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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the Winner Is . . .

So as you know from my last post, I was giving away a $15.00 Amazon gift card to a lucky follower/commenter.  There were 16 comments in all so I assigned each person a number:  the first commenter was 1, the second commenter was 2 . . . you get the picture.  Then I went to random.org and used their true random number generator to pick the winner.  The winning commenter was #8 which is Melodie of Forever Rewrighting!  Yay!  Thanks to all of you who commented.  I will get in touch with Melodie.

I'm still trying to catch up on blog posts, particularly the A to Z ones, so bear with me. 

Also, again, I'm going to do a Twitter diary for the main character in my first book, Finding Claire Fletcher.  If you're on Twitter and you're interested in it, you can follow her:  @IClaireFletcher.  That will start on 5/6/12.  I'm only averaging 4 tweets a day until I get closer to my book release which is 12/6/12. 

Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to a book written by a sort-of friend of mine.  His name is Rob Conway.  We grew up in the same neighborhood.  He is one of my brother's friends.  They've known each other since childhood.  In 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series, the City of Philadelphia had a parade.  While it was all good and fun, some of us actually had to work on parade day and some of the people who had to work had to work in Center City Philadelphia which is congested enough without adding millions of raving Phillies fans.  Anyway, back then, Rob wrote this piece about trying to get home from work amidst the parade craziness.  If I recall correctly, he wrote it as a Note on Facebook.  My brother thought it was hilarious and wanted me to read it.  To this day, it is one of the funniest things I've ever read.  I was an instant fan.

So when I found out that Rob had written a novel and that it was available on Amazon, I high-tailed it on over there and got myself a copy.  It's a sci-fi novel which is usually not my thing but since Rob had written it, I thought I'd give it a try.  It's pretty fascinating stuff and very action-packed in a kind of Michael-Crichton-esque way.  I can really see this as an action film. 



The premise is thus (and I'm taking this right from the Amazon page): 
Mark Giza just wanted to see again. Winning the multinational lottery made it possible for him to have brand new cybernetic eyes implanted. Regaining his sight was just the beginning, as now he’s fighting for his life against a widespread conspiracy to take those eyes and the power they hold, and to destroy the longstanding global peace.


It was quite good so if it sounds interesting to you, get over there and get a copy here.  You won't be disappointed.

Hope everyone has a great week and I'll be around blog-hopping soon I hope!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Something Amazing Happened! Now What? (Hint: a small giveaway!)

If you've been around awhile, you know the title is a reference to my What If Something Amazing Happens? post which is still, oddly enough, the most popular blog post I've ever written.  So yeah, I kept pulling that old rope and kept getting water dumped on my head until one day, I didn't.  Instead of water, I got a publishing contract.  Can't say WOOOO HOOOO enough!  Thank you again, Sapphire Star Publishing



(Incidentally, I found out today that the Doodlebops have not disbanded and are, in fact, coming to a venue near me which means I will be required to go.  Not to worry, I've rounded up a group of reluctant adults who will have to bear the torture, um I mean musical talents of the Doodlebops along with me.  I'm hoping they'll have a rope just for adults to pull at said concert that dispenses large quantities of wine.  I'll let you know.)

Mainly, the purpose of this post is to apologize to my fellow bloggers.  I've been just terrible at keeping up with all your posts, especially with the A to Z Challenge going on (the number of posts I want to read has increased exponentially this month!  Too many great posts, too little time!)  Just please know that I am trying.  Sometimes I don't comment but I have been trying to stop by the blogs I regularly follow as much as possible. 

So what's been going on since I signed my contract?  Well it has been busy.  The health issue we are dealing with at home is slowly coming under some sort of control but we're still battling every day.  There is a lot of reading and research for me to do on that front.  Work is very busy.  The writing muse and I are circling each other warily, me demanding that she get her ass back in gear on the WIP and her saying, in an exasperated tone:  "Just a minute, just a minute" and that minute has gone on for 2 months so far.  Oddly, said muse sounds a lot like my four year old when she is trying to avoid anything that is not playing!

