Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Book, New Deadlines

Today, I will most likely cross the 10,000 word mark on the new book. I can't tell you how much that pleases me since Better Left Buried  only released a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I've found my writer's stride.

Three years ago, it would have taken me months to make this kind of progress. The work would have needed far more revision and I'd have been flying by the seat of my pants. Never again. I've honed my process and am writing lean and mean. This story is basically writing itself.

Part of me wants to show you everything--cover and blurb--and shout from the rooftops that this is my best book ever. The rest of me doesn't want the pressure of doing it.

Here's what I can share:

"Mourners gathered at the Wheelers’ home, apologizing for Lila’s loss with weighted suspicion. Lila wiped the tears from her eyes, swallowing the painful secret on the tip of her tongue. Pulling the plug on her husband’s life support had been the hardest decision of her life."

That's the opening line. 

A heartbreaking story about love and loss, with equal parts self-discovery and acceptance, this has been my most poignant tale to date. While firmly romantic/women's fiction, this book has a good dose of mystery for my Fatal Reaction  fans and will hopefully resonate with my new readers. My goal is to have an early fall release. This should be one busy summer.

I have a cover reveal planned, a title to release, and a tentative blurb to uncover, but for now, I'm keeping those things secret. When is the best time to pull off the sheet? I don't know. I'm thinking at the conclusion of rough draft, but I'm the kind of girl who likes to hint at presents until people guess them. If its something really spectacular, I can almost never wait until the actual holiday be it birthday or Christmas. I suspect this will be more of the same and that one night after a couple of glasses of wine, I'll let more details slip. Until then, I've got characters chatting me up, telling me to get to the good stuff.

Who am I to keep them waiting?

Until next time,
B.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bad Doctor: A Review




Dr. Gideon Box is the best at saving the lives of children with heart conditions. He’s the go-to guy for hopeless cases, but for as skilled as he is, there’s no doubt he is a bad doctor.

To say he has a hilariously terrible bedside manner would be an understatement. He’s constantly in trouble at the hospital he works at. People refuse to work with him after he curses not only the staff, but the poor little patients.

Dr. Box is House on steroids. With Tourette’s.

The weight of being everyone’s only hope causes a kind of stress to build in him that makes him self-destructive. Some might blow off steam with a round of golf. Dr. Box does it by soliciting strippers for sex and then robbing them at gunpoint.

I had heard the name John Locke, but this was my first time reading one of his books. “Bad Doctor” is unconventional, smart, and laugh out loud funny. There are a couple of twists I hadn’t seen coming and ultimately, I wanted more! I’m excited to see if any of the other Dr. Box books pick up the story because I really think he’s met his match with this new nurse.

I’ve seen people do ‘medical’ poorly, but Locke’s authority was clear. He’s either had some experience in that realm or he’s one hell of a researcher. Either way, nothing he wrote pulled me out of the moment.

This isn’t your typical tale. It’s clear from the first page we’re dealing with a screws-loose individual who deals in offensiveness. Sure, he’s brilliant. He’s also majorly flawed. I considered rating this book four stars because a few things were left unfinished, but I can’t fault the author for tying into a series. The Siamese twin hitmen were maybe a bit over the line for me, but hell, they were funny and who else would write someone like that?!?


Five stars for this nutty ride.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway: "Better Left Buried" (A Haunting New Adult Coming of Age Story)

*Warning: Mature content. 

Two signed paperback copies available. 

Enter to win here , via the link in the sidebar, or below.

Don't forget to add this haunting coming of age tale to your TBR. For fans of issue-driven YA/NA.



*It's not just the house that's haunted.* 

Harmony Wolcott has lived her entire life on the fringe, wishing more often than not that she could end it all. After a failed suicide attempt heightens her visibility in the Child Protective Services system, she has no choice but to hide the details about the home life she's run from. 

Adam, Harmony's formerly homeless boyfriend, has learned to fend for himself. Despite a past he's reluctant to talk about, Adam has risen above his circumstances and is trying to get Harmony to do the same. 

