Join the Street Team!

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Greetings on this cold and rainy Saturday!  I am starting my street team/Crowning Heaven launch team, and I would love to have you be a part of it!

What is Crowning Heaven, you say? 

Crowning Heaven is my YA Portal Fantasy novel, and it releases May 15th. For more information, here are some links to a synopsis and snippets.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39171324-crowning-heaven

https://emilyhayse.com/2017/10/17/crowning-heaven-snippets/

https://emilyhayse.com/2016/03/30/beautiful-people-heaven-cassidy/

 

Inside the form, I explain a lot, but here are a couple common questions:

What is an author street team?

An author’s street team is simply a group of individuals who love to read and are willing to spread the word about their books!

What do I have to do?

This may vary some (and no one is expected to do everything) but here are a few general things:

-Leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon.
-Read Crowning Heaven (Advance Reader Copies will be available).
-Participate in a cover reveal.
-Host a stop on a blog tour or post about the book on your blog/website.
-Post about Crowning Heaven on social media accounts.
-Participate in polls within our team HQ.

But there are perks: 

Members of the street team get:

-The very first look at the new developments (cover design, book swag, etc).
-First chance at ARC copies of Crowning Heaven
-Book swag
-Access to a members-only group where we chat and scheme and have loads of fun!
-Exclusive giveaways, deleted scenes and other such goodies.

So…

If you have made it this far and are still interested, go ahead and fill out the form below! I am looking forward to sharing this great adventure with you!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1COS-LAoNiJP1O1V-WESoa3kELcTmO0i02E5Q3ksVEYQ/edit

Six Elements of a Book I Will Pick Up and Probably Love

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A Stunning or Intriguing Cover

People say not to judge a book by its cover and while I actually do agree (there are many great books with horrible covers or covers I could stare at all day but wouldn’t touch the insides of), the cover is the first thing that grabs me. A cover should give the reader an accurate idea of what they are in for, and many is the book I have seized because it’s cover promised me I was about to go on a great adventure.

Vivid, Real Characters

This is maybe the biggest element for me. I can stomach weak or choppy plot, minor flaws, a boring setting, cringe-worthy descriptions, (and even straight-up bad writing sometimes?) if I love the characters. If it weren’t for the people in books, I wouldn’t be a reader and I wouldn’t be a writer. And the first thing that really grabs me in a book description is whether the characters sound good or cliché. That’s the real selling point for me.

A Good Twisty Plot

I love to be kept on my toes by a plot. Let the characters make unexpected decisions, let the book take a sudden and unusual turn, let the loyalties of characters change. Usually if I can guess the ending, some of the excitement goes out of the experience.

Unique Premise or Twist on a Classic

A classic retelling in a totally different setting? A premise that doesn’t sound like fifteen other current books on the market? Turning clichés on their heads? Sign me up.

Atmosphere

There’s a reason why when people finish a book, they feel like they’ve been somewhere, or lived it. That is (most of the time) due to good atmosphere. Many of my first stories and writing projects were about people and places and cultures I had never been in because I read books about them, and I felt like I had lived it once. I had fought sharks in the warm south seas with Mafatu, marched south of the Rio Grande with Lee, dodged the Sheriff of Nottingham with Robin Hood, raced along the streets of Sienna in the heart-pounding Palio. Atmosphere is everything.

For the last one I’m going to actually do a negative element:

Lack of Cliche Attitude

Cliche attitude is a big reason I may put a book down or simply not enjoy it. Characters who are consistently resisting responsibility, wondering why authorities ‘just don’t understand them’, men reduced to whining boys, broody handsome men you want to give your heart to immediately, girls who consistently show up all the men in skills the men have been practicing all their lives….

Basically:

 

What elements do you look for in a good read? Are there any elements that make or break a book for you?

 

Also, look for a second post later in the week; I will hopefully be announcing street team details!

Big Crowning Heaven News

A BigCrowning Heaven Announcement

I can’t believe I’m about to say this. Deep breath.

Today is the big day!

