July 14, 2008
Why does everything seem to come up at the same time? I know I didn't plan it that way. But there it is on my calendar. In the next two weeks, I have: a car to get inspected and licensed, a dental appointment, yearly doctor visits for both the kids, an eye appointment and a trip out of town. Oh and I'm throwing my husband a huge, fun 40th birthday party (can't wait) and there's also something in there about a book launch.
So attention tech savvy people: I suggest a new invention: calendar alarms. You write one too many things down on the calendar, it makes a loud clanging sound and closes the book. You do it again, it eats your pen. You're crazy enough to try for a third time and you are forbidden to write anything new in the calendar for a week.
It could work, right? Or maybe I've been writing too many paranormals.
Oh and a very fun event on my calendar: I'm doing an interview today over at Amber Katze's Book Blog. Check it out. She has a really neat site going.
July 07, 2008
I'm not one for checking the mailbox out front. It's not that I don't care, I just forget. When I lived alone, I'd occasionally go out to find the box stuffed with a few day's worth of magazines, junk mail and (hopefully not) too many bills. My husband, on the other hand, can hear the mail truck coming from a block away. He loves getting the mail, which works out quite well for both of us.
Fast forward to today, when I'm (predictably) running five minutes late to pick up our daughter from a friend's house:
Me: (tossing my purse into the Jeep): Late, late, late...
My husband (at the mailbox): Hey, your editor sent you a book…it's the book.
Me: Well, since I'm already late…
My editor had sent me one of the first copies of The Accidental Demon Slayer - hot off the press. The book looks fantastic - bright cover, silver lettering on the title. It's a kick to know this is the one that will be in stores in a week or two. I just wish I didn't have to rush off. But hey, that's life. Besides, there's nothing like inspecting that first book at every stop light.
And you know what? At least it made it out of the mailbox.
June 30, 2008
Ohhhh…I am so bad, sneaking into the blog three days late. I'm in Anaheim, California for the American Library Association Conference. We're right next to Disneyland. I'm trying to hide my mouse ears behind my back, but it's not working, is it?
And I'm not even clever this afternoon because I've been riding Pirates of the Carribean working hard for the past three days. So to make it up to you guys, how about I draw names for not one, but two ARCs? My last two ARCs for this contest. Say it ain't so!
The winners are:
Mary Ann Taylor and Charity S.!!!
And even though my ARC box is empty, my heart is full because we're getting close to the official launch of The Accidental Demon Slayer. And another great review just came in - this time from Romantic Times magazine. Four stars. "A new talent just hit the urban fantasy genre, and she has a genuine gift for creating dangerously hilarious drama." How neat is that? I'm blushing. Or maybe it's this great California sunshine.
June 17, 2008
Reviews are starting to come in on The Accidental Demon Slayer and they're kind of fun, like opening little presents while hoping they don't explode. I was going to post clips, but it felt too much like me standing here, with my arm around someone who just said a few nice things saying, "Here. Say it again. Tell these people. Tell them I'm smart. Tell them you like my shoes. Tell them." Maybe I'll get used to that, but as a debut author, it all feels a bit strange. So here are the links. That's the best you're going to get from me right now:
Also, if you get a chance, check out my group blog - Something Wicked. I have a post up today about a serious matter indeed, the Fox curse. It's been quite a, ahem, challenge for our family.
And (you knew this was coming) the battle of the squirrels has begun in my garden. They've invaded like a miniature, hairy Mongol army and let's just say it's not pretty. More on that later.
May 24, 2008
I've been in the garden a lot these past couple of days. And this year, I have hope. You see, I garden like some people diet. I start out with great intentions and then tend to find better things to do.
But I love spring, I love the idea of growing this lush garden full of organic fruits and vegetables. So much so that when we bought our house five years ago, one of the things that sold me was the generous plot of land on the side, bordered by a gray stone wall. It really would be the perfect garden, except for one factor: me.
