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I can’t believe it’s mid July already! After I finished revisions on July 5th, Mom and I went back to Highwire Farm to celebrate. I met this lovely turkey. She was beautiful.

Mom delighted in the kangaroo hopping about. The one in the background actually photobombed her.

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It was a gorgeous day and great to be outside.

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It’s the first time I haven’t been revising or outlining in 9 months. But that’s not to say I’m not working.

I was up in Provincetown for a talk at their library on a “Peek Inside the Author Life” on July 10th.

That was 5 hours driving each way. Luckily Mom drove and Aunt Sue came along. We stayed a cute motel, The Cape Colony Inn.

I had an awesome audience. Highly attentive and great questions. One person even hugged me! Sold a few books too.

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Ptown was gorgeous.

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And lively.

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***

I’ve been prepping for my 4 workshops in WI and IL at the end of the month and touching base with the venues to make sure everything is set. I packed my suitcase.  Sent out boxes of giveaways and event related stuff.

I’ve also been catching up on life stuff. Getting new glasses made and going swimming.

Even hanging out with Grandma H. She went rogue on me at the mall last week and sent me into an absolute panic. We separated because I had to go to Lenscrafters and she doesn’t walk that far. She promised to meet me at the bench at IHOP in 20 minutes. But she wasn’t there. I looked inside IHOP. Nope. I walked her whole route from Sears to IHOP 3 times. No sign of her.

Finally, I went over to mall security, fearing something happened to her. As I am giving him her name, she pops out of the bank. The bank she never mentioned going to. The bank that is not on her normal route in the mall. I ended up having an asthma flare.

***

The audiobook for Six Train is progressing. My narrator/producer did a great job on the first 15 minutes. We had a little misunderstanding where I provided line edits, when big picture feedback was expected. But we talked it through and I now know that line edits are not acceptable to audiobook narrators.

I emailed ACX to ask them to provide actual guidance on feedback on their website because all I had to go on was be as detailed as possible. They responded that they would look into it.

I had a couple concerns that my narrator and I are going to discuss via conference call on Monday. Baring any major issues, the audiobook should be done in late September/early October.

***

Six Train became a Readers’ Favorite Finalist in paranormal fiction. I am planning to attend the Miami Book Fair in November and sign books in their tent. Have to do all the logistics in August/September when I return.

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***

I’ve been creating a new agent query list for my next YA novel, DM. I plan to start actively querying in August.

I’ve snuck out a few queries in June and July just to test the waters. I did get a partial request, so that’s something. A nice nudge of encouragement. I’ll plan to send 30-50 queries out in August. And see where it goes.

***

With The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, I’m enjoying a brief breather. Then I’ve got line edits down the road and then copy edits. I’m still waiting on a publication date.

***

I will be on a blog break from July 24-August 6th. It’s just too hard to keep up on blogging when I’m doing the book tour. But I’ll be back in August with updates on my amazing two weeks in WI and IL.

 

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I’m guest blogging over on Megan Stolz’s blog about the indie author’s hardest task–chasing discoverability. Please feel free to stop by and ask questions!

I’ll pop over on her blog all week to respond to any questions/comments about my post.

 

http://www.meganstolz.com/2014/07/guest-post-kourtney-heintz-on-chasing.html

 

 

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I know writers who don’t read books about the craft of writing. But I’m not one of them. I’ve always been able to absorb stuff from books and apply it. That might be my superpower.

It’s why I am a voracious reader of books on the craft of writing. Because I want to deliver the best books I can and I know I can pull stuff from these books that will make me a better writer.

One thing I’ve complained to my crit partner about is the lack of books on the macro level of storytelling. Books that teach you how to tell a story. I’ve read lots of books that focus on a specific element or aspect of storytelling–but always on the micro level. They never talk about the forest. Always the leaves and the trees.

Of course, being the extraordinary being that she is, my crit partner, Kat Bender, recommended two books to me. I finished them this spring. They were excellent books on the macros of storytelling. What needs to be in a story and why. Seriously, if I could only read two books on craft–these would be it.

 

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The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers 3rd Edition by Christopher Vogler

The Writer’s Journey is the best writing book I’ve ever read on story structure. This book takes a macro approach to writing and has given me new perspective and insight into storytelling. As I was reading, I could feel it shifting my approach to writing. Giving me a new lenses through which to examine my novels.

This book is like a comprehensive writing workshop. I tackled 10-15 pages a day. There was so much in those pages, I wouldn’t have wanted to read it faster. I wanted to absorb the details and grasp the key points by taking my time with them.

I highly recommend this book for writers who want to take their storytelling to the next level. I know I’ll be referring back to the archetypes and steps of the hero’s journey as I work on my future novels.

 

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Wired For Story by Lisa Cron

One of the best books on writing out there. So many books focus on micro things, but this stays big picture and walks you through the things you have to do to tell a compelling story that readers respond to. I read a chapter a night and it was like taking an online class. Amazing insight.

