Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Fussy Librarian

The Fussy Librarian
Okay, I found a new site a few weeks ago, and I really like the service it provides. So I've decided to share it with my readers. Enjoy!

Do you remember the "good ole days," when the librarian knew your name and reading preferences? And when you walked in the door, she'd take you aside and say, "There's a great new book, and I know you'll love it." And you read it, and she was right. You loved it.

Well, there's a new site on the web called The Fussy Librarian, and their aim is to be just like that librarian that you used to know and love. At The Fussy Librarian website, you fill out a form about the genres of books you like to read. Then, you let them know what your preferences are with regards to profanity, sex, and violence. They crunch the data, and once a day, they email you a list of free and cheap books that fit your reading needs and preferences. Simple. And FREE.

If you'd like to sign up (I did), click here.

If you're an author, you can submit your book to be considered. But they do have certain requirements in terms of ratings, quality, etc. But you can check that out here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Seeing the Past In Time Travel Novels

If you don’t follow my “A Merry Heart” blog (check out today's post--very exciting), you might not know that I’m taking a MOOC class (massive open online course) on historical fiction. It’s called “Plagues, Witches, and War.” And it’s great.

So many topics the professor has discussed have got me thinking about how they apply to my Screwing Up Time series and other historical fiction I write. One of the topics the professor discussed was the diachronic elements of historical fiction, i.e., the fact that in historical novels at least two historical times are at play, the time that the novel is set in and the time in which the author lives and writes.

One of the interesting things about time travel fiction is that it’s very honest in its diachronic elements. For example, when Mark time travels, you know he’s seeing the past through the eyes of a modern person. So as a reader, you know he’s seeing things just like you would if you were there.

In other historical fiction, that’s not as clear. The characters are all in the past. But, you’re still getting a modern reading of the past. It’s just not as clear that that’s case. Neither is “better.” They’re just different. And, as an author who writes both kinds of historical fiction, I love being able to show our modern prejudices (many of which I share, *swallows uncomfortably*) through Henry. And I love being able to show Miranda’s perspective, which, don’t forget, is my idea of how a Medieval girl would view modernity and the ancient past.

Without droning on too long, my view of historical fiction (which many may disagree with) is that it shows that no matter how strange the past is (and I LOVE the strangeness), people and human nature aren’t really that different. Or, in my favorite quote from our readings thus far, speaking of the benefits of historical fiction, “…Much more profound is the realization that history is not primarily about the past. It is about human nature. What makes it historical is that it examines human nature through the prism of a different age.” ~Ian Mortimer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joy in the Journey

I just want to thank everyone for your encouragement on my last post. Writing can be long and exhausting. And like a marathon, it’s nice to have friends cheering along the way.

And I am making progress. The first draft of my new literary fiction is almost complete. Book three of the Screwing Up Times series is moving along. I should get it to my editor/reader soon.

Interestingly, I got a rejection from an agent this week on a different lit fic. But it was a very nice rejection, and she told me that she’d love to see more of my work. So after I licked my wounds, I remembered why I write. Because I love it. And I reminded myself to find joy in the journey. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Indie Life, Motivation When You're Not Feeling It

I know I'm supposed to write something encouraging or informative, But, ugh. I'm so not feeling it. Life is complicated and too busy right now, and it's sucking all my creative/emotional energy. And as much as I love my WIP, it feels like a nagging wife. (I once had a writing prof who compared short stories to love affairs and novels to marriage.) So my WIP is nagging me, "Take out the trash."

It's really trash that needs to be taken out because I'm in the midst of editing. Honestly, I need to change my mindset. When the real trash needs to be taken out, i.e. black banana peels are spilling onto the floor, I don't ask myself if I want to take out the trash. I just do it. And while I'm out there, I'll breathe the crisp air and marvel at the colored leaves. I need to remind myself that editing is the same. I have to remind myself how much I love what I do, that when I get into the text, I'll have fun. Yes, it'll be hard work, but anything worth doing is hard.

So, I'm pouring myself a cup a coffee. A large cup. And I'm trying to decide where to steal my writing time. From kitchen cleaning or laundry washing? More likely the kitchen. People in my house get cranky when they don't have clothes.

Because being Indie doesn't have to mean going it alone.

1.Susan Kaye Quinn, Author2.Steena Holmes
3.Claudia Lefeve4.Author Laura Diamond Lucid Dreamer
5.ali cross6.Katie Klein
7.Larry Kollar8.Faith McKay
9.Civil War Horror10.Ansha Kotyk
11.Terri J. Haynes12.The Open Vein, E.J. Wesley
13.Secondhand Shoes, A Novel14.Eclectic
15.Lisa M. Buske16.Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
17.J.R. Pearse Nelson18.Melissa Pearl
19.Cherie Reich20.PK HREZO
21.Victoria Escobar22.J.L. Campbell
23.K. A. Last24.The Murphey Saga
25.Tyrean's Writing Spot26.Suzy Turner
27.Laura Pauling28.C.M. Brown
29.Stephen Tremp30.Jennifer Writes Things Sometimes
31.Capri Montgomery32.Indiscriminate Writes
33.C. M. Keller, Screwing Up Time34.RaShelle Workman
35.J.J. Bonds36.Why I love the indie life
37.A First Look at Indie Life38.Mary Pax
39.Notes from the Jovian frontier40.L.E. Waters~Fantasy Prone
41.The Indie Children's Authors Connection42.Christian Superheroes
43.Ellie Garratt44.Write Me, Kaye Draper
45.Can You Make a Living Writing? (Author Nikki Jefford)46.Michelle Isenhoff
47.Catherine Stine's Idea City48.The Lina Lamont Fan Club
49.Donna Hosie50.Rinelle Grey
51.Word by Word52.Riann Colton
53.Strange Pegs54.Rachel Morgan
55.sarabeth burke56.Writing, the Universe and Everything Writing
57.J.L. Weil58.Meetings with My Muse
59.Planet Pailly: Where Science Meets Fiction60.Janeal Falor
61.Michael Pierce62.S.K. Falls
63.Donna B. McNicol64.Nadja Notariani ~ An Author's Adventures
65.Alki Nea66.Confessions of a Watery Tart
67.Nicole R. Taylor68.MJ Brodeck - Glitter Writer's Book Blog
69.Inside the Secret World of Allison Bruning70.Talia Jager, YA Author
71.Hunter Emkay72.melanie schulz
73.Books & Legends by Author Ava D. Dohn74.Laura N. Anile, author of VISIONS
75.Agent 5476.The Business of Being an Author
77.Linda Nelson78.Laekan Zea Kemp
79.Joan Leacott80.joannevalentinesimson
81.Jumping From Cliffs82.Tia Bach
83.R. Mac Wheeler84.Gwen Gardner
85.Indie Pub, Then & Now86.Risa Alden
87.Kelly Steel-Chasing Happy Ever After88.Monique's Musings
89.Julie Musil90.The Notebook Blogairy
91.Scattergun Scribblings 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Author Interview with M. Gerrick

Today, I want to give a special welcome to blogger Misha Gerrick and her debut novel, The Vanished Knight!

I've known Misha almost since I started blogging. She been a great encouragement and I was eager to let everyone know about her and novel. So without further ado, here's my interview with Misha. (Be sure to read the book blurb and author bio, which follow the interview.)

1. Writers get lots of ideas for stories, but not all of them become books. How did this book start, i.e. why did you fall in love with these characters and this story?

Well, this book started with one character who walked into my head and demanded I write the story. Honestly, I told him to go away at first. I was planning to take a year-long break from writing. He kept coming back, showing me bits here and there until I fell in love with him (because come on, who wouldn’t?) and the story.
As for why I fell in love with them… they’re all strong, but have deep vulnerabilities and fears etc. that make them amazing people, each in his/her own way.

2. How did you come up with the title?

Double answer time! The War of Six Crowns is named for a war that occurs later on in the series. It’s between four countries, one of which has three kings. The other three countries have one king each.
Each of my book titles in this series will involve some aspect of the war or events leading up to it. The Vanished Knight deals with what happened after one country’s king orchestrates the kidnapping of another country’s sole heir.

3. What kind of research did you do for your novel? Anything weird or strange?
Mmm… off the top of my head: Castles, manor houses in Britain, medieval saddles. I also did some Western Martial arts in order to understand how real life sword fighting works. Not weird, but serious fun.

4. Where do you write?

Most of this book was drafted in coffee shops and restaurants while I was at University. These days, though, I retire to my room and write on my bed. My writing desk is home to seven orchids and two Cape Sundews. No space to write there…

5. How do you plan to celebrate the book’s release?

By buying three fancy notebooks so that I can write more stories. Already have them, in fact. Honestly, though, I buy a notebook (or six) for the smallest of excuses. I’ll inscribe these three with the publishing date, though.

6. Are you working on a sequel to your novel?

Sequel’s done and ready for Etopia Press to edit. The rough draft of Book Three is also finished, so only a rewrite and edits left for that. Books four and five will come after book two is out, I’m hoping.

7. Can you share one thing about yourself that might surprise us?

Let me think… Uhm… I’m actually a blonde, but I’ve never let it grow out for me to see what the shade looks like on me. 


Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land...

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith's realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine's crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.


M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects.
She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain.

If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)comCircle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog.
Amazon UK
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I Write YA Time Travel

The other day, I signed up for an historical fiction class. I’m an official auditor. (Yes, I loved school and can’t wait to take a new class.) This one has an optional hist-fic writing component. Yeah, I’m all over that.

In any case, it got me to thinking. If you’ve read this blog you know I write both YA time travel and hist-fic/lit fic for “adults,” and I got to thinking about why I love historical fiction. And why I love writing time travel fiction for young adults.

1. I love historical fiction. Sometimes the things that are old are completely new and cool. For example, cockentrice (which I actually have a recipe for and am totally willing to make if someone will bring me a pig and a large capon), poison rings, cuneiform, ziggurats, and cam cloth (oops, that’s from book three).

2. Juxtaposing the modern and the ancient. I love to put the ancient and the modern side-by-side. Because when you do, you discover that although there are so many differences, they still wanted much the same things we do.

3. Young adult fiction has a lot of action. I know writers sometimes complain that writing for young people is intense—your competition is video games, texting, and YouTube. But I love that. The challenge of capturing the intensity of modern life and translating that into another culture in a way that’s fresh to our culture’s jaded eyes.

4. I love writing from Mark’s perspective. Growing up, my brother was a lot younger than I was. He was eleven when I left for college. Now I have three sons (two are grown). And getting to peek into the heads of teenage guys has been wonderful. I think they’re grossly underestimated by a lot of people. I want to give them a chance to be noble, brave, and fallible.

5. Bottomline, I love the rush of blending sci-fi, hist-fic, and fantasy. I can’t wait to finish book three because book four is already waiting to be written. And it’s taking every bit of self-control not to tell you about both of them.

Here's a hint from book three.
File:Kudurru Melishipak Louvre Sb23 Ishtar-star.jpg
Excavated by Jacques de Morgan. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.