Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Redemption Tour Stop 6: Aurelia's Top Ten Challenges for Headstrong Characters

1.    Assassins. When you have a mind of your own, people seem to want to kill you.

2.    Vultures. AKA unwanted suitors with lots of power and very little hair.

3.    Sisters. Always a challenge, whether one is headstrong or not. But Aurelia’s sister definitely belongs on this list.

4.    Stepmothers. Like we haven’t all read enough fairy tales to know this. And I admit that Aurelia’s stepmother bears an unfortunate resemblance to the fairy tale stereotype. Aurelia would really prefer that her stepmother did not. But that’s just not the way life turned out.

5.    Cowardice.

Check out the rest of Aurelia’s top 10 at Emily’s blog, Falling For YA!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Redemption Tour Stop 5: Miz Writer Lady

From Jean at Miz Writer Lady:

“It was one of the things I had forgotten about Anne Osterlund’s storytelling: her ability to sucker punch you with emotions. Being the end of a trilogy, emotions were running rampant as Aurelia and Robert face impossible choices and worse, their own feelings. Anne Osterlund brilliantly crafted a story that wove together themes of duty and love . . .

Check out the rest of Jean’s review for Redemption, as well an brand new interview by yours truly, on her Miz Writer Lady blog!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Redemption Tour Stop 4: YA Book Nerd

From Jennifer at YA Book Nerd:

“I liked watching both Robert and Aurelia come into their own. I liked the strategies, the defiance, and the determination . . . A fantastic ending to a wonderful trilogy."

Check out the rest of Jennifer’s review for Redemption on her YA Book Nerd blog!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Redemption Tour Stop 3: YA Bibliophile Review

Check out Heidi’s review for Redemption on her YA Bibliophile blog! Also Redemption is now available at Barnes & Noble on the following page:

From Heidi:

As I said, I read Aurelia before I started blogging regularly. I was immediately captivated by the characters. I read Exile as soon as I got my hands on it in 2011 and have been dying for Redemption ever since! It was so great to finally find out what happens with Aurelia, Robert, and all of Tyalt.

The thing I love most about this series is Aurelia herself.

To read the rest, visit Heidi’s blog at YA Bibliophile.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Redemption Release: Today is the day!

Redemption hits bookstores today. Aurelia, Robert, and I hope you enjoy their third and final story. Today is also the second stop on the Redemption Blog Tour. Check out Danica Page’s from Taking It One Page at a Time.

To purchase Redemption:

It is also available through iBooks.

From Danica Page:
Redemption by Anne Osterlund. Finally!!!!
Fellow Page Turners,

I'm thrilled to be part of today's blog stop for Redemption by Anne Osterlund. Anne Osterlund has been one of my favorite authors for years, and I'm super excited to share my thoughts with you about her latest book. It was absolutely incredible. What a great ending to a great series! Definitely check out this series and just this author in general. 
To read the rest of her five-star review, go to Danica’s blog: Taking It One Page at a Time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Redemption Blog Tour: An Early-Morning Character Interview

Come on, Aurelia. It’s time to go to Live to Read!” I call to the heroine of my first complete series.

She is hovering at the top of the stairs. She has actually been dressed and ready for the first stop of our blog tour—in honor of REDEMPTION, the third & final novel of the Aurelia Trilogy—since about 4:00 a.m.  Aurelia is the only participant in the tour who is a morning person.

Though if you ask her, she will probably tell you she has been prepared for her own personal blog tour her entire life.

“I’ve been ready,” she says. “Robert is the one who is dawdling.”

Robert is more nervous. 

Read the rest on the first stop of Aurelia & Robert's Redemption Blog Tour at Live to Read.

Monday, September 26, 2016

In the Villain's Mind

I’m generally not a fan of scenes told from the villain’s point-of-view. I don’t like being there, in the villain’s head. I find that it gives away a lot of the tension within the novel—knowing what the villain is plotting. And, again, I don’t like being there.

This is, no doubt, close-minded of me. And you have to be careful, as an author, not to close your mind to possibilities. Because, eventually, you are going to have to break down that wall.

The problem with ignoring the major villain in Redemption is that—if I tell this story only from the main characters’ perspectives—the villain doesn’t get to walk onto the page until the climax.

And that’s a problem. A big one.

Because even though the villain has caused all kinds of havoc, it just doesn’t seem like a big deal if that character doesn’t show up for the build-up.

So after writing not one, but two full drafts of Redemption, I realized that—kill me now—I was going to have to actually climb into the villain’s head. And let this character talk to the reader . . . several . . . times within the story.

This was really quite creepy. I mean, you never know what might happen to you in the villain’s head. He or she might just chop you up with a letter opener or something. (You think I’m joking, but I’m not).

Spending a whole week—much less a month—climbing into the villain’s head was just not how I was planning on spending one of my summers.

But the book is oh so much better for it. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Historical Fiction: The First Wave

My next book—the one after Redemption—is historical fiction. Not historical fantasy like Aurelia and Robert’s series. But genuine HF.

This means the research has to be more real. (In other words, I can’t cheat).

Don’t get me wrong. I do a lot of research for Aurelia and Robert’s novels. And it’s a blast. Scimitars. Loading rifles. Battle plans. Eighteenth century furniture, torture devices, high-heeled shoes. I get to use all kinds of crazy historical details within Aurelia and Robert’s books.

But for my upcoming novel, I knew I needed to kick the research level into a whole other gear.

