New Novel: Ace of Arts

“Ace of Arts” is my placeholder title for the new book I’ve started writing. Though I’m liking it more and more as I’m getting used to its association with the project.

I’ve been planning to write this book for a long time–though I have not formally outlined it–and it uses characters from a short story I wrote in 1999. I wrote its first chapter on November 1, 2015, and the book is now officially in progress.

It’s a YA contemporary novel with an asexual protagonist, detailing Megan’s adventures as she struggles with relationships and attempts to get into art school.

See you on the other side!

New book on the horizon

I think I’ve decided to start writing my next book after my Halloween party this year.

I’m making no promises about starting immediately on Sunday or anything (although I might), but I really want to start writing this. It is not going to be a NaNo novel. It is not going to be a thing I rush to get done at all costs, though if I write at my usual pace it’ll come out pretty damn fast. I have a vague goal of finishing it by the end of the year, but I’m not going to sacrifice quality if I just can’t do it.

Stuff I know about the book so far:

  • It is a contemporary YA book with very slight magical realism flavor.
  • The protagonist’s name is Megan.
  • Megan is asexual and homoromantic. She doesn’t know that at the beginning of the book.
  • Megan is a very serious artist. She likes to draw cities and buildings and inanimate objects, and prefers to draw in ink.
  • Megan is a senior in high school.
  • She is trying to get into art school based on the enthusiastic reception of some of her drawings at a show.
  • Megan lives with her older sister Dyane.
  • Megan is on the tall side of average, heavyset and curvy, half Hispanic/half white, and has brown hair and brown eyes. She doesn’t have much hair actually–it’s buzzed to peach fuzz. She has pierced ears and a pierced nose.
  • Megan sits behind a boy named Brady in homeroom. Brady is important.
  • Brady is attracted to Megan. Megan is not attracted to him.
  • Megan doesn’t talk very much and is externally kind of intimidating. That’s on purpose.
  • Megan’s sister Dyane is an aspiring actress and has a serious boyfriend. Megan has a loving but sort of disconnected relationship with her sister.
  • Megan had some very bad experiences with boys when she was in middle school because she hit puberty early. When she learns about asexuality, she struggles to decide whether it describes her or whether her bad experiences explain her lack of interest.
  • Megan joins a GSA during the course of the book and dates a girl for some of the time in the book.
  • Megan’s drawings operate on specific rules and go in a certain order that she feels conflicted about breaking when she’s called to diversify her portfolio.
  • Megan sees a school counselor about several things in the book. The counselor is a man, and he’s not useless.
  • Even though Megan learns she is an ace lesbian in the book, her most important relationship in the story is a friendship.

Stuff I don’t know yet:

  • A title. But for now I’m tagging my posts “ace of arts” because that’s funny.
  • What the deal is with Megan’s parents.
  • Megan’s last name.
  • The exact circumstances of her crisis with getting into art school.
  • Megan’s girlfriend’s name and what her “deal” is, except in my head she’s kind of a jerk and probably has cool hair that’s at least two colors.
  • How exactly Megan’s voice will come off in the book.
  • How exactly the sorta-magical-realism bit will go, though I suspect it will feel a little like lucid dreaming.

I’m excited to get started, but also worried it will fall on its face and just turn into a ramble-fest that eclipses the plot.

So, you know, the same thing I feel before starting every book. 😉

Completed New Novel: Bad Fairy Trilogy, Book 2

Finished writing the second book of Bad Fairy!

Genre: Fantasy (fairy tale retelling).

Length: 26 chapters/320 pages/~97,000 words.

Tag line: “What happened before Sleeping Beauty slept?”

Keywords: FANTASY: Fairy tale retelling, medieval period fantasy, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, magic, magick, dark fantasy, reincarnation, elemental magic, identity issues, quirky narrators, epistolary, autobiography (character).

Protagonist: Delia Morningstar.

POV: First person, past tense.


Delia Morningstar, fresh out of fairy school, has to find a way to make a living now that everyone thinks her life’s work is spooky and off-putting.  Her last desperate attempts to change the minds of those in power do not yield the desired results, so Delia’s off on her own . . . investigating the land of the dead.  Because that’s what dark fairies do for fun.

Because of Delia’s life and death connections, she’s able to help the king and queen of her kingdom conceive the baby girl they’ve always wanted.  But she didn’t count on the connection she would have with that princess, and a few sloppy decisions lead Delia to get blamed for cursing the baby.  Faced with the wrath of her old enemies the three good fairies, Delia may have to undertake extreme measures to stay alive long enough to save the princess from death. . . .

Next up: Editing begins. Eeeeeep.

New Novel: Bad Fairy Trilogy, Book 2

The second book in the Bad Fairy series is now in progress!

It feels very good to jump in again, picking up with my now-teenage protagonist. I started writing it on Sunday, the 4th, and have completed chapters 1 and 2, totaling about 6,000 words. Hopefully I’ll have time to write like the wind and bust this whole thing out reasonably fast, and then I’ll be taking test readers. . . .

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013, Quarter-Finals: Stupid Questions

The 500 quarter-finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award were announced today, and for the first time since entering in 2011, I didn’t make the cut. I’m actually surprised because I thought I had a better chance at making quarter-finals than I did at making the second round; usually my writing is stronger than my pitching skills. But even though my reviews were not particularly negative, I’m guessing either my reviewers graded me harder than their reviews indicated OR I just had a lot of excellent competition.

My critique partner and friend J.C. Fann did make the quarter-finals and I’m very proud to have been involved in helping prepare the book for the contest, so if you’re interested in downloading and reading/rating/reviewing the excerpt, here is a link to The Queenschair!

And if you’d like to see my reviews and analysis of the comments:

Continue reading

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013, Second Round: Stupid Questions

Stupid Questions advanced to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.  I am one of the 2,000 left of the original 10,000 entrants.

Now my first chapter goes on to be read by two Amazon judges.  I’ll get rated and reviewed.  If I pass, I will be one of 500 left to be named quarter-finalists.

This year I was sleeping when the results came in and a friend who is also in the contest had to tell me I made it. Haha. (We both got in. It’s going to be disappointing when either of us gets cut, but I think it will be really sad and weird if one of us gets cut before the other.)

Representation Change: Inklings Literary

My agent, Michelle Johnson, has started her own agency. She has decided to call it Inklings Literary, and I have elected to migrate to her agency with her instead of staying with her old agency. (I already have a great rapport with Michelle, but hadn’t had any interaction with her agency’s president, so I thought Michelle would be a better advocate for my work.)

I’ve signed with the new agency and my book is still being considered by the same editors as before the move. (I’m not talking publicly about who’s considering it, but yes, my book Bad Fairy is in consideration by more than one major publisher.) Everything’s gone pretty smoothly, and I’m crossing my fingers to be Michelle’s first sale as the president of her own agency. 🙂

Edit: She was interviewed here in Writer’s Digest. You can learn all about what she’s like and what she wants to see in her inbox.

Edit again: She was interviewed here on S.K. Whiteside’s blog.

Edit again: She gave some perspectives here in First Five Frenzy on Chasing the Crazies.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013, Entering: Stupid Questions

I decided to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition for the third year in a row, but I am doing so with my newest novel: Stupid Questions.

This contest’s a little weird because if you win you have to sign their contract with full knowledge that it can’t be negotiated. Once when I heard agents talk about their clients entering it, one of them said “I wish her all the best but I hope she doesn’t win.” There’s still a lot of good stuff to be had in the experience of entering, but yeah, that “you have to sign the contract no matter what” thing does give me pause. Oh well. I entered.

This book is the shortest one I’ve written, and it’s in one of the adult categories—science fiction—instead of the YA category like the last two years I’ve entered. I don’t know how well I’ll do here, since I have a suspicion that my story arc could be interpreted as a navel-gazer of a romance rather than a book with a plot, but we’ll see if I make it through to the second round.

The contest has changed this year in that it no longer offers a chance to win a publishing contract with Penguin.  It is now a traditional publishing contract through Amazon’s publishing group itself (not the same one that handles self-publishing, though), and there will be FIVE winners—one in each category—with one of those five winning a larger advance. The international Amazon contest stops taking entrants once it hits 10,000 people.  Each of us has to send in a pitch statement, a bio, an excerpt, and a full manuscript.

The second round will involve the 10,000 entrants being cut down to 2,000 Second Round competitors based entirely on our pitch.

This is my pitch statement:

Camera guy Nick Harris lives in a rational world—or so he thought. He’s no longer sure what’s real when the enigmatic Summer Astley appears on his news show displaying genuine telekinetic powers . . . and a charming smile. As mutual attraction brings them together, Summer reluctantly trusts Nick with her secret doubts and heartbreaking loneliness, leaving him puzzling over how to chase a down-to-earth romance with a girl who can fly.

But Summer isn’t the only one with unusual abilities. Nick’s got a knack for understanding other people—sometimes to the point that he accurately guesses their thoughts. Summer, eager to connect with someone like herself, presses Nick to accept that his “good people skills” are far from ordinary, but Nick isn’t buying it. And he certainly doesn’t want it to be true. After all, being too perceptive creeps girls out and gets guys dumped.

As a strained long-distance relationship develops between them, Summer and Nick face shared challenges and personal demons. Summer struggles to balance her supergirl public image with her love life, and she fears getting attached in the wake of a recent loss. And Nick feels disconnected communicating across state lines without the subtle cues he’s used to—not to mention he may be unable to handle the occupational hazards of dating a super-powered celebrity. As they learn what it will take to keep their unsteady partnership alive, these exceptional people find themselves asking as many questions as they answer.

With a refreshing lack of superhero hijinks, Stupid Questions presents an everyday romance between extraordinary people. Combining science fiction elements and an original male perspective, the story breathes new life into the classic “boy-meets-girl” scenario. Readers who prefer romance without a side of fluff will appreciate this authentic character-driven tale of outsiders yearning for connection.