Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Week . . . and a Half . . .

Wow, I totally suck. Actually, I have a good reason . . . several in fact, but still, I feel like I should be giving confession or something. Forgive me blog readers, for I have sinned. It has been eleven days since my last blog.

However, I do have some good reasons. Three days after my last blog, my brother got married! To a really, really wonderful woman. I am so excited; in the last three months I have gained two awesome sibling-in-laws! And gone from being the only married child in my family, to being in the majority. (Married people rule! Hi-yah!)

Then it was my seventh anniversary and my husband was taking me to dinner somewhere that was a surprise.


Dinner turned out to be a fabulous getaway at a fun little bed and breakfast where we had the most opulent suite ever! Check this out!

It's hard to see but the bedroom is upstairs on a loft made to look like a really gorgeous balcony.

And here is the view from said balcony.

And then picture rose petals strewn all over the stairs and rug and all around the edge of the bath. It was so beautiful!

Then we got home and got smacked in the face with a huge emergency that has taken the better part of the week to deal with. However, this was also the week I had to bake seven pies (from scratch!) and make about ten pounds of hand-dipped chocolates. (Also from scratch!) Luckily, we have come out nearly unscathed, the pies were delicious, and there are sixty little bags full of chocolate truffles, raspberry fondant chocolates, chocolate covered caramels, and chocolate-covered penuche waiting for the people on our list. Whew!

Oh, and Thanksgiving was in there somewhere . . . .

However, because of that, I have spent about ten minutes a day on the internet for the last week.

My apologies.

But what about you? I want to hear how your holidays were! Hopefully a little less busy than mine.

No really, please share!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Does It Take So Long???

So, the first question everyone asks when they hear I have a book coming out is, when? Now, although the time is getting shorter (5 and a half months!! Yay!!) back when I first sold I had conversations like this:

Random Person a year ago: Cool! When does it come out?

Me: Not this May, but next May.

RP: Like in two years?

Me: Well not quite two years. Like eighteen months.

RP: Hmm, okay, well, what's it called?

Me: We haven't decided yet.

RP: Ah, so you have a book coming out in two years, but haven't decided what it's called yet. Riiiiiiight . . . . *walks away laughing*

Okay, they don't usually laugh as they walk away, well, not loud enough for me to hear, anyway, but people do want to know, why does it take so long?

So, I hereby present you with . . . the timeline!!! Yay!!! *waits for applause . . . waits . . . waits . . . .* M'kay, moving on.

The Timeline:

Nov. 16, 2007- THE Call. My book sold to Tara Weikum at Harper Teen. Yay! Much glee and dancing followed.

Jan. 30, 2008- My first editorial letter from Tara. Note the dates. Two and a half months. Why so long? Well, part of the reason is that Christmas and Thanksgiving were in the middle of those months. But part of it is simply that editors have a lot to do and it takes 20-40 hours to read through a book carefully and craft an editorial letter. (Also, mine was eleven pages long . . . single spaced.:D)

Feb. 24, 2008- I turn in my revisions. Can I just say, some of the hardest three weeks of my life. Editors are fabulous people who will make you write better and harder than you ever have before. This was a very difficult learning experience, but it was a GREAT experience too!)

March 15, 2008- I got my contract! I actually got my contract a little early as six months seems to be the average. Mine was only four! Getting your contract makes everything seem even more official!

March 28, 2008- German rights sell for all four books in an awesome pre-empt the last business day before the Bologna Book Fair. (In fact, completing the deal before the fair was one of the terms.:D)

April 3, 2008- Ed letter number two. Again, over a month to get the second ed letter because editors are very busy!

April 24, 2008- second round of revisions turned in. Not quite as brutal as the first round, but it still took me three weeks. A nine page ed letter this time accompanied by a marked up manuscript.

May 21, 2008- We did a round of line edits electronically. That was fun. It was also fun to have line edits not accompanied by an ed letter this time.:)

June 16, 2008- I went to new York to meet Jodi and Tara and a bunch of the team at Harper Childrens! It was SO much fun and while I was there (the 17th, technically) I did some video interviews that will be used on,, and This is not something Harper brought me in for, it's a trip I planned on my own. I highly recommend that new authors take a trip in to meet their team if at all possible. Plus, I had a great time! It was my first trip to NYC!

