Writing Wednesday!

Writing Wednesday

Welcome to Writing Wednesday!

This is the Prologue and first chapter to my latest sci-fi/paranormal YA novel. The one I am hoping, cross my fingers, to publish come January.

Here’s a quick blurb, introducing the story.

My name is May. Welcome to my ordinary life.

Everything about my life was planned out just the way I wanted it. I would graduate from high school in a few short months as valedictorian, after beating out the rough competition of the thirty other kids at my tiny school. I would attend Yale University in the Fall. I would also find some way to save my stagnant relationship with my loyal boyfriend Henry, because he is too good to lose.

Look out, world! My life would finally begin.

Now, tell me this. What do I do when my ordinary life crashes like a mirror on concrete? What do I do, when my friends and I get mistaken for deviant youths, kidnapped, and experimented on by an insane scientist?

Queue crickets? My thoughts exactly.  

I can handle the kidnapping. I can handle the horrific experiments. But no one can blame a girl who cracks when her boyfriend is taken and reprogrammed to hate her and kill her. Slowly. With a lot of pain.

How do I know for sure? Because I was reprogrammed, too. Now, to my dismay I am stuck seeing the future as my subconscious chooses to show it to me.

What do I see? My death. At the hands of the guy I love.

Good-bye, ordinary life.

The Hybrid Chronicles: Time Begins

Prologue

I couldn’t bear any more pain. I could feel my body ripping apart cell by abused cell. I tamped down the scream in my throat because I wanted so badly to remain strong, and maybe I could have if I physical pain was my only foe. I had proved to myself and to them time and time again in the last weeks of my life that this body, my body, could handle unimaginable pain and come out whole on the other side.

But not like this.

Not from him.

She had told him to make it hurt, to make it last. As always, he followed orders too well.

Sweat beaded and dripped down my forehead as my body tried to cope with the tearing agony down my chest like my own personal vivisection. I swallowed, gagged and looked up, knowing that if I looked into his eyes I would break.

Fresh pain drenched my torso and I bit my lip until it gashed open and bled to keep myself from crying out. A warm, calloused palm cupped my cheek while strong fingers caressed my skin. I closed my eyes.

He leaned close, his chest against mine, his mouth near my ear, his breath stroking my neck.

Calculated words rang in my ears, though he had spoken in a whisper. “I won’t stop, not until you scream my name, May.”

And the torture continued.

Eventually, as my tears, my blood, and my devastation streamed to the floor, I did.

Chapter 1-Before Time Mattered

The life of a fly on a horse’s butt, buzzing away the hours soaking in the manure antioxidants, probably had a more eventful life than mine.

The thought depressed me which didn’t make it any less true. I walked through the glass doors that led into the brick building of the tiniest school in America and my blurry distorted face looked back at me. I resisted the urge to stick out my tongue and scrunch my nose to complete the twisted image because people looked at me oddly when I did things like that.

I didn’t actually know if Joseph High School held the record for the tiniest school in America, but with thirty kids on its roll call and fifteen members of faculty, we had paperback yearbooks and never coughed up the extra dough for colored pages. As President of the Student Council I would know. I also ran the drama club and had attempted to initiate the Art club with a petition for individualism over the last year, though I had yet to complete one art project myself.

As I walked through the semi-filled hall of familiar faces I saw one that started bouncing up and down when it located me. Black nail polished and pierced, Katie scurried from side to side dodging students while making her way over to me. After frapping a nearby student on the head as she went, the girl I call my best friend, and also my boyfriend’s sister, clasped a hand over her mouth while sending out a muffled apology to the kid she hit. When the unsuspecting student made their way past her rubbing the spot, I saw Katie snicker and rush toward me in her laced biker boots and plaid purple school girl skirt, complete with safety pins up each side.

She wore her light brown hair up in two high pigtails today and she wore ripped tights that would make our first period teacher roll her eyes over. Katie’s style made her a novelty at this school. Also, she had a stellar attitude and spitfire temper that landed her in detention more often than not.

“May! My gosh, did you see me hit Kirk in the head?” She threw back her head and laughed. “He wants me so bad.”

