Monday, December 31, 2012

My Ubiquitous - but Sparkly and Awesome - New Year's Post

I love sitting down on New Year’s Eve or Day and thinking about the year retrospectively, as well as the year ahead. Why do we do this? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s kind of cathartic to look at two big chunks of time simultaneously – the faded past, the hopeful future – and reflect. I’m the queen of reflecting and analyzing and planning, so a NYE post is perfect for that.

And blogging is actually perfect for looking back on your year because you’ve written down all the important stuff.  So that’s what I did before I started writing this. I looked back and read through many of my 47 blog posts from 2012 and had fun letting the year unravel before me. The first few months of 2012 were occupied with editing Martinis with the Devil, and then me and hubs went to Italy in March (click here for lots of pretty pics). After that I started querying, and got zero agent responses – vamps really are a tough sell now. I think it’s a terrific book, but I was able to let it go, because in May (May 7th to be exact) I started Everdream, which has an incredibly unique premise. With hopes that it could be “the one” I was willing to let Martinis go on the back burner while I worked on Everdream. In July I got a big promotion at my day job, so that was very exciting (Oh, and I turned 30. Not quite as fun). And this fall has been filled with writing contests and editing Everdream. I made it into GUTGAA with Everdream, made it into the semi-finals of Write Club with Martinis, and got chosen by the mentor I wanted for Pitch Wars (with Everdream). That last one is still unfolding – I got awesome feedback from my mentor on the whole manuscript, and just finished those edits. The agent round is at the end of January.  So, all in all a very exciting year. I didn’t get to my last writing goal, which is to completely rewrite Countless, my first book, from third to first person. I started playing around with it, but Pitch Wars took precedent. Oh, and random aside, this is probably my fave post that I wrote in 2012.

So, looking ahead to 2013. I find myself in an odd place for writing goals this upcoming year, because they all depend on factors that are somewhat beyond my control at the moment. So, I’ll just talk about what I would like to happen, and what could subsequently happen after that. I’d like to find the perfect agent for my writing career early in 2013. I need someone who represents and loves both my middle grade work and my adult urban fantasy stuff. They are kind of night and day, so this person will need to be as ying-yang/multi-faceted as me to enjoy both. If I find this agent and this agent finds a publisher for both Everdream and Martinis, my main goal for 2013 is probably going to be writing the second book for both of those series. I have the second books for both loosely plotted in my head. I would also like to work on revamping Countless when I have time. I’ll be optimistic and not write about Plan B (not finding an agent). I already wrote about that in this post, so no need to repeat myself. Other goals: read more and develop better timelines for editing (blog posts to come on that topic). Learn to live in the present moment. Focus on gratitude. Train my horse. Travel somewhere awesome. Keep exercising regularly and even more. Dance. Sing. Enjoy the beauty of life.

Wow, so I’ve written a pretty long blog post. I usually try not to do those, since we all have lots of stuff to read and do. But anyways, let me know in the comments if you’ve written a New Year’s post and I’ll totally come read your long introspective retelling of 2012 J Happy New Year everyone!! I love this writing community, and I’m super thankful for you all as we head into 2013. Let me know what your plans are! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Editing Galore at the End of the World

We're all still alive! And I'm so very happy, because I've got some major editing to do. Some of you who saw my guest post over at The Unpublished Writer's Guide to Survival know that I entered Pitch Wars, right on the tail of Write Club. I actually entered on a whim, just a bit before the contest window closed. It works kind of like The Voice on TV, where a group of agented mentors picks mentees and they prepare together for an agent panel at the end of January. Well, I applied to the lovely Heidi Schulz and she chose me!! Holy crap, right?

Heidi read through the whole manuscript of Everdream and provided a super kick-ass critique, and now I'm editing my happy little writerly buns off! It's good timing, too, because I have the next eleven days off work. So, the world keeps spinning, I keep editing, and I'll jump into the new year with a much stronger book.

That said, I probably won't post here for a couple weeks. I do pop on Twitter once every day or two though, so you can catch me there. I hope everyone has a beautiful, magical, completely rad Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Solstice and/or New Year and anything else you celebrate at this time of year!! I love all my writer friends and I can't wait to hear what everyone is working on in 2013. And just for funsies, here's a picture of Mr. Fox helping me wrap presents:

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm Over at Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival!

My lovely blog friend B.E. has let me take over her new blog for the day! Pop over to get the deets on my obsession with writing contests and James Marsden.

I suggest you follow her blog, too - lots of fun stuff on the horizon! Thanks, guys, and have an awesome week!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Code Name Eleven

Hi, writer friends!! I thought I would reveal a secret I've been keeping... which is that I've been participating anonymously in DL Hammon's Write Club under the code name Eleven! I used excerpts from Martinis with the Devil, and I made it to the semi-finals before dying a noble death. So, I'm not too bummed about that, although obvs I love winning more :) But, final four is not so bad, so I'm proud of that. I got lots of great feedback from other writers, and it was an all around fun time. This week the two finalist's excerpts are up, and a panel of agents and editors are deliberating on the winner behind the scenes! The winner will be announced and unveiled next week. Pop on over if you haven't already.

In other news, I've begun querying Everdream as of last night. Wish me some serious luck!! This is the third complete book I've written and third venture into Queryland, so I'm hoping the old adage holds true.

What's up with you guys? Any secret identities to reveal? Queries? Other news? Happy December!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving, writer friends!! I am so very thankful for many things, including the awesomeness that is books and writing, and all of you dear peeps that come visit me at my humble blog. I hope you all have a wonderful, decadent, delicious, relaxing and magical holiday weekend.

I'll be finishing what I think (note the hesitance) is the last read-through of Everdream before I begin querying. What are your plans?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Backwards Read

I think it was one of my very first college professors that suggested reading something backwards for editing purposes. I've done it periodically for short pieces of writing, and recently read Everdream backwards in its entirety. It's pretty tedious, but it was super valuable for editing.

We all know that once we've read our book a few times, it becomes easier and easier to overlook things. We become too close to it. We read through and find ourselves spacing out a bit because we've read it so many times already, it seems practically memorized. I for one am really big on flow in my writing. But when you get to flowing along over the pages, before you know it you've passed right over something.

With the backwards read, you take out the flow. You take out the context. All you have is each sentence, standing on its own strength. Or not. And then you get to slash and tweak. I found so many typos or just plain sucky sentences I hadn't noticed in the many front-to-back reads I'd done of this book. I also found a lot of the same words too close together, and had a lot of epiphanies about plot and character and inconsistencies and such that had never occured to me before.

Anyways, I'll quit blabbing. I love the backwards read. You get it. Now I'm scared, because it's getting pretty close to querying this baby. And it'll either be third-times-the-charm or my agent search will be on pause for a while while I explore other options.

Have you done a backwards read? What's your fave editing tip? Hope everyone has a fab week!

P.S. Check out Write Club if you haven't recently - it's down to 10 peeps and things are getting super intense!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Remembering World Fantasy Con

This weekend I've been seriously lamenting the fact that I was not in Toronto at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention. Last year I went to WFC in San Diego, and it was amazing. Life changing even. For a few different reasons, which I'll share.

It was the first time I've done something really crazy like fly across the country (I'm in Florida, so literally coast to coast) all by myself to go to an event I'd never attended before with people I'd never met. Not a single soul. Luckily, fellow blogger Liz Briggs told me her and her husband were going, and we made plans to meet up. But they weren't driving in until the first day of the con, which meant I had a whole evening and morning to try and make friends. Kind of terrifying since I'm not the bravest of people in situations like this. But I did meet people, and they were great, and it was awesome, and I survived, and I grew as a person. My wanderlust increased exponentially, and I wanted to go on more adventures to meet more awesome writer people.

The second thing that changed me was Neil Gaiman. Cliche, sure. True, yes. I've told this tale before, but when I went to WFC last year, I had just started reading Neil's stuff, so I felt like a very inadequate and undeserving fan. But I gawked and swooned at his awesomeness nonetheless. In my defense, it really can't be helped. And during one of his many talks over the weekend, he said something along the lines of "I love WFC because when I'm here, I'm with my people. You are my people." And I realized, YES! I'm with my fellow fantasy writers at the premier fantasy literary con in the world. And I want to do this forever. And I want to do other cons. And I want to try to be even a fraction as rad and badass as Neil, traveling the world and doing cool writerly stuff. I've always known I wanted to be a writer, and that I would write until I am old and can't write anymore. But I'd never really been immersed in the vision of how exactly that could unfold, and all the awesome adventures I could have. Neil showed me that.

The third thing was my novel Everdream. The inspiration for it hit a week or so after I got back home from WFC, while I was still swimming in the inspiration high of meeting so many amazing writers, both published and aspiring. I wanted a brilliant idea, something very different from anything anyone had written. And walking out to feed my horses one night, under a bright splash of stars, it hit me hard. And my writerly brain started cranking out the details, and the plot and the characters, and a few months later it was written. Being with other writers feeds our souls, and helps us stretch to new levels. I know I have WFC to thank for that novel.

So, while I'm uber jealous of everyone that got to go to WFC 2012, I'm super grateful for what I learned last year. I'll be hopping around to hear about all the amazing panels and readings and meetings and awesomeness. And since I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna make it to WFC 2013 in Brighton, England (unless I win the lottery), I'll probably have to aim for WFC 2014 in Washington, D.C. I should be able to swing that.

What are your fave cons? Any world changing experiences you'd like to share? I hope everybody has an amazing week!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Ode to Autumn and Editing

Autumn has always been my favorite season, even though in Florida we don't have much of one. Cooler weather, the earthy smell of leaves and the spicy tang of burning fires. Pumpkins and pumpkin lattes and pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin pie. Halloween, which is spooky and wicked and childlike and fantastic. Tall boots (and I have an amazing new pair) and leggings and sweaters and scarves. Full moons in cold, sapphire skies (like tonight).

I find myself reminiscing about this time last year, when I set off to my first big writing conference, World Fantasy Con, all by myself, not knowing a soul. I was about halfway through the first draft of Martinis with the Devil, and Everdream had not even crept into my mind yet. And now, a year later, I've finished both and am slowly editing, editing, editing the latter. Trying to get it as flawless as I can. And it seems like autumn is the metaphorical equivalent of editing. That slow, meticulous time of patience and steadfastness. If spring is the time of the bright, shiny idea and summer is the hot, fast-moving first draft, then autumn represents editing for sure. And winter? Maybe winter is when you're finally done and you feel like hibernating :)

What season of writing do you find yourselves in now? Do you love autumn as much as I do (literally or metaphorically)?

I'll leave you with a fun pic of me and my sister at a haunted castle last night being greeted by the doorman. I think I was ruining the mood with my peace sign...

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Moody and Introspective Post About the Future

Moody and introspective? I must be a writer or something...

I'm in kind of a funky place with my writing. Simultaneously, I feel like I have a lot going on, and nothing going on. I was a finalist in GUTGAA, I've submitted Martinis with the Devil to Harper Collins' unagented contest, and I may or may not also be a finalist in another anonymous writing contest at the moment. I'm almost done writing a fantastic middle grade book that is incredibly unique and luscious and beautiful and fun. I alternate between feeling stuck in a rut and being on the perfect path. Not sure if it's because I turned 30 a couple months ago, or just that my overachiever self is feeling a lion's roar of impatience, but I just want something to happen! Now, please!

After writing throughout my teens, I took about eight years off for, you know, LIFE and stuff. In 2009 I wiggled back into the waters of my lifelong passion for writing, and in 2010 I dove down deep and have been immersed ever since. I know I'll be writing my whole life, and that my stories are my humble offering to the world. I know that I have three great stories under my belt that will someday be published. I also know that it's super hard to get an agent, and that getting my work turned down doesn't mean it's not good or marketable, but that the business is incredibly subjective and hard to break into.

So now I am obsessively editing my latest book, the unique, luscious, beautiful, fun one. I will be querying it by the end of the year. And if I get yet another round of rejections, I think it's time I explore getting my foot in the door another way. I absolutely will be published by one of the Big 6 one day. It's my ultimate goal. But I'm fine with taking some intermediate steps to get there. I think I'd look at small and medium presses first, and also trying to get some short stories published in anthologies or reputable sci-fi/fantasy lit magazines. Something to give me credentials and get me on the way to connecting with my readers, sharing my stories.

Anyways, that's where I'm at right now. Feeling the waves of change and transformation pulling at my toes, calling me into new waters. Where will they lead me? Not sure. But something is going to happen.

What about you?

Monday, October 15, 2012

All About Martinis with the Devil

Hi, blog friends! I was tagged by my new blog and Twitter friend Yelena Casale to participate in the 18th week of The Next Big Thing Bloghop. It's fun because you get to talk about one of your WIPs, and I've chosen Martinis with the Devil, my adult urban fantasy. So, here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

Already spilled that one.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Hmmm... should I admit this? Haven't shared this before. So, I had read Twilight recently (no, don't groan, it's not going in the direction you think it is). And suddenly this voice just pops into my head and starts chattering away. Since Twilight is all about a 17-year-old falling in love so desperately she wants to become immortal to stay with this person, the sarcastic voice in my head wanted to know what happens when you're so sure of something, and you become immortal - and then you get dumped and have to spend eternity contemplating your stupidity. So, it was around this loud, sassy, sarcastic voice that the whole story was born. Zyan would simply not leave me alone.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?


Actually, you can see my characters on my Pinterest board for Martinis here.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Haven't really polished my one-liner yet, so this is a bit rough: A rogue witch/vampire must choose between the revenge she's sought for over 200 years and working within the law to save the planet from a demon invasion.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Repped by an agency I hope. I'm still working on that :)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It has some of the snark of the Anita Blake series, but without the (IMO) over-the-top sex and violence that developed later in the series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Kind of covered this above - I guess you could say it was Twilight in a way. Mostly my main character bugging me relentlessly until I wrote her story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Martinis is a fun, sexy, fast read. It has a great mix up vamps, witches, shifters, weres, faeries, angels, demons and even cyclops. I've had a lot of people that have read an excerpt say they loved it even if they're not usually fans of fantasy or vampire books.


So, that's it for my answers! I have tagged my dear blog friend Rachna Chabbria for next week's post! Please go see her post next week, and don't forget to check out my tagger Yelena, especially if you like urban fantasy.

Hope everyone has a rad week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are You a Profiler?

Wasn't there a show a few years ago called The Profiler? Okay, just Googled it and it was more like twelve years ago. Anyways, I'm not talking about profiling criminals, but profiling your characters. Unless of course some of your characters are criminals, in which case I am talking about that...

But anyways, before we get into that, a brief update since my last post. I last shared with you guys that I was a finalist in Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA agent contest, and alas, I did not get any agent requests for my middle grade novel Everdream. There were twelve agents in the contest, and of the twelve only three were middle grade agents, and of the three I knew that one didn't like stories with animals. So, I knew my chances were slim but of course it was still disappointing. I did however get two nice comments from agents, including one from the lovely Molly Jaffa of Folio Lit who said about my book "it does evoke some Tamora Pierce-esque imagery in my mind, and that's great!". So, that was pretty rad, since I adored Tamora Pierce as a teen and got to meet her at WFC.

And that does actually lead back to my main subject of character profiling. Because I just finished my third round of edits on Everdream, a kind of fine-tune/polish edit. All of the major edits have been done, and at this point I just need to shine, shine, shine it up before I start querying, which I'm pretty scared about since it'll be my third time crawling down into the query trenches. So, for my fourth round of edits, I'm going to do some character profiles, and then go through and add in those rich details that really make a story shine. I've never done an in-depth character profile, so I Googled them to find some good ones online. These are the best ones I found so far:





The one on the Children's Publishing blog has a huge list of mannerisms and common phrases to choose from. Fun stuff. So, that's what's happening with me. I'm going to do profiles on my three main characters, and start edit round four. 


Speaking of rounds, have you checked out Write Club? It's up to Round 28 now, with another few weeks to go before the finals. It's fun to see the two entries that go head to head in each round, so head on over, check it out, and put in your vote. Check it out here.

Anybody got any character profile links to share? Have you checked out Write Club yet? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Back to the Beginning

Before I get into the main portion of my post, I have a fun announcement. I'm one of the GUTGAA finalists over at Deana Barnhart's blog!! This past week anonymous judges voted on their top 50 queries and first 150 pages, and next week, 11 agents will pop over to Deana's blog and look at them. They can make requests if they want, so fingers crossed!! If you have time, pop over and cheer me on. My book is called Everdream.

Okay. On to what I'd originally planned. So, I've completed three novels now. Completed being the key word, since I've written many others, but not finished them (mostly in my teens). My first completed novel was Countless, about a witch. It wasn't strong enough, so I had to put it on the back burner last year and started writing Martinis with the Devil, about a vampire. Well, that book is very strong, but vamps are a super hard sell right now, so no luck with that so far. So, my third book is Everdream, a middle grade fantasy. GUTGAA is it's debut into the world; I hadn't started querying it yet. So, if I don't have any luck with the agents next week, I'll be jumping on the query train and will need a distraction.

So, I'm finally circling back to Countless, to rewrite it from third to first person. It's a great story, but I never got the voice strong enough. It was just missing that vital sparkle dust that takes a book from good to great. I realized a while back that I really should have written it in first all along. Not only do I write better in first, but the story goes so deep into my MC's thoughts and feelings that it really is best in first. And you know what? I am so super stoked to get back to those characters and the journey they're on! I adore them, and I can't wait to dive back in and make it shine like it deserves.

That's pretty much the plan for the fall. After that, who knows? No writing plans yet for next year. We'll just have to see how the literary cookie crumbles. What about you guys? What's your main project this autumn?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm Over at Charlie Holmberg's Blog Today!

Please pop over and visit me there. I am her "Someday Star" of the week. Can you see me blushing?

Also, if you're looking for my GUTGAA entry, it's here. Hope everyone's having a fab week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pimp My Query

I'm participating in Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up To Get An Agent contest (aka GUTGAA)! Deana is a great blog friend, and even though she's now repped by Sarah LaPolla, she's still so awesome that she wants to pay it forward by hosting this contest. Go follow her if you're not already, and check out the contest. She has helpful contest links in the upper right hand corner of her blog.

And a quick update for those of you who read my last post on virus woes, I'm using hubby's computer this week while I wait for my Toshiba recovery disks to come in the mail. He's just going to wipe my hard drive. So, hopefully my cute little laptop will be healthy again soon.

