Tag Archives: Publish-y stuff

This Is Sarah – Teaser Tuesday

24 Jun

This Is Sarah banner (6)

 

Heh. Teaser Tuesday. Alliteration is fun.

So yesterday we covered the whole fighting thing and I know I promised some pot smoking but since we did Colin (Sarah’s boyfriend) yesterday I thought we could spend a little time with Claire (Sarah’s little sister). I promise we’ll get stoned tomorrow. Just to give a little context, this is the first day of school and Claire’s is now a sophomore. At this point in the story, her sister has been missing for just under 4 months.

 

New year. Anything is possible in a new year. That was my mantra.

Mrs. Barrie went through the list, Allison Anderson, John Annet, Steve Barton, Katherine Beck and Paul Billings. There were a lot of new faces. New faces were good. New faces meant potential new friends. New distractions. New opportunities.

A new life.

“Claire Evans.”

I raised my hand. “Here.”

And in that moment, they all turned. Twenty-five heads swiveled, twenty-five pairs of eyes combed over me. I felt like a thing in a shop window. The Newly Minted Only Child.

No. I can’t do this. Remember the mantra: New year. Anything is possible in a new year.

Mrs. Barrie stood stock still for just a moment as her smiled faded. “You’re Claire Evans?”

“Yes.” I forced a smile. Please don’t. Please just move on. Please.

“I…” Mrs. Barrie laid a hand over her heart and began to fiddle with the cross around her neck. “I…”

I wished for two things. One, that Mrs. Barrie just continued on with the roll call, and two, that I sat closer to the front of the room. If I sat in the front I wouldn’t be staring into all these faces right now.

Faces that searched me with wide eyes and down-turned mouths. Twenty-five sets of eyes now tried to read me, to know what it was like at home with Sarah gone, to be the sister of the girl taken. Twenty-five sets of eyes wondering what it was like to walk in this living nightmare.

When they stared at me I didn’t even feel like a person anymore, but like a thing to be observed, to be pitied or feared, lest sorrow and pain and awful bad luck become catchy. Time slowed to a crawl. I couldn’t do this.

“What?” I finally blurted out to all those eyes and frowning faces.

“I…” Mrs. Barrie stuttered. “I…I’m really happy to meet you. I also taught your sister.”

The word came out like an exhale, a sliver of cold air leaving her lungs, slicing through the space between us.

Sister.

I felt the weight of that word―a word I no longer said. A word that defines a thing I no longer am.

Teenager.

Daughter.

Sister.

Not anymore.

“I…” Mrs. Barrie said again.

New year. Anything is possible in a new year.

“I’m…really…” Mrs. Barrie fumbled her voice catching.

Please just stop. It’s a new year. Anything is possible in a new year.

I closed my eyes and said it over and over again. I didn’t even care if they still looked at me, if they saw my lips moving. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe we’ve all gone a little fucking crazy.

 

Okay, drugs tomorrow, I swear. And again, THIS IS SARAH is out this week from BookFish Books who are, without a doubt, some of the most supportive enthusiastic people I’ve ever worked with in the book biz. I owe them.

And finally, remember there are 10 copies of THIS IS SARAH in the goodreads giveaway if you want to try to get your greedy little hands on them.

 

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

Book! It’s a Book! Look a Book!

19 Jun

 

Okay first things first, I’m over at The Forked Road spilling secret family recipes! I cannot explain to you how delicious and utterly unhealthy this meal is.

You won’t be sorry. Well you might be “sorry” but you won’t be SORRY.

Trust me.

Next up….

Guess what’s done?

Guess?

Guess?

It’s this!

cover_WRAP_web

 

I finished my final edits of THIS IS SARAH this morning

(after working on it last night, and the night before that, and the morning before that nonstop because DEADLINE!!!).

But it’s finished.

Finished.

Finished Finished Finished Finished.

This is me:

ross-dancing-o

And next week, Universe-willing, it will be a book.

A physical, pick it up and turn the pages book.

Whoa.

It’s kind of weird thinking I’m done. Like, now what am I going to spend my writing mornings on?

What’s next? Do I start the waterfall book? Finish Palimpsest? The How To Be An American Poems?

Who cares!??

This baby is DONE!

