I was tagged by the amazing and writerific, Megan Lee Hosa, to participate in a running blog tour about writers and their process. Megan’s post can be found on her blog, The Hideous Garden, and her answers are fascinating. Go check them out.
Now, it’s my turn to let you peek into my writing cave and brain, and find out how the magic works.
1) What are you working on?
I just finished the final edits and proofs of the third book in my YA paranormal thriller series, GHOST HEART. And it feels soooo good. This book was challenging to write. I stretched myself by branching out of the one character, first-person POV I’d used in the first two books to incorporate four additional character POVs. It was a blast.
Now that the book is in the hands of the formatter, I’m busy sending out ARCs and gearing up for the launch parties and blog tours. Plus, I’m going to take fall off from writing because it’s my favorite season. Plus,I need to spend some time with the real characters in my life, like my two teenagers and awesome husband.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I write YA paranormal, but it has no werewolves or vampires or angels. My series is about a paranormal birth defect based on the real phenomenon of phantom limb syndrome, which I honestly haven’t seen done anywhere else. My YA is fairly gritty and realistic. It has romantic elements, but tension and actions, not romance, drive the narrative. Most people who read my series say, “Wow. I’ve never read anything like this, but I like it.” And they are page-turners. One of my goals of writing the books was to create a story you just couldn’t put down until you were done.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I love to read YA, so I wrote the story I wanted to read. I also appreciate the way YA doesn’t take itself too seriously and has such a sense of innocence, discovery, and transition. Oh, and I also have two teenagers of my own who beta read all my books and make sure I keep them real and current.
4) How does your writing process work?
It’s half magic, half sit-in-the-chair-and-make-words. I’m a panster, not a planner or outliner. I write for the same reason I read, to find out what happens. I’m delighted when my characters and my plot surprise me. I marvel when something small I wrote in book one becomes something huge in book three. Writing is my joy and bliss.
But practically speaking, I sit a lot and live in my head. I forget to eat and drink and bathe, and the people who love me (and my cat) have to come nudge me back into the world everyone else lives in. That’s the not so romantic part.
Tune in next week when authors Mary Holland and Maggie Lynch post on their blogs about their process.
Mary Holland writes fantasy and speculative fiction for grownups. She managed a corporate research library in Silicon Valley for twenty-five years, mostly to support her book buying habit. She’s now writing full-time. Her books, Matcher Rules and The Bone Road, are available in ebook from all online vendors and in paperback from Lulu.com. She’s currently working on her third novel, which might be titled The Dog of Pel. It’s not about a dog. She lives in the Santa Cruz mountains in California with three cats and one husband.
Maggie Lynch loves to learn. With careers ranging from counseling families with special needs children to leadership in academic computing, she has had plenty of opportunities to learn, meet new people, and travel widely. Throughout it all writing has been her first love. Her publications include four non-fiction books, over 35 short stories, and nine novels. She now writes full time as Maggie Jaimeson for adult fiction and Maggie Faire for young adult fiction. Her fiction is often cross-genre including SF, Fantasy, Suspense, and Romance. She continues to write non-fiction under Maggie Lynch.
Dear Amazing PSS Fans,
You may have noticed it’s nearing the end of August and GHOST HEART hasn’t released yet. Originally, I had planned to release GHOST HEART in late July, but due to unforeseen revision and scheduling issues, that didn’t happen.
Then, I was hoping to get the book out by the end of August, but here we are only a few days away and that isn’t looking likely.
I am sincerely sorry, and I deeply appreciate your support and patience throughout the publishing process.
Keep Calm Because GHOST HEART is Coming.
I am excited to say that the manuscript is completely done, edited, revised, and proofed and has just been turned over to the formatter. That is really the only step left before I can send it out for physical proofs and hit the publish button on the e-book version, but it will take several weeks, at the least. I hesitate to give a specific release date again, but it is coming soon. I promise. Be sure to watch here, on my Author FB page, and in my newsletter for announcements about the upcoming release.
And despite the delay, I believe it will be well worth it. The betas and editors who have read the book so far have loved it, and I thought I’d share they’re take with you.
Beta readers on GHOST HEART
Honestly, this has been my favorite part of the series so far. I’m really looking forward to what direction you take it. My notes are really just love notes about how much I love it.
I loved the alternating POVs, especially Passion’s, It gave us a chance to see Passion grow as a character. You managed to get a different teenage girl voice, distinct from Olivia’s, and to make her believable.
Editors on GHOST HEART
I have to start with: WOW. Just WOW. I forgot how much I enjoyed this concept and what a great series idea you have with it. The way it’s all so well crafted, with specific plot details etc—you did an epic job, and you should be so proud of yourself. Well done!