Okay, so on to GUTGAA! I'm entering my recently completed upper middle grade fantasy. For those of you that don't know, middle grade is usually readers between 7 and 12, and upper middle grade is the oldest category, usually the 11 and 12-year-olds. This is my first full length middle grade novel, though I wrote a short novella for my son once.

So, what we're supposed to post is our query and the first 150 pages of the book. The judging round is next week, so please offer up your feedback so I can polish! Tell me what works and what doesn't. I really would appreciate any and all constructive criticism. Also, definitely let me know if you're participating in GUTGAA too, so I can make sure to visit your entry. I know I'm not going to be able to make it to all 200 or so entries, so that will guarantee I return your visit. And, please feel free to provide feedback even if you're one of my regular blog friends not in GUTGAA!

Query:

(Agent's proper salutation),

The last of the dreams are running out…

It’s been thirteen years since the Queen of Ravens cast the spell to strip all Taravel’s inhabitants of dreams. Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to her, there is one remaining who can dream unaided, twelve-year-old Eleven, the dreamseer.

An orphan, El has been raised in a black market dream caravan, caring for the ponies who grant people the ability to dream. The citizens of Taravel pay generously for a ride on the dream carousel, a chance to touch the magical, dream-inducing manes of the ponies. But when the ponies start losing their ability to spin dreams, El knows she must do something.

Accompanied by Dusti, a persnickety pony, and Ryn, the pirate-poet, El sets out to break the Queen’s spell. The three companions’ adventures take them from crystal pirate ships, to cities in the sky, to underground palaces and the home of a sea witch. Along the way El realizes there’s a lot more at stake than the ponies: a rebellion is brewing, the Queen has learned of her existence, and the truth about her parents is far different than she ever imagined. And worst of all, if El doesn’t free the dreams soon, they’ll be gone forever.

Everdream is a 50,000 word upper middle grade fantasy. Per your submission guidelines, I've included (whatever requested) below. Thank you for your time and consideration.



First 150 words:

Dreams seeped through the flaps of the tent, escaping into the sky like multi-colored ghosts. It was a busy night in the caravan. Though the metallic taste of thunder sat on my tongue and dark clouds pressed down over the crowd, we were still packed. The other merchants had begun to close up for the night. But we weren’t exactly ordinary merchants.

I counted bodies as I walked along the line of people snaking out the purple and white striped tent. Sixty-two. Eight-eight. Ninety-six. When I hit one hundred I cut in.

“Sorry, but this is the cap for the night.” I watched the opposite expressions of relief and disappointment on the faces of the two people I stood between. Groans and angrier protests rose around me.

I walked back to the tent as the crowd behind lucky number one hundred dispersed into the darkness.



Thanks for taking the time to read my entry! Good luck to all GUTGAA participants. And everybody have a great week!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

There Should Be a Special Circle of Hell...

Reserved for people who create computer viruses. My practically brand new laptop has become infected to the point where it is completely non-functional. This is the third time in a year I've gotten a bad virus. And I even have anti-virus software. Very frustrating... and since Best Buy tells me that new computers don't come with a backup disk for your operating system like they used to, I'm probably going to have to pay a lot of money to get Geek Squad to take care of it. And don't even get me started on the horrendous service I've gotten from Norton after I paid them to remove the virus.

Okay, rant over! Anyways, I'm borrowing hubby's computer at the moment, but I probably won't be able to visit as many blogs since we have to share at the moment. Just wanted to let everybody know... As I said to my husband yesterday, it's probably a really good thing I don't have those special witch powers I always wanted or there would be a lot of virus-creator carnage in my wake...

So, has anyone else experienced such bad luck with viruses? Any words of wisdom?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Glorious Bookstores

While I was in Colorado I had the pleasure of visiting two of the three Tattered Cover bookstores in Denver. It's a locally owned business, but the store is even bigger than your average B&N or Borders (before they went out of business). Each location had mostly new books, but a small used book section as well. And awesome gifts and greeting cards (such as the 'Yay Unicorns!' magnet I got) (oh yes, I totally did). AND a yummy cafe with coffee and tea and scrumptious treats to eat.

But what was most fabulous was the books. Tens of thousands of books with gorgeous, touchable covers and pretty white paper and glorious black ink. Books in little nooks and crannies, on all different levels (at least two stories in each store), which were so much more creative and magically arranged than the chains I'd been to before. I thought, please let there not be a day when bookstores don't exist. I get the lure of e-readers. I wouldn't mind having one for traveling. But I will never lose my adoration for old-fashioned books I can touch and smell and worship in a way that electronics will never hold a candle to.

Here are a few pics of Tattered Cover, though they don't do it any justice at all:

 
 



Ahhh, I'm going to miss Tattered Cover. So, what are your favorite bookshops? Either in your town, or ones you've visited...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm Back! Updates on Writing, Querying and Colorado

I'm back from my blog break! I missed you guys. I've been really curious to know what everyone's up to. At any rate, I accomplished what I set out to do on my break: I finished writing the first draft of my middle grade fantasy, and I sent out a final round of queries for my second urban fantasy. And, I had a lovely trip to visit my bestie in Colorado (pics below!).

My first draft wrapped up nicely, and then I immediately thought of a better opening scene, so I messed with that even though I usually let my manuscript sit for a bit before starting to edit. It's been a few weeks now though, so I'm going to do my first read through this week and get started on edits. My query news is that there is no news. No bites for my urban fantasy, which I strongly suspect is because my MC is part vampire, and everyone seems over vamps right now. So, that's pretty disappointing because I think it's an awesome book. Yes, that sounds narcissistic. I am a writer, after all :) I put my first urban fantasy on the back burner because I knew that it needed to be stronger. I really feel this one is ready though. Alas. That's why you just keep writing - my disappointment is lessened since I have my third book done and ready for edits. Of course, I still have a number of queries out there, so I could still hear something better than the dreaded form rejection.

A couple other notes before I share my Colorado pics: first, I've decided to take a break from my urban fantasy newsletter. I really, really love putting it together, but it takes me a lot of hours each month, and I think I'm getting stretched a bit too thin. I'd rather put my time into chatting with you guys here and on Twitter. Maybe I'll start up again in the future - we'll see. Also, I've heard lots of news lately of a blogger that was sued for using photos that weren't hers on her blog, even with proper citations and whatnot. So, I took down all the pics that I'd found on the net for various posts, and wanted to spread the word to everyone I know so you can look into this for yourself.

