November 18, 2017

DC Icons

I just finished reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and it was great! At the end of the book, there was a teaser for Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. Whoa, I didn't know there were more books in the series!


Yup, as it turns out, these books are part of the DC Icons series. I must've been living under a rock when it was announced, but I think it's a great idea to have popular YA authors write superhero stories that take place when the protagonists are teenagers. Warbringer was a good story (albeit non-canon IMHO) that left me wanting more, so I can't wait to read the rest of the DC Icons books.

In case you're wondering, the DC Icons series consists of four books (so far):
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu - to be released in early 2018
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas - expected to be released later in 2018
  • An untitled Superman book by Matt de la Pena - publication in 2019

October 21, 2017

To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo

For the last three years, I've participated in NaNoWriMo. For those unfamiliar with the event, NaNoWriMo is the abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of writers attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 thirty days. Crazy, right? I'm proud to say that I managed to reach the word count goal the three times that I tried! Two of my stories even wound up getting published, Believe Me and Transmissions.

This year is different. I haven't been writing as much because my day job has been kicking my butt more so than in previous years. If you combine all of the words I've written so far in 2017, they'd total less than 50,000. What makes me think that I'll be able to produce 50,000 words in one month? It's not like my day job will become easier in November to accommodate my desire to participate in NaNoWriMo (although that would be really nice).

I'm being realistic when I say that there's very, very little chance that I'll win NaNoWriMo this year, and it has made me wonder if I should participate at all. Part of me says that I shouldn't because near certain failure isn't exactly great motivation for me to write. I haven't prepared at all for it, and preparation is key to having a chance at reaching 50,000 words. But another part of me remembers how the challenge of NaNoWriMo resulted in some of the most productive writing habits I've ever had. Besides, there's nothing wrong with not reaching my NaNoWriMo goal, is there?

While I'm still debating whether to join NaNoWriMi this year, I do plan to make an extra effort to write more in November. How about you? Anyone else planning to tackle NaNoWriMo?

September 23, 2017

Signs I'm reading a really good book

Once in a while, I'll read a book that really captivates me. There's something about these special books that make them more than just a good read. They tend to take over my life while I'm in the midst of reading them. How so? Here are five ways.

  1. I don't want to pause in the middle of reading it, even to go to work or to sleep. I also consider missing my train stop during my work commute so that I can finish the chapter I'm on.
  2. It's all I think about during the day. Even my mood in real life is determined by what's happening in the book.
  3. I start looking for other books written by the author because I'm convinced that they're all going to be as awesome as the book I'm reading. I look up the author's website and stalk her/him on social media because I can't get enough.
  4. I wish I had half of the writing talent that the author of the book has.
  5. I don't want the book to end.

How about you? What is it like when you read an awesome book?

September 2, 2017

Working on two books at once

I've never been the type of writer who can work on more than one book at once. When I'm writing a novel, I'm usually so focused on it that I can't think of other novels for fear that it will pollute the one I'm working on. That changed recently when I stopped working on the YA fantasy series that occupied the first half of this year.

Last month, I started a new novel outside the YA genre. It's a thriller because thrillers are my second favorite genre after YA. I spent a couple of weeks coming up with the outline for my new book. The exercise re-ignited my writing passion, and I was eager to work on it. I wrote the first chapter, and writing became fun again.

Then the workload at my day job got out of hand. For two weeks, I had no time to write or to even think about writing. The thriller was in the back of my mind, but I had pushed it far enough back that it sat with the YA series I had abandoned. When I finally found a little bit of time to write again, to my surprise, I wanted to continue with the YA story instead. So I did. I didn't force myself to plow ahead with the thriller. I let my muse (or whatever it is that drives me to write) lead me back to the story that I thought I had left behind.

Now I'm going to work on both books at once. When I find the time to write, I'll let my inspiration dictate which story I want to work on. It'll take me longer to finish either story, but I'd rather continue making progress, albeit slow progress, on two stories at once than to not make any progress at all.

August 12, 2017

Books with unusual formats: The Themis Files

This post is a followup to my post from March about books with unusual formats. I recently read The Themis Files, and the two books in the series (so far), Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods, were awesome! Although the format isn't as unique as the books I mentioned in the original post, I like how The Themis Files are told through journal entries and interviews. At first, I wasn't sure how effective that would be in conveying the plot, but it turned out to be very well done.

Admittedly, a big reason why I liked these books so much is that I'm a sucker for giant robots, and reading the books took me back to the movies and TV shows I'd seen as a child involving giant robots saving the world. It wasn't just the robots that made The Themis Files great. I found myself drawn to the characters in the books, although most of what I knew about them were from interview transcripts.

There is supposedly at least one more book in the series, and I can't wait for it to be released!

July 22, 2017

Abandon ship!

I don't like to abandon a book once I've started writing it. (Heck, I don't even like to abandon books I've started reading.) I will plow through the first draft at least before deciding whether to spend the time and effort in revising it. However, I made a decision this week to stop working on a novel in progress. That novel was meant to be the first book in a new YA Fantasy series that I hinted about in February. After months of working on it, I'm no more than a quarter of the way through, based on my story outline.

Why am I going to stop working on this book? I can think of a few reasons:
  1. There are other, more interesting ideas I want to write. This comes up with every book I'm working on, so by itself, it wouldn't make me abandon a story. It's easy for a new shiny object to catch your eye, but up to now, I've had the discipline to continue with the project at hand until the first draft is completed.
  2. Writing a series is intimidating. Since this is the first time I've embarked on writing a series of novels, I admit that the idea scares me a little. I've outlined the plot of the first book, but I only have rough ideas of what will happen in books 2 and 3. As a result, I've found myself paralyzed when making decisions, wondering how they will affect events in subsequent books.
  3. I'm weaving three characters' stories into one, which is more complex than I thought. There are three protagonists in this series, and I'm alternating between their points of view with each new chapter. While I've outlined what each character will experience, having one chapter flow seamlessly into the next without jarring the reader has given me some headaches.

All three reasons are obstacles that I can overcome, but the combination of them has sapped my interest in continuing with the book. I'm going to shift gears and select another story idea to work on. My hope is that, after finishing a different book, I'll have a fresh perspective on this series because I do want to eventually finish it. Whether that will be in a few months or next year is hard to say right now. If anyone out there was looking forward to reading the series, I'm afraid that you will have to wait a bit longer for it.

July 1, 2017

Summer book sales!

I want to let you know about two sales involving my books.


To celebrate the 4th of July, two of my books, Gifted and Keep Your Enemies Close, are on sale at Amazon from July 1 to July 8. During the week, you can purchase either e-book for only 99 cents!

Smashwords is also having their Summer/Winter Sale, which will take place throughout the month of July. Some of my books are 50% to 100% off as part of the sale! Many other authors are also participating in this huge sale, so head over to Smashwords to check it out.

Happy summer reading!