The Many Ways to Skin a Cat | Introducing Patti Larsen

Upcoming Blog Series: Researching the many ways “to skin a cat” in publishing

Over the next few weeks I am going to be looking at all the ways “to skin a cat” in publishing. I am going to interview and feature guest posts with different authors from different publishing options. So if, like me, you are at that painful and exciting point of trying to make the most informed choice…stick around and watch this space. Perhaps one of the options will stand out for you and perhaps one of these authors that I interview or who guest-post will inspire you down the same path.

I am coming at this with a completely open mind and non-judgmental attitude. I am doing this series as much to get more information for myself and educate myself as I am any reader whom finds this interesting or useful.

Open Call

Also if you want to be one of the authors to be interviewed or guest post on this topic in this series, please shout out.

*My Guarantee: No Cats will be harmed or skinned in the writing of this series!*

😼   😼   😼   😼   😼

Today I have the great pleasure to kick off this series of “The Many ways to skin a cat” Talking Publishing options with a prolific YA Author and one of my closest friends and writing mentors: Patti Larsen

Patti Larsen is a YA author with 15 books published. Her readers love her and other authors respect her. She is an author first and foremost and writing is her business.

So pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable as Patti talks about her business, the business of writing and publishing, with me on Dragonfly Scrolls.

 

1. Patti, you have made yourself a well-known and well-regarded name amongst Indie authors & YA authors. Can you tell us what “being Indie” means to you?

Patti >> Being an independent author/publisher means I’m able to be my own boss, just how I like it. There was a time when having a publisher (and I’ve signed with two in the past) was the best thing in the world, the core of the dream I’d been longing for my whole life. But times are changing and my inner entrepreneur (I’ve owned three businesses) just couldn’t tolerate not having the reins in my hands. I’m the type of person who has to try every single job in a profession in order to understand that profession, and working with a publisher simply didn’t give me that flexibility. I like to get my hands dirty as well as know exactly what’s happening day in, day out, with my business–from sales to pricing, marketing to production, cover design, editing, you name it. I often found myself in the dark and waiting on one publisher (I’ve now parted ways with the company) for even the most basic answers. The realization I had lost control, that signing away my rights meant I no longer had the ability to see how the process advanced, I put on the submission brakes and dove back into what I love–being a writer AND a businesswoman. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

2. Nowadays there are so many options for authors but the sheer amount of publishing options can create confusion. Why did you decide to go the pure Indie route of self-publishing?

Patti >> Think of it this way: you can have a boss (traditional publishing) who assigns you work and gives you a paycheck based on what they think you’re worth at the end of every quarter(if that frequently), with no transparency on accuracy of profit reporting and no input into how your work (cover design, final edits) is produced. All while expecting you to do the majority of the marketing, relying on you for the success of the work while keeping the majority of the profit. Or you can open your own small business (indie publishing) and take the project on yourself, hire a team of professionals to come together as a partnership, ensuring the final product is exactly what you wanted. Track day by day the amount of money you’re making and keep the profit for yourself, minus expenses. I’m not bashing traditional publishing. For some people, the first scenario is what they are looking for. And that’s okay. But to me it’s a no brainer.

3. You hear of authors switching methods of publication from seeking traditional representation from agents & the Big6 to small press to self-publishing. Did you try any other route in publishing before settling on self-publishing and can you tell us what these routes were?

Patti >> Settling seems like a harsh word. I feel now like had I signed a large contract, that would have been settling. None of us are immune to the call of the dream, however: write a best seller, find the perfect agent who signs you with the big publisher for the seven figure advance and everyone lives happily ever after in a nirvana of creativity and public accolades. It’s been thrown in our faces over and over again as the only way to be successful. Thank goodness the lie of the dream is finally being challenged. I spent years querying and submitting to agents and publishers, signing with two separate presses. I’m so glad it happened that way first–had I signed with the Big 6, after all I’ve learned, it would have been like selling my soul.

4. On the converse side of the debate, are you a dyed-in-the-wool Indie author or would you ever consider the lure of a Big6 publishing contract?

Patti >> They would have to change their model drastically for me to consider it. Drastically. For instance, I’d need full transparency on all financial matters. They would have to prove to me the value of publishing with them beyond putting my books in brick and mortar stores. That’s my new rule of thumb–what can you do for me I can’t do for myself? 99% of the time, the answer is nothing. As things stand now, I would turn them down. I’m a highly prolific author with a structured release schedule. Having to veer from that because of their demands or being forced to go from publishing two books a month to one a year would simply not work for me. And since most publishing contracts (especially coming out of New York) now require a non-compete clause (meaning I’d be unable to publish on my own while under contract), that would put a serious damper on my schedule. There are a number of other reasons, but mostly because I’m a businesswoman and see the pure benefits of being in charge. Besides, signing a contract and receiving an advance doesn’t mean anything until you earn out that advance. I recently read of an indie author who is being forced to pay back his sizeable advance to his publisher because of low sales. No thank you!

5. What would you say is the most important piece of advice you were given in your dream to become a published author?

Patti >> I hate to beat a dead horse… my dear friend and incredibly talented writer, Joseph Paul Haines, (www.josephpaulhaines.com) was the one who broke the last thread of control the dream had over me. We butted heads over the issue at first, me the champion of traditional publishing and he the level-headed voice of reason. He finally asked me what the hell I, a capable and seasoned businesswoman, was thinking (it still makes me laugh). I will be forever grateful to him. 

