NaNoWhatMo?

It’s official! NaNoWriMo starts in less than a week, which means it’s time to find your favorite writers and give them hugs or send them snacks and inspiration. Throughout the month of November, many of us are going to be bleeding out our fingertips to write the stories of our hearts. It’s National Novel Writing Month, and tens of thousands of writers across the country will be participating.

I’ve had this exact conversation with more individuals than I can remember now:

Person: “Wow, you write books? How cool! I’ve always wanted to write a book. When I have time, I will.”

Me: “Oh, hey, you should think about signing up for NaNoWriMo this year.”

Person: “NaNoWhatMo?”

Me: “NaNoWriMo! It’s a yearly event and a non-profit organization that encourages you to write a novel in a month, or at least make progress and establish a habit.”

Person: ” . . . oh. Yeah, no. I could never write a novel in a month. That’s crazy!”

A: Yes, perhaps a little. All writing is a little crazy. We sit at a keyboard or a pad of paper and manipulate 26 letters in infinite combinations with the goal of creating vivid shared hallucinations. It’s fantastic.

B: NOBODY inherently has time to write a novel. Many of the writers who have done so did not have any more time than you do. Time is a finite economy and we all make do with the little pockets we can scrounge. More on this in a blog post I made last year. The Sparknotes version: If you are waiting for that magic moment to open up when the stars will align and you’ll have ALL the inspiration and ALL the time, you will never write your novel. *puts down the megaphone and steps off soapbox*

C: Truth, homie! Writing a novel is difficult. Writing a novel in a month is SUPA HARD. It can be done, but I certainly have never done it before. In fact, I’ve never even hit the 50,000 word goal that we’re “supposed” to hit during NaNoWriMo. That’s why I use the month to taken in all the creative juices I can and attempt to make significant progress on some sort of project. I pull up my playlists, print out photos of my “fan castings” or settings, light candles that smell like Florindale Square or the ocean or the leather goods someone might find in my world, and I simply add as many words as I can. My record is probably somewhere over 30,000. Fifty K? I can only dream for now.

But, whether I know I can write 50,000 words or 500 words in a month, I could never pass up the opportunity to move 500 words closer to typing “THE END.” After all, I find the revision process a whole lot more fun than the first draft process, and every year I can’t wait to print out that beautifully-spiral-bound-but-terribly-written first draft so I can begin to splatter the pages with red ink and make them sing. (Oh, and nothing I’ve written in November has ever been publishable until at least June or July!)

So, if you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the writing waters “when you have the time”, why not get started this November and see if you can write half a novel? A few chapters? An outline? Even if you finish with a basic description of a main character and a random sentence that belongs somewhere in the middle, that’s something you didn’t have in October.

I’m here to tell you: You have a book inside of you, you can bring it out, and it is valuable.

You’ve got this!

Cheers,

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

The Hummingbird v. 2.0: Cover Reveal #3!

Hey friends!

I’ll cut right to the fun stuff: You’ve already seen the first two covers for the new and improved Carver Trilogy, and all week long I’ve been itching to release the third and final cover! I’m just going to drop it right here for ya:

Here we have a glimpse of Neverland, pirate ships, a dragon, some of the towers from Avoria’s Citadel, and perhaps my favorite element of this cover: We finally have a look at Enzo himself!

The books themselves are in formatting, and once that step is complete, I’ll be working to hard to get these live and ready for your hands. I have a feeling they’re going to look pretty awesome in person, especially when you put them all together!

This week to celebrate the release of all three covers, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon credit to one random winner. Entry is simple:

  1. Follow my Facebook page.
  2. Add ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN, my upcoming February release, to your Goodreads list.
  3. Comment on this blog post and tell me what your favorite fairy tale retelling is, or any fairy tale/myth that you would like to see retold in the future! Or, just tell me what you think of these covers!!

I will choose a winner in a week!

Happy reading!

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

The Carver v. 2.0: Cover Reveal #1!

Good morning, friends!

