Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CROW'S REST by Angelica R. Jackson: A Sneak Peek

Last year, I interviewed Angelica R. Jackson about her forthcoming book, CROW'S REST, which debuts this coming May. I'm happy to report that her book trailer is out! She also allowed a behind-the-scenes look at making a book trailer here

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers--and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone--or something--has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel--and get him back--plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.



To pre-order CROW'S REST for yourself, feel free to click the link below:




Bio:

Angelica R. Jackson, in keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, has published articles on gardening, natural history, web design, travel, hiking, and local history. Other interests include pets, reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies (the latter not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it). Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, novels, art photography, and children’s picture books.

In 2012, she started Pens for Paws Auction, which features critiques and swag from agents and authors to raise money for a no-kill, cage-free cat sanctuary where she volunteers, Fat Kitty City. She’s also been involved with capturing the restoration efforts for Preston Castle (formerly the Preston School of Industry) in photographs and can sometimes be found haunting its hallways.
 
An incurable joiner, she is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (where she serves as Twitter Diva for her local chapter), Romance Writers of America, the group blog Operation Awesome, and the collection of 2015 debut authors known as The Fearless Fifteeners.
 
She shares a home in California's Gold Country with a husband, two cats, and far too many books (if that's even possible).

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Blog  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Operation Awesome: Pixar and High-Impact Fiction

So in an effort to not over-exert myself this year, my first order of business is to better divide my time between my two blogs--this one, and the group blog I'm a part of, Operation Awesome.

So every other week, when I have a new Operation Awesome post, I will link to it from here. This week, I talked about Pixar, high impact fiction, and a few other things.

Here's the Pixar video I referenced in the post, in case you'd like a quick peek without clicking too many extra links:




Finally, I'm curious as to whether this is a format that might work for the blog. I'll still be doing author interviews (there are a few exciting ones coming up!) and I'll still have content here every Wednesday.

 So, are we down with the new format? Feel free to comment. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

THE ETERNA FILES by Leanna Renee Hieber

Happy New Year, everyone! We start off 2015 with a Gaslamp fantasy, THE ETERNA FILES, by Leanna Renee Hieber. I met Leanna at Phoenix Comicon last year, which I posted about here.

Here's more about THE ETERNA FILES:

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

And here are Leanna's answers to some questions!

According to your website bio, you are an actress, playwright, and author. How do you divide your time among these pursuits, and what sources do you recommend for writers interested in play writing?

I have to be honest in the fact that while these three are related fields, they are very different worlds, with wholly different connections and networks, so it is a lot of changing different hats, mind-sets and contacts. So while I can't necessarily be on novel deadline and in a theatrical show at the same time, I shift from one to the next as opportunities allow. Working as I do in occasional film and television is less a time commitment than a full run of a theatre production, save for the occasional workshop, staged reading or benefit concert, so I find myself less on the stage and more working in TV/film and in webseries work. The single most helpful resource I found as a playwright was/is the Playwright's Center, even if you're not local to Minneapolis their mailing list of opportunities is vital: http://pwcenter.org. And my theatre/playwrighting mentor Michael Bigelow Dixon just published a book I highly recommend: Breaking from Realism.

Breaking from Realism sounds like a great book! And I love the premise of THE ETERNA FILES. Where did the idea come from, and how did it develop as you wrote it?

I am so glad the premise appeals, it was a confluence of inspirations ranging from anger at the fate of Harry and Rose at the end of the BBC show MI-5, to brainstorming the kind of series my editor (the fabulous Melissa Singer) wanted to work on with me, to weaving the threads of my previous Gaslamp Fantasy series together (characters from both my Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul sagas make cameos in Eterna) and creating a 'grown up' kind of Historical Fantasy with more elements of horror than I've been allowed thus far in my work. It's a culmination of sorts, and it has a TON of characters spanning two separate offices, and I've been so thrilled to work on something that's been allowed such a big cast on such a dark stage.

I'm so glad your characters cross over--I read the first book in the Magic Most Foul saga, and loved it. 
You also write short fiction that has appeared in various anthologies. What do you like most about short fiction, and what's been the best part of dabbling in different mediums?

Short fiction is actually a lot harder for me than full length novels. But once I get the key to a good short story; a specific, contained but high-concept scenario or twist, I am off to the races. My short fiction tends to focus on moments of selfi-actualization and characters coming into their own, for better or worse. I love the differing scope of the impact of lyrical language between a long and short form, like in my very intense piece "Charged," found in Queen Victoria's Book of Spells.

What a great anthology to be a part of! What are some of your current projects?

Eterna! I'm hard at work on the sequel to THE ETERNA FILES, which releases 2/3/2015 and is available now for pre-order in print and digital!  I am also hopeful that the musical based on my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, will go to the next level of production. Our concept album is now available, and Tor has bought the series so the formerly out of print Strangely Beautiful saga is available for pre-order, I am so excited about this freshly edited, revised, author-preferred edition.

You can follow all my news and stay tuned for Eterna contests at http://twitter.com/leannarenee on http://facebook.com/lrhieber and check out my book list and free reads at http://leannareneehieber.com.

Thanks for your time and Happy Haunting!

Leanna


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Author Bio Mad Libs, Going Dark in December (But you can still find me on Operation Awesome)

I'm in the homestretch on the second draft of my current WIP, and will be undertaking some newer writing projects in December, so The Writer Librarian will be going dark until New Year.

I'll still be on Operation Awesome every other Monday (December 15 and December 29) so feel free to find me there. And in the meantime, here's some Author Bio Mad Libs I borrowed from Operation Awesome's newest contributor, Wendy Nickel. 

 Step 1: Jot down a word or phrase for each of the descriptions below:

    Full name:
    Genre:
    Noun:
    Adjective:
    Plural noun:
    Award:
    Occupation:
    Gerund (non-finite action verb, usually ending in -ing):
    State:
    Number:
    Adjective:
    Animal:
    College major:
    2-3 random letters:
    Gerund:
    Place:
    Gerund:
    Beverage:
    Sport:
    Famous author:
    Verb:


Step 2: Scroll down and fill in your answers in the author bio below!

(your name) is a (genre) author who has written about everything from (noun) to (adjective) (plural noun) and has won a (award) for his/her nonfiction book, "The (occupation)'s Guide to (gerund)." S/He lives in (state) with his/her family and (number) (adjective) (animal)s. S/He is a (college major) graduate of (2-3 random letters) and has enjoyed (gerund) in (place), (gerund) (beverage), and playing (sport) with his/her close friend and mentor, (famous author). S/He aspires to someday be the first full-time author to (verb) on the moon.

Here's mine (some is true, most is fiction):

Karen McCoy is a YA speculative fiction author who has written about everything from shoes to exciting eyes and has won a Darwin Award for her nonfiction book, "The Librarian's Guide to Playing." She lives in California with her family and five beastly goats. She is a Creative Writing graduate of WER and has enjoyed moving in bookstores, jogging lemonade, and playing golf with her close friend and mentor, Douglas Adams. She aspires to someday be the first full-time author to fly on the moon.

Happy December, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TAKEN BY STORM by Tamara Mataya

I featured Tamara Mataya last year, and I'm excited to announce that her new book, TAKEN BY STORM, will debut December 2.

Check out the pretty cover:


And here are Tamara's answers to some updated interview questions!

TAKEN BY STORM is a great title. Does it involve a peek at Malcolm and Jayne or will it showcase some newer characters?

Thank you! It's a new stand-alone. The blurb:

Leilani’s plan was simple: Return for her father’s wedding, housesit for the happy couple while they went on their honeymoon, then get the hell outta dodge. She’d thought the worst thing would be returning to the town she grew up in (and despised). She was wrong.

A flashflood hits the small town, stranding Firefighter, Ryan, and a few strangers at the local bar. Worst of all, Leilani, his old high school rival – and last night’s scorching one-night-stand – is one of the people stuck in the bar. With waters rising, they need to stick together and wait for rescue.

The power grid’s knocked out, and cell phones aren’t working.  When the others panic and leave, Leilani and Ryan are left alone in the dark. Fortunately, words aren’t necessary to keep the former rivals warm. But when they’re forced to leave their refuge, they must cooperate to navigate the flood ravaged town and reach safety.

Rising waters bring them closer together. Rising tempers might tear them apart.   

Definite intrigue! You write in multiple genres. What do you like most about each genre you write in, and what advice (if any) do you have for writers writing in multiple genres?

I like weaving serious issues into everything I write, but without being preachy about them. Bullying in The Best Laid Plans. Synaesthesia and coping in Just Breathe. Taken By Storm is based on what my town went through in the 2013 flash flood. Make Me (coming March 31/2015 from Random House) has two characters who have dealt with war torn countries and how those experiences have shaped them. I try to work substantive issues into everything I write.

Advice? You have to write what sells if you're looking at writing as a career. The book that got me my agent was an Urban Fantasy, but the market isn't looking at that from debut authors, so I switched focus to contemporary romance. There are books of our hearts that we need to write, but if you're looking at it from a career perspective, you have to look at what's selling. Or, bide your time until the market turns around. It always ebbs and flows. Will I write more spec fic? Damn right! But I have deals in contemporary romance right now. Writing in multiple genres can be tricky as well because you've got to focus on your brand. If you gain readers for a science fiction, those readers might not appreciate your sudden switch to erotic romance. My muse needs a bitch slap because I literally have ideas in all genres and categories. But, again, it's focusing on what's selling, and trying to keep to that brand.

Blending art and career is a really smart idea. I'm also interested in how you blend writing and library life. What are some of the challenges you face when managing your time?

My hours are part time and I have no kids. I'm lucky that way, in that I have more time to write. I don't know how many of my Critique Partners do it, especially those with multiple kids. They're frigging heroes in my book.

Mine too! Your Goodreads bio mentions that you are a musician with synaesthesia, which has been described as a merging of the senses. Does your music inform your writing, or vice versa?

It's a part of who I am, but I don't think one has much bearing on the other, except when it comes to listening to music while writing. If I haven't heard the song before, I can't write to it - I'm too focused on listening :)

Thanks Tamara, for another great interview!

To pre-order TAKEN BY STORM for yourself, feel free to click the link below:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I BELONG TO YOU by Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones is a New York Times bestselling author, and her new book, I BELONG TO YOU, the fifth in her Inside Out series, just came out yesterday! Have a look:

Master…

Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.



Here are Lisa's answers to some questions:

According to your website bio, your publishing journey began in 2007. How did you know that writing was something you wanted to pursue?

I did acting in some independent films when I was young and then started secretly doing that with some success again. But I owned a business and had teen kids. I grabbed a book one day and rediscovered my love of reading. I knew immediately that was my creative outlet.

Sounds like you've dabbled in a lot of creative mediums. I love the premise of I BELONG TO YOU, the fifth book in the Inside Out series. Where did the idea come from, and how did the characters develop as you wrote them?

I'd know what I BELONG TO YOU would be for a very long time. I'd just been waiting and leading everyone there. Everything starts with the journal found by Ella and given to Sara. And that idea came from a journal I found when auction hunting to pay the bills while waiting for my writing career to take off.

Fascinating. You also have a YouTube channel--what do you enjoy most about vlogging, and what have you learned from doing it?

It's been a fun thing for Diego and I to do together. Learning about lighting and editing and sound are challenges and a work in progress. But I learned Diego and I love trying these new things together. It's great to have a husband who shares these things so eagerly with me.

Indeed it is! The Inside Out series is currently in development for Cable TV. What advice, if any, do you have for authors considering television deals?

You need a good agent. The right agent who makes the right deals happen. I'm fortunate that I've had that through this process. Really, not one but two. I have a literary and film/tv agent and they are both very interactive with each other and me. I'm also fortunate that I'm involved with the producers and know what is happening. Often that just isn't the case. But AGENT. The right one/s. That's what is critical.

Excellent advice! Thanks, Lisa, for being interviewed!

To grab Lisa's books for yourself, click the links below:


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE BURIED by Shelley Coriell

I was fortunate enough to meet Shelley at an RWA event in Arizona, and at a few subsequent writing conferences where she conducted workshops. Not only is she a great speaker, but her writing is fantastic. Her latest novel, THE BURIED, is the second in The Apostles series and available now (and it's also a contender for best Romantic Suspense of 2014 by RT Book Reviews!):

Secrets from the past.
Voices from the grave.
Because nothing stays buried forever...

Cypress Bend, Florida, is a small southern bayou town filled with long-buried secrets. It's also the home of successful, fiercely independent state prosecutor Grace Courtemanche, who's pulled into a world of terror and self-doubt when she receives a phone call from a young woman buried alive.

In a race to stop a revenge-seeking killer, Grace unearths skeletons from her past along with feelings for the one man she swore she'd never need again, Theodore "Hatch" Hatcher, a rootless, smooth-talking FBI crisis negotiator who's back in Cypress Bend to deal with a secret of his own.


Here are Shelley's answers to some questions:

According to your website bio, you used to write restaurant reviews. How did this segue into writing fiction, and can you tell us more about your path toward publication?

SHELL: A woefully practical writer, I knew that it was hard to make a living as a fiction writer, so I worked as a journalist for more than twenty years. My first job: covering high school sports at age sixteen for my local paper where I got paid $2 an inch. Since then I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, speechwriter, and when my kids came along, I picked up freelance work, including a cushy assignment as a restaurant reviewer for a national on-line entertainment guide.

And while I was paying my mortgage with non-fiction work, I’d spend early mornings and weekends writing fiction. It took me five manuscripts and five years before I got my first New York offer. There’s nothing sexy about my journey: Write. Edit. Repeat. (And show gratitude along the way!)
 

Gratitude is definitely important! 
THE BURIED has a great villain called The Gravedigger. How did the character come to you, and what suggestions do you have for making villains memorable? 

SHELL: As a child I had reoccurring nightmares about being buried alive. Horrible, huh? Makes a soul long for those anxiety dreams about forgetting your locker combination or showing up to work in your underwear. Writing THE BURIED and creating the Gravedigger was an exploration of one of my deepest terrors. But by tacking the fear through story, I controlled the terror and guaranteed myself happily ever after.

As for what makes a villain memorable, three things. The best villains are passionate and willing to die for their causes, 2) have some redeeming qualities that allow us to relate to them, and 3) are smart enough, strong enough, and motivated enough to battle our heroes and heroines.


It's great when we can confront fears through writing. And I loved the voice in your YA book, WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE. What do you like most about writing YA, and how does it differ from crafting Romantic Suspense?

SHELL: All of my books feature relatively strong, independent women not afraid to speak their minds and live their truths, regardless of age. In YA, I love the raw truth and hope that defines the genre. Interestingly enough, crafting YA and romantic suspense is the same process. One character. One life-changing moment. One transformational journey.


So true! In your "Dream, Dare, Do" workshop, you offer some excellent tips on how to create an effective business plan. In your experience, what are the key advantages to having a business plan?  

SHELL: Crafting a business plan makes most of us better business owners. It forces us to think ahead, set goals, determine strategies, anticipate challenges, and define opportunities. Ultimately, business plans keep us on course and on fire about our writing. Here’s a simple business planning template for your readers.

Thanks for having me, Karen! Joy & Peace to you and your readers! 

And thank you, Shelley, especially for including the business plan template!

To grab THE BURIED for yourself, and its predecessor, THE BROKEN, click the links below:



And click here to get WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE: