On the Move!

Hello!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I promise I have a very good reason. At least, I think it’s a good reason.

I’M MOVING MY SITE!

That’s right, I’ve created an entirely new author website, including a new section of bonus content, and I’m moving my blog to match.

So, whether you’re looking for updates on releases, to sign up for my newsletter, or just to read my latest book reviews, please come find me at:

http://www.lrbraden.com

Hope to see you soon!

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Looking Back

Since December marks the end of the year, I’m taking a look at the year as a whole rather than just the last month.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018:

  • Signed my first book deal
  • Attended my daughter’s first piano concert
  • My daughter lost her first tooth
  • My nephew was born
  • Visited Seattle for the first time
  • Reviewed 32 books

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- Spent most of 2018 in revision, but has become better for it. Should be published in 2019!

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- Written in 2018, this book has already been through several iterations, and will likely go through several more before it’s ready to hit the shelves.

The Price of Tomorrow – Written, edited, beta read, and queried… but not signed. From the agent feedback I got, I’m thinking the current market just isn’t so good for a YA sci-fi book. I think I’m going to shelve this project for a little while and see how things develop outside my little bubble.

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- Started writing Faerie Forged, but haven’t gotten very far yet. This will be my major focus for the beginning of 2019. It’s due to the publisher at the end of summer.

Other Projects: – I’ve been brainstorming / working on the pre-writing for a middle grade adventure for my daughter. I’ve taken a break from short story writing because I’ve been so busy with other projects lately, though I’d like to explore some short story ideas that have been bouncing around my head. I’ll also be teaching a short story writing class at my daughter’s school in February, so wish me luck with that! I’m hoping to get Hannah edited in 2019, and probably it will get quite the overhaul after this long hiatus.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED IN 2018

I honestly have no idea… Lots and lots.

 

reviews

One of my goals for 2018 was to read and review at least 30 books. That may not seem like a huge number to some of you, but piled on top of all the reading and assessing I was doing of my own writing, it was a substantial hurdle for me. I’m happy to report, that I was able to achieve that goal. 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite reads from 2018:

And here are some great books I read on the craft of writing:

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

 

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ON THE HORIZON

On my TBR shelf:

November Recap

I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!

In honor of the holiday, here are the TOP 10 THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR:

  1. FAMILY
  2. HEALTH
  3. LAUGHTER
  4. BOOKS
  5. CHAINMAILLE
  6. SNUGGLES
  7. SUNNY DAYS
  8. SNOW
  9. MUSIC
  10. YUMMY FOOD

For many people, November is all about writing. NaNoWriMo anyone? But for me, it was all about editing. I did actually consider writing the first draft of Faerie Forged this month, but the scheduling worked out better if I edited book two first. Besides, while NaNoWriMo is terrific for people who need outside motivation to stay on target with their goals, I tend to work better without the added stress of someone else’s deadlines. So, I spent the entire month of November editing Courting Darkness, and I’m happy to report I got it done. 🙂

The last week of November, and these first few days of December have also been crazy full of chainmaille as I get ready for a craft fair this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to sell at least a few pieces and do a little advertising for my etsy shop. If you’re interested in my chainmaille, you can find my shop HERE.

The final piece of news for November is that my daughter lost her very first tooth! We’re super excited. Alice wrote a letter to the tooth fairy asking for a pocket knife under her pillow, and she totally got it. 🙂 Yeah, her tooth fairy rocks.

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- My editor is still reviewing the last round of revisions. I should be hearing back in the next week or two.

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- November was all about editing Courting Darkness, and I’m happy to say I finished. This book finally ready to be read by people other than me!

The Price of Tomorrow – Still waiting to hear back from agents.

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- This is where all my effort will be focused for a little while. Well… that and surviving Christmas.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

pencils_number

The most interesting thing I learned this month:

Human ashes must be mailed “priority express.” Postage label 139 is used to ship cremated remains domestically through the postal service.

REVIEWS

Since I spent most of every day this month reading Courting Darkness, I didn’t spend much time reading other books. As such, not a lot of reviews this month.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Still on my TBR shelf:

 

December is already underway, and that means the holidays (and time off from school) are right around the corner. I’d like to say I’m going to get at least half of Faerie Forged written this month, but let’s be realistic. I’m going to have a 6-year-old running around the house keyed up on cookies and presents, not to mention visits to and from relatives. I’ll be happy if I get even a third of it written. 😉

See you in the new year!

October Recap

Happy Halloween!!

