Release Day Is Here!!!!


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It finally happened!  The Truth About Alex has been in the works for a couple of months, and I’m very excited to announce it’s official release IS TODAY!

I loved writing this story.  The words just flew onto the page.  It was a lot of fun to write about Selena working in the FBI instead of as a homicide detective, because I feel like the stories can be broader in scope and not isolated to a single location.  Don’t get me wrong, The Runaway Train was a blast to write, and it has done a lot of great things for me as a new author!  I can’t wait for you to see what else I have in store for Selena, and I hope that you enjoy her adventures as much as I enjoy telling them.

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An Interview with Lindsay Buroker

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If you aren’t familiar with Lindsay Buroker’s work, then I highly recommend you start reading her books.  Of course, you may be at it for a while, as she has written quite a few.  Among them is one of my favorite series, The Emperor’s Edge.  This is the book that introduced me to the wonderful worlds that Lindsay has to offer us, each one a journey across the plains of highly imaginative fantasy and steampunk. She has a lot to say, not just in her books, but concerning insights into writing.  You can find these by subscribing to her website, and she’s even been podcasting about writing, found here.

What were some of your favorite books when you were a kid?
I loved anything to do with animals, especially wolves, dogs, and horses (not a combination, you would naturally put together, but hey). I read all of the Black Stallion books, all of Jim Kjelgaard’s books, and even as a grown-up (sort of), I would probably still put Where the Red Fern Grows on my list of favorites. My love for animal stories led me to find Jack London (White Fang and Call of the Wild at first, of course), and he led me into more historical fiction, especially Colonial America/Native American stories. Even though I read in a lot of other genres and periods later on, that’s probably what let me into writing fantasy that is set in more of a steam-powered Industrial Revolution era than the typical medieval European styled fantasy that I read a lot of in high school.

 What comes to you first when working on a new story: plot or character?
I’ve had it happen both ways, but I’m definitely a character-focused writer, and I think my favorite stories have been the ones where the character came first. When you’re deciding what kind of plot would make sense for X protagonist, you really have to flesh the character out and figure out his/her pasts, hopes, dreams, quirks, etc. Sometimes when the plot comes first, you get less memorable characters, because you’re inserting them into a story rather than telling the story that could onlycome to existence because they exist. Hope that makes sense. 🙂

 Tell us a little about your writing process.
 I’ll come up with a new idea (or character), sketch some thoughts into my notepad app on the phone, and then usually let the idea stew in the back of my head for a while. If I forget about it, I guess I wasn’t that passionate about it. But if I keep coming back to it, then it means I need to write the book.
I used to be a pantser and wing it, but now that I do this full time and rely solely on my writing income, I treat it like a job and am pretty systematic. For a novel, I’ll write an outline of 2-3,000 words before I get started. I often deviate from it as I’m writing, but having the mile markers already set down on the side of the road helps keep me from stumbling off the path.
When I first got started, I just shot for 1,000 words a day, but I’ve gradually kicked that up over the last few years. Now, I’ll tend to write a rough draft quite quickly (I just finished an 80,000-word manuscript in 9 days). At one time, I thought anyone who wrote quickly was nuts and that their stuff probably sucked (I had to make excuses since I didn’t write that quickly, you see), but I realized that I do best when I get everything out there within 2-3 weeks. I have a horrible long-term memory, so writing quickly helps me keep everything in my mind. When it took me months to finish a novel (or years), I would always have to go back and reread things from the opening chapters because I’d forget what had happened. Or I would just repeat things and contradict myself. It’s much easier for me to stay in the flow this way.
After I finish the rough, I’ll either put it aside for a couple of weeks (if there’s another project waiting for attention), or I’ll jump in and give it an editing pass, rewriting, trimming, or adding detail as necessary. Then I’ll send the manuscript off to beta readers. They’ll generally have it for a couple of weeks, so I’ll work on something else during that time, maybe even starting a new novel. By always having something in the works, I’ve been able to publish something almost every month in the last year. This definitely helps keep the pay steady!
When the beta readers send it back, I’ll do another editing pass, and then send it off to my editor. She does copy-editing/proof-reading, and then it’s ready to go out!

What draws you to steampunk?
As I mentioned, I blame the early interest in American historical fiction (which waned after the Civil War or so) for part of it. In the beginning, I didn’t set out to write steampunk (I wasn’t aware that it was a thing back in the early 00s when I started EE1), but some of those elements do seep into my fiction. I was never that excited about Victorian Europe, so I rarely draw from that. It’s always been the technology and tools of that time period that have been the draw for me, rather than the culture. I have a coffee grinder from the 1800s, and it’s this amazing piece of artwork. And it still works! It’s so rare to find stuff of that caliber today.

 Your first book was very successful.  How did you feel putting it out there for the first time?
It was definitely a slow build, and it wasn’t until I had three or four books out in the Emperor’s Edge series, that they started catching on (of course, I didn’t know much about marketing early on there either). I was definitely nervous to put my first novel out there. I had sold some short stories, and I had sent the entire novel through an online writing workshop, so I’d had some early feedback that had been positive, so that helped. I knew I wasn’t writing great literature, but I felt certain that some people would connect with the humor and the characters. I was relieved that turned out to be true!

