Debut Askew

Posted: January 19, 2018 in #publishing, Interview, Marketing, Novel, Promotion, Writing

So I’ll admit, I haven’t been super vocal about the publisher I signed with. I’m new, they’re new, and I wasn’t sure how much “Oh-My-God-check-out-these-guys” they’d want on the radar yet. Now, though, with their debut author’s debut novel, they’re ready to, well, debut–and they’ve asked a little help from little ol’ Askewian me.

Okay, I’m throwing made-up words at you and you’re probably a bit confused. “Askewian” just means someone associated with the publishing company, which is named Rhetoric Askew. They’ve been around for a while with editing and critiquing and cover art services and a Facebook group that offers writers assitance, but publishing Askew is new to them, and I’m quite proud to be getting in on the ground floor. I can say I knew them when, they can say they knew me when, and we can all laugh about it on Oprah.

This post isn’t about me, though, or my book. (Surprise! Yes, I do know how to write about others. 😉 ) I’m here to tell you about a book debuting today called Whisper of an Angel, written by author Lorah Jaiyn. I don’t know her well, but I had the change to get a sneaky peeky of Whisper of an Angel, complete with a nifty press kit. (Haven’t seen one of those since my Talk Nerdy With Us days lol) Lemme give you a peek of my peek:

First, let’s tell you about the author. That’s always important, because it helps to know a little about the mind behind the world you’re about to enter. Here’s Lorah’s bio:

“Whisper of an Angel” is Lorah Jaiyn’s debut novel. Her short stories have been featured in several anthologies, and she has much more in the works. Her mood dictates genre blend from magic to vigilante justice. She lives in Central Florida and credits her Jack Russell as both her muse and biggest distraction. Lorah enjoys creating with polymer clay and volunteers with a wildlife rescue. She loves exploring the great outdoors and is also totally addicted to the Hallmark Channel. She can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lorahjaiyn.

Hey, Lorah, I totally like polymer clay too! (If only I could find the time for it anymore…) Still not sure? Well, I also have a convenient author interview! (I love press kits…so cool!)

Q: Lorah Jaiyn. Thank you for sitting down with us today in the Askew News Update room. Why don’t we start off with a little introduction. Tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve got to share with the world, today.

Thanks for having me. I am so excited about this book. I started out in western New York before moving to Florida right out of school. I was the quintessential rebellious teen who thought she knew everything, so I struck out on my own adventure. After a few months of stretching my new independence boundaries, I planted roots right smack in the middle of the state. I’ve been married forever, and our daughter and toddler grandson currently live in Japan where our son-in-law is stationed with the Air Force. Due to a severe case of empty nest syndrome, I’ve finally settled down and started to put all the stories hoarded in my imagination to paper, to hopefully entertain others.

Q: What was the pivotal moment where you said “You know what? I’m going to be an author?”

I remember telling my parents when I was a young teen that I’d have my first novel published by the time I was eighteen – romance, of course. Creative writing classes in high school were my favorite. My big plan was to spend a Christmas in NYCity, because that’s where all the big publishers were. Then, by the time I turned eighteen, life had taken over so it took ‘slightly’ longer than originally planned.

Q: What inspires you to create your fictional worlds and characters?

In a word, reality. I grew up reading Harlequin romances and I’m not ashamed to admit that real life is disappointing when you’re expecting perfect relationships and fireworks. Sometimes my stories contain scenes that are therapeutic and the only outlet I have that is legal.

Q: Every author has their own method to the madness, so-to-speak, what’s your writing process look like?

Get close to the deadline and panic. I’m such a pantser, always waiting til the last minute. I’ve tried outlining, but figured out that I fare better if I just blurt the story out of head and get it typed, then outline afterwards to make sure it makes sense. I also tend to handwrite first so I have something to follow when I type. I have enough partially used notebooks to stock Staples for a year. Or two. Each story needs a special notebook. Back-to-school time is better shopping than Christmas.

Q: When you develop your stories and characters, do you let them grow in front of you or do you have everything all planned out?

Both grow as I write. Trying to plan is just a waste of time for me.

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and books and why you love them.

There are so many – after working in a used bookstore for years, I became very eclectic with my reading. I don’t stick to any one genre (although I avoid nonfiction, history, and biographies), but here are a few of my favorites:

Cecelia Ahern – her stories are always emotional and heartfelt, without being overwhelming.

Nicholas Sparks & Mitch Albom – oh, the feels. Guaranteed to make you cry.

Raymond Feist – Faery Tale – all time favorite horror – the only book I’ve read that actually gave me the heebie jeebies.

Rosalind James – her New Zealand series. New Zealand is my dream location and her books are very vivid with her locales.

I’m also a huge local author person. Connie Mann and Dylan Newton are two of my favorites – they are both multi-successful and have both been huge supports for me.

Q: You chose to publish your work through RhetAskew (a division of Rhetoric Askew, LLC), why did you choose them and do you feel it was the right decision?

I’ve been in several Askew Anthologies and loved the time, devotion, and detail they put into their products. This is my debut novel, and I’m their debut novel, so it was a win-win right from the start. I love the staff and powers-that-be and it has been a very rewarding process. I totally made the right decision.

Q: What did you enjoy about the Askew process?

Communication! This book thing is not easy – parts of the process are very daunting. But using Rhetoric Askew made me feel less overwhelmed, there was always someone right there to ‘hold my hand’ so to speak. I’ve never had to wonder what was going on.

Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from reading Whisper of an Angel?

I want people to close the book with the sense that no matter how bad things are, it doesn’t mean that something good won’t come along. Keep your heart open to opportunities. And because I’m a big animal person, with a special love for dogs, I want people to realize that a dog can provide a special kind of love that you may not even know you need.

Q: Where can all your Askew fans find you when you aren’t writing?

facebook.com/lorahjaiyn

www.marshallglen.com

And if I’m not writing, I’m probably sitting behind a table making something out of polymer clay, so http://www.facebook.com/peekemboos

So now you know a little something-something about the author. Groovy. But you probably want to know about the book, seeing as how that’s what all the hubbub’s about. The genre’s romantic suspense, but that doesn’t tell you much. Maybe the cover art will  give you a hint:

Jaiyn Whisper

Adorbs, right? And don’t worry, I’m prepared if you don’t think adorbs is enough to get you to go buy this book: I’ve got the jacket blurb as ammunition!

Sometimes second chances start with four paws.

In the small town of Marshall Glen, Sofia retreats from life following the death of her husband. Six-year-old Kady lives in foster care and hasn’t spoken since a house fire stole her family. After she saves Kady’s dog from drowning, Sofia attempts to stay locked away, but learns that—

…even though she’s given up, her heart wants to—try again.

When Kady runs away from her foster home, Sofia meets the cop in charge of the search, Brandon—her first love. Sparks fly even as she struggles with her conscience. Is she being unfair to her husband’s memory?

When random acts of vandalism turn to attempted kidnapping, Brandon helps keep Kady safe. As the danger deepens, how far will Sofia go to save a child?

Hooked yet? I have to admit, this wasn’t my usual genre, but Whisper of an Angel was definitely an interesting read. I was hooked from the start, and it made for a quick, fulfilling evening’s read. And don’t let the Table of Contents intimidate you; the chapters, though many, are short enough that you don’t get bored. I could go on, but I’m one of those who will give away the whole plot in an attempt to summarize. That’s why I haven’t gone into details of the plot of my WIPs…I’ll end up basically writing the whole story here and have nothing left to surprise you with when Rhetoric Askew gets my own work on the shelves. You don’t want that–you want to read it for yourself! I totally get that, and that’s why I’m using my handy dandy press kit to give you links, links galore!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lorahjaiyn.

Twitter: @writerlorahj

Website: www.marshallglen.com

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/Lorah-Jaiyn/e/B01MQTN0X4

Amazon Book:

https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Angel-Marshall-Glenn-Book-ebook/dp/B078SDDRB9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515093077&sr=8-1&keywords=lorah+jaiyn

Goodreads:  

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16150584.Lorah_Jaiyn?from_search=true

But wait, there’s more! This fantastic book is available today! That’s right, today, January 19th, is the debut date, and I just happened to schedule this post to pop up on your feed/email on the 19th (I’m sneaky like that).

Now, this isn’t just some “I’m-pushing-another-Askew-author-because-I-want-my-stuff-pushed-when-the-time-comes” gig; I really want to support another author in her publishing journey, and I want word to get out there about this book. Yeah, at the time I’m writing this I have 180-something followers here on this blog, and yeah, my average views (according to WordPress, which I think is a bit off–sometimes I have more people talk to me in person about a blog post than the stats say have viewed it) aren’t the highest…still, it’s another voice in the din, and maybe, just maybe, I got you at least a teeny bit interested.

We authors tend to get caught up in our own musings, and I think we need to remember to support each other and read others’ works. Lorah has a real hit on her hands here, and we all need to band together and make that hit happen. I know there are other writers here; surely you can spare a bit of time and energy to wrench yourself away from your own works to appreciate the works of a fellow wordsmith? I did, and it was well worth it.

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Remember that list of things I have to make before Estrella War? Well, it’s still there–and not much has changed. :/

I started on my husband’s fighting tunic, but I made the sleeves a tad too big so that has to be altered before I can put the pieces together (thankfully I assembled the lining first, so I don’t have as much undoing to do). He also wants buttons, so I have to make adjustments for that. The embroidery is coming along but slowly. His rapier hood is larger than mine, with more seams to stitch, so even though I’m nearly done there’s still a good bit of work left on it. I have to stitch the trim he made for my fighting tunic onto the garment before I finish his. I have pants to make still (not complicated, but involved). And there’s a scroll I have to complete in addition to the sewing. I’m hoping to get a good bit of the prep work on that done today between my pre-work waking up time and the scribal class this evening.

There are a couple of things I had wanted to complete that I don’t think I’ll be able to this go around. I had wanted to make a coat of some sort (Viking style, of course) to wear at Estrella, but that’s not going to happen. I won’t be able to get decent material for it prior, and it’s just going to take up too much of my time. So it’ll be a cloak to keep me warm on those cold Estrella nights, at least this war. I had also wanted to make a Viking apron dress and under dress to go with the Viking “treasure beads” I got for Christmas, but that too will take too much time. I suppose the latter is for the better though, because now I can take my time on it and use those as one of my Arts & Sciences entries.

That’s right; I still plan on entering in the A&S competition for our barony, and despite some peoples’ reservations, I plan on competing for Champion. Go big or go home, right? Besides, I have confidence in my abilities, and I have a secret 3rd project in the planning stages that I think will at the very least be interesting to the judges. It sure as hell will be interesting to me to research, and any learning is a good thing. Yeah, there’s always the chance I won’t win, and I might be judged more critically if I enter for Champion and not a couple of Novice pieces, but I don’t care about either of those. I’m in it to prove that I can do it at this point. Go ahead and naysay; there’s enough stubborn Leo in me to push on and keep working towards my goal. And if I win? It’s all cherry at that point.

I keep telling myself that things will slow down after Estrella, but who am I kidding? I’ll be busy busy busy right up until and after A&S. That’s okay, though. I can do it.

Oops! I did it again … telling, telling, telling. Many authors will relate on this one: the “show, don’t tell” dilemma. I have been particularly guilty of telling too often, and in my rereading of Book 2 (which, granted, is just in its first set of revisions following a very rough first draft) I see that I have quite the workload ahead of me.

I’m getting better at the showing thing, but I have a lot of fixing to do for Book 2 to eliminate the telling. I don’t know how I put so much of it in there without realizing it, but what’s told is told and I have to un-tell it … somehow.

There’s another problem that I see after looking at my work with recently-critiqued eyes: exposition. Yeah. I got some of that going, too. I took it out of Book 1 (based on said critiques), but I worry that the point isn’t going to get across with the way I took it out. There are things that I feel aren’t explained adequately, major plot points, but I’m at a loss as to how to convey the things without telling and without boring the reader. It’s not something I think beyond my ability to do, but the fact that I can’t figure it out right away is frustrating.

It doesn’t help that I think about other series that I’ve read, and that I know the exposition is often there to quickly explain what happened in the last book, a “Previously, on … ” kind of thing that you see in TV shows, if you will. So it happens in publication all the time, right? So–why am I concerned? I guess I’m trying to predict what issues the publishers will have with the next book, and even though I see this type of thing quite frequently when I’m reading I still envision my publishers’ potential comments, and it is throwing me.

Maybe I need to back off and not worry about the second book for right now. Take some (more) time off from it and mull a bit. I don’t know. I think I’m overthinking.

So I manage a cosplay page on Facebook (that has stalled at the wayside as SCA overruns cosplay on the priority scale), a “fan” page for our cat, Rory, a page for my oft-forgotten Etsy shop, and of course the work I do for the Barony. So why did I add another page to keep track of?

Oh yeah, author Facebook pages are a thing. That’s why I did it.

You see, it goes something like this: I was typing up a scheduled post for Friday (keep your eyes peeled, folks!), and I realized that I haven’t had a proper page for my writing in years. I just keep losing track of what I’m doing and forgetting to post and then I ditch the page in favor of just using Twitter and this blog to promote moi.

Can’t keep doing that. People like having “fanpages” they can use to get updates on their favorite authors’ comings and goings. Granted, I don’t come or go much, but I do write, and I can write about writing. So off to Facebook I went to create a page.

Except I can’t get the damn URL to be custom. I guess not enough people like the page yet? Maybe that’s why…anywho, for now this is the URL: https://www.facebook.com/AJ-Mullican-143311953045804/

Yeah, you see why I want a custom one. I think if enough people like the page I can pop in and create that custom URL in a jiffy, but right now it’s the middle of the night and no one’s up to add it.

It should be interesting to see how the viewership of this blog changes with the new Facebook page. You see, I changed my Twitter settings so my tweets go to the author page, not my personal Facebook feed. Say what? Yeah, WordPress is cool like that; it lets you share to different social media platforms when you publish. So why does changing my Twitter settings change my WordPress posting? Okay, so Twitter does a cool thing, too: it lets you share your tweets to different social media platforms as well. So WordPress –> Twitter –> Facebook. Easy peasy. Or something. It’s worked so far; guess we’ll see how well it works now that the settings are tweaked. If worse comes to worse (or is it worst comes to worst? Damnit), I can just share from the page to my personal feed if I want my blog read by more friends and family. A P.I.T.A. to be sure, but eventually people will see that the author page is the original poster of the blog posts and thus go to the author page and like it and then everything will be swell. Or not.

Facebook, you see, is tricksy.

tricksy

More tricksy than nots. What they have are these silly metrics things, which are apparently arbitrary and only to Facebook’s benefit. To make a long story short, if you don’t pay them monies to get your posts seen, even people who “follow” your page won’t see your posts. Lame.

So, again, why make the author page?

Because it gives my publisher a link to show people, that’s why. Yeah, it’s a new page and doesn’t have much content (yet)….it’s still something. And the more links they can give, the more exposure I can get once it’s time for Book 1 to get released.

exposure_big

Credit to the Oatmeal. Because that guy fucking rocks, and he deserves both exposure and monies for the work he does.

Seriously, though, as an author a little exposure can go a long way. I mean, if people don’t know I’m there or that my work is there, how can they be interested? Yeah, exposure itself doesn’t pay, but if people see the thing and want to read the thing, then (in theory) if they want it enough they’ll pay to read the thing.

Or maybe I’m just nucking futs at 1:30 in the morning, having very little sleep and being unable to either get to sleep naturally or take more sleeping medicine. (I already took my prescriptions hours ago…they worked to get me to sleep initially, but not to keep me there or get me back there.)

We’ll see how the page goes once people wake up and start liking the page and once I can update the URL and all that fun happy stuff.

Until then…to the writing board!

Life is like a TARDIS, and right now my life is a bit wibbly-wobbly.

Let me clarify: I’m existing in multiple eras at the same time, and it’s kind of weird to think about.

I’m living in the past (the SCA). I’m working in the present. And I’m writing in the future.

So, depending on the day, I could exist in three different “times” in less than twenty-four hours. For instance, right now I’m doing medieval-era embroidery. Later, I’ll be doing some modern kitchen clean-up and laundry. And spaced throughout the day, as I’m doing these other things, I’ll probably be writing a century or so into the future. Kind of cool, but kind of confusing if you’re not used to it.

Part of the way I deal with my temporal dysplasia is by compartmentalizing. Not the most healthy of psychological mechanisms to use, but it’s one that seems to work for me. When I’m at work, the SCA and my writing are at the back of my mind at best. In the SCA, I’m oblivious to the work aspect of things, and I only write during times when I can pull myself away from the past. When I’m writing, forget the rest of the time stream; I’m in the future of my own creation, and that’s that.

Well, maybe not quite that simple. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, the streams cross. I have sword jewelry that I wear to work. I carry my phone with me at SCA events. And that future? It’s based on tidbits of the present.

I guess the reason that I can’t completely separate things is because time isn’t a straight line, at least not from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint. It’s more of a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.

It took getting hit like a ton of bricks to get me to slow down, but I finally took a weekend “off” from the hectic life I’ve been living.

Here’s what happened: I overdid things, as I am wont to do, and I ended up contracting one of those strains of flu not covered by this year’s vaccine. Yep, that’s what it takes to get me to grind to a halt when I’ve been going going going. No events for me, no war practice, no rapier practice, no nothing. Just staying home from work yesterday and staying home from war practice today and tomorrow. Home. No running. No doing…just being.

Okay, maybe a little doing. I’ve been embroidering and sewing, but I’m keeping my activities limited to at-home things that don’t require going out. My body clearly needed the rest, so resting I am.

It feels a bit weird. I have nothing that I absolutely have to be doing right now. As a matter of fact, I’m lying in bed, watching a movie in the dark. No responsibilities. So strange. And you know what? It’s the middle of the day. Almost 3:30 in the afternoon…and I’m not doing anything of worth.

The coming weeks won’t be like this. It’ll take another viral attack to get me to slow down again. There will be more practices, more projects, more more more. I should probably take advantage of this disadvantage and relax as much as possible.

I won’t get an opportunity like this for a while.

Time warp

Posted: January 11, 2018 in #design, #nerd, costuming, Crafting, Geek, Health, SCA, Sewing, Stress, Time

I’ve got plenty of time to get things done before Estrella War … right?

Maybe … maybe not.

Back when I was in the Yule Feast Crunch (much like Con Crunch, only no convention), I “triaged” my sewing projects, listing the things I need/want to sew or make in the coming months. The goal there was to have a quick visual of what needs to be done so I can prioritize.

I have failed in prioritizing.

First, I was supposed to make another bento box for an SCA tournament prize. (That project is cut out but not assembled yet.) Then, I was going to make new garb for Estrella War so we’d have more outfit choices. I was also going to make my husband a new fighting tunic. The list goes on, but those are the ones that were most necessary before Estrella–which is next month. Five weeks, more or less. While I still can get all those things done before, I realized today just how much of a crunch I’ve gotten myself into–again.

Work is hectic. SCA life is hectic. Oh yeah, and there’s the nasty cold I’ve contracted. Yay. I’ve also started embroidering my husband’s rapier mask hood for him … very time consuming, but I’m going to rationalize that by telling myself I can do hand embroidery just about anywhere, any time there’s decent lighting and a place to sit. The other stuff? Not so much, at least not at this stage of the process.

Time’s a funny thing. You think you have plenty of it, so you go about doing other things that may or may not be as crucial as the things with rapidly-approaching deadlines. Then it starts catching up to you; first you have two months (plenty of time!), then six weeks, then five-four-three-two-one-oh-shit-time’s-run-out-and-I’m-not-done! Yeah. It’s like that. I guess Einstein was right–it’s relative. Right now, I’m experiencing time at a slower pace, so I feel like there’s lots of time left. However, the closer to the event horizon (a.k.a. Estrella War) I get, the faster time moves. Tick-tock, man. Tick-tock.

I’m not gonna lie; I’ll probably be sewing right up until we leave. It’s just what I do, I guess. I’ve always been that way. School projects? Research papers? Yep, that’s been my modus operandi. Time warps in on itself until it’s almost gone, and I’m caught scrambling.

One of these days I’m going to learn to use time to my advantage, and I’m going to finally be finished before the last second.

One of these days.

Time to get cracking.