Monday, December 24, 2012

Ever: Chapter 1

Surprise! For the last few weeks, I've been working on the first chapter of For Ever -- only from Ever's perspective! (I'm still working on the third book in The Ever Series, but Ever's chapter is my little holiday season present to For Ever's super fans.)

***DISCLAIMER: This free chapter contains language that may not be suitable for all readers. Discretion is advised.***

Click the cover to the left for a first look at Ever! If there's enough demand, I'll start working on the full-length book, so let me know what you think in the poll to the right!!!

Again, I'm still hard at work on the third book, but I hope Ever's chapter is a welcome distraction.

Happy Holidays!

CJ






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"A love letter" to For Ever's fans

I recently took a little break from the third book in The Ever Series to work on what someone (she knows who she is) called "a love letter to For Ever's fans." It's just the start of something, and I'm going to be putting it up for free on Amazon and -- most likely -- here very soon. Sort of an early Christmas present to those of you interested in "the other side" of For Ever. (Ha! I think I just gave away the surprise.)

Depending on the response I get, I may think about making this my next project. We'll see. And for those of you who have reached out, thank you! It is so appreciated. It keeps me going on the days I've thought about quitting.

I hope everyone has been having a safe and happy holiday season.

Best wishes,
CJ


Thursday, December 13, 2012

For those of you who have read For Ever

A dear, sweet friend sent this to me as a present, and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing a picture, because I was just too excited when I opened it up! For those of you who have read For Ever, do you recognize this???



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I saw Ever last night

Last night, I could have sworn I saw Ever. It was eerie. I was driving by the gas station on the way to the store, and I looked over. There was a guy leaning against the wall at the side of the gas station, and for that half second I just thought, "Oh, whoa! Ever ..."

Hmm, maybe he's out there somewhere, sprung from my imagination. Shivers.

Plus, I started a super secret project over the weekend that I'm kind of in love with! (Yes, it's Ever-related!) Unfortunately, it's been distracting me from the third book in The Ever Series, which is not good. I may have more details by the weekend.

;-)
CJ

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weird little things that have inspired The Ever Series

Inspiration. It can come from the strangest places, people we knew when we were younger, a song, a particular incident that stays with us forever. ... Likewise, some scenes and/or aspects of For Ever and Never have been inspired by some very random things:
a-ha's iconic Take on Me music video: If you haven't seen it, search for it on YouTube. Favorite video of all time!

Sonic Youth's The Diamond Sea: Listen to the lyrics! They are so eerie. Love 'em! I had to buy the music video on iTunes because I love the song so much. (If you've read For Ever, what do they remind you of?)

Nearly drowning at West Street Beach in Laguna: I grew up near there.

Growing up in Southern California and moving to Portland, Ore.: Big weather change; love PDX!
 
A high school crush*: He totally had no idea!

The little boy who lived down the street from me: He was really talented (and so cute), but also kind of off in his own world (like Ever).

Falling off a slide in Venice Beach: It was one of those playground slides that twists around. I had been racing my younger brother to the top when I lost my balance. ... I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. Very much like Wren and the drunk driver, I had this crystal clear moment where I thought I could reach up and grab the bar before falling. Then I felt my back connect with the metal slide and a second later my hands slapped the metal as well. OUCH! I had the wind completely knocked out of my when my mother turned around, so all I could do was cry, gasp, and limp toward her (she had been facing the other direction). She totally panicked! I must have looked like a zombie, moaning and gasping. LOL. But this is the one and only time I can remember time actually slowing down in my head, which led me to connect it to the next event, which happened to me in high school before I had my driver's license ...

Nearly getting hit by a car on a city street in Santa Monica, Calif.: My fault, not a drunk driver! My friend and I were about to miss the last bus to her house, and I dashed across the street against the light. A car literally came within a foot of hitting me. Totally thought I was going to die. SO stupid! I always wait for the light now.

The mean girls: Yeah, I went to school with them. Didn't everyone? I have too many bad stories to share here. Wren's run-in with the mean girls was actually pretty tame compared to some of the stuff I saw.

Those guys: You know the ones. They're the guys that you pass on the street. They look at you in a way that makes your skin crawl, and you can nearly see what's going on in their heads. They are the ones that when you see them, your brain screams, "Run!" I had an incident recently where I thought, "If I had been alone like Wren, this would've been bad." Shiver.

Tragic endings across all different genres and age ranges (For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audry Niffenegger, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Love Story by Erich Segal ... There was even a James Bond novel I read in junior high school that left me crying at the end; I pay a little tribute to it in Never.) My advice? Do not read these without a box of tissue paper!

Long, silly crush-related story ahead ...


Friday, November 30, 2012

Obsessed with things that get canceled too early, don't end well

I think I've known I have a problem for a long time. I have this tendency to get way too invested in books, shows, etc. that don't end well or get canceled too early. Seriously. I think it's a condition.

I think it all started with Tuck Everlasting, which I've mentioned a couple of times on the blog. I remember sitting in my elementary school classroom as the teacher read the book, transfixed by this boy (and his family) who never aged. It was such a bittersweet story. In the end, I was so angry! I was like, "Winnie, you freaking fool!" Later, I got author Natalie Babbitt's point, but I'm still a little raw over it.

Let's see. I'm doing this randomly, some shows I liked more than others, and there are more that I'm not remembering, so I'll update this later! First, I was obsessed with the short-lived (but awesome) My So-Called Life with Claire Danes. Still love it. One of the songs on that show's soundtrack is on perma-play on my iTunes. It just ended with no resolution. Yet again bittersweet and disturbing ending. Another show that I became briefly fixated on was Veronica Mars with Kristen Bell (via Netflix) -- mostly because of the relationship between the eponymous character and Logan Echolls (played by Jason Dohring). I wanted another season so badly, because the third just ruined it for me. Slightly more recently (and more adult-themed), was Moonlight. I have to give it to Australian actor Alex O'Loughlin (now of Hawaii Five-0) for making Mick St. John's vampire main character deliciously brooding. Ironically, Jason Dohring found his way to this extremely short-lived show as well.

Now, one show's early cancellation really broke my heart even though I had never actually watched it while it was on the air. I had heard about it, but never gave it much thought until years after it had already been cancelled by Fox. (Grrrr.) Said show was Firefly. The entire show, in my opinion, was a masterpiece, a strange blend of Western, Sci-Fi, socio-political commentary, comedy, drama -- and romance. It's been about a decade since Jewel Staite's Kaylee Frye and Sean Maher's Dr. Simon Tam had their will they/won't they almost-romance, but the show had so many great moments between them that I'll regret not getting to see what would have happened given more time. Yeah, yeah. I've seen Serenity. It was great, and I loved it, though not as much as the show itself. And I'm sincerely grateful to Joss Whedon for pulling it off, thereby giving me my abbreviated, bittersweet happy ending. I still mourn the loss of the show, and I have since discovered that I'm not the only one. It touched a lot of people, including those who never would have thought to watch a Sci-Fi Western.

My hope is that The Ever Series strikes a chord with a few people like some of these shows touched me.

For Ever's names continued

For Ever's names (cont.):

Wren: I had a bit of luck with her name. When I started writing, I spent a lot of time looking at a baby names Web site. Looking for my main character's name, I happened to see that the "name of the day" on one of the sites was Wren, or "small bird." I thought of my character, unassuming but watchful and cautious around others. Then, when I found the last name Sullivan, it just fit. No specific meaning. It just was "Wren."

