Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Q) Do you own a cat? The Black Cat Blog wants proof (a picture).

Yes, I am owned by a cat. Well, two cats, really, they share me, but not well.

Q) WORST life advice you ever received.

“Don’t quit now! Think of how you’ll feel in twenty years when you got *this* close.” Instead of cutting my losses, I stuck with it for another FIVE YEARS. Yeah, I’m stubborn that way.

Q) BEST life advice you ever received. (***Pay attention, folks, this is excellent life advice***)

Do the things that make you come alive. If you are dead in your tracks, it’s not for you. Find a new thing.

Q) Please share a picture of your favorite shoes.

These are my favorite dance shoes. They are awesome and beautiful and I love dancing in them. To be clear, my pair don’t look like this anymore… significantly less pretty.

Q) What's your favorite Disney film?

I’m worried this one is a trap! Okay, game time: my favorite is Lilo and Stitch.

Ann: It's NOT a trap! Everyone has the right to their own favorites.

Q) What's your favorite writing rule (or rules) that you live by? What rule (or rules) do you hate?

Writing rule I love: Remember that the bad guy is the protagonist in the story told from his or her point of view. Make sure you really believe it.

Writing rule I hate: write every day. Yes, that is a fantastic way to get a book written. It really is. But sometimes we writers are a little too judgmental, driving our fellow writers into very unhealthy writing situations and expectations. Yes, I wish I could write anywhere anywhen, but sometimes things are happening, and I wish I didn’t feel guilt for not writing when I’m doing important things in my life.

Q) How do you balance having a family and writing? Time is such a constraint.

I don’t. It’s that simple. I don’t think there is a real balance. I think there are times when I give more equitably to everyone, and there are times when I don’t. What I do is look for the times when my family isn’t in need of me or is busythat’s when I squeeze in some writing time.

Q) What event would you call your breakthrough as an author?

From a strictly craft stand point, I had a major breakthrough when an agent I loved gave me some great writing advice, it really helped me form up my writing style. At the time it didn’t pan out, but it made me realize that good editors make you sound more like you. Bad editors make you sound more like them. (***Ann: Well stated!***)

From a career standpoint, definitely that time I saw my book on a shelf in a store (which was actually earlier today, so I’m reeling a bit still).

Q) What do you know now that you wish you knew much earlier on as an author?

When people say that it’s all subjective, they really mean it. I’ve been on both sides of a few contests at this point, and I can say that I’m baffled by some of the writing that doesn’t get picked up. I’m not entirely baffled by the stuff the agents scuffle over, but I have been surprised.

Q) What's the best marketing advice you can give other authors? I read your blog post on insecurity and marketing. What have you found to be the hardest part about marketing?

My best advice is just do it. You’re going to feel queasy in your tummy, and you’re probably going to worry that you sound like a twit, but just push forward and do it. For me the hardest part is that I’m naturally a very private person, and marketing is very much about getting all the attention you can muster and shining it on your books.

Q) The title of your book ACNE, ASTHMA AND OTHER SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE HALF DRAGON makes me smile. How did you come up with it?

This particular story went through a ton of workshops. For a variety of reasons, I went with a bunch of more serious titles. Just before the last contest, I knew I wanted a different title from the one I’d been shopping around, so I went back through all the feedback I’d been given. At the time, I didn’t really think much of it because so many of the contests I’d entered hadn’t panned out. I was thinking this one would be like all the others. Then I tripped across some advice I got on my query that suggested I put the stuff about my MC’s acne and asthma problems right up front. How much more up front can you get than in the title? So I swapped in the new title just before the contest that landed me a contract.

Ann: Sometimes it takes FOREVER to get the right title--and this is it, I assure you!

Q) Do you have asthma? (I won't ask about the acne... doesn't everybody have that at one point or other?)

I only have asthma like symptoms when I’ve been crying, but my brother grew up with asthma, and my uncle had asthma. My uncle lied about it to enlist during WWII.

Q) Name 5 books you wish you'd written (and not just for the money and fame).

The Dresdin Files by Jim Butcher, The Vorkosigan series by Lois Bujold, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, The Magician series by Raymond Feist, The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins

Ann: Yes, I'll use any excuse to post pictures
from Harry Potter. 

Q) List 5 books you loved as a child.

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, The Cheysuli series by Jennifer Roberson, The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.

Q) I
f you were to be executed tomorrow, what would you choose as a meal for your last supper?

Barbecued prime rib with seasoned fries, asparagus and a large helping of tiramisu

About the Book:

Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.

Find it: Amazon  |  Barnes and Nobles |  Goodreads

About the Author:

Like most mad scientists, Rena Rocford’s early works were largely met with scorn and mockery, but she bided her time. After all, what did her fellow kindergarteners know about literature? From that day forward, Rena kept her writing on the mythical back burner as she pursued more logical goals. Today, crayons. Tomorrow, the world. She moved on to essays and egg drops, followed by experiments in shady laboratories. She tried her hand at everything, learning from anyone who would teach her. She even moonlighted as a horseback riding instructor.

Admittedly, living as a muggle brought Rena some levels of success such as completing her master’s degree, but always the stories returned, calling her to the keyboard in the dark of night. Now, having built armies from words, Rena has set her sights on world domination, one book at a time.

From her secret base in the wine country, Rena has enlisted the help of her cats, her loyal dogs, and her family―who can be relied upon to hide the launch codes at a moment’s notice. You can find Rena at her blog, follow her on TwitterGoodReads, or find her on Facebook. Her debut novel, Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon was released out into the world on November 23rd, 2015.

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