Be a Beta Reader or Listener for Piccadilly Valkyrie

I ‘m excited to be finalizing work on my next novel PICCADILLY VALKYRIE and am looking for some scathingly-honest beta readers!

If you love any of these genres, you will likely enjoy this book: Urban Fantasy, Odin/Thor mythologies, Regency, Victorian, Paranormal, Adventure, Steampunk, and Romance.

If you’re wondering whether all that is a strange combination–it is! Here’s the cover and an early version of the back cover blurb follows:

Picadilly Valkyrie 60 overlay

Peacock Lavine is an enigma making waves in London with her uncanny ability to empower the disenfranchised of society while also gaining influence among the social elite.

She is herself disenfranchised, from the Icelandic compound where she was raised to be one of Odin’s Valkyrie–immortal Swan Maidens who weave Fate on ancient looms. Valkyrie also fly their Faxi (cloud horses) onto mortal battlefields to recruit the bravest warriors for death and an afterlife as heroes called Einherjar. The Einherjar get to battle and feast in Odin’s great palace Valhalla in preparation for the great immortal battle of Ragnarok.

But Peacock developed differently than her fellow Valkyrie, propelling her into a series of choices about how she will survive exile from Odin’s realm, live among mortals, and discover a use for her blossoming identity as a very different type of Valkyrie. Her adventures among London’s low- and high-society lead her to confront mortal conventions as well as Odin’s role for Valkyrie in the afterlife, as eternal bearers of mead for the Einherjar while never engaging in battle themselves.

Peacock’s own ideas pitch her into a fight against the mortal and immortal forces that would keep her powerless against something she is still struggling to believe in–her own Fate.

I’d be grateful for your honest feedback on the first few chapters of PICCADILLY VALKYRIE or the whole thing. Whatever you have time for! I expect to be send this out to beta readers in early August.

A few other things you might be concerned or curious about:

  • PICCADILLY VALKYRIE is a YA book, which to me means it’s for anyone above the age of about 12. The main characters are between 16 and 30 years old.
  • Sex is referenced as something that happens but it is not detailed in the prose.
  • Violence features more readily than is typical for regency novels. While it features the fun ballrooms and such of Jane Austen stories, PICADILLY VALKYRIE also takes readers into the underprivileged, lower-class, and criminal sides of early 19th-century society, including boxing and gambling dens, prisons, and other gritty scenes. It is also about Valkyries (Death Maidens) who recruit from mortal battlefields so its wider scope includes things like Luddite rebellions and the Napoleonic Wars.
  • The book’s main themes are challenging: pacifism versus war, fate versus free will, women’s and men’s roles in mortal and immortal paradigms, disability, privilege, religion, industrialization versus artisanal craftsmanship, being raised feral ;), and more .

Hopefully, this helps you gauge whether it’s something for you. I’m pretty sure it is! I’ve had a blast writing it and love where it has taken me.

The following link takes you to a bit more detail about what to expect from beta reading and a quick sign-up form.

– SIGN UP TO BE A BETA READER HERE – 

Thanks, and have a wonderful week!

Advertisements

Call for Story Submissions: PSYCHOPOMPS (An Anthology)

I am excited to announce Misch Masch Press‘ first anthology, which will be published this fall.

If you are a writer (or aspire to be), I hope you will send in a story for consideration. Here are all the sordid details!

Psychopomps Pram Full Cover 20

What Are Psychopomps?

‘Psychopomp’ is a real term (I did not make it up!) and refers to any being, creature, or essence which escorts the dead or dying into an afterlife.

Think of these as shepherds of the soul, for example. While many stories in this anthology will necessarily skirt the fantastical and the macabre by dealing with various faith or myth traditions about death from throughout the world, others may deal with entirely new or made up paradigms. I am excited about the breadth of the topic!

Genre Overview

The mood of this anthology is spooky and provocative but not heinously gory, sexually explicit, or anything else annoying.

This anthology comprises a breadth of speculative fiction genres including Paranormal, Sci Fi, Steampunk, Fantasy, and Horror.

Form and Word Count

We are primarily looking for short stories but if you have works in another form, feel free to message us through our form on the MischMaschPress.com site.

Word Count: 3,000 – 10,000 words

If this interests you, please find more detail on this official PSYCHOPOMPS Anthology Description page. Submissions are due by July 31, 2015. 

Will Contributors Get Royalties?

Important: Please read these Misch Masch Press Anthology Submission Guidelines.

For example, at this time, Misch Masch anthologies are not a paying market–meaning if your story is accepted, you will receive no royalties. Basically, Misch Masch is paying for the super awesome cover art from Consuelo Parra, the professional editing, the marketing, and everything else in production so all fundraising for the project and proceeds will funnel back into the Misch Masch machine. That way we can create more cool anthologies! We hope to evolve into a paying market for future anthologies.

However! You will get your name on the cover, contact information and bio printed in the header of your story, access to promotional materials, a free copy and access to as many more as you want to order at cost, and the benefit of building your writing portfolio and circle of contacts with other authors.

We Will Also Be Looking At…

Also, preference will be given to those writers with an online presence. This is something most writers do anyway. We are interested in this because your online platform helps us represent you as a contributor to our book, and quite frankly, it helps us promote the book.

So if you’re just starting out, by all means still send us your story but just know that as we make final selections, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other online feeds that feature your writing interests are taken into account.

I’m totally excited about this project. I hope you’ll check it out and send in your story!

Highlights from LTUE 2015: Why I Love Writing Conferences!

As a writer, I’ve learned to love the conference scene. Actually, I’m completely drained by large social gatherings–evidence that I am a legitimate introvert. But here’s why I have evolved to deem conferences worthy of the energy expenditure!

This list is in context of a few highlights from Life, the Universe, and Everything 2015 (LTUE), a symposium for speculative fiction authors, which was absolutely awesome this weekend. I woke up today wired with so many ideas for my works in progress. Pretty epic for a Monday morning…!

LTUE Symposium 2015

1. The People (and Aliens, Supernaturals, Superheroes…)

I meet so many interesting writers and other creative people, which is a treat. Case in point, props to author Adam Jordan’s approach to putting a writer’s group together. Awesome!

IMG_0565

Yes, it’s a relief to get away from that intensity but for a few days there’s just something about having at least some instant rapport and understanding with people. I loved this past weekend’s Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium for this very reason.

2. The Social Challenge

That’s not to say I don’t feel awkward 50% of the time. Conferences are a nice place to reconnect with talking to real people!

Conferences are also full of organized ways to team up or participate with others. I loved this campaign at LTUE put on by “The Secret Door Society“. To include bathroom stall doors. 🙂

IMG_0562

3. The Practice (Pitch or Crit Sessions)

Speaking of challenge, I love how LTUE and other conferences offer the opportunity to book “pitch or critique sessions” with publishers and agents. It’s terrifying, yes. But it makes you get that stinking elevator speech, outline, summary, or manuscript done.

It’s the best kind of practice, in my book, because it’s not practice. It’s the real thing–well, with training wheels, I suppose. Because everyone I’ve pitched to has been understanding, encouraging, and constructively helpful to me getting better at it. I advocate taking advantage of this at conferences! It’s worth the $10-20 sign-up fee. Even though those 10 minutes will cause you days of anxiety, as they definitely do to me.

I got so much awesome feedback from my pitch to Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books. It’s pretty cool to have access to this kind of coaching and input.

4. The Creative Inspiration

The writing panel topics are inspiring, and I especially like productivity-focused presentations. I get re-inspired on how to be disciplined about my writing. This weekend, I loved Johnny Worthen’s presentation on writing a novel in 90 days. His energy and sense of humor is so infectious!

IMG_0553

And the character sourcing is inspiring, too. I get so many ideas just from observing other attendees. If you think airports are great for people watching, you haven’t been to a fantasy or science fiction conference.  It really is like a creativity energy-shot.

5. The Intersection with Other Art Forms

Even conferences focused on writing, like LTUE, draw other artistic forms and I love seeing those creations. Like this fabulous steampunk dragon by J. Scott Savage!

IMG_0567

So if you’re a writer, start finding your way to conferences! Even if it’s a stretch.

And thanks to my fellow panelists in the Madeleine L’Engle and E. E. “Doc” Smith – Space Travel – Warp Speed vs Tesseract discussion. We covered the far reaches of the galaxy with that one. I loved the audience participation and hope it sparked some creative ideas for everyone. Afterwards, I thought about how we touched on the line between hard science fiction realism and daring to broach the more speculative non-realistic. I know I’m always trying to balance those myself. It’s a fine but fun line to venture along!

Have a fantastic week…!

Steampunk Lite – Writer Cindy Grigg on the Sci Fi Subgenre

Fabworldofjulesverne (1)

My personal taste for the aesthetic should be termed Steampunk Lite. I like brushing by it, picking up traces of it on my plotline or characters, but I don’t actually want steampunk in its full manifestation. Here’s why.

Steampunk as an aesthetic is more a fabulous concentration of things than it is unique, which makes it hard to define. That’s also actually why I first resonated with it. Goggles, corsets, Victoriana, dirigibles, steam technologies–we’ve all seen them, but steampunk, a subgenre of sci fi, made me feel like I was looking at them under a selective magnifying glass.

The elements common to the aesthetic popped out from familiar things I’d seen along these lines, so that they were no longer props but the main artistic elements. That was something I would have never concocted, so I marvel at its evolution.

My working definition of steampunk is art, literature, film, fashion, or anything else which unites futuristic technologies with those of the steam age, often in London and often in terms of an alternate telling of history due to those achronistic pairings.

Given my recognition of the aesthetic’s intense visual and ideological potentcy, it is perhaps paradoxical, then, that my personal taste for it should be termed Steampunk Lite. I just want it to be more vulnerable to scale, rather than composing the main jist of a scene.

I like brushing by it, picking up traces of it on my plotline or characters, but I don’t actually want steampunk in its full manifestation. Rather, I am eagerly glad it exists as a dense social reference point,  so that I can happily imbue my fiction writing with a muted version of it.

So I don’t and probably won’t dress up and go to conventions. I don’t build clockwork anything as a hobby. But I am extremely enthusiastic that so many in the steampunk community do, and hope the trend continues and expands. It’s so cool!