There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

What’s in Your Wallet . . . um . . . on Your TBR List August 31, 2013

Filed under: Reading — thereanddraftagain @ 5:40 am
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I’ve been a reading machine of late. It helps when I’m noodling plot problems, or am eyeball deep in edits. My brain gets to relax and wander in someone elses world for a change. Some of the reading I’ve been doing has been of the Beta/Critiquing kind. I always feel honored when another writer puts that kind of trust in me. And it’s fun to get a glimpse at what the rest of the world is going to have to wait a while to see. Neener, neener.

*ahem*

So, ah, anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the books I’ve gobbled down to give you all something for your own reading lists. I’ll stick to those in the fantasy genre as that’s what we’re all here for. I won’t review them here. Some I have reviewed on my blog, Amazon, GoodReads, etc. And some I still owe reviews for. Suffice it to say, if they’re on this list, I loved and highly recommend them.  Unless I note otherwise.

First, I have to say, for some reason I’ve jumped into a lot of series lately. I have a love-hate relationship with series. I love them because if I like the characters and the world I don’t ever want their tales to end. I hate them because there is usually a wait until the next book comes out. An agonizingly long wait which I find myself on both sides of. So though I understand it completely, I’m terribly impatient.

I’ve also found myself leaning toward the grimdark fantasies. They have a tendency to put you smack-dab in a character’s skin to the point of sometimes being uncomfortable, which is why they get a bad rap from some reviewers. I’ve always figured, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. No harm, no foul. Every book is definitely not for every reader.

Okay, onward. Here we go:

Coldness of Marek by Rachel O’Laughlin

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan — Actually, the whole Ryria Series. This one and The Rose and Thorn (Release date in Sept) are prequels. Three other books are already written and can be read first without ruining anything. In fact, it made The Crown Tower even more enjoyable.

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick

Broken Aro and Broken Prince by Jen Wylie

The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

The Last Swordmage by Martin F. Hengst

So, there you have it. The one thing all these tales have in common, besides being well-written and engaging, are strong characters and excellent world building. Many of the characters are flawed seemingly beyond hope which only fuels my page-turning addiction. Quite a few of the authors incorporate a dry sense of humor which I am partial to as it pretty much echoes my own. Have you read any of the books on my list? Have some that I may have missed by similar authors? I’m always open to something new . . .

~ Kathi

 

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Going the Indie Route January 23, 2013

Filed under: Publishing — thereanddraftagain @ 5:30 am
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Your writing will never chase you — you need to chase your writing. If it’s what you want, then pursue it.
~ Chuck Wendig

 I’ve been asked several times since making the announcement, why I decided to go Indie with First of Her Kind (formerly known as BD&L). The simplest answer, and probably the most basic, is that I believe in the story.

That’s it.

No matter how many times I read it, I enjoy it. The second book in the series is well underway, and I even have several scenes written for the third. Each one just gets better and better. I’m excited by where it’s going and I want to share that excitement.

Yes, I could (hopefully) do that following the traditional route as well. Originally, I was headed down that path. I slaved over a query and synopsis, made my list of dream agents and started at the top. I entered pitch contests. I did everything I could to get my manuscript in front of The Agent. The one who would connect with it. The one who would believe in it like I do.

But something happened on the way to the forum . . .

I stumbled upon some articles and research touting self-publishing and the Indie movement. I’d never really paid it a lot of mind, even knowing several authors whom I respect who had gone that route. To me, dare I say it, it was almost like giving up. If I couldn’t make it the traditional route, then maybe I wasn’t meant to make it.

The problem with that line of thought was that I just couldn’t make myself believe it. So I started doing some more research. Here are some of the things that helped shape my decision:

TIME: Finding an agent can be a long process taking anywhere from months to, yes, years. And for fantasy, the unfortunate reality is the list is not as long as some, meaning competition is much higher, and those agents that do handle the genre are bombarded with tens of thousands of queries a year. Once an agent takes you on, it’s more months (possibly years) until a publishing contract comes your way. Even after a contract is signed, it generally takes another year until your book sees the light of day. So, realistically, if I snag an agent now, and they get a publishing contract within six months, the likely scenario is that my book still wouldn’t see a release date until sometime next year.

Call me impatient, but I want it out there now. I’m ready to share it with the world.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Even though it’s not all about the money:  These days, even the major publishing houses are asking for more from their authors in terms of marketing their own books. Some, I’ve heard, are even cutting back on the editorial services they used to offer. Yet the royalties remain the same. Those royalties are about 15%. Compare that to the 70% or more available as a self-publisher and, well, seems to me, if I’m doing the work, I ought to get paid for it.

CONTROL: Okay, maybe I’m a control freak. Self-publishing puts me in charge of every aspect of my book’s success or failure. A daunting task, and not for everyone. But I enjoy it.

VALIDATION: This was a biggie — passing on the sense of validation that comes with being accepted into the traditional publishing echelon. But, really, won’t my readers provide that same sense of validation? If my book is good, the reading public will let me know. If it’s bad, I’ll find that out as well. What better way to grow as a writer?

I’ve written a few posts on my blog that outline some of these points in a little more depth. You can find them here, here, and here.

Does this mean I’ll never try the traditional route again? Heck no! In fact I’m working on an urban fantasy that may just get shopped to agents when it’s done. There’s nothing that says you have to choose one way or the other.

Who knows where the road will lead me. All I can say for sure is, “I’m going on an adventure!”

 

The future of High Fantasy January 2, 2013

Hello and Happy New Year!

I have mentioned it before on my blog, but I’m always surprised to read that some agents will represent all Fantasy sub-genres except High/Epic Fantasy. As if High Fantasy was a narrow market without a future.

So today I ask: what is the future of High Fantasy in 2013?

As YA High Fantasy author Sarah J. Maas explained in 2011: “High fantasy isn’t dead. If you say it is, you’re not looking in the right places. Perhaps the good stuff doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves, but it’s out there, changing perspectives and broadening imaginations, reminding us of what it is to be human, and daring girls who love nail polish and boys to dream of something more.”

In 2013, and to prove this point, I am therefore eagerly anticipating:

– the third season of Game of Thrones on HBO (April 2013)

– the second Hobbit movie (December 2013)

– the latest Adult releases by Robin Hobb (March 2013), Mark Lawrence (August 2013) and Brandon Sanderson (October 2013)

– the latest YA releases by Leigh Bardugo (June 2013), Sarah J. Maas (August 2013) and Rae Carson (September 2013)

– debut books by Elizabeth May (May 2013) and Myriam Forster (February 2013)

… and I’m hoping for many discoveries and surprises!

What about you? Which High Fantasy book/TV show/movie are you looking forward to in 2013? Leave us a comment below!

EM

 

Why’d They Do That? When Our Beloved Characters Die December 12, 2012

Filed under: Reading — thereanddraftagain @ 6:00 am
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I remember vividly the line from The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks that tore my heart out and left me with tears streaming down my cheeks.

Then the mace slipped from his hand, his eyes glazed over; with a long sigh, his body slid slowly, lifelessly to the death that had finally claimed him.

No!  It was nearly the scream heard round the world.

Every reader has had a similar experience, I’m sure.  You’re lost in the story, the characters have become like family and you yearn for that happily ever after ending, the one where everyone makes it out alive.  Battered and bruised, perhaps, but ready to fight another day.  The next thing you know, that evil author has pulled the rug out from under you.  You can barely stand to read on as your heart crumbles to dust.

The resounding question is always, why?

Well, trust me, from an author’s perspective (at least this author) it’s often no easier for us to kill off a character we’re hoping will be well-loved, than it is to read it.  Heck, sometimes it’s not even easy to kill off the bad guys.  I mean, really, who doesn’t love a good baddy?  We adore our characters as much, or possibly more, than our readers do.  After all, they’re part of us.

