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#ATO Tuesday! ATO Tuesday!! ATO Tuesday!!!
It’s that time again lovelies! Time for another takeover and this week we have another cool interview all lined up! DG Driver is here talking to us about her new book Cry of the Sea, her first YA novel! SCORE. And what a great cover too 🙂
Time for me to shut up and D.G. to have at it! Ready….GO!
- Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Cry of the Sea is my first YA novel, but it’s not my first published book. As Donna Getzinger I’ve had several books published, including six non-fiction books published with Morgan Reynolds Publishers. My journey to Cry of the Sea was long, because I originally got the idea and began writing it way back in 1999. It was way too short and had a number of problems. No one was interested in it, and the YA market hadn’t really boomed yet. After a critique session with an editor over the first 10 pages and then a novel revision workshop, both done through SCBWI, I finally learned what I needed to do to make the story work. In 2010 I rewrote the entire novel and nearly doubled it in size and scope. I sent it to a few publishers. I learned about Fire and Ice through a writer’s newsletter, and after looking at their web site and the beautiful covers they do for their books, I sent Cry of the Sea to them. They liked it right away and scheduled it to be released the following year.
- Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas from a variety of places. Usually they’re from something I heard in the news or saw in a documentary on TV. Just a little fragment of something that grows in my head. Cry of the Sea began because it was the 10th anniversary of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, and that was all over the news. I started wondering what would happen if a mermaid were washed ashore with all the other sea animals. The story slowly came to life after that.
- Do you ever experience writer’s block?
My writer’s block is more that I get ahead of myself and don’t know how to write the part I’m currently doing. I do very loose outlines, just enough to show me the road I’m on. Sometimes if I know too much ahead of time, I have trouble doing the work to get there. I also have a tendency to have too many ideas at once, and it’s hard to work on one project when a new idea is tickling my brain at the same time.
- How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I’ve been focusing mostly on my FB, Tumblr and Twitter pages, trying to put something of interest out there every single day. I am always looking for new places to put my name and book cover, and I welcome these blog appearances. I follow a lot of other writers, both well published and indie published, and I think we all glean ideas from each other. It’s still too early to know if any of that is working or not. I have specifically tried to focus on fans of mermaids. I also have been trying to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign because my leading character is an American Indian. In addition to online stuff, I do really like going to events and signing books in person and am constantly looking for opportunities to do that.
- What is the funniest question you’ve ever been asked? And it’s answer.
I once had a middle grade historical novel published about a girl who is a spy during the Civil War titled The Picture Wagon. On the cover was a picture of a real little girl from that era pulled from the Library of Congress. I had not one but many children ask me if that little girl was me. I had to tell them that I was not that old yet.
- Tell us something you hate doing. Why?
I hate vacuuming. I have bad hands, and vacuuming hurts. My sweet husband does it for me. Writing-wise? I hate losing a night of work because my daughter needs my computer for homework. I solved that problem, however, and just bought her a laptop for her 13th birthday.
Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17 year old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”
Everything changes when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she realizes these aren’t human at all.
Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.
Still not convinced? Okay, then check these links out to get in some quick reading!
There are sample chapters of Cry of the Sea at the publisher’s website: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/dgdriver/crysea.html
And on my wattpad account:
D. G. Driver grew up in Southern California only 30 minutes from the beach. As a girl, she used to dream that magic would change her overnight into a beautiful mermaid. Alas, that never happened, but her love of the ocean never diminished. Even though she is landlocked in Tennessee now, she still only needs one whiff of sunscreen to bring her imagination alive. Thanks to the support of her husband and a sweet drawing of a mermaid done by her daughter that was taped on the wall above her desk to keep her motivated to finish, Cry of the Sea is now her first published Young Adult novel. Her short story “The Jamaican Dragon” has also been published this year in the pirate anthology A Tall Ship, A Star, and Plunder. Find D.G. here
That it for this ATO! Later Lovelies!
<3 always LH
Hi again lovelies! Today is the second week of my Author Takeover–also know as the ATO Brenda Hiatt is one of the fantastical authors in my writers critique group AND her newest book STARBOUND just released! I have already had a sneak peak, and let me tell you…..WOW!
But you don’t want to hear from me. You want me to let Brenda takeover. Say no more, Brenda the blog is yours!
