Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Do You Know?

Okay, here's one for you. How do you know what people really think of you? The answer is you don't. They might tell you kind words to your face, and you only hope that they do behind your back, but do we really know?

One of the reasons I'm bringing this up is because I was thinking back to elementary school. Yes, way back to first grade. I'm not going to say how far back, just trust me, it was in the early 70's. Seems like just yesterday. Anyway, I can remember the very first day of first grade when the teacher came around and asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some said a doctor, a teacher, a bus driver. Then it was my turn. I answered I wanted to be famous. What was I thinking? At the time I was fascinated with TV shows and all I could think of was I wanted to be on one. If only the Brady Bunch needed another sister, I would have had it made. Well, that and bleaching my hair blonde to fit in.

I can remember a few kids laughing, but to me, it was an honest answer. Come to find out, a few others wanted the same thing, but were too chicken to say it out loud. It seems even as time goes on, people are sometimes afraid of saying what they really think or feel. That's a shame. We miss so many opportunities that once it's gone, it might not come back.

I'm writing this because as a young adult author, I want the youth of today to know that you should never be afraid of speaking up or being who you are. With that being said, thanks eveyone for all your emails and kind reviews of Altered. It's been a dream come true to share my book with you and have the opportunity to get to know you.

Now go out there and grab your dream ... it's all yours!  Oh, and if you have anything you want to share with me, I'd love to know.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beyond 5 Star Review!

Today I received a review that had me in tears, but in a happy way. As a writer, you love your creation, but you're not sure what others will think of it. I'm well aware that not every book can please every reader, but for today, I'm humbled and in awe of my review. Here's what I received from Zee at firepages.blogspot.com.

5/5 Stars

"Altered is everything I could have asked for and more! Laura Burks delivers paranormal, suspense, and a touch of romance in a major way. It is by far on of the best written, most creative novels I have read. Altered is beyond 5 stars!"

Favorite Character
Jenna Larson is my favorite character. She is curious by nature and doesn't mind following her curiosity and exploring her surroundings. That is partly what gets her in trouble, but unlike other leading ladies in books and movies take on their problems by themselves, Jenna doesn't keep what she finds to herself. She shares her experiences with her lovable grandfather, John Larson. Jenna is independent, but also knows when she is over her head, when she needs to accept help. 

Although young, Jenna is a very mature teenager. She is kind, honest and considerate to her grandpa. She is a good friend to her friends, Shelly and Danny. And most importantly, she is honest and respectful of herself. Regardless of the other worldly mess she gets into, Jenna is a friend I would like to have!

Quotable Quote
"Another day, another time, I would go back. But for now, my day had turned out much better than what was originally planned. Sometimes the unexpected is way more exciting." - Jenna Larson, Page 47

"'I've waited for someone like you all my life,' he breathed." - Jess Parkin, Page 254

Final Thoughts
Altered is an amazing story, one which kept me guessing all the way through. I loved that this was not your typical paranormal title. The paranormal aspect of this novel was more subtle, more disturbing. Let's talk about Louisiana and a curse from a deal gone wrong. This title makes you think twice before shortchanging someone you have made a deal with. Altered makes you think again before deciding to have your cake and eat it too. 

I enjoyed reading about the budding romance between Jenna and Jess. It was slow, sensual, and deliberate. Jenna and Jess would let each other know where their heart was. There were no games. No drama. It was honesty in it's purest form. To just be with each other was enough. Every hand held, every gaze in each other's eyes, every secret shared was monumental. They lived in the moment with each other. I was often taken back to the days when my young heart was filled with that much innocence, when I experienced my first throws of love. The romance in Altered will make your heart leap more than once in fond remembrance. 

Burks kept surprising me at every turn of the page. I would have it in my head where I thought the story would go next, and it never did. I was glued to this book. Quite literally. Every second I had, I whipped out one of my devices - HTC smartphone, iPod Touch, Kindle, HP Touchpad - to finish a chapter or read one more sentence. Altered is just that good of a novel! Laura Burks writing style is flawless. I don't remember seeing a typo nor did I have to reread a paragraph to understand what was going on. She kept her plot tucked away nicely, waiting on the right moment to reveal information to the reader, and as a result, everything fell smoothly into place.

Laura Burks is a seriously talented author and very creative to boot. Altered, her debut novel, is a hit and a personal favorite. I can't wait to read more novels from Laura! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Only One Yes Away

Today, while the tropical storm stayed for a visit, I thought of how one word can make a difference. So many of my friends are in the waiting stage of hearing something, anything from an agent or press house. I know that feeling all too well. You wait, you pray, you write, and you wait some more. Wait for that one email you hope to see when you turn on your computer, and it isn't there.

Or, how about when you finally do get an answer and it's the typical form letter "it's not quite the right fit for my list at this time." Yep, gotta love those. The point I'm trying to make is, whether you're published or not, you are a writer. The only difference is a published author received that one word - Yes. Don't let whether you receive that one word or not dictate how you feel about yourself or make your question if you are a writer. And let me tell you, even it you do get published, those little doubts still pop up and try to steal your happiness. That one word is not the end, and it surely doesn't mean you are more deserving or have it made. Nothing in life is ever finished. It simply is a step to lead you to another step. Honestly, it's all about doing what you love to do and the the self-discovery along the way.

I love the movie Last Holiday. There's a line that Queen Latifah says that gets me every time I watch it: "... we will laugh more, we'll love more ... we just won't be so afraid ... "

Don't be afraid of what others will think if you don't get published or even if you do. You, my fellow writers, area a writer. "Yes" or not.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Lot To Learn

My first born (book that is) was finally born September 1, 2011. Yes, that long awaited time when I can sit back and take a breath knowing all my edits, galleys, website building and so on has made it full circle. But only a short breath, marketing is my new challenge. This should be interesting!

During all the months and even years of work, sometimes we find out something about ourself that we never thought we could survive. The goal is not reaching the end, it's the complete journey. Yes, I wanted to scream, yell, cry and everything in between, but I also laughed. Laughed and learned that along the way you pick up little treasures called friends. And to me, that in itself is worth it.

One of those friends is a newly published author like me. She lives in Canada and we've only chatted through facebook (gotta love social networking) but to me, I feel like she lives next door. Her name is C. Elizabeth (Char) and her book is Absolute Obsession. When you get a chance, check out her website and book. She's an amazing person and author and I'm so glad she calls me her my friend.

The other day on facebook I posted something that I think is worth posting again. Never underestimate the power of prayer ... and the people He uses to send small messages. It just might be what you need to hear.

Have a great day everyone!