Five Star Review: Do Not Be So Quick To Judge

Got my first text review of The Thing About Apples on Goodreads, by reader Kathy Church. She says:

I have enjoyed reading this book. It is the story of Ann who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have a friend whose granddaughter also has Asperger’s Syndrome. This has helped to me to have a better understanding of the way that people think and feel about other people. I would recommend this book to everyone. Please do not be so quick to judge those who may be different than yourself.
Thank you for enjoying Ann and her story, Kathy! One of the big reasons I wrote this book was to get this very reaction from readers.
Haven’t read it yourself? What are you waiting for? The Thing About Apples is available in paperback and e-book form from my publisher, Amazon and Barnes & Noble now!

RELEASE DAY: The Thing About Apples

It’s here! It’s finally here! The release day for The Thing About Apples is here! Thank you so much for everyone who has gotten me here- my family, my friends, my fiance, and the wonderful family at eLectio publishing…

Head on over to my publisher’s website to pick up one of the first copies of this Snow White re-telling through an autistic lens. Buying the paperback ensures that you get the eBook copy for free!

And if you’re wanting a signed copy, feel free to pop on over to my contact page to let me know. I’ll be getting my author copies ordered in soon, and I’ll make sure to get one signed just for you!

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It Begins: The Edits!

It seems like 2016 is going by in such a blur- I finish one set of tasks, only to realize that I’m about a month behind on the next ones and then I remember a totally different thing that I was supposed to do. I sure hope it begins to slow down a bit, or I’m going to have to finagle a bunch in order to truly savor some of the bigger moments this year. Like the release of The Thing About Apples happening in early July. At this point, that puts me less than two months away from having three novels published. Isn’t that crazy?

And so begins the buckling down towards the release. This past week I received the suggested edits from the wonderful people over at eLectio, and have been working on them over the weekend. I’ve got to tell you- I’m so grateful for the editors over there. I always feel like I’ve made something so precious when I hand in a final manuscript. But when they tear it to pieces, I realize that I could always push myself more. That it can always get better. And that’s what I want, book by book: to become a better writer, to be able to provide better stories that mean more to my readers each time. I really couldn’t do that without the help of eLectio, and all of the beta readers who took The Thing About Apples apart in the earlier drafting stages. They are just as responsible for the novel as I am, honestly, and I would have never gotten this far without them.

So today’s post is dedicated to gratitude: gratitude for all of the people who help me realize my dream and may never get recognized for it. For my parents, who supported me. For my fiance, who loves me even when I get into my crazy-stages of preparing the next novel. For my WeBook community and beta readers who help me shape the drafts past the messy draft stages, and for eLectio for believing in me and taking me to the next steps. I can’t wait to see what you guys think of this next installment!

Debut YA Fantasy “The Sound of the Stones”- Why a Strong Female Protagonist Matters

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Give me a strong woman protagonist, one that doesn’t sit around lamenting about the tragedies that befall her. Can she be sad once in a while, frustrated, weak? Yes, but please don’t take me on a journey with a woman who wallows in self-doubt, who spends the entire book incessantly needing reassurance and clamoring for a man’s attention. *Slaps the female character that bases self worth on a man’s opinion*

Give me a woman protagonist I can relate to, one who isn’t the most graceful, beautiful woman that ever walked the earth. Can she be beautiful? Yes, but don’t dwell on her beauty, elevating it as the first thing every other character notices.

E.g. “She had the grace of a willow. Hair like gold glittered in the sun as it draped around her heart-shaped face. Her eyes shone like emeralds and her lips made even the sweetest berry envious for their pink fullness.” <- *Gags and sings, “camp town ladies sing that song, doo-dah, doo-dah” to remove that visual* I wrote that sappy quote just now. It hurt. It hurt so bad that I momentarily lost the ability to distinguish audio vs. visual stimulation.  See?

