Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Breath of Dragons, YA Author, Barbara Kloss

Barbara Kloss studied biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, and after she began working in a clinical lab, found herself daydreaming about far off lands and slightly deranged wizards. She, her husband, baby boy, and Lhasa currently live in Arizona, where she escapes the summer heat by writing about lush vegetation and moderate to cold climates. Author of the Pandoran Novels, a YA fantasy series.

Author Links - 


I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I decided to write a fantasy series. Maybe that was a good thing. I remember doing a ton of research on writing a series. There are plenty of books out there that'll tell you how to write a novel, but I really couldn't find anything that told me how to go about writing a series. I'd read a number of series—and some authors make it look so easy. So, in my ignorance, I thought, how hard could it be?
Well. (Ahem.)
It proved to be much more work—and much more difficult—than I'd anticipated. Mostly because I didn't have a very good system of organization, and when writing a series, I've found that being organized is extremely important, if not the most important aspect. Each book builds upon the last. In some ways, as a writer, this makes your life a little easier. You've already constructed the world—especially when writing fantasy—and the characters; in the next book, you merely need to take those elements to the next level.
On the other hand, this complicates things. You've already set up rules and limitations, and for consistencies sake, you need to remember them. ALL of them. Every whim, every object, every relational nuance. On top of that, you're introducing new elements and new characters and new plotlines, which also carry into each subsequent novel. This can get rather messy if you don't have a good system to keep track of everything—which, initially, I did not. Writing software has really helped me since. It's helped me organize and remember all of the elements I've made up for my fantasy world.
And then there's, of course, figuring out where to end each particular book so that you set up the next well. The first two books ended naturally for me, while this third was a bit of a battle because I hadn't quite figured out where to start book four.
Despite all the frustration and unknown and stress it has caused, I've learned so very much and have managed to find a process that's worked for me. I’m an outliner, but I've become more of a fluid-outliner. It has helped to have each book "sort of" drawn out, even if it's just broad generalizations. But with each book, I've learned to be OK if it goes a direction other than the one I'd originally planned. Just as each individual book you write takes its own shape as you write it, so does a series. I'd originally intended this series to be a trilogy, but somewhere during book two, I realized I needed another book to fully expand upon everything I had introduced so that the ultimate ending would have the impact I had wanted. And that was OK. Each book must have it's own arc, and all of those individual arcs work toward the series' end.
In order to do that, you should know your ultimate end. That way, everything you write points toward that end. Sure, the minor details of my ending have changed and probably will change even more so before I'm done, but the general end is the same. It is because of this that writing the fourth—and last—book has been so much easier than the rest. I know precisely where and how it ends, and "all" I have left to do is tie up loose ends and get everyone to where they need to be.
Maybe the reason there aren't books on writing series is because really, the process isn't much different than writing a stand-alone. You still take one day at a time—one sentence and one chapter at a time. And with a series you do the same—focusing on one book at a time. Stay as organized as you can, and remember that editing is your best friend.

Book Genre: Young adult fantasy
Publisher: Self - published
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Buy Link(s):

Book Description:

After Prince Alaric's death, Daria and Alex set off in search of the legendary box of the Pandors'. The box is famed to hold a secret of power—one strong enough to overcome Lord Eris and the shield of power he stole from Valdon. Daria doesn't know where the box is hidden, but she can't ignore the silent urging, beckoning her to the land of Pendel—the land her mother, Aurora Pandor, was from.

Time is running out. Lord Eris's army of shadowguard vastly outnumber Valdon's forces, and if Daria doesn't find the box in time, Valdon will need reinforcements from the other territories to survive. But those territories will not hand over their armies willingly, not without Daria's hand in marriage.

And there is another, older power rising, one that hasn't been seen in centuries—one thought lost since the days of Galahad: the dragons.

Excerpt One:

Danton's eyes bore into mine. "My father is not a traitor, nor has he refused you. He asks only for your sister. It is a small request after a lifetime of servitude to King Darius, who has only used and exploited his service. He will not spare any more of his men, otherwise. He's spared more than his share over the years—you know he has."
I leveled my gaze with his. "I am not my grandfather, Danton. I am grateful for everything your father has given to this realm, but I cannot and will not grant your request. If the proposal is accepted, it will be because she has accepted it."
Danton's eyes slid back to the river. His expression remained cool, though the rigidity in his posture professed that an inferno blazed inside of him.
"I should inform you that Lord Vega has offered me the hand of his niece, Lady Isla Justine," he said evenly.
I had heard of this offer and I knew very well what it meant. If Danton accepted, Orindor would be united with Campagna and we would get no help from either side. Valdon would be completely and utterly isolated. "Will you accept?" I asked, careful not to give away my growing despair.
Danton's lips tightened. A gust of wind blew and ruffled his hair.
Seconds passed in heavy silence, and then Danton said, "Your sister would love me." His voice was quiet. "She may not at first, but I would be good to her. You know that I am a lot of things, but I would be good to her."
I inhaled, staring absently at the river. "I know."
After another few, quiet moments, Danton looked back at me. His expression was distant, his gaze resolved. "Your decision is final, then?"
"Danton, it was never my decision in the first place."

Book 2:

Winter has fallen upon Valdon.

It's been five months since Daria Regius arrived at the castle, and her grandfather, the king, has stripped her of all freedoms, building even more barriers around her lonely life.

