Meet Suze, the big, loveable demon guardian from Emi Gayle’s, DAY AFTER

Today, I have a very interesting guest with me.  It wasn’t easy getting this interview as he really doesn’t like to draw attention to himself (not).  Normally, I interview my victims guests in a public arena, but this particular interviewee asked I come to his place.  Want to know where that is?

Would you believe me if I told you a crypt?

Yep, I arrived a bit ago in the still blackness of night and was greeted outside the mausoleum by two goblin-like creatures.  They escorted me inside and down the grey steps to a room that could have come right out of an Austin Powers movie.  In the center of the room, perched on a Texas-sized blood-red beanbag chair, sits my host: a seven-foot, creature with green ears, and horns that stick out of his over-sized, orange-brown head.  He motions to me with his funky claw-hand thingy to take a seat on a large couch.  I do as he says because quite frankly, the dude is scary, even if he is wearing nothing more than a red and blue striped bathrobe that barely covers his behind.

I reach into my bag and pull out my pad and pen when, to my surprise, two teens stroll into the room.  I know right away who they are:  Mac and Winn.  Perfect.  All my pre-thought interview questions just got tossed out the window…well, not really since there isn’t a window, but if there was…

Oh, never mind.  I clear my throat. “Emm, thank you for granting me the opportunity to meet with you Suze.”

Winn and Mac sit next to me on the couch, one on each side.  My insides rattle like  a leaf on a tree but I keep my cool.  Suze simply nods and puts on a baseball cap backwards.

I can’t help but smile.  He looks ridiculous but I’m not going to say anything.

“So Suze, what’s your 411?  What’s your ish with Winn?”  I glance at the handsome guy to my right.  If I was his age, I’d be interested.  Just saying.

Suze makes some sort of noise that reminds me of a horse snort.  It’s enough to get my attention. “411?” he says.  “Whaszat?”  He scratches his head.  “Is that the number you call for emergencies? Does that mean you’re going to call me for emergencies? Me? Ooh!”  His eyes go wide.  “Can I be a paramedic and save people?”

“Um,” I chuckle and shake my head.  “I don’t think so.”

“So why’d you ask if I wanted to be one?”

“I didn’t ask.  I wanted to know what your relationship is with Winn.  I mean, are you guys best buds? Have you been friends long?”

“Buds? Well … if I had to pick any flower, I’d call him a rose because a rose of any other name would smell as sweet.”

I’m pretty sure I have a blank stare on my face.  Just keep going, Jenny.

“Let’s try a different question.  What’ is like being  a demon?”

“Demon!  Who’s a demon?  You?”

I laugh and point to myself.  “Me?  Oh, no, I’m not a demon, but I have it on good authority you are. Emi said so.”


“Yeah. So, what kind of demon are you?”

“Me? I’m Abbaddon.”

“Ah, a destroyer.  Sweet.”  My stomach just tied itself into a knot.  “Don’t get to see many of you around these parts.”

He shifts positions. “Parts is parts.”

I look away while he adjusts his robe.  “Yes, well, let’s talk about something else shall we.  What do you like to eat?  Being a demon you must like meat.  Do you care for fish?  Do you like your food raw and wriggly like Gollum.  Maybe with lots of garlic?

“Gollum? Oh, I don’t know about that. He’s scary. Ewww.”  Suze shivers.  I wonder if Gollum would be impressed.  “Vampires don’t like garlic, did you know that?” Suze says.  “They are the hardest to eat and give me heartburn.”  He rubs his chest up the middle.

Ah yes. Vampires.  I was wondering when we’d get to that.  It’s always about the vampires.  Time to change tactics again.  “So Suze, tell me about your pad, your crib, your crypt.”

A smile gleams across his basketball head.  “It’s soft. And I can … I can …”  He motions me forward and leans in.  “I can change up my whole crib with a snap of my finger. I have fun gettin’ it ready for Mac. She never knows what to expect. Like … what would you like it to be like? I can make it like that! But none of that modern art stuff.”

“Hmm, how about a cabin in the woods.”

Snap and voila folks.  I’ll be doggone if I’m not in a freaking cabin in the woods.  Not too bad.  Not to bad at all.  I sit back and get a little more comfy.

“What’s your favorite article of *clears throat* clothing?”

Suze taps his temple. The finger moves to his nose. To his chin and to his cheek.  “My Superman Underoos. Mac said they aren’t in fashion, but they’re comfy, so I like ‘em.”

TMI, Suze.  TMI.  Change direction again.  I look to my left at Mac who’s eyeing me with great interest. I don’t like it.  “So, Suze, you’re Mac’s protector.  How’d that happen?”

“I dunno exactly. Someone told me I was, and then Winn told me I was, and then I just was.”

“Hmm, interesting. How about you give my readers the scoop about what you and all your fantasy friends are all about.”

“Scoop? I like chocolate. And vanilla. And Mint. And chocolate. Did I say chocolate? Yeah, chocolate and mint. Mac likes chocolate too. Did you know Winn gave her a chocolate diamond and she didn’t even eat it?”

“Suze, can you try to focus for  a minute, please?  Who and what are all of you and why is Mac so important to you?”

He frowns and crosses his arms over his chest.  “Mac’s important ‘cause she’s Mac, but I’m not supposed to say why ‘cause she doesn’t want everyone to know.”

“Okay.  I can see that subject is off-limits.  Who’s your girlfriend?”

“She’s a Dhamphyr. She’s like a vampire-human-combo person and she’s gorgeous. I really like her. Do you think she likes me?”

“I have no idea.  I’ve never met her.  Do you floss?”


“Yeah, you know, string between the teeth thing after you eat?”  He looks confused.  “Oh never mind. “What do you hate most about your ‘job’ as a guardian demon?  Like most?”

“My job? Well, I get to read a lot. My favorite book is the thesaurus and did you know there’s like a different word for every word in the dictionary in there!”

“You don’t say.”  I close my notepad as I can see this interview is going nowhere fast.  As I put my pen and pad away, I ask, “Is there anything interesting about yourself you want to tell us before I let you get back to your protecting and guarding?

