Cover Reveal! PIVOT POINT

GUYS. So, I have this friend, Kasie West, who is pretty much the bomb.

No, it’s true. Not only is she incredibly fun, nice, and down to earth, she’s also an absolutely brilliant writer. I was lucky enough to read her debut novel, PIVOT POINT, years ago. Back when she was slogging through the query trenches, hoping and dreaming. I knew PIVOT POINT would take off. It was too amazing not to. And it has!

I’m SO excited for her to finally be able to reveal her cover to the world. Go marvel! Go gaze! Go ooo and ahhh!

And as you do all those things, know this: the actual book is even MORE amazing than that gorgeous cover.

Are you dying for February 12th yet? Have you already made a note of what your husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend/lover/secret admirer is going to get you for Valentines Day? GOOD. Carry on then.



That’s right. It’s Jenn Party time! My amazing friend sold her amazing book INSOMNIA once again! For those of you not keeping track we have Germany, Italy, and now . . .


From PM:

 J.R. Johansson’s INSOMNIA, about a teen boy who thought spending every night trapped in other people’s dreams was bad, but discovers that losing control of his own body and mind is so much worse, to Brian Farrey at Flux, ina two-book deal, for publication in 2013, by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (NA). Foreign: Taryn Fagerness Agency Film: Brandy Rivers at Gersh

BOOM. Let me tell you guys. I’ve read this book. It’s FREAKYAWESOMETACULAR. (Yes, that’s a word.) I can’t wait to buy it, put it on my YA shelf, and have it scare all the other YA books around it.

Go on over and happy dance with Jenn!

btw, if I’m going to have to keep throwing these Jenn Parties to celebrate her various sales, I’m going to need to seriously stock up on Dr. Pepper.

(Oh who am I kidding, my house is stocked with enough Dr. Pepper to survive the apocalypse. But this is beside the point . . .)


Haters gonna . . .

So, did you guys realize the Hunger Games movie came out this weekend? I know, right? Who knew???

*pauses while your sarcasm detection meter explodes*

Seriously now, I think we can all agree that The Hunger Games is probably the “biggest deal” in teen books right now, thanks to the premiere of the movie. I’m amazed to see the range of my friends and acquaintances who are all pumped up about the books and or movie. Can we agree HG is approaching Twilight/Harry Potter status?

And here’s the interesting part. With this huge surge in the awareness on the fabric of pop culture, out have trotted the haters. Haters! Where would we be without them? (Sorry, I’m really doing a number on your sarcasm meter today.)

I’ve formulated a theory over the years. Here’s the scenario.

1-Neat Book comes out.
2-Neat Book is neat, so it gathers fans.
3-Neat Book grows rapidly in popularity. As with any books, there are a few people who aren’t fans, but by and in large, people like or love it.
4-Neat Book gets so huge they decide to make a movie of it.
5-Neat Book is delivered to the proletarian masses.
7-Rabid fans of Neat Book defend to the death. Haters sneer at their pathetic attempts, become even more convinced they’re right.
8-Eventually, when each side is sick enough of each other, the war dies down.
9-Like the final step in the grief cycle, we end with acceptance.

I propose to you that Harry Potter has gone through such a progression. He’s enjoying step 9 now. Twilight as well, though I’d say she’s between step 7 and step 8. And now The Hunger Games. I’m thinking we’re arriving at step 6. I’ve seen a marked up tick in people bashing The Hunger Games in recent months.

All of this makes me think. So here’s the question I pose to you, gentle reader. Does a book’s intense fame create the haters? Or does that fame simply introduce it to a larger swathe of the population, some of which would have hated it regardless? It’s an interesting question to consider.

Sometimes I wonder if people consider fame in the Teen Book market a “zero sum game.” Sociologist Max Weber defines this as a fixation some social groups have that “there is only a limited amount of prestige for its members to share in and only a fixed quantity of attention, authority and material resources that its members can give to each other. Status is a relative value, so for someone to rise in status, another person must fall.”

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that the only reason someone might dislike a popular book is jealousy. Au contraire, mon ami. I’m simply pondering the phenomenon of a huge book gaining a sudden, swift increase in rather vocal haters. To quote the Double Rainbow Guy: What does it mean???

What do you think? A cookie to all who share their wise insights in the comments section.


Writing, Love, and other Scary Things

I know, right? I’m blogging. What’s up with that?

Truth is, as should be obvious by now, ye old blog has taken a far back seat to other social networks in my world. You can find all the Renee you need on Twitter. I promise, I’m WAY more active there. Also, I’m on Facebook. But that said, this blog isn’t going away. It may get a makeover in the coming weeks, but I’ll still keep her around for the occasional post of exciting updates, (hopefully I have some of those,) or random thoughts on my mind, (like the blog post you are about to read.)

So, without further ado, I give you random thoughts . . . *clears throat*

Writing and dating. Oh, the many ways they are similar. (If I were a more diligent and dedicated blogger, I would have links to my favorite posts from other writers on the subject, but alas.)

I’ve done a lot of thinking lately about one particular way the metaphor of writing=dating is applicable to me. To start, let me give you a picture of what I was like when I was younger and single. To quote the cliche: I wore my heart on my sleeve. And I gave that heart away freely. (Definitely too freely, but that’s a whole different post . . .) I’ve always been open with my feelings and opinions, and dating was no different. Once I met a guy I connected with, I plunged in without hesitation. I fell in love many times, and I guess I’m not ashamed of that. Being open to love is a good thing, right?

With writing, strangely, it’s been completely the opposite. For whatever reason, all that open, dive-into-your-feeling mindset went out the window. I was one of those girls in the RomComs who’s “afraid to love.” I built up a wall around my heart, REFUSING to let any book in. I told myself I was being “realistic and business-like” about it all. I wasn’t getting swept away. I was strong, calm, and rational.

Until now.

Guys, I’m scared. I’m scared because I’ve let a book in. Well, technically, I let it in last summer, but this feeling isn’t going away. I’m so very much in love with this book. As I prepare myself to go on sub again, I’m trying to steel up my heart and emotionally detach like I always do, but I can’t do it. I also can’t ward off the lovely dreams that drift into my mind and heart when I’m not paying attention.

At first, it was TERRIFYING. It still is some moments.

But you know? I think it’s time. After the YEARS I’ve put into writing, it’s time I really fought for my dreams. It’s time I believed in myself. It’s time to let myself fall in love. So here I go. Standing on the edge of the cliff. Eyes closed, heart full, diving in head first.

And I don’t regret a thing.


My Scariest Moment, and the Happy Ending

If there’s one thing I think we writers can all agree on, it’s that this business we’re in is no picnic. For the few, fleeting high moments, we face low lows, huge emotional costs, endless hours of drudgery, and even terrifying moments where we come face to face with our fears.

A few months ago, I faced one such moment. I didn’t draw any attention to it on Twitter or my blog, but some of you might have notice that I erased my agent’s name from my profile. To put it briefly, I faced one of those terrifying scenarios that no fresh-faced, dreamy-eyed writer embarking into the Query Trenches ever wants to imagine:

What if I finally land an agent, but then things don’t work out?

I won’t go into the details here, but suffice it to say that my former agent is a lovely, smart, capable person. Anyone would be lucky to have her. And yet, for she and I, things simply didn’t go in the direction I hoped.

The realization that things weren’t working crept up on me slowly. At first, I avoided looking at it. Then, as it grew louder in my mind, I tried the equivalent of plugging my ears and humming Jingle Bells. The people-pleaser in me even tried to insist that my former agent was a perfectly nice person and I would be a total jerk to leave her.

But the truth wouldn’t go away. And that moment, that realization that truly my best option was to part ways with my agent and go back to Square One, was the scariest moment I’ve had so far in my writing career.

I felt sick to my stomach for days. The only thing that kept me going was my belief and love for the new book I’d been writing. That, and the absolutely invaluable support of my wonderful, amazing friends and twin sister. Still, it was a dark, terrifying feeling to be alone again. To be back where I’d started.

And then, I asked myself “So what?” Yes, it sucked to be agentless again. But so what? What was I going to do? Give up? After all the work, over all those years? After the tears and sweat and fighting?

Giving up simply wasn’t an option.

So I finished my novel. I edited my heart out. I crafted yet another query letter. I researched agents. I took a deep breath and started querying again.

And you already know this story has a happy ending. Indeed, it does.

I am beyond thrilled to announce that I have signed with Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media!

I’m grateful that I didn’t ignore that terrifying truth screaming in my head. It would have been easier. It would have been less work. But as I said at the beginning of this post, our business is no picnic. And fighting through the darkness is what we writers do best.


Make your Movie

When we’re drafting, it’s often harder to see how it all is going to play out.

This tip is for


To the Revisions Cave!

You read that right, and you all know what that means. I’m going to be knee deep in revisions for a few weeks, and therefore, not much blogging. (You may be thinking, “But Renee, you NEVER blog.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep your smart aleck comments to yourself.)

If you are wondering about the contest, your entries still count! There will STILL be a winner from my blog. The lovely Kristen has agreed to announce my blog’s winner over at her place at the end of the contest.

Repeat: I will not be announcing the winner from my blog here. See HERE during the first week of October to see if you’ve won.

Good luck to all the entrants! I’m rooting for you. (Yes, YOU, not the others. 😉 ) I wish I could be there, but like I said, I shall be deep in the Revisions Cave.
On a related note: remember when Batman ROCKED? When he wasn’t out to impress people with cheesy, ripped muscles. Or speed. Or . . . being hot. PLEASE. He was Bat-freaking-man. And if you had a problem with that, he’d KABLAMMY your face.

Also, was I the only one to have a childhood crush on The Robin?

Catch you all later!


Are you a Beta Waita?

So, I recently finished the rough draft of my WiP. (YAYYYYYYY!) I spent a few days on that delicious, unmatched high that comes with completing a novel. The joy! The relief! The sense of accomplishment! The promise of possibility!

Ah, if only it lasted. Alas, that rush doesn’t hold on long. Why, you may ask? Because after a short edit, I sent my baby off to beta readers.

Don’t get me wrong, my beta readers are FABULOUS. I love each and every one of them. But still, I find myself struggling as I become the dreaded Beta Waita. (Or Beta Waiter, as in one who is waiting on betas. I know, I know, my cheesy slang is confusing.)

It’s kind of terrifying. I mean, they’re actually reading my book!! And they’re gonna think things about it! And they’re gonna read that one scene that isn’t so tight! And they might think it’s LAME! Or they might say they like it, but SECRETLY think it’s lame!

Is your book with beta readers right now? If so, here’s a helpful list of things you can do to pass the time!

1. Rock back and forth, alone with your thoughts.

Family Guy: Stewie rocking back and forth

2. Consume calories.

3. Crying always helps.

I’m so helpful, right?? No need to thank me. Giving back is just my nature.


A Jenn Party!


Jenn’s book just sold in ITALY as well!!! Molto bene! If I were in Utah, I would take her to Olive Garden to celebrate. Hmmm . . . maybe I will just go to Olive Garden here, and think of Jenn. Yes, that’s a good plan. :)


Guys, by now you should know that I am a Slacker Blogger in the extreme. But today, I am going to out do myself in slackerly ways.

So, I have this fantabulous friend named Jenn (or J.R Johannson as she’s known online,) and she wrote this AMAZING and SCARY book called INSOMNIA. I got to read it before it was unleashed onto the hungry publishing world, and man, did I SO call it that she was going to sell.

Well, sure enough: SHE DID!!! AT AUCTION!!

Here’s the problem. This happened a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been totally planning to write a YAY JENN post on my blog. But as I pointed out at the start of this post, I am clearly a slacker.

So, here’s my post, but I’m not just going to be a slacker by putting it up late. Oh no. I can go much worse. I’m going to surpass own slackerishness by actually just sending you to my friend Candice‘s blog. She wrote a hilarious YAY JENN post, and I thought, “You know, that’s much better than I can do, so why try?”

Therefore, GO HERE! And celebrate Jenn’s triumph (and Candice’s sense of humor.)

YAY for slacking! And YAY FOR JENN!!!



As you may have noticed (and may or may not have cared,) I’ve been absent for a while from ye old blog. I can’t account for most of those days, but this last weekend, I’ve been AWOL. With these gals. We were all hanging out at a writer’s retreat in the desert. These ladies pretty much rock. The desert rocks as well. (Who knew, right?)

Here we are.From left to right: Michelle, me, Candice, Jenn, Kasie, Sara, and Natalie.

Though this picture is more accurate, I think.

Anyway, now I’m all recharged and brimming with writerly thoughts. Thanks to them, I have ideas for more blog posts, which will come soon. Until then, the only possible useful purpose I can give for this post (other than trying to prevent this from turning into a once-a-month type of blog,) is to say that having writer friends has been the NUMBER ONE smartest thing I’ve done for my writing career. No question. If you don’t have friends who are writers in your genre, get some! Be brave. Be friendly. Be outgoing online. You’ll be glad that you did.