HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

My debut novel SEELIE PRINCESS is now available as ebook on Amazon. Grab a copy today for $0.99 by clicking on the image below.

Kayla never lost hope that her father is still alive. When Seelie Princess Fay sweeps her off to the land of faeries, Kayla strikes a bargain: find her father, or never return home. As her chances are threatened by a rivalry between two courts, Kayla’s heart is drawn toward the enigmatic Fay—and closer to the trickery of the Seelie Court.

SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #2

One week to go! In honor of the upcoming ebook release I’m now sharing Chapter 2 with you. In Chapter 1 (which you can read here) you met Kayla, the human girl who is desperate to find her father. Read below to meet the Seelie Princess!

2
MORE THAN CHANCE ENCOUNTER

It had been some time since Fay last visited Chicago—or since she’d been to this world. Cool fall wind tugged at her hair and clothes as she hurried across the Millennium Park and toward the nearest subway station. No matter how long she stayed away, she would always remember the L train and the sharp wind off Lake Michigan. They were old friends greeting her and for a moment, as she stood at the crossroads, a feeling of warmth spread through her.

The light at the crosswalk switched to green and the flow of people carried her to the other side. She walked in a daze and suddenly the city felt less like an old friend and more like a recurring nightmare.

A car to her right honked. Fay flinched, startled by the unusual noise. She’d forgotten how loud Chicago was, and the air was stale and smelled of exhaust.

Another gust of wind swept across Chicago, carrying along a drizzle of rain. Fay drew her jacket closer around her. She’d put on a floaty black dress and a denim jacket, something she thought humans would wear in the summer, but she’d misjudged the weather. It was never easy to tell what season you were heading into when coming to this realm. Luckily, Fay didn’t get cold as fast as humans did.

She reached the subway stop and rifled in her jacket pocket for her ticket. Or at least what she would use as a ticket. She pulled out a large leaf she’d plucked from a tree, cast a quick Glamor, and pressed it against the scanner. With a peep, she was admitted.

She filed onto the platform with the other commuters. No one was paying much attention to her, which was a nice change for once. Back at the court, Fay was often the center of attention. And if she bowed to the queen’s wishes, she’d be of even more interest.

Not if she could find the girl first.

Fay took out the stone the queen had given her. It was opaque, about the size of an egg, and it fit smoothly into her hand. Deep pulses emanated from it in a slow, rhythmic pattern. She turned south and the pulsing faded, but when she faced north, it gave off powerful beats. She was on the right track then. The train rolled into the station and Fay got on. As it rushed north, the beating of the stone grew more intense. At one stop, the beating got so fast that Fay pushed through the crowd and out of the train seconds before the door shut again.

Using the same technique as before, she walked up to each crossroad, turned each direction, and followed the one that the stone indicated. Even after all the time she’d spent at the court, she didn’t fully grasp what made the stone work. It was a kind of magic she hadn’t seen before. One that only the queen had access to.

On and on Fay went, houses and unknown faces flashing past her, but even without looking, she knew where she was heading. The area around Lincoln Park Zoo had always been one of her favorites. Years ago, when she was little.

The stone was now beating fast and hard; it was hot to the touch. Fay turned a corner and hurried down a one-way street with brick houses. One last beat and the stone fell quiet.

She had found it.

Continue reading → SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #2

SEELIE PRINCESS: From Draft to Print

Writing a book can be a long process. When I started this journey 5 years ago, I had very little knowledge of writing itself. But through continuous effort, hard work, and persistence, I finally achieved my goal. Today I want to take stock of the individual stages that I worked through with SEELIE PRINCESS.

Summer 2014 – Spring 2015

In this first phase, a vague idea was formed into a plot through meticulous research and brainstorming. I spent hours upon hours researching Celtic mythology, writing up character profiles, plotting, and experimenting with various different scenes and dialogues.

Spring 2015 – Fall 2015

I think it was in March that I finally found the courage to actually write the book. The first few weeks were slow, and I was weighed down by fear. Could I do this? Or am I just setting myself up to fail? My sense for perfectionism slowed me down even further, because I felt like I had to write the perfect first draft. In the end I guess it was thanks to heartbreak that I was able to let go of my perfectionism and just pour my heart and soul onto the page.

Years 2016-2017

After I finished my first draft, chaos ensued. I had finally done the seemingly impossible—I had written a book. But what now? In those two years, periods of collecting feedback and editing were interspersed with periods of absolute silence. Life kept getting in the way, and I grew more and more anxious about my project. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to find my way back. But I never stayed away entirely. The way I can explain this is if you think of your mind as a web browser, and the tab called WRITING was constantly open. Sometimes it was shoved to the background, sometimes it was at the very front. But it was never truly gone. In those two years, I explored writing shorter stories, read several books on writing (which I guess would have been helpful before I started out), went to workshops, took a writing class during my semester abroad, and tried to hone my skills as best as I could.

