Tag Archives: Adi Rule

Debut Out

sound of music

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.*
                                                             -Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers

Dearest Emu’s and beyond…

When Adi “Appleblossom Catbiscuits” Rule contacted me about joining Emu’s Debuts shortly after I had my first book contract as an EMLA client (Sigh. Faint. Swoon.), I was thrilled (Yay! A new tribe of writers) and overwhelmed (What? A whole new listserv? A whole new onslaught of communication? On top of revisions and copy edits and promotion and, and, and…Oy!). Yeah… at times, it was a lot (Singing opera to my computer?!?!) but joining you mob of birds was one of the best things I ever did.

Now it’s time to leave.

Damnit. I don’t want to leave. I didn’t think I would have to except well, really, after your debut has debuted, you have stepped into a new reality. Simply, you are no longer preparing for the debut, you are promoting that book and writing the next one. It’s time to go.

Before I do, a couple of thoughts:

I went to lunch with a friend of mine recently. He was recounting how much the music business has changed. “It used to be that labels would sign artists with the idea that those artists develop their craft over time and the labels would be there to support them. Now artists are signed and if their product isn’t a hit, well, you know the story.”

I could see the similarities with our business. Many editors have become agents because they want to be in the business of helping a writer grow their career. Publishing is changing and no one really knows how or where it will go. It’s crazy making but it’s going to be okay. Writers, like musicians, have a community. We stick together. We help each other. We cheer and support and tell one another it’s going to be okay. Because it will. No matter what happens. This crazy world will always want storytellers. Whether we publish traditionally or paint on walls or self publish or drip blood from our veins. The world wants stories because stories lift us out of our lives. They make us laugh and cry and think and sigh. They make our lives better.community

So everyday, think about your community: other writers, readers, editors, agents and do what you can to weave us together. Gratitude, praise, cheering, thoughtful comments. (That’s how I will stay connected to you birds now.) It all matters. Because no matter how fast this world moves or how much the sands of publishing shift beneath us, we are storytellers, weavers of words and worlds and we are responsible for how our community grows.

Which leads me to my next bit of wisdom. It’s not really mine. It comes from my agent Erin Murphy. A year ago, I was totally stressing about promotion: How do I do it? Should I hire someone to help me? What do I do first, second, third? She said: “Write the next book.” What? But. But. But. Aren’t I supposed to…?

write bookWrite the next book. If your readers like your book, they will want to read the next one. Your publisher wants you to write the next book because it will sell the first one. You need to write the next book and the one after that because that’s who you are now: an author. A published storyteller. A world builder. Write the next book and the one after that so you can keep growing.

What about promotion you wonder? Well, it’s definitely a job you have now because you have this book and you do want to do things to get it in the hands of readers and generate interest. But it’s a balancing act. Here’s what I do: I respond to everything that comes in. Awards. Speaking engagements. School visits. But I’m careful about how much I have to go out and generate. You don’t want to spend a whole lot of time, energy and resources (i.e. your writing capital) promoting. For instance, If you’ve been invited to a book festival in a city, great. Go. Then spend some energy putting together a school visit in that city. Make it make sense. But if the promotion is taking too much time away from writing, then you are out of balance.

Yeah, so that’s it. I’ve cleared off my desk. I’m out the debut door. But I’m right down the hallway. In a room with a whole bunch of other authors. I’m saving you a spot.



*A word about song lyrics. Trying to get the rights to use them in your novels is soul-sucking process. Avoid it at all cost: http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/03/so-you-want-to-use-song-lyrics-in-your.html


Filed under Farewell, Thankfulness

Meet our magical wish-granting space cats!

Writers have always loved cats. Is it their mercurial natures? Their ability to take care of themselves (mostly)? The fact that a cat in a lap guarantees a butt in a chair? Perhaps we’ll never know.

Hemingway had a cat (or hundreds). Twain had one, and so did Poe, Bradbuy, Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Plath, Yeats, Dickens, Neil Gaiman, and this poor guy.

Not to be outdone, many of us here at EMu’s Debuts have a cat (or two). In honor of the Felix in Adi Rule’s STRANGE SWEET SONG, we re-imagined our furry feline companions as magical wish-granting cats from space. What would we wish for if they happened to be in the mood to grant us anything? Keep reading…

Josh's cat, Mouko

Josh’s cat, Mouko

Sadly, Mouko is no longer with us in the flesh. He now resides in a lovely urn. If Mouko granted wishes, Josh says, “I would wish to the Mouko Urn that he stop sending dopplegangers to lurk in our bushes and torment our dogs.”


