Saturday, April 23, 2011

No srsly guys I mean I really love Doctor Who...

In a lively Twitter girl-fight yesterday about who would win Doctor #10, I protested that I (an elder in this fight) had been in love with Doctor Who since I was 7 when the show ran on grainy reruns on PBS in the 80s and thusly I would win by sheer numerical loyalty. I even referenced my passionate 2010 DragonCon post about cosplaying Romana II from the City of Death episode as proof of my undying devotion and fact that K-9 and his nose laser would SO TOTALLY side with ME in a fight.

During this smackdown I realized that I never ended up posting the photo of our cosplay trio from said referenced DragonCon event, a trio that includes none other than one of my fave editors in the world, the uncannily Davison-like Stephen Segal as Doctor 4 into 5, and his oh-so-awesome dad Stu as The Master.

So here you go:

(I love how only The Master looks knowingly at camera):

I think we're pretty fabulous.

I've been challenged to cosplay Romana in her pink coat outfit from Destiny of the Daleks this year at DragonCon. *sigh* I mean, I never turn down a Doctor Who challenge, but really? A Goth girl in pink AND white? With BROWN boots?! That's SO not fair.

RIP Sarah Jane Smith

RIP Elisabeth Sladen. Sarah Jane Smith. Feb. 1 1945 - April 19 2011

Beloved Companion of The Doctor. Bold adventurer of your own. May that beautiful blue box in the sky be bigger on the inside indeed.

You will be missed more than I can say. You've been with me nearly all my life, and the universe I love so dearly, The Doctor's universe, is less bright without you. But the heavens are all the brighter for your being there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Read: LEGACY via Crescent Moon Press

The Glade at Crescent Moon Press has been updated to include LEGACY

Hop on over to The Glade, the magical free read clearing at Crescent Moon Press. There you can find my latest free read, a Victorian-set short story LEGACY, featuring the familial (and paranormal) legacy of one of literature's most beloved Gothic heroines...


While you're there, check out my first free read at the Glade, (my first piece of published fiction)-- SEA-FOUND, a twisted little ghost story...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Strangely Beautiful, The Musical - Status Update

Greetings! I've fielded some questions lately about the status of Strangely Beautiful the musical, optioned last year. Being in this process from the very beginning has taught me just how long it takes to begin mounting a show. A long time.

Because first... it has to be written. I'm proud to say a draft of the show is complete. (Rough draft, but a draft nonetheless). An earlier post described my intitial breakdown process of adaptation (a lot of index cards). This eventually, along with inserting lyrics and song sections into the piece in the best places and chewing over where and how exactly to do that, has resulted in a script.

Taking that rough index-card structure, I glanced at the book a few times, but for the most part set it aside. It did not serve to go moment by moment or scene by scene from the novel. The show calls for different things out of the characters at different times, it becomes more convenient to use some characters for one thing while clipping and combining other moments. Suddenly a scene that took place in the office needs to be in the library. Suddenly a character needs to take bold action when they were contemplative. Things are being stated that the characters only thought in their minds. It's a fascinating thing, really, adaptation. The work becomes like a relative to the original product. There was never a time when I particularly struggled over cutting a character or shifting scenes and/or intent. It was just what had to be done and I thankfully know theatre well enough to allow it its due process. Hopefully I'll have this same relative flexibility when working on the second, third, fourth draft, etc...

And yes, there's music! Beautiful music that reflects the many moods and actions, human and inhuman, that course this tale.

So where are we now? Well, I can safely say our team is awesome, music and lyrics are spot-on, gorgeous and exactly what I could have hoped, now we just need to become a hive-mind in revisions. We need to make our respective three voices into something utterly seamless, from dialogue to music to song lyrics, one voice. Which can be difficult with three distinct voices but thankfully the tone of the work is the overarching voice itself, and the team really understands the particular fantastical Gothic voice and tone that has become my niche - for which I'm grateful. Once we can get three very busy people in the same room together for a bit of a retreat to create the next draft, then we can begin thinking about workshopping, and we've a couple of places where we might do that. Our biggest challenge so far is getting said group of exceedingly busy people into one room for any length of time. So that's where things stand. The producers are working their contacts, seeds ae being planted. Things will be growing within the year.

Thankfully, I've got the next Strangely Beautiful novel releasing May 3rd and I've had a lot of early prep for DARKER STILL (Magic Most Foul #1) to keep me plenty busy in the meantime. Stay tuned for lots of goodies and news on those fronts!

