Meet Chloe – Winterviews Partner and Romance Author

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

1. First off, tell us a little bit about who you are and what type of books you write.

Chloe Quinn

Hi, I’m Chloe Quinn. I love to write fictional books that usually involve a romance. However, I do write mystery and sometimes stories that revolve around a coming of age story. I usually like to write about a strong heroine who is deciding what the next step for her life is.

2. What projects are you working on these days?

I currently am writing three series and two collections of short stories which I plan to release in 2018. The titles of the Series/ Collections to look for are:

S E R I E S

The Caine Family: Secrets (Romance)

Donna’s Gate (Romance)

Four Degrees of Chloe (Romance)

C O L L E C T I O N S

Winter Chillers (Thrillers / Romance)
Winter Fire (Romance)

I share more details about all of these upcoming stories on my website, www.chloequinnauthor.com. Come on by and check it out.

3. Do you have any strong social or political statements your work aims to represent?

I don’t really have any strong social or political statements in my current works. But, I have been thinking about writing some in the future.

4. Who is your favorite dragon?

My favorite dragon you ask? I would have to say Spike from My Little Pony. I use to have a huge collection of My Little Ponies when I was a little girl. And what collection of My Little Ponies would have been complete without the ponies’ best friend Spike.

5. What is your favorite spaceship?

My favorite spaceship would be the Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) from the Matrix. Okay, technically I guess it wasn’t a spaceship, but I still loved the ship. I guess if I said an actual spaceship it would be the USS Enterprise with Captain Jean Luc Picard at the helm.

6. Favorite wind-down-after-a-hard-day beverage?

My favorite wind-down beverage is tea, hot or cold and I’m not too particular of the flavor. I will tell you I do opt for loose fresh tea from a tea shop over a pre-packaged tea bag. However, I will use a pre-packaged tea bag if I run out of the other kind.


Want to know more about Chloe? Here are some great places to visit:

Website
Amazon
Newsletter
Blog
Email
Chloe’s Chili Pepper Club
Press Page
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Pinterest
YouTube
Instagram

Don’t forget to check back on more Winterviews and partner interviews.

Original article posted on my main blog site, Hàlön Chronicles.

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Meet Maria – Winterviews Partner, Neurosurgeon and Fantasy Writer

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

1. First off, tell us a little bit about who you are and what type of books you write.

="M.
Hi, I’m Maria Guglielmo, and I’m a neurosurgeon and a fantasy writer. I live in New England with my two awesome daughters. This year we’ve added in a standard poodle puppy and an appropriately spooky black cat, so my house in generally in a state of controlled chaos most days.

2. What projects are you working on these days?

My brand new project is SINS OF THE SEVEN, a historical fantasy based on 1800’s England and Iran. Both the Regency period in England and the Qajar Dynasty’s reign in Iran have some fascinating parallels, with rapid changes in politics, art and fashion taking place. My main character straddles both worlds, as a young woman born to parents from fantasy versions of both cultures.

3. Do you have any strong social or political statements your work aims to represent?

I’ve been following and learning about issues involving the Middle East and the Islamic world since 2001. Bringing in positive cultural details from those areas into my work has only grown more political over the past few years, even though the main focus of my novels is to entertain. I also strongly support greater diversity and the promotion of disadvantaged voices in writing, and especially in speculative fiction.

4. Who is your favorite dragon?

So glad you asked! That would be Azi Dahaka, also known as Zahhak, an evil being from Persian mythology. Persian dragons are often depicted as serpentine, and unlike East Asian dragons, are generally malevolent. My favorite version of Zahhak is as an evil prince who grew two hideous serpents on each shoulder. Each one needed to be fed human brains every day, which made Zahhak a highly unpopular ruler.

5. What is your favorite spaceship?

The USS Enterprise. I’m old school about my starships.

6. Favorite wind-down-after-a-hard-day beverage?

Mostly green tea, but an Italian Chianti is nice when I can indulge.


Want to know more about Maria? You can check out her blog: M. A. Guglielmo, hang out with her on Twitter, stalk her on Facebook where she posts awesome stuff about Iran and Morocco, or check out her novel aesthetics on Pinterest.

Don’t forget to check back on more Winterviews and partner interviews.

Meet Angela – Winterviews Partner and Science Fiction Writer

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

1. First off, tell us a little bit about who you are and what type of books you write.

 

I’m a science fiction writer. I live in rural Kansas, currently, though we are hoping to move to the Pacific Northwest coast sometime soon. My hubster is an art teacher and is very supportive of my writing. I just, um, made him read my second novel for the fourth time and he didn’t complain… Well… He didn’t complain too much. He loves reading my books. I love him.

2. What projects are you working on these days?

I’m querying my second book. Ripping apart my first book, again, and writing what looks to be a space pirate story. I say looks because I’m a pantser and everything looks to be something until it’s not when you write with a blank page.

3. Do you have any strong social or political statements your work aims to represent?

I try to work with themes that make people look inward and assess themselves. But outright social and political statements? I’ll let my readers determine if I’m making one or not.

