This weekend, I feel blessed and privileged to be attending the 19th annual AIS-DSD Support Group Conference in San Francisco, CA (for those of you who aren’t familiar with intersex alphabet soup, AIS-DSD stands for the Androgen Insensitity Syndrome – Differences of Sex Development).

AISDSD

Thursday, at the Continuing Medical Education (CME) portion of the conference, I met some of the bravest, most articulate young adults I’ve ever met – youth from the Inter/Act advocacy group who gave a terrific presentation on what doctors should NOT do when interacting with intersex teens. I wish that every MD in America could’ve been there – it woud’ve gone a long way toward eliminating a lot of angst and anguish.

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Then yesterday. The stories – all the stories. I wish I could tell you all the stories, but they are not mine to tell. All I can say is that every individual at this conference is a hero, a rockstar. That they speak their pain to relieve the suffering of others. That they have hearts that are infinite in their capacity.

But the most humbling lesson I learned yesterday was the healing power of narrative. The grace and peace offered by Unsilencing. NONE OF THE ABOVE isn’t the story of the women I met yesterday. In the words of the inimitable Kristin Elizabeth Clark (FREAKBOY), it’s not the intersex story, it’s a intersex story. Nevertheless, it is a story that I am proud to have told, and if it reaches one person, I will have done my job.

Posted in Uncategorized Comment

diverselogowebsite

Super exciting news, guys!

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks team is thrilled to announce that we’ve been invited to give a panel at BookCon [for those not involved in publishing, BookCon is the consumer event associated with Book Expo America (BEA), which happens to be the largest book event in the country]!

And I’ll be moderating! I can’t be more honored to be talking about the important issue of diversity in literature, in conversation with multiple-award-winning authors Grace Lin, Matt de la Peña and Jacqueline Woodson.

(I’m sorry if I’ve used my exclamation point quota already. Needless to say, we’re all PSYCHED.)

It’s in Publishers Weekly so you know it’s true. Here’s the official campaign press release:

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign Announces BookCon Diversity Panel

NEW YORK, NY – The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign took the Internet by storm with more than 160 million impressions in a week’s time, but soon its reach will spread even further—into the conference halls of BookCon on May 31, 2014 in New York City. Publishers Weekly has announced that the campaign members, in conjunction with Lee & Low Books, have secured a diverse panel of acclaimed children’s authors, including Grace Lin, Matt de la Peña and Jacqueline Woodson. The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign will reveal further news and action plans at 10:00 a.m. during the BookCon diversity panel at the Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

A conversation about the whitewashed lineup of BookCon guests sparked 22 writers, publishers and bloggers to begin the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign on May 1st. Since then, they’ve reached out to a community of readers, teachers, librarians, authors, booksellers and publishers who want to see more diversity within the publishing industry. Their message has been received: As of May 6th, 2014, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag on Twitter has garnered 87,520 posts from 23,275 unique users, with over 162 million timeline deliveries.

“We were thrilled to be invited to attend and host a panel, but most importantly we are appreciative of BookCon’s recognition that diversity matters,” said Aisha Saeed, one of the campaign’s BookCon liaisons. “This is a great opportunity to show the world what’s next for the #WNDB campaign,” said Ellen Oh, who spearheaded the campaign. “We are delighted to be joined by a group of exceptional authors, all of whom epitomize the importance of our campaign.” The panel will be moderated by young adult author I.W.Gregorio and includes DiversifYA founder Marieke Nijkamp, middle-grade author Mike Jung and young adult authors Lamar Giles, Oh and Saeed.

“Agents and editors have affirmed their commitment to representing diverse authors and stories,” said Miranda Paul, team member. “Underrepresented people across the nation— and the world—want their stories to be told,” said Gregorio. “I think this is a testament to the power of diverse literature; when written responsibly and read widely, these books can increase tolerance, stamp out ignorance and create true global citizens.”

To learn more about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign contact Ellen Oh at weneeddiversebooks@yahoo.com or directly at Ellen@Ellenoh.com. The campaign’s official website is www.diversebooks.org.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized 1 Comment

Guys, I’m so excited to tell y’all that NONE OF THE ABOVE now has an official release date:

April 28, 2015

…which means that my book will be published WITHIN A YEAR, which makes me feel a combination of this (credit maxafax):

excited baby

and this (credit reactiongifs.com):

which basically adds up to this (credit wondermentsofme):

Friends

To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed copy of David Levithan’s seminal LGBT work BOY MEETS BOY to a lucky person who signs up for my mailing list (below) before May 31st!

