Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles

Over the last few weeks I've had the immense pleasure of reading through the first three volumes of the supremely talented Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.

You guys I love them so much!!

Here's why they're awesome:

They're fairy tale retellings that fit together in an overarching original plot that's compelling and fascinating and kind of brilliant.

 Cinder starts off as a fairly standard Cinderella retelling—except the title character is an Asian cyborg mechanic living in New Beijing and the prince is about to become emperor of the Commonwealth 'cause his dad is dying from the plague that's ravaging the world. Oh yeah, and this crazy moon queen with brainwashing powers is trying to take over the planet. Cinder does a brilliant job of staying true to the original fairy tale (ball and glass slipper and everything!), all the while laying groundwork for a bigger story that leaves us clamoring for more by the end.

Scarlet is fascinating. It's a Red Riding Hood retelling (wolf and grandmother and red hood and everything), while still continuing the story and plot lines begun in Cinder. The book unfolds by alternating Scarlet and Cinder's stories, until, eventually, you begin to see the threads that connect them…
Cress is Rapunzel—stranded in a satellite orbiting earth. This book kicks it up a notch higher, because now we have three interconnected stories and main characters to keep track of, all fitting in to the mounting plot begun in Cinder. And somehow Marissa Meyer manages to still keep true to the story elements of the original Rapunzel fairy tale: an isolated tower, an evil witch, lots of hair, wandering in the desert… Cress is a captivating strong heroine in her own right, with a different personality than either of our other two leading ladies. And that ending! AHHHHHH!!!!!

Now to pick up Levanna's story in Fairest, and patiently await the release of Winter in November (AUUUUGHHHH Where is the TARDIS when you need it???).

And just for fun, here's some of the random thoughts/reactions I had while reading the books.


Thoughts while reading Cinder:

Cinderella is an Asian cyborg! Cool!
This book is gonna be so fun and… WHAT WORLDWIDE PLAGUE??? Oh.
Iko = hilarious.
Aw she's friends with her younger stepsister.
The VW is the pumpkin coach! Pumpkin coach!
Okay, I'm calling the twist three chapters in.
I heart Prince Kai.
PEONY WHY :'( :'( :'( :'(
Evil stepmother is evil.
Ahhhh I spy Rapunzel!
The ball the ball the ball!
Wait, this book continues on? ahhhhhhhh **grabs for Scarlet**

Thoughts while reading Scarlet:

Oooh we're in France.
Aw her grandmother is missing.
Scarlet is super kick-butt. I dig her piloting skills.
Whoa Wolf is creepy. But hungry? And kind of sweet?
Captain Thorne HAHAHAHAHA
I'm getting Star Wars vibes AND I LIKE IT.
Cinder, go to Africa SHEESH
Ahhhhhh Scarlet and Cinder are connected!
These wolf people are so weird/creepy.
Wolf is good, right?
Wolf is not good.
Wolf is good?
THE TRAIN SCENE ***heart***
The underground lab scene!! :-( :-( :-( :-(
They are totally Lunar. They've got to be.
Ackkkk Grandma!!! :-( :-( :-( :-(

Thoughts while reading Cress:

This girl is me.
This girl is so me.
Literally, this girl is EXACTLY LIKE ME, over-active imagination, uber emotional and idealistic…
Oh I just want to hug her.
She and Thorne are totally gonna hook up.
Ack! Contact!
No Sybil!!!!!!!!
Scarlet! Wolf!!!!! :-(
Whoa! The desert! The blindness! HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT THE BLINDNESS?
Thorne totally = Han Solo.
I would react EXACTLY THE SAME AS CRESS if I had to march through the Sahara. OMG I love her so much.
Nooooo misunderstanding!
Whoa first mention of Winter! *intrigued*
"It starts with kidnapping the groom." YESSSS I HIGHLY APPROVE OF THIS PLAN!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Querying & Indie Author: Alythia Brown

Happy Monday, everyone! Today we have with us Alythia Brown, an author who does it all—she has one book currently out with Crescent Moon Press, and is currently seeking representation for her new novel Heartbreaker for Hire.

