Tag Archive | life

Looking for a literary agent?

Good news, everybody! As of tomorrow, I no longer have to worry about pre-term labor. So, for the next three weeks, I’ll try to be back to a regular routine. Then, starting the week of December 17th, I’ll be interviewing a literary agent each week, for at least the following 8 weeks! So if you’re looking for an agent, make sure you stay tuned! Maybe they are looking for your book!

Also, I was wondering if anyone would be interested in my re-running my series of articles on writing queries and synopses, selecting agents to query, how to query those agents, and how to respond to manuscript requests. I’d even post a copy of my own personal query letter that landed me my agent, Michele Rubin of Writers House. What do you think? Anyone interested? Let me know!

End of pregnancy exhaustion…

Well, folks, we’re nearing the end of the road now. 4 weeks and 6 days until the scheduled C-section and I’m so tired my hair hurts. Honestly.  ‘Course, it doesn’t help that my toddler is battling some sort of infection. We’ve been to the doctor multiple times and are now on our third medication. I’ve been having serious fears that I’m going to be able to handle baby number two. I keep reassuring myself that people have had more than one child for centuries. Oddly, that doesn’t seem to make me feel much better…

In other news, I’m still waiting to hear back about my book that’s on sub. Hurricane Sandy fried a bunch of the publisher’s servers, so we had to resend my manuscript last week. Of course that means the waiting period had to be restarted as well. Maybe it’s for the best.  I’m certainly in no shape to do revisions right at the moment.


Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve been having some problems with my pregnancy. Because of this, the limit the amount of time I can spend at the computer has been restricted. I’m hoping to get my interview with literary agent Michele Rubin typed up over the weekend and posted next week, though.  Have a nice weekend everyone.

My manuscript is out on submission!

Before I get to today’s post, I wanted to let you know that my agent,  Michele Rubin of Writers House, has agreed to be interviewed for my blog. I think we will be doing it in the next week or two, so get ready for some secrets from an industry insider! I also have a few other agents who have shown interest in being interviewed, so stay tuned! Now, on to today’s post!

I can’t believe I’ve finally reached this moment! My book is officially out on sub! Sure, I’m so nervous I have heartburn (although that could also be the baby!), but I also have to just savor this moment. It’s been a long road and I can’t believe I’m finally here!

I know it’s going to be a long wait. Michele says it’s next to impossible to hear back before two weeks and it will probably be more like 4-8. Apparently, if they read it and decide they want it, it then has to be run past and okay-ed by many more people in-house.

Looking back, it really has been a long and bumpy road. For those of you interested in the statistics of how I got here, here is the timeline of this writer!

2001- First attempt at a novel, which I don’t finish  Three more unfinished attempts follow.

2007- Start writing what will be my first finished novel.

2008- Submit first novel to Harlequin and receive a a long, detailed  personalized rejection. Also, get married!

2009- Finish rough draft of Drive Back the Darkness. Find out I’m pregnant!

2010- Revise Drive Back the Darkness and have baby. (For the record, having a baby slows everything WAY down!)

Spring of 2011- Start submitting Drive Back the Darkness.  Receive LOTS of rejections and some requests. Continue revising and re-submitting.

November of 2011- Participate in NaNoWriMo and write rough draft of Below the Surface, my contemporary YA.

Rest of 2011- Revise Below the Surface.

Jan of 2012- Start submitting Below the Surface to agents. Immediately start to get requests, which surprises me.

June of 2012- I receive a  long detailed letter from two separate agents asking for revisions. I revise and continue to send out to agents, and continue to receive requests. I receive an offer of publication from a small press for Drive Back the Darkness, which I take.

July 2012- I receive my first offer from an agent for Below the Surface. I notify other agents and receive more offers.  On July 20th, I sign with Michele Rubin.

September- I receive revision requests from Michele.  Drive back the Darkness is published on Sept. 14th.

October- I finish the revisions.  Michele loves them (Yay!). On October 18th, Below the Surface goes out to 6 big publishers! Now, the waiting can begin!

Interview with Aimee Duffy, author of “The Monster of Fame,” plus a bonus excerpt from her novel!

Today we have with us romance author Aimee Duffy. Her first novel, a fun, sexy romance entitled The Monster of Fame, just released on the 14th of October. Please welcome Aimee Duffy!

Me: What made you realize you wanted to be a writer? And what made you choose the romance genre?

Aimee: I can’t remember when I first had the urge to write. It feels like an itch that’s been there forever. It wasn’t until I was reading Surf, Sea & a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice that I thought I want to be able to write something as hot as this. So, I searched Harlequin’s site, had a read over the writer’s guidelines and wrote my first story. It was awful and will never ever see the light of day, but I was bit by the writing bug and I haven’t looked back since.

I’d also like to write YA too, but I have so many characters bouncing around in my head demanding their own HEA the YA stuff has to go on the back burner.

Me: What is your writing schedule like?

Aimee: Hectic, manic, at times non-existent (like this month). Usually I try for at least one thousand words a day, but life doesn’t always make that possible.

Me: How did you come up with the concept of your book?

Aimee: I’m a reality television show fanatic. Last year while watching the XFactor I thought to myself, what if one of the judges were having a relationship with a contestant, then bang, I had my NaNoWriMo project 🙂 I’ve tweaked the show, created new characters and given it a different spin, but the show gave me the idea for The Monster of Fame.

Me: Can you share with us what your road to publication was like?

Aimee: Stressful. I’m not the most patient person in the world, and when I hit send on a submission I usually stalk my inbox for days and days even though I know nothing’s going to be there. Thankfully Beachwalk Press are FAST and it didn’t take me long to decide that’s where I’d fit. I’m glad I found them 🙂

Me: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Aimee: I’d say keep at it, never give up. Find yourself a fabulous CP because they are worth their weight in gold (thank you again Amy!). Join writing communities, take courses, do what you can to make yourself better every day. The only difference between an unpublished author and a published author is that the published author never gave up.

ME: Awww! Thanks for the compliment, Aimee! You’ve made no secret of your shoe addiction! Can you describe your absolute favorite pair that you own? How about the dream pair that you want to own?

Aimee: Yes! I have a pair of thigh high boots I bought from RiverIsland when I was sixteen. I love them far too much to ever wear them (even though they cost a fortune!). They come up just past the knee, with cool chains and spiked studs (I was going through a punk phase!).

There are so many I’d LOVE to own. But if I had to pick, any made by Jimmy Choo would do me 🙂

Thanks for being here, Aimee! And to all my readers, if you love a fun, fast-paced, steamy romance, You should definitely pick up a copy of The Monster of Fame.

You can get a copy of The Monster of Fame from Amazon here.

And you can visit Aimee at her blog here.

And now, a special excerpt from The Monster of Fame by Aimee Duffy!

“I have to say, I agree with Safri,” Sander Chase said, breaking Anna out of her reverie. Still, the sorrow of Miles’s rejection almost swallowed her whole. “You’re through to the next round, Annabelle. Congratulations.”

Again, Anna forced herself to smile even though she felt like crying. This was what she wanted, right? Just the majority vote. It was enough, yet it didn’t feel like enough. She glanced at Miles again who was now pinching the bridge of his nose between a long forefinger and thumb, his eyes shut tight.

What she really wanted was his approval. The other two were talented recording artists, sure. But it was his opinion that mattered most. His company represented every ounce of talent in the UK and he didn’t think she had what it would take to be one of them. Was he right?

“Thank you,” Anna choked past the rising lump in her throat. Tremors continued to rake through her, and she used every ounce of strength she had to hold back the tears burning her eyes. Safri and Sander smiled encouragement, and she turned to leave the room. She felt unsteady on the cheap high heels she’d borrowed from her mum. She draped her arms beside her hips to try and steady herself.

Just as she made the exit and put her hand out to reach for the door a warm set of fingers wrapped around her wrist. Jolts of heat snaked through her arm. The spicy smell of aftershave made her stomach quiver.

Startled, she turned her head, tilting her chin slightly to look into Miles’s eyes. His pupils were fully dilated in the dim light and a tingle of heat skittered down her spine.

“I’m sorry for hurting your feelings,” Miles whispered huskily. The sound made her shiver. “I just don’t think you have what it takes. Wouldn’t it be better to walk away now than have your dreams blown to pieces later?”

The strange shaky feeling blossoming in her stomach froze in its tracks at his words. With her eyes narrowing in anger—both at his assumption and her body’s infuriating reaction—she frowned at him.

“I’ll deal with it if it happens,” Anna ground out through clenched teeth.

He dropped her wrist like her words burned him. After staring her down for a moment, he turned and strode back to the judging table. She pushed the doors wide and kept a death grip on her irritation with Miles, terrified that if she let it go she would burst into tears.

“Well? How’d it go?” Jess asked, jumping up from a seat to greet her.

“I got through.”

“Anna, that’s fab!” Jess threw her arms around Anna, and she felt some of her despair leak out to be replaced with a shred of Jess’s joy.

It was fab. It was exactly what she needed. Why couldn’t she just be happy about it?

Bleedin’ green-eyed know-it-all! Anna would show him she had what it takes…

Please take the time to help a fellow writer!

Hey, everybody. Today I’m asking you a favor. My friend, Aimee Duffy, has entered Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest. It’s been a life-long dream of hers to write for Harlequin. I know that both she, and I, would be very grateful if you took a moment to pop over to  her entry and read/vote for it. Here is is:


She also is releasing her first romance novel through Beechwalk Press next week. I’m sure she could use some support. Here’s the link to her blog: http://www.aimeeduffy.co.uk/

Tomorrow, we’ll be having a guest post from published author, Brinda Berry, with step by step instructions for making a book trailer! So stay tuned!

The next step on the road to publication.

First of all, we didn’t get four inches of snow, but we did get some! Check it out!

Now, on to today’s post!

I know many of my regular readers have been walking with me along the road to publication. Now it’s time to move on to the next step: submission! (Yikes!)

So far, I wrote my manuscript, rewrote it multiple times, and then I queried agents. In August, I signed with Michele Rubin, of Writers House. Then I worked with her to do another, massive revision. Yesterday  I talked to her on the phone, and she loved it! She said she thinks the book is ready to go out!

So what happens next? I will, of course keep you all updated! Here is our plan for now:

1. We will start sending the book out the week after next, not this coming week, because of the Frankfurt Book Fair. If you want to check the fair out, you can find more info here. A lot of editors and publishers are there, so were going to wait for them to get back in the office.

2. While we wait, I have to write an author bio, assemble a few comparable titles, and write a page and a half, pithy description of my book, for Michele’s eyes only.

3. Then, the week after next, we will start sending it out. Michele plans to start with six big publishers. She expects that it will take anywhere from a week or two to several months to hear back from them. during that time I will… wait. 🙂

4. Well, not just wait. We’re going to be talking over ideas for my next book, but I’mm not sure how far I’m going to get on it before the baby comes. We have a C-section scheduled for the 18th of December. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes early though.

So that’s the plan! I also plan to go to the store and buy about 5 bottles of Tums! I can’t imagine anything more nerve-wracking then waiting to hear back from all these big publishers. It seems much worse than waiting for agents. Does anybody have any advice for getting through the next couple of weeks? I sure could use it!

Finding joy in life.

My husband and I are the same in many areas; we have many of the same beliefs, hobbies, etc. But there is one area where we are vastly different. He is a pessimist and I am an optimist.

I actually think this is a good thing. He helps keep me grounded and I help him to find the joy in life. It’s a good balance.

This year has been a difficult year. We’ve had a lot of very good things happen to us, but it’s also been very stressful. And we both know it’s only going to get harder before it gets better; as our second son will be coming at the start of December.

This weekend, we took a drive to look at the fall leaves. My husband was thinking about his new job, which he’s had since september. It pays great, but he works a ten-hour day, with a one hour commute in the morning and again in the evening. On top of that, he sometimes has to work overtime. To add in another difficulty, we live in an area where we usually get over 200 inches of snow in a season.They’re predicting snow already for Friday and saturday. I know he’s worried about managing the job and drive while also having a newborn at home.

He turned to me while we were driving down a quiet country road and said, “Life is just plugging away day after day, isn’t it?”

I thought for a minute and said, “Sometimes. But I saw you laughing at our son this morning when he was running around the house pretending to be  a Tyrannosaurus Rex. You weren’t plugging away then, were you?”

I was just trying to make him feel better, but I thought more about it when I got home. Yes, life is about plugging away. But it’s also about looking at beautiful fall leaves, laughing at the funny things your kids do, enjoying a good tv show, book, or movie, going for a long walk outside, and getting excited about the first snowfall. Making sure you notice and enjoy the small things in life is what makes your life a joyful one. Sometimes, you  might have to force yourself to do it, but it will always make you happier.

As a perpetual optimist, that’s my key to a happy life. Enjoy!

I’m a published author!

Yup, that’s right! My young adult fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness, is finally out! You can find it on Amazon here.  You can find it on Barnes and Noble here.

There’s also an interview with me up here. Feel free to check it out!

If you want to win a copy of Drive Back the Darkness, there is still time! I’ve decided to extend the contest until next Thursday, the 21st.  If you’d like to win a digital copy of my book for you kindle or E-reader, please use the “contact me” form to send me your name and email address, along with a message that says something like “contest entry”. If you don’t want to use the form, you can also email me at theliterarymom @ gmail.com (remove the spaces!). Just make sure you put contest entry in the subject line, or I might not open it! All entries must be received by September 21st, 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner either Friday the 22nd or Monday the 25th.

Also, If you haven’t friended me on Facebook yet, my name on there is Amy M. Newman, and my icon is the red and orange cover of my book!

It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy road. It still doesn’t seem real. I still have so much work to do marketing this book and working on revisions for the next that it’s hard for me to stop and enjoy the moment! A large part of me feels like I need to just keep pushing forward. I think a big reason for that feeling is due to the fact that I know I have a limited time before my next son arrives and renders me a sleep-deprived zombie!

Anyone have any ideas on ways to celebrate?

Excerpt of my YA novel, Drive Back the Darkness, and a publishing crisis!

Well, everybody, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you get to read an excerpt of my novel! The bad news is there was some unforseen problems with my manuscript on the publishing end that resulted in a huge amount of work for me. In short, I have about 7 hours of work to do before tomorrow morning and I can’t find a babysitter anywhere… Any one want to help me out? 🙂

Anyway, long story short, if I can’t manage to pull this off, my book won’t be published Friday. I had a good cry to get rid of my stress and frustration and now I’m off to work. Enjoy the excerpt and stay tuned. I’ll let you know if I pulled it off early tomorrow morning!

Excerpt from Drive Back the Darkness:



Two weeks ago


Something was wrong. The tingle at the base of Ellie’s spine told her so, long before she heard the sound of footsteps on the cement behind her. The bright fall sunshine crackled with danger. Something was very, very wrong.

Ellie’s hands began to shake. She wrapped them around the straps of her backpack and walked a little faster. Her home was only a few blocks away. She could make it a few blocks, couldn’t she?

There. Another footstep. Whoever was behind her had sped up too. Ellie took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. The woman behind Ellie smiled. Ellie’s arms went limp, and her backpack thudded to the sidewalk. For a brief second, her blood froze in her veins. Then, she ran.

The air around her seemed to thicken, holding her back. She pushed through it, desperate to get away from the monster behind her. She ran as fast as she could, blind to everything around her. If Ellie didn’t get away, she knew she was dead. She could hear the woman running behind her, the light footfalls on the cement, the rustle of her black leather coat. The woman was toying with her, like a cat with a mouse.

There. There was her house. Her heart thudded fast and thick, struggling against waves of hot, sticky panic. Ellie’s legs trembled underneath her, and her stomach pitched. She had to make it. She put on one last burst of speed, jumped the three porch steps, and hammered on the door.

Ellie’s mom pulled open the door. “Goodness, Ellie! Did you lose your key?” 

Ellie pushed her inside, kicked the door shut, and turned the dead bolt. She stared at the woman on the other side of the glass. She was still smiling. And every one of her teeth was as sharp and pointed as a dagger.


Chapter One


Today was like every other day of Ellie’s life except for two things: one, it was her sixteenth birthday, and two, she was being stalked. Ellie gnawed on a thumbnail, the sharp, rusty flavor of blood filling her mouth. She had never been a nail biter, but she was now. It seemed to help the constant panic fluttering in her chest. She glanced at the window, a shiver snaking down her back. She knew the woman was out there, waiting.

“Eleanora Lyons.” Mr. Smith, Ellie’s history teacher, called her name. Ellie slid out of her desk, her too-pale legs flashing like sticks of chalk under her swirly skirt, a fact that would have bothered her two weeks ago. Now, it no longer seemed important. She took her test from him, not even bothering to cover the big red A+ with her fingers, like she would have before.

“Freak,” Chris, the quarterback of the football team, fake coughed the words.

Ellie sighed and then glanced at his paper, which had a D inked across the top.

She sat down in her seat, almost too tired to deal with him. Almost. “At least I’m a freak that can manage to remember basic facts.”

Chris frowned and flexed his big, beefy fingers. “Watch yourself, nerd-girl. You don’t want to tick me off.”

Ellie ignored him. She used to wonder why they picked on her, running all the possible reasons through her mind. Maybe it was because she ruined the grade curve, or maybe it was because her skin was so pale you could see her veins through it, when the other girls were all shades of gold. Maybe it was because she had a monster following her like a puppy dog. Somehow, Ellie couldn’t bring herself to care anymore.

The bell shrilled through the room. She shot to her feet and then crashed to the floor, courtesy of the backpack strap that had wound itself around her leg. Apparently, panic made her a bit of a klutz. Laughter echoed behind her as she stumbled to her locker, stuffed a bunch of books into her bag, and then sprinted down the hall. She had to make it outside while there was still a crowd of kids milling around.

The sunshine dazzled her eyes, and she blinked frantically, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She didn’t see the woman, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t there.

As she started the jog toward home, dead, dry leaves rustled under her feet sounding like creepy voices whispering at her.

“Come on, Ellie, get a grip,” she muttered. She took a deep breath, crouched down, and pretended to check the strap on her sandal. She glanced behind her. The woman let Ellie see her for just a second, before disappearing. A shiver prickled her skin, and she began to run.