Only loving someone so damaged isn't easy. 

A recurring nightmare chips away at Harmony's facade of normalcy, reminding her of a time hidden so deep in her memory that it blurs the line between dream and reality. Convinced the nightmares are an otherworldly attempt at telling her something, Harmony employs the help of a spirit board and her best friend, Brea, to uncover a secret she's kept, even from herself. 

Brea, who is trying to piece together the mystery of why her father walked out on their family fourteen years earlier, knows it's something to do with Harmony's mother and a night no one is willing to talk about. 

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony's patched together life, dragging both Brea and Adam down with her and proving, with devastating consequences, that sometimes the past is better left buried.





Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Left Buried by Belinda Frisch

Better Left Buried

by Belinda Frisch

Giveaway ends May 04, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pay it Forward Friday: A True Story



Huffington Post is circulating this story about a woman and her five children who were at a grocery store when the SNAP machine went down. For those of you who don't know, SNAP is food stamps. She wasn't purchasing a lot. Twenty dollars worth of healthy snacks for her hungry children and a Snapple iced tea she considered a "treat" for herself.

When the cashier asked if the woman wanted the food held for her, she said, "No, that her kids were hungry now and she didn't have the money to pay." The woman behind her in line paid her bill, starting a whirlwind blog post meant to say thanks. People are already reaching out to this woman and I'm glad to see her family might get the help it needs.

It's easy to judge people when they're down. Maybe you get frustrated because you're in a long line and the woman paying with WIC grabbed the wrong juice, or the grocery order has to be sorted because of EBT/SNAP. Maybe you've just heard too many stories about the abuse of the system. I know I have, but there are so many people out there trying to help themselves in a rotten economy.

You think you can't make a difference, but let me tell you what happened to me some years back.

My husband and I have two boys at home, a month apart in age. His/hers children from previous relationships. We're not what I would call "well off", but we have more than enough. Our kids don't know want, let alone need. When the boys were middle school aged, they hit somewhat of a simultaneous growth spurt. Anyone who has twins will know the expense of simultaneous anything (braces, growth spurts, proms, cars ...). It gets very expensive. When it came to clothes, they were outgrowing them long before they were wearing them out. We didn't buy them Hollister (though they'd have preferred it), but we did by the Aero and some brand name clothes to keep up with their friends.

It can be a cruel, cruel world for those making do.

So, growth spurt time comes and goes, leaving us with bags and bags of barely worn pants/shirts/pajamas/coats--you name it, it was in these bags. I could have taken them to a consignment shop, or donated them to the Salvation Army (which would have been the easiest route to keep from hoarding things we'll never again use), but I said, "You know, there's a lot of nice stuff in here. I don't want Salvation Army selling it off. I'd rather give it to someone in need."

We sorted the clothes by size, folded it all nice and freshly laundered, and posted a picture of the piles on Craig's List: Free to a Home in Need. I was afraid in need would be ignored and fielded several email replies. One stood out from the rest and I didn't know then why. It wasn't a plea for help or a sob story, but the mom seemed excited by the things I had and I sensed this was the person I wanted to give everything to. I contacted her and told her that we also had toys. I hadn't originally posted them and hadn't considered doing so because toys are toys. Who knows when you'll ever use them again, but I wasn't ready to plan for grandchildren and asked her if she would like those as well. Turns out she had a younger child, too, and she was elated. She didn't care what they were, but since they were free, she'd take them.

I'm leery of inviting strangers to my home, so we arranged to meet at a local convenience store. I told her what we drove (we had a Pilot at the time) and the cargo area was pretty darn near full. She drove a subcompact. Immediately there was a logistical issue. The little boy lit up in the front seat at the sight of what we were giving them. A little girl waved from a car seat in the back. The mom assured me that whatever it took, they'd make the stuff fit. And they did. We parted ways and I felt just a bit of pride for helping someone else. She was grateful, which was all the payment I wanted.

