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The Blog of Anya Harker » Uncategorized

Long time no talk, eh? There’s a few updates to come from me — but that is for another post. Right now, I’m thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal for Stacy Allen’s upcoming novel EXPEDITION INDIGO.

Before we get to the cover, a little bit about the book:

Blurb:

Archaeologist Riley Cooper is offered the chance of a lifetime: a chance to find the Crux Fidelis, the coronation cross of Charlemagne. Under Water Sea Adventures members believe they have found remains of the Indigo, a heavily laden cargo ship commissioned by Charlemagne and presumed lost on its maiden voyage off the coast of southern Italy in the early 800s. If Riley can find the cross, it will prove Charlemagne’s coronation as the First Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day had not been a spontaneous act, but rather a desperate political maneuver by a Pope in need of protection.

When Riley joins UWSA off the coast of Sorrento, Italy, tensions and tempers fly as a competing team arrives in search of the treasure and an approaching hurricane gains strength and heads straight toward the dive site. And when one of the crew is murdered, Riley must find the strength to fight back and keep the treasure out of the other team’s hands.

Awesome, right? Ready to see that cover? Here we go!

expeditionindigoebookcover

Expedition Indigo by Stacy Allen
Riley Cooper Series (Book 1)
Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC
Coming August 2014

 And now a little bit about the awesome author, Stacy:

Stacy’s passion for adventure has taken her to five continents to explore over fifty countries. Stacy also plays guitar and sings, when she isn’t traveling around the world in search of new locales and new stories.

Stacy served on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, the Pacific Northwest Mystery Writers of America chapter, and currently serves as Vice President of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA) chapter. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a very large house cat named Valentino.

Okay — so as some/many/none of you know, I spent the last three years in law school. I have since graduated (yay!) but am not sitting for the bar at this time because I have my full-time job in publishing while I wait for some amazing agent to snatch me up out of the slush pile. ;^)

 

However, in my hanging out at various writer boards, I’ve seen a lot of questions about copyright come up. I am planning on posting my paper on copyright law for everyone to take a look at, but I thought I’d also open it up to questions from you guys as well. If you have a question about copyright law, post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it in the upcoming posts on the subject.

 

And now the disclaimer: I am a non-practising attorney. Thus, anything I say on this blog in terms of copyright law is not supposed to constitute legal advice. It is merely my interpretation to help budding authors. If you’re really concerned about your rights as a creator, I suggest you get in contact with a lawyer.

 

Also, for your protection and my own, I will not answer questions that relate to a particular event that is going on right now. IE, if you think someone is infringing your work, I won’t look into it. That’s not my place. BUT if you’d like to ask me hypothetical situations? I’d be more than happy to answer to the best of my ability. I’d just like to be able to help other writers out and try and explain something that is very, very complicated to the untrained eye.

One Year Later

July 12th, 2012

 

So it’s about a year since I started this whole journey and it’s been one heck of a wild ride so far. In one year the following has happened:

  • I’ve graduated from law school (YAY omg)
  • I’ve gotten a job in the publishing industry
  • I’ve written a novel
  • I’ve sent out countless query letters
  • I’ve received countless rejections
  • I’ve received a nice smattering of requests, both from agents and small presses

Needless to say, it’s been one amazing ride so far. Of course, it hasn’t been without its up and downs (often more downs than ups) but I’ve also learned so much. A year ago I didn’t know what ARCs and galleys were. I had only the vaguest understanding of how the publishing industry works. All I knew was a person wrote a book, found an agent, and that was it. Now I’ve learned SO much more.

 

I’ve also cultivated amazing friendships after being down in the trenches for over a year. I have CPs who are amazing individuals and my writing is stronger because of them. I have contacts I never dreamed I’d make. Though this year has been one of the hardest in my life, I don’t think I’d change a thing. Now, as the next year rolls around, I’ll keep writing and keep querying. One year ends and the next begins with my fingers itching to start working on a new manuscript. Still a YA, but something with a paranormal bent. No, not vampires — but ghosts. I’m excited and I can’t wait to share this next book.

 

Hopefully it’ll happen this year. Hopefully one of those full requests that are still outstanding will come back to me and say they love it and they want to represent me as I go forward. And if not? I have a new book. Because one thing I’ve learned is the time you spend on one manuscript is never wasted. Every bit of reading and writing you do only makes you a better person and a better writer.

 

As the West Wing teaches us to say: Game On and What’s Next?

Plot from Query:
When seventeen-year-old Gwen Masterson finds an enchanted book that whisks her back in time, she has no idea she’s about to become the most wanted woman in Camelot. As a modern girl in a medieval world, she is the key that will allow the golden age of King Arthur to flourish.

