Primarily known for writing dark fantasy, Leduc has branched out into writing a children’s book. Her latest work called Freckle Stars is a moving self-image story that tells the tale of a girl named Clementine who is bullied for having freckles. Beginning to dislike them herself, Clementine tries to get rid of her freckles until her mother teaches her a very important lesson about individuality.
Leduc decided to write this book based on her own experience as a child. She thought it would be a helpful story for children to read for them to develop confidence and to learn to accept others for their individuality.
Freckle Stars is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. For more information visit: www.authorjleduc.weebly.com.
Elizabeth Larsen, a Massachusetts resident, is the author of the Buster Harding series. Ever since she was young, Larsen wrote in notebooks aspiring her dream of becoming an author when she grew up. She says, "I also have autism but that doesn't stop me from being a writer." Larsen has been published since 2008 and hopes to receive a literary award someday.
I asked her how many books she had written and she replied with a long list. "8 Buster Hardings, Sammy and Danny, Kendra’s Decision, and Dawn’s Choice. I have two more young adults, Rebecca’s Tough Choice and Big Changes for Samantha, coming out and Buster’s book: Happy Valentine’s Day is being edited. I’m currently working on a new Buster book, The Winter Vacation Journal in New Hampshire."
Larsen enjoys writing children's books because she values education. Because of her love for education, Larsen has been volunteering at the Wilks Branch Library for seven years. The most important lesson she hopes to teach is that, "Never give up. Don’t let learning disabilities stop you from chasing your dreams."
A common question that readers have for me is how do I write. For me the answer is simple, I write the same way that I breathe, naturally. At least it seems like a natural gift because I had been making up stories since I was six years old. Although I have been practicing my craft for eleven years now, it doesn't mean that I was always a great writer, in fact I used to be terrible. This brings me to my first point.
1. No matter your ability good writing takes time and practice.
It is very easy to be discouraged. Oh, I'll never be as great as this famous author. Even famous authors at one time were terrible. Many bestselling authors were rejected by publishing houses hundreds of times. My first book, Bloody Nightmares, was rejected a total of four hundred times before anyone was interested. I revised and rewrote my work until I was proud of the result. You aren't going to just wake up one day and write the best novel ever written. Writing takes time to perfect. Each time I write another novel, I look at the last and can see where I improved. The key is not to feel bad about your previous work and say that it is terrible, it's to say that you have improved as a writer. Visual progress is good. It means you are putting effort into your work.
2. Don't be discouraged if you have a hard time selling your work to publishers/agents.
Often times agents and publishing houses are looking for what they feel is marketable or would be easy for them to sell. They would have a hard time selling a product they didn't believe in. Just because one agent or a hundred agents don't want to take on your work doesn't mean that no one will. You have to believe in your work before anyone else will. Keep working on revisions and eventually you will get there.
3. Don't sell yourself short.
Don't jump at the first publishing opportunity you get. Make sure that any offers you get are legitimate. Meet with an attorney to go over the publishing contract. Even if it seems cut and dry sometimes there are hidden conflicts you would not notice. Remember that you don't need a publishing company as much as they need you. Without authors and their work they would not be in business. They don't care about your work as much as your readers do. They want to make a profit. Also make sure to research the company on Predators and Editors; it's a website that can tell you which companies/ agents are legit or not.
That's all the writing advice I'll give for this week. Remember to keep writing and when you aren't writing make sure to read your genre and books on writing. I'll be here next Saturday with another article. Chao.
Like Dark Fantasy? Make sure to check out my series, World Domination.
I have read a total of 25 books this year which is not much but out of those 25 it was difficult for me to pick the top 5 books I've read in 2016. Here's what I choose (in no particular ranking order):
To wrap it up I've read a few gems this year but I've realized they are mostly YA Fantasy novels. This year I'll be reaching out to other genres. Have good book recommendations? Leave a comment.
Kicking off the New Year right with a 5 star review.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a flawless masterpiece.
In a scientific experiment turned wrong, Eli and Victor, two college students, die and come back to life as ExtraOrdianaries, superhumans with strange abilities. Victor and Eli are both morally grey characters but though they both have their faults Victor is depicted as more of a hero and Eli as a villain. Victor is a mysterious badass with a soft heart as he takes in a young ExtraOrdinary who also craves revenge from Eli.
Schwab's characters are dynamic, and each have morbid abilities making Vicious a viciously dark tale. This story reads as a stand alone but it was been confirmed that Schwab is working on a sequel entitled Vengeful, expected to be released sometime in 2017.
Anyway this is the kind of book you'll read in one day and be left breathless.
The city that they once called home is overrun by monsters: the Corsai, that loom in the shadows, the Malchai, that will tear you apart, and the Sunai, who will sing you a song and steal your soul. There are only three Sunai left in existence. One of them a teenage boy, August, (whom is one of our main protagonists) is sent to school as a spy. His target is Kate Harker, daughter of the feared Callum Harker. Callum Harker is Henry Flynn's (August's father) enemy, who owns half the city.
The interesting world building and diversity of these different creatures really brings this story to life. There are conflicts not only between monsters and humans, but different monsters against each other. Kate has a bad ass personality but is not void of human emotions. She is human after all, not a synth. Her main goal is to impress her hard ass father who acts like a monster. August on the other hand is a monster who acts like a human and who wants to be human. Of course the two aren't too fond of each other but when conflict arises they must work together.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book the most is the design of the different creatures and the diversity of not only their appearance but their behaviors. The number one detail that I love the most...wait for it....*drumroll*...there is absolutely no romance! That's right, no romance. I've been turned off from a story many times from the over indulgence in romance or the pure randomness of it. Much times it just distracts from the main point of the story. Besides the idea of August and Kate forming a relationship doesn't make much sense.
This was by far the best book I read this year! I am very excited for the next in the series to come out and to read Schwab's other series A Darker Shade of Magic.
What is your writing schedule like?
-Schwartz: Any time of the day or evening works for me to write, but I would agree with many that evenings are the best time as they are generally quiet and one can focus on his/her work.
How do you think you’ve improved since you began your writing career?
-Schwartz: It’s amazing how quickly a writer can acknowledge his own mistakes, poor character development, and inefficient language usage. I compare my earlier version of Book 1 to the rest of the series and the improvement there in style, content, and layout is very obvious. Like any kind of designer, upon completion a writer asks himself the enduring question: how would you do it differently next time? I’ve not only become wiser with story creation, description, and layout, but also more show and public relations savvy as I am self-published and attend many book shows and conventions to advertise and sell my books. As with any other discipline, the learning here never ends.
When did you want to become an author and why?
-Schwartz: This story makes and examination of religious fanaticism and gang violence, all woven into a superhero dynamic duo action-adventure. The terror attacks on Sept 11, 2001 inspired me to write about the controversial issue of killing in the name of God, all in an attempt to find an answer. As an elementary school student I loved writing stories, however ridiculous, so I felt the time had come to retread that passion.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
-Schwartz: My favorite part is writing the climatic conclusion of a particular episode or story. The awesome ending will always race in your mind like a wild animal beating on the cage bars to escape. Writing is a slow hobby, so when the end is finally being written and taking shape it’s an exciting and rewarding experience.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
-Schwartz: I tell all aspiring authors to always have a writing utensil and a small notebook handy. You won’t think of everything sitting at your desk. Your best ideas oftentimes come when engaged in menial labor, running an errand, exercising, or snoozing in bed. Rest is also excellent advice. Writing is a slow hobby; don’t expect anything to happen quickly. When you force the words onto paper it becomes obvious and the narrative sounds tired and repetitive. Taking a week off between segments is a good idea. Let your mind recover and conceive fresh ideas.
Who is your favorite character throughout your books and why?
-Schwartz: There are three main characters in the Ratarra series, so it’s hard to choose one favorite. All three of them are different and unique in their own way, but more importantly they each offer a particular viewpoint in the story, one we can all relate to. Damian is very ideological, passionate, and emotionally involved with his divine mission. Cam just likes to have fun and cause havoc on the bad guys. Riman, their mentor, is an atheist, a master of guises, a spy, and mechanical engineer. Each have their own perspective on the issue involved with the story, and I can understand each one. As this story involves religious issues, I felt it important to include both theist and atheist attitudes.
If you could live in any fictional universe what would it be?
- Schwartz: The Star Wars universe looks the most appealing to me. I’d love to fly a spaceship from system to system, carrying a blaster, peddling some rare merchandise with some alien vigilantes, and perhaps being drawn in to the larger galactic struggle with the Empire to become some unlikely hero or ace pilot. Learning the Force would be an incredible spiritual adventure, but for that mental and physical crucible I can wait until I’m ready. The time for Yoda will come as the Force wills, you see.
About the Author
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m an average guy, mild-mannered and soft-spoken, father of three grown children and husband of twenty-five years. I work at a grocery chain by day to make ends meet. I enjoy gardening, writing, tabletop wargaming, and non-fiction reading (mostly history).