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PS….you can win a copy here if you’re the lucky type

Linky Time

27 May

493

 

Hello lovelies

I’m still in the throes of editing THIS IS SARAH so I haven’t done much in the way of new writing but I have managed to get a few things out there.

So real quick:

1. I have a new piece on the Forked Road – under the Quills and Frills section. In this, we post new stuff and once a month Aleathia gives us a prompt.

This was the prompt for Saturday: “Through a freak illness, you lose one of your senses.  Which sense is it, what happens to you, and how do you deal with it?”

Nice, right? Initially I wrote a piece on losing the sense of hearing. It was alright but nothing that I loved. On my walk to work I started thinking about how truly terrible it would be to never enjoy another slice of pizza. So instead I wrote this, about losing the sense of taste. Yup, that’s me. Always thinking with my stomach.

2. I’ve got some poems up at the new Zygote in my Coffee. It’s another batch from the How to Be An American series which I have to admit has petered a bit in recent months. I’m hoping it’s just all the fiction writing but to be honest, back when I started this in October I hoped to have a complete MS by now – approximately 100 poems. I’m stuck at number 53. But thanks to Brian for taking these.

3. I also got a few poems into ppigpenn with the always hilarious Catfish McDaris. Oddly enough all of these poems in some way involve my husband which is a total coincidence.

4. And finally a piece on the Forked Road about my trip to Italy – it involves me hiding out in an Irish pub and breaking an air conditioner. What? It was really hot.

Okay back to work.

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

 

Monday Morning Poems, an Excerpt link, and A Small Ranty Thing About This Country

19 May

Good morning, lovelies…

I am exhausted this morning from a fantastic family weekend so I’ll keep try to keep this short.

The very cool Jonathan Penton at Unlikely Stories was kind enough to accept this How To Be An American poem to add to what is a great collection for the May issue of Unlikely Stories. Please be sure to check out the rest of the issue. It’s chock full of goodness.

And I would also like to say thanks to Stephen Williams at Dead Snakes for taking these poems.

I’m a lucky girl.

Also the Forked Road has another THIS IS SARAH excerpt. The book is written in alternating viewpoints from Claire (Sarah’s little sister) and Colin’s (Sarah’s boyfriend).

You can read Colin’s piece here and you can the Claire one here if excerpts are your kind of thing.

And finally I know I said that this is going to a short post but I’ve got this thing nagging at me. I’ve received some rejections for poems lately for the How To Be An American series and both times I was called Anti-American. Before we go into this I feel the need to say the following:

DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NO PROBLEM BEING REJECTED. MY WHOLE WRITING CAREER IS 90% REJECTION, 10% PUBLICATION.

That part is really important to understand. I get that if you put stuff out there you’ll inevitably get most of it rejected. That’s fine. My thick skin is fully insulated. So it’s not about being rejected, okay? Understand? Good.

It’s about the notion that these poems are Anti-American or more so that to criticize our country = Anti-Americanism. I’m just curious when that happened? When did observing our failures (because we do have them) become akin to ignoring our successes? When did my acknowledging that there are places where we have seriously dropped the ball suddenly mean that I’m a communist (which I was called)?

This all seems particularly short-sighted.

This Sunday the New York Times had an article on adding trigger warnings to texts so that college kids can be prepared to deal with thing that make them uncomfortable.

At Oberlin College, a draft petition asked teachers to flag anything that might disrupt a students learning. This is from the NY Times article:

“Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” the guide said. “Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.” For example, it said, while “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe — a novel set in colonial-era Nigeria — is a “triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read,” it could “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”

Where do we go from here?

How do we possibly grew and fix society if we don’t face the ugly upsetting things head on? Isn’t the point of art and college to challenge us? To make us think?

Now, please don’t for a second thing that I think that just because I wrote a poem that might cast America in a poor light that I should automatically have it published because that would be nonsense. Editors have the right to publish whatever they want. I’m just curious about this notion that to criticize a nation is akin to being its enemy.

Did we really all take Bush’s “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” thing to heart?

Or as we so isolated, constantly hearing opinions that mirror our own that something outside of our experience shatters our delusions about the world we live in?

I write about this country because I want it to be better.

I want the kids that go to school to not worry about dying when they refuse a prom date.

I want parents to trust that when the drop off their kindergarten those babies will come home at the end of the day – alive and well and not in body bags.

In what universe is that wrong???

I want us to be better. And to be better we need to talk about where we fail. And isn’t that the purpose of art? Not to pad down all the ugly parts but to hold them up so that we can see the cracks in the glass. So that we can figure out how to seal them over again?

So that we can actually strive to be the country we’re currently pretending we are?

Sigh….Anyway….that’s enough out of me.

Happy Monday.

Be nice to each other, okay?

Peace, Love and Starbursts

Ally

The Forked Road

13 May

Hi All

So I was invited to join The Forked Road by a friend of mine, Aleathia Drehmer.

Aleathia’s a major player in the writing scene so I jumped at the chance to participate.

It’s a very relaxed premise – each day has a different theme and you post when you want to. Got something to say – write it and post it. In Aleathia’s words – the week runs down like this:

Monday-Music Monday—this can be your current favorite song, a write up about your favorite band, a recent concert you have seen, “mixed tapes” you have made, or a great video.  If it involves music, put it here.  Add photos, links, whatever.

 

Tuesday-Let’s Go Somewhere—this the travel portion of the blog.  Write about local places, faraway places, museums, tourist attractions, festivals.  It is anything you can leave your house to do!

 

Wednesday-Lit Bits—this is where you showcase favorite books from established writers.  You can do critique, put quotes, review a favorite author.  You can write about literary events as well.

 

Thursday-Foodies—if you are a great cook you can list favorite recipes.  Restaurant reviews, great food carts, trends in cuisine that you enjoy or review good cook books.  You can share grannies best cookie recipe!

 

Friday-Art Bomb—post about artists that you like, local gallery showings, interview an artist, speak about documentaries of great artists.

 

Saturday-Quills and Frills—this is for sharing our own writing or the writing of other small press writers.  Once a month there will be a writing prompt in which we will each write something and post our interpretations.  I will be sure to share that with you at the beginning of the month so there is time to write it to post at the end of the month.

 

Sunday-OM—this is a section on spirituality.  I am a Buddhist but you can share whatever faith you have.  I’m not saying we are getting all holy roller up in here, but if you have credos you live by that you want to share, feel free.

 

Great concept, huh?

So yesterday, I managed to get over my crippling self-doubt and finish THIS IS SARAH and send it off to my editor. Achievement: Unlocked.

This morning I read through a story I had started last week and realized with absolute certainty that it’s a total piece of crap.

So instead I decided to write my first piece for The Forked Road.

It’s about my recent trip to Liverpool where I got to see John Lennon’s House. Afterwards Aleathia talks about her trip to Bristol.

I think this is going to be loads of fun.

Peace, love and Starbursts

Ally

I am Ross’ Nervous Apology

10 May
giphy

This is me.

 

The weird thing about finishing a book is that you would THINK that the moment when the book is available for other people to read would be the best part right?

I mean here you are – having spent all this time living with this story and these people in your mind and now they’re finally going to be shared with the rest of the world. YAY, right? Right?

So why am I filled with so much dread?

Monday is my deadline for any more changes to THIS IS SARAH before BookFish sends it to my line editor who will scowl over my inability to place a comma where it belongs. (Poor line editor.)

Therefore, this is it. Last chance. Last chance to change a line, to make a joke, to have Colin get one more punch in during the fist fight(s). Last chance for Claire to swallow her fear and fake her bravery, something she has become quite apt at doing.

Last chance.

But at the same time, I’m so also weirdly excited to send Colin and Claire off into the world to go live for a brief while in someone else’s mind.

Dichotomy, thy name is Ally.

Anyway, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to apologize to anyone who follows me on twitter or facebook or now, tumblr. (hey, I made a tumblr. I’m still learning the ropes if anyone wants to come play that’d be cool.)

I know I’ve been really annoying this week because we’ve been doing the cover reveal for THIS IS SARAH so all my tweets and posts and tumblr-thingies have been about that. And I know that’s really annoying.

So I’m sorry.

The cover reveal will end on Monday. Then I promise to go back to my less annoying (but probably still a bit annoying) self where all I’ll talk about is enchilada casserole and the Replacements. Then it will get bad again in June when the book comes out.

In June.

Which is soon.

But not as soon as Monday.

Last licks, kids. Cross your fingers I don’t screw it up.

Peace, love and starburts,

Ally

 

 

I Screwed Up

2 May

So I screwed up. Shocking, I know.

I forgot to thank one of my absolute favorite presses out there because these poems went up on Blue Hour when I was away and it just sort of slipped through the cracks.

So my sincere apologies to Blue Hour Press who are wonderful and who took these poems, one of which is called After Silsbe and it was written after reading this fantastic little book

SilsbeLGCoverwhich was published by LowGhost Press.

I highly recommend Scott’s collection, the rest of LowGhost’s catalog and the books put out by Blue Hour which you can get here.

Many many many thanks. I’m a lucky girl to be surrounded by so much good writing juju.

Peace Love and Starbursts,

Ally

 

Sucker Literary Magazine Bloghop: The Writing Process

28 Apr

 

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Howdy

So my buddy Robert over at Middle Grade Ninja tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Hop. That’s the cover of his novel up there!

Here’s how it works:

Robert posts his blog about the writing process (read it here) and then tags me and a week later it’s my turn and I, in turn, tag some other writers and this crazy merry go round keeps spinning.

So here we go:

1. What am I working on?

Lots of stuff, actually.

I’m working on edits for my upcoming YA novel THIS IS SARAH which is scheduled to come out sometime in June. Here’s the blurb in case you’re curious what it’s about:

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he is transformed from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, what is Colin willing to do to bring her back?

 

And as Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape that is life without her sister. Even as her parent’s fall apart, Claire is determined to keep on going. Even if it kills her.

 

THIS IS SARAH is a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.

 

I’m at the point right now where we’re pretty close (at least I think we are) to passing this along to the copy editor. Mary, who is my content editor at BookFish Books has been amazing – part teacher, part cheerleader, and all around awesome.

I’m also working on a poetry collection that I’m calling How To Be An American. It’s a series of poems that are based upon ideas expressed in a book entitled Culture Shock: America. The purpose of the book is to educate new immigrants about our culture and it’s filled with some absolute gems. You can read some of the poems that have already been published here.

And finally I’m working on revisions of a YA sci-fi book called PALIMPSEST which I’ve been working on FOREVER and am thankfully really close to finishing. Unfortunately it’s a complicated story (probably too complicated for my feeble brain to hold together) and it keeps getting interrupted by other projects, like SARAH.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hm. Wow. I don’t really know how to answer that.

If I’m going to talk about THIS IS SARAH, I guess the thing that makes it different is that it’s small, quiet and sad. I think a lot of YA books are really big, really loud, and really dramatic. Vampires. Monsters. Girls falling in love with their dead boyfriends (literally). The paranormal romance thing is huge.

And I’m not criticizing that – I think there is a lot of really good stuff out there dealing with paranormal romances. But SARAH is decidedly not that.

Like I said, it’s small – only about 47K words. And quiet – there are no zombies, vampires, or anything like that. No one is trying to save the world. No one has special powers. No one is related to a fairy or any other member of the fey.

It’s just about a high school age boy who trying to keep it together when the unthinkable happens. And it’s about a sixteen year old girl who has to manage without her sister.

It’s about loss.

Like I said, it’s a sad book.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Sheesh, this is even harder than the last one.

I guess because it’s the story that I want to tell at the time I start telling it.

So far, I’ve written three novels (I”m counting the sci-fi one, cause guys, it’s ALMOST done) and they are all wildly different. The first was a MG urban fantasy called Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. I wrote that because I wanted to write something that I would have wanted to read when I was a little girl. Back then books were my world. I wanted to add a story to that amazing lexicon.

I wrote the scifi book because I wanted tell a story about memory. I have a terrible terrible memory. It’s embarrassing actually and PALIMPSEST is very much about how memory shapes your sense of identity and how without it, you can fall out of your own history. And it’s about time travel and alternate dimension and chess cause I like those three things.

