Friday, November 21, 2014

Being Indie

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I'm gonna talk about something a very dear friend of mine brought up yesterday. I'm hoping it'll give everyone something to think about over the weekend. It's all about being an Indie author and why it doesn't make us crap or mean we're not awesome. So, sit back, relax, and let's get going.


Now, this conversation happened on Facebook, and many authors chimed in to say why they love being Indie (self) published.

I'm gonna start with a paraphrase of the original situation (kindly keep in mind the original poster was only seventeen when she published her first book):

She was sitting and talking with some of her college friends, and they were discussing being traditionally published. Someone mentioned that if you aren't with a big six house, you must not be a good writer (validation and all that). Because of this, my friend began to doubt her Indie ways and wonder if she was selling herself short.

Again, that's a short version of the situation with the same outcome and setting.

So, she asked: "Why do you self-publish? Am I selling myself short?"

Overwhelmingly, the responses were more about the community as a whole, maintaining control over one's work from soup to nuts, and keeping more of the profits from sales. There were also some most excellent points made. Some of the authors shared horror stories from friends who signed with publishers, some folks talked about the lack of publicity by presses both large and small, and others pointed out the aspects of film and big actors in crappy movies.

Everything kinda clicked together, and an epiphany hit me right between the eyes.

Know what I realized?

Indie isn't just about self-publishing.

There. I said it.

Allow me to explain. *grin*

Indie is a badge we wear on our chests with pride. When someone comes at one of us, for some reason or another, we go a little bananas. We're fiercely loyal to the title, love our brethren, and dare anyone to challenge our dreams. Because we're living those dreams. Each and every day, we get out of bed to do something we love. We set our own deadlines, work with editors we choose, and hire cover artists we know will do our work proud.

We have an amazing community around us that's a little like a family. People who get that we're a little strange, introverted, and hermit-like.

And they're okay with it.

As a matter of fact, they embrace us for our differences.

But wait! There's more!

As Indies, we get to know our book bloggers. They aren't just blurry faces in a sea of reviewers. They're a lot like us. Every single one of them has a passion that can't be squelched. Their passion is reading. Books. Literature. And we have the unique market insight to what those people are looking for. It's right there at our fingertips. All we have to do is nurture the connection and envelop them in the fold. They become part of the family and are celebrated.

Only Indies can put out a call to arms and have masses of others knocking over little old ladies with purses to rush to our aid (politely, of course).

Sometimes, an Indie will behave badly and get into a situation that's public and disgraceful.

But the community will punish that author so others don't have to. There's really no need for the public to go crazy and berate the person acting up. We do it for you. In that way, we're a lot like family.

Your mother doesn't hold her tongue when you screw up. Guess what? Neither do your peers. We're not afraid to tell you how wrong you are or how ashamed we are of your behavior. But it's done with the understanding that you're shaming the name we've worked so hard to build up.

Bad review? Someone will listen to you rant or give you a shoulder to cry on.

Writer's block? There are masses willing to talk you out of that corner of fear.

Struggling with a storyline? Ask. Someone will have a great piece of advice.

Got a huge deal? Your peers are gonna celebrate and pop champagne in your honor. Why? Because you'll always be an Indie.

So, yeah, Indie isn't just about self-publishing. It's about community, support, and family.

It's a way of life that lodges itself in your heart and refuses to let you go. Even when you push us away, we're there if you need us later.

Indie is in your blood.

You have been assimilated.

So, the next time someone asks you why you're Indie, the simple answer is:

"Because it's the only way to go."

What's your favorite thing about being Indie?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Time for Books 2015 Review Team Signups

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I have a little surprise for you all. Something I've been thinking about doing for a while, but I'm just getting around to. Get your 2015 TBR list ready to be filled, and come join me for a ton of bookish fun. This will go hand in hand with the 12 Days of Review Requests event coming up in just a couple of weeks. Get all cozy and I'll explain what prompted me to do this.

As you all may know, I curate a book review magazine on Flipboard that I update weekly. If I can search a Twitter hashtag, it makes it easy to find and curate reviews without searching through a bunch of crap that doesn't go.

Plus, I think it'll be nice for the authors in the event to be able to come check out who reviewed their books and read/share some of those reviews.

