Tag Archive: Elizabeth Hajek


Coauthored Books

CO_Authoer-ImageA lot of fans have dreams. Meeting their favorite author. Getting sneak peeks at an anticipated book. Getting two favorite authors to team up — oh, yeah, that’s one that will get people excited.

But that brings up a can of worms that might not be obvious at first look. Who’s ultimately in charge? If there are disagreements, how do they get resolved? Whose name comes first on the cover? If it’s not a 50/50 royalty split, why? And how is that determined?

This is something that shows up a lot in academia, because whomever shows up first in the list of authors has pride of place (unless possibly, but still often the case when, it’s just determined by alphabetical order). In a multi-author academic paper, the first name is not always given to the one who did the most work, but rather the one who will get the most notice and bring the most credibility to the findings. The last person on the list might well have been the one who did the lion’s share, but the first name usually gets most of the credit.

Unfair? Well, there’s a reason for this arrangement.  Continue reading

23500493Recently, I gave you all a review of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted series, an urban fantasy romance set in a version of New York where wizards, fairies, gnomes, and elves live among unsuspecting humans, hidden by magical illusions, with lives both astonishingly similar and predictably different from reality. My future co-author Elizabeth Hajek has given her own enthusiastic verdict on the series, and I should note she hadn’t even finished the sixth book before deciding to endorse it.

Well, while I waited for Swendson to publish the next book in the series, I decided to take a look at what is currently the only book in a separate series written by her, titled simply A Fairy Tale. This is similar to Enchanted because it takes place in New York, it’s a fantasy, it’s women’s fiction with significant cross-gender appeal, and it’s very good. It’s different because it’s adventure rather than romance; it’s urban fantasy only in that some of it takes place in New York; and it’s not as light and humorous as Katie’s adventures with Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc.

It’s also one of the best examples I’ve found so far of adapting British fairy folk tales to the modern fantasy genre that is their direct descendant. If you like your fairies to be less like Walt Disney’s Tinkerbell and more like Jim Butcher’s Queen Mab, you’ll be right at home.  Continue reading

You know you’re a sword geek when you notice the sword before anything else on the cover.

Okay, let’s face it. Like most men, I’m a sucker for a pretty face. Like most geeks, I’m a sucker for a pretty face with a smart brain. But give that smart, pretty woman a sword, and . . . sorry, where was I?

When my friend and future co-author Elizabeth Hajek was offered the chance to host a giveaway for Michelle Moran’s upcoming book Rebel Queen, I thought “good for her.” When I realized it was about Rani Lakshmibai, I thought “I should really buy this book because history and battles and sword-wielding queens oh my.”

Now, I should say that I know about as much about Indian history as I do about American football. That is, I can kind of recognize the names involved and where they’re supposed to go and vaguely how things fit together (though I still can’t find the goalie), but just like I’ll confuse an NFL team with ones that play baseball (that’s the one that plays indoor and bounces the ball a lot, right?), I’ll get north and south India mixed up, which, take it from me, is worse than getting northern India mixed up with Pakistan.

However, as I read the back cover text for Rebel Queen, I realized that I had heard of Rani Lakshmibai.

Continue reading

What I’ve Been Doing Lately

So I’ve had another period where I haven’t been posting anything, and I haven’t even been updating on the Facebook page (which you should totally like). Well, this is a major part of what’s been occupying my attention:

Hang on, I got some dust in my eye or something . . .

Hang on, I got some dust in my eye or something . . .

Now, just to be clear, that is not me in that photo. I’m the one taking it. And the radiant beauty in white is my dear friend, mutually-adopted sister, and future co-author Elizabeth Amy Hausladen.

Er, wait. Elizabeth Amy Hajek. Yeah. Got to remember that. Fortunately, she likes hearing people repeat themselves on this subject.  Continue reading

Quick Update

Not all of you are on my Facebook page (or follow my personal page), so I probably seem more silent than I actually am. Even so, I do seem to keep neglecting my blog, don’t I? I thought I should let you know what I’ve been up to.

  • Co-writing two novels for Chesterton Press — one with Regina Doman and the other with Elizabeth Hausladen — in a new YA contemporary fantasy series called The Chronicles of the Ruahim. (Both due for publication in the spring.)
  • Preparing for an expansion to the series, with at least two more novels after that (one co-authored with Lori Janeski, who does not as of yet have anything for me to link to).
  • Editing and reviewing books that I either can’t tell you about just yet or will hopefully do so in the near future.
  • Preparing for a non-credit creative writing workshop this fall at Christendom College, in Virginia.
  • Preparing a one-shot RPG adventure for Taste of Fate on August 10th at Labyrinth Games with my friends at Evil Hat Productions. (A sci-fi story heavily influenced by Babylon 5 and Schlock Mercenary.)
  • Having too much fun posting quotes from Babylon 5 as I re-watch the series. Y’know. Research. Honest. *nods* (In fact, I should really do a blog post on the show as it had an enormous influence not only on the sci-fi genre but on television as a whole.)
  • Preparing a display for BrickFair VA, a local and very large Lego convention (yes, I do non-writing things — check out those photos and tell me that’s not both impressive and genuine art). The show’s this weekend and I am not yet ready. Weee!
  • And then between BrickFair and Taste of Fate, I’m off to a conference in New Jersey for elbow-rubbing, card-exchanging networking.

All in all, I’m pretty booked between now and mid-August.

In the future, I need to do some more updates. I’ve been writing stuff down, so I just need to actually sit down and write blog posts. I’m a very naturally talkative person, but I’m also a perfectionist — which is good in an editor, and kind of bad in a blogger. Alas! I’m much more active over on Facebook, especially on my personal page — but my personal page covers far more than my opinions on writing, so that doesn’t really count.

Oh, one other announcement: my above-mentioned co-author (and mutually-adopted little sister) Elizabeth is getting married, probably before our book comes out. She’ll still be Mrs. Nathan Hajek.

Now I just have to make certain her fiance earns the honor of her hand in marriage. (*evil laugh*)

One more thing!

Always listen to Uncle!

Who says you can’t learn anything from a Saturday morning cartoon? Uncle’s timeless advice always pops up when I get excited about research. (Mind you, it’s usually accompanied by the mental image of an old man whacking me on the side of my head with two outstretched fingers.)

And yes, research can be exciting. If you’re not eager to learn new things and insert them into your craft, you’re probably in the wrong business. Not all research is fun, of course — but from the number of authors and editors I see who share things they find on social sites, it’s fairly obvious that I’m not the only one who likes finding new things.

And I not only enjoy it, but I’m actually good at it, which is why it’s one of my offered services to authors and publishers . . . and one that a lot of people take me up on.

Someone tried taking me to task on that at Balticon, though, claiming that it’s not the job of an editor to do research for an author. Aside from the fact that I get paid for it in addition to more traditional editorial services, I had to explain to him why he’s wrong. And while I’ve talked about the importance of consulting experts already, I figure I ought to give another concrete example.

Almost exactly one year ago, I brainstormed out a YA contemporary fantasy series (The Chronicles of the Ruahim) with my friend and sometime client Regina Doman, and that series is currently coming together. For the sin of coming up with the idea, I’m the managing editor and (technically) senior author on the series. Since it deals with myths all around the world, I find even my childhood fascination with comparative mythology can’t keep up, and I’m constantly doing more and more research on different cultures, different creatures, and different versions of particular legends. Apache, Irish, Norse, British, French, German, Polish, Russian, Jewish, Egyptian, Arabic, Indian, and Japanese have all come up in the context of this series, and we’re just getting started. It also means we have to find words in various different languages, sometimes all for the exact same creatures and concepts.

That’s only part of it, of course. The first book deals with sword techniques, (Irish, Norse, and German techniques, plus modern foil as well), and while I’m pretty knowledgeable on the subject of “real” swords, I know I can always learn more; and of course, I’ve never formally studied fencing, but fortunately I have a good friend who actually teaches it.

The second book (being co-authored by Elizabeth Hausladen of Confessions of a Seamstress) in the series takes place entirely in Paris, which means a lot of research into more mundane matters: maps of the city, Parisian habits, art history, Versailles, the French Revolution, and even life in a convent.

The man who tried telling me off for doing research for an author has obviously never done a typical book project before. I’ve talked before about how an editor is concerned with more than just grammar; an editor’s job is to make the book as high-quality as possible in the time available. That means fact-checking, because you never want your book to contain an error so egregious that experts and knowledgeable amateurs alike will find themselves just talking about what you got wrong.

What I just described for The Chronicles of the Ruahim is merely the most obvious research topics, and only what’s come up so far.  It’s too much for one person. I’m not even talking about the man-hours here; the person doing the research has to process it, translating it into what is necessary to tell the story correctly. Time isn’t so much a factor here as just dealing with all the mess of information that pours in once you open the research floodgates.

Sure, you as an author need to do your own research, but the editor’s job is — among other things — to make certain your work is consistent. If you’re lucky enough to have one already, or you’re willing to hire a freelancer like myself to help out, do it. No one person can do it all alone.

One more thing: listen to Uncle!

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