Editing Process: Step Four

Since my book is coming out in a little over 10 months (it seems so far away, and yet so close…), I’m starting to actually DO things for promotion. Such as…create a Facebook page! Make little promotional cards to hand out at events (more on that later)! Talk about the book some more! I guess it’s starting to actually exist, and that’s both exciting and terrifying.

Editorial wise, copyedits came in. I was a bit nervous about these, as i’ve heard horror stories where copyeditors made writers change everything. Thankfully, my copyeditor was fantastic. She had little suggestions here or there, asked for my approval on anything she changed, and really mostly changed things to suit Harper’s style guide. (Shout out to my copyeditor – you’re the best!)

Now i’m working on the dedication and acknowledgements. It’s funny – I’ve imaged what i’d write since the book sold, and now when I can actually put words on paper, i’m drawing a blank. I want to thank everyone. Can I do that? Just…thank you to the world? (Okay, I should probably be more specific.)

TNWSY aside, I had my first public reading! I read for the book launch of FORGET HOW YOU FOUND US last week and it was so much fun. It was a great introductory event for me, because there was only so much pressure. There were four other writers reading, I only contributed one chapter, I did not represent the entire book. I loved meeting/hanging out with the other authors, and just being part of the entire experience. It was such a privilege to be able to contribute to the book, and even more so to read my chapter.

So one reading under my belt. A few more to go?

Forget How You Found Us

photo-3A bit ago I mentioned contributing to a book called FORGET HOW YOU FOUND US, part of Burrow Press’ 15 Views of Orlando series. Well, the book is out and I received my author copies yesterday! I’m in a book! So exciting!

photo 2

A bit about the project:

Burrow Press, an Orlando publisher, started a series called 15 Views of Orlando, where 15 writers each contribute their own chapter, with each chapter taking place in a different part of Orlando. The chapters, though separate, must somehow continue the story, whether by elaborating on a character, a location, a theme, etc. So, when writing, there’s no outline, no concrete plot. The first writer creates their chapter, then the second tacks his or hers on. The cool part is that writers have no idea where the plot is going once their chapter is contributed, and have no say in how the story – or even the character they create – concludes.

I had the privilege of writing the epilogue, so I was able to read the entire thing. It was weird, concluding a story that I didn’t create, and utilizing characters that started out as other people’s creations. But also extremely fun, because it was a challenge. It was something new and unique. And the plot? So different from the stuff I usually write.

And so, the book is out! It’s so neat seeing my name in print, and only adds to the bubbling thrill of TNWSY’s release next year. I’m so honored to be a part of the publication, with all the other talented authors, and can’t wait to hear what people think.

Here’s the synopsis for the book:

Forget How You Found Us is a loosely linked literary portrait of Orlando, FL as told by the city’s best writers. The stories within follow Olivia and Sabrina, two teenage sisters brand new to the “golf course community” of Lake Nona. Olivia is tired of living in the shadow of her older sister’s rebellion. Since the move, their only communication has been through notes and poems written in each other’s journals. But when Sabrina runs away from home, and Olivia’s only friend mysteriously disappears, a sequence of strange events follow both sisters, as well as a peripheral cast of characters that includes the distraught mother of the missing girl, the groundskeeper of the Kerouac House, a homeless bridge troll, and William S. Burroughs.

Read the first chapter here (which was written by a high school student, as part of the publisher’s literary outreach).

Editing Process: Step Three

(Read more here: Step One, Step Two…)

It’s been said before that publishing is very much like this: nothing, nothing, nothing, DO EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW AND YOUR DEADLINE IS TOMORROW, nothing, nothing, nothing.

I haven’t had quite the same experience. My editor is wonderful when it comes to deadlines; she doesn’t rush me, and gives me a concrete date to work towards. My experience, however, is more like this: nothing, nothing, nothing, LOTS OF UPDATES, nothing, nothing nothing. Each makes me shriek with delight.

What updates? Well, some really cool ones:

  • I’ve submitted my headshot and bio for the book jacket.
  • Speaking of, TNWSY has an official book jacket description.
  • It also has a release date…

Another stereotype about the publishing industry is that things remain hush hush until they can officially be revealed. Well…that’s 100% true. I can’t reveal my cover yet (it’s still being revised), nor the description. But seeing them, knowing that they’ve been created, makes everything feel so much more real. I mean, seeing your name on a cover? AMAZING.

Editorial wise, I’m done for now. Big edits for the book are complete. TNWSY is in copyediting, so soon i’ll get a draft that shows all of my grammatical issues. I’m sure there will be quite a few. I overuse commas. A lot.

So right now i’m on downtime until the next round of updates. Each ones makes me more excited than the next. And the fact that my book is officially coming out in less than a year?


My Writing Process

YA writer Valerie Cole tagged me for the My Writing Process blog hop. She’s great, so visit her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

1) What am I working on?
A few things! Publishing is a lengthy process, so TNWSY is still in editorial stages. I should be starting copyedits within the next few months, so that’s exciting. Aside from that, I’m editing two manuscripts with my agent right now, in hopes of one of them being my follow-up book. She always finds things to pull out and elaborate on to create a much fuller manuscript, so i’m always eager to hear her thoughts.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write contemporary YA, and there’s a lot of contemporary YA out there. I like to focus on friendships, romance, and family, and how the three intersect and inform one another. I love writing strong, do-anything-for friendships, because those are what were most important to me in high school. And I like to show how they evolve over time, just as the friends themselves grow and change. And though the bonds may be different, they’re essential in a different way.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I wrote about why I write YA here! And why I write about relationships here! Check it out!

4) How does my writing process work?
First comes the idea. It’s usually a flicker, a scene or location or a character. Then I think about it for a while to figure out if it’s something I’d like to, or even can, attempt. And then I try. At first there’s not a lot of plotting (and sometimes there’s none at all), but the scenes come to come and I write them as I see them. Sometimes I jump around. Sometimes I write it in order. It honestly depends on the story, on my thought process. And sometimes, when everything is right, it’s magically finished.

So that’s my story. I was going to tag people, but I think most writers have done this already. And if not…you’re tagged! (I’m clearly not good at these blog hop.)



There be gators in them waters

A benefit to living in Florida is that you get used to really weird things. Like gators, for instance. Around the corner from my parent’s house is a state park that’s home to canoeing, a really great swimming hole, and, yeah, a ton of gators. You just canoe around them. Behind my grandparent’s house is a lake that oftentimes has gators swimming in it. When they’re out, you just don’t let kids play by the water – simple as that. And then, overnight it seems, these gators disappear.

Florida wildlife is weird. And also very cool.

A month or so ago, my supervisor urged me to enter this Florida 250-word micro-fiction contest, wherein the prompt was simply “They named the gator…”. I didn’t win, but I still have my entry and thought i’d post it here. Though to me seeing a gator in your backyard is completely normal – apparently it isn’t for everyone.

(If interested, I’ve posted previously about weird Florida wildlife interactions, only that time about black bears!)


They named the gator Green, because that was its color. It showed up in their backyard one night, slithering out of the pond that gently shivered with the wind. How it got into the pond was never asked. They wanted to play with it, teach it tricks like they did their dog Chip (named after his color, too, that of a chocolate chip). Their mom said no and kept them inside, fearing what a gator would do with two inquisitive five-year-olds who yearned for another pet.

At night they snuck out anyway, creaking open the back door they’d seen their parents lock and unlock hundreds of times. With G.I. Joe flashlights in tiny hands, they crept down the yard until they sat beside the black pond. There was no air that night, no wind creating waves, but still there was movement. The water lapped against their naked toes as two yellow eyes watched on. “There,” one whispered, pointing a shaking finger. Green moved its head, blinked twice, then opened its mouth to expose rows upon rows of sharp teeth. Daggers glistening in the night. The boys screamed and darted back into the house, flashlights forgotten in the hustle. Woken up, their mom scooped them up nervously, reprimanding them for their disobedience.

After calming quivering fears and tucking them back into bed, she looked outside. The gator was still there, still staring at their house, waiting, contemplating. As if to say, come back. As if to say, goodnight.