“Getting to Know You” Blog Hop

Today marks the opening of Like a Virgin pitch contest for NA/YA. And since I have a NA/YA and no agent, I'm participating as a contestant! Kinda scary.

1. How do you remember your first kiss? Like a dream.....

2. What was your first favorite love song? "I'll Never Break Your Heart" by the Backstreet Boys.

I mean, really it was probably "The Deeper the Love" by Whitesnake--but I was like three and I only know the stories of my obsession with Whitesnake. (Blame my uncle.)

3. What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day? I just write. I don't get to write every single day and I'm not really a ritual writer. I've probably had coffee, because I can't survive without it. I guess I re-read a little so I can get into the voice. Sometimes I have to read a sentence or a paragraph, and other times a whole chapter or two. It depends on my headspace and where I am in the story/how connected to the character I am at the moment.

4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer? Jennifer Donnelly. I read A NORTHERN LIGHT in college and it completely changed my life, pushed me to write and I have been fawning over ever since. Some day I will get the courage to email her. (I don't have it yet.)

5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with? The first book EVER? The one that lives in my closet? Yes. I don't think it changed. But I didn't revise that much....it was a learning book.

FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS had approximately 15 opening chapters. That was the hardest beginning to nail down. SALT has the same chapter, with very few tweaks actually.

The one I'm entering in this contest is the same, but it's been expanded.

6. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting? I always get a voice first, and usually a line. Some character will say something in my head and then bam - story. The plot and setting usually develop later.

7. What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?   Haunting.


Stepping Away and Starting Over

I am writing three books right now. And revising - or soon to be revising - three other books right now.  Plus playing editor for all my fantastic authors! And working.

I'm a little crazy right now.

I didn't plan to be writing three books, but here we are. I guess in my defense, I am only actually writing one, book two of the trilogy. The other two books (SALT 2 and my love affair nicknamed SUPERB) I am crazy-detail outlining. I'm doing this while I wait for edits on DAYS (my newly finished MS), FMTD and SALT. And while it seems crazy to be writing so many things at once, I have never done it before and it's oddly satisfying.

And wow, second books are scary. (And exciting!) (But also scary.)

WAY back in October, I wrote this post that my WIP for Boundless 2 didn't feel right. Then, in December, my editor politely helped me see that the almost-finished version of B2 was best suited for the trash. She said to me, "I don't think this is the right story," and I knew she was right. I have to admit that while throwing out 60k words was a hard loss, but this weekend I started writing it anew (after some intense plotting) and I know after only being three chapters into this new draft that starting over was a great decision.

Before I could dive in, I knew I needed to step away. I was so frustrated at that draft that I was burnt out. I didn't want to write because it was so hard (mostly due to the fact that I was telling the wrong story.) I didn't want to start over, right or not. Plus, I started Follow Me Through Darkness in 2010. I'd lived in that world for years, with reprieve only during SALT, and I for the sake of sanity and quality I needed a break.

I had this other project sitting in my head and deadlines that run through early 2014, so it was the only chance I had to write something else. From December to April, I wrote DAYS (not real title.) DAYS is totally, totally different. A contemp from dual POV and out of my comfort zone but it did a really great thing: it reminded me why I love writing. It gave me joy again, brought me comfort, excitement and sparked something awake while the world of B2 took a rest.

DAYS is with my CPs and now I have started outlining SALT2 and SUPERB. I don't really have time to write SUPERB, but it is this great love of my heart that keeps me going when I need to switch gears from B2 or need help getting out of that Neely's head. (She is intense.)

The great thing about taking a break before I started writing B2 has been that I now see things more clearly. Aspects of the world that I forgot or didn't see before are vibrant. Two months stands between FMTD & B2 so sometimes I have to look back on the first book and see what happened, which is what a reader has to do and why authors add those recaps of previous books. Neely has changed a lot in those two months. I feel, that since I have changed too, it's easier to connect with her. Plus, I actually just started but I have 16k because there are things from previous drafts that I get to keep!

Sometimes things seem overwhelming -- like throwing out a whole book -- but don't underestimate the directions they will take you. Or the people who suggest them. Especially if it's your editor! Editors know what they are doing! Trust him/her/them. You are a team.

And as far as writing: it always has to be for you. This is what I am learning. Yes, I have deadlines and I'm not going to miss them, but I can write other things too. When writing stops being enjoyable, then it translates into the story you are writing. So find joy, be happy, have fun, write!

