Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Actuality: A Teenage Vampire Novella Re-Release

Hello, my friends. I am re-releasing the first thing I ever independently published (that's the fancy way of saying self-published), Actuality: A Teenage Vampire Novella. I spiffed up the grammar a bit, toned the the swearing a tad, updated the cover a schoch,and added a bonus story at the end. Can you believe it's going to be three years old!
 I'll be releasing it right around when I release my new novella series. I'm really novellaing it up right now because I also have a young adult novella series I might release too. I can now work on all these other projects, since I just finished writing my young adult novel, which is looking for a home in the traditional book world.
And for those of you who are all like, well, I already own Actuality, but I'm curious about the new story. Sign up for my newsletter and I'm going to send the new story out to my subscribers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Updated Website

I'm almost done revamping my website. I've been working on updating it forever. I went for a bit more of a streamlined and mature look, especially since I'm releasing a novella series for adults, so if people wander to my website they won't be confused by seeing bunnies in the top header. Now, it's just my name. I'm very happy with how it looks. Here's a few screen shots of melissatliban.com.

Home Page (top half)

Home Page (bottom half). The large image is a slider, so that's why it's different in the two photos.
One of the other pages (my books). 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Rejection! and My New Novella Series

Hello my friends! So, I'm trying to get my young adult novel The Now or Never Moment traditionally published; I'm in the querying phase. I have sent out one query so far. I got a bit sidetracked but plan to send out more starting tomorrow, but anyway, I also got my first rejection from the first place I sent  my query to. Well, bummer, but it was only the first place I sent it to and also, the response time was very quick, so that was appreciated. I will press on, even though I have this horrible itch just to self-publish The Now or Never Moment, but I'm refraining from scratching it for the time being. To help with the itch, well, just read below. It's something to tide me over for now.
 So, I'll be sending out more query letters and in my downtime from that I'm going to release a series of novellas. The first one is called Anticipatory Pause Part One: The Virus. I'm dabbling in writing for adults again, but the character the story revolves around is a teen. I need my teens in there! Here's my blurby blurb.

Unidentified objects have entered the atmosphere, but that soon gets overshadowed by the mysterious C9 virus.

Seven hundred and fifty nine teens get the virus, so far none have survived.

A couple of months fresh out of rehab, sixteen year old Conner Domingo catches the C9 virus. Quarantined to the house, the Domingo’s face their imperfections as a family and what seems like Conner’s inevitable death. 

So stayed tuned for more happenings around here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eclair Cake Recipe

Hello, my friends. Today I bring you a recipe. Sometimes I take a break from writing and editing and stuff and make things that taste super yummy. I made this for my husband's birthday and posted a pic to Facebook and some commented that it looked good, so I figured I'd share with the rest of the world. I'm sure there's tons of recipes for eclair cake already, but I bet none come with pics of my slightly not so pretty version (see below). So my creations don't come out looking perfect, but they taste good (for the most part)

So, here's the recipe, or my version of a recipe.
First make the inside fluff: Take two packs of instant French vanilla pudding, 3 cups of milk, and a 9 oz. container of Coolwhip. Mix it all together. Then take a buttered 9x13 pan and lay down a layer of graham crackers (the cake requires a whole box) and pour half of the fluffy mix on top, then another layer of graham crackers and rest of mix. Add one last layer of graham crackers, and now it’s time to make the chocolaty top frosting. 

Take two 1 oz squares of unsweetened chocolate, 2 tsp. of light corn syrup, 1 tsp. of vanilla, 3 tbsp. of margarine, 3 tbsp. of milk, and 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar, melt it all together (in a saucepan) until it’s all nice and blended, and then pour the chocolate mix on top of the last layer of graham cracker and spread it around.

Stick in fridge for at least six hours. The longer it sets for the better it tastes. Then last but not least, eat it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Journey to Getting Published: My Book

I wrote a young adult novel that I want to get traditionally published (see my previous post to read all about it), but I haven't said much about it yet, so here's the blurb.

 The Now or Never Moment

Just as Shelby is about to leave for college her best friend shows up on the doorstep and hands her a manila envelope, telling her not to open it until she gets settled in at school.

Tanner Tally and Shelby Dudek have been best friends since freshman year. Ever since the first time he saw Shelby, Tanner was in love with her, and as she goes away to college, he wants to make sure she knows this and knows what a positive impact she has had on his life. She was there for him when he was bullied, depressed, took an unexpected turn to popularity, through trauma, and just life. She was always there. So he wrote it all down for her and put it in an envelope and told her not to open it until she’s at school.

Shelby does not wait until she’s settled in to begin reading what Tanner wrote. With an audience that starts out as being just her new roommate, she starts reading what Tanner has to say, and as she gets deeper into the story, her audience grows. She also begins to realize she’s loved Tanner all along, but it might be too late to tell him this. He might not be hers’ anymore.

So, that's basically what my book is about. A few things not mentioned above but are included within the text of the story are: crocheting, gender stereotyping, history facts, good parents, crappy parents, jumping on trampolines, and some other assorted crazy things. Bye for now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Journey to Getting Traditionally Published

I know months ago I said I was going to take you on my journey to writing a novel and getting it traditionally published, and I haven’t blogged since then, but here I am now. I was so wrapped up and determined to finish my young adult manuscript that everything else kinda got pushed to the wayside. So, I finished my book, even polished it up, and it’s ready to go. What’s next? Getting it published.
First, I’m going to tell you why I want to try the traditional publishing route as opposed to self-publishing. It pretty much boils down to time and money right now, mostly money because I need an editor. I recently worked with a low cost editor and the results weren’t all that spectacular, so I need a good editor and those cost some bucks. I also would like to try the traditional route because it would be real neat-o to see my book in a store, like super cool.
And, my novel is contemporary realistic young adult and according to some articles I read (here and here), there’s a market for that right now, so why not try? The one main thing that might hold be me back from being traditionally published is word count. I’ve read that when you are a first time author generally your first novel is shorter. This pretty much has to deal with shelf space and cost of making the actual book, and seeing if your book would actually sell. According to agentquery.com my book length should be 40,000 to 60,000 words. According to this article from Writer’s Digest my book should be 55,000-69,999. Um, my book is 107,000 words. My word count might be my downfall, then it will be, why hello there self-publishing! According to the Writer’s Digest article, good writing might help it out (I think mine’s pretty awesome), so I guess we’ll see. But I will say my story is told through the four years of two best friends’ high school experience, so it seems to warrant the word count that it has.
So, my book is written, what's next? The query letter! I’ve already searched for agents that represent what I write, and I found a few that really stand out. I’ve already written my first query letter, I’m just a little nervous about hitting the send button right now. Rejection sucks, but it’s all a part of the progress. I’m going to keep track of all my rejections and feedback so I can write about the experience here. I’ve done this before (querying) with a couple of other books I’ve written, neither of which were ever given a chance. With the one book I think I stopped after my fiftieth rejection, but hopefully this time I’ll get a bite.