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Posts Tagged ‘Charmed Vengeance’

Being published has led to the requisite notifying of former teachers — the ones who encouraged me to follow my childhood dream of being a writer, the ones who taught me to write, the ones who had a major impact on me as a person and who I grew up to be.

Now, I have *really* been tempted at times to send a former (mis)guidance counselor a copy of my book signed with “suck it”, but well, that would be a waste of a perfectly good  copy, right?

I can trace my goal of wanting to be a published author back to the third grade (though my mom says it goes back earlier.) I distinctly remember wanting to write books that you could buy in book stores. (Most specifically, Changing Hands Bookstore, the bookstore I literally spent most of my youth in.)

There was nothing quite like my third grade teacher coming to my book signing for INNOCENT DARKNESS in my hometown (yes, at Changing Hands bookstore. Talk about childhood dream fulfilment.)  He told me he always thought of me as a wordsmith, and that where his students had grown up to be many things, I was his first author.

Then…one of my high school English teachers came to another book event I did in my hometown several months later. I had three really amazing English teachers and was able to track down two of them. This particular one…well, he was probably the toughest teacher I had in high school. And the one I learned the most from (though I don’t think I realized it until graduate school). I had him for math, for Honors Sophomore English, then he “retired” from teaching to be the head library, and I was his TA my senior year. Talk about a Renaissance Man.

We talked, he bought my book, I very nervously signed it (To “Mr.” of course, I just can’t bring myself to call him by his first name), part of me hoping he never actually read it. Not only is there kissing in it (and who wants their high school English teacher to read that), but he was a tough grader. That inner-fifteen-year-old feared it wouldn’t be worthy of an “A.”

“This book is all your fault,” I told him, trying to get over my nervousness. Was everything grammatically correct? Had we found all the errors? Did I use parallel structure properly?

He looked at me, in that English teacher way. “How so?”

I told him.

It was sophomore year. I was reading a lot of romance novels, mostly because there wasn’t the YA selection when I was a teen that there is now.  I can’t quite remember what we were doing in English. I think we may have been reading Encounters with the Archdruid or perhaps it was Plutarch.  Either way, it wasn’t nearly as interesting as what I was reading. (I think it was a pirate romance novel.) So, I did what I’d done many, many times over the years, even though I knew it was wrong.

I read my book under my desk instead of paying attention.

This time, he took it away from me.  After class he told me that romance novels were “garbage.” If I was going to read garbage, then I should read good garbage. He gave me a Piers Anthony novel (I think it was Ogre, Ogre.)

I’d read fantasy before, but this started a period of about a decade where I only read good garbage Science Fiction and High Fantasy. I laughed at all the puns in the world of Xanth, went into space with Sassinak, flew dragons in Pern, wished I lived on Darkover, traveled with a space suit, and went to many, many far off places. I read books that later I’d learn were “Steampunk” and became obsessed with faeries and fairy tales. This binge of SciFi and Fantasy really impacted me as a person and a writer.

It also left me terrified of romance novels.

No, seriously.

In hindsight, I think he was joking, but as a young teen, I really took it to heart.

When I began writing seriously in 2007, it took me well over a year to work up the nerve to join my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. It took me longer to actually buy (and read) a romance novel without feeling like a traitor to the cause. It took me even longer to acknowledge the fact that I liked writing romance.  Romance mixed with Fantasy, SciFi, Paranormal, or all of the above.

In many ways, The Aether Chronicles series in a culmination of those events. There’s SciFi, Fantasy, and a dash of romance, (okay, maybe more than a dash), all rolled up in a YA book. I’m not sure I ever would have written that (or anything else I write), without that particular set of experiences. Experiences set into motion by my high school English teacher.

When I told my teacher, he nodded. “I’d totally forgotten about that.”

But he seemed to smile in a way that meant that perhaps he liked the idea of a book being his fault.

He didn’t make it to my signing for CHARMED VENGEANCE. But he did send me a very nice email, wishing he could come. He also told me that he’d really enjoyed INNOCENT DARKNESS and to let him know if I’d like to hear his thoughts.

Part of me went ‘Yes, please” wondering what he’d think of my strange little book.

Then I remembered what I tough grader he was.

Nevertheless, I’m glad he read it–and, where I’d been really mad that day in high school, now I’m glad he took that book. Otherwise, who knows what stories I’d be writing now.

~Suzanne

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the Aether Chronicles Series (YA Steampunk Faeries). Innocent Darkness and Charmed vengeance are out now. Learn more about the series on the series website.

 

 

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CHARMED VENGEANCE in the wild photo contest!

Send me your pictures of CV in the wild — you with your copy, in the bookstore, etc. There will be prizes for the most creative, silliest, most steampunky, and cutest. Use your imagination (but be kind if you’re in a public place and you should know the people in the pictures.) Email them to suzannelazear@yahoo.com with PHOTO CONTEST in the header. Contest ends August 30, 2013. If your under 18, please have your parent’s permission.

