Comment below with your score. Let’s see who knows The Last of the Firedrakes best!
Comment below with your score. Let’s see who knows The Last of the Firedrakes best!
Today I’m pleased to welcome author E.C. Myers to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet E.C.! Don’t forget to check out his books and the neat trailer for his latest release at the end of the post.
1. What made you decide to start writing?
I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was young because I’ve always been an avid reader; however, my early efforts (at age 13) were not promising. By the time I finished college, I thought I wanted to write screenplays—but I didn’t want to move to LA. So I started working on short stories, and eventually novels, figuring I can do that no matter where I live.
2. What is it like releasing your fourth novel vs. your first?
I’m less anxious about how it will be received because by now I have a better idea of the realities of publishing and how to manage my expectations. I’m still amazed that I get to do this for a living.
3. What was your inspiration for your SOS Thriller series?
The idea initially came from Adaptive Books and the unproduced screenplay on which The Silence of Six is loosely based, but as we developed the story and I began writing, my inspiration came directly from the headlines about government surveillance and internet privacy.
4. Your first book, Fair Coin, was a science fiction tale, was there a reason you decided to branch out into thrillers?
Primarily, I wanted to challenge myself, to see if I could write something outside of my comfort zone—and on a much tighter deadline than I had ever worked before. I think it’s always important to push yourself to try new things, and sometimes to “fail better,” if you want to grow as a writer and keep the work interesting.
5. Do you have a favorite genre to read? Is it the same as the genres you write in?
My favorite genres are still science fiction and fantasy and those are primarily young adult and middle grade. And these are also the genres I write in, though I have written contemporary fiction and would love to try more horror and maybe a mystery novel one day.
6. As a writer how to you juggle your other responsibilities to find time for your writing?
Um, poorly…? Though I have always been good about prioritizing writing, I’ve discovered that there actually are limits to how much I can squeeze into a day, and other demands in my life are not so flexible anymore and tend to push back against the writing. These days I have a full-time day job, a two-year-old, various needy pets, and a very busy spouse. Let’s just say I’m glad I made so much time before, and I look forward to having more time again one day. Writing is slow, but somehow I’m still producing stuff that’s getting published. I don’t sleep as much as I should.
7. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Meeting and talking to readers and getting e-mails from them. I write because I want people to read my stories, and nothing beats interacting with people who enjoy your work. Social media is also great for connecting authors and readers, and I always try to respond when people reach out.
8. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Read. A lot. Read everything. And don’t think about writing, just write—and then revise, revise, revise.
9. What can readers be on the lookout for from you next?
I’m really excited about ReMade, a weekly YA science fiction series I’ve been co-writing for Serial Box, which is like “HBO for readers.” It’s debuting on September 14 at http://www.serialbox.com/serials/remade. Each story can be consumed in about 45 minutes like an episode of a TV drama (there are also well-produced audio versions if you prefer to listen rather than read), and they connect and build over the course of a season to tell a bigger story. I wrote three episodes for season one, and because I was intimidated by how amazing my co-writers are, I’ve been pushing myself to do what I think is some of my best work yet. And the project ties back to my original dream of writing for film and television! Readers can subscribe at the site to get new episodes as they are released every Wednesday, or they can buy episodes individually, and the first one is always free and already available online.
About the Author:
E.C. Myers is the author of the Andre Norton Award–winning Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, young adult science fiction novels published by Pyr, and the acclaimed young adult thriller The Silence of Six from Adaptive Books. Connect with him on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.
About the Book:
After being a key figure in the exposing of government corruption, Max Stein has spent a quiet semester abroad in Paris, studying, staying off the Internet, and looking for his long-lost mother. But just as he is about to fly back to the United States for the holidays, trouble manages to find him once again.
Max receives a call from Penny, his on-again-off-again girlfriend who is part of the expert hacking duo DoubleThink. She wants him to meet with Ada Kiesler, a high-profile whistleblower hiding out at a foreign embassy in Berlin. Max has no interest in getting drawn into another corporate conspiracy. But when airport security suddenly detains him on suspicion of cyber-terrorism, he has little choice but to get involved. Soon Max and Penny are tangling with a new group of shadowy figures who are determined to control how the world shares its information. And some figures from Max’s past resurface, including his own mother, whose life has mirrored his own in more ways than he’d realized.
In this action-packed follow up to The Silence of Six, Max and his hacker friends must fight to expose a corrupt corporation that has been systematically taking control of the Internet.
Today I’m pleased to welcome author and editor Erin Rhew to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet Erin and don’t forget to check out her books!
1. What made you decide to start writing?
I don’t think there was any specific thing that caused me to start writing. I think I’ve always been a writer. From the time I was small, I loved the written word. I started reading very early and wrote my first poem at four. So, I think it’s a part of my soul and what makes me who I am.
2. Do you prefer series or standalone books?
That’s tricky–LOL! I don’t like the waiting involved in a series, and I want to know how things will end up. But I’m a little sad if there’s only one book because I don’t get to spend as much time with the characters and their world.
3. What is The Dream Team? And how can a new author create their own?
The Dream Team is a group of my friend who rally around to support me as I write my books. One helps keep me on task by requiring a chapter a day, one helps spur my imagination, one proofreads, and one immerses herself fully in my world to help me stay consistent. And through every step of the process, they all encouraged and inspired me.
A new author can create one by finding a group of friends who are passionate about the written word. Tell them your ideas and see if they’re willing to help.
My books would never have been written or published without the Dream Team.
4. What was your inspiration for The Fulfillment series?
The story just came to me one day. I’d been really involved in reading and watching Game of Thrones as well as studying Arthurian legend. I believe my mind spun a story with those two main elements, which resulted in this series.
One day, I was sitting at home, and the words “Vanguard” and “Ethereal” popped into my head. After that, the names “Layla,” “Wil,” “Nash,” and “Samson” did too. The story evolved from there. I wrote up a synopsis and sent it to my friends, and the Dream Team was born. The rest is history. 😉
5. Can you give us one fact about The Fulfillment series we should know?
It’s unexpected. I think that’s the main feedback I keep getting. People say, “Wow, I thought I had things figured out, and then BAM!” LOL!
6. As an editor and an author, how do you juggle both careers?
It’s VERY tricky! Time is not on my side since both writing and editing take up a lot of it. I think the biggest problem I have is not letting the editing side of my brain interfere when the creative side is at work. I need to get the story purged from my brain and then worry about grammar, sentence structure, and sentence flow. But sometimes, that little editing side won’t stay quiet!
7. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
My favorite part is meeting amazing people–fans, other authors, people in the industry. In fact, I met my husband through a critique partner group! 😉
8. What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love to see someone’s work evolve. I like polishing up something that’s already beautiful by giving it that extra shine that makes it truly gleam.
9. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Edit, edit, edit. When you’re self-editing, have your beta and critique partners edit it, and edited it again and after that…edit again. It’s crucial to have a polished piece before submitting to agents, small presses, or self-publishing.
10. What can readers be on the lookout for from you next?
I currently have an adult historical fiction out on submission with agents (several of whom have requested fulls–SQUEE). And while I wait on pins and needles for the agents to tell me what they think, I’m working on a YA futuristic thriller. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I call it “the Molly and Ryder story.” I’ve written the whole thing out before, but I got inspiration for a whole new way to tell it.
About the Author:
Erin Rhew is an editor, operations manager for a small press, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.
Visit her on her website.
About the Book:
Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.
Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?
Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.
When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.
Today I’m pleased to welcome author J. Andersen to the blog. I hope you enjoy her school reading picks and don’t forget to check out her book!
Hello everyone!!! I’m so excited to be here today to talk about some great reads for this school year. I thought I’d break this down by month to share with you some of my favorite old and new reads for your back-to-school experiences. Ready? Here we go.
Ah, this is the time when students cringe, mothers rejoice, and teachers dream dreams… mostly of things like students jumping out of second story windows and running into the woods. (No lie, this was one of my back-to-school dreams when I taught English years ago.) So for your back-to-school blues/joy, I recommend The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt. This Newbery honor made me laugh out loud with antics sure to appeal to teachers and students alike while getting you in the mood to learn.
By October, sports seasons are in full swing with tension and competition at a peak, and school has begun to feel like a prison. To commiserate with your feelings throughout these times, I recommend:
This is the time of year to relax a bit and be thankful. One book that makes me think about the blessings in my life is Terry Trueman’s Stuck in Neutral. It’s a quick read, but this Prinz Honor book is packed with emotion.
In my town, with December comes snow. Lots of it. Maybe you love it; maybe not. Either way, be sure to check out
I always found that January brought with it judgments and comparisons. Students would come back from Christmas break with new clothes and ‘toys’ and would one-up each other with the items they got. I say quit comparing yourself to everyone else. Stand out. Be beautiful/handsome just the way you are. That’s why I recommend:
The month of love… Maybe you find yourself binge eating all that chocolate from Valentine’s Day. If so, you might connect with Lauren from Surviving Haley by Brenda Baker.
By this time of year, I hope students have found their groove. And I hope more than anything that they have the strength and fortitude to stand up for what they believe in, no matter who comes against them with a differing view. This is why I recommend a slew from my favorite genre: Dystopian literature. We’ve all heard of Hunger Games and Divergent, which are both recommendations, but here are a few old and new you might enjoy, and yes, my book is in this list too!
1984 by George Orwell—Never forget that Big Brother is watching!
The Giver by Lois Lowry—Living in a colorless world isn’t all it seems.
The Breeding Tree by J. Andersen—When fighting for yourself isn’t enough.
Unwind by Neil Shusterman—for when you really feel like you’re falling apart.
By April, you may feel like you need to dig yourself out of a hole or maybe that state testing is making you want to disappear. If so, check out:
By May you may be thinking about Prom, and I hope by now you’ve fully discovered yourself and your talents. It’s good to be your own person.
For pretty dresses and scandalous hookups, check out Luxe by Anna Gobersen.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd, read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
The school year is done and summer is around the corner. It’s the perfect time to forget everything you just learned. That’s why I recommend The Program.
About the Author:
There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, running a small essential oil business, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.
When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.
When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.
Book 2 in The Breeding Tree series is due out Mar 7, 2017!
Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow Wattpadres author Josh Townley to the blog. I hope you enjoy his tips for writing your first novel and don’t forget to check out his book!
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of writing but never thought you had the talent. Maybe you’ve started a few stories already only to find yourself three chapters in with no idea what to do next. You’re not alone. Until a few years ago I didn’t think I could ever write a book. I certainly didn’t think I’d write something that would be read by hundreds of thousands of people on Wattpad, and reach the #1 spot in its category.
I may be only at the beginning of my writing life, but I’ve picked up a few things that might help you if you’re thinking of setting out on your own literary journey.
A lot of these types of blog posts boil down to the same few tips that are repeated in every corner of the internet, but hopefully, you’ll find one or two things a bit different on this list.
To write convincing characters, the heart of any good story, you need to know them inside-out, to the point that you can carry on unscripted conversations between them in your head. Don’t concern yourself too much with what they look like, aside from any key traits that might affect their personality, but get to know their voice.
Write letters or journal entries from their point of view. Know their dreams; their insecurities; their phobias and especially their flaws. Know what they want at the beginning of the story and how they plan on going about getting it. Do this not only for your main character but secondary characters, too. If you know them well enough, they’ll react naturally (but often surprisingly) to any situation you throw at them.
Maybe you’re set on writing YA Fantasy, but that shouldn’t mean you limit yourself to only reading YA Fantasy. Yes, it’s important to keep up with what’s happening in your genre, but if you close your ears to new voices and experiences, you’ll never develop an original voice of your own.
As a new writer, think of yourself as a farmer tending a field. At first it’s new and exciting. You plant the seed of an idea and rejoice as it begins to sprout. But you quickly realize your field is surrounded by fences. You want to expand, but the fences hold you back in every direction, and soon the crop begins to wither. Reading is how you move those fences and give yourself room to grow. My advice is to read the classics above all else – to stand on the shoulders of giants, as they say. Hemingway, Austen, and Dickens will each give you acres of fertile land to sow. Tolstoy and Melville will clear a path to the horizon and beyond. Faulkner and Joyce will teach you how to cultivate ground that to most would seem impassable, while the likes of Tolkien and Asimov will take you to new lands entirely.
Reading the classics as well as contemporary fiction will show you what’s been done, what’s possible, and will give you the space and the confidence to try something new.
I’m sure I’ll meet some argument on this one, but it’s my firm belief that nobody can write great prose without an appreciation of poetry. Poetry challenges your brain to rearrange each line again and again to achieve its greatest clarity and effect. It teaches you to listen to the rhythm of the words as one sentence flows into the next, how a simple pause can heighten tension, how the choice between two words that have the same meaning can dramatically change the outcome.
Writing poetry is a great way to warm up and stretch your vocabulary before a writing session. It doesn’t have to be something publishable, or even especially meaningful. Maybe you delete it immediately afterward and it’s never seen by another human being, but in my opinion there’s no better way to bring your writing to life than to read and write a little poetry.
That is one of the biggest questions among new writers. Do you plan out the story in advance, and if you do, how much detail should you go into? For me, the answer is very minimal plotting, but it really depends on your genre and the sort of story you’re telling. Something like a murder mystery, with multiple suspects, alibis to keep track of, and red herrings swimming around, may need to be plotted extremely carefully so that all the clues come together in just the right way. However, I find that if I put all my energy into planning the story, and I know exactly what’s going to happen and when there’s no enjoyment left in writing it. I need to be surprised as I go. I need to write my characters into a corner, with no clear way out, and then puzzle over it for hours or days as I try to think of a way to pull them through it. I find this produces the most exciting and unexpected twists and turns in a story.
If you’re writing speculative fiction, you will need to do some planning before you begin writing, but I think the most effective way to spend your time is to concentrate on world building and character development, and let the plot take care of itself for the most part. If you’ve created a rich, living, breathing world, and well-rounded characters with a purpose, turn them loose on that world and see what happens.
Please, I beg you, don’t begin with your main character waking up and going about a typical day at school before you get to the interesting stuff. Readers these days have a lot of other things competing for their attention so if you don’t hook them within the first few pages (if not the first few lines!) you will have lost them forever.
Another danger among new writers, especially those of fantasy and science fiction, is the urge to dump all their meticulously planned world building on the reader in the first chapter. Don’t underestimate your audience. They don’t need to understand everything in the beginning. Let them see the world through the eyes of your character in a realistic way. If you’ve created an interesting character and world, they’ll stick with you to uncover the secrets and mysteries little by little.
A lot of writers imagine their story playing out as a movie in their heads (or perhaps these days it’s an HBO or Netflix series), and so they’re very in touch with how a scene might look and sound. But don’t forget that books are a very different medium. If your writing is good enough you can get inside a reader’s head in a way that makes movies jealous, and you can tap into all of their senses. Smell, taste, and touch are all open to you to help immerse your reader in the story. Let us feel the weight of iron shackles around our wrists, and the heat on our downturned faces as we pass each torch that lights the corridor. Let us hear the echo of screams and the rattle of chains through the stone walls, and breathe the stale air that’s so thick with ancient rust and the stench of rats that it seeps down our throats and spreads over the roofs of our mouths until we taste it…
You get the idea.
Just remember that, like all things, you can overdo it. Keep it relevant to your character and their frame of mind.
My last and most important piece of advice is to write without fear. Understand that all rules are merely conventions, and they can and should be bent, broken and twisted to serve your story. Be unexpected. I mean this not just in terms of the plot, but with your writing style, too. Take a chance. Experiment. Stand out. Think a scene would be better without any punctuation? Go for it. Deliberate spelling or grammatical errors in a scene from the point of view of someone mentally handicapped? Why not? Repetition of a word, sentence or idea? Who’s going to stop you?
Readers will forgive almost anything as long as you keep them entertained, so don’t be afraid of making ‘mistakes’.
About the Author:
Josh Townley is a writer of horror (and occasionally other genres) from Melbourne, Australia. You’ll find him on Wattpad at wattpad.com/joshtownley where you can also read his acclaimed novella ‘ZOEY’, a unique telling of the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of a three-year-old girl.