 

What starts out as fun and games turns into a nightmare when she becomes trapped in Camelot. Gwen unravels the larger plot – engineered by Merlin – to change the past by finding find a strong woman who will remain loyal to the king. However, such a plan can only work if the participants are willing and Gwen certainly is not. She loathes living in this male-dominated society and wants nothing to do with the arrogant boy-king. The idea of falling in love with Arthur the Neanderthal is ridiculous and yet she’s betrothed to him! To make matters worse, thanks to Merlin’s meddling, Gwen’s life hangs in the balance as she finds herself at the top of Morgana’s ‘people to kill’ list after several assassination attempts.

 

As Gwen’s unwanted wedding day grows closer, all she wants to do is leave Arthur at the altar and find a way home. She refuses to be anyone’s pawn – but when her brother Leigh finds the book and becomes trapped in the past as well, Gwen no longer has a choice. With Leigh now in Morgana’s clutches, Gwen will have to follow a new destiny in order to save not only her brother, but her future and all of Camelot.

 

First 250 Words – *UPDATED to Chapter 1 Pages*

She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry today.

 

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

 

“He was such a good man.”

 

Their words blended together as the mourners passed her by in single-file. Gwen Masterson could barely respond beyond a tip of her head in acknowledgement, her eyes staring straight ahead. Seven years ago, she had stood six feet to the right of this plot of grass on the day they buried her mother. The landscape hadn’t changed much in the intervening years, though the trees were a bit taller and there were a more headstones dotted around. Gwen remembered that day being much the same as it was today: unseasonably cold with dark clouds hanging low in the sky, threatening rain at any moment. The bright flowers resting on the lid of her father’s casket stood out in contrast to the ominous backdrop.

 

“He was so young…”

 

“I can’t imagine what you must be going through.”

 

Gwen clasped her hands in front of her black patterned skirt, squeezing them as hard as she could. She was burying her father after his long, and ultimately unsuccessful, battle with cancer. The last thing she needed was to cause a scene, though all she wanted to do was scream and shake the nearest person until they showed some bit of genuine emotion. Her nails imprinted red crescents onto her palms as she tried to hold her tongue and keep the plastic smile on her face.

I’ve been working at the literary agency for about 8 weeks now, and I have to say I absolutely love every minute of the day. It’s a reminder that I’m happy as all get-out to be in the publishing industry and just hope I can get a good job when this internship is over!

While I’ve been at the agency, I’ve been doing a lot of read reports for some of the agents. What these are, are short summaries and critiques of manuscripts. I have to say? Doing these have been, quite possibly, the best exercise ever. I have one to two pages to both summarize the novel and also give my critique/recommendation which… isn’t a heck of a lot of space. However, the exercise of summarizing something I’m not familiar with has been such a great learning experience when drafting my own query letters and synopsises. (Synopsi??)

I challenge you this. If you’re having trouble figuring out your query/synopsis, pull a book down off the shelf — either one you know well or one you don’t. Read it again. (because if you’re not reading, you can’t write!) Then sit down and try to do the following: write a 35 word pitch, a query, and a synopsis. Then do it again for another book. And if you could use more practice? Do it again. Focus on the main character and the plot. What drives them forward?

We do this all the time when we sit down to tell a friend why they OMG have to read this book. But when we go to write a query letter and impress an agent, it’s hard — mostly because we start second guessing ourselves. We want to make it shine and be that diamond in the slush pile.

I say? Take a step back and work on the fundamentals and if you can easily summarize a story that belongs to someone else? It’s not so hard to do it to your own. Sure we want to include every miniscule plot detail, but that doesn’t work. I look at my new query and synopsis and I’m very, very happy with them both — but they also have been written after I started at the agency.

Good luck and query on!

A Bit of Perspective

January 17th, 2012

Last week I began my semester-long internship at InkWell Management. Let me tell you, it’s been amazing so far. Promise it’s not a conflict of interest as I’m not planning on querying InkWell until I’m done with my internship (unless they give me permission to do so this semester). Also, yes, going into publishing is something I’m interested in beyond just getting published. I guess you could say I want to work both sides of the aisle. ;^)

Hey — if I can use my legal career and be an agent (or at a publishing house) by day and do my authoress thing by night? I will be thrilled. But career aspirations are not for this post. XD

In any case, last week was spent wading through the slush pile and I was given several manuscripts to read as well! Which, I must say, was much more interesting than my law reading! Note to self, reading on my iPad is SO much easier than on my mac.

However, I can also say that going through the slush pile has been a bit of a wake-up call for me as an author.

I’ve sent out a couple of test balloons over the course of the past couple of weeks to try out my query. Learned what I was doing wrong, mind, but that doesn’t make the rejections sting any less either. Yet as I’ve been going through the slush pile and pressing send on the rejection letters it really sank in just how subjective this business really is. For me, the literary fiction isn’t my cup of tea — after reading cases all day long, I want to get lost in a book… not have to read and figure out what I’m reading. But, again, personal choice. Just as I have things that aren’t my favourite, so too do the agents I’m reading for. Doesn’t mean that my rejections mean I’m doing a bad job — just that, even with all my research, I hit agents who don’t like my premise.

Which is totally okay.

