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As I've been working frantically to finish the first round of edits on Silencing Breath
, the sequel to Stealing Breath
, I've found myself needing to refresh my memory of Navajo Skinwalker lore. The Skinwalker is the creature my protagonist, Sarah Ross, faces throughout Stealing Breath
are men or women who have attained the highest level of priesthood by committing the act of killing a member of their family, thus gaining the supernatural powers commonly associated with Skinwalkers. They are known as
"clizyati" or "pure evil".
A question I'm often asked is, "Why Skinwalkers?" The truth is, I was inspired by a story told to me by one of my friends, an Indigenous Canadian, of a time she was on a road trip in the US. It was the middle of the night and she was growing too tired to continue driving, so she pulled her car over to the side of the road, somewhere in Arizona near the “four corners” (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). She planned to have a nap, but was startled awake when her car started rocking as if someone was jumping on her car, their mocking laughter outside sending shivers up her back. Quite abruptly it stopped, and when she spoke to some of her Navajo relatives later, they said these tricksters were Skinwalkers, people who practiced “Bad Medicine” and could perform astral-projection!
Isn't that amazing? I'm not going to go into too much detail right now, but if you would like to learn more about Skinwalkers, make sure you follow me at @JoanneBrothwell
on Twitter, where I post fascinating quotes from people who have experienced real-life encounters with these terrible monsters.
Here are a few videos of those very stories. Beware!
Lovely, isn't it? Unless, of course, you are injured, lost, hungry and cold. This scene, taken last summer on my holidays, is of the lovely Bridal Veil Falls near Victoria, BC. The landscape is equally breathtaking and formidable in it's beauty and power - the thunderous crashing of the waterfall and the lush, dense forest around it.
This is the setting of Ashes in the Wind, the WIP that is currently (unwittingly) forming in my head.
I have edits to finish on book two, Silencing Breath to finish. I have book three, Seizing Breath to write. I'm 40,000 words into The Fifth Daughter of Eve, a new series. But I have these two gorgeous people stuck in my head - the characters from a new novel, a dark adaptation of a Grimm fairy tale, one that I've already titled Ashes in the Wind.
Why does this happen to writers? Is it the crazy writer's brain that just won't stay quiet? Is it the creativity inside of us that refuses to stay put? Is it just a form of procrastination that keeps us from getting our work done? What?
Should I go ahead and start this story too? Or should I keep these two beautiful people locked up in my mind until I get my other projects finished first?
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It's a good thing Sarah and Evan are so much fun to hang out with, because my first round of edits have just come back to me this morning, and I've been given a deadline of less than TWO WEEKS to finish them!
I'm guessing it will take me at least forty hours, minimum, to complete these edits, all in THIRTEEN days. Gack!
Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!
Buoyed by the fabulous reviews and reactions by my readers, I have decided to go ahead and play with my favourite characters, Sarah and Evan, once more.
Check them out, aren't they cute? Notice the eye colour?
After some contemplation about finishing my current WIP, The Fifth Daughter of Eve (which is sitting at 40,000 words), or starting book three, Seizing Breath, I've decided to attempt the impossible: write them concurrently!
Why? You might ask? Because I've stagnated on Eve and my mind continues to perseverate on this third book.
So here it goes, two WIP's at once!
So fellow bloggers, have you ever attempted to write to novels at the same time? How did it go? Do you have any advice for me?
This is the word-for-word review of Stealing Breath by blogger Katrina at Kindred Dreamheart
I received a free copy of this book on the Bewitching Book Tour for an honest review
At the exact moment I flicked to the white page on my Kindle signifying the end of this story, I knew there would be trouble. YES, TROUBLE! My husband, unfortunately, was the recipient of my bibliophilism wrath! I tend to get very dramatic when a book gets me this excited; and I wanted to break everything breakable when I reached the end of this journey. I did not expect to neglect my duties in favor of sneaking peeks at this book; and yet I did EVERY chance I got.This book had:
♥ Native American folk lore
♥ Italian folk lore
I absolutely refuse to spoil the story by telling too much (the synopsis tells enough), so here’s my abridged reaction:YEEEEAAAAHHHH!
The characters…I loved them all instantly. I want…scratch that…I’ve got to see more of them! Sarah is an empath that we later learn is so, so much more. Even, I cannot speak of, but once you discover
his secret, you’ll be so glad you did. The other supporting casts members were also great without being self absorbed static. They really did act to enhance the main focus which was the plot.
The plot was freaking awesome. The pretense of the missing child and the follow through into the bigger story was a mind blowing experience.... Like free-falling 250-feet from a C-130……wind in your ears……heart in your esophagus…..belly button touching your back…….opening parachute flanked on either side…….*Gasps*...... yanks you back and you know very soon it will all end, but you keep wishing you could freaking pimp slap gravity just to say on this ride just a little longer. Yeah!
That’s how this book made me feel. (And this is after I've had a few days to calm down.)
Oh, My! Epic? Really? I am so happy, I forgot to breath.
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It's Carnivalesque time! Once again, I'm be hanging out with some fabulous writer friends, Hayley E. Lavik
, Janet Corcoran
, Jana Richards
, and Karyn Good
, for our traveling blog CARNIVALESQUE, THE TRAVELLING BLOG SHOW!
This week's topic:Conventions as a promotional strategy. Are they worth the money?Jana:
I believe conventions are a good promotional strategy. There’s nothing like meeting editors, agents and other writers face-to-face and making personal connections. When you’re able to make a pitch in person, you become someone real to an editor or agent rather than just one more manuscript on the slush pile. You can keep up with industry news and find out what’s selling in the world of romance. Who knows? That agent you meet in the bathroom may turn out to be just the person you need to lift your writing career to the next level. Just don’t be one of those writers who stalks the agent to the bathroom and slides a manuscript under the cubicle door. So not cool!
On the downside, conventions are expensive, so choose wisely. If you can only afford one this year, choose one your target agents and editors will be attending. Make sure you get as much out of the convention as you can. Sign up for pitch sessions, attend workshops put on by different publishing houses, schmooze with other writers. It’s all about networking and getting your name out there.
Conferences to promote yourself? As an unpublished writer who has only gone to a conference to learn the craft and pitch my work, I'm not sure I have an answer for this question. But looking at it from a reader's point of view, having gone to a conference, I would have to say they are good for promotion purposes. I found a new-to-me author at the conference - she not only gave a workshop on writing humor, but she made herself available for a short critique session (part of the conference package), was visible throughout the conference, and had her books available for purchase. She's not a bestseller and I don't think I would have ever heard of her outside of that conference setting. Her conference presence definitely worked. So, since all writers are readers, conferences could be a brilliant place to promote yourself. As with everything, go in with a game plan and stick with it - and make sure you tap into that extrovert gene we writers are notoriously missing to get yourself known to all those new-to-you readers. Karyn
I can’t speak to the promotional value of conferences as I’ve never been to one. Nope, not one. I’d like to though, I just have the pick the right one for me. This is why writing groups are handy and why travelling together to get to them is equally beneficial. During the two hour drive to our meeting last Saturday we discussed this very thing. So after getting some great advice, I know I would choose conferences geared more towards learning my craft of writing. My dollars are better spent taking advantage of workshops and chances to talk to agents and editors then say attending The Romantic Times convention. I’m hoping to go to RWA 2013 in Atlanta!Joanne (Me)
I don’t know if I really have the answer, but I’ll share what I know after attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference twice, as well as going to two Conventions: RT Booklovers Convention and The Vampire Diaries Convention. What I found, is that conferences and conventions are very different, and have different levels of usefulness, depending on what you’re looking for.
I’ll start with The SiWC, which is, of course, a conference, geared toward learning, not a convention, which is a gathering of people who are fans of books/media. What I like about Surrey was the great workshops for learning the craft. I found the first year absolutely enlightening, but the second year less so, probably because my learning curve was at its steepest in the first year. I had the opportunity to pitch to one agent each time I attended, which was a great learning experience, even if it didn’t actually turn into an offer of representation. I met other aspiring authors, but found many to be literary fiction rather than genre fiction, and I also found it to be a touch click-y, with many of the same people returning year after year and sticking together.
The least valuable convention was the Vampire Diaries. After the whirlwind of RT right before, TVD was quiet, boring and subdued. People stood around to wait for the stars to speak, to get photos, to get autographs, etc. I met about fifteen people, offered a free E-book to all of them, but only had one person actually follow through to take me up on my offer. All in all, it was quite disappointing.
The most useful in terms of promotion was by far the RT Booklovers Convention. There, I met readers and even managed to sell a couple of books. I also met a number of book bloggers/reviewers who agreed to host me at their blogs and review my book (book bloggers and reviewers are absolutely invaluable when starting out). Finally, I pitched to TEN agents/publishers! This was in a formal setting, which was very valuable, but I also got to have drinks with some of them at the evening parties!
In conclusion, I would say the RT Con was far different from a conference, but it really had it all: promotional and networking as well as learning opportunities.So, fellow bloggers, what do you think? Are conferences/conventions worth the money? Is one better than the other? Tell us, we'd love to hear from you!
My first official book signing at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
Me with my SWAG!
This was a major milestone in my writing career - to have an official book signing in a real book store. McNally Robinson Booksellers
helped to make my dream come true, as they are committed to helping local authors by shelving their books and providing promotional opportunities, such as readings and book signings. I can't thank McNally Robinson
This experience was at times a nail-bitingly awkward, but it was also a growing experience as I was pushed way, WAY out of my comfort zone. My friends and family came to support me, and even bought a few books! I had some sales to complete strangers and one very nice old man who talked to me about politics, the environment and everything else under the sun for well over half an hour, all without buying my book.
I showed off the Stealing Breath
book, gave away a link to my prequel novella, Vicarious
, as well as gave away black "Sarah" nailpolish and a Stealing Breath
mug. The whole time, the book trailer
was running beside me, it's eerie music creating a slightly unsettling atmosphere.
It lasted two hours only, but it was two hours I truly felt like a star.
My write-up and author pic in the restaurant menu!
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This week's blog topic:
Like Me, Tag Me. Moving up the cue at Amazon. Should we tag books we haven't read? We're over at Karyn Good's blog - come by and weight in on the topic!
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
Danielle @ Romance Book Junkie
Booklover Shandy's blog
Author Karyn Good's blog
Booklover Janiera's blog
Come by these blogs to visit!