June 25, 12 @ 6:53 pm
Halfway through 2012 — which I can barely believe. Six months from today is Christmas! o.O
I have been really busy this year. While I am craving a little downtime to randomly stare at a palm tree and maybe drink a margarita on a beachy vacay, I certainly can’t complain. Year Five of Writing Full Time is going very well. Busy means I have contracts. And having contracts is a Very Good Thing if you want to write full time.
So what have I been doing this year, you might ask? (Or you might not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.)
WICKED KISS: the second book in my Nightwatchers series with Harlequin Teen was my first completed manuscript in 2012. It clocked in at just over 100K words and I think it’s pretty darn good. And so does my editor, which is always
a relief nice to know. I am waiting on editorial revisions to this, but it will be released March 2013.
BLED & BREAKFAST: the second book in my Immortality Bites Mystery series with NAL Obsidian was sent to my editor just a couple weeks ago. Sarah and Thierry have more adventures, get into tons of witchy and ghostly trouble on their visit to Salem, MA, in this follow up to Blood Bath & Beyond. B&B will be out June 2013. I heart this series more than I can ever express. Enough said.
COUNTDOWN: I finished my YA rewrite of Countdown, a book about a girl forced to play a very deadly game with a dangerous partner. I loved getting the chance to revisit this one and making it fit the YA market — and it seemed to flow really well that way. Plus, I was able to fix a couple plot points that five years after I wrote the original didn’t work for me anymore. So yay. I’m really happy with how it turned out. This will be out in late 2013.
WHAT I’M CURRENTLY WRITING:
REBEL SPRING: The second book in my Falling Kingdoms series for Razorbill. This is rather epic high fantasy with swords and princesses and evil kings and sorceresses, and it’s damn fun. It’s a lot different from my Rowen stuff, so I’m really glad I’m putting on my Morgan Rhodes hat when I write this. Me and Morgan are beyond excited that Falling Kingdoms is part of Penguin’s Breathless Reads campaign for Fall 2012 PLUS Falling Kingdoms has sold to twelve different countries so far and it’s not even out for five more months (December 11th to be precise). Talk about motivating!
I want to write Demon Princess #4: REIGN STORM in September. This is my self-pub venture so it had to take a backseat to other projects. I appreciate the ongoing patience of the readers of this series and do promise that the final book will be available as soon as I can ensure that it’s as good as it can possibly make it. Or, I suppose I could just save all that waiting time and tell you how it ends and be done with it. NO? Well, okay then. I fully anticipate that the final book will be available Jan 2013. I hope.
OTHER INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT STUFF…….
TV SHOWS I’M WATCHING THIS SUMMER:
Masterchef: I caught up on this one On Demand and I like it. Why are chefs always so mean, though? It’s just food! Enjoy yourselves you silly people! Don’t be so glum about a badly cooked mussel! It’s not the end of the world. Sheesh!
Game of Thrones: I’m catching up on this one — currently finished with episode 3 of season two — and holy cow, there are a lot of new characters this season. I definitely can’t multitask when I’m watching this, it needs my full attention. Jon Snow = hot. Love Tyrion. Hate Joffrey and Cersei. They should both die horrible deaths. Mount their severed evil heads on stakes! Stat!
True Blood: I’m still watching religiously, though mostly for Eric and Alcide at this point.
American Ninja Warrior: Why didn’t anyone tell me about this show before? It’s like a serious Wipeout with ripped dudes. Yes please!
What Not To Wear: It’s like comfort food for my brain. Actually, I watch way too much TLC for my own good. I need more Discovery and History Channel to get my brain synapses firing again, I think.
BOOKS I’VE READ IN 2012:
I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’ve been so busy writing (oy, my eyes!) that I haven’t read very many books at all (despite BUYING far too many books for my own good!)! But what I have read have been rather fabulous.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green: I’m not a big fan of disease-focused books, or contemporaries for that matter, but the delightfully snarky voice in this one and the sweet romance work to make this a definite winner, as seems to be the general opinion of anybody who’s read it.
ORIGIN by Jessica Khoury: the first of Penguin’s Breathless Reads this year, I got to read the ARC of this fascinating book about a girl bred to be immortal in the jungles of South America. It definitely captured my imagination and felt really different from other currently available YAs (in a good way), and it has a really fabulous romance in it and some thought-provoking themes about life and death.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY & FIFTY SHADES DARKER by E.L. James: Read these two back to back. Had to see what all the hype was about. All I can say is that I’m getting something different from the books than the obvious smexxy fix. I am reading them for the fascinating character study of Christian Grey and his rather epic and surprisingly sweet (despite the genre trappings) of his romance with Ana. Quite frankly, I consider it more of a touching love story than pure erotica. I really like these books despite their flaws and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But then, I am an unapologetic Twilight fan, so there you go.
THE GOLDEN LILY by Richelle Mead. I’m only one chapter in, but I know this is going to be a fantastic read. I just hope to avoid any spoilers online. I hate spoilers!!
Okay, enough blogging, I gots me some writing to do! Till later!
October 24, 11 @ 10:35 pm
I’ve found that there are some readers who are a little confused about my book and series status and what I have ongoing right now.
Allow me to help!!
2011 marks the end of both my Nightshade and Living in Eden paranormal romance series at 2 and 3 books respectively. That’s okay. Short and sweet, right? I’m proud of both of these series, I enjoyed writing the books, and have been very grateful for the warm reception both have received from the readers who discovered them. I do think that Living in Eden is definitely done at the end of book 3, That Old Black Magic (out December 6th!), but I am open to returning to my Nightshade world someday if I ever have the opportunity.
2012 marks an exciting new start for three series… my current writing schedule will allow for new releases in each series every 8-9 months. I’m soooo excited about each one of these, I can’t even tell you….
NIGHTWATCHERS — New young adult urban fantasy series with Harlequin Teen.
Book #1 — DARK KISS — June 2012
In a nutshell, this is about a girl who gets a kiss from her ultimate crush but it’s, as the title suggests, a rather Dark Kiss. She then gets swept up into an world of angels and demons in a city at siege with an unseen evil that threatens everyone who lives there. It’s fun, it’s romantic, it’s thrilling. Currently, I’m contracted for two books in this series. The second book will be called WICKED KISS and it’ll be out in early 2013. I have seen an early cover for Dark Kiss and, I gotta say, it’s FREAKING GORGEOUS. Can’t wait to share the final version.
IMMORTALITY BITES MYSTERIES — New paranormal mystery series with NAL Obsidian; a fresh continuation of my original Immortality Bites books. Think: “season two.”
Book #1 — BLOOD BATH & BEYOND — August 2012
Sarah Dearly just wouldn’t stay quiet after I gave her a happily ever after in Tall, Dark & Fangsome. Nearly three years later (in real life anyway, in “book life” it’s only about three months), she’ll be back in her first cozy mystery — with the same feel, same humor, same voice as the original books. Sarah has her man, and he has a new and dangerous job as traveling consultant with the Ring, the vampire council. She tags along. Chaos ensues. I think it will be very fun to explore the ongoing relationship of a funny optimistic fledgling vampire who trusts too easily and a pessimistic and secretive master vampire who rarely trusts anyone. I think I could very happily write about Sarah’s future adventures for the rest of my life. But for now, I’m contracted for two books in this new series and I hope readers connect to it in a big way!
FALLING KINGDOMS — New YA high fantasy series with Razorbill
Book #1 — REBEL SPRING — Date TBA
I’m dipping my toes in a different genre — high fantasy — and I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity! Since this is a different feel from my paranormal fare, I will be writing it under the pen name Morgan Rhodes. Two books are contracted in this fun and exciting series so far. Woo hoo!
Oh, and I certainly can’t forget……..
DEMON PRINCESS — the self-pubbed finale(s) to my YA paranormal series.
Book #3 — REIGN FALL — January 2012
I like closure. I just couldn’t let Reign Fall be the last Demon Princess book. After all, I already KNEW what was going to happen next. So I wrote it. I couldn’t finish up everything in book three, so book four is…um…coming. Eventually. I swear!!! I’m not TOTALLY sure when I’ll have time to write the last book, but I can promise you that it WILL be written. Ideally, I’d like to have the last book out in late 2012. I’m going to try my very best!! Promise!
And that, my friends, is pretty much it. I’m very lucky to call writing my full time job and I’m grateful to my awesome readers and my fabulous editors for giving me the chance to keep doing this. Life is good!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some writing to do….
April 01, 11 @ 11:55 am
This post might only be of interest to aspiring authors, but I wanted to do it. It’s always been an obsession of mine when it comes to writing.
Yes, the eternally exciting subject of WORD COUNT.
How much is enough? How much is too much? Amazon used to have a “search inside the book” option that let you know how many words were in a book. I found this endlessly fascinating. Obviously, I don’t have many hobbies. Alas, Amazon doesn’t do this anymore.
It made me realize that one book by a rather famous writer was only approx. 45,000 words long, but since it was set with larger type and spaced out leading (the term for the space between lines), it came out to around 300 pages.
I was going to buy the mass market paperback of Pillars of the Earth, but the type was so, so tiny I couldn’t do it without jeopardizing my already tired eyes if I read it (I ended up getting it on Kindle, a format in which typesetting doesn’t play much of a part…and my eyes are grateful for it).
It all depends on the publisher’s graphics and typesetting department. They need to fit a book on an alotted number of pages. More pages = more printing costs, so I can understand trying to shrink things — but hopefully not jeopardizing readability.
I tend to stay well under 100K for my single titles. I write fairly sparse — not a lot of space given to long descriptions. Since, well, I’m not a fan of writing them. I like writing dialogue, which tends to be a bit snappier in word count and pacing.
I received my ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of BLOODLUST, which clocks in at 282 pages. I had to go back and double check my word count to see that it was virtually the same as NIGHTSHADE, which clocked in at 325 pages. I guess readers might think it’s a shorter book (if they give this sort of thing any thought), but it ain’t! It’s just typeset that way. And it looks fab — all lean and fit, like a Victoria’s Secret model — if I do say so myself.
(Note: I’ll be doing a blog giveaway for a couple ARCs really soon.)
I always spend way too much time in a first draft worrying that my book is going to be long enough. But it always comes in right where it should, usually between 80-90K. I don’t think I’d want to write much longer than that.
Anyway, thought I’d share my final word count and final printed book page count of some of my books, just for reference sake.
BLOODLUST — 84,800 words, 282 pages
NIGHTSHADE — 86,400 words, 325 pages
BITTEN & SMITTEN — 92,900, 369 pages (If I wrote this now, I’d probably trim 5K from it — at the time I thought a book HAD to be 100K and I felt bad that this wasn’t)
TALL, DARK & FANGSOME — 83,200 words, 334 pages
THE DEMON IN ME — 95,200 words, 323 pages (wow! I had no idea this one was so long!)
SOMETHING WICKED — 94,800, 348 pages (this one too! But more pages than TDiM, so you see what I mean about typesetting!)
DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE — 65,200, 274 pages
Young adult novels traditionally were shorter than single title books, but that’s changed a lot since Twilight and its ilk. For example, the YA I’m writing right now, DARK KISS, will likely clock in at about 80K — it just gives a bit more room to stretch my legs. But I just don’t see myself writing the 150K tomes I’m seeing out there. I don’t think I have that much to say!
I was actually a little surprised by the word counts above — especially those of the Living in Eden series. I don’t actually count words when I’m doing a first draft. I count pages. I aim for about 320-350 manuscript pages. If I can get anywhere near that, then I’m satisfied. I write in Microsoft Word, using double-spaced Times New Roman, 1″ margins at top and bottom, 1.25″ left and right. Here’s an example of how a finished manuscript page looks (and yes, it’s a very small sneak peek of BB&B, which is the next book I’ll be focusing on after I finish the YA):
So, basically, if you’re worried about how long your book needs to be…don’t. Just write the story, don’t try to pad in extra words or paragraphs just to plump things up, and trust the process to turn out a book the length it was meant to be. Just keep in mind, for single titles, try to aim for over 80K and you’re golden!