Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Late Breaking Review

It's interesting to me as an observer to this whole blog roll/blog tour thing as to when and how the blogs come out.  As the authors we have access to a list of who has agreed to review the books and what days the blogs are scheduled to appear.

So, here's one that popped up since the last time I checked the schedule:  "My Writer's Camp."  Here's some of what he had to say in his 'good' column:

 The characters in this book are fabulous. Their flaws and talents are doled out with a pace that does not overwhelm the reader, but makes the characters feel so very human and familiar despite their supernatural gifts. The tension between them, both sexual and emotional, is perfect and enhances the story without becoming a dramatic focus that takes away from the adventure. The villains are despicable and the supporting characters are unique without overwhelming the story....

If you're blinded right now, that's because I'm over here BEAMING with pride.  I'm so, so gratified every time people point out how fun an interesting the characters are in Song of Secrets.  As a reader myself, characters are the thing I latch on to more than anything else.  I can be impressed by a good world-build, but if the characters are only 'meh,' I'm far more likely to bail.

In fact, my friend (and fellow writer)  Naomi Kritzer have been talking about some of the books that are up for the Hugo this year, as we're both voting members this time around.  I admitted to her in email (and now to you all on this blog) that I had ended up giving up on Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword and Three-Body Problem by Lui Cixin entirely because I never really cared all that much for the characters in either.  Both those books are really deep in when it comes to world-building and plot... but I just never latched on to anyone (because I will keep going if there is a side character I'm interested in.)

At any rate, this is a yay!

An Interview

Today, I have something slightly different for you!  One of our blog roll/tour folks did a joint interview with Rachel Calish and me: http://www.emlynchand.com/2015/07/writing-a-duet-joint-interview-with-the-authors-of-song-of-secrets/

Also, I'm not sure that I've ever mentioned it here at this blog, but I've been doing a book review gig myself over at Bitter Empire.  Today, I talked about The MartianDuct Tape and Math for the Win

the-martian-andy-weir

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Roll, Roll, Rollin' Along

The reviewer today (another Rachel) didn't have a lot to say, but it's still a very nice review:  http://rachelrennie.weebly.com/rachels-blog/song-of-secrets-by-tate-hallaway-and-rachel-calish-a-book-review

A lot of the reviewers are anxiously waiting for Book 2.  I certainly hope that Rachel and Level Up Press will be able to give it to them.  For myself, I've had to take a step back. I won't be involved in subsequent books in the School for Wayward Demons series.

As I have said many places, I really enjoyed the writing process with Rachel, particularly when we were collaborating on the plot-light web version of this story.  I can not even tell you how much joy (and hope) that brought me.

But revising was a particular nightmare, in part because we were constrained by having to follow the structure of what we'd already published on the web.  And, as happens with two strong personalities with very different writing styles, there were also creative differences... and I left that process feeling that Rachel and I had very different values when it came to storytelling.  We're both award-winning authors. so it's impossible to say that one of us is right and the other wrong. In fact, I think the fact that we're both so passionate for our art is the reason we had so many difficulties.

This was not an easy decision for me to make, especially given that my current publishing prospects are fairly bleak and, as I said, the initial process of writing with Rachel was so tremendously fun and valuable for me.

On the other hand, I know there are plenty of you out there who might be just as happy at the idea that I plan to use this opportunity to focus more on my own writing.  I have UnJust Cause to finish, and there are other novels and characters in my head who are dying to get out and onto the page.

So, while I am saying goodbye, I wish Rachel and Level Up Press the very best of luck in the future.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Reviews Keep Rollin' In....

As the blog roll/blog tour continues, we now have two more to check out:  Reading with Pixie, which of course is my favorite because the character they most related to was Gabe, and For the Love of Fictional Worlds.

Rachel contacted the people involved with setting up the blog tour and the issue of crediting everything to Rachel alone seems to be resolved, at least somewhat.  So that's a big yay!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Some Theo Love!

Our blog roll/blog tour is really getting underway.  The reviewer Melissa Storm reviewed Song of Secrets today and said some amazing things about it: "Claiming Your Inner Power: What if Witches and Demons Really Do Exist?"

I think everyone has a favorite character or two in an ensemble cast like the one we created for Songs.  It's both one of the gifts and dangers of writing a larger cast. The danger, of course, being that if you ONLY like one of the characters, you might find yourself skimming through the rest.  The other risk is the one I always remind my students about: whomever you start with is the person that the reader is always going to feel is the main character, no matter what.  Readers are a bit like ducks: we imprint of the first images we're given.

This reviewer really loved Theo, our shape shifter/thief who starts off the book with a bang.  Theo is an awesome character and the bulk of who she is, is completely down to my collaborator, Rachel Calish.  So yay, Rachel!

