Taking the Plunge

Remember this blog regarding my take on Smashwords?  Well, it’s official.  I’m in.  I’m going to self-publish BITTERSWEET, my paranormal YA. 

This book received a bunch of requests for partials and fulls, but it was still a no even after I made revisions.    Don’t get me wrong.  I received rejections that made me believe agents really read the book and cared enough to give me personal attention.  That’s huge!  Those are the kind of rejections I love.  But in the end, it was a no-go.  For the longest time, I thought–and continue to think–that I might have something here.

So rather than put BITTERSWEET under my electronic bed and forget about it, I’m going to put it out there on my own and see what happens.  Everyone I’ve contacted and have gone this route before me have been extremely helpful with giving me hints and pointers to make this happen.  Ideally, I’d like to release ebook and print at the same time, but I’m not sure if that makes financial sense.  Right now, I’m shooting for a March 2011 release, but, we’ll see.  I still have some editing to do and I need to hit up some more beta readers.  Whatever they find means there will be at least another round to do, and I am so game.  🙂

I’ve also been in touch with cover artists for pricing and my next stop is to either do the Smashwords ebook formatting myself or hand that off to someone else.  I’d rather do it myself, since I want to do it  for future books.  However, I also want it done right.  I’ll have to dive into Smashwords’ Style Guide again and see if this is an undertaking I have time to do.  Then, there’s the print layout to design, which I hear is a pain.  So much to do and so little time.  Wait a sec, I’m on Marcia Time with this.  How cool is that?  It doesn’t mean I’ll take my time, but it’s nice to have the pressure off. 😉

Oh, and book two in my Bittersweet series will be called SILENT SCREAM.  I’m still in the plotting phase with this book, so it’ll be a while before this one gets out there. 

Man, am I excited about this new venture!  🙂

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Stripping Back to Second Gear

I knew it would happen.  I do this all the time.  Whenever I get sick and tired of working on one story, I hit up another one.  In this case, I had slammed head-on into writer’s block with STRIPPED 2.  I stopped writing around page 180 and started working on my YA project. 

What I thought would be a simple rewrite turned into a massive one.  I was going to fix things here and there, but I ended up redoing about 75% of it, working on plotting, pacing, characterization, and ramping up the tension.  Just when I thought I couldn’t love that book any more, I found I could.  Heck, I think it’s my strongest book to date.  But guess what ugly sucker reared its horned head again?  Yup.  Writer’s block.  So, I’ve put my YA aside. 

But there’s a happy ending to this story.  You see, that freed up a new scenario with STRIPPED 2 and helped me create a beginning that’s more emotionally charged and with much larger stakes.  I’m back to loving this book again, even though it’ll probably need a huge overhaul like my YA project had once I’m finished.  Either way, it’s great to be back on the half-wolf bandwagon again.  My biggest fear is that I’ll suffer from second-book-itis and end up with a flop on my hands.  I’m so hoping that’s not the case, but I be sure until I’ve finished the book.  Fingers crossed I succeed.    🙂

Oh, and before I forget, a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have purchased copies of STRIPPED.  You guys have really made my day.  Heck, my entire year. 😀

Realism vs. Censorship: YA

As some folks know, I’m currently working on a YA that continues to thrill me every time I put my fingers to the keyboard.  However…I’ve been wondering if the cursing and the violence might be a tad too strong for some.  And when I say some, I’m talking about adults.

Some people are of the PG school of thought where cursing should be kept to a bear minimum if any at all.  No sex or violence either.  I can get with the no-sex rule because I’m a strong believer in teens not having sex until they’re mature enough to handle the consequences.  Then, you have those who are of the other school where realism means everything.  They want the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Though I could be wrong, I’m betting the majority of teens of the latter.

On a personal note, if I cull things that happened from my childhood it’s not rated PG or even PG-13.  It had it’s moment, sure.  Even the rated-G ones.  But it also had rated-R moments that were scarier than hell and why I won’t have anything to do with certain family members to this day.  When I look back, that decision turned out to be one of the best ones ever.  Anyway, that’s my child/teenage-hood.  Also, I started cursing when I was about 14 or 15 years old.  I wasn’t stupid either.  Those curse words NEVER came out in the presence of my family.  Only my peers, where it was perfectly acceptable.  That’s also a characteristic of my YA heroine.

So here’s the thing.  I’m pitching my book toward a YA audience and not really taking into account what the parents want, even though I know parents are the ones with the cash.  Sugarcoating the teenage life with a PG rating is fine, assuming that is what you grew up with.  I didn’t.  

