September Update: It’s Been a Whirlwind

Me: I should probably blog because I haven’t blogged since release day!

Me: *checks blog*

Me: I…did not blog on release day…

Me: WHOOPS.

So let’s catch up! Below you’ll find an update on how debuting has gone, what I’m working on, where I’ve been, and I answer some questions from readers!

Debuting!

I have a book out! You probably follow me on other social media sites and know this, of course, but in case you don’t, my YA debut The Girl with the Red Balloon released on September 1st. You can find more information here and you can find my events here.

It’s weird, and lovely, to have a book in the wild again. It’s been two years since I last released a book, and this feels completely different. A book that I can hold. A book I can sign! It’s a really wonderful feeling and I’m super excited about it. And the part where I get to do events? WILD. I love it. I love handing my book off to someone and having it become theirs now.

What I’m Working On
And mid-August, I received my edit letter for The Balloonmakers Book 2 (title to be revealed in my interview with PickMyYA on Sunday!!) and set to work fixing that book. I just turned it in on Monday evening (in the nick of time, at like 11pm) and I was pretty exhausted and frustrated, to be honest.

I think there’s value in transparency so I’m trying to be transparent about the whole thing: doing events, including travel, releasing a book, and revising a book all at once has been very hard. They weren’t light revisions. It was pulling apart the beginning, changing some things structurally, and adding an entire act (we’ll see if that stays.) That felt like a lot. It was a lot. And I had to turn it in without finishing everything on my to-do list from my editor, which felt a lot like failure. I know, logically, that she assured me that we’d have another round of revisions before it needed to go to line and copy edits, but I usually feel pretty good about the book when I send it back. I didn’t this time.

But I hit send anyways, because I’d gotten an extension already, it was 11pm, and I was drained and exhausted from working nonstop on the book for a month (and writing almost 12,000 new words in the last three days alone, which is not my preferred revision method.)

My editor’s already written back to say she likes my new beginning, which is great, and to reassure me that we’ll get another round of revisions like we talked about, and I’m grateful for that.

My goal, until that comes back to me, is to read, glean what I can from authors farther along in their craft and their careers than me, and to fix my timeline. There are massive continuity issues right now and that takes SO MUCH TIME to fix that I couldn’t fix it in this round of revisions and I don’t want it to eat up next round of revisions. I’ll work in this document, flag everything (with a code word like TIMELINE so it’s easy to search and find all those changes) and put it in the new document when I get it back.

My other goal is to daydream about the book. Imagine what I want it to look and feel like. Imagine how it’d be scripted for TV or a movie (my writing brain is surprisingly visual and I like to see my stories playing out like a show in my head. I try to write my YA to be fairly cinematic.).

I would also like to finish my middle grade before the next round of edits, but that might be ambitious? We’ll see how my drafting brain feels when I sit down next Monday to write. I’m giving myself a week off to read and refill that creative well. And also Rosh Hashanah, plus traveling to Boston for the Boston Teen Author Festival, so that takes four days of my life too.

Q&A

Q: “How are you balancing all the events of release month with your other writing projects?” – Emma

A: Not well. I really wanted to be writing the MG AND revising the book at the same time, but it turns out, that the YA + a full time dayjob + book releases took up 26 hours of the day (not a typo) and I didn’t have time to work on my middle grade this month. I balanced, but I’m tired, and I need to make sure next year that I’m not doing revisions at the same time I’m doing launch events.

Q: “What do you do to prepare for release events?” – Elissa

A: I decide what chapter I’m reading! That’s about it. I have three or four chapters marked up in a paperback copy I’m using for readings, and I decide based on the audience which I’m reading. If I’m going to skip some parts because of time, I mark those in the book too. I have a lot of travel coming up, so I like to make sure all my relevant flight information is in my bullet journal because I’m an anxious traveler (I am not anxious about reading in front of a crowd or speaking to big groups so I don’t usually have to calm myself down about that!).

Q: “I’ve noticed you popping up on a lot of blogs I read (TerribleMinds, Mindy McGinnis). Did you reach out? If so, how’d you start the convo?” – Lucie

A: This is a great question! For Mindy’s blog, she put out a call on Twitter for published or pre-published YA authors who wanted to do one of her interviews, and I replied! I really like Mindy’s books and I’ve been a supporter of her Patreon for awhile now. The interview was easy and Mindy handled all the scheduling.

For Chuck’s blog, Terrible Minds, I reached out to him (there’s a blog post somewhere about how to do a Five Things I Learned While Writing [Your Book Title] and I followed the instructions there) and he replied. Chuck has been a great supporter over the years, and I really appreciate it. Similarly, John Scalzi has a post on his blog about how to apply for the Big Idea post, and I followed the instructions. I really appreciated the time and space to write on these blogs!

For a few other interviews, like Blackplume or Literary Rambles or PickMyYA  or JustLoveReviews, those bloggers reached out to me because they enjoyed my books or they were featuring debut authors or they were featuring queer authors or queer characters. I’m always happy to do blog interviews if bloggers reach out!

For those interested, here’s where I’ve been lately:

At Terrible Minds, I wrote about the 5 Things I Learned While Writing The Girl with the Red Balloon.

At John Scalzi’s blog, I wrote about writing history through a fantastical lens.

At Mindy McGinnis’s blog, I wrote about the importance of setting hard deadlines, even if they’re just for yourself.

At Adventures in YA Publishing, I wrote about setting as a mirror for your character’s identity, and remembering that the same setting means different things and will be seen and felt differently to different characters.

At JustLoveReviews, I was interviewed as part of Women in Queer SFF series.

At  Literary Rambles, I chatted about inspiration, research, and getting my agent! There’s also a giveaway happening until 9/23

At Blackplume, I was part of a Celebrating Debutantes series and shared a scene from the first draft of The Girl with the Red Balloon.

Housekeeping

I hope that was helpful! I’m also going to work on cleaning up this blog and attaching categories to blog posts. Hopefully that’ll make it easier to search and find things. I’ll also be adding images by category (just like you see on my blog’s main page with WIP Wednesday posts.) If there’s anything else I can do to make this blog more usable or if there’s anything you’d like me to feature, never hesitate to reach out! Comment or send me an email via the contact page.

Please

  • call your representatives and ask them to oppose the Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal
  • donate to hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean if you can. It’s been devastating down there.
  • donate to earthquake relief efforts in Mexico City, if you can.
  • work to make this world a better place, a place where intolerance is not tolerated, where people are not labeled illegal because no human being is illegal, where healthcare is a right and health insurance is affordable and accessible to everyone, where science is a respected and crucial part of policymaking, and where people of all genders are equal and safe under the law and in practice.
  • remember there is no moral equivalency between punching a Nazi and being a Nazi. Nazis believe in genocide and will always act to carry it out against marginalized people, Jewish people, people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQIA people. Stopping a Nazi from promoting hate and intolerance is what I’d call a mitzvah.

 

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