Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking Forward

So, as we’re nearing the end of a year (and a decade, how did that happen??) I decided to take a look back at last year’s posts, to see where I was.

Last year, my first book, TSM, was about to go back on submission after a round of revision. I was exhausted from my major, and hadn’t even begun the senior book design seminar. I was distracted, and divided, as evidenced by a teaser post in which I posted three snippets from three different projects, citing an inability to focus.

The Near Witch hadn’t even been conceived, let alone written.

My goals for 2009 were:
-to find the right home for TSM (not yet)
-to graduate WashU (accomplished!)
-to take martial arts classes (not yet)
-to finish two more books (I did that!)
-to take the GREs (bombed bc it was the day after my book deal)
-to apply for graduate school (finished!).

I feel like such a different person looking ahead to 2010, like I’ve got a new set of eyes. I never thought I’d be where I am. When we write our stories, not our books, but OUR stories, we can rarely account for things unwritten, unplanned. I’m so thrilled to have a book deal (!!) while at the same time, surprised that it’s not for TSM. I’m amazed that I wrote two more books. I’m surprised that in some ways I feel more lost than ever when it comes to life (grad school, work, etc) and more focused than ever when it comes to books.

In 2008, I signed with my agent. I experienced the roller coaster of submissions, heartbreak, challenge, and frustration.
In 2009, I got to meet my agent, I graduated, I got on and off several roller coasters, I wrote two books, one of which now has a very happy home (and hopefully the other will too).

What will 2010 bring?

I don’t dare predict. Instead I’ll do my best to embrace whatever comes my way, to open myself up to surprises as much as expected joys and challenges.

There will always be challenges and road blocks and potholes. There will always be fire swamps. That said, I wish you all a wonderful holiday, and a brilliant New Year's. I hope this year and the next have brought and will bring you all surprises of the best kind.

Thank you for sticking with me through this year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Editor Love Day!

It's Editor Love Day! (in the vein of Agent Love Day last week)

Because editors need love too. Even if you don't have one, chances are many of you have had some interactions with them, business or casual. I've had interactions with several editors, and the coolest thing I've learned: THEY'RE PEOPLE. I know, crazy right?! Yes, for writers they are people with immense power, gatekeepers for one of the last doors an author has to get through. But they're actually kind of cool. They like certain music, they do things in what little spare time they have, etc.

Anyway, onto my editor: The Incredible Abby Ranger, of Disney-Hyperion. Or as I often call her, the second member of my A-Team (since Abby and Amy both start with A).

Now, I'm writing this post from an interesting place, inside the belly of the beast of edits. This isn't one of those situations where I can look back on it and glorify the experience. I'm IN it. Edits are hard.

My editor is hard. my editor is intense. She is an Editrix, and she has earned the term. But guys, let it be known, let me shout this even in my time of distress:

My editor is Brilliant (that's right I capitalized the B because that's how brilliant she is).

If I could show you my edits, they would be an exercise in red, and yet somehow I have NOT lost hope, and I've only spent a minimal amount of time in the fetal position on my office floor. Why is that? Because my editor has the strange power to make me think that *gasp* I can do this. She just gives me a call, talks through it with me, and suddenly my fears seem kind of small, suddenly the solution seems within my grasp (now the time after I've hung up when I turn back to my word doc might be a different story). Abby makes me feel like I can do this.

And even if Editor Abby is still busily nibbling on small (and not so small) bits of my soul, even during that, I still stop now and then and mutter to myself, "Damn she's good." I still can't believe I HAVE an editor, let alone one as incredible as Abby. The things she sees! The way she sees!

Edits are HARD. My editor is HARD. But she is also BRILLIANT (oh now I've gone and capitalize the whole thing!) and WONDERFUL, and SUPPORTIVE, and FRIENDLY. And she wants to help make NEAR WITCH the absolute best it can be :) She BELIEVES in me, and in this book, and that is an amazing feeling.

I have an editor. She might still scare the s*** out of me, but mostly I just adore her, and I adore what my book is becoming with her help.

Now, I'd better get back to my edits!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

People I Love: Courtney Summers

Up next in my "People I Love" series...


(I think Edit Fairy likes Gaga's look)

How can I describe Courtney Summers?

Well, I know how I describe her BOOKS. Her books are brutal, un-put-downable, wonderful, wrenching, real, disturbing, addictive, destructive and FABULOUS. I once described her upcoming book, Some Girls Are, as "suicidal teletubbies with purple lipstick and switchblades." There is this incredible push-pull in Courtney's books, something akin to morbid curiosity. You just can't stop looking.

