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!
In my last blog post, I wrote about how all of you could write a novel this year, and now it's time for me to put my money where my mouth is, to shake the lead out of my pants, to "get real," (*shudder* I really hate that expression--so people who like to say that mean they're fake most of the rest of the time?!), to--as my husband likes to say--unhook the plow. Because it's not so much about getting real as it is about just getting moving.
The last six months have been incredibly challenging, and from a professional standpoint, I've had more on my plate than I think I've ever had before--and I haven't even been writing a book! I won't bore you with all the details, but it's been so much that even though I've wanted to get re-started on writing book 3 in The Breeder Cycle (CLONE), I haven't been able to. I stalled out at about 15,000 words back in July/August before the release of CRIMINAL, and I haven't been able to carve out any real time to work on it since then. But late this December I wrapped several freelance projects, and I finally felt some relief. I've had... time! It's been amazing, but difficult as well, because I know going back to CLONE is going to be a huge challenge, and it's looming over me. So I've been dragging my feet. I've needed the time off, too, but I think my month of binge-watching "Smallville" on Hulu is becoming more detrimental than beneficial for my mental health. It's time to unhook the plow.
It is so much easier to write a new book from scratch, or to start a new series, than it is to wrap up a series. I would much rather write Bittersweet (the second book in my upcoming Fairy Tale Collection) or start writing the Orion books I have planned, but CLONE must come next. The entire story exists in my head, and it's so complete, there's a part of me that can't believe it doesn't exist yet on paper. But it doesn't, and it needs to be written, and I'm the only person who can do that. SO... starting in February, I'm resolving to get moving. I've had a good long break, and it was a break I needed. But now I need to get back to my primary job: storytelling.
I love a good fairy tale. Conversely, I really hate a revisionist retelling of a fairy tale. You know the type - the ones where we're given a sob story about the background of the (always previously despicable) villain and are expected to suddenly sympathize with them. Oh, they can't help how horrible they are! They have daddy issues! But... that's just me, perhaps. It strikes me that it's not up to me to say what path another writer should or should not take in their storytelling choices. We will always write to our consciences, and our individual worldviews will always be reflected in our works. But it also strikes me that what makes a fairy tale truly speak across ages is a certain virtue - a certain indisputable morality where the lines between good and evil are not blurred. Fairy tales are, at their core, simple and full of archetypal characters. Their simplicity allows them to appeal to children, and their use of archetypal characters makes them perfect vehicles to carry messages and display heroism and villainy in stark, contrasting ways. When the archetypes are skewed, therefore - the narratives rewritten - the stories cease to be true fairy tales.
Retelling fairy tales is very popular right now, especially in Young Adult literature. I've obviously gotten interested in this topic since I am in the process of writing a novelization of a classic fairy tale. Part of my research as I outline my own story has been to read popular re-tellings and watch movie re-tellings. (I know, I know... sounds awful, doesn't it?) :) While I am NOT writing a novelization of Cinderella, most of my current fairy tale consumption has centered on that story. I think it's because Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale. When I was a child, my best friend and I watched the Disney Cinderella so many times, her mom had to buy a new VHS for us because we wore out the first one. Cinderella holds a special place in my heart and has a special virtue as a fairy tale, I think. In the interest of time, and not making this blog post into a behemoth of an essay, though, I will save the rest of my thoughts on the matter for next time. So, in the next blog post, I will review book 1 of The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, and Ever After. And as always, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts!
Archives from my old blog...