Not only that, but I think you’re lying to yourselves if you think leaving things out like cursing and violence will teach your teen to be a better person.  You have to bring yourself down to their level, if you want to make an impact in their lives and get them to listen to you.  Just because parents would rather wear blinders to their kid’s activities or have an out-of-mind-out-of-sight approach, don’t assume your children are living in a paradise.  They’re not.  Ask the numerous pregnant teens, which I hear the percentages are on the rise.  Ask those teens who’ve been addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Ask those who’ve been molested, abused, or even raped.  It happens.  I’d rather deal with topics like that in a book than to sugarcoat and pretend like it never happened.  Who knows?  It might actually save someone’s life.  Or, it might make them stronger when they’re faced with entering into our R-rated adult word.

What do you think?  Even if you’ve never read a YA, are you of the school of realism or the one of censorship?

Next Stop, Sagging Middle

There has been a change in plans.  I had planned to hire someone to revamp my website, but that fell through because I’m too cheap to fork up enough money to make it worth their while.  So, I’ve decided to drudge up enough drive to do it myself.  What it’ll look like when I’m done is anyone’s guess.  I just want it to look good and professional.  And for those of you who are still using an 800×600 display on your monitor, then you might have to scroll from let right.  Sorry, but I’m tired of squeezing everything onto a narrow page when there’s plenty of room to expand.

So what does this have to do with my muse?  A lot.  If you’ve been hurting your eyes trying to read my current website, you’ll notice that I haven’t put up a blurb for BITTERSWEET, my YA Paranormal yet.  I haven’t because the manuscript isn’t done.  In fact, my motivation for completing it had dried up.   Sadly, I knew when it happened, but continued to trudge through the mire thinking I could fix it. 

Uh huh.

I decided that if I was going to do my own website that I wanted to have something for BITTERSWEET.  Before taking the A train into the abyss, I loved it so much that it deserved one.  So, I started piecing something together.  I knew everything about it except for the one thing that would push my heroine over the edge.  The blackest moment of them all.  A bigger threat than the one she had originally perceived.  Well, I had found it with a simple “what if” question.  In fact, it was so big that it reignited my passion for this story. 

Now if only I can keep this sucker around 60K words.  *sigh*

Am I the only one who sees the downward spiral into writer’s block before it happens?  Or the moment of downturn as you head toward the sagging middle?  Do you pull the break before you slip deeper into the tunnel or do you allow yourself to plummet, hoping eventually you’ll see the light again?

Books and Publishers and Genres, oh my!

It’s away!  THE HIVE has been picked over, prodded, and restitched enough.  It’s now in the hands of my fabulous editor, Jackie, at Parker Publishing.  Yayyyyyy!  Also, if I can get my head wrapped around it, I might be doing a paranormal YA for them, too.  Not sure yet because I’m still bouncing ideas around.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.  Perhaps too much, which is always my downfall.  One thing that’s been on my mind is book three of my werecheetah series.  I found the heroine for book three and she’s an amazing shapeshifter.  But will the books stop at book three?  I don’t know.  I’ve had several people ask if Rio and Sinclair will have another book and I’m seriously thinking about making it book four, if I can come up with something good.  Of course, it won’t be a paranormal romance at that point.  More like an urban fantasy or a paranormal suspense. 

Now that Samhain has contracted STRIPPED, I’m thinking about what to do for “book two” in my half-werewolf, sniper series.  You see, Half Breed takes place four years after STRIPPED.  Which means there’s plenty of room to do things with Matt and Alexa.  Hower, it’s also limiting because Alexa and Matt don’t start talking kids until they get to Atlanta.  I have a partial synopsis written involving a pregnant Alexa, her playing bodyguard, hunting rogue wolves, and both of her overprotective wolf packs.  However, I have nothing for Alexa and Matt between STRIPPED and Half Breed.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s easy enough to come up with something because I made sure to put in a lot of world building with infinite possibilities.  😉

 

So in an effort to keep readers from getting confused, my plan is to keep my urban fantasies with Samhain and my paranormal romances (and a possible YA) with Parker.  Of course, NY trumps everything.  If I write outside of any of those genres, then that means I’ll be reevaluting my plans.  That possibility always exists, especially since I LOVE sci-fi and horror.

Strangely enough, writing for more than one publisher has always been a scary prospect for me.  I just didn’t expect it to happen, even though I had set myself up for it.  Now that it’s real, I have a feeling it won’t be so bad–fingers crossed.

What do you think is your biggest fear once your dreams are realized?