Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bloodlines Book Review

I loved the Vampire Academy books and was so disappointed when they ended. When I found out that Richelle Mead was doing a spinoff series I almost had a heart attack. I recorded it on my outlook calendar and every day, for months I would double check the date counting down the days for the release. When August 23rd rolled around I couldn’t be more excited. I devoured Bloodlines in a few hours.

I forgot how slow Richelle starts out her books and I don’t know what I was thinking but I figured she would have picked up the romance pace like she did in Last Sacrifice. But no, there was no underage fornication and I found myself disappointed.

Other than my obsession with Laurell K. Hamilton style books, Bloodlines was a solid book. *SPOILER ALERT* Sydney is required to play sister to a royal moroi (Jill) to keep her safe from being assassinated from the vampire world. Eddie—our favorite rebel damphir is assigned to protect Jill and keep her safe at all cost. What he doesn’t realize is he also has to play big brother when it comes to Jill and dating. There are two boys who seem interested in Jill, Lee a moroi and Micah a human. Now that Jill is shadowkissed and linked to Adrian, he can no longer go on drinking or women binges. Adrian is realizing that maybe he can be something more than a spoiled royal alcoholic. So Sydney helps him interview for jobs and he finally agrees to work with the alchemist to help find out why someone strigoi is healed by the spirit element cannot return to a strigoi again. Sydney starts to realize that she possibly has feelings for the moroi Adrian which is completely against alchemist beliefs and that there is something in her blood that is revolting to strigoi. What could it be? Dum, dum, dum.

I loved the way the series ended…give me, give me, give me more Demetri.

So stars….I give it a 3.5 out of 5. A little too slow for my taste but an all in all great start to a fantastic series.

But on a better note, #2 of the series- The Golden Lily is coming May 2012.

Monday, August 29, 2011


WriteOnCon was awesome! Come to find out I won a 15-page critique from the YA Muses!!!! So needless to say, Age of Eden has been getting a facelift. Not minor nip and tucks but a complete transfiguration. We are taking our manuscript from third person to first person. Bangs head. It is a huge headache. This week Jennifer and I are going to focus on getting the remainder of the manuscript into shape and hopefully before the end of the week, we will be able to send it off. Cross your fingers for good reviews.

On another note—we have yielded our query process for AOE so we can make these changes. I’m hoping that with enough lipstick we can make this thing awesome. It was definitely lacking something before and I think it was the MC’s voice. Ava—even though she is the main character—no one could ever get a feel for her and in the end it will only make the book stronger.

Not to mention, we realized how beneficial it was to read the manuscript out loud. Sounds funny and hard but we really did….we found all kinds of wordy sentences and grammar errors by doing so. That is definitely something I would recommend to writers…note to self—always read manuscript out loud lol.

Other than that, I’ll hopefully be posting tomorrow with a book review for Richelle Mead’s new Vampire Academy spinoff series, Bloodlines. Have a happy Monday!

P.S. Is it too early to be decorating for Halloween? I hope not.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Website Pictures

Continuing the platform discussion, it very important to be yourself but show professionalism. During WriteOnCon the subject came up about posting personal pictures on websites. It is important that the agents are able to visualize the writers and also readers should be able to look you up and find out more about you via an informative biography.

So, this past weekend, Jennifer and I got dolled up and took pictures that we thought reflected us as individuals and as a team. Check them out. For more information or to find out more, log onto our websites.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, William Faulkner, John Grisham, E.E. Cummings, Judy Bloom, Margaret Mitchell, Dr. Seuss…do these names look familiar? I’d hope so, they are only some of the most well known and established authors of all time. Do you know why else they look familiar? Because each of these authors were rejected whenever they sent their manuscripts to literary agents.

Looking at this list of successful writers, who I couldn’t hold a candle in the dark to, I’m amazed. Who in their right mind would have passed up Carrie, Harry Potter or Gone with the Wind? Exactly.