Anyways, on that note, here are pics I took myself of my awesome trip to Colorado:


Oh, wait, Christina took this. I think I'm safe, though :) Me on the Millennium Bridge in Denver.


Also on the M Bridge... I thought this was super cute.


Me and Christina on an overlook in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Me. Notice my hand touching the rail. I am deathly afraid of heights and couldn't stand there without touching something solid. Totally illogical, I know.


A gorgeous river we hiked along on the Fern Lake trail at RMNP.


After many, many attempts to get a pic of these bastard chipmunks, who would run around my feet taunting me, hold the perfect pose until right when I snapped the pic, and generally do everything to make fun of my attempts, I finally got a good pic.


This was in the Roxborough National Park. I thought my camera didn't get a good pic of the dew drops and everything, so I was stoked when I uploaded it and saw that it did.


This was a very placid deer that let us take lots of nice pics of her, unlike the demonic chipmunks.


So, what's up with you? Tell me if I missed any big news!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Break

I'm taking a little blog break. I want to finish the first draft of my MG fantasy and do more querying on my urban fantasy. I'm also taking an actual physical vacation in early August to visit a friend in Colorado. I'll definitely still be popping on Twitter, so hit me up there if you want to show me some love. I'll be back to the blogosphere in mid-August. See you then!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Urban Fantasy Picks for July...And Other Random Stuff

Hi, writer friends! I wanted to share the link to this month's issue of my urban fantasy newsletter as usual - here it is. I've listed 31 new releases for July, as well as a book review of one of the very first urban fantasy books from 1987. My top picks are listed below.

In other news, it's my birthday on the 12th! Four days left in my twenties, then I'll be moving on to a new decade. My festivities kicked off last night with a party at my Dad's house, and will continue through the week. On my actual birthday I'm having lunch at one of my fave restaurants, drinking champagne in the middle of the day, and then going to see Spiderman.

And in writing news, I'm still querying Martinis with the Devil, and entering the final third of my MG fantasy, which I plan to finish by the end of the month. Also, check out Writer Unboxed, which is having a series of flash fiction contests each Sunday for the next few weeks. I love flash fiction, so I'm going to enter as many as I can, just for funsies. And let me know if you enter so I can check it out. One more also - there's a Christmas in July agent contest starting tomorrow at Ruth Lauren Steven's blog (who I just discovered on Twitter a couple days ago). I don't do a lot of those, but this one is the week of my birthday, so it seems kinda perfect, you know? Maybe I'll have extra birthday sparkle/karma/luck or something.

Okay, so on to my UF picks for July:

A war is brewing—the first battle has been waged and Savannah Levine is left standing, albeit battered and bruised. She has rescued her half brother from supernatural medical testing, but he’s fighting to stay alive. The Supernatural Liberation Movement took him hostage, and they have a maniacal plan to expose the supernatural world to the unknowing.

Savannah has called upon her inner energy to summon spells with frightening strength, a strength she never knew she had, as she fights to keep her world from shattering. But it’s more than a matter of supernaturals against one another—both heaven and hell have entered the war; hellhounds, genetically modified werewolves, and all forces of good and evil have joined the fray.

Uniting Savannah with Adam, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and other lost-but-notforgotten characters in one epic battle, Thirteen is a grand, crowd-pleasing closer for Armstrong’s legions of fans.


I love Kelley Armstrong, and this just sounds super fun. Epic indeed.

It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.


They had me at their quippy one-liner 'A whole new reason to mind the gap', since I'm assuming they're playing off Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. This sounds funky and full of Brit humor. I'm down.

"What's the first thing you think of when I say 'angel'?" asked Mallory. Alice shrugged. "I don't know... guns?"
Alice isn't having the best of days. She was late for work, she missed her bus, and now she's getting rained on. What she doesn't know is that her day's about to get worse: the epic, grand-scale kind of worse that comes from the arrival of two angels who claim everything about her life is a lie.

The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; the age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. If the balance is to be restored, the angels must act - or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever. That’s where Alice comes in. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory - a disgraced angel with a drinking problem and a whole load of secrets - Alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell.

What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding - and can she trust either side? Caught between the power plays of the angels and Lucifer himself, it isn't just hell's demons that Alice will have to defeat...

So this sounds irreverent and fun, and I really dig angel stories.


The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.


Okay, so I'm assuming you agree that a supernatural aristocracy is as awesome as I think it is, and no further embellishment from me is needed...

That's the round up for this month! Lots of fun stuff going on. I hope you have an amazing week!




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My First Book Club - Gasp!

I know, right? How is it I'm just joining my first book club? Not sure exactly... I think it's that I've always just gabbed with people informally about stuff I'm reading and stuff they're reading, and left it at that.

So, it all started last week at work when I realized one of the new girls loved fantasy and Neil Gaiman as much as I do. Naturally, I introed her to the two other people in the office I knew who also read fantasy. And one of them suggested that we have lunch every month and talk about books. Eureka! Our book club was born.

Now, I like my reading to be pretty unstructured, so I made the caveat that if someone doesn't want to read the chosen book of the month, they can just pick another and be prepared to discuss it. I think I'll give most books a shot, but if I hate it, it's not getting finished. I'm way too busy to read books I'm not that into. Our first book is Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I've been wanting to read forever and I won over at Carol Riggs' blog. What a fun serendipity that was. By the way, Carol is awesome and you should go say hi.

So here I am, in my first book club! What about you guys - am I the only virgin book clubber? If you've been in one that you liked, what worked well about it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Horizons

On Sunday I was being spectacularly lazy. My son was with my sister and my husband had left town, and I was watching Sherlock Holmes Games of Shadows all by myself. I adore the two recent SH movies. Robert Downey Jr. plays the complex character brilliantly, with all his flaws and neuroses and the incredible way he sees the world. Then there's the intense love/hate relationship between him and Watson, and the dark, super cool 19th century setting, and a super loathsome villain you just want to sock in the face. And while the credits were rolling, I wished I could write something so fantastic. Then I had an epiphany.

I CAN.

I have the potential to come up with a mind-blowing story of many-layered richness. We all do. And then I had another epiphany (like a double rainbow, soooo intense).

