5 Tech Trends Photographers Should Know

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If there was one single way to predict where technology is headed, it would be strolling through the booths at the Consumer Electronics Show. This year’s show brought on a few surprises as well as a few disappointments. Over at Digital Photography School, I shared what photographers need to know about 2015 photography trends.

My Writing Process

I was invited to participate in this writing process tour by author Sara Gauldin.  Her latest book is The Corporeal Pull.  You can find out more about her writing at SEBGwrites.wordpress.com.

When you pick up a book off the store shelves (or add it to your Amazon shopping cart), there’s a lot behind that title that you don’t know about. Every author finds inspiration in different ways, which is why I’m excited to participate in this blog tour and share my writing process with my readers. Ever want to know what happens between an idea and the final book? Well, here you go!
1)     What am I working on?

I’m currently working on a YA suspense–and it’s actually turning into a rather creepy yet enticing story so far. I’m only a few chapters into the story and I don’t even know the ending yet! The tentative title is The Curious Life of Paper Dolls. Here’s a quick excerpt from my rough draft:

The attic is dark and I’m not sure which way to point my light first until something rustles on the left. The light meets Mordecai, sniffing around some old cardboard boxes.

I slowly sweep the rest of the attic with the flashlight. Plenty of cardboard boxes. An old fake Christmas tree, decorated in cobwebs, hunches in one corner. A rusty metal wagon is filled with a few more boxes. I flip open the box closest to me. It’s filled with paper. Old bills, it looks like.

The beam of light from the flashlight catches movement. I freeze. Mordecai is tugging at a full garbage bag.

“Mordi, no!”

He manages to pull off one flap, exposing a patch of blonde hair.

My heart stops.


He grabs the hair with his front teeth and tugs.

My ideas come from all kinds of different places, from things I see to conversations I have. For example, Mordecai (in my mind anyways) looks a lot like this pup I saw at an adoption event, just a little bigger:


Cute, huh?

As I write, sometimes I keep notes and pictures like this on hand, and other times, when I sit down to write I have no idea what I’m actually going to write and just type up what my imagination gives me.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

For me, each story is just that–it’s own story. My current project is quite a bit different than my debut novel, Kaleidoscope Me. With that said though, all my work is clean–I don’t like to read books full of sex and swearing so I don’t make my readers wade through them either. So far, everything I’ve worked on has elements of mystery, which isn’t very common in YA anymore. I love books that keep me reading because I have unanswered questions; I try to do the same in my own work.
3)     Why do I write what I do?

I start each story just to write. I love writing and I would continue to write even if no one ever read a single word of it. But as the story starts to take shape, there’s always an element that I start to identify with, an aspect I want to share with readers that they can use in their own lives. I don’t preach, but I want readers to take away more than just the simple entertainment of reading.

I write clean fiction because that’s what I like to read. For me, sex and swearing don’t add to a story, and since I’m writing for teenagers, I like to keep it clean.
4)     How does your writing process work?

My writing process is quite flexible and never really stays the same. I’m a web content editor by day, a job that I need to have structured. When it comes to fiction, I allow myself more flexibility–I feel like strict processes and schedules hurt my creativity. When I’m stuck, I’ll often put the story aside for a few days or write in a new location, like a park or coffee shop (despite the fact that I don’t drink coffee). Even my ideas will come from different places and at different times. The last thing that I want is to develop a “process” that only hinders my writing. I don’t always write in the same place or at the same times and sometimes I don’t even write the story in order. I do keep a collection of notes and ideas I jot down as I go through my day, but there isn’t too much that’s the same from book to book.

Well, there you have it–a little bit about how I write and where my ideas come from. I love comments–so if you have a question, feel free to ask below!

Don’t forget, enter to win books from over 20 different authors (including me!) in the INDIEpendence Day Giveaway, now through July 3.

Next up on the writing process blog tour is Tianna Holley. Holley lives outside of Atlanta with her husband and children and has always been an avid reader of fantasy novels. She began writing poetry and short stories in her youth but did not pursue her passion for writing until later in life. Although her writing tends to have violence and romance, she considers herself a PG-13 writer. Her novels do not contain curse words, and her sexual content is limited to heated kissing.  She enjoys talking to her readers and offers free Skype chats to book clubs that have read her writing. When she’s not typing on her laptop or running after her children, she can usually be found in her kitchen baking and teaching others how to cook with healthy and natural ingredients. She also loves organic gardening. You can learn more about Tianna and sign up for her monthly newsletter to receive exclusive insights into her current work in progress by going to http://www.tiannaholley.com.

Book Tour: A Kaleidoscope Whirl

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 2.23.35 PMIt Was Lovely Reading You

Things have been quite busy around here, but that hasn’t stopped the reviews from coming in. Here’s the latest that bloggers have had to say about Kaleidoscope Me:

“I loved the blossoming relationship of Jadyn and her Aunt Nadine.”

Literary & Lace

“Many will be able to relate to Jaydn in ways not found in any other book available at this time, I wish it had been around, well let’s just say a few years back for a younger me.”

YA Book Blogger

“I loved this book so much, I read it in one sitting! In ways, Jadyn was mesmerizing as a main character…very real, down to earth and totally relatable!”

JoJo’s Corner

I also stopped by It Was Lovely Reading You and shared Ten Things A Writer Can Do Without, about all the things that keep me from writing.

I’m also glad to be part of another giveaway–and this one with over 20 other authors! Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, find out for yourself why Kaleidoscope Me has a five star rating on Amazon.

That’s all for now, stay tuned, and keep reading!

Blog Tour: YA Reads (With a Giveaway!)

The NerdHerd Reads

From April 1-7, hosts at the YA Reads blog tour group will be offering reviews, excerpts and interviews to celebrate the launch of Kaleidoscope Me. Here are the highlights from the first half of the tour.

Kaleidoscope Me Reviews

“She jumps from the present to the past and back again and it’s admirable how Grigonis was able to keep Jadyn’s thought process in flux and yet not take away from the story. Jadyn may not be able to focus but she is resilient and determined to find her brother and Aunt Nadine.”

Elyse Lindsay

“I liked how the author composed Jadyn and Aunt Nadine’s relationship. It was very realistic.”

It’s A Book Thing

Kaleidoscope Me Excerpts

To read the excerpts shared this week, just follow the links:

Shana Varadeuax Books & Reviews

Simplistic Reviews

Works of Fiction

The NerdHerd Reads

Also, stop by The Book Tower for an interview with yours truly, and be sure to look at my guest post at Discover Words.

And don’t forget, I’m giving away a signed copy of Kaleidoscope Me, enter here for your chance to win: a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Blog Tour: An Excerpt of Kaleidoscope Me

What’s a book tour without a home stop? For this week’s blog tour, I’m sharing an excerpt on my own blog. This is a key scene between the main character, Jadyn, and her best friend. Don’t worry, no spoilers! Enjoy!

I took a giant bite of my taco as I watched the people wandering around the food court, particularly amused at a dad who looked totally out of his element as a little girl dragged him into a jewelry store.

“Good?” Ellie’s mouth was half full as she asked the question. We had a few traditions, Ellie and I, one was movies and smoothies, the other tacos at the mall. She already knew they were good.

I nodded, reaching for my pop to wash down the spicy aftertaste that made my mouth water.

“Are you doing okay?” she said, a little quieter. This time, she didn’t already know the answer.

“Fine,” I said swallowing.

“No, I mean really. You seem, well, you seem kind of distant.”

I looked around, wishing she hadn’t brought this up here, but then again, no one was close enough to hear over all the noise anyways. I took another bite, thinking about what I wanted to say and what I could say, watching the way her blue eyes waited for my reaction. “Dad hasn’t been home much,” I said softly, “which makes things that much harder.”

She took a drink of pop, sticking the straw in the side of her mouth and looking sort of like she does when she chews on a fingernail while she’s thinking. “It’s probably hard for him to be home, but that’s not fair to you either.”

“I know,” I said, half sighing. “It’s hard seeing Mom’s stuff all over the house, but not coming home isn’t really a good solution for that.” Another pause. “Do you think maybe it’s me? That I’m why he doesn’t come home much anymore?”

She set her cup down with a loud hollow thud. “Absolutely not. Do you remember when my mom’s dog died a few years ago? The Yorkie?” I nodded and she kept going. “Well, after that she was really ornery, and I thought that maybe I did something, with the way that she snapped at me.” I listened to her talk, with her over-dramatized enunciation, and my shoulders felt just a little lighter as I remembered a few years ago, back when a dog dying was a big deal, before I knew what it felt like when a person died. “When I asked her about it, she just started crying and said she wasn’t mad at me, she was just sad.”

Logically, she made sense; but the problem wasn’t logical, it was emotional. “Yeah,” I said softly. “He’s even stopped going to church.”

“I noticed he hadn’t been there in a while. It’s nice that your aunt can take you though.”

I shrugged, deciding not to mention that, technically, my Dad drove us to church and dropped us off, since Aunt Nadine wasn’t really supposed to drive anymore. “I guess. Ever since he stopped going I’ve started to wonder why I’m still going.” I took another bite, noticing my taco was nearly cold, but I didn’t really care.

I finally managed to capture the words that had been bouncing around in the back of my head for weeks and shove them out of my mouth before they could protest: “What are you supposed to do when the person who has taught you everything you know, suddenly doesn’t even believe what they’ve taught you?” My throat started to knot up as I tried to keep the tears out of my voice, swallowing another bite and almost enjoying the way the hard shell sliced down my throat, like it was opening it back up so I could talk a little easier again.

“Oh, Jadie. I don’t even know what to say.” Her eyes softened as she tried to search for words. “I guess if we were always 100 percent sure of what we believed in, there wouldn’t be such thing as faith. What your dad thinks shouldn’t affect what you think. Besides, maybe he’ll start coming back, you can never really know what he truly thinks.” She tried to laugh, but it was strained. “Just think if you liked everything your dad liked, you’d be singing oldies, wearing t-shirts two sizes too big, and watching black and white movies.”

I smiled a little at the thought. “Yeah, I guess so.”

She picked up her purse, which was covered in so many pins I wasn’t sure what color it was. She twirled it around, then stopped it suddenly, unhooking one button. She held it out to me without saying anything. I took it as she started folding up her wrappers. There was a bumblebee on the bottom, and the top said “Just bee you.”

Ellie stood up, picking up her tray―something I loved about her, she always knew when I wanted to change the subject, though she didn’t always change it―and slinging her purse over her shoulder (which, with one missing button I discovered is pink). “Ready for more shopping?”

Want to read more? Kaleidoscope Me is available on Amazon.