Fiction Friday

Today Suzanne Lazear stopping in to celebrate the upcoming release of her first novel, Innocent Darkness.

Hello, Suzanne!!! Thanks for coming in. Around here we celebrate most things in life with cake and ice cream. My virtual bakery is open so tell me what you'll have.

S: Yum, thanks for the cake.  Well, I think everyone knows how much I like cupcakes. ~launches cupcake cannon~ However, I’m partial to chocolate cake and ice cream. Everything is better with chocolate...or bacon.  But I’m not certain bacon and chocolate go together.  

Tell me a little about your book that comes out in August.

S: Innocent Darkness, which is book 1 of the Aether Chronicles, is what I call “Fairytale Steampunk.”  It’s a blend of classic fairytale elements (evil queens, huntsman, bad bargains, wishes), faeries, and of course, Steampunk.  My main character, Noli Braddock lives in an alternate version of Los Angeles, one populated by flying cars, hoverboards, and Airpirates. I adore Steampunk and it was fun coming up with things like Noli’s flying car and the alternate history explaining why her version of 1901 is steampunk. I also enjoyed mashing it up with the faery world and creating that mythos as well.  My faeries are a little different than you might be used to – my courts are elements not seasons, and the realm subsists on the blood of mortal girls. The book comes out from Flux on 8-8-12.  

When you made that first sale, how did you celebrate?

S: When I sold, I was unemployed—like my unemployment was about to run out unemployed.  So, when I got “the email” from Flux, offering me a two book deal, I took my daughter to McDonalds after school to celebrate.  She had a happy meal and ice cream.  I ate her fries.  While at McDonalds, I got “the call” from my agent.  INNOCENT DARKNESS is my first novel.

Wow! Way to go. On a first novel! So, tell me, are you a plotter or a panster?

S: I’m a puzzler.  I often know certain points in the story, but have no idea how I’ll get from point A to point B.  Usually, I come up with that as I write, though once in awhile I’ll actually have an outline.  I had an outline with INNOCENT DARKNESS, but not with book 2.  When I had to turn in my first 3 chapters and a synopsis to my editor, I actually had to sit down write the whole story so I knew how it ended.

I know how that can be a lot of work. When you're ready to take a break from work, what would be your dream vacation spot? Have you been there?

S:  I think a nice tropical beach with a hammock, the ocean, and my family sounds really good.  But I’d have to have electrical outlets because I’m co-dependent with my laptop.

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?

S: I love learning new things about my characters.  I actually was majorly surprised by a character recently.  I was doing a final re-through of the draft of book 2 before I sent it off to my editor and all the sudden I figured something out about a character, one I’d been writing since 2009.  Since I, being a writer, think my characters are real, I was actually a little wounded that the character had never told me before. It was such a big thing.  But I’ve since forgiven said character.  I’m not going to say what or whom, because even though I figured it out, said character doesn’t actually reveal said thing in book 2. (Yes, I’m giving my fictional character privacy, lol).

Can you give me and my readers a hint about what you’re working on for your next book?

S: Well, right now I’m editing book 2, and all I’ll say is “beyond here be airpirates.  Argh!”  (After all, Noli’s brother is an airpirate, you know we’ll have to meet them eventually).

I love a series, Suzanne and I can't wait to read this one. :D I'll be watching for it! Thanks for being here.

Thank you so much for having me on.  Remember, never talk to strange faeries.

Blurb:  In a Steampunk version of Los Angeles, Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed.  If Noli doesn't die, an entire civilization will.

Buy links! 
Indie Bound, 
The Book Depository, 
and Barnes and Noble. 

Aether Chronicles series website:  author website:


Loooong WEEK!
Can't say I haven't enjoyed it, though. School cake projects, doctor appointment, grocery shopping, writing, critiquing...
I almost finished Chapter Three in Sand Bay Secrets. Whooot!
I researched publishers for Catholic Fiction... Guess what?!


Fine. I'm not concerned. My research is not over, anyway. I need to actually read some of it. THAT, my friends, that is the pudding. Unfortunately, my hopes are not that high. Maybe I should be more optimistic. Maybe I should be reading it with a different mind set...

I just want a good book, though.
Maybe I have to write it. :/ I'll keep you posted.
Perhaps a writer's review over the next month or so???
Wouldn't that be fun? Not something solely from a reader's standpoint.
More of a reflection on what's out there and how it compares to what I already know I love to read.

Is that unfair? Well that's the catch, isn't it? It's only unfair if I don't like it. :)
Should be an interesting month.

To go find something FICTION from a market that is almost non existent.
Take care my friends!
With Love,

When Fiction isn't really Fiction

My neighbor said to me tonight, "why fiction? You should write about this, real life. Like today, with Matt and I getting the manure, and the Hadleys coming by. Sean walking over to my house all by himself." He gestured with his hands. "You can't make this stuff up!"

But he doesn't get... most people don't get it. What do they think is in my stories? Where do they think I get my ideas, my inspirations? I may write fiction, but maybe my fiction isn't really fiction afterall.


On the other hand, Rocky's input is also very insightful. I could journal. It would be neat to go back and read it later in life. But, I couldn't write those things with the thought in mind that someday, by writing and publishing them, my work would finally be worthwhile. [he wasn't suggesting that either, so don't think less of Rocky for it]

As writers, we don't have to write what we know. I don't hold to that rule of thumb. God gave us an imagination, we should use. From experience, though, I'm writing a story now that has been fun to write, and that's because it's full of all the things I know and love. *shrug* What can you do?

Whatever. Just keep doing. That's all I say.

Fiction Friday -- Certain Suspicions

Wow, I haven't pulled this old thing out of the closet in some time! But a writer on the Wild Rose Press chat loop started a conversation, things were talked about, stories were mentioned...

And I thought of this: The first novel I ever it's 8th draft [AT LEAST!] I read it now and see so many things that I need to fix. Please forgive them. I actually hate this scene. It's the hero and heroine -- their first encounter within the story. Personality flaws are glaringly obvious... As a matter of fact, one author said of my hero. He will not appeal to the reader. He is too unlikable. At the time, I sat dejected, staring at the screen thinking, what the hell do I do now? Today, I would have thanked her. Thank you! That is as it should be. If our characters were perfect at the beginning of the story, there would be NO STORY!

Thanks to Alice Audrey. *waving* Hi! I'm posting an excerpt from the first manuscript I ever completed. ENJOY IT!

Certain Suspicions
by Bethanne Strasser
Another day went by before Jim came to see her. Danielle’s disappointment was unwarranted but she couldn’t stop it. She used all of her stubborn will in order to shield her heart from becoming completely lost to this man. She had protected herself through grief and heartache for ten years. She wouldn’t crumble under the pressure now.

So she pretended not to notice how he filled the doorway with his broad shoulders. How his sandy colored hair was longer than she had ever seen it before. She liked it. It was a carefree side of him that he rarely showed to even his closest friends. Neither his gloriously muscled physique nor the anger that radiated from his green eyes could determine his vocation as the owner and headmaster at a boy’s school.

The grin she gave him was most likely lopsided from the swelling and bruising but she made an effort anyway. "Hi."

He awkwardly carried pretty flowers in the store provided vase. She watched his hands gently place it on the table—they shook and her gaze shifted quickly to his face.

"I…" He stopped, cleared his throat. "…you look horrible, Dan."

She had always been able to count on him for honesty. "Uh, thanks?"

He didn’t apologize just moved to the bed and with the tip of his finger, touched her face. "Are they giving you enough for the pain?"

"Yes. They gave me my last dose this morning. I go home this afternoon. It’ll be Tylenol with codeine from here on in." She watched him sit across the room in the guest chair where he lifted and lowered himself twice before settling in. His leg bounced on the tile floor and she narrowed her eyes. Was he angry as she had thought or just nervous?

"What the hell, Danielle!"

"Excuse me?"

"Brian tells me you aren’t coming home. I want to know why."
She didn’t like his tone of voice at all even if she did understand the frustration bottled up inside of him. She’d known him long enough to identify that tendency. It stemmed from being the ward of an abusive uncle for the first ten years of his life and although his temper occasionally denied the fact, Jim did not like conflict. "Jesus Dannie, what are you thinking?"

"I’m thinking about the safety of the people I love, damn it." She knew he hated swearing but since he started it…

He took a deep breath. "Your father is out of his mind with worry. Brian very nearly had to sit him when he heard you were here. Are you really going to hurt him by not coming home? Your family can take care of you."

He was suggesting her greatest fear. She couldn’t stand the thought of anyone she loved being hurt or worse, being dead. No, she had to stay here in the city. It was her only viable option. "That’s sweet of you Jim, but it’s just not necessary right now. The policeman told me he had several leads and Frank’s here, too."

Dannie was being purposefully sweet yet determined in her plight. But he watched her closely as the heat of guilt warmed her neck.

"How long have we known each other, Dannie?"

She lifted her shoulder. "Twelve years." Apprehension tightened the muscles in her shoulders.

"I think you can cut the bull. I can’t believe you would do this." His disappointment unexpectedly bit into her conscience. The defeated quality of his voice tore a hole in her heart. "I don’t want to fight you anymore. You’ll be safe at home and your dad needs you, Dan. Don’t make him beg, please. Someone wants to hurt you." He faced the wall, his back rigid. "I’m not sure I want to wait around for you to get killed."

"And what the hell does that mean?" Were they friends or weren’t they? She hadn’t expected an ultimatum. God, her head hurt.

He shook his head and turned to her. "Stop running away, Dannie. Face this thing and come home."

His eyes spoke to her like they hadn’t since she was in high school and her mouth moved but no sound escaped. She cleared her throat.

Leaning over her bed, he pierced her with those damn eyes. "Make your choice Dannie…"