Awards and Travel and Querying, Oh My!

It Started With YA…

It’s been an age since I actually updated this blog with anything related to my writing path. The last year has been…a journey. I think from last summer to this summer could be called the year of the pivot. This time last year I had just begun querying a YA Fantasy manuscript I called COBWEBS AND SILVER and prepping to enter it into Pitch Wars.

Long story short, none of that panned out. I made any number of query mistakes. Somehow still garnered a fair number of requests, which lead to rejections. Made a last ditch effort to revise it as Adult Fantasy Romance (because the manuscript had always been on the line), got two more requests and…that’s where everything stalls. I never heard from those last two (at least not yet) and I’ve effectively shelved C&S.

Then Came Love…

Then in November of last year for NaNoWriMo (also known as the only time of year I seem to be able to accomplish things) I drafted a Contemporary Romance. I fell really in love with this story and the characters right away. Saying it felt different seems cliche, but I felt different writing it. I’ve been more of a Romance reader than Fantasy my entire life so writing it felt comfortable and like I could express my voice in a way I hadn’t been.

I revised what I now call RIGHT ON CUE for Camp NaNoWriMo in April (including adding 20k more words or so). Then got beta feedback which was…good. Really good I think. People seemed to respond to the way I was pitching it.

So I took that a bit farther and pitch it to a publisher and got a request for a proposal which turned into a request for a full I’m still working to turn in.

I entered the first chapter and a half into the Cleveland Rocks Romance contest, from the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA, and was totally floored to be announced a  finalist. I don’t even need to win, I’m already completely honored. I wanted to enter every contest I could find and see if my luck would hold up.

Next Comes a Membership…

I joined the Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) sometime early this year when I decided I was getting serious about RIGHT ON CUE and I wanted their learning opportunities. It’s hard to say what my membership fee has gotten me exactly, and I have yet to attend a local chapter meeting like I planned (I work weekends so it’s tough), but it’s doing one thing for me- I’m traveling this year.

This September I’m registered to attend a romance writer’s conference with a chapter in Houston where the amazing author Elizabeth Hoyt will be speaking. Then in October I hope to attend my online Contemporary Romance Writer’s chapter retreat in upstate New York. I’ve never flown alone, and I would be flying, taking a shuttle, and a train, and then a taxi to get there by myself. I’m completely intimidated but super excited for the opportunity. It’s not booked yet but fingers crossed it works out.

Now I’m Back Where I Started…

Just over a year from when I began querying my first manuscript, I’m putting the finishing touches on RIGHT ON CUE, and getting ready to take it into the world. I’m also planning to enter it into Pitch Wars this month.

It feels so much like the same place I was a year ago and yet as a writer I’ve changed completely and my focus is entirely different. I’m made so many friends in the last year who write, I have people I can go to with questions or for feedback, and I feel like I’ll be going into querying with 1000x’s the confidence I had in 2017. I don’t know if that will be the magic formula that gets RIGHT ON CUE onto shelves, but I’m doing what I can.

In the meantime, I’m planning who I would be as a romance writer, already plotting my next romance for NaNoWriMo, and realizing I have no clue what the next year will bring.

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Pitch Wars #BoostMyBio

Hi! I’m Haley Kral!

I’m a children’s librarian at a public library, which means I spend my day reading picture books, doing storytime, helping people use the computers, and any number of random things that come up. People think being a librarian means sitting somewhere very quiet and maybe reading but that is not the case! My job is often noisy and stressful but I love what I do. In a given week I help people apply for jobs, teach STEAM programs to children, give reading suggestions, and clean up messes.

For fun I read, watch TV, go to live shows when I can, eat with friends, do pub trivia, spin yarn or knit, and my boyfriend and I are building a witchy dollhouse.

Me:

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  1. I love Alice in Wonderland and collect tea pots.
  2. I’m currently obsessed with miniatures and just want to troll the internet for tiny things.
  3. I now own 6 spinning wheels.
  4. My house is also occupied by two black cats and one tortie, a large dog, and two guinea pigs.
  5. I grew up on a small farm and I’ve lived in Texas my entire life.
  6. You will never hear me expound about good writing habits. I write in fits and starts.
  7. I met my boyfriend on the internet.
  8. I speak French well but not fluently.
  9. If you’re around me in real life, I swear. A lot.
  10. I love all things witchy.

The Book:

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  1. Titled RIGHT ON CUE
  2. Set in a theater
  3. Plus-sized heroine with confidence
  4. Enemies to lovers romance
  5. Grumpy actor hero with a bad reputation
  6. References to showtunes
  7. Speaks ill of Les Mis (sorry!)
  8. Cast of secondary characters I love with all my heart
  9. Partially inspired by my time as a middle and high school theater kid
  10. Maybe funny? Definitely sexy.

 

#YABkLove Day 1: All Time Favorite

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Okay, this is a hard one. Can you choose your all time favorite YA book? I think I’ve narrowed it down to two, and they share a similar factor. I read them around the same time period and they both have mythical creatures that are basically angels.

