Come visit me on Angela Hayes’ blog, and find out what I’m thankful for on this special day. What about you? What are you thankful for this month?
I published part of this as a bite on Book+Main, but I thought y’all might like a sneak peek at a slightly longer clip. Enjoy!
“I know it doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “That’s what you said to me. Remember? And then you asked me to trust you. Now I’m asking you to trust me. I promise, I’ll make it up to you for all the lies. And some day, I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
He was awfully close, and awfully earnest, and I so-so wanted to believe that the only friend—the only living friend—I had was trustworthy.
“At least tell me you’re one of the good guys.”
I’d meant it as a joke, but he didn’t give me the rah-rah answer I expected. Instead, he said, “It’s…complicated. I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to keep you and Geordi safe from the Dioguardis, and the Rousseaux, and anyone else who tries to hurt you. But when you learn the truth…you may not want me to.”
His words made no sense, but they weren’t what I focused on now. His body was close. And the emotion in his eyes—the pain, the fear when he’d talked about me being dead, and now something more, something hot and urgent and unleashed—was enough to scorch me from the inside out, until I smoldered like a peat fire, burning toward the surface. It was hopeless. I was going to believe him, even though he’d revealed absolutely nothing.
“You’ll tell me everything?” I managed breathlessly, lost in the dark depths of his gaze.
He leaned in closer, his mouth hovering over mine as he breathed, “Everything…”
From DEBRIEFING THE DEAD, available now from The Wild Rose Press and other retailers!
…May 7, 2018!
Yes — you read that right. MAY. SEVENTH. Remember when I thought I had LOTS of time to prepare for this exciting day?? Yeah, it’s in… (*checks countdown on own website*) …THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS. Squee!! I’m already up for pre-order on Amazon – squee again!!!
To celebrate, I’ll be hosting weekly giveaways on my Facebook page, so be sure to head on over and “Like” the page/follow me, so you don’t miss the fun. Also be sure to sign up for the VOML (Very Occasional Mailing List) — just by being an “existing” subscriber, you’ll automatically get TWO entries into each giveaway contest!
I have to get back to reading the final-Final-FINAL draft, one LAST time (eek!!) to make sure it’s perfect. But to tide you over until it’s out, would you like to read the excerpt?? I can do that!
Here it is. :)
So I’ve been writing my butt off (or rather, ON, given all the sitting I’ve been doing), getting up at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, just to have some quiet, focused time to myself. It’s amazing what I can do, when all the active extroverts I live with are still asleep.
But I digress. The point is, I am determined to finish ALOS, and I basically have (go me!). I really just have the post-climactic scene and the final wrap up chapter, and I’m DONE. Probably tomorrow, as we’re going to the coast today.
But one thing that’s been slowing me down is the need for historical accuracy, or better – authenticity. In particular, I hate reading a book where the language is too modern. But sometimes, it’s difficult to track down a word, and know if it was commonly used during the era I’m writing about.
Luckily, there are some great resources out there, especially the Online Etymology Dictionary, which is always my first go-to when I have any questions. But they aren’t as good for phrases, and even some words. Or they’ll give a word’s history, but it isn’t clear that it was commonly used at the time.
Even more luckily (for me, at least) my story is set in Oregon at the turn of the 20th century. And UofO has an AWESOME resource, of basically EVERY NEWSPAPER EVER PUBLISHED IN OREGON, from 1846 on. ALL DIGITIZED AND SEARCHABLE.
Apart from the general rabbit holes I can go down, reading about all the insane “cures” they used to recommend for various “female conditions,” I can type in a word phrase, choose my date range, and le voilà! If it was in common usage at the time, odds are good it will show up in one of the papers. If not, there’s my answer, and I’d better think of something else.
Neither resource is foolproof, and sometimes, what was common back then can’t be used today (for example, terms for non-whites of the time, which are clearly derogatory and unacceptable now). But less clear cut are the word choices, or sentence structures, that may have been the norm for the times, but which now only sound confusing. Or words that have changed meanings. Or concepts that didn’t exist in fully fledged form, but which require inclusion in the story for whatever reason.
So the sum of all this musing is that accuracy and authenticity are important. But sometimes, a single anachronistic word can save a paragraph of explanation.
What do you think? Do anachronisms make you blow a gasket? Or are they okay, if not overdone?
As a busy author/teacher/mother/wife/trying-to-be-an-individual-also, I haven’t had much time to read of late. But I love listening to audiobooks, and I love the classics, and I especially love the classics when they’re written by women. #shepersisted
So having read Jane Eyre (by Charlotte) a long time ago, I got curious about the “other” Brontës, and decided to try Wuthering Heights by Emily, followed by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne.
I had tried to read WH once before, but didn’t get into it for some reason. Listening to the audiobook, however, was much better. Still, of the three, I have to say TOWH was the one that truly resonated with me, and struck me as ahead of its time in terms of feminism, yada-yada. It was just such an unusual book, and it made me curious about its author.
Which led me down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, and then down the library rabbit hole, and then I checked out this book (affiliate link):
Dude. It’s 1000 pages long, NOT counting indices, pix, bibliography, etc. I’m not even exaggerating. But OMG it’s fascinating!
Fortunately, it’s also available in e-book. My hands are very grateful, as the library version is of course a hardback, that I’ve been referring to as The Tome. I literally had trouble holding it up while trying to read last night.
But still. A thousand pages. Even on my Kindle, that’s a lot to wade through.
It will be worth it, though. What a fascinating bunch of women! It’s hard to imagine what they went through, purely for the sake of creating, and being taken seriously in a “man’s” world — to the point of using pseudonyms, just to get published.
On the other hand… Despite the #metoo movement, and all that’s been going on, no women directors were nominated for a Golden Globe this year.
Two hundred years post-Brontës.
Who are the women who have inspired/are inspiring you? What makes you persist in the face of seemingly unsurmountable obstacles? Please share — I’d love to know!
No, this isn’t our house. But it’s the house I would aspire to if I had endless time for things like decorating. Hey I feel good that I got everything dusted. Once. Two and a half weeks ago:
But today is the last day of school before break, so I finally feel like I might have time for something beyond school/work, and exercising. Like more decorating (what can I say I have “eclectic” tastes):
Or family traditions, like the Tuba Christmas:
And even some writing or rather, getting organized for book promo (90%) and maybe writing new words (10%). In that vein, I have updates:
I have a book cover!!! Squee!!!!
(Not quite official yet, but on it’s way to being approved I’ll share it as soon as I possibly can. OBVIOUSLY. ;?) )
Also, I have a tagline. This may not seem important to 99% of you, but in da Book World, is very Important:
Hyacinth Finch has one foot in the grave,
the other kicking ass.
What do you think? Does this make you want to read the book? :?)
Whether it does or not, I hope your Holy days (whatever they comprise) are peaceful, rejuvenating, and, well, holy. If I don’t “see” you here before then, have a beautiful New Year!
I had one official goal this summer (finish ALOS) and one unofficial goal (publish DEAD). Obviously, I’m good on the second one, but crazy as it sounds, since I was about 75% of the way done back in June, it looks like I will NOT be able to finish ALOS “this summer.”
Apart from the intrusion of grad school into my life, aided and abetted by a super fun but time-sucking Spanish class, and the two equally fun but time-consuming trips we took, I did a ton of revising on that first 75% before adding any new words. I’d say I’m around 85% done now, but school officially starts tomorrow, and within that context, I’m essentially starting a new position in a new hall, on a new team.
All GOOD things, but (as happens every year at this time….) I’m feeling very unprepared for the reality of students in my room in roughly 46 hours. About 100 new names, personalities, learning styles, needs, etc., to learn and manage. New curriculum, new room, new furniture/configuration, 100+ degree weather, second year in a row with central AC in our building that isn’t actually working, yada-yada, blah-blah-blah.
So what am I doing? Blogging about the crazy-busy-ness of my life, instead of doing something…not “more productive”…that’s the wrong term, since actually, writing about all this helps me feel calmer about it. And feeling calmer means I can do something, instead of being paralyzed with overwhelmed-ness.
That and the fact that the DD, while also being Very Busy, has learned how to make almond milk fruit smoothies. They are AMAZING, and very restorative. This is a terrible pic, because I’m feeling too lazy to get up and find a better background, but here it is nonetheless:
Okay, now that I’m feeling better, I really will go do something. Probably not finish ALOS, but maybe I’ll get at least a little more done on it after I finish a few more pressing items on my list. Like this smoothie…. ;)
How about you? Is September a time for new beginnings and new-old goals? Or is it just another day in the life?
Well, here’s a new one I hadn’t thought of. From about 2003 to mid-2014, I was a member of Romance Writers of America, the industry group to be in if your writing has anything to do with romance, which mine does. I was also a member of various subchapters, including my local one, Rose City Romance Writers, and some online collectives, like the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death, for those of us with a mystery/suspense bent.
One of the benefits of all these memberships is that most chapters offer some kind of annual writing contest. First round is usually judged by published or almost-published chapter members, and the final round by “industry professionals” (agents, acquiring editors, etc., from well-known agencies and publishing houses). It’s a FANTASTIC way to get feedback on your writing, and hopefully, get it read by somebody who might want to rep it or buy it.
So every few months, I would enter a contest or two. I won several, and placed 2nd or 3rd in others. It never led to anything though (I might win based on my writing, but the editor or agent still didn’t think the manuscript would sell). In fact, a few years ago, DEBRIEFING THE DEAD won the Golden Rose, my local RCRW chapter contest. (I don’t even remember who the “uninterested” final judge(s) were, but to them I now say “phlbbbtthh!” ;))
Anyway, in 2014 I finally decided that my books weren’t “traditional romance” enough for contests affiliated with an organization whose sole overarching focus is Romance. This is not to diss RWA or its chapters in any form. It’s just an acknowledgment that some of my writing doesn’t fit neatly into the romance category, even when there is a LOT of romance in it.
So, I discontinued my memberships (which can add up, financially), and therefore became ineligible to enter contests (no big loss there, since the benefit exists more for early writers who need feedback from, hopefully, objective readers; not so much for experienced writers who are comfortable in their writing skins, and able to query agents and editors with confidence, if not success, on their own :)). During my three years away, I obviously kept writing, honed my craft even more, and obviously, garnered my first sale. (Squee!!! It never gets old, saying that…. :))
Skip ahead to this month. After I got my contract offer, I rejoined RWA and a few sub-chapters (my local RCRW, of course, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, to start). I feel like the industry has shifted somewhat, and is more open to cross-genre, romance-heavy-but-not-necessarily-traditional-romance books like mine. As part of my member benefits, I’m also on the RWA PRO list (for nearly-pubbed authors soon to be on PAN, for published authors, when I make enough sales to qualify SQUEE!!!), so I get announcements of, you guessed it, chapter contests.
Now, DEBRIEFING THE DEAD has sold. But I have other completed manuscripts, as well as ALOS, which is almost finished. There was an announcement yesterday for a contest that’s low on entries (read: it’s easier to final, and therefore get your manuscript read by in this case an agent, a print editor, AND an e-pub editor). I thought, hmm, maybe I could test the waters with ALOS. So I clicked the link for the contest details. Entry fee reasonable? Check! Categories work for my book? Check!! Entry requirements doable? Check!!! Just when I started to think, WTH, I might as well give it a go…
…I reread the part where it said “Open to all writers unpublished in novel or novella format as of…November 6, 2017.”
Now, it’s unlikely my book will be out that soon. But it gave me a sudden pause, where I realized I’m not really an “unpublished” author any more. I had a similar moment at my Equity Leadership Team retreat on Friday, when we filled out one of those “getting to know you” worksheets, and one of the boxes was “Aspirations.” Ordinarily, I’d put “sell a book” in that box. That’s what I’ve put for YEARS, basically for as long as I can remember. But now it’s not an “aspiration,” it’s a REALITY, and I suddenly thought, OMG, I need a new aspiration! (Maybe, learn five new languages. Or sell five more books! ;))
And as far as the contest goes, I’m not going to enter. Whether I finalled or not, the benefit to me in my current writer skin would be slim-to-none. I know how to write a query, and I know how to research an agent/editor/what-have-you. And by the time I’m ready to query ALOS, in the author bio paragraph, I’ll be able to say I’m “published with The Wild Rose Press.” (Of course the rest of the DEAD series will go to TWRP first. But ALOS is different, and I’m not sure it would be right for them. Just in case you’re wondering why I’m still talking about querying, when I have a publisher! :))
Anyway! It was just one of those weird moments, where decades of habit came smack up against the realization of a dream come true, forcing me to shift my thinking:
Wow I’m no longer an aspiring, unpublished writer. I’m an author.
Hey, remember a few weeks back (two weeks ago, today, in fact!), before I got my first publishing contract? Remember how I could sit all day on my deck, and write? Yeah, that’s not happening anymore. It’s one of the unspoken ironies of publication: The minute you get that first contract, is the minute when your actual writing time suddenly diminishes.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining! But between choosing keywords to describe the book (is 35 too many…?), poring over cover art/artists in order to make the LIFE-ALTERING decision about how I want my book to look and feel (what if both turn out to be “terrible,” and no one buys it?), and begging my already-overworked writing partners for cover blurbs between all those things, I haven’t had time to finish my current WIP (work-in-progress), ALOS. Which was my original goal for the summer.
A summer which is now officially over, as I went back to work full-time yesterday. (For anyone new to the saga of my life, I’m a math teacher by day. :)) I’m actually excited for the school year to begin. But along with work comes a host of other busy-making things, like my son, who starts college in a few weeks, or my daughter, who is only playing 500 sports this year (down from 5000 last year), and in 29 AP-level classes. I might be exaggerating here, but still.
Anyway! I’d better get back to it. Maybe I’ll create a Facebook poll and let you all weigh in on what style you find most eye-catching. Of course, it’s hard when you haven’t read the book yet. But it’s better than me having to make all the decisions!! :)
It is with great pleasure that I officially announce the sale of my novel, DEBRIEFING THE DEAD, to The Wild Rose Press. This has been such a long and incredible journey, and I’m beyond thrilled to begin this next leg of it. I don’t have many details yet (like, um, publication date, and silly things like that…!), but as soon as I do, I’ll post them here. Meanwhile, thanks to you all for your support over the years! I couldn’t have done it without you!