But think about it, what keeps you turning the pages?  Well, besides a well-crafted story, that is.  What keeps you on the edge of your seat, fingers shaking as you flip one page to the next one?  What tugs you along, sinking you deeper and deeper into the world the author has created?

Many things.  But one of the biggest is tension, and to build that tension there must be risk.  The higher the risk, the more the tension.  Face it, if you know without a shadow of a doubt that no matter what gets thrown at your favorite hero, she will emerge victorious at the end, you may still thoroughly enjoy the read, but not with the same emotional investment.  And that’s what it’s all about.  If you can’t be certain what will happen next, if there is a possibility someone may not make it to the next page, aren’t you going to be just a bit more engaged in the tale?

I know I am.

When I put on my Reader hat, I want to get lost.  I want the world around me to fade to grey while the world on the pages runs roughshod over my emotions.

And, just like life, the unexpected happens.

So, next time your favorite character meets with his demise and you want to throw the book across the room (which I wouldn’t recommend with an e-reader.  No, not a good idea at all.) wipe your tears and thank the author.

“Thank the author?  But, they’ve ripped my heart out, pounced on it, crushed it into dust and sent it blowing in the wind.”

Yes.  They transported you to another world and got you so totally lost, nothing else around you mattered.

Isn’t that why we read in the first place?

 

 

First Post and Book Giveaway ! December 1, 2012

Welcome and thank you for stopping by our blog There And Draft Again: A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers.

Today is our official launch day and we’re hoping you’ll come by often in the future to share our journeys in the realms of fantasy fiction.

If you want to know more about who we are, please see the About Us page. If you’re looking for other Fantasy websites, see these Useful Links. If you would like some advice on which fantasy books to read, check out our Books Recommendations.

Then on this blog, you will find posts related to the following topics:

Writing Fantasy: a challenge of epic proportions. Under this category you’ll find posts about word count, world building, writing tips and online resources for Fantasy writers.

Publishing a Fantasy book: how to avoid an epic fail. Here you’ll find posts about the different publishing routes a Fantasy writer can take (traditional, small press, indie) as well as query and publishing tips.

Industry news: making sense of the fantasy world. These posts will bring you the latest newsabout the stateof the fantasy publishing industry: trends, awards, new acquisitions by big publishers, etc.

Reading epic books: here you’ll findbook reviews as well as a guide to all the sub-genres in fantasy literature.

Epic Inspiration: we will share with you our recommendations for fantasy TV shows, movies and photos that we find aspiring.

Now and before you go, we’d like you to follow our blog via email or WordPress, and if you do, you get a chance to win ONE of the following two books:

A SIGNED copy of Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (YA Epic Fantasy)

Inheritance-Paolini

A SIGNED copy of The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (Adult Gritty Epic Fantasy)

 The Balde Itself - Abercrombie

*Giveaway is now closed*

The giveaway runs from today until Saturday 15th December 2012 at midnight (BST time) and it is international.

To enter please fill in the contact form below with your name and email, and let us know if you follow via email or WordPress. Don’t forget to mention which book you wish to win!

You HAVE TO follow our blog by email or WordPress to enter.

Entrants must be at least 13 years of age.

This giveaway is open Internationally.

The winner will be chosen randomly, notified by email and will have 72 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

We are not responsible for items lost in the mail.

We hold the right to end the giveaway before its original deadline without any prior notice.

We hold the right to disqualify any entry as I see fit.

Privacy information: no information given for this giveaway will be used for other purpose than this giveaway. All information provided (names, emails and mail addresses) will be deleted after the giveaway.

Good luck and feel free to leave us a comment below…

 

Welcome! November 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — thereanddraftagain @ 10:24 am
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Welcome to There And Draft Again, a fellowship of fantasy writers who decided to blog about writing and reading all things fantasy.

Our blog’s official launch date is Saturday, December 1st 2012. In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter or check out who we are here.

Thanks for stopping by!