Year 1: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Came down with unexplained fatigue a month later (pregnant, anyone?) and decided to grow a baby instead. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 0
Year 2: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Couldn't bring myself to go out and weed and water in scorching July temps with a new baby. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 5 tomatoes, 1 slightly scary looking pepper that nobody but me would eat.
Year 3: Already pregnant with kid #2. Planted tomatoes and pumpkins, thinking surely with only two crops... Raked over in July. Total vegetables harvested: 1 surprisingly hearty pumpkin in November.
Year 4: Abandoned cute garden plot for two container pots of tomatoes on the deck. Installed a bird feeder right above them. The seed from the bird feeder sprouted weeds in my lowly containers. Weeded like a fiend, watered, the tomatoes survived! The squirrels noticed and stole every tomato, except for two tiny ones that I took off the vine green. A third tomato was stolen by a turtle. My husband called it my most successful year ever and sweetly didn't mention that we'd spent approximately $60 in plants, pots and supplies for a yield of two cherry tomatoes. Total vegetables harvested: 2 1/2
But this is the year! Today is the day. I'm about to finish planting watermelon and pumpkins in the main garden. The tomatoes are in pots on the deck, looking quite weed free and happy at the moment. I'm not sure what to do about the squirrels yet, but I'm fully prepared to write my next novel while sitting on the deck, shooing away the little buggers. So if a demon conjures up vicious, tomato-stealing, fire-breathing squirrels in my next book, you'll know why.
In the mean time, I have hope. Fifth time is a charm. Besides, what could possibly go wrong this year?
On a totally separate note, I the winner of yesterday's ARC giveaway is Jayne Thomas. Yay Jayne!
Want to try to win your own ARC? Just sign up for my quarterly newsletter and you're entered. Easy as growing tomatoes (or not). Also, I'm blogging today over at The Brandford Bunch. http://www.thebradfordbunch.com/ Stop on by and hear the story of how this author made her first sale.
Now off to the garden...
April 24, 2008
I have some fun news today. The second book in The Accidental Demon Slayer series is finished! It was a kick to write, especially at the end when it was time to pull everything together. In fact, I found myself moping around this afternoon simply because it feels strange *not* to be working on that book.
But the moping won't last long because - as anyone in the publishing industry will tell you - this isn't the end. It's only the beginning. A book goes through several steps after an author types The End on a first draft.
For me, the next step involves my agent. I was really lucky to sign with Jessica Faust at BookEnds. She not only excels at the business side of things, but she's also a former editor. How great is that? A lot of her authors, even the bestsellers, run their manuscripts past Jessica for tweaks and ideas. Do you think this debut author is going to pass up that kind of opportunity? No-sir-ee-Bob.
So I emailed the book off to Jessica and in the mean time, have been busy cleaning the house (my family will be thrilled). I clean whenever I'm restless, which can be a very good thing - especially when the laundry stacks are taller than my one-year-old son. And they are right now. I worry about avalanches of socks and T-shirts.
And I'm also going to be doing some celebrating. Jimmy Buffett is in St. Louis tonight for the first time in eight years. It got to the point where I thought he'd never come back. Parrot Heads across the bi-state area are celebrating and my friends and I are no exception. I even bought my husband a grass hula skirt to wear to the concert because with his legs, well, how could I resist? Can't wait to blog about it tomorrow.
April 03, 2008
I belong to a wonderful writing organization called RWA. Through RWA, writers can take online courses on everything from income taxes (ho, hum), to novel writing, to pirates. Guess which one I picked?
Let's face it - pirates are way cooler than income taxes or novel writing. And while I've read a few things in National Geographic and am a proud owner of Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, I really would like to learn more. In the mean time, I've found a kindred soul.
After the class introductions, our teacher asked us to name our favorite pirate. Answers included Jean Lafitte, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny, Cheng I Sao.
My answer? Johnny Depp. Mainly because he's toe-curling, fall down, close-your-mouth-now-Angie sexy. Besides, I don't know who those other pirates are.
And that's when my classmate, Lynn, sent me this footage of her meeting, yes, meeting Johnny Depp. Well, he greeted her, which counts in my book. That's her with the wicked cool accent. Take a look and you can be jealous too.
[Okay. I know the link isn't working. It'll be up in a sec. I'm a writer, not a webmaster dang it.]
March 27, 2008
I don’t know if any of you are guilty of this or not, but when I start tinkering with something, it’s hard to stop. Even when I dress my four-year-old daughter, I’m always adding a little headband or maybe a ribbon or adding a sweater. And yesterday, before sending galley proofs back to my publisher, I had to call Chessie, my critique partner, and quiz her about a single word. Do I scratch it out? Do I leave it in?
Because after galleys, there's nothing else to do. These are basically the page proofs of a novel, all laid out and pretty, looking like a book. If it doesn't change now, well, that's what will be sitting on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. I thought about that way too much yesterday, to point where I almost drove right past the UPS store last night and kept my galleys for one more day. After all, they’re not due until tomorrow. I could have overnighted them today. Taken one more look, thought more about that one word.
The kicker is, I don’t think anything we do will ever be as perfect as we want it to be. There will always be something to adjust, tweak, change or think about way too hard. That's life, right? And I'd be shocked if anyone emails after the book comes out and says, "you know, it would have been better if you would have lost that one word on page 12."
So how do you tame your “perfectionist” streak? Or do you? Does the same drive that makes us crazy also improve our work? Or do we just need to quit overthinking, stop the car and let things go?
March 11, 2008
I called my critique partner last night because I'd added this great new twist to the end of my second book and I wanted to brainstorm exactly how to use it. Her answer surprised me.
Me: So, what do you think? (please like it)
CP: I think it's great, but why are you adding things? This is the end of the book.
Me: But it's neat, right? (please don't make me end my book)
CP: You remember that blog you did about pushing things to the next level? You also need to know when to quit.
I hate it when she's right. So here's the addendum to the Book Ends blog I did the other day.
(At http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2008/03/angie-fox-three-things-i-had-to-do-in.html in case you missed it.)
At the end of the book (the final fifty pages or so), it's important to stop, take a breath and trust yourself. I think I'm going to have to tape that to my forehead so I don't forget.
Without giving anything away, at the end of book 2, there are geriatric biker witches brewing up spells in the bathtub, a whole host of wicked fun she-devils and, of course, Lizzie the preschool teacher turned demon slayer who can't even cuss right. The entire book has led the characters into a larger-than-life moment. Now isn't the time to add more. Instead, now is the time to trust myself that I've brainstormed, ramped up my tension and surprised my readers (I know I've surprised myself a lot with this book). It's time to time to take what is there and knock it down spectacularly.
Why is it so hard to let go? I'm not sure, really. I can't think of any reason other than the fact that writing and creating is fun. I've had such a ball with these books that I don't know when to quit sometimes. But my critique partner was so right.
So tell me - do you have trouble letting go of your stories? If so, what do you do?
February 28, 2008
Or: Everything I needed to know, I learned from George Costanza
I’ve always loved to read, so it was no surprise to anyone when I eventually decided to write a book of my own. When I did, I attacked it head on. I planned, I worked, I outlined more than any woman should. The end result? I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell.
I don’t know how many of you watch Seinfeld, but there is a time in George’s life where he decides what he’s been doing hasn’t been working, so he decides to do the opposite. That’s what I did with my books. I’d been writing serious mysteries, with lots of science and research involved. They’d generated some interest, enough to almost, almost sell. But nothing quite happened.
To take my mind off the latest mystery making the rounds with agents, I decided to write something completely different, a funny paranormal romance where I could build my own world and make up my own rules. I fell in love with the idea of a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER was born.
Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it.
I still can’t believe THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER will be an August 2008 release. And just this morning, I was working on the sequel, laughing with the characters and having more fun than I should.
While I’m not sure Seinfeld is the best place to go for life lessons, I really do think there’s something to be said for following your instincts – in writing and in everything else. Can you think of a time you’ve taken a different path? Broken out of a pattern and started something new?