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http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com

 

Thanks ūüôā

I’m a bit late on my usual monthly posting. There’s a ¬†LOT going on right now, and I’ll give a quick summary for anyone keeping tabs.

 

The first is… I am crazy busy editing my MS for the January 2012 release. I’m not even sure I’ll make it, especially as their is a novella I’d like to put out FIRST. So… I may be putting the novella out in January and then the first Forever Girl book will come shortly after that.

 

As for life, my youngest went up to visit my family for a month, and I am missing him like CRAZY! He comes home Thursday ūüôā and my Daughter just made the team at gymnastics, so that bumps up her gym schedule to twice a week. She’s very excited. ¬†Of course, if it were up to her, we’d have gymnastics every day. My oldest is doing well. There are really days where I think our future with him involves no one ever being able to tell he’s autistic. We still have some hurdles in our path, but we’re flying over them one by one. (Okay, sometimes we fall, but we get up again.

 

I mentioned Business. For those who don’t know, I’ve been working to start a small publishing house with my closest writing partner and friend. To be fair, I’m not sure *I’ve* been busy with this quite as much as he has. He’s being doing all the coding for the site design (and doing an awesome job at that!)

 

I’m also still waiting for my book’s website to be finished up and go live. The anticipation is killing me.

 

Thanks to everyone who’s been hanging in there for me, waiting for the book release. It means a lot to me ūüôā

 

I know I’ve been batting the idea around for a while–to stick with the traditional publishing route or the self publish. It’s not an easy decision to make.

On the one hand, I’d like to know I could get past the “gatekeepers” because I want to know what I’m giving the reader is an entertaining, quality product. I wasn’t really putting my eggs in their marketing basket, because I know how much marketing they do for a book would vary, so I was ready to do that aspect of the work. But I *was* extremely interested in having a professional editor work on my book.

On the other hand, I understand the benefits of self publishing. Control over design, pricing, content. More opportunity to connect directly with your readership. Things move faster, and you get a higher percentage of your sales (allowing you to price your books lower and still turn a fair profit).

For me, writing is more about sharing my work than making money. But let me honest here–I’d love if my writing could be enough to take care of some expenses, too. I’d love to be able to buy my house. I’d love to be able to cover the costs of my son’s treatments for autism. And… well, that’s about it lol

I’ve decided I need to set a date, and go for it. So I’ve decided that if I don’t hear back from the remaining interested publishers who have my book, I’ll be ready to publish in January 2012. Maybe I wouldn’t make it past the gatekeepers. Maybe I just came really, really close every time (word’s still out with two of the publishers). And maybe I could have tried smaller publishers and maybe they would have taken me on. Truth is, I’ll never know, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with that BECAUSE there have been so many wonderful PEOPLE out there who have shown interest in my book. READERS. And that’s what it’s all about it. If readers want my book, then I’m not going to let a publishing house stand in my way just because they didn’t like page 5, line 10. or because they thought the pacing could be improved (here’s an idea… tell me that, and I’ll improve it lol).

But what was great is that the publishers and agents who viewed my work were encouraging. For starters, I’ve had THREE *major* publishers contact ME cold, asking to see my full MS. I’ve had TWO *major* agents (one from the UK and one from the US) contact ME cold, asking to see my novel. And they were close to loving it, even if they weren’t there yet. And yes, maybe they WOULD love it now that I’ve changed the areas they had concerns with… but I don’t want to go back and forth anymore, or wait six months to hear back, and then months to find a publisher, and so on. I want to move on from this book and write other books that my readers have been showing interest in.

So I’m hiring a professional editor, just to be sure my MS is what it needs to be. I’ve had a professional book cover designed, which I’m going to share with you all in just a moment. And I’m going to put my book out there in January 2012. I’m going to offer an introductory price of .99 so you don’t have to worry about wasting a large chunk of money if it turns out you don’t like it. AND on top of that, anyone who fills out the form below between now and January will get an additional 50 off once the book comes out. I’m also taking down names of interested book bloggers who would like a free copy in exchange for an honest review on my novel.

I’m determined to put a quality book out there. The “pros” have told me I’m close. Not close enough for them to work with me for free though. But that won’t stop me. I’ll gladly put my money where my mouth is and fork over the moola to have a professional edit my work and take it the “last mile”. I want to get this “reader – ready”, and I will.

