Hi. Remember me? Remember when I used to blog? No? That's okay. We'll just start fresh. I'm trying to make sure I'm more on top of my own things. Since I hired someone to help me with social media and my website, I'm on my website a lot less. Hence, the lack of blogs. Which I'm guessing, you've managed to live without.
But because I fought hard to remember my own passwords (and then had to go through my Facebook account settings) to get in here, I figured I better say something.
How is it possible that the last time I blogged was when my last baseball book came out. Time has a very magical ability to stand still and race forward all at once. As many of you know, I'm now writing under a pen name, Sophie Sullivan. I managed to crack the passwords on that one too. I'm enjoying this very much-- the writing under two names, not the inability of my brain to retain the most basic of information.
My youngest daughter turned fifteen this month. My oldest is eighteen and off to university in September. I still teach full time in addition to writing books and I'm still married to the same wonderful man who provides me with endless food and delicious snacks (including Danish apple bars this weekend).
I'm excited to say that I'm working on a new cozy mystery series for Tule Publishing. I've wanted to work with them for a while now and I'm so excited I'm getting to do another small town sleuthing series. The first book will be out next August. It's called Home is Where the Body Is. I think you'll like Annie Abbott and the cozy little town of Rainbow Falls.
Like all of you, we've been living a pretty low key pandemic life. We're navigating some ups and downs that come with age and life. I'm reading books, painting rocks, and writing as many words as I can. Isn't it funny that I can write a book but not remember my passwords?
Summer is coming close. By the end of this month, I'll be finished my second cozy for Tule which is tentatively titled High School, Homecoming, and Homicide. I'm looking forward to having time with my family, hopefully enjoying some summer sun, and being able to see small groups of people again. We were supposed to go to New York this summer to celebrate my oldest's graduation. We can't, which is sad but certainly not as sad as other things so we'll just hang out this summer and make plans for the next one.
I'm turning 45 this week. I thought I'd feel....not older but maybe more mature. Like maybe I would have more answers than I do. Like my passwords, maybe I should find some and write them down, keep them in a safe place for when I need them. Even if I had a secret stash of reasons for some of the questions my brain goes through daily, I guess there would always be more to know. More to wonder. Am I doing enough? Am I doing a good job? At writing? Friending? Momming? Wifing? Teaching? Definitely not peopleing. I'm pretty sure those skills have been tucked away into a corner. I'll find them eventually, as the world opens up. Hopefully I'll be able to have conversations that aren't a collection of quotes from the shows we've been binging.
Since I last blogged, I feel like everything and nothing has happened to all of us. I have no words of wisdom or identifiable message. I just figured, it's been so long, I should say SOMETHING. Even if it was nothing.
Welcome to my first installment of Who's Who Wednesday. Twice a month, I'll introduce you to some of the great people I've met through writing. I'll ask the same five questions and let you know how we're connected. Connections are an essential part of staying strong on the path to publishing. Having people who understand what you're going through and have been through it themselves is a huge support when you're feeling unsure, need a boost, or want to share something awesome. I'm very lucky to have so many great writing friends and I hope that I'm able to give back even a portion of the support others have given to me.
This week's Who's Who is Lindsey Duga. Lindsey is not only a fellow agency mate (Literary Counsel), but also a fellow Entangled Publishing House author. I'm currently reading one of Lindsey's manuscripts right now and I can tell you, she has a wicked way with words. Her world building actually pulls you right inside of the story. Lindsey was kind enough to take part in the release party I had for More than Friends and through that, I learned that she is also a very talented artist! Check out the drawing she did for my main character, Gabby, from More than Friends. You can learn more about Lindsey through the interview below and by visiting her at her website. Thanks for being my first, Lindsey ;)
Who's Who with Lindsey Duga
What you write:
I enjoy writing both Young Adult and Middle Grade, and with the exception of strictly contemporary, I write all subgenres. I’ve written fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction. I’m even hoping to explore historical fiction in both YA and MG in the future.
What I really love doing recently is crossing genres. For instance, I have a middle grade book that is technically sci-fi, but could just as easily be categorized as a mystery or a sports book since the world, plot, and characters have aspects of all three.
I’ve never tried to write for adults because, frankly, the thought terrifies me. Apart from the occasional thriller and high-fantasy, I don’t read many adult novels, but I read TONS of young adult and middle grade books. And of course, what I read influences what I write and how I write it.
So. Many. Things. Being a huge NERD, I derive almost all my stories from a random mash-up of books, cartoons, TV series, movies, video games, and comics.
