Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been an entire season since I’ve seen you (although I’ve been on Twitter, obviously), so I thought I’d update you on what’s been happening here. Let’s go in backwards order!

Nebo Retreat!

Last weekend I went to Nebo, NC for a writing retreat on Lake James, and I wrote an entirely new first scene for Fie Eoin! My agent read the first two chapters last month and sent back notes, one of them being that the book starts too late and I needed a new first chapter to set up the current first chapter. So I went back to the first day Kindra tries to join the trainees and started there (I tried to go back to when her father died, but I just couldn’t make it work). I actually really like the new beginning, and I’m going to try to get another scene in there if I can. If I can’t I still think it works better than the current first chapter. Of course, now I have to edit the current first chapter again to delete the info you find out in the new first chapter. Wheee editing!

Two days before Nebo, Hurricane Irma hit. And while we didn’t get the brunt of the storm, it was still extremely windy and rainy, and three tornadoes touched down within a mile of our house – scary! We all made it through just fine (even the chickens) with only one large branch coming down and a small lake in the front yard. This weekend is devoted to cleaning up the small stick debris in the backyard. Fun.

I was able to see my new niece twice this summer, the first time when I went home to visit my momma on her birthday (and because she got a new kidney!), and then when my sister came down Charleston way to visit for a week. So here’s some baby pictures, because you can never have too many baby pictures:

And speaking of babies…we had a baby! A baby squirrel! ^_^ “Puppy” was only with us for a few days before he went to the vet to continue rehabbing, but Hops the dog was absolutely in love with her puppy, and I was pretty fond of him too. Still, cats and baby squirrels don’t mix.

And last but not least, I’ve read a ton in the past two months since I’ve seen you! Last I posted, I was reading CITY STAINED RED and I finished that on the boat last weekend (yes, there was a boat at the retreat!). It was REALLY GOOD. I especially liked page 470, when Asper the super pacifist kicks someone’s ass (he deserves it). I read that page four times.

I also read STILETTO by Daniel O’Malley, THE OBELISK GATE and THE STONE SKY by N.K Jemisin (Holy Carp you guys, this series was one of the best I’ve ever read!), the BOBIVERSE series by Dennis E. Taylor (super fun sci-fi that I just re-started listening to yesterday), THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee, and AGENT TO THE STARS and REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought from Speak the Ocean. Being an author is weird.

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and a wonderful autumn! I’ll try to update more often this season 🙂

 

What a Wild Spring! (pic heavy)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! We’re a little over a week into summer, and I’ve barely posted any updates this year. I was silent for pretty much all of spring, with the giant exception of my publishing news, so I wanted to catch you up real quick.

Spring started with the birth of my niece, who I absolutely adore:

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Hubs and I spent a week visiting her, her extremely tired parents, and Mt. Vernon, where we made a new friend:

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It was a windy day!

And for two months everything went back to normal. I read/listened to a bunch of books: The Vicious Deep series by Zoraida Cordova (I’d already read this series, but re-read it this spring), A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (I liked it until the ending, which was just disappointing for me), Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja (TWICE! I listened to the audiobook and it was so hilarious and I started it over and listened again!), The Paper Magician triology by Charlie Holmburg (Emery <3), The Seafarer’s Kiss by my agent-sister Julia Ember (f/f Little Mermaid/Vikings!), Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (which quickly became my FAVORITE BOOK EVER! It’s so beautifully written and feminist af), Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor, When Dimple Met Rishi by one of my real-life BFFs Sandhya Menon (the most adorable meet-cute you’ll ever read <3), The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (if you haven’t heard of this one, well I just can’t help you), and Our Dark Duet also by V.E. Schwab (that last chapter, guys, oof).

Now I’m listening to Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley (sequel to The Rook, which I enjoyed), reading The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes in paperback, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor in ebook. Why yes, I do read multiple things at the same time.

For much of the spring I was also working on editing StO into a YA, but that’s no longer necessary because Reuts bought it as an adult book! I actually found out about it the day before I left for NYC, and you can read all about that here. If you haven’t already, you can add SPEAK THE OCEAN to your Goodreads TBR list!

