Getting into the Library

Written By: Janna - Mar• 29•14

IMG_0266This was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen, so I had to share. Getting my book into the library wasn’t as easy as I’d anticipated. Possibly because I wasn’t sure who to contact at my  library district. (I’m on a first name basis with most of the librarians at my local branch, unfortunately they’re not the people you have to talk to.)

But once I found the right person, they ordered enough copies of A Grimm Legacy to have one in each library. They even put a nifty sticker on the side to let everyone know I was a local author.

So if you live in the Denver area, I’m in the Arapahoe County library system. Come check it out!

Survive the First Draft

Written By: Janna - Mar• 09•14

My most remarkable editor and co-founder of Patchwork Press has stepped up to post this week about her experience with the publishing process (which is considerably more than mine). 

My least favorite part of the publishing process is writing the first draft. After the initial spark of an idea, my mind is clouded with potential scenes and the loud, demanding voices of way too many fictional characters than any sane person should have living in their head. My fingers twitch with the potential of this new, shiny idea and I can’t wait to write it!

… Until I go to actually write it. First drafts are hard. They’re always hard, because as you start writing, suddenly your idea seems less shiny. Sometimes it’s not translating into words in the right way. The flow is off, the characters on the page sound different than the ones in your head (as the ones in your head will rudely point out), and you’re still a dozen chapters off from writing that big scene that first ignited the idea.

Every author has a first draft slump. It could occur right before sitting down and trying to write that first chapter, or it could be late-onset discouragement when sprinting down the final stretch of your Work In Progress. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: Revisions!

Don’t roll your eyes; the revision process of a manuscript is my favorite part! It’s where you get to take those chapters you cringed at while writing and turn them into something amazing. It’s the time where you have an ending that you can start sprinkling hints/foreshadowing through the first part of the novel. And—my favorite part of revisions—you get to tighten the pacing and refine the tone.

Regardless of whether you are a hardcore plotter or a pants-er, the idea of your book will change as you write it. It is a living thing, and characters can be quite unruly. What you pictured before you started writing will look drastically different from your first draft. And that’s okay! In fact, it’s usually great!

Tone begins to emerge as you write. After your first draft, you probably can find some connecting theme throughout your manuscript. It’s in the revision process that you get to polish that up and make it really shine!

There are also terrible parts of the revision process. “Terrible,” may be harsh, but no one really likes cutting scenes or eliminating unnecessary characters. That hurts, and it’s hard to hear a beta reader or editor get back to you saying “this just isn’t working.” But you need to hear it, and you need to listen to it!

Revisions are painful, but they can be so much fun. The hardest part of writing that novel is behind you—your first draft is done, and now you have something to work with!

Survive the first draft, and live in the revisions. Your readers will be thankful!

Erica Crouch

 Erica Crouch is a young adult author from the colorful city of Baltimore, Maryland. Currently, she is studying English and Creative Writing with a specialization in Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the cofounder and head of editorial services and design at Patchwork Press.

Erica’s debut novel, Ignite, was published June 2013. The e-novella sequel, Entice, was released Nov. 2013. The final book in the series, Incite, is expected spring 2014. A compilation of the series will be released summer 2014.

Along with the series Ignite, she is working on a new adult series, titled the Undying series, with the first installment, Cut, due 2014. When Erica isn’t writing, she’s reading an overwhelming stack of books, watching an obscene amount of Netflix, and procrastinating.

 Blog: http://erica.patchwork-press.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/erica_crouch

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ericacrouchbooks

A few more hidden gems

Written By: Janna - Feb• 22•14

Time to expand the ‘deleted scenes’ portion of my website. With a new writer and a first novel, there’s just so much material to work with. Why let it molder on my hard drive when it can entertain the masses?

The particular piece I’ve added today was cut from chapter twenty-two in A GRIMM LEGACY. One of my early beta readers mentioned adding a scene that would show, rather than tell, more of the small town near the evil step-mother’s house. She also suggested stepping up the action a bit with the other characters while Andi was preoccupied with the Cinderella story.

So I wrote this long scene with some funny bits it, Dylan shopping (which stayed in the final version) and getting chased by palace guards (which didn’t). There was also a small section where Quinn is dress shopping, which you can now find below as well as under the deleted scenes tab.