I didn't expect to ever hear from her again so her follow-up message took me by complete surprise.

As it turns out, she and her children had nothing. They had recently left a battered woman's shelter, having come from an obviously severe abuse situation. Her son had been getting beat up at school for his appearance. He might have been seven-years-old. Her daughter had no girl's clothes. All she had was ill-fitting hand-me-downs from her brother. The mom was at a loss to stretch what little money she had.

When she saw how nice the things were that we gave her (which, to us, were compromises between Target and Hollister), she couldn't believe it. Her son was going to have the kinds of things other kids had for the first time, things she said she could have in no way afforded on her own. As a benefit, she could reallocate money to buy girl's clothes for her daughter. She hadn't wanted me to give her things based on her story and hadn't said a word about how bad things were, initially, but we'd made such a difference for her, she had to tell us. I cried. As a former single mom and someone who had struggled to make ends meet, this woman reached the mother in me on a very personal level.

The toys were a bonus. Boxed up, barely played with stuff piled in the back seat. The little girl was so excited she asked her mom to pull over at a playground. She couldn't wait to get home to play!

I think about the three of them from time to time and hope that wherever they are, they're doing well now. It's not just money that helps folks. Compassion and kindness go a long way.

Why not pay it forward today?

It could change someone's life.

Until next time,
B.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Adults Reading Young/New Adult and Replacing Amazon Book Files



I reluctantly admit that I was once baffled by why grown adults were so fixated on the Young and New Adult genres.

I couldn't understand the allure. Until I read one.

The carefree spirit of unpredictable teen characters brings me back to my youth. Reading Colleen Hoover's Hopeless had me remembering the feeling of a first crush. Mockingjay, too, though admittedly the Hunger Games element overshadowed the romance.

Maybe better than reading YA/NA is writing it. The teenage years are some of the most formative and make delving into themes like unconditional love and friendships effortless. Young people feel differently--completely and with abandon--and consequences aren't always weighed. It's fun to write someone that driven by emotion rather than logic.

Oddly enough, my debut novella, Dead Spell, was intended for the mature YA/NA crowd. Having read more of the genre now than I had back when I wrote Dead Spell  made me feel less inhibited writing Better Left Buried.

I've learned that it's okay to touch on topics like sex and abuse in YA because about everyone is. There's something to be said for that critical line before adulthood where one begins to separate as an individual from their parents' pasts. Better Left Buried is a haunting coming of age tale about a girl who has seen more heartache than most and is dealing with the decision to rise above her circumstances or end her life. There's mystery and an authentic teen experience written for mature audiences. I think this is a great crossover novel.

Speaking of, now seems the best time to get the word out there about my snafu. I had wanted to release Better Left Buried as a replacement to Dead Spell so that all of the readers who had taken a chance on the novella could get the novel version. You know what they say about best intentions. Amazon's system (though everything looked perfect on their site, right cover and interior preview) sent out the Dead Spell file to anyone who had previously purchased it and was now trying to buy Better Left Buried. Even if the original was taken out via Manage My Kindle, the wrong file was sent. One of my dedicated readers contacted me in a panic that she couldn't get the new file. I contacted Amazon, but the long and short of it was that replacing a file is a complicated process that takes months and is unpredictable. I contacted support and felt that no resolution could be reached. While it pained me to lose 43 stellar reviews on Dead Spell and to know that my readers would have to purchase Better Left Buried if they wanted it, the best and only guaranteed course of action was to republish the book as the new novel that it is. I don't blame anyone for this and had vacillated on whether or not to even attempt the replacement. Loss of reviews is a tough pill to swallow when they're so hard to come by these days. But, I'm a fan of a clean slate. That's where we're at. Zero reviews and counting.

For anyone who is interested, Better Left Buried is available on Kindle and NOOK for only $2.99. Early reviewers are greatly appreciated.


 I'm off to outline the next novel. I'm  not one for a break. Stay tuned for news on the new release due out in Fall 2014.

Until next time,
B.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Better Left Buried" Now Available and Rafflecopter Winners

HOT NEW RELEASE! YA/NA HORROR/MYSTERY



*Warning: Mature content. 

It's not just the house that's haunted. 

Harmony Wolcott has lived her entire life on the fringe, wishing more often than not that she could end it all. After a failed suicide attempt heightens her visibility in the Child Protective Services system, she has no choice but to hide the details about the home life she's run from. 

Adam, Harmony's formerly homeless boyfriend, has learned to fend for himself. Despite a past he's reluctant to talk about, Adam has risen above his circumstances and is trying to get Harmony to do the same. 

Only loving someone so damaged isn't easy. 

A recurring nightmare chips away at Harmony's facade of normalcy, reminding her of a time hidden so deep in her memory that it blurs the line between dream and reality. Convinced the nightmares are an otherworldly attempt at telling her something, Harmony employs the help of a spirit board and her best friend, Brea, to uncover a secret she's kept, even from herself. 

Brea, who is trying to piece together the mystery of why her father walked out on their family fourteen years earlier, knows it's something to do with Harmony's mother and a night no one is willing to talk about. 

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony's patched together life, dragging both Brea and Adam down with her and proving, with devastating consequences, that sometimes the past is better left buried.

Kindle: http://ow.ly/vjEOy 
NOOK: http://ow.ly/vhMSn 

AND NOW FOR THE MARCH MADNESS WINNERS!!!

Thanks to everyone for participating.

Alan Saxon is the winner of the $10.00 Amazon gift card
Debbie Zeman and Louise Villeneuve have won books. 

Now, I know darn well that Louise has read everything but Better Left Buried. She's a superfan, and I love her for it! That being said, Debbie and Louise are welcome to choose any of my e-books as their prize. I will email you both shortly.



Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Better Left Buried" News and More ...

Barring anything unforeseen, Better Left Buried will be available tomorrow for Kindle and Nook. I have to finish final draft edits on the last 50% between tonight and tomorrow and double-check formatting.


What started off as the urge to expand my debut novella turned this into a contender for my favorite novel yet. Funny how that happens, right? I've spent the past few days listening to the story via Kindle Text-to-Speech to make sure there were no errors visually missed. There were a couple and so the extra effort was well worth it. I believe I've caught them all, and in the process thought, "This sounds good."

Better Left Buried might be my first venture into ACX audiobooks. More on that later.

In other news, I've decided to back out of Smashwords. It's taken a lot of consideration, but the outlet really hasn't panned out for me and is just that much more to manage. Being an author, editor, publisher, and general Jacqueline-of-all-trades has me prioritizing what's been working and what hasn't.

I'm pleased to announce that Fatal Reaction remains in the Amazon Top 100 Medical Thrillers on Amazon (and after a listen-through might also be in the running for ACX, if I don't find the process too burdensome).


I am entering Better Left Buried in the Young Adult category of the upcoming New England Book Festival and have Fatal Reaction  in the Hollywood Book Festival, which isn't announcing winners for a couple of months yet. Cure was runner-up in the 2012 Halloween Book Festival, making me more inclined to enter these particular competitions. Fingers crossed any of them turn out favorably!

In the meantime, there are book bucks out there to be spent. With so many people getting their 'book credits' from the recent price fixing settlement or whatever, now is the time to snatch up some great fiction. I'm partial to pimping mine, but there are so many talented authors out there, leading me my last point. There is only one day left in the March Madness giveaway so enter, and help me spread the word about Better Left Buried's release. You might just wake up a winner for your troubles.

Until next time,
B.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Color Printer, Mod Podge, and Cover Art ...


Do you know Mod Podge? If not, you're missing out!


This stuff is essentially a cross between puzzle saver and Elmer's glue and it makes the coolest finish. Use it on any paper craft and it makes the picture look almost like a canvas painting.