I smiled while I pulled my backpack to the front and unzipped it, attempting to locate my phone. “Have you even ever talked to Kirk?”

Wincing in pain as my dark hair fell over my shoulder and slithered into my zipper as I closed the pocket, I swore that I would cut it in the coming summer. Nobody liked long hair anymore, anyway. Everyone wanted bobs and A-lines and sleek, teased, bumped, flipped, colored do’s. I briefly thought of myself as a highlighted blonde and cringed.

I grabbed a barrette and threw the dark mass up into a ponytail, knowing it still fell past my shoulder blades. Once secured, I dropped my hand and the fine strands immediately started to sag and slip from the clip.

Glaring over at Katie’s tight, high ponytail, I wondered if I could pull off her style. I would do it in a heartbeat. Her flared hips and petite body made her look like a pixie, hopping around through life. My legs looked better in simple jeans and flats and I had an addiction to plain, long sleeved shirts. In a word. Boring.

Giving up on my saggy pony, I pulled out the barrette and threw my bag back over one shoulder.

“Come on, May. He’s new. Give me time.” Katie wiggled her eyebrows.

“He’s attended here, like, three years,” I said, but she moved on with a wave of her hand.

“Have you seen my brother? Dad was looking for him this morning because he wanted to get out of town to hike a bit this weekend.”

We only had a few minutes to get to first period and though Katie didn’t care when she showed up, my record needed to stay clean on every tiny detail so that I knew, beyond any doubt, my acceptance to Yale stuck. Even holding presidency, and heading clubs, and valedictorian of my year and keeper of, not one, but three summer internships, plus yearlong volunteer work, going to the tiniest school, or thereabouts, still threw my rank into the meh category for an IV league school.

I would not allow perpetual tardiness in the last quarter of my senior year to affect any opportunity for me concerning Yale.

“I haven’t talked to him this morning.”

Katie sent me a disbelieving look.

“I haven’t!” I threw my hands up. “Why does everyone think I keep track of Henry all the time?”

She put a finger to her chin and started tapping while looking up at the ceiling. “I don’t know, maybe because you’ve dated each other since first grade. He has spent just as much time with you as he has me in his life and I’m his twin sister.”

“Oh, please. As if you two don’t ditch me every other weekend to hang out. You’re the only siblings I know who actually like each other.”

Henry had better grades, a mellower attitude and a far less wide rebellious streak, but they would die or kill for one another. Not a single boy in school had ever bullied or made Katie feel insecure after an incident in elementary when Jesse Sims had made her cry. Henry had shocked their father and Katie when he went after the other boy with fists, screaming that if he ever made Katie cry again Henry would come after him. Katie might have the temper, but Henry’s protective streak ran deep.

We made it to class as the tardy bell rang and I breathed easier. I didn’t really care about tardiness. In fact, lateness and grades and Best Student Ever awards irritated the heck out of me. They came too easily to me. That was why I needed Yale. I needed the challenge and the bright, shiny newness of it all. I needed harder classes and a more demanding workload and higher expectations for my mind.

Katie sat in front of me in our first class. She turned around with a huge smile on her face while the class was settling in. “So everything is set for next weekend.” Excitement colored her voice and I felt the first stirrings of it.

“Our last Spring Break together. I guess we should make it count.” I raised an eyebrow at her.

“Jimmy has the campsite all taken care of. He said no one ever goes there, like, ever. It’s some minuscule place in Idaho. Most of the group will come up on Monday, but he said if you want, the five of us can head up early. Saturday, maybe? That way we get the site set up and we can party hard all weekend.”

“What did Henry say?” My boyfriend wasn’t much of a drinker or partier. He preferred hiking, jogging, and boxing, anything active.

“He said that if you were fine with it, he was.”

Of course he said that. Leave the decision up to me, so when it all goes to crap it’s not his fault and he can blame me later. Course, Henry’s blame resembled a reprimanding pat on the head. He came off about as stern as a bunny.

I looked at Katie’s excited expression and laughed. “Fine. We can go up next Saturday morning.”

By lunch that day, three people had mentioned the camping trip and I wondered how many Katie had invited to come up to celebrate with us.

