Thursday, September 26, 2013

Win a Copy of Kindar's Cure!

My friend Michelle Hauck is being interviewed over at Thoughts and Review, and along with the interview, they are hosting a giveaway for a copy of her recently published novel, Kindar's Cure. You can enter the Rafflecopter here, on her blog, or the host of the interview.

 Book Blurb:

Princess Kindar of Anost dreams of playing the hero and succeeding to her mother’s throne. But dreams are for fools. Reality involves two healthy sisters and a wasting disease of suffocating cough that’s killing her by inches. When her elder sister is murdered, the blame falls on Kindar, putting her head on the chopping block.

No one who survives eighteen years of choke lung lacks determination. A novice wizard, Maladonis Bin, approaches with a vision—a cure in a barren land of volcanic fumes. As choices go, a charming bootlicker that trips over his own feet isn’t the best option, but beggars can’t be choosers. Kindar escapes with Mal and several longtime attendants only to have her eyes opened that her country faces dark times. 

Her mother’s decision to close the prosperous mines spurs poverty and joblessness, inciting rebellion and opening Anost to foreign invasion. As Mal urges her toward a cure that will prove his visions, suddenly, an ally turns traitor, delivering Kindar to a rebel army, who have their own plans for a sickly princess.

With the killer poised to strike again, the rebels bearing down, and the country falling apart, she must weigh her personal hunt for a cure against saving her people.


“Princess Kindar, Her Majesty will see you,” a chamberlain barked from her mother’s bedchamber.
Kindar strode forward alone. As the door closed after her, she sank into a deep curtsey before moving forward to the center of the room. Empress Eugenie Stefanous sat before a large mirror, clothed in her undergarments. Seventeen when her first daughter was born, the empress was still young, her belly and hips pleasantly rounded. Her auburn hair fell in a thick mass of long curls around a delicately painted face.
After bearing three daughters, Empress Eugenie had retired her husband, not wanting to ruin the fortunate omen with another child. Now she confined herself to her own amores. The empress’ two current favorites lounged on a chaise. Young enough to be her children, they sported more paint than their mistress. Kindar pushed down irritation that these wretches sat while she must stand.
Behind her mother, the First Minister Hayden wore a military uniform which had never seen a day’s fight. He held a sheaf of papers from which to report his latest information. Information his extensive team of spies provided. “… and the disposition of the Cushwair rebels remains unchanged.” Minister Hayden cut off as he saw her, stooping to whisper into her mother’s ear.
Eugenie lifted her eyes to Kindar’s reflection in the mirror. “I hear your humours are clean this morning, Daughter.”
Suddenly, answers clicked in Kindar’s mind. The physician had been suggested by Minister Hayden as punishment for failing to show him favor. Kindar narrowed her eyes. From such men as this, her mother sought the advice that would dictate her children’s futures. But this meant her mother might be well-disposed toward her. Her optimism grew to a painful intensity. After all, Eugenie needed all three daughters to give weight to the omen. Kindar curtseyed again. “Yes, Majesty.”
“Strange.” The empress turned her eyes from contemplating her own face in the mirror to favor her daughter with a glance. “Your humours are seldom clean.”
“It is more auspicious for the wedding, Majesty, if I’m not bled.”
“Perhaps.” Empress Eugenie set down a thick rope of diamonds and picked up a necklace of pearls. “That gown doesn’t suit you. You look like a scrawny washed-out rabbit. Why did I ever choose it? Never mind, I suppose it will do for you. I have made a decision about your future.” The minister bowed, looking suitably impressed.
“Yes, Majesty.” Kindar waited with a fluttering heart. The throne could not belong to an unmarried woman; the law made that clear. In addition to making her a legitimate heir, a betrothal would give her certain freedoms, such as the end of these painful morning visits. Even if she did not care for the peer chosen by her mother, a betrothal would give her status. She would be higher than Ceria, instead of equal, and able to overrule her actions.

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

She is a co-host of the yearly contest Query Kombat. Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Goodreads: Kindar’s Cure

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

National Novel Writing Month Preparation: The Easiest Outline Ever

National Novel Writing Month is in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's challenging and fun. I chose to do it a couple of years ago and managed to finish about a week early. I also came out with a very promising rough draft for a new story.

My strategy then was to know my story before November began. I wrote up a general summary, as I always do, and then prepared a simple outline highlighting the main plot and two subplots. I also knew my two main characters' personalities pretty well, having brainstormed for a couple of months ahead of time. The point is, I didn't go into NaNo cold turkey. I had a plan, forged through, and the results were excellent.

I plan on doing NaNo this year, only I've upped my personal stakes. I plan on working on two novels, aiming for 80,000 - 100,000 words. Yes, I'm nuts. Yes, I stand a good chance of failing. Yes, life probably will happen and get in the way. I'm still shooting for the moon.

Anyway ...

What if you aren't naturally an outliner, you want to do NaNo this year, and you want to do some prep work to keep you on course? If outlining isn't your thing, I highly recommend you don't attempt to buck your tendencies by switching courses for NaNo. However, if you want a general guideline, here's the simpliest outline format ever: chapter headings.

I once wrote an entire novel in two weeks using this method. What you do is write up a table of contents for your unwriten novel. Use fun, short sentence descriptions as the chapter titles. Think of the key scenes you want to achieve. Write up this list, brainstorm who your characters are, and then pantser-it from there. If you end up adding chapters as you go, that's great. If you end up changing up a title or two as the story evolves, it's no big deal. The point is to have a general map of the story in order to stay on track and finish it.

Are you going to do NaNo (officially or unofficially) this year? Have you done it before? Have you used any kind of outline or summary before?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Music to Write by #3: OCRemix Deus ex 'Siren Synapse'

This month's music selection is one of my techno favorites. With a distinctively Asian vibe, Deus ex 'Siren Synapse' remixed by Alexander Brandon and Big Giant Circles, makes for great adrenaline pumping music as you write. Futuristic is the first adjective that comes to mind. Playful, beautiful yet not to be trusted. Check it out and see if you like what you hear.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No, I'm Not a Literary Agent, but Thanks for Writing

Not too long ago, in my inbox I found someone had sent me a query letter. Not to critique, but addressed to my email assuming I was an agent. Strange? Very. It came from an author from overseas who was looking for a way into the U.S. market. Many of my blog visitors hail from other countries. I guess this person had made a mistake in the email address or mistook my spotlighting agents on this blog for my being an agent.

I am not a literary agent. Sorry!

Not that I haven't thought about it before with a little "let's pretend." I've had the privilege of working with many writers, critiquing their work, having mine critiqued in return, combing over query letters, trying to make sense of the publishing world and its workings. But I don't work at a literary agency, I don't know any editors personally, and I have no clout in the industry.

To that author, though, thanks for writing. I hope you find the right person to query and that your dream to break into the U.S. market becomes a reality. Querying is tough. Finding an agent match is worse than dating. Rejection hurts. But your letter to me doesn't go under the rejection category. It was a misdirection. And since I know how mind-wracking it is to not even hear back from someone you queried, I'm responding to your letter here on my blog. Keep researching agents and keep trying. For those who are overseas and want a U.S. agent, I highly recommend and

Good luck!