Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Do We Do It?

(before I start - You all HAVE seen the new covers for Elana Johnson's POSSESSION and SURRENDER, right? Because they are awesome. Just making sure.)

I'm about to send out the very first round of queries for ONE.

I know the manuscript is ready for professional eyes.
I know the writing is as polished as I can make it.
I know, after two revisions, that I'm happy with the pacing, the voice, the plot, the characters.

And yet, as I queue up the queries in my inbox - one to my Dream Agent - my hands tremble and my heart drops into my stomach.

I know that this book may not sell. Ever.
I know that today is the beginning of setting out on that road, that might end in ONE's living in a drawer.

I've written before about the split personality of a writer - the audacity that enables us to send our work to critique partners' and agents' inboxes and internet contests, paired with the self-doubt that can be, at times, crushing.

We all have those moments when we bury our heads in our hands and think,
"Why do I even bother with this anyway?"

Maybe it's frustration finding ideas, or adding word count to a draft when we have one. Maybe it's a scene we just can't get right, a relationship we can't seem to communicate fully, or a plot hole we can't seem to adequately fill. Maybe it's teasing from a family member or some especially stinging crit.

Maybe it's staring at the draft of an email about to go to your Dream Agent and only being able to think, "Who do I think I am to be sending this to her?"

The drafting, the editing, the critique, the revisions.
The query-writing, the synopsis-composing, the pitch-crafting, the contest-entering.
The rejection, the rejection, the rejection.
 Altogether, it's enough to make you think you're crazy for doing this in the first place.


So, why do we do it?

For most of us, the reason we write is some subcategory of this -
Because we can't NOT write.
Maybe it's because it gives us a sense of self we can't find anywhere else.
Maybe it's because stories live in our heads and we can't rest until we get them into beautiful words.
Maybe it's because writing gives us something to dream about when nothing else does.

Just like anyone else, I have my own answers. Just like anyone else, those change all the time.

This weekend,  when I was having kind of a tough time with some stinging critique I'd gotten, a different critique partner asked me, "What do you love about ONE?"

And so, through streaming tears, I told her. 
I told her about the characters - and their story - that just won't let me go.
I told her about how superhero stories have always absolutely captivated me.
I told her about how I knew, first hand, about dreams lost, ambitions changed, and things turning out different - but better - than we ever envisioned them.
I told her about how much I LOVED telling a story of empowerment, hope and comfort, despite things not turning out the way we dreamed they would.

At that moment, I knew why I did it - why I poured myself into this whole project. Why it's okay if it never sells, why I'm glad I did it anyway.

Somehow, thinking about that stills my shaking query hand just a little.

So, now it's your turn. Please tell me - Why do you write? 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Obsessions: New Covers for POSSESSION and SURRENDER!!!

You guys, it's been one of those weird weeks where I have felt very busy, but when I look back on it, I haven't gotten too terribly much done writing-wise. I mean, I did a synopsis, which ate a whole day, and probably a good chunk of my CPs' (thanks, ladies, for your love and patience.) And the synopsis is pretty good.

So I guess that's something.

I would say I'm in a sad, sad state for obsessions. I'm sleeping WAY more than I'm accustomed to (or would like to) and I'm eating WAY less than I'm accustomed to (or would like to) thanks to squished stomach space.

(In other words - We can blame my little monster sweetheart-on-the-way for lack of gushing posts about TV shows or tater tots, which I know we all LOVE.)

But wouldn't you know it? The writing community is made up of amazing people who are always THERE FOR EACH OTHER. So, in addition to being an extra-classy authoress, Elana Johnson must also be psychic. Because she asked a handful of lucky bloggers the other day if we'd be up for showing off her new covers.

Let me say that again: SHOWING OFF HER NEW COVERS.

Um. Yes, yes, a thousand times YES. I've had an author crush on Elana Johnson ever since I read her first book, POSSESSION. This week's obsession (and probably all the weeks till June): FOUND.

So, without further ado, THE COVERS!!!

Here's the new one for POSSESSION:

And here's SURRENDER's (swoon, swoon, I'm dying over here)

Now, let's recap. A little cover commentary.

