Monday, September 30, 2019

All Over Again (Holly Schindler)


I mentioned this last month, but the dream of a do-over regarding my first-pubbed books is no longer merely a dream for me. The rights to a bunch of my YA stuff (from two different publishing houses) have reverted, and I’m in the midst of planning out massive revisions.
I have to admit, this is utterly delicious.
I love revision. Talking LOVE. Some of my early work can definitely be tightened—and updated for the current world. Some of my early work will remain in the same age group and category; other books will be bumped to adult, and even moved into another category altogether.
New covers, new blurbs, new plot twists.
It’s exciting.
Does that mean I feel like I did something wrong the first time around?
Nope.
I feel like I’ve changed as a writer. I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I should feel this way. If I looked back on my first book and still felt it was the best thing I’d ever written, I’d pretty much want to cry my eyes out.
The first planned (re) release is Playing Hurt and a sequel, Play It Again. Both are getting a shine-up, new chapters, new additions. When I got back into the original Playing Hurt manuscript, I really did want to keep the heart and soul of the book intact. So the update’s been a real juggling act—figuring out how to preserve what works and update some of the rest.
But I have to admit, it’s really been a blast.
I’m hoping to have both books ready to release in early ’20 (nine years after Playing Hurt’s original release)!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

I Hate It When Other People Are Right (Brian Katcher)

I suppose every author who dares reread their published works has those moments where they wish they could rewrite a paragraph or a few dozen chapters. I'm sure whoever carved the Rosetta Stone looked back and thought 'Why did I use the squiggly lines there? The bird thing would have been much better.' But it by then it was carved in stone. Literally, in that case.

Out of all my books, the one I wish I could reedit the most is, ironically, my most successful and critically acclaimed: my second book, Almost Perfect, which came out in 2009.






The story deals with Logan, a boy smarting from a romantic betrayal, and his relationship with the new girl in school, Sage. When Logan discovers that Sage is transgender, he has a lot of intense and conflicting emotions.

While writing this book, I expected backlash due the topic (I believe this was the second YA book about a transgender person, after Julie Anne Peters's Luna). What I feared more, however, was anger from the transgender community, as I was writing about a topic I was unfamiliar with.

And there was a lot of legitimate criticism. While I never meant to appropriate anyone's life, my errors were mine and mine alone. So if I could speak to myself as I was writing the book, here's what I might suggest changing.

*The term is 'transgender', not 'transgendered,' though in the early 2000s, the terminology was not so hard and fast.

*I would have rethought the scene where Logan initially reacts to Sage coming out to him. In the book, he raises his fist, but stops himself just in time. I thought it was powerful and realistic writing, but in the end, it's never justified to think about striking someone weaker than you, be they a romantic partner or friend.

*The ending. I went back and forth with the my editor, trying to find something appropriately happy and yet intense. I'd always imagined Logan and Sage going off to college together, still friends, with their romantic future undefined. In order to make the book edgier, however, the book ended with Sage leaving town and Logan trying to get on with his life. In my defense, my editor was laid off during this process, and I was kind of left without much guidance while facing a deadline.

If I could do it all over, I think it would be better if Logan and Sage stayed in each other's lives, as friends, if not lovers. Logan asked for too many last chances, and I think if he'd stuck with her in the end, the book would have been a lot more positive. Unfortunately, what's done is done, and I can't rewrite the past, as it were.

I have an idea for a sequel, if any publishers are interested. Anyone?

Friday, September 27, 2019

How The Secret Year would change (Jennifer R. Hubbard)

Three things would have to change if I were writing my first book, The Secret Year, now instead of back in 2008. (It came out in 2010.)




The first is technology. Back when I wrote TSY—envisioning the events in the book having occurred a few years before its publication date—it was still conceivable that some students wouldn’t have cell phones, especially when they had the money problems that Colt’s family had. Colt and Julia communicated by notes and occasionally on his family’s land line. But mobile phones have increasingly infiltrated young adulthood and childhood; I think they’re now seen as more of a necessity than a luxury. Colt’s family would find a way to get him one, even if it had a very restricted plan.

Julia’s secret diary, discovered after her death, might be digital nowadays—but then again, it might not. As a writer, Julia would know of the theories that handwriting may allow us to tap into creativity in a different way. She liked texture and touch; she liked the flow of ink under her hand. She liked color; she appreciated the purple of her journal. So that might not change.

However, even more than technology, the biggest change in Colt and Julia’s world would revolve around politics.

The setting of the book, a mid-Atlantic rural town whose farms and few industries had dried up, became one of the battlegrounds on which the election of 2016 played out. The income inequality gap between the town’s richer and poorer residents was the fault line that formed the book’s main conflict. There’s even a scene of racist mockery—a scene that could become far uglier nowadays, I suspect. There’s no way I could write about this community today without addressing the political fallout from 2016.

Looking back on TSY, I do think sometimes about which way different characters (and neighborhoods) would have voted, what lawn signs they would display, how they would treat one another now. Where would they look for solutions to their problems? Where would they try to pin blame?

The final change involves the river, a part of the setting so important that it was almost like a character itself. Colt lived on its banks, and the back of his family’s property was already wet. In the book he mentions in passing how high the floodwaters had gotten in the past, never reaching the house.

Sooner or later--probably sooner--those floods will reach the house.

In looking back on TSY, I wish I could say that the problems I wrote about would now be obsolete, that they’ve all been resolved. But it’s gone the other way. We are still dealing with job loss, income inequality, bitterness, racism, and rising waters. The challenges have multiplied.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Why I wouldn’t rewrite history by Brenda Hiatt


For this month’s topic, I agonized a bit over which book to count as my first. First book I ever wrote? First book that was actually published? Or my first YA book? Since this is a YA-focused blog, I decided to go with that last one. 

Starstruck was released in September, 2013, six years ago this month, but I started writing it more than four years before that—something I didn’t realize until I started digging into old files to write this post! The earliest draft I was able to find was from March 2009 and contained the first five and a half chapters. Surprisingly, the first sentence of that very early draft is exactly the same as in the published book! (Surprising because I tend to rewrite my beginnings multiple times.) 

Considering that I’d already published fifteen novels, some of them on fairly tight deadlines, before starting that one, you might ask why it took me so long to write and publish Starstruck? There are a few reasons. Because this was my first foray into a brand new genre, I desperately wanted to get it “right.” Shifting from my historical voice to an authentic YA voice was a challenge, as was researching how high school had changed since my own experiences mumblety-five years ago. I also took my time because this book was closer to my heart than most—another reason I wanted to get it “right.” By September, 2009 I had a complete first draft (I discovered in my files) but I did a whole lot of polishing after that. Plus by then I’d realized I had the makings of a series, even though the first book stands alone. 

Sure, I’d written several linked historical romances, but I’d never before written a series with a continuing protagonist. Worried that I’d discover while writing book 2 that I’d inadvertently written myself into a corner with book 1, I decided to at least draft the second book before shopping the first one to agents. I didn’t start sending out queries until mid-2010, by which time I’d finished a full draft of Starcrossed and had at least a rough outline for Starbound. 

For more than two years I submitted Starstruck to both agents and publishers while continuing to write book 3 in the series and polish books 1 and 2. During those same two years, I began indie publishing my historical backlist and was seeing more success there than I’d expected. Finally, around the time I had Starbound polished up and had started writing Starfall, I decided to ditch the query process and publish Starstruck myself. I haven’t been sorry! My six (and counting) YA books now outsell my historical romances (15 backlist books plus two newer front list titles) by almost two to one! 

So what would I do differently if I could? Looking back, I have to say not a thing. If I’d sold that first YA novel to a traditional publisher early on, or published it myself a year earlier, I wouldn’t have had the time I needed to properly weave all the details into the whole, original 4-book series. That delay, I firmly believe, not only let Starstruck become the absolute best I could make it, it also allowed me to produce a series I’m now extremely proud of. Sure, it was frustrating to get rejection after rejection for two whole years, no matter how flattering some of them were. But as others have said, sometimes things happen for a reason. I definitely think it did in this case!




Sunday, September 22, 2019

(Re)-SENDing by Patty Blount

SEND was published in 2012 and marked my young adult literary debut.

I worked on this novel for YEARS! I think I wrote it at least six times over, each time getting a little better. I was so sure this would be the book that would be my golden ticket to living the dream.

And I was right.

It helped me land a two-book deal.



SEND is a novel about a former bully trying hard to cope with the suicide he caused when he was thirteen. It's told from the bully's point of view. It's a story of forgiveness and redemption. I'm pretty darn proud of this book and when I got the call that Sourcebooks Fire was interested in it, I did my celebratory dance and then got back to work.

My publisher had some concerns with the manuscript. They felt it was far too violent for the age group to which it would be marketed and asked me to rewrite the ending. There is a love story in this novel so I wrote the happy ending such stories usually have. But my editor said, "Hold up here... this character did a terrible thing and yes, he goes through a profound redemption arc, but should everything come up roses for him?"

I considered that for a long time and decided that no...things should not be perfect for him. He's 18 when the story opens. He's had five years to think about what he did, and though he spends his life trying to make up for it, he knows nothing can ever fix it.

The story is about forgiving himself. Would an eighteen-year-old be capabable of this?

No, I decided.

So, I write a cliff-hanger ending in which the main character's finger hovers over the Send key, while he deliberates about sending an email to the love interest...and then, fade to black. Readers could decide for themselves whether he clicked that button and got his happily ever after, or not.

I loved the new ending but readers, sadly, did NOT. Reviewers on Goodreads shook their fists about it, I got mail that begged for information, even my kids wanted me to write more.

Eventually, I did write more. I posted a Missing Epilogue to my website where I have a "Dan's Blog" page for SEND's main character. If I ever get the rights back to this novel, I plan to incorporate it into the new edition.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

BLAZE vs. FANGIRL [Laurie Boyle Crompton]



My first book, BLAZE (or Love in the Time of Supervillains), took a very windy path to publication and was originally submitted with the fun title FANGIRL AND HER SUBATOMIC SWEATMOBILE OF DOOM! After it sold, the title was shortened to FANGIRL and below I have pulled from the depths of my iCloud storage the Original Cover. It. Was. Awesome.

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Wait for it...



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BAM! POW!! Right?

FANGIRL was ready to go and she got a nice amount of interest and buzz from the sales team. Yay! It looked like she may even be a breakout hit. "But wait," someone in some meeting somewhere said, "What if readers are confused by the cover?" They feared my nerdy, funny comic-book drawing main character, Blaze, would be mistaken for an actual superhero. I disagreed, but as a new author I didn't want to be difficult and besides, those someones know best about these things, right?

And so my kick-ass cover was changed. And then of course once the image was changed, the title had to go since the hair-blown image with the title FANGIRL would imply a literal fan's involvement which I think we can all agree would be just plain silly. A number of new titles were discussed, a fun contest was had, and finally the simple and to the point BLAZE was decided upon. At which my editor and I rallied to have the "(or Love in the Time of Supervillains)" added since we felt Blaze was a bit too bland. Right?

My original cover made great buttons!
And I love my final cover. I truly do. The book's release was delayed by eight months so my publisher could commission an (amazing!) artist, Anne Cain, do some interior art. And some of the anticipation and buzz died down and in the end the book sold... okay. But we'll never get to know how FANGIRL would've done on her own. And since we're discussing what we'd change about our debut books I can't help but wonder if maybe I should've fought for her just a little. I'm not sure if I could've convinced my publisher to give readers just a bit more credit, but I maybe should've tried. Right? 
Would you have picked up this book?




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Popular Wasn't Originally (Alissa Grosso)

My first published book was titled Popular, but that wasn't the original title or even the second title. I've told this story in more detail elsewhere but the manuscript I submitted was titled The Balderdash Semesters. My publisher didn't think this was quite right so they changed it to The Subrosa Semesters (note: Prior to this the term Subrosa was not in the book.  It's a Latin word more common to legal documents, something I learned after getting saddled with the title and having to explain it to all and sundry).
This was pretty much the expression people had on their face after I told them the title of my book. The response was usually something like, "The What-Now Semesters?"

After the bookstore buyers at the major chains physically gagged (or something like that) upon hearing this title it was then changed to the succinct one-word title it bears to this day.

A bookstore buyer upon learning the title of my book.

So, I guess that's the first thing I would have changed about my book. I would have submitted it with this clean and simple title from the start and saved us all a lot of aggravation.

Speaking of aggravation. I probably would have done a better job of writing the book the first time around, and actually written the second part of the book before submitting it instead of trying to turn the final, rushed chapter into a whole second part later down the road. But sometimes we need an editor to point out the things that should have been obvious to us from the start.

My desk looked something like this, but far, far messier when I was struggling to turn my abrupt final chapter into a whole bunch of chapters that wrapped up my story without giving anyone whiplash.

Despite having been written more than a decade ago, I think the book still holds up pretty well, and I still like it. Sometimes I wonder if it was the right book for a debut book. Other times I think it was the perfect book for a debut, but that I should have followed it up with books that were more like it.

Popular's a somewhat unique book in that it has a twist element to it, making it not what it might appear to be at first. But my second book, Ferocity Summer, though still very much YA didn't have any twist element like this and even though there's a bit of a twist/surprise in my third book, Shallow Pond, I don't think it's really anything like Popular.

I like pigeons, but we're not kindred spirits.
I'm not saying we should write the same book over and over again--where's the fun in that? But, maybe three books that had a more similar style might have done a better job of establishing myself as a writer of a certain kind of book, and maybe led to my books doing better commercially. Then again, I've never been very good and fitting myself into pigeonholes, so while I can say this is something I would have done differently, I strongly suspect that even if I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I kind of doubt I would take it.

In any case, I've enjoyed the journey that began more than ten years ago when I submitted a book I called The Balderdash Semesters for publication, and I can't see what's next in this journey.


Alissa Grosso is the author of four young adult novels plus some books for grown-ups and shares the details of her author life on her weekly Awkward Author vlog and podcast. Find out more about her and her books at alissagrosso.com.

Monday, September 16, 2019

I Waffle Between Two Kinds of Wonder--By: Kimberly Sabatini

This month on the blog we're talking about our first books and what we'd change about them as time has passed.


My answer is kind of a Mobius strip. 
I'd change so much and at the same time, nothing at all.



1. Graphical representation of a Möbius strip.


Let me try and explain...
Although I've yet to publish my next book, as I'm creating and writing new projects, I'm learning and growing. 
In my opinion--becoming a better writer. 
And I love every moment of engaging with my creative self. 
The process is a joy to me.

But publication is damn cool, too. 
And I plan to be back there when the time and the writing is right. 

Hence I write for myself and I write to share myself with others.
So, at the moment, the intersection of creating art for myself and chasing publication seems to be best represented by the book I already have out in the world.

And when I have the nerve or curiosity to reexamine TOUCHING THE SURFACE, I find myself stuck in a strange dichotomy of feelings and understanding about what I created.
 The truth is I waffle between two kinds of wonder when I think about TTS. 
I'm both amazed at what I created and equally amazed by what I didn't. 

It's like taking a walk on a Mobius Strip and thinking your moving in one direction to find you're upside down and moving in another.
But if you keep moving long and far enough through the work--you're back at the start again. 

But here's the real truth...
all of the roads--upside-down or right side up--lead to the same destination.

We are an accumulation of a lifetime of our work and our choices. 
Perfection is the enemy of the good and the done.
Growth requires change.
History is a powerful learning tool.
Self-examination can change our future, but not our past.
And remember to revel in all you've created--because when you are making something it means you are also actively engaged in not destroying something else. 

But if I were going to change one small thing about TOUCHING THE SURFACE...I wouldn't waffle about cutting down on the number of times I used the word THAT. 😂

Just for fun--if you've read TOUCHING THE SURFACE--what would you have wanted me to change? 







Friday, September 13, 2019

Fly, Dragon, Fly! (Jodi Moore)

I’m a huge fan of the Butterfly Effect. Not only of the movie, but of the theory alleging that one tiny action in a system can inspire huge effects elsewhere, or as the analogy states: one flap of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil can result in a tornado in Texas.   


Not that I want a tornado in Texas. Hmm. Maybe I believe in the Kindness Effect. Where one act of kindness can inspire large change...

But I digress. This month, we’re questioning whether or not we’d change anything on the journey to publishing our first book.

To which I answer, absolutely not.

I wouldn’t change the fact my husband and I were in the throes of Empty Nest. Because hard as it is to let go, it was time to let our little birdies fly. And their accomplishments, spirit and drive continue to fill our hearts.

I wouldn’t change the fact my husband brought their sand toys to the lake anyway, that Labor Day after they left for college. Because with the help of the other children on the beach, he built a castle. The castle that inspired When A Dragon Moves In.



I wouldn’t change the fact that although some renowned publishers (from the big six) insisted I determine whether the dragon in the story was real or imaginary before the book could ever be published, I stuck to my original of idea of wanting the reader to decide. Because finally, one editor, my editor, Shari Dash Greenspan of FlashlightPress, “got it.” And then she gave the manuscript to brilliant illustrator Howard McWilliam, who took the idea and elevated it to heights I’d never even imagined.

If I’d changed anything along the way, When A Dragon Moves In may never have seen the light of day. Two more Dragons have followed: When A Dragon Moves In Again and (the newly released) I Love My Dragon. Would they have been “born?”

Look, all of us wish at times we’d made different decisions. Especially when things don’t turn out the way we’d hoped.

But When A Dragon Moves In turned out better than I’d hoped. So, would I change anything? Would I restrain one flap of that butterfly, er, Dragon?

Simply put, nope.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don't Tell Anyone - I Have A Big Nose by Sydney Salter

My first published book, My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, is probably my most personal story. I stole many scenes and characters from my teenage years in Reno, Nevada. And the whole hating my nose business was 100% teenage me.



I was so excited to finally be published - after writing three other manuscripts that were less commercial.

But then it hit me.

People would find out that I had a big nose. Or find out that I thought that I had a big nose. Or start observing and judging my nose. Nose, nose, nose, NOOOOOOSE!

I didn't even want to tell people the title of my book - sometimes I blushed embarrassingly when saying the words "My Big Nose" out loud. Why did I have to call it that? Why?!?!?!

It turns out that nothing gets you over your nose issues more quickly than writing a book about nose issues.

So while I really wish I could go back to teenage me with my newfound wisdom, I would also tell new author me to calm down.

Any story, once published, takes on a life of its own. Readers add their own interpretations to the words on the page. So while I did suffer through a few awkward conversations about my personal nose, I loved watching how my story impacted other people.

I am - finally - 100% over my nose issues!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Ten Years and Still Kicking by Joy Preble

This month marks the 10th anniversary of my debut novel, DREAMING ANASTASIA. Ten years. A decade. In publishing years, I think that's like a million. Possibly a million and one. A long, darn time.

Our topic this month asks what we'd change, knowing what we know now.  Honestly? Probably nothing. Which is not to say everything was perfect. It wasn't. But things have a way working out, especially when you don't know any better!  Contract could have been stronger. But my first novel was getting published! Losing my editor a few months before publication date wasn't spiffy. But he was replaced by someone who loved the book. And okay, there were two or three more in the course of a trilogy, which was also a struggle, but it all led to places I could never imagine.

The book wasn't front list. Actually, ten years in, I've never had a front list title. Never hit a major list. Never gotten star. Not yet, anyway. Yet, here I am. Seven books and some anthologies later. So don't let anyone tell you that a career works only one way. It doesn't.

But as I've mentioned before, Dreaming Anastasia broke out anyway. It was an in house bestseller. It was on its third or fourth printing before the end of the year. It is still in print. Still for sale. Still being read and reviewed. One kind soul at a university analyzed the entire trilogy for a thesis paper. The fairy tale sites generally like it. It made me contacts and industry friends for life, people who are dear to me in so many ways.

It led to everything else that has come after.

Are there portions I'd probably re-write? Yes. The writer I am today is not the writer I was over ten years ago. But it will probably always be the book closest to my heart, the book influenced by love of fairy tales, fantasy, girl power, all things Romanov, and an obsessive Buffy fandom that combined to make me write about a girl who didn't want to be chosen but was chosen anyway, who didn't want witchy power, but got it anyway, who fell in love with someone who she had to fight for and who had to fight for her, whose family was a mess and whose best friend was loyal as they come. She was brave and funny and wildly imperfect and sometimes very selfish, but when you're the hero sometimes you have to be.

DREAMING ANASTASIA was the product of every hope and dream I ever had for a writing career that I had to fight for, that I had to be selfish for, that was messy and imperfect but was where I needed to be if I could get there.

So. Would I change anything? I don't have a clue. I chose it. It chose me. We're both imperfect but still hanging in there.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Mary Strand)

This month’s topic: knowing what I know now, what would I change in my first book?

Hemingway-esque answer: Not a damn thing. (Mostly.)

My first published book, coincidentally, is the very first manuscript I wrote: Cooper’s Folly. I started writing it during maternity leave in 2000 (because what else are you supposed to do during maternity leave, right?) and entered it in RWA’s Golden Heart contest four months later. I was practicing law at the time, and four months seemed like a good deadline for writing a book.

(I’m no longer practicing law, but I still think deadlines are fun. Sick, I know.)

That manuscript won the Golden Heart. I knew I’d undoubtedly sell the book immediately and soon be on my way to fame, glory, and untold riches.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Twelve years later, thanks to a conversation at an RWA conference, I dusted off that (unsold) manuscript, shrieking at my inability in 200o to speak or write using contractions. (While practicing law, you DO NOT use contractions in documents, and I spoke like I wrote. I recently found out that I’m still more geeky and anal-compulsive with language than most people. Oooops.)

BUT I revised the manuscript and threw in some contractions and more cell phones and made it sound like a somewhat normal person had written it. More precisely, it sounded how I wrote in 2012 as opposed to 2000, but the book itself was essentially unchanged in plot, structure, etc., from my 2000 version. I submitted it to Bell Bridge Books. They bought it. It came out in 2014.


 So I’ve already had the chance to go back, knowing what I know now (or at least knowing what I knew 12 years after first writing a book), and see what I’d change.

Hardly anything.

Yeah, I fiddle around with word choices. (Who doesn’t?) But every book I’ve written since I started writing in 2000 remains the book I was supposed to write at that time. I don’t think a book needs “fixing” in a fundamental way (unless an editor thinks so; ha ha), because it’s a portrait of who I was at the moment I wrote it.

I’ve had bad hair decades (in the case of the Perm Years) and octagon glasses and freckles and broken noses and ugly scars and heartbreak and all sorts of things that are not the envy of anyone. But all of that is part of me. (Alas! lol.) In the same way, each of my manuscripts is part of me. I don’t apologize for who I am or who I’ve been. (Okay, except maybe the Perm Years.) For better or worse, I’m me.

I write different types of stories now from the ones I wrote years ago. Five or ten years from now, I’ll undoubtedly write different stories from what I’m writing now. And that’s great. But each of them is part of me, and I like every part of me.

No major additions or deletions for me, thanks. Unless you’re my editor. J

Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at marystrand.com.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

My Favorite First—My First YA Heroine

by Fae Rowen

It's hard to look back at a body of work (no matter how small that body is) and pick out favorites. The truth is that my favorite is whatever I'm working on now, although I do have tender spots for each of my books, based on the "firsts" associated with it.

The first book I wrote was a medieval romance set "almost" in the real past. I was so in love with the hero, when I finally had to name him I used an anagram of my husband's first and middle names. The result sounded medieval British and everyone loved it.

But I wrote that book before I knew anything about writing a novel. I didn't know about POV, so I could be in five characters heads in five lines. Well, it worked for me.

That book will be the proverbial "under the bed" book for me.

The second book was an adult science fiction space war story that I wrote while watching the movie of the book in my head. I'd been to some classes and Keeping Athena was so solid it took first place in several contests. That's when I knew this math teacher could write.


I wrote a second book in that world, but then I wrote the young adult science fiction, with romantic elements in a different time and space, that I couldn't get out of my head. I didn't realize, until I sent it to my editor for the first pass, how much the main character was like me. It wasn't easy for me to respond to my editor's comments and prodding, but I did. O'Neill came alive with her own goals and attitude. She struggled to change her belief system when the bottom fell out of the one she'd grown up with—for the second time. She doesn't see how strong she is; she worries if she can do what is necessary. And she is me.

P.R.I.S.M. is speculative fiction. It takes today's society and teases out what could happen.What kind of changes would make a different world in a few generations? It doesn't have the technology that I so enjoyed dreaming up for Keeping Athena, but the world has challenges that must be met by its residents with sweat, muscles, and cleverness. And the people have to work together to survive. (Not that they get along that well while working together...)

While I was starting P.R.I.S.M. I started blogging as one of the founding members of Writers in the Storm. That was a first that will be forever interlinked with my first Young Adult book because I was beginning to "build my platform." I had started thinking about finally publishing the books I'd been writing. Up to that point, I wrote only for my own entertainment and enjoyment. I didn't want to expose myself by letting one of my books "loose" in the universe. Talk about revealing myself! What would my students think?

This past year I've been working on the sequel to P.R.I.S.M. I haven't ever done a "two-part" book before, so besides taking longer than I thought it would, it presented it's own unique problems. But it was full of firsts, even though it was a "second" book.

I have enjoyed going deeper into O'Neill's choices, her determination to live life on her own terms, and what she was willing to give up to do that. All while her world spins out of control presenting possibilities for horrific changes for her. P.R.I.S.M. Rebellion will be available for pre-order on Halloween 2019 and delivered before Christmas 2019. And while having twice my normal word count (already large at over 125, 000 words per book) to complete my story and fully flesh out my characters over two books, I probably won't do that again. It took almost two years to finish this second book in the series, I got way too many e-mails about when the next book would be out,  and I have too many more books to write to spend that long on one!

Keeping Athena will be available for pre-order by December 31, 2019 with delivery by February 22, 2020. The second book in that universe will be available for pre-order in late Spring 2020.