Come join us on August 13 at Coffee Time Romance for an online release party with prizes!

Have a great week everyone.

~Suzanne

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA steampunk fairytale series THE AETHER CHRONICLES. Book 1, INNOCENT DARKNESS and Book 2, CHARMED VENGEANCE are out now from Flux wherever books and ebooks are sold. For more information on the series please visit www.aetherchonicles.com

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I have an online class on writing the punk genres that starts today and runs until September 1.  You should check it out, it’s not too late to join.

I’m super excited because CHARMED VENGEANCE, book 2 in my Aether Chronicles series releases on Thursday — and the book will be available wherever you like to buy your books and ebooks. 

If you’re in SoCal, please drop by one of my signings!

Friday, August 9th — Vroman’s, Pasadena, CA 7 pm,
Wear your steampunk or faery best. There will be prizes, swag, and cake!

Saturday, August 10th–Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA 2 pm
Wear your steampunk or faery best. There will be prizes, swag, and cake!

Also, there’s a great CHARMED VENGEANCE giveaway at YA Book Central.

The Book 2 Blues

by Suzanne Lazear

CHARMED VENGEANCE is book 2 of my Aether Chronicles series. Writing a second book in a series is very different from writing the first book.

Charmed Vengeance 1Book 1 is new and shiny. The sky is the limit. You can do anything. Say anything. The endless possibilities are part of what makes a new book in a new series so appealing and exciting.

Book 2 is different.  Where book 1 is an empty canvas, book 2’s canvas is already started. You can take it in new and different directions, and do exciting things, but it still has to coordinate with what was started.

That’s where the challenge lies.

The world has already been established and what was an amazing idea or a throwaway line in book 1 could hinder book 2, causing you to rethink your plotline, since you can’t undo what has been written in a published story the way you can in a draft.

It can be hard to build on book 1 and expand on the previous world while leading up to book 3 while making it a story in itself, one that stands alone and is compelling and interesting in its own right. A story that’s even better than book 1.

That’s quite the challenge, right?

But wait, there’s more.

For me, book 1 was written at my own pace, in my own time, for my own amusement. I could take as long as I wanted to make it compelling, perfect.

For book 2 I didn’t have the luxury. Book 2 was on contract. I was writing it on a schedule, and I had to deliver, on time. This can be a challenge if you’ve never written on deadline, and even if you have, staying on task while writing an entire book can also be a challenge. Where I’m used to deadlines, I also can get distracted, not to mention I’m not a stay-at-home writer.

But for all the challenges, there’s something unique about writing a sequel because it’s harder.  It’s another accomplishment in the life of a writer. Finishing it is an exhilarating accomplishment in itself, just like finishing a jigsaw puzzle and it actually resembles the box.

Where book 1 is a discovery as you create new characters and new worlds, book 2 is a reunion with old friends.  You’re reunited with the old crew for a new advenute and that’s thrilling and exciting in itself.

Writing book 2 can be a challenge, but it can also be amazing, because it’s harder, because it’s a continuation and there are expectations. You have readers, people who want this story, who are invested in your characters.

You have a second book.  Tell the story that needs to be told.

I know personally, I love CHARMED VENGEANCE even more than INNOCENT DARKNESS.  I hope you love it, too.

~Suzanne

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA steampunk fairytale series THE AETHER CHRONICLES. Book 1, INNOCENT DARKNESS is out now and Book 2, CHARMED VENGEANCE releases 8-8-13 from Flux. They’re available wherever books and ebooks are sold. For more information on the series please visit www.aetherchonicles.com

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I used Grammarly to grammar check this post so I’d have more time to bake cupcakes.

Adventures in Alternate History: Steampunking the Mormon Battalion

By Suzanne Lazear

One of the things I enjoy most about writing steampunk is the ability to play around with history. For me, it’s fun to find odd facts from the past, exploring the what-ifs and never-wases and moving things around in order to create a new history–and a good story.

Charmed Vengeance 1In CHARMED VENGEANCE I really got a chance to play with history because a bulk of the story takes place in the mortal realm–on an airship. One of my favorite creations is The MoBatts. 

I remember when it started. I was teaching my very first online class on writing steampunk.  Someone in the class was from Arizona, which was where I grew up.  We started talking about little known bits of history, which led to a discussion about the the Mormon Battalion and how it could be neat to steampunk it.

“I know where I can put that,” I told her. I wish I remembered which student she was, because I’d like to thank her for the idea.

The Mormon Battalion was the only the religiously based military unit and they served from 1846-1847 during the Mexican-American war. Their march secured much of the Southwest and opened a southern wagon route to California. From a purely historical POV it’s actually quite facinating.

CHARMED VENGEANCE book 2 of my Aether Chronicles series takes place in an alternate version of 1901, where there is advanced technology such as airships and hoverboards.

In my alternate reality after the war the Mormon Battalion eventually became the private security for Deseret territory.  In my world, Deseret, (a state that never was) is now an accepted territory, roughly the size and placement of Utah. (The original proposed state of Deseret was much bigger). I include Deseret, because it’s also an odd bit of history which pairs well with my MoBatts–after all, they need to protect something, right?

The MoBatts protect the skies of Desert, especially against air pirates. They are fierce and vigilant. The air pirates fear the MoBotts more than the air patrol.  For the most part, they try to avoid flying over Deseret. When they can’t they engage decoys — small, fast ships that draw the MoBatts away so the other ship can pass unharmed.

It was really fun researching both the Mormon Battalion and the state of Deseret so I could figure out how to mold and change things to suit my story. It was even more fun writing the scenes where my characters get chased by (and shot down by) MoBatts.

For my intents and purposes I left religion out of it (the MoBatts were a very small plot thread) and there really is no discussion as to how you become one, nor do we meet any. We don’t know much about Desert either other than it’s a territory, anyone can settle there, drinking and gambling are illegal, and they have little tolerance for air piracy.

Maybe one day I’ll write something where I can develop the MoBatts a little further. As exciting as being an air pirate is, I bet chasing down air pirates for a living is exciting as well, not to mention, as a writer it’s always interesting to create societies and organizations.

Would you rather chase air pirates or be one?

CHARMED VENGEANCE releases 8-8-13 from Flux, and is available wherever books are sold and as an e-book.

Learn more about the Aether Chronicles on the series website. 

~Suzanne

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA fairytale steampunk series, the Aether Chronicles. Book One, INNOCENT DARKNESS is out now. Book Two, CHARMED VENGEANCE, releases 8-8-13.

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When I wrote INNOCENT DARKNESS I wanted to create my own fairytale, not Steampunk an existing one. So, I built my own.

Innocent_DarknessI took a few classic fairytale elements, ones we find in many, many classic fairytales such as wishes gone wrong, bad bargains, huntsman, and evil queens.

I added in faery lore, which is different from fiarytales. This is the lore of the faeries (I used mostly Irish faery lore). Things such as never thank a faery. Oaks are often faery trees. The types of flowers faeries like. Never eat faery food.

Then, I blended in Steampunk. Flying cars. Hoverboards. Air ships. Air pirates.

I also added a dash of litterary references and quite a bit of research on the Victorian era.

In this world I added my characters — Noli Braddock, James and Steven “V” Darrow, Queen Tiana, Kevighn. Then, I braided everything together to create INNOCENT DARKNESS and the upcoming sequel CHARMED VENGEANCE.

Charmed Vengeance 1INNOCENT DARKNESS takes place mostly in the Otherworld (faerie), where CHARMED VENGEANCE takes place mostly in the mortal realm and is filled with air ships and air pirates (Yes, we meet Jeff, Noli’s brother the air pirate, I hope you like him.)

Here’s a quick video I made on how I combined fairytale elements with faery lore and steampunk to form the world of the Aether Chronicles book. (Mostly, it’s on the fairytale parts).

Enjoy.

I’m having a read-along of INNOCENT DARKNESS  to help you get ready for CHARMED VENGEANCE’s release. There are lots of prizes.

idreadalong (1)

Suzanne Lazear is the author of the Aether Chronicles series. INNOCENT DARKNESS is out now. CHARMED VENGEANCE releases 8-8-13. Learn more about the series at www.aetherchronicles.com

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Two months until CHARMED VENGEANCE (book two in my YA fairytale steampunk series THE AETHER CHRONICLES) releases! ~launches cupcake cannon~

Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? Seriously, I love this book even more than INNOCENT DARKNESS and I hope you love this book too. There are some new characters who I just adore. We also meet Noli’s brother, Jeff, the air pirate.

Unlike book 1, which takes place mostly in the Otherworld (faerie), book 2 takes place mostly in the mortal realm. This means MOAR STEAMPUNK. There are airships, air pirates, explosions, and cake. (No cake was harmed in the making of this book.)

Anyway, I made a short video with me reading an excerpt from Chapter One of CHARMED VENGEANCE. I hope you like it! (I’m pretty technologically awkward, so the video’s not fancy.)

I have all sorts of fun things in the works for Book 2’s release–giveaways, twitter chats, signings, a blog tour. There will even be a read-along of INNOCENT DARKNESS in July to get everyone ready for CV! I’ll keep you updated. (The AC facebook page or my author page are always good places for updates.) In the meanwhile, I have to get back to my book 3 edits…

~S


Suzanne Lazear is the author of the YA Fairytale Steampunk Series The Aether Chronicles. INNOCENT DARKNESS is out now, CHARMED VENGEANCE releases 8-8-13. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and a menagerie of pillow-pets.

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