And I wrote SARAH because it was a story that I wanted to tell. That sounds like a cheap explanation but it’s the truth. See, when I submitted it to BookFish and it was accepted, one of the editors said the following:

 The emotions throughout are so incredibly real that I wondered if maybe you have experienced such a horrible thing as losing someone you love in such an unresolved kind of way. I certainly hope not. If you have, I am sending you a virtual hug even though it’s not general protocol. Either way, you deserve it.

And I wrote back and said, “oh no, no, it’s just a story.”

But that is a lie.

Because even though I didn’t have Colin or Claire’s specific experience, I’ve lost people that I have loved and I’ve struggled with how to move on. I’m an extremely sensitive person and everyone says that it’s great because when you’re like this you experience happiness and joy on such a grand scale. True. But you also heal at a glacial pace. Writing this was cathartic. I packed a lot of my leftover emotions into a suitcase and I handed it to Colin. And when Colin picked up that suitcase and walked away with it I felt lighter. Ultimately I think that’s one of the reasons to write anything, right?

 

4. How does my writing process work?

It’s messy, actually.

Part of the reason that PALIMPSEST is taking as long as it is is because I have this bad habit of coming up with an idea, not thinking it through, writing like a maniac in my excitement about the story idea and then realizing 150K words later that the book is really about A and not B. Then I revise for half a decade. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

That said I think I’m starting to learn. SARAH was the last long piece I wrote and it started as a novella and then morphed into a novel and the total amount of time actually writing was close to a month and a half which is really fast (for me).

That said, I wasn’t doing any world-building like I did with the other two so that might have helped.

On a more logistical level, I write every day (minus the weekends cause, Hi, I want a life) from 5 am to 7:30 am. Then I take a two hour walk and think about whether I just wasted the morning writing stuff I’m going to delete the next day.

On the good days, the answer is nope.

Okay so now it’s time to pass this along to Patrice Cadwell and Mary Waibel.

 

photo

 

I currently study Political Science and English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Wellesley College and recently won the SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship thanks to one of my manuscripts, ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX (MG Sci-Fi Thriller). I also blog about writing and books for MG, YA, and NA audiences at whimsicallyours.com (which has over 1,200 subscribers). I have been published in various college publications as well as Lambda Literary and DiversifYA.

Mary Waibel Author Photo

 

Mary is the author of THE PRINCESS OF VALENDRIA series- a set of fractured fairytale fantasies.Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, and Different Kind of Knight (releasing winter 2013/14) from MuseItUpPublishing.

 

Looking forward to hearing how their process works!

And thanks again to Robert for the invite!

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

How To Be An American poem at Crisis Chronicle

19 Apr

Hello again.

I know I just wrote that really long post yesterday and I’m back already. What can I say? I love you guys.

Just wanted to post a little thank you to John Burroughs. He runs Crisis Chronicle, a fantastic poetry site you should be reading and was kind enough to accept Americans Are Not On The Whole Well Informed On World Matters.

It’s based on a conversation I had with this wonderful woman

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Notice all the beers.

There’s a reason we’ve nicknamed this day Barracho Domingo.

Man, I miss Spain.

Anyway, thanks again to John, who I was lucky to meet at the last reading I did in Pittsburgh and I can verify he’s one cool dude.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

Things and other things about things…with a video

4 Mar

Palimpsest

Hi all.

First off that blob up there is me being a goofball and creating a word cloud out of Palimpsest, the sci fi book I’m in the final death throes of revising.

Word clouds are cool.

Other things that are cool are poems published by Stephen over at Dead Snakes. It took a long time for Summer Lake, Late Nineties to find a home so I’m glad it happened. You can read all three here.

And in other cool news, I got my first book of poems, entitled The Wanting Bone by Six Gallery Press reviewed. I’m completely flattered by all the nice words that Poetry Hound had to say.

You can read it here.

And in the best news of all, my buddy Oscar Varona got a story published. He and his girlfriend Aida are my two favorite artists/ people/humans that don’t live in the US (damn them!). You should read it especially if you like weirdness and Samuel Beckett and funny. And who doesn’t like that?

And finally, soon I’m going to be here:

images

and here:

cavern-club1

and also here:

Oxford

and maybe back to here:

stratford

where I’ll finally get to see this:

grave

Cause you guys all know what happened in 2009, right?

Want a hint? The moose outside should have told me.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

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