Posts Tagged ‘Winter Town’

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!


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.

2012 and 2013

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2013

The last legit update on here was July 26th, 2012, so that’s not a good thing. Really I think about it often but it’s hard to make time to sit and write about what’s going on because usually I’m working on important projects, and usually I can’t talk too much about them anyway. That said, ideally people won’t come to my site to learn more about me and have nothing recent to look at.

Anyway, for the past month I’ve been wanting to do a 2012 recap and here we are well into February already.

It was a very busy year, even though it seemed quiet on my front. There were no real releases from me aside from the paperback version of Winter Town this past December, and shame on me for not even mentioning it here. If you read the hardcover, it’s the same story although the art in the book has more tones and polish, and there’s some supplemental material in the back that’s fun, including a new Aelysthia comic.

I tend to have years where projects come out and I’m busy promoting them and things seem very active, and then I have years where I’m actually working on the projects themselves and all is quiet. 2012 was one of those years.

Most people probably know me as an author, having released HAPPYFACE in 2010 and WINTER TOWN in 2011. I’ve been working very hard on a third book, it’s been a doozy. I can only talk about it in generalities since it’s still in the pitch process, but it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time now. I’d like to say 2 years later it’s wrapped up and ready to go but as I mentioned, we’re still in the process of getting ready to pitch it and hopefully that happens very soon. As of now I have a solid outline I’m really happy with and the first quarter or so of the book written. I think once I get the go-ahead I’m far enough into this that I can zip through but we won’t see a release until sometime next year.

This book started as one thing that felt in line with HAPPYFACE and WINTER TOWN, and wouldn’t be mistaken for anything other than a Stephen Emond book. The book just kept evolving though, new ideas would come in and old ideas would get tossed until there was nothing left of that old book and this new one is definitely something else – I imagine with me writing it, it’ll still feel like one of my books, but it’s a few steps forward and feels bigger to me than anything I’ve done before. I’m really excited to get it under contract and get it out into the public and that’s my primary full-attention goal right now.

The other thing I’ve been doing over the past 2 years now (wow!) is working on video games with my friend Sal as TACO GRAVEYARD. What started off as a small project to try and make a fighting game has evolved into something that’s taken up a lot of the past couple years. We did a game for iOS called FOUR HATS, we did a second game called OMEGAPIXEL for iOS (iPhones and iPad), and stumbled through a few other projects before we came up with our latest, PENUMBEAR. This game was a LOT bigger than any of our others and we managed to find a publisher for this one and it’ll be out next month (March). I’ll talk more about it very soon but that took up a large portion of the past 8 months or so. Now that it’s wrapped and ready for release this third book is a top priority.

That said, as usual I have a lot of things in the air – I’m debating trying out a writing fellowship and spending the next three weeks on a spec script to enter. In November, I hope to do NaNoWriMo and write a book in a month – a first draft, essentially. Maybe one of my ideas for something I could publish, or maybe something more experimental. I have ideas for books based on Gretchen and on the Moon sisters from HAPPYFACE that would be fun to write. There’s an EMO BOY project I’ve been thinking of doing, and actually did part of recently that you’ll hopefully see soon. Basically it’s going to be another busy year.

Please do check out PENUMBEAR once it’s out in March, I worked really hard on it and think it’s a great platforming game if you have an iPhone or iPad. I’ll post a lot more on it soon but for now you can check out for more info on that.

And I will be back sooner than a half year this time!


Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Oh man, I’m just now updating my blog. It’s weird how this works, I’ll blog like weekly or multiple times per week for a few months, and then not at all for a few months. Or more.

Anyway, I keep thinking of stuff I could write about but really the truth is it takes time away from actually writing or working on games, and that time is rare enough that I need to make the most of it when I can. So blogging is generally the first thing to go.

I’ll give you a quick “where I’ve been” update, anyway, and there’s a little more activity over at since there’s two of us writing updates. That’s my game company. We’re working on a game called PENUMBEAR and it’s really great and there’s a koala. Check it out.

So, in the publishing world, Winter Town came out last December, the paperback should be coming out this fall/winter and it has some bonus material in the back in addition to a 6 page new “aelysthia” tale, as well as some finished art that didn’t make it into the hardcover due to a mishap. Some of the art in the HC book was untoned/unfinished, though only I would really know that. It’ll be worth picking up and visiting again, I think!

I’ve been working on a third book since last summer, very slowly. I actually had 3 ideas running around in my head over that summer, when my editor and i narrowed in on one we thought was the best fit. From September through the spring I worked on that, outlining, doing sample chapters, looking for voice, art. Reworking. I was also doing a lot of work on games, so it went along very slowly but we kept getting a little closer to what I wanted it to be.

Then something happened – a new character took up more and more space, the focus of the book changed, and I found myself struggling to keep all the new and old ideas together. Eventually it became very clear I was trying to write two different books. A new one had come along and completely outshined the old one. Or at the least, it felt more urgent and was hopping up and down in front of me.

My editor and I have been making a point to meet far more frequently and I am making big progress week by week now. Hopefully before long I’ll have at least a title or something to announce for you! I’m very invested in this, though. This could be really good.

Winter Town Link Roundup, Part 2

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Here’s a few more links for Winter Town stuffs. The book is OUT and ABOUT, go read it and if you like it let me know and maybe post a review on amazon! You can post there if you don’t like it too but that doesn’t help me much.

LA Public Library names WINTER TOWN as one of it’s top picks for 2011!

Almost Grown Up says she had trouble putting her finger on why she liked the books so much, but that she did – a lot!

The Elliott Review says ” I felt like I was reading an account of actual people and the events that happened to them over the course of their lives.”

Midnight Bloom Reads says “It’s not everyday that you stumble across a novel as one-of-a-kind as Winter Town!”

I did this article on using setting as character for the Little, Brown School Facebook page!

And youtuber elizziebooks is pretty meh on Winter Town, but you can check out her youtube video anyway because it’s pretty neat. :)

Ladies and Gentlemen… a starred review of WINTER TOWN!

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Here’s WINTER TOWN’s first starred review from Kirkus!

Winter Town
By Stephen Emond
December/ Ages 12 & Up/ $17.99
ISBN: 978-0-316-13332-6

Two childhood friends struggle to preserve their relationship as it evolves into a romance amid a host of pressures in this remarkable illustrated work of contemporary fiction.
After her parents break up, her mother moves rebellious Lucy from New England to Atlanta. She returns just once a year to see her dad at Christmas, and it is during one such trip during her senior year of high school that this story begins. Beginning the novel as a third-person narrator is her best friend, Evan. The studious, dutiful only child in his tight-knit family, he is uncomfortable with changes in her appearance and demeanor, and their visit starts out shakily. At the halfway mark, the point of view switches, and Lucy quickly reveals the heartbreaking reasons behind her transformation. While the employ of the dual narrative is a current trend in teen fiction, it serves this particular tale—which so eloquently depicts how impossible it is to truly get inside the head of another—extraordinarily well. Interspersed throughout are both realistic illustrations and drawings of a comic strip being created by Evan and Lucy; these black-and-white, almost chibi-style panels form an effective parallel with the plot and appeal mightily on their own.
Compelling, honest and true—this musing about art and self-discovery, replete with pitch-perfect dialogue, will have wide appeal.

Love it!

Where’s My Lemons??

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

WHAT HAPPENED TO LEMONS??? The few of you that followed my autobio comic LEMONS last year may have noticed the lack of updates! Kinda sucks because I really liked doing it, it was cool looking back and seeing all the interesting things I’d been up to, and a fun way to keep a journal. I originally started doing it to be “visible” in the long stretches between book releases. I figured people could read HAPPYFACE and then stop by my page and get to know me and say hello.

That said, the obvious answer as to why I stopped is I got too busy. I’ve had a tendency to work on two projects at any given time – when I was working on HAPPYFACE, I was also working on the EMO BOY movie. When I was writing WINTER TOWN, I was doing LEMONS as well. And now I am working on my third book, and working on the iPhone game – those two projects basically take up any creative time I can muster.

Every now and again I do something really fun or have some interesting life moments and think “AHHH this would be a perfect LEMONS comic!” But alas, for now they have to take their chances with my abysmal memory. Maybe eventually I’ll muster up enough time to bring it back, but for now it’s not meant to be. Of course you can still find me here, facebook, twitter, and always feel free to send me an email. Just give me notice if you’re stopping by the apartment.