When I walked into the cafeteria and headed over to our regular table, I saw more than the normal five or six of us that sat together. Katie sat with Jimmy, and Henry sat next to them, looking irritated at the look Jimmy kept sending his sister. Anyone who passed the siblings on the street would guess their relationship. They both had tanned skin and green eyes, with light hair that looked softer than it felt. Katie was petite and slim, while Henry was honed. He’d built his agile body for movement of all kind and he played every sport the school provided. Right now it was baseball. He played it off by wearing old band shirts and sneakers and did his best to draw attention away from himself, but it didn’t stop feminine attention around the school. Most girls hadn’t carried a torch for him past the first few years we dated, but there was still the random few flirtatious girls that tried to sway him. Not that he noticed.

I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t love Henry. There wasn’t anything not to love. His loyalty knew no bounds, and his love for his friends, his sister and his father always came first in his life. He cared about grades, health, country, and me.

He caught my eye and jerked a thumb in the direction of Katie and Jimmy’s flirtation. I rolled my eyes and chuckled as I filtered through people in the lunch line and those trying to make it to their own seats.

When I sat down next to him, he put his arm around me in a side hug that felt comfortable and smelled like Henry. His cologne always reminded me of a forest. We lived amidst the valley of one and he always smelled like he had just come in from the outdoors even when he hadn’t.

I sank into his embrace and snagged some of his fries.

He leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “When can I deck Jimmy?”

“When you stop being best friends, I guess.”

Henry snorted. He tried to catch my eye but I turned to look at the rest of the room. Everyone continued talking around me and the lunch room echoed every conversation. It’d always interested me how everything could feel so chaotic, but with a little focus, words and phrases and intentions became clear. I grabbed a phrase here and there, not really paying attention to anything in particular because I had heard everything before a hundred times.

“I’m surprised you decided to head up early to the campsite.” The sharp voice from above me made me look up into the brown eyes of someone I had once considered a best friend. Tessa was gorgeous; at least that’s what all the guys said in the school. Her not quite orange tan and streaks of honeyed blonde tresses fooled many a teenage boy. Gym time was all Tessa cared about and it showed. She had always told me that having a rocking body was one of the best weapons a girl could have, and she used it as such.

“Why not? We might as well spend the weekend reminiscing or whatever,” I responded. Senior year had proved tough on our friendship. I had grown more determined to find more out of life, while Tessa, content to while away her time here in Oregon, wanted to find a semi-rich man to buy her semi-rich things and have semi-obedient kids who would grow up to do the same thing she did. In our small town she had some power and the respect brought on by parents and grandparents and so on.

We still played friendship as children played house, and I don’t think either one of us knew why. More often than not the cattiness ended up causing more trouble than our pseudo friendship was worth.

“I didn’t think you liked having fun anymore, May?” She let out a little laugh, letting the group know that, of course, she joked.

Brat.

Katie chimed in before I could defend myself with an equally scathing remark. “Sorry, Tessa, spreading your legs for willing victims isn’t the definition of fun. At least not to anyone but you.” She said it with a sneering smile that she saved specifically for Tessa.

“Bite me, half pint,” Tessa growled.

“And contract something? Not on my life.”

The two continued exchanging insults, but Henry grabbed my attention. “I thought we could go out this weekend for dinner, if you want. We can talk and relax.”

“I thought your dad wanted to head out of town with you?”

Henry shook his head. “I have to pull a shift on Sunday. So if you’re game…”

I nodded. Sure, I was game. As I was every other weekend.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Seasoned writers? Any advice on the writing, et cetera?

Now a question! What are you working on?? Throw a link down in the comments and I will be sure to check  it out and let you know what I think.

See ya tomorrow, blog-world.

 

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A New Look

Hey All,

It took me the week to decide how I wanted to revamp the blog, but I think I have finally found a few features that will be fun to do!

As of next week I will be starting “Writing Wednesday” which will feature some of my own work every week. This is a big thing for me because, though I have beta readers, I have never posted my work for any and all to see. However, if I plan to publish on Amazon come January I need to get into the groove of it. As of now, this feature will be a running novel, posted chapter by chapter, BUT I haven’t made the ultimate decision on whether it will be a cohesive writing project or weekly short stories. Writer friends? Any advice on how to post work?

