Monday, October 19, 2015

On Hope

Okay, so I've been lurking in the blogosphere a bit more lately. I read a ton of posts on Facebook, public and in a plethora of groups I belong to. Reading Facebook is like a full-time job! Am I right, or what?

Anyway, I've noticed a few things these past few weeks, and I wanted to touch on one: Hope.

I know what it's like to hope for something that happens. I know what it's like to hope for something that doesn't happen. And honestly, the word hope can be equated to anxiety. Ha!

But I don't think hope is a bad thing, and often we think of anxiety in a negative way. But hope is well, hopeful. Sometimes things work out the way we'd like. More often than not, they don't. We might get a book deal, but not with the publisher we really wanted, for the amount of money we hoped for, etc. Sometimes we hope for things that never come to fruition.

Does that mean we should stop hoping? I don't think it does. I think having hope is a good thing, a strong motivator for us to keep doing the best we can. That could be that we hope today is going to be a better day than yesterday as far as parenting goes. Maybe tonight I won't burn the chicken (one can hope!). And maybe, just maybe, today will be the day I lay down 1000 words in a book that will one day be published.

Having these hopes in various aspects of our lives motivates us to keep trying. Don't give up. Try something different.

And none of that is bad.

How hopeful are you right now?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ideas and Ideas!

Okay, so I've gone through periods of my writing life where I don't seem to have a single idea. I think I blogged about it once, but I can't find it. Ha! 

But it's an overwhelming feeling to think you'll never have another worthwhile idea again!

But almost as overwhelming -- or maybe MORE overwhelming -- is the writer who has so many ideas s/he can't write them all.

That's where I'm finding myself right now. I have a FLOOD of story ideas, series ideas, self-publishing release ideas, collaboration ideas, and then more IDEAS.

I feel like I'll never have enough time to write all these ideas, polish them, submit them, and/or self-publish them. With my day job, my family, my real life, AND writing, I sat down to make a production schedule. And I'm booked through May. That means no more ideas can be started until then. And that makes me sad, because I just thumb-typed an email to myself last night for three new ideas!!

When will I ever be able to write them??

Are you in an Idea Drought or an Idea Flood right now? Which do you think is worse?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Spotlight: Snow Like Ashes

Okay, so I'm a spurter. That's right. I'm either in a writing spurt or a reading spurt. And for the past couple of weeks, I've been laying down thousands of words as I prepare for my edits on RIFT to come. See, I have a production schedule, and I wanted to get a few things drafted before I had to put them on hold when the edits came.

But then I get a little burnt out, and I need a break. That's typically when I go on a reading spurt. And that's what I've been doing these past few days.

One of the books I read was one I've had on my Kindle for a while, but well, when I'm in a writing spurt, there's no reading going on.

I read SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch. Here's a bit about it.

SNOW LIKE ASHES: Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter's future king she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

You should pick up a copy of this fantastic YA fantasy now, because it's only $1.99! The second book, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out tomorrow, and I've already got my copy pre-ordered. If you like YA fantasy like The Girl of Fire and Thorns or Defy, you'll like this.

Snow Like Ashes has great tension on the page, with a compelling plot and a smart heroine. I really enjoyed it!

What kind of spurt are you in right now? Read anything awesome lately?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writing in Multiple Genres

Okay, so I've long been a proponent of writing what I want to write. I'm published in YA/NA science fiction, YA contemporary romance, and most recently I've branched out into adult romance, both contemporary, paranormal, and inspirational.

I've also written YA fantasy (which I hope will be published one day), and I continue to want to write what I want to write.

I think there are some good things about this, but there's also a downside. For the most part, I think traditional publishers want to fit their authors into certain molds, and that seems to work well. For example, when I pick up a Brandon Sanderson novel, I know what kind of novel I'm going to get, in both genre and writing. I think that's a very good thing. It's a branding thing.

But I don't want to only write and publish YA science fiction. So I've struggled over the past couple of years. Should I write under pen names? Why can't I write adult romance and YA science fiction? Can't readers look at covers and back cover copy and know what kind of book they're going to get?

