Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What's My Next Step?

Today I have a film crew swarming around me. It’s a little hard to focus on my regularly scheduled writing work, so here I am on my blog. I do love when the film crews come, there’s always someone to talk plots and TV shows with.

It’s the second time this crew has been at my family club, the ZINC BAR, filming parts of the GYPSY television series with Naomi Watts. I haven’t seen her. My husband stays for the shoot into the evening.

With NaNoWriMo around the corner, (I love me some NaNoWriMo sprint-race-writing. Messy drafts are all the rage!) and a project ready to draft, writing notes on index cards and Scrivener, gathering resources, and using KM Weiland's incredibly helpful plot and writing tips. Helping Writers Become Authors >> Check out her blog!  Thank me later. 

And I have a YA historical project ready to query that could use more eyes on it. However, I'm concerned with taking too many opinions to heart. I’ve done this before. Destroyed a beloved project through several online workshops and contests. I like to learn the hard way, apparently.

I’ve also come to an impasse. My cancelled MG book has not hooked an agent after 76 query passes, and 59 no responses, for the grand total: 135. What’s my next step? Do I shut GLITCH out—(That name is changing, btw. My life has been rife with glitches) put it in a drawer with its drafted option book? (that I LOVE) Or do I begin searching for another book publisher? I’m just not completely sure. Being creative you see SO MANY OPTIONS. They all sound pretty good. After the year’s worth of editing for GLITCH, it’s hard to think about rewriting at this point—though I do have ideas. Ideas are everywhere.  

In other news: THE UNMOVING SKY, my young adult, contemporary, thriller, will have an audiobook soon! Stay tuned for more details. And--my good friend, Sheriff Bob, is busy mixing an MP3 of a song I wrote and sing from Brianna's POV. She's Jackson's girlfriend. It’s her story now. I DON’T BLAME YOU is coming soon!! Can't wait to hear it myself.  

Are you doing NaNoWriMo 2016 this November 1st?  I'll be on the sidelines because I already have five chapters drafted, but I'll be rooting for you!  #WritersRock  

Find me on Twitter and say hello! And if you're in the Village, stop in at Zinc Bar/Cafe during November, and I'll buy all NaNoWriMo writers a coffee. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

It Started With GoodbyeIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A reblog from Kidliterati. 

I received this ARC for an honest review.

Christina June’s young adult book IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, charmed me from the start, and I found myself sitting comfortably in the author’s beautiful writing, like an old friend sharing a story. Familiar, and relatable, this was a fun contemporary take on the Cinderella story, which explores finding your place in life, even when it feels everyone’s against you.

Falsely accused of a crime, sixteen-year-old, Tatum Elsea (TLC) winds up under house arrest. Her father leaves town, leaving Tatum with her step-monster, Belen, and perfect stepsister, Matilda, who won’t even look at her, much less speak. Her best friend, Ashlyn, has been sent to a boarding school since the criminal charge and isn’t writing back. Tatum tried reaching out to her. It wasn’t Tatum’s fault. Ashlyn’s questionable new boyfriend, Chase, got them into serious trouble, and now they face grand larceny charges.

“In terms of life events, my getting arrested was either pretty horrible timing or pretty perfect, depending on who you were talking to.”

Sentenced to probation and community service, Tatum’s thankful it’s the end of the school year, and wouldn’t have to listen to the rumor mill blow everything out of proportion for long. Maybe it would help her focus on the budding graphic design business, new friend Abby suggested, after the great work Tatum did on her blog.

Abby encourages Tatum to find more clients. Tatum’s inspired. When her stepsister, Matilda, the ballet dancer has a recital, she takes the opportunity to leave the new business cards at the school that didn’t accept her art portfolio. She literally bumps into a mysterious and keen-witted boy, and the two have an inspired conversation while critiquing the art on the walls. Tatum flees before either catches the other’s name. A student from her stepsister’s school, she wouldn’t dare tell either, wanting to stay anonymous. She also wants to keep her budding graphic design business under wraps for now.

Waiting for her best friend Ashlyn to write back, and with her stepmother watching every move and calculating her car’s mileage, the boy at the gala fades into the background. Tatum begins corresponding with SK, her latest client. Leaving her business cards at Matilda’s school proved fruitful. He plays cello and she begins work on creating the perfect promotional flyer for him.

But Belen, the stepmother, pulls the reigns in tighter, and the only recourse Tatum has, is her step-grandmother, Blanche, who came to stay and help Belen keep tabs on her. She has wise words to share, compliments of The Golden Girls. A breath of air in Tatum’s otherwise suffocating life. Blanche lessens the blow of her daughter, Belen’s unreadable demeanor. Tatum soon discovers she’s not the only one in the house, keeping secrets. A wonderful young adult debut for all ages, and I look forward to the author’s next work.