I have almost 2k readers and over 30k shares of the reviews I put in my magazine so far. Anyone who joins up will be included in my roundup each week. So, that being said, here's what I'm asking you to do:

Go to this page and follow the instructions to sign up. Every time you post a book review on your blog, enter it here and tweet about it with one of the hashtags on that page (#2015ReviewTeam or #Time4Books).

Stick the pretty team badge on your website somewhere. This one:


Yeah, I went with a time theme because of UtopYA Con. *grin* But I like time for books because, let's face it, it's always time for books.

That's it. Just join up, read, and post and tweet your reviews. Let's work together to bring more exposure to all: authors and book bloggers.

If you'd like, you can also join the Goodreads event here. That way, you'll get a reminder the day before the pitch fest begins.

Thanks for being awesome, everyone!

I signed up as HUNGRY and pledge to read between 21-40 books in 2015!

What do you think? Did you sign up?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Join UtopYAns for Time Warp Tuesday

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Well, it's the middle of the week and I thought I'd give you all something to look forward to in the upcoming chaos that's bound to ensue on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Without any ado whatsoever, let's get going!


Many attendees (past and future), of UtopYA will be getting together to talk about the theme for 2015: Write Your Own Future.

Even if this will be your first year attending the con, you're invited to join us all as we talk about what we're looking forward to next year, what we gained from past UtopYAs, and our massive share of photos, videos, and quotes we've gathered.

Your posts should go live Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

Hashtags for the blast will be: #utopYA2015 and #WriteYourOwnFuture

Include this little link in your post: http://utopYA2015.eventbrite.com and tell folks tickets will go on sale Black Friday November 28, 2014.

Many hugs go out to Janet Wallace, the super mavin of the con, without whom this amazing event would never have seen the light of day, for the idea.

She shared some prompts you're more than welcome to use:
  • who did you befriend or who befriended you?
  • what have you achieved?
  • what was the most fun?
  • what was the most outrageous?
  • what makes utopYA different/special?
  • what would you say to someone who wants to write a book, but has doubts and fears?
  • what would you say to someone who has written a bunch of books but hasn't had the success they thought they'd get and is thinking of giving up?
So, help us make a massive effort to let people know why this event is special, what it means to you, why you come back, or why you're attending for the first time.

Are you going to UtopYA in 2015?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giveaways You Must Enter - Some Ending Soon!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Well, today is gonna be lighthearted and fun. Here are a couple of giveaways that are ending soon. If you haven't entered to win, you should. Be sure and check out the giveaway of exhibitor space for UtopYA Con 2015, too! Get your clicking finger ready and let's get going!


Ending in two days: Renaria - Into the Adyton by J. L. Wilson

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ending in nine days: Crewel by Gennifer Albin 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


This is awesome! Our Goodreads giveaway for Fractured Glass was approved and will run through December 31, 2014. It's international! Here's the widget:


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fractured Glass by Jo Michaels

Fractured Glass

by Jo Michaels

Giveaway ends December 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

And here are a couple of teasers! *grin*




For this one, you gotta head over to A Book Vacation to enter. This is the one with the exhibitor space! Go, go, go!


If you still haven't had enough, check out the huge giveaway running over on Facebook. You could win one of 7 $100 Amazon Gift Cards. WOW. Click here to join the party!

So? Did you enter? What prize are you most looking forward to?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, November 17, 2014

Author Interview - Kelly Risser

It's time for another Unofficial UtopYA author interview! Yay! I know you're all super excited to meet this next author and hear all about the awesomeness that's Kelly Risser. I first met Kelly when she sent me a sample of her work as an offer to be included in an anthology I was putting together. Holy mackerel, Batman! It grew to more than I ever could've imagined. We sat around the pool, sipping cocktails, chatting, and brainstorming. Behold, Fractured Glass was born! Pre-orders will be available in just two weeks (eek!), so keep your eyes open for that!

If you don't have tickets to the con yet, be sure and keep your eyes on the site so you can grab them when they go on sale. Enough jabbering! Let's go talk with Kelly!



Jo: Welcome to the blog, Kelly! I’m so excited to have you here I can barely stand myself. I did a ton of research on you, and I think I’ve come up with some deep questions my readers will go bananas over. Ready?

Kelly: Hi, Jo! *waves with mitten hands from Wisconsin* Wish I was hanging out in the warmer southern region of the US with you right now. I’ve loved reading your interviews of other UtopYA Con authors. I’m absolutely ready for your questions. Hit me!!

