Thursday, June 23, 2011

Announcement! TICK TOCK GOES THE CLOCK is accepted by Carina Press!

While obsessively monitoring Tweets from the major romance publishing houses, I ran across an open call for an anthology from Harlequin’s digital-first publishing house, named Carina Press.  The requirements: a Steampunk novella with the theme of winter or Christmas threaded throughout.  It had to be anywhere from 18K to 35K, and it had to be in by May 15th, with the announcement by June 15th.

Despite the fact that I’d never read a Steampunk at that point (I've since fallen crazy IN LOVE with the subgenre), a plot bunny immediately sprang to mind – a high-tension caper-style romance with a twist, and a Christmas message at the end guaranteed to warm even Scrooge’s flinty heart.  I got TICK TOCK GOES THE CLOCK to my beta reader buddy, the fabulous cozy mystery author, Hart Johnson, and out to Carina Press’s Executive Editor, Angela James by May 13th (a Friday, no less).

Then the nail-biting began.

From the time I was fourteen and decided I was going to be a romance writer, I’d dreamed of the legendary call from Harlequin, known simply as The Call.  And on June 14th, the day before Carina Press was supposed to officially choose four authors for their holiday-themed Steampunk anthology, I watched Angela James’s Twitter stream like some creepy stalker.  My heart tripped over itself when she announced she was making The Call to various authors.  Yay!  It was time!  I grabbed up the house phone and cell phone and walked around the house ALL DAY LONG.  I even took the phones into the bathroom with me (I know, you didn’t need to know that last part :P).  Then, as I was getting ready for work, I checked her Tweets again and saw she had made all her calls.  My phones had remained silent.

I wasn’t getting The Call.

Broken-hearted, I went to work.  I couldn’t concentrate -- I accidentally brought one of my skating students close to tears over a miscommunication, and then I forgot where I'd left my skate bag.  By the time I staggered my distracted way back home, I was resigned to opening a rejection email and getting on with my life.  Sure enough, when I checked my email there was something from Angela James regarding TTGtC:

Hi Stacy,

I'm sorry I was unable to reach you by phone today, but I’m so pleased to tell you I’d like to accept TICK TOCK GOES THE CLOCK for publication in the 2011 steampunk holiday collection. Though I do have some editorial notes, and your book will undergo developmental, line and copy edits, I loved this story and can’t wait to share it with readers.

Come to find out, I uh, didn’t check that little blinking light that means “PHONE MESSAGE, IDIOT” on the answering machine.  Apparently I had gotten The Call the day before.  I must say, my new editor has a bright and bubbly voice, and had I heard that message on freaking MONDAY, I wouldn’t have spent all of TUESDAY double-fisting phones around the house and feeling sorry for myself.  *sigh*

But never mind!  I’ve now been lucky enough to make another dream become a reality – yay!  And I’m going to enjoy this happiness with abandon... until I get those first round of edits. :P

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Much News, So Little Sanity

On your mark.... get set.... GO!!!

News Flash #1 -- I have received the go-ahead from my lovely cyberpunk editor, Sasha, to share not just the name of Samhain's upcoming cyberpunk antho, but also the cover art for my novella, ZERO FACTOR!  Ready?
It's the CYBERSHOCK Anthology! Authors: Barbara J. Hancock, Nathalie Gray and Moi :)

Isn't he purty? <3  I want to love him and squeeze him and name him George. :D  Erm, if you'd like to pre-order at Samhain, I think you can (no pressure. Really.  I'm fine....  Really. :P).

Newsflash #2 -- BuNoWriMo is ON!!!  The second annual challenge of writing a novel in 30 days' time started June 1st (I know, I'm late -- sorry).  This event was started by some of my closest writing friends/inspirations, who call themselves The Burrow.  Just like NaNoWriMo, the BuNoWriMo peeps are a bunch of crazy writers who try to gush out 50K words in the month of June.  What's more, we share our triumphs and tragedies at a place I like to think of as our BuNoWriMo Common Room on Facebook.  Please drop in and make yourself comfy!

Logo of BuNoWriMo, by Graphic Artist Great, Joris Ammerlaan
Newsflash #3 --  I used BuNoWriMo as an impetus to finish DEMON INK! *throws confetti*  Quick backstory for those who don't know:  DEMON INK was a story originally sent to eHarlequin's Nocturne Bites as a paranormal short (15K words).  Since I sent it in MARCH of LAST YEAR, I finally wised up to the fact that the legendary Slushpile Monster nommed this project (and two others), and that I would never see them again. *waves a tearful farewell*  I then happened to mention on Twitter that I had three projects I was going to be tweaking, using the editing tools my groovy new editors had taught me.  Before I knew it, one of those editors answered that she'd be happy to look at these projects once I was done, and of the three, she chose DEMON INK to be the first on deck. 

Thanks to BuNoWriMo, this short story blossomed to a 35K word novella, and with luck I'll be sending this bad boy off by the end of the month. Whee!

Newsflash #4 -- I guest-blogged! *happy dance*  The brave soul who dared to host me was the amazing Marian Youngblood!  I met Marian through Facebook (geez, I love social networks ^_^), and in her I found a fabulous soul whose voice should be heard throughout the world.  She writes New Age fiction (current work: Shasta: Critical Mass) as well as blogs as both herself and as Siderealview.  Check her out!

Newsflash #5 --  After dragging my feet and feeling terribly sorry for myself, I FINALLY sent one of my poor editors the excerpts for BEST MAN, WORST MAN (ebook due out October 25th at Samhain).  Confession: I'm not good at this picking-out-excerpts thing.  Basically it's because I can feel the weight of importance on the whole affair.  I mean, after reading the excerpts you've chosen, the potential-customer is either going to be breathlessly inspired to buy your book, or remember to avoid any product that has your name on it as if it's been sneezed on.  Yeah, no pressure.  But now that I've done it, I've been told that the editing process for BMWM is almost complete and is on the verge of being sent off to the formatters.  Whatever that is. *still a clueless newbie*

Newsflash #6 -- I'm famous!  Well, not really. :D  But my editor blogged about a funny event that occurred while working on BEST MAN, WORST MAN the other day, and that blog is currently on the front page of Samhain's site, entitled "Good Communication".  Enjoy, and say hello to Immi in the comments box!

Newsflash #7 -- As I type this, there is something sitting in my email inbox entitled, "FINAL BOOKS - ZERO FACTOR".  I haven't opened this email.  It came about two hours ago, and it's been staring at me ever since.  I think I know what it is.  I THINK these are the ARCs -- advance-review copies.  I think this means that it's time to send them out to various reviewers.  And... well, that's why I haven't opened the email yet.  See, over the past two hours I've been suddenly stricken with this INTENSE desire to keep the entire world from reading this book.  Or any other book I've ever written.  I'm scared.  Everyone will probably hate it.  I'm sure the sex scenes will offend my mother.  My neighbors might form a lynch mob and chase me out of town for being a bad writer.  I want to stick my head out the window and yell, "WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T READ IT!.... I mean, you can go ahead and buy it, that's cool, but holy freakin' crap DON'T READ IT!"

Now, I know what this is.  Having spent most of my life either performing on-ice or pushing others to perform, I recognize the symptoms -- I have stage fright.  It's all in my head.  My editors wouldn't have chosen my projects to be published if I sucked out loud.  I should have confidence in their abilities, if I'm doubting my own.

Yeah, I know all that.  But phooey.  I'm terrified.  And maybe a little crazy.