Expected publication: May 9th, 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ask and You Shall Receive?

This is my weakness. Suppose I always knew and previously believed it made me stronger. After all, I’d rarely, if ever, ask my parents for anything. My mother couldn’t afford much, aside from her love and attentive ears. My father has never been particularly interested in my life. I went to college at 17 and left college for New York City when I was 21. There were no nets. If I failed in New York …

Luckily, the city caught me, shinning her pretty promises. I believed, and this attitude carried me through.

Many jobs and a few apartments later, I still haven’t mastered the art of asking. Which brings me to today. After several creative pursuits, writing fiction won! I have a novella published with Leap Books, Shine imprint, an ebook. My publisher says they’ll print the book—if sales are high enough—in the autumn sometime. I’m still waiting on the news. Do I ask, again?

There are so many questions in this business and without an agent, I often feel like I’m flopping and flailing out here. I’ll keep writing, the only thing I (still) have control over. Lost in the excitement of my stories keeps my heart beating with passion and life. It fills me with creative control. Many other creative pursuits, I’ve dabbled in depended on others. Hence, the asking would be paramount. If I pursued Jazz singing, I have to ask musicians to join and barter their payment.

I need to figure out how to erase this little glitch in my thinking.

Authors have to ask for a lot of things. None of which I’m very good at. I’m always ready to jump in when someone else needs help. That’s’ easy. We ask people to read our books, we beg for reviews, we single out successful authors and ask for book blurbs. In a few minutes I’ll update my query list, and perhaps nudge (ask) if they’ve read my submission.  So many questions!

As authors, we have to exercise this muscle, a lot. Does it get any easier?
If you have any fabulous techniques, please share in the comments.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ask The Author

Today I'm honored to be included in Middle-Grade author, Melissa Roske's author interview series.

Make sure to check out her MG debut, Kate Green Comes Clean on  Goodreads.

Eleven-year-old Kat Greene has a lot on her pre-rinsed plate, thanks to her divorced mom’s obsession with cleaning. When Mom isn’t scrubbing every inch of their Greenwich Village apartment, she’s boiling the silverware or checking Kat’s sheets for bedbugs. It's enough to make any sane middle schooler crazy! Add friendship troubles to the mix, a crummy role in the school play, and Mom's decision to try out for "Clean Sweep," a competitive-cleaning TV game show, and what have you got? More trouble than Kat can handle. At least, without a little help from her friends.

Expected publication: June 13th, 2017 by Charlesbridge.

Doesn't this book sound like fun! Melissa is whip smart and hilarious. I know kids are going to love this book! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Let the Productive Season Commence!

Summer is coming to an end and this always feels like the beginning of a new year for me. The cooler air stirs, change is on the way. It’s a very exciting time no matter what‘s happening because it makes me feel so productive. As opposed to summer with the heat, wearing heavy if not near water or cool breezes. And this year in New York City, we’ve had more 90-degree days than I can remember. Everything slowed. Publishing slowed. I had a YA book revision to get through and felt I was racing against time querying agents for my MG (SFF) since it was cancelled by Tantrum Books. Read about it here.There were Pitch contests online and forums, and I entered a couple. The Swanky Seventeen’s have been so encouraging during this time of limbo, offering suggestions that might help me, although I no longer have a book debuting next year. It’s still painful, but each day it becomes a little lighter.

Something’s you just need to do on your own. Like the writing—I love the writing and can become lost there, indefinitely – if it weren’t for the problem I have sitting any longer than 6 hours. Max.  
I’m searching for an agent for my MG book, or possibly a publisher—if my queries are returned as a pass. Patience has been my partner for months. I’ve kept my head busy revising a YA, Swing Era, “whodunit” and I started drafting a YA, contemporary—though it’s much too early to know what genre that baby will morph into.  I like to have one project in the pipe (drafting), one being revised, one being queried—which often comes with a few in the drawer.  J

Oh, and of course, my YA literary thriller is available on #Nook #Kindle and #iBooks. It's entered in the International Thriller Writer's Award for Best Short Story. That's what the novella qualified for. Wish me luck! Also, my publisher at Leap Books sent a few auditions for THE UNMOVING SKY to create an audio book. I totally dig the voice of Jackson. I think you will too.  Oh, and one more goodie I have planned, if it turns out well, is a song I recorded with the legendary sheriff of good times, Sheriff Bob! The song is from Brianna’s POV. It’s her story now.  Keep an eye out for updates and a mp3 giveaway!

