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Going with the Flow

Posted by Rachel on July 21, 2015 in discovery, emotion, inspiration, writing tips |

I’m a simple girl. I like cats. I like chocolate. I don’t like when plans fall through. But this is publishing, people. Nothing you plan really works out the way you expected. We’ve all been there- assuming or expecting one outcome and then something else entirely happens. Heck, I was supposed to have out-sold JK Rowling by now. But what can you do?

Well, I’ve found the best way to combat exceedingly high expectations or the anticipation of that monumental first leap is to just go with the flow. I know, I know, kind of hippie-dippie but honestly, this has helped curb my writer-crazy considerably. I took a page out of my personal discoveries book and applied it to writer life. Whatever happens, happens. Hakuna matata.

You wrote your wicked awesome novel and now you have to let the world do with it what they will. Sign it, publish it, ridicule it, love it, share it, hate it. Things like this are going to happen regardless of how much you worry about them or not. You did your best, so instead of feeling like you’ve been let down or passed over, just know that everything happens for a reason. Maybe it’s not your time. Or not THE book. And that’s okay.

I get that this philosophy is hard to embrace and sometimes even hard to understand but it’s worked really well for me. That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced disappointment or plans that fall apart, still. I’m human. I have hopes and dreams and sometimes those things don’t work out like I thought. Sometimes it’s hard to accept. But if you stay true to yourself and your personal and professional goals, everything will turn out right in the end.

So, write what you love, take a deep breath and put it out there for the world to see! You got this :)

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Reading Your Feelings

Posted by Rachel on July 1, 2015 in current event, reading |

I’m looking for more YA books (all genres welcome!) to add to my TBR and thought in return for any suggestions, I’d give some recs as well. I’ll categorize them by overall mood they provided me but since reading is subjective and everyone experiences books differently you can take that with a grain of salt. With that said, I really enjoyed all of these for one reason or another and I hope you do too!

 

Happy

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

Ask the Passengers – AS King

Proxy – Alex London

Leviathan – Scott Westerfield

 

Sad

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

The 5th Wave – Richard Yancey

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

 

Angry

Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith

The Summer I Wasn’t Me – Jessica Verdi

We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

 

Suspense / Shock

We Were Liars – E Lockhart

Naughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

Vicious – V E. Schwab

 

If you have a recommendation (or a few!), please feel free to leave it! Happy reading! Or sad reading, or angry reading. Whatever type of reading is fine so long as you’re reading!

 

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Shifting Gears: A Spec Fic Writer’s Journey to Contemporary

Posted by Rachel on June 1, 2015 in current event, discovery, reading, writing |

If you follow my blog, or twitter account, or know me even a little bit, you’ll know that I’m a speculative fiction writer. I mostly write alternate history but I have been known to dabble in scifi and fantasy. As I’ve surely said before, I enjoy these genres because they allow for easy escapism. The worlds do not exist but while writing or reading them, they feel real and for a short time I can lose myself in wondrous places and it doesn’t cost me a dime ;) After all, I’m a dreamer. Being able to explore different historical, technological, or magical elements in a given story excites me. Sometimes I do all of the above! What I’m saying is, I’m pretty much wired to write spec fic.

I also looove to read spec fic and enjoy experiencing the imagination of others. There’s so many incredible stories out there! I’ve read quite a few spec fics over time, but within the last year I’ve started to read a lot more contemporary. GASP, I KNOW. It was never an interest of mine before, to be honest. I live in a contemporary setting and I didn’t find the stories I picked up stretched my brain much, if any.

But then I started finding more and more contemporaries that really spoke to me. So I explored the genre further and further and further — and now I’m hooked. So hooked in fact that I’m WRITING A CONTEMPORARY. Okay, I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. I realize that was quite a revelation, but it’s a good thing!

Reflecting on my reading habits from days gone by, I think I didn’t connect with contemps was because I hadn’t really found the right STUFF. I didn’t see me on the page and so I didn’t bother looking for others, but now after reading the likes of Jandy Nelson, Tess Sharpe, Jenny Han, Andrew Smith, AS King, Rainbow Rowell, etc., I finally GET IT.

Writing contemporary is a whole different animal from writing spec fic. First of all…THERE’S TEXTING. I cannot express how much this excites me! After writing stories with no cell phones, or no phones period, it’s nice to have this communication of convenience available to me. I also find the voice can blossom more from personality and less from the time period. There’s also the ability to reference pop culture (of course, not so much to date the story– or me!) and current events which is wicked awesome. The whole thing is like exploring the real world from behind the scenes!

Although right now this story is primarily an exercise in craft and fun, it’s a challenge that’s helping me grow as a writer and maybe some day (*fingers crossed*) it’s a story I can share with others :)

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THE Post

Posted by Rachel on May 18, 2015 in agent, current event, inspiration, query, writing |

Yes, this is THE POST. The post about THE THING that you all know it’s about. BUT before I get into specifics, let’s rewind a bit.

I’ve been telling stories and writing for as long as I can remember. I seriously began writing with the intention of being published in 2008. It was a MG Fantasy series–of course it was, right? In 2011 I joined the twitters. And in 2012 I started querying. It was a total and utter mess but a great learning experience. Since then I’ve written 5 and 1/4 novels and queried 3 of them. My latest query novel being a YA Alt History set in a prolonged prohibition era 1940′s. And hey, it worked! Third time’s the charm, I guess!

You can read about why I wrote this novel here, but I’ll give you a little background on the timeline. I wrote this story a year ago and spent the next few months preparing it for PitchWars. While betas liked the original draft it needed a TON of work and although I put in the time, PW really helped bring this book to life (see below). It did very well in the showcase and equally well in queries thereafter. Honestly, there was never a point I didn’t have requests out, but despite the kind feedback, it didn’t seem to be anyone’s precise cup of tea. Eventually I felt like the book’s day in the sun was coming to an end so I sent a couple more rounds of queries out and called it a day.

Then, out of the blue I got THE EMAIL. About THE CALL.

And it felt so surreal, guys. Like whoa. Someone was actually in love with my MS like I was in love with it! We wanted to have book babies together! Too weird? Ok. But YAY. Needless to say, I was speechless.

So after we talked about the book and gushed and talked and gushed more, everything started falling into place. Then came the hard part. The nudging. And the waiting. The last two weeks have been torturous but the announcement is finally here.

I’m SUPER excited to announce that I’ve accepted representation with Eric Smith at PS Literary!!!

I mean…guys…he tweeted about me:

erictweet

^About me O.O

Ok, enough flailage. Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for– the stats:

Total Queries: 62

CNR: 15

Partials: 19

Fulls: 12

With that all said, I wouldn’t have got here without a lot of awesome book people. Friends, beta readers, CPs and everyone in between. So here’s a list of thank yous that would easily get me music’d off the Oscar stage.

Summer. Dude. You were my first real writing friend. Thanks for being there for me through all the ups and downs (/meltdowns) and becoming one of my best friends ever. Move right meow, please&thankyou. I miss you like the sun misses the flower in the depths of winter.

Ashley. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better CP or friend. My novels would be a mess without you–typo’d and oxford comma-less, you’ve helped me grow my skills in every way and I only hope I’ve helped you half as much. Plus, we make a great literary team and I am so glad to have shared this journey with you *clings* Now come play with me ;)

Louise. Your edits have always pushed my stories into places I was either afraid to go or didn’t know I could venture into. Thanks for making time to read them all whether they were in shambles or polished up nice. And thanks for being there for all my other drama, too! One day we shall frolic together!

Betas: Jen, Kim, Dee, Derek, Emmy, Laurie, Sarah, Andrew, Jessy, Clare, John, etc.

Some of you read my old stuff, some of you have / will read my new stuff and some of you have read ALL my stuff. Each of you have helped me grow as a writer in one way or another and your friendship in this crazy writing community has been invaluable to me *group snugs*

TwitWit Group & PItchWars 2014 Group

Ladies and Gentlemen, good things happen to those who write, write and write some more. Now, if you proceed to the clubhouse, commence flailing!

PitchWars Mentors

Fiona. Thank you so much for picking my little runt of a scifi MS in 2013 PitchWars and thank you so much for your keen eye on my other projects. Your continued support of my writing and your sage advice has saved me from doing something stupid more than once ;) CHEERS!

Steph and Stacey. I’m so glad you each thought my alt history MS was the bee’s knees for your 2014 PitchWars team. And even though I kicked and screamed, I’m glad you cracked the whip to get me into gear. This is what we worked for, ladies! We put blood, sweat, and tears into Evey’s story and there is absolutely no way I’d have gotten here without you two.

I also want to thank all my non-book friends and family for all their love and support over the years– it’s meant the world to me!

*cue extremely loud orchestra*

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