Author Interview and Book Giveaway: THE FAERIE RING, by Kiki Hamilton

Happy Release Day!!! THE FAERIE RING, by Kiki Hamilton now available. Do not miss this must read YA historical fantasy. I'll be giving away a copy to one lucky winner, see below. If you want to increase your chances, visit Literary Rambles and Mundie Moms for more chances to win this fabulous book.

THE FAERIE RING is Kiki's debut novel. Her interest in writing began after reading the first few HARRY POTTER books. Once she started writing, she was hooked. Which brings us to her debut.

Kiki Hamilton

 Kiki, can you give us a twitter length pitch of THE FAERIE RING?

Victorian London – a pickpocket steals the Queen’s ring, only to find it is a reservoir that holds a truce between the British court and the world of Faerie, and everyone wants the ring back. 

THE FAERIE RING is set in 1871 London. Did you start with setting, character, or plot?

I knew my setting was Victorian London and I started with my character, Tiki, who is an orphan who picks pockets to survive. Later, I picked the year 1871 because that is the year one of my characters who existed in real life, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, is 18.

In THE FAERIE RING we get a peek into Buckingham Palace, life in Charring Cross, local pubs, and other homes and landmarks of the time, some that still exist today. How were you able to write about these places with such authenticity?

Well, the Internet is an amazing thing. When I wrote THE FAERIE RING I had never been to London and really knew very little about the City. It was actually very fortuitous that I set Tiki living in Charing Cross, which is the true heart of London and the center point from which all distances are measured, even to this day. Aside from the Internet, I read books and used my imagination. It was all very clear in my head.

When Tiki stole the ring, I really felt as if I saw the palace through her eyes.

Thank you. I did do quite a bit of research as I work on editorial revisions and had a chance to visit London. While there, I walked in my character’s footsteps (which was so amazing and surreal!) from Charing Cross to St. James Park to Buckingham Palace, which added greatly to my ability to add details to the setting.

The romance is wonderfully done as is the pacing. Any suggestions for the rest of us on pacing?

Get a good editor. LOL (Editor Susan Chang at Tor Teen)

Well, really, I just try to make each chapter pertinent to the overreaching arc of the story and have each scene move the story forward. How did you figure out how much to reveal and when? That’s kind of a tough question to answer. A lot of it has to do with the way you choose to tell the story – who your main character is, who’s point of view the story is being told from etc. But I think most important is that every scene, every bit of dialogue needs to be there for a reason that is important to fully tell the story.

The ring is AWESOME!! I want one. Tell us a bit about the ring and how you came up with the idea and the visual?

So much of it just sort of fell out of my head and onto the page, it’s hard to remember now. I think Tiki had already stolen the Queen’s ring and I was trying to decide what happened next when I looked down at my wedding ring, which has diamonds in it, and they glittered like there was a fire burning in their depths and in a heartbeat I knew the true story of the Queen’s ring.

How many books are there in THE FAERIE RING series?

I’m not totally sure. The second is written and there will definitely be a third. From there, I’ll have to wait and see.

I like to close an interview with something fun so here's the last question. How do you think your fifteen year old daughter would describe you?

LOL, who knows? I’m going to go ask her…..*leaves the room*…. I’m back. Here’s what she said: *snort* “Insane.” *long pause* “No, no , no – understanding, lovable…..definitely unique. Funny.” *another snort* “Definitely smart and sarcastic. Easy to talk to and fun. How’s that?” *more snorting*

Thanks Kiki for coming by today and congrats!

To win your very own copy  of THE FAERIE RING, delivered to you by moi (a book I will buy for you with my own money because I love it that much) please leave a comment (be sure I have your email address in comment, please). For extra chances to win see below. (And let me know in your comment what you've done so I can give you points, points, and more points to win this AMAZING book).

Me buying a copy for you : )

+1 if you're a follower
+1 if you tweet about this post
+1 if you link this post to your facebook page
+2 if you blog about the giveaway, with a link to the post, on your own blog

Winner will be announced on October 4th.

Writer Spotlight Interview with Kathryn Holmes

Today Kathryn Holmes from New York City steps into the spotlight.

Kathryn welcome!!!

