Monday, April 30, 2012

On finishing...

For those of you who didn't see all my squealing and celebrating on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, I finally typed my two favorite words in Keeper book 2:

The end.
(Yes, I totally cried. Picture the beginning of Romancing the Stone)

Finishing a book is always an emotional experience--for me at least. This is my third time getting to that point, and once again I had that same sense of: I CAN'T BELIEVE I ACTUALLY DID THIS!!!! But this time was especially overwhelming.

Maybe it's because I had to push so hard to get there this time--cranking through a marathon writing weekend (almost 20,000 words in 3 days) and finally finishing after pulling an all-nighter.

Maybe it's because this is my first time writing a draft under contract--and my first sequel--and there was a whole other set of worries and stresses and complications that came with that.

Mostly, I think it's because this book kicked my butt. I know I've said that before, but I don't know if you guys really realize how much this story has broken my brain. It was a serious, serious struggle to get here and there were several times along the way where I worried it wouldn't happen.

So to get to this point and realize that I CAN do this--even when I have to work such long hours, under the extra pressure of a contract and a sequel, with a plot that refused to go the way I thought it needed to go and wouldn't cooperate until I surrendered--is an incredible, incredible thing.

It's NOT perfect. (oh, if you only knew how much work I still have ahead of me before I turn it into my editor next week.) But I did it.

I crossed that first and most important hurdle, and now it's all about polishing and refining (and fine, filling in the spots that say, "scene needed here"). And now that the bones are in place, *hopefully* the rest will go smoother. I guess we'll see as the week progresses.

In the meantime I happily say: take that, Book 2. I have officially ended you! *fist pump*

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trusting the Path

A writer MUCH smarter than me once told me to trust that the path is there, even when you can't see it. And that is pretty much the perfect way to describe what I've been dealing with as I try to write KEEPER 2.

I plotted the whole series years ago. I also wrote--and discussed at length--a thorough synopsis for what would happen in the book, and it all made perfect sense. I had a PLAN. And then... I started writing.

To say this book has thrown me curve balls is a bit of an understatement. In fact, I didn't even know what it was REALLY about until about a week ago when I had an EPIPHANY. So... yeah. It's been stressful. And scary. And have I mentioned stressful?

BUT, I'm trusting that the path is there.

I can finally see it--though I have a TON of work to do to really bring it out. And there are still parts of it that are a bit murky.

But the path IS there. And I'm not giving up until I finally get it right.

So... that pretty much sums up what I'll be doing this weekend. How about you guys?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Epic Milestone

There are a lot of surreal, exciting, amazing, unbelievable moments on this crazy journey I'm on (and thank goodness because they help balance the hectic, sleepless-night-inducing, terrifying ones). But yesterday was a BIG one.

I wish I could show you the absolutely GORGEOUS ARCs for LTSF that my amazing publisher sent me--but alas, I'm not allowed to since we haven't revealed the cover (which I am ALSO dying to show you). But I can't stop staring at them. Nor can I stop staring at my bookshelf, where BOTH of my books are now on display, which is so incredible I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

And then, there was this inside the ARC:

I ... I can't believe I already qualify for an "also by Shannon Messenger."

I also can't believe that these crazy stories that filled my head and refused to leave until I wrote them down are slowly making their way into the world. I've already gotten some amazing, tear-inducing emails from some early readers telling me how much they enjoyed it. And after BEA a LOT more people will have them.

It's scary and stressful and half the time I feel like there's an avalanche coming for me and I'm going to be clobbered any second. But I also get to hug my book--MY BOOK--and dance around with it and take embarrassing pictures to send to my agent and editor (oh, you know you'll do exactly the same thing!). And that is worth every single second of the stress--and then some.

So if you need me, I'll be twirling with my ARCs like the biggest nerd on the planet. And then diving back into book 2!

(Also, I'll be at Mysterious Galaxy tonight for the YA or Bust signing with Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman, and Nina LaCour. If you're in the area I hope to meet you there!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Are you ready for some shenanigans????

I sure hope so, because I am packing them up and bringing them all over the place. (So if you can't handle my crazy you'd best consider fleeing).

It's going to be a CRAZY year with all kinds of events and things and places to find me--if you're so inclined. So I've gone ahead and added an Appearances page to this blog to help you all keep track, and I will be updating it regularly as things confirm / get added. But in case you don't feel like clicking over, here's some details on some upcoming events:

April 20th 6-9pm (hey--that's TONIGHT! OMG!)
Pomona College, Room SCC-217
The 5 Cs Out Loud is hosting a special dinner and workshop, where I will be giving a lecture on "Creating a Killer Plot!" (and *trying* to sound as smart as possible. If I can't pull that off I promise lots of Shannon Shame). The dinner is only for club members, but the workshop is open to anyone. Just email ahead of time so they know to have enough chairs.  For more details, or to let them know you're coming, contact christinabejjani (at) gmail (dot) com

April 21
LA Times Festival of Books
I am there as a fan, not officially--and I'm not sure which panels I'm hitting, but I'll be "around". So if you spot a giggling blonde girl feel free to come over and say Hi!

Saturday, May 19th 2-5 pm
Still getting all the details on exactly what I'll be doing, but I'll be there for sure and will update as soon as I know more. You're also welcome to contact the organizers--contact info is on their website.

