Tag Archives: Year in Review

Writing Year in Review

2018 was my first full year as a published author. A lot of extremely exciting things happened, and also a lot of flailing in panic. Because getting published after a lifetime of striving for this goal is a bit like yearning to be allowed in the deep end of the pool as a kid and then finally diving in and realizing WHOOPS I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO SWIM.

It was a hell of a year for me as a writer, even if you only look at the biggest highlights:

  • THE DEFIANT HEIR was published! And it got some really lovely reviews and pretty much everyone liked it even better than THE TETHERED MAGE, yay!
  • My swordfighting in ballgowns Twitter thread went viral, which was a bizarre experience with all kinds of unexpected long-reaching and delightful consequences!
  • THE TETHERED MAGE got shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar award! I’m STILL in shock!
  • I wrote THE UNBOUND EMPIRE, finishing my very first trilogy!
  • I sold a new trilogy to Orbit and started writing the first book!

I also unlocked a lot of little writer achievements that meant a ton to me personally. Fan emails, hearing I kept people up late at night, fan art (!!!), someone running a D&D campaign based partly on my books, a FAN TATTOO WITH MY BOOK IN IT, hearing my book comforted someone through hard times, a reader’s kids playing Falcon & Falconer, making readers cry, a Halloween costume partly inspired by TDH, people tweeting about their book hangovers after finishing one of my books…This sort of thing is what I always wanted. This is why I write: to bring a bit of story-joy into people’s lives. Every little reader interaction like that makes me squee and smile and tell my family “Someone liked my book!” like it was the first time. (THANK YOU, awesome readers!)

So it was a fantastic year for me as a writer! But it was also a tough year. My deadlines for THE UNBOUND EMPIRE were tight, and it was a real struggle to balance work and life, especially with parenting. I really need some way to wedge an extra 5-10 hours into every day—it would solve a lot of problems. So if you have a line on an available time turner, please, let me know.

Next year looks to be very nearly as exciting—I’ve got THE UNBOUND EMPIRE coming out in April, and will be working hard on the new trilogy. I honestly still can’t believe any of this is happening.

I hope your 2018 had some good stories in it, whether you read them, wrote them, or lived them, and that 2019 is even better!

My 2016 Writing Life In Review, One Email Quote at a Time

2016 may have sucked for humanity, but it was pretty awesome for my writing career. As the year draws to a close, just for fun, here’s a look back on my 2016 writing life through email quotes!

I always am fascinated at anything writers, editors, or agents post about submission and publishing timeline stuff, because the timing in publishing always seems so shrouded in mystery. So for your entertainment, here’s one actual quote per month from a writing/publishing-related email I sent in 2016, tracking the evolution of THE TETHERED MAGE in its journey toward publication.

Actual email quotes are in blue, commentary in black. Enjoy!


OK, here it is with the changes! I took all your advice. 🙂 All changes accepted, all comments deleted, ready to go.


In January, I put the then-final touches on what was at the time a YA historical fantasy called A FALCONER OF VENICE and sent it off to my awesome agent, Naomi Davis. Uh, a lot has changed since then. Though Naomi is still awesome. (And still my agent.)


Now I gotta get back to working on this WIP, but it’s hard to type with so many fingers crossed… 😉

In February, the book then known as FALCONER went out on sub to a small, select handful of editors. (Repeat after me, kids going on sub: “And now, we wait.”)


It’s good to have news, even bad news—silence is unnerving! Thanks for sending along the feedback, too. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the remaining fulls & pitches.

In March, I got my first rejection for FALCONER. See, it really does happen to everyone!


You know what’s really awesome when you’re a writer waiting for an email? Dozens of notification emails about someone updating a work thing.

This one is actually a tweet, because in April, I got no news of any kind on FALCONER and pretty much just sat there gnawing my fingernails and freaking out. And also working on my new WIP, which is a thing you should always do when on sub.


Everyone I know seems to be in the same boat of publishing being just plain slow these days, so I’m not freaking out (honest), but I’ve basically managed to get myself superstitious that if I send you an email something will magically happen, so, uh, here’s the email. (Hangs head in embarrassment)

In May, as you can see, the waiting of being on sub got to me, and I snapped and sent my (wonderfully communicative, to be clear) agent an OH GOD I KNOW THERE’S STILL NO NEWS BUT THE SILENCE IS KILLING ME PLEASE SAY SOMETHING ANYTHING JUST SO I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE HERE IN THE DARK email, as you can see. I, uh, don’t necessarily recommend doing this. And she was being great about keeping me updated and everything. I just snapped. She was very nice about it.

Also, I lied. I was totally freaking out.


(June was the month I got my book deal, so I give you several different email excerpts, because I can’t pick just one!)

I am certainly around this evening! And totally can make it until then without dying of suspense. 😉

This was about setting up a call with my agent when I knew she’d been talking to an editor who had my book.

I was lying. I actually died. But then I got The Call and it brought me back to life.

I’m still bouncing off the walls! My daughters think it’s hilarious. They have also reminded me that years ago I promised them if I ever got a book contract we’d go out for fondue, so that is definitely happening very soon. 🙂

We did. It was delicious.

