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Birthday Post

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Yesterday was my birthday. I'm 28 now (somehow 28 feels way more official than 27)! And since yesterday was packed full of fun and awesome, my birthday post to myself is a day late. And if you know me, you shouldn't be surprised to hear my birthday post is a little light on balloons and birthday cakes, and heavy on muscle.

If I could have anything on my birthday that featured a toolbelt and long run-your-fingers-through-it hair, it would be this---

My husband is pretty handy around the house, but he can't install pot lights in my kitchen. And he wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a vapor barrier and weed block to save his life. And since my biggest birthday wish is to have my house complete, Scott fits the requirements pretty well!!

From Sub to Pub 2

Sunday, March 27, 2011

There was a lot of angst in those early days after Joanna offer. From what I’m told, this is pretty standard for writers. Agent offers. Writer shrieks. Celebrates. Writer sits around for a day or two wondering if maybe Agent made a mistake. Picturing Agent rereading manuscript and hating it. Picturing Agent typing up a I’ve-changed-my-mind email and hitting SEND.

But seriously, Joanna was nothing but sweet and kind and patient with me that first week or two (and she still is!). Writers are a special breed, and I think it takes a certain kind of person to deal with us.

Once I accepted her offer, we started talking revisions. She already had a lot of her ed-letter written before we were official, so I didn’t have to wait long. Her ideas were spot-on and I could see a whole new version of Altered taking shape. It would be bigger and better and faster paced. I couldn’t wait to start.

But at the same time, I was terrified. What if I started hacking at the manuscript only to make it worse?

I took a few days to think the notes over. And it helped. After that, the revision didn’t seem so bad. The ideas were clearer. I knew exactly what I needed to fix and add to make the book better.

I was anxious to finish, but Joanna said something early on that stuck with me. This was probably one of the few times I’d be working freely, without a deadline. “So take your time,” she said. And as much as I wanted to submit Altered Now-Now-Now, I took her advice.

I started the revision mid-October and sent it back to her December 3rd. She read and gave the thumbs-up. Since we'd decided to hold off till after the holidays to submit, we took the rest of the month to work on line-edits and Book #2 and #3 synopses.

We officially went out on submission January 18th. And so began the longest days of my life.

From Sub to Pub 1

Thursday, March 24, 2011

As I said in a previous post, I didn’t set out to write Altered. I wasn’t even aware I was writing it until it was halfway done. I think the story was partially inspired by Jason Bourne, because I love that movie, and that boy, something fierce. And I wanted to tell the story from the girl’s perspective. What if you knew someone like Jason Bourne? No memories, but a total badass? And what if you loved that boy so much you’d do anything for him?

Much of Altered’s conflict came after the characters. I wasn’t really sure for most of the book what I was doing, but that IS how I work. I just wing it! Thankfully, that’s what revisions are for---cleaning up the wing.

The first draft was finished in about six or seven weeks, and then I spent the next month revising using feedback from critiques.

And this is where the fun stuff begins.

I posted the Altered query letter on Verla Kay’s message board hoping for some feedback. And what I got was much better. I use two different emails, one for family and writer friends and one for submissions. I received an email in my unofficial inbox with the subject ALTERED from a name I didn’t immediately recognize.

The email was from an agent who saw my query letter on the blueboard and was interested in taking a peek at the beginning pages. To say that I hyperventilated would be an inadequate description of what really happened.

It was more like I flailed and grinned and eeked and messed up a lot of work at the day job because I couldn’t focus.

An agent contacted me!! It’s supposed to be the other way around!

I rewrote the first chapter that day. And I’m so glad I did.

After sending the requested material to that agent, I knew it was time to start the submission process. I’d been sitting on Altered for what seemed like forever (but was more like a week or so) afraid to send it into the world. Afraid that it wasn’t The One. That it would fail like every other book I’d written and submitted.

But it didn’t.

I sent out nine queries over the next few days. I got three partial requests and two full requests. All three partials turned into fulls. I received two rejections and immediately sent out two more queries. One of those turned into a full.

By the end of that same week, Joanna had offered representation. Almost immediately I felt like she was the perfect agent for me and I was right. :)

To be continued!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011
ALTERED is up on PM!!

It's the same blurb that went up in the Rights Report, but for those who might have missed that, here's the PM blurb---

Jennifer Rush's debut ALTERED, pitched as Dollhouse meets Prison Break for teens, about a 17-year-old who finds herself on the run from her father's enigmatic Agency along with the four teen boys the Agency had been experimenting on, in a mystery of erased memories, secret identities, and genetic alteration, to Julie Scheina at Little, Brown, for publication in Fall 2012, by Joanna Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation (World English).

No Kids

Thursday, March 17, 2011
This is what happens when my husband and I have no kids for the night. No work gets done, and silly things are discussed and made.

Plot Twists In Pictures

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
In my previous post, I talked about Altered's many plot twists, and how I don't usually write heavily plotted books. Altered is by far the most complex book I've written. Because while A, B and C happens within Book 1's pages, I have to know how E, F and G happened years ago to make the reveal work.

In previous books, I was more comfortable telling the characters' stories rather than anything else. But whoa, is it fun writing a plot heavy book (when I actually know what's going on, that is).

Plot Twists -- In Pictures

Fellow writers, do you like writing plot-heavy books? Do you enjoy twists and turns?

Plot Twists

I consider myself a novice still when it comes to plotting. For me, the story always starts with a character. Maybe a snapshot of what they look like, how they act, where they live and how that affects them. Plotting for me is like making a complicated cheesecake. So many steps and ingredients and I'm left standing there staring at a mess I don't know how to control.

So when I started revising Altered, there was a moment of panic, where I just sat there staring at my notes going, Why did I decide to write a book with so many damn plot twists and conspiracies?!

I didn't set out to write Altered, and especially not the way I did write it. I was supposed to be letting a project called The Loom cool off before revising. But before I knew it, Altered was finished and July and August were gone. Those months were a blur. I lived, breathed, daydreamed Altered. And the story started with a boy and a girl. A girl who loved that boy with all her heart. Who loved him so much she risked everything to set him free.

Of course, now I'm glad I wrote that book. Kismet, maybe? I don't know. What I do know is Altered changed my life. Those characters---Anna, Sam, Cas, Nick and Trev---set me on the path I've been running toward for years.

And I can't wait to share their story with the world.

The Monday After

Monday, March 14, 2011
It's odd, finally being able to talk about my good news in public! Especially after sitting on it for a few weeks. Can you imagine having to wait months? Not me. I would have burst at the seams.

All day Friday, I was literally glowing. It was so exciting sharing my news with the people and communities I've been involved with for years. I think I shouted the news from every available rooftop. Everyone had such kind words!

Now that the excitement has died down (only a sliver!), it's time to buckle down on the real work. Julie said we might start revisions in May, but in the meantime, I have lots of other things to work on. New Secret Project, which I LOVE. I'm also putting together character worksheets and background stories for the Altered characters. So fun getting inside the secondary characters' heads. The boys are by far the hardest. Because, ya know, I'm not a boy.

Fellow writers, how much writing do you do for the behind-the-scenes stuff?

Books of 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Let's skip a few months ahead for the next 2011 book.

I had the good fortune of snagging an ARC of this book a few months ago, but it was a borrowed copy that belonged to my agent. And I REALLY want my own copy! Everyone is talking about Divergent and for good reason. So well written. Fast-paced. Phenomenal world-building. And also, there's a hot guy named Four who might be considered a bad boy. Particularly when you find out the significance behind his nickname.

When Divergent hits shelves, I think it'll quickly become a favorite for many readers. I'm definitely looking forward to the second read!

Books of 2011

Next up for March releases---

There are so many great things about this book. The cover. The concept. The writing. You can check out the first chapter HERE. I can't wait to pick up my copy and dig into Lauren's dystopian world.

Books of 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011
2011 is already looking like a good year for book releases. Just the first three months were packed with books I wanted to read.

March itself seems to hold A LOT of promise. So I'm going to feature a couple of March releases.

Number #1 ---

I can't wait to see how Ryan wraps everything up from the first two books. Zombies + Romance + Post-Apocalyptic world? Yes please!


Monday, March 7, 2011
First posts are the hardest. Where to begin? I've been blogging for nearly six years over on Livejournal, but I thought it was time to upgrade. So I'm upgrading.

And beginning.