1. The color fade just BLEW ME AWAY. I don't know how something so subtle could be so powerful - probably because the intensity of color really is strongest at the bottom right corner, making you just want to grab it and open it and OH GEEZ WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT OUT UNTIL JUNE 5????

2. For those of you who have read POSSESSION, you'll understand how apropos the image of a butterfly in an ice cube is. The creature is so beautiful, but so hopelessly trapped.

Except...butterflies are stronger than they seem, stronger than people expect them to be. Just like Vi. And if you look carefully, there's the smallest crack in that ice cube...the smallest chance that she'll be able to escape.

And if you know Vi? She' going to take that chance, or die trying.

3. I haven't read SURRENDER yet (much to my chagrin) but this cover image of a hummingbird hovering at the mouth of a glass jar has me absolutely buzzing to get my hands on it. It's looking out of the side of the jar, even though escape awaits it at the top.

This cover tells me that there's a clear way for Vi to escape all the terrifying ridiculousness going on in her life (read POSSESSION to find out what that is!), and that maybe she senses that the escape exists, but she has no idea where to look. She just has to find it, and she'll bust out of there like a mofo.

The last word: It's a good thing I can't preorder books more than once. Because I'm pretty sure I've already tried to order SURRENDER about six times. This cover just makes the urge that much stronger....which is awesome.

So...what do you think of the new covers? I know Elana's DYING to know!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Because I'm Running Out of Ways to Gush over My CPs...

I'll just let Ryan do it for me.

Isn't it amazing when you spend the whole weekend critiquing, and you don't even procrastinate at all (not that you would ever procrastinate while drafting or revising. Never. ) because the stuff you're reading is JUST SO GOOD that you don't want to stop working?

And then when it comes time to write a blog post Monday morning, you realize that all your creative/intelligent thought and energy is sapped?

Yeah. That.

So I wanted to gush over my CPs again, but that's getting old, I think. So I'll just let Ryan do it for me.

(Reference: LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca)

(Reference: ALEXITHYMIA by Francesca Zappia)

The Elite
(Reference: THE ELITE by Maggie E. Hall)

(Reference: TIME BOUND by Jamie Grey)

(Reference: THE ALTERED by Jenny Kaczorowski)

ryan_gosling-crazy_stupid_love-3 copy
(Reference: LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE by Gina Ciocca)

TN trilogy
(Reference: THE NOCTURNIAN trilogy by Francesca Zappia)

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Obsessions: Snow, Crit Projects, and the Kindle

Before we begin!
Some housekeeping.

First up, there's an amazing literary/writer's auction happening over at Write Dreams to benefit Donna's Dream House, which helps KIDS IN THE HOSPITAL, so, you know, it's really important. Anyway, someone set fire to it right before Christmas, those jerks, and now Donna is trying to rebuild so that sick kids can hang out with their families a little more while they're staying in the hospital.

So if you have some extra holiday cash lying around and want to use it for a good cause and get writing help from the pros as a really nice bonus, GO BID!!! (Remember, they're bidding in pounds, so...yeah. Do your conversions.)

Second! The winner of the Brodi Ashton Classy Author Giveaway is.....

(I swear to you I did the random draw and whatnot, but I'm too lazy to do the screenshot, etc, so you'll just have to believe me.)

Who said, "In a weird way, stories like Brodi's are so satisfying to hear. Insofar as, here is someone who really *wants* it. Who works for it and keeps at it because it's what she's called to do, not just because it's something to do. And it's a fantastic light to the rest of us who struggle with the rejections and the self-doubt and the looming fear of the not so great What If." 

To which I say: Damn straight. Congrats, Corey! (Though, I can't for the life of me find your email address, so shoot me a message with your address and whether you'd like EVERNEATH on Kindle or in hard copy, okay?)

Okay. Now, on with the obsessions!

Everything I was obsessed with this week.
Because I know you want to know.

1. The Forecast.

So, right now (5 AM on posting day,) the weather looks like this:
Fullscreen capture 1202012 45623 AM

Which...okay. Whatever. I just pretty much HATE this whole "ten degrees and cloudy" nonsense if the weather's not going to oblige and at least give us some pretty snow to look at. So every morning these days I'm going to and just hoping....

Well, guess what I saw this morning!!!
Fullscreen capture 1202012 45623 AM-1

Which pretty much has me doing this:
Snoopy dance 3

Yep. Even though it won't shut down work or school, or really even accumulate that much, I love a good Shabbat snow. So pretty to watch, so nice to curl up with a great book. Which brings me to....

2. Crit Projects LYM and TB
As soon as I finish pushing through this revision high on ONE (yes, ba''H, ptuh ptuh ptuh, my CPs helped pep talk my sorry behind through my revision wall from last week and I'm ALMOST DONE) I'm spending ALL WEEKEND with books from members of the team. I'll probably finish in-lines on Gina's fab new YA romance.

You need to be jealous - because my goodness is it ever romantic. Fellow LYM team member Marieke compared Gina's writing to Sarah Dessen's, and I agree, not because I've ever read Sarah Dessen, but because her writing made her famous and Gina's gonna have the same situation.

And then - did I mention? - I snagged (okay, obtained through endless month-long harassment) a very early copy of TB, which is about TIME DRAGONS I mean HOLY GEEZ, you guys - from Jamie Grey. And you guys, the writing is SO BEAUTIFUL and the characters? Love them. So I get to finish reading that and send my comments this weekend too.

Cannot. Wait.

3. My Kindle 
Call me snobby or elitist or a Hater of Paper Books, but I'm in love with my Kindle. I wouldn't get NEARLY the volume of reading or writing (yes, the Kindle is an IMMENSE help to my writing, I'll do a post on it) without my baby in her sweet eggshell-blue case.

My Kindle, tag-teaming it with my netbook to edit ONE.

Plus, when I send ONE to the Kindle, it looks just like all the other books that are actually published by People Who Publish Things. At I'm not gonna lie, that's a rush.

Okay, your turn!!! What were YOU obsessed with this week?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Revision Cave

 I understand that the Internet is striking against bad people that want to censor the Internet today, so I'm supposed to be blacked out and whatnot. But I'm posting for a few reasons:

1. Alexa called me on not posting on Monday, and I felt like a loser,
 2. I need to announce the winner of the Brodi Ashton Classy Author Giveaway, (scroll to the bottom)( Decided I'm doing that tomorrow instead) and
3. I need to explain why my blog posts might be kind of sub-par (or occasionally absent) in the next few weeks.

Oh! And, lastly, I think this insipid post will illustrate how pointless everyone's blog posts might be if the internet got all censored. So that's worth something, right?

Ohhhkay. Let's go.

Well, folks, it's that time of the manuscript again. The amazing, magical, heartbreaking, devastating, depression-tailspin-sending time when I have a ton of revisions to do and so do half my CPs.


I'm on edge, we're all on edge, let's hole up in our rooms and hunch over our computers and occasionally burst into tears and maybe also send each other 75 emails a day which may or may not consist largely of exclamation points (!!!!)

Yeah. It's insane, and hilarious, and draining. So, for lack of a coherent post today, I thought I'd show you where I'm going to be doing the most hours of insanity/hilarity on the next couple of weekends: The Revision Cave.

Revision cave

1. There's the Harry Potter crew. Love them. Below them to the left is a quote from Robbie Coltrane about making the movies: "Nobody thought, 'Oh, it's just a kids' film.' Everyone treated it as seriously as Ibsen." Damn straight.

2. Pictures of the fam and me and my sweetie. Because, well, obvious.

3. Flowers. Even caves need flowers.

4. The little corner I keep with love notes from my CPs. Even if Gina's are mushier and flowerier and more quote-filled than Chessie's, I know they love me the same.

5. A giant bag of peanut butter M&Ms that I keep for the sole purpose of letting my kids get their grubby little hands into when they manage to sneak up to my office. It's cute to watch them feeling like they naughtily won something.

6. Mug my sister got me with quotes from TWILIGHT. If I ever lose confidence in my writing ability...well, you can imagine how this helps.

7. Headphones. Obvious.

8. The pretty paper notebooks I bought back when I thought I would actually do some longhand in there. Sometimes they help when I need to scribble manuscript-wide notes.

9. My tape dispenser that I wallpapered the the UGLIEST flowery stuff so no one would want to steal it and pretend it was always theirs. Because seriously, why are people always stealing tape dispensers?

10. My crew of guys. Edward, Thor, and Professor X. They help. Edward loves me unconditionally and eternally, Thor will smash anyone who gets in my way, and the Professor is...well...THE PROFESSOR.

11. The netbook with Underwood skin. Because my husband calls it a "glorified typewriter."

12. The paper copy of ONE, God help me.

13. The cast of characters. You can see Nik and Davis, Joey and Brian (let's take a moment of silence may they rest in peace) and Merrin and Elias are up there too (still haven't found a better one than Corey Monteith, sorry G, except that guy I stalked in Starbucks and my picture of him sucks.) Still haven't found a perfect Leni and Daniel so they're down for now.

14. Superheroes growth chart. It might look like I've grown a lot, but I put "Full Request" almost halfway up the chart when I thought that if I was getting full reqs I was basically halfway to published. HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I know. I was so cute.

I'm almost grown up to "Second complete MS" and the next step will probably be "sign with agent" which I'm too superstitious to even put up there. But that will be at Daredevil level, which is apropos, and now I'm hovering at Human Torch. Which is WAY apropos.

15. Fab author inspiration. There's another growth chart about growing with critique from Beth Revis and the printout of the first time ELANA JOHNSON COMMENTED ON MY BLOG OMG. Telling me not to stop dreaming. She's so awesome.

16. A bracelet my writing buddy Jean gave me that's engraved with "the heart of a writer." I'm gonna engrave the title of every book I get published on the other side.  So, it's like optimistic and whatnot.

17. This picture reminds me of an Israeli kids' song that says, "To the giraffe, all of our problems look very, very small." I love it.

18. More pictures of the fam. Me and my sister up top, me and my baby girl below, and to the left, a snap of my grandmother at 23, who I think I was probably cloned from. Probably should write a book about that.

19. A handwritten and illustrated version of Shel Silverstein's "Listen to the Mustn't's" from my Israeli bestie Hela, which always makes me weep, and a necklace she made me to go with it.

20. A story from Jewish tradition about the importance of telling stories, which ends: "God made people because God loves stories." It helps remind me that all this insanity isn't really as silly and pointless as I sometimes worry it is.

Welp! That's the tour. Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed it, and if you ever come over, there's a second desk in the same office, so we can TOTALLY have a writing date with enough workspace AND without having to look at/talk to each other. Good times.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Obsession: This $%&#@#$ Revision

Hi, writing loves!

I have just the one obsession this week. And it's not cute or funny or fun.

I've hit a revision wall. A pretty big one. One that had me in tears all day yesterday.

At first, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I would have reacted to the idea that there might even *be* a revision wall like this gentleman here:


Harry Potter and the Goofs and Trivia.| The platform attendant at Kings Cross who asks Harry, “You think you’re  funny, do you?” actually works for GNER. He is, however, a train manager  and not a platform attendant.'

There's no revision wall! There won't be one either! This whole project is looking pretty good!

But yesterday I finally realized there is an honest-to-goodness revision wall for this project, and no matter which way my poor beleaguered brain approached it, this happened:

(*wince* Poor Hedwig.)

I'm still kind of hoping to figure out a solution that will let me come through the other side relatively unscathed:

But I'm actually pretty sure it doesn't exist. I might come out on the other side, but if I do, it's gonna be an unrecognizable hot (cold?) mess.

Unfortunately, I'm a muggle, and there's no magical Hogwarts Revisions Express to take me from draft to queryable MS. *sigh*

Anyway. This weekend I'm obsessed with trying to make a decision about what exactly to do with ONE. My choices are: minor revisions, and hope for the best, or shelve for later and tackle a major overhaul some other time. Probably when this baby-on-the-way starts sleeping through the night. (Translation: about a year from now.)

You know? Now that I watch all these .gifs, and think of the snow falling outside in the 614, I might be obsessed with Harry Potter movies this weekend too.