Let the autumn commence! Happy New Year!  I’ve had enough of the summer limbo and ready to get back to productive!  What are your plans this autumn?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review: WAIT FOR ME by Caroline Leech.

Wait for MeWait for Me by Caroline Leech
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of Caroline Leech’s historical romance WAIT FOR ME, for an honest review. This is also a repost from my review on Kidliterati. 

WAIT FOR ME was such a visual and emotional treat, with the intimacy of a historical memoir, and details that felt like an accurate account of two ill-fated lovers near the end of World War II.

Eighteen-year-old, Lorna Anderson’s life is spent on her father’s Scottish farm, milking cows, and lambing sheep. Lorna thinks she’ll stay to help her father after she’s finished school. Her brothers are away fighting in the British Army. And Nellie, the twenty-year-old from London, sent from the Women’s Land Army to help around the farm, has some wilding ways, but her infectious charm makes the daily routines of rationing and chores more fun—if not a touch dangerous. Lorna’s best friend, Iris, is seeing the preacher’s son, and she doesn’t like the way he talks to her or the way Iris isn’t acting like herself around him.

When the German POW trucks roll into Criagelaw Farm in Aberlady. The POWs stay in the camp on the Anderson’s farm, where they’ll work for their keep. Lorna is introduced to Paul Vogel, the new farmhand. He startles her, his steel gray eyes are hard, one side of his face burned, is he angry? Sneering? It’s difficult to read his expression. Lorna is doubly fascinated and somewhat terrified.

Everyone’s lost someone in the War. Miss Murphy, Lorna’s teacher, waits for her son’s return, along with Lorna, waiting for her brothers. Miss Murphy suggests Lorna keep her options open as far as life after school, maybe attend university. But Lorna insists that her father needs her on the farm.

The POW, Paul Vogel and Lorna become more acquainted, spending more and more time together with the endless chores around Criagelaw. Lorna learns more about the boy’s life in Germany and the mother and young sister he’s left behind. She begins to feel differently about many things and begins to fall for Paul. But he’s the enemy. Loving him could mean losing her family, and the only life she’s known on the farm. Lorna may have to stand on her own to defend him, against the gossip and naysayers of the town, even from those she once trusted.

A great YA read! I was thoroughly hypnotized by author’s prose, elegant with enough detail to set you right inside a fully visualized world, rich in setting and sense of time. The world the author’s created still lives with me. The character’s hearts beat and the suspense made mine, beat faster. An epic debut from Caroline Leech, expected publication: January 31st, 2017 (HarperTeen)

View all my reviews

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cover Reveal for THE SECRET LIVES OF ROCKSTARS by Suzanne Lazear & Giveaway!

Saving the world, one tour stop at a time.

Title: The Secret Lives of Rockstars: Book One
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Publisher: Leap Books
Genre: New Adult Elf Punk, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 26, 2016

Eighteen-year-old Bitsy Butler has never quite fit in, not with the dragons who raised her, the druid who took her in, or even with the non-human members of the cirque noir punk band she thinks of as family. Her chance to prove she can make it on her own comes with her band's first big solo tour. It’s all going according to plan when an angel walks into a bar and demands help with his demon problem. 

If she doesn't step up, a magical war will break out, threatening Arizona and all those who call it home. With the help of a human, a sexy dragon, and the members of her band, Bitsy must stop an angry mob of chaos demons before the band leaves for their next tour stop.

It’s nice to be needed, but Bitsy has no idea how to defeat the demons and she just might get herself killed trying. But then, at least one problem would be solved...

Fitting in doesn’t matter if you’re dead.

Here it is!  Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway! 

                                     Goodreads  Smashwords   Amazon

Excerpt from The Secret Lives of Rockstars:
“I’m Jake, Jake Messenger. I’d like to speak with you alone, if you please.”
My blood ran cold and everything around us ceased to exist. “Why?”
But I knew. There was only one reason why one of the Grigori would seek me out. Somehow celestials just knew when someone could work gates properly, especially the angels who walked the Earth. Anyone could make gates, but it took a linewalker to work them without it being suicide. Linewalker wasn’t a race, but an inherent ability. One I had.
Also, if the celestials – the angels, demons, and the like – needed help from outsiders, things were very bad. The kind which ended in running, screaming, and death.
I so didn’t need this right now.

About Suzanne Lazear:
Suzanne Lazear spins tales of the fantastic. She’s the author of the New Adult Elfpunk The Secret Lives of Rockstars (Leap Books) and the YA dark fairytale steampunk series The Aether Chronicles (Flux). Suzanne lives in Southern California with her daughter and husband where she’s trying to make tiny dragons out of wool. One day she’ll actually create a working cupcake cannon.

Visit Susan on Twitter   Facebook  Website

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