Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amanda Alvarez blog tour and giveaway!!!!

I'm really excited today to have Amanda Alvarez join me on my blog! We're talking about the release of her debut book, Hunting Human. It's a wonderful paranormal werewolf story - you will have to read my review at the bottom!

My Writing Process – Or More Accurately, Writing Process Where Are You???

My debut release, Hunting Human, has been a project of discovery from the very beginning. There were discoveries I expected to make: whether or not I could write a book, whether or not I like writing a book, whether or not I could finish a book, etc. There were also discoveries I was looking forward to: would my characters “speak to me” (er, no, except occasionally to yell at me), which characters would be the easiest to write (will you run screaming if I say that my maniacal villain was the definition of easy – his scenes were the ones I edited the least). But there was one discovery I wanted to make above all: I really, really wanted to find my writing process. Unfortunately, this just didn’t pan out in the way that I thought it would.

Let’s rewind just a bit, okay? Hunting Human isn’t just my debut release; it’s the first book I ever wrote. It all started with a kernel of an idea, which became this scene:

For one agonizing moment, Liz let everything she’d tried so desperately to ignore rush over her. The horror and disbelief was nauseating. The fear and desperation consumed her until nothing but the harsh static of panic-induced white noise filled her brain. She braced her hands on her knees and tried to breathe around the sob clogging her throat.

What are we going to do?

We’re helpless out here, prey for men more terrifying than I’ve ever imagined.

The helplessness cleared away some of the fear and panic clouding her mind, replacing it with a hollow depression.

What chance do we have?

The enormity of the situation dragged her under, threatening to drown her where she stood.

This first scene occurred to me in 2006, at the back of my constitutional law class as I fought the onset of a post lunch, afternoon snooze fest. I didn’t think much about this after that; it just sort of tumbled around my head for months. Those months turned into years. It wasn’t until 2008, when I’d been out of school and in the work force that I decided I wanted to try out novel writing. That’s when I put the first scene down on paper and discovered a tiny piece of my ever evolving writing process: I can’t write out of order. I must start at the beginning and write through to the end. This proved to be especially vexing for me because I don’t think in order. The more I contemplated my book, the more scenes would come to me but never in chronological order. This scene, for instance, was constantly on the tips of my fingers:

Oh. My. God.”

Braden groaned as his twenty-two-year-old kid sister bounced into the room, tossing her gym bag onto one of the barstools next to him.

Did I hear Chase right?” Lucy asked, as usual, practically bouncing with barely restrained energy. “Did you bring a woman home in your trunk? What? Couldn’t get your girlfriend to meet the parents any other way?”

Something in Braden’s expression must have given away how close to the mark Lucy was because she burst out laughing. “Oh my God! You did not bring the girl you’ve been seeing home in the trunk of your car?” When he didn’t respond, Lucy looked around, eyes landing on Chase, who’d followed her into the kitchen. “Chase?”

And Chase, the bastard, who’d never been able to deny Lucy anything, smiled.

Over the next couple of years I threw myself into the process of learning to write a novel. I started out in a local community college and then moved over to a specialized program offered by Southern Methodist University. I also discovered the second tiny little kernel of knowledge about my writing process: I couldn’t write every day, I wrote in bursts, sometimes small (several days a month that resulted in two or three chapters) and sometimes large (a month and half that took my work in process from 27k words to 95K words.)

So from start (the first tiny idea) to finish (the acquisition call) my first book took me four years to write, polish, submit and sell. I started writing my second novel almost immediately. I thought, ‘hey, cool, I can write a novel. The second is just bound to be loads easier because now I have a process!’ Yeah. That was clearly a lot of wishful thinking on my part. The truth is, I didn’t have a process, what I had was a couple of tiny realizations, a ton of tools for writing a story that I hadn’t had the first time, a good idea of what not to do and no idea of how to proceed. That realization was agonizing. Maybe I wasn’t a writer after all. Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe one book is all I would ever have…

And then, slowly but surely I worked my way through the beginning of my next project. I took out the tools I’d acquired while writing my first book, dusted them off and started – through trial and error – to figure out how to use them. I’m still writing my second book and I’m gaining momentum every day. Best of all, I’m discovering new, tiny bits of my writing process. And I’m coming to the realization that it may take a ton of books to find my process, to hit my professional stride. And slowly, ever so slowly, I’m getting used to that idea and looking forward to the challenge.

