Posts Tagged ‘Mark of Orion’

We sold more books through our website today than we usually do in rounding up accounts with bookstores. And it feels good. To have money to put into the bank and the hope of recovering costs for Mark of Orion. To have the draft for the next book complete. To live the dream with late-night writing sessions at my local Starbucks and with complete autonomy in what gets published and when.

It feels even better as I read popular young adult fiction. There I discover that my standards for family friendly reading are probably seen as prehistoric confines that we, as a refined society, should shed. Only I won’t be shedding my standards any time soon. And with every story I publish I hope that others will join me in reclaiming their own.

And yet there is the growing, gnawing sense of discomfort with my present reality. It tells me that this section of my life may soon be at its close. It scares me.

Don’t worry, I won’t bid farewell to writing. You can expect to see the completion of The Orion Records before I decide what my writing career will look like as an adult. For now, I cherish the young person’s freedom to keep writing and publishing stories that people love and are influenced by, regardless of a professional publisher’s interest or whims. For now I breathe in my small town life, grateful for extra sunshine and quiet moments to rest. But change… change is coming.

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For those of you a little more interesting in my personal musings than in my writing advice, I offer you a second post for the day. One that still touches on writing but focuses more on Your’s Truly.

I’m breaking ground on my novel–again. The writing of the Lure of Lemons has been a herky-jerky ride (note: Spell-Checker doesn’t think that herk-jerky is a word. Merriam-Webster would disagree. Feel free to click on the link for the definition and for proof that I don’t blatantly ignore all rules of grammar and spelling.). One minute, I’m tapping away at my keyboard with lightning speed, inserting glorious paragraph after glorious paragraph. The next, I’m at a dead halt for days or weeks. Then I’m up and running again. I will breathe a deep sigh of relief when I finally finish the draft. I feel as if I have been on one of the old, wooden roller coasters and have been jammed and pushed and whipped around until I am nauseous, dizzy, and covered in bruises. Okay. Maybe that’s a stretch. But not much of one.

64, 064 is my word count. It may not sound like much, if you know about writing novels or about the million people it took only one month to complete 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (again, click on the link if you want to know more). Of course, I did that challenge too, but had to scrap most of it and start over. Sometimes experiments fail. And the writing techniques I employed for NaNoWriMo left me wandering around in the dark once I was finished. But its not so much about the specific word count as it is about my process.

Given my experience with four novels (Issym, Asandra, Xsardis, and Mark of Orion), I know that my first draft should only be about 108,000 words, which puts me well past the halfway mark. And once I reach the last quarter of the book, I usually pick up speed–as if I am running downhill. So the good news is: I’m nearly to the home stretch. To quote Einstein as he rode a motorcycle in the adorable movie IQ, “Wahoo!”

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Hello Wednesday. You’re already much more steady than yesterday. Thank you for that gift. Now that I have my breath back, let me explain a little of what happened.

In the midst of the highs and lows of yesterday, (1) a truck at the post office decided to try to run me over. I had to run to keep my legs. This is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping. In other news, (2) I got my first letter from a publisher seeking me out. It certainly was no offer of publication, nor is it a company I would ever choose to go with, but the offer should be the beginning of a chain reaction. And it was very thrilling and honoring to receive. (3) I’m also learning French. I’ll spend nearly ninety days studying so that I can perhaps use it for the three days I’ll be in Paris. But hey. I love language. It feeds my brain as nothing as else does. And if you’ve read Mark of Orion, you know that Evie hails from France so it could work out very well for the novelist in me too. (4) Yesterday also contained a canceled Starbucks meeting with a friend. While I was sad not to get to see her, I very much enjoyed the extra downtime. I spent a large portion of it doing research for the group meeting I had in the evening at my church, but I sneaked in a little time for McMillion and Wife–my recent Netflix kick.

Further details would just bore you, so I’ll stick with what I’ve mentioned. As for today, its full of tea and firesides and writing and strictly taking all the supplements that will make me stronger. It’s got extra rest in its margins and opportunities galore for me to catch my breath. It is a good day.

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One of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received came outside the holiday season.

Parents of my teenage fans have taken to emailing me pictures. The images capture a precious moment: their kids unwrapping my book on birthdays and holidays. Seeing the pure thrill on their faces, captured by moms with quick fingers and the foreknowledge that Mark of Orion would be the favorite, is awesome beyond words. As a writer, it is rare to get to share in those moments behind closed doors. Granting me a glimpse into the lives of their children, these parents have touched me beyond my power of words to express.

Yes, there is a certain sweetness that comes with pursuing your calling/dream.

I was thinking this morning… Okay. I was telling my reflection (we talk a lot) that the only dream worth pursuing is one that impacts others. That is not to say that the dream cannot start within yourself. I began writing because it was a wicked, wicked fun way to pass the time. But over time the dream has become something more. I write to impart some learning, to cause those excited moments captured in the images, to present beauty and hope and joy to a world devastated by the fall of man.

So thank you. To all of you who have shared a part of yourself as you share a part of me. To those who write or speak words of encouragement into my life.  To those daring enough to tell me what you learned, what made you laugh, what made you cry, and what changed your life. To those of you willing to ask questions and get inside my head. To those of you who have become a part of the story because you are a part of mine. Thank you. Thank you for letting me share your moments.

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I woke up this morning and tried to make coffee. Tried and failed. My mother saved me, fixing the pot and pouring me a new cup. Then I hastened out the door for my friend’s (Josh Alves’) book signing in Downtown Bangor. The CoeSpace storefront he had rented made the perfect backdrop to my illustrator/writing ally’s reading and signing of Lilly Bristol, Dinosaur Wrangler, And The Town A Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!

book releaseIt was nice to be the guest for a change, to be able to support someone else, to see so many new and old friends, to mix and mingle like a native–which I guess I am. Throughout college I was so busy that I never really felt connected to my hometown. All that is changing.

One of the coolest things about the signing was that Josh not only signed. He also drew a doodle for each of us, with a special message included. Mine was a star–a tribute to the constellation Orion and my own book, Mark of Orion. What a neat touch! It makes me wish I could draw…

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Sometimes the best ideas come from questions… For example:

If you were a hacker who was being followed and you fell off the grid, where would you go?

If you were a shape shifter who stopped being able to shape shift, what practical things (like showering, brushing your teeth, and sleeping) might you not know how to do?

If you were a hero whose nemesis was already dead, where would you funnel your energy? How would you develop?

If you were an airsprite who made a ridiculous amount of mistakes in Book 1, how would your author redeem you in Book 2?

Oh, these and other questions pile up around my desk in figurative clutter. Often when the answers to these questions present themselves, I am filled with astounding energy and passion to write. If solutions don’t come along, I usually end up pounding my head on my desk until they do. A question can be the start of a whole story. But–as I won’t give away anything to those of you who have not yet had time to read through Mark of Orion–I guess examples won’t be forthcoming. To sum up: embrace the power of questions.

To steal a picture from Pinterest…

inspirational quote 2

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The day has arrived, folks! Mark of Orion is finally available for your reading pleasure. It has been two years since my last book release, but it seems like just yesterday we were doing all this for Xsardis.

IMG_20131115_140209_737I am sitting at my kitchen counter with a million curlers and bobby pins in my head, putting together Power Points and playlists and generally organizing. It has been a surprisingly smashing day…

My New York Sister Julie spent the morning running errands with me. We got coffee, caught up, printed tickets, bought more than a dozen lemons (to the odd looks of the guy at Sam’s Club), previewed the ballroom, and came home. Then I was passed over to my mother for food, beauty treatments, and more plotting. Eventually I got some down time to practice my speech, organize my thoughts, and blog.

Maybe it is the nature of a good day that puts me in a freer mood. Otherwise, I am not sure I ever would have posted a selfie (I think this is my first)–let alone a selfie of me in curlers! “Hello, inner-child. I missed you in all the craziness,” I think.

So, friends I know and friends I don’t, may you enjoy this November 15. Here in the frozen north, it is a wonderful occasion for gathering, slipping into unusual masks, and dancing our hearts out to the beat of Waltz music. Wherever you are, enjoy your inner-child and you’ll be celebrating with us in spirit.

Countdown to Mark of Orion: 0 days.

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