Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Cape Vacay and a Brief Blog Vacay too

I just took a great trip to Cape Cod. Saw seals way up close, took a fast boat around the inlets, got a spa treatment, a psychic reading, read a bunch of awesome sci-fi stories from the Year's Best of 2013 and sat around a fire pit on the beach, telling scary stories with other inn guests. Now it's time for a brief blog vacay. I'll be checking in here and there to comment on other folks' blogs, and I'll be back to post again here on September 5th, when I feature Elizabeth Arroyo's new book!

Ruby IS appearing this week on Ciara Knight's new CK Giveaways, with a great Rafflecopter array of both of our books, so check in and enter to win that first fall read!
Happy Labor Day and summer's end. What are you up to during these last August days?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I join Untethered Realms, Prizewinners & Most Popular Fantasy Hybrids

My fun and exciting news is that I joined the crew over at Untethered Realms! We're all speculative authors--some writing horror, others writing sci-fi, still others writing interesting blends of horror and paranormal. I've been wanting to join forces with a group of like-minded authors, but I thought it'd be wise to wait until it seemed really right, organic. I feel this way about our group. We blog about all things speculative, and I encourage you to follow the blog for news, writing tips, short fiction and much, much more. For instance, see what happens when a bunch of writers with big imaginations riff on the word awesomesauce.

Next, I have PRIZEWINNERS from the Ruby's Fire Tour! They are listed below in the completed Rafflecopter. Thanks to all who entered and signed on to my new newsletter, and author page. Congrats to all of the winners! If you missed the tour, click here to read guest posts and excerpts.

Finally, the question I asked in the Rafflecopter game was: What is your favorite fantasy hybrid invention? I created the following choices. Here they are, from most to least popular:
1st place: Smart Food that makes entire novels embed in your brain (By FAR the top choice!!!)
2nd place: Chocolate veggies
3rd place: Winged Men
4th place: Amphibious dolphin people
5th place: Embedded makeup

What have you been up to, and which hybrid is your fave?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Whys & Hows of Book Blog Tours, plus last day of Ruby's Fire tour!

Xpresso Reads Book Tours Button
I organized my first tour in the fall of 2011, for Fireseed One. This was an amazing experience because I made direct contact with lots of book bloggers, and I got to form fun relationships with them. It was also a HUGE amount of work.

Fast forward to now, and the Ruby’s Fire Tour. I decided to hire a tour host. Xpresso Tours was highly recommended, and I’m glad I went with them because Giselle took me way beyond my own group of readers and bloggers. Well, I also had those wonderful supporters who I could now go to to help host. They'd already read Fireseed One so they were naturals to go on and read the companion book, Ruby's Fire (I call it a companion book rather than a sequel because it takes place years later, and with a different protagonist so you don't need to read book one to read book two). Giselle tweeted the tour stop every morning, and was always there to answer any questions. Plus, she designed a cool tour button. The tour hosts were amazing too: so many great blog are out there and it was big treat to discover each one and see what they had in store. Another interesting thing was that I realized that the publicists of my colleagues who publish traditionally are trying to get their clients' books reviewed by the same bunch of bloggers that the indies go to! A true democratic process.

You want to get sales from curious readers, and you also want to create buzz. They say it sometimes takes potential readers a few times of hearing a book's name to buy, so the more your book gets out there the better. Not to say you should bludgeon folks with ads about your work. It should be balanced with guest posts on writing tips, and helpful sharing of your experiences. The book tour host will help with that too, by suggesting a spicy variety of content.

Below are my last two stops on the Ruby Tour. Go say hi! And think about reading and reviewing Ruby's Fire, and spreading word. I'll give you a big virtual hug. Wishing you the best of luck in putting together your own book tours! I'll be back on Monday with some interesting news. Until then, thanks to all who helped in the tour, and a hearty thanks to Giselle at Xpresso. Last chance to enter the Rafflecopter below for a Kindle or other prize! Stay tuned for prizewinner announcements.
Oh, and what are your thoughts on book tours? Any wonderful experiences? Cautionary tales?

Marked by Books: Sneak Peeks and BONUS mini-review!
Brooke Blogs: Review
For the whole lineup

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Indie Life--Confidence, that Crucial Element, plus Ruby Tour Continues

Today for Indie Life, sponsored by the fabulous Indelibles, and which posts once a month, I’m talking about confidence. About moving forward with authority, without doubting oneself, and how I developed this… skill, really, over the years. As an indie author, one needs a sense of sureness. Yes, we all have trusted colleagues that we run big decisions by. That said, anyone in the arts must have a strong sense of intuitive intelligence about their own work. Is it well written? Is the characterization true enough? Is the piece done?

In my former career, as an artist, specifically as a painter who showed work in galleries in Manhattan, I had that in spades. I was raised to be an artist, expected to be an artist, and I always had that gut strength that I knew what I was doing, where I fit in, in terms of genre, whether what a random gallerist said was BS or not. I sent my slides around everywhere, and landed great shows. I also got rejected from some galleries, but it slid off my back because intuitively I knew that opinion is subjective, and part of the process. I rarely took it personally. Tearing myself away from a fairly lucrative career where I sold work and got reviewed in good art magazines was like tearing out part of my heart and sewing up the gash with crude rawhide. But I needed to move on to my second love: writing!

Fast forward to my present career as a novelist. When I started to send out manuscripts I didn’t have that same sense of sureness. When editors pointed out flaws in story I was devastated. I asked for direction from way too many writers—some who were not good mentors. It’s taken me years to reach that place of authority—trusting in my gut, knowing whether a piece is solid without having to ask dozens of people.

But I took those lessons from my art career along inside me, and I did rely on my previous learning experiences to talk myself through rejections, through periods of insecurity. It helped me immensely. Of course, your latest novel often seems like your truest love--perfection. But I can really say, with the completion of Ruby’s Fire, my new YA fantasy, that I’ve reached that point of intuitive authority that I had as an artist—knowing it’s good no matter what anyone says, knowing that I’ve created deep, amazing characters and crazy plot twists. I remember how it felt to have that inherent sense of knowing, and it’s a relief to feel it again. I know I’ll have future moments of insecurity, but I’ll think back to my art career, and remember those life lessons. Oh, and Ruby and Fireseed contain my interior illustrations, so I've been able to blend my two careers!

The Ruby’s Fire Tour continues 'til week's end. Here are the hosts for today, Thursday and Friday (Links go live on the day of). Stop by and say hi! For the entire lineup click here. Enter the Rafflecopter below for big prizes. Here's the link to read more Indie Life posts.
What helps give you confidence as an author?

August 14
Fae Books: Guest post: What Inspires me to Write?

August 15

August 16
Marked by Books: Sneak Peeks & BONUS mini-review!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Memorable lines from novels-what's yours? And last week of Ruby Tour!

After you finish reading a novel, there are inevitably lines that keep on playing in your head. It's always fascinating to find out which lines people like best. Ruby's Fire is in its last week of touring with the fabulous Giselle of Xpresso Tours, and I'm really enjoying finding out what parts of Ruby the bloggers and readers find memorable. Here are a few:

Words Create Scenes favorite quotes:
"You start with the tools you have at hand, but you don't have to end up using those same tools."

"The sky drifts to that magic place where violet and orange blend in candy swirls over the horizon."

YA's the Word's favorite quote:

"It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved.”

Lucinda from Goodreads's fave line:
"It makes sense that I ended up with the one who was a brute, yet blossomed into a sensitive, smart man. After all, I started as a drug-addled tease, whose method of connection was manipulation and seduction."

Lines that I like:
"I hate to admit that the flex and release of Blane’s substantial shoulders under his burn suit is mesmerizing me. So much so, that when he stops in mid-step I hurtle right into him."

"Thorn’s answer is a wide grin that spreads over his serious face, reflecting the crimson brilliance of the miraculous creature called Red."

"My arm is smarting. I turn it over gingerly to survey the damage, and gasp. It’s not bleeding red—rather some thin, greenish liquid. My insides freeze. “Armonk, I need to find that doctor now.”"

Do you have a favorite line from your novels? Or one from someone else's that keeps playing in your head? Tell us what it is!

Here is the lineup of stops in this last week of the Ruby's Fire tour. Links go live on the day of:
August 12th

August 13th
Bookmarks, Spoilers and Happily Ever After >> Excerpt/Special Sneak Peek

August 14th
-Fae Books >> Guest Post

August 15th

August 16th
-Marked By Books >> Excerpt/Special Sneak Peek
-Brooke Blogs >> Review

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Team Armonk or Team Blane? Plus the tour & epic giveaway continues!

One of my favorite posts I created for the Ruby's Fire Tour is about the love triangle Ruby's tangled up in. Ruby encounters Armonk the night she runs to The Greening, a strange boarding school in Skull’s Wrath, and their interchange is not so friendly. Armonk has shiny black hair that he braids like the part Native American that he is. He’s traveled to the desert to find Dr. Varik and ask if he’ll make a prosthetic leg, after his own burned up as a child. Ruby meets Blane next, already a student at the school. He’s ruggedly handsome, with a smattering of honey freckles and massive shoulders, but he’s a hardscrabble bully. After all, he saw his family drown years ago and he’s since closed his heart.
Team Armonk or Team Blane-which one are you on?

       Hard crunches explode by my right ear—a wild beast charging? I snap upright. And see it. A large human in an iguana skin suit with an arrow pointed straight at my heart.
        “Hey!” I cry. No!”
       The owner of the arrow steps forward. He grazes the sharp tip against my forehead above my molded burn mask. The guy’s dark eyes blaze out at me from his own mask. The little I see of his exposed skin is bronzed and his long black hair gleams even under this dank tarp. Despite his fierce gaze, he doesn’t shoot the arrow. “Lift your mask,” he orders.

       I’m absorbed in collecting more leaves when heavy footsteps crunch up ahead, and I hear fast, labored breathing. Blane appears through the crimson foliage in front of me with an armful of Fireseed.
       He puts it down and brushes off his hands. “So, what’s your story, your real story?”
       “I don’t know what you mean.”
       “Why did you leave your compound for this place?” he asks.
       I shrug. There’s no way I’d tell him about Stiles, or any other details of my life. Would he tell me his? “Why did you leave your home?”
       “That was a long time ago,” he declares.
       “Where was it?”
       “East Coast Sector, near New York. I went to a reputable school, where the kids had money, good families.” Blane kicks at a stone. When he looks back at me, his gaze radiates the pain of people and things long gone.

       The Fireseed compound, that was years ago, wasn’t it? Whoosh, goes the warm rag, whoosh. With all of my strength I raise my lids to the halfway point, and make out a young man’s deeply tanned face with leaf tattoos on high cheekbones, a resolute chin. Ah, yes! It’s Armonk. And I’m lying in a bed of wrinkled sheets smelling of sour sweat. I start to raise myself on my elbows. God, the deep ache in my throat and lungs!
       With a gentle hand, he guides me back down. “Shh, you’ve been sick, take it easy, Ruby.”
My voice creaks out. “Sick? How long have I been out? Tell me… Armonk.”
“A week and a day,” he says, as he sweeps across my brow with the warm, damp rag.

        “Someone saw you get high. Do you?” he asks me.
  “No!” Oblivion is for deleting. “What vice do you have?” I add, in an echo of Bea’s sentiment from the other night.
       He laughs as he presses forward, crushing more Fireseed saplings. “Being too good at playing bodyguard.”
       “What’s that mean?” That he’s more violent than I’ve already witnessed?
       “It means I take my job very seriously.” His brows knit in a way that chills me.
I’m tempted to ask him if he’s ever killed anyone, but I’m not sure I could handle the answer. With his massive biceps, trunk-like limbs and giant’s hands he could squeeze the life out of someone without even trying.

       His frequent smile reveals perfect white teeth against touchable mahogany skin. I blush inside to have these thoughts, and to be keyed up to spend time with him, as he steers the vessel out of the hanger and guides it to the runway. It reminds me of when my dad and I went on hunting junkets, of how precious our time was together.

       I press him. “Why do you always stare at me from the window? Why do you ask me questions with your eyes and not your mouth? What do you want with me, huh?”
       He stands his ground, his boots planted apart. His silent confidence angers me.
       “I asked you what you wanted. Do you want to kiss me? Huh?” I ask with more fury than I intended.

Armonk & Blane:
       By this time, Blane has caught up to us. We stop in awkward hesitation as we regard him. Am I the one who feels awkward, or is it Blane? His eye is blackening and the skin under it is torn from where Stiles got in one lousy punch. But it’s Blane’s expression that tears me up.
       “Thanks,” I tell him. I loosen myself from Armonk’s firm arm and gingerly test my weight on my sore ankle. It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved, as if the sight of Armonk touching me, even just to help me limp along injures him. “Thanks,” I tell Blane again. “I really mean that. That man would’ve killed me if I’d gone back.”
       Blane only grunts, before forging ahead and beating us into the house.

Below are this week's stops on the Ruby's Fire Tour. Links go live on the day of. And the Rafflecopter is open to win big prizes, including a Kindle! To see the entire tour lineup, click here.

August 7th
Feed Your Fiction Addiction >> Review
alwaysjoart >>  Excerpt/Special Sneak Peek

August 8th
Donna Galanti >>  Post: Extreme Beauty-Pleasure, Power, Peril

August 9th
FlutterealFlight >>  Review
Rally the Readers >> Review of Ruby's Fire, and BONUS review of Fireseed One

a Rafflecopter giveaway