Woo hoo!!!!! Still waiting to wake up from this amazing dream… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Six months later, STILL waiting. This is a hell of a long dream.



In July, I signed my contract. This quote was my gut reaction to the section in my contract about following the house style guide. (Not sent to my editor, of course! Just joking with my agent. Well, mostly joking. I have strong feelings about the Oxford comma.)


In other news, the revision is coming along great! I’ve got some good momentum going and am trucking along.

In August, I was busting my butt adding 50K words to my book and making it adult rather than YA, and original universe rather than alt history, among other structural revisions. “Trucking along” is want-to-seem-professional-ese for “OH GOD I’M WORKING SO HARD MY SOUL IS BLEEDING.”


SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY to finally be able to tell everyone about this!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

In September, my book got its final title, THE TETHERED MAGE, and we announced it publicly. Oh, and I turned in that first huge round of revisions.


Thank you so much for all the fantastic feedback! This is all incredibly useful. I’m excited to get going on the edits!

In October, my awesome editor, Lindsey Hall, got back to me alarmingly quickly with feedback on said enormous and soul-breaking round of edits, and I plunged straight into Round Two. NO REST FOR THE WRITER.



In November, they sent me an early look at a cover concept. The quote above is my reaction! I loved it and I still love it and it made everything seem like maybe it was all real. I also turned in my second round of edits.


EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s incredibly exciting! WOW!!!

In December, I learned that Orbit would publish my book in the UK as well as the US. I also got feedback on that second round of edits and am now working away on the third, which is nice and small and manageable, comparatively speaking.

You will notice a trend toward more and more exclamation points and capital letters as the year wears on. Clearly, by release day, I will be reduced to nothing but exclamation points, and all my emails and tweets will just be “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Gotta say, I look forward to it.

2014: The Year of the Phoenix

It was the year of fire, the year of destruction. The year we took back what was ours. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.

The year was 2014. The place: Babylo…. wait. No, this is about my writing career.

But yeah, it was a hell of a year.

In January of 2014, I started querying DREAMWALKERS, a middle grade contemporary fantasy.

In February, I got into my first pitch contest (in which I got no requests, but got great feedback and encouragement).

In March, I got amazingly helpful feedback from the incredible and supportive online writing community, all of which pointed in the same direction: my voice for this novel was YA, not MG. After soul-searching and conferring with my CPs and beta readers — and most importantly, after realizing a direction I could take the book as a YA novel that could be really awesome — I decided to take the plunge and revise to YA.

In April, I finished revising the entire book from middle grade to young adult, retitling it JANUARY IN SHADOW.

In May, I started getting a whole bunch of requests for the new YA version.

In June, to distract me from the hell of waiting for query replies, I started a first person reboot of a new novel I’d been toying with, A FALCONER OF VENICE, a YA historical fantasy.

In July, I got sufficiently excited about the new book and disenchanted with the old that I gave up querying JANUARY IN SHADOW. I still had some active queries and requests, but I wasn’t sending out anything new. I’d shifted my focus to writing AFOV.

In August, I got a Revise and Resubmit request for JIS. I had to decide whether to focus on revising for the agent who was interested in JIS or on getting AFOV ready in time for PitchWars, a big mentoring contest I was really excited about. I went with momentum and kept pushing ahead with the new book, intending to get back to JIS next.

In September, everything happened at once. I got into PitchWars as a mentee with AFOV. While I was still celebrating, I got a request for JIS on an old query I’d closed out as no response. Within a couple of days, that turned into an offer of representation. WOO HOO!!! I was thrilled (if a bit dizzy from creative whiplash) to sign with my agent, Naomi Davis of Inklings Literary Agency.

In October and November, I furiously revised JIS based on feedback from Naomi and my awesome, awesome CP’s and beta readers, as well as my own fevered plans.

In December, I finished revisions on JIS and delivered the revised version to my agent. And also started taking notes for a new book I’m really excited to write, and worked on a revision plan for AFOV.

2014 was the year I finally figured out what revising was all about. The year I found the courage to start over, to take big leaps and big risks, to throw stuff out and completely rethink basic assumptions. To allow myself no quarter and ruthlessly keep honing a story rather than stopping as soon as it could hold an edge. It was a phoenix year, where I set things on fire with the faith something beautiful would rise from the ashes and lay some creative waste.

2014 was the year I found community. There are so many amazing people out there in the online writing community, who give of their time with great generosity to help each other on the endless road. And my own community of friends, writers and not, were equally amazing about offering to read my book, or helping me hone my pitches, or helping pick a title. I had been going it alone, but that was stupid. As video games teach us, IT IS DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE. There’s so much I have to learn as a writer, always, and I am honored and humbled to be a part of a writing community so generous in its sharing of knowledge and support.

2014 was the year I got an agent. That still feels pretty darn awesome. I’m starting a new phase of my writing journey. I know it’ll be even harder in several ways, and I’m sure there will be many bumps in the road. But I’m so excited to be embarking on the voyage.

I’m starting 2015 bursting over with creative energy, excited about all three projects (JIS, AFOV, and New Book) and eager to see where I can take them. No matter what happens, I am going to make awesome stories and it’s going to be amazing.