A Character Interview: Jayden from Scarlet Moon

scarlet-moon-coverI’d like to welcome S.D Grimm to the blog, author of Scarlet Moon, which comes out October 21st! Welcome S.D!

Hey! S.D. Grimm here. I am really excited for this guest blog post today. Not only do I get to talk about my novel Scarlet Moon, but I also get to do something really fun, and that is talk about my main character: Jayden Jorah.

A little bit about Jayden’s appearance first.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Medium brown with some red highlights.

Height: 5’ 3”

Distinguishing features: A birthmark that looks just like the moon only it’s blood red.

Now there is more than one main character in the Children of the Blood Moon series (of which Scarlet Moon is the first book), but Jayden’s story really takes the lead in this book for a number of reasons. I wanted a really awesome heroine, but I also wanted someone real. Someone relatable.

Jayden is those things. She has honest fears and doubts, and overcoming them is a big part of her story.

grimm-characterWhat Jayden likes most about herself: Her ability to spar with daggers and a sword and to throw knives. I’m not going to lie; she’s really good at it.

What she likes least about herself: Her emotional side. She’s an empath, and sometimes feeling all those emotions get in the way. Also, she has a big problem with fear. She fears stepping out of her comfort zone and leaving what she knows.

What she wants to do with her life: Become a wise woman and eventually a doctor.

Jayden’s biggest fear: Moving away from her home and family and the things that she believes define her.

Her deepest secret: Children of the Blood Moon like Jayden have special talents and abilities given to them—they’re all marked by the Blood Moon birthmark. Jayden’s biggest secret is some of her talents. No one knows she can actually feel other people’s emotions and make them her own. 

Has she ever been in love? Well, she loves Ryan, her betrothed, but she’s not ready to marry him. Some of it is the fear of leaving her comfort zone—that includes her friendship with him. She’s not sure how much things will change when she moves from friend to wife. And she’s not sure she’s ready.

grimm-drawingHere are some fun facts about Jayden.

Favorite color: Green. Specifically the green the sky gets right before a storm.

Myers Briggs Personality Type: ISFJ

Theme song: “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling

Hobbies: Sparring, horseback riding, cooking, and archery.

Favorite animal: Horse. She wears a necklace that used to be her mother’s, and the white, wooden charm is a horse.

I hope you have as much fun getting to know Jayden as I had writing her story!

 

 

 

sd-grimmS. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult speculative fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and her debut novel, Scarlet Moon, is slated to be published in October 2016. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), making clay dragons for her Grimmlies store on Etsy, practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and doing anything outdoorsy with the family. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.

Get ready for Scarlet Moon on October 21st! Purchase here.

To win a copy of Scarlet Moon subscribe to S.D Grimm’s newsletter and then comment here on the blog post to let us know you’ve subscribed!  Click here to subscribe.

US residents only.

Find S.D Grimm online:
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The 10 Stages of Editing Your Novel – In GIF Form

I realize we covered a bit of this in “How to Write a Novel”. But, dear reader, a quarter of a blog post simply doesn’t work to convey the fresh hell that is revisions (a hell I am intimately familiar with, and am revisiting right now, in fact).

So let’s get to it. You’ve finished your rough draft, and you’re wondering what you should be doing now, aside from cleaning up the ten coffee cups and sixteen billion Twix wrappers on your computer desk.

Enter STAGE ONE:

Stare blankly at your manuscript. Try to wrap your mind around what a colossal mess it is. Freak out.

 

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STAGE TWO:

Get out the manuscript again. Gear up with chocolate, coffee or tea, scented candles, and your coziest reading socks. Repeat after me: I do not suck. I will rewrite this. I am a literary genius. I am going to be published and make loads of money and appear on Oprah.

Now repeat it again, like you mean it.

Now sit down and reread what you’ve written.

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Okay, so maybe it’s not great yet, but that doesn’t mean YOU aren’t great. Now that you’ve read it over and taken notes, you’ve got something to work with! You’ve discovers problems with character development, plot, pacing, world building and grammar and spelling.

And it’s on to STAGE THREE:

Creating a game plan.

Okay that’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? It can actually be pretty overwhelming. Like, really overwhelming.

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BUT, if you sit down and take a few deep breathes, maybe go to other authors who have done this before and ask them what the best method is, or check out great websites like Susan Dennard’s (who has an epic battle plan laid out for revisions) it can be a little less intimidating.

