Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Numbers Blog Tour, author interview

Please welcome my guest author for today, author of The Chosen and the recently released sequel, The Numbers, as she talks about the challenges of writing a sequel. Make sure to check out the information on her series below the post.

The Sequel

The Number is the sequel to The Chosen. Initially when I started writing my first novel, I thought that it was the hardest thing ever. When you write a novel, obviously it isn’t the same as writing a short story. You need to really develop your character and refine your world building skills. And then you need to take your simple little idea and write about it for a good 60-80,000 words. For the aspiring writer, it’s a mountain to climb and once you reach the peak, it’s an exhilarating accomplishment.

And then you start writing the sequel.

I had a clear vision of how to end The Chosen, but for the life of me, I had no idea how to start The Number. There is a time gap of five years between the books and I found myself asking: How do I fill the reader in what’s happened to all of the characters during that time span? That’s a long time and my characters have all been doing something. They haven’t just stayed in limbo.

I thought that maybe I should sort of do a countdown. Like, highlight an event that happened five years ago, then four years ago, etc. until we meet our characters in “real time”. But as neat as the idea was, I scrapped it. I liked knowing the timeline for my own personal notes, but it just seemed like I was forcing a beginning. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed to tackle this as if I was meeting an old friend again. You don’t just come out and dump information at one time. What happened during the years you haven’t seen your friend is told gradually. You tell a little bit in one meeting and then a bit more in another meeting and so on and so forth. I felt like my characters needed to take their time to tell the others what has happened to them during the five years apart on their own time.

Of course figuring out how to start The Number was only part of the problem. Nobody tells you that all that world building you did in the first book is going to be put to the test in the sequel. My advice: If you’re going to be writing a sequel, be sure to take notes on every little detail. Luckily for me, I had already started on a binder full of details about my world when I started with The Chosen. It really helped during the process of writing The Number because I wasn’t constantly flipping through the first book to figure out a description of a character or place.

Despite the pressure of getting things right, the sequel is still fulfilling to work on. You and your readers already know the characters and if your readers are grabbing the sequel then you know you’ve written characters people want to be invested in. And as a writer, I think it’s fun to keep the adventure going, especially when you know that your characters’ stories aren’t done being told.


Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.
The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.
It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.
As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?


Author Links:

Author Website:

Twitter: @SheenahFreitas (


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Memphis in May, Day 3

Okay, so here's what happened on our last days in Memphis.

