Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Celebrating the release of Mark Noce’s Between Two Fires

Today I am super-duper excited. It is the release date of my wonderful Critique Partner Mark Noce’s historical fiction Between Two Fires. I have just a few words to say “Read The Novel.” Trust me when I say it, his story, characters and pacing will just not let you go until you reach the last page. Mark is a master of feverish pacing. There is intrigue in every chapter. And the character of Queen Branwen will keep you turning the pages. Mark has blended fantasy with a historical setting and woven a love-story inside it. The result is a breathtaking book.

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires
“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter
“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Synopsis of Between Two Fires
Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.
But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Places to Buy Between Two Fires
Release Date: August 23, 2016

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Mark's Social Media Links 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tackling Writer Envy

After reading a few books: adult fiction, young adult, middle grade as well as picture books, I have been afflicted with a strong bout of Writer Envy. Everything in these books, from plots to characters, from writing styles to themes, from settings to the various subplots, had me gasping in awe. 

Even in my wildest dreams, I would never have been able to conceive of such plots, create such complex worlds and plot twists. The ease with which some of these writers write, is awe-inspiring. I am constantly amazed at the number of books/series some writers bring out one after another. I wonder how do they do it? Whew! Just thinking of this gives my brain a strenuous workout.

I am super envious of writers who write Sci-fi Space Opera (are you listening Alex Cavanaugh), of writers who write historical fiction (Mark Noce that would be you), writers who write murder mysteries (Patricia Stoltey, you are one of them) and writers who write amazing flash fiction (Patrick Stahl, take a bow) and when I read the introductions Michael Di Gesu writes, I am completely speechless.

I feel my stories are so simple when I compare them to the greats. Though I write the first drafts fast, it takes me a long time to revise and polish the manuscripts. Sometimes I struggle to work on the book I am writing.

Instead of succumbing to jealousy, I strive to emulate these writers by writing more, trying to add different elements into my stories, getting more feedback from my Crit Partners and working harder at my craft. Every time I read amazing books I go over my own books and search for ways to improve them.

Do you like me suffer from bouts of Writer Envy? Does your jaw drop at the themes few writers tackle? Do you feel a pang of envy when you see books after books written by these writers occupying the shelves?

P.S. Let’s all hope that our books may give some budding writer in the very distant future a case of Writer Envy. That would really make it worthwhile.

Friday, August 12, 2016

My Multitasking Responsibilities

This month I’m going to be super busy. I have a whole lot of books to read and review, starting with my amazing Critique Partner Mark Noce’s Historical Fiction ‘Between Two Fires,’ which will be releasing on 23rd August. Two Indian newspapers have already commissioned the review from me. I am super excited about this. Infact, the editor of the paper and I had a long chat about Mark’s book. She told me that in my review I can mention the fact that Mark is my critique partner and that I had read the book in its manuscript stage.

I am also working on a Ganesha and Kartikeya story (I have already plotted it, writing on foolscaps sheets really unleashes my creativity, I plotted the book super fast.) I have written around 13,000 words. It’s a story that takes place in 521 A.D. I am quite excited about it.

I am also trying to write a query letter and synopsis of another Middle Grade manuscript Scavage. I am also trying to research agents.

After taking part in few Twitter Pitch parties I have started writing short pitches for all my stories. These pitches help me to see my manuscripts in another light, from another angle. Here are the pitches for Scavage.

MEOW. WOOF.A slip of the tongue can get pampered cat princess masquerading as a stray dog into trouble with a wild pack of dogs.

To survive on the streets, cat princess Brunella turned into a stray dog Bruno, must kill other dogs without using dark magic.

To survive on the streets, Brunella a cat cursed to be a dog Bruno, must either kill the tattooed Rover dogs or be killed by them.

I am also reading a lot of books, across genres. Can you believe it I not just read a non-fiction book but also reviewed it for two newspapers?

With so much happening I haven’t had the time to work on my love-story (Forever Mine). If you all remember I had completed the first draft in two months (April and May) and had planned to get back to it in July after leaving it aside for the month of June. I was out of town thrice in July, hence I will be able to work on this book only by the third week of August.

How is August going for you all?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG POST - My First Piece of Writing

It’s the eight IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post of 2016. Whoosh! That’s more than half the year that’s flown past us. IWSG is a online writer’s group started by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars).

IWSG members post on the first Wednesday of every month. In our posts we share our writing insecurities, anxieties, worries, clear our doubts and learn from other writers who are at different stages of their publishing journey. There is a wealth of information on the IWSG website.

A couple of months back Super A (my secret nickname for Alex) announced that every IWSG post will have a question which members can either answer in their post or can even make it the topic of their post (I’m sure Alex can read minds, he must have seen our blank minds trying to come up with a topic for IWSG every month, no wonder he came to our rescue by giving us ready-made topics for the month.)

AUGUST 03rd QUESTION: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My first piece of writing was, a long time back, in my first year of college. I was sixteen. I had written a short story (around 1500 words) about a rabbit. I don’t remember the story but I clearly remember sending it to the children’s supplement of a local newspaper. After a couple of weeks when the story didn’t appear in the paper, I marched to the newspaper’s office and called the editor from the phone in the reception.

She said that as I had written it in long-hand, on foolscap sheets, she would need to get it typed before she could publish it and that was the reason for the delay. I asked her if she could give it back to me so that I could get it typed. She was surprised but agreed to post it back to me.

I don’t remember what I did with that copy. Somehow it disappeared from my files. I think I must have lost it when I got busy with my first-term exams. I laugh when I recollect my stupidity. Just imagine, foolish little me asking the editor for the story back, when she was eager to ask her assistant to type it for her!