Friday, August 24, 2012

Picking Location Names to Confuse Everyone!

Water Waltz is an expanding fantasy world. In the first book I introduced the three main locations but focused on only two—the human country and the demon and angel country. In this entry I’ll do a run-down of the location names, offer some pronunciation guides, and explain where each location is on the map. (Also name the faerie country that is introduced in Fire Tango.)

I've been told it was hard to keep the city and country names separate and I understand. I promise I didn't purposely pick difficult words. Maybe if I had named them all with the same starting letter or stick with one language for one country it would have been easier to pair up...too late now. 

 Demon and Angel:
Bretagne (bruh-tah-nyuh): The country of demons and angels. (French  for Brittany—Bretagne is an actual place but has no special meaning to the story: )
Fenian (fee-nee-uhn): The capital city and where most of the action takes place. (An Irish word I pulled from Irish mythology with there’s no special meaning for Water Waltz.)
Loire (lahr): A major city in Bretagne that plays a broader role in Fire Tango as the home to most earth demons. (A French location & river )
Location of Bretagne:
The west borders Spezia—the country of devils.
To the east is Hendola’s border—human country.
The major city Loire is to the south of the capital and through a mountain pass.
To the north and on the other side of a strip of ocean is Northern Bretagne—which is a territory of Bretagne.

Hendola (Hen-dol-a): The country of humans. (It’s a street name in my city. I don't know the origin.)
Senac (Sin-ack): The capital city where the king resides. (It’s another local street name.)
Location of Hendola:
Hendola is up against a mountain range to its east. (On the other side of this mountains is another country of devils which has not been mentioned in the stories yet. The mountains are considered impassable so the two countries do not interact. Yet.)
To Hendola’s north is the ocean and across it is Northern Bretagne territory and a country of angels we’ve yet to meet.
Beneath Hendola to its south is a smaller mountain range separating the south of Hendola from the rest of Bretagne.

Spezia (spe-tsee-ah): The country of devils. (An Italian  area from a favorite book of mine—Catch 22)
Almanor (Al-Manor): the capital of Spezia. (It’s a little place in California with a population of 0.)
Foxwood: a small town visited in Fire Tango. (I picked this name randomly to sound like a small town nestled in the forest.)
Location of Spezia:
To the north and west of Spezia is ocean.
Bretagne lies to the east.
To Spezia’s south is Snowden, the country of faeries. Spezia and Snowden have a strong alliance since both countries are small and ostracized by Bretagne and Hendola.

Snowden (snow-den): The country of faeries. (This is a character from Catch-22)
Dreedle (dree-dle): The capital and major city. (This is also a character from Catch-22. I must have been in a Catch-22 mind-frame when I named these.)
Location of Snowden:
North of Snowden is a boundary of mountains before reaching Spezia.
To the west and south is ocean.
To Snowden’s east is a passable mountain range into Loire, Bretagne.
Snowden’s borders are the ocean and mountains so it’s secluded. The land is rich in minerals densely dominated by forests.

Water Waltz (the first in the Water Waltz Series)
is now available from Dreamspinner Press.  
Fire Tango (The sequel) will be released November 2012.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Awesome Bits of News

I have some updates to share and since none are big enough to be their own post, I'll combine it into one information dump!
  • I finished the manuscript for Paid Leave and sent it off. I'm hoping to know its fate before GayRomLit. More information about this one is listed in the Works in Progress link. (Once a publisher accepts it for publishing, I'll move it over to Coming Soon)
  • The cover for Fire Tango has been assigned to an artist! I should have something to tease you all with by October. I'm super excited about this one. Find more information about Fire Tango in the Coming Soon page and pick up the first in the Water Waltz series if you haven't already.
  • My friend JR Loveless is having a contest with really easy rules. Like her Facebook page and you're entered in a drawing! It's that easy!! Go check out on her blog for more information. 
You can keep up with these little pieces of news via social websites. I use Twitter most frequently. (I try to follow back too) I have a Facebook page you can like and you can become my friend on Facebook as well.
Have a wonderful week, everyone. This Saturday I'm off to Bubonicon and am so excited for it this year!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breaking Down the Submission Process

This is a blog entry for RJ Scott's anniversary blog hop! 
Congrats to RJ Scott for being in the business (and surviving and thriving!) for two years. 
I bet there will be many more years to come. 
Even with three books available, one more on the way, and another at the publisher waiting for an answer, I don’t feel like I should be giving advice to inspiring authors because I still feel like the newbiest of newbs. If there’s a magical number I must achieve before I feel like a professional author, I sure haven’t reached it yet. But I'm still going to try to help a brand new author along.