All that said, I think it’s important to note that I still have all the respect I’ve always had for the publishing professionals of this world. As a reader, they’ve brought me many great books. As a writer, they’ve given me things to aspire to. They’ve encouraged me. Told me I was close and to keep going. I am not angry that they didn’t want to walk the last mile with me (especially since that last mile really only leads to another path to travel!). They encounter a lot of people who are “close” and if they had to walk the last mile with all of us, their feet would really be hurting! So instead of pouting that they didn’t want to walk that last mile with me, I said ‘thank you for pointing me in the right direction’ and I walked that last mile myself.

That said, over the years, I’ve watched some very talented writers struggle. By this I mean I’ve beta read books that were, hands down, hundreds of times better than any published book I’ve personally encountered. My heart ached when I watched these authors hand their hats for those books and move on. These were books that I believed, with all my heart, merely “slipped through the cracks”.

Some people in this situation self publish. Some don’t. Some of their books sell so well that major publishers who at first turned them down are now asking to publish their books. Some of the books are a flop. And likewise, there are books out there that several agents made offers on and publishing houses went into bid wars to obtain… only for the book to flop.

Remember, they’re human. They aren’t gonna get it right every time. Maybe this time they were right about my book. Maybe not. But in the end, I decided to listen to my readers. You guys want me to put the book out there, then I will. What have we got to lose?

 

Before you see this book cover and fall in love (at least I did!), check out the very talented PHOTOGRAPHER who took the image for me: http://dream-traveler.tk/ and the ever lovely model who posed for the shot: http://laihiliel.deviantart.com/

Yesterday, someone said to me:

“When will #theforevergirl be on sale? Couldn’t find it anywhere.” (Yes, that’s my books twitter hashtag lol)

Well, she wasn’t the first person to ask, and it reminded me that I was due to update my author blog with how things are going in terms of getting my book out there to those who are interested. So here it goes…

There’s a lot of exciting things going on right now with The Forever Girl. For those who don’t know about The Forever Girl, it’s my first novel, and will be the first in a series of probably 7 books.

Here’s the Pitch:

Sophia Parsons’ family has skeletons, but they aren’t in their graves.

The cult in Bellemeadow will do anything to claim Sophia’s house. Even burn her out of it, if necessary. The only way Sophia might gain their acceptance without¬†sacrificing¬†her house is to find a way to come across a little more … normal. Maybe then they wouldn’t view her Wiccan religion as a demonic practice.

One thing stands in her way. A hissing in her mind that makes her flight and distracted. In her search for answers, however, she only finds more questions. Is there a link between her own infliction and that of her ancestor–a woman convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials? A woman whose body has been missing since the hanging?

Someone in Sophia’s life wants her to solve this mystery for all the wrong reasons. Someone, as it so happens, wants Sophia to join a race of dark supernaturals she never knew existed. ¬†When this person nearly murders her, Sophia realizes the only way to unveil the source of her family’s curse is to perform dark magic, or become a murdered herself.

 

So I’ve been shopping this book around with agents. Meanwhile, it’d been under consideration with Harper Collins. But something told me it wasn’t “ready” just yet. The reviews had been good, sure… but were they *great*? So I set out to a major overhaul of the manuscript, with, of course, the support of some very amazing critique partners and beta readers. I knew I had finally nailed it when complete strangers starting asking me where they could buy a copy of the book.

Well you can’t. Yet. Sorry. ūüė¶ But there’s lots of other good news and excitement ¬†I can share!

So shortly after I made my revisions public online, I was contacted by some pretty awesome people. I got hooked up with one agent in particular who is considering my MS as we speak. All I can say it, whatever may come of things with this agent, she certainly has my admiration and respect. She’s been a doll to be in contact with. Not only did I hear from her, though, I also heard from one of Penguin’s imprints! They had read a sample of my work online and wanted me to send them the full. After that, an assistant Editor with Harlequin dropped me a line on Twitter. Of all the editors I’ve dealt with so far, I really liked this guy in particular. Totally down to earth, honest, and friendly.

Yes, my toes are crossed! (Can’t cross my fingers and type, after all!)

Now for the downer. I contacted my “inbetween” for Harper Collins to let her know I’d done a pretty big re-write on The Forever Girl. I wanted to send the new, MUCH improved version to the¬†acquiring¬†editor if she hadn’t started reading yet.

What were these big changes, you ask? (Or not, but I’m gonna tell you anyway.)

I worked on making Sophia more likeable. I worked on pacing. Big time. (Cut 10k from the novel!) I worked on the world building and the plot, and I amped up the supernatural elements and brought them in earlier in the story. I even had a pro editor go over my MS to help me whip my MS into shape.

