Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG and The HeadHunters Race

It's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by our own wonderful Ninja Captain Alex and co-hosted this month by Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao and Sarah Foster!  Please take a moment to thank our lovely hosts for their support!

I'm keeping my insecurities brief as I've got big news to share with you all.

It's the new year and I'm struggling to put a mountain of intentions into practice.  To write, everyday.  To read, everyday.  To make time everyday for the things I realize I need to do.  I fell into a lot of bad habits over the holidays, like I'm sure we're all prone to.  I ate WAY too much.  With time off from work I fell into the habit of sleeping late.  I allowed myself to slack on a lot of things- writing included.  And now I'm trying to get myself to rebuild good habits.  It's a slow start, to say the least.  But I have faith in myself.

Hopefully next month I'll have some real action to report- and some insecurities that will undoubtedly arise from that.  But for now, I'm simply praying for all of us to start the new year with steadfast faith in ourselves.  Follow your bliss, forget about the rest.

And now, onto the big news!  My friend Kimberly Afe just released The Headhunter's Race on January 3rd and today I'm featuring the amazing world she created by sharing with you an excerpt, character interview and info on Kim's journey to publication.  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did! And don't forget to enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of the eBook + the SAS Survival Handbook and  a copy of the eBook + a $25 Amazon gift card!  (See below!)

Excerpt from The Headhunters Race

This excerpt is from the day the race starts and Avene is getting ready.

                Hours later, when the birds start chirping, I know it's almost time to wake up. I get out of bed and change into my special clothes. The ones I've been saving for this day: a sturdy pair of jeans and a man's blue flannel shirt. Underneath I wear my white fitted tee-shirt, depicting a crudely drawn skull. I added the crossbones bearing a set of daggers with a nearly dried-up marker I found a year ago. It represents my mantra for the race: stay away from me or I'll kill you.

            I tie my sheath around my thigh, re-lace my boots with longer and sturdier cord I found on a pair of men's boots in the goodie two shoes clothing pile, and then gulp down several handfuls of water. I wipe the droplets from my mouth while I pace like a caged panther. A few minutes later I slug down another five handfuls before I remember to fill my water bottle.

            Zita leans up on her elbow. "You're sure you want to do this?"

            "I have to, Zita. It's our only way out. The only way we'll be free."

            She throws off her cover and leaps to her feet. "Well, we better do something with that hair. They'll start calling the prisoners out soon."

            Zita snatches our slop container from the table. She fills it with dirt from the corner and mixes in a bit of water. "I'm not sure how well this will work," she says, stirring it with her finger. "Sit."

            I sit on the ground cross-legged at her feet. She kneels beside me, takes a small lock of hair, and rubs mud all through the strands. The stringy tresses stick together, cold and wet against my cheek. After one side of my head is finished, she steps back and surveys her work. "Nope, this isn't working. Your roots are still too light."

            "Why don't you wash her whole head in it?" says McCoy.

            I stiffen. Leave it to him to think of dunking my whole head in mud.

            "You're a genius!" says Zita. She grabs my arm and pulls me to my feet. "Help me," she says to McCoy and I cringe at the thought of him touching my head when I'm a direct competitor. He might send his ninja blade across my neck.

            He grabs the sink, half full of water, water I need to drink, and dumps three quarters of it into the corner. "Hey, I need to drink that!" I say.

            "You can drink ours," says McCoy.

            Right. I'm not going to drink theirs. He'd love that. Especially now that he's going to have to hunt on his own and the only way he knows how is by poaching off me.

            Zita stops short of pouring in handfuls of dirt. Instead she goes to the fire pit and scoops out gobs of ash. She swishes it around with her fingers, stares at it like she's not satisfied, and goes ahead and dumps in a handful of dirt anyway. "Okay, bend over, girl."

            I lean over the sink while Zita pours the murky mixture over my hair and massages it in. It's gritty and gross.

            "Hand me that old shirt in the corner," says Zita.

            I'm looking upside down at McCoy while he retrieves the old shirt she uses as her dust rag. She wrings out my hair and then places the shirt over top and squeezes out the excess water. "I wish I had a comb," she says, flipping my head up and steering my behind back to the ground.

            "It's okay, I can use my fingers," I say.

            McCoy dashes into their room. "Boom has one, hold on."

            I lean my head back in defeat. He's determined to help me, to make me feel obligated to help him in return, but his niceties aren't going to work on me.

Character Interview

This interview is with Avene, the sixteen-year-old main character in The Headhunters Race.

Q – What’s it like living in a fend-for-yourself prison?

A – Its hell.  Especially if you’re the stepdaughter of the man who sentenced every last person in there to life.  We drink dirty water, scavenge for usable items, and barely get enough food to sustain us.  I have to hunt whatever bugs and rodents I can find to supplement the slop they dump in.

