If you are a writer of children’s fiction (or really any fiction) and you have not experienced writeoncon, on online writer’s conference with a wealth of information, then now is your belated chance. Pasting my vlog on Writing With a Real Life in case you aren’t a writer and just want to hear me ramble. Yes, I felt inadequate speaking about this, but just to counterbalance, I’m linking to a old post with seldom seen shots of my (old) home during revisions. The only cleaning I’ve done lately is on the blog, hence the oldies but goodies links.
My non-writing friends often ask how the writing is going, in the same way you would ask how the kids are or how do you get out spit up stains? It’s small talk–they’re not looking for a blow by blow, and frankly I’m relieved to NOT talk about it. My answer, it seems for the last year or so, has been. "I’m working on revisions." And their response… "Again?" I can’t tell you how many times I ask myself that very question. Because revisions aren’t a one shot deal. During one editor/author turn around, I’ll often tweak a passage three or four times, so although it’s technically one revision, those words are face-lifted more than Joan Rivers. And it’s fun! And hard! And all-consuming, to the point that we went to the new Las Vegas City Center (STUNNING) for hubby’s birthday and I saw a mini resort model that looked like something i’d JUST described in P4H2 and I had to sit for ten minutes and take notes.
Obviously, there was much cooler things to see (like the real resort I was actually IN), but my revising brain got stuck on the MODEL. I’m in the middle of a very tight deadline right now for the second princess book. My mom even took my two oldest to "grandma camp" so I can bust these out–and busting I am! It’s almost FUN now, but don’t spread that around. Because of this, I’m behind on email and blogging and Jersey Shore gossip (oh wait. That gossip doesn’t change. Gym, Tan, Laundry. LIke clockwork). So instead of doing a whole new weekly post, I thought I would point you to some entries I posted whilst revising PRINCESS FOR HIRE. And you can read them. Again.
Cool Stuff–PRINCESS FOR HIRE made the Summer Indie Next List! Just found out via a congrats from list-mate on The Tenners (was very confused at first, but isn't that often the case?)
Here's the blurb.
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423121923)
"Desi Bascomb just wants to start high school like a normal girl, with no drama. Well, maybe a little — if Hayden Garrison would only notice her. When she learns she has 'Magic Potential' and is swooped off to impersonate not one but three different princesses; Desi learns some important lessons about love, honor and the pursuit of happiness. This one is sure to please the 12-and-up crowd." — Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
First off, if you are checking here on the contest, I won’t be picking a winner until this weekend because Book 2 revisions are due Friday. THIS FRIDAY. These are not the final revisions. There’s more. Much more. I’m still making sure I pull all the threads I left dangling in book 1, and leave open the things I need to happen in book 3. It’s been tough, but fun because hubby asked me just the right question about one of my characters last week and now I have Direction. Kind of different direction than I was going, but it’s been fun playing with the new idea.
I’m keeping my head down until I turn these in. but I did want to post these pics from my fabulous event at The King’s English Bookshop in SLC last week. I was nervous about this signing because this was the bookstore I used to go visit when I was teaching elementary school. I would sit in the children’s room and thumb through books and just kind of breathe in the words. But the employees made me feel right at home, and i had a great turnout thanks to my family and friends and friends of family and friends getting the word out for me.
Isn’t this just the cutest store you’ve ever seen?
The audience (and I love that you can see Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH, HUSH right by the girl’s tiara. You were there in spirit, Bec!)
Reading from The Pinkness. What an awesome background, huh? They also had a cute table of tiaras and books to the side. Loved.
Each room in the store has a different genre of books. Bookcases everywhere. Are you drooling? I think I signed in the mystery room. I felt very mysterious, at least.
This is Abby. She bought my book the day it came out, read it, and wrote an essay telling me why she would make a good princess. Her words were so charming, I’m posting her essay (with her permission) on my website. I think I should add a Princess Abby to a future book. And yes, she also wore pink for the event.
Utah has a wonderful community of kind, funny, supportive writers. Pictured here: Blogger Catie S, Brodi Ashton, Valynne Maetani, Emily Wing Smith, and Sarah Deford Williams (her book, PALACE BEAUTIFUL, comes out next week!). Elana Johnson, Suzette Saxton, Bree Despain, Matthew Kirby, and Sara Zarr also came (and I managed to snag some Dark Divine nail polish from Bree. My toes are currently supporting her awesome book). I wish I could have spent more time with them all, as they are a riot of a group. There is talk of a Barry Manilow concert, though, so the future is bright.
This is why we love the indies. My mom was on baby duty, but had to run to the car to get more books/tiaras/bookmarks (yeah, I brought my mom. And my kids. And my brother and sister and opa and uncle and…). Allison, friendly bookseller that she is, offered to hold the babes. I was a little confused when I looked up from signing and saw this, but also very happy. It’s just that cool of a store with THAT cool of people.
Speaking of the baby, I won’t be bringing her on tour after all. I logistically couldn’t make it happen, but am very lucky that my mother-in-law is coming out to help. If you want to come and bring YOUR baby, I will gladly hold him/her for you, as one week without my girls is going to be interesting. At least I get to kick off the week with Rachel Hawkins, brilliant author of HEX HALL and all-around hilarious Alabama writing beffie in Huntsville on April 5. We shall wear pink and black and bumpits and manic smiles of glee and YOU SHOULD TOO. To see if I’ll be in your town, check here.
Now to take advantage of those three midnight-hour diet pepsis coursing through me. WRITE ON
I’ve been putting off doing this blog entry because every time I sit down to write it, I start to cry. My week since debut has been so humbling and amazing. I just can not believe the support I’ve had from friends, family, writers, and people I don’t even know. It just blows me away. There have been so many cool little moments, and I am grateful for every one of them, everyone of you. People are reading my book now, people I know and don’t. I started this book almost five years ago, and I don’t think any amount of time could prepare me for this. There are so many things about publishing that are hard to deal with, hard to swallow, but it’s every bit worth it when my mom tells me about a little girl in foster care who is not a reader, but read my book in a day (dang straight I sent her a tiara!). I think back on all my experiences with literature as a kid, how sometimes I felt books were the only way I could understand the world. To have a young reader connect like that to my words, it’s amazing. And unexpected and surreal and sweet. So thank you to readers present and future. Whether you like the book or not, thank you for engaging yourself in the story. Ha! I AM CRYING AGAIN. I am such a sap. What you really want to know about is the cake, right? Behold, the glorious confection, created by the awesome people at Retro Bakery in Las Vegas. I showed them my cover and they made this, complete with a fondant compact. It was the richest, most delicious treat ever. (Vegas friends, YOU MUST GO THERE. Buy a cupcake, then pick up Lisa Schroeder’s It’s Raining Cupcakes and indulge in a day of sweetness)
For my release party, I decided to make it a PARTY. I’ll only have one debut, and I suspect subsequent books are like babies. Your first one, everyone is really pumped about, but by the third or fourth, all your family is like, "Yes, we know you are an author/mother. What’s new?" (even though, of course, every book and kid is special! Also, I confess, my number three baby is the definite favorite right now. That might just be because she is curled up on my lap, making sucking motions in her sleep. The Cuteness almost hurts) My mom especially made it a great day. The woman was a party planner in a previous life. It also helps that the book is about, you know, princesses. I wrote my release-day sister, Kimberly Derting (THE BODY FINDER–it’s a suspenseful read) and asked if she was having a hard time finding swag for her serial killer book. I didn’t see that section at Party City. We booked a room at a country club. Probably the first and last signing I’ll do where the bathrooms had marble and FREE MOUTHWASH. It was fun looking up after signing each book and seeing people I hadn’t seen for years. Like two of my high school friends/college roommates, who are there to remind me what a pig I was in college any time I might Diva Out.
And my little sister, who flew into town just for the day, and my event planner mother, who paid for said flight. Yes, she is the cute sister. I’m okay with that, though, because I got to wear these shoes.
I have finally given in to the The Frills. Look for these at future events. I’m going to have to wear them a lot to pay them off. Of course, my feet were under the table for most of the night, so I had to get up and point them out periodically.
My fam. Yep, this might be our Christmas Card this year. Or last years CC, or my daughter’s birth announcement, since I… um… never did those. At one point, I overheard my oldest daughter say to her friend, "See that famous lady over there? That’s my mom and she wrote this book for me." Again. The Cuteness.
Signing for my friend, Jenny, and her green-haired son. At first I got super excited because one of my character’s had green hair, but I was reminded it was almost St. Patrick’s day and the green was not for me.
And here is the room I never got to hang out in, but I hear it was nice.
Thank you everyone who came! Later this week, when I can get through a paragraph without bawling, I’ll post about my awesome event at The King’s English in Salt Lake City. And my southern tour is coming up in two weeks–still working out the logistics of it. Let’s just say, I might bring my sister and P4H mascot with me.