mjhearle

Month: November, 2011

Official Winter’s Light blurb

A few posts back I included a rough pass at the blurb for Winter’s Light. It wasn’t easy to write – blurbs never are. Encapsulating your novel into a hundred words or so without resorting to a simple dry plot description is maddeningly difficult. It’s probably the closest thing to writing advertising copy a novelist has to face. You have to keep it short, snappy, and infuse it with just the right amount of intrigue to draw a potential reader. There’s a reason those advertising guys and gals are paid the big bucks.

Luckily, I had access to my own smart cookies to help me with the blurb. My brilliant publishing team at Pan Macmillan – Alex, Leah, Libby and Danielle – took what I wrote, refined it, re-phrased it and ultimately made it so much better. This is what publishers do. They improve your writing. See for yourself – here is my version:

Is death really the end?

It’s a question Winter Adams can’t stop turning over in her mind. Not after what happened that night on Owl Mountain. When the darkness descended and took away her love. And then comes the vision, the answer she’s been waiting for:

No. There is still time.

Now, a journey must be taken, a truce will be formed with an old enemy, and a battle fought – not for herself, but for another. For Blake.

The darkness is gathering again and this time there is no one to protect her.

Winter will have to stand alone.

Now, read the official Winter’s Light blurb which will be gracing the back cover in May:

Blake is gone. 

He sacrificed himself to save Winter, leaving her alone, unprotected … hunted. 

An ancient enemy is rising, but Winter is no longer the innocent girl who was fated to die at Pilgrim’s Lament. She will not wait to be saved. She will do what she must to survive, even accept an unsavoury alliance with those who destroyed her love.

In the gathering darkness, the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend, and Winter must find the strength to stand alone and fight for the one she loves. For she is the key to unlocking the secrets beyond the veil of shadows.

And she is Blake’s only hope.

Pretty nifty isn’t it? It conveys the same information as my blurb, though does so in an infinitely more stylish manner. Bravo team at Pan Macmillan! You’ve done a bang up job!

May 2012 can’t come soon enough.

M. J.

Six and you’re out

It’s nearly been six months since Winter’s Shadow hit bookstores and I couldn’t be happier with the the overwhelmingly positive reaction I’ve had from readers. The paranormal genre is over saturated to a ridiculous degree so there was a real chance my book would become lost amidst all the vampire, werewolf, and angel romances. Luckily, it turns out there’s a small but hungry audience out there for original supernatural mythologies. Read the rest of this entry »

The Catchup 21.11.11

Greetings Shadettes and Shadudes,

A week or so ago, I was scrolling through the Twitterverse reading some tweets about Breaking Dawn made by excited Twilight fans with names like Twilight1972 and Cullen4Eva21 and I started wondering what would happen if Winter’s Shadow inspired a similar passionate fan base. Specifically what would fans of the series be called. Throwing the question out to Twitter I received some very creative responses but ultimately Shadettes and Shadudes tickled me the most. A big thank you to Juliet for coming up with them.

When I’m not chumming Twitter, I occasionally try to work on the blog. Coming up with  material isn’t always easy. Sometimes its due to lack of inspiration, other times there’s simply not enough time for me to write anything worth a damn. Rather than let the blog languish unattended for days or weeks at a time I thought I might try and make things a little easier on myself.

Which brings me to the first ever Catchup. What’s a Catchup you might ask? Well, basically it’s an excuse for me to post a bunch of links to any interesting online content I’ve stumbled across during the week that you might have missed. The links will usually be related to writing, at least tangentially, but if there’s something particularly cool that has nothing to do with stories or storytelling I’ll probably included it as well.

Being as this is the first Catchup, and the concept only occurred to me a couple of days ago, it’ll be brief one. Oh, and please feel free to direct me to any interesting online stuff you’ve seen in the comments section below.

First off, let’s begin with a Twilight article. Breaking Dawn is opening this week which means there’s a lot of buzz in the old interwebby. Most of the discussion is of the ‘this is awesome’ or ‘this is crap’ variety but there is some interesting critical thought going on as well. Sometimes it can be found in the most suprising of places.

Take Film Critic Hulk for example. This fellow writes for the popular website Badass Digest in the style of the Incredible Hulk which means HE WRITES LIKE THIS FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE. It’s as though the Incredible Hulk is sitting opposite you shouting his  uncharacteristically insightful opinions. In this article, he carefully pulls apart the Twilight phenomenon, criticising the mixed messages of the book, and dissecting Stephenie Meyer’s sexual politics. The results are a little disturbing. Fair warning, it’s a long read, but worth it so long as you’re not offended by crass language and occasional lapses into contextual juvenility. It’s definitely an adult piece so don’t go forwarding it on to your impressionable nieces and nephews or anyone with delicate sensibilities.

I like Twilight and don’t necessarily agree with all of the points raised, but I thoroughly enjoyed the article regardless. I think it’s healthy to reflect on why we love the things we love and not just blithely absorb them. In any case, I suggest you click on the link if only for the awesome J.K. Rowling YouTube clip he includes towards the end. She’s a classy dame, that one.

And just to prove that I’m even handed, here’s a post defending the literary merits of Twilight.

And here’s a takedown of John Updike just to show that even literary darlings aren’t immune to criticism.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned my admiration for Stephen King. He’s definitely numero uno when it comes to my influences, however if I was to be completely honest with myself he’s not the author I’d switch places with right now should I be given the choice. That honour would probably go to Neil Gaiman. The man has it all – gorgeous rock star wife, more literary awards than you can poke a stick at, success across all media platforms (books, comics, music, tv, and movies) and isn’t bad looking either. He keeps a journal over at neilgaiman.com. It’s worth bookmarking and checking regularly as he often included cool little mp3 or video clips. For example, the clip in the current post, a 1 hour discussion between himself and speculative fiction writer Connie Willis, is a wonderful little treat.

I stumbled across this link on Chud and immediately fell in love with the concept. Apparently MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is going to be made into a film by Tim Burton. While he’s been accused by many in the online community as slowly devolving into a parody of himself, I still hold out that he hasn’t lost his touch.  Check out the trailer below:

As you can see this sort of subject matter seems tailor-made for his creative sensibilities.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to this competition hosted by Harper Collins. A year’s supply of books is a pretty damn attractive prize if I do say so myself.

Until next time,

M. J.

Winter’s Light

Winter’s Light has a release date.

In May 2012, the sequel to Winter’s Shadow will be gracing bookstore shelves all across Australia. That’s nearly a full year after the first novel was published. Not a bad turn-around from conception to publication, all things considered. Especially when you look at the output of an author like old George R. R. Martin. 5 years between books? C’mon man, what are you doing? Sure, I’m not equating my little paranormal series with something as complex and rich as A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE but five years!? That’s a helluva lot of procrastination right there.  Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Competition Winners

It’s hot today. The sort of heat that makes you wish you could strip off your skin and scamper about in your bare bones. My office is air conditioned but I still feel uncomfortably hot. It must be my Irish blood. I’m genetically predisposed to overcast skies and warm guinness. Read the rest of this entry »

Parrot Carrot

I’m not a parent. Yet. Kids are coming but they’re still a little way down the turnpike. Hopefully, not too far away. It’s accepted wisdom that women start feeling the old tick tock of their biological clock in their early thirties, but you know what? I think men of the same age might be just as susceptible. Sure, you won’t see me going all gooey when I pass a Pumpkin Patch, but these days I do find myself thinking about being a dad from time to time. Occasionally these thoughts aren’t accompanied by a cold sweat and sense of impending doom.   Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Horse

The Melbourne Cup was on Tuesday.

For my international readers, it’s commonly known here in Oz as the race that stops the nation. Offices close at lunch time, the streets empty, and children are left stranded at school while parents gather to drink, eat, dress up in their fanciest duds and watch a bunch of horses gallop around a track. It’s a lot of fun, even if you don’t like gambling. Read the rest of this entry »