Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spencer Hill Press Author, Kelly Hashway

In case you missed yesterday's post about getting ready for the year of my dreams, here's a short recap: 

I'm showing some love to my fellow Spencer Hill Press authors

What that means is I'm going to bombard you with everything you could ever want to know about them so you can follow them, tweet them, fall in love with them (no stalkers please), whatever you want. And in no particular order I start with the newest addition to the SHP family...

Kelly Hashway! Yay! *round of applause*

From her Author Page:

Kelly Hashway is a former language arts teacher who now works as a full-time writer, freelance editor, and mother to an adorable little girl. In addition to writing YA novels, Kelly writes middle grade books, picture books, and short stories. When she’s not writing or digging her way out from under her enormous To Be Read pile, she’s running and playing with her daughter. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. 

She is represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management

From Publisher's Marketplace:

"Kelly Hashway's TOUCH OF DEATH, about a teenage girl born under the thirteenth sign of the zodiac with a kiss that kills and a touch that can bring the dead back to life, pitched as Shatter Me meets The Walking Dead, to Kate Kaynak at Spencer Hill Press, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in January 2013, by Lauren Hammond at ADA Management Group."~Publisher's Marketplace

You can (AND SHOULD) find her at these various locations:


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting Ready for the Year of My Dreams

One of the best years of my life is about to take place. I have been waiting for this year since I was five. It's right up there with the year I married my husband and the years my children were born.

You see, I grew up with many different dreams. I wanted to be a paleontologist, a storm chaser, a politician, the empress of the universe, but the one dream that actually stuck was the one where I wanted to be a writer. In the early years, I dreamed of being the youngest author ever published, but my goal was too whimsical and not based in the reality of hard work. For one, I'd never finished a story I started. I have many journals on my bookcase with half-written stories (some of them only a few pages long). So after I turned 18, I realized that dream would never be realized. But I had a new dream, and that was to be serious about my writing.

In 2008, I finished my first book. I had started it in 2002. It was the first book I told myself I would absolutely finish no matter what. And I did. It took six years, but I did it. I hit a milestone then. I became a new writer. I was still very naive and queried that recently completed novel before I'd even finished transferring it from journal to computer. And editing hadn't even occurred to me by that point in my career. I googled query letter formats and found a spectacularly bad example (which I thought was good) and followed its guidelines to a "T."

After a few months and many rejections, I put that novel away and started a new one. I named it Aurumenas and it was about a girl who could manipulate the elements. I finished that novel in one year. And it was crap. Shortly after that point I discovered Young Adult fiction and morphed into a new writer for the second time. I finally knew consciously what my mind had known subconsciously for several years now. I was a YA writer posing as one who writes Adult. I completely rewrote Aurumenas in three months and gave it a new name: ELEMENTAL. I found an amazing beta who has become one of my greatest friends and I learned the art of taking criticism.

This year, just last Spring, I decided to self-publish ELEMENTAL. During that time, all of my blogger friends poured in with their support. I was shocked and overwhelmed at the amount of time and effort others were willing to give to help me sell my book. One woman in particular reached out to help in any way I could possibly need. I still have the notes I took from that long phone conversation we had. From how to get the most out of Amazon to which websites to send my book for review. And she, a published author, offered to read my book and blurb it. After formatting ELEMENTAL to the best of my ability, I sent it to her. Two days later, she emailed me back and said Spencer Hill Press wanted to make an offer. Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry for joy.

I owe so much to Kate Kaynak and Spencer Hill Press for making this dream come true. So, in preparation of the year of my dreams, I'm going to share some love for all my fellow SHP authors over the next couple weeks. They don't know I'm doing this so sshhhh! :P And by "sshhhh," I mean tell everyone!

Starting tomorrow, look for my posts on all the wonderfulness coming out of Spencer Hill Press. You won't want to miss it. Trust me. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas is just a couple days away! I hope you all have a great Holiday!

Enjoy one of my favorite funny Christmas songs:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Story Time

During the 300 Follower and Elemental has a Sequel Giveaway, I received one (yes, ONE!) story. Today, I am going to post it for your pleasure.

The author is Elizabeth of ReadWriteReview--YA Style. At thirteen, she already shows an AMAZING amount of writerly talent. Please go visit her blog (which she shares with Leslie, another very talented teenager). And while you're visiting, you should go ahead and follow. I'll wait.




Back yet? Excellent.


Tanya looked down towards her feet, “Sorry, Mr. Nelson, it won’t happen again.”

She made sure her hair was covering most of her face and wiped away a few tears.

“It had better not. Next time I see you sneak into the school at five in the morning with a can of spray-paint, you’re going to get a lot worse punishment than community service. Understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

With that, he turned around and walked towards his classroom. 

Tanya glanced up again at the graffiti on the lockers. Not only did she have to do community service, but she also had to clean it off completely. Life sucks.

She didn’t know what had gotten into her—she wasn’t the type of girl that would normally do something like that, and yet there she was. It had really been something that had grown over time, turning into something so consuming that it was practically impossible to get out of. So she just let it grow, and grow, and grow.

Tanya picked up her rag from the bucket of water and soap and started scrubbing.

But when she was halfway finished, she ran into a problem. The bucket was empty, and she didn’t know how to get more water.