Sunday we got up late and Jon finished his paperwork. We hung out at the hotel a little while, even though we'd missed breakfast. I was feeling better that day, though. After a while we went downtown. I wanted to see Chris Robinson at 335, but Jon wasn't really crazy about them. He said he'd go if we got there on time, though. We went and ate lunch at Alfred's on Beale Street. It was pretty good, but not as good as Pig. Jon had a beer and then we left.
We walked around a little, but not as long as the day before. Jon wanted to get me a turtle necklace to go with the dress I'd gotten the day before, so he got one from a street vendor. Then we saw some girls on the street selling Jello shots, so he had to get one of those. We walked down to the festival after that.
It was sweltering again on Sunday, but I was wearing better clothes (no polyester!) so it wasn't too bad. We'd forgotten sunscreen, but by the time we got down there it was almost 5. We ran to catch the last ten minutes of Chris Robinson, but he'd already finished playing when we got there 10 minutes before he was supposed to be done. So we went right to Michael Franti and Spearhead.
We got up close, about halfway across the rubber mat, and thankfully, in the shade of the stage. We stood around for about half an hour. At first, we thought maybe the show wouldn't have many people there since we were able to get up so close and there weren't many people waiting. But the stage filled up by the time the band came on, and they had a pretty good audience. The band was AMAZING. I'd only heard a handful of their songs, but they were so great! Chill and groovy and cool, really fun and happy. The guitarist had this humongous grin on his face the entire time, and Michael Franti kept coming off stage and going through the audience. He pulled a bunch of people up on stage, gave a couple of them guitars, and let two little kids sing part of one of his songs. It was really cool, and I liked how appreciative of his fans he seemed and how he interacted with everyone so much. It was an amazing show--my favorite one of the whole weekend. The music was great, too.
After that, we went to get food and Jon got a chicken dish from the gyro place. We sat down and ate and waited for Herbie Hancock. But he must have been REALLY late coming on, because 20 minutes after he was supposed to start, he still hadn't come on stage. So we went down and listened to Bush for about 5 songs. Then we went all the way to the other end of the park and listened to the end of The Civil Wars, who everyone had said was one of the best bands there. They were pretty good.
After that, Alison Krauss was at the same stage, so we stayed for her. We got to the third row after the Civil Wars fans cleared out. But I was hot from dancing by then, and the crowd was pretty thick. I also got pushed by the first rude fan I ran into all weekend. Anyway, we stood around waiting for the band for a long time. Finally they came on. I've been waiting to see Alison Krauss for literally 10 years, so maybe it just couldn't measure up to my expectation. Or maybe I was just hot, and tired from standing and walking around in flip-flops for 3 days straight. Whatever it was, I just wasn't as into it as I'd expected. Jon, who hadn't really wanted to see her too much, ended up really enjoying the show, especially the rest of Union Station. After 40 minutes, I asked if he was ready to go see Primus. He said we could stay, but I really wanted to get off my feet for a while.
So we went to see Primus. On the way, we noticed all this lightning in the clouds off to the west over the river. We went and sat in the grass pretty far back from the stage. They were really loud even back there. Jon went and got a funnel cake, which they made right there while he waited. It was super hot and greasy, delicious and crunchy and gooey and sugary. I hadn't had a funnel cake in years, and it definitely beat the last one I had. We watched the lightning and listened to the band. I kind of wanted to get closer, but Jon was happy sitting back in the grass, so we stayed there. The band kept talking about the lightning. Finally, towards the end of the show, the lightning got a lot closer and the wind picked up and started blowing constant and cold from one direction. "Here comes the rain," the band said, and they went off stage without even saying goodnight.
Everyone in the entire park jetted out of there at once. The wind was gusting big clouds of dust everywhere, whipping wildly around. The last band was still playing in the blues tent, but we got out of the park as fast as we could along with just about everyone else. We walked back to the car and got in, watching the storm move in. Almost as soon as we got on the highway to go back to the hotel, the rain hit. It came down in giant sheets, washing across the car while the wind rocked us all over the place and the storm blinded us. I turned off the radio and sat there not saying a word so Jon could concentrate on driving. We kept hitting slick spots where the road was covered with water, and even going 40mph it was hard to see. It seemed like it took hours to get back to the hotel, but we made it safely through the driving rain and back to our room.
We got up in the morning and it was still raining a little outside. It took us a while to get on the road, but we finally did and headed back to Arkansas on Monday morning.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweatfest in May #bsmf12

So, I'm way behind on my trip, but here goes...This was Saturday at Memphis in May.

We got up kind of late, but not nearly late enough. I was still tired and felt really bad and sick in the morning. We ate hotel breakfast and then I tried to sleep while Jon did some paperwork. Eventually we got going and went down to Beale Street. It was really hot and sunny out. We walked around and decided to get lunch at this place called Pig. It was bbq, of course. I got a pork plate and Jon got a turkey sandwich. It was really, really good. The meat was super tender and great. They also had big-ass 32 oz beers for 5-6.50. We walked around on Beale after lunch and shopped at a few stores. I was wearing a jumper and decided that was a very bad choice of festival gear! I had to take the whole thing down every time I went to the bathroom, and you really don't want to spend any extra time in the porta-potties when it's 93 degrees outside. So we decided to go find a dress. Jon found one he liked for me and then we went to the festival. On the way we spotted a line of horse-drawn carriages and Jon thought we should get a ride.
Our driver was pretty cool and told us some crazy stories while we rode around downtown Memphis for half an hour. Neither Jon nor I had ever ridden in a horse-drawn carriage, so it was pretty fun. When we got back we went down to Tom Lee Park for the festival. We had missed a few of the bands we wanted to see (Son Volt and Kenny Wayne Shepherd) but that always seems to happen on Saturday. We went to see The Cult but didn't even attempt to get up close. We sat in the grass far away from the stage and rested. The show was okay but neither of us were too impressed. We walked down to see Al Green next, and caught a bit of Yo Gotti on the way past. We also did a little browsing at some of the shops and got a foot-long corndog (not too impressive).
Al Green was amazing! It was really hot out but I couldn't stop dancing for the whole show. It was tons of fun and he played a lot of old songs and some newer ones, too. The only downside was that the dress I'd gotten was polyester and stiflingly hot! It was definitely a sweat-bath that day.
After Al Green we went to see Jane's Addiction. They put on the usual epic rockband show, complete with wailing guitars, stripper/dancers, hanging devil creatures, TV screens with bondage videos, etc. It was a high-energy show, but about halfway through, the heat caught up with me and I was so exhausted I had to find a spot to sit for a while. I got back up and we stayed until the very end, after midnight, and went back to the hotel.
I was so tired I passed out cold about 1 minute after I crawled out of the shower and into bed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Beale Street Music Festival, Day 1

