Tuesday, August 31, 2010

While waiting for a critique . . .

So what does a girl (author) do while waiting for her first reader feedback on the manuscript for the Book Armaggedon deadline?

Why, she tries to be a professional writer and writes 90 pages of a new book. Yes, I think I've truly become insane . . . or driven . . . or something, I'm not quite sure what.

I just got the first crit back this morning, but the last few days, while on hiatus (ha, ha!) from the revisions that need to be done by this weekend, I cleaned up the first 90 pages of a brand new project: A YA Victorian Paranormal thriller thing.

I'm going to be brave and post a Tuesday Teaser Opening:

Kimberley Griffiths Little

Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 2 was giving me a mild case of insanity.

My sweaty fingers slipped on the keys like they had a mind of their own. The extraordinary April heat wave had made us all feel like limp rags tossed into the bin, ready for darning. Truly, I wanted to darn the damn ivories to the tips of my fingers!

Uncle Stuart would probably prefer a set of stitches than me ripping the keys off the pianoforte and throwing them out the window. Ironically, the very same window Mary, Queen of Scots had dangled from on a rope three hundred years ago to escape the thousand Scottish nobles surrounding Castle Hall to arrest her.

The open window now called to me like a mermaid’s siren.

Instead I tried to pretend I was having a flawless performance even though my corset was so tight—owing to the lacing Francesca had tortured me with earlier—I was numb clear down to my elbows.

My daddy's years of warnings also sounded in my ears. Ever since he found my thirteen-year-old self floating to the ceiling of my bedroom to swing from the chandelier.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Armageddon Book Deadlines

Today's post will make more sense if you read this one from a week ago first: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Publishing a Novel
So the problem with Armageddon Book Deadlines is having enough time to get any Feedback. Drafting a book in 2.5 weeks and then having only two weeks to read it through, clean it up, add more depth and characterization and developing scenes – in other words, 8,000 words - and then ONLY HAVING ONE WEEK in which to get a critique and then do any more changes from said critique doesn’t work when all your critters have vacations, jobs, school, etc. The two people I usually go to for critiques,
[info]caroleedean  and Nancy Hatch have LIVES. Carolee has a full case load in her job as a Speech and Language Pathologist, Nancy just got back from her first two weeks in Vermont as a new student at the MFA program there and is still traveling doing some summer/college kids travel so to ask them to read and critique in one week just isn't fair. And yet! Nancy agreed to in between her first Vermont packet and essays needing to be written. Bless you, Nancy!
I CRINGE to think about sending a manuscript to my editor without ANYBODY having read it. Not even my agent can read that fast because she's been gone 2 weeks on her vacation and is doing major catch-up.
Thank goodness, the book is already under contract! I mean, I really am blessed (cursed?) to have that. Even if it meant writing TWO books to get ONE publishable one this fast. I hope - since Gorgeous Editor hasn't read it yet. Fingers and toes and eyeballs crossed!
I sent the manuscript by email to my very cute and smart Chemical Engineering college son. He's out of state, but agreed to read the thing for me and at least give me some general thoughts about the storyline and voice and continuity and any plot holes. Out of three sons, he’s always been my most fanatic reader, staying up way too late at night reading for hours and hours, buying original hardcover editions, and collecting books under his bed like other kids collect candy wrappers. By the time he graduated high school he had THREE huge bookcases in his bedroom FULL of books.
Of course, there are drawbacks to having an Armageddon Manuscript Critique from him. While he's really good at catching stuff and very smart about how a novel should be developed, he's also very HONEST. I get marked phrases such as, “Dumb, Mom,” “Your character is acting stupid!” “Eye-roll” or “You've already said this 10 times.”
Dern, he’s a hard-nosed reader!
But he’s really good at discussing issues with on the phone and in person he’s not near as ornery. Because then he’ll say, “It’s really good, Mom! I like it! I think it's going to be a great book!”
I love you, too, Jared.

In Other News: THE HEALING SPELL BOOK TRAILER hit over 1,000 views about a week ago – yippee! If you haven’t seen the gorgeous photography and the beautiful, perfect voice-over, please enjoy some Southern Atmosphere and Charm.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay EARLY!

My copy of MOCKINGJAY arrived YESTERDAY MORNING in the mail from Amazon! BEFORE the Midnight Release!

Yep - they mailed it on Friday and it got here on Monday. I think they expected it to arrive today, on Tuesday, the actually pub date, but the mail was unusually quick.


So I got to see it and read it before the rest of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Amazing stuff!!!!

Aren't I such a tease?!?!?!

But you can get yours today! 

Off to go wrestle it away from the rest of the family . . . hang on . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

TAKE ME THERE by Carolee Dean

Carolee Dean [info]caroleedean has been one of my good writer friends and critique partners for at least 10 years. We've been through So much together on this journey (angst) of writing and publishing. We both had our last books pubbed in 2002 (hers is COMFORT) and we both went through EIGHT YEARS of trying to sell our next novel. We both kept writing. And Writing. And Writing. And reading for each other. And wrote a book TOGETHER. And critiqued for each other. And changed agents together. And went to SCBWI conferences together.

(This is Carolee in the park, writing her FAB poetry.)

And then we sold our next books in the very same month - October 2008. And now, just two weeks apart, our newest novels hit the shelves. It's sorta like we're twins or something!

It's been an honor to share this writing and publishing journey with you, Carolee. 

And I'm so very, very pleased to show off her new book, TAKE ME THERE.

Gorgeous, eh? And provocative? And heart-swoony? And delicious?

TAKE ME THERE IS all that and more.

Gorgeously written, it's an important book about literacy and crime and prisons and how a kid caught up in events beyond his control, can change his life for the better. And it's a love story, and a family story, and  a thriller to boot with an incredible ending.

I have an AUTOGRAPHED COPY to give away as soon as I hit 100 followers on my Blogspot blog - or if you're an LJ reader, get your friends over here to add me to their list so I can hit 150.

That's it! Friend me, Follow me, check out THE HEALING SPELL, ask your library to order it. Just share the love of a writer's book journey. Yep, I'm also at http://kimberleylittle.livejournal.com

Carolee is also having a
TAKE ME TO TEXAS BLOG TOUR with a prize package full of wowza goodies.

AND!!! Just two weeks after the book hit the bookstore shelves - TAKE ME THERE has already gone into a SECOND PRINTING!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Publishing a Novel

I've debated for three months whether to be perfectly honest about what I've been through the last few months and I decided that it's not really that big of a secret (except that at first I was just so humiliated and depressed and trying not to think I was the world's worst writer ever).

AND my agent assures me that I am NOT ALONE. That this sort of thing happens all the time.

Writers, I think, just do NOT want to talk about it. Because: it's humiliating, depressing and you think you're the world's worst writer ever. Or writers talk AROUND it.

But today w'ere gonna hit the writing/publishing nail squarely on the head about something that could happen to you. I SINCERELY HOPE NOT though!

So . . .  Come with me back in time for just a moment so you'll understand the scenario . . .

Fall of 2008, about 20 months ago:

After two decades of serious writing, classes, critique groups, 3 published books that went nowhere due to a HUGE number of reasons (being orphaned 3 times, Meh covers, publishing house getting gobbled up and disappearing, no ARCS sent out for reviews), the last book pubbed 6 years previously (and in a state of terror that I'm a *has been* who will never publish another book again), and two years of agent querying, I finally sign with my Dream Agent and she promptly sells a 3-book deal for me to a wonderfully warm and nurturing and talented editor at Scholastic aka Gorgeous Editor. (Lesson to be learned: Keep writing new books while waiting to sell a book. I got a three-book deal because I had written more books. Right now, at this moment, I have two more novels ready to be subbed with 2 more partly written.)

Breakdown of books Scholastic bought in the Deal:
1. Middle Grade Novel already written, The Healing Spell (July, 2010)
2. Synopsis of a second MG novel, set in the same world as The Healing Spell - yet to be written
3. YA, already written, Secret Rites of the Goddess, an edgy belly dance/goddess temple novel set in the ancient Middle East

Scholastic decides that it will be best for me and the books if we publish the two MGs a year apart so they can build on one another and we'll publish the YA after that in a different season. Sounds good to me! But it means I have to get my derriere in gear and write the second MG NOW which is only in synopsis form. After I finish the revisions and copy edits for THE HEALING SPELL, I have about 10 months to write the second book - which is doable, although still fast for ME to finish the research, write and revise/cleanup to sub to my editor by April 2010.

I get to work. I do it. It's 300 pages, polished up, a dynamite plot (probably my best ever), critique group is raving about it, my agent thinks it's delicious and spine-tingling.

April, 2010: I send it off to my editor on time. Whew.

May, 2010: BAD NEWS. The manuscript is not what Scholastic was hoping for. It's too old for one thing, more of a tweener book and middle school, not that 10-11 year old elementary age group that The Healing Spell is. They wanted a true companion book that will be put INTO THE SCHOLASTIC BOOK CLUB AND BOOK FAIRS. What I wrote has hoodoo magic and beauty spells and hexes and voodoo poppet dolls - and the clubs and fairs won't take it.

My editor and agent TALK.
My agent talks to me to explain the likes/dislikes
My editor and I talk to clarify. The *voice* of my character is wrong, the plot is too much REAL Southern magic. I finally *get it* that I have to START OVER FROM PAGE ONE AND WRITE AN ENTIRE NEW BOOK.

Can this really be happening?!? My past year's work has to be stuck in a drawer???

The date that this manuscript has to be revised with my editor and goes to copy edits passes - like dust in the wind.

Publication for Summer of 2011 goes "Bye-bye". This book will be delayed, perhaps up to 6-9 months. Can I write another book in 8 months or so?

I am depressed, stunned, numb, doubting myself, wondering WHAT AM I GOING TO WRITE ABOUT? I HAVE TO

June, 2010: Start doing some fast brainstorming. Meet with my two trusted crit partners. Brainstorm like crazy. Make notes. Start outlining. Go into CRAZY LADY mode to get ready for the launch of THE HEALING SPELL consisting of 18 hour days and a million tasks.

July 1, 2010: LAUNCH of THE HEALING SPELL - YAY! No time to celebrate though because I'm packing for an 11 day trip with family and getting ready for 5 upcoming launch parties and blogger interviews and hundreds of emails. I get a phone call from my agent. She and Gorgeous Editor have talked. I'm actually AT the grocery store getting food and snacks for the 14 hour car drive the next day. We talk in the parking lot.

A date has become available for the second MG novel, November, 2011 IF I can write the entire book in the next 6 weeks! And here I thought 8 months was pushing it!

It's a STEAMY July day, I'm standing outside in the sun, sweating, loading groceries into the car which is now making funny noises and needs to be taken to a shop before we hit the road and potentially break down. I'm leaving in mere hours for our trip and family reunion 700 miles away.

Me: "But--But-- I'm leaving tomorrow for 10 days, that's practically half of July! And the book has to be done by August???

I think I've gone over the edge because I actually AGREE to try this.

July 13: Return home to four of the 5 book launch parties/events and unpack and start trying to write.

July 23-25: Gone again for hubby's family reunion

July 26: Start drafting again.

August 4th: Majorly push myself and FINISH THE FIRST DRAFT, 45,000 WORDS!!!

August 5: Clean up the first 5 chapters

August 6: Send 5 chapters to Gorgeous Editor. Get ready for book event in the afternoon and another one the very next day. MAJOR FAMILY CRISES ARE ALSO GOING ON. I keep crying a lot. Feel like I haven't slept in a month.

August 9: Gorgeous Editor loves 5 Chapters! She's going on her summer vacation now.

September 4th: Full manuscript, critiqued and cleaned-up, to be delivered, to my editor.

So I have two more weeks. I am now reading it through for the very first time.

Then I'll have about 6 weeks to do revisions with Gorgeous Editor before it needs to go to copy edits.

When this book goes to copy edits it will have been completely drafted, personally edited and editorially revised within a 3-4 month period.

I think the verdict is in: I am certifiably CRAZY.

The other 300 page manuscript??? Is it totally wasted?

I don't think any writing is ever wasted. I learned a lot writing that book, about character (what not to do) and pushing myself on Plot. And both my editor and agent agree that it could be a true YA novel with some revisions. So it's *resting* temporarily and I hope CIRCLE OF SECRETS will still be a book someday. There's nothing else out there in the "paranormal" world like it, actually.

There's also 100 pages of a very cool Victorian Paranormal Thriller I started this spring, too.

My next hard decision will be to decide which gets worked on next . . .

Eeevvviillll Smiiiillle.

Love this little girl! I wanna write her into one of my novels . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Snorts and Secrets . . .

I'm sure you all read him, but truly I was rolling over laughing last night at Nathan Brandsford's post on How To Write A Novel last night:

"We should probably first agree that this is a rather large topic. One might even call it rotund, ginormous, massive, weighty, of-gargantuan-proportions, etc. But lately I have heard from several would-be writers with a very common sentiment.

"I want to write a novel, I think I can write a novel, but for the love of Tim Gunn, how in the world do you write a novel?"

And that brings us to the most important advice I can offer in this How to Write a Novel overview. If you try and hold the entire novel in your head all at once and attempt to imagine it in its entirety and all of its various ins and outs, your brain will suddenly become so heavy that you will topple over backwards and pass out."

Just the imagery set me off.

Lately, I think I am going to explode. I've been on massive book launch, book writing, family crisis overload for about 3 months.

Tomorrow's post: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Secret(s) of Publishing

Yes, I will reveal ALL. Stay tuned, my darlings.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Book Trailer Manual is HERE! A MUST buy!

Darcy Pattison has written a BRILLIANT E-book about The Book Trailer.

Creating a book trailer is daunting, mind-boggling, time-consuming, $$$ consuming, hair-pulling, exciting and fulfilling - all at once.

THE BOOK TRAILER MANUAL is PACKED with information and ideas and tips and STUFF YOU NEVER THOUGHT OF BEFORE.

And I do NOT say this because MY book trailer has been mentioned and linked to and loved by Darcy. :-)

Really, I wish I'd read this book before I got started. It's just that good and thorough.

And it's an E-BOOK. Which means you can go buy it and have it in your hot little computer RIGHT NOW. No shipping fees, no waiting!

I LOVE the cover, too!

And don't forget to sign up for Darcy Pattison's amazing and awesome
FICTION NOTES BLOG - if you don't already. It's wonderful. I read it faithfully and have for a couple of years. Such great tips on writing and publicity and blogging and, well, everything. She's got other E-books as well. She's a writing teacher, a conference speaker, and has published several books for children.

Darcy and I first met EONS ago on an old AOL Writer's Board. Back before blogging was even *thought* of. We lost track of each other for years, then met up again in the online world once more. The cyber world is very cool like that. And Darcy is totally cool. Go meet her!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meeting Jennifer Cervantes!

Last week I did a book signing at Bookworks in Albuquerque (and which I still need to show pictures to y'all - how about tomorrow? :-)).

Yesterday I headed back over there for
Jennifer Cervantes' signing for TORTILLA SUN (Chronicle, 2010) , her debut middle-grade novel.

Isn't it pretty?

Jennifer and I met online, she lives about 4 hours south of me - and she is absolutely gorgeous and delightful and so friendly.

Here she is! (She also has stunningly beautiful daughters, too. Me, I have three BOYS.)

Jen and me with our brand new books, pubbed mere weeks apart. See, we're buds now. I already call her Jen, not Jennifer. If you go to her website, you can call her that, too. :-)

See the inside of my autographed book . . .

I love the blue sparkly interior!

And the book is set right here in beautiful New Mexico about magic and baseball and grandmothers and secrets and Hispanic curenderos - which are amazingly close to traiteurs (Cajun French folk healers) in Louisiana in my book, The Healing Spell. So I think me and Jen have the same wave length going on. I'm just not sure if SHE knows that yet . . .  I'd better ask her what her next book is about and make sure we're not channeling each other . . .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Crazy Excited About Books!

Hey, guys, you really need to enter the Goodreads Giveaways.

I've entered just a few, but so far I've won TWO books!

First I won NUMBERS by Rachel Ward:

Then I entered the giveaway for the brand new, PICTURE THE DEAD. There were, like, 3000 people entered. I WON! I WON! I WON!!!

I couldn't believe it. I just stared at the email telling me I won in disbelief. I'm so psyched! Adele Griffin, an author I love to read, mailed the book right away - and it's signed. Lookee, lookee!

It says: "For Kimberley ~ Embrace the Unexpected"

I LOVE this title page! And the book is gorgeously designed. I DEVOURED the story in the car on our last trip.

I've always been a big fan of historicals and the added mystery and photography and spookiness blends together in a fascinating story. Highly recommended!

An interesting sidenote: A paranormal thriller I started writing a few months ago takes place just a few years later than
PICTURE THE DEAD in the Victorian Era.



Since I'm currently writing another MG, I can't wait to read this. I have a whole bunch of Middle-Grade novels in my stack for inspiration.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Write ON!!!

 In case you haven't heard . . . WRITE ON CON IS THE COOLEST, BIGGEST, MOST AWESOME ONLINE Writer's Conference ever!

Go here:

Posts by in-the-know authors, agents and editors on every subject about writing and publishing and promotion.


PLUS very cool VLOGS!

It's all archived, too, so you can go back and read and enjoy and take notes or save.

Tuesday - Thursday THIS WEEK! 

P.S. I LOVE the music on the Vlogs!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Book Launch Parties!

So the partying keeps on going! It's been a great, blessed few weeks.

Here are some pictures from a book event at the brand new Tome Community Center near where I live. I met the woman who runs it when I spoke at the Los Lunas Library and I was their very first event at the center! I'm honored!

It was a delightful afternoon! I spoke, showed lots of pictures, we gave away cute plush baby gators, had food and punch, and played "Name The Gator" and the kids all got to take home pictures of the gators from the swamps.

UNFORTUNATELY, I did not get any pictures until it was all over! But here are a few of the room and the tons of balloons and the food and the cute girls and their grandmother who put the event together. We had a nice turn-out for such a small town, too. And I sold lots of books!

These cute pictures were on all the doors!

It got really windy as we left and the balloons were being quite unruly!

Since I'm six feet tall in my heels, I got down on my knees so I wasn't a giant next to these very cute girls.




Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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