Can't believe it's almost been a year since the release of Four Corners! It's been a wild ride so far and with the upcoming release of the second book and contined edits on book three, it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon!
I've been lucky enough to participate in some great events over the last 12 months, including school visits. I love talking to student about writing and also the struggles I had growing up with reading.
I'm also thrilled that I will be participating in the first B-Fest teen book festival by Barnes & Noble June 11th in WIllow Grove, PA. I grew up going to that book store (it has since moved locations from where I went as a kid), but the though of actually having a book in there and doing a signing is surreal.
I'm looking forward to the release of Two Worlds. I feel like my writing has improved so much over the years since I wrote Four Corners and think it's even better than the first book. I can't wait for people to be able to finally see it! My readers have been patiently waiting to find out what happens next, just a little longer! And I promise I'm working hard on book three edits so hopefully you won't have to wait another year to see how it all ends.
As always, I appreciate each and every person who has taken the time to read my work. Books truly exist when there are people to read them. Thanks for making mine come to life.
2016 is off and running!
I received exciting news that the Barnes & Noble in my hometown outside of Philly was going to start carrying Four Corners! Even more amazing, they sold out and had to order more books. I am planning on attending an author event there in July and look forward to meeting new readers.
I've done a few school talks and have really enjoyed speaking with students about the importance of language skills and speaking up when you need help. I struggled a lot with reading as a kid, so I feel like it's really important to admit when you need a little extra guidance with a subject. There is no need to struggle and feel dumb and defeated, it's so important to seek out those that can raise you up no matter what your obstacle can be.
I've also gotten back into the thick of things with edits. I did my first read-through of One Earth, and while I do have my work cut out for me, I have to admit I'm really happy with how the story turned out. NaNo was so frantic trying to hit word counts each day, I was worried that none of them would be usable, but I'm glad to say that's not the case. I typically write lean my first go around, and this time was no different. I have a good chunk to add, but I'm optimistic that I can keep on my March deadline for giving an early draft to my fab beta readers.
Outside of the world of Esotera, I am working on some new projects. One is an adult mystery and the other will probably end up being a middle grade novel. I don't want to give too much away (I'm just in my planning stages now), but I'm really looking forward to writing it!
As always, I will post new information and projects here, but if you haven't yet, please sign up for my newsletter. You'll not only get quarterly updates, but also be the first to see the cover of Two Worlds!
Until next time, happy reading :)
Holy cow, what a year! 2015 exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I feel incredibly blessed not only for what I accomplished, but the wonderful people I got to share it with.
I released my first published book this year, which is a HUGE accomplishment in it of itself, but the way it was received was amazing (see, all my gushing posts below ;)
I also completed the second and third books in the trilogy as well as starting on some new projects. Once I acknowledged in myself how important writing was and not to fear the label of "author", I felt free in my craft. For years I was quiet about writing. I may have mentioned it to a person or two, but it was basically a private thing I did. With the release of Four Corners, I had to be vocal about it. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and let people into my passion. It can be a scary experience! When you share something with someone, it opens them up to like it or not. It's hard not taking it personally when people don't like something you've created. The feedback I have gotten so far has been so positive, but I still doubt myself. I still wonder if I am any good, but I have to make peace with that. With the knowledge that I am my toughest critic and to put myself out there anyway.
I struggled with editing Two Worlds and reaching the point where I thought it was ready for my publisher, but I just had to take a deep breath and do it. The same with One Earth. I just sat down and decided that I wasn't going to let fear keep me from trying. To keep me from putting words to paper (whether literal or electronic). It's not all perfect, but it's there. It exists and that I can work with.
I also started giving talks to writing groups about firearms and talked so some school classes about writing. While certainly not someone who struggles with public speaking per se, it was still a scary thing to put myself out there in another form.
My New Years resolution for 2016 is to keep doing that. To keep putting myself out there, both in person and in my work, and I encourage you to do the same. Is it scary? Yes! Yes of course it is! But those butterflies let us know that we are on the path of growth. That we are stretching from what we thought we could do and pushing the limits toward what we never thought we could. Keep pushing. Surround yourself with people who may pull you from time to time. Who will jump in first and let you know the water is fine. Do the same for someone else. If you see someone behind you going through a similar thing you just got through, tell them. Let them know it may not have been easy, but you did it, and they will too, and you will cheer them on when you do.
