Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hunkerin' Down for the Holidays...


I'm going AWOL for the coming festivities, but wanted to wish everyone a safe and fun-filled holiday season!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's that time...IHYB Award Nominees!!!

As promised, it’s time for me to post my I HEART YOUR BLOG AWARD nominees. So, here are the “official” rules:

1) Add the logo of your award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Now, the smart thing for me to do, in light of the fact that I do have a book coming out in 2009, would be to nominate a bunch of book reviewers (to do a little pre-publicity sucking up). But, BAH, I say! I’ve never been accused of being smart, and I’m not about to start now.

Instead, I’m going to throw my noms back to my fellow writers. Those in the trenches; toiling away over revisions, panicking about what kinds of reviews they’re going to get, or even those who are still spending hour after hour crafting the “perfect” query letter.

That said, here are my nominees (in no particular order):

1) P.J. Hoover at Roots in Myth. Not only do P.J. and I share an agent, but she has already gone through the trials of her debut novel’s release. And she shares her wisdom on her blog. I love a gal that doesn’t mind lending a helping hand! P.S. If you’re looking for a perfect gift for that kid, aged 8 and up, you can still get your copy P.J.’s The Emerald Table on Amazon in time for the holidays!

2) C. Leigh Purtill, another seasoned veteran, posts about all kinds of things, including her books, Love, Meg and All About Vee. Another author not unwilling to give advice and tips to those of still struggling to learn the ropes. Thanks, Leigh!

3) Heidi Willis at Ocean Deep is a newbie for me. I’ve just started reading her blog, and I have to say, so far I love it! She has great information for those writers still trying to snag an agent’s attention, complete with articles and links. Plus, she totally taught me what a pellet stove was. Hurrah!

4) And Heidi’s friend, Brit, over at Dream the Dream. Another great new blog for me, with tons of good links and info. And, hello??? I made her book list for 2009, so she’s smart too!!!

Both of these ladies are funny and insightful.

5) Mandy Hubbard, author of the upcoming Prada & Prejudice (what’s not to love with a name like that???). She is funny and honest…I love someone who is willing to put herself out there, and Mandy does! Also, she lives just down the street. Seriously, we just figured out that we live just miles apart. How cool is that?

6) Carrie Ryan, who is the author of one of the books that I would literally rip someone’s arm off to get an ARC of. That is, if I were a zombie. (ehem, her book is about zombies, by the way.) Her forthcoming debut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, is due out March 10th, and I, for one, will be pre-ordering my copy.


7) Maggie Stiefvater, another fellow Laura client, and author of the recently released Lament, and the forthcoming Ballad (the follow-up to Lament) and Shiver, both due Fall 2009. I’m incredible excited to see Shiver hit the bookstores, as I’ve heard that it will have millions of teen girls crying onto the pages (in a good way!).


8) Christy Raedeke’s blog, Juvenescence, is another one that I’m just starting to stalk (I mean, umm, read). Coincidentally, her sidebar has a post called “Stalking” which is a list of things-not-to-do when you sign with an agent, and when I read it, I cracked up. Why? Because I had done ALL of them! Speaking of which, since Christy is one of said agent’s clients, why do I have her listed here at all? Am I just begging for an inferiority complex???

Anyway, since my list is growing slightly too long, I just want to add that I love all of your blogs and I wish everyone FANTASTIC success in 2009!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Exquisitely Exquisite!

Girl Week over at Reviewer X’s site has eclipsed all others. It is a week of sheer awesome, with author interviews and guest blogs, book reviews, and contest giveaways, all featuring books dealing with women's issues and strong female protagonists. That’s right, kick-ass heroines! And we could all use a little more kick-ass these days, right?

The deadline for giveaways is December 21st, and here are the contests so far (that’s right, SO FAR!):

A signed copy of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE by Stephanie Kuehnert
An ARC of ARTICHOKE’S HEART by Suzanne Supplee
One of five tubes of TESS LIP GLOSS (donated by author Melissa Walker)
A copy of I KNOW IT’S OVER by C. K. Kelly Martin
An ARC of LOCK AND KEY by Sarah Dessen
A signed hardcover copy of BRALESS IN WONDERLAND by Debbie Reed Fischer
A signed copy of TEN CENTS A DANCE by Christine Fletcher
A signed ARC of WILLOW by Julia Hoban

But this is just Wednesday, people, so head over every day this week to see what’s new.

