Posts Tagged ‘kalayna price’

Two quick things before I get dug in for the day:

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Kalayna Price for hitting the USA Today bestseller list with her fabulous Alex Craft novel GRAVE MEMORY (sequel to GRAVE WITCH and GRAVE DANCE)!  Says Romantic Times, “This continues to be a truly original and compelling UF series.” I couldn’t agree more.

D.B. Jackson is currently on tour (blog and signing) for his debut historical fantasy THIEFTAKER.  Check him out on John Scalzi’s Big Idea blog or drop by his website for other tour stops.

First, I want to wish an incredibly happy book birthday to D.B. Jackson and Kalayna Price for THIEFTAKER and GRAVE MEMORY respectively!  Check out last week’s guest blogs by D.B. Jackson and Kalayna Price (and, of course, I hope you’ll want to check out their new works as well)!

Actually blogging on my own blog today about…

Saving Your Sanity

A novel can, and often does, take months and months to complete.  Sometimes you have writers groups or critique partners reading as you go, offering support and encouragement, but often, especially if you’re on tight deadlines and don’t have the time to go through this process, you’re on your own.  Motivation and  gratification have to come from within.  Likewise, there can be many months between book releases (and thus reviews and other accompanying hoopla) where you’re not getting the validation or kudos that feel so good and can help you when you’re having a hard time.

This is one of the many reasons fan letters are wonderful.  They remind you that you’re touching people with your words, even while you’re hiding out in your author cave, unbathed and unbrushed for possibly days on end as you rush toward the breathless conclusion of your book.  But you can’t always count on external pick-me-ups, so I wanted to talk a little bit here about keeping up a healthy mindset.  Here are a few of my tricks.  I hope they help and that if you have others, you’ll share them here.

  1. I bead.  I make jewelry.  Because novels can take so long to write and then revise, I need some form of instant creative gratification.  I can make a single-strand necklace in an hour.  Multi-strands obviously take more time.  Sometimes I need to do a project from start to finish just for that sense of satisfaction.  Maybe for others it will be writing flash fiction or running or cardmaking.  It’s incredibly valuable to have something that will give you victories throughout the days and weeks of writing.
  2. My ring.  Not the One Ring, though that would be pretty cool, but a freshwater pearl and moonstone ring I bought when I made the first sale of my own fiction.  I wear it everywhere.  Every time I receive compliments on it, I can mention it’s meaning, and it makes me happy.  It reminds me of something positive.  I now buy something special (it doesn’t have to be expensive) when I receive my first advance from any new sale because I have tangible and constant reminders of successes.
  3. Taking time.  Sometimes forcing things just locks you up.  You have to take some time for yourself.  When I was training to participate in the PALS program in college, the woman teaching the seminar talked about the importance of renewal like this:

There once was a woman with an apple barrel filled to the brim.  She was generous and gave her apples out to everyone, until one day she reached into the barrel and found she was scraping the bottom.  There were no more apples!  She had given them all away and hadn’t kept even one for herself for eating or planting of seeds, and thus found she had no more to give.

She probably used a lot more words, but the message is the same.  You’ve got to keep something for yourself and take time away to plant new seeds and let them sprout.  Sometimes you have to say no (to judging contests or giving quotes or writing just one more guest blog) to take the time you need for yourself and avoid burn-out.

  1. Cheering on others’ victories is pretty fabulous.  Gives you the same endorphin rush as celebrating your own.  Maybe more, because there’s no tiny seed of doubt about whether you’re truly worthy (…oh, is my psyche showing?).  So cheer on others as you would have them cheer on for you (and now it’s that Catholic upbringing).

I hope these help.  I’d love to have you share ways in which you renew and enrich yourselves as writers.

Kalayna Price had me at “hello.”  Seriously, the opening of the Alex Craft series is like a textbook example of how to hook readers right out of the gate.  Check it:

The first time I encountered Death, I hurled my mother’s medical chart at him.  As far as impressions went, I blew it, but I was five a tthe time, so he eventually forgave me.  Some days I wished he hadn’t—particularly when we crossed paths on the job.  — from GRAVE WITCH

Since then she’s continued to impress me with her voice, her characters and, yes, her wicked streak.  I hope you’ll enjoy her guest blog and that you’ll leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books.  The latest, GRAVE MEMORY, will release on Tuesday, July 3rd!

                                                           

Okay, but it’s going to cost you.

In life most of us avoid conflict. We don’t necessarily take the easy path, but we’d rather avoid the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.” The smoother ride is preferred.

In fiction, the opposite is true.

Characters are put through the wringer and given two bad paths to choose from. Why? Not because the writers are evil overloads who wish to torture their unsuspecting characters, but because conflict creates interest and forces character growth. A story in which everything went well for the character and around each turn something even better happened would be like sitting down and tackling an entire triple chocolate cheesecake. The first couple bites might be decadent, but it would get sickening fast. No fun.

So we make it hard for our characters. We give them no good place to turn. We make every action count and each one come at a cost.  This cost may be major or minor and might be physical or emotional, but it has to hold a proportional amount of weight in comparison with what is at stake. It also has to affect to story, not just be thrown in there to create false conflict. If the cost is easily sidestepped or has no bearing on the story, it isn’t good conflict, and the reader probably won’t care.

How do you find this cost? Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen in the situation you are dealing with (or make a list of worse-case scenarios) and then find a compelling reason why the character has no other choice but take that route. Note the words “compelling” and “no other choice.” If the reader is sitting in their seat thinking, “Why didn’t the character just . . . “ the writer hasn’t done their job well and the suspension of belief is broken.

Of course, all these hard choices and agonizing decisions pay off in the end. They force the character grow so that in the final challenge, they can succeed—at least partially.  Depending on your genre, boy might get girl, the killer found, the bad guy foiled, and/or the world saved. For now.

Hey, we all like our cake at the end, right?

________________________

Check out Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft novels (GRAVE WITCH, GRAVE DANCE and GRAVE MEMORY) and Haven series on her website.  Follow her on Twitter.

I feel like a lot of my posts are titled “So Much….”  Contrary to exaggerated predictions in 2011 about the death of publishing, 2012 has been probably the busiest year ever, so far!  So, when I find a spare second to update my blog, I feel like I’ve got a ton all stored up.

To start with, I want to give a shout out and congratulation J. Kathleen Cheney on the sale of her wonderful historical fantasy series to Ace.  Based on our announcement:  J. Kathleen Cheney‘s OF AMBERGRIS, BLOOD, AND BRANDY, a novel of fantasy, suspense, and romance set in an alternate turn-of-the-century Portugal in which races of shape-shifters live in secret, and a fantastical underwater work of art and a psychopathic killer become tangled in a string of murders that threaten the stability of the entire nation, sold to Kat Sherbo at Ace Books.

And I’ve been remiss offering congratulations on a batch of other great new sales over the past month:

Kira Sinclair‘s three novels set in Sweetheart, South Carolina – a small southern town where the men are sinful, the women are feisty and Cupid always wins, to Laura Barth at Harlequin Blaze.

N.K. Jemisin‘s three books in a post-apocalyptic epic fantasy, in which a heroine searches for her lost daughter in a world torn apart by seismic magic, to Devi Pillai of Orbit.

Beth Cornelison‘s final installment of the Black Ops Rescues series and a new trilogy featuring three Louisiana brothers who take on danger and natural disaster to defend the women they love, to Keyren Gerlach of Silhouette Romantic Suspense.

Carol Berg‘s two books in the Sanctuary series, involving fantasy and forensics, to Anne Sowards of Roc.

Steven Harper‘s THE HAVOC MACHINE, fourth novel in the steampunk Clockwork Empire series, to Anne Sowards of Roc.

Congratulations to you all!   I’m really looking forward to all of these forthcoming releases!