Cheers and Strangely Beautiful blessings!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Announcing: DARKER STILL, a Novel of Magic Most Foul

So I've known for a while that while the title of the Magic Most Foul series would remain just that, the title of the first book in the series would change. Myself, my fabulous editor, and the fabulous Sourcebooks team, went rounds and rounds. We went back and forth all over long titles, one word titles, debated, looked over lots and lots of Edgar Allan Poe, even put up some options on the Fire site for a vote, still, nothing quite struck the whole team as something that worked. The goal has been to find a title that's extremely accessible and yet unique, a very difficult thing to pinpoint. And as the team has been exceedingly supportive of me and this series, they really wanted something everyone could get behind, from editorial to marketing to buyers, everyone. I got into the habit of randomly sending Leah emails whenever I got an idea (she got used to the random email with a time signature of 3am - that's how I roll). And finally one of my ideas seemed to stick and stick across the company, and for the buyers as well...

DARKER STILL, a novel of Magic Most Foul

Hitting stores 11/8/11 - and we've a beautiful new cover in the works that I can't wait to share!

-- You'll hear much, much more about this Gothic Victorian YA saga set in an 1880 New York City full of black magic, nightmares, and impossible love across a torn existence... Excitement! I'll be starting to blog about Historic New York this year, one of my favourite subjects, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Perilous Prophecy's First Reviews, Steamy Screens and Tour Schedule!

True-Blood.Net weighs in: Updates and goodness! Firstly, I'm beside myself about what True-Blood.Net has to say about The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess. True-Blood.Net has been a fan of the Strangely Beautiful series from the first, but their support is never given blindly, especially not with a book like this - as so many things can go wrong with prequels... But thankfully, it seems to have quite satisfied! Read the Review - Enter the Contest! True-Blood.Net is kindly sponsoring a Perilous Prophecy giveaway to go along with their amazing words!

Top Scores: Huge thanks to Grace at Livre de Amour for being the very first to review Perilous Prophecy! 5 out of 5 hearts! (Read the Review).


The Next Event: NYC! Steamy Screens! April 17th! 4pm! Come on down to a) the coolest bar in NYC, The Way Station, b) support great art & Steampunk projects i.e. The Steampunk Picture Show! d) literary fun: hear an exclusive teaser for The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess! e) hang with awesome authors like Stella Price and PJ Schnyder and me - and awesome musical acts! Support Steampunk film-making and support us authors while you're at it. You don't want to miss it! View the Invite!


'Round the Interwebs: Sarah at Pomegranate Ink has lovely thoughts about The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker and what the heck I'm trying to do with the Strangely Beautiful series. She really gets me, bless her, and gets the series. It might be because she rocks the Gothic herself - (please read "Ptomaine" I love it so much... ) I sure appreciate it when I'm not alone.


Release Week Blog Tour! The Perilous Prophecy Haunted London Blog Tour schedule is posted on the website! Ghost stories, excerpts and giveaways! Join us RELEASE DAY - May 3rd - and all release week for new teasers, giveaways and ghosties!


Events around the country! I'll be in many states in a small amount of days come the end of this month and into next... Check the BookTour page ... For up-to-the-minute info on the goings on, events, and out-and-about-ness, follow me on Twitter and at the Facebook page... -

A fluffy animal... Because that's sometimes what this is all about too... Cheers!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Leanna's Marketing Smackdown #4 - Tips for Writers

About the Marketing Smackdown:
Last year I wrote a quarterly column for my local RWA Chapter, RWA NYC, in their Keynotes Newsletter. Since then, several of the articles have been reprinted by other RWA chapters and since I'm continuing the column this year, I thought I'd offer the 2010 posts here too. While I'm not remotely a Marketing expert, I do spend a lot of time on various marketing strategies and happen to have a lot to say about it. I hope writers might find this useful, and that readers and fans might find it interesting (or perhaps daunting) to know some of the many things we authors are doing while trying to juggle everything else in our life.

Leanna’s Marketing Smackdown #4 - Social Media Don’ts.

Copyright 2010 Leanna Renee Hieber

I’ve watched enough meltdowns to know,

Do Not:

10. Rant / rave / criticize your publisher. Anywhere. Ever. Stuff lives online forever, even if you take it down, somehow it still may live, especially if the gossip-mavens get to it and you don’t want to be forever haunted by your bad mood. Every publisher has things that will irritate the hell out of you. Deal with it privately.

9. Criticize another author, not in public at conferences, not online. Bad karma. Unless they come out as like some Neo-Nazi or something. In that case, fire away.

8. Pick for your branding / voice / look / style something that you’re not comfortable with. That discomfort will show. Be yourself. In person and online.

7. Fail to give credit. If you’ve learned something from another site, take a second before reposting to say where it came from, link to it on your website. Online stuff is about sharing, not taking, and who knows, a beautiful exchange may occur. Example: My Haunted London Blog tour was greatly indebted to Richard Jones, who has written my favourite, go-to books about London ghosts, he’s the scholar of the subject. I didn’t know him, but thanked him as an inspiration in my blog post, and somehow (likely Google Alerts) he saw the posts, contacted me, is the kindest person in the world, and said if I was ever in London to come be a guest on his tours. Which I did. He kindly came to my London signing and I maintain he's the neatest guy ever.

6. Assume all social media sites are created equal. Like any club or society, each different venue has a different culture and vibe. I treat my Facebook Fanpage differently than my Twitter. A fanpage is just that, it’s a fanpage, it’s all about me and the Strangely Beautiful series, so everything I post there is really me-centric. Twitter, however, is more personal and interactive, so I can’t just make it about me me me all the time – I mean, 80 to 90 percent of the time, sure- but stop to Re-tweet someone’s good news or call someone out on something good occasionally, tweet about whatever book you’re reading and loving, etc.

5. Take people for granted. This is a harrowing business and no one expects us to be selfless angels all the time, but just try and keep that in mind, it’s a constant balance I try and strike myself.

4. Do not leave a website / blog / untended or with outdated information. You don’t have to blog often but at least tend it once a month. If this isn’t possible, then ditch the blog and stick to a more static website where the info on you and your latest releases is up to date.

3. Do not be mean.

2. Do not give yourself a good review under your own or under a different name that might still route back to you. That’s what friends and chapter-mates are for.

1. Do not ever ever ever ever post a reply to a bad review, it just makes you look bad, no matter how snarky / misspelled / terrible / mean / wrong the review is – it’s gotten many a good author into trouble. Let it go, there will be plenty of good reviews.

Happy Writing, happy selling!

Tweet? @LeannaRenee

Facebook: Here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Strangely Beautiful Animation of Miss Percy Parker

So the neatest thing happened today.

I'd been corresponding with a kind and lovely reader asking questions about Miss Percy and Professor Alexi Rychman of my Strangely Beautiful series, particularly the ballroom scene in The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (one of my very favourite scenes). She said she was using it for a school project. Excited that I should be a part of an academic excercise, I was happy to oblige. What she's working on? Well here's just a few pieces of her animation project in progress! Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Grace Whitley, aka ( Gureitsu via Deviant Art ) and her awesome stylings of Miss Percy and Alexi. What a way to make an author's day!

(IMPORTANT: These are Copyright-protected images. Permission for this post was obtained from Ms. Whitley. Reproduction of these images without express permission granted from Ms. Whitley is piracy.)

Huge thanks to Ms. Whitley for this superb treat. It's such an honour when an author gets to see her beloved characters as inspired through the eyes of a new format (and for it to be so spot-on is another delight). Please visit her Deviant Art site!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Steampunk Industrial Revolution

Pictures often speak louder than words, so I'm going to share a few of J. M. Lilley's awesome photos from the Steampunk Industrial Revolution. (Congratulations to the freshly minted Lilleys!) I do need to say a bit about just how much ridiculous fun I had last weekend. - As the Literary Guest of Honor I had the opportunity to do A LOT - I was on panels about Race and Gender in Steampunk, Steampunk and Left-Wing Politics, I judged the Queen of Steam Drag Show and I also was treated to the ongoing ridiculous and hilarious antics of The Wandering Legion and many representatives of The Red Fork Empire.

(Now this photo of me laughing was taken during an adventurous "Munchausen" game of truly absurd storytelling as a benefit for the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation trying to recover from flood expenses and losses. -- I maintain that most things can be blamed on either Baron Von Lahey or A Count Named Slick-Brass.)
This convention brought HUGELY talented musicians into our midst. Please check out the convention guest list and track them all down. Indeed, there was dancing.
AND of course, the opportunity to do readings is one of my very favourite things to do at a convention. I presented a new teaser for The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the Strangely Beautiful prequel, and a new Gothic short story that introduces some of the world and world building of my spooky, haunted Victorian New York of Magic Most Foul series coming in November.

Another pretty amazing and delightful thing this convention did differently was to bring theatre into the mix. A night of short plays brought some really talented writers and actors onto the stage, and I had the opportunity to present, under stage light (my very favourite, of course) a piece of fiction commissioned by Unhallowed Metropolis, the "gasmask-chic role playing game of Neo-Victorian horror" that details a day in the life of a member of the secretive Mourner's Guild of black-clad females trained to be zombie assassins. It went over quite well. Did I mention I love my job?

Thanks to the entire staff, participants and attendees, what an incredible time!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Strangely Dramatic Tale of Miss Hieber's Victorian Wardrobe

Guest post by my clothing: The Strangely Dramatic Tale of Miss Hieber's Victorian Wardrobe - Via Love, Power & Fairytale Endings

Leanna's Marketing Smackdown #3 - Tips for Writers

About the Marketing Smackdown:
Last year I wrote a quarterly column for my local RWA Chapter, RWA NYC, in their Keynotes Newsletter. Since then, several of the articles have been reprinted by other RWA chapters and since I'm continuing the column this year, I thought I'd offer the 2010 posts here too. While I'm not remotely a Marketing expert, I do spend a lot of time on various marketing platforms and happen to have a lot to say about it. I hope writers might find this useful, and that readers and fans might find it interesting (or perhaps daunting) to know some of the many things we authors are doing while trying to juggle everything else in our life.

Why do I call it the smackdown? Because it's me versus time versus deadlines versus marketing. All the time.

Marketing Smackdown #3 - A Few of my Favourite Things!

Copyright 2010 Leanna Renee Hieber

These are a few of My Favourite Social Media things:

10. Tiny URL – when posting long links to things, in group posts, or on twitter, the long URL’s get cut off, broken, hard to manage and use. converts a long URL into something manageable, for free. It rocks. I use it all the time. Create one for your books at Barnes & Noble and such, you can create it so that you remember it, for example, I created which is the letters of my absurdly long title plus the letters b and n for Barnes & Noble; that’s my pre-order link for The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker! I did the same thing for Amazon and Borders so that if I’m writing blog posts I can always pop those into links by memory rather than having to look them up every time and copy/paste. Also good?

9. Publishers’ Forums. Forums are great places where fans loyal, say, to the Publisher’s book club, will go for news, for contests, for community. If you’re targeting a publisher, see what everyone is talking about on their forums and perhaps track some of their authors, learn from them! A great example of this? Sourcebooks Teen Fire site:

8. Facebook Fanpages: Easy, free, user friendly, a nice way to separate out your personal self’s facebook page from that which is a “Product” – To get a product i.e. fanpage, go to one that’s established, I’ll give you my own, for example: . In the lower left hand corner there’s a button “Create a Page” – follow the prompts, and you’re off! You can also follow prompts from the Facebook homepage.

7. Book Trailers – I had such fun with mine, and using targeted advertising on YouTube was affordable and gained a lot of views (I have over 10,000 views of the first Strangely Beautiful trailer now) – for more on this, see my Do It Yourself Guide to Book Trailers .

6. Google Alerts! Go to Google, go to “More” and go to Alert and type in your name and the title of your book and what email you want the alerts to go to (You have to have a Google account to do this, if you’re on You Tube, Blogger, gmail, etc, you already have one). Alerts mean when all your lovely reviews pop up (well, and ugly ones too, you don’t have to click on said link if you see a sentence you don’t like) you know about it. You do need to know where you are on the web and when, and if someone has posted a lovely review you link to it, etc, you need to figure out what blog / online community has discovered you and also, argh, when your book is getting pirated.

5. Digg / Yahoo buzz / all those little options when you click the button that says “Share This!” - ok, the whole list is overwhelming. But if you just sign up for a couple, like for me, I do Digg and I’m already on Yahoo with my mail, so you can “vote” for content. When someone posts a nice book review, “Digg” or “Buzz” it! (Get grandmothers and family members who are bored at work to do this for you too), every ‘vote’ for online content gets it tracked to things like Google and it shows up on searches more easily.

4. Get your friends to “Like” the nice Amazon reviews, it puts them to the forefront. If someone has written a snark-tastic mean review, you can tell your friends to “dislike” the review, but DON’T respond to the review yourself in any way. Ever. That spells certain doom. Oh, and Amazon reviews will not make or break you anyway. Again: DO NOT RESPOND TO BAD REVIEWS. EVER. PERIOD. It makes you look unprofessional and always ends up turning out for the worse. Also, get your friends to Facebook "Like" your books on Amazon and also on Barnes & Noble and anywhere your book is sold that has a "Like" button. Likes breed other likes on Facebook, they're like marketing rabbits.

3. Book! This wonderful site is the perfect place to list your events, plus it routes all your events to your Amazon Author page (which you do have to claim but don’t have to upkeep) and to your Goodreads ( page. Again, claim this but you don’t have to upkeep it or maintain presence there other than having your info there, which leads me to…

2. Claim your author pages on Amazon and Goodreads! If you have an ISBN then you have an author page waiting for you at both of these venues, claim them and route your blog to it, link to your websites, etc, (just follow the prompts) its pretty user friendly! And your events will route there too, it’s lovely!

1. Again, Twitter – I know, Twitter is way old hat. It's so not new. And yet, I am serious, folks, it’s the very best tool of all. It is easy, gets you interacting with people, I found all my fave new book bloggers there and it continues to drive more traffic to my website than any other venue. I'm @LeannaRenee.

Happy Writing, happy selling!