Shudder-o-Meter update! 13% “Isn’t this a little, um, dirty?”

Hey guys!  I’ve got an update for you on the Shudder-o-Meter!

That’s right – 13%!!!  As you know, I do most of my writing on the weekends (got that pesky job during the week…) and I lost a few days of productivity the week before last due to being out of town, but over this weekend I finally had an opportunity to crawl into my writing hole and make some real progress!

And I’m SO happy with how these first few chapters are shaping up – we’re diving right in to the action and romance, as promised, and I think you guys are really going to like them!

Here’s what the beta readers had to say this week:

“I love this fast pace!”

“Excellent.”

“I got into bed last night planning to read for 30 min, and then I couldn’t put it down!  So I got no sleep, thank you.”

“Isn’t this a little, um, dirty for a young adult audience?”  (Don’t worry, romance fans, I’m not cutting out the scene in question!)

“I love how Alessa and Isaac are together – I’m so happy for them!  But I’m also really scared for them with the [spoiler comments removed!].”

“10 Random Stitch Influences” & Review @ Bookish Treasures

Awesome 5-star review and guest post with “10 Random Stitch Influences” up at Bookish Treasures today!  Here’s a sneak peek of the post:

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s nothing I love more than a kick-ass female lead, and Buffy is the ultimate.  Other favorites of mine include: Lizzy Bennet, Hermione Grainger, Katniss Everdeen, Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Susan Pevensie, Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, and many, many others.  I knew that my book would have a strong female protagonist who was confident and self-reliant, but who was also still grounded and realistic with her understandable moments of self-doubt, and Buffy and the valiant women listed above were my templates.

4. Lost.  My next favorite thing after an awesome female protagonist is definitely a mind-blowing, out-of-left-field twist, and who did it better than Lost?  This show kept me on my toes for 6 great seasons, and – though I was as confused by the ending as everyone else – I appreciated all the care that had gone into weaving us viewers through this insanely complex and inventive plot.

Catch the rest over at Bookish Treasures today, and don’t miss Laura’s excellent review!  Here’s a snippet:

“Stitch started off as a nice, enjoyable book. It seemed like your average YA/NA contemporary book with a little paranormal romance thrown in. It was an entertaining read, but not anything special. And then….

WOW, just WOW! I have never read a book with such an amazing unexpected twist. This book went from being good to utterly amazing in just a couple of pages. Once I had read further into the book I also saw the beginning in a whole new light”

Thanks so much to Laura for hosting Stitch!!

I got BLURBED! The Isolated by Ellen Stokes

Ahhh!  Super excited to share my very first “blurb” experience with all of you!  The book that so graciously honored me on its cover is The Isolated by Ellen Stokes.  Check it out!

Here’s the synopsis:

It’s been seventeen years and Gray has never tasted salt. She’s never tasted sugar. She’s never heard the swelling voices of a crowd or felt the heat of bodies in a packed room. She’s been banished from society since birth and merely waits to die in Griseus, the endless moor of dead grass and wind to which her murderous uncle exiled her.

But all that is about to change when Gray is unexpectedly ripped from solitude and into the world she never knew: a world that is filled with bustling alleyways, towering citadels, glorious new tastes, and a task so dark it nearly swallows her up.

For the first time in her life she is needed, and it’s vital she comply. Knowing nothing of the world, Gray would latch first onto another human soul that can guide her—any other soul. Even if that soul were her captor.

Set in a place unlike any other, THE ISOLATED asks its readers which is worse: the captivity of the mind, the body, or the soul?

And here’s my blurb:

“Stokes weaves a vibrant world of lively characters and noble intrigue!” — Samantha Durante, author of Stitch

Yay!!!  Thank you SO much to Ellen for giving me this honor – it was a privilege to work with another dedicated author and I wish you all the success in the world!

5 Signs You Might Be Living in a Dystopia & Giveaway @ Nocturnal Book Reviews

Ever feel like your life is just a little bit… off? Sure, you’ve been led to believe that the way your society functions is normal – but who defines “normal,” anyway? Take a look around and stop by Nocturnal Book Reviews today for “5 Signs You *Might* Be Living in a Dystopia” (and an e-book giveaway!).  Here’s the first tip to get you started:

1. “WHATEVER, I DO WHAT I WANT…” NOT!
This one is a little tricky because every dystopian society has its own rules, but one tell-tale sign of a dystopia is that its citizens are rarely empowered to go where they want and do what they want whenever they want. Read a book? Only if it’s not censored. Fall in love? Only with your government-sanctioned match. Spend the day in the woods? Got to get past that electrified fence first! If you find yourself running into red tape, locked gates, or heavily armed futuristic guards whenever you do something outside the norm, this is probably a bad sign.

Swing by Nocturnal Book Reviews for the rest, and remember to enter the giveaway while you’re there!

Thanks so much to Karina for hosting me!

Interview & Giveaway @ What’s Beyond Forks?

Great new interview and e-book giveaway up today at What’s Beyond Forks?.  Check it out:

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Not to worry about writing the BEST BOOK EVER and just to write a good book that someone out there will enjoy. That took a lot of pressure off!

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Anyone from Harry Potter – I could never pass up the chance to live in that world!

Head over to What’s Beyond Forks? today for the rest!  And don’t miss your chance to enter the giveaway!  Big thanks to Gabby for hosting Stitch!!

Giveaway Hop & Janie Interview @ Ensconced in YA

Stitch is taking part of a truly AWESOME giveaway hop today at Ensconced in YA, with a $5 Amazon giftcard AND an e-book copy as prizes!  And better yet, there’s an amazing interview with Janie in the post!  Here’s a preview:

Thank you so much, Janie, for joining us on Ensconced in YA, for this interview! I would love to hear a little about your background– where you grew up, what you are interested in studying in college, etc.

Janie: Thanks so much for having me, Christina!  I’m super excited to be here.  I grew up in an average suburban town not far from my college, Eastern State University, and to be honest, I really don’t know WHAT I want to study yet!  I enrolled in ESU’s liberal arts program, so I’m taking a lot of different classes right now and using my freshman year to figure it all out…  In the meantime, I’ve just been trying to make new friends and get to know the girls in my sorority, Z-E-Pi.  (And if you’re wondering what the REAL answer is, all I can say is that this isn’t *too* far from the truth, but my priorities my first year at ESU were actually a lot more… complicated… than just making friends and picking a major.)

Stop by Ensconced in YA today for the rest, and remember to enter the giveaway while you’re there!  And there are 100 other blogs participating in “Back to the Future: A Giveaway Hop Across Time” so swing by Book Haven Extraordinaire or I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for the whole list of participating blogs and TONS more chances to win!

Thanks so much to Christina of Ensconced in YA for finding this amazing opportunity for Stitch!!

Review & Giveaway @ Realms of an Open Mind

Stop by Realms of an Open Mind today for a new e-book giveaway and an AWESOME 5-star review!  Here’s what Keely had to say:

Stitch holds nothing that you expect. It got me thinking, left me perplexed, and had me reeling. This story starts out on one side of the spectrum, takes you for a loop, and finishes on the other.

Swing by Realms of an Open Mind for the rest and remember to enter the giveaway while you’re there!  Thanks so much to Keely for hosting Stitch!

“On Bad Reviews”- A Guest Post @ White Sky Project

Ever wonder how authors deal with negative reviews?  Check out my guest post at White Sky Project “On Bad Reviews” for one perspective!  Here’s a sneak peek:

“endless babble…nonsense really…” “boring dialogue” “far fetched and stupid” “I just couldn’t connect” “I felt nothing” “HUGE issues with this book” “forced myself to finish”

OUCH. Those are actual comments from the handful of bad reviews that Stitch has received, and I’ve got to tell you, as much as I try not to let them, those words still sting.

The fact of the matter is that bad reviews are an inescapable part of being a writer. Ask any author, and they will gladly tell you that you need a thick skin to write (or, at least, to share your writing with people who have access to the internet!). Even the best/most successful books ever written have their fair share of 1-star reviews: To Kill a Mockingbird? 88. The Great Gatsby? 104. Harry Potter? 95. Twilight? A whopping 738.

Head to White Sky Project today for the rest!  Big thanks to Leah for hosting me!!