New Year, New Me! (Kind of?)

I’ve always felt like September is more of a new year to me than January.

I don’t know if it’s the beginning of fall, the school year, the fiscal year at work, or when I started the Ottawa Writer’s Circle. It might be that my birthday is the end of August, so September always seems like the beginning of things again.

fall

I started school again in September. (I’m doing my B.Ed. in Adult Education at Brock, for those that are just joining us.) It’s been an adjustment to say the least, but I’m enjoying it. I’m officially half-way through my first semester, and so far, so good!

celebrate

However, to fit all the school in, there are things that have had to take a back seat.

Like writing.

happysad

I’m still doing it! Kind of! I’m working on two main projects: THE NEW ROMANTICS (still!) and my Shiny New Idea™, JAMIE ALL OVER.

I’m revising THE NEW ROMANTICS right now based on new agent/new CP/PitchWars feedback. (As you may have surmised, I did not get into PitchWars, but for a really really good reason.) It’s had two really big overhauls since I last talked about it. I’m almost done Overhaul #2 and am hoping to have it back in the querying trenches this month. (I am woefully and hopelessly behind on my ten queries per month goal.)

I’m also drafting JAMIE ALL OVER, a YA contemporary about family, grief, and the misguided things we do for the people we love. I love this book. Jamie is so much fun to write about. I’m putting him through some terrible things, but he’s taking it like a champ. I wish I could work on it more.

My friend and I have decided to try out a thing we invented called #NaNoWriQua — finishing the first draft of our respective books in the last quarter of the year. I will definitely not “win” NaNoWriQua, but I’m cheering her on.

moral support

All that to say, I revamped my website! New year, new me, right?

Anyway, enough blogging (a.k.a. procrastination).

Keep on keeping on, friends.

bye17

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#PimpMyBio: PitchWars 2017

So, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the #PitchWars ring. July is the run-up to the contest opening in August, so I’m going to have some fun participating in all the Twitter hashtags and blog hops! (Like #PimpMyBio!)

About Me

I’m Averill. (@averillelisa on Twitter.) It’s pronounced like Avril Lavigne, but with three syllables instead of two. (Av-ER-ill, not Av-RIL) Don’t worry, a lot of people can’t hear the difference, either.

Like Avril Lavigne, I’m Canadian.

avril2

I’m a twenty-eight year old with a day job and a writing addiction. By day, I work with numbers as a statistical analyst. I work in aviation, so it’s a lot of stuff about planes and air traffic controllers. I take all the operational data in the company and . . . Well, this is usually where people’s eyes glaze over.

sleepy eyes

But writing! That I’ve been doing since before I even knew what it was. The very first thing I remember writing was Xena fan fiction before I knew fan fiction was a thing, or the internet existed in a way to share it. (Thank God for small miracles.)

xena

I’ve only been taking writing half-way seriously for the last four years or so, since I started the Ottawa Writer’s Circle. In those four years, I’ve written three books — one of them three times over — and am working on a fourth. All YA, all contemporary, though some are more romance-driven, and others more issue-driven. I’m excited about all of them.

Otherwise?

I read a lot. Here’s my bookshelf that holds all my favourite books:

Photo 2017-07-03, 18 25 05I love ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS so much, I have it in both official languages.

I take care of my cat, Tassy. Here she is being adorable.

Photo 2016-05-25, 10 20 10

I’m a Tom Hanks superfan, enthusiastic hugger, and recent tea convert. I’m a proud Ravenpuff (don’t @ me) and I like to cook, bake, and swim. I love a good quote, and I have various ones all over my house. I live with mental illness, and that definitely influences my writing. I’m in school for my B.Ed. in Adult Education.

About My Book

TNR Novel Aesthetics
My novel aesthetic

It’s called THE NEW ROMANTICS. Here’s the pitch:

Perform on stage. Jump off a cliff. Get a tattoo. Joce Martin’s bucket list is what’s going to get her through her senior year after that disastrous kiss with pretty boy Mathieu Tremblay. Mat says she’s too uptight to be a normal teenager. She’s determined prove him wrong.

Mat Tremblay, on the other hand, is aggressively normal: popular, attractive, and a bit of a screw up. Reviving the tradition of the senior year prank, he streaks through the senior assembly during the principal’s speech. But unlike all the other times Mat’s screwed up, this time he’s not getting away with it so easily.

Mat’s parents, ever creative in their punishments, enlist Joce – their good-girl neighbour – as his chaperone for the year. For Joce, that’s a hard pass; their shared history is something she avoids at all costs. But Mat makes Joce an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll help her with her bucket list if she helps get his parents off his back. As they tackle the missteps and misadventures of senior year together, Mat can’t contain his feelings for Joce. But for Joce, getting lost in him again – and giving him another chance to bring her carefully constructed world crashing down – is scarier than anything on her bucket list.

It’s got the will-they-won’t-they tension of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and the adventures and secrets of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES.

This book came to me in fits and starts after listening to a Taylor Swift song. (It’s totally different from what I first envisioned, but the name stuck.)

It was supposed to be Joce’s story, but Mat quickly forced his way into POV-character-status. (My writing buddy helped me see that this was going to happen whether I liked it or not.)

I wanted to write a story about first friendship, first love, and where the two meet. Joce is pretty anxious and Mat is pretty feet-first into everything, and they have a lot to teach each other.

Ultimately, I wrote the first draft very quickly, but spent a year in revisions.

Why Me?

Well, hopefully because you love my book!

I’ve been querying this book since January. I’ve gotten a few partial/full requests from agents, but ultimately gotten the “like it, don’t love it” response. I’ve gotten some feedback, both from the requests and from a SCBWI conference, but it’s been pretty high-level.

I feel like I have something with THE NEW ROMANTICS, but I don’t know how to take it to the next level. That’s where I’d love for you to come in, tell me to burn it all down, and help me build it back up.

I’m pretty easy-going but a hard-worker, and love Joce and Mat like crazy. I want to make this book the best it can be, and I’m totally willing to put in the time and effort.

So, like, pick me?

big smile

Check out the other #PimpMyBio participants here!