Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Newest Chapter... of My So Called Blog's Life

It's been a wonderful couple of years hanging out with you all on this blog, but the time has come. There will not be any future blog postings on here, but I'm excited to tell you that I will still be around the internet, on my very own site.

I present...


I'm still getting it adjusted to fit what we need, so bear with me.

Thank you for all the wonderful times!

Yours truly,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Cleaning and a New Website!

Image courtesy of James Barker /

Spring is here (FINALLY!) and it has me thinking about lots of things, and how I have too much of them. One of the things I have, that I desperately need to tidy up, is my website, which has been, up to this point: This Blog.

But, my friends, I'm getting fancy, and creating a website that will (hopefully) be better for us to keep up with one another and move forward, getting all the cobwebs off those old posts, updating the look and feel of things, and, in general, giving myself an electronic make-over. Doesn't that sound great? 

Once my website ( goes live, I must forewarn you all that this blog's days will be numbered. Not on day one, but soon thereafter. Don't worry, there will be reminders and hopefully I'll see every single one of you at my new home.

Happy Spring, Everyone!


Monday, April 7, 2014

#MyWritingProcess -- Blog Tour!

Lovin' the writing process from start to finish!

Hey-yo! Today is my turn to post on the Writing Process Blog Hop! I have been tagged by  A. G. Henley, bestselling YA author, when she posted about her writing process. Not to get off topic, but her Brilliant Darkness series (#1 The Scourge, #2 The Defiance-both available now, and #3 The Fire Sisters-coming soon,) are A-may-zing if you love a good YA dystopian, which I do!

This hop is all about exploring various authors' writing process and will answer four questions:
1)     What am I working on?
2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3)     Why do I write what I do?
4)     How does your writing process work?

Then, I'll let you know where you can read more authors' posts next week!

Let's get started, shall we?

1) What am I working on?
Well, as you may know, my first novel, Bewildered, recently released. It is the first in a series. Naturally, I'm working on book 2 (yet-to-be-named). Aside from the second Bewilderness Tale, there are other projects stewing and brewing including a YA dystopian, which was my first novel idea and refuses to be ditched (though I've tried!), another middle-grade series set in a cursed circus, and a YA novel that revolves around a race of humanoids who exist in shadows. I'm also toying with a story inspired by the "old lady who lived in a shoe" nursery rhyme--think creepy magic and crazy orphanage lady.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well... I think we all bring something different to the table. Though there it seems there is no such thing as new idea, I like to put a spin on things to set it apart. For example, Bewildered is very like Alice in Wonderland. However, unlike Alice, who becomes more mature through her adventure, Prudence must learn to appreciate whimsy and friendships to get home. 

Having fun with Missouri fans!
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write middle-grade (MG) and young-adult (YA) fantasy, mostly. I write in the fantasy genre because fantasy is one of my favorite things to read, and because it's where most of my book ideas fit in. I write for children and teens because growing up is simultaneously suffocating and liberating, terrifying and exciting, simple and complicated. It's a time of highs and lows, of adventures, and of finding one's place in the world, so there's always plenty of conflict and wonder. Though it helps to have focus, I am always a fan of switching things up, so an adult novel is not out of the question. If there is a story that begs to be written, I will oblige. 

4) How does your writing process work?
When an idea hits me, I record it. Maybe it's just a sentence that comes to me, or a few lines to remind me later what I was thinking. Occasionally, I'll have an idea that really gnaws at me and I'll take a day off my project-at-hand and use my writing time for brainstorming or writing a scene or the first few pages--whatever it is I have. Lots of these ideas won't be strong enough to support a full novel, but sometimes they are.

I have tried various approaches to writing: the "pantser" and "plotter" alike. A pantser, in case you're wondering, has nothing to do with jeans. It's a term that refers to someone who writes "by the seat of their pants," no outlining, no plotting out scenes--just sitting down and hacking away at the keyboard letting the story go where it will.

Then there's the other approach: the plotter. The plotter can be someone who creates a simple outline of how the story goes, what happens at the turning points of each act, or even someone who plots out their story page-by-page. There's no rules and no formulas. Writers learn by doing.

I fall somewhere in between being a pantser and a plotter. The rough draft is an act of impulse. The story unfolds one page at a time. Normally, my ideas start with the setting and circumstances. Next come conflict, and characters. I don't know what is going to happen, I just write until the story ends. Easy enough, right? Sure. Then, during the editing phase, the panster-done rough draft is put into plotter-mode. The scenes are adjusted for the right pace, layers and themes that revealed themselves are built upon and enhanced, and everything is re-written.

Editing is what makes the story whole. The rough draft is just there to get the loose sketch of the story down. I begin mentally editing as soon as the first pages are written, but I don't go back to change anything until I get all the way to the end. I will make notes on what I think needs to be changed, but I always put one foot in front of the other until the rough draft is done first.

