Greetings all! It’s so exciting to be here, and I’d like to start by thanking Robyn for having me! My name’s Amanda Cyr and my debut novel, Zhukov’s Dogs, just dropped on Monday. It’s been a long trek up to this release, which is strange considering how these last few weeks have flown by. They don’t tell you about that when you first sell the manuscript—about the way time blurs from the moment you start riding the dizzying, sometimes surreal, high into the world of publishing. I’m still waiting to come down, but since I’ve only just started, I don’t see that happening for a long time.
As I write this, I’m wedged between a 40 hour work week and writing’s not-quite-a-job-but-still-a-career that takes up just as many hours, so here’s my advice for anyone trying to juggle a day job with their high or dreams of reaching one.
- It’s going to be stressful.
This one should be obvious to even the finest of multitaskers. There are only so many hours in the day, and since we can’t all be Time Lords, things like sleep and yoga slip through the cracks. Breathe through it and practice moderation on all fronts, because you don’t want to burn out and end up hating either of your full-time gigs.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Be smart. A manuscript, no matter how confident you are in it, likely won’t pay the bills all by itself. As lovely as it would be if our final wordcounts matched our annual salaries, it doesn’t work that way. You can dream about quitting your day job, but make sure you get out of bed for it in the morning.
- You’re going to have to make difficult choices.
I’m not just talking about deciding whether or not you get a full 8 hours every night. I was lucky when I was writing the first draft of Zhukov’s Dogs, because I didn’t have the day job going at the time, school was easy (yup, I was studying English), and my then-boyfriend/now-fiancé was incredibly supportive, both financially and emotionally. I started juggling two professions after my agent sold the manuscript in early 2014, and I quickly realized neither was getting the amount of attention it deserved. It’s a hard truth that still makes me sad when I think about it, and on more than one occasion I’ve had to ask myself which is more important.
- You’ll be naked.
I’m not sure how else to describe this sensation of knowing my friends, family, and coworkers will soon be reading my work. At least for me, feedback from strangers is perfectly fine, but what about all of these people who I see on a daily basis? The next time I give a presentation or throw a party, it’s possible half the room will have glimpsed into the world I built, and I find that simultaneously terrifying and thrilling. Although I opted against it, I encourage everyone who’s juggling writing and a 9 to 5 to consider this and the benefits of a penname.
- It’ll be awesome.
If you press through to the high – through the drafts, revisions, queries and rejections – all the sacrifices and stress will suddenly make sense. Writing is a labor of love, and if it’s something you’re passionate about, regardless of where you are in your life, pursue it to its end. Sleep can wait when there’s a story to be told.
Zhukov’s Dogs is the most innovative dystopian novels, I have ever read. Amanda Cyr captured a world that is so vivid and real, it is frightening that a future a could be so deliciously bleak. In Nik Zhukov’s ruined future, there is no place for the old, it is survival of the fittest- at seventeen, Nik ploughs through the ranks to find things are not all they seem to be. Zhukov’s dogs is filled with arbitrage, intrigue and enough action to make this book hard to put down.
Wonderfully written, this thrill ride of a novel is often thought provoking, as Nik develops through out the book and reading it, you can see how this novel was a labour of love for the author. There is so much packed in and I’m limited with what I can say because I would not want to spoil this book for anyone by giving so much away but it has to be read. Zhukov’s dogs defies genre labelling, but if you enjoyed “Wool”, “Hunger Games” or “Maze Runners” then you will love this book as much as I did. Five stars is not enough! I highly recommend!
Thank you Amanda Cyr for writing this tour de force of novel and for coming here today as a guest post, it has been an honour!
Genre: new-adult, science-fiction, action-adventure
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: October 27, 2014
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson of Gothic Fate
Lieutenant Colonel Nik Zhukov is just like any other desensitized seventeen-year-old living in the year 2076. At least he likes to think he is when he isn’t busy eliminating threats to national security, breaking up terrorist organizations, and trying not to get blown up. It’s all in a normal day’s work for one of the military’s top dogs, and he’s never disappointed. Never failed. Never lost sight of his dream of making it to the elite force, even as each new job forces him to see just how morally corrupt his leaders are.
On the verge of promotion, Nik is dispatched to the underground city beneath the icy Seattle tundra, his final mission handed down directly from The Council. It should have been a simple in-and-out, but the underground is full of dark secrets and he soon finds himself swept into battles, lying to his best friend back east, and growing a bit too close to the rebels he was sent to spy on.
Nik realizes too late that he’s broken the number one rule within his ranks; he’s allowed himself to feel normal for the first time in his life. He might be able to turn the job around, become the soldier he was once was, except for his growing attachment to the rebel leader. A guy. Yet another first for Nik. It’s a mistake he pays for dearly when he learns The Council’s true intentions for the city.
It’s never ‘just harmless fun’ when you’re a government dog, not when The Council holds the leash. Nik knows there are some lines you can never come back from crossing, and he’s forced to choose whose rules to play by. He races toward the invisible divide, aware he’ll be called traitor by both his nation and by his friends. Aware that even the right choice can be deadly to make.
About Amanda Cyr:
Amanda Cyr is a tea-loving freelance journalist, viral content curator, and debut novelist. She studied creative writing at Seattle University, where she developed all sorts of opinions before becoming a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. She is currently represented by Kimberley Cameron of the Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.
Growing up, Amanda moved around a lot. She began writing to make the transitions easier and make up for her lack of friends in middle school. An awesome professor in Medford, Oregon tried to convince her to pursue writing professionally, but Amanda was deadest on a law career. It wasn’t until an unpleasant professor in Seattle, Washington told her she was a terrible writer that Amanda really committed to the idea of getting published, mostly just to spite her professor.
When Amanda’s not hunched over a laptop she enjoys sleeping, video games, Netflix binges, and wrestling with her two polar bear dogs. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends her days hissing at the sun and missing Seattle. Her least favorite things include the mispronunciation of her name, screaming children, and California.