The Time I Shared the Official Synopsis for Benched and a WHOLE sneak peek Scene!

Today, sales I might do something really exciting.

Heavy influence on the “might”.

I’ve been writing a lot this month. I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands and I’ve been frustrated and discouraged. And instead of letting that get me down, cheap I’ve been more determined and passionate and ambitious. I’ve been working really hard to develop this story, make these characters feel real and finish it. Benched has been my floating device this month.

And I’m really pleased to say…that today I could possibly finish it.

I don’t want to get you guys overexcited or anything but I really believe that its possible that it could get done tonight or in the next couple of days. I’m extremely excited and I can’t wait to get this finished, and on the path to sharing it with the rest of the world.

P.S. I’ll be needing beta readers for this in about a month or so, so please keep an eye out for that!

So today I decided to share TWO things. One is the official synopsis for Benched, and the other is a sneak peek. I hope that both of them catch your interest, because I’m really excited about this book and I’m really excited about its potential.

Please keep in mind that this is NOT young adult literature. It is new adult romance so there are mature themes.

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Benched Synopsis 

Benched tells the story of nineteen-year-old Evie Cordova. Evie has grown up in the central California coastal town of Santa Isabella, where the obsession is the college baseball team, the Quakes. Her father has been the head coach for as long as she can remember and her happiest memories are at that field. That is, until her heart is broken by one of the players and she can’t even look at a baseball without remembering the pain.
Now she’s in college, the very same college that houses the baseball boys that she wants nothing more than to avoid. Working for her dad brings her face to face with Austin Young, a transfer student who throws Evie off guard, with his dedication to baseball and his Southern charm. Suddenly, Evie can’t remember why she avoids baseball players. There’s an undeniable pull between the two of them and the more she runs, the closer they become. Evie has to decide whether to stick to her rules, or if Austin will be worth the risk of getting her heart broken once again.
But Evie has her own secrets that are holding her back and they just might ruin everything.

Benched Sneak Peak 

I blush. “I mean, it was fun.” I lower my voice even more. “Really fun. But it can’t happen again. I wasn’t lying when I said no baseball players.”

A corner of his mouth quirks up a little at this. “A very unusual rule.”

I ignore this. “You’re on my dad’s team. I don’t date baseball players. I really…” I swallow hard and meet his eyes. They’re such a dark brown, deep, and they reveal nothing. “I just think it would be better if we were friends. Just friends.”

“Just friends?”

Is he really repeating every single thing I say right now… God I wish I could tell what he was thinking. I bite my lip. “Yeah.” Was I being stupid? I didn’t want to date him; that was the truth. He was a goddamn baseball player and, even worse, a Quake. But was “just friends” even a possibility? He’s hot, incredibly so, and even with a desk between us, my body was tingling with want.

He still hasn’t responded and I start to turn back around, feeling embarrassed.

His hand reaches out for me, grabbing my arm. He’s keeping me from turning around and my eyes watch the way his fingers flex around his biceps before I raise them and meet his. I swallow hard, blinking rapidly.

Austin smirks and it shocks me for a moment, because this is not what I expected. “If you want to be just friends, princess, well then that’s okay.”

I am taken aback by his response and it takes me a moment to think of something to say back. My eyebrows raise. “Really?”

He winks at me. “OF course. My mama taught me to respect a lady’s words and I stick to that.”

I can’t help it. I laugh a little at that. “Your mama?”

Austin leans back and his smirk becomes a full-fledged grin. “Yes, my mama. Maybe I’ll tell you about her sometime. Seeing as we’re friends and all.”

The professor walks in and starts handing papers out. I pull my gaze away from his and turn to the front. “Right. Friends.”

Austin

It’s hard to concentrate on whatever the professor is saying with Evie sitting in front of me. Her long, dark blonde hair is hanging loose down her back and some of it falls on my desk and it smells amazing, like coconut. Like lying on the beach.

She wants to be just friends and damn, I know I should be okay with that but she has no idea the effect she has on me. She’s gorgeous. I wasn’t lying when I said she and her sister looked alike but there’s something about her that’s much sexier than her sister. It’s not her eyes. Its something in the way she carries herself.

I can’t get the memory of her coming apart in my arms out of my head. The noises she made, the way her body literally shook while she was pressed against me…I get hard just thinking about it.

I shake my head. She’s a distraction, the ultimate one, and I can’t let myself get distracted. Not now. Not only is she the coach’s daughter but she could derail everything I’ve worked so hard for.

My path is simple. Play ball. Get scouted. Get drafted. There’s nothing else. A girl like Evie could pull me away from all of that. Nothing is worth losing that.

