Monday, September 22, 2014

Do you read your own books?


Confession time. I recently read my own RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy on the commute to work! I actually felt a little silly doing it at first, but then I realised that no one on the bus knew me, no one would realise I was the author, and so I was never going to have to face the accusation of vanity.

And in any case, I didn't do it for vanity! I did it because it's been two years since they were published, and I needed to make sure there was continuity between that series and my new CAMELOT series.

But it did get me thinking as to whether other authors read their own work after publication. Is it enough to rely on a copy editor to pick up on continuity? I make copious notes as I write, but they're just scribbles. Half the time I can't read my own writing! The best way to check anything is to actually read.

And two years after publication, I've gotta say, I did good! I'm darned proud of this trilogy, especially book 3.

So, have you read your novels after publication? If so, what did you think?




Friday, September 19, 2014

Literary eye candy for the weekend!

Outlander.

I love the books and I'm starting to love the tv series too. Claire is as kickass as I hoped, and Jamie is...Jamie is...

Jamie is simply perfection!

Outlander as a film would never have worked, but a slow burn tv series affords the viewer the time to get invested. More books should be adapted this way.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well this is kinda cool



THE DEVIL'S INTERN is one of the nominees for this year's Kirkus Prize in the "Young Readers" category. I'm clearly not going to win, but it's nice to be in there - and so close to the amazing Neil Gaiman too!

Friday, September 12, 2014

LOLs for the weekend!

 

I snagged this from Facebook. It made me laugh so hard.

Intelligent snarky humour = love.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Musings of a Penniless Writer - the Newsletter!

At the start of this year, I set myself two social media targets.

One: get a Tumblr account for Team DEVIL.

Did that!

Two: get a newsletter started.

Finally done that!

Musings of a Penniless Writer will go out in newsletter form at the beginning of every month. It'll be a condensed version of this blog, but I intend to make it my first place for reveals and competitions as time progresses.

The sign up form is here for anyone interested in joining Team DEVIL and Team Camelot!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How big is too big?

It's a debate that rears its head every couple of years. When is a book just too big to be enjoyed?

In the past few days, I've read articles on this subject in various news outlets, including The Daily Mail. It comes after author, Ian McEwan, spoke out against novels that are 700+ pages long.

JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL is certainly one that springs to my mind. I would love to reread it, but I am put off by holding something for months that will probably break my wrist tendons! I have many large tomes on my bookshelves, (Gabaldon and Mosse included), and as much as I love their work, I do feel that 2-300 pages could easily have been trimmed without affecting the story.

J.K.Rowling comes in for a bit of a bashing on this subject. Her first four novels in the Potter series were taut, but then they became a little bloated. The Mail article suggests she got too powerful to be edited.

What do you think? Are you fed up with 300,000 word novels, or do you think 300 pages isn't enough?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A second starred review for THE DEVIL'S INTERN!

It's all ramping up for the official publication of THE DEVIL'S INTERN, and Team DEVIL is thrilled that the second trade review has come in, this time from School Library Journal, and it's another star review to match the star review from Kirkus.

SLJ is the world's largest reviewer of books for children and teens. For them to love TDI as much as we do is beyond exciting.

The full review can be read at this link here. I'll also copy it below.

Onwards and upwards to the 1st October and the full release!


SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL - SEPTEMBER, 2014

*HOSIE, Donna. The Devil’s Intern. 240p. Holiday House. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823431953; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823432653. LC 2014002402.
Gr 10 Up–Hosie has written a book that will not only entertain but maybe even enlighten. Seventeen-year-old Mitchell Johnson has spent the last four years in Hell, where he is the Devil’s intern in the accounting office. With the number of new arrivals on the rise, Hell’s finances are strained. Fortunately, the Devil has a plan to use his Viciseometer, a time-travel device, to limit the number of those destined for Hell. Mitchell sees it as an opportunity to change his fate and revisit the day he met his fate with a bus. After stealing the Viciseometer, he travels back to the past with three of his friends (a Viking prince, a 17th-century peasant, and a wild-haired gal from the 1960s) and attempts to alter history, only to learn that life and death are complicated and unpredictable. Interesting characters, nonstop adventure, and humor with a touch of heart will not disappoint teens looking for a dark comedy. Glimpses of the afterlife could also spark discussion among readers.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Lost chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory revealed

 
 

This is the kind of story I love. Fifty years after its original release, a "lost" chapter of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY has been uncovered.
 
It's actually a chapter from a very early draft. It shows that Charlie was originally accompanied by his mother and not Grandpa Joe. There was a far larger cast of kids, and there was a "Pounding and Cutting Room"!
 
The Guardian has the full story here.
 
This story got me thinking about other books where we may one day see the reveal of a "lost chapter"...or two. I would love to see more from Tolkien or Rowling. Perhaps a chapter showing Boromir's demise in THE TWO TOWERS, or Lupin's death in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
 
I don't keep old drafts of my novels, and those that weren't fit for publishing were deleted long ago! But it's nice to think of an archaic time when writers drafted hand-written manuscripts. It makes the craft of writing seem so romantic.
 
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 2014 accomplished!

There are times when real life doesn't just bite me on the ass, it pummels me into the ground and then stamps on my head with spiky heels for good measure. One of my children suffered a serious sporting injury this month. He's okay, and that's the most important thing, but he's undergoing intensive physio for the time being. In terms of time, it means my 15 hour days just got longer. By 8pm, I'm so tired I can't even speak. In fact, my family know not to speak to me because I just won't remember the conversation the next day!

But writing doesn't stop for time - or dislocated shoulders and broken arms! So here's what I managed to accomplish during those moments when I was actually conscious!


1. This month it's been all about THE DEVIL'S INTERN. Kirkus posted their starred review online and then a few days later, I hit the jackpot with fanboys and girls everywhere - (and especially in the office where I work!) - when the hugely popular i09.com website listed TDI as "an amazing must read fantasy book"!

Then I came home from work to what I'd been hoping and waiting for four long years:


Getting a hardback copy of my own book in my own grabby little hands! As authors who get a traditional deal know, most publishers will send a huge box of copies to authors as part of their contract. Now I have a load of gorgeous first editions for future fun! Mwhahaha.

2. In terms of works in progress, I've made amazing word count advancements on my two draft manuscripts. WIP #1 is sitting at over 70,000 words, an increase of nearly 18,000 words for the month. In three weeks time, it'll be finished, and because I edit as I write, it'll be straight off to my critique partners. WIP #2 is now at 15,000, an increase of 9,000 words for the month. I've just sent this opening to my agent for her thoughts.


What does September hold?


Previous months:

Jan
Feb
March
April
May
June
July

Saturday, August 23, 2014

These books have a tale to tell!



It should have been easy. Awesome publisher sends excited author a box of their own hardback books as per the contract...

Except it wasn't! Because neither the awesome publisher nor excited author counted on those dark forces known as...Customs!

Last week, I was advised my author copies of THE DEVIL'S INTERN were being held by Australian Customs. They allowed two copies through, but a box of twenty was impounded. The reason? I had to prove excise tax wasn't due. Now, I've had issues before with the very diligent customs people here. When we emigrated, they impounded my shoes and my Christmas decorations. I got my shoes back. What I got back of my decorations was smashed beyond repair and had to be thrown away.

I sent an email to my editor. Did they send me gold-plated books? My editor was distraught that the surprise had been ruined!! Then I was distraught when I realised she was joking!! Both my editor and agent offered to get involved and write letters.

I did the maths for Customs. 20 books x retail value, then converted into Australian dollars did not equal excise tax. My brain was hurting by this point. I'm a writer, not a mathematician.

Clearly I am a mathematician though, because a week later, I phoned and was advised my books had been released.

And yesterday they arrived.

WITH FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER THE DUST JACKETS!!

"Who has been reading my book?" said Mummy Bear. Oh, who cares! I have my author copies and they are beautiful and shiny.

And in a year's time, I'll probably have to go through this again when THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER is released!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 years to realise a dream!

Four years ago, I wrote a novel. It was the first time I had ever tackled writing young adult. It was a fantasy tale about time-travelling devils. It received a bunch of request from agents, but it wasn't ready.



So, I put it to one side and wrote other books and became a (fairly) successful indie author.

But I never gave up on my dream of being traditionally published.

So, I rewrote my novel about time-travelling devils. And when I say rewrote, it was a complete and utter overhaul. New MC. New tense. New Plot.



Now it was ready.

Seven agents wanted to represent it. I chose Beth Phelan (now with The Bent Agency in New York.) After a year on submission, I received an email from Beth that is tattooed on my brain! Four magic words: you have an offer. It was from Holiday House, one of the most respected publishers of children's books in the world.

