Category Archives: WIP

Want an ARC of my next novel?

The last thing I wanted was for it to take me an entire year to publish my next book. After the reaction to TDOTN I wanted to purge the experience as quickly as possible by getting something new out there, something that would allow me to prove to myself that I could finish something else, that it could be good. I needed another book to help me get my confidence back.

And yet, here I am, exactly one year later, still trying to squeeze out these last three chapters.

But I will get them out. And I will publish this novel. And if people hate it…I will still write another one. Because that’s what I do. What I have to do.

So, here’s the plan: finish the final chapters of this novel before the weekend, complete my final read-through and formatting by Sunday, and then send out ARCs Sunday night.

I think providing trusted friends and loyal readers with advanced copies is the perfect way to dip my toe into the sometimes treacherous waters of public opinion. And if I get good feedback maybe I’ll actually be able to sleep at night during those weeks leading up to publication on October 31st.

If you have a blog and would be interested in an advanced review copy of my novel please fill out the form below so I can get the correct format to you. I’ll post the full synopsis soon, but for now, here’s my Twitter pitch:

Pen & Xander is a contemporary YA romance about food and finding where you belong set in a Mexican restaurant that is the heart of an immigrant neighborhood.

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Teaser Tuesday!

P&X

My back hurts, my legs burn, and everything sticks to me, sweat painting my neck. I scrape my hair out of my face and find pieces of lettuce and dried enchilada sauce. Angel is just as filthy, the hours stuck to us in layers of grease while time has burrowed even deeper in my father’s skin.

He’s been waking up at three AM every morning for the past fifteen years. Cooking migas and tamales and pozole and carne asada. Cleaning up broken glass and spilled drinks and half-eaten food. Hiring bartenders and dish boys and steak cooks, firing them too. Waking up every morning wondering if people are going to show up that day, if they’re going to like the food, if they’re going to pay what it’s worth. And going to bed every night hoping that it was enough. To pay the bills. To raise four kids. To open the doors another day.

I can see those worries on his face, and even covered in filth, in food my father used to love, in sweat I can’t wait to wash off, there’s nothing I want more than to wear the same worry he does, to wake up with the same hope.

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WIP Wednesday

Yes, it’s March, and yes this is technically my first WIP post of the year. Luckily, no one missed much as I’ve been working on this last line edit for book 3 in the TGIB series for…oh…three months now. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but there is no stage of my writing process quite as treacherous as that final line edit.

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I’ve gotten really good at not editing as I go, simply for the sake of finishing. If I read each draft the way I do the final one, I’d never get anything done. But once it’s time for me to strap on my editor hat for that final line edit, it’s like I get sucked into a black hole. I’ll glance at the clock and realize that I just spent half an hour on one paragraph or that an entire day has gone by and I’ve only completed one chapter. It’s tedious and heart wrenching but it’s also necessary. I just wish I could find a more streamlined way of tackling it, or better yet, maybe the universe could just add a few more hours in the day. Once this is finished, which I pray will be in the next few weeks, I will no doubt emerge looking like a zombie, probably smelling like one too. But who has time to bathe when there are words to be sliced and sentences to be diced?

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Once book 3 in the series is finished, and it WILL be finished this month, I will move on to the fourth and final book in the series, which has been patiently waiting for my attention since…oh, jesus, November. I plan on taking things at a slower pace with this novel because I really want to get it right. That means it probably won’t be done until the end of the year. But the good news is I’ll be alternating drafts with my contemporary romance novel that’s also been shelved for far too long and then…once all that is done I will finally be able to start something new. It’s been an entire year since I started a new project. For the past twelve months I’ve either been editing or picking up where I left off on abandoned drafts. By the time I start book #9 (yes, NINE!) it’ll likely have been two years since I’ve started something new. And I can’t freaking wait.

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The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Written

*To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

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Lately it feels like that’s what this current WIP is turning out to be. I wrote the other day about how I had my first good writing day in a while but something I didn’t quite clarify was that “good” wasn’t necessarily referring to the actual writing itself. Yes, I gained clarity and yes, the words were flowing but that didn’t mean they weren’t garbage. They were and they are and the more I write the more I dread revisions because this puppy is going to need a lot of work. But what I’ve come to realize in my quest to write a first draft without obsessing over every word is that it’s not the words that matter. What matters is the story. And not whether or not it’s good but whether or not it’s there.

Through five books I’ve been the type of writer who would rather sit and…

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WIP Wednesday

It’s the final WIP check-in of the year and even though I’m drowning in revisions right now, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that I’ve published two novels in the past three months and there’s still one more on the way before the year is up! Everything but the last chapter, which I’m still tweaking, of book 3 in the TGIB series has been sent to my final beta reader, which means that the FINAL draft will soon be complete (hopefully mid-December) and then I’ll just need one more line edit before this novel will be officially done!

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The first draft of this novel practically fell out of me and it had been smooth sailing through most of the revisions but now that I’m nearing the final draft, those doubts I’d managed to stave off for so long are finally starting to rear their ugly heads. This happens every time I near the end of a project but since the writing of this novel wasn’t as tumultuous as the others, I find myself questioning whether or not that’s a bad sign. Writing should be difficult, and writing this novel was difficult, but not as difficult as the others. I’m not sure if that’s just a result from my recent growth as a writer or if it’s a sign that I didn’t grow enough during the writing of this book, but I’m hoping to take some time away from it before my final revisions so I can get some clarity and see it more objectively.

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Book 4 in the series will still be my main focus this spring but now that I’ve started a new job I’m probably going to spend most of the next couple of months trying to work out a new routine. For me it’s an essential part of my creative process and I just can’t be productive unless I have some kind of itinerary.

I’m absolutely loving my new job but I can also sense myself using it as an escape. My writing has been my sole focus for so long but mentally I’m just so drained from this series that I can’t wait to take a small break from it at the start of the new year. I put so much pressure on myself these last two years that I think I deserve to live in the here and now for a little while instead of constantly planning the next chapter or book or release date. I still want to be a full time author but after getting this new job, it’s also nice to know that I can do something else and actually be good at it. I’m a creative person and that creativity isn’t bound to words or a certain medium or occupation. That creativity is boundless and powerful and I can fulfill my purpose as an artist no matter where I am.

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