I am a master at the art of procrastination so with two book covers done and final draft looming, I decided to update my notebooks. I save all of my notes in case I decide to serialize any of my work. Also, I might be a pack rat--at least when it comes to office supplies.

As you can see from the picture above, I turned ordinary notebooks into custom ones by printing my book covers on a color printer, letting it dry thoroughly (this is important because Mod Podge WILL smear we ink), cutting the covers out and applying a thin-ish coat of Mod Podge to both the underneath and top side of the printout. This isn't an exact science and Mod Podge will go on opaque white and look like crap until it's completely dried. Have faith. The finish will be clear, I promise. Avoid brushing too heavily and remember that your brush strokes will turn up in the final product. I like to experiment with faint swirls and stuff. Go nuts. Do what you like. In the end, the dried product turns out a little stiffer, lending strength and maybe even a bit of water protection to your notebook covers.

You know, my BRAND NEW cover is under that top one. I refuse to let the title or the pic out of the bag just yet. I'm such a tease, but I can be swayed with comments, compliments, chocolate, and wine.

Fun, cheap, and great if you don't want to edit just now ...

Speaking of. I'm 1/2 way through final draft. I must get back to it.

Until next time,
B.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

Better Left Buried: Final Cover, Maybe?

Cover art is one of those tricky things you either love or hate, that either sets the tone for the story or doesn't. I had done a mock-up of a cover for Better Left Buried, but it never hit home. I never fell in love with it. This morning, on a whim, I decided to go back to the drawing board and I'm glad I did. I think this one more fully conveys the dark tone of the story.



For giggles, here was the 'working cover' ...


We'll call that the 'not so working cover' from here on out.

What do you think? 

A quick reminder that there is only one week left in the March Madness giveaway and there are always substitutions. If you win any of my e-books and prefer another, just let me know. I'll confirm before I gift them. Better Left Buried may just be released before the end of the month, so if you're into paranormal YA, give it a shot. 

Until next time,
B.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hopeless: A YA Novel Review


4.6 stars on Amazon 6,776 reviews!

My rating: 4 STARS

Dean Holden’s a bad boy with mood swings, a mysterious year long absence from school, and a tattoo that says “Hopeless”. He’s hard to read for everyone except Sky Davis, a girl with mysteries of her own.

Best friends with a girl named “Six” (or Seven, more accurately), Sky is about to embark on her senior year alone—her first in public school after being homeschooled by Karen, her adoptive mother. Six has a reputation for being loose that virginal Sky has adopted by proxy. Six has been accepted into a foreign exchange program and is in another country, leaving Sky to have to fend for herself in an unforgiving high school environment determined to make things hard for her.

She’s made just one friend, but can’t help being drawn to Holder--her running partner, boy of her dreams, and all around enigma--who has returned to school just to be with her. Their chance meeting in a supermarket parking lot sets off the kind of first love romance that dreams are made of—sort of. Colleen Hoover nailed the concept of teen soul mates with these two and the chemistry is nothing short of intense. What starts as a YA romance takes a dramatic turn as the truth behind Holder’s fascination with Sky unfolds. Some secrets are so painful that the only way to survive them is to repress them. Luckily for Sky, Holder’s there to help her as she navigates her painful past and discovers the truth about her adoption.

This is the first book I’ve read by Colleen Hoover, but it’s not likely to be my last. She nails chemistry, character, and the YA voice with an ease that makes the reading effortless. Were it not for the fact that I felt some of the passages dragged, that the mystery was a bit predictable, and that the physicality overtook story from time to time (making major plot points like what happens with Sky’s Dad trivialized), I’d have rated the book a five.


A solid four-star book that is well worth reading. 

Don't forget there is only one week left until the winners of the March Madness Giveaway are selected. With a $10 Amazon gift card up for grabs, you can land yourself a couple of books, including Hopeless, for FREE.

I'm not sure what's next on my TBR, but I have to finalize Better Left Buried for publication. It might be a week or two before I start anything else. I'm thinking mystery or horror this time. Why not? 

Until next time,
B.