New Year, New Goals

We all know 2020 was a rough year, and writing-wise, it was a mixed bag for me.

Overall, I managed to:

  • Finish 2 YA manuscripts
  • Draft a new YA manuscript (and complete NaNoWriMo)
  • Query 3 YA manuscripts
  • Write and publish 2 romance novels
  • Write and publish 3 romance novellas
  • Publish a romance novella collection

All during a pandemic while dealing with a special needs child virtually learning next to me while I’m working from home at the full-time day job. It’s been a challenging year, but damn. I’m proud of what I got done now that I see it all written out.

So here’s the tentative plan for next year:

  • Continue querying my YA manuscripts
  • Self-Pub my Contemporary YA title
  • Complete another YA manuscript
  • Draft and hopefully complete a MG book
  • Write and publish 3 romance novels
  • Write and publish 3 romance novellas
  • Publish a romance novel collection
  • Try not to lose my mind

Along with the writing goals come the usual life stuff: eat healthy, exercise more, declutter, save more money. I might as well get a tattoo with all that since it repeats every year. I’m going to add in “travel more” as soon as it’s feasible to do so, finish all the online writing courses I have access to (Masterclass, various writer conferences, etc.), and just generally look for joy every day, even if it’s only in a small way or a brief moment.

What about you? What are you working toward in the new year?

I May Have Book News Coming Soon . . .

I’ve been through a bit of a writer rollercoaster lately (writercoaster?) first with my imprint shutting down, then my having to dump my non-responsive agent (who left agenting not long after). Now I’m back in the trenches with three different manuscripts under my arm, knocking on agent’s doors and begging them to pleasepleaseprettyplease read more than my first ten pages. It’s grueling, and the sad fact is for all of us in this position, only a very small percentage of agents respond at all. The few who do send you a perfunctory form letter rejection that gives you no feedback to improve your pitch or opening chapters, and if you’re lucky enough to get a request for the full manuscript, once again, very few follow up with a response. Getting a book published in the time of COVID is a daunting thing.

Just like any career in the arts, talent isn’t enough. Connections help, luck can be on your side occasionally, but persistence is your best chance for success. In the meantime, keep on writing, keep on studying your craft, keep on keeping on.

So.

I wrote two complete YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi books, my usual area of focus. And I wrote this one contemporary YA because the story ate my brain and demanded I write it out. BLUE is about a teen girl dealing with the fallout after her older brother was involved in an automobile accident that killed the father of one of her classmates. I’ve had a professional editor read it through and give me some developmental notes, reworked it a bit, tweaked it some more, it went out to Beta readers and they loved, loved, loved it. And they all cried at the end (Yay!).

But how do I pitch this? Honestly, contemporary stories are generally just not my thing. And publishing is weird. I may not get a bite because my previous books were YA Fantasy and I’m known as a YA Fantasy writer. And if I do get a bite on the new story, they’ll want more contemporary stories and I’ve got nothing to follow up with but more fantasy and sci-fi books and ideas. So I’ve made the decision to put this one out myself, and keep on pitching the others in the genre I’m most comfortable writing.

I’ve got a cover to commission, some formatting work to do, line edits to review, and I’ll be using Ingram Spark as a publishing platform so I’ll have bookstore distribution. I hope to have a cover reveal and launch date for all of you shortly after the new year. In the meantime, I’m still writing, querying, and persisting. Here’s hoping 2021 pays off for all of us.

L.E.

I’m Going To NoVa TEEN!

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It’s official! I’ll be at NoVa TEEN Book Festival on March 30th! If you’re in the Northern Virginia/ DC area, come on out! They’ve got a fabulous lineup of authors, including my fellow Swoon Squad members, Katy Upperman (KISSING MAX HOLDEN, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US, HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN) and Olivia Hinebaugh (THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME).

The event is free and full of terrific workshops, as well as overflowing with books and amazing authors! I’d love to see you there!

It’s A Book Birthday Giveaway!

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That’s right! This Thursday, February 7th, TRAVELER is having a birthday! To celebrate the book that made me a traditionally published author, I’m giving away the following:

  • Signed copies of both TRAVELER and DREAMER
  • One Glitter Mousse candle, courtesy of Nox to Lumos Candle Co.
  • Journal
  • Dream Guide
  • Book lover bookmarks

Contest open to everyone. To enter, head over to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or Facebook and like my giveaway post before midnight on February 7th. Bonus entries for every share or retweet! Winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday morning.

Good luck to all!