Monday, December 21, 2015

Guest Post: Louise Herman

Louise Herman Guest Post

Happy holidays everyone and I hope you are enjoying the break.

I have decided to take a week’s respite, from writing the third book in my YA Urban Fantasy series, ‘Split Blood’, to catch up with author interview and guest post requests. I am looking forward to discussing my writing experience, so far, with the ups and downs I have encountered throughout my self-publishing journey.

Why did I start writing?

I started writing when I was in high school because I loved creating magical worlds and characters with super human abilities but put this passion to one side when other commitments took over (college and university).

I decided to return to writing approximately ten years ago, when it was possible to publish my own work, and I signed up to Amazon Kindle and Smashwords to publish my first YA Fantasy prequel novella, ‘The Orcus Games: Blood Moon’.

I love the freedom this genre gives me and now I have a little more free time, I have decided to devote it, to complete the rest of the ‘Split Blood’ series, along with a creating few surprises which will hopefully enhance the readers experience and allow them to delve deeper into the ‘Split Blood’ world.

What have been the positive aspects of self – publishing?

When I started writing the first book, I honestly did not think past finishing the story.

I was more focused on creating strong characters, showing they’re difficult evolution and creating a believable magical fantasy world.

It was when I started to research the self-publishing process that I became excited about the amount of input I had in promoting and marketing the novels, communicating and networking with a vast array of people (readers, fans, bloggers, etc.).

What have been the negative aspects of self-publishing?

There hasn’t been any aspects of self-publishing that have put me off continuing my passion but I have realised that you have to be:

·       Hard working (research is the key for stories)
·       Focused (set realistic deadlines for yourself)
·       Passionate about your work and genre (you may not always get positive reviews and feedback on your work but take the constructive criticism on board and build on it for future stories)
·       Organised (I have so many spreadsheets with blogger details who I have worked with in the past, deadline dates, competitions I am doing, readers I need to reply to, etc.)
·       Creative (do not just put your creativity into your stories! Be creative in marketing, advertising and networking! Think of different ways you can get attention to your work that hasn’t already been done. I know this is difficult but I love book trailers and am in the process of editing the trailer for ‘Split Blood: The Ancient Codex – Part One’)

I love being a self – published author because I get to experience everything first hand but there are times that I feel I would love to have a literary agent so that I can solely focus on the writing and leave the marketing and promotion to a professional.

Any advice for new authors going down the Self-Publishing route?

I still feel fairly new to this industry, so I can only base any advice on what I have learnt so far.

I think that anyone wanting to self-publish a book needs to look at it like you are about to produce a film:


·       Do the research for your stories and get feedback from friends and family (make notes, create strong characters: personality profiles, history, the cause and effect of conflicts and grievances, etc. Create a believable world: laws, descriptions of landscapes, buildings, politics, economy, etc. Build up to conflicts and / or romances: do not rush these because you want it to be believable, have sub plots that lead up to these and make it that once the story reaches the climax, it will leave the reader wanting more, etc.)
·       Test out your work on social media (I love Wattpad!)
·       Get a good book cover artist, website, blog and ensure you have signed up to social media sites
·       Find a good proof-reader and / or copy editor

Post Production  

·       Ask bloggers for book reviews
·       Host competitions
·       Try to attend Book Fairs
·       Update social media regularly
·       Interact with readers and fans
·       Do not spam blogs, social media and other book related sites with links to your work. Talk about your interests too and allow the reader to know the person behind the great stories.

Author Biography

Louise Herman is a North London Fantasy author obsessed with pear drops sweets and 80s Fantasy films.

In between reading James Herbert novels and drinking too much coffee, she writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels.

Louise Herman has currently written five YA Fantasy books to date (December 2015); The Orcus Games Prequel Trilogy and The Split Blood series, which take the reader on a journey of magic, mystery, obsession and forbidden love with seductively dark consequences.

For more information, please go to:


Cover Reveal: Cogling

A Steampunk Fairy Tale for Young Adults
who love a little Romance in their Adventures
When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother's neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags' swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors. 

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family. 
COGLING has already gained advanced praise from NY Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder!
“This is a fun YA Steampunk novel. It's very different than many other Steampunk stories I've read. Basic plot is Edna's brother is kidnapped by hags and replaced with a "cogling" and she's on a mission to find and rescue her brother. The world is a Victorian-era with a strict class system for the humans and for those with magic. The woman with magic are called hags and the men with magic are orges and they're not nice and are planning to change the system. I really enjoyed learning about the world and the characters are well drawn and engaging.”
Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Curiosity Quills.  

