Authorial Duties: Picking an Author Photo

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I know I’m behind on my blog and I blame editing, and writing, and holidays, and illness, and all those other things that cause a person to fall behind. As much as I love connecting with people here, some things have to come first. Of late, edits on my novel The Girl and the Clockwork Cat for Entangled Teen have been my biggest priority. Now that the first round is back to them, I am trying to catch up on other things, including smaller work items like getting an author photo together for them. I’m lucky to be married to a fantastic photographer who could do the photos for me, but now I have to pick one.

This is where I am hoping you all come in. I’m posting several options below. My debut novel, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, is young adult steampunk. I’d love feedback on which photo you like and why (or why not).

Photo 1

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 4

Happy writing!

Dramatic Paws

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I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Several things have contributed to that, including illness, injury, writing and editing books (seems to take up a lot of time), and cats.

Today I’m not going to talk about the writing or editing or even about my upcoming debut The Girl and the Clockwork Cat coming spring 2014 from Entangled Teen. (Yes, I am shameless, but it does have a cat in it, in the title even, so it’s loosely related.) I’m here to talk about cats. More specifically, about introducing a new cat into our home and the ongoing challenges we’ve faced with this particular cross-section of felines. I’m hoping this actually turns out to be helpful for others facing similar drama, but we’re dealing with cats. Anything could happen.

new cat

For this first post, I will introduce the cast of cats and the problems we have to overcome.

Agent Request: Surviving Another EditThomas (the grumpy old man):

Thomas is 15. He’s been with us since day one and is convinced of his own awesomeness to the point that he knows, for certain, every person in the world is just holding their breath in anticipation of the day they will get to meet him and stroke his silken fur. He is very social and very demanding of his adoring fans. He enjoys long naps and watching TV with his people. He is prone to occasional regression to kittenhood in the form of wild sprints around the house and friendly Thunderdome (outdoor cat enclosure) matches with Neko.

Thomas is the dominant male in the household and deals with feline interlopers by preemptively yowling and striking at them whenever they come close to establish the hierarchy quickly.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful

Shai (the special needs princess):IMG_2527

Shai is Thomas’ blood sister. At a very young age, she got under one of our horses and was stepped on. She has significant neurological issues and, as she gets older, arthritic issues due to injuries sustained in that incident. She has survived many other dramatic injuries throughout her life. I’m not sure if she’s lucky because she survived them or unlucky because they happened in the first place. She enjoys long naps and … well, long naps. Sometimes on heater vents. Not in front. On.

Shai prefers to solitude though she often naps and shares grooming with her brother. When faced with an interloper, she ignores them. If they persist to the point that she feels cornered, she will throw herself on the floor and scream bloody murder. The offending interloper is usually left staring at her with a look of mystified horror.

Interloper Management Tactic = Successful (oddly enough)

IMG_1391Koneko (the gentle giant):

Neko is about 20 pounds of giant feline paranoia. About 5 years old, he joined the family as a kitten and has always been highly anxious. He will cuddle on occasion, but rarely if more than one person is in the room. He has a disturbing fascination with having his butt spanked and enjoys such lovely past times as going out in the rain in the Thunderdome at night then coming in drenched to wake me up so I can towel him off and cuddle.

Neko’s tendency to slink about apprehensively makes him a delightful target for a more aggressive young interloper. He prefers to avoid the new cat unless attacked, at which point he will fight like a crazed demon.

Interloper Management Tactic = Highly Ineffective

IMG_2528BC (the interloper):

BC showed up on our property shortly after the 4th of July and made it abundantly clear he wasn’t going anywhere. We ignored him. We shooed him off. He broke us down with his stubborn affection and we took him in. After having him tested, neutered, and vaccinated, we attempted to re-home him only to discover that he had a severe fear of dogs. Having already grown rather attached by the time this effort failed, we decided to make him part of our family. He enjoys aggressive cuddling, full-force head-butts, knocking glasses over (the fuller the better, especially if it happens to be beer and there is a lap nearby to dump it on), and playing with his favorite toy, Neko.

Some sensible people would suggest simply finding BC a new home or giving him up to a shelter. This is wise. We are not wise. We love our cats and BC has wormed his wicked way into our hearts. So, this is the tale of our efforts to integrate him into our home. This tale involves blood and pain and broken things and lots of expenses and life changes. I can’t promise a happy ending, but that’s what I’m hoping for. Stick around and see. :)

Next time: Bloody battles and broken bones. Is there any hope for this quartet of cats?

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.

frolicking

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.

otters

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!

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