Kathryn and I also "met" at the WriteOnCon conference. She's originally from Maryville, Tennessee, but has called NYC home since 2004. Kathryn first worked as a magazine editor prior to getting her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School.

Kathryn Holmes
When she's not writing or editing (at the amazing Verbal Pyrotechnics, an online teen  lit magazine) you'll find her at the dance studio. 

Kathryn's manuscript is as unique and fresh as she is. After reading her pitch, I guarantee you'll never look at the subway trains the same way again ; )

Kathryn, tell us what manuscript you have out on submission now? (genre, title, word count)
I’m currently sending out my first novel, Wink, which is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 102,000 words.

Love the title!!

Give us the three to four sentence pitch.

15-year-old Brooklynite Cordelia Wheaton leads a pretty normal life. That is, until she discovers that New York City’s subway trains are alive, and that she’s been chosen to work with the giant creatures, called Pergs. Soon, she’s juggling her life aboveground—dance classes, a needy best friend and a new crush—alongside secret Perg training sessions. But just as she begins to feel comfortable in her new underground world, MTA employees start disappearing, amid rumors of Pergs becoming mysteriously ill. Then, a bombshell drops: a power-hungry city councilman wants to replace the Pergs with mechanical trains. When Cordelia’s own mentor goes missing, she has to draw on every skill she’s learned to save him—and the entire Perg race.

 Cool!!! You have me intrigued and curious. Several questions pop into my head all at once and I wish I could read the ms to find out the answers!!!

Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?

The tracks rumbled and light filled the tunnel, then shrank into two distinct side-by-side beams. A rush of warm wind blew my sweat-slicked hair away from my face. I held my arms out from my body, enjoying the breeze.

It was an F train. F for “Finally.”

The train pulled into the station, brakes screeching. And just before it passed me, it winked at me.

I turned to Liza. “Did you see—”  

Then everything went black.

Ahhh, hence, the title. Nice how you get us right into the story.

What is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.

I don’t know that I have a least favorite word! I honestly love words. Pretty much all of them. One of my favorites is “tintinnabulation” (the sound of ringing bells). I’m not sure whether Cordelia would normally use that one, but here goes: “The alarm clock went off at 7:00, and I smacked it, hard. Its pleasant tintinnabulation was the absolute last thing I wanted to hear, after last night’s Perg debacle.”

That's a tongue twister!!

What are you working on while you wait?

I have plans for Wink to be the first in a short series, and so I’m making a rough outline of what I’m currently calling Wink 2. However, I’d rather wait to actually write that until I get some interest in book one! I have another idea gestating for a Young Adult contemporary story about a girl in the small-town south (where I’m from) dealing with issues of faith and family, and considering rebelling against her upbringing for the first time. I feel like a small-scale, character-driven real-world story will be a good palate-cleanser for me after spending so much time in Wink’s Urban Fantasy world.

That's great that you enjoy and can write in various genres. Good luck!!

What book have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you and why? 

I just finished Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and I loved the roller coaster of emotions throughout. It absolutely brought me back to the highs and lows of first love. In relation to my own work, I spent a lot of time world-building and figuring out how my characters interacted with the fantasy version of New York City I’d created. When I finished the first draft, I realized that the emotional element, what Perkins does so well, was missing. My protagonist wasn’t feeling things nearly as deeply as she should, or for as long as a normal person would, and it felt unsatisfying. When revising, I worked to integrate her emotional life into the various events and challenges she encountered. And I can only aspire for my protagonist and her crush to be as romantic as Anna and St. Clair! 

It's great when you can find inspiration and insight into your own work from another's. 

Do you have (if you were a teen, or had when you were a teen) a literary-character crush?

Definitely Mr. Darcy—the Colin Firth version.

LOL, seems to be a popular pick.  

Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?

I’m also a professional contemporary dancer—I’ve performed around New York with several different choreographers, and have presented my own work.

Wow, that's awesome!! And, I imagine you traveled the pergs, er, subway trains often.

When I’m not writing fiction, one of my side jobs is writing about dance; I used to be an editor at Dance Spirit magazine.