Meet the author – Jordan Elizabeth Mierek lives in a dream world.  Sometimes she comes out to do her day job, but most of the time she is writing about her favorite people – her characters!  COGLING is her fourth book.  Her previous steampunk series, the Treasure Chronicles, include TREASURE DARKLY and BORN OF TREASURE.  Her debut novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, is a young adult fantasy-horror.  You can find her short stories in numerous anthologies.  Check out her website,, for contests and bonus stories!

Win a steampunk necklace!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Odyssey Writing Workshop


About Odyssey
The Odyssey Writing Workshop is widely considered one of the top programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in the world. Writers from all over the world apply. Only fifteen are admitted. Fifty-nine percent of graduates go on to professional publication, and among Odyssey's graduates are New York Times bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, and award winners. A video compilation of graduates describing their Odyssey experiences is available here:

Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The six-week program combines an advanced curriculum with extensive writing and in-depth feedback on student manuscripts. The director and primary instructor, Jeanne Cavelos, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award this year for her work teaching and running Odyssey. Top authors, editors, and agents have served as guest lecturers, including George R. R. Martin, Jane Yolen, Robert J. Sawyer, Nancy Kress, Ben Bova, Holly Black, Catherynne M. Valente, and Dan Simmons. 

This summer's workshop runs from JUNE 6 to JULY 15, 2016.  Class meets for over four hours each morning, five days a week. That time is split between workshopping and lectures. While feedback reveals the weaknesses in students' manuscripts, lectures teach the techniques necessary to strengthen them. In-depth lectures provide advanced insights into the elements of fiction writing. Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work. 

The program is held on the beautiful campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Saint Anselm is one of the finest small liberal arts colleges in the country, and it provides a peaceful setting and state-of-the-art facilities for Odyssey students. College credit is available upon request.

The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 8. Tuition is $2,025, and housing in campus apartments is $850 for a double room and $1,700 for a single. 

Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards this year to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend. The awards provide three scholarships in the amounts of $2,025 (full tuition), $500, and $300.  They will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don't let go. 

Several other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.
Odyssey's Director and Primary Instructor
Jeanne Cavelos is a best-selling author and a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work. As an editor, Jeanne gained a reputation for discovering and nurturing new writers. She provides students with detailed, constructive critiques that average over 1,500 words each.  She also meets individually with students several times over the six weeks to discuss their progress and explore ways in which their writing process might be altered to improve weak areas. These discussions often lead to breakthrough insights. 

Comments from the Class of 2015
"Odyssey required six weeks of complete humility, energy, creativity, but gave so much back in terms of insight, strength and positivity. I believe that Jeanne has not only opened amazing doors of skill, but also doors to self-confidence and to realms of possibility. There is no limit to the gratitude I owe her, and I hope I can go on to show my gratitude by implementing all of the things she taught me and continuing to grow as a writer."
                                                                                    --Cara DiGirolamo

"Odyssey is the single best thing I've done for my writing. The program is rigorous and empowering and offers the most comprehensive introduction to creative writing and fantastic fiction that I can imagine.  Jeanne is brilliant:  she is encouraging and thoughtful and she has an outstanding ability to analyze and conceptualize stories and to share those insights with students. I cannot recommend Odyssey highly enough."
                                                                                    --Gregory Baum

Our 2016 Writer-in-Residence
Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the most highly regarded teachers for writers of the fantastic. Mary has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, and the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her work has also been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. She is the author of The Glamourist Histories series of fantasy novels. Her stories have appeared in top magazines and in several Year's Best anthologies as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories.

Other Guest Lecturers
Lecturers for the 2016 workshop include some of the top teachers in the field:  New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner; award-winning authors Patricia Bray, N. K. Jemisin, and Deborah DeNicola; and award-winning editor and publisher Scott H. Andrews. 

Odyssey Graduates
Recent novels by graduates of the Odyssey Writing Workshop include This Shattered World by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, published by Disney-HyperionThe Thickety: The Whispering Trees by J. A. White, from HarperCollins; Unforgettable by Eric James Stone, from Baen Books;  Low Midnight by Carrie Vaughn, published by Tor Books; and Vacant by Alex Hughes, from Roc. Odyssey graduates have had short fiction published in the top magazines in the field:  Fantasy & Science Fiction, AnalogAsimov’sWeird TalesLightspeed, Clarkesworld, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and many more. 

Other Odyssey Resources and Services
The Odyssey site,, offers many resources for writers, including online classes, a critique service, consultations, free podcasts, a monthly discussion salon, writing tips, and a blog.  Those interested in applying to the workshop should visit the site or e-mail