Welcome

Welcome to the website of Suzanne Lazear, author of the New Adult Elfpunk Series THE SECRET LIVES OF ROCKSTARS (Fall 2016) and the Young Adult Steampunk Dark Fairytale Series The Aether Chronicles. Take a look around to find out about my books and the latest news. There are more goodies on the Aether Chronicles website. Thanks for visiting!

Steampunk Mini-Con--Feb 27, Tempe AZ

If you live in the Phoenix Area, I'll be part of an amazing, fun, free, and family friendly event at AUS as part of their "Night of the Open Door" on Feb 27, 2016 at the Tempe Campus.

There will be a costume contest (with prizes) and there will be fun things going on both at the mini-con and across campus.

Did I mention it was free? And there are prizes?

Register here (it doesn't obligate you to come, it's more for a head-count).

Hope to see you there!

The Twelve Days of Christmas...Steampunk Style

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

12 Air Pirates

11 Painted Ladies

10 Clock Hands

9 Ray Guns

8 Pairs Brass Goggles

7 Aviator Caps

6 Cogs and Gears

5 Mad Scientists

4 Flying Cars

3 Top Hats

2 Pretty Corsets

And an Airship in a Pear Tree!

A Steampunk Night Before Christmas

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

A Steampunk Night Before Christmas

© 2009 Suzanne Lazear

‘Twas the night before Christmas and the whole ship was quiet,
Too quiet for the likes of this seasoned air pirate.

The airship was festooned with frippery and green,
With nary a brass polished surface to be seen.

Their stocking were hung by the crow’s nest with pride,
Along with homemade cookies and rum for Santa to imbibe.

I didn’t have the heart to tell the crew.
That Santa wouldn’t approve of what we do.

Sure, we stole from the rich, and gave to the needy.
But he’d probably think taking a cut was too greedy.

It didn’t matter that they had hearts of gold,
Only that it was stolen goods we bought and sold.

Suddenly portside there arose such a clatter,
That I grabbed my spyglass to see what was the matter.

The deck became filled with curious crew,
As I climbed the rigging for a better view.

The sky that had moments before been silent,
Had erupted with a commotion both grievous and violent.

The black ship portside was one that even we dread,
And it looked as if it were attacking a small red sled,

Driven by a fat guy and flying brown deer,
I polished the spyglass to ensure my vision was clear.

“Dread Pirate Fred’s attacking Santa, let’s help him, quick,”
Shouted my trusty first mate old Salty Nick.

What could I do but help out the sled,
“Come on, crew, let’s teach a lesson to Fred.”

I climbed down the rigging.
“There are cannons to load,
Christmas to save,
And pirates to goad.
Let’s kick up our speed,
And give up a fight.
Even we know
Robbing Santa just isn’t right.”

With a cheer, I manned the helm, going full speed ahead,
Nick loading our cannons to aim at the Dread Pirate Fred.

“Don’t worry Santa, help will arrive,
Salty Nick, man the cannons, prepare to take a dive.”

We flew through the air quickly, with all our might,
Fred’s crew had the sleigh on board, a terrible sight

Santa looked frightened, a gun to his head,
“Give me those presents,” growled the Dread Pirate Fred.

Even the reindeer had been rendered immobile,
By a few of Fred’s men in a black dirigible.

Santa shook his head, “If you take them, they will be missed.
Certainly, you all shall make my permanent naughty list.”

“I don’t care,” the pirate growled,
“We just want those gifts,” his crew avowed.

“Unhand those presents,” I called, dashing through the air
The cannons fired, aimed only to scare.

The reindeer bucked, trying to get free,
Fred sneered, “Captain Sno, you don’t scare me.”

Quickly, we secured Fred’s ship and dastardly crew,
But Fred still had Santa—there was only one thing to do.

Fred and I grappled across the deck, precariously,
Nick making sure Santa and the reindeer went free,

“You can’t rob Santa, it’s just not right,”
I yelled as I punched Fred when he put up a fight.

“Now, now, cease that,” Santa said,
Causing me to stop punching Dread Fred.

“Now Dread Pirate Fred, trying to steal presents in wrong,
but Captain Sno, punching him won’t stop him for long.

Christmas is about sharing and caring, not fighting and stealing,
and doing what’s right, not wheeling and dealing.”

Fred and I looked at each other, hanging our heads in shame.
The jolly old man had a good handle on our game.

Both crews made sure the gifts all went back
Into Santa’s giant red velvet sack.

Cook fed the reindeer carrots, and Santa cherry pie
I looked at the Dread Pirate Fred and gave a sigh.

“Why did you do that? That’s low even for you,
to attack Santa and take his presents on Christmas Eve, too.”

“Those presents would fetch prices that are sky high.”
But the look on Fred’s face told me that was a lie.

“There are better ways of getting a present from Santa’s sack,
then trapping the reindeer and staging an attack.”

“You’re one to talk,” Fred replied.
Nodding slowing, I looked at my crew, and again I sighed.

“I’m afraid, Santa, neither Fred nor I have been good this year,
but please, don’t forget our crew, they could use some cheer.

They don’t meant to be bad; they’re just following orders
They’re good men at heart, not drunkards and cavorters.”

