All The Way YA

Here I Go Again (Not) on my Own

If you build it, they will come. That’s been my motto over the past 10 plus years as an author of young adult fiction. When I couldn’t find a publisher for my first book, My Sister’s Wedding, I did it myself and promptly won a pretty sweet award that led me to my first agent. When I graduated from the Solstice Program and couldn’t find someone to publish my collection of short stories, I created Sucker Literary, and BAM, landed in Publishers Weekly. Cool. Very Cool.

But it has not been peaches and unicorns. (I will discuss this further in my first official post as the founder and regular contributor to this blog next week or so).

So how and why did I create All The Way?  I was feeling really depressed a few months back (okay…REALLY depressed. Read more about that here), and I started to feel the itch of needing something more for my writing. Not so much needing more regarding my craft but more regarding my writer’s soul. I carried inside a feeling of not being heard. A feeling of not saying what I needed to. A feeling of “am I truly alone in this feeling?”

So I reached out to my sister in writing, Kacey. We talked….and talked…and then I realized what I wanted and needed. A group of people, brothers and sisters, who were going through the Artist’s Crisis and who wanted to TALK ABOUT it!

Therefore, I created All The Way YA. The place to share the experiences and emotions writers may talk to each other about but hesitate to write about (publicly).

I want this blog to “talk shop” about what we do and what we go through as writers and authors…I think of the “all the way” to mean that we bloggers on this blog will go all the way to share with you our experiences, advice, stories about the realities of having an agent and not having an agent but having a book deal or having an agent and no book deal. The realities of almost “making it” so many times but ultimately failing, over and over. The truth about the solitary confinement of working on your Masterpiece. The truth about getting a book deal FINALLY but realizing that there is still a mountain to climb. All the different scenarios that can occur on the road to “making it” as an author, including defining “making it”.

The YA aspect of our blog really is more because that is where I started, that’s the bulk of my work, though I’ve begun to branch out to New Adult and Middle Grade. Also, authors of YA fiction are generous with their support for one another, and quite frankly, I need more and more of that in my life.

So.

Let’s talk about the emotional turmoil and torture… and the peaches and unicorns.

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Who are we and why are we here?

Why This Blog? (Please “like” us on Facebook.)

Sometimes it seems like all we hear about as writers are the successes. “Hey, I got an agent!” or maybe “Hey, I got a book deal!” I love reading about other author’s successes–it spurs me on and makes me want to work harder. The challenge though, is that writing is, for the most part, a solitary art. So when all you read about are other people’s successes and you’re still plugging away…well you get the idea. I think it’s important that, as writers, we recognize that we’ve chosen a difficult path. Heck, we chosen to ride on a rode with a million and one potholes (that’s the state flower here in Pennsylvania, by the way). Still, there’s value in knowing you’re not alone. That’s why I’m here.

I’ve been fortunate to have met some a-m-a-z-i-n-g members of the writer community and learned a ton as a result. It’s time to pay that forward.

More About Me

Where am I in my writing career…

  • I have five publications released as part of The Star Child series.
  • I am waiting to hear from agents and editors on a YA Magical Realism that I’m querying, set here in Pittsburgh.
  • I’m in the process of editing one YA manuscript, a Middle Grade Sci-fi manuscript, and a YA novella.
  • I’m co-writing a New Adult manuscript with local writer Melissa Englesberg and having a blast.

Follow me on twitter at @StephanieKeyes

Kacey Vanderkarr

Why am I here?

Oh Lord. It’s the existential question everyone wants the answer to. Why am I here? Why are YOU here? We’re all here to learn about writing. The journey. The neurosis. My gift and my curse.

First lesson. Writers are dramatic.

Perhaps I should start with Who Am I?

I’m a self-proclaimed young adult author who occasionally toes the line into new adult and adult. Lines were meant to be crossed, after all. I love fantasy and sci-fi, but my short fiction tends to be contemporary. Perhaps you’ve heard of me, Kacey Vanderkarr. I’ll wait while you do the Google.

The long story is that I started writing seriously in 2009. I had a dream and my laptop. Magic happened. Well…to be honest, back then the things I wrote weren’t so magical. The next few years moved in fast-forward. I learned A LOT of things. Then, in 2013, I published my debut novel, Antithesis, with Inkspell Publishing. I learned more things. The writing industry moves sllloooowwww. You will never stop learning how to become a better writer. You can have a million dreams but you never get anywhere without the work. Therefore, I put in more work. In 2014, in addition to being published in Sucker Literary Vol III (where I met Hannah R. Goodman, the evil genius she is), I self-published Reflection Pond and Poison Tree, and coedited a fairy anthology, Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland.

On top of all that writing stuff, I’m also a sonographer at a hospital and a sometimes coach to a high school winterguard team. My interests are wide and varied, as long as there are books or a good story involved. I have a husband and a seven-year-old mini me whose reading level is off the charts. He’s my prodigy. One day I hope he’ll write something great. I’m mostly vegan, though I love (and eat!) cheese. I’m often mistaken for a high school student. I’m taller than 95% of the people you know and no, I don’t play basketball, though I did take 17 years of dance classes.

Throughout this crazy ride in Writer Land, one thing has remained constant: My lack of an agent. It’s not because I haven’t tried (I have.). It’s not because I don’t want one (I do.). I suppose it’s just that I haven’t found that fine thread of fate that will lead me to the ever mystical and mysterious ONE. One agent to rule them all…or maybe just my backlog of manuscripts. One agent to rule my backlog. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. (Pun intended. See? I can be punny.)

Why This Blog?

Mostly I want to know that I’m not alone, and in doing so, I can share my own struggles, triumphs, and stories with others. The writing community is both remarkably gigantic AND welcoming. There are thousands (probably more) writers out there who are just starting out, and in in five years or so, I want to read their stories. We won’t get there alone.

In addition, I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I can’t write you a neat list of things that would count me as “successful,” but I’m not there yet. I’m a writer, yes, I’ve published things, but I have yet to reach my full potential. If hanging out with a handful of other cool writers will help me, I’m 100% in.

So…Where Am I? (I’m stealing Hannah’s bulleted list, because that’s what writers do.)

  • Actively seeking representation for Stepping Stones, a YA Fantasy Series.
  • That doesn’t work out? Actively seeking representation for Sleep and Shatter, a YA Fantasy.
  • Writing Torch Rock, Book 3 in the Reflection Pond series for self-publication in 2015.
  • In my backlog (Attn: Agents! I have a BACKLOG of manuscripts!) I have a new adult novella, several short pieces, 3 or 4 “shelved” novels, and something new that’s challenging me to become a better, more daring writer. It’s YA Dystopian…I think. (I’m also terrified of it.)
  • Joining a new writing group (and keeping my old one, the Flint Area Writers) to learn and share as much as I can.
  • Blogging about Things.

I have no idea what the future will bring. Will I self-publish more novels? Will I unlock the ever-elusive Agent Achievement?

Stay tuned.

And follow me on Twitter: @kacimari

Who are we and why are we here?

Hello World!

Introductions and pleasantries first:

Who am I?

I am Hannah R. Goodman (think of the “R” as my version of a Sasha Fierce), YA author of The Maddie Chronicles and represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&ink Literary. I’m also a few other things:

  • Founder and editor of Sucker Literary Anthology
  • Writer of several not-yet-published NA, MG, and YA manuscripts
  • Literary Weeble Wobble (Because I weeble and wobble but don’t fall down. Not because I look like one : )

In addition to my writing life, I have a home and work life, both of which bring me great pleasure and stress relief from pursuing my life-long ambition to be a successful author (defining “successful” is for another blog post). For my day job, I am the owner and sole proprietor of The Write Touch, a writing coaching, tutoring, and editing boutique, and I’m finishing up coursework to become a licensed psychotherapist (certainly will enhance my writing copy!). My homestead is abundant with children, a spouse, cats, and fish.

Why This Blog? (Please “like” us on Facebook.)

The reason for this blog is purely selfish. I want to talk about my experiences trying to achieve my lifelong dream of being an author. I achieved it first by self-publishing, which was and has been an amazing experience and taught me way more than any formal education has. Yet, all the while, since I wrote my first book in sixth grade, I’ve dreamed of an editor at a publishing house saying “yes” to my work. I have not achieved that dream–yet.

I’ve been trying to sell my work to publishers for many, many years. I’ve tried on my own, with one agent, and now with another. The frustrations, the emotions, the small victories, and the discouraging failures are all part of my experience. I have spoken about them here and there on my own blog, but I’ve never fully discussed the impact that chasing my dream has had on me, personally, and my life.

Does that translate to a place to whine and complain? No way. This is where we/I share our/my experiences, our/my victories and our/my failures, and where we/I offer some perspective and advice to others who are on the climb, too.

More about moi

I used to believe that art could not exist with business and that my lot in the writing world would be indie, simply because it’s not in my blood to “write to market” or maybe a better way of saying it is “write to sale-ability”.  In the ten plus years of being in the “industry” as an indie/self-pub author and also having my toe in the mainstream world of publishing via an agent, I’ve come to understand that writing to market/sale-ability can come together with art, as long as the writer feels the core of their work is from their soul.

Where I am in my “writing career”, whatever that even means, is:

  • Taking a long break from publishing and editing Sucker Literary.
  • Editing a NA manuscript that my agent has said is my best writing yet.
  • Republishing the third book in the Maddie Chronicles.
  • Waiting to hear from a publisher about the only unpublished Maddie book.
  • Creating this blog and finally expressing my opinions and thoughts on being a long-term emerging author.
  • In my back pocket I have: a middle grade manuscript, another NA manuscript, and another brand new YA manuscript.

If you are interested in being a part of my new YA writing community and wish to be a contributor (I am looking for about 5 folks to be regulars and who are willing to spill their guts about their writing life.), please contact me at allthewayya@gmail.com

Follow me on twitter at @hannahrgoodman