Your turn! What were you obsessed with this week?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Revision House of Cards

If you've ever drafted a novel, you know that when you deliver it to your CPs' inboxes, it's like a card house - painstakingly planned, fretted over, each piece fitting into place perfectly. Stable, but intricate.

But what my CPs can see, that I can't possibly see, is that my novel isn't a house of cards. It's more like this:


This old farmhouse has a pretty solid foundation, and has the potential to be awesome if we tweaked a little here, cleared all the brush around it, replace the kitchen, add some additions, and build a sweet driveway next to it.

But before I can do all that to it, my CPs have to make some suggestions for change that pretty much amount to this:

Not gonna work for the house of cards. 

But deep down I still see that novel as a house of cards. She's my baby, remember? I agonized over putting every piece of her into place. I saw her being built, but my CPs only saw her finished, with parts of her starting to look not-so-good.

So I try to make the changes my CPs suggest without the wrecking ball.

You can guess what happens. I usually end up with something like this:

I changed one little thing, moved around one little piece. I can pretend the whole thing's going to stand on its own, but inevitably the next round of CPs notice it for what it is: a wibbly-wobbly (but not timey-wimey, that's Jamie's book) proto-mess that won't last for long  or maybe just doesn't make any sense as-is.

We all know it. They know it, and sometimes they try to pretend it's okay, but most of the time, they keep telling me my house is about ready to fall. Yeah, it hurts to hear it, because just look at that card house up there! It's MOSTLY fine. Who's going to notice?

Well, they tell me, everyone will. When it falls. Or worst, only I will when it doesn't sell.

Well, crud.

So, that's where I am now.

It's hard, but I'm resolving to (try to)  follow my CPs advice with the wrecking ball instead of just by moving cards around.  I asked these people to read because I trust and respect every one of their opinions. FULLY.

Even when it's scary. Especially when it's scary.

And so, as my fingers hover over the "delete" button or the keyboard to write even more new stuff,  I remember that those ladies saw a strong foundation, and some beautiful elements, and knew that even with a wrecking ball, the whole thing would turn out okay.

No. It would turn out way, way better.

(That's what Elias's house looks like, by the way. Movie room's down the hall on the left.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Itchy Query Finger

It happened with my first manuscript, and it's starting to creep up on me again.

The itchy query finger. (Oh, July me. You were so cute.)

I know exactly what to blame. It's the first draft high, which I got a second dose of, laced with extra uppers, in the form of the first revision high I experienced yesterday when Gina, Alexa, and Marieke read ONE. (Shoot, Marieke's crit was pretty much, "You need to work pretty hard on fixing some things in the first half of this book," and I was still clapping my hands and squealing like a schoolgirl.)

Yeah. Clearly it's just a high. But still.

I have a pretty decent query that could be dolled up with a couple weeks of hard work, and yeah, writing a synopsis and the endless list of pitches one has to write is no tea party, but I could still do it.

But I'm no idiot. (No, really. I'm not. Bear with me.)

I read advice from query luminaries all over the internet:
Wait a few months to query.
Work as long on your query letter as you did on your revisions.
If you send too early, you'll find glaring mistakes in your MS and wish you hadn't.

I know. I know. And I agree. But still. My itchy query finger is CRAZY with shpilkes. 

I thought about why this is while I was procrastinating on starting to eliminate one of the ten kajillion times the word "just" appears in ONE (thanks G) and I think I realized why. You guys ready for this? It's kind of, you know, deep. Which we don't see a lot over here.

I'm afraid that if I don't query it now I'll realize how much it sucks, and I never will send that first letter.
Even though I know it doesn't suck.
Even though I know most books get waaaay better with revision.
Even though everything in my brain tells me that's wrong wrong wrong.....

The first draft/first revision high leaves me this the most confident I'll ever be about ONE? The most excited?

(Wow. I am a nutcase. Analyze away.
Oh. And in case you were concerned? I set up a querying date for myself, to avoid any stupid moves.)

