Category Archives: Terra Incognita

And it’s over before it even started…

Booted at the pitch stage once again… For me, ABNA 2013 is done. I’m out. I must admit I am a bit disappointed. I felt my pitch was good enough this time around… and maybe it was (I don’t know) as everyone keeps saying the pitch round is basically a crapshoot. And that’s fine. Really. It is. I am very happy for all of those writers who made it through. I’m glad they will continue to get a shot for publication and possibly that grand prize of $50,000. 😀

Anyway, as the disappointment sunk in, part of me was saying, “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this… But what else is there for me to do? I have a degree in Art with little experience in graphic design and none in web design… What’s a girl to do?” Then the more rational part of me said, “But it’s what you love. It’s who you are. You couldn’t stop if you wanted to… Sure, you might have a dry spell every once in a while where you just can’t write a goshdarned thing… but that comes with the territory… and none of this means you should quit.” Once I’d given myself a little pep talk, I thought maybe I should get back to querying… but I’m not quite so confident in TERRA INCOGNITA at the moment (maybe that will pass, I don’t know) so (for now) I think I might actually shelf it… focus on something else before I come back to it… I’ve been working on it for so long, editing for so long, it needs a break. I need a break. I have other works-in-progress to complete… maybe one of them will be “The One.” And I’m so close to ending one of them… focus. That’s what I need to do. Focus.

Besides, I have more important things to worry about… I’ll be 25 weeks pregnant on Friday and have a lot to do. Sheesh, I’m due, like, the week before the ABNA Finalists travel to accept their prizes… that would have been an interesting trip, for sure… Traveling across country about a week (or so) after giving birth, newborn in tow. 🙂  Yeah… but it would have been totally worth it.

So, to wrap it all up… Good luck to all who remain in the contest! AND good luck to all who were cut. You shouldn’t give up either… Being cut this early is absolutely no indication of your (or your book’s) worth (yeah, I know, we need to make it a mantra).

Good luck with all of your writing careers! I hope to see you on the other side.

Edit/Update/What-have-you: I just wanted to say that I’m not really discouraged when it comes to writing… I can’t give it up, it isn’t possible… My main reaction/emotion is one of exhaustion, more than anything. This has just been a very trying week… 🙂  I’m already tired, in general, but have a very sick hubby this week and a 3-year old to contend with, so… ha ha. Bad timing, perhaps…?

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2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is on!

2013 ABNA! Yay! The entry period begins on January 14, 2013… Of course, this year it has undergone some interesting changes. First, Penguin is no longer involved and the winners will be published through Amazon itself (physical and ebook formats). Second, there will be more winners and, thus, more prizes. In previous years, there were two winners (publishing contracts with $15,000 advances, one in the General Fiction category and another in the Young Adult category). But this year we will have FIVE winners (yes, five!). The Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance, and four First Prize winners will each receive contracts with a $15,000 advance.  Pretty exciting news!

One other major change: while before we could only choose between General Fiction and Young Adult Fiction, we now have the addition of three new categories (Romance, Mystery/Thriller, and Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror). Yay for more categories! It would seem there will be a winner chosen from each category, one of which being the Grand Prize winner… at least that seems to be the consensus of Amazon’s ABNA forum (a lot of fun writers over there – check it out sometime).

Other than that, everything seems to work pretty much the same as before… as far as I can tell. Make sure you take a look at the rules and whatnot before entering.

SO… I’ve been trying to work out which story to enter. Hm… decisions, decisions… 🙂  My choices have been reenter Terra Incognita (entered twice before in GF, would have entered it again this year as YA, though I now have the option to enter it as Fantasy…) or enter my WIP Creeping Slowly & Evaporating (in YA or Fantasy). I just need to write the end of that manuscript… which is the most difficult part for me so… I believe I will reenter Terra, then focus on finishing and editing Creeping. Perhaps I can work on querying it, as the other (hopefully) makes it’s way up the ranks of ABNA… 😉

Now YA or fantasy? I hope I make the right decision.

Tag! I’m it (GUTGAA style)!

Hello all! 😀 I have officially been tagged by my new friend Rhiann! And I now have some questions to answer…

What is the working title of your book?
TERRA INCOGNITA

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A dream… a lot of my ideas come to me that way. I dreamed of being in a building (like an old school) with a group of people, and we were being chased/hunted by someone/thing. Somehow, we made it to a safe place where she could see us but not get to us… and she touched a large, rusty piece of chain, bringing it to life as a snake… it slithered over to me. Everyone else was scared, no one came to my aid… but I reached out to touch it (I don’t know why – it was a dream!) and it turned back to its true form. Everyone was amazed and the one who originally turned it ran away. And that was the start of TERRA INCOGNITA.

What genre does your book fall under?
This took me a while to figure out… 🙂 But I have settled on YA post-apocalyptic paranormal with romantic elements… a mouthful, I know.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That’s a tough one… but something I have considered, I’ll admit, because I like to work with images. I’m a very visual person and like to see my characters. Based a lot on looks (ages might be an issue) I would choose either Chloe Moretz or Rachel Hurd-Wood to play Haylee and (this one is tough for me) maybe someone like Taylor Kitsch (a little younger probably) to play Derik.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
When Haylee wakes to a post-apocalyptic future, she discovers the Pale Ones – creatures that can kill with a single touch – have propelled her through time to claim a power she didn’t know she had.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Agent, please?! Pretty, pretty please….?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well… I started writing it in the summer of 2005 but stopped for a while. I pulled it back out in 2009, wrote during college classes (yes, I know, for shame… but I couldn’t stop!) and finished it in time to submit it to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest in early 2011… needless to say, that didn’t pan out… it was a first draft after all. So, there were a lot of starts and stops by that point… Unfortunately, that’s how I wrote up until recently… now I have several unfinished stories and, when I feel I’m burnt out on one, I can move to another.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Other than my uber-cool Pale Ones (the basis of all supernatural creature legends, especially the vampire)? Well, because these creatures reign in the future, humans have developed some incredible abilities (almost everybody has a superpower) in order to survive. Haylee arrives there going from average teenager to feeling less than inadequate amongst all that power… But the Pale Ones want her for a reason, right….?

And Tag! You’re It!

All right… now it’s my turn to tag someone!

I have chosen some of my new GUTGAA friends:
Liz
Cynthia
Diana

All right, girls! Have fun and happy tagging!

Entered Pitch. Won Request!

Hello all!

So… I stumbled across a 35-word pitch contest here and won a request for a full of Terra Incognita from an editor at Entangled Publishing!  Very excited and nervous!  It will probably be a while before I know if they want it, though.  In the meantime, I will continue querying agents… I’ve gotta spark some interest somewhere, right?  Hm….  And I will continue to write, as well, though I have slacked off this past week or so.

Also, other cool news… I won an ARC of Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator (the winner of the 2011 ABNA in the YA category).  The copy is in the mail, and the book is due in stores on August 16th.  If you want to check out the author’s blog, you can find it here.  I’m looking forward to reading her book!

So, I’ve done it…

I have officially edited Terra Incognita and made it a Young Adult fantasy.  I know, I know… can we say “sell out!”?  😉  Heh, not really…  It turned out it didn’t change as much as I thought it would… I changed her age from twenty-three to seventeen (almost eighteen) and since it already had the feel of a YA book, I didn’t need to change how she talked or the way I told the story.  (I did keep a copy of the original file, just in case.)  And I have decided that I like it (and it’s chances) better as a Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy…  so yeah.  It’s my genre/category of choice anyway (most of my other stories are YA), so it makes sense.  The character remains unchanged (which was my main concern) and the story still reads the same way, with only some minor age-appropriate changes (not for the reader but for the character).  Below is my rewritten pitch… hopefully it’s better than the others anyway… 🙂

TERRA INCOGNITA

Seventeen-year old Haylee Wells thought her mother pressuring her to choose a college was her only problem.  But between her aunt’s death and a wraithlike creature attacking, she suddenly has much more to handle.  When she finds herself in a post-apocalyptic future where these creatures reign and can kill with a single touch, she takes refuge with a group of humans who have their own special abilities.  She needs to find her way home.  But the connection she shares with Derik – the duty-bound protector of the group – and her own developing abilities complicate things further.  If she fails to realize the power within herself, she risks becoming a slave to the “Pale Ones” and never returning home.  

Eh, not too bad… but we’ll see.

As always, thanks for reading…  Until next time….

YA or Adult?

I have been struggling with this question for well over a year… Where to categorize my book Terra Incognita… I always felt it fit better into the YA category but, unfortunately, my MC is 23 years old. Hm… conundrum, indeed. Of course, I have (very briefly) considered changing her age… but that would involve a number of other changes, especially to her backstory… so, in effect, I would be changing WHO she was and not just her age… At least, that’s the way I see it. So, while I believe the story should be the defining factor in determining whether it is YA or adult fiction, most people in the publishing world go by the protagonist’s age (for YA, ages 12-18, approximately).

I’ve been doing research into this over the last year and have somewhat recently discovered a fledgling category that St. Martin’s Press (as well as a few other publishers) had/has been trying to push since a contest they held in 2009: New Adult. After reading as much about this as I could find, I realized it is the perfect category for my story.

A step up from YA, it still focuses a lot on the “coming-of-age” theme because – let’s face it – we aren’t automatically adults just because we’re no longer teenagers.  There’s a lot to deal with in the late teens and early twenties: college, relationships (old ones end, new ones begin), being out on your own for (most likely) the first time, etc. … etc.  Anyway… not nearly enough stories focus on this “in-between” phase, the necessary step between being a teenager and being an adult…  New Adult is about becoming an adult and finding our place in the world, whether it’s reality-based or fantasy.

Based on the blog posts I’ve found, it would seem New Adult would be a welcome category for both readers and writers.

Find out more about the “New Adult” category and judge for yourself.  Here are a few links:

Postadolescent or “New Adult” Fiction – even if you go to no other site, visit this one.

In Support of New Adult Fiction

2012 “New Adult” Reading Challenge

New Adult Fiction – the missing genre?

I’m Okay with YA protagonists that are over 18 years old…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Being a hopeless romantic, I can’t help enjoying this holiday… even if nothing’s happening for me on this day.  I’m not saying I don’t have a significant other… just that today was like most days… 😉   Anyway, I hope every one of you are enjoying your Valentine’s Days…

In celebration of this day of love, I thought I would share a tiny snippet from my book Terra Incognita.

Here is Haylee and Derik’s first kiss:

“There are no mates for… people like me.  But I am what I am, and we’re too different.” He held my eyes there, trying to drill the point into my head.  “It’s crazy and… even if it was possible, I’m just too dangerous for you to be with.”

There was that word again.  Dangerous.  What did they mean?

“Glenna says you have a past, something you’ve never even discussed with her.  Tell me.  Let me decide whether or not you’re too dangerous.  Because right now I don’t see it.  I can’t see it.  Don’t you think I deserve the chance to decide for myself?”  Somehow we had been drawn closer together as we spoke, and our faces were inches apart.  My eyes trailed down to his lips and back to his eyes.

“Haylee,” he whispered.  “It can never be… I don’t understand how it could…” And our lips met.

I threw my arms around his neck, and he pressed into the cot, both of us trying to get as close as possible.  He placed his hands behind my neck, pulling me toward him, keeping my head in place, and deepened the kiss.  Just when I thought I’d suffocate, he pulled back, breaking contact.  I tried to follow him, but he held me back.  We were both panting.  He leaned his forehead against mine.  “This is crazy.”

“I agree.  Let’s keep going,” I gasped, trying to move closer again.

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I hope you enjoyed!  Happy Valentine’s Day!