Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Keep It Real 2020



Wow… Where to even begin. Today’s world is something most of us never imagined. It’s amazing how overnight our lives look completely different. We don’t leave the house except for a walk or a much needed trip to the grocery store or pharmacy. Many of us are working from home, or have lost our jobs, are juggling multiple responsibilities at the same time and we’re all struggling to adjust to the new “normal”. I read and write dystopian fiction, but I never wanted to live in one. But here we are.

I saw a really interesting article that said the thing we are all feeling right now is grief. The loss of life as we used to know it. The ability to come and go as we please, and the ability to see our friends and family in person. All the things we took for granted up until now. And each of us is struggling with something right now.

Despite that, I still find it interesting that we always try to portray our best selves, especially when outward facing to the world. Whether it's real or not. I came to this realization when one my VP’s posted a thread asking folks to show off their virtual working environments, and any tips and tricks they had. Most the pictures that popped up were people with dedicated work spaces, clean desks, multiple monitors, and nice office chairs. I laughed. I legit just lost it. And when I stopped laughing, I constructed my post…

If I could get a picture of my "virtual office" it would be of me sitting on the floor with my toddler rolling all over me, but that's impossible to capture. My tips/tricks, get in work before he gets up, during nap time and on the fly. I've done conference calls while changing diapers, and building block towers so he can knock them over.

I have daily tagups with my team which helps keeps everyone engaged and aware of what's going on. We also do daily brain teasers to get everyone thinking outside the box and to have a little fun. There's also talk of a virtual happy hour, after hours on our personal computers.

#KeepItReal2020

As you can see my reality is very different than what most folks posted. But an interesting thing happened after I posted that. More people started sharing the juggling that they are doing, talking about the kids making debuts on conference calls, and their pets barking in the background and even those that previously posted, added comments about the juggling that they are doing as well. It was a much needed dose of reality

It left me wondering why... We all know the world and everyone in it is a mess right now, so why are we still trying to prove to the world we aren’t? I understand the want to portray our best selves, and it's important to post the wins no matter how small, but we should also be able to be vulnerable, show our struggles, and be human. This kind of world event is extremely isolating, and if we don’t talk about the good and the bad, we’re not doing ourselves any favors. We have to be mindful of all our health that includes mental health, especially mental health.

In an effort to keep things real, and show all sides of how this event is affecting us, what are your #KeepItReal2020 moments?

Share in the comments below and if you’re feeling up to it share it online with the hashtag #KeepItReal2020

Stay safe everyone and #KeepItReal2020

Monday, March 9, 2020

Why I Decided to Indie Publish


A lot of you have asked about how I came to the decision to Indie publish. It’s been a long road to get here. The idea for this manuscript started all the way back in 2012. You can read about that journey and how it got to where it is today in this post. And if you are subscribed to my newsletter you got a sneak peek into how the idea for TRACKER220 came to be.

From the moment the idea for TRACKER220 popped in my head, I knew it was special. The words poured out of me. I couldn’t stop writing, and I saw edits and layers to add and change early on. Things just clicked all around.

And although I hit many roadblocks with edits and it was difficult to find a champion I finally did. A LOT of champions. This manuscript more than any other I’ve written so far, gathered hundreds of likes/retweets on pitch contests from agents, and more importantly writers and readers. So many people expressed interest in this story. I had an agent who believed in it enough to take me on as a client and even though she left agenting, TRACKER220 is so much stronger because of the time spent learning and working from her notes.

The market has seen some ups and downs, and unfortunately TRACKER220 with its slight dystopian slant, hit the market at the wrong time for YA Sci Fi. It’s why finding the right agent was a struggle and why the few small presses I queried had wonderful things to say but ultimately passed. YA Sci Fi has a hard time finding a place in the market. Publishers struggle to market it and therefore are extremely picky about the YA Sci Fi they do pick up.

But ultimately there are still readers hungry for stories like TRACKER220. Stories with future technology, abuse of power, nerdy techy boys, young artists, and teens fighting the good fight. Because stories like TRACKER220 were not readily available to me as a teen, I didn't read much. I struggled to find science fiction that was accessible to my reading level. I hope that is not the case for today's generation of teens.

And of course, there’s a desire for more diverse YA fiction and specifically stories with Jewish main characters written by Jewish authors. I’ve been hung up on the lack of Jewish main characters in literature, specifically young adult fiction. There’s many Holocaust stories out there, but not many stories with Jewish characters living their everyday lives. In the YA and even MG spaces, we’re starting to see more #ownvoices contemporary stories with Jewish main characters and some fantasy as well, and it’s exciting. But there’s still very few YA Science Fiction stories with Jewish characters. I think some of this is because YA sci fi is a difficult sell right now, and sometimes in science fiction it can be difficult to weave religion in without beating the reader over the head with it. I know I struggled with this in my own story for a long time. And still struggle with what having Jewish characters in projects I’m currently working on really means.

