Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Writing Alternate History (It's Not For Pansies)

I have no problem telling the world that I'm enamored with Sharon Bayliss:) Why not? The woman is a work horse writer, she's been my beta reader, she's a marketing guru and she's got a debut novel called THE CHARGE coming out! Add having a baby amidst it all...like I said, I'm enamored!

Today you get to share in my girl crush because Sharon has stopped by for a guest post. In light of her upcoming novel she's throwing a blog tour and has been kind enough to include me in the fun.

Soooo, without further ado, I give you Sharon Bayliss: Writing Alternate History (It's Not For Pansies)....

Okay, confession time. I'm not a history buff. In school, I liked history at least more than math, but I've always been more interested in the present and future. So, why did I write an alternate history? Probably because I love to make things hard for myself. :) But, I suppose if I'm allowed to change history into whatever I want and add a touch of magic, it's a lot more fun.

The flag of the Texas Empire, based on the first official flag of the Republic of Texas.

My alternate history fantasy, The Charge, is set in an alternate present day North America and in this reality, the state of Texas never joined the United States and instead became it's own nation. For those of you who know American history, this possibility would have been unlikely, but it is based on reality. Texas was an independent nation from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. So, it follows that inquisitive types might wonder what would have happened if Texas never joined the U.S.

The Charge isn't meant to be a realistic theory of what might have happened if Texas stayed it's own nation, it's meant to be more of a fantastical "what-if". For starters, the first President of Texas in my alternate history had supernatural powers, so I play pretty fast and loose with reality. :) However, that doesn't get me off the hook research-wise.

I actually did my research after I finished writing the story, and that strategy worked for me. An interesting alternate history is all fine and good, but if you want a story that people actually want to read, (and by "people", I mean more than just history teachers) the plot and character development are far more important than an clever "what-if" premise.

However, my general readership may also include some history buffs. Every time I thought about getting lazy with my research, this fictional alternate history geek would pop into my mind and start pointing out my mistakes.

If you want to do an alternate history, you really have to sit down and re-write history. My history deviates in 1836, so anything that existed before then gets to stay the same. Everything that happened after that is called into question. I wrote the timeline of all the big events that happened from 1836-2013 in my alternate world. I had to consider how my change would have impacted real events like the Civil War and The Great Depression and had to come up with likely new wars and important events.

If you're writing an alternate history, I suggest going through your novel with a fine-toothed comb and looking for any references that could possibly have been altered by your change in timeline. Places, events, brand names, political figures, basically any proper noun. Cities were an obvious issue. For example, Sam Houston does not exist in my timeline so there can be no city called Houston in Texas. And then there are smaller things. I realized that using the term "African-American" to describe race didn't make sense when I was referring to a Texas resident, they would technically be an "African-Texan".

When you're creating new events, I suggest modeling real world events. It's easier to make events seem plausible when they are similar to real things that have happened. No one can say, "that would never happen", if actually did or almost did. I used a lot of Cold War parallels to describe the twentieth century conflicts between the U.S. and the Texas Empire, but my Cold War got hot. Instead of the Red Scare, I have the "Blue Scare," a wave of irrational and intense hatred of Texas. And I use the Cuban Missile Crisis as a model for the events that led to the U.S. bombing the Texas Empire. The main difference is that in my version, the disaster isn't narrowly avoided, it happens, and of course, Castro is replaced with the current King of Texas.

History buff or not, writing an alternate history is not for the faint of heart. Expect to spend some time with your nose a history books. But I have to say, I had a blast and I loved the challenge. And I have plenty of information in the timeline I created that never comes up in The Charge, so I've got lots of good stuff left to use for later installments or possibly even a prequel.

About Sharon:
Sharon Bayliss is a native of Austin, Texas and works her day job in the field of social work. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). You can connect with Sharon at www.facebook.com/authorsharonbayliss www.sharonbayliss.com and https://twitter.com/sharonbayliss

About The Charge:
When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren's brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead. 

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who's itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can't stay away from. Convincing her he's not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.

Doesn't that sound sooooo good? Here are some pretty fabulous links to get your paws on this book....

The Charge - a Rafflecopter giveaway
Purchase Links: http://amzn.com/B00BNPCHGQ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-charge-sharon-bayliss/1114745688

NetGalley (free review copies): https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/28197

What do you all think about writing alternate history? 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spam sucks...but book releases, cover reveals and a winner does not!

Let me count the ways that I hate spam! I thought I was doing a pretty good job of filtering it out, but NOOOOO, I was mistaken. Does anyone have any tips on how I can get rid of the crap? That would be ever so great:)

In other news...and this is good stuff, one of my writer friends has had a book release and another had her cover reveal so I just wanted to give them a quick shout out!

Brenda Drake's birthday is today...so a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! For a present she is revealing the cover of her book, LIBRARY JUMPERS! Check it out...And go visit her blog and tell her how awesome it is if you get a chance:) 

Yesterday was a big day for Kelley Lynn! Her debut novel, FRACTION OF STONE was released. Woot woot!!!! Check it out and stop by her blog to give her a big wuzz up!

And finally we have a winner for the copy of The Carnelian Legacy!!! Congrats S. T. Lakata!!! I just sent you an email:)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Carnelian Legacy Book Launch Giveaway!

I'm super excited to be able to give a shout out to Cheryl Koevoet today! Her new novel, THE CARNELIAN LEGACY was released this month and I cannot wait to get my little nubblies on it:) 

Let's learn a little bit about this cool chick and her book, then you can enter to win a copy of the THE CARNELIAN LEGACY all for yourself!

Hi Cheryl! First of all, congrats on the release of your novel, THE CARNELIAN LEGACY!

Q: What would you like the world to know about Cheryl Hettick?

A: I love to write and I love to share with others. When I combine these two things together, I create something that I hope will last and resonate with many generations.

Q: Can you give a small blurb about what we can expect from this book?

A: Eighteen-year-old Marisa MacCallum always knew the man of her dreams was out there somewhere. The problem is--he's in another dimension.

Q: You've signed with WestBow Press. I'd love to know the details on how this came about and how you like working with them.

A: I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. After searching for almost a year for a literary agent (without success) I began to question the entire process of going the "traditional" route. Just because I couldn't find someone to fall in love with my story didn't mean that it wasn't worth publishing. When I decided to go with WestBow, I was a little apprehensive at first, but the folks there have been kind and gracious the entire way. I have enjoyed learning the process of steps that turn a manuscript into a physical book and looking back now, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

Q: On your blog, you made the announcement that in Sept 2012 that CARNELIAN LEGACY would be published (squee)! And lookie here, the time has arrived only six months later! That's so fast! What have you had to do to prepare for this big moment?

 A: To be honest, I haven't had any time to rest on my laurels yet! I have taken the story through countless edits and through it all, I have always been my own worst critic. Like one of my main characters, I am a recovering perfectionist and am always trying to push each scene to it's outermost limit. I have been blogging, tweeting, and facebook-ing like a maniac to build up my platform.

Q: Where can we get your book?

A: You will find the link to purchase the softcover version at Amazon.com here
For customers in Europe and the UK, you'll find the link at Amazon.co.uk here.
For all versions of the book, I have created a page at Goodreads. The softcover version link is here.


Q: Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @CherylKoevoet
YouTube link to the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyuB51AMvEE 

Ready. Get Set. Fast five:

Q: Fill in the blank - If I were a shoe, I'd be a ______________?
A: Manolo Blahnik
Q: Favorite place?
A: Cannon Beach, Oregon

Q: You're face to face with the entrance of a cave. All is black inside, except for the red rimmed eyes of a creature.  What happens next?
A: I would send in my fearless main character, Darian Fiore with his Excalibur to defend me.

Q: Rainy days and sweatpants or sunny days and a swimsuit?
What does your future hold? 

A: I'm an Oregon girl at heart. Rainy days and sweatpants!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Cheryl! I wish you the best of luck with THE CARNELIAN LEGACY:) Happy release month!

Here's your chance, guys! If you'd like to win a copy of THE CARNELIAN LEGACY enter the Rafflecopter below! A winner will be announced Friday, 3/22/13:) Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy Moments and My Madeline!

Hey guys! I just had to pop on and do a quick little post because I'm jumping with all the joy today!

I woke up to a very happy tweet this morning from the loverly, Triona Murphy. She participated in GUTGGA a few months ago and today she got to announce that she landed an agent from it!!! Read her story HERE!

And it isn't only Triona! But PK Hrezo did too!  Granted this happened a while back and I was going to do interviews and post them on my blog...I still am, but I don't have to tell you how badly I suck with my blogging of late. So I'm just gonna say it now and interview later:) Check out PK's story HERE.

I couldn't be happier for them! So the moral of this post is, go forth, enter contests, let them help you. Even if you don't land an agent from it, the feedback you get is soooo worth it. I have gotten so many emails and tweets about how GUTGAA helped them polish their manuscripts and eventually get an agent. That is the reason I did it, so I'm just so freaking happy for those of you that it's helped!

I hope to hear more stories in the future about it too. Please let me know if something exciting happens to you because of GUTGAA.

In other news, this little lady took part in Kristina Perez's, Madeline Project. I'd love it if you checked it out:) Deana Barnhart's Madeline