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Hey lovelies! Time again for the #ATO We’ve got another cool one today: Ann Videan and her new YA series Song of the Ocarina!
Take it away Ann!
What do movies, involvement of future readers, and bad-boy rock stars in New Zealand have to do with my stories?
I often tell a story, when I speak as an author, about my emotional reactions while watching the movie Back to the Future in 1985.
I found my life’s inspiration in the scene where Marty’s dad receives his box of books. I remember watching Biff running in the front door, carrying a large cardboard box yelling, “Mr. McFly! Mr. McFly, this just arrived… I think it’s your new book.” The whole family gathers around to admire George’s first novel.
In my mind, a choir sang Hallelujah as he brought forth the first volume from the box. I remember thinking, as I sat in the dark of the theatre, “Someday, I’m going have my own box of books, just like George McFly.”
As a fun aside, I went to college at Arizona State University in the late 1970s with the actor who played the role of Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Tom and I were movie buddies, and I adored his sense of humor. He now does stand-up comedy and voice-over work, among many other creative endeavors. I saw him for the first time on the big screen in Back to the Future and I was thrilled to witness his big break.
I actually experienced my own George McFly moment in 2011 when I received my box of Rhythms & Muse, my first self-published women’s fiction novel.
Not only was finishing a book a thrill, but the experience of self-publishing — doing everything myself except editing and front-cover art — also brought me a new skill set to provide to clients. I’ve owned Videan Unlimited, my own home-based marketing firm, since 1996. Now, in my day job, I help other writers and entrepreneurs write, edit, self-publish and generate word-of-mouth marketing.
This broad marketing background led to a unique aspect in the writing of my pending second novel, Song of the Ocarina. Before I get into all that, though, let me give you a quick synopsis to give you an idea of what it’s about. Here’s the blurb:
“Desperate to understand her place in the world, teenage musical prodigy Lark Tūrehu unwittingly follows her handsome music teacher Noel Stone into the parallel realm of Delfaerune. With her extreme height and long, silver-white hair, she already considers herself a freak in her Queenstown, New Zealand university, so how can she possibly deal with the added burden of her role as the Noble Fae’s leading musical spell caster?
Not only must she retrieve and master the Kura Ocarina to earn the title of the realm’s “Maestra,” but the faefolk expect her to use the ancient wind instrument to save the human race from extinction at the hands of the Dark Fae.”
This first book in my Delfaerune Rhapsody series represents writing in a new genre for me. It’s a new-adult fantasy — geared to readers aged 18 to 25. So, from a marketing perspective, I felt I needed to look at some different, creative avenues to involve my new audience members. A key aspect of word-of-mouth marketing involves engaging your audience in the process of what you’re creating. So, as I went along, I started asking future readers and young adults I encountered to provide input into the story, with the promise of including their name on my Acknowledgements page.
I requested and received input for a set of Roshambo (rock, paper, scissors) symbols and hand gestures for my Fae characters’ use. Readers sent in their favorite songs to add to Lark’s ever-present iPod playlists. They also shared recipes to feed my vegetarian Fae at parties and events described in the story.
A unique marketing aspect for my Rhythms & Muse story in 2011 was a complementary music CD of five original songs I composed and performed. I plan to compile an original music “soundtrack” for Song of the Ocarina, too. This time, though, I will enlist the talent of a couple young rock bands to help me create the music. You can also watch for a Spotify playlist of all the nearly fifty songs that come up in the story.
Through all this input and exploration I discovered I love, love, love creating new worlds, especially for young-adult fantasy stories. In this series, I got to create a fresh, unique world where music joins with Earth energy to conjure balance among all creatures, extinct and mythical creatures talk and live peacefully, and the Dark Fae bad boys — like Mikk, Kert and Axyl — pattern themselves after burned-out human rock stars.
The setting played a key role in the story as well. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting than New Zealand in which to place my story. My family visited the country in 2008, and I completely fell in love with everything about it. The beauty. The power of nature everywhere. Its straightforward people. Its sense of other-worldness. The sheer magic of the place spoke to me.
It helped me develop the way the magic works — or doesn’t — in a fantasy world. If you’d like a full description of how the magic works, here’s a link to a Song of the Ocarina excerpt from my ANVidean.com blog
So, now you know how my writing was influenced by Back to the Future, bad-boy rock stars, and New Zealand. I hope you enjoy the input provided by my future readers once the book is complete. Watch for it next month on Amazonat www.tinyurl.com/ANVamazon.
Win my second copy of Song of the Ocarina!
When I open my box filled with copies of Song of the Ocarina, I will lift out a copy for me, of course. The next copy I lift out could be yours…signed, sealed, and delivered. J
If you comment about this post on either Ann Narcisian Videan’s or L.H. Nichole’s blogs or Facebook pages, you become eligible to win the second copy of this new-adult fantasy adventure. It’s book one in my pending Delfaerune Rhapsody series.
We will pick the winner at random from among the comments received on these sites:
- Ann Narcisian Videan’s Words.Music.Village blog: ANVidean.com
- Ann Narcisian Videan’s Facebook page
- L.H. Nicole’s blog: AKA this post
- L.H. Nicole’s Facebook page
Ann Narcisian Videan is the author/singer/songwriter of Rhythms & Muse a women’s fiction novel and accompanying music soundtrack. Currently, she’s writing the Delfaerune Rhapsody Series, a trilogy of young-adult fantasy adventure novels about an 18-year-old New Zealander who discovers she’s the fae musical prodigy who must retrieve and master three ancient instruments to save her worlds. Ann also serves as a fiction editor for sweet-romance publisher Desert Breeze Publishing, writes and edits marketing content for authors and visionary entrepreneurs, and offers a 30-year marketing background focused on strategic word-of-mouth consulting. Find her at anvidean.com, videanunlimited.com, her blog and LinkedIn
Alright alright! What a cool post right? Not gonna lie, I’m one of Ann’s critique partners, so I’ve read this book with a red pen. I gotta say, it’s a good one! Perfect for Fantasy lovers.
<3 always LH
#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
So I said a few posts ago that I was going to start re-posting a few of the reviews some book blogger friends of mine do. Well it’s time to start! MissLittleBookAddicts House of Books just welcomed our mutual friend DynoMoon to her blog so here is her inaugural review! Click here for link to original post
I have some awesome news to report to you. Now I have been thinking about expanding the blog(adding on another reviewer) to help me out. Since I rarely review YA I figured my friend would be a perfect fit to join the House Of Books for she is addicted to YA books, Also I know some of you do read YA and figured you guys need your own corner on the blog. So I have enlisted a good friend of mine(who’s real identity shall remain anonymous) But you all can call her DynoMoon. Come out and say Hello to our fellow Book Addict’s Dyno
Hi everyone! ***waves like a crazy girl***
I’m so excited to join my friend MissLittleBookAddict on her blog! Now don’t let her niceness fool you, I totally bugged her to let me join–mostly because I want her access to ARC’s of some of my FAV YA series! The first one she go me is the final book in Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series.
Now this review is just for the 6th and final book, I will be back soon with a review of the whole series.
I wanted to start this by saying how much I love this series. Ever since I picked up the first book ‘Touch of Frost’- when it first came out- I have loved all the crazy, action, drama filled goodness that is the Mythos Academy. Since then I have been addicted and eagerly jonzing for the next book to come out. I nearly fainted when MissLittleBookAddict told me she had got an ARC copy! Thank you!
Following her rating system I give this sixth and final installment of the series 4.5 stars out of 5. Here’s my breakdown:
Characters: Loved! As always, but I feel like I saw the growth I wanted in Gwen and Logan- our heroine and hero- but we didn’t get to see much in the way of the other characters who I love just as much. I just wanted more from them.
Action: as evident in this series and J. Estep’s other books, action scenes are a specialty of hers, and she doesn’t disappoint! I love reading the battle scenes and fight scenarios because they’re always different.
Pacing: Next to my desire to want more from the other characters this was the element that kept me from giving this a perfect review. Why you ask, simple, I felt there were several parts where we didn’t really get anything that helped move the story along, or add anything to the drama/conflict of the story. Some of Gwen’s internal debates and monologues were just too long for me, I got bored (insert loud Sherlock “bored” shouts here-though minus the gun) and glanced over those parts.
3 Absolute favorite parts: The theft scene! GENIUS! I loved it so much. Also seeing the seeing the griffins again and most of all, Gwen and Logan-or Gypsy Girl and Spartan as they commonly refer to each other.
Over all this book didn’t disappoint-well almost…. I am disappointed that there’s not going to be any more Gypsy Gewnness. I will miss this series a lot but, that said, guess I’ll just have to go back and re-read all the books over again. And again. And again.
I have yet to meet a J. Estep book I didn’t like, but the Mythos Academy is by far my favorite!
Well there you have it! Till next time lovelies!
<3 always LH