“He flashes a big smile.  “I’m absorbing, charismatic, curious, delightful, magnetic, pleasing, striking, suspicious— you get me, right? I’m interesting!”

Yeah, I got you buddy.  I stand and grab my things.  “Thank you for taking time to talk to me, Suze.  It’s been…different.  Keep up the good work.”  I stop Winn and Mac with my hand.  “Please.  No need to get up. I can see my way out.”

I exit the mausoleum with laughter at my heels.  That’s okay.  I just exposed Suze to the world.  I wonder if he realizes the true scope of that.  Maybe it’s best for me if he never does.  He is, after all, an Abbaddon.


Day After

Release Date: May 6, 2013

Target Reader: Young Adult


Demon crypts. Vampire lairs. Glowing angels. Sexy sirens. The stuff of fiction.

Or so Winn Thomas always thought.

Since being accepted into the fold of the supernatural, he knows better. None of what he imagined is true, but everything he feared is, and binding himself to his Changeling girlfriend until her nineteenth birthday will give him an education far beyond what he’d get at his human high school.

Luckily, Winn’s not giving up, he won’t back down, and he definitely isn’t going to run away with his tail between his legs. After all, only werewolves have tails. Right?

In this, the second of the 19th Year trilogy, Winn’s facing the challenge of one lifetime. If he doesn’t learn the truth about mythological creatures, his girlfriend Mac Thorne won’t either. That means, in six months, when she chooses her final form, she won’t know what to pick.

Winn, though, has his own ideas about Mac’s final selection—plans she knows nothing of.

He intends to have her pick human.

Whether she can or not.

Read an excerpt here

Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years.

Ironically, those years were some of Emi’s favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she’s still in love with him to this day. She’ll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.

Want to try to win a copy of After Dark and Day After?  All you have to do is go here and enter.  Good Luck!

Psst! Wanna know a secret?

Today I’m revealing a big, big secret I’ve been keeping for weeks.  Trust me, I’ve wanted to share it with you for so long but my publisher wouldn’t let me.  Today, however, they released me and six other authors from our bondage and said, “Go!  Tell everyone you can!  Shout it to the world, to outer space!  Give them ONE MORE DAY!”

So here it is, everyone!  The cover reveal of J. Taylor Publishing’s latest anthology, ONE MORE DAY!  And my YA short story, Dragon Flight, will appear on the pages inside.  Isn’t it pretty???  🙂



What if today never ends?

What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—

never happens?

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying …

that’s where you’d be … forever.

Unless …

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us their twists, surprising us with answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could, maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened … to you?

Does the blurb excite you?  Anyone up for helping out with upcoming blog tours, interviews etc.?  If so, give me a shout out!  The book releases December, 2013 in ebook and paperback  (this makes me very happy!  I’ll actually be able to sign a book!!!)  There will be tons of giveaways coming up over the next few months, not just from me, but all the authors involved, so get ready to jump on the ONE MORE DAY train.  Reciprocal reviews and blog tour spots for your works may be possible as well for joining in this adventure.

In the meantime, enjoy the cover and stay tuned for more news.  If you’re into YA, you’re not going to want to miss one word about this anthology.  It’s going to be tons of fun.

Work in Progress Challenge

I was recently “tagged” by Julie Catherine in a book interview of sorts. I am glad to have this opportunity to share information about my work in progress and send my thanks to Julie Catherine and to all those down the line who continue to pass this challenge along.

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?

I have many works in progress but my baby is In the Shadow of the Dragon King.  It is the first in the Chronicles of Fallhollow saga trilogy.

2. Where did the idea for the WIP come from?

I’ve always had the story crawling around in my mind since I was young.  My dad was in the army and like a silly child, I envisioned his work as romantic, like the knights of medieval times.  Of course I always loved a fantastic fairy tale where knights and princes would come to the rescue of a fair damsel.  I always knew I wanted to combine the two together and have a young person lead the way as the knights and their army fought dangerous beasts like dragons.  The hero would always have magical folk to help (and hinder) along the way.  In 2003, I revisited an old manuscript I started years ago and piddled around with it part-time.  Then, in 2010 after I lost my job, I threw my entire being into finishing it, which I did in July 2011.

3. What genre would your WIP fall under?

Most definitely on the cusp of Young Adult/New Adult high fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, you know, I’ve thought about this a lot and I keep coming back to the same folks.

David:                  Nicholas Hoult
Charlotte:        Alexandra Daddario
Lily:                     Natalie Portman
Slavandria:     Olivia Wilde
Eric:                    Cameron Bright
Sestian:            Jeremy Sumpter
King Gildore:      Craig Parker
Queen Mysterie:    Roselyn Sanchez
Trog:                David Wenham
Seyekrad:      Paul Rudd

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your WIP?

To keep him from being murdered, a passive seventeen-year old boy is kidnapped from his world and forced to fight a war steeped in sorcery.  His price of failure:  the annihilation of the girl he loves…and maybe a world or two.

6. Is your WIP published or represented?

Not yet.  It’s been to a publisher who came back and said they would consider it if I made some changes.  I’m making changes.  🙂

7. How long did it take you to write?

I’ve been at this off and on since 2003, but I seriously set my mind to finishing it in 2010.  I put “The End” on it in July 2011.

8. What other WIPs within your genre would you compare it to?

If you mean what other novels are out there like mine, I don’t think there are any.  I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, but I don’t recall reading ones similar to this.  I’ve been told there are elements of Iron Fey meets Narnia meets Lord of the Rings with a whole lot of me mixed in.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this WIP?

I don’t think any authors inspired me to write this particular novel.  The story has always been in me.  It just took a long time to come out.  However, there are many authors who inspire me to write like: Raymond Feist, J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Claire, C.S. Lewis, Julie Kagawa, The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Lewis Carroll, and Charles Perrault.

10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in this project.

