Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good Bye to another year

Another year has passed, and things have been...

I honestly don't know where to start. Some of the best moments of my life, some pretty crappy moments, and some moments I don't even know how to take yet.

I guess, like all things, a year is a hard thing to judge in the dark of the long nights that cluster around the solstice. It's too complicated to say "this year sucked" or "This year was great!" To be honest, choices I made this year have yet to bear fruit. I could be sitting on even bigger changes (plus or minus) than all the years previous.

Officially, with regards to 2014, I feel I'm still too close to make a judgement. It's been sublime. I have more friends than last year. I have more opportunities than I had last year. I learned things. I grew--sometimes forcibly--and I have a wild suspicion that life is changing in a positive direction. It wasn't easy, by any means.

Was 2014 a bad year? No, not really.

Was it a good year? Meh, some years are perfectly serviceable, and someday I'll look back at this time and wonder why I didn't shout from the rooftops how incredible the past year was. I lived. I basked in the glory of the universe.

On the other hand, life is always so fragile. We dance the knife's edge between triumph and ruin, and they both lurk behind closed doors we didn't even know were there. I'm glad to be moving forward, but not because I'd like to cast the last year aside. Good things are coming--some obvious, some that seem like inconveniences now, and some I have no idea are hiding in my future.

While I might not know what to think of 2014, I do know what to think of 2015:

Bring it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Baby Jesus, Action Hero!

In my family, there's a nativity set older than I am (and yes, that's old), but it's made out of a kind of plastic that is--for all intents and purposes--indestructible. Now, this nativity isn't brightly colored. It's wan at best, drab at worst, but the baby Jesus is holding up his arms in some sort of delight.

Children in my family have taken this to mean that the baby is excited and having a good time. And if Baby Jesus is having a good time, then he must be doing something more exciting than laying in the pile of hay. Children in my family--young to old--have been playing with action figure Baby Jesus every Christmas since the nativity came home.

Baby Jesus has starred in plays, watched movies, rescued the wise men from evil robot dinosaurs and done all the things any great sidekick toy could do, and more. MUCH more.

In fact, the desire to play with Baby Jesus has resulted in a number of years where Baby Jesus went missing for a period of time, but through luck (or miracle) the figure always finds it's way home. Even from the garden.

The adventures of Baby Jesus have resulted in very strict play regulations as follows:

Baby Jesus may not ride in the Ferris Wheel, especially not fast enough to be launched out (Yes, Baby Jesus always wins the height contest; no, Baby Jesus may not participate this year).

There will be no feeding of Baby Jesus to the dog.

Baby Jesus may not, under any circumstance, be dipped in food. This does not improve the taste, and no, Great Aunt Gertrude did not poison the potatoes, so this step is unnecessary to render food safe for eating.

Baby Jesus may not be buried, and even if he were buried, no flowers would grow.

Under no circumstances is Baby Jesus to be put into a catapult. EVER.

Baby Jesus may not go for a swim in the pool, the hot tub, or even the bath (and no, dunking Baby Jesus in your drinking glass does not turn the water into holy water--OR WINE!).

And those are just the highlights. Hope everyone is having a great Holiday whether it involves three flies up with Baby Jesus (no really, we've seen that in our household), fire duels with menorahs, Kwanza wishes, or whichever winter holiday you celebrate!  

A Happy New Year just around the corner.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I've Been Hit!

Oh, wait, maybe I’ve just been tagged…

That’s right, the lovely Sarah Ahiers tagged me as part of the Liebster Blog Award Blog. Go say Hi and or thank her for tagging me (or you know, if this bores you, you can shake your fist in her general direction for giving me an opportunity to yammer on about my WIP). I have a ton of WIPs (hint, they’re “In Progress” until they’re published), but I’m going to go with ACTION FOUR

What is your WIP About?
ACTION FOUR, NEWS YOU CAN COUNT ON, is about an action reporter, an on the scene reporter known for bringing the news live from location. She is reporting from a near future Earth where super powers have started manifesting, but linked to the psychopath gene – so there are supers, but only of the villain variety. When my MC gets scooped, she loses her job, and she starts faking super villain activity to get her job back.

How long have you been working your WIP?
Well, this is embarrassing. I started writing this novel last year for NaNo. I picked it up again for NaNo again this year, but… well, I had other writing obligations. So I’ve been working on this book forever.

