Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Gold in Them Thar Hills! Plus Links & YA Question

It's Wednesday again, and I did, in fact, get to go out for a drive to see the gorgeous aspens in all their fiery fall splendor.  Unfortunately, you have to pardon the haze in the background, as we still have smoke from the various fires around the northwest.  I hope for the end of fire season very soon, and hope everyone near the fires stays safe and gets relief soon.

Before I get to the photos, I'd like to put out a couple questions for discussion.  I've been added to a panel at the Author Fest on Friday, where we'll be discussing why YA is not just for young adults, but also enjoyable for adults.  I will be posting a few questions on this topic at the end, in the hopes of getting some feedback on why you enjoy YA, no matter your age.  I've never been on a panel before, and I'd like to have plenty of discussion points should we not get enough questions to fill the 45 minutes.

On to the aspens!  I thought about making this a two-parter since there were so many photos, but decided not to.  Hope you don't mind!

You should be able to click on them to make them bigger, if you'd like.

Now for the helpful links:

Blog Hops/Fests:

The Did I Notice Your Book Blog Fest, sponsored by Ciara Knight and Alex J. Cavanaugh, will occur on October 17.  I really like the idea behind this one, as it has to do with unexpectedly featuring another blogger's book to get the word out for them without them knowing ahead of time.

E.J. Wesley of The Open Vein is having the Bury the Hatchet Blog Fest.  You can participate any time between September 21 and October 19 by blogging about someone or something you'd like to bury a hatchet in.  There will be prizes, including a Nook Simple Touch E-Reader.

The Something Wicked This Way Comes Blog Hop and Giveaway, hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and Babbling About Books, will be occurring throughout the month of October.  Every day host blogs will blog about paranormal and terrifying creatures, and every day those host blogs will giveaway a Halloween/horror related book.  Awesome undertaking!

Carrie Ann, of Carrie Ann's Blog Hops, has several ongoing blog hops throughout the year.  Her closest one will take place October 19-22: The Alpha Male Blog Hop.  The exact blog hop is a mystery, but it has to do with discussing why we love an alpha male.  Sounds steamy.

Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer is hosting the Fraterfest Read-A-Thon in honor of Rhiannon Frater and ghoulies that go bump in the night.  Between October 5 and October 8, set a goal of scary books you'll read and discuss what you've achieved.

Spooktoberfest, put on by Bouquest of Books and Entertaining Interests, will take place October 26 through October 29.  This is a spooky flash fiction fest, which requires 5 mandatory words to be in your piece.  Winners' pieces will be posted on Halloween, and they will receive a jumbo bag of the candy of their choice.  Mmmm.

The Ghosts and the Girls Who Love Them Blog Hop and Giveaway has already started, but you have until September 30 to sign up and participate.  This is a flash fiction hop with a fun grand prize winner.

Brenda Drake Writes is hosting the Elevator Pitch Blog Fest/Contest October 15-19.  Post a video of your elevator pitch to an agent.  Winners will be viewed by agents.


Jeremy, of Retro Zombie fame, is having a giveaway when he reaches 500 followers.  Show him some love and you could win some great prizes!


The South Wales Short Story Competition is ongoing and free to enter.  Deadline is November 9.  Open to unpublished UK writers.  Winners will be published in an anthology.

WOW-Women on Writing- is hosting a flash fiction contest.  Current deadline is November 30.  Entry fee is $10.  Optional critique available for an additional fee.  Cash prizes.

Miss Snark's First Victim is hosting the Annual Baker's Dozen Agent Auction.  You enter your piece, a specific number are chosen, and they are then placed on the auction block for a collection of agents to bid on.  There is a $10 entry fee.

Submissions Accepted:

Bibliophilic Blather is seeking submissions of horror/Halloween related flash fiction pieces for Fright Fest 2012.  Submit by September 30.  Winning pieces will appear on Flash Fiction Fridays.


The Muse Online Writers Conference is a free online conference being held in the first part of October.  I looked over the classes and there are some really interesting ones.  There are also pitch appointments, though it may be too late to sign up for those.

Pikes Peak Writers is accepting proposals for workshop classes for the 2013 Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  Find the submission form here.

That's all for today, folks!

Any links to share?  Do you have aspens?  Are trees turning in your area yet?  Do you read and enjoy YA?  Why about YA speaks to you?  What sets it apart from adult fiction for you?  Any favorite YA authors/books?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Ever get to that place where you're incredibly busy and feel...

Ah, that's a good one, isn't it?

This week the pressure is on!  I need to get my PowerPoint presentation finished for Friday.  Add that to the billion other things I have to do.  Luckily, I like playing around with PowerPoint.  This will be my first time using PowerPoint for a presentation using a projector, and I won't have my Personal Tech Guru (PTG) on hand.  Wish me luck that my Super Villain powers don't come into play and zap something.  After all, without PTG and his Super Hero powers, who knows what could go wrong?!

I do enjoy being busy and having jobs to do, and I'm very excited about Friday.  All of this busy, busy, busy is good for one other thing, too: I finally said "no" to someone.  You see, I'm one of those people who doesn't want to let anyone down.  I want to help them out, and I hate to disappoint.  Thus, I will find a way to be able to say "yes," even if that means a significant amount of stress or pressure.  Well, someone asked me to add one more massive project on top of all this and I told them I couldn't do it.  And you know what?  The world didn't blow up!  I don't even think they hate me.  Go figure!

One bad thing about the busy is that I haven't made any time for writing or editing (other than blog stuff), so that is something that must change.  I am going to give myself license to not feel guilty about that for this week only, and then next Monday I will begin NaNoEdMo.  I did NaNoEdWriMo (which I made up) last year, but this year I plan to hit NaNoWriMo for real in November, thus leaving me October for editing.  I want to edit my WIP#1, Lonely Hollow, and I want to edit several short stories I have written but not revisited.  If I could FINISH editing Lonely Hollow I could start querying in November or December.  While that puts a sort of additional pressure on me, the butterflies it causes are ones of excitement, which I'm delighted to discover.  I get excited when I think of getting back to editing my WIP, and I get excited when I think about beginning the query process (hopefully).  Do me a favor and remind me of that when I'm getting those rejections and falling into a deep hole of depression.  Mmmm-k?

Speaking of rejection, I did receive two rejections in the last two weeks.  One rejection I was quite okay with; the other I found very disappointing - I wanted it very badly.  Happily, a few people cheered me up on Facebook, and I was able to just spend one evening being sad then move on.  It happens, and I'm going to re-submit both pieces elsewhere.   

What's your pressure this week?  Does Billy Joel still rock or what?  What are your favorite and/or most productive ways to cope with pressure/stress?  Do you have trouble turning people down?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Signs of Fall & Linkies

Sorry for this being late, but I had internet/network issues last night and had to give up on fixing them after a couple hours of intense frustration.  Murg.

Today I have for you some signs of fall!  I love fall; it's my favorite season of the year.  My mood always improves as soon as that little touch of briskness hits the air.  The smells change, the sensations.  Love it!

Here are some photos taken of Garden of the Gods a couple days apart (in 2012, despite what my photos say, as I did this late and utterly frustrated and aggravated with the hope that I could get it thrown up in the A.M. and, therefore, failed to check the watermark year).  At the bottom of the photos, you can see some scrub that has started changing.  In fact, there was a difference just within those couple of days.  Day 1 was misty and drizzling.  Day 2 was sunny, but with a haze.  But hark, what is that?  Snow on the Peak!  Our first official snow on Pikes Peak definitely means fall is here.

Hubby and I have a date on Friday to drive into the mountains and see the aspens changing.  We had said date last week, but then he got sick.  Poor hubby.  I'm hoping to have some gorgeous photos for you next week.

Now, for the links.

Blog Challenge:

Jane Ann McLachlan is hosting the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge, wherein she asks you to blog 25 days in October, starting on Day 1 at Year 1 of your life or your child's.  The point is to cover a year in the life for each of the 25 week days.  Do it as you please: write poetry, post photos, write about a character's life instead of yours.  Make it what you'd like.

Free Story Release:

Our own Andrew Leon of Strange Pegs is releasing Part 5 of his Shadow Spinner series for free on Friday.  Read up on Tiberius for free!  However, if you download the free portion, please be sure to leave a review once you've read it.

Fun Stuff:

The Steve Laube Agency did a post entitled "Even the Best Get Rejected," detailing rejections famous people received.  I was amused by the last two, as they were rejections Steve Laube had made for someone who hit it big with someone else.

Taking Submissions:

Harper Voyager is open for submissions from October 1 to 14th.  This is a small, but exciting window with their international imprint.  You do not have to be agented.


Promocave is a new platform building website for writers.  They are in Beta now, and are looking to sign up the first 100 who register.  It sounds like it could be interesting, but I don't know any more about it than is posted on their site.

Anything to share?  Are you seeing signs of fall around you?  Excited or sad to see summer go?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alex J. Cavanaugh's Genre Favorites Blogfest

Welcome to another Monday!  Two more weeks until my first speaking engagement at AuthorFest of the Rockies, just shy of a month before my next speaking engagement.  Funnily enough, both ended up falling on weekends when Cons are also being held, so I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to attend my first fan con in October.  I can just miss a couple hours, right?

I am behind on responding to comments, but hope to catch up today.  Sorry about that!  You know I'm good for it, though, right??  I will always respond and visit you guys back; sometimes I may just be a little late about it.

Moving on, today is Alex J. Cavanaugh's Genre Favorites Blogfest.

Favorite Movie Genre:

As with all these genres, it's hard for me to pick just one, especially as I tend to go through phases where one type of thing consumes me, then is replaced by something else.

For this category, I will go, I just waffled right there after having chosen one.  Let's see.  My favorite movie genre right now is action movies.  Sometimes I'm in a horror mood, sometimes in a comedy mood, but right now I'm liking me some action movies.  They're like empty calories.  I don't have to think while watching them, and right now I need to be able to phase out and watch a movie, take in some explosions, enjoy some cheesy one-liners, absorb the fantastic special effects, etc.  I need a little snark in my action movies, thus I really enjoy Iron Man, for instance.  You can't beat Robert Downey, Jr. for snark.  Plus, he's hot, and there some ass kicking.  What more can a girl ask for?

 Favorite Music Genre:

I'm going to say a pretty widely encompassing genre for this one: rock.  It can be hard, alternative, mainstream, whatever.  I enjoy something with a good, hard, rhythmic beat, something that makes me want to move, sometimes to sing along, and always to feel that pulse running through me.  Sometimes I need it angsty.  Sometimes I need it sexy.  Sometimes I need to be taken back to my teenage years.  Rock can do it all.

Favorite Book Genre:

My automatic response tends to be horror, because that was my all-time favorite genre for, well, two decades, really.

However, I would consider urban fantasy my current favorite (inclusive of YA).  There are several UF authors whose books I automatically snatch up when they come out, and I can't say that about any other genres at the moment.  As with action movies, I expect a little snark and sarcasm to really get me into the story.  I especially like those UF books that are moving away from the vampire theme, or who have that as a minor portion of the story, rather than the main.  I enjoy UF because of the often clever ways they wrap supernatural creatures into the world we live in now, especially when they do so believably.

My Guilty Pleasure:

I'd have to say my guilty pleasure is horror comedy.  You know the type?  Lake Placid, Tremors, movies with horror factors that make me laugh, and not simply because they're cheesy, though they do all tend to have a "spoof" factor to them, as well.  They have main characters with great comedic timing: Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward in Tremors; Oliver Platt and Betty White in Lake Placid.  But in those movies, it wasn't just the main characters.  The entire casts worked so well together, played off each other, delivered their lines perfectly, that I couldn't help but love them, no matter how cheesy the giant ketchup filled worms might have looked.  I've now added Cabin in the Woods to this genre.  The people in the control room were hysterical, so callous and yet so funny.  I like it when the jumps are interspersed with laughter.  I cheered when I finally got to see the Angry Molesting Tree from the white board (though I was taken down a notch when I watched Evil Dead and saw how molesty the original AMT was...unpleasant).  In short, these are the horror flicks that don't take themselves seriously, yet still deliver.

Those are my favorites; what are yours?  Do you have a strong favorite in each, or are they interchangeable for you?  Do you go through phases?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - A Little Patriotism & Links

Well, hello there!  I thought with today's proximity to 9/11, a little patriotism might be called for today.  These photos are from my trip to Washington, D.C. over Veteran's Day weekend in 2010.  There was some sort of rally going on, a motorcycle rally (some awesome machines there!), and it was a holiday weekend, so the place was insane.  It was still fun, though.  One of these days maybe I'll post some pictures from the White House tour.  (I've posted two of these my "post only one photo at a time" days.

The White House from a distance. 

Part of the National WWII Monument. 

The other side. 

Respect for our soldiers. 

Washington Monument. 

Lincoln Memorial from the WWII Monument.

Close-up of the pillars at the Lincoln Memorial (with all the five gazillion people there). 

The Great Emancipator, himself. 

You all know this one, right? 

View of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (as well as the rally).
Linky Time.
Taking submissions:
Want to spread a little holiday horror?  Cruentus Libri Press is accepting festive tales of horror, whether Christmas-based, Hannukah-based, or any other festive holiday time.  Pays royalties.  Reading period through October 31.
Seventh Star Press has two open anthologies, one "sword and sorcery" and one dystopian.  Pays royalties.  Dystopian closes January 8; Fantasy closes January 31.
Iron Cauldron Books has several anthologies currently open, including carnival horror, steampunk horror and near death experiences.  They are also taking submissions for novels, short story collections and non-fiction.
Elektric Milk Bath Press has an urban fantasy anthology open right now.  Note: scan down until you find it; first anthology on page is closed.  $30 per story.  Closes October 31.
Tim Brannan is hosting Monstrous Monday October 29. Sign up and post about a monster of your choice.  Always a fun kind of blog fest.
Book Blogs seems like a good place to advertize your book blog or find others.  I haven't had a chance to really look it over, though.
Anything to share?  Ever been to Washington, D.C.?  Did you get to tour the Mall and see the monuments/memorials?  Which is your favorite one?
May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post - Rachel Morgan - Why Novelettes?

Rachel Morgan is stopping by today!  She is the author of the YA paranormal fantasy novelette series "Creepy Hollow."  You may also remember her as the 2012 A-to-Z Video Challenge Winner.  I was interested in why she chose to do a series of novelettes, rather than a regular ol' novel, and she was nice enough to let me know, despite being in the middle of wedding planning.  Here's what she had to say:

Defining the Novelette

Wikipedia gives the following information regarding the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and their Nebula Award categories:

Novel: over 40,000 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story: under 7,500 words

People seem to use the terms novella and novelette interchangeably, as I’ve seen “novellas” out there that are under 17,500 words. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s too important exactly what you call it, as long as readers know what length of story to expect.

Why Novelettes?

So why did I decide to publish several shorter stories instead of one (or more) longer novels? Well, there are several reasons:

1)  I noticed that most successful self-published authors have a list of published works behind their names, not just a single novel. So I wanted to do that too, but it would take me years to publish several novels. So I figured the easiest way to get multiple titles out into the world in a short-ish amount of time would be (obviously) to make them short works.
2)  I’ve always loved series, and not just book series, but TV series too. Watching characters and relationships develop over multiple interlinked stories is fun—and kind of addictive!
3)  Writing, editing, polishing and formatting a story of around 20,000 words is a lot more manageable that doing all of that for a massive novel!

So for Creepy Hollow, I took all those reasons and put them into a series of episode-length books, to be published at regular intervals (which has now stopped for a few months, because planning a wedding seems to take more time that I’d anticipated!)

The Response from Readers

The response has been mixed, actually! Some have said in their reviews that they enjoy a story that’s short enough to fit into a single evening / busy reading schedule. Others have said that the stories are too short and just as they’re getting into them, they end.

Would I Publish Future Series in the Same Way?

Hmm ... Right now I’m thinking no, but I suppose I shouldn’t rule out the possibility! As a reader, I can understand why most people want a longer novel rather than receiving a story in little bits. Also, while it’s easier to write and edit shorter works, it’s a lot of effort to produce (cover, ISBN, launching each time) multiple books. There is definitely a place for novellas and novelettes, but perhaps it’s better to keep shorter works as companions to series of longer novels? What do you guys think?!

PS - In case anyone's interested in word counts, here they are:

GUARDIAN: 13,700
TRAITOR: 15,200

Kick-butt faerie girl + cute human boy who shouldn't be able to see her 
= trouble for both of them!

The Creepy Hollow Series

Rachel's Links

GUARDIAN is now *FREE* on Smashwords, and should hopefully be free on Amazon soon too!

Thank you for stopping by, Rachel, and for a compelling post!

May you find your Muse

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Childhood Cancer Awareness Month & Helpful Links

In lieu of my customary [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday photos, I'm posting one simple photo as a reminder that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  In this house, gold is the color of cancer awareness.


Fellow blogger, Nick Wilford, is seeking donations for an auction to help get his stepson to a school that will offer the opportunities he needs.  Go here to read more about Andrew and his college hopes.

Open for Submissions-

The Rusty Nail is taking submissions of poetry, prose and artwork.  This is not a paying market, but it is a publication credit.

Short, Fast and Deadly is looking for submissions of poetry and prose.  The September theme is poetry and prose in the form of a floor plan.

One Story is open for submissions as of September 1.  Pays $250, plus 25 contributor's copies.  Literary fiction.


The 2012 Science Fiction Poetry Association Poetry Contest is open until September 15.  There is no entry fee.  Cash prizes.  Do not have to be a member of SFPA to enter.

The WOLFoundation is having their 2012 competition.  Writing must be related to environmental issues.  Large cash prizes.  No entry fee.  Deadline September 30.

What's going on in your world?  Any news to share?  Do you know anyone who has been affected by childhood cancer?  Were you aware that this is childhood cancer awareness month?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Doing it Right, GUTGAA and Announcements

**If you're here for GUTGAA, my bio and questions/answers are at the bottom of this post.

It's Monday, and no one really likes Mondays, but I'm excited to have a bit of news to tell you on this U.S. Labor Day Monday.  First, I've accepted the editor position at the Pikes Peak Writers Blog.  Things will remain the same here.  Keep an eye out for a call for guest posts.

Second, I've been asked to do a presentation/workshop on blogging for both writers and readers at the AuthorFest of the Rockies.  This one is a month sooner than the stand-alone workshop I've already mentioned.

Color me excited!

Moving on...

I'm reading the book All Clear by Connie Willis, and I'm amazed at the amount of research she had to have done, and how seamlessly she's worked it into the novel.  The story is about time traveling historians who seek the reality behind history.  They go back as observers, unable to intervene lest they cause ripples.  However, when several of them find themselves in different parts of England during the Blitz during WWII, something happens, and they're trapped.

I picked this book up at the Pikes Peak Library's Mountain of Authors this past spring after listening to Connie Willis talk.  She was fascinating.  Like me, she gets wrapped up in her research, often finding herself on a tangent.  She had stored all these little known facts about the Titanic, Molly Brown, the Black Death and the Blitz, all because she got caught up in her research.  In fact, she said she doesn't enjoy the writing part, just the research part, but she writes to see what happens next.

I took notes on what she said, but looking at them now I see that I can't read my own writing.  Whoops!

I did a post awhile back inspired by my frustration with a book I was reading because it was set in Colorado, yet the writer had obviously never been here and hadn't done her research.  Connie Willis is the antidote to that.  I'm not done with the book yet, but I'm completely lost in the world she's created, tense and terrified for the trapped historians, rooting for the survival of the secondary characters, and entirely drawn in to a part of history that has always just been of passing interest to me.  Now I'm hungry to go read more about the era (once I'm done, of course).  I had no idea how many children were evacuated during the Blitz, my only experience of it having been the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  I got so many of my own story ideas (horror ideas, of course, because that is just how I roll) while reading this book.

To create such a realistic world is something we all hope to strive for.  Yes, this all really happened in the past, but the level of detail in her books is stunning.  Not only that, but she isn't killing us with flat information; everything is conveyed through the story.  Not only am I having fun reading this book, but I'm learning all kinds of things that I want to look into further.

One pointer she gave us (that I can read, yay) was to start your research with kid's books.  Children's non-fiction books tend to be more simplified, boiled down.  You'll get a feel for what you're researching in the basic sense.  After that, you can start researching via adult means, taking notes, using what you've already learned to figure out what to research more on.  "Look for the details that make your spine tingle," she told us.  "That will tell you that you're writing the right thing."  If you're interested in it, if you're excited by it, your readers will be, too.

-Where do you write?
I write in my dungeon at a desktop computer, in the living room on a laptop, or on paper wherever I happen to be.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A mishmash of photos of actors who resembled the looks and personality of my Lonely Hollow characters, plus a map of Lonely Hollow.

-Favorite time to write?
Any time I can!  

-Drink of choice while writing?
Water.  I know, boring, but caffeine puts me to sleep, so coffee is out.  Sometimes I drink herbal tea.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I like music.  What I'm writing determines whether it's instrumental or just plain ol' regular music.  Editing usually calls for instrumental.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My inspiration was a dream.  I have no idea where it came from, but I woke up knowing I needed to write about it.

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Don't procrastinate; write when you have the chance!

BIO: Hi there!  I am a mom to two in Colorado, and I write YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Horror.  I read just about anything.  My first visit to a writers conference a couple years ago got me inspired, and I jumped back into writing, finally dedicating more of my time to it.  Looking forward to meeting you and working on my pitch!

Are you participating in GUTGAA?  What are your research tips?  Do you get lost in research or try to get it over with as fast as possible?  What was a book you read that you thought did a fabulous job of accurate research without being dull?

May you find your Muse.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's an Interview With Author Ian T. Healy!

An all around nice guy, Ian T. Healy is also one of the hardest working and most inspiring writers I know.  He manages to work full-time at a J.O.B, cook, spend quality time with his family, and be incredibly productive in writing.  In short, he embodies that which many of us hope to achieve.  Not only that, but for those of you on the fence between self-publishing and traditional, he has a leg in each world, running his own imprint, Local Hero Press, for his self-published titles in addition to be traditionally published.  You can read more about his experiences with dual publishing here.

With the release of his most recent novel, The Archmage, Ian stopped by The Warrior Muse for an interview.

Tell us a bit about The Archmage.

The Archmage is a sequel to the novel Just Cause, starring the super-speedy Mustang Sally along with the rest of the Just Cause superhero team. In it, I explore the use of magic in a superhero setting. In this case, a character named Wolfgang Frasier has been slaughtering other mages around the world and taking their power for himself. He’s gotten so powerful that there is only one other mage remaining besides him, the hero Stratocaster, who is a member of the Lucky Seven hero team that Sally trained with at the beginning of Just Cause. If Frasier manages to kill Stratocaster, his power becomes absolute and he could plunge the entire world into darkness, becoming its total ruler. This is, of course, his goal. Sally and the other heroes have no choice but to try to stop him, even though his power is so great that he can call armies of the dead out of the ground and turn anyone captured to his side. There’s a nifty bit of time travel thanks to magic going awry that sends the team back to the 1870s, and of course some great intrigue and epic, cinematic battles. At the same time, Sally’s relationship with Jason is growing much more complex and suffering growing pains all its own.

What is Local Hero Press?

LHP is an imprint I created specifically for the release of my novel-length work and collections. I didn’t want to simply release them under my own name as the publisher because with such a wide variety of genres under my belt, I wanted something to tie them all together. This way, if someone buys The Archmage, likes it, and looks to see what else LHP has to offer, they might discover Blood on the Ice or Pariah’s Moon or Troubleshooters.

You do write in a variety of genres. Tell us about some of them.

I don’t like to be pigeonholed, so I don’t force myself to stay in one genre if I’m interested in writing in a different one. This goes against common wisdom of building a brand, from what I’ve seen on the internet, so I’m forming my own uncommon wisdom instead. That again ties back to the LHP imprint by creating a common thread beyond just my name. I follow my muse, so I’ve gone from superheroes (Just Cause, The Archmage) to funny science fiction (The Milkman), to cyberpunk (Troubleshooters), to fantasy/Western (Pariah’s Moon), to urban fantasy sports (Blood on the Ice), to religious symbolism (Hope and Undead Elvis) and even more. And if my agent sells The Guitarist, I can add “Mainstream Young Adult” to my genres.

You have an agent? But I thought you were self-published.

I do have an agent, Carly Watters of PS Literary Agency in Toronto. She represents my Young Adult work only, and when we discussed the possibility of her representing me, we both agreed that she could still effectively represent a portion of my work and I could still effectively release my speculative and adult fiction without interfering with one another. I am, in fact, searching for a second literary agent to represent The Oilman’s Daughter, the epic steampunk/space opera that I coauthored with my dear friend Allison M. Dickson.

What’s it like working with another writer so closely on a project?

I’m not sure I have anything better to compare it to than a successful marriage. We worked very closely together on the project (two time zones separating us notwithstanding!). We had complete trust with each other, and were able to discuss what should have been extremely divisive and difficult issues not only with calm heads, but with a sense of joy that only two opposing viewpoints between dear friends can bring. The best thing about working with someone like that is going back through the manuscript and not being able to tell exactly who wrote which parts. That’s just awesome.

That does sound like a great experience!  

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is your productivity. What is your secret for finding time to write and making it happen?

My secret for finding time to write is to always be writing, whether or not I'm actually performing the act of putting words onto a page. James Thurber told this tale, which exemplifies my own philosophy quite nicely: I never quite know when I'm not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, 'Dammit, Thurber, stop writing.' She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, 'Is he sick?' 'No,' my wife says, 'he's writing something.'" That's me, totally.

About how long do you typically spend on your stories (short and novel length), from conception to publication? 

Short stories I tend to write in no more than a couple of days. When I get one of those ideas, it becomes pretty much all-consuming until I finish it, so I work pretty fast. Novels for me range wildly from taking only a month to several, depending upon how hard I'm working on them and how many other things are going on in my life and my writing/publishing business. I'd say that three months is the average time I spend writing a novel (NaNoWriMo tends to skew that average shorter).

I'm afraid it's time for the last question: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write. A lot. Write some more. Then, for variety, go for a walk. Then write some more when you get back. Show your writing to your friends and family. Ignore what they say about it. Show your writing to someone who doesn't have any reason to sugar-coat their criticism. Take it like Kevin Bacon in Animal House and cry out "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" Then go write some more. Talk to writers further in the process than you are, but don't become a drain. Write some more. Go to conferences. Write some more. Read industry blogs. Write. Turn off the TV. Write. Are you sick of writing yet? If you are, then you're not a writer. Take up a new hobby, like badminton or philately. If you're not sick of writing, try to write so much you'll make yourself sick of it. If that doesn't work, keep writing. Also, learn how to edit, critique, market, produce and publish your own work, query your work to agents, editors, and trade publications. Learn everything you can about the industry and recognize that you will never get to stop learning. And you will never get to stop writing. What, you're still here? It's over! GO WRITE!

Thank you for stopping by on your book tour, Ian!

The Archmage, book 2 of the Just Cause Universe series, launches from all online retailers on September 1, 2012. Exclusive signed editions can be purchased directly from Local Hero Press.

Find Ian on Twitter as @ianthealy, and follow Local Hero Press as @LocalHeroPress.
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May you find your Muse.