Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Do you remember the childhood rhyme:
Pete and repeat are sitting in a boat
Pete falls out, who's left?
And it begins again. Oh the joy.
I've gotten into the habit of responding to the question: How long did it take you to write Nightshade, with this - I wrote it between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008.
Stop. Rewind. Let's clarify and I'm accepting fault here for any misconceptions my pat answer may have created. I wrote the FIRST DRAFT of Nightshade between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008. I continued revising that draft on my own from January through March of 2009. With my agents from March to June of 2009 and with my editor from August through October 2009. That first ecstatic draft required a lot of refining.
A while ago I did a post for The Tenners about how not to get published. Here's a relevant excerpt about first drafts vs. revised manuscripts:
Another familiar moment in the writing life: you've done it. You've written a masterpiece! It is so beautiful and it's all yours!! In fact, you decide it's so very, absolutely perfect in that moment after typing the last sentence that you need to send it out to your dream agents NOW. Revisions are for wimps, right?
Wrong. Along with not finishing (and don't you DARE query before you've finished, and I mean really finished!!), querying too early will get you NOT published. I attended a writing conference where Jane Smiley gave a keynote. At one point she said "the first draft of what you wrote is perfect and wonderful, because you wrote it." She was being sincere and her comment encapsulated the joy that is the creative process of writing as well as the unbelievably ecstasy of accomplishment when you finish your novel. But the "perfect" is a moment for you and you alone.
You should celebrate. You did it! But you should NOT query. Think of it as a Gold Rush moment. You're alone, panning in a river and you hit it. The mother load! Wow!! That's fantastic. But no one wants your unformed lumps of golden goodness until they've been heated up and melted down and transformed into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Right? Don't send your lumps of gold out. Wait until you learn how to refine them into something everyone can appreciate.
I'm bringing this up because saying I wrote Nightshade in a frenzied four weeks is probably setting a bad example. That first four weeks was my Gold Rush moment, but months of work after that first milestone transformed my shiny lump into a finished piece.
Writing is the beginning. Rewriting brings the real payoff.
Speaking of rewriting - one of my best debut buddies, with whom I've had the joy of sharing revision chills, thrills, and spills - has a wonderful book hitting the shelves today. If you don't have Kiersten White's Paranormalcy on your radar, hunt it down in a bookstore as soon as you can.
You'll be bleepin' sorry if you don't :) It's hilarious, thrilling and glittering, sparkly fabulous. Happy Book Birthday, Kiersten!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Here's a taste of what we had. My husband and I made a pact to eat three "experimental foods," the staple of fair cuisine.
We had: Scotch eggs on a stickHot dish on a stickand mashed potatoes on a stickThe mashed potatoes on a stick were the winning dish. Really delicious!
We also saw lots of animals,some cute and cuddlysome monstrous
some came with cowgirls
some were fuzzysome recently denudedI love the history of the fair (look at that Art Deco)and its future - this is the Tesla Roadster, gorgeous!We got to say 'cheese':
And see a princess sculpted in butter
Plus there were Great Pumpkins galore.
We also rubbed elbows with a local celeb. This is me and my friend, Aeleah, with Senator Al Franken (also showing - my husband's thumb).It was a wonderful day at the fair indeed.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Love of writing is something that's been with me much, much longer.When I think about what inspires me to write I always go back to where I'm from. Recently I had the chance to take a trip to my hometown and was reminded once again why I love it.
The South Shore of Lake Superior is exquisite, but remains undiscovered in many ways.
It has a quality of wildness that lends itself to creative sparks.The landscape itself holds secrets, memories, and histories that evoke storytelling.
My writing also thrived because of the unwavering love of my wonderful family (that's my mom watching the island during our ferry ride. Hi Mom. Thanks for being you!!)
Places inspire me, but none quite as much as that very place where it all began.
What inspires you?
Monday, August 23, 2010
The winning covers are:
Khelsea and Denis please email your mailing address to me and I'll get your ARCs sent!
It was so hard to choose the winners - all the entries were fabulous. Thank you so much to the runners up for their amazing covers:
Your creativity and beautiful designs made me so happy!
The official WOLFSBANE cover is under wraps for now, but your awesome ideas are great substitutes until the final image can be revealed.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Yes!!! It's the Nightshade hardcover! My book EXISTS (it is living in warehouses until October).
There was much jumping and shrieking and happy dancing. It is so beautiful. It has rough cut edges that make it look like an aged, secret, mysterious book.
Here it is naked (gasp!)
Look at the purple!
I'm so happy :)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
90 years ago on this day women finally gained full political access as United States citizens. That's right - today is the anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.There are two things I'd like to leave you think about on this important day:
1) It should be mind boggling that it's still less than one hundred years since women have been granted equal political rights in this country. And that's just voting. Control over their own bodies, financial independence, equal rights in the workplace - those were all still well down the road when the 19th amendment was ratified. This is a landmark occasion, but it was only a milestone on a long road that we're still walking
2) With the politics of sexual equality and civil rights for LGBT Americans at the forefront of current political debates, the 19th amendment offers a spotlight on how deeply ingrained bias against change can run. When Abigail Adams pleaded with her husband to 'remember the ladies' in the construction of the U.S. constitution, John Adams responded that to do so would be to place men under a "tyranny of petticoats." If one of the "good guys" of American history had that attitude, it doesn't take much to realize what an uphill battle the struggle for equal rights was and still is.
Thanks, ladies. And let's all keep fighting the good fight.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I've been over the moon about the wonderful reviews coming in for Nightshade. Thank you so much to the thoughtful readers taking time to share their thoughts on my book - I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it. It's hard to believe that Nightshade is actually being read by real people (other than my mom, hi mom!) and that they like it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I'm flattered that so many reviewers and tweets talk about how much Nightshade leaves readers dying for book 2 - Wolfsbane. If you haven't heard it already, I'm here to tell you it's true; I leave you hanging by a thread at the end of book one. While it means the world to me that the end of Nightshade leaves readers so excited for Wolfsbane, I want to assure I didn't create a cliffhanger for the sake of being cruel.
Endings have been on my mind lately because I'm finishing up book 3 - Bloodrose - the only book of the three which does not end on a cliffhanger because, well, it's the final book of this trilogy. Also because Mockingjay, the ending we're all biting our nails to read, will soon be here!!! The conclusion of Catching Fire was one of my favorite, screech-inducing, cliffhangers ever. I guarantee I'll be up all night reading the night the Hunger Games finale is out.
I'm here to tell you that I don't write cliffhanger endings just to torture readers until they get their hands on the next book. Cliffhangers bring about the end of one plot arc while teasing into the beginning of the next. Nightshade, the trilogy, is a tale that spins out the lives of characters over the course of three novels. Each book has its own plot arc but all three arcs come together to create the entirety of the story - with each novel coming in around 400 pages, should all three installments come at once, you'd have a 1200 page novel. Though such books exist, breaking up the characters' journey into three connected, but distinct, pieces is a lot more manageable.
So I hope you'll forgive me when I string you along - I hope you'll find the wait well worth it, and know that there's a method to my madness.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The American Booksellers Association just published their Autumn Indie Next List. What's an Indie Next List you say?
It's this: "The list features the top 10 titles for the autumn publishing season and an additional 48 selections, spanning all age groups. The Kids' Indie Next List is compiled based on nominations from independent booksellers nationwide."
And Nightshade is #3 on the list!!!!!Happy! Happy! Happy!
And thank you, thank you, thank you to the wonderful booksellers for your enthusiasm for Nightshade!! I cannot wait until it's on the shelves of your stores.
Speaking of independent bookstores, I can also officially announce that the Nightshade publication party will take place at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday, October 29 at 7 p.m. and since that's Halloween weekend, the party will have a costume contest! I'm so excited :) If you're around the Twin Cities or feel like making a trip to Minnesota, please stop by!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
This sort of weather renders me listless and spacey. I'm working on a super sekrit Nightshade-related project right now, which I will soon be able to share with you, and I keep forgetting to attach documents or links to emails and correspondence because the heat renders my brain power to about 60% of it's normal function.
I consider fall my favorite season with spring running a close second. Dealing with this extreme heat, and knowing that in six months I'll be blogging about extreme cold (though I prefer the latter), I realize I'm something of a Goldilocks when it comes to weather.
But I swear I'm not just being fussy - I simply don't function right in this heat; it's like my body and mind are on strike, demanding a week at the lake instead of life as usual. The only upside is that hot days brew up awesome thunderstorms on some nights.
How's summer working out for you? And do you have no-fail ways to beat the heat? I'm relying on popsicles and iced coffee.
Monday, August 9, 2010
The two winners of The Eternal Ones are:
Arena (the nerd's wife)
Please send your mailing address to andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com
Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats also to Kirsten - The Eternal Ones hits bookstores tomorrow!!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
If you want to peer into my brain for a few minutes - stop by the Book Faery's blog to check out my guest post on sexual double standards in fiction, plus you have the chance to win a Nightshade ARC!
And don't forget to submit your designs for the Wolfsbane cover contest.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
First - I want to draw your attention to two ongoing contests.
1) You still have a chance to enter Em's Reading Room contest to design a NIGHTSHADE t-shirt. The winner will receive their t-shirt, a NIGHTSHADE ARC, & an ARC of MATCHED by Ally Condie (I've read it, it's phenomenal!) Stop by Em's blog to enter :)
2) I just passed 1,000 followers on Twitter and am hosting a giveaway there through noon tomorrow (Friday). To enter just post a tweet that includes #nightshade I'll draw a random winner from all the entries. The name drawn wins an iPod shuffle pre-loaded with the playlists of the NIGHTSHADE trilogy.
And here's the August contest for the blog:
As I mentioned last week, the cover shoot for WOLFSBANE just took place. I cannot wait until I can share the cover, which won't be for a while. There's a lot of work that occurs from the shoot to the final cover image.Here are a few images to give you a hint of what's to come:
Thanks so much to Suza Scalora who creates such amazing images.
Linda from Penguin will bring together the final design - she is so talented. And great at picking leaves!
Also make-up artist Elsa who transformed the lovely Amber (Amber Gregory is represented by Ford Models) into Calla!
And huge thanks to Editor Jill for snapping all these photos so we could have a glimpse of the cover in process :)
Since we have to wait a while for the official WOLFSBANE cover I thought I'd ask you to lend your creative talents to help us pass the time.
This month's NIGHTSHADE giveaway of 2 signed ARCs will be a cover design contest!
What would your design for WOLFSBANE's cover be?
When you create your image, email the file to me at andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com
I'll post the entries and will select two winners who will receive a signed NIGHTSHADE ARC. Please be respectful of copyright as you create your images. I can't wait to see what you come up with!
The contest will be open for two weeks, closing at midnight on Thursday, August 19.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Universe has been extraordinarily kind to me of late.
One year ago on this day, Philomel pre-empted Nightshade and my world has never been the same. I am continually grateful for the amazing path I've been traveling.
To celebrate I'm hosting a couple August giveaways. The first is on Twitter. Right now I have 900+ followers and when I hit 1000 I'll give away an iPod shuffle pre-loaded with the soundtracks to all three books in the Nightshade trilogy. So yes, you may not know what happens in the books, but you'll know what music fits the arc of the story!
The August signed NIGHTSHADE ARC giveaway will involve a WOLFSBANE tie-in, so stayed tuned for the announcement of that contest :)
Thanks so much to all of you for the great comments and entries for Kirsten Miller's ETERNAL ONES. Her books is wonderful and I'm so excited that you'll soon have the chance to read it!
Thanks so much for taking part in this Q&A, Kirsten!
1. I'm going to start with the cover (I LOVE it!) because I've always been fascinated by the symbol of eternity vis a vis the snake eating its tail. What is your take on the cover image?
I love it, too! We must have gone through a million covers before we reached the final image. (OK, a bit of an exaggeration.) But the moment I saw the ouroboros, I knew we had the perfect cover. It’s so sleek and sexy and strange. I literally couldn’t be happier. (And anyone who writes knows how rare that is!)
In The Eternal Ones, a silver ouroboros (snake swallowing its own tail) is the symbol of the Ouroboros Society, a secret society that says it’s devoted to the scientific study of reincarnation. Of course, that’s just part of a much bigger (and darker) story . . .
2. I was enthralled by the places I traveled while reading this book - I loved the juxtaposition of Snope City and New York. Can you talk a little about the role that setting plays in your writing? And also, did you get to visit Rome for research?
Thanks! Well, I grew up in a small Southern town and moved to New York when I was seventeen, so I know both of those worlds quite well. But here’s a scoop (I haven’t told anyone else) . . . I went to Rome on my honeymoon, so it has a special significance for me. Also, the fact that it’s the “Eternal City” seemed to make it the perfect place for my two lead characters to get “reacquainted.”
3. The romance in Eternal Ones is wonderful. What do you think makes for good romantic tension between characters?
Thanks, again! Well, I falling in love is incredibly dangerous—whether your life is actually in jeopardy or not. I think romantic tension is a kind of fear. (Not the kind that makes you want to throw up, but the kind that makes you tingle all over.) It’s the fear of leaping into the unknown. The fear of putting your heart on the line. The fear that your love won’t be reciprocated.
Falling in love for the first time would terrify even the toughest of heroines. (By the way, you capture this phenomenon very effectively in Nightshade, which I enjoyed a great deal.) But even the toughest of heroines needs a soft spot here and there, don’t you think?
4. I was equally captivated by the mystery in this book. When you came up with the story, did you think of it as a romance or a mystery or something else entirely?
Good question! When I was writing, I never really thought about labels. Now, I think the book should be what the reader wants it to be. If you’re the kind of person who likes a good romance, there’s certainly plenty of that. But if you’re the kind of person who prefers a thriller, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all. I’ve never thought of myself as a “romance” reader (though I certainly enjoy them), so I would probably pick up The Eternal Ones for the mystery and see the romance as a big bonus.
5. I love Haven's name - what inspired that choice?
My sister came up with it! I wanted a name that felt “Southern,” whatever that means. And I wanted a name that felt unique. (Though I know there’s another heroine with the name Haven out there.) My sister (who lives in Atlanta) knew a girl named Haven, and I thought it was perfect for the character.
6. What is your favorite part of writing?
When I’m writing a book, there’s always a point when I feel like I’ve finally crested the hill. It’s a struggle until I get there, and then the book almost feels like it writes itself. I love that moment.
7. What's up next for you? (More Haven, please??)
I just finished the first draft of the sequel to The Eternal Ones, so there will certainly be more Haven! Now I must finish the third book in my Kiki Strike series. Once that is out the door, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do next!
(Oh yeah, and if someone doesn’t send me the ARC for your sequel to Nightshade, I will not be held responsible for my actions! I’m dying!)
Thanks so much, Kirsten! I'm dying for An Eternal Ones sequel too!!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
My name is Kirsten Miller, and I’m the author of The Eternal Ones. I’m so thrilled that Andrea has invited me to “guest post” on her blog, since I’m a big fan of her work.
She’s asked me to tell you a little bit about my book, so here goes . . . It’s both a romance and a thriller. It’s filled with secret societies, snake handlers, soul mates and people who’ve lived countless lives. The Eternal Ones is sexy, dark, and extremely strange. I have a hunch you might like it!
As you might have guessed, reincarnation is at the heart of The Eternal Ones. It’s a subject that’s fascinated me since I was a kid. I don’t know if I’d call myself a believer, but I do think that reincarnation could explain quite a few of life’s little mysteries—déjà vu, child prodigies, inexplicable phobias, and love at first sight to name just a few.
(People always ask me if I’ve lived before. I must admit that I’ve always felt like I might have died somewhere in Europe during the Second World War. But who knows? Anyway . . . .)
The Eternal Ones follows a girl named Haven Moore who’s always had visions of a city she’s never visited and a handsome young man she’s never met. Then one day she discovers that the visions aren’t just fantasies—they’re actually memories of another life.
Finally Haven understands why she’s always felt like there’s someone out there that she needs to find. And a chance glimpse of a young man on TV convinces her that she should look for him in New York. When she arrives, Haven finds herself linked with a notorious playboy and a mysterious secret society. And that’s when things really start to get strange.
If any of this has captured your interest, please drop by my website (theeternalones.com) or my blog (http://theeternalones.wordpress.com/), where I’ve been giving past life readings to brave souls who send in a photo.
And if you’re interested in reincarnation, you’ll definitely want to drop by the Ouroboros Society. (ouroborossociety.com) It’s just a little bit sinister. Ha!
Thanks so much, Andrea, for inviting me to post on your blog! I’ll see you on mine in the fall! (And don’t forget to send me the sequel to Nightshade!)
Thanks, Kirsten. And thanks also for answering all my questions - which will be posted on tomorrow's blog :)
Thanks, Kirsten. And thanks also for answering all my questions - which will be posted on tomorrow's blog :)
Monday, August 2, 2010
I was lucky to get an early copy of this novel and I'm thrilled to shares my thoughts with you about this extraordinary book. It's the story of Haven Moore, a young woman whose dreams of the past and an undying love send her running from a stifling existence in Tennessee to a luxurious, but increasingly dangerous life in Manhattan - which she may or may not have lived through once before.
I have two things to say right off the bat: 1) This book was not what I expected 2) It's on my list of must reads for 2010.
Since the Eternal Ones is being billed as a romance I envisioned a read where I'd be pleasantly swept into the lives of two people who were desperately in love with each other, cheering them on as they overcame obstacles so they could live happily ever after. Don't get me wrong there's plenty of enticing romance in the Eternal Ones - but what drew me into the story so I couldn't put it down was the mystery, the fantastic places Kirsten takes her readers to, and the genuinely terrifying moments that caught me off guard in this book.
You heard that right - there were several scenes that made me gasp and my stomach curl in on itself (in a good way - I like to be scared when reading books, especially when I didn't see it coming). This book is filled with layers of intrigue and deceit that are both subtle and addictive.
The Eternal Ones offers a unique mix of romance, mystery, suspense and a few truly wonderful chills. I'm pretty good at unraveling plots, but Kirsten's book had me guessing and second-guessing myself when it came to who was a hero and who was a villain throughout the story. She had me enthralled through the final sentence of the book.
I loved her characters, particularly Haven and Beau, who I'd love to have as friends - they are both likeable while still flawed enough to be believable.
The world of the Eternal Ones is fascinating and I can't wait to learn more about what lays in both the past and the future for Haven Moore.
You can visit the official web site here and check out this book trailer!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
As an August 1 baby, I'm a Leo, which can be good
It means I love attention, but since I was raised by lovely parents who taught me manners, 364 days out of the year I feel rude and evil if I walk around with "ME! ME! ME!" attitude.
But on my birthday I feel like I get a free pass to say "this is what I want and we're doing it." It's 24 hours of guilt-free selfishness. Hurrah!
Today's agenda - going to Twins game and dinner at my favorite French restaurant in St. Paul. Tomorrow we're heading up North to visit my parents and spend some time on Lake Superior.
This year has given me a lot to reflect on. A year ago I didn't have a book deal. I was on pins and needles while Nightshade was out submission.
This week I received pictures of the photo shoot for the cover of my second book, WOLFSBANE (I'll be posting photos at the end of next week), and got an amazing editorial letter in response to my third book, BLOODROSE.
That all of this has happened in the space of one year is phenomenal. And on my birthday next year, NIGHTSHADE and WOLFSBANE will both be in bookstores!
Most people don't know that August 1 is a holiday. Lughnasadh, or Lammas, is the pagan harvest festival. It's a day to celebrate the bounty of the earth; it's joyful and full of hopeful possibility. I can't think of a more appropriate celebration as I have so much to be thankful for.