Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Guest Post with Emmy Laybourne

Photo credit: Kit Laybourne

Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, screenwriter and former character actress. She is the author of the upcoming release BERSERKER ("You will love Emmy Laybourne's vision of an American west studded with Viking glory." - Hypable.com), as well as the MONUMENT 14 trilogy ("Frighteningly real… riveting" - NYT Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and the novel SWEET (“A gripping action-adventure survival story” – VOYA, rated Perfect Ten).

Before her life as a novelist, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies "Superstar," "The In-Laws" and "Nancy Drew," among others. Emmy lives outside New York City with her husband, two kids and a flock of 9 nifty chickens.


Series: Berserker (Book 1)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (October 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250055202
ISBN-13: 978-1250055200

Praise for BERSERKER

"Emmy Labourne deftly melds Viking lore with the American West and creates something wholly new, a journey filled with heart-pounding suspense and surprising tenderness. Loved!" Danielle Paige New York Times-bestselling author the Dorothy Must Die series

"Berserker combines the magic of Norse mythology with the thrill of the American West with staggering results. Startlingly original, unputdownable, and electrifying." Kass Morgan, author of New York Times bestseller The 100

"A completely winning, romantic, and heart-wrenching historical fantasy. Your pulse will race from page one of this rich, rugged adventure of a book." ―Alyson NoelNew York Times-bestselling author of The Immortals series

"Berserker embraces the beautiful brutality of both Viking lore and Frontier tales, and it does so without resorting to tired tropes or toxic masculinity. This is a brilliantly unexpected fusion of cowboys and old gods―intense and gritty and yet surprisingly tender―but the real strength of Emmy Laybourne's writing is that, for all their superhuman abilities, her characters are so very human." William Ritter, author of the New York Times-bestselling Jackaby series


“Simultaneously terrifying, hilarious, and action-packed, Sweet is a wild ride that holds up a warped mirror to our society. I loved it from the first line to the last.” ―Marie Lu, author of Legend and The Young Elites on Sweet

“Frighteningly real . . . Riveting.” ―The New York Times Book Review on Monument 14

“A tense, claustrophobic, and fast-paced thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review of Monument 14

“Pretty darn breathless.” ―Booklist on Sky on Fire

When I was a kid, my favorite book was Little House In the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved her descriptions of the daily life for her pioneer family. It was so different from my own. I lived in a tiny Manhattan apartment in a building full of all different kinds of kids. We ran free inside the building, but the world outside the apartment building was kind of terrifying because this was New York City in the 1970s. Laura and her family, on the other hand, lived in a little log cabin in the middle of the woods of Wisconsin in the 1870s. Her playmate was her sister, day in and day out, and she had a corncob doll that was just a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief, for goodness sake. The details of our lives could not have been more different, but our inner lives were the so alike. Laura tried to be good, and I tried to be good. Laura struggled with jealousy and crabbiness and laziness, so did I. Laura wanted to please her parents, and I wanted to please my parents, too. She idolized her bearded father and I loved mine just as fiercely, though my Dad cut off his beard eventually, much to my dismay.

That book and the others in the series painted a picture of a good world; a world where kids were safe and where Pa was strong and wise, and Ma was loving and gentle. I truly believe those images are important for young children to have. As a city kid, I found the descriptions of nature to be therapeutic. I was fascinated by how they did every little thing, from making butter (so quaint), to sewing quilts (so impressive), to butchering hogs (so terrifying!).

In fact, I loved this time period so much that I decided to write a whole trilogy set in it! My new book Berserker is of course, nothing like the Little house series. It’s an fantasy action adventure book in which a group of Norwegian siblings with ancient Viking superpowers try to cross Montana during blizzard season. But if you look closely, you’ll see that the main characher is one who deeply wants to be good. Just like Laura, and just like me.

I hope you’ll read Berserker and let me know what you think. Thanks to Jean for having me here! Goodbye, book nerds!

1. Write until you hit "the end.” There's nothing like completing a project to build your confidence.

2. Read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It is a fabulous book on story structure and the rules in it apply to all forms of story although the book was written originally for screenwriters. I’m a big believer in knowing the shape of the story you want to write. I say, write it down in a good, detailed outline, but if that’s not your style, at least know the shape of the animal you are trying to capture.

3. Get into a routine so that you're sitting down to write at the same time every day. If you sit down to write every day at the same time, it's almost like inviting the characters in your manuscript to a party. They know they're supposed to show up and do stuff and take risks and have adventures. They will really show up! You'll find that every day as you go aaround your daily routine, eating lunch and getting the mail and whatever it is you need to do, you’ll be having ideas about your characters. They'll stay alive in your subconscious. They'll be working things out. They'll be whispering things in your ear. Then, you go to your computer in the morning and the story will be all built up inside you, ready to go.

4. You cannot write and edit at the same time. You cannot expect your imagination to open up and produce if you have an inner critic standing by to smash it on the head with a hammer of NO. It's like trying to drive a car with your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time. The car won't drive. Write first. Write until you hit the end. Then edit.

5. Read a ton. Seriously. And try to read broadly, outside your favorite genres. If you come across something you don’t like, study it. Why did it fail to grab you?

6. Try using music to set the mood when you're writing. It's incredibly helpful to write to a song that helps you hold the tone of the scene you are working on. Many authors, myself included, maintain extensive writing playlists on Spotify. Check us out! Soundtrack channels are also great, too.

7. Use color. Go to the paint chip aisle at the hardware store and try to find the perfect color for each of your characters. It’s really remarkably fun! You'll just be drawn to the color. Once you’ve assembled the whole cast, look at them together. It will really give you insight into how those characters are relating to each other. Is there enough drama between the colors of your two love interests? Is there enough tension between the antagonist’s color and the color of the protagonist? Are they too much alike?

8. Here’s something nice to do for yourself when it comes time to edit. Print out the draft on 3 hole punch paper. Buy yourself a really good mechanical pencil -- I favor the Pentel Twist Eraser III. Then put the draft into a nice three-ring binder. Looks good, right? Now go out and sit in a cafĂ© and edit your heart out. Show that manuscript off. Tell the barista you’ve written a book, or a screenplay, or a poetry collection -- whatever it is. Be proud of the fact that you've written all of those pages. That is a huge accomplishment.

9. This is from my screenwriting days -- When editing it's smart to look at each character's dialogue. Each character should sound different from everyone else. Use your word processor’s search function to go through the whole manuscript and find each character’s dialogue. Make sure that their inner world is being reflected in what they say.

10. Write something that you would want to read. That's really my biggest piece of advice. It's daunting when you're a writer because you put work out into the world and then people feel free to criticize it. Boy, do they ever! Some people even enjoy cutting other people’s work down. (I know it does not shock you to hear this.) The only inoculation against that kind of negativity is to write something that you sincerely would enjoy reading. If you’ve done that, then people can say what they want, you stayed true to yourself. I write what I think is thrilling. exciting, romantic, thrilling, You can’t write for your English professor, or for what you think an agent would want to read, or what you imagine might sell, or even what your friends would like to read. Write to your own tastes. Thrilling, exciting, dangerous? Romantic, sentimental, moving? Creepy, scary, terrifying? Awesome. Whatever you love, write that.

Are Hanne's powers a gift from the old Norse gods, or a curse?

Her brother Stieg swears their powers are a gift from the old gods, but Hanne Hemstad knows she is truly cursed. It's not Stieg's fault that their father is dead, their mother has left, and their brother Knut has been accused of a crime he didn't commit.

No, the fault lies with Hanne and her inability to control her murderous "gift"--she is a Berserker. When someone she loves is threatened, she flies into a killing state. The siblings must leave Norway for the American frontier or risk being brought to justice.

Aided by a young cowboy who agrees to be their guide, Hanne and her siblings use their powers to survive the perilous trail, where blizzards, wild animals, and vicious bounty hunters await.

Will they be able to reach their uncle, the one man Hanne believes may be able to teach her how to control her drive to kill? With Berserker, Emmy Laybourne, the author of Monument 14, presents her vision of an American west studded with Viking glory.

You can purchase Berserker at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you EMMY LAYBOURNE for making this giveaway possible.
4 Winners will receive a Copy of BERSERKER by Emmy Laybourne..
OCTOBER 9th MONDAY Here's to Happy Endings SPOTLIGHT
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OCTOBER 13th FRIDAY Metaphors and Moonlight REVIEW

OCTOBER 16th MONDAY Bookish Lifestyle REVIEW
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