One by LeighAnn Kopans

Look out, Bella and Edward, there is a new hot and sexy young adult couple on the scene:  Merrin and Elias.  They won’t suck your blood, but they will grab your heart and fly off with it.

Kopans created a world where three kinds of people exist: Supers, Normals, and Ones.  Supers possess at least two super powers.  Normals possess none.  As for the poor Ones, they fall in the middle with seemingly one piddly power.  Neither Super, nor Normal, Ones often find themselves as outcasts wherever they go.  Fortunately for Merrin Grey, the Ones in her new high school quickly adopt her into their small group.

Before she knows it, her body is reacting in ways she had never experienced before, and I’m not just talking about adolescent lust.  While simultaneously falling in love, Merrin and Elias discover that they can combine their Ones and do the one thing they have both dreamed of: fly.

The first half of the book is passionately charged with the power of the first real love we all remember.  Then it takes a turn and reveals a top-secret plan that involves human testing and genetic manipulation that has the potential  to either help or really hurt many people.  It’s up to Merrin and Elias to put a stop to this before their parents and siblings are damaged beyond repair.

Kopans does a wonderful job of creating some of the most realistic high school characters I have read in a while.  Her balance of action and romance keeps the pages turning.  Honestly, if you liked the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, you will love One.

One is a another awesome self-published book to hit the market.  Be looking for the sequel, Two, in October.  Learn more about LeighAnn Kopans at her website or follow her on Twitter @LeighAnnKopans

 

Patience for Practice

Our town has an amazing public library.  Every summer  Neill Public Library puts on tremendous summer reading programs for kids and adults complete with free books and awesome performers.

This morning I took my seven-year-old daughter to a performance by Curtis Carlyle, a comedian and yo-yo/juggling guru.  Let me tell you, Curtis’s show was just as entertaining for the adults as it was for our kids!

Several things stood out to me as I watching this guy.  First, he is my age!  He isn’t some fresh from college kid with excessive youthful energy (I take that back-he does have a lot of excessive youthful energy, but it’s not because he’s still wet behind the ears).  He talked about how he slowly learned to juggle and work a yo-yo from reading library books.  His story made him real, and I hope the children listening felt like with time and practice, they too could be wicked awesome at whatever they want.

His show wasn’t perfect.  Curtis dropped his props a few times, but he rolled with it.  He gracefully used the imperfection to enhance his routine.  I was totally impressed by how he could flip a ball back into play with a quick flick of his foot.  As I watched, I considered how many dropped balls and tangled yo-yos he has no doubt dealt with over the years.  We’re talking hours and hours of patient practice here!

I took in the beaming faces surrounding me: toddlers, preschoolers, elementary students, parents, grandparents.  These people were all touched by the time Curtis put into his craft.  Their day was made a little brighter because of his show.

Everyone’s calling is different, and we can’t judge whose work is more valuable.  It all has purpose.  As a writer who is yet to publish a novel, sometimes I feel like I’m wasting tons of time as I scribble in notebooks and tap away on my keyboard.  Then I encounter someone like Curtis Carlyle with a rare gift that makes a huge impact on the lives of many.  He brings laughter and wonder into a world that can seem dark and predictable.  That matters, and we need more of it.

We also need to develop patience for practice.  I want to see results right now!  I want the payoff today!  I know I’m not the only person in this technology driven, instant gratification world we live in with this mentality.  It’s really helpful for me to see someone who has had the discipline to put in the time so he can really shine and make a difference in people’s lives.

Courtney Carver likes to say that we can’t hold out for perfect work.  We must do the best work we can do today, and every day our work will become better and better.  My best writing this afternoon will not be as great as my best writing a month from now, provided I keep practicing.  Every.  Single.  Day

My challenge to my readers today is to think about something you have always wanted to learn to do.  It could be a hobby.  It could be something that leads to a new career.  What would it take for you to take the time and make practicing that thing until you shined?  Who could you touch with this new talent?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Bound by J. Elizabeth Hill

I am still catching my breath after finishing Bound almost six hours ago.  From the first sentence to the last Hill wove a spell through my imagination that wouldn’t let go.

She drew me in with main character, Faylanna’s, flight for her life from the academy that had been her home for several years.  In the process she lost her beloved mentor and her trust toward her father.

While trying to get a bite to eat at a crowded inn, Fay is required to share a table with an intriguing and handsome young man, to whom she is immediately drawn.  They take off the next morning on an adventure that will change them both forever.

I’m going to have to stop the plot retelling there, as I don’t want this to be a spoiler review.  But, just know the events that follow are one surprise after another that left me holding my breath and guessing as what could possible happen to these people next.

Hill literally whisked me away to a fantastical world filled with betrayal, romance, danger, and magic.  The breath I had been holding for the first 80% (Kindle’s equivalent to page numbers) was completely stolen from me in the final scenes.

The best thing about Bound is that it the first in a trilogy!  That means more Faylanna and Tavis adventures lie ahead.  The follow-up book Possession will be out September 10.  Stay tuned for an interview with Hill later this summer.

Another thing I have to mention is that Hill is an indie author.  Given that is the direction I am heading, it thrills me to read such quality work from someone who was brave enough to take on the sometimes murky waters of self-publishing.  Authors like Hill pave the way for those of us just beginning the journey.  The more amazing work that is put out in the self-publishing world and recognized the more the industry can grow and develop a reputation we can all be proud of.

You can learn more about Hill at her website: http://jelizabethhill.wordpress.com/

Or follow her on Twitter: @jlizhill

A Quiet Mind

Last Friday I found myself on the business end of my vacuum cleaner.  Family was coming from out-of-town that evening, and I needed to catch up on my housework.  I really wanted to be writing instead and was feeling kind of grumpy, but I kept moving forward and after a bit my mind wandered from my irritation.  It wasn’t long before I noticed how peaceful I felt.  The roar of the machine and the rhythmic to and fro arm motion had worked me into a meditative state.  The next thing I knew, vivid images displaying answers to some problems I was having with a WIP (work in progress) I started and shelved months ago were flashing through my head.  By opening and resting my mind, I had given those ideas room to swim around and find their way to the surface. I had to switch off the vacuum cleaner and dash into my room for my journal and pen.  There was no way I was going to let those babies get away.

Not long ago, Courtney Carver wrote a wonderful post on her blog, Be More with Less , about using regular, mundane tasks to center ourselves when life gets crazy.  It got me thinking about how much I like to clean my kitchen every morning.  I quietly arrange my thoughts and prepare for my day.  Some days I actually unwind while folding laundry, and apparently I get amazing light bulb moments when vacuuming.  I’m not good at meditating-sitting still is really hard for me-and I didn’t realize until I saw Courtney’s post that those routine jobs serve more of a purpose than just keeping my house clean and running smooth.

Last week I finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language.  She talked a lot about the connection between meditation and writing.  I was inspired by the idea, but as I mentioned above, meditation and sitting in one spot is not easy for me.  However, combining her ideas with Courtney’s thoughts I realized I just might have a winning combination.

Does your creativity flourish when you are able to rest your brain and get back in touch with yourself?