Insecurities and Eppihanies

So, as many of you know, Time of Ruin the second installment in the Ash and Ruin Trilogy, releases in exactly one week.

I can’t express the level of anxiety I have about this. Trilogies are incredibly difficult to write, I’ve come to learn. With an open-ended series you have a while to develop your character arcs and have so many plot bunnies to chase down, the pressure is kind of spread out. But with a trilogy you’ve got three books. Three acts. Beginning, middle, and end. And you gotta get your shit done. And each book needs to have a whole, satisfactory story contained within it’s covers while carrying on the major plot arcing through all three books.

I thought the hardest book was the second one, the one coming out in a week. But truth be told, the first book was just as hard. This  is a fucking hard story to write. Harder than I anticipated. I realized this wasn’t a story I could have told before now because I needed to be a stronger writer to do it justice. And I hope I am doing it justice. And with that, I knew that the middle book of a trilogy often suffers as the least interesting book, often it’s just a bridge from book one and two and people say, “Shoulda just made it a duology.” I didn’t want that. I wanted book two to be strong and whole and its own. I wanted readers to hit the last page with an Ooof and make grabby hands for book three.

Oh but book three. Book three looms over my head like an angry little gray cloud. Book three clings to my neck like a dead albatross. Book three is my undoing. No, I haven’t even put one word to page for book three yet, but I finished book two a few months ago, got wonderful feedback and reactions from my team of betas, my editor loved it, so the pressure of book three just grew and grew. I have expectations to live up to. And I am terrified. I’ve stepped away from Ash and Ruin  for a minute and thrown myself into the world of Matilda Kavanagh, my series about a spunky witch living in a supernatural neighborhood of West Hollywood. It’s my escape, my world of magic and fun and adventure. It let’s me write for fun and put my characters in crazy situations and let’s them fight their way out of it and go home at night for a nice spiked cup of hot chocolate and a smush-faced cat. It is not a world of death and desolation where each page takes a piece of my soul.

I don’t talk about my fear of book three very much. Occasionally I’ll ask my husband (my alpha reader for A&R), “Hey, what do you think of this? or “Well, what if this happened?” Vague questions that he’d dutifully respond to with his impressions or thoughts and I would just nod and go about my day. I wouldn’t make a note of anything because it was just a passing thought. But inside I would be having a total melt down about the book. I had no idea how to end this story. I have no idea how it’s going to do. I don’ t know who’s going to die and who’s going to live and how they accomplish either task. Whenever I set out to write a story, even if I don’t know how many books it’s going to be, I have a sense of the ending, maybe even know exactly how it’s going to end. How the hero wins or loses. But not with A&R. I am lost, utterly and completely.

And then Saturday I was standing in my kitchen, making sandwiches for lunch. It was sunny and windy outside. I was barefoot and the kitchen floor was freshly swept. My husband was somewhere else in the house and the dogs were quiet. And like so many other quiet moments, my mind wandered to Kat and Blue and Dylan. I could see them at the end of book two and out of no where, among the cold cuts and vegetables, I knew. I just knew. It slammed into me like lightning and I couldn’t move until I followed the thought to the last page. I knew what is going to happen, how it’s going to happen and who lives and who dies to make it happen.

My husband walked in and jumped up onto the counter and I turned to him and said. “What if…” and I almost couldn’t keep up with the words. Before my husband could say anything my whole body broke out into chills, goosebumps covered my skin, and I teared up. Blinking back the tears, I started laughing and said, “Oh my god, I figured it out. I know what happens.”

And you better believe I wrote it down. I don’t know every detail, every twist and turn, but I know the core plot and suddenly, I’m not so afraid to write this book. I just had to wait until I was ready.

 

(This post was brought to you by all the puppy gifs ever in honor of Blue and the muse that inspired him, Brody, who is ten times this size now.)

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Time of Ruin Book Blog Blitz!

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Blogger friends! If you would like to sign up to participate in the book blitz for Time of Ruin, the sign up is live! This is a much more casual promotion than your regular blog tour and the host, YA Bound, will provide you with everything you need to put your post up! Everyone is welcome to sign up and the more the merrier!  Click the button below to find the sign up:

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I really hope everyone will sign up!

 

Blog Tour: The Masked Songbird

Hello all! I’m very happy to host my friend and debut author, Emmie Mears, on my blog today! Her premier book, THE MASKED SONGBIRD, dropped yesterday and you should totally check it out. I mean, just look at this cover, isn’t it gorge?

The Masked Songbird_FC (2)

 

I am lucky enough to get to interview Emmie today so you can learn a little bit about her and this new book. Read on to learn!

Let’s get some important questions out of the way first:

1. Which house do you belong to?

GO GO GRYFFINDOR! 😀

2. What’s your patronus?

I’m pretty sure Robbie Thompson (Supernatural producer/writer) is my patronus. That man is delightful. Just….bloody….delightful. You should go look at his tweets chronicling the summer Hellatus.

