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The March 2023 Review Day Begins In...

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Blue's Crews

  • BYE Edna has 10,000 GoodReads adds!! That list from the other day definitely helped, by the way - there were almost 1,000 adds just on the day after it appeared in the GoodReads newsletter.

    My stretch goal for GoodReads adds by the end of 2022 was 750. I CRY.


    6 hours ago

    6 hours ago

  • Announcement time! On , I'm having a virtual book launch for Remarkable Retirement! Join me and Cute Mutants author SJ Whitby as we discuss my debut, play book launch bingo sorry, Edna, and do some giveaways.

    Registration is free through Eventbrite. The launch will be on Zoom, and the date in this post has been automatically adjusted to your time zone!


    Mageheart Reserved a spot! I'm so excited !!!!
    Mar 20, 2023

    BluesClues Can't wait!!
    Mar 20, 2023

  • BYE I AM POSTING FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. Edna is on GoodReads's list of The Biggest New Fantasy & Sci-Fi Books for Spring, and I am OVERWHELMED

    When I say I didn't expect Edna to ever end up on such a list, I mean it. There were the two years of "this isn't marketable" rejections from agents. And while I love working with Hansen House, small presses - despite the great work so many of them do - are often passed over when it comes to "most anticipated" and similar lists.

    (Just ask all the 2023 Debuts who are in the small-pub channel in Slack! Being passed over for lists and events is a common woe.)

    So to see Edna on a list of BIGGEST releases - to see her called one of spring's BIGGEST fantasy books - is mind-blowing, and so overwhelming that my physical reaction to seeing this list was to...have a panic attack, because apparently my body interpreted heretofore unknown levels of excitement as panic?? It was very odd, but WHATEVER, STILL EXCITED.

    The link in the write-up currently goes to the wrong book, but a friend commented on the post with the correct link! And regardless, Edna is still mentioned in the write-up and included (with the correct link) in the list.


    looseleaf Congrats Blues!! That's so cool!
    Mar 17, 2023

    Mar 17, 2023

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  • highlights from saturday's q&a

    Just for @yosh, my answers to some of the questions the seventh-graders asked me during yesterday's presentation!

    How do you write complex worlds without boring the readers?

    Spoiler! :
    Number one: don't infodump! You can weave worldbuilding into the story as it becomes relevant without writing a twenty-page prologue describing your world's history and rules. Trust that your readers will understand without the infodump.

    Number two: focus on line-level worldbuilding! For example, the setting of Remarkable Retirement is more or less the real world - but magic exists and everyone knows about it. This confused early readers: when a wizard shows up in chapter one, the nursing home residents are surprised to see a wizard at the home, but they're NOT surprised that wizards exist. Early readers asked, "Why aren't they more shocked to learn that their world has magic??"

    The answer is that magic is well-known in this version of the real world, but I had to make that really, really clear early on in the book so that readers wouldn't get confused about the role of magic in the world when the wizard showed up.

    The solution was to rewrite my opening so that readers would get a sense of the world from the very first lines: "Golden Years Senior Care Center was a strictly nonmagical nursing home. Other homes had enchanted board games and classes on spellwork; Golden Years didn’t have so much as an enchanted bedpan. The activities director made up for this by planning day trips, macrame classes, and other equally magicless events to enhance the seniors’ social lives."

    Right in the first sentence, the word "nonmagical" hints at other homes having magic; the second sentence confirms it; and the third sentence makes it clear that the activities director (and by extension, the residents) is perfectly well aware of this. By the time you reach the end of the first paragraph, you have a good idea what to expect from this world!

    Do you use traditional fantasy creatures in your books or make up new creatures?

    Spoiler! :
    Both! I tend to reach more for traditional fantasy creatures but put my own spin on them. For example, Buried Things has ghosts, but they rarely take corporeal form.

    (Meaning, they don't usually show up looking like people.)

    Instead, the characters experience ghosts as smells, colors, and sensations that change depending on the ghosts' moods and what they're "saying." So it's my own take on a traditional fantasy/paranormal being - which is a good way to make use of traditional elements if you want to pursue trad pub! Putting your own spin on dragons, fairies, etc. helps you stand out from the crowd by showing industry professionals what's different about your book.

    How do you find motivation to write?

    Spoiler! :
    I'll let you know when I figure it out lol. Jk, jk. So, sometimes, if you want to write as a career (especially if you want to pursue trad pub), you just have to...treat it like a career and write even if you don't feel like it. It might be like pulling teeth and you might hate every word, but sometimes you just have to do it anyway.

    BUT. I find it helps to create or find an environment that puts you in a good writing mindset! For example, I'm much more focused and willing to put in some real work if I take my laptop to a coffee shop. It's like tricking my brain. "Oh, hey, let's get a coffee, as a little treat, oh, hey, what a brownie, oh, hey, now my laptop's open OH HEY LOOK AT THAT WRITING IS HAPPENING."

    I can write at home, but I'm much more productive and focused at the coffee shop. Figure out what environment best prepares you for writing - it's a lot like studying! You may be more focused or productive on homework if you're in a particular place, have snacks and treats, are wearing comfortable clothes, etc. Writing is the same way.

    What inspires you to keep writing after all these years?

    Spoiler! :
    Actually a tough question?? Partly it's that my grandpa, who was also a writer, inspired me from a young age. But largely it's because I just love it. I do complain about it a lot, but I actually love it, I enjoy doing it, I love solving plot holes, I LOVE my characters... It's the one thing I put all my time and energy into.

    What do you do if a publisher rejects you?

    Spoiler! :
    Here is where we get real, because it depends: did A publisher reject you, or have MANY publishers rejected you?

    Real talk, kids: if you're seeking trad pub, you are going to get rejected. A lot. Many times.

    You've heard those stories, right? "Don't give up! Your favorite bestselling billionaire authors were rejected twelve times!"

    Bruh. Twelve times is literally nothing.

    I queried Remarkable Retirement for two years. I queried around 70 agents, every single one of whom rejected the book - because they didn't like the premise, or they didn't like the writing, or they loved it but thought it wasn't marketable. Two years and more than 70 queries later, I have a book deal, but two years is nothing! 70 queries is nothing! I have friends who have been querying fifteen to twenty years, and some of them STILL don't have agents or book deals.

    I don't say this to depress you, but to prepare you. If you're on social media, you won't hear about the writers who have been querying for fifteen or twenty years. You'll hear the unicorn stories: the writers who JUST started writing, completed a book in three months, and were agented in another three months.

    It's rare, but it's a story made to take off on social media. And when the only story you see is that story, you feel like a failure when it doesn't happen that quickly for you, when you spend years in the trenches or have to write multiple books to get there.

    Now, rejections are tough. Rejections can seriously mess with your mental health. So it is TOTALLY VALID if you get even one rejection and decide you have to step away or pursue alternative forms of publication (or just keep writing for yourself).

    But if you really, really want to break into trad pub...you have to just weather the rejections and keep going.

    yosh <3 tank u blue
    Mar 13, 2023

    BluesClues <333
    Mar 13, 2023

  • Just preordered Remarkable Retirement <3 it's on google! it autocompleted for me at remarkable re--

    Preordered kindle version and paperback because I don't know which way I'll want to read it >.> but it'll be a wonderful birthday present

    BluesClues Omg excellent!! It's so exciting to finally see it on more platforms so it's more accessible <3
    Mar 12, 2023

  • Had my first real author event today! My uni hosted a session of Power of the Pen, a statewide writing program/contest for seventh-graders, and they asked me to speak to the participants for 45 minutes before the awards ceremony.

    It was slightly awkward at the start - I kept waiting for someone to introduce me or tell me I should get started or something, but no one did. So my friend/the tech guy was like, "I'd just start," and I got going.

    My topic was "Write What You Know: Putting YOU in Your Writing" and explored the meaning of that popular writing adage, "write what you know." It was a presentation with a slight participation element: I gave the kids a rundown of my past and current stories, then asked them (a) whether I'm an 83-year-old/a dragon-rider/cursed with immortality, (b) whether I "write what I know," and (c) what they know about me from my stories.

    They were SO ENGAGED and so funny! When I asked if I were 83, cursed, used to dragons, etc., some of them yelled "maybe" or "yes." Answers were VERY mixed when I asked when I write what I know, which is GREAT - just what I wanted to get them thinking. And they hit every point I'd tried to make when I asked what they'd learned about me from my writing.

    (In case you're wondering, my conclusion is that "write what you know" doesn't mean you can only write about your own real, lived experiences, but that you should put your authentic self into your stories: your interests, your emotions and reactions, your struggles, your joys, and your identity.)

    Then we had a Q&A, and they had such great questions! I also loved that their questions were a mix of craft, general writing, and publishing. Like, someone asked about how to write complex worlds without boring the readers and someone else asked whether I use traditional fantasy creatures in my books or make up new creatures. But someone else asked how to find motivation to write and another asked what inspires me to keep writing after all these years. And the last question, which I thought was perfect to end on, was what to do if a publisher rejects you.

    Anyway, it was a great event for me, and I hope it was great for the kids, too!

