chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

PitchWars 2017 – The Wishlist July 18, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

PitchWars Mentoring: Year Two…

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Yes! I’m so excited to be back for a second year as a PitchWars mentor. I will be mentoring YA again and I’m on the lookout for an amazing manuscript. Before I get to the nitty gritty details of my wishlist, here is a little about me beyond the regular bio…

 

 

 

 

Who am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m the youngest of five kids. At the dinner table, I had to claw (and sometimes bite) my way to an extra slice of bread or last scoop of chocolate chip ice cream (Yum!), so I’m prepared to battle for a story that transports me to another world, makes me feel all the feels, and has lush, beautiful writing.

 

I was a PitchWars mentee twice! First for a YA contemporary thriller, and then for a YA historical that will be my debut in March 2018! That year I did not go all the way through the process because I signed with an agent, but I did get feedback from, in my opinion, two of the most amazing writers in the YA category… Stacey Lee and Stephanie Garber.

 

Hmmm, what else can I share? I have a degree in Journalism and spent my first year out of college working in entertainment in Los Angeles. After that, I moved on to advertising and eventually landed in the world of books helping to promote stories coming onto the market via Ingram Book Group.

 

When I’m not writing, I’m worshipping at the altar of Netflix, binge-watching bad crime dramas or rewatching every episode of Sherlock ever made. I also love biking, running, Arnold Palmers (flavored iced tea mixed with lemonade) and Red Vines, (seriously not in that order!)

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Why do I mentor?

 

This question is easy to answer. Since 2012, I’ve been writing this blog (Chasing The Crazies) about my ups and downs in publishing. Along the way, I created a few features I hoped would help writers with the process. After being in the query trenches more than once, I learned a thing or two and wanted to share that experience with other writers. All of this culminated in being asked to judge contests and eventually host one (Sun vs. Snow). So for me, being a Pitch Wars mentor was a natural choice. I love writing, revising, and editing and want to use my knowledge to help a fellow writer achieve their dream!

 

 

 

 

My Strengths:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plotting

Pacing

Characterization

Dialogue

 

 

 

 

 

Communication Style:

 

Fair warning – I’m kind of an extrovert. I want to wave at you in person and gush over how much I love your story and your writing so at first I’d like to chat via Google Hangouts. At that time, we will discuss big picture issues. I also want to get a feel for what you’re struggling with in your manuscript and discuss the process moving forward. After that, we can continue to chat via video feed or can work via email and text, whichever you prefer.

 

 

 

What my mentee can expect?

 

Homework. Lots of homework at the beginning. I’m going to ask you to fill out a character questionnaire, walk me through your story beats, as well as chart the emotional arcs of your characters. Then I’m going to ask for a chapter-by-chapter summary to confirm each scene is necessary and moving your plot along. We will also have regular check-ins to chat about how you’re feeling about the process and discuss any issues that come up as you are revising.

 

 

 

 

What I’m looking for:

 

 

YA Contemporary (Any and all of it – but here are some of my favorites)

 

Complicated family dynamics like in WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI

 

Sports-related drama in the vein of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series or Ginger Scott’s LIKE YOU duology

 

Sibling rivalry and support as seen in Huntley Fitzpatrick’s MY LIFE NEXT DOOR

 

Fish-out-of-water stories like ANNA and THE FRENCH KISS

 

Someone who has an unusual hobby that helps form their character

 

A setting different than a hometown that acts as a character in the book

 

Stories where friendship plays a main role

 

 

 

YA Historical

 

This is my love! Send me anything and everything, but I have specific interest in…

 

Lush dramas like Stacey Lee’s UNDER A PAINTED SKY

 

Clever storytelling combined with mystery as seen in GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE to VICE and VIRTUE

 

A twist on a well-known historical figure in the vein of Broadway’s HAMILTON or MY LADY JANE

 

An unknown part of history that has dramatic impact like WASP (Women’s Army Service Pilots) in Sherri L. Smith’s FLYGIRL

 

 

 

YA Magical Realism* (A contemporary world with a hint of magic)

If you have a book like Emily Bain Murphy’s THE DISAPPEARANCES, please sub it to me!

 

*Please see note below about this category. Only MR manuscripts please! Do not send me any YA Fantasy or Science Fiction books. There are tons of other YA mentors who are looking for these genres!

 

 

YA Thriller and Mystery

 

I’m a huge fan of the whodunit.

 

Send me manuscripts like Karen McManus’ ONE OF US IS LYING, Kara Thomas’ THE DARKEST CORNERS, or Gretchen McNeil’s TEN. HUGE bonus points for an unreliable narrator!!

 

Secret societies also pique my interest. If you have a manuscript similar to THE LIAR SOCIETY or the THE CONSPIRACY OF US series, please send it!!

 

Spies and international intrigue are also high on my list, too!  If your book is like Ally Carter’s GALLAGHER GIRLS or EMBASSY ROW series, I’d love to see it!!!

 

Basically, if your book is anything close to Veronica Mars – PLEASE. SEND. IT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things Not for Me:

 

  • Science Fiction or Fantasy manuscripts
  • Books with a ton of gore or grisly scenes
  • Gritty, dark stories which include rape or self-harm of any kind
  • Cheating parents or boyfriends/girlfriends
  • Alternate history
  • Romance that does not have a HEA (Happily Ever After)

 

 

 

 

To get one last hint at my personality here is a list of my favorite books, music, TV series and movies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books

 

Wink Poppy Midnight – April Tucholke

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Simon Versus the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Such A Rush – Jennifer Echols

Paper Towns – John Green

The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

Dumplin – Julie Murphy

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

 

 

 

 

Music

 

Arctic Monkeys

Halsey

The xx

Snow Patrol

Saint Motel

Birdy

Cage The Elephant

Arcade Fire

Atlas Genius

Young The Giant

 

 

 

TV Series

 

Veronica Mars

Bones

Sherlock

Riverdale

Stranger Things

Boardwalk Empire

Outlander

Haven

 

 

Movies

 

Sixteen Candles (Anything John Hughes to be honest!)

Ten Things I Hate About You

Veronica Mars (movie) – Yes, slightly obsessed

Super 8

Heathers

Field of Dreams

Somewhere in Time

Memento

Easy A

Empire Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still have a question or unsure about my wishlist?

 

Please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@atrueblood5). I’m always open to answering more specific questions about what I’m looking for in a potential manuscript. I’m also happy to field general questions about Pitch Wars, too!

 

 

 

 

Also….

 

 

WHY (hint…hint…) don’t you check out Brenda Drake’s blog for more details?

 

 

Don’t see a description of your manuscript on my list? I highly encourage you to check out the other AMAZING YA mentors below.

 

 

 

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QUITE THE QUERY – Laura Weymouth and THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS July 12, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!

 

Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences, but for those who don’t I wanted to provide a resource where writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.

 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from Laura Weymouth. This great query connected her with her agent, Lauren Spieller of Triada US Literary.

 

 

 

 

A queen crowned in the Woodlands is a queen forever.

 

These are the words Evelyn Hapwell lives by. Six years ago, Evelyn was swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom, where she ruled alongside her brother and sister for decades. But the Hapwell children were sent back to their old lives in our own world, and each day, Evelyn wakes up waiting to return to the Woodlands. As it becomes increasingly clear that there will be no triumphal home-going and that she is in fact, a queen in exile, Evelyn struggles to come to terms with how to live in this world, and how to build a kingdom here. Because foreign policy and governing a country are simple enough, but boys and boarding school and friends in post-war England are another matter entirely.

 

Your sister’s gone missing.

 

Four words are all it takes to shatter Len Hapwell’s self-imposed exile in America. After fleeing from the fight to keep Evelyn grounded in reality, Len returns to London to find her sister has vanished, and no one knows what’s happened. Riddled with guilt over abandoning Ev, Len searches for answers while dealing with the fallout of Evelyn’s disappearance. To uncover the truth of what happened to her sister, Len will have to confront how deeply troubled Evelyn really was, and the lengths she was willing to go to for a chance at returning to the kingdom of her heart.

