Category Archives: Path to being published

PUB DATE FOR NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED – TODAY!!

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NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED is available today!  (You know, in case you didn’t recognize my squealing and running up and down the streets shouting it at passersby.)

Click on the cover to order it from amazon.

If you want to know more about NO PEACE, feel free to head over to www.meganpowellbooks.com.  Now excuse me while I continue my spastic combination of happy-dance and freak-out rumba:)

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Megan Powell Books

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I finally broke down and added a new site specifically for my upcoming books.  It’s pretty basic – book titles, release dates, etc. – but I consider it a work-in-progress.  Expect more as the release date for NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED looms ever closer. (July is just around the corner *squee!* and right now, we’re finalizing cover art which is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever done!)

So when you can, check out http://meganpowellbooks.com and let me know what you think.  I enjoy doing this stuff myself, but it really isn’t my forte.  Suggestions and helpful hints are most definitely welcome:-)

NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED

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NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED, an urban fantasy novel by Megan Powell, will be published in 2012 by 47North, the first in a two-book deal.  The story revolves around a troubled young woman who joins an underground mercenary group in their fight against her evil supernatural family.

I keep reading the announcement over and over waiting for it to sink in.  I even asked my editor the other day, “So, I’ll really be able to go into a bookstore and actually buy my book?”

She chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, when you get to hold the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) in your hands, then it will start feeling real.”

I  hope so.  Because right now, even as I work through my editorial letter, even as I consider book covers and author pages, even though my insanely incredible agent Joanna (@josvolpe) keeps assuring me that, yes this is really happening, it feels too incredible to actually be real.

But it is – I’m going to be a published fantasy author!  *squee*

I’ll be launching a new website next month and will be sending out the link to everyone I’ve ever met.  (Just a forewarning)  But I’ll still keep this blog going – I’ll always need to a place to keep record of my kids’ fabulous adventures, even while embarking on some new adventures of my own;)

To NANOWRIMO or not to NANOWRIMO

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Should I or shouldn’t I?  That is the question.  I have a new novel plotted out, so I wouldn’t be running blind for the 30 day write-fest.  But I’m still revising my current WIP.  Do I put my current on hold and spend the next month pounding out the new one?  Or do I just ignore all the NANOWRIMO hype and support and focus on getting my current revisions done?

Decisions, decisions.

I’ll have to get back to you on this one…

Goal check time

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Last time I updated my goals was back in August.  And I think I missed a month before that.  I could hem-haw about time-wasters and a busy schedule, but why bother.  Let’s just get back to it:)

Goal 1. Write a second novel – Revisions are underway!  I had a slight interruption for about four or five weeks where I focused on digging deeper into the requested revisions for my first novel.  It took some time, but those revisions are now back in the hands of my agent-extrordinaire, Joanna.  Time to refocus on this second novel once again.  I know, the revising seems unending.  And in a lot of ways it is.  But revisions are a HUGE part of the process, and I am fortunate to have received requests for specific changes.  No complaints here on the necessary side-tracking.  With this second novel, I’m making revisions based on feedback I’ve received from my writer’s group and other first-round readers who are equally invaluable.  Over all, this goal remains pretty much on track.  My plan is to turn in the viable first draft to my agent within the next month.  Woo-hoo on this one:)

Goal 2. More focused time with the kids –  The start of the school year has brought with it many new challenges.  For example, I now only have a couple of hours between when the kids get home from school and when I have to start working my evening editing job.  Add on top of that homework, sports practices, tutoring, and playing with friends and it doesn’t leave much time for the whole mother-child bonding thing.  Now, I am really working to make sure that the minutes I do have with them count.  Most nights, this includes nothing more than  talking about our days while I make dinner.  But hey, I’ll take the bonding where I can get it:)

Goal 3. Publish 1 article a week for examiner.com – This is being removed from my list of goals because, as of last week, I have officially resigned from this website.  It was a cordial resignation with an open opportunity to return, but it really wasn’t the type of writing I am interested in pursuing.  Additionally, the pay was practically non-existent.  And with a lack of incentives, my writing started to suffer.  Maybe I’ll pick up with examiner.com again someday, but for now, I’ll just focus on the fantasy novel stuff.

Goal 4. Develop a self-marketing platform – Back to status quo on this one.  Lately, though, I’ve wanted to do a bit more on this front.  Especially with the blog.  I love that I’ve had this outlet to vent and write about my pursuits and what-not.  But now I want a bit more.  More links, maybe a review now and then, who knows.  But this is something I’m really going to work on during these remaining months of 2010.

So that’s where I’m at.  Still going, still trying, still writing and working on my life.  It’s an ongoing process, but I’m glad I’ve kept these goals to keep me on some sort of track.  So until next time, take care and good luck on your own personal goals:)

Playing the Wait-and-See game

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Last year, when I started writing, I was naive enough to think that the process was simple – something like you see in the movies or on TV.  Write a book, get an agent, sell the book, work with an editor – baba-bing-baba-boom, done.  It never occurred to me that there would be so much waiting.

But the reality is, waiting is a main past-time for a writer.  You write the greatest novel the world has never read and then you give to your writer’s group to read.  Then you wait for them to read it.  It’s ready to be queried so you write the best query ever and send it to your most desired agents. Then you wait for a response.  And wait some more for that response.  And maybe wait a little more.  When the ding letters arrive, you start the process over and do some more waiting. (By this time you have moved, paid off your car, gotten pregnant and given birth, and occasionally you go back to read your greatest novel the world has never read because you can’t remember all the character names anymore)

The agent thing finally works out and the revisions begin.  With every set of revisions, there is a wait that goes along with your agent or their readers.  They have to read it and give feedback so, yeah, more waiting.  Then the submissions begin.  Your agent submits your greatest novel the world has never read to a handful of editors who just received twenty other greatest novels the world has never read, all in your genre.  So, again, you wait.

All-in-all it’s not as bad as it sounds – especially when you have an agent that keeps you posted on the process.  But it is a lot of waiting.  So my suggestion: grab another cup of coffee, and start in on that next great novel.  Overlapping the wait-and-see’s tends to make the time go a little faster:)

Building a world by trimming the fat

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My current work-in-progress is at that first revision stage.  The first draft is done, that initial feeling of accomplishment gone, now its time to get to work.

My biggest dilemma with revisions is knowing what to cut, what to keep, and what to re-word. (I know, sounds like all revisions, right?) But this time, in addition to chopping away at my many extra adjectives and scenes, I’m also going to be adding quite a bit – a new experience for me when it comes to first-round revisions.  With my last manuscript, I cut over 10,000 words in the first-round revision.  This time, I’ll be adding almost that much.

World-building is the key.  I know this thanks to my wonderful agent, Joanna.  It’s not enough to simply allude to a main character’s inspiring relationship or influential past.  It needs to be illustrated enough to provide the reader a realistic motivation behind my main character’s actions.

So that’s what I’ll be doing today – world-building.  In as few, concise words as possible.  Of course, if I go overboard on the descriptions again, it won’t be that bad.  After all, there’s always those second-round revisions to consider:)

Goal check-up: better late than never

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I’ve neglected my blog.  More than that, I’ve nearly completely ignored the poor thing.  I could give excuses about a packed calendar and time slipping away, but I won’t.  My husband once told me that ‘I didn’t have the time’ wasn’t a real excuse because time is truly the one thing that absolutely everyone has the exact same amount of.  Instead, I won’t waste another moment dwelling on how I should have spent my unscheduled hours.  Let’s just get to it:)

Goal 1. Write a second novel – I can officially check this one off.  In the several weeks that I bit my nails waiting for my super-agent Joanna to give me feedback on my manuscript submissions, I distracted myself by completing the first draft of a second novel.  A comic-mystery, the book is definitely in the first draft stages, but I did manage to get the 51,000 words down on paper.  Now I need to decide if my time will be better spent revising that first draft, or working further on the next WIP.  Decisions, decisions.

Goal 2. More focused time with the kids – This summer was all about the kids, whether I wanted it to be or not.  (This is what I was doing these last couple months instead of blogging and writing) It could be argued that I over-commited the kids this summer – swim lessons, basketball and cheer camps, gymnastics, soccer camps, VBS, tutoring, etc. – but looking back, I’m glad I did it that way.  The kids loved having something to do everyday in addition to playing with their neighbor friends and just hanging out at home.  They are such cool individuals and I loved spending so much time with them.  All-in-all, a great summer with the kids!

Goal 3. Publish 1 article a week for examiner.com – Suffice it to say that my blog wasn’t the only thing neglected these summer months.  In fact, I neglected my Community Sports column so much that my boss asked if I still wanted the title.  I agreed to step it up and get back in the groove with a new article last week and one in the works for this week.  Let’s hope I can keep that momentum going;)

Goal 4. Develop a self-marketing platform – Yeah, fell short this one, too.  Ignored the blog, ignored the twitter – not exactly the necessary activity to strengthen a self-marketing agenda.  Time to get back on track.  I’ve picked up on the twitter again in the last couple weeks and am putting the blog back into my regular routine as well.  And with my requested manuscript revisions back in Joanna’s hands, resubmission on the horizon, I need to focus on this self-marketing thing more than ever!

Overall, summer break was exactly that – a break.  But just like the kids are heading back to school, my break time is over as well.  Time to get focused again.  Get my daily routine back on track, and mind these goals with a renewed sense of purpose.  (Enough of the pep-talk, I’ve got goals to work on!)

Where I’ve been for the last 3 weeks

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In a word: revisions.

Laurell K Hamilton once tweeted that a book isn’t done until its on the shelf.  I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time. 

I have a book currently on submission to several publishing houses.  My incredible agent Jo and I spent months getting the book ‘submission ready’ then she sent it out.  And I waited.  And waited and waited.  My fingernails were bitten to the nub, my diet went out the window.  Finally I started another WIP just to get my mind off the book that was ‘out there’.  After about 6 weeks, Jo and I sat down (over the phone) and went through all the feedback she had received. 

This is where my naivete about the publishing business became evident.  I assumed that an editor would read the book, like or not like it, and that would be the end of it.  In some cases, it was.  But for more than one, revisions were requested. 

Revisions?  But didn’t I already do revisions?  And did that mean the editors wanted the book after the revisions were done, or that they would simply ‘think about it’ some more?  Fortunately, my agent is as incredible an editor as she is an agent.  She explained that the role of the editor has shifted in recent years, as has the role of agent.  Editors can now request revisions and edits without actually commiting to a work or author.

Jo put together an edit sheet including the various requested revisions.  Then we discussed further how we both thought we should go forward.  Ultimately, I agreed that the edit points were good ones and went ahead with the revisions.  In the end, I really think my mss is stronger than ever. 

So now I’m back to the waiting game.  New submissions, revisions done, and a better respect for the importance of an awesome agent!  Thank you Jo!  And I’ll just start wearing fake nails from now on:)

Checking in on those goals:)

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This summer is getting away from me!  The 10th already?  Say it isn’t so… It’s past time to check on my goals, so let’s not waste another minute!

Goal 1.  Write a second novel – I changed this goal last month and what a difference it has made in my motivation!  Completing a sequel when the first book isn’t sold yet was just too trying on the old inspiration.  So, following the advice of the most fabulous agent ever, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe (http://www.newleafliterary.com),  I started something new.  The result:  I’m close to 35,000 words on a work-in-progress that I actually enjoy writing!  The feel and excitement I felt when writing my first book is back and I’m loving every minute of it!  At this rate, I should have the first draft done before my next update! *crossing fingers on that one*

Goal 2.  More focused time with the kids – Summer is all about the kiddos!  In the two weeks since school has been out, we’ve done the zoo, gymnastics, cheer camp, basketball camp, started tutoring, joined reading and play groups, and attended a couple of birthday parties.  It’s been a whirlwind and a blast.  But the fun stuff isn’t all we’ve done as far as quality time: both kids asked for chores this summer to earn some money.  I’ve spent time with them cooking, cleaning, teaching my son to mow (I should take pics of the areas he’s done so far – not a straight line in the bunch!) and just talking.  They are really cool people and getting cooler everyday:)

Goal 3.  Publish 1 article a week for examiner.com – I think I did ok on this goal.  It’s difficult to get motivated to produce for a site that offers little in the way of incentive.  I don’t mean to complain (never been a fan of folks who complain about their jobs when there are so many without them) it’s just a fact of the organization – a fact that they willingly admit to.  Still, I’m doing my best to plug away at the articles when I can, letting my friends and neighbors know what’s happening this summer:)

Goal 4.  Develop a self-marketing platform – Maintaining the status quo until more is necessary.  However … my agent sister, Sandy Williams (http://brimfire.livejournal.com), has been generous in approaching me about starting a group blog.  The blog will be a collaboration of romance writers (or wannabe romance writers) offering excerpts, reviews, contests, etc.  So exciting and so much fun!  The group and site are in the developmental stages so be looking for it come early 2011!  (don’t worry – I’ll keep you posted:)

So that’s where I am.  The summer is underway, the busy season of life is upon me.  Making sure I keep focused is going to be a bit more difficult this month, but hey, who doesn’t love a challenge, right?