Category Archives: Publishing

Functional Nerds Podcast: #writing #violins #scrivener

John Anealio and Patrick Hester, hosts of the Functional Nerds podcast, interviewed me recently (Episode #198). We covered a range of interesting topics, which are listed below so that, even if you only have a few minutes, you can tune in and hear select bits. I’m also including links to some other podcast episodes you may enjoy. If you’re not already a Functional Nerds subscriber, check it out. Podcasts are free, but if you like what you hear, consider donating and/or sharing the links!

04:10 — My Pick of the Week: A Natural History of Dragons

09:09 — Patrick’s Pick of the Week: Magic: The Gathering

12:40 — John’s Pick of the Week: The Shambling Guide to New York City

14:00 — How my past career as a lawyer impacts my writing

18:20 — My alma maters: Penn State and University of Baltimore

19:20 — Me, rambling about how/when I started writing

22:20 — The Episode’s Big Reveal: Patrick tells me there’s a sequel to The Devil Went Down to Georgia (! — I had no idea).

23:10 — I talk about how I used to play the violin; great discussion on kids and music

29:00 — I do a horrible job discussing the original blog post that caught John’s attention (my post at SF Signal: What Is It With The Devil And Violins?). For some insane reason, I thought this would be the one thing John wouldn’t want to talk about (naively assumed he’d have a been there, done that feeling about the topic. Duh.) John’s articulate. I am not. Please forgive and read my original post instead of listening to my inane, totally unprepared response.

38:40 — We discuss fan conventions. John and Patrick share their favorites and recommend some for me.

42:00 — Urged on by me, Patrick gives a mini-intro to Scrivener spiel. I’ve written in Word pretty much since I first switched from typewriter to computer so I wanted to hear his perspective on why Scrivener’s so great.

51:10 — Episode closes with — what else? — The Devil Went Down to Georgia :-D

Other Functional Nerds podcasts you might enjoy:

Episode 195 — James SA Corey

Episode 148 — Mur Lafferty Part 1

Episode 149 — Mur Lafferty Part 2

Episode 146 — Delilah S. Dawson Part 1

Episode 147 — Delilah S. Dawson Part 2

I hope everyone is having a great July!


RELEASE DAY PARTY: WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE! (author chat, excerpt, contest)

Ok, you knew this post was coming, right? This is the post I’ve been working toward for… well, a year now! :-D

Release Day Party at Bitten by Books going on RIGHT NOW! => Click HERE.

The Bitten by Books contest ends at midnight CDT on 5/31/14. I’ll be over there all night and then will be checking in periodically until it closes to answer any questions and/or respond to comments. (There have been some good ones! Come add yours!)

And, probably the last time I’ll be posting/emailing these links to you for a LONG time (although they’ll be up everywhere else, of course)… Here are White Heart of Justice‘s BUY LINKS (Yay! Exciting! Buy links instead of pre-order links. Depending on where you live, you could start reading WHOJ tonight!)

Now is also a good time to thank everyone who has: been following the blog tour (resuming tomorrow); already stopped by the release party; shared, posted, tweeted or RT’d a link or sneak peek tweet; or pre-ordered the book! I appreciate the support and well wishes. Terrific participation and feedback so far. You guys are all awesome! THANK YOU!!!

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Have a great night, everyone! Hope to see you at Bitten by Books!


Book Series: How Many Books Is Enough?

To B4 or Not To B4, that is my question…

Yesterday Lynda from Books Direct posted her interview of me.  We talked about what my family thinks of my writing, my upcoming short story “Dream, Interrupted” (featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest; she was tons of fun to write), and how darn difficult it was to write the ending to White Heart of Justice.

Why was it so hard?

Well, because White Heart of Justice may be the last Noon Onyx book. As I mention in the interview, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make sure the ending was emotionally satisfying for those who have followed the series so far – which was challenging considering where I’d left things at the end of Fiery Edge of Steel and the fact that, originally, I’d roughly plotted a total of seven books in the series. (Go ahead, you can say it, what sane writer plots that far ahead of her own career?!)

So, after a mild (dare I admit, significant) panic attack, I got down to business and wrote the ending to WHOJ. That ending changed countless times. I’m not sure what readers will think of it. Early feedback has been wonderful but no one (including me) has really addressed whether this is THE END.

The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll likely self-publish any future books in the series. And self-publishing a book the way I’d want to (with quality editing and a fantastic cover artist/designer) wouldn’t be cheap.

The final decision is mine. Creatively, I have to want to do it. And financially I’ll have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with the risk and investment of moving forward with a Noon Onyx B4 instead of some other equally awesome but different project.

So I’m curious…

READERS: After you finish White Heart of Justice, let me know whether you’d be interested in reading another Noon novel. I feel the ending is satisfactory enough for us all to walk away happy… and yet… as I said during yesterday’s interview, it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja is a fascinating world and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about.

WRITERS: Have any of you continued a traditionally published series on your own? How’d that work out for you?

Ok, enough already with the serious talk!!!

Today, I’m over at Magic and Mayhem with a really fun guest blog:

Top 5 Cool Things

You Can Do with a Sword

and

Why Heroes & Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

You gotta come check it out. I actually mention WHOJ only once (to point out its inclusion on the Goodreads “It’s All About The Swords!” list). If you love swords, the post is a MUST READ. :-D

In addition to my Super Serious questions above, I also want to know:

What’s your favorite book cover with a sword on it? Have any examples of cool things you can do with a sword?

Lemme know your answers over at Magic and Mayhem!

Thanks for following, everyone! I’m loving all the tweets!!!


Winners and Wrap Up

 

This week I interviewed six new adult SFF authors. (Tuesday: Sarah Harian and Summer Lane; Wednesday: Juliana Haygert and Karen Duvall; Thursday: Rebecca Hamilton and Carrie Butler). We discussed some great topics and showcased some of their novels. To thank participants, I offered one free book (chosen by the winner from among the featured books) and a $10 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of the winner’s choice.

My incredibly high tech method of drawing winners...

My incredibly high tech method of drawing winners…

My elder daughter picked the winners. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED.

(Enlist elder daughter’s help).
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED.

FREE BOOK WINNER => Ruth
$10 EGC WINNER = > bn100

I’ll be in touch about prizes by Monday!

I hope everyone found the interviews and posts as interesting and informative as I did. Surprisingly, my opinion is not much different than it was last year at this time: New Adult is a category that, like its characters, is full of potential. Whether it ever reaches that potential will be up to NA writers and their readers.

I’ll admit that, sometimes, I wonder if we shouldn’t be going in the other direction. If we shouldn’t just jettison the sub-genres and kick the category labels to the curb. There’s so much genre blending these days, maybe those of us who write stories set in imaginary worlds should just label all of our work “speculative” and call it a day.

But I only consider that for a moment. Because today’s publishing world is abuzz with words like “discoverability” and “metadata” and labels matter. Why? Because they help readers find books that are similar to other books they’ve liked.

A few other thoughts

Just to be clear, for anyone who’s been following this who may be new to my work, I think DARK LIGHT OF DAY qualifies as a “new adult” novel, although it’s not a contemporary college romance. It’s got a boarding school setting, a significant romance plot, and a youthful tone. DARK LIGHT OF DAY is also an urban fantasy with deep worldbuilding. In fact, that’s how it was marketed, which is fine. It shares as many characteristics with UF as it does with NA.

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL is neither NA nor UF, although lots of people consider it urban fantasy. I think that speaks to UF’s inclusiveness more than anything else, which is nice but less helpful to readers. It’s a river adventure with romance and mystery elements. That’s why I started calling my work “genre-bending fantasy.” Ha. A cop-out for not coming up with a better label? Maybe.

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE is a similar adventure story to FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, but this time Noon’s adventure is on land… in a colder, lonelier, harsher environment. It’s more of a quest than a mystery. And, even though Noon’s still a student and one of her biggest motivations in the book is that she wants the right to forge her own career path, I don’t think it’s NA. The character has moved past her earlier NA struggles.

So I continue to label my Noon Onyx series as “genre-bending fantasy.” :-)

And I continue to follow the development of NA literature with interest. :-D

If you enjoyed this Q&A series, please consider supporting my work by pre-ordering WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE:

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

And finally…

This week’s series started with one writer’s question, left as a comment on one of my random blog posts. If you have a question about books or writing, lemme know! Who knows? I may do another series of posts in the future to try to answer it. :-D

Thank you to everyone who participated, both authors and commenters. You are all awesome! Best wishes for the weekend, everyone!


Is Multi-Genre NA a Fantasy?

This week, I’m doing a three-part Q&A with six New Adult SFF authors. If you missed Tuesday’s post with Sarah Harian and Summer Lane, click here. If you missed yesterday’s post with Karen Duvall and Juliana Haygert, click here. As a thank you to participants, I’m giving away a free book (winner’s choice from among the books featured in the series; format and delivery method will vary based on winner’s choice) and a $10 eGift Certificate to a bookstore of the winner’s choice. Want to enter to win one of the prizes or add your thoughts to the discussion? Please do by commenting below! Today, please welcome Rebecca Hamilton and Carrie Butler. I’m interviewing Rebecca in the same Q&A style as the rest, but Carrie’s going to wrap up this series with a guest post.

THE AUTHORS

Rebecca Hamilton

Becca Hamilton

Becca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton is a bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author who also dabbles in Horror and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA and has been published internationally, in three languages.

Carrie Butler

Carrie Butler

Carrie Butler

Carrie Butler daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams. Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—one of the first websites dedicated to the category. A year later, she started a design business specializing in graphics for the publishing industry, called Forward Authority. Her Mark of Nexus series has appeared on Amazon bestselling, top-rated, and hot new release lists in various genres.

THE QUESTIONS

Jill Archer: Do you feel the term “New Adult fiction” has become synonymous with “college romance”?

Rebecca Hamilton: No, not at all. In fact, many of my favorite New Adult authors aren’t writing the college setting or a romance plot! One thing to keep in mind is that New Adult is an audience category, not a book genre. Categories: Children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult. Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi, etc. Sometimes genres mix, like Paranormal Romance or Paranormal Mystery. Then they are categorized by audience. You might have a New Adult Mystery or a Young Adult Paranormal Romance or an Adult Fantasy or Middle Grade Horror (like the Goosebumps books). I do think some categories seem to preference certain genres more. For example, we aren’t seeing a lot of New Adult Horror–maybe because New Adult is still a new category?–but we are seeing a lot of New Adult Romance and New Adult Mystery.

Jill: Do you think the label “New Adult” is helpful to fantasy readers (versus romance readers)? If so, what do you think distinguishes New Adult fantasy from adult fantasy?

Becca: I think the category is definitely helpful. It indicates to readers (whether they read fantasy or romance) that the story is written in a new-adult-appropriate way. The sexual content and violent content and language are new adult appropriate. The tone and language and delivery of the story is more advanced than young adult but a little softer than adult. New Adult is meant to appeal to the 18-25 category, and the protagonist in these books is often in that age range as well. I feel, as a reader, that the New Adult category helps me know what to expect from the content and style of the book. The protagonists “real life” problems will be new adult problems: going off to college, moving out on their own, settling down in life or with another person, and sometimes “coming of age” problems fit as well. Adult books I find have a slightly slower pace and more “later in life” problems. This is true even with fantasy. A well-developed character might have to worry about vampires tracking them down, but they will still have “real life” problems, like they can’t miss dinner with their parents on Sunday night or a term paper is due at college or their boss is about to fire them for coming into work late every day (must be those late nights slaying vamps…). The “real life” problems in an adult book may sometimes be similar, but are often different–like having to deal with the death of a parent, starting or caring for a family, or paying off debts.

Jill: Last month, a writer left a comment on my blog, which is paraphrased below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. (You can see her original question and my answer here).

I am a writer who is currently working on a fantasy manuscript featuring an 18 year-old apprentice. There are romantic elements, but the relationship is not the focus of the story – her adventures are. I’ve noticed that most NA fantasies have a romance plot rather than a quest or mystery plot. Do you think there’s a market for a story such as this? What are your thoughts?

Becca: I’m a bestselling (on kindle) and internationally published (Hungary and Germany) New Adult author. My series, The Forever Girl, has a quest/mystery plot with the romance as a subplot, and it has even been optioned for film. I have read a ton of new adult books in 2012 and 2013 where the romance is the subplot, not the focus of the story, so I would say from my writing and reading experience that there is definitely a market for stories like these! I’ve also noticed such books have more crossover appeal between male and female readers. So keep writing and stay in tune with your audience. You’re writing what people want to read, and you’re in good company!

Jill: Are you currently writing, or have you recently published, a New Adult Fantasy? If so, can you share a little bit about it?

Becca: My paranormal fantasy series, The Forever Girl, fits into the New Adult category quite nicely. I was happy when the category came about because the content is too mature for most teens and yet the style and story really wasn’t going to apply to the older adult audience. Book two in the series is with my agent and being shopped around to publishers now, and I’ll be starting on Book 3 in April (hopefully!).

Here’s the blurb of book 1: At twenty-two, practicing Wiccan Sophia Parsons is scratching out a living waiting tables in her Rocky Mountain hometown, a pariah after a string of unsolved murders with only one thing in common: her. Sophia can imagine lots of ways to improve her life, but she’d settle for just getting rid of the buzzing noise in her head. When the spell she casts goes wrong, the static turns into voices. Her personal demons get company, and the newcomers are dangerous.

The series introduces all of the Forever Girls (there will be five in total) and brings them together to fight off the Maltorim–a preternatural council only concerned with helping their own species to thrive, by any means possible. I can’t say too much more than that without giving away spoilers!

Jill: Besides yourself, which authors and/or books can you recommend to readers who are looking for New Adult fantasy?

Becca: Five from the elemental emnity series by Christie Rich. That was a fun read! I also really liked Girl Over the Edge by Amy Kinzer. Powerful story and a perfect example of how New Adult books aren’t all romance!

CARRIE’S THOUGHTS

Is Multi-Genre NA a Fantasy?

The struggle is past us. The stigma is fading. After years of fighting to make New Adult (NA) a legitimate category, it’s finally happening—but the definition has shifted.

As with most industries, ours is shaped by consumers’ purchasing decisions. So, because NA’s awareness was brought on by the success of contemporary romance, it initially became synonymous with college romance. (Media sensationalism didn’t help either, calling it “sexed-up YA”… *grumbles*) Fortunately, many of us have been doing everything in our power to promote a wide variety of genres within the category, i.e. writing outside of contemporary romance, petitioning retailers to list NA in more places, doing special blog-hops to create awareness, etc. It’s been an uphill battle, but things are slowly changing.

And just in the nick of time.

There’s a market waiting. At the end of last year, I conducted an NA-specific survey and stumbled across some interesting results. When asked which genre readers would most like to see more of, 9% of them answered fantasy, 8% answered paranormal romance, and 7% answered paranormal. That adds up to almost a quarter of all respondents!

New Adult fantasy differs from adult fantasy in that it highlights that oh-so-crucial transition between adolescence and adulthood. We get to explore the learning experiences that come with newfound freedom, while providing a fantastical outlet. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster (read: entertainment), I don’t know what is. ;)

As for my speculative endeavors, I just published Honesty (Mark of Nexus #2.5)—an urban fantasy novella/series side story—in March. If you’re into warped, male POVs, it might strike your fancy:

“Blackmail and vigilantism hold no consequence for Cole Blake, until an error in judgment stops him dead in his super-accelerated tracks. Now burdened with the closest thing he’s ever had to a conscience, he must own up to his past and fight his darker impulses—before it’s too late to shield those he actually cares about.”

AMAZON | NOOK | KOBO

Dun, dun, dun… right? Do me a favor. While you’re on Amazon buying Honesty (kidding!), have a look at their category system. You may notice something encouraging: They’ve finally listed “New Adult & College” as a subcategory of fantasy! I think we can count that one as a victory, don’t you? ;)

THE BOOKS

Her Sweetest Downfall Cover

Ophelia’s been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck—a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.

When the mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task—to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.

What she doesn’t know—what she learns too late—is that her initiation won’t be complete until she kills the man who’s captured her heart.

Honesty Cover

Cole Blake is more than just a roguish ladies’ man. He’s also a dedicated worker—so dedicated, in fact, that he’s willing to blackmail his boss with a falsified sex tape in order to keep his job. And his proactive efforts don’t end there. After hours, he uses his Dynari abilities to moonlight as a vigilante, keeping his neighborhood safe from drunks, dealers, and would-be thieves.

Until a mistake stops him dead in his super-accelerated tracks.

Now burdened with the closest thing he’s ever had to a conscience, Cole struggles to justify his once-reckless actions. It’d be all too easy to give in to his darker impulses, especially with ERA making dangerous advances toward their goal of revolution, but embracing that hatred could jeopardize the few relationships he actually cares about—including his pursuit of the saintly Rachel Ranford. No, in order to keep everyone safe, he’ll have to come clean about his warring compulsions and ask for help… before his dark side takes over.

So, everyone, how about you? Have any questions for either Becca or Carrie? Interested in winning a copy of HER SWEETEST DOWNFALL or HONESTY?

We’d love to hear from you so please add your thoughts in the comments! Let us know what you think about new adult fantasy, what you’re currently reading, what you’re doing this weekend, what your favorite day of the week is…

Thank you to Becca and Carrie for participating in this Q&A series! Tomorrow, I’ll share my final thoughts and announce the winners. (Commenters have until 4:00 p.m. EDT on 4/4/14 to enter to win the free book or the eGC).

Have a great night, all! Until tomorrow…

 


Is there a market for #NewAdult Fantasy?

This week, I’m doing a three-part Q&A with six New Adult Fantasy authors. If you missed yesterday’s post with Sarah Harian and Summer Lane, click here. Tomorrow, I’ll interview the last two authors. On Friday, I’ll give away a free book (winner’s choice from among the books featured in the series; format and delivery method will vary based on winner’s choice) and a $10 eGift Certificate to a bookstore of the winner’s choice. Want to enter to win one of the prizes or add your thoughts to the discussion? Please do by commenting below! Today, please welcome Juliana Haygert and Karen Duvall.

THE AUTHORS

Juliana Haygert

Juliana Haygert

Juliana Haygert

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Karen Duvall

Karen Duvall

Karen Duvall

Karen Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series in 2011 and 2012, and her post-apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013. Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.

THE QUESTIONS

Jill Archer: Do you feel the term “New Adult fiction” has become synonymous with “college romance”?

Juliana Haygert: Unfortunately, it has, though that’s not all that NA is. I like to refer to characters of NA books as college-aged, because they don’t necessarily need to be in college. And romance is also not required. Like any YA and Adult books, the NA category can and should have any genre – romance, drama, thriller, fantasy, paranormal, horror, etc.

Karen Duvall: I think that’s how it started. Writers and publishers wanted to cross the boundaries of innocence required by the YA genre so that characters could be free to have sexual experiences, which often happens in college, and to shed the restrictions of childhood. But what appears to have happened is many of these college romances just took teenage children with teenage issues, added a year or two to their ages, and plopped them into a college setting so they could have sex. I heard of one agent who labeled NA as “college f— fiction.”

The college romances I recently read were infused with YA tropes like sports jock heroes, mean girls, petty jealousies, juvenile gossip, unfair teachers, meddling parents, cheating boyfriends and girlfriends, pubescent tirades and other issues faced by children on the cusp of adulthood. Those stories hadn’t evolved to the next level of becoming a grown up.

YA is about the transition from child to adult. NA is about finally getting to be an adult. There’s a big difference, different enough to warrant a whole new category of fiction.

Thanks to college romances, my agent has no interest whatsoever in NA fiction.

Jill: Do you think the label “New Adult” is helpful to fantasy readers versus romance readers? If so, what do you think distinguishes New Adult fantasy from adult fantasy?

Juliana: I think NA fantasy distinguishes from Adult fantasy, the same way NA distinguishes from Adult fiction, in general. Adults are focused on other matters in their life (like paying bills, succeeding on their jobs, starting or providing for their families) while college-aged characters are still trying to find themselves, to choose what they will want to do for the rest of their lives, having their hearts broken and mended. There’s more angst, more indecision, more instability. Only, with fantasy, you got magic and other supernatural elements along with all the other problems. :)

Karen: I think it’s too soon to tell. Go to any bookstore and walk down an aisle in the fantasy and science fiction section, then ask someone browsing if they like New Adult fantasy. I bet nine out of ten won’t know what the hell you’re talking about. New Adult is not yet in the mainstream. Not enough readers know what it is.

I think what would distinguish it is if the story incorporates the challenges faced by characters who have recently crossed the threshold into adulthood. In adult fantasy, aside from the older ages of the main characters, the plot’s focus is on the magical elements and the story world rather than new awakenings within characters who are new to adulthood. They have other challenges to face, and though the characters grow and change during their journey, their story arc doesn’t depend on what they learn from growing up. It’s assumed they are grown up.

Jill: Last month, a writer left a comment on my blog, which is paraphrased below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. (You can see her original question and my answer here).

I am a writer who is currently working on a fantasy manuscript featuring an 18 year-old apprentice. There are romantic elements, but the relationship is not the focus of the story – her adventures are. I’ve noticed that most NA fantasies have a romance plot rather than a quest or mystery plot. Do you think there’s a market for a story such as this? What are your thoughts?

Juliana: I think romance is a big seller, yes, but there are readers for all genres. On my fantasy trilogy, there’s romance, but the focus is on the story, on the adventure the protagonist goes through. Some readers complain that there’s little romance in it, but I have other books with more romance if they want that. It may take some time until NA expands to other genres but I believe it’ll get there. Especially if we keep writing non-contemp or non-romance NA books. :)

Karen: The New Adult category is still something of a slippery fish when it comes to defining what it is and isn’t, but one thing it’s not is romance. It can be romance, but it can also be mystery, or historical, or horror or science fiction. New Adult doesn’t focus on any one genre, but neither does it relate to the adventures of an 18-year-old in her apprenticeship unless those adventures are directly tied the challenges of new adulthood. Those challenges might include: financial independence, self-empowerment, loss of innocence, living away from parents for the first time, military enlistment, friendships after high school, first jobs, new marriage, wedding engagement, starting a family, and so much more.

Jill: Are you currently writing, or have you recently published, a New Adult Fantasy? If so, can you share a little bit about it?

Juliana: I’m writing the third book of my NA fantasy trilogy, The Everlasting Circle. The first book, Destiny Gift, tells the story of a girl who lives in a dark world and has visions of gods and demons—and clues. She has to follow the clues and succeed in her quest to bring light back to the world.

Karen: I’ve always written NA even though there was no such thing at the time. The problems and challenges faced by this age group have always been important to me so it’s what I like to write. In answer to the question, however, I’d have to say no. My Knight’s Curse series, published by Harlequin Luna, featured a NA character facing NA issues, but it’s categorized as adult urban fantasy.

I’m currently working on a new fantasy romance series that features NA characters in a NA situation, but I don’t know if it will be marketed as New Adult. It’s not yet contracted and only the first book is written, the second book now underway. I’m on tenterhooks while I wait for my agent to start the submission process. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

This is the blurb for my (possibly NA) fantasy romance, Mirror Reader:

Alice Dodgson, a descendant of Alice from Wonderland who possesses a psychic ability to read the past in mirrors, faces a painful past when a dangerous god abducts her little girl out of revenge for a crime Alice didn’t commit. She is forced to ask for help from the man who broke her heart eight years before… the man who fathered her child and doesn’t know he has a daughter.

Jill: Besides yourself, which authors and/or books can you recommend to readers who are looking for New Adult fantasy?

Juliana: The Crescent Chronicles by Alyssa Rose Ivy, The Collapse Series by Summer Lane, The Mark of Nexus series by Carrie Butler, Eldaen Light Chronicles by Victoria H. Smith, Wasteland Trilogy by Lynn Rush, Moonsongs by E.J. Wesley.

THE BOOKS

Kinght's Curse

A skilled knife fighter since the age of nine, Chalice knows what it’s like to live life on the edge—precariously balanced between the dark and the light. But the time has come to choose. The evil sorcerer who kidnapped her over a decade ago requires her superhuman senses to steal a precious magical artifact…or she must suffer the consequences.

Desperate to break the curse that enslaves her, Chalice agrees. But it is only with the help of Aydin—her noble warrior-protector—that she will risk venturing beyond the veil to discover the origins of her power. Only for him will she dare to fully embrace her awesome talents. For a deadly duel is at hand, and Chalice alone will have to decide between freedom…and the love of her life.

Soul Oath Cover

It’s been three months since Nadine last heard from Victor, Micah or Ceris, allowing her to concentrate on her own life. But until Victor and Micah find the scepters that will restore them as true gods, their human bodies will require her healing touch and it’s only a matter of time until they wreak havoc on her life again.  As if to prove that, Victor shows up at the hospital dragging along with him a swarm of demons. Nadine is forced to flee to safety. Despite her attempts to keep her loved ones protected, the demons find her, and they bring her to Imha, the goddess of Chaos. Now, confronted by her greatest fear, Nadine finds a new motivation. Vengeance. And when seeking revenge, no risk is too great, including her own life.

So, everyone, how about you? Have any other questions for either Karen or Juliana? Interested in winning a copy of KNIGHT’S CURSE or SOUL OATH?

We’d love to hear from you so please add your thoughts in the comments! Let us know what you think about new adult fantasy, what you’re currently reading, where you live, what your favorite color is…

Thank you to Karen and Juliana for participating in this Q&A series! Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for Part 3 of 3…

 


Is the term “New Adult fiction” synonymous with “college romance”?

This week, I’m doing a three-part Q&A with six New Adult Fantasy authors. We’ll be discussing some great topics and spotlighting some terrific books. On Friday, I’ll give away a free book (winner’s choice from among the books featured in the series; format and delivery method will vary based on winner’s choice) and a $10 eGift Certificate to a bookstore of the winner’s choice. Want to enter to win one of the prizes or add your thoughts to the discussion? Please do by commenting below! Today, please welcome Sarah Harian and Summer Lane.

THE AUTHORS

Sarah Harian

Sarah Harian

Sarah Harian

Sarah grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.

Summer Lane

Summer Lane

Summer Lane

Summer is the author of the national bestselling YA/NA Romantic Adventure novels, State of Emergency, State of Chaos, and State of Rebellion, the first three installments in The Collapse Series. She is a freelance writer, publicist and lover of all things feline. Summer owns WB Publishing, a digital publishing company devoted to releasing exciting survival and adventure stories. In her spare time, Summer is the creator of the online magazine, Writing Belle, a website dedicated to the art of storytelling. She works as a creative writing teacher and consultant, as well. You can find Summer at her website or on Twitter @SummerEllenLane.

 

THE QUESTIONS

Jill Archer: Do you feel the term “New Adult fiction” has become synonymous with “college romance”?

Summer Lane: For some, that’s certainly true. The market is saturated right now with college romance novels. When you walk into a store and see the category NEW ADULT, what is beneath the sign is generally hardcore, steamy romance novels. That’s not because there aren’t any New Adult novels out there that aren’t about romance, but because that’s now where the market pendulum has swung. There are lots of New Adult adventures and dramas – and even non-fiction books. You just have to look a little bit harder.

Sarah Harian: I do, and it’s very unfortunate. Do I think that New Adult can transform into something that goes beyond college romance? Absolutely. But it really depends on the readership and what they want. I hope it expands, but I can’t predict the future. All I can ask is that writers keep writing fabulous speculative New Adult novels and those who want the NA category to buy novels that don’t follow the NA mold.

Jill: Do you think the label “New Adult” is helpful to fantasy readers versus romance readers? If so, what do you think distinguishes New Adult fantasy from adult fantasy?

Summer: Yes. When I read fantasy, I like to identify with the main character as much as possible – and that’s more likely to happen if they’re closer to my age. A New Adult fantasy would feature a character that is in that age range – just in an imaginative environment. I think it’s helpful, not harmful.

Sarah: How I’ve personally been distinguishing New Adult from other categories is that NA reads a lot like Young Adult in terms of stylistics but has content geared toward people in their twenties. But despite what I think, it’s really up to the author how they want to categorize their book. If you feel like your novel speaks specifically to an audience of twenty-somethings, then categorize your book as NA.

Jill: Last month, a writer left a comment on my blog, which is paraphrased below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. (You can see her original question and my answer here).

I am a writer who is currently working on a fantasy manuscript featuring an 18 year-old apprentice. There are romantic elements, but the relationship is not the focus of the story – her adventures are. I’ve noticed that most NA fantasies have a romance plot rather than a quest or mystery plot. Do you think there’s a market for a story such as this? What are your thoughts?

Summer: There is a market for everything. Books with a romantic plot and a quest or mystery subplot are increasingly popular. It combines fantastical elements that everyone enjoys with the romance of two people falling in love. My favorite type of story is the plot line that is situated the opposite way: an adventurous plot and a romantic SUBplot. That’s just my personal preference, and that is how I wrote The Collapse Series. Cassidy Hart’s quest to survive the collapse of North America is the main story, but the sub-story is her romance with Navy SEAL Chris Young. There is a big market for the type of book you’re talking about. Definitely.

Sarah: I think that you need to write the story that you want to write and not worry about what genre/category it falls into. So many people get caught up on categories—such as New Adult and Young Adult—that they end up not writing the story that’s in their heart. If your story is a fantasy story about an eighteen-year-old girl who has adventures and it isn’t focused on romance, WRITE IT. There is a market for young people who go on adventures. If it ends up not being published as New Adult, then who cares?

Jill: Are you currently writing, or have you recently published, a New Adult Fantasy? If so, can you share a little bit about it?

Summer: I’m currently writing the fourth installment in my bestselling Collapse Series. My books are a cross between adventure and post-apocalyptic fantasy. They’re both New Adult and Young Adult. There’s really no group that is excluded from what I write. It’s an old fashioned adventure story with romance. I wrote a LOT of fantasy and science fantasy stories when I was growing up, and I love reading them to this day.

Sarah: I published a NA science fiction novel with Penguin. The process was really exciting, as I was the second NA speculative author to be published by a Big Five house. The book is about a bunch of twenty-somethings–who have committed terrible crimes–entering an experimental prison to be judged. The novel is dark and carries elements of horror, but at its heart, it’s a coming-of-age story about human nature.

Jill: Besides yourself, which authors and/or books can you recommend to readers who are looking for New Adult fantasy?

Summer: I’m actually pretty new to reading NA fantasy, so my recommendations list hasn’t even been compiled yet! I’m really hoping to get some reading done this spring and summer and discover some great new authors.

Sarah: Jamie Grey has an amazing scifi novel called THE STAR THIEF that you should absolutely buy, and Karina Halle’s EXPERIMENT IN TERROR series is also badass.

THE BOOKS

State of Rebellion

Everything has changed.

After a devastating ambush that left the militia group Freedom Fighters struggling to survive, Cassidy Hart has been lucky to escape with her life. Along with her Commander and former Navy SEAL Chris Young, she has made a shocking discovery concerning the whereabouts of her father. The militias have moved further into the mountains. And the secret that is kept there will come with a price.

But when the National Guard arrives, Cassidy is faced with a choice that will force her to decide between her friends and her family. Omega is getting stronger. The fight for freedom looms on the horizon.

It’s all or nothing.

And Cassidy has no intention of giving up.

Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

So, everyone, how about you? What do you think of my questions? Have any other questions for either Sarah or Summer? Interested in winning a copy of THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE or STATE OF REBELLION? I’d love to hear from you so please add your thoughts in the comments! Thank you to Sarah and Summer for participating in this Q&A series. Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for Part 2 of 3.


6 #NewAdult Fantasy Authors, 5 Questions, 2 Possible Prizes, 1 Week Only!

A year ago, I hosted a guest blog series that featured New Adult authors. At the time, New Adult fiction was generating some provocative headlines. The category’s had time to mature. I’ve been following it with interest. So have others. I figured now might be a good time to do a follow-up series. But this year, my NA series is going to be a little bit different.

First, most of the posts will be in a Q&A format.

Second, I’ve added some new authors to the mix. This way we’ll continue to hear different perspectives on the topics that are discussed.

Third, as a thank you to all of the participants (both the authors and any commenters), I’m offering a free book (winner’s choice from among the books featured in the series; format and delivery method will vary depending on winner’s choice) and a $10 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of winner’s choice.

The first post will be tomorrow and will feature two authors and two books. Similar posts will follow on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, I’ll announce the winners.

I’d love to hear from as many of you as possible. I’m going to be drawing the winners randomly. Each day that you comment gives you a chance to win. (Commenting during all three days will give you three chances to win both prizes).

What are we going to be talking about?

Among other things, whether or not the term “New Adult” has become synonymous with “college romance.” (Participating authors had different answers to this and I want to hear yours!)

Another thing we’re going to be discussing is some specific advice for a writer who left a question for me here in the comments last month. (A big shout out and thank you to Fairytale Feminista, whose question served as partial inspiration for this Q&A series!)

Stay tuned… Until tomorrow… Take care and have a great Monday, everyone!


The Business of #Writing: Everything Else!

This is it! Post #5! The last post in this week’s “mini-series” of posts where I discuss my 2013 writing expenses and ponder what worked, what didn’t, and what I might change this year. All week, I’ve been encouraging new writers to ask questions, experienced writers to share their own thoughts and knowledge, and readers to either ignore and forgive (if they find this shop talk really boring) or join in! At the end of each post, I’ve included questions for everyone.

So for Friday I saved the Big One – the last of my 2013 Top Ten Expenses AND the one that, as a percentage, dwarfed all of the others. What was it? I call it “Everything Else” and it took up almost 31% of my expenses last year. Whoa. So what the heck is included in that monstrous chimera category? Well, lots of things, obviously. But this series of posts has to end at some point before you all get really sick of me talking about this stuff so I’ll just quickly hit a few of them and then wrap this series up.

Giveaway Expenses

I already mentioned that I give away print copies of my books. Well, I also give away eGift Certificates to bookstores of the winner’s choice. This allows me to open up my contests to international participants. Truth be told, most people pick Amazon. I hope they use the certificate to buy my books or someone else’s, but it’s their prize. I think of the opportunity to win prizes as a thank you to everyone who helps me spread the word about whatever it is I’m trying to spread the word about (usually a new release or a new cover).

Workshops and Conference Recordings

I took a self-publishing class from Author EMS and ordered a bunch of recordings from RWA’s national conference.

MY THOUGHTS? When I was a practicing attorney, we were always encouraged to take “CLE” classes – continuing legal education. Authors should take continuing education classes too – CAE for all of us! :-D Also: don’t try to take an online class during a Yahoo Groups redesign. (Grr…)

Holiday Gifts

Who did I send a gift to? My agent and my editor. We have nice, professional relationships and I believe in saying thank you. In my previous career, December was always a fun month. Lots of small tokens of appreciation coming in and going out. And there’s the fact that, though we haven’t had many lunches or dinners, my agent and editor always pick up the tab when we do. They deserve some end-of-year cheer.

Charitable Contributions

This is actually one expense I wish was higher. I really admire writers that combine philanthropy and writing. Something for me to think about in the future, but for 2014 I’ll probably just concentrate on keeping my head above water and continue giving when I can. (Who did I give to in 2013? The Red Cross and Special Olympics).

Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Donations to Other Cool “Causes”

[Again, I need to remind everyone that my posts are discussing writing expenses generally, not deductible expenses specifically. Make a list of your expenses, gather your receipts, and talk to your tax advisor about whether any of them are deductible. I cannot give tax advice, but I can’t imagine costs like this are deductible. Strictly speaking, they’re not even expenses. They’re donations.]

In 2013, I donated to the Online Etymology Dictionary and to the Museum of Science Fiction.

Research and/or Translation Assistance

Those of you who’ve read the Noon Onyx series know that I’m fond of Latin phrases and idioms. I have a Latin tutor who helps make sure I’m using them the way I want to. (This doesn’t always mean the interpretations I give in the book are accurate. I’ve changed some of them to fit the story and note that in the acknowledgements.) Here are my favorite ones from each book:

Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayDARK LIGHT OF DAY

Lucem in tenebras ferimus.

Into the darkness, we bring light.

Jill Archer's Fiery Edge of SteelFIERY EDGE OF STEEL

Virtute non armis fido.

Courage over weapons; cats over sanity.

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover artWHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

Volo tecum vivere . . . Recuso mori sine te!

I want to live with you . . . And I refuse to die without you!

LESSON? Use less Latin? Kidding. Having liberally sprinkled Dark Light of Day with Latin phrases, I could hardly leave them out of subsequent books, and I’ve very much enjoyed working with Joan, the woman who helps me translate these phrases. But my next project likely won’t have any Latin.

Service Charges, Taxes, and Professional Fees

Ah, from love, death, and Latin to taxes. :-D

By now you are all probably eyeing the clock wondering when happy hour starts. So, really, can you think of a worse topic to be discussing on a Friday afternoon then this one? So, very quickly, here’s the deal:

I had some bank charges; everyone who banks does. I paid some personal property taxes as a result of structuring my writing business as an LLC. And I paid my accountant, which brings us back to the beginning (as good stories always do) when I said Monday:

Every spring I begin the tedious process of collecting all of my expense receipts so that I can send a packet of information to my accountant…

LESSONS? While no one loves paying taxes, I don’t regret forming the LLC. My accountant deserves to be paid for her work and I’m definitely going to talk to my bank about lowering some of my service charges.

I spent money on other things in 2013 but these were the ones I thought were worth considering, discussing, and sharing.

Now it’s your turn:

Did I miss anything?

Other expenses that you may have had that I didn’t:

  • Photographer’s fee
  • Independent editing fee
  • Proofreading fee
  • Formatter’s fee
  • Cover artist’s fee
  • Copyright registration fee
  • Legal fees
  • ISBN costs

Were you impacted by the Yahoo Groups redesign? What do you think of Yahoo Groups now?

Do you have a favorite charity? Have you ever contributed to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo projects? If so, which ones?

Have any fun Latin phrases to share?

Thank you to everyone who commented, shared their thoughts and experiences, or answered my questions. You are all fantastic! Best wishes for a terrific weekend!

OTHER POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:


The Business of #Writing: Books and Writer’s Groups

This is day #4 of my week-long “mini-series” of posts where I mull over my 2013 writing expenses and share my thoughts. New writers, feel free to ask questions! Seasoned writers, your take on these topics is always appreciated. Readers, these posts give you a peek at what many authors do behind the scenes to support their work. There are questions for everyone at the end.

BOOKS!

Our favorite topic! In 2013, I bought about 25 books (this doesn’t include my books; this expense category represents the amount of money I spent on other people’s books – about 6% of my total expenses).

What kinds of books did I buy? Fantasy, romance, historical, mystery, new adult, young adult, general literature, anthologies, and some non-fiction. I bought hardbacks, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and electronic versions. I paid $0.99 for some to over $25.00 for others (not many). I bought them from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my local independent bookstore.

Did I read them all? I wish! I’ve mentioned before that one of the downsides of becoming a published author was a decrease in personal reading. That hasn’t really changed for me since I first groaned about it, although I have been able to binge read from time to time and I’m trying to get better about carving out more consistent reading time into my schedule.

fantasy, Dark Light of Day, Jill Archer, Noon Onyx

LESSONS? This is the first year I’ve tracked this as a business expense. (To be clear, I’m not saying that this is a deductible expense – or that any of these expenses are. That’s for you and your tax adviser to figure out.) Could I cut back? Absolutely. Will I? Ha! I doubt it. I like supporting other authors, booksellers, and books in general by buying books. Sometimes, I feel guilty I don’t buy MORE. It’s wise for authors to read as widely as they can, to keep up with the market, to know what’s being published, and to know the quality of work that your peers are putting out. And all writers started as pure unadulterated readers. Books => bliss!

So instead of finding a way to cut this expense, I’d settle for finding a faster way to get through my TBR pile. :-)

WRITER’S GROUPS

There are all sorts of writer’s groups out there: big ones, little ones, informal kitchen table-type ones, and ones with bylaws, elections, national conventions, etc. Some writers will say you don’t need a writer’s group – and, of course, you don’t – but I think they’re worth the investment. For the record, the amount I paid for writer’s group membership fees came in at #9 out of #10 on my list of Top Ten Writing Expenses, which represents about 4%. Too high? Maybe. And, truth be told, this is an expense I carefully consider every year.

I belong to two main writer’s groups: Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). They are both nationally organized, well-funded, and have vast caches of institutional knowledge.

RWA was founded in 1980 and has more than 10,000 members and almost 150 chapters. They allow both published and unpublished members to join. They host a national convention every year where their highest award, the Rita, is presented to winners in various categories.

SFWA was founded in 1965. To become an active member, you must be published, but unpublished authors can benefit from their Writer Beware site. They host the Nebula Awards and have about 1,800 members.

Both RWA and SFWA have had “controversial moments.” (I leave you to your internet searches. I don’t want to rehash; I only want to acknowledge that the groups aren’t perfect). Each has caused me, from time to time, to question whether I still want to be a member. And yet, year after year, I re-up. Why?

Because the writers I interact with – many of whom I’ve met through these groups – are, for the most part, wonderful. Writing is a lonely business. I used to work in an office. I had colleagues, an assistant, and clients. I talked to people all the time. I was on the phone, in meetings, chatting in hallways and other people’s offices. I was having lunch. And then I became a writer, which I love. But I’m no longer talking to people all the time. It’s a quieter business, ya know? :-D So I like having a group I can turn to if I have a question, need advice, or simply want to say hi.

There are other benefits to being in a large writer’s group, such as advocacy (both on a group and individual level) and early access to industry news. But each writer has to decide for themselves if the cost of membership in these groups is a good trade for the benefits they might receive. My hope is that big, institutional writers groups like RWA and SFWA will evolve in positive directions as the publishing climate continues to change and the myriad ways in which writers can connect and receive information continues to grow.

LESSONS? MANY. But no change here.

So those are my thoughts on books and writer’s groups. Now, I’d love to hear from you! Answer any! Answer all!

Books:

Do you try to diversify your book buying habits so that you purchase books from a variety of different sellers or do you prefer to do your shopping in one main place?

Do you like a variety of formats (hard cover, trade paperback, mass market, digital) or do you prefer one over all others?

Do you buy more books than you read? Does that make you happy or sad?

Have any fun or quirky advice on how to plough through a TBR pile and/or add more reading time to an already packed schedule?

Writer’s groups:

Writers, which groups do you belong to? Which groups would you belong to if cost or membership eligibility weren’t an issue? What are some of the benefits you expect from a writer’s group in return for your membership dues?

Readers, had you ever heard of RWA or SFWA before this post? How about the Rita or the Nebula? Does the fact that a book won a major award make it more likely that you’ll buy it?

Thanks, everyone! I’ve really enjoyed reading commenters’ contributions so far.

Tomorrow I discuss… Everything Else! :-D


%d bloggers like this: