Meet an Author Monday

On November 18, I was lucky to be able to attend a signing even for Susan Kaye Quinn, author of YA novel, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit.   Susan had obviously done her promotions right---even managing to land a well-timed feature article in a local paper---because the coffee shop was packed!

This was an informal meet-and-greet at a small coffee shop, and Susan did a fantastic job generating interest in her book.  Within only a few conversational sentences, she let patrons know the premise of the book (falling in love and the hard choices we have to make), the audience that would most enjoy it (all lovers of romance, in particular teenage girls, but there's something in it for the boys too), and also let them in on some of her current projects (middle grade science/adventure geared toward boys---sounds fun!).

People were excited not only to get a book for themselves, but also for the young adult readers in their lives. Susan obviously has a passion for the story and her writing, and it was fun to watch her enthusiasm transfer to others. Congratulations, Susan!

Speaking of enthusiastic writers...
It's time for the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop.  Visit author blogs to see how they're faring in the midst of Nano, the holiday rush, and other treacherous events.  And if you're a published author---hop on!


Meet Jess Bowen, Author of Breaking Point

 I am ecstatic to announce the release of the first book in 
The Order of the Elements series:

by Jess Bowen

 I adore this story and am already anxiously awaiting the sequel.  This is one of those Young Adult novels that both teens and adults will enjoy.  At first I became swept away in the magical world that Jess Bowen created, and then I got completely carried away in the romantic relationships as they developed. But the story never forgets its purpose---the fight against the darkness. And I now realize  that I forgot to ask Jess about her amazing action scenes!  Urg.  Ah well, I'll just have to bring her back, won't I?  Here's the back cover blurb, followed by my delightful interview with Jess Bowen.

Phoebe Johnson and Ethan Smith had everything they needed: loving parents, great friends, and admission letters to Ivy League schools they’d be heading to in the fall. If only they knew that they were never going to reach the end of that summer--at least, not in the world they knew. A secret waits to be revealed on the eve of their nineteenth birthday, a secret that is going to change their lives forever when it leads them to a place they never believed existed, love they could never imagine living without, and power they never suspected they possessed

Jess Bowen expertly plunges readers into an imaginative, supernatural world that refuses to bow down to the darkness that’s all but taken over. Amidst this adventurous quest for a lost prophecy, Bowen weaves in powerful tales of love that will leave the characters and readers breathless.

1. The world you created in Breaking Point is amazingly vivid, both the shining perfection inside the Haven and the bleak darkness outside.  Is the end result exactly what you had pictured when you began writing, or did it evolve over time?

Phew, start off with a hard question why don’t you? Just kidding. To sum it up, I guess it really did turn out the way I had wanted it to when I started writing. I kind of wanted these characters that had what most of us would consider a good life to be thrown into this pit of despair. The Haven is perfect, but in its perfection it’s a prison.

I think the concept of it being a prison evolved over time. Once I realized more and more how perfect it was inside, I had to reach deeper into what was going on to figure out why these people were fighting so hard for their freedom back when they were perfectly free in these safe places where they lived. Why would they face this war if they could just continue to live in their little Utopia? More and more the realization of their predicament became clear---they’d take a little hardship if it meant being able to step outside their ivory walls. In the beginning I had always wanted this to be an emotional battle for these characters as well as a physical one, and I think it’s turned out to be everything I wanted it to be.

2.  A very fun element in the book is the Companion, a (darling) magical creature, that each student receives upon beginning their training.  What was your criteria for choosing the companion for each character, and if you were to be assigned a companion, what would it be? 

Ah yes, the companions. I do love them. Of course my biggest criteria for assigning a Companion to a Master is that Masters of Elements have a more mythical creature as a Companion. Even though each Companion has its own magic, I wanted that extra special quality because the Masters of Elements are kind of a big deal. But, just like in the Pool of Companions, the Companions kind of choose their Masters. As for me, I’m rather fond of Bree and Sadi…but I couldn’t steal them from Evan and Jared. I’d probably take a big cat, maybe a panther.