I co-founded Verbal Pyrotechnics, an online literary magazine for YA short fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with several fellow MFA grads from The New School. We are working on our second issue for launch in fall 2011, and take turns blogging on the Verbal Pyrotechnics blog.

The magazine is "dedicated to publishing the best teen literature on the Internet." From the first issue I had the pleasure of reading, they're off to an amazing start. Please be sure to check it out at the link above, (after you comment below : )

The other thing that’s taking up a lot of my time right now is that I’m getting married in November!
YAY!! Congrats. How exciting. I was married in November, too. On the 15th, er, (runs upstairs to look at the date on pthe icture in bedroom and comes back down), I mean the 18th (oops).

So many wonderful beginnings at once, best of luck with all of them. It's been a pleasure to get to know you and to learn about your manuscript and online magazine. Keep us posted on your success and thanks for coming by and stepping into the spotlight.

Book Trailers - What They Can Do

What’s the point of a book trailer?

I’ve perused the internet blogosphere in search of answers to that very question and what I found surprised me. Seems the point has more to do with connecting and fostering a relationship with potential readers (long term) than it does with the actual sale of the one book.

Anyone in advertising or anyone who has placed an advertisement knows, a single advertisement won’t bring in business. So what can a single book trailer do? Hopefully three things:

1. Boost awareness of the author and their work(s). The trailer, besides giving a sense of what the book is about, should link the viewer to the author’s website and/or blog and NOT just to Amazon or local booksellers. Why? Because if they go to Amazon and don’t buy the book, that’s The End. But if they go to the author website or blog, they’ve now made a connection with the author. Maybe they won’t buy the book right then (maybe they will), but now they know who the living, breathing person is behind the story.

2. Why should that matter? It’s the first step in building a relationship, hopefully a long term relationship. Once on the author's page they read about this and that quirky thing about the author, then click over to read the sample first chapter. Maybe in a exchange for their email address (for future notifactioin/newsletters regarding author’s work) they can have access to the “outtakes” of the book (a chapter(s) not included, a character that was cut). For example, on Stephanie Meyer’s page she has a chapter written from Edward’s point of view. So cool. But most importantly, find a way to connect with the potential readers on a personal, human level. And, of course, for this to work the website/blog needs be kept current.

3. Last, it’s exchange time. The potential reader is aware of the author, of their book, has a relationship established with the funny (freaky, quirky, crazy, nice, clever . . . ) author with the blue hair that posted a picture of her cute baby riding an elephant in Africa on her website/blog…you get the idea. If they haven’t already bought the author’s book, next time they go to the bookstore and peruse the shelves, which book do you think will stand out most? Yup, the one that first caught their eye in the form of a book trailer.

So there it is, what some say a book trailer can do for an author. Tell me what do you think?

FINALLY, here's the book trailer for Kiki Hamilton’s, The Faerie Ring, available September 27, 2011. The book trailer was done by Madison Myer of M2 Productions. Aftter you watch Kiki's trailer be sure to go to M2 Productions link to see more amazing book trailersMadison has put together.

Last, but not least, today's giveaway (The Faerie Ring pins will go to a few lucky peeps that leave a comment). Thanks for stopping by.

Quotes to Start Your Writing Week

A short post today to get me (and you) going, to keep me (and you) in my seat (at Starbucks) and push through to the bitter end. Not that the end of UNTIL DEATH is bitter, but, you know what I mean, right? I'm close, so close to finishing what I hope will be my final draft before queries. Wish me luck.

These two quotes tell us all we  need to know about plot:

If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else. -Yogi Berra

It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In otherwords, know your ending and you'll know your beginning. Know your ending and you'll be less likely to end up on a tangent plot line. And make every word (step) count, each one bringing you closer to your goal (The End). We all know that already, but a point to remember when revising (cutting) and tightening (deleting our gems).

Easy, right? HA! Good luck to you all. .

Now, go write-NOW!

Count Down Giveaways: The Faerie Ring, by Kiki Hamilton

The countdown is on, twenty-one days to the release of Kiki Hamilton's, The Faerie Ring!!!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am for all to FINALLY read this AWESOME tale full of pick-pockets, orphans, romance, evil faeries, Royalty, friendship, hardship, love and much more, all set in 1871 London, England. Kiki does an amazing job putting the reader inside Buckingham Palace, Charing Cross railway station, St. James Park, The Birdkeeper’s Cottage, The World’s End Pub and Hyde Park, not to mention in the arms of the handsome and mysterious Rieker. And the plot twists--they'll keep you turning the page and guessing until that final page.

