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,

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


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!