Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Officially Signed and Noted

Today I signed my contract and sent it to HarperCollins.  I know it might seem a bit late for all of that, but it took a long time to get the contract smoothed out.  In fairness to my agent, she had it ready for me to sign well before Christmas.  But silly me, I had some questions I wanted to ask first, so I had to wait until everybody was back from the holidays.  Yesterday I asked my questions.  K, as usual, answered beautifully.  (I seriously think I could watch K muck horse stalls and still think she was one of the most amazing people ever.)  And so today, I officially signed my life for the next few years over to HarperCollins. 

And now they can officially pay me.  Woot!

I also got some notes back from F today.

Now, I've been waiting for these notes for a while now, and I was completely out-of-my-mind excited to get them, no matter what.  I like revision--most of my published short stories are far, FAR different from their first drafts.  There are two types of revision, I tell my students.  The type where you come into the room and rearrange the furniture and dust the cobwebs and then stand back and admire the nice, tidy place you've made for yourself.  And the type where the contractor informs you that the wiring is shot, and most of the walls will have to be torn down, and before you know it a sledgehammer is swinging wildly through your work.  This is the part in all the home makeover shows where everybody has just a little too much fun destroying the old kitchen cabinets.  And after the dust settles and you've carted all the junk to the dumpster, you roll up your sleeves and start rebuilding.  When you're done, the place is at a whole new level of beauty, something you never even imagined before.  
I'm all about type 2 revising.  Really.  And I intend to have a good attitude with F, as in confident, hard-working, amiable writer.

But when I read the notes, I vaulted straight into wallowing.  Which I understand is completely irrational!  When I read the notes now, a few hours later, I see the genius in F's ideas, her expertise at work, making the story tighter and stronger and better.  She's not asking me to rewrite my book from scratch or cut something I absolutely loved or anything terribly drastic.  But for about an hour after I got the email I stumbled around our apartment with a sheen of tears in my eyes, nauseated and stunned.  I told my husband that it felt like I'd been hit in the stomach with a two by four.  He had the good sense to hide his bafflement at my odd emotional reaction and just give me a hug.

And now, I'm back.  Rational once again.  Excited once again.  Which is good, because tomorrow morning I am going to meet F in PERSON for breakfast!!!!

More tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Books of 2009

So today I put together a comprehensive list of the books I read in 2009. This year I read more books, did more writing, and listened to more music than probably the 3 years before that, combined. My creative self was definitely awake and hungry.

So, here it goes:

Water For Elephants, Sara Gruen
The Painted Veil, M.Somerset Maughan
Our Story Begins, Tobias Wolff
City of Thieves, David Benioff
The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
Unplugged Play, Bobbi Conner
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer (after seeing the movie on DVD)
New Moon, Stephanie Meyer (had to read the rest, didn't I?)
Eclipse, Stephanie Meyer,
Breaking Dawn, Stephanie Meyer
Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Eternal, Cynthia Leitrich Smith (after I started my book, I started to read the other angel-related books out there, for research)
A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
Kissed by an Angel, Elizabeth Chandler
Harvesting the Heart, Jodi Picoult
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Neffeneger (reread)
The Myth of You and Me, Leah Stuart
Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults, Victoria Hanley
Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel, K.L. Going
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv
Vampire Academy Series, Richelle Mead (thank you Amyjo, for donating this collection to me)
Angel, Cliff McNish
The Fallen, Thomas Sniegovski
Negotiating a Book Contract, Mark L. Levine (read the day I got the book deal offer from HarperCollins!)
Impossible, Nancy Werlin

Books I read on Kindle: (I got this is June, as a birthday present from my dad, and instantly fell in love. It threw open the doors, WAY, WAY open, to reading. It also busted our budget on books.)

The Host, Stephanie Meyer
The Book of Enoch (all the cool people are reading it)
Marley and Me, John Grogan (reread)
On Writing, Stephen King (reread)
Emotional Life of a Toddler, Alicia Lieberman
Dead and Gone, Charlaine Harris
Rebel Angels, Libba Bray
Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
Scream Free Parenting, Hal Edward Runkel (can you tell I have a toddler?)
The Shack, William P. Young
Anne Shirley Series, L.M. Montgomery (reread—all one file in Kindle! sent me back to the early days)
Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris
The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (reread)
Marked (House of Night) P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Evermore, Alyson Noel
Little Women, Louisa Mae Alcott (reread)
The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
The City of Ember, Jeanne Duprau
The People of Sparks, Jeanne Duprau
The Prophet of Yonwood, Jeanne Duprau
The Diamond of Darkhold, Jeanne Duprau
Playful Parenting, Lawrence J. Cohen
The Angel Experiment, James Patterson
Cirque Du Freak #1, Darren Shan
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires), Rachel Caine
Wings, Aprilynne Pike
Bird Eating Bird, Kristin Naca
Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick
Meridian, Amber Kizer
The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity, Lissa Warren
Shiver, Maggie Steifvater
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan
City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Prom Nights from Hell, Meg Cabot and others
Wake, Lisa McMann
Bones of Faerie, Janni Lee Simner
Fallen, Lauren Kate
Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
What Happened to Cass McBride, Gail Giles
The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong
The Maze Runner, James Dashner
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
The Luxe, Anna Godbersen
Switch, Carol Snow

That's just shy of 70 books, not to mention the loads of samples I read on Kindle that I was too poor to buy! If I had the pick absolute favorites, I'd choose The Painted Veil, which was genius, The Host, which was my first Kindle purchase and I didn't put it down for 3 days, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which had me up all night chewing my nails to see how it ended, and The Hunger Games, which I thought was pulled off just beautifully. In close second: Shiver and Wings.

Phew! When I look at the list I see myself curled up for hours and hours, lost in the world of books. Which was a wonderful place to be!