Santa said, “Thank you captain, for rescuing me,
I think I my sleigh might hold an extra present or three.

You too,” he added to Dread Pirate Fred.
I shook my head. Was that what he actually said?

“Fred and his crew tried to steal your gifts to sell,
now you’re giving them presents as if all were well?”

Santa winked. “Now, Sno, remember what Christmas is all about.”
Getting in his sleigh, he gave his reindeer a shout.

“Just try to stay off the naughty list, the both of you, from now on.
Now, I have to be off, to get these delivered before dawn.”

Both crews looked up, as Santa took off.
“Merry Christmas, Santa,” my voice went soft.

With a wink of his eye, and a flick of his hand,
Presents flew out of his sleigh; onto the deck they did land.

“Thank you, Santa,” the crews did shout.
“There’s not one for me,” Dread Fred did pout.

“All I’ve ever wanted is a present from Santa, just one.”
I scoffed. “But not enough to stop having all your plundering fun.”

“Stop it you two,” Santa added with a call.
“But I didn’t forget you either, no, not at all.”

Two more presents floated down from the sky.
Turning mine over in my hands I looked up. “But why?”

Santa just smiled. “Just remember what I said.
And for once, Sno, can you stop plaguing Fred?”

With a hearty laugh, the sled flew through the sky,
Both crews waving, tears in their eyes.

“A present for me?” Fred’s eyes gleamed.
I knew deep down, he wasn’t as dreadful as he seemed.

Taking a box from my pocket, I said, “And there’s another.”
Giving it to him, I smiled. “Merry Christmas, brother.

I’m sorry I plague you, but it’s so much fun.
Let’s make next year a much better one.”

Nodding, Fred said, “For once, Sno, you’re right.
I think this should be the last time we fight.”

Santa sped by, doing one last turn.
“I hope there’s a lesson tonight you all learned.

Merry Christmas to you, and remember my lads,
no one says air pirates 
have to be bad.”

The stocking were hung by the bookcase with care....


We're getting ready for the holidays. How about you? We don't have a fireplace so we always hang our stockings from the bookcase. Do you have any slightly different holiday traditions?

Cyber Monday Critique Special

I am offering a critique package special in honor of Cyber Monday/End of NaNoWriMo. For details, including what I do and don't crit, please see the "critique services" tab. There's a limited amount of spots for each type of critique. Rates are only good through 12/4/15, however, you can reserve your spot until April 1, 2016 (meaning you can pay now and have me read your manuscript after the first of the year.) Paypal gladly accepted. Please email me at suzannelazear @ yahoo for details and/or to reserve your spot.

Submission Package $75 $50
I will read and line-edit your query, synopsis (up to eight 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.) One week turnaround.

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. There's a two week turnaround.

Under 40,000 words -- $75 $50
41,000-70,000 words -- $100 $75
71,000-100,000 words --$125 $100
Over 100,000 -- email for availability

Full critiques are available, see the critique services tab for details.

The Secret Lives of Rockstars Release Date!

I have a release date for part 1 of THE SECRRET LIVES OF ROCKSTARS. My publisher, Leap, is serializing it, so it will come out in parts. This should be great fun. There's a grand tradition to serialization--in the Victorian era all the cool kids did it, so I'm really excited to bring you this story in that format.

Anyhow...the release date is 9/12/16! I can't wait for you to meet Bitsy--my sassy songster and her best friend, Jules. There will be surly angels, hot dragons, and leprechaun assassins.

Are you ready?

Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Making NaNoWriMo Work For You!

NaNoWriMo starts today. Here's the story about how I sold my 2009 NaNo book.

The pressure of trying to write 50k in a month isn't for everyone. A lot of people chip away at a book, like I did when I accidentally wrote a novel. (Which is actually THE SECRET LIVES OF ROCKSTARS, coming to you 9/16.) And that's okay. Everyone has a different process. As writers we need to figure out what works for us as individuals.

The energy during NaNo is inspiring. Why not make it work for you -- weather you're going to start a new project, finish one you have, chip away on your WIP. Or even get those edits done.

Yes. I've just encouraged you to be big fat NaNo cheaters.

I "cheated" with INNOCENT DARKNESS. I had 30k, but I wrote 66k in 3 weeks because of all that NaNo energy. The fact that I had words already doesn't negate the hard work I did, the hours I spent slogging away and doing sprints--and sitting in the corner writing 8k on Thanksgiving. Believe me, it was better this way...

Not everyone is in a place to start a fresh new manuscript for NaNo, and for some, maybe your goal isn't 50k, but to edit, or to write 20k or 100 pages.

That doesn't make your goal less worthy, it makes me want to give you props for figuring out what works for you and going for it.

So...here's the deal. I challenge you to make NaNo work for you.

I'm going to do the same. Personally, I'm using it as NaNoFinMo on two projects. The first is a project I'm writing for a friend for her birthday. The other project I started two NaNoWriMos ago and still haven't finished due to deadlines, edits, work, life, and other such things.

Even if I don't finish it, I'll have more words than I started with.