By some maricle, this particular editor’s comment was saved, and I think its a great one to share because its a common mistake that new writers make.

Soooo… *awkward pause* as much as you know I lovvvee this scene, I’m not sure it works. It doesn’t move the plot forward at all, and reading it the first time, I expected more to come from this character. Like Erica ALWAYS says, every scene/sentence/word has to either move the story forward or teach us something about the characters. This is just a fun little moment that isn’t necessary and can be pretty confusing since readers will be trying to read more into it. Either put a valuable key to the story in here somewhere ooorrr just have Dylan reunite with Quinn as she’s climbing back down the ladder, dress in hand.

It’s pretty simple really. It can’t just be funny, or tie into the old fairy tales (which it did. THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS, great story, look it up). Each scene has to have a purpose in the story. If not, the writer ends up floundering in a sea of unconnected sentences that can’t form a coherent thought. I’ve read stories like this, and while they have potential, that’s all they have.

A good editor is invaluable. Really, one aspect of their job is to save us from ourselves.

Quinn slowly pulled herself into the small second-hand shop. It was crammed with curious, dilapidated objects. Enormous down pillows, stuffed crows and a vase full of white feathers littered the shelves. There were wooden batons propped in a corner and a small spinning wheel by the door, which Quinn carefully steered clear of. In the center of the room a large branch of the tree protruded from a hole cut in the wooden plank floor. Adorning it was a selection of jewelry, rings, necklaces, and several crowns. A girl about her age with blue shoulder length hair came from behind the counter with a pleasant smile.

“Looking for something in particular?” she asked. Quinn gawked at her clothes. A too short leather skirt paired with knee high argyle socks, and fingerless gloves up to her elbows. She grinned at Quinn as if she were pleased at her shock value. Quinn smiled back at her.

“That dress. Is it for sale?” she asked, nodding to the display window.

The girl lifted the dress from where it lay draped over a small arm chair.

“This one?” she asked, holding up the sumptuous red frock for her inspection. Quinn nodded, lightly fingering the decadent material. It looked even better up close.

“Go on, try it on.” The blue hair girl hustled Quinn behind a curtained off corner. “I think I’ve got just the jewelry to go with that, too,” she called as Quinn worked on the hook and eye clasps fastening the back.

Quinn ducked under the curtain a little self-consciously. The girl nodded, appraising her. “It fits like it was made for you. You know what would be perfect? Some red combat boots.”

“Ummm…” Quinn hedged.

The girl took in Quinn’s skeptical face and grinned. “Or not,” she said, flipping a lock of hair over her shoulder.

A low thrum caught Quinn’s attention. The sound came from outside the shop, like the blades of a helicopter, but slower.

The girl froze in the middle of tucking a red dyed feather in Quinn’s hair.

“You have got to be kidding me,” she said, eyes wide. She grabbed Quinn’s arm and towed her behind the counter, shoving her to the ground.

“What—“ A section of the roof was torn away and bits of thatch rained down on them. A dragon stuck its snout through the hole and into the shop.

Quinn froze in an awkward half crouch.

Dragon. Dragon! The logical side of Quinn repeated over and over to herself, and stupidly, the hand lettered sign in the front window of the shop flashed through her terror: The Dragon’s Horde.

Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth and she didn’t think she had the air in her lungs to scream even if she could get her mouth working. The trembling started in her hands and the harder she tried to control it, the more it took over her body.

The dragon opened its jaws and Quinn got a glimpse of a forked black tongue and carnivorous teeth before it bellowed a cry that congealed her blood and made her bury her head in the dusty floorboards. The air smelled of fetid meat.

A moan was the only sound Quinn could manage, fantasizing the knife-like teeth burying in her back. She felt the shop girl move beside her and stand up.

“Are you kidding me?” she shouted.

Quinn risked a peek at her from the floor.

The blue haired girl, hands on her hips, glared furiously at the dragon who paused and cocked his head to one side, his expression quizzical. “Aren’t you supposed to be seeking revenge on those brothers that rescued me? Trying to steal me back? I’ve been waiting for fifty years! And now I’ve got a customer—the first one all week! —you barge in here like you own the place!”

Quinn picked her head off the floor and stared at the girl, the shivering in her limbs starting to subside.

The dragon roared again, but it was less intense, with more of a pleading tone.

