Saturday, November 28, 2015

This Time Last Year

I wrote a post similar to this last year, and if you want to see it, click here.

So. This time last year, I was turning twenty, without an agent, and taking a semester off from college. I had written a book called THE WAYWARD DARK and was editing it to pieces, preparing to send off my queries for it. That October, I had visited my first ever critique partner and super close friend Sarah Glenn Marsh in Virginia for the first time.

The first query for THE WAYWARD DARK I sent on December 1st, 2014. On January 23rd, 2015, I got the offer of representation from my agent Emmanuelle. A few months later, we took the next step and sent the manuscript out to editors. And then I became a Pitch Wars mentor, something I had dreamed about since I was a wee writer in Pitch Wars as a mentee back in 2013. It was utterly, completely insane to be the one mentoring rather than the one being mentored. And now I'm so close to finishing the second manuscript I've written since signing with Emmanuelle, and it will be the second manuscript she reads (after THE WAYWARD DARK).

And it is absolutely, 100% surreal to look back on this year and think about everything that's happened. I never once thought I would be this successful. That I would make it into the 1% of writers who are represented by agents.

I never thought I would be a mentor in Pitch Wars, that I would receive 182 amazing submissions, that I would get to work with the irreplaceable Jo Hathaway, who has become such a close friend.

I never thought I would somehow be lucky enough to make so many more amazing friends in the writing community, or that I could become friends with so many fellow Pitch Wars mentors, or that I would be part of my amazing Word Girls group, or make so many Twitter friends I could never name them all.

I never thought I would meet Leigh Bardugo at a book signing, the author who inspired my books so much I would not be where I am now without them, and that she would recognize me!

I never thought I'd meet my soul twin, aka my literal other half, Hafsah Faizal. If people can be two halves of the same coin, that's what we are. She's more than a best friend to me. I would not be complete without her.

Looking back on everything that has changed since my twentieth birthday exactly one year ago today, it's no wonder 2015 has literally flown by. And writing this has reminded me to be so, so grateful for everything I have and everything I've done, even if that's hard to remember on a day-to-day basis.

I made it this far, and I'll make it even further, because I refuse to give up .The book world is my home. It's where I have finally found I belong. So here's to another great year and every single surprise it will bring.

Monday, November 16, 2015

#PitchWars Feedback

Hi everyone,

This is my apology for how late my feedback for Pitch Wars is. And because I pride myself on always being honest, I'll explain why my feedback was so late in coming...and why it will continue to be late.

I am a full time college student with an internship at the museum that is associated with my university. What little time I have left over from the internship I spend in class, and what little time I have left over after class is spent doing homework. It is also nearing the end of the semester, so I have a lot of extra papers, projects, and exams to work on and study for.

After school comes my own personal writing. I am an agented writer hoping to get published, and as such I have to keep writing books. My agent expects manuscripts, as do I, and as having a career as an author is something I am actively striving for, my books take priority. Thus, I will be writing books and editing them and everything else that entails.

Then comes my family, my CPs, and my friends. My CPs take priority over giving Pitch Wars feedback, as my CPs and I have working relationships (albeit very friendly ones, and I'd consider them some of my closest friends, but we still have work expectations from each other and that takes precedence). My family is very important to me, and thus they take up a large portion of my time. With the holidays coming up, my life is going to be even more hectic than it already is. (And as an aside, we had a recent death in the family and that took up a lot of my time as well.)

At the end of the day, I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands, and as such I didn't get to my Pitch Wars feedback as quickly as I had hoped. I know I promised feedback to a lot of people, but I am only one person with a hundred things to do on a daily basis, and I had to make the tough decision of what was to take priority. During the Pitch Wars months, my mentee came first.

All of this is to say, I apologize deeply for how slow my feedback has been in coming. I am not giving feedback to all 182 submissions I received, as--again--I am only one person and sometimes, I just don't know what feedback I can give other than "It just wasn't for me." I know that's a horrible rejection. Believe me, I saw that plenty of times when I queried. (I've been where you are! I understand how dejecting it is!) But sometimes that's the case. It doesn't have that spark you're looking for. There doesn't have to be anything wrong with your prose, your plot, your characters, your setting. It just didn't work with me.

So, if you've read this far, let me tell you I WILL get feedback out before 2015 ends. I promise (Though I don't promise it will come to all of you. Some asked, some I requested from, and those are who take priority.) I won't be getting to feedback writing and sending until December, though, due to everything above, and because December is when I will have free time with the semester ending and my manuscript out with CPs.

Again, I apologize immensely, and I know "sorry" only goes so far. Do know I see you on Twitter if I'm following you, and I am constantly rooting for you, because I want each and every one of you to succeed. Also know you can always reach out to me. My inbox is always open, as is my Twitter. I don't want any of you to give up, and if I can somehow help, please reach out to me.

All the hugs and luck,

Monday, November 2, 2015

#PitchWars Mentee Interview - Joanna Hathaway (MY MENTEE!)

Hi, everyone!

This is the final interview for the mentees of Pitch Wars! It was a series through the month of October, so be sure to click around to learn a bit more about some of the mentees and their Pitch Wars stories so far!

In case you're curious about what Pitch Wars is, learn more here

What is your name? Your mentor’s name? Your team name?
Jo, KT, Team Buckaway!!!

What is your Twitter handle?
Describe your manuscript in tweet-like format (no more than 140 characters).
(Oh no! Not this question! *sigh* Here goes.) A young fighter pilot and princess come of age—and fall in love—as war ignites and family loyalty puts them on opposing battle lines. 

What is the #1 thing you’ve learned so far in Pitch Wars?
That's a tough one to narrow down. I feel like I've learned a whole series of little things about the flaws in my MS that I sensed were there, but that for the life of me I couldn't see well enough to fix. So all of KT's observations have sparked new life into areas that needed clarity and focus and more oomph. And I'm thrilled with the changes! Does that answer the question? No? Not really? How about I've just learned that KT IS AWESOME. :) 

What is your guilty pleasure food/drink when writing?
Anything with cheese. Mmmm.

What is the theme song for your MC(s)? Why? What about for your villain(s)?
For my fighter pilot MC it's Death by White Lies. And for the princess MC it's Forget That You're Young by the Raveonettes. As for the villain...well, I don't really have one. Everyone is a bit good and a bit bad in the story. :)

You're stranded on a desert island. You have no provisions, but you are with three of your favorite characters (either in your MS or elsewhere). They each promise they can help you survive. Who are they?
Wait, no provisions? Does this mean no airplanes? Drat. There goes that plan... Alright, I'll have Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and R2D2. Eventually, either the rebels or the Empire will show up to retrieve their lost leaders, and in the meantime, we can have some awesome and highly entertaining father/son therapy sessions while R2 scours the island finding food for us and just generally being useful because that's what R2 does. Ta da!