Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Writer Regrets

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to speak on a panel at a writer's retreat in a gorgeous lodge in Sundance. The food (three meals) was cooked on site by a professional chef and was amazing, the lodge and surrounding views were gorgeous, and I got to hang out with fellow writers and editors for a whole day...it was as incredible as it sounds.

That's me rocking the panel with Valynne Maetani,
Courtney Alameda, and Marion Jensen. 

Author Mette Harrison hosts these retreats about once a month. Contact her if you're interested and she'll give you more info. on pricing and schedule. You can't beat a private critique session with a visiting editor/agent in addition to a great day of writerly classes. (And the location!)

Our panel was about breaking into the publishing industry, and I think it was a success. Our scheduled one hour morphed into two-and-a-half as the questions kept coming, and I enjoyed every minute of it. One topic brought up was about what we regret in our experience so far in our publishing journey, and for the first time, I voiced something I've kept quiet about until then...

I wish I never started writing.



I know. Possibly the worst thing to say at a writer event, but on most days, it's true. I started writing in 2010 as a bucket list item to check off. But once that writing fire was lit, I couldn't keep it under control and it spread. If I had known what this writing life would be like, I don't know that I would have started. Because it's hard. So so hard. There are oh so many ups to balance those downs, but all that movement can make you kind of dizzy too.

I've been more emotionally unstable, anxious, stressed, depressed, impatient, and frustrated in the last few years than I've ever been before, and the insecurity I feel has only increased the longer I do this--it's like the more I learn what good writing is, the more I realize my writing needs A LOT of improvement. My house is a mess, I don't get enough sleep, my family eats a whole lot of cold cereal and pizza, and I don't have time to volunteer for so many worthy causes I wish I could. Life would be SO much easier if I wasn't a writer.

I've tried to quit. Really, I have. But writing is like a drug. I'm fine at first, but then I start to have withdrawal symptoms--anxiety, insomnia, restlessness. I can't concentrate on normal everyday things and feel depressed and cranky all time. And none of it goes away until I get that next fix: fingers on the keyboard, playing with the characters and stories in my head.


Do I regret becoming a writer? No. I don't regret it. I LOVE writing, now that it's a part of my life. A part of me. But if I had the chance to choose it again, I'm not sure I would. So if someone asks me if they should become a writer, I'll probably tell them yes...but only if you can't NOT write. And you love it. REALLY love it. Because it will kick your butt.

Do you love being a writer? Think you could quit? Any writer regrets?

I get to see this band live tonight along with Paramore and New Politics. I can't wait!

My songs know what you did in the dark...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Butt. In. Chair.

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I've been through those times before. You know the ones. Where you hit a wall and either have no idea where to go next in your book, don't have the motivation to finish and just want to start a new project, or need to take a break from writing all together because you just aren't feeling it.

I'm going through that now. Where all I want to do is work on the book I'm excited about, NOT the one I HAVE to write with a tight deadline and no desire to do it. But I have to, because it's my JOB. And did I mention tight deadline?

I have to constantly tell myself: Butt in chair, Ilima. Butt in chair! I've decided to take it one day at a time. I WILL do this.

How do you motivate yourself to keep going when you REALLY don't want to?

I keep feeling smaller and smaller...


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

And the winner of a signed advance copy of Remake is...

Morgan Shamy!



Congrats Morgan! I'll have the book out to you soon. Thanks to everyone who entered!

These are ours...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Remake Giveaway!

Is it just me, or is this the most insane summer ever? Seriously. Between camps and tours and conferences and playing hostess to a stream of visitors staying at my house, I think I'm about to explode. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Among the chaos, though, a lot of great things have been happening for me and REMAKE. My publisher has done some amazing things to bring my book exposure, and a lot of cool stuff is in the works that I hope to share soon. In the meantime, I'm doing my best to enjoy the journey and remain grateful that my publishing dream is coming true. Less than three months until release...eep!

This email ad was sent out last week from Publishers Weekly--
resulting in one of PW's highest click-through rates of all time. So cool!

After meeting with my publisher earlier this week in which they key phrase was "deep breaths, deep breaths," the next several months of my life have gone from crazy to CRAZY. So apologies if I can't get to everyone's posts or have to pass on critiques or helping with reveals and such. I love supporting my fellow writers, but a little break shouldn't hurt, right?

I did promise an ARC giveaway, so here's my first attempt at one of those Rafflecopter thingys. I hope it works. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What have you been up to this summer?

