Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Art as inspiration

I'm in love with these little guys. Dawn Schiller is a genius. Her little Oddfae creatures are so incredible and funky and offbeat. Take a look:






Cool, right?


Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday blahs

Depressing Monday. Lot of things are going south. Car is dying. Hub is gone. Again. Might not make it to RWA. And daycare might no longer be an option for the boy child. *sigh*

Ah well, what can you do, right? Just keep trudging along . . . :-)

But cover flats should be coming soon, so that'll balance out some of my day. That, and I got some Haagan Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream!!! *cue angelic choir*

That is all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Random Friday & Bookish stats

First, I am lax in saying THANK YOU to my friend Jax, for the blog love. :-)

Second, Diana Rowland's new book, Mark of the Demon came out this week. It's gotten some great reviews, so I'm eagerly awaiting my copy!

Galleys are done. So it's back to work on Book 2. Rough draft is basically complete. I have to fill in a missing chapter or two near the end and then start revising, polishing, and filling in some research details. Really excited about this book!

Each book I write, I can see myself improving as a writer. My rough drafts are getting smoother and my pacing now seems to fall into place without too much effort. Here are some stats:

1) Book 2 is the 9th novel I've written.

2) As of this year I've written two novels: Book 2 and Le Super Secret YA.

What I need to do, and would like to do in the remainder of 2009:

1) Turn in Book 2 in Charlie Madigan series.

2) Write YA sequel.

3) Write a 3rd book in Charlie Madigan's world.

4) Revise my Turn-of-the-Century YA fantasy proposal (1st 3 chapters and synopsi of two more books already done) into a middle grade novel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Galleys

A little late in posting . I received galleys for The Better Part of Darkness last week. Galleys are a bit mysterious because they can come in different forms -- on regular sized paper, but sized down in the center to reflect the size and font of your book, or printed in landscape form with two paperback book-sized pages on each sheet (as mine is done), or galleys can come as a bound book with no cover image, or with a cover image.

These are my first pass galleys. I will get a second pass set as well. Once you see the size/font of your actual book, it makes reading a little different. You tend to catch things at this stage that you'd miss otherwise. You can see how long paragraphs will run in actual book form, how dialogue looks, etc...

(Here's a pic at the layout -- I sized it down, so that y'all can't read the page. I know, I'm mean...but no sneak peaks just yet!)

But the goal here is to check for grammar, typos, inconsistencies, anything that was missed in the copy edit. Galleys kind of drive home how important those revisions and copy edits are. Copy edits are your chance to dig in and fix, to rewrite if necessary. Once galleys arrive, your opportunity to tear things apart and rewrite is pretty much gone. (Unless, of course, you catch some gigantic plot hole that needs addressing). But, at this stage, rewriting in galleys will cause your editor a lot of extra work. Not good.

So how do I fix any mistakes I find in the galleys? Just like I did in the copy edits. Mark them with a pencil or pen, or some folks like to create a new document and just write a list of page numbers and the mistakes and then turn that in. Different strokes, for different folks. My editor is cool with however I want to do it, which is awesome. It's easier for me to just mark the actual page and send whatever pages I marked back to Pocket.

So there ya go. A look into the galley process from my end. :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Played hooky & organizing ideas

Yesterday, I played hooky. Well, sort of. I wrote until lunchtime, then took the rest of the day off to spend with my daughter. We went to B&N, and then On The Border to eat.

I bought a new, very substantial journal in hopes that I can start keeping all my random notes (ideas, character names, titles, interesting words, etc..) in one place versus the four or five spiral notebooks I have lying around the house. It's chaos the way it is now. I'll suddenly think of an awesome last name, pick the closest notebook I can find and jot it down. Two months later, when I'm looking to name a character, I'll remember writing down a really cool name, and then have to flip through all the notebooks to find it. I do this endlessly. It's getting old. So, journal, you shall be the center of my Idea Universe.

Let's just hope I can stick to the organization plan. Not that I have trouble being organized. Heh.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Publishing Timeline - a look at the past year

So I got that chapter done! As promised, here's a peek into the publishing timeline for The Better Part of Darkness. I've decided to go back 13 months instead of 12, starting with the submission process, through the sale, and down to this week. Obviously, not every book follows this timeline. Chris Howard has a cool publishing timeline on his blog. And Rachel Vincent has a great After the Sale Timeline as well. ;-) But here's a look into mine:

2008

May 15 - 30 My agent began the submission process, starting with three of our top choices. Editor from Pocket was first to respond, expressing interest. Wanted another editor to read. Book was then pitched at editorial meeting. According to agent, two more editors were now reading.

June 10 - My eventual editor (Ed Schlesinger) wants to make an offer.

June 13 - Pocket makes a two book deal. Agent calls. I, of course, accept!

June 19 - I get my first 'hello' email from my new editor.

Mid July - FinePrint receives my contract. Must be reviewed, changes requested and then returned to Pocket.