4. Who is your favourite dragon?

I don’t really do dragons… Though the really scary dragon in Reign of Fire was AWESOME!

5. What is your favourite spaceship?

I like the new Star Trek spaceship. Discovery. The really cool Tardigrade/spore drive engine is sooooooo cool!

6. Favourite wind-down-after-a-hard-day beverage?

During the winter, it has to be a hot-buttered rum. I make the best. Two shots of water, a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Boil in the microwave (1.5 minutes-ish?) until the sugar is dissolved. Add a shot of rum. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve.

Host note: This drink is awesome with whiskey.


Want to know more about Angela? You can check out her blog: Little Wing Blue, hang out with her on Twitter, or stalk her on Facebook.

Original article posted on my main blog site, Hàlön Chronicles. Don’t forget to check back on more Winterviews and partner interviews.

Wonder Twin Powers… Activate

And if I ever say ^that line again, punch me. 🙂

In August of this year (2017), I entered a brand new Twitter competition called WonderPitch. It was new, fairly small, and run by two amazing ladies: Jeanna Skinner & Emma Finlayson-Palmer.

I didn’t expect much, honestly, because my story and pitches seemed to strike out about everywhere. But hey, what better way to meet other writers and hone your pitching skills? The morning of announcements, I’d slept past my alarm. By the time I woke up and flipped on my phone, Twitter had blown up. The winners were announced, and holy crap I’d won first place. I just sat there staring at my phone wondering if I was in the right universe.

Here’s my fun pitch that snagged their attention:

Kinra’s pissed she’s been swallowed by a dragon, but how else is she going to save the king’s ass and rescue her son? #WonderPitch #A #F

This pitch is for my adult fantasy novel: BLOOD & FIRE, ASH & BONE, currently out on query. The competition was tons of fun, I got to meet some amazing new writers, and the WonderPitch critique feedback was spot on. These are some wonderful, talented ladies!

If you’re interested in future competitions, want to stalk the awesome Jeanna & Emma, or need an editor/mentor for your work, check them out on Twitter, poke around the #WonderPitch hashtag or follow their blog.


Article originally posted on my main blog: Hàlön Chronicles.

Good morning! It’s been a few weeks since I put out my last blog post, but I’ve had my head buried in soft peat getting my writer life organized. There are three different stories I’m dying to work on, but one needs a fresh outline/rewrite, the second needs a hammer and forge to whip it into shape, and the third needs a little bit of love and focus. Three very different novels in three stages of completion, but each of them needs the same thing: a critical eye on the structure so I know where to start hammering.

Earlier this year, I was at the roof again: that magical writer place where you know your story isn’t perfect yet, but you’re not quite sure how to fix it. Growth is needed, and some new weapons for your arsenal, but you’re alone in the void, frustrated and scratching your head. Maybe even with a bottle of whiskey in hand… I digress. Frustrated and feeling like I was missing some critical piece of writer craft the universe was hiding, I went back to the beginning. The structure. Asking myself: Am I doing this right?

After days scouring the internet and filling out worksheets, I realized that none of the structures were quite what my story needed, but I liked elements of each. My story is fast-paced and constantly escalates the conflict, and then I stumbled across Story Structure 101 – The Index Card Method by Alexandra Sokoloff. Holy crap did this make sense – tell smaller short stories within the larger narrative to keep the pace moving.

But I still needed a larger structure for the larger narrative, so I pulled a 3-act structure to wrap around my 40-cards. Things were starting to get clearer, but I was still leaving out one important element.

My hero. Or in this case, my pissed off mama Heroine.

Enter the Hero’s Journey structure. After formatting my cards into a 3-act structure, I plugged in all the important events as headers: inciting event, turning point, midpoint, etc. Et voila, a structure that made sense to me, and embraced the hero, the plot and a narrative that would keep the story moving forward with smaller, in-story events.

Yesterday, my amazing Critique Partner, A.J. Super mentioned my mashup to other writers, and I was so happy to see their interest. So I’m sharing it with the world. Feel free to use for your own story, or make tweaks for your writing style:

Dragon Ridge Structure Template: Excel File

Hopefully this baby finds value in your hands. If it does, feel free to drop me a note and let me know. I’m always happy to hear from my readers. 🙂


Original article posted on Hàlön Chronicles.

PitchWars Wrap-Up

Announcement day for PitchWars has come and gone, and 180 new mentees are on the move to get their manuscripts polished for the agent round. Once again I recognized almost no one on the final picks list, but a few names stood out and I couldn’t be more excited for those folks.

When I started PitchWars this year, I knew my entry would be a long shot. I’d restructured, repurposed and repolished my story from last year as the new one wasn’t anywhere near ready enough. But I knew what I was getting into – that my story would have to shine even more to stand out against all the new entries. Zero requests and a generic form rejection later, I am not daunted. Why, you didn’t ask? Because I didn’t go into PitchWars with one goal… I went in with several.

Goal 1: Help other writers where I could.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to have another writer, Ava Quinn, take me under her wing, and I will forever be grateful for all the help she gave me. This year I worked with my critique partner, A.J. Super, to reach out to other writers and help where we could. We also worked with our other critique partners and workshop buddies by doing chapter swaps, query workshopping, and I even wrote several articles on the blog to help simplify some of the more daunting aspects of the contest. In the end, I came out with five new writer buddies and an amazing second circle of friends.

Goal 2: Make my story query-ready again.
I’ll be honest… when I queried my story in 2016, it wasn’t ready. I’d like to say that today it is, but the truth is I simply don’t know. When all you hear is “love your first chapter” or “thanks, not for me”, you quickly learn there’s not really an answer in there. The mind automatically strays between “yep, I’m ready” and “what the hell am I doing wrong, now?” This is what’s called the lonely road… or at least that’s what I call it. As someone who wants concise answers, or sometimes needs help to figure a puzzle out, this can be extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve become book-blind to your own work. As it turns out, a better answer was waiting…

Goal 3: Find a mentor.
At this goal, I succeeded in a way that was entirely unexpected. I didn’t find a mentor… I found six.

I didn’t get a spot among the mentees, nor did I gain an unofficial mentee spot (apparently this is a thing… who knew?). It was time for me to take the reins of my own career, but how? Inside my new circle of writer friends, we sparked an idea. Don’t wait for someone to love our stories enough to grant us an edit letter… write our own. So we setup a schedule like our own private book club: 7 books, 14 weeks of reading and serious workshopping.

Every two weeks, each of us digs into a different member’s book—reads it, and writes out a serious, hardcore edit letter. What did we love? What could be improved? Which characters or scenes fell flat? And more importantly… did we finish the book? If there was a DNF (do not finish) spot, where is it and why? At the end of each 2-week block, one member gets 6 edit letters and a serious discussion of what’s working and not working in their story, then we jump to the next book.

This… is how I won PitchWars.

How all seven of us won PitchWars. My book is the first on the chopping block, and in my two week layover I’m still hitting the screen hard. I have 2 drafts I’m prepping for edits, reading The Apothecary’s Poison, prepping a series of self-edit and revision articles, and gathering partners for the 2017-2018 season of Winterviews. I’m still busy, still moving forward, and toying with the 100 rejections a year idea. Because, why not?

But I can honestly say, I’m relieved PitchWars is over for me. It’s always an intense two months of hard work and self-doubt. But when the excitement and tension clears out of the air, I always look back with fond memories and forward with newfound enthusiasm. And forward is where I really want to go.


This article originally posted on my main blog: Hàlön Chronicles.

Is Your Next Project Ready to Go?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on getting the most out of PitchWars by setting personal goals. Having a list of goals and achievements is so important to life outside the contest. Each time you feel the pressure of not there yet, you can look back and see all the amazing things you’ve already accomplished.

But here’s a tiny reality check: in one week PitchWars mentor picks will be announced, and more than two thousand people are going to feel the sting. It hurts, and it feels like a rejection, but it’s not. All it really means is your book doesn’t have the exact ratio of awesome to need fixing elements. Seriously… here’s the math:

a : s = (n : c)m + d

a = awesome | s = suckage | n = need fixin’ | c = can fix | m = mentor love | d = dibs

This contest has zero bearing on the awesome of your book. It’s a crap shoot, but so are most things in life. If you don’t get a professional mentor, then you learn to mentor each other. And that’s where this article comes in.

Moving on. To your next project.

I. HAVE ANOTHER PROJECT COCKED AND LOADED
Another writing project. A new one, a plan of attack for your PitchWars submission, or maybe you’re already poking at Query Tracker and agent wish lists. There might even be the few of you who need to shut down the laptop and go do anything else for a few months, and that’s okay too. No matter your next steps, start planning a project now to focus on. Whether it’s the day after announcements or three months after, it’s good to have something ready to dig your typing teeth into.

II. HAVE A NEW BOOK READY TO READ
Everyone has different tastes, but if you like books that take you far away from Earth, I have a few recommendations here. I also have a list of unique books here, or if you’re into more YA or Contemporary tastes, be sure to visit some reviews from Songs Wrote My Story.

III. DO SOMETHING FUN
Anything special you’ve been wanting to do lately? Something that will get you away from your writing space and out into the world? I know… scary peopling. Go do it, and this goes for anyone who does get a mentor spot as well. Spend the day at the zoo, walk the beach, swim with the dolphins, or go hiking in the mountains. Have an adventure and clear some of the cobwebs from your head. While we’re at it… you too mentors. You guys have made your eyes bleed with reading. Once you send off that edit letter, get out of the house and do something fun.

Oh, and don’t any of you forget to treat yourself to a nice meal. Entering a contest is daunting, but hopefully you’ve already come out of it with a new crew of wonderful friends, readers and peers. 🙂


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Original article posted on my blog: Hàlön Chronicles.