At the very least, you can break it up “problem by problem” (Character, plot, pacing and world building), and do those edits one at a time, or chapter by chapter. Also, color coding, sticky notes and highlighters are helpful, both for organizing your work, and make this process a little more fun.

 

After you’ve mapped out your revisions strategy, you enter into STAGE FOUR:

BATTLE MODE.

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I mean, editing your manuscript…sorry, easy mistake. No kicking anyone into wells, okay?

Remember, tackle one thing at a time, either chapter by chapter, or problem by problem. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if you take it one step at a time, your problems become a lot smaller and easier to tackle. Take your time with this stage, don’t rush it. Even if you’re eager to get it out to beta readers, rushing through revisions just creates more work for yourself later. It should be as good as you can make it before anyone else sees it.

 

STAGE FIVE:

Sending your work out into the world. This is the scary part, the part where you have to send something you slaved over for months out into the world. And you’re pretty sure that everyone is going to hate it. And not just hate it with the kind of “meh, didn’t finish it” hate, but the hated it so much they set it on fire and then ran it over with their car to put it out, left a bag of  flaming dog poo on your doorstep, printed out a picture of your face and drew mustaches all over it, kind of hated it.

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But it doesn’t matter, you gotta get stage five over with. So you send it off and hold your breath and…woah, one of them writes back and says they like it. And maybe a few you never hear back from again, but eventually all the advice comes trickling in and you take notes of the stuff you agree with, and disregard what you don’t, and make more revision notes for yourself and a new plan of attack.

And then it’s onto STAGE SIX:

The third draft of your manuscript, and the last big round of edits (maybe) that you’re going to be doing. You’re almost there.

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Once you’ve finished all the major revisions it’s time for STAGE SEVEN.

Yes, I know, there’s one more stage. Just one, I swear!

another

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is all the small annoying stuff, typos and grammar errors and misplaced commas. Do a read through for all of this and mark it down, then back to the computer to edit one last time. Give it one last polish.

And you’re done!

You’re finished, celebrate! Buy yourself some chocolate (or if chocolate is what you’ve been eating up until now, maybe buy yourself a salad), shout about it on twitter, tell your friends and family, treat yourself to lunch. Do something to reward yourself for a a job well done. You finished a novel, holy crap!

self-five

 

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How to Write a Novel – In GIF Form

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Step 1 – Get a shiny new idea. 

It’s brilliant, it’s fully formed, and you’re totally ready to write it and make a million dollars. It’s going to be the next Harry Potter for sure.

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Step 2 – Write Like the Wind

Get that baby down on the paper. Drink about ten gallons of coffee, eat a copious amount of chocolate and use semi colons with reckless abandonment. Whatever it takes to bring that story to life.

 

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Step 3 – Read over your Novel

And figure out it’s actually…not very good.

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Step 4 – Take a few days to despair

Flop around a little, if you need to.

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Step 5 – Steel yourself for edits.

Arm yourself with colored pens and index cards. Strap yourself in with your sticky notes and your highlighters, it’s time to go to war. Er…edit, time to edit.

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Step 6 – Buckle down and get your edits done. Then send it out to beta readers.

Sit back and hope they don’t rip your baby to shreds.

 

nervous breakdown

 

 

 

Step 7 – Receive the feedback. Cry a little. Drink a little. Decide all the feedback is wrong and you’re actually brilliant.

LIAR

 

 

 

 

Step 8 – Finally admit to yourself that the feedback might be right. Start on the edits. 

One draft, and then the next, and the next.

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Step 9 – Literally edit until you fantasize about setting the manuscript on fire.

Like actually.

destroy it

 

 

 

Step 10 – Finish your edits. Polish the words. All the words.

And realize…you’re finished.

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Step 11 – You’re finished! Celebrate, because you wrote a freaking book and you’re DONE.

It’s time to tell everyone how awesome you are. Take that, Grandma. You knew you could do this!

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Step 12 – Realize the next step is querying.

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And…that’s it. That’s ALL it takes to write a novel. No problem, right?

You got this.

 

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Paper Hearts: Tour Stop

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If you haven’t heard of the Paper Hearts series, today is your lucky day! NYT bestselling author author Beth Revis surprised us all late last year by releasing a trilogy of advice books perfect for those of us working our way into the world of authorhood. This week we’re celebrating Volume One: Some Writing Advice which Beth was originally posting over on Wattpad, where you can still check out some of the awesome entries from the finished product. And while there’s a lot of great content there, the final version of the book has expanded into every possible area of writing you could dream of, with a special focus on YA.

