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  1. More on non-fiction versus fiction

    September 14, 2014 by Suzi

    Last week I had my friend Julie Sondra Decker here to talk about non-fiction versus fiction, in regards to writing/publishing. She has knowledge of both worlds because she just published her first non-fiction book, but she also is writing fiction. Today is part two, because she had a ton of great information. Go here to see part one.

     
    So my big question was, what is the difference between nf and fiction when it comes to querying and publishing?
     


    Querying Agents:

    Nonfiction: The book is pitched to agents based on a proposal, not a manuscript. Proposals are extensive documents that include the following, at minimum: a pitch statement; an overview; an outline of the intended audience, demand for the book, and competition; marketing and promotion information; an author profile; a proposed table of contents and brief synopsis of the main point of each section; and sample chapters. A query letter is still necessary at the agent stage, but you need to have a proposal ready.

    Fiction: The book is pitched to agents based on a query letter and sometimes sample chapters and/or synopsis. The agent doesn’t offer until they have read the actual book.
     
     
    Selling to Publishers:

    Nonfiction: Yes, it’s true; the book sells without being read by the acquiring editor, though they also generally want sample chapters to make sure you can write. I got a publishing contract and got paid a partial advance for my book before anyone read it (even my agent); they took it on the strength of the proposal and the sample chapters. (However, my book’s first draft was done before I queried agents; I felt I needed to be done before I could outline its contents effectively. The book had progressed in drafts by the time it sold, but I was still editing it up until the deadline for turning it in to the publisher!) Publishers sometimes offer to pay half the advance on acceptance and the other half the advance upon turning in the manuscript. That’s what I did.

    Fiction: Not only has the accepting editor read the book, but several other readers generally have too (especially if it’s a larger company). Fiction publishers sometimes offer contracts on books they haven’t read, but they’re generally offered with caveats; they will offer a multiple-book deal based on the strength of a completed first manuscript, or for the additional books in a series, or with the understanding that they can turn down your next book and make you write something else to satisfy the contract.

    It’s a world of difference between these two!

     
    No kidding. :) Which agent did you get first: non-fiction or novel? Was querying of one more stressful than the other?


    I was signed for fiction first. When my novel went on submission to publishers, I needed a distraction, so I wrote the nonfiction book. It got signed to an agent and sold to a publisher while I was waiting. Querying for fiction was much more stressful than querying for nonfiction, for two reasons:

    1. I feel fiction is more personal and more creative, so rejections cut deeper. Rejections of the nonfiction felt more like they just weren’t interested in the subject or thought my platform wasn’t developed enough.

    2. I knew the nonfiction would sell. It sounds a bit arrogant, I think, but I knew it was a book that needed to exist and that I was the right person to write it, and I had lots of other content on the subject that had already been well received. I thought it wouldn’t be long before an agent and then a publisher would see eye to eye with me and it would move. I was right. I wasn’t querying very long before I signed with Andrea, and I got three offers from publishers when it went on submission. I still wrestle with self-doubt on whether I’m good enough in fiction, so everything about it is more stressful.

     
    I read one of your novels. You’re definitely good enough. :) But I get what you mean about fiction being more personal than non-fiction.
     

    Does publishing a nonfiction book go faster than fiction? Or does it still take that year to year and a half like it seems it takes novels?

     


    It really does depend on your publisher. Smaller publishers can often get things out faster if they have the means, while larger publishers tend to plan several seasons in advance. My nonfiction publisher is a decent sized small independent. I signed the contract on November 20, 2013, and the book was scheduled for publication on September 2, 2014. I think that’s pretty typical for my size publisher. I don’t know that they would go any faster or slower for fiction; the biggest variable seems to be size of the company, not type of book. (Though obviously if an author gets an offer for a book they have not completed and then they don’t meet their deadline to turn in the actual written manuscript, delays could interfere.)

     
    I suppose it did help that you were all ready to go. I’d be curious to see stats on nf. If most people are like you, and have everything written, or if most go into with with only those sample pages.

     
    Thanks so much, Julie for all the information. Like I’d said before, I don’t really know any others who do non-fiction, so it was interesting to hear how the process go.
     
    And for those who haven’t seen it yet, here is more about her new book.
     