We have successfully queried 35 agents. We received one request for a partial, twenty-four form rejections/No replies and we are waiting on ten agents to reply. And looking down at that number, 35, it doesn’t sound so bad whenever I compare it to legends.

I knew going into writing that it is very subjective. Not everyone will like what I write but I’m waiting for my time to come and it will. That time when I will blow the socks off of the New York Best Seller’s List and reap the benefits of being a dedicated writer. Until then, I’ll leave the un-published writer’s a bit of advice. Don’t give up because the authors I listed above, didn’t and look where they are now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Writer's Platform

Last week’s WriteOnCon convention was very eye opening for me. Sometimes, as I writer, I think that my only responsibility is to write an awesome novel. But it is more than that. It is my job to have a platform.

During a live forum during WriteOnCon, Sara Megibow, a top literary agent confessed, if someone did not have a website or social networking site, regardless if she loved the novel, she would not represent them unless they had a platform. It takes too much time to invest into a new client to create a platform.

Therefore, Jennifer and I set out on a new goal. Horrifying to those who aren’t technologically savvy we geared our thoughts towards creating our own individual websites. We both already have twitter and facebook but they aren’t linked to the literary world. So, I started researching website hosts and finally found a place where I could create a free website called www.weebly.com .

As difficult as I thought it might be, it was a breath of fresh air to have templates and step by step instructions that created a custom website. After a few hours of designing it, I published my first individual website: http://staceyhaysbooks.weebly.com/ and Jennifer’s website is http://writingfortherighttowrite.weebly.com/ . Feel free to view our pages.

For more information on platforms, what they are and what’s their importance go to these following links:





Tuesday, August 16, 2011


WriteOnCon has OFFICIALLY kicked off the WriteOnCon 2011 online writer’s convention.

For those who aren’t aware of what WriteOnCon is, it’s a forum geared towards authors of all genres. It has open forums where you can post your query letter, synopsis, first 250-words, and your first five pages for critiquing. The down fall-if you want to consider this a down fall, you have to critique five others in the same forum.

Enough about that, there are NINJA agents – REAL World literary agents that are going forum to forum and critiquing other peoples work. If you follow twitter, then you should follow the @WriteOnCon twitter feed and when it says, “A ninja agent is in the forum,” that means an agent is in that forum critiquing and that you should post your work then onto the forum.

Other Great Opportunities at WriteOnCon

Twitter pitch (pitch in 140 characters or less) and first 100 words for critique/comment. Entries are capped at 75. The forum opens today at 10am CST.

250-Word Pitch Critique event. Entries capped at 50. The forum opens tomorrow, August 17, 2011 at 9am CST.

YA Query Critique—Entries capped at 50. The forums open tomorrow, August 17, 2011 at 4pm CST.

Live Forums
To see if your pitches and queries were chosen for review, follow these live forums for your chance for critiquing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 10:00am CST-Live Twitter pitch event with literary agents Carlie Webber and Christina Hogrebe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:00am CST-Live 250-Word Pitch Critique event with literary agent Alyssa Eisner Henkin

Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 4:00pm CST-Live YA query letter event with literary agent Roseanne Wells

There are tons of opportunities for live forums. So jump over to http://writeoncon.com/

And join the forums for your chance to get critiqued!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Patience is a Virtue?

Sometimes I am afraid that my age is going to suck me up and then I am going to wither up and die. Too dramatic? I’d think not. I am unfortunately, the most impatient person on the face of the planet, yes; I was including five-year-old kids tantalizing their parents, “Are we there yet?” I want success and I want success now. Of course, everyone knows that unless you are willing to self publish or have the patience of a ninety-year-old woman, writing and getting published are the two most untimely fashioned subjects in the world.

