As we near the end of this year, I cannot help but remember all the things that happened this year. This post is to commemorate all these amazing things. Fair warning, it’s link heavy for those who aren’t familiar with everything and everyone I’m talking about.
The first day of this year I started it off watching THE LITTLE MERMAID. This is important for multiple reasons that you’ll see later on.
In March I got into Query Kombat and had a few requests come from that. Obviously that didn’t pan out, but it’s okay! I learned a lot and am thankful for it. I also made some amazing friends and was able to cheer on my friends who also placed.
May this year I finished my first year studying to become an American Sign Language Interpreter in the state of Texas. Hopefully by the end of 2020 I’ll actually have this degree and be working in the field. I’d love to actually get a degree completed after all.
I got an internship with Entangled Teen. They are the phenomenal imprint that published the breakout novel of Tristina Wright, 27 Hours. Be sure to check out her Twitter and look into the other things Entangled Teen has published!
In June I got a new psychologist who decided an ESA is exactly what I need… Still working on that.
In July I finally sat down and wrote the retelling of my favorite fairy tale that I originally started back on December 27th, 2013 without meaning to do so. See, I got inspired by this song I heard on the radio when running up to the WaWa up the street from my family in Bensalem, PA. That song? It’s called, yep, you guessed it, Siren. Based on it, I originally wanted to write a merdude meets gay guy story. Just about friendship and discovering ones self through that lens…
By the end of the first chapter I realized that it would be a retelling of THE LITTLE MERMAID that walks the knife edge between the original sea foam tale and the Disney version with some unique twists. Upon completing the third chapter, I realized I didn’t have the chops for it at the time and put that project aside. I then went back to my mages story and worked on revising it… and then rewriting it entirely. Honestly? I thank the God of my understanding that novel didn’t work out. Maybe someday it will, but not now.
Fast forward to this summer, where after a year of studying ASL I decided to go back to it for a month, to test myself. In doing so, I discovered that the human character is actually Deaf. He has cochlear implants, but he still is big D Deaf. This means that being Deaf is a big part of his identity and that he’s proud of it. And the merdude is bi, betrothed, and utterly obsessed with the Surface because it gave he and his Deaf twin sister a language with which they could communicate. Oh, and that betrothed I mentioned? She’s the Sea Witch’s niece and she has a faerie godmother on land… Hey, I said there were twists, didn’t I?
So, yes, I have a Bi Deaf retelling of THE LITTLE MERMAID that I’ll be querying sometime next year.
I entered Pitch Wars and got some great feedback, even though I didn’t get chosen.
Not getting in with the true novel of my heart absolutely gutted me, I allowed myself to grieve for a few months and then I discovered and entered Author Mentor Match. Somebody I follow retweeted a tweet from Sophie Cameron. I browsed the pages and interacted with a few of the mentors, three of whom were like, “Uh, yes! Send this to me.” Sophie was one of them.
I did just that in October and somehow the wait of over a month didn’t hit me with nervousness until reveal night. Come the end of November, when results were announced, I couldn’t get the website to load, and hadn’t gotten an email so I assumed I hadn’t. Then my friends started tweeting me. I actually DID get chosen for that by the AMAZING Kevin Savoie. I already freaking adore him and will finally admit publicly that I had a very short and minor crush on him when I first discovered this opportunity and read his phenomenally inspiring wishlist because I felt like I hit nearly everything on the head with my manuscript.
Once I got into AMM, I had a hard decision to make and had to make it on my own. What was this and how did I make it? I had to choose whether I wanted to leave my mages story out there with the agents who had it, or whether I wanted to run the risk of pissing them off and withdrawing it. This choice took me over a week to make. Pretty sure I annoyed some agented/published friends with asking what they’d do in my situation. When I did withdraw my manuscript I mentioned my retelling because I said I’d just gotten into AMM and felt that manuscript was already stronger than what I had and I wanted to show them my strongest work. Those agents who still had my mages novel not only congratulated me but asked me to query them with my retelling once it’s ready when I withdrew my mages manuscript!
Also, I did a research project in my Deaf Culture class that led to my finding out there is not an exhaustive list anywhere that I or Gallaudet University can find that features Deaf Protagonists in YA lit. So, I will be working with them to collaborate such a list. Yeah, I’m going to be contributing to their library’s resources by continuing research I started for a grade.
As this new year we’re about to enter begins, I’ll begin the revisions with Kevin. I’m super excited and honestly still in disbelief.
Oh, and somewhere along the way I realized and embraced that I’m genderfluid, so there’s that.
So, in summary, this was the year of magic and Merpeople. I hope the next year brings even more and that you all have an exceptional start! Stay wonderful, lovelies.