I know I’ve been promising you all an update on the new branding and re-release of THE CARVER for a couple months now, and I was going to hold off until I closed the sales for the old cover and made my Make A Wish donation, but well, I just couldn’t hold it any longer! How ’bout now?

No automatic alt text available.

Things I love about this cover:

  • The way the New York skyline bleeds into The Woodlands, signifying that we’re in our own backyard and an uncharted one at the same time, that this story spans entire worlds near and far.
  • That tiny silhouette against the Empire State Building.
  • The strange dark blue pattern, signaling that this is not an everyday story and that something dark and epic is about to go down…
  • The new font, dark enough to be mysterious; whimsical enough to say, “But don’t take this too seriously 😉
  • The everything though.

This was done by the amazing Kim G and is only the first of three! I’ll be revealing one new cover every Tuesday in the month of June, so come back on the 19th for THE UNSEEN!

Still waiting on an official timeline for the re-release, but I am going to make every effort to have this out by September for you to hold in your hands! I promise to keep you posted!

In the meantime, I’m giving you an opportunity to win one of three sets of eight character trading cards for my next book, ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN! I’ll post a new challenge with every reveal, though most of them will involve sharing and following 🙂 This week, all you have to do for a chance to win is:

  1. Be following me on Facebook and/or Instagram!
  2. Comment on the cover reveal post on Facebook or Instagram!
  3. Share the cover on your own Facebook or Instagram, and
  4. Tag me in your post!

Pretty easy, right? Every week, in June, one person will win a set of trading cards, which contain a clue about one surviving character from THE CARVER TRILOGY who will make an appearance in ROSES. Yes, these books share a universe! Here’s one of the new characters!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing

Carlos “Charlie” Rosas is one of the main protagonists in ROSES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN. He’s twelve years old, lives in Tucson, AZ, and might have been having a much better summer if he weren’t stuck having to rescue his Uncle Diego from a dangerous fire-breathing monster. It’s safe to say his summer is anything but boring, though. Right?

What do you all think of the new cover, and of this new character reveal? Feel free to sound off in the comments! Happy Reading!

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

The Carver’s Last Hurrah!

Howdy chums!

I hope everybody had a nice weekend and had the opportunity to do something nice on Memorial Day. Shout-out to our heroes and veterans out there! We thank you for your service!

I have so much I want to tell you today, especially about Phoenix Comic Fest! If I get into a full recap, I’ll be sitting here writing for days and you’ll likely get super bored, so here’s the quick version:

  1. I sold a lot of books and ate a lot of Mexican food, oh and a little bit of Thai cuisine, too. Katie Salidas and Jenna Johnson are the most excellent con crew I can think of off the top of my head!
  2. Michael Rooker walked into our booth just because he can do that and he’s awesome. It happened so fast that I didn’t get a picture with him, although I DID offer him a slice of pizza . . .
  3. Dr. Strange, Star-Lord, and Bob Ross Deadpool seem to be the most popular cosplay right now, finally edging out Ledger Joker, Leto Joker, and Jon Snow. But only by a little! Although, I have to say I think this Hogwarts crew was my personal favorite . . . Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing

And with the end of Comic Fest, it’s also the end of a wonderful era: The original print run for The Carver is at an end. I am now actively phasing out the mirror covers, and I recently got my first preview of the new look. I promise you it’s phenomenal–it’s very different and very new, while also holding true to the thematic mood and overall feel of the book. A VERY worthy and replacement for the original branding I loved so much!

For now though, I need to phase out the rest of my stock and get the original books into good hands: yours! As a last hurrah for the stock, I am offering signed and personalized copies, and even some annotated copies for readers who want a glimpse into my thought process and some additional commentary. These will make great gifts and summer reading, and for every order placed on or before June 15, I am pledging to donate half the proceeds (after the cost of shipping) to Make A Wish ArizonaSo, every order supports an indie writer, a child who could use a wish right now, and gives you a fun beach read for the summer. It’s like having a triple chocolate cake all to yourself, with none of the guilt and all of the yum!