Yesterday, I received my author copies of the hardback.


Apologies for the shocking quality of the photos, but my hands have not stopped shaking! For four bloody hard long years I worked on this, never ever giving up on my dream.

And now it's come true.


Never give up on your dream. Ever. Because when it happens, it's the best feeling in the world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kirkus!


I always know something awesome has happened (overnight my time) when I wake up to an email exchange between my agent and my editor. Such an event occurred this weekend when I woke up to this.

It's hard to describe the feeling when you find out your first traditionally published novel has received a Kirkus starred review. We actually found out in April, it got published in the BEA 2014 special edition in May, but now it's officially online.

How did I feel? I burst into tears!

Nuff said!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 2014 accomplished!

July! How is it the end of July? I spent most of the month in a state of illness. It's winter here, and I've come down with every infection known to man, with the exception of the Ebola virus, although judging by the news, that could be on the way shortly.

So, as I coughed and spluttered my way through the month, this is what I accomplished:


1. I completed the first round of revisions of THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (2015) for my publisher. The first one is always the biggest (and the hardest) and it felt good to see all the multi-coloured mark-up because it meant the ms is already tighter and stronger. This was the first time I've had to do a MAJOR manuscript change. Usually an editorial means taking words out, but I had to add an extra 40 pages! Now I'll sit back and wait for round two.

2. THE DEVIL'S INTERN (2014) now has its own Tumblr account. I am loving this style of blogging and will probably set up a Camelot one in the near future too. How quickly this caught on was a surprise. I had heard Tumblr was the way to go, but to put it in some kind of perspective: in four years, around 450 followers have joined Musings of a Penniless Writer. Compare that to Tumblr, where I gained over 1,000 followers in around ten days. Interesting stats for anyone tired of Blogger.

3. The gorgeous cover for THE QUEST OF THE ARTISAN (2015) was released. A million thanks to those around the Interwebbythingy who joined in with the reveal.



4. Two WIPs have had my undivided attention this month and I've been a writing machine. Number one is now sitting on 52,232 words (a monthly increase of nearly 15,000 words); WIP number two was a complete delete and start again and is at 6,000 words. Deleting the original 8,000 words was depressing, but necessary. Hey, sometimes you have to do what's right, not what's easy. I think Dumbledore says that, but not about writing!!


August is going to be a month of unknowns because THE DEVIL'S INTERN starts shipping for pre-orders. Which means reviews and promotion. Sooooooo exciting...and terrifying. Wish me luck.


Previous months:

Jan
Feb
March
April
May
June

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: QUEST OF THE ARTISAN

There are no words to describe the feeling I get when my designers send new cover artwork my way.

There's usually lots of squealing, followed by contented sighing. Then longing that they were actually made of cake icing because all I want to do is eat them!

QUEST OF THE ARTISAN is book two in THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series. Due for release early 2015.

This is Rustin, by the way. And this is his story:


THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series continues in QUEST OF THE ARTISAN.

Six months ago, seventeen-year-old Rustin Hall thought he knew what he wanted. Then he travelled back in time with his best friend, Mila, to the world of Camelot, knights and magic, and everything changed.

Now Rustin is the artisan, and he knows his future because it's written in the past.

But Rustin's plan to build the first temple for the Gorian druids is cut down like the trees he talks to when the Round Table reveals the name of the newest knight of Camelot: a name that carves fear and unrest into the other knights. With Mila now in danger, Rustin, along with his friends, James and Jalaya, goes on a quest to find her before a new malevolent evil gets there first. A necromancer is building an army of the dead, and they are coming for Arthur's daughter.

Rustin will join forces with a young would-be knight called Galahad, as his quest takes him into the very heart of the Arthurian legends he grew up reading. A quest that could be the end of the artisan's life, not just in Logres, but for good.



Rustin and Mila look so cute when lined up together:



  
All of my Camelot books, and a certain DEVIL'S pre-order, can be found on Amazon at the link here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 2014 accomplished!

June was, until a couple of days ago, a month for writing, revising and planning. It had actually been my quietest month of 2014 to date - the calm before THE DEVIL'S storm! Then several things hit me at once, none of them good, and my best laid plans went down the crapper. I think I'm back level now, but it's been a horrible couple of days. I might talk about it later on this blog, but right now, I would like to forget.

Anyway, onward and upward with my monthly reflection post. Good things did happen. I just need to keep breathing:


1. I made huge progress on one of my WIPs: QUEST OF THE ARTISAN is book two in my CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series and the word count jumped to 37,483, an increase of 12,633 words. I've also started the design process for the cover artwork. Although it'll be released in 2015, I'm not committing to a final date yet because I have a feeling this one will be released quite early in the year.

2. I had a telephone conference with my publishing house and agent regarding the promotion work required for THE DEVIL'S INTERN, which will start shipping on the 1st August. I'm in Australia, they're all in New York - oh, the beauty of timezones - as 4:30pm on the Thursday for them was 6:30am on the Friday for me. Good job I'm an early bird. I came away from the conference so filled with happiness at how much effort Holiday House is putting into the promotion of TDI. I know there are some publishing houses that do very little, but my team are at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's awesome to have so much goodwill and support. Expect things to start kicking off soon. Team DEVIL rules!

3. I received my editor's initial revision letter for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (2015). I read through it. Drank some wine. Read through it again. Drank more wine! It's so daunting to get that first letter (which runs to 5 pages!) with the edited manuscript because my first reaction is always "Help, I'm never going to do this!" I will. It just hits you how much work there is still to do.


Roll on July because I'm having a week off. Hell knows I deserve it!

Previous months:

Jan
Feb
March
April
May

Monday, June 2, 2014

BookExpo America news part 2: THE DEVIL'S INTERN

I wasn't able to attend BEA 2014 - (what with it being held in New York and me currently unable to apparate!) - but thankfully there were people there to look after THE DEVIL'S INTERN.

My agent, Beth, tweeted photos from the event where my next literary baby was blown up on posters!:



My publisher tweeted about galleys that were available, and the cherry on the icing on the cake was Publisher's Weekly including THE DEVIL'S INTERN in its list of "Big Children's Books" that were getting attention.

I hope everyone who went had a lot of fun and snagged some great books. Next year...perhaps!

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 2014 accomplished!

What must it be like to have a quiet month?! Not happening for me anytime soon. Every month of 2014 has been crazy so far, but May was so insane I'm expecting the men in white coats with their lobotomy tools any day. 



1. THE RING OF MORGANA was released. This is my fourth novel, but first in my new CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series. On the day of release, it gave me my first ever number one Amazon ranking:




2. I finished editing my publisher's galley of THE DEVIL'S INTERN. That's it now - done! This was my hardest deadline to date, as I had just over a week to read all 80,000 words, but it was fun because it's been years since I read it through from start to finish, like a real book. So to then hear that it had been awarded a Kirkus Star Review in their BEA 2014 Special Edition was just unbelievable. I love this book so much, and it starts shipping in just two months.





3. I submitted a new manuscript to my agent. It's a YA contemporary thriller. The relief I felt at finishing this was something else because it's taken 10 months to write. Contemporary is hard for me, as much as I love reading it, and I have huge admiration for authors who make it look effortless. It isn't!



4. Other WIP progress:


#1 (book three in my DEVIL'S series) remains at 7,334 words, unchanged for the month.
#2 (book two in my CHILDREN OF CAMELOT series) 24,850 words, an increase of 10,646 words.


Previous months:

Jan
Feb
March
April

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

THE DEVIL'S INTERN gets a starred review from Kirkus!!!

Picture the scene. It's 4am. I'm barely conscious, but that's when I get up to answer emails and start writing before work. I go to my emails and there's a WOO-HOO in the subject line from my editor, Kelly, over at Holiday House.

WOO-HOO is good, right? My addled brain doesn't quite know.

And then I read the email!!!

The first trade review for THE DEVIL'S INTERN was in, and it was a STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS!!!

Needless to say, there was a lot more WOO-HOOing over email as Kelly, my agent Beth, and I freaked out ever so slightly.

We had to keep quiet on the news, because it was being officially revealed in the BEA issue of Kirkus, but now it's out and I can scream it to the world!

So, here's the review:



THE DEVIL'S INTERN [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Donna Hosie

Online Publish Date: August 1, 2014
Publisher:Holiday House
Pages: 288
Price ( Hardcover ): $None
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8234-3195-3
Category: Fiction


A comic, time-traveling trip to Hell and back.

After four years in Hell, Mitchell thinks he’s found a way to escape by going back in time and preventing his death. Inside Hell’s vast bureaucracy, he works as an intern to Septimus in the accounting department. It seems that most souls go to Hell rather than Up There, as the damned call Heaven. Hell is becoming seriously overcrowded and has financial issues. When Mitchell learns that Septimus has possession of the Viciseomater, a pocket-watch–like time-travel device, he unites with almost-girlfriend Medusa and best friends Alfarin, a Viking prince from the year 970, and his girlfriend, Elinor, who died in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The team first lands in New York and checks into the Plaza. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go according to plan, and the group begins to sense that some nasty characters from Hell are after them. Hosie writes with a decidedly wry comic style even as she unfolds her dramatic story. The worst job in Hell, cleaning out the ground-floor toilets, is reserved, for example, for reality TV stars. For all the story’s lightness, she doesn’t ignore the ever present problem of paradox: What happens if these characters succeed in preventing their own deaths?

Just outstanding fun for those who enjoy snarky comedy and suspense. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An interview with an agent (my agent!)

So, in between chatting about Harry Potter and getting me book deals and stuff, literary agent Beth Phelan from The Bent Agency in New York, kindly took the time to answer some questions for my blog.

She's also actively looking to expand her list, so if you have a rocking manuscript that meets her wish-list, check out her submission guidelines and go query her. Beth really is on fire right now, as well as my two book deals, she's just scored a three book deal for Jennifer Duell and a great deal for Ingrid Seymour.

1. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in publishing in the past two years? I guess the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it’s harder to sell a book if you haven’t adapted to the new marketplace. I arrived in the industry to see digital imprints and independent digital publishers opening their doors, and as a young agent, I’m eager to see what they can do and how they’ll continue to evolve. Instead of just sending our clients’ work to traditional houses, we’re looking at their digital arms and other digital-only or digital-first publishers as well – and taking them quite seriously.
2. Do you have any predictions for how publishing might change in the next two years? It’s hard to say, but I think that we’ll see the digital book change a lot in terms of multimedia and what we can do with our digitally published books. I’m also eager to see how digital imprints of the big houses perform and how their terms will change as we all adjust to this new landscape.
3. You’re reading sample pages from a query you loved. How long does the writer have to impress you before you give up if you’re not connecting with the voice? It depends on how much I loved the concept! If the concept blew me away, I’ll keep pushing through the book – maybe I’ll even read the whole thing. But if I can barely enjoy the concept because the voice is flat or even worse, if it’s annoying, then I might only get through one page. I tweeted the other day that writers should be careful not to rush in those first pages. We’re groomed into believing that those first pages are supposed to hook the reader – and that’s true. But I think writers go a bit overboard sometimes and give me way too much, forcing all the information in my face, which is just as bad!
4. What are you DESPERATE to see in your inbox? I’d love to see some literary YA and something with heart that’s also funny – maybe staged at a summer camp for aspiring comedians. I am also dying for a book about a teenager who finds out they were kidnapped as a baby and raised in a loving, totally normal home by their abductors – and they have to go live with their “real” parents. And I’m looking for literary YA horror, some new approach to witches and contemporary stories about teens that are stranded/have to survive out in the wilderness.
5. The Devil arrives in your apartment and tells you he’s burning your book collection and you are allowed to save only one. Which book do you save? This is a mean question!! I would probably save my enormous, one-volume edition of the Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve had that book since I was a kid and it’s so heavy and the spine is a mess but I love it.
6. Is there a book that you don’t represent that you wish you did? Well, if we’re really dreaming here, I always wished I were Garth Nix’s literary agent.
 
7. Who is your literary crush? (You can’t have Remus Lupin or Mr Rochester or Gansey from THE RAVEN BOYS because they’re mine!!) Take them! As long as you leave me Ron Weasley. And I’m trying to say this without seeming like a total creep, but oh well, I’m an adult who reads kids books, so what do you want from me!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Number 1!!

Release days still make me giddy, and it's the only day where I'll check a book's rankings. I'm so glad I did this week for the release of THE RING OF MORGANA because it gave me my first ever number one ranking on Amazon.

I took a screenshot and posted it over on my Facebook page. 

I'm all about the milestones and this was one I'll remember. Thank you to everyone who bought the paperback or downloaded the book on its first day of release - and if you're already reading it, I hope you're enjoying it!