Maybe soon we’ll get to Mars!

For today:
A sobering look at being an author and getting published: from Ian Irvine.
And, on a happier or perhaps more optimistic note, here’s what we’d need to Mars to make it habitable!  

That’s all for now.  Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi out.

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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.

Right On Track!

The thing about being rejected NOW, with an agent, is that it feels like nothing at all.

At this point we’re looking for the publisher that wants the book, that thinks the book will be the right fit for their brand.  Ultimately I want a publisher who thinks Sleep Over is perfect for them, and will put it out there with enthusiasm.

I’m not phased by rejection at this point.

I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all going.  This being my Birthday, it’s a good day to take stock and see how all my plans are shaping up.  I’m happy.

Google doodle surprised me today.  How sweet!

Want to know some cool stuff?  You can go to the url at the end and find out the same (and more) about you, based on when you were born!

Since I was born, I (read: our galaxy) have travelled nearly 600 trillion km towards the Great Attractor.  The population of humans on earth has grown by 2 billion, 422 million and change.  (World population is now at 7 billion, 288 million and change…)

My heart has beat one billion, 95 million, 841 hundred thousand, and change times. Mmm, good ol’ heart.

The moon has only orbited the earth 401 times since I was born???  For some reason I am surprised.  I think I need to learn more about the moon I guess.

Anyway, find out all this and more, about you!

So that’s all for now!  Just didn’t want to have complete radio silence until the BIG NEWS that will come (soon hopefully).

I’ll leave you with this image of what Andromeda, our closest neighbouring galaxy, would look like in our sky if there wasn’t light pollution.

Doesn’t look so far now, does it.  Oh wait what?  We’re going to collide with it in 3.75 billion years‽

Cheers!

Heidi out.

I Have An Agent

I am extremely pleased to announce that I have signed on with Beth Campbell over at BookEnds.  She will be representing my novel Sleep Over.

It has finally happened.  I have an agent.

I have been waiting to say those words for a long, long time.

Beth has just switched over to helming the representation of scifi and fantasy over at BookEnds.  She wants an author who isn’t just a flash in the pan.  She loves my manuscript, and my head is still swilling from all the gorgeous things she is saying about my writing.

And the writer’s head grew three sizes that day hahaha.

I won’t be able to share too much about the process of finding a publisher as it’s happening (super secret stuff), but you can bet your butt you’ll hear it loud and clear when I have signed with a publisher for Sleep Over.  My only hope is that it takes a bit of time, as that’s a good sign that more than one really, really wants it.

Meanwhile, I will keep on posting for you, my dear, dear readers.  I am so glad you could be here with me when I was finally able to give this good news!  Your support has meant so much to me over the years as I continue on this wonderful journey to authordom.

I will continue to share a great many and varied things with you. Including, if you’re interested in the details, How I Got a Literary Agent.

In addition to my fantastic announcement, here are some more things just! for! yooou!!!

Episode 7 AND episode 8 of my Oddcast, Forgotten, are up! Episode 8 took the longest of all of them and had so many outtakes.  I’m really pushing the form to the limit, and “the voices” really had a tough time of getting this one to work.  It’s getting better as it goes along, and I’m really happy with where it’s heading!

We’ve also got more videos from my husband’s Wild Gears Creations channel.  Are you ready to see something wild? This one is crazy!

And are you ready for parallel lines?

 

Something else fun: the tale of my Message in a Bottle which was answered by The X-Files (4 images in album- clicky).

Also, here’s a little comic I made about how I make coffee.

That’s all for now, dear readers.

I think we’ve entered into a new and exciting phase of my career here. I am one step closer to having a major work published, and hopefully soon I can share that with you too.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Kitty, Wild Gears, Rejection

First a video of my kitty playing!  She’s rather subdued when she reaches the end of her “running around” phase of playing.  When she moves into her “rolling around” phase, I really enjoy playing with her and her mouse toy this way.  Cutest!

Next up is some art my mom made with Aaron’s Wild Gears!  Holy smokes she’s been crankin’ ’em out.

Here’s a link to the full album.

My favourite piece of hers:

Intricate!


Photo of his newly-opened gear sheet, by Scott Bleackley:

And in writing news, I’m hearing back from literary agents.  The consensus is very positive- I’m getting a lot of “Great idea!” type comments, but so far all of them don’t feel like they’re the right agent to champion my manuscript.  *crosses fingers*  One of them has got to be the one.  I’ll keep looking.  I submit to really cool people, and it’s sometimes hard to tell if they’ll be into what I got goin’ on, but I’ve got to get it right one of these times!

Tonight: Ink Club!  I’ll spend the night researching several more literary agents I’d like to submit to.

This involves reading interviews they’ve done, looking up what people on Absolute Write Water Cooler have to say about them, and looking up their past sales.  It takes time, but it lets me know if I think they’d be a match for me and my work.

I’ll keep you posted, of course.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Heidi out.

What Makes Agents Stop Reading (SiWC), and We Have a Winner!

First off, congrats to Phillipa, the winner of my first ever book giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  I will be doing another one soon, and you’ll have another chance to win then, by commenting here, on Reddit, and my Facebook page.  🙂

And now, more notes from SiWC!  This time I’ll be taking a look at their wonderful “Surrey International Writers’ Conference IDOL”.  Basically, it’s four people skilled in the art of rejecting authors, and one person who reads.  What do they read?

Everyone is invited to submit the first page- ONLY the first page- of their manuscript.  It’s blind and it’s stark and brutal and beautiful; the words have to do the work, there’s no preamble, no explanation, no baggage of any kind to go along with them.

Here are the rules: if one of the four judges raise their hand, the reader keeps reading.  But if a second judge raises their hand, the reading stops, and the judges explain why they stopped it.

If they get to the end with one or zero hands raised, they also talk about it.

It’s absolutely fabulous.  Riveting.  There were some amazing first pages mixed in with the mediocre and the just plain bad.

To give you some context, the judges were:

Michelle Johnson, founding agent of Inklings Lit.

Nephele Tempest, an agent at The Knight Agency.

Patricia Ocampo, an agent at Transatlantic.

Bree Ogden, agent with D4OE Lit.

And the reader was the illustrious Jack Whyte, author of such novels as The Camulod Chronicles, The Knights Templar Trilogy, and The Bravehearts Chronicle, and owner of one of the most magnificent voices I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.  I would have listened to him read a phone book.  But instead, he kept me captivated with stories of every kind, his sonorous Scottish accent lulling me into that wonderful state of “I’m listening, please, never stop.”

So that’s our setup.  Four amazing women in the industry waiting to blind judge the first words, sentences, and, if the writer was lucky, the first paragraphs of as many first pages as they could get through.

Here’s why they stopped readings, peppered with reasons why Jack Whyte made it to the end of a page without the hammer coming down.

Please note- the first pages spanned every genre and tone, and going into the specifics of what they contained would not add to this; the reasons for stopping reading are universal.  I hope my notes are enough to give you an overall sense of why agents put work down in the first few sentences.  And as usual, this is a mix of the agents’ words and my own interpretations and additions.

x= complete stop, 1/2= one hand up, but made it to the end, and ✓= no hands raised.

x  too much happening- what is going on, we the reader cannot make heads or tales.

x  too boring, there’s no hook.

x  who is talking?  And why do we care about them?  (Not identifying your narrator or having a clear main character was a much-repeated reason to get the agents to stop the reading).

✓  pacing was great, and there was a good balance between setting and character.

✓  the voice was clear and captivating, there was an excellent balance of setting, character, all aspects; drew us in.

x  too much description, going nowhere.

x  there’s more to a story than beautiful imagery.  Wonderful writing, but flowery descriptions are not what draws people into the beginning of a story.

x  to local- super specific small town setting was a turnoff (so we need to set our stories in Anytown, USA?  Dang.).

1/2  (one hand raised, this first page barely squeaked past)  not much happening, nothing at stake, no conflict.  No reason to put it down, but also no reason to keep going either.

x  too much exposition- thinking about thinking, telling not showing, no action, the age of the narrator is inconsistent (the voice was inconsistent, giving the reader mixed impressions of the narrator), what is the conflict, and there were 2 typos ._.

x  cliché and lame, plus the implausibility of a 14 year old being in handcuffs, AND being able to pick them.

1/2  we’re lost; it’s interesting, but *what* is going on.  Confusing your reader is not the same as hooking them.

x  waking up (don’t start your story with your character waking up.)  (Seriously, don’t.)

1/2  good description but confusing- who is the protagonist, who is the narrator; beautiful, but what is the story?  Sometimes it’s useful to flip the first chapter, putting the end at the beginning, to draw the reader into the story (the setup comes after drawing them in).  Telling not showing…

1/2  all backstory and repetitive writing.  Varying sentence structure was great and switching up what the sentence is about (switching between character, description etc).  Cliché opening line was a turnoff.

x  descriptions galore, choppy, unrealistic depiction of emotion, unrealistic reactions.

x   waking up (don’t start your story with your character waking up) (seriously, don’t).

x  word usage- “lovers” and other sex specific words (this was an agent preference).  Trying to be clever- the writer getting in the way of the tone (see my previous post on how the author intrudes on the story).  The description doesn’t match the tone and content; huge disconnect between content and the voice.

x  a lot of telling, no showing

x  description of how someone travelled- who cares, and now we’re in another location.  We don’t need to know what airline they flew.  Rule of thumb for backstory: a little at the beginning, some in the middle, none at the end.

1/2  saying the same thing in several ways, get on with it.  Beautiful sentences, but telling not showing.  Whose story is it.

1/2  great voice but too many adjectives, cliché and poor word choice.

SO!  That is the list of commentary I took down as the judges meted out their sentences on those authors lucky enough to have their first pages drawn for the reading (it was random, and no, mine was not one of the lucky to be eviscerated evaluated, which is a shame, because none of the others started off the way mine did, and it would have been lovely to hear what they thought!).

Hope others find this helpful.  I surely did, and it I was glad to have had the opportunity to hear this raw and unfiltered look into what gets an agent hooked enough to want more.

Several of those writers whose work made it to the end were asked to approach the agents afterwards.  One of them was Russel, a young man whose story of a jester on stage absolutely captivated the room.  When Jack Whyte looked up at his audience and found us spellbound, and we realized there was no more to the story, there was an audible reaction from the crowd.  We wanted more.  And so did two of the agents.  I went up to Russel afterwards and offered my congratulations; he hadn’t finished the manuscript, but he had talent enough to hold a room full of his peers.

What an opportunity!  This is one event at SiWC that I will attend every time.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

P.S. It’s the last day of Aaron’s (well funded) Kickstarter campaign for a superior Spirograph!  Check it out and join the fun!

MATHEMATICAL!

My book is coming true before my very eyes…

It is at once exciting and frustrating to see my sci-fi future coming to pass.  Exciting to see how things are progressing down the path I speculated they would- nice to know I can see into the future somewhat correctly sometimes.  Frustrating because, well, once all the things happen, my book isn’t going to be as topical.  I want it out in the wild soon, to stir the pot with all the questions that we’ll have to be asking once things get really serious.

And they are getting serious!  Check it: “Scientists want to bring 22 animals back from extinction.”  DE-Extinction.  I can’t wait!  I know I know, it’s going to be years, decades, before things start actually showing results.  But I’m still pretty excited.

As usual, relevant TED Talk.

And here’s the thread on Reddit about it (ignore all the “comment removed” posts; memes and jokes are simply not tolerated in the science subreddit).

So, I hope I can find someone to help me sell my book, and get it on the shelves, while its content is just starting to make it into the public awareness.  Also, it’d be pretty sweet to have current affairs to help me out in the publicity department…  🙂

Right!  Well, onwards.  I’m going to write a children’s short story tomorrow, one about dragons, for Spellbound.  And then, thinking of the next big project.  Something that’s started to just peek into my conscious thought is this desire to put my fantasy series on the big screen… and I have to resist for now.

…Because I’ve decided not to continue writing anything that could be a series until I sell it.  If I write the first book in a series, as I’ve done twice now, I will leave it be until I can actually publish it, and there’s an audience who wants more.

This is great, it’ll mean I can keep breaking new ground with new ideas and characters, and have the benefit of creating a huge body of work that I could continue at any time.  Once I “make it” I’ll have several series that I could choose to continue if there’s an audience for them.

I leave you with this picture, from another planet!  It absolutely blows my mind that we have something on another planet, and it’s sending us back pictures.

Thanks for reading.

Heidi out.