You can order HERE while supplies last. Orders are first-come-first-served, and I should tell you that at the time I am writing this, there are only three copies of The Hummingbird left! So if you’re looking for a full set or the finale on its own, order fast! I’ll be following up with PayPal invoices a day or two later 🙂

Lastly, my newsletter subscribers will be the first to see the new cover VERY SOON, so if you’re not on the official newsletter (it’s different from this blog and just a little more exclusive!), you can subscribe here!

Happy Reading!

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

Of Finales and Finish Lines (The Hummingbird Release!)

So, we’ve arrived! I have some great giveaway stuff and info below, but first I need to be a sap for a few paragraphs. It is February 20, 2018, the day THE HUMMINGBIRD flies off into the world and the ORDER OF THE BELL trilogy comes to its close. As Marie Lu said at the end of CHAMPION, the end of the road is a strange and wistful place. It’s bittersweet. Today feels a lot like watching a friend or sibling drive off to college. Well. Kinda. It’s hard to describe. Sometimes even authors can’t quite find the right words.

 photo myemotions_zps8696f3fc.gif

Just as Aladdin had three wishes and Goldilocks sampled three bowls of porridge, it took three challenging and wonderful years to write three books about three “ordinary” teenagers who discovered that magic is everywhere, especially deep within. And that story is now complete with a start, a finish, and hopefully a wildly fun ride in between! It’s not a perfect set, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, but it is 100% true to my vision, and I’ve never been prouder to put my name on something. Oh and Enzo, if you’re reading this:

thumb image

And I couldn’t have done any of this without my amazing readers and the best publishers/editors/cover designers/beta readers/bloggers/social media followers/family/friends I could have asked for! I hope THE HUMMINGBIRD is the finale you hoped for and deserved, and I hope THE ORDER OF THE BELL has given you even just a fraction of the escape, the hope, the adventure, and the light you’re looking for today–ESPECIALLY today.

Oh and don’t worry. This isn’t really the end of the path. It’s the crossroads. My fingers and those gears in my brain are still moving, so keep an eye out! I have so many more stories to tell you–some from places very close to the bell tower and some much farther away than that second star to the right–and I hope you’ll continue to explore with me.

Wishing you a happy Tuesday and a safe trip back to Florindale,

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

THE HUMMINGBIRD (THE ORDER OF THE BELL #3)

In the aftermath of the great battle that left Wonderland in ruins, Crescenzo DiLegno and his two best friends have reunited with their families in Florindale, but the war wages on in every kingdom. The Order of the Bell is scattered, presumably left to the mercy of Queen Avoria, whose grip on the New World grows tighter every day. Cities have already fallen, the shadows have spread, and a fortress of nightmares has appeared in the heart of New York City.

Determined to take back his home and restore order to the worlds, Crescenzo must rally all the people he’s met from his adventures, from the troubled prince to the rebellious Lost Boys, and storm Avoria’s castle of illusion. The Carver’s war against the wicked Ivory Queen brews to an explosive finale, but dark secrets about her true nature have yet to emerge, and not everybody will be prepared to survive them.

ABOUT THE ORDER OF THE BELL SERIES

In this twisted modern fairytale, the lives of three teenagers, Crescenzo, Rosana, and Zack, collide as they contend with the disappearance of their families and learn a secret that uproots their lives: They are actually the children of Pinocchio, Alice, and Peter Pan, and there are dark forces in the fairytale world that want their parents back. With only a handful of handcrafted wooden figurines to light the way, Crescenzo and his friends set off on an epic quest to rescue their families, making unlikely friends–and relentless enemies–out of the storybook legends they thought they knew. But with the growing threat of the nightmarish Queen Avoria looming over his head, Crescenzo won’t just need a few loyal allies to bring his family back to the world he knows: He’ll need a whole army to save all three.

THE CARVER (Book 1) | IVORY QUEEN (Interquel/Novella) | THE UNSEEN (Book 2)

 

 

 

 

 

The Carver is currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon! Witness the adventure from the very beginning, and own the complete series for less than $5!

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate his third release and the “rule of three” in fairy tales, Jacob is giving away three of his favorite paperbacks for YA adventure lovers: STARDUST by Neil Gaiman, THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken, and AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir. You can earn up to three entries as follows:

  1. Follow @jacob_devlin on Instagram and comment on the giveaway post, tagging a friend who loves to read as much as you do!
  2. Subscribe to Jacob’s newsletter and respond to the welcome email with the name of your favorite fairytale character.
  3. Follow @jacob_devlin on Twitter and retweet the giveaway post (pinned to the top of the page!)

Open internationally. Each entry gets your name/handle written on an index card and entered in a hat, and on 2/28, Jacob will draw one card at random to win the paperbacks along with some special swag items.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jacob Devlin is the author of The Carver, which recently won a LitPick Top Choice Award, and its sequels, The Unseen and The Hummingbird. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, spoiling his niece, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

Jacob’s Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Amazon

Interview with the Flying Man

Dear Friends,

I’ve been keeping tabs on Florindale for a little over three years now, and I can tell you that the past few weeks have been the most distressing and busy as I watch the Order of the Bell train day-in and day-out for the war against Avoria. It almost doesn’t look healthy, the way they’re all exerting themselves.

Good news: I managed to talk Violet into letting everybody stop training for one night only, because it’s a special occasion in our world. I explained things a little differently, but here’s how Violet seemed to understand Superbowl Sunday: Tonight, families and friends gather in front of their TV and eat snacks while they watch two opposing kingdoms fight over a ball and an overlord narrates for the spectators. In between, spokesmen advertise more snacks, and the High King of Pop, the uber-charismatic Lord Timberlake, will perform hymns and New World anthems.

So yeah, the people of Florindale are learning an American tradition tonight, which is very exciting for New World natives like Pino and Pietro, who grew up learning all about the Superbowl. As fate would have it, Pietro Volo–Peter Pan himself–came to my house to relive this tradition, and I decided to interview him during some of the less fun commercials. Here’s our transcript:

Pietro: Hey so who’s playing again? Did Ravenclaw make it this year?

Jacob: Sadly no . . . you have the choice of rooting for the Eagles, the Patriots, or Justin Timberlake.

Pietro: Who are those first two? Let me look at the logos real quick. Pass me the onion dip?

Jacob: The Eagles are supposed to be the underdog, as I understand it. We’re really all here for JT.

Pietro: That’s the guy from Backstreet Boys, right? I kinda miss them.

Jacob: We might need to catch you up on New World pop culture. So how are you feeling about the war against the Ivory Queen? Are you ready?

Pietro: I’m tired. Violet’s relentless. But I’m excited to change roles soon. Tomorrow, she’s sending me back to Neverland for a recruitment trip. I get to see my old friends, Nibs, Curly, the boys I used to hang out with on the island before I became a New World man. I hope they’re all still there. We need ’em. We need as many people as we can get in this war.

Jacob: Neverland . . . wow. I’m sure it’s been a long time. You must be really excited to revisit a place you used to call home.

Pietro: Of course, Jay! I’ve been dreaming of the island for years. But ever since Avoria showed up again, these places don’t quite look right. Weird things are happening in New York, Enzo tells me Wonderland was a nightmare, and there are shadows all over Florindale Square. *cracks open a soda and thinks for a minute.* I hope with all my being that Neverland is the way I left it. That’s the whole point of Neverland–it’s not supposed to change.

Jacob: You know, I left Tucson for a while too. When I came back, a lot of things were different. I really hoped they wouldn’t be, but a lot of things don’t stay the same. Look at you! You broke away from Neverland and became a grown man with a family. Remember how badly you didn’t want that for most of your life? Look at JT on the screen right now! He’s changed a lot too since the NSYNC days.

Pietro: That’s different though. JT isn’t about to go fight an evil queen.

Jacob: Meh. I’ll give you that. But it’ll all work out! At least you’ll always have those memories of Neverland, right? And hopefully many still to come of your time in the New World. We’re rooting for you all!

Pietro: Thanks, Jay–HEY! Is that me in that commercial right there?

Jacob: No, that is Chris Pratt. You need to watch Jurassic World soon.

Pietro: Are there dragons?

Jacob: Never mind.

On a side note, watch for a special release day giveaway coming very soon! Are you following me on Instagram or Twitter? More details coming in a couple days!

Wishing you all the best until then!

Jacob Devlin Logo Small

Interview with the Future Queen

Dear Friends,

January is zooming by like a plane, or better yet, a hummingbird *wink wink*. That means in just a couple of weeks, I will be able to present the final chapter of the ORDER OF THE BELL to you. I’m psyched, I’m bummed, I’m a tiny bit nervous, I’m proud, and I’m everything in between. So just imagine how Enzo and his friends must be feeling! I don’t have to fight the Ivory Queen and save the world (lucky for you all)–but they do 😉 They don’t have a choice.

I want to thank the one and only Snow White for sitting down with me earlier today and taking some time out of her ludicrous schedule. She’s a wonderful human being, and I wish we could have chatted about happier things. Anyway, here’s the transcript of my interview with her:

Jacob: Thanks so much for coming to visit me, Your Majesty. I know the Order is keeping you crazy busy right now.

Snow: Mr. Devlin, how long have we known each other now? Please don’t be so formal with me. It’s just Snow. And the pleasure is mine. You’re giving me a much needed break from the daily trials.

Jacob: Trials?

Snow: There’s no way for Avoria to hear what we’re discussing today, right? It’s very risky to discuss the Order’s plans in the open like this. We have to stay one step ahead of the Ivory Queen at all times, and if she finds out . . . *begins wringing her hands and staring out the window*

Jacob: I promise our conversation is safe. Nobody will know a thing except for my very loyal blog reader, who would never mention a thing to Avoria. They hate her too, you know.

Snow: *sighs* Violet and Hua Mulan have us training day in and day out with very little rest. It’s exhausting. Not everybody has the exact same training, of course, but everybody is required to run obstacle courses and a choice of weapon: blades, staves, or projectiles. I work with the arrows and crossbows. I’m much more effective from a distance.

Jacob: You are fierce. We’ve seen the way you handle that crossbow.

Snow: *looks down and fidgets with a loose string in her sleeve* You mean with Hansel? I feel I’ve been too harsh on him. He’s trying to atone for his errors. He truly is. I really want to see him happy, I just . . . I worry that time is running out for us, and it’s hard not to apportion some of the blame to him.

Jacob: I’m glad you’re taking those steps to start forgiving him. This can’t be an easy time for any of you. I did want to ask you something, and stop me if it gets too sensitive: How is Liam doing? I would’ve thought he would come with you today.

Snow: *silence*

Jacob: I’m so sorry, we can always–

Snow: No, no, you’re fine. You deserve to know. Liam is . . . very broken right now. Haunted, even. He’s not the man he was when I met him. At least, not on the surface. It’s been hard for me, and for everybody else who looks up to him. He doesn’t come out of the house, he doesn’t train, he barely leaves his bed. It feels like we’re always training by moonlight now. Without him, it’s like there’s no sun, and I’d give just about anything to see that sun come back.

Jacob: You two have been through so much since Avoria came back. You lose each other, you find each other again, you love bits and pieces of yourself, and you find yourselves again. If anybody is going to make out it out of this war, it’s you two. I have hope!

Snow: You’re too kind. Violet said something similar a few days ago. She had this crazy idea that it’s time to make us King and Queen of Florindale. For hope, I suppose. If only Liam would get out of bed!

Jacob: King Liam and Queen Snow? That’s awesome! I’ve been wondering when that would happen . . . as if you don’t have enough on your plate, though. Do you feel ready?

Snow: As ready as I’ll ever be. I have a terrible feeling about the coronation, but you know Violet. Once she’s made up her mind, there’s no stopping her. One way or another, they’re going to crown us soon. I can think of about seven dozen people more deserving than I, but I’ll accept if it will bring people hope.

Jacob: And that’s exactly why it should be you . . . the fairest in the land! I hope the event goes well. Here’s hoping for a new age, free from Avoria and all that darkness she brought with her.

