Who knew seeing your cover in a new way could be just as exciting as seeing the real book? I printed these ‘chapter booklets’ of The Unraveling to give away at my author reading this weekend at RavenCon 2016. Into 12 text pages, we squeezed both chapter 1 & 3 to give readers a taste of both Annmar and Daeryn. The inside cover is a growing gear coloring page.
And by ‘we” I mean the generous J.T. Bock, author friend extraordinaire, who IRL is a graphic artist. She held my hand through the layout process–which if you visit her gorgeous website, you can see this was a normal hour at the office for her. J.T. is also the reason I’ll be at RavenCon (nice peer pressure, honestly). She’s a huge Whedon fan and will presenting “A Whedonite’s Guide to Characterization” Friday night from 10:00-11:00 pm, among other panel presentations.
Yes, with something like 400 hours of programming for 2016, RavenCon’s schedule begins at 4 on Friday (including my author reading!) and runs until midnight Friday and Saturday and through 3 pm Sunday.
I’ll be a guest author among a hundred other fantasy authors, artist, filkers, costumers, scientists, podcasters, editors, publishers at RavenCon 2016, a weekend celebrating the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
It’ll be my first time at the con, and since they strive to book new and interesting guests every year, they have given me a go!
The really featured authors are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller!
Friday, April 29th at 6 p.m. I’ll be doing a reading from The Unraveling, during which I’ll include a smattering of my series’ historical facts and fictions and a historic word quiz…and a paperback giveaway!
From 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, I’m conducting a self-editing workshop: Finding Space: Line-by-Line Editing Tips for Wordiness.
Later Saturday, at 3 p.m., I’m running an all ages “Make a Pouch for your Costume.”
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If you’re in the area, come for the day, or the weekend! The RavenCon 2016 site has all the details and the schedule should be up soon!
(Sorry, this is a screen shot and the links don’t work–click here go to the actual RavenCon 2016 website!)
My IRL friend and critique partner has made her debut release today! Congratulations to Ingrid Hahn! I love your beautiful purple cover and it’s such a charming story. Best wishes on your first release!
She has lost everything but her dignity…
England, 1811. When John Merrick, the Earl of Corbeau, is caught in a locked storeroom with Lady Grace, he has but one choice—marry her. He cannot bear to tarnish any woman’s reputation, least of all Lady Grace’s.
Lady Grace Landon will do anything to help her mother and sisters, crushed and impoverished by her father’s disgrace. But throwing herself into the arms of her dearest friend’s older brother to trap him in marriage? Never.
Corbeau needs to prove that he loves her, despite her father’s misdeeds. After years of being an object of scorn, not even falling in love with Corbeau alters Lady Grace’s determination to not bring her disrepute upon another. However, if they don’t realize that the greatest honor is love given freely without regard to society’s censure, they stand to lose far more than they ever imagined.
Here’s an excerpt:
He held the bright red berries toward her. “It’s up to you to save me from my vice.”
“You don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a strawberry. A real strawberry, not preserves.”
He plucked one up by its little crown of leaves and offered it. “Well then?”
“Maybe…maybe just one.” Absently, she slid the metal base of her candle stand next to his on the shelf.
“Go on, Grace.”
“Then again.” She bit into her bottom lip. “I don’t know if I can restrain myself to only one.”
An unfortunate second interpretation of what it would be for Grace’s restraint to dissolve sent a rush of heat down to a place that needed no such coaxing.
His voice lowered, texture roughening. “I’m giving you every encouragement not to.”
“But if I start, I don’t think I can stop.”
“Funny. That’s precisely how I feel.”
Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. Please connect with her on social media! Find her on Twitter as @Ingrid_Writer. Find her on Facebook as Ingrid Hahn.
Facebook and Goodreads: Search Ingrid Hahn
I’ve read the typical author is an introvert. It’s true of me. Introverts don’t like to be on stage, but these days everyone needs a photo, an icon or something to represent themselves. My dear husband will not friend anyone without a profile picture. Doesn’t matter what, you just gotta care enough to have something there, even your dog. (Moby, a relative’s dog’s profile photo!)
A photo is even more important for an author. It’s part of what makes us real people to our readers, someone to connect with behind the written word. Clearly, I’ve had a photo on my social media and website (see right–> ) but it’s a snapshot. When a writer is starting out a formal photo falls into the category of one more thing to do, extra expense and time on top of what a writer really needs to do–finish the d*mn book! But putting out no photo or a poor photo can do more damage than good for the author image. In my research for what to wear, whether to use props, what background suits best, I found more than a few good essays that speak to gaining the right look. Two I liked are: Mary Robinette Kowel’s Debut Author Lessons: The Author Photo and Book In A Box’s How to Take a Great Author Photo.
Not surprising, even with research it’s not as easy as one click. So when I decided to attempt the author photo, I didn’t go into it alone! Along with three other just-debuted or about-to-debut authors from my local RWA chapter, I booked a joint photo shoot session and make-up artist. Seems like a win-win for us–a bit of a discount–and for the photographer, Valerie Bey–she’s setting up once, for 4 people. Of course we had homework–decide on outfits. Another author fact is most of us do work from home and dress casually. Not pajamas in my house, but I am a jeans & t-shirts or yoga togs wearer. I won’t detail the clothing hunt, but my advice it this: start early and seek out your style-lovin’ friends. I narrowed my choices to a formal and a casual and took back-up classic black in case the photographer had better ideas.
We arrived to find Valerie’s rented studio space designed for photography, with lots of props and backgrounds on site. In the back was a ‘container’ dressing room.
Each of us had a half hour with the make-up artist, followed by an hour with Valerie. We changed clothes, she changed backgrounds and props.
We had a few peeks at the photos, but our photographer will do some touch-ups and in a week or so, we’ll each have a selection of shots to choose from. Very exciting! In the meantime I have another project: I borrowed this fabulous necklace above from a friend who made it and now I must make one, too!
It’s been a week since the NoVa TEEN Book Festival in Arlington, VA, but if I say ‘squirrels in my attic’ do I get a pass for being late with a post? More on that–the squirrels–in another post. If I can work up to it. (sigh)
If you are close to the MD / DC / Northern Virginia area, this YA author-reader event is a fabulous one to attend. It’s small, but draws some big names in YA literature, which means readers get nice, personal group time in addition to panels and signings. 2016’s keynote speaker was Holly Black, a fantasy author I’ve admired since my kids and I read The Spiderwick Chronicles as they were being released. As a testament to our fandom, here is our author signing photo of both Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black from September 26, 2009.
Yay! Since then I–and the significantly grown ‘kids’ (new adults)–have read also read Holly’s Curse Worker Series, borrowed from my high school neighbor. It’s Teen Neighbor Girl and I who go to the NoVA Teen Fest together now. We both love fantasy and were looking forward to seeing Holly and having books signed. We were in luck last Saturday: we slipped right into classroom seats in a mini-session of Questions and Answers.(Brilliant organizers offered two! Accommodating more fans!)
And strictly Q & A it was. In my newbie author role, I was taking notes and discovered this can be awkward—everyone wants to be there, but who wants to start? One brave reader popped her hand up with what she claimed is her standard author question: If your book was a food, what would it be?
I apparently didn’t write down Holly’s answer. * facepalm * Ok, that’s my bad, but I was fascinated by the question.
Here are a few of the things I did note…but please do NOT hold me to them as actual quotes from Holly Black. It’s hard to note-take completely in these situations. I believe I caught the intent of her answers, but my apologies to Holly now if I really messed up!
Q: When you finish writing a book, do you play out scenarios for what happens next to the character?
A: Not too far, but a little in case I do write in this world again, so when I do check in, I know where characters are.
Q: Do you create playlists?
A: Yes, for every book. It’s a great time-waster, but it also helps me to fall back into that world when I return to write sequels.
Q: Do you use a writing program?
A: Scrivener. (She loves what it can do, but acknowledges it’s not for everyone.)
Q: Why do the Spiderwick Chronicles chapters all start with ”In Which’?