I have unlimited creative possibilities before me, that I can explore for the rest of my life. How freaking cool is that???

I can come up with some awesome 19th century London tale, maybe something steampunk. I could be struck with inspiration for something involving lots of the things I find fascinating: Egypt, the 1920s, medieval history, uncharted space. Or, I could ignore all of that and just make something up, my very own world (one of the many rad things about writing fantasy). Or, I could do it all. That's the fun part: I don't know when and where inspiration will lead me. It's a lifetime of mysteries that will never stop unfolding.

Which is why I love writing.

Now, if you'll bear with me just a bit longer, I wanted to pass on some blog awards I got.

 

Thank you Medeia Sharif and Sabrina Fish! I'm honored to receive these. If you don't know these lovely ladies, pop over and say hi!

Now, the guidelines for the awards are that I share 7 facts about myself (for the One Lovely Blog) and my 5 fave books (The Booker). I'm also supposed to pick a limited number of people to pass them along to, but I'm just going to award them to all of my followers! I heart all of you.

7 Facts  - I'm going to add a twist and list the next 7 places on my world travel wish list:

1) Ireland 2) Greece 3) Bora Bora 4) The Great Barrier Reef 5) Seattle 6) Peru 7) France (again)

5 Fave Books - Wow, this is really hard.

1) The Hobbit 2) The DaVinci Code 3) Summon the Keeper 4) The Graveyard Book 5) Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake #1)

Let me know if you do a post of 7 facts/5 fave books on your blog so I can come check it out! And, what's your favorite thing about writing?

Monday, June 11, 2012

All About Friends

So, this week there are two exciting things I want to share with you. First, Talli Roland's book, Construct a Couple, is out today! You can click here to purchase on Amazon, and don't forget to stop by Talli's blog on Wednesday for the official launch party.... it's bound to be fun.

Secondly, Jennifer Hillier is having a super fun flash fiction contest on her blog and is giving away ARCs of her book, Freak, due out in August! And some Amazon gifts cards... Just write a story between one sentence and 150 words in length, containing the word freak. Pop on over there to enter - you have until the 17th. Fair warning - if you read my entry, it contains foul language and subject matter. Jennifer said to make her cringe - so I went all out and had fun being bad for a change. Also, you can and should pre-order Freak on Amazon.

Anyways, here's a bit more about both books:

 
With a great job at a reputable magazine and a man who's the perfect match, Serenity Holland thinks she's laid the foundation for an ideal London life. When a routine assignment uncovers a shocking secret threatening her boyfriend's company, Serenity decides to leave nothing to chance, taking matters into her own hands. Soon, though, she realises keeping secrets isn't as easy as she thought . . . and the consequences are far worse than she ever imagined.

 
Sitting alone in a maximum-security prison cell, Abby Maddox is a celebrity. Her claim to fame is the envy of every freak on the outside: she’s the former lover of Ethan Wolfe, the killer who left more than a dozen dead women in his wake and nearly added Puget Sound State professor Sheila Tao to the tally. Now Abby, serving a nine-year sentence for slashing a police officer’s throat in a moment of rage, has little human contact—save for the letters that pour in from demented fans, lunatics, and creeps. But a new wave of murders has given Abby a possible chance for a plea bargain—because this killer has been sending her love letters, and carving a message on the bodies of the victims: Free Abby Maddox.

Jerry Isaac will never forget the attack—or his attacker. The hideous scarring and tortured speech are daily reminders that the one-time Seattle PD officer, now a private investigator, is just lucky to be alive. Abby Maddox deserves to rot in jail—forever, as far as Jerry’s concerned. But she alone may possess crucial evidence—letters from this newest killer—that could crack open the disturbing case. With the help of Professor Sheila Tao, seasoned police detective Mike Torrance, and intuitive criminology student Danny Mercy, Jerry must coax the shattering truth from isolated, dangerous Abby Maddox. Can he put the pieces together before Abby’s number one fan takes another life in the name of a killer’s perverted idea of justice?


Anybody else got books coming out soon? What's everybody up to this week? Not procrastinating on writing like me, I hope...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Urban Fantasy New Releases for June

Hi, writer friends! I'm writing this post with my new Toshiba. Since my old laptop bit the dust, I'm having to get used to a new one. The keyboard is a bit differently spaced, so I feel really clumsy when I'm trying to write. However, before I switched to the new laptop, I finished my writing goal for May and am at about a third of the way through the MG fantasy I'm drafting. Yay for meeting self-imposed deadlines! No new query news on Martinis with the Devil.

Anyhow, below are my fave June UF new releases. Click here to see the web version of the newsletter, which has another 33 new releases to check out! And click here if you want to get this straight to your inbox. Also, this month for my author feature I chose fellow blogger Rachel Morgan, who writes YA paranormal. All three of her gorgeous novels are shown in the newsletter, as well as purchase links. I realized I was a goof and accidentally referred to her series as 'Spooky Hollow', instead of 'Creepy Hollow', so please disregard the typo. And have you checked out her book trailer? If not, it's right here. Click, follow her blog, check out her books!

Here are the new releases this month:

In this bewitching collection, nine of today’s hottest paranormal authors tell all-new, otherworldly tales. Spellbinding stories featuring bigfoot, albino vampires, professional wizards, resurrected boyfriends and even a sex droid from the twenty- third century named Silicon Lily. But as our conjurers are about to discover, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hexed. And sometimes, even the best spun spells can lead to complete and utter mayhem.

I just love the name of this one. Lots of great authors, hard to go wrong!

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Check out the rad book trailer in my newsletter! This one sounds a bit different than the typical urban fantasy... I'm excited about it!

When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.


As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.

So, there are two reasons I am stoked about this. First, I love reincarnation stories. My first book is about reincarnation. Second, I think this cover is beautiful. It reminds me that we don't see a lot of diversity in mainstream fiction, and that we should see more.

Sarah Jane Beauhall, the blacksmith turned dragon slayer, has it all figured out—little things like dealing with the political intrigue of dragons who secretly run our world, and learning to wield the magic that she has been given by none other than Odin, who has been fighting the dragons for millennia. And then there is the matter of coming to terms with who she is…and how to build a life with her partner, Katie.