I had a lot of people cheering me. Those whose believe in me helped raise me up. I hope to be in a position to do that for someone this year. Are you thinking about writing? Are you wondering where to start? Let me know, I'd love to be on your team.
May 2016 bring you immeasurable joy, just don't be afraid to run out and chase it.
First and foremost, I have to show off my newly completed custom bookshelves that my hubby built for me. As a kid, Belle was always my favorite Disney princess, not because of her clothes or that she got to live in a magical castle, but because of her books! I dreamed of being surrounded by all my favorite titles. I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. And the best part? There is room to spare, Amazon, watch out!
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is in full swing! I was working on a new project (a thriller for adults) in October, but wanted to set aside NaNo this year for delving back into Esotera and finishing a first draft of the last book in the trilogy, One Earth. I've been making good progress so far. I wrote about 14,000 words last year (after canalizing a few thousand for book two) and as of tonight am sitting at 34,000. 20,000 words in only 8 days! Shows what you can do when you set your mind to something.
I am really enjoying where the story is going, though it is bitter-sweet for me. I've spent the last 6 years of my life creating this world. To think of it ending is a strange feeling. I wrote the last chapter months ago and find myself re-reading it from time to time. I'm so happy with how it turned out, now I just need to get there!
First drafts can be a bit of a mystery. I have a VERY loose plot and guide, mainly who the star of every chapter is, and roughly where I want everyone to be at a given time, but my cast of characters has swelled from book two and I've added even more. My poor desk looks like a stack of post-its exploded on it. It's a lot to keep track of and I have times of varying success. For instance, I just started chapter 34 and realized I completely left out a character from the first two books. D'oh. He will have to wait til edits. I'm not going to worry about it yet.
That is also my advice to you if you are considering doing NaNo, or just buckling down to work hard on a writing project. Don't worry about making it perfect. Ernest Hemingway said "Write drunk. Edit sober." Not saying that you need a drink in your hand, but if you worry too much about polishing, you run the risk of limiting yourself.
First drafts are messy. Mine don't see the light of day. I do several drafts before I feel OK enough to subject someone to the hot mess I've created. Through each run-through it is polished even more until you, dear reader, get to hold a bright shiny piece in your hands.
But there's no way to do that if you don't get your hands a little dirty first. Keep digging.
Happy reading, and writing.
Holy cow this author stuff is tough work! Incredible, meaningful, awesome, tough work. I spent last weekend at the inaugural Speculative Fiction Southeast 2015 convention and it was AMAZING! Their line-up was incredible, panels awesome, and networking out of this world. The featured authors, including Orson Scott Card, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Higgins, and Rachel Vincent (just to name a few) were totally accessible and personable.
I had a successful signing and got to meet a lot of readers. Thanks to all those who stopped by and chatted! I also sat on a panel for first time published authors, which was an incredible experience. I was the small fish in that pond, but the other authors were wonderful and never made me feel like the small potatoes that I am right now ;) I learned a ton and picked up some good tips about networking and writing. One of the main ones, writing on lunch breaks, I've already implemented. Just that little bit of time each day and I've already chipped away at a few chapters of a new book I'm writing.
Which brings me to my next point...
So I've started a non-Four Corners, non-Young Adult, non-fantasy (that's a lot of non's) book. So if it's not this and not that, what is it? I'm not going to give too much away, but it is for Adults and will either be a mystery or thriller, its form is still taking shape. But I will say that I'm really excited about it. I've given myself the month of October to focus on this side project. I am going to use NaNoWriMo this year to kickstart back to Book Three. I just needed a little break to think of something else before getting back in deep to Esotera. I'm so excited for you all to see what happens in Book Two, but I know there are some unanswered questions, so I need to get on that to limit any angry messages ;)
In the mean time of that, I've met another local author, Christina Benjamin, who has sort of taken me under her wing. I'm currently reading her book, Truth and it's fabulous! You can find more information about her here. We are looking to do some school events to talk to local middle and high school kids about the importance of reading and writing comprehension. I'm really looking forward to this! I struggled a lot in school when I was younger with reading and I think it's really important to let people know that they can get help with subjects they struggle with and they just may fall in love with them!