My start in writing isn’t all too inspiring. I have no long history of writing or literary pursuits outside of casual reading enjoyment. I had an online friend who talked me into role-playing back in or around 2005. When I turned one into a story, she encouraged me to post it on a yaoi forum. (aarinfantasy) There I fed off of the comments left for me to correct my grammar and plot errors. I wrote more stories and got better as I went. Eventually I had readers and friends suggesting I try to get published. So I did. And you can too!
“But Hayley, I don’t even know where commas go.”
It helps to be a grammar, punctuation, and spelling nerd but it isn’t a requirement. I’d be screwed if it was. If you’re going the self-published route, hire a professional editor to correct your work to avoid giving aneurisms to your readers. If you’re going to a publisher, trust in their editor, but spot check your work to the best of your ability before submitting to avoid giving your editor an aneurism. You do not have to be perfect. (But please try real hard at perfection if you self-publish.)

The submission process can be daunting. You visit the publisher’s website and it looks so sleek and professional and suddenly you feel in adequate and close the window without doing what you went there to do. Buck up, little writer. The worst thing you’ll get is a rejection reply which isn’t as bad as it sounds. Rejection will sting, but the problem might not be your writing. Timing is important too. If you submit a vampire story to a publisher who isn’t interested in accepting one more damn vampire story, it will be rejected without being opened. Usually the publisher’s submission page will include a note of wanted genres. Pay attention. But on that note, if one publisher isn’t interested in your story, it doesn’t mean the others will turn it down.

Most publishers will include some sort of explanation with a rejection. If they point out a concern in your story/plot/prose, take that as advice and fix the manuscript before trying again. And do try again. Roll with the blows. Learn from mistakes. But most of all, don’t forget your love for writing—that’s why you’re there emailing publishers at one in the morning anyway.

Finally, write for the love and fun of turning your ideas into a story for others to enjoy too and not for the belief that you’ll make millions of dollars. You probably won’t make enough money to replace a day job and you might not come onto the romance scene with an explosion. You’ll be disappointed if you think you’ll reach stardom or a thick bank account just with one book. (It happens but you might need the Twilight fandom to back you to reach it.)

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll describe how to submit a manuscript. This is an example based off of only ONE publisher’s website requirements at the time of this blog entry. Be sure to read and reread the requirements on your publisher of choice--including the publisher I'm using for my example because things can change.

Step one: Visit the publisher’s site and find the “submissions” area.
Step two: Read. Read it all. Read what genres the publisher has a call for. Read whether or not the publisher wants full or partial manuscripts submitted. Read what auto-rejection the publisher has—if any. (example: incest or rape)
Step three: Find the list of requirements for submission and double check you’re prepared to submit your manuscript.
Example of requirements:
·         Your legal name, pseudonym if applicable, and contact e-mail address.
·         Working title, series name if applicable.
·         Genre and manuscript length.
·         General story description in two paragraphs.
·         Writing credentials.
Step four: Find the submission email address and open your email client.
Step five: Fill out those requirements from step three. Be courteous and professional. Unsure about a pen name? That’s okay. I changed mine after my first manuscript was accepted. I’m sure it’s better to have one picked out so do try to have one ready. Scared about that last question because you lack experience? That’s okay too. Everyone starts at the bottom. Those writing credentials can be left blank, filled out with self-published novels, or previous published works.
This is an example of my latest accepted submission: (only use as an example--I am not an expert here. This is just what I put. I'm using Dreamspinner Press for this example.)
Legal name: Hayley AwesomeLastNameOfAwesome
Pen name: Hayley B. James
Contact email: hayley.b.james

Working title: Water Waltz
Series: Water WaltzGenre: Fantasy (demons & angels)
Length: (do a word count using your program of choice) 79,225 words
General story: Triste is an angel working as a butler for Varun, his ex-lover. Humans are used in the angel and demon countries as sex dolls. Varun is employed by a secret organization to save any smuggled human and punish the one inflicting harm. He's warned a human is set to be killed by his organization so he hides him in his own home. they discover through this human—with ties deep inside the royal family—a conflict is stirring between the two countries, Varun and Triste set out to calm the waters of war.

Triste and Varun are still in love but an unknown event keeps them apart. When the threat of conflict twists into something far worse and Triste's life is threatened, Varun risks everything to protect him and uncovers the reason why Triste had left him heartbroken two years prior. 
Writing credentials: I have 2 published works through Dreamspinner Press.
(Don't forget to attach the full manuscript)
Step six: Send your email and wait. The most stressful part of the submission process is the waiting, so distract yourself by writing your next story!

Good luck submitting your manuscript. I look forward to reading you. Leave a comment with any questions you might have about publishing, or any advice you might have.

Visit the other authors in the blog hop (below) to read more helpful articles! Also!!! Visit the author resources Facebook page for MORE FUN and AWESOME!!! Seriously. Visit it right here~