I have been remiss... I've been so busy with finishing up Evolution Revolution: Simple Lessons, searching for a new agent, and working on NJ SCBWI conference and book events, that I've neglected my journal here. As I noted in the January entry, I'm stepping away from Indie publishing. There is just not enough book love or respect when it comes to Indie books for children. I don't want to expend so much time and energy fighting it; there are too many stories I want to tell that I wouldn't get to if I stayed in Indie. Jack's story in the Evolution Revolution series has been told and drawn, and now I can move on. As for the agent, two have expressed interest and are reviewing different manuscripts. I have to see who is still interested after they read. It's a daunting, heart ripping process, but in the end, I'm sure I'll end up with the agent that fits both me and my writing. If neither of these two move forward, I've made some contacts at the conference that I can query. It's all about constantly moving forward. This will be the summer of revisions- I have several projects that didn't go far, so I will put my head down and spill my blood to make them shiny and pretty. Summer vacations- not for a writer!
Got a great idea for a new book, which I started. That makes two books in progress; one middle grade, one young adult. The mg is a time travel adventure, the young adult is a thriller. Since I don't want to give away any clues (it's a secret until it's finished), I'll only tell you that I've had to talk to a f experts; a firefighter, a forensic detective, a medieval performer/blacksmith. There is still a lot of research to do and once I get some mss whipped into better shape, I'm going full force on these babies. Don't have an agent yet, but there's interest....
I've reached a crossroads. With the finish of my Evolution Revolution series, I'm stepping away from Indie publishing. It's such a time and money suck (when you do it right, anyway). I'm not the type to throw the story out there and whatever will be, will be. It has to be done right (even though I hate doing the 100th revision). And that means that book 3 and 4 will be combined; this will be a trilogy. Yes, I had originally envisioned six in the series, but whittled it down to four when I had to Indie publish, and now, because I'm searching for a new agent to handle my other manuscripts, I need the time to focus. I'm spread a little thin. So, that's the plan; let's see what happens!
I'm definitely not going to go all Indie publishing. It's so much work (I knew that going in, but geez...). I definitely like having an agent and letting them sub the books out. Plus, it's easier to get into events and festivals when you're traditionally pubbed. But even then, it's hard to get into some festivals. If they don't like you, you're not getting in. I'm agent searching, and will let you know when something works out. I"m thinking for my NaNoWriMo project this year, instead of writing another novel, I'm going to do serious revisions on several projects. Maybe one per week? That's ambitious, but that's what NaNoWriMo is for- getting ambitious.
With book 2, Simple Plans, off to be formatted, it won't be long until I get the physical galley and tweak any final problems. Then I'll be reviewing book 3, and finally, the fourth one. It's been a lot of work, and more expensive than I thought, but it's worth it. The books are coming out beautifully. Then I will devote a good deal of time to agent shopping while I work on the rough manuscripts I have. My unfinished NaNoWriMo project (I wrote book 4 of Evolution Revolution for the first half) will sit for a bit. It's a contemporary thriller- and there's a serious twist... ;) As with every year's end, not much work is going to get done, which will give me time to focus on family, the holiday, and relaxing for a few days (although how much relaxing is there when you're hosting family for 2 days, and traveling for one?). The mental break will be welcome. So, check in after New Year's- and be safe, happy, and relaxed!
Book four in my Evolution Revolution series is done! The rough sketches for book 2 are done, awaiting some refinement, and books 3 and 4 are in the works. I'm doing NaNoWriMo (which is when I finished book 4), but I also have a YA thriller started. I won't get it done by the end of NaNoWriMo, but it's a good midwinter project when I have down time from Evolution Revolution events and work. (downtime- ha ha!) I'm still agent searching, but being the holidays, most agents and editors are just trying to clear their desks before the end of the year so realistically I don't think I'll hear much until the new year. But if I do, you'll hear about it.
I've gotten the rough drafts of Book 2 illustrations, I need one more review of the text, the final pics before I send it off! I'm excited, and sad, to have finished the final book, the fourth. Once the fourth is polished and ready to go to press, I will take a break from the Indie road. I'm still searching for a new agent for my other projects.
Evolution Revolution is now available in both paperback and ebook! I'm just waiting on Goodreads to update everything and host a giveaway! I'll be doing a book signing in Califon, in the new year. Things are moving along! January I'm hoping that book 2, Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans
releases. In other news, the search for a new agent begins...
On my The Journey Together page, you can see the frustrations I'm having with this Indie pub. Just reading my blog should tell you even more. But it's not all bad. Things are getting worked out and I am moving forward with other projects. I'm waiting to hear about my middle grade historical, The Elephant Gates and my middle grade sci fi, Hyde and Seek. My agent was on vacation and they were still needed to be reviewed, last I heard. I am hoping to release Book 2 of Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans by December, and the other two books tying up the series in the following year.
