Breathing Ghosts Blog Tour!

Breathing Ghosts, Writing

For anyone who missed my previous post, in honor of the release of Breathing Ghosts I’m planning a blog tour for the month of October and I need your help! Anyone willing to post a spotlight, teaser, excerpt, or giveaway let me know in the comments and I’ll do a group spotlight every Friday to publicly thank and highlight each and every one of you and your blogs/projects. I’m also giving away FREE review copies to anyone willing to post a review on Goodreads, Amazon, and (hopefully soon) Barnes & Noble.

Posting:

Feel free to copy any teasers found here on my blog:
Teaser 1
Teaser 2
Teaser 3
Teaser 4
Teaser 5
Teaser 6

Share the cover:

BG-COVER

Or let me know if you’re interested in excerpts, an interview, or giveaway in the form of Smashwords coupons.
I’m also open to any ideas anyone may have so feel free to contact me in the comments or at lzkbooks [@] gmail [.] com

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WIP Wednesday

writing process

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Orphans of Paradise is OFFICIALLY FINISHED. I thought this day would never come and if it wasn’t for a few dozen slices of birthday cake and a little soul searching, it wouldn’t have. But here we are. It’s done. I’m finished (well except for some last-minute formatting issues) and it’ll be available for purchase this weekend!

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Moving on—thank God—to book 3. Notes from my beta readers are slowly trickling in and I have to say I’m pretty ecstatic about the feedback. Relieved would probably be a better word since it’s a genre I’m not used to writing in. I was nervous that it wouldn’t translate well, that people wouldn’t be able to connect. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about my strengths as a writer, capturing just the right emotions is sort of my biggest one.

Sometimes I struggle with plot and pacing and all of the structural things that make up a story but the thing is, I know people. I get people. I get why they do things and feel things and want things and to me, that’s what makes a good story.

I really can’t wait to jump back into the fourth draft of this project, which should happen within the next three weeks. I’ve got a lot going on this month. My mom is coming to visit, as well as the BF’s family, and on top of all of that I’ll be preparing for another cross country move. A lot of changes are happening but definitely all good, and with projects like book 3 and 4 in my queue, I’ve got a really good feeling about what the end of the year may hold.

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Speaking of book 4, I’ve just finished those dreaded re-writes. Draft three should be complete after one final line edit and then it’s off to my alpha readers. This one was also way out of my comfort zone. It’s mature YA with a hint of magical realism and I just hope people don’t think it’s stupid. Because that sometimes happens with fantastical ideas, especially involving romance—a popular formula for the kind of cliché story that I spent months writing about the South American drug cartel trying to avoid. Because that is one of my worst fears—being cliché. And I know that probably sounds pretentious and ridiculous but it’s true. I want to be unique and I want my work to reflect that. And after one last bout of revisions, here’s to hoping it does.

Chicken–It’s what’s for dinner

mental health, writing process

Alright, alright. So I have a confession to make. Orphans of Paradise was supposed to be uploaded and ready to go this weekend but then I sort of had a panic attack (figuratively but painful nonetheless) and I kind of chickened out.

It was mostly caused by all of the usual fears. You know: rejection, failure, disappointing the people I care about, being heckled by strangers, poverty, being forced to do those timed math trials for the rest of eternity or to only use public bathrooms, sharks, ghosts, tornadoes. It just sort of all piled up at once and I couldn’t hit upload.

But then I realized, besides the sharks and the tornadoes, all of those other trepidations are pretty much ridiculous. Not to mention inevitable the longer I prolong publishing my second book (well maybe not the math). Because isn’t stalling a form of failure in and of itself? It’s not quite quitting but it’s not quite finishing either. It’s the dreaded in between, a place in which I never wish to become comfortable. Because nothing happens there. Dreams don’t come true there.

Dreams come true when you get shit done. When you finish. So I am. I’m finished with the self-doubt and I’m finished with this story. And whether or not I can bury the fear under enough chocolate and cheesecake, it will be available this weekend. So keep your eyes peeled and please enjoy the final teaser from my second novel, Orphans of Paradise.

In the dark, sounds swelled and took shape—grating across Camilla’s skin, sliding cold down her back. Her ears burned, twisted beneath the blindfold pressed tight to her face, and then all she could hear was her pulse. The knot dug into her hairline, a few strands caught in the fabric and she rubbed her neck along the back of her seat trying to rip them free.

Someone placed a hand on her knee, his thumb pressed hard to her bone as the paved road gave way to a manic emptiness. They pulled to a stop, a hand reaching for her arm, gripping her tight. She stumbled out after them, her hand sweeping across some frozen grass, the dew burning cold against her fingertips. She was pushed forward and then she felt the cold, dank darkness pouring over her.

They threw her against the wall and she slumped to the floor. They ripped off her blindfold but it was still dark, their silhouettes lit only by the small glow of a cell phone as they searched for the light switch. Suddenly a flame swelled from the center of the room, cutting the space in lucid shards. It burned and Camilla closed her eyes, trying to hear past the buzzing of the breaker box.

Soiled colors peeled down the walls in long petrified drips. Her hands bound behind her were numb, her head spinning as something slid to her throat, thick and dry at the back of her tongue. That smell still hung on the edge of her lips. But there was a fervency to it, something raw and wild.

A dark ribbon cut between her legs, spilling into the cracks along the floor. And there was so much. There was too much. Camilla leaned forward, heaving, trying not to look, to breathe. But in the corner of her eye there was a shadow slumped against the wall, the girl’s arms wrangled in the same position.

She turned her face, meeting Camilla’s eyes, letting her see her. And Camilla didn’t want to see. She didn’t want to count the bodies, she didn’t want to know. But then, against everything inside her, she turned to the mangled mess on the floor and looked.

Orphans of Paradise Cover Reveal

self publishing

It’s finally here! After months of waiting and stressing and debating on whether or not I should delay the project indefinitely for fear of failing, the cover is finally here—a proclamation to that little voice in my head that yes I am doing this. I’m taking the plunge, once again, and I’m sharing this piece of me with the world. And I hope you like it.Oprhans of Paradise

Every day hundreds of women smuggle drugs across international borders. Rani’s sister was one of them, muling drugs from Colombia and earning enough money to buy her family’s freedom to the States. They’d had a plan. Nadia would make one final drop in Boston, her siblings following her on a separate flight, leaving behind the shanty towns and the ashes of a territory war that had taken everything from them, including their parents.

Only Nadia wasn’t waiting for them when they landed.

Now it’s the middle of February and Rani and her siblings are forced to brave the cold alone, traversing a city they’ve never seen before on foot, searching for not only their sister, but for shelter, food; all of the trappings of a better life that they thought they’d find in the U.S. Until Rani finds her sister’s compass—the Hancock building—jutting up over the city, always just a glance away over her right shoulder, and she uses it to find the cartel’s local hideout as well as a boy who knows more than he’s letting on.

Jax is the heir to the largest drug operation in Boston, every officer and city official in his brother’s back pocket. But when their mother leaves, abandoning not only her sons but a lifetime’s worth of turning the other cheek, of being afraid, Jax decides to leave too. He’s seen enough. Done enough. And all he wants to be is numb—alone and frozen as he trades his mother’s old apartment for an abandoned lifeguard stand near the harbor.

He’s almost mastered it too, until he’s attacked one night by a girl he’s never seen before. Though he knows those eyes, those tight lips—the same one’s belonging to the mule that got away, the girl who ran with his brother’s money, the girl his brother would find, though this time without Jax’s help. Because Jax wasn’t just looking for a way out, he was looking for a way to make amends. To be the son his mother could love again. To be the son she could forgive. But as Jax helps Rani find the things she’s lost, she helps him find something even more precious than redemption—a reason to live.

Gritty and raw, Orphans of Paradise isn’t just a dark exploration of the underground drug trade, but it’s the story of two broken people, their pieces so intensely tangled, trying to assemble what’s left of themselves into something new.

Add the book to your to read list on Goodreads!

WIP Wednesday

writing process

Wait. It’s June? Already? Well let me crawl out of this black hole/editing purgatory I’ve been living in for the past thirty days and take stock of my WIPs.

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First things first. Orphans Of Paradise has officially entered into that stage where I can barely open the word doc without vomiting in my mouth a little bit. I always hate this part. You fall in love with something and then you tear it to pieces. Again. And again. And again. And you’re on your final copy edit and all you want to do is shoot someone in the face, usually your lead character, sometimes your spouse.

This is always the hardest part for me. Apparently a few of my beta readers have fallen off the face of the earth so I didn’t get as much feedback on my most recent draft as I wanted to and on top of that I’ve read the thing so many times that I can’t tell if it’s terribly boring and predictable or if it only seems that way because…well I wrote it and have been reading it over and over for the past two months. I am crawling through these last two hundred pages but that’s better than nothing I guess. And at least I came to a decision about the companion novella.

I’ve scratched it. Instead I decided to break the book into parts. This actually helped my pacing issues a lot and as far as adjusting the style, well it’s making this final line edit torture to say the least. But it’s getting there. Is it perfect? No. Will it be? No. But I have to be ok with that. I refuse to be one of those writer’s who’s so gun shy they end up working on the same manuscript for years. That’s insanity. And why shelve a story for its mild imperfections when it could possibly have the potential to still resonate emotionally with people?

On a more positive note, I’ve just finished the 3rd draft of book 3. Good news is I’m still pretty infatuated with this one and I’m hoping my beta readers will be too. I’ll be sending it off to them this weekend.

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And in the meantime, after I’ve finished the final edits for Orphan Of Paradise, I’ll be jumping back into the next draft of book 4.

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2nd and 3rd drafts are always beasts. For me they’re usually total re-writes and my word count usually jumps significantly. It’s the draft where I finally get a good handle on my character’s motivations—who they are, what they want. All of the essential ingredients start to fall in line and the story takes it’s true shape. It’s exciting and it’s confusing and it’s one of my favorite parts about writing. I like putting the pieces together, re-arranging them, seeing how they fit. And I love finding that subconscious synchronicity because I’m always surprised at how incredibly clever I am.

I’ll also be toying with a novella for book 3. It’s been simmering for a while and I’ve written about 10k but I’ve recently found a new starting point. A stronger one and I think this time it’ll work.

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Scanning over this post, I’ve obviously got a lot of things in the works right now. But that’s a good thing. It means I’m growing. It means I’m making progress and it means that my dreams aren’t all that far away from coming true.