Progress and projects.

This weekend I did something I have never done before. I read Sing Sweet Nightingale in its entirety to my younger sister. Not that Haley couldn’t have read it herself, but she’s already read this book five or six times and I needed to read it aloud anyway for editing purposes. She hasn’t read the latest draft, so she volunteered to listen. Two birds and one stone and all that.

I already knew that reading text aloud can help you catch errors you wouldn’t see while reading silently (the human brain is such a strange place), but I wasn’t aware how much it could change your experience of your own book to read it to someone else. Moments that didn’t seem that amusing on the page are suddenly giggle-worthy and action sequences fly past as you read with the speed of a blow-by-blow fight commentator. The flip side is also possible, though. Moments you thought would be tear-jerking don’t come off with the same power as you thought they had or that dialogue you thought hid the massive exposition you needed to slip in doesn’t play it’s part as well as you’d hoped. Whatever the realization, good or bad, it’s worth the time and the slightly raw throat to read your book aloud. Preferably to an audience. Even if it’s an audience of one.

What this impromptu reading means in the larger scope of my life, though, is that I’m pretty much done with this round of edits! I’m waiting for one or two other beta readers to get back to me with notes (hopefully just to tell me I made all the right changes), then the draft goes back to the wonderful editresses for the next round! Line edits, I think. Which should be interesting. I’ve never done line edits before. It should be an experience, to say the least. The idea of examining each of my words with that much attention to detail is… daunting. In a good way, but daunting nonetheless.

I’m also nearing the time when I get to begin editing another project–something entirely different from anything else I have in the works and a project that I LOVE SO MUCH. The excitement level for this book is just, whoa. Love it. Things are happening with it and I really can’t wait to share more details, but for now, that’s it! Tis still in the works and up in the air, so I don’t want to say something now and have it not be true later. SEKRITS ARE FUN! Not really, but whatever. I have to pretend they are or I might go a little crazy. 😉

And, um… that’s it for now! Later, lovelies! ❤

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SSN Edits Round Two! Or is it three?

This week, I’ve begun work on a new round of edits for Sing Sweet Nightingale! I think it’s round two. But it might be three. Maybe 2.5? Whatever the number designation, it’s edits and it’s from my beloved editresses, so that means it’s awesome. 😀

It’s also pretty cool that I can put up the pretty, pretty cover when I talk about the book instead of some random image that has nothing to do with it. Don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that!

Anywho, edits. This round is tough! Which is weird because my edit letter is less than a third the size of my previous edit letter. I guess the broad strokes of fixing big problems were a little easier to deal with than examining a scene and surgically adding and removing to make it… not suck. I’m making progress and I still have time, so here’s hoping I can pull off all the tweaks I need to make. More updates shall follow. Eventually.

Also–and in non-editorial-related news–there’s only ONE MONTH LEFT until you can have a copy of my first ever published short story in your hands! Doorways to Extra Time releases August 27 and my story “Whatever It Takes” is the second one in the book! Fourth if you count the two introductions by the editors… Fourth or second, it’s still really early in the book! Read it and you get to meet a character who will show up in The Dream War Saga at some point! Not going to tell you which character, but at least one of them is coming back! Go order it now!

Buy Doorways from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

An interview and a little bit of news!

Microphone (c) Acuzio

A while back, I received an email from the wonderfully sweet Amy Trueblood over at Chasing the Crazies. Which is an awesome title for a site. Amy asked if I would be interested in participating in a series of interviews she has been doing called Writer Odyssey Wednesday (W.O.W. for short). Of course, my answer was, “YES, PLS. WHERE DO I SIGN?”

The idea that I’ve finally reached the point where I can legitimately be included in a series like this is still a little strange. My debut release is nine months away (250 days, but who’s counting?). It feels like forever. In fact, it’s so far away that it still doesn’t seem real. But that’s just in my head, apparently. To other people, I’m already there. I made the deal, signed the contract, and am officially an author with credits to my name. Wow is right.

So, I agreed! Amy sent me a list of great questions and now you can read both those questions and my answers! I talk about my strange relationship with querying, how I found my glorious editors at Spencer Hill and my wonderful agent Danielle Chiotti, as well as a little bit about Sing Sweet Nightingale and the process of writing it and finding it a home. Click here to see!