I've decided against rewriting my new adult sci fi. Although editors had good things to say about it, they didn't like it enough to make an offer and they didn't dislike it enough to say why they didn't like it. Huh? This leaves me no idea how to fix the story so I'm putting it aside for now and I'll ruminate over its fate. I'm running into proofing snags on my mg Evolution Revolution which you can read about under my page, The Journey Together. I've outlined my NaNoWriMo project, but am thinking I'll work on a sequel to another novel while I wait to hear about my mg historical and my mg sci fi. I have so many ideas but I don't want to start too many projects until Evolution is released.
Although I haven't been doing summer appearances (it's a ghost town for bookstores unless you're selling a new JK Rowling book), but I've been busy with other projects. I've revised two manuscripts, dealt with the rejection of my new adult sci fi, which I will revise into a young adult, and am preparing for the launch of my Indie middle grade novel, Evolution Revolution, which you couldn't have missed because it's all over my blog. I'm having to finish up the work on CreateSpace and Smashwords because my agent no longer handles Indie projects, and frankly, I'm floundering a bit. Smashwords upload may not get done for a while, but the proof is ordered from CreateSpace. It will be such a thrill to hold this book in my hands. Like I've said many times, this is the book of my heart. Or, at least one of them. So for NaNoWriMo, I'm going to be re-writing Lethal Dose as my project in between events and further revisions. Somewhere in there, I want to repaint/redo my bedroom. Sadly, I'm better at painting and household repairs than I am at computer stuff. Maybe there's an author/computer person out the who will barter- I'll paint a room (spackling, sanding included) and they can format and upload my next book in the Evolution series, Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans... Any takers?
I'm winding down from all appearances, working on my mg Indie novel while revising another mg for my agent, and waiting to hear about the other mg novel with my agent and the na sci fi out on submission. So far, a number of publishers have turned down my sci fi (*cries, why???) and I'm impatient (and slightly annoyed, I've changed it to some editors' specifications then they passed). But that's the writing life. It's never a smooth road. One of the industry gold standards and a wonderful mentor for new writers, Jane Yolen, frequently posts about mss getting rejected. Ok Charlotte, shut up! If Jane gets rejections, so will you! And so, back to work. (psst, YOU too!)
It was a successful NJ SCBWI conference. My presentation, "Scene of the Crime" which I gave with the help of NJ forensic crime scene detective Guy Olivieri, was very well received. (See my post on it). The book signings at the Barnes and Noble Teen BFest were a little quiet, but as this was the inaugural year, and it was during June with prom/finals/graduation, I'm hoping next year they choose to host the event in April. I'm working on several projects: Indie publishing my MG adventure/science series (which can be found under The Journey Together page), revising my MG sci fi, waiting for my agent's input on the MG historical, and waiting for an editor to give my NA sci fi a home. I hope to revise several other projects over the summer. Working poolside, of course!
I'm working on a number of projects: indie-pubbing a middle grade animal adventure, revising middle grade, young and new adult manuscripts while I wait to hear about a new adult out on sub and a middle grade that my agent is editing. Plus, I'm working on book signings, getting ready to make a Scene of the Crime presentation at the NJ Society of Children's Book Writers and illustrator's annual conference in June, and working on a number of house projects like repainting/decorating my bedroom, recaulking the master shower, etc. (I have a list.) In between that is trying to get time with family and friends, and spending time with my mom who's moved up from North Carolina to New Jersey. So, yes, I live in crazy town. But I wouldn't have it any other way because I so hate being bored or waiting. Stay tuned...
As you've noticed, I'm embarking on a new road- self-pubbing a middle grade science adventure story. I'm working with my agent, have an illustrator lined up, and hope to be able to divulge more soon. I'll still be submitting other novels to my agent for the traditional route, but I felt it was important to get this novel (series, actually. How many depends on the success of the first three) out. I've been having some health issues (bad stomach) which have slowed me down. I'm feeling better and am now back in the groove, although spring like weather and the longing for warm days poolside has me shirking some writing time in favor of cleaning out the gardens so that once it's nice enough and we open the pool, I won't be distracted by chores. Except for painting the pool deck. And the bedroom. And the bathroom. Cleaning the grout on the kitchen floor. Paint touch ups throughout the house. And book events and conferences. It's hard being a writer! So stay tuned...
Look at that! I made this twice in a month! Seriously, lots of family and writing stuff going on, so this amazes me too. Still working on my MG and sci fi novels (so sick of revising....), making event plans, and dreaming about another book contract. If you love to read, so some author love! Celebrity authors and those with movie deals or bestsellers have all the publicity they need- help out what we call mid-list authors (yes, that would include me). It's hard for us to get publicity for our books and publishing houses have placed the burden on the authors. We need your help- a nice line on Twitter about how you enjoyed our book, a comment on Facebook, asking your librarian to buy our books, recommending them to friends- these may mean the difference if we ever get another book published. All publishers look at number of books sold before considering offering another contract. Remember the little guys... and thanks!
Okay, so we've established that I don't do this regularly. But! I post almost every week, so cut me a little slack? I've written 3 novels in 2015, and hope to get them on sub and sold. (Revisions, grrrrs.) I'm crossing my fingers that 2016 sees more success, since 2015 was kinda quiet. I don't make resolutions anymore because I want to do and change and accomplish more than one or two promises I make. So, let's see where 2016 takes us...
Ooh, bad girl again. It's been a whirlwind of craziness. You know how it goes. Still working on several books, doing events, and being a mom/wife/friend/volunteer. Hoping the sci fi is close to being done because frankly, I'm tired of looking at it. I have enough projects to keep me busy, so I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. But I will be talking about it and encouraging people to do it. If you want to claim that you've written a book, this is a great opportunity to dig in, get a writing routine started, and finish that novel!
Okay, I've been bad about updating. I've also been sick, busy, taking care of my mom, being a mom, etc. My current projects are revising the MG historical, the MG sci fi, the YA fantasy, and waiting to hear about the NA sci fi. And painting the entire interior of my house. That's 30 doors, trim, ceilings, walls. Yep, that's a lot. But I already have the powder room, kitchen nook and foyer done. My sons' rooms won't get done until they move out (one maybe in a year, the other, several). The family room needs to be gutted, insulated, and sheet rocked. Plus, I also have to repaint the cement deck around the pool... And have you checked my signing schedule? It's starting to fill up. How will I make time for all this, you ask? One project at a time. I WILL get it all done, but on MY time schedule (unless one of the books does so well I can hire someone to do all the painting!). Keep persevering. kids.
Yikes! It's been a while since I checked in. Not to excuse or complain, but family and health issues have really been a problem this year. At the present everyone seems healthy and going in the right direction. I have good news! My short story, Alice Through the Wormhole, has been selected for the Beware the Little White Rabbit anthology to be published by Leap Books (Publisher Shannon Delany is a friend, as is Marketing Director Jennifer Murgia). But that doesn't mean the competition wasn't tough! I'll be posting details and a launch on my blog, so watch. I'm excited that this year is starting off positive. I'm doing (yet another round of) revisions on my sci fi, and I hope to get a deal for that. My agent, Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Lit Agency is expecting her baby in February and we're all wishing them both a safe delivery! I've been doing a number of signings and did complete not only my NaNo project (a middle grade historical fiction), but also wrote and revised and just sent to my agent a middle grade sci fi which I'll talk more about later. My NaNo project will be a long term one- I'm thinking 2 years total to get it perfect, but I have lots of other projects that need my attention.
It's been a crazy summer and I've been so busy on a number of projects. As we settle back into the school year routine and have fewer distractions from vacation and nice weather, it's time to prioritize. What do you want to accomplish? You still have time and opportunities to finish a writing project. NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month- same premise as NaNo, but it's 30 days- 30 ideas for picture books) and events and conferences through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Maybe you need to join a critique group. Or a professional association (I just became a member of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America!). Perhaps you have to revise or heavily edit a work so it can be submitted to an agent or editor- and need to block out time (like one solid weekend away from family and work). You still have one third of the year left. You CAN do it!
Yes, I've been bad, I know. Working on a number of books. I hope to sell a solo sci fi which is now with my agent. My tidbit: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Want someone to hold your hand, encourage you, convince you and walk you through writing or completing a novel? Check it out. I've done it three times, and plan to do it every year I can. So now you really don't have any excuses.
Finally! An update! (I know it's been a l o n g time, but bear with me. I have a large number of viable 'reasons' - not excuses.)
This tip thanks to Yvonne Ventresca, part of the Writing Wenches (it's basically a group to get together over lunch, share writerly news and tips, and cheer each other on).
#1- Talkwalker Alerts
This is a free notification system, kind of like Google Alerts. I put in 'Blonde OPS' and any time someone mentions the book, I get an alert. This helps me check reviews, mentions, and keep an eye out for pirates.
Which is the same thing.
Don't forget to spend time trolling Google because sometimes things get missed (usually pirating sites have ways around these alerts).
Knowing who and what people are saying about you and your books helps you promote, control pirating, and take advantage of trends.
This is how I write; with a cat in the immediate vicinity, if not on top of my lap, shoulders, or laptop. (This is Casey.) Notice Skyship Academy- written by fellow Flux author Nick James. My son loves this series.
This was our first signing EVER. The Book Expo America at the Jacob Javitts Center in NYC. I bought red shoes to match the cover. You just can't imagine the thrill it was for me... I would have stayed and signed a thousand copies. My hands were shaking!