    What if you weren’t sexually attracted to anyone?

     
    A growing number of people are identifying as asexual. They aren’t sexually attracted to anyone, and they consider it a sexual orientation—like gay, straight, or bisexual.
     

    Asexuality is the invisible orientation. Most people believe that “everyone” wants sex, that “everyone” understands what it means to be attracted to other people, and that “everyone” wants to date and mate. But that’s where asexual people are left out—they don’t find other people sexually attractive, and if and when they say so, they are very rarely treated as though that’s okay.
     

    When an asexual person comes out, alarming reactions regularly follow; loved ones fear that an asexual person is sick, or psychologically warped, or suffering from abuse. Critics confront asexual people with accusations of following a fad, hiding homosexuality, or making excuses for romantic failures. And all of this contributes to a discouraging master narrative: there is no such thing as “asexual.” Being an asexual person is a lie or an illness, and it needs to be fixed.

     
    In The Invisible Orientation, Julie Sondra Decker outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.
     

    Author bio:

     
    Julie Sondra Decker is an author from Tampa, Florida. She writes fantasy and science fiction for adults and children, and is known as a prominent voice for the asexual community. Her nonfiction title The Invisible Orientation (Skyhorse/Carrel) releases September 2, 2014.

     
    Purchase Here | Read Reviews Here | Goodreads | Website | Blog | YouTube | Twitter


  2. Non-fiction versus Fiction

    September 7, 2014 by Suzi

    My friend Julie Sondra Decker just released her first book, The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. This is a non-fiction book, but she is also a fiction writer, and she has two agents. I really wanted to get her on my blog to talk about the non-fiction versus fiction thing because I don’t really know too many nf writers. I’ve split it into two posts because she has a lot of great information, so make sure you come back next week for post two.
     

    Congratulations, Julie, and welcome again to my blog. So I’m curious. Did you write your nonfiction book before you started writing novels?
     

    No. I completed nine novels (and began four others that aren’t complete) before I thought of writing a nonfiction book. I primarily think of myself as a fiction author, but for some reason the short nonfiction pieces I’ve produced over the years have always gotten more attention than the fiction—probably just because I’m writing in a field that isn’t crowded yet.

     

    I’ve heard sometimes that with nf, writers send a query that is more like a proposal. They’ve only written a few chapters of the book and they look for an agent or publisher before finishing. Can you tell us some differences between the nf and fiction writing/publishing processes?

     
    Except for the fact that both are made up of words, nonfiction and fiction are Completely Different Animals. That’s everything from how it’s written to how it’s sold. Here are some huge differences I’ve seen while straddling the two:

     
    Completed Manuscript:

     
    Nonfiction: The book doesn’t have to be complete before pitching or selling. As long as you can describe its structure and content, it doesn’t actually have to be written.

     
    Fiction: The book has to be complete before even attempting to get an agent, unless it’s through a special arrangement.

     
    Author Platform:

     
    Nonfiction: It’s vital that the author has a demonstrable platform and is recognized as some kind of authority on their subject. They may have to demonstrate media appearances, previous publications, or recognized experience in the field.

     
    Fiction: They don’t even ask about platform, though if you’ve had any short story sales or relevant writing credits you can mention them in your query. Platform doesn’t get contracts for debut fiction authors unless they are celebrities or are self-published with lots of sales.

     

     
    Those are some pretty big differences. :) Do you have any other plans for writing nonfiction or will you just concentrate on fiction?
     

    I don’t plan to write another long nonfiction book, but I do write short nonfiction pretty often and will probably continue getting those published in magazines/blogs. However, a novel I have planned for the future incorporates the subject of my nonfiction book—the nonfiction book is about asexuality, and the upcoming fiction has an asexual character—so there will be some tie between my fiction and my nonfiction.

     
    Thanks for stopping by, Julie. We’ll see you next week too. She’ll be talking about querying and publishing for nf and fiction.
     

    And here is more about her new book.
     

    What if you weren’t sexually attracted to anyone?

     
    A growing number of people are identifying as asexual. They aren’t sexually attracted to anyone, and they consider it a sexual orientation—like gay, straight, or bisexual.
     

    Asexuality is the invisible orientation. Most people believe that “everyone” wants sex, that “everyone” understands what it means to be attracted to other people, and that “everyone” wants to date and mate. But that’s where asexual people are left out—they don’t find other people sexually attractive, and if and when they say so, they are very rarely treated as though that’s okay.
     

    When an asexual person comes out, alarming reactions regularly follow; loved ones fear that an asexual person is sick, or psychologically warped, or suffering from abuse. Critics confront asexual people with accusations of following a fad, hiding homosexuality, or making excuses for romantic failures. And all of this contributes to a discouraging master narrative: there is no such thing as “asexual.” Being an asexual person is a lie or an illness, and it needs to be fixed.

     
    In The Invisible Orientation, Julie Sondra Decker outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.
     

    Author bio:

     
    Julie Sondra Decker is an author from Tampa, Florida. She writes fantasy and science fiction for adults and children, and is known as a prominent voice for the asexual community. Her nonfiction title The Invisible Orientation (Skyhorse/Carrel) releases September 2, 2014.

     
    Purchase Here | Read Reviews Here | Goodreads

    Website | Blog | YouTube | Twitter


  3. The Big Reveal

    September 5, 2014 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you tend to over-write or under-write?

     

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I want to say I under-write, but actually, my last three drafts have been pretty long…maybe somewhere in the middle. My first four novels were all around 50K, and the next three closer to 100K. The most I’ve added is 14K from first draft to query ready, and the most I’ve cut is only 10K. Maybe this means I’m learning how to draft better stories? One can hope!

     
    Chad Morris
    Under write. My first time through a draft, I’ll skip over entire scenes if I don’t feel like writing them. I write what I’m excited about and then come back and fill in the cracks.

     

    Shelly Brown
    My first drafts tend to be right in range for my target audience. But that’s tricky businesses because I still have to add and take away stuff in editing keeping it close to the same size.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I’m a minimalist. I write lean on a first draft, fattening it up with details and the like in later drafts. If I’ve got a deadline, chances are there won’t be much trimming, mostly just adding. If I’m writing for fun, there may have to be some culling in the end.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I tend to under write. My manuscripts are always light when I get done with them and I have to add to them.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I tend to over-write my flash fiction, then need to cut to find the heart of the story. I usually under-write my novels – I form the bones, the skeleton, then go back in and add muscle, flesh everything out.

     

    Are you an over-writer or an under-writer?


  4. The Big Reveal

    August 28, 2014 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    Do you like to re-read books?

     

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I’d like to re-read more books than I have but so many new books call to me! So many books, so little time!

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I used to re-read books a lot more but now I have so many new books to read that going back doesn’t seem possible. I still make time to re-read things I really loved or old favourites. There are books that I could probably recite from memory, I’ve read them so many times.
    .

     
    Chad Morris
    The only time I reread books is if it’s been years since my last time through and I don’t remember the story very well. I just reread The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. I think the last time I read it was in elementary school. (And it was still fantastic!) The exception to the rule is historical and religious books.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I seldom reread books. My pick of rereads are usually snappy rhyming picture books (Madeline’s Rescue, Jamberry), East of Eden, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gifts from the Sea, Tess of d’Urbevilles, Shakespeare, or Jane Austen. If you can’t tell, I’m fond of classics.

     

    Crystal Collier
    The only books I reread are religious ones. If I’ve read a piece of fiction, I’ll never forget it.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    If a book really resonates with me and I really like it I will reread a book or if I liked the book and the movies coming out I’ll reread the book before watching the movie. The book I’ve read the most is probably the Twilight series.
     

    Do you re-read books?


  5. Tell me your secrets

    August 22, 2014 by Suzi

    I’m helping my friend, Chloe Banks, celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Art of Letting Go. And she is even giving away a signed copy. All you have to do is tell us one little secret. So keep reading to find out about her new novel and how you can win a copy.


    The Art of Letting Go tells the story of Rosemary, whose peaceful seclusion is disrupted by the man she was involved in a traumatic relationship with decades earlier; only this time he’s lying in a coma and Rosemary must decide whether to let him live, or let him go. In the midst of her secret dilemma  she meets an abstract artist who is used to manipulating shapes and colours to make people see things differently. But what else is he manipulating? And can he help Rosemary see her own situation in a different light?

    The Art of Letting Go is available as a paperback and an e-book here in the UK and here in the US
     

    Sssshhhh…

     

    Probably my favourite quotation in all of literature is from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” It’s such a beautiful sentiment from a wonderful children’s novel. I blame my love of walled gardens – of secret beauty in all its forms – on this book.

     

    Many novels revolve around secrets. Secrets and misunderstandings are the mainstays of creating tension in literature. Whether it’s a wonderful (if tragic) secret such as a walled garden, or something more sinister – a dark past, hidden addictions – the real mystery can sometimes be why somebody is keeping something a secret, rather than the secret itself. And it’s that sort of mystery that my novel, The Art of Letting Go, is built around. Rosemary’s secret doesn’t seem that sinister – a past relationship that didn’t work out – but why is she keeping it a secret at all? If you’re curious, I’ll let you find out for yourselves!

    As this is the last stop on my blog tour, I thought you might indulge me in some fun. Let’s share our secrets! Or at least, let’s share our embarrassing pasts or funny misunderstandings. Nothing heavy needed – in fact, it’d probably be simpler for Suzi if you didn’t confess to murder on her blog – tell me something fun or funny. At the end of the month I’ll pop the names of everybody who has left a comment on this post into a hat and draw one person out to receive a signed copy of my novel. If you really can’t think of a secret/misunderstanding to tell us about, and you’d still like a chance to win, how about telling us your favourite line from literature instead?

     

    Here are a few quotations about secrets to get you in the mood:

    “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” George Orwell, 1984

    “Secrets have a way of making themselves felt, even before you know there’s a secret.” Jean Ferris, Once Upon a Marigold

    And one from The Art of Letting Go for you, “He wasn’t flesh and blood, only colour and shape – a painting that had come to life.  I knew I could tell him everything that had ever happened to me – everything I’d forgotten – and it would be like whispering to the wind. Secrets would never escape him because he wasn’t real; he was an imitation of reality, a child’s sketch of a man.”

    So, come on, spill the beans! I’ll start if you like…

    When I was a child I spent every day out in our garden in my own little world. Not only that, but I couldn’t go in for the night until I had been all round our (large) garden and said the same words to the same landmarks – the apple tree, the place where I’d buried a dead pigeon, the bush where the robin would sing – every single night. I had to say goodnight to certain bits of the garden or I was worried they’d feel lonely. I had plenty of school friends but my best friend, to whom I told all my secrets, was our old apple tree. And I’ve never told anybody that before! (I also had a similar ritual with parts of my bedroom before I could sleep at night, but I think that’s enough confessions for one day.)

    Over to you.

    Thanks, Chloe. Congratulations again on your release. Now let’s see if anyone has anything interesting to share!


    And here is a little more about Chloe.

    Chloe Banks lives in a peaceful corner of the UK with her husband, son and a sense of childish wonder. She started writing for a dare and forgot to stop until it was too late. She is a prize-winning short story writer and a first-time novelist, represented by The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.
     
     
     


  6. The Big Reveal

    August 21, 2014 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.

    What social media do you use?

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I have a blog and don’t use it much anymore, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and a website. I probably spend the most time on Facebook. I try to stay away from Pinterest because I get sucked in and never come out. Lol.

    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I have a blog, and I’m on Goodreads. But I probably use GR way more as a reader than as a writer. :)

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I have a blog, which is becoming more and more neglected. I like Twitter but it can feel like I’m always trying to catch up on conversations or that my voice is just another one in millions. I have Goodreads but I don’t really use it properly—I think I have six friends? I just use it to keep track of books I don’t want to forget about, really. Pinterest is just for fun and less for writing purposes. And then I have my tumblr…tumblr is my jam. That’s where it’s all at. I LOVE IT. It can feel like a complete waste of time but in the best possible way. I like how one minute there’s an article about feminism or a beautiful poem and then there’s a cute cat gif. It’s the best.

    Chad Morris
    I use it all, but my favorites are facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chad.morris.5?ref=tn_tnmn) and twitter (@chadcmorris).

     

    Shelly Brown
    Social media is a weakness so I limit my usage. (Read between the lines: I talk to much) You can find me here:
    FB: Shelly Brown
    Twitter: @sbrownwriter
    Google+: Shelly Brown

    Crystal Collier
    Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, blog, pinterest, tumblr, Wattpad, and a few others. I try to be active in all of them, but I really lean toward Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. I keep track of my reading through Goodreads and enter the occasional giveaway. The rest of these platforms get a cursory glance from time to time.
    What social media do you use?


  7. The Real Thing

    August 19, 2014 by Suzi

    My friend Cassie Mae has just released another one of her fantastic books. So make sure you check it out. And here’s Cassie Mae to tell us more about The Real Thing and the special swag she’s giving away.

     
     

    Time to party!
    The Real Thing releases today (whoop whoop!) and I’m giving away a swag pack full of goodies.

    The Real Thing postcards

    A froggy loofah

    Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

    Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

    The Real Thing Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone Case

    A Cassie Mae pen

    A collection of select Cassie Mae/Becca Ann signed books

    Rafflecopter right below the excerpt and book details :)

    *********************************************************************************

    “All right, all right,” he says, smiling and holding his palm up to stop me. Tomato juice is dripping from the top of his head down his cheeks, getting caught in the smile lines by his mouth. I can feel it running down my face, too, and I should be gagging, but I’m not.

    I open my mouth to tell him how cute he looks even with juice all over him, but a light ploof! hits the center of the tub between our bodies, and I stare down at my froggy loofah, now covered in red.

    “Oh no!” I frown, plucking the sponge up by the froggy’s arm, then looking up to the shower caddy over Eric’s head. Our splash war must’ve knocked my poor froggy right off his little perch. “My loofah.”

    “That’s what it’s called!” Eric slaps the top of his knee, getting more juice on both of us. “I’ve been staring at that thing since you moved in, trying to remember what the hell people call it.”

    A small bubble of laughter escapes through my slight frown. “Why?”

    “That thing is creepy.”

    I gasp. “It is not. It’s cute.” My lip pokes out as I look at the juice soaking into the blue frog’s face. “And now it’s ruined.”

    He takes the loofah from my fingers, an adorable pinched look on his face.

    “I don’t know how you can wash yourself with this,” he says, pulling at the leg poking from the big green sponge part.

    “It’s soft on my sensitive lady parts.” I laugh as his face goes red again. I expect him to drop the loofah back in my hand—or throw it at me—but he doesn’t. He keeps pulling at it as if it’s the weirdest, yet most fascinating thing in the world.

    “Is it really ruined?” he asks, tone suddenly nowhere near his usual playfulness. He actually looks worried about my sponge.

    “It’s like a buck, Eric.” I adjust in the tub again as the juice creeps into nooks and crannies of my body I had no idea existed till now. “I can get another one tomorrow. Maybe an even creepier one just for you.”

    I try to wink, but I’ve never been good at that. He sort of laughs, but his eyes go back to the froggy. He runs his thumb over the eyeballs, wiping the juice from it. I thought I knew Eric pretty well. But as I watch him stare at my loofah, head slightly cocked to the side, I realize I have no clue what he’s thinking. And that’s totally okay. The anticipation of finding out is better.

    “Only a dollar?” His eyes lift to mine.

    “Or two. Depending on where you go.”

    His lips purse and he nods, then plunges the sponge into the juice. Before I can smack him for that, he pulls it from the bath and wrings it out over my head. My jaw drops to my knees.

    “Oh, you are so dead.”

    *********************************************************************************
    Buy Me!

    In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.

    Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

    When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

    Advance praise for The Real Thing

    “Cassie Mae is awesome! The perfect balance between laugh-out-loud funny and achingly poignant, The Real Thing is the ultimate escapist read. I didn’t want it to end!”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely

    “Watching two best friends figure out how to fall in love makes The Real Thing a summer read of swoon-worthy perfection.”—Jolene Perry, author of The Summer I Found You

    “Cassie Mae’s The Real Thing made me want to close out every social media app and electronic device I have, but I couldn’t manage to stop reading!”—Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures

    About the Author

    Cassie Mae (who dawns the name Becca Ann on occasion) is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.

    Since publishing her bestselling debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, she has published and sold books to Random House, Swoon Romance, and Spencer Hill Press. She has a favorite of all her book babies, but no, she won’t tell you what it is. (Mainly because it changes depending on the day.)

    Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.

    You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Dylan O’Brien to her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cassiemaeauthor

    ****************Giveaway!******************

     


  8. Flesh Eating Zombies

    August 15, 2014 by Suzi

    I’ve always like horror movies and books and one day I hope to write some of my own. I just haven’t developed any of my ideas yet. Too many other things to do.


    Today, I’ve got my friend’s, Rachel Schieffelbein, cover reveal for her upcoming zombie book. Not only does it have a creeptastic cover and an awesome title, but it has a totally unexpected ending. I loved it. So make sure you check it out.


    So make sure you check it out. Now… from Rachel.

    It’s cover reveal day for FLESH EATING ZOMBIES AND EVIL EX-GIRLFRIENDS!
    I’m so excited to share it with all of you! It’s creepy and dark and just right for the book.
    So without further ado, here it is!

    Erwin is in hell— Locked in his high school with his ex-girlfriend, her new pain-in-the-ass boyfriend, and a handful of others while zombies claw at the doors trying to fight their way in.

    The bright light in the dark is Sylvia, whose strength helps hold Erwin together when everything is falling apart.

    When they realize the school is no longer safe, Erwin is determined to keep the group together and get them all to safety.
    But he can’t save everyone.


    Release day is September 17th. Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

     


  9. The Big Reveal

    August 14, 2014 by Suzi

    Welcome to the Big Reveal
     

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds
    of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at
    all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will
    have a new question for them.
     

    What’s your process for naming characters?

     

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Sometimes the perfect name just strikes me – love when that happens! – and it stays with the character throughout the whole writing process. Other times, I go with a name that feels right at the time, realizing it could change later. I sort of “collect” names. When I come across a name – a person’s name, a street name, etc – I jot it down, keep it for future reference.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I usually pick names randomly—sometimes depending on the personality of a character. If they’re going to be confident and loud, they might have something unusual, but if they are a quieter, shy character, it could be something sweet and short. I use baby name sites and nymbler.com to find names.

     
    Chad Morris
    It’s all about what feels right for the story. Some names I make up (Ms. Entrese, Mr. and Mrs. Trinhouse), others have been names I’ve heard before and thought “that would be a great name in a story” (Mackleprank), and some are named after famous historical figures (Abby = Abigail Adams, Derick = Frederick Douglass).

     

    Shelly Brown
    I have a degree in history, so my research nerd shows up when I start naming characters. I like my characters to have names that are both time period and location appropriate. Then the name just has to feel right. That process is harder to explain. Intuition. But we all know that a Jessica is not a Bianca.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Occasionally their names come with them. More often than not, I’m searching cultural and baby names listings. Usually I start from a symbolic angle. What part does this person play in the story? What is their key defining feature (personality wise)? What were the circumstances of their parents or family that would have influenced their name? For me, it’s a science of getting to know their culture and background.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    Sometimes I have a really hard time naming characters. I usually just feel what the character names should be. This last book I just stared I new what their names were right away, It was almost like they told me their names. For a short story I wrote I did make up my own name.

     

    How do you find your character names?


  10. Something weird happened

    August 11, 2014 by Suzi

    I’m actually excited about editing again.
     
    But back up first. My summer plan was to get my ms almost ready for querying, but I lost my motivation and haven’t done too much. I had several critiques from my betas/friends and I needed to make those fixes they suggested.
     
    Luckily there wasn’t big structural things, but more character issues to fix. Which is mostly adding to develop characters or cleaning things up. So I was glad about that.
     
    Still, there was a lot of stuff to fix. Which is why I lost my motivation.
     
    But now I got it back.
     
    I was reading a series of blog posts about tightening your writing. Words to cut. Most of those word are in my big edit list, but I found a few new ones to add.
     
    And now I’m ready to get back into it. I need to fill in a few things, maybe make some cuts, and then I’ll be ready to start those little things. Cutting filler words. Replacing words like walk with more descriptive ones. Stuff like that.
     
    Maybe I’m a little behind schedule, but at least I’m back on track.
     
    And that feels good.