Snow: Thank you, Mr. Devlin. May the light be with you!

THE HUMMINGBIRD releases February 20, 2018 and the eBook is currently available for pre-order!

The Hummingbird EBook

Taming the Dragon (Or: The Art of Revision)

Happy December!

In Jacob news, I saw Coco recently and I wanted to recommend it to anybody who’s down to cry. I have this theory that Pixar uses our tears to water their gardens and that’s why Disneyland is so green and beautiful. But we love them for it, right?

In all seriousness, it’s a beautiful movie. The story, the themes and messaging, the graphics, and the representation of the Latino culture made me happy even if I walked out a little red-eyed! I couldn’t help but wonder about the writers and the process they took to develop the story. How many times did they go back to the storyboard? Did they write somebody out? Did those twists come to them naturally? How many lines were deleted and added after the initial draft?

We have to remember that writing is a fluid and ongoing process and not a one-and-done deal. Recently, we talked about Stephen King and how he nearly destroyed the original manuscript for Carrie. But what happened between the time his wife dug it out of the trash and the first time it was bound into a book? I can’t profess to know much time passed for him, but I can imagine there was quite a bit of work in between, just as the screenplay for Coco probably had to undergo its own share of narrative revisions.

I love when people ask me what my own revision process looks like, because it’s honestly my favorite part of the cycle. Everybody does it differently. Some swear by a three-draft method where it should only take three major revisions to get your manuscript market-ready. I’ve seen a checklist that goes through somewhere around 30 passes. I see merit in both, because you have to use what works for you! For what it’s worth, here’s what do:

  • After I type “THE END”, I put the manuscript into a different font than what I wrote in and then format it to my own liking, usually double-space and Garamond or Times New Roman. Then I save a PDF and pay to have it printed, spiral-bound, and shipped to me. Seeing it bound and spanning a thick stack of paper gives me that happy boost–a tangible sense that I’ve accomplished a major step already. Plus, I really recommend paper as opposed to the machine for that first revision (call me a Luddite if you must!) There’s something almost cathartic and valuable in taking an actual red pen, post-its, highlighters, and marking that bad boy up!
  • The first pass is just me reading for glaring big-picture issues: plot holes, continuity errors, major lapses in characterization, and pace issues. When I see something that needs a change, I slap a post-it on the page. In fact, I slapped one on page one of my current WIP: “rewrite in 1st person POV.” Naturally, this means the first revision takes the longest and requires the biggest changes!
  • Once I make these major changes, I feel ready to show it to betas who can help me assess the big picture. It’s crucial to get outside feedback. Have you ever played Cranium, where it asks you to do something like sing a simple and well-known song using only the syllable “doo”, and suddenly you’re frustrated that your buddy can’t tell you’re “dooing” Happy Birthday? “How can you not know this?” you ask. Of course he’s heard the song a million times, but he’s hearing it in a brand new context and all the info you need is at the forefront of your mind. When you reread your own work, you’re listening to yourself “dooing” Happy Birthday, so of course it makes sense. But other people have to understand you, too. So you ask for feedback. I usually get a couple friends I trust, plus an equal amount of people I’ve never met before, like a professional beta reader who is not invested in my emotional well-being or obligated to be nice to me. When the feedback comes in, I start taking notes and figure out where it all converges. That’s where my attention needs to go in the next draft. I always have to remember to take it with a grain of salt, because it’s not going to come back perfect! 🙂

  • You may have to do this a couple times or find somebody who’s willing to reread your changes, but over time, you’ll start to close all those big gaps. Your manuscript only gets better! Once all those gaps close, the next drafts are about sentence fluency and the flow of the book. I recommend reading aloud. It’ll take a long time, but it’s the best way to catch those places where somebody else might stumble! The sand castle can stand on its own now, but you want it smooth, right? Take your shovel, pat it down, shave off those lumps, and make the words sing.
  • Crutch word time! I run the whole manuscript through a word analyzer and figure out what I’m saying too often. It’s usually a lot of just, so, very, suddenly, was, and even. Find your crutch words, cut them out, and that will usually bring your word count to a submittable length.
  • After this, I close my eyes and hit send. This is right about where I was when I submitted THE CARVER, THE UNSEEN, and THE HUMMINGBIRD. Of course, once the publishers get involved, that kicks off another couple rounds of work, but if you land somebody great, they’ll help you and tell you exactly what they’re looking for while also keeping true to your vision.