After years of working, seemingly endless revisions, many betas and yes, tears, I have a release date for my YA portal fantasy/spec fic Crowning Heaven.

Synopsis

Heaven Cassidy has only ever wanted one thing: a family. But when she opens a letter from her long-lost mother, she finds herself running for her life. Swept into a world of proud queens and ancient feuds, Heaven must decide whether her dream is worth taking on the responsibility of two kingdoms, one of which wants to crown her and the other to kill her.

Ready?

Wait for it…

And the date is…

May 15th!

What can you do now?

-Add it on Goodreads. If you shelve it, it’ll notify you of any giveaways of this book, which I am planning.

-Follow me on my blog or on my social media (in the sidebar) because that’s where I’ll announce any new developments.

-Scream, because that is the mature thing to do.

-Spread the word. If you have read Crowning Heaven or you are just excited like I am, you can tweet about it, share this post, or anything else your little heart desires.

Street team opportunities will be coming hopefully in the next two or three weeks, as well as pre-orders, a newsletter, big changes to this site, and much more.

 

I love you all!

February Roundup

February Recap

February has been a hard month and a good month. It was kind of my January, actually. I got a lot of work done in January, but it didn’t feel like I had quite gone back to normal life yet. I feel like I finally hit my stride in February. Anyway, here’s the roundup.

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In My Life

I trudged through snow, splashed through puddles, made my first latte art, watched Black Panther, baked Maori bread and Hungarian chimney cakes, read books, had lovely coffee shop conversations with friends, followed the Olympics, won an ARC, chatted with my editor, played Dvorak, went to Orchestra Hall for a concert, belted Broadway songs in a hayloft (where my co-workers couldn’t hear), pulled multiple twelve hour work days, cuddled under blankets on cold mornings, shared cocoa and an early morning with a little brother, celebrated sibling birthdays, kicked off the NASCAR season with pizza, ate tons of Chinese food for the New Year.

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Books:

Read: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die by John Piper, Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, and A Gathering Tempest by Catherine Jones Payne.

Book Haul:

Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

Reclaiming Shilo Snow ARC by Mary Weber (Am I excited? Yes I am.)

Ten Thousand Thorns by Suzannah Rowntree

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Writing:

For those who haven’t seen my social media posts, I got my manuscript back from my editor and so most of my writing, okay, actually all of my writing this month has been editing Crowning Heaven. It’s currently at that hard and thankless stage, but I’m confident that it’s at the best it’s ever been and I cannot wait to share it with all of you!

 

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What I’ve Been Listening To:

Black Panther soundtrack: Make sure you find the score, not the rap songs written for it. I particularly recommend A King’s Sunset and Wakanda.

Homecoming by Thomas Bergersen. Because this music is Crowning Heaven.

Justice from Murder on the Orient Express. All of Patrick Doyle’s score is incredible, but this track is genius.

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Anticipating:

Book releases!!

Mary Weber is releasing her sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Reclaiming Shilo Snow) on March 6th, and I had the privilege of winning one of her ARCs. Which is good news because I raced through her first book and it left me on a cliff hanger.

Also, Catherine Jones Payne is releasing her sequel to Breakwater (Crosscurrent) on the same day! Talk about one good day!

Crowning Heaven Announcements

March will be the month where some big announcements roll out. Can’t say more than that yet, but I am excited for the coming weeks!

Spring!

In the north you can’t really count on spring until sometime in May, but March is always where winter turns the corner and you get sun again and some gentler temperatures. I am so ready!

Seven Book-Related Goals for 2018

Seven Book-Related Goals for 2018

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it takes a little time post-Christmas to let life shake out before I can set goals that I know I can handle. I often have to recover from Christmas anyway. It’s hard to see what direction the year is actually going when you are staying up way too late and watching movies with out-of-town family, am I right? So here are my big goals for this year.

It’s going to be good.

 

Publish my debut novel:

Barring a calamity, Crowning Heaven, my YA portal fantasy will publish this spring. Watch this space! There will be exciting announcements forthcoming, street team opportunities, and some new things coming to The Herosinger.

