New Cover, New Name, New Excerpt

While attempting to gather my wits after a triple shift on the day job, I realized that I’d missed out on a big bit of news for the blog – I have a cover, a new name for my debut, and you can even read part of the first chapter over on NOVL.

To keep a long story short, Our Realm is the Night has been changed to We Rule the Night, and the incredible studio of Billelis has designed my cover. I love the strength of the firebird, and the ruined city behind it really brings out the dieselpunk atmosphere of We Rule the Night.

Best of all, if you want that gorgeous cover on yourself, you can preorder We Rule the Night from Amazon, Indiebound or B&N.

What do you think of my amazing cover?

We Rule The Night
The cover of my book, We Rule the Night

An Interview With ThisIsHowIWasteTime

Today we have an author interview! This is ThisIsHowIWasteTime, who has graciously agreed that I may call her Jen. Both Jen and I are part of #51writers on twitter, which has brought us together for this lovely conversation. Jen tweets and blogs and today she talks to me!

1. Welcome, Jen. Tell me a little about yourself:

Let’s see, I’m almost 28. I’m a CNA by day and have been for twelve years. I’ve told stories all my life but really got into writing at the age of nine, my first “book” being a Goosebumps style story about a rose that killed people who moved into the house it belonged to (horrible I know, haha)

I strayed away from writing in high school when I started my career and hadn’t picked it up other than writing random story ideas that I never stuck with until my current project.

I have a soon-to-be 8 year old boy, 2 cats, and one very weird pup. In my spare time, I am a hobbyist and have many many creative projects going aside from my book. Crochet, sketching, dabbled in jewelry making, and many more that I want to try.

2. Fantastic. And what do you write now? What is your WIP about?

Ever since I could read I’ve chosen Fantasy, I tried other genres but it was a struggle not to abandon them. I always had a pull towards the worlds and creatures you could find in Fantasy novels/series/art! Actually I always turned to Fantasy books to escape stress/emotional moments. Still do!

My novel is a New Adult Fantasy novel, kind of a mix between Astral Projection/family magic/spirit world. With innocent souls, horrid demons, and a rogue team member. Grace comes back home from college when her mom goes into a mysterious coma, only to find out that her family has special gifts passed down through generations. Along with six other families, they’ve been tasked with protecting innocent souls (living or dead) in the Veil. However the circle broke years ago and went into hiding when the Gatekeeper went rogue. Now he’s back and coming after the rest of the circle. Grace and the others have to find a way to take him out and save her mom and all of the other souls before catches all of them.

3. What genres do you like to read, but NOT write?

Hm, I like to read SOME mystery/romance books. Or New Adult dystopian. Not many others can keep my attention and you could say horror but I have considered dabbling in horror for future projects- not fully set on that.

4. And another reading question! We met via #51writers, a hash tag for and about strong female characters. Who’s your favorite strong female character?

I might have to think about this question, there are so many options. I’ve read so many books that it’s hard to decide. How about you?

Right now, Wonder Woman! Alanna made a big impact on my teenhood, too.

Always Wonder Woman! Or Hermione Granger, I don’t think Harry would have gotten very far without her.

So true.

I was never a fan of the whole damsel in distress scenarios so most of the books I’ve read had stronger female characters.

5. Okay, second to last question. What do you do to keep yourself writing?

I read or do something creative, when I get stuck or when I’m having trouble getting motivated. Just to get the creative juices flowing.

6.  And the final question: if you could give younger you one piece of writing advice, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self “Don’t stop!!!” I shied away from writing and I would probably be a lot farther had I kept going. Now, coming back into writing with all of the technology that it entails, I’m trying to remember everything I learned about writing and trying to learn all of the new information. It’s tough, and a little degrading at times.

Jen, aka ThisIsHowIWasteTime, thank you so much for joining me. I hope that we have a lot of fun on the #51writers hashtag. For everyone else, you can find Jen at her blog, or on twitter. Read her fantasy and enjoy!

Writing for Money: Being Reliable

Neil Gaiman once said:

You get work however you get work, but people keep working in a freelance world… because their work is good, because they are easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three! Two out of three is fine.

If you’re getting into ghost writing or working on spec, I’d argue that you need all three out of three, especially to begin with. The world is full of freelancers, and from my own personal experience, I’m more expensive than many of the freelancers out there and thus I need to justify my expense. So today I’m expanding on these three points, and how they lead to reliable work as a freelancer – both in that you will be considered reliable, and that you will make reliable money.

Impressing the Boss

I write for a couple of freelance portals. Sometimes there are 50-70 other bids for a job I want. This means that if I want to grab that amazing job, I need to prove that I can give my client the kind of writing he wants.

Once you get to a certain point, it’s going to come down to the matter of individual taste. Make sure you keep that in the back of your mind, otherwise you spend too much time dwelling on how awful you are when you lose a contract. Pick yourself up, tell yourself that you’re awesome, and get ready for the next job. And of course, keep practicing. Good writing will get you a long way, especially if you’re a fairly untested freelancer.

Keeping it Friendly

I have been on the other side of the table every so often, working as a client rather than contractor. Mostly this is in regards to the magazine for which I am a second reader. So I’ll say flat out: I don’t like working with unpleasant people. I don’t like reading the work of unpleasant people. There are a lot of great writers out there, and there are a lot of publishable stories that we don’t take at my magazine because it comes down to one or the other, and we like the other just a little bit better. So if you give me a good reason to say no to you, I’ll take it. And the same is true on the freelancer side of things.

Freelance portals have review options, which means that your client can complain publicly about how rude you are. People might take a chance on someone with less experience but more politeness as well. Not to mention that working with someone repugnant drains your emotional energy and nobody needs that right now. The easier you are to work with, the more likely clients will come back. And that means that you’ll start to have constant income streams.

Delivering by Deadline

Authors are famous for not doing this. George R.R. Martin is a classic example at the moment. What is he, two years behind on Winds of Winter? Other Fantasy authors in particular have caught flak for falling behind on deadlines, and you might think that it’s just the way things go.

If you are a new freelancer, it had better not be the way things go for you.

Here’s the thing: a lot of deadlines are kind of tight. Especially if you’re doing work on spec through a portal. If you say you can complete a piece by a deadline, people expect you to deliver. And life happens, we all understand that. But you need to do what you can to make sure life doesn’t happen to you before you’ve built up a reputation. This isn’t a bad idea for publishing under your own name, either. People will give you a break if they can see your missed deadline is out of the ordinary.

So, how do you make sure you don’t miss your deadline? First of all, consider your expectations of the piece. How long will it take you to create a piece you’re happy sending out as a representation of your abilities? You won’t just be drafting, you’ll be revising, so keep that in mind. Build in some extra time in case an emergency disrupts your schedule. That way, you can keep on track without pulling an all-nighter or turning in work you’re not happy with. Also, if you don’t have an emergency, you can get the work done early and get a reputation for writing ahead of the deadline!

Being a freelancer is hard work, but super rewarding. Hopefully you can use these tips to build your reputation and get repeat customers.

Writing for Money – Landing Gigs

Writing for money is hard for two reasons. First, paying gigs are scarce. And second, you get paid for what you write after you write it. Sometimes years after you write it. So how can you make money reliably? This part of my blog series is about getting work. If you are interested in writing for money or editing for money, I think it can help you out.

You can find my other Writing for Money posts here.

Okay. Let’s make buckets of money. How do we do it?

First step: dust off and update your CV. If you want to catch some clients, you need a CV with relevant work – hopefully relevant work done recently. Make sure you’re not violating any agreements with what you put on your CV, such as a non-disclosure agreement, and make your CV detailed and varied. I have an entire CV devoted to my writing so that I can note every single thing I’ve done in the past few years.

Bah! CV’s are boring. What’s next?

Next, you need to be able to provide samples of your work. If you edit, you need to provide samples of your editing. If you write, you need to provide samples of whatever you’re trying to write for someone. Maybe your travel articles will land you a novel-writing gig, or vice-versa, I dunno. But the closer you can hit to a potential client’s mark, the more they can see you writing for them. If I’m applying to ghost write someone’s novel, I usually try to find an excerpt that matches their genre (as close as I can get to it), and a short story to show that I can write completed stories with a plot and character arc.

If you edit, or if you write stories for other people – get permission before distribution. Editors, don’t put someone else’s work out there without their knowledge or permission. That’s scummy. If you can’t provide samples, you can offer to do the first five pages on a trial basis, or you can get testimonials from previous clients. Or you can do free edits for your friends, in exchange for using samples in your applications. Writers, likewise – get permission before sharing samples of work that is not entirely your own. This is especially relevant because, if you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement, you could get into legal trouble.

That’s all good, you super special unicorn you, but I haven’t written/edited anything recently/ever.

Okay, then we need to take a step back. People will hire you if they think you can get the job done – but how will they know you can get the job done if they can’t see anything you’ve worked on? If you’re rusty, out of practice, or inexperienced, then forget the business of writing for money. Write for the sake of writing first. Write to finish something. Write to explore your world. Write to learn how to write. And write to see if you enjoy it. Writing for money is a challenge, and like so many other jobs, you won’t be very successful if you don’t actually like doing the work.

Once you can write a story, a poem, an article, whatever it is you want to write for other people – then come back here, and get going with that CV and those samples!

Okay, okay. I’m ready. Show me the people with the money.

So, here’s where things start to work a little differently depending on what you want to do with yourself. If you’re looking to write articles, there are plenty of sites who will take your submissions – just beware of getting offered exposure instead of money (I mean, people literally die of exposure. A different kind, but still).

I’m not much of an expert on selling short stories or poems on short order, and while selling them to a magazine is extremely gratifying, it is NOT going to pay your household bills any time soon. If you want to translate, edit, write copy or articles, then you can check out freelance portal sites such as Upwork and Odesk. These sites link clients and freelancers, and provide you with some measure of safety net for your work – in exchange for a cut of your earnings, of course. Just be aware of the fee you’ll pay when you bid on projects.

Novelists have more options than ever. Plenty of people on freelance sites want you to write their bestseller for them, and recently I’ve noticed the rise of the literary book packager – companies that work with a writer to develop a concept and make it a novel. Some places, like Glasstown Entertainment, vary on whether they want a writer to use a special pen name, and writers get paid upon a publishing deal. Others, like Relay Publishing, pay by the word. (Quick note – I was unable to verify the legitimacy of Relay publishing, as their site is down, but a previous check revealed no shenanigans)

Ohmygod. About 3000 people want to work for the client I want. How do I make them pick me?

First, make sure they have your CV and samples of your work, and know where to find more – on your web site, or on your profile if you use a freelance portal. Second, write a killer cover letter:

Paragraph 1: I usually thank the client for posting the job, say I’m excited to apply and broadly state who I am and why I think I’m a good fit.

Paragraph 2: I get into the meat of my previous experience and interests. What I’ve published previously, how my writing experience interacts with the project in question, and so on. I often discuss how I think I can bring something particular to a project. Like writing a query, it’s great to be specific, but bad to be long-winded!

Paragraph 3: I discuss the samples of my work attached for perusal. ‘Discuss’ in this case, means, what I’m trying to showcase for the client, whether the pieces have been published, and where to find further samples of my work.

I’ve had above average success for the jobs I’ve applied for, using these tips. And the secret, of course, is to apply to a lot of jobs. When starting out it might be difficult to net the highest paying jobs, and you may need to do some work for less than you’re worth (or *gasp* for exposure). NEVER agree to work for a price you’ll later resent, but remember that no one’s going to treat you like Stephen King until you prove that you can write like him.

If you have any questions you can always use the contact form – or just comment on the blog! What are your dreams about writing for money?

Agent Acquired!

Hello everybody. Long time no see. I doubt anyone’s been languishing at my sorry lack of posts, considering the world bursting into flames and all, but I need to get away from Twitter-space and I’m still not done processing the whole procedure, so what the hell – I’ve got an agent! A real literary agent with an agency and a track record and great ideas for my book and stuff!

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I’ve blabbered a little bit about my novel before, so I thought I’d skip that blabber and go straight to the blabber about my querying experience. There were things I did that, in hindsight, were an excellent idea and I would recommend to queriers. And things I did that were definitely not so excellent.

I actually started my querying process by entering contests. The first five pages contest and the first line contest, held by Adventures in YA Publishing, helped me hone my work on a detailed basis and got me in the door with a couple of agents. PitchWars got me fantastic feedback from amazing people, and PitchSlam did the same – and put me into contact with the inestimable Kurestin Armada, who now represents me. Contests are ways to connect with other writers and get honest, helpful feedback about your work. Every contest I entered, I got some kind of feedback from at least one of the judges, even if I didn’t ‘win’ or ‘place’ or even make it past the first round. I would heartily recommend that  queriers start with contests to help make their submission material shine. Other authors have also found critique partners through contests – so you never know what you’ll get out of it!

After PitchSlam finished at the end of September, I started querying in earnest. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea, but I sent out a query a day. No, I don’t recommend this. It’s kind of a dumb idea. I never got a breather or the chance to analyse what worked or didn’t work about my submission materials. I researched all prospective agents in advance, and again before sending off their query, but it proved to be a big time sink and I was kind of burned out by December. I also made some dumb mistakes – I put in the wrong agent’s name at one point! – and that’s something to keep in mind, too. Maybe if I’d slowed down, I’d have caught the error. It’s important to send out queries on our schedules and not any one agent’s, but maybe not like this.

I never knew how I’d feel about an agent’s reply until I got it. Requests for more material always made me ecstatic, of course, and usually I could take rejections on requested material with optimism and a healthy dose of perspective. Form rejections sometimes stung me, especially when I queried agents who had a manuscript wish list that included my exact novel concept. Many agents say that a rejection has less to do with the author than the agent. Maybe they just don’t connect with the writing, or can’t bear to ask for more work when they’ve got a lot piling up already. That was what I tried to focus on as I prepared the next query, and the next, and the next.

Some people will say that the opposite of love is indifference; I think that’s why some form rejections (or no responses) hit writers so hard.

I thought the hard part of my journey would be over once I got an offer of representation. Other stories of querying and representation that I read made everything seem so simple, like I’d get some lightning bolt when the right agent called. That so not happened. I got multiple offers of representation, all from agents that I would have been ecstatic to say represented me.

To any agents that might read this, y’all are a classy bunch. I never had an unpleasant interaction with any agent at any point in the process, and trying to choose a first among equals left my head spinning more than once. But when I got a chance to settle down and think things through, point by point, Kurestin shared my vision for the book and suggested revisions that filled me with energy and enthusiasm. I’m stoked to have signed with her and I can’t wait to share the rest of the journey – just as soon as it happens!

 

 

 

Why I’m not doing Nanowrimo

No, this is not a screed against Nanowrimo. It’s not about how literature is dying, or how Nanowrimo is the devil, or how agents hate us writers who dare to try writing 50,000 words in a month (pro tip: no they don’t).

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The Nanowrimo logo for 2016

I’ve been watching writers around me prepare for Nanowrimo this year, and I made the conscious decision not to participate fully. I’ll be doing write-ins with my husband (who’s participating in his own way) but I won’t be in it to reach 50k. Why?

Nanowrimo is a tool. I first discovered it in 2004, when I was just 17, and won that very first year. I haven’t won every year since, but winning and losing Nanowrimo has taught me a lot of things:

  1. It taught me that I can try for goals that I thought were impossible – and make them.
  2. It taught me that sometimes you just keep pushing, even if you hate your project
  3. It taught me that monthly goals are better for me than daily goals
  4. It taught me that writing is a community rather than solitary experience
  5. It taught me that completely pantsing it sucks*
*okay, okay, just for me. Sheesh.

I learned a lot about my strengths in terms of storytelling while trying Nanowrimo – largely due to getting stuck on my novel thanks to the aforementioned pantsing. I owe a lot of my writing journey to Nanowrimo. In fact, the thing I learned the most while doing Nanowrimo is what made me determine not to do Nanowrimo anymore.

Put your hand up if you’re sick of hearing ‘Don’t edit! Just write!’ Sorry, but I am.

I understand the philosophy behind it. If it works for you as a writer, then I love that it works for you. But it doesn’t work for me. Writing an entirely sucky first draft, that I know is sucky, makes the suck pile up until I can’t face it anymore. This is one thing I discovered in my Nanowrimo journey. The suck became so much that I couldn’t remember the good anymore, and I felt no desire to excavate my project once the month was over.

Conversely, once I started editing as I went, I found that even though it took longer to write my book, I felt more of an attachment to it once it was finished. I could face the suck because I also knew that some parts were less sucky, and some parts were actually all right, and some parts still made me cry.

Editing as you go is anathema to the Nanowrimo way. And, of course, some people get stuck editing the same scene so many times that they can’t move on to creating a new one. If that’s your problem, Nanowrimo is good for that. But if you have the opposite problem, you’re not alone. Nanowrimo’s not for me either.

I wish everyone who’s doing Nanowrimo this year a great month full of incredible ideas and an ever-increasing word count. I’ll be participating in word sprints and haunting the forums.

Just don’t get mad if I go back and rewrite those words right after.

Happy November!

Review: Wolf by Wolf

Trigger Warning: this contains some discussion of the holocaust and concentration camps.

Also, some mild spoilers, I guess?

wolf-by-wolf

World War II is interesting from a storyteller’s perspective. It’s morbidly fascinating, full of stories that can be adapted and related over a wide number of genres. It’s good for action/adventure, a la Captain America, or can leave us with harrowing impressions of humanity and its debasement, as in Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose (one of my favorite novels as a younger person). Science fiction and fantasy have used it time and time again, and it makes a dramatic backdrop with high stakes for any romance novels. As someone who is querying a novel based off of some incredible WWII stories, I’ve sometimes been overwhelmed by the incredible truths that pop up in WWII fiction.

Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin, uses these incredible truths in the alternate history genre, mixing  in a little science fantasy to give us a different view on perspective, particularly where race and appearance are concerned.

Wolf by Wolf is set in a 1956 in which the Axis won World War II, spreading its influence through all of Europe and Asia, and down into Africa. Hitler is still alive and strong, with an iron grip over his part of the world that no one can seem to shake. But a resistance moves against him, and as part of that resistance concentration camp survivor Yael has vowed to do her part to free the world. Yael has a special ability – as a result of human experiments in the camp, she can change her appearance at will, and look like any girl in the world.

Yael’s opportunity to change the world comes in the form of a motorcycle race called the Axis Tour. All she has to do is shift into the form of Adele Wolfe, last year’s winner and the only girl to ever win the Axis Tour. If she wins the race again, she’ll get the chance to meet and kill Hitler. But the race is full of treachery, and not only does Yael have to overcome it – she has to navigate the complicated emotional waters surrounding two other contestants. Luka Lowe, a previous winner, has some kind of personal history with Adele, and Adele’s twin brother, Felix Wolfe, has entered the race to keep his sister safe.

Wolf by Wolf is an action/adventure book with light science fantasy elements concerning Yael’s skinshifting. However, it is not a light book. The action of the motorcycle race is interspersed with Yael’s history as a concentration camp inmate, escapee, and resistance fighter. For me, Graudin’s writing was highly emotional, and is one of the few books I’ve read that uses repetition to its full effectiveness. The tension wasn’t as high as I’d expected it to be for an action book, but the hook that pulls you on is Yael’s anger, her mission, her drive and subsequently her confusion as these perfect Aryan specimens, boys who grew fat off the destruction of her people, turn out to be more complicated than your average Nazi thug.

That was actually my favorite part about Wolf by Wolf. A lot of WWII based stories don’t do a lot of work with the Nazis – they’re presented as the element of pure evil. This makes it easy to cheer and feel satisfied when they get what’s coming to them. However, Graudin excellently portrays particularly Felix and Luka as products of their environment. They aren’t secretly part of the resistance (at least, not as far as we know!) and have no overt sympathies. But they are people, people who care, who try, who have lots of likable qualities. And they are Hitler Youth. I spent a large part of the book wondering what (particularly) Luka would think of Yael if he knew she was not Adele, but a Jew. I don’t know if the answer to this question is in the sequel, Blood for Blood, but I’ll bet his reaction wouldn’t be pretty.

It’s hard sometimes, to remember that while they degenerated to pure evil, your average Nazi wasn’t pure evil. We could argue the philosophies of the banality of evil all day, but I want to use just one story to illustrate my point.

I read an article some time ago, which I sadly can’t find now. It discussed the first allied excursions into concentration camps, in the days immediately following the war’s end. General Eisenhower took a tour of a camp, then sent one of his aides to the nearest town to fetch the mayor and his wife. Eisenhower had them taken on a tour as well, of the camp they’d sent prisoners to for years, a camp that had made them fat off the death of other people. The mayor and his wife took the tour in silence, went home, and killed themselves. When I read it, I began to see the disconnect – no doubt the mayor and his wife thought they were good people, good Germans, good National Socialists. Good. Perhaps to them, the people in the concentration camps weren’t people (that’s a common way to deny a person their human rights, to claim they aren’t human in the first place). But eventually, the mayor and his wife came face to face with what they’d done, what they’d been a  part of, and they couldn’t see both those truths anymore. It’s this disconnect that I read when I read Wolf by Wolf. I thought Graudin did an amazing job with it.

I also enjoyed the non-typical love triangle. I consider it a love triangle even though one side of it was fraternal love, rather than romantic love (thank God). I liked that Yael wasn’t being beset by all the boys ever, but had two boys fighting more over their perceptions of her, rather than over her. I found it to be a refreshing take.

You will like this book if: you like alternate history, action, motorcycles, or WWII.
You may not like this book if: you don’t like heavy topics such as genocide, or if you dislike a repetitive style.

Review: Crooked Kingdom

 

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This review was supposed to come out a few days ago. Sadly it got gummed up in the gears of personal problems and the sort of despair that keeps a writer staring at her blank screen, doing nothing more productive than thinking, I really ought to be productive.

Leigh Bardugo is one of those authors that throws me into a cycle of elation and despair. I love reading her work; I hate comparing my work to hers. She has the sort of style and intricate plot that I’d love to be able to come up with but know in my heart I never can (This isn’t what stuck me on the review. It’s just a general observation). The first time I came across her work was a library copy of Six of Crows. Kaz and his crew convinced me that Bardugo is my new favorite author, and while I prefer the duology to her Grisha trilogy, I still lapped up the epic of Alina Starkov.

Crooked Kingdom picks up where Six of Crows left off – Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable – and for their troubles they’re the most wanted crooks in Ketterdam, not to mention they’re missing a crew member. As the crew fights to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Kaz is busy working on the heist that could save them all.

I can’t go much more into detail than that, because it would spoil the book. Whereas the Grisha series had gaps between books, the Six of Crows duology fits seamlessly together. Crooked Kingdom has all the elements of a novel and can stand alone in its own right – emotional arcs, rising action, a classic plot. We go back into the heads of all our great friends and even get a shot at seeing the world from Wylan’s perspective.

I loved each of these characters more than the last. Bardugo creates compelling situations for our heroes to get caught in, and manages to weave political intrigue, action, violence, humor and romance into the novel. It’s hard to get people to care about all the points of view in a book like this, which I think is another testament to Bardugo’s ability. Her descriptions are also perfect – a blend of sensory description and triggered memories that give us a lot of information about the characters without making it all seem like an info dump.

I could probably go on about this book all day, but I won’t. I’ll go back to re-reading it instead. It’s that good.

You might like this book if you like: complicated plots, heists, high stakes, low fantasy.

You might not like this book if: Who wouldn’t like this book? Seriously? Okay, don’t read it without reading Six of Crows first.

Pitch Wars: #Pimp my Bio

Hello beautiful people. It’s Pitch Wars time. I’ll be entering this year with my YA fantasy, Night Witches. And as part of the Pimp My Bio program, I humbly offer this blog post for your amusement.

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My mock cover. Cover art from  left to right: Wild Blue Yonder by ALAMOSCOUT6, Dragon 01 by totmoartsstudio2, and The Serious Pilot by *Sanchiko. All images scoured from the land of Pinterest.

First things first – thanks so much to Lana Pattinson for arranging the mentee blog hop. All the mentees and their enviably fabulous bios can be found here.

Let’s do this thing.

 

Hullo.

I’m Claire. I’m a U.S. citizen living in Copenhagen, and I make my living telling stories as a tour guide. I live just outside of the city with my tall Danish husband. As our apartment building does not allow pets, we often make ridiculous cat noises at each other to fill the void. There are no ridiculous cat noises in my novel. Make of that what you will.

Some things about me:

  1. I left the US ten years ago and I haven’t lived there since (though I’ve visited my family often)
  2. I can read 4 out of 5 phases of the Ancient Egyptian language. Yes, hieroglyphs. I also speak Danish. Useful languages are for suckers.
  3. DC over Marvel. Sorry, but comic book Batman and the Sandman stole my heart when I was 16.
  4. Having said that, my favorite television show is Agent Carter. Still bitter over its cancellation.
And to make matters worse, it’s not even in the top ten for crappy newsflashes this year.

What I like to write:

  1. Fantasy. Particularly with some historical influence (not historical fantasy like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, as much as I love it, but history-inspired fantasy a lot like the work of Guy Gavriel Kay). I have very rarely written anything not fantasy.
  2. YA. I love the rawness that comes with YA. I don’t write YA exclusively but from the time I was about 8 to now, it’s been the section I gravitate toward in the bookstore.
  3. 3rd person, past tense. Nothing’s wrong with 1st person present tense, but I feel like 3rd person is missing some love in the YA section right now.

My recent favorites:

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  4. Star-touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The best compliment my manuscript ever received was during the 1st 5 pages workshop for June, in which it was called a cross between Code Name Verity and the Grisha series. Yassssssssss!

My work here is done. Actually…no.

So…what will I bring to the table?

As your mentee, I will:

  1. Provide you with a polished manuscript. It’s been through 4 CPs so far. This doesn’t mean that I think it’s perfect! But it’s not a first draft anymore.
  2. Work hard. I am a borderline workaholic, and I want to make writing my full-time job. That’s only going to happen if I go for it, and go for it now. Give me an assignment and deadline, and it’ll be back in your inbox before the due date.
  3. Be clear with my goals and reasons. If I’ve done something in my MS and you don’t think it works, I will want to chat with you about what I was trying to do and how I can achieve that in a better way. But, at the same time, I will…
  4. Be willing to change. I’m not here for validation. This might sound arrogant, but I already know I’m good. I also know that I can be better, and that’s why I’m here. At the same time, I will…
  5. Be open to any and all criticism and feedback. I don’t care if it’s tough love. I don’t care if it’s just tough. If you’re working hard to make me a better writer, I’m so grateful and I respect your dedication. I want your honest input, no matter what form that takes.
  6. Work on a lifelong friendship with you. I want to engage in the writing community and I want to be in this for the long haul. I want to chat with you about the Princess Bride, Mulan (many Disney films actually, but Mulan more than most), writing troubles, awesome novels by beautiful people, and, of course, Agent Carter. And other things. But those things are always a good starting point.

 

Still with me?

You may enjoy my manuscript if you like the following:

  1. The story of the actual Night Witches. (Haven’t heard of them yet? You’re welcome.)
  2. High fantasy/dieselpunk YA
  3. Strong female characters
  4. Heavy focus on female friendships
  5. Little to no romance. Like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it romance.

 

I don’t have a reason for including this. Other than it was an awesome opening scene.

If you’re a mentor and you got this far, then I hope you read something you liked. I’m on the twits at bartlebett if you have any questions or comments. Or you can immortalize them here.

And remember the amazing other potential mentees, linked at the top of the blog!