Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Never A Waste Of Time

One of the mean lies I often tell myself about my writing is this:

"You are wasting your time with this story. It won't sell because it's not marketable. Or it's silly. Or it's too weird. Or you're not a good enough writer to pull it off. Or someone else will have this idea and write it better than you. Basically, just stop now. Don't waste the time. Don't waste anyone else's time, either."

When I get in this dangerous mindset, it's really hard to get words on the page. If I don't think those words are worth my time, then why write them, you know? Because writing is hard, and when you start a new project you have no idea if it'll be worth the time investment. The truth is, I have over a dozen novels sitting around that haven't given me a dime in return.

At least not yet.

Maybe they never will, but as I'm starting to see maybe it's more like the time investments I've made are coming back in returns I didn't expect.

Take HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, for example. This was my 13th novel written, but my 5th novel written was also about witches. It was called VOID. It wasn't very good, and no matter how much I edited it I could see the problems. I knew the book wasn't what I envisioned, but I couldn't quite grasp what I really wanted it to be. Well, when I decided to attempt witches again, I had a failed story to compare it to—and also an old idea pool to steal the best ideas from.

VOID did pay off eventually, because I wouldn't have been able to write HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW without it. I just didn't know at the time that's how it would play out.

The same has happened with RELAX, I'M A NINJA. A novel that I forced myself to see as a "failure" so that I could move on, now this book and the new indie publishing road I'm taking has been a means to reclaiming much of the confidence I'd lost in the years of rejection both from querying and submission. While I don't know if there will be financial returns, I believe I've already received the most valuable thing I could from my beloved ninjas: A renewed belief in myself and my work.

There are even a couple more things now coming out of the woodwork (secret things, sorry I can't tell you yet), where my old body of work is either coming to light or being revamped into something new. It's been really amazing to me, because I had given up on so many of these projects and accused them of being a waste of my time.

But more and more, I'm seeing that not a single word I've written was a waste of time. None of them I regret. All them have helped me become better and ultimately make it to being published. I'm starting to understand that I need to respect my words more, because I never know which ones will end up meaning something huge to a reader. Maybe I don't have the prettiest words around or the most profitiable ones or the smartest ones, but they are mine and these last nine years with them have never been a waste of time. Not one second.

Monday, January 20, 2014

San Diego Here I Come!

I fell in love with San Diego last year when I visited for a few days. So much so that I ended up writing a book set in Encinitas. Ever since then I've been dying to go again, and this week that is happening! I'm so excited and ready for a little bit a warmth to get me through this cold Utah winter. Not to mention all the good good. And I get to bring my husband this time, which makes it even better.

Good news for you guys? I will be having a book signing while I'm down there! I really hope to see as many people as I can (since I so rarely sign out of state), so if you have time please drop by the Oceanside Barnes & Noble at 6PM on January 23rd.

I am signing with two of my favorite people: Kiersten White (Paranormaly series, Mind Games, The Chaos Of Stars) and Shannon Messenger (Let The Sky Fall and Keeper Of The Lost Cities series). If you can't quite get there by six, that's okay, too. I should be at the store for at least a couple hours. There will be copies of Transparent and Blindsided for purchase, and I'll be giving away an ARC of House Of Ivy & Sorrow at some point during the evening.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three Months To House. All The Gratitude.

So. This pretty book comes out in three little months.

Sorry for the ridiculously large image, but I can't help myself. I just love this cover so much and I can't wait to pet the final product. It'll be so fancy.

Most of the time I just can't really believe this book is coming out. That it will be A Thing People Can Pick Up And Read. Since it'll be my third published novel, you'd think I'd be used to this. But well, let's face it, a year hasn't passed since TRANSPARENT debuted. I have gone from no books to three books in less than a year.

I really don't know how this happened!

I mean, I'm the girl who has to wait forever and never gets an easy break and has to walk away from failed subs and accept that most publishers don't find my work commercial enough. Seriously, how the hell did I end up also being the girl who put out three books in her first year of being a published author?

