Coming events

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’m going to be busy (I know, surprise, surprise) the next five weeks, first with Necronomicon in Tampa this coming weekend, where I’ll have a table in the dealer’s room and a full schedule of panels (below).  Then on Saturday, October 18th emceeing the Lake County Library system’s Trash to Fashion event.  And finally, in Arlington, VA for the World Fantasy Convention November 6-9.  Then I get a break from travel (at least the work-related kind) until February.  Huzzah!

Anyway, if you’re at any of these upcoming events and want to stop by and say “hello”…

DAY TIME ROOM EVENT NAME
Friday 4:00:00 PM Audubon E-F How to Write Believable Characters
Friday 6:00:00 PM White Ibis South Stuff You Really Ought to Know Before You Write Your Book
Friday 8:00:00 PM Audubon C Writing Characters that Aren’t Quite Human
Saturday 12:00:00 PM Audubon C Alternate Mythology
Saturday 4:00:00 PM Audubon D The Scoop on Small Presses: for Writers
Saturday 5:00:00 PM Audubon C Romance with Fantasy Elements or Vice Versa

More belated pics from my Australian travels, these from the amazing Taronga Zoo.  Scroll down to see the adorable koalas and the baby gorilla!

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So excited for today’s diverse list of new releases!  On the Knight Agency list, we have the stunning conclusion to Gena Showalter’s White Rabbit Chronicles, THE QUEEN OF ZOMBIE HEARTS, and the latest rock hero romance by Nalini Singh, ROCK COURTSHIP.  On my list, we have a fun-filled, caffeine-fueled sexy romance in SOME LIKE IT HOTTER by Isabel Sharpe, cowboys, babies and suspense…oh my! in A SECRET COLTON BABY by Karen Whiddon, and the wonderful history and horror of Sleepy Hollow in CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION by Keith R.A. DeCandido.  Book blurbs below.  Congratulations to all!

some like it hotter SOME LIKE IT HOTTER by Isabel Sharpe (Harlequin Blaze)

She takes hers tall, dark and extra hot!

To coffee-shop owner Eva Meyer, the California coast is beautiful, mellow…and boring. The solution? Swapping lives—and coffee shops—with her twin sister for one month. Now Eva’s settled in the bustling Big Apple, where she can order anything…anytime.

And what Eva really wants is the extra hot, topped-with-whipped-cream sexiness that is Ames Cooke.

While Eva is convinced she’s found her perfect cup of Delicious Man, Ames isn’t quite sure what to do with the quirky little number who’s charged into his life. He’s supposed to be attracted to someone cool and reserved—like her sister. But Eva has the unnerving ability to turn things seriously hot and steamy. Besides, it’s only for one month. And like every good coffee addict, Ames can stop whenever he chooses….

Secret Colton Baby A SECRET COLTON BABY by Karen Whiddon (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)

A new addition to Wyoming’s most scandalous family

Is Theo Colton the father of a baby dropped at his doorstep by a dying socialite? Even more shocked than the sexy bronc-riding champ is his beautiful cook, Ellie Parker. Just as she becomes the baby’s nanny, she discovers a terrifying stalker has followed her to Dead River.

What’s worse—as a mysterious virus quarantines the town, danger goes viral, too. But to Theo and Ellie, the biggest dangers are their sizzling attraction and profound new feelings. Can Ellie tame the cowboy who wants nothing more than a wild ride with women? Or must she deny her heart to save his life?

sleepy hollow SLEEPY HOLLOW: CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Broadway Books)

When Ichabod Crane, a soldier from the Colonial Army, is resurrected from his grave, more than two centuries after he was killed in battle, he partners with Lieutenant Abbie Mills of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department to fight the evil forces that have taken hold of the town.
 
It’s a cold day in January, and Ichabod visits Patriots Park for a moment of peace. Instead, he receives a disturbing vision from his wife, Katrina, in which she delivers a cryptic but urgent message: he must retrieve the Congressional Cross that he was awarded by the Second Continental Congress for bravery in action. There’s just one problem: Ichabod was killed before he ever received the medal, and he is unsure where it might be. Together Ichabod and Abbie set out to uncover the mystery of the cross and its connection to George Washington and his secret war against the demon hordes. They soon learn that a coven of witches is also seeking the cross in order to resurrect their leader, Serilda, who was burned at the stake during the Revolutionary War. Now they must locate the cross before the coven can bring back Serilda to exact her fatal revenge on Sleepy Hollow.

The trouble comes in the form of my character Hermes (and what a character he is!) getting the drop on me and running off on his own to do an interview for I Smell Sheep about what would happen if he ruled the world.  Just take a look!  If you like him, you might want to check out my whole Latter-Day Olympians series. If you’re not sure yet, you can check out their Character’s Court, where my heroine, Tori Karacis, takes me to task for everything I put her through.

BadBlood300CrazyintheBlood300RiseOfTheBlood72lgBattleForTheBlood300

In other news, I know I’ve been back for more than a month now, but I’m finally caught up enough on work that I can find a few minutes to post some of my pics from Australia!  Today some shots from my jetlagged day one – the harbor, the botanical gardens (mind you, it was their winter season) and St.

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I’m so pleased to wish some awesome new happy book birthdays.  All the birthdays today seem to have something in common…modern stories with mythic/supernatural slants.  Check them out!

Predator_cover PREDATOR by Janice Gable Bashman

The hunt is on!

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

“Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she’s still got me. I want more!” — New York Times Bestselling Author Nancy Holder

“I thought I had read all there was about werewolves, until I read Ms. Bashman’s novel. WOW.” — Kimberly S. Mason

“If you like Teen Wolf, you should read Predator.” — Nick Rosenburg

“Cool book. Love the cover and the vibe. Will definitely read her next book in the series.” — Vanessa C.

“Thanks for letting me read Predator by Janice Gable Bashman. Not what I expected at all. Really loved the different take on werewolves.” — Anna Brand

black water BLACK WATER by Faith Hunter

Three stories from New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter, starring shapeshifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock.

In Snafu, a young Jane shows up for her internship with a securities firm. But before she even gets her foot in the door, she’s accosted by two street toughs and is forced to draw on her new-found Beast-magic to defend herself…

In Black Water, Jane encounters a dire situation involving an escaped prisoner and endangered hostages. With a helpful—and oddly sane—werewolf, Jane goes after the criminals, but can she stop them in time to bring the kidnapped women home alive?

In Off the Grid, Jane goes on what looks like a simple mission for the Knoxville blood-master—finding a missing Mithran. Her search leads Jane to a young woman named Nell, a woman with a scarred past and a strange power, a woman who may hold the key to saving the missing vampire, if Jane can convince her to assist.

Includes an exclusive preview of the Jane Yellowrock novel, Broken Soul, coming October 2014 from Roc!

“VERDICT: Jane Yellowrock is one of the most intriguing heroines in urban fantasy, and Hunter skillfully doles out tiny pieces of Jane’s backstory to keep readers coming back for more. Mystery and action are at the forefront here, but the romance from the first book continues to build slowly. Readers eager for the next book in Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series may want to give Faith Hunter a try.”    —Library Journal, starred review (for BLOOD CROSS)

“Jane’s world is a fully realized one, full of shapeshifters, Native American magic and folklore, baddies that will make your hair stand on end, and a heroine, that, despite her considerable skills, harbors plenty of vulnerability and self-doubt. If you love urban fantasy or just plain wonderful writing and world building, this is the series for you.” —My Bookish Ways

“Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series is a must-read for any urban fantasy fan. Start with Skinwalker! drey’s rating: Excellent!” —Drey’s Library

BattleForTheBlood300 BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD by, well, me

Dragons, demons, gods, gorgons. Who will save the world…and who could destroy it?

Latter-Day Olympians, Book 4

Tori wakes after Rise of the Blood to two very shocking realizations: one, she’s in bed with a very naked Apollo, having lost the fight to resist their attraction. Two, she still has her wings. Not dinky little fairy wings. Full-scale, cover-’em-with-a-trench-coat bat wings.

Apollo suggests consulting the Gray Sisters on the wings. Those cannibalistic, psychopathic oracles who, even with only one tooth and one eye among them, manage to see too much. As in a Rapture, zombie-apocalypse, biblical-plague, hellgates-busted-open the end of the world.

While the Sisters are perfectly on board with death and destruction, the thinning of the human herd doesn’t sit well with them at all. They’ll help her. All she has to do is save the world.

Tori and her team trace the origin of the plagues to New York City, which is under quarantine and martial law—as if that’s enough to stop the influx of gods and gorgons, dragons and demons. But as death threatens from without, betrayal lurks within Tori’s ranks. And nobody is safe. Nobody.

Warning: Betrayal and bad-assery, sensuality and a sizzling hot sun god. Death, demons, destruction and, potentially, the end of the world as we know it…zombie style.

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I won’t weigh you down with quotes on mine, except maybe for my favorite, from Long and Short Reviews, “Bad Blood is a delightful urban fantasy, a clever mix of Janet Evanovich and Rick Riordan, and a true Lucienne Diver original.”

In Honor of BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD

Posted: September 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

BattleForTheBlood300 In honor of the digital release of BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD, my fourth Latter-Day Olympians novel, tomorrow, I’m harkening back to one of my favorite interviews of all time.  Thanks, Jean Marie Ward and Buzzy Magazine!

And seriously, all, gods and gorgons, myth, magic and mayhem…maybe even a zombie virus…what’s not to like?

I promised my friends at the Colorado Gold Conference this past weekend that I would post my presentation on When is it YA? on my blog, and I’m keeping that promise here.  Some of this may be a bit familiar, since I’ve written on the subject before, but there’s new here as well.

So, when is it YA?

It’s important when targeting editors and agents to how where your work fits, and there’s often confusion about when something is middle-grade or young adult vs. new adult or adult fiction. Is it just the age of the protagonist? Well, no.