Read more books by authors I know

The wonderful thing about making friends in the writing community is that you get to share in their writing and publishing journey. Even though I am in a penny pinching stage of life, my goal is to find ways to get my hands on as many of my friends’ books as I can.

Keep a writer’s journal

My sister gifted me with a beautiful journal this Christmas and last month I started to chronicle my daily successes, failures, and the odd things that happen to inspire (or stall) my writing. The goal is simply to be consistent with it.

Cultivate a beautiful bookshelf

My room is getting an overhaul which means there is now a beautiful white bookshelf I can use for photos. I will readily admit I haven’t time or an eye for anything dramatic, but I would love to start collecting my favorites and my friends’ published works and display them. #shelfies anyone?

Join a book group

I would love to get more involved in the reading side of my writing community, and Mary Weber just started a book group on Facebook which I am joining. Now to just get my hands on the book….

Go on a writing retreat

A couple of my good writing friends and I have talked before about going on a writer’s retreat together, and I feel like this could be the year. I love the idea of getting so much writing done and having fun at the same time!

Meet more writing friends

I am hoping to go to a writer’s conference or two this year and if it works out, I am going to finally meet some of my long-time writing friends! I can’t wait to be able to chat face-to-face over coffee or have long discussions with you all!

 

Your turn: do you have any big or book-related goals this year? 

The Train to Belkuah Snippets Post

-The Train to Belkuah -Snippets Post

If you remember, I had six different story ideas for NaNoWriMo, and you, my lovely readers, voted.

The Train to Belkuah was an easy winner, having five more votes than any of the other projects.  And I am happy (OK, relieved) to say that I finished the entire first draft during NaNoWriMo!

To celebrate and to thank you all, I am sharing snippets today!

Quick synopsis: When Zebedee Delray is abducted from his train car on the way to Cambridge, he thinks it is a terrible mistake, no more. Laid up with a broken arm, he is forced to stay in Wales at the home of his rescuer, an Indian baker who holds an odd sway over four young men who hang around the bakery too much to be a coincidence. 

When he realizes that his cloudy memories of his abduction don’t match anything in this world, things get strange. But they swiftly turn dangerous when he realizes he is being followed, and that the bakery is a disguise for something much bigger….

And now for the snippets!

He held the umbrella over the both of them as if the closeness beneath its canvas expanse would keep them together longer, shut out the inevitable parting.

“Do not forget, Tamar,” he whispered.

“How could I ever?” She slipped off her left glove to show a thin silver band upon her slim ring finger. “I am yours, Delray. Yours to be forever, and I will not put it off again, even if the trousseau isn’t finished until July.”

He laughed.

A sudden burst of outdoor light and the whip of rain spray revived Delray a little—enough to see the racing of the trees, the boulders as they rushed past.

“Go,” said a voice clearly in his ear, as if speaking to him, and the world ceased its racing as the ground tumbled upwards and he crashed to the piney heather.

“He would have fallen asleep immediately if you had,” said a voice with scorn.

“And maybe never woke up,” said the first voice, taking on a bulldoggish tone.

“He’s stirring, give him another dose.”

The bitter taste of silver knocked against his teeth, and something smooth and bitterly silky slipped down his throat.

The darkness swam and swirled, but he heard many other things, as if in a dream, before it took him over again.

He cleared his throat. “This is a mistake.”

“A what?” asked the same woman, a tall, ivory-skinned beauty with jet black hair and bright lavender eyes.

“A mistake. You have the wrong man, because I haven’t the slightest what is going on here.”

One of the fellows laughed as if he had made a joke.

“What do you suggest we do then, Mistake?”

Morning,” he greeted, coming through the door and seeing Jeremy perched on a table. “Don’t you think you should get down?”

Jeremy slid down sheepishly as Shay turned from his rolls with a stern look.

“What did I tell you, Jeremy?”

“Sorry, I forget. Besides, aren’t I older than you?”

“It’s not your bakery,” returned Shay, chopping nuts with a large knife and not looking up.

“Perfect weather—a little sun. They won’t be out in fair weather.”

“Who?”

