WOW! What a few months it's been! I'm sorry that my blogs have been so quiet lately but things have been freaking hectic behind the scenes.
I have to start by talking about Pitch Wars. As you know I'm an MG mentor again this year, so a great deal of August was spent reading all the lovely submissions I received as well as working with my mentees. YES, menteeS! Plural.
First up, it's essential I let you know that the quality of submissions this year was fantastic. And I mean that, hand on heart. I struggled to narrow down my YES folder right up until those final days. I had subs bouncing from NO to MAYBE to YES and back again. I was reluctant to let go of some of the beauties I read, and picking just one was rather painful. Of course, I've been through this before so you'd think it would get easier. Nope. In fact, I'd say it's getting harder. I want to work with so many of you. The mentees I interacted with on the Twitter feed during August were humble, grateful, willing, and bags of fun, and if I could add some extra months to the year I would mentor each and every one of you. But alas, I am yet to become this powerful.
So, in the end, the book I picked to mentor this year is an MG fantasy by the very wonderful and awesome Kimberly Fernando. I'm not going to go into too much detail about her book because there will be plenty coming up over the coming months - interviews and the like - that will give you more insight about this brilliant author and her work. But suffice to say, I LOVE HER AND HER MANUSCRIPT!
I am also extremely lucky this year to have a wild card mentee - basically an extra fabulous author to mentor and guide over the next couple of months in preparation for the agent round in November. But, there's an awesome twist! Not only am I working with the incomparable Kirk Kraft on his heartfelt and humorous MG contemporary, but I get to share the mentoring experience with three other ladies! Yes! Ashley Martin, Amanda Rawson Hill, and Cindy Baldwin are the dream team, and I absolutely adore these guys. Kirk is one lucky guy...
To make my last few months even busier, I've been inundated with requests for my editing services lately. You guys are the best! Rebecca and I don't have magical time-turners so we can't take on everyone straight away - and please know how painful it is for us to say we don't have availability that suits your schedules too. But, it's definitely a humbling experience knowing that you want to team up with us and make your manuscripts the best they can be. All I can say is, book up as far in advance as you can!
I was delighted when a good friend of mine here on the GC, Vacen Taylor, invited me to be part of a panel she was putting together for Comic Con later this month. And what an awesome topic myself and some incredible artists will be presenting: An Artist's Guide to Mental Health and Wellbeing. Be sure to come along if you're in Brisbane on September 24.
As you probably know, I am also the editorial director at Lakewater Press, a new boutique small press born in March 2016. I've been so lucky to have worked and continue to work with such fantastic writers. Well, this year so far has been amazing. We've published sequels, signed new authors, ran highly successful promotions, and have even more sparkly books launching in the build up to Christmas. Every day I learn something new at Lakewater and taking a book from acquisition to publication with a team of extraordinary people by my side is a gift. I don't think I'll ever stop being grateful.
I haven't had much time to write my own words lately, well, in fact, for a long time now. I kind of lost my spark, especially after the horrible drawn-out experience with WINELL ROAD. But, my goodness, creativity is back with a vengeance. I thank the kids on the Gold Coast for helping me with that. The schools I've gotten to visit this year gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing kids who just buzzed and shone with creativity and the love of a good story. We really must keep building this in our younger generation.
I have penned the outlines of several MG horrors with my fifteen-year-old son for a series of standalone novels (one of which has caught the eye of a couple of agents! *takes deep breath* *doesn't get too excited*). The first book is written but needs a darn good edit. The second and maybe third I intend to write during NaNoWriMo.
I also dusted off an old women's fiction I wrote years ago called The Breastfeeding Club and decided to pitch it on Twitter. And Hells Bells, I received interest! This is another book that needs some serious polishing, but I'm excited to get cracking as I think this book is something special and at the time of drafting perhaps my writing wasn't quite ready and maybe the story was a little too emotional for a new mum to cope with! But now I'm DEFINITELY ready!
And finally, I've had the most wonderful response to WINELL ROAD and kids asking me when the sequel is due out. Well, it's written and just needs that final sprinkling of magic, then I promise it'll be published. It's been a long time coming, I know!
There have been a bunch of other things going on lately, especially with my kids and their busy lives but I won't go into detail about that. But, it's definitely worth mentioning how proud I am of my clan! They are the best friends I could ever ask for.
Anyway, I hope you guys are all well and writing hard! You know where I am if you need me, so feel free to shoot me an email or a Twitter message at anytime!
Bye for now!