As an army brat, I was lucky enough to travel a lot when I was young.  I actually lived in Germany for two years and during that time, I got to see a lot of castles and visit many medieval locations.  The romanticism of the medieval times always stayed with me.  It seemed all the stories I wrote while growing up were centered around castles, dragons, faeries and magic.  The older I got, the more entrenched in Arthurian legend I became.  I became obsessed with Merlin, Arthur, Gwynevere, and Morgana, and began reading anything that was similar.  I knew when I finally wrote my novel, it would be steeped in the same sort of myths and legends, and take place in castles I envisioned and made up in my mind.  Without a doubt, there would have to be dragons and sorcerers, mages and magic.

But I also spent many years in the south, making Georgia (United States) my home.  While living in Georgia, I traveled all over the deep-south:  Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, and came to know and love many places and people I encountered.  When it came time to write In the Shadow of the Dragon King, I knew I wanted the story to take place in two worlds existing side by side, sharing much of the same landscape, and I wanted my protagonist, David, to live in the mountains.   Some of the most beautiful land in the world is located in the mountains of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, so I naturally picked a center spot of all three states.  I created the town of Havendale which is a stone’s throw from Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee, two very real cities.  It’s a perfect backdrop for David’s story and it’s been a lot of fun creating two ‘worlds’ to accommodate his adventures.

One final thing …

Tag, You’re It:

As a final step of this Work In Progress blog post, I’m supposed to tag other writers who are then “it” to make a blog post of their own.  I’ve chosen three blogging buddies I know who are working on something:

Jennifer M. Eaton

Julie Reece

Terri Rochenski

I hope they choose to participate in this challenge.  You should really stop by their blogs to find out.

Meet YA author, Jamie Ayres, ink-slinger of 18 Things

 Hi everyone! Thanks for dropping by the YA Blog Takeover.   Today we have the crazy, off-beat, simply irresistible, Jamie Ayres.  Yaaaayyyy!  If you’ve missed any of the previous YA author blog events, you can catch up here, here, here, here, here, here and here. (that’s a lot of catch up)!  🙂

Okay, Jamie, now that I got everyone’s attention, take it away!

Hi, ya’ll *waves* Big shout out to Jenny for hosting me! Let’s get this party started . . .

My name is Jamie, my closest friends call me Jaim-O, hubby calls me Sporty Spice, daughters call me Big Mama (I try to get them to change that to “Hot Mama” but they said nobody would believe that), my students call me Mrs. Ayres or Mrs. A—I’ll basically answer to anythingJ

I’ve been blogging for two years and made the transition from Wannabe YA Writer to Bona Fide Published Author just last month. It all happened through a contest at the end of May—so if you don’t think contests are worth it, pay close attention. The contest was a call to submit our query + first 500 words to YA acquisitions editor Krystal Wade of Curiosity Quills, whom blogger buddy Sharon Bayliss had just signed a contract with. I thought, what the heck? I’ll start my summer off right with a contest and hopefully gather some valuable feedback. Everyone rocked with their comments and I got a request for the first 3 chapters from Krystal. I was excited but also kinda disappointed I didn’t get a full request. *She later told me she wasn’t going to request it at all but liked the changes I’d made based on the comments* I sent Krystal the manuscript on a Saturday morning and when I checked my email on Monday, I had a message from her requesting my full!! I got one of those really good feelings but remained only cautiously optimistic until another 2 days later, I received an offer for a publishing contract!

My first novel, 18 Things, will be published later this year as part of the My So-Called Afterlife trilogy. I didn’t set out to write YA paranormal love stories, but I guess that’s what I enjoy reading the most so that’s what flowed out of me. I love coming-of-age stories . . . that time in our lives when we’re figuring out who we are and often falling in love for the first time and kinda getting away from the watchful eye of the parentals and the vulnerability that stems from all of that. Makes for great writing material!

It’s in high school when I really discovered I wanted to be a writer. Teaching was tugging on my heartstrings too so that’s what I majored in, with the intent to write in my ‘spare’ time. Well, that’s the thing. When you’re in college, you don’t realize you won’t have any spare time when you grow-up. So that’s why it took me until the summer of 2009 to start this journey. That’ s when my wonderful husband started snoring and keeping me up at night. Since I couldn’t sleep, I wrote! I penned two cringe worthy novels and received 55 rejections until I really honed what 18 Things is today . . . guess the saying is true: Third time’s a charm! Failure was never an option for me. I have two young daughters and students (past & present) looking up to me. If I give up on my dreams, how can I turn around and tell them, “Dream big or go home!”?

I’m supposed to leave you with some parting tidbits of wisdom (hmm . . . perhaps Jenny forgot who she was talking to, lol). I’ll keep this simple with my top 5; otherwise my convoluted thoughts will take over: Be yourself (variety is the spice of life, right?) Never give up (you never fail until you quit—some smart person said that—not me)! Trust your gut (instinct is untaught ability—another smart guy named anonymous said that—not me)! Don’t stress (your novel/blog will still be there after you take off a day, a week, or even a month—take care of you first. Thanks to Jenny for being a good example on this one). And believe every rejection in life just means God has something better planned for you down the road

J ~Cheers!

Aww, Jamie, thanks for the mention.  I love your upbeat voice and can’t wait to read 18 Things.  I have to say, your method of landing a publishing contract was a bit out of the ordinary.  It doesn’t happen to most authors, so big congrats for that!  It just goes to show that every aspiring author needs to explore every avenue in writing from contests to blogs.  Who knows.  You may end up in shoes similar to Jamie’s.  You just have to try.

I would love to post a picture of Jamie’s novel but because it is soooo new, the publisher hasn’t released one yet.  I can, however, give you a nice little exciting blurb.

Description for 18 Things:  

Can eighteen things save a life? Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten. Then Conner is killed in a freak accident and Olga feels responsible. The sarcastic, nerdy girl who never missed a day of school is suddenly lost and unable to deal with the emotional pain. When she downs an entire bottle of pain pills, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday. Olga enlists the help of her friends and becomes a catalyst for healing in their own lives as they eagerly offer suggestions. Alls she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her. Maybe it’s time to put into practice the lessons her list has taught her. Just as she’s finally embracing the joys of YOLO, her therapist reveals a big secret and Olga’s world is shaken. In the past year it took eighteen remarkable things to change a life, but nothing she believed about her mission is true. Now she doesn’t just risk losing her true soul-mate forever, she risks losing her very soul. There’s only one thing she knows for certain. Her choice will affect their future for all eternity.