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Sign up to get updates on the NONE OF THE ABOVE cover reveal, giveaways and more!

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Posted in Uncategorized 1 Comment

weneeddiversebooks-share-sm-rev-1-1

 

Without shame, I’m stealing from Aisha Saeed, who summed up the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign perfectly on her blog:

I’m honored to be part of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign. It begins tomorrow, May 1st and ends May 3rd but the conversations have already begun with an overwhelming outpouring of support from publishers, agents, and authors like Veronica Roth, Laurie Halse Andersen, LeVar Burton, John Green, and so many many more, but most importantly, an outpouring of support from the public who desperately wants more diverse books. It’s a reminder we need diverse books and that there is an audience for books like these.

Does diversity matter to you? Do you want to read about people that represent a myriad of viewpoints and perspectives and backgrounds? Then Please Join Us!

For a basic understanding of how this came to be and the important dates please read here.

To follow along on tumblr where we’re answering questions as they come up please check here.

To RSVP on FB for a reminder and to spread the word to your friends please do so here.

To join the conversation on twitter that started early and shows no sign of stopping check out the hashtag: #WeNeedDiverseBooks and follow the campaign at our twitter handle here.

Send in your pictures. Share your thoughts. Spread the word. Join the movement. We need diverse voices represented in our beautiful diverse nation and this campaign gives hope for exactly more of that.

More on why this campaign is necessary: Statistics show that the percentage of children’s books with multicultural content has remained disappointingly flat over the past twenty years, despite the fact that more than 50% of US children under the age of one are minorities.

Additionally, the faces that our children see on bestselling bookshelves are resoundingly white.  In 2013, only 7% of young adult bestsellers are by authors of color, and only 12% had main characters of color.

What does this mean for our children? As Walter Dean Myers said in the New York Times, children “see books less as mirrors and more as maps,” showing them places they might go. When kids of color read books where they are only in the background – if they are there at all – it can limit their destination.

Diversity in children’s literature is important for all kids, however.  Books teach about other cultures, provide windows into the lives of those of different socio-economic status, and are key to combating ignorance and intolerance of all types of diversity, including sexual diversity.

So what can we do to diversify our shelves? First, awareness through a visual social media campaign via Twitter and Tumblr. Second, action. Underlying the lack of publisher support for diverse books is the perception that “minorities don’t buy books.” Thus, the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign includes an effort to Diversify Our Shelves, with handselling and active buying of diverse books.  For more on this project, click here.

Posted in Writing 5 Comments
Laura Plus Books

I’m totally embarrassed to come into LGBTQ YA month so late, but as you saw from my previous post, #amrevising. As usual, I was clued into this terrific corner of the blogsphere by Dahlia Adler, whose QUILTBAG compendium I’m still referring readers to.

As I already have Kristin Elizabeth Clark’s FREAKBOY on my shelf and PANTOMINE by Laura Lam on my Kindle, it was a no-brainer to join. I’m looking forward to the reviews, conversations and guest posts still to come.

For now, I’m so thrilled that NONE OF THE ABOVE was mentioned in the aforementioned Laura Lam’s excellent post on intersex being the last taboo in YA literature, in which she issues a call for more intersex characters in genres across all literature. In particular, she points out:

Just because a character is intersex doesn’t mean that the entire book is necessarily only about their intersex experience. They are people just like anyone else, of course, and they deserve to have adventures as well.

Amen! Here’s part of my comment on Laura’s thoughtful post:

I completely agree with you that it would be wonderful if intersex were something that could be written about without it being a focal point of a character’s identity. Unfortunately, right now there is so much ignorance and lack of awareness about what intersex means in the first place, that it might be a while before that can be a reality. A large part of the confusion is that the term intersex covers a very wide range of different anatomies. Even during my medical school training, intersexuality was kind of brushed over in the curriculum, and it was only because of my interest in the subject after reading MIDDLESEX that I learned of the different “flavors” of intersex.

I was at an SCBWI LGBT breakout session a couple of months ago where Jane Yolen talked about how she wanted there to be a time soon when gay characters were just “part of the wallpaper” – meaning every story didn’t need to be a Coming Out Story (capital letters). I think we’re getting to that point when it comes to being gay or lesbian, and my hope is that intersexuality will get there, too. Until then, we must continue to battle myths about intersex, and the notion that intersex individuals are “Others.” That is why it was so important for me to make my main character accessible & relatable, to essentially show that the “girl next door” could be intersex with you (or her) even being aware of it.

My hope is that all of these books about intersex will serve to bring us closer to a time when intersex isn’t considered a curiosity, to a time when it doesn’t matter whether a character is gay, straight, or intersex, but just that he/she is an unforgettable character.

Through Laura’s website, I also came across another post on intersex characters on the blog Once Upon a Bookcase.

I’ll be adding a few of my musings on this subject next week, after I turn my edits in. I PROMISE!

So long for now.

XOXO

Posted in Interviews 1 Comment

The lovely Heather Marie has tagged me in the Writing Process blog tour! I’m taking it as an opportunity to write about Diversity in YA, which has been a topic that’s taken up a lot of my Twitter feed lately, and for good reason:

One of the arguments put forth by many apologists is that non-diverse authors tend not to write outside of their experiences out of fear of backlash. I can totally understand this, but as Cindy Pon and Jenny Han Tweeted earlier this month:

 


Writers are told as early on as elementary school to “write what you know.” However, I believe that a better mantra is one that I’ve heard attributed to Elizabeth McCracken, who turned the phrase on its head: Know what you write.

McCraken quoteIn other words, I think the only rule to writing diverse characters is to do your research. Interview people. Engage PoC as betas. Read stories & first-hand accounts. Fear of getting things wrong shouldn’t stop you from trying to get it right.

Here’s me using the Writing Process prompts as a way to talk about how I overcame my own fears about writing a character whose diversity is very different from my own:

1)     What am I working on? I’m on my second round of edits for my YA contemporary novel, None of the Above, which is about a girl who finds out after being elected Homecoming Queen that she’s intersex – neither girl nor boy, but something in between. In the old days, they’d call her a hermaphrodite, but there are a lot of reasons why that term has fallen out of favor.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? I think the answer to this question is fairly obvious! There have been a couple of novels featuring main characters who are intersex – Jeffrey Eugenides’ aforementioned Middlesex, and Abigail Tarttelin’s Golden Boy. Both of these novels, however, were marketed as adult novels, and lean toward the “literary” spectrum. My goal in writing None of the Above was to specifically make intersex accessible to teens, because there’s a lot of ignorance out there about gender issues, if this incident with Fox News is any example.

Another side note is that the intersex characters in both Middlesex and Golden Boy ultimately identified as male, whereas my character identifies as female, as do the majority of people with her condition (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).  It was important to me to have the novel be a stepping off point for teenage girls to think about gender binaries and what it means to be a woman.

3)     Why do I write what I do? I was inspired to write None of the Above when I treated a woman with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) during residency. It’s a medical condition where you’re XY and have testes in your abdomen, but externally you look female.  I wrote an essay on the Fearless Fifteeners blog talking a bit more about my patient, which you can read here.

4)     How does your writing process work? It took me a long time to write None of the Above, and for a while I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel confident writing about intersex. Finding my story involved a significant amount of soul-searching and research (including interviews with intersex women).  In many ways, the process of writing outside my experience was a lot like writing historical fiction.

Looking back, I realize that I can break down my process into three parts.

1. Empathy – Before I even started writing None of the Above, the idea marinated in my head for months. I was pregnant at the time, and I spent a lot of time wondering how I would handle it if my child were intersex. Of course I would love him/her just the same, but how would I help him/her navigate childhood and, even worse, adolescence? What would my own life have been like if I weren’t cis-gendered, and what would I have thought if someone told me when I was a senior in high school that I could never have children, and that I might have problems with intercourse?

I’ve always found empathy to be the driving force of all my writing. I write because I care about my characters. Step 2 of my process, research, flows naturally from this.

2. Research – I started reading every book I could about intersex. At the time, I was still in residency, and had access to some great medical textbooks on intersex and Androgen Insensitivity Disorder.

I learned early on, though, that these books were great for the technical details, but had very little to say about how my character would feel, and what her thought process would be like as she dealt with her diagnosis.

Thank God for AIS support groups. I was very lucky as an author that both the US and UK support groups are extremely devoted to AIS education (obviously). On the UK site, for instance, group members have posted a huge number of personal essays. It’s a tremendous resource not only for people newly diagnosed with AIS, but for this particular writer. Through their websites, I was able to find an intersex woman who was willing to talk about her experience. She also agreed to read my final manuscript to vet it, which brings us to Step 3.

3. Engaging diverse beta readers – This step was probably the hardest part of my whole writing process, because it’s the one I had the least control over. In fact, when I told one of my writer friends that I’d be sending my manuscript to some intersex women for reading, she tried to persuade me not to. Think of how vulnerable you’re making yourself, she told me. What if they tear you apart and you get so discouraged that you stop writing?

I didn’t listen to her advice, because I knew in my heart that I could never publish my story without some validation that I was being true to their (varied, multifaceted, unique) stories. Thankfully, the two women I sent the first draft of None of the Above to were extremely kind and constructive. I’m waiting on two more reads now that I’ve gone through my first editorial pass. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t biting my fingernails waiting for their response.

So what about you? How do you go about writing diverse characters? Let’s continue this conversation. Or, if you’re new to the topic, check out these posts:

  • Malinda Lo - tips about writing about lesbians when you’re not a lesbian
  • Jim McCarthy - the R-word and diversity at the NYC Teen Book Fest
  • Zoraida Cordova - on fear and guilt when approaching the topic of race
  • Connie Hsu - an overview of the CBC diversity panel at ALA Midwinter
  • Cheryl Klein - on the Complexities of Publishing Diverse Books
  • Patrice Caldwell - on how activism comes in all forms
  • Justina Ireland – how not to be an @sshole when writing diverse characters

Thanks again to Heather for tagging me; her debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, is coming out this August from Curiosity Quills! Tweet her at @heathermarieYA.

Next up in the blog tour:

Christine Danek writes young adult fiction. She has been creating characters and other worlds as far back as she can remember and began writing novels as an adult. Some of her free verse poetry will be published in the April edition of Vine Leaves Literary Journal (April 18, 2014). When she’s not writing (and the kids are quiet), she loses herself in books and movies. Christine lives in Pennsylvania with her family. Tweet her at @christinedanek.

Kelly Lyman is a dreamer, a planner and a doer. Her favorite mantra is: “Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.” She is a graduate of West Chester University, with a degree in early childhood education and elementary education. She is a former elementary school teacher who now stays home full time and loves every minute of it- even the hard ones. Kelly lives with her husband, 4 young children and their dog in Chester County, Pennsylvania. When not writing, Kelly can be found performing with her community chorus or watching movies. And when asked, pink is usually the color of the sky in her world. She’s repped by Nikki Terpilowski at Holloway Literary. Tweet her at @kellylyman.

Posted in Writing 5 Comments

side effects coverI am so very excited to celebrate the launch of Julie Murphy’s much-anticipated YA contemporary novel, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. Julie’s a fantastic, nuanced writer, and we share the same editor, the amazing Alessandra Balzer. At the recent ALA midwinter conference, I was thrilled to see SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY presented at the Harper Book Buzz, where it was described as “fearless and funny,” with the panelists saying “we can’t recommend it highly enough.” I completely agree. Julie’s hook is amazing:

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.

Leading up to her launch, Julie asked that we share our personal bucket lists, and I was more than happy to do so. I’m going to do a little twist on Julie’s theme, though, and look back on a list from the seemingly distant past.

About ten (!) years ago, my then-boyfriend and I were thinking about our “future.” I was resident, and thus making close to minimum wage, and my husband was a student. We’d recently gotten a book called The Family CFO to help plan out our joint finances, and one of the things the book said to do was to make a list of things we wanted to do in our life. Namely, a bucket list.

Looking back on the list through the haze of residency+new job+ more graduate school+two kids, it’s remarkable to realize that my husband and I have achieved many of the things we’d set out to do:download

1) travel: Though Baby #2 has put a bit of a damper on our mobility for the next year or two, we’ve managed to go to Italy, France, India and Hawaii from 2004-2014. That still leaves Greece, Australia, Russia and Costa Rica to go.

2) buy a Prius: In 2004, I was driving a 1995 Honda Accord and my husband had a 1997 Taurus. We badly wanted a hybrid because every gallon of gas we pumped, every mile we drove, nagged on our global warming conscience. We got our Prius in 2010, and last year we got an electric car, a Nissan Leaf. Yes, we feel smug whenever we drive past a gas station.

3) publish a book: In 2004, writing was a pipe dream. I barely had time to eat and sleep, let alone pen a novel. It had always been my goal in life to be an author; after medical school, I had always assumed I’d write some sort of medical non-fiction book in the vein of Sherwin Nuland or Richard Selzer (who were the reasons I went to Yale Med in the first place). It didn’t quite happen that way. But still: Mission accomplished.

There are a lot of things on our old bucket list that we haven’t quite gotten to yet: I want to go on a medical mission. My husband hopes to get a tenure-track job somewhere. Now that we’ve got our cars in order, we’d love to make our house greener and add solar panels and/or geothermal energy.

Here’s the thing about bucket lists, though: as you get older, and hopefully get the financial means to start doing the things you could only dream of when you were younger, it becomes more difficult to think of things you really, really want to do, but haven’t. To be honest, I had a hard time thinking of things for a new list. What came to my mind were things like wanting to see my kids graduate, and wanting to meet my future grandkids. Things that I can’t buy, or pay to experience. Things I can’t control.

Boring, huh? Even if I can’t really come up with anything good, I want to thank Julie for this thought exercise, because if there’s anything I’ve realized while thinking about my list, it’s that I want to live – and love – loudly. Which brings me to Julie’s book, and her main character, Alice, who is quite literally afraid to love. Read SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY to figure out how she overcomes this fear.

You can buy SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY at: Indiebound B&N | Amazon

And learn more about Julie:

Julie-Murphy-Author-PhotoJulie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is Julie’s debut novel. Julie can best be found on her website (www.juliemurphywrites.com), tumblr (www.andimjulie.tumblr.com), or twitter (www.twitter.com/andimjulie).

Posted in Books I <3 1 Comment

I’ve been going to writers’ conferences for years, but this past weekend’s NY SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers) conference was particularly fun: It was the first one I attended as a contracted author.

logo-scbwi

It was a great time. Inspiring as always, and surprisingly stress-free when you’re not going in with high hopes for a critique. At the same time, attending the conference was somewhat bittersweet, because I saw myself in the hundreds of aspiring writers who weren’t in my position. The hope in those conference rooms was palpable, and as I met person after person who was in the querying trenches, or agented but not yet published, I couldn’t help feeling some survivor guilt.

It’s the flip side of professional jealousy, which has been wonderfully documented in essays by Philip LopateBonita FriedmanAlison Cherry,  Susan Adrian, Suzanne Ferrell Smith with Cheryl Wilder and Donna Gambale, among others. Instead of feeling left behind, I worried about being the person leaving people behind, especially when I hung out with my new Fearless Fifteeners friends. I didn’t want to be THAT PERSON.

Before I went to medical school, I worked at a think-tank consulting firm. A lot of the work was mind-numbing, and so there was an enormous amount of turnover. When one of my best friends left to go to med school, a friend said, aptly, “It’s like being in prison. You’re happy for your friend that they get out of prison, but it also kind of sucks for you.”

I don’t want my friends to be in prison! I want them all to get agents that love them, and shiny book deals with dream editors. I hate hearing about their rejections, and want to smack the editors who turn down their manuscripts. I want to be able to celebrate their successes.

This idea of literary survivors guilt is one that I’ve been thinking about for some time now, since I got my deal. I think that it’s closely related to the idea of impostor syndrome, namely the fear that I am just an enormous fraud. Because I know exactly how good some of my pre-pubbed friends are. I’ve cried while reading their books, and fallen in love with their characters. I’ve envied the depth of their wit and marveled at how seamlessly they’ve turned over revisions. In short, I know that they deserve to be published.

Who am I, that I sold before they did?

As it so often does, SCBWI had the answer. Three talks in particular gave me incredible perspective, and hints at what I can do to cope with my survivor guilt:

1) Jane Friedman‘s breakout session on Building an Author Platform – This introduced me to the concept of “literary citizenship,” namely ways in which writers across the board can contribute to the larger community of writers and readers. This includes sending notes to authors whose work your appreciate, interviewing writers, buying books, and of course talking up books. A lot of her ideas are common-sense, yet the idea is genius, and I’ve become much more aware of what I can do to “pay it forward” to the writing community.

2) Elizabeth Wein‘s keynote – Like most people in the free world, I adored Elizabeth’s Printz Honor-winning Code Name Verity, but honestly I had no idea that she was such an incredible, down-to-earth, inspiring person. Elizabeth’s keynote speech on maintaining grace through disappointment and success kind of destroyed me. She talked about the bitter disappointment she felt when it seemed that her career had stalled; she talked about how she learned how to appreciate everything, and accept how fragile success was. And she had some basic tips on how to live the writing life gracefully: Don’t post negative comments online. Write thank you notes. Be cautious about success. Share. Do favors. And don’t respond when someone is less conscientious than you.

The incredible Elizabeth Wein

The incredible Elizabeth Wein

3) Kate Messner’s keynote – How can a talk called “The Spectacular Power of Failure” help with literary survivor guilt? Kate’s message was that failure teaches us when we’re going in the right direction. She told us stories of her figure skater daughter and engineer son as examples of how trial and error (controlled failure) makes us grow. Every failed draft takes us another step closer to the story we are meant to tell.

The incomparable Kate Messner

The incomparable Kate Messner

If there was one thing that an SCBWI conference gives you, it’s inspiration. I left that conference not only hopeful for my own career, but for that of my friends. In the publishing world, there’s no Get Out of Jail Free card. But there is the promise that, in the end, talent and hard world will be rewarded. Maybe not with this book. Maybe not with the next book. But the words will always be there. And my friends’ day will come.

Posted in Writing 10 Comments

We only have what we give.  ― Isabel Allende

I am very excited to announce that my agent Jessica Regel and I are contributing to KidLit for the Philippines, an on-line auction to benefit survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Kidlit for P

Organized by Michelle Cusolito, the benefit is another example of the extreme generosity of the children’s literature community, which has offered benefits for earthquake victims in Japan, public schools, and cancer survivors, to name only a few. Proceeds from this particular auction will go directly to Mercy Corps and UNICEF.

Jessica and I will be offering a combined author/agent query critique + 15pp critique package. When you’re ready to submit your pages, I’ll critique your query and first 15pp. You’ll then have time to revise (if you so desire) before sending your query to Jessica. If she requests, you’ll have your partial polished and ready to go. If she doesn’t, she’ll give a detailed query critique to help you as you query other agents.

Bid on the item by going here!

It’s an offer you can’t refuse! So please do go to KidLit for the Philippines and consider our critique package, or one of the other auction items. One thing that has caught my eye, and that I would do if I had a picture book ready is this amazing critique + jump the line offer by the brilliant and wonderful Kate Messner. Other offerings include full manuscript critiques, a website design consultation, and portfolio reviews!

Posted in Uncategorized Comment

You write a book and it’s like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You don’t know if it will ever reach any shores. And there, you see, sometimes it falls into the hands of the right person.    - Isabelle Allende

Everyone knows that going on submission is one of the most emotionally stressful experiences of a writer’s life.  Questions abound: Will editors love it? Or will they hate it and use the pages of my manuscript for an effigy to burn in their weekly cathartic editorial ritual? If they do love it, how long will it take for them to read it? Why is my e-mail refreshing so slowly?

Everyone knows that the third trimester of pregnancy is one of the most emotionally stressful times of a woman’s life.  Questions abound: Will the baby be healthy? Is the labor and lead-up to delivery going to suck? Will my epidural work? baby-and-books

I had experienced both of these trials (I almost wrote traumas) before, but never at the same time.  So you’ll understand my trepidation when my book went on submission to editors in early September – when I was eight months pregnant. In preparation for a long, neurotic submission process, my husband, with admirable forethought, made a reservation for me in a local psychiatric ward. Just kidding.

I did everything I could to lower my expectations when NONE OF THE ABOVE went on submission, even though in my heart of hearts I really did believe that this manuscript was The One. I’d been on sub before, with my first novel, and I remember the heady anticipation/hope of the first few days…and how quickly it turned into worry and, ultimately, despair. This time around, I knew to my expectations low. I told myself that I would be happy just getting a revise-and-resubmit request. Yet, even as I settled myself in for the long haul, I couldn’t help my mind from wandering into the land of Hope… what if? What if? Continue reading

Posted in Book Deal 1 Comment