Spring and Summer of 2018

That’s when I truly found my way back to my manuscript. I don’t know why it happened exactly at that point—perhaps because I had a bit less on my plate than I had the previous years. Or perhaps because I could no longer bear the idea that I might never finish this book. So when a friend of mine told me about Pitch Wars, I jumped right back into editing mode. Equipped with the skills I had gained in the previous years, I tore through my manuscript with a red pen in my hand. And while I did not get picked in the competition, I’m glad I tried because it was the motivation I needed to keep going.

Fall and Winter of 2018

But of course being rejected can take a toll on a person. It was the first rejection I received for SEELIE PRINCESS and it was overwhelming, to say the least. It took a couple of week to get back on my feet. I submitted my manuscript to another competition, queried a few agents—and collected some more rejections. But just as I was about to fall down a deep dark hole, I realized that I might be on the wrong path. That the traditional route might not be the right one for me or my book.

Spring and Summer of 2019

After a few months away from my manuscript, I was ready for more. I had collected some ideas and started working on a revision. Going back felt familiar and new at the same time. I was filled with a new kind of excitement, and I rushed through my revision. A couple of feedback sessions and edits later, I was heading straight for the finishing line. In July, I sent off my manuscript to my editor. Another round of edits and my manuscript was up for final proofreading at the beginning of August. And all of a sudden, though it had happened gradually over years, my book was finished.

The end…is the beginning

If you self-publish, the journey doesn’t end there. There’s still formatting, distribution, and marketing, but you should also take a moment to pat yourself on the shoulder and say, “You did it. You really finished that novel.” And then you should hold your little book baby and show it to the world. Because in the end the hardest part of writing a book is letting it go. At least it was for me. But today…

I

am

letting

go…

SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #1

With only three weeks left until the ebook release of SEELIE PRINCESS, I want to give you a sneak peek at what’s waiting for you. You can read the entire first chapter below.

1
ACORN

On some days, missing her father was only background noise. On others, the hole he’d left behind sucked all the sound from the world around her.

Today was one of those silent days.

Kayla was gazing out the window at the dull sky, her reflection blurred by the glass vibrating as the train rushed over the tracks. The image vanished as a ray of sunshine broke through the thick clouds, making Kayla squint. Her eyes took some time to adjust to the sudden brightness, but when they had, the train was already approaching the station.

“Kay, are you even listening?”

Turning away from the window, Kayla blinked at her friend Abby, who had her phone held out toward Kayla. “Did you see this? It’s a new club opening tonight,” Abby said. “We should go.”

Kayla frowned. “Can’t you ask Meghan?”

“No,” Abby said curtly. She took her phone back and shoved it into her handbag. Kayla glimpsed several textbooks, all dog-eared and worn, but that was what happened when you took a handbag to school. “Meghan’s not my best friend, is she? Besides, we didn’t go out for your birthday last week.”

Kayla hugged her backpack closer to her chest. “We went to the movies,” she said. “With popcorn and everything.”

Abby raised an eyebrow. “That’s not the same as partying. Anyway, I’ve got to get off.” Tossing back her long hair, she leaned in for a hug. Kayla held on for a second, the scent of Abby’s coconut shampoo tickling her nose.

“Text me if you change your mind,” Abby said. She stood and filed out of the train, waving at Kayla through the window.

Kayla watched Abby grow smaller and smaller as the train pulled out of the station. Once she was out of sight, Kayla took out her phone, scrolling up and down without reading any of the words. Her eyes stung with an exhaustion she couldn’t shake off.

People around Kayla rose to their feet as a crackling voice on the intercom announced their next stop and the train slowed down again. The platform was packed with commuters, impatiently waiting for the arriving train.

The brakes squealed, and the train came to a stop. As soon as the doors slid open, people pushed outside, while those waiting on the platform tried to squeeze inside. Kayla let her gaze wander over the crowd, taking in all the different people: short and tall, thin and thick, young and old, black and white. Unfamiliar faces. Except…

Kayla gasped.

Brown eyes, tousled russet hair. A face she hadn’t seen in years. As the platform cleared, her father turned the other way.

“Dad, wait!” She leaped to her feet. People cursed as she pushed her way through to the exit, her eyes fixed on her father out on the platform. He was heading toward the stairs. A voice sounded from the speakers, announcing their departure. Kayla pushed and shoved.

“Dad!” She stumbled out of the train, the doors slamming shut the moment she stepped outside. The wheels of the train screeched as it left the station.

The platform had cleared. Kayla hurried over to the stairway where she’d last seen him and sprinted down the stairs, almost slipping on the last step. She skidded to a halt on the sidewalk.

Cars were rushing by, people walking along, but her father had disappeared. Heart thrumming in her chest, Kayla spun around, scanning the area. She could hardly breathe, and the rush of her blood was so loud in her ears that she couldn’t hear either.

Tears stung her eyes. She sank to the curb, hugging her trembling arms tight to her chest. After all this time, had it really been him?

It couldn’t have been him. He hadn’t been standing on that platform, just like he hadn’t been in the crowd of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade five years ago. Or in that restaurant back in her home town. Or at the lake where they went camping when she was younger.

It never was her father, just a ghost she kept chasing through the dark.

Kayla reached into her jacket pocket for her phone, but her fingers brushed something round and rough. She pulled it out and stared at the object in her hand. It was an acorn, larger than any she’d ever seen. Not that she’d held many acorns before.

Frowning, she looked up and down the streets, but the sidewalk was empty. As she twisted the acorn in her fingers, the cap came off, revealing a hollow inside. Stuffed within was some paper, which Kayla pried from it and unfolded.

For a second, the entire world stopped, shrouded in white noise, and Kayla stared at the paper in her hands. Only four words were scribbled on it.

Your father is alive.

Continue reading → SEELIE PRINCESS: Excerpt #1

SEELIE PRINCESS: Cover Reveal!

I’m beyond excited to finally reveal the cover of my debut novel SEELIE PRINCESS. And I’m also thrilled to announce that the ebook will launch on September 19, 2019. Just one more month!

THE BLURB

“Your father is alive.”

Kayla never lost hope that her father survived that fateful night. But she knows she won’t find him in Chicago—or anywhere else in her world. After years of searching for the faeries he told her about, she encounters the Seelie Princess Fay, who saves her life and sweeps her off to Tír na nÓg. Kayla finally has a chance to bring her father back home, but it comes with a price.

She must find him,
or she can never leave the land of faeries.

Cast among strangers, Kayla must resist the magnetic pull that draws her toward the princess of her dreams and closer to the trickery of the Seelie Court. Soon she uncovers answers to questions she never even dared to ask, and a rivalry between two courts threatens her chances of returning home with her father…

…AND THE COVER!

SEELIE PRINCESS – What’s it about?

I’ve briefly talked about this before here – but I want to tell you a bit more today. SEELIE PRINCESS is my first full-length novel, which I finished revising back in August. As of now, it has not been published, but I’m querying and excited to share this story with you. So today I want to rave about my book baby. 

UDPATE MAY 2019: After doing some research, I decided to brave the life of an indie writer. My book will be self-published in a few months.

A quick recap of what to expect:

  • YA Fantasy with LGBTQ rep
  • faeries! lot’s of them
  • f/f romance
  • strong female characters
  • a magical realm 
  • elements of Celtic mythology
  • names that are pretty on the eye but you won’t be able to pronounce them (sorry, not sorry)

Meet the MC – Kayla Whittemore

Everyone knows that faeries only exist in stories, but Kayla is certain that they are real and the reason why her father vanished when she was little. Even almost 10 years after his ‘death’, she holds on to the hope of finding him. When she finally receives word from the faeries, she doesn’t hesitate to strike a bargain with their queen. But finding her father is not as easy as she’s hoped and Kayla has to face treacherous faeries, hidden family heirlooms, and her first heartbreak. How far is she willing to go? 

Kayla was born in 1998 in a small down in Illinois. After her father disappeared, they moved to the bustling city of Chicago. When Kayla isn’t researching how to find faeries, she spends her time cuddled up with a good book or drinking way too much coffee with her best friend Abby. 

What inspired it? 

1 – Celtic Fairy Faith

In the summer of 2014, I was obsessed with Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles. And even though I was a huge fan of all the badass Shadowhunters in the books, what fascinated me even more was her portrayal of the faeries as beautiful, cunning, and complicated creatures. So I began to research how she’d come about that idea and I soon learned she’d taken a lot of her inspiration from the Celtic Fairy Faith (as did her wonderful writer-friend Holly Black).

The Celtic mythology is filled to the brim with magical creatures and fantastic folktales. I could write for hours about this topic! But I don’t want to digress, so I’ll give you a little overview of characters that found their way into my story: 

  • faeries: also known as Daoine Sidhe, inhabitants of the magical Tír na nÓg, divided into the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court
  • pookas: the underdogs of the faerie realm, shapeshifters and forest creatures
  • pixies: smallest inhabitants of Tír na nÓg, also the friendliest of the Fair Folk
  • merrows: merfolk living on a small island off the mainland, telepaths and constantly suspicious of the faeries
  • faerie cats: an ancient type of faeries who can perform magic and shares both a cat’s furry ears and its heightened senses 

2 – Diverse Storytelling

When I began this journey of writing SEELIE PRINCESS, I had decided on two aspects early on: there would be faeries (plenty of them!) and my main character would be a girl falling in love with another girl. Throughout my writing process, many ideas appeared, shifted, manifested, or disappeared again, but these two facts persisted until the very end. 

There has been an abundance of great stories where girls were whisked away to far lands by incredibly handsome boys (I’m looking at you, Jace Herondale!). I believe it’s time for girls to get whisked away by gorgeous girls, too. Or boys being seduced by other boys. Or just generally people falling in love. All mixed with a fair amount of faerie dust! 

So who’s the Seelie Princess? 

I can’t tell you just yet… but keep your eyes open for little excerpts and sneak peeks! If you’re interested in reading more about faeries and Tír na nÓg, please check out my short story set in the same world: The King’s Daughters. Feel free to talk to me on twitter @sarah_tanzmann or leave a comment below!