But darkness moves. Rumors abound about a dark rider, sending ancient and unspeakable horrors to the territories, and the citizens of Gaia are filled with fear. And fear blurs the lines of loyalty and trust, honor and allegiance, and cultivates dissonance throughout the kingdom. The people are anxious for this year's games, because this year, according to prophecy, selecting a champion means a true king can be chosen, and only once that true king is chosen can the people have any hopes of defeating the evil amassing around them.

Propelled by fear for those she loves, unexpected friendships, and harrowing betrayal, Daria must gain the courage to escape the barriers set around her life and confront the evil that threatens to destroy Gaia—before it finds her and takes her life first.

Book 1:

For centuries, the people of Gaia have kept their magical world a secret to protect Earth from themselves. But magic can't save them from the evil they face within. The key to their salvation lies with eighteen-year old Daria Jones, a young girl from Earth with no magical ability at all.

Or so she thought.

Her father's mysterious disappearance from their Fresno, California home sets a whirlwind of events in motion, and Daria soon learns where to find him. The only problem is that she's learned this information from Alex—the guy she grew up with. The guy that was her very best friend until three years ago when he left without a trace. But now he's back (and devastatingly handsome. Unfortunately.) And he's claiming that her father has been taken to a magical world—a magical world Alex has been all this time. The same magical world she must go to in order to save her father.

Now Daria has to decide whether to stay away from the guy that betrayed her, or to trust him with helping her find her father. But if this evil finds her first, she won't even get the choice.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Indie Authors Naked with Loren Kleinman


  Loren Kleinman is a writer and poet with roots in New Jersey.  She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex. Kleinman is a columnist for IndieReader.com (IR) where she interviews New York Times and USA Today bestselling indie authors. Some of those interviews in IR reappeared in USA Today and The Huffington Post.
Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Writer’s Bloc, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She was the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize (2003), was a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2004 Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize finalist. In 2003, Spire Press published her first collection of poetry Flamenco Sketches, which explored the relationship between love and jazz.
Her second collection of poetry, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, is due to release with Winter Goose Publishing in March 2014. She is currently working on a New Adult romance, This Way to Forever.

Amy Holman Edelman launched IndieReader, the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them, way back in 2007.  Since then, indie authors have stormed the bestseller lists, been courted by trad publishers and (after all that), finally gained a modicum of respect.
Amy self-published her first book, The Fashion Resource Directory, back in the 80s, long before POD and Amazon and e-readers roamed the land.  Her second and third books (The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair), were traditionally published (by Simon & Schuster and Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of Crown). 
As an author and a publicist with over 20 years’ experience, Amy’s goal for IndieReader is no less than to make indie a respected and desirable category within the publishing world. This book is just one step in that direction. 

Author Links - The link for any or all of the following...

Loren Kleinman


Book Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: IndieReader Publishing
Release Date: January 15, 2014
Buy Link(s): TBA

Book Description:

Indie Authors Naked explores and defines the world of independent publishing. 

Comprised of a series of essays and interviews by indie authors, booksellers and publishers, readers will get a look at the many aspects of the indie community, where publishing professionals of all types come together with the simple goal of creating something unique; something that speaks directly to the reader, no middleman necessary.   

Contributors include: James Franco, Hugh Howey, McNally Jackson Books, Sarah Gerard, OHWOW Books, Raine Miller, David Vinjamuri, Toby Neal, Rachel Thompson, Eden Baylee, Christoph Paul, Jessica Redmerski, and more.

Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words):

From the Introduction of Indie Authors Naked by Amy Edelman:

IndieReader was launched in ‘07, otherwise known as the dark days of self-publishing. Back then, every book was considered a vanity publication, every author a failed writer. Denial ran so high that when the self-pubbed book, Her Last Letter by Nancy C. Johnson hit The New York Times bestseller list, the good folks at the NYT were still saying that they’d never include one! And then there was The Shack, another indie that snuck through the gauntlet to appear on the NYTimes list for an astounding 172 weeks between June 2008 to early 2010 (52 of those weeks at #1).
Flash forward to 2012-2013. With the advent of ebooks, the publishing landscape has completely and irrevocably changed. Bowker, the ISBN people, recently reported that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% over 2011, growing to over 391,000 titles in 2012. That’s a lot of indie.
But it’s not just availability that has changed the notion of what a self-pubbed book can be. Either the whole “vanity” thing was propaganda on the part of trad publishing—after all, Virginia Woolf famously did it with Hogarth Press—or publishing ebooks makes it easier for talented writers to get their work seen. Either way, over the last couple of years—beginning with the high-profile snagging of Amanda Hocking—at least 50 indie authors (many of them interviewed in this very book) have been courted and won by traditional publishers.
Did these authors’ books change from when they were self-pubbed to when they became trads? Or did their appearance on the bonafide bestseller lists (The New York Times, USA Today) just make it easier for the Big 5 to spot them? Not that getting picked up by a traditional publisher is always an indie author’s end-game. In fact, a recent survey conducted by The Bookseller noted that only about one-third of the self-published authors surveyed stated that they would consider a traditional book deal. That’s a lot of authors who aren’t willing to trade the freedom of creation for the chance to have their works packaged by committee.  
So whether an author decides to sell their work to a trad publisher or not—it is clear that indies are here to stay. Their books resonate with readers who really couldn’t give a damn if they came through the hallowed halls of a traditional publisher or just via their ereaders. The indie writing community is strong and getting stronger, as are the options for placing their books (been to your local bookstore lately? You may be surprised at the titles you find on the shelves).

Yes, dear readers, this time—thanks to technology and changing perceptions—self-publishing is clearly here to stay. And via interviews and essays, Indie Authors Naked aims to highlight the best of the best.