Jo: Brrrrrr. Mittens! *grin* Okay, let’s start with something light and fun before we get into the heavy stuff. Your fans and friends know about your “KellyMark” cards, but I’m dying to actually see one. Do you happen to have a little photo to share, and could you tell us about the process of making one of those cards?

Kelly: I don’t have any. Sadly, I think I made my last KellyMark in high school, and since I gave them to others, I don’t have copies. I can, however, share two other creative pieces from my youth. I made this Gizmo puppet from a paper lunch bag when I was in fourth grade, and I wrote and illustrated this children’s story, Tellevisella, when I was a junior in high school. It won a contest, and I was supposed to go to UW-Whitewater for a writing workshop, but the event was cancelled due to a snow storm. I was majorly bummed, but hey—that’s life in Wisconsin for you.

Jo: That stinks! But the art is just lovely. I adore Gizzy! How cute. You’re signed with Clean Teen Publishing (congratulations), and I’d like to know how you found them and what your application process felt like.

Kelly: I started to query for an agent and/or publisher in June, 2013. At first, I really wasn’t sure which route I wanted to go. The writer in me dreamed of signing with one of the big five houses and seeing my book EVERYWHERE, but the artist in me didn’t want to lose control of my story. I wanted say in the cover, the edits, how it was promoted—you name it. I found Clean Teen Publishing when I did a Google search on teen publishing companies. Can you believe it? It was total dumb luck! Once I researched their rating system and saw their current book listing, I knew that I wanted to sign with them. I queried them in January, 2014 and was signed with them by the end of the month. It’s been a thrill ride ever since! I love my publisher and fellow CTP authors. It’s like one big, crazy family!

Jo: That's awesome. I'm glad you got in with them, because they're the ones who hooked you up with UtopYA! I read the review over on Kirkus for your book. What prompted you to submit to them, and was it worth it? Did you like the review you got?

Kelly: Actually, Clean Teen submitted an ARC of my book to the review houses. Submitting does not mean that your book will be picked to review, so I was super thrilled when Kirkus Reviews chose to review mine. I had also been warned that Kirkus is a tough review house, so I was very pleased with the review of Never Forgotten. It is very complimentary. The only negative seemed to be that the reviewer didn’t care for the fantasy element, and that’s okay with me. Not everyone loves fantasy, but I do, which is why I write it.

Jo: Amen. Write what you want! I read that review, and hated that they didn't want mermaids. How’d that recent signing at the Library in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, go? Tell us a bit about the folks you met.

Kelly: We had a small turnout, but the YA librarian was absolutely fantastic, and now the Cedarburg Public Library has both of my books! A fun fact: Cedarburg is where Meara is living with her mom at the beginning of Never Forgotten. Meara finishes her junior year of high school there, and then they move to Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. I chose it because I love Cedarburg. It’s a gorgeous little city with fun shops, great restaurants, and a winery. They have a strawberry festival in June and a harvest festival in September. Imagine the streets filled with colorful tents housing food vendors as well as beautiful crafts and baubles for sale. Both festivals are a blast to attend. Okay, sorry, that was a bit of a tangent, and I promise you I don’t work for the tourism department! I met some very nice people at the book signing, as well as four fabulous YA authors who are also from Wisconsin. We had a blast hanging out and getting to know each other.

Jo: I LOVE strawberry festivals! Yum! They're my favorite fruit. *grin* Sounds like a cool town to visit. Maybe in the summer? haha *shivers* Tell me how you felt when you found out Never Forgotten was chosen to be one of the Amazon Editors’ Favorite Books of the Year. What did you do to celebrate?

Kelly: Can I tell you that I almost died when I read this question? I was like…What? WHAT? and I had to go and check it out. Then I was super elated, until…*sigh*…I realized that it was a poor advertising choice on Amazon’s part and the 2014 Editors’ Pick seal was appearing on many, many book pages and did not mean the books had been chosen. They must’ve quickly realized their mistake, because the ad changed by mid-afternoon, making it clear that it was promoting the Amazon picks, not the book on the page. If I ever did get picked, I would scream from the rooftops. I can share that Never Forgotten did recently get picked as an Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Science Fiction” category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards.

Jo: Well, it was there when I looked it up. Sorry to scare the crap out of you. *shamefaced* Excited about your USA BBA finalist! Congratulations! So, I think you might be one of the craftiest people I know. You also make bookmarks. Care to share a picture of one with us? What’s the process for those like?

