TALKING TROPES with Imani Josey

Carrie here, with an ongoing feature on the blog, TALKING TROPES. These will be fun interviews with some really great authors, where we discuss their books, their favorite stories, and also tropes they love, and tropes they hate. One of the things I’ve noticed as BroodingYAHero is that people sometimes fall into the thinking that all tropes are awful, and that’s not true. Some certainly are, and some are overused to the point of absurdity, but some tropes are useful tools!

Today’s guest author is the amazing Imani Josey!

Imani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA.

Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. The Blazing Star is her debut novel.

Imani’s novel, THE BLAZING STAR is a really amazing historical novel that utterly pulled me in. I highly, highly recommend it.

Order a copy right here: link. and watch the beautiful trailer here.

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CD: So, first of all, I adored THE BLAZING STAR and cannot wait for the sequel! Can you tell me a little of your inspiration for it?

IJ: Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m excited about the sequel also. You could say that the series has been on my mind in one way or another since I was a child. The Blazing Star is a much better rendition of the first book (if you could call it a book… it was 60 pages of craziness) that I wrote when I ten-years-old. I actually still have a copy somewhere. The story was about three friends who journeyed to an alternate dimension and discovered they were faerie princesses. It was very much something a preteen in the 90’s would write.

I decided to really dive into my writing around 2011 and the fantasy genre is a great form of escapism, which is what I needed at that time. I found a terrible job after grad school (underpaid, over-skilled, underwhelmed), and had to take my mind elsewhere. It was then that I decided that the bones of that old faerie princess story were actually decent, and would fit well with a YA adventure swirling in my head. Add a dash of historical fiction and ancient Egyptian mythology, and six years later, here we are.

CD: One of the things I loved about THE BLAZING STAR the lush, vivid setting. How did you manage to make a historical time period feel so real???

IJ: Shhhh, I have a time machine I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient world, especially Egypt. My mother also gave me a portrait of Nerfertari when I was young. I took that picture to my first apartment, and wrote under it. I recently went to the Djerassi YA workshop hosted by bestseller Nova Ren Suma, and she asked the attendees about our muses. I said history. My grandfather is a historian, so perhaps it is in the blood. But I’m as fascinated by history as I am by magic. I love how there’s nothing new under the sun, that people’s motivations thousands of years ago still motivate them today.

Continue reading

New Release Date: Oct 17th

Hi everyone!

Just a little update. As you probably know, nothing in the publishing world is for certain and often, things take longer than expected.

I also want to be sure that you, dear reader, are getting the swooniest, best version of BROODING YA HERO: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me.

So… there’s going to be a new release date! The Broody Book will be coming out on Tuesday, October 17th.

If you’ve already preordered, don’t worry–it will update the date automatically. If you haven’t preordered yet… GOOD NEWS! Now you have more time to preorder… and I’ll be revealing TWO MORE INCREDIBLE PREORDER PRIZE PACKS.

That’s right! Every person who preorders (or requests the book from their library or Overdrive app) will get this set of goodies….

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Postcards vary, 7 designs in all

PLUS:

Preorder by Sept 10th for a chance to win this swag set, including a BROODY BLANKET!

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BUT WAIT THERES MORE

Now…. the surprise. ANYONE who preorders prior to Oct 16th, (so 11:59pm on OCt 15th) will be entered to win….

A full-color drawing of THEM with either Brooding YA Hero or Blondie the evil ex!
That’s right. Linnea Gear, illustrator of the book,  will draw you hanging out with/hugging/high-fiving Broody himself. (just keep it safe for work, please!)
If you’d prefer, you can request a fictional character of your choice to hang out with Broody. 🙂

ALL PREORDER PRIZES ARE INTERNATIONAL!

Email BroodyBook@gmail.com with proof of preorder/proof of library request!

So, new release day… but new prizes too! I, for one, am ready to swoon.

Why library preorders matter

One of my favorite books of all time, Lirael by Garth Nix, features the most incredible library in any universe, complete with books, magic, and monsters. I loved that library, in part because it represented all of the libraries that I adored. From my cozy middle-school library to the sprawling quiet of my university library, a great deal of my life has been spent among the shelves of books.

If it wasn’t for libraries, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to enjoy nearly as many stories as I have over the years. Libraries provide books, education, and so much more to everyone.

Everyone deserves access to wonderful books.

That’s why my preorder prizes are available to you if you request your book from a library, just like if you order it!

Additionally, you’ll be eligible for a very special library-preorder prize only! (pictures to come)

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How to request:

Most libraries have a request form. 

  • You can also request the ebook via the Overdrive App (which is a super cool tool, even if you don’t use it to request my book! FREE E-Books and audiobooks!)

