Monday, February 18, 2013

Next Steps

Wow, I'm pretty (good, not bad) overwhelmed by the response Radiant has received just in this past week since its release. And I've been really pleased to meet so many new people, as well as catching up with readers of my previous works.

So, now that the Radiant train has left the station, it's time for me to think about new projects. Here's a short list of some of my works-in-progress, though they appear in no particular order:

Untitled YA historical
The other untitled YA historical
Untitled middle grade/YA fantasy (Seranfyll #3) (delayed)
Untitled YA "paranormal-lite"
The other untitled "paranormal-lite"
Untitled middle grade sci-fi

My WIP list is actually much longer, but these are the ones that I do plan on finishing and releasing. Some of these are partially written already, and others are still in the idea stage. Most are novels, but one might be a short story set. We'll see.

Anyway, I have no scientific way of determining what will get done in what time. Between my fulltime job and other commitments, I feel like releasing something new every 8 to 12 months is reasonable. But for now, I'm putting my pen to paper/hands to keyboard and will see what happens!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It lives!

Radiant's here! Thank you to all the fantastic early reviewers and awesome book bloggers who have helped to get the word out. You're fantastic!

I'm really glad to be able to finally share this work. I've talked about some fun facts about the book on the blog here, but if you knew any of the drama that went into the making and publishing of this book, then you'd understand why I'm glad that this has finally made it into the light (no pun intended).

If you haven't had a chance yet, add Radiant to your Goodreads list and then grab your copy on Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords. iBookstore and Kobo links should go live sometime later.

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #12: Inspiration for the Story

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Today's the last fun fact about the book that I'm posting before the launch.

From Flickr.
Today's fun fact is about how I got the idea to write Radiant.

Basically, a few years ago, I had started writing one of my other books, Seranfyll, but after getting about 20 pages into it, I ran out of ideas and set it aside.

In the meantime, two things happened: 1) The deluge of paranormal YA novels started hitting the shelves and 2) I had to do some research and came across several unrelated science articles. Some of the articles were about health and others were about comets or cells, etc.

I can't remember where the possession idea came from, but after reading those science articles, I started wondering what it would be like if someone had nearly died and was possessed by something that wasn't a ghost or an alien? And inspired by the paranormal romance deluge (which, to be honest, I haven't read much of yet), I wondered what it would be like to write a love story with this concept.

I don't normally read or write romances (I've read only two all the way through), so this was completely new territory for me and I had to use my imagination a lot more than I did on any of my other stories. And I didn't exactly know what would be possessing Carter when I first started writing, let alone what these things would be called. But I had an idea of what their functions were (because of the science articles), and that's what I started with.

That's it for the fun facts of Radiant! The book goes live in a couple days. Hope everyone will check it out!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #11: Ba

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Today's fun fact is about Ba, Mary's grandmother.  is "grandmother" in Vietnamese, but her "proper title" would be Bà ngoại, since she's Mary's mother's mother. Bà nội would be what she would call her father's mother if she were Vietnamese. Bà ngoại and Bà nội are what I use to refer to my own grandmothers, though I'm not close to them like Mary is to Ba.

In Radiant, Ba suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. And so does my own bà ngoại. She's nearly 100, and she doesn't really remember anyone except a couple of my aunts. She has to have help bathing, during which she can get violent because she doesn't know what's going on, and she has to wear adult diapers all the time because she doesn't know how to go to the bathroom on her own anymore. And when she talks, you never know what she's going to say. She'll tell someone to hit someone or start cussing people out. She pretty much can't go out in public anymore.

Even though I'm not close to my bà ngoại, it's still hard to see her now. Not just because she's in Houston and I'm in Dallas, but it's hard to see how she is and see the stress my aunts and their families go through while they take turns caring of her. She doesn't know who I am at all. She hasn't known for years. It doesn't get any easier trying to accept that fact.

So, today wasn't really a fun fact. But that's some of the background behind Ba's character.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #10: Mary vs. Me

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Drawing Hands by M.C. Escher.
Today's fun fact was inspired by a question that comes a lot in interviews I've done for book blogs, and that is what are some of the characteristics I share with the characters I create. It's a fun question to answer (all of the questions that have ever been sent my way have been fun, actually), so I thought I'd list a few things here that the MC of Radiant, Mary, and I share or differ upon.

1. Art - Mary's been painting since she was very young. I didn't start painting until a couple years ago, but I've been drawing for years. I don't have formal training, though. Suffice it to say, Mary is WAY better at making art than I am.

2. Video Games - Mary doesn't like them, but I do, particularly if there is any racing or fantastic battles involved. My freshman year in college was the last time I was able to really play video games (not counting social times, like Wii bowling with friends, etc.), because shortly after that was when I started writing my first full manuscript, and that pretty much ate up whatever time I had left after studies and hanging with friends.

3. Noisy Neighbors Upstairs - Mary has neighbors with noisy kids upstairs. My current apartment is on the ground floor, and there's a couple living above me. The dude is kinda overweight and the girl is toothpick thin, but they both sound like elephants when they walk around. They don't bother me though, since their walking is the only thing I hear from them, and that helps me know that they're still alive and I don't have to call management or paramedics or anything.

4. Spicy Food - Mary likes her food hot, but I tend to like mine on the mild to medium side. I enjoy my food when it's not causing me pain.

5. School - Mary goes to a private prep school, but I went to public school. I almost went to a private all-girls school when my mom and stepdad married, but some unexpected things happened shortly after that, and I stayed in public school until graduation. The descriptions of Sci-Tech ("...pimple of a concrete structure that was all age and no charm..."), however, describe several of the buildings I had classes in when I was at university.

6. Reading - Mary doesn't like reading, but I do (obviously). And while English is hell for Mary, that was my strongest class in school.

7. Ethnicity - Mary's mixed, but I'm not. Both of my parents and both sets of my grandparents are Vietnamese.

8. Driving - Mary is 17 and doesn't have her license, but I had my permit at 15 and my license by 16. Not having a car is not really an option where I live, because everything you need to get to is kinda far away.

9. Sayings - If you ever talk to any of my friends or certain family members, they can tell you that things like "Captain obvious," "jack ugly," "pimple of a [car, house, building, etc.]" are things that I really do say. I'm not very original, so I'm sure I heard most of those things from someone else before. But once in a while, when circumstances demand, I'll just say something like what I mentioned.

10. Traveling - Due to certain revelations in Radiant, Mary gets to travel all over the globe. My father used to work as a software engineer for American Airlines, so my brother and I used to fly standby with him for free whenever we saw him on the weekends. We flew all over the U.S. and had a lot of fun until AA laid off him and a bunch of other people (jerks). That was also before the stupid TSA crap that we deal with today. Anyway, despite having to have nudy x-rays taken of me or scary women grope about my lady parts for explosives, I still enjoy traveling once in a while, though I've only been overseas once to London. I'm hoping that I'll be able to travel to more countries soon.

And that's it for now! Launch is in a few days!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #9: What's in a Name?

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

From Flickr.
Today's fun fact is about the names of some of the characters, their meanings (as far as I understand), and why I chose them.

When I'm naming characters in a book, I like to browse sites like Behind the Name. Especially with BtN, it lists name meanings, origins (if known), and variations.

Mary - Her name could mean "wished for child" or "beloved." Once you read the part of the book on how she was born, you'll understand why I chose that name for her.

Carter - It means "one who uses a cart." (Duh.) But I chose to name him this because he's a vessel for the possessing thing. Cart? Carry? Get it? Yeah, it's not as clear cut, but I didn't want to name him "Potter" or "Tea cup" or "Gravy Boat."

Colette - Mary's mom's name is a derivative of Nicolette, is a feminized version of Nicholas, which is made of two words that mean "victory" and "people." Mary's mom is inspired by several stories from different women I've encountered over the years who have been victorious over many struggles. I hope the choice for her name honors them.

George - His name is made up of two words meaning "earth" and "work." George was a farmer when he was young, so that's why he's named that.

Sienna - She likes Italian things, so she's named for a the Italian town Siena, which is known for the orange-red colored clay there.

David - I didn't really name David's character because of the meaning. I named him because David is my brother's name, and I wanted to name a cool kid after him.

Scotty - This is another character I named not necessarily for the meaning, but for a person I once knew. Scotty had Down Syndrome. A few years ago, he went to sleep one night but never woke up again. I wanted to remember him in this character.

Mayim - Means "water" in Hebrew. Read the book and you'll know quickly why I named her that.

Phos - Means "light" in Greek. I won't tell more about this character here, but consider the fact that "light" exists in different wavelengths, not all of which can be detected by the human eye.

And that's it for now! Release date is coming up fast!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Radiant EXCERPT #4

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Today's post is not a fun fact, but letting you know that all the sample chapters are available on WattPad now. Enjoy!

*UPDATE* Now that the full digital book is on sale, I've taken the Wattpad excerpts down. Chapter samples are available at most ebook retailers.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #8: Playlist

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Today's fun fact is not really about the book, but it's about a couple songs I really liked listening to while I was going through the revision process.

"Feel Again" is a single that will be on OneRepublic's new album Native, which is supposed to go on sale in March. While I like the studio version of this song, I love this acoustic version that the guys did at SiriusXM last year.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good cello sound. Anyway, the words and melody really harmonize well with the the major themes in Radiant.

Other songs I really like that go along with the book's themes are I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz, The Unknown by Athlete, Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave, Little Wonders by Rob Thomas (of Matchbox 20), and Never Once by Matt Redman (okay, maybe that last one was more for me as I was working through some personal issues).

That's it for today! Launch date's getting close. Looking forward to it :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Radiant FUN FACT #7: Italian Hell

Image courtesy of
New American Library.
My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Today's fun fact is about the first book mentioned in Mary's English class. Mary's not really one for words or reading, and on her first day back at school, her class reads a book about "Italian hell." If you've ever read the medieval poet Dante Alighieri's Inferno, which is the first book in The Divine Comedy, then you know that was the book she meant.

Unlike Mary, I actually enjoyed reading Inferno in high school. And I did have a teacher named Ms. Heck, but I read the book the year before I was in her class. She was a little strange.

That wasn't really a fun fact. More like a random fact. I'll try better tomorrow. Until then!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Radiant EXCERPT #3

My latest YA novel, Radiant, releases on February 12! Until then, I'm posting one fun fact a day about the book.

Today's post is not a fun fact, but another note that more chapters are available on WattPad. Hope you like them!

*UPDATE* Now that the full digital book is on sale, I've taken the Wattpad excerpts down. Chapter samples are available at most ebook retailers.