Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Greetings all!

The mega-fantastic Laura Salters has tagged me in this blog tour (check out her process here!). So, this morning I will be answering some fun questions:

1. What am I working on?

My current WIP is an as-yet-unnamed YA urban fantasy. When I first started rolling the idea around in my head it was as Veronica Mars meets Narnia, if the traffic flow through the wardrobe was going in the other direction – and if Veronica was descendant of Chugach shamans and Irish Aos Si.

I finished the first draft the week before last, twirled around in excited circles until I threw up and am currently wrestling with the first round of editing.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This story takes place in a New York where humans are very aware, although nowhere near fully accepting, of the fantasy creatures with whom they share their city. The fantasy creatures in this world are born from various American lore. From lumberjack folklore, argopelters, cactus cats, jackalopes and jersey devils all make appearances. There are also azebans, chickcharneys, fastachees and thunderbirds (to name a few), which hale from Native American folklore.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always enjoyed reading a lot of different genres. Because of this, I frequently have many different ideas for a whole variety of stories popping into my head. However, my fantasy characters are always the ones who yell the loudest. They are so persistent in their demand for my attention, I just don’t have the heart to refuse them. That, and when I try, they don’t let me sleep. I really love sleep.

4. How does my writing process work?

Generally, I start with a character – one person who really interests me. From there I build out into the people who surround them and start looking at their relationships. After I have an idea as to whether or not certain people get along (and why), I expand to the world they’re living in.

As I write fantasy, this step involves the most research. In my WIP, there’s a large focus on folklore in the United States, with particular concentrations on that of the northeast (creatures) and Alaska (creatures and shamanism). I’ve not yet mastered the art of being organized in my research, so information I find ends up in notebooks, Word files and the not-so-occasional napkin.

Once I have a decent understanding of my world – both large scale and individual to my MC – it’s time to figure out what’s about to make my MC’s life go sideways. I like to sketch out the inciting incident, the midway point, the climax and the ending. Then I just write, even on the days where it seems as though every word coming out of my mind is going to end up on the scrap pile. 

By New York Zoological Society [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For me, drafting is all about powering through. Revisions are where I have my fun. No more terrifying blank pages, instead I get to play with a bunch of characters I already love until I make their lives the best I can.

So, that's how I approach things. How about the rest of you writerly types? What's the method to your madness? 

Thanks to Kelley Harvey for kicking this all off!!


Lauren Grimley

Lauren lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod Boston University she became a middle school English teacher.
where she spends as much time as possible. After graduating from

Her loves are lounging on quiet beaches, laughing with good friends, and curling up with the cat and a great book on a rainy day.

As for her first novel, she has her seventh graders to thank for starting her on this path. A few years back, they convinced a skeptical new teacher vampire stories were worth reading. She now spends her time writing them when she should be correcting papers.

Twitter: @legrimley

Megan Just

Megan is a freelance and fiction writer living with her husband and toddler daughter on California’s Central Coast.

She’s horribly long winded so her fiction writing is naturally of the full-length-novel type. Sometimes, when she’s feeling ambitious, she’ll attempt a short story. On the freelance side, her favorite assignments are features with a sociology edge and personal essays. She occasionally takes on copy editing jobs and writes book reviews.

Twitter: @meganjust

Jack Lewis Baillot

Jack is an author. Basically, run. She is not impossible, just a little bit unlikely.

She is not a king or queen of Narnia, though she would be if her wardrobe was working. She is Spartacus. She was not born on another planet though when she retires she is moving to Mars, or the Moon. She can wear a red shirt because she is Scottish. She sleeps in a bed because her hammock developed a fault. Also, she has never kissed a frog, not sure what she would do if it turned into a prince.

Twitter: @MsJackLBaillot

Monday, July 21, 2014

Knocking Blocks Down to Build Them Back Up

I’ve discovered something about my young nephew – nothing enrages him more than when I construct a tower of toys. No matter where he is in the room, he immediately bee-lines for my neat little stack of blocks and knocks them right the hell down.

If I manage to get them back up as he wobbles away, I am graced with a “are you f*&^ing kidding me?” look as he backtracks to destroy my creation once again with gleeful abandon.

When it comes to writing, I’m somewhat similar to my nephew in that sense. It’s all well and good for me to actually write a story, but the fun lies in tearing it all apart again when I’m done. Editing and revising? My favorite parts of writing. I love knocking all the blocks down and seeing where they fall. Only, unlike my nephew, I also love building it back up again. I keep at this process of destruction and rebuilding over and over again, until I charge at the story and find myself running into a wall I just can’t quite topple.

So, I’m off to do some glorious, bloody editing. While I’m hacking away, though, I thought I might leave you with the next round of awesome mythological creatures that the U.S. boasts.


This fellow is a corn spirit connected to Miccosukee and Seminole tribes. He generally appears as a dwarf and gifts people with corn. Of course, they honor him for this. How could they not? Who, in their right minds, doesn’t love corn?


Is it a bear? A panther? A lion? Nope. This guy appears to be a mix of all three. The glawackus is one of the “fearsome critters” of lumberjack lore and is thought to be native of Connecticut and Massachusetts. If the pantliobear description isn’t enough to keep you from going camping, then let me also warn you, the glawackus is known for his blood-curdling screams – so, bring headphones or something.

Hudson River Monster

I’m so disappointed in myself. I’m a native New Yorker and somehow I was unaware that the Hudson River was home to a cryptid described as looking like an unusually large manatee. When you consider the fact that a manatee can weigh over 1,000 pounds, an “unusually large” one would be sizable. And I missed him! The only consolation I have is that he was spotted various times in 2006 and I was down in DC at that point. Not that my location is really any excuse. I mean, his name is Kippy! I should have known about this. I have no one to blame but myself.


This race of little people (akin to fairies) come from Eskimo legends. They’re about a foot tall. As they leave no footprints in the snow, they are believed to float just above the ground when they travel.


Another “fearsome critter” for the list! These fellows appear to call Michigan their home. They’re hard to miss, seeing as rabbits with deer antlers tend to draw attention. This becomes especially true when they start boozing it up. Jackalopes are big whiskey fans, so if you too call this your drink of choice, you’re going to want to watch that they don’t steal it. Of course, they are also able to mimic any sound. Undoubtedly, if you hear your friend calling your name, you will turn back to find your drink disappeared.

That draws today’s discussion of weird and wacky American tales to a close. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some blocks to knock down.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Reading Time!

I, very bizarrely, have not done as much reading as usual this summer. I am this close (and I know you can't see me, but there is very little space between my thumb and pointer finger right now) to finishing the first draft of my WIP. Ergo, I've been in a bit of a writing frenzy and reading less than the norm.

But, less is not none and what I have been reading has been pretty epic. 

First, I have two new beta buddies (hi buddies!) and have been given the opportunity to read both of their manuscripts. There's something particularly awesome about reading a book before most people even know it exists. It's like being invited into the VIP room of the most secret of clubs. 

You know, like when you walk in the main door, past all the peons sitting at tables surrounded by bookshelves and some super cool person pushing a cart tells you to head back to the stairwells and take them up to the top floor and you get up there and it's all empty and peaceful and filled with books....Wait, am I thinking of a library? What's a club?

Forget it, not important right now. What is important is that I have the inside track on some pretty awesome authors, namely Scarlett Cole and Laura Salters. You heard it here first, folks. Get in on the ground floor and start following these ladies if you don't already. Because I can confidently say that they are all manner of awesome in the writing department. Plus (excitement!) you'll get to know them a little better soon, as they are both going to be stopping by the blog this summer.

But, since you have to wait to experience the full wonder of their work, here are some other fantastic books I've been enjoying this summer that you can get a hold of now:


Pure superhero-y goodness. Absolutely loved getting to know Gwen Maule and really can't wait to find out what she does next.


Lots of fangirling here - for both Jane Austen and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Loved getting a chance to find out more info of what was going on off camera. Also, it was really fun to have the videos linked to in the book, if the reader wants to check out what Lizzie was recording at that point in the timeline.

THEN CAME YOU (Jill Shalvis)

I have a definite soft spot for romances where the people love animals, but this one takes it a step further. There's a turtle! And while, yes, I might have preferred Wyatt, Willow and Xander, my red ear slider cohabitants, only cared about the scenes that Sammy was in. 

Now, I have high hopes for my reading schedule in August and am focusing on creating the perfect month long TBR list. It's filling up fast, but if you have any suggestions, my arm could probably be twisted into making it longer.

Happy reading, friends!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Be In The Know with Emmie Mears!

Happy new week, folks!

I've been lucky enough to host Emmie Mears twice before on this blog (see: amazing auction donor and Not-So-Guilty Pleasures secret spiller). Today, however, is a truly special occasion because we are celebrating the release of Emmie's book, THE MASKED SONGBIRD.

This is big time exciting news and reason enough for all of us to clear our schedules for some well-deserved reading time. Before you do that, though, enjoy today's interview with Emmie!

If you could throw any kind of parade what would it be for and what would the marchers be asked to wear?

I think I would have to throw a marmot parade and ask everyone to wear moss, because why not? 

If you had to live in one Buffy episode for the next five years which one would it be and what would you hope to accomplish there?

Once More, With Feeling. I would attempt to decipher whether or not Anya’s and Xander’s song were truly retro pastiche. Then I'd write a dissertation on it.

Are you (a) a superhero, (b) a mad scientist, (c) an alien hybrid or (d) a cryptid. Elaborate.

I am a cryptid. Much as I don’t like to advertise the fact (the last thing I need is people camped out in the back yard with binoculars and field notebooks -- or worse, a visit from the NSA), you asked, and I had to respond. I am a bit skittish about describing my exact classifications, but suffice it to say that I can see in the dark, my toenails are extra sharp, and I am skilled at astral projection. (Will that scare the NSA away? I hope so.)

What song best describes your writing process?

Sympathy for the Devil. ;)

Not long ago, Estately Blog posted a list of the most Googled terms in each state. Based on this list, in which state would you most fit in?

Washington or Maine...but you didn’t hear it from me.


Mildly hapless Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule is surviving. She's got a boyfriend, a rescued pet bird and a flatmate to share rent. Gwen's biggest challenges: stretching her last twenty quid until payday and not antagonizing her terrifying boss.

Then Gwen mistakenly drinks a mysterious beverage that gives her heightened senses, accelerated healing powers and astonishing strength. All of which come in handy the night she rescues her activist neighbour from a beat-down by political thugs.

Now Gwen must figure out what else the serum has done to her body, who else is interested and how her boss is involved. Finally -- and most mysteriously -- she must uncover how this whole debacle is connected to the looming referendum on Scottish independence.

Gwen's hunt for answers will test her superpowers and endanger her family, her friends -- even her country.

Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state prompty spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country.

Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie's childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor.

Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they're lions and tigers.

You can buy THE MASKED SONGBIRD here (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JD7TWZK)! Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!

Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!