I feel like I have a much better grasp of what a story needs to do and be and why. The perfect read to follow The Writer’s Journey. I am incredibly lucky to have such an awesome crit partner who recommends such great books and helps me grow as an author. This is a must read for all authors.

 

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July is going to be a very busy promo month for me.

I’ll be out on the Cape to kick things off and then spending two weeks in Wisconsin and Illinois. If you live near one of my free workshops or talks, please stop by to say hi. There will be a door prize at each event. I’ll also be signing books and selling photography.

 

  • July 10th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Provincetown, MA at the Provincetown Public Library: Free workshop on living the author life and my paths to publication with a book signing and door prize
  • July 25-27th, Kourtney will be participating in several Pioneer Days events in Butternut, WI. Further details will follow
  • July 28th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wauwatosa Public Library in Wauwatosa, WI: Free author talk and Q&A with a door prize and book signing
  • July 29th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at DeKalb Public Library in DeKalb, IL: Free workshop “Turning Up the Heat: How to Write Good Love Scenes” with a door prize and book signing
  • July 31th from 6:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. in Wasau, WI at the Marathon County Public Library  presenting a free workshop on “Being a Productive Part-time Writer” with a door prize and book signing.
  • August 1st from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Park Falls, WI at the Park Falls Public Library, free talk about my author life with a book signing and photography sale and door prize.

*******

Update on Editorial Revisions

My editor liked what I did with the second part of the book. She had some minor tweaks, which I am working on. I sent the third installment to her last Thursday and am waiting on comments. I will be delivering the final manuscript on July 8th. Then onto copy edits.

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May Book Sales

In May, I sold 6 books, but I did zero promoting that month.

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Book Club Discussion

I met with an awesome book club in Manchester and spent 2 hours talking about Six Train. It was so cool to hear how they enjoyed the book and to discuss the nitty gritty of my characters. Of course our discussion went until 10 pm. And I was so keyed up, I didn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m.

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CT’s Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire kicked off on Saturday!  My awesome cousins James and Ashley agreed to go with me back in April. This also ended up being my treat for working so hard on revisions the past 6 weeks.

 

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Here’s James striking a very kinglike pose. I love his hair.

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It was a gorgeous day.

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There were tons of cool vendors to check out and delicious food options. They also had 5 stages set up throughout the park for performances too. This is an awesome event! I’m definitely in for next year.

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After strolling around, we went to the Tournament stage and watched Knights of Gore.

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We enjoyed it so much we stayed for The Questless Company who had more of a humorous questlessness.

We wandered amongst the vendors and then watched some swordplay lesson too.

I snuck away for a $2 cold pickle. It was a ginormous pickle. Garlic and half sour. And it was delicious and refreshing. And the best pickle I’ve ever had. And I used to have a pickle man back in the city. So it was a damn fine pickle.

And I got a t-shirt. Because I wanted to commemorate the day.

BTW, the park has public restrooms which are so much nicer than a port-o-let.

We wandered around the vendors and ended up at Pearl Odyssey. You get to pick an oyster and then they make a piece of jewelry out of the pearl you get. Pretty cool and memorable thing.

 

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My oyster had two pink pearls in it. So I had a ring made.

Ashley’s also had twin pink pearls and hers were so close in size she got earrings.

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For dinner, I had a turkey leg and scotch egg. The turkey leg tasted and looked like ham. For a while, I was quite certain I was eating a pig leg. But that’s what happens when you cure turkey and smoke it–James checked Google.

The scotch egg–wow! It’s a hard boiled egg rolled in sausage and breading and cooked to perfection. So good!

Ashley had broccoli and cheese soup in a bread bowl. James had hotdogs.

From the food tent we could watch the tournament stage.

We ended up back at the Tournament stage for Hubris, Daniel GreenWold, Wyck, Sasha the Fire Gypsy with a 3-D Juggling Improve Fire Show. At one point, the pickle vendor came around. And it was round 2 of pickles. So delicious. I would go back to Ansonia just to get another pickle. What a great finale!

 

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I’ve decided to use Photo C as my official author photo for #TGWIG (The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts). It got the most votes and is my fav picture.

 

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Hunter College Writing Conference

I was on one of the first panel’s of the day, the Children’s panel, with Dan Greenburg, Judith Greenburg, Richard Peck, and Chris Grabenstein.

Great group of authors and very friendly to a newbie. Each one of them had published dozens of books already.

 

I got to attend the rest of the panels, which were filled with amazing authors.

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The Fiction I panel was awesome. I met Meg Wolitzer and g0t her to sign my book. She raised a great point about how writers need to find the overlap between ideas outside yourself and what is inside yourself. What preoccupies you.

 

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In the Fiction II panel, Warren Adler stressed that the most important trait for him and his friends as authors was that they treat it as work. Write 5 pages, 7 days a week. Before you go to sleep figure out what your characters will do tomorrow. And the secret to writing is rewriting and rewriting.

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We had a lovely lunch and James McBride was our keynote speaker. This was the view from our luncheon.

I also made a few new writing friends (Hi Mike and Megan!) and sold two books. For me, it was a day well spent!

 

Editorial Revisions 

I sent off my first 100 pages on Reckonings to my editor last week. Before I got back from New York, I had comments from her. She really liked how I incorporated her suggestions. And said these pages were:

“…Just terrific. Much more dynamic and gripping.”

That took some pressure off because that was the section with the most revisions. And I was so worried about whether I was getting it right. Some of my revisions even gave her shivers. :)

She noted a few minor concerns that I need to work on and caught a plot loophole too. I am so lucky to have her on my team.

Yesterday, I sent off the next 100 pages to her. The middle was the easiest stretch of the book. For some reason, I really hit my groove there. Now, I’m heading into the end which has to be just as awesome as the rest of it. Even better actually. Gulp.

 

Title Change 

The team at Harlequin has decided on the new title for Reckonings. They picked one of my suggestions which is really cool. From now on Reckonings will be called:

 

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

 

 

New Agent Search

 

So unfortunately, Victoria did not like my next book, DM. She will continue to act as representation for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, but for future books I will have to start the agent search all over again.  I am split so thin between revisions and promoting that I can’t start querying right now. I’m back burnering that until August.

After 7 years in the query wars, I have a short and long list of agents I’d love to work with. We’ll see if things go better this go round.

 

Author Photo Poll

So I’ve narrowed it down to 6 possible choices for my author photo for the YA gothic mystery novel, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. This will go on all the promo materials and the book jacket. I’d really appreciate some help in deciding. So let the voting begin. I can blur the background so don’t worry too much about that. The focus is on the best face.

Photo A:

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Photo B:

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Photo C:

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Photo D:

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Photo E: 

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Photo F:

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Every writer has land mines. Things people say to be “helpful” that make you want to lunge across the table at them.

Here are a few of mine:

1) When someone with no experience in publishing and no actual knowledge of the publishing industry, tell me to write x type of books because those sell.

2) When someone who has never written a novel or a short story tells me how to write. Especially when they use “You should…”

3) When someone asks me when I’m going to get a job. You know a real job.

 

What are your writer land mines?

 

 

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The Six Train to Wisconsin was an International Books Awards Finalist for cross genre fiction!

*****

On June 7th, I will be at the 4th Annual Writers’ Conference and Intensives at Hunter College in Manhattan (68th and Lexington). I’m going to be on the children’s panel from 9-10 a.m. I’ll have a few books with me to sell and sign as well.

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On a personal note, I have been sticking to a low carb regimen all of May. I feel so much healthier with my blood sugar back under control. I’m enjoying fruits and veggies, but limiting those processed sugars.

I’m also officially obsessed with Bitten. First off, everyone is hot. And yes, I like watching hot people. Second, the story is great and I love how it unfolds. Third, the characters are really well done. I love them all. I watched 13 episodes in a week.

Revisions are kicking my butt. Self doubt attacked last week. And suddenly nothing I did seemed right. Second and third guessing myself. I felt like my sanity was a second away from snapping.

It took me a few days to get my head together. And I’m still slipping into serious uncertainty. Thank goodness for my mom and Kat. They have been there to remind me of what is working in the story and keep me going when I want to lock myself in a closet, bury myself under a pile of coats, and cry.

I have to send the first 100 pages to my editor tomorrow. Gulp. I’d like to say how confident I am that she’ll like what I did, but I’m not. All I can say is I did my best to run with her edits and make it a better book.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer hours. It’s something lots of companies do.

Cut back on work time in the summer.

I’ve noticed the blog traffic is trickling in.

Ah, summertime.

It’s good to disconnect more and get out in the world.

So for June, July and August, I will post once a week. It will give my readers and me a bit of a break.

 

 

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Today being Memorial Day, I thought it was the right day to share this moment with Grandma H.

 

A couple weeks ago, I asked Grandma H, “If you could go back to any time in your life and relive it, when would you go back to?”

She thought for a bit and replied, “I’d go back to when I was a little girl living on the farm with all my brothers and sisters and Mama and Papa.”

“Really?” I asked. She’d had to trek to the outhouse when she was a little girl. She shared a bed with her sisters.

“We didn’t have much, but we had each other. We were very happy.”

What went unsaid was that her brother Joseph was still alive. He died in World War II. And she still misses him.

Sometimes when we visit her parents’ graves, she talks about him. What a good man he was. How everyone loved him. What a loss it was to the entire family.

 

Today, it seems important to take a moment and think about those who have died for our freedoms. Those who have fought so that we might be safe. Those who gave everything and are no longer with us.

Happy Memorial Day.

 

 

 

Blog Schedule

In June, July, and August, new posts will appear on Mondays.

From July 24th-August 6th, I will be taking a break from blogging while on my book tour in WI and IL.

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