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Every now and then, I have to go back to the root of it all.

Why do I spend so much time on something that most would deem silly? How can I put so much into something that may not be … meant to be? Who do I think I am, to believe I could make it as an author, when no one knows who I am, there are so many writers just as, if not much more talented? Who do I think I am, the quiet girl, the introvert, with only less than a handful of people who have time to support this dream that I call my purpose? Just what type of person is crazy enough to put it all out there, keep trying, seeking feedback, hitting doors, hitting walls, picking herself up, and going right back into the unknown — that would be me. And any author (any artist, really) will tell you, it is so difficult, so humbling, so easy to quit, so easy to believe the naysayers, and those who say nothing at all as they, behind smiling eyes, wait for you to plummet.

I have to go back to the root of it all. Why do I spend so much time on something that very well could be … a dead end?

For those who feel caged in, and believe there is no way out, that it will never get better. For those who wake up every morning bruised, and go to bed sore, and out of shame, they don’t say a word to anyone. For those who live a silent battle that no one can see, that no one would believe. No one would believe that their life slips away with every moment … every invisible wound. For anyone who’s said no one understands, no one cares, no one is coming to save me. Anybody who’s been told, either aloud, or through the whispers of their own inner demons, that no one is coming to help. For that girl who has typed “lol” with tears in her eyes. For that girl who’s joked about it, but no one knew, she’d thought about it on lonely nights. She’d planned it all out in her head, and even as she joked, she meant it. For that guy who’s searching the bottom of an empty bottle — hurting himself, hurting others, breaking down, falling a part, giving in, but still fighting. For that guy who has replied “fine,” then gone home, and ended it all.

I have to remind myself, that although I may not reach millions, I might reach a few. That it’s bigger than likes, follow, comments, and shares. I have to remind myself. I have to remember why I am that type of person who is crazy enough to put it all out there, keep trying, seeking feedback, hitting doors, hitting walls, picking herself up, and going right back into the unknown. And I can never say never, but for now, I won’t quit.

Just beneath ll 2 (2)27 facts about Just Beneath the Surface: Landon’s Story

(part 2)

14. Seven has a pixie cut.

15. Landon is clean cut.

16. There is a birthday party in the book.

17. An interesting scene takes place … involving fruit.

18. Landon is, for the most part, a mother and father’s dream.

19. Seven loves cashews.

20. Landon loves to shower the woman in his life with gifts.

21. Landon’s brother, Jonathan, looks a lot like Landon.

22. Seven is the only girl – all of her siblings are male.

23. Seven definitely has a way with words.

24. Landon definitely has a way with women.

25. Multiple times, I have been told that parts of Seven’s story line were upsetting; many readers had trouble sympathizing with her.

26.  I am hearing that Landon stayed with readers for quite a while after putting down the book.

27. Landon has a phobia of animal statues ..

Purchase the book November 27th to find out why …

So excited to announce that Just Beneath the Surface: Landon’s story, will be available this month. This is a soft release, which will officially begin November, 27, 2013!

To celebrate, I will share lots of character/book facts, excerpts, and more, (almost) daily leading up to the soft release date.

Are you ready for 27 “Landon’s Story” character facts?

Ready? Set? GOOooooo!

1. Landon’s name was originally James, then Quincy, then Quinton, then James.

Landon just seemed to fit.

2. Landon graduated high school at sixteen years old.

3. Seven, another main character in the novel, was kicked out of cosmetology school for fighting.

4. Seven has been arrested.

5. Landon’s sexuality is questioned multiple times.

6. Landon’s speaking voice, in my mind, is a lot like Evan Ross (son of Dianna Ross).

7. Seven, in my mind, sort of resembles Eartha Kitt.

8. Despite her temper, attitude, and lack of self-control, Seven is quite selfless and giving.

9. One of Seven’s best friends is named Maurice.

10. Landon runs early each morning.

11. Seven’s personal style, even the way she wears her makeup, changes when she is angry.

12. The olive branch is an important symbol in the book.

13. The owl is also an important symbol in the book.

Stop by tomorrow for a few more facts!

***


In Just Beneath the Surface II, new characters confront what has been buried and laid to rest – or so they thought.