“Belkuans. Dark Belkuans in general. We don’t want to be seen with the cola.”

“The what?”

Tash grinned, a brief burst of sun in the dark ice his face had taken on since the day before. “You’ll see. Hazelthorne has a very particular weakness.”

The Little Man still looked reluctant, but nevertheless he unbuttoned his shirt, slipped his right arm out of its sleeve, and displayed his upper arm, on which, tied with a tight leather band, was a small red jewel.

Tash looked at it closely. “A fine thing,” he answered quietly.

“You lie, you know what it is. I see it in your eyes,” said The Little Man.

They left the last door, the Little Man setting the blue bird’s-egg stone just so, and they started making their way up the hill.

They had not gone a quarter of a mile from the place when there came on the wind a high sound, both eerie and beautiful. It was as if a dog could sing, or a woman could be a beast. Every one of them froze.

“We’ve been betrayed,” whispered Shay, going pale.

Thank you, Staghorn,” said one of the women, as Delray was led before their half-moon of chairs.

Staghorn smiled that clear, amused smile and tapped his chest with his fist before flinging his arm wide. “My greatest, most beloved pleasure.”

Then he was gone, almost as if he had vanished into the misty light, and Delray was alone, facing the row of strangers.

I forgot to give Mrs. Patterson the rent,” said Jeremy sadly. “I wanted her to remember me fondly.”

“She will. No one bakes pies for people they don’t like,” Bryn said in an uncommon show of goodwill.

It wasn’t on the shelf where it always sat. Odd. He stepped forward and then almost fell in a mess of oil and glass.

The lamp had been shattered on the ground, as if flung from its place.

Blast. Now he would have to look for a candle. His foot hit more glass, more than it should have from just the lamp, and scuffed against paper.

Then something, he didn’t know what, perhaps just a creak of the shutter, made noise across the room and suddenly he was full of the feeling of danger.

He had to get out of here.

You must trust what I do. It is not right that five should die for one.”

“But you are ten times the rest of us.”

“In knowledge, perhaps. But in lives, no.”

 

What was your favorite snippet? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Feel free to share or link to any snippets posts you’ve done; I’d love to see them! 

Author Interview: Schuyler McConkey “War of Loyalties”

War of Loyalties Interview with author Schuyler McConkey

Today I have the great honor of hosting Schuyler McConkey, the author of War of Loyalties for an interview!

If you’ve read much on my blog you know how much I love War of Loyalties and how many memories I have made with her during its formative years. But if you are new here, here’s the cover and description to whet your appetite:

McConkey-WarOfLoyalties-EB-XL

Book Description: 
April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered.
In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham’s British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after encountering death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn’t as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.
 

 

And now, for the interview! Don’t forget to check out the giveaway below; it ends tonight! 

Greetings, Schuyler! I am so excited to finally host you here on The Herosinger!

Aww, this is the best moment ever!! Thank you so much for hosting me, Emily!

First question. You ready?

I’m ready!

You and I have had many talks about the impact of books on culture and readers. Can you share a little of your personal vision and why you decided to become an author?

Wow, that’s such a good question. To be honest, I feel like a lot of my vision as a writer is still forming. At first my vision was simply to write a good story and fill what I felt like was a gap in the market—I thought it seemed unfair that big, twisty books should be regulated to the 19th century, and I wanted to imitate my favorite authors from that time period.

I think I decided to become an author because I gut-level loved this story so much, and the characters inside it. I wanted to see them come to print, and it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen. It really was a heart-project.

And now it’s starting to morph into other books that have captured my heart as well.

That’s fascinating. I think part of being an author is changing and constantly being shaped by the books we read. Here’s a question now about your own book: Why is Ben your protagonist? What does he bring to the book that makes him the right one to tell the story through?

I love this question, because I love him!

He grew out of a childhood love that I had for one of my favorite characters–someone who was hardworking, invested in family, and didn’t have a lot but made the most of it. I think actually he’s the perfect protagonist because of how normal he is. His whole aim in life has been to make ends meet, and the only dreams he’s ever had have already come true. But then he’s thrust into this world he doesn’t like, full of quirky, unique people. His normalcy nicely highlights their uniqueness. He’s plunged into this whole new world of espionage, one that they’re used to, and he brings fresh questions to why they do the things they do, and what makes it right.

