Thursday, February 28, 2013

Traditional or Self-Publishing?

So many authors face this dilemma. It used to be traditional publishing was the only legitimate way to go. But with the major publishers consolidating and many publishing houses dropping mid-list authors and ebooks booming, many authors are reexamining their options. Today I've asked one of CPs to talk about her journey. After some ups and downs with traditional publishing, Tracy Banghart decided to forge her own path. Here's her story:

Hi, my name is Tracy, and I am proud to say that my new novel By Blood is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an ebook. It’s been a long journey getting to this point, and I can say with total honesty that it is PRIDE I’m feeling now, despite the fact that this journey hasn’t taken the turns I expected it to.

Back in 2006, I self-published my first book as a hardcover; it served as my master’s thesis for a degree in Publishing, and I loved being involved in every aspect of writing, design, production, and promotion. But my dream was always to be traditionally published, so when I finished my next novel, I went the traditional route, querying agents. I was fortunate to find several agents willing to work with me. Thrilled, I made my choice, fully expecting to soon be able to say I was a “real” author.

Turns out, that’s not what happened. I wrote three novels, and my agent worked tirelessly to sell them. And, with By Blood, we got this close. A revision request, an editor absolutely in love with it. But in the end, she couldn’t get enough support to make a deal.

Meanwhile, indie publishing was taking off. Everywhere I turned, self-published authors were getting the publicity and sales once reserved for the Big Six. And I was sitting with three completed novels that I’d put my heart and soul into, moldering in a drawer.

So I decided to take back the reins. Put myself in control of my destiny again. My experience with my first novel was a positive one, why not try self-publishing again? And now, with the explosion of the ebook, it was even easier to make my work available to the world.

Maybe things didn’t turn out the way I originally hoped. But I love being in control – creating my own cover, choosing where and how to promote my novel, joining the ranks of talented writers who have taken ownership of their publishing journeys. I am proud of the work and love I put into By Blood, and I’m so SO excited to share it with you.

Blurb

For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.

Spending two months with her mom, Dr. Mike (don’t call him her stepdad), and their pooping, puking infant son? Not what she had in mind. It’s a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can’t fix (leather and spit-up so do not mix).

Not only does she get put on diaper duty (gag), but there’s also Dr. Mike’s cute research assistant to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than her trying to plant one on him hours after they meet is knowing he’ll be a witness to her family’s dysfunction all. summer. long.

So when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, the summer suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she expected. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom...and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It’s all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.

Trouble is, intriguing doesn’t often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.

Biography

Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs, and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

She is also the author of What the Sea Wants (2006), a novella which received the highest rating by VOYA magazine. She hopes to makes this title available as an ebook soon. To learn more about Tracy and her upcoming projects, both literary and culinary, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @tracythewriter.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quote of the Year

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I've been pretty busy working at the Oscars for the past few weeks.  Unfortunately it hasn't left a lot of time for writing - including blog posts!  So instead of a full post today I'm going to post one of my favorite quotes of all time, a quote that has become somewhat of a theme for this year:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

Shine out, my writer friends!  Be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous.  And I'll be back in two weeks with a real blog post!

Nicole Maggi writes YA - paranormal, historical, and beyond.  Her debut novel WINTER FALLS will be released in 2014 from Medallion Press.  She's represented by the fabulous Irene Goodman of The Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, their daughter Emilia (after the Shakespeare character), and two cats Sawyer & Hurley (after the LOST characters - yeah, she's a geek).  Check out her website and follow her on Twitter!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Life Goes On


Life is full of highs and lows. The last couple of months have been one of those lows. A beloved family member has passed. As the family picks up the pieces, I glance out my window and see the first signs of spring.The blooms on my beautiful Japanese magnolia remind me that life goes on.

My writing goals for this year are still in place and it’s time to ease back into that part of my life. My YA fantasy is off to my agent and I’m waiting to hear what she has to say. Hopefully she will love the story as much as I do. In the meantime I plan to work on an idea I have for a new project. Writing fantasy is a wonderful refuge from the bumpy times in life. I look forward to creating new characters and building a fun world for them to live their lives. I always enjoy letting the story take me along for the ride. Just like the roller coaster ride of real life.  


Anne
www.annevan.net


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finding an Idea from Nothing!

I have nothing to write about so I'm writing about nothing. This is the way to get rid of writer's block. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you write something and don't stop. I am supposed to have great content here that is about writing, but today I have too much to write about and it all creates a situation where I cannot write anything.

At first I thought I'd write about character names, because I just finished Summerland by Elyn Hildebrand and she used her son's name as a very minor character. I had never thought about using someone's real name as a character, but this intrigued me. What would happen if you used a real name in your writing? Of course, you would need the person's permission to use it. Most people would be thrilled, however, it depends on what the character might be doing. For instance, if you name a serial killer with your child's name this might be uncomfortable for them. Or if you create a very sleazy character and name it after your mother or father, this could also be awkward. So maybe she had the right idea when she named a minor football quarterback after her son.:)

This reminds me of how I name my characters. Usually, the names come to me according to the personality characteristics of the character. Sometimes it's the job they do that names them or it's the way they act. You might want to name a character to endear them to your readers. Or you might want your readers to feel a little scared of the character's name. Character names mean a great deal and they pretty much set the tone of your book. Quirky or silly names tell your readers that this is not a serious piece of writing. Pompous names suggest a different story line.

Occasionally a name will pop up for a character and then you see the whole character and you can plot their life. When I wrote my novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, the name Jennifer Taylor popped up for me and I saw who she was immediately. On the other hand, I saw my main character, Carolyn Samuels, before I named her and then I used the name that showed a nice Jewish middle class girl. Actually, a little bit of my father is in her name, because his name was Samuel. I chose as Jennifer's friend, the name Maura, because it sounded a little sinister and a little more grown up. It's old fashioned, but somehow it works for the character.

So I guess this was about naming characters.:) It's amazing what happens when my fingers hit the keyboard. I hope this has helped some of you who have difficulty naming your characters. Just name them for any of the reasons I stated above. Or name them haphazardly without any reason. However, once you name them that is their character and you are stuck with that. I have never renamed a character in mid novel. Of course, once you have named your character you need to do a character study and that can be done in several ways. However, that is a post for another time.:)

In conclusion, when you have writer's block it's best to sit down at the computer and just write. As you can see it doesn't matter how you start off, because eventually you will get an idea!! So please forgive me for the shaky start and I hope this helped some of you a little bit. See on March 7th.

Now a shameful plug for my Facebook chat with Jo Linsdell. She will be with me on my Facebook author page for a chat on March 5th. Come over and join us. Here are the details:


Monday, February 18, 2013

An Idea for Creating Characters


             I know authors are burdened when having to create characters. A ton of questions inundate the mind, stressing a storyline with a mass of confusion. What do they look like? Hair color? Mannerisms? Loves, dislikes? Clothing?
Well, for starters, many writers create their character from their imagination. But what happens if this doesn’t work? What then? Well, I have one idea you can test. Try looking at people you know as your source: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates. You’d be amazed at what you can come up with. Most of the work has already been done for you. How? The person you are studying is living the character. All you have to do is capture his/her description on paper and add some dialogue to get things rolling.
In a conversation with a friend of mine, he discussed the neighbors in the town he grew up in and thought of writing a book based on their lives. Trust me, his description involved such a myriad of character types, any writer would be eager to take the idea.
            Another place of “unique study” is…wait for it…Wal-Mart! If you don’t believe me, go to Google Images or Youtube and type in “People of Wal-Mart” and you’ll understand. Try going into one, take a seat, and watch. Be sure to have a mini-recorder, pen and pad, or a video device. You don’t want to miss these folks wandering about. Hopefully, you can do this without attracting law enforcement.
            Old photo albums from your relatives might conjure up an idea or two as well as yearbooks. At the next family gathering, sit around with your relatives and get some of the older folks to share family stories. I’ve done this before and I’m glad I did. I would have never dreamt of some of the colorful antics my relatives have done. Again, another source for character development! I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit since my temporary dormancy.

Take care,
Nick
nickgg.weebly.com  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

YA Urban Fantasy Release- Werewolves!

I've been waiting a while to be able to announce this, and now I can! My young adult urban fantasy novel Fresh Meat released Thursday, February 7, from Featherweight Press!

 This story started a year and a half ago, when I told Laura Baumbach, the owner of Featherweight, that I wanted to write a YA werewolf novel. She told me to go for it, so I did. The story is not easy to read. Tobias Rogan, the main character, is changed into a werewolf while being sexually assaulted, so be warned of potential triggers if you choose to read the book. But Tobias is a strong character and even with the tough parts, I enjoyed writing his story.

 You can check out the book on the Featherweight Press website. Meanwhile, here's the blurb and a short excerpt.



 BLURB:
Tired of constant fighting at home, fifteen-year-old Tobias Rogan dreams of getting out. The. he meets twenty-two-year-old Larry Denning and believes he's found his chance. Although he hasn't decided completely whether he's straight, gay, or bi, Tobias can't deny his attraction to Larry, and Larry's interest in him is clear.
 Then in one afternoon, Tobias's life is turned upside-down. Larry assaults him, turning him into a werewolf in the process. Tobias ends up at the home of the local pack's Alpha. As he attempts to adjust to his new life, Tobias learns that Larry is victimizing other boys. When Larry changes another boy and dumps him at the Alpha's home as a warning to Tobias, Tobias knows he must stop Larry from harming anyone else. But how?

 EXCERPT:

Running was the only thing other than the ocean that let me stop thinking for a while. I stayed on guard, knowing Larry might run out of those bushes any time. I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t want to think. I just wanted to run.
Just when I’d decided he wouldn’t attack that night either, a large, furry thing burst out of the bushes. It landed in front of Art, snarling and growling. Art screamed and scrambled backward. The thing stalked toward him slowly, as if it was enjoying itself.
It hadn’t occurred to me that Larry might attack us in wolf form instead of human. The only way I’d be able to fight him now was to shift myself, and I didn’t know if I even could.
I didn’t have time to figure it out, either, because Larry was getting closer and closer to Art, and Art seemed to have forgotten how to run. I’d promised nothing would happen to him, and I had to keep my word.
“Hey, jackass!” I shouted. If I could distract Larry for even a few seconds, it might give me time to figure out how to shift. “I challenge you!” If I put it that way, I could say it was a challenge fight. I’d pretend I’d forgotten I could only challenge the pack member directly above me. I couldn’t let Larry keep hurting boys, but I was a little afraid of what would happen if the pack found out I’d planned the fight.
Even though I didn’t like myself too much for it, I was done being Larry’s victim.
He turned and looked at me, teeth bared. I was so scared my heart just about pounded out of my chest. The fear mixed with the blind fury from seeing Larry invading another of my homes was the trigger I needed.
I didn’t even realize at first that I was shifting. Then Art screamed again, and I saw fur on my arm.
It hurt. Not as bad as shifting back to human had, but bad enough I wished I could stop. I wanted to die so I wouldn’t feel that pain anymore. I couldn’t do either one. The shift had begun, and there was no way to stop it. My clothes tore and fell to the ground as my body grew too big for them.
Part of me didn’t want to stop the shift. The wolf part. It knew the only way to kill Larry was to be like him, which meant being wolf.
Larry lunged at me. I hadn’t even finished shifting yet. If he’d reached me, he would have ripped out my throat right then. I knew it as sure as I knew I would do the same thing to him. I refused to let him do anything to me. Art wouldn’t be able to fight, and I’d promised to protect him.
I fell backward and Larry missed me by about an inch. He whirled around, snarling louder, and came at me again.
I rose to my feet. Everything hurt, and I couldn’t think very clearly, but I wouldn’t just lie there and let him destroy me. I could beat him. I was strong enough.
This time, I let him attack me. He tried to bite me, and I twisted away. Art screamed a third time. I wanted to tell him to shut the hell up and go inside, except of course I couldn’t speak in wolf form.
Larry wasn’t paying attention. He didn’t think I was strong. His leg got a little too close to my teeth and I bit. Hard.
The taste of blood, warm and coppery, filled my mouth. It was good. Not the taste; knowing I had injured my enemy. He would die here tonight. I would make sure of it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Zombies Are Everywhere!!!



Zombies are popular.

Warm Bodies, the movie, is doing very well in theaters. In June, we’ll have World War Z to watch. Walking Dead is back for another season.

Zombies are definitely popular.

Last year, after a series of zombie nightmares, I started tossing around ideas for a zombie book.
In my dreams, the zombies were relentless, seemingly unstoppable monsters, and they chased me everywhere. I couldn’t get away from them. Yes, the dreams bothered me because I remembered a lot of the details you normally forget. So to deal with my dreams, I tossed around zombies as a possible book idea.

Some people would probably call this therapy.

I called it dealing with my nightmares while coming up with a cool story idea.

I took the zombie idea and ran with it. Before long I had a complete outline. And what did I do with it? I put the outline in a binder and forgot about it. The nightmares were gone, so I wasn’t thinking about zombies anymore.

And then I found the outline.
I read through it, and BAM! Before I knew it, I had a complete manuscript.

The nightmares about zombies haven’t returned. I like to think that whatever caused the nightmares, is happy with the story I wrote.

And the story?  Well, you’ll have to be the judge of that Middle Grade book.





How NOT to Train a Zombie!!!
How does a thirteen-year old become the most popular kid in 8th grade? He trains a zombie to be a pet…And that’s exactly what Max Taylor plans to do, even if he has to lie, steal, and lose his best friend in the process.


 Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, February 15, 2013

VBT: To Dance in Liradon



The Faerie World of To Dance in Liradon
The act of creation is the most exhilarating thing about being a writer. Confronted with a blank page, focus and determination can bring your imagination to life, and even more amazingly, share it with others. An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, I’ve been travelling fantasy worlds all my life. But when it was time to write my own story, my hope was to create something fresh and different, but still part of the Faerie mythology that has so influenced me as a reader and a writer.
Building your own fantasy world isn’t as easy as it sounds. Fairy tales, by their very nature, are familiar. Told and retold over time they have entered our consciousness; we see echoes of fairy tales in contemporary stories, films, dance, and TV shows. For me, the challenge in writing To Dance in Liradon was to create a world that was uniquely my own, even though some aspects of Faerie lore may be familiar to some readers.
An enduring them in Faerie stories is the notion of paradise: A world where there is no sickness and everyone is young and beautiful forever. When I began dreaming about Liradon, I knew I wanted to challenge that idea of paradise. What it means to live in a world without fear of mortality. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of Faerie perfection and human existence in all its flawed, uncertain beauty. To Dance in Liradon explores the lure of both through the eyes of the novel’s heroine, Brigid, who must decide who she is and where she belongs.
There are so many books about supernatural beings out there, and I love and admire many of them, but a lot of these books focus on the supernatural aspect of character’s identity, and I wanted the focus of my book to be on what it means to be human. The desire to embrace the glittering, enchanted world of Faerie which promises eternal youth and “pleasure without end,” is undeniably powerful. Who wouldn’t want to escape into such a world, at least for a little while? But there is also, I think, tremendous beauty in ordinary things. A simple truth that I hope my novel illuminates. There. Have I convinced you yet? Come away with me and find out what To Dance in Liradon really means.
BLURB:
Seventeen-year-old Brigid O'Flynn is an outcast. A chance encounter with the Faerie Queen left her tainted in the eyes of the villagers, who blame the Faerie for the village’s missing women and children. Desperate to win the village’s acceptance, Brigid agrees to marry her childhood friend: Serious, hardworking, Connell Mackenna. But when Connell disappears before their wedding, Brigid's hopes are shattered. Blamed for her fiancé’s death, Brigid fears she will suffer the same fate as the other village outcasts, the mysterious Willow Women. Lured into Faerie by their inhuman lovers, and cast out weak and broken, the Willow Women spend their lives searching for the way back into Faerie. When Connell suddenly reappears, Brigid is overjoyed, but everything is not as it seems. Consumed by his desire for beauty and celebration, Connell abandons his responsibilities, and Brigid soon finds herself drawn into a passionate, dangerous world of two.
When Brigid discovers the truth behind Connell's transformation she’s forced to choose between two men and two worlds. Brigid’s struggle leads her into glittering, ruthless Faerie, where she must rescue her true love from a terrible sacrifice or lose him forever.
Excerpt:
The Faerie Queen raised one eyebrow so that it disappeared behind the gold circlet she wore around her head. “Another favour? I’m afraid this one shall cost you.”
Brigid nodded. What good was the flower if she couldn’t find her way back again?
“Close your eyes,” the Faerie Queen commanded. “What do you hear?”
“Nothing.”
“Still your breath, and let the pictures in your head slide away. Listen to what’s underneath the silence.”
She tried, but it was hard to do. And then she heard it, the gentle trickle of running water.
“Follow the sound. It will bring you back to the path and your father. But hurry, the forest is no place for a child.” And then she began to laugh, the sound surprisingly harsh and deep.
Brigid ran towards the sound until she saw the sky peeking through the trees, and felt the path beneath her feet. When she saw her father, she ran into his open arms, the Faerie Queen’s laughter still ringing in her ears.
“We thought we’d lost you forever,” her father whispered into her hair.
“But I’ve only been gone a short time,” she said.
“Nay, my sweet. The sun has risen and set twice since we came into the forest. Your mother and I have been searching everywhere.”
She showed her father the flower. “The Faerie Queen gave it to me so I could give it to Mother.”
Her father smiled, but fear spread across his face like a stain. Three days later he was dead.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I think I became a writer because the world inside my head was so real and vivid, sometimes more so than the outside world. In some sense I have lived parallel lives, present in my real and imaginary lives in different ways. Because much of my childhood was spent searching for faeries or reading about them, it is natural that my work encompasses fairy tale themes and other magical elements. In the words of Tennessee Williams, forget reality, give me magic!
Adrienne has previously published short stories in The Storyteller, Beginnings Magazine, New Plains Review, and in the e-zines A Fly in Amber, Grim Graffiti, Les Bonnes Fees, The Altruist, The Devilfish Review, and Rose Red Review. Her short story, Falling was awarded second place in the 2008 Alice Munro short fiction contest. To Dance in Liradon is her first published novel.
An avid reader of fairy tales and other magical stories, a thread of the mysterious or unexpected runs through all of her work. When she’s not writing Adrienne can be found searching for faeries along with her daughters Callista and Juliet.

Author Links:

 Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436251.Adrienne_Clarke


Buy Links:


Adrienne will be awarding winner's choice of a Kindle touch, Nook Simple Touch, or a $100 Apple gift card, and one crystal Faerie necklace similar to what Brigid wore to the Faerie ball to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

The tour dates can be found here: