If you keep up with me at all, you know that, at the end of May, I left my 10-year (stable, wonderful, steady paycheck... *cue panic attack*)-teaching career to set off full time on this (not-so-stable, equally wonderful, life's passion) writing career. I meant to write an update blog one week in, and then two weeks in, and then a month in, and... well, you get the idea. But the reality is, I've just been too busy to take a breath, let alone blog about it! Flippancies aside, I'm actually not panicking at all. And perhaps that's just because I'm an unrelenting optimist (I am), or more likely because I've been hard at work on this authoring thing for many years, so making the leap into full time hasn't been that intimidating. It's just a matter of taking all the hard work I've cultivated over the last nine years I've been a writer and devoting 100% of my career energies into it rather than what's left over at the end of the day. So, for those of you who are not on my newsletter, here's a quick update of what the last month and a half (ish) has looked like for me:
-I started writing a new book this summer! HUNTER is a prequel to BREEDER, taking place about 200 years prior to the rest of the Breeder Cycle trilogy and set during the Great Incursion described in the series. Don't worry, I am still writing the final book in the series, CLONE, but I am now writing both books simultaneously.
-Most exciting of all, in June I was signed by Ben Grange of the L. Perkins Agency in New York City, so I now have representation. Ben and I have been hard at work on The Girl in the Sea to get it ready to pitch to bigger publishers, so between writing the two books and revising The Girl in the Sea, I have had a very busy writing month.
-In light of these exciting developments, I am amicably cutting ties with my longtime publisher, The Writer's Coffee Shop*. The change will be effective as of July 31st. What does this mean for purchasing my books? As of the end of this month, all retailers carrying my books will sell out whatever remaining stock they have, and that will be it! (until I sign a new book deal--but there could be a pretty significant delay until that happens.) SO, if you have been considering buying my books and don't want to wait an indefinite amount of time for shiny new editions, go to Amazon or my Books Page now to view purchase options! Don't miss out!
-Ben is also working with me on my backlist (all my currently published books) to try and find them a new publishing home.
-Sometime this summer, I will begin work on writing Season 2 of Cinderella for the Public Domain Universe podcast. I need to finish writing HUNTER first and make sure I'm well enough along in CLONE that I know I can get that book finished as well before I dive into the scripts for the PDU, though. With so many creative projects cooking, I can't let my brain get split into too many different directions! If you haven't listened to Season 1 yet, I would encourage you to check it out here.
-At the beginning of July, I received two more awards from Literary Classics International Book Awards for CRIMINAL: Gold for High School Science Fiction/Dystopian and Gold for College Science Fiction/Dystopian. Literary Classics followed up the awards by inviting me to speak at the Great American Book Festival this Labor Day Weekend in Rapid City, South Dakota. I'll be presenting on the topics of Social Media and Online Branding. So in late August I will be preparing that presentation, and I'm really looking forward to the trip and the event.
I think that about covers what I'm working on right now, and what I anticipate working on in the next couple months. I feel as though I hit the ground running as a full time author, and I'm excited to see where the rest of the year takes me. Please subscribe to my newsletter for monthly updates and check my News Page for links to announcements, events, and press releases. (Information on my awards can also be found on my Home Page.) And if you are an event coordinator or school administrator, please consider me for your speaking or workshop needs! Contact me for more information.
*I am so thankful for my time with TWCS Publishing House. Many young, fledgling authors find themselves--out of desperation and ignorance--with predatory vanity presses. That was never my experience with TWCS. TWCS was a fantastic, professional small press for me to get my start at. Not only did they publish my first eight (eight!) novels, but they helped and encouraged me through the process, they taught me so much about writing and storytelling, and they provided me with a publication family. I have made lifelong friends through working with them, and I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you, TWCS!
It's been a rather incredible year. About a year ago, I asked my publisher if we could submit BREEDER to an organization called Literary Classics International Book Awards. For years, people have asked me if I have won any awards on my books, and I've always had to answer no. It costs money to enter contests, and it's a risk, and I've been busy writing and marketing and promoting, and I'd never really gotten around to it. But finally, last year, I thought I might have a chance with BREEDER. So when I asked my publisher, they said okay, and we sent off the manuscript. Well, in September, we received notice that BREEDER had won the Seal of Approval, followed one month later by a Silver medal for YA Science Fiction. When I was in Los Angeles in March for the award ceremony, I decided on a whim that I might as well go ahead and submit The Gateway Chronicles to Literary Classics, as well. Considering when book 6 in the series, The Bone Whistle, was published, I could *just* squeak the series in under the qualifying time period for the 2016 contest. I submitted the series in the last week before the contest deadline without any real expectations of winning, but receiving the Silver award for BREEDER helped my career so much last year, that I thought I might as well try. At the same time, I submitted BREEDER to another organization called Readers' Favorite Book Awards. And now, in the last two months, I have received a five-star seal from Readers' Favorite for BREEDER, the Seal of Approval for The Gateway Chronicles from Literary Classics, and today I found out that The Gateway Chronicles has won Gold for best YA Series of 2016 from Literary Classics! I am just gobsmacked. What an amazing, amazing year. I am encouraged in ways I can't even express as I move forward with my writing endeavors, especially as I continue my agent search. Thank you so much to all of you who have been so loyal to me and my books over the years, and welcome to my new readers! I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!
Today is a good day. Today I get to announce that The Gateway Chronicles, my YA Fantasy series - a series I started writing back in 2008, started self-publishing in 2009, signed with the small press TWCS in 2011, and completed in 2014 - has earned the Seal of Approval from Literary Classics International Book Awards and Reviews. This is a story I spent seven years working on and dedicated countless hours of my life to. It's based on real-life experiences from my childhood, which makes it precious to me on a nostalgic and personal level, and it answered my first big question of: Can I do this? It's one thing to conceptualize a 6-book, multi-layered, Easter egg-filled epic tale in which the subplots advance the meta-narrative toward a fulfilling conclusion, and it's another thing entirely to execute that plan to completion. I don't say this (or announce the award) to brag, but just to say that it's true the disciplines of learning the crafts of writing and storytelling pay off in the long run. I don't need this award - really, I don't! You guys, my loyal readers and fans, have made all the hard work pay off already. But it really is nice to have the work validated in a new, official way. And something the award gives me that I can't get other ways is notoriety in the industry, and hopefully, a little more attention as I press on toward the goal of attaining an agent in the coming months. Onwards and upwards, as the saying goes! Thank you, thank you, to all of you who read my books, and thank you to Literary Classics for the Seal of Approval. (And hey, from now until the release of CRIMINAL on August 25th, I can say that all of my published works are award-winning books!)
*You can read or download the press release from Literary Classics on the News page HERE.
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