Please include the below

  • Title: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me
  • Author: Carrie DiRisio
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1510726667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1510726666
  • Trade Reviews:
  • “VERDICT A clever, tongue-in-cheek novel that will appeal to teens with a disdain for the formulaic. A good choice for YA shelves or where satire is popular.- School Library Journal”
    “A satirical look at the world of the male hero in young-adult literature . . . In short, subheaded chapters that address the audience directly, he does so, hitting on some funny moments that are also critically insightful. ―Kirkus Reviews

Once you’ve requested, just fill out this form AND email Broodybook@gmail.com with the proof (a screenshot/photo/scan of the request form works!)

Click Here To Open Form

 

Thank you so much! Not only are you getting swag, you’re helping more people get access to my book!

Finding Time to Write When You’re Busy

For those of you who know me, you probably know just how busy I am.  Between work and grad school, not to mention volunteering, interning, exercising, and way too many other -ings, my days are swamped.

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But I like it this way!

Of course, I still need to find time to write, and that’s something we’ve all struggled with.  Nothing’s worse than realizing you’ve wasted the whole day on Twitter or baking cookies instead of writing.

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Here are my tips.

  • Study what your brain needs, for each part of the process
    • For me, I need chunks of silent time for drafting, but editing can be done at any time
    • My brain also needs music, but not background noise. Some people swear by writing with a TV in the background. Me? Even a coffeeshop’s chatter is distracting.
    • Coffee. My brain needs coffee the way a zombie needs brains.
  • If you try a new routine, stick with it for at least a week
  • Reward yourself! Set milestones, then treat yourself! (note, do not treat yourself before the milestones. That undoes the whole process)

Now that i’ve give you some of my best pointers, I’ll let you know what works for me!

I am not a morning person. At all. If you meet me before 8am, I will glare blankly at you, before shuffling away, like the aforementioned zombie in search of brains. That being said, I’ve found I draft much better in the mornings. My brain feels more empty. I have less concerns about the rest of the day, and I’m not as stressed about my to-do list.

So when I’m drafting, I wake up by 6am, do a bit of yoga, have my coffee, and settle down for a nice hour of writing.

On the other hand, editing in the morning is a bit like eating a live toad first thing. Although some have suggested this is a great way to make the rest of the day seem easy in comparison, I simply cannot stomach it. I do my editing in spurts. Twenty minutes on the subway, an hour at lunch, and an hour before bed.

Proofreading/fine-tuning, for me, is an utterly different beast. This is the only time I print out the pages, and leave the glowing computer screen behind. There’s something really vivid about seeing the words on an actual page.

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So there you have it! My writing habits, defined. What are yous?

Interview: GifGrrl

Today on the blog, I’m joined by a very talented friend. As well as being a talented writer, Claribel Ortega is the founder and mastermind behind GifGrrl, a really amazing company.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, a gif is a moving picture! Like this:

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Oh hey! It’s my book! Looking sharp!

I adored this gif, and I wanted to talk a little bit more to the creator! Without further ado, I’ll jump into the interview!

CD: Tell me a bit about yourself and GIFGRRL.

CO: It really all started as something to do for fun. I loved watching the covers of books come alive and seeing the authors reaction when I made them a gif. Eventually though, I realized that I could do that and also pay my bills! So I started GIFGRRL and now it’s pretty much a second (third??) full time job.

CD: What do you love about creating the gifs and trailers?

CO: I’ve always loved video editing. It’s been a hidden but well cultivated talent which started with my dad’s giant 1980s camcorder and some low-budget windows editing software. Making gifs/promo material is more than just trying to sell a product to me, it’s about telling a story. Maybe not the full story, but a tiny slice of what the book is trying to say. Bringing things to life, characters, book covers, the spirits of dead punk-rockers, are just a few of my favorite things.

 

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CD: What’s one book you’d love to make a trailer for?

CO: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but WANT by Cindy Pon comes to mind as one of the best I’ve made so far. It just really captures the theme of the book, the colors and the motions were all on point. I also adored STARFISH by Akemi Bowman because that cover is just SPECTACULAR and it was so much fun to work with!

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CD: Are there any challenging parts?

CO: Time management! I am a full-time book marketing human and author on top of running GIFGRRL. In just over a month I’ve already gotten over forty individual and two giant bulk orders. It’s a lot for a grrl to take on, but I have coffee and the cuddles of my doggo to help keep me going. Can you tell us a bit about the process? First, I stare at the book cover. Then I light candles and pray to the GIF-Gods™ – then I read the synopsis and stare at the book cover some more. I eat some snacks. Usually cheese-puffs. Sometimes I ask the author questions. I gather stock video/photos that capture the feel of the cover for me and start editing/manipulating them to further match the tone. I search for fonts that are similar to the one on the cover. I put it all in a blender and eat another cheese puff. One I have all the materials and my fingers are orange, I start putting it together. I then cut, and edit, and stare until I’m happy. One gif can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours, depending on how involved I get.

