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On Discovering Wattpad

I’m late to the game on just about everything these days. I’m not quite as bad as my friend M, who still had a flip phone until last year, but I come close. The two of us are giving a presentation on Wattpad next week at another friend’s library… and neither of us had any idea what it was when we agreed to do this. Which probably doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

BUT I did my research. And it’s awesome! What an amazing platform for writers and readers alike. It’s just this giant database of stories that people are uploading and sharing with strangers all over the world, and anyone can join in – published and unpublished authors alike. And if you love free stories… it doesn’t get much better than this.

So I created an account and added the first chapter of Children of Guerra. I’ll be adding a few more in the coming weeks, and then in November… (small drumroll) I’ll be adding the first chapter of the Children of Guerra sequel!!

As I’ve mentioned in countless posts before, the editing process is a slow one, and I’m not as close to done as I’d like to be. But I’m getting impatient! I want to share as much as I can as soon as I can. So I’ll be releasing the first few chapters of #2 as a lead-up to its release date (still undecided). I’m so excited about the opportunity to start putting this project out there. I’ll post here once it’s up.

In the meantime, check out Wattpad (if you haven’t already, and you probably have, because, again, I’m a luddite), and check me out too under the username AmandaGibsonBooks.

End thought: As I’ve been typing this, I’ve really enjoyed how autocorrect keeps trying to change Wattpad to Wattled.

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Teaser #2 (and some other business)

True to form, I allowed the past couple months to overwhelm me and keep me from posting another teaser, BUT it has not kept me from continuing to edit COG #2, and… begin writing COG #3! I have all of 4 pages so far, but I’ve learned the best way to make editing bearable is to keep writing.

Editing always feels a little bit like destruction, ripping apart combinations of words or sentences that you quite liked before someone pointed out a problem with them, and wave after wave of self-doubt crashes over you until you decide to stop writing at Starbucks and just go ahead and get a job there. (Is it really that bad? Yes, yes it is.)

But writing is the opposite. It’s creation. Which is what we all do this for.

On a completely separate note, one of my writer friends has been working on a special project since Earth Day. It’s absolutely worth checking out her blog dumpingplastic.com to get a thoughtful, non-judgmental perspective on our overuse of plastic. She’s given up buying things wrapped in or made of plastic for one year (or is trying the best she can – it’s frustratingly hard to do).

In business news, I’m expecting COG #2 to hit Amazon in November. Yes, I’m aware I originally said July. Close enough.

And as for what I’ve been doing with my time, let me just say, this is Iceland, and it’s amazing:

Major props to my husband for taking such gorgeous photos. My phone could not handle the stunning beauty of that country.

And now for the teaser! Not telling who the he is in this one 🙂

….

Rubbing his thumb along my arm, he says nothing, just stares at me in the near darkness. Then his hand is cupping the back of my neck, drawing me closer, and his mouth is on mine. The surprise leaves me motionless, but it’s only a moment before I’m kissing him back, leaning into him and digging my nails into his arms. This is the first time he’s kissed me since… I don’t know when. But feeling his breath, ragged and hot against my lips, letting me know he wants me as much as ever, lights something inside me. I wasn’t sure if things could be right between us again, if they ever were to begin with. But right now he tastes like hope and grapefruit and it makes me smile.

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Teaser #1

  “Come on,” he yells. The door opens to a fire escape, and though the blast of cold air over my skin is refreshing for a moment, it turns painful very fast. Not to mention that looking down from this height while everything is still blurry gives me an intense rush of vertigo. But voices call out behind us, and I know someone’s in pursuit, so even through my drunken haze, I feel the adrenaline kick in and my senses sharpen.
  We tumble down the metal stairs, Jonathan in front of me, swinging himself over the railing to land in the middle of the next flight down, me doing my best to stay on the balls of my feet so that my heels don’t get caught on a step, and Damien behind me urging me forward, grabbing my elbow when I stumble toward the bottom.
  And then we run. The door bangs open at the top of the fire escape, but we’re nearly out of the alley and turning the corner back toward the front of the building. Ahead of us though, in one graceful motion, Jonathan halts, pirouettes, and runs the opposite direction down the street from where we should be headed. When I reach the corner, I see why. There are government cars in front of the building, and plenty of people standing around them.
  Damien plows into my back, and we nearly topple onto the sidewalk, but we grab on to each other and stay upright.
  “This way,” I gasp, turning to chase after Jonathan. After a few steps though, I know we’re in it for the long haul, and that the shoes have to go. I hop on each foot and kick off Ash’s heels, bending to scoop them up and keep running at the same time. The motion sets something off in my stomach, and I’ve never felt as sick as I do now, racing down the empty street next to Damien, passing warehouses on the left and right that shift and sway in my field of vision. Ahead of us, Jonathan cuts right, and we follow. Then left, then right again. And I wonder if he’s just guessing, or if he actually knows where we’re going. I know we’re heading northeast, but that doesn’t help us find Polar.
  When we dead-end into a chain-link fence, Jonathan doesn’t hesitate. He climbs it, dropping down on the other side onto two feet. Damien and I look at each other. He starts climbing before I do, which means I’m overruled. My feet are numb from the frozen ground, and my hands aren’t much better, so I swear loudly the entire way up just to distract myself. The pain in my side is back – tearing, stabbing, aching, all at once. My arms are weak and clumsy from the alcohol. My knee scrapes along a jagged link on the fence, and heat blossoms across my kneecap. When I reach the top, I feel like that last swing of my leg over isn’t going to happen.
  “M, hurry!” Jonathan calls up as Damien lands beside him. Even through the pain and the haze, I still feel indignant that I was shown up by the boys.
  “I hate you!” I yell down, clinging to the wires with cramping hands. “I hate everything!”
  “That’s fine, just get to the other side.”
  Listing every curse word I know, I hitch one leg over, fully aware that I’m flashing both of them, but not in any mood to care. I manage to get a hand over, and pull myself halfway across, but that’s it for my arms. They give out, and I’m falling. My shoulder slams into the top of the fence, piercing the skin and sending me spinning onto my back through the air. I cry out and anticipate the ground pounding up into my bones, but then I land onto two hard things that give slightly. My head whips back and I’m looking up at Jonathan. He caught me.

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The End of Something

I’m happy and proud (and also a little deflated somehow) to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of the COG sequel. I typed the words “End of Book 2” last Sunday, and immediately felt like doing a little dance in the corner of the cafe where I was writing. It’s such a momentous thing for half a second, and then you realize there’s still work to be done. There’s editing and second-guessing and waiting for your trusted reader to finish and why can’t she hurry up and get to the end and tell me what she thinks??? Then there’s layout and cover design and marketing and whew… I start to understand the benefit of working with a traditional publisher.

However…

All of that is kind of just background noise. I have this growing feeling of unease at being 2/3 of the way done with this series. In another year (hopefully) I’ll be finishing up the third book, and then this series, which is my baby and the only thing I’ve truly thrown my heart into for the past six years of my life, will be over.

I had this moment of panic in the shower yesterday (where the best moments of panic always occur) when I wondered what would happen if I never had another story idea in my life. Writing is one of the few loves of my life, and what if this is all I’ve got to give to it?

It’s a ridiculous fear of course, because I already have another story started that in no way relates to this series or its universe. But then, beyond that, I’ve got nothing. I suppose I just have to have faith that when the time comes, there will be another story and another first page that leads to another 400 pages and another person telling me my books are too long. Let’s hope.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting teasers from the book while I work through the editing process. My expected release date is sometime in early July, but, as with all things in my life, I might be a little late 🙂

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Happy March!

March is a month I feel deeply conflicted about. It contains the technical start of spring, but living in Chicago means spring never quite revs its engines until late April. So I want to like it… but it really kind of blows.

HOWEVER, March is my birthday month, so it earns quite a few brownie points for that. And to celebrate, I’ve lowered the price of Children of Guerra to $.99! Books for everyone!

Also, I’ve finally gotten around to formatting the manuscript for Nook, so that should be available to readers by the end of this weekend.

Here’s to the warmth at the end of the tunnel!

