Friday, February 1, 2013

A Year Later

Cafe Presse by Lois van Baarle (loish.net)

One year and a few days ago, I gained representation with Barry Goldblatt Literary, and my agent and I decided to take my epic fantasy series, The Children of Man, into traditional publishing. Most weeks, I get asked on my various online haunts, if there’s a release date yet for Forge, the third book. And my answer for the last year has been the same. There is, as of yet, no release date.  

It hasn’t changed on my FAQ page, because there’s, unfortunately, nothing to report. 

I’m so thrilled and honored that you, my beautiful readers, are anxious and hungry for the next installment in Faela and the crew’s adventures. I am beyond fortunate to have such a wonderful and enthusiastic readership. I just ask, again, for your patience with this process.

I want to get the third book into your hands as badly as you want to read it. Maybe more. This, however, is my path, the one I chose. And even with all the waiting and waiting and, you guessed it, waiting, I don’t regret that choice. At all.

Over this past year in the agency, I’ve learned more than I can relate in this post. The agents, editors, artists, and writers of BGL are gracious, funny, smart, supportive, and talented. They’ve taught me so much about publishing, about writing, about story. Through their stories and friendships, they’ve challenged me to improve every day. To push my prose till it sings, to dig deep and build my fiction on emotional truth, to tell the stories that terrify me to write, to trust myself and my voice, to never put jellybeans in white wine.

(Seriously, PSA time, folks, avoid jellybeans in white wine. TMYK, shooting star.)

As this community has stretched me, my writing has grown and is growing. And you, dear readers, will reap that benefit in a tangible, real way when the last two books of The Children of Man are published.

So this is my official statement of, honestly, there’s nothing to report, no new information. I wish there were. Just like you, we’re still waiting. But as SOON as I have news, I will shout it from the proverbial rooftops of the interwebs. I promise.

Now back to writing.

(The picture has little to nothing to do with this post except it's just GORGEOUS, and I'm a bit obsessed with Lois Van Baarle's work on loish.net. And I wanted to introduce you to something beautiful.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lobotomized by Joy: Announcement about Forge & THINGS


The title of this post originally comes from a hashtag I tweeted last Thursday, and IT STILL APPLIES. I've decided that the only way for this post to accurately reflect my feelings is with the help of pictures. I feel that at this time words fail me. But I did write a post two years ago called Catching the Sun about finally finishing the first draft of Shatter (The Children of Man, #1), and it does capture the same feelings I'm experiencing now fairly articulately. So, if you want the articulate, pretty version read that. If you want the rambling, raw emotion, READ ON.

I will tell you the story, but I want to get THE announcement out of the way. So, here goes. As of Thursday, I am now represented by Joe Monti, an agent from Barry Goldblatt Literary. Yeah. That's right. I HAVE AN AGENT, AND HE'S AWESOME. Let it sink in. 'Cause it hasn't for me yet. At all.

This is me when I think about it, which is ALL THE TIME.
So, this is my story of how I go to that stupefied expression. I never really intended to self-publish. It kind of just happened. I know, you're wondering how in the world that works, but it's the truth. In 2009 I won NaNoWriMo* for the first time, and one of the prizes was a free proof copy of your novel. I finished up the first draft of Shatter in December and spent the winter and spring editing and revising. When I ordered my proof copy, Shatter was posted on amazon.com for sale. That kind of blew my mind that my story was out there for people to purchase. And it freaked me out, because it had SO MANY copy errors. It wasn't until my friend Randy Lalonde, who happens to be an indie author, encouraged me to offer Shatter as as e-book did I decide to really give it a try. I figured I didn't have anything to lose by trying, right? That was June 2010.

About a month into releasing the e-book of Shatter, I decided to offer it for free. I saw a big uptick in my downloads at that point and good reviews started trickling in. In October, amazon price matched Shatter and offered it for free. In that first month, I saw 25,000+ downloads of Shatter. I was starting to really get excited about self-publishing.

