Happy Book Birthday… To ME! (and BroodingYAHero)

Well, here it is. The morning of my book birthday, and the day I give BroodingYAhero’s story over to you, the readers.

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Gif by GifGrrl!

I’m so thrilled and truth be told, utterly nervous.

Everyone dreams of being an author. I certainly have since I was five. Now that I am SO close to being once (at the time of writing this) I think, it feels different every single day. Some days I catch myself just gazing dreamily at my book, my REAL book, on my bookshelf. Other days, I get hit with the “oh, if only I had done this and this and this instead…” bug. Other other days, I hear from a reader or friend that they liked it, and I swear I’m floating. Still other days, I consider running away and hiding in some cave in Scotland, away from all these writerly thoughts. 

Most days, though, I am so happy to be an Author, and to share this odd, wonderful novel with you, the reader. BroodyBook isn’t like any other book, and I think Brooding YA Hero wouldn’t have it any other way.

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This adventure has had a lot of ups and downs, but I’m so utterly glad to share it with you. BroodingYAHero was started to make friends smile, and I think, if the legacy of the book featuring our Broody hero is to make even more people smile, well, that is a legacy I can be proud of. I am just so so amazed my dream is finally here.

I am an Author.

Thank you so much to every single person who preordered, requested from the library, recommended, reviewed, and tweeted. You are amazing.

I’d like to take one minute to personally thank Linnea Gear, the illustrator of this book. Her beautiful art made this story come alive, and I’m utterly thrilled to work with her. You can check out her other work here: link to portfolio and here: link to DISSENT, her webcomic.

 

To purchase Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character Almost as Awesome as Me, check out the links below.

AMAZON: LINK HERE

BARNES AND NOBLE: LINK HERE

BOOK DEPOSITORY: LINK HERE

INDIEBOUND: LINK HERE

Summary 

After two weeks of having no authors ask him to star in their stories, book hero Broody McHottiepants tries to write his own novel, despite interruptions from ex-girlfriend Blondie DeMeani. Includes quizzes, lists, and games.

Thank you all again for reading! I can’t wait to celebrate today with you! (Despite what he says, Broody is looking forward to it too)

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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.

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.

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

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.

 

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?

Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me

Hi!
Broody here. I’ve stolen Carrie’s blog, (as well as all of your hearts) to share some exciting news.

My cover has been revealed! Check it out over on Bustle.com! The amazing author Zoraida Córdova interviewed Carrie (although she let me sneak in a few lines, which is nice)

A little about my cover. You might notice I look slightly different from my Twitter photo. That’s all right. I change appearances as the plot demands, and this book demanded a little more leather-jacket swagger. However, the art for both is done by the talented Linnea Gear! Linnea also has an amazing webcomic, DISSENT, which you all should read.

Did you look at my cover yet???

Okay.
Fine. Maybe you don’t want to click on the link to the cover.

If that’s the case, keep scrolling.

Tada!

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Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody writes the best book ever on main character status.

Pretty handsome, huh?

Well. You know how to make it look even better? Get a copy to put on your shelf!

Preorders available at the below locations! (and save your receipts! Email proof-of-purchase to broodybook@gmail.com to win a special preorder prize. Open internationally!)

Amazon: link here

Barnes and Noble: link here

Book Depository: link here

Indiebound: link here

 

And for updates, subscribe to my newsletter! link!

 

xoxoxo

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Talking Tropes with Jess Cluess

Hi! Carrie here! I’m pleased to unveil a new, 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!

In this inaugural blog, I’ll be interviewing the fabulous Jessica Cluess, author of A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING, one of my favorite reads in 2016! It has some FABULOUS trope subversion that you need to read to believe.

Oh, and I’ll also be doing a giveaway of its sequel, A POISON DARK AND DROWNING, so definitely read until the end!

Without further ado, let’s begin!

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  1. So, first of all, your book is incredible! Can you tell me a little of your inspiration for it?

J: Thank you! I got the idea from Nicholas Nickleby, actually. There’s a scene where Nicholas physically stops an assault on a defenseless boy. Since it’s set in Victorian England, I wondered how a girl of the time might have managed something like that. Then I had this image of her blasting fire out of her hands, and bam. That was it.

  1. One of the things I loved about A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING is how complex all the characters are. Without spoilers, it’s fair to say no one is quite as they seem. Do you have any favorites among the cast?

J: I think my two favorites are Henrietta and the magician Hargrove. Henrietta’s the lead and the narrator, so it’s very fortunate that she’s one of my favorites. I’d have a hard time writing the series if I didn’t like her! As for Hargrove, he’s got a lot of secrets, but he also has a lot of fun. I enjoy characters who enjoy themselves. He doesn’t angst endlessly over his past, and I admire that.

  1. What other books/tv/movies have you enjoyed this year?

J:  Man, where to start? Traci Chee’s THE READER, Tara Sim’s TIMEKEEPER, Roshani Chokshi’s THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN, Alwyn Hamilton’s REBEL OF THE SANDS, Emily Skrutskie’s THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, all incredible 2016 YA debuts. Then there’s CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, too!

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I’ve been spoiled with the incredible amount of great books I’ve read. That’s an excellent way to be spoiled, of course. As for movies and TV, I find I have less and less time these days. One thing I’m currently deep into is Mr. Robot. It’s really doing wonders to increase my paranoia, so…actually, that’s not a good thing. Eh. What can you do?