If you imagine writing as a journey through hills and valleys. Right now, I’m slogging along the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This month I’ve been doing a final read through on A Drop of Magic before returning it to my editor. Normally, I can read forever, slipping into a sort of reading trance, lulled by the rhythm of the words. But, reading my own book, I have to be constantly on the lookout for typos, consistency errors, etc. I can’t relax. It’s exhausting. Plus, I don’t have the “What’s gonna happen next?” that keeps people reading. I’ve read this book a hundred times. I know exactly what’s going to happen next. *sigh* All that aside, I did manage to finish my read through and get the manuscript sent off. Plus, I think the book is a lot stronger thanks to all the changes I made, both requested and impromptu.

Hermione-Alice

 

Other than that, I carved a wand and knitted a scarf so my daughter could dress up as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter for trick or treating. The robe was courtesy of her grandmother.

 

Also, our trip to the Mindbender Mansion at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for my mother’s birthday was great fun. As always, there were too many people for my tastes, but then, anyone besides me is really too many people for my tastes. The puzzles ranged from easy to nearly impossible, providing a great challenge for all levels. There were a couple of the larger attractions that we didn’t do because they were swarmed with the aforementioned people, and there was a good deal of waiting for other people to finish before being able to attempt certain puzzles, but all in all it was a good, mind-bendy, time. I would highly recommend stopping by before the exhibit closes if you are in the area.

research

 

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- This book is back with the editor for the next round of review. I made considerable changes to it, hopefully making the story and characters stronger in the process. Now, it’s back to waiting. So… much… waiting…

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- I’ve started editing the next draft of Courting Darkness, mostly making necessary adjustments based on changes I made in book one.

The Price of Tomorrow – Still waiting to hear back from various agents, including the one who requested the full manuscript. I’ve also sent out a second wave of queries, which means… you guessed it… MORE WAITING!

Magicsmith Book 3: Faerie Forged- Finally ready to get back to work here. I contemplated using this project to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’m not so good at working at somebody else’s pace. Also, you may note the spelling changed on this title. More people liked faerie than fairy for the fae, though it was close.

 

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

pencils_number

The most interesting thing I learned this month:

2017 tied for Denver’s deadliest year in a decade with 56 homicides. 2018 is on pace to break that record.

REVIEWS

I finally managed to knock some books off my reading list. Not easy when most of my days were spent reading my own work.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

 

I’m looking forward to getting back to the writing part of writing. Not that reading and revising aren’t fun, but I’m eager to get more of my books to a stage where people can actually read them. Beyond that, November heralds the beginning of the holiday season, which means food, family, and lots of distractions. Hopefully I can stay focused and get my work done while still enjoying this time of year.

Fairy vs Faerie

Okay world, I need your help!

In my Magicsmith series, humans sometimes refer to the fae as fairies/faeries (though the fae never refer to themselves this way). The term is considered something of an ethnic or racial slur, but has been adopted by many humans through ignorance. My question is: How would an average human spell the word. Fairy, as is the common Disney spelling, or faerie because it is more closely connected to the fae root? Most importantly: As a reader, which would you like to see in my book?

 

September Recap

Oops, I’m a little late in posting this, but my days have just been so crazy lately! September was a good month for me from a writing perspective, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about myself. My pitch session at the RMFW writers conference was a success, resulting in a request for pages. I’ve also received a full manuscript request for The Price of Tomorrow from one of the queries I sent out at the beginning of the month. One of my short stories has passed the first round of judging in the Writers of the Future contest and is now in the semi-finalist phase. I also received revision notes for A Drop of Magic from my editor and started work on her recommendations to make my story even better.

Whew! With all this querying and editing, I haven’t gotten much of a start on my third Magicsmith book, but I should be wrapping up my revisions soon and then it’s full steam ahead!

 

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 1: A Drop of Magic- Yep, I had to put this one back on my current project list because I got the revision notes back from my editor and this is what I’ve spent most of the month working on.

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- This book is on hold until I finish the revisions of book one, since there are some adjustments that will carry through the series.

The Price of Tomorrow – My pitch at the RMFW conference was successful, meaning the agent requested the first twenty pages of my manuscript. Since then, I have also sent out queries to about eight different agents and one has requested the full manuscript for consideration.

Magicsmith Book 3: Fairy Forged- As with book two, I’ve put this on hold until my current tweaks to book one are finalized.

Short Stories- I don’t usually include news about my short stories in these updates, but I’m excited to report that one of my stories, titled Where Flowers Bloom in Winter, has passed the preliminary judging for the Writers of the Future contest. Yay me! That means it will be either a semi-finalist, finalist, or winner. Fingers crossed. 🙂

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

pencils_number

The most interesting thing I learned this month:

If a dead body is unclaimed, either because next of kin cannot be found of refuses to take responsibility for the body, the deceased is offered first to medical schools for scientific use. If the body is unfit for such use, it will go to a subsidized funeral home or crematorium for disposal.

REVIEWS

Not a lot of reviews this month, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time for reading between the conference, editing, querying, and the usual responsibilities of life and raising a six-year-old.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

I’m nearly done with the revisions on A Drop of Magic, so that will be my first priority in October. After that I will have to decide between doing a round of editing on Courting Darkness or working on the first draft of Fairy Forged. I’m also eager to hear back from my various queries for The Price of Tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to a family trip to the Mind-bender Mansion exhibit at the science museum this coming weekend and, of course, Halloween at the end of the month. My daughter is going to dress up as Hermione Granger for trick-or-treating, so that should be fun. I’m thinking I might be Prof. McGonagall to match her. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

Colorado Gold 2018

Along with thunder storms and yellowing leaves, September brings the RMFW Colorado Gold writers conference. This was my third year attending, and I’m happy to report it was a success… at least by my standards.

The highlight of my weekend was the one-on-one pitch I had with Patricia Nelson of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. I’ve only ever pitched in person once before, so I was excited (and nervous) to get this invaluable experience. No matter where my story ends up being placed, it was worth it to try to describe it succinctly to a discerning professional. I managed to remember my rehearsed pitch, answer the agent’s questions, and have an intelligent conversation about the current state of the market (I think). Mrs. Nelson said she was intrigued and asked for the first twenty pages of my manuscript. So, yay me! That means it’s time to start querying The Price of Tomorrow. I’ll let you all know how things play out once I start hearing back from people. (Everything in this business takes a long time!)

Beyond the pitch, I attended a good number of wonderful classes (as well as one or two I was less thrilled with). I’d especially like to thank Carol Berg and Susan Smith for their wonderful lectures on tactical editing and the importance of word choice.

I also reconnected with two people I knew from a previous conference, met a couple of ladies who live near me, and handed out three business cards. That may not seem like much, but it’s a kick-ass display for someone who gets nauseated by the thought of social interaction.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a great deal of the value of this type of conference is focused on the social aspect. It makes sense. A lot of writers come to connect with other writers, as well as agents and editors. There are group meals, bar meetups, and whole sessions of genre-specific socializing. That’s all well and good for most people. Me… not so much. Outside of the classes, I spent the remainder of my days hiding in my hotel room trying to recharge so I could face the masses again the next day. I honestly don’t know how people can stand being around so much noise and motion without going insane.

Now that I can at least recognize many of the RMFW regular attendees, I’m hoping to get up the nerve to attend at least ONE of the dinners next year. We’ll see.

August Recap

Well, summer is coming to an end and fall is just around the corner. Alice is back in school, which means more time for me to write. Yay! Though, I have to say I’m pretty proud of my progress over summer break.

I’m also another year older, and what a year it’s been! A new nephew, my first publishing deal, the fist anniversary of my blog, and a lot of great memories. 😉 There’s plenty of exciting stuff on the horizon too, so here’s hoping for another great year! Without further adieu, here’s what I got done over the past month:

research

CURRENT PROJECTS

Magicsmith Book 2: Courting Darkness- I’ve finished the second draft! Currently, my agent is looking it over to provide developmental notes, after which I will start fine-tuning.

The Price of Tomorrow – After saying this book was done… I changed my mind. Yeah, I do that. I thought of something that would strengthen one of the characters and, hopefully, make the book stronger as a whole. So, I wrote, and edited two chapters to replace some I already had, adding several hundred words to the story. Having done that, I’m now confident (again) that this manuscript is ready for querying. I intend to start by pitching it at the CO Gold writer’s conference. I need to get practice at this whole in-person talking about my book thing.

Magicsmith Book 3: (Title TBD) – I’ve started writing scenes for book three, the tentative title of which is now: Fairy Forged. What do you think? I’d love to get some feedback, so drop me a comment below. 🙂

WORDS WRITTEN AND/OR EDITED THIS MONTH

pencils_number

The most interesting thing I learned this month:

You can make yourself sneeze by staring at a bright light… Who knew?

REVIEWS

I started this month by reading a writing book titled GMC. It had been recommended to me previously, but hadn’t made it to the top of my reading list until Debra Dixon, the book’s author, became my editor at Bell Bridge. I figured I should read what she had to say about writing if she was going to be editing my stories. I’m happy to say, I loved her take on character creation. 🙂 Animal Dreams was recommended to me by a friend, and Steelheart was just for fun.

To see reviews as they come out, as well as other posts, follow my blog at Ramblings from an Alternate Reality.

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ON THE HORIZON

Currently on my TBR shelf:

September brings the annual Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference. Wow, that was a mouthful! I’m excited to attend informative classes and learn as much as I can. I’m also terribly nervous because I hate being around so many people. I know most authors say they’re introverts, but as far as I can tell they all like getting together for lengthy discussions and comradery way more than I do. Just the thought of that many bodies makes me feel sick. But, I will persevere! And I’ll let you all know how it goes once it’s over and I’ve crawled back out of my hole after an appropriate period of recovery.