Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Labyrinth Wall, by Emilyann Girdner (Book Review)

Genre: Dystopian Fantasy Adventure, Young Adult / New Adult
Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Labyrinth Wall, by Emilyann Girdner, is a fast-paced dystopian fantasy. Girdner's first novel of the Obsidian series took off running and the action never stopped. Araina—a strong, independent young woman—is keeping to her loner routine within the dangerous walls of the labyrinth, when suddenly her sense of place and purpose is forever changed after witnessing a mysterious man emerge from one of the labyrinth's walls.

The labyrinth is a dangerous, fantastical place full of unique creatures and gruesome death. Its inhabitants are all starved and must compete for resources. While I easily adapted to the setting, the rapid introduction of new characters disoriented me early on in my reading. I never did get a strong sense of Simul, the main villain. There was also some confusion about the age of the male characters, namely Darith and Korun. However, once I recognized that the characters were all roughly the same age, I was impressed with how Girdner managed to juggle such a large cast of characters, all the while keeping each voice unique. Araina and Blue's relationship was especially sweet and refreshing.

I also liked how there are so many romantic coupling possibilities for Araina—will she eventually find love with Darith, Korun, Soll, or will she be perfectly content with platonic relationships with all of her new companions—something altogether new and rewarding for her.

I look forward to the second installment in the Obsidian series and am eager to see Araina grow and flourish in her expanding worldview.

Also, I heart labyrinths and mazes.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace Cover Reveal!

I am thrilled to present to you the Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace front and back covers! This is the third and final book in The Hazy Souls series.

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace front cover, young adult paranormal fantasy

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace back cover, young adult paranormal fantasy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island E-book FREE

Hey everyone! The e-book version of Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island is now available for free in anticipation of the release of the third and final book in the series, Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace!

I've only just made the change, so expect it to start appearing on major distributors' websites like Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, Apple, Sony, and Kobo within the next week.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Faline's 19 Month Milestones

At 19 months old, Faline is doing great! Her personality is shaping up to be a bit different from Mirabelle's, but they are starting to look more similar. Faline loves to climb and has always taken great pleasure in mastering physical challenges. This summer, she enjoyed climbing ladders--which is absolutely terrifying to watch--but she does surprisingly well! She's pretty short for her age, which makes it look even more dramatic. (Don't worry, I stood behind her with both hands ready!) So I suppose you could say that was more of a 15 month milestone, but it's been a while since I've written about her interests and developments. Now that it's getting colder, she has to take her love of physical challenges indoors, so we play ball a lot in the living room and she enjoys climbing the furniture.

Faline loves books and shoves them into my hands, saying, "Go!" Her current favorites are "Pete the Cat Plays Ball," "Clifford's Big Dictionary," and "Goodnight Moon." She gets really into a particular book for a couple of weeks and then switches it up if a book goes "missing," i.e., mommy tucks it away so that I can read another book to her because I'm getting sick of the same five books. She's always delighted when a prized book returns back into circulation. Faline's a bit more adaptable though than Mira was and you can switch up a routine on her without any issues. She has a knack for going with the flow. That being said, she does have her moments of separation anxiety, but her adjustment periods are pretty short and she falls back into a good social rhythm pretty easily.

Faline also loves to sing songs. Her favorite songs are "Old McDonald Had A Farm," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Baby Beluga," and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." She especially likes singing these songs in her crib at night.

I would estimate Faline's word count to be about 100 words, probably more as she's getting to the point where she just repeats words back and then puts them in her arsenal for later use. She's shy about using many words in front of people other than me and Jace, but I suppose that's how it goes. She's only just starting to put two words together and she uses some phrases regularly, like "happy baby," "pick up," "eat food," and "nap time," though I think that's just one concept. I'll list some words she uses often:

up / pick up
Blue's (for Blue's Clues)
Pirates (for Jake and the Neverland Pirates)
nana (banana)
row, row, row your boat lyrics
twinkle twinkle little star lyrics
got it
Bob (for Spongebob)
nap time
thank you
pop pop
- - -
animal noises include:
baa         (what does a sheep say?)
hiss        (what does a snake say?)
meow    (what does a cat say?)
haa-haa-haa / panting sound        (what does a dog say?)
moo       (what does a cow say?)
bzzzz      (what does a bee say?)
roar        (what does a lion say / bear say?)
neigh      (what does a horse say?)
oo-oo-aa-aa      (what does a monkey say?)
hoo hoo      (what does an old say?)
aahooooo!      (what does a wolf say?)
cocka doodle doo     (what does a rooster say?)
hee haw      (what does a donkey say?)
mmmm!     (kiss sound for a kiss)

Faline and her big sister get along very well and love to chase each other around. They love to play The Three Little Pigs with me, where they hide in a tent in the living room and I come and try to blow the tent down like the wolf. They escape the tent and run amuck until I chase them back into the tent. Eventually, Mira will inform me that the tent is made of bricks, so I can't blow it down. Fun times. :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Collingswood Book Festival 2013

This past weekend I had a booth at the Collingswood Book Festival. It was a great experience! Thank you to everyone who stopped by and purchased Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls and Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island. The book festival also took place on my birthday, so you can only imagine how thrilled I was to meet new readers. :) Quite the birthday present. Below are some pictures of the booth.

Viral Cat Press Book Booth, Collingswood Book Festival

Lyrna the Fizdruft and Ghost

Set Up

I featured Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls and Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island. Also represented at the Viral Cat Booth were the Fall 2013 Issue of Viral Cat, Steep Stony Road by Daniel Picker, Lawrence and the Machine by Jesse Blair, and Mirabelle the Duck and Faline the Swan by Judith DeBrosse.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Faline's 14 Month Milestones

Quick update on my second little girl's milestones...! This is where she's at at the end of her 14th month.

Her word count is between 12-15 words, and that includes animal noises. She's almost to the point of repeating things back to me so that it sounds like she's saying a lot more words, so I'm having a hard time knowing which words are words that she's using with purpose. Anyway, I've recorded the words that she says a lot. Fae is also pretty reluctant to share her skillz within earshot of others. Here's her list!






da             (for some reason, this is how she now refers to banana... she used to say nana, but yeah, it's sort of devolved to da, haha. anyway, I'm counting it because she's consistent.)

ooh-ooh-aah-ahh     (in response to: what does a monkey say?)

quack quack         (in response to: what does a duck say?)

haa-haa             (panting noise in response to: what does a dog say?)

got it              (whenever she gets her blue ball)

baba         (for her bottle)


caca        (cookie or cracker)

 - - - -
Sign language: Faline can sign for milk and finished. She used to sign a lot more for milk, but now she's especially fond of signing for finished.

- - - -
Comprehension: Faline's comprehension is pretty good and she get an object for you of a specified color.

- - - -
Hobbies and Interests: Faline loves to stack legos and snuggle with her owl blanket. She also loves physical play and enjoys chasing and throwing her blue ball. Faline is a great little dancer and also is freakishly good at jumping on a trampoline. I need to get video footage of this. Her coordination is spot on. Faline is also a shorty, as in, she's in the 3rd percentile for height, so her being coordinated is pretty adorable and a lot of people are freaked out because she looks like a seven month old doing all these advanced physical maneuvers. Faline and Mirabelle like to play hide and seek at Grandpa and Meme's house and like to dance and play sharks in my living room.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace, Book III of The Hazy Souls (in progress)

So my young adult novels tend to run about 55,000 words each. It's what works for me. I'm writing the last book in the series now. I am so excited, it's ridiculous. Three weeks from now, I'll be in the Florida Keys with my laptop. Writing will happen. There will be wine, too.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Anyway, just wanted to update my readers on how things were going. I write between 400-1000 words a day, five days a week, depending on how quiet the kids are. I write quickly. It's fun. I'm about 10,000 words in now, but the entire novel is outlined and I sort of just write by the seat of my pants.

I love writing my books because I feel like I'm watching my favorite show and I'm really, really engaged. Does that sound terrible? Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Game of Thrones at the moment. If you're familiar with that show, and you're a fan like me, you know how you sort of lean in towards the screen? Writing is like that for me. I can't wait for the next chapter. :)

Thank you for being so patient.

So I'm thinking I'll be done the first draft by September. The second draft should be ready by December. Third draft, fourth draft--well, it's just minor tweaking at that point. I might miss the 2013 deadline, and now I'm looking at a Spring 2013 release.

Wish me luck!