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This is the BroodyBook Illustrator’s webcomic!

CD: What inspires you?

CO: Many things! Music, books, chasing a sense of completion/fulfilment through art. Cheese-puffs.

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CD: What’s your favorite part of the process?

CO: When I get an author’s cover and the ideas start flying at my face. The best feeling is when I just know what I want to make. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get my vision to match the end product, but I enjoy figuring out how to make it all come together. And then of course once I deliver the final product to the author and they tell me how much they love me! Being able to help people who are graphically challenged or have no idea HOW to build buzz for their books brings me joy. I just like helping people.

-*-

Thank you so much for a wonderful interview, Claribel! And remember, you can order your own gifs from this talented artist here: Gifgrrl.com

Broody Book Preorder Prizes!

It’s that time of year! In which BroodingYAHero himself wants to send you prizes for preordering his lovely book! Preorders are super important, so Broody And I want to say thank you!

If you’ve already preordered, great! Send proof to broodybook@gmail.com, and fill out the form! CLICK HERE FOR THE FORM

Thank you! Here are locations to pre order:

Want to preorder an AUTOGRAPHED COPY? Go here: Books Of Wonder Link

 

Other links

AMAZON: LINK HERE

BARNES AND NOBLE: LINK HERE

BOOK DEPOSITORY (free international shipping!): LINK HERE

INDIEBOUND: LINK HERE

AND NOW….

THE PRIZES

EVERY PERSON (including international) who preorders will get:

-STICKERS! Label the characters in your life with this set, designed by ReadAtMidnight!

 

 

-Also, this LARGER sticker, for the most important character of them all: Broody Himself

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-Broody Bookmarks!

But that’s not all! You’ll also get…

Three limited edition Broody postcards, drawn by Grace Fong (Fictograph) Each one of these seven limited edition cards captures a different aspect of our adorable hero

Preorder (or email your library request form) a copy of BROODING YA HERO- Becoming A Main Character to win

Want these prizes? Just email proof of your preorder/library request form to BroodyBook@gmail.com then complete this form: FORM HERE

PLUS

Preorder by September 10th, and be entered to win an incredible BROODY BASKET including:

-A BroodingYAHero Tote Bag

-your very own Broody Notebook to jot down your main character adventures

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-A #TeamMe tee shirt!

-A set of two custom candles from Novelly Yours:

Evil Ex Girlfriend: An icy, but surprisingly sweet scent

BroodingYAhero: Only the Most Swoonworthy Scent in all of the World.

And a…

Your choice of a BROODY or BLONDIE blanket! That’s right! This cuddly fleece blanket will keep you warm as you read all about these character’s adventures!

 

Questions? Email BroodyBook@gmail.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE FORM Once You’ve Preordered

In case you need those links again…

Want an AUTOGRAPHED COPY? Go here: Books Of Wonder Link

AMAZON: LINK HERE

BARNES AND NOBLE: LINK HERE

BOOK DEPOSITORY (free international shipping!): LINK HERE

INDIEBOUND: LINK HERE

How Do I Do It All?

Spoiler: I don’t.

I’m writing this on a lunch break from work, while answering emails, working on a group project for grad school, and apologizing to friends for missing yet another happy hour.

But I did it, the little voice inside my head whispers. I’m a debut author, a successful (insert day job role here) and a B+ (nobody’s perfect, right?) grad student.

I was also a volunteer, a Student Council Board Member, and an intern, up until this month, when I realized there was simply too much on my plate.

So, I’ve scaled back but it’s certainly still a lot. There are sacrifices made (I haven’t seen a movie since Rouge One premiered, haven’t watched an episode of TV in over a year, I see most friends about once  a month…) but I’m proud of myself at the same time.

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Forward progress is progress, no matter how tired you are!

In the interest of honesty, here’s my daily schedule! Feel free to share yours in the comments.

Here’s an example of my usual day

  • 6: wake up. Yoga/coffee
  • 6:30-7:30: write some words for the new book
  • 7:30-745: get ready for day job. Wonder why I have no matching socks. Order socks from Amazon
  • 8am: dash out the door, catch the train.
  • Train ride: edit what I’ve written
  • 8:30-lunch time: day job!
  • Lunchtime is for emails/blog posts/post office runs. Yes, I know I can mail online. Yes, that doesn’t allow me to do book rate
  • After lunch, it’s back to work. Then, train ride home is for more emails.
  • 6pm: exercise time or laundry or other household tasks.
  • 7-8 is for marketing promo
  • 8-10: schoolwork! (luckily its an online class)
  • 10-11:30 answering any leftover emails
  • 11:30: preparing lunch for the next day, household tasks, shower
  • 1am: bed

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So, there you have it! On the weekends, there’s more writing and school, as well as any tasks like haircuts, and MAYBE if I’m lucky some socializing.

This schedule is also why one sick day can throw me off for over a week.

Hopefully, I’m not doing this schedule forever, (I mean, I’ll graduate. Someday. Maybe) but for now, it’s what works.

And if you’re my friend and you haven’t seen me, this is why. I’m sorry.

 

Raffle: Donate and WIN BIG

Hi everyone! From June 14 until June 30th,  I’ll be running a very special raffle. Keep reading for details!
Linnea Gear is the illustrator of Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character. She’s incredibly talented, a friend of mine, and an all-around awesome person.
Take a look at her art!
Recently, one of Linnea’s close friends has faced a really tough situation regarding domestic violence” and there’s a GoFundMe set up to help this friend and her family.

To help her friend, Linnea and I are running a special raffle!

Simply email proof of your donation (any amount counts!) to broodybook@gmail.com to be entered to win. EVERYONE who enters will receive Broody swag, and a handwritten thank you from Broody himself!
Donate here: GoFundMe Link
Now, let’s talk about the GRAND PRIZES. 
Writer Prize: An edit of your first 100 pages! Not only will I provide detailed edits on character, voice, etc, but Broody himself will chime in with (probably useless, but very amusing!) advice. This is a one of a kind feature! You’ll also get a mailed package of fun Broody Swag and an autographed bookplate!
Art Prize: Linnea will draw and color any OC or character of your choice. (No nudity please.)
Runner up prizes:
3 runners up will receive a preorder of BROODING YA HERO: Becoming a Main Character, plus a personalized, autographed bookplate! (international okay, as long as The Book Depository ships to you!)
If you can’t donate, please share on social media! Thank you.
So, to recap. Any donation amount will get you BROODY SWAG+Thank You letter from him. PLUS, you have a chance of winning a preorder or a manuscript edit or CUSTOM ART.
This will run until June 30th!
Thank you so much for your donations. This means a ton to Linnea, Broody, and me. ❤
Donate here: GoFundMe Link

How to Jump from One Story to Another

This is one of those times I’m going to blog about something I’m admittedly struggling with in the hopes it inspires me, (and maybe you too!)

Namely: changing from one creative project to another.

You may have encountered this before. Perhaps you’re trying to draft one story while you wait on edits for another. Or you’ve sent your first manuscirpt out to the query trenches, and now you need to write something new.

Maybe, like me, you’re a debut author who is also trying to write a new book.

It’s not easy, to split your thoughts, your hopes, your creative enegry between two projects. I’ve come up with a few ideas, but I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

  1. Image board!
    I admittedly do this the old-fashioned way, where I print out random things that give me story-related feels, then tape them to a posterboard I hang by my writing nook. It’s a great way to get some visual inspiration. However, most people I know use pinterest… which is the exact same thing, without the whole “attempting not to glue yourself to bits of paper.”
    Here’s a mini version of mine for my new project.Untitled design (1)
  2. Playlist!
    One of my all-time favorite things to do! Simply hop on spotify, or 8tracks, and start adding songs to a list that will give you all the feelings of your main characters.
    Here’s one for my next story: link to spotify
  3. Pretend to be your main character
    Okay. Maybe don’t do this if your main character is a brain-eating zombie or something, but I find a little method acting can be a lot of fun. Maybe it’s eating a food (not brains!) that your character likes, or perusing a store they might frequent. Have fun with it!
  4. Art!
    If you can, draw your characters! Or commission an artist (I’ve found amazing ones on Tumblr!) to draw them for you.
    Here’s a sketch the amazing Linnea did of my new MCs. I love how she captured their personalities too!Untitled

    Okay! So I’ve shared my favorite ways to start a new project. Now, tell me, what are yours?

Upcoming Release: FREEFALL by Joshua David Bellin

Hi all! I’m here to share a teaser image for an upcoming YA sci-fi that I SO excited for! FREEFALL by Joshua David Bellin promises to be a thrilling, suspenseful epic! Check out the blurb below, share the image, and add it on Goodreads!

This wild ride of a novel is out Sept. 26th! Preorder your copy today.

FREEFALL: The fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.

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In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated planet Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and its 99% of rejects.

Then Cam sees a banned video feed of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight through the feed directly at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.

When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.

Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?

About the author: Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). He taught college for twenty years, wrote a bunch of books for college students, then decided to return to writing fiction. He is the author of three science fiction novels for teens and adults: the two-part Survival Colony series (Survival Colony 9 and Scavenger of Souls) and the deep-space adventure Freefall. Josh loves to read, watch movies, and spend time in Nature with his kids. Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.

Website: http://www.joshuadavidbellin.com

Blog: http://theyaguy.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheYAGuy

So, are you on the edge of your seat? I am! You can preorder Freefall here: link.