Want some cheap books? Now through May 15th, both of my City Nights titles are on sale for 99 cents on Amazon.
Today I’m hosting fellow Tirgearr author Maya Tyler and her paranormal romance, A Vampire’s Tale. Maya is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! Maya is also here today to talk to us about her vampire world!
Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!
MAYA TYLER’S VAMPIRE WORLD
I have been fascinated by vampires for a long time. At times, cast in the role of the hero and others, the villain. Vampires are an enigma, a demonstration in contrasts.
My vampire world is consistently full of contrasts. It is filled with darkness, symbolizing death – cheating death through their undead existence, evading death by keeping to the shadows, evoking death of their human victims. We see the darkness. Then, through their eyes, the world is a brilliant and vibrant place. Everything appears sharper, clearer. Their senses, and instincts, are efficiently honed. They have evolved into superior creatures, intent on fulfilling their basic needs, ruthlessly, with a single-minded goal of survival.
My hero Corgan’s pre-vampire life was also focused on survival. His maker Dee rescued him from desolate conditions and bestowed upon him immortality. He saw how strong and vital Dee was, nothing could touch her, not pain, not fear, not death. He wished to gain what she had, but an undead “life” is what she gave him, a life he couldn’t have possibly imagined or desired. He can live undead forever, but he still longs for his human form.
There is a place, within his world, where he can escape, like a dream, where his consciousness goes when he’s resting. His bite is the key to this world and my heroine Marisa joins him there, experiencing what he experiences, an enactment of his human fantasy.
Vampires live alone or with families, nests. Aside from the seemingly chaotic activities of violence and murder, they also have order. Laws. Rituals. Culture. A history which has developed parallel to human existence for thousands of years. A people cannot survive, advance, without some sort of structure. Vampires can offer their protection to humans by claiming them in a ceremony similar to human marriage. Vampire law dictates adherence to this claim, a vampire cannot harm other’s human. But, as in any society, there are those who defiantly choose to live outside the law. And those who choose to rise above their circumstances.
Other supernaturals also exist in this world. Humans with magical abilities like wizards or shifters. Creatures beyond earthly barriers like angels and demons. These different sects are aware of each other, can identify each other, and, for the most part, avoid each other. Some actively seek and destroy supernaturals, like vampire hunters. Most wish to conceal their presence from humans. Some form alliances, like the one between Corgan and his wizard friend Waldor.
A compilation of contrasts. Darkness and brilliance. Life without a soul. A hidden fantasy world. Order and chaos. Collaboration and conflict. My vampire world.
The best laid plans…
Marisa Clements was never satisfied writing the ‘gossip column’ in the local paper so she quit her job to follow her dream of writing fiction. Floundering in an unforgiving industry, she wrote about vampires, a popular subject she considered fascinating but as real as unicorns, to pay the rent.
Corgan Halton was tired of human misconceptions about vampires. He planned on telling Marisa his story and end his existence. It was no coincidence Corgan selected Marisa to write his story. With the ability to see the future, he knew she would be a major part of it. He knew she would be the one to help him die, but in doing so, she’d be doomed to the same fate. Once they met, their futures would be irrevocably intertwined.
Corgan began caring for Marisa and finally revealed the truth to her. He admitted his quest to atone for his past sins had put her in grave danger from a nest of revenge-seeking vampires. Corgan must claim her for her own protection. But claiming her is not enough, he must ask for help from his wizard friends and his maker in order to destroy his enemy or Marisa will never be safe.
He didn’t have a name yet, but he had a face. A dark, mysterious face with a century’s worth of secrets. Secrets he would tell her, only her, if she would listen.
Marisa took a deep, calming breath. “I’m listening.” She closed her eyes, waiting. A cool breeze shifted her hair and her eyes popped open. The old floorboards creaked, and she spun her chair around. “Who’s there?” The candle blew out. “What the—”
Time—and her heartbeat—stood still. Paranoia set in, the consequence of writing too many vampire stories. She must’ve left a window open. Or something. She re-lit the candle and turned her attention back to her laptop, staring at the last words she’d typed.
She didn’t remember typing that.
“Corgan Halton.” She said the name slowly. “I like that.” She’d written a dozen vampire stories and this would be her best name yet. It had an old-worldly feel to it. Like a real name. She’d better look it up to make sure it wasn’t a real name; she didn’t need a lawsuit. Did people sue for name infringement?
“Okay, Corgan Halton. Are you real?” She typed the name into a search engine.
“As real as you are.” The distinctive male voice resonated in the otherwise quiet room.
Marisa froze. She didn’t dare turn around. It was her overactive imagination at play. There was no one there. She hoped. Maybe one of her friends? Is this a joke?
“Not a joke, Marisa.”
Gasping, she stood and spun around toward the sound of his voice.
As he stepped out of the shadows, she took in the man before her. Pale with black, curly hair, dressed in an impeccable suit. Dark and intimidating, he stood in her living room, shrinking the already small space.
Exactly as she’d imagined. She conjured him from her imagination? No… This is not happening.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-vampires-tale-maya-tyler/1125552098
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maya Tyler, wife and mother of two boys, writes paranormal romance with a twist. Her debut novella Dream Hunter was released in December 2014. Her second novel A Vampire’s Tale released on March 22, 2017. She’s a romantic and believes in happily-ever-after. Being an author is her lifelong dream. She enjoys reading, music (alternative rock, especially from the 90’s), yoga, movies and TV, and spending her free time writing and blogging at Maya’s Musings.
Author Site: http://www.mayatylerauthor.com/
Author Newsletter: http://www.mayatylerauthor.com/mayas-newsletter
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Maya-Tyler/e/B00SW10LZI/
Leave a comment and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!
A lot of authors and writing blogs talk about query letters and dispense advice on how to compose one. There’s a lot of tutorials out there, some very detailed and informative. As an author who has written many query letters, and even gotten a few publishing contracts out of them, I thought I’d throw my two cents in as well.
A query letter is a pitch you make to an agent/editor/publisher in the hopes they will say “this sounds interesting, show me more.” It can be nerve-wracking and stressful to put together, as you only have one shot to make a good impression. As a rule of thumb, query letters should be 90% about the project and 10% about you. Why? Because agents and editors are busy people and they want you to get to the point. They want to know about the story. Even if you have 100 books published and a trophy case full of awards, those things have nothing to do with this project.
Write a blurb for your book–the type of thing you’d see on the back cover–and make that the bulk of your letter. Keep your own bio brief and relevant. For example, if I was pitching a paranormal romance, I’d mention the paranormal romances I already have published. If you don’t have any or many writing chops, mentioning any background or education you have on the subject matter is good.
A great blog for learning more is Query Shark. There, hopeful authors get real advice on their query letters and how to improve them. If you’re trying to write a query letter I suggest checking it out.
Here are some pieces of advice when writing a query letter:
- Keep it short. 3-4 paragraphs maximum. Agents and editors are busy people and if your letter is pages long, they’re probably going to pass it over. You only get a few seconds of their precious time, so make sure you utilize it wisely.
- Keep it relevant. Talk about the story, as I said above. Too much rambling about yourself and your plans for the future will derail the point of your letter.
- Don’t ask rhetorical questions. A lot of new authors think this is a way to build excitement. They start with a hook like If ravens pecked out your eyeballs, what would your life be like? Don’t do this, it’s pointless and annoying and A LOT of publishing professionals don’t like it. Instead, ask yourself the question and put the answer in the letter. After having his eyeballs pecked out by ravens, Timmy finds his new blind life difficult and traumatic.
- Put some technical details in there somewhere. Tell the word count and genre of your story, and if it has series potential. Don’t call it a ‘fictional novel.’ All novels are fiction, that’s the definition of ‘novel.’ Don’t say the manuscript is ‘complete,’ that is implied (see below).
- Get names right. Make sure you don’t misspell the agent/editor’s name or call a Mrs. a Mr. You should do your research before you send the query off, so you have this information correct (however, if I don’t explicitly know if a woman is married, I use the ambiguous Ms.).
- Know what you need to send. Every publisher and agent has specific requirements for what they want you to send along with the query. Make sure you follow these to the letter. Some don’t want anything but the query, and that’s all you should send.
- A query letter is not a synopsis. A synopsis details a story from start to finish, in deep detail. You don’t need to do this in a query letter, and you don’t need to tell the ending of the story. A query is simply an enticement.
- Don’t query unfinished projects. Your book should be fully written and edited before you begin querying. You’re not going to make a good impression if someone wants to see your full manuscript and you don’t have it finished yet.
- Check your formatting. Email can do wonky things to your text. Make sure you give it a look over before you send it off–breaks between paragraphs, no weird fonts or random symbols.
- Don’t be chummy. Unless the person you’re sending the query to is someone you actually know, keep it professional and focused. Use formal language, don’t make jokes, and present yourself in a friendly but not overly-familiar way, like you would in a job interview.
Querying is stressful, but it’s the necessary first step in getting a yes. There’s lots of information out there–do some research before you send that letter off!
A lot of authors use pen names, but they’re not the only ones. Use of a pseudonym is prevalent in other branches of the entertainment industry also, as there are lots of actors and musicians who use alternative names. If you’re new to writing and want to choose a pen name, but you’re wondering if there’s some legal and official thing you have to do, you don’t. Unless you plan to do something business-wise or financially with your pen name, you simply choose a name and get to work. If you publish traditionally, publishers and agents cut your royalty checks with your legal name on them, so you don’t need a separate bank account with your pen name attached to it.
Why choose a pen name, though? Here are some reasons writers might want a nom de plume:
- An unwieldy real name. This is the reason I personally have a pen name. My real name is a bit silly. Everyone mispronounces my first name and misspells my last name. So, I took on something easy to say, easy to spell, and is hopefully catchy with its alliteration. Some authors would have lots of headaches with their real name from readers and publishers alike, as they’d be constantly correcting people’s spelling and pronunciation. The opposite is also true–some authors may want to change their name to something more glamorous and memorable, if they have a common and unremarkable name.
- Anonymity. Some authors–especially romance and erotica authors–may not want people in their real life to know what they write, be it co-workers, family, or friends. Some people have day jobs where they could get in trouble or even fired if it was discovered they write smut (or even something like horror) on the side. Rest assured, if you publish traditionally, publishers do not reveal your legal name to the public. Even your copyright claim inside your book will state your pen name, so your secret is safe.
- Multiple genres. Some authors write in more than one genre, which may not crossover well with their reader bases, so they write different things under different names. Some are open about this and it’s a well-known fact, while others keep it more secret and even maintain different websites and social media for each name.
- Just for fun. Some writers just want a writing name, a ‘persona’ they slip into when they’re in author-mode. That’s fine too!
Do you have a pen name? Why/how did you choose it?
A few side notes: Monday is my birthday! I’m not planning anything big for it, but the blog will probably be a bit wonky next week. And Wednesday is release day for It Takes a Thief, which you can pre-order right now! A new book out is indeed a great birthday present for me.
Happy Friday, everyone!