Doesn’t that sound like a great read!  Please free to leave a comment here for Jamie or at any one of the following links.  I’m sure she would love to hear from you and chat up her new book!


Meet YA author, Michael Conn, creator of Maxwell Huxley’s Demon

Today I have the fabulous, fantastic (and rather shy) Michael Conn, author of Maxwell Huxley’s Demon.  The premise of this book is mysterious and creepy, perfect for those who like a little scary in their reading library.  The cover got my heart pulsing.

So without further ado, give a round of applause to the talented Michael Conn!  *Star Wars Imperial March plays as author steps to the podium*


My name is Michael Conn. I am a married father of three. I have two dogs, and I live and write in Victoria, BC, Canada.

I’m not sure when the idea behind MAXWELL HUXLEY’S DEMON popped into my head, but I had been mulling it over for a couple of years before writing it. In the summer of 2011, I spent time at my family cottage in Ontario. My sister is a writer, and I read one of her latest books. Reading her book made me think that I should try this. I should write. I should write down Maxwell’s story.

I started with an outline – the complete story from beginning to end mapped out. I outlined all of the books planned in the series before I wrote the first book. In August, I started writing. I wrote the story from Maxwell’s point of view only, ignoring all the other characters. Then I wrote the story of each character in separate files. So I ended up with a short book for Maxwell, a book for Midge, a book for Kristina, a book for Catherine, and so on. With each of the books done, I weaved them together, taking scene from each point of view and layering them into the main novel.

Being my first book, I wasn’t sure that I could or would finish it. To help my chances of success I set myself a daily word count quota. 1000 words per day. I picked a thousand words because I was told a novel should be 80,000 words. So this will take me 80 days. I was optimistic.

Back in Victoria I treated the project like a job and wrote everyday with an eye on my quota. I found I could usually write 1000 words, but sometimes I also deleted 1000 words. There were days when it was hard to keep my net output up to 1000 words, but I usually did.

I don’t have a literary background. I worked as a software engineer for most of my career. My career started out providing me with a healthy creative outlet, but over the years this changed. Writing provided the creative outlet that I crave when work didn’t.

Eighty days wasn’t a bad guess. After 90 days I finished draft 1. After 9 months, I finished draft 31, the one I published.

Maxwell Huxley’s Demon is self-published for two reasons. One, I’m impatient and so have a hard time waiting on the traditional houses. Two, I’m impatient and wanted it out there. I felt that I could write the rest of the story until book #1 was published, so up on Amazon it went. Here is a favorite blog post of mine about the trials and tribulations of an Amazon book promotion weekend:

I wrote Maxwell’s story because I love action adventure stories, and I often find myself reading YA novels to satisfy this appetite. However, quite a few adventure books I have read over the last number of years seemed quite slow to me. My goal with Maxwell was to explore developing a character through action. I didn’t want to create a novel where the action stopped every time character development started. I wanted to see if I could do both simultaneously.

I am now partway through book two of Maxwell, but I have taken a break to write an unrelated novella with a working title of the Monster. My current plans have the Maxwell Huxley series finishing after five books.

Whoo Hoo!  Thank you, Michael.  Five books.  What an admirable goal.  And your story is so familiar among writers.  We have normal jobs but there is a story lying within us, screaming to be written.  Good luck with your books and will definitely add them to my TBR list.

Now everyone, here’s a bit about Maxwell Huxley’s Demon.

 Description: In MAXWELL HUXLEY’S DEMON, when nine-year-old Maxwell Huxley and three others break free from their mountain-top “school” for gifted children – a place where kids mysteriously vanish when they turn ten – a fantastical chase around the world begins. Pursuing answers and freedom, Max unintentionally creates a new world: a world where friends and family meet their demons, where artificial beings come to life, and where nanotechnology is indistinguishable from magic. Maxwell pays a heavy price to discover what he was bred for.

Isn’t that cover great!

After your order your book, don’t forget to pop over and say hello to Michael. You can find him at the following locations, usually with a pen and/or a laptop close by.

Twitter: @maxwellhuxley
Email: michael(at)maxwellhuxley(dot)com

Michael’s Bio: In addition to writing, I work as a senior software engineer and solution architect. I have always been intrigued by software security, artificial intelligence, and expert systems. From this acquired expertise came the idea to write MAXWELL HUXLEY’S DEMON.

Meet YA Author Jus Accardo, author of Touch

I am thrilled beyond belief to introduce all of you to Jus Accardo, author of TOUCH (available now) and TOXIC, coming out September 2012.  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into these novels.  And the covers are to die for gorgeous!  Yummers.

Anyhoo, enough drooling for now.  Everyone put your hands together for Jus Accardo!!!  *whistle*  *applause*  Take it away, Jus.  The stage is yours.

Being an author isn’t an easy career path. Everyone’s trip is different, so today I thought I’d share a little bit about my journey and some of the things I learned along the way.

I wrote my first full book when I was in high school. It was divided up between three notebooks, handwritten in various colored ink, and then hidden away in a box never to be seen again. From there I went on to write other things. Short stories, catchy lyrics, and, of course, more books.

The wisdom? Write. Write. Write. Every word gets you closer to your goal.

Five books. That’s how many I wrote before I queried my first agent. The first book I did query got no requests. Yep. You read that right. None. Zip. Zilch. Z.e.r.o. Okay. That’s not entirely true. I did get one request from an agent—almost two years after I’d sent the query. I kid you not. My point is, it sucked. It was hard and there was an ungodly amount of waiting. For someone who possesses no patience, this is truly the definition of hell. There were so many days that I woke up thinking, What the hell am I doing? This isn’t going to happen.

The wisdom? Don’t give up. You need to go into this profession wearing full body armor, armed with an arsenal of support and a slick back. It’s rough and tough and some days? It hurts. In the end though, it’s so worth it.

So I sat down and started working on another book. TOUCH. What I’m going to say up front is that there is no norm for getting published. It really is different for every author. Under eight months from the first word in the first draft, I had an agent and a 3 book contract. I’ve heard of people querying multiple books—some more than three years—with no success. I’ve also heard of people querying a few agents with their first book, and getting snapped up right away.

