Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet Sheri Larsen

Today, I have another author visiting my little blog.

Sheri Larsen, a.k.a S.A. Larsen


I met Sheri Larsen through Oasis for YA, where she contributes with the other fab ladies, whom I've also interviewed, and I follow her on twitter. She also hosts her own little blog, Writers’ Ally where you can check out her little short stories and her first chapter of MARKED BEAUTY.

Let's meet Sheri Larsen....

Tell us a little about yourself...

I’m a wife and feisty mother of four children, lover of blogging, dancing, jamming to rock music in the car…and ooh, I have a fetish for chocolate and sports. I’m also a sappy romantic, freelance writer—had my first articles published last year and was just accepted to interview one of the new cast members on this season’s Survivor—and author of YA and MG fiction. Dreaming up stories about vampires, werewolves, faeries, ghouls, gypsies, angels, and the average tween/teen who just happens to be not so average is my passion.

Tell us a little about the blog you contribute to, Oasis for YA.

After I began Writers’ Ally, I came across YAlitchat – an online writing community. I signed up and met a few writers—Jessie Harrell being one. I decided to stay true to my goal of becoming a published novelist I needed to spread my wings a bit more. I became a moderator for the MG Lair on YAlitchat and then approached Jessie about working together; hence, our team blog. I suggested asking a few other writers and she came up with the other marvelous ladies who make their abode with us at Oasis. We’ve developed an amazing support system. I’m so blessed.

Tell us a little about your own blog, Writers Ally.

Writers’ Ally was started by accident. I merely logged into Blogger to see what this whole blogging thing was about and all of a sudden it said ‘Congrats! You’re the owner of Writers’ Ally.’ Hah….

Writers’ Ally is the home of the Graffiti Wall, where newly and undiscovered authors and leaders in the publishing industry share their stories. I also do YA & MG book reviews and share my personal journey as an emerging author and veteran mom.

What is your favorite book of all time?

That’s an easy one ~ Pride and Prejudice

Is there an author that inspired you to go after your dream?

Hmm…there are a few: Annette Curtis Klause, Cornelia Funke, James Scott Bell, and my fellow Mainer Stephen King. Of course I can state the obvious: Jane Austen, but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. Though she was a master with the written word, her life is my true inspiration. The painstaking hours it must have taken her to write and at a time when woman ‘had their place’, which surely wasn’t in the business world. For me, being a published author is as much about pushing the envelope and growing as a writer, as it is about sharing my stories between a hardcover.

Can you give us a teaser of MARKED BEAUTY? I also suggest you stop by her blog and read the first chapter. Wonderful!

The story is one of abandonment, loss, recovery, and growth. Yes, the characters travel the paranormal through a psychic realm filled with vampires, lycans (with a twist) faeries, etc… but the real story is in the inner growth of the main character, Ana, who’s never gotten over the abandonment of her mother. This hinders her to accept her special gift to see and sense energy. In the end, she must find peace with both and do what’s right, risking her life, even though it hurts. She discovers freedom in love’s sacrifice.

Do you have any other projects your working on now?

Sure. I have three separate YA paranormal romances: GYPSY DOLLS follows the journey of a wiccan-wannabe who finds herself pawn, bait, and prey within a world of witches and Fae, DISORDERLY COMPACT is about a fallen angel catcher who finds herself caught between Heaven and Hell when a reformed fallen angel is assigned as her watcher, and THE KNOT IN THE BOARD which dabbles in Greek mythology and blogging. I also have a middle grade series REMEY and the FANTASTICAL TRICKET BOX half written.

First thing that pops into your mind time...

Not enough?? Hah…

Cupcakes or cookies?


You're stranded on a deserted island, who is there with you?

Easy-peasy: my hubby…and chocolate.

An embarrassing moment that happened to you?

If you only knew my life you’d know what a loaded question this is. OMGosh….I’ll pick one. I’m a dancer. (That was going to be my life’s career until my mom developed Multiple Sclerosis and I gave up my dream to stay home and take care of her.) I was newly turned sixteen and on stage. My top fell off. Yup. On stage. The costume was rather skimpy anyway, but I was covered. I caught the top in the nick of time and finished my performance. Yeah, high school on Monday was brutal.

Favorite movie?

So many. Check out my Facebook page. I’ll go out and give you just one ~ Gone With the Wind. Actually, I believe somewhere down deep, Scarlett and Rhett were part of my inspiration while developing Marked Beauty’s main characters, Anastasia and Viktor.