Not only is it easy to see why the Paper Hearts series would be a fantastic series to any writer’s craft library, but if you’re just starting to build up your reference books the Paper Hearts books are a great place to begin as there is so much great advice between the pages of these books covering the entire writing and publication process, right through to marketing your books after they’re out in the world.

And don’t forget to make your way all the way to the bottom of the post as there’s a great giveaway going along with the tour. Enter for your chance to win signed paperback copies of all three books in the series! And as an added bonus, Beth Revis has been sharing some great tips on writing all week, and now it’s my turn to take part. Be sure to check out the earlier tips as well as to keep following the tour for more writing tips, plus insights into both publishing and marketing. Let’s check out tip #4!

4

When building the world of your story, make it dirty. Add in history and scars—and then use those to develop the characters and the plot. Those extra world details can give you direction for your plot, or help you make your character have more background. Show scuff marks on the floor, and then later show how they got there. Show trash in the corner, and then show the character who threw it…or the one who cleaned it up after. Make your world lived in, and every aspect of your story will be richer.

Great advice! Every little detail makes the story just a little bit more real. It makes things come to life on the page for your reader.


 

Bird by Bird meets Save the Cat in this new writing advice book by NY Times bestselling author Beth Revis. With more than 100000 reads on Wattpad, this newly expanded and rewritten edition features 350 pages of content, including charts and a detailed appendix.
~~~
paperhearts1Fight the blank page.

When it comes to writing, there’s no wrong way to get words on paper. But it’s not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won’t make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Develop Character, Plot, & World
-What Common Advice You Should Ignore
-What Advice Actually Helps
-How to Develop a Novel
-The Basics of Grammar, Style, & Tone
-Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
-How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
-How to Deal with Failure
…And much more!

BONUS! More than 25 “What to do if…” scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a NY Times Bestselling author who’s written more than 2 million words of fiction.

Learn more at BethRevis.com

Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice on Goodreads

Purchase Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice
AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Follow along with the rest of the tour at the Paper Hearts Tour Headquarters, or follow Beth Revis on Twitter!

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Self Publishing VS Traditional: Let’s Move On

No seriously, let’s get over this thought that there is only “one true way” and if you “insert way of publishing here” you’re a loser who will never amount to anything. That was SO 2015.

I really thought we were making progress, since I hadn’t seen any scathing articles about traditional or self publishing in a while. I thought, “Gee, maybe people are finally realizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and every writer is different”.

And then ANOTHER article came out. You may know the one I’m talking about, it’s been doing the rounds lately, circulating. In this article the author basically claims that you’re going to be broke and unhappy if you go the traditional publishing route, but that she would NEVER EVER self publish because that’s for hacks (essentially, I’m summing up here).

Not only is it depressing for writers thinking about going EITHER route (seriously, what a downer) it’s a return to the same backwards thinking that was so prevalent over the past few years.

At first I was all, “Ugh, I give up.”

 

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But then I decided I’d do something better than sulk and angrily eat all the contents of my snack cupboard.

So I put on my ranty pants and made a video. YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FicFest – Meet the Team

 

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Introducing the fabulous, smashing, most definitely charming Team England! I like to think we’ve got all the class and a little bit of that cheeky, dry humor. Plus some of us really really like tea (not naming names, ahem).

Without further mumbling and stammering, here is Team England in all its glory!

 

Team Leader:

E. Latimer

E.-Latimer2E. Latimer is a young adult/middle grade fantasy writer and literary intern who was born and raised in Victoria, BC and recently moved to Vancouver. She writes books, makes silly vlogs with the YA Word Nerds about writing and reads excessively.

You can find out more by following her on twitter at @ELatimerWrites

E’s Wish List:

  • Creepy, whimsical MG with strains of dark magic (think Coraline, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events).
  • Quirky, fun MG with a classic feel to it (think The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter).
  • Fantasy of almost any kind.

 

 

Team Members:

Kate Saunders

Kate picKate is the editorial director for new Australian publishing house, Lakewater Press, and a freelance editor and proofreader. Her debut middle grade novel, Winell Road: Beneath the
Surface
, was published by Jet Black Publishing in 2015 and the sequel is coming soon this year. She has mentored new writers as part of Nest Pitch and Pitch Wars, and regularly judges writing contests. Originally from England, she now lives with her family on the Gold Coast in Australia.
Find Kate on twitter as @winellroad
Go to Kate’s Website: http://www.katejfoster.com/
Kate’s Wishlist:
  • Voice comes first before all else. So clear and addictive tones; precise and beautifully executed narratives. I am a sucker for dark and disturbing, but if the hook and great characterisation are apparent in those opening paragraphs, I’m in!

Ramon Ballard 

RamonRamon Ballard grew up in Salt Lake City and was invisible throughout his schooldays (due to his shyness), unfortunately he had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons. Invisibility has definite advantages, especially when combined with a vivid imagination. He created magical, fantasy worlds with magical inhabitants.

Time does not stand still. Fantasy worlds evolve into mundane, everyday life. As he grew older, his whimsical travels to far off places diminished and his invisibility slowly faded into visibility. All foolish realms were forgotten, pushed into the furthest regions of his mind. Ramon grew up, but a small part of his mind, the part stuffed to overflowing with imaginary worlds, refused to get older. It appears as if he had a Peter Pan soul.

Ramon would tell the stories, once only heard by his imaginary friends to his own children. Alas children, like time, do not stand still, and grow too old for such nonsense. But for some reason he still loved his stories and would tell my wife “one day I will write a great children’s novel.”

One day Ramon’s life changed forever when his lovely wife told him to “shut up and write.” It seems that life has a way of going in full circles, late at night Ramon finds himself holding conversations with imaginary persons.

The rest is or will be history.

Follow Ramon on twitter at @raballard

Follow Ramon’s blog: http://raballard-mymind.blogspot.ca/

Ramon’s Wishlist:

  • Anything fantasy. Something my grandchildren would love to read (when they’re older). From dragons to dungeons, Unicorns, to a kid with an untied shoe that sends the kid to far off places. You know, fantasy

 

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7676405@N04/25779764665″>Through The Haze…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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FicFest – A New Contest For Writers

Feather Image by EL Wicker- Fic fest

 

Very pleased to announce I’ll be participating as one of the judges/mentors in the middle grade category for FicFest!

What is FicFest? It’s a online contest for writers with a finished, ready-to-query manuscript in almost any genre or category  (Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult)

There will be three different teams in each category, so lots of opportunities for writers who submit!

2016 Time Line

 

March 20, 2016 @ 12:00 PM EST
Guidelines & Theme Reveal
(Host Blog)

March 27, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST
Meet the Team Leads & Their Members!
(Team Lead Blogs & Host Blog)

April 3, 2016 @ 6:00 PM EST
Agent List Announced
(Host Blog)

April 17, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST – 10:00 PM EST
Q & A with Team Leads & Host
(Twitter – Using #FicFest)

April 24, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – April 25, 2016 @ 11:59 PM EST
SUBMISSION

April 26, 2016 – May 3, 2016
Teams will chose their finalists/alternate

May 4, 2016 @ 10:00 AM EST
Finalists/Alternate Reveal
(Team Leads Blogs)

May 5, 2016 – June 30, 2016
Revisions

July 8, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – July 14, 2014 @ 11:59 PM EST
Agent Round

 

For more details and updates, visit the host website/blog:

Website – http://www.tiffanyhofmannauthor.com

Blog – http://writersnook87.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The Query Process in Harry Potter Gifs

When you finish your manuscript and it’s time to email agents!

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When you learn what a query letter actually is and that you have to write one.

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When you first start trying to write one and realize everything you write sucks.

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When revisions have driven you insane but you realize you’re FINALLY ready to send this bitch OUT.

 

realize it's ready

 

 

 

 

When you hit “send” and then have to wait forever.

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When you get your first partial request…and it turns into a rejection the literal MINUTE you send the pages.

go vomit

 

 

 

 

 

When the feedback is all rejections and you feel like the agents are all like

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When you get your first actual feedback from an agent

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When your revised manuscript actually starts getting full requests

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When you finally get “the email” asking for “the call”

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And then realize you have to actually talk to a real life agent on the phone

 

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But then the call goes great, and the agent offers!

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And you realize you HAVE AN OFFER. Time to celebrate!

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And you brag for days to all your friends, who are all like, “that’s great, shut up about it already”.

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And then your awesome new agent says it’s time to go on submission

 

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The end (but not really).

 

 

 

 

 

 

E.-Latimer2E. Latimer is a young adult fantasy writer  and literary intern. She was was born and raised in Victoria, BC and recently moved to Vancouver. She writes books, makes silly vlogs about writing with the YA Word Nerds, and reads excessively.

For more ramblings, tips on querying and thoughts on writing, sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the “Newsletter” link in the menu. Your email will not be shared, and newsletters will only come out biweekly.

 

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Today I am an “Angry Feminist”

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Y’know what? There’s a reason feminists become “angry”. It’s because you wake up and check your facebook/twitter/news station and get smacked with another steaming hot face-full of sexism.
 
This morning it was some scraggly-bearded, hobo-turd in a tweed jacket saying that women aren’t as ambitious as men. That we aren’t “driven”. The only way we’ll ever be happy is marrying and having children.
 
We aren’t driven. Women. All women. That includes me.
 
This pushes me over into angry feminist territory, because I have spent the last five years of my life FIGHTING to achieve my goals, to not give in to the sucking vortex of hopelessness and stress and shitty jobs, while I struggled to write more and write faster and write better. I have been rejected and rejected and rejected and broken down and picked myself up over and over because I WANT THIS SO BADLY.
 
Lately I’ve been killing myself to meet two deadlines that fell on the same date. My house is in shambles, I’m eating out of Tupperware, I’m on the computer until eleven at night. The other day I edited for seven straight hours.
 
I mean, I am literally working my butt off (yes, literally, I forget to eat occasionally and dropped three pounds over the last three weeks). I look like a wizard trying to dress like a muggle because at this point I’m just putting on whatever is left in my closet.
 
So don’t you dare tell me I’m not driven.
 
I just sent off both projects last night and realized my house looks like a bomb went off, and I am a disgusting, unwashed mess and most of all I realized, I AM FIERCELY HAPPY. I love what I’m doing. For once in my life I don’t stand around and wonder, What the hell am I doing here? I don’t have times where I’m watching Netflix or lying around on my phone thinking, I feel like I should be doing something. Those feelings are gone when I’m fulfilled, when I know I’m right where I should be, doing exactly what I’m meant to do.
 
So don’t tell me I’m not happy.
 

My husband also makes me fiercely happy, he’s an amazing guy (and he puts up with the human disaster that is me) and it’s not like I don’t want to have a kid someday, but to have some dirt-bag yammer on about how women simply aren’t driven after all of this…well, it’s enough to make a gal angry.

And I’m not the only driven writer I know. I know loads of them, all balancing work and family with their writing, squeezing in time to write between feeding everyone and cleaning the house and working a full time job. They do this because they’re driven. Because they have ambition and passion and they’re not going to give up regardless of how much rejection they face, or how difficult the battle becomes.

So basically I have one last thing to say, and it’s not professional or eloquent in any way, but it needs to be said so…

Screw you neck-beard, dude. Screw you.

And that’s about it.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87098609@N00/511361871″>White Panther</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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How I Got My Agent

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There’s been a lot of ups and downs over the last two years. The last four years, really, but that’s something I’ll probably go into more later.

I parted ways with my first literary agent in March of 2014. The book I wrote hadn’t sold, but I still loved the characters and the title, so I scrapped all but the first chapter and started over again. Roughly eight months later I got into Brenda Drake’s “Pitch Wars” contest and actually won the middle grade category for most agent requests.

I was over the moon! I’d sent out over twenty full requests at that point, both through Pitch Wars (and after PW, with just normal querying) so I was sure I would get an offer from someone.

I didn’t. Instead I got rejection, after rejection, after rejection.

The feedback was all the same. No one connected to the character, they couldn’t get into the story, the voice was inaccessible. It all amounted to the same thing. And at the time it was something I didn’t feel ready to try to fix. Mainly because it was such a huge overhaul and I wasn’t even sure where to start.

So I got into a funk. A deep, chocolate-filled misery session that lasted several weeks.

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But I can never stay in a funk for long, because there’s always some new shiny idea to pull me out of it. And The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryrony Gray was it.  The idea of writing a kind of weird, MG retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray was enough to pull me out of my slump and get me to start writing again.

Six months ago I started querying the new manuscript. I was cautiously hopeful, allowing myself some excitement when the full requests started coming in.

And then, again, rejections started trickling in one by one. Some of them specific, most of them vague. And I was caught up in the idea that This is going to be the same as last time.

The thought terrified me. I wasn’t sure if I could take another roller coaster ride like that again, barreling to the tip top of the tracks and then crashing down over and over.

At the time I was sending out queries in batches of ten, and an agent from the second round of queries asked for an R&R. I read over her email and loved everything she’d suggested. So I immediately stopped querying and took about two months to make the changes.

Then, when I thought I might finally be ready, I sent the agent  the new manuscript back, and sent out another couple rounds, confident this new version was so much stronger.

It turned out it was. In the morning on November 24th I woke up to an email from Silvia Molteni of Peters Fraser and Dunlop. She said she loved the manuscript and read it in one day, and she asked if we could speak on the phone.

A call. The call.

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That’s basically what I did.

 

After recovering from my shock I sent her a very excited email back telling her I would love a call, and I was so excited she loved the manuscript. I gave her my phone number and then stared impatiently at my email icon for a several minutes before realizing…It’s 6pm in London, she’s probably home for the day. Crap.

Being a normal, non-mouth frothy type of person for the rest of the day was difficult, but I managed to pull it off for the most part. I went bookstore shopping with my family, and then we got lunch in one of my favorite little cafes.

The YA Word Nerds like to tease me that I’m still one of those people who talks on the phone instead of just texting. So when my phone rang I debated picking it up. It was a long number from Alberta. Telemarketer, I decided. Probably just someone trying to tell me I’ve won an Alaskan cruise. No thanks.

Then my phone rang again, another outrageously long number. I looked at it and hemmed and hawed and both my brother and my mom went, Just answer it! And I did, and it was  Silvia, calling me really, really late her time.

We talked, it was loud inside. I went outside, it was even louder, due to the windstorm going on. But it was slightly better than the loud indie music in the cafe so I braved the weather for a few minutes.

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Now picture me with a cell phone in one hand.

I had to run to the shelter of my car so I could actually hear her. After the call, I emailed all the agents with my full. I also emailed all the agents I had queried in the last two months who hadn’t answered yet, which is something that a lot of writers don’t realize they can do (I recommend it, since quite a few of them asked to see the full so they could read before the deadline).

A few days later, after the initial excitement had died down, I got another email asking for a call. I could barely believe it. It had been shocking that one agent had loved it, to have another ask for a call was something I hadn’t even dreamed of. We talked the day after, and she offered as well. I was completely floored, and spent the next few days in kind of a daze.

And then a third email asking for a call came in. This time the agent wanted to talk to me about an R&R. Changes she and her team wanted me to make before she could offer. Not an offer yet, but still three agents very interested.

I repeatedly pinched myself.

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The day before the deadline I got a fourth email, and one I’d kind of been afraid of. By that time I had ceased walking around bumping into objects, and I was kind of leaning toward one agent in particular. I was fairly sure we were the best match. I felt our visions lined up. That she was enthusiastic and that we had “clicked”. But I knew a dream agent still had my full. An agent who had been on my “top agents” list since I’d started querying four years ago.

And then, the email came. The dream agent wanted a call.

And I knew I had one day to make the biggest decision of my life.

I know for some people it’s not “the biggest decision”. It’s not deciding where to live, it’s not figuring out if you want kids, it’s not taking the red pill or the blue pill. But to me, it might as well have been. Writing is my life, so this…this was big, and scary. A terrifying, life-altering decision that needed to be made in roughly half a day. One in a half if I wanted to stretch the deadline a bit, and I had too many people waiting to feel comfortable doing that.

So I paced back and forth. I agonized. I made pros and cons lists, lists of what was important to me, diagrams, maps…okay maybe not maps, but there was plenty of frenzied chart making.

This decision between the agent I had really clicked with and the agent that had been on the top of my list for years, was brutal. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The thing was, there was no WRONG answer. Both of the agents were awesome for different reasons. A cold, hard business decision would have been dream agent, because her sales are unbelievable and I right now I have NYT best selling books on my shelf that she reps.

But the other agent also had terrific sales, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the call we had. About her sheer passion for the project, her love of Oscar Wilde, the way she talked about the characters like they were real, live people. A choice guided by emotion or “gut instinct” was her.

So how was I supposed to choose?

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But since there was also no wrong choice, since both the agents were with excellent agencies, since both had great sales, at the end of the day I decided I had to follow my heart.

Yes, I know that sounds less like a business decision and more like a Disney movie, but I also know that your agent has to be your partner, your cheerleader, your tireless advocate. That’s not to say that dream agent wouldn’t have been, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that the agent who had originally offered (Silvia) was also a dream agent at this point. The thought of turning her offer down made my stomach turn. The thought seemed…wrong.

I made my decision finally, sent off the emails…and sat there quietly for about ten minutes. Then I burst into tears.

But then I realized how silly I was crying, because I had an agent, so I was laughing at myself. And crying, and laughing and…it was ugly.

We’ll say no more about that.

Days later, having emailed back and forth with more questions and signed the contract, I know I made the right decision for me.

So it’s time to break out the happy dance.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28288882@N08/4548845462″>Still Life (35mm) – Typewriter</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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