But I think he shines in his own right, too. He’s forced outside his comfort zone, to care about things he’s never cared about before, and to realize that his perspective has been a limited one up to this point. He embodies integrity and home, which counteracts the shifting identities and morals of men more experienced than him.

Along similar lines, what is Ben’s greatest flaw and greatest strength? And would he answer differently?

His greatest flaw is that his perspective is limited and somewhat legalistic—he easily loves people he understands and agrees with, but he doesn’t like to let people into his life who are different than him.
But I think his greatest strength is when he loves someone, his sole desire is to take care of the people he loves in the very best way possible. His love is steadfast and self-effacing and ready to sacrifice.

Haha! I don’t think he’d like to answer for himself at all, but if I he did, I think he’d say is greatest flaw is to cherish resentment and his greatest strength is the ability to put in a hard day’s work.

What is your favorite thing about each of your main characters?

I love this question.

Jaeryn: He’s like a shooting star, full of passion and charisma and Ireland.

Terry: At least at the beginning of the book, he’s an absolute teddy bear of kindness and fun.

Charlotte: She’s what I like to think of as a warrior wife—someone who, while never called to fight physical battles, will emotionally throw on her armor and watch over the people she loves.

And just to throw in Ben again: I love that he’s quiet, with a great capacity to love and be loved.

Lovely descriptions of all of them! Back to the theme of favorites, what is your favorite memory from writing or revising War of Loyalties?

Oh, definitely that second draft year we spent together. It was so fun to hear speculations and cheer and cry and get all of the Council’s lovely feedback on the story. That really made the book what it is today, because it departed significantly from the first draft. Having that one chapter per week immersive experience was something I’ll never forget.

It was definitely an experience I and the Council will never forget. We had so much time to speculate, and I think our feedback was that much better because of all the time we spent thinking about it.

Next one. Describe War of Loyalties to us in five separate words.

Spy. Home. Friendship. Bittersweet. Epic.

Ooh, those are good ones! I can definitely vouch for their accuracy, too! *wipes away tears*
Here’s a fun one:
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of writing or researching for this book?

Oh, wow, that’s a great question! Perhaps researching things like sucking chest wounds and drug overdoses (that last came up with nasty results; I don’t recommend researching it).

Eww. The uglier side of the research business for sure! On the subject of difficult things, you seem to have a lot of hard ethics in your themes (espionage, deliberate killing in war time, and so on). What made you decide to tackle these themes, and how does this play a role in your goals as an author?

Wow, that’s such a good question. I actually started out War of Loyalties as an ambitious sixteen-year-old, thinking I was going to write a novel that talked about what’s right and wrong for espionage. Some time later, I realized I was in over my head. It’s such a big topic, and I knew nothing about it.

I think one of the best things I did, at the suggestion of a friend, was to read a spy manual from WW2. While War of Loyalties was already in a later draft at that point, the spy manual showed me that real men are trained to do these things, and this is what they have to do.

I think what brought in one of the more dramatic scenes towards the first half of the book was the knowledge you can’t write a big book that has only quiet events. You have to put in the flashier side of spying to maintain the pace of the story. But I tried to handle it with compassion, while not glossing over the fact that it existed and is a normal part of espionage.

I will say, espionage is a tough subject to tackle or incorporate, and I think you’ve done quite a good job at striking the balance.

Thank you so much! That’s so reassuring to hear!

What was the most helpful piece of writing advice you received during the process?

My most recent piece of helpful advice was from my editor, who marked places I was telling instead of showing. Sometimes I had no idea it was telling, and when I took a good, hard look at it and rewrote the scenes, they came alive in a vivid, active way that I love way more than before he marked them. I had to kill a few darling lines, but they were worth it.

That’s the beauty of editing, isn’t it? And it’s totally worth the price of a few lines.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading War of Loyalties?

