Saturday, November 12, 2011


So, I have completed it.  I have accomplished a small portion of what I've set out to do.  My first book in the series "The Hidden Lives of Succubi" has been completed (and after a week-long hiatus, I'll be right back at it, writing book two).  I've titled it simply Temptation.  It took me, ohhhh I dunno, well over six months from start to finish, but hell who's counting?  My next step is to get it out there for the world to fall in love with (: (hopefully) and anticipate the next book in the series.  I'll be self-publishing it as an ebook through the AMAZING site,  In case you're unaware of it's awesomeness:

Welcome to Smashwords! Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers, agents and readers. We offer multi-format, DRM-free ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device.
For readers, Smashwords provides an opportunity to discover new voices in all categories and genres of the written word. Once you register, the site offers useful tools for search, discovery and personal library-building.  Each week we add new features based on feedback from members.
At Smashwords, our authors and publishers have complete control over the sampling, pricing and marketing of their written works.
Smashwords is ideal for publishing novels, short fiction, poetry, personal memoirs, monographs, non-fiction, research reports, essays, or other written forms that haven’t even been invented yet.
It's free to publish and distribute with Smashwords.

You'll be able to view and purchase my current and future self-published works by accessing my personal site Samantha's Smashwords!!!  

I'll also be posting links to my work(s) on my Facebook, Twitter, and of course you can access my page anytime by clicking the button link on the right hand side of my blog (the pic of the books in the sidebar over there), so please continue to come back and see what updates I have and what other work I'll be posting (hopefully) weekly just like I have been in the past :)  I also have the ability to make and distribute coupons for my work, so for the first week of it's release, please enjoy THIS:

Just enter the code prior to checkout to receive a FREE download :) And hey... SPREAD THE WORD!

---------> Direct link for Temptation HERE <----------

I've been working with amazing people on this project as well.  

** A dear friend from college, Kayla Henry (visit her blog HERE or her Facebook page HERE) is doing me a solid to get me some readers, and is conducting a giveaway for a bunch of vendors and has graciously decided to enter me in the mix with a coupon for ONE FREE DOWNLOAD for my ebook to one of her winners!!  If you're interested in this, please head over to her page for more information!!  This is for a limited time only, so don't miss out!!

** Another fantastic lady, Jessica Bazenet (visit her blog HERE or her Facebook page HERE) is also spreading the word to her many readers and fans about my venture.  She's been amazing enough to post up 2 blips about me (first one is HERE if you're interested) on her blog and provide her readers with the same FREE coupon as well in her more recent post about me!

** Then of course there's the amazing Matt East.  He is the creator and designer of the cover of my book:

You can check out his other artistic work on his Facebook page HERE or his tumblr HERE and his own writing on his blog HERE.  He's been FANTASTIC doing this for me out of the kindness of his heart and promotion of his name alone... oh and his work is phenomenal!  More than I could've ever hoped for.

** Last, but not least, is Ryan Booker.  He's a photographer (visit his Facebook page HERE) who provided me with two very incredible photos (at an extremely decent price) to portray the main female character in the book, which I included in my self-made book trailer:

If you want ANY information on more about what these people are capable of, 
please don't hesitate to ask!!

MORE THANKS THAN I CAN GIVE to these four, incredibly talented people!!

