Dare to Read

October 4, 2012

My Road to Publication: Laurel Garver

Filed under: Author's Interview,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:48 am
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Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Today my fellow writer Laurel Garver answers my questions about her Road to Publication for her YA novel, Never Gone.

Hello Laurel and welcome to Dare to Read, please tell us first, about your book:

Why did you write this book?

I wanted to explore how loss and grief are handled well–and poorly–in Christianity. People of faith can at times have an unhealthy stoicism about death. By emphasizing heavenly rewards for the departed, they can make the bereaved feel as if they’re spiritually deficient for having emotions like sadness, anger and loneliness. But when someone isn’t given space to fully grieve, the emotions will come out sideways and be far more damaging. Yet the story also has positive counter-examples of folks who comfort and support well because they understand the church as a body: “when one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (I Cor. 12:26). I wanted to encourage teens not to settle for platitudes when it comes to hard questions like “where is God when we suffer?” but to really engage deeply.

Writing this story was also a way to indirectly work through my grief after I lost my dad in 2003, but under very different circumstances.

What genre is it?

Young adult edgy inspirational (in other words, Christian in outlook, but with mature, challenging situations)

Who is the expected audience?

The book is intended for teens ages 14 and up. I’ve described it as The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dessen) meets Once Was Lost (Sara Zarr) with some of the style of The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson). But the story would resonate with anyone who has grieved a loss, experienced some faith-shaking tragedy, struggled to understand someone who keeps secrets, or wrestled with the question of where is God when we suffer.

I agree that grief has no age and, as I always say just because a book is labeled YA does not mean adults wouldn’t like it too.

Now,  let’s start our next block of questions. Tell us about the cover of your book:

Who designed your cover?

The design concept was mine. My good friend Ruth Hoover, a former book designer for Lipincott helped me turn the idea into reality. She suggested I use custom art rather than stock photos. My husband did the pencil drawing. I hired a photographer to shoot the drawing with a leaf, and purchased all rights to the final photo from the 40+ images she shot. Ruth took that high-resolution digital negative and did some sophisticated photo editing on it. The leaf in the original was green, since the shoot was done in August. She also did some great work on the typography and sizing and formatting for both an e-book and a paperback.

How does the cover reflect your story?

The two things my protagonist loves most are her dad and art (especially pencil drawing). The autumn leaf is a subtle nod toward the subject of grief and loss. I went for lighter and organic colors because I wanted readers to connect with the emotional heart of the story — a teen’s struggle to hang onto her faith and hope in the midst of a devastating loss.

Tell us now about the book as a product, starting by telling us in which formats is it available?

Never Gone is available an an e-book for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, plus some other platforms that Smashwords supports. It’s also available as a paperback.

How did your book get published?

I worked with five different vendors who will handle sales and distribution, and in the case of the paperback, printing as well. I did have to learn e-book formatting for the big guys–Amazon, B&N and Kobo. I did it “the hard way,” using HTML and CSS, then running it through conversion software. I’m glad I did, because the final product looks as good as anything traditional publishers do.

What is your marketing plan?

I sent review copies to a select group, who agreed to do early reviews. I also sought out some published authors to write endorsement blurbs.

I’m doing a three month long “blog ramble,” with 1-2 posts per week on various blogs and some giveaways. I’ve also begun contacting grief-oriented blogs, asking to be added to recommended reading lists.

I created a trailer for the book, which is on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY0gSZ3-nU4&feature=plcp), and I include it with most guest posts I do for the blog ramble.

I’ll also be doing Goodreads giveaways, and some additional fun things on that site including quizzes and chats.

I have a Twitter contest planned for October. Follow me at the link below for updates.

I’ve been invited to speak at a few book clubs, and hope to do more, likely using Skype. I’m also looking into podcasts.

Finally is there any advice you want to share with our readers who have a manuscript ready?

Take you time. Getting published is not a race. There are advantages and disadvantages of any publishing route you take. Be sure you know what they are before you make a decision. Know how much support and how much control you personally need to feel professionally satisfied with your work. Self-publishing is not “the easy way” by any stretch. You need a dozen other skills besides writing to succeed. But it is an appealing option for stories that aren’t a neat fit in a particular genre or market trend.

 

Great advice.

Thank you so much Laurel for a thoughtful interview and best of luck with your book.

 

Bio: Laurel Garver holds degrees in English and journalism and earns a living as a magazine editor. She enjoys quirky independent films, word games, British television, Celtic music, and mentoring teens at her church. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Blog: http://laurelgarver.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurelGarver

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurelGarver

Buy links:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Never-Gone-ebook/dp/B0096DWVSG

Also available from Amazon’s EU sites in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/never-gone-laurel-garver/1112775142

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Never-Gone/book-IBAo3rxFwkyRKKs0EXPzdw/page1.html?s=wAAubaT6VkyWdmKFA2Ob6A&r=1

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/229715

 

 

May 21, 2012

Suffocate by S.R. Johannes

Filed under: Event,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:03 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

 

Today, May 21, S.R. Johannes’ Suffocate is out!

