Monday, April 30, 2012


I get back from my trip to London, England, and I find the most glorious welcome home present EVER waiting for me!

Yes, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY ARCs have arrived, and they is soooo pretty!

They made me burst out into song.

For those of you familiar with ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN, said song was "Jack", which as you know is one of the more complex and nuanced of the songs in that book.  Of course, wherever there was a "Jack", I replaced it with "ARC".  Thus:


And so on.

I call this new song: ARC.

And now, of course, it's time for show and tell!

Just so you get a sense once again of Greg Stadnyk's fabulous design work, here is the front, spine and back cover for the ARC as seen as one full image:

Isn't it just amazing??  I'm not sure how he managed to compile so many different elements on one cover and not make it look too overwhelmed or busy, but . . . he did.


Here are all the ARCs together.  You will notice they were tied in a pretty blue ribbon.  Because a pretty blue ribbon makes everything that much more special:

Now here is the back.

And here is the spine.

And here is a peek at the inside . . . Part 1 to be precise. 

 See all those pages???  That's a hefty book my friend.  A hefty book indeed.

Oh are you oh so excited???  Because I am!!!  I use triple question marks AND exclamation marks!!!

As always I have to thank everyone at Dial for their enthusiasm and general awesome-ness in putting together such a gorgeous object with such lovely attention to detail.  Specifically, as ever, my editor Nancy Conescu who just plain rocks.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Revealing THE FRIDAY SOICETY cover reveal contest winner!

Okay, I thought at first I'd go through the comments, find one that really stood out to me and choose that one for the winner.

But after going through all your amazing comments, filled with such kind words and wonderful enthusiasm, I just knew this wasn't going to be easy.

So I went with blind luck.

I texted my fabulous fellow actor friend Heather (for those of you who have read ALEX, yes she inspired THAT Heather), and asked her to pick a number between 1 - 47.  Then I made sure not to count my comment in the thread and . . . ta-da!  She magically chose the winning commenter.

And now, without further ado . . . drum roll please . . .

. . .

Okay stop with the drum roll now, it's getting annoying . . .



Congratulations! You have won yourself a one of a kind Steampunk necklace inspired by
THE FRIDAY SOCIETY designed/made by Lady Lilleigh!

Also, I wanted to take the moment to address two comments from the comments section:

Jonathan C. Dietrich asked how scary the book is.  This is a tough question to answer because of course "scary" is subjective (I for one find even horror spoof movies scary).  There is some violence, murder, and dismembered body parts.  But none of it is dwelt on in any kind of gory detail, and all of it is treated with a sense of humour.  Some of the death moments are kind of sad though.

Hope this helps!


Ray Dean's comment began with "Three Girl Fridays" - and I just wanted to say YES! That's it exactly! :) 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Cover Reveal for THE FRIDAY SOCIETY (!!!!!!)

Today is a very exciting day for me, as it is for most authors.  Today I get to reveal to you all (FINALLY) the cover for THE FRIDAY SOCIETY!

But first, I thought, you should know my game plan for this blog post.

1. I shall reveal the cover!
2. I shall reveal details of an amazing contest to win a one of a kind Steampunk necklace inspired by THE FRIDAY SOCIETY.
3. I shall write at length about what I adore about this cover and anything else that comes to my mind on the subject.

But first I want to thank some amazing blogs who are helping me in this glorious reveal:

The Story Siren
The Book Smugglers
These are two of my favourite YA book blogs, the ladies that run these sites are enthusiastic, know their stuff and have a great sense of humour - seriously go check them out.  Immediately.  No, WAIT!  Wait, check out my cover first, THEN check them out.  At any rate, I am totally honoured that they agreed to help me out today.  Thank you, ladies, again so much.

That Cover Girl
You guys have heard me go on about this blog before.  I just love how this lady dissects book covers, she's got a fantastic eye.  And I am thrilled for my cover to be dissected by her (and a little nervous).

The Steampunk Scholar
I have also mentioned this fellow a few times, as well as linked to lists of his top Steampunk books and his post about Steampunk as an aesthetic.  A true class act, and again, thrilled that my Steampunk cover is gracing his insanely fabulous Steampunk blog.

And finally . . . drum roll please . . .

THE COVER (and blurb) -

Be Your Own Hero . . .

Set in London at the turn of the last century, the novel follows the stories of three intelligent and very talented young women, all of whom are assistants to very powerful men: Cora, lab assistant to a member of parliament; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant to a martial arts guru; and Nellie, a magician's assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder—and the crimes they believe may be connected to it‐‐without calling too much attention to themselves.

Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

 Find THE FRIDAY SOCIETY on Goodreads.


Here's your chance to win an amazing one of a kind Steampunk THE FRIDAY SOCIETY inspired necklace designed by Steampunk jewelry maker Lady Lilleigh.

It's really very simple, leave a comment below and I shall choose the winner by April 13th (yes that is Friday the 13th :) ).

And now a little bit about the prize:

Suspended from a 24 inch antiqued brass chain, this tribute piece to The Friday Society boasts elements inspired by the main characters: a 1 inch silver bullet for Cora; a black feather for Nellie; and brass 'throwing star' gears for Michiko. But the true appeal of this pendant is what brings it all together, three alluring ivory ladies on a small tarnished brass tone cameo. The cameo measures 0.75 inches long and the steel pendant base measures just under 1.5 inches in diameter. 


Okay.  So.  Can I just say.  I love this cover.

I mean . . . seriously.


Possibly even lurv.

Is that going a bit too far?

No, I don't think so.

First I have to obviously thank Dial, Penguin for their amazing amazingness, and then I must signal out a few people.  Obviously the first is my editor Nancy Conescu who is marvelously patient with all my neuroses.  She is also the one who kept me up to speed on every step of the cover designing process. And the next are of course the photographer and designer of the cover: Michael Frost and Greg Stadnyk. Gentlemen, I bow in your general direction.

Truly I have been beyond thrilled at how up to date Penguin has kept me with the progress of this cover.  As some of you may know, I am quite obsessed with covers, I even designed one for my fabulous author friend Danielle Younge-Ullman's novel FALLING UNDER.  So I adored being kept in the loop.

I was sent headshots of the models before they did the photoshoot - and I knew right then that Penguin was on the right track.  The girls they chose to portray my girls are spot on.  What I love best about them is that they look like real people.  They are very pretty of course, but they look . . . real, like individuals with distinct personalities.  Of this I rather approve.

And then I was sent the first relatively quick mock-up of the cover.  It was shocking how quickly the turnaround happened from the photoshoot to the mock-up, and how they seemingly threw it together sans effort.  Of course I say "seemingly" because it is clear a lot of work went into it.  I saw it, and I was immediately all, "Can I share it can I share it!"

And Penguin was all, "Silly rabbit, we aren't done yet!"

"We aren't?"

And so a few weeks later I was sent another one.  Small changes had been made that made big differences (an example I can offer you is they added the blueish glow to Cora's goggles).  And again, I was all . . ."Can I can I?"

And they were all, "No."

Finally, and finally, we get what we have here today.

And I said, "Can I!"

And they said, "Yes." :)

And such love, my friends, such love.

That isn't the end of this blog post though, in case you thought you could move on now.  No.  Now we must dissect what Adrienne loves about this cover.  Because the wonder of blog posting is that there is no word limit.  So dangerous when it comes to me.

What I love about this cover:

1.  The three girls.  Let's meet them shall we?  From left to right - Nellie Harrison (magician's assistant), Cora Bell (personal assistant/lab assistant to a member of Parliament), Michiko Takeda (fight assistant to a self defense guru).

I've already talked about what I like about how the girls look (though I should add I also adore their outfits . . . and weapons).  What's also fantastic about them, is the way they are posing.  They look tough.  They look like they have agency, that they can take care of themselves. Which is good.  Because they do and can. :)

2. The pinwheel effect.  Okay, note to self, adding a pinwheel automatically makes stuff look awesome.  It's subtle, but present.  It both draws the eye into the middle of the page, and explodes out in fantastic fun times.  It adds a wonderful sense of energy.  Love it.

