Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Interview with Rachel Pudelek!

Ever since Rachel landed her agent, Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary, I have wanted to do an interview with her. I met Rachel over a year ago in the blog-o-sphere and she has helped me so much in the area of queries and pitching to agents, now her wise words are here for you!

*Waves to Rachel*
Thank you for letting me interview you! Tell us about your book!

Deadly Splendor is a young adult horror novel about a teen girl, Allura, who is chosen by her elders to lead her all-female secret society back to their roots of man-hunting. But when the enemies of her ancestors follow the blood trail she’s left behind, she’s forced to kill for more than just pleasure.

Where did you get the premise for you story and how did you go about the research?

I think there isn’t enough fierce-female stories in our culture, and I’m not just referring to the written form of story-telling. So I sought to write a novel about a whole sub-culture of women that not even Chuck Norris would want to meet in a dark alley.

I loved researching for Deadly Splendor! Most every country/culture has age-old tales of huntresses, women who lured men to their deaths. So I combined the attributes of these folkloric women to create the ones you see in my story. They call themselves Femina Mari. I also pulled in bits of history. One of my favorites is when Allura explains how her foremothers avenged the hundreds of women who were burned during the European witch hunts, by slaughtering the ruthless men in charge.

The book started out as a Young Adult Supernatural novel and turned into YA Horror. Where you surprised by the genre shift?

Actually, I was relieved by it. My agent told me that while I had supernatural elements in my story (The secret society is comprised of descendants of folkloric man-eaters.) my writing style and voice were horror/thriller. She encouraged me to embrace this, which made me happy because that meant Allura got to let loose and rack up a body count.

Is there any particular message you were hoping to get across in your novel? What are some themes you explored? 

When I wrote it, no. Except, of course, the whole girl power and equality aspect. (Allura befriends a guy, which complicates things.) Actually, through my research this story taught me important lessons rather than me trying to teach others through the story.

What has been the most exciting thing about having an agent and getting closer to a publication deal?

I wrote DEADLY SPLENDOR in 2011. And despite the challenges I faced with this type of story, I refused to give up on it. I’d trunked a manuscript before writing DEADLY SPLENDOR, so it wasn’t that I was too stubborn. My connection to Allura and the Femina Mari world runs deeper than that. So the most exciting thing about having an agent and therefore getting one step closer to the possibility of a publication deal is the idea that maybe one day others will see mist and evergreens and think of Allura, just like I do.

What has been the most surprising thing? 

I’ve been learning a ton lately about this business, but I think what surprised me the most at first was that your season of waiting doesn’t end once you’ve crawled out of the query trenches. In fact, those trenches were only the practice round.

What are some other projects you are working on that you’re excited about?

I finished a YA light sci-fi romance a few months back, involving hidden pasts and inter-dimensional forbidden love. I’m in the editing stage of an upper MG novel about an Egyptian mummy princess in New York City. And I’m plotting a dark YA contemporary romance involving cougars, cubs, and motorcycle gangs. ;)

Fun questions:

Favorite Horror Movie: It’s kind of an older one (made in 2001), but Frailty with Bill Paxton and Mathew McConaughey.

Favorite Book: I have a favorite book for each genre I read. But there’s one book I read when I was a teenager that I still think about often: STRANGER with MY FACE by Lois Duncan.

Favorite Book Cover: I don’t have one. I just adore all beautiful covers. But the dark, eerie cover of BETEEN the DEVIL and the DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke has my attention, for sure. I’m intrigued by the cliff, the mist, and the evergreens. Also, the romantic and colorful cover of ALIENTATED by Melissa Landers is absolutely gorgeous.

Favorite Word:
A particular German cussword I say at least twice a day.

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite source for inspiration: Nature. Preferably the forest, filled with evergreens, moss, and ferns. If there’s a lake, or ocean inlet, or waterfall, I’m in heaven.

Thanks for the fun interview, Rachel! I CANNOT wait for DEADLY SPLENDOR!

You can find Rachel at her blog: A Rainy Day Writer in the Evergreen State
Twitter: @rachelpud

Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: October 25, 2013

If you want to join the weekly Celebrate the Small Things bloghop, head over to VikLit's Writing Blog and add your name to the link list!

Wow! These few weeks have been a *little* crazy, and I have much to be thankful for at the end of all things!

1. My awesome CP, Barbara Kloss!

2. I have a new workspace and it's awesome!

This is before I started working at it. 
This is after. The big monitor is awesome. 

3. Aladdin worked on the image for my imprint! So now I present to you, my imprint! 
4. Last but not least, I should put school on this list because it's been consuming a good part of my hours recently, and while I'm close to being burnt out, I'm still thankful I'll have a master's degree soon. 

Okay! hopefully I'll be back to making the blog rounds soon! <3 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post!

Hey guys! Check out my guest post over at 

Part of N.A. Windsor's Wednesday Writing Workshop


See you all soon! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Journey to Publication: Pre-release Reviews!

My boyfriend and I are going to sit down to our first marketing meeting this evening. We're going to make it an official thing with coffee and all that jazz.

It sounds silly, but I'm excited!

And scared. 0___0

Marketing is something I've actually ALWAYS thought about. While all you lovely people are marking your books and coming up with awesome ideas, I'm sitting here taking it all in and I honestly must THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the expertise you unwittingly share on a daily basis!

I think my biggest focus with my first book will be how many pre-release reviews I can get. The only bad part is that I'm self-published, therefore, the reviews can only go on GoodReads and not on the Amazon account.

Still, pre-rerelease reviews mean people are seeing my book, the cover--basically, the brand of CUTLASS. They're going to know that image...and they might like it enough to say, "Hey! I'm gonna buy that on April 23, 2014." *cough* cough* which would make my birthday AWESOME!! *cough* *cough*

In relation to my reviews in general, I've set a goal of having 100 by July 23, 2014 (three months after my publication date).

I read this article by Mike Lowndes which was helpful.
And he linked this article by Jeanette Vaughan which gave me a lot to consider, too. 

One thing she suggested, and that I had already planned on doing, was to create an imprint. Aladdin has been working on the logo! I will reveal that to you all when we get everything settled with that!

What was the scariest thing on your publication journey? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things!

I decided to join this awesome bloghop called Celebrate the Small Things. If you want to join in, head over to VikLit's blog and sign up!  I do love anything that makes me pause on life and remind myself how lucky I am and how positive I need to be.

I am celebrating is my admission into candidacy for my master's program! :D This means that I am prepped and ready to take the comp in March (four days, I will be out of commission, lol). THEN I can graduate in May!! I'm very much ready!

I am also celebrating a vast majority of amazing friends who continuously encourage me. I've been editing my book the past week and I'm not sure I would have had the motivation to keep going if not for them!

I am celebrating this beautiful Sunshine Award given to me by Cathrina Constantine! Thank you so much for thinking of me!

Here are the questions:

Fave color: Purple
Fave animal: Umm...I like dogs and elephants. LOL.
Fave number: 10
Fave non-alcoholic drink: green tea!
Fave alcoholic drink: I'm a fan of red wine.
Facebook or Twitter: ooohh...Facebook, I'll get better at Twitter.
Passions: Writing & health
Prefer giving or getting presents? Giving!!!
Fave city? Let's go with Rome.
Fave TV Shows: SHERLOCK!!! 

Now, I'm nominating some friends! 

Anyone else who would like to jump in and answer these questions for themselves, go right ahead! :) 

Happy weekend!! 
Boomer Sooner!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where do you get your books?

I was curious about where you get your books. I'm a LIS student, and our focus is always libraries (physical and digital).  Do you use the library? Do you utilize their e-book lending programs? Do you buy from Amazon mostly? Do you buy e-books or paperbacks? What about bookstores? Which bookstore do you go to most?

 For me, I use a combination of all of the above. Some of my favorite bookstores are Half-Price Books and Barnes & Noble (because it has an amazing YA collection!). Also, I discover that our public library here in Norman actually has an impressive YA collection, too! So let me know, where do you get your books? :)

And after you have answered my poll, you should head over to Mina Lobo's blog and sign up for her blogfest! She's celebrating her two-year blog anniversary! Those are always fun! :D

This year, Mina invites everyone to 'resurrect' a blog post between November 8, 2012 and November 6, 2013! She will also give away PRIZES!! :) Head on over and sign up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Post: Misha Gericke!

The Book

Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land...

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith's realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine's crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.


So. What’s my cover about?

When Ashley asked me to write something about my cover, I thought I’d do a post on what it all means.

Before I do, I just want to give the cover designer who did the image a huge applause. He/she nailed it!

The Imagery

The girl on the cover is Callan, who’s dealing with one serious issue that’s slowly been destroying her life for as long as she can remember. As the book goes on, the problem worsens. That’s the snake-shadow you see in the image. And the castle in the background is either the one in Cumbria which houses the doors to another world, or it’s the one in Nordaine, where she’s taken after a failed kidnapping attempt. Based on the stone’s color, I’m thinking it’s the Cumbrian. I think the darker stone framing the cover represents Nordaine.

When I look at the cover, I get a sense of mystery and foreboding, which hits the exact right note for the entire series. There’s a lot that Callan (and the other main characters) doesn’t know, and some of the stuff she needs to find out is dangerous.

The Pseudonym

I’ve been getting comments that using a pseudonym was silly of me because it’s so close to my name. There’s a reason for this. I knew from the beginning that I was going to use one, but once the book deal was signed and Etopia asked what name I wanted to publish under, I had to think.

The problem with my real name is that most people misspell it in some way, which would probably count against me in the early searches. At the same time, I was so dang proud of the story that I didn’t want to make the name unrecognizable as being me. So I basically simplified my surname and used M. instead of Misha, since I didn’t want new readers to shoot me down for being a girl.

The Titles

My series is called War of Six Crowns, because it deals with evens happening before, during and after a war between six kings.

Each book will be named for a major event in the war’s timeline, so The Vanished Knight comes from Nordaine’s only remaining blood heir disappearing at the book’s beginning.

So yeah, that’s pretty much my cover in a nutshell. Feel free to ask me any questions related to the book or writing it! Thanks so much for hosting me, Ashley!


M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects. She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain. If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog.




Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Thank you, Misha! I love your cover, and the book sounds AMAZING! I cannot wait to read!