Describing Courtney as a person gets trickier, only because I don't have the right words. Courtney and I have had a roller coaster year, but she's been beside me every step of the way. We've cheered each other on at the fun parts, and she's given me an incredible shoulder at the really NOT fun parts, and even let me emotionally vomit on her a few times when the ride got out of hand. Essentially, she's been there. And she's become an incredibly close friend. Not only is Courtney one of the nicest, most accessible writers out there, not only is she INSANELY talented, and getting some of the praise she absolutely deserves, but I can say that she has made a profound impact on my life, and that I wouldn't be where I am if not for her.

Courtney, thank you. Thanks for filling my good days with ~*~*~ and my bad days with hugs and rants and every day with emoticons, capslock, acronyms, enthusiasm and love.

Edit Fairy Smolders, Team Sparkle, well, Sparkles.

So it turns out Edit Fairy isn't terribly gifted in the editing department, BUT he is quite good at smoldering. And boy does he smolder. And I cannot stay long, since I need to inject some *smolder* into my own book.

But first! Today's lovely recipient of the V Loves You Award is...

~*~*~Team Sparkle~*~*~

What is Team Sparkle? Well, TS is my support group. TS is:

-Courtney Summers
-Scott Tracey
-Susan Adrian
-Tiffany Schmidt
-Emily Hainsworth
-Linda Grimes

Team Sparkle is appropriately named, because boy do these guys sparkle. But it also makes me laugh, because the books that come out of TS tend to be dark/edgy/odd/other. Less like this:

And more like Edit Fairy:

Team Sparkles keeps me afloat. They fill my inbox with love, they deal with my panic attacks and minor tantrums, they cheer and bemoan and are all themselves absolutely brilliant. Over the next few days, I'll tell you just a little about that brilliance. Up first, the astounding unstoppable Courtney Summers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Edit Fairies Awesome Australians

So, I'm in edits again. I'd give a glimpse of them, but I think it would just be easier to spread my arms wide and say I have to do thiiiiiiiiiiiis much work. My ms is currently an exercise in red. BUT. I will prevail!

This is my Edit Fairy:

Yes. I have an Edit Fairy (thanks to Nicole; I suspect he might be Jude Law, though he came from a random health and beauty site) and apparently he will either help me with my edits, or whisk me away, or both.

The problem is that during edits I really need all my brain power for, well, EDITING. So I can't seem to write much of a coherent, thoughtful post.

Still, I don't want to slack off on my blog here, so I'm doing something different.

I'm going to talk about a person I'm really thankful for each day for the next week or so, until I've satisfactorily beaten this chunk of edits back into submission.

First up,

~*~*~*~Tye Cattenach.*~*~*~

Tye is an incredibly sweet, energetic, and all-around awesome librarian in Australia, and she deserves some attention. She runs a blog called The Book Gryffin (which recently hosted The Grimm Off) and she has to be one of the nicest, most passionate women in the book world. I simply adore her. Tye has been this wonderful little shimmer of light during my edits, and her constant energy and enthusiasm make me smile and keep me afloat. Thanks, Tye :)

PS. I recently came to know two of Tye's cohorts, Sonja and Nicole, and I can say, Australia has an incredible quantity of Awesome. I suspect it might be stealing it from other places. Because, of course, Iocane comes from Australia, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals! (points for knowing where this line comes from).

Friday, December 11, 2009


Amy Tipton is my agent.

She's also my cheerleader, my inspiration, my fan, my leader, and my friend. She's the wonderful woman who ushered me onto the yellow brick road of publishing. She held my hand, she kept me pumped, she made sure I had my head on straight. I still remember the day she called.

I also remember how every time she called me after that, she would always start by saying, "Hi, it's Amy Tipton, YOUR AGENT," (as if I would ever forget) and that always makes me smile.

If you read my little series on the journey to publication, you know that my first book didn't sell. But Amy never, ever gave up on me, or my stories. Every step of the way she pushed me, or hugged me, depending on what I needed. She kept me positive, she kept me looking forward, and where some agents in that situation might have put their author on a back burner, Amy kept me at the forefront. When I began work on NW, she cheered me on. She's always cheering for me. It's been an amazing year and a half, and I look forward to having her for many more years.

