Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Coolness

Seeing as how we are coming up to Christmas and all, I probably won't be posting much (or at all) until after New Year. (I know, I know, what else is new?)

However, I thought I'd decorate my blog a little for the season before I go. Something festive and purty to look at.

Voila! This is Jetta, the main character from my novel Searcher. (Note: At no point in the story does she actually wear a Santa hat.) This sketch was drawn by my lovely and talented friend, Natalie. (Note: I drew the Santa hat.)

Now, I am also going to leave you with presents! Because it's Christmas!! Starting in 2011, you will have three things to look forward to:

1. More posting from me!!! (*pauses while the intense cheering dies down*)

2. A new weekly blog feature that is going to be very fun!

3. The return of Photoshop Fridays!

So go now. Eat lots of candy. Hang out with family. And open presents that you're actually excited about (as opposed to, you know, mine.) Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another first!

Well, I've written my first guest post. This feels like a rite of passage or something.

My amazing friend Michelle Davidson Argyle asked me to write a little more about the mental/emotional aspects of my writing journey. So I did. Happily. I discuss my new philosophy: Optimistic Realism. (Hey, something had to come out of all those philosophical journeys.)

But the truth is, Michelle's a very cool, very talented, very published author, so you should check her out anyway. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Journey: How I got my Agent

To start, let me say that I'm a huge fan of these particular kinds of blog posts. The journey posts. I loved (still love) reading them because they rarely follow the theme of "OMG, I just wrote this book last month, got my agent last week, and I just signed a three book deal!!!"

No, usually theses post chronicle the long, often difficult journey of the writer involved, and that always gives me hope. Well if you are looking for one of those, you've got one! Remember, the primary emotion I feel when writing this post is optimism.

Okay, so here is the WHOLE rundown, complete with stats. Because I know I love reading other people's stats. Note: I will try to be as pithy as possible, but this post might be a tad long.

Summer 2004
I've always loved writing, but this is when I decide to get serious. I have an idea for a YA fantasy novel about twins who are princesses. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. But hey, we all have a twin princess story in us.) I fill an entire spiral notebook with notes.

Summer 2005
Force myself to stop daydreaming about writing and start doing it. I write 30 pages of my YA fantasy novel and decide that I absolutely loathe my main character. Abandon ship!

The Year of 2006
I start and stop several YA novels, never getting past 45 pages. I do, however, complete a young MG novel, and a picture book that has WAY too many words.

Early 2007
I begin a YA epic fantasy that never got a title. I've always referred to it as Tristan.

February 2008

I start my lowly blog.

April 2008

I finish Tristan on my birthday! Feel overcome with the sense of accomplishment. I've actually FINISHED a whole novel. Also, right around this point I become friends with Kiersten White and Natalie Whipple. We form a crit group, and call ourselves the MoMo's.

Summer 2008
Slogging through edits for Tristan. I'm feeling like it just might be a quagmire. Besides, I have this other idea pulling at me. After much thought, I set Tristan lovingly in the trunk.

Miss Midas bursts onto the scene. I write it in just over a month, and dive into edits. I'm pretty sure it's the most brilliant thing EVER.

(In July, I get this idea for a post apocalyptic novel. Seems pretty cool. I make sporadic notes, but don't pay much attention yet.)

October 2008
I send out my very first query letters ever! I'm SO SO SO excited. Wonder how I'm going to pick between the twelve agents that are going to fight over me.

Queries sent: 44
Partials Requested: 2
Fulls Requested: 4

Offers of Rep: zilch

The agony of querying hits me VERY early on. To distract myself, I start working on my post apocalyptic idea. I give it the awful working title: PAMR. (short for post apocalyptic, magic realism) (even though it's not technically magic realism. Details, details.)

December 2008-July 2009

Real life takes over. Due to my husband's work, and various other crazy reasons, our family moves FIVE TIMES, to FOUR different states. Needless to say, writing often falls to the back burner.

But in the space of this time, I:

1. Give up on querying Miss Midas
2. Finish the first draft of PAMR.
3. Give it a better name: Searcher
4. ( 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. ) Edit my brains out.

Searcher takes a lot out of me, but I believe in it. So much. And as hard as it is with the craziness of my life, I'm willing to put the work into it.

September 2009
My first, big Philosophical Journey. (Or so I call it.) Everything screeches to a halt while I ponder many deep and weighty things related to my writing. I wonder if Searcher has what it takes. Think to myself, I was so sure about Miss Midas, and it got canned. What makes me think Searcher will be any different? Contemplate giving up. Thank goodness for good friends who bring me back. (my writer friend Candice, and my twin sister Diana were key here.)

