Tag Archives: books

Why I Love Query Rejections

After five years of outlining, writing, editing, editing, writing and more editing, my next novel is to the point I wanted it to be before I began the hunt for an agent. I’ve gone the self-publishing route (Choice), and published my second and third novels with an independent publisher (Queer Greer and Vuto). I am at a point in my career, however, where I know that if I want to get into the major publishing houses, I need a literary agent to do so.

So, this month I have sent out a bevy of query letters to literary agents I have researched and sought for the genres they represent that match with my writing, as well as their client lists, targeting the agents of writers I personally admire. I have also invested in the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents, which is a more valuable resource than I ever knew.

Within the last several weeks, I have gotten many rejections from those I’ve queried — and I must say, I relish those emails.

The rejections are a learning opportunity. A rejection tells me that this particular agent is not the right fit for my work; he or she will not be the best advocate and is not the partner I need in this next chapter of my writing career.

Fiction is a very subjective beast — one person may not like your work while the next may fall in love with it at first page. I try not to take the rejections personally whatsoever. They let me know that I have yet to find the best agent for me and help push me through to the next query.

Writers out there, relish those rejections. There will be many on the path to representation, but it means you’re on your way to finding the best agent for you and your writing.

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VUTO Book Trailer

I am so thrilled to report that the official Vuto book trailer is now live! A big thanks to the wonderful Kevin Beaty for his work on this project. I hope you enjoy:

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Filed under Africa, Books, Gender, Politics, Vuto, Women, Writing

My Kickstarter for VUTO

As you may know by now, I have officially launched my first Kickstarter project for my third novel, Vuto. Before the end of Day 1, I was psyched to see that my project was trending at #1:

Image courtesy of www.kicktraq.com.

Image courtesy of http://www.kicktraq.com.

Reaching out to family and friends has proven to be a great success. I was personally touched by friends from high school who have come forward to support me in this endeavor. One friend wrote to explain why she donated:

“I just checked it out and it looks awesome. I donated because I loved the whole concept but also because I remember you always wanting to be a writer when we were young & it’s good to see you following your dream.”

It meant so much to me that she remembered this dream of mine, even when we haven’t seen each other in going on 10 years!

Now in Day 3, I have surpassed the $1,000 mark thanks to the generosity of said family and friends, as well as my fans. This is great news, as Fiction projects in Kickstarter have a large failure rate; those that do not attain 20% of their needed funds in the first week are usually doomed. Now that I’m over the 33% mark, I feel like I’m in very good shape for success.

I can only hope more readers see the value in this book as much as I do and continue to donate through May 9th. I have some great rewards – including specific ones for this week. From today through April 17th, all donors will also receive one of several eBooks being offered for free from my publisher.

Be sure to check out my Kickstarter project by clicking HERE. Any questions? Ask away!

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Filed under Vuto, Writing

Welcome to my new blog!

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. I’m excited to keep everyone updated on what I’m up to as an author and LGBT+ activist moving forward.


This Saturday I’m happy to report that I will be at the Tucson Festival of Books in Arizona with fellow authors from my publishing company, Rocket Science Productions. I will be at a table selling and signing copies of my book, Queer Greer, for all who are interested from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 9th.

As I get ready to celebrate my 28th birthday next Wednesday, March 13th, I am so thrilled for the festivities to begin early. This Sunday, my favorite modern author, Jodi Picoult, is coming to town for a book reading and signing of her new title, The Storyteller. The timing could not have been more perfect! Here’s to hoping I can snap a photo with her!

Last week I had two blog posts go up on The Huffington Post – the first around the topic of LGBT+ inclusivity in surveys and questionnaires; the second, a part of my Bi the Bi series on why a bisexual individual would want to identify by the term “bisexual”.

There is much more to come! Come back for weekly updates and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and The Huffington Post.

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NaNoWriMo 2012?

I hadn’t planned on taking on the challenge this year as I still have last year’s manuscript (Vuto) to polish up for my next round of queries. But, as I was driving home yesterday, I had a vision of a plot line that got me so excited, I think I just may have to tackle NaNoWriMo 2012 in less than two months.


The Pileup

Tentative plotline:

A newscaster interrupts the television lineup to report on a terrible crash on I-95 involving at least 7 passenger vehicles and one tractor-trailer truck. It is unclear what caused the pileup and what injuries – or worse – have been sustained by those involved.

We go to the back of the pileup, focusing on the passengers in the last vehicle, going down the line, chapter-by-chapter, unveiling the lives of those in each car/truck and the damage the accident has wrought on all – getting worse and worse the closer we get to the first car.

I know exactly what causes the wreck and the fate of the driver inside – but I won’t reveal that here now.

Yes – I think NaNoWriMo ’12 is a go!

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Shattered Souls by Daniele Lanzarotta Blog Tour: Character Interview

Welcome to a special post. Today, author Daniele Lanzarotta has provided us with an interview with her character, Travis, from her newest book, Shattered Souls.

Take note: this interview is part of a blog tour and there are giveaway items to be had! Comment at the end of this blog post for a chance to win one of the following: a Shattered Souls poster, a signed bookmark or a signed paperback copy of the book itself. All giveaways are US and international, ending on May 31. Winners will be announced on June 1.

Shattered Souls synopsis: It has been 30 years since Lexi made her choice. With time, many things have changed, but others… never will. As her past comes back to haunt her, one vampire is destroyed, and Lexi is the one blamed for his true death. She is now being hunted by her own kind, and as much as Nicholas tries to protect her on his own, that is not enough. He needs help, and he values her far too much to ask for help from just anyone. They encounter ghosts of their pasts, face their worst fears, and above all, heartbreaks strong enough to shatter souls beyond repair.


Alison: Hello Travis and welcome. It’s great to have you here to answer some questions from your fans. Our first question for you is how did you and Lexi meet and become so close?

Travis: Hi Alison. Thanks for having me. I met Lexi when we were in high school. I was sort of new in town. I was actually working that night, and then I saw her in the deserted parking lot and went to see if everything was okay. I guess you could say that we just hit it off. One thing led to another… every time we talked and everything that happened from that point on, just brought us closer together.

Alison: Any piercings or tattoos with some good stories behind how you got them?

Travis: *laughs * I have one tattoo with one crazy story! The tattoo is a five-pointed star on my back, which is meant for protection. I actually got it when I was 15 or 16. My mom was so mad, but it was a weird family tradition. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family has it. I thought it was silly at the time, but I later found that it wasn’t silly at all. 

Alison: We know that you have ancestors that have had a certain history with vampires. What has your personal experience with vampires been like in the past and how has it affected you?

Travis: Even though I have an ancestor who is a vampire, I didn’t even know they existed until after I started to hang out with Lexi. I love her to death, but she attracts trouble like no one I’ve ever met. Even in high school, she spent more time with vampires than humans, so it was only a matter of time before I found out. My personal experience is that most of them are trouble, but then there are the few who I got close to. The bad thing is that you cannot surround yourself with the good without attracting the bad ones.

Alison: You’ve had trouble in relationships due to your family vampire history, haven’t you? Can you talk about how vampires and your knowledge of the world have caused trouble for you romantically?

Travis: Eventually, I realized that even though the tattoo protected me, the ones I got in a relationship with were always at risk. Once I got attached to someone, I would get worried about their well-being and let them go.

Alison: How have your family and friends dealt with your sexuality?

Travis: I never hid who I was. I am who I am and I always felt that people could either deal with it or move on. For several years, in high school especially, my parents were in denial. I’m not going to say it wasn’t hurtful, but after a while it was funny to watch Mom try to push Lexi into my bedroom.

School was tough. I had just started dating someone openly and then, next thing I knew, my family was moving. Even after the move, I didn’t hide who I was. Being on the swim team, the guys felt weird around me, so I didn’t even bother making new friends until I met Lexi.

Alison: Do you have any words of encouragement for others who have had trouble coming to terms with their sexuality or come across negativity when they’ve come out?

Travis: I know it is easier said than done, but stay true to yourself. The ones who really matter will be there for you… even if it takes them a little time to adjust, which was the case with my parents. It is one of those situations where you’ll learn who your true friends are. Just remember that there is always someone out there that you can talk to. For me, that person was Lexi.

Alison: Does being in a world of vampires change the way you are perceived or the way you perceive yourself?

Travis: In a way, it does. I guess I feel more comfortable in their world… more accepted. I believe because most vampires have been around for so long, they view things in a different way. The challenges that I encountered with humans in relation to my sexuality were never once an issue with any of the vampires I ever met. It’s weird to think that some humans can be crueler than the vampires who they believe to be monsters.

Alison: Well, Travis, I just wanted to say thank you for being here with us today. This has been a great interview and I’m sure readers can’t wait to see what you’re up to in Shattered Souls.


Daniele Lanzarotta is the author of YA paranormal novels, including the Imprinted Souls Series and Academy of the Fallen.

She has a Bachelor’s in business and finance and a MBA. With only a few semesters left in school, Daniele started writing as a hobby, but it didn’t take long for her to be consumed by her stories. That is her passion, and she now has several projects under way.

She enjoys reading and writing young adult novels with just about any sort of paranormal or supernatural bent…vampires… ghosts… She also enjoys watching hockey, playing rock band, guitar hero and spending time with the family.

Follow Daniele on Twitter @DaniLanzarotta!

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Queer Greer Book Trailer

After over a month of hard work on behalf of my good friend Hunter LeMoine (videographer/editor) and Lou John B (musician), the official book trailer for Queer Greer is here!

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Queer Greer: Pre-Sale and Review

So the second edition of my book, Queer Greer, went up for pre-sale on my birthday this week (March 13). I’m so excited about this. Here’s a look at the newly designed cover:

I was also thrilled to read a new rave review that was posted on Amazon.com today:

5 Stars
Not what I expected, pleasantly surprised by Irisher
“I started this book thinking it would be about teen angst and trying to come to terms with one’s sexuality. What I found was a book about a very savvy, smart young woman with enough self worth to realize what she is and accept all her foibles and strengths to find happiness.”Greer has all the usual issues with parents, friends and dating that many of us have experienced. I was surprised at how much I associated with her feelings and how deeply I felt her loss. It reminded me that we are all human and while who we love may not be the norm, we all experience the agony of the loss of that love similarly.

“Greer is an amazing heroine and role model for anyone trying to grow up in a world that still hasn’t figured out that we all love the same way regardless of which gender we are drawn to. Queer Greer is a very honest portrayal of coming to terms with your truth and instead of hiding, “coming out” and demanding those in your life to love and accept you just the same.”


Have YOU read Queer Greer yet? What did you think?

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This Week in Social Media: A.J. Walkley Being Interviewed

Hey fans and followers! This afternoon I will be on This Week in Social Media alongside Otis Chandler of GoodReads and Rex Pickett, author of Sideways and Vertical. Be sure to tune in at 2:30PM Pacific/5:30PM Eastern here: http://www.justin.tv/thisweekin

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Filed under Advice, Social Media, Writing

Author Series

I have been promoted at Mahalo.com to head producer and casting director for the Author Series. This is very exciting for me as a lifelong reader and writer. I am having so much fun looking for and speaking with authors from as far as the UK, thus far. We put up a thread on Reddit.com the week before each author is scheduled to interview asking for questions from fans to be answered by the author on video.

The first person to come into the studio that I was personally thrilled to meet and speak with was Rex Pickett, author of Sideways and its new sequel, Vertical. Here’s a little taste of his interview where he answers the question, “What is the best glass of wine you’ve ever had?”:

Thus far, the funniest and most entertaining author we’ve filmed has been filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman. Kaufman made The Toxic Avenger, along with many other films with his company, Troma Entertainment. He recently came out with a new book entitled Sell Your Own Damn Movie! In the following video, he answers the question, “Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?”:

Out of everyone I’ve bet thus far doing this series, however, I have to say it’s hard to surpass Jeff Mudgett. I had been anticipating meeting him since reading his book, Bloodstains, and being fascinated by the stories of H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper, along with serial killers in general. Mudgett himself is Holmes’ great-great-grandson. Here he describes the personal tale he tells in Bloodstains:

If you are an author or have a suggestion of an author you’d like to see on Mahalo’s Author Series, please email requests@mahalo.com.

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Filed under Advice, Books, Interviews, Writing