Again, none of this is set in stone. It’s different for everybody. While this process has worked well for me, I definitely wonder what kind of work goes into Coco or my own favorite books!

Does your process look any different? Let me know in the comments if you have a revision ritual you want to share!

UNITY TOUR: Interview with McCallum J. Morgan!

Hello world!

Today, as part of our publisher’s UNITY BOOK EVENT, I’m introducing you to fellow author McCallum J. Morgan, published by Little Bird Publishing House. We’re on a kind of Foreign Exchange project whereby we get to be hosted on each other’s blogs and get to hang out in their world with their readers for a day.

Be sure to head over to McCallum’s blog and check out my interview at www.mhablas.blogspot.com!

They’re going to tell you a little bit about themselves and then for a chance to be in with winning a copy of their book, just drop a comment below.

So hi. What’s your name and what do you write?
I’m McCallum. I write whatever the Muses dictate, which so far has been YA steampunk/myth fusion and horror-comedy.

mccallum

When did you start writing and why?
I started my first book at age thirteen or so, but I’d been writing since long before that. I loved reading fantasy and it inspired me to want to create my own worlds, characters, and stories. I’ve always loved making things up and imagining that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

What were the biggest challenges about becoming a published author?
Trying to figure out the social media presence thing. I know a lot of people build up a presence and following before they get published, which is helpful, I think. But I was unsure of myself and didn’t want to tout myself as an ‘author’ when I wasn’t even published. But a writer’s a writer, published or not. Of course, it’s never easy to get an online presence and following going. But if you’ve started ahead, you have something to go off of to start your ‘published journey.’ I’m still working on it. I’m not a very outgoing person, so even behind the veil of social media, it’s hard to be big, brassy, and bold.

Shout out your publisher and tell us how they helped you on your creative journey.
Little Bird Publishing House has been a wonderful place to grow as a writer. With the network of authors that all reach out and help each other, giving advice and encouragement, it’s a very nurturing environment.

Where can we find out more about them?
www.littlebirdpublishinghouse.com

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on book three of my Weather Casters Saga, A Hole in the Air. And several other half-formed projects: various fantasy and horror stories and novel ideas.

 

Who is your most favourite character you’ve written and why do they speak to you so much?
That’s like asking someone to pick their favourite child! Haha. Ok, if I have to choose just ONE, I pick Lady Vasille. I’ve had a fascination with villains since I was a kid (my favourite characters in Disney movies were the villains, Jafar, Maleficent, Cruella De Ville). Villains are cool and the ones that are complex and conflicted are even cooler. I’ve written three books with Lady Vasille now and I love how easy it is to slip back into her viewpoint and write her story. The same is true with Parsifal, but I’m proud of Vassilissa’s development and multifaceted villainy. So that’s why I choose her over Parsifal. She’s a villain and I’ve always loved those.

Do world events and politics influence your writing?
Not really. I think fiction is an escape, so if avoiding current events is being influenced, then it’s actually yes, I guess. Although if they do find their way in, I’m not going to expunge them on that basis. I really hate politics and prefer to avoid them at all costs. I refer to myself as a non-political monarchist. Which is really just a fancy way of saying I’m a desperate romantic who was born in the wrong century.

How important are places you have visited and where you live to your writing?
I think the scenery of North Idaho helps fuel my imagination. I grew up with woods all around my house and I played in them nearly every day. I think that was an important part of developing my rabid imagination. But the small number of places I’ve actually travelled to might influence my wandering imagination: wondering what it’s like out there, envisioning it, hungering for it. I think that is some influence on my writing about exotic and imaginary locations.