6. Being Indie means that you have to be your own Marketing guru and Public Relations expert, what have you learnt about marketing your own books as an Indie Author?

Patti >> This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A career. Like any business, it takes time to grow. We’re actually in an enviable position as writers/entrepreneurs. With the connectiveness of the world through the internet, building our business is much easier than ever. Bear in mind, most small business don’t see a profit for up to five years. Meanwhile, I’ve been selling independently for eight months and I’ve made back my investments already. Am I typical? No, I know I’m not. But the other side of the equation is production. Dean Wesley Smith, (www.deanwesleysmith.com) an advocate of indie publishing, himself the author of over 100 novels and a veteran of the publishing industry, puts it like this: think of your business like a bakery. If you make awesome cookies, fantastic. People will rush out to buy those cookies. But if you only have one kind to offer, eventually folks will get sick of them and you’ll lose business. But, if you have a fully stocked store with new merchandise available all the time, your customers will keep coming back over and over again. He’s so right. When I do a special promotion of one of my novels, I see a wonderful upswing in sales of that book–but I also see an equal rise in sequel sales. Meaning I’m not just benefiting from one book, but many. Readers then peruse my store for more goodies, driving up sales of my other series. The more you have to sell, the more money you make. It’s simple math. So many writers put all of their time and effort into marketing one book. And while it works for some, the majority come out disappointed. Marketing is important–but if you don’t have much for sale, you’ve pretty much thrown your efforts out the window.

7. Everyone keeps on about the importance of developing “your own brand” as an author. Do you agree and how have you built “your own brand”?

Patti >> Yes, I agree with branding, though I know for some it’s a dirty word. As authors, we’re notorious for being introverts who hate coming out into the sunlight except for book signings and grocery shopping (and both begrudged!). I’m fortunate in that I’ve had a lifetime of performance experience, so I’m very comfortable and even welcome media attention and the connections that come from networking with readers and other authors. I make sure to use the same bio image for all of my sites, promos and posts, as well as on the backs of my books. My flagship series, The Hayle Coven Novels, has a very distinctive look, allowing me to use the imagery as an easily recognizable symbol representing me and my writing. I guest post as frequently as possible and am always available to other writers as a helping hand as well as doing frequent giveaways to readers. And I’m everywhere I need to be as often as I can be, at least virtually, from Facebook to Twitter, Goodreads and my Amazon author page as well as many other sites like LinkedIn and Pinterest. I if you’re just getting started branding, I highly suggest you not overwhelm yourself with a million different sites. Pick one, get really comfortable with it, then add another. First and foremost is a webpage/blog. Second is Facebook. Third Twitter. And so on. Don’t frustrate yourself by taking on too much at one time. Remember what I said? This isn’t a sprint. You’ve loads of time to build yourself and your books into a visible presence.

8. Nowadays the world is a smaller place through social media and the internet. How important a tool do you believe social media is to an author today and what tips would you give an author in how to use it effectively?

Patti >> My biggest tip? Don’t use social media as a sales avenue. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but think about the name: social media. It’s a place to connect with people, not sell them things. A place to make friends from around the world, not annoy the ones you already have with BUY MY BOOK. The only times I post my books on social media are A) when I have a new one released. I alert everyone once, on all networks. And B) when I’m doing a freebee or giveaway. The rest of my status updates are either links to other people’s free books, witty (I try anyway) stuff I think might make people laugh (I’m sure I’m way less amusing than I think I am), one-time shares of blogs I’m guest posting on and occasional updates on how my writing is going. I do have a Facebook fan page: this is where I update folks on book progress, cover reveals and all things Patti Larsen Books. But again, I don’t overload them with marketing. I offer a page where they can find links to all of my books. And on my webpage, instead of pushing sales, I offer an Amazon trailing widget (www.pattilarsen.com) that scrolls my books past you on the top of the page with clickable links to each novel. The best way to market your books is to be accessible, friendly, open and willing to help others. Making connections with people, friends even, comes first and foremost. Because when you do, they automatically jump on your bandwagon when the time comes to sell more books. Please don’t get me wrong–I don’t see my online friends as tools, not in the least. Our relationships come first. But I’m happy to know they think enough of me to pimp me out.

9. What would you say has been the biggest learning curve for you in Indie Publishing, and would you say the greatest challenge was the publishing aspect or the marketing aspect?

Patti >> This is such a huge question. The learning curve has been enormous and I’m still at it (and always will be). In fact, it’s had such a huge impact on me, I’ve created a course on the subject, which I’m teaching more and more frequently. That said, I love a challenge, so this evolution has been the most fun I’ve ever had. If I had to choose one thing that was the hardest, marketing would be it. Not because it’s hard, but because there is so much conflicting advice on the subject and every book requires a different approach. Trial and error, experimentation rather than sticking to one method has served me well, though I feel like I’ve finally found a good promotion strategy for myself. But even that is ebbing and changing all the time! Best advice? Have fun with it, seriously. Don’t look at it like a job (this goes for social media and building your brand, too!) or a drudgery. This is an awesome part of the process that should leave you happy.

10. Considering the question of editing, how important do you think it is that all books (Indie or Big6) be edited professionally?

