Saturday, September 28, 2013

Get Your Debut On!

Hey guys, I'm guest posting over at Nikki Wang's Fiction Freak for her GYDO (Get Your Debut On) series.

Please stop by if you can and learn why I'm such a mean, mean lady. ;)
Oh, and you can also enter to win a necklace swag pack! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CONTROL Advanced Copies Up for Grabs!

Hey guys! Penguin is hosting this great giveaway for FIVE arcs of CONTROL on Goodreads until October 26th!!!

Also, stop by the League of Extraordinary Writers where I review NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis and see what her book compelled me to to!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kelly Polark's ROCKABET & My Dream Grunge Band!

Today I'm playing band manager to celebrate the release of Kelly Polark's ABC's of rock 'n' roll picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION. So Kelly asked me to pick any band members from any bands to form the best band ever. And I got SO stressed out over this! What bands? Which era of my life? AAAAAAHHH!

So in the end, I decided to pick the grunge era from my college days as they were pretty formative for me. So here goes!

Band Name: 
Are you kidding me? I have a hard enough time naming my books! Okay, okay. Since it's a mish-mash of musicians all smashed together, I'll call my band:

First Gig: The Slowdown
 Omaha, Nebraska
It's a smallish venue but perfect for a up close and personal experience.

Source: Esquire
Lead vocals:  Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
Love the quality of his voice. I never, ever get tired of it.

Source: Wikipedia
Lead guitarist: John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 
I love the story of how he became guitarist, after the lead guitarist Hillel Slovak died. He was basically a fan that knew the lead guitar parts by heart, and with great skill. 

Source: Wikipedia
Bass guitarist: Kim Deal (Pixies, The Breeders). 
Because she's so, so, so, so cool and talented.
I was a huge fan of the Pixies and the Breeders.
Though they weren't technically grunge, Kim's the first musician that popped into my head
when I started writing this post, so in she goes!
Did I mention how awesome and cool she is? 

Source: Wikipedia
Drums: Dave Grohl (Nirvana)
 I know diddly about drumming, but Nirvana was so historical in the grunge movement. And I remember reading an interview where Kurt Cobain told Courtney Love (who hated Dave and wanted him kicked out of Nirvana) "But Dave is the best drummer in the world."
So as a nod to Kurt, here's Dave. Not playing drums. Erm...

Source: Wikipedia
So. Who would you choose for your supergroup and why?

Here's a band name generator to create your killer band name!

ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION can currently be purchased online at Amazon or at select bookstores. Hardcover books will be available at various online retailers and stores in October.

Kelly Polark is also the author of BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and the upcoming HOLD THE MUSTARD! from Meegenius. Come visit her on Facebook and Twitter! Check out her website and celebrity book recommendation site, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous.


The beautiful, generous and amazing Kelly Polark!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alex Cavanaugh's Taking the World by Storm!

Today I'm helping to celebrate Alex Cavanaugh's release of CassaStorm this week! A little while back, he took questions (any questions!) on his blog and I asked him this:

Me: Since you like keeping your privacy, who would you have play Alex in a YouTube interview?

Alex: I’d like Ryan Reynold’s abs to play me. Nothing else – just his abs.

Me: Well okay then. I'd be fine with that. :)

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together."
- Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes
“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website – Twitter –  Goodreads 

Stop by Alex's blog for a chance to win a Cassa mug, Cass mousepad, swag, and a $25 iTunes gift card!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Debut Authors Bash

Hi guys! So I'm psyched to be part of the 2013 Debut Authors Bash this year!  I'm being interviewed by Blythe over at Finding Bliss in Books and will be giving away some swag (and I heard a little birdie say there is an ARC of CONTROL being given away too)!

Check it out if you can. And a big thank you to Nichole over at YA Reads for arranging it all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Medical Mondays: Do Lobotomies Damage Memory?

Hi guys! I field a lot of fictional medical questions via email and often don't get a chance to post them, so here's one from last year.

Dani Vega asked:

Does a lobotomy destroy intelligence, knowledge and memories to a certain degree? If not, what kind of forceful brain trauma/manipulation could impair memory?

Red highlighted area shows the frontal lobe, targeted by Egas Moniz in the leucotomy pioneered in 1930's.
Source: Wikipedia
The lobotomy has an infamous history in American culture and the medical world. Briefly, it's a procedure that aims to "detach" the prefrontal cortex (basically the part of the brain closest to your forehead) from the rest of the brain.

When the lobotomy ("lobe cutting") was being developed, it was thought that the frontal lobes affected only personality, not a person's functioning intellect or memory. During a time when institutions were becoming overwhelmed with so many suffering from mental illness, there was a hope that lobotomy could treat many, reintroduce them back into society, or make them easier to care for.

In 1935, Antonio Egas Moniz performed the first surgical lobotomy (originally coined "leucotomy") and later went on to win the Nobel prize for his work (many believe this prize should be rescinded.)

In 1945 in the United States, Dr. Walter Freeman, a neuropsychiatrist, performed the first ice-pick lobotomy (using an ice pick from his own kitchen and practicing on a grapefruit first. I know; I will never eat another grapefruit without gagging a little.) The technique was to anesthestize the patient (often after shock therapy), hammer the ice pick under the eyelid, through the skull, swish it around in the frontal lobes (not being very technical here but that's what it seemed like) and it was done within minutes.
Advertisement promoting lobotomy in the American Journal of Psychiatry: Source
The results were varied. Some patients went suddenly calm and no longer had the wilder symptoms that led them to have the procedure in the first place. Their intellect stayed intact and they were able to function in society. But in the darker pages of medical history, there were many, many stories of others who became docile to the points of being unable to care for themselves at all. They couldn't function in society, being "detached" from others and being unable to think normally.

Still others died. Dr. Freeman's performed his last procedure on a women who died shortly after from a brain hemorrhage. But ultimately, it was the discovery and production of the first anti-psychotic medication in the 1950's (Thorazine, called "Lobotomy in a Pill") that eventually killed the procedure for good. But by then, close to 70,000 people worldwide, including 40,000 in the U.S. had been lobotomized. These included unhappy housewives and "difficult" children. The story of one such child named Howard Dully is told in a chilling NPR documentary (see below.)

SO! Back to the question.

So for Dani, where could you "traumatize" the brain to effect memory? Several places, depending on which kind of memory she'd like to zap away.
Hippocampus ("coiled horse" in Greek, because it anatomically looks like a tiny coiled seahorse): used to turn short-term memory into long term memory; works on spatial and procedural memory
Amygdala (Greek for "almond" or tonsil, due to shape): emotional memories, fear conditioning, and long term memory
Cerebellum ("little cerebrum" since it looks like a tiny brain): procedural memory. People with  memory problems elsewhere but intact cerebellums would, for example, be able to perform complex piano pieces they'd learned before.
Basal Ganglia: implicit memory (memory without obvious thought involved, like tying shoes or riding a bike.)
Frontal Lobe: working memory, or the ability to process transient info in the present, like reasoning and comprehension.
Temporal Lobes: long term memory and recognition memory, and autobiographical memory

There's more, but I think I'm already overloading your short-term memory, so I'll stop the neuroanatomy lesson here! Suffice it to say, if Dani wanted to target a specific kind of memory loss, she'd have her pick of areas in the brain. It would be fun (in an Evil Mastermind kind of way) to think of a way to physically traumatize a character's neuroanatomy to cause these sorts of memory loss.

Thanks Dani for the question!

If you want to learn more about the history of lobotomy, check out these links:

NPR story on Howard Dully's "My Lobotomy"
PBS brief video on Walter Freeman

Also, don't forget to enter my ARC giveaway for RED, by Alison Cherry!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Giveaway! ARC of RED by Alison Cherry

Hey guys! It's been a hectic week, what with school and having a cold AND having a recent no-good, very-bad know how that happens. Also, there was 9/11 and the sad post from Monday, so I'm in the mood for some cheering up.

So I'm giving away an ARC!

Alison Cherry is a lovely author I've had the chance to meet twice. First in Chicago at ALA, and then recently on a trip to NYC. Her book, RED, is releasing on October 8th!

Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

And in case you're wondering, YES, her name is Alison CHERRY. And YES, she has red hair! Here's the evidence:

Her book is whimsical and so entertaining! I read it almost in one sitting. It's available for preorder on Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2013

In Memory of Carolyn Kaufman

I was so saddened to hear that Carolyn Kaufman--a gifted psychologist and author--recently died on September 7th from an aneurysm.

I knew Carolyn a little from my days at Querytracker and from her Writer's Guide to Psychology, an invaluable reference for writers. Patrick from QT wrote a touching tribute to her here. You can learn about her wonderful book here on her website.

Carolyn was part of this rich, supportive community of writers that welcomed me when I first began dabbling in fiction. She was always so kind! It's times like this that I realize how wonderful and tight-knit the writing community is. When one of us leaves, it feels very personal.

Carolyn will be very much missed.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Scrivener Part Two

Almost a year and half ago, I blogged about Scrivener. 

There were a lot of positives, and a few negatives. As they say, the proof is in the pudding (which is supposed to mean that you don't know that pudding is good until you eat it, though I prefer to believe it's about whether the yeast has been "proofed" and whether those old bready pudding of yore actually rose, showing the yeast was alive...OMG, I'm totally off point now. And hungry.)

So, do I still use Scrivener? 

Hells, yes.

Here's your proof, and a few screenshots to show what I still love about it:

So here's the basic layout of Scrivener as I use it. On the left is the "binder" view, which shows lists of notes as well as my actual manuscript divided into chapters. I title my chapters according to what's happening in them, so I can move from chapter to chapter without having to search where stuff happens. Although I can do that too, using the search window at the upper right. 

So I love this split-screen view. Below, I have my manuscript text, and above it I have revision notes I refer to without having to look for lost hand-written notes. And notice on the right in the yellow field, there is a place to write notes that are linked to each chapter, so I can remind myself to fix stuff later. The top right lines space are notes where you can summarize the whole chapter if you want, but I'm not that detailed.

This is cool because I had to draw some really basic maps to keep my world straight in my head and I need to refer to them often. I drew them and imported them to this neat corkboard. You can do that with random images too, which is fun. There's also a place where you can built up character portfolios which is super helpful.

So! I'm still using Scrivener for all my first and second drafts. What about you? Any Scrivener tips or other wordprocessing comments about what works best for you?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Paperback release of THE MEMORY OF AFTER by Lenore Appelhans!

Hey guys! Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend. No more saggy blogging for me, I'm back and looking forward to posting all sorts of great stuff this month!

Today I'm blogging about today's paperback release of Lenore Appelhans' book THE MEMORY OF AFTER over on the League of Extraordinary Writers blog.

Thanks for stopping by! If you haven't seen this, here's a video of Lenore discussing the book (when it was called LEVEL 2), and if you haven't already you must check out her awesome book blog Presenting Lenore. :)