Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Got my nose back in the books

Ah, I have pretty much finished my revisions. More final editing will take place this week, but since this I know this story in and out I know it will be ready in time to get those queries out the first week of January. Wooohooo!

Aside from the obvious reasons why I'm thrilled to be finished, I am back to reading again! My parents gave me Beautiful Creatures as one of my gifts(eee and I have two gift cards to use for the bookstore too!), and I LOVED it. I devoured it. If you haven't read it yet, go now! It's that good. Plus you can stroke that beautiful purple metallic title on the cover. I went and joined the fansite before I was even finished. Yep, it's that good. More on this later.

Most of the time it's a bummer to come off of reading a book you lose sleep over. Not when you have Catching Fire waiting for you. I bought CF the day it came out and have been saving it as my reward for finishing a new book I started at the time, which then turned into the revisions on Sage. So as any of you who have read it know, I'm dying to finish my day so I can crawl into bed and lose myself in as many chapters as I can manage tonight.

Feels good to be back! Not only am I reading more again, I'm going to get back into a more regular blogging schedule and doing my best to read and comment out there as well. So much to look forward to even if it is bone chilling cold outside and I'm still suffering from the post Christmas depression.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time for family, food and fun!


I'm taking my holiday leave a bit early and signing off of checking blogs and posting until after the holidays. Not too much of a big deal since I haven't been posting or commenting much lately to begin with. But the edits are wrapping up and my queries will be going out the first week of January so it's back to business as usual come mid-January.

I'm looking forward to more of a routine with my son starting nursery school two mornings a week (we're also doing a music/dance class together on Wednesday afternoons!). I'm getting a new laptop bag so I can drop him off and head right down the road to the library where I can write my little heart out for two hours straight, free of distractions, including the big one...NO INTERNET. That alone will help me write this new story in record time. Sure, I could go to the gym, grocery shopping, or even head home and clean. But that is so not me. Not when I could be writing. Nope, I think I'll stick with pursuing my dream! Four hours of pure freedom cannot be wasted. Maybe with this change of schedule I'll end up getting more than six hours of sleep at night instead of staying up until the wee hours of the morning to get my writing/networking time in.

Ah, January, I'm very excited to see what surprises you'll bring. Don't even get me started on 2010. This new year is going to kick ass for us all.

Whatever you're celebrating (or not celebrating) this time of year I hope you enjoy time with your loved ones and that you get to relax, have fun, and make some great plans for the year ahead. Ohhh, and eat fabulous bad for you food and drink. Cookies, ham, cranberry margaritas, champagne, candy, croissants....


Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh my, how you've grown!

Last night right before I went to bed (I never actually lay awake in bed anymore since I got to bed so freaking late I just fall asleep pretty much the second my head hits the pillow) I was thinking about my plan to begin querying the first week of January.

It hit me.

I sent out my very first batch of queries.


Last January.

For the same book.


It's safe to assume that those queries sucked BIG time. And for the most part so did SAGE at that point. The good news is that my current query kicks some serious ass, and SAGE is pretty much unrecognizable in it's revised form. The main characters are unchanged (aside from my MC's age and a few details with her life) and the main plot is close to what I envisioned in the beginning. But everything else is brand spanking new.

SAGE and I have both grown since last January and I think it's safe to say we're ready to see what the new year has in store for us. I'm so diggin' the whole full circle thing.

Now, does anyone else notice that I'm at 99 followers? Can you help me ditch that number for something larger. Say, a three digit one with two zeros and a one?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We've been together so long that...

I can finish your sentences.

I know what you're thinking before you think it.

No, I'm not talking about someone. Something. More like my manuscript. I know it inside and out. We've been together for, let's see...almost a year and a half. So we're in that middle comfortable stage in our relationship where we can totally be ourselves and still love each other for it. You know, like farting in bed (lol remember that Sex in the City episode?) or admitting you love a really bad TV show that most people would make fun of you for (like me who at the age of 30 loves The Secret Life of the American Teenager in spite of the mostly cheesy acting and the word sex being used at least twenty times per episode). Wait, did I just say it twice in my blog post with only paragraph in?

While knowing someone so well that you can be yourself through and through, it's a little tough. You lose a little of that I-want-to-be-around-you-so-much-I-don't-need-to-sleep-or-eat feeling. Things get more predictable and sadly, boring. Not that it's a bad thing.

Unless of course, it's a book you've written that you're reading for the twentieth time in hopes of spotting mistakes and areas that need improvement. Trust me, at this point it's a daunting process when you aren't seeing it with fresh eyes. I'm plowing through, but it's way harder this time. And the other super exciting, new ideas for other books that are taunting and dancing around in my head aren't helping. Fortune tellers and Hollywood's hottest young celebrity who's actually a big time nerd with zero game. By the way, those are two different stories!

But, no worries. We'll make it through this rough patch. I love SAGE too much to give into temptation. (I know, I know, if you're a regular reader here then yes, I did cheat awhile back and start something new. I swear I thought we were done at that point!)

