Archive for May, 2016

Split Feather is SOLD!

I am beyond delighted to announce that my urban fantasy, SPLIT FEATHER, has been sold to Titan Books in a two-book deal by my rockstar agent Mark Gottlieb.

Book 1 is set to be released in May 2017, most likely under a pseudonym to avoid cross-genre confusion as the first book in my epic saga, THE DRAGON’S LEGACY, is set to release April 2017.

I am very excited to continue this journey with Titan Books, and especially with my Dark Editorial Overlord Steve Saffel.

Stay tuned for updates!

Jai tu wai,

Debi

So begins THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (The Dragon’s Legacy, book 2)

The wind was born of a Twilight Lord, playing a seashell flute.  Webbed fingers strong and sure danced across the smooth shell as they had once danced across the skin of a human girl, delicate and sweet and all things good.  That girl was gone, just as the meat was gone from this shell, leaving only the memory of beauty and faint notes in the wind.  But the sea was still the same, and the song was still the same, curling round his heart thick and slow as the fog that shrouded the Sorrowful Isles.
Born of sea and sand and the cries of a wounded heart, the wind danced in rage and longing across the Sundered Sea, rousing the waves of Nar Kabdaan to wrath and ruin as they cast themselves, again and again, to die unmourned upon the heartless shores of Bizhan.  The waves were born, they struggled, they died, one after another like soldiers caught in a dream of war.
The wind was heavy with salt, and the dreams of sea-witches, and the tears of lost souls.  It struck at the jagged rocks, tore at the sharp grasses like a madman tearing at his own hair, it howled at the gates like the voices of a thousand ice wolves buried in fear, forgotten to legend, lost, lost, lost.
The howling woke the Halfkin Child, because the song of wolves round a campfire can never truly be forgotten by the children of Man.  The Child rose, he slipped from his bed and from his mother’s hearth and stumbled down the rocky path to the sea; and because he, too, could hear the howling of the wolves, could feel them singing in the shadows of his heart, the Twilight Lord put down his flute and swam to the shores of Man.  The moons were faded, half-empty and without power, but he had broken so many laws already that one more could hardly matter.
And besides, he told himself as he slipped through the water, I wrote those laws.  The Things that Dwell Beneath fled from his shadow, and the Two Sisters veiled their faces as he reared his sleek head above the waves.  The Child had nearly reached the water; so close was he that the fat little foot-prints filled with water as he passed, and glittered like abalone shells in the thin light.
The wind tore at the Veil, at weft and warp of land and magic. It tore and howled and raged just as the storm in his heart, but the moons were thin and weak, and laws older than his held it in place.

He could not pass. He could not…

But the Child could.

How I got my rockstar agent

Well do I know the angst and anxiety that go along with being an aspiring author. As I am new to publishing, myself, but have already garnered some level of success (I did just sign my second multi-volume contract in less than a year) I’d like to pay forward a bit of the excellent advice that’s floating around out here in the help-me-o’sphere. And I’ll begin near the end, by telling you how I got not just an agent, but a rockstar agent with Trident Media Group.

Nothing Left to Lose

It took a series of disasters to knock me down to rock bottom, a dogged, desperate, forget-all-wisdom commitment to drop out of life for a year or so and finally write that book I’d been dreaming of for decades, and a good friend who believed in me when I couldn’t find the courage to believe in myself, but I’d finally done it: I had finished writing THE DRAGON’S LEGACY.

A Ridiculous Book

It was a bit of a ridiculous book, even by fantasy standards. I had a 170,000-word manuscript with two prologues and an unwieldy number of point-of-view characters. I knew my book had a lot going for it, but I also knew that it would be a hard sell in today’s market. In order to get the agent I needed, I would need to master the submission process.
I needed the perfect query, a persistent mindset, and maybe a little bit of luck.

The Perfect Query

Since this book would be an exceptionally tough sell, and because I am Queen of the Scatterbrains, I first set out to understand the submission process and get my ducks in a row. I’d been stalking researching literary agents for months, making short and longer lists of agents who represented books like mine. Some of these agents wanted ten pages, some wanted ten pages and a synopsis, some wanted fifty pages, some just wanted a query. I spent a couple of weeks reverse engineering successful query letters, struggling to transform the Gordian knot I called an outline into two pages of something that made sense, writing a synopsis (I’d rather be waterboarded than write a synopsis of a 170k word count multi-pov fantasy novel ever again, thank you very much) and saving the first chapter, first three chapters, first ten pages, and so forth in separate files. Then I created a spreadsheet of agents I would love to work with, their submission requirements, books they had represented, and what they were currently looking for. I felt that it was important for me not only to be able to describe my book, but also to show that I had done my research and was taking a professional approach to writing.

A Persistent Mindset

My initial goal was simple: I would query one agent a day, using my already-assembled materials, until I reached the end of my list of dream agents, and then I would start a new list. Though it was more than a little intimidating, I started with those agents who are known to be the very best in my genre, those who represent the books I love to read. I can’t say that I honestly believed I would get such an agent, but I’d never really believed I could finish this book, either, so what the heck.

A Little Bit of Luck

One of my favorite places to write is my local bookstore-slash-café. I was getting ready to send off a second round of queries, so I stopped in for a tub o’ coffee. They were brewing a new pot, so I had about two minutes’ worth of free time, and because of this I wandered over to the magazine section and picked up the latest issue of Writer’s Digest. In that issue I found a Literary Agent Spotlight:
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/literary-agent-spotlight-mark-gottlieb-of-trident-media-group
I thought I needed a grouchy old white-haired guy with a wrinkled sweater and a basement full of musty old books. This agent was young, and new, and…holy cow, he was with Trident Media Group, which was at the very pinnacle of my wish list. There’s no way, I figured, a novice author with a weird book could ever get such an agent. But I steeled my last nerve and submitted my query letter through Trident’s site. Then I refreshed my email inbox to make sure my submission had gone through.
There, not two minutes after clicking ‘submit’, was a request for a full manuscript.
After taking a lot of deep breaths, and with shaking hands, I emailed my entire manuscript to Mark Gottlieb…
…who took the weekend off to read it…
…by Sunday afternoon, Mark had finished reading my manuscript and sent me another email, this one indicating that he would like to speak with me regarding representation.
Within four months, Mark had sold THE DRAGON’S LEGACY in a three-book-deal to Titan Books; it will be released in hardcover Spring 2017. Less than a year later, my rockstar agent sold my second book, DAUGHTER OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN, also to Steve Saffel of Titan Books in a two-book deal, also set to be released Spring 2017.
Write a good book, write a good query letter, do your homework. And dare to dream big.

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