Setting up at my 1st Signing Event!
Once the rough draft is done, and the edits I have mentally saved up are made, it's time to let the manuscript the dark...for a couple of months. During that time, I will work on other things, take some time off, and try to forget about the story (nearly impossible but I try). When the time is right, the manuscript is bought back into the light, re-read and another round of edits are done. Then it's ready for others to read and offer feedback. The editing continues until it's as good as I can make it, then it goes to a professional editor. Honestly, getting the manuscript back from the editor is one of my very favorite things. I love that line-by-line feedback! Working with the cover-artist is my other favorite thing.

I don't feel like my process is very efficient really, but it's what works for now. Each time I write a book, the process gets refined, story structure becomes more ingrained and second nature. Hopefully that means future manuscripts will be cleaner and require less invasive editing. A girl can dream :-)

That's about it, as soon as one is nearing completion, another is in the works. I don't like being without a writing or knitting project. It makes me antsy. :-)

Thanks for visiting my site for this blog hop! To keep it going, I've invited a few of my fellow YA/MG writers to expound upon the same questions I answered today in their own posts next week!

Steven Whibley, MG author of the Dean Curse Chronicles (#1 Glimpse, #2 Relic, and the soon-to-be-released #3 Impact) Steve believes in pixies and fairy dust, and the healing power of unicorns. When he’s not writing epic tales of horned beasties, he’s working as a look-a-like for Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron, and Seal. He spends his free time training hairless mole rats to be service animals for the colorblind, and dreams of one day inventing a Thanksgiving dish that will rival the infamous turducken.

Michelle Lowery Combs is the award-winning author of Heir to the Lamp from World Weaver Press.  She loves children and magic, but especially books about both. Check out her post next week on her blog!

Beth Barany is based in Oakland, California, and writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible. She's the award-winning author of the YA Fantasy novels: HENRIETTA THE DRAGON SLAYER (Book 1 of the Five Kingdom series) and HENRIETTA AND THE DRAGON STONE, (Book 2 of the Five Kingdom series.) In her off hours, Beth enjoys capoeira -- a Brazilian martial art/dance --, traveling, and watching movies with her husband, bestselling author Ezra Barany, and playing with their two cats, Kitty and Leo. 

Lisa Fender, YA/NA author of the Lorn Prophesy series (#1 Fable, now available) Lisa traveled the world as a child, and lived in Greece and other parts of Europe. She was born in Louisville Ky and moved to Colorado where she lives now. She's married to the most supportive man on the planet and has two grown kids and two grand kids. Not that she's old, she was in her 40's when they were born. In fact she's still a teen at heart! She writes a fantasy fiction series with her sister, Toni, and loves it. She wanted to write her whole life, and finally did it!

Thanks and have fun hopping on!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To the Winners Go the Spoils!

Congratulations are in order for the following people, who have won fabulous prizes from the Bewildered Release Week rafflecopter giveaway:

Katrina H. ~ won a signed hardcopy of Bewildered!

Beth ~ won an signed paperback of Bewildered!

Angie M. ~ won a signed paperback of Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery Combs!

Delphina M. ~ won an artist print by Angie Kwon!

Winners can expect an email very soon! Thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

BEWILDERED Book, Art, and Swag Giveaway Continues!

The Bewildered Release Tour is over, but I extended the giveaway, because...well, because I can! Enter here to win an awesome prize, and if you missed the whole thing, the links for each day of the tour are at the bottom. Thanks and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday: Into the Bewilderness at The Southern Tablet
Tuesday: Interview with the Illustrator, Angie Kwon at YA Fantasy author, Beth Barany's blog.
Wednesday: Interview with the Editor, Ev Bishop, at Romance and Mystery author, Liz Schulte's blog.
Thursday: The Story Behind the Story, right here on my blog.
Friday: Review and interview with the Author (me!) on MG author, Michelle Lowery Combs' blog.

Thanks for another unforgettable tour! Love, AB

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bewildered Review and Interview from MG Author, Michelle Lowery Combs!

Last but not 5 of the Bewildered Release Week Blog Tour!

It's been a fun-filled five days of traveling around the internet and meeting new friends likThe Southern TabletBeth Barany, and Liz Schulte , and yesterday, we stuck around here to find out the story behind Bewildered. To cap off the week of fun, Michelle Lowery Combs has posted her review of Bewildered and the interview she gave me. The giveaway continues on her page, so enter, win, and enjoy!

It has been a lot of fun celebrating this week! Thanks for joining me!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway (ends tomorrow night at midnight) and, if you haven't already done so, pickup your eBook copy of Bewildered for $1 off at using coupon code: US73N!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bewildered Release Week and Giveaway! Day 4: The Story Behind Bewildered

It's day FOUR, already?! This week is flying by! We've been all over the web--meeting new people like The Southern Tablet, Beth Barany, and Liz Schulte, and finding out about the world of Bewilderness, meeting the illustrator, Angie Kwon, and the editor, Ev Bishop, and now it's my turn...