What about you? As writers, creatives, or just in everyday life, do have a set process, or do you find it’s always evolving, changing and challenging you?

You can find Amanda Here: On The Web, Facebook, Twitter

Hunting Human Can Be Bought Here: Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


For two years, Beth Williams has run from the past, and the beast that dwells inside her. She is haunted by memories of being kidnapped and the savage attack that killed her best friend. Now Beth finally thinks she's ready to move on...with Braden Edwards, a charming, irresistibly sexy man who tempts Beth to embrace the present.

But the past lurks closer than Beth realizes. Markko Bolvek, one of the werewolves who kidnapped her, has tracked her to Portland, Oregon, his pursuit fueled by a hunger for vengeance. Only Braden, a werewolf himself, senses the danger shadowing her steps. The Edwards and Bolveks have been enemies for centuries and despite the instant connection he feels with Beth, Braden isn't sure which side of the war she's on.

With suspicion at odds with their attraction, Beth and Braden must learn to trust one another to stop Markko for good. Can Beth accept the wolf within and love a man who embodies everything she fears?


Wow, I was really impressed with this book. I couldn't put it down, so I'm giving it 5 stars! I was pulled in right away after I started reading it. Emotions run high in this book, and it was as if I could feel what Beth was feeling. Without giving too much away, Beth lives through a terrible ordeal and has to go through life alone afterward. She is such a strong character - you have to really admire her. Finally she meets Braden and there is an instant connection there. The relationship progresses quickly and you can feel the passion between them. There were some romantic, swoonworthy moments. After it seems like things couldn't get better for Beth, a huge misunderstanding happens between her and Braden. He behaves like an idiot - which is sort of comical. Beth, being a typical woman, can't let it go - even after Braden apologizes and tries so hard to make it up to her. She distances herself from him emotionally - but I love it because
that's exactly how a woman would react in real life. There was a lot of back and forth with her emotions - wanting to forgive him and refusing to let herself - so there were a lot of fighting and hurt feelings between the two. That made the relationship feel that much more real. Even though Braden deserves to feel tortured for a little while, you can't help but feel sorry for him. He is such a likeable guy. The end of the book just went way too fast for me - I wanted to keep
reading and find out more. I just loved all of the characters in this book (besides the villains) and I really want to know more about them. I really hope this will be a series - and soon!

Trust me, you'll want to read this book! Also, Amanda is graciously giving a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter throughout the blog tour! You will have to check out the other stops along to tour HERE. Also, make sure you leave your email address so we can get in touch with you in case you are the winner! Thanks so much Amanda for stopping by my blog!


  1. this book sounds great! congrats to you, Amanda!!

    americangirlie1991 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Congrats on the release, Amanda! Your book sounds great. As for writing process, I write a little bit everyday (or try to) but it's a lot of slow progress mixed in with bursts of inspiration and productivity.

  3. Congrats on the release of your first novel and thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I can't wait to read this, it sounds great!


  5. Wow! Sounds like a great book. You seemed to really enjoy it. Great cover too.

  6. This book sounds amazing. I so am going to read it soon. Thank you for this giveaway.


  7. This sounds like a good book. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

    sgiden at

  8. Lindsaywrites - Thank you!

    Eleri - I wish my process were firmer and faster. But I'm getting more comfortable with it day by day. And aren't those bursts of inspiration and creativity great? They save my sanity.

    Truly Bookish - Thank you!

    LARtRandom - I hope you enjoy it. Thanks!

    J.L. Jackson - Thanks! And I loved the cover too!

    Chi Kittie - I hope you enjoy the read!

    SandyG265 - Thank you, I hope you enjoy it!