Share with us your favourite line from your most recent release.
Off the top of my head? Sir Crawft, a poet, in Ambulatory Cadavers responds to a question about his writing with ‘No Your Lordship, I write fiction.’ But there’s also this bit from Charles:
‘I put it over him with a chandelier and half a pint of whiskey,’ he wheezed.
Lyra: ‘You mean you set him on fire?’
Charles: ‘Accidentally, yes.’

Tell us five things that you love in life.
Coffee, Costumes, Vampires, Books, and Björk.

Tell us five things that you hate in life.
Adulting, Poor Grammar, mornings, politics, and country music (sorry, but I can’t stand it. Although I can appreciate the Romanticism of many of the lyrics).

What book started your love of reading?
Oh, gosh. I don’t know, Dr. Seuss? The Chronicles of Narnia? I read the Lord of the Rings in fifth grade. I loved Hank the Cowdog, too. And there was A Series of Unfortunate Events. I started a fanfic of Lemony Snicket, the Horrible Highway. I used to listen to children’s classics on tape. Loved the nonsense poems. Lewis Carroll is an all-time favourite of mine.

Tell us about your most recent release.
Ambulatory Cadavers was released last Halloween. It’s horror-comedy that caught me by surprise. It takes place in an imaginary country I’ve made up stories about for some time: Monezuela. The era is Regency. 1820-ish and Lyra plans to help her father take over parliament and dethrone the queen…by raising an army of the undead. Her cousin, Alice is just trying to avoid getting married when she becomes entangled with Lyra’s plot, and a strange young man of questionable occupation. I never planned on writing this book. I’d heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and even read the first page. I was mildly amused but disdainful of the butchering of a classic. However, the idea of zombies in Jane Austen’s time did seem like a charming notion. I thought, they should just write an original tale. I didn’t think I would be the one to do it, but the two characters of Alice and Lyra, who had developed separately, just came together, fused by the addition of zombies. Add a little Frankenstein, slapstick, ridiculous dialogue and you have a romp of nonsense to shake your sensibilities (I had a lot of fun writing it, anyway).

book1

Where can we buy it?
Ambulatory Cadavers

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Ambulatory-Cadavers-Regency-Zombie-Novel/dp/1911552058/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495906329&sr=8-1&keywords=ambulatory+cadavers

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Ambulatory-Cadavers-Regency-Zombie-Novel-ebook/dp/B01LX8TJDL/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1495906329&sr=8-1

Thank you McCallum for joining me today, and thank you all for reading! Be sure to go check out his books, and while you’re here, see what else is going on in our UNITY TOUR on Facebook! There are a lot of opportunities to win prizes and to celebrate the way books connect us all across the world. 🙂

Until next time!

YASH is Coming!

Happy October, friends!

Did anyone else wake up feeling like Jack Skellington when he rises from his little pool?

I, for one, love this month just as much as I love September. I can’t wait to break out my brown leather jacket again, throw some hot chocolate on my Keurig and sip it all cozy on my couch, maybe the new Magnus Chase book in my hand or watching Luke Cage on Netflix… and then there’s the thrill of choosing a Halloween costume! I haven’t dressed up in a couple years, but I’m in the spirit this year. We’ll see what calls to me!

Here’s another reason to love October: From 10/4-10/9, I’ll be participating in my first YA Scavenger Hunt, and if you play along, it’s better than trick or treating! 120 authors come together on a massive blog tour, and I will be one of twenty on the ORANGE TEAM.

orange-team-yash-fall-2016

I’ve chosen some fun bonus content for you to access somewhere in the interwebs, and it will only be accessible to those who play the hunt. You’ll get to know my characters and thought process a little better, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the cover to BOOK TWO of THE ORDER OF THE BELL!

So, Tuesday morning, come on back here and kick off a brand new road trip through the world of YA lit! I’m hosting a very special author during the hunt, and if you play along, you’ll find me and that cover clue hiding on another blog somewhere! Better yet, you can even win prizes! I’m giving away some good ones…

Let the festivities begin!

YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBannerhalloween.jpg