I hope they have more book friends to love in the characters. I hope it inspires them to see how beautiful stories and characters can be. And I hope it touches their hearts with laughter and tears and they walk away enriched because of it. As a Christian artist, I want to create beautiful things that show a kaleidoscope of emotion, so if the reader can experience that emotion with me, I am blessed!

Beautiful. If your first readers are any indication, I think you have accomplished that.

Can you give us a little teaser for the future? What can we look forward to from you in the coming months/years?

I’d love to! My next project is War of Honor. I want to delve into good men in espionage that are both German and British and pit them against each other for an epic conflict.

I’m also taking a look at modern fiction, outlining a novel set in London which explores the Syrian refugee crisis.

Eeep! So much to look forward to!! So we come to our last question of the day, and it’s a little bit of an odd one: Which three characters would you want at your side if you were stranded on an island, and why?

Starlin King, Ann Meikle, and Fenton?

No. Not them.

How about Ben and Jaeryn and Pearlie (because Pearlie’s a good cook).

Excellent choices! Just enough sense and ingenuity to keep you alive (and hopefully get you off the island!).

That’s right!

It has been simply wonderful talking to you today.

Thanks, girl!

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us all, and I look forward to seeing the reception this book will get—and, of course, your future books!

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Emily! It’s amazing to be at this moment! Thanks so much for supporting the book all these years.

 

Giveaway

First Prize Winner:

-Paperback copy of War of Loyalties

-“Jaeryn’s Vow” 8×10 poster

-Custom War of Loyalties mug

Second Prize Winner:

-Ebook of War of Loyalties

-Real vintage Folkestone postcard (this is a postcard that has actually been posted in 1917.)

Third Prize Winner: (open to international winners)

-Ebook of War of Loyalties

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9759b4114/

November Roundup/I Almost Lost NaNoWriMo/In Other Words, I’m Back

 

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Greetings from the cold North! December has come, and with NaNoWriMo in my rearview mirror, I am happily taking a break and focusing on Christmas preparations and getting back into the swing of this blog.

But back to November.

In My Life:

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I visited San Antonio, ate authentic Texas barbecue, had a birthday (I’m loving 24), visited with friends and family near and far, ate authentic Mexican shrimp quesadillas, went on a road trip, drank flat whites, wrote in coffee shops with friends, played my bodhran, took long walks, wrote a book set in Wales with faery people, read a lot of Psalms and Hebrews, savored the rain (as opposed to the snow), played with horses, spent relaxing evenings with siblings, loved on little ones, watched new movies, schemed up new stories, sang my heart out, saw the longed-for publication of a book I love.

Books:

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Read: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It wasn’t too bad, but epidemics/pandemics are really not my thing. So reread? Probably not. I did love the Chinese stuff though, especially the buns across the street. Best food in the world.

Book haul:

Kit Kennedy: Country Boy: by S.R. Crockett

The Color Project: by Sierra Abrams

War of Loyalties: by Schuyler McConkey

 

Writing:

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I had an absolute blast with all of you picking my NaNoWriMo project. Huge thanks to all of you who commented and voted. The Train to Belkuah won the poll, and I am proud to say I finished it, and I’m not unhappy with it, though it is still a rough first draft.

One of my sisters, whose literary taste I have the utmost respect for, read the rough draft all in one night and told me this:

It’s so misty and mysterious and glamourous and folkish. The eerie whistles and the dusty flour and the snatches of Shakespeare dropped everywhere….” 

Strong impressions are the aim of my first drafts, so #win.

This was my aesthetic and synopsis:

Train to Belkuah

The Train to Belkuah//spec-fic//

First, fresh baked bread. Then let’s turn the world upside down.

When Zebedee Delray is abducted from his train car on the way to Cambridge, he thinks it is a terrible mistake, no more. Laid up with a broken arm, he is forced to stay in Wales at the home of his rescuer, an Indian baker who holds an odd sway over four young men who hang around the bakery too much to be a coincidence.

When he realizes that his cloudy memories of his abduction don’t match anything in this world, things get strange. But they swiftly turn dangerous when he realizes he is being followed, and that the bakery is a disguise for something much bigger….

What I’ve Been Listening To:

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The Mission: May I recommend the tracks: The River, On Earth As it is in Heaven, Gabriel’s Oboe, Vita Nostra, and Miserere.

Jurassic Park: I have zero clue why. I’m not a huge John Williams fan. I started craving it in the last days of NaNoWriMo when my brain was dead from #words.

For the Cause by Keith and Kristyn Getty. The child’s choir version. ❤

How I Almost Lost NaNo:

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This NaNoWriMo should have been the easiest one I have done. I had the entire story planned out. Chapter titles, descriptions of plot, everything. And if you know my style, that’s not usually how I work.

So I really I don’t know why I couldn’t get it written. Real life needed me. I had days where it was just work after rehearsal after life situation. And someone had an emergency over the holidays (not me) so that turned us all upside down.

In the end, I worked very hard for the last week of November, and made it. I have never lost, and the idea of losing on my easiest project yet made me more determined. I think I pulled about 34,000 in the last five days.

Also, I am super thankful for the people who helped me out. I have a good friend who covered for me one evening at a place where we both volunteer and then brought me coffee so I could have something while I wrote. Thanks, Lu. #friendgoals

Anticipating (Eee!)

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December short story: Where writing is concerned I am making no goals for December. However, I have a Christmas short story I’ve been thinking about, and for recreation I may pull it out and play with it a little. It’s half portal fantasy, half romance, set in modern New York with Christmas lights, Handel’s Messiah, lattes, and Asian food.

War of Loyalties interview: I am going to be interviewing the author of War of Loyalties, Schuyler McConkey, right here on Friday morning. This is an interview you won’t want to miss. Plus, there will be a sweet giveaway!

Changes and such coming your way: I said a long time ago that was going to start rebranding The Herosinger, and is still going to happen. I am also working on some exciting things for all of you, including (hopefully) some publishing news on Crowning Heaven!

 

How was your November? Did anyone participate in NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear how it went! 

In Which You, Reader, Will Pick What I Write

In Which You, Reader, Will Pick What I Write

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is nearly upon us, and here’s the deal. I have (almost) finished the two books that are important to keep on deadlines, and I am a free girl. Usually I have a strong idea about which story I am going to write for NaNoWriMo, but with my mind having been on Kill the Dawn and Crowning Heaven for so long, it simply hasn’t had the time to get expectations.

So I need your help: I need you to choose me my NaNoWriMo novel. I’ve made it nice and easy. Six stories to pick from. *wink*

Please go vote and then comment below with what you chose!

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? If you are participating, what is your project?

 

Claim the Sky

Claim the Sky//spec-fic//

Then claim the sky if you can, for you cannot quench the spark of freedom from among us.

Fourteen-year-old Emilia Baron has been looking forward to one thing her entire life: a position in the elite circle of Patrons and Patronesses, who sponsor racing teams. The riders and their horses are objects of obsession, discussed incessantly in the rich circles, and she loves the sport with a passion.

But when whispers of assassinations and rebellion against the upper class arise, the riders—low-born with high-class access—fall under suspicion as spies. Her happy, comfortable world is upended as riders and patrons alike choose sides, friends turn against friends, and one of her favorite riders is discovered in the act of espionage. With her upbringing telling her one thing and her love for the sport and its people another, Emilia must choose where she truly stands.

 

Train to Belkuah

The Train to Belkuah//spec-fic//

First, fresh baked bread. Then let’s turn the world upside down.

When Zebedee Delray is abducted from his train car on the way to Cambridge, he thinks it is a terrible mistake, no more. Laid up with a broken arm, he is forced to stay in Wales at the home of his rescuer, an Indian baker who holds an odd sway over four young men who hang around the bakery too much to be a coincidence.

When he realizes that his cloudy memories of his abduction don’t match anything in this world, things get strange. But they swiftly turn dangerous when he realizes he is being followed, and that the bakery is a disguise for something much bigger….

 

Mars is a Fickle Child

Mars is A Fickle Child//sci-fi//

When I was a little girl, I would go out on summer nights and sit on the swing and watch the planets war in the sky. I never thought I would become a part of that war.

At seven years old, Roxie has lost her parents to the TI epidemic that swept through her town. When she goes to the nearest trading post looking for a job or a chance at a fortune, she is saved from thugs by an out-of-towner named Telerin Rafi. Lonely for reasons he will not discuss, he offers Roxie a cleaning job aboard his sky-ship, and she agrees, only to discover that she is remarkably good at navigation.

Three years later, Telerin is arrested, accused of smuggling war criminals. Now Roxie must find out how well she really knows him, and—if he is innocent—how she will ever get them out of the bordered territories alive.

 

everyman

Everyman//spec-fic//

I never asked to be a leader, to be a facade, to risk poison in my cup every evening. Did you choose me because you want to kill me?”

The old man shook his head. “No. We chose you because you cannot be killed.”

The common people agree to accept a new leader so long as they are allowed to put one man into the running along with the government’s choices. Their plan is to subvert the current faction’s ploy for power. And they are just as determined that their man will win as the government is determined to kill him.

Jamie Thackerry does not want anything to do with power or politics, but with twenty years of experience dodging death, he may be the people’s only hope.

 

The Cleft in Fate

The Cleft in Fate//historical fiction//

Sometimes life isn’t taking what comes to you, my sister, but shoving yourself at it, and breaking through.”

Breaking through to what?” asked Louisa-Margaretta.

Anything you want, I suppose,” replied Christianna.

After their wastrel but well-meaning brother is disinherited, three sisters must seek their own fortunes by marrying well before their father dies and they lose their last chance at good society. The only problem? One is painfully shy, one over-ambitious, and the last, already eyed by an heir to thousands, is in love with a man of half her consequence.

 

goodloki

The Summer of Green Coats and Black Lies//historical fiction//

We are not boys anymore, brother. All the former wrongs should have nothing to do with how we treat each other. We cannot afford bitterness now, can we?”

Thomas Warwick has lived his entire life under the shadow of his brilliant brother, William, heir to their war-hero father’s grand English estate, but remains content with his otherwise happy world.

Enter a grand tiff between William and their father and a great dark secret that directly involves Thomas. With his brother sent away indefinitely under the threat of disinheritance, his world dangerously close to falling apart, and his mother offering him the bulk of the massive family estate immediately, Thomas is approached by his brother, who begs him to help heal the rift with their father before it is too late.

The world at his feet, Thomas must decide if he will help his brother or take what may be his only chance at redeeming his tarnished reputation.

Note: If this story line sounds familiar to any of you, it is. Kudos.

 

 

War of Loyalties Cover Reveal

w4yr
Surprise! Random post!
Alright, it’s not random. It is something wonderful and very near and dear to my heart.
Back in 2013,  my dear friend Schuyler asked if I and maybe a couple of my siblings would be willing to beta read her book War of Loyalties for her. We had both been writing for some time, we had talked some about our projects (I had sent her a thing or two of mine), and of course I said yes. What followed in that year was nothing short of epic.
This was not just reading a book. It was falling in love with real, real characters. It was mornings speculating with my siblings about who the enemy spies were, what was going on with Jaeryn Graham and his secrets, and whatever was going to happen on this mysterious chapter 24. (No promises the current chapter 24 will have anything though, sorry.) We lived and breathed Folkestone. We had secret Pinterest boards to discuss little details, we drank tea, and ate food they would have eaten. And a couple of my Solid and Professional Short Stories which are Very Serious may have had origins in protest against plot twists.
I wrote a poem too. It’ll either never see the light of day or it will be my banner against all comers when this book is published. Not sure yet.
Sorry for the ramble.
Here is the cover:
McConkey-WarOfLoyalties-EB-XL
Release Date: November 30th, 2017
Book Description
April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered.
In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham’s British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his a new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after an encounter with death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn’t as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.
Join the Fun! 
Check out more about War of Loyalties at My Lady Bibliophile