 

A dual point of view YA fantasy complete at 60,000 words, THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN will appeal to older readers of EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire. It blends the wonder and nostalgia of childhood portal fantasies such as THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA with the realism and emotional tension of LOOKING FOR ALASKA.

 

 

 

 

Fun Tidbit:

 

Prior to querying THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN (which is now titled THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS and will be published by HarperTeen in fall 2018), I queried an entirely different MS for a year and a half. While I received a reasonable number of requests, no one ever loved it quite enough to offer. So when I first sent out this query, I was mentally prepared for a long process. To my very great surprise, I received my first offer 10 days after the above query first left my inbox!

 

 

 

 

Laura Weymouth is the author of the THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS, a YA Fantasy out in Fall 2018 from HarperTeen. Billed as Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magicians’ meets CS Lewis’s Narnia, THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS follows two troubled sisters, bound together by blood and fate, as they struggle to find their place in our world after spending years in another realm of myth and magic. A Canadian exile currently residing in the wilds of Western New York, Laura spends the majority of her time kid-wrangling, chicken-raising, and word-smithing. When not engaged in the previous three activities, you can find her in the garden, consuming copious amounts of tea and trying to convince her husband that a miniature cow would make the perfect family pet. Her online home is www.lauraeweymouth.com. She’s also on Twitter (@lauraeweymouth), Facebook (/lauraeweymouth/), and Instagram (@lauraeweymouth)

 

 

QUITE THE QUERY – May Bridges and KILLING JUNE June 30, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!

 

Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences, but for those who don’t I wanted to provide a resource where writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.

 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from May Bridges. This great query connected her with Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

Killing June is a story where the world of whips and sweat-soaked skin collides with Sunday morning church, pecan pie, and keeping up appearances.

 

When Alex Ryan isn’t in her high-rise office in downtown Dallas, or being a dutiful daughter at Sunday morning service, she’s in a dim room with a crop in hand.  Alex is diligent in making sure the world doesn’t know that she burns out the stresses of life under the biting heat of a cane. If you know her in that world, you know her as June, the side of herself she wants desperately to destroy.

 

Alex is ready to stop living her life in compartments, and that means confronting the man that terrorized her youth and created the monster inside her, June. Keeping those warring sections from colliding only gets harder from there.

 

Alex puts her trust in Robert, an old friend and ex-lover turned crime boss, to help her navigate the seedy underbelly of Dallas, TX. He’s willing to track down the man she’s looking for, but at a price. Taking on clients for Robert as a dominatrix has Alex walking a thin line between the life she’s running from, and the one she’s fighting for.

 

In that dark world, Alex meets Cade Brannon, a man with a taste for the rough side of kink that rivals her own. Alex insists that he stay in one of her life’s predefined compartments, but Cade refuses to play by her rules. One by one he makes his way into the sections of her life. Having someone see her as a whole is a kind of freedom Alex had never imagined. Cade also sees through Robert’s manipulations. He pulls Alex into his life to keep her safe but finds that he can’t save her from herself.

 

Cade is showing up at church services. The president of her company is calling in sexual favors in exchange for his silence. Robert is pulling her down a drug and alcohol fueled path of skin for sale. The parts of her life once kept separate, begin to bleed together. Alex fears it may tear her apart. She needs to take charge and learn to save herself before she loses everything: Robert, Cade, her career, her family’s hard earned image, and perhaps her life.

 

Killing June, a dark contemporary romance, is complete at 74,600 word. I have submitted Killing June to you because of your outstanding reputation as an agent representing romance.

 

 

 

Fun Tidbit: I reworked my query with a freelance editor, two of them, actually. The only line that survived the initial round of edits, is the first one. It’s so important to have someone else read your query. I sent out 55 queries in all before signing with super agent Kim.

 

 

 

May is a misplaced Southerner, living in Oregon where she writes dark, gritty contemporary romance, and even darker literary fiction. All of Oregon’s rainy days are spent inside writing, or drawing and covered in charcoal. But the sunny ones are the best. Those are almost always spent on the softball field. And truth be told, you can probably find her on a softball field even on the rainy days. If you want to find out more about May, or how to get your hands on Killing June, and the rest of the Saved by Sin trilogy follow her on twitter @Maybbooks or stalk her on Facebook and www.maybbooks.com Stop by, say hi, don’t be shy!

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS: The Power of Never Giving Up June 19, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we are at our lowest as writers I think we often wonder if what we are doing has any meaning. If the words we put on the page will ever be read by anyone but us. If the worlds we create, the characters we craft, will matter to any one outside our own small sphere.

 

 

There have been many times in my writing career when I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve looked at a finished manuscript and wondered if those hours, days, months I’ve spent on it were worthless because no one but me would ever know they existed. When I start to feel this way, I go back and look at some of the interviews I’ve done with writers I admire. Remind myself of their struggles and refusal to give up.

 

 

One of the biggest stories of perseverance in the publishing world is that of J.K. Rowling. If you know anything about her, you know that she was a single mother living on welfare, writing in a small coffee shop trying to keep her and her child warm while she chased her dream of creating a story about a young boy who discovers he is a wizard. I often wonder how many times in that early period self-doubt slithered into her head. How many times she looked at that blinking cursor and wondered if she was chasing some crazy unrealistic dream.

 

 

Well, most of you know how her story turned out. Harry Potter is now one of the most influential series in all of literature. It’s spawned movies, licensed merchandise, a series of theme parks, and now even a studio tour in London.

 

 

And that brings me to my point. I recently was lucky enough to go on this tour. I, along with my family, on a soggy, cold June day jumped on a double-decker coach (significantly similar to the Knight Bus, along with a crazy driver) and headed outside of London to the small town of Leavesden. The tour information said the experience would last three and half hours. Three and a half hours? I’ve been on many studio tours in the past and they never lasted more than hour so I was very skeptical. I was wrong. SO WRONG.

 

 

Once inside the main building, I was immediately hit by the enormity of the world the directors and producers had built for this series. The walls were covered in life-size posters of all the major characters. Inside the area where the first line began was a complete replica of Harry’s room under the stairs. And on the wall was this sign…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tears burned the corners of my eyes because it hit me at that moment that NONE of this experience would be possible without the words of J.K. Rowling. Sitting in that cafe she was about to change publishing forever. Her words would introduce the amazing experience of reading to both children and adults. What an incredible legacy to give the world.

 

 

So the next time you want to give up, throw in the towel, stop chasing your own dream, think about that single mother sitting in small cafe and what would have happened if she’d stopped creating. I, for one, believe our world would be a much sadder place without the gift she gave us in Harry Potter.

 

 

You never know, the book you’re writing now could be the next story that changes publishing. Keep working. Keep dreaming. The possibility of creating a new story that influences children’s literature could only be a chapter away!

 

 

Here are a few more amazing pictures from the tour. And if you are ever in London, I HIGHLY encourage you to put a trip to Leavesden on your schedule!

 

 

 

 

(The Cupboard Underneath The Stairs)

 

 

 

(Dumbledore and Snape in the Great Hall)

 

 

 

(The Entrance to Dumbledore’s Office)

 

 

 

(The Invitations to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry)

 

 

 

(Entrance to The Chamber of Secrets)

 

 

 

 

(Full scale model of Hogwarts)

 

FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Kari Sutherland of Bradford Literary Agency June 2, 2017

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,Query,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 6:01 am
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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight. You examine the next few paragraphs, hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

 

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript. It’s tricky to get the right balance, but I hope by reading each agent’s comments you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that’s requested over and over.

 

Today, I’m proud to share Kari Sutherland’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

 

 

 

Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?

 

Kari: It’s not the be-all-and-end-all, but it definitely helps set the tone and grab my attention. I always read beyond it, but I’ll be more excited about the submission if the first paragraph or two convey a sense of character, a strong voice, or something about the plot/world that piques my interest. There are times when a writer goes to extremes to make the first sentence sensational (my ex is pointing a gun at me! The house slid into the ocean! Aliens have landed!) when it doesn’t entirely fit the story. I’d rather have the first few lines infused with the persona of a character I want to spend the next 60K words reading about than an explosive beginning for drama’s sake.

 

 

 

Amy: A lot of books open with common things like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, starting at a new school, etc. What are some openings you recommend writers stay away from?

 

Kari: All of the above! There are exceptions to every rule, so I wouldn’t say a book that opens with one of those is not going to be one I ultimately enjoy, but beginning with a dream or waking from one, a mundane conversation or part of a routine (picking out clothes, going for a run, walking to class), or throwing your protagonist into a new school or having him/her watch a new student arrive are all very prosaic routes. In dystopian novels, a selection/choosing ceremony has become the equivalent of starting at a new school for the contemporary genre. It may not stop me from reading on, but the voice will have to work harder to impress me. Another common trope used in the first few pages is the main character looking in a mirror to give us a physical description. I prefer more organic ways of working in those descriptors.

I have been gripped by a dream opening because of stellar, compelling writing and I’ve been bored by more extraordinary and unusual beginnings because the characters, emotions, or descriptions fall flat.

 

 

 

Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?

 

Kari: Beyond the voice, which is first and foremost for me, and an intriguing concept, I look for the ability of a writer to create a poignant or electrifying moment, to make me feel something, even within the first chapter, whether it’s amusement, empathy, or irritation-by-proxy. The first chapter should have a good balance of dialogue and internalization/description since we often learn more about characters when they interact with others and I should have a sense of the world/character’s life without knowing everything. It’s like a first date—you want to hook me (the reader) with your charm and personality and some fascinating anecdotes, but hold back the more detailed knowledge for later, once we’ve spent more time together. The mystery alone can be tantalizing.

 

 

 

Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?

 

Kari: Writers sometimes think they need to lay out the whole world up front. In sci-fi/fantasy or dystopian, this can be with in-depth explanations of how things came to be this way, how things work in this society, etc. In contemporary this can manifest with delving into too much backstory of a relationship anytime a new character enters the scene or an over-reliance on physical descriptions rather than showing us personality traits and temperament. Some details should be there to help readers get a feel for the setting, but we don’t need the complete history at the start. Emotionally laden interactions will be much more compelling than a sociology lesson.

 

 

 

Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?

 

Kari: Voice. I want to know the person who will be leading me on this journey. Someone snarky and gruff? Someone witty and observant? Someone scarred by the past, but hopeful of the future? Someone unapologetically sunny? Someone fiercely loyal and passionate?

The query can show me whether a concept is unique, but if the voice can’t draw me in, an original idea isn’t going to be enough.

 

 

 

Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. While at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.

 

For full submission guidelines, please see the Bradford Literary Agency website.

 

QUITE THE QUERY – JoAnna Illingworth and THE BLACK UMBRELLA May 24, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!

 

Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences, but for those who don’t I wanted to provide a resource where writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.

 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from JoAnna Illingworth. This great query connected her with Uwe Stender of Triada US Literary Agency.

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Brolly J. Parker’s favorite shirt is missing. It’s the first day of senior year, it’s pouring rain and she’s running late. Rummaging through her mom’s closet looking for her shirt, Brolly uncovers a strange looking umbrella hidden in an old box. She grabs the umbrella and runs to check her car for the missing shirt. When she opens the umbrella, she’s abruptly torn away from her home and tossed through time, landing on an unfamiliar, rocky shore, the umbrella gone. A stranger approaches, asking if she needs help. Brolly learns the stranger is eighteen-year-old Lord Thomas Westbourne and she’s somehow arrived at his lake castle in the year 1826.

 

Brolly is desperate to go home, but without the missing umbrella she has no idea how to do it. She spends her days pacing the lakeshore and avoiding awkward encounters with Lord Westbourne. Even though they’re close in age, she can’t imagine how they would have anything in common. Thomas remains curious about Brolly, constantly asking her questions about how she got there and where she’s from.

 

Through time and conversation, Brolly beings to develop feelings for the enigmatic Lord. When he finally admits his feelings for her, even after Brolly explains she doesn’t belong in his world, it’s the push she needs to accept how deep her feelings run. And it’s then, after Thomas and Brolly decide to be together, the black umbrella is finally found. In a struggle to make sure Thomas doesn’t open it, the umbrella opens in her hands and she’s instantly transported back home. It’s as if her time at the castle never happened at all.

 

Against the disbelief of her mom, Brolly believes Thomas was real. She also suspects her mom is hiding a secret about the umbrella that will help her find him. Brolly won’t give up until she discovers the truth.

 

 

 

JoAnna Illingworth is from Nashville and is a music marketer by day and a writer by night. For more on JoAnna, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

 

 

MONDAY MUSINGS: Celebrating the Big Picture May 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last five years I’ve been working on this little YA book called NOTHING BUT SKY. A year of research. A year of writing. A year of revising and then another two years on submission. To say this manuscript was a labor of love for me is putting it mildly. And while it was a joy to work on the book, it also came with its share of heartache. But today, I don’t want to talk about the negative. I only want to share the positive which is that my book SOLD to the amazing people at Flux!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOOHOO! Yes, this does call for a little Supernatural boys dance.

 

 

 

 

 

But seriously, even though this has been a crazy process, and I’m over the moon thrilled about the deal, I want this post to focus on something else today: The Big Picture.

 

 

What do I mean? Well, it’s taken a long time, and a bit of perspective, but I learned that I am NOT this one story. For too long I felt like if NOTHING BUT SKY didn’t sell it was the death knell for my writing career. Why was I so doom and gloom about it? Because I’d put my heart and soul into this manuscript. Over a long period time it went through a dozen readers, pages and pages of notes, and more than a few rewrites. I spent hours at my desk poring over every single line in each chapter wondering what I could do to make my voice cleaner. My lines tighter. It was enough to drive myself a bit over the edge.

 

 

But then an incredible thing happened-a new story idea popped into my head. It wasn’t that I was ready to let NOTHING BUT SKY go, but some part of me knew I had more books to write. Characters to create. Stories to weave. I suddenly felt free. Like my friends and family wouldn’t judge me if that one little book of my heart never made it onto the shelves of a major bookstore.

 

 

In that moment I learned I was more than that one idea. Deep down, I understood I was a storyteller. If Grace and Henry’s journey never got into readers hands, that was okay because their story taught me I could make it through the hardest moments of rejection and come out stronger on the other side.

 

 

The moral of the story, I guess, is that I pushed through. That along the way of creating other books, there was something about NOTHING BUT SKY that stayed with me. It allowed me to do one more revision. To try once more. And this time it landed in the hands of the right editor and the right publisher. I worked hard, but I also got lucky. Really lucky.

 

 

So readers, today I want to celebrate, but I also want to remind you that there is a bigger picture. That there IS more than just that one book in you. At your core you are a writer. Your ideas and words mean something. It’s true, there will be heartache and very low moments along the way, but if you’re meant to be a writer you will always come back to the page. No string of rejections can take that away from you. DO NOT GIVE UP. If you are meant to write, then you will WRITE!

 

 

One last note…

 

I’ve been posting to this blog for over five years and there’s never been a moment where I have not felt anything but unconditional love from you guys, my readers. I’ve shared a lot of tough, personal moments and you’ve ALWAYS been around to lift me up. Encourage me to move forward. No words on this earth can express how much that means to my heart. Thank you so much for being here and believing in me.

 

 

xoxo,

 

Amy

 

 

Okay, I can’t resist – a few more celebratory GIFs!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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