A friend once told me that every story has a story. It's so true. Today, it's my turn to tell you about Bewildered. Not about the story within, but the story behind it.

I began writing Bewildered in November of 2012 as part of a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days—all during the month of November. At the time, I was struggling on a dark YA dystopian manuscript full of gruesome deaths and government conspiracy… and I was stuck. The NaNoWriMo challenge gave me the chance to take a breather and work on something totally different. Thus Bewildered was born.

The idea for the book hit me while sitting in traffic in August, GA. The car in front of me, a Ford Edge, combined with extreme boredom started a neurotransmitted "Super-Storm" wherein a ship fell over the edge of a mid-ocean waterfall and landed in another world. Essentially, melding my loves of Alice in Wonderland with the ocean in a watery rabbit hole—what? You don't think of pirates and imaginary worlds when you're staring into brake lights? I know I'm strange—it's ok.  Anyway, the first draft was named "Edge" and followed an unlikable girl (named Lula instead of Prudence) as she boarded the Unforgiven (then named the Silver Lady) and wound up 65,000 words of a wacky game called "What just happened?"

The rough draft was rough. In fact, I posted about it here. I had to give myself credit…I had done the previously unimagined—which is to say, wrote 65,000 words in one semi-cohesive tale with "the end" on the final page. But it needed a lot of work. So much, in fact, that I nearly tossed it in the trash. Luckily, a friend (thank you Shammy!) read it and convinced me to keep going, that it just needed editing.

Spoiler alert, I did keep going. But quickly gave up on editing what I had written—it was too messy to make sense of. Instead, I rewrote it. From page one. I put the 4-pound copy from Staples in a dark drawer to gather dust while I "retold" the story. A Purple Wizard became the old man with violet eyes, the Destiny Express surprised me, appearing in its magical splendor, and some of my favorite characters such as the Fabrikator and February walked onto the pages. Some elements persisted—Prudence always fell into Bewilderness, and the themes of the book: "believing isn't always seeing," and "trust the heart", were there from the start. In a page-by-page comparison, however, there was hardly anything left of the first draft. One of these days, I'll have to post a before and after comparison…

A lot of people ask if the book was plotted out before I started—and knowing it's the first in a series, I get asked if I know how it's going to end. The truth is: no. I don't have a clue. I believe that the story is there, and if I listen, it will reveal itself. More like the way an archeologist unearths an ancient city—the scenes unfold one at a time and always leave me guessing. Perhaps it would be easier if I plotted it out—I've tried actually—but in the end, the story never turns out the way I expect it too. My muse is stubborn that way.
The road was bumpy. Between fits of self-doubt, children jumping on my keyboard, and tons of shiny things to distract me, getting though the process took all my will power. And now, after all that, the cycle has started over again with book two…then three…then—well you get the idea. But you know, I love every moment of it!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Bewildered Release Tour! My friend and fellow author, Michelle Lowery Combs, will be posting a review and interview on her page tomorrow! The giveaway continues there too (one of the prizes is actually a paperback copy of her book, Heir to the Lamp!)

*the giveaway is at the bottom of the post: a l l  t h e  w a y  d o w n . . .*

Share the word! And from the bottom of my Paper Heart, thanks for reading, following, and sharing the news of Bewildered. 

A Bewilderness Tale, Book One

Prudence Parks is perfect. At twelve-years old, she has the world in her pocket. No messy friends. No silly games. Everything is just right—until her father leaves her an orphan. 

When she tumbles into a bizarre realm known as Bewilderness, nothing is as it should be. Insects talk, pirate ships sail on sand, and plants are just plain evil. After she’s banished for claiming to be human, she thinks the worst is behind her. She’s wrong. The Match King, posing as an ally, promises to send her home if she can find the Paper Heart, an ancient treasure. Battling her sense of logic all the while, she meets a living ragdoll and her father’s doppelganger, who melts her icy heart and—to her regret—gives the Match King perfect collateral to ensure she follows through. 

Prudence realizes the Match King’s plan to erase Bewilderness from existence, but now she must choose: save the world she has come to love, or find her way home.

BEWILDERED is a middle grade fantasy novel geared toward children ages 9-12. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Miracle on 34th Street. Set once upon a time in a land far, far away, this story illustrates the importance of friendship, courage, and proves believing isn't always seeing.

Purchase it online at your favorite retailer, or visit your local bookstore!

About the Author

A. B. Harms was born a writer. From a young age, she made her own picture books with crayons and a stapler. As a teenager, she won essay contests. Yet, when she began her career, being an author was the last thing she considered. Finally, after working every job imaginable from waitress to social worker and earning her degree in Psychology, she realized what she was always meant to do--write!

A. B. is from Missouri, has gone around the world and back again, and now lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family, a pet sloth, who resembles a Great Dane, and a black cat, who moonlights as an assassin. No matter where she hangs her hat, she finds herself at home down the rabbit hole.

And finally, what you've all been scrolling for...