Cover Reveal: Elude (Reave Series, #2) :)

I’m SO excited to share with you the cover for my second novel, Elude.

 

Elude Reveal

 

Escaping is hard. Surviving is harder.

Aster has lived a life of servitude for ten years, but now she is determined to be free. Countless Reapers stand between her and the gate to New Bethel, and more await just past the walls. She’s spent her life being invisible, but in a world full of assassins, becoming close to any of them only makes you a target for the rest. Every step she takes puts her in more danger, closer to Reapers with unknown intentions. Unexpected friendships develop, but can she really trust any Reaper when they’ve all been trained to deceive? Aster and Chase know what awaits them outside the city, but can they get past it?

In Aster’s journey for freedom, she learns there are some things in life you can’t ever truly escape from, and that some steps can’t ever be taken back.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Projected Release Date: July 14, 2014

 

Cover: Phatpuppyart

Photography: Teresa Yeh

Typography: The Font Diva

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Female Friendships

I was hoping to do a post today entitled: ALL THE COLORS Pt. 2.

Obviously I’m not doing that, which is because I haven’t yet attempted what I planned to attempt in ALL THE COLORS. I’m still planning it, but I haven’t got all my supplies out of the boxes they’re in yet. I’ll try it out at some point, hopefully soon.

So instead, I’m going to be writing a post about the importance of female friendships in novels, and in life. This is inspired by Vampire Academy coming out in two days, which I am EXTREMELY excited about.

Most of the reading I do is in the YA genre. I don’t always WRITE in that genre (it’s a bit difficult for me to keep the cursing to a minimum [depending on how badly a character wants to do it] and wondering about the line where *cough* other things are concerned), but I prefer to read in it. My reasons for doing as much aren’t related to this post, so I’m not going to get into that because I’m trying to stay on subject with the new schedule. (Is mentioning something getting into it?)

One of my largest problems (it’s not the only one) with the genre is the lack of female friendships that the heroines have in their lives. More often than not, it seems to be piling a bunch of males in with the one female to develop (sometimes) meaningful relationships and friendships with. If there are females, they seem to be put on the back-burner and are more for keeping up appearances rather than adding any sort of legitimate substance. They’re underutilized, in my opinion. (Kind of like something else, which I will probably get to in another post.)

I’ll completely admit that writing female friendships is a tricky thing. When you’re female, you KNOW how tricky female friendships can get, especially around the age when YA main characters are. I’ll also admit that the male/female friendship ratio I tend to work with is usually pretty indicative that I personally find friendships with males easier. BUT, there’s a quality over quantity aspect. And I will say that in any series I’ve finished, the main female character has AT LEAST ONE extremely meaningful friendship with another female. Doesn’t necessarily happen in the first book of a series, doesn’t necessarily not happen in the first book of a series, but it happens at some point (thus far). It happens because . . . that happens in life. I also believe it’s important.

I think for younger females, it’s good for them to see that friendships with other girls can be healthy. It doesn’t have to be backstabbing and all the other nonsense that comes along with being 16-18 years old (and younger, and older). I think it’s good for them to see that. It’s true that you don’t always get back what you put into a friendship, but sometimes you do.

While I’ve always made friends easier with males (for the most part), some of the most meaningful connections I have in my life are with females. Females communicate together in a way that you just . . . don’t get with males. And no, it’s not all make up and clothes (but yes, that’s fun).

I have no problem saying that Aster eventually develops several meaningful relationships with females in the Reave series (apart from Agatha). Some of them come later into the game than others, but they help her grow as a ‘person’. These females (I’m not giving them away) help her in ways no one else ever could.

I say writing female friendships isn’t any trickier than writing love entanglements. No, they’re not as ‘appealing’, but by god . . . they’re real.

And that’s one thing I loved about the Vampire Academy series (apart from Rose being badass, which she was). Rose and Lissa, whatever connection aside, have one of the deepest friendships I’ve ever read. No matter what boys get thrown into the mix, or what crap, they are always there for each other. I think that’s beautiful, and I think it’s important.

When you have girlfriends and you throw boys into the mix, things can get a bit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . difficult. When you’re young, a lot of times you think the boy is the one that matters, and don’t get me wrong, they matter in their ways. It’s usually not ways you realize at the time.

You might cry on a male friend’s shoulder when you’re falling to pieces over a boy. I know I did my fair share of that when I was younger (A BIG SORRY here to any of you who had to deal with that), but it’s different when you’re sprawled out on your best female friend’s bed, a complete wreck. There’s no, “I knew this was going to happen.”

That comes later, if ever. Usually not.

Girlfriends know you don’t want to hear that garbage, especially when you’re in pieces (you probably did know and don’t need reminding). All you want to do is cry about some jerkface who probably didn’t deserve your time or the tears you’re crying over him anyhow.

I’m not devaluing one sort of friendship and talking up the other. Some of my best friends in the world are male, and I would not give up those friendships for anything, but neither would I with my female friendships. What I’m saying is that it’s all important.

There’s really not much that compares to the bonds females can form with one another, especially in the fueled flames of adolescence. I can easily say that, being well past that time, I’m glad to see it over. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it for what it was, or the people involved. But it’s easy to look back and realize that you take things for granted when you’re young.

So hug your girlfriends and always remember . . . they can’t be replaced. And those connections? They deserve to be written about. They deserve so much more than what they’re given.

Thank you Richelle Mead for doing a fantastic job of that when it seems to be so rare in the genre.

(Also, on a completely unrelated note: I’m trying to get an actual SCHEDULE made up for reading people’s blogs on here. It’s taking me longer than I want it to with all the work I’m doing, but I AM working on it. Please be patient with me until that time, and then I’ll actually have a daily schedule for it to hold myself to.)

🙂

Reave has gone live!

Reaveebook

How far would you go to be free—to make your own choices without being subjected to punishment for doing what you felt was right?
Could you kill for it?
After being abandoned by her father as a child, Aster spent ten years of her life as a servant for the leader’s House in the broken city of New Bethel. She’d known, even as a child, that the cities of her world were corrupt places with human monsters—assassins—running rampant between their high walls.
Thinking everything will remain the same as it always has there, Aster is startled to discover that one day . . . the cycle breaks. As a young new leader takes a strange and—at times—horrifying interest in her, will she be capable of discovering the reasons behind his actions and orders?
In a world where nothing is as it seems and all things are never anywhere near as simple as they appear at first glance, will she be capable of making the distinction between what is real and what is not? Will she find anyone at all she can trust? More importantly . . . Does she have the strength to do what is necessary to survive in a world filled with evil?

It’s on Amazon now!

Paperback

E-book

(I pushed the button….)

😉

Lions, and tigers, and sex sc – Wait…what?

Ah, the dreaded three letter word that starts with S, ends in X, and rhymes with HEX.

It’s not such a dreaded word in reality (at least not for most people under whichever circumstances), but for writers who are not Romance novelists? Oh yes, that word is SO dreaded. I’m not sticking all of you other writers out there into that little box with me, but I’m definitely in it and I know I’m not the only one.

I have to keep in mind that most of you who read my blog have had zero interaction with me off of here. I email with a few people. I’ve talked on the phone to one person a few times. So yes, the only way most of us all know one another is through interactions on WordPress. In a way, that can almost give you deeper insight to a person than you’d normally get – at least in my opinion. We share our hopes and dreams on here – our pains (not paints, way to ruin a moment with a typo, C), our struggles, and our ambitions. We share our WRITING. I know you all get me on that level, which is fantastic.

I’ve said on here before that I’m a pretty closed off person in some ways. If I know you, I’ll spill my deepest secrets (or the next level above the deepest) to you in a heartbeat. I can be a very open person. But let me give you a little insight . . .

If I did NOT know you, and you came up to me on the street and started rattling off about sex scenes, one or both of my eyes would likely start twitching. I would sweat profusely. I would be polite and say, “Hey, Random Person, this is somewhat inappropriate.” At least I would want it to come out of my mouth that way. It would probably be more like, “Whoa dude, wtf are you doing?”

That’s me.

I’ve written a lot, alright? That type of stuff HAPPENS when you write books, because that type of stuff HAPPENS in real life. I’m a fan of The Cut-Off. If I lead up to something happening well enough, I’m PRETTY SURE your mind can fill in the gaps. It’s my goal as a writer to make that happen. It’s better that way, I think (just my opinion). At least I am better at it that way, which . . . sometime you out there can be the judge of that, if you ever want to be. When writing Young Adult, it’s almost better to do it that way, again in my opinion. And I don’t want to feel like I’d be responsible for a crapton of sexually deviant teenagers running around doing things that they do. Hey, they do it, but I don’t want to feel responsible for it. And I would feel responsible, even if nobody ever accused me of it.

Oh my GOD, ALL THE EVILS IN THE WORLD ARE MY FAULT!!

That’s how my brain works, okay?

There’s a part of me that’s not comfortable writing YA at all, as I cover a lot of subjects in my books that I’m not sure the younger end of YA readers . . . I’m stopping myself there, as I cannot say who should and should not (or would and would not be able to) handle whatever. But I’m less comfortable writing in the adult genre, in ways.

I’ll give you a scenario – it’s a truthful scenario that happens quite often with me while I’m writing (or editing) a book.

I’m sitting there in my shed (I have every intention of posting an entry about my shed on here, so let’s leave the shed at that for now), writing (or editing). Sexy scene comes up. I type (or read/write) a few words. I giggle. I type a few more, put my hand over my face, and start talking to myself (“Oh my god,” for example. “I can’t believe I just wrote that,” for another). I type a few more and giggle again.

It happens.

There are some scenes in some of my books that – I kid you not – will have me nearly rolling around on the ground giggling in uncomfortableness. I do weird things when I’m uncomfortable, if you haven’t gathered.

So yes, adult books have their downside, as The Cut-Off is generally not wanted or accepted.

But I’ll tell you something I learned . . . yesterday? Two days ago? The days blur . . .

I knew that I’d done a relatively decent job with the more ‘intimate’ scenes (not sex scenes) in the book that my editor HAS IN HER HANDS RIGHT NOW. I knew that I had because my husband’s response after reading one of them in particular was, “I felt like I was intruding.”

That’s one of those things where you think about it for a little while, and then nod your head in satisfaction when you’re alone. It must’ve been good, in some way.

I’ve never really felt like that – at least no more than I usually feel when I’m writing. I already feel a level of intrusion into the character’s stories that I’m telling because I feel like I’m telling the life story of some person that has no business being told. I’m giving words to their lives for other people to read.

I have to be honest and say that I finished writing this new trilogy last week. I didn’t want to say anything on here – partially because I’ve been busy (writing and now editing), and partially because I read on a blog awhile back that talking about writing prolifically can make other authors feel bad. I’ve actually been struggling a lot with both that, and the fact that I write full-time (without pay because I have no books released yet . . . give me some time to get everything in place and they will be out there, I promise). I don’t want to make anyone feel any negative thing due to what I’m doing, so I haven’t wanted to be like, “HEY, I FINISHED ANOTHER BOOK!” And then another one a few weeks later. But hey. I have.

Guilty feelings come to me again now.

So anyway, I had to say it so that what I say next will make sense.

I was editing the first book in that trilogy and came upon the actual first legitimate sex scene that I’ve ever written. It was torture writing it, let me tell you. I was pleased with it afterward. I thought I kept it classy (as classy as they can get). I postponed writing it for as long as I freaking could, let me tell you.

Anyway, came upon it when editing.

And by god, if I didn’t feel like I was intruding then I don’t know what that was. Well, uncomfortable, yes. But intrusive. I felt so unbelievably intrusive.

So, after getting through editing it and taking a few minute break afterward to try and fix my brain back into its normal – un-uncomfortable – mode, I sat there and I thought about it.

I’ll never be a Romance novelist. Not ever. Well, I can’t know that for certain, but I know for certain that I don’t want to be. I love the natural romance that happens between characters, but I’m not trying to turn love stories into the pornographacation (*ding* new Non-Word) of a character’s life. I will write and write (and write and write) about things that don’t happen, but I like my books to be realistic enough that the other things can make those unrealistic things believable. And throwing in a bunch of words that people DO NOT THINK into scenarios and DO NOT HAPPEN . . . Where is the believability there?

I’m not writing this to get into a debate about Romance novels. People like them, and that’s cool. I just don’t write them.

What I’m trying to say is that I learned, finally, that I CAN actually write a sex scene if I feel that I absolutely must – if the story, or the characters say, “Dammit, woman, TELL THE STORY!”.

And I’m proud of myself for that because it was such a freaking struggle for me.

But hey, I’m a bigger fan of the leading-up-to anyhow. For the most part . . . I think I’ll stick to what I’m good at when it comes to that sort of thing with writing. I’ll venture out of my box to grow, but . . . yep, done that. Check.

Sorry this was so long, but I haven’t been blogging very much. Pretty poor way of making up for it, come to think about it.

Anyway, if anyone else has had the same struggles – or similar ones – feel free to share. Maybe I won’t feel so ridiculous.

Hope everyone is wonderful out there.

🙂

Now if only I can get over the thought of my mom reading these new books of mine that she’s been asking to read . . .