Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Middle Grade Book Release By Amanda Harms and Editor Interview

Hello all,

A brand new author and friend of mine, Amanda Harms has just released her first novel. It is a middle grade fantasy novel (think Alice in Wonderland). It's super cute and fun. We also share the editor. So check out her interview with Ev Bishop below.


Hello Ev! Let's talk about BEWILDERED and your job as an editor. Shall we begin?

Us: So, first, can you tell us how long you've been an editor and why you chose to become one?
Ev: I don’t know if I chose editing, or if editing chose me. I’ve always been an avid, involved reader—one who enjoys identifying what I love about a specific story, but also what changes could make it even better.

At first this was just helpful in regards to my own writing, but then I met a writer who had a really great story that had been rejected eighty times.

The author had a fantastic premise and excellent mastery of the craft of writing, and we were both stumped by her failure to find a publisher.  Plus, every rejection was the worst type:  kind, and complimentary, thus completely baffling. (Why would editors and publishers say such nice things, and then decline the story?) Finally, she received a rejection that offered a clue. It said, basically, that the main character’s personality and issues, thus growth and change, weren’t strong enough.

The author asked if I’d read the novel and see if I could figure out what the comment meant, and what, if anything, could be done about it. Well, something can always be done to fix small issues when the bones of a story are great, and I was flattered to be asked for my opinion. I read the novel and loved it—but definitely saw ways to strengthen the character and make her easier to identify with. To cut a long story short, the author did one more rewrite and the story sold. She has since gone to sell more than thirty other novels!

The author is very talented and has an amazing work ethic. Her book would’ve sold eventually, with or without my input, but at the same, I did help—and loved being able to. Working with her made me realize I might enjoy helping other writers as well. That was over ten years ago, and while I’m still that original author’s editor and number one fan, since then I’ve taken on many other clients, mostly through word of mouth. I still prefer to work closely, project by project, with a select few authors.

Us: What are the best and worst parts of the job?
Ev: The best parts? I love getting paid to read and give my opinions on stories. So fun! Most of all, however, I’m honored to be trusted with the sensitive job of helping writers in the final labor stages of their creation, to help them birth stories that will go out into the world and move, challenge, educate, entertain and inspire people.

The worst part? Sometimes a story needs a lot of work, and I’m always terrified that I will discourage a writer or hurt their feelings when I share my suggestions with them. My sole goal is to help writers make their work the best it can be, but criticism, even well intentioned, doesn’t always feel good. So far, I’ve been very fortunate, though. The authors I work with are devoted to honing their skills. They seem to realize that I care deeply about their stories, and understand that even my “tough love” is love. 

Us: What do you think it takes to be a good editor?
Ev: I think the best editors read widely, without snobbery, and are passionate about stories in all their many-splendored styles and genre. They are kind and supportive, and able to look past personal preferences to discern what objective additions, deletions, or corrections would enhance the story for the target reader.

That said, responses and critiques can’t help but be subjective to some degree, and editing styles can vary greatly.  When looking for an editor, it’s important to find a good fit. Your editor should “get” what you’re trying to say, have a style of commenting that makes you feel motivated and excited about prospective changes, and noticeably help strengthen your story. Someone who is an excellent editor for someone else might not be a good one for you.

Us: Let's talk about BEWILDERED for a bit. What was your first impression of the story and characters?
Ev: My first response was, literally, a shriek of delight, followed by a permanent grin that only left my face when various parts of the plot turned sad or suspenseful. The story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter.

Us: What character is your favorite? Why?
Ev: The whole cast caught my imagination, and I hope to meet them all again. Prudence is fantastic—smart and funny, but more than a touch morose and misunderstood. I totally related to her. My favorite, however, is actually someone we don’t meet until later in the novel—the Match King. He’s horrifying in some ways, but I was intrigued from the get-go by his mechanical creations, fascinated by the past that brought him to where he ended up, and hopeful that he’ll . . . Well, I’m just going to leave it at that.

Us: What about the action? What is your favorite part?
Ev: I don’t want to give too big a spoiler, but there’s a scene where Prudence finds herself imprisoned in a dungeon. . . . As an insect-phobe, I was both creeped out and totally excited by the way she escapes.

Us: BEWILDERED was initially intended to be a stand-alone novel, but now there's a book two in the works. What do you think about that?
Ev: I am totally stoked!

Us: What do you think readers are going to like most about BEWILDERED?
Ev: I think different things will appeal to different readers. Some will identify with lonely Prudence trying to find people to love her and a place she fits in. Others will be pulled in by the adventure. Everyone will love the zany magic and fun found in the creatures and places that make up Bewilderness.

Us: Lastly, what is your favorite mythological creature?
Ev: What a great question! I’ve always been partial to griffins. Something about being able to fly, while possessing the body and finesse of a big cat, fascinates me. I don’t think griffins should (or could!) be owned, but if one wanted to befriend me and take me on quests, I’d be in. ;)

A Bewilderness Tale, Book One

Prudence Parks is perfect. At twelve-years old, she has the world in her pocket. No messy friends. No silly games. Everything is just right—until her father leaves her an orphan.

