Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Guest Post with Michelle West - War

Photo Content from Michelle West

Michelle writes as both Michelle Sagara and Michelle West; she is also published as Michelle Sagara West (although the Sundered books were orig­i­nally published under the name Michelle Sagara).

She lives in Toronto with her long-suffering husband and her two chil­dren, and to her regret has no dogs.

Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is some­times paid for her opin­ions about what she’s read by the vener­able Maga­zine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many book­shelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.

Remember why you started to write in the first place.

Writing for publication, writing your first novel – or selling your first novel, as many people don’t succeed with their first finished book -- is a unique experience in that life in writing. While writing my first novel, I was working full-time. I made time to write, which was always slightly challenging until I started to write during my lunch hours, I finished a book. Eventually, I sold a book.

That book was published. There’s a giddy excitement that comes from the call in which the editor says they are going to make an offer on the book. I think both editors and authors love this part. It’s special; it’s the culmination of a goal, a dream.

But as with all dreams, you can’t sleep forever. You have to wake up. Things are not wish-fulfillment magical. I was not J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. I’d worked in bookstores since I was sixteen years of age, and I’d seen books I loved vanish into the void of OPdom. I didn’t really expect that my book would fare better. I hoped, of course. But I understood that loving a book meant only that I loved the book. I could hand sell it. I could recommend it to people who were in immediate reach. And even that didn’t always make a difference.

I kept writing. I loved writing. The disappointment at the publishing success—or lack of success—was, to me, a separate issue. One is business, the other is, hmmm, vocation.

I think it’s important to both find things you love to do, and do the things you love. There’s joy in it. (This is not, perhaps, my family’s take away on the days when writing has been very, very difficult). It makes the days brighter; it diminishes the grey malaise that its so easy to slip into when you’re just putting one foot in front of the other.

Am I advocating ignorance of the business? If by writing life you mean making a living from that writing, or a career from it if you prefer, absolutely not. You don’t go an interview for a job at a bank in tank top and shorts, right? You don’t go to an interview for a programming job in a three piece suit. Every business has its quirks and its social components, things you need to know about how that business works.

I know people who have submitted stories to places they’ve never read. I don’t consider this all that smart; how do you even know that your story is suitable for that market if you haven’t read the market at all?

But the work itself, the writing itself, can be hemmed in by deadlines and contracts and business expectations—but those are not the writing itself. Know those things, yes. Understand that they’re the business of being published.

But the book? The actual writing? Keep it separate. Don’t conflate the writing with the business. Don’t conflate the actual work with the trappings that occur around it. Don’t let the inevitably business comparisons somehow define the worth of the work to you.

Also: the only truly generic advice for writing I have that I think can be applied to anyone:

When you hit that part of the book where you are certain that everything is terrible, the idea was not the brilliant idea you thought it was, and you will never, ever have a career—keep going.

It’s the ability to write through that doubt that will allow you to become that writing-life novelist, in the end.

The eighth and final book in the epic fantasy House War series closes this chapter in a beloved world of magic and political intrigue, where new threats are stirring.

When the Sleepers wake.

Once, that phrase meant: never. The Sleepers were a myth, part of a story told to children. But in truth, the Sleepers, ancient princes in the court of the Winter Queen, were imprisoned in slumber by the gods themselves—in the cold, dark ruins of the ancient city that lies buried beneath the capitol of the Empire. And that prison is fraying, at last.

They are waking.

The gods no longer walk the world. There is no power that can stand against the princes when they wake—and the city that has been Jewel’s home for her entire life will be destroyed when the Sleepers walk. There is only one person to whom they owe allegiance, only one chance to halt them before they destroy everything in their ancient rage.

But that person is the Winter Queen; she is not, and has never been mortal. Jewel carries the last of the surviving saplings that might usher in a new Summer age—but all of the roads that lead to the court of the Queen are closed.

Jewel ATerafin has faced the Oracle’s test. She has control of the prophetic powers that she once considered a curse and a burden. She will find her way to the Winter Queen, and she will ask—or beg—the Winter Queen to intervene to save her kind, her House, and everything she loves.

But she is mortal, and time has never been her friend. The demons are waiting to bar her way, bringing battle to the hidden ancient paths on which she must travel. To win, she must face the true meaning of the Oracle’s test, and risk sanity and life to make the choice that has always lurked at the heart of the firstborn’s test.

And even then, it might be too late.

You can purchase War, (The House War #8) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MICHELLE WEST for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of War (The House War #8) by Michelle West.