Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Guest post by Khristi Lauren Adams, author of Parable of the Brown Girl








What writing this book taught me

Writing this book has taught me about trusting the process. I’ve heard the phrase “trust the process” a great deal in the past year. I first heard it at a Philadelphia 76ers game when one of the players
stepped to the free-throw line and the crowd kept shouting, “trust the process!” I asked my friend what they meant by that phrase. He told me that it had to do with the strategy that the team used in being patient in how they were going to build a successful team. The key to that success was learning to trust the process. As I started writing, I thought about that phrase quite often. The process for writing a book can be quite challenging. It’s not only challenging because one needs to find the time to be able to write, but also challenging emotionally and even physically. I wasn’t sure how the book was going to turn out nor was I sure if I would even be able to make it to the end where I felt like I had a successful piece of work. It took months of writing and sending chapters to my editor and getting feedback and then rewriting. That process went on for about a year. Even now I find myself in a place where I have to learn to trust the process of putting the book out in marketing and promoting it. Parable of the Brown Girl was complete in the summer of 2019, but it isn’t until February 2020 that people will be able to purchase the final product. That is a significant time of waiting which means that patience is also a part of the process. I have found myself anxious and wanting to get out ahead of the process but I have been reminded that God has a plan for how this book will unfold and I have to position myself to trust that plan. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I have grown as a person, not just from the content of the book, but the overall process of writing it has taught me a great deal about trusting God in areas of my life where I am waiting for something. I have learned that running a marathon is much more about how you grow during the training for that marathon as much as when you cross the finish line. 


Friday, February 7, 2020

Excerpt of The Winter Duke by Claire Bartlett

Thank you so much to Tanya for allowing me to flaunt my beautiful girls and their fledgling romance. In this excerpt, Ekata feels stuck when contemplating her next political move, and her marriage-of-convenience bride Inkar tries to counsel her:



"Where did you go?" Inkar had a blanket pulled over her knees and the Kylmian grammar book propped upon them. Her hair fell in front of her face, making her look smaller somehow, more vulnerable.

I should have lied to her. The trial marriage would be over in four more days, and she would be gone by then. Instead, I shut the bedroom door and went to my wardrobe. "I was visiting Yannush. He'll help me in exchange for exile."

"I thought you were going to execute him."

"I still might." He'd crossed lines that should never be crossed. "Father would."

"You keep talking about him as though he is everything that matters." Inkar set the grammar book aside and drew up her knees, propping her chin on them and tucking a sun-streaked lock of hair behind her ear.

"He - it's difficult," I muttered, trying to undo the button between my shoulders. I should have called for Aino, but I'd had enough of her sniping at Inkar and making snide comments in Kylmian.

"I can help you." Inkar slid off the bed, hissing as her bare calves touched the air. A few moments later, her fingers brushed the back of my neck. My skin prickled. She slid the first button free and began to work her way down my back. Each light touch made my breath hitch.

"That's not what I meant," I said, struggling to focus. Father was far from everything that mattered, but he reached through everything that mattered. Like an illness that rooted in a specimen and spread through a population. His cruelty had become normal, and if I didn't pretend I had it, I'd be torn apart. "I can either be him or be used by people who want to be him. If those are my only options, I know what I'll choose."

She was silent for a moment as she finished unbuttoning my dress. Then she said, "My father often told me that I had to think about what kind of leader I would be. He said we would discover ourselves in battle. You have not been given many battles to discover yourself. But I do not think you will discover what kind of leader you are if you are always chasing after him."

Her hand appeared around my side, holding the long lace of my corset. I turned to take it and met her eyes. They were too close, too kind. No one in my family had eyes like that. I could see the soft fuzz on her cheek, and firelight tipped her eyelashes with gold. Her mouth was slightly parted, her brow furrowed in concern. How could she be so sincere? Among my family, such sincerity would crack us open, and the wolves would descend. I'd only been safely myself with Aino and Farhod.

I took the lace and her hand, too. "I don't have time to learn to be the right kind of leader." Every misstep brought Sigis closer to winning the coronation trials, no matter what I learned from it.

I felt Inkar's soft exhale on my cheek. Her gaze fluttered over my lips. Then she retreated, getting into bed and pulling Aino's quilt around her. "Perhaps your father was not the right kind of leader, either."


What do you think? If you want to read more of The Winter Duke, also known as political lesbians on ice, preorder or request from your local library! 

goodreads link: http://bit.ly/twdgoodreads
website: authorclaire.com


See More from tanya contois

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Interview with Kelly DeVos, author of Day Zero


Can you tell us a little about your book?

DAY ZERO is a young adult thriller set in a near future, quasi-dystopia that follows a teen hacker, Jinx Marshall, who believes that her father is responsible for triggering a political and economic crisis. Jinx is left in charge of her little brother, Charles. While she’s pursued by a shadowy, paramilitary group and is on the run with her stepsiblings, Jinx tries to learn the truth about her dad.

How many books have you written?

I’ve written six books in total. Out of the six, two (FAT GIRL ON A PLANE and DAY ZERO) have been published and two additional books (DAY ONE and EAT YOUR HEART OUT) are scheduled for publication in 2020 and 2021.

 Are you working on anything new?

I’m currently working on a couple of new horror ideas that I can’t wait to discuss more once I have things a bit more fully fleshed out. 

 What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I feel like one of the things I did early on was to connect with other writers in my area. These people are now some of my very best friends and I am thankful for them every day. So, my advice is to find your writing people!

 What are you currently reading?

I just finished two amazing books. One is SPELLHACKER by M.K. England. It’s kind of like a teen, magical, Ocean’s 11. The other is WHAT I CARRY by Jennifer Longo and if you decide to read it (which you absolutely should), bring some tissues because you will be crying and laughing and laugh-crying.



Kelly deVos is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection.

Kelly is represented by Alice Sutherland-Hawes of the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in
London. Her work on body positivity has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Vulture, Salon, Bustle and SheKnows. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins. Her second book, Day Zero, is now available from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.





About DAY ZERO
Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending her weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Interview with Diana Urban, author of All Your Twisted Secrets

Can you tell us a little about your book?

All Your Twisted Secretsis about six teens who were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?


Will there be a sequel to your book or is it a standalone novel?

As of right now there are no plans for a sequel.


What’s your writing process like?

My writing process ends up being a bit different for each novel, so I’ll talk specifically about All Your Twisted Secrets

What made this book unique for me in terms of process were the dual timelines. In the story, the characters have an hour to choose who to kill, and one hour is a pretty limited time to get to know each character. I thought integrating flashbacks into the locked-room narrative would kill the tension, so instead I alternated real-time chapters with flashback chapters—all from Amber’s POV over the past year. These flashback chapters get to the heart of the story: the characters’ relationships and how they deal with many of the pressures teens face today, from bullying to college admissions to losing a loved one—all while dropping clues about whodunit and who the victim will be.

So when I drafted the novel, I started with the real-time chapters (as the teens question their predicament, try to escape, and start panicking). But I still hadn’t figured out the ending—I needed those flashback chapters to flesh out the characters first. So I backtracked and determined where the real-time chapter cliffhangers should be, and then wrote flashback chapters to correspond with each cliffhanger, dropping clues, twists, and reveals that would feed into the next real-time chapter. I didn’t write the ending until I was a couple of drafts in.

And the real magic happened during revisions, especially since this book is pretty complex! Just like you wouldn’t solve a jigsaw puzzle by pulling pieces from the box and setting them down in order—from left to right, one at a time—I didn’t revise that way, either. Instead it was like I scattered all the pieces on the table and start working on the edges of the puzzle (the outline, or the framework of the novel, which I put together with notecards after the first draft was done). Then I tackled one section at a time (one plot thread, or one character arc, or one red herring), building and building until it all finally fit together. It was incredibly overwhelming to try to conceptualize this novel at once, but when I broke it down like this and took one element at a time, it was easier to manage. 

Can you tell us a little about your book?

All Your Twisted Secretsis about six teens who were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?


Will there be a sequel to your book or is it a standalone novel?

As of right now there are no plans for a sequel.


What’s your writing process like?

My writing process ends up being a bit different for each novel, so I’ll talk specifically about All Your Twisted Secrets

What made this book unique for me in terms of process were the dual timelines. In the story, the characters have an hour to choose who to kill, and one hour is a pretty limited time to get to know each character. I thought integrating flashbacks into the locked-room narrative would kill the tension, so instead I alternated real-time chapters with flashback chapters—all from Amber’s POV over the past year. These flashback chapters get to the heart of the story: the characters’ relationships and how they deal with many of the pressures teens face today, from bullying to college admissions to losing a loved one—all while dropping clues about whodunit and who the victim will be.

So when I drafted the novel, I started with the real-time chapters (as the teens question their predicament, try to escape, and start panicking). But I still hadn’t figured out the ending—I needed those flashback chapters to flesh out the characters first. So I backtracked and determined where the real-time chapter cliffhangers should be, and then wrote flashback chapters to correspond with each cliffhanger, dropping clues, twists, and reveals that would feed into the next real-time chapter. I didn’t write the ending until I was a couple of drafts in.

And the real magic happened during revisions, especially since this book is pretty complex! Just like you wouldn’t solve a jigsaw puzzle by pulling pieces from the box and setting them down in order—from left to right, one at a time—I didn’t revise that way, either. Instead it was like I scattered all the pieces on the table and start working on the edges of the puzzle (the outline, or the framework of the novel, which I put together with notecards after the first draft was done). Then I tackled one section at a time (one plot thread, or one character arc, or one red herring), building and building until it all finally fit together. It was incredibly overwhelming to try to conceptualize this novel at once, but when I broke it down like this and took one element at a time, it was easier to manage. 

Diana Urban is an author of dark, twisty thrillers. When she’s not torturing fictional characters, she works in digital marketing for startups. She lives with her husband and cat in Boston and enjoys reading, video games, fawning over cute animals, and looking at the beach from a safe distance. Visit her online at dianaurban.com.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Interview with Jodie Lynn Zdrok, author of Sensational

1. Can you tell us a little about your book?
It’s so hard to talk about a sequel without giving anything away from either book!

SENSATIONAL is a historical thriller with a touch of magic, the second book in the SPECTACLE duology. It takes place at the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in Paris. A months-long event that drew millions of visitors, the Exposition was an international showcase of culture and innovation. 
The perfect place for some grisly murders, right?
Nathalie and her friends make the first of several unsettling discoveries as beheaded victims end up in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits. Dun dun dun! That’s when the fun and public morgue displays begin. 
As a sequel, SENSATIONAL is also about the consequences of SPECTACLE and Nathalie’s journey in the aftermath of those events. (The books are ideally read in order, but you can read the second one first. They are paired standalones.) I especially enjoyed writing the subplots—one involving a new character, one involving Aunt Brigitte—because they support the main plot and Nathalie’s character arc in different but intriguing ways.
2. Are you working on anything new?
Last month I submitted the proposal and 50-page sample of my option novel, a boarding school ghost story set in 1920s Rhode Island. I am very excited about it and crossing my fingers that it sells! I’m continuing to write and polish it as I waaaaiiiiiit. (Patiently, of course.)
3. What’s your writing process like?
I refined my process for SENSATIONAL because I was on a tight deadline, and it’s my New and Improved Method for novel-writing (I’ve extended it to my option novel, too). I do a lot, lot, lotof thinking and plotting and logic layout in my head before putting my hands on the keyboard. Then I write a rough outline, start drafting chronologically (unless there’s a scene burstingto get out), fill in the outline as I go, and write straight through to the end, making a lot of notes in the margins as I go. Then I go through it a second time, tend to the notes that need attention and separate out the ones I can address in a later draft. And then it’s usually time to turn it in! 
4. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?  
Read! Read to enjoy, but also read to study what other authors do to establish mood, voice, character, setting, pace, suspense, etc. The more you write andread, the better your writing will become. And for those close to pursuing publication: Strap yourself in tight because it is indeed a roller coaster. Publishing is both rewarding and challenging, and it consists of highs, lows, thrills, and lulls. Put on your emotional armor, equip yourself with pragmatism and a solid sense of self-worth, and don’t let anyone take those things away from you.
 5. What are you currently reading? I read several books at once! I’m reading The Last Wordby Samantha Hastings and House of Salt and Sorrowsby Erin Craig. Next on my bookshelf is Kate Atkinson’s latest book, Transcription
Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. She enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, traveling, doing races (to offset being a foodie), and posting cat photos to Instagram. She works in technology and lives in North Carolina by way of Massachusetts. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Interview with Elly Swartz, author of Give and Take

Can you tell us a little about your books?

            I am so grateful to have 3 middle grade novels out in the world. My most recent book is GIVE AND TAKE (Farrar Straus & Giroux) and it flew into the world on Oct. 15, 2019. In GIVE AND TAKE, you meet twelve-year-old Maggie who knows her new baby sister who smells like powder isn’t her sister for keeps. Izzie’s a foster baby awaiting adoption. So in a day or a week, she’ll go to her forever family and all that sweetness will be gone. Except for those things Maggie’s secretly saving in the cardboard boxes in her closet and under her bed. Baby socks, binkies, and a button from Bud the Bear. Rocks, sticks, and candy wrappers. Maggie holds on tight. To her things. Her pet turtle. Her memories of Nana. And her friends. But when Maggie has to say goodbye to Izzie, and her friend gets bumped from their all-girl trapshooting squad to make room for a boy, Maggie’s hoarding grows far beyond her control, and she learns that sometimes love means letting go.
In SMART COOKIE (Scholastic), Frankie’s equal parts spunk and heart. But since her mom died many years ago, she feels like a piece of her is missing. So, Frankie secretly puts a dating profile online to find her dad a wife. No spoilers, but what she finds instead, is her herd. Her community. We all have one. And this herd is often so much bigger and wider than those with whom we share a name or childhood.

And in FINDING PERFECT (Farrar Straus & Giroux), my debut novel, you meet Molly Nathans. To Molly, perfect is:
•     The number four
•     The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
•     A crisp, white pad of paper
•     Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines
What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving for a faraway job. Molly hatches a plan to bring her mom home: Win the middle school slam poetry contest. But there’s a problem. Molly’s poetry is becoming hard to create. Actually, everything’s becoming harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly’s obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and world from spinning out of control. Ultimately, Molly learns there’s no such thing as perfect.
Are you working on anything new?
Yes! I just finished writing a new middle grade novel which I am super excited about. In this book you’ll meet Autumn and her pet guinea pig named Cheetos. This story is about friends and choice. About finding yourself and your voice. And about choosing to do the right thing even when the right thing comes at a cost. It’s a story filled with animals and lots of heart. 
What’s your writing process like?
My writing process differs with each stage of writing. If I’m working on a first draft, I begin with a loose outline that has lots of holes. In my latest novel, I knew the beginning and the end, but not the middle. So I filled in the parts of the outline that I knew and where the middle would have been, I wrote, “Something Great Happens Here!” I’m a big believer in the idea that writing does not have to be linear. Color outside the lines! Explore! Discover! 
Once my first draft is complete – and by complete I don’t mean done, I just mean I have a beginning, middle and end. I dig into revision. This is my favorite part. This is where the heart of my story lives. And when I’m revising, I like to write in big gulps. I sit for six to eight hours at a time, wrapping myself in the story and the characters. At some point during this process, I begin to dream and think like my character. That’s when I know I’m close enough to this character to share her story from that place of true connection, emotion, and authenticity.
Then I revise and revise and revise until I feel I’ve captured the heart and essence of my character and her journey. 
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
My advice to aspiring authors would be to read everything. And write what matters most to you. If you write from that place of true authenticity, the place that tugs on your heart, you’ll find the voice and words and story that will connect with readers.
            I would also recommend jumping onto social media, and Twitter, in particular. Meet the educators and librarians who are talking books. They are the most gracious, kind, dedicated group of people. Their love of their students and their love of reading is palpable and wonderfully contagious. Introduce yourself, engage. Connect with other authors. Create community. 
Then follow your heart and embrace the journey! 
What are you currently reading?
            I always have a few books going at once. Right now, I’m loving, The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel, Anxious Charlie to the Rescue by Terry Milne, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
 https://ellyswartz.com/(Resources, curriculum guides, school visit information, and more!)
My YouTube Channel
Give and Take Playlist on Spotify

Bio
poetry competition that will determine everything. In her second book, SMART COOKIE (Scholastic, 2018), you meet the spunky and big-hearted Frankie. Frankie’s all about family with a dash of mischief and mystery! Then in October, 2019, say hello to Maggie in GIVE AND TAKE (FSG). With the help of a foster baby named Izzie and Bert the turtle, Maggie learns that sometimes love means letting go. Elly lives in Massachusetts with her family and beagle. You can find her at ellyswartz.com,on Twitter @ellyswartz, on Instagram @ellyswartzbooks or on her webseries #BooksintheKitchen with author Victoria J. Coe.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Interview with Leanna Renee Hieber, author of A Sanctuary of Spirits and The Spectral City

   Can you tell us a little about your most recent book?

A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS is a Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy that follows Eve Whitby, a talented psychic medium leading The Ghost Precinct; a group of young female mediums who, along with their favorite friendly ghosts, solve weird crime in 1899 Manhattan. It is the second in the Spectral City series, so you may wish to read THE SPECTRAL CITY first, however I’ve had many readers and reviewers jump right into the action of A SANCTUARY OF SPIRITS and take it from there. My characters, alive and dead, are quirky, endearing and full of heart. I write a lot about inclusivity and found family. In this book our psychic team is tested by the revelation of a new realm built by and for the dead and the disappearance of a suspect mortician means gruesome evidence tying him to the desecration of dead bodies is all the more dangerous to reveal. 
Eve and the dashing Detective Horowitz grow ever-closer in this book, a carefully slow-burn romance that has been one of my favorite dynamics I’ve ever written, and I’m thirteen books into my career, so that’s saying something. I love these two more than I can say. 
As a licensed New York City tour guide myself, and a ghost tour guide at that, I can assure you that New York is indeed a ‘Spectral city’ full of spirit and story. I love leading readers through the historic places and streets of this magical metropolis, a city that has always been fascinating, diverse, unique, a force of nature. I lead readers through spaces you can still visit today. I hope readers will love this adventure as much as I’ve loved writing it. 
I was having a hard time when I sat down to write this series, I’d gone through a rather drastic rough patch creatively and I begged my characters to help pull me through the slump. I asked them to help me fall in love with them and they came through in shining colors. The greatest joy of this series so far is folks enjoying the characters as much as I do, feeling like they’re a part of everyone’s extended, found family. 

 What’s your writing process like?

I have multiple rotating freelance jobs so my writing process is to write whenever I can within and around all the rest of my obligations as a TV stage manager, an audio book narrator, a ghost tour guide, an artisan (I’ve an Etsy store: http://etsy.com/shop/torchandarrow), a guest lecturer, an actress touring a one-woman presentation about a 19thcentury designer, and of course most importantly, an author with at least one convention appearance a month and at least one new release per year. I try as best I can to make time for my writing above everything else, and all my freelance jobs know and support me as a novelist first and foremost
I’m a night owl so my best work is done at night. I put on atmospheric music, I adjust the lighting to something of a gaslit quality (I have several stained-glass lamps; my favorite visual touches) and always have a cup of tea or coffee at my side. I’m a pantser not a plotter but I’m trying to work out a better balance between the two. I find if I spend a lot of time thinking about the things the characters actively need to do, my characters always lead the way. I always have to watch that I keep them as continuously active and confronting obstacles as I can.
I tend to set my goals by word-count, aiming for between 500 to 2k words a day depending on the rest of my rotating work hours. No single week of mine looks like the next, so I have to remain adaptable and flexible with my process, while still making sure it’s at the forefront of my to-do list. I like the changeable nature.

Are you working on anything new?

Yes! In addition to copy edits for A SUMMONING OF SOULS(July 2020, Kensington) I’ve got several new projects in the works and I’m thrilled to be returning to my first ever publications via a new program and imprint! The Dark Nest Chroniclesare paranormal space opera novellas that Scrib’d will be reissuing alongside audio editions- with me narrating! It’s a dream come true. I’ll be continuing the Dark Nest saga in related novellas throughout 2020. Everything I do has a paranormal and/or psychic bent so this is a fun, full-circle return to the beginning of my career. 


What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Persistence. Your desire to see your work out in the world has to be stronger than your fear of what will happen to it. Not everyone will like your work. My work has a very distinctive voice that is either a hit or a miss with readers. All I can do is be true to myself, my heart, my calling, my spirit. You figure out that guiding star for yourself and keep it in your sights. The industry is rough and full of ups and downs. It’s gotten more complicated through the years, but in many ways you have more options now. Study those options carefully and figure out what kind of career you’d like to have, then be tenacious about reaching for it. Tenacity is the key to staying in the business as there’s so much that’s out of our control as writers. I’ve faced so many setbacks but I’m still here. And I’ll be steadfast, writing the next book. Stay strong. 

 What are you currently reading?

I am currently near-finished with Heidi Heilig’s astounding AKingdom for a Stage, the sequel toher evocativeFor a Muse of Fire. I am a very, veryslow reader, a fact I don’t like to acknowledge. But considering so many of my friends are authors, I have to beg their understanding, patience and forgiveness as I want to get to everyone’s books but there are so many more on my TBR stack than I can manage quickly. But I love Heidi’s voice, I love this world, and I am so inspired by how she discusses passion, theatricality, depression, power dynamics, resistance, politics and deeply personal art- there’s just so much in this beautifully crafted saga. As someone who deals with depression myself, and a specific strain that is very relative to the series, her work is not only resonant, but healing. The way letters, music, script pages, playbills, headlines and gorgeous prose have entwined in this series- it is all my favorite things melding and merging in one clever, elegant story. She doesn’t just write a book here; she papers the walls of your mind with a mixed-media immersion. I can’t recommend her work enough. 
Due to deadlines, I have to shift back and forth between fiction and non-fiction research so I’m also neck-deep in 1890s era research books for future projects involving more ghosts and feisty, quirky characters darting about Gilded Age New York streets!
Thanks for everyone’s time and I hope you’ll join me and my friendly ghosts for a spiritedadventure in 1899 Manhattan in the Spectral City series! I hope you’ll follow me on social media (I’m most active on Twitter @LeannaRenee) and let me know your thoughts!
Happy Haunting!


Bio:
Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright and the author of thirteen Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy novels for adults and teens for Tor and Kensington Books such as the Strangely Beautifulsaga, the Magic Most Foultrilogy, the Eterna Filestrilogy andThe Spectral City series. Her fiction career began with her futuristic paranormal novella Dark Nest, which won the 2009 Prism Award for best novella, given by the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal chapter of RWA. The Strangely Beautifulseries hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists and garnered numerous regional genre awards, including two more Prism Awards for best fantasy novels, with revised editions now available from Tor. Darker Still hit the American Bookseller's Association "Indie Next List", was a Scholastic Book Club "Highly Recommended" title and was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier award. The Spectral City, Leanna’s new ghost-filled series set in 1899 NYC with Kensington Books, has been a bestseller across several genres and platforms. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous notable anthologies and her books have been translated into many languages. She has been a featured guest, guest of honor, panelist, performer and lecturer at countless conventions and writers’ organizations around the country. Leanna channels 19thcentury designer and visionary Clara Wolcott Driscoll in her performative lecture, By the Light of Tiffany. She is represented by Paul Stevens of the Donald Maass agency. A proud member of performer unions Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, she lives in New York City where she is a licensed ghost tour guide for Boroughs of the Dead and has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire and Mysteries at the Museum. For more information, as well as writers’ tips and resources, visit http://leannareneehieber.com