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Emerson and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

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I’ve laid down the rough draft of Six Train’s sequel. The beginning has gone through 6 rounds of revisions as I work. The end is clunky. It’s only been through 1 round. The hardest part is the emotional arc. I’ve got to feel my way through it all. That’s how I write. It’s me down on the ground in the muck with my characters. Every thing they say and do has to come from their inner struggles.

And if it doesn’t feel authentic to me, I rework it. Sometimes I spend days asking myself what is really going on. Because there is so much unsaid in each scene. I have to dig deeper. Even if it doesn’t end up splashed across the page, I have to know the inner inner workings of my characters.

So that every action makes sense. It’s not me thinking this would be cool, but me knowing this is what Kai would do next. And so the book evolves. Changes. Becomes something of it’s own.

I should have the first draft revised by mid December. Then it’s a couple months away from it to let it breathe. Allow things to percolate. And then a serious round of major revisions before it goes to betas in May.

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October was a good month for sales. I sold 76 copies online and at events. One of the best months I’ve had all year. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy!

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I’m off to Miami this week. I’ll post to Facebook while I’m at the Miami Book Fair and the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Ceremony!

 

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I’ve been offline a lot the past week. I wish I could say I was at that relaxing spot above. Nope.

I’ve been proofing my audiobook. It took about 16 hours to do it. The audiobook is only 11 hours long, but I have to listen to it and be reading the book line by line at the same time to make sure no sentences were missed or words changed. That the narrator used the right voice for the dialogue (used her Kai voice when Kai is speaking), that there were no weird background noises and such.

Anytime I noticed anything, I rewound and gave a second listen to make sure. Then I jotted down the chapter, the time stamp, and what the possible issue was.

I sent my list to my narrator/producer on Friday. She will take a listen and make corrections. Right now there’s something weird going on with the tracks and they are open to me and locked for her so I have to get help from ACX on that today.

Hoping to have that for sale in late November/early December on Amazon from Audible.com.

I’ve also been very busy keeping up my 1500 words/5 days a week schedule on Six Train’s sequel. I’m at 75,000 words right now. I should have a bad rough draft completed by the end of next week.

Then I need to take a couple weeks to go over the whole manuscript and make sure it flows decently.

I should have that done in mid-December.

Then I’m going to switch off to another project for a couple months and let that breathe so I can come back and tear it apart during revision in March.

I’m starting a part time job November 18th. It’s two nights a week teaching adults. My classes are English and Keyboarding.

Having one book isn’t enough to live on and I still don’t have my rights back on the other book. I’m trying the traditional route with DM, so that’s probably a while for anything to happen too.

I am going to be curtailing time online while I adjust to the new job. I’ll be here on my blog and on Facebook, but I will probably fall behind in my blog reading for a few weeks.

The day after I start the new job, I am leaving for Miami. I’m going to be in Miami Thursday afternoon. Meeting up with a college friend for dinner and doing the Readers’ Favorite cocktail events on Thursday and Friday night.

I’ll be at the Miami Book Fair on Friday and Saturday and the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Ceremony on Saturday to get my medal!

 

 

 

 

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Sunday was an awesome birthday. I went on a hike with Mom. Spent oodles of time petting Emerson. And had delicious hibachi with my parents. It was a nice break from the promoting and writing.

It also got me thinking about birthday wishes.

You know how I make annual New Year’s Resolutions?

Well this year, I am going to make 3 birthday wishes for the coming year of my life.

 

1) More time to myself.

As an introvert, I need my alone time. So I will be scheduling time to be alone to read, to think, to curl up in bed and cuddle with my dog. It’s a new priority. I am taking at least one full day off each week. Disconnecting and relaxing.

And since I’m starting a part time job this fall, I’ll be pulling back on social media. I’ll be here on the blog and once a day on Facebook. But that’s probably it for a while.

Writing has to come first.

2) Better eating.

I went on a sugar bender this weekend. And my body feels blucky. My skin looks yucky. And my belly is all sorts of bloated.

3) More fun.

I don’t feel like I have enough fun. It feels like I work more now than I ever did before. And the fun that was so easy to find in my 20s, has been eluding me in my mid and now late 30s.

 

What wishes would you make for your birthday?

 

 

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My best friend from NYC, Brett, came to visit last weekend. Since fall is here, it’s the perfect time to take a hike. Which is what we did last weekend at Ragged Peak in Berlin. We also managed to somehow hike onto the unmarked trails. Luckily, a kind bicyclist gave us directions back to the route.

 

It’s also the season of Halloween Parties. Brett and I coordinated costumes for the extravaganza at Dan’s Saturday night.

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Saturday day,  I was at Alcott School (what was my old middle school) at the 33rd annual Arts and Crafts Fair sponsored by the Farmingbury Woman’s Club.  I sold a bunch of books and helped raise some money for the Club too!

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I saw my old kindergarten teachers there. And they both bought book–big thanks to Miss Pam and Miss Diane!

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In September, I sold 25 books.

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Upcoming Author Event

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I’m going to be at Mulberry Gardens of Southington’s Craft Fair this Saturday November 1 from 10 am to 3 pm selling autographed copies of my novel and my original photography from the novel. And Emerson would like to invite you to stop by and get a jump on holiday shopping!

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As I was driving home from coffee with a writing friend on Wednesday, this happened. The dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. And the speedometer and RPMs both dropped to zero while the car was going 30ish.

(Note: I took the picture after I parked in my driveway to illustrate what was happening with the dash. I never use my phone will driving.)

It means I probably won’t have a car for a month or so. We’ve still got to get it up to the dealership and get it looked at.

And my upper eyelids have been swollen for 3 weeks. I thought it was stress. Then maybe pink eye. Then allergies. Possibly a sinus infection. I’ve got a doctor appointment this week to find out. Thank goodness for tea bags–they are the only reason I can see. They bring down the swelling and pull the gunk out.

 

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What the First Week Feels Like

 

Sometimes everything falls apart. In a way that all your accomplishments disappear. Like it never even happened.

 

When my agent quit the business in January, I thought that was the worst thing I’d face this year.

 

I was wrong.

 

I got an email from the subrights agent. Harlequin was shutting down the imprint that was going to publish my YA gothic mystery, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. They won’t be publishing my book.

 

The contract we spent 10 months negotiating. The editorial revisions I worked so hard on. None of it mattered. It was all for nothing.

 

The book won’t be published.

 

I wait for a termination letter. I wait to find out what happens next with my agency. I wait to find out what I can do with this book. This book I’ve never given up on. Not in the eight years it took me to revise it and shop it and get it an agent and a publisher.
Uncertainty. It’s all uncertainty. What comes next. And do I want a next?

 

Why work so hard when it can all be gone in the blink of an eye? Why do this?

 

Today, I don’t know.

 

I’ve been trying to make sense of it. But it doesn’t make sense. None of this makes any sense to me.

 

Today, I hurt. And I don’t have the energy to pretending everything is fine. It’s really not. And I don’t know when it will be again.

 

All I can do is keep working on my indie career. That’s the only thing I have that I can hold onto.

 

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What Week Two Feels Like

 

Okay, this wallowing is sucking me in too deeply.

 

I tried staying busy. Too busy to think about what this meant. Then curling up in bed for a day.

 

Next I kicked the standing bag so much it moved too close to Mom’s keyboard.

 

I can’t seem to get it out. The anger. The frustration. The sadness. The hopelessness. And the longer I think about it, the worse it feels.

 

Perspective. I need perspective. It’s my interpretation of things that is making me spiral. Reassess. Reassess.

 

Let’s think of the last two years as an experiment. An attempt at traditional publishing. A way to dip my toe in that pool. And a trial run of indie publishing.

 

So far the only bad thing about indie is people’s reaction to it. Everything else has been hard work, but it’s all mine. The awards, the reviews, the sales. They can’t disappear on me.

 

I’m good at being in charge. I like being the captain of my soul.

 

The most rewarding and stable part of my career has been the indie track.

 

Traditional publishing didn’t work out. I’ve learned to trust warning signs and gut feelings. Trust them more than you trust anyone or anything.

 

I still have DM. Right now I’m making that jump through the traditional hoops. See what happens.

 

And there are more books in me.

 

Something will find traction in the traditional world. Maybe it won’t be soon. Maybe it won’t be the next book or the next book.

 

But I can still build a career. I can keep writing. I can keep working on my craft. I can bring novels to market myself.

 

This isn’t over. I’m not over.

 

It’s just another crater in the road.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sharing My Craft

On October 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in Wolcott, CT at Alcott School (1490 Woodtick Rd) I will have a table at the 33rd Annual Arts and Crafts Fair  where I will be selling signed books and signed photography from my novel and donating 30% of the profits to the Farmingbury Woman’s Club of Wolcott.

There will be tons of crafters there. It’s the perfect place to start your holiday shopping!

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On November 1st from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, in Plantsville, CT at Mulberry Gardens of Southington’s Craft Fair (58 Mulberry Street), I will be selling autographed copies of my novel and my original autographed photography from my novel.

It’s a great community to support by making a few holiday purchases!

 

Drafting Update

I’m at 51,000 words in the draft of Six Train’s sequel. I’m hoping to have the first draft done by early January. It’s only a first draft so it will need several rounds of revisions and editing before it’s ready. I’m hoping to publish in the Fall/Winter of 2016.

 

Query Wars

I’m 8 weeks into querying DM. Upside is I’ve gotten the most requests ever on a manuscript. So the query is doing it’s job. I’m waiting to hear on several requests.

I continue to query because I am a very risk adverse person. I’d rather have other options out there than be blow away when one doesn’t pan out. Also, I know how rare it is for an agent to fall in love with my work. It only happened once before. So I don’t expect it to happen quickly.

 

Website Update

We had a website crisis last week when my web host decided to seamlessly change servers and took my entire site down for a day. My web designer, Jian Chan, worked tirelessly to get most of it back up. It took 3 calls to customer services (roughly 3 hours of our lives) to finally find a solution. Now the site is 100% up again. Phew.

We made some changes there. Jian branded Six Train’s page. We added my pseudonym to the top of every page. And we changed the News page to make it more reader friendly. And the table is easy to use so now I can update it myself!

We also moved sections of the site around so there were less sublevels to the site.

It was about 20 hours of work for both of us.

But I love how it looks.

 

Book Reviews

I haven’t been posting book reviews on the blog because I’m only posting 4 times a month. But I am still doing book reviews. If you want to check them out, they’re on Amazon and Goodreads. If you want me to make them one of my weekly posts, let me know.

 

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I haven’t looked at photos of me and my old travel buddy in a few years. Ever since we parted ways actually.

It was too hard to remember all those good times. To see how close we were and be reminded that it was over.

So I didn’t.

I left the photos on  my iPad and computer but never flipped through them.

Distance always makes things better.

And it did.

Until this weekend when my iPad memory got full and I needed to erase photos to make space for a software update.

Then I tiptoed down memory lane. Revisited Thailand and Shanghai. All these memories flooded back.

Life was different 3 years ago…

It was a time when I thought we’d be friends for life. I never expected it to only last 4 years. But that’s what happened.

It’s all over now.

 

Photos are so powerful. They summon a moment back into reality.

And it hurt to go there and realize that it’s over. And it can never be again.

That I’m not the same and he’s not the same and we had these amazing moments that can never happen again.

I think sometimes it’s better to not have mementos. To let things slip gently into boxes in the basement of your mind.

For a moment, I thought I should delete all my photos. Wipe them out of existence. Make the forgetting come faster.

But then I saw this gorgeous shot of the ocean. And I was right back there on the beach.

And I found myself smiling. Because those were good moments. Moments I want to hold onto.

Pictures can give you a moment back. They can let you revisit a good time even if it’s long gone.

And I’ll be keeping my photo library. Just not on my iPad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello Baltimore! Here’s the view of Light Street from my room.

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I took Amtrak down to Baltimore on Thursday afternoon and checked into a gorgeous suite at the Marriott Residence Inn at 17 Light Street.

 

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It felt like I was back to living in an apartment. Most comfy place I’ve ever stayed.

 

 

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My hotel.

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When I got settled in on Thursday, I went out for a walk in the Inner Harbor to get a lay of the land. To see how long it took to get from one end of the festival to the other.

 

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Loved this sign.

 

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Dinner at 17 Light was crab cakes. When in Baltimore…

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 This was near the author tents. On Friday, I got to be a fan girl and go to panels and signings. It was awesome!

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Marissa Meyer was a delight to hear interviewed. Her interviewer, Catherine Asaro, took the time to get to know her and made it a really intimate chat in the Literary Salon.

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I was so wowed over by the interview, I had to get a couple of her books signed.

Waiting in line for the signing, I got to chat with Samantha, Book Vlogger, all day. We forgot to take a pic together. But she’s gorgeous and awesome and a great book festival buddy!

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Maryland Romance Writers has a great panel on Writing Science Fiction as women authors. The panel included Catherine Asaro, Jennifer Armentrout, Em Garner, Cheryl Klam, Diana Peterfreund, and M.D. Waters.

 

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Jennifer writes across genres and many of the panelists echoed her thought that they write what they write and let the agents and editors categorize it.

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There was a music stage with dancing going on.

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At 5:30 pm, I headed back to my hotel and freshed up for a night out with Lauren Moscato, one of the coolest blog buddies I have. She and her boyfriend, Sean, took me out for potato nachos at James Joyce in the East Harbor. We laughed all night.

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Lauren is the queen of good selfies. Love this shot of us that she snapped!

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And then it was Saturday. The big day for the author tent. Dad and I got there at 10:30 am to set up. We had people stopping by from 10:45 am  until 8 pm.

My table was between three awesome authors and an illustrator! E.L. Jefferson is a monster promoter of his horror novels and picture books. His wife Janet and his illustrator Tony completed  a smooth operation. They were in complete sync the whole day.

On my other side was Damien Gibbs and Tiffany Gibbs who co-write books and also are individuals authors. Another fantastic husband and wife team. They were super prolific with a memoir, picture book, spirituality, and even fantasy novels to sell.

I’m looking forward to reading E.L. and Dameon’s books!

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I was on my feet all day. I think I pitched the book to at least 80 people. I lost count after a while. I gave out hundreds of book marks. And we sold 15 books.

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Then we met my friend Megan and her husband Greg and went to Chiaparelli’s in Little Italy for dinner. For about 8 minutes, I thought we might be ghosts because all the waiters and servers ignored us and there was no hostess to greet us. But then we were seated and I breathed a sigh of relief.

 The side salad was intense. Enough for 4 people to share 1 salad intense.

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The fried provolone rocked.

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And I loved my chicken vincenza.

Megan and Greg were great dinner companions and we laughed the night away.

So glad we all survived the cab ride back too!

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We left Baltimore the next morning. It was a 6 hour drive in constant traffic back to CT. That’s why today’s post is a bit late.

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Upcoming Author Events

I’ve got two author events coming up in the next two weekends.

On Saturday September 27th, I will be at the Baltimore Book Festival  from 12 pm-8pm in the Author Tent at Bicentennial Plaza. I’ll have a giveaway you can sign up for to win author goodies and a free ebook.

I will be selling and signing books in the tent and donating 15% of the profits to the Baltimore Book Festival. Please stop by to chat, it can get awfully lonely in a tent for 8 hours.

 

On October 4th, I’ll be at Walsh’s Market in Wolcott from 10 am-3pm signing and selling books and also selling signed photography from the book. I’ll be donating 30% of the day’s profits to the Wolcott Food Pantry. Stop by and pick up a great book and support an awesome cause!

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Six Train Sequel Drafting

I’ve drafted 34k words of the sequel. It’s a first draft so it’s still coming together.

Drafting is always a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days, I love what I’ve done. Other days, I know I’m going to need to completely rewrite it. I doubt myself. What I’m doing. Where I’m going.

I’ve taken a few days to revise this past week. I started to lose the flow of the story. To feel like it was escaping me. Going back through the 180 pages I’d written, I fixed things. I connected more deeply with my characters. And I think it’s made a big difference. At least I do today, anyways.

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Intern Comes on Board

With three series in the works, I realized I could really use some help with everything. I reached out to an amazing, smart young lady and she has agreed to intern with me this year.

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Query Wars Continue

I’ve been sending out 3 queries a day 5 days a week since August. I’ve gotten a great response to the query. More fulls and partials than I’ve ever had requested on a manuscript.

Now I’m waiting to hear back. Time seems to pass so slowly when you are waiting. I’ll swear it’s been 8 weeks, but my query spreadsheet says only 2 weeks since I sent something out.

 

 

 

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