Category Archives: Sing Sweet Nightingale

SSN Edits Round Two! Or is it three?

This week, I’ve begun work on a new round of edits for Sing Sweet Nightingale! I think it’s round two. But it might be three. Maybe 2.5? Whatever the number designation, it’s edits and it’s from my beloved editresses, so that means it’s awesome. 😀

It’s also pretty cool that I can put up the pretty, pretty cover when I talk about the book instead of some random image that has nothing to do with it. Don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that!

Anywho, edits. This round is tough! Which is weird because my edit letter is less than a third the size of my previous edit letter. I guess the broad strokes of fixing big problems were a little easier to deal with than examining a scene and surgically adding and removing to make it… not suck. I’m making progress and I still have time, so here’s hoping I can pull off all the tweaks I need to make. More updates shall follow. Eventually.

Also–and in non-editorial-related news–there’s only ONE MONTH LEFT until you can have a copy of my first ever published short story in your hands! Doorways to Extra Time releases August 27 and my story “Whatever It Takes” is the second one in the book! Fourth if you count the two introductions by the editors… Fourth or second, it’s still really early in the book! Read it and you get to meet a character who will show up in The Dream War Saga at some point! Not going to tell you which character, but at least one of them is coming back! Go order it now!

Buy Doorways from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

An interview and a little bit of news!

Microphone (c) Acuzio

A while back, I received an email from the wonderfully sweet Amy Trueblood over at Chasing the Crazies. Which is an awesome title for a site. Amy asked if I would be interested in participating in a series of interviews she has been doing called Writer Odyssey Wednesday (W.O.W. for short). Of course, my answer was, “YES, PLS. WHERE DO I SIGN?”

The idea that I’ve finally reached the point where I can legitimately be included in a series like this is still a little strange. My debut release is nine months away (250 days, but who’s counting?). It feels like forever. In fact, it’s so far away that it still doesn’t seem real. But that’s just in my head, apparently. To other people, I’m already there. I made the deal, signed the contract, and am officially an author with credits to my name. Wow is right.

So, I agreed! Amy sent me a list of great questions and now you can read both those questions and my answers! I talk about my strange relationship with querying, how I found my glorious editors at Spencer Hill and my wonderful agent Danielle Chiotti, as well as a little bit about Sing Sweet Nightingale and the process of writing it and finding it a home. Click here to see!

In other news, this morning I sent a new book to my wonderful agent Danielle! It’s the second in a contemp series I co-wrote with my bestie Lani Woodland and I cannot wait until these books find a home and I get to share more details about them. I adore these characters and this world and everything about writing them. It’s FUN. There’s a lot to be said about partnering on a book with someone, too. Especially someone I get along with and work with as well as Lani. co-writing is probably not for everyone, but if you find the right partner, it’s divine.

In other other news, I’m heading back to Manhattan next week!! For the first time ever, I’m going to spend the Fourth of July in the Big City. Of course, that’s not the purpose of the trip, but it’s still convenient timing. I’m actually going in celebration of my sister’s 25th birthday and my cousin’s wedding (she’s getting married at the BRONX ZOO! How freaking cool is that?!). The reason for the trip doesn’t matter, though. I still get to spend an awesome week in New York City with people I love. I even get to drop by the Upstart Crow offices and meet some more of the interns and agents in person. So many fantabulous things packed into one trip! If you’re not already following me on Twitter or Facebook, go fix that! I’ll be posting about my trip on those two places more often than on my blog. Easier to access on the go!

That’s all for now! I’ll check in again soon. 🙂

More from BEA. This time with video evidence!

So many people weren’t able to come to see my cover reveal because New York is expensive and far away, but with technology, that doesn’t matter! I can bring my cover reveal to you!

This video is thanks to my lovely publishing-sister Joanne Rock. And, seriously, THANK YOU, JOANNE! I never think about recording moments like this until they’re long gone and then I wish for years that I had pictures or, better yet, video. Only thanks to my friends and family at Spencer Hill did I come away from this rather momentous day with anything to remember it by (other than a really cool poster!).

And now, unfortunately, back to the grind.  My life is not nearly as glamorous as it looks in that video. 😉

Looking back at BEA2013

It’s been a week since I came back from New York, but my head and my heart are still wandering around Manhattan and jumping on the 3 to Brooklyn. I have an intense love for that city, so I hate leaving as much as I love visiting. Last week I posted about the two covers I now have and the pre-order information for the anthology containing your first peek into the world of The Dream War Saga, but I couldn’t bring myself to post about BEA. Thinking about it just reminded me that it was over. And that is sad. I told myself that I was waiting on a video of the reading portion of my cover reveal, but that’s a lie. Well, half lie. I am waiting on that, but it’s not like I can’t post without it. So I will. Now.

It wasn’t until 8 am the morning of my cover reveal that my editresses decided I would read. Seriously. They called me just before 8 that morning and said, “We thought it would be a good idea for you to read your first chapter.”


The next five hours were a slow descent into the kind of trembling, twitching nervousness I haven’t felt in years. My friends Asja and Alex literally had to drag me away from the Spencer Hill booth the half an hour before my reveal to try to distract me. Alex tried the biceps of the Ellora’s Cave models and Asja tried books, glitter, and bubbles, but nothing worked. Somehow, I made it back to the booth in time to wait for the actual countdown to begin.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I got to meet some of the other SHP authors like the Rock sisters! They’re so sweet! My wonderful NY-roommates Sarah Guillory and Megan Whitmer were both there to support me as well as so many other awesome, amazing people! Like my glorious editresses Danielle and Patricia. The presence of actual people waiting to see my cover and hear me read was… well, daunting comes to mind!

But I didn’t pass out! Instead, these things happened:

My editresses introduced me and my cover designer Jeremy West
Looking back at BEA2013
Jeremy and I drew the curtain back to reveal SSN!
We took pictures with the cover model, Kit, and the SHP group behind SSN

And then I started reading the first chapter of Sing Sweet Nightingale. Like, out loud. To PEOPLE! Well, it was really only the first seven pages because the first chapter is kind of intense and also intensely long, but they’re INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT PAGES. Things happen. Things that, apparently, make people cry during author readings.

Yes, you read that right. More than one tear was seen during my reading and it made me want to cry happy tears of my own!

When you write something, it becomes important to you. The characters and the moments in their lives matter. Will that translate to a reader when they pick up the book? Did you pick the right words to get the emotion across? The happiness, the sadness, the pain, the joy, the whatever they’re feeling at the time–did it work? Seeing their reaction first hand made all my shaky nerves worth it. The failure nerves before the reading began and the OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED nerves from after.

I did it, though. I didn’t pass out and my words were intelligible and I didn’t cry while I was reading (which I actually worried I would, considering the section I was reading) and people liked what I read and the cover we showed them and I just… It’s so hard to describe. I’m still in the middle of edits, so the reality of other people seeing and reading and understanding my obsession with The Dream War Saga universe feels so far away and impossible. But it’s not! It’s already happening!

I met so many wonderful bloggers while waiting in line to grab books and even, while I was at a really amazing City of Bones event, met a fantastically sweet book buyer and blogger from Austin and her twin sister who KNEW WHO I WAS! Talk about surreal. They even asked me to autograph my business cards! Which I gladly did. My first ever autograph! I was so lucky to be standing in line next to them so I got to give them hugs and realize that there are people in other parts of the world talking about my book!

The rest of the time I spent in NY, though, was just for the hell of it. I got to spend time with some friends I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like and was able to spend Memorial Day eating yummy food, phenomenal ice cream, and laying in the sun at Prospect Park with Asja. And I can’t wait to go back!

Asja and I at Prospect Park in Brooklyn

My first book shaped baby has a face!

No matter how many times I stare at this cover, I cannot get over how much I love it. Jeremy West did a fabulous job and I’m so thrilled that I can now share the beautiful face of Sing Sweet Nightingale with the world!!!

Also, ALSO, I can finally share more information about the story! That tiny bit of the story doesn’t tell you anything, but now I have an amazing back cover copy to show off!

Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Celease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow causes the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Celease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

AND, as if that wasn’t enough, my cover designer Jeremy and his videographer brother Jeffrey put together a great video interview during our visit to NYC! Watch below and find out more about the design process, the book, and us!

Did you hear? My cover is coming next week!

Yeah, okay, I may have already posted about this, but I’M SO EXCITED! I leave for New York on Friday, but next week, this happens:

Jeremy West did SUCH a fabulous job designing this book and I am so thrilled that his work will be gracing the face of my books. You guys, it’s coming soon! SO SOON! We can actually count down the days now! There are only ten of them left! EEK!

Okay, I need to go back to work before I hyperventilate. O.O

Covers and BEA!

Just in case you haven’t heard yet, the cover reveal for Sing Sweet Nightingale is coming soon. In fact, it’s coming so soon that counting down to that date doesn’t involve three-digit numbers anymore!

There are only 15 days until I get to share my cover with the world! And, to make this already exciting event even more awesome, the first people to see the cover are going to be with me at BEA in New York! We have a lot of really cool things planned, so mark your calendars for May 29th, 2013. My book will get a face and I may or may not have (okay, fine. I will definitely have) something pretty to give away to commemorate the occasion.

Check back here for more details as soon as I’m cleared to share them. I hope you love the cover as much as I do!

Stuck and unstuck.

Truck Stuck in the Mud (c) Nico van Diem

Whether or not it’s truly writer’s block, sometimes you get stuck. Maybe you don’t know where you’re going. Maybe the characters are giving you trouble. Maybe you know your characters and where you need to go, but you’re not sure how to get there. Whatever the issue, sometimes you’re looking at your book and curing the idea that brought you to this point. Especially if you’re stuck and one a deadline. Cause, you know, that’s TONS OF FUN.

In case it wasn’t obvious, that’s where I am right now. Stuck and on deadline.

Granted, it’s not a tight deadline yet. I still have wiggle room. I also have a pretty strong lead. Most of the first draft is already done (thankfully), I just have to figure out how to piece the rest of it together. Which is why I love editing so much better than drafting. When I’m editing, I’ve already made it past the worst of these puzzles and the crossroads where I could split off in a thousand different directions. Options are nice, but they can also be paralyzing. Maybe that’s what’s paralyzing me now.

Whatever the problem is, I have to figure it out, push it out of the way, or go around it. I’m diving into the second book in The Dream War Saga again today and I will finish it before deadline. Because I refuse to let it beat me!

Hold me to that, people. Don’t let me slack off!

Cut, chop, snip, slice.

Scissors Cutting (c) Pam Roth

My project this week? Seeing how much I can cut out of a book. It’s not something I’ve never had to do before, so this is definitely a learning experience. Luckily, I have two incredible editors and a very patient agent who are going to help teach me how to spot the words/phrases/paragraphs/scenes that may have seemed necessary while I wrote it but are actually… not.

This is where holding on to that saying, “Kill your darlings,” comes in handy. Because, think about it. If you put a character or even a word into your book, it becomes a darling in some sense. Cutting them is never easy.

This is one of the MANY reasons it is so important to find people to work with who you trust and whose input you can recognize as valuable even when you start falling into that emotional, defensive hole where everyone is wrong and your book is perfect, damnit! It’s not, but it will get close if you trust the editors and the agent who have taken you under their wing.

Now, I take a deep breath, turn on Track Changes, and hope for some magical fairy to come along and highlight all the things I should cut so I don’t have to think about it…

Sing revision update #7: Round 1 is DONE!

Champagne Clink (c) Roger Kirby

You guys, yesterday. Yesterday was a day of days! I sent off my first round of edits on Sing, Sweet Nightingale to my editors and my agent! It is done!

Seriously. I finished! It was starting to feel impossible, but I did it. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

After I sent off the email, I read a book. Like, one I hadn’t written! That hasn’t happened in a long time. After that, though… That’s when I started doubting my sanity because I just kept wandering over to my computer and opening up my folder of writing projects and scrolling through it trying to decide what to work on next. And not just next. I wanted to work on something right that second.

Some advice from me, learn how to take a break and celebrate your triumphant moments! Even if you have to force yourself to do it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at your computer on a night you should be taking off staring at your next WIP.

As great as my enforced night off was, I’m very excited about the three projects lined up on my To-do list. Just to give you an idea:

One of them is a contemporary I co-wrote with my bestie Lani Woodland. The characters in that book are so adorable just thinking about them makes me happy!

The second project is The Dream War Saga Book 2. It’s already halfway done, but I need to finish it so that it can start going through the same rounds of edits Sing is suffering now! I’m really excited about the way this series is taking shape and I can’t wait to see it fleshed out and finished! Eek!! 😀

The third book on my To-do list will probably have to stay on the back burner a bit longer. While my agent is waiting for revisions on my contemporary with Lani and my editors are waiting for the first draft of TDWS Book 2, there are no expectations on this still untitled project. It’s completely captured my imagination, though. I have it half written and I so want to go back and finish it! Soon. Definitely (hopefully) soon. And, actually, it’s kind of nice to have a project with no deadline in sight.

So, that’s what I will be working on in the meantime. Look for more Sing revision updates when I receive my next edit letter. Hopefully this one will be 1/10th as long as the last one. Probably not, but I can dream, right?