Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Amanda Arista - CLAWS AND EFFECT

Hi Everyone. Please help me welcome Amanda Arista to AsianCocoa's Secret Garden today! Amanda is here to talk about how journaling helped her in writing her new novel Claws and Effect. 

Hello there and thank you for having me over at AsianCocoa’s today to talk about my new book Claws and Effect and how the journaling process helped me write it.

            Even though my series is called Diaries of an Urban Panther,  I really never kept a daily account of my life. I think it stems from perpetual low self-esteem: I wasn’t interesting enough to waste the pages of all the pretty journals I got with the boring things that happened to me.

            My characters were a different story all together. Their lives and struggles were amazing and fantastic, so I fill the many diaries with their stories instead. I started writing every day somewhere in 6th grade. I’m not going to be daft and say that all of the stories were just about my characters. I’m sure that the first time I liked a boy, a character fell in love. I know that when I lost my father to cancer, all of a sudden, my characters seemed to be orphaned as well. Journaling their lives became my daily ritual to help deal with my own struggles. Probably still is.

            If I can impart one thing to the world, it would be to write every day. About yourself, about someone else, about tuna fish. It doesn’t matter. Just write. Or get a therapist- but that’s another blog post all together.

           My education background will tell you that writing is a way to solidify one’s understanding of new material. Writing through something helps you make sense of it and I think that we can all agree there is a lot of crazy stuff that needs some sense made out of it.

            My emotional background will tell you that writing is a way to get it out. There is a joke that you should never make a writer mad because they will kill you off as a character in one of their books. It’s true- we get that anger on the page as soon as possible. “Keep the drama on the page,” my writer professor told us. Journaling helps get it all OUT, because keeping it IN will only hurt you. Write about the frustrations you have at work or the tension that you feel between you and a sister you stopped talking to. Make up names, put them in Portland or some other place far away if you need to distance yourself from the emotion of it, but do get it out. Just not on Facebook.

            My writer background will tell you that journaling daily will help the words flow. Journaling daily helps with fluency in reading and writing. The more you write, the easier it is to write. Claws and Effect was a contracted book; I had a very small time frame to get it to my editor. Because I journaled daily and set a schedule for myself, I was able to crank it out in three months. I was able to sit down, get focused, and write what I needed to write for that day because I always sat down, got focused and wrote something. Some days it was complete crap, but other days, it was awesome.

            Journaling, professionally or privately, is a recommended tool, not only to possibly spark a creative endeavor but a way to organize the thoughts running around in your head and possibly help you make sense of the craziness that we don’t have control over.

            So do you journal? Send dream e-mails to yourself first thing at work? Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate.

            Thanks and Happy Writing!

Claws and Effect
by Amanda Arista
Series: Diaries of an Urban Panther, Book 2
Release Date: December 27, 2011

Violet Jordan Rule #2 of being a superhero: Find reliable sidekicks

Dear Diary,

Once I took down Haverty, the Primo of the city, I thought life was going to get better. After four assassination attempts, I’m thinking not so much. Haverty's pack needs a new leader and I've just about run out of reasons why I'm not right for the job. Besides, having loyal followers would definitely help me fight off whoever's out for my blood. Especially since my boyfriend is always busy playing White Hat to every wanderer except me. It's nice that he thinks I'm tough enough to handle my own business, but a little extra back up would be nice.

So now I just need to figure out how to mentor new shifters, run a pack, keep my "real" job, and have some sort of personal life. I guess it's all in a day's work for this horror movie writer-turned-shapeshifting panther.

Author bio:

         Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel! The summer of second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, so she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.

         She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise.  When not writing, Amanda often dreams of co-opening an evil bakery and sell despicable desserts. Her particularly favorites are larvaceous lemon bars and sinful cinnamon streusel.

         She spends her weekends writing at coffee shops, practicing for the day that caffeine intake becomes an Olympic sport, and plotting character demises with fellow writers Wolvarez, Killer Cupcake and Keith (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).

Amanda can be found at: 
Twitter: @pantherista
Facebook- Amanda Arista, Author

Amanda will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more comments you leave the better your chances of winning.
To Enter:
Answer Amanda's questions from the post or leave a comment or question for her and include your email address.
Be sure to visit the other blogs on this wonderful tour. Click on the tour button below for a list of participating blogs.


  1. cool book. sounds interesting. :)

  2. Congratulations on Claws and Effect! I love the title, the cover, the blurb... everything about this book. Definitely on my wishlist. And to answer your question, no I dont really keep a journal. The truth is that I did write things down before in diaries and such but people kept finding them and reading them. I got to the point where I didnt trust myself to put my thoughts on paper unless it was notes for some project or work. So no personal journal for me.
    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  3. I've always admired those that can journal...I've tried it, and have always failed. I just never remember to do it! But those that can have something to look back on - and I envy that. How cathartic that must be!

    I've so enjoyed your blog tour! Congratulations on your publications and I hope that 2012 brings you every happiness and success!

    Gena Robertson

  4. Although I don't "formally" journal, I do have notebooks all over the place that I write in. Could be a story idea, a dream, or a couple of random lines of dialogue that I heard while on line for coffee, or any other randomness that catches my attention or pops into my head.

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  5. Congrats on the new release. The book looks great and the cover is cool.
    I do not journal, I wish that I did. I get it started, but just can't keep it going. I get distracted by other stuff. When I was younger I did. My cousin and I actually had a journal going. I kept it one week and then she would take it the next week. We lived in different towns, about 1 hour from each other. We only saw each other on the weekends and thats when we would exchange them.
    Thanks for the fun tour. Would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. I've never kept a journal or a diary but I can see from your discussion points here today how it would help and do wonders in most cases. I guess I'll have to consider it.

    How much of your journal rants and/or raves end up in your books...if any?

  7. Great advice Amanda. Thanks for sharing about journaling. That's actually how I started my first book. Continued blessings. Vanessaajohnson@AT&

  8. Great advice Amanda. Thanks for sharing about journaling. That's actually how I started my first book. Continued blessings. Vanessaajohnson@AT&

  9. I have a diary that I may write in once a year, onece a month, once a week or even once a day, depending on how badly I need get my feelings out there, even if they will never be read by anyone other than me. It really is a great way to release stress. I've had the same diary since I was about 10, and am only now running out of pages. I think I have about 9 left. I keep putting off filing those pages, because it will be sad to get a new one :-)


  10. No journals, no dream e-mails. I tried to journal when I was younger, but after a day, I'd stop. I guess I had nothing to write about cause I would just talk to someone.

  11. Great post, Amanda. I used to do more journaling in college, but motherhood pretty much sucked up any creative bits, lol.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  12. I start a journal and do good for a few days, then slack off and forget. I even try to get into the habit of doing this when I go to bed, but then I will be reading and forget, lol. I will keep trying though.
    June M.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  13. Reading this makes me really wish I didn't listen to my DH, Fiance, at the time. He found out that I wrote in a diary and asked me to stop. He is a very private and reserved person - and I stopped. Out of respect. I should have changed his name or something and kept going because I got out of the habit, that means that I stopped documenting all my kids' births and their firsts etc etc... NEVER listen to a man - they give the worst advice sometimes -- oh the stories I could tell .... If I could only remember !!!!! -- so, Great advice and BTW? Your story totally ROCKS - -it was one of the most fun and exciting reading experiences I've had in a while. THANKS!!!!

  14. I don't journal and I never have--for any length of time. That said, I will be teaching an Intro to Lit class soon and I plan on incorporating a reading journal into the curriculum. We'll see how it goes!


  15. I don't journal or send dream emails at work. I have thought about writing in a journal everyday but never did it. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  16. I've led a pretty uneventful life. Having said that I doubt I could be bothered to keep a journal. Reading what others have written is eye-opening though.


  17. I write in a journal once a week, unless something bad/awesome/etc happens then a make an extra entry.


  18. I used to journal all the time, but fell out of the habit. I love the dream emails idea! I might start up again now :)

    Thanks for the great blogpost!

    kemendraugh at gmail dot com

  19. Looking forward to reading your book. Congrats on the new release!!

    I dont keep a journely I tried it for abit in collefge but it didnt work out for me. And I rarely remember my dreams I will sometimes try when I first wake up but it always goes so fast. There are some that just leave the feeling of cazy that I would love to be able to write down.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  20. I must say.. I jot down alot.. On my phone pieces of paper.. notes here and there !!! But I def like the idea of Dream emails ;) thanks for the insight !!



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