Author: Jenn Lyons

Baby Steps

(Or, creating a book using Agile, part 2) So I meant to get this out at the beginning of the sprint… Instead, I’m coming in at the end. That’s fine. Mostly. Wait, do you know what I mean by sprint? Some of you will, but for the others… In Agile, work is typically grouped into what’s called a ‘sprint.’ Now you may be familiar with the term ‘sprint’ as a short Pomodoro-esque writing session, but this is one case where the same term wears many hats. Here? It’s a nebulous but previously determined block of time. The vast majority of sprints are two weeks long, but I’ve seen sprints that are one week and sprints that are a month. Once you decide on a sprint length, you shouldn’t change it unless there’s a very good reason (it messes with the metrics). I closed out the first sprint by checking on what I’d accomplished and what I hadn’t. I did not finish all my research (some of it required reaching people I just couldn’t locate) and …

Read for Pixels Charity Event 2022 – Hey, Wanna Do Some Early Christmas Shopping?

Earlier this year, I was asked to take part in the Read for Pixels fundraiser, which benefits The Pixel Project. The name “The Pixel Project” might make you inclined to think it’s about video games, but no. The Pixel Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping violence against women. I am rather automatically predisposed toward the cause: mostly because I’ve been the victim of violence against women myself. That feels weird to say, by the way. I think of my mother as the one who was targeted for violence, but I was also in the household, and I was also a target for my stepfather’s drunken rages. I was spared the majority of the physical abuse; the emotional scars remain. This is one of those things that we as a society rarely talk about. We are not encouraged to talk about it. As such, so many women don’t understand what their options are, or how to escape a potentially life-threatening situation. That’s what The Pixel Project does: raise awareness. It’s good work. Read for …

The Importance of Checking Boxes

(Or: How I start a novel, Agile-style.) So as I am hitting the ‘send’ button on sending two manuscripts off to my agent, I am naturally planning my next book. As one does. And I thought it might be interesting, if not helpful, to go over what I do and why. Because at heart, I will always be a project manager. I have to do this because I have ADHD. However, long before I was diagnosed with such, I’d learned coping mechanisms that allow me to function to varying degrees of success. (My closets are still filled with craft projects I have thrown myself into with obsessive gusto and then abandoned several weeks later, but at least I know why that happens now.) One of the best methods (for me) is the satisfying feeling of accomplishment that comes from checking a box as ‘done.’ (Similarly, moving a task from column A to column B.) If I can break it down into a small task and put it on a list, there is a much, much …

Wandering in with a Starbuck’s Cup

Hey, what’s up? So…it’s been uh *checks the calendar* three years. Wow, it really has been three years. Okay…so I guess I haven’t been updating, have I? All right, let’s do this. What’s been going on in my life? The obvious answer, as it has been the obvious answer for everything, is “living in the age of active pandemic.” Which has been heartbreaking on many levels, not least of which because it turns out that ‘I told you so’ stops being a lot of fun when millions of people have died. On a personal level? I finished a five-book epic fantasy series for Tor Books. Yeah, that’s right. That baby is DONE. The last book in the series, The Discord of Gods, comes out on April 26th (which means you have not missed your chance to pre-order!) It’s a tremendous accomplishment and a strange feeling of loss all the same time. Because it’s not just that I’ve written four books in the last three years (each over 200,000 words), but I have been involved with …

WorldCon Schedule

Yes, I’ll be in Dublin in just over a week! So a few quick notes about when and where you can expect to find me: Introduction to grimdark Format: Panel 16 Aug 2019, Friday 18:00 – 18:50, Wicklow Hall-1 (CCD) Grimdark is a fantasy subgenre defined, amongst other things, by its cynical outlook and flawed protagonists. The term was originally pejorative, stemming from the Warhammer 40,000 description: ‘In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war’ – but many authors have turned the insult around and claimed it as their own. The panel will offer a brief introduction to the history and tropes of grimdark fantasy as well as reading recommendations. PLEASE NOTE: I’ve been told the printed convention schedule has me listed for a Beer Meet up at 21:00. THIS IS NOT CORRECT. Sorry, but there was a scheduling conflict. I’ll let people know if this is moved to another time. Koffeeklatch 17 Aug 2019, Saturday 12:00-12:50 Sign up in advance required. Drink coffee and ask if that certain favorite character of yours …

The Name of All Things

So here’s an excerpt and the cover reveal for the next book in A CHORUS OF DRAGONS. (Thank you, Barnes and Noble!) Pre-orders are a go! So while I had gone to sea and was thus incommunicado, I received a few comments on the blog that were interesting. So let me clarify a few things: Yes, we changed the name of the series from when it was originally announced. No, I can’t really discuss why. All I can say is that is was for legal rather than artistic reasons and honestly, that’s the end of that. It happens. Serendipitous, I actually like the new series name better, so sometimes we have, as Bob Ross liked to say, “happy accidents.” Unfortunately not everyone seems to have gotten the memo, so there are still the occasional references to the old series title lurking around on the internet. All we can do is keep asking them to update their information. The series is on a nine month release schedule. That means that, should everything go to plan, Tor …

The Tantalizing Promise of Hollywood

One of the things I’ve learned about the publishing process is that very often you cannot talk about your triumphs until months or even years later. Contracts might be signed, but announcements happen on a strict schedule. This business moves slowly…right up until it doesn’t. Or, to put this more bluntly: The Ruin of Kings has been optioned to become a TV series. But…what does that mean, you may ask? Good question. Truthfully, books are optioned all the time, and while it’s a lovely bonus to the author, it rarely results in, well, a TV series/movie/whatever. That’s because an option is just that — it’s a given studio paying a premium to have the option to develop a property. It’s not a guarantee that the studio will actually do so, only a guarantee that no one else can while the studio is making up its mind. Clearly I hope that in my case the studio WILL move forward, but I have to imagine every author with an optioned work feels exactly the same. Still. This …

Hello Again

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? And boy, stuff has changed. My whole life has completely changed. I figure it’s a new year, so I might as well try to do at least the occasional blog update. Where I currently stand: in less than 30 days, The Ruin of Kings will go on sale. It’s been an extraordinary journey. A few interesting stats, for folks playing the home game. Number of queries submitted: 42 (should have been my clue) Time from blind querying with my agent (yes, it was a blind query) to actually signing with him: 18 months. Please note this included time for Revise & Resubmit. Time from selling the novel to publication: 21 months. Add those together and you’ll quickly realize that reaching this stage has taken over three years from the point when an agent was actually interested until the book hits the shelves. Of course, it’s been far longer than that in terms of of all the agents who said no previously, the timing spent writing, etc. And it’s …

Photo credit: Dim Horizons Studio

Everything Changes

While this won’t be much of a surprised to the more experienced, time moves slowly in the publishing world. Right up until time moves fast. And that was last month. A few weeks ago I signed with an agent, and I assumed–given the time it’s taken to get to this point, the years of work–that it would probably be months before I had any real news, that it would be a slow but steady knocking on doors as he tried to find a good fit for my manuscript. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Today, I have a book deal. Now, to give you a little bit of background on this, if you had asked me to name the one publishing company that I wanted to work with the most, my answer would have been Tor. I wouldn’t have hesitated. Tor. And if you had sat me down with a list of editors that I could work with, and let me chose (and I admit that I didn’t really follow editors before this, so I would have had …