Monday, January 14, 2013

Editor's Perspective: Touch of Death

Touch of Death, by Kelly Hashway, is released this week!  With an awesome A-Prom-Calypse Zombie Prom at Arisia this Sunday!

Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.


November 2011, Kate Kaynak, head of Spencer Hill Press, sent me an email with a manuscript she thought would be something I'd love.  It was my first manuscript since working with Kate on UnCONventional.  I'd done about six other novels/non-fiction books on a freelance basis with the authors; this was the first novel for SHP, the first novel a publishing house was contracting me to work on.

So, I was a little nervous, I have to admit.

But I loved the manuscript.  Kate had - and still has - a good eye for my taste in books.  I grew up reading all the Goosebumps and Fear Street books; I loved YA horror in a contemporary setting.  High school sucks, so I enjoy reading about how much worse it could be.

And I know going into a manuscript that I'm going to have to read and re-read it dozens and dozens of times. For freelance work, I've done books I just like, because, well, it was income.  With the way Kate was organizing her editing team for SHP, we had our choice from the submissions and slush pile.  We had the choice to choose something we could thoroughly enjoy reading dozens and dozens (and dozens) of times over.  Touch of Death definitely fit that bill for me.

In any case, Kelly served me a zombie deer in the first five pages, an icon I adored right from the start. I still have the plush one she sent me "guarding" my desk!  He's going to travel with me to Arisia this week, too, because he totally deserves to be at the A-Prom-Calypse Release Party.  There was also a zombie squirrel. Yay undead critters! (Yes, I'm weird like that.)  Even moreso, I connected with her main character, Jodi, and I absolutely appreciated where she was taking Greek mythology, particularly the Medusa story… because, as far as I'm concerned, the original myth of Medusa seriously screwed the poor woman… and plenty of modern myths are still just dealing with the "monster" aspect as opposed to the "person" aspect of her.

Besides how much I loved the novel, itself, here's what I loved the editing process.  First of all, there wasn't a lot of changes that needed to be made.  (Well, in my editing experience, it wasn't a lot for me, anyway. Kelly is free to disagree. ;) )  We went over a few of my usual suspects - things that surprise me if I don't play with - like some car physics (Thank you Hollywood vs. Mythbusters), battle/fistfight physics and psychology, hospital/medical protocol (Thank you TV hospital dramas vs. actual medical persons), and then the two of us had a good time keeping an eye on Jodi's fluids and their resulting body/resurrection count (Kelly actually caught one biggie that I missed in regard to this!)  All of which were easy-peasy and a lot of fun.

Now, Kelly has the superpower of speedy turnaround - definitely the fastest author turnaround that I've ever worked with for a novel length, while addressing everything I noted.  When I say "address," I mean it with a liberal definition - but an entirely positive one.  Nothing got ignored or forgotten.  She may have not have followed all of my suggestions, but she answered all of my questions… and then did her own thing which, in all cases, was way better than what I suggested anyway. 

Even now after having seen it from submission to publication, I still have opened up my editor's ARC it to look up something for marketing or such… and still gotten lost in the pages. 

And as of this week - it's available for anyone to purchase and love!  I can't wait to see this turn into something very awesome for Kelly.

(Especially since I know what happens in the sequel, Stalked by Death! Mwahahaha!)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 2013: S. A. Bolich

Jan2013BroadPod.mp3 Listen on Posterous
We start out this new year of the BroadPod with a very special program dedicated to  S. A. Bolich.   Her book "Firedancer", first in the Master of the Elements series, is a finalist in the 2013 EPIC eBook awards in the Fantasy category.  A successful freelancer, Sue has run into a problem that all too many have faced: Having beaten cancer once before, the insidious decease has returned, and she faces a long, difficult and expensive battle.   All of us here at Broad Universe support her and wish her strength and victory.

We are pleased to share first an excerpt from Firedancer, read by Sue, followed by an interview done by Larissa Niec this past December.  Listen, and be inspired.

Posted via email from The Broad Pod

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy 2013!

New year, new goals, positive accomplishments… new try at blogging.  :)

Most everyone in the world is talking about (or has already talked about) their New Year's Resolutions/Goals, etc.  Not to hop on the bandwagon, but it's a fun and inspiring topic… so I'm playing with it, too.

I've already hit a couple of short-term goals this year already:

  • Submitted a novella for publishing
  • Gotten my email inbox to a manageable level (from over 1000 to under 140)
  • Handwritten my publishing deadlines for 2013 for Spencer Hill Press
  • Handwritten a Personal Goals sheet
  • Printed out my detailed deadline for January Spencer Hill Press projects
  • Accomplished editing deadlines thus far

And we're just a week into the new year!

 When I was going through my deadlines and goals, I went back through my prior years' blog posts so I could get an idea of what I'd accomplished and what I could accomplish.  I'd forgotten that I never actually got around to publishing my goals on my blog last year… so I had to go back to my January 2011 posts to get an idea of what I'd been doing.

With the path my life has taken since 2011, most of those benchmarks and steps simply are… no longer useful.

When I sat down to make my plan for this year, I needed a whole new template!

And that's ok.  I'm very happy with where my life is going.

Let's have my accomplishments for 2012 explain why:

Became a Senior Editor at Spencer Hill Press.

I've been blessed in the past decade or so to have jobs and bosses who I have loved. And every move I've made has been an improvement… yet I can't imagine a more healthy and supportive job than working at SHP. 

At Spencer Hill Press, I've had the pleasure of working on many awesome books - which I will detail as they start coming out. :) 

Published Short Stories

"Photo of a Mermaid" came out in UnCONventional by Spencer Hill Press
"Fixed" came out in Corrupts Absolutely? from Damnation Books

Sold Fiction

THE KELPIE - my first novel! - comes out this December from Spencer Hill Press
"Finding Fire" comes out in May in the Holiday Magick anthology, Spencer Hill Press
"Steadfast in the Face of Zombies" to Once Upon an Apocalypse Volume 1 - more on that when I get the info. :)

Lost Ten Pounds

After three years of gain or plateau - that's still an accomplishment.

Rode in my First Competitive Horse Show - and GOT RIBBONS!

Mind you, it's been well over a decade since I practiced any sport competitively.  This was HUGE. :)

… And there were a lot more life changes. 

I traveled to four different countries I'd never been before. And, between those travels, I was without my husband who I've not lived without for over a decade.  In fact, I only lived on my own for three months out of college before we got married… so it was definitely… an experience.  I also got really into my job at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, helping with event coordination.

I left my last W2 job in May… because things with fiction and freelancing were picking up as well as they were.

And I still held my position as president for Broad Universe - though, honestly, between my Veep, Kimberly Long-Ewing and the rest of the Motherboard, it was a massive team effort for which I'm deeply grateful.

So, that's 2012 for you.  Massive. Change.

From there, I move forward. With a lot of hope and energy for this year. :) 

Thank you, Universe!

Oh?  What are my actual goals for this year? ;) Well… that's another blog post. ;)

Happy New Year!

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