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Friday, June 13, 2014

New Website

Hey everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I won't be blogging over here anymore - I have a shiny new website!

melissa-hurst.com

I really hope you can drop by sometime! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's Up Wednesday



What's up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, geared to help readers and writers touch base and let them know what's up. If you want to join in, you can find the link widget on Jamie or Erin's blog!

WHAT I'M READING

The end of the school year is always super busy for me. My middle daughter has been keeping me busy with softball games, and the schools like to cram field trips and class parties and award ceremonies into the same month. So I haven't been reading as much as I like. The last book I read (sadly a few weeks ago) was CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge. It's a unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast with gorgeous prose and compelling characters that had me flying through the pages to finish. I'm ready to start another book, but I can decide between THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER by Megan Shepherd or THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski. What would you suggest?

WHAT I'M WRITING

It's been a while since I drafted a book, and now I remember why I prefer revising. I got to a little over 10K in my draft and realized I hated everything, which put me into a major writing funk. I've read that sometimes it's not easy writing another book after you get an agent, and for me it's SO TRUE. Right now I'm working on my world building again and modifying my beat sheet. It must be working because this week I finally started feeling excited for this story again. Yay!

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

I'm still feeling excited over my book deal announcement. It's been so surreal being able to tell everybody that my book will be published NEXT YEAR!!!!! It's even on Goodreads if you want to check it out! :D

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Let's see, in between kid activities, I've been beta reading two fantastic manuscripts, and I've been binge watching AGENTS OF SHIELD. I watched the first episode last fall and liked it, then our satellite provider had a ridiculous dispute with the local channel that shows AoS for nearly a month. I forgot about watching the rest of the episodes, but decided to catch up when the new Captain America movie came out. I'm so glad I did! The episodes tie in to the rest of the recent Marvel movies and I LOVE how the characters grew over the course of the season and made me care about them. I'm so ready for the new season this fall!

So what have you been up to lately?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Deal!

Okay, so last year I got to share that my book was going to be published in Brazil, which made me all sorts of happy. Well today I'm thrilled to announce that THE EDGE OF FOREVER will be published by Sky Pony Press in the United States!





Y'all, I sososososo excited that you'll be able to read about Alora and Bridger's adventure next fall, and I hope you will love them as much as I do. I seriously had a blast writing a time travel novel, even though it was also OMGSOHARD at times. My awesome, wonderful, fantastic agent has done a great job of finding the perfect home for my book, and I just love her to pieces for it. And I'm super excited to work with my new editor Kelsie and the team at Sky Pony!




Monday, January 27, 2014

Why YA?

Since a lot of people in my hometown know that I write books now, I've been asked a few times how I started writing for teens. See, I didn't actually start out wanting to write YA. When I think back to all the years I wasted wanting to write, I saw myself writing for adults. I thought it would be romance for a long time, then I thought I'd try science fiction or fantasy since that's been a consistent love of mine. It wasn't until I had my first child and I was checking the catalog for a mail-order children's book club that I discovered Harry Potter. At the time, the fourth book in the series had just been released and it looked, well, really good to me. But I needed to read the first three books in the series first. So I ordered them and inhaled the books over a two week period.

After that I was officially hooked on middle grade literature and read tons of MG books. I thought, Hey, I could do this, especially since the book that made me want to be a writer was A Wrinkle In Time. But then I landed my first teaching job and between teaching all day and being on mom duty in the evenings, I was wiped out. However, I continued to read a lot of books in the meantime, constantly trying to think of something I could write. The problem was that I just couldn't come up with a good idea. Everything I thought of seemed too derivative of what I'd already read.

It wasn't until after I had my second child that I discovered another category: young adult. I'd been hearing a lot of buzz about the Twilight series, and I decided to check it out. And once again, I was hooked. Some of the first YA books that I devoured included A Great and Terrible Beauty, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Fallen, The Dark Divine, Uglies, The Golden Compass, and of course The Hunger Games.

With those books, my very first ideas were born. Sure, it took a few tries to find The Idea, but once I did, I sat down, created an outline, then over the next year wrote my very first book. I ultimately ended up trunking that novel even though I loved it, but I knew it wasn't going to be The One. But that didn't stop me...I wrote another book, revised it several times, then signed with my awesome agent a few months after it was finished. Now I'm not going to say I'll only work on YA books from now on. If I have an idea for a MG or an adult book, I'll certainly roll with it. But for now, YA is what I'll write.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Keep Going

Hello out there! It's been a while since I've checked in with the ol' blog. Nothing new to report here. I'm working on my new book and spending lots of time with my kids. :)

So it's the last day of 2013. I've read a lot of posts over the past few days, people reflecting on this past year, some posting goals of what they hope to accomplish in 2014. I haven't really thought of my goals for the new year yet, but I have spent some time thinking about this year and what's happened in my life. 

On this day one year ago, I was furiously doing a last round of edits based on my mentor's feedback to get my book ready for Pitch Wars. I was thrilled to be chosen! Then the day that the agents made requests came...and I didn't get any. That hurt a lot, especially when I saw a lot of entries getting multiple requests. The usual insecurities popped up, telling me I wasn't good enough and I should have never entered the contest. I could have given up, but I'd worked too hard on THE EDGE OF FOREVER to just quit. So I asked some lovely ladies in my writing group to take a look at my first chapter and give me some more feedback, made some additional changes, then sent off my first round of queries near the end of February. That also included sending the full to an agent who saw my query at Writeoncon back in 2012 and asked to read it once I was finished.

I was terrified and excited. What if I didn't get any more requests? What if that agent hated my book? Biting nails, I settled in for a long wait. I did get a request from the query right away and some rejections, but mostly nothing.

Then a few weeks later, my last surviving grandmother passed away, three days after my birthday. I was devastated. See, my other grandmother had passed away about 18 months earlier, just a few months after I started drafting THE EDGE OF FOREVER. And now I'd lost both of them. Two beautiful, strong women who had a tremendous influence in my life. 

I just felt kind of lost. Like maybe I shouldn't waste my time waiting anymore because life is so short. But then this happened (and I've only told this to family and a few close writing buddies). About three hours after I returned home from the funeral, I got an email from the agent who had the full. She said she was loving my book and wanted the synopsis.

Well, I was a wreck. I was torn between sadness and excitement. I felt guilty for feeling excited. No joke, I was grinning and crying as I hit send on that synopsis. Yeah, talk about being on a roller coaster. But I also knew that both of my grandmothers would have told me to be happy. After all, this was part of my dream that I'd been wanting since I was in middle school!

To make a long story short, I signed with that agent two weeks later (waves at Awesome Agent Suzie), and I haven't looked back since. I even have a fantastic Brazilian book deal! Sure, more waiting has been involved, but I'm okay with it. I've told myself to just keep going. Keep writing my next book. Keep looking forward to the future. Keep living. 

And with that, I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be the year that your dreams come true!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, geared to help readers and writers touch base and let them know what's up. If you want join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's blog!

What I'm Reading


It's been a while since I last posted for WUW. I've read a lot of great books since then, so I'll list those: Fangirl and Eleanor & Park - both by Rainbow Rowell, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight - both by Sarah J. Maas, and finally Faking It - Cora Carmack. All of them were fantastic! I'm itching to read another book, but I'm holding off for a few days so I can outline my next book. 

What I'm Writing

Not actually writing chapters yet. I'd been trying to make my last idea work, and sadly I couldn't get it just right. Hey, it happens. So I pitched another idea to my awesome agent, and she was all for it. Yay! It's going to be a fantasy, which will require a lot of world building. Fun stuff! Fortunately, I can still use my WiP Pinterest board as inspiration. 

What Inspires Me Right Now

All the new TV shows that I've started watching. The Blacklist is amazing. James Spader is perfect in this series as a major league criminal who's turned himself in to authorities and helping them catch other criminals, but only on the condition that he deals with one particular agent. Other new favorites are Sleepy Hollow and American Horror Story: Coven

What Else I've Been Up To

I'm trying to get back in a working groove. A little over two weeks ago, one of my kids got sick and had to miss a whole week of school. Right after that I got sick. :( Then the week after that, school was out for Fall Break, and they didn't go back to school until yesterday. 

And that's it! What have you been up to lately?



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, geared to help readers and writers touch base and let them know what's up. If you want join in, you can find the link widget on Jaime's blog!

What I'm Reading

I'm currently reading ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill. I'm a little over halfway done with it, and y'all I'm really loving it. Books about time travel can be really confusing, but not this one. I'd heard that the two POVs were from the same character (one in the present and one four years in the future). Honestly, I wasn't sure about it. But I actually love that fact. You get to know the character as she is now (shallow, spoiled, and in love with her genius neighbor/best friend), and how she is after things go wrong with the whole world (imprisoned and tortured by the same boy, who invented a time machine). The future version escapes and travels back in time to murder said boy before he can invent the time machine. Yeah, lots of conflict there. I can't wait to see how it all ends!

What I'm Writing

Nothing new to report here. I'm still trying to iron out details of my new WiP. Let me just say that this one is being quite difficult. 

What Inspires Me Right Now

The Walking Dead. Seriously. I've never been a huge fan of zombies, but I absolutely LOVE this show. I finished watching season 3 recently (in about 3 days, no less). And now I'm just waiting for season 4 to start. If you've never watched it before, I promise it's more that just people killing zombies (although there is a lot of that). The characters are incredible and complex. No joke - I bawled during one of the episodes of season 3 because a certain character died. 

What Else I've Been Up To

I'm *attempting* to get back in an exercise routine. Attempting because I've been really inconsistent, but I am trying. :D  I've been walking several miles a few days a week (trying to make it every day). What I really want is to start running, but that's not gonna happen right away. I'm pathetically out of shape! 

And that's all! What have you been up to lately?