Cover Reveal: Jennifer McConnel’s Daughter of Chaos

Nothing is more terrifying than the witch who wields red magic.

DOC cover

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy. Coming March 2014 from Month9Books.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.
A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

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Flattery Will Get You Everywhere…

Virginia, over at Poeta Officium, was nice enough to invite me to be a guest on her blog, and today is the big day! It’s up!

Take the time to check out her blog, which is always a great source of comfort since she talks a lot about the writing process and the trials of the effort. She’s also had six other great bloggers post their answers to the questions I answer today, and those have been very fun to read as well. Check it out!

Can We Steal Success?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on a critique site where writers can post work, critique work, discuss writing. And it has been very helpful. It’s made me a more critical reader, more conscious of what I’m reading. But I think that for any writer using a tool like this site, there are two things to watch out for… (Actually, I’m sure there are more and I’ll come up with those as I learn more. For now, I’ve realized these two and have thought a lot about them lately.)

1) Not all rules apply to all kinds of writing. Writers don’t like run-on sentences. But I’m reading We the Animals by Justin Torres, which begins with one of the longest run-on sentences I’ve ever seen. And it’s brilliant. And if he’d posted this work for critique on this very useful site I use, he would have been reamed and called sophomoric and inexperienced. After all, everyone knows that run-ons are bad, right? Not right. Not always. Like the adverb rule I railed about before… no rules of writing are hard and fast. But there are probably best practices. I think the danger of a critique site like this is that we get very comfortable building our ideas of what good writing looks like and then have difficulty accepting someone who is breaking those rules, especially if he or she isn’t an already established and esteemed author. It’s fine for Victor Hugo to spend 100 pages in description at the beginning of Les Miserables, but that would be totally ridiculed if attempted by a fledgling writer working on something new. Start in the action, right? The reader’s not going to sit around for 100 pages for you to paint a scene! You’ll never get it published, Hugo, you silly lout. I think that this kind of blanket criticism leads to more and more people writing in a formulaic way that dumbs down language and limits expression. And that leads us to number 2.

2) There are a lot of popular books out there at the moment that are not exactly, um, high art. They are written…but not necessarily well-written. And they’re fun, and a good read, and an enjoyable story. But they are not what “real writers” want to write. I know that because these “real writers” are drinking their coffee, smoking their cigarettes and bemoaning the lack of good writing out there all over the forums at this critique site. They sit back and wallow in their own brilliant and as yet unpublished words and spit venomous threads about the terrible writing getting attention today, about the stupidity of the audience that they themselves have not yet managed to woo. They cry about the failings of the publishing industry, the consumerism of readers, the lack of writers creating “good work” (the same work that they themselves critique on this site and warn about the use of modifiers and run-ons…) I think there is a real danger in this. Should we not be supportive of those who have played the publishing game and won? How does it hurt me to be happy for EL James? Why should I be upset that Charlaine Harris is doing so well? Shouldn’t I take heart that maybe there is a place for my work if theirs has found such receptive readers? I greatly dislike the jealous poison being spewed by would-be great writers about the successes of those who have managed what they have not. Say all you like about JK Rowlings adverb abuse… didn’t we used to celebrate her for bringing literature to a whole generation of kids who we previously believed to be hopelessly illiterate thanks to the advent of computer games and consoles? Isn’t anything that keeps people reading good for all of us?

Just my two cents.

Dear Blog, I Need Your Help

I know I’ve been ignoring you. It isn’t so much that I haven’t wanted to write. I have. It’s more that I’ve allowed life to get in the way. I’ve actually been in a whole terrible cycle of dropping balls — good thing I don’t actually juggle my children. Physically, I mean.

In the last few weeks, I’ve missed a physical therapy appointment, forgotten to pay a bill, put off mailing my samples to the Be The Match registry (which you really should look into), and neglected to make a phone call to our insurance about a bill for urgent care for our kids from like…months ago. I’ve neglected some other things, too. Like laundry. Cleaning toilets. You know, pretty much everything.

I’d like to tell you that I have a good reason. That I’ve been so busy working on my writing that all else has fallen by the wayside. (Where the hell is the wayside, anyway? I think I have left a lot of stuff there.) In a way, this is true. I’ve had the first two chapters of my YA novel pretty well worked over by two different groups of readers (who are not my best friends or my mother). And it’s looking better than I thought.

Here’s my big struggle. And maybe you can weigh in. Should all YA be written in 1st person? I am in the middle of rewriting the whole damned thing to third person because I have always felt like 1st was just sort of…amateurish. But maybe YA needs that close up somewhat awkward inner voice to really connect it to the reader? I know that most of the YA I’ve read is written in first. But I wouldn’t mind avoiding comparisons to some of the really poopy YA that’s out there, too.

Weigh in, won’t you? Should YA be written in 1st person?