Thursday, August 4, 2011

NEVER SKY ARC, Conferences and Celebrations

It is our Blogoversary over at the YA Muses blog, and to celebrate, we're giving away a signed copy of the ARC of Veronica Rossi's beautiful debut UNDER THE NEVER SKY.  This is a wonderful book, with vivid characters and gorgeous prose.  I can't wait to talk about it withe the rest of the world, so hop on over and comment or follow to be entered to win, so we can chat.

In the meantime, the fellow Muses and I are all headed for a weekend of celebration in LA for the National SCBWI conference.  If you will be there, please say Hi. One of the unexpected joys of embarking in the solitary pursuit of writing has been meeting so many wonderful people who love books.

I've reposted my Revision Checklist post for our "Best of" week.  This is my step by step process for taking a manuscript from first draft to finished product.  I hope you find it useful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Getting Started Again

I started a new book today.

Which got me thinking about first drafts.  I've started exactly five.  I've finished exactly two.

But the thing with those two that I've finished is that there were LOTS of stops and starts along the way.  The first one that I finished was the book now know as BANDIA, and it was really the third version  of a book I tried to write many, many times, over many, many years.  Finally something clicked, but not before I got distracted by a shiny new idea that would become SPIES & PREJUDICE.  I got fifty pages into that one before I set it aside to finish BANDIA.

But then we sold SPIES off of those same fifty pages, and I HAD to finish.  So I did.  In eight weeks.  Which surprised even me.  That experience gave me a great deal of confidence.  I can write another book.  I might even be able to write a lot more of them.  And hey, if I can write a book in eight weeks, I should be able to churn out two or three a year, right?

Um, no.  Since finishing the first draft of SPIES, I've written exactly 10K words on one project, 350 words on another, and 2500 words on this new one.  Yes, you read that right, I have THREE shiny new projects in beginning stages.  I absolutely intend to finish every one of them, but I'm not going to kill myself if I end the year with only one completed first draft by years end.

And since I'm under contract for the BANDIA sequel (which, ahem, is not one of the three), I'm pretty sure that's the one I'll have finished.

Still, it's fun to have new worlds and characters and plots to think about.  And who knows?  I might end the year with two shiny new manuscripts in hand.

I can dream anyway!

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Holding Page!

Still not a website, but today my new holding page went live. 

Thanks to Maddee at for bringing a little piece of me to life on line!

Check it out here.

I love it!  The website itself won't be ready for a few months, but for now I really love this page.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Killing a Darling

I've just started the first round of edited revision on SPIES.  As much a I can't wait to be on the other side of this revision with a finished manuscript in hand, revision is my favorite part of the writing process.  The first draft hurts because it's both overwhelming and unknown.  But revision, revision is where a manuscript becomes a book, where characters become real, where plots have a purpose and where stories come to life.

I love discovering the hidden depths of my characters and the deeper meaning behind my stories.  I love exploring themes and plot threads in more detail.  I love adding layers that make the story richer and more complex.

Bur Revision is hard too.  Not every scene, or plot thread, or character serves the story.  And it can be hard to let them go.

One of my favorite characters got cut today.  It was my idea to cut him, because the overall story loses nothing from his absence.  He was a literal darling, brightening every scene he was in with a touch of humor. He didn't serve any purpose that wasn't being fulfilled by another character though and I needed to simplify.

I've cut characters from manuscripts before.  Body counts are nothing new for my revision process.  But this one hurt more than the others because I loved him so much. 

So tonight I raise a glass to Jason Hiles, thank him for the laughs and friendship, and send him into literary limbo.  For now.  He'll be back.   

And I promise him one hell of a storyline.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


So it seems as if I've fallen off the face of the earth right?  Nope, I'm still here.  And I've been very, very busy over the last few months.

Turns out that when you sell a book off of a partial manuscript, you actually have to deliver a finished product.  Who knew?  So I spent three months from September to December writing.  Then writing some more.  Then revising.  Until a finished manuscript of SPIES & PREJUDICE was born.  It was a lot of fun to write, and I'm about to start the editing process.

And I've been blogging as a regular member of the YA Muses blog.  I blog weekly usually on Wednesdays.  You can find me over at  The Muses is a blog featuring my entire critique group.  We've learned so much in the last year as we've moved closer to becoming published writers, and the blog is place to share our experiences, writing processes, books we love and more.  Plus, my critique partners are some of the most amazing writers I've had the privilege to read. 

Finally, I've been working on a new project, a new manuscript that for now is just for me.  It's fun to write without any deadlines or expectations. 

Writing a book under contract was wonderful and terrifying.  It's a great feeling to know your writing will be published, but it also brings a lot of pressure that you don't have when you're writing on your own.  In order to keep from becoming completely paralyzed and get a draft of SPIES on paper, I had to shut all of that out and just write the book for me.  It wasn't easy though, and I'm still not sure how I managed to do it.  I imagine published authors experience this to an even greater degree, because they not only have a publisher, but a legion of fans who they don't want to let down.  Talk about pressure.

As stress goes, this is definitely the good kind, because you know how lucky you are to have people who are looking forward to your next book.  And having a deadline really motivated me to sit down and write, as opposed to meandering my way to a first draft like I did in the past.  I proved something to myself.

I am really doing this.

I am a writer.