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Friday, May 27, 2011

Prism Finalist!! + Giveaway :)

I've wonderful news, INSIDE OUT final for a Prism Award in the Young Adult category!!  YAY!!  My fellow finalists are Shade, by Jeri Smith-Ready (a really good friend of mine - we already planned for the winner to buy the loser a drink ;), and Picture the Dead, by Kelly Barrales-Saylor.  We'll find out the winner at the end of June.  Here's a link to see the other finalists in the other catergories: http://www.romance-ffp.com/contests.cfm

As for the giveaway - I'm a guest blogger on I Just Wanna to Sit Here and Read blog - I blogged about writing a dystopian novel and Sheepy.  As part of the blog, we are giving away 4 copies of INSIDE OUT so stop by and be entered to win - the contest ends June 6th.   Here's the link: http://www.sithereandread.com/2011/05/guest-post-maria-v-snyder-giveaway.html

I had a great time at BEA (book expo) and am now off to Balticon in Hunt Valley, Maryland for the long weekend!  If anyone is in the area on Sunday, I'm doing my signing from 2 to 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Mariott Hotel in Hunt Valley.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blogging...the other white meat ;>

Social Media are the catch words of the day.  I've been hearing it from everyone - my publisher, my editor, my agent and even my writer friends.  Facebook and Twitter, I think are the biggest examples of social media.  And there are lots of articles out there on how to use social media to promote books. 

I'm all for spreading the word--writing is a business, but...I don't know if it's truly working.  And it does take time - time that could be spent writing books and short stories.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to wonder if  the time spent is worth it in a business sense.  In general, would readers prefer more stories and less interaction?  Or more interaction and not as many books?  Do you make discoveries online?

However I enjoy doing the social media thing in a more personal sense and will continue to do what I can, which is maintain two Facebook pages (one more personal and the other a Fan page), be on Goodreads, blog, and maintain my website.

Speaking of my website (http://www.mariavsnyder.com) I've updated it...finally!  The bio is current - my children no longer look like hobbits and I've added a picture of Valek.   I actually updated the FAQs page and put in 15 FAQs and answers.  The press kit is an old fashioned media thing from before the dinosaurs roamed the earth when people used snail mail and telephones and information was harder to find - so I didn't include it and will change the name of the page...er...sometime. 

I also updated my UK page and the Cover Galley page (I have the foreign covers of my books on there, but not all of them because I don't get all of them - so if you see my books in the following countries: Poland, Vietnam, and Hungary - buy them for me and I'll refund you - I promise!  I'll even throw in something extra for your trouble ;)

I updated my Short Stories page and then.....arrrrggggghhhhh....had to update it again!  April and May were busy anthology months for me - I had stories in 2 anthos released in April, Bewere the Night and Corsets & Clockwork, and one story and one article released in May, No Man's Land and Many Genres One Craft.  Phew!  I thought I was done, but nooooooooo, I learn that my short story, Cursing the Weather (about a weather wizard in an Asian town) was published in Black Gate Magazine Issue # 15. 

Why didn't I know this?  Well, the publisher/editor John O'Neill bought the story from me back in December 2007!  One good thing about John - he pays for the story when the contract is signed and not on publication, which is good 'cause it took 3+ years for it to see print!  He gave me a vague, "sometime this spring," but I've learned that until I have that baby in hand, I wasn't going to get too excited (I still don't have an actual copy, but other people do).  It's a heck of an issue - my story is part of the warrior women theme (surprising, I know :).  

For more info on my short stories go here:  http://www.mariavsnyder.com/shortstories.php

To read excerpts from my two Black Gate stories (one from 07 - but they still have copies) go here: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/books/curse.php

Monday, May 16, 2011

GMC…and we ain’t discussing trucks.

This is a guest post from Author/Speaker Bri Clark (she has also posted comments in my blog).  Welcome Bri and thanks so much for putting together this very infomative post for all writers :)

GMC…and we ain’t discussing trucks. GOALS, MOTIVATION and CONFLICT

My editor at Astraea Press (I indicate Astraea cause I have several editors) and I were discussing submissions (we were discussing submissions because I also run the blog and contribute to the marketing for the Press. Currently authors wear many hats, but that’s a whole other post) She was expressing her dismay at having to reject so many. She’s wore the author cap too. She knows the sting. Nevertheless, she said she couldn’t accept a novel of any kind lacking GMC. GMC…I repeated. What’s that? Goals, Motivation, Conflict she explained…, which are what, spurred this post.

GOALS: A story needs to have goals for the overall book as well as for the characters. Especially the main characters…however even the supporting characters need goals. Even if it’s the farmers goal to get the crop in before the rains come. If there are no goals, the story isn’t going anywhere. Who cares if they sat and watched paint dry? Really, a novel without goals is like watching a cat chase a mouse in a circle. It’s fun the first two times after that the yawns begin.

MOTIVATION: This area in my opinion is really about your characters, the good the bad and the boring. Yes, I need to know why the boring characters are so boring! I’ll use Yelena in Poison Study as an example. The whole first part of the book and foreshadowed through the entire novel we learned why she really didn’t care that she was in the dungeon and was going to be hanged for murder. If Maria had said, she killed this guy and now on with her and Valek I can assure you it wouldn’t be as popular as it is. I say as popular because Valek is freaking hot and awesome [yes he is ;-] and I know people would have still read anyway. Anyway, in order for us as readers to connect with the characters we have to know their motivation, better yet we have to be shown and not told.

CONFLICT: What is a happy ending without the journey there? Really, it’s not even and ending it’s just happy. While happy is great and everything we don’t really get it without sad to be its opposite. Also, there need to be all kinds of elements of conflict layering into the story. For example in my novel Glazier, the ultimate conflict is what the heck is Glazier anyway? Is it a genetic superpower or is it something supernatural? Then there is the conflict of the protagonists Henry and Marie. They each share Glazier so they share the plot conflict but then they each have their own personal conflicts along with each supporting character. Oh, how I love it when the personal conflicts of each person weave together then when overcome more conflict is found and a series erupts. Ok sorry rant over.

The point is it doesn’t matter the genre, voice or publisher if there is not GMC the possibility for success is needlessly hindered.


I want to thank Maria for hosting me. She is one of my all time fave authors. [You're welcome Bri!]

Website: http://briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com

Blurb (book comes out at the end of May):

Marie Kincaid suffering the greatest loss a woman can know runs from the pain. Falling asleep deep within the forest she awakes in an infirmary with a loss of memory and a power, she’s always possessed yet never known: Glazier. Glazier enables Marie to embark on a new life free of pain but most importantly free of the past. Heightened senses, accelerated strength, speed, and learning abilities make Marie a perfect candidate to be a spy…also a perfect companion for Henry Tenison…the only other known Glazier.

Henry, a loner and proud rogue finds his world upended when his connection to Marie is forged through Glazier. Unsure of how to progress with any relationship with her he endeavors to keep it strictly platonic and professional. As far away, missions and romantic surroundings entice him into pursuing his deeper desires he craves. However, Marie’ love changes everything.

Determined to free them both of the spy world and hold Abram their superior has over them Henry implements a plot to disappear. However, when things become dangerous in their latest mission, their first undercover, and memories of Marie’s past surface suggesting another man…will Henry’s efforts prove to come too late? If Marie remembers her past, will she still want their future?



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

House Cleaning

I'm cleaning out my inbox.  It's amazing just how many emails can lurk below what I can see on my computer screen.  I think they hide there, hoping I'd forget about them ;>  I've long since given up my goal of being "caught up" with all my email replies.  Now, if I'm only a week or two behind, I'm feeling pretty good.

As with all house cleaning, I've been finding a few items of interest that I've posted below.

Links:

I'm participating in Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research - I've donated a set of Australian Study books that you can bid on and raise money for diabetes (I'll personalize them and sign them for the winning bidder :). Here's a link to the auction (lots of goodies to bid on): http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/ and a link to my books: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=2132967

INSIDE OUT was mentioned in The Independent on Sunday in the United Kingdom in an article about the trend in dystopian teen fiction.  Click here to see the article: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/doomed-the-new-teen-book-genre-2265785.html 


And an Interview on Larissa's Life blog here: http://www.larissaslife.com/2011/04/author-interview-signed-outside-out.html


Fan Club in Brunei:

Seems some of my books found their way to the STPRI school for girls in Brunei and they were...er...well received :)  One of the teachers, Mr. Jason decided to do my referral program so he could get a signed copy of one of my books for the girls.  When I learned of Mr. Jason's efforts to introduce reading as a past time rather than for pure education to his students in Brunei, I sent a signed copy of all my books to the girls and signed bookmarks for them as well.  Here's a picture they sent along with Mr. Jason's comments about the arrival :)

To celebrate the arrival of the books, I announced over the PA system something like, "Sorry for the interruption. Best-selling writer Maria V. Snyder has donated a collection of autographed books to the girls of STPRI. All upper secondary students are invited to visit the Reading Room to view the new books during break-time today. Thank you."

Before I could even get to the reading room there was a long line of students waiting to get in. It was really amazing to see all their smiling faces. There was an incredible amount of anticipation and the girls were so giddy. I'm not sure if you've ever experienced that wild sort of fan enthusiasm or not - you would have thought that Justin Bieber were signing autographs inside!

...Never forget that on this jungle island half way around the world, you've got a big group of fans cheering you on!

That was so sweet - and for the curious STPRI stands for:
Sekolah (School)
Tinggi (high)
Perempuan (Girl)
Raja ("Queen")
Isteri (The Queen's Name)


And the bonus is that I've learned a lot about Brunei from my email exchanges with Mr. Jason :)

That's all for now.  I was thinking of making this a monthly post - what do you think?  Do you like this type of information?  Let me know!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Paying it Forward

Fiction writers spend lots of time with imaginary people - we have conversations with fictional characters, we argue with them, and spend hours putting their words, actions and thoughts onto a blank screen or page, depending on the author's work preferences.  However, writing is not a solitary life.  We have families and friends and other writers to hang out with.  And I will admit, hanging out with my fellow writers is always interesting - we discuss the business of writing, the craft of writing, and have a million odd little conversations about zombies, murder, cats, chips, and basically "fill in the blank."

As an aspiring writer, I had the good fortune to meet many published authors who shared their knowledge of the industry and writing with me.  One author, Kate Elliott, even spent time critiquing my first book, POISON STUDY and her comments improved my story tremendously.  Of course, I thanked her many times and treated her to dinner, but I really couldn't help her with her writing (except to tell everyone how great her books are :)  My favorite is JARAN - LOVED that book!).  So I had decided long before POISON STUDY was bought that, if I ever was published, I would help other aspiring writers.

And I've kept my word :)  It really wasn't hard to do as I enjoy it very much.  I have writing advice articles on my website (http://www.mariavsnyder.com/advice.php), I teach writing at Seton Hill University's MFA writing popular fiction program (I also am a graduate :).  And I mentor students in the program.  It's a great low residency program for anyone wishing to write genre fiction - and it's one of only two such programs in the USA.  Here's a link if you're interested in finding out more: http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction/index.cfm

Seton Hill is very committed to genre fiction and we have a whole faculty room filled with published authors from every genre.  One day, Dr. Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, who were hanging out together like writers do, decided that we should share our knowledge with everyone and they sent out a request for articles.  Well, two or three years later (can't remember!), MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT has been published and is available for all those aspiring authors and for all those authors (like me) who think you're never an "expert" when it comes to writing.  I'm always, always, always learning :)

I wrote an article for the book.  It's titled, Dumping the Info Dump - which is how to avoid dropping in huge chunks of information in your story.  I've inserted links to an excerpt and to the book on Amazon below.  All the articles in the book have been written by the mentors, faculty, guests, students, and alumni of the Seton Hill MFA writing program so I'm not the only one paying it forward :)

Excerpt: http://manygenres.blogspot.com/2011/04/mgoc-contributor-maria-v-snyder.html

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Many-Genres-One-Craft-Lessons/dp/0938467085/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1304713925&sr=1-1