Seeing the submissions inbox pile up? Yeah, I see how many submissions agents get day after day — and if it doesn’t strike your fancy, you hit next. There’s only so many hours in the day and you can’t go for anything that doesn’t grab you and won’t let you go until you’re at the end and still wanting more.

So yes, after one week the internship I’ve gained a lot of perspective on the other side and what the agents go through.

Doesn’t mean the rejections won’t hurt when they come, however — but it still gives a bit of perspective from the agent side to the writer side.

Internship Ho!

December 21st, 2011

Well, I have a brilliant piece of news — though I’m sure most of you have already heard about it already. ;^)

I’m at a literary agency! ……. Sorta.

I don’t have an agent yet (alas). The querying process will begin in the new year and I’m not afraid to admit I’m scared for that whole process to begin. *wibble* It’s going to be harrowing, nail-biting, and most likely test the limits of my (already tenuous) sanity.

However!

In January, I start with InkWell management as an intern in the agency. I’m so bloody excited, I keep jumping up and down, flailing like Kermit the Frog. It’s unpaid but they’re going to work on getting me a travel stipend which will definitely help a lot. I found the internship on the wonderful www.bookjobs.com and the description says they have a high success rate of placing interns in the industry. So here’s hoping I can do the whole “pub-industry by day; writer by night”… thing!

For the time being, however, I get to wait for January to come around so I can get started! And, y’know, start learning about the agency side of things!

This came up in a conversation with a friend of mine who is starting up a review blog. Over the weekend, she posted a review and had the author reply to it. She was ecstatic to get a response from the author, especially as she was just starting up.

However, I was shocked that the author said anything to her. I was always brought up with the mindset that authors shouldn’t say anything to reviewers, given it a good or bad book. I’m sure most of us remember the mocking of Anne Rice once upon a time when she popped up on Amazon to respond to her reviews. Other authors come to mind as well, and there’s usually a lot of other people pointing and laughing that they stopped to counter a negative review.

It led my friend and I to a discussion about the difference between Canadian and American authors that, in her words, Canadian authors are a more tight-knit community and it’s more of a norm that the authors reach out to bloggers to either respond or chat with them.

So this brings me to my question: what do you do in terms of responding to reviews? Do you read them and either do a dance of joy when someone loved it or silently weep if they didn’t like it? Do you take the time to reply to a review or do you let them just sit there as shining jewels you look at when you need a smile?

Personally, I’m on the side of not saying anything. You run the risk of starting a bad precedent that “oh, she responded to that review, but not mine!” or you get a bad name for being the crazy-person who is always defending her work. But perhaps that’s just me.

So please, thoughts on the issue anyone?

RIP Steve Jobs

October 5th, 2011

As a budding author, I’ve found that the best thing for me to write on is my trusty iPad. It kept me company when I studied abroad in the UK last year and I’ve even used it in a courtroom to take notes for an attorney I worked for last summer. I admit that I’ve been a Windows user for years, but over the course of the last year I’ve slowly been converted to being a complete and total apple user. The user interface is friendly and even for someone who is a computer geek, it does exactly what I want it to and more. I’ve yet to have to fight with my mac. What Steve did for the computer and technology will never be surpassed. He was a true visionary and genius, and one who has been taken from us far too soon. Thanks to apple, whenever I’ve had a problem with something, I know I can go into an apple store and I don’t have to gird my loins for a fight. I walked into an apple store and felt valued. It’s what made me a repeat customer.

Thank you, Steve, for all this and more. You’ve revolutionized the technology sphere, as well as changed the way your customers are treated.

Thank you for everything. See you in the iCloud.

The above is what I sent to rememberingsteve@apple.com. They invite everyone to send in thoughts, memories, and condolences. If you haven’t yet, head on over apple.com to see the fabulous tribute Apple has done to Steve.

The Young Adult Genre

September 20th, 2011

Came across a fab blog post today by a friend of mine and I felt like giving a link to it. Check it out!

http://crimsonmelodies.com/2011/09/20/why-ya-highlighting-wicked-lovely/

And I have to say, as one who is looking into writing in the YA market, it’s an interesting take. I’m not THAT far removed from the YA target audience and looking at the books that were available in the genre when I was growing up… there was nothing, really. There was RL Stine’s Fear Street and there was Christopher Pike — both of which I read by the buckets. I still own all of the books too (for s/he who dies with the most books wins!). But other than that, there wasn’t much choice when you left the realm of Baby-Sitter’s Club and were looking for the next big thing. So, consequently, my reading habits left the BSC and I found myself reading Tom Clancy and Steven King. Yes, I know that’s quite the leap, but it was in part to High School reading lists.

Now, though, you walk into B&N (or insert your favourite book store here) and the YA is filled with books and things that aren’t a couple hundred pages long either. Not to mention, even though they’re geared toward a YA market, I still see a lot of adults browsing the sections too. It’s fantastic.

And now I hope this migraine goes away (this is day two ugh) so I can get back to work!

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