So it's back to reading and editing my way to the end. It might be harder working with something I know so well, but at least I can rock my rattiest pajamas and skip a shower when while we're working together.

Ah, true love.

*I am noticing that when I run spell check on my posts here lately I have way less yellow highlights pop up telling me I misspelled something. All this revising and editing might really be whipping me into shape to do it right the first time. Gotta love that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A little update

I know you've all been waiting breathlessly to hear how my revisions went. Right? Bah! Didn't think so. But I'm going to share anyway.

The revisions on Sage are done. Ahhh, feels so good to say that. I actually finished them a couple weeks ago, but I'm still hard at work on the editing. My favorite part. Ok, not really. More like my least favorite part. This is made especially difficult considering how many times I have read Sage. Still, I love this story and characters with ever fiber of my being. Much like being a mother, I adore my child but some days I would like nothing more than a break. But until I get these edits done that's out of the question. So my blog posts will remain short and few until January when the queries go out and my son starts nursery school, leaving me with 4 hours of free time each week. I'm so ready to hit the library so I can write without interruption or the temptation of the Internet.

Speaking of January. I had yet another new idea. This one is good---really good. But it's going to have to get in line. Not to the back of the line, more like third at the moment, but at least I took the time to start writing the opening scene while it was so vivid in my mind. If there is already a YA urban fantasy about a snarky teenage girl who pretends to read fortunes, please tell me now! Because I'm super excited about this one and have the whole plot planned. *crosses fingers it hasn't been done already*

On a personal note, I only have three more gifts to buy for Christmas and I'm done shopping. Then it's on to wrapping and helping my mom get ready for the annual Christmas party this weekend. Oh, and I got my military ID today (no, I didn't join, my husband did and he leaves next month for training) and it's hideous! I look like a man. The fact that the lady doing it said, "oh this is a nice one." Makes me a)think she is just a very nice person b)has poor eye sight or
c)all IDs she produces look horrible. Seriously, it's that bad. My own mother said I looked like a man when she saw it!

So the next two weeks are all about getting ready for the holidays and making my ms shine. If only Santa could have a big ol' edited copy of Sage beneath the tree for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 is mine!

2009 has been an awesome year in many ways, but I have to tell you...2010 is going to rock.

I don't know about you, but I'm so ready for this. I was going to put my resolutions list for all to see then changed my mind because I don't want to put a cap on what's possible. There are no limits to what can happen and I like it that way. Of course I want the usual things. On the top of that list, a safe, healthy, happy family as well as my own health and happiness. World peace. (seriously, I dream big, remember?)

Ahhh, then there's SAGE. My beloved story that refused to be shelved. It's Abbey and Gabriel's year. I believe that so deeply that I'm posting it here for all the world to see. I'm either really brave or stupid. I think I'll go with brave.

How about everyone else? Any goals you're willing to put out there for the world?

*Also, I just noticed that I have 97 followers here. WOW! Thanks for your support guys! I never thought this many people would be interested in my little blog. Now who doesn't like seeing a big fat 100? 100% on a test? $100? Love em'.

How about a 100 followers? Yes, please!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You won't want to miss this if you're a writer!

There are many perks of running a fansite for an author as fabulous, down to earth, and fun as Becca Fitzpatrick. And now there's a big fat one to add to that list...

Becca has agreed to do a strictly writing topic chat in January!

It's an awesome opportunity for all of us writers to ask her questions about the writing process, querying, editing---whatever. One of the great things about Becca is how approachable and available she has been with doing chats on various blogs, commenting to people on her own, and taking emails, but all of that has centered around HUSH, HUSH. So this will be a rare opportunity to interact with her on how she created this NYT Best Selling novel as well as the highly anticipated follow up, CRESCENDO.

*Disclaimer* I swear this is not shameless self promotion for our site. I really am this excited about it! No. Really. I'm just super geeky like that.

Because this all started from our site and the fact that we have many aspiring writers already in the forum we will be hosting the chat through our site, Fallenarchangel. You will need to be a forum member to attend so I thought I would get the word out there now to give anyone interested time to register and plan ahead. I'll have the date and the other official details posted very soon, but as you can imagine I've been dying to share this new with all my writer friends!

If you're interested check out the site here. You can click on the forum tab at the top to visit and register and check out what sort of fun stuff we have going, like our awesome new feature called Featured Fiction of the month. December's focus is on another awesome YA series WAKE, FADE, and GONE by Lisa McMann and you can enter to win your own copies of the first two books by telling us about a dream you've had. How easy is that?

Now that I got that exciting new off my chest I better get back to my edits because, guess what? I finished my massive revisions last night! *wink wink* Much more on that later...

If you're as excited as I am to chat with Becca about all things writing please leave a comment below just saying "I'm in" or any sort of topic you're hoping to ask her about. I can't wait! Hope to see you all there. I'll get that date and time up ASAP.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change your way of thinking

It's been forever since I've shared one of the fabulous Daily Guru quotes
I signed up to receive daily. Love them. Love this one...