Evie turns in her seat to hand me a paper and her eyes, one brown and one blue, meet mine. She licks her lips nervously before turning back around.  

Fuck.

I’m in so much trouble.

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Don’t forget to follow me here, on my instagram and my author instagram to keep updated all the things to do with me and my writing!

 

World Art Drop Day! – September 1st, 2015

So a few days ago, what is ed I was hanging out with my friend Sean, who is an artist. A really good artist. Like, seriously good. You should check him out on Instagram and follow him because seriously, the guy blows my mind.

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Seriously? Doesn’t that just make your jaw drop? Its adorable and it immediately captivates me and makes me want to know more about this little kid. I actually know more because Sean told me but…anyway…

Moving on!

Sean told me about this really cool thing called World Art Drop Day. Apparently it was started last year by a guy named Jake Parker, who does some pretty cool artwork. You can check out his website here.

Basically what happens is this: Jake went on a trip with his wife and decided to do this really cool thing. He would create original works of art, small things, drawings, stuff like that, and he would hide it somewhere, in wherever he was at the moment. Then he would post a hint about where he hid it on his social media pages, twitter, instagram, that sort of thing. Then people could go and find it. He had a lot of fun doing it, and decided to make it a world wide thing.

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And it sounds seriously awesome. Sean is participating so seriously, follow him on instagram to see where he’ll be dropping things this Tuesday.

I wasn’t going to participate because, well, I’m not an artist. I can’t draw in the slightest, can’t paint, can’t do any of that sort of thing. Sean encouraged me to participate as a writer but I thought that was just silly. Until I watched this YouTube video of Jake talking all about World Art Drop Day and he mentioned that writers should do it too, and I thought, okay well…maybe.

I thought about it A LOT and I decided that…yes, yes I am going to participate. I will be hiding FIVE things on World Art Drop Day. I will be hiding 2 snippets from The Awakened, 2 snippets from Benched (which have NEVER been seen before) and hopefully one original work. If I can get it done before then. Hopefully. EEK!

I hope that you’ll be able to follow along on my instagram and find these super cool things. I’m really excited to be participating and I’m hoping that you guys get encouraged to participate too, no matter what sort of art you do! If its drawing, painting, digital art, jewelry making, poetry, writing, photography, I think there’s a spot for everyone to participate!

If you’d like to know more about World Art Drop Day and what to do, how to do it, that sort of thing, check out the post on Jake Parker’s website here.

You can also check out this video as well. It IS a little long but it has all the information you could possibly need and its really what encouraged me to participate in this!

The Awakened Has Officially Been Submitted to Swoon Reads!

The Awakened Cover

 

And I could SUPER use your help.

As most of you know, what is ed I wrote a novel called The Awakened. It is a science fiction romance in the YA category (of course) and it is my baby. Read the synopsis here:

Eighteen year old Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take to keep her safe in their New York City neighborhood and avoiding her school bully, Ash Matthews, whose latest transgression includes dumping glitter on her during fourth period. College is just around the corner and she’s ready for it. 

That’s when the virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They’re like zombies, but worse: faster, smarter, working together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh. 

The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with these awakened victims. Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country.

I worked hard on it for over nine months and I’ve been working hard for nearly a year to get it published. 

It is NOT an easy road. It’s not. But I’m not giving up. It’s just too important to me to do that. So I’m going another route, in the hopes that I can find a way to get this from my computer and into YOUR hands.

Swoon Reads is an incredible publishing company, and they are a part of Macmillan, which is a DREAM company for me. Legitimately a dream company. And they do this absolutely incredible thing: they allow you to upload your manuscript (as long as it’s romance!) and let the audiences (YOU) choose what books to be published.

I’ve read a TON of their books. I’ve actually just recently gotten a few more in the mail as ARCs. You guys pick amazing books and they publish him and I think its just completely fantastic. Its a wonderful thing and I thought, you know what, why not try that for The Awakened?!

So that’s what I’m doing.

And that’s where YOU come in.

What I need you guys to do…what I would absolutely LOVE and APPRECIATE if you did, is to head to the link below (you can also click the cover of The Awakened above) and go and read it and rate it and help me get this thing published :)

Now if you don’t like it, that’s okay! Its not for everyone, I know that. I hope you don’t give me a bad rating but don’t EVER feel obligated to give me a GOOD rating. I just know that there are a TON of you that have expressed interest in reading the book and now you can in. And if you like it, you can help me out. And that means a LOT to me.