Also, you know that saying about how you can’t please all of the people all of the time?  Well, on Magical Words, which I guest blog for regularly, AJ Hartley did a wonderful post a few days ago on Dealing with Negativity.  It’s something we all encounter, and it can be so damaging to your psyche and reputation, but I think his post helps put it into perspective.

In other news, Chloe Neill is giving away two ARCs of BITING COLD, the latest novel in her New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series here on her blog.  Contest ends at midnight on May 21st, so enter soon for a chance to win!

Kalayna Price is also running a great ARC giveaway for the latest in her USA Today bestselling Alex Craft series.  This one closes a day earlier, so you’ll want to check it out right away!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted‘s acclaimed novel THE BRO-MAGNET is currently free(!) on Kindle, so get it while it’s hot!

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended my first-ever Dragon*Con, and I just have to say…WOW.  Huge, amazing, such a sense of community.  Loved it.  Yes, there will be pics at the end of this post.  Before I get to that, a few things:

More than Publicity debuted the music video for my Vamped series at Dragon*Con.  You can view it here.  It’s not quite final yet.  As soon as it is, I’ll be blasting it out there, posing on my website…you name it.  I think the song is addictive, which I can say because while I had input, all the credit goes to the amazing artist, Catriona, and to Shannon Aviles at MTP.

I was up yesterday on Mike Kabongo’s Agent Incite blog with “The Real: Lucienne Diver.”  Hope my answers do justice to the spirit of fun inherent in the questions themselves.

Also yesterday, the amazing DEAR BULLY anthology released from HarperTeen.  This is a collection of essays and other non-fiction formats written by 70 young adult authors about bullying, complete with an index of resources for those who need to know how to reach out.  A portion of the proceeds to to the Stomp Out Bullying campaign.  Yes, I’m a contributor to the anthology.  Yes, this is a subject matter very near and dear to my heart.

Charles de Lint gave Steven Harper’s WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL a nice write-up in his September/October “Books to Look For” feature in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

And now, some pics from Dragon*Con! (1-Magical Words gathering; 2-Rachel Caine and I as we begin booth set-up; 3-Jessi Vail, Kaylan Doyle, me, Samantha Sommersby, Melisa Todd and Sarah Weiss post booth set-up; 4-Part of The Knight Agency dinner (Marley Gibson, Deidre Knight, Tyler, Jennifer St. Giles, Jade Lee and Patrick Burns); 5- Another part of The Knight Agency dinner (Peter Wheeler, Kalayna Price, David B. Coe, Riley, Jud Knight and Faith Hunter); 6- Pete and I done up as Perseus and Andromeda for the masked ball; 7- The sith and I; 8- The Wizard of Oz (the first thing I saw upon entering my hotel!); 9- Zombie Cows; 10- Puppet Pal Snape & friend)

I can’t believe how quickly DragonCon is coming up!  It’s their 25th anniversary, so it should be a blow-out.  Guests include Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Maberry, Adam Baldwin, Christopher Lloyd, Edward James Olmos, Colin Ferguson…the list goes on and on.

For those of you planning your visit, I hope you’ll swing by and see me and the premier of my music video for the Vamped series in Booth 707 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta.  Many awesome authors will be participating, and you can probably find a full schedule of events at the DragonCon website, but I thought I’d post an at-a-glance list here for my authors who’ll be in attendance (Rachel Caine, David B. Coe, Faith Hunter, Kalayna Price and Susan Sizemore).  I’ve included my schedule below as well.  Unfortunately, due to her current health, Rob Thurman will be there only in spirit.  However, her booth mates will have an oversized card for people to sign (Marriott Marquis, Marquis Ballroom, Booths 100 & 102), and they’ll be passing out her giveaways and selling books on her behalf, so I hope you’ll stop by.

Rachel Caine
Title: Dark Shadows
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Fans of the Gothic soap opera discuss its enduring legacy.

Title: Fan Works
Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1)
Description: Fan fiction and fan art in YA.

Title: Reading: Rachel Caine
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1)

Title: Dragon*Autographs
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: M301 – M304 – Marriott (Length: 1)

Title: Faeries vs. Vampires
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1)
Description: Which is more awesome: Faeries or Vampires? Ladies and gentlemen, you must choose a side.

Title: Switching…YA to Adult or vice versa
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Greenbriar – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Differences in writing YA and adult works…does some of one creep in to the other?

Title: Online Interactions
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1)
Description: How do kids and teens use technology to interact with books and authors today? Do they expect more as they turn the last page of that novel?

(Also to be found for signings and swag in Booth 707 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta)

David B. Coe 
Title: Fightin’ and Writing’
Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Need an expert at sword fighting, martial arts, cutting edge munitions? You need to be here. These experts can help you develop your fight scenes.

Title: Writing Short Fiction
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Maybe novel-length fiction isn’t for you. Try the short story market.

Title: The Adventure Continues…
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Cairo – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Authors discuss creating and maintaining dark and urban fantasy series.

Title: Blood & Steel
Time: Sun 10:00 am Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Tales of swords, sorcery, and grim adventure.

Title: Reading: David B. Coe
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Roswell – Hyatt (Length: 1)

Title: Knowing your Audience
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: So, you sold a book. Who’s your audience? Do you write for your audience or for yourself? How do you discover who your audience really is?

Title: Your Voice
Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Editor’s rave over a writer with a distinct voice. How do you develop that rare quality that stands out above the rest?

(Also to be found for signings and swag in Booths 100 & 102 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta)

Lucienne Diver
Title: Plotting or Plodding?
Time: Sat 1:00 pm
Description: Developing intricate and layered plots that will keep readers turning pages.

Title: Editors and Agents Speak Out
Time: Sunday 8:30 pm
Description: How and why editors and agents choose the books/authors they choose.

Title: Your Voice
Time: Monday 10 AM
Description: Editors rave over a writer with a distinct voice. How do you develop that rare quality that stands out above the rest?

(Also to be found for signings, sales and swag in Booth 707 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta)

Faith Hunter
Title: Hunting Monsters for Fun and Profit
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Centennial II – III – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: A roundtable discussion by some of dark and urban fantasy’s biggest names.

Title: The Adventure Continues…
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Cairo – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Authors discuss creating and maintaining dark and urban fantasy series.

Title: Knowing your Audience
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: So, you sold a book. Who’s your audience? Do you write for your audience or for yourself? How do you discover who your audience really is?

Title: Your Voice
Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Editor’s rave over a writer with a distinct voice. How do you develop that rare quality that stands out above the rest?

Title: Reading:Faith Hunter
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Roswell – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

(Also to be found for signings and swag in Booths 100 & 102 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta)

Kalayna Price
Title: Spotlight: Witches
Description: Explores the role of witches in fantasy literature.
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Cairo – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Reading: Kalayna Price
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Roswell – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Spotlight: Dark Faeries
Description: A writer’s roundtable about the sinister side of the “Fair Folk.”
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Spotlight on BelleBooks & Bell Bridge Books
Description: Whether you’re writing about demons, vampires, teens, tweens, ghosts or grandmas, come and see what this dynamic niche publisher is looking for.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Knowing your Audience
Description: So, you sold a book. Who’s your audience? Do you write for your audience or for yourself? How do you discover who your audience really is?
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

(Also to be found for signings and swag in Booths 100 & 102 in the Marquis Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta)

Susan Sizemore
Title: Worldbuilding
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Learn how to choose the right details to make your world come alive.

Title: Dark Shadows
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Fans of the Gothic soap opera discuss its enduring legacy.

Title: Dragon*Autographs
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: M301 – M304 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Spotlight: Vampires
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: The current state, and possible future, of vampire fiction.

Title: Reading: Susan Sizemore
Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)