The Real Question: What Happens Next??

"Party Aftermath," Photo Courtesy of ChefMattRock
Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to visit my blog last week and congratulate me on my two-book deal with Strange Chemistry. I'm still riding the high of watching my Twitter and Facebook feeds explode with congratulations, and half of me still thinks someone may pinch me and wake me up at any moment.

The other half of me feels like the party is winding down and I'm starting to be surrounded by empty bottles and half-eaten bags of chips. A lot of the hard work is really just beginning. And because this is my first book deal, I really wish I had a psychic to tell me how everything is going to pan out from here.

In lieu of that--do real psychics even exist?--I am turning to you, my published and soon-to-be published writerly friends:

What is the biggest piece of advice you wish someone had told you when your manuscript first found a home?

My head is swimming with the proposition of creating a real-live author website, with looking into blog tours, with setting up a writing schedule and figuring out how to balance writing my sequel with marketing (and living my real-live life!).

How important is an author website? When should you start doing blog tours and interviews? Do you want to interview me? (I'm tons of fun; I promise!) Do you keep a writing schedule? How did you keep your head above water????

P.S.- Here's Strange Chemistry's official announcement of my book deal: Strange Chemistry Acquires Lisa O'Kane!

(Don't think I will ever get sick of reading that!)

Guess Who Has a Book Deal?????

My brand-new publishing contract!!!
Nearly two and a half years ago, I crossed paths with Hannah Bowman for the very first time. She wasn't agenting at Liza Dawson Associates yet, and I wasn't writing (well) yet, but our cyber-meeting set in motion of chain of events that has completely altered my life.

We were like ships at the night at first--always one step ahead or behind the other--but our timing finally meshed in June of 2012. She read (and wanted!) my YA near-future thriller ESSENCE, and I couldn't sign that literary contract fast enough. 

Since then, Hannah has been steadfast in her dedication to my writing career. She has challenged and inspired and pushed me to become a better writer, and she has also approached finding a home for ESSENCE with the tenacity and determination of a tidal wave.

She was relentless in her quest to find the perfect fit, and I am the humbled recipient of all her hard work:

Photo Courtesy of Angry Robot Books
ESSENCE has just been acquired by the amazing Amanda Rutter of Strange Chemistry Books in a TWO-BOOK DEAL that will see a summer '14 debut and a summer '15 sequel! (!!!!!!!)

Wow. Just wow. I am literally at a loss for words right now. 

I have so much respect for Amanda and Strange Chemistry, and I'm stunned to even be given shelf space beside her other authors. Check out Strange Chemistry's mission:

From the people behind the award-winning SF & fantasy imprint, Angry Robot, we are a fresh, modern imprint bringing quality Young Adult fiction to the marketplace.

So what makes us different? It’s all in the name – Strange Chemistry. Books that feel timeless, bringing you a mix of old and new. Traditional with a twist. Identifiable stories and genres that have been blended together to create something utterly special. Books for readers who are jaded of the same-old, same-old, and ready for something that will challenge them to enter new worlds.

Um, wow. Have I mentioned I'm speechless?

The next two years of my writing life suddenly have a lot more structure, and I am still so stunned by this development that I don't even think I have wrapped my head around this. The publishing business has done such a great job of teaching me to stay "cautiously optimistic" and "not get my hopes up" that I honestly think my, "You can start freaking out now!" button must be broken.

So... What now? I think I will wander off in a daze and wait for this to (finally) sink in, and I would also like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to every single person who has been with me on this journey. I absolutely couldn't have done this without the love, support and dedication of my friends, family, and of course, the amazing group of fellow writers I have hooked up with over the past few years.

I often say I would have NEVER sat down to write a book had I known how hard this was going to be--but I'm so glad I DIDN'T know, because now I'm invested in the process. And now--finally!--I have reached that pesky light at the end of the tunnel.

(I still can't believe I get to say that!!)

A Home for "Splintered!!"

I'd like to tell you about this great YA novel, Splintered. Actually, I'd like to tell you about an incredibly talented woman named Anita Howard who wrote this great YA novel, Splintered.

When I first began this literary submission thing, the first writing website I began visiting regularly was Query Tracker--a fantastic resource (if you haven't checked it out already) that allows you to keep track of your agent submissions, view agent stats and get connected with others who are querying the same agents as you.  One of Query Tracker's greatest amenities is a series of message boards for each agent--a place where you can post your stats and celebrate/commiserate with others as you receive rejections, requests and offers of representation.

When I initially joined Query Tracker, I was more of a silent stalker than an active poster.  Why would I want to share my information with all these strangers, anyway??  But then I started noticing something.  Or someone, really.  A user by the name of raven1 who began appearing everywhere.  She already HAD an agent (Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency), but there she was anyway, posting congratulations and
messages of support to everyone. And she was just so damn NICE that I finally felt compelled to make contact.

A quick email introduced me to the woman behind the curtain, and that is how I first met Anita Howard. And since that day, she has quickly become one of the women I admire the most in this industry.  She's always supportive, encouraging, positive and thoughtful; she gave me my very first blog award, and through her blog, A Still and Quiet Madness, I have met loads of like-minded writers and partners in crime.

This summer, Anita and her agent been shopping for a publisher for her YA novel, Splintered, and today they made it official: Splintered has been picked up by Abram's Amulet imprint--home of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Shine!  Not only did Anita get to go to auction, but she also got a two-book deal!

Her first novel will be making its hardcover debut in the spring of 2013, and I am so excited for Anita that I just can't stand it. I can't WAIT to buy my hardcover copy!

Splintered, by the way, is a dark and whimsical take on Alice and Wonderland.  Check out some fun background info on her main character, Alyssa, here, and watch this amazing book trailer she made:

Last but certainly not least, check out her official announcement here: Overwhelmed, Ever-Grateful, Blessed and Humbled.  And check out the rest of her beautiful blog; this is a woman who is going places!! :)