  1. Let’s talk tropes. I know you’re a fan of BroodingYAhero. Are there any other character tropes you love?

J: Ah, Brooding YA Hero is one of my favorite things on the internet. I can’t wait for the book. Hmm. As far as tropes go, I’m a sucker for the ‘person has to confront their past’ storyline, in pretty much any form. I think the only way to really move into the future is to contend with past failures or problems. Also, it’s heavily dramatic. I’ve come to realize that a lot of my stories deal with characters having to deal with secrets from the past, be it family or society. The cycle doesn’t end until you break it, so to speak.

  1. Any you hate?

J: That asshole YA hero who always says and does asshole things? And then people call him charming? That’s not charm. That’s being a jackass. There’s a difference.

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(okay, Harry probably isn’t that trope buuut it’s just too perfect a gif)
  1. What about plot tropes?

J: I love the ragtag bunch of heroes coming together and realizing they need each other, even if they want to kill each other. I really, really dislike plots that are built upon constant misunderstanding and miscommunication. That’s forcing characters to behave like idiots so that we can have a story.

  1. What’s one piece of writing advice you have for aspiring authors?

J: Originally, the hero of Star Wars was going to be named Jason Starkiller. It was a very, very different script, and not a very good one. My point is that your first draft is not going to be close to what you see in your head on the first try. Don’t get frustrated. Learn to love the rewrite process, because it’s what separates the Jason Starkillers from the Luke Skywalkers.

Thank you again, Jessica, for this awesome interview!

And now, for the giveaway!

  Click HERE for a Rafflecopter giveaway

Little Things To Keep You Going

Taking a break from all the fun and squeeing over my book that sold, I wanted to talk about something a little less fun.

How to keep yourself moving forward creatively when the state of the world (or your personal life) make you want to curl up in a ball and never leave your bed?

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I wish I had an easy answer. I certainly do not.

First of all, whatever’s got you feeling this low, your feelings are valid. Secondly, please don’t be afraid to seek help, or at least reach out to a friend or family.

But maybe it’s not depression. Maybe it’s just the mean reds, as made famous in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

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Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Sound about right? Somehow, for me as a writer, I run into these mean reds often. I read an amazing book, and it throws me into a deep sulk that I’ll never be as good of a writer as that one is. Or I’ll get feedback that I don’t know how to handle, and I’ll feel like a fake writer.

Or, you know, there will be an election, and the whole world will catch on fire. That too.

Regardless of what’s got you feeling like crap, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite small things to cheer up:

  • Look at old photos of good times.(also BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS. ahem.)
  • Have a cup of tea. I’m not sure what it is about tea that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, but it works every time.
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  • Go for a walk. I was amazed to realize my saddest days are also my lowest step count days.
  • Write something fun. Like fanfic.
  • Treat yourself to a fancy pastry. If it’s got a French name, I bet it’s super fancy and very yummy.
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  • Watch a movie. I just watched LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP and found it absolutely adorable.
  • Call a friend/family member/someone you’d like to be friends with.

Binge a series. May I suggest YURI ON ICE? Cutest show EVER.c596942844b963666866f1c4c3d216a7

So, tell me, what helps you get out of a creative bout of the mean reds?

I SOLD A BOOK! (#BroodyBook)

This is the blog post every writer dreams of writing. I SOLD A BOOK! Follow this blog, and Broody’s Twitter, for more news.This book is a loving parody of the YA genre, narrated by the BroodingYAhero himself. There will be quizzes, games, and a wonderfully Broody storyline.

And add it on Goodreads here! LINK

A quick story:
I was presenting at YALSA, which was an incredible conference, in which I met many incredible authors and librarians!  I spoke on social media on that Friday, and had the time of my life. Saturday, I got an email from my agent.

We had an offer on BROODING YA HERO’S GUIDE TO ACHIEVING MAIN CHARACTER STATUS from Skpony Press.

I celebrated, cheered…
And then the election happened.
It was very strange to feel both overwhelming joy and hope, and utter, heart-crushing grief. (Hence the long delay on writing this blog post.)  But,  I do think it’s important to celebrate small good things, even in the dark days.

So, now it’s time to celebrate. In the comments, I’d love to hear about a small good thing you’re celebrating!

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Here’s the part where I get a little bit motivational. If you told me when I was young, or even a year ago, that my first book would be a YA parody, I would have… been very confused. I learned two things.

First of all, it’s very hard to claim that you’re funny. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, turn to the person nearest you, and say “I’m very funny.”

They will almost always reply, “well, say something funny then. Make me laugh.”

Haaaa. Good. Not like there’s any pressure now, right? But hey, once you get used to being considered at least slightly funny, it’s not all bad. (If my friends don’t laugh at my jokes, I can now say 37,000 people on the internet find me funny)

Secondly, I was quite sure, for the longest time, that I was born to take up the mantle of Tolkien and write sweeping fantasy epics.

I had no idea I’d write a YA parody for my first novel instead.

So, my tiny little motivational speech is to… be open to new ideas. Don’t assume you know what your first published book will be. Don’t be afraid of trying new ideas.

And above all, always be Broody.

Or at least, a main character 😉