Interview: LaVerne Thompson

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I’m one of those people who live in my head. I love to create worlds within worlds and stories that transcend modern day living.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve always been a reader. I guess it started from as early as I can remember my grandmother and mom reading to me and then me trying to create my own stories.

How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a crayon in my hand.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write under 2 names so multiple genres. Under LaVerne
Thompson I write contemporary, fantasay, sci/fi romance and under Ursula Sinclair I write romantic suspense and new adult

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Most of my work to date is IR, interracial romances where the main characters are of different races. But race as we understand it is not an issue in my stories, specially my fantasy ones where I’m dealing with mythical beings. I hope to show that love adventure and excitement can be found in a story where the heroine doesn’t always look like you. Yet can still be a good story.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

In my fantasy work my world building is complex. But in all of my work my heroines tend to be able to stand toe to toe with their heroes and most have non-traditional jobs. Such as in one story my heroine was a physicist in another she was an aeronautical engineer.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

The hardest part of writing any book for me is time. Even though I write full-time I work on 2 or 3 stories at a time in different stages of the storylines. I always need more time in the day to finish everything I need to do. lol

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Julie Garwood for showing me how to write a true alpha hero and the kind of woman that could walk by his side. J. R.R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan for helping understand world building and the complexity of creating a world. Stobie Piel for introducing me to romantic fantasy, Octavia Butler for helping to understand there are no limits other than what we set ourselves. Jane Austin for teaching me romance. There are others but that’s a good start.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I write full-time and still don’t seem to have enough time. lol

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

In another life I used to be an attorney. I’ve used some of my legal background in some of my writing and plan on doing even more. I started a series that launched Young Gunns.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love fantasy and sci/fi and tend to read or listen to audio books in those genres most of all then historical then contemporary.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m in a few boxed sets, Wings of the Wicked my contribution is Soul Collectors and I’m also working on another boxed CrossRoads. I’m also working on some single projects. I’m finishing the 4th book in my Ballerina Series, Choose Me, The Ice Man Cometh the second book in my Elemental Series.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m starting 2 new series next year. One is a cat shifter series the other is a fantasy YA project I’ve been kicking around.

Do you have any strangeiting habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I get great ideas in the shower but I don’t put pen to paper in there.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

The kind that would burn the zoo down probably. A dragon.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

LOL I actually should have an accent. But I out grew it. I was born in Trinidad. There are some words I kinda mispronounce if I’m very emotional it’s the accent coming out.

 

Aboutthebook

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A romantic fantasy.
Can you hear my dragon roar?

After losing her mother at a very young age, Arianna’s world changed when her father came to get her. He took her across the Atlantic Ocean, away from everything she’d ever known and loved. But once again she’s forced to cross the Atlantic, this time leaving everything she’d grown to love behind. Running from the thing that had killed her remaining parent, running for her life. And fleeing from the being she’d dreamt of for half her life. Nothing could save her, she didn’t believe in myths and fairytales. Didn’t believe in the man with the eyes that flashed gold. She could trust no one. Not even the voice whispering inside her head she recognized as her own.

Talon had come to Earth searching for his truemate. Knowing she was near but still so very far away. Only able to reach her when they both closed their eyes, but waking up to find it had all been nothing but a dream. Until one day he heard her cry of pain and felt the crippling pang of fear that invaded her mind. She needed him, but he couldn’t find her. Not until she released her block against him. He just hoped it would not be too late. Because an ancient enemy roamed Earth once more and hunted his truemate. It was a race as to which one of them would find her first. Talon would not lose.

This is not an erotic romance but it does contain sexual content and violence suitable for 18+

 

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abouttheauthor

 

LaVerne_Thompson

My name is LaVerne Thompson. 

I am a USA Today Bestselling award-winning author. I write paranormal, fantasy and sci/fi romances with story lines that focus on romance and happily ever afters. Sometimes there’s a touch of intrigue or suspense and maybe–maybe a dash of violence. I also write romantic suspense and new adult romance under the pseudonym Ursula Sinclair. I have written stories for as long as I can remember, and I hope you enjoy them.

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Guest Post: Erica Cameron, author of the new YA release, SEA OF STRANGERS

How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference or Convention

Since I started writing in 2007, I have queried agents, gone on submission to editors, and attended dozens of conferences. Each experience has its own set of rules and expectations, and conference and conventions can be the hardest of them all to navigate if only because there’s far less information available online for them. Today, I have four points to help you make the most out of your next conference or convention.

 

Be aware.

