Where to find me at Rocket City Lit Fest

Attending Rocket City Lit Fest this weekend? So am I! Here’s where to find me.

Dynamic Voice Acting for Podcasts

Learn how to bring your best game to directing with a series of acting games and audience participation!

Saturday, October 10, 12:00PM, VBC Meeting Room 2

UX + Your Novel

Apply the principles of great software, hardware and service design to novel writing! Be the quirky nerd you were meant to be.

Saturday, October 10, 1:00PM, VBC Meeting Room 1


What’s it like to be a menial secretary to the gods themselves? Find out at my reading!

Sunday, October 11, 2:30 PM, Reading Corner

World Building 101

There are worlds. We will build them.

Sunday, October 11, 3:00 PM, VBC Meeting Room 2

Gail Carriger: Manners Unabridged

I’ve gotten a lot of people asking me what Gail Carriger is like. I don’t know how to answer that, because she’s a lot of things. My journey with Gail (and partner, A.B.) can only be characterized by propriety and beauty: two subjects in which I sorely lack education.

When I stepped off the plane in San Francisco, I was lost, but her partner was waiting for me. A.B. didn’t carry a sign, instead approaching me outside the terminal with a sure eye and serene smile. I gave A.B. a stiff, Alabama handshake and instantly felt a sense of imposition as I crushed delicate fingers.

Blushing from overzealous affront, I thought I might could load my bags into the trunk. When I’d finished I spun around to see A.B. waiting, robbed of a chance to be a good host by my foolery.

I knew then that it’d be a long trip.

Continue reading Gail Carriger: Manners Unabridged

Be cool, Alex. You look desperate.

A bit of email traffic from my brain.

To: Burgeoning Author Alex
From: Sunglasses and Leather Jacket Alex
Subject: Be cool, Alex. You look desperate.

Hey, Alex. This is the much more sensible side of you, and we need to talk about your literary image.

I know that you’re excited about your new book coming out, and ever since last December, you haven’t been able to shut up about it. You’re doing some things that make me cringe, and frankly, you’re not impressing anyone–you come off more like a cheerleader having a Ritalin overdose. If you keep this up, everyone is going to know that you’re not that great, and it’s going to be middle school all over again.

You remember middle school, right? When the youth group leader let the other kids raid your luggage and tie a pair of your saggy briefs to the bus antenna, and they laughed at you all the way home? We don’t want that, do we?

Let’s talk. I’ve enumerated the list of your faults, and come up with an action plan.

Continue reading Be cool, Alex. You look desperate.

Pitch me on #PitchWars 2015! (Adult Fiction)

I’m a #PitchWars mentor!

That means I’m actively looking for some special author that needs an agent. If you’re not familiar with Pitch Wars, I suggest you go take a look at Brenda Drake’s website and get briefed. Basically, it’s a contest where agented/published authors like me choose a manuscript to critique and read, then try to get an agent for our mentees.

So you want to know about me? Check out my bio. My book, EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW, commanded a handsome advance from a really good publisher, and you’ll be able to buy it in every bookstore in America and Britain in 2016.

Let me save you some time.

  • Adult fiction only. No anything else.
  • No regular-ass, unmodded niche genres. I don’t want to read plain steampunk. Regular space opera doesn’t interest me. Get in there and shake things up.
  • No mean people… except in your stories. I love mean people in stories.
  • This is a trad pub contest. If you bash trad pub all over the internet while we’re working together, I can’t be motivated to help you.
  • No memoirs.

I want to see your queries in a concise format, similar to the one suggested here. Continue reading Pitch me on #PitchWars 2015! (Adult Fiction)

How to Write a Fiction Novel Query Letter

Self-pub or trad pub, it doesn’t matter. Everyone needs a query letter.

“Not me,” some will say. “I’m my own boss and CreateSpace doesn’t reject anyone! I don’t need your Big 5 (4… 3… 2…) Hegemony!”

Okay, cool. But what are you going to write for your book’s backmatter? What do you want to put on your cover? What do you say when you meet Adam Savage in an elevator and he asks you what your book is about?

The query letter is the mission statement of a book. You have to take it seriously, whether you’re sending it to agents or self-marketing. It’ll inform you about your differentiators, help set the visual tone and create a strong sense of your identity as an author.

You’ll need every part of a query to market your self-pub. Paragraph 1 contains your log line, paragraph 2 contains your synopsis and paragraph 3 contains your bio. You already have to write it, so why not start out right?

Continue reading How to Write a Fiction Novel Query Letter