Landon, a mysterious engineering student has learned to treat his past as though it belongs to someone else. He has learned to control every thought that enters his mind: everything from his memories, to his smile, to the tone of his voice. Anyone who believes that they have begun to understand Landon is sadly mistaken. He is a man impenetrable.

His own brother, Peter, refers to Landon as a robot. Landon’s mother fears that he will soon self-destruct. Landon only wishes that everyone around him would accept and understand one thing; Landon has unlocked what he considers his most prized possession: the gift of control.

Seven is a peculiar beauty whose temper, harsh tongue and violent tendencies often get her into trouble. After meeting Landon, Seven finds her way into unchartered territory: his heart. Soon, Seven’s perception of herself is challenged. She is frequently urged to step away and reevaluate herself, as the handsome young man who is wise beyond his years gently coaches her into finding her best self.

As secrets are revealed, and an unspoken bond is formed, Landon and Seven grow to be inseparable.

Before long, the horrors of the past bring Landon full circle. As his soft stoic surface faces intrusion, his old self is relinquished to paranoia. In time, Landon’s world is threatened by the recurring nightmare he thought he had left behind.

Bookworm’s Nook

a writer’s perspective


Hello and welcome, DelSheree Gladden!

 

Would you like to share a bit about yourself?

New Mexico has been my home for most of my life. I grew up in a little tiny town with one stoplight. My husband grew up in the next town over (where we live now) and our two kiddos love being near the many, many cousins. I have eight YA novels published and I work as a Dental Hygienist with the public schools during the school year. My novels include, Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and my newest book, Wicked Hunger.

When did you fall in love with reading? 

I’m not really sure. I’ve loved reading as long as I can remember. The library was one of my favorite spots as a child, and yes I do realize that probably makes me a huge nerd! I can’t even tell you how much babysitting money I spent on books as a kid 🙂

When did you fall in love with writing?

My curiosity about writing started when I was little, but I didn’t actually try to write something until my early teenage years. Those first attempts were pretty lousy, but I’ve worked hard to develop my writing skills and learn from other writers.

Do you ever find yourself more connected with the darker characters/antagonists in the books you read?

There are definitely times when that happens, not because their actions or decisions appeal to me, but because the darker characters have the potential to be incredibly deep characters. As a writer, you can take experiences that have affected you or people you know negatively and use them to build a damaged or disturbed character. It can be a fascinating experience to think about how a person’s reactions to bad situations can shape who they are.

If you could introduce two characters from two different books you have written, who would they be and why?

The first character would be Milo, from The Destroyer Series, because he was such a challenging character to figure out and write. The emotions and desires that motivated his actions were complicated and not always what I wanted him to do as a reader, but as a writer I knew it was the only way for him to go.

The other character would be Ivy, from Wicked Hunger, because she is a character whose whole life and all her decisions are dictated by a set of beliefs she holds to absolutely. To her, there is no other choice, but as the series progresses she will find that her world is not as black and white as she thinks it is.

Many authors are avid readers — how can writers separate inspiration from imitation, cultivate their craft, and mature into their own artist?

I read an article once about an author, who before he began to write, would refuse to read anything but his own work for months to avoid sounding like someone else. Personally, that just doesn’t work for me. I get a lot of inspiration from other writers. I’m not necessarily talking about their stories inspiring my books, although a word or phrase occasionally sparks an idea. It is more the style other writers employ, the way the describe characters or weave a backstory into the main plot. When I read, it’s not just to enjoy the story, but to learn from the writers as well.

I think in the beginning, a lot of writers do imitate authors they love, but it’s a way of learning. That is how most painters begin as well, re-painting the masters. The more writers write, the more they’ll discover their own style and voice.

Do you have any recurring themes in your novels?

It’s funny, because I never really thought about this before I was asked a similar question by another blogger and I had to look at my books more closely. I was surprised when I realized there was a recurring theme, and it was that we all have the ability to make our lives what we want no matter what forces are trying to push us in a certain direction.

When do you feel that you are at your most creative?

At night when I am trying to fall asleep. I frequently have trouble falling asleep, and while I am lying in bed I will run through scenes in my head and work out plot problems. It’s usually when I make the most progress on an idea!

What is your process, from start, to writer’s block, to finish?

When I start a new book, I just jump in and start writing. This first chapter usually gets rewritten many times, but the details usually seem to work themselves out as I write. When I get writer’s block, I switch to a different book and keep whatever was bugging me in the back of my mind. If I really get stuck, I force myself to make a brief outline. Finishing a book is usually the most agonizing part, especially if it’s the last in the series. I’ll spend a lot of time going back over everything to make sure I didn’t forget something or mix up some plot point.

I recently read “Wicked Hunger,” and cannot say enough, how much I loved the novel. Do you have a favorite excerpt you wouldn’t mind sharing?

Absolutely! This is from Chapter 8 of Wicked Hunger when Zander finds out Van has broken one of the rules they live by in order to keep their hunger in check.

***

“Tell me nothing happened to Noah! Tell me right now, Van, that you didn’t just ruin everything for us!”

“What are you talking about?”

“Martial arts?” I snap. “Are you freaking kidding me? You know how dangerous that is! What the hell were you thinking?”

“How do you know what I did today?” Van asks quietly.

I falter for a moment before continuing my tirade. “Who cares? What happened today? Is Noah okay? What exactly did you two do this afternoon?”

“Nothing happened!”

“Don’t lie to me, Van!” I warn.

Her growl races through the phone and snaps at me viciously. “I’m not lying. Nothing happened!”

“I don’t believe that. He was teaching you to fight and nothing happened? You really expect me to believe that?” How could she have been so stupid? That was way too big of a risk to take!

“You know, you don’t know everything, Zander,” Van argues. “You don’t know what I’m capable of, either! You think your way is the only way. You laugh at me and think I’m an idiot for having friends and trying to live a normal life. You think I’ll hurt them because I won’t be able to control myself. You don’t know anything about me if you think I’d ever hurt one of my friends!”

A sob breaks through her yelling. “I’m stronger than you think, Zander, and I’m not stupid. I didn’t let things with Noah get out of hand. I paced myself. I was smart about what I let him teach me. Maybe you can’t handle it, but I can have friends and this stupid curse at the same time. I’ve already given up one guy I loved for you. Don’t ask me to do it again.”

She sniffs again, and I know she must be crying. “Please don’t ask me to do that. I just want to be happy for once, Zander. Can’t you understand that?”

I rub my hand over my face and sigh. Most of my anger fell away when I heard my baby sister sob the first time. Right now, all I feel is regret, regret for yelling at her, regret for stomping on her hopes and happiness so often.

“Yeah,” I say softly, “I can understand that.”

What is your biggest inspiration?

As far as writing in general, that would be my husband. He always encourages me and helps me get it just write. When it comes to specific inspiration for my books, a lot of my inspiration comes from local mythology and folklore in New Mexico. This state has such a fascinating history. Some of that history isn’t pleasant, but much of it is beautiful and captivating.

Here is a bit of my review of “Wicked Hunger”:

Van and her brother, Zander, are more than mysterious; they are fascinatingly dark characters, constantly battling horrifying thoughts and urges. Not only are they struggling with cravings revolving around pain, they possess superhuman strength.

This doesn’t begin to explain the layers of fear and intensity in this novel. Every moment I waited and wondered when the gnawing and “hunger” would erupt. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what, if not human, Van and her brother were. I kept reading, wondering, are they vampires? Werewolves? Extra-terrestrials? For a moment, I wondered, maybe they are human, and they are just plain sick –maybe serial killers?

Wicked Hunger starts in a way, that surprised me. The book is in present tense! It is filled with riveting inner monologue of deeply troubled teenage characters, terrified of what they are capable of.

The book begins with Van, then, we experience Zander, whose portion of the story sent me through a frenzy of emotion. I saw what he saw, believed what he so badly wanted to believe (and I could hardly stand the betrayal he encountered).

The plot thickens yet, again, when the second brother, Oscar and other characters are introduced. The book kept me needing to know more, and even as it has ended, I see the scenes–mild, pleasant moments as well as the graphic thoughts of the characters–in my mind.

I loved the book, and finished it the same night I purchased it. Thanks for sharing the book, DelSheree, and for sharing a bit about yourself! I wish you all the best!!

Find DelSheree’s books:

Amazon     Goodreads   B&N   Kobo

Ways to connect with DelSheree online (website, blog, Twitter&Facebook):

http://delshereegladden.blogspot.com/

http://www.delshereegladden.com/

https://twitter.com/DelSheree

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDelShereeGladden

Again, thanks so much, DelSheree, for stopping by!!

Bookworm’s Nook

a character’s perspective

 Hello, welcome back, and congratulations to Jordanna East!

This is a big day — the release date for Blood in the Past!!

About Blood in the Past: Jillian Atford falls for an older man, a handsome Philadelphia cop, whose mystery is that he’s married, a reality Jillian refuses to accept. Lyla Kyle finds her mother dead on the floor from an apparent suicide. She blames her philandering father and wastes no time taking her revenge. Detective Jason Brighthouse Sr. is in the wrong place at the right time to attempt to save a colleague from his burning home. When neither of them make it out alive, his teenage son can only harp on their last argument. He shoots himself in the head…with his father’s gun.

Three lives. Three deaths. One story. To understand the future, you must visit the past.

The Blood in the Past.

***

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of character development?

My favorite part is thinking up their back stories. What life experiences have caused them to choose the paths they choose. For example, Jillian Atford was a foster child, bounced around from bad homes to worse homes. So, when she falls for a married Calvin Kyle, she engages in the affair wholeheartedly. She’s just happy to have someone–who already has a family–show some interest in her. My least favorite part of character development is when I try to put myself in my characters’ shoes to figure out what a plausible response is to a particular situation. Like I said, we all have experiences that shape us, so my experiences might send me down a different path than that of my characters. Plus, I don’t want to end up pitying them for any reason. That’ll make it harder to kill them later.

(lol!!!)

Have you ever watched someone on television or in a movie, and been inspired to create or add to your own book character?

Actually, Law & Order SVU (reruns of which I have on in the background sometimes while I write) is what prompted me to give Jillian a foster family background. Also, I was a big Dexter fan when I first started writing Blood in the Paint (the full-length follow-up to Blood in the Past), which is why Lyla uses a syringe as her weapon of choice. Different drug though. Succinylcholine paralyzes and kills. Off the top of my head, I don’t know what Dexter uses. But if you’re not familiar with the show, it only knocks his victims out for a little while.

Who are some of your favorite good guy gone bad book characters?

I don’t wanna ruin anything for your readers, so SPOILER ALERT. Amy Dunne from Gone Girl.

Thanks, but I’m sure the 10 (maybe 8) readers won’t be offended, Jordanna …

Which of your book characters would be most likely to turn away from people, and spend his/her time talking to their pets and animals?

Umm, either Jillian or Lyla. Jillian is little too “unhinged” to even keep a house plant though, so I’m gonna go with Lyla. I was actually thinking of giving her a pet in the second full-length novel, the one after Blood in the Paint. SPOILER ALERT: Lyla Kyle Gets a Pet! Haha. Maybe I’m the one who’s unhinged…

If your main character faced time in prison, what would his/her last meal likely be?

I consider Lyla to be my main character, and she would probably choose assorted sushi rolls and ice cold beer. Leinenkugel, to be specific. Jillian has her own skeletons in her closet that may or may not land her in jail later on (hint, hint?), but I can tell you right now she won’t eat a thing.

In your opinion, can authors go too far in their characters’ physical description? How much should be left to the imagination, how much of the portrait should an author paint?

God, yes! Do you know why? Because of movie and television adaptations. If an author gives too many physical details and the actors and actresses aren’t a perfect match, fans end up in an uproar. It really is a pickle. All you really need is an approximate age, hair color, maybe eye color, and that’s kind of it. You’re better off describing personality traits. That makes the character seem more realistic anyway, in my opinion.

Many people have been reading the reviews for The Great Gatsby, myself included. I have read reviews stating that it is impressive, but would not move the audience. I have read that it is a terrific adaptation. I have also read that the film is dreadful. Which of your characters would see the movie at the theater, which characters would wait and rent the movie?

Haha, for some reason I see Jason Brighthouse seeing it in the theater. Blood in the Past takes place, you guessed it, in the past. But Blood in the Paint is present day, so his partner on the force would definitely give him grief for even wanting to see it. Lyla might get dragged to see it in the theater by one of her soon-to-be victims. Jillian would wait for DVD, when she could open a bottle of white wine and pass out before you could say West Egg.

Fun chat; thanks so much for stopping by!!

Would you like to find/follow/connect with Jordanna?

Blood in the Past — now available on Amazon

http://jordannaeast.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JordannaEast

https://twitter.com/JordannaEast