interview

Meet Sharon Ledwith’s Scribe, Amanda Sault!

Hey everyone! My name is Sharon Ledwith, and I’m the author of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. I’d like to introduce Amanda Sault—one of my protagonists from The Last Timekeepers time travel series.

Say hi, Amanda…

Wait, wait, I’m not ready! I’m trying to get this poem down …oh crap, never mind! Uh, hey Sharon! Hi everyone!

Hmm. Did I catch you at a bad time?

Sort of. Look, can we just get this interview over with? I still have to study for a math test, and you know how much I suck at math.

I totally get it. Okay, tell the readers what subject you do like.Scribe Tools

That’s easy—gym—especially if we get to go outside. Unfortunately, living in White Pines where winter feels longer than summer, doesn’t always allow for that. I also love, no wait, breathe poetry. It’s the one thing I shine at. I’ve even been published in the town paper, the White Pines Weekly. I guess that’s why I was picked over the others to be the Timekeeper Scribe.

Slow down, Amanda. You need to explain to everyone what a Timekeeper is first.

Sorry. My bad. Okay, make yourselves comfortable, and I’ll try my best to explain. What I’m about to share with you is a secret, so you can’t tell anyone. Not that anyone would believe time travel is possible, ’cause I sure didn’t. That is, I didn’t until it happened to me. Yeah, you heard right, I’m a time traveler—er, correction, I mean I’m a Timekeeper. That’s a little different.

Really? How?

I don’t get to go into the past whenever and wherever I want. I’m summoned, along with four of my classmates, the local white witch, and history professor by a time portal we dug up called the Arch of Atlantis. BTW—I’m sure you’ll get a chance to meet the other Timekeepers all in good time. Pun intended.

Don’t get cute. Continue please…

Okay, here’s the skinny version, a Timekeeper’s job—our prime directive—is to protect the past, keep it from changing, no matter what. Even if you don’t like how it ends up in the history books. And that’s the hardest part. Not interfering. Just keeping history as real as it was written. And sometimes that sucks.

So, tell us what being a Last Timekeeper means.

It’s not as ominous as it sounds. We’re supposed to be Earth’s last chance to restore the balance in the time period where this evil douche-bag named Belial chooses to slither in. Lilith told us that if we don’t accomplish our mission—in the form of a riddle written by yours truly—then all of what we know will be rewritten the way Belial wants. And that’s the scary part. Evil would triumph over good.

Hold up, Amanda, details please. Who is Lilith?

We met Lilith when we were pulled through the Arch of Atlantis by a radiant, spiraling light. Believe it or not, she exists in Atlantis, or what’s left of it. She’s the Fiftieth Magus of the Arcane Tradition and the guardian of the seventh Arch of Atlantis, and apparently one of the First Timekeepers. I know it’s a mouthful, but that’s what she told us. And who’s gonna argue with a 12,000 year-old woman? Lilith also said that we’re to be part of a greater good—whatever that means—to secure hope for a new tomorrow. Yeah, right. No pressure there.

Ha! I bet that upcoming math test trumps being a Timekeeper!

I wouldn’t say that. I’ve learned so much, and have met some great friends on our last Timekeeper mission. Now, if only there was some way to ditch Jordan Jensen in the past…

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March is nearly over! If you want to get The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis while it’s still on sale, head over to our bookstore and pick up either ebook for $0.99 or the paperbacks for $3.00 OFF with the promo code:  TIME.

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Meet March’s Featured Author: Sharon Ledwith!

As you know, this month we’re featuring the middle grade/young adult time travel series, The Last Timekeepers by the talented Sharon Ledwith. Let’s meet this remarkable woman, shall we?

Meeting a readerM|W: So Sharon, tell us, why do you write in the genre that you do?

Ledwith: I have a confession. I didn’t start out writing middle grade or young adult. Nope. I lurked in the deep pool of the paranormal romance genre before I ever considered dipping my toes into the welcoming waters of middle-grade/young adult fiction. The idea to write in this genre actually came to me through a dream. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. I really thought about that dream a lot to the point where an idea for a book started to grow, and take root. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. I’ve always loved the time travel genre, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. Then, boom! The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was born.

M|W: What lessons would you say writing taught you about life in general?

Ledwith: Patience, perseverance, and practice. You need all three of these life skills if you are ever going to become first, a published author, and second, a successful author.

M|W: What’s your favorite quote?

Ledwith: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” —Napoleon Hill

M|W: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Ledwith: I was once asked by another interviewer to share what inspires me to write, and why am I doing what I do. I guess the truth is that I wanted to be the change I would like to see in this world. Yes, I stole that from Ghandi, but those words have been my mantra, and have guided me to write stories I would have loved to read as an adolescent (or even an adult). My hope is to give my target audience (ages 9 and up) the kinds of stories the world needs now—force readers to ask why they are here on earth at this time, and what is their major purpose. I guess I’m looking for ways to make the world a better place. I also want to make people laugh out-loud while they’re reading my books, and leave them wanting more when they turn to the last page.