And the next day I left for NYC! It was overwhelming and awesome and I can’t wait to go back! We saw The Colbert Report and Waitress (with Sara Bareilles <3), ate at Delmonicos, Lupa, Russ and Daughters, and this amazing, tiny, Trini place called Trinidad Golden Palace (it was actually my favorite food of the whole trip!). We also wandered around the city and met up with one of my CPs, Natasha Razi!

Right before the trip I dyed my hair bright magenta with blonde streaks. I wanted to look like my mermaid Erie (she’s on the Home page, if you’re curious)

And last but not least, my mom got her new kidney! I’m going to see her in July, and my niece will be there too, so I’m sure I’ll be back with another photo-heavy post 🙂 Until then it’s time to finish editing Fie Eoin before I get my StO edit letter! MY FIRST OFFICIAL EDIT LETTER FROM AN EDITOR!

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Me being super excited on the subway after WAITRESS!

You Can Add SPEAK THE OCEAN to Goodreads!

Hello again, Aledan Merfolk! It’s a big week around here (if you missed yesterday’s post, StO is going to be PUBLISHED!), and shortly after the announcement yesterday, a Goodreads Librarian made a page for Speak the Ocean! Which means you can add it to your TBR and it’ll email you when it’s published!

Check it out here: SPEAK THE OCEAN

Speak the Ocean is going to be PUBLISHED!

Happy Wednesday, Aledan MERFOLK! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I haven’t updated because I haven’t been able to talk about the most exciting thing: SPEAK THE OCEAN is going to be published by Reuts!

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Haven’t heard of SPEAK THE OCEAN yet? Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:

Mermaids and Margaritas for everyone!

I actually found out the day before we left for our NYC trip (I know I still haven’t posted pictures from the trip…I’ve been kind of overwhelmed). I finished my work a couple hours early, went to the bathroom, and BAM! A text from my agent asking me to call him. That’s right, friends, I found out I was going to be published in the bathroom (this is why I didn’t call you immediately, Eric) ^_^

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind, but I spoke with my editor and signed the contract on Monday!

Signing

Why yes, that is a MERPONY t-shirt that says “I couldn’t get anymore magical if I tried.”

I’ll have more details later, like publication dates and whatnot, so make sure you follow the blog, my Facebook Page, or Twitter to keep up to date!

Bouncing Around Projects (and #PonyFest16 is coming!)

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been about a month since I last posted, because we’re officially in the busy season at work (it’ll last until the end of December), and OMG I just realized that it’s almost #PonyFest time! (Like, I literally realized that as I wrote “December”). Last year’s #PonyFest was cancelled because of family health issues, so this year’s fest will be doubly fun!

Not sure what #PonyFest is? You can check out past contests here: Contests

I am so excited now! Compounding that excitement? I’ll be in the mountains of NC on a writing retreat with my BFF Juliana (and a bunch of other authors) when the #PonyFest announcement post goes live ^_^ I can’t wait for next weekend!

Last time we talked, I was still trying to decide between three different paths for Enfields, otherwise I was going to start working on Fie Eoin. Well, a fourth path sprang up and punched me in the face, and it’s so good I’m going with that one. But instead of actually working on it, I decided to work on Fie Eoin, and got a bunch of good feedback from some new readers. The first three chapters are too long, with too many characters, so I’m going to have to tear them apart and rewrite them again. This is the book that never ends. And I adore it <3

But I’ve put that aside as well, to work on creepy mermaids ^_^ This summer is just me bouncing between projects like a manic puppy.

As for reading, I’m still listening to EMPIRE ASCENDANT, and I finished reading A STRANGER IN OLANDRIA. It was so beautiful, and I especially loved the Jissavet parts. It was also way more literary than I’m used to, so I’m giving my brain a break with EMPIRE OF STORMS. I also bought A WORLD WITHOUT YOU, AS I DARKEN, A HALL OF KEYS AND NO DOORS, and LABYRINTH LOST (which I CPed last year, and let me tell you: you will love this book! Brujas and magical worlds!).

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Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans! I’ll see you next weekend for the official #PonyFest announcement!

Nailed It!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’ve had a big, busy week since last I saw you – but the biggest news is that I NAILED MY EDITS! Woot! The “training manual” sections worked, making Finn less douchy while still keeping him in character worked, the sweeter sex scenes worked (and now I get to go back through and turn the heat up again ;P), and all the other little tweaks and edits worked. I’m so relieved! This was my first round of edits with an agent, so I’m really glad to hear my changes worked 😀

We go on sub next week! Eeeep!

Now I’m CPing for my agent, which is super fun. And I love the book, it’s very much in line with StO, but without mermaids.

Last week I finished listening to THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley and started HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie, but I haven’t been able to listen to much of it lately because I haven’t been doing the test that allows for audiobooks in the past week (those samples don’t come in often, but when they do come in it’s all at once). I finally started reading THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE yesterday at lunch, and I’m only 30 pages from finishing, so I’ll be finishing at lunch! That’s how good this book is! And it’s not even fantasy. I don’t always read Contemporary YA, but when I do apparently the MC must be mute and I’ll adore it (remember me raving about SEA OF TRANQUILITY? I still think about that book *often*).

Once I finish THANKS, I’m jumping back on the writing train to finish Enfields. I finally figured out what needs to happen next (thank goodness! I was stuck for MONTHS!), and it’s going to be very exciting and a little depressing. My favorite combo 😉

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and if you need a little pick-me-up, have some chocolate:

(This is seriously my favorite thing today)

Thank Aleda April's Over (almost)

Happy Friday Aledan Merfolk! April is always a rough month for me because it’s audit season at work, and this year I took over two additional tests right before audits started AND got my edits on StO back from my agent, so it’s been a whirlwind of activity on this end (which is why I haven’t posted since April 1st).

I’ve been writing a fake training manual for StO, which has been fun and challenging and should bring another dimension to the book that it was lacking before. Most of the other edits are pretty straight-forward, mostly making Finn less of a douchebag in the beginning (he’s so much fun to write as a douchebag, but not as much fun to read). It’s been an interesting balancing act, trying to keep him in character while also toning him down.

ThanksTroubleWhen my edits are done (should be next week!), I’ve got a couple CP projects lined up, and a couple books as well. One of my agent-siblings sent me a signed copy of THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE by Tommy Wallach, and I have a mermaid anthology to burn through. Last time I saw you I was still reading THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, and OMG you guys, that book was PERFECT (for me). The ending was far from happy, but I tend to enjoy endings like that. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely grab a copy and start reading. It’s amazing from page one. I also read EMERGE by Tobie Easton, which was a nice twist on the classic mermaid tale. I really enjoyed it.

With my new tests at work I’ve had lots of time to listen to audiobooks, so I’ve blown through A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (wonderful, as are all of Victoria’s books), and THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Katherine Hurley (which I’ll finish this afternoon while working). It took me a little while to really get into Mirror Empire, but once I did I loved it. The narrator is good too.

And last but not least, we got two new Littles! But don’t get too attached, we plan to eat these ones (we may not be able to go through with it, so we got females just in case, but we’re going to try).

Littles
Nugget and Fricassee – don’t they look yummy? 😉

Have a wonderful weekend Aledans!

Overwhelmed by Support

Happiest of Thursdays, Aledan Merfolk! If you missed my news on Tuesday, allow me to update you:

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That’s right, SPEAK THE OCEAN is officially represented by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary!

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And then my social media exploded with love and support and left me so overwhelmed that I happy-cried in the car on my way home until I had to pull over, and barely got online yesterday for fear of crying at work. I’m still a bit overwhelmed, honestly. I’m overwhelmed that there’s someone out there that loves my creepy mermaids and sometimes-awkward sex scenes (but not inter-species sex scenes because that’s gross) and grumpy dolphins and bizarre ending. And I’m overwhelmed that there are so many other people who are excited to support me and my weird little book that they haven’t even read yet. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.

Actually, the most amazing part of this whole thing? My totally awesome CP Mike signed with an agent this same week! We were able to go through this giant, life-shifting process together, which made it half as intimidating and twice as awesome <3

We celebrated with sparkly mermaid nails and wine!

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Ok, only I celebrated with sparkly mermaid nails and wine. He celebrated with normal nails and scotch 😉

Now that the celebration is over, it’s time to get back to work. I have an edit letter coming my way for StO, and I’m currently working on editing The Nameless Warrior (Fie Eoin) again. That’s right, this mermaid has gone home to the mountains for the time being.

Worldbuilding ENFIELDS and Gearing Up for #NaNo

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! I totally forgot that yesterday was Update day, and with all the posting I’ve done in the past week (the return of Custom Pony of the Week AND Science Tuesday!), you’re probably sick of me. Be prepared, because I have another custom this weekend, and plan to post Science Tuesday again next week 😉

I spent most of the past week world building Enfields. I had a wonderful dream with lush scenery that’s stuck with me so much that I just know that’s the world I’m using. Jungles and mountains and rivers and lots of green and pink and purple. I have yet to name my MC – or any of the other characters – but I’m coming up with a lot of creatures to populate my world. Since enfields are fox/hawk hybrids, I’m mashing together other animals to see what sticks. The angler adder is my favorite so far: it’s a venomous snake with an angler fish’s lure poking out of its forehead to attract prey. It likes to eat enfields.

There’s also a dragon. Cause, you know, dragons.

I finished reading SHRIKE by Emmie Mears this week, and I tell you what: she does not shy away from the body count! I loved it <3 I started SHARPE’S TIGER by Bernard Cornwell (holy 36 page long first chapter!), and I’m listening to HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie. I’m also knee-deep in CPing for two people.

NaNoWriMo is coming up, and if I can get a bit more world building finished for Enfields I think I’m going to give it a try. I haven’t had success with NaNo the past two times I tried it (first with Book of Souls, then with the boring YA version of StO), but I used to be ML and won six years in a row. Either way, it’ll be super fun to go to write-ins again, and I need to get the first draft of Enfields written at some point. Might as well use the energy of NaNo to do it. This will definitely be one of those books where the first draft will be really rough. StO’s first draft was a breeze and pretty damn solid. Enfields will be a hot mess 🙂

That’s ok. I really like re-writing books *coughsFieEoincoughs*

Mononoke ten feet up in the tree (Ripley is hiding behind her)
Mononoke ten feet up in the tree (Ripley is hiding behind her)

In a bit of chicken news: we had to move the coop because the ladies figured out how to use it to climb the fence and hide up in the trees in the neighbor’s yard. THAT WAS FUN. We managed to get them down without injuring them (or us), and moved the coop to the side of the house where they can jump on the roof instead (we watched them try to figure it out last night. I don’t think they’ll be able to make it). Hopefully we’ll get some eggs next month – they’re getting big! And they definitely aren’t roosters this time.

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and make sure you pop back in on Sunday for a Toothless custom!

Speak the Ocean is Done! (Which Means: Query Time!)

Happy HAPPY Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m happy to say we didn’t float away in last weekend’s flood, although we weren’t able to leave the neighborhood for a couple days. It made for a soggy birthday, but the chickens loved the rain – it brought up all the worms and they had a feast!

It rained so much even the cats learned to use umbrellas.
It rained so much even the cats learned to use umbrellas.

In even happier news that you might have already guessed from the title: SPEAK THE OCEAN is done! Wooooooo! Erie’s aged up so I can label it Adult instead of NA, and I’ve fixed every crutch word I could find. The last several scenes still make me cry, so I haven’t edited the heart out of it. It’s as ready to query as it’ll ever be, so once my agent list is ready I’m going to send out the first batch!

I’m sick of mermaids.

It’s Enfield time!

I still have a bunch of world building to finish before I can start writing. And I have to figure out what happens in the middle of the book to get from point A to point Z, but I’ll finally have time to devote to it without feeling like I’m procrastinating StO.

While I’m world building Enfields, I may work on re-writing the beginning of Nameless as well. I tinkered with it a bit the past couple of weeks, but didn’t get much done because StO was looming that entire time.

But first I’m celebrating with a glass of wine!

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledan Merfolk! I’m heading to see The Martian since I was rained in last weekend. I can’t wait! I also *gasp* have a custom pony to feature this weekend. In fact, I have TWO! Check back on Sunday for those beauties 🙂