Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fathoms Above Research Sneak Peeks

Only five days left until I get the first draft of Fathoms Above back from my editor! I'm so excited to read all of her notes and get to work fixing my mistakes. (Busy, busy lol.) So much work went into writing this sequel to Fathoms Below. In fact, part of me still can't believe it will be published in a few months. It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting behind my computer at my old desk, typing out the first words of the prologue. Now, two years later, it's almost a reality! True, there are still lots of grammatical errors to correct, spellchecks to be performed, margins to be re-aligned, and questions to be asked. Plus, this is only the first draft. There will be two more after this one before Fathoms Above is ready to hit the shelves. However, I wanted to take the time to share with yall some of the research that went into creating Fathoms Above and the rest of the Star Crossed universe that Cather Stevens and Hermes Preston live in.



To me, writing a book is a labor of love, one that requires time, effort, sweat, blood (think broken nails on a keyboard), tears, and sacrifice, like the kind found in the story of Medusa. I read two different volumes and searched online archives extensively for everything that I could find about the snake-haired Gorgon whose gaze turned anyone who looked upon it to stone. All of them seemed to share the same two origins, which I remembered from my days devouring Greek mythology in high school. One, that Medusa was one of three Gorgon sisters, daughters of the sea deities Phorcys and Ceto who were born monsters. And two, that Medusa was a beautiful maiden who was turned into a monster by the goddess Athena, either because she angered her or because Athena took pity on her. Both make sense. Yet I have always had a burning question in the back of my mind when it comes to this particular myth. Specifically, why does Medusa's gaze turn people to stone? Of all the powers she could have had, why did it have to be that one? Was it genetic? Accidental? A weapon to protect her against men who might harm her for her beauty? Or was it punishment for something? So I took that question and allowed it to fuel my own version of how Medusa came to be, exactly what she did that made Athena so angry that she would curse her (because let's face it, it would take something more than someone simply defiling my temple to make me curse them, and weapon or not, turning all who look at you to stone is a curse sooner or later), and what happened between her and Athena after that.



If you can't tell already, I think research is one of the best parts of writing a book, along with the actual writing part and getting to see your finished product once its published. Not only is it an excuse to read new books and reread old favorites, but it's also an adventure in itself, one where pages are my roads and my imagination is my compass. Research allows me to take well-known, and not so well-known, tales like that of Cerberus, the three-headed Guardian of the Underworld, piece them together with histories, dreams, and my own experiences and weave them together into a single story. In this case, a story about a dog named Fear who was given to the descendants of Pyramus by Hades, god of the Underworld, as protection against Zeus and the other deities of Mount Olympus.



I also like research because it helps me learn more about my characters' backgrounds, especially the deities. Each Greek myth I read and rewrite to fit my story line helps me turn untouchable Olympic gods and goddesses into seemingly-real flesh and blood individuals just like you and me. They have likes and dislikes, habits, and pasts, sometimes good, sometimes bad, that drive their emotions in the present. Hermes, who for centuries spent his time upholding Zeus's star crossed curse until he met Cather, is one such character, driven by the love he feels for the mortal girl and the guilt he feels for all the lives he took at the hand of the curse. In Fathoms Above, we see a little more of this love and guilt mix as Hermes remembers the tale of Echo, another of Cather's tragic ancestors, and her love Narcissus, and hopes that his and Cather's story doesn't end up like theirs.



Want to read more about the research that went into Fathoms Above? Then stay tuned for next week’s blog, where I will talk about some of my favorite online research finds, including some special character insights on Athena, Hermes, and Cather. Until then, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

♥ FATHOMS BELOW SPECIAL VALENTINE’S DAY BLOG ♥


 Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! J Normally, I would wait until the end of the week to post this. However, as I am going out of town with my daughter for a special Valentine’s outing this weekend, I will be MIA from my computer and other devices. So I figured I should go ahead and post it today.


For those of you who don’t know me, I am a HUGE holiday person. I love to decorate, bake, exchange gifts, celebrate with my family and friends, watch holiday specials, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The hearts, the chocolates, the flowers, the cards and romance: I love it all, and this year, I wanted to share it with my readers.  So, for the next week only, the Fathoms Below e-book will be on sale for only $0.99! If you or someone you know are like me, and Valentine’s Day puts you in a romantic mood, then this YA paranormal romance centered around Greek mythology and fairy tales is the perfect addition to your holiday gift list! If you’re anti-Valentine’s Day, don’t worry! I’ve got that covered too! The tragic endings to the love stories in Fathoms Below will definitely help you not-celebrate this holiday of hearts. Find this special holiday deal on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo E-readers by clicking on the links below.



