Engineering an Alternate Reality…With Ninjas!

Please join me at Tammy Salyer–Alternative Reality Engineer, where I’m explaining why it took me half a million words to learn how to make a “one-shot kill,” and why I believe any author can succeed, provided he or she has the fortitude to keep on putting one word after the other. For those who don’t already know her, Tammy is the author of the SPECTRAS ARISE trilogy, a fantastic military science fiction series featuring former space marine turned smuggler Aly Erickson. I’ve read, and loved, both CONTRACT OF DEFIANCE and the sequel, CONTRACT OF BETRAYAL, and am eagerly awaiting the

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I’ve Been Kidnapped!

I should have known better than to trust a woman with a gun and a van…. I’VE BEEN KIDNAPPED! On this, the final day before the release of CLAWS OF THE CAT, I find myself trapped in a secret location and interrogated by an armed woman and a very large dog whose sense of humor doesn’t run to books with kittens in them. Clearly, I have some explaining to do. If you think I’m kidding, follow this link to the secret underground lair of Bayard & Holmes. What you find there may surprise you…

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How an Author Becomes an Astronaut

Nine years; 500,000 words; one dream; one week to go. The eighteen months since my agent, Sandra, sold my debut novel have passed much faster … and much more slowly … than I imagined. At times the days dragged out with unreal slowness. The time between the sale and publication seemed never-ending. Weeks passed without any word from my editor, and even though those weeks were a normal part of the publishing process, the stretches of silence weighed on my mind like the world on Atlas’s shoulders. At other times, I marveled at how fast the time flew by. I’d

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Elevator Pitches: If You Build it, They Will Come.

Last week’s Wednesday post took a look at the four elements that build a winning elevator pitch. This week? We’re mushing them together and creating the perfect lasagne er, pitch. (Perfect lasagne has four elements too, but that’s a different post.) To recap, the elements you’re looking for are your novel’s protagonist, active antagonist, stakes, and high concept. And remember: the high concept might or might not make it into your pitch, but you need to keep it in mind. I’ll continue using my novel Claws of the Cat, as an example, primarily because the pitch worked exactly as intended–it found

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Shinobi News: June 8, 2013

The most recent issue of RT Book Reviews Magazine gave Claws of the Cat 4 stars (out of a possible 4.5) and called it “fun, historically entertaining and a very good book.” I’m thrilled! In equally good news, Goodreads has a second Claws of the Cat giveaway in progress – click here for a chance to win one of 20 ARCs of the novel – you could get it before release! I’m also running a Comment contest through the month of June – leave a comment on any of my posts tagged #Publishing Law for a chance to win an

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Japanese Lotteries – Old and New

The Ashikaga shoguns ruled Japan during the Muromachi period. Although not strictly considered a hereditary position, the title of shogun remained in the hands of the Ashikaga clan from 1338 until 1573. The office most commonly passed from father to son or from older to younger brother, but on occasion it passed in entirely different ways. One of the strangest? A lottery. The fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, held the title of shogun from 1395–1423, at which time he retired in favor of his son, Ashikaga Yoshikazu. Unfortunately, Yoshikazu died only two years later. After his son’s untimely death, 40 year-old

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Newsflash: January 13, 2013

Although I don’t generally blog on weekends, with so many big things happening this year I thought I’d start a weekly news post with updates and information. Shinobi News 1. Last week I finished copy edits on Claws of the Cat – the final step before St. Martin’s / Minotaur produces galleys (aka ARCs or Advance Reading Copies) of the book. I’m thrilled with the final product and can’t wait for it to become available for review! 2. Claws of the Cat is currently featured on the Macmillan Library website as part of the Spring 2013 Debut Chapter E-Sampler from

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How My Mother Discovered the Amazon

The road to publication is filled with “firsts” for authors – so many that we sometimes forget that we”re pulling others through the looking glass with us. Case in point: my mother. I owe my lifelong love of books and writing in no small part to my mother’s influence. She read to me. She taught me to read. She bought me books and paper and crayons and listened to me read my (likely nonsensical) whimsies over the years. She encouraged and supported me – and she financed a trip to an early writers’ conference (over a decade ago) that set

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