A BLOG FOR READERS AND AUTHORS OF MTV BOOKS
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Reading that post was like traveling back in a time machine and saying hi to myself. Hello young, innocent Jennifer from three years ago! I had just finished 1665th in the Vulcan Run 10K--which I will be running for the 6th time next Saturday, and I’m pretty sure my time will be even worse. In 2007, apparently I was planning to run my first half marathon the following February, which I can tell you did NOT happen. I am planning to run the very same half marathon for the first time this coming February. I sure hope I have a better track record with this sort of thing when I check in with myself after another 3 years.
NaNoWriMo was not until 2008, and guess what? I JUST revised that same book for the umpteenth time and sent it to my agent this morning. That clears my desk for NaNoWriMo 2010 starting on Monday.
And ending this blog clears the way for the six of us still participating to join ten of our friends on YA Outside the Lines. But even though some things haven’t changed much in 3 years, I definitely have a lot more confidence that I can write a book in a month, finish a 10K, and participate in a rewarding writers’ blog. For that experience, I have to thank editor Jennifer Heddle at MTV Books for getting the blog approved and sending us material; the current bloggers, Jan Blazanin, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, Danielle Joseph, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Jenny O’Connell; and former bloggers Kelly Parra, Christopher Golden, Tara Altebrando, Cara Lockwood, and Alex McAulay. Collectively we put a lot of work into this blog, publicized our work, met new readers, and supported each other. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.
Monday, October 25, 2010
This is the best kind of good-bye. No feelings are hurt, nobody gets left behind, and everybody wins.
When our marvelous blog leader, Jennifer Echols, suggested striking out on a new blog-venture, the emails began flying. Which is what you’d expect from six creative, slightly off the wall minds. In less than 48 hours we had a new name, tagline, and blog spot. We each grabbed a couple of outside-the-lines author friends, and we were set.
Now it’s time to say adieu to the MTV Books Blog, which has been loads of fun, and move on. We hope to see you, our loyal followers, at our new blog-cation, YAoutsidethelines, bright and early November 1.
Friday, October 22, 2010
This MTV Books Blog has been something I look forward to contributing to every month and I love hearing what my fellow authors have to say. They are my cyber family so I am glad we are all moving on together. I do hope everyone will continue to follow us because we have a lot of great things in store! I'm talking contests, new books and posts galore!
Happy Halloween everyone and see you in a couple of weeks on YA Outside the Lines!
And deciding what to do next was actually pretty easy, too. We all knew, without a doubt, that we wanted to keep blogging together. We've been this ragtag little bunch for the past several years and we've kind of developed this rebel mentality that prevents us from merely fading gently into that good night, so..
Come November 1st, I hope y'all will join us at our new venture. Again, as Jenny mentioned, we're not merely remaining stagnant. We were like those old Breck commercials, each of us telling two friends and spreading the word and because even within our little core group we're so diverse, we managed to amass an absolutely fantastic group of authors whose one defining characteristic is that we color outside the lines a bit. Push boundaries. It makes us sort of stubborn. Maybe a little crazy. But I think it's safe to say we all write with a lot of passion and heart and that's what our new blog is going to be about.
But for now, hasta la vista MTV Books Blog and thanks for the memories.
I've so enjoyed being a part of this over the years and really, really look forward to taking this blog "outside the lines."
I can't wait for it to begin November 1, and I can't wait to welcome the new writers. The more the merrier. Jen Echols has done such an amazing job wrangling us and the new blog is amazing 2.0.
See you then!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My books haven't gotten a lot of publicity. I have no way to measure this, but I'm pretty sure that most of my success is a result of book bloggers being kind enough to write about my novels. And I suspect that I wouldn't have sold the Brazilian rights if it hadn't been for Brazilian book bloggers like Fracky and Raíla. I'm very appreciative of and eternally grateful to the friends I've met online!
I've never sold the foreign rights to any of my novels before, but some of my friends have sold theirs, so I have a good idea what happens next.
First, your book is translated by the new publisher into the language in question. They will send you a copy but you will not be able to make heads or tails of it. Here, for instance, is my critique partner Victoria Dahl's adult historical romance To Tempt a Scotsman.
Next, the new publisher selects a new cover. Because it's a brand new publisher and you've sold the book all over again to them, they can't use your old cover even if they liked it. So here's Vicki's original American cover
and here's the Japanese version.
Finally, the new publisher may give it a new title. But you will not know this unless you ask someone who speaks the language. For instance, Vicki found out that in Russia, the title of her book is no longer To Tempt a Scotsman. It is Lovely Hermit.
I can't wait to see the foreign editions of my novels! But I have a feeling that the new covers and titles are going to tell us a lot more about Turkey and Brazil and marketing there than they will tell us about my books.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Last weekend I drove to my first writing retreat. I was excited to be invited to join this group of published authors, but nervous, too. For one thing, the center is run by Franciscan Sisters, which had me worried about my sometimes-colorful vocabulary. The word “retreat” conjured up images of solitary reflection, solemn faces, and hushed voices. And a ruler across my knuckles if my language slipped into dangerous territory. However, a good friend of mine who had taken part in the retreat for more than a decade called it the “highlight” of her year. How could I pass it up?
I’m glad I didn’t.
In the years since I started writing I’ve attended a dozen or so writing conferences, but this retreat was another animal entirely. There were no agents, no editors, and no pressure to be “on.” I didn't have to worry about making small talk with strangers and saying too much or too little. Instead, I got to hang out in my jeans and sweats with my hair-- We won't talk about my hair.
During the evenings, we lounged in comfortable chairs eating chocolate—naturally—and swapping stories about writing, families, and pets. To be truthful, we told more kid, dog, and cat stories than writing tales. On Saturday we shared manuscripts, critiqued synopses, and kicked around story ideas. We moved at our own pace, went for walks when we felt like it, and crashed in our rooms if we were in the mood for solitude.
A plus for me was the “green” environment. The heating was solar, the food was organic, and the surrounding land bloomed with native prairie grass and wildflowers. The only drawback from the solar heating was our cold showers Saturday morning. Not the best way to clean up after a chilly morning jog, but we all survived.
If you and your writing need recharging, I suggest you get some friends together and head out on a retreat. You’ll come home filled with inspiration and—if you’re like my new group—a couple of pounds of chocolate, too!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I am writing this from 25,000 feet in the air. I see clouds and blue sky out my window. The seatbelt sign is lit. How cool is it that planes can have wireless? How fab when you totally forgot to bring a book and the Delta magazine ceases to be interesting after the fifth read (although the Sky Mall catalog has convinced me that I need a magic showerhead with LED light technology so I can shower with blue, purple and green colored water - an optical illusion of course).
Which brings me to my point. The Sky Mall catalog. Way back when I was writing The Book of Luke it was November and I was trying to figure out how to begin the story. November is NaNoWriMo - otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. That's right, you're supposed to write a novel in a month. And because I was way behind on a deadline, that sure sounded good to me.
Well, I'd peruse the chat boards on the NaNoWriMo site while procrastinating. And one of the topics had people suggest things to jump start your writing. Someone wrote "Write a scene that includes a Sky Mall catalog." I hadn't considered having the story start at the airport on the morning Emily moves back to Boston, but you can only get a Sky Mall in the sky, so there she was. On the sidewalk outside the United terminal. And so a scene was born, thanks to that anonymous person who gave writers the Sky Mall challenge.
So here's my challenge: In the comments offer up your own obscure place/thing/action/etc. that us writers have to include in a scene. No matter how crazy. And I promise that I will work it into my current novel (because yes, I am that lazy and, yes, I just cannot seem to finish the beast). And you other writers, do the same. You may end up with a fabulous you'd never thought of before!!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The old dreaded subject--time management. I am always wondering how other authors manage their time and have also been asked how I find time to write with three kids. My initial answer is, I don't know. For example I can't get through this sentence because my eight year old is telling me all about his Lego people, my 6 year old is playing his DS naked next to me (another story) and I am fielding multiple texts from friends about playdates and birthday presents. Fortunately my 18 month old is napping so I do stand a chance.
I have a sitter three mornings a week and that is my writing time. I run out the door with my laptop those days and work at my "Starbucks Office." I try to get some work done at night but that does not happen as much as I would like. By nature I am a night person but since having kids I can not keep my college hours! On the other days I work during my daughter's naps. Luckily she is a good napper.
Now that I am in the rewrite stage of my wip, Graveyard Shift, I am setting goals with my Starbucks Officemate. We have beening telling each other what page we will be on when we meet next. I like this system because it keeps me moving. I also know that I would like to be done with the rewrite in six weeks so I keep that as my larger goal.
When I an writing something new I like to do daily word goals. If it's a writing day I shoot for a 1000 words and on other days I am satisfied with a page or two.
So what am I doing the rest of the time? Through out the day I try to answer all emails and do promotional stuff for my books, like answer interview questions, prepare for school visits, conferences etc... Other than that I am shuttling three kids around, being a homework warden or wrestling the laundry beast.
So all this juggling makes my writing time that much more precious. I would love to know how others do it. Whether you have another day/night job, kids or are a lifelong procrastinator, how do you do make time to write?