Vampire-ish Cover Reveal – Hypochondria and a Hybrid Author

Big News! I Got Rejected!

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Monica is amazing. Ampersand Book Covers

Before you all start crying for me, don’t. Rejection happens a LOT as a writer. And it’s something you truly never get over. Artists tend to be protective of their creations, and it takes a lot of bravery to release it – every single time. So, to be knocked down and kicked in the stomach repeatedly starts to ware on the spirit.

But, there is a point when you need to come to grips with the rejections you get. Each one you can learn from, so there is a process of improvement, but sometimes, it has nothing to do with your writing, and everything to do with personal preference.

I submitted to an open submission in January. In March, they requested the entire manuscript. Then June 1st, I received their polite rejection and how it doesn’t fit with their current readership.

In my current case, it comes down to genre. And let’s be specific. . . VAMPIRES.

People hear Vampire and automatically turn away. “I don’t read Vampire fiction.” “I’m not into Twilight.” “Vampires. Why are you writing about vampires? That’s ten years ago.” I get rejections from agents strictly because of this. So, I researched who would want vampire fiction. And you know what I heard back? “This is not a vampire story. This is a story that happens to be about a vampire.”

Yep. All true. And I won’t lie, I’m not a vampire reader either. So, why did I write a story about a vampire? Well, sit down and let me tell you a story about me, and also, introduce you to Oliver Brixby.

Stories have origins from someplace. Right? That’s why I always carry a notebook, because I never know when I’ll be inspired. I got the idea of Oliver when, in my day job at the time, a co-worker got splashed in the mouth with platelets.

What in the world kind of job is this? Well, I have spent the last several years working IN a Blood Bank. Who better qualified to write vampire fiction then a vampire.

“Oh, are you a nurse?” No. I work in a laboratory.

“Do you draw blood?” Nope, that’s a phlebotomist.

The short of it, I prepare blood for the nurses and doctors to transfuse. It’s not like the medical dramas that you see stream. Blood is a tricky and highly regulated substance. I understand the mechanics that go into saving a live. It’s really a rewarding and unusual job.

So, going back to my friend and being splashed. Platelets are the white cells that swim in plasma that initiate clotting (oh no, big words). The bag of platelets had ripped during transport and somehow (still don’t know how) splashed him. We all gagged at the thought. But he smiled and said, “Actually, it wasn’t so bad. It tasted like condensed milk.” And me being a total smarty pants commented, “Oh, if vampires only knew.” We giggle at the thought of high society vamps with swirling platelets in their champagne flutes (because they need to be continually moving, eh? Blood Bankers, anyone?) And this single idea led me to Oliver Brixby, the world’s worst vampire.

Socrates once stated,

“No human condition is ever permanent.”

I never comprehended these words. I figured he talked about death or about the improvement of one’s self, but now, I consider an alternative, he actually knew something the rest of us didn’t.

My love for the philosophies of life, which I’ve studied over my epigrammatic college career, led me to a new conclusion, “Socrates must have known about vampires.”

I began writing Vampire-ish 5 or so years ago. The idea of a hypochondriac getting bit by a vampire and learning how to deal with his everyday existence, when squeamish at the sight of blood, absolutely delighted me. I thought for sure it would get picked up. During that time my fantasy series DID get picked up and has since sent me head first into a writer’s life. I remembered Oliver every so often, and sent him off to see if he could do anything good in the world, but as I stated before, no one was interested in vampire fiction.

On June 1st, after another disappointing rejection, something inside me snapped. Several things collided at the same time, my third in the Everstar series had been sent to the editor, as well as a new collaboration with a talented writer, so I really didn’t have time to focus on Ollie and his band of NY vamps. But, I couldn’t leave my disappointment alone. This story needed to be out. Every time I talked about it, people would say, “Oh, I’d totally read that.” So, then the thought came to me even stronger than before – why wait? Oliver’s story needs to be read. And the best publisher is me.

I quickly contacted some of my self-published friends about what I needed to do – cover artists, ISBNs, formatters, marketing. By noon, I had already talked to someone about a cover (Ampersands Book Covers), I had set up a self-publishing profile, I had figured out my marketing strategy, a possible formatter lined up, and I felt encouraged by other writers around me that I was doing the right thing. This was really going to happen. But, now…. I had to actually READ it and see if it was as funny as I remember.

I hadn’t touched this thing in years, so I really needed to do some serious editing. I laughed out loud at some of the things that happen. It plays out in moments, like a situational comedy. And what a tremendous joy I felt when I read THE END. Oliver is coming, and I couldn’t be happier.

Vampire-ish: A Hypochondriac’s Tale will be released at the 8th Annual Northwest Book Festival in Portland, Oregon July 30th. You will find it on Amazon and coming to Salt Lake Comic Con Sept. 1. If anyone is willing to do a book review on Amazon or Goodreads, or even a blogpost – fill out the form below. ARCs will be available shortly.

The world needs to know Oliver Brixby. He needs to know you. And I’m ready to share him with you.

Rejection – not such a bad thing sometimes.

 

Spring Into Books 2016

Free Event for Book LoversSIB 2016

SPRING INTO BOOKS MAY 28th, 2-6pm Viridian Center

Me and Fabulous Rebecca Ethington
Me and Fabulous Rebecca Ethington watch for our web series soon!

In one glorious week I have the tremendous opportunity to do something I’ve waited ALL YEAR to do – Spring Into Books.

 

A little history – Spring Into Books started in 2014 as a small book fair by my local League of Utah Writers chapter, the Oquirrh Writers. The THEN president of the chapter, Lauri Schoenfeld, was a dynamo and pulled off a fun, family event. It was the seed of a very promising event.

I sat in the corner next to the classy fantasy writer Paul Genesse, fresh with my second book still drying from the press. At the time I wasn’t much in the writing community, still pushing forward, excited and wide-eyed. It was lightly attended, because no one knew how to get the word out. And I was useless as a resource, with only being at this author gig a year.

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Creeper Olaf!

In 2015, there was a push to get more people there. The West Jordan Arts Council got involved, some local media covered it, and would you know it… cosplayers! The event was a buzzing windstorm of activity the whole time. The kids carnival kept the kiddos entertained, the author workshops treated the budding novice writers with fabulous instruction, and the book readings packed the lobby, filling the ears of readers of all ages. And seriously, I was chased down by a giant Olaf until I got a picture with him.

When asked to participate this year, I jumped at the chance. I also volunteered to help manage the poetry contest, something new this year. Three different LUW chapters have joined forces to make this great – Sandy Genre (Infinite Monkeys) Chapter, Herriman, and Oquirrh, spearheaded by Jodi Milner, and LUW Pres. Elect Jared Quan.

This year will be the best yet. All my favorite people will be there and I’m excited to share a table with my good friend and fellow Xchyler author Ben Ireland.

And if you come find me, I’ll give you a free poster. Whoohoo!

Awesome stuff to do: 

  • Meet and greet award winning authors including: Lisa Mangum, Johnny Worthen, Brian C. Hailes, Michael Jensen, Tristi Pinkston, and Adam Sidwell.
  • Children’s Superhero Carnival including games, prizes, and photo ops with your favorite characters!
  • Hands on workshops and presentations about the creative process
  • Book readings from local authors
  • Poetry Slam – watch as school teams go head to head in this lively competition
  • Food Trucks – Stay for dinner or grab a yummy snack!
  • Support local authors and artists at our huge book sale and signing

It’s a really great event and promises to deliver. Here is the Oquirrh Chapters webpage with more information. See you there!

https://luwoc.com/spring-into-books-2016/

Book Review – Kingdom City: Resurrection

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Kingdom City: Resurrection

by Ben Ireland

Back in February, I had the privilege of eating waffles and frites with Ben Ireland at the LTUE Writers Symposium. As a friend, I wanted to know more about his writing style and complicated mind. We share space in the Fantasy Anthology MOMENTS IN MILLENNIA, but his gentle story FAIRYKIN did not prepare me for the action-packed adrenaline high I would receive with KINGDOM CITY: RESURRECTION.

This book is a lot of fun! It read like anime, like I was reading Miyazaki or binge-watching Full Metal Alchemist – so visual in description I could see it when I closed my eyes. It’s Urban, Dystopian, Super-Hero Action, Horror, Zombie lit – all packed into one series. But at its core, it is tender – about love and trust amid a world in chaos.

