Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm shutting this blog down and moving...

Aloha All,

As my writing career has evolved, and my position as assistant professor of English Ed and Adolescent Lit is no longer, I will be shutting down this blog, which was originally created for the benefit of educators, readers, and authors of young adult literature.

You can find me at my new site:

Thanks for being such a great audience during my time on this blog.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Querying my newest manuscript

I'm baaack! It's been a hard year of medical recoveries for me but I am now completely back to my old self (hey, no groaning!). *wink* While I've been back on twitter for a month now, I've only just returned back to blogging because things have finally settled down.

What have I been up to in the last year? Why, I'm glad you asked (I say to the deafening echo since I lost all my followers after being off-blog for a full year...). As you continue on to read about my crazy year, hopefully I'll entice some of you on back! So, as the paragraph prior indicated, I was very ill--in and out of the hospital with doctors galore and treatments a plenty.

And yes, the rumors are true; I did indeed resign from my position as professor of English Ed & Adolescent Lit at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

But...but...why would you quit that career?

To write, of course! Well, I initially resigned because I was far too ill to continue working, but I didn't return because of writing. As much as I loved being a professor, my heart and soul has always been in writing. So, though I will continue to consult and work with educators in the state through my numerous state and national rep positions in English Ed & Adolescent Lit, my career now is writing...well, and editing.

And I couldn't be happier. But, to be fair, there are a lot of new things in my life that is also contributing to this new found happiness. I built a house. Yes, a whole house. I designed one on my computer (oh yes, I dabble in architecture software...what can I say, I get bored easily and I don't sleep...). After researching building codes and making some changes to my plans so you know, the structure wouldn't fall, I had builders bid on the project. Luckily, I found a fabulous builder (B&A Builders in Halawa) that allowed me to transfer my computer plans as is to a drafter, who made it official and got it stamped by an engineer. Then, voila, we had house plans that then led to a fast & furious building of our house. A few months later, it was done. Laaa! Having been nomadic for so many years now, it is impossible to put into words how lovely it is to have a permanent home. What's even more fab is that it is EXACTLY what we wanted because I designed everything we could possibly want...including my office!

I know, right?

Anyhoo, sometime during all that recovering and house building, I wrote another manuscript. This time, an adult contemporary romance.

I. Love. It.

All you authors out there know what came after that...the beta reads, the CP shreds, the self-inflicted revisions with a hacksaw, and then edits...oh, and edits...wait, did I mention edits? So now...drum roll please...

Yep, I'm querying.

Interestingly enough, this time around, it's going a lot differently than the last.

I've talked to countless author friends who've said that when the manuscript is 'the one,' it feels different, it queries different, and likewise, the replies from agents are different.

I think that's what's happening here.

Requests are coming in...pretty quickly, in fact. It's kind of wild. True, I'm querying a slightly different set of agents because this manuscript is an adult contemporary romance vs. a YA romance w/ paranormal elements like the last one, but, the response as a whole has definitely been vastly different.

As I go through this process of querying again, I find myself approaching it differently for a number of reasons. 1) My life as an author is different now--I live, breathe, and devour writing, reading, and editing at an exponentially greater intensity than I had before (I LOVE this!); 2) I've written a story that *feels* different from my last--it's far more me than any manuscript I've written to date; and 3) I've survived the last go around in query rejection and come out the other end alive for one, and a stronger author with a greater sense of who she is.

At times I wonder if this new manuscript is so different because I evolved so much or if I evolved so much because of my manuscript. Since I am both a whole-brained realist with OCD tendencies AND a literary romantic, I think it's both.

This new manuscript is a contemporary romance with characters living lives that I experienced in Arizona, a place I lived and loved. These characters are real people going through real things. I can cry with them and laugh with them because they're going through things I went through and handling it with the awesome sense of humor that I have (ha!). As a whole, writing this story was a thousand times more fun for all of these reasons.

Also, with this story, being a single title stand alone, I could see the entire forest before the trees. Brindled, my last manuscript, was the first in a planned series so there were some elements of the tree appearing before the forest. That was a nice change.

But, the most fascinating part? The query and the synopsis were actually painless with this novel.

You heard right.

So here I am, querying a manuscript I love with a query letter and synopsis that didn't kill me to write. I'm enjoying life in my new house with my new career as an editor and author. And to top it all off, my son is now four...out of the terrible two's and three's <-- that might be the biggest milestone yet!

There is a belief in the Japanese culture that people go through years called their 'yakudoshi' which is their year of bad luck. There are a few set years in your life that these bad luck years will hit. During these years (which coincidentally, for me was last year), you face the hardest challenges in your can either come out stronger or weaker. Either way, though, you are changed.

For me, I'd like to believe that I faced my worst and came out stronger.

Well, with that fine top note, I'll sign off and head to bed since I have a new editing contract starting up tomorrow. I'll be back again soon--every Wednesday. But, until then, I'll leave you all with this...

Don't give up. Keep writing. Don't be afraid to shelve a project that hasn't gotten past the full request stage and the agent requested revisions. Life will go on. You will write something else wonderful. And sometimes, you may just love your next manuscript even more.

It happens; I've seen it!

Happy October, all.