The Birth of Something Amazing

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February 3rd. This is a good day for so many reasons.

One being that today is Pixar’s 30th anniversary!! 

My partners at my publishing studio, Endever, decided last week on our first book production!

It’s going to be the YA novel I recently wrote about a girl who falls in love with a boy after he dies.

The decision was almost nerve-wracking as Endever Publishing Studios is not genre-specific – we’re story specific. (We don’t want people to assume we’re a YA publisher.)

So I gave my partners (also acting as editors, story developers, publishers, and so much more) the first chapter and they gave me the greatest compliment a writer should ask for:

They said, “I’m not feeling it. The main character’s whiney. And I don’t get her parents at all.” In essence, everyone was shallow and one-dimensional.

I’m actually not saying this is a compliment to be sarcastic. I mean it.

Writers have a tendency to surround themselves with Yes People. We tend to give our work out to those whom we know are going to throw flowers at our feet and laud us with compliments and climb mountains to praise our work before the heavens.

Joseph and Lynn, my partners, are not yes-people.

Endever is not a Yes publishing studio. We’re also not a No studio.

When we start accepting book submissions, we’re not going to send you a heartless rejection letter if we don’t love your story idea. We’ll send you tips, ways it can be improved, suggestions, tips. (More on this later.) Because we’ve been in that position – being rejected by publishers and agents time and time again.

It’s like that teacher you hated because all he or she did was hand out big fat F’s but never taught you how to fix your work or point out exactly what you were doing wrong.

And that’s just one way Endever is going to be more awesome than other publishing houses.

So February 3rd is amazing for a lot of reasons but especially because I’ll be busy rewriting that first chapter for my partners, who represent all of you – the readers. And soon, the first book production from Endever Publishing Studios will be born, and you will  cradle it in your hands and hopefully call it the best book you’ve read in years.

That will be Endever’s goal for every book.

Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? Why not? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit. (Deadline is February 25)

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask below.

Why I’ve Decided to Stop Hating My Day Job

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If you’re reading this you probably feel trapped in the monotonous hell of a 9-5.

And every day is the worst day of your life.

Saturdays are bad because you’re still trying to unwind from the stress of Monday-Friday and Sundays are worse because you’re dreading the next Monday-Friday steamroller.

I know this feeling well. But I’m not there anymore.

Not because I quit. No, I’m still punching a clock like you.

I’m not there anymore because I’ve changed my outlook.

I’ve decided not to see my job as a hinderance to my dream job as a book publisher and author, but rather as an enabler (and I do mean that in a good way).

It’s because of my day job that I have money to pay for my mocha frappuccios (fancy shakes) while conference calling with my business partners. Of course, I’ll need that income later to pay for a personal trainer to lose all those carbs.

My day job pays for my food and my gas and my internet. I couldn’t pursue my dream without those things.

But it’s more than that.

My day job is my platform to put my best self forward. While there, I can practice pulling my colleagues together and encourage them to work their best. After all, those traits will be required of me as CEO of Endever Publishing Studios.

So, even though it’s Monday, and I’m dealing with difficult people on the phone all day, I want to say, “Thank you, Day Job, for providing sustenance so I can pursue my dream.”

I challenge you to thank your boss for the job you have. And work at it as though you’re the CEO.

Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? Why not? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit.

Click here to submit! (deadline is February 25th)

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask below.

 

Can I Really Write a 500-Word Story??

IMG_0703Submissions are starting to roll in slowly but surely for our writing contest. Remember, the winner will win $150 plus publication perks. (The deadline is February 25, so don’t waste too much time!)

Maybe you’re wanting to submit, and you have a good idea for a story, but you’re just having a hard time figuring out how to condense it into just 500 words.

Maybe you’re thinking it’s impossible.

Continue reading here…

BIG Changes Ahead for Adopting James

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Adopting James will be changing ownership soon. I don’t know to whom yet.

You’ll notice that I’ve been writing more about writing than about foster care and adoption lately. That’s because, even though I’m still an advocate for adoption and foster care, I am setting my social media laser more on my new publishing company and getting it off the ground.

(You’ve submitted your short story for a chance to win $150, right???)

Here’s the rub.

Just several hours ago I opened up a new blog, Endeverblog, that will feature more in-depth, practical writing advice, as well as video blogs (as soon as I learn how to develop a smooth video presence) and updates about Endever Publishing Studios.

So follow it. Watch three nearly-nobodies build a revolutionary publishing company from the ground up.

The analogy I used for my team was this: Right now, we’re on a rickety wooden boat, just barely able to get to the first port. When we get there, we’ll buy the tools to fix the boat and make it a little bigger. After so many ports, I hope to expand our boat that is Endever Publishing Studios, into a super tanker.

So join our blog, submit your short story, and root us on. We’ll need all the support and encouragement we can get. (Besides, you may end up working for us if you’re passionate about seeing a change in the publishing industry.)