In Memphis again for Beale Street Music Festival for the fourth time. This year, the only person I could get to go with me was Jon. We left on Friday and Jon drove. He'd driven almost all day, from Oklahoma City. I was tired, too, having only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before. So we decided to get a taxi down to the show. We called and the taxi got to our hotel really fast. Our cabbie was really nice and dropped us off at the BP station near Riverside. I'd never gone into the park from the south side, so it was kind of strange going in that way.
We went in and caught Needtobreathe. They were more rock'n'roll than I'd thought from listening to their songs. I thought they were more indie. Jon wanted to see Three Six Mafia, so we walked over to that stage. I'd seen them before at the frat house in Fayetteville and it wasn't a very good show. They don't really sing, just put on their CD and dance around a little saying, "Yeah," and "Hey" a lot. We stayed for less than one song before Jon said, "This sucks, let's go."
We went and got giant gyros and went back to see the rest of Needtobreathe. Then we stayed at the same stage for Florence and the Machine. There were TONS of people there. I wanted to get up in the crowd, so we followed some people making their way forward. Jon and I are both short, so we couldn't see very well. Every time we saw people going forward in the crowd, we tagged along behind them. Finally we got on the rubber mat in front of the stage. We were still pretty far back, though. We tagged along with two guys and a girl and got pretty close. One guy took his shirt off and was dancing in front of me, sweaty and really into the show. I was surprised at how many guys were there really getting into the show, singing along and dancing. The shirtless guy hit me in the head with his elbow once, but he was really nice and apologized and kissed my head. Unfortunately he was really tall and we couldn't see much, although when he got going dancing and lifted his arms I had a perfect view of Francine right under his armpit.
Jon got really tired of the guy and wanted to go, but I convinced him to stay. I could tell he was sort of mad and wanted to get out of there. But I didn't really mind the guy, he wasn't gross or anything. And I enjoyed listening to the band a lot. Francine was really energetic and ran back and forth across the stage, jumping up and down and wailing away. She was wearing this black dress with sleeves like huge black wings and she looked kind of goth and really cool, with her haunting voice and flaming red hair.
Finallly the show ended and we plowed forward when people started leaving. We ended up in the second row next to a group of college guys who were tripping and high, completely sweaty and kind of annoying. By then we were packed in so tight it was hard to move around and pretty much impossible to dance. We were drenched in sweat because it was warm and muggy, no breeze at all so close to the stage. Luckily we had water with us. Some of the people around us were begging water from security whenever they walked past.
I'd seen My Morning Jacket once or twice, but last time I saw them, they were at a smaller stage at a festival and the crowd was really small. This time, there were TONS of people, a lot of them hardcore fans who had come and stayed through the past 2 shows just to get up close and see My Morning Jacket. We stayed at the front and listened to a couple songs. It was unbearably hot with all those people, and the music was so loud that I could feel it in my sternum, in my bones, blasting my ear drums even with ear plugs in. It felt like it was trying to redo my heartbeat to match the drums. Jon just lost it and freaked out. He was like, "Hey, I'm not okay, I'm gonna go." He turned around and bolted from the crowd, as fast as you can bolt through a tons of people packed in like cigarettes in a new pack.
I followed him because I was pretty hot anyway, and we didn't have a predetermined meeting spot. Our phones weren't really working again this year, since there were so many people there. Jon went out and collapsed in the grass. I sat down next to him and touched his arm, which was literally drenched in sweat. It felt like he'd just gotten out of the shower. The heat and the crowd were too much for him, so after we calmed down a little, we went to the back of the crowd. We'd run out of water, so we went and got another 2 bottles and lay down on the ground a long way from the stage. Even WAY back from the stage it was still vibrating my bones.
We stayed there the rest of the show and then got up and walked back to the BP station. We called our cabbie but he said he'd just gotten home. He told us to wait at the station and we'd easily get another taxi. But the only 'taxi' that showed up was a guy in an SUV with a handmade sign in the window that said, "shuttle." He said he'd charge us $75 to take us back to the hotel. Considering we'd gotten a ride to the show for $38 in a legitimate taxi, we said we'd pass. Then the guy said, "Come on, it's negotiable," opening his door and beckoning us to get in. We got out of there pretty fast. We called the taxi company and they told us to walk all the way back to Union Avenue. It was a bit of a hike, but we tried to stay with the other people walking around since it was dark and kind of creepy in the area. Finally we made it back to Riverside and Union and got a taxi right away. Despite the fact that the car had a loud knocking when we went around corners, and seemed like a wheel might fly off when we got on the interstate, we made it back to the hotel for another $38.
A shower never felt so good.

Day 1: $100 including tickets.