Monday, October 27, 2014

S.L. Carlson, War Unicorn, plus #giveaway, #free, #ebook

*Giveaway – one e-copy picked by random from the people who commented on the blog. Be sure to leave contact information in your comment to be considered in the drawing.

AUTHOR: S.L. Carlson
BOOK TITLE: War Unicorn
GENRE: Tween Fantasy
BUY LINK:  & other ebook formats

*What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? Sleep. Also, when I get the chance, I walk in the woods or be by water.

*What are your thoughts about promotion? These days, until a large fan base is built which sells the books with little effort, the author must take a firm grip of self-promoting. That said, I find it very difficult to say “Look at me—me and my book! Lookie. Lookie. Lookie.”

*What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
The toughest criticism given is from people refusing to even take a peek at my story because (I’m assuming) of presumed ideas of what it would be like. I designed more professional swag (business cards/postcards), and removed the things which didn’t work and pushed the things that did.
The biggest compliment I’ve received was from my husband who doesn’t normally read children/tween books, and has only read one of mine. Even after 36 years, his opinion matters most to me.

*Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? My writer’s block is realizing there is a plot issue and therefore skidding to a huge red writing stop sign. I think and think and read and read and think some more about how to fix it. Sometimes this means putting the story down and coming back to it later, sometimes years later.

*Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?
After 30 years of yearly improving my craft, going to conferences and workshops, keeping up with the ever-changing publishing world, writing short stories, magazine articles, etc. and being told what a great writer I was, the book contract continued to elude me. When I finally had the opportunity to work with professional editors, I was humbled with how much more there was to improve. What have I learned from writing this book? There is always more to be learned.

*Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? A friend I’ve known for ten years is now a successful romance writer and loves working as an editor with MuseItUp. I’d not considered Muse as a publisher because I’d heard they mostly do romance. I also wanted a book in print. Yet, when my friend offered to read and edit one of my stories, I tossed her an old one I had. She read it, cried, mostly fixed some formatting issues, and said if I wanted to go through MuseItUp, she’d get the story in the right hands. A month later, I signed a contract with them.

*What are your current projects? My current projects include lots of marketing and promoting. My current writing projects include another MG historical fiction, a collaborative YA fantasy with my son, as well as a sequel to War Unicorn.

*How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Website and blog:
Twitter: @sandycarl

*What genre do you write in and why? I write in both fantasy and historical fiction. I like fantasy because in those worlds anything can happen. I like historical fiction because of the ten times more research which goes into the book than the actual writing, and because I’m less likely to get sued.

*What is your experience working or being around children or teens?
I’m a former teacher of children, K-8th grade. Outside of the school setting there are numerous opportunities to be around children and teens. I take them. I also take notes.

*What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book? I’ve read several folk tales involving magical rings with various properties. I thought the idea was very cool. I wanted one! So I wrote about it instead. In order to pull away from Bilbo’s find, I thought to put a spell-bound unicorn inside a ring. I write, revise, read it over, toss it away, rewrite, revise repeat the process as many times as it takes, then close my eyes and press send (to an editor).
*What was the hardest part of writing your book? Finding the time to write it and revise it, and disciplining myself to write during “the computer’s free now” time.

*How did you decide how your characters should look?
A funny story with this is that after War Unicorn had gone through lots of critique partners, whole book critiquers, and two editors, my lovely line editor pointed out that by the end of the book, the only physical characteristic she’d read about the MC was that he was taller than his sidekick. I laughed and responded that any boy could now relate to him. She did not find it amusing.

*Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature? Release the idea that your words are written in stone. Read as much as you can on the craft of writing to monthly be a better writer. Attend writers conferences and workshops or webinars. Have lots of non-family and non-friends read/critique your story before your final revision. Research the market as to the best placement for your story. Don’t worry about waiting to hear the response. Instead, dig in on your next project.


  Reginald is content on his family’s apple farm – content until he digs up a magical ring in which a rude unicorn is spellbound. She claims she belongs to the king, but can’t tell Reg which one. A simple three-day trip to the capital to dispose of her, and he can get back to his family and apples.
     But with war building on the borders, even with the help of the general’s daughter, it’s nearly impossible for a farmboy to gain an audience with the king. Reg must be creative with his magic in order to present the unicorn. His attempts result in disaster, and not just for him.
     Promises made. Friendships kept. Families protected. War prioritizes all.
     Can an apple boy and one rude war unicorn save their country from the approaching enemy?


  1. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl, and for commenting. I'm not sure I'd describe war as cute, though; but an apple farmer sure is!