Category Archives: FEELS

Shenanigans (Late Night Edition)

I’m standing in my kitchen covered in flour and cinnamon and sugar after deciding to bake some bread.

I got back from laser-tagging it up (as you do) and thought, “Hey! You know what my life is lacking? Cinnamon raisin bread!” And then I got halfway through making it, which turns out to be two hours later, and I decided to finish it up in the morning, so WIN for Future V and BOO for Present V who has to clean up the kitchen.

And blog.

I felt like blogging.

So hello!

A few things of note.

Thing #1, in case you missed it!

Unbound_Cover-Reveal

Ooooooh, shiny. You can find the synopsis for the above shiny on its dedicated little tab above under BOOKS.

Which brings me to thing #2!

A new blog design! I was in the mood for a change, and couldn’t fit in a tattoo or a haircut so I thought, “Blog redesign!” I think it’s pretty swanky. And it allows me to sport BOTH of my names 😉

Which brings me in a roundabout way to thing #3!

The cover reveal for VICIOUS is nearly upon us! At first I thought it would be today but the powers-that-be wanted to do shiny things that take time so now it will probably be early next week! I see this as an opportunity to spread the awesome out a little 😉

Which in some way brings me to thing #4!

Redesigning the blog was actually a rather surreal experience, because as I was creating the little tabs under the BOOKS label I realized OMG I HAVE BOOKS PLURAL. And then I had a moment about that. Sometimes moments just kind of sneak up on you (like I did on 30+ children tonight at laser tag right before I PWNED THEM WITH MY SKILLZ)* and the act of listing my books, both those on shelves and those on their way was a punch to the gut, if punches to the gut came with pleasant feelings, too. I just had to sit very still for a few minutes and catch my breath.

Which brings me rather directly to thing #5.

Thank you. For everything you’ve done. For buying the books, of course, but also for sending me notes/emails/DMs/messages telling me you believe in me, or that X or Y or Z made you feel A or B or C, or that you follow me because of blank, or for any and all the things you say and do that make me feel good on bad days and great on good ones. Every bit of success belongs to you as much as me and I will never, ever, ever stop being grateful.

/Late night ramblings.

Making History, dogs covered in tape, and a reminder about NICENESS online.

It’s a Tuesday, and that means it’s time for the fourth installment of MAKING HISTORY. This week involves my puppy, Kuma, and a LOT of masking tape.

To watch that video, AND enter to win a pre-order of THE ARCHIVED, just click HERE.

A reminder that ALL videos so far can be found by clicking HERE.

AND this week, two more lovely people joined the challenge and shared their own stories.

To read Leigh Caroline’s, click HERE.

To read Rachel Thomas’s, click HERE.

If YOU want to join in, just film a vlog or write a blog post sharing a story of your own. It can be anything, so long as it’s true.

*

Before I log off to go write books and edit books and fret and pack for NYC and such, I want to take a moment to talk about niceness.

I’ve always been extraordinarily lucky, as an author and even just as an Online Person. I have many author/OP friends who receive abuse from the internets, and consequently accept it as par for the course. Perhaps BECAUSE I’ve been lucky, I do not.

So I just wanted to remind the internets that authors and all OP are not just personas, they are people. I do my best to be as accessible as possible online, to share my ups and downs and random thoughts, and that level of openness can be difficult, but it’s been fostered a wonderfully supportive community.

I think, because I’ve been so transparent for so long, that people assume it 1. is easy for me to be so/comes naturally or 2. is just part of my marketing strategy or 3. is an attention-grabbing ploy.

It’s none of the above.

In fact, the blog posts on moving, on change, the MH videos, discussing the highs and lows of my life and my life in publishing, those things are very, very challenging. And that’s WHY I do them. They take an immense amount of effort. Withholding is much easier. Being a smiley facade is much easier. But it’s IMPORTANT to me to be honest. It’s important to me to push myself that way, because when I was starting out, I scavenged for honesty.

