I gape up at him, the fear beginning to course through my veins. “Who are you?”“A friend.” He answers in an even enough tone, but at the same time, his face begins to glow the color of amber, making him look warm and unusually vibrant. I’ve never known any being able to radiate such a glow. Any being from Earth, that is.“A friend?” I manage to whisper back before swallowing a gulp. “Are-are you human?” I’m half kidding, but after years of watching realistic science fiction movies and reading a library of fantasy novels, I think I mean the question more than I want to admit. However, he doesn’t answer me. He averts his eyes, blinking rapidly like he’s unsure of the situation.Again, I’m at a loss of what to think. I thought I asked a pretty straightforward question and he can’t even answer that. By his omission, I have to assume he’s trying to tell me he isn’t human!Is this really happening? And, more importantly, if he’s not human, then what is he?My brain pores through a dozen images at once, my chest heaving from the excitement. I flash to movies, T.V. shows, graphic novels, and to my own imagination as I consider what life form James could be. While I try to convince myself I’m jumping to conclusions, that of course this is all a misunderstanding or perhaps an elaborate hoax, something else itches in the back of my mind. That something whispers: Haven’t you always considered the existence of other worlds? Discussed the possibility a hundred times with Tommy?The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes. I decide right then, despite all reason, I know what James is.“I think I know what you are,” I remark feebly.He turns to me with a spark of expectation in his eyes, still glowing, still warm.“You came to Earth with that star last night, didn’t you?”Blood rushes to his cheeks, giving him an even brighter supernatural glow, and then I know I have my answer.“That’s it, isn’t it?” I sit upright, gripping the sheet into my fists. “You’re from another planet. That’s how you have the power to heal.”He pales for a second, but amazingly, he doesn’t deny it. He flickers his lashes upward like he’s searching the ceiling for his reply. After a moment, he shakes his head of soft curls that brush his neck before redirecting his intense expression back on me. He licks his lips and smiles pensively, but I feel the same need as before to shy away; whether it’s from shock or from a loss of focus I don’t know, but holding his gaze is next to impossible.My mind is all aflutter trying to come to grips with what I’m being confronted to believe.“Incredible. I was right all along,” I murmur, commenting to myself. “Aliens do exist.”
Visited by Janine Caldwell Blog Hop!!!!
Author: Janince Caldwell
Genre: YA Coming of Age, Fantasy
Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours
Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy has lost faith in her life. Vying for her mom’s attention, she’s resentful of her stepdad’s intrusion to their family. Her best friend, Tommy, has no clue she’s in love with him as he dates girl after girl without noticing how it tortures her. The final kicker, though, is God’s sick joke to make her freakishly tall when everyone knows boys prefer petite girls.
Then in a bizarre accident Joanna meets James, a breathtaking teen who appears to her after an unusual falling star sighting. Suddenly, her dream for an alien encounter becomes all too real. But when she finds her life has been made unrecognizable, she’s forced into an explosive study of the original design for her life that just may have her regretting every wish she ever made.
Janine lives in Anthem, AZ with her husband and two sons. As a lifelong literature fanatic, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would become obsessed with writing her own work. With relatives like the Brothers Grimm and Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), she figured fantasy writing had to be in her DNA.
Books published by Janine include Visited, a YA coming-of-age fantasy, Rematchand Double Fault—the first two books of The Vortex Series. The final book in this YA fantasy romance, Deuce, will be released fall 2013.
1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
First up is to complete my trilogy. I’m busy at work writing Deuce, the final book in The Vortex Series. I plan to release this 4th title sometime this fall. With every book I write, my goal is to improve my writing skills. I learn so much with each book.
2. Which writers inspire you?
Oh so many! Current writers I love are Veronica Rossi, Colleen Hoover, Melissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Lois Lowry, and Ally Condie. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of dystopian. Classically, how could I not be inspired by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen. Love me some 19th century literature!
3. What have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards, or anything of interest*)
My books include Rematch, Book 1 of The Vortex Series, Double Fault, Book 2 of the Vortex Series, and Visited, a stand alone YA coming-of-age fantasy.
4. Give us some insight into the main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Joanna Murphy is a high school volleyball stud. Why? Because she hovers somewhere around the 6 foot mark! The problem is she’s terribly self-conscious of towering over everyone, especially her best friend and secret object of her heart, Tommy Durant. Joanna cannot see her uniqueness as anything but a fault and would do anything to be and look like someone else.
5. What are you working on right now?
Deuce, the epic conclusion to my YA fantasy romance The Vortex Series.
6. What genre are your books?
All 4 of my books are YA fantasy with varying degrees of romance.
7. What draws you to this genre?
First, YA is what I prefer to read. I love this tender age. The teenage years are a pivotal time in anyone’s life packed with heightened emotion—the first time you authentically fall in love and it’s no longer viewed as a crush, the desire to strike out on your own and be independent from your parents, an urgent need to figure out who you are. I also love fantasy because I like to be taken away from the regular and mundane aspects of life.
8. Have you written any other novels in collaboration with any other authors?
No, but I think it would be fun to do. My best friend is a writer. Maybe one day we’ll work on something together.
9. When did you decide to become an author?
About 6 years ago, I was leading a group of junior high girls in a Bible study/counseling session. We were reading Diary of a Teenage Girl, Becoming Me by Caitlin O’Connor and at the same time the girls were lending me their copies of the Twilight series. Since I already liked to hang out with teens, I felt inspired to try my hand a writing a YA novel. I didn’t even think about publishing at the time, I just wanted to see if I could write a complete novel and learned pretty quickly how much I loved writing in this genre. After completing Rematch and starting Double Fault, I decided I wanted these books to be published so I could share them with other readers.
10. Why do you write?
I write because it gives me enormous pleasure and satisfaction. I thrive on the challenge to come up with a good story and believe I have something to say to this age group. I write because I feel it is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
11. Do you have a special time you write or how is your day structured?
After I get the kids off to school, do a workout and complete whatever chore necessary for the family, I then write until the kids come home from school. If I’m not completely exhausted, I might work a little bit more before I go to bed. Usually, though, that screws me up for trying to get to sleep. I’ll be way too wired thinking about my characters.
12. Where do your ideas come from?
I’m inspired by music, the people in my life, nature and my surroundings (Sedona is only a 45 minute drive away), other authors’ work, and God.
13. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The challenge is always with time. Not having enough of it and giving it to my family and friends in equal parts to my writing. In other words, I get interrupted a lot and then have to pump out creative brilliance in the squeezed time I’m given.
14. What is the easiest thing about writing?
Hmm, I guess I would say for me it’s the editing process. When the story is already written and I get an opportunity to sharpen it up and fill in more details I missed on the first pass.
15. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Close to a year, but Deuce seems to be coming along quicker than my previous books.
16. Do you ever get writer’s block?
Not so much writer’s block where I can’t think of what’s going to happen next in the story, but more the procrastination of just sitting down and typing.
17. How many more books do you plan to be in this series?
At this point Visited is a stand alone project, but my editor believes I could carry on James’s story to other characters. We shall see what speaks to me after I complete Deuce.
18. What projects are you working on now?
Deuce, Book 3 of The Vortex Series.
19. Who designs your book covers?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to hire Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations to do all 4 of my covers. She is becoming increasingly famous for her designs! Pretty soon I won’t be able to afford her let alone get on her schedule. You’ve seen her designs on the New York Times bestseller list, USA Today bestseller list, The Wall Street Journal, the Amazon top ten, and the Barnes and Noble top ten. Basically, a cover designer ninja!
20. How are you published (*i.e. indie, traditional, or both) and why?
I am an indie author. I did try at first to query agents, but since I’m not a celebrity or have an established, thriving writing career already, I could not obtain any traditional publisher interest. Maybe one day they’ll discover me. However, being self-published allows me to work when I want and as hard as I want. Working under contract might get stressful.
21. What would you say are the main advantages/disadvantages about being self-published/traditional publishing?
As I mentioned, being self-published means I can work on my own schedule. I can release a title as quickly or as slowly as I choose. I have total ownership and control of who I hire for my cover artist and what the cover should look like. However, because I am not traditionally published my books are not on the Barnes & Noble bookshelves and libraries don’t know about me to even order my books. I don’t get the recognition or approval of having that established traditional publisher backing my books. I have to find readers on my own, which means if I’m occupied with promotion, I’m not writing.
22. How do you market your books?
I spend vast amounts of time on the internet with Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I blog on my personal website as well as on a Goodreads blog and on my own Goodreads Group, the “Janine Caldwell Fan Group.” I take advantage of blog tours, book blitzes, and paperback giveaways on Goodreads. I’ve spoken at a couple of schools and sponsored a booth at the Tucson Festival of Books. I also do e-book giveaways and pass out book marks.
23. How did you choose this route?
I keep learning all the time about different ways to meet readers. I’m a member of an indie Facebook group and get tips from other indies like me. We’ll all try just about anything in our drive to sell books. Self-publishing is constantly evolving and new ways to market your books pop up all the time.
24. Do you have any advice for other authors taking the same route as you?
Just take it one day at a time because it can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming with everything you must do in this self-publishing business.
25. Do you have a strategy for finding book reviewers?
I look for bloggers who have given high ratings to the same YA books I enjoy. Chances are if we favor similar books, they will like my writing style.
26. What are your views on social networking for marketing? Which worked best for you?
It must be done. Social marketing for an indie author is everything. Really not clear which one is working best for me. It’s all a guessing game, really.
27. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
Choosing the wrong book tour company that didn’t come through with their promises. I paid up front for work that was never done. I should’ve created a Facebook street team from the beginning. My wonderful, encouraging blogger friends are worth their weight in gold since they know who the credible blog tour companies are and are willing to give me shout outs any time on their own blogs. I adore my street team!
28. What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
29. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing! Even if it’s just a journal, get used to gushing out words every day. Read, read, read!
30. How can readers discover more about you?
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Janine-Caldwell/e/B007KL1F1U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Book links: All links for my books are listed on my website. http://janinecaldwell.com/books/
31. To end: Give us three Good to Know things about you. Be creative.
I love to drum! I took lessons from a teenager when I was 34 and have been jamming in my bedroom on my electric drum set ever since.
I’m descended or related to some pretty famous writers–The Brothers Grimm, for one, the forefathers of fantasy writing. My Grandma’s maiden name was Grimm! The other is Anita Loos. She wrote, “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” and was one of the first woman writers to be hired at MGM to pen movies when they first became talkies. She’s written hundreds of screenplays.
I like being alone way more than I probably should. Great for being a writer, but not so good for keeping a husband and kids happy. Balance! It’s always a struggle.