Guest Post: Danielle Belwater

Danielle Belwater’s book Of Blood & Snow was recently released by Evernight Teen. It’s the second in a series, and being that I am also now writing a second book in the Changers series, I was curious how Danielle found writing sequels versus writing a first-in-a-series or standalone novel. Here is what she had to say:

Book 1 of The Erlanis Chronicles, Of Fire & Roses was published two years ago. I hadn’t intended it to be so long between books, but throw two babies into the equation and all timelines, deadlines, planning and motivation went out the window.

But! I persevered and refused to give up and bit by bit Of Blood & Snow came to life.

The difference between releasing book 1 and the recent release of book 2 have been worlds apart.

I’m two years wiser, and also have two years of book 1 being out there, having readers get to know my name. While it hasn’t made the top of New York Times Bestsellers just yet, for me, it’s more about the accomplishment. If you decide to become an author for the money, you might want to rethink it.

When you only have on book out, whether it’s a series or a standalone novel, until you get your second book out (unless you’re Paula Hawkins of Girl On The Train fame) you’re not taken seriously. While getting a book published is a feat in itself, readers ultimately want an author with longevity, someone that will continue to deliver books that they can love and cherish.

With book 2, I already knew the characters. I know who they are, what their likes and dislikes are and how they act in certain situations. They are like close friends. I was able to dig deeper into their personalities and motivations and play a bit more with the story and perspectives.

One thing I haven’t done nearly as much of, is not stress as much. You’re first release you’re about as organised as a chook without a head. You’ve gone full deer-in-headlights as you hit refresh on your release to check your rankings every 2 minutes. That’s not to say that I’m not checking my second release for rankings, but I certainly am not stressing about it. I’ve just allowed it to go out there and make its way in the world.

I feel a sense of belonging now. A part of a community of friends, authors and readers alike.

I still have a lot to prove, but writing has become a part of who I am and what I do. When I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about writing and it’s now automatic to be thinking about my stories and where they are going to next.

So watch this space!



 

OF BLOOD & Snow
(Erlanis
Chronicles, 2)
by
Danielle Belwater
Paranormal/Suspense/Romance/Teen
Evernight
Teen Publishing/63K
Blood is thicker than water, or so
the story goes…
As
fast as Cora can run, there is no escaping the blood that ties her to an
ancient, evil past.
Amongst the
bitter cold and driving snow, Nate must find a way to protect the love of his
life, before the darkness falls and Cora is lost to him forever.
Buy Links:  ARe 
Evernight Teen
Amazon
 Excerpt:
14+ due to adult situations
Why? Why did I need to go home? Other than for shelter, no one needed me there. Nate was all I had left. He was my reason for breathing and now the sole reason I got up every morning. The thought of harm coming to Nate made my heart hammer in my chest even harder. I jammed my hands deep into my coat pockets and focused on letting oxygen flow into my lungs.
In a single moment of clarity, I knew. I mean, I knew I loved Nate; that was without question. But if I didn’t have him in my life, it would be nothing but vacuous space.
I brushed snow off the fallen tree trunk and sat down. My thinking tree. Nate and I came here often to sit and talk, read, or watch the day simply pass us by. I piled up handful after handful of snow, heaping them on top of each other until a small avalanche rolled off the log and into a heap on the ground.
You are the key.
I leapt off the log landing two feet together, crushing the peak of snow beneath my shoes.
“Who’s there?” I shoved my fists into my hips and squared my shoulders. If there was someone there, they didn’t know who they were messing with.
The rustling of leaves came from above and a sprinkling of disturbed snow flittered down in front of my face. The flapping of beating wings and the call of a solitary bird echoed overhead. I caught sight of white feathers tipped with black before they disappeared above the trees and out of sight.
“Is anyone there?” I called out again, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t get a response.
The softness of the voice rolled around my head as I lingered amongst the tall trees on my way back home.
I am the key. The answer is within my blood. What did that mean?
About the Author:

Danielle Belwater adores the concept of true love and that everyone has their Prince Charming or Snow White out there somewhere, even if they have to fight demons, ghosts, and wizards to find it.

Danielle has been having a love affair with words since she was young and in primary school, writing some rather imaginative tales. This love has followed her into adulthood. 
She lives in rural South Australia with her husband, young daughters and way too many animals to mention. She spends most of her time dreaming up characters, stories, ghostly tales, and watching Firefly re-runs.  She also cooks the odd meal for her family to avoid them looking like skeletons at official author functions!  
Danielle is passionate about reading and her interests include pretty much anything with words from rolling four volume epics to the daily newspaper. 
Giveaway:
$20 Amazon Gift Card

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Changers Character Profile: Guin Dacre

#4 in my ongoing series of character introductions to my forthcoming YA fantasy novel, expected out this summer from Evernight Teen.

Guin is Rand’s girlfriend, or would be if that kind of thing were allowed. As it is, Marcus and Cee are taken aback when Rand and Guin flout the rules and hold hands.

Guin has long, straight hair and big, brown eyes. She also has a secret: she’s exhibiting early signs of telepathy. If the Authorities find out, Guin will be segregated and strictly regulated.

Cee, Marcus, Rand and Guin are the four central characters in Changers: Manifesting Destiny. Together they make a journey into the world outside what has been circumscribed for them. Will they follow the rules and allow others to restrict them, or will they step outside the bounds and own their own powers and their own lives?


It Means A Lot

. . . when I hear from readers who want a sequel to something. Readers may think they don’t have much influence on writers, but (at least in my case) they do. While I do have other commitments to consider, I can rearrange my project list based on encouragement from readers.

Point in fact: last week a reader requested a sequel to The K-Pro. In fact, I’ve noticed more sales of The K-Pro just lately, which I thought was interesting. I had started a second book a while back but when the first didn’t do so well I backburnered it. Now, however, I’m inclined to possibly dust it off. I need to finish Brynnde and the second Changers book, but now the K-Pro sequel (titled Ms. Fortune) rounds out my top three writing priorities.

Anyway, I love hearing from you guys. Especially when it’s about a book you loved. (I value criticism too, just ask that you try to be nice about it.)

By the way, I finished a second round of edits on Changers, which means we’re getting ever closer to you being able to read it! Can’t wait to share this one with you!


WIP Wednesday

More from my Regency romance Brynnde. In this scene, Julia is trying to come up with ways to attach her friend Violet to Mr. Dallweather:

“Get lost in the woods then!” Julia exclaimed, clapping with joy over her own cleverness. “And he and his dogs can find you! Even better if it’s raining.” She looked up at the sky, but the day was bright and clear, offering only a cool breeze as a hint of oncoming autumn.

“She’ll make herself sick, out in the cold and wet like that,” said Brynnde as she yanked at some grass. “And Mr. Dallweather has a horror of sickness. His first wife died rather abruptly from pleurisy.”

This gave Julia pause. “Does anyone die abruptly from pleurisy?” she wondered.

“I was very young,” Brynnde admitted, “but it seemed Mrs. Dallweather had a cold one day and was dead the next.”

Silence fell over them as they duly considered this. “Maybe not a rainy day then,” Julia finally amended.


#amediting

Editing, for me, is so much harder than writing—and writing doesn’t come easily to me either, which tells you how difficult I find editing.

Yesterday I received the first round of edits on Changers, and my stomach is in knots over it. I’m only on page 10. It’s like I have to come up for air frequently because this stage practically gives me panic attacks.

I keep reminding myself of the good things. Edits = progress = closer to publication. And of course I want my book in the hands of readers!

Still, there’s something about the editing process that I find chastising. A lot of it is subjective, and still more of it has to do with individual publishers’ styles. Compromise is required. I try to see it as a learning experience, but sometimes I can’t help but think, This is why I self-publish so much of my work.

Which is not a dig at my publishers, I promise! Every writer should learn to compromise and negotiate their words. I think most of us want to dig in our heels and be stubborn about it, but it really is important to learn to take criticism and critique.

Just having an editor and a publisher is a blessing. It means the work has value. As a writer, I need to remind myself that a little tweaking isn’t a condemnation. But I still have to tackle it in bite-size pieces. They’ve given me two weeks.

Deep breath.

I’m going back under.


Changers Character Profile: Rand Corbin

Here is my third character profile for my forthcoming YA fantasy novel Changers: Manifesting Destiny.

Rand Corbin is a tall, muscular, black sixteen year old who gets assigned a class project with Marcus and therefore gets dragged into the drama of the novel as it unfolds. Rand is an average student and very friendly, offsetting Marcus’s dour nature so that the two of them are often at odds. Rand develops a protective streak towards Cee that makes things more awkward still. And when Rand turns into . . . Well, you’ll have to read the book for that one!

Changers: Manifesting Destiny is due out this summer from Evernight Teen. Watch this space for more!


The Akantharhodon

This is old. Like, really old. Something I wrote back in the mid-90s. Fan fiction from a time when I was really into comics and anime. I was cutting my writing teeth, so to speak.

The Akantharhodon spans Fushigi Yûgi, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, CLAMP’s X, and a bit of my own AElitian lore that I’d been developing under the tutelage of Doc Parker. In short, it’s kind of a hot mess. Yet there is one thing that lodged itself in my brain, something that still occurs to me now and then at odd moments: “surprise and delight.” Kamui (from X), portrayed here as an unwanted child . . . Neglected and acting out . . .

“It is true,” Destiny admitted, “that the family is not fond of you. . . Your very nature, Kamui, makes it difficult for anyone to—Ah, and now you are getting that stubborn, stony expression on your face, I know it!” (For Destiny could not see it, he was blind.) “You got that from Morpheus, I’m sure. But, Kamui, remember that you are an orphan, without parents and begrudgingly attended to by your extended family; you cannot go through any world expecting people to love or even like you.”

“So I am to go without ever being loved?” The idea gave him a small, sudden, unwanted pain in his chest. It made his breath catch for a moment, and he wondered at it. He squeezed the stem of the rose in his hand, puncturing himself, and feeling better somehow for having relieved the pressure inside himself, for having bled it out.

“I didn’t say that,” Destiny told him. “I said you cannot expect it. And then, should you be so lucky, it will surprise and delight you.”

This plays out later in the story and is the only part of the entire thing to stick with me.

I can’t say it’s any great piece of writing. Rather, it stands as a testament to how far I’ve come. Though, as a small point of pride, it did win some Internet fan fiction award back in the day. I post it here now more as a curiosity. Just as with my June 11th post wherein I shelved some of my plays, I add this old bit to the digital shelf as well for anyone who might want to check it out.


Peter & Charles – In the Stars

I’m sad to have to admit having overlooked Peter’s birthday a couple days ago. A while back, you see, I established birthdays for him and Charles so I could have a look at their astrological charts and synastry. Yes, I’m that kind of a nerd.

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You can see how it was love at first sight, and also how career is a stumbling block for them. Communication, too, is moderately tricky.

It’s a fun little exercise and a nice piece of additional detail to play with. Charles passed away some years ago (he was older by a few years, after all), but I have a feeling Peter is hanging on by his fingernails . . . Something of a recluse now, one of those pensioners who perpetually wears a cardigan . . . I picture him in a house made cavelike by wood paneling, lined with many bookshelves, a number of knitted afghans strewn about, and one ugly, threadbare armchair. Peter sits there and reads and sips tea. He’s slow but sharp as ever, isn’t interested in things like the Internet, telly works just fine for him, thank you.

That’s if you ever wondered what happened to them. And if you don’t even know who they are, read the novel.


Three Short Plays

I’ve compiled three of my short plays into one document in PDF. You can read it/them here. These are all unproduced plays, probably with good reason, but I’d rather share them than have them lying around in an old Word file.

The plays are: “The Apple or the Cigarette,” “Souls, Mated,” and “The Strange Art of Longing.”

As I note in the short introduction, I don’t mind if anyone wants to use these, I only ask that they contact me to let me know. I like to keep track of these things.