Why Writing A Book is Not like Having a Baby

I have always used that time-honored metaphor of birth and babies to describe writing a book. 

That is, until I got pregnant. 

The thing is, I still think it's a pretty good metaphor. The roller coaster emotions and the hard work involved in writing a book go hand-in-hand with the ups and downs of pregnancy, too. I have probably cried more over my manuscript than I have over this unborn child in my uterus. 

However, there are some misconceptions in the book-baby metaphor that, as a person currently gestating a baby-baby as well as a book-baby, I must address.

1.) You're never going to accidentally have a book-baby. 

Dear writer, I am sorry, but you're not going to stumble into a finished manuscript in the same way you might skip a day of birth control and find yourself with an infant. The only way you can conceive a whole book is to sit down, day after day, and work. 

2.) Your book-baby probably won't adhere to deadlines. 

Not that baby-babies do either - but writing a book is even less certain than gestating a baby. Sure, there are premies that are born at 7 months, or 8; but generally, most infants take 9 months to cook. With books, there are no rules. Don't let anyone tell you differently. You might write a full first draft in five weeks; or, it might take you ten years. Just because your manuscript is approaching its tenth trimester doesn't mean you've failed as a writer. This book will be born when its ready. 

3.) Sometimes it's lonelier to mother a book-baby than a baby-baby.

I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by support in my pregnancy. My husband, my parents, my in-laws, my midwife - they have all showered me with love, advice, and much-needed rest when I'm too stubborn to ask for it myself. But, sometimes, writing a book is not like that. Writing a book means that people will ask why you must spend so much time with your baby, why you need rest and quiet, why you have a routine that you have to safeguard against all others. It's hard, but people won't necessarily understand why it's hard.

So do your best to surround yourself with supporters. Find family and friends and writing groups that encourage your alone time, and believe in your book-baby. Track down a "doctor" who will monitor your book-baby's growth. 

What are some other good metaphors, besides the "book-baby," that describe the writing process? Any ideas?


Field Trip Friday: June 26, 2015


- MARRIAGE EQUALITY. I can't possibly link to all the wonderful inspiring beautiful and even delicious things that are on the internet today about this Supreme Court decision but I am so, so glad to have witnessed this day. Excellent work, America. 


- This Buzzfeed article asks which LGBTQ book influenced you the most - and contains a pretty glorious Lord Voldemort gif. 
- Barnes & Noble has some YA recs for you based on your favorite cult classic.
-Want to watch some movies based on books this summer? Publisher's Weekly has a list.


- Janice Hardy explains some ways in which POV makes you a better writer. 
- The latest interview in our own Sarah Enni's First Draft podcast series is with author Anna Carey, and it's available now!


- The ALA conference is happening this weekend in San Francisco. You can see YA Highwayers Amy Lukavics, Kirsten Hubbard & Steph Kuehn there. I am not at all jealous about not being there...


- I apparently completely ignored news articles in this category this week guys, so just have these pictures of dogs celebrating marriage equality and this article on how to rainbowify your facebook profile pic.


- This golfer got his head stuck in a trash can. You read that right:


Today we are happy to celebrate the release of Lee Bross's TANGLED WEBS! You are going to want to read this one.

"London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, an infamous thief who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Grae Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?"

In honor of the release of this gorgeous book, we came up with some pitches with rhyming titles:

Wrangled Feds: 17-year old Busty McBoo navigates the Wild West with nothing but a six-shooter and a desire to hunt down the Sheriff who killed her father five years ago. What she doesn't expect, is to fall for a Pony Express carrier with a chip on his shoulder and secrets about Busty's father--and his link to the Feds. ~Kristin H.

Newfangled Dead: A futuristic Grateful Dead takes their psychedelic spaceship - and their Dead Head fans - into outer space to save the planet from their giant dancing bear logo, which has become sentient and hell bent on smothering the world in patchouli. ~Kate

Strangled Celebs: A heart-pounding horror that follows a Hollywood starlet as she attempts to escape the murderous ghost of Marilyn Monroe, who traded her soul in the afterlife for the opportunity to return to Earth and reign as the one and only supreme leading lady. ~Amy

Fanged Teds: Shirla Van Helsing's father has proclaimed himself a vampire hunter for as long as anyone can remember, causing embarrassment for all of her long seventeen years. But when news breaks that everyone on earth named Ted is actually a vampire, suddenly she and her father aren't so uncool anymore. But can they save the world from the bloodthirsty Teds? ~Kaitlin

And some additional alternative titles from Kristin and Kirsten:
Mangled Beds
Spangled Meds
Strangled Weds
Angled Sleds
Tangled Debs

Maybe we'll just stick to reading Lee's book. Happy release day, Lee!

Field Trip Friday: June 22, 2015

So sorry for being late, especially considering the enormous events of last week. - Sarah E


- Nine black church-goers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina were gunned down by a white man who hoped to start a race war. The victims included librarian Cynthia Hurd, manager of one of Charleston County's busiest branches. You can donate to Friends of the Charleston Library in her honor. You can also refer to the #CharlestonSyllabus, a public list of books on race, compiled in the wake of the massacre.


- FiveThirtyEight ran into some problems with ALA when they tried to determine the most banned book in America.

- Biracial (fictional) teen Miles Morales will be Marvel's main Spider Man as of this fall.

- Publisher's Weekly attempted a roundup of all the starred YA books listed so far in 2015. We see Stephanie Kuehn's Delicate Monsters and Kirsten Hubbard's Watch the Sky!

- BookRiot celebrated pet appreciation week by pairing their fuzzy friends with some of their favorite reads. Needless to say, adorableness ensued.

- Stacked broke down their informal survey on how people organize their books. Turns out: mostly by genre, then last name, first name. And by size and color, which seems impractical yet lovely.


- For writers of color, Twitter is a more useful education than an MFA program, author Morgan Jerkins suggests.


- High School English teacher Mrs. Andersen polled her students on their feelings about book covers. The feedback ("If an author's name is bigger than the book title, I will not read the book") is fascinating.


- The U.S. Treasury revealed that it plans to put a woman on the $10 bill by 2020, the centennial anniversary of women earning the right to vote. The Treasury says it had been planning the move long before the Women on 20s campaign. Then it added that they sort of didn't want to remove Alexander Hamilton from the bill entirely (seeing as the guy was a founding father, co-author of the Federalist Papers, and Revolutionary War staff aide to George Washington. He also established the nation’s first national bank and put in place the institutional basis for the modern U.S. economy while serving as our first Treasury Secretary), so the woman would share the bill.

Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson - responsible for the Trail of Tears, an actual murderer, and slave owner sympathizer, remains. And, if that isn't reason enough to kick him off our money, consider that Andrew Jackson hated central banks and paper money! He wouldn't even want to be on there! Seriously, keeping him on there is madness. As Alexandra Petri wrote in the Washington Post: "To take Hamilton off the currency while leaving Jackson is to actively make America a worse place. It is picking your awful DMV photo as your headshot. It is tearing up your hardwood floors and putting down moldy carpet."    /rant

- When conference organizers are taking diverse authors off panels discussing the genre they write, just to be reassigned to a "diversity" panel, they are missing the point entirely, Justina Ireland argues.

- The demand that girls and women perform beauty "is inessential to our lives as women, and can be thoroughly dispensed with," blogger Ragini Nag Rao writes in Rookie.

- Watching cat videos has been shown to boost energy and decrease negative feelings. Me-ow!


- Not to be outdone by zookeepers, Harper Perennial got in on the Chris Pratt meme:

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Today we are delighted to be hosting the cover reveal for a debut novel that I am dying to read. It's FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (St. Martin's Griffin, January 7, 2016), and if you're excited as I am about the book, be sure to enter the giveaway below!

And now.....the cover!

About The Book

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first time over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time—the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy—so far. Her absentee mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word "sex" until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend, Charlie, finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who loves her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation —and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process.

You can preorder FIRSTS at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also add it on Goodreads!

About The Author

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn went to school for journalism and later worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris. She lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and her Chihuahua.

Follow Laurie at her website or on twitter.

The Giveaway

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of FIRSTS (US and Canada only, please). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Field Trip Friday: June 12, 2015


Over on Native Appropriations, Adrienne writes an open letter to J.K. Rowling, asking her to reconsider the idea that Hogwarts America's magic blends "Indigenous magic" into the mix.

When managing your time for writing, get rid of the guilt, says author Mindy McGinnis.

A brief, but powerful, reminder by Beth Kephart to "be who you are."

Juan Felipe Herrera was announced as the new U.S. Poet Laureate.

Asking if social rejection is the key to creativity. I...hope not, honestly.


Grab a tissue and a blanket for your heart, then read this essay on how Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes was a very lonely child.

Joyce Carol Oates is concerned about the illegal poaching of dinosaurs. Obviously, she was joking. Wait, someone thought she was serious?

Everyone loves a Myers-Brigg link! (INFJs FTW!). Flavorwire has put together a classic reading guide based on your personality type.

Author Jamie Moore has book recs that give voice to black youth.


Cassie Clare and Maggie Stiefvater discuss the dark side of fandoms.

The fab graphic novel NIMONA is on its way to becoming an animated film!


Sexy lab coats and massive plastic goggles unite! Tool of a tool (and Nobel winner) Tim Hunt said women shouldn't be in science because they're pretty and they cry, basically, so these lady scientists posted selfies that proved just how #distractinglysexy they are.

"Throughout my teens, my lack of beauty was rubbed in by friends who complimented me on my pretty face with a gentle reminder that I really should lose weight..." Deconstructing the Beauty Myth on RookieMag.

Harry Styles + book jackets.


Reasons to study abroad in Japan.

Have a super weekend!
~ Kristin <3

DELICATE MONSTERS (and YA Highway Monsters)!

Today marks the release of award-winning YA Highwayer Stephanie Kuehn's third book for teens, DELICATE MONSTERS!

In a starred review, Booklist calls it "Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist" while Publishers Weekly says "Kuehn (Complicit) once again proves herself a talented writer in a tough, punishing novel about the damages we inflict on others and the shaky defenses we build to mask trauma and guilt" in another starred review.

DELICATE MONSTERS is a compelling, ultra-dark novel that'll stick in your bones. We can't wait for you to read it.

To celebrate the release of DELICATE MONSTERS, we shared our interpretation of "monster" -- from our childhood fears to our present-day demons.

 Kate Hart
 when i was a kid i had a recurring black and white nightmare in which I shot a water gun and Frankenstein came out and burned down the city. (except it was Tulsa, not San Fran.)

Amy Lukavics

Sarah Enni

Emilia Plater
They're callous. They're unyielding. They don't care whether you want to get trapped in their jaws or not. They are... early mornings!!

Kirsten Hubbard
As a kid, I was always afraid I'd look out my window one night and see a pair of eyes looking back at me. My bedroom was on the second story.

Kristin Otts
1. The coat rack in my sister's bedroom, which looks like it had a spooky smiling face in dim light.
2. Oompa loompas
3. The underworld in Disney's Hercules. (No but seriously that was a kid's movie what is wrong with those animators did they not understand how TERRIFYING that scene is??)

 Debra Driza

Veronica Roth
childhood fear: basement monster!

Leila Austin 
This is a lurking Washmonster (also known as The Great Unfolded). It lives exclusively off human souls.

 Kaitlin Ward
I drew my scariest childhood monster - the mean rooster.

Kristin Halbrook
 Here's my other favorite Delicate Monster. :)