Some newly published fiction: In addition to my novel prequel on Wattpad or Inkittshort story “Fleeting Delights” has been published by Sheepshead Review. You can also find what is perhaps my most controversial story to date, “All About Asses,” online from Every Day FictionDon’t judge too harshly until you consider the ending that all humans share…

Novel Prequel: Olivia Tames Terror

LiviCoverWhen gods invade a public school, they don’t count on a teenage dancer waiting for them on detention. In this free YA adventure, Olivia Tames Terror, Livi learns her friends’ strengths and weaknesses when they take on the minor Greek gods, Phobos and Deimos. It takes a team to repel an invasion by the gods of Panic and Dread, but it takes a disobedient cynic like Livi to lead them. And she’ll need to lead them again in her forthcoming novel, when Olivia Tames Olympus, also by K. Alan Leitch. Wattpad members| Free on Inkitt

All characters and settings registered by the author for U.S. Copyright. The novel that follows, Olivia Tames Olympus is available for publication.

Center of the Subculture

Emo

Even ‘Emos’ have fun.

If you write a book about Emos, I bet you won’t call them that. Does your novel follow a Psycho? Maybe you describe her as an alternative thinker. If nerds are the heroes of your story, or for that matter vandals or drug abusers, then your story—almost by definition—is trying to make them seem more heroic.

You’re writing to shift the literary ‘center’ of their subculture.

The problem faced by champions of a subculture (let’s call them ‘writers’) is that the center of it starts in the world’s metatext. In other words, the subculture already has a bad reputation… not just in our world but in other literature, in nasty jokes and riddles, and in casual putdowns from the mouths of cops and parents. The job of a YA champion, then, is to shift the center of the subculture into the story’s text. Continue reading

The Magic of the Mundane

It’s not the magic that makes a story. It’s the ordinary guy who makes it magical.

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The Power of Three needed a fourth…

I’ve been watching a lot of Charmed lately. No, not the stylish reboot, but the original white-girl series that helped make way for a better deal than girls had back then. My discovery of the series is thanks to a beloved student whom I’ll call TLT, who insisted that I watch at least the first three seasons. Since the show is older than she is, I thought I had better see what kept her coming back.

But here’s my shameful little secret: I’m now into Season Six.

The question, then, is what kept me coming back? I guess it was partly the much-needed replacement of hard-hearted Shannen Doherty with her surprisingly funny successor, Rose McGowan. Maybe it was partly the development of Leo, the witches’ own personal Great Gazoo who would appear inside sparkles to save their lives and sire their spawn. Maybe I just like watching those stained-glass windows shatter. What it wasn’t, though, was the magical powers or the nasally delivered rhyming couplets. It wasn’t the interminable series of failed dates with mannequin co-stars, nor the increasing density of Alyssa Milano’s makeup.

Mostly, what kept me coming back was a supporting character named Darryl. Continue reading

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Award-Winning Novels!

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EyelandsShorter
Snack runs in Utah just got deadly

Bold Satire Crimes of Convenience:

  • Grand Finalist of 200 entries in the 40th annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
  • A Blue Collar Conspiracy!
Jessica has become just psychic enough to get herself killed

YA Speculative Mystery Too Much Information:

…and check my profile page for links to twenty award-winning published short stories.

Are Trends Really a Novelist’s Friends?

Will hashtags help or hurt Too Much Information?

When I first decided to focus on submitting novels, I assumed that trends were my friends. With all the #MSWL listings asking for them, I tried to write using strong female voices; because they dominated Young Adult fiction, I tried to create paranormal characters. By the time I had written revision after revision, though, I found that agents were already looking for LGBQ voices instead, and that the teenage obsession with friendly monsters had given way to the Dystopias that had probably always lived inside them. In other words, writing to trends was as often harmful to my chances as it might have been helpful.

KatnissVsBella

Katniss made us forget Bella, but neither are trending now.

How do we judge, then, whether something trendy will serve to enhance an agency query or just give it a shelf life? By the time my editor, Matthew Bird, gave me the tools I needed to craft my sixth revision of Too Much Information, the novel already had plenty of trends in it. It features a teenage girl, after all, who awakens from a coma able to see that everyone around her is a ‘Bully’ or a ‘Misogynist’ or a ‘Murderer,’ just by looking in their eyes. The novel is a murder mystery, but about a super-power that Jessica feels is a curse. It has girl-power. It has wacky sidekicks. It has threats from the darkest corners of our real-life fears, and teenage protagonists learning to face them.

It was about to get a whole lot trendier, though: some say too trendy.

Continue reading