Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr






Title: A Draw of Kings (The Staff and the Sword #3)
Publication date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Author: Patrick W. Carr

Their journey to Merakh should have made Errol and his companions heroes of the realm. Instead, much is changed on their return. In the wake of the king’s death, Duke Weir is ruling the country–and his intentions are to marry Adora to bring an heir.
With Errol and the others imprisoned and the identity of the rightful heir to the throne still hidden in secrecy, Illustra is on the verge of civil war–and at growing risk from the armies of Merakh and Morgol.
A dangerous mission to free Errol succeeds, but the dangers facing the kingdom are mounting with every passing moment. The barrier has fallen, ferals are swarming toward the land, and their enemies draw near. Will the revelation of Illustra’s next true king come in time or will all be lost?



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Read the first 40 pages of A Draw of Kings here.


About the Author:
 

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.




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10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer 

1. Make writing a part of your lifestyle. It needs to be as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth or changing your socks. Don’t sweat it if some of what you put down isn’t very good or if you can only manage a couple hundred words. Writing is what makes a writer. If you don’t do it, you won’t get better at it. 

2. Finish the first draft. The temptation to go back and edit before going on is almost overwhelming. Ignore it. You can’t fix everything along the way and even if you could, your editors would give you a whole bunch of different stuff to fix anyway. Once you finish the manuscript, you can go back and edit to your heart’s content. 

3. Give your characters something unique. Stein refers to this as a “marker” so that the reader will instantly identify or identify with the character. In “The Staff and the Sword” I decided early on to give every one of my characters a secret that had to be hidden. That gave me great opportunities to write intrigue into the story and it flowed from who my characters were. 

4. Read the craft books. The one I keep coming back to again and again is “Stein on Writing.” I need to find a hardback copy because I’m wearing the paperback out. I just finished revisiting the section on characterization. It’s a great book to help focus your writing. I also think “The First five Pages” is a good one to have around once you get serious about submitting. 

5. Get yourself a Ramona. Ramona is my sister. It doesn’t matter what I write, she always says the same thing: “This is soooo good. I can’t believe you wrote this.” I’m never sure what to make of that, but Ramona is my biggest cheerleader. Everybody should have one because one thig is for sure, you’ll never run short of self-doubt. But after you get yourself a Ramona, you’ll need to get… 

6. A critique group. You need people to tell you when your writing works and when it doesn’t. A small critique group, no more than three or four people, is the ideal setting. Make sure the people you’re shackled to are giving you good feedback. Of all the tips listed here, this one is the most difficult. Good critique partners are very hard to find and you may go through quite a few before you get your group settled. I’m fortunate to have three people who critique my work and I am attached to them like a barnacle. 

7. Go to a writer’s conference. The days of unsolicited manuscripts are pretty much over. The best way to get mindshare from an agent or a publisher is to get in front of them at a conference and pitch them your book. If you are unpublished, make sure you have the manuscript completed. They won’t be interested in anything less. I went to ACFW in 2010 and it was invaluable. You’ll be exhausted by the end, but it’s worth it. 

8. Polish. Polish. Polish. You can always make it better, always make the characters deeper, always describe your setting in richer detail, etc. You’re done polishing the manuscript when your editor or agent says, “That’s enough, you have to give it to me now.” Coincidentally, that will coincide with the deadline on your contract. Funny how that works out. 

9. Be teachable. It’s so easy to get offended when someone criticizes your baby, but remember, your writing is not you. Most people are not out to hurt your feelings when they critique your work, so don’t take it personally. Instead, let a little time pass to allow the sting to fade (it’s like alcohol on a scrape) and then revisit the criticism to see if it has merit. I remember my first contest. Whoa, was that a rough experience. The only thing one judge like was my punctuation. Seriously! 

10. Read great writing. Absorb it. Break it down. Figure out what makes it work. Then see if you can apply that to your writing. Two of my biggest influences are David Eddings, who wrote brilliant
dialogue and Stephen R. Donaldson, who writes brilliant narrative. I still go back and read their stuff. 

11. Actually this is 10A – never give up. Insert Winston Churchill speech here :)





Tour-wide giveaway

Open to US/CAN