We have a winner!

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Now that I’m back from London, I want to thank all the bloggers who took part in my Blog Tour for POLTERGEEKS. Thank you so much for spreading the word! And finally, we have a winner of all four of my books – Zara Alexis!!!

 

So Zara, send an email to info AT sean DASH cummings DOT ca and I will fire off the books for you this week!

Congrats!

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Launch Party in London & Why Book Bloggers Rock!

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Canadian urban fantasy author mugging for the camera. Better half is giving him an”alright, tone down the schmaltz” look as she takes the picture.

Fellow ANA authors Michelle Newell and Helen Moss chatting it up. Michelle is wearing a KILLER dress and I told her so. Lovely book bloggers in the background.

Here’s me, my agent Jenny Savill to my left, her awesome assistant Ella Kahn to my right and enthusiastic book blogger Ellie.

Here’s my editor Amanda Rutter and my agent Jenny Savill extolling the virtues of middle aged authors from the frozen Canadian prairie.

Here’s me trying to get the secret  password from Ella Kahn.

 

What can I say? I’ve never had a launch party before but it was a lovely time. I met fantastic fellow authors including Keren David whose books everyone should read. (Actually, read all of our books … just start with Keren’s). We had wine. We had cheese. We had back wrapped sausage (YEAH BABY!!!) and I met fantastic bloggers who took time out of their personal lives to come and celebrate the launch of a pretty special book. (One blogger, Sister Spooky, brought me a bag of candy.)

And here’s what’s massively important, I think. A handful of bloggers actually came to see me.

Um … wow.

Each one of them were warm, wildly enthusiastic and at the same time, down to earth people. They each shared their thoughts on their favorite books and I learned just what a tightly knit community exists among book bloggers. You know, you see bloggers tweeting back and forth online. You seen them leaving comments on each other’s blogs – but the shared love of books and dare I say even fellowship – that’s truly a sight to behold when you get them all together in one room.

Very simply, book bloggers – you are all fantastic people. Keep doing what you’re doing and to those who came to my launch last night – I was really very touched by the amount of support that you’ve thrown my way.

Three more days in London. Two big events this weekend. I hope I get to meet more bloggers because they’ve been the highlight of my trip to England.

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Memefied: The Next Big Thing!

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I’m keeping the meme alive – Fellow Strange Chemistry Books author Gwenda Bond tagged me so here’s my little contribution.

What is the working title of your book?

Pet Project

Where did the idea come from for the book?

To be honest, I don’t really remember. It sort of occurred to me over the past couple of months to write something a little bit different that didn’t involve witches, zombies, etc.

What genre does your book fall under?

University of Life

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

Well I’d like to say Samuel L. Jackson because he’s awesome but in truth I think the father in this book would be Colm Feore and the son would be a yet to be discovered new talent.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Jamie Godfrey’s mother passed away one year ago and in the twelve months since he’s watched his father die a little inside every single day. Jamie is going to save his father’s life.

(Two sentences. I suck.)

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

Well the draft isn’t quite done yet. I know, I suck.

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

Dang, that’s a good question. I’ll have to think on it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Turning 45.

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

Hope. It’s a book about hope. We could all use a bit of hope these days.

 

Well there you have it. I’m tagging Darren J. Guest next – he wrote a fabulous book for Snowbooks called DARK HEART. I blurbed it – it’s a hell of a read.

 

Oh and one last thing:

I’m off to England tomorrow. Be cool until I get back!

 

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55% of YA readers are adults

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This grabbed my attention a few days ago.

Why? Because I had a feeling that a larger percentage of YA readers were adult – I think it was based on the fact that most of the blogs I read where there are reviews for YA books tend to be run by adults. This is not a bad thing, by the way. It probably means more word of mouth about your book – and really, once a group of bloggers falls in love with a book, they do a remarkable job of promoting it like crazy.

If the Bowker research is true, though, does this present a challenge to YA authors? That’s a tough one because it could be argued that an author is now writing for two different age groups and the question comes to mind as to how one can make both camps happy? It can be argued that a lot of adult YA readers are engaged in YA books because of something that’s missing from the current crop of adult titles, but I’m not ready to agree with that. My sense is that regardless of your age, if there’s a book that a reader connects with, they’re going to read it.

For me, when I’m writing YA – I’m not thinking about whether the story will be appealing for adults. I’m focused on writing for teens because that’s the world I’m trying to represent to the best of my ability. This means, though, that I need to connect with today’s youth – not so much on issues, which are massively important, but rather, I need to connect in a way that makes the story sound genuine. Perhaps this focus will allow my protagonist’s voice to sound like a typical teen from 2012.

If 55% of YA readers are adults, it could present with some more interesting books in the future. I think a lot of readers from both age groups are tired to death of the typical “nice girl meets bad boy” thing we see in a lot of books. My sense is that what matters most to everyone regardless of their age is the actual plot. Is it believable? Is it predictable? Are there twists that nobody saw coming? Does the main character resonate with readers?

Story matters – end of story. It doesn’t matter if the reader is 14 or 44. And what a crop of new stories are waiting to be written. Who knows what books are being written right now – the question to me is whether or not publishers and authors might be concerned about how to please both age groups. If I can offer this small bit of advice – don’t think about the two markets. Think about the book. Think about how to create a story with characters that are larger than life. Think about authenticity – how to represent your character’s lives in a way that will allow readers to connect with them.

With POLTERGEEKS about to be released next week, I think the one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t please everyone with your book. You just have to write something that is the very best that you can possibly offer and then you have to throw it out to the universe. Will my book sell? I hope so. Will readers feel connected to my characters? I want that more than anything because to me, that’s what’s going to get them to buy the next book in the series.

Writing books is a gamblers game. You simply don’t know if you’re going to hit paydirt or if your book is going to crash and burn. Me? I hope I hit paydirt. I hope that readers will fall in love with the characters and will want to pass my book along to their friends and family – it really doesn’t matter to me how old the reader is. The only thing that matters is whether the reader enjoyed the book that I wrote for them.

We authors write books for you – the best we can hope for is that you will want to keep on reading.

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A Note of Thanks

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It’s kind of a grainy picture but I have a crummy web cam.

What I’m holding in my right hand is the culmination of nearly three years of hard work. I’m off to London on Sunday (WOO HOO!!) and I’m going to meet a bunch of people that I can’t wait to meet. I’ve already got three books under my belt, but this one … this one is special. POLTERGEEKS is the book that got me an agent. It’s the book that got me a book deal with Strange Chemistry Books. It’s the little book that could and to finally hold the finished product in my hot little hands is just damned special.

So I want to thank Amanda Rutter, my editor at Strange Chemistry. She really gave me a lot of insight into how to make this book shine – and I really think it does. I’m proud to say that POLTERGEEKS is the best thing that I’ve written to date. Amanda played a massive part in all of this. A keen eye for detail and more importantly, I think that Amanda helped me recognize some very important qualities in the story that made it sound, well, more teen if that makes any sense. Damned good editor for a damned good book. Period.

I want to thank my agent’s assistant Ella Kahn for putting up with me for the last year and a half. (I’m a bit neurotic. Okay a LOT neurotic, what can I say?)

And finally the biggest thanks goes out to my literary agent Jenny Savill.  She took a chance on a story written by a forty-something guy in the middle of the cold Canadian prairie. Jenny immediately spotted the potential in the query and sample chapters I sent to her. She invested a massive amount of time in an extremely detailed revision process. She too put up with my neurotic ways and she helped me identify the key parts of this book that needed work. She counselled patience where patience was needed. She cheered me on … like a lot.  She told me to crack out that pink highlighter and print off the entire manuscript with a goal of highlighting everything that looked like romance because it needed a ton of work. And she even got herself into cell phone range to offer me representation as she was on vacation at the time – that was a crazy day two Augusts ago.

Very simply, this book would not have happened without Jenny. She has helped me become a better writer. A smarter writer. A more patient writer.

So there you go. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s down to the wire now. By this time next week POLTERGEEKS will be on sale everywhere. I’m grateful to so many people for their support and encouragement as this book went from an idea in my head to the paperback with the killer cover art in  the picture above.

Onward and upward!!!

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