Saturday, May 31, 2014

My hero authors part 3 Cate Tiernan

I won't really go in to the intro that I did for part 1 and part 2 of this post series, so let me say this as briefly as I am able to. Today is the intro and chat about the 5th of my hero authors. Day 1 was Tamora Pierce and Joan Lowery Nixon and day 2 was Meg Cabot and L.J. Smith.
Wow, go me! All in three sentences!
Okay, neither here nor there. Down to business.
Cate Tiernan-- Goddess of YA Paranormal Witches
 So Cate Tiernan is only a pen name, but it is the name of which I know her best. Cate's real name is Gabrielle Charbonnet and she has written over 70 books under her real name, Cate Tiernan, other pen names and as a ghost writer. Cate also teamed up with James Patterson to write two books Witch & Wizard and Sundays at Tiffany's. But there is one series that she has written that has left it's wicca shaped stamp on my imagination. It is her Sweep Series aka The Wicca series. 
Like with my other hero authors, Sweep was the first book/series about witches that I read and loved. And like L.J.'s Forbidden Game, the Sweep books were just so well written that they FELT so real. I seriously thought that Morgan, Hunter, Bree, Sky, Cal and Robbie were gonna just show up at my school one day and I was going to be able to join their coven. But more than that, there was a lot of authenticity to her books.
This is one thing I didn't really touch on with my other hero authors, but I'll touch on it now. RESEARCH! All authors need to do it. Research is how you make your stories feel so real and get the readers sucked in. Because it not only feels true, but it makes your books that much more believable. Not that my parents were thrilled with the interest in Wicca I took up after starting to read this series. And I admit, I want Hunter! I think I can officially say he was my first book boyfriend. Oh look another first by one of my 5 hero authors...... ;P  But without Cate doing all the research she did, I don't think that her stories would've gotten their claws into me the way they did. It just goes to show that no matter how good you are at world building, character developing, or genius plot creation  without the foundation to root your stories in, it's not going to work on any level.
I guess my main point that I hope came across over these last three posts is that as an author each of these 5 goddesses excel at things that I hope that I will as a writer and why those elements are so important. And I don't mean that just as an author, I mean that also as a reader. When was the last time you heard a reader say they liked a book that was so full of plot holes and flat characters? Never in my experience. 
I still have all of my original copies of Sweep series books, and believe you me, the first time I see a chance to meet Cate or Gabrielle rather, I will totally fan girl out then have her sign at least one of the series books!

It feels a little wrong saying it like this, but I have to include Nalini Singh--Goddess of Adult Paranormal and frankly HOTT-HOT Changelings and Psy men as an honorable mention.
 Like these other 5 hero goddess authors, Nalini is as amazing in person as her books are fantastical. (Not that I've met all of my five, but I'm working on it.) Nalini is a genus at building so many different characters, plot arcs, worlds and romances. I can't really say that there is one book of hers that follows the same formula as her others. Sure there is a certain structure, but each story in all her series are unique and wonderful and memorable.
Plus she's crazy smart and so normally humble for being such a world wide successful author. She has all the same qualities and talents as my 5 hero authors!
Ad that's the end of it my lovelies!
Check y'all laters, time to go back to actually writing my books
<3 always LH

Friday, May 30, 2014

My hero authors part 2 Meg Cabot & L.J. Smith

If you've been keeping an eye on my page you'll have noticed my last post was about my 5 hero authors. Or rather two of the 5--Tamora Pierce and Joan Lowery Nixon. I was originally going to do all this in one post, but as you'll see or have seen, I just have too much to say about all 5 of these goddesses of literacy and how they inspire and ignite my imagination and my writing.
Today we're taking a look at Meg Cabot and L.J. Smith.

Meg Cabot aka Jenny Carol--Goddess of YA Ghosts and Princesses
 I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Meg back in October at the Baltimore Book Fest when she came in to sit on a panel or two and talk about her amazing books! I went just for the chance to meet her! And I was NOT disappointed. Meg was so open, and funny and friendly and willing to talk to you, even when she had to leave or had others waiting to talk to her. Meg is the author of over 50 books, but I'm only focusing of on two of her series, right now at least. Not that I haven't read a lot of her other books, because I have.
And here's a funny fact, I first read Meg, not realizing it was her. How is that you ask? Simple: She had a series, The Mediator, published under the name Jenny Carol. And that series is by far my favorite of everything she's written. Now one thing you're going to notice about all five of my hero authors is that I'm gonna say their books are the first ones that I read of those genres that stuck with me and made me love reading. And Meg is no different. Now I admit, I can't remember which I read first, but both of these book series have done the the same thing for me. The Mediator series was not the first paranormal I read, but IT WAS THE FIRST GHOST STORY that I read that I just fell in love with. And I'm not only talking about the hottest ghost to ever grace the pages of a YA series, Jesse. There are just so many reasons why the Mediator is still one of my favorite YA series, for me to mention, but I'll try... after I tell you about the second of Meg's series that has stuck with me. The Princess Diaries was the first YA contemporary series I ever read (and if I can say, one of only 7 that I have read and liked over the last 15 years) and loved so much. They were brilliant and funny and it was so easy for me to relate to Mia--even though I'm only a princess in my head--I could still relate to what she was feeling and the personal things she went through. I also liked that everything in the Princess Diaries series just flowed so well together over EACH book of the series, and that saying something of a 10 book series. But oh wait....Meg's just announced that she's going to be returning to Mia's world with 2, that's right, 2 new books in that universe.
Needless to say I am crazy anticipating reading these two new books to see just how well Meg weaves these new tales in to the original series.
And speaking of new books by Meg Cabot, Meg told me back in October that the Mediator series is being re-launched! ***SQUEEEEEE*** But wait, they're being re-launched because she written a NEW BOOK IN THE SERIES!!! **Insert freak out white girl happy dance around my house**
The reason the Mediator is so amaze-balls to me because again, the world building, the plot and characters were so expertly done, so tight and well woven together you can't not remember them and fall in love with Suze and Jesse. Right from book One I was cheering for Suze to find a way to have Jesse come back to life so they could be together. 
Just like Tammy and Joan, Meg is a master of building tension, worlds, characters and intricate stories.

Speaking of Masters: Here's the next of my 5 hero authors.
L.J. Smith-- Goddess of YA Paranormal and Vampires
 Most people, now a days, especially younger readers, only know L.J. Smith because of the Vampire Diaries TV show. Honestly the only reason I watched the first few seasons (a year or two after they started airing) was because I heard Meg was involved in the script writing. Can't say I'm the biggest fan of the series, especially after I heard what happened to her when she said she wouldn't write the characters the way her "bosses" wanted. But you can read more about that here
L.J. is the author of over 30 novels, and that's not including her smack in the face to Alloy stories that she self pub bed and sold on amazon's new platform. But again you'll read about that in the link above. 
Of those over 30 books L.J. created many series that area wonderful, and catching and perfect in my opinion. Here is my top 3. But I am telling you there are in no set order because if you asks me today, tomorrow and the day after, which is my top of the three, each day will be a different answer.   1) The Forbidden Game Series     2) The Night World series     3) The Secret Circle series.  
You'll notice I didn't include TVD, that's because of all she's written, they are my least favorite--not that they're bad, I just didn't like the TVD vampires and story as much as I do her Night World Vamps and story arcs. 
Like my other hero goddess authors, and many other great authors I love, L.J. is a genius at building worlds and characters that are not only believable but also so well written that you can easily connect with all the characters and imagine yourself in those situations that the characters go through. But more than that I can still remember almost perfectly the events of The Forbidden game books, and that's for one very good reason: IT WAS JUST SO REAL! A lot of books are good at pulling you in, but the Forbidden Game, especially the first book, felt so real that I was terrified of one of Julian's brethren--The Shadow Men--lived in my a closet in my Grandpa's basement and that they would try and suck me in if I got too close. Also, the entire first book of the series is about Jenny and the other characters having to face their worst nightmares, their fears. The fears they had to over come were not the stereo typical fears a lot of writers use. There were facing off swarms of bee's covering your body, fading out of existence, fear of technology and losing the one person you love the most. (Okay maybe that last one is a bit typical, but the way L.J. wrote it was so different and terrifying.) 
As a writer and reader I appreciate L.J.'s work on a lot of levels, but as a writer I really admire the way she can make things real and the way she makes me care for all her characters and root for them, especially with her Night World series when we continue to get to see couples and characters even after their books are done.
And one last thing I'd like to say and give L.J. props for: Not being afraid to not give the characters a Happily Ever After. When I first read that particular book in the Night World series I was upset at first, but then a year or so later I read it again and I got it. And no one has ever been able to do that to me since. I think I would die if I ever got to meet L.J. Smith, but man would I die happy! After I got her to sign several of her books (that I still have 15-13 years later) that are my fav's.
Okay that's enough fan girling for today, let me tell you about the hero author who's going to be featured in part 3 of this post series: Cate Tiernan.
Late lovelies
<3 always LH

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Hero authors part 1 Tamora Pierce & Joan Lowery Nixon

In April I took part in the A to Z blog challenge and chose a theme of YA books. Several of the books featured were by a few of the authors who inspired my imagination in high school and who, still to this day, inspire my writing. Not gonna lie this post is being spawned for two reasons.......aka meeting two of my 5 hero authors! OMG!!!!! Let me tell you all about them and their books while I worship at their feet like the proper fan girl I am ;P And the second reason is I just returned from the 2014 RT convention in NoLa, where I got to meet the first author I'm talking about.
Now these are in NO PARTICULAR order, because to have to pick favorite would kill me. They are all goddesses of literary fiction in my opinion. I was originally going to do this in one post but as I'm typing it, I realize that I am too much of a fan girl and just have too much praise to give to address all 5 of these literary queens in one post so I'm going to break this up into 3 posts.

Since I just had the honor and pleasure of meeting her just last week we'll start here:
 Tamora "Tammy" Pierce--Goddess of YA Fantasy

She walked into a panel I was sitting in on at RT (solely to see her and try to absorb her awesomeness through hovering like a stalker) When she walked into the room it was like OMG this is the woman/goddess who wrote the Song of the Lioness Quartet! The first fantasy book I ever had the pleasure of reading! I can still remember almost all of the first book with perfect clarity and most of the second, third and fourth. That's how amazing and impactful this one 4 book series was for me! Not gonna lie, I teared up a little and was too star struck to say anything before the panel started, but I caught her at her next panel and got to meet her and take a picture with her! Then even better several days later, at the Giant book fair of RT, I was walking around a few minutes before the fair opened and I went to get a signed copy of one of her many fab books and we got to talking and she asked what I wrote and I said YA Fantasy and she said "Why haven't I read your book? Where can I find it?" Insert dead faint then loud squeal of absolute delight when I mentally regained consciousness! Tammy Pierce might read my book!!!!!!!!!! Just the possibility has me freakin'!
Okay, now enough of my fan girling and time to get into Tammy's books and why they are so inspirational and all around fantastical, just like the goddess author herself (Did I mention she talks to marmosets? Totally true, I couldn't make this stuff up!)
But I've now spent a good bit of time fan girling, time to give you what you came for: The reasons Tammy is such an amazing influence on me and my writing and a list of her series. These will be in order of my favorites ;P
1) Song of the Lioness Quartet  2) The Circle of Magic  3) Protector of the Small  4) The Immortals     
5) Daughter of the Lioness  6) Beka Cooper  7) Circle Reforged  8) The Circle Opens
Now this is only 8 of her series. Tamora "Tammy" Pierce is the author of over 50 books, most of which are either best sellers or very popular/cult favorites among those who love fantasy books. Song of the Lioness Quartet is my very favorite series of hers, hands down, because the very first book--Alana the First Adventure still rebounds in my head, even to this day, almost 15 years after I first read it. As I said above I can still recall that book almost perfectly and same with the second of that series, In the Hands of the Goddess, because while still being central in the realm of fantasy (and the first fantasy books I eve read and enjoyed) Tammy expertly blends in a healthy dose of romance! Now mind, Alana didn't end up with the boy I wanted her with, but the following books in the series made it quite clear to me why she ended up with whom she did and I now accept it. I especially love getting to see Alana's daughter story in the Daughter of the Lioness series. For many who have read Tammy's books I am sure they would agree that she spins a web of such believability and realistic worlds, characters, events, battles (OMG the battles! EPIC) and romance.
Now we all know I love my romance and this is one of the few authors that, while I love the unique romance she writes, I don't necessarily look for it the way I do with other books. 
For me, the fact that I can still remember such detail about her books, is something I hope to aspire to in my writing career, and something that I am desperately working on with Legendary, the other 3 books in my series and my other WIP. I can't say enough about this amazing author, especially now that I've gotten the pleasure to meet her and see just how......normal......and totally down to earth she is. (Aside front the fact she talks to animals and has some stories, of her experiences in life that you just can't make up!) And I know I'm not the only person who idolizes Tammy, even two other authors--successful authors--teared up and freaked out like I silently did when they met her. Overall Tammy's books have done an amazing job leaving their marks on my imagination and memory and that, along with her world building and character building abilities, are what I hope to take from her and find a way to apply to my writing.

