Tag Archives: fantasy

Baltimore Book Festival: I’m going; are you?

Baltimore Book Festival, fantasy author, Jill Archer, Noon Onyx

I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Fest this weekend. Details on my scheduled events are below. The rest of the time, I’ll likely be wandering around, checking out everyone else’s events. If you’re going, it would be great to meet you! Stop by my Friday night panel and/or Saturday’s Meet & Greet. Tell me whether you’re a writer, reader, or both. Let me know if you’re a Noon Onyx fan. Or wish me and my husband (who will be there too) a Happy Anniversary (it’s our 17th!). There will be a limited number of all three Noon Onyx books for sale at the festival — and I’m offering special pricing! If you haven’t yet purchased a Noon Onyx novel, now’s your chance to buy one at a discount and have me sign it. :-D Come on, don’t make me lug my books home from the festival! If you live in the Baltimore/Washington area, help me sell out! (I’m also happy to sign books you’ve previously purchased if you want to bring them.) Hope to see you there!

Friday 9/26/14 6:00-7:00

Writing Dark Fantasy

So you’d like to write dark fantasy, horror fiction, or paranormals, or demons, angels, post-apocalyptic, and genre-bending fiction that puts you on the edge of your seat. Meet with writers of these genres to talk about what’s trending, what publishers are doing, and what tips our panel of authors has to offer.

Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jill Archer, Em Garner, John Maclay, Sunny Moraine

Where is it?

This event is at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stage (SFWA’s tent), which is on the Key Highway side of the harbor between the Science Center and the Visionary Art Museum. Click here for a map of exhibits at the Baltimore Book Fest.

Saturday 9/27/14 5:30 -7:00

Reception and Meet & Greet

(Authors, Music, and Food!)

Join the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at our reception, autographing session, and Meet and Greet with our program participants at the Baltimore Book Festival.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeanne Adams, Jill Archer, Catherine Asaro, Jack Clemons, Brenda Clough, Scott Edelman, Charles Gannon, Ronald Garner, Em Garner, Herb Gilliland, Anne K Gray, Elektra Hammond, Justina Ireland, Jim Johnson, Alma Katsu, Cheryl Klam, L. Jagi Lamplighter, John Maclay, Marrisa Meyer, Sunny Moraine, Christine Norris, Ellen Oh, Sarah Pinsker, Caroline Richmond, Don Sakers, Karen Sandler, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Rori Shay, Alex Shvartsman, Dawnyell Snyder, Bud Sparhawk, John Tilden, Mike Underwood, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde, Ilene Wong, Karlo Yeager

Where is it?

This event is at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stage (SFWA’s tent), which is on the Key Highway side of the harbor between the Science Center and the Visionary Art Museum. Click here for a map of exhibits at the Baltimore Book Fest.


Ten Things from Summer 2014 (#movies #books)

My thoughts on ten things I watched or read this summer:

  1. The Lunch Box
  2. Outlander
  3. Snowpiercer
  4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. The Giver
  7. Noah
  8. The Firebird
  9. Lucy
  10. Me Before You

The Lunch Box

This mixed-up lunch box story involves India’s dabbawallas, the men who pick up hot lunch from home and deliver them to office workers. I was nearly as fascinated by the dabbawallas as I was infatuated with the movie. And I’m not the only one. Apparently, others have been interested in the process by which the dabbawallas deliver hundreds of thousands of lunchboxes daily with very few mistakes or delays. But don’t watch the movie just to see the dabbawallas! Watch it for the wonderful characters: a lonely, unappreciated housewife who cooks amazing food, a cantankerous, soon-to-retire office worker, and his genial replacement.

Outlander

Who else is watching this series on Starz? I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried it might be too much Lifetime and not enough HBO, but I was pleasantly surprised by Episode 1 and now, after six episodes, I’m firmly entrenched. I read the books years ago so it’s been fun returning to the story and seeing how it’s being told on screen. Tobias Menzies as Frank/Jack Randall (remember him from Rome and GoT?) and Graham McTavish as Dougal (in truth, I did not remember him from The Hobbit) have been doing a terrific job. And Claire and Jamie (Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan), if not looking exactly as I imagined them, are skilled actors with great chemistry. And I loved the author’s cameo in Episode 4!

Snowpiercer

I loved this movie. Yes, it’s gory and violent and bloody. And, yes, it strains credulity (there’s steak up front; where are the cows?!) and, yes, there are a few things not to like about the MC (well, one thing in particular). But it sticks with you. It’s unique and memorable, as much for the story – admirable these days since post-apocalyptic stories seem to be everywhere ;-) – as for the juxtaposition of scenes and characters (gruesomely dark and wet ax fights; kids singing over-the-top propaganda songs inside a surreally calm and disturbingly charming classroom car; Tilda Swinton as a vile, deranged second-in-command; Octavia Spencer as a vengeful mother on a search and rescue mission; and Chris Evans as oh-so-conflicted Curtis).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I wanted to love it. I really enjoyed the first one, despite the fact that I didn’t think the franchise needed a reboot. But 2 didn’t wow me. It wasn’t the ending, it was the fact that the relationship between Gwen and Spidey before the end didn’t seem as fun as it did in the first movie and the villains were kind of meh. I’m still planning on seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but only because Spidey is one of my favorite superheroes and I like Andrew Garfield. I think if everything around him comes together it could be great fun.

Guardians of the Galaxy

All the fun that was missing from Spidey 2. Word seems to be that this was everyone’s favorite summer ’14 film. Yeah. What they said. And for good reason. Mostly, the cast. I was largely unfamiliar with Chris Pratt before the film. I don’t watch Parks and Rec, I didn’t see Her, and, even though I saw Moneyball, I don’t remember his character. But he was terrific in Guardians! I read an Entertainment Weekly article before the movie that detailed his career to date. He sounded genuine and grounded. His portrayal of Peter Quill made the movie for me. And, of course, I loved Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket too. My kids loved Groot.

The Giver

I didn’t read the book. My older daughter did though and it was interesting hearing her take on how the book and the movie were different – namely, and among other things, that the movie’s characters were older and its ending less ambiguous. I found myself wondering if the novel’s vague ending was a subtle message and, if so, what that message might be. Ambiguous endings can be more powerful and achieve a more lasting impact because readers love to argue about them. Regardless of her original intent with respect to The Giver’s ending though, Lowry’s now written three other books that provide definitive closure.

Noah

I put this off for a while even though the trailer looked great and reviews were positive because I worried that it might be The Fountain meets Evan Almighty. But it wasn’t. If you are on the fence about this movie, rent it. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly had already proved they worked well together in A Beautiful Mind and adding Emma Watson to the mix definitely cinched it. They all delivered emotional, compelling performances. The special effects and visuals were fantastic and the filmmakers’ take on one of our oldest stories (especially the watchers, a fanciful bit of storytelling) was interesting.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The story of modern-day Nicola who has the gift of psychometry (she can sense an object’s history by touching it) interwoven with the story of Anna, a young Scottish woman living in Russia during the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite Uprising. I love parallel timeline plots when they are done well (Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth and Katherine Neville’s The Eight come to mind) so I very much enjoyed this. Two romances, historical detail, and a bit of ESP = an irresistible combination. I will definitely be searching for other Kearsley titles in the future!

Lucy by Laurence Gonzales

Last month, I promised to talk more about this. At the time, I wanted to see the movie so that I could compare and contrast it with the book, even though they are two entirely different stories. But I never made it to the theater. (I see very few R rated movies in the theater because I can’t bring my kids). In any case, my theory, which I’ll have to test later, is that the book and the movie share a similar title because each is about an evolutionarily advanced girl/woman and Lucy is a reference to “Lucy” our oldest human ancestor, the first Australopithecus afarensis skeleton ever found. [Incidentally – and as a wonderful example of how art can impact science deeply and directly – the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton was named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”]

So what about the book? If you like social science fiction, read it. It’s the story of a girl who is half-human, half-bonobo, which to someone like me (who spends lots of time in a fictional world inhabited by all sorts of shapeshifters and human hybrids) doesn’t sound too outlandish. But the story initially appealed to me because it wasn’t fantasy. It’s billed as a Crichton-esque “biotechnical thriller.” And the book jacket copy describing the fifteen year old “adorable, lovely, magical Lucy” made me curious. I was worried about what would happen to her before I even started reading her story.

The two best parts of the book for me were the character’s relationships (more time is spent on these than on the scientific aspects, which suited me fine but may disappoint others) and the author’s idea of The Stream (his term for the whole ecosystem of living things and their observable and imperceptible, though real, effects on that ecosystem and other living things within it).

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I saved this one for last because it was the toughest one for me to gather my thoughts on. Initially, I downloaded this book because I was simply looking for a nice, warm emotional romance – one I could read in 24 hours and would, by and large, likely forget about 48 hours later. [As an aside, this is not a criticism of stories that can be consumed quickly or are forgotten easily; there’s an art to crafting them too – just because a story’s easy to read doesn’t mean it’s easy to write]. But Me Before You *isn’t* that kind of story. Parts of it are nice, warm, emotional, and romantic. But the book is a lot more than that and it’s not easily forgotten. Nor should it be.

It’s the story of a 26-year-old woman (Lou) who’s a little lost. At the start of the book, she’s living with her parents, she’s in a so-so relationship, and she’s lost her job. It wasn’t a glamorous or high paying job but it was one she enjoyed and its loss propels her in search of another. She finds one caring for a 35-year-old quadriplegic (Will) who’s not lost (he knows all too well what he wants). He’s rich and handsome… a former business tycoon and lady charmer who is now at times angry, withdrawn, or resigned.

SPOILERS… don’t read ahead if you want to read it and don’t like spoilers…

Before reading Me Before You I’d never heard of DIGNITAS, the Swiss right-to-die organization. And then, the day after I finished it, CNN ran this article. And then, the next week, a very close friend of mine had a family member take her own life. She wasn’t quadriplegic, but she was dealing with issues that were just as serious as Will’s. So I’ve been thinking, on and off nearly every day since I read Me Before You not just about the dignity of life, but the dignity of death. Is it a happy topic? No, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. It’s a huge, meaningful topic. A blog post can’t do it justice. So, for now, I’ll simply say that Jojo Moyes’ book should be read – as much for the author’s thoughtful portrayal of Will and his struggles as for the author’s down-to-earth and at times truly humorous take on Lou and Lou’s life.

Have any of you watched or read any of the above? If so, what did you think? If not, are you watching or reading anything worth sharing? Let me know in the comments! I hope everyone’s September is off to a great start.


Jeffe Kennedy: The Future of Fantasy Romance

Jeffe Kennedy’s third book in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy releases today. She’s here to chat about the fantasy romance genre and share a bit about her new book, Rogue’s Paradise. Welcome, Jeffe!

“It’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in”

Thanks to Jill for hosting me today, on the release day of Rogue’s Paradise!

Jill and I are both members of RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter (FFP). We’ve been having a lively discussion on our chapter loop lately about genre and how to categorize our own books.

This kind of question comes up fairly frequently, particularly from newer writers wondering how to describe their books in query letters or in choosing genre categories in self-publishing. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in. We generally write the stories and THEN figure out what to call it. Jill also writes what she calls “genre-bending fantasy.”

That said, it’s interesting to me to have this trilogy culminate at a time when the genre, Fantasy Romance, is considered “hot.” At the risk of sounding like I’m groaning out an old, sad tale about walking to school in hip-deep snow, uphill, both ways , when I wrote the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, Fantasy Romance wasn’t really a genre. Certainly not one I was aware of.

I know this because for a long time, I shopped that book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. And it was politely explained to me (sometimes less so, as one agent sent me away in tears) that it was neither. When Carina Press bought the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, they called it Fantasy Romance. I swear that was the first time I was aware of the genre, though I had been reading other books classified that way. Rogue’s Pawn was only the tenth book at Carina to be published in that genre, in July of 2012, just over two years after Carina launched their first books.

Now, with Rogue’s Possession, the second book in the trilogy, finaling in FFP’s PRISM contest (though as Fantasy – even WE don’t recognize Fantasy Romance as a separate category yet!), and Rogue’s Paradise coming out today, I often hear my Covenant of Thorns trilogy cited as “classic” fantasy romance. Or, at least, as a solid example of the genre.

In our discussions on the FFP loop, I described myself as an interdimensional being who straddles genres, (we get to talk that way in FFP) especially since my other current trilogy is called Fantasy. One of our other members suggested the term “interstitial genres” – which, if you know biology, is a great choice. It would be interesting to trace the history of which books were first dubbed “Fantasy Romance.” Amusingly the Wikipedia link for Fantasy Romance redirects to Romantic Fantasy (last updated August 2014) – not the same thing at all.

At any rate, it’s so fun to have this trilogy culminate at this time, with so many wonderful writers doing great things with fantasy stories in all types of settings and romantic flavors.

It feels like a big party.

~throws confetti~

~twirls~

Jill’s Thoughts:

Every time these discussions come up about subgenre definition, I think of the last scene from Back to the Future when Doc says, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” lol.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

 I’m always tempted to call the Noon Onyx books “Fantasy” (which is what the spine says they are) and be done with it, but I also know it’s important to give readers information to help them decide if they want to read a book. And the fewer words a writer uses to do that, the better. So labels and genre definitions can be helpful. But they can also be limiting and misleading.

My books are genre mutts, full of fantasy (they’re set in an imaginary world), urban fantasy (the focus of the stories is the main character, a magic-wielding woman), and romance elements (there are several suitors and lots of emotion and inner conflict regarding Noon’s relationships). And, because the stories are written in the youthful, first person voice of a twenty-something postgrad, I even played around with the New Adult label. Plus each book in the series has drawn from the well of these other genres: mystery, adventure/quest, and legal thriller. Gah! See why I want to call up Doc and borrow his DeLorean?

Jeffe mentioned these discussions regarding subgenre definition come up fairly frequently among writers. Yep, too true. But, even though I joke about calling up Doc, I love discussing this stuff. In fact, just last week I was swapping emails with some of the writers who will be doing the Dark Fantasy Panel with me at the upcoming Baltimore Book Fest. Betcha can guess what one of the things we were discussing was. Yep, the future of dark fantasy and what the heck that label is supposed to mean. :-D

More About Rogue’s Paradise

Rogue's ParadisePregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

 More About Jeffe

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

What sort of stories do you think of when you hear the term “fantasy romance”? Have you read any books that would fit that description? In addition to Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns trilogy, two authors to try might be C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby.

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeffe. Thank you for guest blogging today!

Rogues Paradise Banner


MIND MELD: What’s Your Take on Author Legacies? Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished?

I’m a panelist for SF Signal’s Mind Meld today. The question was:

Brandon Sanderson famously finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time while writers like Roger Zelazny (“Amber”) and George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire”) have said nobody will finish their series or continue their work. Would you want another writer to pick up an unfinished series by an author? Should unfinished series remain unfinished?

Want to discuss, debate, and/or read everyone’s answers? Click here!

More updates from me later…


#Writing: Buildingbuilding – Overwhelmed by Worldbuilding? Try a more focused approach…

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately worldbuilding. Or rather, buildingbuilding. One of the projects I’ve had waiting in the wings needed to be taken to the next step. And the main setting for this story is a building, not a world. Since the Noon Onyx novels have such a sprawling setting, designing a smaller set that’s interesting enough to serve as the backdrop for two novels (the intended length of the project) is challenging, but one I’ve taken on happily. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I figured I’d share some thoughts about my buildingbuilding process. It’s too early, however, to share the building from my WIP, so I’m going to use my somewhat silly water tower as the building example for this post.

Here are some of the things I consider as I build a building that will serve as a significant set for one of my stories:

Name

Not all buildings need names, but if your building is going to be a big part of your story, consider giving it a proper name. The first thing I did when trying to think of a name for my MC’s home was a search for “famous water towers.” I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Maybe nothing. But the internet instantly delivered inspirational info. This link takes you to a list of the 10 Coolest Water Towers. (Who knew, right? Some of you may be in the business of constructing water towers, but for the rest of us, lists like this are a nice surprise). So I glanced through the pics. They looked neat. Whimsical. Interesting.

But I don’t want to use any of these water towers exactly. I want to build a water tower for my story that’s unique. So I decided the water tower should look like a light bulb. And it should be painted yellow – as in, American cheese colored yellow. (If you’re wondering why a light bulb or American cheese, see my Unspiration post where this cockamamie story idea first originated).

I decided to name the water tower The Edison.

Purpose

The water tower in my sample story isn’t going to store water. It’s going to be the main character’s home. Its purpose is to serve as living space. So I searched the internet for water towers that had been converted to residential use. Again, wasn’t sure what I’d find. But this link from i09 (People Who Live Inside Water Towers) popped up as the first result when I searched “converted water towers.” I’ll admit, I was both excited and disappointed. The post is terrific; the pictures are awesomely cool. But my water tower as personal residence idea wasn’t as original as I’d thought.

Writers (and readers who are interested in this sort of thing), this happens all the time. You think your ideas are amazing and unique… but they aren’t. This is only one of a gazillion places where your story idea will be tested. You have two choices: ditch your idea in favor of finding something more original that still suits your story purposes or continue using your not-as-fresh-as-you-thought idea. I decided that living in a water tower is still a pretty cool idea even if I’m not the first person to have thought of it. I’m going to stick with it.

History

My water tower isn’t being used to store water anymore. Why not? Here is where the building’s history becomes backstory. Some of this work may show up in your final manuscript, but a lot of it won’t. I started out researching why a town might abandon its water tower. I learned that the main purpose of a water tower is to maintain a constant pressure in the town’s water supply rather than supply the water directly. Interesting, but a distraction. I could have been sucked into researching how water towers work for the next half-hour or more.

But I didn’t want to get side tracked so I decided on an easy answer: the water tower was abandoned after a new one was built. (This idea also generated a possible plot idea. Maybe The Edison is scheduled for demolition. Maybe – a la Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – the main character has to find a way to save her home by moving it somewhere else.)

Façade

What does the building look like on the outside? Since it’s fairly easy to imagine a water tower that looks like a light bulb, I’m not going to spend too much time describing The Edison.  It’s worth noting here that, even though my stories focus on characters, I more often print out pictures of places when I’m writing, which I then tack up in my office to convey a particular tone or mood. The more easily I can imagine the environment that my character exists in, the more easily I can imagine what that character is thinking, feeling, and doing inside of it.

The Edison (Beware of Nutria)

Floor plan

What does your building look like on the inside? For me, this stage is driven by two considerations: the story’s needs and verisimilitude. I need the interior of my building to provide whatever rooms, hidden caches, darkened alcoves – whatever – that are required for the plot. And I want my buildings grounded in reality. The best fantasy feels like it could be real but for the fantasy elements.

So for my water tower I searched “water tower residence floor plans.” The results were interesting enough but not as inspiring as I wanted. So I searched “tree house floor plans.” That yielded all sorts of fascinating shapes and ideas to build on. I started with three basic areas (eating, sleeping, bathing) and then considered a few others based on my (albeit completely silly) story idea: a playroom for the nutria, a library for a collection of books on Varmit Crimes and Misdemeanors, a zip line hung between two old telephone poles…

I’m not going to share my rough floor plan drawing because it’s horrible. But my buildingbuilding process isn’t. If nothing else, going through this exercise for just one of the buildings in your WIP will give you a more fully fleshed out setting for at least one of your scenes. It might also give you a chance to see your WIP from a different perspective, which can generate all sorts of new plot ideas.

Writers, do you have a “buildingbuilding” process? How do you build the buildings within which your scenes take place?

I hope everyone’s writing is going well! I’ll be posting more about what else I’ve been up to later.


C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing

Bestselling fantasy author C.L. Wilson is wrapping up her blog tour for THE WINTER KING, her newest fantasy romance. I met Ms. Wilson years ago at a writer’s conference before I was published. We only chatted for a few minutes, but I remember how nice she was. And how terrific her books sounded. So I’m very happy to host her for her last stop where she shares ten of the things she’s learned since she started writing. She’s also offering a tour-wide giveaway: one copy of her book and a winter white rose snow globe pendant (pictured below; U.S. only). Welcome, C.L.!