Amy, thank you. Thank you for being close enough that I feel like I can send you anything, from absurd ideas about menopausal covens to random notes filled with emoticons and ~*~*~*~ to pictures of cupcakes with speech bubbles. In addition to all the work-related stuff.

Thank you for being there, and for always believing in me.

Thank you for being a badass. A rock star. A trooper. A fashionista. An inspiration.

Thank you for being one of the strongest, most passionate people I know.

And thank you for being my agent, my role model, and my friend.

**Note: This is part of Unofficial Official Agent Appreciation Day, a fabulous idea of Kody Keplinger's. Because sometimes agents get a bad rap, we wanted to join together to surprise our agents with a little love. A list of participating blogs will be available here: **

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Time for the Grimm Off!

It's time for the Grimm Off!

What is the Grimm Off? Well!

My friend and incredibly talented author, Scott Tracey (whose book, WITCH EYES debuts 2011 with Flux), was helping me one night. I was cranky because I hadn't written anything, and so he told me to write him a fairy tale. And then I asked him to write one, too, we threw in a few prompts, and here we are!

With a challenge.
And a voter's prize.
All hosted by the wonderful Tye.

Both of our stories are posted over at:

the blog of the lovely Tye Cattenach

(You should all follow her anyway, as she's lovely) and you simply go over there and have a read and vote! There's even a treat for a voter.

Sounds like fun, yes?

Please go have a look if you get a chance. I can't promise mine is any good (edits came as I started to write, and I'll use that excuse as much as I'm able) but it's such a fun idea (who doesn't love fairy tales?) and we'd both love your support!

Here's a snippet from mine:

“Easy as sneezing,” the old man said, pouring tea, and it bothered John because it wasn’t quite a rhyme. John was not given to liking things that were almost, but just shy of, what they ought to be. The old man chuckled, though, showing very sharp teeth where most old men would have only gums and a stray molar. He leaned across and stuck one long, old finger into John’s tea and swirled it for him, and went on.
“Simple as crumbs. You’ve just got to choose.”

(note: Children were harmed in the telling of this story)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The YARebels!!

So, I might have mentioned it on here (I honestly cannot remember; I am suffering from edit/life induced brain fog, please forgive) but I am part of a Vlog group! Doesn't that sound lovely?

We are the YARebels, and we're going to start doing posts in January, kicking off 2010 with style and attitude. We're six YA authors, chatting about the process, books, behind-the-scenes drama, and all sorts of yummy stuff. Leah Clifford, one of our esteemed cluster, made us a teaser trailer!

And wouldn't you know, we got a shout-out from a rock star Author! Which one? Better watch and see! And don't forget to subscribe to us so you can get all the good stuff, coming in just a few short weeks!

Alright, back into edit cave...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Life, Pre-Edits, Nano-Fail, and the Journey, Part Two.

-Some days I wonder how life can be so full of waiting and so full of activity at the same time. You might think that the activity cancels out, or at least muffles, the waiting, but by some miracle I can keep them separate and intact.

-I'm going to take a couple classes in the spring. I know I am a complete and total nerd, but I miss school, and more than that I miss the structure school brings. I need that kind of structure in my life right now. I'll probably take an English course and a French one, if I can.

-Working on edits. Or rather, pre-edits. Don't ask :p But feel free to send baked goods, because I promise pre-edits will kill me before edits will.

-This is a busy time here at home. On the heels of Thanksgiving we're participating in a Christmas tour this upcoming weekend, which means that the whole house has to be decorated by then.

-Nano...Nano...yeah...that was not so successful.

-On to Part Two of my little series. Part Two: Something that looked like a book!

So, as I was saying, one of my children’s poems became an integral part of my first story, THE SHADOW MILE. Here’s the original poem (it got shortened considerably in the book):

"A Mile Outside"

I know of a place a mile outside
Where things are only as real
As the raindrops are wide
And the sun doesn't always
stay up in the sky
It drifts in the breeze,
And goes out with the tide

A place where nothing lasts
But everything stays
And a minute's as long
As a handle of days
Where nothing breaks
And everything bends
With a thousand beginnings
But no concrete ends.

Where stones are made
out of butterfly wings
And marbles dangle from clouds
On long silver strings.
Where stars wander down
like snowflakes at night
And rest in cupped hands
Before again they take flight.

Where words wind like fog
around valleys and hills
And light is like water,
it sloshes and spills
And nothing changes
but nothing sits still.

This is a place beyond
borders and doors
A world without rules,
without ceilings or floors
Where we're only as old
As we let ourselves be
A place where our minds
Are entirely free
It is here, in this world
That our hearts go to hide
Deep in our thoughts
And a mile outside.

The Shadow Mile began as a very surreal, nonsensical Alice in Wonderland-esque story about a girl who finds a door without a room behind.

I later learned that nonsense and pretty imagery do not a story make. I finished the first ever version of TSM, let it never see light, in May of 2007, and shot off a few queries. One amazing agent was super nice, and asked for the full, and had some wonderful things to say, but it was obvious I didn’t know what I was doing (I can safely say that at this point, it was 50% nonsense, 30% existentialism and 20% of the trippy metaphorical fantasy I mentioned in PART ONE. Not a recipe for success. So, I did what I needed to do. I shelved it.

Six months later, I stumbled across a dialogue contest on a literary agent’s blog, dug out TSM and entered on a whim. I also began to revise (I’d been PONDERING revising for some time).* TSM ended up getting third in the contest, which earned me a partial request from the agent. I also did a TON of research, and started querying other agents, too. I got an offer of rep from one of the agents I queried, and signed with Agent Awesome.

After a short revision, TSM went out into the world. And out. And out. It kept garnering praise, but no sale. I think there were FIVE or SIX really close calls (ed board – acq. board) and it still kills me to think about it. This project had become so special to me, and to my agent, and everyone seemed to believe in it, but it wasn’t commercial, and it wasn’t clear-cut, and it kind of had one leg in MG and one in YA, and for whatever reason it wasn’t selling.

About six months into it NOT selling, I decided to stop obsessing about my baby, and write a new one. I had this idea in the back of my head, just wandering around. I wanted to be proactive. I didn’t GIVE UP on TSM. And my agent didn’t either. But there was no way I was going to let one book’s difficulty stop me. I was terrified of writing a second one, because I wasn’t sure I COULD. But I’d always dreamed of a career, and I knew I’d have to write another book eventually. Why not now?

Up next, PART THREE: The Near Witch.

*A note on pondering: I’ve since learned that pondering is a valuable tool. I often think up a project, and then shove it into a recess of my mind to ponder now and again, and somehow the deeper corners of my brain pick at it when I’m not looking.

-Last, a poll: How do you buy your books? Amazon? In store? Other?

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Which a Young V Writes Awful Poetry and Wants Desperately to be Taken Seriously.

So, over the next few days I’m going to talk about how I got to where I am. I’ll get to agents and editors and all that, but first I want to take you back to the beginning, because it is hysterically bad, in the way things NEED to be bad. It's the kind of hysterically bad that comes from TRYING and FAILING spectacularly a few times.

I started writing when I was 15 or so.

I wrote a pretty awful short story about two brother angels, one good, in charge of life, and one bad, in charge of death, and the bad one felt villainized so he lashed out, so the good one locked the bad one away, but then the bad one staged a hostile takeover of the silver city where both brothers had ruled, and he killed the good angel, but the bad one couldn't live without the good one and so everything fell apart. If you want to actually READ some of the heinousness that was the first ever attempt at fiction, GO HERE

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, I *tried* to write a HORRIBLE OVER-WROUGHT METAPHORICAL FANTASY. There was this principle in the world I created called “The forest and the meadow theory” and it basically meant that the worlds of magic and mundane couldn't overlap and still retain their identity, in the same way that a forest is no longer a forest if it merges with the meadow, and a meadow is no longer a meadow if it merges with the forest. I clearly wanted to be taken seriously at 17. THANKFULLY, that project sits unfinished somewhere, and will serve as a LESSON. The sad thing is that tiny bits and pieces of it were half decent, but alas.

Mostly, I wrote pretty awful poetry. I even had a Xanga, and you can go scope out some of my teenage angst RIGHT HERE. The farther you go back, oh the worse it gets.

Later, I went through a period of writing children's origin story poems, in rhyme. Originally I was going to illustrate them for my college thesis.

Perhaps the moon is in the sea
reflecting up against the sky
as night beams bathe
in ocean waves
and all the stars
swim by.

"Night Shadow"

In the dark my shadow grows,
No longer branching from my toes
But spreading out from every part
No end but every inch a start,
And in the vast and wondrous night
My shadow plays the part of light
Filling every crease and crack,
Unrestrained, abundant black,
Or plays the shadow to the sky,
Whose height and breadth cast long and wide
A silhouette across the land,
And what was once my shadowed hand
Is now the blanket on the sea
Where blue and red and green
Are fast asleep in shades of gray
Until my shadow in the day is mine again
Pushing up against my skin
To linger in my company
And wait until no one can see
Or no one tries, for in the eve
We assume all shadows take their leave.
Night is but a shadow grown.

"On How Things Come Apart"

Before anything else,
The trees and the plains,
Before the valleys and mountains,
The draught and the rains
Before you and I had forms and minds,
And life grew and became,
Then the Sea was of the Sky,
Both one, and the same.

On the ceiling overhead,
Laced in whites and blues
The two forms, as fingers, intertwined
And from each other grew.
The Sea and Sky both swelled in size,
The world began to shift
Until at last the weight surpassed
What Air itself could lift.

And then a Storm was bred and born
That severed every strand
Held Sky at bay, thrust Sea away
In heavy drops to land
And filled the world with water
To the brimming line between
And thus was the Horizon,
The unforgiving seam.
And when Sky looks longing down to Sea
Across the sun-filled moat
The Storm must come and shed the rain
To keep the Sky afloat.

The Brink

There’s a valley that sits and stretches and yawns
Between the mountains of dusk and the mountains of dawn
Before a forest, thick with moss and with shade
Where canopies cover and smooth paths have been laid
The day dissolves and here all that remains
Are the field and forest and its wondrous games

A stream of fog in the meadow slips silently in
Like covers drawn cozy and up to your chin
And the mountains all fade into curtains of mist
And the sky above shimmers, a thousand times kissed
It glitters and flitters and flutters and smiles
Glowing and going for miles and miles.

Enter these woods at peace and at ease
Magic worlds wait among the canopied trees
Fear not this new place, its shadows don’t bite
They comfort as pillows in the soft twilight
So find your way in the fog to the silvery seam
Between the valley of rest and the forest of dream

And should you be wary of the waning daylight
Remember, dreams are born in the canopied night.

HOWEVER, writing a lot of bad poetry eventually led to some better poetry, which then led to a sense of rhythm and syllable structure that I still use in my fiction.

And in an interesting twist, one of my children’s poems became part of my first finished book.

Up next, PART TWO: And then came THE SHADOW MILE.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Contest Winners!

Thanks everyone for playing!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Bookshelf Share Contest!!

(The main contest is over on LJ (veschwab). I'm re-posting here in case anyone cannot or does not want to comment over there. But you should check out that thread, because it's great to see all the entries!)

It's time for a Vlog!

AND my first contest!

First, the vlog:

The Contest!

Rules are simple.

1. Watch the video.
2. Marvel at my selective anal-retentiveness regarding book order in my room.
3. Pick a book you'd like to have.
4. Leave a comment, telling me which book.
5. Spread the word for an extra entry!

Contest ends Friday at noon. That afternoon I will put names into a hat (yes, a REAL hat) and draw a winner. If there are enough entries, I will draw more winners.

The point: Sharing is caring.

A few of the books in the video: Beautiful Creatures, Forest of Hands and Teeth, Cracked Up to Be, Lament, Ballad, Maze Runner, Wicked Lovely, Strange Angels, Deliverance Dane, American Gods, Soon I Will Be Invincible, Prophecy of the Sisters, Wake, Evermore, Neverwhere, The Book Thief, Blue is for Nightmares, Tithe, and many more!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


FACT: I am not a Twitter Quitter. I made it the whole week! I don't know about you all, but this was a surprise to me!

FACT: I got 10k written during my Twittercation. Just saying.

FACT: I read 4 books this week. City of Ashes, Strange Angels, Wicked Lovely, The Magician's Elephant.

FACT: I am taking over the internets, bit by bit.

So my website won't launch until the new year, in honor of all the fun we're going to have in 2010! But in the meantime, I've begun my slow and steady journey of taking over the internets! [insert malicious laugh]

FACT: I missed Twitter!

FACT: This is not a fact but I didn't want to ruin the motif. I don't do linkage often, but I really, really want to link this blog post by Courtney Summers called On Mean Girls & Writing Some Girls Are.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I did it! I survived Twittercation! Wait...

What do you mean Twittercation is only half over???


In other news:

-Reading Strange Angels, and really enjoying it so far!

-NaNoWriMo is going surprisingly well! Even though I ditched my outline temporarily and started writing the scenes I wanted to write, even if they're not important for twenty, or fifty, or a hundred pages :p

-I am fighting a cold with all I've got. So far I've managed to skirt it and avoid the worst, but it makes me think of zombies. Namely, that being the only healthy person in cold and flu season is a lot like being the only living person during a zombie apocalypse. I feel like I should be armed.

-WIP Wednesday. I'll share just a few brief bits of BOSS (Book of Sparkly Stuff) from NaNoWriMo:

"Hyde School is green. Green makes you think fresh. Makes you think new. But here the green is a top coat of paint on the dusty grays, rusted reds, and dead browns. Beneath layers of ivy, Hyde school is a web of old stones and mortar and earth. According to the brochure, it’s even got a hedge maze."

"When I was young we lived in a house with a white marble floor. I spilled something dark and acidic, grape juice, I think, onto the marble on morning. I tried to clean it up, as quickly as possible, but it has already eaten away at the white, had already left a stain. That’s how I feel. Like the red that splashed onto me at the end of my summer was strong enough to eat right into my marble finish. Like I'll never be clean again."

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, a confession.

I am (so much more than) addicted to Twitter.

So Nova Ren Suma and Suzanne Young (I don't know which one started it) decided to do a Twitter vacation, where they left Twitter for a week, Nov. 1st-7th. And lo and behold, people followed, myself included.

Someone recently complimented me on my level of productivity, and my response was that I couldn't bear to consider how much MORE productive I would be if I didn't live on Twitter. Well, here's a chance to find out.

So, a little over a day in, and I must admit it's much harder than I expected. I use Twitter as my break between bouts of writing. I use it to catch up on the lives of my friends, of authors, and of the publishing industry. I use it because I like sharing random and most likely inane things, and commenting on other people's random (and sometimes inane) things, and commenting on/complaining about/"offering insight" into the writing process :p I use it to waste time, and I fully accept the fact I'm wasting time.

It's hard not being on Twitter. I won't say it's not productive. I wrote right around 2,000 words yesterday, and hoping to hit the 5,000 mark (total) today. But it definitely requires a level of discipline I don't believe I possess. So am I giving up? Nope. Not yet, anyway. If my edits arrive, and I need to turn to my twitter-friends for support, I most certainly will. But right now I will not surrender! Because I have applications to finish, and books to read, and books to WRITE, and none of those things are (technically) dependent on Twitter.

I will admit, however, that I have basically hooked up a feeding tube to my inbox, and am harassing many of my friends mightily in Twitter's absence. But hey, I can't give up EVERYTHING.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It seems only fitting...

And what will YOU be this year?

And more importantly, what CANDY will you pick out of the bucket and stash for yourself, or steal from innocent children, or be tricksy for? (I always steal the snickers and the reeses cups)

Wishing you all a very Happy Halloween! (Posted Originally at

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Should Call This Post NaNoWriMo, or...

In Which Victoria Goes From Admitting She Needs a Break to Over-committing in the Course of a Day.

Alright, so here's the deal. I'm going to TRY to do NaNoWriMo. That means, I am going to have fun and do my best. That also means that if I don't finish, I am NOT going to feel bad. I don't expect to finish, what with edits and apps and life. But I'm willing to give it a go.

Because I DO have a new book to work on, and I might as well try to keep my fingers busy. It's either write, or compulsively click REFRESH on my email. So let's go for the more productive of the two.

I'm there as veschwab, in case you're there and want to be buddies.

I know I will probably regret this. But I DID take a day off writing. Yesterday.


PS. It would appear I have a fairly abusive relationship with my writing. But drained as I am, I just don't feel *right* when I'm not doing it. So it's worth a TRY.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Editing is like...

Editing is like...

...A longtime relationship, right after the proposal, when the bride gets cold feet, or the groom has a swell of doubt, and they fight, but the bride knows she loves the groom/book desperately and want to make it work, so they go to couples counseling, and at last they reconcile, and hopefully they have a healthier, more stable relationship.

...Those CSI/murder investigation shows where the cop spends the entire episode trying to work through false leads, has a nervous break where they think the case will NEVER be solved, but in their gut they know they can't give up because it's their job and the answer is there, somewhere, so they keep going and then a lead comes out of nowhere and the pieces begin to click and click and click and then case is solved and the whole office drinks coffee and toasts to the cop's skills.

...Baking a cake (you knew I'd go here). Except you have no idea if the ingredients you're using are the right ones or how it will taste, so you sniff it and taste it and break a ton of eggs and spill flour on yourself and maybe have to start over because the oven was too hot and you burned the edges or the middle fell down, but you can be damn sure that by the time anyone has to see or eat the cake, they'll never know what a beast it was to make.

...Surviving the fire swamp (you knew I'd go here, too). Because Wesley and Buttercup know that it's going to be almost impossible ("We'll never survive." "Nonsense. You only say that because no one ever has.") but they do it anyway because they are being chased and don't have a choice, and they learn the pitfalls and how to avoid them, and after getting singed, and nearly drowning, and attacked by ROUSs, they finally get to the end. And it doesn't matter that Wesley is capture, because they survived the swamp and they'll survive all those other things by the end of the story.

So, yeah. Editing is like a lot of things. It's NOT easy. But it's also NOT impossible, and the end product, whether it's a loving marriage, or a case solved, or a yummy cake, or surviving the fire swamp with only a few burns and bites, is worth it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Precioussss...

So, I've been cleaning and organizing my bedroom and office, since both have fallen into a state of utter shame and disrepair during these last couple weeks. At one point, I went through my books (I've said on numerous occasions that I have a pitifully small supply, compared to most writers, somewhere in the 100-200). But as I was going through them, I came upon something very special.

Yes, almost everyone I know owns at least one of the HP books...

But this one's signed.

I don't have anything from my grandparents. Nothing treasured and passed down. But I do have this. My mother was in a bookstore one day, a little over a decade ago, and called me to say a woman was signing books there. I hadn't heard of J.K. Rowling, or of Harry Potter yet, but my mom decided to go ahead and get me a copy. There was hardly a line. And that's one of the reasons it's so precious. It was just a matter of luck and timing, at a time when Rowling was just another up and coming author.

So, what's your most precious book?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Witching Year!

Midnight might be the Witching Hour, and fall might be the Witching Season, but there's no doubt 2011 will be the Witching Year!

In case you haven't heard, there are THREE YA books (so far) (two from FLux, one from Disney*Hyperion) slated for 2011 with "Witch" in the title.

Scott Tracy's WITCH EYES

Karen Mahoney's THE IRON WITCH

and my own THE NEAR WITCH!

Now, what makes this Witching Year so awesome is that all three books are SO different. We've got gay witches in a romeo and Juliet scenario, a teen girl labeled a witch because of the markings on her, and a village where witches are those who can control the natural world.

2011 is going to be magical :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Tweet is Worth a Thousand Screams

So, I'd like to recap today's editing by showing you my tweets from the past few hours.

sksjflsdkjfaldsjfalkdsfja...@#$@#$. 8 hours ago.

I'm physically afraid to walk away from my edits, in case I have NO idea what I'm doing when I come back. 5 hours ago.

Need an editing break. An episode of Castle seems appropriate. 4 hours ago.

Ah, hello Work. I see you waited for me. 3 hours ago.

UGH. 2 hours ago.


I love how I somehow think refreshing my inbox will make the scene better. 1.5 hours ago.

Have resorted to hot chocolate. Desperate times. 10 minutes ago.

Yeah. :\

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy Beginnings!

Hell, Fall! I'm so happy to see you. Feel free to announce yourself in Nashville with some cool weather and perhaps even some changing leaves if you feel up to it.

A few cool things to kick off Fall!

1. My friend and fellow writing team member SCOTT TRACEY got a two-book deal today with Flux!! Isn't that awesome? You better go congratulate him, AFTER you're done here.

2. I have started my edits. Yes, that was fast. Yes, I have my work seriously cut out for me, and yes, I did spend several hours wandering aimlessly around the house murmuring to myself "it will be okay." I am still murmuring. But I'm ALSO cheering on the inside, because these edits are going to make this book (hopefully) squee-worthy. Future me, the one NOT facing the edits, is squeeing.

3. I'm still working on my Q & A. I need a couple days to get my head back in the vicinity of my shoulders and then I will post the answers to all the wonderful questions that did not make the cupcake video cut.

4. I am loving this song right now. Thank you, Emily, for suggesting this. (And I am working on a NW playlist, fyi, but that also goes under the category of "Oh dear god let me where has my head gone and is it coming back??")

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Five: Books/Authors

So, I've read about 40 books so far this year. This Friday Five is dedicated to:

The Five Best Things I've Read This Year (more appropriately the five best AUTHORS).

1. HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins. Let me start by saying that I am a HUGE Collins fan. I'm essentially in awe of her ability to NEVER rely on backstory/info dumps, and to seamlessly reveal her world as needed. I love her stories, I devoured HUNGER GAMES, and then I devoured this. I won't say more about it, since many people haven't read it yet, BUT I did have a few qualms about how the book functioned on its own. THAT SAID, I still bow before this author.

1. CITY OF BONES, by Cassandra Clare. I'm a latecomer to this series, but I fell in love with the rhythm, the world, the characters. The story was exciting and flowed so smoothly I had devoured half the book without even noticing.

3. LAMENT, and SHIVER, by Maggie Stiefvater. I really, really liked LAMENT. The book passed in the blink of an eye, but I enjoyed it throughout. And I just kind of fell into SHIVER. It wrapped me up, and I loved Sam, and I loved that, like Jace in CITY OF BONES, he was fascinatingly complex. With both of Stiefvater's books, I just found myself constantly engaged. Very strong storytelling marries with interesting characters and worlds in both books.

4. GRACELING, and FIRE, by Kristin Cashore. FIRE is the prequel to GRACELING. I'm a really hard sell when it comes to the world-building kind of fantasy (NW is magical realism), but Cashore is the kind of writer who makes me eat my words. I had high hopes for FIRE after loving GRACELING, and it did not disappoint. This is one of the only books I have actually forced myself to put down regularly, so that it wouldn't end too soon.

5. CRACKED UP TO BE, and now SOME GIRLS ARE, by Courtney Summers. This book doesn't hit stores until January, but OH MY. It's spectacular. I really enjoyed Courtney's first book, CRACKED UP TO BE, but this new one is even better! If that's possible, which Courtney proves it is. It's at once brutal and uncomfortable and captivating and addictive and impeccably written. Summers' characters walk tight ropes as she balances their lives so precariously, and then does everything in her power to shake the ropes beneath their feet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cupcake Q & A!!

The time has come. The sprinkles are set, the dollop is on, and the wrapper is foil.

I only got to answer a handful of the questions , so I'll put up another post in a couple days with answers to ALL the wonderful questions! There were A LOT, and some of them just didn't fit into a short Q&A style, but I really want to answer them, so check back for that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cupcake Coming Soon

I'm putting up my cupcake Q&A video tomorrow!

I've got to say, you guys, I can't believe I'm actually doing this. And I'll probably say that 1232435 times in the video. I LOOK RIDICULOUS.

All for you.

In the meantime, I did my very first ever interview! It was with the lovely teenage blogger Mary, RIGHT HERE. She's an absolute sweetheart, and I was her first author interview, so give her a browse if you've got time :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I'm not going to be one of those authors that gloats, or says lookie lookie all the time, but you'll have to forgive me, because this is a first. 

This post just MADE MY LIFE. The Dreamer Reader featured me on a WoW (Waiting on Wednesday) post. My book doesn't come out until 2011, and she featured me, and she basically made me want to cry with joy. This is still such a surreal thing, to have someone besides my family/agency/editors talking about this book. It was so unexpected and wonderful...

I'm going to go smile myself to sleep now. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009


A few people have asked about NEAR WITCH since I mentioned the book deal, so I'm posting a rough pitch here. 

There’s an old ghost story in the town of Near. It tells of a witch that lived on the edge of the village, and gobbled up all the darkness, and sang the hills to sleep, and loved the children almost as much as the garden she kept beside her house.

Sixteen-year-old Lexi Harris, the daughter of a tracker, has heard the stories her entire life, first from her father, and then from old Magda and Marta, who might be witches themselves. Everyone loves to tell the story, but everyone knows a different ending. Some say that the Near Witch blew away on a gust of wind. Others tell of darker things. Of murders and curses and buried bones.

To Lexi, they’ve always been stories, nothing more. But when a strange and silent boy walks into the village of Near, and then the wind begins to lure children from their beds at night, she starts to wonder if there’s any truth in them. Could the Near Witch be more than a ghost story?

Some Very Nice Words for NEAR WITCH

Someone said something nice about NEAR WITCH!!

My good friend 
SUSAN ADRIAN read NW last week, and here in her blog post on worldbuilding she mentions it!

But the most recent book that knocked my socks off with worldbuilding? Sorry, peeps, but most of you can't read it yet.

It's called NEAR WITCH, and it's by my good friend Victoria Schwab. If you liked HUNGER GAMES and UGLIES, and you love to be immersed in a world so real you can breathe it? Watch for Victoria.

Go and see her full post