THE VANISHING SPARK OF DUSK by Sara Baysinger // Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway
HELLO, MY DRAGONS. I'm here on a Sunday (#whaaa) to bring you an exclusive look behind-the-scenes of Sara Baysinger's writing process! Sara is the author of the Black Tiger series -- a dystopian trilogy for Christian readers -- and The Vanishing Spark of Dusk, a shiny new YA sci-fi, which I'm here to share with you, today! 😄
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she's determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she's brave enough, her voice.
Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father's business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth -- escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Sara Baysinger and I write books. I was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, where I spent my early life exploring uncharted lands on horseback and raising chickens. I now make my home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with my husband and two children... and I still raise chickens. My dystopian novel Black Tiger was self-published in 2016. My science fiction / romance novel The Vanishing Spark of Dust released with Entangled Teen on January eighth, 2018. When not getting lost in a book, I can be found gardening, star-gazing, or drinking my favorite vanilla chai tea.
GUEST POST: SARA'S WRITING PROCESS
The writing process is something I love to hear others talk about because everyone does it differently. So here's what my process looks like:
First of all, I am what writers call a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. As in, no outline, other than what I think the ending might look like. (My endings never turn out as I plan, though, so never mind.) Outlining takes the fun out of writing for me. Would you want to finish reading a book if someone gave you scene-by-scene description of the book? Exactly. I let the story flow naturally, and follow whichever rabbit hole looks most interesting. Unfortunately, this does make for some extensive rewrites and revisions, but I’m okay with that. *shrugs*
I prefer to write in the mornings, but since having kids, that has been near impossible. I try not to write when the kids are awake, because I get so lost in my story world that I forget my surroundings, which isn't the greatest parenting tactic, especially with toddlers. 😉 So now I wait until after they're asleep to write. And yes, I have a ritual. I usually fix a cup of tea, light a few candles, occasionally put on music, and settle into my favorite recliner.
It's a beautiful thing to have the privilege of doing this every day. A good ending after a hard day's work, where I can escape for a little while and do something for me.
Because I write such messy first drafts, there are many, many, many rounds of revisions that follow. And once I think it's perfect and ready to publish, my editor gives me many, many, many more revisions. And I love every part of it. Every. Single. Stage.
About the publishing process -- when I self-published, I had a process that really worked for me. After I did everything I could with my book, I sent it out to a select group of beta readers and usually allowed about a month for them to read it and get it back to me. I would then work on their suggestions, then send it off to my editor. Once I received the manuscript back from my editor and cleaned it up to my satisfaction, it was off to the typesetter. After that, I sent it to my advance readers, who would send me a list of typos I missed, then back to the typesetter, and then off Amazon -- and my readers!
It's a busy process to self-publish, and while I don't think I’ll ever do it again (*not a business owner type personality*) I am glad I tried it out. It gave me a glimpse into the publishing process so I knew what to expect when I actually had people counting on me. It also forced me to set my own deadlines and challenged me to meet them. (I'm proud to say I met every deadline I set for myself. 🙂)
So there it is! Like I said, everyone has a different writing process, so if you are trying to write a book, and you don't understand why you're stuck when you're doing the exact same thing that famous author does, then try something else. Do you want to write out an outline or see where the story takes you? Do you want to start at the beginning, or write that scene that’s been burning in your mind since you got the idea for the book? Do what works for you, and the writing process will be so much easier and FUN. Plus your readers will love your books (and you!) for it.
Thank you so much, Sara! It's very exciting to hear how your writing/publishing process goes -- especially when you have a family to take care of! 🙂
EXCERPT FROM THE VANISHING SPARK OF DUSK
"What have we here. A runaway?"
I can't think. In my panic I can hardly breathe--
"Easy there." His voice is lucid and smooth, not rough and unkind like I imagined it would be. He releases me. "I'm not going to hurt you."
The first scattered thought that crosses my mind when I look at him is, he's not really too different from Humans. I mean, apart from being exceptionally tall, he really could pass for a Human. His tanned face is clean-shaven, and when he smiles, dimples appear. Dark feathery hair the color of molasses curls around two pointed ears. Amusement flickers in his eyes -- and for the first time I notice the strange color of them. They're not crazy at all, the way Johnson described. They have a purple hue, soft and deep like lilacs. Never look them in the eye. One of Johnson's many lessons. I avert my gaze.
"What are you doing outside the plantation?" His voice is not accusing but slightly curious. "You shouldn’t be out here unless you have a death wish. Correct?"
My stomach drops. Yes. He thinks I'm a slave. This could be good.
Or really bad.
I glance at the sky, think of something to say, but every Tavdorian word I've ever learned has decided to take a vacation.
"The sunset," I finally say in his language. "You can get the best view from here." It's the weakest excuse ever, but it'll buy me some time.
"The sunset?" He crosses his arms, and I notice how strong he is, his forearms corded in muscle. "You risked your life leaving the plantation... for a sunset?"
One swallow. Two blinks. "It's worth it, don't you think?" I gesture toward the sky, now turning a deep shade of crimson.
He swivels his eyes toward the sunset, then back at me. A confused smile forms on his two perfect lips, and I briefly wonder if all Tavdorians are this good-looking or if I've officially lost my mind.
"Alno must be lenient. Not many slaves get the privilege of enjoying a sunset."
My heartbeat spikes. Look away. Johnson told me Tavdorians never speak civilly to Humans. It's all orders and reprimands. So why is this one speaking to me? Why isn't he reacting in anger at my "privilege"?
"But you don’t have to worry about a lashing from me." The Tavdorian steps closer, and my shoulders stiffen. He's so tall my head barely reaches his chest. If he thought I was a runaway, he could easily swing me over his shoulder and carry me to the plantation himself.
"What do you want with me?" The question comes out in a breathless whisper. I allow myself to peek up at him. He stares back, his eyes sparking with curiosity.
"Simple conversation would be enough."
A conversation. With a Tavdorian. There's nothing simple about that.
"You don't need to tremble so much. I'm not going to harm you." He waves his hand in the air. "Or tell on you for running away."
"Thank you," I manage to whisper, realizing after I speak the words that I just confirmed his suspicion.
"I would suggest you run with more resources, though. Food. Water." His eyes drift over my threadbare tunic, and he frowns. "Layers of clothing, perhaps."
"I'm fine, really."
"Do you know how to hunt?"
I'm starting to wonder if this is an interrogation.
He narrows his eyes and lowers his voice a notch. "Or are you meeting with other runaways? I heard there were two who ran from the plantation. Alno must have a terrible time keeping his fence intact."
I can't speak. My mouth has been bolted shut, my fear threatening to choke me.
He sighs and drags his hand through his hair. "This conversation is seriously getting boring. You can either speak to me like a civil... being. Or you can walk away and leave me hanging, wondering who the mysterious copper-haired runaway was that I met on the riverbank."
My brain screams at me to walk away, but this Tavdorian isn't the only curious one here.
Sara has kindly offered to give away a signed paperback copy of The Vanishing Spark of Dusk, along with a $25 Amazon gift card and a handmade, adjustable "be heard" ring! Enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Eeep! I'm so, so excited for The Vanishing Spark of Dusk! Doesn't it sound EPIC? And that gorgeous cover, too...! *drools*