Oh, and, in the spirit of kick-ass, let’s just say that Steph has worked hers off to put all of this together. So a great big (HUGE) thanks to her for the pre-holiday festivities!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Heart Your Blog Award

Okay, so this is my first time being nominated, and I honestly have to say... that it really IS an honor just to be nominated!

YA Book Realm nominated my blog (MY BLOG!) for the IHYB Award, citing:

Kimberly Derting: Author for the upcoming THE BODY FINDER. (September 2009) Her blog is freaking hilarious and very informative at the same time (like Steph from Reviewer X).

Wow...I'm speechless. Speechless.

Thanks YA Book Realm. Really, thanks!

(Since this is a pay-it-forward award, I'll announce my noms later this week!).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

GETTING "THE CALL"

For most writers, getting THE CALL may be the single most monumental moment of their lives.

Yeah, yeah...meeting the man of your dreams, getting married, having babies....all happy happy happy. Blah blah blah. (Sorry, honey!)

But THE CALL….

That’s something else altogether. That's the stuff dreams are made of. That’s what you’ve been working toward...the moment you know you’ve actually made it.

A lot of people talk about the moment they got “THE CALL.”

Me, I didn’t get the call. I got “the message.” And actually, I didn’t get the message, my husband did.

My agent had warned me something was up after I'd run into her at a conference in LA (which coincidentally is also the first time she actually remembers meeting me!). She told me that she got a voicemail, and that she might have “some news” for me. Of course, she quickly followed that up with, we might not know for sure what that news is until next week because she's at this conference, and the editor who contacted her is out of the office until Monday.

Nice.

Plus, here's the thing: "Some news" could be just about anything, right?

So, here's how it went down in my head: They read it, loved it, and want to make a HUGE pre-empt offer on it. I mean, that happens, right?

But an entire weekend needs to pass before things come together and I have to hope to God no one’s dog dies over that weekend, because a crappy mood could be the kiss of death.

(Seriously, you guys, am I the only tortured writer out there?)

So as we cut to the next week, I head off on a planned camping trip with the family. And by “camping” I'm not talking about the roughing-it kind of camping. I mean we have a fully equipped trailer, complete with shower, microwave, air-conditioning, and flat screen kind of camping. I am so not the “roughing-it” kind of girl.

At this point, my nails are chewed to nubs that I desperately hope will grow back one day, and I’m permattached to my cell phone. I’ve taken to checking it every five minutes to make sure it’s on, and every ten for new voicemails.

Fun times!

That Tuesday, we decide to take the kids to a water park and spend the day in the near-hundred degree sun, and somehow, for the briefest of time, I manage to forget I'm supposed to be on pins-and-needles. When we get back, my husband calls our home phone to check messages. And then he gets this look on his face (with really wide, crazy eyes), and he yells, “You got it! You got an offer!”

I was laying down on the bed, and I swear it took me far too long to process any of what he'd said or why he was jumping up and down (in a really manly way, of course). He hands me the phone and lets me listen to the message, which I have to say, I’m not sure I even heard beyond: “We got an offer…”

I tried to call my agent back but it went straight to her voicemail. At this point, I didn’t even know what the offer was, but, hell, who cared?

I HAD AN OFFER!!!!


I think I might have cried, I’m not sure. I know that I screamed. And I definitely know I jumped up and down with my husband and my kids. And then, out of nowhere, there was a sign that the kids made for me ahead of time, and a card, and some really warm champagne that my husband had packed (just in case)!

We drank the toasty bubbly out of plastic cups and we talked about the what-ifs, and I think I said “I can’t believe it” about a thousand times.

And quite possibly the best part of the entire night was that we were all together. All five of us in our ridiculously busy family just happened to be in the same place, at the same time, when I got THE CALL.

Definitely the stuff dreams are made of!

Monday, December 8, 2008

GO ELF YOURSELF

My seven-year-old waits all year for this program to come out, so this morning I started messing around with it and this is what I came up with (I normally don't post pics of my kids, but this was too funny!).

Check it out (you have to wait a few seconds for it to load after you click the link):

Elf Yourself

Okay, so I'm probably the only one, but...I crack myself up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Edits, Edits, and More Edits...

So, one of the things that has really surprised me about this whole “publishing” thing was the editing process…at least the substantial edits, in which the manuscript is tweaked, changed, and in some cases, entire sections are rewritten.

But what surprised me most of all was how much I loved doing these edits.

No, I didn’t just love them, I LOVED them-loved them! Like there was something-wrong-with-me loved them!!! (Picture me with hearts floating out of my eyes...)

This probably shocked me more than anyone, because I was so nervous about getting my editorial notes for the first time (mostly since I really wasn’t sure what to expect). It was all new, like your first kiss or learning to drive a car. Nerve-wracking and exciting and a big fat adrenaline rush all at once.

The funny thing was, though, that love was not my first reaction when I received them. My editor sent over the editorial letter, which was three pages long. Not too bad. And as I read through it, I thought: Okay, I see where she’s going with this. I get her…

And then I started looking through the page-by-page edits. We used Track Changes (a program in Microsoft Word), which was new to both of us, for the bulk of the minor edits. So, within the manuscript she could make little “electronic” comments in the sidebars, and I would get to some of those and think, she wants me to cut what? Or, what the *#!%…? She’s crazy!

And then I’d spend some time thinking about her notes…you know, letting it all sink it, and I’d look again and go, Oooh, she’s totally right!

In the end, I was so grateful to have her critical eye and her alternate perspective on some of the scenes.

Because it was all electronic, the Track Changes program also made it really simple to scan through all of the pages over and over again. So I was able to go through the entire manuscript for the first time and just accepted all of the “no-brainer” changes that she’d suggested. Those were the ones where I learned that I’m like a brain-dead chimp when it comes to punctuating dialogue. Apparently, I missed that section in Basic English for Dummies 101.

But one of the things that really cracked me up was how much she seemed to love the chapters I’d written from the killer’s perspective, and ultimately, she asked for more of them. Apparently, I do “killer” very well. I think that should probably disturb me. Or at least my husband, right?

Anyway, because the publication date was less than a year from offer and acceptance (and even though we still didn’t have an official contract yet), we only had three weeks to get through the entire substantial editing process, which is generally considered a pretty short period of time. So when I received them, I completely immersed myself (immersed = sat in my pajamas all day and survived on Cheetos and coffee) in them, and found that the pressure of the deadline made me work best. I had the first round back to her within 10 days, and before the entire three weeks were up, we were done volleying all of the minor changes back and forth, and were ready to send it off to copy-edit.

It was amazing!

So, I LOVED substantial edits, but I’ll have to let you know about copyedits…I just received a big fat envelope last Friday and I’m about halfway through. I can honestly say that it looks like a sticky-note bomb has exploded on the pages where I’ve made my own notes.

I’ll let you know if there are any survivors when the wreckage is cleared.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Shout Outs...


I have some special thanks to give. These are a little belated for Thanksgiving, but better late than never, right?

First, to Dear Author for posting my book deal announcement on their site, it’s just so dang cool to see The Body Finder listed among the ranks of other (real) books! It makes it seem so official…I feel like I need to pinch myself!!!

Also, a special thanks to Steph at Reviewer X (collaboratively with Kristi at The Story Siren) for her Steph Intervention in announcing the deal in their weekly YA Connection. And again to The Story Siren and Reviewer X for letting everyone know that my jacket blurbs were up the following week. I appreciate you guys more than I can say!!!

And lastly, to Lenore over at Presenting Lenore for the free copy of Audrey, Wait! I won it in the contest that ended last week and I’m so excited to get my hands on it.

Oh, and for anyone out there (like me) who has been curious about Reviewer X, she just posted a great/fun/adorable post about herself yesterday…complete with gorgeous photo that is NOTHING like I imagined her. It looks like she’s having way too much fun over there. Check it out!

Thanks everyone!!!