Welcome

Welcome to the website of young adult author Suzanne Lazear, author of the YA Steampunk Dark Fairytale Series The Aether Chronicles. Take a look around to find out about my books, the latest news, and what steampunk is. There are more goodies on the Aether Chronicles website. Thanks for visiting!

Summer Critique Special

Hey everyone!

While a lot of you know I teach online classes and judge contests, I don't really advertise my critique services. They're just...there.

However....

Missy is gone most of the summer. And I'm losing my mind. Seriously. So, I'm offering a sweet summer deal to help get your manuscripts and submission packages polished--and help keep me sane and away from the online shopping. All packages have a week turnaround, and these prices are special for the deal.

Submission Package $75
I will read and line-edit your query, synopsis (up to six pages double spaced), and (up to) your first 50 pages. I will also give you additional feedback on characters, plot, pacing, pitch ideas, etc, to polish your submission package for  querying or contesting. (I will also read your query and synopsis a second time for free.)

Read and Respond
I will read and reply with a full report on your manuscript (or partial). This will include detailed feedback on characters, pacing, plot, what worked and didn't work, what's satisfying to the reader, etc. This will give you a blueprint for edits and help take your manuscript to the next level. Note: These are summary/overview notes and do not include in-line or chapter-by-chapter edits, however, I will reference specific chapters as needed. If there's something specific you need help on or want me to look for I can help you with that, too.

Under 40,000 words -- $50
41,000-70,000 words -- $75
71,000-100,000 words --$100
Over 100,000 -- email for availability

I do have a very limited amount of full critique spots with a two week turnaround, these include in-text and chapter by chapter notes. It does not include full copy editing, but if I catch something, I'll fix it. Please email me for pricing and availability. I also have an MGer available for MG/sweet YA beta-reads later this summer, contact me for details.

If you're interested in help with taking your manuscript to the next level, I can help you with your YA, NA, or MG novel (all genres). I can also help you with your adult romance, steampunk, and a variety of others--email me and we'll talk.  Please email me at suzannelazear @ yahoo for a quote and to reserve your spot. I don't critique erotica, even Steamypunk, because I just don't have the expertise (but I can recommend people who do.)

--edited 6/30--
June 22-26 -- filled
June 29-July 3 -- filled
July 6-10 -- One spot open
July 13-17 -- One spot open
July 20-24 -- One spot open
July 27-31 -- One spot open
August 3-7 -- available
August 10-15 -- One spot open

Thank you everyone!

YA Scavenger Hunt

It's that time again!


You are hunting on...



I'm Suzanne Lazear, I write the Aether Chronicles series, which is about steampunk faeries. Welcome, have a cupcake. You can start the hunt here or you can go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out more or if you're stuck. I'm part of the BLUE TEAM--but there are other teams, all with lots of prizes to win.

Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up.Hint: the secret number is highlighted RED. Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify. Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

And now on to the author I'm hosting today:


 William Campbell Powell



William Campbell Powell lives in a small Buckinghamshire village in England with his wife, Avis, his two teenage sons, more books than you can shake a stick at, and a collection of bass guitars. By day he is a Software Development Manager and by night he writes YA and Science Fiction. Expiration Day is his first novel, which was published by Tor Teen in April 2014. 

Expiration Day 



 Nobody can have kids. Well, almost nobody. And nobody knows why. It's just something that's happened. Some said that it was all the radio waves and microwaves messing up our DNA. Others said it was the gigahertz radiation from all the computers doing it. Global warming and pollution got blamed, of course. And there were some really weird theories, too. There was one scientist who claimed that every generation lost a certain amount of information from the gene pool, so we'd just reached the point where we no longer had enough information left in our genes to build a fully working human. So I'm a real rarity. A real girl. All the other kids in the world are just robots. Realistic robots - not clunkers like Soames - but like Julia Ellis, a near-perfect copy of a human child. Good enough to fool the maternal instinct. Good enough to stop the riots. Even good enough to play with sometimes.

Intro 

 Hello, Book Hunters! Expiration Day isn't an action novel. Sorry. On the other hand, it does have serious levels of Rock'n'Roll and a dramatic court scene. Tania isn't an athletic heroine, either, preferring to play bass with her band, or else to curl up in the big reading chair in the spare room, reading a treasured book. But I did wonder what would happen if she ended up in physical danger. After all, the world of 2049 isn't a nice place, though she's living in one of the more civilised spots. It's definitely not all sweetness beyond her village, though, and in England there are many places that the rule of law doesn't reach. These are the Red Zones, and in the earlier drafts of the novel, back when it was still called 'A Child Alone', I had Tania visit a Red Zone twice. The first time she made contact with an 'underground' organisation, that she hoped might give her refuge. That scene got re-worked quite a bit, moving from London to Oxford in the process, and re-surfaced here , where you'll find other bonus content. This second scene is unique to the YA Scavenger Hunt, and fits around that court scene, where Tania sees that the case is going against her, and decides to flee. She contacts the 'underground' and arranges to meet the woman she knows as Marla ...