The wisdom? It’s different for everyone. Don’t measure your success—or timeline—by other people. All it will do is upset you/piss you off/make you want to quit. Keep at it. It only takes one person to pick you out of the slush and give you a home.

TOUCH had a lot of interest from New York. It went to the acquisition table at multiple houses, but in the end, most came back to us with the same answer. They’d recently picked up something that was similar. The kiss of death, that word. Similar. Obviously, I was disappointed. To get so close to where I wanted to be, only to have the door closed? An entirely new definition of hell (There are many in an authors world).

There were still more editors to submit to, but honestly, I was expecting them to come back with the same answers. I’ll admit I got a little discouraged. And then my agent and I found Entangled. They were new and enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to get their hands on Dez and Kale. But they were a small press, and at the time, only a few months old. Not one of the elite. I’ve lost track of how many people asked me why in the world I sold my book to a small press when I could have kept chasing New York. At the time, I defended my decision. Now? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Chocolate pudding. With strawberry. Mmmm…

The wisdom? Don’t look down your nose at self-pubbers and small presses. TOUCH has done extraordinarily well in the hands of a small press. Truthfully, I don’t look at them as small press/big press. They’re publishers. Each with their own good points and bad ones. The key is finding one that fits you personally. And self pubbers? Amanda Hocking, anyone? Granted that’s not going to happen for everyone, but, yanno, just sayin…

So now that I’ve got a young adult series underway (and another coming in 2013) people have been asking if I’ve ever thought of writing adult stories? The truth is, I’ve thought about it, and I’ll never say never, but for now I’m sticking with ya because it’s what I’m passionate about. Books got me through my teenage years. More than anything, I want to create stories that will do the same for others.

The wisdom? Write what you love. I read both adult (Darynda Jones and Rob Thurman are two of my all time faves) and YA (infinite list of faves). But I tend to gravitate more toward writing ya mostly (but not limited to—according to some it’s because I’ve never quite grown up) because I’m a sucker for firsts. There’s so much emotion in ya. So many firsts.

Fantastic insight and advice there, Jus, and you’re right. Each person’s journey is different.  The thrill is in taking the ride, not comparing it to someone else’s experience.

Now on to the good stuff.  Check out Jus’s novels below!


Touch (A Denazen Novel)

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.

Add Touch to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Description:  When a Six saved Kale’s life the night of Sumrun, she warned there would be consequences. A trade-off. Something taken for the life they gained. But Dez never imagined she’d lose the one thing she’d give anything to keep… And as if it’s not enough Dez finds her immunity to Kale fading, the Six brought in to help Kale learn to control his killer touch starts drooling on him the moment they meet. Worse than that? Jade can touch Kale. But bimbo Barbie is the least of Dez’s problems.

After Dez and Kale got away at Sumrun, her father lost not only his most powerful weapon but an important piece of the Supremacy project. Forced by Denazen to remedy the situation, he poisons Dez and offers her a choice—surrender to Denazen for the cure…or die. Determined to find a solution that doesn’t involve being bagged and tagged—or losing someone she loves—Dez keeps the poison a secret. But when a rash of Denazen attacks hit a little too close to home, Dez is convinced there’s a traitor among them. Jade.

Sacrifices, broken promises, and secrets. Dez will have to lay it all on the line if there’s any hope of proving Jade’s guilt before they all end up Residents of Denazen. Or worse, dead…

Add this one to your TBR list at Goodreads.

And don’t forget to stop by the following links and say Hi to Jus!

Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook * Website

Interview with YA author, Kevin McGill, scribbler of Nikolas & Company: The Merman and the Moon Forgotten

Today I have a very, very special guest, Kevin McGill, the author of the Nikolas and Company series.  I met Kevin during the peak of a mega marketing campaign.  His goal?  Sign 1,000 paperbacks and send them to 1,000 lucky kids between 9 and 18.  Why?  To save them from summer boredom.  Ha!  I liked the guy right away and knew I had to have him for this blog takeover.  Anyone who wants to save kids from summer boredom by having them read instead of play video games scores BIG in my world.

Here’s a pic of Kevin and all his madness.

Of course it will all start over soon when his second book in the series releases in 10 days, but we’ll get to that later.  Right now, let’s get this party started.

{turns to Kevin}

Me:      Hey Kevin!  Good morning.  Wow, it’s great to have you here.  I’m sure you’re exhausted so I really appreciate you taking time to hang out here for a bit.  Maybe as an ice breaker, you can tell everyone a little about yourself.  Where you were born?  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  Where do you live now?  All those kinds of things.

Kevin:     My name is Kevin McGill and I’m the author of Nikolas and Company: The Merman and The Moon Forgotten. I hail from the great state of California. I was born at Merced Castle Air Force Base, and grew up deep in the recesses of the country. Woke up every morning to the sun rising above the Sierra Nevadas. Fast forward past High School, college, and all the way to grad school where I met and married my bride. The missus is a smart lady who works with international students at a local graduate school and is currently getting her PhD in London. She/we go there about twice a year for classes. It’s a tough life…

Me:     That sounds like it’s a tough life, but fun and full of new adventures.  Great fodder for stories.  Tell us, how old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Kevin:     My first inkling was at the young age of seven. We were given fictional writing assignments. I wrote mine in record time, and it was pretty long if I remember. Later on some of my classmates asked me to write stories for them, and even paid me two bucks to do it! Gladly I accepted. But then I found out they turned my stories in as their own.

Me:     Ah, man, that sucks.  You know, Stephen King wrote in his On Writing about a similar experience. The things others will do to get a grade.  I hope you didn’t get in trouble.

{Kevin smiles}

So, how long did it take to write Nikolas & Co., The Merman and the Moon Forgotten?

Kevin:     It took about a year or so. I wrote the entire series over a five-year period.

Me:     Where did the idea come from?

