Posts Tagged ‘the golden city’

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J. Kathleen Cheney’s second novel, THE SEAT OF MAGIC, came out last week.  It’s an amazing novel, sequel to THE GOLDEN CITY, which was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel and received special acclaim as a best book of 2013 from Library Journal and Ranting Dragon!  She’s here today to talk about what she’s learned since then.

The Second Time Around… by J. Kathleen Cheney

For a bit of background, my novel The Seat of Magic debuted last week, right before the July 4th weekend, which was wonderful timing. The sequel to The Golden City, it’s a Historical Fantasy set in an alternate 1902 Portugal, with nonhumans and humans working together to stop two strings of murders in a city where the nonhumans have been banned.

Yes, my new book is a sequel. I’ve been through this book debut business before, and I learned some things from my first debut that have made this one much easier. So here are a few hints—for those aspiring writers out there—of what to expect when your turn comes around.

 

1) Reviews trickle in.

I don’t know why I had this perception before, but I believed (wrongly) that all the major outlets (Publisher’s Weekly, RT, Library Journal, Kirkus, etc.) would review my book months in advance.

Where I got that idea, I have no clue. They’re human, just like me, and they have to juggle a TBR pile far larger than mine. So this time around, I haven’t spent hours refreshing the webpages, wondering when they’ll get my review up. I’ve been more patient, and it’s been a less stressful experience for me. (The same goes for reader reviews, by the way. Not everyone will read your book the day it comes out…because hundreds of other books will come out on the same day!)

 

2) Things will go wrong, and it won’t be the end of the world.

Of the three signings I had set up for the debut of Book 1, two were hit by ice storms. Yes, even though you plan months in advance for everything to be perfect, things will happen that are simply beyond your control.

 

3) You don’t control those sales numbers either, so spend your time elsewhere.

As a brand-spanking-new writer, it’s easy to get hooked on refreshing Amazon every few minutes to see your author ranking change. (Going up, one hopes.) But knowing your sales figures doesn’t improve them. Concentrate on the things that you can affect to build readership instead, whether it’s blogging, making appearances, of writing something good. In fact, that has to be your first priority, because as a writer, you always need to be working on something new.

 

4) Expect a troll or two.

I’m a fairly inoffensive person online, so I was surprised to be hit by a troll reviewer within a day or two of my book’s debut. I couldn’t imagine why this reviewer was passionate enough about my book to write two full pages on why she didn’t like it, but she did. The truth is, someone is always going to dislike my writing, and they are going to talk about it online. I learned very quickly to spot that kind of reviews and walk away. It’s going to happen, but I don’t have to read them.

 

5) Enjoy where you are.

Not enjoying your novel debut is a bit like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest and not stopping to look around. Thousands of people would love to be where you are.

So expect a few things not to turn out like you’d hoped. That’s inevitable. Enjoy all the ones that do turn out the way you planned. Enjoy the signings and tweets from happy readers. Enjoy the blog posts and good reviews and friendly FB comments. Enjoy.

 

And then get back to writing…

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seatofmagic_100dpi BLURB for The Seat of Magic

Magical beings have been banned from the Golden City for decades, though many live there in secret. Now humans and nonhumans alike are in danger as evil stalks the streets, growing more powerful with every kill….

It’s been two weeks since Oriana Paredes was banished from the Golden City. Police consultant Duilio Ferreira, who himself has a talent he must keep secret, can’t escape the feeling that, though she’s supposedly returned home to her people, Oriana is in danger.

Adding to Duilio’s concerns is a string of recent murders in the city. Three victims have already been found, each without a mark upon her body. When a selkie under his brother’s protection goes missing, Duilio fears the killer is also targeting nonhuman prey.

To protect Oriana and uncover the truth, Duilio will have to risk revealing his own identity, put his trust in some unlikely allies, and consult a rare and malevolent text known as The Seat of Magic….

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Great Quotes for the Series

THE SEAT OF MAGIC

“[A] killer sequel…Intriguing and fun, the mystery unfolds like a socially conscious tour through a cabinet of curiosities.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[M]esmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly

“This second entry in the Golden City series is even better than its predecessor. Readers will be completely enthralled with the characters and the organic development of their relationship. It is a sheer delight to see more of Oriana and her people… Add to that an engaging world filled with selkies, sereia and the prohibition of magic and you won’t want to put The Seat of Magic down. This reviewer couldn’t help falling for the hot hero, whose banter with Oriana is awesome; their sweet romance is utterly charming.” —Romantic Times

goldencity_100dpi THE GOLDEN CITY

“VERDICT Cheney’s debut is a masterpiece of historical fantasy, set in early 1900s Portugal, a time and place rarely explored in English-language fiction. The fascinating mannerisms of the age and the extreme formality of two people growing fonder of each other add a charmingly fresh appeal that will cross over to romance fans as well as to period fantasy readers.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“Cheney’s The Golden City pulls readers in right off the bat, as the story kicks off with our heroine in a desperate situation that will leave you rooting for her almost instantly. Oriana’s “extra” abilities are thoroughly intriguing and readers will love the crackling banter and working relationship between Oriana and Duilio.” —Romantic Times

“An ambitious debut from Cheney: part fantasy, part romance, part police procedural and part love letter to Lisbon in the early 1900s.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The Golden City is easily my vote for this year’s best debut novel, and Cheney has made her way to my must-read list.” —Ranting Dragon

“I honestly cannot wait to read what Cheney writes next.” – Bookworm Blues

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Author Bio

J. Kathleen Cheney is a former teacher and has taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, with a brief stint as a Gifted and Talented Specialist. Her short fiction has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, and Fantasy Magazine, among others, and her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, “The Golden City” is a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel).

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CheneyJKathleen

Twitter: @jkcheney

Website: http://www.jkathleencheney.com

So excited about all the new releases this month and recent rereleases!  In no particular order, I’m pleased to crow about:

goldencity_100dpiseatofmagic_100dpi SEAT OF MAGIC by J. Kathleen Cheney, the sequel to her award winning debut fantasy novel THE GOLDEN CITY.

Thieftaker200thieves' quarry THIEFTAKER and THIEVES’ QUARRY by D.B. Jackson, the first two novels in the author’s acclaimed “tricorn punk” fantasy series, now out in mass market. The third, A PLUNDER OF SOULS releases in hardcover (and digital, of course) tomorrow!

some girls bite mmfnbTwice Bitten.finalHard BittenDrink DeepBiting Coldhouse_rulesbiting badWild ThingsBlood_Games

SOME GIRLS BITE and FRIDAY NIGHT BITES by Chloe Neill, the first two novels in the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series are now out in mass market form.  So portable!  Best news – if you love them (and how could you not?), the series is on-going, with the tenth, BLOOD GAMES, coming out on August 5th.  Mark your calendars!

Awesomely exciting day today, because of two new releases (well, paperback reissues of wonderful hardcover originals) and a new vlog from Amy Christine Parker and I, this one on writers’ block.

New releases!

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These are the first two novels in Molly Cochran’s wonderful YA series featuring Katy Ainsworth.  I love the way the author combines contemporary, historical, myth, magic, suspense, mayhem…all of my favorite things whipped up into a witches’ brew.  Check out these great quotes:

Praise for Legacy:

“Will satisfy readers hungry for a little paranormal excitement and romance in a post-Twilight world… a quick, entertaining read.”—Kirkus

“an exciting and well-written tale of contemporary witchcraft and romance…should please the legions of paranormal fans looking for a sophisticated supernatural thriller.” —Publishers Weekly

“The well conceived history and culture of Katy’s magical world make this first title unique … The teasing epilogue promises a sequel, and readers will be ready for it.” —Booklist

“A fast-paced, electrifying read! My heart throbbed for the tender romance trapped in a world of boarding-school backstabbing. With a courageous yet achingly human heroine, Molly Cochran made me believe in magic!”–Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of the SHADE trilogy

“An amazing debut crackling with magic and mystery!”–Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life

“Wonderful book. Eerie and suspenseful, with a romance you root for all the way through.”–Janice Hardy, author of The Healing Wars

Praise for Poison:

“POISON is a strong story, filled with empathetic characters, in amazing circumstances. This Young Adult novel is a wonderful read not only for teens but adults as well.” —Fresh Fiction

“The introduction of Arthurian legend is intriguing, and the last few chapters are real nail-biters.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Cochran revisits Arthurian legend while continuing the adventures of powerful, young witch Katy Ainsworth. . . . Fans will be poised for the next installment.”—Booklist

“Fans of Arthurian legend will appreciate this alternative view of the infamous Morgan le Fay.”—School Library Journal

Best of all, if you like these, you can get more of Katy and her friends in Molly’s novella Wishes and in the third Katy novel, SEDUCTION, which releases in December of this year!

Let’s quickly talk about some other awesome books that have recently been released in lower priced formats:

goldencity_100dpi THE GOLDEN CITY by J. Kathleen Cheney – award-winning epic fantasy debut! (Sequel, SEAT OF MAGIC, coming July 1st!)

Gated_hires_pback GATED by Amy Christine Parker (with a brand new cover!)- a young adult thriller about a girl who lives in a cult and begins to doubt all she’s learned just as the “end times” come upon them (next book, ASTRAY, is coming August 26th!)

thieves' quarry THIEVES’ QUARRY by D.B. Jackson – second in the author’s wonderful “tri-corn punk” historical fantasy series (after THIEFTAKER and before A PLUNDER OF SOULS, coming July 8th!)

And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  Amy Christine Parker and I vlog about how to deal with writers’ block.  Warning for the feint of heart – there may be a moment wherein you actually see my navel.  You’ll have to check out the vlog if you want to know more.

goldencity_100dpi seatofmagic_100dpi

A few things I’m really excited about today.  One is wishing J. Kathleen Cheney HUGE congratulations for finaling in the Locus Award for Best First novel for her wonderful fantasy THE GOLDEN CITY (to be followed July 1st by the sequel, THE SEAT OF MAGIC).  Such a worthy book in such prestigious company!

wishes legacy pback poison pback  SEDUCTION

More exciting news: those of you already familiar with Molly Cochran‘s wonderful YA novels for Paula Wiseman Books/S&S will be thrilled to know that there’s a new Katy e-novella out called WISHES (and for only $1.99)!  Those of you who aren’t yet familiar, there’s no time like the present to dip into the world, especially with the specially priced novella out and the paperbacks of the first two books soon to be released: LEGACY and POISON.  Her third Katy book, SEDUCTION, is scheduled for December 2014.

Sending for the newsletter, but also for a huge WHOO HOO!

goldencity_100dpi So beside myself with excitement to see J. Kathleen Cheney’s debut novel THE GOLDEN CITY on Library Journal’s list of Best Books of 2013: SF/Fantasy!

It’s so funny, because just the other day some writers were bemoaning on my Facebook page the way the “establishment” is so averse to new voices, how we’re all gatekeepers (read evil ogres), etcetera and so forth and yet here’s one of the industry magazines putting a new voice on par with other awesome, established authors.  Hmm, because this is my soapbox and I’ll holler if I want to, here are some other recent and amazing debuts on my list, all new within the past twelve months or forthcoming:

NEXUS by Ramez Naam – a great SF thriller released by Angry Robot Books in December 2012, followed by the sequel CRUX in August 2013

GATED by Amy Christine Parker – a young adult thriller about a girl who grows up in a cult and begins to question as the “end times” are upon them published by Random House Children’s in August 2013

THE GOLDEN CITY by J. Kathleen Cheney (mentioned above) – a fantasy/mystery set in a alternate Portugal released by Roc books in November 2013

BEYOND OUR STARS by Marie Langager – a suspenseful YA science fiction novel in which a girl’s hope for a fresh start on a new planet becomes a nightmare when she’s marked by the current inhabitants for for special testing coming in December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark

PREDATOR by Janice Gable Bashman – young adult novel with a unique twist on the werewolf mythos coming from Month9Books in Fall 2014

THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman – wonderful fantasy novel billed by the publisher as Doctor Who with librarians! forthcoming from Tor UK in January 2015

My debut novelists have also included Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg, Vicky Dreiling, Diana Pharaoh Francis, N.K. Jemisin, Kalayna Price, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Steven Piziks (aka Steven Harper), Tammy Kaehler….  A very impressive list, I think you’ll agree!  So, if you want to see more new voices, the best thing you can do is support them as they come along!

It’s exciting any time a book I rep gets a starred review or some kind of extra attention, but when it’s a debut, especially, I just want to shout from the rooftops, “Yay, I’ve always loved this book and think you should all rush out for a copy to find out why!”  Or two…or three copies…  Books make great gifts!  Anyway, my whoo and hoo are coming out right now for J. Kathleen Cheney’s starred review in Library Journal for THE GOLDEN CITY.  To quote, “VERDICT Cheney’s debut is a masterpiece of historical fantasy, set in early 1900s Portugal, a time and place rarely explored in English-language fiction. The fascinating mannerisms of the age and the extreme formality of two people growing fonder of each other add a charmingly fresh appeal that will cross over to romance fans as well as to period fantasy readers.”  Yay!

Also, I want to congratulate The Knight Agency’s Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award nominees, listed below!  So proud!

Contemporary Romance: SUMMER AT MUSTANGE RIDGE by Jesse Hayworth

Regency Set Historical Romance: WHAT A WICKED EARL WANTS by Vicky Dreiling

Vampire Romance: PRINCE OF SHADOWS by Tes Hilaire

Paranormal Romance: HEART OF OBSIDIAN by Nalini Singh

Paranormal Romance: BLACK AND BLUE by Gena Showalter

Futuristic Romance: HEART FORTUNE by Robin D. Owens

Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding: LAST BLOOD by Kristen Painter

Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding: BLOOD WINTER by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Harlequin Desire: BEDROOM DIPLOMACY by Michelle Celmer

Paranormal Worldbuilding: GUARDIAN DEMON by Meljean Brook *

Harlequin Desire: BEHIND PALACE DOORS by Jules Bennett *

Harlequin Nocturne: TAMING THE DEMON by Doranna Durgin

First Mystery: DEATH COMES TO THE VILLAGE by Catherine Lloyd

 

* Not a TKA title

goldencity_100dpi J. Kathleen Cheney’s debut fantasy novel THE GOLDEN CITY debuted yesterday to wonderful reviews (see below) and much fanfare.  She’s here today with a little insight into what it took to get there!

Quotes:

“Cheney’s The Golden City pulls readers in right off the bat, as the story kicks off with our heroine in a desperate situation that will leave you rooting for her almost instantly. Oriana’s “extra” abilities are thoroughly intriguing and readers will love the crackling banter and working relationship between Oriana and Duilio.” —Romantic Times

“An ambitious debut from Cheney: part fantasy, part romance, part police procedural and part love letter to Lisbon in the early 1900s.” —Kirkus Reviews

“I honestly cannot wait to read what Cheney writes next.” —Bookworm Blues

 

Kill Your Darlings (Not Starring Daniel Radcliffe) by J. Kathleen Cheney

Yes, we’ve all heard that saying–that a writer must be willing to give up that one sentence, idea, or plot point that they loved…for the greater good of their work.

When I was in second grade, my teacher, Miss Baeza, wanted to send one of my stories to Highlights to see if they would publish it.  Even then, I knew this was a Big Deal.  But there was a catch; she wanted me to change the ending.

In my story, a group of animals escape the zoo, only to end up being magically trapped as the animals in a carousel.  My teacher wanted a happy ending.  But in my second-grade wisdom, I felt that mine was the correct ending.  I hid the story in my father’s file cabinet and told her I couldn’t find it.  This, by the way, became the truth because I never did see that story again.

Now fast forward lots of years and I’m a professional writer.  (I have paperwork from both RWA and SFWA that say I am, so I know it’s true.)  At a workshop a few years ago, I learned a very important phrase from author Steven Savile: I can do that.

If you’re seeking traditional publication, that’s a useful sentence.  If your agent makes a suggestion, if your editor makes a suggestion, if your publisher makes a suggestion, they have a reason for doing so.  So when my agent or editor suggests I change something, I listen.  Then I usually say: I can do that.

Admittedly, I still go and hide my manuscript in the metaphorical file cabinet and sulk for a few hours.  How could they not appreciate my untrammeled genius???

But because I’m not in second grade any longer, the next morning I get that manuscript back out and start analyzing their suggestions.  No, I don’t slavishly obey those suggestions. The book I just turned back in to my editor?  I had some changes I considered but, for one reason or another, they didn’t work for me.  My editor will look at my edits and decide whether to press me on those things again or let it drop.  It is a give and take relationship.

Editors have given me some pretty awesome ideas.  My editor for “Iron Shoes” asked for me to add another scene with interaction between my heroine and the villain.  Once I’d wrapped my mind around it, not only did I get to add another historical character, I also found a chance to slip in some very pertinent plot information.  My editor for “The Golden City” suggested a huge change at one point, making one character not as villainous as I’d previously thought him.  Figuring out the logic behind that alteration opened up new avenues for me to explore in this setting, and it made that world more realistic.

So I’ve learned to be open to changes.  The truth is that a traditionally published book isn’t just mine.  There’s a team involved in producing the book.  There’s an agent who sold it, editors who’ve picked over every word, an art department that has produced a beautiful cover, a sales department, a publicity department…well, I could probably list more.

But if you’re hunting traditional publication, cooperation is a good thing.  If I’d known that in second grade, I might have been published decades ago!