Many many many thanks to all the people who've helped me along the way in finally starting the ball rolling on my biggest dream ever.  (Sure you may think this is too soon because who's to say this will be successful - but the simple fact that I've gotten this far is good enough for me!!)
                    Firstly, thanks goes to God.  There would be no me without You, quite literally.  Thank You for blessing me the ability to do what I love to do and the means to see it through.  I hope You continue to shower me with the overwhelming amount of support and love I've received thus far in my life.  "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass" - Psalm 37:5
                    Secondly, to my husband, James.  Without your support (both financially and emotionally) I wouldn't have been able (or continue to be able) to spend 24/7 pouring my heart and soul into this project, and it certainly would've taken me A LOT longer to finish this.  I appreciate you being my sounding board and helping me make my characters more believable, taking time to give me feedback whenever I needed it.  I know that your taste in literature is far from what I create, and you always go above and beyond, making sure to help me anytime you can in anyway you can.  Thank you, my love, for pushing me to always be a better version of myself and for never missing a chance to boast about me.  You are my rock.
                    Next, to Uncle Ray.  You have been the best and most vocal supporter and most avid reader in our family, and you've honestly inspired and supported me more than I could've hoped for.  Even from 2500 miles away, your voice resonated and filled me with hope, encouragement, and praise.  Thank you for being such an amazing person, dad, uncle, and teacher, among many other things.  Oh, and thanks for being the first person to officially read and proofread my final product.
                    And to the rest of my family members.  Thank you for never telling me I was crazy for what I decided to do with my life.  You are always encouraging and supportive.  I love you all.  Mom and Dad - you two always told me I could do anything, and even though it scared the crap out of you when I came home with a degree in English, you kept a brave face through it.  Sure, I'm not rollin' in dough, but you raised a daughter who's happiness stems from the joy she receives in creating, not the monetary rewards she gets for her hard work.  Joey - you are the most amazing brother a girl could ask for.  You never doubt me and you always know that whatever I do, I'll succeed.  Thanks for also being a major player in the final editing of my work - you helped keep me focused and I needed that.  I'm honored that you want to follow in my footsteps and graduate with an English degree.  Just remember, cut your own path and do what feels right for you.  I'll always be proud of you no matter what and even more proud when you show me up!
                    Next, to my readers.  Even if you've only read one thing I've had to say, thank you.  Even if you don't purchase my work, thank you taking time to hear me out.  I hope I have left and continue to leave a lasting impression on each and every one of you, enough at least to give you pause, even if only for a moment.  I'd love you to keep returning to read more of what I have to say, as my sole intention as a writer is to share and be remembered.
                     Last, and certainly not least, I couldn't have gotten through a minute of writing without select artists from my iTunes playlist: Mogwai, The Cinematic Orchestra, Debussy, Ludovico Einaudi, Angus & Julia Stone, City & Color, Mazzy Star, Florence & The Machine, & GYPE (just to name a few)!

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."
- Ernest Hemingway

"Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light."
- Joseph Pulitzer

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” 

- Albert Camus

My, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel - it is, before all, to make you see. That - and no more - and it is everything.

- Joseph Conrad

Thanks for reading (:  Come back soon!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Effects of a well-written book

**Definitely contains spoilers about The Hunger Games books - you are forewarned.

        So I literally just finished the final book in "The Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins and I have to tell you, it left me a bit perplexed.  I can honestly say that in all my years of reading, and trust me, I've read more books than I could ever begin to account for, no series has EVER left me this... wanting?  Affected?  Emotional?  I can't quite put it into words, and it sort of freaks the hell out of me.  I became more vested in the characters that Ms. Collins created than I care to admit.  I found myself more angered, more altered, more fixated than I thought I was capable of being with imaginary people.  Some of you may not understand the relationship between a reader and her protagonist, and most of you can never understand the relationship between a writer and her characters, but I can honestly say... maybe I hadn't really understood the former fully until after I ventured into the world of Panem.
        The whole thing was riveting and shocking.  At first I was a little put off by the present tense tone and care-free, yet striking attitude with which the main character Katniss encountered and relayed the world with which she was unfortunate enough to be born into.  But as I vested hour upon hour into understanding the world that Collins created, I grasped just how striking and genius it was to write her that way.  It pulled me in, made me feel connected with this girl and I found myself confused, harmed, pissed off, and even touched by the moments that were woven into the plot.  And my pull into that world only intensified as I entered into the third book.  I sort of knew what was coming; I mean what good series kills off the hero - ummm pretty much none - so it's not like the author had laid out a new game-plan (no offense or anything), it definitely had it's predictable moments.  But it also had it's chewing-to-the-quick, blood-pressure rising, page-turning twists and turns.
        What I did discover, though, was that I became overly annoyed with yet another love-triangle type of story line, not entirely grasping why it must always be that way, though please understand I would NEVER classify this as a romance, so this definitely isn't the driving force behind the plot.  BUT what is it about society that we are so indecisive and selfish and greedy that we're unable to just be faithful to who and what we are?  Why must we second guess ourselves constantly and not be satisfied with the things and people and opportunities in front of us?  Sure - if this were the case then the freaking book wouldn't have been written because then there would be no rebellion.  But my point is that, must love always be so complicated? Must emotions always trick us?  Can we never just ask ourselves, "What am I doing and why can't I just make up my mind?"  Katniss does in the end, but to what end?  I'm left with this overwhelming feeling that someone must always lose out.  That not everyone can be satisfied.  That is always left to the two main protagonists in every story and it's sickening.  As a writer, yes I've been guilty of this myself because it makes for interesting reading... but what about real life?  Who ever just writes about real life?  No one - and I'll tell you why... because it's boring.  Right?  You read to escape reality.  You read to lose yourself in worlds that couldn't ever possibly exist in the here and now.  The fact that these books are post-apocalyptic speaks volumes to that.  The success of books like the Twilight series, the Immortals series, the Vampire Diaries, the Morganville Vampire Series, the Secret Circle series, the Harry Potter series, the House of Night series... I could keep going - all of these books are riddled with anything BUT the mundane, everyday life of normal people.  And hell, right now I'm writing something supernatural myself so I know I've been sucked in as well.
         But it all brings me back to why?  The ending of the last book, Mockingjay just didn't sit well with me.  There were so many expectations I had, so many assumptions I'd made and had practically convinced myself were true.  There is definitely a message that she's trying to convey underneath all the gore, fighting, romance, longing - I get that.  I understand her call to us to not forget the past and not become complacent with the present.  To not allow yourself to get lost in what the society has dubbed as normal or appropriate.  I see her urging us, in her satyric way, to step the hell away from our obsessions with media and electronics and instant gratification and the overly-publicized and often dramatized way of the wicked wicked world - our disgusting fondness and desensitization to life and death.  But in the end, I simply found myself just staring off into the abyss.  After all the messages I received loud and clear I find myself obsessing over the final choice Katniss made - she chose Peeta.  Why, because he was more damaged and she didn't want to leave him to suffer an eternity alone?  Because he knew more of what she'd gone through?  Because he'd sacrificed himself for her over and over and over again?  Because he was her symbol of rebirth and life all because of the bread and that stupid dandelion?  What about Gale?  Gale who practically saved her and her family from starvation by teaching her the way of the forest after her father died.  Gale who was her rock and connection to sanity in a world where nothing was meant to be enjoyable.  Gale who cared for and protected her family when she was incapable of doing so.  Gale, who after watching her throw herself at Peeta during the games, didn't renig on his agreement out of selfishness and anger.  Gale who later risked his life for her in ways Peeta became unable to.  The whole thing just angers me in a way I can't rationalize or overcome.  Don't get me wrong, I have empathy for Peeta, I understand he's damaged and he needs someone because everyone he held close to him other than Katniss was killed.  Either way, because of the love triangle, someone was bound to be left out, disappointed, crushed.  I guess she just ended up choosing the person she felt couldn't survive without her, not the other way around as Gale had suggested to Peeta during the final moments they all struggled for their lives together.
        All-in-all it's an excellent read and I highly recommend it to anyone - though if you haven't read it, this post will surely ruin it for you (you were warned, sorry).  And maybe it's the overly-analytical literary mind I possess that has me pouring my thoughts out to you all over these books, but I find it quite exhausting that I'm almost incapable of enjoying them as I hoped I would.  I find that all I can fester over is the fact that, although I could've never written these in the way that Suzanne Collins did, there were so many things I would've changed.  I guess that's just my curse as a writer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A little taste...

Ello lovies (:

So I've decided that I'm going to self-publish an e-book series.  I'm currently in the process of writing the 1st book in the series, of which I'll probably make three or four, haven't decided yet.  But it's the second "novel" I've ever worked on and intend to actually complete.  The first one, though it's my baby, isn't really that good and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot of this current project.  In the future I might publish it just to get more work out there, but as of now, I'm keeping it under lock and key.  I'm proud of it, don't get me wrong, but it's not really what I want to represent myself in the beginning.  Anyway - this series, which I have yet to title as a whole - is along the supernatural side and is set in a more adult format while still maintaining a "young adult" quality.  It's a paranormal romance of sorts and so far I find that I'm impressing even myself a bit (not to sound conceited or anything).  Some of the connections I've made and actual real history and mythology I've introduced are clever and I'm seriously looking forward to developing it more - but mostly I'm super stoked about making myself public.  Sure it'd be nice to make a little money off of it - but that's not why I'm doing this.  I set my goal to be published by 25 and it seems in this day and age the best and quickest way to get out there is to do it yourself.  So that's what I'm doing.  The purpose of this is to simply gauge if anyone is interested in what I'm writing.  Here's a tiny little blip from my currently unfinished manuscript - and though it doesn't really give any hint of supernatural in this particular clip, trust me the whole thing is littered with it.  If it gets positive enough reactions I might just post another taste later on.  Here goes nothing, a small excerpt from the first novel (in my untitled series) Temptation:

            “Let’s just be honest.  You’ve done everything you can to tell me you’re not interested, and sure, like you said before, you think I’m attractive, that’s great.  But it doesn’t mean you’re actually into me.  And if you’re just giving this a go with me because you’re hoping you’ll learn to like me or are holding out hope that you develop feelings for me… please don’t do that.  I don’t want to force you into anything, you should know that by now, but I need honesty so that I don’t get so vested in this.  I want to be in your life in whatever form you’re willing, but if my heart is going to be shattered, I need it done now before I fall in love with you.”
            I didn’t realize that I was talking so fast, but as soon as I stopped talking, I felt my heart pounding and how deeply my chest was heaving up and down.  My swollen hand wasn’t even an issue anymore.  I’d actually balled both hands into fists, my knuckles turning white, and I realized how desperate and intense I sounded.  I was scaring myself with the emotions swirling around inside me and how I’d projected them.  I’d always been the guy who kept his feelings and thoughts to himself; this wasn’t normal for me and I was beginning to worry that maybe I was more dysfunctional than I thought I was.
            She broke up my internal debate, “You say it with such conviction,” she whispered.
            Her response threw me and my reaction was more involuntary than anything, “Say what?”
            She looked into my eyes, but fear and caution were what lurked on her face, which I found an odd reaction to what came out of her mouth.
 “That you’ll fall in love with me.  Like it’s bound to happen.  As if you’re already in the process of falling.”
            “Well…” I said, licking my dry lips before continuing, “that’s probably because I am.”
            She looked away then said, “Okay.  Then I should clear up any confusion, because breaking your heart is not in my plan.”
            She slowly let her head rise back up and when she looked at me this time, the fear was still prevalent, but I interpreted it as fear of putting herself out there, fear of rejection.
            Before I could speak, she cut in, “I don’t know why you came up with the crazy idea that I don’t have feelings for you, because believe me… I do.  There’s something about you that draws me in, something I… have no control over, as cliché as that sounds.”
            “No, no…” I interjected, “I know exactly what you’re talking about.  I don’t want to seem chauvinistic, but I’ve been with a lot of girls and I’ve never, ever felt this with any of them before.  There’s this… I dunno, magnetism, this –”
            “Yes!  That’s what it feels like.  When I’m around you I can –”
            “Feel you there, like a steady pulse,” she whispered.
            “Exactly,” I whispered back, completely freaking out inside.  She was practically confirming what I’d been experiencing, what I’d been trying to convince myself wasn’t real.
            “I don’t understand it… how it’s possible,” I finally managed to say, hoping that if it was linked to her “secret” maybe she might break her rule of waiting ‘til the right time and tell me right now.
            “Me neither,” she finally managed to squeak out, practically ruining all hope I had of getting it out of her tonight.  “But we’re clear, right… there’s no question that we have mutual feelings for each other?  Feelings that extend way beyond just a friendship?”
            I smiled at her, so glad that she could understand me, even through all this crazy talk and mystery.
            “I know I told you that I’d take it slow, so in honor of that, let me just say…” I looked down a little embarrassed that I was about to say this.  But honestly, I’d said so much already completely out of character, why not just add one more thing to the list, “I really want to kiss you right now.”
            She blushed a deep red, “I appreciate your honesty… and your restraint.”
            She stood and motioned towards the first hole, which was currently being played by a family of four, “Shall we do this then?  Because I’d really like to kick your ass.”
            I stood, ready to forget the majorly idiotic, uncharacteristic display that I’d just given, and prepared myself to actually have a good time with her.

So... thoughts?  Feelings?  Excited?  Disappointed - let me know!

Oh, and thanks for reading (: