Writing Update – NaNoWriMo and More


Wow, Day 28 already?! If you’re also doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) like me you’ve only got today through Friday to reach 50,000 words. I’m on track so far with just over 45K written as of last night for my new novel (my fourth full-length novel) NOT ANOTHER DARCY, which is a meta fiction romance where literary characters come to life. I’m having a lot of fun with it, but I’m going to keep this post short, because, you know, need to get in the wordage this morning before I head to work.

I’ll post next week about the experience and some things I learned, plus a new spreadsheet I created for plotting, but right now I wanted to touch base with everyone and see how you’re doing with NaNoWriMo? Are you on track? Have you already hit the magic number? If you’re struggling, don’t look at the final number you need to get, try to instead focus on how many words you can write in an hour and try to clear blocks of time with no distractions and hit that goal. And keep going for another block of time. I can’t recommend the Twitter hashtag #1k1hr enough–it’s saved my bacon a number of times! By focusing on smaller goals, you reduce the amount of stress/freakout you’re experiencing with the number of words needed to finish. Good luck!

Writing Updates

Some of you have been asking about MUST LOVE BREECHES and what’s happening with it now that I have an agent. Unfortunately, our plans to submit Nov 1 were derailed due to Hurricane Sandy, so we’re going to submit in early 2013.

My first release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS, is still on track to be released on December 19th with Secret Cravings! Right now you can add it to your Goodreads shelf until it becomes available for pre-order on the Publisher’s site. Sadly, it probably won’t make it to Amazon’s database until after Christmas. Does anyone have any tips for me on pimping it? Still learning the ropes. Thought I’d make a postcard of the cover with a QR Code on back for buying…

How about you?

This is an open thread to pimp your upcoming release, or to share how you’re doing on NaNoWriMo!

ALSO, TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO BACK UP YOUR PROJECT! I’ve heard horror stories, just saying…

Six Sentence Sunday – 11/25/12

Welcome to #SixSunday! For my American friends, I hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! I will be traveling back today, but hope to visit everyone either before I leave or after I return.

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my upcoming release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS due out December 19. We’re skipping ahead to later. Riley is with his blind date having dinner and they’re getting along well. Riley’s the first to talk and we’re in Riley’s POV:

Their conversation meandered to the endless Hollywood remakes. “My theory on the whole thing is…Well, it’s…Jeez, what’s the alcohol content of this beer anyway?” He peered at the frosted mug as if it were stenciled on the glass.

“Spit it out, Miss Anne Elk.”

His head jerked up. A Monty Python fan?

About BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. Official blurb and cover:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she accidentally makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! 

Happy (American) Thanksgiving!

No writerly post today as I’m scrambling to get ready for Thanksgiving.

However, I do want to thank all of you who visit my blog and those that comment too, you have really been a tremendous and supportive part of my writerly journey!

Regular posting will resume this Sunday for Six Sentence Sunday.

And to my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving, be safe and have fun!

Trading up to Hardcovers – Which do you do?

Are you like me in that you might buy a book more than once? I’ve bought books on Kindle that I later wanted to own a physical copy of, and so I did. I also have certain books that I happen to have the soft cover version and am slowly exchanging them for the hardcover, primarily first edition versions.

If so, what makes you do so? Here are some of the reasons for me, and I’d love to hear yours.

Kindle to Physical

Usually this happens when a book’s been recommended to me and it was on sale, so I got it. After falling in love with it, I wanted to loan it out and couldn’t. I’ve actually bought physical copies so I can loan them.

The other times it’s happened is when, back in my early Kindle days, I didn’t realize I don’t like research or writing craft books on my Kindle. I just can’t seem to ingest them as well as the physical version. Now I always buy the hard copy of writing and research books. Something about the tactile nature helps me learn. I also can’t have two places open at once and mark it up with arrows, stars and drawings that help me understand the concept better.

Softcover to Hardcover

These are for the authors I really love and I discovered partway or after their hardcovers were first published. Slowly I’m replacing my softcovers for the hardcover and preferably first edition. I’ve almost got all of Ann Rice’s paranormal fiction in first edition, hardcover, and am working on Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Phillip K. Dick, and Christopher Moore.

I know I’m not alone in this as I work in an independent bookstore and we’ve been noticing a trend–some folks are coming after having read a book on their eReader and wanting to get the hardcover version (not the softcover), so we’ve been making sure to stock hardcover commercial fiction and noticing it sells better than their mass market paperback versions (which I think is what the eReaders are replacing).

This is why I don’t think physical books will go the way of the Dodo. They might be reduced in print runs, but I think they’ll always be around because too many people like the physicality of owning one, and running their hands over them, and smelling them, and just giving a big sigh when they gaze at their bookshelves.

What do you think? Which softcover or ebooks are you exchanging for hardcover?

Six Sentence Sunday – 11/18/12

Welcome to #SixSunday!

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my upcoming release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS due out December 19. We’re skipping ahead to later, when the hero is being escorted to meet Mirjam, his blind date (and the one featured the last two weeks):

[Riley’s] date faced the far wall, head tilted to the full moon looming above. Torchlight flickered across the ash-blonde hair tumbling down her back. He swallowed hard. Shit, if he were the romantic type, he’d be in hog heaven with this setting.

She slowly turned and faced him.

His breath caught. Dear God, he was in heaven.

About BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. Official blurb and cover:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she accidentally makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.

To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! 

I’ve Been Tagged: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

This is a meme going around for about a month wherein tagees answer WIP-related questions and pass it along to others.

I’ve been tagged by Janice Hardy, fabulous YA author of The Healing Wars trilogy, and by one of my Beta buddies Linda Morris, whom I’ve had the pleasure of Beta reading two of her works and am so happy they’ve found publishers!

Rules for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop:
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

I have several works in various stages of the pipeline. My current WIP is NOT ANOTHER DARCY, a magical realism/meta fiction romance, which I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this month. Langouring in revision is my steampunk romance STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY. Coming out on December 19th with Secret Cravings Publishing is BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. But the one I’m going to post about is the one that I shopped for an agent, my time travel romance MUST LOVE BREECHES.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been a sucker for time travel and I’m a Jane Austen nut, so when I was brainstorming ideas for NaNoWriMo back in October 2010, I thought it’d be cool to go back in time to the Austen era and do some kind of tie in. But then there’d been others who’d explored that ground already and so I was noodling around in Wikipedia looking at famous people in that time period my heroine could meet and looking at Lord Byron’s page. It was while looking at that that I saw the entry about Ada Lovelace, and I was like HER. My heroine needs to meet her! So I readjusted the time period to 1834.

What genre does your book fall under?

Time travel romance, and in contests that usually falls into the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal category. I do get dinged by some judges saying they don’t understand why it’s in the paranormal category, which is frustrating, because that’s where it’s supposed to go according to their own definitions.

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

Oh man, I’m horrible with actors’ names and who’s who. I know that during revision, when I saw Toby Stephens play Mr. Rochester in one of the Jane Eyre versions, I sat up and thought, hey, that’s the closest in my mind to Lord Montagu! So him, but for Isabelle I have no clue, sorry!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When a modern American girl working at the British Museum finds herself stranded in pre-Victorian London by a mysterious artifact, she must find a way home while navigating the pitfalls of London society, resisting her growing attraction for a hunky lord, and ultimately having to decide when her true home lies.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I signed with Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon, Associates on October 4th. We were scheduled to start submitting November 1, but Hurricane Sandy has delayed that, but hopefully we’ll be submitting soon.

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

I think it took me a little over thirty-two days? I did it for NaNoWriMo and passed the 50K mark after twenty-eight days, but I kept writing as it wasn’t finished and I seem to remember that it was a couple of days after NaNo ended. But that was in 2010 and I’ve been revising and polishing it until this past September.

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

That’s a tough one. For time travel and humor, maybe Sandra Hill’s The Last Viking. In my queries I compared the tone to Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and Katie MacAlister‘s contemporary romances. After querying, a comp did come out: MacAlister published a time travel in September, A Tale of Two Vampires: A Dark Ones Novel. However, I also said that fans of the movie Lost in Austen would enjoy it as well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

NaNoWriMo looming around the corner back in 2010!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think it’s a little different in that it explores an aspect of 1830s London often overlooked, which is the scientific side of things. Not only is Ada Byron Lovelace a main secondary character (credited as the world’s first computer programmer), but my heroine stays at the home of polymath Mary Somerville, and she attends a soiree at Charles Babbage‘s house, and sees him demonstrate The Difference Engine. She narrowly misses seeing Michael Faraday at the same party.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Here’s my peeps (these are all Beta buddies–those whom I’ve swapped stories with for feedback):

  1. Kate Meader, who has a wicked-fun sense of humor, so I jumped on the chance to Beta her MS. She then landed an agent a couple of months ago and already sold her first series! Her debut (the one I Beta’ed) is Feel The Heat, coming out in 2013 by Grand Central!
  2. Donna Cummings, who ALSO has a wicked-fun sense of humor, so I also jumped on the chance to Beta her MS I Do… Or Die, which also recently found a home. Look for it December 10th with Crimson Romance
  3. Stephanie Lawton, fellow Mobilian whose gritty and haunting YA paranormal I beta’ed and just loved, recently found a home for it with Evernight Teen. Be on the look out for Shrapnel in January!
  4. Celia Breslin, urban fantasy and paranormal romance author, whose first chapter of a geek novella I critted and can’t wait to read the rest!
  5. Sarah Wesson, whom I’m eagerly awaiting for her to finish revising Full Metal Librarian as it just needs to be published, that’s all I’m saying!

Guest Posting Today: How Accurate Should Historicals Be? Part 2

Two weeks ago my post on historical accuracy in fiction generated great comments. I’ve expanded on the topic to include many of those comments and explore other aspects I neglected in the original post.

Stop by for a visit at Christina McKnight’s blog!

Author Interview: Michael R. Underwood, author of “Geekomancy”

Today I’m so pleased to welcome Michael R. Underwood, author of the super fun and super geeky book Geekomancy (Pocket Star, July 10, 2012). I read it this past summer and loved it, and reached out to Mike via Twitter. He was gracious enough to answer some questions about his book, his writing process, path to publication, and what’s in store with him for the future!

First, the blurb for the book!

Clerks meets Buffy the Vampire the Slayer in this original urban fantasy eBook about Geekomancers—humans that derive supernatural powers from pop culture.

Ree Reyes’s life was easier when all she had to worry about was scraping together tips from her gig as a barista and comicshop slave to pursue her ambitions as a screenwriter.

When a scruffy-looking guy storms into the shop looking for a comic like his life depends on it, Ree writes it off as just another day in the land of the geeks. Until a gigantic “BOOM!” echoes from the alley a minute later, and Ree follows the rabbit hole down into her town’s magical flip-side. Here, astral cowboy hackers fight trolls, rubber-suited werewolves, and elegant Gothic Lolita witches while wielding nostalgia-powered props.

Ree joins Eastwood (aka Scruffy Guy), investigating a mysterious string of teen suicides as she tries to recover from her own drag-your-heart-through-jagged-glass breakup. But as she digs deeper, Ree discovers Eastwood may not be the knight-in-cardboard armor she thought. Will Ree be able to stop the suicides, save Eastwood from himself, and somehow keep her job?

Hi Mike, thank you for being here. (I then attempt to do a virtual geek secret handshake/fist bump thing–Represent!–and promptly mess it up. Mike’s giving me a weird look). Ahem, moving along… Right when I saw the cover and blurb for your book, Geekomancy, I instantly bought it. How has the response for your book been so far from fellow geeks?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the love Geekomancy has gotten from geeks from all walks of life. When I set out to write Geekomancy, I wasn’t specifically intending it to be a love letter to geekdom, it just kind of ended up that way and I ran with it. Every time I see a recommendation or review come across Twitter, it hits me again how special it is to have been able to get out a story that connects with people and their passions. I’m very lucky to have gotten a chance to share the story, and even luckier that the response has been so positive.

What was your inspiration for the book? Was it one ‘a-ha’ little seed that then grew through a series of ‘what-ifs’ or did it come to you some other way?

Geekomancy started as a distraction. I was busy working on another novel, Codenamed Metaphysical Fencing Academy, and was having some trouble figuring out what to do next. My brain, industrious and insidious as it is, took this delay as a chance to pipe up with an idea about an urban fantasy where the magic came from pop culture. I took the Thanksgiving weekend to let the idea play out while hanging out with my girlfriend (as she worked on her thesis for grad school) and before I knew it, Geekomancy had totally taken over my attention, demanding to be written first.

This is more a comment than a question, but I, of course, loved the Firefly references. Thank you for including them! It made me feel like it was indeed a legit geek thing, making it into a book geared to fellow geeks 🙂

Of course! I’ve been a Whedonite since the early days of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show, and I loved Firefly most of all, with the fun slang, the great characterization, and the amazing community which built up around the show and the story. It was only natural to work Firefly references in, especially once I figured out Eastwood’s voice (and his cursing style in particular).

Your protagonist is female. What made you decide to have the main character be female? And thank you for doing that, as it was refreshing not to have it be a boy geek…

I’ve seen a lot of stories about male geeks. And even more about white male geeks, and straight white male geeks. And I know many female geeks, geeks of color, and queer geeks. So when I picked my protagonist, I wanted to feature a protagonist to partially represent the diversity in geekdom. It also let me give myself the challenge of writing a tight-POV with a female lead, which I will talk about in the next question.

How hard was it, as a guy, to write from a female POV?

Great follow-up question! I tried to make Ree a person who was female more than a female person. I didn’t want her to be female first, and for that to somehow be my brain’s overriding control on interpreting how she’d act. My female friends and family, when compared to one another, are just as diverse as my male friends and family, so I just used my experience of female friends, how they talk, act, and respond to things, grabbed a few characteristics, and then tried to stay consistent to my internal conception of who Ree was as a character, merits and flaws, skills and talents, and go from there. I made sure to consult female friends as first readers and critique partners to make sure I wasn’t going off the rails, and made a number of tweaks based on their feedback.

Your B.A. is in Creative Mythology. That sounds totally awesome and cool, but then my head tilts and I wonder what that exactly means, specifically the ‘creative’ part?

I blame Joseph Campbell. I was a perfectly happy freshman intent on declaring an East Asian Language and Culture major, then I read The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and had a huge lightbulb moment. I wanted to go all the way down the mythology and storytelling rabbit hole, and rather than triple majoring in Folklore, Creative Mythology and East Asian Studies (because at the time you couldn’t triple major at IU), I found the Individualized Major Program. It required a lot of legwork, but ultimately it let me build my own course list and synthesize classes from all over to inform my writing. My approach for creative mythology was to learn about how various world cultures formed worldview using mythology and folk narrative, then try to apply that same structural approach to write new myths that would symbolically resonate/inspire contemporary audiences. In reality, I just learned a bunch about worldview and storytelling, which helped me a great deal, maybe just not in the ways I originally intended.

You also have a Masters in Folklore, which I also think is tres cool, I concentrated in folklore studies for my Masters in Heritage Preservation. How much did your BA and Masters influence your writing? Hmm, just realized your whole book could be an example of Creative Mythology… (am a little slow on the uptake this morning, takes me a while to fully awaken since I don’t do caffeine).

My writing very much flows out of my academic work. Geekomancy is quite directly informed by the work I did at my master’s program, studying tabletop RPG groups and geek culture, since it was that work that got me to really start seriously thinking about what geekdom meant, why people invested in these clusters of hobbies, why those hobbies overlapped, and what this overall ‘geek culture’ thing was, especially as various aspects of geek culture were becoming very prominent in mass culture (Superhero movies, the seemingly-unstoppable rise of video games, continued tech ascendance, etc.)

The other major academic -> writer influence is my general folklore and mythology background, which prepares me to be more effective in fabricating non-earth cultures with some sense of authenticity. I know how cultures fit together, how tradition clashes with and adapts to innovation, and I have a big bucket of tradition, ritual, folk narrative and cultural stuff to draw upon, mix together, and apply for my own work. This means that I generally lean more towards fantasy than SF, but both of my published short stories so far are SF, so who knows.

Your book is chock full of nerd and geek references– I described it once to someone as Nerd Porn, as there’s one fun reference after another. Did this make it more difficult or easier to find an agent and then an editor?

My path to publication for Geekomancy is a very non-standard one, but I think that this era of rapid change in publishing is making stories like mine radically more common.

If I’d submitted Geekomancy as a first novel the traditional route, I think it might have. But I got very very lucky.

Shortly after I finished the rough draft of Geekomancy, I posted the first few chapters on a site called BookCountry.com, which is a writing and critiquing community for genre fiction writers. I’d posted a previous project there, and gotten good feedback, so I decided I’d post the rough draft for Geekomancy and share my whole revision process on the site. Make it a Thing.

I got a few reviews, and started revising based on that and other feedback. Then in January of 2012, I got an email from Adam Wilson at Pocket/Gallery that he’d read my excerpt at Book Country, liked it, then found a post on my blog saying that I’d just finished a full draft and could he see it?

Despite my trepidation about submitting a barely-revised super-rough-I-mean-like-bleeding-raw-rough draft to an editor, I did it. And just over a week later, I had an offer for a book deal. I took the window of consideration he could give me on deciding on the deal to go out and try to find an agent, and did a Lightning Round of agent searching, drawing on my experiences trying to get an agent with a previous project. I sent out around a dozen full manuscripts to agents per their requests, ended up with two offers of rep, and happily signed with Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency.

I think that some agents probably ended up passing because it was so All-Geek-All-The-Time, but I had a passionate and supportive editor who was willing to sign a debut author off of a 2nd draft, and found an agent who was willing to jump in on a deal that had already started being made because she was that invested in the project and in my work.

Your agent is the fabulous Sara Megibow. How did you go about ensnaring her? A lot of my blog readers are fellow writers and would love to get a little peek into your journey.

This is mostly covered in the previous question, but I can give a little more detail. Sara said that Nelson Literary gets 2-3 queries a month for authors that have deals on the table, but that mine was the first time either she or Kristen Nelson, the founder of the agency, has ever offered rep on such a query. I believe that I snared her with a query letter that was reflective of the voice of the novel (sarcastic, very verbal, comedic, and geek-tacular) and then delivered the kind of voice and kind of story that I promised in the letter, and that she connected personally with the character and the story, being of the Geek persuasion herself. When we talked on the phone, we got on swimmingly, and since then it’s just been marvelous. I’m working on notes for new projects now, and will be chatting with Sara about those soon, moving forward with my career as a novelist, and I couldn’t be happier to have her as my professional partner.

What has been the best experience so far, now that you’re a published author?

I said this above, but it’s totally the coolest thing. The hands-down best thing for me so far has been seeing the stories from readers about how they personally connected with the novel and with Ree. I’ve gotten emails and reviews where the reader talked about their personal connection to the shows/books/movies that are referenced in the novel and how seeing that love mirrored in the novel resonated with them. The novel is in many ways a love letter to geekdom, and it’s been amazing how many people in geekdom have written back to reciprocate and echo that love – love of the stories, the characters, the worlds that bring us together.

I see a sequel is in the works. Can you share anything yet about it? What can we expect (besides awesome geekiness abounding)?

I’ll give you a bullet list of things to expect:

  • Romance
  • Show Business
  • Rooftop chase
  • An Upgraded Geekomantic arsenal
  • A new magic system
  • More buddy action with Drake Winters

What was your favorite part about writing Geekomancy? Was there a character that surprised you along the way?

I can’t give the singular best part, but one of the best parts was taking a lifetime of passion for and knowledge of pop culture and geek stuff and weaving it together into a narrative. I got to look at the big wing of my brain that’s labeled ‘Geekdom!’ and rummage through with abandon for fun jokes, plot points, cool artifacts, whatever I wanted, it was all fair game. I didn’t have to water anything down, be coy about alluding to this that or whatever. If I wanted to make a joke, I made it. Some of them would later be edited out, but that sense of freedom was really invigorating.

I found Drake endearing. Will we see more of him in the sequel?

For sure. He’s far and away my favorite secondary character in the series, and he’s tremendously fun to write, especially as a straight-man to Ree’s sarcastic jokester. They turned out to be a better buddy-adventure pair than I’d initially imagined, and I feel like I can get a lot of mileage out of that relationship. Especially as other parts of their relationship change…

And the question always near and dear to a writer’s heart– are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in between?

I live somewhere in-between, which I attribute to my time playing tabletop RPGs, specifically as a Game Master/Storyteller. As the person who had to provide an entertaining and fulfilling story for 3-6 people, I learned to make a variety of half-ready plans, then jump on whatever the players ended up choosing. This means that I do a decent bit of rough sketching, usually involving figuring out the ending and then backtracking to lay down a few way-points where the story turns, so that when I start the draft, I know where I’m going in the end, and I know what big turns I have to take to get there. But it still leaves me with big huge chunks of undiscovered territory, and even knowing the plot turns in general doesn’t mean I’ve got them totally crystalized in my mind. This means that I still get to surprise myself, and if I come up with something that I think is even cooler, I’m happy to go off the rails in certain places.

I’m hoping to experiment with a bit more structure for some future project to see how that works out, especially if I want to get to a point where I can produce two novels a year while still working a day job and having a social life. I get the sense that that pace of production would require a bit better pre-planning. But then again, I wrote the rough draft of the Geekomancy sequel in just about 6 months, so maybe I can get there as is.

Do you have any words of wisdom to fellow writers struggling to land the elusive agent?

When constructing your query, go out and find the back cover copy of a bunch of novels in the same genre, both for novels you’ve already read and ones you haven’t. Figure out what the copy on the novels you’ve read communicates about those books, what it draws out to tease a reader. Then look at the ones for books you haven’t read and try to figure out which ones most compel you to read more.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to re-create that marketing magic for your own novel. The absolute only thing a query letter needs to do is convince an agent to read more. But in doing so, it must also tell the truth about your novel, because if you promise one thing in the query and then don’t deliver that thing at all in the novel, chances are you won’t hook their representation.

Again, thank you so much for agreeing to do this! Us geeks need to stick together 🙂

Thanks for having me! In the words of our people, may the Force be with you.


Me again! So enjoyed this interview and his answers. Here’s more about Mike:

Hello! I’m Michael R. Underwood (I go by Mike Underwood, but the full name + initial makes Google happier), speculative fiction writer and North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. This blog was formerly called 21st Century Geeks.

I hold a B.A. in Creative Mythology (through the Individualized Major Program) and East Asian Studies from Indiana University and a M.A. in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon.

In 2007, I attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop, which was the biggest boost to my writing career I’ve had yet. I’ve worked as a fiction reader for Fantasy Magazine, as well as writing for PopMatters.com as a DVD reviewer and essayist.

My first novel is an urban fantasy called Geekomancy (published July 2012 by Pocket Star, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Geekomancy was inspired by stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Clerks, the Dresden Files, and The Middleman, as well as my experiences growing up geek. I am currently working on the sequel to Geekomancy, which will be coming in 2013.

Where to find Mike:

website | twitter

Where to find Geekomancy:

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Six Sentence Sunday – 11/11/12

Welcome to #SixSunday! I’m sorry I didn’t make it around to y’all last Sunday, I’m going to make a herculean effort to do so today!

Today’s Six Sunday I’m continuing with my upcoming release, BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS due out December 19. Last week featured the first 6 lines, and today we’re picking up exactly where we left off:

“Er, nice costume,” Mirjam ventured.

“Thanks,” came the muffled reply.

The elevator swooped to a stop on the mezzanine level. A pirate and a Ghostbuster stepped on and pushed the lobby button. Mirjam angled back to avoid being knocked over by the guy’s Proton Pack.

“Convention?” Mirjam asked the caterpillar and it rewarded her with a nod.

About BEER AND GROPING IN LAS VEGAS. Official blurb and cover:

Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?

Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.

Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she accidentally makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It’s granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they’re surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.

Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.


To see snippets from others who are participating or to sign up yourself, visit here.

Thank you to everyone who comes by and comments each week! 

Monday Hunk Who Reads – Johnny Depp

By alotofmillion (Photo by Anna Altheide.) (Johnny Depp) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 Johnny Depp

Since I had to pull down earlier posts to work out copyright issues, and since there’s new book-hunky news about Depp, I’ve pulled up this original post and update it to the new format at the same time.

There’s several pictures of him reading floating around. Here’s a blogger who’s posted several, though some are stills from movies. In the course of doing that I came across this blog: Johnny Depp Reads.

I have been a long-time fan of Depp’s from back when he did Cry-Baby and Edward Scissorhands. He always seemed to pick interesting and quirky films to do and I loved it. It’s obvious he has a brain and that’s sexy. He’s also a book collector, can he get any more sexier people?

Last year, this article asked what he was reading, and at the time it was Dylan Thomas’s poetry and Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, and re-reading James Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. He’s been spotted reading: Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, Tom Robbins’ Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, and Keith Richards’ autobiography Life.

This article on his book collecting gives a peek at his love of books and says that he started collecting books back in 1991 when visiting Jack Kerouac’s hometown. He mainly collects modern first editions, especially beat writers and poets. He relates this wonderful moment:

One of the most incredible moments I’ve ever had was sitting in Vincent’s trailer . . . I was showing him this first-edition book I have of the complete works of [Edgar Allan Poe], with really amazing illustrations. Vincent was going nuts over the drawings, and he started talking about The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). Then he closed the book and began to recite it to me in this beautiful voice, filling the room with huge sounds. Such passion! I looked in the book later, and it was verbatim. Word perfect. It was a great moment. I’ll never forget that.

In September he spoke at a reading for Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, at Echols’ booksigning for his autobiography Life After Death.

Last month he joined Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon in collaborating with a Swedish production company to bring classic literature to TV.

Last month he also launched his own imprint at HarperCollins called Infinitum Nihil.  His line of books will feature books that reflect the actor’s “diverse interests and passions” … from both “celebrated and unsung” writers.

“I pledge, on behalf of Infinitum Nihil, that we will do our best to deliver publications worthy of peoples’ time, of peoples’ concern,” Depp said in a statement. “Publications that might ordinarily never have breached the parapet. For this dream realized, we would like to salute HarperCollins for their faith in us and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship together.”

A day later his first book was announced on Publisher’s Marketplace:

Folk singer Woody Guthrie’s only fully realized novel, HOUSE OF EARTH, the portrait of two hardscrabble farmers struggling to survive in the Texas Panhandle during the Dust Bowl, completed in 1947 but available only now, with an introduction by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp, to Michael Signorelli for Infinitum Nihil, by Nora Guthrie at Woody Guthrie Publications. UK rights to David Roth-Ey at Fourth Estate.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, guess how Depp wooed literature-loving actress Amber Heard when she asked for the new couple to cool things off from their summer romance? Every day in September, he wrote her an original poem accompanied by a bouquet of flowers!

I think he deserves the Ovaries Exploding Award, don’t you?

So that’s this month’s Hunk Who Reads. If you like these articles, please comment. They’re fun to write, but are time-consuming 🙂 — on that note, if you run across any photos of hunks reading, please let me know. If you know of an intellectual hunk you’d like to see profiled, let me know that too.Reading is sexy people!

For further opportunities to idolize men and books:

Do you have any photos of male celebrities reading?

Come back on the first Mondays of each month to see the next Hunk Who Reads…

Past Hunks Who Read/Related Articles:

*previous Ovaries Exploding Award winner