Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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This thing with Strange Chemistry —

One thing that has become obvious in the past few days is that the writing / blogging community can be very supportive! I would particularly like to mention the blog Fantasy Faction, which is run by Marc Aplin. Marc has kindly offered his blog as a venue for former Strange Chem authors who pursue self-publishing:

I can’t help you with getting the book written, edited or produced (sorry!), but I do feel that I can help with what is often seen as one of the more difficult aspects of self-publishing: marketing. I know how hard it can be, letting people know your next title is coming; especially when it is a year or two since the last.

So, I know it is a rather small gesture and unlikely to fix all your problems, but for any Strange Chemistry authors writing fantasy who do choose to go the self-published or small press route I’d like to offer Fantasy-Faction to you whenever you need to promote yourself and your work. Just e-mail me any time: Marc@Fantasy-Faction.com . Whether this is to set up Guest Blogs, Reviews, Interviews, announce your latest book is underway – or whatever else you need – I and the community are at your disposal.

That is so thoughtful and practical, and I’m sure I won’t be alone in remembering this offer in a few months or a year.

Kaye at Watercolor Moods is arranging a Blog Hop:

What would the blog hop entail? It depends on you.

Personally, I’d like the idea of a post highlighting what you’ve enjoyed about Strange Chemistry, and possibly focusing on a particular title you’ve enjoyed. If you’d like to host a giveaway, that would also be a wonderful way of these authors continuing to bring in new readers.

For inspiration, I’m adding a link to the list of Strange Chemistry’s authors here. I hope that we can do something to bring them comfort in this hard time. I know publishing has its ups and downs, but this has been a real sucker punch to all of us today, and it is going to be difficult to find a new normal after this – particularly if you were directly affected.

If you’d like to join in on this, I’m adding a link widget below. I am planning to post on Monday, the 23rd, so keep that date in mind and get your post ready.

Another thoughtful and practical suggestion, and I hope more bloggers are kind enough to join in.

Also, there’s been a lot of email and Twitter activity, as various Strange Chem authors offer to share their experiences with self-publishing, or suggest we form a cooperative imprint under which to self-pub our orphaned titles, or get together and bring out an anthology of short fiction set in our various worlds . . . this is all just in the past couple of days! I’m all in favor of every suggestion. I particularly like Kim Curren’s suggestion of Strange Phoenix for a cooperative imprint.

Also, here’s this list of Strange Chemistry authors, with titles, which I’m seeing around the Internet. I want to emphasize this is not a complete list.

Rosie Best
Skulk (October 2013)
I haven’t read this — here is a review from Fantasy Book Review: “As far as debut novels go, Skulk is very solid, providing a stable platform that will allow Best to jump from strength to strength.”

Gwenda Bond
Blackwood (September 2012)
The Woken Gods (September 2013)
I confess that I haven’t read these either, though I’ve come close! As it is, I will probably wait and pick up the forthcoming title, Girl on a Wire, which Gwenda says is her favorite work of her own so far. That right there makes me want to read it — plus, circuses. Quick quiz question: ARE clowns creepy?

M. G. Buehrlen
The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare (March 2014)
Haven’t read this one either, but here’s a review from Bibliotrophic. “M G Buehrlen’s YA novel of time travel with a twist is the start of a series that I’m definitely keeping my eye on. It impressed me in multiple ways, from characters struggling with debilitating illness, to trying to wrap one’s mind around the classic time travel paradox, to simple things like good realistic dialogue and character development.”

Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Assassin’s Curse (October 2012)
The Pirate’s Wish (June 2013)
I have read these, and I liked them quite a bit. Great use of slang and differing speech patterns for the two protagonists, great descriptive passages. I see Cassandra has a couple of short stories set in this world available from Amazon at .99c each.

T. L. Costa
Playing Tyler (July 2013)
Haven’t read this one. I’m going to stop saying that — just assume I haven’t read a title unless I say otherwise, right? I did actually read a snippet of it that Amanda sent around — maybe I have the full thing in a word document somewhere, but I didn’t have time to actually read it, I guess (story of my life). Unique voice, though, with an ADHD protagonist, which was interesting. Here’s a review from Buried In Books.

Eliza Crewe
Cracked (November 2013)
Here’s a review from Books, Bones, and Buffy. “In a word: A hysterically funny main character, whose voice is smart and perfectly written, some unexpected relationships, but with a few minor plot holes.”

Sean Cummings
Poltergeeks (October 2012)
Student Bodies (September 2013)
I have these on my Kindle. I like the opening scene from Poltergeeks. My feeling is that it may “read young”, at least for me, but I was still interested enough to pick them up. Here’s Fantasy Book Review: “The characters have been well crafted here, and they aren’t over the top geeks like I have seen recently in a lot of YA stories. Being a geek is just one element of their overall character, and they all have plenty of little nuances and ticks that get revealed over the course of the story. I really liked Julie, she plays the role of a strong female protagonist with a lot of poise, modesty, and some random ingenuity.”

Kim Curran
Shift (September 2012)
Control (August 2013)
I have both of these on my Kindle. The first book got a nice review from Kirkus: “Curran’s debut is a fast and funny mind-bending trip. The potentially confusing concept of shifting is nicely handled, and the mystery’s reveal is tantalizing.” I bet you can see this coming, but yes, there was supposed to be a sequel, called, of course, Delete. Kim has all but declared that she’ll bring that one out on her own if necessary.

Amalie Howard
The Almost Girl (January 2014)
Here’s a review from Popcorn Reads. For some reason I’m not able to grab a snippet, but hey, you can click through. This is one where I know there was supposed to be a sequel.

Jonathan L Howard
Katya’s World (November 2012)
Katya’s War (November 2013)
I have both of these on my Kindle. Here’s a review from tor.com: “The climax, finally, is fantastic. It may boil down to “one long round of jumping out of frying pans into successively larger fires,” yet the last act’s successive set-pieces unfold so spectacularly that they’re a joy to behold, albeit in one’s imagination. Even then, Howard’s prose is so pure that at this stage I don’t even need to see the movie—and if Hollywood doesn’t come a-calling shortly, filmmakers are missing a trick.”

Danielle Jensen
Stolen Songbird (April 2014)
You all know how much I want to get to this one.

StolenSongbird

Ingrid Jonach
When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) (September 2013)
Here’s the review from tor.com. Michael Jones says: “There’s something inexplicably fascinating about this book, which exists somewhere in the murky area between paranormal romance and high concept science fiction. The basic conceit—people sliding from one world to the next, essentially replacing their counterparts in a never-ending journey—has its roots in a number of other works, reminiscent of television’s Sliders and E.C. Myer’s Fair Coin/Quantum Coin duology for instance, but with some additional twists that take it in provocative and tragic directions.” Hmm. High concept sounds good. Not sure I’m into “tragic directions.”

Laura Lam
Pantomime (February 2013)
Shadowplay (January 2014)
I liked the first novel, which read on the “older side” of YA to me. I must admit I haven’t read the sequel, though. A third book was planned and I expect Laura will bring it out one way or another. When that one’s out, I will probably back up and re-read the full trilogy.

Rachel Neumeier
Black Dog (February 2014)
Obviously it would be tragic for any of you to miss this one.

Lisa O’Kane
Essence (June 2014)
Here’s a review from Giant Squid Books: “In Essence, the familiar skeleton of the ever-present dystopia is transformed into something that was, to me, far more believable and enjoyable. Rather than imposing an insane value structure on an entire government, Autumn struggles with two opposing cults. Reading dystopias is often hard for me because I just want to be like, WHAT HAPPENED TO SEPARATION OF POWERS! But cults? Much more believable.”

Bryony Pearce
The Weight of Souls (August 2013)
Here’s a review from In Bed With Books: “THE WEIGHT OF SOULS combines two common plots: the murder mystery involving a secret club (a la THE LIAR SOCIETY) and paranormal girl meets boy and further discovers her powers (a la ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD). It’s a lot for a relatively slim novel, but Bryony Pearce makes it work. It helps that both plots work together to move each other along.”

Sarah Raughley
Feather Bound (May 2014)
Here’s a review at Jet Black Ink: “Sometimes a book surprises me; mostly it’s always in a bad way. But Feather Bound, by Sarah Raughley, surprised the hell out of me by being not only a brave novel in so many ways, but also by being utterly stunning and completely honest to life. It’s rare that I read something as truly dark and honest as Feather Bound…” That whole dark and honest thing, I’m not sure that makes this book sound like my cup of tea. But that bit about utterly stunning sounds good.

A E Rought
Broken (January 2013)
Tainted (October 2013)
Here’s a review of Broken over at Functional Nerds: “The beautifully written novel, Broken by A.E. Rought takes the reader through a modern retelling of Franknstein with a twist of Romeo and Juliet.” Really? Huh.

Christian Schoon
Zenn Scarlett (May 2013)
Under Nameless Stars (April 2014)
I read the first of these — a veterinarian! Alien animals! To me, I’m afraid this read as young-young-young YA. I would have called it MG — and on the young side even there. If you have a ten-year-old kid handy who would like to be a vet, this might be just right.

Julianna Scott
The Holders (March 2013)
The Seers (February 2014)
Here’s a review of The Holders from Fantasy Book Review: “What really worked for me in this story were the characters, and the intertwining relationships between them all. The back of this book might say it’s about a school for people with powers, but really this book is about people, relationships, and watching them evolve. There is angst when a young daughter is forced to reconnect with the father who abandoned her, there is joy when a young boy meets his father for the very first time, and the contrasting reactions create immediate friction between a pair of siblings who up until that point had been completely inseparable. These are just a couple of the many relationships that are forged in this story, and all together they make a compelling argument to keep picking up the book and reading it to its conclusion. Oh and all the Irish stuff is really, really cool.”

Martha Wells
Emilie and the Hollow World (April 2013)
Emilie and the Sky World (March 2014)
Well, Martha Wells, right? Though Hollow World wasn’t my favorite book by Wells, I certainly didn’t hesitate to pick up the sequel. She says, btw, that Sky World ends smoothly, so there is no need to worry about cliffhangers that might not get resolved.

And I just want to end my mentioning: I know Strange Chemistry signed a bunch of new debut authors this year, many of whom are not on this list. Here’s hoping they find homes for their orphaned books and wind up on some other publisher’s list before the end of this year!

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