Give me a woman protagonist whose inner dialogue reflects moxie. I like a little sarcasm in my coffee thank you very much. Does she need to be harsh and cynical at all times? No. That would get boring and certainly doesn’t reflect the woman’s mind, the one’s I know anyway. Let me clarify just a bit lest you think I mean a woman protagonist needs to be a loud mouth. Quiet woman can be strong as well. It is often in the still silence that strength is borne. <- Oh, I like that Beth. *Glares at screen* Yes, I talk to myself. And yes, I can feel you silently judging me.

Give me a woman protagonist…who is real. Real women are strong even if at times they are weak. Now there’s a brilliant statement Beth. Contradiction much? They are fierce, intelligent, sarcastic, defiant. They are complex humans capable of greatness. It is through the multi-facets of women’s personalities that great female characters come to life.

“Don’t write what you think will sell. Write what you want to read.” – Beth Hammond

Ok Beth, why on earth did you just quote yourself? Well, I’ll tell me why. Because that quote embodies the reason I wrote “The Sound of the Stones”. I wanted to read a fantasy that had romance but didn’t use it as the main focus. I wanted to read a fantasy with a main female character that felt real. I wanted to read a fantasy that had humor sprinkled in as a spice to liven up the darkness. This is that book:

The Sound of the Stones

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The ancient book about the past holds the future. Frankie is the key. She doesn’t remember stopping at the used bookstore, but there she stands as if drawn by an unseen force. Anticipation wraps around her like a cocoon. When she opens the door, the wind nudges her through, and expectancy turns to purpose. The man inside, and the book he offers, changes everything. Unusual things happen when she begins to read:

In a time long forgotten, people are held captive by half human creatures. Ashra holds a secret close to her heart, and must discover the purpose of her gift before the oppressed human race is destroyed. An unlikely ally comes to her aid. Strangers bring her a message from a far off land. Ashra and her band of misfits set off in search of answers. Together, they find love, uncover mysteries from the past, face ever-present danger, and hone powers they never knew they had.

Frankie and Ashra are separated by millennia, by fiction and reality, but in the end the barrier shatters.

“The set of her jaw said angry, and her eyes spoke of fear. But behind the fear, pulsing from within and reflected in the way she held her shoulders, lived strength.” – The Sound of the Stones

http://bethhammond.com/published-work/

If you have made it this far into the post, I thank you. Bless your heart for letting me prattle on about what I want. I really hope you want it too. If you want perfection, I’m not your girl. If you want a sappy love story, move along and I wish you well. But if you’re looking for a fantasy that tells a tale reminiscent of classics like “The Never Ending Story” then we might be twins. Wait, what color shirt are you wearing?

Oh, and one more thing, if ridiculous humor thrown in at the most awkward moments makes you roll your eyes, don’t read this book. You’re welcome.

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Beth Hammond is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military, middle years spent raising babies, and figuring out her place in the world. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.

bethhammond.com

Ending the Year Right!

To Dwell in Dreams, the second novel of the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, made the ‘Favorite Books of 2014’ list of fellow eLectio author, Amanda Romine Lynch! I feel so honored- and motivated to keep chugging along with the third book, The Thing About Apples, which is currently in progress.

(And don’t forget, if you haven’t read To Dwell in Dreams yet that you can still start from the beginning of the series with Til the Last Petal Falls! Great way to start your year of reading in 2015!)

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope  all my American followers are having a wonderful day, whether you’re grilling, camping, fishing, or just waiting for fireworks.

And if you need more reasons to celebrate, I am right now running a giveaway through Goodreads of my second novel, To Dwell in Dreams, a modern re-telling of Sleeping Beauty complete with drugs, a dysfunctional family and long-lost triplets! The giveaway runs from now until the end of this month, and there are five copies to be won. If you’ve been hesitant about buying yourself a copy, why not enter for your chance to get a free copy?

Or if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to wait, you can always visit my website now to see where you can get your own copy from Amazon, B&N or my publisher (if you buy a physical copy from them, you also get a free electronic copy!)

Second Novel Selfies!

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I can’t help it, I’m just so excited at how pretty ‘To Dwell in Dreams’ came out! So apologies to those of you who are following me on Facebook or Tumblr and have probably already seen these pictures a thousand times- I’m just so proud!

Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself and the book when you get your copy- I’d love to feature it on my sites!