May 25, 2012

Summer Teen Reading Party: Welcome to Emerald Barnes, author of Piercing Through the Darkness and Read Me Dead!

It's another day for the fun Summer Teen Reading Party! (** NOTE: I'm also appearing today at Emerald's blog**)

Today I welcome Emerald Barnes, author of Piercing Through the Darkness and Read Me Dead.


It’s on the edge of her memory like a word on the tip of her tongue, but Kandi can’t remember what it is to save her life.

Despite being a cop, Jimmy can’t protect Kandi from the one thing that haunts her. She’s in danger and doesn’t even know it. After it happened, her brain repressed her memories of the accident, and now, she’s taking a Biology class under a man who wants to see her dead. The memories have started coming back, and it feels like she’s miles away from him. How can he protect her when she doesn’t even know she needs protecting?

Can these characters pierce their way through the darkness?


Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice.

Emerald, thanks for stopping by. She's talking about something we've all faced one time or another. Read on - and be sure to go to the end to see how to win a copy of her books!


Relatively small word, huge meaning. Criticism can be hurtful but if given in the correct manner, helpful.

As an author, I opened myself up to criticism. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do before. I don’t have a thick skin. I get hurt easily, and when someone downs something I love doing, I’m not going to lie, it hurts.

But, as it turns out, I’ve learned a lot over the past year based on some criticism I’ve received about Piercing Through the Darkness. I’ve listened and learned about some habits of mine that might exactly not work in a novel. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ignore what things people say because they are too hurtful and not constructive at all.

I remember the first time I sat in a writing class. I poured my heart into a short story, the short story that Piercing Through the Darkness was based on. I turned it in and waited for my other classmates to read it and criticize it.

When that day came, I was a bundle of nerves. (Note: There were only six of us in our creative writing class.) Some of the feedback was very helpful; some of it not. When I made it to university and was taking the courses required to get my emphasis on Creative Writing, I was even more nervous. There were about 20 people who were reading my short stories.)

I got the work back with X’s on two or three pages not to mention countless other paragraphs marked out. My heart sank. I had marks on there that said, “NECESSARY!!!!!” “SERIOUSLY!!” I wanted to crawl under my desk and pretend that I wasn’t even there and that they weren’t talking to me.

In edits though, I realized they were right. What they had marked out wasn’t necessary. So, I edited and came out with a completely different story than when I began. A much better story.

As an author, we all know that edits are IMPORTANT whether you like them or not. Criticism may hit hard, and when they (whoever they are) say, you have to have a thick skin being a writer, they weren’t wrong.

I’m quickly growing a thick skin. Rejection letters, people who don’t like my novella – well, I can’t take it personally. People are going to hate what I write just as some will like or hopefully love it.

So, I take these not-so-good reviews and use them to my advantage. I’ll use them to make my writing better, and I’ll use them as a tool to keep myself humble when I hit it big. Okay, just kidding about that last part. But I will use them in order to make this year a better writing year than I did last year. I may not write three novels this year like last, but by gosh, I’ll write a dang good one!

That’s what I did for my new release, READ ME DEAD. I took what I learned from PIERCING THROUGH THE DARKNESS, and I kept that in mind while writing again. Don’t let it get to you though. Learn from your mistakes and move on. That’s all we can do in the end.

So, take that criticism and turn it upside down. Wait, that’s a smile. Take that criticism and make your writing better! It can’t hurt, right?

CONTEST: What’s the best criticism you’ve received? Tell me here in a comment and you could win a copy of each of my books!

Connect with Emerald Barnes:

* Website
* Blog
* Facebook

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