Interview with Alyssa Palombo, Author of “The Violinist of Venice”

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Writers rejoice when their publishing dreams come true, but it’s equally thrilling when the same happens for a writing pal. I met Alyssa Palombo back in 2004, on an official messageboard for the symphonic rock band Evanescence. That’s where we bonded over music, the Boston Red Sox, and writing. We fell out of touch after a while, but I always remembered how helpful Alyssa’s feedback had been and wondered if she was still writing. The answer came in 2014, when I stumbled across Alyssa’s book deal announcement for her first two books. No lie – I was so happy for her, I freaked out!

Today, I have the immense pleasure of having Alyssa Palombo here on the blog. We talked about her historical fiction debut The Violinist of Venice, which comes out next Tuesday, December 15th. (Click here to read my review.) You’ll also learn how her music background helped with writing the book, and why she recommends reading outside your preferred literary genre now and then. And, um, there might be lots of some fangirling (on both her part and mine) about metal music and tea. 😉 Let’s begin, shall we?

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The “Behind The Scenes” Writing Tag

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I’m so excited about this! Writing memes and tags don’t seem to be as common as reading memes / tags, so it’s always a treat to discover one. Several bloggers I follow have already done this tag, too: Aberdeen at A Glimpse of Starlight (thank you for nominating me!),  Sarah at Light & ShadowsVictoria at A Gathering of DreamsRae Oestreich at The WallflowerNicole L’autore, Briana da Silva, and Kristen A. Kieffer. So I’m thrilled to finally hop onboard!

The purpose of the Behind The Scenes Writing Tag is simple: You answer questions about your writing process, giving readers a “behind the scenes” look at how you approach your craft. So, today, I invite to come with me behind the curtain, so to speak, and see how I work.

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Time Flies!: February 2015

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

First of all, thanks to all the new visitors who came by this month for the Maria V. Snyder and #1000Speak articles! I hope you enjoyed what you read and will continue to visit as time goes on. And if you haven’t yet, make sure you enter the Shadow Study giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Maria’s new book. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 4th at midnight EST, and is international (i.e., open to everyone).

February was much less stressful than the past couple months had been. (*whew*) It was also a super-busy month writing-wise, which is never a bad thing – especially given one of the milestones I reached recently. 😀  Some of you may already know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, no worries. That’s part of this month’s recap.

I’ve tweaked the format for Time Flies this month. If you’ve seen the past monthly updates, let me know you think this one’s an improvement over the last one.

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Time Flies!: January 2015

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[EDIT: Somehow I forgot there were 31 days in January, so this is accidentally going up one day early. *oops*]

No, that’s not possible. Another month hasn’t gone by yet. I’m still trying to get used to writing 2015 instead of 2014!

That pretty much sums up how I feel as I write Time Flies!: January 2015. The first month of this year went by way too quickly – and it was an awfully stressful month offline, which stalled my blog-writing for a while. I was forced to put articles for this site on the backburner just so I could meet my deadlines for my outside columns. So… yeah, January 2015 was a blur. Things look like they’re starting to slow down, though, so I’ve been able to start catching up and cross off items on my “to-do” list.

Let’s be more positive from here on, starting with the past month’s updates: Continue reading

What Do You Think?: Custom Tea Blends from Adagio Teas

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I’d posed this question in my most recent Chronicling The Craft article, but it must have gotten lost in the shuffle. (Then again, that was a pretty substantive article. *lol*) Since I’m interested in getting feedback on this idea, I thought I’d ask the question again in a new article.

A week or so before Christmas, I discovered that Adagio Teas allows customers to create custom tea blends using a number of Adagio’s teas, then sell the blends for other tea lovers to brew at home. These custom tea lines even include fandom blends inspired by movies, books, TV shows, etc. How cool is that!

Many of you may already know that I love tea and write tea reviews for A Bibliophile’s Reverie. So, I wasn’t just excited about finding Adagio’s create-your-own-blends section. In fact, I was so ecstatic that the creative wheels started turning in my head: What if I created a line of custom tea blends to compliment my WIP when it’s released? Maybe teas that represent characters or locations in my protagonist’s world? Oooooh, I like the idea so much, I want to start experimenting with Adagio’s teas ASAP. But I also don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

What do you think about this idea? I know not everyone drinks tea, but do you think this could be a neat promotional tool when the WIP’s released (whenever that happens)? Would you also be interested in trying the teas? Let me know what you think by commenting below.

Time Flies: December 2014 Edition

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Looking for this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up? It’s here – under a new name!

The Freelance Article Round-Up series will now be known as Time Flies!, a monthly wrap-up article that… well, does exactly what the Freelance Article Round-Ups had been doing. Originally, the round-ups were designed to share my columnist projects at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and DIY MFA. Then I started including other happenings related to writing, this blog, and life in general. And so the round-ups evolved into something more – and a couple weeks ago, I realized the title didn’t fit the purpose anymore. What do you think of the new name? And the new logo? 🙂

Let’s jump right in with this month’s updates: Continue reading

Stacking The Shelves Vol. 4: Tea with Tris and Four (Sort Of)

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Welcome to the latest volume of Stacking The Shelves! This meme is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may those books be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and e-books.

Volume 4 of Stacking The Shelves features a book I recently borrowed from a friend and my first Christmas gift of the year. Here they are! Continue reading

Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, Author of “Radiant”

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You never know where a book is going to take you sometimes. That was the case with Karina Sumner-Smith’s debut novel Radiant. I guessed from the jacket copy that it would be a cross between urban fantasy and dystopian science fiction. But in the end, I couldn’t pigeon-hole Radiant because, well, I couldn’t. *lol* It’s imaginative, beautifully written, and too difficult to categorize – in a good way that’s equally hard to describe. Does that make sense? Anyway, if you’re looking for a futuristic fantasy that emphasizes world-building and focuses on friendship instead of romance as the primary relationship, Radiant may just sate your appetite.

Today I’m thrilled to have Karina Sumner-Smith here to talk about Radiant as well as her path to becoming a published author. What kind of writing did Karina explore before tackling novels? What YA fantasy novels does she recommend to fans of adult fantasy? And, what can readers expect from her forthcoming sequels to Radiant? Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and much more!

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Freelance Article Round-Up: October 2014

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Welcome to this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up – and Happy Halloween! October turned out to be a very busy month, so let’s get right to what’s happened since the previous update.

Tea Time at Reverie (Tea Reviews)

I’d totally forgotten that I could reblog my tea reviews from A Bibliophile’s Reverie here until just recently. *facepalm* Anyways, here are links to the Tea Time articles from the past month in case you missed them:

Grub Street

Grub Street posted my article “How Music Can Enhance Your Writing” at their blog yesterday! It talks about music can help with concentration and influence emotion, character development, and other aspects of your writing. This article was a joy to write, since I could share a few personal experiences. It was also fun to research and see how other writers have benefited from the same practice – and which songs and genres they listened to!

Click here to read “How Music Can Enhance Your Writing.”

What’s Coming in November

More tea reviews are on their way at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, as well as the column’s first review of a book on tea. I’ve also got some great news regarding another freelance venture – news I’m so excited for, I’m fidgeting in my seat! But I can’t share it until the site officially announces their new columnists. So, stay tuned! 😉

Other Happenings

Despite a hectic month, I managed to cross the 90K mark on my fantasy WIP. *whew!* I still doubt I’ll finish the first draft before year’s end (projected final word count is about 115,000), but I’m thrilled and proud of how I’ve been able to plow forward despite my offline commitments. Makes me want to go trick-or-treating just to celebrate! (Like I need the candy, though. *lol*)

The next Freelance Article Round-Up will post on Sunday, November 30th. Until then, come back for more Recent Reads (book reviews), another installment of Chronicling The Craft (novel-writing progress series), and much more!

Interview with Mary Weber, Author of “Storm Siren”

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You never know what you’ll discover – or who you’ll meet – thanks to magazines and social media. I first read about Mary Weber and her debut YA fantasy novel, Storm Siren, in Writer’s Digest, then got caught up in the Twitter buzz that followed over the summer. The hype was well-deserved, in my opinion. Storm Siren is a vivid, visceral, and inspiring tale of a young Elemental girl’s struggle to control her storm-wielding powers, save her homeland from impending war, and defeat her inner demons. It’s a brave and unique story that stands out in the crowded YA fantasy market, and one that fans of the genre shouldn’t miss!

Today’s I’m super-excited to have Mary here to talk about Storm Siren and her journey to becoming a published author. What advice does she have for yet-to-be-published writers? What would she do if she visited Faelen, the world she created for Storm Siren? Oh, and who would like a sneak peek into Storm Siren‘s sequel, Siren’s Fury? *raises her hand* Without further ado…   Continue reading