Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Emond’

February Update, checking in!

Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2016

So I’ve been away a while. I always want to keep this blog semi-updated but I’m usually working on pitches when I get the chance to write.

That’s basically been the past year or so for me – pitches. Often with authors you hear about their new project and the next one down the line and they seem to pump out books like a factory. I haven’t been so lucky! While it’s great that I had my 3rd book published last August, truthfully I’ve been spending the last year submitting lots of ideas that my editor and agent haven’t been onboard with. I couldn’t tell you if that’s common in the industry or not, because I’ve never heard anyone ever say they had a pitch rejected, aside from first-time authors who talk about all the rejections before THE ONE that got published.

You tend to think that once you’re in, you’re in, and all that rejection is done with, but for me every book is like the first book, and the process repeats again. After HAPPYFACE came out, I pitched a big sci fi series I worked on for a half a year before thinking of WINTER TOWN. After that book, I spent time working on a story about a band, and a ghost story before arriving at what would become BRIGHT LIGHTS. And since finishing that books, I’ve had a lot of various starts and stops. Last year I spent about 8 months researching the Civil War for a historical fiction idea I had, but ultimately the idea was good but I’m no historian and it was really difficult work for the results I could produce.

It’s tough, ideally I’d put out a book every year, every pitch would get accepted unquestionably and it would publish whether my previous books succeeded or failed but it doesn’t really work that way. In fact, I think each book gets a little bit harder to publish because they can say well, your previous books aren’t setting the charts on fire. Now I have a track record to think about. So I have to continuously try and raise the stakes each pitch.

It’s a heartbreaking process, really. I fall in love with each one of these ideas, with all the characters I create, I start delving into world building and getting into their heads and lives and to spend a few months making this thing with the hopes to bring it to the world only to get cut off and start over, it does get old.

That said I still feel passionate and I’m trying my best. I hope to have something soon and I can be “officially” working on a project but I’ll keep you posted. Anyway, that’s my February 2016 update! I’ve also been sick since New Years, I guess that’s the other update. Sigh.

Hopefully next update will be a good one!



Posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2015

So I started a new Tumblr because the old one was full of my Lemons auto-bio stuff and only haphazardly used since then. I’m gonna post some behind the scenes stuff, lots of art, stuff from my old or abandoned projects, it’ll be fun! Check it out here and add me so good things happen:

Bright Lights Cover Blog, part 3

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

My editor, designer and myself all liked the fire escape cover, but thought there was a charm in the heart-shape cover that was worth exploring. Worst case, it didn’t work out, best case, it had an iconic look to it and could be the best cover yet. So I set off to re-do the art.

The design was good from the start but I wanted to give it more effort since the first time I did it, it was just a for-fun piece to set tone. Decided to bring more detail to Naomi’s face first. Much like with the pair on the other covers, I drew them many times trying to get something good, and it did take a while!


And I again tried a lot of different options for the design, including a traditionally done painting, which was ill-advised.


Eventually we had something we all decided was the best, and that cover is floating around now, although I’ve done some tweaking since, including warming the colors, lighting Naomi a little better, and making the BG inks a dark brown to help push Walter and Naomi forward a bit.

A couple months of work, and we have our cover to BRIGHT LIGHTS, DARK NIGHTS!


Teen Writing Articles

Posted on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Quick update, I know I’ve linked to a few of these articles before, but every now and again I get an email asking for advice on writing, and I usually include these in my replies. So in case it’s helpful or interesting to anyone, here’s the full list of articles on my writing process I did in 2013.

2015, A Busier Year

Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2014

We looked back at 2014, and it was glorious. So what does 2015 have in store?


The past few years have been spent working on Bright Lights, Dark Nights. I don’t know how it’ll play out upon release, that’s up to the world, I suppose, but the writing of it was a bigger and more detailed process than I’ve had before. The nature of the book itself required a lot of TLC, it’s a very delicate story that deals with some heavy issues that only grew month by month as I worked on it. The way it mirrored our current society by the time I finished was honestly pretty shocking to me – there are things in this book that I thought were pushing it and ended up being light compared to events that actually occurred. It was important to capture the right tone and get all the details and it took a long time to get there but I couldn’t be happier with it or more proud. Bright Lights, Dark Nights is my big event of the year. In August it’s finally going to be out on shelves, this thing I started back in 2011 will finally be a real live book. Scary.

I imagine I’ll have some talking appearances once it’s out this summer but its early still, so I guess stay tuned for that.


In the meantime, I’ll have to get a new project going! I hope to not take 4 years in between every project, I’d be much happier having a book out every year or two. One of the complications I encountered once I started thinking about what’s next, was how do I top what I just did? I feel like Bright Lights is steps above anything I’d done yet, and while I had a handful of ideas for YA, for the most part they felt like a step backwards. My initial reaction to that was to try something entirely different. As I was finishing the book and working on the cover, I became very excited about the idea of doing a Middle Grade book. Something funny, with a bunch of art, lighthearted, a complete 180 from the heavy themes of Bright Lights, Dark Nights. Rather than try to “top” what I’d just completed, I’d go to a whole new field and start from scratch with no comparisons. I plowed my way through a pitch that I was pretty excited about, but (author transparency!) my editor and agent felt it needed a lot of fine tuning. In retrospect I think I was taking all of my adult sensibilities and tossing them into an idea with a bunch of middle school kids. Middle School kids = Middle Grade, right?
And then I got really into Emo Boy. I kinda missed the guy and felt I could do better with him, I could certainly do far better than what I’d done a decade ago. I had a bunch of ideas and got into the idea of bringing him back for a GN series, but that fell apart before long as well for a few reasons (“what’s emo?” “That’s been done before – by you”)

So where I’m at now is this character came into my head that really intrigues me. And this world around him. It’s in the YA realm, which I think will please my editor, but so far that’s what it is – a few puzzle pieces, a character, a world, a tone, a few scenes, potential twists. I can see the book, the people in it, I can feel it, but it’s lacking the story that makes it an actual book. With all the other projects and with the holidays and all the gift-crafting I’ve done this month I haven’t had a single session to sit in silence and actually work on this, though, so that’s what I’m looking forward to the next month or two, is getting to dive into this world, poke around, figure out what the story is here and how to tell it. And hopefully at some point this year I’ll be at work on my fourth novel. And hopefully it won’t take 4 years to finish it this time!

My writing process

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013

5th article for the year on teen writing!