3.  Despite the fact that Phoebe, Ethan, and their roommates all possess supernatural gifts and are living in a surreal world under unimaginable pressures, they feel like authentic young adults. You do a fantastic job of showing all of their sides, and the reader really gets to know each of them throughout the course of the story.  I know this is probably a tough question---because you obviously got close to each of your characters---but which one would you say was your favorite to write and why?

Wow, yes, most definitely a tough one. I really love writing Evan’s ever positive attitude and sense of innocence and simple logic. I also love writing Hector with his inability to feel emotions. You can never tell what he’s thinking or how he feels about something.  He sees a lot of things that many wouldn’t because his own emotions don’t cloud how he sees them. Much like Phoebe, he sees the truth in people because he sees with an unbiased opinion. And, I know you said just one, so my most favorite is probably Phoebe. With her gift, her complicated mental battles alone are so in depth and fun to explore.  She just always has so much going on, and sometimes I find myself having a hard time breaking away from writing what’s going on in her head to write what’s going on around her too.

At one point in my college career I was a psychology major. The human mind is something I find very fascinating, the way people think, what makes them tick, what makes them do the things that they do, etc. So Phoebe opens up this opportunity not to only delve into her emotional and private struggles but it also opens up the doors to the secrets of everyone around her, and that’s really fun for me to explore and write.

4.  Breaking Point is the first book in a series of five (hooray!) and even though Breaking Point is a whole and complete story on its own, you most definitely laid some intriguing groundwork for future plot developments.  Without giving away any spoilers, of course, how much of the rest of the series do you have worked out in your head?  Do you know what will be happening in each book?  Do you know exactly how the series is going to end?

I have most of the plot worked out for future books. The plot as it follows the war to the end has not changed, although the personal struggles of each character sometimes changes as I write. But it all leads to the endgame. I have a summary and basic outline for each book and a tagline to go with each book according to what’s going to happen in it. And I actually have the end of the last book already written---which I’m sure will need to be tweaked and adjusted by the time I catch up to it in my writing---but I most definitely have a plan, and I can’t wait to get it all out so everyone can know!

I’m really looking forward to the sequels. One of my personal favorite things about reading sequels in book series’ I enjoy reading are the plot twists you don’t see coming, and the characters that come and go. I hope with the Order of the Elements Series I can bring all those elements to the table with the future books.

5.  If you had to choose one song that captures the essence of Breaking Point, what would it be?

One song? You’re asking the Queen of Indecision and Music lover Extraordinaire to pick one song? Okay, okay…I can do this. Well, several months ago on my blog I posted a youtube link to "Break" by Three Days Grace and noted that it fits really well with the theme of the book, and I still stand by that. The song is about someone who’s unhappy with the way things are in his life and gives the message that if you don’t like something, break away and do something about it. It kind of alludes to anger that sparks a decision to change and fight for something better.

That being said, I've compiled a playlist that fits with the book and its themes, because as stated above…I am both the Queen of Indecision and Music Lover Extraordinaire and picking just one song period is a nearly impossible task for me.

Thanks Jess!


First Gifts Blog Fest

Hey, Liz Fichera and The Mojito Literary Society have started a really fun hop called First Gifts Blog Fest, in which bloggers tell their stories about first gifts received from a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, life partner, or whoever.  (I went heavy on the whoever...as a matter of fact, I may have added that category all by myself.)  If you've got a first gift story to tell, please hop on!  This fest goes through Sunday, November 21.   

This post was supposed to go in a whole 'nother direction, but yesterday's mail changed all that.  It starts with a gift I bought for my son...that turned into a gift for me.

Baby boy turned thirteen this past Sunday, so I went to Best Buy last week and bought him the M-rated new release, Call of Duty: Black Ops.  But my parenting skills are not the point. The point is that the check-out girl offered me a free six-month subscription to People magazine.  I figured what the heck and took it.

Yesterday my first issue arrived.

It's the sexiest man alive issue. 
*eyebrows* *eyebrows* *eyebrows*

I'll admit I'm not overly thrilled with the top pick, but the whole issue is full of men!  Attractive, funny, charming men! It had been a long time since I'd shut my brain off for a few minutes and flipped through a magazine, but I'm so glad I did. The highlight for me was a surprise peek at Nathan Fillion's man cave, but really, the whole experience was pretty damned enjoyable. Thanks Best Buy girl.