Q – How can you hunt in a prison?  

A – Hunting inside the prison is not easy.  There isn’t much to hunt considering we’re on the inside and most animals are smart enough to stay on the out.  Fighting for slop is worse though.  But the place is run-down and there are plenty of openings for small animals to find their way inside.

Q – Is it true that you are missing a body part?

A – *Sighs* Figures you would ask me about that, but it’s true and it’s not really all that noticeable.  It could’ve been worse if it weren’t for Verla.

Q – I’m so sorry.  Speaking of Verla, she was a tough woman, how did you meet up with her initially?

A – There was no meeting up with Verla.  She decided if she wanted you around or not and I guess I was lucky enough that she took me in.  Otherwise, I’d be dead.

Q – Do you miss her?

A – I miss her every day.

Q – What about McCoy?

A – What about him?  Do you want to know why he annoys me so much?

Q – Yes.

A – That makes two of us.  

Journey to Publication
The Headhunters Race has a bit of a long journey.  The idea was born on June 26, 2011 after a Zelda game commercial inspired me.  The commercial was brilliant and I thought why can't they make a movie that cool?  And then I thought, why don't I write a cool adventure myself! 

So I brainstormed this story with my son over a dinner of spicy spaghetti a couple of nights after the idea came to me.  We worked out the entire novel:  the characters and their motivations, the world, and the details of the race as I frantically wrote it all down.  My husband and daughter also helped me brainstorm items that I needed worked out.  I then spent a little while playing around with Avene's voice and then wrote like crazy.  I finished in December of 2011.  I actually started having critique partners read it in November of 2011 and began querying agents in January of 2012 after more revising.  I also entered it into a few popular contests around the blogosphere in early 2012.  Then I took a very long break due to life circumstances with hubby’s heart and moving.  Early this year I got back into writing.  I’d been thinking about self publishing for quite awhile so when querying a few more agents and a handful of publishers didn’t work out, I decided to go for it, and now, 2 1/2 years later, the book is out there!  Wahoo!

Author Bio
Kimberly is the mother of two awesome kids, wife of the nicest man in the world, and her dog's best friend. She works by day and writes middle grade and young adult science fiction and fantasy novels in her spare time. She lives with her family in the beautiful Sonoran Desert.

Website     Goodreads     Twitter     Facebook     Blog   Amazon

Please join me in wishing Kim success and rabid fan love for this amazing release!

And now here's your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Yes it is easy to slack on some things in the holidays. I'm sure that once you get back into routines things will get back on track. I wish you a happy writing year.

    Great book cover too :)

  2. The holidays and a bad cold sure kicked me out of the writing routine.

    Congrats to Kimberly!

  3. Love cheering on an author, new to me. Sounds like a book destined for success. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. I'm right there with you on needing to read and write more. The holidays have definitely taken my time away from that. And thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. :)

  5. Congratulations, Kimberly!
    It's a fresh start, Bev. Doesn't matter how we ended last year. How are we starting this year?

  6. I'm in the same place, still trying to get myself back into my writing routine. Best of luck!

  7. This time of the year is always a difficult time to stay in the writing game, and then it's hard to get back into writing once things slack off. I hope you can find more time to write and read very soon. Happy New Year!

    And the cover for Kimberly's book is great! I love the contrast with the butterfly. :)

  8. Congratulations on your book release, Kimberly.

  9. I am WAY too busy today to get sucked into this book, but wow! What a great excerpt! I can't wait to read it, and review it, and rave about it everywhere I go. =)

  10. First let me say how excited am that you've joined in my CREED! And how the heck hadn't I run into you before??? So glad we've remedied that.

    Isn't IWSG just awesome? #nodshead And that book, The HEADHUNTERS RACE, I have seen it everywhere. Totally on my TBR list!

  11. I let myself off the hook by just committing to work on my writing career every day. I discovered that I am not a write every day kind of person, but as long as I am doing something (writing, editing, blogging, networking, marketing) to move my career forward every day, I am doing well.

  12. Thank you so much everyone for your well wishes! :)

  13. Congrats to Kimberly!

    Part of me is glad the holidays are over, because it means I can settle back into my routines. Here's hoping we all have a great year!

  14. Oh my gosh, I can so relate to slacking off over the holidays. I blame the weather. ^_^ Follow your bliss...words to live by.

    Congratulations to Kimberly!!!

  15. Thanks so much Lara and Krystal! :)

  16. Ate to much over the holidays? Raising my hand over here.

    I am so thankful it is ALL over so I can get back to what I need to be and how I need to be.

    Headhunter sounds great. Thanks for sharing. Adding it to my TBR pile.

    Leanne ( )


Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!