Alistair, Chasen, Audra, and Persephone: For all of Ever's immortal compatriots, I went straight to searching for names with particular meanings. We only meet Alistair briefly by the end of the book, but he is, for all intents and purposes, introduced as the front man. He's college age or a little older, and he appears to be a leader in the group (when in reality I see them as equals, despite their varying temperaments). The meanings behind Alistair seemed to lean toward "defender of the people," a concept I played with in the second book (see the spoiler after the jump). For Chasen, his name was pretty straightforward. It's a modern, more American take on Chase, meaning "hunter." No explanation needed. Audra, another American name, means "noble strength." I see Audra as beautiful, noble, aristocratic, unbending, and harsh. I took Persephone's name straight out of Greek mythology. She is a minor character in the first book, though I really played with her name in a way that becomes much more apparent in the second book.

Ashley, Josh, Taylor, Lindsay, and Marcus: For Wren's group of friends, the people who welcome her on her first day, I went straight to the U.S. Social Security Administration's Web site to find age-appropriate names.

Caroline: For Wren's mom, I did the same thing (the SSA's Web site). And again, her name just fit.

Iago: Well, that's a long story. If you want to read more about For Ever's eleventh-hour villain, it's probably best if you've read both For Ever and Never ...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How I chose For Ever's names: Ever

Names are really important. In a lot of ways they shape who we are. You can love your name, hate it, change it -- but it's meaningful any way you look at it. I found the names for the characters through tireless searching or total luck.

Ever first ...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Announcing For Ever's raffle winners

My head is spinning. I recently got back from California (Northern and Southern in one long trip), and I'm a little out of it, not unlike Wren. Before moving to Portland, Ore., I lived all around CA. It's part of what inspired For Ever -- as well as many, many parts of Never. Growing up, I never felt quite right in Southern California, despite my love of sunshine. (I know, I know! Why'd I move to Portland, right?)

While it's always nice to go back and visit, I realize now that I could never go back and live in any of the places I did growing up. The list of cities is long and spans Orange County, L.A. County, and Ventura County. Then, later, Yolo County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and even San Diego County (briefly). Moving, for me, is liberating or traumatic -- or both.

All right! Enough rambling out of me! After a good long break from typing and computer screens, I'm back home in Portland, and it's time for me to buckle down and get rolling on the third book in The Ever Series. But first, I would like to congratulate the winners of the first raffle on the blog. Your enthusiasm for Ever ... I mean, your enthusiasm for The Ever Series is very much appreciated, and you have my sincerest gratitude!

The winners are:
Hillary R. -- Signed paperback proof!
Amanda P. -- First chapter of the third book in The Ever Series
Cara -- First chapter of the third book in The Ever Series
G.S. -- First chapter of the third book in The Ever Series

Keep an eye out for e-mails from me. Hillary, I hope you enjoy the first book. Everyone else, have fun with a little taste of the third!

Best wishes,
CJ

Friday, November 16, 2012

For Ever Giveaway #1 starts 11/16

Yay! My first raffle/giveaway on the blog! Keep in mind that these are (obviously) of more sentimental value than anything, and the rough first chapter of the third book in The Ever Series is most appropriate for those who have already read -- or plan to read -- For Ever and Never.

More giveaways on the horizon. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tidbits

It seems like forever (no pun intended) since Never went live on Amazon. I guess a lot's happened in my little world since then, and I haven't quite caught up. Quitting coffee over the weekend (l-o-o-o-o-n-g story) didn't help matters. :-/

On to some news ... First, I'm working on getting Never up on Barnes & Noble. Will post when I do. And I'm also looking into Smashwords. Last but not least, I'm also hoping to have the paperback versions of For Ever and Never available with their spiffy new covers.

 Even more exciting ... I'm also working on the third book in The Ever Series. I'm roughly a quarter of the way through the first draft. The question is: can anyone guess the title?

For those of you who have purchased Never, I hope you're enjoying it! Got my first review on Amazon, which made me absolutely giddy with happiness since I now know for sure that one person out there really loved For Ever's sequel! And like I said before, sometimes I think I'm writing for just one person. I still hope that a lot of people out there love Never. I had a great time writing it. And the end totally made me cry, but I cried at the end of For Ever, too. I do that a lot, I guess. ;-)

Last but not least, I'm working on some ideas for a raffle. It all depends on how it goes with the paperback copies. However, if it doesn't look like those will be finalized before the end of the year, first I'll scream. Then I'll probably just raffle off an Amazon GC. Those of you who are visiting the blog regularly deserve a little holiday season bonus!

Dark and stormy looking in Portland, Oregon. Hmm. Guess it's time to spend the next three months writing the third book. Title coming soon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Question for Barnes and Noble readers

Never is officially, officially available for purchase on Amazon (Yay! I beat my projected 2013 release date by a mile!), and right now For Ever is for sale on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Now, here's the thing ... I've been going back and forth between either releasing Never on Barnes & Noble or making both titles exclusive to Amazon.

For anyone who has purchased For Ever on B&N already, are you interested in Never? Let me know: author (at) cjvalles (dot) com

And those of you who already have Never in your hands, thank you a million times for your support! It means a lot, and I hope you enjoy the roller coaster ride!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Never is HERE

Yep, I'm sick to my stomach with nerves. ;-) Never is officially "In Review" on Amazon, which means that sometime within the next 12 hours it will be available for purchase. And I pretty much nailed it: 10:30 at night on a Sunday, the same way For Ever got published: with my husband pressing my finger down on "Publish" because I wouldn't do it! I'll link the page here when it's live.

To my super fans, let me know what you think, and thank you again for all the enthusiasm and well wishes!

Happy reading!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Will Never come out this weekend?

Okay, so the title of this post might be the biggest teaser ever, but the answer to that question is: I sure hope so! As I type this, the man behind the scenes is running through the result of my last fit of editing (which happened to increase the length of For Ever's sequel by at least 15 pages). Plus, I told him if he doesn't hurry up, that I'm going to post his e-mail address. ;-) No. Actually, I just went and harassed him again, and he said it's looking quite possible that he'll finish with my edits today.

Which means ... All the pieces are in place. The cover is done, the final edits are this close to being tweaked/incorporated. So, please cross your fingers for me, and I'll give another status report shortly.

If Never does get published on Amazon, it will likely be at 10:30 at night tomorrow (Sunday), the same way I published For Ever -- full of nerves, excitement, regret, and nausea, making it available Monday at the earliest. If it gets delayed, I'll aim for next weekend. But I really, really hope that Never will be released sooner rather than later!

Yep, totally nerves, excitement, and nausea. (No regret, yet!) Maybe that means I'll actually get Never out this weekend (way earlier than my projected February 2013 date) ... or I'll just have a monumental freakout! One or the other.

Stay tuned!

CJ

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

For Ever's quiz on Goodreads

Just made up a For Ever quiz on Goodreads and had fun with a couple of the "wrong" answers. ;-) Super easy! I'll try a harder one for Never!

http://www.goodreads.com/quizzes/21459-how-well-do-you-know-for-ever

Monday, October 29, 2012

The perils of editing (plus a teaser!)

Okay, my brain is a little on the scrambled side, so I can't remember if I mentioned it on the blog, but last week -- through the entire weekend -- I reviewed Never. It was supposed to be my last read through. Um, yeah. This is the problem with me and editing. ... I ended up tacking on an addition 15 pages or so to the book! Lots and lots of red track changes. This is how it went: Read two sentences on my Kindle. Rewrite two sentences on my computer. And so on for 300-plus pages.

The good news is that during my tinkering, I caught some additional errors -- I'm amazed at what I find when I'm reading on the Kindle as opposed to MS Word -- and ended up adding another scene at the end and drawing out a couple of the other scenes.

And let's just say that I also added some more spice. ;-) Air conditioning was definitely necessary by the time I finished.

The bad news is that I have to have someone double-check my track changes, because even if I re-read everything twice while I'm editing, there are always some mistakes that my tired brain doesn't catch! When I first started editing last week, I thought I was actually going go get the book up on Amazon over the weekend. Turns out I was being a little bit ambitious. No worries, though. I am still working as hard as I can to get the book out early!

To For Ever's super fans (I think you know who you are!), you guys are the best! Thanks again for all the encouragement. Never will be in your hands soon!

And now ... a little taste of spice:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Never's teaser of the week

I hope everybody enjoyed the first chapter of Never! I'm still working on getting the book out early, so stay tuned!

Now, here's the regular old weekly teaser ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For Ever is back ... on B&N

For Ever is available on the Nook again ... with its pretty (new) cover and everything!

Click here to go to the sales page on B&N.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

COVER REVEAL: Never

Drum roll, please. At long last, here it is ... Never's cover (after the jump). I, for one, am in love with Ever. Let me know what you think in the comments!

And ... check back soon for the first chapter of Never!

CJ

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This week's teaser has a little more meat ;-)

I've been holding off on releasing a bunch of Never-related news because some stuff has been going on that has been making me a little cranky (see: book piracy and the never-ending headache it gives me). That said, I do (potentially) have some good news .

On the bright side,  Never's teaser for this week is a tiny bit juicier than usual. ...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Never's latest weekly teaser

Okay, so For Ever's new cover is up on Amazon! And call me obsessive if you'd like, but I keep going to look at it. I also have ... drum roll, please ... Never's final cover, which just feels strange, because the book itself is only halfway through the editing process.

As for the cover, do you ever get something that you've been holding your breath for, then it's even better than you imagined, and suddenly you just want to hold onto it a little longer? So, I'm going to wait a bit. I'm actually hoping to post all of Chapter 1 of Never soon. It won't be the final-final, but close enough. Maybe I'll post the cover and first chapter together. It's funny, because I've been done with the first draft of Never for nearly two months -- and I'm about 1/5 of the way done with the third book in the series.

I am ... all over the place. Now, here's the latest teaser:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yay!

For Ever's new (finally finalized!) cover will go up on Amazon tonight! So pretty!

Plus, my editor is halfway through Never. Believe me, if I could get out and push the proverbial car to make things go faster, I would!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Down the rabbit hole

As I'm writing The Ever Series -- currently working on the third and impatiently awaiting the finalized versions of For Ever's new cover and Never's yet-to-be shared cover -- I keep coming back to this ...

From Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" (1951):

Monday, October 8, 2012

Songs for write now

Tempano de hielo, Michandi Shalimar
Outro, M83
Seven Devils, Florence + The Machine
Elegia, New Order
Intro, The XX
Sexy Boy, Air

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why I love fiction

Is the end in sight?
I think part of the reason why I love fiction, particularly of the paranormal variety, is that the characters -- who they are, what they're fighting against, what they're trying to hide (or hide from) -- are operating outside of everyday life. Their problems feel grander -- and somehow less stressful -- than what we deal with in day-to-day lives. Everyday problems fall away as they worry about monsters, secret identities, secret powers, sacrificing themselves for the greater good, and maybe even the end of the world.

The journeys fictional characters take are epic, their romances are breathtaking, their tragedies are immense. And I love that stories can transport me anywhere. I definitely go through periods when I absolutely crave escape -- to another time, another place, another life. Don't get me wrong. I love my life, and I wouldn't swap it for a fictional character's (maybe there are a couple of exceptions!), but it's exciting, sometimes addicting, to slip into someone else's world for a few hours at a time.

I'm a little more than fifty pages into the third book in The Ever Series, and I can't wait to see where it will take me. My husband asked me the other day if I would be done after this book, and to be honest, after I wrote For Ever, I had moments when I thought it would be better to walk away from the entire thing, or maybe take it in-house and just write it for myself.

Now that I've started the third, I really feel like I've only scratched the surface of Wren and Ever's journey, but we'll see, because another great thing I've discovered is that the story goes where it wants.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Never's weekly teaser (cover soon)

Never's cover is pretty much done, and I can't help just staring at it. My designer added in some touches I wouldn't have thought of on my own -- and they're awesome.

And now, without further ado ...


*** Teaser ***
 

So close!

Love ... my ... designer! I am looking at the revised draft of Never's cover, and -- WOW. I'm so in love with the cover ... and Ever. Burning green eyes, and just the expression on his face -- it's totally perfect. I'm wrapping up the last little details for both covers, For Ever and Never. Soon they will be ready to release upon the world.

Also, the third book in The Ever Series is chugging right along. Be back soon with more news!

Monday, October 1, 2012

For Ever's new cover is almost done AND ...

YAY! My designer tells me that I'll be getting the draft artwork for Never's cover tonight.

Deep breath.

This means that I'll be getting my first look at Ever. Well, not the first look. After all, I was the one who spent hours and hours searching for the images to use on the covers. That said, I'm hoping that my designer has been able to work some magic on the pictures I found since they didn't fit perfectly with what I had in my head. Ever is perfect, after all, and it's hard to find perfection. Ultimately, I had to make some compromises, given that unlike For Ever's re-design, which just fell into place, Never's cover required some extra elbow grease.

Okay. Now, I am officially holding my breath until my designer sends me the first look at Never's cover.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The song that inspired For Ever

There was definitely some musical inspiration behind the writing of For Ever. I listen to a lot of music while writing. Two of the most influential bands, for me, have been The Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. However, there are a lot of bands whose entire catalog I don't own but I absolutely worship one or two of their songs.

One song in particular that inspired a great deal in For Ever -- particularly the very end -- came out while I was still in high school, 1995 to be exact. (I guess that reveals my age!) The album it's on is named after a household appliance, and it's by a band that was active nearly as long as I've been alive (1981 to 2011).

The sound of the song and its lyrics -- pretty much everything -- fit the last chapter of For Ever in so many ways.

So, can you guess the song?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tease! You're it

All right. So, I was going to do a teeny tiny one-line teaser of Never today, but I changed my mind! Plus, I'm hoping, not too far down the road, to tease Chapter 1 of Never (Emerge), but it'll have to wait. ... I hate waiting.

Without further ado ...

*** Teaser ***
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

For Ever's in-progress cover (re-design) reveal!!!

I am a very impatient person, so For Ever's newly redesigned cover art has been burning a hole in my brain! That said, those of you who are here because you took a chance on For Ever get to see the working cover re-design before it gets finalized and goes up on Amazon. (Take into account that this is still evolving, so some details may change. As soon as it's done-done, I'll put the real deal up.)

*** Cover reveal after the jump! ***

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Random weekly teaser

I just realized that the week is half over -- and I haven't done a weekly teaser for Never, which is still with the editor. On another note, I am very happy (and thoroughly relieved given the long break I took after finishing Never's first draft) to say that I've spent the past two days -- hoping to make this three -- working on the third book. And w-o-w. This one is already surprising me. But I can't give anything away, obviously, considering Never has yet to arrive.

Next up, I'm just dying to show off the concept art behind For Ever's cover redesign. My designer took an idea that I wasn't sure would work and made it look so awesome! Beautiful, colorful, haunting, creepy -- love it! And I'm going out of my mind waiting to see what he does with Never's cover. So exciting to get two covers back-to-back!

That's all for now! Well, except for this ...

*** Never's weekly teaser ***


Monday, September 17, 2012

For Ever's cover re-design to be unveiled (soon!)

I actually have two concepts in front of me right now, and while I will always be sentimental about the original cover, the new art just shows what a great graphic designer can do. I suppose I should look into doing a "cover reveal" with bloggers, but the book is already out. As soon as I get things nailed down, For Ever's new cover will be unveiled.

So awesome!!!

Let me know what you think when I post it. I, for one, love it. And Never's cover is coming soon. So much good stuff. It's really making what started out as a less than stellar Monday turn out to be pretty fantastic.

Teasers from Never later this week (have to pace myself!) ... Stay tuned.

Stories that never leave you

One of the very first classes I took in college was an intro to creative writing workshop that was being taught by a graduate student in the English program. Each week, she would assign us different stories to read. Then we'd talk about them. One would be used to teach about point of view. Another would be used to teach about unreliable narrators. You get the point.

There was a purpose behind each one. ... And it was in college that I learned I didn't always want to read with a purpose in mind. I want to be absorbed in what I'm reading, make random discoveries, think about the characters -- but I do not want to be on a mission to identify each instance of symbolism.

I try to write my stories in the same way -- with fresh eyes, wondering where they'll go. Did I know how For Ever would end when I started it? Not a clue. When I began, I kind of figured my story would have a happy ending. I really like happy endings. Because if nothing ever ends well, where's the hope?

For Ever and its characters had their own ideas, and that's why it ended the way it did. It didn't feel comfortable, tidy, and wrapped up. But it felt right in my head. It ended where it was supposed to.

Sigh. I've gotten off topic. Back to my freshman English workshop. Rather than reading the assigned material, I happened to flip to another story in our anthology, and I started reading it mostly because of the title -- "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Written by Joyce Carol Oates and published in 1966, the story was like a black hole. It sucked me in.

And the ending was so horribly creepy and unsettling that I became somewhat obsessed with Oates's story about fifteen-year-old Connie. It was written more than forty-five years ago, and I read it during college (more than fifteen years ago). I still think about it, though.

Some stories just never leave you, which I think is pretty awesome.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How I came to write For Ever for just one person

Okay, the title of my post is tongue-in-cheek. Sort of. ... Recently I told my husband (For Ever's first supporter) that it's fitting that I wrote this book for one person to love. And for the record, I wasn't talking about him. Reading a young adult paranormal romance doesn't rank very high on his list of entertaining activities.

I have always been better at one-on-one interactions. I don't do well in large groups, because (for me) it never feels like anything truly meaningful gets said. You can barely hear the person next to you, or you're more interested in the conversation taking place two seats down, or you end up making polite, bland chit-chat with someone you barely know.

Ultimately, I would just rather have that intense conversation off in a corner that nobody else but one other person is interested in. And after I received an e-mail from someone who really enjoyed For Ever, it finally clicked: I wrote my story the same way I like my interactions. One-on-one. If I attempted to write a story with universal appeal, I would probably fail miserably. So instead, I'll keep having conversations off in a corner with people who respond in kind.

The above photo is random, taken on vacation, but it's pretty, and I think it underscores the fact that beauty (and value) is in the eye of the beholder.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Outsider syndrome

I was born in Southern California and grew up there. More specifically, I spent most of my early childhood moving all over L.A. (and Orange) County. And I have to say, the reality shows that sprang up (The Hills, Laguna Beach, etc.) long after I moved away are a far cry from my life growing up. And while I've always loved warm weather -- and spent many long summers at the beach -- I've never felt "at home" where I was born.

When I was eighteen, I moved north for college and later made my way to the Bay Area, where I worked at newspapers, both as a clerk and a reporter, and then later, in public relations. (I am exceptionally grateful to my business owner/philanthropist uncle who let me live in a spare bedroom of his crazy, sprawling, funky house for the better part of a year while I made next to no money -- particularly because it was during this time that I met my husband!)

I have great memories and enduring fondness for the Bay Area, but it only took one weekend trip to Portland, Ore., to fall in love. Now, more than six years later -- even though I love it here -- I realize I may never feel completely at home, which is something I think comes out in everything I write and every character who possesses me to write his or her words.

As a result, For Ever and its characters are products of my own outsider syndrome.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For Ever’s Playlist

My playlist for The Ever Series is a constantly evolving thing. During the writing and editing For Ever (sequel is with the editor now!), I had a lot of songs on repeat and found that sometimes the lyrics fit a particular point in the story well. Other times, it was more the sound of a certain song. But overall, music is an integral part of my writing process, even though sometimes I don't even notice it's playing in the background!

I tend to gravitate toward stuff that isn’t top 40 (or at least isn’t anymore), and most of it’s a little eerie and/or sad. I always have iTunes going while I’m writing; it feels like something is missing if I don't. Then, when I’m not writing, I barely listen at all. Not sure why. I guess music equals inspiration and vice versa. I haven't listened to music much since finishing Never, but I'm planning to start up again -- soon -- for the third book.

So, if you're looking for a completely random list of songs, here it is:

Chapter 1: Smile Like I Mean It
- Smile Like You Mean It, The Killers

Chapter 2: This Is Nowhere
- Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans, Smashing Pumpkins

Chapter 3: Perfect
- Rest My Chemistry, Interpol

Chapter 4: Caring Is Creepy
- See My Friends, Gravenhurst

Chapter 5: Blank Page
- Rhinoceros, Smashing Pumpkins
- Right Where It Belongs, Nine Inch Nails

Chapter 6: Momentary Thing
- Elegia, New Order

Chapter 7: Run
- Jellybelly, Smashing Pumpkins
- Where Boys Fear to Tread, Smashing Pumpkins
- A Place to Hide, White Lies

Chapter 8: Tear Me Apart
- Death, White Lies

Chapter 9: Space Boy
- Alice, Cocteau Twins

Chapter 10: Disappear Completely
- Gasoline Rain, Moondog

Chapter 11: Love
- Minerva, Deftones
- Half of You, Cat Power

Chapter 12: Unfinished Business
- Popplagi›, Sigur Rós

Chapter 13: My Friends
- Kids, MGMT
- Young Folks, Peter Bjorn and John

Chapter 14: The Silence
- Everlong, Foo Fighters
- Intro, The XX

Chapter 15: Mirror
- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (Guess the song!)
- How to Disappear Completely, Radiohead

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Am I paranoid?

Yes, you're paranoid! Okay, unless you've listened to "Original Pirate Material" by The Streets (2002 -- that long ago?!), I guess my little inside joke makes no sense. But it gives me a laugh every time. Truth be told, most of my pop culture reference points are a little bit off the beaten path. However, I am indeed paranoid. About a great number of things, in fact. Call it my inherent neurosis.

To overcome this, when I published For Ever -- without an agent or a publisher -- I was very much like my MC Wren when she told herself that she didn't care if she sat alone at lunch for the rest of her junior year. I told myself that I didn't care if anyone read or liked For Ever. That was a big, fat lie. I care deeply, but I am not seeking universal applause. I'm hoping for about 50/50. I think eventually that's what it comes down to. Some people will love it; others not so much.

People have vastly different opinions, and the ones I'm hoping to reach are those who stay up all night reading before anxiously awaiting the next chapter in Wren and Ever's story -- you know who you are!

Never is going to be a wild ride, and I'm actually finding that I'm even more excited about this one than I was about For Ever. (I still love the first book, of course!) Ooh, and I almost forgot ... I'm going to be posting a playlist of some songs I had playing (over and over) while I wrote For Ever.

Quiet moments

When books get adapted into films, sometimes I find myself cringing. If I've never read the book in question, then fine. Whatever. I'll never know the difference. But if I've read a book and loved it, then I am usually afraid of the movie version. Part of me really wants to see it -- after all, who doesn't want to "see" what's only been imagined? But another part of me truly dreads the film version.

Because, more often than not, some of the magic (or all of it) has been wiped away. The scenes I held close to my heart aren't there. The lead actors don't seem to have the chemistry I envisioned in my head. Something extraneous gets added in to make the film more "action-packed" or more "marketable to the masses." Or everything feels rushed rather than fluid. For me, there's something special about the transitions and passage of time in certain books -- elements that tend to get chewed up and garbled in many film versions.

This is not to say that I loathe all adaptations! I love (and own) Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen (whose last name my fingers very persistently keep trying to misspell!). The movie was beautifully filmed, and it felt streamlined, not chopped. It had what I like to call "quiet moments." And in my mind, films -- action, drama, romance -- always need quiet moments. Moments where they're not jumping from plot point to plot point. I do enjoy when books and films race along and make you feel breathless ... but I need my quiet moments!

UK in the lead! (And a quick bonus thank-you teaser)

Presently, those of you across the pond are buying more copies of For Ever than my fellow Americans! (LOL) Did you hear about the book from a friend -- or are you just finding it by happenstance? Have you told your friends about it? I'm curious!

Either way, you have a special place in my heart. And because I just can't help myself ...

*** Compulsive Never teaser after the jump ***

(I'll start looking for some longer passages to tease after I get the working draft back from my editor. ... Let us hope that I don't run out of teasers before the book gets released!)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crashing back to reality

I had this crush in high school who was actually (in certain ways) the basis for Ever. Not so much in looks -- said crush had brown hair and piercing blue -- not green -- eyes. LOL

He showed up in the middle of sophomore year and was a bit of an enigma. And if he even looked in my direction, it was an adrenaline rush. For two and a half years, he totally dominated my thoughts. I obsessed ... and made everyone around me nuts. Like every crush, it was epic highs and crushing lows. Publishing For Ever has actually felt very similar!

Yesterday, after a grand high, I came crashing back to reality. Why? Because I had the brilliant idea to run a very last-minute free promotion on Amazon (thinking to myself, "Fewer people have been buying For Ever since August, so maybe its run is over ... let me test that theory."). By the end of the day (or as close to midnight as I got), For Ever had reached #13 in the Children's Love and Romance category (free) and #56 in the overall Children's Fiction category (free). Now, in my short foray in self-publishing, I know this is not a great feat. It's easy to give away free stuff. People love free stuff.

In the aftermath, I'm left with two questions: First, will anyone who downloaded a copy for free actually read it? And second, are the people who downloaded it for free the intended audience or simply people who like getting free stuff, regardless of whether or not it seems like something they would enjoy?

I just don't know; therefore, my experiment with free is over until I see compelling evidence (i.e. that someone who downloaded it for free read and enjoyed For Ever) to change my mind.

That said, I'm very grateful for the support of the readers who took a risk and splashed out the $0.99 (£0.77). (For those of you who have reached out to say a kind word, I am extra grateful.)



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Universal Applause is at least Two Thirds of a Scandal

When I forget that not everyone likes everything, I read this passage:
Books, and Dishes have this Common Fate; there was never any One, of Either of them, that pleas'd All Palates. And, in Truth, it is a Thing as little to be Wish'd for, as Expected; For, an Universal Applause is at least Two Thirds of a Scandal. So that though I deliver up these Papers to the Press, I invite no Man to the Reading of them: And, whosoever Reads, and Repents; it is his Own Fault. To Conclude, as I made this Composition Principally for my Self, so it agrees exceedingly Well with My Constitution; and yet, if any Man has a Mind to take part with me, he has Free Leave, and Welcome. But, let him Carry this Consideration along with him, that He's a very Unmannerly Guest, that presses upon another Bodies Table, and then Quarrels with his Dinner.
-- From the preface and postscript to the anthology Seneca's Morals by Way of Abstract, Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1673

(Yes, I am being very post-y today!)

Okay, sometimes you do get something for free ...

For Ever is up for free today on Amazon:

Get it here

Never is coming. Keep an eye out for Never's weekly teasers and more news! If you've already read For Ever -- and you're looking forward to Never(!!!) -- make sure to tell your friends:

www.facebook.com/c.j.valles4ever

You guys are the best!

Sometimes during this little self-publishing journey, I've felt like I'm on an island. Then this week, I received a note from another fan of For Ever. You guys are the best!!! Truly. I appreciate you taking a little time out of your day to say something nice! After all, you are the ones pushing me on this uphill battle. I can shout until I'm hoarse, I can tweet all I want, but people who enjoyed For Ever and are looking forward to Never (big shockers to come!) will be the ones who make the difference in the life of this book series.

That said, every time I get a piece of positive feedback, I want to post all the teasers for Never in one shot. I'm restraining myself, mostly because I've still got a ways to go. I just finished last night cleaning up the current draft and it's now been sent off to the next pair of eyes, which is one more pair of eyes than I had reading For Ever.

I also have some other news that I should probably wait to reveal, but I have zero patience -- so here it is: I am currently (very early) in the process of getting For Ever's cover redesigned. I'll post more about that as it develops. I really wish I could share some of the beautiful images I've been looking at. I want to use all of them, so I guess this series can never (tee hee) end. Let me know what you think about a cover redesign -- in the comments or at author@cjvalles.com.

And lastly, I have started the third book in The Ever Series. I hope to make some major headway on that as soon as I can make sure my schedule is clear for a strict write-a-thon.

All right, I'm weak. One more itty-bitty quote from Never ... juicier ones to come!

*** Random Never quote ***

Psst ...

For Ever is free on Amazon for the next 24 hours.

Get it here.

Who's ready for Never?

Don't get hijacked by creepy Web sites

Okay, I was going to do a much more cheerful blog post, but that will have to wait, because creepiness lurks on the Internet. (Gasp!) I just found one of my recent posts linked from a creepy Web site. *Heavy sigh* Again. My advice: don't click on any links and/or suspect Web sites. A few I've had experience with since publishing For Ever include:

Mobile9 (mobile9.com)
Phoneky (phoneky.com)
Broken Controllers (brokencontrollers.com)

The site brokencontrollers.com is the most recent weird site I've found claiming to have a post about For Ever.  I saw a very helpful post from a blogger in the UK who was trying to get her information taken down from the site. I only hope I have better luck than I did with some of these other sites that host pirated content, because I didn't even get a response in those cases.

If any site is promising you free stuff or more information (about pretty much anything), it's more than likely putting spyware on your computer. I've definitely been tempted: Where does that link go? Am I going to get something cool? Alas, I've never gotten anything cool from clicking on a questionable link. Nope. Usually just a headache. And if some site is claiming to be "giving something away for free," then I'm extra-special creeped out. After all, what is that site getting out of it and what do they want from me (other than to steal my account information)?

Surf safely. Avoid creepy Web sites.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A bit of randomness

I have this memory -- a fragment of a memory, really -- about a story that I read when I was probably in grade school. It was about a girl who was receiving anonymous letters from a secret admirer. Really, the only thing I remember about it, other than the premise, is the ending. I was so stunned when I found out that main character had been writing the letters to herself to enlist the sympathy/interest of the guy she was interested in!!!

I still remember reading the last page. It was the last letter written by her "secret admirer" in which the main character exposed that it was all a trick (she wrote the letter to herself). ... Clearly it's stuck with me. The only problem is that I don't remember anything else about the story/book! Not the author, title. Nothing.

Just the ending.

Does anyone else have a random memory from childhood that you just can't put a finger on? Something that continues to lurk in the back of your brain driving you crazy at the oddest moments?

Randomness over.

(Bonus points to anyone who knows what story/book I'm referring to!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Never's weekly teasers

After receiving a very kind e-mail* from a fan of For Ever, I've decided to start releasing a Never quote (or scene) until the book is released. If things moves along full-speed ahead, then maybe the book will come out before I've shared all 24 teasers. ... Hmm, now that would be awesome. We'll see.

Stay tuned. I have other big news in the works!

* A big thank-you to Gena for her praise of For Ever.

*** Bonus teaser after the jump *** 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

*** Teaser *** from Chapter 2 of Never

Here's a little taste of Never, from the second chapter. (All will be explained in the book.)

*** Spoilers ahead ***

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bookworm Babblings review

... And that's it! For Ever's blog tour for August is done with one last review from Bookworm Babblings.


As Never continues to go through the editing process, I'm really looking forward to getting into the third book in The Ever Series, but my day job may get in the way for the time being. Crossing my fingers that I can get started soon.

Also -- I'm aiming to get some teasers of Never up by tonight, so I'll be back. If you have any burning questions or comments, let me know!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Doctor's Notes review: 4/5 notepads

A review from Shieka at Doctor's Notes. Gotta say, I really liked this review. It focuses a lot on the positive, which I always find refreshing!



Thanks to Shieka for new thoughts about For Ever! (Plus, just look at the artwork on her button -- it's so pretty! Love it!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The few last reviews of For Ever

This week will mark the end of the August blog tour with SupaGurl. It's definitely been a wild ride.

Today's review is by Shellie at Creative Reads. Then, another review tomorrow and the last is on Friday.

As for me, I am nearly halfway done with the first round of edits to Never. Then it goes off again for more edits. If things keep moving along, I may get this sequel out early, but no promises.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The first review of Never is in

And my test reader says:

"It's awesome. I really liked it."

(Yay!)

For the record, said reader's rating scale goes like this:

It's not my thing.
It's fine.
It's good.
It's great.
It's awesome.

For Ever excerpt at FIK(TISH)UHS today

Sherri of FIK*TISH*UHS is hosting an excerpt today from Chapter 4 of For Ever.

That is all!

Books & Other Spells guest post

Guest post today at Books & Other Spells about the realities and illusions of being a writer.

The August tour with SupaGurl is almost done!

Monday, August 27, 2012

While I was away ...

You know that feeling when you leave on a short trip and come back ... and it feels like you've been gone forever? (No pun intended!) I totally just had that! Went to a wedding in Las Vegas for a family member, and let me tell you ... Las Vegas, Nev. and Portland, Ore. could not be more different. It was sweltering, perfectly clear and in the 100s in Vegas; it was raining and in the 60s or 70s when I got back to Portland. Two totally different planets.

While I was gone, the August blog tour with SupaGurl marched on with reviews and guest posts (including my tentative casting of For Ever as a movie). The reviews were (mostly) good, though I've found over and over that you can't please everyone -- and if you try, it won't work out!

To those of you who "liked" For Ever on Facebook -- you guys are awesome and I hope you're looking forward to Never. By the way, my test reader is about five pages from finishing and says the sequel is (even) better than the first.

Here's a recap of the goings on while I was in Vegas:

 The Book Lover's Report (long-ish interview)

For The Love of Film and Novels (review and guest post with For Ever's fantasy cast)

waiting on sunday to drown (review) 

***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** (review)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm at Turning the Pages today!

Angela of Turning the Pages had a great (long) interview about For Ever and all about my inspirations and the writing process.

And if I haven't mentioned it, I'm working on a super secret project while Never is being edited (have to keep myself busy somehow!). Once Never is finalized a bit more, I'll release some teasers for that ... I know, it's taking forever.

Then I'll let everyone know the title of the third book in The Ever Series ... Can anybody guess?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beth (Art From the Heart) has a guest post and review up!

Loved Beth's question for the guest post:  What are your writing quirks and must haves in order to write? I didn't realize I had any until I did this guest post! LOL

She also has a review of For Ever (4/5 winks!):

 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jenn's Review Blog: A new review of For Ever

Hop on over to Jenn's Review Blog for a new review of For Ever.

Photobucket

This is officially the last third of SupaGurl's blog tour for August! Then I'm taking a break for non-For Ever related projects. Some of them are boring, regular old work-work projects; others are part of my super-secret fiction pile, which may or may not be revealed to the public in the future.

It's also the last month of summer. Bummer!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

For Ever as a fairy tale on FireStarBooks

Ashley of FireStarBooks is hosting For Ever. In this post, I talk a little about For Ever as a fairy tale. You know, Prince Charming, The Villain, The Love Story ... and Happily Ever After (For Ever style).

Thank you to yet another blogger from Canada! You guys rock!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well, whoopeeyoo! Another review

Happy Monday! SupaGurl's blog tour is still in full swing, on top of For Ever being featured as Ebook of the Day over at Kindle Nation Daily.

Today, Dianne over at her blog whoopeeyoo is sharing a review of For Ever. I definitely had a little giggle at her comment about Wren's name and a character from Pretty Little Liars, considering I've never read or watched the series -- and only found out about it like a week ago. Yes, I live under a rock! I'm going to have to check it out now.

In other news ...

By the end of this week, I'm hoping to have the paperback wrapped up, and I will most likely have the first set of edits for Never, For Ever's sequel, in my hands. I just hope they don't make me scream. That will most likely mean that I will have teasers to share. ...

For Ever is the Ebook of the Day at Kindle Nation Daily

For Ever is being featured as the Ebook of the Day at Kindle Nation Daily!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Over at The Peasants Revolt today

Fel Wetzig of The Peasants Revolt is hosting For Ever today with a very cool interview. I think the post offers some new and unique insights -- layers I hadn't quite thought of before, including Wren Sullivan's three most prized possessions. (Can you guess them without peeking?)

Thank you to Fel for hosting For Ever as part of the SupaGurl tour this month!


SupaGurl Books

Friday, August 10, 2012

Andrea Heltsley's review of For Ever

Woo! Deep breath. For Ever is at not one but two blog sites today! Andrea Heltsley (author of Dissolve, Dreamwalker, and Dancing With Death) gave her review today.



Not even two-thirds of the way through the tour! 

Megan Likes Books previews a chapter of For Ever

Megan Likes Books


The August blog tour is in full swing, and Megan Likes Books is featuring a cool excerpt from Chapter 4 (Caring Is Creepy) today. Love the graphics on her blog site!

Check it out!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guest post at Bengal Reads today!

I'm over at Bengal Reads with Kayla today. Big thanks to her for hosting For Ever on one of her two blogs. That's right, two blogs -- busy girl!

I talk a little bit about how I got started writing For Ever and offer a little advice to authors looking to take the plunge.

Bengal Reads

Never is in the review process. I just hope I don't pass out when I see the first round of edits!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For Ever in paperback coming soon

I am holding in my hands the paperback version of For Ever. It's different than the online version -- darker and a little eerier, which is fitting. It's going to be up on Amazon soon, and about half a dozen copies will be given away during SupaGurl's tour this month!

Here's a look:


I'm over at at Sweet Southern Home today!

Today I'm over at Sweet Southern Home talking a little bit about why eyes play such an important role in For Ever. It was a fun topic to think about since eye contact is such a big catalyst in the story. I mean, it's not every day that you lock eyes with some random stranger and wake up in the hospital, right?

Check out SupaGurl's blog for the rest of the tour -- 31 stops total!



SupaGurl Books
Sweet Southern Home

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review and *Giveaway* at Ramblings of a Book Junkie

August's blog tour is in full swing, and a new review of For Ever is up at Ramblings of a Book Junkie. Kayla, aka Book Junkie, has posted an awesome review with some great insights that just made me smile. Yay!

:-)

Now hurry and check out her blog and the review. ... Plus enter to win a paperback copy of For Ever!



Ramblings of a Book Junkie

Friday, August 3, 2012

DONE!

W-O-W. I just typed the last words of Never. Cannot even describe how it feels. So much has changed since the end of For Ever. It is unreal.

My new -- possibly unrealistic -- goal is to scrap my original publish date and fast-track the editing process to release Never two months early, rather than on Valentine's Day 2013. But I think that's just the high of finishing the book talking. ;-)

I am unbelievably excited right now; it may take a few days for this to settle in. Then I have to start the rewriting/editing process. Left to my own devices, and with no deadline to stop me from the madness, it would drag out for ten months of tweaking every little word and editing in typos as I go.

Not this time! I am going to rein in the insanity. Pinky swear.

Love Fridays, but this one is even better.

NEVER. Done.

One A Day Y.A. interview today!

Erika at One A Day Y.A. is hosting For Ever today! I love this interview, and Erika has some really great questions that were a lot of fun to dig into. Also, her blog is the first (and the only one presently) that features an author photo. Up 'til now, I have been the invisible woman!

Other big news is on the horizon -- including giveaways -- so stayed tuned and keep checking out the blog tour!

http://oneadayya.blogspot.ca/2012/08/blog-tour-interview-with-cj-valles.html

My Button

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For Ever is at The Cover (and Everything in Between) today!

Brittany C. of The Cover (and Everything in Between) was kind enough to host a guest post about For Ever during SupaGurl's book tour, which is all this month. The post talks (a lot) about how I got started writing fiction.

Super thanks again to Brittany and SupaGurl Heather for helping me share For Ever with readers!

SupaGurl Books


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Paperbook Princess review - get it while it's hot!

Big thank you to Megan for taking the time to review For Ever!!! Paperbook Princess is the first stop on my blog tour -- and it's just so exciting! Read the review here.

Her blog is super pretty! Fit for a princess. ...



For the rest of the tour spots, visit SupaGurl Heather at:


SupaGurl Books


Saturday, July 21, 2012

***So*** close to "The End" of Never

I just wrote one of the very last scenes of Never. And, oh man, I cried like a baby. Seriously. I just started bawling. I couldn't help it. (Of course, I did that when I wrote the end of For Ever, too.)

I'm really sad that this one is coming to an end. It came out a lot differently than I thought it would. Characters I thought I hated ... now I love them in a really conflicted sort of way. Characters I had started to like ... now I'm not so sure about them.

I just might finish writing this book and feel as confused as my MC Wren does. It has been a roller coaster ride from start to (almost) finish.

Yay! Can't wait to share Never. I'll do some teasers when I get some of the editing underway.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happily Ever After Part II

In an earlier post, I talked about the idea of happily ever after in reference to For Ever. I think a little piece of me doesn't quite recover when fictional characters that I love don't get their happily ever after. I guess I'm the same way with real-life characters, namely celebrities and people I know. For instance, when I hear about celebrity couples breaking up -- take even Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise -- I'm probably one of the few people who's like, "Really?" Because I'm always kind of hoping that everyone sails off into the sunset with his or her true love. Not reality, I know.

Yeah, it may make me naive, but I think, for me, it's necessary to be a little naive and hopeful in order to tell stories. You have to believe happy endings are at least possible.

That said, I'm closing in on the end of Never. It's been a bumpy ride, but I've enjoyed every second of it. After I get done editing it, it will be out of my hands. (Once the editing process is in full swing, I'll look for some teasers to share.) Then, very soon after that, it will be in your hands.

I'm working on my guest posts/interviews for the blog tour coming up in August. Lots of fun questions and topics, so thanks to the hosts for that. And if there isn't one during the tour, I'll be releasing a playlist here to go with For Ever.

Thanks again to those of you who have reached out and said you've enjoyed the book. You're the best!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happily Ever After

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of happily ever after -- and the ending of For Ever. I really love the idea of happily ever after: Good triumphs over bad. True love conquers. But I've also realized that a lot of the books and films that I've read or watched multiple times don't always have a happy ending. They feel like they ended too soon, because I didn't want them to end -- or the end left me in tears and I desperately wanted a happy ending.

I remember being riveted by Tuck Everlasting (1975 by Natalie Babbitt) when one of my teachers in elementary school read it to us. It had such an impact on me that I still think of it as an adult. The themes -- of mortality, making choices, growing up, love -- all touched me. As an adult, I had a similar experience when I read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I've read it three times, which is something I don't often do. And I think it's mostly because I keep expecting the ending to change. I love the book, but my emotional side hates the ending with a passion.


I have a theory about my inclination to revisit these titles in particular. They -- not just their endings but their themes throughout -- have really made me think about my own existence and our transience on this planet, which are things I've thought a lot about ever since I was a little kid.


I think this is partially how For Ever came about and why I wrote the ending the way I did. Some people may not like it, but there's that old saying: You can't please everyone. Which is so true! Everybody is different. But I hope For Ever and other books out there make people feel and think.

Never, the sequel to For Ever, is coming next year -- and all cliffhangers will be answered then. Of course, how Never ends remains to be seen. ...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Now for the good news

For Ever's blog tour is coming up next month! You can find the schedule here.

I'll be doing interviews, guest posts -- and there will be free giveaways. The Plastic Revolution -- the band on my Web site -- has been kind enough to donate half a dozen CDs of their latest release, Postmodern Medicine, which is awesome. A few paperback copies of For Ever will also be up for grabs.

Thanks again to SupaGurl for organizing this little virtual tour!

I'm also going to start trying to put together some teasers of For Ever's sequel -- Never -- soon, so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bummer!

Thanks so much to everyone who has bought a copy of For Ever. I really hope some people are enjoying it and looking forward to the sequel, Never.

Now the bad news ...

Yesterday I came across a couple of sites that were hosting illegal copies of the book, which is upsetting for a few reasons. First, it's not fair to people who bought it or borrowed it on Amazon! Second, it puts me at risk of Amazon taking the book down ... and they'll freeze my account, meaning no more sequel. Third, it makes it harder for me to concentrate on finishing the sequel, which is 75 percent done, btw! Fourth, when your stuff is getting stolen and you're not making any money off of something you spent a lot of time working on, how do you support the next book, right? I can't, that's for sure. (Just think about someone stealing a chunk of your paycheck and then shrugging and saying, Well, I gave it out to like 500 people, so what are you so upset about?)

Up until yesterday, I never even considered that my work might be pirated by third parties. Then I saw a post by someone who knows people whose Amazon accounts have been frozen due to plagiarism/piracy claims. This surprised me: Someone who wrote a book was getting punished for someone else posting it without his/her knowledge. It also really scared me, because it puts the sequel in jeopardy.

For people looking forward to the sequel, I ask two things:

1. If you really liked For Ever and you're looking forward to the sequel (even if you got it on a file-sharing site!), let people know and write a quick review on Amazon if you have time. This helps out a lot if people who enjoyed it tell other people. I need fans -- like you -- to get the word out there.

2. If you were searching for this blog or more information about the sequel and you found a site that's posting illegally, let me know. If I'm aware of it, it's less likely that I'll get my Amazon account suspended -- and lose access to my means of getting the sequel out there.

Search terms that might land you on a site that is going to get me in trouble include: 4Shared, book piracy, buzzbox, copyright infringement, Digital Millenium Copyright Act, DMCA, file sharing, freebookspot, illegal download, MediaFire, Mobile9, Mobilism, piracy, pirated books, playergames, plrebooksdownload, rapidfile, rapidshare, CJ Valles For Ever epub, superiorz, take down

Help me make sure I can get Never out there and keep things fair for the people who shelled out the $0.99 to read For Ever.

Purchase a legit copy of the book on Amazon at: http://goo.gl/VBF9C

Love and thanks to all!

(Big thanks to Stephanie Lawton, author of Want, for an exceptional post for indie authors about piracy.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Touring with SupaGurl in August!

Yay! So excited to be touring with SupaGurl in August! She is supa awesome!

Will be doing interviews, giveaways, deleted scenes, etc.!

To see tour dates, visit http://supagurlbooks.blogspot.com/ and follow her on Twitter @SPNHeather

Or click her supa awesome button:

SupaGurl Books

Lend For Ever

For Ever is officially down from Barnes and Noble. :-( The good news is that Amazon Prime members can now lend it out for free, so when you're done reading, loan it to a friend!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spread the love

I've read a lot of Amazon and Goodreads reviews (not of my book -- I'm not that brave) and posts on other boards like IMDB, and I've noticed a lot of young female main characters (MCs) getting a lot of hate. A lot of love, too. But let's face it. On the Internet, hating stuff has become somewhat of a sport.

Personally, I avoid posting nasty comments about stuff I don't necessarily care for. A) I think it's bad karma. B) I think about how I've felt when someone has said something less than kind about me or my work. It just plain sucks, which is in part my MC in For Ever can read minds.

These days we can read complete strangers' minds, thanks to the Internet. Just go and read someone's blog, a review of something, or the comment on any Web site. People are very honest these days, but many times it's in an "I'm on my computer, so I'm going to say whatever I want" sort of way.

Point is: I took a creative writing class, and the professor said something really interesting when people started bashing one of the stories' main characters. She said that oftentimes it's not something about the character that we're responding to, but something in ourselves, our lives, or our view of the world. Sometimes, we either love or hate characters because they touch on something we may not even be aware of.

I always think of that when I'm reading something. What can I learn from my response to it?

Long post, and I don't know if anyone's listening, but I feel better. Tell someone -- online or in person -- that you appreciate them or their work. It goes a long way!

Spread the love.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First day of summer is tomorrow

Summer solstice ... The longest day of the year. This actually has some significance in For Ever's sequel, which is coming out Valentine's Day 2013. Yep. This seems really far away, that is until I think about all the stuff I need to get done before then.

So, what are you reading this summer?

And have you told your friends about For Ever? (Word of mouth is golden.)

Stay tuned. Updates and more teasers coming soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Paradise is right! For Ever's tropical island

For people finished reading For Ever, it was a pic like this that was the inspiration behind a certain scene. ...

I wouldn't mind waking up here!

Thoughts? Is this how you imagined it?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Who's reading For Ever?

To the kind people who have read and enjoyed For Ever—and those who have gone above and beyond and posted awesome reviews—thank you. You guys rock.


Who are you?


Where are you from?


And are you ready for Never?

Hard copy?

Gotta love e-books, but is anyone interested in a hard copy of For Ever? I'm contemplating putting out a paperback version, but I'm not sure if it's worth the time and effort.

Thoughts?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Preview of Never's *working* cover!

Herein lies the in-progress cover for the sequel to For EverNeverwhich is coming Valentine's Day 2013 ... unless I find a magic wand somewhere around my messy office.

Click this way ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wren's name

How Wren Sullivan, the main character and narrator of For Ever, got her name is a bit random. With many of the other characters in the book, I really toiled over their names, trying to figure out something appropriate. But with Wren, I happened to be on www.babynames.com and the "Name of the Day" happened to be Wren, or "small bird."

Having grown up with an unusual name, I felt a connection ... and it also seemed to fit my character, who has always felt a little off-center.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A tiny preview of Never


From Never ...
***
There’s a feeling after you’ve had a really bad nightmare, when you’ve opened your eyes, and for a few seconds you’re still there, in the dream, but awake. I’ve just remembered my nightmare, and it turns out I’m still in it.

I don’t even have enough time to be grateful that I’m not dead. ...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Never is half-way done!

I had to go back and re-work some stuff earlier in the story, but the sequel to For Ever nearly half-way done! I've got a couple of teasers to share. Not sure which I'll put out there first, but I can say that a lot is changing in Wren's world right now.

I can't wait until it's done and I can share the next part of The Ever Series!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Follow me

Facebook: www.facebook.com/c.j.valles4ever

Twitter: @CJValles_4ever

What a rush!

Yesterday was so much fun! Things “sell” really fast when they’re free—including For Ever—and I had a great time watching the numbers go up. Around three hundred people total (across the United States, UK, Germany, France, and Spain!) downloaded the book, and I hope a lot of you enjoy it.  For Ever got another “Like,” too, so thank you to that person!

The sequel, Never, took a really dark turn yesterday, and I guess I needed some cheering up.

Now I have to go back and make some money at my real job. … Sigh. Such is life.

A question for anyone who’s out there


When you download something for free on Amazon, do you read it right awayor does it become part of a huge collection of free stuff that you’re saving for later?