Monday, August 25, 2014

Shelfie blog hop

I'm pleased to be teaming up with a great group of writers led by Tara Tyler to bring you: THE SHELFIE BLOG HOP!

Dates: Now thru Monday, Oct 6
Entries: Take a picture of you and your book(s) - your favorites or your own novels. Or you can just arrange the books in a special way and take the picture - but you do get extra points for being in the photo.
Formats: Tweet, Facebook, Blog - just make sure to include a link(s) to each.

The lovely co-hosts, co-conspirators and contributors: Heather M. Gardner, Christine Rains, Vikki Biram, CD Coffelt, M.J. Fifield, Elizabeth Seckman, and Rena Rocford

But that's not all - check out the fabulous prizes! It's easy and profitable! I hope you'll join us and spread the word =)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 22, 2014

News, the Good Kind

So this thing happened over the summer.
Summer is for making pumpkins.

I saw a contest being held on the Aussie Owned and Read site. It looked pretty cool. Pitch your novel directly to editors from small presses.

I was ecstatic, except, I knew from reading Dahlia, that you HAVE to choose which way you’re pitching a book: agents OR editors. My current query bait was having a pretty good run, so I wasn’t ready to jump into editor land, since a no from a publisher is a burned bridge, and I didn’t want to have a bunch of those on a book I was querying. Agents might not be all that enthusiastic at having their stories head hunted by small presses (who usually offer small money, and agents have to eat, too).

But I had another story (news flash, if you’re a writer, you write: the longer you’re in the more manuscripts will haunt you from the trunk), a story I’d written back in 2011, entered into the 2012 Writer’s Voice. Stuff was going on in my life, so I put that book away, and hadn’t really chased all the rabbits down the holesI was REALLY Busy. But it was collecting electrons on my hard drive. I had this vision of just dusting it off and entering it.

Ah, Naïveté, thy name is writer.

Some time between when I’d put that story away and when I opened it for the Pitcharama contest, the fairies had failed to clean it up and make it ready for the eyes of others (faeries don’t follow orders well, I tell you). I busted buns, cleaned up the manuscript, fixed up my pitch and posted it on the blog.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And then I saw that the other participants were getting picked to teams, and I had a sad face.

Sad face… until Stacy Nash posted on my pitch that she wanted me for her team!

Everything went live. Pretty quickly, I got requests from two editors at different presses. I gave my first three chapters one more read through, and sent them off.

I’d like to say that at this point, I happily went about my complicated and well adjusted life, but who am I kidding? I’m a research scientist by training. I looked up every scrap of information I could about the presses. I maybe wore out the refresh key on my computer hoping to get an email.

Then the editor from Curiosity Quills got back to me and said she loved it. Please send the rest.

Loved it? My book? I was pretty much in a state of shock.

I did the happy dance, then tried to talk some reason into my brain. I’ve had full requests before.

I’ve had full requests from publishers before. It’s a guarantee of exactly nothing, so I settled in to wait the long wait. The “Please love my book” wait.

After a month, she got back to me with a contract.**


That’s right, I sold my first book, ACNE, ASTHMA, AND OTHER SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE HALF DRAGON, a YA urban fantasy to Curiosity Quills!

Me, signing at the desk of awesome.

I’m so excited!

Thanks to Stacy for picking me for your team!

Thanks to Aussie Owned and Read for hosting Pitcharama. ALL THE FEELS.

And thanks to Kathleen for loving my book (like really, I’m still in shock!), and I'm super excited to be joining Curiosity Quills!

Okay, now back to work.

**Turns out, I have an odd response to too much emotion, good or bad: the part that feels shuts off. It goes into overload, and only the cold, logic remains. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s sort of like in that Star Trek movie where Data tells the Captain that he’s scared and he’d like permission to turn off his emotion chip. Apparently, that’s my default happy mode.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Lazy Days of Summer

I know, I should be elated that it's back to school time. Which I am. My daughter is so excited and I'm excited for her.

But let's face it: I'm not ready for the end of summer!

I don't like the hectic schedules of school time. It seems like school causes the schedule to explode. And add to it all the other obligations, like writing and working and helping with homework (what moron thought it would be a good idea to send kindegardeners home with homework? All it tests is how much the parents are involved), and it's a miracle anything gets done.

Now that that's out of my system, I guess I should get back to working on my writing while I still have a chance.

::swishes cape dramatically before stalking back to the writing cave::

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On limited resources

I write because I sort of have to (I know, I'm one of *those* writers). 

Then real life kicks in. Get to work. Get kids to school. Cook dinner. Clean house. Do laundry. Move the house. It’s not like I don’t want to have a clean home (actually, I sort of don’t care), but I don’t have time for it. I barely have time for anything. And the amazing thing is that I always manage to find time for writing.