3. The London skyline.  Because it's the London skyline.

4. The grainy effect.  Look up close, the picture has been made to look slightly weathered. Cool?  Yes, yes it is.

5. The font(s).  Font, to me, is often far more important than any other element on a cover.  It can make the difference between whether a cover is seen as professional or not.  And it can dictate the intended audience for the book.  I love both the fonts on this cover.  I love the title, I love how strong it looks, how cool, both contemporary and classic.  And I love my name.  I mean, I love seeing my name on a cover of a book in any font really (it's kind of overwhelming every time when you do see it - and maybe just maybe I got choked up seeing it on this cover for the first time), but this font is also just plain cool. I don't know why, but I love that the A isn't pointy.  Yeah, I know, but I do.

6. The border.  Now I have had the honour of being bordered by many a great object.  With ALEX we had octopus tentacles.  TIMOTHY we had a dragon:

And this time, well this time we get a supremely kick-ass Steampunk mechanical piece.

That border might be just about my favourite part of the cover.  Not quite my fav, we'll get to that at 7.  But still.  Yes it is all kinds of Steampunk amazing, but what I love about it the most is that it really looks mechanical, like a real machine where one piece influences the other, and not just like there are some random gears hanging out together 'cause, you know, they're gears and they've got that in common.  I also love how the border makes the whole cover have a kind of movie poster vibe.  And as a fan of movies, you can understand why this would make me happy.

Lastly I love the accidental continuity.  That I get to be border girl!  All my books have borders (despite being published by different publishers and being different genres), and I love borders, and I love my books.  So it's like such a love fest man.

7.  And my number 1 (which I guess is number 7 for some reason) thing I love about this cover is . . . wait for it . . .



This is a screw.

There are four of them, one in each corner of the cover.  Making the cover look like it's been screwed onto the book.  It might not be grand, it might hardly be noticeable at first glance, but it's this kind of small detail I absolutely adore.  It demonstrates care, and I think wit as well.  The cherry on top of the sundae. 

So there you go.  I've likely gone on long enough.  But, guys, seriously, I am beyond excited.  Every step along the way makes this all so much more real.  And it's been a while since I've had the pleasure of doing a cover reveal, and it's all kind of an emotional mess for me.  I am so excited, so grateful, and so . . . okay I'll be honest . . . terrified (in a good way of course :) ).

I remember blogging about the book deal a year and a half ago.  And now it has a cover.  That's pretty darn cool.  Pretty darn cool indeed.

(don't forget to enter the contest!!)

Monday, April 02, 2012

About Female Characters (or as I like to call them, Characters)

I belong on several writing forums.  Why?  Because I really love the support offered there.  It's also a place where I am constantly learning about new subjects and new information on the publishing industry. 

There is a slight drawback, however, to being on a forum for several years.  It means you encounter the same questions many times with new members coming along.  Now because I am always keen to share the knowledge I have learned in my relatively short time as a published author, I rarely begrudge repeated questions. 

But there is one question that does frustrate me slightly. Which I always address when it is asked, and it is often asked.  At least once a month, if not more frequently. 

This is that question:  How can I write a convincing female character?  or  Do you think people will mind if my female character is such and such?  or simply "About Female Characters".

And there is no male equivalent of this question.

There is the gender neutral equivalent.  The one that reads "How do you write about the opposite gender?"  And those happen on occasion.

But never so often as specifying female. 

So it's gotten to the point where I must ask myself: why is that?

And then I try to answer it.  

The first answer is something I realised in high school:  a female character is seen as female first, person second.  I realised this while working on WAITING FOR GODOT (I was playing Vladimir). The role I was playing was typically played by a man, and had a male name, and clearly was meant originally to be performed by a man.  But it didn't matter if it really was a man.  There was no discussion in the play about being a man, about manliness (whatever that is).  He was a cypher for ideas.  He was an everyman.  Almost more of a thing than a gender.  And I wondered, could such a character exist and just happen to be female?

The answer to the question I asked myself made me sad:  "No.".  At least not easily so.  Another example: I'm not sure how many of you are into DOCTOR WHO, but there is a debate in the Whoverse as to whether or not the Doctor could be played by a woman.  Most people debate this point discussing whether there are any hints in previous episodes that allow the Doctor to be a woman, whether canon suggests he can only be male etc etc.  But the reality is, it isn't a question of canon and character: most people can't see it because despite a few romantic dalliances, the Doctor is an everyman.  And it's very difficult to fathom of a Doctor played by a woman still being an everyman - someone who just happens to be a woman, who is seen as a character first, her gender second.

For that is the crux of the problem:  a female character is seen as female first, a person second.  Whereas a male character is seen as person first, male second.  Think about it?  Can you think of an everyman character that is female?  I am asking about a typical grown up woman.  Not a pre-pubescent child (think Alex from my books), or an old wise woman (like the old wise man) who no longer is seen as "woman" due to her age.  So yeah, can you think of an everyman woman?  The closest I get is Tina Fey's Liz Lemon from 30 ROCK.  Which might be yet another reason to add to the pile of why I love her.

Needless to say, it isn't common.

Think of action movies:  you have the lead guy, the geek guy, maybe the big tough guy, the uber hot guy, the guy of some racial minority and the woman.  "Guy" is considered the default gender so it gets subdivided into types.  But not "gal".  "Gal" IS a type (just as racial minority is a type, but that's a blog post for another time).

Try for a moment to imagine OCEAN'S 11, but reversing the gender roles.  It's kind of fun.  But do you see how automatically it becomes a movie about women robbing a casino, not a quirky group of people robbing a casino?

Another reason that people question so frequently how to write female characters is that we are raised to see women as totally unfathomably complex.  This intimidates people when it comes to writing female characters.  If they are so difficult to understand as sitcoms and lad mags have been telling us for years, what hope is there for us to empathise?

But I'll tell you a secret.  First of all, seriously, we're no more complex than men.  We are complex because we are humans, of course.  And that's the thing.  There are far more differences between individuals, than the genders.

Sure you can say all men are this and all women are this (though invariably you will instantly have someone come along and say, "Uh, not me.") But honestly, isn't it far more interesting how different we all are from each other?  You think those two guys sitting on the subway have the exact same hobbies, education, belief system?  Unlikely.  Ditto those two women over there.  And here's a wacky thing, maybe that woman and that man actually have more in common with each other than they do with the other of their own gender.

It's how I feel when people ask: are you more likely to read a book with a character that is your gender?  Well, I mean, I'm more interested in who this character is?  I'm also more interested in if the book has a sense of humour.  Is it well written?  What's the setting of the book?  Is there a moral and do I agree (or not, it's interesting to read contrasting opinions)?  There are so many more things that I as Adrienne am interested in, than just, "Is the main character of this book a girl?"  And further, just because someone is a girl doesn't mean I have anything in common with her.

I'll tell you another secret, I've never been an Extremely Ginormous Octopus.  I've never been a pirate Captain.  I've never been a Magician's Assistant, nor lived in the Edwardian era.

Yet somehow people never question my ability to write about those characters.

My point: we as authors have been writing about people we aren't for forever.  We find a way to empathise, we find a way in.  Female characters are no different.  All they are are characters.  They are people too.  Instead of asking yourself, "How do I write this female soldier?" ask yourself, "How do I write this soldier?  Where is she from, how was she raised, does she have a sense of humour?  Is she big and tall, is she short and petite?  How does her size affect her ability to fight?  What is her favourite weapon, her least favourite?  Why?  Is she more logical than emotional?  The other way around?  Was she an only child and spoiled, was she the eldest of six siblings and a surrogate mother?  How does that upbringing affect how she interacts with her team? etc etc and so forth."  Notice how the first question gets you some kind of broad, generalised answer, likely resulting in a stereotype, and how the second version asks lots and lots of smaller questions with the goal of creating someone well rounded.

One would hope, really, that we as authors ask such detailed questions of all our characters, regardless of gender.

So let me, at long last, actually answer the original question:

"How do I write a female character?"

Write her the way you would write any other character.  Give her dimension, give her strength but please also don't forget to give her weaknesses (for a totally strong nothing can beat her kind of girl is not a person, she's again a type - the polar opposite yet exactly the same as the damsel in distress).

Create a person.