Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Fighting Gravity Sequel!

February 12, 2013

Want to know what it’s called? Want to know what it’s about? Want to know when you can get it?

Well, it’s your lucky day! Because coming in April 2013* is:

Cascade EffectFG_thumbnail

Jake has married his emperor, but happily ever after is for fairy tales.

The empire is restless. The nobility isn’t hiding their distaste for Jake, the unclass who married the emperor. The unclass see him as proof that they can be more, and they’re not going to sit by and wait any longer.

And someone is trying to kill Jake.

As friends become enemies, and enemies become allies, Jake has to discover the catalyst that has his world cascading into chaos, and protect those he loves, even the ones he doesn’t know about yet. And he has to do it before the empire comes crashing down…or the assassin stalking him succeeds.

The astute among you will notice that the picture is of Fighting Gravity, not Cascade Effect. That’s ’cause I don’t have a book cover I can share yet.

But it’s coming, folks!

*If any of you are in the Toronto, ON area, we’re teaming up with the great folks at Futurecon for the book launch party at Ad Astra Con this year. You should definitely be there!

Gravity Won and Other Highlights of #WFC2012

November 8, 2012

It’s been days since the con ended and I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and do my wrap-up post for World Fantasy Con in Toronto. I had a minor dispute with gravity on Friday morning of the con and it won hands (and feet) down. So I’ve spent the first day or so back in the states dealing with purple-sausage-foot which is much better now, thank you.

Gravity Won

Idiot injuries aside, it was a great con.

I arrived Wednesday night in time for a party at JM Frey’s house, which was lots of fun. Jess is a wonderful host. We played a customized-for-the-sff-crowd set of Cards Against Humanity which led to some hilarious combinations. I met there Clint Talbert, a shiny new Dragon Moon Press author who has a story in When the Villain Comes Home and a novel coming out in 2013. Lovely man, in more than one sense of the word, so that was very nice.

Gabrielle Harbowy and I stayed over that night and on Thursday about midday we set off for the con hotel with several boxes of books to stock the  Dragon Moon Press table in the dealer’s room. I didn’t get to any of the programming on Thursday as my afternoon was spent setting up our table, meeting and coordinating with my fellow DMP authors, and so on and so forth. One highlight of the afternoon was, upon registering, we were directed to the book room where we were to pick up our bag of free books. There we found, not just a bag of free books, but an enormous, heavy bag of really cool new releases by authors whose names made me squeeeee. YAY!

I cornered Scott Edelman in the hallway later and he very nicely agreed to take a picture with me to compliment the one I had from Readercon this summer. (He’s a lot taller in real life than his avatar at Readercon was.)

The other great thing that happened that day was that I got to meet our newest DMP author, K.T. Bryski, whose debut novel, Hapax, was launching there at the con. She’s really sweet and it was lots of fun hanging out with her all weekend.

That night, our room tried to kill us. That is, we found fresh blood spatters on our sheets when we went to get in bed, and then, after the helpful young man replaced them, one of our lamps caught fire. Thankfully we survived, but that whole fiasco is a blog post in itself.

Friday was a big day for me, I was one of the panelists for the 10:00 Young Adult Urban Fantasy panel. The moderator, Joel Sutherland, was great, the panelists intelligent and well rounded, and I got to sit beside Charles de Lint who is really a terribly nice man. Other panelists included Isobelle Carmody, Alyxandra Harvey, and Holly Black. The conversation ranged from how YA UF differs from the adult variety, how much violence, sex, etc. can and/or should be in YA, writing to a YA audience and also how marketing often determines what is YA and what isn’t, rather than the author. It was well run and the audience followed up with good questions as well. It was a great experience.

Afterward, Fiona Patton came up to me to follow up on the comments I’d made about the fact that my novel has YA age characters who are gay. She had a great story about how a young nephew had recently come out to her and it was heartwarming and encouraging to hear about a kid who had a safe person to come out to and an environment that promised to support, not judge him for who he is. Yay! And one of the really good things was that I couldn’t see her nametag when we were talking, so I had no idea who she was and therefore didn’t squee or get nervous or anything but talked to her like an intelligent(ish) adult. She also came by the DMP table later and bought a copy of Fighting Gravity and I did squeee then, once she was gone. ;)

That’s about it, I think, except for the fact that I stumbled coming down off the stage, actually during the panel in front of everyone in what is an embarrassing Leah-acted-before-she-engaged-her-brain moment and the end result of that was a purple-sausage foot for the rest of the weekend and lots of hobbling. A good bit of the rest of my con was ruled by the Leah’s-not-exactly-mobile situation, but I spent that time at the DMP table in the dealer’s room where I met great people and sold some books while hanging out with my friends. I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point of these things, anyway, right? So, mission accomplished.

And Ed Greenwood himself took me to Walmart and bought me a cane, so it was totally worth it.

On Friday at 5:00pm, I attended the New Twists on Accepted Myths panel that featured not only special guest Mercedes Lackey, but also fellow DMP author and good friend Marie Bilodeau. It was an extremely informative panel with a great moment in which Marie, in response to an audience member’s comment along the lines of how we could use existing myths WITHOUT respecting the root culture and that being just fine, Marie replied “well I could come down there and bitch slap you, but…” It was one of the best moments of the con. I wish I had it on video.

Friday night was one of the highlights of my con. That night, up in our room, Gabrielle Harbowy, Clint Talbert and I played a game of Dungeons and Dragons with Ed Greenwood as our Dungeon Master. If you know anything about D&D, you know how cool it is to learn the game from the creator of the Forgotten Realms. It was so much fun. I’m no virgin when it comes to RPGs and have years of WOW under my belt, but I had never played D&D in any form. It was so obvious how this game became such a thing with WRITERS not just gamers. It was a shared story experience and, particularly in private among good friends, it was an absolute riot and probably got a little more, ahem, interesting than it does on the con floor. Let’s just say I did not expect the device holding the Drow prisoner to be a butt plug. Which about sums up the game, really. That and the frantic moment when Gab, our warrior, had to save my dong from the tentacle monster I’d unwittingly pissed off by peeing on him. (Well I had to try out the equipment…)

And there went Friday. Literally; we finished the game at 2:30 am Saturday but all the next-day sleepies had been worth it.

At noon on Saturday, I went to the Brandon Sanderson reading where he treated us to the opening of the last WOT novel, coming out in January 2013, and also a scene from the next Stormlight novel that he’d written only a few days before.

I did also make it down to the Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon interview. I got there early and to my delight, realized that there were ten more minutes of the Charles de Lint interview and for that time, he had chosen to sing along with his wife some of the folk music they’re known for. It was AWESOME and I was totally not expecting it so that made it even better.

After that, Misty and Larry sat down for their interview and Misty put up a sign facing the audience that said YOU ARE DOOMED! And that tells you about the panel, actually. They were funny and irreverent and it was fascinating to hear how they manage all their various collaborations and creative projects.

Saturday night we had the launch party for Hapax at the Fox and the Fiddle across the street from the con. There were tons of people there and K.T. Bryski, who’s like 90 pounds soaking wet, read an excerpt loud enough for us all to hear. It’s a great book, by the way; I’ve already finished mine.

Being insufficiently mobile, I volunteered to man the book table at the party where I sold lots of copies of  Hapax and several other DMP books. I met Katie’s friends and family too, and as a rule, they’re all lovely people so I’m very glad I did. Congratulations, Katie!

Sunday morning I started with Non-Western Fantasy, which I wanted to attend anyway, but it offered the additional bonus of having on the panel Amanda Sun who I’d met through Authoress Anonymous’s wonderful group of Success Stories and got to see at intervals throughout the con. She had some interesting perspectives on different cultures in fantasy lit, as did the rest of the panel. Now I’m really looking forward to reading the ARC of Amanda’s upcoming novel, Ink, to be released in July 2013.

I got to catch pieces of the next panel, Part Seen Part Imagined and hearing the long-time pros in the industry like Ed Greenwood and Larry Dixon discuss cover art was really enlightening.

I did not attend the banquet that night, and got the results of the World Fantasy awards on Twitter like most people because I was minding the DMP table in the dealers room in the last hours and helping pack it up and clear out.

There were lots of goodbyes that night to the friends old and new who were heading out that evening, there were beers with those who stayed over Sunday night, and then Monday morning I bid a sad goodbye to Gabrielle, Toronto, and WFC 2012. At least I have Ad Astra in Toronto to look forward to in April. See all of you then!

P.S. Those airline-employee-powered wheelchairs are like a magic pass through the airport. You really have to try one sometime. And, yes, I was a good girl and went to the doctor Tuesday afternoon to have my sprained ankle diagnosed and to acquire pretty new crutches so I can be ready to do it all again at the next con.

Want An Agent? Here They Are!

October 4, 2012

It’s time for that lovely thing, the third annual Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction over on Miss Snark’s First Victim!

Have you seen this lineup?

 

Think you’d like one or several of these agents salivating over your novel, fighting other agents (hair pulling and bitch-slapping optional) just to get their hands on your full manuscript first?

Then GET IN THERE!

There’s still time to enter and, if you have a completed manuscript, YA or Adult (anything but erotica) then you’ll kick yourself if you don’t at least try to get involved in this. There are deadlines all through October and November leading up to the big event in December.

GO!

 

 

This Scares The Crap Out of Me: The Journey to My Logline, Revealed.

September 25, 2012

Ugh. Loglines. Authoress over at Miss Snark’s First Victim is running the pre-Baker’s Dozen logline critique sessions right now and I’ve been reading and adding my two cents and I’m reminded of how much query and logline writing sucks balls. So I’m thinking a concrete example of how you can go wrong, and then distill it down to something right, might help others going through this hell.

So what’s a logline? Essentially, it’s the pitch for your book distilled to one single sentence. Holy… Well, like most people, I started from the query and worked down. Want to see?

Now, I’ve never publicly owned some of this because it’s so embarrassing. But, in the spirit of helping others, and because this way you can laugh at me when I can’t see you doing it, I’ve decided to share my full novel-pitch evolution. That’s right, you get to see the bad stuff I actually put my name on and emailed to people.

Disclaimer: I’m not showing you the first one I wrote, or even the tenth. The very, very first stuff was pure garbage. Even I knew that. I worked and worked it until I got one I thought was pretty good. Here it is:

You can never trust anyone in authority. Jacob Dawes always knew that; but he fell in love with the Emperor anyway. The dangerous mess his life has become really is his own fault.   

Jacob is nothing and no one in the Intergalactic Empire where birth, wealth, and social status mean everything.  But when his incredible genius is identified, he becomes a valuable commodity to the Empire and he’s taken to the Imperial Intellectual Complex.

The Empire may want him, in spite of his origins, but the scientists and scholars at The Complex don’t.  His groundbreaking discoveries in physics overcome prejudice, and earn him the favor – and friendship – of the Emperor.

In time, the friendship becomes more and Jacob, cynical and wary of anyone in power, is now the Emperor’s lover. 

The Emperor’s favor isn’t a protection, and Jacob soon finds himself embroiled in dangerous political games he’s ill-equipped to play that may cost him the man he loves, and even his life. 

Wow, that’s long. Well, it’s a complex world and a complex character with complex problems. There’s only so much you can cut out, right? Here it was after I got some seriously good quality (and professional) help with it. This is the version that I queried with that led to the sale of the book:

Jacob Dawes’ scientific genius got him out of the slums and into the Emperor’s bed; but when a very public mistake gives his rivals an opportunity to be rid of him, Jacob discovers that fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.

Well that’s a bit less, isn’t it. Barely even a pitch, more like a logline. It got me a book deal, though.

Here’s the back cover copy of the published book:

When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.

Here’s my editor-approved logline:

A brilliant young physicist is accused of treason; to fight for his own life, he’ll have to betray his lover, the Emperor.

Let’s be clear, I didn’t come up with that one, that was the combined effort of my editor and another author who is actually good at this stuff. I COULD NOT get the above back cover copy distilled to one sentence. What about all the stuff about his past? That’s Important! What about why he was ever in danger in the first place? That’s Important! What about the setting? That’s Important!

Well, sure. But that’s for the “oh, tell me more” version of a pitch, or the one you use when you’re querying. That’s not what a logline is. You often hear it called the elevator pitch. You find yourself on the elevator with your dream agent and she asks what your book’s about. That’s not the time to recite your full query from heart. That’s where you use a logline.

What do you NEED in a logline?

Character, conflict, decision, stakes. 

A brilliant young physicist is accused of treason; to fight for his own life, he’ll have to betray his lover, the Emperor.

Character: Brilliant young physicist.

Conflict: Accused of treason.

Decision: Betray the man he loves or not.

Stakes: Death.

It can feel impossible to convey what is unique and interesting about your story without at least some of the trimmings. But there’s no room for that in a logline. Every word counts. Make one word and the one you put next to it convey whole volumes of information. Well you can do that, right? That’s what you do! You’re a writer!

Yes, but one of the hard things about writing a logline isn’t that you don’t know how to write a sentence, it’s that you have to learn to see down to the bare bones of your own story and find the very, very few things that truly matter in conveying an idea of the story in one breath. That’s really really hard for the writer because you are so close to the story you usually can’t see it clearly. That’s why things like Authoress’s logline critique sessions are so helpful! It’s HARD to be told you’re wrong, that what you worked SO HARD on doesn’t work, that your beloved Very Important details aren’t important to anyone but you.

Get used to it. Once you sell the book, you get to do that over and over and over again. For a living.

Have fun! ;)

And good luck!

(Check out, too, Authoress’s own post on loglines. As usual, the comments from the community are helpful as well. Don’t skip them.)

Meet an Authoress’s Success Story: Monica Bustamante Wagner!

August 8, 2012

Welcome to what will hopefully be the first of the Annual Authoress’s Success Story blog tours! Those of us who have owed our publishing successes, at least in part, to the Miss Snark’s First Victim contests and blog have decided to come together and help cross promote each other’s work.  Every day in the first two weeks of August, a different author will be posting an interview of one of our fellow Success Stories, so make sure to tune in to everyone’s blogs.

Yesterday, the lovely Kristi Helvig@KristiHelvig interviewed me on her blog, head on over there and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Fighting Gravity!

And now, I’ve got the great pleasure of interviewing Monica Bustamante Wagner, @Monica_BW!

Our lovely Monica has offered a PRIZE, a query critique, to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on this post. So what do you have to say?

But first, let’s learn a little bit about our guest. Who is she? Well, here’s what she’s got to say:

I’m a YA fiction writer! I was born in Peru and was raised in Chile. With my sister in Australia and my father living in Ethiopia, I’ve had no choice but to be a bilingual world traveler.  And I love it!  I travel around the globe with my husband and three kids, learning about different cultures and countries.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in HR, I settled with my husband in a very small town in Chile, near the Pacific Ocean.

How did participating with MSFV blog get you where you are now?

I was the first Baker’s Dozen’s success story—back in 2010. And even though I’m with another agent now, Authoress and her blog have always inspired me. I’m so grateful and I’m sure that if it weren’t for Authoress, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

You clearly love Young Adult fiction, what subgenre(s) do you read most?

The YA books I love the most are the ones with a nice blend between literary and commercial, like the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. But that’s if you really ask me to narrow down the types of YA/MG books I love to read—because as long as it’s kidlit and well written, I will probably like it! :)

What subgenres have you written in so far/do you plan to write in?

The manuscript that my agent, Lauren Macleod, signed me with is a YA fantasy. I have also written a YA paranormal thriller. And now I’m looking at the possibility of writing upper MG, too. It’s exciting!

Since landing your agent and starting this whole crazy process, what have you learned that you would pass on to aspiring writers?

I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. When I started writing, I thought it would be easier. But then, after a couple of years, I realized that writing is like a profession. Doctors take years studying to be able to work. Lawyers and architects take years, too. So why on earth did I expect my writing would be good enough the year I started? I think that for the writing skills to flow naturally on the paper, it takes time and a lot of dedication. And I wish I would have known that when I started!

I know you’re still in the early stages, but can you give us a sneak peek at what you’re working on, or what we might see from you in the future?

Sure! I’m working on a prehistorical YA manuscript now, set in the Andes Mountains, and it’s a story about revenge and acceptance. It’s going slow, I can tell you that, haha!

Thanks so much, Leah, for having me here, on your blog today!! <3

Thanks, Monica!

Don’t miss it, tomorrow on her blog, Monica is interviewing Emily Kokie, @emkokie!

And the rest of the tour:

Twitter Posting Date
David Kazzie @davidkazzie 1-Aug
Leigh Talbert Moore @leightmoore 2-Aug
J.Anderson Coats @jandersoncoats 3-Aug
J.M. Frey @scifrey 4-Aug
Elissa Cruz @elissacruz 5-Aug
Amanda Sun @Amanda_Sun 6-Aug
Kristi Helvig @KristiHelvig 7-Aug
Leah Petersen @Leahpetersen 8-Aug
Monica Bustamante Wagner @Monica_BW 9-Aug
Emily Kokie @emkokie 10-Aug
Monica Goulet @MonicaGoulet 11-Aug
Peter Salomon @petersalomon 12-Aug
Sarah Brand @sarahbbrand 13-Aug
Angela Ackerman @angelaackerman & @writerthesaurus 14-Aug
Tara Dairman @TaraDairman 15-Aug
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