About Lisa Amowitz

Lisa Amowitz is a writer, artist, designer, and children's book illustrator. Her novel, BREAKING GLASS, will be published by Spencer Hill Press in July 2013.

My death-defying balancing act for 2014

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Here’s what I’m up to..are you ready? Or better yet, am I ?

I’ve just finished transitioning from the release of BREAKING GLASS last July and took a kind of promoting hiatus from Thanksgiving on. I’ve been really fortunate that there were a good deal of ongoing contests, some really great reviews (like this one from the School Library Journal: http://lisa-amowitzya.blogspot.com/2013/12/school-library-journal-review-of.html) to keep the book getting some buzz.

What I did not take a hiatus from is teaching (which if anything heats up right before and up to the holidays) and cover design, which has also heated of late. Hey–I am not complaining–not in the least. My cover design career is going amazingly well. But guess what?

I’ve just named three things that take up a lot of my time–book promo, teaching (along with some of the less fun administrative side of being a college professor and deputy chair), and designing covers. Of the three aforementioned activities, I love two and hate one. (Can you guess which one I hate? Give up?

Does ANYONE love book promoting??? 

Okay–I don’t really hate it–I like when it’s kind of low key and steady, not kind of like to trying to stand on a log in a rushing river.

But the real high wire act part comes in from fitting all these activities together AND finding time to write.

I did, somehow manage, even with all the above listed activities, do just that. I’m about three-fourths done with the first draft of my current WIP. And I am really proud about that!

Luckily, as an academic, I am off the whole month of January. What’s on tap this month are about four more cover commissions, copy edits on my forthcoming book VISION, a trip with the family to warmer climes, catching up with friends and–of course writing!

Also, yep, book promo. Time to climb back in the saddle. I’ve got some exciting things in the works locally as well my participation in YA Fest in Pennsylvania this April and the Chapter by Chapter Book Rave in September.

So, 2014, you are looking to be just as busy, if not busier than 2013. Good thing my kids are now all grown up–because look out–I’m ready for you!

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BOO! Want to know what scares us most? Messing up.

Now here’s a scary place to be, inside the crazed minds of us—Lisa Amowitz and Michelle McLean, the SCENE 13 moderators, as we share our deepest fear: SCREWING UP. This is a two day post from both of us.
We should give you some background here. Michelle and I came up with the idea for SCENE 13 before we truly understood what it means to have book promo, edits, writing deadlines and blogging, etc, all coming at you all at once. We know now! Bet a lot of you do, too. So here is an actual conversation we had recently about our deep, dark fears. Cue the spooky music…
LA: Hey Hammy, I know the topic is supposed to be what scares you, like creepy spidery, ghostly Halloweenish stuff, but I thought for a good laugh we can share our post and show people what goes on offline between us and our crazy over-active brains. So, that being said, what REALLY scares you, Hammy?
MM: Here’s the thing….I always have so many things going on I just know I’m going to let something really important slip through the cracks. Like some major post on some uber important blog. Or a good friend’s release day or something like that. I’m usually pretty good at keeping up with stuff, but lately….I’m just really not. I think I’ve finally got TOO much going on and I just can’t keep up. Never though I’d say that.
 LA: Well, that is my fear exactly..and guess what? It happened TONIGHT. My dear, wonderful friend Brooke Delvecchio, The Cover Contessa (who is also my publicist) was on a blog radio show tonight, and I MISSED IT because I thought it was next Tuesday night. I feel so bad. And I walk around I’m going to miss a meeting, a deadline or something ALL THE TIME.
So this post is kind of a Hammy therapy session, as we share our deepest darkest fears–Falling off our hammy wheels!
MM: Same thing happened to me today!! My son was having this big bday party this weekend, and I had edits due today, and several very important posts to write (that I still haven’t gotten done), then I was watching the grandbaby this morning and I completely forgot I was supposed to be running the Operation Awesome Mystery Agent contest. Good thing they figured it out and took care of it. And I forgot I was supposed to post the October preview for Scene 13. AND I forgot about 4 other things that I only remembered last second. I think my hamster wheel has finally derailed…
Ha! And I just remembered that the reason I was the most forgetful yesterday was that my own book released, LOL hehe.
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LA: This is like a Hammy nightmare! But I guess it’s inevitable that even the most hyper of hammies have their limits. Thank goodness for my new Iphone–I make it remind me about everything. I just have to remember to remind myself. And even then, I’m still worried I’ve forgotten something!

meMM: My other fear is that I’ll get too busy to actually write….and that has recently happened too. I have a couple projects that I’m just not going to be able to do because I over committed to everything else. And really, if I’m too busy to write, then something is seriously wrong, you know? Ugh, and I think I have a bajillion things happening on Monday and right now I can only remember 2 of them LOL

lisaLA: I also have a fear of dropping balls, as well–I’ve got cover design projects going, as well as my teaching, and then there are umpteen work meetings and reports and trouble-shooting and fire putter-outing. and arghhh…
And my other fear is of saying yes to something I have no business saying yes to.

meMM: LOL omg, I think just about everything I say yes to qualifies for that 😀

lisaLA: LOL…right now I’m trying to email my students to make sure THEY frikkin remember to do the assignment I gave (at that’s another thing–making sure I remember what assignment I gave so I can yell at them when they don’t do it).

meMM: I really need to remember to write things down the second I hear of them…but I forget……

Well, Hammy, thanks for sharing. We started off this year worrying that this might happen and then we got too busy to even talk about how busy we are! So, just for fun, here’s a scary hamster image to get you all in the Halloween state of mind…
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So now that we shared our scariest, spookiest crazed hammy fears, what are some of your fears?

Flash Fiction: The Circle Treatment

Aside

Confession: I have no idea how to write short fiction. I’m not one of those folks who have been writing maniacally since grade school. I only got serious about writing in my later years, and the form I focused on was novels. It would seem as though writing something shorter would be easier. But it scares the heck out of me. I’m used to taking my time to get to the point. Well, here goes nothing.

The book I am reading is CINDER, by Marissa Meyer. The first sentence from chapter one:

The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

The first real image to come up is this, a painting by MC Escher called Circle Limit III

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Okay *deep breath* here goes.

The Director of Human Affairs has us all stand in a circle each day at precisely three pm in the so-called afternoon. Not that anyone really can tell one hour from another on this ship.

He insists that this routine is the best way for all of us to heal. That punishment is a waste of human resources and there are too little of us aboard this vessel to spare. His assistant trains her camera on us, recording the moment for the live broadcast feed. I keep my eyes squeezed closed until I will be forced to look at him.

I haven’t admitted my real fear yet. Standing here, looking into his eyes, I wonder what he sees when he stares back. My dead body? Or does he wish he did.

I’d been found barely alive in one of the storerooms deep in the ship’s bowels.

This is his punishment, like all other shipboard perpetrators; to face their victims daily. There’s no better way to deal with crimes aboard a long term mission like ours as we catapult through space.  Such is the ship’s philosophy.

But I see no remorse in those eyes. I see only hunger.

I open my eyes slowly and his red-rimmed ones meet mine. I’m supposed to believe the sorrow, the regret I see there is for me. But I know it’s really the shame he has to face as the entire ship watches this spectacle, judging him .

There are others in the circle. There are even other circles. There are cheating husbands facing their wives and lovers, child abusers, thieves facing shop owners, bullies facing victims—the entire pageant of life encapsulated in a vessel bound for parts unknown.

But I don’t care. All I see are the eyes that laughed as I screamed. So, back to my fears. I know he’s going to do it again.

This farce won’t stop him.

The thing I fear most is myself
Because I’m the one who is going to have to stop him.

What to expect when you’re expecting a book release

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My book, Breaking Glass released last month on July 9th. Everyone makes a big deal about it. Everyone is excited, just like when you are having a baby! And just like when you have a baby, it’s nothing like you thought it would be.

