Monday, June 27, 2016

CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY!!!

I have this weird thing about me. I like critiquing queries, and I'm good at it too, so that helps. I've wanted to offer a critique giveaway for a while, but have been too busy to actually do it.

But guess what? The time has come. :)

I am now writing full time and couldn't be more thrilled. To share in my excitement, I'd love to help you polish your work for upcoming contests or querying, or both. 'Tis the contest season, right?

I'll pick five entries to critique their query and first five pages of the manuscript. I'm open to all fiction as I have experience writing and critiquing MG, YA, and Adult fiction.

It's easy to enter. In the comments below, just leave:

-Your name
-Your Twitter handle
-The genre and category of your manuscript
-A sentence or two about your manuscript
-The first sentence of your manuscript


It'll look something like this:

-Rachel Pudelek
-@rachelpud
-Adult Urban Fantasy
-When huldra Allura's sister is abducted, she recruits the help of her enemies--the succubi, harpies, mermaids, and rusalki--to rescue her sister and destroy the organization responsible.
-My prey, a five foot-ten Caucasian male, ordered a double shot pumpkin spiced latte as he tapped his pointer finger on the counter. 


I can't wait to read what you all are working on! Good luck!

(Offer ends 12:00 am on June 28th, PST.) 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adult Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy Novels Coming 2016

I am a huge fan of urban fantasy and paranormal books, television shows, and movies. So far my favorite books are the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs and the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. And I am loving the new show, Lucifer! But I've been on the look-out for adult urban fantasy and paranormal books that either released in 2015 or are set to release this year by debut authors. So much so, that I've decided to create a list. And if you know of any that I haven't listed, definitely share the info. (This list is traditionally published books only. I'll create another separate list for indie pub'd books because there's WAY MORE paranormal/UF books in the indie world.) Click under the cover for the link to Amazon.



You can order it here.
Where the fairy tale ends, destiny begins.
Elizabeth Tanner is no Tinkerbell, and her life is no fairy tale. Broke and drowning in student loans, the one thing she wants more than anything is a scholarship from the Trinity Foundation. But after the ancient Irish text she's studying turns out to be more than just a book, she becomes their prisoner instead. And when Trinity reveals Elizabeth is half-Fae, she finds herself at the center of a plot to save the magical races of Ireland from a brutal civil war.
As Commander of Trinity's elite warriors, Finn O'Connell isn't used to having his authority challenged. He doesn't know whether to punish or protect the infuriating young woman in his custody. When he discovers the Dark Fae want to use Elizabeth's abilities to control the source of all power in the universe, he'll risk everything to help her.
At the mercy of Trinity and enslaved to the Dark Fae, Elizabeth finds herself alone on the wrong side of an Irish myth thousands of years in the making. Refusing to be a pawn in their game, Elizabeth has to fight her way back to the man she loves, but to do so, she must wage her own war against the magic that binds her.




You can order it here.
Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school. 

But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can only be hunted with the help of magically-mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and tequila lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all of these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons? 

This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.




Order the US version here
When we first meet Kit, she's a fox.
Nineteen-year-old Kit works for the research department of Shen Corporation as a phenomenaut. She's been “jumping”--projecting her consciousness, through a neurological interface--into the bodies of lab-grown animals made for the purpose of research for seven years, which is longer than anyone else at ShenCorp, and longer than any of the scientists thought possible. She experiences a multitude of other lives--fighting and fleeing as predator and prey, as mammal, bird, and reptile--in the hope that her work will help humans better understand the other species living alongside them.
Her closest friend is Buckley, her Neuro--the computer engineer who guides a phenomenaut through consciousness projection. His is the voice, therefore, that's always in Kit's head and is the thread of continuity that connects her to the human world when she's an animal. But when ShenCorp's mission takes a more commercial--and ominous--turn, Kit is no longer sure of her safety. Propelling the reader into the bodies of the other creatures that share our world, The Many Selves of Katherine North takes place in the near future but shows us a dazzling world far, far from the realm of our experience.



These aren't by debut authors, but they are stand-alones or the first in a series, being released this year:


You can order it here.
Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right...or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.




Order the international version here
Vintage Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only twenty-seven. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate. 
     Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.
And then she becomes the target... As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.




Oder it here
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.
When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.
During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.
From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.




Order it here
Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancĂ©, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.
Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancĂ©’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.





Order it here
From New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn comes an all-new series set in the realm of her Otherworld novels.

I’m Shimmer, a blue dragon shifter. Thanks to a mistake, I was exiled from the Dragon Reaches and sentenced to work for Alex Radcliffe, a vampire who owns the Fly by Night Magical Investigations Agency. Now, not only do I have to adapt to Earthside culture, but every time I turn around, somebody’s trying to kill us. And worse, Alex is as gorgeous as he is exasperating. But you know what they say: All’s fair in love and bounty hunting…

When an old friend of Alex contacts him about a haunting at the High Tide Bed & Breakfast in Port Townsend, Washington, we think we’re on a simple ghost hunt. But our investigation quickly transforms into a deadly fight as we uncover an eighty-year-old murder, a cursed house, and a dark force trapping the spirits within. To stop impending disaster we must break the curse and lay the angry spirits to rest.




Order it here.
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series and the Remy Chandler series, a new dark fantasy series filled with demons, exorcisms, and the fight against the worst that hell has to offer...

There is more to our world than meets the eye—darker things, crueler things. Exorcist John Fogg and his wife, psychic medium Theodora Knight, know what lurks in the shadows. But even they’re not prepared for the worst Hell has to offer...

It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Stormy Life

I live in western Washington, and yesterday we had a storm. We tend to get them from time to time. Within the last four years of moving back home (to Washington) we've had two bad ones.

The first winter after I moved home an awful snow storm blew in. We lived in the country at the time, and used well water, electric heat, and an electric cooking stove. The snow weighed down the branches so badly that the trees broke from the pressure, bringing electrical lines down with them. A forest lived behind my backyard and the air was so incredibly still and quiet without the sounds of electrical items. I'd stand outside and listen to trees groaning and cracking from the weight of snow and ice. For days I had no running water, no heat, and no cooking stove.

I no longer live in the country. I now live near the water. Yesterday's storm brought wind and rain. It brought down trees, took out power, broke windows, removed roof shingles, tore down fences and even some homes. It sounded as though a giant sat on my roof, pounding its fists and tearing off the shingles one-by-one.

But today, just like after the snow storm, I regroup, assess the damage, and begin the repairs.

Mother's Nature's storms remind me a lot of life's storms. Oftentimes without warning a tragedy, or illness, or personal turmoil will roll in. If you're like me, your first response is to run outside and try to brace those things that seem likely to fall down first. You see the dark clouds coming and you try to make yourself believe the damage will be minimal, nothing bad will happen if you can just __________.

But then the storm hits you. It stirs up your life and there's nothing you can do but batten down the hatches and wait it out. You hear scary things. You feel scary things. And every minute creeps by like an hour at the DMV.

Eventually, though, the storm passes. You peek your head out from under your security blanket to assess the damage. Yeah, there's damage. Your personal storm may have cost you a friend or two, a significant other, a job, a familial relationship. It's hurt your pride, your patience, your self-esteem.

But it's time to regroup. Maybe apologies need to be given or received. Maybe broken relationships need to be cleared away so that new relationships can be built. A new foundation of hope must be poured. New seeds planted to eventually take root. New boundaries posted.

Yes, the storm brings changes--some good, some not so good. But in time, those new additions and adjustments and foundations won't be so new anymore. They'll be the same ol' same ol' and with any luck, your storm will be just another "That one time..." story you'll tell your friends over a second glass of wine.



   
The sky as the storm rolled in.

   

Friday, June 5, 2015

THE YEAR I READ MY BOOK to 4th GRADERS

Earlier this year I began volunteering in my 4th grade daughter's class. I've helped out before, but this time I came with an agenda. My daughter's teacher had asked me to visit every Friday to teach the kids how to write and to offer creative inspiration. And during my visits I could read a little of my middle grade novel, THE CURSE of the MUMMY PRINCESS. A chapter a week.

That's how it started.

During my first visit, as I sat down in front of a classroom full of kids to read my manuscript, I freaked out inside. And apparently outside too, because a girl in the front row pointed out to the rest of the class that I had a dark red rash growing up my neck.

With a shaky voice and a red, blotchy neck, I read the first chapter of my story...out loud...to kids.

And they loved it.

I was no longer asked to spend my time teaching writing, but to read as much as possible of my manuscript before the bell rang.

Over the top of my purple Kindle I'd see the teacher pause from grading papers to sit and listen. And my heart would quicken.

The kids started drawing pictures of the characters and scenes from the story. And with great detail. They caught the part that explained the gold in Aziza's braids. And the part that showed Aziza's dark skin and her servant Halima's lighter skin tone. They caught everything!

Some days, if I finished before the bell rang, the teacher would excitedly pull up pictures of ancient Egypt for the class to see and I'd tell the kids little historical tidbits that weren't included in the story. Two weeks ago, the teacher explained to the class that my manuscript challenged some ways of thinking, which led into a great class discussion on gender roles and religious freedom. (Yes, my daughter's teacher is AMAZING.)

Not only did the kids (and an adult) enjoy my story, but it inspired important conversations.

And you know what else? While some would call it a "girl book" because the main character is female, the boys liked it just as much. Today one of the boys told me his favorite character is Isis because she's tough and strong.  

Today I finished telling the story. My heart sped as I read those last few pages, hoping the ending didn't disappoint the children listening and picturing the action unfold in their heads. When I said "The End" I received applause from twenty-something sets of hands. And my neck probably still got red and blotchy, but for a completely different reason than before.

I wouldn't have experienced any of these things if I hadn't read my manuscript to a big group of kids. A big group of amazing, intelligent, imaginative, deep-thinking kids.

I'm not saying you need to run out and read your manuscript to an elementary school class. I am saying, though, it's an incredible experience.    


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Playing with Images and Worlds

I wrote a contemporary sci-fi romance. It has dual POVs, with one POV taking place on our world and the other taking place on another world; a seemingly perfect world. In the story those of the perfect world saw that we needed a little help and because everything is connected they opted to help us out. They call themselves Watchers. We call them our conscience.

When I was developing this story world, I wrote a Watcher's Poem, though it's more like a creed. Today I played with it a bit and here's how it turned out. :)




Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WRITE POWERFULLY

Happy Holiday Week! 

My friend and I had a discussion that inspired me to write this blog post. It's timely as we're heading into 2015, creating new goals.

We writers are an interesting and sometimes neurotic bunch. And oftentimes on our path to traditional publication we ask questions like, "Am I a good enough writer?" or "Will I ever be published?" 

Completely normal. All of us have done this, and will continue to question ourselves for whatever writerly reason. 

But here's the thing, most of this publishing path, you control in one way or another. It has a lot to do with how much work you want to put into it. With how willing you are to persevere. 

Are you a good enough writer? That's a great question. Write a manuscript. Get critique partners who know what they're doing. (CP's who don't try to edit your voice, but rather look for character and story line issues.) What if you learn you're not a good enough writer? Easy. You get better. You read a ton. Pick apart books and movies that you love and hate, figure out why. Practice. And then write another manuscript. Have CP's pick that one apart too. They didn't finish reading it? Find out why and fix it.

Will you ever be published? Well, that's kinda up to you.

I've met many writers who have gone merrily down the path to publication only to realize there's a fork in the road. A bunch of forks. And they find themselves looking into options they wouldn't have considered in the beginning. The publishing world changes and so do you. It's okay to examine your wants and needs every now and again and change your mind about them. 

And yes, if you're wanting traditional publishing with a big house, you're going to need an agent. That may be daunting. Believe me, I queried two manuscripts and felt like I'd taken up residence in the query trenches. But you still aren't completely powerless. Agents WANT to sign new clients. They WANT to sell your manuscript. So give them a reason to choose yours. Try not to give them a ton of reasons to reject it. 

Is your concept unique? Is it marketable? Is your manuscript well written? Does it fall within the word count guidelines? Is your query stellar? Are you sending it to agents who represent your genre? These are all things YOU HAVE CONTROL over. 

You're not a frog sitting on a lily pad, surrendering to wherever the wind chooses to push that round green leaf. You can hop to other lily pads. Heck, you can swim in the pond. You have options and you have power.



I completely understand the flurry of emotion this publishing path can bring. So I'm not trying to trivialize or simplify this at all. I do know, however, that when we feel powerful, we stress less and behave powerfully. We write powerfully. That's my goal for myself in 2015 and it's my goal for you as well.

I have one question: You feelin' froggy?


Friday, October 24, 2014

MY 777 CONTRIBUTION (AKA: I Was Tagged)

Good FRIDAY morning! 

Today I was invited to the 777 challenge by my agency sibling, Suzanne Warr. Here's the gist: Post 7 lines from your work in progress (WIP), which you will find on the 7th page, 7  lines down. 

I've decided to use my WIP, THE CURSE of the MUMMY PRINCESS. I'm in the final revision stages of this manuscript and pretty excited about it. Oh, and it's a middle grade time travel, adventure novel. :) 

Here's my 7 lines:

Halima cracked open the lid to my sarcophagus. Light flashed in slivers through my bandages and the pain in my empty gut faded. Sharp brightness burned my eyes. A loud thud echoed and shook the casket as Halima removed the lid altogether. With a quickness, she went to work on my wrappings, starting at my forehead, pulling and tearing the linen strips. One more rip and the unfiltered light seemed to pass through my eyes and sear my brain. I blinked hard. I wished my hands were free, so I could rub the stars away. I closed my eyes, but opened them again. Despite the pain, I had to see what the afterlife held for me.

And also, when I'm writing a manuscript I like to find pictures to inspire me. Here's a few of my favorites for THE CURSE of the MUMMY PRINCESS. :) 

Have a great weekend!