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Angelfall by Susan Ee. This book has everything I enjoy: forbidden romance, sass, action, quick pacing, violence, fantasy and a plot that makes you go WHAT??? Although it has a trope many know and at this point often eschew (girl falls for immortal guy) it is so much more than that. Penryn kicks butt and takes names. It was also the first YA book that I ever read that I could have described as gruesome or gritty. Honestly it could give you nightmares at parts. Besides that, Raffe isn’t some mopey immortal who loves Penryn instantly for her astounding beauty (or god forbid, plainness). They bond over survival and the banter between them is funny and charming. She calls him (an angel) just a bird with an attitude. Love love love it!

 

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Taylor should teach master classes on world building. You get a taste of what is to come from her world of Seraphim and Chimera in the first book of the trilogy, so let me tell you it is one of the most immersive fantasy worlds I have ever read. The way the story in Daughter and with it the mystery of Karou’s past unfolds is one of my favorite reading experiences to date. I think I have recommended this book to everyone I know that might even slightly like it. Warning though, the second book in the series will rip your heart out.

Don’t forget to share your all time favorites on Twitter with the hashtag #YABkLove!

 

New Publication – Pyg the Tinker

My short story “Pyg the Tinker” was published by the online literary journal Quantum Fairy Tales. This is my steampunk take on the Greek myth of Pygmalion (not the George Bernard Shaw Pygmalion).

Pyg the Tinker passed his days in his workshop, and his nights in the Spartan bedroom behind it. He chose a life of solitude with only scattered gears and gadgets as companions. He only saw other folks if they came to him when their pocket watch lost a spring or if some other fiddly mechanism needed repair, and he liked it that way.

Late one night, Pyg received a surprise visit from a gentleman sporting a leather top hat and an overcoat with tails. The man did not knock on the gnarled wood of Pyg’s door, but swept in with a loud tap of his walking stick upon the hearth. He commissioned Pyg to build an automaton in the form of a woman.

Read the rest here…

To Marry a Scottish Laird

My most recent review is up at All About Romance (although I’m late in posting this blog).

To Marry A Scottish Laird by Lynsay Sands

This book wins the award for the longest I have ever attempted to avoid having to read a review book. For roughly half a year I have been trying to put off forcing myself to finish reading To Marry a Scottish Laird. There was just nothing about it that called out to me to read it.”

Read the rest here…

Small Incentives

I had the fantastic opportunity to spend this weekend at the RT Convention here in Dallas. RT is hosted by the magazine of the same name (formerly Romantic Times) and brings together writers, readers, and reviewers of the romance community. I won’t go into the full details here, as I am putting together a blog for AAR on the subject, but I wanted to mention something I noticed about myself this weekend:

I love small incentives.

While I was in my first session on Friday, I noticed that some people’s badge had a nifty green ribbon that declares them to be a “Published Author.” And I thought…I want that. Yeah, I want to publish a book because it is a dream of mine, but my mind instantly transfixed on the notion that, next time I’m at RT, I want to have one of those ribbons.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been driven by something like this. For example, in high school I was determined to graduate in the top 10% and as part of the National Honor Society because I would get to wear the cords and a stole. I also graduated Distinguished which meant I got to wear a black robe instead of red. I had other reasons for wanting to be top 10% (in Texas it ensures you automatic acceptance to any state university), but there was no reason to join NHS. Supposedly it looks good on college applications, but I wasn’t even worried about that (see the automatic acceptance thing). I wasn’t even a real NHS member. I never even attended a meeting. I joined the January before graduation, paid my dues, and got my stole. I never did anything else with the organization. But I really wanted that little white stole over my robe.

I graduated with latin honors from college as well and got to wear cords again. In graduate school, I didn’t have any special accoutrements because there weren’t any. Although at graduation another lady was wearing cords from Golden Key. I immediately kicked myself for not joining Golden Key the million times I was invited, even though I’m pretty sure it’s a scam to get your outrageous dues fee.

Just yesterday I was lured by another small incentive. I join the site 750 Words to get myself in the habit of daily writing outside NaNoWriMo. Yesterday when I got home from the day at the conference, dinner, and a movie, I really didn’t feel like writing. I just wanted to read a bit and go to sleep. But I realize that Friday was my 3rd day on 750 words and writing would ensure me the Turkey Badge.

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I wrote.

Its odd how such a small incentive is so tempting to me. I’m hoping the badges will help me keep writing my words each day.

And I hope the lure of that green ribbon will be enough reason to light a fire under me on finishing my manuscript.

Reviews in the Wild: Sleigh Bells in the Snow

Since I shared my review of All I Want Is You that ended up on the Seattle Public Library page, I thought I would share my most exciting Review in the Wild so far. I got blurbed in a book! Sadly, it doesn’t have my name, just All About Romance, but I know it was mine. My review of Sleigh Bells in the Snow was blurbed in Sarah Morgan’s next book, Suddenly Last Summer.

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