June 4-8 
Book Expo of America 
I'm still getting all the details on my schedule, so I don't know all the where/whens yet--but I will BE THERE. All week, in fact. And so far I can confirm that you WILL be able to get KEEPER ARCs there--and I will even be doing an autographing session on Tuesday, June 5th from 10:30 am - 11:00 am. You can find details on that HERE. I'll also be doing a meet and greet with some of my fellow Apocalypsies on Tuesday from 3-5pm. Details on all of that can be found HERE. And lots more to come on this. There are several other events I'll be at, but I don't have all the final info yet.

June 21-25
ALA Annual Summer Conference
One of my favorite conferences of the year and I'm SO excited it's in Anaheim this time. You will find me stalking all the booths and seeing all the people and probably crashing all the parties. More details to come as I have them.

July 11-15
Comic-Con San Diego
I'm not sure if I'm doing anything officially, but I'm SO there (though maybe NOT in costume this year...) You'll for sure find me at all the book panels and hunting for Batman swaggish things. 

Hee, I love how many times I had to say, "I don't know the details". What can I say--let's call it a work in progress. And like I said, more details WILL be added as I know them. 

Plus there are lots of other exciting things in the works too (including the launch parties for KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES--and yes, I said parties plural). But all that stuff is still very much in the planning stages, so I will update you on all of that once I have a few more things ironed out. Check back soon!

And if you think/know you're going to be at any of these places PLEASE let me know so I can try to keep an eye out for you.  Though fair warning: I tend to be a bit overwhelmed/oblivious in crowds, so there's a very very VERY good possibility I will walk right past you without noticing. If I do, you're welcome to shout things at me. Or throw things at me. Just nothing sharp please. Or sticky. :) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In which I decide to be positive...

I'm having one of those weeks. You know the kind--where everything takes 10 times longer than its supposed to in a week that was already packed with too much until it all piles on top of you and you just feel like:

But instead of using this post to whine and stress and panic (I know, I'm sure you're all very disappointed about that) I thought I'd try positivity for a change. Because the thing is, I have a lot of freakishly amazing things to be grateful for.

So really, what I want to do is focus on a few things I'm especially grateful for this week--in no particular order:

The Elixir of Life!
I know you Coke fans will probably disagree with me on this--but I'm sorry, Pepsi is basically the nectar of the gods. (though in a pinch I will settle for "the other") And for those of you who want to discuss calories and chemicals and teeth staining and whatnot I gladly plug my ears and say LALALALALALA I can't hear you!

The Hubs!
(Yes, I listed Pepsi before my husband--I said this was random order!!!)
He may have questionable taste in clothing, but the  part of him that is far happier in a Shredder sweatshirt than anything else is the same part that allows him to just laugh at me when I'm freaking out  and then somehow get me to laugh too. Like yesterday, when he bought me new squinkies. Bless his immature heart.

The Cuteness!
Totally giving away my crazy cat lady-ness here, but on a stressful day there are few things better than stopping to rub a kitty tummy. Or three. (okay, five--but two live outside DON'T JUDGE ME THEY WERE ALL RESCUES!) I'm also fairly certain the sound of a purr is healing to the soul. So yes, they shed and they have hairballs and they insist on being pet at the most inopportune times and they have the worst breath EVER. But thank goodness for those fluffy cute things who cuddle with me when I'm having a bad day. I almost want to get another.

Team Shannon!
Um... they don't know I call them that (and if they did they'd probably ask to resign) but they are the people who calm the crazy. Whether it be fielding all my panicky emails/chats or wading through my messy pages or sending me hilariously awesome care packages like this one, they are the ones who give me that boost I need to keep going.

Without all of that I would probably be curled up in the fetal position waiting for the Crazy Wagon to come take me away today. But I'm not! (though that would probably be safer for the world...) 

And some of you may be noticing that there is a decided lack of cupcake gratitude in this post--to which I say: YOU'RE RIGHT!!!!!!!! That is the secret survival key I've supremely overlooked. So clearly I need to correct that right now.

*races for the bakery for Emergency Relief Cupcakes*

Friday, April 6, 2012

See Shannon ... Teach?

Believe it or not, I've been asked to teach.

I know, right?

Clearly they haven't been reading this blog, or they'd realize I will spend at least part of my lecture talking about cupcakes. But for the other, non-cupcake related part I'll be talking about one of the things I do actually know *something* about. Here's the flyer:

In case the graphic isn't loading right, here's the details:

Friday, April 20th 6-9pm
Pomona College, Room SCC-217
Subject: Creating a Killer Plot
Speaker: ME

The dinner is only for club members, but the workshop from 7-9 is open to anyone. So if you live in SoCal, and want to watch me try to sound smart (and fill the awkward silences with in-depth cupcake discussion) feel free to join us. I promise I will do my best to make it worth while. (*dusts off tap shoes* *practices jazz hands*)

I *believe* the workshop is free--but don't quote me on that (I'm just the speaker, what do I know?) and if you decide to go, make sure you email them ahead of time so they know to have enough chairs: 

christinabejjani (at) gmail (dot) com

And for those of you who can't go, I will try to eventually put together a blog post on the same topic. So if there's anything you've ever wanted to know about plotting please, feel free to ask away in the comments. I will definitely do my best to answer. Or... ramble about cupcakes. One of the two.

Hope to see some of you there!

Have a great weekend everyone!