Adopting James, meanwhile, will still go strong for several more weeks, but eventually I am going to transfer ownership and hand the reins over to someone who can redirect it back to focussing on adoption and foster care. This will free me up to step back and put more energy into Endever. I’ll still be around to post guest blogs, and you can still see my latest posts on Endever, so it’s not such a sad and final parting.

Nothing’s happening with Adopting James just yet. We’re still in talks concerning its future. So keep stopping by and don’t miss a single post. We’ll be in touch.

Click here to submit!

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, please email me at endeverpublishing@gmail.com

Is the Foster Care System Perfect?

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Sarabeth and I were extremely lucky with our daughter when she was our foster daughter. (The picture is her at the zoo a few months ago.) Other than the tedious waiting, everything went smoothly from the day we brought her home from the hospital to the day we brought her to the courthouse to sign the official adoption papers, one of the happiest days of my life (even happier than the day Pixar Animation Studios wrote me a personal email).

Stupidly (and luckily for us), no friends or relatives sought her out. She had no visitations whatsoever.

But what about the people who have their foster kids taken away from them because the states deem it best to return them to their parents who had their kids taken away from them in the first place? (Whether it be for abuse, financial loss, drugs, etc.)

One thing that floors me is the states’ insistence on reunifying these broken children and babies with their (often) undeserving parents.

The state values reunification over anything else, and, often above the child’s own safety and wellbeing.

Think about it. Foster parents go through rigorous background checks, take many hours of classes and training programs, they’ve proven that they’re financially and mentally stable, yet the state insists, “We will do EVERYTHING in our power to reunify the kids with their parents if they show even just a sliver of change in their habits and behavior.”

Thus violating their own motto (at least this is our state’s): “Moves hurt kids.”

I’m not complaining about the system. Right now, I’m just questioning it. I’m questioning if the whole foster care system is even operating as smoothly as it could be. Are America’s foster children being given the fairness and safety they deserve?

Are foster parents treated fairly when they form a bond and connection with the kids given to their care, provide a safe and loving roof over their head, and then the state rips them apart at a moment’s notice?

Are social workers being treated fair? Overworked, underpaid, overwhelmed.

If you’re a foster parent or know of any, what are your thoughts about the system? Where would you like to see improvement? Or is it as good as it could be? Share your thoughts below.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to read the email Pixar wrote me! Also, need an editor for your manuscript? Consider me. 

First Draft of My YA Novel Completed

First off, thank you SO much to those of you who posted questions about writing on yesterday’s post. I will be addressing each one of your questions in subsequent posts.

Yesterday at around 3:00 EST I sat in a Starbucks by my house and tears flowed down my face. My earbuds were plugged into my ears and Coldplay was singing about a sky full of stars.

I completed the first draft of my fourth book. My editor and I are now hard at work to bring you the best book possible – a completely fulfilling and emotional reading experience you will not be able to walk away from unchanged.

Many of you have read snippets about my YA novel, These Great Affects. I wasn’t crying at Starbucks because I was so happy to finish. I was crying because the book is heart-shatteringly sad!

It is a raw look at a girl who befriends a charming boy, but she doesn’t fall in love with him until after he dies in a tragic and senseless accident.

I believe it has everything a YA novel should have and, I hope, more. Love, humor, joy, devastation, prom night, out-of-touch parents, first loves, first kisses, death.

In These Great Affects, I hope people of all ages will fall in love with the main characters, be reminded of the joy and terror of high school, and maybe learn to appreciate the life that is given to them and live it the best they can while they’re still here.

There is no release date yet, and I have a lot of people in line to review an advanced reader’s copy of the book. I’m still accepting requests, so if you’re interested in doing that, check out this link for instructions.

Follow me on Twitter: @atoy1208 0r Facebook

On Writing: ASK AWAY!!

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Most of my readers, from what I can tell, are writers or aspiring writers.

Bloggers, columnists, authors, poets, storytellers, dreamers…

And we all have so many questions! How do you complete projects? How should you publish your book? What the heck’s wrong with all these literary agents rejecting every single one of your brilliant ideas???

Sure, you could Google these questions and get general answers to the public, but I’m offering you a chance to post your questions about the writing world below.

I will do my best to answer them in separate blog posts. Leave your name, your blog or website and I’ll mention you as the asker of the brilliant question. I know I’m no John Grisham (he’s not answering questions as far as I know) or James Patterson (does he even WRITE??), but I’m focused on reaching their level and well on my way with two books coming out this  year that are projected to be pretty big: an emotionally-driven YA novel about a girl who falls in love with a boy *AFTER* he dies, and a powerful biography about a patient advocate doctor who sued a multibillion-dollar insurance company for violation of fair procedure. 

So, I may be in the same boat as you, and I’ve got questions myself, or you may even be ahead of me. But we still can learn a lot from each other.

Ready? Set. ASK!

Seriously, email me if you want an advanced copy of my YA book: These Great Affects

Follow me on Twitter: @atoy1208

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