Coming in October! – Severed Veil: Tales of Death and Dreams

Publishing preparation checklist?? OH YES. 😀

I’ve mentioned it here and there on social media, but I’m excited to finally *officially* announce that, Lord willing, I am releasing a new book at the end of October!

Severed Veil: Tales of Death and Dreams is a collection of fierce fantasy and sci-fi short stories—stories that dance on the delicate rift between life and death, waking and dreams. Stories from my gut. Stories from my soul.

I am beyond excited about my plans for this book. The collection will include my short story “Dreamskip” (a Writers Of The Future Honorable Mention), “No More Blood” (a finalist from the Splickety live critique at Realm Makers in 2018), and 7+ other short stories and flash fiction pieces.

The cover is in progress right now, and oh my goodness…I am itching to reveal it already, and it isn’t even in its final form!!! 😀

If you’d like to be part of the cover reveal at the end of this month, please check out THIS LINK to sign up! 😀

I have even more exciting news about Severed Veil coming SOON. So keep an eye out! It’s going to be an exciting and intense few weeks getting this new book ready to share with the world. 😃

July #WIPjoy and Other Exciting Updates

Hey, everybody!

Yesterday I sent out my June newsletter, which contained a whole host of exciting announcements, as well as a free flash fiction piece, Fall Like a Stone. The link below will take you there to read it all…

READ THE EXCITING NEWSLETTER HERE! (A new story may be coming out…) 😀

Also, July is almost upon us, which means another #WIPjoy is right around the corner. Here is the list of July prompts for those of you who participate!

For this month’s Friday prompts I have partnered up with my friend, author coach, editor, and fellow writer Janeen Ippolito, whose hashtag game One Random Question (#1randomques) normally goes out every Friday! Her game is so much fun, and I wanted to bring that fun into #WIPjoy. If you like her Friday prompts, be sure to follow her on Facebook or Twitter to get her #1randomques prompts year-round!

Blog Tour: “My Fault” by RJ Conte

My friend and fellow author, RJ Conte, has a new book out! This time it’s a Christian rom-com – and guys, this book is laugh-out-loud funny. 😀 Her protagonist, Cleo, has one of the best character voices. She’s unorthodox and random and brazen, and somehow RJ manages to marry this hilarity seamlessly together with the deep, heartfelt issues she is known for writing. It’s a wonderful, sweet, quick read. And I get to share an excerpt with you today!

First, here is the blurb and cover…

“I realized his eyes had lost that wary look. They were the bluest blue. Bluer than my favorite coffee mug. Bluer than the Solonaise County Public Pool when it’s actually been cleaned at the beginning of the summer before all those little kids in their floaties come and pee in it.”

Quirky Cleo Stanton has a problem: she’s falling for the guy she ran over with her car when she should not have been driving.

A devout Christian and quietly mysterious, Grayson Fox is as cute as he is kind, begrudgingly putting up with Cleo and her motor mouth. But will he ever forgive her for crushing his leg? Can she break him out of his shell? And what hilarity will ensue when the flamboyant Cleo tries to draw him out?

And now, an excerpt from the story! This is my favorite scene from the book, because it’s just so Cleo and adorkable. 😀

An Excerpt from My Fault!

My phone still rang. And I knew who it was.

“Mom.”

“Cleee! Happy birthday, honey!” came the soft, twangy squeal. Couldn’t take the south out of Mom, no matter how long she hadn’t lived in Louisiana.

“Yeah, thank you…” No use squelching the matriarch. One celebrated one’s birthday in the Stanton family. There was no other option. Even though Jaq and I had outgrown birthdays like forever ago.

“What are your plans? You going out with friends? You have to spare us some time too. Evening? Afternoon? What works with your work schedule?”

It was so cute how Mom thought I had a life. The delusions were strong with this one.

“Um… let me ask Gra… Let me get back to you.” Scratch that. Why was I hiding Grayson? “There’s a guy I might be hanging out with.”

“Eh…” Mom hemmed.

Okay, so I hadn’t chosen award-winning guys in the past. What the fo, Mom. Where was your extreme optimism in my life choices from a moment ago?

After hanging up with her, I ran a brush through my bedhead mohawk, smoothing my crazy red strands down to fall to my chin. Then on went the lemon yellow kicks I had bought for myself. “Happy birthday, loser,” I cheered myself in the mirror – while only wearing underwear and the new Converse sneakers. Clothes were overrated. Maybe I should snap a selfie. What would Grayson think of that?

I had a new book idea suddenly: How to Lose a Guy in Forty-Three Days by Cleo Stanton, Jailbird and Drunkard.

Sighing, while the baby in my head reprimanded me with some loud screaming, I pulled the shoes back off and threw on some skinny jeans before returning the Converse to my feet. Lastly, I pulled out my favorite white t-shirt that said, “Inigo, I am your father. You will kill your father. Prepare to die.” The background image was Darth Vader holding up a hand with six fingers. The thing had cracked me up so much, I had shed tears over my computer keyboard, and couldn’t press “add to basket” quick enough. I bought three, just in case I ruined the first and lost the second. One couldn’t be too careful with favorite shirts. This was back when I had money to blow.

One also had to wear their favorite shirt to a Stanton birthday celebration. I needed the emotional hug from Six-Fingered-Vader just to handle whatever passive aggressive present Jaq showed up with. Last year it had been a set of hand weights. “For the… arms…” he had said, giving a polite cough that hid none of his actual meaning.

I had played dumb. “Thank you! I broke the armrests off my computer chair. I’ll nail these bad boys in as substitute! How did you know what I needed for all those afternoons browsing Reddit eating Reese’s Pieces? Best. Brother. Ever.” I had even patted him on the head like one would a dead lobster they were about to slather with garlic butter and eat with a teeny, tiny, sharp fork.

Jaq had gone home as red as a hard-shelled crustacean, that’s for sure. Stupid brother.

But wait. Grayson had called me “tiny.” I glanced in the mirror and tried to see Tiny Cleo. Yeah, we were good. I could do this thing.

Isn’t she awesome?? You can buy the book here on Amazon, or add it to your Goodreads!

More About RJ Conte

RJ Conte has kissed only one boy in her entire life. And she married him, inspiring her to write about sweet or powerful love stories ever since. She writes realistic, issue-driven fiction that explores human nature and the depths of the soul, while pointing readers to their Creator.

RJ writes a blog on parenting, publishing, painting, and perorating at http://blonderj.wordpress.com/

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Interview with Mollie Reeder, Author of The Electrical Menagerie!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome a friend to my blog – Mollie Reeder, debut author of The Electrical Menagerie. TEM is a “solarpunk” novel and I’m really itching to get my hands on my own copy! It looks super unique, and from what I’ve seen of her sneak peeks, it’s going to be both moving and hilarious.

I’m interviewing Mollie today (and there’s a link to a super cool giveaway at the bottom of this post!), but first, here’s a bit about her shiny book itself!

About The Electrical Menagerie

The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, a shot at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians —but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.

“Dazzles from start to finish. In Carthage & Huxley, Sherlock & Watson fans will find another dynamic duo whose ready wit and sizzling banter (and inevitable personality clashes) never fail to delight. You’ll be calling for an encore performance.” Gillian Bronte Adams, author of The Songkeeper Chronicles

“The stuff that fandoms are built on.” Kyle Robert Shultz, author of Beaumont & Beasley

Purchase The Electrical Menagerie on Amazon

or

add it to your Goodreads!

IT SOUNDS SO GOOD. Eeep! I can’t wait to read it! 😀 And I’m really excited to welcome Mollie to my blog today to ask her some questions.

Interview with Author Mollie Reeder

Hi, Mollie! I’m so excited to have you here – congratulations, again, on the release of The Electrical Menagerie! How long have you been writing and how did you get started?

I wrote my first “book” when I was just old enough to spell – it was called “Why Are You So Grumpy?” and it was about a turtle who constantly complained about things. On the last page, in a startling moment of self-revelation, the turtle realized how grumpy he was and it ended with an illustration of him gaping with his mouth open like Munch’s The Scream.

I guess you could say I’ve been writing “professionally” since 2013. That was the year I finished my first screenplay and started seriously focusing on writing as a career.

That childhood book sounds hilarious!! 😀

What was your initial inspiration for the Celestial Isles books? How long have you been working on it?

Story ideas, for me, are like stone soup. Random (often borrowed) ingredients kind of boil together for ages – for example, I’ve wanted to use the “islands floating in space” setting for several years – then often transform into a complete story or world somewhat suddenly. That was definitely the case here. I wrote The Electrical Menagerie in a matter of months. But it includes a lot of things that have been simmering in my mind for a lot longer. (ha! See what I did there?)

I see it! *looks up at blog title* 😉

I’m fascinated by the concept of solarpunk and the world of your story! If I was to get sucked into your world, what would you urge me to see while I was there, and what are some things you’d warn me about?

I’d start by asking what kind of adventure you’d like to have! The Celestial Isles are vast and diverse. Atlas Isle, for example, where Carthage grew up, is cool, rugged, and rural. Astoria Isle is bustling and urban, full of museums and entertainment. Helios is the home of the high courts, and features some of the most famous monuments and architecture. Celestia, the snowy and mountainous capitol, is home to the royal palace. Of course, the fastest and most reliable* way to travel between isles is by train, so you’ll also get to see plenty of sky.

While the outlying isles are generally friendly and safe, you should keep your wits about you in the major cities, where you’re likely to encounter pickpockets, con artists, and organized crime.

* thanks to the tireless efforts of the Railway Ministry, railway-related catastrophes are at an all-time low!

I know that you do screenwriting as well as writing novels and short stories! Tell me a little about the kinds of films you write. Have you ever thought of making your novels into screenplays?

My first screenplay was historical/adventure. In 2014 I had contest contender with a dirty cop who uncontrollably glitches forward in time. I recently co-wrote a family western. And the feature film I produced, Aria Appleton Shines like the Sun, is a middle-grade musical! Redemption and relationships are the heart of everything I write.

I like scripts and novels for different reasons. For example, The Electrical Menagerie has alternating points of view, which lets us understand how Carthage & Huxley perceive each other. That’s something books can do that movies can’t — in a movie, the narrative is always external. We don’t get to delve “inside” the character.

That said, I’d love to see TEM on the big screen! There’s a particular scene about halfway through, where a beta came to me and said “this played like a movie scene in my mind – how did you do that?!” and that is one of the best compliments I’ve gotten. I want readers to have a cinematic experience.

I love that! Yes, that’s one of my goals with my writing too. What are some of your favorite books and movies that inspire you as a creative?

 I’m really most inspired by musicals. I actually do most of my writing while listening to musicals. Of course, I love the Greatest Showman soundtrack (and I hope this series scratches the itch for anybody who left that movie wishing they could run away and join the circus…) but the most resonant to me while I was writing TEM were certain lyrics from Finding Neverland. (“It’s so frustrating/ when no one else sees/ everything else you see…”)

Carthage is partly based on J.M. Barrie, and there’s a nod to him in an early performance where Carthage & Huxley give free tickets to a group of children in order to prime the audience. There’s a story that Barrie did the same thing when he first opened Peter Pan.

Also like Barrie, Carthage sounds 100% Scottish in my head. Because we need more literary magicians with Scottish accents — am I right?!

I totally agree. 😀

Thanks so much for having me, Bethany! Your presence in the writing community has been incredibly inspiring/motivating to many people, including myself, and I’m honored to be featured on the blog.

Awww, thank you, Mollie! I’m so happy to have had you here on the blog. 😀

More about Mollie Reeder

Mollie’s first job was with a major theme park, where she operated a roller coaster, fixed parade floats, and helped Scooby-Doo put on his head. Now, Mollie is a movie producer and the author of character-driven science fiction/fantasy novels for adults who never outgrew imagination. Her favorite things include Jesus, dinosaurs, and telling cinematic stories that blend glitter and grit.

You can find her at her website, on Twitter, or on Instagram!

Enter the giveaway!

This is possibly one of the coolest blog tour giveaways I’ve seen…look at all these shinies!!

The giveaway (open to the U.S. only) includes:

  • “High Victorian” playing cards by luxury playing card company Theory11
  • Handmade galaxy mug by DeVita Designs
  • Science & Engineering Themed Pocket Notebook Set by CognitiveSurplus
  • A tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea

Enter it here! https://kingsumo.com/g/8tf8sz/the-electrical-menagerie-steampunk-prize-pack-giveaway

More Stops on the Blog Tour

Monday, June 4th

Tuesday, June 5th

 Wednesday, June 6th

Thursday, June 7th

 Friday, June 8th

Saturday, June 9th

Monday, June 11th

How to Prepare For Realm Makers (Or Any Writing Conference)

Realm Makers is less than 50 days away, peeps.

SQUEE!!!!

(That GIF expresses both sides of my brain here. On the one hand, ALL THE EXCITE! And on the other….oh, I have so much to do before I go!!)

This will be my third year going to Realm Makers, and since it’s on my mind today, I thought I’d write up some advice and thoughts for those attending for the first time – or going to their first conference anywhere – or going any time, no matter how many conferences you’ve been to!

A lot of people have written advice posts on what to pack, or what to bring to Realm Makers specifically, how to prep if you’re going to pitch to an agent or publisher, and so forth. Those posts are immensely helpful, and I recommend you check them out!

But this isn’t going to be one of those posts.

I’m here to speak to your writer heart from mine, about how to prepare internally for going out among a huge throng of fellow Christian writers, maybe for the first time ever.

First of all…

1. It’s totally normal to be nervous.

Don’t be embarrassed by it. Or surprised. Many of us writers are shy little introverted butterflies, and the thought of going to a conference full of strangers – and, eeeek, talking about our writing! – makes us shudder. Or maybe you have something else to be nervous about, like the travel.

This is NORMAL.

Feel it. Accept it. Embrace it. Don’t be scared by your own fear! Listen to music that gives you courage, read Scripture passages about bravery, and combat each lie with the truth of who you are in Christ and why you have nothing to fear.

(I made a playlist to listen to on the plane the first year I went, to fill my heart with truth and courage…if you’d like to listen to it, I’ve put it on Spotify, here!)

2. Look outside yourself.

Think about this: you are going to go to this conference and be surrounded by other people who are just as terrified as you are. Even some people going back for the second or third time have new things to be nervous about! We can always use a smile and an encouraging word, no matter how experienced we are. All of us are only human.

Instead of allowing your nerves to swallow you whole, look outside yourself. Smile. Say hello. Sit next to someone you haven’t met before and ask them what they’re writing. Show the love of Christ to someone. ALL of us can do this. You’re never too new or too shy to bless others!

Focus on making others feel seen and welcome, and you’ll totally forget to worry about how people are perceiving you. 🙂

3. Start praying NOW.

Pray for the teachers, for the fellowship between authors, for Christ to be glorified in you and by the conference as a whole.

We are WRITERS. And not only that, we are CHRISTIANS. We have great power. Satan will attack us wherever we are weak, whenever he can, because what is more terrifying to him than a room full of Holy-Spirit-filled writers and their stories that are written to the glory of the King of kings?

But we aren’t powerful because of us. We’re powerful because of the God we serve. Let’s soak this conference in fervent prayer before we even arrive! And remember that when we come together, we represent Christ and His bride, the Church – let’s pray for the power to live that out in everything we say and do.

4. Expect to have a breakdown.

Confession: at my first Realm Makers, I spent one late afternoon in my room, stuffing my face into my pillow so my roomies wouldn’t hear me sobbing. I’d just walked away from a (basically lifelong) WIP a month before, which I thought I would be able to bring and pitch to a publisher, and I didn’t know who I was or where I was going anymore.

That Realm Makers was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. It changed my life. It was incredible! But all the teaching, the experience, and the excitement forced me to come face-to-face with a lot of griefs and yearnings. Cue breakdown!

….Confession #2: at my second Realm Makers, I cried all through my first plane flight home, because I still hadn’t been able to return to that WIP, it was all I wanted to write, and I was still processing feelings. 😛 (It’s my current WIP now, so, God is good. 😀 )

Breakdowns happen. Even to those of us who aren’t newbies!

Especially if you’re the kind of person who feels a lot of feeeeeelings…straight up plan for this when you go to a conference. Expect it. Don’t let it catch you off guard.

There will almost certainly be a point (before, during, or after, or even all three) where you feel discouraged, lonely, exhausted, like an abject failure, or even spiritually attacked. There is a lot to process at a conference, and you don’t get life-changing without at least a little freak-outery! You’ll be introduced to so many new thoughts; you’ll feel the weight of missed opportunities; you’ll wonder about your career and where it’s headed; maybe a pitch appointment will go poorly…there are so many things to freak out about.

BUT IT WILL BE OKAY. Take your panic or your sadness straight to God, and thank Him for even the hard and painful parts of such a big experience. Pray for wisdom to move forward with your writing to His glory.

You will get through this, and it will not destroy your conference experience – not if you don’t let it!

5. Expect God to bless you in ways you didn’t even anticipate.

People will be even nicer than you expect. You’ll make new friends. You’ll find great new books. You’ll hear something in a seminar that will forever free you and fuel you for the rest of your writing life. If you are going to Realm Makers, you will be surrounded by blessings you never even imagined or expected. These people are a tribe. And they are wonderful.

So go forward with confidence and eagerness!

It’s going to be AMAZING.

*

Have you been to Realm Makers or another writing conference before? What advice would you give for preparing yourself mentally and spiritually for a conference?