At the end of June we started talking about my cover. We exchanged some sketches, talked about photographers, etc.

July 9, 2008- First cover photo shoot.

July 16, 2008- I get my first blurb. *squee!* (you'll see it on the cover art.:))

July 20, 2008- I get copy edits!

Sept. 12, 2008- I turn in my second book. (Notice how I'm finishing my second book before the first is even close to on the shelf? This is very normal. Timing-wise, if your books are coming out a year apart, you should be getting to about the copy-edit stage when you first book is released.)

Sept. 17, 2008- I get my cover art! . . . and it's not the cover art from the first cover shoot. I find out that they have scrapped the whole first cover shoot and re-done it. So I am presented with completely new cover art.

Oct. 10, 2008- I get more new cover art! No, I'm not kidding. My editor calls me and says, "I have bad new followed by really good news . . . I hope." Now those are words to strike fear into your heart! Sales (i.e. gods of publishing!) nixed the previous cover and so the art department started from scratch. Whole new concept and everything. Luckily, I LOVE the new cover art the best of the three!

October 22, 2008- I get first pass pages. These are your book type-set and actually looking like a book you would find in the store! It's an exciting step! However, it's also a step where you need to be very meticulous as this is probably the last chance you will have to change things. . . but still exciting!!

Nov. 11, 2008- I get ARCs! (Yes, yes, I know! Pictures are coming the moment--the moment!--I get clearance!) There was much dancing and squealing!

Nov. 17, 2008- I receive one final round of copy-edits on the first pass pages. This really is the very last time I am going to work on them.

And that brings us to now. It's been quite a full year! Publishers put so much work into getting your book as right as it possibly can be, that's why it's hard to rush it. And even though the book will, for all practical purposes, be done by the end of the year, they will still spend another four months doing early promotion before the book comes out on shelf. I don't know yet exactly what that will entail, but I do know I will be going on a pre-publication tour to five cities in January, my ARC will be featured and handed out at several trade shows (including NCTE this weekend, yay!), and will hopefully be reviewed by several trade magazines a little closer to the release. So there will still be tone of stuff going on between January and May as far as promotion goes. And, of course, I will be doing edits for book two during that time as well.

So even though it seems like a long time, there really is a ton going on behind the scenes to justify all that time. Publishing is a well-oiled machine, but it does roll slowly, if steadily. But while most of the public just sees that minute hand moving oh-so-slowly, there are a zillion little gears inside, all busily working to make everything look as smooth as it does from the outside.

Thanks so much everyone who partied with me this weekend. I will be sending out party favors tomorrow!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary to WINGS!!!

It was exactly a year ago that my agent and I accepted the offer from HarperTeen to publish WINGS. I am really excited about that. It has been quite a year, let me tell you!

But more importantly, I want to invite you to celebrate with me!!

So, for the next twelve hours, (till midnight, MST) we are having a party!! And there are party favors.:)

If you will send me your name and address at aprilynne pike at gmail dot com (with no spaces, turn the at into @, you all know how it goes) and thus "attend" my party, I will send you something!

*Disclaimer, I am not trying to collect addresses here or anything. Once all the party favors are mailed out, I will delete all the address emails. So please don't worry about that.:)*

Party favors include, but are not limited to, faerie paraphernalia, candy, *koffkoff* cover flats, and whatever else I decide looks fun (although I will not send either cake or ice cream.:D). It will be totally random, luck of the draw, as to who gets what, but if you come (via email), you will get something.

So Yay! Party Time!!!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trailer

Dude, I gotta share the shiny!!

My friend, Carrie Ryan, has written an incredible book that I think I've mentioned here before; The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It's a literary, dystopian future zombie novel. And seriously, don't let the Z word throw you off. This is an incredibly written, emotional book with so much more depth than your typical zombie novel. Well a few months ago her book was selected to be included in a contest of students making book trailers. And I was SO impressed by the result. This thing looks seriously professional. So I wanted to share!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth comes out in March of 2009. (We're almost there!!)


Monday, November 10, 2008

The iPhone and the Process

So last week, after six months of my one-year-old son dropping my iphone on sidewalks, on my kitchen floor, in the dirt and off a balcony (albeit a short balcony) he finally managed to bust it by tossing it onto the tile in front of my fireplace. Luckily it was still under warranty and I sent it in and three very long, iphone-less days later I got a new one today!! Gone are the scratches and nicks, the gouge on the corner, the two small, yet annoying scratches on the screen. And now it is shiny and new and my son is NEVER touching it again! And it's going to stay in it's protective skin a bit more often.:) In fact I think I will stop by the Apple store while I'm in Salt Lake City on Friday and see if I can find one that works even better. But oh, man, I am enjoying the shiny!

First off, I was totally excited about all the comments for the contest! I love not only that I got to hear so much good news but that people were so excited to share good news! I love that positivity spreads so easily! So to cap off our week of awesomeness, the winner of their choice of The Summoning or The Hunger Games, is . . . MIM! Mim, please email me at aprilynne pike at gmail dot com and let me know which book you would like and where to send it!

I've been thinking a lot about ideas and the process of writing the last few weeks. I am almost done with my first draft of a book I have been working on for over two years. There's something about actively working on books that seems to get my imagnation going. About a month ago I got the idea for my next book after the one I'm working on.

And it's really hard not to switch.

I started working on my current WIP in the Fall of 2006. I worked on it for several weeks and then I signed with my agent, Jodi. The first thing we did was go through several rounds of revisions on the completed book she had signed me for. That meant that my WIP (I'll call it LAT from here on out) had to go on hold. Then, in the summer of 2007, my husband told me he would be giving me the summer to write. I set up writing goals and I got ready to finish LAT. But just a week into writing full-time I got the idea for WINGS. Something in me knew, I had to put LAT aside again. Good thing I did.:)

Now I have another idea trying to push LAT aside and I considered letting it for a while. I have been working on LAT for two years and the story has been fully formed in my head for almost that long. I have whole scenes written in my head that just aren't down on the computer screen yet. And because of that, sometimes I feel like I am writing it for like the tenth time. Even though it's a great book (no really, my sister is chomping at the bit for it!) I am getting a little tired of it.

But I'm not letting it get pushed to the side this time. Because if I do, it is never going to get finished, and I can't let that happen.

I used to think of writing books as rather romantic. A brilliant idea comes along and, sure, there's work involved, but you are driven by the idea, you write your story! You work, you polish and then it is your gem that you send out into the big, big world. I have never worked on a story long enough to get tired of it and I assumed that getting tired of a book was a sign that it was time to shelve it.

And sometimes it is.

But I'm trusting my gut on this one. This was an awesome book when I started it, it has gotten tons of good feedback from the people I have let read pieces of it, even my agent really likes the voice from the few chapters I've given her. Like so many other landmarks I have come to in my writing career, this is a new learning experience. Going with my gut on a book I'm getting tired of. I guess we'll see how it works out.

But I have high hopes.:)

And when I am done I will get to work on a proposal for the idea that is currently simmering, and that will be a new experience too. I'm really excited about diving into my new idea because to pull it off the way I envision it is going to take some very, very strong writing and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not sure I have the skill to do it.

But hopefully as the plot solidifies and the voice becomes more clear in my head, I will find that I am up to the task. Here's hoping!

So how about you? Things you're learning about your own writing process? Surprises? Things you're taking a gamble on when you don't actually know if it will work out? Share your musings!


Friday, November 07, 2008

This Is Just Too Cute!

Okay, I'm like, on post overhaul this week.:D But this was too cute to not tell.

My son Brennan is three and very, very smart. (Taught himself to read when he was two, reads at probably a first or second grade level now.) But I still was not expecting this.

We were driving to the gym yesterday and all of the sudden he says, "Mom, our car is cumbersome."

I replied, "Yeah, it kind of is. Do you know what cumbersome means?"

"Yes, it means bulky-heavy."

"That's right, where did you learn that?"

"Word Girl!"

Gotta love PBS.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Moonie The Editor!

We are having a little party over here celebrating two years of blogging for MoonRat, the Editor! If you are a reader, please come celebrate!

And if you're not, well, you can come laugh at us if you want.;)


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's a Good Day

I refrain from saying anything political when I blog, but I do have to say this. I am a huge fan of Martin Luther King Jr. I don't think anyone can deny that he was a man who dreamed big--especially in the political climate of the time! I especially like this part of his famous I Have a Dream speech.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

No matter what you think of Barack Obama, and whether or not you think he was the best candidate, you can be proud that you live in a nation where--as a whole--we have overcome the biases of race. That this was a man judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. Even if he was not your candidate of choice, that is something worth celebrating.

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program to Say . . .


That is all.:)


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bullet Points and a Giveaway!

Why yes, indeed, I AM early.;) Go me!

I've been thinking all week about what to blog about and the problem is that I have a lot of little things going on. None of them big enough to really blog about, but things that are fun enough to mention anyway.:) So we have a bullet points entry today, with a giveaway at the bottom.:)

* It is ARCs month!!! (Okay, now you've discovered the real reason I blogged today.;)) It is November and I WILL be getting ARCs in November! Yay!!

* This week I got to see the design for my floor display. (Those cardboard things you occasionally see in stores that advertise the book and hold usually nine or twelve copies.) It's really, really beautiful and I will find out if I am allowed to share it at the same time I get to share my cover. This is a double-edged sword though, because if no one decides to stock it (in fact, I believe one of the big chains has to buy into it) they won't actually print it and all I'll have is a design. So help me hope that Barnes and Noble loves it like whoa and wants to stock it!;))

* I got my FPP in! It's both satisfying and a little nerve-wracking. This is the last time I will work on this book!! Hooray!!! . . . . On the other hand . . . this is the last time I will work on this book!! Ahhhhhh!! No!! It's not good enough yet!!! So yeah, weird mixed emotions.

* On the personal front, I've been working really hard at losing some baby weight the last few mnths. I'm down 25 pounds and it's time to shake things up. So wish me luck on those last ten pounds as I try something different.

* I attended my first homebirth last week and I have to tell you, anyone who thinks that midwives are not prepared to handle emergencies has never seen the loads and loads of medical equipment they bring with them, just in case. It was a great birth!

* I am talking to my publicist, Laura, for the first time tomorrow. I am totally nervous! I don't know what to say or what questions to ask, so I am going to spend the rest of the day making a list . . . then probably erasing the list . . . and making a new one . . . or maybe just re-making the same one. *eep!* Also, in case you didn't know, every author gets assigned to a publicist, so having a publicist is nothing special . . . but it sounds special, doesn't it? "Oh yes, yes, I was speaking to my publicist the other day . . ." I mean really, that sounds cool! So here's hoping my son sleeps when he is supposed to (he almost always does) and I don't have a screaming baby in the background for my phone call.:D

Okay, I know the internet has been totally buzzing about the book The Hunger Games, but there is a reason for that. This is one incredible book!! I have been going back and forth on whether or not to feature it in a giveaway, because I imagine a lot of people have it already. So this giveaway is an either/or giveaway. You have two choices: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong.

I am not feeling super-creative this morning, so I am shamelessly stealing the descriptions of these two books from Amazon.;)

Hunger Games: Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place. (Wow, this description so does not do the book justice!)

The Summoning:

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

These are both really good books (although The Summoning ends on a totall cliff-hanger. Noooooo!! What happens!!!!!) that I have thoroughly enjoyed this year.

So here's how it works. I am gathering good news vibes. So the way you enter to win your choice of these two books is simply to tell me some good news you've gotten lately. Big, small, personal, professional, it doesn't matter. Tell me something good that has happened to you recently! There is enough negativity in this world that I was to see good stuff! That's it! You have till next Monday when I put up my next plog post to get your good news in! Bring it!

Also, vote on Tuesday!