All these things are forced into the background however when a magic-wielding serial killer starts prowling the Pacific Northwest. And all of his victims have ties to Sarah. Sarah must unravel the web she finds closing around her as a powerful necromancer and a crazed blood cult known as the Dragon Liberation Front work to tear apart everything she holds dear.

Blacksmith turned dragon slayer... dragons running the world incognito? Necromancy? Enough said.

When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…

But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…

One of the queens of urban fantasy, so couldn't leave this one out!


So, what new releases are you excited about? Any of these on your list, too?

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Which I Talk About Some Things and Not Others

We'll start with what I'm NOT going to talk about. I'm not going to talk about the fact that after a month of querying, I'm starting to get a little neurotic (because I've done really well not being neurotic all this time, so hey, a girl can only last so long, right?). I'm also NOT going to talk about the fact that my laptop screen has started coming apart from the keyboard part and I'm going to have to buy a new one even though everything else is perfectly functional (It's a Dell, btw. My new one will most definitely not be).

What I AM going to talk about is characters and how much I love mine. Non-writers and readers would probably think it's nuts to become very fond of a fictional character. But since pretty much all of you are writers or at least readers, I know you feel me on this one. Anyone who follows a series has experienced that connection with a certain character, and you get to debate which ones are your faves. Like the fantastic Edward vs. Jacob fights, or the Harry Potter fan fiction where people have Hermione end up with Harry instead of Ron.

But when you're the writer, and you create these characters, it's even more awesome and that connection is so much stronger. Over the course of 300 or more pages, you get to know these creations really well. Lately I've been realizing I really miss Eva, Seth, Ambrose, Elspeth and the rest of my cast from Countless. I placed that book on the back burner to work on Martinis with the Devil, and it's been more than a year since I've touched it. Later this year I plan on rewriting the whole thing in first person, and I can't wait to get back into it. And now, as I'm querying Martinis with the Devil, I think about how awesome my MC Zyan is. And the whole point of querying is to find that agent that falls in love with your characters and your book as much as you do. So, here's hoping I can stay sane until I find that person.

What's one of your favorite characters that you've written? Anyone else looking for an agent love match right now?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Come into my web said the writer to the... other writers

I was originally going to blog just about Pinterest, and the fun inspiration boards I have for each of my books. But then I realized there are probably plenty of you I haven't connected with on Twitter and/or Goodreads, too! I sure am spread all over the tinterwebs like jam on bread (blackberry jam, in case you're wondering).

So, here's a brief description of why I love each of these internet playgrounds and my linkage for each:

Pinterest!

A lot of people wonder what the heck Pinterest is all about. I think of it as a place to collect shiny, pretty things, like a raven's nest. Except organized. It's basically a huge collection of pictures, many of which have links to recipes, workout routines, and other cool stuff. You "pin" the pictures on pinboards you can name however you wish. Warning: it is insanely amazing and thus a dangerous time suck.

Land Without Dreams inspiration board (my MG fantasy)

Martinis with the Devil (nickname: Noir - adult urban fantasy)

Countless (adult urban fantasy)

I have a bunch of other boards, too, but those are my book boards.

Twitter!

Twitter is the perfect place to post random stuff in between blog posts. And I love random. You can have fun little conversations with people. And it's kind of liberating and challenging to have to limit each tweet to 140 characters.

Click here for my Twitter profile

Goodreads!

I used to get overwhelmed trying to remember all the books I wanted to buy. And then came Goodreads! Now when I see an awesome book whilst not in the bookstore, or having already depleted my readerly funds, I just add it to my Goodreads list. I also had great fun initially setting it up and trying to remember all the influential books I've read throughout my life.

Click here for my Goodreads profile

So, how about you? Let me know what you're into other than blogging so I can hit you up.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Voice and First Drafts

Oh, voice. We hear so much about voice in all the advice offered up by agents and publishers and other industry professionals. And it's one of those potentially scary things about writing, because voice is not one of the technical aspects of writing you can practice at. Voice is partially your characters and partially your overall style as a writer. I think voice is one of the more hard to pin down qualities of writing, and it's a bit different for each story.

Those of you who know me well might recall that I wrote a novella for my son last year, a middle grade fantasy. It was something I wrote for fun, and he had a blast getting to give me input and direct in some ways where the story went. I struggled between a middle grade voice and a young adult voice with that one, and I'm finding the same issue with the book I'm writing now. I intended for it to be middle grade, but it just seems to have a more serious voice than a middle grade book.

I've written about 35 pages so far, and decided that I'm just going to let the story flow out, and then worry about it later. At least for me, if I try to analyze and correct too much in a first draft, it just won't come forth. So, I'm going to let the muse of this story do her thing, and think about possibly aging up my characters later.

On a side note, my son is still loving reading the chapters when I'm done, and often ends with a big grin on his face. It's fantastic. On a second side note, no new query news.

So, anyone else writing a first draft now? Do you always have ease with voice, or is it sometimes elusive?

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Soundtrack for Martinis with the Devil

A lot of you probably have a playlist for your different books. You may listen to it to get in the mood to write a certain scene, or just have a list of songs that you feel express your novel. I'll take it a step further, though - I tend to think of my novel playlist in terms of the soundtrack if my novel was made into a movie. I think it's because I think very visually, and I also love movies, and so it just kind of comes together.

So, here are some of the songs for my most recent book, Martinis with the Devil. Most of them are electronic dance mixes, which I've been obsessed with for a while. But even if you haven't listened to that kind of music, give it a shot - trust me, a year ago I never would have imagined I'd listen to this stuff. These are all on YouTube. I tried to pick ones without ads or weird videos.

Swedish House Mafia vs. Knife Party - Antidote

When I listen to this one, I envision one of the many fight scenes in the book. My MC Zyan has to kick a lot of demon butt since the minions of Hell are trying to take over Earth and all...

Nero - Innocence (Skrillex remix)
 
This song is for a scene when Zy and Eli, an angelic warrior, are trying to find someone they need to talk to in a dance club. Zy's an eternally damned witch/vampire, and she's starting to have feelings for Eli... don't want to give too much away, but basically, imagine strobe lights and lots of internal conflict.
 
Deadmau5 - Raise Your Weapon
 
This one's just a general song  representing more brooding over the romantic tension between Zy and Eli.