Catching Up

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I’ve spent most of the year working on an iPhone game. After I finished WINTER TOWN this winter, I floundered around from project to project for a bit. I’m always trying to do something BIGGER and crazy when I finish something and I always crash into a wall with it. That’s basically what happened.

I have a friend that’s a programmer who really wanted to make an iPhone game, and he asked me if I had any ideas for a game. I didn’t really but I tried to come up with a few ideas. This led to me doing a little art to see what he could put together. Literally a day later, he had a very rough version of a game in place – there was the little guy I drew, the background I made, and he was moving around on it. It was really cool.

Before I knew it, I was writing out scenarios and creating characters and drawing frame after frame of animation, layers of backgrounds, and it was growing and growing before my eyes – FAST. The game began to take shape, the same way a book does as you write, and it revealed itself to be something even bigger and more ambitious than I intended. The game is something that is personal to me in a lot of ways, it works with a lot of my strengths and interests, it’s different. Another of our friends revealed himself to be in insanely gifted game-music composer. In the span of a few months the game went from an interesting diversion to something with a huge amount of potential.

My friend Sal (the programmer) suggested we write some companies to see if we could get some advice on how to market this thing. We contact CHILLINGO, who published the first ANGRY BIRDS game as well as countless other chart-toppers (Cut The Rope, Contre Jour, etc). A simple conversation quickly turned into a publishing deal. It’s been about a half a year and this thing just keeps growing. It’s exciting.

Talks with Chillingo showed us how much more the game could still be, and a few more layers were added, new gameplay elements, clarity. I’m about a third of the way to what we want to have ready for launch.

It’s been a half a year of game diversion and I started really missing writing. The game-making and the drawing and animating are all fun but I do miss the intimacy of writing, there’s a level of self-expression that’s unparalleled in writing and when I’m not doing it, I feel closed off, I get frustrated. I had an idea that was gestating in my head for a while, then I had another, and another. Then I got depressed, and I wanted to just bleed it all out, I wanted to write a book a day but I had all this game stuff to do.

I finally took my three main ideas to my editor Connie, and we agreed one of the ideas had a lot of potential and was right up my alley. I’m trying to juggle the two projects now, the game and the third book. It’s all exciting.

I love making things.

I’m Back!

Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2011

Ack, not good, Steve! This is some horrible blog neglect. I just know they’re going to take it away from me.

I’ll try and be a little better – I don’t know why I have such issues with updating this thing, even when I have stuff to talk about, it always feels like a low priority, which it isn’t. I need a helper gnome to crawl into my brain and type out the goings-on for me.

I’m quiet here, but I post the occasional news update or book-related matters on my Facebook author page. I post some ridiculousness and absurdities on my personal page if you feel like bothering with that. I post less frequently on my twitter, though I have a tendency to post pseudo-meta “I am updating my twitter, why don’t I have anything to tweet?” nonsense.

I’d like to say I save all my communicating for in-person but truthfully I’m even worse with human interaction. I feel like I think about stuff. My brain does *something* all day.


I’ll see if I can post here semi-regularly, anyway! I’ve been inspired by reading Sara Zarr’s blog, she’s been posting some wonderful entries lately, she’s like an interesting-article factory. < -- (this is a great metaphor) WINTER TOWN is mere months away, so of course I’m excited for that. I got a look at the full hardcover cover design it’s just insanely awesome. I can’t wait to see it on shelves. A little nervous about reviews, HAPPYFACE set the bar pretty high there, but it is what it is, we’ll see how it goes. We have two blurbs for the cover, one by the always-awesome bestselling author Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah) who says “Winter Town is this season’s perfect curl-up-under-the-blankets-and-read book. Evan and Lucy are angsty, infuriating, and absolutely endearing. I dare you not to fall in love with them.”

We also got a blurb from Michael Buckley (NERDS, The Sisters Grimm) who said “Emond’s prose and illustrations perfectly capture the exhilarating and maddening nature of young love. It made me want to run out and get a tattoo for my grandma!”

Just a couple months away! Excitement!!

WINTER TOWN: Cover and ARCs!

Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Got the Advance Reader’s Copies of WINTER TOWN, and the OK from my editor to post the cover!