Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Words

So anyone who stopped in yesterday afternoon has heard... I made the Amazon Semi-finals and everything else has vacated my brain. This is the only topic I am capable of speaking to.


What IS Semi-finals?

Well, the first round judged on the pitch (300 word summary and sell) [2000,0f 10,000 passed on]
The Quarter-finals were based on the Excerpt (first 3000-5000 words) [500 of 2000 passed]

Semi-finals are based on THE WHOLE FREAKING KAHUNA. That's right. Somebody –a Publisher's Weekly PROFESSIONAL--read my darned book. Anonymously without the nagging 'but I LIKE Hart—she makes me MISBEHAVE' nagging at them. This stranger READ and made JUDGMENT on my book... and passed me on.

100 of 500 pass on, 50 each in young adult and general fiction. From the original 10,000, there are 100. That is 1% and I feel TOTALLY humbled. There were some great sounding stories that didn't pass. Some of the reviews I've seen look harsh.

Now you will see, this is not all goodness and light... this book is not done (as I've been saying) but I am GIDDY at what (s)he liked about it...


ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer
An engaging ghost story with an unusual setting keeps the pages turning in this manuscript. Helen is a ghost who has spent 60 years as her 15-year-old self. Her suicide lead to the closing of the mental hospital located in eastern Washington State. The hospital building is now being renovated, and turned into a school to help juvenile offenders rehabilitate. As students and staff arrive, Helen is surprised to discover that some of them -- a teacher named Allan and students Daniel, Mickey, and Serena -- can see her. Allan thinks having a ghost observing the students could be helpful. Helen isn't so sure. A vicious attack makes Helen realize that the staff have failed the students. As Serena falls into deeper danger, Helen will do everything she can to protect her only friend. This dense novel has much to like; the well-worn ghost concept is modernized through the juvenile rehabilitation school setting and a subplot involving illegal medical testing on the students. Characters like Helen, Serena, and Allan are well-drawn, although the villains like Beck and Harper are rather cookie-cutter. Frequent run-on sentences create confusion and unnecessary tangents slow down the otherwise excellent pacing. Chapters from Allan's perspective in particular spell out the action a little too much, and Helen's unresolved fate makes the story feel unfinished. These flaws aside, this author has a very good grasp on how to create a well-paced story, and the originality of the plot and the interesting characters keeps the reader engaged until the end.

Let me just say—this reviewer is exactly right... My earlier drafts DO have run on sentences, and I DO have trouble rounding out my villains! (though there is no evidence i know how to eradicate tangents) It is nice to have some constructive direction to work. And I will work it...


I sent my AGENT the world's least traditional query last night, too... I explained this dilemma... not being DONE, but being far enough I don't want to be unrepresented on the off chance I go farther. I'm sure there are perfectly done works more likely to win... but I was sure there were more done works that would beat me THIS round too...

Besides, agent and I needed to have 'the chat'--does she even LIKE YA that is this edgy? Some YA reps want sweet love stories... some want cool fantasy. I write the lousy CRAP life includes if you have too large a dose of reality. I don't have the imagination for fantasy or the patience for sweet ( poo on sweet, I say--POO!). I have a master's degree in psychology and like to watch TV shows like Breaking Bad, where good people are pushed into bad stuff by circumstances. I like my characters thoroughly damaged... it's just the way I roll... So I just thought it was time to have 'the talk' so I know if I should hold out hope, or whether I should plan on querying when this is cleaned.


And... Because I am entered in Round of Words in 80 Days: My UPDATE:

I am not DONE with my line edits of my Garden Cozy, but will be by Saturday, which was my deadline (win!)
My progress on Garden Cozy #2 has been SLOW, but once May rolls around, I plan to treat it like a WriMo until it is done... so it will be done...
AND the query letter to agent was on my list.

So I am good on my goals! YAY!

And finally, I got some serious blog love yesterday. I was FEATURED by a new reader and she was so NICE to me!!! So go check out San's Informed Sharing!


If you want to read, I am entry #19

Happy Hing Day, Friends!

46 comments:

mooderino said...

This is such great news, Hart. Hope you go all the way!

best,
Mood
Moody Writing

Niki said...

Oh wow Tart. You must be so proud. How marvelous. Besty luck for you kiddo!! XX

Trisha said...

This is all so exciting, I can't wait to see what happens with ABNA! :D

sue said...

Congratulations, wow, that's so exciting - and pooh to cutesy. Yours sounds interesting!

Enid Wilson said...

Congratulations! It's exciting and nervous time. You can make it.

Fire and Cross

Cold As Heaven said...

That's great! Congratulations with the semifinals >:)

Cold As Heaven

Cruella Collett said...

Happy Hing Day! I think I had a dream about you last night, and it involved lots of champagne and that island we've been planning to fill with cabana boys (paid by sugar daddies, naturally). It must be a good sign!

I think you've gone about this writing/publishing thing exactly the right way all along, Tami - being YOURSELF and using YOUR strengths (which include bucket loads of hard work and determination), and I am THRILLED to see it paying off like this. You are one of the top hundred, and from the review that sounded VERY positive to me (especially since you already knew the few weaknesses pointed out), I'm thinking I'd place my money on you making it to the next round as well (you know, if I had any money...).

CONGRATS again, and WEEEEEEEEEE! *pops another bottle of champagne*

Ted Cross said...

I'm so glad that you are one of the few who made it!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations!! So exciting---and that's a great review. Too funny about 'the talk!' Hope that goes well. Let us know how it all works out....can't wait to hear. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you, so much everyone!

Mari-I think I couldn't maintain it if I tried to do some other angle, so it isn't so much smart as all that is possible... but Thank you!