Dishwalla - Counting Blue Cars

This one is one of my faves from the 90s, but also ties in with the themes of the book because of its reference to God. My book focuses more on the angelic warriors than God, but it's just an interesting song.

Do you listen to electronic dance music? What are you listening to these days? Any novel soundtracks of your own?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Conversation with my Illustrious Illustrator

So, on Tuesday, when I quit procrastinating and started working on my new middle grade fantasy, my son decided to draw a picture of the pirate ship in my book. The conversation went something like this:

Little Dude: So, what kind of pirate ship is it?

Me: A crystal one. It's invisible.

Little Dude: Should it have a dragon cannon?

Me: Yep. Sounds good.

Little Dude: And Gatling guns?

Me: Heck yeah!

Little dude: Old-fashioned ones or new ones?

Me: Old fashioned.

Little dude shrugs, then: Those are harder, but okay. What should go on the prow?

Me: Haven't decided yet. You decide.

It ended up being a cool triangle diamond-head. And that conversation and others I have with him are the reason I started writing for a younger audience, in addition to my adult books. I love the pure magic that comes with it. I've let my son read the first two chapters, and it's so fun to share the world of books with him.

Who do you love to share books with?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Urban Fantasy Releases for May and Other Fun Stuff

Happy Monday! I sent out the May issue of my urban fantasy newsletter last week. For those of you who don't get it directly by email, here's a link. And here are some of the ones I think look extra cool:

You guys know I love True Blood, so this choice is obvious. I do need to catch up on a bunch of books in this series, though... this one is book 12. It seems Sookie and Bill are trying to solve a murder pinned on Eric.

I just love the title of this one. The little catch phrase on the front says: A novel of the good, the bad, and the enigmatic. Sounds fun to me!

This is the sequel to the hugely popular book, Divergent. Which I haven't read yet. And is very high on my TBR list. And the trailer for this rocked (click the link for my newsletter if you want to watch).


I am behind on this series, too. But I loved the first three.

This is about a girl obsessed with getting struck by lightning. Super cool premise.

I absolutely ADORE the cover art for this series. And the books are pretty good, too :) Well, I only read the first one, but it was good. Back to the covers - whoever designed these, can you please design the covers for my books when they come out? Pretty please with a cherry on top? Not that I have any control over that, but a girl can dream...

In other news: I got my first rejection for Martinis with the Devil last week. It's funny how much I've changed since I start querying Countless a couple years ago. I got that first rejection, and I cried (a LOT) and ate massive quantities of junk food. But now, with a lot more experience under my belt, the first one this time around barely phased me. So, that's cool in my book (pun not intended).

I also continue to procrastinate on starting my new middle grade fantasy. I think I'm afraid I won't get the voice right. I can tell I'm going to have to experiment with it a little. I am planning on locking myself away and starting on it tonight. I'll tweet everybody later if I succeed.

So, what new releases are you excited about? Who else is querying out there? And what about my fellow procrastinators?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Have You Come Out Of The Closet?

I'm sure most of you have noticed that when you tell people you're a writer, you often get lukewarm responses. When I was writing novels in my teens, people would say, "Well that's nice, and what are you going to do when you grow up?" And as an adult I often get strange or even incredulous looks since my full-time job is as a department head at a non-profit corporation. Especially when people ask me what I write and I have to explain what urban fantasy is...

So, when I got back into writing in 2009, I kept it quiet at first. It was a fragile hope, and just easier not to talk about. But writing has gotten to be such a big part of my life that I can't keep quiet about it anymore. And so, my horrible secret has leaked out - I'm one of those dreamer-artsy people. I'm incredibly lucky in that my family and friends, and even the few coworkers that know about my secret life, have been very supportive. Then the only problem I have is that everyone wants to read my books.

See, the book I'm querying now is not exactly something I'd want my grandmother, aunt, or super sweet father-in-law with the Jesus decal on his car to read. It's laden with foul language, some pretty sultry scenes, and my own personal take on angels, demons and the Devil. And thinking about that makes me realize that once my baby is published, anybody can read it! Okay, so I can hear you muttering, "Well duh, Captain Obvious." I guess what I mean is that once I'm published, the secret is fully out of the closet. Then I guess I just need to advise some of my family that they may want to wait until my middle grade fantasy comes out :)

Are you kind of one foot in the closet, one foot out, like me? How far in or out of the closet are you?

P.S. No query news yet. Still sane (yay for me).

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Weather in Queryland and Other Adventures

I'm back from semi-hiatus! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been finishing up the line edits and final polish of Noir a/k/a Martinis with the Devil, and was going to start querying. Well, I did and I have! I usually send in small batches, so I've sent 6 out, and will see what kind of feedback I get before proceeding to Round 2. So, clear skies thus far in Queryland, though I have no doubt there'll be some rain clouds along the way. It's just the nature of the agent-finding beast.

So, now that Noir is out the door, I'm going to be starting the first draft of my middle grade fantasy soon. I always love first drafts, so I'm excited. And since I finished one big portion of my goals for the year with Noir, I checked the little timeline I'd written at the beginning of the year, and I'm only about a month behind on them. Not so bad, huh? I can catch up.

In other random news, I finished the Hunger Games trilogy. I read the first one over a year ago, and then never moved on to the second until the movie came out. I thought the second was good, but - don't kill me - I really did not like Mockingjay, the last book. Not that the writing is less great, but it was just such a depressing and sudden ending to me. You guys who have read it will know what I mean. And the conclusion to the whole Peeta vs. Gale thing? Lame. Anyone else felt like that about this series, or another?

So, what all have you been up to, writer friends?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Urban Fantasy New Releases for April

Hi, blog friends! My April urban fantasy newsletter went out yesterday, and I've listed some of my top picks below. I love fresh content for my newsletter, so if you are an urban fantasy writer or know an urban fantasy writer who'd like to be featured in some way in an issue, please let me know! Here's a link to this month's issue, with way more new releases, a book review, an author profile and a really well-done book trailer. I hope you enjoy!

I met Holly Black at World Fantasy Convention, and she was super cool. The book sounds cool, too:

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love. 

I like the choice of New Orleans for an urban fantasy... and there's a vampire pirate. Groovy.

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.


This sounds creepy and fun:

Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.


So, I'm still working on line edits, on target to begin querying in 10 days. Otherwise, nothing new. How about you guys?