In other news, this morning I sent a new book to my wonderful agent Danielle! It’s the second in a contemp series I co-wrote with my bestie Lani Woodland and I cannot wait until these books find a home and I get to share more details about them. I adore these characters and this world and everything about writing them. It’s FUN. There’s a lot to be said about partnering on a book with someone, too. Especially someone I get along with and work with as well as Lani. co-writing is probably not for everyone, but if you find the right partner, it’s divine.

In other other news, I’m heading back to Manhattan next week!! For the first time ever, I’m going to spend the Fourth of July in the Big City. Of course, that’s not the purpose of the trip, but it’s still convenient timing. I’m actually going in celebration of my sister’s 25th birthday and my cousin’s wedding (she’s getting married at the BRONX ZOO! How freaking cool is that?!). The reason for the trip doesn’t matter, though. I still get to spend an awesome week in New York City with people I love. I even get to drop by the Upstart Crow offices and meet some more of the interns and agents in person. So many fantabulous things packed into one trip! If you’re not already following me on Twitter or Facebook, go fix that! I’ll be posting about my trip on those two places more often than on my blog. Easier to access on the go!

That’s all for now! I’ll check in again soon. 🙂

When secret things are happening.

It’s a secret (c) Paul Brunskill

One of the things that takes some getting used to in the publishing industry is the amount of time you spend keeping secrets. From everyone. Big ones or little ones, you’re almost always not telling someone something.

The problem is, the more secrets I’m carrying, the quieter I get. Right now there are a couple of things happening that I would LOVE to talk about, but I can’t yet. In one case because nothing has really happened yet and in the other because it hasn’t been finalized. When I come to post here, though, all I want to do is talk about THOSE THINGS. And I can’t. So I don’t post anything.

Makes sense, right?

What I CAN tell you is that I’m going to see Neal Gaiman this weekend! One of his tour stops is less than an hour away from where I live, so I’m packing myself into my car and dragging a friend along for the ride to go down and see him. Even though I just saw him talk at BEA. ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH. Obviously. And since this is being billed as his last US book tour, it may quite literally be my last chance. I’ll be there rain or shine… though I really hope it doesn’t rain. Books don’t do well in the rain.

In news I can share, I should be getting my next round of edits on Sing Sweet Nightingale any day! This is both scary and exciting. I want to shine this book until it sparkles like a really pretty amethyst. Despite that desire, there’s also this little fear-demon living in the back of my head whispering that I’m going to mess it up. Or not live up to my own standards.

Faith that my agent and my editors won’t let me screw anything up helps tamp down the first worry, but the second…

The second is kind of an occupational hazard of being human, so I’m not sure there’s much that can be done.  All you can do is work as hard as you can, pour as much of yourself into the project as you can, and hope for the best.

So… That’s what’s going on in my life. How are you? 🙂

More from BEA. This time with video evidence!

So many people weren’t able to come to see my cover reveal because New York is expensive and far away, but with technology, that doesn’t matter! I can bring my cover reveal to you!

This video is thanks to my lovely publishing-sister Joanne Rock. And, seriously, THANK YOU, JOANNE! I never think about recording moments like this until they’re long gone and then I wish for years that I had pictures or, better yet, video. Only thanks to my friends and family at Spencer Hill did I come away from this rather momentous day with anything to remember it by (other than a really cool poster!).

And now, unfortunately, back to the grind.  My life is not nearly as glamorous as it looks in that video. 😉

Looking back at BEA2013

It’s been a week since I came back from New York, but my head and my heart are still wandering around Manhattan and jumping on the 3 to Brooklyn. I have an intense love for that city, so I hate leaving as much as I love visiting. Last week I posted about the two covers I now have and the pre-order information for the anthology containing your first peek into the world of The Dream War Saga, but I couldn’t bring myself to post about BEA. Thinking about it just reminded me that it was over. And that is sad. I told myself that I was waiting on a video of the reading portion of my cover reveal, but that’s a lie. Well, half lie. I am waiting on that, but it’s not like I can’t post without it. So I will. Now.

It wasn’t until 8 am the morning of my cover reveal that my editresses decided I would read. Seriously. They called me just before 8 that morning and said, “We thought it would be a good idea for you to read your first chapter.”

