Friday, April 8, 2011

EARTHLING HERO by Anita Laydon Miller

Anita Laydon Miller recently left a sought-after literary agency to e-publish her middle grade novel. She's here today to talk about the setting of her sci-fi and to show us a short video of one of the settings.

So let's welcome her to the blog today!

----------

Hey! Thanks for having me! First off, bear with a short description of EARTHLING HERO and then I’ll explain things in a bit more detail.

Imagine waking one summer night to see someone standing beside your bed. The “someone” is a complete stranger, but looks exactly like you. That’s what happens to eleven-year-old Mikey Murphy. The next few days are filled with adventures—breaking into a high-security military installation, engaging expert assassins in hand-to-hand combat, searching for an evil alien’s hideout in the middle of a national landmark—all with two new alien friends at his side. Can Mikey and his friends survive their adventures and save the world?

EARTHLING HERO is set in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. The “high-security military installation” mentioned in the description is NORAD. It’s a real-life facility that’s built inside a mountain. I went on a tour there to pump myself up for writing those scenes. In the scenes, Mikey, his alien clone Axe, and Axe’s sister Aurora break into the facility to retrieve a much-needed device.

Mikey also fights a group of nasty assassins. The fight scene occurs within a CIA agent’s Black Forest, Colorado home. Agent Alvarado is fictional, but the home is based on one I’ve actually visited.

In another section of the book, Mikey, Axe and Aurora search for an evil alien’s lair in Garden of the Gods. (Oh my heck! I just visited Garden of the Gods last October, and it is GORGEOUS!) Technological information points the kids in the direction of the Siamese Twins rock formation. The short video below shows me at the rock formation. I’m pointing out the area where the kids searched, and then I read a short segment from the scene, while sitting near the formation.


Thanks for joining me on this journey! Please visit my blog for a link to buy EARTHLING HERO for just $.99.

----------

Also, I'm leaving for New York City tomorrow! I've never been more excited in my life! So while I'm off touring and lunching and learning to walk in high heels, I won't be blogging. But you can count on me plastering my blog with pictures when I get back!

So what'd you think of Anita? Go check out her book!

43 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Anita, it's so interesting how you developed the settings in your story. Good luck with it.

Elana, I'm SO excited for you. Enjoy the trip and being a debut author. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Renae said...

Good luck with your story Anita, thanks for sharing.

And congrats on New York Elana! Have fun with the heels!

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for sharing, Anita. That's a big step leaving a literary agency when so many are trying to land an agent.

Have fun in New York, Elana. Can't wait to get the video answer for my blog.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I hadn't realized she left the agency. I thought after being so close to landing a deal, she decided to release the book on her own.

So once you've figure out the walking in heels deal, can you post a few pointers? I'm clumsy enough as it is without adding additional height by way of heels. :P

Jonathon Arntson said...

Beautiful video, Anita! The landscape looks nice too.

And I love both parts of that books, especially the fight scene.

Anita said...

FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU, ELANA!

NATALIE: Thanks! I'm lucky that the Colorado Springs area provides so many great settings. Mikey's home is in Black Forest, and so is the home of the CIA agent who helps the kids. The kids also go to a local mall, NORAD, and, of course, Garden of the Gods. It's fun knowing the places in my head and then putting them down on the page.


RENAE: My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by today.

THERESA: It is a big step to go out on my own, but I'm enjoying it and learning a lot. I think this was the right move for me.

JONATHON: Thanks! I love Colorado and sharing it with people.

Kelly said...

What a beautiful area! And looks like a beauty day when you filmed, too, Anita. I enjoyed your reading very much!!
Have fun in NYC, Elana!!

Anita said...

KELLY: It was a pretty day...a tad windy at higher elevations...but beautiful. A few families were out on spring break.

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh man! You got a video? Your post is even cooler than mine, and mine was VERY COOL.

You're the best Anita, looking forward to enjoying watching you achieve all the success you deserve!

Thanks EJ!

Christine Fonseca said...

Great post about Anita, I've been reading stuff about her a lot of late -

HAVE AN AMAZING TIME in NYC!SO frakin excited for you!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Happy NYCing!

The sci-fi sounds amazing. We need more MG/YA sci-fi!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

It sounds like a good story, and I will definitely be reading it. Thanks, Anita!

Have a wonderful time, Elena! I miss you already! :-)

Josh Hoyt said...

Sounds great. Good luck on your venture.

Lydia K said...

Good luck Anita, and thanks Elana for posting about her book. I wish her lots of success!

Tracey Neithercott said...

It sounds like a fun book. Good luck with it, Anita.

And have so much fun in NYC Elana!

Anita said...

ALL: I'm at police station getting finger printed...going on overnight with a hundred fourth graders and so I need a background check...I'll be back to respond to comments as soon as possible...too hard on little iPhone! Thanks for popping in!

Heather said...

Anita's book sounds so good! I'll definitely be checking it out. I am uber curious though as to what made her part ways with the agency she was with to e-publish. I'm seeing more and more authors go that way...

Laura Pauling said...

Nice view. I've never been to Colorado! Best of luck, Anita!

Have fun in NYC Elana! Can't wait for the pics.

Anita said...

MATTHEW: Thank you for your confidence in me! I think if that book's good, it will sell. That goes for self-publishing and traditional publishing. Time will tell!

CHRISTINE: I hope the stuff you've heard is good! I'm just a woman trying to sell a book. :) The book's market is middle grade, right? But I'm really hoping families will use it as a read-aloud.

JENNIFER: I agree...I love sci-fi! I'm finishing revisions on an MG mystery right now, but when that's done, if EARTHLING HERO has sold well, I'll be putting together a sequel.

