Friday, 5 September 2014

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles, #2) by Nicole Conway

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Title: Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles #2)

Publication date: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Author: Nicole Conway

What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.

About the Author

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

Author Links:  

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer 

I’m excited to offer advice and help to other aspiring authors who are trying to perfect their manuscripts. It can be a very daunting process! Having made the transition from hobbyist writer to published author in an extremely short amount of time, I’ve had to learn a lot through trial and error. But thankfully, I’ve also had some fantastic friends and editors who have helped me recognize and learn from my mistakes. 
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way: 

This advice was given to me by the one and only Anne Rice. I was fortunate enough to get to interview her for a school project while I was in college, and she gave me this wonderfully simple tip that is extremely helpful for anyone aspiring to be a writer. You can call yourself a writer all day long – lots of people do! But the difference between claiming to be a writer, and actually being one, is that you actually write. Write all the time, about anything and everything. If you don’t have a manuscript or an end product you’re working towards, write down ideas. If you do have a story or end goal in mind, start writing it! It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time; that’s what editor’s and drafts are for! 


Most readers are like sponges – they will soak up every detail when they read something. They will pick up on nuances of characters and situations that maybe even you, as the writer, don’t realize you have incorporated. That being said, if you are writing something that feels awkward or off, or if you are working on a scene that “you really don’t like,” then don’t be surprised if your readers blast you for it. They will pick up on that sentiment. Absolutely. Without a doubt. So don’t waste your time writing things that you don’t enjoy, because no one else is going to get joy or satisfaction from them either. 


I’ve talked to lots of writers from all walks of life, and a common theme separating the published/accomplished ones from those who still haven’t finished a manuscript or product is the fear of starting over. They seem to take this as some sort of evidence of failure, which is entirely wrong. A first draft is merely that, a first draft. Most authors rewrite the same story numerous times. I know I had to restart writing FLEDGLING four separate times before it finally felt right. So don’t be afraid to start over. Don’t throw the draft away, though! Rather, use it as a template so you can improve on it. Figure out what you don’t like about it, and go from there.


It’s hard for first-time authors and writers to pinpoint their audience. Trust me—I’ve been there. I am guilty of that vacant, thousand-yard stare the first time someone asked me what age group my book was for. MG? YA? I had no idea what those even meant. But figuring out what kind of audience you are trying to appeal to is vital to the process of making your work a success. If you aren’t sure, then ask a trusted friend or family member to read your work and tell you which age group they feel would be the most appropriate. You may be surprised what they say! 


This is a problem I struggled with first-hand when I first started writing The Dragonrider Chronicles. I knew I wanted the book to be about Jaevid, but did I really want him to tell the story? Narrators are incredibly powerful. Countless stories on shelves today are crippled because of the wrong choice of narrator. Just because you have a special place in your heart for a certain character doesn’t necessarily make them the best qualified to be telling it. Also, a narrator shouldn’t just be a transparent lens through which to watch the story. Rather, a narrator should cause you to feel what it is like to be inside the story—to be a part of it, not just a spectator. That might not be as obvious a choice as you
think, because perspective is everything. The power of the narrator should never be taken lightly, and it may require some trial and error to find the right voice for your work. 


Someone once told me that “a story is like a skirt; it should be long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.” Truer words are rarely spoken. I think we can all agree that while we enjoy a good, descriptive paragraph to embellish a scene . . . there comes a point when it is smothering, redundant, and just downright boring to listen to an author go on and on about something. You’re just ready for them to get to the point already! So beware the descriptive tar pits that can bog a story down and keep things from progressing at a rate that keeps readers turning pages! 


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of letting my southern dialect leak into my writing, especially when I write from first-person perspective. My readers in the UK are probably all nodding their heads in agreement over this. It’s extremely tough to catch this kind of thing, let alone avoid it, because your dialect is an individually unique part of who you are. But this is when it’s important to have an objective editor. Every region in every country has a different way of expressing things, even different words that sound strange to people not from that area. When writing in first person, be especially mindful of this! 


You can’t please everyone. I’ve lost count of how many times people have told me that. But it’s one thing to hear it, and quite another to truly understand it. These days it’s so easy for anyone and everyone to comment on your work, whether they’ve actually read it or not. And there are cruel, hateful people out there who just want to feel superior by cutting others down. It’s a part of life, like bullies on a playground. But you have the power over whether or not those words affect you. My advice? Value the criticism given to you by people who have the knowledge and experience to give it – because usually, their function is to help rather than harm. When it comes to the rest of all that “negative noise,” just grow a thick skin. Don’t internalize it! Don’t even answer or comment on it! Letting those sorts of insults get to you gives those people power and attention they do not deserve. It’s gonna be a rough road, no one said being a writer is easy. But part of the struggle of being any sort of artist is putting a piece of your soul out there to be judged by strangers. 


As writers, I solemnly believe that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by practicing our craft. That being said, please don’t shut yourself out of a genre or age-group because of fear of failure. Don’t sell yourself short because you’re uncomfortable or intimidated by a subject matter or genre. I’ll be perfectly honest—I’m super intimidated at the idea of writing science fiction. I love reading it, I love learning about it, but it makes me anxious because I feel somehow unqualified to write about it. But a very dear friend said this to me, and it has changed the way I look at writing: “Are you an elf? Have you ever ridden a dragon? Can you use magic? If you use that same logic, then you’re not qualified to write about fantasy, either! No one said you have to be a NASA scientist to write about space!.” Great advice, huh? Hopefully this helps you, too! 


Following up with the previous question, if writing about a certain topic, genre, or situation makes you really worried about getting the details correct, then find someone who does know about that particular subject! You’d be surprised how willing people are to conduct interviews—especially if you mention that you’re an author or blogger looking for good information. Of course, make sure the individual is qualified to give you good information, and then prepare your questions and topics ahead of time so you can get everything you need without having to go back and ask follow-up questions later. This has been a huge help for me in my own writing endeavor. Knowing you have your facts straight can give you that extra little boost of confidence you need to get your project going!

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