For all of these reasons I knew Tracker needed to be out in the world. Bottom line, I believe in this story. I know it’s good. And I know people will enjoy it. And honestly, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to step out and take on the publishing piece on my own if it wasn’t for every single one of those supportive tweets, blog comments, write on con feedback, DMs etc. It was the community that cemented the decision for me. I wanted this story out in the world because I want people to be able to read it. They deserve to read it.

Thank you to everyone for following me on this journey. I can’t wait for you all to hold this book in your hands and experience it.

Monday, February 10, 2020

I Have NEWS!

I have some really big news that I've been bursting to tell folks.

YOU READY?

Ok here's a BIG hint

That's right you guessed it! I'm publishing my first book TRACKER220!

For those who have been following my blog and/or following me on twitter, you've likely seen my twitter pitches, query, and/or first page for TRACKER220.


For those that aren't familiar with the project or might need a refresher, here's a short pitch:

As a Jewish artist, sixteen-year-old Kaya is at odds with the tracking tech in her brain. Sure it provides access to infinite knowledge. But knowledge isn't power if it keeps her from what she loves. And when her chip glitches, it isn't the answer to her prayers.

I'm so incredibly excited to be on this journey and can't wait to share this book with everyone. It's been a long long process to get here (more on that in another post), but now that I'm on this road it feels right in so many ways. I'm so excited and grateful to have all of you with me on this road to publication.

Thank you for all the support on this project, for every liked tweet and note about how awesome you think this book sounds. For those that spent time reading and critiquing. And for everyone who cheered me on along the way. Without all those kind words, I might never have found the courage to put this book out in the world.
Stay tuned for more news about TRACKER220. It will release in Fall of 2020.

And if you missed this announcement in my newsletter make sure you sign up here to get all the upcoming news on TRACKER220.

Monday, January 27, 2020

I’m Back!


Hey everyone. I know it’s been a hot minute since I last blogged, but I’m back!

First let me update on all the crazy. Let’s go back two years to January 2018. Sorry but that’s where the crazy started.

The year was new and after applying and interviewing for a number of jobs, I received an offer to be an engineering manager. My first manager role! I was so excited. I accepted the offer went home and found out I was pregnant. After 10 months of trying to get pregnant and slightly longer applying for manager jobs, both happened all at once. I was excited and scared.

But as the hobbits say:
And boy has it been.

In February 2018, I signed with my literary agent. Now things were really rocking and rolling. My day job was a huge learning curve in addition to being responsible for 17 employees, I was planning for a new baby and to be a first time mom, and working edits on a manuscript to put on submission to editors.

I was generating a plan for my new job, a plan for the new baby, and a plan for going on sub with my manuscript. Things were busy, but I was in total learning and prepare mode.

Fast forward to Summer 2018. I got an email from my agent giving me one more round of edits then she wanted to run line edits before we went on sub. AWESOME. I’d be on sub while I had my baby and life would be good. I’d be distracted with adjusting to momhood and she could sell my book.

It was PERFECT…

But…
Two weeks later, I got an email from my agent saying she was taking another job in publishing and she couldn’t take her clients with her.

To say that let the wind out of my sails was an understatement. I was two and a half months from my due date, and I would no longer be on sub while pregnant. I scrambled to get the edits done and requery my manuscript, but not much panned out. And as my due date approached, I put all my energy into transitioning my job to the temp manager taking over for me and completing final preparations for baby.

My son arrived bright and early (12:29am) on a Thursday in October. And let me say new parenting is no joke. Sleep doesn’t happen, eating happens at odd hours (or over several hours in between diapers and laundry and holding a little one), and showers are luxury. Anyone that tells you maternity leave is a vacation is kidding themselves. I had grand plans to catch up on TV shows, read books, and write a bit.


Well not much of any of that happened and before I knew it I was back at work with an almost 5 month old in daycare. That transition was rough (that will be a whole other post). I didn’t have five seconds for myself let alone time to write.

And writing didn’t happen. Pretty much at all. For about the last about year and half years. My son is 15 months old now, so you do the math. And boy was the guilt about not writing real. People told me I had a lot going on and it was okay to take a break. I still felt awful about it. 1.5 years felt like too long. And yet I still struggled to get words on the page. I tried new words, editing old words, finishing existing projects... NOTHING WORKED. It was infuriating.

Fast forward to today. It’s 2020, I finally feel like I have some control over my life again, and I want to make something happen. I’m reading more (or trying to), watching new shows for inspiration, chasing a toddler, and still managing a team of employees.

In the spirit of making things happen, there will be news this year. I’m planning to have LOTS and LOTS. And in order to keep up with it all, you should subscribe to my newsletter. Go sign up over on the right hand side of my blog bar (or click the link). Because newsletter subscribers will be the first to know all the secret fun things happening this year. You don’t want to miss out.

And I promise this place will have a lot more happening. Because things are moving and shaking once again.

Here’s to an awesome 2020 everyone. Here’s to making things happen.