Patti >> I can’t stress enough how important a good editor is. If you find one (I guard mine jealously and hope she never, ever leaves me) do the dance of joy. You’ve just found a partner who will help you take your work above and beyond, into a place of greatness. Always, always, always (did I say it enough times?) put out your very best work and only your very best work. And an excellent editor is a vital component to that end. How do you find one? Start auditioning them. I know having a few edit your first chapter won’t help you know if they are good at content edits or not, but you’ll at least see how fast they are, their take on grammar (so important!!) and how comfortable you are with them. Ask around as well, to other Indie authors. Many great editors are leaving publishers to freelance. But be cautious: there are more bad editors out there (with good intentions, don’t get me wrong!) who don’t really understand what you need than there are good ones. Choose wisely!

11. If you have a Big 6 contract and/or an agent – you have project deadlines to keep you motivated to finish that draft and keep you from procrastinating. How do you, as an Indie author, keep yourself motivated to keep finishing those drafts?

Patti >> I’m a very structured and organized person. I track my progress daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly. I know what my plan is well in advance, balancing cover design delivery with editing on the last book while I write the next one, etc. Without a plan, if you don’t treat writing as a career, it’s easy to fall into the procrastination pit and not get anything done. Trust me, I have my days. But I also have very firm goals and readers to please, so I have to focus. It helps I love what I do so much I can hardly stand it. This is what I’ve always wanted, ever since I was twelve years old. And while life can get in the way of my passion, there’s no silencing the voices.

12. If an unpublished writer came to you to get advice on whether they should go the Indie route or a more Traditional route in publishing, what 3 tips would you give that writer?

Patti >>

  1. One: Do your research. Check out The Passive Voice (www.thepassivevoice.com), a legal eagle blog that dissects contracts into human terms, as well as Dean Wesley Smith and his wife, Kristine Katherine Rusch (www.kriswrites.com). Both have been in the industry for years and years, been publishers themselves, have had Bix 6 deals and have independently published. They know their stuff.
  2. Two: Ask yourself–what can a publisher do for me I can’t do for myself? Right now, the only things are a) free editing (but bear in mind you then have no control over that editing–they get what they want, not the other way around), b) free cover design (see previous) and c) placement in brick and mortar stores. Is that worth 90% (in the case of the Big 6) of your royalties? Not to mention the 15% your agent will take from that measly 10% you receive once or twice a year with no idea if your publisher is tracking and reporting your sales correctly (I’m not blowing smoke, here. There’s an inquiry happening right now on just this issue, involving ebook reporting).
  3. Three: Decision time. Are you the type of person willing to put in the work necessary to make this happen? I’m in the enviable position that this is my full-time job. And yes, I work hard at it–but that’s why I’m doing so well. Effort out, success in, like with anything. But many people are succeeding while working full-time. So, are you excited about doing it yourself but a little scared/daunted? Then go for it. If, however, you’d rather just write and have everything done for you, traditional publishing is your way to go.

Patti, thank you for your time and your advice. I especially love “This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A career. Like any business, it takes time to grow. We’re actually in an enviable position as writers/entrepreneurs. With the connectiveness of the world through the internet, building our business is much easier than ever. ” I could not agree more. This is a marathon and us writers are in it for the long term. This is also our business. It’s serious. You gave some really great tips and gave us all a great peek into the world of publishing Indie-style. Definite food for thought there. ~ Kim

 

Author Notes

Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, started it all, released in August, 2011. The first four books of The Hayle Coven Novels, Family Magic, Witch Hunt, Demon Child and The Wild are also out now, with book five, The Long Lost, due for release this May. Her YA steampunk series, Blood and Gold, can be found on Amazon along with The Diamond City Trilogy. Her YA paranormal novel, Best Friends Forever, is also due in May along with more of the Hayle Coven Novels. Two of her books, Family Magic (Hayle Coven #1) and Run (The Hunted #1) were recently shortlisted for the PEI Book Awards. Patti is a full-time writer and a part-time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.

 

You can find her:

XOXOXO thank you 🙂

‘Twas the night before Christmas, the last night of #Creepfest…Patti Larsen creeps in covered in Red

Click on the Creepmas tree to take you to more creepy posts on the blog tour...Hurry! There are Prizes!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap….

Hold that thought…

Nope….wrong 12 days…

You have just arrived on the 12th day of CREEPFEST…

Yes! Readers I am afraid we have reached the last day of Creepfest…

(Moans and groans ensue…)

Wait this means you have 1 day to creep to all the wicked minds on this hop…

Click on the Christmas tree above and it will take you to a world of Creepfest…

Don’t go too far…because coming up I will be announcing the 2 winners of my reader challenge…Watch this space

“Twas the last night of Creepfest

when all through the Bloggosphere

creatures were stirring, children knew to fear

the voodoo dolls were pinned with scare

In dread that soon Patti Larsen would creep in there…

Run…she’s coming…scaring children is what she does best…”

Patti: “I love fairy tale villains. I really do. In fact, part of me wishes they could win, now and then…

My favorite of all? The Big Bad Wolf. The poor guy, I mean really. He’s the Wile E Coyote of the story realm, isn’t he? First it was those stupid pigs. Come on, people–pigs are FOOD. He was just doing what comes naturally. And he was hungry. Hell, I had pork for dinner last night. Does that qualify me in the BBW category?

Then there was that stupid little girl in the red hood. Talk about an idiot. Everyone knows going out in the woods alone with a basket full of food makes you a target. Sheesh. Grow up, kid. And the Wolf, well, he knew the Huntsman was on his trail, right? It’s not his fault Granny died of a heart attack when he tried to hide in her house. That little brat of hers told her own story, though, didn’t she? Made BBW look, well, big and bad.

And what about the boy who cried wolf? Trying to get BBW into trouble like that? Kids have no sense these days, nasty little bullies. He had to know it would just add to BBW’s already degraded reputation.

Yup, poor Biggie. He’s had it rough. But I aim to change all that. My upcoming novel, Red, tells the story as it really happened, as he partners up with Riding Hood to destroy the Huntsman, the real culprit of the story. Maybe then folks will start showing BBW a little respect.”

 

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. Books one and two of The Hayle Coven series, Family Magic and Witch hunt are also out now, with the sequels, Demon Child and The Wild, due in December of this year. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.

You can find her:

On her website: http://pattilarsen.com

On Facebook: http://facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor

Her writing blog: http://pattilarsen.blogspot.com

Her book blog: http://pattilarsenbooks.blogspot.com

On Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/PattiLarsen

On Amazon.com and Goodreads

Thanks Patti…Red sounds Amazing…I know we all look forward to its release. Don’t keep us waiting too long. Thank you for that first little glimpse on this last night of Creepfest…It has been a pleasure hopping with you this Creepfest! Wishing you a happy last night of Creepfest and a Merry Scary Christmas…  🙂

Hunting for the Truth | Interview with Reid | Patti Larsen

We Are Hunted

Kids are going missing. We see the posters everywhere. The kids from happy families are the ones with posters up and rewards are offered. But what about all those faceless kids lost in the system. The street kids, foster kids and orphans. Who misses them? Who notices that they have gone missing too? Where are these missing kids? Why aren’t we asking more questions? Enough is Enough. One brave woman asked too many questions and she went searching for answers. Her name is Patti Larsen. She was one of the people who started asking questions about the faceless kids, the ones nobody had wanted in the first place. She got in contact with one of these missing kids. Through covert meetings and phone calls he told her his incredible story. When I first read the four accounts of the horrors that are happening to kids, my heart jerked in terror. I also wanted to meet this faceless kid, an orphan, who had such a harrowing story to tell. Patti thought it would be a good idea for the kids to tell their side of the story. It is time for us to put faces and names to these lost children. It might be late for some but it might just be in the nick of time for other lost children.
Patti:
Yeah, he’d rather stay in the dark anyway…
Wants to know if you’re a reporter…
Trying to tell him this is about his story but he’s a little freaked.
Kim:
No….I am sort of a investigator…a seeker of truth.
Too many kids have been going missing and I am asking questions.
Reid:
Yeah, I know all about that.
Kim:
I am on the kids’ side.
Reid:
What do you want to know?
Kim:
Hi Reid…can I call you Reid?
My name is Kim.
Reid:
That’s my name.
Hi.
Kim:
So Reid….I have been really concerned…and I am not the only adult who is….some kids are going missing…it seems without a trace.
Patti told me I should get in touch with you.
Reid:
I’m trusting you. But only so far. Okay? You have to understand what we’ve been through.
Kim:
Can you tell me…firstly…are you with some of these kids? How long have you been missing for?
I cannot even imagine what you have been through.
Reid:
We’re in a safe place now. I can’t tell you where. And don’t bother tracking the IP address.
Yes, I’m with some survivors.
Kim:
Ok…good…so there are survivors….but then…that means there are some who didn’t survive? Is that correct?
Reid:
Yes.
A lot…
Who didn’t make it…
Kim:
Oh No! That was my worst fear!
Reid…do you know who is behind this?
Reid:
I’m not supposed to talk about it. But… damn it, people need to know. And understand.
It was a government program…
Kim:
Well let me help you get your story out there…
Reid:
Through the military…
Kim:
I am all ears…
Reid:
This crazy scientist. Dr. Kirstin Lund. She was doing experiments on animals, creating super creatures or something, decided to start testing on humans.
I guess she figured orphans–foster kids–were the most disposable.
Kim:
Like you?
Reid:
Hired this guy, Syracuse, to round up kids.
Yeah. Like me.
The cops, they figure we just ran away, you know?
Kim:
Reid….do you mind if I take notes? Should have asked you before?
Reid:
Yeah, go ahead
Drew told me you’re not tracking this.
Sorry to check up on you but we can’t be too careful.
Kim:
No I am not.
Please go ahead…I have nothing to hide…you can trust me….and I know that is difficult for you right now.
Reid:
It’s not so bad anymore. We’re okay. Trying to forget. But, it’s hard.
Kim:
Well…I have been investigating this for a couple of weeks now….the officials have been telling us that all you kids were runaways and since you were troubled kids…you probably ran away to join a gang or something.
Reid:
That is crap.
They really don’t give a shit about us, Kim.
They never did.
Kim:
I am beginning to see this Reid.
Reid:
And it’s not like this program wasn’t sanctioned.
They had a military base.
Kim:
Reid…can you tell me how many survivors there are now?
Reid:
One of the guys–Marcus–his Dad was the commander.
Kim:
Oh that is terrible!
Reid:
Eight and Minnie – she’s my lab
Kim:
Eight including you?
Reid:
Yes.
Kim:
Are you all roughly the same age?
Reid:
Well, the youngest is thirteen–hang on, let me ask.
Kim:
Ok.
Reid:
Yeah, Cole is thirteen and Marcus is eighteen so that’s the range.
They’re all here you know.
They want to know what this is about.
Kim:
Can you give me the names of the survivors? It is better for me to be able to make people realise you are just kids and knowing your names will help…you are not faceless then.
Reid:
Let me ask…
Kim:
Ok
Reid:
Milo’s pissed because I counted wrong and he thinks I missed him on purpose. LOL
Kim:
You can tell them all I am here to get the truth out…your truth? Enough is enough!
Reid:
So nine: Me, Leila, Drew, Kieran, Nishka, Sarah, Milo, Cole, Marcus and Minnie.
Kim:
Ok and where are you all from?
Reid:
I’m from Arizona.
Drew’s from NY state.
Leila’s from Cali.
Marcus says he’s from nowhere–army brat.
Kieran is from Ohio.
Nishka from Maine.
Milo’s from South Philly he says.
Cole is from Seattle.
Kim:
Ok…so all from the US?
Reid:
Yeah…
Sarah’s from New York too.
Kim:
Reid…I think this is bigger than just the US though….
Reid:
Why?
Kim:
Kids have been going missing from Mexico and lower Canada.
Reid:
There wasn’t really a whole lot of time to ask where people were from, you know?
Kim:
Which is why I am here asking questions….it has been making international news.
Yeah I get that.
Reid:
Barely had time to ask names…
Kim:
How long have you been hiding? on the run?
Reid:
Since June.
Kim:
What is the last thing you remember that was normal?
Reid:
My mom and dad alive. Nothing was normal after that
Foster homes for a year.
Kim:
But you have a sister…I have spoken to her…
Reid:
We made a new normal.
WHEN???????????????????
Kim:
About a month ago.
Reid:
Oh.
Kim:
I interviewed her, as one of the family members…
Reid:
Well… What did she say?
Kim:
She said that you were troubled since your parents died…..
She thinks you ran away.
Reid:
Maybe if she wasn’t sleeping with the guy who got me into this–
Whatever…She had no idea if I was troubled or not.
Kim:
Reid…something did not gel with me when she told me her story…
Reid:
She never even tried to contact me the whole year after Mom and Dad died until the day she got me out of foster care.
Kim:
She just did not seem that worried….I mean I have a younger brother and if he went missing I would go after him.
Reid:
It was her fault…She told her boss/boyfriend about me…I didnt’ know at the time.
Kim:
This guy…she is together with…is this Syracuse?
Reid:
WAS Syracuse…Guess she didn’t tell you she killed him.
Kim:
Was? No!
Reid:
Almost got away with it…
Kim:
Reid … what is Marcus’ dad’s name?
Reid:
Colonel Brackett.
Kim:
Right…so the suspects are: Dr Kirsten Lund, Colonel Brackett and this Syracuse fellow – who is now dead…as well as your sister Lucy?
Reid:
Yes. She was part of it for sure.
Brackett worked for Lund. So did Syracuse. One was her collector the other her bully but she was the core of the whole thing: She made the stuff that turned kids into monsters.
Kim:
What sort of monsters?
Reid:
The hunters.
Kim:
Hunters? Men with guns?
Reid:
Not exactly….
Okay, so we’re getting to the stuff that you’re going to judge us for.
Kim:
Only tell me what you think is necessary Reid.
Reid:
Dr. Lund was running this secret program to create super soldiers…
She developed this stuff that turned normal kids into these hybrid creatures
silver eyes, shark teeth, claws — you get the picture?
Thing is… The stuff made us into monsters…bloodthirsty. So when under the influence so to speak, the kids became bloodthirsty…hunted other kids…
Kim:
So that would make it appear that you are the guilty ones….cunning evil plan by this Dr Lund.
Reid:
Yeah.
Yeah totally…like we were the bad guys.
Kim:
Are you still under the influence of this experiment?
Reid:
um… I don’t know how to answer that
I mean, we’re all changed.
But we don’t take dust anymore. Unless there’s a mission…
Kim:
Ok…so the changes are permanent? They don’t wear off?
Reid:
Our senses are different, like hyper…
Eventually they don’t…if you take enough and Dr. Lund changed the formula
she said we were immortal but we’ll see… I don’t really believe her…
But we’re not bloodthirsty or anything, not dangerous.
Kim:
This Dr Lund? Is she still alive? Where is she?
Reid:
Unless you’re our enemy…
She’s dead.
Kim:
And Colonel Brackett?
Reid:
Dead.
Kim:
But there will still be people who know about this…their soldiers and helpers?
Reid:
No, not really–well sorta.
There was a general who came to clean up the mess but everyone who was responsible is no longer able to stand trial, you know?
(Trying to be subtle.)
Kim:
Yes I understand…but Reid if you kids are all changed, it also means it is not safe for you to come forward.
Reid:
No.
Kim:
Is that the sum of it?
Reid:
That’s why I was (we were Drew made me type) worried about this.
But people need to know!
‘Cause if it gets out, they’ll think we’re monsters…and we’re not…not anymore.
Kim:
OK…Could you tell me this? Do you think this is still going on? Maybe that we don’t know about?
Reid:
I… we never thought about that…
Lund is dead so we figured…
Drew wants me to ask you why you’re asking?
Kim:
Reid….kids are still going missing…
Reid:
I…from here?
Kim:
Yes
Reid:
The US?
Kim:
Yes and other places.
Reid:
I’ll ask–I have someone I can check with…but I don’t know how it could be… not with Lund dead.
We’d have to do something about that!
Kim:
That’s why I am talking to you.
I am going to do something about it…and I have people I trust who are going to help me.
Reid:
If there is more going on, this is your only warning:
Stay out of our way!
Kim:
Reid…you need to promise me that you kids will stay in hiding? Don’t tell me or anyone where you are…
Reid:
We’ll do what we have to if this is still going on!
Kim:
But I will give you an email address that you can contact me on.
Reid:
We ALL agree!
Okay.
Kim:
Reid…is there anything you kids need … anything at all?
Reid:
No. We have everything we need.
Thanks for asking and for telling me about the other kids.
Kim:
OK…..then the last question is: is there anything any of you want to say to the world? Tell me now and I will be your mouthpiece.
Reid:
I’m not so great with words… hang on, Leila wants to answer this…
Leila:
Hi, Kim. We just want everyone to know that we’re real. We exist. We’re not evil or monsters, that we may be foster kids but we’re not disposable. And we’re not dangerous. We just want to live our lives and not hurt anyone ever again. That’s all. Thank you for your kindness. Leila..
Reid:
Okay, she’s done.
Kim:
Ok…Leila, Reid and everyone else I will get the truth out there….
Trust me.
Reid:
Just be careful…if you’re poking around there’re going to be consequences.
Kim:
I will…I don’t trust just anyone….I have been trained to take care of myself…
Reid:
Listen, if a guy named Aberdeen knocks on your door? Go with him – don’t hesitate, it means you’re in danger…
Okay?
Kim:
Ok…Aberdeen…I will remember that.
Reid…I have got to go now..in case anyone else is trying to track this…I have it pretty heavily encrypted but you never know…
Reid:
Okay. Um…Thanks.
Kim:
Contact me if you need to…anytime…any day ok.
Reid:
I will.
We will.
Kim:
And thank you for trusting me…and telling me the true story behind all your kids’ stories….
Please take care of one another. Be safe.
Reid:
Just get it right!
Bye.
Kim:
I will.
Bye.
Ok…..Patti…done
Patti:
WHEW!
That was intense!
Kim:
Not so bad…
That was intense.
Patti:
The kids were right here with me.
Kim:
Its’s going to be a good story…
Well the kids were brilliant…I thought it would be a good idea to get their story…in their words…
It is time for the truth to be told.
All four books are now available on Amazon. If you want to read more of Reid, Drew and the others’ story get your copies now. It is a story that needs to be read and shared. The order of this harrowing series are:
Patti Larsen | In the Spotlight | Run or Hide (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
Run | Patti Larsen | This year’s Next YA Amazon Hit (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
Night Terrors in Patti Larsen’s Mind (kimkoning.wordpress.com)

 

Night Terrors in Patti Larsen’s Mind

This week I am writing about things that scare me and why scary things are so irresistible. So today’s guest blogger was the perfect choice to slot in this week’s theme of all things scary. If you have read any of this author’s work, you will be surprised to find out that she is actually terrified of the dark and all the creatures that it hides. This author’s tales give me the heebie jeebies but still I come back begging for more. So what scares Patti Larsen? Let’s find out.

Writing Horror When You’re Scared of the Dark

You’re laughing at the title, aren’t you? Fair enough. I didn’t set out to write thrillers, let alone horror. But my muse, the voices, whatever term you wish to give authorly inspiration, has led me down a dark path the last little while. Yes, I’m still writing my YA paranormal fun stuff with lots of adventure and sarcasm. And my middle grade work is all action adventure, just how I like it. 

But there are story lines crawling forth from the black, creeping out of my closet, sliding free from under the bed… and I’m honestly having trouble sleeping.

We have a nightlight in the hall outside my bedroom door. I kid you not. My husband thinks it’s so I won’t trip on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He has no idea I use it to keep an eye out for whatever my over-active imagination seems to be stirring free.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m just writing this to give you a bit of a chill? Um, no. I wish. And while I’d never classify myself as a coward, I hate the dark.

I finally let it out in my work, thinking writing about it would ease the fear somewhat. Like popping a blister or pulling a band aid free. Figured the first truly horrifying work that came to me was my psyche’s way of dealing with some here-to forgotten trauma. That penning fearful prose would ease the anxiety I get when I switch out the light and dive for the safety of the covers.

Wrong. It’s made it worse, in some ways. Now I’m writing about voodoo dolls and bones buried in cursed ground that rise to torment the living, dark creatures that hunt and kill for sport when they aren’t feeding on fresh livers and still-hot blood. A boy with horrid powers of control over others who devolves so deeply he forces an entire town to build a throne in his honor out of the bones of their dead.

Shudder.

I’m hoping this is a phase. That my compulsion to write this stuff will eventually dry and up go away in favor of butterflies and sparkly unicorns. Trouble is, every time I think that might be the case, the butterflies grow fangs and claws and attack the unicorns. They end up gutted, blood pooled beneath them, staining their polished white coats the deepest crimson, while their entrails curl in greasy ropes around their shining and delicate hooves. Can you hear it? The final beating of their precious hearts?

Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba. Dum.

That’s it. I’m sleeping with the lights on for the rest of my life.

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal who writes a great deal of horror for someone who is afraid of the dark. (SEE! It’s true! It’s right in my bio.) She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four enormous cats. 

Her new series, The Hunted (Run, Hide, Fight and Hunt), is available now at http://www.smashwords.com/ and http://www.Amazon.com

You can find her at

Blog:  www.pattilarsen.blogspot.com

Website: www.pattilarsen.com

Books Blog: www.pattilarsenbooks.blogspot.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/#!/PattiLarsen

and her work on Amazon.com.

Thrill me | Chill me | Don’t kill the MC (kimkoning.wordpress.com)
Patti Larsen | In the Spotlight | Run or Hide (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)
Run | Patti Larsen | This year’s Next YA Amazon Hit (dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com)

Patti Larsen | In the Spotlight | Run or Hide

 

Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal who writes a great deal of horror for someone who is afraid of the dark. She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four enormous cats. (That’s the official bio.)

Kim: Patti, congratulations on the release of both Run and now Hide – the first 2 in a 4 part YA series.

I know Patti as a friend with a wicked sense of mischief, an uncanny ability to cut through the BS, loyal and supportive and a mind as dark as my own is at times. Yesterday I reviewed Run and promised that I would introduce you to the imagination behind the characters. This is one INDIE author to watch because she has plenty more tales in her. When I say that the HUNTED series is the next YA hit – I meant every word. But for those who think that YA is a tad tame for your taste…let me introduce you to Patti and her HUNTED series. I dare the “grown up” kids amongst you to not be terrified, fascinated, shocked and riveted by the HUNTED series. This series is not for the timid. But if you like characters that are in as much inner conflict as outer conflict, you will love each of her characters in this series…both the good guys and the bad guys.

So without further ado I am going to let the lady who is never short of a wry comment tell you about herself and give you some teasers of RUN and HIDE: the first two books in the Riveting HUNT series.

Patti, Congratulations on the release of Run a couple of weeks ago and Congratulations on Hide’s release which gets released today. I am thrilled to have you on Dragonfly Scrolls.

~~~

Kim: Tell us a little about the writer that penned these incredible novels. 
Patti: I know you don’t want the shiny, polished version, right? (Knowing you P, I would not get it…no, we want the real version.) I’m a writer by choice and passion, a cat lover extraordinaire. I adore summer above all other seasons if only we could get rid of bugs. I’m a blonde and always will be no matter what Mother Nature thinks. I work far too much and love every second of it. (Believe me, this woman is a machine when it comes to getting the words out! Hard working is an understatement.) And I’m addicted to the voices in my head. I joke about wishing they would leave me alone, but I really love having them around.
Kim: What draws you to YA?
Patti: I was always a hard-core sci-fi and high fantasy girl growing up. That’s what I read and was exposed to, thanks to my father. But when my niece introduced me to Harry Potter and, later, Twilight, I realized my inner angsting teenager had been yelling at me for years to let her have a go. And despite the fact I have a few adult works I’d like to get to eventually, the pack of under eighteen’s in my head won’t let me go there just yet.

Kim: Does this series have an Omni-Premise? What is it?
Patti: No one is going to save you. You’re the only one with the power to do that.(A message we all could hear and heed.)

Kim: Reid, your main character, is also your POV throughout these two books. Where did Reid come from?
Tell us how he introduced himself to you.
Patti: I often receive my inspiration as flashes of images, almost like movies playing in my head. In this case, Reid appeared as he ran down a nighttime forest trail. There was just enough moonlight to see the terror in his face when he stopped for a minute. He turned and looked up. I could see his breath just puffing white in the cool of the air. Somewhere in the distance, something howled. Reid instantly panicked and ran on. I can still hear the sound of his sneakers on the hard dirt path and it will always give me goosebumps. (Bbbr…I just had a shiver down my spine.)

Kim: Both of these novels are emotionally intense as the reader is swept into the turmoil of Reid running and hiding.
Tell us about the process for writing such an emotionally intense storyline. How did you release your emotion?
Patti: Writing the series was a wild ride, I have to admit. All four books came out of me over about fifty days, with only a month of actual writing time and another 20 days of edits and breaks. It was like there was no stopping the story from coming out. I actually first thought there were three books, only to find out by the end of book two there were four!

I found I had to take days off in between writing binges to rest my mind from the constant conflict and turmoil. Reid is a tough kid, though, and he got me through it, though I’m not sure I’ll ever write that much that fast again.

Kim: Your antagonists in this series are as strong as Reid’s voice. Where did the inspiration come from for the “bad guys”?
Patti: I have the most over active imagination on the planet. I have trouble sleeping often because I’m afraid of the dark. Yup. Sad. But makes for great monster fodder.

The silver eyes came from a dream. The claws are very velociraptor–Jurassic Park still gives me nightmares.

I also have a pure and panic-laden phobia of sharks. Thus the teeth. But I always think monsters who look more human than creature are the scariest of all, which is why they retain their man-like shape. (That definitely makes them scarier…we don’t want to face a man-like monster..that is just cutting to close to home.)

Kim: If you could give Reid one piece of advice at the beginning of the series, what would it be?
Patti: Don’t panic. You’re going to be okay, I promise. Mostly. Maybe. Okay, just run.

Kim: Can you give us a teaser from Run and from Hide?
Patti:

Run: Alone, Reid gasps in one deep breath, another. It hurts his ribs, his lungs. He manages to roll over on his right side and regrets it. His shoulder screams in protest. Still, he is finally able to wriggle his numb hands loose from what holds him and claws at the cloth around his eyes.

Darkness. But not complete. The moon is up. Trees loom over him, the smell of spruce and fresh air so sharp it almost hurts. He jerks at the plastic ties around his ankles while. his vision swims through a veil of pain-laden tears. He manages somehow to force his screaming hands to work the ties loose and he is free.

Sixteen-year-old Reid thinks life is back to normal. His sister Lucy pulls herself together and cuts him free from a year of foster care. She promises to take care of him, that her new boss and her new life are what they both needed to start again. Until Reid is taken in the middle of the night, dumped in a wild stretch of forest far from home with no idea why he is there. Lost and afraid, he learns to run from the hunters who prowl the darkness, their only pleasure chasing down kids like him. And killing them.

Hide: “There’s no way out,” Milo says like it’s a death sentence. As far as they all know it could be. Everyone falls so silent Reid can hear the buzzing of the light bulb as it flickers its life away.

“You heard him,” Marcus says. “Time to move on. You,” he points at Cole and the boy perks, “keep an eye on that line.” He jerks his thumb at the electric cable. Like it’s going anywhere. 

Laughter bubbles up in Reid’s chest but he manages to hold it back. Somehow he doesn’t think Marcus would appreciate it. And not that Reid really cares but he’s too tired and wrung out to do anything about it if the other guy finally decides to challenge him.

Reid isn’t sure if he’s grateful to be alive. He’s managed to save a small group of kids from the hunters, but only by trapping them all underground without food or water or a way out. If starvation doesn’t kill them, thirst will. Still, they are out of the hunter’s reach and that’s something. Reid refuses to stop trying, even when the kids find out they aren’t alone in the mine after all.
Kim: Where can readers buy Run and Hide?
Patti: Amazon.com is my favorite place to buy and sell books! They are also available on Smashwords in a variety of downloadable formats

Kim: What are the other books in the series and when and where will they be released?
Patti: Fight is book three, coming out September 15th and Hunt, the final book, is scheduled for release on October 1st. (Readers will be waiting with bated breath for the last two to be released.)

Kim: Would you like to give a message to the readers of this series?
Patti: Read them at night alone in the dark. And hang on. Oh, and the nightmares? Sorry about that… (Um..now that you mention it…some of the nightmares I had after reading your books almost sent me to therapy…now I know where to send the therapy bills. 😉 )

Thank you Patti for an insight into your world and into Reid’s world. You are an inspiration in creativity and self-discipline to your friends, fellow writers and readers all over. We wish you all the success possible for many sales and many new readers/fans. Congratulations again!

You can find her at

Her Website: http://www.pattilarsen.com/

Her Writing Blog: http://www.pattilarsen.blogspot.com/

Her Book Blog: http://www.pattilarsenbooks.blogspot.com/

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor

And On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ – !/PattiLarsen

You can find Run HERE (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82356) and HERE (http://www.amazon.com/Run-The-Hunted-ebook/dp/B005HZJX9W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1314734322&sr=8-2)

You can find Hide HERE (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/85195) and HERE (Amazon is still to be released in a couple of hours so will add the link then..)

Hide is now LIVE!

Get it here….

http://www.amazon.com/Hide-The-Hunted-ebook/dp/B005K0EFZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314887009&sr=8-1 

(Aside: On the 1st of October I will have the pleasure of Patti’s virtual company again when the last book of the series is finally released. So mark your calendars to come back on the 1st. Now…go to your nearest Amazon/Smashwords and buy RUN and HIDE.)

Run | Patti Larsen | This year’s Next YA Amazon Hit

run

Sixteen-year-old Reid thinks life is back to normal. His sister Lucy pulls herself together and cuts him free from a year of foster care. She promises to take care of him, that her new boss and her new life are what they both needed to start again. Until Reid is taken in the middle of the night, dumped in a wild stretch of forest far from home with no idea why he is there. Lost and afraid, he learns to run from the hunters who prowl the darkness, their only pleasure chasing down kids like him. And killing them.

My Review

Heart-pounding….

Pulse-racing…

Blood-pumping…

Nerves-Jumping….

Stomach-churning….

Nail-biting….

Teeth-clenching….

You will look over your shoulder.

You will tense at every sound.

You will wonder when they will get you.

Step into Reid’s shoes and you will be turning the pages as fast as the hunted can run.

Imagine your worst nightmare…release the monsters of dreamland horrors….and you will also want to RUN!

Patti Larsen has created a world that will disturb you, haunt you and change you. As she literally asks you to jump into her character’s shoes, you will be faced with a world where everything you ever knew just got spun on its head and spat you out.

The conflicts are finely crafted and taut with tension. The voice will cut you with emotion.

For fans of The Hunger Games Trilogy, get your hands on this story. You will not be disappointed.

You will not be able to forget these characters.

You will not be able to put this book down but you will not want this story to end.

If you want to know more about this incredible writer and her riveting Hunted series – stay tuned – tomorrow I will be doing an interview with the author herself. There will be teasers as well as upcoming news on the 2nd book in this Hunted series.