Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Panic Attack

What am I thinking? I've signed up for my first NaNoWriMo and it starts in just a few hours!

Luckily I've been needing this kick in the butt so I can't complain. I've been nursing a draft for too long and am in need of a story vacation. NaNo is my story vacation.

Story vacation? What's that? Just check out Aimee Salter's wonderful blog. Aimee is a YA author, represented by Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her blog is one of my favorite sources on the web for writerly advice. She recently published a post about when, or if, it's ever okay to consider 'giving up' on a book. Her wonderful words of wisdom can be found here.

She proposes that sometimes all you need is a vacation from the draft you've been living and breathing for the last - oh year or more. Now, when you think of a 'vacation' you're probably picturing this:

And not.....this:

But that's how I roll. I like hard work so NaNoWriMo is my kind of party.

How do you #NaNoWriMo?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Awesome Author Interview with Cassandra Marshall

We are joined today by the wonderful Cassandra Marshall, freelance editor, lit agency staff member, and debut author of the steampunk adventure The Stars Fell Sideways.She is active on twitter and you can follow her here: @CA_Marshall.

Here is a what you need to know about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS

I wanted to take some time to get to know Cassandra and her creative process. Here's what she shared:

1. So many authors say their story came to them in a dream or was inspired by real events. How did the idea for The Stars Fell Sideways come to you?

You know what's really sad? I honestly don't remember where the idea for STARS came from. I know parts of it, but not the first spark. :( It wasn't a dream and it certainly wasn't based on a real event. :P

2. Pom has such a wonderful name, how did you come up with it?

I ate an unlawful amount of pomegranates during writing. They were on sale (and they never go on sale) so I took advantage. Pom was originally just a placeholder until I could come up with something different, but I loved it so much that I kept it.

3. Some of the story takes place off the coast of Portugal. Why did you pick that location?

You never hear about anything happening off the coast of Portugal, right? Seems like the perfect place for an island to be hiding! I think the Portuguese language is beautiful. I first heard it spoken by a native in a youtube video (you can see it here: and knew it would have to be in my books somehow! Plus that super cute part in Love Actually with the writer and the waitress :)

3. 1. (Follow up question) Have you ever been there?

Sadly, no. :( Someday!

3.2. (Follow up question) If not, was it difficult to write about a place you never visited?

The only part that actually happens in the country is the arrival at the airport. Most airports are alike, so it's not hard to imagine for me the writer or for you the readers. Plus there's Google.

4. So many authors/publishers talk about how this business requires patience. How long have you been writing/revising this story?

I wrote it after NaNo '10. I was exhausted by that book so I wanted something new and fun and different from anything else I was working on. I wrote it quickly, spurred on by writing buddies that were loving the pages. I finished it, let it sit for a while, edited, edited edited, let it sit, edited again, and started querying widely in March 2011. So many agents were loving it, just not enough to rep it. I let it sit a few months without thinking about it and when I re-read it I cried, I loved it so much and didn't want it to just sit in a drawer anymore. Earlier this year I won a trip to NYC to Backspace and met a few agents there and did another query push. Those agents also loved it, but not enough to rep it. Some even said they liked me and my writing, but they didn't know who they'd sell it to. So I figured I'd sell it right to the readers myself, as readers aren't worried about imprints and sales thresholds and all that stuff. I've done more editing since deciding to release it, several copy edits, polishes, and more polishes. Hopefully it's about as perfect as I can get it. And I hope the readers like it. The best thing about doing it myself is that I'll be able to easily tweak if people come back with glaring errors :)

4.5 You decided to indie publish/self publish. What was the most challenging part of that process?

I think the hardest part is having confidence in yourself. The agents didn't like it enough, what if the readers don't either? But all writers feel that, don't they? Specific to self-publishing, it's finding reviewers. My people on twitter know me as an editor and introducing a book and asking them to spend their own money to read it... that's tough. I only hope I've done a good job.

5. You yourself are and editor, but did you use any additional editors to prep your book for production?

Yeah, I trained a friend of mine in copy editing and she gave it a once over, and then another friend did my copy edits and has read it a billion times. I hired another freelancer to give "big picture" edits and lots of friends have read it too. I didn't have a lot of money to spend, but hopefully enough eyes have been on it. :)

6. What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

Don't worry about what's supposed to happen. Follow your own writing path, do what you feel is best, what brings you joy.

7. Now that your book is out for the world to see, what will you do to celebrate?

Snuggle with MolliePup. Putting a book out takes hours and hours and hours of work and I feel like she's been neglected a little bit. Thankfully she likes staring out the window at the squirrels and birds and bunnies and turkey's but I think a lot of long walkies are in order. Getting off my butt will be good for
me too :)

Thanks for the awesome interview Cassandra! Now go check out The Stars Fell Sideways for yourself. Read. Enjoy.
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