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Excuses, excuses

There’s simply no excuse for why I haven’t posted since November. And now I will list all of my excuses.

Some writing book or other (Is it Bird by Bird? That’s sort of my default amazing writing book) says to never start a writing project in December because December is a month of Mondays. I say, forget starting, this applies to all doing. Writing in December is wildly difficult because there are an exceptional number of things you have to do as the holidays approach, and all things you like to do tend to get put on a dusty shelf. That shelf is home to things like reading the classics, playing a musical instrument just for fun, sorting through that scary skyscraper of mail on the table… Ok they’re not all things I like to do, but they’re things that eventually need to get done… just not right now.

On the upside, November was a great month. I surpassed our writing goal of 30 pages in 30 days and felt like a champ. That feeling is now deceased. And I don’t have a lot of hope for it in the coming weeks, since I’ll be moving to a new apartment in February, and I’ve got packing on the brain.

I’m awfully tired of the self-imposed guilt that comes with every writing break. I’m vowing now to be more forgiving of myself when life gets in the way, as it often does. After all, this is supposed to be FUN! (right?)

Some good news: At this point I find myself about 3/4 of the way done with the COG Sequel first draft. My goal is to release it this Spring.

Other good news: I’ll be at the Local Author Fair this coming weekend at the Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL. It will be my first time selling my book in person, and it’s exciting and nervous-making and FUN. I’ll post pictures soon!

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In which I remember the concepts of writing and reading

The one downside of being in a writing group (I could go on and on about the upsides, so really it’s a small thing) is that when one or both of your write-mates have some serious life events going on, and they stop writing, you tend to stop writing too. For instance, M just got married a few weeks ago, and you better believe writing has been the furthest thing from her mind lately. And this lack of writing atmosphere has led to a certain silence of my own.

But the amazing and dependable thing about writing is that it’s always there waiting for you to come back to it.
So I’ve come back.
Our November goal is 30 pages in 30 days. It’s a very achievable goal, though not nearly as admirable as the whole NaNoWriMo 200-page thing. But honestly, what adult with a day job has time for that? (Probably many, but I’m not one of them).
Another small thing that’s come up is N’s writing contest. She works at a library and is hosting a contest for grades 7-12 in the genres of comics/manga, short story, and poetry. She kindly asked me and M to be the judges, and yesterday I sat down to read the short story submissions. I was holding in one of those sighs that says Woe is me, I’m a busy and important person. (I’m not). But I didn’t end up sighing as I read the submissions.
I LOVED it.
It reminded me of grad school when you had to read your classmates short stories and make little notes about what you liked or didn’t like or didn’t understand so you could come to the workshop and discuss everyone’s writing. I freaking loved grad school. I don’t think I’ll ever get a better job or get paid more because of it. But man it was fun.
And the added bonus of this was getting to read what kids and teens are writing today. These are the people I write for, my very own audience sharing their own stories and poems and images, and there was something thrilling about it. Some of it was incredible. There were pieces that were miles ahead of where I was at that age (and let’s be honest, where I am now). SO cool. It makes me want to do this more often, to create a platform where budding writers can connect with volunteer authors and share their work, have contests and workshops, that sort of thing. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. Until then, I’m sappily happy to be back on track with COG 2, and thrilled to be reading others’ unpublished work.
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Nothing Else Like It

Every writer dreams of that moment when you finally get to hold a physical copy of your book. That moment came for me last week.

That lovely lady on the right is Meredith Ferrill, who designed the cover art, and is a rockstar writer of middle grade and YA fiction.

So as you can guess, the book is available in paperback on Amazon now along with the Kindle edition. Luddites of the world: read away 🙂

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So… this!

JK Rowling wrote a story about a thirty-something Harry Potter
(click link to go to an article about it)

I may be weird in this way (though I don’t think I’m alone) but I want things like this to happen after every series ends. I need to know that the characters I love are still happily-ever-after when they’re thirty and forty and fifty. And I tend to do this in my head anyway – create older fan fiction for characters that have really stuck with me. And yes, they’ll have their family dramas and start to get saggy skin.

But when you really love someone, it simply doesn’t matter.