M|W: Do you have any advice for writers?

Ledwith: Never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, and in your readers. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team. Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.

M|W: Do you have a specific writing style?

Ledwith: Sometimes I’m a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants), sometimes a plotter (outline entire storyline)—it all depends on the tone of the book and where my imagination directs me. I have many notebooks and pads and sticky notes at my disposal. I also have a file full of ideas. I guess I start with the characters and build the story around them. The characters, my characters, must carry the story to completion, give readers closure. It’s a must. In order to do this, I begin writing out character tracking sheets (stats on characters’ appearances, clothing, likes and dislikes, etc.) which have served me well throughout the writing process. Then the fun begins. Research, research, and more research. When you’re writing time travel, you’ve got to know your facts to create the fiction. I love this part of the journey too. Only when I have enough facts, and I feel my characters are fleshed out sufficiently, then I begin to start the novel.

 M|W: What are you working on now?

 Ledwith: I’ve finished the first draft in my second book in The Last Timekeepers series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, which is in Jordan Jensen’s point of view. Now it’s on to revisions and editing! I’ve written a master plan for the series (10 books, plus the prequel) with possible titles and premises, and I’m in the process of putting all this information together in a series guidebook. And I’m also signed on with literary agency, Walden House (Books & Stuff) to take on another young adult series I’ve created about teens with psychic abilities called, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. My hope is that with enough time, patience, and perseverance (see question #2), I’ll be able to follow my heart, and bring more happiness and laughter into our world.

M|W: And how do you come up with your character names?

Ledwith:  Sometimes I take from my environment, sometimes from my old National Geographic magazines (it’s a great resource for names, trust me!), but most times I go by the character’s personality, their likes and dislikes, and use The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon as my go-to bible for names. I have named certain characters after real people I’ve known. For example, my character Amanda Sault in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis was named after my Native American elder and teacher Bill Sault.

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There you have it! Sharon Ledwith is the author of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis and its prequel, Legend of the Timekeepers. Both of these books are on sale for the month of March in our bookstore with the code: TIME. We also recommend subscribing to this blog to learn more about this month’s featured books!

February is for Romance… and MAGIC!

February is almost over, but it’s not too late to pick up your copy of this month’s featured book, Disenchanted by Leigh Goff! Using the code: MAGIC in our store will get you $4.00 off the paperback or get you the ebook for only $0.99. You can also enter to win this month’s goodreads giveaway here.

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And now, Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild, the half-witch main character from the YA fantasy romance, Disenchanted by Leigh Goff is here to answer the following romantic questions:

Chocolates or Flowers?

My Aunt Janie, an herbalist witch who owns a shop called Scents and Scentsabilities, has infused a deep appreciation for plant magic into my head and heart, but she also makes a mean enchanted chocolate confection to help me keep secrets. The calming confection melts on my tongue in the most delicious way. I’m torn on this question, but if I have to choose, I choose flowers because they really communicate so much more sentiment than chocolate, and they come in handy when you want to concoct magical products like Tulips to Kiss Stick and Forever First Love Lip Balm.

Going out or staying in?

Staying in. Hands down. When you are dating a guy as hot as mine, you want to spend as much alone time together as possible. His name is Alexavier. He’s American, but went to school in London, so he has a dreamy British accent. He’s tall, dark-haired, and a rebel at heart. Did I mention he’s forbidden? Oh yeah. *swoon*

Fancy restaurant or fast food joint?

I’m going with fancy restaurant on this one. Witches own most of the pizza/burger/sandwich shops in Wethersfield, and sometimes, they add enchanted ingredients like Parisian basil to their Witch Wraps to keep customers coming back. I’ll take mine without Parisian basil, thank you very much!

Action flick or romantic comedy?

Alexavier really prefers action flicks because he is all about action. He never shies away from a fight. He even goes out in dangerous thunderstorms looking for trouble. That’s how we met. Me, I prefer watching zombie flicks with my pal, Callum. My friend, Macey thinks there is a love triangle going on with Alexavier, Callum, and me, but as sweet as Callum is, my heart belongs to Alexavier.

Nightclub or ballroom?

Ballroom. And only because of the weird dreams I’ve been having lately where I find myself wearing seventeenth century gowns and dancing to harpsichord music with a well-dressed guy who looks a lot like Alexavier. I think my witch ancestor is trying to tell me something…

Coffee or cocktails?

Coffee. I’m too young to drink cocktails and with the sleepless nights I’ve been having thanks to a witchy ghost from the past, caffeine is exactly what I need to wake up and keep me out of trouble. Good thing I have my mom’s diamond bloodcharm to enhance my magic, just in case trouble finds me while I’m not caffeinated.

 

A forbidden love. A dark curse. An impossible choice…Disenchantedecover

Descended from a powerful Wethersfield witch, sixteen-year-old Sophie is struggling to hide her awkwardly emerging magic, but that’s the least of her worries. When a dangerous thief tries to steal her mysterious heirloom necklace, she is rescued by the one person she’s forbidden to fall for, a descendant of the man who condemned her ancestor to hang. He carries a dark secret that could destroy them both unless Sophie learns how to tap into the mysterious power of her diamond bloodcharm. She will have to uncover dark secrets from both of their families’ wicked pasts and risk everything, including her soul to save them from a witch’s true love curse, but it will take much more than that.

 

Meet Elizabeth from Mirror’s Hope!

Instead of talking to the main character, I’ve decided to do something a little different with our character interview for this month’s featured book. Meet Elizabeth Calanais, Mirena Calanais’ quirky and at times caustic twin sister from Mirror’s Hope.

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Hello, Elizabeth. Thanks for joining us! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

What’s to tell? You know as well as I do that you’re here to ask me about Mirena and her boy toy, ‘Hope.’ I still can’t believe she calls him that. It’s degrading, really.

 

Well, yes, I suppose that’s true, but surely you’ve got your part to play in the story, right?

Well, I don’t want to sound immodest or anything… Aw, hell, who am I kidding? Of course Mirror’s Hope is all about me! I mean just look at the title, it’s dripping symbolism. Mirror is clearly a reference for twin and I’m Mira’s twin…

No, in all seriousness, the story is all about Mira and Hope. Get it, ‘Mirror’s Hope.’ I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

 

Ok… well, why don’t you tell us about your sister then? What’s Mirena like?

Gee, well, let’s see… She’s tall, thin and gorgeous with long blonde hair. She basically looks just like me. Personality-wise, however, she’s my exact opposite. Sometimes she’s just so sickeningly sweet it makes me want to gag, you know?

 

Sure, I’ll bet she makes your life really difficult… How about Hope, I mean Tendro. What do you think of him?

He’s obviously got the hots for Mira. Wait, does that mean he’s got the hots for me too? Ugh, gross! I mean, it’s not that Tendro’s not good-looking or anything. He is, but he’s also just so… I dunno, sweet? Yeah, sweet. He’s just like Mirena, they fit well together. They’re both always like ‘Oh, I want to change the world and make everything better for everyone!’ What’s wrong with the way things are now? That’s what I want to know.

 

I thought you lived in a dystopia? Isn’t that where the society is corrupt and ruled by an oppressive government?

Well when you put it that way! Sure, ‘society’  and ‘the government’ has its flaws and Terrence Lee is a pretty awful piece of work, but it’s the way things are! You gotta learn to survive in the world you’re born into. You don’t get to just bend and change it to your whims! Well, maybe if you’re the Avatar of the Light you do. I dunno, you’d have to ask ‘Hopey’ about that one.

 

Okay, well thanks Elizabeth. You’ve been very… ah.. informative.

Sure thing! It’s always a pleasure to ‘educate the masses’. Next time you’re looking for someone to tell you like it is, you know who to come to!

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And that’s Elizabeth Calanais from Mirror’s Hope by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred. Mirror’s Hope is not your typical fantasy or romance story. It’s dark and funny and at times, epic. You can learn more about this book and its sequel, Mirror’s Heart, in our bookstore. And right now, until the end of the month, you can get Mirror’s Hope at a discount with the check out code: FEATURE

You can also enter to win our goodreads giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/165723-mirror-s-hope

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To keep up with our monthly features and sales, please subscribe to this blog! And, if you have anymore questions for Elizabeth, make sure to add them in the comments below and I’ll make sure she gets back to you!  

How to submit to a publisher

you-will-need-bangleTo submit to a publisher you will need:
A Query Letter
A Synopsis
The First Few Chapters of your COMPLETED manuscript

We’ve talked about Query Letters, but what about the ‘synopsis’ you’re asked to include with your submission package?

A synopsis is a succinct summary of your novel. It should include the setting, the main characters, the plot as well as the main subplots, and give an indication of genre and atmosphere. When writing a synopsis, focus on being brief while hitting the highlights without sounding like you’re just listing out plot points. Somewhat like a sports announcer gives a play-by-play to summarize what happens in a game, a synopsis should break down what happens in your novel in an engaging way.

Isn’t a synopsis the same as a blurb that you might find on the back of a book?
No, actually. If you’re good at writing engaging blurbs, that’s a good place to start, but blurbs contain questions meant to hook the reader into wanting to know more. A synopsis shouldn’t leave too much to the imagination, it should answer the question ‘what happens in this book’ and it should tell the person reading it how the novel ends and the plot is resolved.

How long should a synopsis be?
However long the submission guidelines are asking for. No longer, but shorter is okay as long as all the information is covered.

Typically submissions guidelines ask for a query letter, a synopsis, and the first 1 to 3 chapters  of a manuscript. Why only the first few chapters? Can I send any three chapters I want? Or just send the whole manuscript instead?

It’s best to send what the publisher or agent is looking to see and generally they will always want to see the beginning. The reason for this is to see if the story and the writing grabs them. Typically, an editor or agent can tell within minutes of reading the first few pages if the book is what they are looking for and if the writing has the strength needed to ‘hook’ them. Also, if they start at the beginning of your book and can’t follow along, they know that there’s a problem. The opening to your story should be strong, engaging, clear, and hook your reader as soon as possible, preferably with the first line or first paragraph.

If an editor or agent likes what they’ve read, they will request the remainder of the manuscript, which is why it is crucial to have the book finished and as polished as you can make it before submitting. You don’t want to miss that window of opportunity when it comes.

For a more in depth discussion on this topic, check out the latest episode of Mirror World News:

While you’re there, check out this interview Murandy Damodred and I did with Adam last week:

 

 

The Storm is Coming… My Interview with Joshua Pantalleresco!

profilemeJoshua Pantalleresco is the author of the epic poem The Watcher. He lives in Calgary, Alberta and is eagerly anticipating the release of his sequel, Stormdancer which is set to release October 1st, 2015.
Josh wanted to interview me for his blog, so I thought we could hit two birds with one stone. Here’s my conversation with the author of The Watcher:

MW: So, it looks like the information about your sequel was leaked… why don’t you tell us a bit about that?
JP: Stormdancer is the title of this one. This book will be longer and have more pictures in it. It also focuses more on the other characters and not just the Watcher. These kids have lost everything, so I wanted to see how that would affect them and what would happen because of that. I’m currently working with Florence Chan to decide on the cover and the images that will be in the book.
MW: What is your inspiration for The Watcher and the upcoming sequal?WatcherFront copy
JP: “What happens next?” I am always driven by that question. When I sit down to write I don’t have a plan, the story is a journey. I have an idea of where things are going to go and I know where to finish the story, but I like to see where it goes.

MW: You told me a little while back about a film project you were doing, how’s that going?
JP: Everything is filmed. We went out and filmed it when it was -28’C outside. It looks a little like a B movie, but I like it and it was a fun process. Unfortunately my video editing software went kaput, so that caused a bit of a setback, but I hope to have that fixed soon and then I will be releasing the music video/trailer for The Watcher on my blog and here as well.

MW: Speaking of -28’C weather, what’s it like to be an author in Calgary?
JP: Well, I’ve moved around alot and seen a lot of cities. I lived in Phoenix. In Phoenix it was a lot easier. They had platforms for authors to sell their books at. You just had to have a book and there would be places for you to sell it. Canada doesn’t have that. It’s a lot harder to sell books here. One thing I learned from living in Phoenix was how to sell books; how to talk to people. I took that with me to Canada. Calgary has a lot more opportunities for authors than Windsor does. I’ve made some good contacts here. I have a soft spot for Windsor, though. My family is there. Windsor is a place where people are willing to try different things. The economy crashed there earlier and the people of Windsor learned how to deal with that a lot earlier too. They know how to fight for what they get. I feel like Calgary is just on the verge of having to deal with that stuff now. The mentality is different here.

MW: What drives you to write poetry in particular?
JP: I used to hate it, actually. I feel The Watcher is different though because it’s a longer style epic poem. Which is easier than writing say, a Haiku. Epic poem seems a simplified version of writing a novel, for me. I know my weaknesses, and that might be writing a longer novel. Poetry has a certain honesty to it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is a certain integrity to the style – an honesty and a voice. I admit I get a little scared when I first start working on them because I don’t have a master plan, I just let it happen.

MW: So do you think you would ever try writing a novel?
JP: What makes you think I haven’t been trying? I’ve got three of them on the go, actually. One of them is about a super-hero/villain that can’t be affected by technology, another I’m still researching ideas. I’ve learned that description is important. To create an impression in the reader’s mind is the goal.
I’m not a small idea guy. I like big ideas. So I like the idea of trying my hand at a novel

MW: Besides Poetry, what other sorts of things do you write?
JP: Comic books is where I’m selling. I’ve started a wrestling column about two weeks ago. I’m collaborating with some talented people on comic books and other projects. I’m really busy, especially between all of this and the day job, but this is what I do.

Stormdancer is expected to launch October 1st, 2015. Until then, follow this blog for more info or sign up for our newsletter at www.mirrorworldpublishing.com