Oh, and enjoy these gifs...because everything is better and happier with Dean Winchester.


10 Reasons to see Maroon5 (And Only Half of Them are Because of Adam Levine)

It all started seven months ago. Maroon5 tickets went on sale and I tweeted my friend, Jenny (who I literally met the night before!) and said, "Do you like Maroon5?" And the rest is history.

Warning: there are a lot of exclamation marks and all caps ahead.

Show opener! 

Now that I have experienced the AMAZEMENT that is a Maroon5 concert, let me tell you TEN REASONS YOU NEED TO SEE MAROON5 IN CONCERT. (I even put them in order. You can skip down if you don't care about just Adam. Which, would be weird.)

5 Reasons for to see Maroon5 if you love Adam Levine:

Adam's tattoos.
I mean, we all know he has them. Especially if you watch The Voice. But they're really nice when they are live, and on a jumbo screen while hold a mic. I don't even know, y'all. They are hot! (You'll hear that word a lot.) 

Adam laying on the ground.
There was a part where he sang on his knees. And then, when it was done, he just sprawled out on the ground. It was just nice. :) 

Adam with a guitar.
Adam is freaking sexy with a guitar. I mean, LIKE. Give a guy a guitar, and that pretty much increases a level of hotness. But Adam (along with our old friend with the great hair, James) really tore it up. It was wonderful.

Adam sweating. 

I mean...what else do I need to say?

Adam's butt.

Adam has a great butt. If you watch The Voice, you've probably seen it. But in real life, with a jumbo ton, goodness. He definitely knows what kind of pants to wear. 

(Also, this has nothing to do with the concert--but have y'all SEEN how many times Adam has hugged people during the Blind Auditions this season??? He is so sweet.)

5 OTHER reasons to see Maroon5

The bridge.
There's this bridge (spoiler) that they bring down into the audience, and it is really freaking cool. I was like "they mean business now!" 

The Bridge during "Stereo"

Stage presence.

They were so involved!!! Adam was jumping and running all over that stage! (Which was shaped like an M!) James would move around with him, too. There was also some girl who sang on two songs. (I didn't hear her name.) PLUS, they had really cool backdrops and lights and confetti! It was a FANTASTIC show and very entertaining!! There was even one where the band looked like they were floating in the water. It was cool. :) 

A house, while they sang "Sunday Morning"
THAT IS SPACE in the background. Which is cool.

Crazy effing good songs.
If you are a Maroon5 fan, then you won't be disappointed. They cover all the hits and the best of the new album. The audience participates with choruses and a choir-like round, which is a blast. Love their songs: you'll love this show. 

"Harder to Breathe" 
Everyone else!
The whole of Maroon5, the audience, the camera people -- amazing. They really made it a great time! 

When I was driving home, I turned on one of the songs from the show that was stuck in my head. ("Lucky Strike" which was the second or third song they sang in the show, so it was weird that it was in my head!) And it was good, but MAN, IT WAS SO MUCH BETTER LIVE. So, if you like their music then make sure you see them live!!

I can't wait to go again!!!!!! Because I will. Best money I've ever spent on entertainment. Woo!!!!!!!

And of course, Adam's butt.


When You Have Nothing to Say...

I haven't posted much here (read: at all) for a few reasons.

The biggest being: I don't have much to say.

My life is pretty much the same over and over. I write (sometimes), clean the house, do my nanny duties, check my email 1400 times a day, edit, cook dinner, cram in a Skype call (or two) and pass out. Then, I do it all over.  In the midst of that, I've found I don't really have much to say in blog posts.

Writing struggles? Time. What is time? Where does it go? Writer's block? Not really, aside from that show I'd rather watch instead because I am exhausted. Shiny New? No time -- my writing schedule is jam packed full for 2013.

I don't have any edits (yet!) so I can't talk about revising. I'm not working on any of my contracted books (yet! Well, not since we through out book two) so I can't talk about that. I'm writing a new story, but it's going to so amazing that I'd rather write it than talk about writing it on my blog. (I seriously am in love with it. *squeezes it closer*) Nothing bad is happening or good is happening. It's calm, which is much needed break. I'm sure any day now it will be the storm that comes after and you'll all be like "stop posting!"

I've also been noticing this really unsettling trend lately. (Especially on twitter.) Every day there's some new drama and it's really exhausting just trying to avoid all the drama. Do I have opinions on drama? Yes, I do. Lots of opinions. But I hate drama, so me sharing my opinions will only add to it--and that feels counter-productive. Plus, it's all going to make someone else mad, and I don't like making people mad.  I grew up with the rule of, "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything." And as hard as it is, that's where I am.