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

Here’s a little about the novelette…

“For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It’s a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy that affects the very air she breathes. 

If those responsible find out what she knows, they won’t stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.”

The 2nd novella in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

You can purchase Suffocate for only 99 cents at Amazon  and B&N

Also you can add it on Goodreads! – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13648347-suffocate

S.R. Johannes is author of the Amazon Bestseller Untraceable and a current nominee of the Georgia Author of the Year in the Young Adult category. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her goldendoodle Charley (notice he is listed first :), her British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.  You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/#!/srjohannes

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/srjohannes

Pinterest- http://pinterest.com/srjohannes/

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5235537.S_R_Johannes

March 15, 2012

My Road to Publication : Terry Spear

 

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

 

Today, I’m pleased to have, here with us at Dare to Read, Terry Spear.

Terry is the award-winning author of the urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense novel, HEART OF THE WOLF, named in Publishers Weekly’s BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

I asked Terry about her new YA novel The Dark Fae and she kindly answered my questions.
Here is what he had to say.

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Dare to Read and congratulations on your new novel The Dark Fae. Tell us, first of all: What made you want to write The Dark Fae?

A. I love both historical fantasy and urban fantasy and wanted to write a book about the mischievous fae and how they impact on the human world.

Q. What genre is it?

Teen historical and contemporary fantasy.

Q. Who designed your cover (which, BTW, I think is very intriguing).

The cover was available at one of the photo stock companies, and I used PhotoShop to add the title and byline.

Q. How would you describe your cover?

Dark, mysterious, fae-like girl on the cover. Each of the covers has a similar theme.

Q. In which formats is your book available?

A. e-book and paperback

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

An agent told me I ought to self-publish my vampire stories since they were such a glut on the market. That led me to publishing some of my YA that I hadn’t sold, and a couple that I had sold and had received the rights back on.

The Dark Fae was my 14th book to upload, had been turned down by two agents, and I never sent it out again. I didn’t think anything would come of it. But it began selling a 100 copies a day and has remained on the best seller list at Amazon and does well at B&N, so the book turned into a series.

Q. What are you working on right now?

I’m on deadline for a wolf and jaguar shifter series for Sourcebooks, but I am also writing another medieval Highland story because that series is doing so well, and am working on The Dragon Fae, book 5 in the series!

Q. Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

Keep writing, editing and submitting. If all else fails, try self-publishing!

Blurb for The Dark Fae:

Ever wonder why you trip over your own feet when there’s nothing there to trip you up? Why you spill a drink when there’s no reason for the mishap? Why you can’t find something that you just set down and there’s no one else to blame but yourself? But maybe there is.

Alicia’s always known she’s different–that she can recognize the mischievous fae when they show up to “play” with the humans. Only now she’s faced with one highly annoyed dark fae and she’s certain he knows the truth about her. She can see him, which means her life is forfeit.

Add to that, his sister arrives, who wants to play, too. And their mother, the queen of the Denkar, will want Alicia’s head, once she learns what Alicia can do.

And all because Alicia was attempting to rescue her friend, Cassie, on their beach excursion at South Padre Island, from the wicked fae. Now, Alicia has really gone and done it–and she’s thinking she should have let the fae have his fun. Her friend’s broken heart would be a lot easier to deal with, than Alicia losing her life.

But it is too late for regrets. As soon as she threw the soda at the dark fae’s chest, she had declared war on the fae. And he is happy to take up the challenge.

  BIO:

Terry Spear is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or working full time at a library in the heart of Texas. You can visit her at her website: www.terryspear.com

March 12, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 6

 

From THE KING IN THE STONE

 

“…the ancient people of these mountains believed time was a spiral turning continuously onto itself.”

As Doña Irene spoke, her fingers traced the intertwined spirals carved in the silver medallion dangling from her neck.

“Occasionally, the walls between different times grow thin, and the past, the present, the future, they all become one.

“These are dangerous times, because when this happens, the very course of history can be altered.”

March 10, 2012

Sabrina Benulis discuss her debut novel ARCHON at The Enchanted Inkpot

Filed under: Author's Interview,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:06 pm
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Several weeks ago Sabrina Benulis discused here at Dare to Read her Road to Publication.
This week she talks candidly about her book and the fantastical world where her story takes place.

Please join us at The Enchanted Inkpot (http://goo.gl/EkcPF) for a fascinating peak behind the scenes.

March 5, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 5

Filed under: On Writing,Pictures,The King in the Stone,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:55 am
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From THE KING IN THE STONE

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

A gnarled oak sprung from the face of the mountain, and it was under its heavy branches I saw the tomb for the first time. It grew from the earth in the middle of the expanse, seeming as much a part of the mountain as the granite from which it had been carved.

I stepped onto the ledge with the reverence I would upon entering a temple, the rustle of the dry heather under my shoes the only sound to break the silence. The soil, I realized when I came closer, had been excavated around the tomb revealing the scenes carved around its sides. On the slab used for a cover, the lying figure of a knight emerged from the stone.