"If you expect the best, you will be the best. Learn to use one of the most
powerful laws in this world; change your mental habits to belief instead
of disbelief. Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing, you bring
everything into the realm of possibility. "

--Dr. Norman Vincent Peale


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two names you need to know: Jamie Harrington and Sketch McGee

If there is one piece of advice I would give a fellow aspiring writer just starting out, it's to find a critique partner you trust, who is brutally honest with you on both what works and doesn't work in your story, and who you think can write brilliantly (because trust me, you need to love their work because you will be reading it A LOT). That being said, I found two. And trust me I know how blessed I am to have them. So how could I not make a fuss over the fact that one of my critique partners and incredibly talented friend, Jamie Harrington, scored an agent?

You know all those qualities I mentioned above that a good writing buddy should have? Well, Jamie's got all that and more. She's a rock star. Seriously. Since she signed with a fabulous agent it's pretty obvious Jamie is a top notch writer and story teller, but she can also edit the pants of anything you send her and like her main character, Sketch, she does it with lightening speed. As you can see she's a pretty handy person to know when it comes to writing, but Jamie's also one of the funniest, optimistic and most supportive people I know. She's brought me back from my dark and twisty place more than once and with her comment bubbles and suggestions to hack away up to an entire chapter at times, has made my own work way, way, way better.

Now, without further ado, I give you the woman herself...

Okay, so let's just get right to it. In two sentences, describe your book.

Sketch is about a sixteen year old super villain that can change the future with her drawings. Her nemesis is a super cute hero who turns out to be more fun than any adversary really should be.

You ended up with multiple offers of representation, but ultimately went with Victoria Horn from Liza Dawson Associates. How do you even make that kind of decision?

Well, that was kind of a crazy week. One agent made an offer, and then I had to email all the other agents that had my manuscript. When it was all said and done, I ended up with five offers, and just had to go with my gut. I clicked pretty much instantly with Victoria, and was really impressed with her agency. But, and most importantly--I liked what she had to say about my book and my career. She's very business minded and I'm all artsy. She's the sturdy peanut butter that holds the sandwich together while I'm the fruity jam that makes it all tasty. (Ohmigosh when she reads this I am in t-rouble!)

When you were writing Sketch, did you think it was THE book?

Now, that's a toughie, because when you're in the middle of writing a book, you love it more than anything else you've ever written. But, I knew there was something about Sketch. The whole premise of the book is so dang cool that my only worry was being a strong enough writer to do the characters justice. I actually did a ton of super hero/villain research (read: watched loads of movies and read piles of comics) to make sure I got the whole world building and origins thing. In the end, though--I think the voice of the characters is what makes the story so smackin' awesome.

You're about to start submitting the story to publishers. What's going through your head?

We're waiting until after the holidays to send the story out, because we're hoping they are kind of over the Christmas rush and all hunkered down for the winter looking for amazing books then, but I am a huge ball of emotions. Part of me is the most excited person in the world, I can't believe that actual editors of actual publishing houses are going to be thinking about MY book. That's just insane. Then there's this whole other part of me that is super scared. What if everyone hates it? What if they think my ideas silly and my writing trite? That could totally happen. Man, this writing thing's a tough gig.

And, of course we all want to read the query that scored you the agent. Would you mind sharing it?

Of course not! I think a well written query is the writer's best tool. We need to remember that it's our first contact with an agent. It's our two minute opportunity to make an awesome impression, so make it amazing. Here's mine:

Dear Secret Agent (Wo)Man,

(This is where I personalized the query in some way. If I twittered or talked them in the comments of their blog or just whatever. I tried to remind them that we'd had contact in some way, and that I was all cheerful and adorable.)

Compared to super speed and mind reading, sixteen-year-old Sketch McGee’s ability to draw the future makes her a pretty lame villain in a family of super-bads. It’s all she can do to make it through a day of high school, much less mastermind evil plans. But, everything changes when the new guy, Chase Fairway, steals her heart—which is quickly broken when she discovers he’s the obnoxious new do-gooder in town flying around mucking up her family’s life of crime.

Drawing the future turns out to be a little bit cooler when she learns she can also shape it however she wants. Goodbye do-gooder, hello perfect bad-boy boyfriend Chase. Life is great, until she figures out he’s a whole different kind of bad guy. Not bank-robbing, diamond-stealing evil like her family, but murderous psychopath evil. Suddenly her drawings of a man standing over her dad’s lifeless body make perfect, horrifying sense. Chase plans to kill her dad.

Governed by her emotions and struggling to control her powers, she has to find a way to erase her mistakes and create a new future without Chase as her boyfriend, or watch her father’s death—in real life.

SKETCH, a YA Superhero complete at 60,000 words, is available upon request. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

A big thank you to Jamie for doing this interview and for just plain being awesome. I think it's safe to say that we can expect to hear about Sketch finding a home with one of the big publishers before spring. If you'd like to know more about Jamie and Sketch visit her blog and be sure to check out a great interview with Jamie our other amazing critique buddy, Sara Tribble, did on her blog here. Keep your eye on Sara too because I have a good feeling she'll be landing an agent next.