So, it's hard to blog. Because I have nothing really going on and the only things people are talking about is drama that I don't want to be part of. It really lessens the topics of conversation.

For now then, I leave with you this:

I want one. 

And this:

I want to be her friend. She's too adorable.

And of course, this: 

Bring it on down to Veganville! 


In Which I Make an Exciting Announcement

It's hard to believe that a mere three months ago I announced my three book deal for the Boundless Series (Follow Me Through Darkness.) It's hard to believe because I'm here - again - with ANOTHER BOOK DEAL!

I'm thrilled to announce that I have sold SALT (& it's sequel!) to Entangled Publishing! Woo! *happy dance*
Danielle Ellison's SALT, in which a powerless witch suddenly saves herself from a demon attack and must discover the key to her powers in order to prove herself worthy to fight alongside her people to protect humanity, to Liz Pelletier at Entangled, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in August 2013 (World). 
I've been sitting on this news since Halloween - and man, it has been hard. I *love, love* SALT (you've seen it online called Hotboyalicious) and I can't wait to share this book with you. Penelope has a special place in my heart and her world is one I would never leave if I had the choice.

SALT will release in August 2013 -- which is like 7 months from now! Ahh! -- through a new imprint at EP called Entangled DigiTEEN. This imprint is one of the new ones that fall under the distribution merger with Macmillian/St Martin's Press. It's really an exciting time to be joining EP!

What's the story behind this book deal? Well, one of my betas read SALT & told me I should sub to EP. But I was totally Going To Get An Agent With This Book because I was so close last time. Then, I queried A LOT of agents & everyone loved the book, the world, the characters, the writing -- but I got a resounding plea that the market wasn't taking this kind of paranormal (witches/demons) no matter how unique it was. While waiting in the query trenches I told my beta I would sub it and I did.

Meanwhile, I'm still querying away and getting a lot of request--seriously sent 100 queries & had about 30 MSs out in a month-ish--and all of that starts dwindling down with "query me later," and "I love this but..." and "paranormal doesn't sell."

And then, the day after Halloween, I got an email from Liz saying they wanted to pub SALT. After some discussions with agents, phone calls with Liz & Guillian (editorial assistan), some rearranging with FMTD schedule and a lot of flailing, I now have a two-book deal!

I'm very pumped because SALT & FTMD couldn't be more different - and you'll get to see two sides of my writing. It also means I have A LOT of books to work on!

My new release schedule looks like this:

August 2013 - Salt (digital only)
Feb/March 2014 - Salt sequel (digital only)
October 2014 - Follow Me Through Darkness (print/digital)
April 2015 - Boundless series #2 (print/digital)
October 2015 - Boundless series #3 (print/digital)

FIVE books. It's sorta crazy & I still feel like a kid at Christmas pinching myself over & over again because this can not be real. I'm beyond blessed - and I can't wait share my stories with you!!!

*bounces* *hooks up electricity in writing cave*


2013 - let's go!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (When do we stop saying that?)

Well, we are ten days into 2013 and my year has already been amazing but exhausting. This week has flown by and I'm trying to catch up, but what can you do?

There are a lot of exciting things happening this year and it's crazy to think about. My Spencer Hill editing projects will be REAL books - RECLAIMED, THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM, EXTRACTED, FIREBLOOD - and I'm sad to see them end, but very happy to welcome some new loves.

I'm spending a lot of time at the gym trying to set a new lifestyle for myself, and that is a challenge that's already (I joined early December) proving to be rewarding. I'm also spending my days nannying with a lovely family and I'm really happy it worked out like it did with them.

Writing wise, my life is insane. But in the midst of that, I want to post more on Frenzy. I don't really set goals or resolutions, but I want to post once a week (at least!) here because its important to me.

So, today is the start of that. Now that I've said it, the goal is out there.

In addition to writing here, I will be on Tangled twice a month and writing the sequel to FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS, which is due March 1. (& I am not very far.) I'm trying not to get distracted by my side project, but it makes me enjoy writing again. Like LOVE writing. That has been difficult to do with FMTD2, as apparently it goes with second books, but I'm hopeful! If all goes according to plan, I will write 2-3 books this year. (Ambitious, I know!)

So let's go, 2013!!

What are some things you have going on?? Have you set any resolutions or have goals that you want to accomplish - be them daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? Tell me!