Friday, January 30, 2015

The Second in what I hope is a recurring theme

I mentioned earlier this week that it was a big week on the blog. First I got to help reveal an awesome cover! No seriously, if you haven't already seen it, go take a peek.

Second, I get to share a secret:


So last year, right around the time I was supposed to be working on my NaNo project, I was packing boxes. On my way to work one day, I had an idea. I told some of my writing friends about it, and they said "That's the one!"

I was pleased to have such an enthusiastic response, but then I entered a couple of writing contests--stop me if you've heard this one before. Those contests, well, they were rough. What made my story different? (didn't I say that in the first sentence???) The market is too clogged with YA contemp books, yours would "really have to be different." Everyone is writing sports books right now.

Right.

This is nothing new. I'd been in that place before, but I was hoping for a steady climb: first book, no requests, second book partials, third book fulls, fourth book agent. It seemed logical, but no one was biting for this book. I thought it was a goner. I was ready to hit Delete and move back to my happy space, but this character had me and demanded more of me. I don't usually tell contemporary stories. I like blowing things up, and there isn't a single explosion. HOW? How could I write something without aliens, unicorns, or explosions?? (also, no Dragons, and I'm Liz With Dragons; I can't write something without dragons!)

But this book had me in its clutches, so I took a chance. My publisher is just starting a new imprint. In the past, Curiosity Quills has focused on Genre Fiction, specifically, Science Fiction and Fantasy: my wheelhouse. As in, they have been on my radar since day one. Yes, they are small. No, they are not one of the big five.

So when I heard they were starting a YA contemporary romance line, I thought to myself: they'll never want to publish my book, right?

Right?

Somehow, I convinced myself that they would have ZERO interest in my most recent book. Zero.  I mean, my book wasn't even in their target genre set. It was YA contemporary with a splash of romance. In fact, it was really about the sport of Fencing (near and dear to my heart, FYI).

So you can imagine my shock when they said they wanted my YA contemporary with a hint of romance.

SWEET MOTHER OF SCIENCE, WHAT??

My Contemporary YA, OF PENS AND SWORDS by Bridget Adair is going to be published!

Here's the blurb:




Seventeen-year-old Cyra Berque wants two things in life: a date with Rochan and a chance to show the world a one-handed girl can fence in the Olympics. When Cyra’s coach tells her he’s taught her everything he can, he sets her up with another coach, one who could take her all the way to the top, but the new coach costs more. With her dreams slipping out of reach for lack of money, Cyra agrees to tutor a ballerina with a rich father and a D minus in English. He’ll pay Cyra three times her usual tutor rate if she can get his precious daughter to a passing grade. The ballerina only has eyes for Rochan, and she’s promised Cyra to turn her D into a full fledged F if Cyra doesn’t help her win the heart of Rochan.

OF PENS AND SWORDS is a YA contemporary retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac with the gender roles reversed. 



The next step in my bid for world domination: book two!


So yeah, happy dance, and there will be some changes around the blog here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Curse of Iron and Ash Cover Reveal!

It's a big week here on the blog, and today, I have a very special treat. Today, I'm helping Christine Norris reveal her cover for A Curse of Ash and Iron! 

ON TO the COVER!


 


See! It's gorgeous! I am seriously so very excited about this book. I cannot wait!

Here's the blurb:


Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn't believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press (www.curiosityquills.com )

Release date: May 21, 2015



Head on over to YA Book Central to enter the GIVEAWAY!

And of course, be sure to stop by Christine's Blog and wish her a happy Cover Reveal Day! Or you could go watch the trailer, or like her on Facebook! Check out her Goodreads page.
And her cover is up at YA Book Central


That is one awesome book cover!

Friday, January 23, 2015

On Secret Identities (or problems I never realized I’d have)



I’m currently juggling two secret identities as well as two public identities, and for the record this gets confusing because these identities are all secret from each other.

I don’t talk about my work here (seriously though, snore fest). I don’t talk about my home life at work. And I have book contracts under two different pen names. Talk about problems to have! :-)

Obviously, this blog is hosted by one of my pen names, and my other pen name doesn’t have any internet love. No blog, no twitters, no facebook. Which brings me to my dilemma:

I’ve seen that most writers have two names that they’re very upfront about, the name they publish traditionally with, and the name they use for their self published stuff. I’ve seen that system work pretty well, where authors go through and very openly acknowledge both writing aspects to make it easier for fans to find their other works.

But that’s not the case with my two names. They’re both traditionally pubbed (though through a small press), but they are a bit night and day. One is magic and explosions, and chase scenes, and the other is awkward teenage moments leading to a rip-your-heart-out-break-your-soul tragedywell, at least, that’s what I’m aiming for, but I think I’m a bit wide of the mark.

But really one book is all: 
And the other book is a little more:

 

So the question I pose to the gallery is what would you guys do? Would you build up a whole separate online presence around the second pen name, or would you tack the contemporary pen name onto an already existing social media network?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

That moment when I give my first in person interview...

... and realize that the teenager interviewing me has maybe thought more about the process of writing than I have.

I know, that sounds bad, but there I was and she was asking questions--deep questions--and I'm dying to say "I just like when stuff blows up."

But nope, she asked so many great questions like "how do you build flaws into your Main Character?"

To which I responded. "Ummmm."

Okay, I maybe sounded more convincing than that, but I feel like our flaws are such an integral part of us that they aren't something that could be added or taken away. So what are my MC's flaws? I was taken so off guard that I've been wondering what flaws I've given my characters. And what flaws have I seen in other characters that I liked? Needless to say, I'm suddenly feeling very anxious about my characters, like are they any good? Have I written a bunch of novels featuring a bunch of Mary Sues?

So in a bit of a panic, I scoured through my MCs and found that they had flaws just like the rest of the world. At least, they had flaws like the people in my life have flaws. They're built in, such an integral part that I hadn't realized they were even there. I have always taken flaws for granted in the same way I take air for granted. It was a great wake up call.

And in other news, I was interviewed! How crazy is that?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another thought on visuals

So this was posted at my kid's school.

It's supposed to be a warning to keep your head up when you walk, but the visual says something other than the words. The words say Look Where You're going. The visual clearly says "OMG, there's a Monster with LASER BEAM EYES Behind you! RUN AWAY!" Or maybe it says, "LASER BEAM Guy already got Freddie. Run Faster!"

I guess this one goes directly into the cautionary files. Be sure your graphics really say what you're trying to say. Or, you know, Laser Beam Guy is coming for you!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Worth a thousand? Then I only need 49k more...



Well, now I feel like I've led you here under false pretenses. I'm sure that with a picture like that one, you were expecting something. Maybe something cute and funny, but what I'm actually going to discuss for a minute is cover designs.

Because, let's face it, covers sell books. I pick up books and buy them based on the covers all the time (okay, the blurb and title help, too), but this is a big problem for me. I always feel like my pitch is just shy of being a commercial for a used car salesman.

So covers sell books. Titles sell books.

But where does it end? Do covers raise false expectations that make readers turn on the writer? I'm familiar with the idea that a bad cover is the kiss of death, but can a cover make a reader never pick up a book by that writer ever again? There's a trope on TV tropes called For Instant Awesome Just Add Dragon (no I'm not linking, you'll have to use google--this is for your safety and productivity, TV tropes will eat your whole day). On that page, there are examples of times people have added a dragon for awesome, including a book with a dragon on the cover. No dragon in the book, no mention even, and there was a dragon on the cover.

I have bought books based on there being a dragon on the cover.

I have been disappointed in a book's lack of dragon (based on cover expectations) and blacklisted the author, and now I'm starting to wonder:

Do cover expectations lead readers to blacklist writers? Or was I a particularly snobish reader to blacklist writers who had dragons on their covers with books that had nothing to do with dragons (not even as Heraldry!)?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year--Old Insecurities







It's time to follow the ninja captain into the great hive of fear and insecurity, and I'm not talking about another Lucas lead remake where Han's morals are retroactively toyed with. I'm talking about another Insecure Writer Support Group meeting! This month's awesome Cohosts ar Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, andMichelle Wallace!

Jump on the Linky and join us! 

 

You know what, I got nothing new. I’ve tried to boil my current insecurities into something meaningful and…nope. Everything is “OMG, WRITING IS HARD,” or “QUERYING IS SO CRAZY!” or even “I DON’T UNDERSTAND PUBLISHINGWHY? WHY?”

This might be extreme, but basically, I would like to check D for All of the above. I don’t understand publishing. I’m worried people won’t love my work. I’m being chipped apart by the “great writing, but the story just isn’t right.” And of course, I’m worried that my book won’t do well, won’t be read, won’t sell well, will look horrible and basically be the stinking carcass of a stone tied around my writerly neck (one I gladly tied there, I might add).

And all of these are basically the usual suspects. Usually, they’re sort of the dull roar of an audience at a sporting event between periods. They’re sometimes loud. Sometimes they shout. Sometimes they hold their breath, but no matter what, the audience is there. I can’t get them to leave, but maybe I can shoot some cheap t-shirts into the crowd.

The problem with the audience, is that like sports, those insecurities are louder the more important the event seems. Close game? Lots of yelling. If it’s the playoffs, the audience is REALLY LOUD. But sometimes the audience gets a wild hair. So I’m in a late season game, working my way to the playoffs, and all the insecurities made sure to get tickets to help rally me into the playoffs.

Funny that this audience means things are going better in general, but at the same time they slow me down. One way or another, it’s time to direct the crowd. Maybe a bobble head giveaway? That always seems to work for real sporting events. Though if I wanted to really get their attention, I’d offer free beer. That works at sporting events, right? It totally calms them down and makes them very thoughtful and considerate.

Anyhow, anyone else feel like their securities never quite leave them alone? Ever feel like you’re sitting at the bottom of a bowl and everyone is watching you, commenting?