NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop

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What is a blog hop? Basi­cal­ly, it’s a way for read­ers to dis­cov­er authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of infor­ma­tion on me and one of my books and links to three oth­er authors you can explore!

Epcot - 30th Celebration FinaleI send my thanks, admi­ra­tion and grat­i­tude to fel­low indie authors Melanie Edmonds and Matthew Williams for invit­ing me to par­tic­i­pate in this event.  I found Melanie online a few years ago when I stum­bled upon her ser­i­al called Star­walk­er.  I was imme­di­ate­ly impressed by the qual­i­ty of her writ­ing and her very pres­ence.  I’m still impressed.  Since then she and I have become great col­leagues and co-con­trib­u­tors of Yuva, an anthol­o­gy about space trav­el and col­o­niza­tion that Matthew Williams and I con­ceived of sev­er­al months ago.

Matthew “Awe­some Sauce” Williams is the most wicked­ly pro­lif­ic author/bloggers I’ve ever known.  I envy his verve and tal­ent.  He is an absolute inspi­ra­tion and the the per­son I look to when I need a lit­tle push to keep writ­ing.  We are cur­rent­ly co-edi­tors and co-con­trib­u­tors of the Yuva Anthol­o­gy.  More to come on that lat­er.

In this blog hop, I and my fel­low authors, in their respec­tive blogs, have answered ten ques­tions about our book or work-in-progress (giv­ing you a sneak peek).  We’ve also includ­ed some behind-the-scenes infor­ma­tion about how and why we write what we write: the char­ac­ters, inspi­ra­tions, plot­ting and oth­er choic­es we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to com­ment and share your thoughts and ques­tions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the work­ing title of your book? 

My nov­el is enti­tled An Unpro­duc­tive Woman.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

You know what?  I don’t know the answer to that.  At the time that I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman I’d been watch­ing a lot of Niger­ian dra­mas most of which (at the time) typ­i­cal­ly cen­tered very dra­mat­i­cal­ly around fam­i­ly and mar­riage mat­ters.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Hmm.  I can think of three that fit An Unpro­duc­tive Woman per­fect­ly: Women’s Fic­tion, Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Fic­tion, and Con­tem­po­rary Fic­tion.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your char­ac­ters in a movie ren­di­tion?

I love that ques­tion and it is very dif­fi­cult to answer.  Let’s see… hmm… well…

I see Adam, the man most peo­ple hate but end up root­ing for by the end, played by maybe Kei­th David or Del­roy Lin­do.

Asabe, is a bit more dif­fi­cult.  Per­haps There­sa Ran­dall (15 years younger) or Sharon Leal.

5: What is the one-sen­tence syn­op­sis of your book?

One man’s failed faith and secret quest to right old wrongs threat­ens to destroy his life but instead brings him full cir­cle.

Sheesh, I’m out of breath say­ing that.  How about you?

6: Is your book self-pub­lished, pub­lished by an inde­pen­dent pub­lish­er, or rep­re­sent­ed by an agency?

An Unpro­duc­tive Woman is self pub­lished and is cur­rent­ly avail­able through Ama­zon or Cre­ate­Space.  For the record, start­ing today and for the next two weeks you can sign up to win a signed copy of An Unpro­duc­tive Woman over at Good reads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

An Unproductive Woman by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

An Unproductive Woman

by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Give­away ends April 17, 2013.

See the give­away details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your man­u­script?

I’m not cer­tain how long it took me to write the first draft, it being so long ago, but from start to fin­ish includ­ing edit­ing it took me about two years.  Then after about a year of try­ing to get a pub­lish­er, An Unpro­duc­tive Woman sat in a box for about ten years before I final­ly decid­ed to do some­thing with it.

Am I aging myself?

8: What oth­er books would you com­pare this sto­ry to with­in your genre?

Hon­est­ly I can’t make any good com­par­isons, but I have found my book on this list on Goodreads.  I am in the com­pa­ny of some great cul­tur­al reads such as Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Khaled Housseni’s The Kite Run­ner and anoth­er of his books, A Thou­sand Splen­did Suns.  I’ve read Hous­sei­ni and I think he is a genius.  I’d nev­er com­pare myself to him, but I am def­i­nite­ly hon­ored to be on that list among some lit­er­ary heavy hit­ters.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

What I can say for cer­tain is that at the time when I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman I was work­ing out a lot of inter­nal demons in terms of my fam­i­ly and also spir­i­tu­al­ly.  Writ­ing An Unpro­duc­tive Woman was cathar­tic and odd as it may sound, I gleaned a lot of strength from the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter Asabe, and I learned loads about for­give­ness by tak­ing Adam through the paces.  I was emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed in each of the char­ac­ters even when they were behav­ing bad­ly.

10: Are you writ­ing any­thing else that peo­ple might be inter­est­ed in?

I’ve hint­ed that I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman sev­er­al years ago, at least fif­teen.  While I feel that the sto­ry is time­less, I’m not.  Ha!  Today I am work­ing on a project called The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles.  I am  unsure how many install­ments there will be, but I am plan­ning on at least three short nov­els (about 75,000 words each) all tak­ing place in the same “world”.  The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles, or some ver­sion of it has been with me for at least five years and has come to me in dis­con­nect­ed bits and pieces here and there.  Only recent­ly did any of it make sense to me and I recent­ly stat­ed com­mit­ting words to paper.  Drop back by here some­time to check out the progress meter over in the right hand mar­gin.  I also plan to post shorts from this WIP on occa­sion to keep appetites whet.  The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles will be an entire­ly dif­fer­ent genre than An Unpro­duc­tive Woman and is best char­ac­ter­ized at this time as dystopi­an SF.

Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?

So glad you asked! Below you will find authors who will be join­ing me by blog, next Wednes­day. Do be sure to book­mark and add them to your cal­en­dars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releas­es! Hap­py writ­ing and read­ing!

Ale­sha Esco­bar — She is the tal­ent­ed author of the Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy.  The Tower’s Alchemist, which is the first book in the tril­o­gy is cur­rent­ly avail­able for free on Ama­zon.  Check it out if you like fun, adven­ture and his­tor­i­cal fan­ta­sy.

Court­ney Worth Young — She writes YA para­nor­mal fan­ta­sy, is a cof­fee afi­ciona­do, geek, and voice actress.  Hmm.  Voice actress.  Her nov­el After the Woods will debut in May 2013, so keep your eyes wide open and mark your cal­en­dars.

Nadine Duc­ca — She went from med­ical trans­la­tion to writ­ing.  That makes sense to me.  And it’s a good thing.  Nadine is the author of Serv­ing Time which will soon be avail­able.  The cov­er reveal was just a few days ago so hop on over to her site to see what it looks like.  Should be excit­ing, yeah?

Sal­lie Lundy-From­mer — Sal­lie is a co-poet­ess and author of the para­nor­mal romance Yesterday’s Daugh­ter.  Check her out if you dare.

After 1 Year and 100 Posts

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A year has passed since I’ve start­ed this web­site in the form in which it now exists. It’s been a good year. I’ve met and con­nect­ed with an awe­some com­mu­ni­ty of indie authors and I’ve man­aged to gain a lit­tle bit of expo­sure for my book and make some sales in the process.  I pro­cured a few inter­views with inter­est­ing and pro­lif­ic indie authors and artists, land­ed mul­ti­ple guests post for this site, and have writ­ten a few for oth­ers as well, learned a bit about self-pro­mo­tion, and wrote mul­ti­ple book reviews.  I am also active on Goodreads.  Star­la Huch­ton did and incred­i­ble job redesign­ing my book cov­er, and I joined Amazon’s KDP Select pro­gram.

I joined two antholo­gies over the past year.  Grim5Next Worlds Undone anthol­o­gy is a spec­tac­u­lar idea con­ceived by Lyn Mid­night where­in 36  writ­ers col­lab­o­rate to cre­ate twelves sto­ries writ­ten in three parts about the apoc­a­lypse. The col­lab­o­ra­tion even­tu­al­ly went on to include artists and musi­cians and even a children’s project. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the project became too large and unwieldy for our love­ly edi­tor and it even­tu­al­ly fiz­zled out.  As of late how­ev­er, it appears that Worlds Undone may be mak­ing a come­back.  I’m hop­ing it will.

The oth­er anthol­o­gy that I am involved with is more per­son­al and dear to me. It start­ed from a com­ment that I left on a fel­low indie author Matt Williams’ site. We dis­cussed the idea of going to space and that dis­cus­sion turned into an anthol­o­gy enti­tled Yuva.

Me: Four nerds verg­ing on geeks live in my house, of which I am one. One of our nerdi­est but fun con­ver­sa­tions cen­tered around the ques­tion “Would you rather go to space or the bot­tom of the ocean?” Hands down the answer was space.I once dreamed that my son, now 21, would one day go to space and walk on Mars. He is no longer a child who dreams of space, although it still intrigues, and space seems a dis­tant child­hood dream of his. But even for myself, at the ripe old age of 41, the idea of going to space is a bright hope, even though I know it is unat­tain­able and unre­al­is­tic. But, giv­en the chance, I would go. This post reminds me of the awe­some­ness of our great uni­verse, of the chaot­ic ran­dom­ness, of the beau­ty of this world and the things we have to be grate­ful for, and of how utter­ly minus­cule we peo­ple real­ly are in the grand scheme of things

Matt: Okay, you need to write this down. I fore­see you doing a sto­ry where a fam­i­ly does go into space. Ho boy, I smell anoth­er anthol­o­gy here!

Me: An anthol­o­gy about space, going to space or any­thing relat­ed sounds awe­some. I vote for you to be the edi­tor. What do we need to do to get start­ed?”

yuva_cover-0Yuva, still in the works, will con­sist of twelve sto­ries of which mine will be first.  We’ve man­aged to fill about eight of the spots, so if any­one out there would like to con­tribute to a space and col­o­niza­tion anthol­o­gy, shoot me a mes­sage.

Over the course of the last few months I real­ized that I had a bit of an unin­ten­tion­al theme going, that of time man­age­ment. I wrote quite a bit about the sub­ject and sev­er­al fel­low indie authors con­tributed some real­ly amaz­ing posts about how they man­age their writ­ing time.  As time is such a dif­fi­cult thing for me to wran­gle I think I was sub­con­scious­ly look­ing for a way to rec­on­cile my lack of time with my desire to be more pro­lif­ic.  I’m still strug­gling with that one but one thing’s for cer­tain, if you want to pro­duce, you just have to do it.

Apart from the issue of time man­age­ment, I didn’t have much of a plan as regards what I’d talk about here, which quite frankly was very much counter to my goal.

Over the past year I’ve read many posts about cre­at­ing a unique author brand. I don’t think that I’ve done that suc­cess­ful­ly as regards this blog.  I blog about the things I like, an eclec­tic mish­mosh of “stuff”, for lack of a bet­ter word.  For many rea­sons I’ve pur­pose­ly stayed away from more chal­leng­ing con­tro­ver­sial top­ics.  I either feel under informed, unqual­i­fied, or quite hon­est­ly afraid to engage in these chal­leng­ing dis­cus­sions out of fear of alien­at­ing read­ers but as I have so few, (haha­ha­ha) it’s pret­ty much a moot point.

Keep­ing with the idea of a theme I’ve decid­ed to choose anoth­er top­ic to give spe­cial focus this com­ing year.  I’ve been giv­ing this con­sid­er­able thought this past month and have decid­ed on crit­i­cal analysis/reviews of SFF books writ­ten by women.  This will cer­tain­ly not be to the exclu­sion of oth­er post ideas and I hope will be inter­est­ing for read­ers as well as a learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me.  I nev­er feel as if I am well read enough.  I plan to read and lis­ten to books.  The first review will be of Bujold’s Free Falling which is already quite inter­est­ing.  I plan to read more by Bujold, in addi­tion to Leguin, But­ler, Zim­mer Bradley, and McCaf­frey among oth­ers.  If any­one has sug­ges­tions of authors I should check out, fire away.

Honor

Hon­or

I’d hoped to have com­plet­ed the out­line of Honor&Truth by June, but that didn’t hap­pen.  Then I got caught up work­ing on my anthol­o­gy sto­ries, hit a writ­ing slump that seems to hap­pen to me every year around Sep­tem­ber, got dis­tract­ed with chil­dren, life, work (which has been a beast!), the inter­net and attempts to pro­mote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman.  So, my efforts are renewed and I’m back at it.

Honor&Truth is a ser­i­al nov­el blog that I worked on for about a year and a half.  I final­ly stopped more than thir­ty chap­ters in.  I didn’t want to but felt com­pelled as I’d nev­er so much as out­lined a sin­gle chap­ter and my sto­ry, writ­ten by the skin of my teeth and post­ed every two weeks, had so many plot holes I couldn’t keep up with them.  I stopped the blog in order to regroup, merge H&T with anoth­er sto­ry that kept spin­ning in my head, and begin a seri­ous rewrite.  Months have passed and on that account, I’ve failed.  For­tu­nate­ly, I love the sto­ry and the char­ac­ters enough to keep press­ing.  And even bet­ter and heart­en­ing, the char­ac­ters Bilqis, Hon­or, Aram­inta (Old Moth­er), Siti and many of the oth­ers talk to me every­day.  Loud­ly.

Honor&Truth has a new name.  As Truth does not exist in the cur­rent out­line, it wouldn’t make much sense.  As it stands the sto­ry of Hon­or exists as the sec­ond tale in the Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles.  But don’t hold me to it.  As I am still in the out­lin­ing phase, this could still change.

I’ve been nom­i­nat­ed for a few blog awards, the last and most impor­tant of which is the Blog of the Year Award.  This hon­or was con­veyed upon me by Matt Williams, to whom I am grate­ful.  A com­plete post about is soon to come.

My great­est work for this com­ing year will be con­tin­ued sim­pli­fi­ca­tion.  In oth­er words, wean­ing out the unnec­es­sary to replace with what I val­ue.  I val­ue my rela­tion­ship with God, my fam­i­ly, my writ­ing, and my health.  So this com­ing year will include renewed efforts to cre­ate peace and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty with regard to those things I deem as most impor­tant to me.  Why is life such hard work?  For­get I asked that.

What have you accom­plished this past year?  Toot your horn!  Tell me about your suc­cess­es and fail­ures.  Tell me what you have planned for 2013.

 

An Interview With Alesha Escobar About The Gray Towers Trilogy

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I am delight­ed to wel­come Ale­sha Esco­bar back to my site, this time for an inter­view about  the sec­ond book in The Gray Tow­er series.  If you haven’t read the first book, The Tower’s Alchemist, then get on it.  You’re miss­ing out on action packed read­ing.

1. The Tower’s Alchemist is a lux­u­ri­ous mish­mash of ideas.  We have Nazis, witch­es and war­locks, vam­pires, mag­ic, spies, and decep­tion, not to men­tion lots of action.  Can you give us a lit­tle back­ground about the basic plot of the Tower’s Alchemist?

It’s about a very dif­fer­ent World War II, where mag­ic exists in the world and Hitler’s obses­sion with the occult has led to him mak­ing a pact with war­locks. Of course the Allies won’t be out­done, and so they recruit wiz­ards trained by the benev­o­lent yet aloof insti­tu­tion known as the Gray Tow­er. My pro­tag­o­nist, Isabel­la George, is a Tow­er-trained alchemist work­ing for British intel­li­gence and spy­ing in Nazi-occu­pied France. How­ev­er we meet her at a point in her career when she wants to retire and set­tle down before she ends up dead–or worse, in an exper­i­men­tal lab.

She agrees to go on one final mis­sion, but things end up get­ting complicated–both in her pro­fes­sion­al life and her pri­vate life, and she dis­cov­ers that she has hid­den ene­mies, even in the Gray Tow­er.

2.  The Tower’s Alchemist is an awe­some mix of tra­di­tion­al gen­res and tropes in an orig­i­nal pack­age.  What was the gen­e­sis for the sto­ry?

My hus­band came up with the idea of a female pro­tag­o­nist who’s a wiz­ard spy­ing in WWII–sort of a Hell­boy meets Har­ry Dres­den meets spy type sto­ry. I loved the con­cept and start­ed flesh­ing every­thing out, and after a cou­ple of drafts The Tower’s Alchemist was born.

3.  The sec­ond book in this series is Dark Rift.  How does this sto­ry pick up where the first one left off?  What did you hope to achieve in terms of the plot and char­ac­ter growth with the sec­ond book?

Dark Rift picks up a week or two after the end­ing of Tower’s Alchemist. Isabel­la vis­its a gyp­sy woman to have her mind sealed so that a men­tal­ist wiz­ard can’t read her thoughts or mem­o­ries. Then she does one of the things she’s been desir­ing to do for a long time–go home to her fam­i­ly. Of course she finds that trou­ble won’t wait on her, and the plot takes not only inter­est­ing twists, but also answers sev­er­al burn­ing ques­tions from The Tower’s Alchemist. You’ll see Isabel­la grow, both as a char­ac­ter and in mag­i­cal pow­er, and at the same time she’s going to be forced to face her demons.

4.  Both books are part of the Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, which means there will be a third book at some point.  Do you already know the direc­tion this last sto­ry will take or will it be a sur­prise to you as you write?  Have you start­ed writ­ing it yet and/or is there a pub­li­ca­tion date?

My hus­band almost fell out of his chair when I told him I (at first) wasn’t sure how it was going to end. Yes, I am one of those writ­ers. Haha! All I have to say is thank good­ness for Dra­mat­i­ca Pro because those out­lines helped me immense­ly. I’ve actu­al­ly start­ed writ­ing the third book and I know how it will all end. My pro­ject­ed pub­li­ca­tion date is Sum­mer 2013, but if I can com­plete it ear­li­er, you know I will!

5.  Who is your favorite char­ac­ter is and why?  If that char­ac­ter could share one thing about him or her­self, what would it be?

That’s a tough one. I’ve fall­en in love with so many char­ac­ters in the sto­ry. I’ll pick my two favorites–Isabella and Neal. Isabel­la, because of the heart she has, and her will­ing­ness to fight for what she believes is right. Her sar­casm doesn’t hurt, either. If she could share one thing about her­self, it would be that her sec­ond career choice would’ve been teach­ing. Neal War­ren appears at the end of Tower’s Alchemist, but plays a much larg­er role in Dark Rift. He’s a Philoso­pher, which means he’s Sher­lock Holmes on crack with a bit of mag­i­cal enchant­ment pow­ers mixed in. He’s a bit mys­te­ri­ous, he’s a lot of fun, and fierce­ly loy­al to the Gray Tow­er. If he could share one thing about him­self, it would prob­a­bly be that he only uses half the stuff he pur­chas­es from the black mar­ket.

Enter to win a free elec­tron­ic copy of The Dark Rift for your Kin­dle.  Email me at [email protected] between 11/30/12 and 12/07/12 to enter the draw­ing.  Good luck!  Good read­ing!

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Ale­sha Esco­bar

Ale­sha Esco­bar writes fan­ta­sy and urban fan­ta­sy sto­ries to sup­port her choco­late habit. She earned a B.A. in Eng­lish Writ­ing and a Mas­ter of Sci­ence in Edu­ca­tion, and has enjoyed both teach­ing writ­ing and being a writer. Her hob­bies include read­ing, watch­ing movies, and mak­ing crafts. She is cur­rent­ly work­ing on the final install­ment of The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy.

Find Ale­sha online at these venues:

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