Who is your MC?
Alicia Rodriguez is my action reporter. She’s the brains behind the master plan. She also suffers from cultural whip lash as her mother is from a strictly Italian family, and her father is from a traditional Mexican family. She introduces herself to people as a mexitalian.

What are some of the themes you’re exploring?
Do explosions count as themes?
Nah, I’m kidding. One of the things I always come back to is the idea of heroism. Some people have it, some people are cowards. And some people, despite being cowardly are willing to stand up even when their legs shake. There are people willing to sacrifice themselves for things greater than themselves, and I’m always exploring who these people are. I’m curious about them because people always talk about so and so is a hero, but when interviewed the rescuer says stuff like “just in a day’s work” or “anyone would have done it.” I find that fascinating. Are people all heroes underneath, or is there some magic juju? Or more fascinating, is the possibility to be a hero within all of us, and only some people choose to be heroes.

What song would represent your story or MC?
Umm, I don’t know. This story has so little music in it. Maybe the theme from Mask of Zorro (the one with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas).

If you were casting your story as a movie, who would play your main character?
Man, I just don’t know, I haven’t been following actresses lately, someone good who really looks the ethnicity. I shouldn’t be hung up on stuff like that, but I see the whitewashing of visual media. Whitewashing really damages people and the way they view themselves. I grew up with a poor body image partly because girls are always petite in movies, and I’m tall, broad and strong. They don’t make movies with women like me, but they have the same hair color and eye color as me. I remember how distant movie stars felt when I was growing up, and I don’t think it’s fair that people feel even more distant because there aren’t nearly as many people of the same color in those roles (also, did I mention I'm still a little cheesed that of all the people of Earth, the only people with courage enough to be GLs are male? Lame).

What is your favorite line in your WIP so far?
Biggest joke of the centuryGod gave us supers, just none of them of the hero variety.

If your MC were to have a pet, what would it be?
A chinchilla named Chupacabra.

When do you think your WIP will be done?
A cold mountain shy of never seems to be my standard opinion. It isn’t that I don’t get done with projects, but this one just seems to be going at me, one slow chapter at a time. I’ll dive back in, but so far, it’s been interrupted by three other projects, and that’s pretty unlike me. So we’ll see.

Who is your favorite side character in your WIP and why?
Jerhome because that man knows how to make a drenched rat look fabulous. He could turn any liability into a commodity in a heartbeat. When life is full of lemons he’s like “Oh hell no, it is time for tequila. You give me those lemons, and I’ll use them in cookies or something. It is time for a Margarita.”

What’s your MC’s favorite food?
Alicia loves tamales, but she loves meat balls and marinara. And to be fair, she sometimes mixes the masa from the tamales into the marinara sauce. She would, of course, never fess up to it, but she dreams of making meatball tamales, but she knows she’ll have to wait for her Nana to pass before she could get away with profaning the holy trinity (celery, carrots, and onions sautéed in virgin olive oil before being added to tomatoes) with masa.

I’m tagging:

I’ve gone lazy with the holidays, so I’m going to steal Sarah’s questions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Insecure writer is decidedly insecure... and trying not to listen to THAT voice

Another month has come and gone, and it's time to release our fears out into the world by jumping on Ninja Captain Alex's blog hop of awesome and make some friends. It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time. This month's Co-hosts are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!

I have a whole host of fears and insecurities tied up with how things have gone previously in my writing. Let me take you on a brief tour of the dark places of my writing mind.

The first time I wrote something I was really proud of, a little voice inside my head said that it was really greatrevolutionary even. It succeeded in cutting through all the old paradigms and it would bring my work to people in a way that was FINALLY understandable to the science types.

That little voice bolstered me through the dark times of waiting to hear. Would they like it? Would they hate it?

So the moment of truth would come, and I’d open the email. The letter would be two paragraphs long, inevitably something about the bones of the project being there, just needing fleshing out. And then I would open the attachment. 

Imagine, if you will, 300+ comments on a 35 page paper. No line untouched by track changes. Each and every one boiled down to rewrite the whole thing, and for the Love of All Things Pasteur, learn the difference between farther and further. The little voice, the one praising my pioneering waysmy bravery at challenging the way Things Are Doneyeah, that jerk turned on me faster than lunch on a tilt-a-whirl.

In the early comments (of the 300), the direction was, mostly, useful, but as the numbers ticked higher, the comments would circle around to the “I already commented on how your usage of the farther is, strictly speaking, an abomination to the English language!” The gradient had started with professional, but slid quickly into stabby-stabby meany pants territory.

Still, it was a dream I had, so I waded through the vitriol and venom. I rewrote the whole papers, repolished, read every comment three times to be sure I understood what was being said, and then sent it back. Six months to a year (yes, these were ridiculous turnaround times, but that’s what I was dealing with) later, I’d get something back that said “Did you do anything at all? Now isn’t the time to be lazy!”

This was a decade of my life.

And now that I’m in a better place, and working on another dream, I’m insecure about history repeating itself. I’ve already mentioned that my edits are easily a bazillion times better than what I experienced under the thumb of academia, but there’s still this lingering fear that the mean, vengeful side of editing is just around the corner.

What if my editor comes back with “did you even work on this at all?” Or “Now isn’t the time to be lazy!” Or (one of my personal favorites) “How can you be so bad at a language when it is the only one you know?”

And I’m insecure because, on some level, I am lazy. Sometimes I would rather play videogames, or walk through the park, or knit, or all of those things that aren’t writing. And I know that if things come back rougher than I’d like, I’ll blame myselfremember that night you had a glass of wine after work and shot grunts with a sniper rifle instead of working on your novel? It was THAT NIGHT that made this a FAILURE.

In short, the voice lies. And it’s been whispering to me. But even worse than the whispering, is that the voice likes to tell truths mixed in. I’m not that good at English. Quite frankly, my comma placement leaves something to be desired (or at least everyone I’ve ever worked with has complained about my commas). My word usage could be betterpuchier, zestier, less unorthodox, and while we’re on about it, I could use some a refresher on the differences between peel and peal and peek, peak, and pique.

So in short, my little voice of doubt (which isn’t very little at all) is telling me 80% of the truth.

(that means it speaks 100% lieswhen will I learn not to listen to it?)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I've got nothing today, so have a tiger playing with a ball, and enjoy your Thanksgiving if you celebrate it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Edits, unexpectedly not as painful as previous encounters

I've noticed that people don't talk much about the editing process. When I was in academics, editing was absolutely the worst part of the process. People were mean and rude. Every comment was designed to question everything from your writing, to your methods, to your understanding of science in general. It wasn't pleasant.

Someone once called my work an "Unholy Conjugation." 

Yeah. That was constructive feedback. There were worse comments, more hurtful comments, and they went to live somewhere in my mind. So when I waited for my edit letter to arrive, it was more me waiting for the explosion to go off in my heart.

As much as I cared about my science, I care about my novel so much more. I didn't know if I could handle being ripped apart like that again. I expected editing to crack me open and pour out the broken little bits that were left of me. But when the letter came, I was pleasantly surprised. The suggestions: professional. The demeanor: helpful.

I was more than prepared to cry my eyeballs out (I'm a cryer, what can I say), but so far, it has only been things to make my manuscript stronger. I guess things have plenty of time to go straight to hell in a hand basket, but it's already so much better than all my other editing experiences.

In every profession there are parts that aren't the best part. The parts that everyone sort of scowls at, like how shoveling manure is part of owning horses. I was expecting to hate taking the feedback and turning it into something bigger, and that just isn't the case. It's great. I wish I had some more time, but hey, deadlines are something I do too. Also, I'm a writer. The more time a writer has, the more fiddling they're gonna do.

Right, and now it's back to work. And like I said, people don't talk about the editing process, so if you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. I'll respond by email if you have your account linked, and if not, response in the thread.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG - The Waiting and Worring Never Goes Away

Oh my, another IWSG has snuck up on me and I'm late! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, this is my
birthday week. Cruise on by the Ninja Pirate Cave and thank our host Alex and this month's co-hosts LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy!
So what am I feeling insecure about this month? Waiting. Specifically, that the waiting and worrying NEVER GOES AWAY. At every step of the publishing process there's waiting. You could grow old waiting in publishing.

At the query stage, you wait for a reply. If it's early in the query stage, you wait and wait, and then the rejection comes. Later in the query stage* you wait for a reply, get a partial request, send it back out then wait for a response. Then, if things are going well, it gets bumped up to a full. Then guess what happens? If you answered "I take a drink," you're my kind of writer.

The thing that's hard to see from the query trenches is that the waiting doesn't magically end after you're done querying agents. And worse, the worrying doesn't go away either. After you have the book deal or the agent, the worrying cranks in to crazyland. I don't know about everyone else, but when I query, there's a hope that it'll work out. I dream about it going well, but it's pretty abstract. Once there's a contract in hand, the Sagittarius gets real.

As in, before, in the querying stage, that was just warm up, because holy Scorpio, the Sagittarius is on fire and I don't know what the Capricorn I was thinking when I was worried about those queries.

Yeah, I had that moment.

It wasn't pretty.

Worse, it was a really big wake up call that everything every writer with a contract in hand had said was true. It's crazy when you're playing for keeps. Did I vary my sentence structure enough? Do I use the right peel when talking about bananas? Did I boil my characters down too much and make all my prose lifeless, tasteless drivel that sounds like something Ben Stein would read in an out take for the Ferris Bueller's Day Off extended, special edition DVD?

Right, deep breaths.

So, while I didn't like the idea that the people who came before were totally on to something, and that maybe the waiting would magically resolve itself, NOPE. I am not the exception. The process is going for me exactly how it went for all those before me (great, I can't even be unique in my meltdowns???!!!).


Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Brief Retrospective

My birthday is right around here somewhere, and I have to admit, this last year has been pretty interesting. I've had successes and failures. I've written books, moved my family, and things are...

Well, this is publishing, so things are about where they were last year. Some prospects faded, some bloomed. I guess that's the way life goes. So on to the recap.

My [age redacted for public safety reasons]th year in a nut shell:

The big thing was selling my first book. That was definitely a highlight. I also had my first full request (prior to that), and I'm not gonna lie, I spent a somewhat embarrassingly long time in the query trenches before I got a full request. 

Close calls left and right. I've never had so many close calls in and out of publishing. It was the year I was *this* close.

And then there was my first full request ever. I'm not gonna lie, it was sort of embarrassing how I'd never had a full request prior to the one I got this last year. I really felt like I should have managed to get someone's interest up earlier, but up until that point I'd had a handful of partials. It was quickly followed by more requests, a very gratifying response.

I've had a new IRL job, and while that's been a big bonus to things like steady pay, it's been rough pounding out the words (I'm a whopping 500 words into NaNo, but I already knew I wouldn't be able to write the whole pinata in one sitting, but more on that later).

I've had some success from an unlikely protagonist: a gnome hunting dog.

I grew my first giant pumpkin.

All in all, not a bad [age redacted for public safety]th year.

Okay, so it's not very giant. Still, I grew it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Misleading Nature of Numbers

Last year, about this time, I crossed the one million word mark for words. It’s a number I’m pretty proud of because it’s concrete. But let’s face it, numbers can be misleading.

There’s this 10,000 hour rule. Specifically, there was a study that said you need 10,000 hours of experience in something before you’re an expert at something.

I’m not gonna lie, but when I heard the 10,000 hour rule, I sort of assumed I already had that down. Just the amount of time it takes to type a million words seemed, off the top of my head, to be enough to qualify. Which of course led me to the land of numbers.

I type at approximately 60 words per minute. I have written over a million words. This is easy math. If all of those words flowed out just as fast as I could write them, then I spent ~17,000 minutes typing.

I admit, that’s not nearly as long as I thought it would be. It seems like it should have been MUCH longer. But, these are numbers, so I followed them down the rabbit hole.

17,000 minutes is just under 300 hours.

Not even a thousand hours of typing went into my books.

So yeah, with NaNo approaching, and me feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the working and what not, I think that’s a bit of an eye opener. In fact, if we knew exactly how the story went and were just taking dictation, a book could be written in just fourteen hours of typing.


I mean no novel to NOVEL in one really long day of typing?? CRAZY.

So yeah, as you’re sitting around thinking about the monumental task of going all NaNo, just remember, it’s really only something like two regular work days worth of typing to log a Novel. No big.*

And for the record, I’m not saying it’s easy, but you know, those numbers should make the task seem doable. Also, if you’re one of those people who actually write at your top typing speed, you could make the NaNo deadline by typing just thirty minutes a day for a month. How awesome is that?

If you weren’t able to put it together, I’m thinking about NaNoing this year… I haven’t decided yet. There are some other factors to look into, but I’m trying to psych myself up for it (can you tell?).

*And by No Big, I mean bigBIGdeal. Writing a novel is really hard, these numbers are really for word vomit, but I sometimes think it’s good to look at numbers to see what they can tell us. Novels are like marathons. Still, I was totally shocked at how little time is invested into the actual typing of words.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I think this might be one of my favorite parts of blogging...

... hosting cover reveals! I love seeing books go from manuscript to real book, so today it's my pleasure to show off Mara Valderran's cover. So gorgeous!

Today is the cover reveal for Altar of Reality, the first book from Shifted Realities--a brand new series by Mara Valderran. This YA dystopian is set to be released January 31st, 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press. Mark your calendars, and be sure to add the book to your Goodreads list! Want to stay up to date on all things Altar of RealitySign up for Mara's newsletter so you don't miss a thing!

And now...the moment Mara's we've all been waiting for...

When sixteen-year-old Madeline suffers her first grand mal seizure, she finds herself in an unfamiliar reality, surrounded by strangers wearing familiar faces. Her best friend, Brandon, tells her that the world has fallen to chaos, the aftermath of World War III ten years ago. Madeline doesn’t remember anything from this life— especially not the explosion four years ago that killed her parents and landed her in a coma, or the Lord Commander; a zealot leader of the Southern Territories now searching for her.

Madeline barely has time to process everything before waking up to the life she’s always known. As soon as she dismisses it all as a strange and vivid dream, she finds herself back there once more. Unsure if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion, or teetering on the brink of insanity, she finds herself flipping between the two lives. Her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur as she struggles to save her lives in both worlds.


Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: 

Be sure to check out the Heirs of War, Crown of Flames blog tour going on right now! There are excerpts, interviews, a giveaway, and more. You can find the tour calendar here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thoughts on Being Gracious

I did something crazy this last weekend.

I love shoes.

I love dancing.

I LOVE dancing shoes.

So I thought it might be awesome to go to Boogie By the Bay. If you ever have the opportunity, go. Just getting to watch the other dancers is well worth the price of admission, and the pros who compete there make it easily some of the best dancing I've ever seen. EVER. And I've been to a number of impressive ballets live, so that's actually saying something.

I watched competitions, and they were incredible. The dancing, the costumes, the music (though there really was a propensity to dance to Bastille's Pompeii), it was unbelievably good. But when I ran into one of the dancer's after her competition and said "That was great! You danced beautifully!" she blinked at me, tears in her eyes and hugged me.

She said "Thank you so much. I didn't dance as well as I could have."

It shocked me. She'd done things I couldn't even dream of doing. She was magnificent. She was better than I will ever be. Her 'didn't dance as well as I could have' was so many leagues above where I'll ever dance, that it sort of hurt.

Literally, there are not enough years left for me to dedicate to family, job, writing, and dancing to ever get to where she was on a bad day. EVER.

It caught me up a little short. Not because I saw a moment of my mortality in her incredible dance that was "not as well as I could have," but because it was possibly the worst thing to say. Her dance touched me. It gave new meaning to the song she danced it to, and I'll never forget the place she took the dance and the song and me in that moment.

But to hear that it wasn't her best sort of--okay, I'll fess up, it Hurt.

She gave me her art. It had an impact on me. And then--after I screwed up my courage to approach this beautiful, vivacious dancer, a woman put on this Earth to Dance--she told me it wasn't her best.

I understood something else in that moment: just because you are the artist does not mean you have a clue how your art will touch people.

Without a doubt, I could have lived my whole life without knowing that her routine that brought me to tears (yeah, I'm a crier, maybe people shouldn't be proud of the waterworks I give them) wasn't her absolute top performance.

But that was just one more gift she gave me. She showed me how I should always treat people who see something beautiful in the art I create.

Her response should have been: Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love to dance.

At the end of that exchange, there could be a brief exchange about an upcoming piece. In writing, it would be to direct the reader to the sequel, or other work by the writer (or other work that was similar by another writer).

That wasn't the moment to confess that the performance of something was shaky. She'd already touched my heart. There was no greater place she could have taken me by confessing that it could have been better. In fact, the admission that it wasn't her best cheapened the moment, as if by being touched by the lesser performance, it was some sort of degradation of my ability to discern good dancing from bad.

Yes, this is all in my head. Yes, it is quite possible that she could have danced better. Yes, my dance experience is small enough to be suspicious as a judge. But I know what I like, and I know when something speaks to my soul and not the bean counter that can tell if the steps were all in perfect alignment.

Her performance was more than enough to take me to somewhere else. I didn't need to hear about her insecurities. I understand that she had them. I understand that it was amazingly hard work to put the routine together. Trust me, I get that part.

But what I didn't need to know was that she was dissapointed in the performance that I found so much meaning in.

It's okay to have insecurities. It's okay to talk about how hard you worked on something. It's okay to be disappointed, but it's not okay to greet someone who is praising your words with regret and insecurity.

I get that writing and dancing are different. I understand that on a visceral level. But the thing to do is to swallow your pride and realize that the performance that is given, be it novel or dance or painting or anything where the goal is to touch someone else's heart, is the best that you could make at that moment. Maybe the floor was slippery--we get that. Maybe your editor wasn't what you'd hoped--we get that. What your fans are trying to say was that your work was amazing to them and they don't care how amazing it could have been. The people who come to you after they've experienced your art are saying they loved the art Just The Way It Is.

Accept that.

Own that.

And after they've taken their deep breaths and screwed up their courage to even make eye contact with you (Yes, I mean you, because everyone who reads this blog, whether you mean to or not, intimidates the crap out of someone else), they deserve the respect that you can give to the moment they have had. Once they tell you about how you touched their heart, it's no longer about you the creator: it's about those who have interacted with your art.

Be gracious. Your art has just done the thing you've always hoped it would: you have touched someone's life. Be thankful, not everyone manages to achieve the One Thing they have always tried to do with your art. Be sure to say thank you. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

I know, it would look great in a beautiful cover

It's been a while since I put a smokin hot cover up on my blog, and lucky for you all, I've got one to show off! Behold!


A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device.  

Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning.  

Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path. 
GEARS OF BRASS is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills.  It will be available for purchase on November 10, 2014.  Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings.  Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets.  

Meet the authors:

Jordan Elizabeth writes young adult fantasy for Curiosity Quills, including ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW which was published in October and the upcoming TREASURE DARKLY; she’s represented by the Belcastro Agency.

J. Million is the author of Last of the Giants and can always be found reading or writing. 

Lorna MacDonald Czarnota is a professional storyteller and author of several books including, Medieval Tales That Kids Can Read and Tell, Breadline Blue, Legends Lore and Secrets of Western New York, Wicked Niagara, Native American and Pioneer Sites of Upstate New York, and Dancing at the Crossroads: Stories and Activities for At-Risk Youth Programming.

SA Larsen is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary and is the author of published short stories, community-interest stories, and magazine articles focused on children. 

Grant Eagar is an Engineer who would take the tales he told his children at bed time, and transform them into fantasy stories. 

Clare Weze is the author of The House of Ash (forthcoming) and the co-author and editor of Cloudscapes over the Lune.

Eliza Tilton: gamer, writer and lover of dark chocolate; author of the YA Fantasy, BROKEN FOREST, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Heather Talty's stories have been featured in Enchanted Conversation, as well as her own fractured fairy tale site, Mythopoetical (

W.K. Pomeroy is a third generation writer who has published more than 70 short stories/articles/poems across many genres and styles, which now includes Steampunk.

Christine Baker is the author of Lana's End, The Guild of Dagda, and many more. 

Natalia Darcy: a bookilicious reader, tea drinker and Zumba aficionado who enjoys playing cards against humanity and washing her hair with ice cold water. 

You can get your steampunk fix before GEARS OF BRASS is released in November.  To enter for your chance to win a copy of GEARS OF BRASS, you will need to share the cover.  This can be on your blog, Facebook, Twitter… Each time you share the cover image, log it into Rafflecoper to record it.  It will give you more chances to win.  The drawing for the winner will be held on October 27th.