Writing Wednesday

Next, we have Thursday Thrifts. I was at a used book store this week and I saw all these amazing books, some old, some new, and all cheap. And I thought, I wouldn’t mind reviewing these. So on Thursdays, I will be reviewing all the thrift books I have bought over the month. I am pretty excited about this one, guys. Just because it’s not Twilight or Harry Potter (P.S. I ADORE HP) and it may have fallen into obscurity, does not mean that it isn’t a great book.

Thursday Thrifts.jpg

Lastly, starting next Friday I am going to being doing Fantasy Friday, which is a day solely dedicated to Fantasy of all kinds. I will post reviews, pictures and news about books and movies alike that focus on Fantasy. Fantasy isn’t really my forte, but it is an amazing genre and one I am looking forward to delving into, so we will see what happens with it.

Fantasy Friday

ALSO, during the month I am planning to review a recommended novel. This can be ANY novel, not just a well known author. Did you just publish? Did a friend just publish? Are you new to the writing scene? Want to get a mention? All you have to do is comment with the the book title, author and a link to said book. The book chosen from the comments will be random so the reviews will cover a wide range of genres. (Side Note- the reviews will be HONEST.) This feature won’t be every week, but at least once or twice a month. I am so excited to read what other bloggers have published and see what is recommended.

Contest Review

I am looking forward to the coming months to try out these new features.

Seasoned bloggers, if you have any advice and suggestions, comment and let me know!

The Honest Truth

Dear Blog World,

The honest truth is this.

Life gets in the way of life.

It’s all about #yolo and #changetheworld and #everydaycounts but the honest truth is that we are so concerned with talking about changing our lives or living freely, or creatively, or whatever, that most of us rarely change anything except our underwear. Hopefully.

It is way more fun to talk about change than to actually go through it. And if by some happenstance we find ourselves amidst a life altering event in our lives, everything we said we stood for, or that we wanted et cetera, gets put on hold until we have time to breath and we remember that, oh yeah, we wanted to #yolo the heck out of that change.

This is what happened to me. I am a writer. I love writing like a Winnie the Pooh loves honey, like Blair loves Chuck, like Asians love clothes that look like they don’t match, but always seems to look great.

I love it.

But in lieu of #life, I patiently set writing aside so that I could deal with life’s frequent change, hoping that when I looked back it would be with the same giddiness and hopefulness that I had when I placed it there to begin with. Unfortunately, when I did finally have a chance to glance back, it was with devastation. All that hope and excitement had drained with time and stress.

That being said, I left my blog last year to have a baby. (Yay me. I now have a mini me.) Now I am back, revitalized and ready to move forward in the world of writing and publication. I am ready to face the upward climb of writer-hood and try to enjoy it as I go.

Perhaps this time I will have the wherewithal to see if through. Perhaps this time I will succeed. Whatever that means in the writing world.

The blog with get a face-lift and a few new weekly things, among which will be monthly reviews of a book of YOUR choosing. It can be your own work or someone else’s. Also, contests, prizes, writing samples, and, of course, my own journey through the writing life. See back next week for a look into the rest of the month.

The honest truth is that life gets in the way of life.

The honest truth is that, either way, we should never give up.

Writing encouragement

The First Five Pages

To all writers: Help.

For those of you who stop by my page infrequently, you will know that I am attempting to find an agent for my third manuscript. I knew going in that I would receive rejection and I had/have every intention of building as thick a skin as possible. The more honest part of me knows it is highly possible that this novel will have to be shelved and labeled as my first real attempt, but a failed one. I am not there yet, but I know it’s something that might come to pass.

I came across something this week that should have felt good. I received a response back from an agent, though I won’t name names, requesting the first five pages of my manuscript. Euphoria is not a good enough word to describe my response. Receiving something, anything, back that was not a form or polite letter saying the agency would pass felt amazing.

Sending in the pages within hours, I spent time online researching this agent even more than I already had originally. While googling, I found something that made me cringe and drain any excitement I felt at getting my first request.

