Monday, June 23, 2014

Pen Names and How I Became N.K. Traver

From the first day I got serious about writing, I knew I'd be using a pen name. I wanted to separate my personal life from my writing one, and I also thought my married name might be a difficult one to remember or retype since it's spelled differently than it's pronounced.

So began much Googling of cool names and mixing and matching to find the perfect one. I had possibilities like Jordan Gray, Raven Hollow, and even my brother's name, which is short and easy to remember. Except I have two brothers and then I would feel like a terrible person for leaving the other one out.

As with many important decisions, I called my dad to see what he thought. I listed all my creative combinations and said I was leaning most toward Jordan Gray. What did he think?

Flashback: My Grandpa Traver's house, several years before. I'm in college. I do not yet know I want to be an author. I write online a lot, I start and stop books. But I'm going to school for programming because that's what pays and that's what I'm doing with my life. Grandpa is telling me how he wants to write an autobiography. He's telling me how he's started and stopped writing several books. This goes completely over my head, though I do make note that it's cool both Grandpa and I write.
He passes away a year before I get serious about writing. He never finishes the autobiography.

Back to the phone call with Dad on the other end. He says, "Oh, I was looking forward to seeing 'Traver' on the shelf."

And I thought about Grandpa, and that was that.

To avoid a family feud about using one brother's name over the other, I settled on my current initials for the first name. I had some degree of separation from my personal life, and I think it's pretty easy to remember if heard in conversation.

But most importantly, Grandpa, we did it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Writerly Things Update and Whispers of Cover Art

What I've been working on the past few months, and DUPLICITY happenings!

On the writing front:

I'm currently drafting a new teen horror novel unrelated to DUPLICITY. I've just passed the 37,000-word mark, which means it's about 2/3 of the way done. I hope to finish it this month or early next. My agent has already approved the premise and outline, so it's a matter of getting it written. Once the first draft is finished, I'll go back through and polish as best I can, then it will be off to my brilliant critique partners.

On the reading front:

I've finished six books in the last two months - Cracked, Doll Bones, Noggin, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, White Cat, and Unwind. I'm currently reading The Winner's Curse and enjoying it immensely.

On the DUPLICITY front:

I have a cover. OMG I HAVE A COVER. It's striking and unique and awesome and edgy and can I say that it's one of THE coolest things to have an artist read your book and make a picture out of it?? Unfortunately it's not yet final, so I can't share, but you will know as soon as it's ready!

Copy edits will come this month. Copy edits are the kind that fine-tune the book - the content and story is done, and all that's left is for an editor to comb through and make sure the grammar is correct and the sentences are smooth. I will review each change she suggests and apply it. This will also be my last chance to tweak anything, which is rather panic-inducing, to be honest. Dedication and acknowledgements will also be added at this stage. I tear up every time I read them.

I have two new blurbs from two fantastic authors I adore, Kendare Blake and Lindsay Cummings. You can read what they said at the bottom of this page. I'll be over here fangirling.

On the contest front:

I'm participating in a cool little pitch contest called Query Kombat this month as a judge. The first round is over, so I'm looking forward to seeing how my picks do in the agent round. Rounds will continue weekly until only one book is left standing.

I'm also looking forward to mentoring again in Pitch Wars! The past two years, Pitch Wars has taken place Nov-Jan. This year it will be Aug-Nov, so I'm polishing up my mentor bio and looking forward to meeting my next winning teammate ;)

And that's a small snapshot of what's been keeping me busy.
 

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