As always, you can find updates here, though if you are interested in some consolidated info, you can sign up for my quarterly newsletter. There you'll also see sneak peaks of Four Corners: Two Worlds, including a look at the cover before anyone else! Until next time :) happy reading!
I write this letter to you today to apologize.
I am sorry for all the times I finished reading your book and cursed you, sometimes loudly, especially if it ended in a cliff-hanger. I am sorry for thinking that I cared more about that character you killed off than you did. I didn't mean to belittle your feelings or in any way imply that you, too, didn't care about so-and-so. I was upset and forgot to think that maybe you were too.
I'm sorry for implying that you are making me wait a year to read your next book out of pure wish of torture and not because of the long process it takes to edit a book (that is, if you've even written it yet).
I'm sorry for having a picture of you in my head, gallivanting around to packed book houses only having to pry your hands from your fans under apologies of "I really must get back to writing". Sorry for thinking that the promotional portion of a book release isn't completely all-consuming and exhausting and that sometime maybe you just don't want to think about the fact that you have to write another book, and possibly have no idea what it is really going to be about.
Silly me thought that you could just sit down at a computer, pop out a great book, have the publishing house love it and print it as-is in two months flat.
I don't know what I was thinking.
But I offer this apology to all the authors out there who are in the middle of writing books that I am desperate to find out what happens. I see now how dang hard it is. I understand the pressure of deadlines and making sure that not only is the book written fast, but it's written well. Because the only thing worse than having to wait for a book, is having to wait a long time and having it be a bad book.
From here on out, I will try to limit my yelling at you, that is, unless you kill my favorite character in a cliffhanger.
Then you may have some explaining to do.
Your loyal, yet sometimes disgruntled, fan
It's four days until the release of Four Corners! Holy cow is there a lot of stuff to get together for a book release. I am hosting an online launch along with a number of fellow YA authors on May 30th (information can be found through the facebook link in the upper right corners) and a book signing on June 6th in Winter Park, FL. Links have also been added for where to purchase. While you might not be able to go in a store (yet) to buy it, I do encourage you to ask your local bookstore to carry it. Word of mouth is very powerful! I'd also love it you could write a review on amazon after you finish it. Everyone who writes a review by June 30th (doesn't matter the star level, honestly! I know every book is not for every person) will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Work on books two and three have ground to a halt for the time being, but I'm trying not to stress too much. I've gotten some edits back from two of my Beta readers, so I have a few areas to work on and beef the story up a bit. I ended up cutting a few things from the third book and adding it to the second, I think it will help the story better on the front end.
Book three has taken a bit of a turn from where I was expecting it to go, but I am excited to see where that will be. I am a little nostalgic writing this one knowing it will be the last time I will be with these characters in this kind of way. I know the editing process will have them floating around my head for a few more years, but at this point the story is still in their hands. They are still the ones dictating where it will go. Pretty soon I will have to say good-bye to them. While I don't want to write a forth book with them all, I see the draw for writers to have open-ended series.
But for now, I am just enjoying what time I do have with them. I am looking forward to letting you all have a glimpse inside my head and experience what I've gotten to these last few years. It's been a crazy journey so far, so hop in, and hang on!
So in just over a month Four Corners will be officially released! I am having a wave of mixed emotions. I am beyond excited to see it finally out and also a little terrified of people actually reading it. I know I've spoke of this before, but it is a scary process putting something you worked so hard on out there into the world and hoping that others like it at least a little bit as much as you do.
The final proofs have been sent to the publisher and the entire book jacket (front, back, and spine) has been approved as well. The artist/friend did amazing work on it! It blows me away and makes me happy each time I see it. Crazy to think that soon I will be able to actually hold it in my hands and open it and read my story. Eek!
Then the thought of other people doing the same makes me want to throw up a little. It's probably something every author goes through. Maybe not anymore, but I like to think that Stephen King or James Patterson was nervous before their first book was released.
In trying to ease my nerves a bit I've gotten back to writing Book Three. Crazy to think how ahead of the curve you need to be in this whole writing business! I am expecting Book Two from my beta's and can't wait to hear their reactions and tips for improvement. If you are considering writing or publishing a book (self or otherwise) I HIGHLY suggest a great group of beta (or early draft) readers and a good editor. There is nothing more annoying as a reader than a manuscript that you've paid for riddled with mistakes. Not that everything can be caught (heck, I even found a thing or two going through the last draft that needed changing), but it will be much better than what you can do solo, trust me.
I've also started looking into promotional materials as well. These items, like bookmarks and postcards, will be available at signings, but if you aren't able to make it to one or you get a book before and, drop me a line with your address and I'll send you some goodies!
I'm also starting to nail down details for my release day extravaganza!! OK, extravaganza might be a strong word, but I will be partying and would love anyone local to the area or interested to come join in on the fun. Details will be posted as soon as I have them.
In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is interested in Young Adult books, please give them a heads up about Four Corners! Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and believe it or not I am only so loud, so any help I can get from all of you would be amazing. Or perhaps you know a teacher or writers group that would like to have a speaker at, I'm game for anything! I'd just love the opportunity to put FC in as many hands as I can. Reading is a wonderful and powerful thing, especially in teen years. Some of the most meaningful books I've read in my life were between the ages of 14 and 16 and I'm so excited to be a part of bringing a new story to a new group of people.
When I think about that, it pushes any anxiety I may have about the process, at least for a little while...
Just write. This is my advice to you. Find a way. Just suck it up and do it. If you don’t think you can get the story out, you are wrong. It will be hard and hideous and wonderful. You will hate it, like it, hate it again, and love it more than anything. It will be the worst and best thing.
And more than anything, it will be yours, and you did it, and no one can take that away from you.
If you’ve ever doubted yourself, never thought you were good enough, didn’t think you had it in you, I can tell you that you do. You are good enough. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what anything else thinks, much less you. Writing is a primal thing. Having thoughts and putting them down on paper is a blessing that us humans have. It is an amazing thing that we can do. The sheer act of writing is amazing. You will surprise yourself.
You will write a heartbreakingly beautiful line. It will be the best thing you’ve ever written. There will come a time when you have to let it go, when it will break you apart inside to cut it, but we are writers and this is what we do. We must let go of things we love to make what is around it better, and it will make it better. You will forget about your one great line because it will be replaced with many more, some of which you will also have to throw away. It is maddening and you will want to quit. Don’t. Don’t stop. You will come out on the other side and when you do, when you hold that paper in your hand with words that have come from some place in you that you didn’t even know existed, it will be worth it. You will realize that you did it, that you are a writer. Don’t forget that feeling. Keep that knowledge tucked into your back pocket for the times when you don’t think you can do it, when you don’t think you are clever enough, or smart enough, or have enough time. Bring out that memory that you’ve done this before and you will do it again, because that is what we do. We bleed letter-filled blood and mop it up with clean, white pieces of paper and hold them up for the world to see. With each word typed we re-affirm this fact to ourselves. We can do this. This is who we are.
If you’ve only ever been a writer in your head, afraid to put it down because of what it may be, resign yourself to the editing process. Realize that it must first come out to have any sense made out of it. You can’t make something out of nothing. Put it down, walk away, come back and sift through and find the gold in the dirt. It’s there. You will find it. Be patient with yourself and let your mind wander. Always carry a notebook with you and keep one by your bed.
When people remark that they couldn’t imagine writing anything, that they have no talent, tell them they are wrong. Encourage them do to it anyway. We all have a story to tell. Remind people that their lives and their imaginations matter. Don’t lose your ability to dream and wonder.
Tell them to put it down on paper. It will be ugly and beautiful. It doesn’t matter. They will hate it and love it. Tell them it is worth it. Tell them they are a writer.