Some of it was the dividends of my seven-year investment in trying to be an author, I guess. Some of it was pure luck and seizing an opportunity when it was given (hello, BLINDSIDED). All of it feels simultaneously overwhelming and miraculous.

By now I am mostly over debut jitters, but I think what's surprising me the most as I keep putting out novels is how much my gratitude grows each time. When I think of HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW's release, all I can feel is a deep sense of thankfulness for being able to do this. For having people who read these stories of mine.

Thank you. And I hope you love this book as much as I do. I confess I have a very special place in my heart for Jo and her story.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Formal Apology To All Self-Published Authors

Dear Self-Published Authors,

Basically, it boils down to this: I'm sorry for judging.

I know most people in "traditional" publishing try to tip toe around this, try to say they don't judge and that self-publishing is gaining credibility. But I'm sure you know differently. I'm sure you've felt the extra scrutiny you receive, and yeah maybe sometimes that leads to being a bit defensive.

So I'm saying it now. I'm sorry. For assuming you just "throw your work out there." For supposing you don't care or gave up on trying to break into the "Big 5." For thinking maybe you just want to avoid the editing process or that you can't work with other people well or that you are control freaks. I'm sorry for all the assumptions out there—some of them I admit right here and now I held myself.

You're probably thinking these apologies have everything to do with the fact that I am working to self-publish a novel right now—you would be entirely correct and I'm okay with admitting that. Sometimes you have to step into the same shoes to really get it, and I can assure you I'm beginning to see both sides so much more clearly.

The judging, I can already see it happening to me. I admit I thought because of my traditionally published books that I would be spared a little, but I'm starting to understand that is not the case. It's been a big lesson to me. A humbling one.

You guys work hard. Most all of you take this dead seriously. So it must hurt when someone says you didn't put in the effort. It must be heartbreaking when you follow every procedure, do all the edits from the editor you pay, take the time to create a good cover, learn how to market, learn how to format, learn how to take care of your cash flow and taxes, not to mention often putting out more than one book a year…

Yes, now I see why it feels like a slap in the face when someone calls you lazy. Or says you're taking the easy way out. Or claims your work is not professional.

I apologize for ever thinking any of that. Even if it was just once.

Because you are, for the most part, professionals juggling all the things my agent and publisher handle on my traditionally published books. Now that I face this, I see what an overwhelming feat that is. You guys are amazing.

And your books? They're amazing, too. Maybe they don't always fit in boxes like they're "supposed to," but that's why you do this anyway, right? Things that wouldn't fly in Big 5 Land—those are the things you're not afraid of. Sometimes you get flak for being different, but now that I'm about to put out my own very different novel I understand why you do it.

People might say this book of mine isn't right—it does things wrong, or it's weird, or whatever. They may blame it on the fact that I self-published it, instead of seeing that it's exactly what I wanted it to be and part of that is how different it is. I love different…sometimes traditional publishing does not.

I'm sorry people expect you to fit in boxes. I'm sorry the boxes exist to begin with, both for you and myself. I've never done so good with the fitting in, and the creative part of me is falling in love with the freedom I get from going hybrid.

So, again, I'm sorry. And I admire you. The hard work you do? I see it now, and I will never, ever stop seeing it.

All the best,

Monday, January 6, 2014

See For Yourself

Opinions. Oh, opinions. Everyone has one. Most people love to give them.

It used to be that an opinion was somewhat of a commodity. Before the internet (oh my gosh do I sound old or what?), opinions came from "credible sources." Whether that be in a newspaper, on a news broadcast, in a magazine, an opinion in media was at least LESS rare than it is now. This made hearing opinions kind of interesting, and it also caused people to kind of trust opinions of credible critics. Some people even made their livelihoods on being a critic (and some still do).

These days, anyone with internet access and a social media account can tell the world what they think of anything and everything. There are reviews enough to drown yourself in if you feel like it. There are stars being flung back and forth faster than ninjas throw shuriken. News articles or opinion pieces get shared faster than people can fact check. Stuff goes viral, which is a rather disturbing term if you really think about it. Before you can even see an episode of your favorite show, people a few time zones ahead will be telling you how they felt about the show and possibly spoiling it for you.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm kind of on opinion overload.

Don't worry, I'm aware of the certain irony that comes in writing an opinion piece on opinions, but I just can't help myself.

Frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing people say something along the lines of, "Oh, I heard that fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-media-you-want wasn't that great/over-hyped." If you start digging after this statement, you quickly find that they saw someone on a social media site saying this. Thus they have decided to adopt the opinion without seeing for themselves if they share it. As a creator, this makes me sad because some people may not pick up my work though they may ultimately like it. As a FAN, this makes me sad because people might be missing out on something awesome just because a friend said they didn't like it (or maybe not even a friend but an acquaintance or someone clever they follow on social media).

Here's the thing: I don't like everything my friends like.

It's true! And you know what? Not all of them like what I like. Some of my friends think I'm downright nuts for watching as much Kdrama as I do, and I can't get any of them to watch anime or not laugh when I say pro-gaming is awesome. Yes, my closest friends DO NOT share these common interests with me. And I'm not so much into some of their favorite things, either. I have a friend who loves country music, and one who buys all things Batman, and more than a few who like to run for pleasure (I mean, what?).

While I respect my friends' opinions, I'm also very aware that I might not share them. And that is OKAY. Friends all having to like the same things (and hate the same things) is something we should all put away in, like, grade school.

I'm not saying opinions are bad, just…I really encourage people to see for themselves. If you're excited about a movie, don't let other bad opinions stop you. Just because some people "weren't impressed," doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. In our ever-increasing critical society, it's hard to just ENJOY something, I know. It feels like the whole internet wants to challenge your enjoyment and tell you it's stupid.

But remember this—when it comes to consuming media, it's YOUR opinion that matters most in what you view, read, and listen to. You are allowed to love stuff other people might not. You shouldn't take a "I wasn't impressed by this book/movie/song/TV show" as the final verdict—you might feel totally different.

It's hard to erase all those opinions if you consume a lot of social media, to go into something with an open mind or even excitement, but I always end up enjoying something more when I do.

So, you know, the next time you hear an opinion, maybe decide to see for yourself anyway.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Today is the day! I officially have two novels out in the world and a series published (okay, a duology) and all that stuff. I'm quite excited for TRANSPARENT fans to be able to read the rest of Fiona's story, and I hope they enjoy it.

Ever since Hot Key Books approached me last January and asked me to write this sequel, I've felt incredibly lucky. By then I had accepted that, even if I'd always felt like there was more to Fiona's journey, I wouldn't get a chance to write it. I had made peace with that. So to suddenly be told that I'd get to finish what I started felt like a gift. A difficult gift, but a gift nonetheless.

Since BLINDSIDED was kind of a "surprise" in my career, I have to admit this day is much less stressful than my debut in May 2013. It feels like icing on the cake in a lot of ways. And how can you be worried about some extra frosting?

Maybe it's also that second books are less pressure—at least for an author who is not a bestseller or even close and has no expectations to be so (it's probably different if you're the author of a very popular series). I wrote this book for the people who already love TRANSPARENT, you know? And since there were no ARCs and little publicity in the US (different in the UK), I admit it has been blissfully low-key, with few early reviews to derail my confidence like with my debut.

BLINDSIDED has lived up to its title at almost every stage. Surprises around every corner! So I don't quite know what to expect now that it's out in the world, but by now I'm assuming it won't be anything predictable. That's kind of exciting.


You can order BLINDSIDED though these venues:

Book Depository
The King's English (If you order online or call 801-484-9100 today, I can sign and personalize your book at my signing tonight and they will ship it to you!)

There will be TWO signings in January for BLINDSIDED: 
BLINDSIDED Launch Party:
January 2, 2014
The King's English
Salt Lake City, UT.
(If you want to pre-order a signed copy—or you can't get there and want a signed copy—call the store at or.)

Southern California Signing—With Kiersten White and Shannon Messenger!
January 23, 2014
Oceanside Barnes & Noble
Oceanside, CA