For a quick overview:

-Middle grade is considered fiction for kids 8-12. There’s, of course, a range within this from chapter books like the Magic Treehouse to series like Percy Jackson and the early Harry Potter books, which I would argue aged up with the reader. These books mostly have protagonists on the older side of the reader scale (kids will read up in age but not down). So, it’s very likely your hero or heroine would be 11 or 12. Word count generally hovers around 40-55,000 words, give or take.

-Young Adult is for ages 12-18. Of course, there’s a range here as well and again you want to aim for older protagonists to give yourself the broadest readership. Word count is generally 60,000-80,000 words though, of course, this varies as well. It’s not just about the age of the protagonist, but about themes and where the protagonist is in his or her life.

-New Adult this is for older heroes and heroines and has more adult, often sexual themes. It’s generally the next step in the protagonists’ lives—the first really adult relationship—and it’s mostly seen and shelved in romance. Heroes/heroines will be late teens or early twenties and the books will generally be the length of adult fiction.

-Adult: adult fiction can, of course, have younger protagonists, like Mark Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME or Jodi Picoult’s MY SISTER’S KEEPER or Orson Scott Card’s Ender series, but the themes and situations are adult. The characters aren’t dealing with high school and issues of identity, but having to deal with adult situations even at their young age.

So when is it YA?

Young adult and middle-grade novels do not simply have young characters dropped into an adult world, dealing with their issues.  They have young people in situations and settings that are relevant to their current experience and to what they’re going through. Generally, the characters are in a school and/or familiar setting, dealing with family and social issues that are universal to that period in life.

Common themes (and I say “I” and “you” because what any writer needs to succeed is to become his/her character while writing):

Finding belonging – where do I fit in? Whether your character discovers s/he belongs in the wizarding world or the in crowd, finding a place in the world is a major theme.

Rebellion – young adulthood is definitely a time for questioning the status quo and deciding what you really believe in and what you’re willing to fight for.

Survival – sometimes you’re fighting just to survive. Zombies. High school. Minefields. Mazes.

Self-reliance or the flipside, allowing others in – no matter who your character is, he or she won’t be the same by the end of the story. If she’s a loner, she might learn that she needs people and that there’s sometimes strength in numbers. If he’s used to a certain amount of safety, whether it be in financial or social status, something will happen to teach him how to stand on his own.

How to make a difference – change is sort of the buzzword. Whatever’s going on, there has to be a way for the teens themselves to make the difference and affect the change. Control and coming into their own are all important.

Overall, the most important thing is that the young adult protagonists in your story are the agents of change. They’re not catalysts or observers, they’re active participants, without which…nothing.

What about Language?

Just like it isn’t all about the age of the protagonists, it’s not all about language either. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

-Don’t talk down to your readers. Ever.

-Don’t preach

-Make sure you use relevant cultural references and not those that will be gone in a year. Your heartthrobs will not be theirs!

-Know how kids talk. Dialogue should be natural and contemporary. Language and sentence structure appropriate for your viewpoint character. They know when you’re faking it.

-Cursing – sometimes it’s necessary. Good rule of thumb, always make sure it is. Don’t use it gratuitously and be aware that for some lines, even that’s too much.

Taboos

Here’s a hint – teens know about sex and drugs and drinking. It’s part of their experience, so it will often factor into to realistic portrayals, although some publishers are certainly more open to this than others.

Young adult fiction isn’t adult lite.  It’s not the place to preach to kids or present things as you’d have them appear rather than as they are.  It’s the place where you address teens’ actual world, experiences, insecurities, pressures, etc.  Even if you throw vampires or werewolves into the mix, you’re still dealing with peer pressure, bullying, friends/parents/faculty/enemies with agendas of their own.  And the big secret…none of this ends with high school, which might be why so many adults are attracted to young adult fiction as well.  We’ve all been there, and in many ways have never left. 

The LA Times had a wonderful article recently on the widespread appeal of young adult fiction, where one author (Lizzie Skurnick) speculated that part of the attraction may lie in the fact that “a YA book is explicitly intended to entertain.”  I think another factor may be that young adult fiction isn’t broken down along genre lines, but is a category all by itself, which means that writers are less tied to any particular conventions.  A book doesn’t have to be A or B, but can be something all its own.  (Not that genre boundaries haven’t become increasingly blurry in the adult fiction market as well.)

I don’t think there are taboos of subject so much as differing levels of graphic presentation.  There are times where something might happen off stage or that different language might be used, but the world is not always a perfect or pretty place, and fiction should reflect that. 

That said, if what you want to write about is sexual awakening, you might be writing New Adult rather than YA. It’s a matter of the focus and the nature of the experience.

But death – yup, got it – THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. Drugs –yup, that too—Ellen Hopkins. Eating disorders – HUNGER by Jackie Morse Kessler. Suicide – THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Reproductive issues – UNWIND by Neal Shusterman. And those are just examples.

The important thing in young adult fiction is to be authentic and to make sure you truly understand your characters, their struggles and the significance of their triumphs.