SO if you can, if you’d like to, if you want to, head over to this link:

http://www.swoonreads.com/m/the-awakened

and read and rate The Awakened. I would so appreciate it!

Thank you guys :)

Happy Reading!

NaNoWriMo 2014: The Halfway Point!

Hello everyone! It is the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2014!

Okay, visit this site technically that was a couple days ago. I apologize. I had SUCH a crazy weekend, web what with work and hanging out with friends and going to the Mockingjay Part 1 red carpet premiere (which you can read about here), that I just completely flaked on this post.

But I am here now!

So let’s jump in, eh? I’m gonna talk a little bit about how its going for me, and share a little excerpt from the very very rough draft and I hope you can share how well its going for YOU in the comments below!

What was your goal, and how are you doing in your reach for it?

My goal for this NaNoWriMo is 40K. I’m at 33350 as of this exact moment that I’m writing this, so I’m doing pretty good. I had a blast of writing when I first started and I wrote about 7K in one day. I was averaging about 3K a day which is more than you need to do to even reach the standard goal of 50K. But the past four days have been rough, and I haven’t written much at all. I managed to make myself write a little over 2K today to try and make up for that, but its been hard. I’m in chapter nine I think and I think the first 8 chapters were really fully fledged in my mind and now I’m kind of fumbling in the dark, like I usually do and its been kind of rough.

However, I’m hoping I’ll be back on track now and that I can really focus on this. I’m hoping I can get back to writing 3K a day, because that would just be great.

What have been some of your guys’ successes? 

I’ve outlined most of the book, which makes me incredibly happy because at least I have some sort of direction that I know I’m heading in. I’m kind of more of a “pantser” than a “plotter” BUT I do like to have some idea of where I’m going so I sometimes outline the next few chapters to give myself an idea and I definitely have that going on.

I’m really having a lot of success in developing my main character, Evie. I’ve made some changes to her and her surroundings, that have helped make her more real in my mind. She struggles with a lot in the book: shyness, an eating disorder, distrust in people, things like that and I want it all to seem real and genuine and not fake and I think that’s coming along nicely.

I also think that I had great success in the first week. I wrote a lot which hopefully will set me up for the rest of the month. I started off really really strong so I’m hoping that plays into the rest of the month, and honestly, the rest of the novel.

What have been some of the challenges? 

Well, first off, time. I have a job, and the regular blog stuff and friends and sleep and that sort of thing. A lot of why I didn’t get any writing done this weekend was simply because I haven’t had time. I was working and seeing my friends and doing the premiere and yeah, it got set aside. Hopefully I’ll be able to really make that time to finish this novel.

Another challenge is that I’m basically writing two stories in one. I’m writing the story of Evie and Jesse in the year 2011. I’m writing the story of the present (well the future, kind of) of Evie and Austin in the year 2015. Its hard because…well, its like two different stories. I thought I should write one and then write the other but I want them to sort of intertwine and I can’t do that if I write them separately so…difficulties have ensued. A challenge accepted that hopefully will be met.

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Here is an excerpt from my Untitled novel, which might have a title now but I have to think about it. It might be too cheesy…

You may recognize this if you read my post about my writing journey. Sorry that its not brand new! A brand new excerpt will not appear until the end of the month!

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How are you guys doing in NaNoWriMo so far? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Fancasting for My Novel!

Okay, sale so I was not going to do this post because, well, I didn’t really feel like I needed to and I had other things on my mind.

But I like fan casting. It helps to give me a better background for my characters. When I create my characters, I do have a basis for them in my mind but I do have that sort of blurry image for their face because its hard to create an entirely new face in your head. So I use actors and actresses as basis. Sort of the way I use Santa Cruz, California as a basis for my town, Macon, California.

So I was writing and I was having a little bit of a hard time on something so…I started googling people and fancasting for my five main characters: Evie, Lucy, Austin, Jesse, and Connor. And then because I am so completely perfect at procrastinating in actual writing (damn you, Gilmore Girls!).

So instead of writing 3K words like I planned to do for the day (its 3 pm, I have plenty of time), I’m working on a post about fan casting for my novel.

Let’s jump in!

Elizabeth Olsen as Evie and Lucy Cordova

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Evie and Lucy are really difficult because I made them really unique. I actually based them a lot on my sister, Jessica. My siblings and I are mutt children: two races. There are multiracial kids alllll over the place but I think the differences, the uniqueness that comes from multiracial kids can be skipped over sometimes. I’m half Mexican and half white, meaning pretty much every European country out there. I look like a Mexican kid, just a little lighter, I think. You can kind of tell that I’m a biracial kid but for the most part, people assume that I’m hispanic. I swear, this is going somewhere. But my sister, for most of her life, looked biracial. Blonde hair, dark brown eyes, etc. She has a pretty mix of both of her heritages and I think its awesome and I used that for both Evie and Lucy, who are identical twins. They have dark blonde hair, dark brown hairs, tanned skin, a mix from their Spanish father and their Mexican mother.

But because of this, its a little difficult to fan cast them. I found a couple pictures of Elizabeth Olsen, who is just plain gorgeous, and I liked her look a lot. Her skin could be a little darker and obviously she needs brown eyes but I’m seeing her as Evie and Lucy. I really like this particular picture of Elizabeth because she does look a little more like what I picture for Evie. Lucy would have much shorter hair, and be a little heavier, only because Evie dealt with her eating disorder. But I like this look.

Mike Trout as Austin Young 

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Okay, yes, I know it. Mike Trout is an actual baseball player. Not an actor. He probably would be really really bad at acting. Let’s be real. But he’d totally rock the baseball part. But the whole idea of the story came from the fact that I do have a crush on Mike Trout (innocent, seriously, I ship him and his girlfriend, they’re too cute together), and I did say that I wanted to marry a baseball player for a huge chunk of my life (hey, that’s still a possibility). Anyway, I think about baseball a lot because baseball is basically second to books in my life. I wanted to write a book about baseball and a sexy baseball player and the first person that comes to MY mind is Mike Trout. I mean, look at that face. SIGH.

But being serious…

Matt Lanter as Austin Young

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Hell yeah I picked a picture of Matt Lanter shirtless. Googling people is way too much fun. I like this particular picture but he looks like he could be a little country in this and Austin is a total Southern country boy. Blonde hair, green eyes, tanned from being in the sun all the time, built because he works out so much (he’s determined to make it to the pros), and he’s beautiful. Evie has a firm “no baseball players” rule and Austin’s looks plays a part in her slowly breaking that rule. I first saw Matt Lanter when he went to the Divergent premiere to promote Starcrossed. I thought he was incredibly good looking so I went home and watched the super fun and short lived show, Starcrossed, and was sad when it was canceled. Then I found out that Matt has done a TON of voice work for Star Wars, had Star Wars themes in his wedding and I just think he would work really well as Austin.

Ignacio Serricchio as Jesse Valdez

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Technically, at 32 years old, Ignacio is entirely way too old to play Jesse because Jesse is 19 in the past and 23 in the future. So yeah. But he totally has the look. Jesse is full Hispanic so he needed to LOOK Hispanic. He had to be good looking, like he could just charm the pants off of you, which he basically does and I was googling hispanic actors and this picture popped up, caught my eye and I was immediately in love. I don’t know much about Ignacio since he’s on soap operas and I’m not a big soap opera girl but he’s got the look down pat. Plus, he would look good next to Elizabeth Olsen, who would play both Evie and Lucy and both of the girls are obviously in love with him at different parts of the story so that would work so so SO well.

Dylan O’Brien as Connor Humphrey

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Besides the whole Mike Trout thing…this was one person I had fancasted from the beginning. Dylan O’Brien IS Connor. The way he looks, the way he acts, sort of a mix of Stiles from Teen Wolf and my own little extra bit and maybe a little bit of Thomas from The Maze Runner. I was so excited when I googled Dylan O’Brien and baseball and got a super hot picture, and it totally works. Connor is Evie’s best friend, but the last thing that I wanted to create with that is a sort of love triangle, friend zone thing. Evie and Connor had their thing in high school, got over it and are just friends. Connor is good looking, funny, ambitious, determined and a baseball player just like everyone else in Macon (haha!)

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NaNoWriMo 2014: Let’s Talk About…Setting

Hello everyone!

NaNoWriMo is in its first full week! And I think I’m doing quite good. My goal for NaNo this year is 40K but I’m starting to think maybe I’ll reach 50, medical or even beyond, salve if I stay at the rate that I’ve been keeping up. In my first week, price I’ve reached just under 20K and I’m really excited to continue this novel.

And yes, it does still need a title. It has a really crappy edited cover that says “Evie and Austin Story” on the official NaNo website haha but it needs a legit title. If you guys come up with a title, please make sure to share them with me, because you get a prize if you pick THE title.

Let me know how your progress is doing in the comments!

Today we’re talking about setting. 

In all of the novels that I’ve written, I’ve based it on real world places, and done lots of research on those places. Or I’ve straight up used real places like New York City and Mesa Verde in Colorado and Brea, California.

But for this newest novel, I’m writing an entirely new setting: Macon, California. Its a coastal town in Central California that has some real world bases in Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz (especially Santa Cruz) and a little bit of Santa Barbara, but for the most part, its all from my imagination.

Do you know how hard it is to create a new setting! Its crazy. So while I’ve been trying to get my word count up, I’ve also been working hard at making sure that Macon seems like a genuine town. Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned: setting is a character all in its own. Think of Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Tortall, Idris, Panem, Camp Half Blood. They all have their own personalities. They react to the story, they are effected by the story, they’re just so massively important.

So I scoured the internet to look for tips on creating setting and I gathered a few of them here for you!

1. Base Your Setting on Real World Places

It goes back to what I said about Macon. Macon is a completely fictional town. It’s small town, coastal, with a beach boardwalk, a small town downtown main street with family owned businesses. But I throw things off when I insert a baseball obsessed population. And that population is obsessed with the university that exists in this town. Sounds complicated right? There isn’t an actual place that exists like this. So I’ve used real life references in Santa Barbara, Monterey Bay and mostly, Santa Cruz. These three are all real coastal cities in California. Having these real life bases helps to create a town because you have examples. You know how things can be arranged because you have a real life basis for it. I have no idea how to arrange a fictional city because I’ve never been a city planner. I don’t know how that works. So I kind of mesh these cities together and voila, Macon, California!

2. Base Your Setting on Real Time Periods

Now, this doesn’t totally apply to me and this particular novel. My novel is based in real world time, right now, in the present. So that’s easy enough. I can have iphones and smart cars and macbooks and Netflix and it alllllll makes sense. This could also work for historical novels as well. You have a real world time period to base off of. There’s information out there (yay research!) that will help you to make sure your setting is historically accurate.

But this also works quite well for a fantasy novel, or science fiction, that sort of thing. You can base your fantasy society based on the medieval settings of old Europe. You can base your futuristic society on the Victorian age of the Industrial Revolution. Creating a brand new setting in a brand new world is HARD because you have no real world basis for this society. BUT you can use time periods to help you out. Feudal societies, capitalism, communism, empires, Chinese dynasties, the Crusades, etc. There is SO much history out there that you can rework to base your own setting on.

3. Create Rules

When I say create rules, this could go either way. In a completely fictional world, you need to make sure you create its government, its politics, its social strata, its laws, weather, climate, all that sort of thing. This is incredibly important because this is going to have an effect on the characters and the plot and all of that. Setting places an enormous part on our lives. Where we live, the rules we live under, play a HUGE part in our lives: getting our licenses at a certain age, drinking at a certain age, getting a job, paying bills, all those sorts of things come from the setting: where we live. So this is important when creating an entirely new place. Set the rules because you’ll need to follow those. They have a profound effect on your characters.

Now when you’re creating a fictional place in a real world, like me, a new town in California, the rules are already there, for the most part. California has laws and weather and all of those things already. What’s important is that you remember them. California is a little easier. If I make it a really super hot day in the middle of December…it might be a little confusing to others but to those of us who live in California, we would laugh because this really happens. (Its November, and we’re expecting 80 degree weather all week). But making sure you don’t make it a super hot day when writing your fictional town on the eastern seaboard? That’s important. Making sure your 14 year old character isn’t driving a car when logically that doesn’t make sense, things like that. Follow the rules.

4. React!

Treat your setting like a character. If something is happening in the story, how is your setting reacting to this. For instance, in my novel, my town is baseball obsessed. Say the the team wins a particularly difficult game. The town is going to react to this, obviously. It may not be something obvious that I distinctly point out but my main characters may go to lunch the next day, and the patrons could be wearing more orange and white (the team colors) than usual. There may be more banners in the window, the weather might look that much better, people will be happier. The setting reacts to the story. If the characters get in a fight, or have a bad day, the weather might be crappier or the sunny weather might bother them. React and interact with the characters and the setting. They have an effect on each other.

5. Its All in the Details!

Of course, details are always important. But for setting, I feel like its important because it makes your setting authentic and real. The hardest part of this for me is making them subtle and genuine. I want Macon to seem as real as possible and the details will make it so because it’ll seem like a real place. But every time I try and write a detail, I feel like its obvious that I’m trying to point out things about Macon and its hard. But the details are important. Where things are located, what the weather is like, the plant life, all that sort of subtle detail just makes it more genuine. Is it nearly an ocean? A mountain? This effects the weather, etc. There are stores on the main street but what kind of stores? That sort of thing. This is probably the one I struggle with the most and I’m working on it!

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What are some of YOUR tips on setting? Share the in the comments!