Ugh. She thought, Not this. Could this day gett any worse? I need water!

And then and there, the strangest thing occurred. To her astonishment, water was pouring out her fingernails.

Then, when the bucket was nearly full, she willed it to stop—and it did.

For a moment, she couldn’t move. Couldn’t think.

What just. . .wh. . .what just happened to me?

Mr. Nelson’s voice brought her back to attention, “Are you ok, Tanya?”

Tanya looked up from the cracks in the floor, “Yeah, sir.”

“Do you need some more water for your bucket?”

“No. . .I think I’ll be good for a while.” She gulped, I hope.

Tanya doubled her previous speed, attempting to get out early enough to see if any of it was for real. 


She  completely bypassed my parents, both of whom were giving Tanya very disappointed gazes that screamed the classic, “We need to have a serious talk. Like, now.” 

She didn’t even turn around--just walked straight to her room.

She got out a bucket and held her hands over it.

Water. Come out!  It came.

More water. More. . .more. . .More!!!

Soon, the bucket was half full.

Less water. Less. . .less. . .stop.

Tanya was filled with amazement. She didn’t even think something like that was possible. At least not for her, anyway.  


Tanya found it immensely amusing.

She had always been terrible at fishing, and watching her grandfather try to figure out how she suddenly became a pro was very fun—even enough to make her laugh, something she hadn’t done in forever.
It was simple—not only could she command water to come out of her hands, but she had also been practicing making currents in pools, which she then applied to the pond they fished in. She simply made the fish swim towards her hook, and then reeled it in.

Tanya glanced over at their piles, hers being over twice the size of her grandfathers, “Grandpa, can we go back to our tents and cook one of these for dinner? I’m hungry.”

He smirked, “As long as it’s one of yours.”


They walked back to their camp site, which was only a small walk away.

Grandpa  prepared the fish for cooking, and then turned to Tanya, “I’ll start the fire if you grab the pan and 

Tanya went into her tent and grabbed the necessary things, but Grandpa was still getting the fire ready when she came out.

Then she saw it.

Grandpa bent over by the wood and held his hands out towards it, and flames suddenly jumped off of his finger- tips, setting the wood ablaze in seconds.

He looked up and saw Tanya staring at him with an astounded gaze, but Tanya was the first to speak, “Y. . .you. . .you can do it too?”

“It depends on what you consider ‘it’. . .But, yes. . .I can control the element of fire.”

Tanya held out her hands and allowed the water to come down and feed the dirt, “Water,” she was startled to see that her grandfather didn’t look the least bit surprised, “How?”

Grandpa smiled grimly, “It’s a long story.”

“Tell me.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Then Fix It, Dear Henry, Dear Henry, Dear Henry.

I'm really hoping all of you know the song that goes...

There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole!

Because if you don't...well...this post might not make that much sense. But I'll try anyway! :)

So let's say you DO know the song. If that's the case, you know how Henry keeps giving excuse after excuse to  his wife about how he can't fix his bucket. Every solution she comes up with, he has an excuse. So by the end of the song, he still has a holey bucket and a very frustrated wife.

Whenever I'm staring at my computer screen, scanning my latest completed first draft, I have that song going through my head.

On the one hand, I've got this voice that's saying there are holes! Ghastly holes! We cannot move forward with all of these holes! And on the other hand, I have another voice saying, well fix them!

Obviously, Henry was overwhelmed. Though Liza gave him very good solutions to his problem, he felt his excuses were equally valid. Eventually, I imagine, he gave up on his bucket altogether. Maybe he even bought a new, shiny bucket that was absolutely perfect. This bucket was better than any other bucket he'd ever used! But eventually, that new, shiny bucket also starts to lose it's luster, and Henry's right back where he started, giving up on a bucket that just needed a little attention.

So which one do you listen to? Is Henry telling you to give up? Is he giving one brilliant excuse after another as to why your novel is just not fixable?

Maybe you think you suck. 

Maybe you think you're too old.

Or your novel is too long.

Or too short.

Or too stupid.

Or is Liza telling you how to fix it? Is she screaming at you to not give up? Is she telling you there is a way?

I certainly hope so because I know how you feel. I've been there before. Actually, that's not right. Let me rephrase. 

I'm ALWAYS there. 

I'm always doubting. I'm always letting Henry tell me I'm not good enough, that my books are "unfixable." But I'm not really writing this post to get your sympathy. I've come to terms with my "Henry" voice and realized that despite everything I do or accomplish, he'll always be there. And that's okay.

But I am writing this post to encourage you.

Henry is wrong. His points may be valid, but he is wrong. He gave up on something because he didn't think he could fix it, or because he thought the attempt would be too hard.

I've heard so many stories of writers who were about to shelve a book they were querying when they got a request for a full from an agent. Instead of shelving that book, they made the changes they knew needed to be made and sent the new, fixed version to the agent and got "the call." 

They'd almost let Henry have his way. Thank goodness they didn't.

Are you letting Henry have his way? Have you given up on a book that you know is good at its heart, but just needs some help (whether major or minor)?

Tell him to mind his own business, and then get to work! You can get it done. It may be hard or overwhelming, but it's possible. Don't give up.

Just fix it.*

*ooh! This should be my new theme! Screw you, Nike! I've got a better one! Hehehehe!