CUE THE BEGINNING OF MY FREAK OUT.

The next five hours were a slow descent into the kind of trembling, twitching nervousness I haven’t felt in years. My friends Asja and Alex literally had to drag me away from the Spencer Hill booth the half an hour before my reveal to try to distract me. Alex tried the biceps of the Ellora’s Cave models and Asja tried books, glitter, and bubbles, but nothing worked. Somehow, I made it back to the booth in time to wait for the actual countdown to begin.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I got to meet some of the other SHP authors like the Rock sisters! They’re so sweet! My wonderful NY-roommates Sarah Guillory and Megan Whitmer were both there to support me as well as so many other awesome, amazing people! Like my glorious editresses Danielle and Patricia. The presence of actual people waiting to see my cover and hear me read was… well, daunting comes to mind!

But I didn’t pass out! Instead, these things happened:

My editresses introduced me and my cover designer Jeremy West

Jeremy and I drew the curtain back to reveal SSN!

We took pictures with the cover model, Kit, and the SHP group behind SSN

And then I started reading the first chapter of Sing Sweet Nightingale. Like, out loud. To PEOPLE! Well, it was really only the first seven pages because the first chapter is kind of intense and also intensely long, but they’re INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT PAGES. Things happen. Things that, apparently, make people cry during author readings.

Yes, you read that right. More than one tear was seen during my reading and it made me want to cry happy tears of my own!

When you write something, it becomes important to you. The characters and the moments in their lives matter. Will that translate to a reader when they pick up the book? Did you pick the right words to get the emotion across? The happiness, the sadness, the pain, the joy, the whatever they’re feeling at the time–did it work? Seeing their reaction first hand made all my shaky nerves worth it. The failure nerves before the reading began and the OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED nerves from after.

I did it, though. I didn’t pass out and my words were intelligible and I didn’t cry while I was reading (which I actually worried I would, considering the section I was reading) and people liked what I read and the cover we showed them and I just… It’s so hard to describe. I’m still in the middle of edits, so the reality of other people seeing and reading and understanding my obsession with The Dream War Saga universe feels so far away and impossible. But it’s not! It’s already happening!

I met so many wonderful bloggers while waiting in line to grab books and even, while I was at a really amazing City of Bones event, met a fantastically sweet book buyer and blogger from Austin and her twin sister who KNEW WHO I WAS! Talk about surreal. They even asked me to autograph my business cards! Which I gladly did. My first ever autograph! I was so lucky to be standing in line next to them so I got to give them hugs and realize that there are people in other parts of the world talking about my book!

The rest of the time I spent in NY, though, was just for the hell of it. I got to spend time with some friends I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like and was able to spend Memorial Day eating yummy food, phenomenal ice cream, and laying in the sun at Prospect Park with Asja. And I can’t wait to go back!

Asja and I at Prospect Park in Brooklyn

Whatever It Takes

My short story Whatever It Takes is in this anthology. The story is set within the world of The Dream War Saga, but only tangentially connects to the series itself. A good peek into the Dream War universe, Whatever It Takes is available for pre-order now!

Everyone wishes they could get an extra hour in the day. But what if you could?

What if you had a special device that gave you an extra day every week? You could use it to get ahead at work… unless your boss had it too.

What if you knew a spell that gave you an extra hour every day? You could use it to correct a mistake… or make a new one.

What if you could just stop time? You could accomplish a myriad of wonders… if you only knew how to get time started again.

Time loops and time travel, time apps and time outs, time machines, time merchants, and more can be found passing through these doorways into worlds where time can be spent like money… or where extra time can only be bought at a terrible price.

With stories and poetry by Jody Lynne Nye, Walter Hunt, Erica Cameron, Martin Feekins, Anthony Francis, L.M. Graham, R.E. Gofstein, Melina Gunnett, Betsy Miller, Susan Mittman, Brenda Monguez, Jenny More, Ira Nayman, Errick A. Nunnally, Kate Saturday, Gayle Schultz, Rich Storrs, Keshia Swaim, Aimee Weinstein, and Trisha J. Wooldridge, Doorways to Extra Time presents twenty twists on the idea that if we only had a little extra time…

We’d have to deal with the consequences.

Edited by Trisha J. Wooldridge and Anthony Francis

Buy it from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound