BEST NEWS EVERYONE!

It is with great pleasure that I announce I have a publisher for my novel Sleep Over!

My first published novel will be with Skyhorse Publishing.  They have placed 33 books on the New York Times bestseller list; I hope to add one more to that tally.

I am working closely with one of their editors to get the manuscript where they want it (for a larger audience, more commercial fiction than literary fiction) and I am 10000% on board with getting it to be the best that I possibly can, to reach as large and audience that I can!

I have about 1.5 tons of work to do.  How much writing is that?  Many.  Many writing to do.  Notes on just about every chapter.  Many new chapters to write.

I am so excited!

I have been waiting to tell everything this news for… let’s see, I submitted my first novel to a publisher in 2002, then wrote 5 more books, then, carry the 1… yes, ten thousand years.  But more specifically I had to keep this news about this publisher and this book under wraps for so long!  I am so glad to get to tell you finally.

Hurray for me!  I have a publisher!

I will keep you posted on things to come.

Expect to hear such exciting news like:

  • crumbling under the stress of revisions 
  • tackling tough revisions with gusto
  • getting the final draft approved by my editor
  • getting an author photo
  • getting a back blurb
  • getting cover quotes
  • getting a cover!
  • the book going to print
  • a release date
  • and much much more!

This process takes a crazy long time; don’t expect to see my book until 2017 (I think a January release was being tossed around- maybe I will get the best birthday present ever).

I will be sure to keep you posted.

Here’s a link to Skyhorse’s site.  Sleep Over will be under the Talos imprint, with their other great sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.  (For those that don’t know, publishing houses have “imprints” that handle the various genres they work with.)

I’d like to thank everyone who has checked in to see how things are going.  It’s a long process, and having your support has really made a difference to me.

Thanks for reading.  ❤

Heidi out.

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You Will Never Know as Little About _____ as You Do Now.

Hello dear readers!  It’s been a while, mostly because I can’t really talk about things in the exciting phase.  I can say that my agent has begun the first round of submissions with my novel, and that it’s going extremely well.  I just need to wait on editors to get back to us about… things.

Hurray!

Mean time, I volunteered at SiWC again this year, and I gotta say it felt different.  Being there knowing an agent is hard at work for me was such a different feeling than being there searching for representation.  It was much nicer.

I got to time appointments with authors, called Blue Pencil Appointments.  It’s where writers sit down with published authors and get the first few pages of their work critiqued.  It was neat to be a part of from a distance; I like to think I’m familiarizing myself with stuff like that now because hopefully soon I’ll be in the author’s seat at conventions like SiWC!

Many writers got tons of good advice over the weekend.

I’m starting a new project, a comedy western.  Need to do something fun.  But you know how much I know about westerns?  Near 0%.  So I had an interesting idea; record everything I think I know about westerns.  Like, before I start my research.  Because I have a perspective that I will never have again (and it goes for just about anything):

I will never know as little about as I do right now.

From here on, I will only know more about westerns.  But I’d love to know what someone who knows nothing about westerns knows about westerns.  So I might as well write it down.  All the archetypes I know, all the plot devices, all the tropes etc.  And then as I do my research I’ll get a better idea of the genre, but still have a record of what “no-knowledge-Heidi” knew.

So, when you begin learning about a thing, take note of what you know before you begin learning, so you can look back and see what a layman knew about the thing!  A highly useful perspective that you won’t be able to have once you begin your quest.

That’s all for now!  I’m working on a list of common mistakes writers make when they’re starting out, and I’ll have that set to auto-update once I get the first entries few finished.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi out.

My X-Files Message in a Bottle Reply in the News

So last week I posted on reddit about how I used to throw messages in bottles over the side of the ferry, and when I was 11 someone from the X-Files responded to one.

Well maybe I can find the kind-hearted person who wrote to me from my favourite show!

BuzzFeed did an article about it, and today I’m in the Province!



And just for you dear readers, a bonus pic. The photographer from the paper didn’t even notice it (or maybe he did and just kept on walking).

It’s the photo on Agent Mulder’s badge when he and Scully make an appearance on The Simpsons, in case you’re wondering, and in case that makes it less weird that this is virtually the only thing on the walls of my apartment.

In writing news, the last of the revisions are off to my fabulous agent, Beth Campbell, and maybe I can start sleeping properly again, now that I’m not having to tinker about in a world where the insomnia apocalypse is ravaging humanity.

That’s all for now folks!

Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi out.

I’ll take “Weeks Of Hard Work” for a thousand, Alex.

Well, revisions went swimingly.  It was two weeks of solid, hard work.  I went through each story (Sleep Over consists of 32 stories told from 32 different people; together, they tell a cohesive narrative) and figured out what I needed to do to make each one better.

Mostly this involved amping up the emotional stakes, making people’s reactions become more insane as they lose their sanity (obvious, right?), and further accentuating character’s awareness of the jeopardy they are in.

That last one was what was missing from a majority of the stories.  Jeopardy.  Without jeopardy, things just happen, and there’s no feeling of tension or peril.

Jeopardy is anticipated pain or loss.  The pain or loss must be apparent, as well as plausible; that whole era of villains tying women to railroad tracks was short lived, because the sensibilities of the time didn’t allow for the possibility of that threat could ever be realized.  Since it was obvious that the train would never be allowed to run over the captive, the peril was implausible and thus ineffective.

The character must believe that the jeopardy is real, that the pain or loss being anticipated could actually come to fruition.

As for the other part of that equation, the pain or loss must be anticipated.  Characters must be aware of the stakes at hand, they must fully realize the pain and loss in their future.  That’s not to say that some of the jeopardy can be unknown to them (nothing like a bad situation getting worse to amp up the jeopardy) but the character must have a base level of awareness of just how screwed they might be.

This was the main thing missing from my narrative.  I injected some of the earlier stories with known timelines of symptoms, and various terrible things which might happen, and then did callbacks to them in subsequent stories.

Basically, I just spent two weeks doing terrible things to my characters and making them fully aware of just how awful things will get.  Even with some large cuts being made, I ended up with 10k more words than before.  That’s 10,000 words of jeopardy.

I am taking a few days off to get some distance from it, and then doing a full read through to make sure I got it right.

I tinkered a lot with tempo, and it’s hard to judge the flow when you’re zoomed way in and working on edits like that.  Taking a few steps back and coming at it fresh should give me a better idea of the time flow as well.

So that’s writing for today.  Going splendidly.

In other news, my new kitten, Lemon, is a brat!  She throws little meowing fits if she doesn’t get her way (which is often- silly kitty, NO you cannot make a nest in those cables, NO you cannot eat that tinfoil, NO you cannot climb up there and knock everything off of our bookshelves) but she is learning.  Constancy is key, and we’re getting there, slowly.

Our other cat, Echo, is finally into having a friend.  She groomed Lemon the other day for the first time and I just about died of how cute it was.

Here is a neat video I found of an interesting filming technique:

So that’s all for now folks!  Thanks for stopping by.  Good times ahead for the S.S. HGBleackley ReaderSHIP!

Cheers.

Heidi out.