Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

I know it's a bit early, but I'm going to be on internet haitus for a week to spend some time with the family. So everyone have a wonderful week and a ҉‿↗Happy Fourth of July҉‿↗.

I'll see you soon!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Want to read Splintered before anyone else?

Well, at least before most anyone elses. (◕‿-)

The lovely and generous Krazy Book Lady is sponsoring a Splintered ARC blog hop over at her place. It's as easy as signing up. Just follow the link above for info and rules. One caveat: Bloggers must live in the US due to the high shipping costs and the long turn around time.

For a teaser, here's an excerpt of Splintered at the moment Alyssa discovers the magical looking glass, the answer to her future and her sanity:

“Want it with all your heart.” The command swims in my head, so quiet it’s an echo from my past. “Then step inside.”

Trembling, I step forward and let both of my hands sink into the liquid glass up to my elbows. On the other side, a cool breeze meets my arms. Someone strokes me, from my elbow down to the wrist . . . fingertips so soft and knowing, they light a firestorm inside my veins.

It’s a touch I already know, yet so different now. No longer innocent and calming.

When I look into the portal, my gloved hands appear in the landscape beyond, casting shadows on the grass next to the guy’s winged silhouette.

Before I can see him clearly, he’s gone.

I hesitate and think of Jeb. It’s almost as if I hear his voice calling out for me from somewhere far away. I wish he was here, right now, stepping in with me.

But I can’t look back. As deranged as it seems, that guy in the mirror is the answer to everything in my past. This is my one chance to find Wonderland, to cleanse the Liddell bloodline of this curse, and to save Alison. If I can do this, I can finally be normal.

Maybe normal enough to tell Jeb the way I really feel about things.
Taking a breath, I plunge.

Here's a black and white rendition of the winged silhouette who's luring Alyssa within, sketched by my very talented pal, Riley, from In the Jungle.

There's also a third player mentioned in the excerpt: Alyssa's best friend/secret crush, Jebediah Holt. If I were casting him for a movie, my first choice would be Ethan Peck:

If you'd like to learn more about my three main characters, sign up for the ARC tour!

Thanks for stopping by. Time for me to get back to my internet hiatus and work on my website. :) See you soon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cue the White Rabbit...

Yes, I'm racing against the clock today! Seems like I'm doing a lot of that, lately.

When I look back, I realize I was pitted against the clock for years while trying to get published. Interestingly, I never realized how long it took me until I finally got there. That's because I wasn't watching every second tick away like I am now. And I think maybe that saved me.

I promised a peek into my publishing jouney last week, for those of you out there still racing Father Time to get your novel written, an agent to take notice, or a publisher to sign you. I'm hoping that by seeing how much time and how many books it took me, you will be encouraged, your determination renewed, and you'll move forward without ever looking back. Because the best way to embrace your future is to leave the past behind and stop looking at that blasted clock. ;)

My Publishing Timeline:

• March 2006 started querying my first novel. After 100 or more rejections, trunked it and wrote two more books.

• July 2007, started querying my third novel and worked on the forth one while it was out.

• May 2008, signed w/my first agent on my fourth novel. She submitted the novel for one and a half years while I finished books five and six, which she turned down for being too fantastical.

• December 2010, left Agent One after she wanted me to take the fantasy out of my seventh book, Splintered, my YA Alice in Wonderland spinoff. Started querying new agents immediately.

• February 2011, signed with my present agent (aka, Agent Goddess) who loved the fantasy in Splintered.

• August 2011, went to auction and signed with Amulet.

Okay, you'll notice I left out one very important date. When did Agent G and I start sending out Splintered and how long did it take/how many passes did I get before I got my yes(es)? Sorry, that's top secret info, and will be revealed at a later date (I'll do a special post sometime after Splintered comes out relaying those deets)... Gotta have something to make you come back. :)

I also promised I'd have news today about some upcoming changes on my blog. Over the few weeks I'm going to be converting this blog into an author website. I've seen a lot of authors go this route lately, and yes, I could've hired someone to make a fancy website, but I like the freedom of changing / adding text and pictures as I'm so inspired, without having to wait for a busy web designer to do it for me. I can post news and appearances myself while they're still current and relevant.

Honestly, I guess it all boils down to me being a control freak. HEH.

So things will be quiet here for a bit, but you may be seeing gradual changes as the site falls into place. I'll have a different background and theme to better represent all of my writing.  And, I'll have a HUGE giveaway over here to celebrate once I'm done.

A signed Splintered 18x24" poster like this one will be up for grabs:

This one is mine, and hangs on my office wall. Pardon the glare from my camera's flash. ;)

Along with this 8-1/2 x 11" title page from one of my original galleys (also signed):

And of course some awesome Alice stuff and Splintered swag. So be sure and visit during my website's launching to get entered in the giveaway!

Changes are a brewin' here in the land of madness. Hope you'll stop by to be a part of them!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #19

Welcome to installment number nineteen of my series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

Today’s guest, Kerri Maniscalco (known to QTers as mystree1), is, according to the bio on her fabulous blog Write. Eat. Repeat, "a twenty-something native New Yorker who drinks too much tea, loves avacados, reading, writing, and supporting friends and local musicians." She signed with her agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency at the end of February this year. To read her call story, visit this post on her blog. 

One of the things I love about Kerri is her effervescent personality and positive outlook on life. It shines through her tweets and blog posts. She's helped so many other writers with her amazingly inspirational blog. In fact, she's the only blogger I know to have ever earned the Blog That Sparks the Soul Award.  So it's only fitting that today she's in the spotlight.

AGH: Kerri, welcome to my humble online abode! Could you give us a quick summary of the book which snagged your agent?

KM: Sure! INVARIANCE is a YA science fiction adventure story. It’s about a seventeen-year-old supernova hunter that has one week to solve a mystery that spans the space-time continuum almost a thousand years, or humanity will be lost forever.

AGH: Before you signed with your agent, how many books had you tried to query?

KM: This is my sixth novel. Before signing with Barbara I queried five other books for two years. While querying I would start writing another manuscript, that way if project “A” didn’t work out, I’d have project “B” polished and ready to go. I’m kind of a workaholic, so being idle for too long makes me anxious. (On top of already being super anxious over the querying process!)

AGH: What were the responses to those queries (stat-wise: fulls, partials, etc.)?

KM: Oh my gosh, I’m not sure. If I had to take a guess I’d say I racked up three or four hundred rejections, and averaged around a 40% request rate. I saved all my rejections as motivation, so I’ll have to count them one day and come up with accurate stats.

INVARIANCE was a little different when I queried it. I emailed it to Barbara first, then sent out a handful of queries and ended up with a 70% request rate. My offer came a week or two after directly submitting it.

I had A LOT of close calls with the last manuscript, and received a few direct submission requests. One of those came from my agent. If you’re still getting rejections, but an agent says to try again with your next project - take them up on it! You’re getting closer. The only time you fail is when you stop trying.

AGH: What genre(s) do you write?

KM: I write YA science fiction but there are always other elements that creep in. I’m a huge fan of genre bending and I enjoy adding horror, romance, fantasy, or thriller and mystery elements to my work, too.

AGH: What inspired your very first book idea?

KM: Fair warning, it’s a crappy story - but it does have a happy ending.

Writing is something I’ve always loved doing and there was a perfect storm leading up to that first book. Putting it mildly, I was going through a rough year personally. I had just gotten out of a relationship that played out like a brutal divorce, lost my job, my apartment, and I desperately needed an outlet to sort through all of those feelings. I felt blindsided and devastated by what happened and writing was my way of coping with it. Out of all the negative things that were going on, I was able to make a new world and turn it into something positive.

It was like the Universe decided I needed a major change and gave me a clean slate to start over. Terrifying (and painful) as it was at the time, I couldn’t be happier now. If I wasn’t forced to reexamine what I wanted out of life, I don’t think that first book would have ever gotten written.

AGH: How do you come up with titles?

KM: Titles are probably one of my favorite parts about starting a new project. My process is always slightly different with each book, so I’ll just talk about the last one. INVARIANCE was originally called “Relativity” since it deals with Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. About halfway through writing it, I changed the title because there’s this theory called “Galilean Invariance” and it’s very fitting for the plot of my book.

AGH: What books / authors have most influenced your own style and concepts?

KM: I love authors (and poets) like Salinger, Frost, Dylan Thomas, Kerouac, and Shakespeare. Growing up I couldn’t get enough of Shel Silverstein, I must have read WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS and A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC a million and one times. I think that both he and Roald Dahl had a fairly large impact on my own style. Or my imagination at least. Ray Bradbury, Madeleine L’Engle, and Neil Gaiman were/are really influential, too.

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

KM: Prior to querying (or even finishing that first novel) I was googling information on literary agents and how to draft a query letter. I think I found Nathan Bransford’s blog first, then Miss Snark, and eventually I came across QT. I thought it was a fantastic resource for finding agents that rep your genre and cross-referencing information.

As far as how it helped in my effort to get inside the publishing doors, that’s easy! Being around other writers who are going through the same process helps on the bad days when you question your sanity.

AGH: Have you recently learned anything about the business side of publishing that you can share with up and coming writers?

KM: Definitely! Up until the last few weeks, I had never heard of literary scouts before and the important role they play in foreign rights. I thought you had your agent and foreign rights agent, and that was it. After being completely immersed in EVERYTHING publishing I couldn’t believe I’d never come across information on them. They are another great resource for authors, since they have their thumbs on the pulse of everything that’s going on in publishing. It’s pretty incredible.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?

KM: As you know, publishing is a world filled with dirty little secrets - so I sort of have a gag order on what I can and can’t say at this time. We are on submission and it’s been equal parts thrilling and surreal. And terrifying. Always a little terrifying.

***Five for fun***

1.) Which would you rather do: carry an umbrella or sing in the rain?

KM: Sing in the rain! Carrying an umbrella is super practical, but sometimes you’ve just got to be wild and free.

2.) What’s your favorite breakfast?

KM: Oh man. I’m a little quirky with food. I always start by having green chai tea with agave and soy milk, and a strawberry/oat milk smoothie with a dairy-free meal replacement vitamin powder. The smoothie is packed with lots of nutrients and much needed brain-food. It’s also fast and easy to make when I’m writing so that automatically makes it my favorite.

3.) When would you go to if you had a time machine, and why?

KM: LOVE this question! I would travel back to 1610 when Galileo published STARRY MESSENGER and he described his observations of the 4 moons of Jupiter. It was basically the beginning of his conflict with the church because of his support of Copernican astronomy. The why? Let’s just say it would be in-depth research for my book.

4.) If you were tight with one of the Greek gods, which one would it be and what favor would you ask of them?

KM: This is tough because there are a few I’d love to be tight with. That being said... I’d have to go with Dionysus and I’d ask him to keep me supplied with endless wine. Writing can be stressful and let’s be honest, having a free wine tap would be awesome.

5.) Drinking tea … pinky up, or heavy on the Long Island?

KM: Both! In the morning and afternoon it’s pinky up all the way, but once it’s five o’clock somewhere the Long Island comes out to play :)


Kerri, thank you so much for stopping by! Your book's premise sounds awesome (love me some sci-fi) and I'm also interested in your wine tap idea! I know several writers who would be eternally grateful for such an invention. :)

You can follow Kerri's publishing journey on her twitter or website. And please give her some writerly/readerly love in the comments!

Have a great weekend, everyone! If you have a chance, stop by next week. I'm going to give a peek at my publishing timeline (how long it took me to from when I first started querying to the signing of the contract) and also I'll be announcing some pretty big changes on my blog. Hope to see you then!