This meant a LOT of reading. Starting off with some general topics: the Oregon Trail, pioneer women, school teaching in the Pacific Northwest, Native American tribes in Eastern Oregon, homesteading. I got to read some fiction and some great non-fiction. I also got to read some really lousy non-fiction. And some stuff written by people who definitely don’t know how to write. At least not at a professional level.

But some of that lousy stuff—it was the best. Because it was the most specific to the locale and the era I was researching, southern Gilliam County in the Columbia Basin at the turn of the century. And it’s great to know that’s all you can get because it means there’s definitely room for a novel in this setting. I mean, that’s one of the reasons I want to write about it. Because no one else has.

So, as I was saying, that was a lot of reading.

Most of which . . . won’t get into my book.

Because I had to pick a specific date, or series of dates: September 1904-1905. Ding, ding, ding!

My major achievement after a month of reading.

Once I had done that, I could actually write the whole first draft of the book.

And then launch into the second wave of research.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

REDEMPTION: Publication Date & Cover Reveal

Release Date: Redemption, the final novel in Aurelia & Robert’s trilogy. October 17th, 2016!

Aurelia is jumping up and down. “I did it! I did it!”

Robert is just laughing at her, though of course, he knows he has worked every bit as hard at finishing their story as she has.

We did it,” I say.

“We did it! We did it!” she shouts.

Robert is now jumping up and down with her.

They start shouting together. “We did it! We did it!”

Apparently that’s as much eloquence as I shall get out of them today. Why are we all jumping up and down with excitement? Because we have crossed the desert, climbed the Gate, and survived the trek through the myriad obstacles along the trail to publication. Redemption has been a challenge every line of the way, but the finished novel--and series--is absolutely the story of my dreams.

My characters and I sincerely hope you all enjoy the conclusion of Aurelia & Robert’s story.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Novel's Calendar

I’m generally not the most organized person. I don’t keep a date book. I don’t record my travel expenses on a regular basis. I cram all my receipts into my wallet or dump them in a pile on my file cabinet.

And I’m lucky if I file twice a year.

In general, I warn my students that the teacher’s desk is the last place they should leave their stuff because there it will get lost.

So, not surprisingly, I don’t love keeping track of Aurelia & Roberts’ calendar.

I mean, really—the lazy part of my brain wants to say—this is fantasy. I haven’t bothered to invent a calendar for their world so why should I have to keep track of it?

But, you know, I do.

If you read a lot of modern YA, you’ve probably noticed that time-wise, the genre tends to run on the short side. For the author, this has a lot of allure. You get to fully flesh out the scenes. Nobody complains about your transitions. The pace should feel fast.

And for some books this works astoundingly well. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton being my favorite example.

But limiting your time frame also causes problems. Relationships can feel rushed, non-genuine, or superficial. You never get the long-term payoff you can grasp from a great coming-of-age novel. And vast, sweeping developments within the world? They don’t really feel real.

Don’t get me wrong. I love YA. I really, really do.

But most of my plotlines refuse to stick within a single week or a month.

And this means, things get messy.

Especially when you’re traveling on horseback across an entire country. And when news has to travel the same way.

Because in order for the followers of character A to run into the minions of character B at EXACTLY the most heinous possible time, I have to know the timeline for everything.

Which means I have to keep a calendar.

Friday, March 11, 2016

High-Maintenance Horse

Aurelia is a fantasy. When I first began writing it, I thought of it as a story along the lines of Tamora Pierce or Patricia C. Wrede. I had no idea that it would become in any way “a horse book.” Though looking back now, I can see that the horses were already there—in Robert’s first conversation with Aurelia.

It wasn’t until chapter three, however, that I first met Horizon. Robert needed to go to the horse fair, and it was only natural that he ride a horse.

I didn’t realize at the time that I was creating a character.

Not an animal. Animals are easy. You guide them onstage, lead them around, and shoo them off when you’re finished.

Cars are even easier. You park one. You drive it. You wreck it. You have total control.

Not over Horizon. I should have known, from the beginning, that he was going to be a problem. He wouldn’t walk straight to the fair. Oh no, Robert had to ride him clear around the outskirts of the city. (Which allowed me to paint the setting and also to align the timeline within the book—character flaws can be useful!)

When I eventually needed to decide the climax for the novel, it just made since to have a horse race. By that point, I had a mysterious golden colt, a jockey for a villain, and a heroine who could ride. It didn’t matter that Horizon was Robert’s horse. Or that most women in this historical-fantasy era would have ridden sidesaddle. The race became the fastest—and easiest—scene I wrote within the entire book. And that includes all umpteen revisions.

It’s possible this success went to Horizon’s head.

You see, Robert has to ride everywhere. And after book one, he and Aurelia travel a lot. But they are never ALONE.

There is always this extra character getting in the way. I can’t open a scene without explaining the location of the horse. Is Robert riding? Is Horizon trailing behind? And if not, why not? Because you can’t just park Horizon anywhere. Or leave him with anyone. Not easily. Not without his having to protest. He is so real that I can’t refer to Robert as “he” without worrying that the pronoun might be confused with that of his frigging horse. (I have a similar issue with Falcon and Aurelia). Robert can’t even leave the country without having to say goodbye to Horizon.

Or return, in book three, without greeting said horse. Because, of course, Robert still needs Horizon in order to travel.

Truthfully, I can’t recommend turning your animals into living, breathing characters. It can be a royal pain.