Kevin:     Remember when I said I grew up in the country? Well, one amazing thing about a place with no city lights is the moon and the stars. My stepmom always encouraged creativity, so, lying out on our pool deck one night with my siblings, she asked us to come up with a story based upon what we saw. I remember looking up at the moon, and imagining that it was part of a long lost civilization. The craters were not from meteor strikes, rather an interplanetary battle between moon and earth. Then, back in 2006, the image of a boy standing on the bow of a deck as it flew toward a planet flashed across my mind…well, I can’t say more about that bit because I’ll be giving away Episode 2.

Me:     Well, we wouldn’t want to do that, would we?  Tell me.  I always love asking this question.  Are any characters based on anyone real?  Come on, you can tell us.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Kevin:     {he smiles and slightly chuckles}  Not consciously. But I’m almost certain subconsciously. Hey, I can’t be responsible for what lurks in the recesses of my subconscious mind {big smile}.  Grand felt like a man I worked for about five years back. He also felt like my impressions of Dad growing up. Not mean, but stern. And always marching forward, though looking at you in the corner of his eye. I will say, I think I accidentally ripped off the Last Unicorn when developing Yeri. Did you ever see that cartoon? Ah, don’t worry about it. Few have. Anyway, there is a wizard in it by the name of Schmendrick. I’m pretty sure I ripped off that character for Yeri, the stagecoach driver.

Me:     I liked Schmendrick.  He was such a shy, naïve and kind soul who didn’t really truly believe in his abilities until the end.  I feel like I know Grand already.

So, I’ve seen the book trailer for the novel and it’s really cool.  Did you come up with the storyboard and animation yourself?

Kevin:     I fleshed out the basic concept, but Carlyle McCullough did the artwork and Tim Pike did the animation. I and several others did the voices. My voice work was all the creepy English/Victorian characters closer to the end. It really took a small army to pull it off. Still one of the coolest things our little studio has done to-date.

Me:     Would you say there is a moral or lesson to be learned in The Merman and the Moon Forgotten or is it straight action with a great plot?

Kevin:     Merman and Moon Forgotten is an introduction to our hero, Nikolas, but it also sets up some themes for the next three books, specifically greed. Greed is just a financial form of a black hole. The greedy party sets up a system in which all money eventually heads toward them, while the rest are without. It’s interesting that plant life dies when the balance of input and output are disrupted, and some particular specie overtakes the others.

Me:     Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

Kevin:     Ah. That’s tough. I like Nikolas, I even like Caroline, but at the moment Grand is my favorite. He is simple, but that simplicity is a thin shell covering up a good deal of complexity. Oh, and the crazy stunts he gets away with makes the teenage boy in me smile.

Me:     Ah, smiling teenage boys are a good thing, especially for parents and teenage girls.  Tell us, you mentioned sequels to The Merman and the Moon Forgotten.  Can you tell us a little bit about them?

Kevin:     There definitely are sequels. The next one will be published August 4th. It’s called Nikolas and Company: When Boats Breathe and Cities Speak. The four part series will introduce us to the fantastic world of Huron, the immensity of the evil Yeri, Nikolas and the Merrows will face, and what part Nikolas’ company will play in all of it. His friends aren’t along just for the ride ;).

Me {rubs hands together}:     Oooo, I do love a good mystery!  Okay, seeing how much you love to write, you must also love to read.  What’s your sweet elixir?  What do you prefer:  paper or e-books?

Kevin:     I don’t think I have a preference. The only time I do have a preference is when I read a sci-fi classic. Right now I’m reading Asimov’s Foundation series. It’s pretty cool to feel like it’s 1961 and I just picked up the book from some mom and pop bookstore. But that might mean it’s just a good antique.

Me:     What scares you the most?

Kevin:     Flash mobs. Oh, Jersey Shore. But mainly flash mobs.

Me:     LOL!  Jersey Shore scares me too. I kind of like flash mobs though.  Next:  ice cream or candy?   What kind?

Kevin:     Right now it would be ice cream. Dallas is nearing apocalyptic temperatures. Magnum double caramel.

Me:     Yummers.  What if you could have a super power.  What would it be and why?

Kevin:     Flying. Unequivocally it would be flying. You can go anywhere.

Me:     Okay, here’s a toughy.  If you had the power to stop time for five days, what would you do to make the world a better place?

Kevin:     Write a story. I know it sounds like a cop out, but I think the best thing I can do to make the world a better place is to write a story.

Me:     spoken like a true writer.  On that note, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with your readers?

Kevin:     Hmm…I think this goes out to any writers out there. It’s a repost but it has been on my mind in light of the cynicism and slander that continues to plague our culture.

I find we artists have one of the more unique tasks. In a world bent on demeaning and destruction, terror and tragedy, we are tasked with addition – creation. Our art does not have to be tethered to the unending demotion that is the bread and butter of so many other professions. We do not have to tear down to build up. All we artists need to do is create, and good art will have been made…if we’re willing.

Me:     Beautiful sentiment and I couldn’t agree with you more.  {pauses for a drink of coffee}  Okay. folks, I think that wraps it up for today.  Kevin, thank you so much for stopping by and doing this interview with me  and sharing tidbits about you and your novels with all my readers.  I will certainly read this story soon as well as the others in the series.  Until we meet again my friend.  {shakes hand}.  Keep writing and keep us posted on all new events.  I’d love to have you back if you ever feel up to it.  Have a super day.

Okay folks, there you have it.  You can find links to Kevin below:






Kevin’s Bio:  Kevin McGill is the mad writer of the Nikolas & Company series where the Moon is much more than we think, mermen walk on automaton legs and 14-year-old boys talk to cities in their heads. When not spinning Lunar yarns, Kevin hosts a weekly books podcast Guys Can Read along with his college buddy and co-host, Luke Navarro. Contact him at and twitter @kevinonpaper.


Ohhh!!!  Before you go, Kevin wanted me let you know about a 500 book giveaway he’s doing for the Merman and the Moon Forgotten! Yep, another one! From Kevin:  “I have a print, signed copy for anyone between the ages of 9 and 18 that likes a fun fantasy adventure. If that’s you, or someone you know (hey, we all know a teenage reader), go ahead and order a copy for them. It ends Aug 6th. Also, adults get a free, ebook copy. Order it now!”  Sounds like a great deal, guys!  Go sign up!  What are you waiting for?  🙂

Meet Julie Reece, YA author of Crux

Today, one of the best YA books of the year, Crux, releases to the world.  I’ve had the opportunity to read this novel and it is fantastic!  A must read.  No wonder I’m floating on cloud 9 since author, Julie Reece, agreed to do a blog takeover.  So, without further ado, please welcome the lovely and talented Julie as she talks about what inspired her to write Crux. Take it Julie!

What is a heart story?

Ugh.  At first blush, this sounds cheesy, doesn’t it?  Well, bear with me a second. I read somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where, (if it’s you, thank you) that most writers’ have one or two ‘heart’ books inside them.

New writers write from inspirations and ideas closest to their hearts. The emotion is usually raw, the descriptions vivid, and the angst, well, it’s often something we’ve experienced or empathized with as someone we knew suffered. We might be living an unattainable dream through our character or creating the person we wish we were. The details are, of course all make believe, but the strength of character and plot comes from deep within each writer.

So what? You write one or two books and it’s over? No, if anything, a writer will probably grow and improve. The point is, if you agree with this hypothesis, that no matter how many books you write, it’s those early works that retain a special place in the author’s heart.

When Jenny invited me to appear on her blog, I was so excited.  Jenny’s a great writer and runs a fantastic blog (so no pressure).  She urged me to share what inspired me to write Crux in the first place, so what the heck, I’ll take a stab at it.

Atlanta, like plenty of other big cities, has a homeless population and that unfortunately includes its share of runaways and prostitution.  My family has spent time working in a soup kitchen downtown, handing out clothing and trying to serve people who’ve had a hard time. Some of those people are teens. I have two teen daughters myself.

So I’m sitting on the asphalt at a downtown shelter, across from a young woman who appears mentally ill. She’s pretty. The girl rambles incoherently, but I hardly hear her, because as she picks at her cornbread and nibbles at her chili, I’m thinking: Who are you? How did you get here? I wonder about her parents, and how her mind became so broken.

Cold seeps from the ground penetrating my jeans and numbing my butt. I’m not saying anything though, this girl might sleep out here and who am I anyway? She lets me brush her hair, and I feel the honor keenly. I hand her a coat that’s been donated, a bag of toiletries and a bottle of water. The day ends, but I’m thinking of her, and hundreds like her.

Quite a while later I had a dream, a blonde, barefoot teen in a nightgown was running through the wet streets of Paris after a man with a suitcase. When she caught up to him, he stopped to open his case and I woke up. I wanted to know what was in that case, dang it, and I wanted it to help the girl on the street.

So I wrote Birdie’s story. From the heart.

Do I think I’m writing an ending for the girl’s life I met at the shelter? I wouldn’t presume. But I can’t deny life’s experiences all mesh together to make us who we are. They do, and who says that’s a bad thing?

Everyone has at least one heart story, whether or not you write it down, and now I’m wondering about you. What in life has affected or inspired you?

Everyone, give a big round of applause to Julie and make sure you head over to your bookstore of choice and pick up your copy of Crux.

Thank all of you for stopping by and please feel free to leave your messages for Julie.  She’ll be around for the next day or so to answer whatever questions you may have.  In addition, if you would like to win a signed Crux bookmark, please be the first person to answer the following question:

 In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”, which stone did Bilbo give to the Elvenking to aid him in his negotiations ?

You can leave your answer in the comments below.  Thanks for playing and good luck!

Julie’s Bio:

Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

I live in the metro Atlanta area with my incredibly supportive husband and daughter, and our twenty-two pound cat, Hurley.

Where can you find Julie:!/JulieAReece!/julie.reece.351

Stuck, stuck, stuck in a rut

Have you ever had an image in your head, an idea so strong you can see it, you can taste it, you can smell it…your fingers are poised over the keyboard, you’re ready to type…and your muse laughs, walks over to an overstuffed chair, sits down and says, “I’m not writing it and you can’t make me”?

Argh, I want to strangle my muse!  I want to turn him upside down and shake him until his eyeballs fall out.  For those of you who don’t know, my muse is a cheeky little meadow gnome who talks incessantly and at the moment he’s driving me insane.  There is this scene that I want to go a certain way and no matter what I do, he keeps steering me down another path.  His path.  I balk.  He balks.  We fight and struggle.  The scene goes  nowhere.  It’s stuck.

If the scene goes the way my brain tells me to take it, I can wrap it up in a nice little package.  Bing, bam, boom, it’s done.  It’s tidy.  It’s clean.  If I follow my muse, the scene will get complicated, deepening the story line.  I’ll have to edit several scenes towards the end of the novel, but they’ll be more intense.  A minor plot hole will be filled.  Still, all the scenes combined will up my word count, something I’m trying to avoid.  If I take my path, I’ll stay within my word count.  The minor plot hole will be still be there but I can fill it in in the next book. Still, I don’t like leaving plot holes, and I do want my story to be as rich and intense and as mind-blowing as possible.

“But I don’t want the added word count.”  I whine and stomp my foot

“Add the words,” my muse says.  “You can thank me later.”



“Ahh, stop it!”  I pull hair out of my head.

Which path should I take?  Should I play it safe and take the path of least resistance…keep the story tight, or should I follow my muse and disrupt my character’s lives by throwing in another twist that wasn’t there before?  Word count or plot?  This tired, battle-worn author wants to know.

Interview with Halflings’ Author, Heather Burch

  If you haven’t heard about Halflings yet, you will.  This book is already hitting Top Teen Picks on the Barnes and  Noble bookshelves.  Heather is filling up her free time with book signings, interviews, blog tours and television appearances.  That’s why I’m super pleased she agreed to an interview with little ole me.   So, here goes.

Me:  Heather, please tell us a little bit about yourself.  Where are you from and where do you live now?

Heather:  I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri. Really beautiful part of the country. When my husband and I married, we moved several times with his family. I guess we all have a bit of gypsy blood. I’ve lived in Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Missouri and my favorite Florida.

Me:  What got you into writing?  What inspires you to write?