I’m starting a new job soon (Yay!), but I’m worried about the time it’ll take away from my writing (boo!). I probably shouldn’t be. It’s not that I’m some super organized person, but as more hours are eaten, I spend less time watching TV and messing around on the internet. (confession: I sometimes tell myself that I’m giving my brain an opportunity to receive inspiration, but I’ve never had inspiration while messing around on twitter**)

At one point, I thought I should be careful with my ideas, that I might one day run out of them—HA! I wish I could go back and tell that person not to be so careful with those ideas. I might have made some cool stuff if I’d let some of those ideas out into the wild. Now I can barely keep them in orderly queues as they wait their turn to be turned into words on paper.

The time doesn’t run out.
The ideas don’t run out.

So instead of saying goodbye to my blog—like I’ve done when things get all tied up in my head—I’ll just say, I'll post when I post. I'll probably post about the same, but maybe less. Maybe I’ll give up agent and editor stal—research! I was going to say research. So if you see less of me on twitter or blogger or facebook (yeah, I’m on facebook), it’s not that I’ve lost weight, I’m just busy writing.

**I did once get an idea when Bridget Smith, an agent, tweeted that she wanted an MG based off a song. I held that song in my head for 9 months before the characters from that book showed up and introduced themselves. Like all my other characters, I told them to get in line—I have stuff to do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Insecure Writer Support Group: Support, support all around…

Ah, somehow, we’ve hit the first Wednesday of the month. How? How—I ask—could the world have possibly managed to spin all the way to August? Still, here we are, and it’s time to send some love to the Ninja Captain, Alex, and this month’s cohosts: Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

This month I’d like to talk about something that doesn’t always occur to people.

It really isn’t you, it’s me.

I know, that’s so cliché, but it turns out, it’s true.

On this journey as a writer, I have been met with some incredible support.* My family. My friends. My fellow writers. And through it all, I was the one who doubted. I was the one who poked holes in my projects, told myself my writing wasn’t good (to be fair, it hadn’t evolved yet). But it was me. I tore myself down and refused to listen to the people around me. I refused to believe my family and friends and even my fellow writers. I even refused to believe strangers when they said nice things about my writing. Even when it was anonymous.

Then something changed. I heard them.

What they were saying hadn’t changed.

It was me. I changed.

One day, all the support in the world didn’t help. The next, it did. It was like the channel was scrambled.

I know it’s a little corny, but take a moment today and listen to the actual support around you. I know that my inner voice wouldn’t make a very nice friend, so I encourage everyone to take a moment to let that voice in your head be quiet and listen to others. Allow your loved ones to give you the support they have been offering to you.

That’s all.

Simple right?

Well, talk to me again tomorrow. I’m sure the little voice just took a vacation.

*to be clear, I’ve been met with some amazing a$$hattery as well, but my big problem has always been disregarding all the nice things and only ever hearing the negative ones. I bet I’m not alone in that regard.

Things that are amazing

Today I have something pretty amazing. One of my friends from Agent Query Connect is revealing her cover today! Everyone head over to Joyce Alton's blog and congratulate her. This is the first book of her trilogy, and it releases in September!
Isn't this cover gorgeous.
It totally looks amazing! And here's the book blurb!
An ancient legend is remade.

Meet the oddest, most-likely-to-fail partnership the planet Niyhel has ever known. He's cunning, intelligent, and dangerous. She's slow to trust, reckless, and loyal. And both of them have their own ideas about how to do things.

Thssk, a six-thousand-year old norhendra, has unwittingly caused the near extinction of his kind. Then he abandoned his handler, momentarily forgetting that she was an astral. She curses him as he flees the battlefield: the next handler he chooses will avenge her. Hunted by his past, it takes a divine summons and a volcanic eruption to rekindle Thssk's competitive spirit after a long hibernation. Racing against his enemies to rescue a boy from another planet?—he's the only one capable of pulling it off. But there's a catch, he has to select a new human partner to work with.

Tech savvy Cortnee Feyandihar is tracking down the people responsible for her mom's death while trying to gain a footing on a career path in the fields of music and dance. But when she goes too far with a corruption exposé, a last-ditch effort to salvage her future sticks her in the middle of an inter-world showdown and right into Thssk's coils.

On a world where starships are born, homes grow, and flowers can flatten entire cities, the fates of two lands hangs in the balance, as do the lives of millions of people. Yet it all pales in comparison to Thssk confronting the repercussions of discarding his previous partners as he struggles with his unpredictable new one. Everything Cortnee thought she understood has turned inside out and she must utilize every skill in her arsenal to get a grip on her new reality. If they can't learn to communicate and work together, he won't achieve the great future he was promised, but if they do, Cortnee could fall like her predecessors—into madness.

Author bio:
Joyce Alton writes fantasy, science-fantasy, and historical fantasy. She is an avid reader, having a soft spot for classic literature, a good MG or YA adventure, anything that will make her laugh out loud, or which is beautifully written. She loves rainy days, helping other people, and spending time with her family. She is married to a wonderfully supportive husband and has three children. She currently lives in Idaho.

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