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18 January 2013

A look at C.R. Richards & 'Phantom Harvest' ( @CR_Richards #FF )

Hi all! Grab a cup of tea – or whatever it is you like to drink – and join in the discussion. Today we have C.R. Richards visiting and giving us a look into her writing journey and Phantom Harvest.
* About our guest, C.R. Richards ~
* Cynthia's literary career began as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper. She wore several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. A co-author of horror and urban fantasy novels, her first solo fiction project was published by Whiskey Creek Press in 2013. Cynthia is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and lives in Colorado.
* Welcome C.R.!

* Sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone in order to take a dream to the next level. In October 2010, I realized my lifelong goal of being published. While I was thrilled to be asked to co-author a novel, I felt I was ready for the next step...seeing my own stories published. I'd spent several months working on an urban fantasy novel (Phantom Harvest). It was time to start finding it a home. That meant I had to pull on my big girl pants and start selling the idea.
* The San Francisco Writer's Conference, sponsored by Writer's Digest, was a good place to start. Several mid-sized to large literary agencies as well as editors attend each year. They come looking for fresh voices and new ideas. The networking opportunities were a nice surprise for me. I met some interesting people and ended up touring the piers with an archeologist and a professional puppeteer.
* I had signed up for the conference with one goal in mind: getting Phantom Harvest in front of agents and editors. So, I stood in line with the other nervous wrecks and waited for my chance. We had one hour to give three minute pitches to as many agents/editors as we could - speed dating for writers! I walked out with three requests from agents to see the first fifty pages of my book. The first two rejection form letters stung a bit, but I was holding out for the last literary agency who had also shown interest. When the agent's personalized rejection letter came, I was devastated. She told me the realities of the publishing industry in the kindest way she could. The agent explained in her letter that new authors are very difficult to sell to the big houses. Unless your characters are unforgettable and the big houses know your voice will be a popular seller, they can't afford to take the investment risk. I have to admit her letter shook my confidence a little.
* It was at the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition's yearly conference in San Antonio I had an epiphany. I wasn't willing to give up my dreams of being a successful author. The industry may be changing, but was that really a bad thing? Attending the conference with the electronic publishing industry's best e-publishers and authors helped me to change my definition of success. Here was a group of like-minded thinkers who were determined to succeed despite industry challenges. They shared my vision of a future where my books would be available to anyone with internet access.
* I began to search out other authors who went down their own unique road. One of my friends from EPICon told me about KillerCon, a thoroughly enjoyable horror convention in Las Vegas. Not only are these great group of folks used to walking their own road, they've made an industry out of it. I learned some valuable techniques on building suspense. Sometimes attending a conference to network and experience the fun are good enough reasons to go. I had a blast in Vegas with these folks and was able to tour the real Las Vegas with the gracious host of this blog.
* I changed my definition of success and made good friends along the way. There are many talented authors, artists and publishers out there defining their own dreams of success. My experiences meeting them guided me to a wonderful publisher who believes in my work and was willing to give me a chance. Together we'll make Phantom Harvest available everywhere the e-Publishing light touches.
~ Blurb ~
* Gideon, a half-breed mutant with a surly temper and rotten luck, struggles to scrape a living as a tracker in the desolate territory near the gateway to the human world. Business seems to be picking up when Gideon is approached by a powerful dark elf with deep pockets and a serious problem. Human miners at the dark elf's plant are being taken by an elusive predator. Gideon is pressured to find the killer before word of the disappearances reaches the human world, endangering the tense relationship between their two races. But, nothing is simple this close to the conduit between worlds. Archangel, a ruthless mercenary operating in the secret sectors of mutant society, has set his own deadly game in motion.
* Surrounded by savage wilderness and cut off from contact with civilization, Gideon must find a way to protect his friends and survive to collect his bounty.
~ Excerpt ~
* Maialen knelt before the flimsy lock on the front door. Its surface was a tarnished brass. Inside its workings, tiny metal sticks fit loosely into place. Pins, Maialen grinned. They might as well have put tape on the door. Her expert finger implants manipulated the old fashioned lock and in moments the door clicked open.
* Stale booze and thunderous snoring assaulted her senses the moment she set foot inside. Gideon was stretched across the bed, wearing only his boxers and a worn out under-shirt. In his fist was an empty bottle marked “tequila.”
* “Mr. Gideon?” She poked his naked calf with her finger. No response. Maialen moved to the other side of the bed, hoping for a better look at her unusual and reluctant new ally. Black hair fell in unruly strands across his face, hiding his eyes or any reaction to her voice. He was a big man, tall and broad, but his body remained lean despite his recreational drinking. Maialen wouldn’t label him as classically handsome, but his features were appealing.
* She was beginning to fear she’d found his dead body until a loud snore vibrated the bed. Maialen stumbled away from his head and back to her original position at his feet. He didn’t stir. Mustering her courage, Maialen pushed at his calf harder. Her incessant tapping finally paid off. Gideon stirred. His eyes blinked open and he looked over his shoulder, giving her a blurry glare.
* “Norm didn’t come back to the inn last night.” Maialen folded her arms and took a step back.
* “How did you get out of your hotel room? And how the hell did you get in here?” He grumbled.
* “Camille told me where you were staying, so I came to find you. The lock on your cottage door isn’t a very good one.” She lifted her chin and gave him the most intense, disapproving glare she could muster this early in the morning. “Did you understand me? NORM IS MISSING.”

Phantom Harvest will be available February 2013 from Whiskey Creek Press

Please feel free to visit C.R. Richards at the links below:

Thank you for joining us here today, C.R.! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.


Witchyvelvet said...

The tale of your path to publication was different from mine and interesting. I liked the introduction to your book also, it reveals enough to make me curious over what happens next. I am also published by Whiskey Creek Press.
I wish you to best of luck with your future as an auhor.
Belita Renn

Cynthia Richards said...

Thank you, Belita! I appreciate your feedback and encouragement.