Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you are enjoying a joyous Christmas. In lieu of a post today, I'm going to reference a post I recently saw on Rick Riordan's blog. It has the best writing advice I've seen in awhile. Here's the link. Also, for those who haven't yet read THE LIGHTNING THIEF, it's excellent. I'm in the middle of it now, and can't wait to see what happens next.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Earlier this year, I featured Eliza Green's debut novel, BECOMING HUMAN, the first in the Exilon 5 trilogy. The sequel, ALTERED REALITY, just came out December 15!

Being different is accepted. Being special could get you killed.

The Indigene Stephen is forced to leave Earth without Anton, who is captured by the military. On his journey back to Exilon 5, he’s haunted by a series of disturbing dreams. Are they a manifestation of his fear for his friend’s safety, or a psychological link to Anton? 
Back on Earth, Bill Taggart focuses on two things: the search for Anton, and deciphering the coded letters from his wife. What he learns forces him to change his focus. He must find a way to warn the Indigenes.
The programme to transfer people from Earth to Exilon 5 becomes much more ‘selective’. Under orders from Earth’s World Government, a clinical biologist studies the imprisoned Anton’s genetic code in detail. But when a colleague turns up on the table in her medical facility, her curiosity about the Indigene soon shifts to fear for her own safety.

In a recent blog post, you talked about how it took four years before you were satisfied with BECOMING HUMAN. How do you know when a book is truly finished, and how have you honed your writing process since BECOMING HUMAN? 

You don’t! It’s almost impossible to stop tinkering with a book, but if you get to a point where you’ve addressed the issues with your writing so that readers can appreciate the story for what it is, then you’re done. After that, it’s down to personal taste if they choose to stick with you through the second and third book.

I would never change a story because of a reader’s personal taste. I would, however, consider changing a story if I felt I wasn’t doing it justice with the way it was presented. When I re-read BECOMING HUMAN after finishing ALTERED REALITY I realised my writing style had moved on, so I made the easy decision to update Book 1 to bring it in line with Book 2. It’s the right thing to do for the trilogy as a whole. That version will be available on the 22nd of December. It’s being edited at the moment.

That's a good policy to have! What were the main challenges you had in tackling a sequel, and what advice do you have for authors writing a series?

The main challenge was definitely getting the timelines in the story right. One of the problems you can also face is figuring out a cool way for the story to go, but realising it too late to add it in. If you’ve already published the first book, you may have to forget it.

My advice to other writers would be to get book 1 and 2 down on paper before you think about releasing Book 1. That way, any interesting quirks that develop naturally can be added to the first book for a smoother continuity. While I edited Book 2, I had already written Book 3, so I could see how the story would develop and changed what was necessary for the story to flow correctly.  For trilogies, I feel it’s essential to know where the story is going before you publish the first book.

Excellent advice. How have your characters, particularly Stephen and Bill Taggart, changed throughout both books? What do you like most about each character?

Bill Taggart, my human protagonist, was a loner in BECOMING HUMAN. He was looking for answers as to what happened to his wife. That question is still unresolved as we move into Book 2. How he has changed is that he sees value in accepting help where it is offered. Bill is strong and humble. I like that he is deeply hurt by people who betray him but fiercely loyal to those who don’t.

Stephen, a member of the Indigene race, thought his reasons for hating the human race were clear, but when he discovers something new about himself, he is catapulted into a different state of mind that alters his perception of the world. I like that Stephen is willing to admit he doesn’t have all the answers and is just trying to do what’s right for the Indigene race.

I look forward to finding out more about them both! What are some current projects you're working on?

Currently, I’m working on Book 3 in the Exilon 5 trilogy, title still to be confirmed. I also have some ideas for other science fiction stories, possibly connected to the trilogy. This year, I signed a three book audio deal with Podium Publishing. They will be turning the trilogy into audio books and was the main reason why I decided to update BECOMING HUMAN to reflect my current writing style. I’ve learned a lot over the last year and now is the time to put my best foot forward with the best books I can write.

To snag a copy of BECOMING HUMAN (Book 1) or ALTERED REALITY (Book 2) you can click on the giveaway link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, you can purchase them from Amazon: 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why a 12-Hour Editing Bender is a Bad Idea

Ok, so I know linking "12-hour editing bender" and "bad idea" is a bit obvious. But this actually happened to me. Last Saturday I worked on 20 pages of editing from about 10am-10pm. I took a small lunch break, but no dinner break. Keep in mind, I'm not working on an official deadline. Just one of my own making. Definitely looney bin territory.

Here's what I learned (and what I'm still grappling with):

1. It is possible to overthink until there's nothing left.

Afterward, when I got my sanity back, I checked the older version in my Kindle and found the paragraphs I'd sliced weren't all that bad. I may have to flesh things back up again. Lesson: Breaks are necessary. When you start editing yourself into corners, stop!

2. I should just set a timer.

Ha! Timer, you say. I ignored said timer, determined (very irrationally) to finish. I need to find a more compelling reason to stop when I need to. Lesson: I can't do everything all at once, and sometimes make things worse when trying. Space allows for necessary problem-solving.

3. But what if I forget to make space in the thick of it all?

If my mind won't tell me, my body will. My stomach growled at me for the last hour, and my eyes were so tired they were about to fall out. Lesson: Even if you're in the middle of a sentence, it's necessary to stop when your body is breaking. See #1.

4.  My body and mind are linked. In the worst possible way.

Not only was my body in serious need of food, I was near the point of tears. My hyperfocused state wound me up like an overused guitar string. Lesson: Being emotionally frayed will not help your story. Or sentences. Or anything.

5. Rinse before repeating.

One of the main reasons I'm writing this post is I'm due for another editing bender this evening. Here's hoping I can remember all this before my mind gets into the zone of ignoring everything except the words on the page. Lesson: Remind yourself of what's important before you actually sit down to write.

So--is this an affliction shared by recovering perfectionists only? (I crossed out "recovering." This post is proof I've offically fallen off the wagon.) Or, do you have a set editing process? Feel free to leave comments below.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


K.C. Klein's new novel, HUSTLIN' TEXAS, just released today! It's the follow-up to TEXAS WIDE OPEN, which I featured here along with her book DARK FUTURE, which won a Prism award. Here's more about HUSTLIN' TEXAS:

Only one person in Oak Groves is happy to see bad girl Nikki Logan back in town...Oak Groves' most beloved bachelor, Jett Avery, lives by a simple set of rules. Getting involved with a complicated woman isn't one of them. He learned that the hard way two years ago when he spent one of the most incredible nights of his life with Nikki Logan. But then she hightailed it out of town, never to be seen again-until now. It might be time to break one of those rules...

Picking up the pieces of her life, Nikki is back in Oak Groves, face to face with the one man she's done her best to forget. But she has her reasons for being here-and they don't include winding up in bed with Jett. Especially since he'll never forgive her once he finds out the truth about why she's back...

I also did a follow-up interview with K.C. Here are her answers to my questions:

Your mentioned your debut novel, DARK FUTURE, in our last interview. What about the book makes you must proud? 

A few years ago DARK FUTURE placed in the FF&P Prism contest, and I was thrilled. Every time someone says they like my books it’s as good as my first trip to the backseat of my boyfriend’s car. Well, actually better, but that’s a whole other blog post.

DARK FUTURE was a labor of love for me. I started writing it when my, now 11 year old, daughter was still a baby. I found myself isolated from friends and family while I was stuck at home caring for a colicky infant. I still remember finding spare moments where I could lose myself in a world of hot to-die-for heroes and snarky, exciting heroines. I feel like those moments saved my sanity.

Your upcoming book, HUSTLIN' TEXAS, is the second in the Texas Fever series. I read the excerpt on your website and loved the voice in it. How did you develop Katie's character, and what do you love most about her?

Katie and Cole’s story came to me in one of those funny writer’s dreams that everyone wishes they had. I had just finished up DARK FUTURE and there were literally no prospects for the manuscript to get published. I really needed a break from the grit and intensity of DARK FUTURE, and I dreamt up a little cute story about a girl, a horse, and this desperate love between her and the older cowboy next door. The book turned into much more, as books often do, with a lot of comments from people saying how surprised they were at the intensity between Katie and Cole.

I think Katie was loosely based on a much, much older version of my daughter. It was fun writing from a young person’s point of view. They are so fearless with nothing to hide. It was very freeing and easy to fall into Katie’s character.

 It definitely shows! I've heard writing sequels can be difficult. What advice to you have for authors plotting out a series?

My only advice is, don’t take my advice. Right now, I am about ready to slit my wrists writing the next book in the series. As far as plotting goes maybe some of your viewers can give me some tips. I would love to plot. I admire authors who can plot and have the whole thing laid out in some beautiful written synopsis somewhere. I am not that writer. Unfortunately, my story depends on the characters, and when they aren’t talking I am so screwed.

I think stories really jump off the page when characters drive the plot--so your method sounds good to me! What other projects are you currently working on?

The next book in the Texas Fever series. But when that is done I have plans to go back and write the second book to DARK FUTURE. That book has been burning a hole in my brain, and I think its time has come.

Looking forward to it! If you were stranded on an island with five books, which ones would you choose?

Gone With the Wind
Whatever book I left off on in the Diana Gabaldon series. ( Once you start writing, you have less and less time to spend on in-depth series.) I think I barely made it through The Fiery Cross and it looks like there are two more.
The next two books in the Game of Thrones series. I think I left off on A Feast For Crows (see reason above)

Two plus two plus one makes five, so I think I’m good. That should at least get me through a few weeks stranded in paradise.

Thanks for the fun questions, Karen! And thanks for an excellent interview, K.C.!

To snag K.C. Klein's books for yourself, be sure to click the links below: