Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S Is For Success

I'm feeling more than a little discouraged today, about a lot of things, including this challenge...So here are a few of my favorite success quotes to buoy up anyone feeling the same way.

Success is failure that tried one more time.
--Winston Churchill

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. 
--Truman Capote

Monday, April 21, 2014

R Is For Rejection

R Is For Rejection
Or "How To Avoid Making the Writers In Your Life Feel Rejected"

Chris Dixon said, "If you aren't getting rejected on a daily basis, then your goals aren't ambitious enough."  My goals probably aren't ambitious enough then, because I haven't been rejected very often. It's not because I don't deserve rejection every bit as much as the next person, but because I unconsciously (well, semi consciously) shield myself from it. 

One day, several years ago, in a fit of productivity, I sent out a batch of query letters to prospective agents. The rejection letters weren't nearly as painful as I'd expected them to be, but still, I never did it again. I should. I know I should, and I plan on it, with my very next book that isn't a part of a series that is already self-published. (Translation...in about a decade, I might try it again.) 

Hidden Magic has had its share of rejection. It starts too slowly, and people who weren't invested enough to push through the first few chapters had some scathing things to say about it, things that did hurt. But then enough people liked it that I noticed the trend--people who read through chapter 5 usually ended up finishing the book and liking it. That soothed my feelings and taught me something that will help future books. So it's good. Not fun, but good.

Alchemy, on the other hand, has done shockingly well for itself (knock on wood). So I haven't yet developed that thick skin writers are supposed to have. With that in mind, let me give a bit of advice to all you non-writers out there: 

I know you don't want to make the writers in your life feel rejected. But it is OK if they write a kind of fiction you aren't interested in. If every time you see them you say some variation of, "I'm still reading your book--um, I've just been so busy. But I'll get back to it. I got the newest Raven Boy book, and I stayed up all night to finish it. Have you read it yet?" eventually they are going to feel rejected, in spite of your good intentions. 

If they write chick lit, and you only like high fantasy--don't read it. Or even better, read it in secret, so they don't know you've started, because it might take you a long time to finish, and when you're done you can surprise them with a "I finished your book! Did you see my rating on amazon?" And they will be thrilled. And feel all the love that you intended for them to feel.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q Is For Quietly

Oops! In all the Easter chaos, I accidentally posted this on The Prosers website instead of here, where it belongs. My apologies to Karen, since it was her day for posting on The Prosers.

Today, Six Word Saturday Meets the A-Z Challenge:

Quietly, and without fanfare, we finished.

For the A-Z Challenge, participants blog every day in April except for Sundays, and each post corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. Today's letter is Q. For the challenge this year, my topic is LOVE, because it's my favorite topic ever.

For Six Word Saturday, we post 6 words that sum up a piece of our life each week. We can add pictures or explanations if we feel so inclined.

Sheena said she was done, and then wrote a whole other section. I thought I still had more to write and then realized I was wrong, and instead of saying The End, Sabrina started revising. And then, all of a sudden, we realized that the rough draft was done. Sheena ate an Oreo milkshake in celebration, as per the plan. But I'm holding off--an oreo milkshake on an already sugar-laden weekend doesn't even sound appealing. I'm not sure what Sabrina's plans are, but one thing is certain--that woman likes editing a lot more than she likes writing. Hurray! We're kicking Pyromancy to the next level.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P Is For Pyromancy

The word pyromancy comes from the Greek words pyros, which means fire, and manteia, which means divination; so its definition is the art of divination by means of fire. If you've ever become mesmerized the flames in a fire it will come as no surprise to you that pyromancy was probably one of the earliest forms of divination.

But of even greater importance to the world at large is the fact that Pyromancy is the name of the sequel of Alchemy, and will be coming out in the fall of 2014.

Pyromancy is the continuing saga of Ana, Sam, Juliette and Seb. After nearly destroying Chebeague, the school for magic in rural Maine, the intrepid foursome is sent to the Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California, along with Ana's ex-boyfriend James and Juliette's um--what is he? boyfriend? crush? Zach. ANA is not the school for rich, privileged mages that they have come to expect. ANA accepts anyone with the magical infection, but is much less prepared to deal with the insanity that is sometimes a side effect.

While they are there, they find out more about the Six, and learn that Dr. Child is not the only one with plans for them. Pyromancy is filled with excitement and adventure, but I would be lying if I didn't tell you that Pyromancy is actually a love story--several love stories actually. It is chalk full of kisses and heartache, and a surprising amount of happiness too. And of course moments that will make you laugh out loud.

I'm doing a terrible job describing it. You should go check out my pyromancy pinterest board. It explains it so much better than  I can.

Even though there are a lot of repeats, you should look at Sheena's board too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Obsession

Writers are obsessive people. Steven Saylor said, "Writing a first novel takes so much effort with such little promise of result or reward, that it must necessarily be a labor of love bordering on madness." I would add that writing a second novel, with the full knowledge that writing the first one was even harder than you'd feared is probably a sign of a completely deranged mind. By the third novel though, I imagine most people are starting to feel more at home obsessing about their novel than not. 

I know I am. Yesterday I finished Ana's rough draft of Pyromancy...

(Long pause for applause. Oh, please, please...no standing Ovations. Not yet. Well. If you must...) This reminds me that O is also for Oreo milkshakes, which I promised myself once I finished. 

As I was saying, yesterday I finished Ana's part of Pyromancy--and I'll tell you, I spent the rest of the day having no idea what to think about. In the past few months I have begun dreaming Ana's dreams, thinking Ana's thoughts. Sometimes I even forget I could not run a marathon on a beach and then hurry off to my boxing class. (Snort.) It's obsession, pure and simple, and I don't know how to write a novel any other way. I wish I did. I'm a big believer in balance. But somehow balance and novel writing have never gone hand in hand in my life.

And I'm not alone. youknowyoureawriter.tumblr.com is a website devoted to this kind of obsession. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

You know you're a writer when...
  • your mood depends on what's going on in your story.
  • you forget your real life for your fictional world.
  • you know your characters better than yourself.
  • you sit down to write for half an hour and before you know it 5 hours have gone by.
  • you shut down your computer and get into bed, only to think of something that you have to write down, so you get out of bed and start your computer up again.
Which reminds me of one of my own. You know you're a writer when...
  • you're trying to write a grocery list, but every scrap of paper you can find is filled with random snippets of dialogue or beautifully worded phrases that make no sense at all out of context.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N Is For Nuggets of Wisdom

N is for Need To Know.
At my son's request, I've deleted the awesome story of his awesomeness.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M Is For Mmmmmm...

We three authors of Alchemy have made a pact that we'll finish the rough draft of the sequel before Friday. It's rough, so don't get too excited, but it's still an important step in the right direction. Today I got up with high hopes that I would write my little tail off, but fate has intervened. 

I haven't felt good for several days now--no real symptoms, just kind of off. My youngest son woke up this morning with a fever, so he stayed home from school and we watched Kipper until I fell into the deepest sleep ever. 

Mmmmm....it felt nice to wake up from an unexpected nap. I feel sort of dreamy and lethargic now, and I doubt I'll get a whole lot written. In fact, I may go back to sleep...

Miserable looking people