Author Archives: Avery

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating.

The Next Big Thing — Find the New Authors You Need to Read

This is the second part of my Next Big Thing blog hop where I answer questions about my novel posed to me by author Sidney Williams, whose book, Midnight Eyes, is available through Amazon. I hope you enjoy this little peek into the work that went on behind writing Resonance. Afterwards, click the authors below to go to their blogs and see the stories of the novels into which they poured their talent, time, heart, and soul.

1: What is the title of your book?

Resonance

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland from the outskirts of D.C. just less than a year before I started writing this novel. I suffered a bit of culture shock, moving from a bustling metropolitan area to such a rural location. The overwhelming lack of diversity here started me thinking how it would be if a punk rock city girl transferred to a very small town, and how she would handle herself. Add to that some strange neighbors and a cool local cemetery and I started thinking, “What if the town wanted her to move to it?” The plot took off from there.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Dark contemporary fantasy

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

There is an amazing alternative model named Messy Stench who rocks this feral, exotic, fuckedupedness that almost exactly fits what Resonance looks like in my head. But, acting-wise, I think Jennifer Lawrence could muster the contempt for the world, as well as the (deep, deep) deeply buried vulnerability Resonance holds. Anton Yelchin has the boyish charm with that underlying current of protective danger I see in Quinn. Clive Owen would fill Wyatt’s ample shoes. And Bob Balaban would make a terrific Arhreton.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Girl who is told to save the world tells the world to fuck off, and then reconsiders somewhat.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

It is self-pubbed

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two years. Lots of POV characters, plus twisting storylines, plus first novel inexperience = long time writing.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I like to imagine it has a complex story style similar to (but nowhere near as amazing as)  Tad Williams, the mystical world building of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (and again Tad Williams), and embraces the urban heroine mythology like L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress series. I think Jacqueline Carey’s most recent series, Dark Currents, would fit nicely on a shelf next to Resonance. And can I say, “Tad Williams,” one more time just because he’s my favorite?

Tad Williams

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Like I said, culture shock. And maybe a bit of unresolved youthful rage. It was an exorcisim of my twenties, I suppose. I had a rough span of years with a job and circumstances I loathed. I spent eight years shoving anger into myself like Daffy Duck double-foot stomping Bugs back down the rabbit hole. Then my grandmother–one of my biggest supporters–died and I realized all of this emotion needed a place to go. Roller derby had not yet appeared on the Eastern Shore, so Resonance was born instead.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve tried to avoid the overly self-assured, slightly-marred-yet-somehow-still-magnificent heroine prevalent in many urban fantasy stories, and instead written a character who is deeply (in many ways irredeemably) flawed, and is really a rather shitty person. Resonance screws up, acts selfishly, and impulsively. She is pretty much a vortex of self-loathing and destruction, and yet the fate of the world is hers to decide. She causes so much misery, but somehow manages to collect this band of people who love her wholly and unconditionally. It’s holding this love and the potential she has to do with it that makes her maybe redeemable, but also spectacularly dangerous. Under all of the fantasy elements it’s really a look at how someone who doesn’t want to be part of the human race ends up dealing with humanity, mostly her own.

Plus there are a lot of plot twists; a bunch of messed-up, fascinating characters; tons of action; and many demonsandmagicandbadthings to keep the pages turning.


Click the image link to buy Resonance for Kindle on Amazon. Hard copies will be available soon.

And now, speaking of turning pages, let’s take a look at some more new and amazing authors you absolutely need to be reading right damn now. I was supposed to pick just five, but there’s enough Resonance in me to not care too much about the rules:

Melanie Hooyenga

Steve Malley

Travis Erwin

G.B. Miller

C.E. Rundle

Mark C. Durfee

Marcia Colette


The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, the Intro.

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP. It’s a hoppy thing. (See what I did, there?)

What is a blog hop? Among other things it is a way for readers to discover new authors. The path to publication has always been a tough one to navigate, and even when it is attained it is usually not that fabled pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Getting seen and read after being published is growing tougher by the minute. There are so many good books out there you’ve never known existed, so many amazing authors who are just not getting the attention their skill warrants. Bookstores are closing and publishers aren’t promoting new authors the way they did in the past. Despite all of our hard work, many deserving authors are simply falling through the cracks. It rests with us, fellow authors, and us, fellow readers, to discover the talent that lies in the big blue beyond.

My place in this little hop is to tell you a bit about my book, Resonance, and to direct you to more authors who deserve a chance to be read and appreciated. Pop back in next Wednesday for my Q&A about Resonance, and for links to five other deserving authors.

So, Resonance is my book. It is a dark urban fantasy with lots of demons and magic, and one very reluctant punk hero whose name is, you guessed it, Resonance. It is currently for sale exclusively through Amazon. Print versions are in the works.

A huge thanks to one of my first-ever writing friends, Sidney Williams, for tagging me to participate. He is a talented author whose work you definitely should be reading. Give him some clicky love and check out his book, Midnight Eyes, from Crossroad Press.

See you in a week.


Oh, Hey Holidaytime. It’s You–Again.

photo copyAnother year down? Seriously? I used to make fun of my grandmother when she said time passes more quickly the older you get. With all of the supreme confidence of a fourteen-year-old I’d roll my eyes at her and say, “No, it doesn’t.” I didn’t even have the scientific chops to back up my argument with points about time and space. All I had was arrogance. And now I don’t even have that. Because I swear it was just January, that I was just trying to wrangle my mistakenly penned “one” into the lines of a two on the end of the date, that I was taking down the Christmas decorations I have just put up. And every single one of them looks more familiar to me, more recent. So, even though I hear the seconds on the clock by my desk ticking away at their usual steady pace, I have to conclude my grandmother was right. Time is accelerating.

The fun part is, there’s nothing to do about it. Not in a Dr. Who, let’s-build-a-time-machine-and-slow-this-shit-down, sort of sense. At least not for me. Because if you were paying attention to the above paragraph then you already know I had no scientific tendencies early on, and an absence of continuing education for the past twenty years has done nothing to enhance my situation. If time were about to cease and the world’s population turned in unison and cried, “Avery, you are our only hope,” well, that would be the last thing they ever said. Barring me growing a big girl brain and changing the space-time continuum, we move on to the notion of  shoving as much crap as possible into my remaining time. Shockingly, I have issues with this, as well.

The internet is rife with memes, we all know this. Some have cute cats doing silly things (yeah, I kinda like them, what of it?), while many others offer advice for dealing with the very conundrum of which we now speak. Grand, sprawling images of nature, soaring eagles, runners bursting through the yellow tape, all highlight the brilliant white text urging me in some pithy way to live the day like it is my final. And I look at these magical, inspiring images and think, “Are you fucking serious?”

How is telling me to think of now as my last moments on the planet good motivation for getting me to take time in hand and sit down and work? Pretending to cling to the last thread of existence in order to get my life in order seems highly counterproductive. Yes, I love writing. I’m doing it now and waves of love are pouring out of me like solar flares. But I can guarangoddamntee that if today were my last day I would not be doing this. I would be doing other things. Far more dangerous, stupid things. Because why not? I’m about to die. I go off every day pretending today’s the day I check out and you know what I have? Not 15,000 words at the end of the week, but drunken heroin addict with crabs enrolled in acrobat school.

The question remains, then, what does one do when time continues to spiral out of control? I suppose my grandmother had that answer, but I never asked her. And now she’s gone–far faster than she’d have thought when she was twenty, I’d wager. But, knowing my practical grandmother, I think she’d say, “Not a goddamn thing” (she loved that particular expletive and it seems to have rubbed off on me at some point). The earth will keep spinning, and, like a playground bully with the merry-go-round, time is going to run faster and faster trying to shake me off. But I can be good with that. I like my trees and ornaments, and am happy to see them again, even if it all feels a little sooner than expected.


What to Say, What to Say?

Every writer who blogs suggests that if one is to blog one must develop a platform. “Have something to say,” they say. “Have something to tell people and make them come back.”

All I have to say to that advice is, “Well, crap.”

I don’t have any real platform to climb upon. You want writing advice? There are a thousand other writers out there who have more experience and better means of imparting information than I. You want derby advice? Who doesn’t? Go stare at a picture of Suzy Hotrod for a while, watch some bout footage, and then go put on your skates and try out the stuff you liked. You want renovation advice? Don’t start gutting your 1920′s house. It’s a can of worms you will never again close. Seriously. Leave It Alone. 

See? None too helpful, am I? That’s why I simply rant. I grew my blogger page for years and then decided Google was evil and moved over here. Now I must start again. But I really don’t feel like it. It’s not that I don’t like you guys. I totally do. It’s just that there comes a point between writing words that will make me money and writing words that will waste the time and eyeball strength of three people who are nice enough to keep reading the crap I spew out the few times a year I manage to do so. Right now, I’m choosing to write the words that make me money (or have the potential for doing so).

There are some hopeful prospects on the writing front that I can’t quite divulge to you, yet. But, things are looking up. Until I get a handle on those things, though, I don’t feel I have enough to tell you to make it anywhere near interesting. So, I won’t even try.

In place of a platform, then, I’m just going to give you a rundown of what’s been going on with Avery these past few months: I still play roller derby for our league’s All-Star team. We’ve had five bouts, lost one. Two more to go before the season ends. We expect to win both. I’ve played at DuBurn’s Arena against Charm City’s Female Trouble. That bout was broadcast on the Derby News Network (a big deal) and we won (a HUGE deal). We have an away bout on Saturday in Pennsylvania and then a home game for our b-team on Sunday, which might make my head explode as I am the chairlady of the bout production committee (that means if some key item or detail is forgotten for the bout it is my fault).

The Architect and I have been working on our house. For three weeks we had our bed on the living room floor AND the entire contents of our kitchen pantry surrounding it as we gutted the upstairs bedroom, removed the floor (kitchen ceiling) and tore out the plaster and upper cabinets in the kitchen. We ate off of plastic plates until two days ago when the kitchen was returned to a sort of stasis while we continue with the bedroom. That’s how we work, renovation-wise–get it “good enough” and then move on to the next thing. We’re reverse locusts.

Oh, and I watched part of that Grizzly Man documentary this morning. I was disturbed.

I think I might now be as scared of bears as I am of whales. 

Yeah, right.  

But I don’t ever want to see a bear in the wild. I suck at climbing trees. I would just dangle from the first limb and be a piñata for the bear. A big, blood-spewing piñata.

And that is my completely platform-free post.

Enjoy.

 


Resonance Free for the Next Two Days

You can get a copy of my novel, Resonance, free from the Kindle store for the next two days. That’s 483 “pages” for nuthin. Nada. Zip. You should get it while I’m feeling generous. Everyone else is. Right now it’s #93 in the Contemporary Fantasy Kindle charts.

Oh, and in derby news, our little “upstart” team? We’re WFTDA apprenticed, and on Saturday we beat D.C.’s Capitol Offenders, 326-49.

This is a good week, methinks.


An Admission and a Promise

Hey, look who fell off the earth again. Me! The good news is, I’m still writing, and I’m finally getting paid for my work. But, in the interest of survival I’ve taken on genres outside the one that launched Resonance and Junket City. I’m very much attached to this genre, but currently it offers me little to no income. That is the hard realization of being a new author today. Money, unless one is very, very lucky, is tough to come by. To avoid having to repeatedly say, “You want fries with that?” I have chosen a different branch of the writing road–for now.

I am still writing contemporary dark fantasy, albeit a lot less than I was before. My hopes are that I will generate enough sales from my other endeavors to make myself a wee bit more financially comfortable, and hence able to indulge once more in sweeping story lines, complicated plots, and badass heroines.

I am using this time to hone my craft in a tiny niche, to surreptitiously use my new readers as sounding boards for new ideas and writing styles. I am still writing to the best of my ability, and I hope that once I return full-time to dark fantasy it will show in my work. I will return to my passion as soon as I am able, and at that point there will be no stopping me. Until then, please be happy for me in that I am receiving acceptance letters, contracts, cover art, and people are purchasing my work. It’s a nice change in most ways, especially for my ego, which has taken a slow, constant beating over the past decade.

I will continue to post here, albeit sporadically. If you are friends with me on Facebook, it is the best way to keep up with my ongoing shenanigans. If you aren’t my friend there, but want to be, go ahead and drop me a request. Just be aware that I do not enjoy friend requests that arrive with no personal message. I find that rude and extremely delete-able . Just so you know.

In amazingly happier news, my derby team beat Charm City’s Female Trouble last Sunday. It was a huge win for us, as everyone who knows derby knows Charm. The bout was even streamed live on the Derby News Network (also a big deal), and people worldwide saw us announce our presence. We head off to Black Rose (no, not that Black Rose, but the derby team) this weekend to skate hard and secure another win. Currently both our All-Stars and Wicomikazis are undefeated–a great feeling. The Wicomikazis get to test their mettle once more tomorrow night and I get to cheer them on. For a first season team, they are intimidating as hell. It’s going to be good.

Someone else owns the rights to the photo set, so I can’t post images here directly. But, if you want to see what Avery, a.k.a. Mortem, has been up to, here’s the album from the Charm bout. Yep. I skate sideways!

Thanks for hanging in with me. Many of you have been a constant source of support and a big part of why I never threw in the writing towel. Thank you.


(Long) Resonance Excerpt Now Available on Scribd


Tagged 7-7-7

Sidney Williams tagged me in a fun meme, so I figured I’d play along. Well, at first I couldn’t, because I was supposed to go to page 77 of my work-in-progress, and the only thing I’ve been doing as of late are novella length, or shorter. But, my genius friend Kate Sterling said I could do what she was doing and go to page seven, and play that way. The rules are, go to page 77 (in my case 7) of your current work. Count down seven lines, and then post the next seven lines/sentences. As I’m a chronic long sentence writer, I chose to copy the sentences, not the lines.

This is part of a short story I’m writing for an anthology on sexuality in fantasy.  I’ve had some thoughts, lately, on the recent sociopolitical push to drag women back to the old prehistoric caves by our hair. It has caused me… Angst. Okay, rage. And you know me, go dark or go home, so this little dystopian piece of bad news was born. This scene is where our heroine, Cherry, is confronted by an official of her church commune whose twisted desires for her cause him to act out in unholy ways:

“To keep me chaste,” she sputtered past the blood.

“Why?”

“As a reminder the Destroyer is everywhere, and that his demons cannot be overcome with manmade Chemical, or the National Church’s polygamist whoring, but by purity’s resistance alone.” If Cherry desired her back as bloody and raw as the Warder made his own every night, she would have added, But, the government keeps pumping me full of hormones and Chemical so I can lure these earthly servants to them, and you let them do it, so how can I be pure when everyone demands something unholy of my virginity?  As she had no desire to be whipped, she remained silent.

The Warder had always been a devout boy, singularly driven to understand the world they had inherited, the life so unlike the antiquated photographs of men and women walking freely in the sunshine, holding hands and pressing together their lips and bodies. He had latched on to the church’s inane assertions that the mouth of hell had opened up and spewed forth the creatures that had one day appeared from underground and carried off the majority of the world’s chaste in less than a month’s time.

*****

As I am very, very late to the game, all of my writing friends have been tagged, so I can’t play the “tag seven friends” part. But, if you’re a writer stopping by here and want to play, go ahead. Just let me know in the comments so I can read your 7-7-7.


Making it Fit

It seems that for a long while I’ve been sitting on the floor with the frame of a puzzle in front of me, picking up the pieces and trying to make them fit, but having marginal luck. The inside of the frame was a big, senseless white space. I knew what I wanted to go there–what should be there–but the pieces remained a jumble of confusion. I would pick one up and try to fit its grooves within those already laid out, but rarely did I ever find its fit. Lately, however, my puzzle has been coming together. I can finally see the picture it will one day be. At first consideration it seemed the pieces just started falling from the sky, dropping into their assigned grooves with little effort on my part. But, that sort of thinking is a discredit to all the of the work I have put into this. No. The truth is there was no act of divinity, no gift from the heavens; I put the pieces there myself.

I had them all along, these chunks of  experience or success, or whatever you want to call them. They were the pile by my knee, the pieces I so desperately wanted to fit inside my puzzle frame. If the parts weren’t nestled against the grooves of their mates, then they didn’t count. I had to have the big picture done, the whole puzzle reflecting its image back to me before I could say, “This is my accomplishment.”  What I didn’t realize, though, was the pile of pieces was already a reflection of something far greater–understanding. With each piece I picked up and examined, I learned more about it, where it went–more importantly, where it didn’t. I got to know these bits of myself and my work, and even if I didn’t find a place for them in the puzzle, they helped me better know its design. After a long time with these bits, I began to look at the puzzle itself. Maybe building it in the traditional sense wasn’t working for me. Going from the outside, in, framing the picture with four rigid corners before allowing the interior components to take their place was what was recommended–say where you want to go and then make it happen, piece by piece, layer by layer until at last the tantalizing center clicks into position. Maybe I had to seize different pieces, turn them into agglomerations of new and unexpected experiences so I might build my puzzle from the inside out, create the final image with the slow drifting together of several different aspects of the whole.

And so it was I looked at my puzzle from a different angle. I picked up pieces and fit them in ways I hadn’t before considered, as obsessed as I had been with building it the traditional way. Some of the pieces still didn’t fit as I’d hoped. Others, ones I hadn’t even considered, fit into the puzzle with surprising ease. And so I made my foray into a new genre–one less socially and literarily accepted–and found that the doors previously closed to me were wide open. And I went through.

My puzzle remains the same, the image of successful author. I am simply looking at more of the pieces, now. And I like what I see.

We’ll talk more about specifics later on.


Hi. I’m here!

As you can see my blog has landed safely here at WordPress. I have a lot of cosmetic work to do, but for now I’m happy to just be here and settling in. If you followed me before at Blogger, please do so again. I promise you the same amount–no more, no less-of wit and charm you were subject to over there.

I’m going to go fiddle around with things for a bit. I’ll be back with new, fun adventures in just a bit.

 

 


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