Let me just say upfront that I LOVE young adult books! Not only as a reader but as a writer, because after 15+ books for adults (mostly historical romance) I was pretty burned out—and starting a YA series I’d had in the back of my mind TOTALLY rejuvenated my joy in writing! This month I’m excited because I’ve just released Starbound, the third book in my new Starstruck series. To celebrate this momentous event, I’ve decided to offer the first book, Starstruck, for just 99 cents for the whole month of June! To give you an idea of how strongly I identify with my nerdy heroine, Marsha (M to her tiny handful of friends), I thought I’d share a story about my own teen years… Do you remember your first real “crush”? How about your first huge embarrassing moment? Were the two linked in any way? Mine were! I was 13 years old, a freshman in high school, and totally infatuated by the cutest guy in the whole world (to my 13-year-old sensibilities, anyway). I mean, I obsessed about this boy! He had these dreamy blue eyes and wavy blond hair… I was sure the Carpenters’ song “Close To You” was written just about him! I went as stalker as a girl without a driver’s license could go, even convincing my mom to drive past his house once or twice (since he didn’t live within biking distance). When I discovered that he went to the gym to shoot hoops near the end of his lunch period most days, I started sneaking down that hallway every day and peeking through the window in the gym door to watch him play…in a sleeveless shirt! Oh! Be still my newly-awakened heart! I wove so many fantasies about the two of us, fantasies about how he would suddenly realize I was the one he’d been waiting for all his life. How all the other girls would be jealous when they saw us holding hands. How we’d happily start planning our future together. Okay, maybe he didn’t actually know my name yet, but I was sure it was just a matter of time before he woke up to the fact that we were Destined to be Soulmates. One day after lunch I made my customary stop by the gym to spy on him playing basketball…but he wasn’t there. I stood outside the door, disappointed and undecided. I peaked, then peaked again, hoping he might make an appearance after all. Finally, despondent, I gave up and turned away—only to see him coming down the hall toward me! Someone cool would have just nodded, smiled and walked on her way, pretending she had somewhere much more important to be. Alas, I was not even the teensiest bit cool. Instantly assuming he knew exactly why I was there, I was beyond mortified. So mortified that, instead of trying to pass it off as no big deal, I turned away, pressed my face into the corner and quite literally tried to melt into the wall. Yes, really. He walked past me into the gym without a word and I hurried away, never to spy on him again. He never did learn my name, to the best of my knowledge, and none of those wonderful fantasies ever came true, but to this day I still remember my first crush and the horrible embarrassing incident that pretty much ended it. And sometimes I wonder if he even remembers that weird girl who acted so strangely outside the gym that day. I guess I’ll never know! And maybe that’s just as well…
AND, as an added bonus, here is a clip from STARSTRUCK!
My best friend Bri was in my Honors English next period. So was Rigel. Bri made a beeline for him—not hard to guess why—but I intercepted her.
“C’mon, let’s sit by the window.”
“But—” Bri looked over her shoulder toward Rigel with intense interest.
“We’ll be further from the teacher there,” I improvised. Without waiting for her reply, I headed to the opposite side of the room and she reluctantly followed me.
As I sat down, I involuntarily glanced Rigel’s way only to find him frowning in my direction. Frantically, I went back over what I’d just said but I was sure I hadn’t used his name. Unless he could read my mind, I was safe.
I risked another peek and was relieved to see he had turned away, and was now talking to Trina and Nicole Adams, another cheerleader. He was still frowning slightly, but it obviously had nothing to do with me.
“So, what do you think of our hot new quarterback?” were Bri’s predictable next words. “He was in Spanish last period but that humongous flirt, Trina, barely let him look at anyone else—just like now.”
It took a surprising amount of effort, but I managed not to look at him again. “Is that all you and Deb can talk about today?”
Bri shrugged, then grinned. “Can you think of anything more interesting?”
I absolutely couldn’t, but I wasn’t going to admit that. “It’s not like any of us have a shot, with Trina all over him.”
“Yeah, well, a girl can dream.” Bri gave me a sly grin and waggled her eyebrows. “You used to be really good at that.”
“Shh!” I glanced around to make sure no one had heard her. I kept my flights of fancy to myself these days, but I did not want anyone reminded of the ridiculous stuff I’d made up back in elementary school.
Other kids might have had imaginary friends, but I’d invented a whole imaginary life. I’d told everyone in second grade that I was really a Martian princess whose parents would one day fly me back to their beautiful palace in the stars. No doubt it was my way of dealing with the fact I was adopted and knew nothing about my birth parents. I’d told other outlandish stories, too, but that one had been my favorite—and I got teased mercilessly for it.
I did wise up enough to stop talking about it by third grade, but the teasing went on for years. “Marsha the Martian” was a nickname I never wanted to hear again. In fact, it was the main reason I tried to make people call me M instead of Marsha. Bri and Deb cooperated, but nobody else did.
“Okay,” Bri said. “But you’ve obviously noticed him if you want me to shut up so bad.”
“Of course I’ve noticed him,” I whispered. “He sat right in front of me in homeroom. But Trina sat in front of him—Squires, Stuart—so he never even saw me. So I don’t see any point in torturing myself over him.”
Bri looked over at him again and I gave into temptation and risked a brief glance. He wasn’t talking to Trina now. He seemed to be slowly scanning the room, like he was looking for something—or someone. I looked away before he could catch me staring.
I purposely got to my next class late enough that everyone, including Rigel, was seated—only to discover the only empty spot left was at the table in front of him. Trying not to panic, I scanned the room hoping another seat might magically appear, but the class was full. Steeling myself against any kind of reaction, I moved to the empty chair as nonchalantly as I could.
“Hey, Marsh,” Will Chesterton said as I sat next to him. He was shorter than me, and nerdy, but not a bad guy. His main fault was thinking he was way cooler than he actually was.
“Hi, Will. Have a good summer?” I tried hard not to be too obsessed by the fact that Rigel was only three feet from my right elbow. There was no way I actually felt a tingling in that elbow! That was just silly.
“Yeah, we went to Indiana Dunes a couple times and spent a week in Saugatuck,” Will said, and I had to focus to remember why he was telling me this. “How about you?”
I could hear Rigel murmuring something to Trina, but I couldn’t make out the words. “What? Oh, um, we were going to go to Florida for a week, but Uncle Louie couldn’t get off work long enough so we just went to the lake for three days instead.”
Rigel’s voice stopped so abruptly, I wondered if Trina had poked him or something.
Will dragged my attention back from behind me by saying, “Hey, I’m glad you’re gonna be sitting here. You can help me out when we get to the space stuff next semester.”
“Oh, yeah, sure, no problem,” I agreed absently.
Behind me, I heard Trina start to say something, then it sounded like Rigel shushed her. I glanced at the teacher, but he wasn’t looking our way. Huh. I wondered what that was about—and how Trina liked being shushed. It was all I could do not to turn around to see her expression.
I was still trying to think of some totally legit reason to look behind me when Mr. Ferguson started calling the roll. None of the other teachers had bothered. They knew everyone by name already, but this was only Mr. Ferguson’s second year at Jewel. I started doodling in my notebook, since I’d be one of the last people called.
As he made his way through the alphabet, sketches of constellations appeared under my pencil, inspired by Will’s reminder and the star charts above the whiteboard.
Mr. Ferguson was almost done with the roll. “Trina Squires?”
“Here,” she responded.
I braced myself for Rigel’s voice.
It was one word. One word and it still went through me like a rush of adrenaline. What in the world was wrong with me? Even Jimmy Franklin had never affected me like this.
“Marsha Truitt? Are you here?” Mr. Ferguson sounded impatient and I realized I’d missed my own name.
“Oh, um here!” I answered, feeling my cheeks burn.
Then I looked down at my doodling and they burned even hotter. Not only had I drawn the constellation Orion, I’d been drawing circles around Orion’s left foot—the star Rigel. I slammed my notebook shut, hoping no one had noticed.
I peeked sideways at Will, but he was watching the teacher, who had finished roll and was writing on the whiteboard. Slightly reassured, I forced myself to do the same.
It was an intense relief when the bell finally rang for lunch. No matter how I tried, I hadn’t been able to ignore my awareness of Rigel behind me. If anything, it had increased as the class wore on. I was out of my seat before the bell stopped, eager to get away from his disturbing influence. But as I reached the door, I felt my feet slowing, like I wanted him to catch up.
Disgusted at my weakness, I sped up, practically jogging to the cafeteria. Not till I’d gone through the lunch line did I glance back and sure enough, there was Rigel. Trina was right behind him, wearing a smug smile, clearly hoping everyone was noticing who she was with.
With a snort aimed as much at myself as at Trina, I went to an empty table near the windows and deliberately sat with my back to the room. I was opening my juice box when Bri slipped into the seat across from me. “Hey! You’re into window seats today, aren’t you?”