Alythia Brown
Twitter: @alyconnerbrown
Website: alythiabrown.com

How long have you been writing?
I've have been storytelling since Kindergarten! No, seriously, I 'wrote' picture books and would read them aloud to my class. I know everyone says they've been writing since childhood, but I still remember sitting in my mom's room for hours when I was in fifth grade because we bought our first computer. (Oh, that makes me feel old!) I managed to write about one hundred pages of my very first (and very horrible) novel. 
But in the sense of pursuing publication and representation, this year is my ten-year mark. Crescent Moon Press published my first novel, DAKOTA CAPTIVE, in 2013, but I'm back on the hunt for representation! 

What’s the blurb for Dakota Captive? Where can we buy it?
When the evil spirit of Jumlin returns with his army of Offspring, the Earth Spirits are summoned to protect the Sioux. Unbeknownst to Charli, these Earth Spirits are a sacred secret. So she probably shouldn't have spied from behind a rock when they shifted from their animal forms. She shouldn't have taken pictures. And she definitely shouldn't have gotten caught. And they're not going to let her go until some creepy witch doctor, or something, erases her memory. 
So all she has to do is try to keep her big mouth shut, get her memory erased and go home, right? Wrong. Because Jumlin's Offspring are stalking Charli. And since no one can explain this unusual behavior, it becomes imperative to enter the Other World for sanctuary. Now if only she can figure out why she's beginning to fall for one of her abductors on top of everything else... 
You can find DAKOTA CAPTIVE here!

What inspired the project you’re currently querying?
Actually, I was listening to a country song. (No laughing!) I can't remember the artist, but she was singing about how much she was going to enjoy watching a new girl break her ex's heart because his cheating ways were bound to come back around to him. And I thought, 'Hmmm…. Someone would pay a lot to see that arranged. Someone could make a living reaping the benefits…' And thus HEARTBREAKER FOR HIRE began to take life in a fantasy setting.

What’s your elevator pitch for the project you’re currently querying?
Twenty-year-old Kaia Featherfoot is a professional heartbreaker. Turns out, there are plenty of scorned maidens eager to send ex-lovers a taste of their own medicine for a reasonable price. But when she gets an assignment to break the king's heart, she realizes only too late that she may be in over her head. 

What are you working on in the meantime to keep yourself from checking your email every three seconds?
Well, I have three kiddos under the age of ten, so life can become busy for me all on its own! I've been hiking, volunteering, making macrame projects (something about tying hundreds of knots is soothing for the querying soul), and going out with my family. 
I've been querying HEARTBREAKER FOR HIRE for about two months and I'm just now beginning a new project. I know the best advice for querying authors is to begin something new, but I think I needed a small break--to go on adventures and refuel my creativity. Currently, I'm plotting potential sequels for H4H, but I've also begun a completely new project just in case the one I'm querying doesn't sell.

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
Maya Angelou's writing voice has moved me since I was a child. I grew up reading her poetry—appreciating the depth of emotion breathed into every word. I know you asked for a book title, but her words alone definitely shaped me as a writer. 
I fell in love with Terry Brooks' MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER series when I was ten! His work helped me hone my world building. 
LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott is another. Although completely different than the books I usually read, her story is a comfort. In many ways, it ran parallel with my life. I grew up with spunky sisters and a liberal, independent mother who taught us to value our individuality and character over material possessions and appearances. We're also distant cousins to Alcott, so I feel a strong connection to her as a writer! 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
Plotter. The first novel I completed was a let's see where this thing goes kind of story and, to this day, I can't tell you what it's about. Once I broke down a plotting process that worked for me, I never went back! (Vogler's method was extremely helpful for me. I outlined it here.) I'm like the mouse from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE and I will quickly lose focus without a map.

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into querying?
Expect and accept rejections as rungs on a ladder, bringing you closer to your dream. There will come a time when you doubt yourself and your work. I think that's the mark of an artist--someone who is willing to continue improving no matter what--not the mark of someone who has failed. 
Once your work is out, you wait. And wait and wait and wait... Everyone tells you to begin something new. And you should. But if you just can't seem to—if you're just a little too burnt out from querying—don't worry. Anything forced won't be anything good. Go live life! Getting away from your desk will only improve your world building.  (Just make sure you always have a small notebook handy.)

How do you take your caffeine?
Coffee. And too much of it.

Thanks so much for taking part in the interview series, Alythia! Best of luck with your querying journey!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Indie Author: Tara Winters

Happy Friday, everyone! Today we have indie author Tara Winters with us!

Tara Winters ~ Hidden Heritage Series
Author Web Page:  www.tarawinters.com
Twitter: @TaraWinters41

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about 22 years. I started with children's novels and was doing the illustrations on those as well. I still have those children's stories but grew restless writing the smaller content. I wanted to write a novel so I plunged into my first fantasy novel back in the late 1990's and finished that in 2002. I did send out queries on it for a while but when you work full time, the time invested in searching out agents and publishers is time you'd rather be simply writing. I started my next novel a few years later and got through about 11 chapters of that when I did a complete turn around and decided to make it more of a paranormal than a fantasy. This was the birth of the Hidden Heritage books which was originally written as one LARGE book!

What’s the most rewarding thing about going indie?
The best thing about going indie is that once you have gone through and put together the best product you can, the whole process is yours to own. I went directly to the editor, the cover designer, the formatter and my web designer. I had always dreamed about getting published and a large house picking up my books but the more authors you meet that went through the process, the pros and cons are definitely leveling out. As an Indie author, you can design the book and the message and control all aspects of your own product. 

What inspired your books?
My first novel was inspired by walking through Mystic Seaport in CT. I loved imagining how life may have been and the hustle and bustle. I wanted to write a story where I could let my imagination take wings but was struggling with how to tie a story about a seaport village and my love for f the paranormal and creepy. Someday, I will haul that original novel out and finish the edits on it!  My second book, which is the Hidden Heritage series, was originally inspired by the image of a young girl, her hand reaching through a ring of fire and the only thing you can see on the either side is a hand reaching for her. Funny enough, that was not the image I went with for my book covers!! 

What’s the blurb for your Hidden Heritage trilogy?
Dark HollowTabitha Devins spent 18 years waiting for her mother to tell her whom her father was, where her mother had disappeared to all those years ago and perhaps shed some light on how she got magical abilities. 
Now it is the summer of her high school graduation and she plans on saving every penny she can earn to get off to college, leave the island of Porta Negra and her mother's secrets behind her. As she sees a sliver of freedom in her future, her mother disappears once again with only a cryptic note. The clues lead Tabitha to the glen known as Dark Hollow where her mother originally disappeared. 
Tabitha delves into the nest of secrets her mother left and finds a world she never knew existed with a race of people with magical abilities much like her own.  As she searches this new world for her mother, she discovers that her father has been looking for her as well. 
Before she can head off to meet him, she finds herself caught between a magical race of people discouraging her from meeting her father and the onset of a dark drama back on her island home which could keep her from ever being able to return home.

We wants it, precious! Where can we buy your books?
Dark Hollow is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Dark Legacy is exclusively on Amazon right now. I am testing the market there to see if it is worth it to have the exclusive rights on one site or spread it around! 
LinksDark Hollow 
           Dark Legacy

What project are you working on now?
The 3rd book in the series: Dark Sacrifice. I had thought to have it out but the writing took an unexpected turn and I had to follow it!  I would rather be a little late with a great product than rush and put out something I feel should be revise.

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
My favorite series as a kid was the Chronicles of Narnia. I loved that C.S Lewis wrote in a voice directly to the reader and his characters were flawed and made mistakes!  I loved that I could always count on reading about people that were less than perfect! David Eddings fantasy novels: The Belgariad and The Mallorian were all-time favorites of mine but my most recent absolute favorite series has to be Michael Sullivan's The Ryria Chronicles. I love his writing and his characters and he was initially an Indie published author. Of course, those are some of my favorites but I always fell back on Stephen King, Robin Cook, John Saul and Terry Brooks. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I do plot with the very best of intentions but the truth is, as I write, the story and characters take on a life of their own and I find myself forever re-writing and re-shaping to accommodate twists and turns that I had not seen coming. I love hitting a scene and then finding a whole new avenue is streaming than what I had planned. I have the ending of book 3 already done but the truth is, as I revise and shape the book itself, I am not sure what will evolve!!

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into indie publishing?
The first and most important thing would be to make sure you have made your product the very best that you can. Rewrite, edit and review your work over and over before even submitting to an editor. Spend the money to get your book professionally edited and a cover done by a professional that understands the rules and the requirements. I have been so disappointed in downloading an indie book only to find that it is riddled with mistakes, misspelled words and grammatical errors. Let's face it, there are plenty of books (and traditionally published are included in this list) that have some errors and typos (and mine did) but use professional editors and beta readers to catch as many of them as you can!  Put out the very best quality product that you can!

How do you take your caffeine?
I am a huge coffee drinker and i Love tea!  I do not, however drink soda so my 'caffeine' fix comes from coffee and tea but I have to be honest here, I am a decaf drinker. If you meet me in person, I am pretty high energy and a little spastic.. if you see me on caffeine, I have to be peeled off the ceiling!!

Tara Winters has written 2 books in the Hidden Heritage Series: Book One: Dark Hollow and Book Two: Dark Legacy. Book Three: Dark Sacrifice is scheduled for 2015 release. She lives North of Boston with her husband, daughter and a very large lapdog. When not writing, she loves to hike, walk the dog, jog ( on occasion!), READ!!! and oh, yeah, by the way, is a marketing manager for a healthcare manufacturer. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Happy Thursday, everyone!

I'm hard at work revising Whale so I'll keep this brief, but just wanted to pop in and say:

  • I love writing so much! It's a serious, for-reals job, but it makes me excited to get out of bed every morning. Rewriting is challenging (as always). BUT THIS NEW DRAFT YOU GUYS! **hearts in eyes**
  • I'm drinking through my recently bolstered tea stash at an ALARMING rate.
  • I'm reading Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and I love them SO MUCH. Expect glowing reviews when I finish Cress (which I think is my favorite thus far!!).
  • Arizona is treating us unusually kindly this year. Lots of overcast days and temps in the low 90s. I can totally handle this—stay all summer, please?
  • More Indie Author and Querying Author interviews coming your way soon!

Okay. Must write now. Happy almost-weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Querying Author: Dustin Fife

Happy Monday, everyone! Today we have an interview with querying author Dustin Fife. Take it away, Dustin!

Dustin Fife

Twitter: @dustinfife

How long have you been writing?
I suppose I'm the outlier on this one. I never thought I'd be writing novels. I've got dyslexia and so both reading and writing were about as pleasurable as perusing a latin dictionary. Enter technology and things changed. First it was audible--I didn't have to fuss with trying to interpret the hieroglyphics of english words--just listen and enjoy. Then I discovered that my iPhone will read to me if I treat her right. My "novels-per-year" rate exploded and with it came a surge of "what-if" sorts of questions. During the summer of 2012, whilst showering, I had a "what-if" that I thought was wicked-awesome--what if the government tried to control nuclear weapons by wiping the intellect of humanity, making them too dumb to understand enough physics to ever threaten the world again. And....what if there was a secret rebellion that had somehow been spared the effects of this "Genetic Apocalypse"?  
What if.... 
Well, I hadn't ever read a book like that, but I was certain I wanted to read it. I waited six months and no up-and-coming (or down-and-going) authors wrote the book that I wanted to read, so I started writing. (More like, stumbling, mumbling, and incoherently vomiting rhetoric). Luckily for me, I thought everything I wrote was divine, so I never got discouraged until I completed the book and found beta readers. When they trashed both my rhetoric and story-telling, I figured I was too far into it to give up. 
Now, three years and three completed novels later, the rhetoric is less trashy, the story-telling more believable, and the feedback more positive. Wahoo!

