Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fan Feedback: Sticks and Bones

I absolutely love receiving feedback from my readers. Definitely feeling the love from the Young Adult Reader community. You guys are awesome! Keep the comments coming! I read each, and every one, of them.

I'd like to give a special shout out to my fans across the pond! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know what you thought about "Sticks and Bones"!

Five Star Review on barnesandnoble.com in the Nook store:

"It's an awsome read I would recommend it to all my friends

As a young adult just out of high school I could really connect with the characters. She really got the cliques right. A real emotional ending. A wonderful book for young adults and parents alike."

From my email and other sources:

"I don't see many YA crime books around, and this was an absolute delight. A far cry from the good old days of Nancy Drew, we have an intelligent and thrilling read. You treat the violence with care, making it realistic, subtly horrific without painting the scene red, and strong characters make this a brilliant read."

"Absolutely brilliant story. You know how to tell a good story and pull the reader along for a thrilling ride. The murder scene was excellently executed (oops excuse the pun!!) Spot on character developement makes this an all round exciting MUST read."

"Marcia's character comes across well and her reflections to her youth paint a picture of her personality. I liked the part where she entered the barn and recollected her brothers prank. I think the little touches you write make her a character that young adults can relate to. Your style is good and the tention builds at a good pace."

"WoW! This is a page turner. You got the suspense with the missing girl, Leah, and the body with half a tongue missing. You have all the facets, details, approaches neeeded to pull of a thriller murder plot. Great writing to back it up. One hell of a a book! Damned good."

"There is something real about a crime thriller and your book has 'it' ."

"Very good read and one of the better YA stories on site - doesn't talk down to the audience. :)"

"Your use of short paragraphs and crisp, realistic dialogue keeps the flow of your story moving well. Your work is character rich, I especially like how you build Marcia, and your descriptive writing is sure to appeal to the YA audience."

"Relentless pace and polished writing kept me reading - and reading."

And then I received this; thank you so much for your insight:

"The Teenscene website is a nice introduction, different and very much ‘of the time’; as an IT writer (in my day job) I know that online is the first place I’d look for information about a missing teenager.

I like the way that Marcia easily identifies with high school. Personally, I think for us all it’s such a defining time of our lives that it’s one that’s easy to go back to. You mix this well with her lack of understanding and confusion about how catty the girls can be online.

Her character develops well, and you raise some interesting questions about why she turned her back on a career in law for the forensics.

I like the way that you segue from her internal dialogue into the conversation on the phone, but also tell us salient information about the force. This is a neat trick to pull off. It’s easy to get bogged down in one person’s narrative and forget for the MC to interact with other, a trap you don’t fall into.

The tension builds well at the crime scene. I love the way that we see her elated at the discovery of a body and then repulsed by the reality of the scene. You tease us with what has actually happened, just enough. Similarly, you don’t give too graphic a description, but my imagination has already done the job for you - nice work.

There’s also a nice contrast between her and Jonathan, which lets us see her softer, sympathetic side, again this is nice character development."

Again, thank you to all my readers! Feedback matters. You matter. Look forward to my next novel, "Dance with Me", a paranormal romance. And due out in 2012, "The Malakai Chronicles" a science fiction trilogy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Call of Duty - 9/11 Remembered

In light of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I am going to speak to the subject of America in all her glory and majesty; all the truths we hold as self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

As I sat in the little cubicle, in the software company where I worked, in Middle-America, an exasperated exclamation came from the cubicle next to mine, "An airplane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!" The chitter chatter of the support representatives in the room ceased into a deafening silence. Moments later it was announced another plane had hit. The clicking of mouse buttons could be heard in the quiet of the room, as each representative made their way to their favorite news sites on the web.

On that day, we became Americans; together. All our ancestral knowledge of what our country was, and is, came flooding to the forefront of our minds. In our little room, we had people descended from Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Germany,and immigrants from India, among others; just like the people who were now under attack a thousand miles away.

We didn't notice it at the time, but planes were taking off, from our little airport in Middle-America, streaking their way across the skies at Mach speed. They were our boys, answering the call of duty. Each of the pilots knowing this may be their last flight. The planes were fully locked and loaded ready for battle. They had no idea what they were flying into on the east coast, but they donned their flight suits just the same. Years later, while touring this little airport, I learned that these young men were among the pilots of the planes that circled over Washington, DC that fateful day in American history. God bless the North Dakota Air National Guard. I no longer have the disk containing the official flight photo from that day, it belongs to a young boy who was on that tour - who now serves in the United States Military. 

Firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, and even clergy were dispatched, from throughout the nation, to the heart of the battle that raged in our port city of New York. They descended upon our capitol in DC to ensure that all was made right in the world - as right as it could be in the heat of the moment. They gathered on a field in Pennsylvania to assess the situation and bring a sense of comfort and security to those who were distraught with disbelief of what had happened.

Citizens, from all across the land, rose up in a unified front to serve and protect our nation, alongside those who were sworn to do so. They caravanned to the pits of hell bringing food, water, clothing, and a spirit of patriotism unlike any we have seen in our living history.

5,000 people gave their lives that day. They did not lose their lives. Their lives carry on, each and every day, as a rememberance that Freedom is NOT free. Freedom is not guaranteed by the simple fact America exists. These 5,000 people were global citizens from America, and all around the world - but on that day, on 9/11, they were Americans. They were one of us.

On Sunday, when all the fanfare will commence, to recognize, appreciate and memorialize those who were affected by the attacks of 9/11, remember - you also were affected. You are a citizen, or resident, of the United States of America. You answered the call of duty on that day through your tears, your sorrow, and your spirit of patriotism.

On that day, we put aside our differences and answered the call of duty as a one nation, standing together, for the common goal of letting freedom ring.

My deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. They are gone, but live on today as the spirit that drives the call of duty.