It’s not Writer Wednesday, but sometimes you just gotta break tradition! So, here we go!
Another one of those fantastic writers that I hang out with (and who humbles me with her snippets of awesomeness) is Jenn Reese. I’ve known Jenn since before I began my writing journey; she’s one of the very first people who assured me I can do this. (She’s still assuring me, and I don’t take that for granted one little bit.)
So, in my totally unbiased opinion, Above World is an adventure that ANY middle-grade reader would devour.
But before I introduce you to the books, here’s more about Jenn from her Amazon page:
“Writer. Martial artist. Geek.
Jenn writes science fiction and fantasy stories about heroes and adventure and lasting friendships. Her short stories have appeared online in Strange Horizons and in a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning Paper Cities. She makes her home in Los Angeles, a sun-bleached desert city of freaks that she absolutely loves. When she’s not sitting in traffic, she’s studying martial arts, playing video games, and dreaming of rain.
For more information on her stories, novels, and adventures, visit www.jennreese.com.”
Here’s the scoop from Amazon:
Jenn Reese’s middle-grade debut, Above World
A suspenseful sci-fi escapade plucks two children out of the ocean for a thrilling adventure. Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is at risk. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna’s fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt – growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains – here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.
And Book Two, Mirage…
Book Two in the Trilogy
A thrilling sequel from an exciting new voice in middle-grade sci-fi tracks two ocean-born children braving the dangers of the Above World. The desert is no place for ocean-dwelling Kampii like Aluna and Hoku, especially now that Aluna has secretly started growing her tail. But the maniacal Karl Strand is out to conquer the Above World, and the horselike Equians are next on his list. Aluna, Hoku, and their friends — winged Calli and Equian exile Dash — race to the desert city of Mirage, intent on warning the Equians. When they arrive, Strand’s clone, Scorch, has gotten there first. Now the Equian leader has vowed to take all his people to war as part of Strand’s army. Any herd that refuses to join him by the time of the desert-wide competition known as the Thunder Trials will be destroyed. To have any chance of defeating Scorch and convincing the Equians to switch sides, the four friends must find a way to win the Trials. The challenge seems impossible. But if they fail, the desert — and possibly all of the Above World — will be lost to Karl Strand forever. Here is the action-packed follow-up to Above World, which Kirkus Reviews called “a thrilling sci-fi adventure. Imaginative and riveting.”
And of course, there’s a third book, coming in February 2014! Here’s Horizon, available for pre-order.
Aluna and Hoku, Kampii from the City of Shifting Tides, and their friends, Equian Dash
Horizon, Book Three in the Above World Trilogy
and winged Aviar Calli, are determined to stop a war. The maniacal ex-scientist Karl Strand is planning to conquer the world with his enormous army of tech-enhanced soldiers . . . unless the four friends can get to Strand first. Aluna’s plan is dangerous: pose as Upgraders and infiltrate the army. But the enemy isn’t what they expected and the strategy begins to crumble. When the friends are torn apart by conflicting allegiances, their slim chance of avoiding war seems to disappear completely. For Aluna and Hoku, what began as a quest to save their own people has become a mission to save the world. But do Aluna and her friends have any hope of defeating Strand if they can’t take him on together?
If you have middle grade readers, add these books to their Christmas – they and you will be glad you did! Again, these are books worth giving in hardcover, as they will be read over and over again.
I have SO MANY talented friends. Do you know middle grade authors who deserve a shout out? Feel free to put a link in the comments…after all, Christmas is coming.
Thanks for stopping by – big squishy hugs to you all!
All the advice for writers on the Interwebs has been making my head spin the past year or so, and lately that advice is really getting on my nerves. Advice such as the following:
Blog 3 times a week or more. The more you blog, the more people will come to your website. Twitter twice daily, for at least fifteen minutes each time, but be a real person. Facebook is the way to make friends and informally chat. Become a book bloggers’ best buddy, and they’ll be happy to push your book for you. And don’t forget to comment on every blog you can, every day. Give, give, give your time and energy to your fellow bloggers/authors and they’ll give back. Push your brand!
Self publish, but do it the right way. You don’t want to be a publisher, you just want to write? Grow up, be a big girl, pull up your panties and get over it. With the internet revolution regarding the written word, writers have to do it all now in order to be successful.
Some more tidbits of the revolutionary “truth”: Don’t bother with New York Publishing anymore, they’re the Titanic and they don’t see the iceberg in front of them. Agents? Who needs agents? Please, agents are so Twentieth Century.
All that advice gives me a headache. Plus it makes me feel very alone. I long for the years when it was simpler; when a writer’s job was to write a damn good book, then get an agent, and the agent found you a publisher, and you were half way to a career. Note that I said simpler, not easier.
Is it wrong for me to still want a contract with a big New York publisher? Is it wrong for me to want an agent, someone who will help me, guide me in this new and confusing world? Is it wrong for me to want to work with those professionals who have so much to offer? That’s the message I’m getting from bloggers that I like, trust, and care about, that what I want is wrong – and that makes my stomach hurt.
I’m not denying there’s a revolution. I just want to have tea with the Queen, just once, before her crown is crushed underfoot by the internet.
I feel there is no way I can measure up to the “new” way of publishing and the social media expectations. Thinking about all the things I “should” be doing (other than writing) is draining, especially since I have a full time job and a family (and no assistant, no trust fund, no financial safety net, and most importantly, no backlist). Doing all the social media stuff has become a chore, where it used to be fun. (I miss my 1k1hr buddies on Twitter!)
Even writing became a bit of a grind for awhile. In a fit of desperation, I talked to
- “…a fierce, take-charge Aluna is the kind of heroine who is easy to get behind.” Publisher’s Weekly
Jenn Reese, a lovely writer who was one of the very first to encourage me, all those years ago. I had a story that I liked that I was working on, but the plot seemed to be missing (maybe because I was trying to squeeze writing in between bouts of Facebook and Twitter).
She asked me why I was drawn to write in that world. And she gave me a homework assignment, to write a list of everything about that world that I was passionate about, that I wanted to write about.
The list flowed. Writing became exciting again. After Tai Chi on Saturday, and over yummy sandwiches at Bun Me, she pressed the point home to me. Write what you’re passionate about, she said. Don’t write to the market. Don’t force a genre on the book. If you know the book’s ending, you’re half way to a solid plot (so many books don’t follow through on their opening). Most of all, keep going!
In thinking about her advice, I realized it could also be applied to social media for the writer. So here’s my personal Writer’s Manifesto, that I’m sure will get tweaked as I go along:
Be passionate about your work, and that includes social media. Don’t do what you’re not comfortable with. If you get in too deep, excuse yourself and get back out (this includes participating in group blogs, volunteering for your writer’s group, or anything else that doesn’t focus you on your own writing).
Follow your dreams, whether that is a contract with a New York publisher, getting an agent, or self-publishing a book every other month. Make sure those ARE your dreams though, and not dreams thrust upon you by well-meaning bloggers that you know, like, and trust. (Because their dreams ARE NOT your dreams, though they may look similar.) Above all? Focus on writing that you are passionate about, and then send it out into the world.
I realize I’m probably in the minority, wishing the publishing world wasn’t changing so rapidly. Like so many other big businesses, it’s an effed-up industry and has been for a long time; but it was effed up in a way I understood. This new world is one I don’t fully trust, and while I’ve learned a lot in the past 18 months, I am still going to reach for my personal brass ring.
I don’t want to be my own publisher; I want a knowledgable partner to help me through the publishing business. If that makes me seem like an ostrich with my head in the sand, so be it.
- thanks to natureartists.com Peter Hall “Ostrich Dance”
But I’d much rather believe I’m an ostrich, dancing.