What inspired the project you’re currently querying?
My first novel (The Nexus Has Fallen) was the shower "what-if" project, but can I talk about my third project? Oooooh, please, please, please?? 
Here's how my third project came about--I was watching a documentary on Netflix about space, the universe, planets, and black holes. I've always been fascinated by the idea of black holes. Again, another "what-if"--what if there was a massive black hole barreling toward earth? What would I do if I were a corrupt government (aye, a common theme in my writing ;)). Well, it'd be nice if Albert Einstein were alive. Or maybe we can clone him! Which leads me to....

What’s your elevator pitch for the project you’re currently querying?
Alvin is the sixth clone of Albert Einstein, destined to save the world from the incoming black hole--Mortem 57. Except he's pissed that his life has been a lie and he's been enslaved in a program aimed at defeating Mortem 57. With his band of fellow clones--Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Paul Dirac, and Marie Curie--he's going to break out of the program. But will his escape cost the life of humanity?

What are you working on in the meantime to keep yourself from checking your email every three seconds?
LOTS. I've got a full-time job (biostatistician), three boisterous boys and a girl in the oven, as well as a healthy collection of non-writing hobbies (woodworking, grilling, home improvement, and photography)--not to mention three different books I'm pitching! 
I will say that the best advice I've ever received is to start your second project before you query your first. That way, when the rejections come, you can brush it off and say, "No biggie. I've got another killer project I'm getting ready to pitch." (Though don't take this advice too far, like me, otherwise you'll have to juggle three projects simultaneously!)

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
For character development—Ender's Game. I only read it about 7 years ago, but I remember thinking, "I want to be just like Ender when I grow up!" And I was grown up! To give a full grown adult (immature, granted, but still full-grown) that sense of wistful delusions of grandeur is amazing--and something that I strive for with my novels. 
For World-building—anything Brandon Sanderson, but particularly his Stormlight Archive series. It's the type of series that makes me regret when I finish a book because I can't be whisked away to that time and place until the next installment. 
For plotting—Harry Potter. When I finished the final book, I remember thinking how absolutely brilliant it was how everything came together. Little plot threads mentioned in book one tied up a loose end mentioned in book four and came full circle at book seven. Having had that experience, now I know exactly how I want my readers to feel and I attempt to plot accordingly :)

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
90% plotter, 10% pantser. Usually how it works is that I come up with the concept (e.g., Black hole coming toward earth and the government clones geniuses to solve the problem). Next, I come up with what I hope is an explosive ending (not going to give that one away!). Afterward, I work backward (given that I need to be at Z, what needs to happen to get there). In the end, I have a rough outline of what needs to happen for that explosive ending and have an idea of what scenes are needed. At this point, I probably only have about ten scenes sketched out. That's where the pantsing comes in--filling in the spaces between the major scenes. 

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into querying?
Get feedback! I sent my very first query to Jennifer Jackson at Maas Literary. But, I sent the synopsis, not the query! And I never even gave the title of my book or word-count! Oops! Talk about a waste! (Although, I did re-query her several months later.....shhhhhh....don't tell. She still rejected me :)). Getting feedback will at least help you know if your query is not in standard format. I'd recommend agentqueryconnect.com, querytracker, and scribophile. (And if you're real thick-skinned, try evileditor.com too). 

How do you take your caffeine?
Er, um, well....water? I'm not a big caffeine guy. *Ducks in order to dodge the thrown books by fellow writing-wonks.*

Thanks so much for taking part in the interview series, Dustin! Best of luck as you continue querying!

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Life and Times

Hey all! Happy Friday! TGIF, am I right? :-)

I have just a brief update post from me today:

First and foremost, I've been an agented author for a little over a month now, which still majorly blows my mind! After much brainstorming and wool-gathering and idea-collecting, I have officially embarked upon a new draft of The Whale and the Tree for my agent*. I'm super excited about it! Been working for a little over a week now and I haven't quite found my groove yet, but I think I'm nearly there. I super can't wait for the shiny new version to exist in reality instead of just my head!!

I have an awesome real-life Pinterest board at my disposal, and have begun rewarding myself with stickers as I accomplish stuff. Bertie has been offering his own ideas for the new draft, which has of course been super helpful.

My writing space and sweet cork-board—slowly filling it up!

Bertie's chapter. :-)

Stickers make everything better!!

Last night I had the immense privilege of attending the Fierce Reads Spring Fling tour at Changing Hands bookstore, and got to meet the lovely Marie Rutkoski!!! There were crazy hats involved—it was kind of the best. I even managed to speak some semi-coherent sentences in actual English. A definite success. :-) It was amazing to hear the entire panel speak about writing and characters and how awful middles are (it's not just me!!) and ohhhhh writers are definitely My People. Whole-heartedly enjoyed it!


Anyhoo, that's what's new with me! I mentioned this in my last post, but if any self/indie-pubbed or querying authors would like to take part in my interview series, please feel free to contact me via Twitter or email, and I'll send you the questions.

* I feel like one of those girls who gets married really young and makes it her life goal to insert the phrase "my husband" into every conversation at least ten times.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Querying Author: Jessica Bucher

Happy Monday, one and all! Today we have with us the lovely querying author Jessica Bucher!

Jessica Bucher

twitter: @JessicaB_writer

How long have you been writing?
I've been more of a story enthusiast than a writer all of my life.  Once upon a time, I nearly attended film school to be a film maker or screen writer.  That didn't exactly pan out, so I switched gears and threw myself into novel writing.  I switched my major to Creative Writing, and dedicated myself to becoming a full-time writer.
What inspired the project you’re currently querying?
I honestly cannot remember what inspired this novel.  I just know that it's been a story in my mind for over a decade.  It wasn't really until I started writing it that I discovered my characters and their story. The whole idea just came from this notion that love has no boundaries, not even death.
What’s your elevator pitch for the project you’re currently querying?
Nin can't remember her death. She remembers her cruel boyfriend, troubled father and absent mother, though she'd like to forget. 
Dylan doesn’t need to remember his death to know that he deserved it.  He expects the worst in the afterlife, but he doesn’t expect to meet Nin, a girl who makes him hope that it’s not too late. Given the chance to change the past, they must decide if saving themselves is worth losing each other.
What are you working on in the meantime to keep yourself from checking your email every three seconds?
I have a completely different project in the works.  It's still YA but more steampunk and fantasy.  It was inspired by a trip I took to Prague last year.  It's about a band of magic-wielding street performers, and a fiddle player who falls in love with a living statue. It's a trilogy, and the first book is currently in revisions.  I can't wait to query this project.  It's so fun and quirky.
What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
The three books that have shaped me as a writer are actually just novels that taught me what real story telling can do.  The first is My Name is Memory by Ann Brashere.  That book showed me that a powerful love story doesn't have to be cliche or cheesy.  The second is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  That book taught me about imagery and creating a world so fantastic that I refuse to believe it's not real.  And the third is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack.  That book taught me about voice and the power of perspective.
Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I'm a plotter, through and through. My plotting process is intense, color-coded and all.  I create binders for each of my novels complete with character cards, timelines, back stories and more.  I learned the hard way with my first novel.  That thing was all over the place, and it took me twice as long as it should have to wrangle it all back together. 
I also use Scrivener to plot. I love the notecard option and the binders to keep all of my inspiration and loose thoughts. I do sometimes stray from the course, but it's important for my method to have a roadmap to keep me on track. 
What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into querying?
Persistence is key.  You can do all the research in the world and read a million different versions of do's and don't's, but at the end of the day, the only thing that will work is persistence.  Keep writing, keep querying, keep reading, keep learning.  It's a discouraging business, but it's discouraging for everyone, not just you.  So keep going!
How do you take your caffeine?
 Coffee in the morning and tea in the evening.

Best of luck to you with your querying, Jessica!! Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Home Again, Home Again

Happy Tuesday, all and sundry! I'm back from spending eight glorious days in the Lands of Green and Growing Things—super proud that I managed to hit four states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) as well as Washington D. C. on our trip. It was so lovely to see tons of flowering trees, daffodils galore, and just in general PLANTS THAT GROW BY THEMSELVES! Kinda hard to return to the desert after that………

I'd like to do a proper post about the trip at some point, but I wanted to geek out about meeting my awesome critique partner Jen Fulmer and her lovely family in person!! We had tea at a cute little coffee shop in Lancaster. It was just the best!!! Now plotting how to go back and stay for good this time… We had an awesome chat, and I wish we didn't live across the country from each other! SO GLAD I got to meet her. :-) :-) :-)

Jen & I, with future novelist Lyra. :-)

I shall leave you with some links!

The wonderful Virginia McClain interviewed me on her blog last week about my writing journey and choosing between four offering agents HERE, and my dear friend (and also recently agented!) Hanna Howard blogs HERE about her Deep Breaths, More Tea mugs she is now offering for sale on Etsy. Do check them out!

One last thing: If you are a self-published/small-press-published author or a querying author who would like to take part in my interview series, please feel free to drop me a line via email—I'd love to feature you on my blog.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Querying Author Interview: Lise Fracalossi

Hi everyone, and happy Monday! Today's querying author is:

Lise Fracalossi

Twitter: @lisefrac
Blog: lisefrac.net

How long have you been writing?
Longer than I remember. I know I was writing stories from prompts out of a jar in my second-grade classroom, but it might even have been earlier than that. Words have always been how I process stuff and make sense out of the world. 

What inspired the project you’re currently querying?
A song lyric -- and not even a particularly memorable one. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was listening to Voltaire's "When You're Evil" for the zillionth time, and the line "what I'd do to see you smile/even for a little while" struck me like it never had. It inspired in me this idea of an evil prince raising to adulthood a daughter who he had kidnapped, who smiles at him because she has never known him as anything but "Papa."

What’s your elevator pitch for the project you’re currently querying?
Gods and Fathers is an adult fantasy in an Indian-inspired setting, concerning a god-touched prince, his adopted daughter, and what happens when her birth family, and a certain god, conspire to come between them. It has bookish apes made sentient by divine word-magic, prostitutes who double as priestesses, and a couple of love stories with same.

What are you working on in the meantime to keep yourself from checking your email every three seconds?
I'm currently drafting A Lioness Embarked, which I bill as my genderqueer fantasy retelling of The Three Musketeers from the perspective of the villains, with thread magic. I'm about 49,000 words into it now.

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
Oof. A tough one, this. Instead I'm going to direct you to this old post of mine about my ten influential books: http://lisefrac.livejournal.com/720331.html

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I used to be a pantser, but then I learned that doesn't really work for me. When I started writing outlines, I started actually finishing stuff. Without an outline, I don't have the forward impetus to actually finish anything... asking myself "what comes next" again and again just makes me lose interest in the story.  So yes, I'm a plotter. 
That said, I'm a very intuitive writer in a lot of other ways, and so if something feels like the right choice for a character to make, or the right direction for events to unfold, I'll follow that garden path, and outline be damned. Outlines can be changed. 

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into querying?
You know, I feel terrible giving advice, because I suck at the query dance, too. I've been querying for about a year now and I've only sent twenty queries, which is hardly a drop in the bucket. At the end of the day, rejection hurts. It's incredibly disheartening. You need to keep believing in your story even when no one else does. 
Hubris helps. It also helps to believe that there are all kinds of untalented assholes out there submitting the manuscript equivalent of red crayon on brown paper bag. If they have the unmitigated gall to do that, then you can man up and do it, too. 

How do you take your caffeine?
Coffee (hot or iced) with half-and-half and Splenda.

Thanks so much for participating in the interview series, Lise! Best of luck with Gods and Fathers!