• Announcing Audiobook Auditions for BLOOD AND WATER

    Photo Credit: raphaelstrada on Flickr
    If you’ve been keeping up with my on Twitter, you know that an audiobook version of Touch: A One-Act Play is currently in production through ACX. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m even more excited to share the final product with you guys once it’s all recorded.

    With that being said, I’ve also had a lot of people ask me about the audiobook version of Blood and Water. Since it’s my debut novel, it’s near and dear to my heart. When it comes to selecting an audiobook narrator, I’m going to be picky. Still, I want an audiobook version as much as anyone, if not even more so. I’m officially opening auditions for the audiobook production now.

    If you’re interested in auditioning, or if you know someone who might be interested, here’s a list of criteria the ideal candidate will meet:

    1. Voice has a smooth, even tone
    2. Doesn’t read melodramatically
    3. Can differentiate character voices
    4. Can do an Irish accent (Sean and Melanie)
    5. Can do a French accent (Fleur)

    Looking at that list now, it’s not as intimidating as I thought it might be. And it’s definitely attainable! If you want to audition, you should go for it. Remember: if you never try out, there’s no way you’ll get chosen! And I love hearing your auditions, even if you don’t think they’re any good. They warm my heart.

    You can follow this link to record an audition. I’d like to make a decision by my birthday, June 17, so please apply as soon as possible!

    Also, if I haven’t mentioned it, I adore you all. That’s everything.

    Are you excited for an audiobook version of BLOOD AND WATER? Will you be trying out?

    Tweet tweet:

    Interested in voice acting? @brianawrites is holding auditions for the BLOOD AND WATER audiobook! (Click to tweet)

  • Happy Book Birthday to Me!

    Today’s post is going to be a short one. I’m way too excited not to share this bit of news with y’all. After ten long months of blood, sweat, and tears (most of it mine), this day has finally arrived.
    Happy Book Birthday to Me!

    Blood and Water has been published!

    It’s been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Thank you all for your unending support and encouragement, especially as this book is my debut novel. For those of you with ARC copies, thanks so much for your interest and for offering to read it.

    If you’ve already purchased a copy of the book, THANK YOU! If you’d still like to, it’s available in ebook form on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (SOON… I hope). The paperback will be available next week… most likely, anyway! I have to figure out the formatting still (ugh, Createspace, WHY??). You can check out the Goodreads page for the novel here. Even adding it to your TBR shelf helps more than you know!

    Finally, I want to give a special thank you to everyone who chooses to review the book, no matter what you write or how you rate it. As an indie author, reviews can make or break my book sales. Each and every one counts. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    That’s all I’ve got to say. Next week, I’ll do a special vlog about NaNoWriMo in which I’ll thank you guys again. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your encouragement means the world to me. Keep up the good work!

  • Cover Reveal: BLOOD AND WATER

    I know I never post on Saturdays, but I just couldn’t wait.
    After much ado, I am thrilled beyond belief to reveal the cover for my YA post-apocalyptic novel, Blood and Water! I’ve decided to self-publish and am hoping to have the finished book out sometime in September.

    Okay, now… here’s the cover!

    Keep scrolling if you want to see it!

    TA-DA!

    Blood-and-Water-by-Briana-Morgan

     

    Blood-And-Water-by-Briana-Morgan

    LOOK AT IT.

    Isn’t it gorgeous???? I’m so in love it hurts my heart. My lovely friend and talented designer Taylor Carney created this masterpiece, and I am so thrilled with the way it turned out! Feel free to check out her portfolio here. 🙂

    Here’s some information about the book itself:

    “Jay needed so many things. He needed Maia to be well. He needed a cure for both of them. He needed the world to somehow start making sense again. Above everything, he needed someone to tell him why these terrible things were happening to him.”

    Seventeen-year-old Jay Harris lives in a world struck down by a deadly virus. His parents are dead, along with half the planet. When Jay’s sister Maia falls ill, he must find a cure before he loses her, too. But unbeknownst to Maia, Jay is also sick… and he’s running out of time to save them both.

     

    When Jay’s friends tell him there might be a cure for him in France, he must decide whether to pursue it. The journey will be difficult and dangerous, especially in his weakened state, but with little time left—for himself and for Maia—it soon becomes clear there’s no other choice.

     

    Jay leaves the relative comfort of London to search for help, knowing he may never find it. Along the way, he experiences the effects of disaster on the bonds of friendship and fluctuating notions of family. These teens, decimated by a dangerous plague, face stark choices in their search for help, not knowing if their efforts will end in loss and pain.

    Will Jay and Maia find a cure before the virus takes them?

    THE BIGGEST THANK YOU IN THE WORLD to Taylor for this beautiful design and to everyone who’s helping me out with the reveal today! You guys are the best! Ahhh I’m so happy!

    What do you think about the cover?

    Tweet tweet:

    How do you feel about post-apocalyptic YA? Check out cover for @brianawrites’ #BloodAndWater! #IndieBooksBeSeen (Click to tweet)

  • The 777 Challenge

    London Tower Bridge
    I was tagged by friend and fellow writer Brett Michael Orr to participate in The 777 Challenge. Following protocol, I’m sharing seven lines from the seventh page of my current WIP, Blood and Water. (Hopefully, I’m finished with the first draft of it soon – my self-imposed deadline is my birthday on the 17, which is next week!)

    Without further ado, here’s the excerpt:

    Jay had spent the past few weeks looking for a cure. It was like Maia said—there was no help in London. He wondered if they would’ve been safer if they’d stayed in Chicago. Location didn’t matter now, but before the virus started—no, he couldn’t spend time dwelling on the “what if”s. It was Maia’s decision to move to London and his to follow after her. The virus was everywhere, and it had spread fast. Perhaps they never would have been able to avoid it.

    Now, I’m supposed to tag seven other writers to take on the challenge. Since I’m writing this blog post on a break, I don’t have much time. If you want to participate, please go ahead! And feel free to leave links to your seven lines in the comments below. 🙂

    What do you think of The 777 Challenge? Are you going to participate?

    Tweet tweet:

    Check out seven lines from @brianawrites’ WIP as part of The 777 Challenge, via @brettmichaelorr. (Click to tweet)

  • BLOOD AND WATER Draft 1, Chapter 14 (Excerpt)

    cup-of-ice-water
    Maia was the one who came in to wake him. He was surprised to find he’d been sleeping in Fleur’s bed. How had he gotten from the bath to the bed? He didn’t remember anything beyond Fleur pouring freezing water on him.

    “Dr. Devereaux wants to increase the dosage,” Maia said as she opened the blinds. Sunlight poured in. Was it the same day as it had been or already the next? “She thinks your body is more responsive, which means I could see side effects soon if we don’t make a change.”

    “You mean, you’ll get sick again like I did,” he said.

    “We’re both still sick.”

    “I know. But you know what I mean.”

    Maia chewed the inside of her cheek, the way she did whenever she had something on her mind. It had always been Jay’s way of knowing when something was wrong, and he had learned to pay attention to it.

    He sat up against the pillows. “What’s going on?”

    “I’m not sure I want to tell you.”

    “Maia, that’s not fair. Now you have to tell me.”

    A muscle jerked in her jaw. “It’s about Sean.”

    “Okay, what about Sean?”

    “He doesn’t want Melanie around you anymore.”

    Jay felt his stomach drop into his feet. He slumped against the pillows and let his head loll back. So that was it, then—Melanie had finally explained to Sean what was going on. The timing was terrible, but then again, he knew it had to happen sometime. They couldn’t have kept it a secret forever.

    “I’m sorry,” Maia said. “I know this must be hard.”

    It was so much more than that, but what had he expected? It wasn’t as though they could run off in the middle of the night and elope. There were still people alive who would ask questions and worry if they disappeared.

    “I’ll be okay,” Jay said.

    To be continued… Look for the completed draft of BLOOD AND WATER coming soon!

    Tweet tweet:

    “‘I’m sorry,’ Maia said. ‘I know this must be hard.'” Read an excerpt from @brianawrites’ novel BLOOD AND WATER. (Click to tweet)

  • BLOOD AND WATER Draft 1, Chapter 10 (Excerpt)

    calais-france
    When Jay woke up, he had no idea what was going on. Everything looked foreign. There was something damp and heavy on his forehead. He reached up and discovered a washcloth. With a single touch, everything came flooding back to him: the Chunnel, Calais, Dr. Devereaux, and treatment. He’d consented to treatment without really knowing what it entailed. Was that wise? Probably not. Did it matter? Not at all.

    He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution.

    When he tried to sit up, someone pressed a hand against his chest. He looked up to see Dr. Devereaux standing over him, frowning in the waning light. How much time had passed? How long had he been asleep? Was it sunset already?

    “Where’s Maia?” he asked.

    “She’s across the hall,” she said. “We’ve all been waiting for you to wake up.”

    Jay took the washcloth off his head and set it on the floor. Dr. Devereaux made no move to pick it up. After looking around, he noticed that they were the only people there.

    “Where are my friends?”

    “Across the hall,” she repeated, “in the laboratory. If you feel up to it, we’ll go there now.”

    A laboratory. That meant chemicals, instruments, science – potentially even a cure. He swung his legs over the side of the couch, planting his feet on the floor. Dr. Devereaux hovered over him. When he started to stand, she grabbed his arm. The contact surprised him. Her hand was cold.

    “Careful,” she said. “You’re weak. We’ll go slowly.”

    He didn’t feel weak, but he was still groggy. When was the last time he’d had a full night’s sleep? He couldn’t remember. He needed to rest. Maybe if he got a few more hours’ sleep, he’d feel better.

    “It’s okay.” He lowered himself down onto the couch. “I think I’ll just sleep for a little bit longer.”

    Dr. Devereaux didn’t let go of his arm. “Jay, you’ve slept enough. We need to get you some food and water and check your vitals. You’re malnourished, dehydrated, and very, very ill. Do you understand?”

    It took too much effort to answer her. Jay put his feet up and stretched out on the couch. He turned over on his side.

    “Jay,” she said, “se il vous plait. Please.”

    He let his eyes fall closed. “I’ll get up in a minute.”

    Why did everyone want him to use so much energy? Didn’t they know how sick he was? He needed his rest. He felt like he’d walked halfway around the world. He’d had a seizure, for God’s sake. Why couldn’t everyone just leave him alone and let him sleep for a while?

    A white-hot pain exploded against his cheek. His eyes snapped open. Dr. Devereaux stood with her hand out, massaging her palm. His fingers probed his skin. It burned.

    “You slapped me,” he said.

    What do you think will happen next? I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions below!

    Tweet tweet:

    “He couldn’t wait around for death, whether it was his or Maia’s. They needed to find a solution.” (Click to tweet)

  • Character Journals: Sean Wu

     
    London architecture

    In my last blog post, I mentioned that I’d learned a lot about Sean by writing a journal entry. Since a few of you requested to read the entry, I’m happy to oblige. Some of the original entry contains spoilers, so I’ve only included part of it below. Still, you should be able to get a grasp of his character. Small content advisory, on account of language. Enjoy!

    Fucking bastard could’ve told me long ago that he was dying. We could’ve gotten him some fucking help—I don’t know where, but we could’ve done. Bloody selfish git.

    I can’t fucking believe it—first my parents, then my sister, now Jay and maybe Maia. Everything I love is falling apart. The only good thing I’ve got going is Melanie—the girl that I fancy beyond conscious thought. She keeps my world spinning. She and Jay have always kept me grounded.

    If I lose him and Maia, I’ll lose some of the only people who remember me.

    And I know Melanie will take it harder—though I hate to admit it, she’s closer to him. At one point, I know they fancied each other. Part of me wonders if I should let him have her. I love her, but I would do whatever it took to make him happy. If he knows how much he means to me, maybe he’ll be keener to look for a cure.

    I’m a total arsehole, but I can’t fucking help it.

    My best friend is dying, and I’m so scared of being all alone.

    As you can see, it doesn’t take much writing to make progress. Before this exercise, I saw Sean as selfish. I didn’t see why he lashes out at everyone around him. Now, I understand. He’s using anger to mask his fear, to keep his friends from seeing how terrified he is.

    I understand Sean now. I can see why he acts the way he does. In turn, that helps me portray him more accurately; more authentically.

    As writers, authenticity is something we should strive for.

    What do you think of this exercise? How do you get to know your characters?

    Tweet tweet:

    Learn how one journal entry changed @brianawrites’ perception of one of her characters. (Click to tweet)

  • How to Get to Know Your Characters

    writing-in-a-journal
    I’ve gotten so far into my first draft of BLOOD AND WATER that I know my characters better than I know myself. I can tell you who like what and why and how, who belongs with whom, how he got that scar, how she learned to drive… you name it, I’ve probably got an explanation for it.

    Today, though, I realized I didn’t know my characters as well as I thought. My story came grinding to a halt in the middle of a scene. I was paralyzed. I couldn’t write. What was wrong with me?

    Luckily, I remembered a post my friend and critique partner Rae had written about interviewing your characters. My other friend, Stephen, recommends writing journals to figure out your character’s thoughts and feelings. I had nothing to lose. I decided to try both.

    For me, the journal exercise seemed to be the most effective. The interviews were nice, but I wondered how much of it I was leading, rather than letting happen organically (that sound absolutely crazy unless you are a writer). Without spoiling anything, I’d like to share some things I learned about my characters as a result of this effort.

    Before starting, the character I knew the least about was Sean. He’s hotheaded, explosive, and prone to melancholy. I’ve never written anyone was moody as him. At the same time, Sean can be downright charming around his friends. I didn’t know how to reconcile both sides of his personality.

    That’s where the character journal came in. I put on my novel playlist, closed my eyes and thought for a minute, and then opened them and got to work. My fingers flew over the keyboard, keeping time with the music. I forced myself not to hesitate. I didn’t let myself edit. After all, these were not my thoughts and feelings – they belonged to Sean, and who was I to censor them?

    Most of Sean’s entry contained explicit language. That’s because it’s a diatribe against the unpleasant reality of the narrative (vague to keep from spoiling). While writing, I learned that he isn’t selfish at all, as I had assumed. He isn’t angry for the sake of being angry, either. So many people he loves have died already, and he can’t bear the thought of losing anyone else. He doesn’t want to be alone, and whenever he thinks he might be, he lashes out in frustration.

    Moreover, he doesn’t want anyone to worry about him, so he masks his fear with anger.He’s loyal and would do anything to make his friends happy; he’s an absolute people-pleaser, which makes his behavior even more problematic. He doesn’t see that his actions are driving away the people he loves most in the world, the only ones who can save him from being alone. He feels them pulling away, and he doesn’t know why. He’s absolutely terrified. Who wouldn’t be?

    Once I finished writing, I was ready to dive back into the novel and finish the scene. Armed with understanding and a renewed appreciation for my characters, I finished my session in record time and had to fight the urge to keep going. I wanted to end things on a high note, feeling confident in my abilities again.

    The next time you can’t wrap your head around a character, try talking to them. Ask them how they feel, what they think, and why they do what they do. If you don’t want to come up with questions, feel free to let them vent. Little by little, they’ll reveal themselves to you.

    How do you get to know your characters? What do you think of this technique?

    Tweet tweet:

    .@brianawrites struggled to get a grasp on her characters. Then, she discovered this helpful technique. (Click to tweet)

  • BLOOD AND WATER Characters

    Medical instruments
    When this blog post goes live, I’ll be close to halfway finished with my novel BLOOD AND WATER. Right now, I’m expecting the novel to be around 50K, which is a respectable length. Lately, I’ve been doing  lot of thinking about who would play my characters in a film version of the novel (ambitious, I know). Since a few of you know some things about the book, I thought it would be fun to share my choices for everyone. Keep reading to learn how I envision these beautiful, doomed teens inside my head.

    Jay Harris (Michael B. Jordan)

    Michael B Jordan

    I stumbled upon this one by accident. My friend Whitney was visiting me, sitting beside me, and scrolling through Tumblr. I happened to look over right as she landed on a picture of Michael B. Jordan. It was love at first scroll. Granted, at 28, he’s a little old for Jay, but Hollywood is always casting grown men as adolescents. Besides, I like the way he looks.

    If you think this actor looks familiar, you might’ve seen him in Fruitvale Station, Parenthood, or Friday Night Lights.

    Maia Harris (Gabrielle Union)

    Gabrielle Union

    It was difficult for me to find a black actress between the ages of 20 and 30. I settled on the beautiful Gabrielle Union, even though she’s definitely out of my target range (I hope I look as good as she does at her age). SHE LOOKS AMAZING.

    Anyway, Gabrielle Union has taken on all kinds of acting projects, including Being Mary Jane, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Bring It On.

    Melanie McCartney (Sarah Bolger)

    Sarah Bolger

    For Melanie, I wanted an actress who was actually Irish. The lovely Sarah Bolger is perfect for the part. I haven’t seen her in much, but she is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t get over her eyes. I get the feeling she’d do a great job of embodying Melanie’s sweetness and sass.

    You can watch Sarah Bolger in The Tudors and Once Upon a Time.

    Sean Wu (Darren Criss)

    Darren Criss

    I’ve been a fan of Darren Criss since A Very Potter Musical (Look it up on YouTube). I’ve never stopped loving him, even when he joined Glee. How’s that for dedication? Criss is my first choice to play Sean, mostly because he’s Eurasian – there’s even some Chinese and Northern Irish in there.

    Like I mentioned before, you can watch Criss in A Very Potter Musical, Glee, and Girl Most Likely.

    Fleur Devereaux (Nathalie Emmanuel)

    Nathalie Emmanuel

    From the moment I first laid eyes on Nathalie Emmanuel, I knew she was perfect for Dr. Devereaux. Beautiful, smart, and capable of holding her ownI have no doubt that Emmanuel would do the French doctor justice. I don’t want to say much more about the character, since a lot of you don’t know her yet. All you need to know is that Emmanuel is flawless. AND LOOK AT HER HAIR.

    Nathalie Emmanuel has landed roles in Game of Thrones, Hollyoaks, and Furious Seven.

    If you’ve read part of BLOOD AND WATER, what do you think about these choices? Who else could you picture acting these roles? Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you can stay updated on my writing progress!

    Tweet tweet:

    How do you envision the characters in your novels? @brianawrites shares her ideas for her novel BLOOD AND WATER. (Click to tweet)