I'm also trying to get really and truly acquainted with Twitter, which as I understand it, is all the rage and great for promoting books.  It's taking me quite awhile to get the hang of it and I'm still not entirely sure what some things mean.  It's taking up a tremendous amount of time but once I settle into a routine of some sort, I'm sure I'll have more time for other things.

But I've already been properly "dissed" as they say around my way.  I followed an author whose many promo tweets about her book were good enough to get me to check it out. It sounded really good and I had some dollars left on Amazon gift cards I had gotten for my birthday so I bought it.  I tweeted her to let her know and she immediately unfollowed me.  I don't know about Twitter-quette but I know that that's pretty sh*tty etiquette!  Unfortunately, I cannot return the book.

Anyway, speaking of which, if you are on Twitter, you can follow me:  @lisalregan and I'll be launching Claire Fletcher's Twitter diary on 5/6/12 which you can follow: @IClaireFletcher.

I have a new website without the L in the middle of my name: http://www.lisaregan.com/ although the other one is still up as well!

And finally, in celebration of my BIG, BIG NEWS and in apology for neglecting my blogging duties, I'm giving away a $15.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky blog follower!  All you have to do is two things:

1.  Like my Facebook fan page (if you're on Facebook)
2.  Comment on this blog (tell me anything: how are you?  How's it going with your WIP?  With the rope-pulling?  Ever been the victim of bad Twitter-quette?)

And I will use random.org to choose a winner on Monday, April 23, 2012!

Monday, April 9, 2012

BIG BIG NEWS!

I had so many titles for this post.  This post I've been longing to be in a position to write since I landed my agent in October 2010.  I thought of calling it:  Delayed Gratification.  *smirks*  I thought of calling it:  "And Then",  a reference to my last Surviving Query Hell series post.  But in the end I chose the old stand-by:  Big Big News!

Hey, what's that?

No one ever talks about submissions.  It seems to be an unwritten rule and I can see why--you don't want to tip your agent's hand by blabbing every detail of your submissions experience on your blog for the entire world to see, especially if your agent is in the midst of some kind of negotiations.  But also, quite honestly, not a whole heck of a lot happens.  And if you think agents take a long time to read a full . . . well, anyway I was on submissions for 18 months and all I had to show for it was what I like to call my "bucket of glowing rejections."  My books were in the hands of lot of editors and the responses we got were very positive.  Almost all the editors who passed on my work had some pretty nice things to say.  There was really only one rejection that I found puzzling but hey, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. 

At some point we began approaching smaller presses.  I really felt like a smaller press might be a better home for my books and a better fit for me.  Particularly because many of them are well-focused on the ebook market which, let's face it, is growing in leaps and bounds.  (I know seventy year old women who only read on their Kindles or Nooks!)  We had feelers out to some small presses.


Then, as many of you know, my BFF and fellow writer, Nancy Thompson signed a contract with Sapphire Star Publishing, a brand-spanking new small press specializing in genre fiction.  Nancy had a great experience signing with SSP and I loved the idea of approaching a publisher that was new and hungry--and one that didn't have a list so full that you might get lost in the deluge.  So I mentioned them to Jeanie and she approached them. 

You know where this is going . . .

Finally, an offer!  Sapphire Star Publishing made us an offer.  And I took it!!!!

That's right.  I JUST SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH SAPPHIRE STAR PUBLISHING! 


For both my books. 

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!



I've read so many blog posts about the moment you find out you have an offer.  Writers at the eye doctor or on their way to the dentist.  Me?  I was home.  It was late evening.  My husband was rushing around, frantically preparing for a trip.  I was getting my daughter ready for bed.  She had had blood taken earlier in the week and had a bad reaction to the bandaid they put on her arm.  When I went to change her shirt, I saw that the tiny sore in the crook of her arm was now a quarter-sized, festering, pus-filled sore.  A photo was quickly texted to her R.N. grandmother for assessment:  ER visit or wait till morning for the pediatrician?  Regardless, I wanted to get some bacitracin or neosporin on it ASAP until we decided what to do. 

My daughter and I were searching for the "O-sporin" as she calls it.  We couldn't find it.  My husband pointed out that it should be in the first aid kit he had so meticulously prepared.  Of course my daughter and I had taken out the O-sporin the week before for some lesser emergency and not returned it.  Words were exchanged.  My parents live nearby so I called my dad and asked him to check his own cabinet for some O-sporin which he had.  So there I am waiting for the delivery of the O-sporin and my phone buzzes--an email.  Absently, I check it.  See the email from Jeanie.  Figure it's another glowing rejection. 

And then . . .

I got an offer!!!

So it took a few days to iron out the details and I was bursting at the seams for nearly a week wanting to tell the whole wide world that finally, I have a publisher!  (And my daughter's sore healed very quickly with no intervention needed!)


My first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher will be released on December 6, 2012 and my second novel, Aberration will be released on June 6, 2013. 

Not only have I now realized a dream I've had since I was 11 years old, but I've managed to sign with the same publisher as my very best friend, Nancy Thompson.  As those of you who read both of our blogs know, we are quite close (I know you're rolling your eyes, thinking of the many of professions of love we've tossed back and forth!) so this is extra, extra special for me!

Strangely enough, the day my contracts arrived for signing, I also got a box in the mail with these lovely, hand blown wine glasses from Prague, courtesy of my former English professor, mentor, and great friend, Dr. Danny Robinson and his wife, Vickie.  They were technically a wedding gift but we used them to toast my big news! 



I'd like to thank my family and friends for standing by me so steadfastly all these years.  I'd also like to thank all my fellow writers who have kept me going through this process and have helped me and taught me so much.  You guys are awesome!  I hope you'll stay tuned for the next leg of this journey, because as Roy Halladay said when the Phils clinched the NL East in 2010, only days before he pitched a post-season no-hitter and I landed my agent:  "It's only gonna get funner."

Monday, April 2, 2012

A is for Awkward

No, I'm not doing the A to Z challenge.  I missed the boat on that one.  While things at home are greatly improved and I'm starting to catch up on things, I think that particular challenge might be too much for me at this point.  But I've read so much about it, when I had the idea for this post, the A is for Awkward title immediately came to mind.

So I was at this family party this weekend.  It was one of those parties where there were lots of extended family.  I love these parties because half the people there I haven't seen in years so there's lots to catch up on and the other half of the people there are relatives of relatives I've never even met before which means I get to meet a whole new bunch of interesting people.  In fact, my daughter spent the whole party playing with (try to follow it) my grandfather's (by marriage) sister's great-granddaughter (his great-grandniece?) . . . wait, does that make them cousins?  By marriage?  I don't know.  But anyway, my point is that there were lots of people I had never met before.

Between the catching up and the new people, there was lots of "what do you do?" and "are you still writing?" and "Say, whatever happened with your books?" and "Oh, you write books?"

Now if you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know the writing thing is not something I go to great lengths to flaunt.  If I had a book in hand to sell I might be telling the whole world in a very obnoxious way but I do not so I don't go into it much.  (See my To Talk or Not to Talk post.)  But this is my family and seventy percent of the people at this party have been aware of my "writing thing" since I was eleven years old, so it comes up. 

So there I am standing in a loose semi-circle of relatives, from every part of the relative continuum (i.e. my mom, my aunt and a few people I've never met before) and someone brings it up.  (This is a reconstruction of the conversation, obviously.



"What's going on with your writing?"

Before I can answer, one of the two relatives I've never met before, who I will simply refer to as Jane and John, says, "Oh you're an author?"

Me:  "Yes, well I'm trying to get published."

Jane:  "Oh, so you don't have a publisher."

Me:  "Uh, no.  But I have an agent and she's shopping my work to publishers."

Jane: "But you don't have a publisher."

Me:  "Well, no."

Jane:  "John's daughter is an author."

With a heavy inner sigh, I think, "Of course she is."  Of course.  Because when you are aspiring to publication, no matter what you've accomplished (i.e. finished your book, finished your query, won a contest, gotten requests from agents, gotten an agent, gotten requests from editors), there is always someone out there who has done more and this information is always passed on to you so matter-of-factly that the person telling you makes it sound like it is the easiest thing in the world to have accomplished.  All while you've been toiling for years and seemingly getting nowhere.

Me:  "Really?  That's amazing.  It's so hard to get published these days." 
I am being sincere.  It is extremely, exceedingly, ridiculously hard to get published, especially in today's market and I salute anyone who has put in the time and the hard work to get there whether it is the traditional route or the indie route.  I think both paths are equally hard in their own ways.
Jane:  "Yeah, she's an author.  [Mentions the name of the book].  John, who is the publisher?"

John, turning his attention to our exchange:  "I don't remember.  So you're an author?"

(By the way, this only confirms my suspicion that the layperson could not name a publisher if their life depended on it--even a Big 6. Published is published.)
Me:  "Yeah, well I guess.  I've written a couple of books and I have an agent."

Obligatory exchange about what my books are about and how many pages they are (to which I say well I don't know how many pages but I can tell you how many words.) 

Then:  "But you don't have a publisher."

Me, a little more weakly this time:  "Well, no but I have an agent."

John:  "Yeah, my daughter is an author.  She's on her 2nd or 3rd book now."

Of course she is. 

Me:  "That's really great!  It is such a hard business."

John:  "But you're not published?"

Me:  "No, I mean not yet.  My agent is trying to find a publisher."

My Mom (God bless her heart):  "But she's getting close.  She's going to find a publisher."

Jane and John, smiling, "Oh that's great."

Conversation moves on to other things. 

Okay, so I don't want to denigrate Jane and John because they were a really pleasant, sweet and interesting couple and I enjoyed meeting them and talking to them about many topics that day.  They were just making conversation and they were proud of their daughter, as they should be and I was duly impressed because I know how hard it is to get published one time much less multiple times.

What bothered me?  Was it the innocent, repeated attention drawn to the fact that no, I do not have a publisher yet?  Well, yeah, a little.  If you're trying to get published and you don't have a publisher, it's going to bother you and no, you will not particularly enjoy that fact being pointed out over and over, however innocently.  But I think what bothered me even more was the implication that because I am not published, I am not dead serious about this.  That I somehow don't get "credit" for being a writer because I'm not yet published.

I kept bringing up my agent not because I'm a snooty elitist but because I thought it would at least be an easily grasped indication that I was, in fact, serious about my writing-about seeing it through to publication.  I mean one doesn't go to the trouble of looking for an agent (a process I began long before the rise of the Indie ebook--yes, it really did take that long) if they are not serious about getting published. 

But your average non-writer person doesn't even know the significance of an agent in the business--who they are, what they do, how hard it is to find one, etc.  So while among writers, having landed an agent is considered an accomplishment, it means nothing to the layperson.  Thus, if you are not published, you may be easily dismissed.

I find this a little depressing.  Some of the best books I've read are by writers who don't even have agents at this point (Carrie, Jeff and Paul, you know who you are!)  Just because someone isn't published yet doesn't mean they are not serious about it, doesn't mean they are not in it for the long haul. There is an insane number of talented writers out there who have not yet become published authors but that doesn't mean they aren't real writers.

In closing, I'd like to say thank you to this wonderful online community of writers because we take each other seriously and that goes a long way.

Have you ever had one of these awkward exchanges?