  9. I really loved the synopsis and have added this to my TBR list on Goodreads!

    As for a writing process, at this point I have scenes/multiple scenes written for six or seven storylines! After that I can never think of exactly where to go from there or how to even start the story, so I just think eventually I'll go back to them. (hopefully!)

  10. Cindy - I think timing has so much to do with what project to work on. :) I'm sure you'll get back to those scenes when you're ready.

    I hope you enjoy Hunting Human when you get to it!

  11. Hi Amanda,

    Happy release week, and big congrats on the fabulous review. As for your question, I am definitely a creature of habit, and like my day to progress according to my master plan, lol.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  12. I have yet to read Amanda's work, but 5 star reviews get my attrntion. I will be adding Hunting Human is going on my wish list.

  13. Hi Cathy - I love a master plan - I just can't seem to implement it. :)

    Rain - The review was lovely - I hope you enjoy the book!

  14. Hi Amanda! Great post. It's always cool to see inside someone's process. I also love the premise of the book and the blurbs. I'll be buying my copy tonight!

    As for my writing process? It's very linear. Like you, I can't write scenes but have to start at the beginning and write. I don't plot much. I start with an idea and begin writing, taking notes as I go in order to keep things straight, and unfolding the story, layer by layer as I discover the characters. Often I'll play the "Why?" game, answering "why" questions about my characters to learn more of their back stories and to keep progress moving forward.

    Best of luck in your writing career. It looks like you're off to a great start!

  15. Fantastic author post and review! I love knowing how authors get from point a (idea kernel) to point b (published book) especially because I'm working on one myself. Sounds like a really great book too!

  16. Congrats Amanda. I always enjoy reading the writing process of others! I mostly write out of order. But, when I'm putting it all together at the end, I kick myself for NOT writing in sequence. It's funny, though, how all the scenes do come together eventually.

    Best of luck!

  17. MadDabbler - Thank you for the purchase, I hope you enjoy it! And I envy you, a lot of times I wish I could just sit down and write but I have to know where I am going. I guess the upside is that it makes the revisions and editorial processes easier. :)

    Jenny - Thank you! I'm still fascinated by how writers write. Best of luck to you on your writing adventures.

    Louisa - Thank you for stopping by. I think we all get there with enough time and thought, no matter what order we go in and I can't help but thinking we all have a little bit of "the grass is always greener" when it comes to writing processes. :)

  18. I love the cover, the blurb and the giveaway
    anacasamadrid at hotmail dot com

  19. Very interesting to read about your process. I'm still trying to work out my writing process. Book 1 was written so quickly, I thought wow I'm onto something here. But Book 2 took longer and Book 3 aaaaah - I'm still struggling with that. Funny thing is, people seem to enjoy the mss I struggle with better than the ones that come easily. Best wishes for "Hunting Human" (Love that title.)

  20. I love werewolves. I'll have to check this book out.
    As a readers I'm oftened amazed at how authors come up with their stories and characters.
    Good luck with the blog tour.

  21. I really want to read it. Awesome.

  22. Since I don't seem to have a creative bone in my body, I'm fascinated when writers talk about their own writing process. It sounds like you've got some good insights into what works for you, now you just have to refine them. Best wishes on the book. It sounds great and I'd love to read it.

    jen at delux dot com

  23. Really starting to look forward to this a lot :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  24. Congrats on your book. The more i read about this book the more i want to read it.

    jennifer.kalman at gmail dot com

  25. Your book sounds really great! Thank you so much for the giveaway.

    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  26. Congratulations!! With the number of authors in the world, it is truly an accomplishment to get a book published. Looking forward to reading this one! :-)
    reducefootprints at gmail dot com

  27. Awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by! Your book sounds really good, and I can't wait to read it! Congrats on the debut and hopefully this is the beginning of a looooong and fruitful career! Thanks! :)

  28. The book sounds great! It got a 5 star rating here and thats usually how I pick new books! Hopefully I will get a chance to read it soon!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu