I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website!
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk.
When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA about real things that have happened in the past, or made up things that could quite possibly happen in the future.
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics.
Thanks for dropping by!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A recap and new plan will present itself for my blog on the first, but for now I want to take time to enjoy my family, all six of us plus my parents together for the holidays for a couple of weeks before all but my youngest leave again, and to reflect on the reason for the season.
A young Canadian musician hailing from snowy Winnipeg Manitoba recorded a unique version of Little Drummer Boy that has gone viral on you tube. I hear he now has an L.A. agent.
Here it is, so enjoy.
I wish you and your loved ones many blessings and a peaceful and joyous Christmas time.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Magically poofing in somebody’s bathroom while that somebody is taking a shower is not the best way to start off a friendship—that, Remy learned the hard way. After screwing up her previous mission months ago, Remy,
But when she magically appeared in his shower, everything went wrong. He hated her, he called her a pervert, he was convinced that she was deranged and mentally-retarded perhaps challenged?, and he didn’t want her help. But with Remy’s wish to have a full-on career as a certified fairy godmother at stake, she’ll do just everything to find Kyle’s happily ever after, even if it did involve quite a few tricks, snakes, broken magic wands, more of her famous screw ups, nasty witches who are out to get her, and her heart breaking. The conflict paragraph. There is quite a lot going on here. If possible I’d pick the two main events and elaborate a littel about them.
Question is: What about her happily ever after?
Well, with her magic wand and her awesome poofing skills, anything is possible—NOT.Move this up with previous sentence which becomes a two sentence hook.
A fairy tale with a modern twist, a proof that nobody is too old for fairy tales.
Set in the modern times with a
Please let me know if you are interested in reading the full copy of Remy Unenchanted
My diagnosis: This is a cute query that just needs to be tightened up, but all the key pieces are there.
Thirteen-year-old wannabe novelist Elena doesn't care about school, only her stories. Who it’s about. It's too bad they never come true… until the day she writes that the class bully gets detention, that is. Coincidence? This sentence is hard to understand. Did she write a story about the class bully getting a detention. Just needs a bit of tweaking to make it clear.Elena doesn't think so after she writes that the secretary has to go to the bathroom, and then he rushes out like he's about to wet his pants. Everything she writes with her new pen comes true. The circumstance
But then the pen writes a story darker than any of Elena’s about a mystical fantasy land being overrun by demons. If that isn't bad enough, a demon crosses over to Earth, kidnaps her family, and hides them in the Land of Imagining. Elena will do whatever she can to save them. The conflict.Unfortunately, it's not as simple as writing a happy ending - whenever Elena uses the pen, someone turns into a demon, and she could be next. The hook
ELENA’S PEN is a 66,000-word upper MG fantasy novel with series potential. Readers of Michael Ende's THE NEVERENDING STORY and Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS series will enjoy my book.
My diagnosis: I can tell you've spent a lot of time on this already. It's very close. I don't have a lot to suggest here. I'd give the hook sentence it's own paragraph to set it apart.
If you'd like me to look at your query, you can post it in the comments. I won't be able to get to another critique until the new year.
Monday, December 19, 2011
giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.
|I love this new cover!|
An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne
was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell
cast on her at birth is activated.
Now she's filled with uncontrollablerage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.
Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the
one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear
itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who
will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?
On sale now for only 99 cents!
Friday, December 16, 2011
2.This is the last Free Song Friday, so Merry Christmas and enjoy.This thing called you and me
Raucous alt/country shenanigans.
3.Goodreads winner: Thank you to the over 1200 people who entered to win Clockwise on Goodreads. The winner is Catherine Feldhaus! Your copy is in the mail.
4. My two oldest sons come home for Christmas today! Can't wait to squeeze them again. Then all six of us will be home until the New Year. Noisy and messy but lovely.
5. I had a lot of great suggestions on Monday on how to spend my gift card, and I promised I'd let you know how I spent it. I bought The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Thanks @melissaswims for the recommendation!
Happy Weekend everyone!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
1) who it's about
2) the circumstance
3) the conflict
4) the hook
Fifteen-year-old Princess Tatiana lives in the world of Alfheimr
Suddenly, a dream and a forbidden encounter with her half-sister Minora good detail change everything, and Tatiana is faced with more questions than ever before. She becomes restless, curious, and bold. Bold enough to risk her life to leave the temple early, bold enough to meet the Faerie her sister prophesied about, and bold enough to take on not only her kingdom, but the Ancients themselves. This states the conflicts. All in the name of freedom and love.
My diagnosis: It just needed a little re-organizing of information, but all the pieces are there.
When he attempts to ‘test out the goods,’ she bashes him with a scrubbing brush. Now she faces the noose. The law in 1849 will not side with a Chinese girl, even if she killed in self-defense. More circumstance
She flees west with Annamae, a runaway slave. They disguise themselves as young men and join a trio of cowboys bound for the California gold rush.
The unburned half of Father’s life savings is flying down the Oregon Trail with his business partner. If she could recover the money, she could start the language school Father always dreamed of.
GOLDEN BOYS is an 83,000 word historical YA fiction novel that follows Samantha’s journey from girl to adult (with a stint as a boy) through the frontier of a changing society.
Yesterday, Collette’s biggest challenge was trying to be a good wife and mother.
Today, this stay-at-home mom who it’s about is condemned to be a pawn in a coup d'état among immortals. The circumstance
A secret society of immortals has sworn to protect humanity, but a power-hungry traitor among them wants to take control. After he sees a photograph of Collette, the traitor orchestrates her abduction from her family. Just her luck, she resembles the current ruler’s might be better to name him too lost love. More circumstance
The traitor uses her to trick the current lord of the immortals into breaking one of their highest laws. This is the conflict paragraph and could use more details. At least a hint at how he tricks her and what the highest law is. Lord Gabriel, a good and honorable man, doesn’t know of her role in his impending downfall. Who is Lord Gabriel? Is he the current ruler?
Now, she must take sides.how? We’re not quite seeing her conflict. Does she have to make a choice? Between what and what and how it leads to this next question.Which immortal is more likely to allow her to return to her family, her captor or the man she’s unintentionally setting up for destruction?
Along the way, Collette dies—twice. Nice hook.
Monday, December 12, 2011
So, I won this great book and she told me to tell her when I got it. It didn't come the first week or the second or the third, so I thought I'd let her know. Dang the postal service in December.
Then I got this URGENT sounding email. There was a good reason why I hadn't yet gotten the book. Somehow it got LOST UNDER THE FRONT SEAT OF HER CAR! So, funny. Like some plot device in those irritating movies where the clue to the mystery just happens to fall to the floor and under the bed.
Anywho, I told her no problem, these things happen. I had a good chuckle and I was fine knowing it was now on its way.
But, being the sweetie that she is, she insisted on sending me an Amazon gift card. I told her she didn't have to but she did, (Thanks, Sara!) so now I have a gift card.
If you know me you'll know that I'm that person at the restaurant who can't decide what to order. There's just too much to choose from. In fact, once I find a dish I like, I just order the same thing every time. You can ask my husband.
This is where you come in. I need help making a book purchase choice. What was your best read of 2011? I promise to tell you what I end up buying.
Thanks for your help! (And thanks again, Sara!)
And before I end here, I just want to let you know about the 12 Days of Christmas big .99 e-book Christmas sale. CLOCKWISE is featured on day 10. The price goes up on Dec 26.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Getting Sideways: Book 2 in the Full Throttle Series
Getting shipped off to live with his uncle Race was the best thing that ever happened to fifteen-year-old Cody. Then a wreck at the speedway nearly ruined everything. Cody’s making every effort to get his life back on track—writing for the school paper, searching for the perfect girlfriend, and counting the days until he gets his drivers’ license—but there’s no escaping the nightmares that haunt him.
A chance to build his own car seems like the perfect distraction. Until Cody realizes he’ll have to live up to Race’s legendary status. But that’s the least of his worries, considering he doesn’t have his dad’s permission. All he has to do is the impossible: keep Race from discovering his lie until he can convince his dad that racing’s safe.
Yeah, sure. That’ll be easy.
Running Wide Open: Book 1 in the Full Throttle Series
Cody Everett has a temper as hot as the flashpoint of racing fuel, and it's landed him at his uncle's trailer, a last-chance home before military school. But how can he take the guy seriously when he calls himself Race, eats Twinkies for breakfast, and pals around with rednecks who drive in circles every Saturday night?
What Cody doesn't expect is for the arrangement to work. Or for Race to become the friend and mentor he's been looking for all his life. But just as Cody begins to settle in and get a handle on his supercharged temper, a crisis sends his life spinning out of control. Everything he's come to care about is threatened, and he has to choose between falling back on his old, familiar anger or stepping up to prove his loyalty to the only person he's ever dared to trust.
Praise for Running Wide Open:
"It doesn’t matter if you are a racing fan or not, Running Wide Open will captivate you and capture your heart." – Cari J, Amazon reviewer
“The roar of engines practically explodes off the page in this compelling, heart-thumping debut. Cody Everett is a straight-shooter with attitude, smarts, and whip-cracking wit; he doesn’t pull any punches, and neither does author Lisa Nowak. The collision of Cody and the world of stock car racing makes for a great story, one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Running Wide Open is a book not to be missed.” - Christine Fletcher, author of Tallulah Falls and Ten Cents a Dance
"The racing is easy to understand and does not get in the way of a rattling good story. I still couldn’t put it down on a re-read." – Elisabeth Miles, Amazon reviewer
"We race stock cars during the summer and even though this is a recommended read for Young Adults, we are seniors and enjoyed every page. We can hardly wait for the sequel to come out. MUST READING!" – Maxci Jermann, Barnes and Noble reviewer
"I say read this book, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s a very cool read that will give you a feel-good state of mind. Awesome read." - L.E.Olteano, Butterfly-o-meter Books
In addition to being a YA author, Lisa Nowak is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. She enjoys dark chocolate and stout beer and constantly works toward employing wei wu wei in her life, all the while realizing that the struggle itself is an oxymoron.
Lisa has no spare time, but if she did she’d use it to tend to her expansive perennial garden, watch medical dramas, take long walks after dark, and teach her cats to play poker. For those of you who might be wondering, she is not, and has never been, a diaper-wearing astronaut. She lives in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband, four feline companions, and two giant sequoias.
Connect with Lisa online:
Friday, December 9, 2011
Where Have All The Dreamers Gone? [3:31]
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Today I am reviewing SR's YA adventure/mystery Untraceable. I don't normally do book reviews on my blog per se, but again it was one of those things I actually don't remember signing for, but I'm so glad I did, you know?
Because Untraceable is amazing!
Sixteen year old Grace is the daughter of a local wild life officer who taught her all the survival skills she would ever need, despite her tendency to trip over branches. What her father hadn't bargained for was how badly she would need those skills once he went missing.
Grace isn't the kind of girl to give up easily. Even when he is officially presumed dead, and everyone including the local sheriff, her mother and the town shrink, are telling her to move on with her life, something tells Grace that they're wrong.
The only person who will help her is Wyn, her childhood friend and recent ex-boyfriend. He's not exactly at home in the woods and so his support is of the moral kind.
Then there's Mo, the mysterious boy who rescues Grace from a dangerous encounter in the woods. He likes her and willingly helps her look for her father and track down bear poachers. But who is he, really? Can he be trusted?
Untraceable starts off with a comfortable pace, drawing us into the life of the town and the characters within, building tension with every chapter. And don't think you will be able to stop reading at the end of one. SR is the queen of chapter cliff hangers!
And oh, the ending! You'll have to read it to decide what you think.
I highly recommend Untraceable giving it a strong 4.5 stars out of 5.; This is a book that has stayed with me long after I finished reading it, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
1. How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since high school. I kept a journal and would write poetry and short stories, but mostly I'd write about the angst of living the life of a teenager. It wasn't until a few years ago that I wrote an entire novel.
2. What was the first book you ever published?
3. Tell us a bit about Loramendi's Story?
4. How did you come up with the name Loramendi?
5. Is it part of a series or a stand alone?
6. Why did you decide to write YA?
7. Do you have anything new coming?
8. I did catch by the description on Amazon that there is some windsurfing involved. Are you a windsurfer? If not, how did you do your research?
Now for a couple fun ones: Sweet or Savory? Mountains or Plains? Lakes or Oceans? Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper?
Thank YOU for having me on your blog! It's been fun!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
1) who it's about
2) the circumstance
3) the conflict
4) the hook
When 16-year-old Becca Ford who it’s about discovers potion-making plants missing from the nursery where she works, she sets herself up as a target for a secret coven in Sugarland.
Becca’s ability to glow explains her gift with plants but also makes her a target of the magical government. Now we’re getting the explanation.Derek has
The Halo is a 70,000 word young adult fantasy…
Alisa is she a teenager? College age? It would be good to have a little more here to picture her has her life all planned out: score a 2100 on the SAT, go to Princeton, become CFO of a major corporation. Notice boys did not make the list? She doesn't have time for something as menial as a boyfriend.the circumstance. Would be nice to know if she’s in highschool here, a sense of setting.
But when she wakes up twenty years in the future,
Then she meets a boy or man? How old is she? who changes all her plans. And any day she could slip back in time and lose him forever. The hook is good.
But then she and Austin uncover Myrrdin’s dark secrets.
She and Austin must find the wand and unravel its mysteries before Glazdick
An upper middle grade fantasy, UNLOCKED MAGIC is complete at 69,000.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Aren't you just dying to have a taste of that? ha! Actually, it's carp eggs, a lesser type of caviar, and no, I didn't eat any.
The paperwork behind is the year update of what our organization has done in the medical field in the villages around Brasov with the recent acquisition of a mobile medical unit. A major discovery has been in the area of TB testing, where over 50% of 300 people tested were found to be positive. Because they were diagnosed before severe symptoms had set in, the treatment is shorter and non-disruptive, so important for families where the bread-maker can't afford to miss even one day's work.
Another great outcome of the year is another successful medical training conference where doctors from the west teach doctors from the east how to perform tricky congenital malformation correction surgery. Many children in eastern Europe are still being born with defects as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Over eighty children have had free corrective surgery by participating in conferences.
|Me with a few Romanian farm kids, spring 2011|
|Town square, Brasov Romania|
Friday, December 2, 2011
2. It's December and that means another year almost gone. 2011 was a surprise for me when it came to my writing goals. I ended up losing an agent for the second time and deciding to self-publish. I'm still trying to process the whole thing, emotionally and practically. Wearing a publisher's hat along with a writer's hat is entirely different than wearing the writer's hat alone. I'm a little nervous to re-read what my New Years goals were last year and not so sure what they're going to be this year. There's enough TNT in this point for it's own post, or two, so I'll leave it for now.
3. No, I'm not ready for Christmas. There is not one decoration to be seen, but my daughter and I have a date to go on our traditional outing to the tree farm where we'll pick a tree and wait in the barn with a cup of hot chocolate while someone else cuts it down. I did a lot of shopping on line this year and presents are starting to arrive in the mail, so I'm liking that.
4. Our friends from Romania are coming today for our annual update meeting. I've blogged about our involvement there before but you can check out www.hftn.ro if you'd like to know more.
5. Paper Artist Calvin Nicholls creates these art pieces with paper. Just paper (thus the reason he's called a Paper Artist :). Amazing.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
A special edition of Heather McCorkle’s The Secret Of Spruce Knoll is releasing from Compass Press this month and she’s doing a special tour to go along with it. The special part, a percentage of the proceeds from every special edition sold (in every format) between its release date and 12-12-2012, will go toward Heather’s favorite charity that protects endangered species. Her goal is to make at least $10,000 for the charity.
|I picked these, white tiger babies!|
Make sure you pick up your copy!!