This is all to say, sometimes being who we are, and who you see online, ISN’T easy (maybe for some it is), and that makes it all the more important to be kind to one another. To be nice.

NEVER set out to make someone feel bad about who they are. It’s utterly baffling to me how often I see this online. It doesn’t help anyone. So don’t do it.

So be nice.

Or walk away.

I have been seeing a good deal of CASUAL MEANNESS online lately, and it makes me sad. Let’s not be a part of that. If anything, strive for INTENTIONAL KINDNESS.

Love you, lovelies.

In which I reveal THE ARCHIVED’s full jacket art and blurbs!!! And say thank you.

Lovelies!

I have something incredibly shiny to share with you today..the final jacket for THE ARCHIVED. That means two flaps, a front cover, a back cover, a spine, and two blurbs that make me a little weepy.

First, thank you thank you thank you to designer Tyler Nevins, editor Abby Ranger, and the amazing folks over at Disney*Hyperion for creating this masterpiece.

HERE WE GO.

*DIES*

*REVIVES*

NOW LET’S BREAK IT DOWN.

The front flap, complete with sexy tag line and jacket copy. And OLD WALLPAPER OMG. The book is set in the Coronado, an old hotel-turned-apartment-building, and it’s got these little touches, like old wallpaper. Hence my dying a little over the detail.

The finalized cover, brighter and creepier and all-around MORE EPIC.

The spine, which, like the flaps, HAS OLD WALLPAPER OMG and is just incredibly TOUCHABLE-looking.

The back cover. OKAY. Let’s just talk about the background, and then we’ll get to the amazing blurb-y goodness. The background depicts the top floors of the Coronado, the primary setting of the book, AND THERE ARE GARGOYLES. And those gargoyles are ENTIRELY RELEVANT TO THE BOOK. This whole jacket is full of details that MATTER TO THE STORY. It makes me so, so happy, because I know that often covers do NOT match books, but this one matches in every single way.

NOW. THE BLURBS. *dies*

“As gorgeously written as it is brilliantly inventive, The Archived is that rare book that grabs you by the heart *and* the mind, not letting go of either once you’ve turned the last page. It’s earned a permanent spot on my Keeper shelf.”
–Rachel Hawkins, New York Times best-selling author of the Hex Hall series

And…

“A page-turning plot, a setting that haunted my dreams, and breathtaking prose. Truly a masterful, dark, beautiful novel.”
–Ruta Sepetys, New York Times best-selling author of Between Shades of Gray

You guys. I’m SUCH a huge fan of both these authors, and I couldn’t have asked for better quotes.

Lastly, the back flap, with its new bio and its delicious details 😉

There you go.

The jacket art and blurbs for a book that ate my soul many times over, a story I dreamed of seeing as a book, a book I dreamed of seeing as a series. My excitement for this jacket and these quotes is eclipsed ONLY by excitement of sharing the thing between the covers with all of you.

Lastly, I just want to thank you–ALL of you–for your excitement so far. It is such a lifeboat.

I know we still have a few months to go (they’ll pass quickly, I promise! It’s nearly October, which is the 10th month in 2012, and January is the 13th), but your enthusiasm, your pre-orders, your posts and tweets and messages and word-of-mouth, those things not only help the book, they help me. They help me keep my chin up on bad days, when the weight of the things out of my control and the stress of what-ifs and what-if-nots and the fears of failure–and things worse than failure–eat at my sanity. Your excitement is what keeps me afloat.

In the acks of THE ARCHIVED, I say, “To the online community, for its constant love and support.
To the readers, who make every bad day good and every good day better.”

And I really, really mean that.

Thanks for the hugs, and the cheers, and the happiness, and the hope.

Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, and the power of two people MAKING SUCH GOOD ART.

If you’ve followed the blog for any duration, you already know that I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman.

I wrote a post last fall, called “To the planet from the speck,” which was in essence a fan letter, posted days before I had the chance to meet Gaiman in person at WFC, and snag a set of autographs and a hug.

These days, I wear a WWNGD bracelet…

…and the answer to that question–WHAT WOULD NEIL GAIMAN DO–used to be simply GO WRITE, but is now always MAKE GOOD ART.

The phrase comes a commencement address, in which Gaiman gave the following instruction to the 2012 graduating class at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia:

“Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — and in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways in which life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid, or evil, or it’s all been done before? Make good art.”

The whole speech is incredible, and if you haven’t watched it already, you should. You can find it HERE.

MAKE GOOD ART.

This is where Amanda Palmer comes in.

I’ve been aware of Palmer peripherally for the past few years–I remember going to a friend’s house and being taken with a book on her side table, “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?”–but it wasn’t until after her path crossed with Gaiman’s that my interest sharpened.

I began to pick at her work, to taste, and, as with good food, got hungrier with every bite. When her latest record, THEATRE IS EVIL, hit the digital stores this past week, I devoured it. I’d been devouring the sneak peeks and videos in the preceding weeks, and the more of Palmer I discover, the more I find to love. Her art–an experience, really, equal parts music and performance–gets into my bones.

It makes me want to CREATE, and that’s really the greatest thing an artist can do, in my opinion.

Spread the urge to MAKE.

That sensation is what first drew me to Gaiman’s writing. The way he wove words, shaped worlds, got under my skin, peeled away the paint and paper on the creative places I’d covered to focus on more academic things. Palmer’s music did the same thing–albeit in an entirely different way–and I found my fingers itching for a pen.

So here we have two people, and they’re both MAKING GOOD ART.

Neil Gaiman on his own is a colossal talent.

And as I am quickly discovering, Amanda Palmer is a force as well.

But what I find so magical, so exponentially wonderful, is their combination. Not in any specific art form, not in the way they infuse or inspire one another, no, but in the simple way that, for me, Amanda Palmer makes Neil Gaiman’s commencement command CONCRETE.

MAKE GOOD ART, commanded Gaiman.

And Amanda Palmer does exactly that.

She is the perfect embodiment of that command.

With every piece of her being, Palmer makes art.

And it is GOOD. It is PHENOMENAL, stunning in the way something is stunning when you as the viewer/listener/receiver can tell that the artist is putting themselves–every fiber, every flaw–into their work. In addition to talent, which Palmer has in droves, there is a level of artistic merit that comes from the sheer dedication to one’s art, both physical and emotional devotion. From belief in one’s self. Or at least from clarity. From finding a shape and taking it, and knowing that even though that shape can and will and must change, for this moment, this is the shape, and every fiber owns it. That is what Palmer does. She owns her shape. And it makes good art great.

Neil Gaiman’s speech on its own is brilliant. But pairing it with a force like Amanda Palmer gives the message both gravity and elevation. Seeing someone so perfectly EMBODY that message lifts my hopes as a creator, and helps me to believe–and on bad days, we all need that help, that clarity, that strength of shape–that good art is always worth it.

Nail Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are each, in their own right, inspiring. But seeing two such talented creators build on each other, amplify each other’s messages and become a kind of constructive creative force, it makes my fingers itch and my thoughts spin.

It makes me want to MAKE GOOD ART.

On fretting, neuroses, and the fact that so many things are out of your control.

My name is Victoria, and I am neurotic.

If you’ve followed this blog for more than five minutes, that probably feels less like a confession than a duh moment, but it’s true.

Neurotic. Control freak. Type A.

It’s funny–and by funny I mean distressing–because this is a VERY common trait in writers (we are, after all, constructors of our own worlds), and yet it’s probably the worst trait to have as an someone involved in publishing. The sheer number of things out of your control is enough to send even the least neurotic of us reaching for a paper bag or a bottle of wine.

I made a list of the PUBLISHING ONLY things (disqualifying things like the fact I’m moving in five days and don’t even have boxes) stressing me out right now. And by right now I mean TODAY. At this MOMENT. Of the things on the list, I think I ONE of them is in my control. A glimpse?

–Blurbs (scary, never become less so)

–Pre-orders (yeah, I watch them)

–Chain store placement (ughhhhhhhhhhhh)

–Next project deadline (it looms, IT LOOMS)

–Final cover treatment (will it be glossy? matte? both?)

–Buzz (the creation and maintenance of)

–Reception (*nail-biting*)

–Online exposure (*waves arms back and forth*)

–Giveaways and mailings (I’m behind, as always)

I love my job.

I say it almost every day online.

But really, I should say that I love the parts of my job that are in my control.

What’s in my control? THE WRITING OF STORIES.

The rest of my job, which is very much not in my control, but rather in the publisher’s control, and the industry’s control, and the readers’ control (yes, yours) and luck’s control, that part TERRIFIES me. That part keeps me up at night. And if I’m not very, very careful, that part can obstruct, interrupt, or damage my enjoyment of the part I can control.

I feel like I have to become increasingly vigilant about my mental state. I’ve started to shield my creative process, to guard it from the interfering–if not paralyzing–truths of the less creative side of the process of publishing. The conundrum lies in the fact that, because my OCCUPATION is currently listed as AUTHOR, I cannot shut the business side out. To survive, I have to be increasingly aware of the way it works, and the way I can best work within it.

So. How can someone both protect their creative selves from the business of publishing, while striving to be aware of the business of publishing? It’s a question I’m still trying to answer.

As a neurotic person, I cannot be fatalistic. I cannot simply write my book and hit send and hide in the corner of my cave and hope. Or, I suppose I COULD, but I won’t. I want to do everything in my control to help my books succeed. Because I want to keep writing books.

There has always been a strange urgency to my involvement in publishing. It probably comes from the fact I finished university, and went on sub the same week, and gave myself the summer. When my first book sold right around Labor Day, I decided to make it as an author for as long as I could.

That was three and a half years ago.

They’ve had many, many rocky moments, but I’m still going. Some days it feels futile, a race in which I’ve been given a lead, but my competitor is faster, and catching up, but the stubborn part of me is determined to keep my word, to make it work as long as I can. So that’s a factor, that want. That drive. The other reason I’m so involved in the publishing process, always digging my hands into the tangle of cables and cogs, trying to find what makes publishing tick, is because I love it. I LOVE being involved. I love promoting. I suspect it’s because when I AM promoting, I feel in control. I’m actively helping my books.

Bringing us right back to the neurotic/control freak thing.

But at the end of the day, there will always be more things out of my control than in them. And that, lovelies, is the hardest truth publishing has taught me.

As you can tell by that list of stressors–drawn from only one moment and one book–it’s a truth I struggle with every day. And of course, the Type A in me approaches the problem every day hoping to find a solution, a way to exist in publishing without feeling like my future is constantly being played for in a game where I am so often a spectator, not a player.

I don’t have a solution. Now and then, I find a way to transfer a stressor from the OUT OF MY CONTROL column to the IN MY CONTROL one, but that’s about it.

I know that, by nature of the process, as I continue down this road, more and more people are looking to me for inspiration, ideas, advice, answers. Many times I have something to offer, a trick, a tip, but there are times, like this, when I wish someone could tell ME the key.

The key to shutting the world out, off, tucking it away while writing, forgetting about its necessity, its weight, the role it plays in keeping you afloat, even while it drags you under.

That is a key I would keep.

Victoria tries to talk about first drafts and finishing VICIOUS and ends up FEELING TOO MANY FEELS.

(FEELING TOO MANY FEELS is apparently my term for crying on camera)

This is a vlog about being in two very different places with two very different books at the same time, and ALL THE FEELS the result.

Included in this video:
–First-draft angst
–Backstory for how VICIOUS came to be
–Tears
–Dog daycare reference
–Mention of the impending move
–NW anniversary