Eyes closed, his hair loose over his shoulders, he was wearing a tunic that fell down to his knees and boots tight against his calves––the way noblemen dress in my world. A king. He was a king, I knew, even before I saw the circlet on his forehead and the pommel of the sword he held over his chest, the pommel with three lines entangled in the shape of a mountain, the design of the House of Montemaior. My father’s House.

March 1, 2012

My Road to Publication : Jennifer R. Hubbard

 

 

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Today, Jennifer R. Hubbard shares with us how a serious commitment to her craft paved her road to publication.

Jennifer, an insightful critique partner, is the author of two moving realistic YA novels: The Secret Year (Viking 2010) and Try Not To Breathe (Viking, January 2012).

You can read my review of Try Not to Breathe here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/282282727

This is, in her own words, her story:

My road to publication was both short and long. I began sending out short stories while I was still in high school, and one of the first stories I sent out got published.

But it was a long time until I sold another.

I took a day job in another field, but I kept writing. For years, I sent out stories, and some of them appeared in magazines. It wasn’t until 2003 that I looked at all the young adult (YA) novels on my shelves and thought, “Why don’t I try to write the kind of book I’ve always loved to read?”

I’d made a few attempts at novels over the years, and most of them would qualify as YA—except they wouldn’t really qualify as novels. I usually only managed one or two short drafts. In 2003, I took a course in writing children’s literature, taught by Vivian Grey. I started going to SCBWI conferences and joined that organization. I sought out critique partners. And I began revising my novels more deeply than I ever had before. When my level of commitment changed, my results changed—slowly, but surely. Late in 2007, I queried an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. with my latest effort: a novel about a secret relationship, a sudden death, and a notebook left behind. The agent signed me and sold the book to Viking. It appeared early in 2010 under the title The Secret Year. Earlier this year, my second YA book with Viking, Try Not to Breathe, appeared. It is the story of a boy recovering from a suicide attempt, and his friendship with a girl who is trying to reach her late father through psychics.

When I began my publishing journey, self-publishing was not nearly as viable as it is now. Even so, for an unknown writer doing contemporary realistic fiction, the traditional route still has advantages: access to reviewers, eligibility for awards, access to the school and library market as well as the chain bookstores. My first book appeared on an Indie Next list, an ALA list (Quick Picks), and a Texas Library Association list (Tayshas). Also, I had the benefit of an editorial team, professional book designers, and a marketing team.

It’s very true that publishers don’t send most of their authors on book tours, nor do they buy co-op (prime bookstore placement, such as special displays) for most of their authors. A lot of the social networking, approaching local bookstores about signings, and ordering swag (e.g., bookmarks, pens, postcards) falls to the author. I’ve definitely found that it helps to band together with other local authors for live events, rather than trying to go it alone. I’m currently working with both the Kidlit Authors Club and the New Jersey Authors Network.

However, publishers still do a lot of the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting: contacting national media, handling author appearances at the major conferences like ALA and BEA and NCTE, distributing review copies, and interacting with the bookstore buyers. And my literary agency handles foreign rights and other subsidiary rights (film, audio, etc.) that I would have a hard time shopping on my own.

With traditional publishing, you have less control over the process, but more team members pitching in at every stage of the process. So I think authors can be happy on either road, but just have to choose the route that will work for them.

Bio: Jennifer R. Hubbard (www.jenniferhubbard.com) is the author of The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe, both young-adult novels. Besides books, she loves hiking and chocolate, and can be found on Twitter @JennRHubbard.

February 27, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 4

By Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

From The King in the Stone.

The excavation site was nestled in a valley, hidden in the outskirts of the mountain range, which formed a natural wall that would have kept the winds away and protected the village from the harshness of winter storms.

Unlike the village I had pictured in my mind––an enclosure of huts whose thatched roofs almost touched each other––the site that now opened in front of us was a desolate place; a bare expanse of earth where rings of stone emerged like craters on a deserted moon.

February 20, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 3

Filed under: On Writing,Photograph,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 7:24 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

From Two Moon Princess

That very afternoon, I found myself in Kelsey’s red convertible speeding along the brown rolling hills of the California winter. By early evening, we had reached San Francisco and any reservation I could have had about the trip disappeared. San Francisco was a dream come true—if I could ever have dreamed of such a marvelous place.

For the next two days we explored the city. We crossed the bay and watched the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. I could not hold in my awe as we watched the blaze of color nor my panic when Kelsey drove down the steep hills of the city as if she had forgotten that cars had brakes.

February 13, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 2

Filed under: On Writing,Photograph,Pictures,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:53 am
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From TWO MOON PRINCESS

When finally I reached the sand, my heart was beating so furiously against my chest I had to lean against the cliffs and rest for a moment. Then, followed by the piercing cries of the seagulls, I dashed toward the arch along the stretch of land covered by dead algae and broken shells the tide had just started to reclaim.

It was cold under the arch, cold and damp, and the air was filled with strange groans and whispers. It took me a moment—a long frightening moment—to understand that the noises did not come from living beings, but from the water dripping between hidden cracks in the rock.

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