The Dreaded In-Betweens

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One of the most frustrating things I deal with as a writer (this is in terms of writing and editing, not the process of actually getting our work published) is the ominous in-between stage. It’s that moment (or seemingly endless period of subsequent moments) after I am done with a book (all the way done) and I need to start work on the next project. I must write new material sometimes because I go a little batty and become something of a monster to live with if I don’t.

I mean REALLY batty.

I mean REALLY batty.

However, I also have four completed novels waiting for additional editing (not including the three that are sequels to books my agent already has), eight novels that are partially written and placed on hold for assorted reasons (two of these are also sequels), a novella awaiting editing and numerous rough outlines for other novel ideas. These are all books I want to bring to completion and send out into the world. The problem is deciding which one’s next?

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The process goes something like this: I’ll start to work on one, then something in that book or in my daily life will make me thing of a different one and I suddenly find myself yearning to finish that one next. It’s almost as if my characters are in my head battling for my attention. It’s a cerebral Thunderdome and THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Yeah guys, I just did that.

Yeah guys, I just did that.

Do I force the issue or wait until someone wins? Writers, do you suffer this problem? If so, how do you deal with it?

Super Squee! (and the Pain Dumbs)

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This is going to be short and sweet as I’m suffering from the pain dumbs (the lack of mental capacity that occurs when part of your brain goes into hibernation until your pain levels go back below what’s tolerable). This is a result of my frolicking recklessly on the back deck and subsequently crashing down on its rather unyielding surface with as much velocity as I could muster. I don’t recommend trying this at home. The crashing part that is. I highly recommend frolicking as much as possible.

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So, on to the squee part.

I was delighted to announce last June in my post An Agent and Geeky Goodness that I had accepted an offer of representation from the fantastic Emily Keyes at L. Perkins Agency.

Now I get the pleasure of announcing that my debut novel The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, a young adult steampunk, will be published in Spring 2014 through Entangled Teen.

It was announced on Publishers Marketplace on September 18th.

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My agent also posted about it on Twitter the next day… twice. Thanks Emily!

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So that’s my story. More to come as things progress. Now, back to the pain dumbs.

Happy writing!

How Not To Be a Successful Author: Water

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Yes. Water.

It seems innocent enough. We drink it. We shower in it. We bathe in it.

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Ah, but that is where the problems start. Soaking. You can waste a lot of good time soaking in a bath and it can lead to things like soaking in a hot tub or even swimming for pleasure.

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When things really get bad is when you start discovering the other adventures water can provide.

Snorkeling (which can lead to believing you’re a fish and leaping about in the water).

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River floating (which can lead to socializing and goofing off).

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Kayaking (which can lead to lengthy adventures at sea).

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Those are just a few of the ways water can steal away hours and even days of productive writing time. My advice to you? Avoid it. Even showering could be considered a gateway activity. Sure, you might drive away friends and family with the stench if you don’t shower, but that will give you even more time to yourself for writing. Win all around.

Happy writing!

How Not To Be a Successful Author: Cats

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This post is the first of several aimed not at telling you how to be an author, but rather at providing insight into many things that might impede you along your journey. Since this is the first, I thought I would cover one of the most potentially career-limiting choices a large number of us have already fallen victim too. That is, the choice to share our lives with cats.

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Cats loathe productivity, especially when it interferes with petting and food.

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They’re fearless in the face of great evils because they are the greatest.

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Some advanced models now come with deceptive markings designed to convince you of their good intentions.

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They specialize in sleep deprivation tactics.

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Cats are precision instruments, designed to distract you from your work. You can’t fight them. They know your weaknesses. If you want to be successful, avoid these creatures at all cost. Sadly, it may be too late for me. I’ve seen them plotting.

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Happy writing!

Writer’s Conference Strategies: Sessions

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Writer’s conferences are wellsprings of information, but you can only attend one session at a time, so choose wisely. Any good conference will have a variety of sessions to choose from and your job is figuring out what’s going to be most useful for you.

Craft:

“During 30 years of earning my daily bread as a writer I have learned many lessons about our craft. The most significant of those lessons is that I still have many lessons to learn about out craft.”
―  H.P. Oliver

You can never go wrong with craft. There’s not a writer out there who shouldn’t aspire to improve their craft regardless of where they are in their career. However, if you just finished or are still writing your first or even second novel, this is probably where you should focus most of your time. You may be a prodigy, but odds are that first novel isn’t a masterpiece. It’s a stepping-stone to growing as a writer. Like any skill, you aren’t born knowing how to do it right or when it’s a good idea to break the rules. You have to learn the ins and outs of your vocation before you can advance through the ranks from apprentice to master. Craft sessions are there to help you on that journey. Take advantage of them.

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Marketing:

“Content is King. Promotion is Queen”
―  Bob Mayer

Whether you intend to try traditional or independent publishing, marketing is something you’re going to need to learn. A great book that can truly sell itself is almost as rare as unicorns. Don’t hang your career on the hope that your book is going to be that fabled creature. Plan to bust your ass building your audience and make your book soar. These sessions will help you get ideas on how to go about that and what will work for you and your book.

Traditional publishing:

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”
―  Stephen King

If you haven’t decided how you want to approach publishing, these sessions can give you the knowledge you need to make that decision. If you’ve decided on a traditional approach, these sessions can give you an inside look on what agents and publishers are looking for and how the publishing process works in the traditional world.

Indie Publishing:

“Behind every novel is a greater story of how it came to be published.”
―  T.L. Rese

Again, if you’re not sure how you want to go about publishing your work, these sessions can help you make an informed decision. If you already know you want to go this route, the sessions will give you insight on what has and hasn’t work for others and help you figure out how to go about it.

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Remember, don’t get ahead of yourself. If you only just started writing, focus on craft and worry about marketing and publishing after you’ve seasoned your skills. If you’re ready to move on, keep in mind that in publishing sessions, the people presenting will likely be advocates of the route they’ve chosen. Learn about your options and don’t get caught up in someone else’s enthusiasm. Choose the publishing path that is right for your goals as a writer and the kind of writing you do.

Happy Conferencing!

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