A: The Spiderwick Chronicles pulled in the design of Antiquarian books. Holly and Toni DiTerlizzi visited a museum (or shop?) to immerse themselves in the style. The look of the covers, having hard covers, the deckle pages, illustrations and the chapter starts (Chapter One: IN WHICH The Grace Children Get Acquainted With Their New Home) all add to the feeling these are telling an old tale.
Q: How do you feel about ships?
A: (She likes them.) One of the joys of writing a series is seeing what people want to happen to the characters. Also, Holly thinks it’s a sign she’s done her author job of getting a reader really into a book. You have to feel nervous that the character is not going to get what you want, and you have to truly want it for them—that’s what keeps a reader turning the pages. (And writing fan fiction, I believe was another of her points with saying this.)
She’s been fascinated with Fairies her entire life. To write about the Fair Folk: The challenge is capturing how different they are. They need to feel alien. You might write the story draft without dwelling on this, but when you go back to revise, think about the differences. They will have a different moral code. Their choices shouldn’t sound ‘normal’. An attitude of ‘you can’t make me operate according to your system’ needs to prevail.
Holly loves the tension between the real danger of faerie and the beauty of faerie.
Great session, as was Holly’s keynote talk with slides on Why Magic? Sorry I didn’t take notes there, but it’s a great talk if you have a chance to hear it. Of course we waited in line to have our books signed.
Teen Neighbor Girl brought The Curse Worker series and I carried The Coldest Girl in Cold Town for her. (The limit is three books person, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re an avid fan of one author!)
I took along Valiant and bought Tithe, which I’d never read and am enjoying. We did buy other books as well. It’s nice to support the authors as well as the indy book store that is one of the main sponsors of NoVa Teen Book Festival–One More Page Books in Arlington, VA.
I’m thrilled to celebrate JC Kang’s debut release. Beautiful cover for a fabulous fantasy!
About the book:
Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon.
Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities.
Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
(Print version coming soon!)
About the author:
JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor and technical writer to pen multicultural epic fantasy stories.
Ever wonder how an author comes up with these fantastical ideas? JC put together a fast and fun video of his journey to creating the multicultural world of Tivara. Have a look on his facebook author page.
Connect with JC Kang:
New releases from my critique partners! It’s always exciting to see a book you’ve read in the early stages come into its own as a published novel. This week–in fact, in the next two days–two of my critique partners have releases. Ironically, both authors go by the same initials: JC (Yes, they are different people. )
First up, is JC Nelson with a new urban fantasy that clearly has Egyptian roots. Aren’t the hieroglyphics on this cover cool?
Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult.
At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich.
The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave.
With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .
Buy The Reburialists Now:
A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle.
Find JC Nelson:
For years, well, decades, I’ve enjoyed genealogy, and so has my aunt, my dad’s father. She’s been the keeper of most of their parents’ photographs and has researched–the old-fashioned way, by visiting cemeteries and county clerk offices–a lot of the Wanrow family history. In preparing for an upcoming visit with her, I reviewed sets of photographs I’ve taken from her albums and found a photo I’d forgotten about, my grandfather with his sawmill.
Herb ran his sawmill business from 1918 to about 1946 when he sold his Nebraska farm and moved to Colorado to ease my grandmother’s bouts with asthma. I love the fact that my ancestors used steam power, and used it well into the 20th century, for the simple fact that the fuel was cheap–water and slab (the bark and trimmings from sawing the lumber) kept that engine going when a lot of people had switched to diesel engines. Very efficient!
So what does this have to do with my writing? Lots! I used this family story to clarify a number of details at my fictional farm. Last summer I told that story in two posts for the blog History Undressed, which can be found here:
I hope to have another story this spring, because I found another item I had forgotten about, a poster announcing that farm sale in 1946. I’ve scanned the fragile poster for my aunt and I plan to ask her about the dozens of items listed from her family home in the 1920-40’s.
Is anyone else a family history buff? Any ideas on where to post or send family history stories that others may use to do either family research or other (writing!) research on the farming practices of those times?