Too late. The editor had already read. While she thought I had definite writing talent, she just didn’t love the story enough. The reasons she gave me? Character not likable enough. Don’t bring in the supernatural elements early enough. And, clearly, these were things she didn’t believe I could fix. I’ll say now, I kick myself for sending them that MS when I did. Our “inbetween” had encouraged me to do so but my gut had told me not to, and I didn’t listen to my gut. That said, as the “inbetween” said, my new MS wouldn’t have made a difference. They think I should work on a different story. (Don’t worry, I’m doing that, too!)

Maybe they are right, hey? But with the ways things have been going since I revised my MS, I have a feeling that the revision *did* make a huge difference. And as they say, there’s no accounting for taste! I’d say perhaps the only odd moment out of it all was that they were suggesting I bin the book, knowing that others were considering it. Why would I bin something I’ve come so close with? Something that has caught the attention of three major publishers just from them spotting samples online? In the end, I had to make a decision. Do I respect their opinion? Very much so. Am I ready to give up on this MS? Not yet!

So that is where I’m at now. I have a several agents considering along with a couple publishers. But what I think really gets me the MOST excited, is the feedback I’ve been receiving lately.

“I cant find any reason why this book cannot go straight into print.”

“consumed and enjoyed your epic masterpiece, quite an excellent read.”

“It is a page turner”

“a potential bestseller”

“I WAS Sophia, relating to her feelings at every turn. This work has GOT to be published, that’s all there is to it!”

“can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your story. You had me spellbound right from the start”

“A great story with an unusual concept”

“If I claim to be an agent or publisher can I get the rest of of the book? It’s fabulous!”

“got my attention from the start and kept it! Definately a great read for fantasy/horror enthusiasts”

“WOW! I will NOT read something that doesn’t start out vibrant, and man! Your book is a grabber right from the start.”

“I read all your chapters eagerly, happy to find a witch story I really liked….certainly a book I’d buy”

“Both the unusual story and the evocative, poetic writing make this one of my favorite novels in recently memory.”

“top-notch word-smithing, fabulous pacing, edgy tone, and page-turning chapter endings”

“I can only come to one conclusion: this novel NEEDS to be published.”

“brilliant”

“I’d definitely read on. It was well paced, interesting and I thought your MC was intriguing.”

“i hope to be able to one day buy this book and find out the rest of the story!”

“plot teased perfectly, by the end i wanted to continue – i want to know what happens next!”

“wonderful depth and richness which had me invested early on.”

“You’ve set a number of themes in motion very cleverely. The head noise, the mother, the break in, the murder.”

“I would have happily read on. Well done.”

“The only regret I have for now is that I am unable to finish the book at this time.”

“The only regret I have for now is that I am unable to finish the book at this time.”

“I must admit I checked out your website to see if I could buy the rest of this book!”

“The ritual scene at the end of the sample was particularly well written – really creepy.”

“The writing’s good, easy to read, there are little mysteries to hook me in (and I am hooked.)”

“I really like Sophia, she’s a strong woman and a good heroine. ”

“I thoroughly enjoyed your sample of work and think it is in a state to be published.”

“I liked Sophia immediately and wanted to know more about her.”

“You succeed in evoking a sense of atmosphere without writing reams and reams.”

You can read more reviews here, as well:

http://www.rebecca-hamilton-books.com/#!the-forever-girl-reviews

(you will need to click the image to open it to read!)

Additionally, I’ve started posting a sample of my writing to tumblr every Sunday. Check it out here:

http://rebeccahamiltonbooks.tumblr.com/

 

I have more news, too. Yes I do.

My website:¬†http://www.rebecca-hamilton-books.com/¬†will be moving soon! I am having it converted to html to improve the page-loading time. My husband’s friend is a website designer and is doing it for me for a very reasonable price. Then, hopefully, you will all get to see how TOTALLY AWESOME my guestbook is:¬†http://www.rebecca-hamilton-books.com/#!guestbook/¬†(thanks to Jumpix). I will let you all know when the new site is live.

AND I’m also having candles made! (Thanks to OiCandles!) Little 8oz tins with a scent meant to capture the essence of The Forever Girl novels. I’ll be using them for giveaways on my blog and press kits ūüôā If they go over well, I may stock some to sell at cost. I’m also considering having a blend of Forever Girl tea made. Yes, I’m certifiably insane.

Below, I’ve posted pictures of the bookmarks I have (in person, they have red tassels!) along with the top sticker and side sticker for the candle tins. Hope you guys like!

           

 

 

I wish I could shut up, but I tell myself some of you actually care to hear all this… So….

I just finished the rough draft of a novella based in the same world as The Forever Girl. I will try to whip that into shape as fast as I can and get it out there to you guys. It’s a bit different (new character, third person point of view instead of first, historical setting instead of modern), but I think it will still appeal to those who like (or will like) The Forever Girl.

Other than that, I’ve been reading Sophie Hannah’s “The Wrong Mother”, have been working on some paid editing/book cover designs, and have been busy with my usual home-life stuff. My oldest (with Autism) has been having some struggles, and it’s affecting the other kids as well. My youngest is also looking at a diagnosis of Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS). Daughter is enjoying gymnastics, ballet, and acting like a teenager at the ripe old age of FOUR. But they’re all lovely and funny and sweet and tell stupid jokes ūüôā

 

If you want to keep up with me on a daily basis, you can always follow me on twitter:

 

Myth: All people with autism are the same. Think: Rain Man.
Fact:¬†If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with Autism. They are individuals, just like every other human on the planet.

Myth: Autistic people cannot feel or express love or empathy.
Fact:¬†Many — in fact, most — autistic people are extremely capable of feeling and expressing love, though sometimes in idiosyncratic ways! What’s more, many autistic people are far more empathetic than the average person, though they may express their empathy in unusual ways.

Myth: Autistic people cannot build solid relationships with others.
Fact: While it’s unlikely that an autistic child will be a cheerleader, it is very likely that they will have solid relationships with, at the very least, their closest family members. And many autistic people do build strong friendships through shared passionate interests. There are also plenty of autistic people who marry and have satisfying romantic relationships.

Myth: Most autistic people are non-verbal or close to non-verbal.
Fact: Individuals with a classic autism diagnosis are sometimes non-verbal or nearly non-verbal. But the autism spectrum also includes extremely verbal individuals with very high reading skills.

Myth:¬†Most Autistics are “low functioning.”
Fact: Due to the negative connotations autism gets from the term “low functioning,” the bigger nonprofits like to focus on low functioning autistics because people are more likely to donate to help severely affected people (these same organizations use the statistic of 1 in 150 but they imply that 1 in 150 people are low functioning). However, the most recent studies show that a little less than half of Autistics are low functioning. A lot of autism experts point out that Asperger’s is underdiagnosed, which indicates there’s an even lower percentage of people who would qualify as “low functioning.”

 

SEE MORE HERE.
Please also visit: http://www.autisticadvocacy.org

The TRUTH about Wicca

Wiccans do NOT raise the dead.¬†If you are a fan of¬†True Blood¬†(which I am) you may have seen the episode early into season four where a coven of “Wiccans” (and yes, they called them “Wiccans”), rose a bird from the dead. While I personally don’t mind “witches” as supernatural beings, it’s a little disheartening when they call them “Wiccans” and have them do things that real Wiccans would never do. Wiccans will celebrate those they loved and may seek to communicate with the spirit or energy of those people, but they don’t raise the dead. Nor do they try to.


Wiccan’s DON’T¬†sacrifice¬†people or animals.¬†This is an idea invented by the Christian Community. Not all Christians promote these ideas against Wiccans, but there’s enough who had. The power of suggestion is strong. Though what I say here is not ‘news’, most people aren’t aware that Wicca isn’t ‘evil’ because they’ve grown up in a world that accepts this “idea” as reality.


Wicca is NOT a cult.¬†Many people who abuse religion can turn their religious gatherings into cults, but it’s not the religion itself that makes that so. Cults carry a religious devotion toward a particular figure or object, and involves a small group of people whose beliefs are practices most would consider sinister. It usually involves following a¬†person¬†instead of a religion. Most cults may operate under the impression of being of a certain religion, but in the end they have carved their own path outside of that religion’s wide-held beliefs.¬†


Wiccans DON’T “recruit”.¬†Perhaps one of my favorite things about this religion–of which I am not a follower, but a supporter–is that it’s followers are not interested in converting anyone. They respect other people’s religious beliefs and paths. They will only teach their beliefs to someone who have come to the faith on their own and asked for guidance.


Wiccan’s DON’T worship Satan.¬†And for that matter, neither do Satanists! Wiccans don’t believe in Satan, and to satanists, Satan is a symbol, not an idol or god-like figure.

The pentagram is NOT the sign of the devil.¬†The symbol can be found on some of the older Christian churches. The Church of Satan uses the reversed¬†pentagram¬†to MOCK it’s meaning, just as they use upside down Christian cross. When a Wiccan *does* use a reversed¬†pentagram, it is to represent the second degree of¬†witchcraft¬†because of the self analysis (inward turn) the second degree makes. The¬†pentagram’s¬†five points represent the five elements–air, fire, water, earth, and spirit.
Wicca does NOT have “Dark Magic”.¬†While I can’t say that a Wiccan would never use dark magic (just as I can’t say that a Christian would never break a¬†commandment¬†or “sin”, I can say that it would be an abandonment of their faith to do so. The Wiccan Rede prevents Wiccans from cursing others, using magic for self gain, or otherwise using magic in a malicious way. Wiccan’s believe in the law of Karma (Three-Fold Law) so they believe anything they do, good or bad, will return to them three-fold. Wiccans believe in tolerating perceived foes and seeking to mend any ills between people. If amends cannot be made for whatever reason, their religion teach loving and accepting people as they are, regardless of differences. Dark Magic is not part of the Wiccan religion, but an abandonment of the Wiccan faith.
Wiccan’s DON’T have Magical Powers.¬†Yes, the MC in my novel is Wiccan. And yes, she has magical powers. She does not have magical powers because she is Wiccan. Wiccans are people, just like everyone else. They have worldly limits and they have feelings, too.

A more complete list from the article my post is heavily based on can be viewed HERE.
Thanks again to Aldwyn for allowing me to use some of the content there to compile a few points on my site!

(Originally Posted 06/30/2011)

 

There is nothing greater than¬†discovering¬†a book that resonates with you. It’s something I love when I read, but also something I love when I’m writing. Novel reading (and writing) is an adventure. But there is usually something beneath that adventure, too. Something that makes the adventure feel real to us. And important. It‚Äôs why we get lots in good books. The best part of writing for me is the getting lose, the not knowing what I will uncover next or where my characters will lead me or what they will disclose to me about who¬† they are.

I love unusual characters. I love writing them and showing how¬†human¬†they are. Even those with rare personality types, or characters most people would find ‘strange,’ or characters who are often shunned by society for who they are. I enjoy taking a character like that and portraying them in such a way that many can resonate with them.

I also find many repeat themes in my novels. Acceptance, for example, threads through all my projects, though not intentionally. Acceptance of others. Acceptance of ourselves. Acceptance of what is or what is meant to be. I wonder if my readers will see that‚ÄĒif it‚Äôs something I take away from my novels because that‚Äôs how I perceive it, or if others will see it too because that‚Äôs just the subtext I‚Äôve written because of who I am.

Our society often focuses on helping unusual people (such as those with mental illnesses or those with certain “disorders”) to become “acceptable”. But maybe they aren’t wrongly ordered. Maybe they are just ordered differently. Maybe they‚Äôre brilliant and we‚Äôre lucky to have them just as they are.

But the idea has always been to help them “fit in” with society. Why? Take children with Autism, for example. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t understand why it’s entirely up to them to learn how to live in “the real world”. Why is it that everyone else’s world is the real one? How are their worlds less “real”? Why is it that we can’t build a bridge between our differences? For my son, following the “norm” is a challenge, whereas it’d probably be very easy for a “typical” person to slow down and try to understand where a “non-typical” person is coming from. Sometimes I wonder if our society has it backwards.

If we want to change someone, we can change ourselves. We can stop telling everyone to come to us, and we can go to them instead.

So this is what my writing means to me. It means exposing different kinds of people as the amazing people they are. As people we¬†can¬†relate to. It means acceptance that starts within, instead of a desire for other people to become “acceptable”. And it means exploring the unknown and showing how the unknown isn’t quite as scary or strange once you know about it.

These are universal truths, and that is where the resonance comes in. It resonates not because the idea has already been established directly, but more because it should have already been established, or the founding idea behind it was established long ago, but we (as a society) have compartmentalized so much we still can’t see what’s been right in front of us all along.

I love reading, love connecting with characters and even other authors throughout the pages of a novel, and how sometimes a novel just really resonates with me, and I know I’ve just experienced something special. It’s as though life has been thrown in a pot and simmered down to a rich, flavorful reduction sauce. A novel, when it resonates, can be just as satisfying as well-prepared meal. I‚Äôm sure someone somewhere once said novels are food for the soul. I couldn‚Äôt agree more.