In November when I released Render, I was really happy about where I was with self-publishing. At this point, Shatter has been downloaded or purchased over 205,000 times, and Render is closing in on 4,000. (See earlier picture for my response to those numbers.) My only regret has been that I don't have the kind of editorial team behind me that traditional publishing offers that could push me to be a better writer and make my stories the best they can be.

Amidst my happiness surrounding Render's release, I was contacted regarding my books. I can't go into the details of any of it, but it raised questions that I was ill-equipped to handle about publishing. Now here comes the entertaining part of this tale. I have a friend who I've played World of Warcraft with for at least five years. Though he's definitely Barry, he'll always be Tia, which is a shortened form of his original character's name in game. (Sorry, you won't be able to find our server, guild, or characters from that info. ^.^) We raided and instanced and goofed off on vent for months before I discovered what he did for a living. 

One week, Tia had to call off for raid, because he was going to LA. When we asked him what the trip was for, he informed us that he was going to a movie premiere of a client's book, "The Spiderwick Chronicles." (See previous picture for my reaction. I look confused a lot apparently.) My friend Tia is Barry Goldblatt, rockstar kids & YA literary agent, husband of Printz award-winner Libba Bray, agent of Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Michelle Hodkin, and the list just goes on to more awesome. But he was still just my friend Tia, WHO GAVE AWESOME BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. I mean, seriously, the stuff I've read because of him.

I do want to be clear that I never once tried to use him or his connections in this process. He's my friend, first and foremost. But when I was contacted about my books in November, I had a lot of questions and really needed some guidance. So naturally I turned to him for help. And because Barry is Barry, he offered his wisdom, advice, and enthusiasm without hesitation. It was at this point that I decided I should start looking for an agent to represent me, and I asked Barry for a list of which agents I should contact and how to go about doing so, because my circumstances would not fit your typical query. In the end, he recommended that I send my MSS to Joe Monti.

I sent the MSS for both Shatter and Render over Thanksgiving. Joe got back to me two weeks ago, and we scheduled a phone conversation for last Thursday. Now, you need to understand that I am a realist who wishes I could be an idealist. I always prepare myself for the worst and hope for the best. In preparation for the phone call, I thought what the worst case scenario could be. So I told myself that Joe could have scheduled this phone call to impress upon me just how BAD my writing was, and that it was his duty to Literature and Storytelling and Humanity to convince me to do ANYTHING else.

I wanted to avoid this.
So, Joe and I talked on Thursday. The conversation meandered as we got to know each other, which gave me hope that this wasn't the PLEASE-NEVER-WRITE-AGAIN phone call. We talked about my goals for my writing and constructive critique, and we seemed to be on the same page. We both wanted to take my work into traditional publishing. After all that, he told me that he wasn't talking to me as a favor to Barry, but that he was genuinely excited about my work and its potential.

Truthfully, I probably looked more like the cat.
Then he said that he'd love to represent me.

I went from this.
To this.
To lobotomized by joy
And I said that I'd love for him to represent me. Not just because he is a successful literary agent offering to represent me, but through the course of the conversation I just really liked who Joe was. He laughs a lot, and I appreciate that so much. Also, he works with Barry, and I trust Barry's judgment. I mean really, this man has never steered me wrong, whether its books or food. PUGs on the other hand... *snickers* Love you, Barry! Okay. Tangent time. If you ever see a restaurant recommendation from Barry on twitter, and you're in the same city as the restaurant, GO THERE IMMEDIATELY. I mean, seriously, I don't care what you're doing. Even if you're already eating. Stop and go where he's suggested.

So that's my big secret! I am now represented by a very reputable literary agency and agent extraordinaire. I have to admit I'm a little starstruck about the other authors who are represented by my agency. MY AGENCY, GOOD GRAVY. I just hope I can restrain myself from fangirl-ing all over people... *gazes as non-psychotically as possible at Cassie Clare and Holly Black*

This choice has consequences though. It does mean that I won't be self-publishing Forge. The goal for The Children of Man series is to rework Shatter and Render and get them ready to submit to traditional publishers. This is the route I really want to take the series, because I am SO excited about having a creative team to push me to be the best writer I can be. And these stories and characters deserve to be told in the best way possible, and traditional publishing has the resources to help me achieve that.

This also means that I have no time frame for how long it will take for the series to find a publisher and once that happens for the third book to be released. I just hope that you'll stick with me through this process and be patient, because the end result will be even better than the stories are now.

I have an agent? I HAVE AN AGENT.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!


*National Novel Writing Month is when you try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I did it in 2009 and 2010 and won both times. It's a GREAT tool for discipling yourself as a writer. I recommend it for all aspiring writers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Art! Short Story! Presents!


Happy Holidays, all! I have presents for you! I'm really excited to announce that I've uploaded the short story about Caleb & Talise's first meeting to smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and amazon. It should be live in the next 24-48 hours. It will take longer to distribute to iBooks, Sony, Diesel, and Kobo as always. I will keep you informed.

The story is called "The Luthier of Keman."
Synopsis: 
Caleb Murphy is coming to the end of his first circuit as an avowed Daniyelan, and it can't end soon enough. Arbitrating judgments for horse breeders in Isfaridesh can't compare to his journeymen circuit riding the disputed Nabosian border, and his partner, Gisa Protz, can't stand him. His thoughts are with his troubled sister Ella as he arrives in the small town of Keman, but what awaits him in a luthier's shop will change his life forever. 
"The Luthier of Keman" is a short story that takes place twenty years before Shatter (The Children of Man, #1).
The story takes place twenty years before the events of Shatter and Render, during the year before the Nabosian War began. Caleb and Talise are eighteen years old and quite different from the dynamic duo we know and love. I really hope you enjoy it! I had such a blast writing it. Seriously. So much fun. It was so nice to draft, edit, and publish a story in a matter of weeks.

That announcement is my first present to you. My second is a present to me that I'm passing on and sharing with you. My loverly and all around awesomesauce friend Anne Hromalik of cartographer fame is, as I've told you before, an artist, not just a brilliant mapmaker. She created a piece featuring Caleb and Talise, and I'M SO IN LOVE. This picture makes me salivate. Its dynamism is so appropriate for these two characters. It captures each of their personalities and their relationship perfectly. The use of color is so spot on. The yellow for Talise with the complimentary blue highlights is just so apropos. I love the arm bandolier on Caleb. I love the knives strapped to Talise's thighs, and her boots--great googly moogly her boots. I love that Caleb is firmly solid and stable and Talise is tumbling through the air. I love the expressions on their faces and how they're looking at each other. They look exactly as I picture Caleb & Talise. Simply put, it IS my Caleb and Talise. I could prattle on about this picture for far longer than you want to listen. Without further ranting and raving, here it is:

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS PICTURE. I mean LOOK AT IT. How can I not be giddy? It looks like the cover of a really awesome graphic novel. I am so blessed to have friends like Anne. I love seeing my characters brought to life, and this is simply stunning. Thank you so much, Anne, for this present. *squee*

See more of Anne's artwork here: http://www.teaofdreams.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

Announcement of Announcing


Greetings, salutations, and divers hellos, gentle readers. On my way home from work, I was driving through monsoon-esque conditions, and I realized that there are several tidbits that I'd like to bring to your attention.

First, if you did not receive the tweet of joy this weekend, Render (The Children of Man, #2) is LIVE on iBooks. Go forth! Read! Review! Huzzah! (Not necessarily in that order. Huzzahs may vary.) 


Second, if you've finished Render and feel bereft waiting for the next morsel of the story, might I suggest joining the forums over on goodreads to discuss the series with other readers? I'd love to get a lively discussion and community going over there. Several people have jumped in already, and we'd love for you to join us!


Third, I wanted to announce officially that The Children of Man series will not end with the third book, Forge. When I first outlined this series, I intended it to be five books. Then I edited it back to a trilogy. After much consideration, I felt that to do the story justice I needed a fourth book. Now, I do promise you that this particular story will end with the fourth book. This will not be a never-ending series where I keep yelling, "Fooled you!" like Dark Helmet at the end of each story. This tale has a definite conclusion, and I will not drag it out unnecessarily. But I also refuse to rush the ending of the story. I've read too many trilogies that have done just that. At the end, I simply felt cheated. I would have chosen to wait for another book rather than be handed a rush job. Mockingjay, I'm looking at you.

Fourth, I'm currently working on a surprise Christmas treat for you, my readers. Some of you are already aware of this project and had a hand in picking its topic. It's a short story about how Caleb and Talise met. I'm hoping to have this story finished and polished in time for the holidays. It's all outlined, and the first scene is almost finished. I think y'all are really going to like it. I'm having a blast writing it thus far.

Fifth, I discovered the web series JourneyQuest this weekend. It's by the same guys who did the indie movie "Gamers: The Dorkness Rising" about tabletop RPGs. I LOVE THESE GUYS. Seriously. Season 2 comes out this summer.
Following a group of dysfunctional adventurers on a quest to discover and destroy the mythical Sword of Fighting, JOURNEYQUEST is a comedic adventure through the fantasy world of Fartherall, where intellectual orcs, incompetent wizards, and holy zombies form the living (and not-so-living) backdrop to an epic story of unrequited love, burning passions, and severely reluctant heroism. And running away. Lots of running away ...

Sixth, the above picture is from an episode of The Simpsons called "The Book Job," and it's about YA books and guest stars Neil Gaiman. This episode is priceless. I highly suggest watching it.

With that, gentle readers, I bring this announcement of announcing to a close.

As always, happy reading!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Render shipping to iBooks, Sony, KoBo, & Diesel!


FINALLY! For those of you waiting for Render (The Children of Man, #2) to appear in iBooks, Sony, KoBo, or Diesel's stores, your wait is drawing to a close. Render made it through smashwords backlogged vetting process for inclusion in their Premium Catalogue--finally. 

It was approved today and will ship to the retailers tomorrow or Friday. Once it has been shipped, it will appear in ONE to TWO weeks on the retailer's sites. HOWEVER, I have noticed that usually within a day or two of shipping books usually show up in the iBooks store.

Once I see Render live on iBooks and these other fine retailers, I'll post ongoing updates. Ladies and gents, start your stalking! I know I will be. Huzzah!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Render: iBooks, Sony, & Diesel


So, it's almost been a week since Render (The Children of Man, #2) was released. (I'M STILL QUITE EXCITED.) Ahem. I plan to post on Wednesday to commemorate the book's first week. Today, I felt it necessary to address Render's unavailability on certain e-book platforms at the moment.

I distribute directly through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This means that when I upload an e-book it takes 24-72 hours for it to go live on their sites. I currently don't distribute directly through Apple for iBooks. My books are distributed to Apple through a company called smashwords. 

Smashwords.com offers my e-books on their site, and they also distribute them to Apple, Sony, KoBo, and Diesel. At the moment, smashwords is backlogged for vetting e-books that want to be included in their Premium Catalogue. This is a necessary step before they send an e-book off to these retailers. 

At this point, I have no control over when Render will become available on iBooks, Sony, Diesel, and KoBo. I will continue to monitor the situation and let you know the MOMENT it becomes available.

Thanks for your patience. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Render Release Countdown: IT'S HERE!



IT'S HERE!
That's right, gentle readers. My treat for you today is THE BOOK. Render (The Children of Man, #2) HAS ARRIVED. Even though we're still 4 hours away from the 16th here in Ohio, it's already Wednesday in half the world. So, if it's still Tuesday the 15th where you are, happy early release!

I'm really excited about this book, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Render is currently live for amazon, Barnes and Noble, and smashwords. The print edition will be up sometime over the next week. The print process just takes a little bit longer. Smashwords will be distributing to iBooks, Sony, and Diesel sometime in the next week or so as well. I'll continue to give you updates as each of those go live. HAPPY RENDER RELEASE DAY!

Buy Render!

Add to Your Goodreads!





This release brought to you by Queen & The Dartmouth Aires.


Because nothing says celebration like Freddy Mercury and a cappella.

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