Apparently, she always requests the first five pages. From everyone. Though Submissions on the agency site only requests a query, her individual requests are a query and the first five. Even worse, I found the exact response she had sent me, on another individual’s blog. Exact. Response. My theory? She sends a form email requesting the material not included.

Now, this is by no way a cap on the agent or agency. I think it’s amazing and wonderful that she always takes a deeper look into the slush pile and goes out of her way to make sure she sees exactly what she needs to make a decent decision.

But…bummer. For me. I tried to justify it by saying that if my query really sucked she wouldn’t have sent the request, but the form letter was the kicker. I am frustrated that I got my hopes up. I am frustrated that I have no idea what buttons to push to get the right response. I am frustrated that I can’t maintain a “Can Do” attitude.

I need a win.
Fellow writers, if you have any encouragement, I would appreciate some right about now.

okay thats cool

Failure: One who sucks at life

Failure feels bad. Really bad.
Like when you take a bite of a juicy Granny Smith apple only to realize that it already houses a rotten core, worms and all. They slither near your mouth before you jerk the thing away and toss it.
That’s what failure feels like. The tightening of everything before all your innards start to drop to your toes.

rotten-apple

Failure is the worst and it is not a fickle emotion. It can hop to anyone trying to achieve something. It bounces from CEO’s to librarians, to stay at home moms, to part time workers, to writers.
Most definitely writers.

Recently, I have failed a lot. My husband tells me it’s good. It means I am putting myself out there. But as with all sympathy, we can tell it’s coming from someone who hasn’t ever gone through our particular failure or loss. And it is a loss. It’s a loss of pride, of confidence. Even if you can boost it all right back up in seconds, for that instant in life, it is a loss of all hope.

I love to write. I just finished my fourth manuscript and am working to get an agent for my third. Everyone
thought it was a phase because, as many artistic individuals, I filtered through a lot of jobs/ideas before sighing in resignation and stating that yes, I really was going to settle for little to no income in a career that might not ever be a success. Because I love to write.
Some people got it. Some people gave me that look. You know, that nodding look with the plastered on smile and the slightly condescending tilt in the eyes while an imaginary hand pats your head like a puppy. I took all the good advice, ignored all the looks, and forged onward.

I knew that in order to get where I wanted a few things needed to happen.
1. I needed a job that could get me through the first, rough years that could last anywhere from two-ten.
2. I needed to dedicate time to an online persona.
3. I needed to write.
4. I needed harder skin to accept rejection with grace.

At first, it all went according to plan. I had a job where I could write. Score! All the time I had at home that I didn’t have to write (Because I could write at work.) I filled up with online work, building a platform, connecting. The one thing I had issues with were the rejections letters that came in like the plague. But I handled it. Not with as much grace as I imagined, but I didn’t curse EVERY agency.

Then, out of nowhere, life hit me right in my lady balls. Like all hits to the lady balls, it knocked me to the ground in a silent scream.

My husband and I decided to get a house, we were living with family, housing prices sky rocketed, a time sensitive offer put us back thousands and thousands of dollars way before schedule. Not to mention all the little things first time buyers forget about. Like a fridge and washer and dryer and a couch, oh yeah and all those miniscule closing costs.

imagesMBQDJYEA

My balanced scales, my list for success, sat on a tiny marble. I had every minute of my day planned out for writing, or online work, or my actual job, or my husband, or family, or editing, or sending out queries, or planning the next story, or birthday parties (because there are ALWAYS birthday parties).

So when that scale tipped, due to the extra stressors. Everything fell apart. I could not maintain a single piece of my scheduled life.

I started to fail and have continued to fail consistently over the last two months. This week I have received three rejection letters from agents and one rejection from a separate job that has no connection with writing.
It hurts. It makes my chest ache and my stomach quiver in dread, in trepidation that it will always be this way.

But then through sheer determination, the moment passes and the stress gets shoved back into the compartment it escaped from, and I remember the movie The Robinsons. “Keep moving forward.”

sk033007i

It will hurt again, I’m sure. But that will not stop me from getting up the next morning and trying again. And Again. And again. Because eventually, I’ll feel success, and every failure up to that point will make it all sweeter.

If you’re going through a rough time, you keep getting those rejection letters, you just can’t seem to find the time for anything or you just failed at life and it hurts. Use it. Hone it. Toughen your skin so that next time, it won’t take as long to recover. It’s going to hurt, so start building callouses. Toughen up.

famous-failures

Woohoo Wednesday with author Ann Garvin!

Welcome to Woohoo Wednesday, where I do interviews with authors in all stages of their writing career. Some you might relate to, while others you’ll only wish to Freaky Friday their asses and steal their lives. Up next we have the bedazzling Ann Garvin! Also I need to apologize to my followers and my interviewees this month because I am SOO behind. So let’s try and catch up!
Thanks for the interview, Ann!

fav_head_shot[1] ann garvin

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’m an accidental author. I wrote a short story for a contest that looked fun and I won second prize. It was a big revelation because it was a big contest. So I tried it a few more ties and I was totally hooked.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?
My first draft can take a year (if I have time to work on it) but then it takes me 6 months to edit. I need to live with my words and story a little. I need to ask around if my plot makes sense. I read to my kids, friends, and students and watch when they get bored. If they didn’t put it into print I think I’d tinker with it forever

3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m always writing and I’m always working. My best days to write are Tuesdays and Thursday’s as I don’t teach at my University on those days. I write in the early morning, pick it up in the afternoon and finish it in my car at my daughter’s soccer practice. I stop, drop and write all the time. I don’t have the luxury to write full time so I don’t have long stretches of time to work.

4. When did you write your first book/story?
I wrote my first short story in 2004 when I was 43.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a parent of two teen girls and I love being with them. I love teaching which is good because that’s my livelihood. I’m a huge movie-watcher, I exercise, walk my dogs and talk like a mad person to my friends.

6. What does your family think of your writing?
I don’t think any of it feels real to any of us. We need a group pinching to wake from this amazing dream.

7. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written 3 and ½ and I’m not sure which is my favorite. My favorite character of all time is Stuart (a man who works in the frozen foods section of a grocery store) in The Dog Year. He’s quirky and loving and the kind of person we all wish we were.

The_Dog_Year[7][1] ann garvin


8. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

My readers are amazing. They take time out of their hectic lives to send me notes, coffee cards, thanks and thoughts. I love them and I don’t say that lightly.

9. Who is your favorite author to read? What books strongly influenced your own writing?
I’m always and forever in love with Elizabeth Berg, Barbara Holland, anything ever written by Norah Ephron.

10. What’s the worst job you ever had?
I sold Electrolux vacuums door-to-door in l981 in Bismarck ND for 2 weeks. I don’t like to talk about it.

11. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
Hurt, defensive, then I shrug it off. The whole range lasts maybe 30 seconds. It’s a compliment to not be liked by everyone happy. You want to be a little discerning.

12. What are you reading now?
I am reading the most heartbreaking book Beautiful Boy by David Scheff. It’s about his journey through his son’s addiction to meth. It’s wonderful and terrible.

13. How do you market your books?
I’m deep in that place right now and it’s a dark place. I wrote about it on my blog. I hate asking people to buy anything let alone my-something. It’s really hard. I try to be respectful, ethical, and not too pushy but I know I don’t always accomplish this.
I’m on Twitter and Facebook a lot and I’m learning as much as I can about social media without making myself crazy.

14. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk?
My desk is so full, I’m writing on my dining room table right now. 

15. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep at it and don’t take it personally, learn, grow and don’t argue.

Either/Or
1. Werewolf or Vampire? WEREWOLF I’m a dog lover
2. Harry Potter or LoTR? HARRY POTTER
3. Introvert or extrovert? EXTROVERT
4. Cowboys or aliens? COWBOYS
5. Plotter or Pantser? BOTH!

You can find Ann Garvin on Facebook, Twitter and find The Dog Year here!

Woohoo Wednesday with author Suzanne van Rooyen!

Welcome to Woohoo Wednesday, where I do interviews with authors in all stages of their writing career. Some you might relate to, while others you’ll only wish to Freaky Friday their asses and steal their lives. Up next we have the bedazzling Suzanne van Rooyen! Thank for the interview, Suzanne!

Suzanne van Rooyen

About the Author:
Suzanne is an author and peanut-butter addict from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance and music to middle-schoolers or playing in the snow with her shiba inu. She is rep’d by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

1.When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
While completing my Master’s degree. I thought I wanted to be an academic, a music researcher, but the more I got stuck into academic writing, the more I realised I hated it and that my true passion lay in fiction.

2.How long does it take you to write a book?
This absolutely depends on the individual book. Some have taken years from first draft to workable draft, others seem to write themselves within a few weeks. If I’m working from an outline – rare but it can happen – then I can usually get a draft done inside of 3 months. I’m a slow first drafter because I like to edit and revise as I write. I don’t think I could write a draft I’d be happy with in under one month.

3.When did you write your first book/story?
My first story? As a kid. I used to dictate stories to my mom before I could even spell my own name. I wrote my first ‘book’ – all of 50 pages or so – when I was 11 and it was pretty awful Philip Pullman fan fiction, but it was a start. My first published novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2011 and the book was published just over a year after that.

4.What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Music. I think I’ll always be a musician first. I love playing piano. When I need a break from my characters, I’ll hang out at the ivories for a while. I also enjoy dancing, swimming, wall climbing, reading of course, ice-skating in the winter and taking long, contemplative walks in the forest with my pooch.
Technically, writing is more of a ‘hobby’ and something I do when I’m not working my day jobs, which are being the music and dance teacher at a middle school and managing publicity for Entranced Publishing.

5.What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That every character has a piece of me in them, whether it’s something as simple as a fondness for a certain food or something more complicated like a shared life philosophy. This happens unconsciously and people who know me well are bound to pick-up on some of these things. It never ceases to surprise me how much of myself ends up in my stories without me being aware of it.

6.How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
To date, I’ve written 4 novels and I’m working on the 5th and 6th. My favourite tends to be whichever one I’m working on at the time. I love all my novels and all my characters for different reasons. Picking a favourite is a bit like asking a mother to pick a favourite child – just not possible.

The Other Me cover

7.As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
This changed on a near-weekly basis but some of the more serious aspirations included quantum physicist, chemical engineer, genetic engineer, forensic pathologist and musicologist.

8.Who is your favorite author to read? What books strongly influenced your own writing?
Neil Gaiman. There is something incredibly special about his books, about his subtle layering of tension and humour and the magic weaved throughout his stories. Gaiman’s Sandman Chronicles has certainly influenced my writing in as much as I like hiding easter eggs in my works with subtle nods to my other works and even short stories. Poppy Z Brite was also a huge inspiration for me. It was while reading Lost Souls that I realized I wanted to write books of my own.

9.How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I see it as a learning experience. Knowing what didn’t work for a reader is as valuable – if not more so at times – as knowing what did work for others. I try to set emotion aside and view the criticism as an opportunity to develop my craft. Of course, sometimes the best recourse is simply to ignore negativity and do what you love, regardless of what critics say.

10.What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Altered by Jennifer Rush and loving it!

Either/Or
1.Rain or shine? Shine right now since we’re in the depths of winter and I’m tired of the darkness
2.Harry Potter or LoTR? LoTR no contest!
3.Beach or mountains? Beach especially if it comes with a piña colada
4.Cowboys or aliens? Aliens 🙂
5.Cats or dogs? Dogs for sure
6.PLotter or Pantser? Pantser despite my best efforts at planning

Treasa and Gabriel


Book Blurb!
Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.

But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.

You can find her book The Other Me at Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Amazon.

If you are interested in getting to know more about Suzanne van Rooyen you can check her out here!
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Woohoo Wednesday with author Stacey Nash!

Welcome to Woohoo Wednesday, where I do interviews with authors in all stages of their writing career. Some you might relate to, while others you’ll only wish to Freaky Friday their asses and steal their lives. Up next we have the wonderful Stacey Nash. Thanks for coming aboard, Stacey!

Stacey Nash (3)
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It’s always been something in the back of my mind that I’ve never been game enough to try. About two years ago after a long conversation with my hubby in which he encouraged me to let go of my fears and just write something purely for me, I decided it was time.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?
Generally about 8 weeks for the first draft. I spend longer revising and editing though.

3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
That depends on what stage the story I’m working on is up to. If I’m writing a first draft, my schedule is a little haphazard, with me squeezing in time every spare moment I can. If I’m editing or revising it’s more of a schedule. I tend to do most of my work of an evening after my children are in bed.

4. When did you write your first book/story?
I wrote my first book two years ago, it’s the one I mentioned in the question above and it’s now published.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am a mother of three, so usually when I’m not writing I’m doing motherly things. I also love to scrapbook.

6. What does your family think of your writing?
They’re pretty proud, actually. My husband is very supportive…until the laundry piles up. And my ten-year-old daughter is an avid reader, so she in awe. She’s also really interested in discussing my writing.

7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I had no idea just how subjective the publishing industry is. I’d never really put much thought into it, just went to the bookstore and picked up a new book when I wanted one. I never realized just how many books there are out there that are never published.

8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have now written a total of five books. Three of them are part of a series and the other two are not. Gosh, out of the five it’s really hard to pick a favourite. I have a favourite character, does that count? She’s the main character in one of my most recent books, she’s a very strong personality; a bit of a thrill seeker.

ForgetMeNot_500x750 (3) stacy Nash

9. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I think I wanted to be a princess, but what little girl doesn’t?

10. Who is your favorite author to read? What books strongly influenced your own writing?
I don’t have a single favourite author, but rather a long list and most of the authors on that list influenced my writing. People like John Marsden, Emily Bronte, Cassandra Clare. And the author who influenced my writing the most was probably Suzanne Collins, because it was after reading The Hunger Games that I realized I am most comfortable writing in first person present tense.

11. Any writing rituals?
Don’t stop.

12. What’s the worst job you ever had?
Bartending. It was a lot of fun, but you should smell a bar at the end of a busy night when your feet stick to the floor because beer from the taps has leaked onto it. Then there were the drunk patrons…

13. How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
I’m only just starting out since my debut released in February, but I know establishing a career is difficult and I imagine maintaining it will be equally as challenging. With such a crowded market it’s hard to stand out.

14. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I don’t read my reviews. I think it’s best for authors to stay away from their reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads. Readers are entitled to their opinion of your book, and writers are only human. So it’s normal for us to be upset and maybe even defensive of something we’ve poured a lot of time, effort, and love into. I’d rather not know.

15. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Following on from the answer above, I think learning to have a thick skin is the most important. I know lots of people say this, but it’s essential if you don’t want to be a sobbing mess. As writers we have to learn to cope with criticism and rejection; from agents, publishers, readers. Trying not to take it personally is hard. Also, patience, which is an attribute I don’t possess in case you were wondering. 😛 The publishing industry moves slowly.

16. What are you reading now?
The fourth book in J L Armentrout’s Lux series. It’s called Origin at it’s a YA about glowing aliens, love/hate relationships, and secret government departments. I’m loving it!

17. How do you market your books?
My publisher assigned a publicist who does the bulk of my marketing. She’s absolutely wonderful. I do some myself though, mostly through blog visits like this one. I’m also attending two local signing events this year.

18. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk?
I write at the dining table, so it can have just about anything on it. At the moment there’s lego sprawled from one side to the other where my boys have been playing.

19. Any must-have snack/ drink or music for writing?
Music tends to distract me and I wind up singing along instead of writing, so I like to work in silence. I’ve always got a glass of water and bag of something sugary beside the keyboard though.

20. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself. You are the only person who can tell your story. No matter how many critiques, rejections, or setbacks you suffer, keep trying. Keep writing. It’s such a subjective industry and you never know when that anticipated call / email will come.

Either/Or
1. Rain or shine? Rain
2. Harry Potter or LoTR? Harry Potter
3. Introvert or extrovert? Introvert
4. Cowboys or aliens? Aliens
5. Planner or Pantser? Pantser

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