publishing

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A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON and…the title

Published August 15, 2015 by christinenorris

Okay, so now that I’ve been back from vacation for a bit, and sort of gotten my life all back in order again, I can return to my posts about CURSE. The book is still getting great reviews, even has some people talking about it on Goodreads. NINE HUNDRED people have added it to their Goodreads lists — To Be Read, or reviewed, or just read. That’s amazing to me! 900 people!

Anyway, the title. If anyone remembers, WAY back when it was a manuscript, it had another title. The original title was SMOKE AND MIRRORS. If you’ve read the book, you get why it was the title (although, I think I ended up taking out that direct reference before it went to print).

As so often happens in publishing, a title the author submits with is often NOT the title that ends up on the book. When my agent first sold it to Strange Chemistry, one of the editor’s requests was a title change. Apparently, some guy named Neil Gaiman had a book of short stories by the same name, and they wanted to avoid confusion…

Yeah.

My agent and I wracked our brains thinking of new titles. Things like MIDNIGHT and  MASQUERADE and all kinds of other crazy stuff. I think we had about a dozen rejected choices before I came up with the approved title. It started out as CURSED, which kind of reminds me of some kind of werewolf story or something. But in the end we got there. I actually like it better than the original, and it gives me something to build on for future novels of a SIMILAR nature *hint hint*

What do you all think? Like the title or no?

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The Story behind the Story — A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON

Published July 2, 2015 by christinenorris

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Okay, so now I have a chance to tell. I should have done before now, but yanno, as I explained, Murphy’s law was in full effect right around the time of the release and for the last week. It’s been so long since I released a book, since I WROTE this book, that I almost forgot what I was supposed to do after a book came out!

So here’s my story. Some of you will know some of this, those who have been following along at home.

CURSE began as an idea in Spring of 2008 (maybe? My memory is a mess as far as years go). The first chapter ended up as a writing assignment for a Creative Writing class or something that I was taking when I was getting my English degree. I continued to work on it, and the following spring, I think it was, I took the first 30 pages to a Mentoring Workshop sponsored by NJSCBWI. Which was one of the best things I ever did for myself, writing-wise. An editor at a major publisher gave me a critique, and I had a peer crit as well. I kept plugging away at it, and I think the first version was done in 2010. That was when I went to my first NJSCBWI annual conference. I made SO many new kidlit friends, and met so many industry people!

My peer crit group that year included Kit Grindstaff and (IIRC) Darlene Jacobson, who both have now published their books. We were the last group to finish and go to bed, way after midnight.

I submitted the book to many of the people I met at the conference, and was rejected by all. But I kept going, of course, because I loved this story. Eventually I would get the rejection that would change everything. I submitted the story to a really popular, really good agent. She was, at the time, my dream agent. And she was moving across country at the time, but still read my manuscript. And rejected it. BUT with a long, lovely rejection that told me exactly what she loved and what she didn’t like. And I took it all to heart, and…

I ripped the entire book apart and started again. Probably that was late 2010, early 2011. And since I wasn’t yet working full time, I could do it. I had started Grad School that January, so I was really busy. Before this, the whole Ellie-being-cursed thing didn’t exist. That’s a whole other story, but in the end I learned so much about storytelling from that re-write. The next year I went back to NJSCBWI and met another editor, who had become a friend. He read it over, and he suggested the prologue.

Anyway, after all that writing and re-writing and adding, in 2012 I got my first agent. And now I was working, and I was still working on the Library of Athena series (which WILL be finished, I promise!), and finishing Grad School. In 2013, me and my agent split. I had nearly given up on having an agent or a bigger publisher, even though I really believed the book deserved it. Then a friend told me she was interning with an agent that she thought I might want to submit to. So I checked out Jordy Albert at the Booker Albert Lit Agency. I read her profile and an interview or two with her.

She had me at Doctor Who.Seriously, we seemed to like all the same things, sounded like the perfect fit. I decided to give it one last go, and she said yes! Jordy is pretty awesome — I signed with her in August of 2013. We did revisions and she sent out the pitch. And sold it in six weeks to Strange Chemistry. I was ecstatic.

Then, as many of you know, SC closed. Three months before we were supposed to release, in June 2014. It was seriously difficult. One of those things that seems world-ending at the time. So much hard work, for nothing.

But Jordy pulled me through it. As soon as we were able, she sent to Curiosity Quills. They had actually made an offer before I signed with Jordy, but as it goes with such things, we didn’t take it the first time around. They were AWESOME and still wanted the book.

And the rest is history. So there you go. My long, LONG road to get this book published. Though the road was long and tough, and I almost gave up a couple of times, in the end it was worth it.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Published June 23, 2015 by christinenorris

Well, lovelies, it’s been a heckuva month! A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON released just over a month ago. And it’s done rather well, I think. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, which I am ecstatic about. When you write something, it’s always nerve-wracking to see what other people think. Because you love what you did, and you want others to, too. There are nearly 800 adds on Goodreads. I wish that even half of those people read and rate the book.

But, I’m afraid I dropped the ball a bit. Not my fault, though. I should have been pushing this book a little more, doing more blogging related to the book, etc… As we may recall, though, my computer died just before the release. Ugh. I just got it back about a week or so ago, and then I had to make it “mine” again. It was completely wiped, brand new hard drive. None of my pics or documents. Thanks GOODNESS for Dropbox and external hard drives! I don’t think I lost anything! Whew!

Meanwhile, I had about three weekend events in that month, where I promoted the book ‘in person’. Which was really fun, but exhausting.

And, well, as it is wont to do, life sneaks up on you. As of Wednesday, i will be unemployed. The reasons don’t even matter, the job just didn’t work out for either party. I’m okay with it. I loved my kids, I know how to do the job and I’m pretty darn good at it. But the position is one that has had a long string of people coming and going, and there are reasons for that. I’m just the next link in the chain. I wish them luck.

I’m looking for a new job, of course, but in the meanwhile I have a little time to think about what I want to do should something not pan out in the near future. II mean, it’s summer. I will be diving back into writing, of course, making it more of a priority. Getting back on track with marketing CURSE, since I am fully operational again on computer. Working on getting the newsletter up and running. Hopefully making more of a go on Patreon, now that I have time to spare. Updating my website.

It won’t all be work. Vacation with the family in a couple of weeks. Going to the lake. I have my crafts, so I think I will be sprucing up my Etsy store to see if I can infuse a little more cash in my life while unemployed. Looking for freelance work in the meantime. I edit. I copy edit. I’ve done professional rewriting from translated works. Need someone? Look me up.

So expect more blogs, more videos. All the stuff I should have been doing anyway if not for unexpected life happening. I have some ideas churning.

One door closed. Let’s see what’s going on down the hallway. Meanwhile, if you could buy a book, that’d be awesome.

It’s Release Day!!!

Published May 21, 2015 by christinenorris

Happy Book Birthday to me!! Wow, after everything, it’s a real book. I think it’s been, all told, like SEVEN years since I first started writing it. But it’s really here — A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON is on sale TODAY!! Go and get a copy!

Amazon  (I will add buy links as they become available!)

Thanks to EVERYONE who made this day possible — I couldn’t have gotten here without you.

I actually have to work today, and get ready for Balticon, and go to Kid’s art show, so here’s a little video message from me to you! Enjoy!!

Spring 2015 Book Stuff update! Video blog! With links and junk!

Published April 25, 2015 by christinenorris

Three long months you’ve waited. I know, it was a long, cold winter. And finally I’ve had a chance to do a video blog. Which is sad, since I love doing these. Just a month until the launch of A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON! Also, big BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT NEWS!

There will be more. Soon. Keep watching. For now, enjoy!

So..it’s out!

Published April 18, 2015 by christinenorris

I totally didn’t post on release day, and I’m super sorry. But, at last, Beware the Little White Rabbit is out in the world! I am so excited about this book, and now even more because it’s just about a month before A Curse of Ash and Iron comes out. Whew! After not having any new books out for what, two years? I feel like I’m finally back to being an author.

Anyway, BEWARE is available everywhere, in ebook and paperback. Like Amazon, and B&N. And Smashwords. Go get one, and leave a review! I’d love to know what you think of THE WATCHMAKER’S BALL!

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Updates!

Published March 14, 2015 by christinenorris

It’s been a while, but there hasn’t been much to say. Covers have been revealed, and now we’re in a holding pattern. Chugging along nicely. Some updates:

* The YA Books Central contest CLOSED! I have the names and addresses of the three winners (CONGRATS) and I will be packaging the posters to send out shortly.

*ONE MONTH until the release of Beware the Little White Rabbit !!!!!!!! I’m pretty excited about that.

*Curse : waiting for the ARC and the galleys. The LAST step until publication!!!!  I anticipate having more news about that soon, since pub day is only two months-ish away. We’ll be cranking up the pre-publication publicity (say that three times fast) machine.

Short post but that’s pretty much it. Working on next books, STILL in first drafts. I’m a faster editor than I am a first-drafter. Oh! There may be another post in the near future about editing. I am considering offering editing services, but I need to think on it some more before I put out anything official.

Have a great day, lovelies!