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Monday, March 31, 2014

Marked blog tour: My journey to publication by Alex Hughes + giveaway

 Today we have a guest post from Alex Hughes, author of MARKED. I'm a huge fan and so it's wonderful to have Alex visit the blog again. Today, she's telling us all about her journey to publication, which I think you'll all enjoy. And Alex is giving away a copy of RABBIT TRICK, an e-novella in the Mindspace Investigations world.

Welcome, Alex!


Marked by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #3)As Marked comes out this week and Vacant (Book #4) goes to beta readers, I find myself reflecting on my journey to publication. It was a long one! But, now that I am on the other side it seems worth it.

I was the nerdy kid in school, with her nose in a book nearly all the time. They called me Encyclopedia, which in retrospect seems funny, but at the time was quite the insult. Books were friends, and I had a lot of book-friends. One day at home in my preteens I got this idea to write a book, which seemed to me at the time like reading only better. My mom, being my mom, said, “of course. Write a book.” She set me up with a document on the computer, and said go. I think she was surprised when she came back a couple of hours later and I had a chapter.

The beautiful part about writing a novel so young is that your “young and stupid” is still intact. I literally didn’t know any reason why I couldn’t do it. I wanted to know how it ended, so three years later, I finished. To this day, I’m constantly trying to get back to this younger state in which I knew I couldn’t fail. Of course, I can write this book. Of course it will be great. Because why not?

Then, a few years later a second thing happened which spoiled me terribly. I wrote a short story for a class project in high school, and I sent it into Fantasy & Science Fiction. Gordan Van Gelder, the editor at the time, wrote me back and told me that Ray Bradbury had just submitted a story of the same topic and so they could not publish this particular story. Please send more. And so I did. I wrote more and submitted more, a lot more, over the next ten years. It took more than 250 more submissions (how many, I don’t know, because I stopped counting at that point) and just as many rejections before anything that exciting happened again. And I grew up. And I won more rejections by the dozens. My parents, being the fools they were, kept encouraging me.

Sharp by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #2)In college I did an independent study with a guy named Dan Marshall, a great teacher of fiction who actually encouraged me to write fantasy & scifi, if I so wanted. We read books together and talked about what made them work, and I wrote another novel. Then, he invited me to his writer’s group, and the folks there helped me grow by leaps and bounds. I found professional writing classes online, and I worked. And I worked. And I went to my marketing job and came home at night and worked some more. And real life set in. I began to despair that anything would come of the writing, and this made me very sad.

I lost my job a few years later when I was newly married, and Sam told me I should try writing for awhile. So, because I loved it so dearly, I did. I took the novel I’d been working on for the last several years, something tentatively entitled Clean based on a project in college, and rewrote it. This was Draft Five. I submitted to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and was told I was mediocre. This made me angry, and realistic. I found another job for another year, and ultimately quit that job (it was a poor fit in personality—I should never have worked for an accounting group with my very-creative temperament). I was very unhappy. Once again, Sam told me to take a year and work on the writing, since I loved it so much. So, heart breaking, I did, telling myself that this was the last time. I wrote, and revised, and found Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course. I used it and a new online writer’s group to rewrite the book again, for Draft Six. I knew what it could be. I knew what I wanted. But I was all too afraid this was going nowhere.

Clean by Alex HughesThen two things happened: I was feeling under time pressure, since my year was almost up, and I feared this was the last shot. I decided to submit to both the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the new year of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. I got into Odyssey. I made the Semi-Finals of the ABNA, both to my shock, both with Clean in its phoenix-like rebirth. And then, on my first week of Odyssey, I got a call out of the blue from Penguin, Penguin the publisher. Apparently they had read all the Semi-Finalists that year and they wanted to offer me a two-book deal. I was over the moon. So was the rest of Odyssey, these amazing strangers, who came around me and supported me throughout the process. I had gone from utter despair to complete joy in less than a year.

Publication was not easy. I had to learn to write a novel on a deadline. And market. And be charming at conferences. And write another book, and another. The learning curve was intense. But. I get to write books. And people read those books, and write to me. After years and years of hard work and struggle, with more rejections than I could count, my thirteen-year-old self is finally vindicated.

I’m still a little over the moon.


For more Alex, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on MARKED:

Marked by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #3)FORESEE NO EVIL.

Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Alex is giving away one (1) e-copy of RABBIT TRICK, a Mindspace Investigation e-novella, to a lucky reader.

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Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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6 People left their mark' :

  1. Great guest post - what a journey!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post :) - it was quite a journey!

  3. Always interesting to hear the journey an author has traveled to get published. Really enjoy the Mindspace Investigations series. Looking forward to the new novel Marked.

  4. Thanks for the awesome post!!! I'm getting ready to finally catch up on this series and I'm so excited :) Ummm... if I was a telepath, I'd really, really try to use it for good... but it'd be hard!

  5. I think I would learn how to control it. I'd want to block it at times.

  6. I'd work the FBI or police to solve crimes.