Elizabeth-I will keep you in the loop!

Jessica Bell said...

Wow. That's a REALLY encouraging review! God going Hart! BTW, this story sounds exactly like Lucky Press' cup of tea. Just sayin' ;o)

Al said...

Wow!

Well done!

Go girl!

Old Kitty said...

OH WOW!!!!!!!!!!! OH NAKED TART!!!!!! OH WOW!!!! I;M TOO EXCITED TO UNLOCK MY CAPS KEY BUT WHO CARES!! YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAYAYAYYAYAYAYYAYAY!!! AM NOW ABOUT TO RUN OUTSIDE WHILST STRIPPING NAKED!! WHY NOT!!! NAKEDNESS MUST BE CELEBRATED!!

hugs! x

Megan Bostic said...

I was so happy to see your name among those moving forward. Good luck to you!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

yay! Go you! I didn't realize it was such a small percentage of people that made the cut. That is AWESOME!

Cherie Reich said...

Oh, wow! So awesome! Congratulations and good luck!

Deb and Barbara said...

The best part about this review is that it's the easy stuff you might need to fix up. Run-on sentences, a few loose ends? Pshaw! So proud of you!!!! Congrats and fingers crossed for more more more!
B

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

great news.. congrats.. don't know how you have time to blog... I really want to get my hands on something you have written.. soon...

Katie Mills said...

wow, what an accomplishement and that IS a very well balanced review! You should def feel very proud and my fingers are crossed for you!

Summer Ross said...

Truly wonderful news Hart! Throws fairy dust for sparkling fireworks. Thats a great review too!

Helena said...

Good for you and damaged characters. There's a reason why The Hunger Games is a huge YA bestseller -- its characters are anything but sweet and lite.
You so deserve to be in the top 1%, you hot thing you.

Laura Josephsen said...

Congratulations, that is FANTASTIC all around!!!

M.J. Fifield said...

Congratulations!! That's fantastic news!

Rachel Morgan said...

YAYAYAYAYAY!!
What fabulously exciting news!

Cheeseboy said...

I think that is so awesome. And definitely well deserved. You should ride this bad boy as far as it will take you. I know I would.

Hart Johnson said...

Awww--thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate all the congrats!

*giggles at Jessica* I will have to keep that in mind...

Helena--totally with you on Hunger Games--and that was a psychology intensive series too--I loved those books!

*hugs all around*

GigglesandGuns said...

Congratulations!
The review seemed very helpful and appears to have left you intact.
Best of everything!

Jan Morrison said...

Oh Tami - I'm beyond thrilled for you. This is the most amazingly wonderful news. If I had your phone number I'd call you and we could scream together. Holy shit - think I'll have a drink - no it is too early...but later I will.
Lovey - you can't be anyone but yourself and you are the best you there is!
Jan Morrison

Holly Ruggiero said...

Again congrats! As you know I read and loved your excerpt.

Hannah Kincade said...

That's awesome!! Great news, congratulations!

Beverly Diehl said...

Woo-hoo, that's wonderful. And a review like that - all the stuff she mentions, are easy fixes.

Wonderful, cheering for you to go all the way!

Clarissa Draper said...

COngrats!

Marjorie said...

Once again a Burrower (Miss Cruella) says things that I mean to say but much better than any way I could have put it. Tami, you are an amazing writer and I knew it from the moment I began to read The Other Prince. I'm so very happy that you have been acknowledged in this way. I will keep my fingers crossed for you to get to the next round.

Johanna Garth said...

I already said congratulations but I'll say it again because if it were me I would never be tired of hearing it! Congrats!! Congrats!! Congrats!!

Btw, after reading your post yesterday I signed on to comment on another blog and was given the word MENTA, which is clearly the gum they chew in mental institutions. So thanks, umm I think, for giving me a new way to read all those ridiculous not-words.

San said...

YAYAYAYAYYAYAYAY for you, Hart. You deserve every good thing. Keep us posted :)

Helen Ginger said...

What a great day. I love all the fabulous news. Congratulations!!

Carol Kilgore said...

YAY! CONGRATULATIONS! WHOOPEE! YOU GO, GIRLFRIEND!
Yeah, I shouted. Stupendous news!
You rock :)

Hart Johnson said...

I'm grinning and blushing and blushing and grinning. I love all you guys for making me feel so good! I am woefully behind in getting back around to everyone--bloody grant season... but I really do appreciate everyone stopping in!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

big congrats to you! and wow, your review was long!

Julie said...

Wow, that's a wonderful review!! It must be so thrilling for you to read that. Congratulations!!!!

upinthecosmos said...

Congrats! I hope I'm as lucky with my bulkanizing!! Thanks for stopping by my blog:-)

vbtremper said...

I skip reading blogs for a day and look what I missed. Holy freaking cow! Congratulations! A great review plus constructive criticism - I'm completely stoked for you! Good luck on the next round!

-Vicki

LTM said...

you are a freakin rockstar, TH. That agent would be nuts not to take you on at this point, and wow. So those Pub Weekly guys sure know how to hit your weak spots, yes? BUT! That's why God created editors. To pull us through.

This is so going to happen... I'm just totally psyched for you!!! :o) (((biggest hugs)))

Deana said...

How cool are you! Congrats:)

Bob Sanchez said...

Wow! I'm in awe, Hart. Good for you.

GhostFolk.com said...

I just read your ABNA review and, baby oh baby, this sounds just like an editorial letter to me.... the kind you get once a publisher has paid for your book and contracted you to keep someone else from getting it. No shit, it's that close. You're golden.