Joan Lowery Nixon--Goddess of YA Mystery and Thriller
 Joan Lowery Nixon was the author of more than 140 books, several co authored with her husband. Sadly, Mrs. Nixon died in 2003 of pancreatic cancer, just 6 years after I had started reading her books--thanks to one of my english teachers in middle school. It saddens me that I'll never get to meet this goddess of thrillers, mystery and suspense (as well as historical YA books--but I am inspired by her mysteries so.....) but her spirit and influence live on in her writing and the books I still have from when I was 14 (15 years ago now) and still go back to re-read when the mood strikes. 
As you can tell from the graphic of some of my favorite books of hers, girls were always the main characters. While that is not necessarily uncommon, what is--to me at least--is the fact that every girl, every story, every parent, every boy (on the every other occasion that she included romance in these books) were all different every single time. The suspense always had me at the edge of my couch (or desk chair, when I tried to hide the fact that I was reading during math class with my text book) and the mysteries always had my imagination spinning. I just had to know who did it and why! 
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Mrs. Nixon won 4 Edgar Allen Poe awards (with another 5 nominations) in her career. And those wins and nominations are no small thing!
I talked above about how Tammy is a master of building all the things that creates a successful book, and Joan is no different. Like I said she can create dozens of characters and stories and she won't repeat herself. And that's something that I am always scared of doing when I am writing (whither it's book 2 or 3 or 4 of Legendary Saga or my other project--a YA Paranormal/fantasy) I know I personally get bored when I read more than one series by an author and some of the characters just seem the same, or the same plot formula is used for this book and that and this one. Sadly that can even be said for several YA authors and books---THAT AREN'T WRITTEN BY THE SAME AUTHOR OR EVEN IN THE SAME SERIES. 
If you compare twenty different popular YA books, I can guarantee you'll find at least 10-12 that are almost the exact same formula, pace, character and world building. And that saddens/frustrates me, and it is something that I am striving to make sure I don't do. And to that extent Joan Lowery Nixon is the perfect example and a standard that I want to live up to and learn from.
If you haven't read any of these books by either of these 2 of my 5 hero authors  I suggest you do! Or even better, if you have teen kids (girl or boy) get them to read these books! They are beyond appropriate for those age groups. 
Next up will be two more of my hero authors: Meg Cabot and Cate Tiernan.
Laters lovelies!
<3 always LH

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cartoon Theme Song One Liners

Hi Lovelies! If you follow my author page you'll have seen a post I just put up a few days ago about my list of favorite cartoon shows from the 80's, 90's and EARLY 00's (aka before cartoons started to get really bad. And in my opinion, have only just started to get good again in the last few years. Yes I'm a big dork, but I think that should be fairly obvious by now o_0)

While me and two of my Lady Knights were having a blast back to the past moment (or maybe it was a half hour.......) watching old cartoon theme songs on YouTube I remembered just how many great one liners a lot of those themes had. Now maybe they weren't all funny, but come on, you know you remember a line or two from a few of them. In honor of that I've decided to give you my favorite one liners from those themes in my top 30 list! -Again big dork here, but that should be abundantly clear by now. I'm just cementing it right now ;P
Geek Pride baby!

Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers--- "There's no case too big, no case too small, when you need help just call: Chip Chip Chip Chip and Dale!"
                     I want to be saved by a chipmunk! And we all know Gadget and Chip were made for each other   

Duck Tales--- "You might solve a mystery or rewrite history Duck Tales"
                    Once in your head, this song won't ever go away! I've been singing it for 3 days!

Jem and the Holograms--- "Jem is adventure! Ooouu... Glamour and glitter, Fashion and fame!"
                    Me and my friends are Jem girls! **dances around***

Animaniacs--- "Goodfeathers flock together; Slappy whacks 'em with her purse." 
                     Now I want to slap somebody with my purse

Scooby Doo--- "Scooby Doo if you come through you're going to have yourself a scooby snack!"
                    And I've made scooby snacks!

Pirated of Dark Water--- "An unlikely but loyal crew of misfits"
                    I totally love misfits! They make the best characters

Darkwing Duck--- "Lets get dangerous" 
                   And he was so damn serious about it too! LOL

Captain Planet--- "Captain Planet, he's our hero, Gonna take pollution down to zero"
                   Is anyone else seeing the Disney's Hercules reference here? 

Gummi Bears--- "bouncing here and there and everywhere"
                   Where can I get my Gummi Berry juice?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--- "Heroes in a half shell. Turtle Power!"
                   Is it sad that Leo and April were also my favorite?
Magic Knights Rayearth--- "It's true--what you believe. Don't let go--the road will never end!"
                   Call me sentimental but......this line was just so  inspiring

Inspector Gadget--- "Inspector Gadget   Ooh ohh   Inspector Gadget"
                    Not a lot of words, but ya can't stop singing it!

W.I.T.C.H.--- "Water, fire, earth and air---Guardians Unite."
                    I don't know why but this part is the one that always sticks out to me

Aladdin the series--- "Pack your shield, pack your sword, you won't ever get bored."
                    I love the show so much more than the movies! And I love the movies! 

Loony Tunes--- "Tonight what heights we'll hit On with the show this is it!"
                    Who didn't love that wrascaly wrabbit? Bugs had some of the best one liners ever!

Kim Possible--- "Call me, beep me if you want to reach me"
                    It's the Disney girl in me... and she had such great hair and could kick butt no matter what outfit she was wearing! 
Thunder Cats--- "Thunder Thunder Thunder Cats--HO!"
                   Okay so this is the only real line, but come on, who doesn't know this one?

She-Ra Princess of Power--- "Fabulous secrets were revealed to me..."
                   Was it just me or did anyone else want to have Spirit/Swiftwind for a pet? 

Gargoyles--- "Frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years"
                   You know, I think it was Goliath's voice, he could say anything and I'd love it.

Voltron: Defender of the Universe--- "Loved by good. Feared by evil."
                   I always wanted to be Princess Allura so I could have Keith! Cartoons shouldn't be allowed to be so hot!

Sailor Moon--- "Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight"
                 There is nothing really to say except SAILOR MOON RULES! And in the name of the moon I will punish you!

So you see total geek and darn proud of it. You don't like it then too bad. Really who doesn't like getting reminders of the good parts of their child hood? Several of these cartoons I would always watch with my best friends or my big brother (It was a rare occasion we could both sit down and enjoy watching the same thing!) My nephew--my little tiger prince--is just getting old enough to be allowed to start watching some of these cartoons, and my Niece--the Diva--is almost there too. I can't wait to show them what good cartoons really are!
And now to finish getting ready for RT convention in NoLa! It's gonna be the best week of this year so far!
Laters lovelies
<3 always LH