What about you guys? Have you ever had the itchy query finger? Why do you think it got so itchy? Did you send or wait? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Obsessions: Unagented Writers, Blankets, and Query Fever

Hi there, everyone! How was your first week back to the Real World after holiday breaks? (Please don't tell me if you've not gone back yet. I know who you are and I'm sufficiently jealous, okay?) Seriously, though, even though things get crazier when the students get back to campus, I like it much much better when they're here. Things are busier, days go by faster, I get to feed more people. It works out.

Aaaanyway. Let's do this.

Everything I was obsessed with this week.
Because I know you want to know.

1. Unagented Writers. Yep! I'm guest posting this morning about the awesomeness of unagented writers over at Zap's Lobster Tank. So come check me out.

The only thing I'm almost as as obsessed with as the writers is that I wrangled myself a guest post slot over there. Brushes with celebrity, friends. This is where unagented writers get their kicks.

2. Blankets. And couches. And hibernation.

I am not even kidding, it was like twelve degrees here a couple days this week. I am fantasizing about sitting on the couch for hours under stacks of blankets to read/write/crit this weekend. Not that it'll happen, but....yeah.

Oh, excuse me. I just lost, like, fifteen minutes of my life electric-blanket shopping on Amazon.

3. Finding the Perfect Mocktail
I need a drink. Like, really really. But when you're 6 months pregnant, that's not exactly socially medically acceptable.

It's getting sad, you guys. SAD. The other night I mixed orange juice with Sprite to approximate a mimosa? Maybe? I don't know. I'm going crazy.

Send me your recipes. PLEASE.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Classy Author Giveaway: Brodi Ashton

Wheeee! I love Classy Author Giveaways, but I might love this giveaway's author even more! It's....drumroll please....


You guys, this author classes. It. UP.

First reason I love Brodi Ashton - She's a freaking INSPIRATION. A reminder to never, ever give up. Here's her summary of her publishing journey, divided into prefaced sections by me:

Brodi queried something like a hundred agents to secure rep for her first book, finally found an agent, yay! And then it didn't work out.

1. Wrote a book.
2. Edited that book.
3. Queried agents
4. Received about a hundred rejections.
5. And one offer of representation.
6. Revised the book with the agent.
7. Submitted the book to publishers... and...
8. Got rejected by every single one.
9. Wrote another book.
10. Revised that book.
11. Sent book to agent, who didn't love the book.
12. Parted ways with agent.

So what did she do? Girlfriend pulled herself up by her bootstraps, took her new awesome book, and found herself another agent. After another hundred queries. 

13. Queried agents again.
14. Received almost a hundred rejections again.
15. But also received 9 offers of representation.
16. Signed with my agent.
17. Revised my book.

And guess what that agent was able to do with the kickass book she wrote for him to sell. No, just guess.

He sold it. Within two daysAt auction. (Like a mofo.)

18. Submitted the book to publishers.
19. Accepted pre-empt from HarperCollins after only 48 hours on submission.

So, in summary, Ms. Ashton's here to teach us: You think that rejection's the end of the world? It's not. Your book failed on submission, and you don't know what to do? Well, you're a writer. Write another book. Your agent doesn't like your new book? Find another one. Earn your own darn book deal, because no one else is going to do it for you. 

She's awesome like that. 

But inspiration alone does not a classy author make. 
She also Pays it Forward.

First of all, Brodi is open and honest about her publication path with the writing community. Her blog's one place to start to find out about it all. Beyond that, she spreads her special brand of "never-give-up" type of love to the aspiring, unagented, and unpublished everywhere.

 She spoke on this episode of the Appendix podcast about persistence, and she's all over Twitter with the cheerleading and encouragement. If you ask her a question, she'll answer. If you mention her or her book or her awesome book trailer, she'll have a conversation with you about it. If you're frustrated and she catches your tweet, she'll jump in waving pompons.

 I've even  heard of her doing critiques of queries and first pages for the unagented, (nope! Not me...) even though she SO doesn't have to do that. She's so in touch with the raw feelings of being in drafting, or revising, or querying-land, even though her ship sailed from there awhile ago, and doesn't mind commiserating with writing commoners. (Not that she would call us that....)

So, for all these reasons and more....let's give away a copy of Brodi's debut novel, EVERNEATH, which releases on January 24!