3. Apparition, broom stick, or enchanted motorcycle?

Oh, I would apparate. Hands down.

Now, we can get some easy questions:

4. In your book, The Masked Songbird, the upcoming Scottish Referendum plays a huge part. For those unfamiliar can you tell us, in lay terms, what is so important about this Referendum?

Self-determination. That’s the most succinct way to describe it — in 2010 in the UK general election, less than 20% of Scots voted for the Conservative party, yet they’ve been saddled with a Tory government ever since. Scots are not a homogenous group, but they do agree on many things that make staying within the UK difficult. One example is that Scotland has been experiencing a brain drain for many years and a while back, they introduced something called the Fresh Talent Initiative to bring talented, educated migrants into Scotland. After the Tories were elected, they pretty much overhauled the immigration system into the UK, and the Fresh Talent Initiative just got churned under the wheels. It’s difficult for Scotland to pursue her own interests when the government at Westminster is consistently ignoring them.

While some powers have devolved from the UK government to the Scottish parliament, the big issues (like the nuclear submarines at Trident most Scots vehemently oppose, education, health care, social welfare, immigration, etc.) are things that Scotland is not fully autonomous on. Education is changing a bit, and health care is also devolved to an extent, but when the Tories in London talk austerity measures, it affects Scots — who overwhelmingly voted against the Tories. It’d be like replacing the California governing bodies with Tea Party representatives.

5.Tell us a little bit about your main character.

Gwen Maule is that friend you see getting pushed around and wish she’d just straighten her shoulders and stand up for herself already. She’s someone to whom life sort of happened, and for a long time, she wasn’t very good at dealing with it. The wonderful thing about writing Gwen was that in spite of her early lack of assertiveness, she has a fun way of looking at the world that has a bit of quirk and a bit of snark, and seeing her nurture her strengths and step up onto the front lines was a really rewarding thing to write.

6. How many books are you planning this series to be?

It’s going to be a duology, but I’ve considered the possibility of a future novella or continuation. I’m open to returning to the universe. 🙂

A few more pertinent questions:

7. If you could live in any universe (books, TV, comics, movies, etc.), which would you choose?

Hoo, doggies. There are an awful lot of factors to consider here. For sheer badassery quotient, I’m inclined to say the Supernatural universe. For pure ecstatic wonder, Harry Potter.

8. In that universe who/what are you?

In the Supernatural universe, I’d be a hunter. Saving people, hunting things — that has always sounded good to me. I’m actually surprising myself with this because I used to say Buffyverse hands down, and I still adore Buffy, but there’s only one Chosen One in the Buffyverse. One thing I love about Supernatural is that the hunters are just people who learn and train and bleed and sweat.

In Harry Potter, I’d be a witch and probably shadow Hermione — I always related to her in the books because that was me in school. Consistently reading above and beyond, loading up my plate with as much knowledge as possible — but ultimately being still in Gryffindor because the values of Gryffindor really resonate. Courage, compassion, kindness, assertiveness.

9. What’s the last book you read?

I just finished two, Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (both were advanced reader’s copies from Book Expo America), and both were really good. The Good Girl was a little closer to my tastes, but there were definitely some strings tugged in Black Ice as well. I’d recommend both. The Good Girl is adult and Black Ice is YA, and I actually think I would have enjoyed Black Ice a bit more as an adult novel. When I initially picked it up, I thought it was adult, and I ended up feeling a bit like the teen voice had a bit of dissonance.

10. What book do you recommend to anyone, no matter who they are?

That’s a tough one. Probably The Giver (Lois Lowry) or Hatchet (Gary Paulsen). For whatever reason, those two books have stuck with me since childhood. The Giver for its simple truth that the pain of this world allows us to better appreciate the joy, and Hatchet because it’s such a tale of dogged survival against all odds. I respect that.

Awesomesauce! Here’s the blurb for this new book and all the stalking info you could use!

Mildly hapless Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule is surviving. She’s got a boyfriend, a rescued pet bird and a flatmate to share rent. Gwen’s biggest challenges: stretching her last twenty quid until payday and not antagonizing her terrifying boss.

Then Gwen mistakenly drinks a mysterious beverage that gives her heightened senses, accelerated healing powers and astonishing strength. All of which come in handy the night she rescues her activist neighbour from a beat-down by political thugs.

Now Gwen must figure out what else the serum has done to her body, who else is interested and how her boss is involved. Finally—and most mysteriously—she must uncover how this whole debacle is connected to the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Gwen’s hunt for answers will test her superpowers and endanger her family, her friends—even her country.

You can preorder the book now!

Amazon Nook 

1498070_679450305439375_1864577447_oFeel free to talk the Emmie here:

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Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state promptly spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country.

Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie’s childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor.

Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they’re lions and tigers.