Kiki and I first met in an online writing class several years ago and have been friends ever since. I’ve watched (or read) this tale from its first inception. When she emailed me to say she finished her manuscript a month after she started it (cough, sputter, say what!!!), that it flowed out of her like no other, I couldn’t wait to read it (after I recovered, that is). It was, IS, AWESOME. And I'm not just saying that because Kiki and are are buds. This book is a MUST read!!!

If you don't believe me, read what Mundie Moms had to say, “The Faerie Ring is an intriguing, beautifully written, blend of historical fiction, mixed with the perfect dose of romance, mystery, and faerie lore, all set within the time period of Victorian London. I was completely enraptured with the story that I couldn't devour this debut novel fast enough.”- Katie Bartow, Mundie Moms 

Or what Ahsley from Books Obsession says, "I stayed up until 2 am devouring THE FAERIE RING - it was fantastic! Deeply imaginative and creative I was instantly absorbed into Tiki's mysterious world." -Ashley Simmons, Books Obsession

There's a tons more reviews, too many to post. To read more, click here.

As I was saying. Since I read Kiki's first draft I’ve watched The Faerie Ring transform and grow (yes, you can all breathe again, Kiki wrote the draft in a month, but the revisions took the usual twelve plus months). Similar to watching a friend’s child grow into an amazing young adult, graduation day is finally near and I couldn’t be more (sniff) excited for The Faerie Ring to spread its wings and fly onto (and off of) the shelves.

In honor of Kiki's September release I’ll be hosting a weekly giveaway (today's: signed bookmarks to several who comment and/or spread the word via Twitter or Facebook). Next week we'll talk book trailers and during THE week Kiki will stop by for an interview and a book giveaway.

In the meantime, check out her blog here and be sure to put it on your to-read list on Good Reads here.

Kiki Hamilton is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman at KT Literary. The Faerie Ring, published by Tor Teen, and edited by Susan Chang, will be available in stores on September 27, or go here to pre-order.

Writer Spotlight Interview: Dianne Gardner

Dianne Gardner

I'm so happy to have Dianne Gardner all the way from Washington stepping into the spotlight today. We "met" through WriteOnCon, which I hope you all attended and enjoyed. Dianne is a writer, an artist, a mother, a grandmother, and a world builder.

Dianne, welcome!!!

Tell us, what manuscript do you have out on submission now?

The title currently is IAN'S REALM: DECEPTION PEAK
It’s a Young Adult character driven Fantasy novel
58,000 words

Give us the three to four sentence pitch.

There is no way fifteen-year-old Ian Wilson could know he’s destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy. His immediate concern is for his dad whose experimental software has opened a window to another world and is being lured into it by a haunting song. Ian follows his father into the Realm, a deceptively beautiful country where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life, but which is ruled by a terrible dragon and plagued by evil sorcery. When Ian is separated from his dad and abducted by dragon worshipers, he is forced to find his courage and learn how and who to trust. As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search for his father he meets the true peace-keepers of the Realm and through them becomes aware of his greater calling.

Awesome!!! My son would love the whole living computer avatar thing. Nice.

Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?

Ian woke with a jerk. His eyes flew open. The dream was too vivid, as if he himself were falling. He lay nestled on his pillows watching the dragon in his mind, its flame shooting towards him until the sparks turned into the popcorn texture on the ceiling.

Very cool!!!! Or should I say hot? : )

What is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.

Least favorite word? Well, Ian doesn’t like the thought of dying. He’d rather just be released, or banished and get on with finding his dad. But Emil has devised a questionable escape route for him and now Ian is sure he’s going to die…

The wagon tossed Ian’s body around like jelly. He was going to die, he was sure of it. And then they’d all be happy: the Meneks would, maybe they’d have a celebration…eat fish and bread and goat cheese and sing and dance in the streets. No more Ian to disrupt their neat little ‘fraidy-cat lives. No more Ian sneaking around in the dark, or dropping their slimy fish, or spilling their precious salt water on their nicely mopped docks. Glad they got rid of that joker, they will be.

Nice voice!!

Favorite word? If dying were the least of Ian’s favorite thoughts, courage would be what sees him through.

Ian gulped down his fear and took a deep breath, standing erect. Courage, he said to himself. Now that all the things he had been fearful of were coming to pass, Ian amazed himself that he could be so calm.

What are you working on while you wait?

I’m working on the sequels titled, IAN'S REALM: INVASION and IAN'S REALM: RUBIES AND ROBBERS

Oooh!! Love the titles. 

What book(s) have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you?

In the last six months I’ve been reading a lot of how-to books instead of novels. The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, by Nancy Lamb

The Scene Book, by Sandra Scofield

And others.

I haven't heard of the second one, I'll have to check it out, thanks.

Just for fun, do you have a literary-character crush (if you were a teen, or a crush you had when you were a teen)?

I really like Bilbo in Tolkein’s, The Hobbit. I think Tolkein gave him such a wonderful character. I enjoyed taking his journey with him. I think he’s the first character I ever read who had such obvious and loveable faults.

So true. In regard to faults, I read a post recently about character faults, the message being that too many of us mistake quirks for faults. Interesting, something to think on, at least it was for me.

Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?

I am a portrait artist as well as a writer and I love developing character’s portraits as though I were painting them. In fact, I hope to do an oil painting of each of my main characters and put them up on my blog along with their character analysis. I think that would be totally fun.

Ian Wilson, by Dianne Gardner
Very fun, yes!! And here is her first, a portrait of Ian Wilson just posted on her blog. This totally blew me away when I saw it!!! WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Impressive!

I’m a mother of 7 and grandmother of 14. My grandsons are really enjoying my manuscripts, but so are my daughters. I am having a great time creating this story and this world.

You must've been fun in the arts and crafts department with your kids and grandkids.

Dianne, thanks again for sharing your manuscript, your art, and yourself with us today. I wish you all the best in finding a home for IAN'S REALM: DECEPTION PEAK. Please keep us posted.

In addition to her writer's blog, which you can find here, Dianne also has an art website here.

I'll leave you with another of Dianne's works below of Lady Washington and another excerpt from her manuscript.

Lady Washington
Excerpt from Chapter X of IAN'S REALM: DECEPTION PEAK
Finally, as the orange and pinks of the setting sun shimmered on the water, the sailors came to them and took the nets, reeling them into long rolls and then folding them crosswise. Ian liked the sailors. They stayed to their work and were kind to the boys, talking to them as if they were part of the crew, as if they were men.

September Giveaways and Posts

Earthquakes and hurricanes and floods, oh my!!

What a crazy week and a half. First the ground shakes, which NEVER happens on this side of the world. Then Irene comes to visits uninvited, waaay overstays, and leaves a terrible mess behind.

Our power returned just this morning (to my ten-year-old son's disappointment, he enjoyed the adventure), however, still no Internet or phone use. UGH!! 

But let's move on . . . It's September!! And September promises to be a great month at Write Now.

Why you ask? Here’s why:

  • Kiki Hamilton's debut novel, THE FAERIE RING, will release on September 27. In honor of this much awaited event I’ll be posting an interview with Kiki as well as hosting giveaways throughout September because—her book IS that good.

  • More Writer Spotlights are coming! Thanks to WriteOnCon I connected with a number of uber awesome writers who will step into the spotlight. Yay!! Next up is Dianne Gardner who will share her YA fantasy, IAN'S REALM: DECEPTION PEAK, with us and her artwork. Be sure to stop by next Tuesday, Sept 6 to meet Dianne.

  • Also, I recently stumbled upon a writer networking site called, The write-brained Network and will have Ricki Schultz here, the founder of the site, to tell us a bit more about it. They’re offering lots of great things to their members this month. Definitely worth checking it out.

  • Last, just for fun, I will post two or three openings to my YA paranormal thriller, UNTIL DEATH, and will let you vote for your favorite.

Soooo, stay tuned.
 Okay, go write—NOW!   : )  please