Miserere: An Autumn Tale & published bloggers

Back in February Teresa Frohock did a guest post here, and stated her reasons for choosing the traditional route of publishing as opposed to self-publishing her fantasy novel. Her book, Miserere: An Autumn Tale, was released this summer. I just finished it. I have to say that this is the second time I go to bookstore to buy a book for a blogger friend (the first being Bitter, Sweet, by Laura Best) and it’s really fun!!!

I loved Miserere. One my favorite aspects of this novel is the compelling atmosphere Teresa created. From the very first paragraph, I lived in the world, tasted it, experienced it fully.

Most fantasy books are set in a made up land. Teresa has used our typical standard of good versus evil. The devil versus god. Heaven versus Hell. She added to this, by creating Woerld, the space between Heaven and Hell, and where the major part of the novel is set. I think it’s great how she took something so ordinary and twisted it to become so unique.

In Woerld, there is a reflection of the major religious section that we have here on Earth, in real life, but over there they are all unified. This division on earth is what makes us weak, in the novel. It is the thing standing between us the true potential those on Woerld attain. I love this!

It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it. If I had to say something negative about it, it’s that I felt it was over too quickly, everything resolved too quickly. It did leave room for a sequel, and I wonder if she will write one. Hope so.

I love reading a published novel by blogging friends, it makes it more exciting. I’ve read Linda Cassidy Lewis‘ novel, Brevity of Roses; Cathryn Grant‘s novel, Demise of the Soccer Mom, and her second novel will be released quite soon (she also a novella)! Bloggers who have released novels that I’ve still to read: Lawrence, Stephanie, and tikiman.

Do you have any blogger friends with published novels to recommend?

Teresa Frohock talks about traditional publishing

Today Teresa Frohock is here talking about the path to publication of her debut fantasy novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Last week, Cathryn Grant spoke about how Indie publishing has led to wonderful things for her. Two weeks ago Andre K. Baby spoke about his debut thriller, a story which shows that there are possibilites we never even imagined.

Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.

Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel and is scheduled for publication by Night Shade Books on July 1, 2011.

Welcome, Teresa!

I would like to thank Jennifer for her gracious invitation to me to write this post. I think Jennifer and I began blogging at approximately the same time, and it’s wonderful to see how both of our blogs have grown over the years.

Of course, after the invitation comes the hard part of deciding what to write about. Jennifer shot some ideas my way, and in a brainstorming e-mail session, we touched on why some writers choose to self-publish and why others seek a more traditional route to publication.

I thought since Cathryn talked about why she chose to self-publish, I would tell you why I chose to go the traditional route.

I’m a masochist.

Well, there is more to it than that; otherwise, this would be the world’s shortest blog post.

Going the traditional route to publication was very comfortable for me. One thing not many people know about me is that Miserere: An Autumn Tale is not my first novel nor is this my first time through the traditional route to publication. When I was in my early twenties I wrote a novel that interested James Allen of the Virginia Kidd Literary Agency. (There is a cool blog post about the agency here and yes, Jim really did smoke that much.) Jim knew I was unpolished as a writ-at.htmler, but he believed in my writing enough that he offered me representation. Unfortunately, I was too smart to listen to his advice, so my first novel never sold.

We eventually parted ways and I stopped writing fiction for many years. A few years ago, I saw an online class for writing fiction, and I wanted to see if I had what it took to become published. I signed up for the class and learned a lot about constructing a story. It was all the same things Jim had tried to tell me, but this time I was older and more teachable. I used what I learned in those writing classes to construct Miserere.

Once Miserere was polished and ready to submit, I examined my options. I thought about self-publishing, and although some people might not like what I’m about to say, anything less would be a lie. When I looked at self-publishing, I examined several self-published novels. In other words, I wanted to see the company I would be keeping. I wasn’t impressed.

The self-published books I found were riddled with spelling and grammatical issues, dialogue and setting were poorly executed, and each book would have greatly benefited from editorial oversight. The cover art was downright atrocious, which made the whole product look cheap and unprofessional.

That was two years ago. I’ve recently noticed that the cover art is getting better for self-published novels, and more and more self-published authors are turning to editors to get their books in shape prior to publication. I think that speaks well for all indie authors.

However, based on the works I was seeing a year or so ago, I decided I wanted to attempt to acquire an agent. I figured that if I could not interest an agent or a publisher in my writing, then it was possible that I didn’t have what it took to be a professional writer. If that was the case, I was perfectly willing to work on helluo librorum as a fan blog and let those who were more qualified tell the stories.

I submitted four queries and two agents asked for my manuscript. Of the two agents, I went with Weronika Janczuk of the D4EO Literary Agency, and I’m delighted with her as my agent. Weronika immediately saw the concepts I was trying to get across with Miserere, and she showed me ways to strengthen Miserere to make the story more marketable.

Within five weeks of Weronika sending Miserere out on submission, Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books made an offer. I was ecstatic, because I’ve loved Night Shade Books for some time. Jeremy picks the dark, edgy kind of fiction that I love to read, and the award-winning quality of Night Shade’s fiction speaks for itself. I am really honored to be associated with all of Night Shade’s authors.

Two things are going to rock a novel off the shelf, and those are the cover art and the story. Cover art is the most vital part of selling a novel. The art draws the reader’s eye and the story holds them there.

Night Shade is known for producing excellent cover art for their novels, but I was astounded by Michael C. Hayes’ interpretation of Miserere. He took the time to read the novel and he captured the entire story in their faces. He totally got the themes in Miserere.

So now we are moving into the final phases of constructing the finished work. I love being part of a team effort, which is exactly what traditional publication is all about—several talented people pulling together to create and produce a piece of art.

Have there been long waits? Yes.

Doesn’t it make you feel powerless while other people judge your work? Absolutely, but even if you self-publish, there will be readers judging the viability of your work.

Should everyone try and acquire an agent, then a publisher? Hey, everybody’s journey is different. Mine worked out great for me. My only advice is for you is this: examine the pros and cons of both options then roll with the option that best fits your lifestyle.

Thanks again to Jennifer for giving me this time! If you want to hang out with me, I’m in quite a few places. You can visit my blog and website follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook and I have an author page at Goodreads where I post reviews of books that I read and enjoy. I run mostly guest posts at helluo librorum, but I do pop in to give my two cents worth from time to time. Join us there where we talk about dark fiction and writing.

I hope to catch you all somewhere online or at a convention soon!

Thank you, Teresa, for the great post!!

We all look forward to this summer’s launch for you – a most exciting time, and can’t wait to hear all about it on your blog! And, I’m very excited to read Miserere: An Autumn Tale. From the bits I’ve read on your blog I’m certain it’s amazing!

Much success to you!!

Shout it out!

These past months have been busy for many writers around me.

One of the members of my writer’s group, Andre K. Baby, released his first novel: La Danse des Eveques.

His is a very unique entry into the publishing world – his book originally written in English was picked up by a French Quebec publisher who loved it, translated it, and voila! Any francophone readers should pick up this wonderful book full of thrill, and mystery – a page turner!

One of my first blogging friends, Cathryn Grant, self published her debut novel, The Demise of the Soccer Moms.

This multi-dimensional book covers so many aspects of motherhood. While witnessing three mothers attempting to keep their children safe and sheltered, we see how their own life experiences colours how they perceive their children’s. Not only full of suspense and intrigue, this novel will leave you questioning not only your parenting skills, but the way you see others around you.

Another blogging friend since day one will be releasing her debut novel this summer: Miserere: An Autumn Tale, by Teresa Frohock. Congratulations Teresa! We look forward to reading it!

Linda Cassidy Lewis, who was I think the second person to ever leave a comment on my blog, is self-publishing her debut novel this year! Follow her process over at her blog Out of My Mind. Linda has poured much of herself into this novel, and I cannot wait to read it!

Stephanie Beman, has self-published her novel, My Lorde Hades, and is in the process of publishing another. A blogging friend and mother of young children, she writes fantasy and romance – go check her out!! Her novel will be one of the next ones I read.

Laura Best’s debut novel Bitter, Sweet, is a wonderful YA book that as an adult I loved. It looks at the hearth of a family. I read it last Christmas, but it’s never too late to shout it out.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read all about it on her blog.

There’s something special about reading a novel written by a friend, real or virtual, and in discovering new writers. In this post, Linda talked about the need for writers to support each other. She received a fantastic response to this call, and here’s my howl back 😉

Are there any debut authors, traditional and Indie, you want to shout out?