February 3, 2015

Voyager Valentines Dating Contest

A handful of Harper Voyager Impulse authors are hosting a Voyager Valentines Dating Contest for our readers. The prizes are many, with giveaways at most of the blogs.

To enter, read the dating profiles below--the two main characters from my forthcoming steampunk novel The Brass Giant: A Chroniker City Story--and then match any one of them with a character from another author's blog. Once you pick your match, all you have to do is leave a comment on the corresponding blog, naming the two characters you think should go on a date. Each comment serves as an entry for both author's prizes, and you can match up all of the Harper Voyager authors' characters, or just one pair.

The contest runs until February 28!

The Prize: I'll be offering a $5 Amazon gift certificate for one lucky commenter, since my book is not yet available to buy (though you could totally pre-order it for only $2.99 if you wish!)

Name: Petra Wade
Age: 17

What is your job/career? I work as an assistant/shop girl at Stricket & Monfore's pawn shop, but I want to work for the Guild as an engineer.
Where are you from? I've lived in Chroniker City my whole life, fourth quadrant.
What do you do for fun? Build tickers, repair watches, that sort of thing.
What is your most treasured possession? My pocket watch. I've had it my whole life, and it's the only thing I know is mine. Someone gave it to me, inscribed my name it, but I don't know who.
Who was your childhood hero? I've always been fascinated by Ada Lovelace, a woman mathematician and scientist, as well as Lady Chroniker, the engineer-granddaughter of the city's founder.
What's your favorite childhood memory? Summers at the beach, just me and my brother Sol playing in the sun and sand. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those years.
What is your ideal home? Quiet. Spacious and silent, with nothing to bother me while I work.
What did your parents do? Don't know. I never knew my parents. I was raised by a nurse, and she became a foster mother to me, and to my siblings. Now she works as a charwoman.


Name: Emmerich Goss
Age: 19

What is your job/career? I am a student engineer at Chroniker University, newly assigned to the Guild.
Where are you from? I grew up in Wittstock, and then me and my family moved to Chroniker City when I was young.
What do you do for fun? Go to the pub with my friends. I like to read as well. Nothing like a good book to forget the rest of the world.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? The wireless control-apparatus I fashioned for my automaton.
What is your most treasured possession? A journal my uncle gave me. I've had it since I was very young, and it's where I put all my mechanical designs.
What is your favorite book? Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
What's your favorite childhood memory? Spending time with my uncle, at the University. It seems like a dream world now, a place where anything could happen, when science was beautiful and the impossible just within reach. I remember the enthusiasm, the passion for machines and scientific advancement. I wish that world was still alive.

What did your parents do? My mother spends her days taking tea and shopping with her friends. My father is a politician, currently residing on the Guild Council, Minister to the Vice-Chancellor.


So, which Voyager Valentine should my characters meet up with? (Assuming we have a TARDIS, of course.)

Read the other dating profiles at my fellow Harper Voyager Impulse authors' blogs:

Choose your favorite match-up between my characters and theirs, and then leave a comment below and at the corresponding blog!

Happy hunting... er... matchmaking! ^_^

January 14, 2015

monthly writing update

I am busy editing my steampunk novel (still untitled) for my editor at Harper Voyager, with a January 21st deadline that I am working night and day to meet. It's going to be a busy month.

Because of the looming deadline, I've dropped all work on both The Wizard's Heart and Dark Lord in Training until further notice. Once the first steampunk novel is turned in to Harper Voyager, I imagine I'll soon get the notes for the novella, and I will also need to start drafting the second steampunk novel, as it needs to be turned into my editor around April-ish.

I really want to continue working on Dark Lord in Training as soon as possible, but with The Wizard's Heart, I'm considering waiting until I've turned in the final revisions for the second steampunk novel before I continue working on it. It's been a rough novel to work on, and that's a mixture of poor judgment, worse timing, and increasing burnout. I think some time away will be good for me. And then hopefully, when I get back to it, I can work on it with renewed creativity, finish this draft, and have it ready for publication by the end of the year.

