Yes, yes, I’m no stranger to showing my age these days it seems. But you know what? Nineties kids had some of the best sayings, and a lot of our phrases are back… or never really left.

I promised that the next time you heard from me, I’d have party pictures. Well, you know what? I do! I had two great launch parties. The first launch party was at Monterey Public Library. At this party, there was face painting. Some people left the party with extra eyes and a lot of glitter.

face-painting

extra-eyes

 

henna-tattooWe also had a henna artist. You can’t really see it in this picture, but I’ve got the Mark of Order from The Fourth Piece on my arm. It took forever to dry, but it washed off after a few days. I’m thinking of getting a more permanent Mark of Order in the future ;).

There was plenty of food. A good thing too, because a man came in and made sure to come over and thank me for such a good time and to congratulate me for my accomplishments… then made a bee-line to the food and proceeded to stuff his face. He refilled his plate 4 times, eating as he was stacking snacks on top of each other. (And I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you. No, he didn’t buy a book. Shhh…. I think he was only there for the food.)

food-table

I had music playing as guests entered. I let them grab some treats and mingle, then I kicked off the event with an introduction of myself and The Fourth Piece. My baby has come a long way, and I thanked everyone for attending his first birthday party. I played the official book trailer on the big screen, and then did a reading. A toddler loved the reading so much he screamed for joy… well, he screamed for something at least, lol. After I finished reading, I took questions and then let my teaser trailer reel play. Every 30 minutes, I pulled a raffle ticket and called out the name of the winner of 1 of my 3 door prizes.

mugsMy henna artist, a high school senior, won the first mug, her younger sister won the second mug. Before I pulled the ticket for the third mug, I joked that their mother would probably win the last mug so that the family could have a matching set…. and um… then she did. I made sure to rub their shoulders and promised to purchase a couple of lottery tickets that night ;).

While guests got tattooed, painted, and fed, or sat and watch trailers, I sold mommy-and-ebbyand signed books and posed for some pics. All in all, it was a great event that was actually recorded. I will go through the reel and make clips of it eventually, lol. The lighting wasn’t the best for video, but it made for a cool otherworldly atmosphere for the party.

Two days later, in San Francisco, I had a second launch party at Book Passage book store. I had never been there before the event. It was small, book-passagebut fabulous. The networking that was done at that meeting was amazing and The Fourth Piece is now in a book store. I look forward to getting it into many others in the future, but we’ll do it one at a time for now.  I’m learning about many other literary events going on in the Bay Area that I may be very welcome to attend now that I know “people.” 😀

Next stop on my promo train is my first blog tour. I just sent in all of the information requested from the person overseeing the tour. The Fourth Piece will be the featured book on YA Bound Book Tours from September 19-23rd! I don’t really know what to expect, but I hope I get some interesting reviews and maybe some more readers.

Until next time guys! Take care!

 

 

 

 

plateau point

A writing plateau, I mean. A month ago, my fingers were flying over the keys. The flow of my sequel was non-stop. I couldn’t spend enough time writing. Then, I took a break to do some editing, and the flow stopped. I was very smart–because I know myself–and got the sequel to a good plot point before I stopped to edit. I did it mainly because I knew this would happen. I still have a goal of finishing before my birthday, but I am much farther behind than I’d planned to be.

I’ve got about 10 new pages now, but it’s not the flow I had before. I started scheduling writing marathons and such, wanting to meet up with people and write. I’m going to start kidnapping myself after work again and going to cafes to write. I swear my apartment is like a black hole that sucks up all energy when I arrive. I open my laptop and end up surfing the web. On a high note,  I did finish a fan fiction chapter for a story that’s been dead in the water for 6 months :D. Happy about that? Yes, I am. But is it what I’m supposed to be doing? No, lol.

I think my problem with the sequel is, as I’ve said before, that I’ve never gotten this far in the story I’m telling. I’ve always had the plan for The Fourth Piece in mind. There are so many drafts of it. But making it to Book II and knowing all the ground I have to cover? Maybe I’m intimidated. I don’t know. I really like what I have. I think it’s exciting, and I think it has the potential to be better than The Fourth Piece, but I have to deliver. It does make me nervous. I slurp in all the feedback I can get as I write The Third Gambit (Book II). I want to know how it’s doing, if it’s losing people, if I’m drowning the audience in backstory or leaving them too thirsty for knowledge.

I miss having deadlines. When I was in grad school, once a month, I had to have 25 pages of something to submit. I’m a member of multiple writers groups, but I’m cheating. I have so much of The Third Gambit already written that I have materials for two months worth of meetings. So, there’s no pressure there. But you know what, I should respect my personal deadlines the same way I’d respect an assignment’s deadline. I’m really going to shape up and do this. I will write something on my book everyday, even if it’s only a few words. Who knows, those few words might be what turns the flow back on. I still have another round of editing to do on The Fourth Piece, but this time I won’t stop writing new stuff while I’m going through edits.

New news (hah!) for The Fourth Piece. I got to do some sketching. I haven’t sketched in years, but I’m not terrible at it. My main characters, the Ladreth brothers, have strange markings on their spines that end up being very important to the story. I describe the marks, and then was asked to draw them because they might look cool on the cover. I sent over a rough sketch, which will be redesigned, and I might get to see a version of it on the new cover mock-ups. What else? Networking is awesome. I know some fabulous people and authors who are imparting me with their knowledge…and connections for promotion. It’s all so exciting!

New news (haha!) for me? I just got Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Somebody did spoil a little of it for me, but I’m still looking forward to reading it. I’m not quite ready to leave the world of the Shadow Hunters just yet. Do I hope to read some cameos of Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood? Yes! Do I want to see Jem and Tessa wander into the plot and never leave? YES. But I’m also happy for a new story too. So, I’m sure I’ll love it. Other news? I’m moving to a new place! Totally renovated, which is what I like. Maybe a new space will spark some creativity (here’s for hoping!)

So, back to writing… and reading!… and editing. Until next time! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

minions celebrate

I don’t want to jinx it because the ink hasn’t dried, but I just signed a publishing contract.What does that mean? It means my first book is being published! Published! I will see my pen-name on a book cover. I think I’ll scream or maybe even cry when I hold the actual book in my hands.

Non-writers don’t understand. They cheer and pat you on the back and then look at you strange when you keep dancing on. I’ve been doing the running man, the MC Hammer, the cabbage, the twerk, and a couple of other dances I made up for the past few days. This is a life goal. This calls for celebration.

And the book being published is a story near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working with these characters since the 6th grade, building them up and giving them story. The drafting process was not easy. There are so many different versions of this story on various disks and old computers. Heck, in old spiral notebooks, back when people used to hand-write things.This is the story that received no love what-so-ever when I work-shopped it in grad school. Give it up. Write something else. You’re not a good enough writer to write this story.

I shelved it for years after graduation and finally came back to it almost 2 years ago with a fresh new outlook and confidence in my writing that I had lost along the way. The publisher read the manuscript in a matter of days, gave me glowing feedback, and then made the offer. The contract came in a few days ago.

I did some research on what makes a good contract and what makes bad contracts and compared the articles and examples to mine. It looks great, but one of my co-workers has a fiance who knows legal people so he offered to read the contract over for me. He also offered to call in a second opinion from others who work in the creative property side of law.

Everything checked out… and so I signed! Whoooooo!!!! “Do the Humpty-hump. Do the Humpty-hump!”– Yeah I just dated myself, but whoooooooo!!!

So here is something else that’s amazing: one of my co-workers is also a writer, a fabulous poet, who is getting his book published as well. He was the one who pushed me to start seriously submitting my book and gave me a deadline. He said: You must have  published book in hand by December of 2017 when I retire. I said: You’re on.

So, we’ve been dancing together. Now, I wasn’t going to make the announcement to my other co-workers or anyone outside of my inner circle until the ink dried… but my poet co-worker went to the boss and excitedly told her: Eboni has big news, big, big, news, but she can’t tell you yet.

Well, at work we’re experiencing a staff shortage. People are getting married, having babies, and moving away. My boss kind of got a little freaked out, because she was afraid I was going to say I was getting married or pregnant. She approached me when I returned to work (after an awesome Halloween week with my sister), wanting to know my news right then, and I had to tell her. Not to worry, boss, I’m not popping out any little people and I’m not wearing a ring. I’m just getting published. 🙂

Published!

So, the contract is in, and now I’m making the suggested revisions with a deadline of November 18th. I can’t wait for the next part in the process.

Until next time!

Yay, I heard back from the agent I sent my full manuscript and synopsis to.  She took exactly one month from the day that I sent it to her.  She didn’t give me a standard form letter; she wrote me a nice, brief, note.  She said that while I am a promising new author she felt that she could not empathize with the main character enough to be able to champion her story. 

I take that as positive feedback.  She didn’t say: Yuck, this sucks.  Or you need to read these craft book or revise.  She just said: You’re good, but this isn’t my cup of tea.  Good luck!  Lol.  So, now it’s time to decide who to send to next.  I really should start sending out to more than one place at a time.  In fact, I think I will this time.  I already know one place I’ll send it to next; I’ll hit up The Writers Market for some more.  I’ll try to do a submission a week :D. 

And while I’m doing that, I will not stop writing.  I will keep writing my sequel, and hopefully finish it before the summer is up and move on to the last book.  I just feel like I should have so much more material than I do.  Once I get my apartment in order (oh, by the way, the rest of my stuff got here today, WHOOO), I will be able to concentrate more on writing. 

Okay, I’m about to discover the joy of unpacking… again.  But yay to hearing back from another agent, and getting a personalized note.  And once again, I say:

NEXT!