The girl actually stamped her foot before shouting, “I don’t care if you are on a schedule! Now go park yourself in a tree until I’m done here!”

The dragon gave and angry snort, causing smoke to curl out of his nostrils, stinging Quinn’s nose as he withdrew his head. The tree shuddered as he took off, the flap of his monstrous wings fading slowly.

The shop girl helped Quinn to her feet and tried to dust her off as Quinn shook like a leaf.

“Sorry about that,” she said with a sheepish grin. “He can be a little pushy.”

Quinn was at a loss for words.

Giving her an apologetic look, the girl offered, “Would twenty percent off your purchase help ?”


 

What’s missing from A Grimm Legacy?

Written By: Janna - Feb• 09•14

Throughout the course of writing and editing a book, things naturally get cut and changed. This process, while it can be painful to the author, ultimately has the interest of book at heart.

I’ve added a new page to the website in which I’ll be adding new ‘deleted scenes’ on occasion. I’ve started with the largest edit I made to A Grimm Legacy, a whopping 10,000 words–over three chapters. It got replaced with a fast paced 2,000 word rescue scene.

At the time it was a little like cutting off a limb, but as usual, my editor was right, the additional story line made things more complicated as wasn’t really necessary.

Several comments I’ve gotten back from reviews of Grimm mention Quinn’s seemingly helpless role through most of the book. And I have to it admit, she did seem that way at times, due to this cut.  I included this deleted scene in an attempt to give a more complete glimpse of Quinn, and get you excited for Grimm Memories, where her character is front and center.

Inspiration for Elorium Woods

Written By: Janna - Feb• 02•14

Over a year ago, I took a trip to the San Francisco area. My husband and I on our 10th anniversary trip trucked up and down the coast and visited places like Napa Valley and the Muir woods. Flipping through the photographs, I realized what really inspired the woods of Elorium. These pictures look like they could have come straight out of the novel.DSC_6586.jpg

DSC_6590
Can’t you see Fredrick trapped up in that tree?

And to get you further excited for Grimm Memories, much of which takes place on or around the ocean.

DSC_6891

A Grimm Legacy gets a face lift

Written By: Janna - Jan• 21•14

As GRIMM MEMORIES (Grimm Tales #2) is trucking along nicely through edits, it came time to make a decision. What to do about the cover?

I love, love! the cover for A GRIMM LEGACY. But… the covers of both books in the series needed to be cohesive. So A GRIMM LEGACY got a facelift.

TA DA!

B1 Grimm Legacy

Fortunately for me, the incomparable Erica Crouch–amazing editor and formatting extraordinaire–has also begun to dabble in cover design. And dabble she did. Isn’t it perfect?

So stay tuned in for the cover reveal of GRIMM MEMORIES this summer by Patchwork Press.

Let’s Talk Sequels

Written By: Janna - Dec• 21•13

Yikes! It’s been well over a month since I’ve posted. With my day job done until after the holidays, I’m really falling short of excuses.

A Grimm Legacy has been out in the world for almost two full months. Sales have been good, reviews have been mixed, but the majority fall on the good side (never going to please everyone, right?). And now to talk sequels.

I personally am always more inclined to pick up a book if I know there’s more goodness to come in two, three, seven installments. And I hope you feel the same way about Grimm.

For those of you wondering, the second book is written. It’s actually been written for six months or more, but was shelved during my mad editing process for Grimm. Now I’m dusting it off one chapter at a time, determined to make it outshine book #1.

A few tidbits that don’t fall into the category of spoilers, but come darn close:

Grimm Tales #2 does have a title: Grimm Memories

Fredrick, Andi, Dylan, and Quinn will all be back for the second installment, with one new addition to their party.

We are not done with Prince Wilhelm.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll get an excerpt up next month.

The Secrets of Fairy Tales

Written By: Janna - Nov• 04•13
“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

-C.S. Lewis

The author of the famous Narnia series has been a large influence on my writing. With all the wonderful new fiction that is written every year, he is still my favorite. It is this quote, in particular, I identify with more as I trek along through adulthood.

It is my hope that A GRIMM LEGACY will kindle a desire to rediscover the classic fairy tales better, and put away your own fear of childishness.

 

 

 

Happy Book Day

Written By: Janna - Oct• 29•13

grimm_final copy

And happy birthday. The two event were close enough we squeezed them into the same day, and I’m loving it.

And really, what better gift could I ask for? Giving myself presents you say… possibly 🙂 But it was a labor of love by a host of marvelous people. My family alone let me bury my head in my computer for a full 14 hours yesterday, as I cursed the slow internet and learned to format. So it really is a great gift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first Blog Tour! The Rising by Terra Harmony

Written By: Janna - Oct• 27•13

tour banner FINAL 700x250

I am thrilled to introduce, in my very first (with many hopefully to follow) blog tour, Terra Harmony’s first book in the Painted Maiden series:

THE RISING-final cover

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean—and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down.  As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

 And to get you hooked:

‘The Rising’ Excerpt (chapter one):

Claws skitter over loose gravel and Serena risks a glance over her shoulder. A mass of black fur stumbles over tangled hind legs, then goes sprawling into the bushes.

“I thought you were supposed to be faster than this!” Serena yells. Her laughter floats through the air like a melody, intensified by the quick thrumming of bare feet against the ground as she sprints away.

The hulking form bursts back onto the path, a spray of sharp branches and bits of leaves coming with him. Red eyes lock onto Serena. His animalistic growl leaves no question that he is angry. Serena looks forward, digging in for a faster run. The wind rips saltwater tears from the corners of her eyes. Breath comes in short bursts. Her lungs and the gills behind her ears pulsate, working to find oxygen where they can.

The trail curves ahead, and Serena teeters on the edge of the path, struggling to keep from flying off herself. When she brushes against sharp shrubbery, shallow cuts crisscross down her scaled legs like the sting of a jellyfish, etched into her very skin.

Serena breaks through the tree line onto the soft sand and slows her pace. Hot breath tingles against the back of her neck; the werewolf is close. She hadn’t expected the beast to be even faster on sand.

He snaps at her, his jaw almost reaching her long, inky black hair.

The greedy thing doesn’t even wait until he has a sure kill. He swipes, tearing through armored scales on her calf, forcing Serena to stumble to her knees. Behind her, the werewolf leaps. Dropping down into a roll, she barely avoids yellow, razor-like teeth. Sand sticks to her open wounds. Claws sink into her shoulders, and the beast rolls with her, unwilling to surrender his prey. In the split second he is on top of her, Serena pushes up and out with powerful legs. Searing p

ain shoots through her calf in protest. The werewolf yelps as he spins head over tail. The sharp crack of a body breaking the surface of the water echoes across the beach.

Rough waves topple over fur as he struggles to regain his balance. The ocean pushes and pulls, growing in strength, as if working against the wolf.

Serena forces herself to her feet and brushes sand from the midnight blue scales along her legs and waist. Although breath still comes in hard bursts, she cracks another smile watching the mighty creature out of his element, and into hers. He drags himself out of the water, weighed down by his thick matted fur, and gasps for breath.

Skirting around the creature, Serena gives him a wide berth as she walks toward the ocean. Frothy waves reach out with promises of swallowing her whole. She succumbs to their grip and sinks into familiarity and freedom. Once she is bobbing up and down with the waves, she turns to look at the werewolf.

He shakes his fur, ridding himself of the salty sea water, then scans the surf. Their eyes lock, his flaring bright red again. He turns them toward the moon, lifts his snout in the air, and howls.

Chills crawl down the back of Serena’s neck, goose bumps only held at bay with the ocean lapping at her shoulders. Serena cringes, then flicks her freshly formed fins, spraying water onto the hound. His howl ends with a sharp yelp as he stumbles back.

Serena turns, flinging her body up before plunging down again, diving into the cold, dark water.

 

terra-0022Terra is author of the eco-fantasy novels in the Akasha Series, ‘Water’, ‘Air’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Earth’, as well as the Painted Maidens Trilogy. Terra was born and raised in Colorado but has since lived in California, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, and Virginia.  Terra has served a 5½ year enlistment in the Marine Corp, has earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree and presently runs the language services division of a small business.

Terra currently lives in a suburb of Washington, DC with her husband of 14 years and three children.

Contact her at:

terra.harmony11@gmail.com

http://facebook.com/terraharmony

http://harmonylit.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/#!/harmonygirlit

 Click here for the Kindle giveaway!