I've never really been sure what the right answer is. Do you have any ideas? Do you typically write in the same genre, or have you been exploring in different genres?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Story Behind the Sale

Okay, so you may have seen my Facebook post last week about a new book deal. It went something like this: So I sold two YA novels to Jolly Fish Press! RIFT will be out in the fall next year, and MEND in the Spring of 2017. ‪#‎booknews‬ ‪#‎JFP‬ ‪#‎timetravel‬ ‪#‎RiftWalkersseries‬ 

You can read the entire press release here.

Yes, I'm super-excited about it. I can't wait to see the awesome cover JFP will make, and hold the book in my hands. That's all awesome.

But really, you want to know which emotion was the most prevalent when I signed the contract? Relief. I think I probably wept.

See, this book has A Story, as most do. And this Story was HARD. And I wanted to quit about a million times, and no one ever gets to read That Story. I'll make it brief.

So I started writing this YA time travel novel at the end of 2011. I must've been certifiably insane. Because who writes a time travel novel? Oh, yes, someone who enjoys torture. Apparently, that's me.

I had an agent, and she liked the premise. So we revised. And revised. And revised. We gave the shiny new manuscript to my editor at Simon & Schuster.

And they said no.

I broke up with that agent, and decided a few months later to query using RIFT. Success! I got another agent with the manuscript. She wanted revisions. Times two.

Once those were done, we went out on submission. Lots of bites. Lots of rejections. Some close calls.

No offers.

I didn't quite know what "it" was in the book that didn't work for people. There had to be something, though, you know?

I broke up with Agent #2, and sat on RIFT. I thought it was a good book. Both of my agents thought so too. So I decided to submit to smaller houses myself. And I got an offer. I wasn't super-satisfied with the house, so I kept it in my back pocket while I continued to explore.

At this time, I was unagented and writing in another genre. I'd self-published some of my work -- I still do. But a time travel novel? No way I was self-pubbing that. I really wanted to have a clever, savvy editor for it, because again, I felt like it was missing something.

I had my finger on the pulse of all the query contests, the Pitch Wars, etc. I had created a dedicated column in my Tweetdeck just for #MSWL.

And that's when I saw this tweet:

And I thought, I have a time travel novel. Could be a good fit. So I went to Jolly Fish Press's website, and I liked what I saw. I should! They're right here in Utah, and I've sat on panels with the owner, Christopher! I don't know why I didn't think to submit to them.

But based on that #MSWL tweet and my research, I did. A few days later, they requested the full manuscript.

And just a few days after that, I got this tweet:

It took about another month to get the official offer, and bit more time to get things going from there. By the time I signed the contract, I just wanted the heck off this RIFT Rollercoaster. So many ups and downs and yeah. The tears. They were of relief that I didn't have to keep riding.

And now you'll get to read RIFT next fall! And now I have to write ANOTHER FREAKING TIME TRAVEL NOVEL. What was I thinking? Ha! Thankfully, I started on MEND during NaNo in 2013, so I have about 55,000 words. They might all need to be deleted and rewritten, but whatever.

And that's The Story. I know I'm not the only one on this crazy writing, querying, submitting, publishing roller coaster. How's your journey going? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt!

And we're back today to reveal one of the nine pixels for the Manic Pixel Scavenger Hunt!!

You can win an ARC of Cure for the Common Universe and an embroidery of ‘Nobody Puts Princess in a Castle’ from The Cotton Floozy!

Oo. Aah.

If you participate in the Manic Pixel Scavenger hunt, your odds of winning will be greatly increased.

Oh, look, here’s a pixel now!

What do you see?

Write down your findings from this and the other pixels at any or all of the other blogs (listed below) and email them to Christian at cmheidicker(at)gmail(dot)com.

For every three things you send, he’ll put your name in the hat (or my jeans pocket) again and again and again, and then he’ll draw five names out of the hat (pocket) and send prize packages to those people.

Go! Get started! Win it! Win it all!

Participating Blogs:
Valynne Maetani
Carol Lynch Williams
Christian Trimmer
John Cusick
Brooke Lark
The Cotton Floozy

Jennifer Bardsley

#cureforthecommonuniverse #manicpixel

Tune in tomorrow to find out if you’ve won!

Happy Scavenging!

Go check out the book on Goodreads!

Prepare to be CURED June 2016.

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