For one, I never know who, what, when, and where my characters are going to go or if they even feel like coming out to play. Thank God, I have more than one project going on or I would sit in front of my laptop and explode into smithereens waiting for something great to cross my brain. Secondly, I get distracted. Sons of Anarchy, Glee, Dexter, True blood, damn YOU! Even if it means watching two or three hours of television a week, that is still time that I am taking away from my success.

Also, I’ve become a cyber stalker. Yes, my index finger has a permanent blister from where I am pressing the refresh browser in my Gmail inbox in the hopes that we will receive one request for our manuscript. Not to mention, that Query Tracker---you should have an addiction class called “Query Tracker Anonymous.” You have possessed me and I have become this research freak and a constant forum reader. I’m pretty sure that if I don’t get a contract soon, my marriage is going to fall into the large crack in the earth called the Grand Canyon. Even though Age of Eden is already finished we keep going back and changing the first few chapters, in the hopes that it will catch an agent’s eye.

I am a true believer in the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.” But seriously man, I’m becoming a combustible crazy chanting old lady who will be known as the next cat lady---and I don’t even have a cat.

Sorry to vent but I have had one exhausting weekend, completed by helping my sister-in-law paint the rooms in her new house and ripping up linoleum floors. This now makes me thankful that I have hardwood flooring. But has made me inconsiderably irritable and ready to bite the head off of the mental world that I have rotating around in my brain.

I hope everyone has a good week and hopefully the next time I blog my blood pressure won’t be sky high and I won’t be so aggravated at the publishing world. *Shakes Fist

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Never Ending Learning Curve

I know, I know. It’s been a long time since my words have graced the screen of our blog and really there is no excuse other than the fact that I’ve been having a mad love affair with procrastination. It’s a horrendous thing. Seriously.
That doesn’t mean that my thoughts haven’t been on writing my new book or continuing to polish up AoE with Stacey. It does mean that I haven’t felt as reflective in recent days as I have in the past. That, I hope, will change. I’ll hold my muse hostage if I have to, but I certainly hope I won’t have to lower myself to such drastic measures.
Stacey and I have been focused on our publishing dreams for going on a year now (okay, longer than that separately, but you get my meaning) and I have to say I feel like we have both grown tremendously in that amount of time. I learn something about writing and about myself as a writer every single day, which is something that I am proud of. I hope it never stops. That’s how writing should be. A learning experience…constantly. Whether it be learning how to listen to the voices inside our heads, allowing the characters to take on a life of their own, or just recognizing the uniqueness of our writing styles, there is always something to take note of and pay attention to when writing.
I think back to some of my favorite authors like J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Richelle Mead, Stephen King, etc., and I realize that you can tell a lot about writers when you read through their works from their first novels to their most recent. The talent is always there, but the polish and technical skills show a vast amount of growth. For the authors mentioned above, it is a testament to the gift of storytelling that they possess and to the amount of work they’ve put into honing their craft. This tells me that even for those writers who have been serving up books for over twenty years are still, even now, continuing to learn about themselves and evolving into whatever comes next.
Of course there are those choice few authors on my list who are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Those who, instead of learning and growing, become stagnant and irrelevant because they are more interested in earning the mighty dollar. They produce mediocre work on a regular bases to fulfill their contract requirements and show no growth in talent or understanding of themselves or the characters and stories they create. This is not who I want to be.
I want to be writing 20 years from now and be proud of what I’ve accomplished. I want to look back without regret and know that I didn’t lose sight of why I became a writer in the first place.
And do you know why I am a writer?
I am a writer because not writing would be like living life without taking a single breath of fresh air. Because I love the worlds my characters live in. I want to live there too and I get to live there every time I sit at my computer and put words to page. I share joy and sorrow, pain and laughter, and love and loss with my characters. They are a part of me just as much as I am a part of them and I can’t imagine having it any other way.
Now I’m not going to say that I am completely faithful to my writing. God knows I allow myself to get distracted often enough, but it is always at the forefront of my mind screaming at me to get my ass in gear and do what I was born to do. But, again, I’m still learning and every day I learn more about the writer I am and the writer I will be someday. For me, writing is life. And it’s a life I fully intend to live to the fullest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday's Book Review- Hit List

Wednesday’s Book Review
Hit List (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #20)
By: Laurell K. Hamilton

A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect “monsters” are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, US Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.

But some monsters are very real. The Harlequin have been the bogeymen of the vampire world for more than a thousand years; they are a secret so dark that even to speak their name can earn you a death sentence. Now they are here in America, hunting weretigers…and human police.

The Harlequin serve the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire. She was supposed to be dead, but only her body was destroyed. Now she needs a new one, and she’s decided that Anita Blake’s is the body she wants. Edward thinks the serial killings are a trap to lure Anita closer to the most dangerous vampire they’ve ever hunted. The vampires call Edward “Death,” and Anita the “Executioner,” but Mommy Darkest is coming to kill one and possess the other, and she doesn’t care how many others have to die along the way.

Personal Review

I am rarely satisfied with a book nowadays, but Laurell K. Hamilton did not disappoint her fans. Of course if you are a Richard, Jean Claude, Micah, or Nathaniel fan then you are out of luck because this book is completely based outside of St. Louis. And as for the promiscuity and feeding the ardeur, there isn’t a ton of that in this book….which to some fans was a disappointment.
In a way I like Anita and Edward getting back to their police investigations with Psycho Olaf and Bernardo but I sure did miss her live in hunnies. Other than that, I give it a 4/5 stars. Definitely lived up to the hype, I’m just waiting for the ardeur to rise one time and for Anita and Edward to get freaky dickey. This might sound completely disgusting but would definitely be intriguing to the readers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life, Writing, New Books, etc.

The last three weeks have been super hectic! My twin sister got married this past weekend and I was the maid of honor. Needless to say, my toast to the bride and groom was epic. I had a lot of guests come in from out of town for the occasion and I spent most of my time entertaining them and running around trying to help my sister.

On writing: I’ve been working on a few other projects besides AOE and The First 22…I have started writing a grade school project. It’s a book filled with scary stories and I am happy to say that I am 5/6 of the way finished with it. So, a few more hours of writing and it should be complete. I’m going to try to finish that up before the end of the week so I can start querying next week.

After that, I plan on finishing the First 22 and at some point Jennifer and I are going to do a mass re-edit of Age of Eden. We’ve decided to cut the entire prologue and to use the first chapter as the introductory chapter. And then we are going to cut, cut, cut anything that doesn’t add to the story line. No, I am not looking forward to it but it has to be done.

Wednesday is my 26th birthday. That means I am on the downward slope to 30, blah. I am very very depressed about the situation. I know that 40 is the new 30 and 30 is the new 20 but what I really want to know is do people who are 40 still have as much fun as they did at 26? Because if they did, then maybe the age thing wouldn’t be bothering me so much, I hope so.

This year’s season of True Blood got off to a rocky start for me but it is getting better and better by the week. Charlaine Harris was a genius in the first 5-6 books of her Sookie Stackhouse series but since they bought the television rights to her series and she has became rich, rich, rich; she no longer cares about the plot of the series. It has become OUTRAGEOUS and horribly uninteresting. And I have felt cheated the last 2-3 times her books have been released because I am obligated to go and buy them just to see if the next one lives up to my expectations and I am horribly disappointed every time. It must be nice to become so rich that you quit caring about the craft that made you what you are. Eventually, her readers will get fet up with her books and rebel but what’s even worse is now that Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are married, the director seems to be twisting their characters so they end up together but everyone who is a fan of the series knows that Sookie is suppose to end up with Eric, not “King” Bill.

On a happier note, I couldn’t be happier that Bloodlines is coming out by Richelle Mead. Her writing style is very ideal and I love, love, love me some Adrian. I can’t wait. I hope everyone has a good week and until we meet again, Adieu.