JOSH: Thanks! I'll take all the good luck wishes I can get.

LYDIA: I think my success now will depend on how good the book is and whether I can get news of it it "out there." That's why things like this blog tour are so important...it's about letting people know there are great, cheap e-books for kids available...AND that those ebooks can be read on a variety of devices.

Anita said...

TRACEY: I think it is a fun ebook for kids...lots of action and unique characters. The best part for me is that it was really fun to write...makes those hours at the keyboard worth it.

Krispy said...

Sounds like a fun story, Anita! It's cool that it's set in a real place with spots you can visit. Part of what I loved about the Percy Jackson series was recognizing the landmarks they visited (and sometimes destroyed)!

Elana: NYC is so fun!!! HAVE TONS OF IT! Make full use of the fact that everything is open LATE. I'm totally jealz of you right now, but I can't wait to see your pictures! :)

Anita said...

HEATHER: First of all, I have to say my former agent and the agency were awesome. As agencies have to adapt to the changing climate in publishing, I can truly see that agency adapting well and helping their clients weather the storms.

For me, I wanted more creative and financial control over my work. Last year, my agent submitted another work of mine--an MG mystery that I'm currently revising and will be epublishing this summer--to around 15 editors. We got lots of great feedback, but the work didn't sell. Fine, right? And I WAS fine, but the thing that got me was how varied the comments were--in fact, some of them were in direct conflict with each other...things like "The book's too scary," and "The book's not scary enough." And, yeah, there's a subjective nature to the business, but that combined with things I was seeing other authors go through--like some struggling to keep a decent piece of their e-rights and others who'd been scheduled to have a book released and then had the publisher fold--pushed me over the self-publishing edge. I jumped. And hopefully this book will help me land on my feet.

Thanks for checking the book out. I encourage all MG authors to buy a cheap middle grade ebook from a self-published author...I don't even care if it's mine. There's the perception that if it's self-published it can't be good, and that's simply not the case.

Anita said...

LAURA: If you ever come this way, let me know and I'll give you the native's tour!

Anita said...

KRISPY: I'm the book columnist for the COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE. All this month I'm featuring Colorado authors in my Sunday columns. Many of the authors set their stories in Colorado, and I just love recognizing the landmarks. Readers dig that, I think.

Darby Karchut said...

I've been hearing such great things about this book! Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Anita!

Hannah Kincade said...

oh, that sounds good. I'm going to go to her website and pick up a copy!

Anita said...

DARBY: It's great sharing the journey. I want authors to know they have choices AND because I know authors love reading, I want them to know about ereading. I think every writer should have an ereader, so they can understand how the things work--a good many of our readers will be using them. I know you live near me, Darby,...our library district has 50 Nooks they'll be loaning out soon. And my daughter's high school just got some Nooks to loan out, too. It's happening, people! :) Of course, traditionally published authors can sell their ebooks, too, but readers are getting annoyed by the prices of some of those ebooks. It will be interesting watching the industry during the next few years.

HANNAH: Thank you so much for picking up a copy of EARTHLING HERO. Let me know what you think of it, and please post a review, if you get a chance!

Marsha Sigman said...

This is gutsy as hell and I really admire that. It sounds great and I hope you have a lot of success with it!!

Anita said...

MARSHA: Thank you! Success for me means a lot of families getting their hands on this book. :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

OH and E, I totally forgot...

NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC! NYC!

Jemi Fraser said...

The book sounds like a blast! Off to check it out :)

Have fun in NY!

Anita said...

JEMI: Thanks for buying the book!!! Let me know what you think of it, will you? And if have a chance, please post a review. :) Woo-hoo!

Julie Musil said...

Anita's book sounds like a blast! It's cool that it's so accessible.

Elana, good luck with those high heels :D

Matthew MacNish said...

You still in NY EJ? Just wanted to say hi!

Jenn Johansson said...

So cool! :) That concept sounds like something my son would love! I'll have to check it out!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Anita, I know Colorado Springs and the area very well - I look forward to reading your book!

Elana, HAVE FUN IN NEW YORK! And a key to looking graceful in heels is to place your feet in front of your midline, one literally in front of another, instead of in front of each hip. I don't know WHERE I picked that one up, but every time I put on a pair of heels, I remember it, so I owe major thanks to whichever long-ago friend passed me that one. (Thanks, friend, whomever you are!)

And did I say to have fun? Because I really hope you have a blast. Say "hi" to the Big Apple for all of us!

Katie Mills said...

congrats Anita and thanks for the link to her book!

lbdiamond said...

Interesting stuff! Thanks for sharing.

Rockie said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely story! I am so buying it!

And have fun on your trip! :D




*~` http://rockielove.blogspot.com/ `~*

Carrie said...

I got this book on my Kindle and I'll probably read it next. Looks like a fun book.
Have fun in New York.

Anita said...

JULIE: I want families to read EARTHLING HERO, or anything, really. Summer is a great time to sit and read with the kids. We do most nights during the summer.

JENN: If you get a chance to buy it, I'd love to hear what your son thinks. Yay, I love kids reading!

ISHTA: Thank you! If you know CO, and this will especially be fun for you!

KATIE: Thank you! Your photo always makes me smile...you're gonna hear boos if you ever change it!

LBDIAMOND: I do think this is an interesting time in publishing.

ROCKIE: Thank you! Let me know what you think of the book...it's always great hearing someone's take on things.

CARRIE: Thank you for buying the book! If you get a chance, please post a review!

Jan Markley said...

Great video!

Anita said...

JAN: Thank you!

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget