Hey, howdy, hey everyone! In case you didn’t know, Bookitcon: Chapter Two is coming up in just a few weeks on August 7! Bookitcon is created and run by the amazing Nori at ReadWriteLove28. I will leave everything you need to know about Bookitcon (and even ways to be a part of it for those who can’t attend) down below.
But first, let me introduce you to the fantastic S. Usher Evans, one of the authors who will be attending Bookitcon: Chapter Two! I was able to interview S. Usher Evans (aka Sush) so that you can all get to know her a little better before Bookitcon. And she even gave me the inside scoop on her upcoming release! Keep reading to learn more!
SUUUUUUUUUSH!!!!!!!! Welcome to my blog! Make yourself comfortable! Kick up your feet! I’m so happy to have you here today, my friend. Let’s start off with the reason you’re here…how excited are you for Bookitcon???????????
Like, been planning this for six months super excited and can’t even contain my glee excited? I just think the world of Nori, and there’s going to be so many of my Twitter friends there. I couldn’t say no!
AND I get to bring some ARCs of my new YA fantasy Spells and Sorcery! Be still my beating heart!
I’M SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU! Ok, now onto some slightly more serious questions. I know you love being an indie author and are very proud of it (as you should be!) – why did you choose to remain indie and why is it so important to you?
I chose to go indie more because I wanted to publish a book. There was no other reason behind it (at the time). During the process, I had this moment of revelation like, “This is it. This is what you were put on this earth to do” because I was running a business (which I love), scheduling projects (which I also love), and writing. All together, I couldn’t imagine a better life for me.
I really like the control. I really like how I get to tell the story I want to tell and there’s no one telling me it won’t “sell” because of subjective reasons. Granted, sometimes they’re right, and granted, sometimes it’s a lot harder to blast your own horn than have a publishing company behind your back, and granted, the slow growth of gathering an audience has been incredibly frustrating, but I’m really happy with the path I chose.
You have written so much so far! A fantasy standalone with mental health themes, a completed New Adult sci-fi series, a New Adult fantasy(ish) trilogy (conclusion coming soon!), and you are about to release the first book in a new Young Adult fantasy series. Have any of these genres/age categories been harder for you to write than the others? How have you had to change your writing or the way you approach each project?
I learned very quickly that no book is ever drafted the same because Lord knows I tried to force myself to write them all the same. Actually, every day is different. Some days, I just pick up where I left off and start writing linearly. Other days, I’ll poke through the manuscript until I find a spot that’s calling to me. And still others, I’ll poke and poke and maybe add a hundred words here and there and then give up. Some days, I get up and dump two thousand words before I’ve had breakfast. Other days, I struggle until nine at night and then dump 4k into the draft.
The hardest book to write, hands down, was Empath. It wasn’t just writing a book about a girl traveling to a fantasy land, it was an allegory to the darkest point in my life. I wrote about how it felt to have anxiety, to feel depression closing in around me while I was trying to remain outwardly happy. I wrote all my biggest fears and the things that I was afraid to face about the break-up with my ex-boyfriend. When it was done, this huge weight lifted off my chest. That’s why it’s not getting a sequel.
I know that, in a sense, you have spent time in all of the worlds you have created. But if you had to pick just one of your worlds to live in, which one would you pick? (I know, this is a tough one!)
It’s probably a tie between having Lexie’s magic (she’s in this world) or Lyssa’s. I’d love the ability to summon and conjure things. I would never lose anything ever again. And it would be fun to zip around the galaxy with Lyssa, although she’d be a horrible traveling partner.
You will be moderating the Surprises in Publishing panel at Bookitcon. Can you give us a sneak peak? What are you planning on discussing with the other authors on the panel? What is one of the biggest surprises you have encountered as an indie author?
I’m super excited about the panel! I think it’s going to be pretty eye-opening about what we thought this business would be, and what it actually is. For me, the most surprising aspect of publishing is actually how easy the actual “publishing” part is. It’s literally, create an account, upload a .doc, add a cover, set the price, press publish. Voila, your book is on Amazon.
Now, of course, there’s a lot more that goes into preparing the book to be ready and marketing it. But “publishing” actually takes about three seconds.
This is a long shot, but I’m going to ask it anyway….any chance you could give us a sneak peak of your next release, Spells and Sorcery? Just a little teaser? Some inside information? Maybe? Please??? Pretty pleaseeeeeeeee?????????
GURL YAS! I’m so excited about this book. It’s been one of those in my memory bank since I was thirteen, and I’m so excited to watch everyone meet Lexie and hear her story. I’m still on the fence about how many books the series is going to be. Definitely three, perhaps four, depending on how I feel when I get there.
The snippet comes from right after her family tells her she has magic (well, her butthead older sister uses it in front of her) and she’s having a bit of trouble adjusting to this new bit of info:
I ran out of the house as fast as my legs could carry me. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t…
Not only was it real, but I had it. So did that make me a witch or a wizard or…?
Or nothing. Magic didn’t exist.
But it did, because I’d seen with my own two eyes.
I slowed and looked behind me to see if Jeanie or Nicole were coming after me. I wanted them to rush out and say it was a giant joke and Marie was in on it and “Ha-ha. Happy birthday, idiot.”
But as the fall night darkened around me, I heard no voices behind me. Nothing except the random car door slamming or the rumble of a truck passing on the highway nearby.
Perhaps I’d just imagined the whole thing. Maybe I’d had a stroke.
There was a small park in the distance, and I marched toward it, waiting to wake up from this strange dream. The lamplights snapped on, and I jumped nearly out of my skin, my heart thudding wildly. I stared at the orange glow for a moment, taking a few moments to convince myself that the streetlights were on a timer, and not turning on of their own volition.
They couldn’t have been turned on by magic, could they?
“I’m losing it,” I whispered, covering my face with my hands.
I crossed the grassy park, headed for the swing set. I plopped down on the swing and leaned against the chain. After a moment, I began to swing back and forth, allowing my mind to go blank for just a moment. I took a deep breath in and out and stared at the empty suburban streets.
“Yer a wizard, Lexie…” I whispered to myself.
My head bobbled up at the sound. An older man stood on the sidewalk. He wore casual khaki pants and a polo shirt, and his salt-and-pepper hair was neatly trimmed. He stood under one of the street lamps, which gave him an almost angelic sort of glow.
“W-what?” I said, realizing he was still talking to me.
“I asked if you were all right,” he said, stepping out of the spotlight and closer to the swing set. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Have you ever questioned everything you thought was real?” I asked, for lack of anything better to say.
“Once or twice,” he responded with a charming smile. “Mind if I join you?”
I shrugged, and he sat down on the other swing beside me. I might have thought it strange, a middle-aged man on a swing set, but I didn’t have a clear definition of weird anymore.
“Want to talk about it?” he asked.
“I doubt you would believe me,” I said. “I don’t believe me.”
“That’s a tough spot to be in. Let me guess: did they tell you about magic?”
I nearly fell out of the swing. “W-wait, you know? Does everybody know?”
He laughed, his few wrinkles deepening with smile lines. “No, of course not. Just those of us who have magic.”
“A-and how did you know I have it?”
“We can tell,” he said. “You’ll get there, I’m sure. But I only assumed—teenage girl, looking the way you did, magical…”
I slumped lower against the metal chains. “I wonder what else people are lying to me about…”
“You know about the Easter Bunny, right?”
I sat up, wide-eyed. A man-sized rabbit existed?
“He’s not real,” the man finished with an amused smile.
“Very funny,” I said, clutching my still-pounding heart. “After tonight, I’m pretty sure I’d believe anything is real.”
“Magic is real. The Easter Bunny is not. How about we start there?”
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” I said, looking up at the stars. I might’ve still been dreaming, but this guy seemed real enough. “I mean, is science really science or is it magic?”
“I’d go out on a limb and say your understanding of science is sound,” he said thoughtfully. “Magic tends to stay within magical communities. Not too much gets out into the nonmagical lesson books.”
“What about gravity?” I said, lifting my feet from the ground and letting the swing do the work. “Does magic make the earth go ’round?”
“No, the earth rotates due to leftover inertia from when the solar system was created,” he said without missing a beat.
My feet thudded back onto the sand and I stared at him. I’d never been out-nerded before.
“Magic is more like another sense,” he said, slowly swinging back and forth. “It’s like an extra hand you wield with your mind.”
“Oh.” I frowned. “I don’t know what that means.”
“Here.” He flicked his hand and, in a purple puff of smoke, a thick book appeared in his hand.
My eyes nearly fell out of my head for what felt like the hundredth time that night. “How did you do that? What is that?”
“This,” he offered the book to me, “is a primer. It was used in the late seventeenth century for young magicals. Very basic, of course, but the best tutorial I’ve found to introduce magic.”
The most purple book I’d ever seen, it was well-worn, the edges frayed and water damaged. The title, Spells and Sorcery, Volume 1, was embossed in a gold lettering that almost glowed.
It was one thing to see puffs of yellow smoke and sandwiches, but something about this book was alive, and calling to some ethereal feeling dancing in the pit of my stomach.
I shook my head. Probably indigestion. “This is…”
“I…” Even though I was still in shock, curiosity was starting to take hold. That strange calling grew more pronounced the longer I held the book in my lap. So, almost compelled, I opened the book to the front page and ran a finger along the pressed pages. “Where’d you get this?”
“I’m a collector of old books—specifically magical ones. I’m sort of a history buff.” He paused and nodded to it. “Why don’t you take that with you and give it a read?”
Something in the back of my mind reminded me of a book that housed an evil wizard. I glanced at the book and shook my head. “I can’t possibly take this. It’s…I mean, it’s so old. Probably worth a lot of money.”
“Books are meant to be read, not gathering dust on a shelf. What good is the knowledge in here if I can’t share it?”
I stammered like an idiot and fired off a few reasons why I couldn’t, but he placed his hand over mine.
“I insist. Think of it as an early birthday present.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “How did you know it was my birthday? I mean, it’s not my birthday. Tomorrow’s my birthday.”
“Magic comes at the beginning of one’s fifteenth year,” he said, standing. “I only assumed they wanted to tell you before you woke up with it…”
“Would’ve been nice if they’d told me sooner,” I said, running my fingertips down the front of the book again.
“I have a feeling that book will help,” he said, nodding once before turning to leave.
“Oh, I’m Lexie, by the way,” I called to him.
He paused and turned back around with a curious expression. “That’s an interesting name.”
I grimaced. Not the first time I’d heard that. “As in Alexis, but…blah.”
“I prefer Alexis myself,” he said with a smile. “I’m Gavon. Get home before it gets too dark, okay?”
I nodded and opened my mouth to agree but he was gone.
Just…disappeared in front of my eyes gone. In a puff of purple smoke.
What was it about people appearing and disappearing in smoke today?
I ran my hands over the cover of the book absent-mindedly. My head was starting to hurt from all the new information crammed into it. But I could never say no to a book, especially one which promised to give me the answers I so desperately needed.
Thanks so much for being here today! It’s been fun! I’LL SEE YOU SOON FRIEND!!!!
And now, for some information about Bookitcon: Chapter Two!
(Full list can also be found here)
Lisa A. Koosis
Martina A Boone
S Usher Evans
Bookitcon: Chapter Two is a charity book event. We currently have 28 incredible authors in our lineup. The book event will include meet-n-greets with the authors, along with two panels and the opportunity to get all of your books signed by all of the authors!
If you purchase the VIP ticket, you will also be invited to a VIP dinner/after party with the authors, along with getting an extra hour to get your books signed!
2:30- 3:30pm VIP signing! (open to VIP ticket holders only)
3:30- 6:00pm Regular signing! (open to all attendees)
3:30- 4:15pm Panel A- Surprises in Publishing!
4:30- 5:45pm Panel B- Facts + Fiction!
6:00- 8:00pm VIP Afterparty! (open to VIP ticket holders only)
Surprises in Publishing
Moderator: S Usher Evans
Panelists: Anna Breslaw, Kathryn Holmes, Lee Kelly, Jodi Meadows , Julie Eshbaugh
Facts vs Fiction
Moderator: Claire Legrand
Panelists: Beth Fantaskey, Sandy Hall, Kendall Kulper, Mia Siegert, Eric Smith
16 East Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057
Sunday, August 7th, 2016
Why? (From Nori)
I decided to start UBUbiz because I wanted a way to combine my passions for reading, business, and charity/community service. After wracking my brain for months, the idea of Bookitcon suddenly appeared! This is my second year hosting Bookitcon, and I can’t wait.
Bookitcon: Chapter Two isn’t just your ordinary book event. I’m working with the nonprofit Grace in the Mud and two K-8 schools in Camden, NJ to help them grow their outdated libraries. The proceeds from this event will be benefiting them.
You can find more information on Grace in the Mud by going to their website (http://www.graceinthemud.org/home.html), facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GraceintheMud), or gofundme (https://www.gofundme.com/justforgirls).
Are you dying of jealousy because you’d love to be able to attend and get books signed by the attending authors? Don’t fear, because virtual signings are here! You can purchase books by any of the attending authors and get it shipped to your house, easy peasy!
Are you currently unsure but want to stay up to date with all of the latest news? Make sure to subscribe to the UBUbiz newsletter!
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When you are getting ready for Bookitcon…..
…..blame it on the books.