Werewolves or Vampires?

That’s a tough one. I’m a major fan of both. Love, love vampires for all the obvious reasons found in today’s movies and television shows. *wink* But honestly, I married a werewolf… *grins*

Okay, now to what unpublished writers want to know....

When you were writing MARKED BEAUTY, did you participate in a critique circle?

No. A crit circle would be my dream. I did have a very trusted writer friend I met through a Maine group. She’s a true gem.

Did you use beta readers?

I do have readers. Never really knew the difference between alphas and betas (excluding wolves, of course) until recently. So, yeah, I do have amazing betas – two wonderful pubbed-up authors and of course my amazing Oasis ladies.

Did you find using beta readers to be helpful?

Any extra set of eyes is invaluable, in my opinion.

You wrote MARKED BEAUTY in third person, and now you are changing to first. Can you tell us why you chose a different POV?

Honestly, I’ve grown as a writer and the urge struck me. Like I finally found my gut. At the encouragement of a few writer friends, I bit the bullet and rewrote the entire manuscript. I found my voice.

Things happened a little differently (and very exciting) with you, can you briefly tell us what happened?

A few months back, I unexpectedly received an email from a publisher interested in chatting about my novel. Apparently, I’d visited their site and left a comment. They liked what I had to say. This lead to some partial reads of Marked Beauty and then an agent’s interest. Although the agent hasn’t signed me, I was given referrals to other agents. Said agent hasn’t passed on me yet, either. She was in a personal place of change and it just wasn’t the right time for her. She told me to contact her in a few months. The publisher is also waiting in the wings.

What are your plans with MARKED BEAUTY now?

I’m querying other agents and probably publishers, too, while waiting out those few months. I’m also mapping out two sequels and am excited where the story is headed.

Any other advice you'd like to share for us aspiring writers?

“To thine own self be true.” Be you. Believe in yourself and in your abilities. Take a true look in the mirror. Never stop honing your writing skills or trudging forward. It WILL happen for you. Just believe….

Thank you so very much for visiting my little blog. I hope you can visit us again when your novel, MARKED BEAUTY, is released. Based on what I read of the first chapter, I expect great things to come your way.

That is so kind of you to say. Thank you for having me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What I am really thankful for

Hi all,

I know that my posts have been sparse, far and few in-between. I'm still working a lot of hours and then the two week break from school really hampered my time. The holiday season is always so busy. I'm sure you all know.

But, even though my work hours are still full, on Jan. 3rd, my word count has once again been steadily rising. I'm real happy about that. Then I got to thinking about things I'm really thankful for. So I took a break from writing...well at least on my wip...and decided to share some of the things with you.

This last year has been a spiraling whirlwind of things happening. And I'm thankful for all of it.

My third book, PERFECTION, was completed, edited, and queried. From the queries I've had quite a few requests. A couple of rejections back, but still hope out there. Does this equate a "YES." Not yet. But what is good is that I finally made it to a point where I'm doing something right with my queries AND something within my sample pages is intriguing agents. I'm thankful for that and my fingers are still crossed while I obsess about checking my email.

I'm thankful for my friends that I've met through blogs, twitter, and facebook. Talented agented authors and aspiring writers and agents. All who have helped me shape PERFECTION and I'm hoping will lend their expertise to my current wip when it is done.

Hugs to all of you out there.

I'm thankful for all the beta reads I've been entrusted to do by these same authors and aspiring writers. Not only do I get to read some great books, but it also proves to be a learning experience for me. A win, win situation.

I'm really thankful for the fact that I was lucky enough to conduct interviews with the same people--writers and agents. I got to meet some wonderful new friends, and I loved to have the opportunity to learn a little about them, how they write or the agenting world. I hope my followers also enjoyed the interviews and learned something new.

I'm ultra thankful for my family. They're pretty cool to have around. :) And I'm especially thankful that my daughter and oldest son (who are older and understand a bit better) who are proud of the fact that I'm putting myself out there and following a dream. They really do believe in me.

And I'm thankful for all of you. Although, until my hours shorten back up, my posts might be only a couple a month, I hope you all still come by my blog and leave comments for me to read. I love visitors.

Keep in touch and check back. I do have a couple of author interviews coming up and, hopefully, some more agents will visit too.

Another round of hugs sent out to all of you. I honestly hope the New Year will bring your hard work to fruition. Then you can harvest and enjoy the bounty. :)