were amazing this time around. Well, they were pretty awesome before (especially Tobias....), but, as is often the case with well-written sequels, we got even more about the characters. Especially Tobias. Hehe ;). So far in the series, I have decided that Tris is my favorite heroine, and I'm not usually a fan of heroines.

Plot twists also made this book amazing. It's not even funny how many times I did not see that coming. 

Final words: I repeat- Best. Book. Ever. Find Divergent, read it, then find Insurgent and love it. Heads up though - killer cliffhanger! 

*Just a quick update: I'm in Canada (on my way to Alaska) and I will be camping for the next few days, which = no internet. So I'm going to schedule a post and hope that it works. Also, I'm currently hosting a pretty awesome giveaway, and it would be awesome if you would check it out. ;) 

Thanks for reading!


Awesome Teen Writers Conference and In My Mailbox (17)

Hi all!

I spent the last week in Utah visiting family and touring college campuses (next year! woot!), and I also had the awesome opportunity to go to a Teen Writers Conference at Weber State University. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I got to see a friend I haven't met in person with for six years, and I learned LOTS! I would absolutely love to go again next summer! Anyway, since I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd give a short rundown of my day (IMM ties in there ;).

So I got there at 8:30 for registration after taking a quick, unofficial tour of the campus. That's when I met up with my friend Elise (she blogs over at Scientist Studies, which is not actually a science blog... nor is it a poetry blog..). We all got a name tag, a pin to place on the map showing where we came from, a pen, and a blank composition notebook. Oh, and a schedule. The people in charge did an introduction, and then we split up for workshops! The first three I went to were “Pre-writing to Simplify the Writing Process” with Karen Hoover“The Best Class on Description EVER” with Sarah M. Eden, and “Creating Gripping Conflict: Booms, Blasts, and Quiet Desperation,” with Annette Lyon. Then, we had lunch. 

All throughout the day, there was a bookstore of sorts set up where the authors who attended made copies of their books available. I bought one, of course. It's called Possession, and it's by Elana Johnson. And she was our keynote speaker for the day! So after lunch, we got to hear from her! The title of her keynote was "Working Through Hard Things to Become Who You Should Become" or, "The Longest Title for a Keynote Ever". But that's not the best part. The best part is... after the keynote was over, my friend Elise walked up to her with me and....... she signed my book! Needless to say, I was pretty excited :) (That's where IMM comes in).

After the keynote, I stuck around for Elana's presentation on "Structure in Novels." The last workshop of the day I went to was "The Serious Business of Writing Funny" with DeNae Handy, which was pretty funny. :) When workshops were over, there was a Q&A session with the authors, and then the winners of the contest were announced. When we signed up for the conference way back at the beginning of June, we were given the option to enter a contest with the prompt: one page of anything that is creative writing. If you'd like to read my entry (which got good scores but didn't win), shoot me an email at amandaswritings@gmail.com or add me on Goodreads (the button is up top) to read it in my story section. 

So coming away from the conference, I got a signed book, twenty-something pages of awesome notes, a notebook, a pen, and a good time. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to next year! 

In other news, I have a giveaway going on as part of a summer blog tour! Check out the post to see the rules for entry. Tomorrow (if I have internet at the hotel) I'll be posting a review of Insurgent by Veronica Roth (best book EVER!) and then later, I am another stop in a blog tour! That one will have to be scheduled, so I hope it works! Anyway, I got Possession by Elana Johnson this week for IMM, and I want to know what you got too! Leave me links in the comments! 

Thanks for reading!


Moonlight Mayhem Summer Blog Tour! #MMBlogTour

This giveaway is open internationally! So let’s tell the blogging world!


Hi everybody, I’m author, Sherry Soule—waving from the SF Bay Area, where it can get pretty foggy. And I can’t believe that summer’s finally here, and even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m cranking the air conditioner and chatting on Twitter about my love of reading.
Thanks for letting me visit today as part of my epic Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour. It’s an honor to be a guest and meet all of these awesome booklovers—like me!
Thus far, my tour has been a blast for me and the readers that participated. It is nice seeing familiar names in the comments at each stop. For those of you who haven’t heard of my super fun blog tour it’s not too late to join!

To celebrate the release of author, Sherry Soule’s new paranormal novel, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM, take this super fun quiz to see how savvy you are about the first two books in this unforgettable YA series, and score a Kindle or Nook version of the first book in the series, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN! (Hint: you can most of these answers on the Spellbound Universe blog and Sherry’s blog.)

Now, let’s see how well you think you know this series (even if you’ve never read the books, you can find all the answers online) and be sure to check the bottom of the post for the details regarding this random giveaway.

1.     In the Moonlight Mayhem book trailer what is Shiloh’s epic problem?

 a.      Ferocious wolves

b.      Deadly necromancers

c.      Shambling zombies

d.      Fear of the dark


Moonlight Maheym Summer Blog Tour

Hey everyone!

I am a stop for Sherry Soule's summer blog tour celebrating her new release, Moonlight Mayhem. My actual post isn't until tomorrow, but I thought I'd share the book synopsis and trailer to peak your interest. ;)


Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance.
Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast!
It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem.

When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil.

But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…

I hope you all stop by again tomorrow for an awesome guest post/giveaway! Thanks for reading!


In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi over at TheStorySiren.com and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a fun way for book bloggers to show off what books they've recieved via mailbox, library, bookstore, friend, etc. This week I got three books:

1. The Enchantress by Michael Scott
My mom got this one for me. :) I'm re-reading the series before I start this one. I can't wait to finish it!

2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I borrowed this one from my friend Emilee. I finished it on Monday and I've decided that it is the best. Book. EVER! Killer cliff-hanger included! 

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I had to go get an allergy test done on Tuesday and it turns out I'm allergic to everything. Except food. So using my red and itchy arms, I persuaded my momma to get me this one from the bookstore. Thanks! 

It looks like I have some great reads to occupy my time! I can't wait to read The Enchantress and Cinder! And I would totally re-read Insurgent if I wasn't moving today... sigh. So what did you all get this week? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment, and if you leave links to your IMM post, I'll definitely check it out! Thanks for reading! 


Book Review: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped—and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way.

My Review: I am very impressed with this one! The world-building and character development was fantastic, and the plot was amazing! To top it all off, the ending was amazing! I loved it!

I especially loved the main character Daphne, and the human boy. I loved reading how Daphne learned more about the world and herself, and everyone around her. I also loved Obie. He was probably my favorite character up until the end. The plot was super exciting, and there were lots of things I didn't see coming. At all. And of course, the end was perfect. 

My only issue with this book was the baby. There was a baby. It was creepy. I didn't like it. But everything else was fantastic enough to rule this out. 

* So I am in the middle of moving from Kansas to Alaska. I'm not sure how Internet access will be from now until the middle of July (that's when all of our things will arrive). I'm going to try and schedule a few book reviews, giveaways, and blog tour stops. I hope everything works out! Thanks for reading!


Book Spotlight: Shut Up by Anne Tibbets

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life.  Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up. Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding.  Her parents are freaking out, and to top if off, The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary, while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport. Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows. Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected.  When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

SHUT UP is Anne Tibbet's latest YA contemporary, published by Premier Digital Publishing on April 15, 2012. Here's a bit from the author:

A little about myself:
I'm the Smashwords.com Best Selling author of Young Adult Fantasy THE BEAST CALL, and co-author of the Middle Grade time travel adventure THE AMULET CHRONICLES, BOOK ONE: THE JOURNEY HOME.  Starting my career as a playwright and screenwriter of children's television, I now live in the Los Angeles area with my family and many pets, whom I believe are secretly plotting my assassination.  For more information about me, visit my blog (link below).

And here's a quote about SHUT UP from NY Times Best Selling author, Christine Wiltz.
"Twelve-year-old Mary is running away from home.  She's sick of her school, her friends, and her family, especially her big sister, Gwen.  But this is not just the story of a girl with a case of adolescent angst.  It is all of us who ever experienced the fear of what fresh hell the next hour will bring, deep hatred of ourselves,despair, and the very real possibility that we will spend the rest of our lives with echoes of "You're stupid, you're ugly, shut up!" haunting our hearts, minds and spirits. There is physical violence and there is the hidden violence that poisons families and corrupts the soul and is as much a danger to a human life as any weapon of destruction.
 Anne Tibbets tells a fast-paced, page-turning suspense story about this kind of violence, and it has you rooting for Mary from the opening page.  Shut Up is one of the most vivid and absorbing stories I've ever read about the torments of the adolescent heart and the dangers of navigating those years.
ChristineWiltz, author of The Last Madam and Glass House."
You can read more about SHUT UP, as well as purchase it, from the following links (available in e-book & paperback):

 If you get the chance to pick up a copy, I'd love to hear what you think! Thanks for reading!

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