Oh, what a tale you weave. You know I’ve been hooked since GHOST HAND. GHOST HEART is phenomenal. And of course I need more. Want more. And I have a book hangover.
You are killing me, Ripley. Bit by bit. Shred by shred. One drop of PSS at a time!
I’ve always loved fairy tales and folktales. And as a kid I read all I could get my hands on. I loved Jack and the Giant Killer series, including Jack and The Beanstalk. But I was frustrated that there weren’t any girls killing giants. I could run and hide and play just as hard as the boys at Capture the Flag and Ollie Ollie Oxen Free. I was tough, loved wrestling, shooting, fishing, and being outdoors. Why weren’t there strong girls in those tales? I didn’t see myself in those stories. So I created Henrietta to be the kind of heroine I wished I could have read about when I was young.
I suppose you could say she’s one of my alter egos. As for Henrietta’s friends: Franc reminds me of friends I’ve known, who come off fierce but have hearts of gold. Jaxter was inspired by Joxer, Ted Raimi’s character in Xena, and enhanced by the fun humor of my husband, Ezra Barany. Paulette also just came from my subconscious. When my sister read the story, she wondered if Paulette takes after her. Maybe? I am the eldest child and my sister was kinda a pain in the ass, sometimes. Henrietta’s mentor, Master Chen, was inspired by several teachers I’ve had who were big influences, including Marcel Cote, my French teacher when I was an exchange student in Quebec, Canada when I was 16. Marcel took me under his wing when no one else did.
The setting of my Five Kingdoms series is inspired by medieval Europe, the feudal system, and the blending of cultures I’ve seen in such shows and movies as Firefly, Serenity, Fifth Element, Star Wars, and Blade Runner.
The overall themes of female empowerment are also inspired by what I’ve learned on tribal cultures and by my great-grandmother, Meridel Le Sueur, who honored the strength and power of women.
I’m inspired to create a world for Henrietta where she is challenged to be a leader and struggles with what they means. I think we women and the girls behind us need positive, strong, and complex role models. Through fiction we travel away from self into other worlds to uncover more about ourselves. Then come back home to self and the normal world. In the regular day-to-day world, we can then integrate what we learned. I hope!
About Beth Barany:
Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.
Book 1: Henrietta The Dragon Slayer was the 2012 Grand Prize winner at the California Fiction Writers Book Contest and the 2011 Finalist at the Hollywood Book Festival.
Reader reviews of the award-winning young adult fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Book 1 in the Five Kingdoms series
As far as young adult fantasies go, Henrietta, The Dragon Slayer is a good read that I think any age, teen to adult, would enjoy. I only hope a sequel is in the works!
The witty dialogue and good story line makes this book hard to put down. I really could not stop reading it and was really tired the next day. It’s also very satisfying to read about a girl heroine fighting the good fight. –Jeri
Beth, best known for strong heroines in her stories, this story is no exception. It is a tale of righteousness and overcoming adversity including magic. –Robert Mendak “RJ”
The book is a beautiful story about friendship, a heroine, and a quest to kill a dragon. Who wouldn’t be excited? The entire concept sounded interesting and I was not at all disappointed. –Brittany, from Goodreads
Beth Barany has made a world where unlikely friendships rule and being a friend means more than you can know. –Tami, from Goodreads
Special Blog Tour Giveaway: Grand Prize
I’ll be giving away 2 signed copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll mail you a copy anywhere in the world.
I’ll also give away e-book copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone at each blog tour stop.
• Where to find Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2)
Art by Steph’s Cover Designs
Third Book the the Fallen Desire Series by NL Echeverria!
Coming July 2014!
“I can feel the evil seeping through my skin from every direction as my body consumes all of it. I can feel the hatred, pain and sorrow running through my veins as if it’s a part of me, as if I’m connected to the evil, drawn to it.” ~ Lindsay
Lindsay’s destiny continues in this ravishingly twisted third installment to the “Fallen Desire” series. When she’s tested by the powers of black magic she will find out who her true friends are. A new fallen angel, Luke, shows her a way of using the darkness to her advantage.
Will the dark magic consume her? Or will Lindsay remain in control?
Lucifer has known this day will come and is more than prepared. It is ordained that on the eighteenth birthday of the Redeemer she will embrace her true powers and stand by his side in the battle against the fallen.
Lindsay knows he’s coming and that he will be ready for her. She gathers all of the witches and fallen angels that are willing to stand and fight, but she could never have prepared for what she will be faced with. Ethan does all he can to keep the fear of the hellhounds away but it’s a new friend that helps Lindsay kill the hounds that haunt her dreams. The anticipation of the coming battle has Lindsay questioning herself more than ever and she may end up trusting those she shouldn’t. Unknown love and friendships ignite while true love is tested.
Will her love for Ethan stay strong? Will Lindsay be able to stand up to Lucifer or will she embrace the evil that lurks inside her?
You’ve all been waiting for it with bated breath, and it’s finally here: THE GHOST HEART KICKSTARTER PROJECT.
PRE-ORDER GHOST HEART NOW
KICKSTARTER is the way I have funded the publication of the PSS Chronicles Series. I funded GHOST HAND and GHOST HOLD using Kickstarter projects and they were wildly successful. Through Kickstarter, I can offer you advanced pre-order of the book. Yes, that’s right. You can run over to my Kickstarter RIGHT NOW and pre-order an e-book or signed paperback copy of GHOST HEART (or both).
ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME
This chance to pre-order the book will only last through the month of May while the Kickstarter is running. After that, the book may be available for pre-order on Kobo, but Amazon does not allow most indie authors to do pre-orders through them, so now is your chance to secure your copy. E-books pre-ordered through the Kickstarter project will be delivered directly to your e-mail inbox as soon as they are back from the formatter (sometime in July) in advance of when they will be available to the general public. And I am offering all major e-reader formats- PDF, mobi, and epub.
HELP REVEAL THE AMAZING GHOST HEART COVER
I’m doing something really fun this time around. I’m letting you help me reveal the GHOST HEART COVER. Just for showing up here , you get a small glimpse of it below. Just a corner. Just a hint. But by becoming a backer, you’ll be helping unveil the cover to the world. For every $500 increment of funding, I’ll reveal another beautiful piece. And when we’ve reached the final goal of the project, the entire cover will be visible, thanks to all of you.
HELP MAKE THE BOOK BETTER
Not only does backing the project get you a secured copy of the book in advance, and help me reveal the cover. It also helps me create the book to the highest standard of quality. Funds raised on Kickstarter for this project are used to pay for professional cover design, professional editing, professional formatting, type-setting, and printing. Many readers and reviewers have commented on the professional level of this self-published series. I owe that all to readers like you who are willing to buy a copy in advance so I can make the book even better.
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
New to Kickstarter? Not sure what you’re committing to. I totally understand. Signing up for Kickstarter is FREE and very easy. They don’t send spam or e-mails or anything like that. You opt into only the communication you want. They will ask you to link your Amazon account to your Kickstarter because that is who they partner with to process payment. If you don’t have an Amazon account already, it is very easy to open one.
Once you’ve joined Kickstarter and linked your Amazon account, backing is as easy as the click of a button on my project page. You get to choose the amount to give ($1 or more) and the reward you want (ie- an ebook or paperback etc). And this is the great thing–You won’t be CHARGED A PENNY until and when the project is funded and done on May 31st. And if the project doesn’t make its funding, you aren’t charged a thing, ever.
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT THE PROJECT
I hope you’ll back the project today. Even for a small amount. Every little bit truly does count. I hope you’ll stop by and watch my somewhat silly video (Yes, that is one of my GOOD hair days- pity me, I know :), and maybe tell a friend or two who might be interested. Sharing the project on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or other social media is a an easy and free way to support the project. And be sure to check back as the cover is revealed. You don’t want to miss that.
Finally, thank you for reading my books and loving them.
There is honestly nothing I love more than sharing my stories with you and hearing yours.
So I’m doing this and it is going to be so cool. The event is coming up Saturday, March 29th from 1:30-3:00 at ANOTHER READ THROUGH Bookstore in North Portland.
Of course, I won’t be the only one there.
The reading features five authors from five different genres, and I’m thrilled to be in such amazing company.
If you like THRILLERS, Pam Cowan, author of Something in the Dark and Storm Justice will be there.
If URBAN FANTASY is more your taste, Tonya Macalino will be present reading from Faces in the Water, the first book of her series.
If you love PURE FANTASY, come meet Athena, author of Murder of Crows, one of my favorite reads of 2013.
If that isn’t enough, come check out Maggie Jaimeson Lynch, author of WOMEN’S CONTEMPORARY FICTION Healing Notes, a Sweetwater Canyon Novel.
And last but not least, I’ll be there reading YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL from The PSS Chronicles Series.
Along with the readings, there will also be a SIGNED BOOK RAFFLE and a Q&A SESSION with all the authors. If you live anywhere near Portland, you’re gonna to want to be there.
Also, if you are a local author, I’d love to meet you. Elisa, the owner of Another Read Through, NIWA, and I are hoping to make this a quarterly event, and I’d love to talk with you about how you and your book(s) could be featured in the future.
I LOVE the premise of this new Pacific Northwest YA Dystopian series by Lisa Nowak. So, I thought I’d share. PLUS, it is currently FREE on all venues.
The Inspiration for the series
By Lisa Nowak
Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.
“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.
Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.
Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.
What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States? In 2063, it has.
The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors-until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.
Spoiler Warning: The following is an unedited, subject-to-change early excerpt from GHOST HEART, Book Three of the PSS Chronicles. If you have not already read GHOST HAND AND GHOST HOLD, please be warned this content may contain spoilers concerning the first two books.
The morning after the Eidolon
Wind gusts in the hemlock trees and the pre-dawn sky grows darker, not lighter, as storm clouds scud in, gathering menacingly over Indiana’s Shades State Park. The air is thick, each invisible molecule of oxygen ambushed by the embarrassing mouse-ears of hydrogen, pulling it down, down, to splat on the cold packed earth. Fat drops plop into the swirling Sweet Water River. And then the air becomes a wall of wet, all individuality lost. The sky is the air is the water is the river. It is all one.
The river swells, kissing its banks, then ravishing them. Blue water turns to churning white and brown. An hour past the dawn that never comes, the river valley that runs through the park is a raging flood, every visible surface wet and wild.
But there is always a hidden calm just beneath the surface of chaos.
Here, that calm sits on a shelf of stone three feet below the turbulent water of a deep pool. It is a black, round ball; a patient, waiting thing, unbothered by the storm raging overhead. The ledge it perches on is narrow, but it balances easily, resting on its one flattened edge. On its upward side a white circle encompasses the symbol for infinity stamped there emphatically in black, bold script.
The ball knows itself. It is The Magic Eight Ball. But that is almost all it knows. It does not know where it came from or where it had been before. It does not know why the girl tossed it aside when it gave its answer. It does not know what to do now, or even that it can do anything, other than sit on that submerged rock covering its answer-window ass.
But then the pool at the bottom of the cliff known as Devil’s Drop begins to swirl. The current grows deeper and stronger, buffeting The Magic Eight Ball and nudging it closer to the edge of its comfortable know-nothing ledge. Something cracks and crashes and groans above it, as a huge log jam plummets into the pool from the upper river, displacing everything in its path.
Water surges against The Magic Eight Ball, shoving it off its shelf, sending it end over end, roiling around in a tumultuous wave of questionless answers.
It is certain.
Don’t count on it.
It is decidedly so.
Careening off rock and buffeted by debris, The Magic Eight Ball begins to sink. Slowly, slowly, gravity and current carry it into darkness, and it descends to the calm nether regions of the deepest part of the pool.
Ask again later.
You may rely on it.
Better not tell you now.
Past gleaming grey-green walls of stone and silhouettes of sunken trees.
My sources say no.
Reply hazy try again.
The Magic Eight Ball lands on another shelf, but this one is not made of rock. It is made of a man.
The man is young, his shirt torn to ribbons that float around him like kelp, revealing a gaping hole in his chest from which a jagged branch juts. The man is resting peacefully on his back on the submerged log that sports that branch, much like The Magic Eight Ball rested peacefully on his rock shelf only moments before.
And now upon the man, The Magic Eight Ball settles, gently rolling toward the sloping cavity of his chest, its answer window flickering a sweet blue sigh of YES.
A shadow passes overhead and a log, like a giant lumbering pool cue, plunges down cracking into the end of log the man and the Eight Ball sit upon. They both bounce, the Eight Ball careening around inside the man’s gaping chest even as his body rises just above the top of the stick skewering him.
There is a flash of light, bright and cerulean.
It washes over The Magic Eight Ball, filling it with wonder, even as it slips down through the hole in the man and under him.
The man settles, returning to his stick and log, pressing the Eight Ball against its slimy surface and shooting it out into the heavy current once more.
Outlook not so good
My sources say no
I am David
The Magic Eight Ball is pulled closer to the surface of the pool and careens downriver, leaving the man on the stick far behind it.
SO that wonderful day dedicated to all things love related is fast approaching: Valentine’s Day. What do you have planned for the special day? Roses? Chocolates? Dinner with your honey bunny?
Or maybe you’re single. And happy.
Maybe you hate all the consumerism and hallmark sentimentality that comes with Valentine’s Day.
Maybe all you want to cuddle up with that weekend is a really good book.
Well, if that’s the case, I have just the thing for you.
Why not pick up some great horror and dark fantasy novels to celebrate Valentine’s day? It still involves matters of the heart, just more the possibility of one getting ripped out.
The Valentine’s Day “EAT YOUR HEART OUT” Author Extravaganza will feature a huge array of great horror and dark fantasy fiction all on a special 99 cent sale for the e-book versions. And I’m thrilled to say that GHOST HOLD will be one of the books on offer for that special love-you-darkly price.
Be sure to join the event on FACEBOOK and invite your friends too. On the day there will be authors galore, giveaways, contests, and prizes guaranteed to make your heart quiver.