Sunday, February 19, 2012

For The Love of Anubis

Do you like paranormal romance?

How about mythology?


Jackals? (Hey, I just got back from a mammalogy convention. You're lucky I didn't put Canis lupaster.)

Sexy mens and strong female heroines?

Way back there, about two years ago (jeez, it's been a long time), I met a paranormal romance writer on AW. I needed something to do; she needed a beta. She wrote, I read. She published. The rest is pretty much history.


And she's got a new book out from Musa publishing. Of course I bought a copy (it's gorgeous, even on the inside). You should too, if you like any of the stuff above. Or if you think you'd like to like anything from the above list.

Here's the cover and blurb:

Storm's Fury
Sometimes the very thing you've run from all your life is the one thing that can save you

A street-wise hustler, Stormy has been running most of her life from the creature that killed her family. However, when she meets Fury, a being so stubborn he could give a mule lessons, running is no longer an option. When he claims he’s her protector and the other half of her soul, Stormy would rather take her chances with the beast chasing her.

His dogged determination to protect her and his seductive expertise spark to life dreams she’d all but given up on: dreams of belonging to a family, and of having a life where running is nothing more than exercise. But with vile creatures hunting her, demanding her blood, and pack members who want her head instead of her help, Stormy will have to find away to place her trust and heart in Fury’s care. If she can’t, then neither of them will have a future to dream about.

You can purchase STORM'S FURY in various formats from Amazon (here) or Musa's website (here). Nya is also holding a contest to win a free--yes, FREE--kindle. Find those details on her blog here

Hope everyone is doing wonderful--have a good one :)

Currently listening to Ax Men on The History Channel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Old Soul.

I've always been told I have an old soul.

It's true that my 'Buelo was my best friend growing up. My great-uncle told the most amazing stories about things he did and places he lived that I'll never see. That my basketball coach was (and is) like a surrogate grandfather. Old things--people, places, things. I love them. I love old stories, and to hear about how things were for my grandparents when they were growing up. The struggle during the Great Depression. The Dust Bowl. The war stories. How my 'Buelo cowboyed back in his youth. How my Mimi didn't speak English until she was 10, and what a challenge it was to learn English in her very traditional Czech family. How her dad (who I never met) walked 20 miles to work every Sunday, lived on the jobsite until Friday, and then walked home on every weekend.

If loving those kinds of things make me an old soul, I guess I am.

It doesn't hurt that I enjoy hanging out with older generations more than with my peers. Or that it makes my heart swell when I see an older couple walking in the mall, hand-in-hand. I don't care that they're going slow and holding up traffic. If I'm blessed with a marriage that lasts long enough to make me a slow morning mall-walker, I'll consider myself lucky.

It's also no surprise that my YA WIP centers around the relationship between a  nursing home-bound war veteran and a juvenile delinquent. Or that letters factor heavily into the story, because I can't imagine a time when people actually wrote out missives longhand, instead of sending a Wht r u doin text. (Is there anything more romantic than handwritten love letter? Not that I can think of.)

Anyway, at one time there was a point to this blog post. I think it was because this has been plastered all over my facebook wall.

They're adorable. And I bet they've got some great stories.

Currently Listening to: Meghan Tonjes' cover of Africa (by Toto)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Setting the Hook.

Any writer seeking publication has heard all about hooks. Not the treble, fishing kind of hook. The book hook.

Your query should hook the reader. Your first sentence should hook the reader. Your blurb should hook the reader. Your style and word choice should hook the reader. Your concept better have a good hook. Your voice should hook. Your first page should hook. Your first chapter. Your first three chapters.

So many hooks, so little time.

To make things even more subjectively thrilling, no one hook works for all readers. Sure there's general concepts/themes that intrigue lots of people, but you never know how effective your hook will be. Take Hannah Moskowitz's INVINCIBLE SUMMER. A big part of the hook was the triangle between one girl and two brothers. Did it squick some people out? Probably. Did some people feel intrigued enough to read on? Definitely.

Different strokes for different folks.

Books aren't universal. Yes, I know--your book won't be universal. In all likelihood, it will appeal to a very small niche market. I know my current WIP, Hell to Pay, is most assuredly a tiny niche-market book. It might be so niche-y it doesn't sell. Who knows. But I do know that the underlying hook of the book is pretty universal. The theme is pretty universal. Will it make a difference, I have no idea. Time will tell.