Nov 28, 2016



$0.99

I also wanted to share some of my FAVORITE Valentine’s cards this year. For those book-lovers like me, Marissa Meyer, author extraordinaire of The Lunar Chronicles and Heartless, has free printables of her Lunar Chronicles Valentine’s (for the pro and anti-Valentine hearts) posted on her blog! I gave these to all my friends and extended family (as well as kept one for myself lol), and they were a huge hit! Get to them for yourself by clicking on the link to Marissa’s blog.

http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/happy-valentines-day/

For those of you busy mom’s like me, here is a link to the free printables (noticing a pattern here? Yes, I love free DIY things!) I used for my daughter’s classroom Valentine’s this year: adorable pink, red, and black Tic-Tac-Toe cards by Nest of Posies, which I handed out with little boxes of white Tic-Tacs. (Get it? Tic-Tac-Toe, Tic-Tacs? Too cute!) These were a huge hit, as my daughter and all of her friends love games, and super easy to pull together! Just print out as many cards as you need (there are 4 to a sheet), cut them out, and attach your favorite candy to the front or back. Voila!


Another thing I love about Valentine’s Day is—you guessed it—the books! (Actually, that’s something else I love about every holiday, because it’s an excuse to buy, get, and receive books, but tomato, to-ma-to.) There are so many good romances, both pro and anti, to read around Valentine’s Day! Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Antony and Cleopatra: and I have pulled together a list of recommended Valentine’s Day reads just for you, my fellow book lovers! Some of these yall have probably heard of, while others might be a little less well-known. But all of these are either my personal romantic favorites or are on my to-read list for this year. Plus, they all fit in either the pro or anti-Valentine category, or are just fun holiday-themed fluff. And yes, before you ask, I included Fathoms Below on this list. After all, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t love my own books enough to recommend them to other avid readers? J





Some other fun bookish Valentine-themed things I’ve done or will be doing this week? One, I am participating in Romance Week on Goodreads using the hashtag #RomanceWeek. Check out all of the love-related articles, quizzes, and 14-word author love stories (including one by yours truly!) by clicking on each of the links below. Or check out my Twitter feed at the bottom link for a full recap of all the fun stuff I did.

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/810-it-s-romance-week-on-goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/524370-14-word-love-story

https://twitter.com/authorlauraholt


I participated in the IWC (Indie Writers Corporation) Valentine's Day Event on Facebook. It was so exciting getting to talk to actual, experienced romance authors like Natalie Bennett. If you missed this event, you can view it now at the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/events/725381740968413/permalink/731945270312060/?notif_t=event_mall_reply&notif_id=1486835559785209

I went on my first online book-promo scavenger hunt, hosted by the YA Giveaway Queens. These ladies are a truly amazing group of writers and book lovers, and the scavenger hunt was so much fun! Hopping from page to page, finding code words and entering giveaways? I was hooked from the get go! Needless to say, I didn’t get any work done this morning lol. This Valentine’s Day event will last all day today, so if you like hunting for buried treasure as much as my daughter and I, or if you just want some free books (both are totally acceptable reasons), then check out the scavenger hunt here.

https://gleam.io/XutuI/hot-new-reads-scavenger-hunt

Well, that’s all! Don’t forget that Fathoms Below is on sale for the next week only on all e-book devices, so get your copy at this special discounted price before the promotion ends! Just make sure you have some tissues on hand before you start reading. You’re probably going to need them. J Hope you all have a safe and happy (if not loving) Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Signings, Social Media, and Queries, Oh My!

Lots of exciting news, Fathoms Fans! I have spent the week doing lots of fun, bookish things. First, Fathoms Above went to my editor on the 1st! Yay!! I'm so excited to finally start the editing process on this book, and I absolutely can't wait to see the finished product! Three months can't go by fast enough lol, but for now, here's a little sneak peek at some of the research that went into Fathoms Above.



I sent out a brand new query for Fathoms Below (bites fingernails) and finished updating my Book Art board on Pinterest and added two more: Book Research and Character Inspiration. I love seeing what other authors used to create their books and how they view their characters, and I hope yall enjoy this look at mine as well. :)

https://uk.pinterest.com/holtlara2

I also created the first half in a two-part series of pictures on Instagram for a bookshelf tour through my house. This was a really fun little side project, inspired by all the fabulous photos posted by other bookstagram accounts like @jessbooklover and @lisa_lostinlit. One of my favorite things to do is share what I'm reading with other book-lovers, and talk with them about their favorite characters and reads, and this was a great way to do that! Plus, it gave me a reason to reorganize all my bookshelves, which needed it badly lol. Now when I go look for a book on one of them, I don't have to move other books out of the way!







I participated in Write On Con on Saturday, February 3, which was a totally awesome experience! There were so many fantastic articles and videos by acclaimed authors, editors, and illustrators that it was super hard to pick my favorites. I even got to participate in a Live Q&A with Literary Agent Emily S. Keyes from Fuse Literary. See the links to all my highlights from this online convention at my Twitter account below.

https://twitter.com/authorlauraholt

The best and biggest news I have, though, is that there is officially ANOTHER book signing for Fathoms Below in the works! This one will be held sometime in April at the M. E. Roden Memorial Library in Hawkinsville, GA, which I'm super excited about because it's my hometown library where I grew up learning to read and nourishing my love of reading. More updates on this, and the book signing at Hawkinsville High School, to come this week, along with more sneak peaks at the research that went into Fathoms Above - follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop -, a special surprise promotion for Fathoms Below that will be happening around Valentine's Day, ARC giveaways of Fathoms Above, and maybe even a book trailer for Fathoms Above! Who knows? I'm feeling inspired. Until then, happy reading everyone!