Heather:  I’ve always written. When I was a teen, I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories and some things that weren’t really poetry or short stories … but they were my thoughts and I put them on paper. I’m really inspired right now by my two boys. The youngest is fifteen. He’s very much like Mace and my older son is very much like Raven … except they don’t have wings.

Me:  What is your favorite novel of all time?

Heather:  That’s really tough for me to choose because my tastes change. I can’t even decide on a favorite color. It all depends on how I feel that day! But, if I had to pick one book I’d say it’s The Divide by Nicholas Evans. It’s beautiful and tragic and disturbing. And today, it’s my favorite of all time. (My favorite color today is red.)

Me:  Who is your favorite author of all time?

Heather:  Man, you just aren’t giving me a break, are you? Stephen King. Huh, I think it will be him if you ask tomorrow or the next day or the next. What do you know? I’ve learned something about myself. I do have a constant favorite. It’s the King! Honestly, I’m not a horror fan anymore. But I love King’s writing and his ability to crawl inside the skin of his characters. Sometimes, when I’m having trouble with a character I ask myself, “What would Stephen King do right now? How would he get inside this character’s mind and heart?”

Me:  What is your favorite book that came out within the past couple of years?

Heather:  Oh, this one’s easy! Hunger Games. Beautifully done. I’m reading Firelight by Sophie Jordan right now and there’s just something magical about how Sophie puts words together. I met her a couple weeks ago when we were on a panel together. She’s really super and I’m looking forward to more books in her series!

Me:  Tell us a little about Halflings.

Heather:  Hunted by men and demons, Nikki Youngblood entrusts her life to three half-human, half-angel young men. The Halflings are sworn to defend her, but Nikki is more than she seems and it will take all of their power to keep her safe. When both Mace and Raven fall for Nikki, not only are their lives on the line, their eternal fate is jeopardized.

Me:  What inspired you to write this story?

Heather:  I knew some day I wanted to write a story about characters with supernatural abilities. I think love triangles are fabulous to explore because it causes the characters to have to dig deeper into who they are and what they really want. I love action, so I wanted something with a lot of action in it. But I didn’t have any plans to write this kind of story now. It was what Donald Maass calls a “Breakout Novel” and I thought I’d work on it for years. Well, I wrote book one in four months. It just poured out of me. Plus, I knew the multi-book story arc. Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would like it at all. It was odd and different and certainly not what we were seeing on the shelves at the time I wrote it. Now, there are some similar books. It’s so weird how that happens. Ideas are like rain. They fall from the sky and whoever happens to be looking up can grab them. I happened to be looking up that day.

Me:  Who are your main characters and what makes them special to you?

Heather:  Nikki is our heroine and she’s strong and brave. I’d like to be more like her. J She’s an artist who rides a motorcycle and isn’t a girly-girl.

Mace is the natural born leader. He plays by the rules. Mace is a perfect choice for any girl.

Raven is the bad boy. To him, rules were made to be demolished. But there’s more to Raven than just rebellion. He’s got the heart of an artist—something Nikki finds irresistible.

Both Mace and Raven fall for Nikki. And she falls for both of them.

Me:  If you could give your main characters any advice, what would it be?

Heather:  “Settle in for the ride, this is going to be a long journey!”

Me:  All editors, agents and publishers are looking for that thing that makes a story unique. What is that unique factor with Halflings?

Heather:  To find the “it” factor, you need a high concept idea. Halflings is a high concept. In fact, at one national writing conference they used it as an example of what a high concept was. I’ll try to describe. Think of your story in terms of mass appeal or at least mass understanding for a large audience. A high concept idea will resonate with most people. When you hear, “Terror in the water” what do you think of? Jaws, right? Of course, that concept resonates with all of us. We understand and feel the terror.

Halflings high concept is “X-Men meets Cinderella.” When you hear that, you have a sense of what the story will give. Action of X-Men, romance of Cinderella.

Here’s another. “Fairytale characters trapped in our world.” Know what that’s from? The new TV series Once Upon a Time.

I think the publishing industry is looking for high concept ideas. Find that and you’re probably on your way to a breakout novel!

Me:  In short, can you give a brief timeline how long it took you to write the book, find an agent, then published?

Heather:  Four intense months for book one. I finished it and started querying. It landed on the desk of the agent I have now after it finaled in a contest. But she didn’t feel like she could sell it. She really knew the market and it was the almost polar opposite of what editors were asking for. They wanted dark, dark, dark books. She personally liked the story, but just didn’t feel she could sell it. Then the tide turned. After one year, she called me and said she felt like the market was ready. She’d even ran the idea past a few editors at places like Simon and Shuster and Little Brown. They were both really enthusiastic and said they’d like to see it. So it took her one year to sign me as a client.

It took six weeks for her to sell the three book series.

We signed the contract with Zondervan Harper Collins in January, 2011 and book one released in January 2012.

Me:  What has been the most exciting and rewarding part of this journey?

Heather:  Encouraging others to follow their dreams. My family had to make sacrifices (I left a job making 40,000 a year to stay home and write.) But, their commitment to me was amazing. Even though we became a one car family for a few years, they continued to support me and my desire to be a published author. They made my dream a reality. And sharing that with others who have the same dream is very rewarding. If you have a supportive family around you, nothing is impossible for you.

Me:  Are there sequels in the making?

Heather:  Guardian, book two releases in September. I’m working on book three right now.

Me:  What words of advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?

Heather:  Don’t quit! Don’t give up. Understand that sometimes things aren’t right for the market at a given time, but you’ll know when the time is right. Send out. Collect rejections. I tell people that if they don’t have fifty rejection letters from agents, they aren’t even trying. Understand that for an agent to take you on, it’s a very personal thing. They have to LOVE that book. When you begin hearing, “I just didn’t fall in love with it enough,” from agents, CELEBRATE! Because that means you are really close to selling.

Most importantly, (and this advice comes from Roxanne St. Clair) Write your butt off everyday!

WRITE. You must write. And when that book is done, polished and shining, write another. Then another.

One more thing. Join writing groups like RWA. Great instruction on craft, story and characters.

Hope you guys enjoyed the interview.  Now go out and get your copy of Halflings!