The same idea of hooking the audience also goes for movies. Like books, visual entertainment connects or hooks an audience on an individual basis. There have been countless times I have walked out of a movie theater with a friend and had a completely different reaction than they did. Completely. To the extent of them saying 'I loved it' and me barfing on the floor in response, or vice-versa.

But good movies and good books have one thing in common: they connect with you. They hook on some level that ellicits emotion, whether that emotion is joy, anger, despair, playfulness. They make you feel something. How strongly you connect is largely dependent on not only what you feel, but whether or not you like feeling that emotion.

I know writers have it tough to create hooker queries (ha!), I do. I struggle with them myself. But the cinematic world has a rough go with movie trailers--that's basically their version of the query. And we all know that some movie trailers are effective and make you want to see the movie. Some are not.

The Hunger Games trailer made me want to see the movie even before I'd read the books. In fact, I read the books because of the movie trailer. I'd heard lots of buzz surrounding Suzanne Collin's megaseller, but my to-be-read pile was (and is) enormous. I didn't see why I should add THE HUNGER GAMES, at least until I saw the movie trailer.

You know the part that hooked me? It's when the officials are leading Prim forward after her name's been drawn for the games. It's how Katniss struggled and fought and screamed, "I volunteer--I volunteer as tribute."

Every time I watch that scene a little part of my stomach clenches and the hairs on my arms prickle.

I love my sisters as much as life itself. That scene made me identify so strongly with Katniss (ass that she can be) that I rushed to my local bookstore and bought the series. Read them all in three days.

I'd say that hook worked for me.

What're yours?

Currently listening to: The time ticking down until I have to go back to work.

Friday, February 3, 2012

But wait, there's more!

A door-to-door salesman came by today.

Naturally he knocked when I had just hopped out of the shower, so I rushed around and pulled on the nearest available clothes before I opened the door. Yeah. A powder pink baby tee and a pair of long, red basketball shorts. It was high fashion, y'all.

Factor in two barking/growling/wanting out the door Rhodesians, and it was probably a pretty comical exit from my house to the front porch. Not to mention the fact that my feet were clad in my trusty leopard-print houseboots. (they're not houseshoes--they're houseboots. true story.)

But. There, with barely controlled soggy hair, a horribly mismatched color scheme and my houseboots, I was ready to listen, bells on.

It's true that there for a moment I considered not opening the door.

I really did think about letting him keep on knocking. While my dogs went berserk and tore down every available curtain/mini blind on the west side of my house to get a better look at the offender. It was sorely tempting, window treatments aside. But I've got some serious respect for people who go door-to-door to make a living. I mean, like, SERIOUS respect.

I couldn't do it.
I'm getting nervous and red and sweaty just thinking about it.

I know loads of people are naturally better at talking to strangers than I am. Though it still has to be a little daunting, especially because regardless of your pitch, factors beyond your control influence the potential buyer's decision*. There have been times when I really wanted to buy something, but financially I couldn't swing it. Even though I really, really wanted to. Ah, life.

As it happened, this salesman was really aggressive with whatever he was selling (honestly not sure I could tell you). It took about five seconds for me to realize that whatever it was, I didn't need it. Dude, however, was not to be deterred. At one point, he actually started trying to invite himself in my house** (we were both on the front porch, the door to the house closed. sometimes I can stifle my upbringing and not invite strange people inside and put a beverage in their hand. sometimes.) (common sense, FTW.) I would have been impressed with his tenacity if it wasn't holding me up from my day.

Short of getting irritated, I did what anyone with seven puppies in the backyard would do.

I tried to sell him a puppy.

That, my people, is the unspoken magic trick.

Not only did he bring his rather aggressive pitch to a screeching halt, but he left shortly thereafter.

The only downside to the situation was that he didn't take one.

Apparently we're both bad salespeople.


Currently listening to: Kelly Clarkson--What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)

*Sounds like publishing, no? Just be thankful we can email query, rather than go door-to-door with our pitches.
**This would have solved the problem. I guess he didn't hear the 160 pounds worth of growl and teeth on the other side of the door. When I walked back in, Bella and Roo were both laying side-by-side, facing the door. I love those crazy dogs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Courage Is.

I follow some amazing blogs.

One is Corrie Wachob's, and she'd got an extra-amazing post up here.

Click it. Read it.

And take a stand.