A terrorist attack buries most of the police force, including the Chief of Police, killing them all – six months later they all return with no memory of what happened. Now the mystery of what happens begins to be reveals in intense layered action.

Awesome. And the sequence of events after kept me awake at night, effecting my dreams, until I got up and finished the book.

Characters rule RESURRECTION. Plenty of rich, complex characters, sub-cultured within their surrounding mountain city, where no one leaves or questions, just co-exist.

I love that the main character is a bad-ass chick, Autumn Stevens, Kingdom City’s Whisper, which makes her the toughest ninja assassin on the planet – total Linda Hamilton type from Terminator 2. I’m all in for tough women leads. Her hollowness at the beginning grasps me with both hands. I was immediately drawn to her. She only bugged me when she was too motherly. Me, “Stop worrying about their veggies and go kill some bad guys.” But, how can she help it? She’s there to protect her family in every way – EVERY WAY.

Really enjoyed the pace. It’s sliced into scenes, revealing like a graphic novel, so the reader gets more of the plot than the players. I love reads like this. When the story wound back to the planning in the gymnasium, I thought of screaming at the characters, blowing the whole plot… “Listen, guys, stop talking about it. The city is in riots. There are hostages. Stop being so smart and go ninja kick them in the face!”

The tone and emotion is vital to the story. Through out there is a crafted balance of emotion is every scene, playing delicately with the environment, so to not overwhelm the reader, which is not easy for a writer to do.

RESURRECTION is really fun. If you like high-intensity thrillers, this won’t disappoint you.

And I want to thank Ben for introducing me to his intense style of writing, helping me understand a little more of how he thinks. And a gentle reminder that he still owes me that Hot Cocoa.

Quick Blogs of Random Dorkness – Random Acts of Candace

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Awesome author Adrienne Monson – and me, popping out of her ear. Surprise!

I am catastrophically dorky. This is nothing I’m ashamed of. I embrace my unique charisma and channel it for good. I have such randomy, bazaar things happen to me over my lifespan, I just can’t keep it bottled anymore. I must share. I thought I would do quick blogs about these strange acts of dorkness.

Things you might read, like:

  • The day my scrub pants crept to my knees without me knowing.
  • Teaching cows how to skateboard.
  • Watching my Annie doll’s head be shoved with bottle rockets and lit. (This is a good one.)
  • Doing a cartwheel in front of Julliard School of Dance.
  • Skipping across the bridge at City Creek to appease the troll who lives underneath. (ummm…. yeah, this was last week)
  • And more such randomness…

Small experiences leave their little, sticky fingerprints on our lives and make us who we are. And that’s what I want to share – gooey, unwashable fingerprints that I can’t help or hide. Sharing is the best therapy.

Enjoy!

Book Review – Salt and Storm By Kendall Kulper

salt and storm

So, I’m kinda heartsick right now. I feel alive with magic, yet pained by it, just as the author says.

Salt and Storm is elegantly written, with woven imagery in every memory and trinket, every thrum and tremor. I felt the salt spray, the sand in my toes, the wicked wind whip around me. I felt it all, and yes, I too wanted to be the witch of Prince Island. I was very impressed with how fresh this book was to read. Set in later 1800s I expected the language to be thick like Elizabeth Gaskell, but it was young and spirited and easy to get lost in.

I found that this tale was not so much about young love and heartache, but the relationship we have mother to daughter and the legacy we leave for those who will follow us. The whales spoke to me as well, and I listened to their song, and thought for sure the whale would mend Avery, and I still hope it can. This book is good for bother mothers and daughters, telling possibly, a different story depending on where you are in life. Me having young girls can see with hindsight the disconnected relationship between Avery and her mother, but young teenage girls might pull toward the spirited freedom Avery sought.

The love story, as simple as Kulper wrote it, had entwined a mystery that left me aching to know more. That is the only reason I could not give this 5 stars – I believed too much in the magic, both whale magic and island tattoos, and thought magic would resolve my heart and heal it. But a good book makes me feel and ache when it is finished. I wished I could see more or understand more about Tane’s magic, the island he left and the images draw in his sketchbook.

A beautifully written story with a simple, elegant delivery. Very clean, laced with important messages any girl could relate to.