Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Editorial Letter, or, I Have a Job!

Yesterday was a big mail day. Probably the biggest mail moment in my writing life, because I got my editorial letter and my marked-up manuscript. I knew already that the revisions would entail a lot of work, but that didn't matter. I love working on my book. I love making it better. And, I can finally say, I really do love this story. (But you might want to ask me about it in three months!)

Anyway, I'm sure that those of you who are working toward this moment or who have gone through it will understand how excited I was. (Even if I don't look it.) 

Me, on a tiny bench, with my package:

Pulling it out of the envelope:

I had another picture of me holding it up, but it has lots of addresses on it, so I'm not posting that. I am, however, going to show you what happened next. For the past year, I've been saying that I wanted to buy a certain bottle of whiskey whenever I sold my book. Yesterday, I finally did it! My critique partner (Emma Kress) and I celebrated in style while we read over the comments my editor made. And I must add, this is fine whiskey. Just don't drink it all at once. ;-)

Me, with a bottle of Redbreast Irish Whiskey:

And our toast:

Aren't those the cutest little cups?

And now? I must get to work. I've got until December to add a bunch of scenes (I underwrite, as I've said before). Oh, and I have to get that sequel going, too! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


At last, I can write the blog post I've been dreaming of for years and years:

Yesterday, I got a basket for my bike!!! Yes! It's something I've always wanted. It makes my back happier, and it's cute.

Oh, that's not what you wanted to hear? Ok... How about:


Before I go any further, here's the blurb from Publisher's Marketplace:

Amber Lough's THE FIRE WISH, in which an unwilling princess betrothed to
the caliph's son captures a jinn and makes a wish to go home, but is instead
transported to the fiery realm of the jinn, while the young jinn who granted
her wish is magically bound to take her place in the royal court of Baghdad,
to Diane Landolf at Random House Children's, in a two-book deal, for publication
in Fall 2014, by Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Laura did a great job with the blurb! And I'm getting published! By Random House!
I can't stop the exclamation marks! I get my Editorial Letter TODAY!
I have to write a sequel before August 1, 2013! My book comes out in two years! 

Ok. I'm done.

No, wait. No I'm not. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are longer books better books? Deeper books?

It doesn't take drinking an entire ocean to know it holds a lot of water, right? You can pretty much figure that out with your eyes. You can tell it's deep by the hue. By the animals it holds. Actually, that's a better way anyway--wouldn't want you drinking salt water. But more to the point: is something better because it's bigger?

Of course not. Duh. Things--be they oceans or diamonds, love or ideas--hold value because of what they are, not because they're big. And books are the same. A heavier, longer book is not necessarily better than a shorter one. It isn't better-crafted because it's bigger. It isn't more interesting because there are more words. I like the idea that books should be exactly as long as they need to be, and no longer. Frankly, we all have piles of books we want to get through. We don't have time for books that are full of unnecessary fluff.

I'm saying all this for two reasons. One, there's a thoughtful article from Salon about this issue, and two, because I tend to under-write so this makes me feel better. I write too concisely and am always adding scenes or backstory with each draft. Naturally, I blame this on my English teacher, Mr. Kaple, who introduced me to Hemingway. I also blame it on a certain Army Captain, who taught me how to write Intelligence Assessments when we were in Baghdad. Both of these men taught me to rein in the prose, which is hard to do when you're naturally wordy. I can't thank them enough! But now, as I am gearing up to do another revision on book one and quick-draft book two, I have to balance the scales a bit.

As a writer, I want to give you time to ease into the story a bit, feeling your way around my world, and savoring the characters and their inevitably bad choices. Otherwise, you won't want to stay to see them grow.