    Mageheart All of that sounds amazing !!! It definitely sounds like the kids loved the experience as much as you did :)
    Mar 11, 2023

    yosh I would love to hear your responses >///>
    Mar 12, 2023

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  • Now book launch things are happening :eyes:

    Mageheart !!!!!
    Mar 10, 2023

    BluesClues !!!!!
    Mar 11, 2023

  • Things are happening!! Print copies are starting to populate at major retailers, meaning preordering is now available through more stores - including Book Depository, which has free shipping to anywhere in the world! I'm so excited about what this could mean for preorders, especially from my international peeps who would've had to pay an arm and a leg for shipping through the publisher.

    Click the picture to be taken to my Linktree for a full set of buy links! There's also a link to the GoodReads giveaway (U.S. and Canada only*) and the audiobook Kickstarter.


    *If you follow me on Twitter or Insta, I'm currently running a giveaway open internationally on Twitter through March 10 and will then be running one on Insta until March 17. So if you're not in the U.S. or Canada but want a chance to win a signed proof, go check it out (or DM me for a link)!

  • Here's a really fun Picrew that the Twitter writing community has been using the last couple days - and here's the cast of Remarkable Retirement in its style!

    Spoiler! :

    Snoink Oof. This is fun...
    Mar 6, 2023

    BluesClues I have spent literally all day doing this, I also made a David and Peter from Buried Things and they are PERFECT
    Mar 6, 2023

  • BYE I AM DECEASED. Sangu Mandanna, author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, which became an instant fave and new comfort book when I read it over Christmas, tagged me in an Instagram post: one of the books she's looking forward to in 2023 is Remarkable Retirement!!!

    I have been screaming internally about this ALL DAY and got nothing done at work for approximately 20 minutes after seeing the tag. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is my ideal book as a reader and the kind of book I'm leaning more toward writing since Edna. In fact, it's one of my comp titles for Buried Things!

    Needless to say, this is one of the most exciting things that's happened to me since signing my contract omg.


    Mageheart oh my gosh that's amazing !!!!! congrats <3333

    (also i very much need to check that book out now >>)

    Feb 28, 2023

    BluesClues Mage it is SO GOOD OMG. it has EVERYTHING. found family! magic! MC who avoids bonding with people bonding with people including three small girls! LI who is a grump with a heart of gold! old gay couple who's like theater-kid!David and Peter if Peter went to therapy IT IS SO GOOD OMG
    Feb 28, 2023

  • Proofs arrived while I was gone over the weekend!! These aren't the final copies - headers & a blurb will go on the book yet - but we're getting close.

    (As in, this is my last chance to catch typos close lolol.)

    Edna was just as excited to see the proofs as I was (and eager to start reading).


  • the end of the saga...for now

    Today, HCPU shared highlights from their new contract, which they call "the strongest contract in book publishing (for now). I'm crying AGAIN thinking about how many people's lives are literally going to be changed for the better because of the union's dedication, their willingness to strike for three months, and the undying support of workers, readers, booksellers, and authors across the industry.

    How many people who would've left the industry because of financial difficulties and burnout are going to stay now, especially marginalized people? How many other publishers are also going to raise their wages - like Hachette and Macmillan did - and treat their people better because of the success of this strike? How many more publishing unions will follow? How many authors will have better work done on their books because their editorial teams aren't worn out from being overworked and underpaid?

    HCPU just took the first step in making a more equitable industry for all of us, and I am having FEELINGS about it.

    Here's the Twitter thread of contract highlights, if you're interested.

  • breaking news!

    HarperCollins Union voted to ratify the new contract and will return to work on Tuesday



  • Image

    By "it" I mean "an audiobook" and by "happening" I mean "my publisher is going to open a crowdfund"! Since Hansen House is a very small, fairly new press with limited resources, they have limited resources and haven't been able to produce audiobooks yet.

    But thanks to the interest in Remarkable Retirement - and specifically the many requests for an audiobook from Tumblr - they figure we might have enough interest to fundraise for an audiobook! So here we are.

    The crowdfund isn't open yet, but you can follow it on Kickstarter if you want to be notified when it goes live!

    Mageheart !!!!!

    that's awesome !!!!! i just made a kickstarter account so i could follow it :)

    Feb 16, 2023

    BluesClues Thank you <333
    Feb 16, 2023

  • There's a GoodReads giveaway for Remarkable Retirement, now through mid-March! US and Canada only, as it's for print copies (and a l a s shipping is expensive).

    Mageheart !!!!!

    i already preordered a copy of it but i absolutely just had to enter the giveaway too-

    Feb 15, 2023

    BluesClues hehe, thank you <3
    Feb 16, 2023

People with writer's blocks should get together and build a castle.
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