The way collaboration worked for Rachel and me was that when we started (on the web project: The Unseen World), Rachel and I divided up the characters evenly. She wrote Theo and Kitty and I wrote Gabe and Erin.

But, when it came time to make the book, we both massaged, revised, and edited the whole thing.  We wanted each character to retain their distinct, unique voice, but we wanted to be absolutely sure that the whole book worked as a singular entity, with a strong sense of unity.

And, as I said, Theo starts off your reading experience so I think if you went and compared the difference between the unchanged web version and the book's first chapter, you'd get a really fascinating glimpse into the process of making something loose and fun into a publishable book.  Our process isn't perfect, of course, but first chapters are SO VITAL I think that's probably the one that stands out the most in terms of changes.  If you're interested in the writing process it might be worth it for you to buy a copy, just to compare and contrast with the web version.  ;-)

So, it may be a little selfish of me, but I hope that I can take a little credit for adding a certain something to this wonderful character.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Quirky Characters

If you're a fan of mine, you won't be surprised that the latest reviewer on the blog tour/blog roll called out the fun characters we created for Song of Secrets.

A lot of the review also focuses on the more serious issues we touched on in the book, particularly homeless youth.  Check it out, if you're so inclined.  Remember: each one of these blogs come with an opportunity to win a free copy of the book!

https://naimeless.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/song-of-secrets-how-fiction-helps-us-cope/


Please note, that because the blog tour is called Calish Couple, the reviewers are giving all of the kudos and praise to Rachel.  This was, however, a book we wrote TOGETHER.  If you feel so-inclined, I would deeply appreciate you going to one or two of these sites and letting them know how much you love my work and ask them to please edit their reviews to reflect that fact that the book they seem to enjoy so much was actually also written by me.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hey, hey... Our Blog Tour is Underway

Rachel Calish and I are on blog tour, promoting the first book in our Wayward Demons series, SONG OF SECRETS.  The tour is called the "Calish Couple" tour, but that's only because Rachel is also offering up copies of her newest, THE DEMON GABRIELLA (Bella Books), as well.



So far, the reviews have focused on Song of Secrets. Check out The Author's Storm review: "Rocking out to Song of Secrets" and today's review and contest at Natural Bri. When I went to Bri's page I noticed that they put up a fun "What's your paranormal name?" And I would be "Matrix Imp," which is actually pretty cool. (My given name would be Skull Clown, which, frankly, TERRIFIES me.)  My son and I scoured the list for the "Moon-Moon" bad luck option, and decided you'd need to have the initials S.U. to get the worst possible combination.  (Go check out the blog and see if you agree with me.)

I have to apologize again that I've been terribly behind on my Wattpad-ery.  


Monday, May 18, 2015

Starting Afresh

I've been terribly neglectful of Unjust Cause, my WIP on Wattpad. I updated today, finally, after a several month hiatus.

There a lot of reasons I let the work languish. The first and foremost is that I felt like the story had gone off the rails some time ago. It's super easy for that to happen when you're writing like this, out loud, as it were, in front of an audience. Normally, I tend to write everything away from the public eye, so, when I make mistakes or go down a rabbit hole, I can pull myself up and revise before anyone is the wiser (besides my writers' group, of course.) Not being able to do that this time stymied me. I knew it could, and, while I normally don't worry overly much about looking like an idiot in front of a crowd, this tangle fed into my general sense of failure.

Yeah, I know I'm not a failure, but as I said to someone who poked me for an update on Wattpad, Precinct 13 and its universe is a particular trigger for my... well, for lack of a better term, depression around writing. I've been on the verge of being clinically depressed, so I don't mean to use this term lightly. There should be a word for the behavior that mimics depression but isn't quite it... because that's how I sometimes get around my Tate projects. I _want_ to do them, but when I think about finishing Unjust Cause/writing an e-book or e-novella, and even when I work myself up into a bit of excitement around various ideas, when I finally sit down to write... my first impulse is to crawl under the covers and not come out.

It's very unlike me.

Normally, I'm very self-motivated. I would not have gotten as far as I have in writing if I weren't. So, I don't know why I have this block and, as I've said in numerous other posts, I've determined that this is the year I push past all that.

I wish I knew what worked. I started to type that it helps me when people ask after projects, but what's funny is that that kind of thing only works when it's STRANGERS (fans/readers/FB friends/casual acquaintances/con friends) asking. If you're my relative (or gods forbid, my wife) asking, I double-down into a weird, bitter resistance-- a very 'don't tell me what's good for me' kind of attitude.

Well, regardless, the plan is to get over THAT. So, if you're so inclined go read the newest.