I encourage use to use NaNo to edit that project, finish it, or even do NaNoSloMo, which is half-Nano (about 800 words a day instead of 1600).

Are you game? Good luck, and write on!

When you have to replace a subplot in a finished story

What do you do when a subplot you have in a finished story just isn't working for your readers? Or you? Or your story?

You change it.

Like adding in an additional POV, this isn't a task for the faint of heart. But it's not impossible.

First of all, why are you taking out this subplot and replacing it?

Hopefully, it's to make your story better. In my case the subplot was a means to an end, as cute as it was, it was the end result I needed, not the subplot itself. There were plenty of other things that could happen to get the outcome I needed. Hopefully, changing the subplot would even out the tone of the story.

What will you put in it's place?

I put a lot of thought into what would get me the results the story needed while still working within the framework of the story. Since my goal was to even out the tone of the story, I needed to keep that in mind while choosing subject matter. I also wanted to minimize changes that didn't make the story better/move it forward/etc.

Now what...

For the most part I'm a pantser, and when I do outline, it's in a synopsis-like format. So the first thing I did was make an outline of each chapter, what scenes it contained, and what each scene was about. I highlighted all the scenes that focused on the subplot so I knew what to change. I also highlighted any little references within the text itself that were sprinkled about that would need changed so I could make sure to fix them. In the outline I also added what I was going to replace each scene with, so I wouldn't forget. It was vague, just a framework, and easily changeable, but it also served as a reminder so I knew what I meant to put there and wasn't trying to recall it weeks later.

Then, I got to work, using my outline to figure out where to insert the new scenes, going back and changing the things that no longer worked...and finding all those pesky highlighted sentences. It took a lot of time, not only to add in the new subplot, but to make all those little changes to ensure it worked. I had to catch all those little references, insert things here and there so the changes make sense, and most importantly, make sure the writing sounding the same, since these new parts were writing long after the original.

The thing that helped most with this was making sure I was organized. (Also, I did all these changes in a new version of the story so I still had the original version for reference.) This is what worked for me and for my story. For you it might be note cards or excel or a white board or rewriting the story from scratch.  The most important thing is to not get discouraged--after all, you're doing what you need to do to make the story better.

While it took a long time to make the changes I needed to, and I had to edit it over and over to make sure it had the continuity it needed, it really did make the story better. And in the end, that's what matters most.







How to add a second POV...

Recently, I found myself in a conundrum. I'd written a book in 1st person, entirely from the female MC's POV. It was a cute story--Missy's favorite out of all the stories I've written (and read her.)

However, the story needed more.

It needed a giant explosion. It needed a second POV. Yikes.

How do you take a finished story and add in a second POV? Did it even need one?

In this case the story did need a second POV. It was a romance, and romances traditionally have both POVs. Also, while I had thought it was her story, which was why I wrote it entirely from her POV, it was also his and by having only her POV the reader was missing out on a lot. Beta readers wanted to know what he was thinking when he saw her for the first time in years, what his motivations were when he swept her away, and what he was thinking when he thought she wasn't coming back.

That meant tearing out half the story and re-writing it. Not a task for the faint of heart.

The first thing I did was decide if it would work with both POVs 1st or if I needed to switch to 3rd--not impossible, but a lot of work, or keep her POV in 1st and write his in 3rd. After doing some research and polling, I decided to keep both in 1st. However, to minimize confusion I'd have all odd chapters from her POV and all even chapters from his. This was my personal preference as a reader and hopefully will help readers switch between POVS. There are a lot of ways to do it, this is what worked for me and the story.

Next I made an outline of every chapter and every scene and what it was about.
1. Chapter 1
    1.1 -- Dani gets in a fight with her brother
    1.2 -- The earthquake happens
...you get the idea...

I went through the scenes and chapters, figuring out what scenes should be in what POV. Who has the most to lose.  In order to keep my odds and evens, some chapters had to be moved around, some were cut, shortened, or changed, and I had to add entirely new chapters from his POV. In my outline I referenced what changes needed to be made and what would be in the new scenes, though just a sentence like
     14.1 Lukas gets in a fight with his dad.

Once I had this outline, I started drafting. First, I made the changes to her story, making the chapters and sections where I needed to change things or write new scenes. I cut the darlings and all the things I couldn't keep in order to keep the word count the same, keep the pacing, and have the new version make sense. I kept referencing my outline, changing it up as I needed it, since even though I knew what to write in each scene.

I also had to make sure that each voice was distinctive--and beyond Dani being female and Lukas being male. Lukas' chapters tended to be shorter, they use different slang words, have different speech patterns. I went over each section repeatedly to make sure I got the just voice right--and to make sure that all the major questions were still answered in the end and if important things were cut when I lost that POV (or subplot) that it was added back in somehow.

It took some time, especially since I had to figure out quite a few things I didn't need to know when it was only in her POV. But figuring out these things added some really interesting layers to this story. It heightened the stakes and a new (and exciting) subplot I never would have thought of before.

Adding in the second POV made it a better story.

Don't be daunted if you need to add an additional POV. Break down the story so you can see what you have and where there are gaps and fill it in from there. Take it one step at a time. Figure out what works for you and your story.

Happy writing.