This week was the release of my newest book, Blood Soaked Ashes. It’s book two of The Eramane Saga, and I can’t wait to share this segment of the story with my readers. Publishing this second book has been an amazing experience. I owe much thanks to the lovely ladies that worked closely with me on this. My editors are amazing and my cover artist is a genius. Enough about that. Go get the book! Ok, now that you’ve gone and supported my habit, we can move forward. I am a few days away from finishing up a project that I will be submitting to agents. This manuscript has been on my desktop for a year and a half, and I’m excited about its potential. But what I’m totally stoked about is that I actually have a solid query for it. What does that mean, solid? As opposed to what? Haven’t you been sending outstanding queries, Frankie? Well, I thought I had. I thought I had the best queries that had ever been written and “Why the hell weren’t the agents biting?!” I mean, I had researched what other authors posted as their queries on their websites, and I had read countless articles on ALL.THE.SITES., and I had several rejection emails that offered some friendly advice on what did and didn’t work. I was the master query writer. So “Why the hell weren’t the agents biting?!” I had no answer as to why my queries were being rejected. For almost two years I battled back and forth with this question. But then I decided to seek expert advice. I reached out to my small network of author acquaintances and humbly asked for help. And I got it. And it kept coming and doors kept opening and finally after re-working my query I ended up with a “fantastic” one. (Yeah, that’s an air-quote.) And once I read the final, kick ass version, it was like a light bulb (like one of those coiled hazmat ones) exploded above my head. Der! How simple. How extremely f-ing simple you nerf-hearding ding dong. Yes, I can be hard on myself. But that’s what we authors do. We have to. If we don’t push ourselves and force our perspective in the right direction, no one else will. So, to celebrate my enlightenment, and the release of Blood Soaked Ashes, I would like to offer free query critiques to the first TWO WRITERS OF YOUNG ADULT FICTION that respond. I want to help you find your light bulb. SERIOUS ENTRIES ONLY. PLEASE READ!! PREFERENCES AND STIPULATIONS: Queries for young-adult fiction only please. All genres welcome. Your manuscript should be completed so that you can build a thorough query and essentially a synopsis, which is often required by agents. But before you submit what you think is a good start, check out this website for a well-rounded structure as to what a query should look like. Check out this website for a good example. If yours is already formatted like this, then go ahead and request a critique in the comment area. Make sure you offer the genre and word count and briefly describe the plot. If your query fits my simple and limited requirements, I’ll reply with how you can submit your query to me, and how the process will work. Keep in mind that this is a free critique. It is not in any way an edit, nor will I re-write the query. It’s free author advice, and I’m glad to help.
Manuscripts need to be polished. You know what else can be polished? A TURD! Watch it on MythBusters.
The crap that makes up the first draft of a novel should never be published for your readers. Unless you are some magical wielder of words who makes no mistakes in which case, CONGRATS BRO!
I’m a firm believer that the first draft should be well tended just as the final draft should be. Passion and focus are important in all stages of writing. But we all know that the first draft has tons of awful bits we don’t want our readers laying their precious eye holes on. This is why an experienced editor should have their way with the MS before its published.
I’m neck deep in edits right now. I have had my MS critiqued and edited for content (which is the stage I’m working on now) and once that is complete, my precious will be sent to a copy editor for finishing touches, you know, punctuation and grammar type things.
Why two editors, Frankie?
Editors come in all shapes and sizes (because they are human after all) and it’s a lot of work to pluck out all the horrific blunders an author makes whilst typing in the wee hours, eyes propped open with toothpicks like Tom’s when he stalking that clever little Jerry. I am working with two who each specialize in different scopes of the editing field. I’m not saying that one editor doesn’t have the capacity to hook your MS up proper, of course there are talented editors out there that can do that. But having more than one also puts more eyes on your MS. That is never a bad thing, yeah?
As I said, I’m in the editing process now with the second book of The Eramane Saga. My content editor ripped me a new b-hole, in a good way. This has opened me up to ideas that have enhanced my work, and forced me to rewrite nearly three chapters. Complete rewrites people! Three Chapters! Ugh! It sucked!
But I did it. And I’m so glad I did, because Blood Soaked Ashes is melding into the story I didn’t know it could be. That’s what good editors do. Your baby, that precious doc of 80k? 90k? 120k words, deserves to be dissected and picked apart and polished. But, unlike a turd, the finished MS should not smell. Unless you handled it after you polished and actual turd.
In a nutshell, before you publish, make sure it’s edited! Professionally! By someone who isn’t you!
Okay, I’ll stop exclaiming.