 

There are hundreds of writing-related events all across the country. Some have particular focuses—SCBWI, for example, is a wonderful organization for those writing for children and teens—and others are going to be broader in scope and scale. Research organizations that match the genre you write in and see if they host any annual conferences. Pick the one that will help you learn and grow in your genre as much as possible. Those will also be the events that put you in contact with the people you need to meet.

 

Be prepared.

 

Once you’ve picked which conference you’re attending, start doing research on the attendees. Who’s speaking? Are any agents or editors taking pitches? What does each agent or editor specialize in? What were their recent sales or acquisitions? It doesn’t usually do much good to try selling a dark sci-fi series to someone who specializes in light-hearted women’s fiction. For agents, check out their submission guidelines and create a printout you can bring with you. If you’re meeting with editors and can’t find any submission guidelines, having one chapter and a one-page summary of your book is usually a good place to start. However, it’s expensive to travel. Agents and editors usually have to cram everything they need for the conference or convention into a small bag. It’s hard for them to carry stacks of printed pages and materials home with them again. A business card, though? That’s absolutely doable. Even if you’re coming as an aspiring author, it’s not a bad idea to have business cards. They should include your name, email address, the genre you write in, and any applicable website or social media information.

 

Be respectful.

 

Agents and editors come to conferences to find new talent. That is specifically why they’re there, so it’s okay to approach them with questions or to start a conversation. The thing to remember is respect. It’s business, yes, but they’re also people with lives outside of publishing. Don’t expect hours of attention. Try not to interrupt if they’re in conversation with someone else, though joining a conversation with a group is often fine if you have something to contribute. Whatever you do, don’t try to pitch a book in the bathroom. It sounds obvious, but it happens far more often than it should. I know this because industry professionals talk. They tell stories at events about all of the ridiculous, rude, and outlandish interactions they have had with authors in the past. Good stories won’t be passed around like office gossip, but a bad interaction absolutely will.

 

Be open.

 

Opportunity slips up beside you unexpectedly sometimes, but the only way to take advantage of the moment is to take every chance offered. In 2015, a group of young adult authors organized a lunch during RT, and I ended up sitting next to a debut author named Kate Brauning. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she was also an editor with Entangled Teen. That casual conversation sparked a second, more in-depth discussion, and eventually turned into a three-book deal for my young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles. At the same convention, a panel appearance I did attracted interest from another publisher, and after another conversation and a proposal, I sold the Assassins duology to Riptide’s YA imprint Triton Books. The point is that you may go to an event intending to pitch to one person, but you never know who you might end up talking to. Be open to talking to those around you and ready to discuss what you’re writing, and you never know what a single conversation could bring.

 

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About Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles, #2):

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

 

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About Erica Cameron:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: ByEricaCameron.com

Author Blog: ByEricaCameron.com/wp/blog/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ericacameron

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Interview: Melissa Eastlake, Author of the new YA Fantasy Release, THE UNCROSSING

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

The Uncrossing is a YA fantasy novel. I love how fantasy stories put characters in extreme situations that can reveal deeply human truths, and I also love playing with fun, high-concept stories.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Like many writers, I’ve loved to read and write since before I can remember—my mom is a devoted reader, too, and brought us up reading stories every night. An important moment I remember is when my second grade teacher gave me a copy of The BFG—I think once I opened it, I didn’t close it again until I was done!

How long have you been writing?

The short answer is, for my entire life! Longer: I studied creative writing (along with communications) in college, but took a break for a couple of years after that to recover from burnout and focus on my day-job career. I ended up learning a ton about writing and editing from my marketing jobs, which informed my writing when I returned to it, about five years ago.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I think in the largest sense, being able to share and pass down our stories is culture. Also, I’m a big believer in the way books help us learn empathy, standing inside a character’s head.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

I came to the book with a good amount of experience writing and revising, but this one required more grit than I’ve ever had to use, putting it through drafts and revisions, first on my own and then with my editor. Building that work ethic like a muscle was probably the hardest, though certainly also very rewarding, part of writing the book.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The Uncrossing is a Rapunzel retelling full of fairytale tropes, and putting in all those little references was definitely fun for me!

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.

The Uncrossing is a queer fairytale, an exploration of how to make that happily-ever-after in an unjust, broken world. I’m a queer woman and it was core to the premise from the beginning.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

What was most useful to me was learning the distinction between craft and process. When we talk about “learning to write,” we have to do both, but I spent a lot of time over-focusing on other writers’ processes, or trying to build a magical process of my own. Once I set that aside and let it form more naturally, instead focusing on concrete craft elements like conflict, character development, and line editing, I found my writing grew exponentially.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer with a day job. It’s a lot to balance and can definitely be overwhelming at times—sometimes I fantasize about how much I could get done if I didn’t have the day job! On the other hand, though, having a steady income and solid insurance has unquestionably given me the stability I need to get writing done, and I’m extremely grateful for my job’s flexibility.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read a lot of YA, romance, and fantasy, which I write in, and I also read widely in other genres, especially queer books. Sometimes, especially when I’m revising, I’m a little too focused on my own writing to read most other books, but during those times I find comics and graphic novels perfect.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I get a lot of “writing” done while walking the dogs—which basically means I figure it all out in my head, then rush back to get it written down before I forget!

What book do you wish you could have written?

This might be a cheat answer, but: there’s this book (about dragons!) hanging out on my hard drive that I have tried so many times, in so many drafts, to get right. It keeps stalling, and I can’t really figure out why. So, real talk—that book! Maybe one day.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

I loved Francesca Lia Block’s books as a teen—she definitely inspired me to tell my stories, and to believe that kind of unique, contemporary magic belonged in the pages of a book.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I love playing with names! In The Uncrossing, it was important that the characters’ names fit their cultural backgrounds, as well as having a feel or connotation that fit. The main characters, Luke and Jeremy, are both biblical references, but I try not to have every character’s name have the same kind of reference or meaning.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would like to be able to make myself Godzilla-tall or Thumbelina-tiny at will—like the eat me-drink me in Alice in Wonderland, but without the hassle of the food and drink.

Aboutthebook

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About The Uncrossing:

Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.

Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?

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abouttheauthor

Melissa Eastlake

About Melissa Eastlake:

Melissa Eastlake’s debut novel, The Uncrossing, is coming in 2017 from Entangled Teen. She is a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow and lives in Athens, Georgia with her partner and their dogs.

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Interview: Laurie Olerich, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Author on her new release, KOIVU

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I write urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I love creating the world and the lore that goes with it. The little details of setting, culture, history and creatures are so much fun to write! My stories are meant to be an escape for readers. What better way to forget your problems than to lose yourself in a world that may or may not exist alongside our distressing one? Each book builds on the lore and the backstory so it unfolds in real time as you read. I love giving my characters unique psychic abilities that give them an edge on the bad guys and in the bedroom too–telepathy, telekinesis, energy exchange, teleporting… Imagine the possibilities! My paranormal world includes Primani (immortal soldiers), psychics, angels, and demons (both good and bad). Oh, and just because this is PNR, there’s no reason to leave out the occasional kinky character, is there? These guys have needs too! Now, isn’t that more fun than cowboys and bikers? Wink, wink!

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl. My mother read to me often and I devoured every book I could get my hands on. I remember reading “Reader’s Digest” and the encyclopedias when there were no new books. I memorized all of the Nancy Drew books by the time I was 11. When I was about 14, I discovered Piers Anthony. There’s just something about escaping into another world that appeals to me. I can’t tell you how many Nancy Drew mysteries I invented in my neighborhood!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I describe my writing style as action oriented, fast paced, and conversational. My characters tell the story from the prologue to the epilogue. Sure, I have to guide them along and fill in the details, but the story comes from them. I love the twists and turns this brings to the plot. The romance is as important to me as the plot and action scenes so I let it flow as the characters want. I believe romance has to flow organically so I don’t try to rush it. Same thing for sex. Each couple has their own personalities so their romance and sex scenes will be as true to that as I can make it. For example, my crazier couples will have sex in public or indulge in hot, wild monkey sex. My more spiritual, sensual couples are more likely to make love in a steamy lagoon or an elegant hotel room.

In a nutshell, I write stories to sweep readers into my world. I prefer to sprinkle clues and Easter eggs across the book and weave the backstories along the way to create that delicious feeling of anticipation that my readers really want.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m having a blast writing the stories in my new Demons After Dark series. These poor demons have been exiled into human bodies and they are in constant trouble. Between their love lives and the ongoing conspiracy to overthrow Lucifer, I’ve got a lot to write. I’m in the middle of book four now. “Derick (Demons After Dark Book Four) should be released between Dec-Jan. I’m also working on another novella in my Primani series. This one will also be released between Dec-Jan.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I’ve got a full plate! In 2018, I’m planning an additional two books in the Demons After Dark series and another novel and a novella in the Primani series. I’ve got a contemporary romance series planned for 2019.

FUN STUFF

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?  

Hmmm. I do my best thinking out loud, so I usually run my plots by my Dalmatian, Rambo. He’s the genius behind my secret society in Hell series arc. Is that strange?

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

I can eat about eight. Seriously. Nine, if I’m starving. They’re nothing but sugar and air! I have no willpower over donuts so I rarely buy them.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

I never get the hiccups. Seriously. Like never.

If I gave you a pencil and piece of paper and told you to draw something funny, what would you draw?

Silly puppy faces with lolling tongues, or perhaps, sad penises. Those are always funny!

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Yes! Those chocolate-coconut-caramel thingies.

How many times does it take for you to listen to a song that you love before you actually hate it instead?

8,321.5 times. I’m very patient.

This or That?

Dogs or Cats?  

Dogs! Dalmatians most of all! I love my spotted furbabies.

Marvel or DC Comics?  

Marvel—I’m a big Thor fan! And Agent Coulson! And Iron Man! But not Captain America. He’s too goody-goody.

Winter or Summer?  

Winter for sure. I hate to sweat!

TexMex or Italian?

TexMex all the way. I make awesome chicken enchiladas.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Vanilla, but I wouldn’t kick chocolate out of bed.

Fun Facts about the author:

I’m a zombie apocalypse junkie–totally a guilty pleasure! I’m fascinated with the way the world’s embraced the idea—books, movies, games, TV shows, chat rooms, blogs…it’s crazy how fast the phenomena has spread. Completely normal people sit around and talk about what they’d do if the world suddenly was overrun with zombies. If I had more money, I’d probably be a doomsday prepper. My son’s officially in charge of all things apocalyptic in our house. So we have two hatchets–unsharpened–in the garage and a combat shotgun in the upstairs bedroom. Yep, that’s his plan.

Over the years, I’ve rescued and rehabilitated 26 Dalmatians. There are so many abandoned and unwanted animals out there and I’m glad I was able to find new homes for these beautiful dogs. At any given time, we usually have two or three Dals in the house. Although now we’re down to only one since my favorite girl died last year. Princess Domino was 15. She may be gone, but I immortalized her in my Primani books in the years before she died. Yes, she really did play hacky-sack with us! Luckily, we’ve still got Rambo. He’s my writing buddy now. We rescued him from an abandoned crack house. Once we got him cleaned up and healed from terrible injuries, he’s been a wonderful, loving member of the family. I recommend adopting a rescued animal to anyone looking for a new furbaby!

abouttheauthor

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Laurie Olerich is a Texas girl with an unhealthy love of hockey, a taste for expensive bourbon, and an obsession with all things supernatural. She writes taut, action-packed, and wickedly sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Creating a world filled with immortal soldiers, micromanaging archangels, and unforgettable demons is her one true passion. Give her angel juice and demon mojo any day of the week! She loves taking psychic abilities and twisting them around in new and exciting ways. Add in a ton of high-octane action, shocking subplots, funny characters who nag at her in her sleep, and explosive sex and she calls that a book! Her PNR elements tend to be demons, angels, and psychics not shifters, vamps, or fae. And she’s got a thing for flawed, muscle-y smartasses who carry weapons. She just can’t help herself. She likes sharp & pointies and things that go BOOM!

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Koivu

Team Lucifer?

This Band of Brothers Will Steal Your Heart!

Introducing the Demons after Dark series! It’s hot paranormal romance featuring unlikely alpha heroes who will make you laugh, cry, and swoon. Known as Trinity demons, this band of brothers was stripped of their powers and violently exiled from Hell. Forced to live as humans, they’re left with no power and no weapons while a secret society quietly plots Lucifer’s demise. For these big, bad demons, adjusting to life as a human is, well, harder than Hell!

Former Hell’s Fury champion, Koivu, is desperate to return to Hell to reclaim his title and stolen life. As an extreme athlete, he had fame, glory, and more pleasure than he probably deserved. He was a freakin’ rock star! Being exiled in a broken human body is his worst nightmare. Stripped of his powers and unable to fight, he’s consumed by frustration, counting the seconds until he can go home. His future looks bleak until he meets a sexy, soft-hearted physical therapist who heals much more than his shoulder.

Physical therapist Micki Glass knows something about damaged people. She’s been struggling to get over her ex for three long years when this crazy man crashes into her life. He’s crude and intense but irresistibly charming. With his feral eyes and sexy smile, Koivu takes her on a sensual joyride that makes her feel like a woman again. As their affair heats up, she craves him like oxygen until she discovers what he really is. With more than her heart on the line, can she accept his past and love him for who he is now?

The day of reckoning is looming closer and the sacrifices have begun. Can Koivu stop the murders, find the rest of the Trinity, and convince the woman he loves to give him another chance before it’s too late?

Warning: This story contains intensely hot sex, an irresistibly-damaged hero, and a damsel with a steel backbone. Have a box of tissues handy. The author takes no responsibility for missed work or grouchiness from lack of sleep.

Note: This title can be read as a stand-alone story, but for the full backstory, start with “Vanek.”

Books in the Series:

Vanek

Benn

Koivu

˃˃˃ Introducing Demons After Dark!

This Primani World crossover series is hot paranormal romance featuring unlikely heroes who will make you laugh, cry, and swoon. Dubbed as Trinity demons, this band of brothers was branded as traitors and tossed out of Hell while an ancient evil patiently plots Lucifer’s demise. Waking up with no memories and no powers, the Trinity are horrified to learn they’re now human and the conspiracy goes much deeper than they thought. An uneasy alliance with the archangel Raphael is their only hope of clearing their names and stopping a civil war in Hell from destroying humanity.

All is not lost though. Between some heavenly interference and the love of a few good women, the Trinity just might solve the mystery before all Hell breaks loose. Each book features one of my heroes and his lady love plus extends the overarching conspiracy. These are action-packed stories filled with humor and smokin’ hot sex.

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Guest Post: REJECTION & MY ROAD TO PUBLICATION by Meg Kassel

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Rejection and My Road to Publication

When looking at an authors published book, its easy to only see what they accomplished and to forget that there were likely many failures before publication. I only know of a few authors who enjoyed success straight off with the first book they wrote. Those rare, fortunate birds are the exception to the rule. Most of the time, the road to publication is a long, bumpy one, with plenty of stops and starts. My journey was like this, complete with crushing disappointments and hundreds of rejections. I wouldnt change a single thing about it.

No one will ever read my first book. It was a dreadful adult paranormal romance with a vampire and C4 explosives and a weirdly awkward love scene that told me very clearly: you are not an adult romance writer. Message received, but not after a few more failed attempts. My first young adult novel, on the other hand, was the first manuscript I wrote where I felt like my writing, storytelling and voice, all leveled up. My critique partners loved the book. My mom loved the book. I started querying. Rejections came, but so did requests for the full, and then came a delightful little thing in publishing called a revise and resubmit. It was an edit letter, essentially, which if you make the suggested changes, the agent will consider your manuscript again. I dug in and revised the crap out of that manuscript. That agent passed, but the revisions paid off when another agent offered and I signed with her. At that point, I was so naive, I thought for sure the book would sell. I mean, the agent wouldnt have signed me if it wasnt a sure thing, right?

The book did not sell. It came close three times, but didnt make it through the acquisition meetings. This was the first time I felt the rejection as more than brief, generalized disappointment. My mistake was thinking this whole process was easier than it was. Let me back up a moment and explain my thing with rejection letters: They are form letters sent from a person who doesnt know you, essentially telling you that your book isnt what theyre looking for. Ive never taken this personally because there is nothing remotely personal about them. I have known writers who do take them to heart and it seems like a terrific expenditure of energy. Maybe I was sleep deprived, or maybe Im missing a brain component, but either way, when rejection letters came, I checked off that agent and went back to work.

Several books later, a manuscript did sell, but I wasnt out of the rejection waters yet. My hardest trial was to come several months later when the publisher closed its U.S. division, orphaning over fifty projects and five debut novels, including mine. Not long afterward, I began to realize that my agent and I werent the perfect fit any longer. After another failed submission on a new project, my agent and I parted ways on good terms and I took the first break from writing I had since Id begun writing in earnest, five years earlier. This was the first and only time I felt defeated. Maybe Id made a mistake, thinking I could do this. Maybe I should find something more productive to do with my time. I took up soap making as a hobbywhy, I dont know. I think I made about fifty pounds of soap, but while weighing out oils and water and lye, my brain started incubating a new story idea. Not long after that, I was back at the computer, doing what I loved most (although, I DO miss smelling like sandalwood and lavender).

The summer after my Soap Adventure, I received an offer on the orphaned book AND signed with a new agent. That book is my debut, Black Bird of the Gallows, and when I hold it, I feel my whole history as a writer under my fingers. Its all therethe triumphs and the disappointments; the hope and the anxiety. All the rejected manuscripts that perished in order to push me to write better, plot better, tell the story better, served a purpose. Im sure I havent seen my last rejection letter. Im not so naive anymore, and I am still not the writer I know I can be. Rejection can be a crushing blow, or it can steel your resolve. You really do have a choice in the matter. Then again, no one has ever rejected a pleasantly scented bar of handmade soap.

 

abouttheauthor

 

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Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.

Author Links: 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing

 

Aboutthebook

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Black Bird of the Gallows 

Young Adult Romantic Fantasy/Entangled Teen – Entangled Publishing

 

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. 

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

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