Photo credit: Kristi Hedberg PhotographyHello! I'm a young adult book writer living in Asheville, NC. My debut novel, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, is the first in a Gothic trilogy coming January 29, 2013 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

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Sunday
Aug122012

Website Facelift! Giveaway!

I've decided it's high time to give this website a facelift. Later today, I'll be switching over to the new site. But here's the thing: even though the main website address will remain the same (www.meganshepherd.com), the blog URL will change from www.meganshepherd.com to www.meganshepherd.com/blog.

I'm afraid the change might accidentally bump off blog followers. I would hate for anyone who's been following this blog to just suddenly be staring at a blank space in their blog reader dohickie thing. So, how can I spread the word about the new website and make sure people re-follow the blog?

A giveaway!

I'm giving away an ARC of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, and some very special, tasty swag I had made for the book! To enter, just go to www.meganshepherd.com/blog later today. The giveaway will run until next Sunday, August 19.

Monday
Jul302012

Delicious foreign book sales

J'ai de bonnes nouvelles!

I have good news! THE CAGE trilogy is going to be translated into French! I used to study foreign languages, and I'm rusty on all of them now, but Spanish and French are the ones I can still eek by on. It's cool to think I'll be able to read my own book in a foreign language.

I heard an author once say that to celebrate foreign sales, she and her husband went out to eat at a restaurant of that nationality. Sounds like an excellent tradition to me! My husband and I celebrated THE CAGE being sold to France as, I guess, LA CAGE (really, how convenient for that word to be the same) by going to Asheville's wonderful French restaurant, Bouchon, for all-you-can-eat mussels night.

And for more cool news: THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER trilogy sold in China! I wish I could write some Chinese, but I'll just garble it if I try. This is extra cool because not only will it be in a different language, but also an entirely different alphabet. And since it has also sold in Taiwan, it will be translated into both simple and complex Chinese.

We haven't had time to pick out a good authentic Chinese restaurant, but that's next up on our celebratory meals!

 

Sunday
Jul222012

Contest winners announced

I've been participating in two contests recently, and both just wrapped up. I'm pleased to announce the winner of the YA Books Central cover reveal contest is:

Alicia Marie Ezell!

Alicia, you win an ARC of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, Ellen Oh's PROPHECY, and we might try to sneak a little fun swag in there too.

And the winner of thirteen books given away by the Friday the Thirteeners is:

Katharyn Vela!

Katharyn, from me you are getting a copy of Jodi Lynn Anderson's TIGER LILY, a Peter Pan retelling focusing on Tiger Lily's perspective. I just read it and adored it. I hope you will love it, as well as the twelve other books the Friday the Thirteeners will be sending you. You are one lucky girl.

I try to do give-aways and contests frequently to share the book love. I'll always announce them here, so good luck next time to everyone who didn't win either of these rounds. Also, I just discovered that the Book Depository does free international shipping, which means more international contests coming.

Saturday
Jul212012

Google: an author's best friend

I've been writing three books simultaneously, which has led to some pretty interesting Google searches. This week I jotted down all the weird queries I had to Google as part of researching the various books. As you can tell, lots of my research is verifying historical facts:

  • how to make hydrocholoric acid with table salt
  • the difference between a shilling, crown, and guinea
  • image search for actors from Pretty Little Liars (yes, it's research!)
  • typical time of sunset in London in December
  • policies for corresponding with people in prison
  • when people started using "cab" for "cabriolet"
  • infinity paradoxes/Mobius strip
  • the chimpanzee Lucy, raised to live as a human
  • YouTube videos for how to put on a corset by yourself
  • how to create a homemade bomb from batteries

 So, this has led me to a few different thoughts. First of all, if any Homeland Security people are monitoring my Google searches, I just want it to be known that it's for FICTION.

Secondly, as part of my research I found these awesome websites called My Daguerreotype Boyfriend and Historical Hotties. That's where I found this:

It had the caption "The hottest blind-gentleman-holding-a-kitten daguerreotype you'll see all day" I couldn't agree more.

And this:

The first photo is Photographer Edward Steichen c. 1917; the second is Aidan Quinn in Legends of the Fall. I mean, if this isn't 100% proof that Aidan Quinn is a time traveler, I don't know what more proof you people need.

And my favorite--I found this photo and used it as the basis for the two guy characters in THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER. I want to keep a copy of this photo in my wallet, and any time a reader says "I'm not really into historical fiction" or "ugh, I hate love triangles" I'm going to pull it out and say "Changed your mind? I thought so. You're welcome." 

Thursday
Jul192012

Attitude Makes the Writer

I made an observation on Twitter this week that a lot of people really seemed to graviate to:

"The more I think about it, the more I think writing success comes from the right attitude, not talent."

Because so many people liked this quote, I thought I would take some time to talk about it more in depth. As a soon-to-be-published author, I'm straddling the fence a little. I still feel very connected to the aspiring writer community. I have a lot of friends there, critique partners, casual aquaintences. But on the other hand, I'm meeting this fabulous network of published authors, many of whom I've been long-time fans of, and now I'm becoming friends with. It's one of my favorite parts of this job--the YA community (both published and aspiring) is amazingly fun and smart and supportive. 

As I'm getting to know more published authors, I keep recognizing similar traits popping up again and again. That's what led me to the observation above: all of them are talented, some insanely so, but I think what truly made them successful is their attitude toward writing. Lots of aspiring writers are heart-breakingly talented too. Some are so talented that I just want to grab them and shake them and tell them to get their act together, because the world needs their talent. But they can't manage to actually find time to write an entire book or revise it or submit it. Or they write a story that's good, but they aren't willing to put in the effort to take it to that next level. Or because they are talented and they know it, they just want to dash something out in a burst of inspiration and voila, have a career. They work at it, but not hard. Or not hard enough.

That's the main attitude difference I see. My published writing friends got bit hard by the writing bug, figured out exactly what they wanted, and then kept working like a dog until it happened. This means hours a day instead of hours a month. And if you have the right attitude, you can't help but write that much. Sometimes it's fun; more often it feels like work, but work you simply must do. And do and do and do, for days or months or years, until you're holding that contract in your hands (and then, of course, comes even more work). Sometimes I think author friends of mine (and I feel this way too) barely even stop to take a breath, they are so determined to reach their goal.

And what they want is a career. Not just one published book, not just something to tell people they do at parties, but a lifetime of writing. They work nights and weekends while holding down a day job, working while their kids are napping, working while in line at the bank, working EVERYWHERE. And if they have written a story and submitted it widely, and it hasn't gone anywhere, they assume the problem is with their story, not with the publishing industry. No one likes to abandon a story they've poured heart and soul into, but they aren't afraid to let it go and start something new, because they know the only way to succeed is to keep moving forward.

But here's the thing: all published writers were aspiring at one point. If you're not published yet, it doesn't mean you aren't talented or you don't have the right attitude. Several of my aspiring writer friends are SO talented and have SUCH a great attitude, that I believe for them it's just a matter of time (and timing) until they sell their first book.