EverneathHere's a summary from Amazon:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.
     Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.
     As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.


So, who wants to spread the word about  an ultra-classy author by winning a copy of her debut?

(Yeah. I know you do.)

To enter for the giveaway, leave me a comment below saying something sweet about Brodi or EVERNEATH or any other author you think is classy. 

Want an extra entry? Tweet about it and link up below. 

Want an extra extra entry? Be a follower of this here blog. New or not, I love you all. (But tell me if you are, because I can't keep track of my three little in-person responsibilities, let alone all 135 of you who were following before this went live.)

Good luck! You guys rule.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Will 2012 Be Your Year?

I'm just gonna say it right now: 2012 is going to be My Year.

How do I know? Because I'm going to make it My Year. Just like I did with 2011.

Here's how I made 2011 My Year:

  • I wrote. Every. Single. Day.
  • I blogged. A lot.
  • I read. A lot.
  • I finished THE TRAVELERS.
  • I met handfuls, bunches, and scads of amazing, kind, and brilliant writers.
  • I got very, very lucky, and some of those writers agreed to critique TT. I listened to their suggestions for how to make it better. Then I made it better.
  • I attended WriteonCon in August.
  • I learned how to write a query letter. And a synopsis. And a two sentence pitch. And a one sentence pitch. And a Twitter pitch. And a logline. And I learned how to make a first page sparkle.
  • I sent almost a hundred queries and entered lots of blog contests for TT. I even got some requests!
  • I learned to deal with rejection. A LOT of rejection. (I even cried the ugly cry!) Then I learned to accept that no matter what, it's not easy.
  • I started writing ONE as soon as the first query went out on TT.
  • I got super, extra, turbo lucky, and some of those writers became dear friends to me (and Aunties to my kids!)
  • I wrote ONE much better than I wrote TT, in more ways than I can count.
  • I decided to stop querying TT. (That hurt. A lot.)
  • I critiqued six-ish projects from other writers while I was doing all of the above.
  • I assembled an amazing team of 6 (six!) critique partners in two rounds for ONE (hi ladies, I love you all so much.)
  • I started revising ONE according to their suggestions. 

"But, Leigh Ann," you might say. "You didn't sign with an agent, or sell a book, or or or or or."

Nope. I sure didn't. Would I have liked to? Absolutely. I mean, yeah. That would have put me over the moon.

But I took every single step I had to in order to get there.
I learned, I pushed myself, I worked my butt off, I failed (kind of spectacularly,) I learned some more, I worked my butt off some more.

So, how am I going to make sure that 2012 is My Year?

I'm going to do exactly the same thing.

More specifically, here's what's on tap in my writing world for 2012:

  • Revise and polish ONE.
  • Write, rewrite, and rewrite again all the queries, pitches, and other agent-seeking accouterments for ONE.
  • Query and contest the heck out of ONE.
  • Attend WriteOnCon.
  • Outline manuscript #3.
  • Write manuscript #3.
  • Rewrite, revise, and polish manuscript #3
  • Attend SCBWI NYC (okay, I know that's technically 2013, throw me a bone. I'm excited.)
  • Read a lot.
  • Blog a lot.
  • Critique a lot.
  • Write. Every. Single. Day. (except maybe the day that I'm supposed to help this new little human get out of my body. But I'm sure I get a pass for that, right? And honestly probably I'll write that day too. Labor can get boring.

Will I get requests for ONE?
Probably, though I wouldn't place bets on it.

Am I going to sign with an agent? 
Maybe not.

Will I sell a book?
Probably not.

Will I attain widespread fame and fortune?
In a parallel universe, maybe.

But that's okay. Because I know I'm trying my absolute hardest to get there.

So, what about you? Will 2012 be YOUR year?

The only one who can decide whether 2012 will be your year is you.  And, as Sugar says, no one is going to give you a thing. You have to go out and get it for yourself.

So, if you want 2012 to be your year, my dear writing loves, then set your mind to buckling down and getting to work. Make it happen no matter what. Because you're the only one who really can.

Now, please tell me, because I really want to know. How are you going to make sure 2012 is Your Year?