My only complaint is that the movie star I was most hoping to see all sexy-like only got a 1" x 2 1/2"scrap of a page!  I'm speaking of Chris Pine from the 2009 Star Trek movie and future star of Alex J. Cavenaugh's CassaStar.   I mean, even Rupert Grint got a bigger piece of real estate, for Merlin's sake.  Don't worry, Chris baby, you can take up space on my blog any time. ;)


Have you seen "Scott Pilgrim Versus the World"?

It just came out on DVD today, and it is fa-bu-lous.  So original and funny and violent and sweet with fantastic special effects and superb acting. I've gotta say, the premis didn't appeal to me at all; I only watched it for my son, but premis, schmemis, it was great!  And the movie doesn't have a chauvinistic bone in its, urm, celluloid---the girls get their faces punched in every bit as much as the guys.  (It even kind of, sort of ties in with this blog as it features Anna Kendrick, my pick to play Jen in the Three Daves movie.)  

This is one case where the trailer doesn't do the film justice, but here it is anyhow. I'm sure it does a better job than my gushing: 

Do yourself a favor and rent "Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, ney, buy it. It's bound to be a cult classic.


Meet an Author Monday!

It's Monday, time to see what's up with new-to-you authors as well as those you've already gotten to know through this wonderful weekly hop by Lisa Sanchez, Cali Cheer Mom. If you're a published author or have a contract for a book, please join the hop!  We'd love to have you.  

This Monday just so happens to be the birthday of up-and-coming author, Killian McRae, whose debut novel, 12.21.12 will be released next month. Happy Birthday, Killian!!!

Please be sure to check out my 100 Follower Contest below.

Junk in a Box Competition

Well, it happened. Thanks to all of you...
I hit a triple-digit follower Trifecta!
And so, I introduce my 100 follower
Junk in a Box Competition

Not this kind of junk in a box.
Minds out of the gutter now, 
I'm talking about dioramas!

There is only one qualification to enter, and that is that you follow me on either Blogger, Twitter, or Facebook.

Didn't see that one coming, did you?  The idea hatched as I watched my daughter build this stellar *award winning* Peter and the Starcatchers diorama for the local library. I had the same thought that got me into this writing thing to begin with: Why not?

Do you remember these from grade school?  If not, here's a definition:

diorama (ˌdaɪəˈrɑːmə)
 a miniature three-dimensional scene in which models of figures are seen against a background 


The Awesome 80s


Create an 80s-themed diorama and e-mail a photo of it to elson.nicki@gmail.com by January 31, 2011.  Entries will be judged based on overall appearance and how well they capture the theme. And think about this---what are the chances anyone else will actually enter?  So, all you have to do is stick  your junk in a box and the prize is practically yours! 
  • One Hit Wonders of the 80s CD
  • Signed Copy of Three Daves
  • Your blog & your book (or whatever you want) featured in a post


I know this contest requires more work than most, so I'm also offering a perk for each entry.  Everyone who sends me a photo of their 80s-themed diorama will be invited to be a guest blogger here at Not-So-Deep Thoughts. Blog to my 100+ followers on whatever your heart desires!  Also, I'll post the image of your entry along with a link to your blog/Facebook page/Twitter account/website (your choice)  on my side bar.

Because I harbor a persistent and burning desire to make things more complicated than they need to be, on the off chance that there's more than one entry and I have a tough time deciding on a winner, I'll use the following points system to break any ties:
  • Follow me on more than one media (1 point for each)
  • Comment on my Blogger or Facebook posts (2 points each)
  • "Like" my Facebook posts or re-Tweet my Twitter posts (3 points each)
  • Promote this here contest at your blog/Facebook/Twitter (4 points each - please give me a heads up on this one if you do it) 
Now get out there, you crazy kids, and get your diorama on!


Blogger Vacation

Yo.  I'm immersed in an editing project this week and so must step away from the blog for a bit.  But I'll be back hopping around next week to see what's up with y'all, and I plan to return with a  
big fat contest!

In the meantime, the authors below are available to play---if you are an author with a book out or one under contract, please join!  And if you're looking for a writing challenge, you may want to check out Tessa's Out of my Box Blogontest, which will be open until December 5. Have a great week!