ASIDE RANT. I don’t want to leave anyone hangin’. Editors don’t work for free. And it’s difficult to find editors that take unsolicited submissions. I get that. If you’re not in the spot to work with professional editors at the moment, try finding online critique partner/s/groups. Participate in the NaNoWriMo and join forums that can hook you up with others willing to dish their opinion on your writing skillz. There is a plethora of resources out there for finding other writers who would love to critique your work. FYI, you are probably going to have to critique theirs too. Even tradesies. (That’s my non-word of the day.) And here is an article that describes types of critique partners/groups to avoid. Here is just another helpful link.
Shout out to SubItClub. You have lots o resources for writers! That’s awesome!
Toiling away I have been. (Yoda talk is weird when you see it typed out.) Writing more than on WIP is tough, chaotic, tiresome, you know. But the Force is strong in this one (ME!) and it is a must that I work in this way. I don’t know about you guys but having all sorts of ideas sitting upstairs for too long is no fun. I’d rather be cursing at myself during the hours most people sleep than to have stories just waiting around making cobwebs in my skully region.
But we is all different.
Book two (the last book) to the Eramane saga will be heading to my editor soon and its release will be a catharsis for me. I’ve been working on this story for a long time and I’m ready for my fans to know what happens to her and her comrades. So excited!
The title reveal is fast approaching (Oct 13) and the cover reveal will come shortly after. It’s still in its design phase. I have all my focus on getting this book out in time for Black Friday, so that I can get my YA Sci-Fi project out in January 2015 and hopefully get a combined edition of both Eramane books available in February.
Well, the rain just stopped, so I have to go walk my dog.
Here’s the deal pickle; this blog will be undergoing some changes.
Not this kind of change.
Some really cool things are happening in my writer world and because of that I am directing all power from my brain cells to my work. Because of this…
I will be converting my blog to the website for my works. There will still be a Blog tab, but I will be using it for write-ups on events and such. But….
If you truly dig what I do and want to keep riding the Frankie Ash train, hook up with me on Twitter and Instagram (author_frankie_ash). Also….
I am working on a newsletter that I would like to send out on the regular, so when I get that ready to go, I will post here to direct you guys where you can go to email sign up. Ya dig?
While I have your attention (and if I don’t…HELLOOOO!!!) I would like to tell you guys to look out for the August issue of Sci Fi magazine. ERAMANE will be in it!!!!! And, if you happen to live in/around/other prepositions that work the Winchester, VA area, the lovely folks at Winchester Book Gallery are hosting a signing for ERAMANE August 16th at 3p.m.
If you don’t preposition that area, look for future announcements on my events in the D.C. area.
So, Lindsay Cummings (author chic who wrote a book I can’t wait to read…The Murder Complex) unofficially called me (by me I mean everyone) out to write a post on their writing process. At first I was like, “I don’t wanna, cause my writing process is top secret and, well, I don’t want to have to flash that little red light from M.I.B I, II, and that other one in ALL.THE.EYES. But then I figured, why not, I haven’t used it in a while.
So, hopping on Mrs. Lindsay’s Divulge your most secrety secrets train, I shall reveal.
1. What am I working on?- At this very moment I have a doc opened and minimized, and it’s labeled “My Sci-Fi WIP”. Most of you know a little about it because I have posted some peak-a-boos on my blog. But it’s quite more than just a YA Sci-Fi book, as they all are right? Am I right? I’m right. But aside from that, my lips are sealed, like a…(you choose the visual metaphor) and as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
2. How does my work differ from other’s of its genre?- Hmmm. It just does. It’s different because there isn’t a ton of young adult sci-fi out there. It’s different because of its plot and its characters and their motivations and the setting and the characters, and it’s a total left fielder for me. I believed (before I busted out this awesome monster) that I could only live and write in the realm of fantasy, because I love it so. But I’m also a huge sci-fi fan and exploring that side of my writing has opened me up to writing all kinds of different things…like my short story Serial Wanda. You member that post don’t you? Member?
3. Why do I write what I do?- Because I grew up watching movies like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Legend, Star Wars…I mean…I just…I love it like I love my own blood. Yes, that sounds strange but think about it…think about your blood and how sad (and dead) you’d be if you didn’t have it anymore. See.
4. How does your writing process work?- It’s not really a process because it’s not a rhythmic thing I do.
In short, I write every day.
In long, my mornings are precious. The Earth is quiet and it gives me a chance to be still and let my creativity do its thang. It’s hard to write on my WIP every day because there are also other things that I have to write: blog posts, Twitter snarkies (insert your own definition…it’s more funner that way), Facebook…all the social media what-nots. But at least four days of the week are devoted to my project and on a good day (three or more cups of coffee) I can knock out 3500-4000 words, on a regular day (one cup), 1500-2000. But, there are those special moments when you HAVE to write. Those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t do anything else but drag yourself to the computer and work. I love those. And on those occasions I have written some of my best content.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
I told you guys I will be releasing a short story soon, and that’s still in the works. But until I have it all formatted and proper like for your viewing pleasure, here is a sample. It’s a dark comedy…the first I’ve written in the genre. I hope that I’ve at least done it with some tact.
Short, thin, cute? Yeah cute. Wanda judges herself while looking at her naked reflection. Some guy might have really enjoyed this, she continues, turning sideways to view her backside. Wanda stands there, half twisted, admiring her round butt, and wonders how painful an overdose death might be. Almost drowning is horrible…could an overdose be any worse?
The afternoon sun penetrates her sheer draperies and castes a glow onto her body. She marvels at the idea of her skin bursting into flames, as if she were a vampire; if it could only be that simple. Wanda often thought how wonderful it would be to have a guaranteed way of dying, like a steak through the heart or a holy water bath. But Wanda isn’t a vampire, and she doesn’t know of any guys that twinkle in the sun. She sighs.
A noise from the hallway breaks her blazing fantasy. It’s the familiar sound of a new tenant moving in. Wanda runs naked to the door and peers through the peephole. She sees a mattress, brand new, still in plastic, going in to apartment K. Next, a black leather couch, a large carpet, computer equipment boxes, and a microwave, all still in new packaging. Did this person just win the lottery or did they rob a bank? She becomes very eager to get a look at her new neighbor, and the longer she watches the more her face melds into the peephole. But all Wanda sees are logos on the movers gray T-Shirts: Paradise Movers.
In a little less than an half hour, the movers stop coming up to the second floor. Wanda, realizing she is still undressed, walks to the bathroom to grab her jeans from the floor. She shoves her legs in and rushes to her bedroom to grab the T-Shirt thrown at the foot of her bed. Dressed, she goes to the window and looks down to the parking lot. The moving truck is pulling away. That can’t be everything. Where is the tenant? What little that was carried in to apartment K was brand new, and after thinking about it for a second Wanda realized that the new tenant would only have a bed, computer, IKEA desk, microwave, coffee pot, and a brown box marked BATHROOM.
It was dark out now, and Wanda was way past spying on the new tenant. Her dinner was almost ready. Cooking wasn’t Wanda’s thing, but she could make a decent batch of spaghetti. She scooped out a large portion and plopped it on her only plate; she broke the rest from the garage-sale set she bought a year ago for a buck.
She ate in silence, no one called to interrupt her lonely dinner. No one ever called Wanda. Her co-workers stopped trying to include her months ago; they were fed up with her constant “not tonight,” or “thanks but no thanks,” or “ I have a lot of work to do at home.” They finally gave up, and now Wanda doesn’t even get the formal invite to the yearly Christmas party, a stamped invitation that used to arrive around December 15th.
She perks at the sound of a thud from across the hall, Is it the new tenant? and carries her plate to the counter, quietly setting it down. Tip-toeing up to the peephole, not blinking, her attention on the new neighbor rivals the focus of a hungry predator ready to lunge at its prey. He’s attractive, in that sexy-nerdy way that Wanda likes so much. His hair is dark and short on the sides, his clothes simple and his snug shirt reveals that he takes care of himself, not too buff, not too scrawny. Like Andrew Garfield! Wanda is excited, she just watched The Amazing Spiderman last night, for the millionth time. The handsome neighbor reaches into his front left pocket and pulls out a single key, no keychain. He holds it with a delicate grip and slowly slides it into the keyhole. She pushes herself away from the door in disgust. Stalk much Wanda? Again she is back at the peephole…eye pressed as close as it could be. She watches him open the door, bend down and pick up the BATHROOM box, and walk in, pushing the door closed with his foot, Wanda’s trance broken by the brushed nickel K in the center of his apartment door.
It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re working on a refreshing project. My young-adult, sci-fi work has been a blast to write. Since I’m almost finished with the first draft of this WIP, I’m contemplating if I should write a sequel, maybe even a trilogy. Trilogies are tough though because it’s always a challenge to make the next book better than the previous. Eramane has proven to be a task in the matter of plotting the third book. Book two is coming along well, and I must say…it’s better than book one. I’ve grown as a writer, developed better techniques used to plot chapters/scenes, and I’ve learned that writing isn’t just a passion; it’s a craft in need of constant nurturing.
I apologize for the above paragraph…it’s a bit foofy. But it makes my point…. which happens to be foofy.
Moving on, I’d like to say…goodbye WINTER!!!
Moving on further I’d like to say, OMG GAME OF THRONES COMES ON TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!
And with that I’ll leave you with this little video. Rage of Thrones.