What’s Up Wednesday No. 2

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So my bestie Sarah Kettles has been really awesome about writing her WuW posts every week, and I decided to get back on the train. :) (I mean, I’ve only done one of these before, so it’s not like it’s much of a TRAIN. But still. Back on it.) So. Without further ado…

 

WHAT I’M READING

I just finished THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN by Brian McClellan, and I’m still reading THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME by Heather Marie.  Two very different books, but both are (slash were) awesome! :)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’ve pretty much stalled on the Circus Book over the last week. I know I need to make more forward progress, but these silly plot bunnies keep jumping out at me! I need to find a way to work consistently, or else this book will NEVER be finished. I don’t want to abandon it, because I’m SO happy with what I have right now. I just wish my progress was a bit faster.

I’m also plotting a murder mystery/thriller set in a small seaside town, so that’s been fun, too! Right now there’s no magic (GASP SHOCK) but knowing me, that won’t be the case for forever.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

When I was drafting A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT (the book I’m currently querying), I wrote most consistently when I was waking up at 5AM. Sooo. Maybe I need to do that again? The hardest part about that is actually getting out of bed! It’s SO DARK at 5AM. But that’s also part of the reason why I get so much done–at 5AM, there are no distractions.  I’m going to try it tomorrow-wish me luck.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

PitMad was yesterday! That was awesome–I ended up with several requests and saw SO many pitches that I want to read RIGHT NOW. It’s so inspiring!

I’ve also been designing my little heart out–my freelance workload has been HEAVY lately. (Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to write so much?) The latest cover I designed, for Danielle Ellison’s STORM, was revealed this week:

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I also designed some bookplates for Lisa Maxwell this week! I’m pretty partial to them–you can learn how to score one of your own on her blog!

It’s been a while…

…since I last checked in to say how things were going. This summer was pretty crazy, life- and writing-wise. I was lucky enough to go on three trips–a week on the Outer Banks with my in-laws, five days in Scotland with my best friends for Sarah Kettles‘ wedding, and a week in Hilton Head with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, tiny baby niece, and sister’s best friend. (Needless to say, I have no vacation days left!) I also ended up with a terrible stomach bug in the beginning of the summer, and then pretty awful allergies-turned-bronchitis a few weeks ago, so my sick days are pretty much decimated, too. I’m looking forward to the fall and having some more stability in my life!

To make up for my radio silence, here are some pictures from Scotland to make up for it:

(You can see loads more on my Flickr!)

I’ve also been deep in the query trenches all summer! I didn’t expect how mentally–or creatively–draining querying would be. I don’t have much to report on the querying front–I’m still waiting patiently–and in the meantime, I’ve been making (slow) progress on Dead Man’s Hand (aka CircusBook). I’m just about to hit 20k! I’m hoping to be done by November. I’ve also scribbled down ideas for a zillion other projects, including a YA contemp/mystery/thriller-esque thing, and a NA steampunk retelling of Treasure Island (which I’m co-writing with my dear friend Shannon.)

As for my plans for fall–I’m looking forward to writing, spending lazy afternoons with my wonderfully patient husband, and cheering for my Buckeyes.

What’s new with you??

The Writer’s Voice Contest – YA

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White, who haunts the woods surrounding her hometown of Asylum, Pennsylvania, since her brother died. Desperate for any connection to her brother, Amelia spends sleepless nights watching the forest for any sign of the ghost. But she seems to have disappeared—at least, until Charlie Blue moves in next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch, and she definitely can’t ignore connection between his arrival in town and the Woman in White’s return.

When Amelia and Charlie make contact with a spirit claiming to be the Woman in White, they learn that she’s a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Amelia, devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, turns to magic, and she and Charlie begin preparing a spell that will allow the Woman in White to pass over to the other side.

But then Amelia’s classmates start to turn up dead in the Susquehanna River. Rumors swirl as people start to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As they uncover the truth about Woman in White and her history in Asylum, Amelia and Charlie realize that their magic may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.

A Magic Dark & Bright is an 84,000 word YA Gothic Romance and the first book of a planned two-part series. It will appeal to fans of the moody small-town atmosphere of April Tucholke’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, the family dynamics in the Amber House trilogy by Kelly Moore, Tucker, and Larkin Reed, and the mystery of Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken.

First 250:

A woman haunted the woods behind my house.

I used to watch her from my bedroom window. She glowed silver in the moonlight, a pale wraith in a white dress that curled around her ankles and twisted in an ancient wind that didn’t touch the pine trees around her.

My brother, Mark, used to tease me about my interest in her. Some days, he called her my obsession. On others, my overactive imagination. “Watch out, Amelia,” he’d say, throwing his hand against his chest, “She’ll lure you out into the woods and steal your soul.”

But that was before. I hadn’t seen her in six months, not since the night she watched Mark die.

I pressed my palm flat against the screen and waited, like I had almost every night since I’d come home from the hospital. Nothing stirred outside; the line of forest along the edge of our yard stood still, black branches stretched toward the sky. Not even a breeze fluttered the gauzy curtains around my windows. The woods were empty.

Everything was empty.

“Come on,” I whispered, like I could summon her with my words. The clock in the hallway chimed, its bells echoing through the silent house. Three in the morning. I sighed and turned from the window–if she hadn’t shown up by now, she wouldn’t show up at all. Sometimes, on nights like this, when the corners of my brain went fuzzy from exhaustion, I wondered if she disappeared because of me.