People are loving The Emperor’s Edge books, as am I.  What led you to series writing?  Was it your original intention?
Oh, I’ve always thought in terms of series. As a reader, that’s what I enjoy. It’s the characters that I fall in love with, and if they’re good characters, I don’t care that much what the plot is doing.
As a writer, when I spend that much time coming up with quirks, fears, foibles, etc., I hate to put aside a hero after one book. When I wrote Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, I fully intended it to be a one-off book, a bit of an experiment with a steampunk romance, but I knew as soon as I finished that I wanted to do more with the characters. Now, I’m planning the fifth book in that series.

 What’s next for you?
I’m starting a new series in the Emperor’s Edge world. Some of the existing characters will have cameos (with Dak from Republic being a major player), but for the most part, we have new characters, and it’s set on a new continent. I hope EE fans will check it out! The series is Chains of Honor, and the first book, Warrior Mage, will be out soon.

I appreciate you taking time to talk to us today!
Thanks for having me!

Cover Reveal and News

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My next book has gone through my betas and my editor!   Not to mention the cover artwork is nearing completion through the spectacular Hillhouse Graphic Design, LLC. This story has gone through three different drafts, and I’ve enjoyed each of them during the revision process.  The first draft was a blast to write.  When I originally wrote the story, it was quickly and without reservation or concern about what other people would think.  Of course, it wasn’t suitable for anyone but myself to read.  Isn’t that what first drafts are for?
The final version of the book is polished and shiny.  I can’t wait for you guys to find out what’s in store for Montana Marrenger in this one!

The Truth About Alex

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Today I finished writing the follow-up to The Runaway Train called The Truth About Alex!  I started writing the Winter Novella back on October 26th, almost immediately after The Runaway Train.  There were some hiccups during the process, some scenes that needed to be rewritten, some things moved around, but that’s what drafts are for.  Scrivener kept it all organized for me, and Evernote held onto all of the notes.
Mostly, the holiday season kept me from doing very much in it at all… other than taking notes.  The next step is for the book to move along to my Betas, then J.C. Hart will get to sharpen her blades before it arrives on her desk.
This book was a blast to write!  To be honest with you, I’m going to miss the characters.  I suppose that every writer feels that way when their stories come to a close.
Now it’s time to get Monsoon Morning in order.  Montana Marrenger has quite a bit ahead of her!

 

 

The Runaway Train: Now A Bestseller!!

 

 

I’m pleased to announce that my book “The Runaway Train” has hit a Bestsellers list on Amazon!  The book is listed as one of the top short mystery reads, and I am very proud of that little story.  Thanks to everyone who decided to check out Montana Marrenger’s first mystery!

In other exciting news, The Truth About Alex should be completed this weekend. It didn’t go according to plan, exactly, because I wanted to have the book released before Christmas.  The holiday season proved to be as busy as ever, not to mention that the story had to undergo a little bit of a surgery.  Yes, writers are also surgeons.  

It’ll go immediately to Betas, then the editor (C.H. Hart), proofreader, cover artist, and then finally, hopefully, it will be beaten into some sort of thing that is legible and interesting.

Winter Novella Part III

 

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For those of you who are patiently waiting, I hope to have my next novella completely written by the end of this week.  No promises are going to be made, no secret handshakes.  Sometimes, a tale moves at it’s own pace while writing it.  Keeping that in mind, The Truth About Alex is really moving along faster than I had anticipated considering the fact that I’ve had to face the end of my fall semester in school, finals and all.
Does that mean that by the weekend, you will get to join Montana Marrenger on another adventure?  Well…almost.  The Truth About Alex has to go through my beta readers, proof readers, my spectacular editor C.H. Hart, and of course, the glorious cover design process done by the miraculous Hillhouse Design Inc.
Now, before you go tossing rotten fruit at me, just know that I’m aiming for around Christmas time for The Truth About Alex.  If that deadline isn’t met, it will be very soon after, but I’m hoping for Christmas.
Which brings me to another matter.  Do you remember that little progress ticker plastered to the side of my website?  Yeah, it detailed the progress of Montana Marrenger’s first full length novel, Monsoon Morning, and I’m very excited about it.  The novel is completely written, I’m happy to say.  There are some things about it that I’m having to go back to and work with.  However, I’m aiming to have this novel published by spring of 2015!

Stay tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date with all things Montana Marrenger!

The Release Day Is Here!

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Grab Your Copy Right Here!

I’m very happy to announce that The Runaway Train is now available to purchase!  Yeah, it’s moved out of that preorder stage and right into the BUY ME NOW stage!  Of course, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, this Montana Marrenger Mystery is absolutely free for you.  Not that 99 cents is much of a big deal anyway, right?

What’s that, you say?  You don’t have a Kindle?  No problem.  The wonderful people over at Amazon have a plethora of apps that you can download on your phone, PC, Mac, or Tablet!  Seriously, just click here for the Free Kindle Reading App, and you can start reading The Runaway Train in a matter of seconds.

Thank you all for your support!  The Runaway Train was a blast to write, and I can’t wait to hear what all of you think of Montana Marrenger’s very first adventure!