November 2009
I start querying Searcher. The responses feel more enthusiastic this time, but the Querying Despair creeps up anyway. After 3 months, I hit a wall. Clearly, the agents have spoken. This isn't what they want. Case closed.

I give up.

Queries sent: 39
Partials Requested: 4
Fulls Requested: 5

Offers of Rep: One close call, but nothing sticks.

Winter 2009
Embark on a second Philosophical Journey. It lasts several months. I don't do much writing.

Spring/Summer 2010
I embrace my childhood love of mermaids, and start writing Deep. It's fun and diverting, and goes pretty quickly. Within a few months, I've finished, and gone through a several rounds of edits.

July 2010
I start querying Deep. This time, instead of feeling excited and giddy, I'm kind of sick to my stomach.

Within a month, I give up. (I know. I know! Believe me, I know. Well . . . I will come to know. (Keep reading.)

Queries sent: 17
Partials Requested: 2
Fulls Requested: 1

September 2010
Thus begins the 3rd Philosophical Journey.

I do A LOT of thinking. (Are you sensing a theme here?) I reread my novels. I talk with my very good friends. And I come to a very, VERY important realization. Two, really. I discuss my thinking in greater detail in this post, but in a nutshell:

1. I have been WAY too hard on my own writing.
2. I gave up on querying WAY too soon Every. Single. Time.

I realize I owe it to myself to keep trying. So . . . I start querying Searcher and Deep again. (Disclaimer: I did look into it, and never found anything that said "DO NOT query two books at once," however it gets tricky. As you will see in a minute.)

Quick stats:

Queries sent: 14
Partials Requested: 2
Fulls Requested: 3

Queries sent: 8
Partials Requested: 1
Fulls Requested: 4

And then . . .

November 16th, while I'm on vacation, Molly Jaffa requests the partial of Searcher. Two days later, she requests the full.

Monday morning, November 22, I'm sorting laundry (glamorously) when I hear my cell phone ring. When I see the area code, my heart freezes for a split second, but I tell myself that it's most likely a telemarketer.

It's Molly Jaffa. Offering representation. *cue celebration* I spend Thanksgiving weekend feeling VERY thankful.

And THEN, on the last day the other agents had to get back to me by, another agent emails me wanting to set up a phone call. (And while I try not to play that game, she's a pretty big time agent from a pretty big time agency.) *stunned* She loves my book, and while she does want to see a round of revisions first, she is essentially offering. BTW, did I mention the book she read was Deep!

So then come a few days filled with a mixture of panic, nerves, happiness, and disbelief. I find myself with a big choice to make. In spite of my daydreaming about picking between agents during my Miss Midas days, having to actually face the situation is very nerve wracking. I have a stomach ache for three days straight.

But, as you all know, this story has a happy ending (, or a happy new beginning!) I picked Molly Jaffa, and I couldn't be happier.

So there it is, folks. If you read this whole post, I commend you! It sure was fun to write. It makes me really grateful. I'm grateful that while I had periods where I didn't want to think about writing AT. ALL., and giving up seemed like the most sane thing to do, I'm truly glad that I never did. And I know things don't always work out, storybook style, but I do believe that things only started to really happen when I was truly ready inside. When I truly believed I could succeed. And THAT is your dose of optimism for the day. Hope you enjoyed it. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010


Yes, you read that right! And this isn't a joke! Or a trick! Or a clever play on words!


I'm beyond thrilled to announce that I am now officially represented by the fantastic Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management!

*screaming* *jumping around* *dancing*

A literary agent! Of my very own! I seriously have no idea how to write this post. I'm filled with so many different emotions. This post could be brimming with:

a. Euphoria

b. Optimism

c. Gratitude

So by way of a warning, I plan to use a few different posts to cover this monumental event in my writing career. In fact, I think I'll use one post to cover each of the emotions I mentioned above. In the next few days, you guys get to hear the WHOLE SORDID TALE. (I know! I'm so generous.)

Today, is the euphoria.

This post will include some GUSHING about Molly. Because she really is awesome! And I know everyone says that about their agents, but I absolutely mean it. Molly is sharp and funny, and super nice. I'm SO excited to work with her!

This post will also include more *screaming* *jumping around* and *dancing*!!

This post will include far too many exclamation points!

In the end, on a day like this there's really only one thing to say:

PARTY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!! Dr. Peppers for everyone!! Today they shall flow without end!

Check in again Thursday for my Optimism post. I'm going to tell you guys the story of my journey to this moment. (Spoiler Alert: It was long.) Until then, ROCK ON. :)