Kelly: I find crafting to be very relaxing, and I come from several generations of handy women. My grandmother was the queen of sewing and baking. She made me an Easter dress every year with a matching bonnet and dress coat. She also made me custom Halloween costumes, my favorite being Batgirl. I have photographs of the beautiful cakes she made me, and I carry on the tradition of homemade cakes with my own kids and my nieces and nephews. My mom is also a great sewer and crafter.

The bookmarks are surprisingly easy to make, although they take a little time to put together. I usually do the assembly while watching TV with my husband. The charms I make ahead of time with tiny printouts of my book covers. They are placed in a silver frame and coated with resin. Then, I use velvet ribbon, ribbon crimps, eye pins, beads and charms to assemble the rest. I like that each one is a little unique because it’s homemade, and it’s fun to tell fans that I make them myself.


Jo: Those are flipping gorgeous! I know what you mean about coming from a long line of crafters. I have to stay OUT of Hobby Lobby. #brokegirlproblems *grin* Now for the time travel question of the interview. Since UtopYA Con 2015 is time travel themed, I’ve been asking all the authors I interview about disruption of the timeline. *grin* These questions tell me more about the authors than any others, I think. So, that being said… If you could go back and mentor your younger self, what would you endeavor to communicate that you think might have an impact on the way you are now? What do you think it would change?

Kelly: I was very insecure and shy when I was younger. I know that would surprise people who have known me my whole life, but I had tons of self-doubt. I worried constantly about what people thought of me. If I could go back, I’d tell myself that it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks of you, only what you think of you. I have wonderful friends who I have known since grade school and a very supportive family. I’d also tell myself to be thankful for what you have – you have more than most. Those words of advice would hopefully just help the younger me get to the state I am at now…hopefully a little sooner!:)

Jo: That's a wonderful message! Let's put it on t-shirts! Rapid fire question time! Syrup or honey?

Kelly: Honey

Jo: Oh, yeah! Fave fantasy novel of all time?

Kelly: You’re making me pick ONE? Not fair! I will tell you the most memorable to me, because I truly can’t pick one favorite. I love so many. The one that I remember making an impression on me for its haunting imagery is called Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy. It was published by Avon Camelot in 1983. A few years ago, I bought myself a copy from a used book website since I no longer had my own childhood copy. It is the story of a troubled girl living with her great-aunts in a stuffy old house, and she finds this magical world with dolls that come to life. It’s really a lovely, poignant book.

Jo: I did an author interview last year with someone who MET Sylvia Cassedy. If I can find it, I'll certainly link it for you. She was star struck! Now, high or low?

Kelly: High if I can overcome my fears. I love the panoramic view, but I also have slight aeroacrophobia. If I get too close to the edge of a high space, even if there is glass in between, I feel lightheaded and dizzy. The first time I remember experiencing this was in the St. Louis Arch. It hasn’t stopped me, though, from going into tall buildings with observation decks or, my favorite, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But, don’t expect me to go mountain climbing with you. It’s not going to happen!

Jo: I've been in that arch. Yikes! If you can get over the claustrophobia, it's pretty cool. *grin* Talk to me about your section of our upcoming release Fractured Glass. I have to say, I love the lighthearted feeling in your part. Adorable creatures. Please share with my readers: What’s your genre? How long did it take you to write it? What’s your favorite aspect of the novel?

Kelly: My genre is magic, which I love. I have long been a fan of Walt Disney. To me, he was the king of magic—making dreams come true, and he inspired so many others to follow that same path. It doesn’t get much better than that. That said, I’m thrilled you loved my section. I really had fun writing it. I have to tell you, I freaked out a smidge when we decided each section would be written in two weeks. I thought, how am I going to do that with a full time job, plus my second job known as “Mom”? But you know what? It flowed so perfectly from my head to the page! I wrote 20,000 in one week, and that is the fastest that I have ever written anything! I loved bringing my part of the story to life, and these characters were a blast to write. This novel is so unique, and that is what makes it special. We brought five genres and five different voices into a story, but it flows and just works. I can’t wait to hear what our readers think!

Jo: I can't believe we pulled it off either. I was so behind when my section came up. haha! I think I took three weeks. *frowns* But we got 'er done! We're breaking new ground! So excited. I know you’re an advocate for anti-bullying. Why? What happened in your life (one moment) that made the biggest impression on you? Feel free to share links to your story.

Kelly: All of the moments I shared made an impression on me, but let me start by saying, I don’t live in a glass house. I know I did things as a child that hurt others, sometimes even my friends, and I’m sorry for that. We learn as we grow. Hopefully, we learn to be kinder to others as we learn to be less hard on ourselves. I also don’t hold grudges. While I remember certain moments, I don’t have hard feelings towards those individuals. So, with that said, let me share a story that was not in my anti-bullying blog post, which you can find here on Clean Teen Publishing’s blog if you want to read it: http://cleanteenpublishing.blogspot.com/2014/10/invisible-scars-my-experience-with.html

I was a chunky kid. Not obese, but I naturally have larger bones and a body with a tendency to hold onto a few pounds. Eighth grade was my toughest year. It’s an awkward time for most of us, but I was pudgy and self-conscious about it. I was also teased by classmates. One boy in particular was rather persistent about it. I held my own against him, but it hurt. Over the summer, I vowed that I would not be teased for my weight. I counted every calorie that went into my mouth. I obsessed over the scale and every pound that I dropped. By the time I started ninth grade, I lost over twenty pounds. I dropped from a size 12 to a size 5. I was, for the first time in my life, skinny. The boy that teased me the year before spent that year apologizing to me. His words were sincere, and he became a friend of mine. That experience sticks out because I think, we all can be mean, we all can be bullies, but it takes courage to apologize and admit you were wrong.

We are not always going to be nice to each other, but we need to try. As a human race, the more we seek to understand or at least empathize with others, the better off we will be as a whole. Hatred gets us nowhere.

Jo: Agreed. Kindness will pull us through. *huge smile* Well, we’re out of time for today. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had? Any little juicy tid-bits you’d like to share?

Kelly: Current Impressions, the second book in the Never Forgotten series, leaves the reader hanging just a little. I love those kinds of endings, but I know they can be frustrating to others. I have many readers anxiously awaiting book three, Always Remembered. I’m happy to share that I’m working on revisions, and it will be out in 2015, although I don’t have a date or even a release month yet. Thank you all for your patience…it’s coming!

Jo: How exciting! I have a copy of Never Forgotten, and it's on my UtopYA TBR. *grin* It was awesome having you on the blog, Kelly! I can’t wait to see you in June at UtopYA. Hugs!

Now, it’s time to reveal the featured book of the week!

Title: Never Forgotten
Author: Kelly Risser
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length (print): 314 pages
Price: FREE
Buy links:
Amazon Kindle  ~  Barnes and Noble Nook  ~  Smashwords  ~  iTunes


Synopsis:
How can one day go so very wrong? One minute Meara Quinn is making plans for how she will spend the summer before her senior year and the next she's finding out that her mother's cancer has returned and they are moving away from the only home she's ever known.

Now every day is a struggle as Meara tries to cope with her mother's illness, being forced to move to another country to live with grandparents—whom she thought disowned her mother—and having weird visions of a father who was absent her entire life. Top it all off with one whopping secret that everyone seems bent on keeping from her, and Meara has the perfect ingredients for a major melt down.

The only things keeping her from coming unglued are some new friends and Evan—the son of her mother's childhood friend—who seems to know Meara almost better than she knows herself.

Together with Evan and her friends, Meara embarks on a journey to unlock the secrets that will not only tell Meara who she is, but what she is.

While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give this lovely lady a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?

Twitter: @Kar2b
Facebook: Author Kelly Risser
Pinterest: kar2b
Website: Kelly Risser
Blog: Kelly Risser Blog
Goodreads: Kelly Risser
Google +: https://google.com/+KellyRisser/
LinkedIN: Krisser

If you have any questions for Kelly, pop them into the comments below. She’ll be around to answer what you ask.

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fractured Glass - Pre-order Signup Form and Goodreads Giveaway

Happy Friday, everyone! Wow. What a crazy week it was, huh? Well, I have a little something that just might brighten your day. Not only are we taking signups for folks willing to help us announce the awesomeness that's releasing for pre-order around Thanksgiving, we're also giving away a couple copies of the book over on Goodreads (INTERNATIONALLY). So, get your clicking fingers ready and let's get into it!

First up, a little information about the book:

Expected Release Date: December 24, 2014
Pre-orders: November 28, 2014
Title: Fractured Glass - A Novel Anthology
Author(s): Tia Silverthorne Bach, Jo Michaels, Casey L. Bond, Kelly Risser, and N. L. Greene
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction with five sub-genres (paranormal, horror, fantasy, magic, and romance)
Length: ~100k words

Synopsis:
What if other worlds existed alongside your own? What if you could travel through them and truly escape reality?

Sloan and Harley Glass were born moments apart; but, despite their differences, the sixteen-year-old twins couldn’t be closer. They’ve held their tongues each and every time their mother has uprooted them—often moving across the country with little notice. They’ve learned to accept change. But what is Mom running from?

They discover they’re travelers—half-descendants of those who can traverse an entire universe of parallel worlds known as fractals. When the past catches up, Harley is kidnapped and taken to one of those distant worlds. Now, Sloan must garner her courage and find a way to rescue her sister. Traversing the worlds isn’t the hard part; it’s surviving the elements and the creatures lying in wait to destroy everything in their path.

Will the Glass sisters be able to save the fractal worlds from the kidnapper, or will everything fracture and crumble around them?

Sign up to help us out here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15qWiXB2UT85p-L7y-FqdUBrarbtMawKtAebZunf48CU/viewform

Now, I know you're ready for the Goodreads giveaway entry form, right? Yeah! Okay, here ya go:



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fractured Glass by Jo Michaels

Fractured Glass

by Jo Michaels

Giveaway ends December 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

It's not live yet, because they haven't approved it. But it will be. So add it to your shelf and, when it goes live, enter to win it!

What do you think? Would you like to help us out?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review - Crewel

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, I'm gonna be speedy and not go on and on. I have a review of an amazing book for you all. Plus, there will be a giveaway at the bottom of this post for 2 e-copies. YAY! Grab a cup of coffee and let's get going!

As usual, the information on the book before we drop into the review:

Title: Crewel (Crewel World #1)
Author: Gennifer Albin
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Length (print): 368 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Hardcover $7.20 (as of this review)

Synopsis:
Deadly Secrets
Tangled Lies
Woven truths

Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

**Will not appear in review elsewhere. Okay, so I admit to meeting Gennifer at UtopYA Con 2014 where she signed a copy of Altered (book 2) for me. Her message: Discover who you are. I didn't get it then. After I read book one, I was still a bit lost. Halfway through book 2 now, and I see what she meant by that. I freaking LOVE this cover. I bought the hardcover with this image rather than the other one because it's just so dang pretty.**

On to the review!

I grabbed the hardcover edition of Crewel so I'd have it in my huge library of books. After picking up a copy of Altered, I knew I had to have the first in the series so I could start things out right. So, I moseyed on over to Amazon and grabbed one. I couldn't put it down. I read it in just a few sittings, but would've finished much sooner if not for other obligations. It's compelling, original, and scary in a brutal, beautiful way. But let me go into why.

From a Reader's Perspective:
Albin built a whole new society that's both functional and dysfunctional at the same time. Everything runs the way it should according to Guild rules. But the main character, Adelice, has parents with wisdom and verve, who constantly remind their daughter not to take anything at face value and never to forget who she is and where she comes from. And, the central plot is born. All appears okay on the outside, but if you scratch the surface, it unravels. Since I don't put spoilers in my reviews, I'll stop there. You'll understand when you get into the story.

As far as pacing goes, I never felt like the book dragged, even in the middle where it was day-to-day tasks and regular life happening. There was always something happening behind the scenes or a feeling of foreboding that kept me turning pages.

I liked the relationship between Adelice and Jost. They were sweet, tender, and slow building. Anything that's rushed leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I appreciate the time the author is taking in building these two up.

Crewel is written in first person, present tense. Keeps you in the action.

I spoke of the book inciting fear because it's terrifying how much control the Guild has over the residents. It's not something Albin shoves down your throat; it builds slowly in the background, waiting to erupt and envelop you in darkness. Shivers abound.

There was a major cliffhanger at the end of book one, but since book three is out, there will be no waiting around to find out what happens.

From an Editor's Perspective:
Nothing to write home about. Clean.

Rating:
1 Star for scaring the crap out of me by building the world of the Guild
1 Star for slow, simmering romances that were feel good without going boom
1 Star for pacing
1 Star for making me believe in Arras
1 Star for editing
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars! Recommended for anyone who loves a clean story that's different, compelling, and extremely well done.

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What do you think? Will you check it out? Did you enter?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo