YA Soul Sisters

I've been reading Steve Weber's Plug Your Book, which is all about how to use the internet to market your book and yourself as a writer. Too soon? You'd think so, since my novel is not due out for more than a year. But Weber claims that, in the ideal world, a writer would begin to publicize a book 3 years before it's published! Crazy, I thought. But then I was a good student and got right to networking my bad little self.

In a week's time I've made connections, some by email, some via facebook, with tons of YA soul sisters: Melissa Marr, Aprilynne Pike, Cassandra Clare, Alyson Noel, Richelle Mead, Carrie Ryan, Becca Fitzpatrick, Lauren Bjorkman--the list just goes on and on. And everybody is so incredibly welcoming. It's like they're all sitting in the nice warm waters of the publishing pool, and I come to the steps and timidly say, "I'm a debut author with HarperCollins, book out next year. Can I join you?" and they wave me over and call out, "Come on in, the water's great!" I got goosebumps (which you'll find ironic, if you know anything about the book) when Maggie Stiefvater responded to my facebook friend request with a sweet congratulatory message. I read her novel, Shiver, a few weeks ago during a time when my own revisions were really making me sweat, and her book was so lovely, so tense and well thought out and beautifully written that it gave me hope that my book could be good too.

I wonder if writers in the other genres are even half this sweet?

Like a Madwoman

Bear with me, people. I've got a November 6 deadline to meet. Which means that I am currently revising. . . (see above)

More posts around Nov. 7. I swear.

Puppy Love

My Free Spirit girls wanted some pets, so I decided to apply hook and yarn to making them some puppy companions. So far there is a German Shepherd, Border Collie, Beagle, Labrador, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They all have the same basic body and legs. The puppy heart and soul is in the face...ears, eyes, and muzzle.

Here are the patterns to share with all of you. These would also be fun gifts or stocking stuffers, for both boys and girls.

Enjoy the crochet!

Beagle Pattern: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/BeaglePuppyPattern.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

Border Collie Pattern: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/BorderColliePuppyPattern.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

Cavalier King Charles Pattern: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/CavalierKingCharlesPuppyPattern.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

German Shepherd Pattern: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/GermanShepherdPuppyPattern.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

Labrador Pattern: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/LabradorPuppyPattern.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

You can see the girls are enjoying their new companions. Of course, now they are clamoring for some kitties....

Get Smart

Every time I call my dad this week, he asks, "Are you any smarter today?"

A funny way of putting it, I guess, when he's basically just asking for the latest news on my book.

I always say, "Yes, I'm smarter."

Boy, am I ever smarter.

Things I learned about the publishing process so far, things I will tell myself if I am lucky enough to ever have this happen again:

On celebrating the sale of your book: Consider your health, please, for the love of God, please think about your poor body and what will happen if you march yourself over to Barnes and Noble and order a huge Pumpkin Spice latte. The combination of adrenaline over your amazing news and the gigantic dose of caffeine will have you shaking like a leaf within twenty minutes. Eyes like roadmaps of Georgia within an hour or two. Finding previously undiscovered patterns in the plaster on your ceiling at three o'clock in the morning.

Then, when you continue your celebration the next night by enjoying a heavy Italian dinner and two glasses of chianti plus a glass of champagne at the end of the evening, you will suffer. You will remember that you don't drink. That you typically go straight from fine to sick. You will feel like crap when you are supposed to be feeling great.

Just say no, dear.

On the passage of time: Time moves differently for you and the publisher. When a publishing house says that they want to publish your book fast, this does not mean fast in your time, but fast in publishing time. As in Winter 2011. Which seems like a long way off. Take back what you said in the previous post about your book being on the shelf in a year. But, you will quickly learn, fast in publishing time also means FAST. As in "you need to have a polished draft to your lovely editor for the first round of editorial revisions by November the 6th, 2009." As in "final draft due January 11." As in "quick, we need your ideas for the book's cover in the next twenty minutes so we can present them in a meeting."

Roll with it, C.

On your priorities: Remember that you have a family. People who count on you to think about them once in a while. If you forget this and spend a week floating on Cloud 9, your head in your book all day, talking about nothing but your book, your book, your freaking book and how exciting and terrifying and crazy your all-important book is, they will inevitably revolt. Your husband will get that glazed look in his eyes whenever you open your mouth. Your kid will resort to jamming play dough into his ears.

It's a pretty steep learning curve.

Latest Steam Punk Free Spirit

My latest Steam Punk Free Spirit is Samarkand Artemis Lewis, younger sister of Istanbul Athena. She is dressed in a split skirt for bicycle riding, and standing next to her beloved bicycle. Her dream is to circumnavigate the globe by bike, and in the process hopefully find her Mother; lost in Africa these last 10 years.

Closeup of Samarkand's jewelry and facial embroidery. More pictures on my flickr site.


Turns out I didn't have to wait very long today. K called me around 8:30 a.m. "I have great news!" she said. I sat down. Then she told me that HarperCollins wants to sign me for a 3-book deal on my series. She talked about some of the details that she was still working on with the contract, explained that it might be a month or so before it is all finalized, but "there are no deal breakers," she said, so it's really a done deal. She advised me to have a glass of champagne tonight.

Then she asked me if I was still there. For once, I was completely speechless.

"Yes," I stammered. "But you'll have to send me some of what you just said in an email, because there's no way I'm going to remember it all ten minutes from now."

She laughed and said she would. Did I mention that I heart K?

Since then I've been in a bit of a daze. I took my son to the park. I called my friends and family. I received about a hundred congrats in different forms on Facebook. I still couldn't quite make myself believe it was all true until, during my son's nap, I went to Barnes and Noble for a celebratory Pumpkin Spice latte. I stood in the middle of the store, breathed in the smell of coffee and new books, and promptly started to cry.

At that moment it hit me that I have changed careers in the past 24 hours. Before: adjunct professor in creative writing and SAHM. Now: Novelist. From now on, I am actually going to be paid to write. Better still, I am going to be an Author. A year from now, my book will be on the shelf in that Barnes and Noble.

It's no wonder I started sniffling.

Then I bought a copy of Mark Levine's Negotiating A Book Contract and read it from cover to cover. Good stuff.

I don't know a lot of the details yet, like when the book will be published or what's going to happen next. But it is, without a doubt, one of the best days of my life.

Big Day

So today's the day (supposedly) that the decision gets made. I'm trying to keep cool, go about business as usual. But during my workout this morning my heartrate was unusually high, and there's a quivery excitement in the pit of my stomach, followed by moments of intense dreaminess (oh, to publish my book! For money! For a career, finally, in writing!), trepidation (oh, the disappointment if it's rejected! The pain!) and resignation (I realize that the whole thing, at this point, is completely out of my control).

And so the hours creep by. . .

Steam Punk Free Spirit

Meet Istanbul Athena Lewis, a steam punk Free Spirit :-) To make her, I modified her body slightly by giving her a bit of a bosom and more almond shaped eyes (see my flickr photostream for Free Spirit Steam Punk Variations: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/sets/72157622509269234/ for some instructions on the modifications)

I used the side-to-side basic bodice for her corset dress bodice, and simply crocheted a full skirt to the bottom of the bodice, using a stitch pattern from "The Harmony Guides, 220 More Crochet Stitches." I was curious if hammered-on eyelets would work with crochet, for the lacing of her bodice, and they do!

I purchased inexpensive charms from Michaels for her punky jewely and the charms on her gauntlets. Her earrings and necklace are removable.

Closeup of the bodice; I also did a little bead crochet work here, which gives a neat effect, and you can also get a close look at her earrings and her right gauntlet.

If you are interested in finding inspiration for this fashion statement, try this flickr photosite:


Enjoy the crochet!

Comparisons and new work

So, today I received my first Blythe! And like most little girls that get a new doll, I had to undress her :-) Of course, I couldn't resist a photo comparison of Blythe and the crochet doll that she inspired, Free spirit, so here they are.

This Free Spirit is a slight variation on the basic doll pattern. This doll is my Steam Punk variation, and for her I wanted a more adult figure. So I nipped in her waist by one stitch, and added a more developed bosom. She isn't of Barbie proportion, but her soon to be made corset dress should look very sexy on her :-)

I also modified the eyewhites to try to give a more almond shape, instead of the 'Blythe' look to her eyes. I have a new set on my flickr photostream for the Steam Punk variation, where I will put the directions for the new eye whites and modified body.

A Week to Wait

K informed me last night that the editorial board will meet NEXT Friday (I think that this Friday is when F submitted the manuscript to them). So I have an entire week to hold my breath.

How Many?

Well, I was curious how many different outfits I could make from one basic Edwardian dress pattern. As of today, my count stands at five (the latest is the cranberry red dress on the right, and on Emily below). Not to mention several pair of bloomers, three collars, and two nightgowns. These outfits have been a lot of fun to dream up, and to share with you.

Now I want to try something different with Free Spirit. For some reason I got the idea of Steam Punk in my head, so I'm going to give this a try. With Steam Punk, think over-the-top Victorians achieving our level of technology with...steam engines!

Sherlock Holmes, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells would have all been comfortable in this reality :-)

I've enjoyed the Edwardians, and hope you have too.


Silver hook in hand;
A web of lace takes shape
Beneath flashing fingers.