Oct 24 - First actual phone call from Ed. We'd been communicating mostly via email and realized we'd never actually spoke! Great conversation.

Late Oct. - Contract, after having been at Pocket, is once again sent to Fine Print for another read-through.

Mid Nov. - Contract arrives at my doorstep along with tax forms. Let it sink in for a few days and then mailed back.

Mid Dec. - First advance payment arrives at Fine Print.

Dec 18th - received hard copy line edit of the book, along with gifts -- the latest urban fantasies published by Pocket! Read through edits. Didn't have heart failure. All looked doable.

Dec 21 - Had awesome phone call with Ed, just going over the line edits and revision ideas for the book.

2009

Early Jan - My check arrives! (Actually, it came sooner, but there was a small error that needed to be fixed and FinePrint rocked it out with no problems).

Jan 26 - completed revisions on the book! Turned them in with much anxiety.

Same week - Time to come up with author bio, pic, and acknowledgements.

Mar 9 - Hear that revisions looked good, just some small notes to attend to, which I do and then send back. Also, am told firm release date for the book, Nov 24, 2009. Yay! See first draft of cover as well.

Mar 18 - see first draft of the cover copy (the blurb on the back of the book, the front cover tagline, and the small excerpt piece that goes in the very beginning of the book). Made a few minor edits and sent back.

Mar 25 - receive the production schedule of the book, which consists of copy edit and galley dates and printing schedule.

Apr 17 - Copy edits arrive, and must be returned the first week of May.

Apr 20 - see revised cover. Looking awesome.

May 21 - get permission to reveal cover. Not final cover, but close to it.

And this week I should receive the first pass galleys of the book, which I'll read through for typos and any last minute errors and such and then send back to Pocket. Looking forward to getting these! And, I'll make sure to post about it, too . . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coming up soon...

If I can get this chapter written, I'm planning on posting a timeline for the past year. Think it'll be a fun look into the book publishing process.

Hopefully this chapter won't give me issues today. Ever have a scene that just refuses to be written? I can see the whole thing in my mind, know all the details and yet when I sit down to write it, nothing happens. Oy. I've written around this scene for weeks now and have a placeholder where the scene takes place in the book with a few notes. IT SHALL BE WRITTEN TODAY. There. I have commanded. Now to make it so...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching up & Year anniversary of sorts

If anyone is waiting on a reply from me via email, blog, twitter . . . I'm soooo behind on emails and such. Sorry! And, I haven't been able to visit a lot of blogs lately either. Just have a ton of work to do. (And if anyone sent me an email and has not heard back, please give me a nudge, reminder, shout -- whatever -- and I'll get back to you asap). :-)

So, on Saturday, June 13th, I realized it was exactly a year since my agent called to tell me that Pocket had decided to offer me a two-book deal for The Better Part of Darkness and a sequel. A year. Doesn't seem like that long ago. But I will always remember this date for obvious reasons, but also because I was out of town for my sister's nursing graduation, and it was Friday the 13th.

I'll talk more about this later, but for now... Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Look what's on my shelf...

Isn't he pretty? I've been lusting after this sculpture for nearly a year. Hub kept telling me "just go buy it already." But I couldn't bring myself to because of the price, and in these times luxury items aren't high on the list, ya know?

He brought it home a few weeks ago. :D It's from Mill Creek Studios and it's called 'The Armored Saint". I love it -- I look at it and my mind becomes all medieval/creative. Certain things inspire me, and this is one of them. I also would love to have the sculpture called 'Show of Valor".

He looks like a Friesan. Which, if ever have another horse, will most likely be the breed I get. Loved to do dressage with him. My last two were Thoroughbreds rescued off the track and retrained as eventers and jumpers. Had to sell them when I got pregnant and knew I wouldn't have the time to devote to them. I'll see if I can dig up some pics. *Sigh* I miss the smell of the barn in the mornings, and the zen-like peace I got from cleaning a stall or grooming . . . Maybe one day . . .

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thinking ahead in a series

So as you all know, I'm currently rewriting Book 2, which has to be turned in in August. But yesterday something really cool happened. And this is one of those things I love about writing and world building. The whole story arc just fell into place.

Okay, I should back up and say that, yeah, obviously I had some idea of the entire series arc, otherwise Book 1 would not be set up in the way that it is. But there were a lot of paths I could have taken with Charlie to get to the ultimate series goal. That was the gray area. That was the hard part b/c there are so many possibilities there.

I don't want to have the entire thing planned out to a tee, because that would be a little stifling for me, but I kept feeling like I needed to know where certain things were headed. And now I know. And guess who, of all people, got me there?

The hub.

We actually brainstormed together for the first time. I was having trouble with the backstory in Book 2 -- the villain's motivation. I wanted it to be rock solid, something that would carry over and drive some of the next book, and I felt that it wasn't quite there yet. And there I was just running away at the mouth and all of a sudden, he said something, something I didn't understand. Then, he explained. I caught on, changed it up a bit and then it hit me. That missing piece -- not the missing piece I spoke about in Book 2 earlier -- but the missing piece of the overall series puzzle. I know what's going to happen to Charlie beyond Book 2. And I had THEE COOLEST epiphany for a companion novel for two characters we will see in Book 2 (just a glimpse really, but OH MY GOD). They could actually have a few books to get to where they're going . . . hee, hee. But that's one of those things you keep locked up for the future. . .

Anyway, I'm settled now. I like the feeling of knowing the bones of Charlie's future, but not knowing too much b/c I also like being surprised along the way. But it sure is a relief to know there's a solid road map and an end game for her.

Of course, all this is immediately followed by an 'Oh Crap, now I have to write it all down in a legible, entertaining, hopeful exhilarating way. Oy.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Busy little bee

That's me. Minus kids, house, showering, eating, and such, I'm spending every waking moment writing. Tired. Yet energized. And, yes, I know that makes no sense whatsoever.

Book 2 has finally come together and jelled with the vision I had in my head, but just couldn't seem to translate into the story. Found the missing piece of the puzzle, and found the 'feel' that the story was lacking. Once that happened, I realized it was totally in sync with something my editor talked about back in the Spring. So that's a very good thing! This is where the 'energized' part comes in, because I know now that it's right. And, though, I'm tired, I want to sink in and see how it all plays out.

Nights are spent revising another project. Decided to change the tense, which is a bitch to do. Long, boring. The kind of work that makes your wrist and hand scream in agony. Yay carpal tunnel. Not. But, good news is that I finished that part last night, and now just have to re-read to make sure I didn't miss anything and take care of a few notes.

So that's the latest from my world. Back to work . . . :-)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Big week for releases

Wow. Do you guys know how many books in the Urban fantasy/paranormal/YA genre debuted in the last few days? A lot.

Here are a few:

DEMON MISTRESS by Yasmine Galenorn
MAGIC STRIKES by Ilona Andrews
ATLANTIS UNLEASHED by Alyssa Day
BLACK & WHITE by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge
STREET MAGIC by Caitlin Kittredge
CRY MERCY by Toni Andrews
THE DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan
THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM by Tanya Huff
WITCH FURY by Anya Bast
RED KISS by Deirdre Knight
CARPE CORPUS by Rachel Caine

There are more, but I have to get back to writing. Feel free to mention others in the comments if you'd like. :-)

Oh, and make sure to stop by Bitten by Books. They're having a chat with Yasmine Galenorn -- she'll be answering questions, so take advantage! She's an awesome writer, has been in the biz a long time, and is a well of knowledge and good advice.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Story on The Brain

Ever hear of it? I have it bad. Posting on Twitter today made me realize how far gone I am. Seriously. My version of Story on The Brain is when you can function quite normally in real life, take care of business, kids, what have you, but the 'story' is always there, never far from your mind, just waiting to take over the minute the mind starts to wander.

The mind wanders mightily while multi-tasking. Case and point:

Exhibit A) Whilst checking iPod battery and preparing to make toast. Mind wanders to scene in book and wonders 'will that fight scene really work?'... Result: Losing iPod and finding it a day later inside of the toaster. (Bread is still missing).

Exhibit B) Cleaning off table for dinner, throwing away trash and removing a few folded pieces of laundry. Mind wanders to book and wonders 'is the feel right, is it dark enough, does it translate to the reader...' Result: Clean clothes thrown in trash and found later.

Yeah. I have it bad. There's more. Lots more, but I think I'll leave it at that. Can't decide if Story on the Brain is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe bad for household items, but damned if the story isn't gonna shine!

Surely I am not the only one afflicted with this malady . . .

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sneak peaks

Nothing definite as of now, but there's the possibility of an excerpt of The Better Part of Darkness being released in the near future. I'll let you all know if and when that happens.

And speaking of websites: Mine will get an overhaul sometime this summer.

I'm also having lots of fun going through Book 2 to find a suitable excerpt to go into the back of Book 1. I have two scenes right now that I think are really exciting and intriguing for different reasons, and hopefully will whet appetites for the next Charlie Madigan installment. I'm leaning toward one in particular. We'll see what my CP and my agent think though...

That's it for now. Back to work.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Got Books?

I do! Went on a small shopping spree this weekend and picked up the following:


Aren't they pretty? I've finished STRANGE ANGELS and HUNGER GAMES (which Jenna Black had lent me and then I had to go out and get my own copy -- so good!). Looking forward to MAGIC STRIKES and THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH.

I've been searching out YA's that are dark and perhaps don't read like YA (though that's hard to identify b/c the way they read can also be opinion and not necessarily fact), but have teenage protagonists and relatable themes, thus making them appeal to both the YA and adult audience. YA/Adult cross overs. I've heard this term before. And a few reviews have mentioned that some of the above YA's fit that description. It seems the question of what separates a YA from adult gets a little fuzzy with certain books. It also seems opinions vary on this point, too. Hmm, must read more. And buy more books. Heh. Good excuse, huh?