Penny's cat, Otis

Penny’s cat, Otis

Penny would ask her magical cat, Otis, “Please grant me (or all the EMUs) pawsitive reviews for my (our) debut book(s).”


Megan's cat Lola

Megan’s cat Lola

Megan says, “I wish them many rapt contemplations of their ineffable, effable, effanineffable, deep and inscrutable singular names. (T.S. Eliot, The Naming of Cats)”
Megan's cat Ari

Megan’s cat Ari



Tara's cat, Quincy

Tara’s cat, Quincy

Tara says, “I thank Quincy for guarding my book contact so carefully, and wish that he would send me (and all of my fellow Emus!) many more!” (Ed. note: Before I GIMPed him into outer space, he was very adorably curled up on top of Tara’s contract!)


Donna's cat, Mittens

Donna’s cat, Mittens

Donna would tell Mittens, “I’d like to have nine lives and a remote re-do button for life’s little snafus.”


Jennifer's cat Remy

Jennifer’s cat Remy

Jennifer would wish for self-cleaning litterboxes. And self-cleaning bathrooms too, while she’s at it.

Jennifer's cat Coco

Jennifer’s cat Coco


Lindsey's cat, Trouble

Lindsey’s cat, Trouble

Lindsey guessed what Trouble would tell her, “I will bless your manuscript by sleeping on it. Now hurry up and write it. I’m getting sleepy.”


Laurie's cat, Angel

My cat, Angel

If Angel could suddenly grant me a wish, I’d wish for more time: per moment, per day (and definitely per night), per year, and per lifetime.


We’d love to hear about your own furry feline companion(s) and what wish you’d like them to grant you! And remember, if you leave a comment below (or on any other post from this week), you’ll be entered to win a copy of STRANGE SWEET SONG of your very own.
Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule


Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations

Strange Sweet Song Launch: When Cats (and Other Dangerous Animals) Attack!

Strange Sweet Song by Adi RuleOutside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix.

One of the most delicious aspects of Adi Rule‘s magnificent debut novel, Strange Sweet Songis the mysterious, murderous Felix–who may or may not really exist. But in honor of her legendary throat-ripping capabilities, we Emus have banded together to share stories of dangerous animal encounters that really did happen. We swear. (Some of us have even provided photographic evidence.)

Enjoy our tales, and please feel free to share some of your own in the comments!

Tara Dairman‘s Ape Escape:

My husband and I were hiking with a group near an orangutan preserve in Sumatra when an enormous orangutan with a baby on her back lumbered into our path. Our guide immediately recognized her as “Mina,” an orang so notoriously violent that she has her own warning box in the Indonesia Lonely Planet guide. He knew that she was after food, and threw her our fruit scraps to try to placate her. She ate them up…and then attacked him anyway. One moment he was standing there, and the next he was rolling around on the forest floor in a clench with an orangutan! He managed to get away with just a couple of bites, and we all tore down the trail as quickly as we possibly could. We’d already been hiking for hours and I had been exhausted just a minute before, but let me tell you: Adrenaline works wonders. I have never run so fast in my life.

Penny Parker Klostermann‘s Inception-worthy Insects:

In high school, I shared a room with my older sister. We had twin beds. One night she dreamed there were ants in her bed  . . . crawling everywhere. She woke me up and asked to join me in my bed only to wake me up about an hour later because she dreamed the ants were now crawling in my bed. She insisted I move to the living room couch with her. And, yes, she woke me AGAIN because now the ants in her dream were crawling all over the couch. She must have been pretty convincing because we got little sleep that night and I agreed to sleep on every bed, piece of furniture, floor, etc. in our house. I don’t have a picture of these ants to share, of course, but let’s just say they were scary and not to be deterred from following us from place to place in the wee hours of the night.

Lindsey Lane‘s Rat Restaurant Closure:

I heard it when I was writing. About 10 am. Rustle. Rustle. Scratch. Scratch. I knew it where it was. In the dog food cabinet. I knew it because I’d noticed a hole in the bottom of the dog food bag and little nuggets of grain-free goodness trickled out the bottom of the bag every time I pulled it out to feed the hound. I ignored the creature in the back of cabinet. We could co-exist, I thought. But every morning as I wrote, I imagined it growing bigger and bigger. Every evening, when I pulled out the dog food bag with a bigger and bigger hole, I imagined a gargantuan rat lolling in the cabinet with a belly only outsized by its teeth. I called a manly man friend. We went to the hardware store. He told me not to pussyfoot around with have-a-heart traps (they will always come back to their favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, so to speak) or sticky-feet traps (ick…imagine listening to them gnaw their feet to escape). No, the best trap snaps its neck just as it is creeping toward the hole-in-the-wall special: a delicious bite of dog food slathered in peanut butter. A cruel twist of anticipation. So we set the trap. I sat down to write. I heard the rustle, the scratch, the SNAP. Silence. I wish I could say I gave it a decent burial. I didn’t. I did leave an empty, un-set trap in back of the cabinet. I think of it as a “closed for business” sign in the window of my hole-in-the-wall restaurant. So far, the restaurant remains empty.

Joshua McCune‘s Cheezy Tale:

Okay, not so much dangerous, unless you count possible exposure to rabies. Was at the Devil’s Punchbowl on the Oregon coast a few years back when several of the local residents scurried from the brush to surround me. They’re normally halfway hesitant around human folk, but not when you’ve got the scent of food on you. The chirped and chittered and finally I succumbed to their cuteness and sat among them, playing C-3P0 to their Ewok cuteness. The suckers swarmed me. I was no God to them, merely a hindrance on their quest to attain the delicious, almighty Cheez-It.

Squirrel in Box

Parker Peevyhouse‘s Adventures in Babymonkeysitting:

I once babysat a baby monkey. Here’s what it was like:

oh man oh man — a baby monkey I’m babysitting a baby monkey — this is the most adorable thing that has ever happened to me — how is this legal — it has its own baby blanket– so to recap, a baby monkey with a baby blanket — and a baby bottle!!! — it is so cute — so cute how it shows its pointy little teeth when it’s hungry — and makes that terrifying screech like it’s going to eat my face if i don’t feed it — is this at all legal — this is the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me

Christine Hayes‘s Husband’s Paper Route Rout:

When my husband was 11, his mom drove him around on the back of a moped to help him with his paper route. One fateful morning, an angry dog chased them down the street and actually bit my poor, defenseless husband-to-be on the uh…posterior. There were shots involved. Surprisingly, he is not afraid of dogs, but paper routes are another story!

Laurie Ann Thompson‘s Scream-Inducing Skull:

One of my earliest memories from childhood involved an animal encounter in the woods, not with a live animal, mind you, but with a dead one. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and remains one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I must’ve been around four years old, and had wandered past the edge of our lawn into the woods behind. Our beagle, Chipper, was on the scent of something interesting, and I tagged along behind him, secure in the knowledge that he would protect me as well as lead me back home again (obviously wrong on both counts, if you know anything about beagles). Anyway, he soon started baying and digging in the leaf litter. I expected to see a cute little bunny or something hiding there, but when I looked down into the hole I saw… a SKULL. And not just any skull, either, but one from a rather large carnivore, with strong jaws and very, very sharp teeth. The skull terrified me. The teeth terrified me. And now the darn dog had disturbed its resting place. I was sure it would exact revenge. I ran through the woods and across the yard as fast as I could, out of breath but somehow screaming the whole way. I was sure the skull was right behind me all the way, and the relief I felt when I finally slammed the house door shut behind me was immense. Somehow, all Chipper got out of the incident was a dirty nose, but it would be quite some time before I forgave his betrayal, and even longer before I would step into those woods again.


Amy Finnegan‘s Tropical Terrors:

I’ve had many dangerous animal encounters, mostly because there is a large number of animals—and insects—that scare the crap out of me. But allow me to summarize a recent trip to Costa Rica (no offense to this beautiful country, it just wasn’t a dream vacation this particular time). Within one hour of arriving, my 10-year-old was stung by an unknown insect that left a large welt on her back for about two months. The first night in our room, we were swarmed by giant red hornets that had made a nest in a ceiling light. The next night, a crazy bunch of enormous raccoons tried desperately to break through our sliding glass door. Then we discovered that, despite what the brochure said, monkeys are more likely to smear their feces on your shirt than cuddle with you. The next day, our lovely guided, two-hour tour on horseback had barely begun when I was bucked off and landed just inches from a sharp protruding rock that could’ve split my head in two. (“Sorry, Senorita! Your horse is muy loco!”) When moving my toddler’s blow up mattress, I found a shiny black scorpion under it. And then . . . and THEN . . . when driving our rental car the night before we returned home, I ran over a huge freaking PYTHON. Oh, but don’t worry, it scrunched up like an accordion right as I passed over it, and was just fine. I was not. But, my dear amigos, the iguanas were AWESOME!


Megan Morrison‘s Fearsome Felines:

They were small and black, breathing together, curled like one creature in the cage.  Eight legs.  Two heads.  One of them yawned, exposing sharp teeth and a ridged palate.  Against my better judgment, I brought the beasts home and set them free, unleashing a reign of terror. They urinated on my clothes.  They turned my wood furniture to sawdust with their claws.  They vomited in my bed and deposited hair in my ice cream.  Eight years later, I remain in their thrall, taking them to the vet and buying them Friskies pate. Their hold on me knows no end.

Giveaway reminder: Just leave a comment below (or on any other post from this week) to be entered to win a copy of STRANGE SWEET SONG. Feel free to share a dangerous animal encounter in your comment!


Filed under Book Promotion, Celebrations

Strange Sweet Song-Launch Week and Giveaway

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Reality or dreams?

Nothing’s as it seems.

The forest deep and dark.

Felix makes its mark.





. . . Strange Sweet Song

~a novel by Adi Rule~
Available 3-11-14

The music starts tomorrow, March 11, 2014. Don’t miss the debut performance of the EMUs Debuts in an unforgettable opera.

The Strange Sweet Song party will continue all week. Check back every day! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Comment on any post this week to be entered in the giveaway!

Synopsis: Music flows in Sing Da Navelli’s blood. When she enrolls at a prestigious conservatory, her first opera audition is for the role of her dreams. But this leading role is the last Sing’s mother ever sang, before her controversial career, and her life, were cut tragically short.

As Sing struggles to escape her mother’s shadow and prove her own worth, she is drawn to the conservatory’s icy forest, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. She soon realizes there is more to her new school than the artistry and politics of classical music.

With the help of a dark-eyed apprentice who has secrets of his own, Sing must unravel the story of the conservatory’s dark forest and the strange creature who lives there — and find her own voice.


Filed under Launch, Synopsis

Other People’s ARCs

Well, this is fun and unexpected.

The Emus have a tradition of sending their ARCs around to each other before the release date. So every once in a while, I’ll go out to the mailbox and there will be a package with a shiny, brand, brand new book. The fun element of that needs no explanation.


The unexpected part may require a bit. For me, learning to write has meant reading. Stacks and stacks of books. But it’s a different kind of reading—a take-this-apart-in-my-head-and-figure-out-how-they’re-doing-this kind of reading. An if-this-doesn’t-grab-me-in-the-first-few-pages-I’m-ditching-it-and-moving-to-the-next-one-in-the-pile kind of reading. Necessary, maybe, but a far cry from how I used to snuggle up with a book when I was a kid.

Reading these books is different. It’s not research. I know the person who wrote it. I’m reading it because I’m curious. Because I’m wondering what story she’s managed to tell. Which is really a whole lot better way to read a book.

There are some writers in this group. They can write a book about squash and make it interesting. And funny.

Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

They can get you interested in a little kid who has a thing for Vietnamese cinnamon and whisks.


They can combine freshmen and a conservatory in a mysterious forest and opera and this mythic cat which may or may not kill you and this guy who is the only guy in literature who looks good in green sweat pants and it all works. Really.

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

It’s been a lot of fun to be along for the ride and to be reminded of what it feels like to read a book for fun. To, in a way, be reminded of who we’re writing for. The kid who makes her dad read that picture book to her every night for two months. That ten year old who sneaks the flashlight up to his room and then is so pumped when he finishes the book that he has to come down and talk to someone about it even though it will mean ratting himself out about that whole flashlight thing. The sixteen year old girl on the bus that almost misses her stop because she’s gotten to a really good part.

I need to do more of this kind of reading.


mylisa_email_2-2Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, How to Put Your Parents to Bed coming out February 9, 2016 (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)


Filed under ARCs