Monday, April 30, 2012

Differing Roads to Publication

Some of you know this story, some know pieces, others know all. Some of you may not know any of it. So, I'll do a slightly abbreviated version of the whole trip--forgotten luggage, missed flights, trains going the wrong direction--the whole bit. Of course, names may be changed to protect the innocent.

From here on out, you can call me Gertrude.

Once upon a time, I went on submission. I'd seen a few friends do it. I knew what to expect. You go out, you wait an allotted amount of time, you either sell or you don't, life goes on. I was prepared. -- Wrong., that's harsh...let's call it:

Misunderstanding #1 - No one can ever prepare for being on submission. Everyone's journey is different. You just can't.

So, my book was out in the world. Now, I would sit back and wait for one of those two things (sell or not) to happen. Less than two weeks later, we had a U.S. offer.

Yay! Huzzah! *happy dance* and all that hoopla, right? Wrong.

Misunderstanding #2 - Getting an offer does not mean you are done.

It was an offer, and we were ecstatic!! But it wasn't a good fit. So, we kept looking. Two weeks later, we got an e-mail from a literary scout who had somehow gotten her hands on my book and LOVED it.

Hooray! I love when people love my book!! What's a literary scout, anyway? Probably not a very big deal, right? Wrong.

Misunderstanding #3 - A literary scout LOVING a book is HUGE. Massively, excitingly, deals & auctions in other countries huge. (For more info on this, click here.)

So, here I was, getting published in two foreign countries and not the U.S. yet. Everything had happened so fast. Okay, so this road was nothing like the other friends I've seen, but still...not too shabby. Then we got an offer from two major U.S. houses to do a revision with their fantastic editors. Hooray! So close! I can't get this close and have it not work out, right? ...Wrong.

Misunderstanding #4 - No matter how much an editor loves your book. Occasionally, it is out of their control and they still can't buy it. (Selling foreign rights first has its perks for sure, but there are also drawbacks. But I'll save that for another post.)

I'm not going to lie. At this point, I was broken. I was convinced the Universe was conspiring against me getting my book published in a language I can actually read.

I possess a fairly thick skin, but the ups-and-downs were beating me to a pulp and I was waving the proverbial white flag. I e-mailed my agent and asked her if we could please just shelve it and maybe come back to it later. After all, if I was ready to give up, she should be, too. Right? ...Wrong.

Misunderstanding #5 - The best agent is the one who won't give up on you (or your books) when there is still hope, even if you beg them to.

The amazing Kathleen said we weren't there yet. She reminded me that all along, we'd had interest and we just hadn't found the right fit yet...and then, she found it.

Misunderstanding #6 - If you don't find the right fit immediately, it doesn't mean it isn't still out there...waiting.

Flux is seriously the perfect fit. They even have a Male Protagonist section on their website, for goodness sake! And even though we took a bit of a meandering route for INSOMNIA to end up there, I couldn't be happier.

I've been waiting for a while to announce, and I'm so happy I finally got to share my news. Thank you for all the support. You all rock. :)

Everyone's road is different, but we all want to end up in the same place. We all have different ups-and-downs, we all struggle and thrive at different times. And we all work our butts off for every inch we gain.

I don't wish I'd had less bumps. I'm happy for the strength and understanding I got from each bruise and even though it hurt like crazy...I know I'm a better writer because of it.

So, there you go. And yes, this is totally the abbreviated version. If you read this far, you totally deserve a cookie.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cuteness Substitute

I know I said I would post my road to publishing story today, but I'm going to do it Monday. Forgive me? I have to take my new baby kitten to the vet instead, plus, I think more people read blogs on Mondays.

So, first, I will show you said kitten, so you will understand importance of/cuteness involved in my task:

Zeus - God of the Sky...duh, can't you tell?
Second, I have a task for you...

Last night, I had a dream that all my writer friends were birds and I was shooting them at a house full of pigs.

What do you think this means? Most entertaining answer(judged by me, of course) wins a prize! :)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm Getting Published in -- Wait For It -- The U.S.!!

Yay!! I finally get to announce my good news I've been sitting on for awhile now. INSOMNIA will be published in this little country called *insert drumroll here*

The United States.

Dude...can I get a FINALLY and a few heck yeahs?!

And there is more good news! I'm getting published with Flux! Who I think is the perfect fit for this edgy, male-protagonist, YA thriller. For reals.

Here is my Publishers Marketplace announcement to prove I'm not making this shiz up:

Young Adult 
J.R. Johansson's INSOMNIA, about a teen boy who thought spending every night trapped in other people's dreams was bad, but discovers that losing control of his own body and mind is so much worse, to Brian Farrey at Flux, ina two-book deal, for publication in 2013, by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (NA).
Foreign: Taryn Fagerness Agency
Film: Brandy Rivers at Gersh

And still there is more awesomeness...

I know what you're thinking: It's not possible.

I tell you: Yes, my bloggy friend. Yes, it is.

And then we eat cupcakes...

Oh wait, I forgot to tell you the more awesomeness! Here it is:

As of right now, my debut novel is scheduled to be published in Spring/Summer 2013 -- wait for it -- in ALL THREE COUNTRIES! Yep. In Italy, Germany, and the U.S. at the same time!

Whoa. Just reading that paragraph makes me dizzy, or it could be from me screaming and jumping up and down...Nah, I think it's the paragraph.

Does it get any better? I think not. May the glee and hyper-ness I am feeling be contagious! :) Seriously. I feel so blessed.

Check back on Friday if you're interested and, assuming I've calmed down a bit, I'll tell you about my road to publication and the ups and downs of doing it backwards. :) Huzzah!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thank You, Smart People!

I'm revisiting a post from three years ago this morning. The reason is, well,'s because this can't be said often enough. Enjoy!

I've made a discovery. Without warning, and clearly without knowledge, I've been surrounded by smart people. I don't know why they've chosen me--but I like it.

They are always there, to give advice, to help with decision making--it's like my own personal extra brain to help with my thinking process.

I ask them questions, and they answer. And their answers make sense. And the topics vary, everything from plot questions to how to fix up my deck. They know everything...

It's spooky.

My suggestion to all of you, find the smart people. Charm them into helping you. Or you could just do what I did--look like you seriously need help.

If you need it, they will come.

And also, thank you to my own personal smart people. You know who you are. ;) What smart people are you grateful for this Monday morning?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Legend of Korra

If you haven't heard of Avatar: The Last Airbender series, I pity you, and you should remedy this immediately. It's on Netflix.

Like now.

I can wait.

I'm going to assume you've seen it now and are thoroughly in love with the story-telling and characters. (You're welcome, by the way.)

All of this is leading up to something. No really, it is. Basically, I want to talk about how I'm SO excited about a new spin-off of this series. It's called Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and it's fantastic. It's Asian-Steampunk in an amazingly immersive world with truly dynamic characters.

I love it. Like, love-it-from-the-first-five-minutes-of-the-first-episode-when-the-toddler-version-of-Korra-explodes-into-the-room-bellowing-"I'm the Avatar! Deal with it!"-kind-of-love-it.

Just. Awesome.

Anyway, If you have kids, do them a favor...better yet, if you're a person who enjoys the awesome, do yourself a favor. Watch it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Drumroll Please! (Giveaway Winners)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Good News Giveaway last week! It was so fun to read everyone's good news. :) There were 15 entries, so we have 3 winners. I used a randomizer to select the winners, so without further ado, the winners are:

Annie McMahon
Rachel from Rachel Writes Things
Corey Schwartz

Yay! Congratulations Ladies! Now just drop me an e-mail and let me know which prize you'd like. You can choose between a query critique, a first 5 pages critique, or a YA book from my secret stash.

This was really fun and your good news truly made my week. I hope to do this again soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Day to Enter!

Today is Friday the Thirteenth. *cue spooky music* I love spooky things. And it's the last day to enter my Giveaway. So, go enter if you haven't. And if you have, then here are some cool Friday the Thirteenth links for you! :)

My awesome friend, Sara Raasch, wrote a cool post about possible origins of Friday the Thirteenth (via Ian McKellan) and how maybe we should get better at ignoring things.

And this cool group of authors is named after Friday the Thirteenth, so clearly, a visit there is necessary on this day. Plus, it's another cool giveaway!

Have a great weekend and I'll be back Monday to announce the winner!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Ode to Kathleen Rushall, My Fantabulous Agent

This month is my 1-year-anniversary with my agent, Kathleen Rushall. Isn't she so cute? After this much time with her, I can honestly say that I seriously lucked out. We've been through so much, and I can't imagine choosing anyone else to represent me and my work. 

I was trying to think of someway to express how uber cool she is, and I decided on an ode. I'm not sure why. I think I was on cough medicine...and possibly high. But by then, I'd told a few people I would do it, and unfortunately for you, and Kathleen, I was committed. *le sigh*

A word of warning though...I'm an O.V. : Ode Virgin. In fact, I've avoided writing poems at all costs for my entire life, so this is huge for me. And I don't appear to be quite the 'natural' at it that I was hoping for... (Yes, there is a site called Rhyme Zone. No, I don't want to talk about it.).

Bear with me, and please be gentle. Without further ado,

An Ode to Kathleen

Oh, the many things I've learned from Kathleen,
Over many moons and days in between.
She's taught me to strive, to be tenacious,
But at best, I struggle to reach even vivacious.

She's taught me we can always persevere,
Although sometimes that's hard to remember from here.
She's taught me it's always important to laugh,
Even when my heart is breaking in half.

She's taught me that breathing always matters,
With my hope in sight, or lying in tatters.
She helps me stay grounded while reaching for dreams,
And always contributes to my greatest schemes.

So, to her I dedicate my first ever ode.
And promise to continue down this long road.
Thank you for your work, your sweat, your tears.
I hope we'll be together for many more years.

You rock, Kathleen! Thank you for an incredible year!

Oh, and to anyone else, if you've read this far...I'm sorry, and thanks! And have you entered the giveaway yet? :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good News/Giveaway Monday!


This month, I'm excited about a lot of things. One of which is my 1 year anniversary with my amazing agent, Kathleen Rushall. I'll be posting an Ode to Kathleen on Wednesday(because truthfully, the world needs more Odes), and as I said last week, I have exciting news brewing that I will hopefully be able to share soon, but in the meanwhile...


This is how this will work. To enter you just need to comment on this post and tell me one good thing going on in your life. Sometimes it's hard to remember to focus on the positive, but I truly believe it makes all the difference, so let's revel in it.


For every 5 people that enter there will be 1 randomly drawn winner. That makes the odds 20%. UNLESS I gain 8 followers and get to 400 during this contest...which, in and of itself, calls for another celebration. So then, I will up the odds to 1 in every 4 will win. That is 25% odd of winning. Can I get a yay, math?


Each winner will get to choose between a query critique, a first 5 pages of your manuscript critique, or a YA book from my secret stash (some will be available signed).

I'm so excited to hear all of your good news! This contest will be open from now until midnight EST on Friday night, 4/13/13. Because it's Friday the Thirteenth, and man...that's cool. Winners will be announced on Monday, 4/16/13

Have a great week!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Giveaway Deets

So, on Monday I want to do something fun. We'll call it "Good News Monday"! All you have to do is be a follower and comment and you'll be entered. I'll give specific prize options on Monday, but I'm thinking there will be a couple of books and maybe a query/first few pages critique or two. Depending on how many people participate, I'll probably add more prizes. Sound fun? Yay!

Why? Because I love good news, and thinking about news, and talking about news, and sharing good news, and having good news thrust upon me...

That's why. ;-)

So have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

To Be Continued

So, I have cool things happening around here...that I can't really chat about yet. Cruel, I know, right?! And I reached 4,000+ tweets this week on Twitter, which tells me I talk too much. All of this has led me to the conclusion that next week I must do a big giveaway! I'll post a few details on Friday and then have the Giveaway start on Monday. I haven't yet figured out what will be going on, so I must go brain storm now. One thing I will tell you though...people will win (yes, multiple people) and sweet bookly-stuff will be given away.

Are you ready? :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Walking Away

As a writer, one thing we must learn to do, is move on from one project to another. Sometimes, it is liberating. Sometimes it is excruciating. Spending that much time on one set of characters, in one world, can be difficult to let go of.

We have to do this in every day life too. We must let go of places, hobbies, jobs, even occasionally people. Have you found ways to make it easier? How do you transition from one situation/project to another? Do you find change painful or exciting?

Happy Monday!