My Path to Getting Published Blog Tour

My workshop friend, Brooke,  started this pretty cool blog tour idea in a post for Carve Magazine. I volunteered to participate, though I am not going to tag five people. Feel free to post about your own path on your blog. 1.    Where are you on your publishing path?

I signed a contract with Skyhorse Publishing last month. My debut mystery novel, STILLWATER, will be published in hardback in October 2015.

2.    How long has it taken you to get there?

I started writing ten years ago. I attended my first writer's con in 2012, I signed with an agent in 2013 and signed a publishing deal in 2014.

3.    What’s your journey looked like thus far?

My mentor, Mark, told me recently I have done this whole publishing thing by the numbers. Finishing a book, getting an agent, getting a deal. It sounds like it was easy and painless and, if I'm honest, it probably has been an easier journey than many or most writers go through. Why? I don't know. It's not because I'm good at pitching or write a clear, gripping query letter. In fact, I'm pretty terrible at pitching and query letters. Don't even ask about synopses. My success has been a mix of talent, luck, perseverance and the confidence that, no matter how long it took, I would get published.

4.    What’s your future look like?

NYT Bestseller, baby! At least, that's the dream. Isn't it every writer's dream? Realistically, I want STILLWATER to sell well and for the second book to be picked up. I want the historical fiction novel my agent is submitting to publishers in the fall to be picked up. But, most of all, I want to continue to write, for people to read and enjoy my work.

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Confessions

toptentuesday From The Broke and the Bookish - Top Ten Blogging Confessions

  1. I always have big ideas and plans to post regularly on my blog but invariable don't follow through with them. Lately it's been because I'm busy doing writerly stuff that needs to be done if I want to get published.
  2. Each blog post takes 30 minutes at a minimum. Usually over an hour. (This one had taken five hours, but ice cream had to be made.) That's a lot of time to dedicate to something I'm not entirely sure anyone reads and/or enjoys.
  3. Building a following on a blog is hard work. Does it reap the benefits touted by proponents of Platform Building? Magic 8 Ball says, "Ask again later."
  4. I used to religiously write book reviews but now can't seem to put into words why I liked a book or disliked it. I think I'm out of practice and if I made myself write them, it would come back. The problem is time. Book reviews take even longer than a general blog post.
  5. I don't read or follow as many blogs as I should.
  6. My favorite all time blog post is One Mile Ahead.
  7. Of the ten most popular posts, seven are about The Mentalist.
  8. I do not talk politics on my blog.
  9. Nor do I talk about religion.
  10. I didn't think I had blogging confessions. Turns out, I had nine.

 

My Writing Process Blog Tour - Dark Fantasy writer Brent Kelly

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Continuing with the My Writing Process Blog Tour, today we hear from Brent Kelly, a dark fantasy writer from the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

What are you working on?

These days I’m trying to wrap up my third novel, CHUGGIE AND THE PRISONER GODS. It’s about my pal Chuggie and some trouble he’s gotten into. It’s the third book of his ongoing series, the first being CHUGGIE AND THE DESECRATION OF STAGWATER. The second was CHUGGIE AND THE BLEEDING GATEWAYS. There should be many more to come. In this book, Chuggie’s stuck on a world called Glughu, and he needs to get home to try and stop a war. We also get to see through the eyes of Chuggie’s friend Fey Voletta, as well as young lady named Squip who was born into poverty. I’m even more excited about this next book than the first two for several reasons. The story is amped up, the monsters are more monstrous, and there are going to be pictures. I’ve got an artist named David Starr creating illustrations, and the ones I’ve seen so far are just glorious. The man knows what he’s doing, and his illustrations are going to be a great addition to the story.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Chuggie’s stories are in the genre of Dark Fantasy. What you won’t find are dragons, werewolves, vampires, fairies, elves, trolls, centaurs, or zombies. A lot of Dark Fantasy tales are set right here on Earth. There’s nothing wrong with that, but with Chuggie I created a new world. It’s called Mag Mell, and I have a pretty wild time exploring there. On Mag Mell, there is a race of beings called Steel Jacks – basically creatures of living energy who live in 8-foot-tall metal suits. They arrived through the Tetracardi Rift, and they’re not to be trifled with. They also lend a touch of sci-fi to the story. The Steel Jacks want Chuggie to join their team, but he does his best to avoid them. He spends his days trying  in vain to stay out of trouble and his nights telling crazy, boozy tales that may not have happened exactly how he says.

Why do you write what you do?

It’s what I’m best at writing. I dabble in horror, sci-fi, children’s stories, and so on. With Dark Fantasy – particualarly Chuggie’s stories – I feel like I’m home. His adventures are light-hearted, silly, whimsical, profanity-filled, gory, gruesome, creepy, and sexy. I can really let my imagination off its chain when I’m writing about him.

How does your writing process work?

There’s a long period of writing notes. Then I’ll write down every conflict in the book that I can think of. That becomes a basic outline. I don’t spend too much time working on a huge outline initially because it’ll be useless by chapter 4. I’ll outline a chapter at a time, write the chapter, then a quick outline, then write a chapter, and so on. Once I have a completed manuscript, I’ll send it to my editor Kate Jonez at Omnium Gatherum. She’ll read it and send back her editorial suggestions. We’ll edit for two months. Then, if Odin wills it, we’ll publish the book exactly on schedule. CHUGGIE AND THE PRISONER GODS is slated for release this September. Want my opinion? Everyone should get the most excited they’ve ever been and then maintain that level of excitement until the book comes out, star

tiiiiiiing… NOW!

brent kelley
brent kelley

Brent Michael Kelley lives and writes in the Wisconsin Northwoods.

He is the author of CHUGGIE AND THE DESECRATI

ON OF STAGWATER

(Mischief Mayhem Want and Woe)

and 

CHUGGIE AND THE BLEEDING GATEWAYS

(Mischief Mayhem Want and Woe Book 2)

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He shares a home with such things as hairless dogs, a snake named Darth Batman, and the woman he married on Halloween. In addition to writing about his pal Chuggie, he likes writing story-poems, painting monsters, and making wine. Some say late at night, if you’re alone by a campfire, you can summon Brent by closing your eyes and saying his name eleven times. He insists this is not true and there’s no way it will work… yet. He can be found on the web at brentmichaelkelley.com.

My Writing Process Blog Tour - Fantasy writer Anna Hess

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Today on My Writing Process Blog Tour, we hear from genre busting, but mostly fantasy, writer Anna Hess.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because there is a steady stream of characters in my head that I’ve become good friends with. They’ve helped me through hard times and embellished good times, but mostly they have helped me learn about myself. I’d like to share these characters and their stories with others, and if only one other person has as much fun with them as I have, then that was worth it. And if not, well, I still had fun with them. I also write because I’d like to contribute to the children’s/young adult age when I was inhaling any book I could get my hands on.

How does your writing process work?

I’m not sure if my writing process has a pattern, but if it did it would work something like this - I picture something ridiculous happening, build a scenario around it, feather it into a basic storyline, and immediately jot down a series of notes that I spend an inflated amount of time, and many pots of coffee, trying to interpret later. Then, after many months of yelling ‘Just do it already!!’ at myself, I sit down and put a solid string of scenarios on paper. I carry a notepad and a small pencil around with me almost all of the time. Though, it never fails that ideas come to me when I’m in a pitch black theater or have hands full of gooey bread dough and am utterly incapable of writing. More than once I’ve found a shredded and dried piece of a napkin in the dryer and have spent long moments trying to understand what “cave tree orgooo bler” means. I write very quickly (tpyos are common) and with a steady flow, so it’s very difficult to me to go back and change small portions of a story, I mostly have to change a huge chunk of it. Also, you can throw in the usual amount of the author self-loathing cycle, following “This is amazing! This is horrible! I hate myself! *pour coffee*”.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

My writing probably differs from similar genres because it is fairly advanced in humor, cynicism and relationships and spans across the border of children’s and young adult. I try to write for advanced young readers. When I was growing up there weren’t many books for children 9-15, and after reading everything on the shelves at the local library I read Jurassic Park (I was 9, and the librarian was worried it was too violent) and then started the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (admittedly that took awhile). I’m so happy that there are authors adding to the young adult genres, and that I can always see my younger cousins tucked into a corner with a book. If I could contribute to this, I’d consider that a great accomplishment.

What are you working on?

I’m working on at least a dozen different projects ranging from beginning readers to advanced adult. Most of these are fantasy, though I also delve into the horror genre sometimes, but moreso with ghost stories and psychological thrillers. Currently my favorite project is a young adult fantasy series in which my characters are animals and mythical creatures trying to strategize in a non-classic battle of good against evil. I’m also reworking some short stories that were published in newspapers, including a mini-series about a multi-universe bond between two teenagers, and another about a ghost wolverine (which, frankly, is terrifying to me). I am currently publishing a study on butterflies and bison, and at the moment I am editing my answers to Melissa’s blog (thanks so much for including me!)while I wait for a satellite image to process.

anna hess
anna hess

Anna Hess is a chronic daydreamer and musician that finally settled on an enigmatic career in cartography so that she could mix science and art. She fell into a series of job opportunities including saving prairies, surveying powerlines, finding patterns in how floods occur, saving butterflies, and preparing chemistry laboratories. Through her 11 years of college (she did get a doctorate) she worked with theater companies doing everything from acting to props to stage management to substituting for mannequins. However, she enjoys writing fantasy more than anything else. You can find her on Twitter

@AnnaNHess

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My Writing Process Blog Tour - YA Author A.M. Bostwick

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When I asked A.M. Bostwick to participate in the My Writing Process Blog tour she agreed, with a caveat: she doesn't have a blog. No worries, I said. We'll post it on mine! Then she tagged three more people who don't have blogs. I'm happy to host their answers to the blog tour for the next few days.  First up, Abigail. What are you working on?

I’m on a break from a NA/YA I’ve spent nearly a year on. It was unexpected, but I decided to delve into a sequel to my debut MG novel, THE GREAT CAT NAP, a mystery adventure.  For the longest time, I didn’t know where time would find my feline narrator. All of a sudden, I just knew. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this – I knew all the characters, found plenty of new seedy ones for Ace to encounter and an entirely new mystery for Ace to solve that I hope will appeal to young readers.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I flip between YA and MG and sometimes NA! So it depends. As for Ace, it’s different because it’s from the first person viewpoint of a cat, I suppose. He’s sophisticated, smart and sassy – and in a world that’s perhaps a bit more noir and dark than many MG. I think my YA differs in that I face some common dilemmas of that age group, but also some larger-than-life issues that are unique to the character. It’s not so unique, however, that someone couldn’t empathize with the situation and want to know how the character pulls through.

Why do you write what you do?

In MG, I like to write what amuses me. As a kid, I related strongly to books about animals. I grew up isolated, in the country, with a lot of cats, dogs and rescued wildlife. I loved books with animals as the heroes. As I got older, I really found myself in real-life, contemporary stories, however, which are what my YA focus on. So many of my friends found themselves in fantasy, and it took me a long time to get into that genre. Maybe that’s why I write contemporary. It’s still what I gravitate toward.

How does your writing process work?

As much as I try to “think” of ideas, that never works for me. It usually starts with a character speaking to me and suddenly everything catches fire and I write like crazy – scenes, parts of chapters, dialogue. Just to get the feel. Then I like an outline. I always know the end. Maybe not literally, but I know where the character arcs will end. I like to leave enough room to be surprised. Not everything is plotted. Just the main points.

abigail
abigail

A.M. Bostwick writes Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. An early draft of her young adult novel, “Break the Spell,” was a finalist in the 2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Fab 5 Contest. Abigail lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, dog and thrill-seeking cat. The Great Cat Nap, winner of the 2014 Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, is her debut novel.

Thanks, Abigail! For more information about Abigail and her writing as well as a sample chapter of THE GREAT CAT NAP, check out her website or follow her on Twitter @bostwickAM

My Writing Process Blog Tour

My friend and fellow DFW Workshop member, David Goodner, tagged me in the My Writing Process Blog Tour meme. Below are my answers, and the three people who agreed to keep this meme going.

What am I working on?

I'm editing my historical novel, PALO DURO, to ready it for submission in September.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write character driven mysteries with too much cussing to qualify it as a cozy, not enough blood to qualify it as gritty, too much romance to qualify it as a procedural and not enough romance for it to be erotica. The central character is a male instead of a female, a police chief instead of an amateur sleuth, and it's a crime novel instead of a thriller. To me, it's a pretty straight forward small town crime novel, which it turns out is more unique than I thought.

Why do I write what I do?

I love history and historical fiction. I love learning something new when I read and the opportunity to do that for other readers is appealing. Plus, there aren't enough American authors writing about American history. Unless it's the Civil War. Everyone writes about the Civil War. But, there is so, so much more out there to write about. It's getting better, actually. I've seen quite a few unique American historical fiction novels recently: The Traitor's Wife, Orphan Train, One Thousand White Women, to name a few. I love British and European history as much as the next person, but it's time for historical fiction to move on from Nazis and the British monarchy, I think.

Why do I write mysteries? I'm not sure, truth be told. Since my reading habits are so varied, I I don't read a ton of mysteries and when I do it's whatever catches my eye. It might be cozy, traditional, noir, thriller, crime procedural.  This lack of genre focus in my reading probably explains why my novel isn't easily slotted into a sub-genre. I've been influenced by many of them. When I wrote STILLWATER, I wrote a mystery I would like to read and discovered I like writing mysteries.

And women's fiction? That is such a hard genre to define. To me, all of my novels are women's fiction because they have a strong female as a central character. I've dabbled in erotica but haven't written a traditional romance. I might one day, but for now I'm focusing on writing strong female protagonists in male dominated worlds.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process is 60% procrastination, and by procrastination I mean naps, and 40% writing. I'm not kidding.

I start with an idea, usually a character. I'll go through my daily activities, distracted and distant, thinking about this idea; fleshing out the character, the situation, the setting. Then, I start writing. I don't outline, save for one or two word sentences for each chapter, which I usually write once I'm halfway done with the book. It's at the halfway mark that it starts to flow, I realize there's an end to work toward. I finish the first draft, polish it up, then send it to my first reader, Mark. He tears it apart, and I rewrite. He teases me that I write two novels worth of prose for every novel I write. So far, he's right. I keep hoping that as I develop as a writer, I will develop a more streamlined writing process.  So far, that hasn't happened.

If the idea is historical fiction, I try to read as much as I can on the subject and time period before  so I have a good grasp on the feel of the time. Between my first and second draft, I'll do specific research to get the details right. I can't research while I write or I will fall down every research rabbit hole there is and get nothing done.

Three of my writing friends have graciously agreed to continue this little meme.

abigail
abigail

A.M. Bostwick writes Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. An early draft of her young adult novel, "Break the Spell," was a finalist in the 2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Fab 5 Contest. Abigail lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, dog and thrill-seeking cat. THE GREAT CAT NAP, winner of the 2014 Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, is her debut novel.

anna-photo
anna-photo

Anna Davis. Writer. Mom. Wife. Avid reader. Coffee lover. Cyberpunk. Sci-fi nerd. Winner of the DFW Writer’s Conference “Fire and Ash” Short Story Contest. Editorial Assistant at Henery Press.

jenny
jenny

Jenny Martin is a librarian, a book monster, and a certified electric-guitar-rawking Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock. Her debut YA novel, TRACKED, will be released in 2014 by Dial, an imprint of Penguin.