 Deleted Scene 

I'm just going for a stroll. What could be more natural than going for a stroll in the twilight? So I resist the urge to check if I’m being followed.

It’s a bit of a hike, it turns out. My faithful AllInFone tells me I can still get there in time, but I can’t hang about. It’s all Green Zone, at least, past the Tower of London and as far as Tower Bridge.
Beyond, though, is another matter…
Am I really ready to run away to the Red Zone? I have no idea. I love life – who doesn’t – but life at any price? Maybe I will find more than just food and shelter in the Red Zone. Maybe I will find friends too. Some way of making music. Drama. It mightn’t be too bad. If I don’t fall ill and die, or get raped or killed by marauders from another gang…

Do I really want to live in the Middle Ages? Is that really a choice? Or, as Mrs Hanson might have said, is that Death trying to convince me there are no better choices?

* * *
I can see the Tower of London now, which takes me back to where this journey began. A game of hide-and-seek with Si├ón. If not for that, I might never have learned of my true nature. No, I can’t believe that. Something would have happened sooner or later – I couldn’t be so dumb as not to notice something non-human about myself, could I? But would I be here now? Would I be happier?

For nostalgia’s sake, I detour down towards the river, past the entrance and then turning left at the bank walkway. Passing over Traitor’s Gate, I shudder, briefly. I really thought I had been about to drown.

Tower Bridge is close, now.

Up the steps and onto the bridge. I emerge beneath a huge arch, and look down the ramp. Deserted. Forty years ago, you’d have been trampled by tourists. It’s a long way to the end, to my meeting point – I should have gone where my AllInFone told me, instead of sightseeing. Stupid Tania. Oh well.

As I draw nearer, the shadows divide and I can make out trees and shrubs, benches and tables of the Boleyn New Park. Is that somebody waiting? In the shadows beneath the trees, a darker shadow in shapeless clothing. The shadow moves, faces me. A woman.

“Marla?”

A chuckle.

“If you like. I was wondering if you were going to turn up. I was getting ready to leave.”

“Thanks for staying. I came here as quick as I could.”

“Yeah, well, I’m still here. You said you were in trouble.”

“Somewhat. Fighting a lawsuit with Oxted for my life.”

“Yeah, you are in trouble. Come on, then. We need to move. It’s not far to Whitechapel, after which it’s all Red Zone.”

“Wait. I’m not sure. I need to …”

“What can you possibly need to do? Don’t be stupid. You’re here; this is your way out. This is your only choice.”

My only choice? Then, by Hanson’s Law, it must be death that’s on offer. Does that make sense?

“In that case… Thanks, but no. I’m going back. Sorry, Marla.”

“You what? Didn’t you hear me? This is your only…”

But then there’s a flash, a flare of light, and Marla and I are caught in the beam of a searchlight.

“This is the police. Do not move. You are under arrest. Put your hands up and keep them where we can see them.”

Marla curses: “Did you bring them here? Did you bring a AllInFone? Oh, you stupid f…”

But then she breaks, and the searchlight follows. For a moment, I am in shadow, and for the first time in my life I make a good decision, and scramble over the low railings into the hedge behind the trees.

For a moment, I lie flat, able to see beneath the bushes.

Marla is down, quivering. A Taser? Night-visioned troopers converge, hyena-like.

Nothing I can do.

I crawl back towards the river. Behind me, a single searchlight swoops and arcs wildly.

* * *
One moment I was crawling on hands and knees; the next, my outstretched hand met empty air and I tumbled through space, landing hard and rolling, to finish up in a patch of … nettles. Stinging nettles, Mister Zog. But my skin chemistry is inert to histamines, so thanks to a lazy gardener, I had myself a briar patch that Brer Rabbit would have loved, extending all the way back to the river, alongside the moat.

From the noises behind me, it sounded as though the police had followed some false trail, maybe some town fox, or unlucky pedestrian. A few minutes later, though, I heard a more systematic search begin, with a couple of police officers walking back up the ramp to the bridge, shining torches down onto the path below.

By that time, though, I’d just about reached the waterfront, where I turned right, moving briefly across open space before finding safety again by the outer walls of the Tower of London. It didn’t feel right, though. I decided I couldn’t afford to look like a fugitive. So I found a park bench and sat down, and watched the river flow, wondering if I’d have the nerve to stay seated if any officers actually came my way.

After a while, two rather stout officers strolled towards me, so I took out my AllInFone and started taking photographs of HMS Belfast across the river. They walked past.

That was my worst moment. After that, well, the frontage is long, but as I drew near to the main entrance, I began to meet other pedestrians, and felt I could just mingle.

It was still a long walk back to the hotel, and my nerves were on edge the whole way.

* * *
When I reached the hotel, it was eleven o’clock, but the bar was still open. No calls on my AllInFone, so I reckoned Dad was still hard at work on his spreadsheets. With a coffee from the bar in front of me, I felt able to think. So I called him.

“In the hotel bar, now. Just sitting and thinking over a coffee. Are you still working on the spreadsheets?”
Which meant an hour, if I knew Dad. He’d be working till midnight.

I was right. At least I think I was right, but I’d showered and was in bed before he was done, sleeping the deep sleep of the guilty-but-exhausted.

To be blunt, the scene didn't fit. Oh, it's Tania's voice, and to that extent it represents Expiration Day, but Tania fails to escape and is forced to follow the path of the courts. Ultimately the scene didn't advance the plot, other than to close a door. So it got cut. Still, if you're intrigued in any way by what you read here, you can find Expiration Day in hardback online or at your local independent bookstore. If you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks, Tor Teen is publishing Expiration Day in paperback on April 14, 2015. I'll also be running my own giveaway of Expiration Day at http://williamcampbellpowell.com to celebrate its upcoming release in paperback on April 14th.

 ~William


Thank you so much for visiting me. There's a special short story from the Aether Chronicles world hidden someplace. (Hit hint, it's about love, and it's not about Noli and V.) The books in my Aether Chronicle's series -- INNOCENT DARKNESS, CHARMED VENGEANCE, and FRAGILE DESTINY are all available from Flux. Please enter my bonus contest where I have 6 prizes up for grabs.

All done? Time to move on to Kady Cross. Don't forget to bring her a cupcake.

The Book of Your Soul

I hear a lot about people writing "the book of their heart." Certainly I've written a couple of those. To me it means that you're writing a book that means a great deal to you. Perhaps it's something you've been working on for a long time. Perhaps it is a meaningful subject. Or was written at a trying time.

Recently I finished the "book of my soul."

There is so much of me in this book. Yet it's not me. I am not the character. This is not my story. The people in this book are not my friends and family. These specific events didn't happen to me. Some of the story is informed by real things, but 99% of it is made up to actually create an interesting story, There are a few real elements, but they are the usual small true events that often find their way into books because the truth can often be even stranger than fiction.

Yet the emotions are real. Very, very real.

It feels as if every word were written in my blood on paper made of my soul.

It took me six months to work up the courage to write it. When I started it, I wrote it in bits and pieces, often with long stretches in between. One scene near the beginning I skipped entirely and didn't write until the near end, which isn't the usual way I write. A couple of friends encouraged me to keep going. So I chipped away at it, a little at a time until I got so caught up in the story that there was no way I couldn't finish it.

It was difficult to write this book. So difficult.Yet at the same time it was freeing. Therapeutic.

Will I let anyone read it?

I don't know. Perhaps it's fear. Fear someone won't like a story made of my soul. Fear people will get angry because they'll think I'm writing about them (which I'm not, but you know people sometimes). Fear people won't like the subject.

But nevertheless, I'm glad I wrote this book, for this is a story that fiction or not, needed to be told.

At the very least for the sake of my soul.




Live Chat Tonight!

Come join me for a live chat on Goodreads at 6 pm PST tonight. Ask your questions about the Aether Chronicles Series, Steampunk, writing, etc. There will be prizes.


Happy Valentine's Day

I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but Missy does enjoy making cards for her friends. Did you know that much of the way we celebrate the holiday comes from the Victorians? That being said, I do hope your Valentine's Day is a nice one.


Happy Holidays

Yes, more quiet. Missy's made the academic decathlon team, which is a ton of work for the both of us. It's been a busy holiday season and I'm looking forward to a nice quiet few days. The presents are wrapped. This year I'm actually cooking Christmas Dinner (at my mom's house.) It'll be fun. One of my favorite holiday traditions is making cookies. What about you?


Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry for the radio silence. Things got very busy (my mom had some health issues) but things are quieter now. I'm just spending a nice quiet holiday with my family and I wish the same for you.


Happy Halloween!

Halloween was always my favorite holiday as a child. There's something to be said about dressing up. I still love dressing up to this day -- which is partially why I love steampunk so much. Missy is going to be a police officer (it was really hard to find a costume, she actually wanted to be a spy, a police dress was the closest she found. Yeah, a dress. But I'll save the ranty mcrantypants spiel on girl's costumes for another day.) I think I'm going to play the Frozen drinking game tonight (drink every time you see a character from Frozen) what about you?