I shrugged. “Sunshine is good for my mood.”
“Can I have your banana?” she asked as Deb joined us with her tray.
“Sure. That’s why I got one.” I never ate bananas, as my friends well knew.
“So, how was—” Bri began, when she was interrupted by a hiss from Deb, who was staring over my shoulder.
I nearly turned, but stopped myself. “What?”
“Don’t look now,” Deb whispered, “but Rigel Stuart is headed Right. Toward. Us.” Beside her, Bri nodded, wide-eyed.
“Stop staring!” I held perfectly still, trying to be inconspicuous.
But then it didn’t matter because he was standing right next to me, his nearness zinging through me again like an electrical current. I swallowed once, convulsively, and looked up past his lean, muscled chest to find him regarding me with those amazing greenish eyes in that impossibly perfect face.
“Marsha, isn’t it?” he said.
Unable to form words, I nodded.
“Hi. I’m Rigel Stuart.”
Bio: Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty novels (so far), including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance, and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her new young adult science fiction STARSTRUCK series as she’s ever been about any of her books. In addition to writing, Brenda is passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving, Taekwondo, hiking, traveling, and reading, of course! For the past dozen years, Brenda has collected data on writers’ earnings, which she shares at her website, http://brendahiatt.com And you can mark her books on your TBR list on Goodreads
So are you going over to amazon to get your copies? I recommend it! LOL 🙂
<3 always LH
Joseph Beth’s Booksellers— Hands down the BEST bookstore I have ever had the pleasure of camping out in! This particular business has been in Cincinnati for decades and, back in my high school years, provided me with a location to sit and read what ever YA book I found on their shelves that interested me.
What I find most interesting is that all those year ago, the YA section consisted of only 2 of the book shelves you see in the photo above. My my my how the years have changed the landscape of YA and NA books. According to a very nice bookseller that works there, the YA section is the 3rd largest in their entire store. AMAZING! And here’s an even more wonderful, cherished and fantastical fact: Joseph Beth’s shelves more than just YA books from the “big 5 book houses”; they also shelve books from small and independent press houses!!!
That is so beyond wonderful because my fantastic publisher–Omnific publishing–is a small press house and their books are sold through one of the distributors that Joseph Beth’s uses! AAAHHHH!!! I am so excited at the mere possibility of having my book Legendary stocked in their amazeballs YA section.
Now nothing is official yet, especially since my book does not release until Feb 25th. I just have to hope my amazing publisher and publicist can help me pull this off! Wish us luck 😉
I am hoping to have a special book review posted by a dear friend of mine. Her book blogger handle is Miss Little Book Addict’s House of Books. So if you are interested check back around Wednesday and check it out.
So a few weekends ago I was able to sneak away from work and go to the Baltimore Book Festival! It was amazing and I had a blast and learned a bunch of great new things and got some great advice. But here were the two highlights for me!
#1 I got to meet one of my hero authors Meg Cabot!!!! *insert fan girl squeal* For those who don’t know the multiple time best selling author she has written many great YA and Adult books, several of which were turned into movies! But for me my absolute favorite series of her’s was “The Mediator” series she wrote under the name Jenny Carroll. Long and short of it, she was one of the great inspirations for me to start writing!
#2 was the blog featuring six incredible book bloggers all talking about what they do and how they do it. We also got their opinions on how an author should approach a blogger and so on. Here is the link to the video I recorded from the panel posted to YouTube by one of the great bloggers I met Hannah of the Irish Banana review Book Blogger Panel. The second best part was getting to talk to a few of them after their panel and getting to know them. Hannah and Jen gave me a great piece of advice: that I need to put more of me and who I am out on my pages, and not just my fab character sketches.
So in the spirit of that advice, and with the time restraint from my full-time job being so busy again and my deadline for my next manuscript, I have decided to do more than just post character sketches. I am now going to host several guest spots for bloggers and other authors, I am going to post bits about books I am reading or have read and liked, and I will talk about my favorite things. (many of which inspired and still inspire my Legendary Saga and my work in progress)
So to kick off my new platform I am starting with my thoughts on a great book I read several months ago after getting an advanced readers copy from last year’s RT Convention. It’s called The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. Here is the cover, you can click on it and follow the link to my “non review” of this great YA steampunk book!
Till next time my lovelies!