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Fibromyalgia

So, I've been absent here for a long time. After I finished the Demon Game and began sending it out to agents, I took a break from writing, first for the Christmas season and then to sort out some issues with my main character in my new story.

But besides juggling work,kids and writing as usual, I struggled with fibromyalgia, which I've now had for about a year. It's an illness sort of like arthrites of the muscle tissues, a cluster of symptoms that varies with each person. Mine include chronic pain (mostly in hips, butt, knees, feet, arms and hands), fatigue, a foggy mental state (not good for creativity, that), fuzzy memory, dizziness, tingling and numbness in the extremities, and sleeping issues. Oh, and a rather large weight gain, out of the blue, to top it off nicely.

Fibromyalgia has no known cause or cure, but on the upside, it's not progressive or fatal. So things could be worse. I try to cope and still make writing a priority. As always, writing makes life so much better. Now if only I could keep my butt in that chair...

The End

Finished the first draft of the Demon Game at 67,000 words.

Somehow finishing gets more anticlimactic for every book I write. Maybe it's because I know how unfinished 'finished' really is. I mean, there's revision (although I do quite a bit while I write so most of that is already done too). But then there's revision of the 2nd draft and so on and so on. And IF I get lucky and sell it, then there's more revision to come.

Also, an agent who asked to see the full said it shouldn't be longer than 50-60 K. ? For YA, I think that's a bit short, but if an agent says 'short', you get out the long knife and start slashing, right?

So I have that ahead of me still too.

But yeah, first draft's done, and I'm pretty pleased how it turned out so far. :)

Conference and Car Crash

Had a busy summer. The SCBWI conference in LA was great. If you've been there, you know what I mean, and if you haven't, try to get yourself there in the future. I know it's not cheap, but it is sure worth it.
Highlights too numerous to mention, but Bruce Coville's speech and a junior agent asking to send my full manuscript were among them.

After the conference my sister and her family visited from Europe. We had a good time and nice, hot weather.

Then, a couple of days ago, my husband, my two sons and I were in a major car crash. We were driving down the highway when a pick-up truck cut us off. My hubby drove into the passenger side of the truck and our Ford Escape's front totally crumpled up and both airbags popped. I had been sleeping in the backseat, but sat up when my hubby yelled. Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt (except the Ford Escape, which took the bullet for us. It's totalled, and we only had it for about two months). I took my boys to the hospital to get checked out, but we all came away with only small bruises.

I can't express how grateful I am that nothing happened to my family that day. It still seems unreal.

Two good reviews

Over the weekend, I accidentally came across googled Maiden of the Wolf (book 4 of Hallowmere) and found two really good reviews.

The first one was on Vita Dei, a blob by a teen named Jessica who reviews books, the second one on Flamingnet.com, who gave it 10 out of 10 (Yay!) and made it a top choice book (calling it awesome and intriguing, among other things). Flamingnet is a website that tries to encourage teen reading by having YA books reviewed by young adult readers. 

Nothing makes it all more worthwhile than hearing from real readers. I could cry for joy each time someone says they enjoyed a book I wrote. So these reviews mean a lot to me.

First Reader Review

My first customer review on Amazon.com!!! And it has 5 stars! I'm so thrilled. 

"Angelika Ranger writes the latest Hallowmere novel in the world created by Tiffany Trent. The girls have gone to different fairy raths to retrieve the rathstones. This tale focuses on Ilona, the warrior girl of the group. She journey's to a place controlled by the evil Countess Bathory and her minions of Unhallowed. The action is fast and furious and Ilona gains valuable experience and allies as she races to complete her assignment. The pace and plot of this novel is excellent as is the character development. Readers of the Hallowmere series will be well pleased with Maiden of the Wolf. I look forward to more books by Angelika Ranger and of course, Tiffany Trent."
 

Dreams do come true...

 ...and it looks like I've been dreaming of a big sign all along. 

Today I picked up my sign advertising my book launch event on the 24th and brought it to my bookstore, where I saw my book on the shelf for the first time! By strange coincidence, my hubby was there, too, with his camera, so he took a snap shot (of course it was one of those times I ran out without makeup and a crooked ponytail). Oh well.  The sign turned out beautiful and it somehow made it all real for me, even more so than the actual book--weird. 


Maiden of the Wolf

 Today is the official release date for Maiden of the Wolf, book 4 in tltrent's lovely Hallowmere series. Thanks again slwhitmanand Tiffany! I'm over the moon.

LA SCBWI Conference question

I just registered for the conference--so excited! But unfortunately, the master class for YA authors was already fully booked. I heard it filled up by noon on the first day of registration. Ugh. Next time I'll be smarter. But there are so many other great workshops to attend that it won't matter much, I guess.

I also booked the professional track. It said members could bring one of their books to sell one evening. Does anybody here who'll be at the conference know how to go about with that? Do I have to order books from my publisher and bring them in my suitcase? This is my first time attending a conference as a published author, so I'm a bit unsure. 

My book launch party is going to be on May 24. I'd invite all of you, but I think the chances that you'll be in northern Canada (and if you're thinking Vancouver you're still waaaay too far south) any time soon are pretty slim. I'm gotten over being panicky (for the moment, anyhow) since I figure no one here knows what a book launch party entails so I can make it all up as I go, and today I've ordered a sign and finished the flyers. I hope some people will show up.

1.) I did my workshops today on Fanfiction on the districtwide writers' conference for students grades 4-7. I had a bunch of fun and the kids seemed to  as well . I read a bit of Maiden of the Wolf to one group, and they really enjoyed i!. On my free block, I attended a script writing class and was promptly recruited to do the lead of Mrs. Goop (a grumpy octanarian). But it was a great day with writers, readers, and would-be writers. One little girl told me at the end that I had "insprired" her. I nearly cried. What else can you ask for???

2.) Coming home, a package awaited me. Twelve copies of my first book to be published! Awwww! What else is there to say? Is there a better moment for a writer? I can't imagine it getting any better than this....can't get over myself just yet. Went out with hubby for sushi to celebrate.

3) My handicapped baby rat LInus (get over both handicapped and RAT--he's the sweetest cutest little critter you'll ever meet) is taken care of: the vet gave us some antibiotics( for his joint infection) and if those don't work he'll get an x-ray. I feel he's in good hands, but of course his health might always remain fragile. I hand raised him since he was only one week old, so he's very dear to me. (We can't have dogs or cats because of allergies in my house). 

I'll add pics when I have time tomorrow. On other writing news, I'm back in the saddle with the Demon Game. I made a nerdy schedule with  a daily and weekly word goal--but that's what works for me. I'm trying to write 5,000 words each week until school lets out this summer-- I want to be done the first draft and submit it then. 

Anyway, it was a great day! And better yet, I don't have to work tomorrow!!!

Bookstore reading -- What to expect?

So it looks like the booklaunch party/reading/signing in my mall is really going to happen. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. 

How do you decide which part to read? I was thinking near the beginning, so I won't give too much away. Also HOW LONG should I read for? Taking into consideration the short attention span of teens these days...

Did you practice the reading at home? I get nervous in front of an audience. But I guess it'll get easier in time. :) Right?