But for now, it's edits edits edits.

Here's to 2015.

December 31, 2014

end-of-the-year wrap up

2014 was an interesting year for me.

Writing wise, it was nothing like I expected.

In January, I started writing and editing in earnest post-baby, and that in itself proved to be a challenge I was not prepared to meet. My production level was reduced by half, compared to pre-pregnancy, no-baby output, and for the first half of the year, my brain was still not totally committed to doing anything more taxing than making sure that I didn’t put diapers on backwards and remembering how long it had been since the last nursing session.

Writing and editing was difficult. My creativity was all but dead, and I had little to no motivation. But I soldiered on and did what I could, trying to edit The Wizard’s Heart to publish later this year.

December 19, 2014

a very Harry Potter Christmas

Inspired by the Harry Potter Christmas tree created by Jen at Epbot, I decided to make my own. She has several tutorials of how to decorate your own Harry Potter tree, like how to create snitch ornaments and how to make your own Hogwarts Express. As I don't have nearly as much time on my hands (and a tiny pair of baby hands that like to meddle), I decided to only do one major craft project and just try to find everything else already made.

Here is the finished tree in all its magical glory!

October 5, 2014

what i've learned...

It’s funny to realize how much I’ve grown as a writer over the last few years.

I used to think I knew everything about writing, that the "rules" were golden and never to be broken. I used to think that it was my duty to point out everyone else's "wrongdoing", to correct their mistakes, to criticize anything and everything I thought might could be improved.

I used to compare myself to this author and that author, wondering if I would ever be as talented as them, if I could ever reach their writing level. I used to fear that because I had yet to find my success that I would never amount to anything, that my writing was garbage, that I was garbage (though, admittedly, I go through phases of this still).

I used to look down on other writers, whether it was because of the genre they were writing in, their lack of talent, their uninformed rule-breaking, or their seeming lack of commitment.

It’s funny how someone can both think they're superior to other writers and yet suffer such debilitating doubt at the same time.

And in the last few years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that things I thought were true and absolute are a lot more wibbly-wobbly than the black-and-white picture I’d constructed in my head.

I’ve learned that the "rules" aren't golden. Grammar, mechanics, and such, yes, those should be followed, but in fiction, style trumps all. It’s not my place to point out someone else's mistakes unless they ask me to. Unsolicited negativity gets you nowhere in life.

I’ve learned that comparing myself to other authors, whether it's comparing myself to their voice, their style, their talent, their creativity, or to their successes and failures, is a waste of my time. That's time I should be spending cultivating my voice, my style, my talent, my creativity... time I should be spending working toward my success and learning from my failures.

I’ve learned that it's okay to aspire to someone else's ability to tell a story, as long as I don't lose focus on what makes my fiction mine. I’ll never write like Terry Pratchett. I’ll never write like Tolkien or J.K. Rowling or Neil Gaiman or Rick Riordan or Diana Wynne Jones or the lovely Rae Carson. I just won't. I can't. I’m not them.

But I will write like Brooke Johnson.

I’ve learned that it's okay to feel a little jealous at someone else's success, but ultimately, someone else's success in the writing business is my success. Their success means people are reading. And to me, that's a good thing, regardless of the book.

I’ve learned that success will come to me if I keep trying. I’m not garbage, just an undiscovered gem that needs a lot of polishing and shaping.

I’ve learned that every writer starts somewhere, that everyone has the potential for a great story in them. It takes work, and it takes practice, but I shouldn't look down on someone because they don't approach writing the same way that I do. I shouldn't look down on someone who is earlier in their writing journey than I am, because of what genre they write, their lack of a daily word count or reliance on a muse, or because I don't much like their style of writing. That’s petty and rude. And the world has enough petty and rude people.

Like I said: I’ve learned a lot in the last few years.

And I know I have a lot more to learn, about writing, about storytelling. it's humbling in a way, to recognize how far I’ve come and still see how far I have to go before I’ll really know what the hell I’m doing.

But I’ll learn.