When she tumbles into a bizarre realm known as Bewilderness, nothing is as it should be. Insects talk, pirate ships sail on sand, and plants are just plain evil. After she’s banished for claiming to be human, she thinks the

worst is behind her. She’s wrong. The Match King, posing as an ally, promises to send her home if she can find the Paper Heart, an ancient treasure. Battling her sense of logic all the while, she meets a living ragdoll and her father’s doppelganger, who melts her icy heart and—to her regret—gives the Match King perfect collateral to ensure she follows through.

Prudence realizes the Match King’s plan to erase Bewilderness from existence, but now she must choose: save the world she has come to love, or find her way home.

BEWILDERED is a middle grade fantasy novel geared toward children ages 9-12. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Miracle on 34th Street. Set once upon a time in a land far, far away, this story illustrates the importance of friendship, courage, and proves believing isn't always seeing.

Purchase it online at your favorite retailer, or visit your local bookstore!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Smashwords | IndieBound | The Book Depository | Books-a-Million

About the author - 

A. B. Harms was born a writer. From a young age, she made her own picture books with crayons and a stapler. As a teenager, she won essay contests. Yet, when she began her career, being an author was the last thing she considered. Finally, after working every job imaginable from waitress to social worker and earning her degree in Psychology, she realized what she was always meant to do--write!

A. B. is from Missouri, has gone around the world and back again, and now lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family, a pet sloth, who resembles a Great Dane, and a black cat, who moonlights as an assassin. No matter where she hangs her hat, she finds herself at home down the rabbit hole.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My friend Olivia Hardin has a new release!

release day pbt banner"Olivia Hardin takes a character we hated in a previous book and somehow makes him a hero we love. That's no small feat. Transcendent captures perfectly the tension and temptation of falling in love in the midst of turmoil and intrigue. . .it's a story that will linger in your heart."

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"Olivia Hardin weaves a wonderfully emotional story of love, redemption, and political intrigue in Transcendent. Be prepared to transcend your own expectations."

  Transcendent small

To the Women on the Hill McKenna is a spy who sails the nightwind to keep close tabs on her people. In truth, McKenna is a double operative, an integral part of an underground rebellion. The Women are secretly bleeding the fae of their powers then banishing them to the Island Anethemusa; but the Dissenters, rebels who suffer under the crushing power of the Women, mean to put an end to their reign.

When McKenna happens upon a talking weasel, she knows she’s found the perfect envoy for her covert mission. Robin Weir’s punishment for a life of betrayal is to be stripped of his magic and exiled as an animal in a foreign realm. He’s used to dirty jobs and subterfuge so becoming McKenna’s errand boy should be a simple task.

But things heats up when Robin finds he has the power to shift into a man again. For McKenna the pet she’s invited into her home now wants nothing less than to possess her heart, body and soul. With the uprising at the ready, lives could be lost if McKenna can’t balance her separate identities of spy, rebel and lover.

Barnes & Noble Smashwords


And don't miss the Facebook Party and Social Share Event March 10-14! Lots of prizes and fun to be had


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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Release Update

Hello all!

As you are probably aware since it is currently March and not February that I am running late on Tiddly Jinx, book 4 of Easy Bake Coven.
I wanted to make sure the book was right more than it being done according to my schedule so I was late getting it to my editor. What that means for you is, unfortunately, a tad longer wait. This is how the release schedule is shaping up right now.
Tiddly Jinx should release around April 10th.

Inferno (Jinn Trilogy Book 2) will release mid to late May
Vestige (Jinn Trilogy Book 3) will release mid to late June

So while the initial wait is a little longer than expected you will get one book a month for the next three months which isn't so bad. :-)

Also, while I am making announcements let me say there will be a 5th (and final) Easy Bake Coven book. Yay! I am going to have a naming contest for the final book soon. To fit with the pattern of names it will need to be a child's game or toy with a witchy twist (i.e. Easy Bake Coven, Hungry, Hungry Hoodo, Pickup Styx, and Tiddly Jinx). The winner will receive a character named after them, an Easy Bake Coven t-shirt, and an early copy of the 5th (unnamed) book. So keep an eye out for my newsletter announcing how to enter the contest and good luck!

T-Shirt Design
Have a great weekend!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's the hardest part of writing?

Traveling so much this month I had to opportunity to meet a lot of new people. The number one question people ask me when they hear I am an author is, “What’s the hardest part of writing?”

There are lots of answers I could give because they all pose their own problems: marketing, editing, time management, etc. But there is only one answer I ever give. The hardest part of writing or doing anything is making yourself do it.

It isn’t easy to sit down and write every day, but when I decided to be a writer I knew that was what I had to do. The truth is it isn’t easy to follow any dream. The first step is always the scariest one. What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? Whether your dream is to write a book, learn to paint, change careers, go back to school, or open you own business, that first step to changing your life is absolutely terrifying and the following steps don’t get any easier.

However, it is worth it. Don’t wait for the moment to be perfect. Was it the best time for me to start writing a book while I was working a full time job, working on a second degree, and trying to figure out my life? Probably not, but I did it anyway. Life probably won’t make it easy on you, but it is up to you to stop letting excuses choose your destiny. Figure out what you want and go after it no matter what hurdles you have to cross.

In the end you will be happy for the life you lived and not regret the life you dreamed of having.

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