I'm chasing old ideas...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Phobic: cover reveal and guest post

I'm super excited to share the cover of Cortney Pearson's PHOBIC, coming September 2014.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

Doesn't it sound wonderfully creepy? You can find it now on GOODREADS.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.
www.cortneypearson.com | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Cortney is here today to share her inspiration for PHOBIC:

As writers we are constantly gathering inspiration (whether we know it or not). An overheard conversation, watching people interact, teenagers laughing together, hearing others tell stories. I believe we subconsciously refer to our life experiences as we write and create stories. We have to. In order to generate realistic emotion and detail that readers can relate to, we have to have some kind of jumping-off-point to base them on. I'd like to share just a few things that sparked ideas for me as I created the world of PHOBIC, a world which is based on the ethereal aspect of seemingly ordinary places.

 Inspiration #1 My great aunt lived alone in this fantastic old house built by her father, my great-great grandfather. And it felt like stepping back through time every time I walked through the door. BUT. Right off from her back door--the entrance we always used--was a staircase. It wasn't long. It wasn't even hidden like those in my story. But this staircase led to Aunt Vay's basement with its concrete floor and old cast iron stove and that pair of metal roller skates that always sat alone on a shelf. I hated going in that basement, especially by myself.

   

Looking back at these pictures now I wonder why I'd been so scared, but as a kid that basement was terrifying!

 

The basement in PHOBIC plays a huge part in the mystery of the house Piper lives in. It's a place she's been forbidden from entering, but this time she's determined to find out why.

 Inspiration #2 Another instance happened at Aunt Vay's when my mom, sister, and I had pulled in late at night to sleep after traveling from California to Utah all day long. We were tired. It was cold and windy outside. And my mom couldn't find her key to the back door. We tried that knob several times and then as I went to reach for the knob again, the door opened. All on its own. OPENED. My mom, sister, and I all exchanged looks and when I checked the knob (on the now open door), it was still locked. True story! So it prompted the opening and this scene in PHOBIC:

My best friend Todd’s red pickup appears at the curb, spewing exhaust like the truck has a cigarette up its backside. I jerk up. My pulse kicks at the sight of him. That’s been happening a lot more lately, my insides flaring up and doing some sort of spastic dance whenever I catch sight of his alluring smile and dark curls. Leaving the second Pop-Tart on the table, I stuff my phone in my pocket and snatch up my backpack and clarinet case. I dart past the round, velvet-topped table in the wide hallway to the front door. I reach for the knob. It won’t turn. Heart pounding, I try again. One way, then the other. Chick. Chick. The lock mechanism is vertical. The door isn’t locked. “Not now,” I say under my breath. “Please not now.” The hairs at my nape skulk up one by one until they all stand on end. My wrist flicks, and the obstinate knob makes the same chick chick sounds. The eerie feeling spreads down the length of my arm, making the knob cold under my touch. What is going on? I’m used to my house doing strange things, but why won’t it let me out? 

 Inspiration #3 The Winchester Mansion in California has also been intriguing to me, especially the staircase that leads to the ceiling. This whole house is completely creepy, but especially this:

   

Piper's house also has a hidden staircase similar to this one. Her discovery of it knocks her sense of reality way off course, and she begins seeing flashbacks of the original residents of house. Which leads to... Inspiration #4 I LOVE romances, along with Victorian/Regency-era stories. So my final inspiration for the story--particularly the flashbacks that Piper has to the past--is:

   

Downton Abbey (I know it takes place after the two eras above-mentioned. But still, inspiration.) It was after watching the first few episodes that my two star-crossed servants in love sprang into my head. There were many other sources of inspiration as well, but these are the main ones. What about for you? What inspires you when you write?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My very own book...revealed!

I've experienced a lot of firsts in the last few weeks (taught at a writing conference, received ARCs of my book, signed my first novel, attended ALA, etc.) but none was more exciting than the cover reveal of my book! It was a little different than the norm as it wasn't seen first online, but rather on the front of last week's issue of Publishers Weekly!


Me at ALA holding a copy of PW...
talk about surreal.
The Publishers Weekly booth gave out
copies of the issue to attendees. I saw my
cover everywhere!























Publishers Weekly's Twitter banner last week...what a surprise!

I'm still a little in shock and of course super thrilled for that kind of exposure. At the conference I also signed galleys of my book and met amazing librarians and book lovers. I talked with several author friends and made several new ones, got to hang out with my editor and fellow Shadow Mountain authors, and my husband came along for a fun weekend away in Vegas (and was a sport for carrying all of my spoils...books are heavy, lol) It was an amazing experience!

But now I get to officially share the cover with all of you...


Isn't it beautiful? I love love love it so much! And here's what REMAKE is about:

Imagine a future without family...

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day--her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?

And here's a bit about me:


Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.






REMAKE comes out on October 14th, and you can find it now on:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million

Due to the nature of my reveal, I haven't been able to organize a formal cover reveal among bloggers, but please feel free to spread the news wherever you are online (FB, Twitter, blogs, etc.). I'd love any help I can get. And I'll be back in a couple of weeks with an ARC giveaway!