The Winter King, C.L. Wilson, fantasy, romance

Ten Things I’ve Learned

Since I Started Writing

by C.L. Wilson

I penned (or, rather, penciled) my first story at age 5-6, completed and submitted my first novel at 21, joined RWA in the late ‘80’s, early 90’s, and sold my first book in 2006 (published in 2007).  Since 2007, I’ve hit the USA Today, NY Times, Publisher’s Weekly, had my (former) publisher go bankrupt and close its doors, seen over half of the US bookstores go out of business, and seen the rise of ebooks and self-publishing totally change the publishing landscape, and returned to publishing after three and a half years away to find everything dramatically different than it was in 2011.

10. Never stop reading. 

Read a lot.  Always.  Love of writing stories begins with love of reading stories, so reading is something writers should make time to do every day. And you should read outside your own genre, too.  This is important.  It’s something I often forget, simply because I love reading the genres I write most of all, but reading outside your own genre is akin to thinking outside the box.  You’ll never know what is going to spark that next unique idea, so broadening your reading horizons is a great way to prep your brain for making interesting new leaps and connections! Now, with ebooks, I have an extensive library that is always with me on my cell phone, iPad, and Nook.

9. Build a Circle of (Writer) Friends.

No one understands the ups and downs of being a writer as much as other writers.  No one can help you celebrate the successes and get through the downturns like other writers.  I have a close, tight-knit circle of writer friends—my BFFs—with whom I share everything.  I wouldn’t be published without them.  We brainstorm, help each other when we’re stuck, laugh, cry, support each other when our books come out, and generally act as confidant, safety net, cheer squad, commiseration crew, and all-around besties for one another.  My life is so much richer for having this circle of friends in it.

8. Learn how long it takes you to write a book BEFORE you sell one. 

I wish I’d learned this before I sold, but between the day job, family, and the constant shuffling of priorities, I didn’t know.  I still don’t.  I’m getting better at it though.  One way to estimate is to track your word count every time you write.  Figure out about how many words you write per hour on average, and how many hours per week you write on average.  That will give you a good idea of how long it will take you to write a rough draft of say, 100,000 words. (or 150,000 in my case!)

7. Learn to call for help when you get stuck. (See Circle of Friends above). 

For me, I can get (and have gotten) stuck for weeks, even months at a time, and you can’t afford to do that while under deadline, so you need to set a time limit on the “I can figure this out myself” part of your “writer’s block” and call in reinforcements when needed.  A few minutes on the phone with a friend, a few probing questions about plot, character motivation, etc., and even if the friend doesn’t come up with the answer, her questions help you figure it out yourself!

6. Keep learning.

No matter how much you know about writing, about publishing about anything, there’s always something new to learn.  Keep asking questions, keep listening, keeping learning about the craft and the industry.

5. Remember, once you’re published, writing is a business, and you are the business owner!

As much as I wish I could just write a book and forget about the rest, that’s not how being a published author works.  You need to learn how the publishing business works.  You need to learn how to promote your work (and that includes how NOT to promote your work).  You need to understand how to read contracts so you know what you’re signing. (Having an agent helps a lot for contracts and negotiations, but at the end of the day, it’s your name on the contract, not hers.)  Once you’re published, writing can’t be that thing you do when the muse strikes.  It has to be that thing you do even when you have to drag your muse kicking and screaming out of whatever fluffy, warm bed she’s snuggled into to hibernate!

4. Keep the day job!

Contrary to popular opinion, most published authors don’t make enough money from their work to live on.  Even being a New York Times bestseller doesn’t guarantee you’re pulling down a six-figure or even a high-five-digit salary (especially these days).  And with print publishing, royalties are paid out over the course of three or more years, not months.  My college writing professors told me that only approximately 30% of all authors support themselves on their writing.  I’m not sure what the statistics are today, but I don’t think things have changed that much.

3. Understand that no matter how great your book is, someone out there is going to hate it. 

And they’re going to get on the internet and tell everyone who will listen just how awful your darling masterpiece is.  This remains the hardest thing for me.  No matter how many books I have published, or how many people love those books and give it rave reviews, having someone who didn’t love one of my books go online to shred that book to bits…well, it hurts.  So when I see that someone is about to take a butcher knife to my baby, I turn and walk away.  Don’t want to see it.  Can’t let that negativity into my creative space.  I’m hard enough on myself as it is without piling on other people’s criticism to boot.  It does nothing to help my writing and it does a whole lot to hurt it.  So, as my son says, Swerve!

Apart from that, there is one other trick I’ve learned to help put bad reviews in perspective.  I’ve done it many times.  The trick is this: I go to an online bookstore, and pull up one of my all time favorite books (books I think are sheer masterpieces, books that made me swoon, books I’ve read until the pages are falling out).  Then I go to the 1 star reviews for that book and I read them. It helps me realize that no matter how perfect a book is, if enough people read it, somewhere out there, someone is going to despise that book as much as I adore it. Makes no sense to me, but they do.

2. Power Hour really works.

Among my Circle of Friends (see above), there are about 5 of us who get together 3-4 hours of every day to write.  We conference call each other at pre-determined times and report in our starting word counts. (Cell Phones are GREAT for this – but divvy up who is conferencing whom into the call so you don’t run out of minutes) Then the phone goes off, and we write.  During Power Hour, we do not get on Facebook, we do not answer email, we do not text or take phone calls or allow interruptions.  We Write.  At the end of the hour, we conference call back in to report our ending word counts. You’d be shocked how much we get done.   A little friendly competition goes a long way…and so does knowing your friends are counting on you to write with them, even when you’d rather sleep in or read that book that’s calling to you.  Plus we get to chat with our Circle of Friends several times a day, every day, and that is worth my weight in international long distance minutes! (which is to say, a LOT!) Those of us used to working 8-12 hours or more a day are making the same daily word count in 3-4 hours with Power Hours.  Wow.  That leaves us free to spend the rest of the time devoted to my next Lesson I’ve Learned….

1. Make Time for Other Things. 

It’s very easy to let a job you love consume you (especially when you work from home). Refilling the well is a vital activity for every creative person.  Find things away from writing and your computer that relax you, challenge you, make you happy.  Make time for family, friends, and yourself, too!  How can you refill the creative well if you’re constantly draining it dry?

Life is meant for living…so live it!  And love it!  Find your happiness where you can and thank whatever high power you believe in for every glorious new day.

More About The Winter King

Wynter Atrialan, the Winter King, once lived in peace with his southern, Summerlander neighbors, but when Falcon, the prince of Summerlea, stole Wynter’s bride and murdered his young brother, Wynter vows vengeance. Calling upon a dangerous Wintercraig magic called the Ice Heart, he gathers his armies and marches against Summerlea, crushing their armies and spreading icy winter in his wake.

After three long, bitter years of battle, Summerlea is defeated and Wynter comes to the heart of the kingdom to issue his terms for their surrender. The prince of Summerlea stole Wynter’s bride and slew Wynter’s Heir. He wants the loss replaced. The Ice Heart is consuming him. Wynter hopes holding his own child in his arms will rekindle the warmth of love and melt the Ice Heart before he becomes the monster of Wintercraig legend, the Ice King.

The Summer King has three very precious daughters whom he loves dearly. Wynter will take one of them to wife. She will have one year to provide him with an Heir. If she fails, he will turn her out in the ice and snow of the mountains and claim another princess for his wife. And so it will continue until Wynter has his Heir or the Summer King is out of daughters. All the while, Wynter will enjoy the vengeance of knowing the Summer King will suffer each day without his beloved daughter(s), as Wynter suffers each day without his own beloved brother.

The plan is perfect—except for one small detail. The Summer King has a fourth daughter. One of which he is not so fond.

Blamed as a child for the death of her beloved mother, Khamsin Coruscate, the forgotten princess of Summerlea, has spent her life hidden from the world like an embarrassing secret. Dressed in cast-off gowns and left to her own devices, with only the determination of her loyal nursemaid to ensure she receives the education befitting an Heir to the Summer Throne, Khamsin haunts the abandoned towers and gardens of Summerlea’s royal palace, close to her beloved late mother’s treasures, and waits for the day her father will recognize her as a Princess of the Rose. But though she dreams of the valor and sacrifices of ancient Summerlea heroes and pines for paternal love that will never come, Khamsin is no sweet, gentle, helpless princess-in-a-tower. She is a fiercely passionate creature with a volatile, rebellious temper that is often as reckless and destructive as the dangerous forces of her weathergift, the power of storms.

Together will their stormy personalities be able to meld or will their powers destroy not only their love but the whole world?

Add it to your Goodreads Shelf

Available for purchase at Avon Romance Amazon  BN  Kobo

C.L. Wilson

C.L. Wilson

More About C.L. Wilson

Praised for exceptional worldbuilding and lyric prose, C.L. Wilson’s unique blend of action, romance, and richly-imagined fantasy have endeared her books romance and fantasy readers alike.  Her critically acclaimed novels have regularly appeared on bestseller lists including the USA Today, the New York Times, and Publisher’s Weekly.

When not torturing her characters mercilessly, C.L. enjoys reading, questing through the wilds of the latest Elder Scrolls game and dreaming of a world where Bluebell’s Nutty Chocolate ice cream is a fat burning food.

She can be found online here:

Tour Giveaway

White rose snow globe pendant

“A copy of THE WINTER KING, complete with a gorgeous white rose snow globe pendant reminiscent of the book!”

U.S. only. Click here for the Rafflecopter link. 

The Winter King Banner

Queen of Song and Souls

I know I’ve been unbelievably quiet lately, but I’m also a big believer in C.L. Wilson’s #1 piece of advice (this week, I’m spending lots of time with my family) and her #10 (I finished Laurence Gonzales’ LUCY: realized not long after starting it that, despite some superficial similarities, the book and the movie are two different stories… more on that later). Now I’m debating whether my next book should be another in Wilson’s Tairen Soul series or THE WINTER KING… It’s good to have choices! :-D

Hope everyone else is having a terrific August full of everything fun and/or productive: vacations, reading, writing, family, new places imagined or real… Thank you to C.L. Wilson for guest blogging today!


#Writing Workshops for August

RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter is offering two workshops in August. Descriptions, sign up links, and other details are below. Reminder: If you are a writing instructor who would like to teach a class for FF&P, please consider submitting a proposal. We are currently scheduling workshops for the first half of 2015. For more information, please contact me.

LAYERED PLOT TECHNIQUES

We all want to tell a compelling story. We all want our books to be un-put-downable.

When we study a number of plotting techniques, we discover they’re all similar, and different enough to seem discordant. It is possible to make that discord work for us. This class will show how to create a synthesis of techniques that will translate into strategies we can use to make our stories richer, deeper, stronger.

Layering Plot Techniques  focuses on synthesis and assimilation, starting with three of the instructor’s favorite plot techniques/structures: Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey, Michael Hauge’s six-stage structure and the W diagram.

At the end of the class, you’ll have a deeper understanding of plot than any of the techniques could give you alone.

Instructor Bio

In her previous life Terrel Hoffman studied physics, researched superconductors and wrote documentation for engineers. In her current incarnation, she writes paranormal romance and steampunk fantasy,  and teaches writing topics like this one. In addition to her degree in Physics and her educational forays into math and technical writing, she has trained to be a life coach. She is a certified guardian ad litem, has mentored at-risk kids on probation and has served as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in dependency. She holds memberships in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and RWA National, as well as several regional RWA chapters in the Pacific Northwest where she lives. The two cats who share her home assure her she is their property and treat her accordingly.

Cost: FFP Members:$25.00/Non-Members: $30.00

08/04/2014 – 08/31/2014

To sign up for this class, click here.

GAME OF HISTORICAL THRONES

USE THE PAST AS YOUR GUIDELINE FOR CHARACTER MOTIVATIONS, PLOT DETAILS AND WORLDBUILDING

This brilliant idea strikes! You know it’s a winner! It’s got everything you love in a story and you’re rarin’ ta go on it. Then reality strikes back. You have no idea why certain things happen, what should happen next, and there is this scary world building to deal with yet. What to do!!!!???

Head to the past, that’s what. People are people (even aliens from other planets and dimensions and parallel universes are people) and that means the sort of elements you need have been played out before…and will play out again and again and again over time.

In fact, using George R. R. Martin’s GAME OF THRONES as an illustration, see how he might have done just this!

In this 4-week workshop we’ll begin harvesting ideas from the past to recreate in our own special ways to fill the gaps in the brilliant idea waiting to be birthed. We’ll look at how these elements can be used in a contemporary tale or a historical story unrelated to the inspiration we’ll use or how it can show up in something you spin that takes place in the future.

And we’ll do it quick, getting ideas on where to go and what to mine as that brilliant idea evolves into a complete manuscript in your very near future.

Your brilliant idea can lean more toward romance, incorporate mystery, or be totally convoluted fantasy, so come one and come all!

Instructor Bio

Beth Daniels currently writes as Beth Henderson and J.B. Dane, though she answered to Lisa Dane and Beth Cruise in the past as well. She has worked with editors at Berkley, Zebra, Leisure, Harlequin/Silhouette, and Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin Paperbacks, done e-books for a now defunct company (not her fault, she says), and began her writing life with hardcover books slated for library use with a publisher that got out of the romance business (again, not her fault). More recently she’s had a number of articles about writing picked up by e-zines, saw a short story published in a mystery and suspense magazine that turned up its toes the next year (really, really not her fault), and has a story in the MOTHER GOOSE IS DEAD anthology from Dragon Moon Press. For over a dozen years Beth taught college level composition, both in the classroom and online, and a credit course on Novel Writing. Five of her former Novel class students are now published. Twenty-six of Beth’s manuscripts have appeared in print or e-book format. These have been historical romantic adventures (6), romantic comedies (10), romantic-suspense (3), and young adult romantic comedy (7). Her titles have appeared in 12 different languages in over 20 countries. At the moment she is working on various manuscripts and collaborated with another RWA member on a contemporary/fantasy/romantic adventure. She also ventured into self-publishing to keep her out-of-print backlist in print.

Cost: FFP Members:$15.00/Non-Members: $20.00

08/11/2014 – 08/18/2014

To sign up for this class, click here.


Goodreads #Giveaway and Other News

Hi all– quick post today to share links to two giveaways that end soon and links to a few new reviews:

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

Goodreads Book Giveaway

White Heart of Justice by Jill Archer

White Heart of Justice

by Jill Archer

Giveaway ends July 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

15 print copies (U.S. only)

If you’ve already bought the book and/or added it on Goodreads, please share the link with friends and followers.

Kings River Life

Review and Giveaway

Kings River Life is “a California magazine with local focus and global appeal.” It has a “Fantasy & Fangs” section that reviews fantasy and horror. Their reviewer recently reviewed WHOJ:

“[T]he journey approaches an epic, mythic level, pitting Noon against puzzles and monsters that can’t be defeated by flat-out attacks. The solutions are ingenious, and they help Noon build power in the magic she spent most of her life trying to hide and deny… Archer builds on the classic journey formula where the prize must be won at a cost.” Terrance McArthur for Kings River Life on White Heart of Justice

KRL is giving away one print copy of WHOJ (U.S. only). Giveaway ends tomorrow. Details on how to enter are here.

Other Wonderful Reviews and Reviewers

The Qwillery

“The chronicles of Noon’s journey to accept her place in her world culminates in a thrilling adventure… unpredictable and thoroughly satisfying… inspired and exhilarating… I loved the introduction of new creatures… [and] I love when an author surprises me. Archer raised my level of appreciation by catching me unawares.” Trinitytwo, reviewer for The Qwillery, on White Heart of Justice

 That’s What I’m Talking About

“[T]he overall story arc… was gripping and intriguing… [Noon's] growth over the course of these books is immense and heartfelt… If you are looking for something different – this alternate realty where the apocalypse has occurred and the demons won – you should really think about picking up the first book, Dark Light of Day and enjoy the journey.” Gikany & Una at That’s What I’m Talking About on White Heart of Justice

 Proud Nerd Book Reviews

“Archer does an excellent job of constructing and explaining the magical system in her world… the “law school” angle is intriguing… The fantasy elements in the story, especially magic and the demons, work extremely well… Anyone who reads fantasy, romance, or especially a combination of the two should thoroughly enjoy Noon’s adventures.” Matthew Cirilli for Proud Nerd Book Reviews on Dark Light of Day

“While Dark Light of Day focused on Noon’s myriad struggles coming to terms with her waning magic and her new life at St. Lucifer’s Law School, Fiery Edge of Steel sweeps Noon to the edges of New Babylonian civilization into the unknown… One of Jill Archer’s greatest strengths is her ability to create unique and intriguing creatures and characters to populate Halja.” Matthew Cirilli for Proud Nerd Book Reviews on Fiery Edge of Steel

Thank you to each of these reviewers for their interest and support! I’m grateful to them for taking the time to read the books, write such thorough and thoughtful reviews, and for sending me the links so that I can share them with you. If you aren’t already following them, please check out their sites.

Readers: I’m also incredibly grateful for your interest, support, ratings, and reviews. If you’ve read White Heart of Justice but haven’t yet posted a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, GoodreadsPowell’s Books, or wherever you hang out online, please consider adding your thoughts and comments! :-D

Best wishes for a terrific weekend, everyone!


16 Favorite Fairytale Films by Juli D. Revezzo and Jill Archer

Paranormal romance author Juli D. Revezzo was one of the first people to reach out and connect with me when I first started blogging. Two years ago she guest blogged here about “Ghosts as Paranormal Heroes.” [Two years! How the heck did that happen?!] She has a new book out called CHANGELING’S CROWN. When she contacted me about guest blogging again we discussed a few topics and one of them was fairytale film adaptations. Juli said she’d love to write a post about her favorites. And — because I couldn’t resist — I added a few of my own below too. Welcome, Juli!

 

Juli’s Favorite Fairytale Films

Jill asked me to come today to talk about fairy tale movie adaptations. There are some great ones out there—and some not so great. Let’s dispense with the not-so-great for the moment, these are my top favorites. Do I think these movies may’ve had an influence on my new release, CHANGELING’S CROWN? I’ll let you see what you think. :-)

10: Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, Twilight’s Kristen Stewart was miscast, but she pulled it off. More importantly, the story was well done and Snow White doesn’t rely just on the prince to save her hide. I liked that.

9: Enchanted: Princess Giselle is sent to New York City by an evil queen. A quirky take on the princess and fairy godmother story.

8. Cinderella by Disney. Of course, you can’t really go wrong with this adaptation.

7. Shrek. Mashing all the faery tales together and giving them new problems? Brilliant.

6. Princess Bride. A tongue-in-cheek take on faery tale themes. A poor girl falls in love, loses her love, and is forced to marry a prince. But someone comes to change her plans. And some very memorable lines to boot.

5. The Little Mermaid. Disney paints a happier version of the tale yet it’s still by far the best. You all know this one, Ariel, the little mermaid, falls for a prince, and trades her voice to her father’s rival in order to gain human legs so she can be with him. In true Disney fashion, it ends happily.

4. The Princess Diaries. Mia, a typical teen, finds out her father was a prince and she his only heir. She is swept up into lessons at her grandmother’s behest so she can rule their small kingdom. Charming and funny YA series, the movies only hint at the fun tale Meg Cabot spins.

3. Pan’s Labyrinth: A young girl living during the Spanish Civil war meets a mysterious faun at the heart of a labyrinth and to fulfill his prophecy she must complete three tasks. If she does, she will take up her destiny as a princess, missing for decades. If not…she’ll be forever doomed to live under the iron rule of her evil stepfather.

2. Red Riding Hood. This one is the latest adaptation starring Gary Oldman. The bones of the story are here, but barely. In a nutshell, the lead actress lives in a village plagued by wolf attacks. When her sister falls victim to the attacks, a zealous priest comes into town and tells them it’s not just a wolf, but a curse and he’s going to rid them of. Red is part of a love triangle with one man, and another whom she loves. But mama and grandma won’t let her chose the one she wants most. Meanwhile, the villagers go after the wolf only to narrow it down to one possible suspect. Guess who gets to take the blame for the wolf attacks? Really a brilliant twist on the tale, I think, if some of the acting (not Oldman’s) leaves something to be desired.

1. Labyrinth. A young girl, sick of her boring life and little brother, tells him a bedtime story of child-stealing goblins, never knowing they’re about to grant her wish. Plus, you get David Bowie as the goblin king and a great soundtrack. What’s not to love?

So all these somehow had an influence on my latest book, CHANGELING’S CROWN. Would you like to see if you agree?  Here’s the synopsis:

CHANGELINGS CROWNWhen Ianthe began her career as a faery godmother, she stumbled so badly that Snow White will probably never speak to her again. After a long suspension, she’s finally been given a chance to redeem herself…but everything on this latest assignment is going wrong.

But why?

Worse, she definitely doesn’t need an attractive mortal man distracting her from her duties. Of course, needs and wants are two different things.

Briak has had his eye on Ianthe for a very, very long time, but he’s been waiting for just the right moment to make his move. Despite the fact all hell’s about to break loose on his watch, he can’t resist the opportunity to insert himself into her earthly assignment. Can he convince Ianthe of her true calling and thereby win her heart? Or will his subterfuge ultimately cost him her love?

CHANGELING’S CROWN is available at:

I hope you will enjoy it, and my thanks to Jill for inviting me here today!

More about Juli

Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl, with a love of fantasy, science fiction, and Arthurian legend, so much so she gained a B.A. in English and American Literature. She loves writing stories with fantastical elements whether it be a full-on fantasy, or a story set in this world-slightly askew. She has been published in short form in Eternal Haunted Summer, Dark Things II: Cat Crimes (a charity anthology for cat related charities), Luna Station Quarterly, Crossing the River, An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys; The Scribing Ibis: An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth, Twisted Dreams Magazine and more. She’s the author of The Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Harshad Wars series.

Jill’s Favorite Fairytale Films

Some of Juli’s favorites are on my list too. My thoughts on some of her choices?

Snow White and the Huntsman: I thought Kristen Stewart was okay. She would have been better if she hadn’t reminded me so much of Bella. Charlize Theron rocked her role as she always does.

Enchanted: on my list too! I adored this film. Amy Adams is absolutely fantastic. Only she could pull off a role like that — part poking good fun of the princess stereotype, part reminding us why we love it so much. She’s one of my favorite actresses because she has such range but also because of the Happy Working Song. Anyone who has spent precious time cleaning toilets, scrubbing soap scum, or doing loads of laundry is indebted to her for actually making it look funny.

Princess Bride: Yep, agree with Juli. Anything that spawns this many quotes deserves a spot on everyone’s list.

Pan’s Labyrinth: This one’s on my list too for the dark visuals and its multi-layered storyline that leaves the film’s ending and meaning open to multiple interpretations.

Red Riding Hood: This one’s not on my list, but it IS a fun film to talk about. I mostly agree w Juli’s take. My Jan 2012 review has my thoughts on who I thought the real stars were and what I most wanted to see Virginia Madsen do in that film.

Labyrinth: How the hell did I miss seeing this film? It may have been that I didn’t trust Bowie’s involvement. (I seem to recall being underwhelmed by Sting in Dune two years earlier, but I honestly can’t remember.)

And here are my adds:

#6 — Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? Kind of a cheat since it’s based on an epic poem not a fairytale but George Clooney and his Dapper Dan pomade made me an instant fan. As well acted as Amy Adams in Enchanted and as quotable as Princess Bride.

#5 — Edward Scissorhands. It’s no secret that I like Tim Burton. Slightly Frankenstein-esque but very original.

#4 — Sleepy Hollow. I also like Christina Ricci. For years, we used to watch this movie every Halloween.

#3 — Black Swan: also kind of a cheat because it references Swan Lake rather than retelling it. But it makes my list because it’s incredibly creepy and I’m a fan of movies that play with the line between reality and fantasy.

#2 — A.I. Artificial Intelligence: inspired by Pinocchio. Heartbreaking. Spielberg made me care about an A.I. character (something that’s not real twice over!) David is a fictional robot who wants to become a real boy so his human mother will love him. Ugh. I’m sad just remembering it.

#1 — Hoodwinked: ‘Cause I gotta end on a happy note AND because my girls and I often break out into song whenever we refer to this movie. I also love the non-linear plot and the quirkiness of the characters and humor.

 Do you agree with our choices? What are yours? Thank you to Juli for guest blogging today!


Last Day! My White Heart of Justice blog tour is coming to a close…

Today’s menu:

  1. Final list of topics and links in WHOJ blog tour
  2. Discussion questions for White Heart of Justice
  3. Brief bit about the current “should adults read YA?” debate

I’ve had a terrific time visiting all of the blog hosts and reading and responding to reader comments. Each release has had its own vibe and I gotta say — even despite the uncertain future of the series — WHOJ’s release has been my favorite. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting to know the online book blogging community better (and they are getting to know me) or maybe it’s because I wasn’t a clueless newbie nor was I under enormous deadline pressure at release time. Regardless, I’ve had fun and I hope you have too. As a final thank you and one last chance for everyone to enter to win my awesome prizes, I’m listing all the blog tour participants below with dedicated links to each site and a brief description of topics. If you haven’t already checked out the posts, interviews, and reviews, please do! I am grateful to each and every tour participant and to Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours for setting it up.

What else have I been working on? Among other things, I’ve been tinkering with my website. As promised, I added Discussion Questions for White Heart of Justice. If you read the ones for either Dark Light of Day or Fiery Edge of Steel, you know they contain MASSIVE SPOILERS. Pretty much the entire plot is revealed so don’t read them if you haven’t already read the book(s). Also, after nearly three years of blogging with the same header pic, I finally decided to change it. For those of you who get updates via email, I’m including the before and after pic. I also created a static landing page for my blog. It’s an experiment. I had been using my latest blog posts as a landing page, but it’s probably time to switch over to a static “hello, welcome, here’s who I am and what I write,” right? Check out the new static page here and let me know what you think.

iStock/almotional

BEFORE: Gargoyle of Notre Dame de Paris

iStock/maroznc

AFTER: architecture in Ghent, Belgium

What’s next? Ha! Well, those of you who have been following along on the tour know that I’ve got at least two potential WIPs waiting in the wings: a Noon Onyx B4 and a new, fantastic, creepy-romantic “YA deuce” I’ve been working on (meaning I envision two books). An aside: lots of online noise lately about whether adults should read YA or not. Wow. Really? I’m not going to waste too much time on an articulate response, but the very idea of someone else telling me what I should or shouldn’t read is mind-blowing. My general approach to reading fiction for entertainment is READ WHAT YOU LIKE, PEOPLE. And don’t let anyone tell you to read anything different. At one time or another, readers of young adult, new adult, romance, science fiction, and fantasy have all been called out for their “odd tastes.” What do I do when I hear this sort of nonsense? Ignore, ignore, ignore…. (Now if you’re reading for educational purposes, the entire discussion changes, but that’s a discussion for another day). Keep calm and read on, my fellow genre lovers!

Below are the WHOJ blog tour topics and links. Except for the post where I’ll be announcing the blog tour prize winners, this is the last you’ll hear about WHOJ in such concentrated fashion. You have all been WONDERFUL SPORTS, but I’m sure you’re looking forward to posts on some other topics too. Speaking of that, I’ve got a great guest blogger stopping by tomorrow — Susannah Sandlin (a.k.a. Suzanne Johnson) with her five favorite scenes from Allegiance. See you then! :-D

BLOG TOUR DATES, TOPICS, AND LINKS

For giveaway details see below

Teaser posts and posts marked with an * are outside of the BBT tour

May 20 Spotlight/Excerpt

Butterfly-o-Meter Books

 

May 20 Review

“The best so far… I SERIOUSLY CHEERED”

Happy Tails and Tales

 

May 21 Interview

Books Direct

Topics: what my family thinks of my writing, thoughts on a possible B4, more hints about a future short story featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest

 

May 21 Spotlight

Bookin’ It Reviews

 

May 21 Spotlight

Deb Sanders

 

May 22 Guest Blog

Magic and Mayhem

Top 5 Cool Things You Can Do With A Sword &

Why Heroes and Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

 

May 22 Spotlight

Coffee Break

 

May 22 Spotlight

Cherry Mischievous

 

May 23 Guest Blog

Christina McKnight

Reinventing the Goddess of Sleep: how I used Caer Ibormeith as inspiration for a new patron demon

 

May 23 Spotlight

Shut Up & Read

 
* May 27 RELEASE DAY PARTY!
Bitten By Books
Kalisto’s Crystal Palace and Raphael Sinclair’s Wish: I discuss how I created the setting for the “gearing up” scene. My inspirations? Snow globes, greenhouses, guardian angels, London’s Crystal Palace, whether and when wishes should be granted… and there’s an excerpt that sheds some light on my Rafe sneak peek tweet.
 

May 28 Guest Blog

Night Owl Reviews

Gifts from the Gods: What do rusty gardening tools and 1981′s Clash of the Titans have in common? What the heck is a daisy grubber? Did Noon’s mom really give her “one to grow on” in each book so far?

 

* May 28 Guest Blog

The Reading Café

Topic: The Noon Onyx Covers — discussed in greater detail than ever before! (And there’s a fun, little “ode to covers” intro)

Review too! (“A must read for fans of urban fantasy and dystopian fairy tales where Armageddon is only the beginning, not the end.”)

.

May 29&30 Spotlight and Review

What the Cat Read

Dark Light of Day (“I loved Noon. She’s feisty, conflicted, [and] rather sarcastic at times…”)

Fiery Edge of Steel (“Ah, Rafe… he stole the show in this book.”)

White Heart of Justice (“I have to give Archer serious purrs and a tail wave of approval for this one… Action, adventure, romance, humor, suspense, danger, deception…”)

.

* May 29 Guest Blog
SFSignal
Topic: What Is It With The Devil and Violins? Come read about The Fifth String, Norwegian fossegrimen, and Fiddler’s Green. BONUS: I share the original titles to each of the Noon Onyx books. WHOJ’s is the best!

 

May 30 Interview

CBY Book Club

Wanna know what my very first favorite book was? I also talk about books in my TBR pile: past, present, and future.

 

May 30 Spotlight

Melissa Stevens

 

June 2 review 

“If you’re looking for a new adult fantasy series with exceptional world building, exciting storylines, and strong characters, you need to try the Noon Onyx books.”

Tynga’s Reviews

 

June 3 Guest Blog

Preternatura

Topic: Lord Lawless and the Festival of Frivolity (how I used Saturnalia and the Lord of Misrule as inspiration for a St. Luck’s winter celebration)

 

June 4 Guest blog

Addicted 2 Heroines

Topic: Noon’s missing tooth. Yep, Noon loses her tooth in Chapter 1. Come read about why I knocked it out and give me your opinion on über heroines: If you could choose only one word to describe your ideal heroine, would it be interesting, relatable, or admirable?

 

June 5 Interview

JeanzBookReadNReview

Topics: Reviews, DNFs, and book trailers

 

June 6 Interview

Fantasy Book Addict

If you could choose one book cover to put on your wall as a poster, what would it be? I also talk about how I came up with Noon’s name.

 

June 6 review

“With WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, the Noon Onyx series is now one of my favorite urban/dark fantasy series.”

Leeanna.me

 

June 9 Spotlight

3 Partners in shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

 

June 9 review and interview

Topics: Am I a pioneer of New Adult Fantasy? I also include a message for Spanish and international readers.

Review: “This book is a homage to Noon’s independence…. With a quirky sense of humour and [fantastic] worldbuilding, White Heart of Justice delves deep into a quest of magic, freedom, redemption and love.”

Tower of Babel

 

June 10 Spotlight

On the Broomstick

 

June 10 Spotlight

Fang-tastic Books

TEASER POSTS

Cover Reveal

The Laurel Crown Race and Its Targets

What Can Readers Expect and Sneak Peek at Page Proofs: Prologue and Page One

The Noon Onyx Series: Urban Fantasy, New Adult… or Neither?

RT Book Reviews: White Heart of Justice

Publishers Weekly: White Heart of Justice

Sneak Peek Tweets + Giveaway

Super Quick Author Interview at Night Owl Reviews

BBT TOUR-WIDE GIVEAWAYS

  • $50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice) (international)
  • 5 copies of White Heart of Justice (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice) (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address)
  • Dark Light of Day themed SWAG pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)
  • Fiery Edge of Steel themed SWAG pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)
  • White Heart of Justice themed SWAG pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 18 and over. For official rules, please see my Giveaways page.

DARK LIGHT OF DAY

PRIZE PACKDark Light of Day Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of Dark Light of Day
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • Natural Face Paint Kit
  • Orange Silk Flower Hair Clip
  • Atomic Fireball Candies
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

PRIZE PACKFiery Edge of Steel Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of Fiery Edge of Steel
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • “The Queen of Flowers” T-shirt Tank Top
  • Set of three Silver Glass Mercury Votive Holders
  • Petite Pear Candies
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

PRIZE PACKWhite Heart of Justice Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of White Heart of Justice
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • White Crystal Headband
  • Vintage Star Pin
  • White Chocolate Meltaways
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack

White Heart of Justice, Jill Archer, Noon Onyx, dark fantasy, fantasy, urban fantasy, demons, angels, post-apocalyptic


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