I’m not sure what I expected. I certainly didn’t expect the post-pub depression part –very much like the post partum depression some mothers experience after the baby comes. Nobody warned me about that! Nobody warned me NEVER to look at my Amazon ranks and not to think about how my book is selling.

I figured that out quickly enough. Don’t do it. First of all, the Amazon ranks make no sense. Secondly, even if it appears you are on top of the world for a day, it’s not going to last. So forget it.

So I got over that. I allowed myself to enjoy the lovely messages from friends and readers who really like my book. I enjoyed my wonderful launch party. I had a great signing. Once I got past the fear, I actually started to feel good.

I obsessed over Breaking Glass for around two weeks. But now there is another baby due. That is Vision, due out May 2014. Breaking Glass is now the older sibling. It’s time to get ready for the new baby. And just like the second time is easier, I expect the birth of Vision to be far less fraught with uncertainty and anxiety.

In fact, I’m hoping that I can finally figure out how to promote a book and still find time to write the next one!

I’d love to hear release day pearls of wisdom from those of you who have already experienced this. I’m sure all the expectant parents will want to hear as well.

A review of my coolest summer read, EXTRACTED by Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley

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I picked up a wonderfully huge haul of books from BEA and I believed that I mentioned them on my usual posting day. But today I am filling in for Christine Johnson who has been swallowed up by a tsunami of life events. And if you check her Facebook page, you’ll see that she has been a poster child for Murphy’s Law in that whatever can go wrong will. So hugs to you, my dear Christine and may the Gods of Mayhem find someone more deserving to pick on.

That being said, I am taking this opportunity to talk about one of my summer reads, the forthcoming book EXTRACTED, by our very own Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley. This book will not be available until November, but I figured I’d get you all excited now.

I just happen to be the cover designer for this book, and I’m going to admit that when I designed the cover last summer, I had not read the book. I usually don’t read the books whose covers I design beforehand because I prefer to capture the essence of them based on an overall impression—which really helps me grasp how best to market them. With EXTRACTED, I’m really pleased, after having read the book, just how well the cover suits it! I might have designed something completely different had I read it first. And, in an interesting side note, Sherry and I have gotten in contact with the cover model on the book, a professional model from Poland named Lukasz Omiotek. The guy is super awesome and nice and I’m hoping we’ll  possibly be able to collaborate with him remotely on the next cover in the Lost Imperials series! He said he might want to post some EXTRACTED themed photos of himself on his blog. Here’s a pic of him looking a bit steam-punkish. The guy is a real fashionista and the camera worships him!

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So, you’re probably dying for me to get to the review, already. Sorry—I get excited about cover design.

First of all, I find it remarkable that this book was written by two individuals. I could tell the difference in their voices, because of the character’s personalities, but their writing styles mesh seamlessly. And oh, how they can write! Ficklin and Jolley have a very direct, sock you in the jaw style with a beautifully poetic undertone. The book reads like a screenplay with vivid visuals and relentless action. In fact, I am really dying for this to be a movie!

Let me give you a bit of background. The main characters are Lex and Ember, two time travellers torn from their own time periods and stranded on opposite sides of a deathly rivalry between competing factions of time travellers. Lex belongs to The Hollows, a gang of time thieves who pop in and out of the time stream to steal important objects. Ember is a Rifter, who under the guiding hand of Nicola Tesla’s disembodied head, are dedicated to protecting the time stream from the reckless Hollows. Neither Lex nor Ember know each other, or remember their shattered pasts and severed connection to each other. But Ember is starting to have terrifying nightmares. And her memories are coming back—which will cause her to question her loyalties and the version of the truth she’s been told.

When Lex’s girlfriend Stein dies in a mission, Lex provokes a chain of events that begins to unravel the time stream, ultimately throwing he and Ember together to try to save it. They are forced to confront the reality behind of their shared past and to join forces to save themselves and time itself.

The book is inventive, imagination and totally original. Filled with steam punk imagery, it is interwoven with historic figures and full of thrilling action. It’s as if history was thrown in a blender and set to puree, which I totally loved. The main characters, Lex and Ember are tough and hardened teens who can knock out your front teeth with a round house kick you never saw coming, yet whom beneath the steely veneer are loyal and touchingly full of heart.

I have to say, I really have a crush on Lex. He is tough as titanium but would die to save a friend without blinking an eye. He’s the kind of guy that would pull a burning car off of you with his bare hands then brush himself off and saunter away. What a hero! The authors really put these characters through hell. I’m not going to tell you some of the mishaps that befall Lex, but he manages to keep his wicked sense of humor through out, which is another part of his daredevil appeal.

Extracted is really an exciting and adventurous read. I can’t wait to read the next one (and design the cover) and I’m betting you can’t wait to read Extracted!

My Summer Reads

I was lucky enough to have attended BEA (Book Expo America) last month as an author, but I also came as a reader. One of the chief attractions of BEA are free books and a few of my companions ( a motley crew of my fellow Scene 13ers and some blogger buddies) even came up with our own name for it: ARC Snarfing. (Okay–that was me–but it did catch on!). My best and greatest “snarf” was this book, The Dream Thieves, the sequel to The Raven Boys, my big catch from last year. I was obsessed with The Raven Boys, as anyone who googles me can attest. I’m enjoying this one, but not quite as much. Maybe it’s because I snarfed another book that I like even more–which is Extracted, written by my fellow Spencer HIll Press and Scene 13 authors, Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley. And I swear it’s not because of the cover! (yeah–I designed that one). So is this fair? Neither of these have been released yet. I guess I will have to add one on that is currently available and that is Siege and Storm, the sequel to Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo. I have been waiting ALL YEAR for this, and cannot wait to read it! Next on my reading list are three more Spencer Hill Press titles: PODS, by Scener Michelle Pickett, Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller, and Copper Girl, by Jennifer Allis Provost. These three books are currently available!

by Maggie Stiefvater

by Maggie Stiefvater

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17347389-the-dream-thieves?ac=1

 

extractedfromweb

Welcome to the war.

The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.

The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.

Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.

When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.

Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16068631-extracted?ac=1

siege

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14061955-siege-and-storm?ac=1

and oops..I think I left one out…my book Breaking Glass, releases next week on July 9th. I won’t be reading that yet again, but maybe you might want to!

The Merry, Merry month of Mayhem—and the Marchapalooza CONTEST winners

AND..the winners are…
Mandy Silberstein
Nancy Allis

Congrats, ladies!

And now for the post..

I kind of have this thing about May.
Yes, the weather is usually amazing–and today (or yesterday when this post appears) beats April, but for me May = deadlines. You see, I am an academic and May is the end of the school term, with all its accompanying angst and epic drama. It’s the time for student shows, regtete_de_mort2istration for the Fall term–annual reports, and the like. And that’s your normal May.

For me this is no normal May. This is the May to end all Mays. This May ends with BEA, Book Expo America wherein I will be signing copies of BREAKING GLASS alongside an awesome line-up of my fellow Spencer Hill Press authors.

May is the time for nagging my marketing director, Jenn Allis Provost (who is also a Scene 13 member), the editor and chief of SHP, Kate Kaynak, my agent, and any other poor soul who crosses my path. I have recently discovered that if getting published is hard, BEING published is harder. It’s not easy being a debut author anywhere, but I daresay being one in New York City is a little like being a newborn guppy in a tank of piranhas. Yeah–fish food.

It’s hard to get book stores to notice you. Heck, it’s even hard to get the New York Public Library to notice you. One bit of success, though–I have gotten my college to notice me–and my students. So that’s a start.

Oh–and did I mention my son is graduating college in a week and a half, has no job and is moving back home? Mayhem, indeed.

However, I am not giving up. I am far too stubborn! I still have plans for world domination. Let’s see, I have about two months and a week to do it.