I could literally go on and on about what show has given me an idea for what story, but instead I’ll try and be concise and just list them out:
Favorite writing snack and beverage:
I don’t usually eat when I’m writing unless it’s candy or something I can easily pop in my mouth and forget about. All of my favorite snacks make my fingers messy—not great for typing on a keyboard.
Almost all my writing sessions start with a cup of tea. Lots and lots of tea. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I make sure at least half the tea in my cabinet has caffeine. Some of my favorite tea blends are: African Autumn, Jade Citrus Mint, Youthberry & Indonesian Gold, Ginger Lemon Mint, Turkish Apple, and Japanese Cherry.
My all time favorite drink while writing is a Starbuck’s Green Tea Frappuccino made with soy milk. I get one every Sunday at Barnes and Nobles when I’m writing or editing. Because they’re $5, I only allow myself one a week. I look forward to it as much as I do writing—it’s like my special treat for making it through the week.
Hardest thing about writing:
There are a lot of things about writing that are difficult, like developmental edits where you worry about one change affecting almost everything else in the book, or pushing through the block you’re having just so you can finally finish that first draft. But I’d say the hardest thing is that writing is, by nature, a solitary activity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love putting in my earphones and banging away at my keyboard with zero human interaction for like three hours…if I’m on a roll. But if I’m not? Well, it helps to overcome that writer’s block, or talk about your edits, or your book cover, or your marketing plan, with someone who understands where you’re coming from. It’s hard to want to go on and on about your book when you might not have anyone available to listen or help you. Which, of course, is why critique partners and beta readers are so critical. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them. If only just so I can randomly text them and say, “I’m obsessing over my new character. He needs a name. HALP.” And they’re there with a list of names we can go through together. After all, it’s FUN to talk about your story, and it’s hard when there’s no one there to help.
What you’re working on now:
Typically I have two projects that I work on at a time: one that I’m editing and one that I’m drafting.
The one I’m editing is another middle grade book and that crosses genres. It’s about a brother and sister team who are phantoms sent from the Netherworld to steal artwork in post-Victorian London. So it’s a little bit historical, fantasy, paranormal, with a touch of horror.
I’m drafting a YA paranormal romance dealing with nature spirits set in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. I’m only a quarter of the way through, and have a very rough outline, so by the time my draft is done, it could be a completely different book.
…And separate of these independent projects I’m also working with my editor, Lydia Sharp, on my debut novel that’s coming out Summer 2018 with Entangled Teen. My book is a YA Fantasy in which a princess, trained to use her kiss as only a magic-enhancing weapon, must fight evil alongside a prince who is determined to prove that love isn’t just a fairytale.
If you’re interested how this book came to publication, you can check out my blog post about it here.
Also, follow me on twitter and instagram!
Thanks for having me, Jody!
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Lindsey. I look forward to reading your debut from Entangled.
I'm not sure how long it'll be before I stop using Friends references for all things. If you've never seen the one where Ross talks about the night of five times, then you have no idea what I'm talking about. Which is fine. My husband is in your shoes all. the. time.
Summer is coming to a close. Technically, there are still three weeks left but time has a way of speeding by without my permission. All in all, it's been a pretty great summer, despite the lackluster weather. I made it to New York City with my best friend to celebrate my 40th birthday. That was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. Not only did we see three Broadway shows and walk the Brooklyn Bridge, I met my agent. And that was, literally, a dream come true.
We've also done some fun family stuff. We've gone down to Vancouver a couple of times, gone swimming, and done some shopping.
In between all of the other wonderful things I've gotten to enjoy this summer...a boatload of book news goodness came my way as well. Sometimes, it feels like all or nothing in this industry. You spend time in a writing cave (or in my case, my bedroom), head down, trying to get the words right. Some days, there's endless chatting online as the words come. Other days, it's quiet. This summer has been not so quiet in the best possible way.
If you didn't see, my three book deal with Entangled Publishing (Bliss Line) was announced this week. I'm already working on notes from my awesome editor, Stacy Cantor Abrams and her assistant.
In addition to this, I posted earlier in the summer that a novella "sequel" to Falling for Home, titled Falling for Kate, was signed by Penner Publishing. I'm very happy to be working with them again on another book. This one is out (tentatively) October 3rd.
If you're counting, that's four and I said the summer of five. The fifth one that I'm really excited about is also with Penner Publishing. This one is called Caught Looking. Between now and the end of 2017, I will have five books released, all signed this summer.
So. Needless to say, I'm seriously excited. And in serious edit mode for the foreseeable future.
Every book I write matters to me. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that I'll get to share this many of them with all of you. I'm grateful to both Entangled Publishing and to Penner Publishing for believing in my work. I'm very grateful to my agent, Fran, for believing in me. And I'm extremely grateful to all of the people that help me and support me by forgiving me when I'm late or forget things, read my work-- some repeatedly, talk down my uncertainty, let me bounce ideas off of them endlessly, share in my enthusiasm when things are great and stand by me when they aren't.
And as bonus good news, this morning I was notified that my books, Falling for Home and Damaged were nominated for the Summer Indie Book Awards for 2016! Voting takes place between September 1-11, 2016.
I'm not sure how to top this summer or if I need to, but I definitely know what I'll be doing for the rest of it: editing.
I am so excited to share the Release Day love for AJ Pine's latest novel, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY!
Look no further for the perfect friends-to-lovers romance! Jamie and Brynn are sure to brighten your day and give you all the feels. Read on for all of the details, and be sure to grab your copy!
About THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY:Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on. But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.
About AJ Pine:AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, the books she writes have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes). And a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. You’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago ‘burbs.
I'm very excited to take part in sharing one of my agency-mate's book covers today! Let me tell you a little about Brenda and her book before I show you the good stuff.
Brenda Corey Dunne is a writer, physiotherapist, military spouse, and mom. Her life is never dull. Especially when there's coffee. She is the author of DEPENDENT and TREASURE IN THE FLAME. Her newest novel is titled SKIN.
What is SKIN about?
With a name like Ocean, you’d think moving to Prince Edward Island would be simple. But since she crossed that huge bridge to the land of red sand, Ocean’s life has been far from normal—it’s been downright dangerous. Trouble seems to follow her, and she’s got the bruises to prove it.
And then there’s her mysterious neighbour, Sam...who seems to know more about her history than she does herself. When Ocean finally steps into the salty waves with Sam, she realizes that her life has been based on a lie, and that she is missing something...something she never knew existed.
WANT TO SEE?
How about an excerpt?
We crest a small hill and I forget all about being sulky. I forget about Seth. Because suddenly it’s there in all of its brilliant, sparkling glory in front of us—the ocean.
I’ve seen it before, but I can’t remember. I was a baby when my parents were here last. But wow. It’s…real. Just the sight of it makes my skin feel tight and my webbed toes curl.
Frank parks, and I jump out of the van like it’s on fire. I look at mom to see if she’s remembering—thinking of Dad and the happiness that they shared here but she’s gathering her things and talking to Frank about lawyers’ appointments and keys. It’s as if she doesn’t want to look, like she’s purposefully avoiding the view. I feel a rush of anger at her pointed lack of interest. Couldn’t she just look at it and remember? At least pretend like she cares?
Whatever. Mom has her own issues and she can deal with them herself. With just a few deep breaths of fresh salty air, I feel human for the first time since I was unceremoniously told we were leaving the city. I shrug and turn away from Mom and Frank and my zig-zagging little brother to drink in the view of the rolling waves and shining beauty. It’s so…huge. There is nothing beyond the horizon but more water. No islands, no boats, no other shore across a bridge… no anything.
I need to run, so I yell that I’ll be right back and then sprint for the dunes while they sort out less important things like keys and payment. The sand flies and I actually laugh out loud as I cover the hundred or so yards of beach blankets and umbrellas to the edge of the water, where I stop—two feet above the dark line of wet sand—and take a deep breath that would make any yoga master proud.
My name is Ocean.
I’ve always loved my name. The ‘shuh’ sound in the middle, the way it looks on the page and the pictures it creates in your mind. You’d think with a name like Ocean, I would practically live at the beach. But until now, standing here with my feet on the red Prince Edward Island sand, I’ve never really seen it. I’ve never looked out to nothing but seemingly infinite waves and sky. Miles and miles of liquid life.
I slowly notice that it’s crowded here in front of the resort, and I recognize the sounds of whining kids and laughing teens beyond the wind. There are too many people building castles and getting sunburned for me to really experience the waves as they slide across the sand. So I stop short...I hold myself back from my overwhelming urge to run and throw myself into the water. The need to jump in is almost a physical feeling, a drawing, pulling feeling—like a Neptunian tractor-beam, but I ignore the pull. I’m not ready yet, I guess. I turn back to the resort and drag my webbed toes through the sand as I walk up the path. And then I follow my mother—who still hasn’t looked—into our rental cottage, shutting the whispering waves out with the slam of the screen door.
SKIN will be available in May 2016
Find Brenda online