Mar 28 2014

Life as a Crab

Well, hello everybody.  I know, I know, shocking, Bethany is actually on her blog.

I don’t know why I hide from the internet so much.  (Well, not from tumblr.  I would never hide from tumblr.)  I think partly it’s a combination of day-jobbing and writing, which means that if I’m not a desk jockey, I’m writing, and when I am writing, my brain shies away from talking to people–real and digital.  And part of it is having kidlets, I suppose.  Apparently they like it when you feed them and stuff.

But I think a lot of it is that I’m naturally a creepy recluse, and I prefer to be a creepy recluse on the internet as well.

I’m a Cancer, so this makes sense.  *snaps crab claws together*

Anyway, update time!  Landry Park II: the Taffeta Reckoning is finally in the editorial stages! Yes! Yay! This calls for drinks!  The drafting process was…how can I put this?  Like climbing a mountain wearing shoes made of broken glass all while being taunted by a certain petulant boy pop star and sucking on a Vegemite-flavored sucker, and there’s nothing in the water bottle except flat seventeen-year-old Surge and the only companions (besides the petulant pop star and his illegal pet monkey) are self-doubt and self-loathing and the knowledge that once you get to the top, there’s a second, even bigger mountain waiting to be climbed and guess what–there are shoes filled with even more broken glass waiting for you there and they are just the right size!

God, I love writing.  I am not even being sarcastic right now.

So I don’t really have a timeframe for when the sequel will emerge bloody and howling into the world, but it will be sometime in 2015, and hopefully it won’t be as terrible as it is now, but even if it is, I will still win the award for Most Hours Spent Laying on the Floor Hating Life while I worked on it, and that is a fairly coveted prize in the writing community.

As for those who have been asking about movie stuff, I can’t say much yet, except that yes, that is a thing that happens sometimes with books, but also that it’s a long journey with lots of gateways and that most of those gates are locked, so while making it through one gate is exciting, it’s not a guarantee that any other gate will be opened–much like selling a book.  Barry Lyga has an excellent post about that very thing.  I will tell the world about any Developments as soon as any Developments are made official…

In the meantime, I would also like to extend an invitation for you to follow me on tumblr since I’m so rarely here or on Twitter.  Apologies in advance for swear words, nerdy crap, politics and gifs of thirtysomething British actors.

Jan 23 2014

Come See Me!

So Landry Park is coming out soon.  Like actual soon, not just I’m going to make surveillance reforms as soon as Congress helps soon or the next DMV agent will be with you shortly soon.  This is like proper soon.  Less than two weeks soon.  I’m feeling jittery about this, but I think it’s the good jittery.  I’m not sure.

But to help with the good jitters, my fellow librarians are hosting me at the Central Resource Library in Overland Park, KS on the day on Landry Park’s release, Tuesday, February 4th.  Event details can be found here.  I have already promised to wear real pants and not sweatpants, and I will also try not to ramble about scotch and Tom Hiddleston and other hobbies of mine.  So you should come and stuff.




Jun 27 2013

My Book Has a Face! My Book Has a Face!

guess what

guess what

guess. what.


landry park cover

I know.  I KNOW.

See, here’s the thing.  Here’s the gritty, God’s-honest-truth thing.  I was nervous about the cover.  I was nervous because, before I even sold my book, I’d heard the horror stories about publishers designing less-than covers.  I was nervous because I’ve spent several years in the library world, and I have seen the world’s worst covers…from the copycat to the banal to the cheesy to the holy-s***-they-put-Comic-Sans-on-a-cover.  I was also told that, as an author, my tiny plaintive cries would be ignored, drowned out by the cogs of Big Publishing.  And you know what, it happens sometimes.  Clearly.  (Enjoy this gem I found hanging out on my mystery display at the library.) Maybe it even happens often.

But not this time.  Not with this book.

Dial has an amazing team, all around, and Landry Park has a fantabulous champion in the inimitable Nancy Conescu (aka Editor Lady) who makes the magic happen and just plain gets the book.  She not only gets it, but sees what it could be, how much better it could be, and has helped me carve and tone and add and make it a better, much stronger story.  You know what’s extra awesome?  She kept me in the loop through the whole cover process.  She told me about the concepts, the photographer, even The Dress.

And when I saw the finished thing?  I fell immediately in love.

Immediately.  Like when I first held my newborn children or when I first tasted Tank 7 beer or when I first saw Michael Fassbender play Edward Rochester.

It’s the perfect synthesis of science fiction and romance.  It’s the perfect representation of the “future historical” atmosphere I was trying to achieve.  The girl is delicate and lonely-looking, but proud.  Upright.  The estate is exactly how it’s described in the book–three stories, gray stone, wide lawns.  The cover is suffused with blue light, the same Cherenkov light that suffuses the novel itself.  It speaks to content, it speaks to atmosphere and above all, it’s striking.

So I am very very happy.

RT was kind enough to host the reveal, which made me super excited because I adore RT.  It’s one of the few genre blogs that I faithfully follow as a librarian, PLUS the annual RT convention is the funnest, loudest, friendliest convention in the world.

Here’s something else that blew my mind: Landry Park is on Amazon.  Now, I know Amazon isn’t the arbiter of all things literary, and they are certainly not the sole gateway for getting books (a shout-out here to my local indie Mysteryscape, and the library [obvs.])  But seeing my book in an actual marketplace is kind of mind-boggling in a good–if surreal–way.

So that was my day!  I spent last night covered in old adhesive, breathing in solvent fumes and living out my childhood fantasy of being an archeologist while I picked adhesive out of 217 (actual number, btw) screw heads with an X-Acto knife.  Then I spent the morning at karate, and the rest of my day being a librariador.  Tonight, I’ll go home after work, snuggle the kids for a bit, and then watch MST3K with my hot cop husband.

And I’m doing all this with a book that has a face now.

Nov 9 2012

The Steep, Uneven Steps of Editing

So, this spring, I sold my book.  Yay!  Yay!  Skip ahead to dreaming of covers and blurbs, right?

Well, apparently there is this little in between step from selling your book to seeing your book in print.  Editing.  I had heard of it, yes.  I had edited on my own and with my agent.  But this was something newer and harder and ultimately better…and with considerably more wine involved.

Step one: Editorial Letter.  These seem to vary depending on your editor, but my Editor Lady writes hers almost like a lit analysis paper.  She starts off with encouragement (which I refer back to frequently over the next eight pages), and then lays out possible issues and concerns with possible solutions.

Step two: Wine.

Step three: Wine with Critique Partners.  This is where they pat you on the back and remind of all the places in the letter where Editor Lady says good things.  You don’t believe them and tearfully make plans to return your advance.  They give you more wine.

Step four: Look at Letter Again (still with wine.)  This time, with a clearer head, you can actually see that it isn’t the end of the world.  Actually, it may even be doable.

Step five: Make List of Things to Do (and rank in order from: infinitesimal to I-might-shoot-my-laptop-with-a-rifle.)  So, Editor Lady is like, the best editor ever, and creates the most organized editorial letter known to man, so most of my list work is done for me.  But I still like to rank them in order of their scope.  So:

1. Madeline’s Character Arc

2. Her relationship with David

3. Her relationship with Cara

all the way down to

12. Change her necklace

13. Add the cat into more scenes

This is also best done with wine.

Step six: Work through the list in whatever way works best.  For example, when I did my revise and resubmit with Agent Lady, I worked my way through the list from bottom to top.  With these edits, I followed one line of revision–say Madeline and Cara’s relationship–and fixed it all the way through the manuscript, and then went back and followed another thread all the way through.  By the way, get used to track changes in MS Word.

Step seven: Review and turn back in.

Step eight: MOAR EDITS.  This round, I got a much shorter letter, only a page or two.  Editorial Letter Lite.  There’s less need for wine this time, as these tended to be much smaller scale.  These edits, I just went through manuscript and tackled all of them chronologically as they came up in the story.

Step nine: Review and turn back in.  EVEN MOAR EDITS.  These are called line edits, and they are very small scale.  Rather than an editorial letter, I just got a comment or two in the email with the document, and then comments within the manuscript.  This is where smaller things pop up, like, “Would this character really say this like that?” “You’ve used the word ‘concupiscence’ five times in the last page.  Consider changing?”  This needs even less wine.

Step 10: STILL EVEN MOAR EDITS OH THE HUMANITY.  Contractions.  Diction.  Unnecessarily verbose passages or redundancy.  Wine levels go back up as you cannot look at your manuscript without swearing and threatening to stab it in the eye.

Step 11: Turn it back in, right in time for a hurricane to shutter Penguin’s office for a week.

So that’s the editing process with Editor Lady.  There will be copy edits and first pass pages later, but for now, Landry Park is in her incomparable and insightful hands and I am drafting book 2.  Which, once again, means I need wine.


Aug 24 2012

I’m over at Presenting Lenore!

And I wax philosophic about dystopian books.

Mar 26 2012

Interview with Caesar Flickerman (and Rachel Simon)

In honor of The Hunger Games, Caesar Flickerman offered to interview me over at Rachel Simon’s blog. Rachel is a writer in Massachusetts and a fellow Animorph lover, so basically she’s awesome all around.

Without further ado:

Mar 9 2012

Triple Huzzah!

Twenty-five-year old librarian Bethany Hagen’s sweeping YA debut, LANDRY PARK, pitched as “Gone with the Nuclear Wind,” to Nancy Conescu at Dial, in a major deal, in a pre-empt, for three books, by Mollie Glick at Foundry Literary + Media (NA).


That’s right — Landry Park is going to be a real book!  When my agent called this week to tell me that someone had made on offer, I almost fainted.  Then I went through the stages of joy — shock; disbelief; repeating the same words over and over; crying while helping patrons figure out how to use their flash drive on the library computers.

After months of hard, slow toil, this has all happened so fast.  Let’s recap:

Monday: Dream Agent emails to say she wants to represent me and my novel.  I do happy jig at the library wearing heels.  Alarmed coworkers remind me that they won’t cover my roving shifts if I break an ankle.

Tuesday/Wednesday: frantic line edits with agent.  Eyes go numb from looking at the screen.

Thursday: Drop contract in the mail, more frantic edits.

Friday: Finish edits, write short bio, send picture, polish series overview aaaaannnnnd OFF TO THE EDITORS.

Weekend: Try to not obsessively research every editor and imprint.

Monday: Offer!  Heart attack.


So yes, I will be published.  Tentatively, it looks like fall of next year.  I couldn’t be more excited.  My editor called after everything was finalized just to tell me how excited she was that we’d be working together.  Isn’t that incredible?  And the Penguin Young Reader’s Group is INSANELY good.  How good?

Beth Revis is a Penguin author.  So is Ally Condie.  And Marie Lu.  And John Green.


Mar 9 2012

The Lucky 7 Meme

Tristina Wright tagged me for the Lucky 7 Meme.  Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they’re written–no cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers
5. Let them know

Alright–here it goes.  Seven lines from Landry Park:


Ewan pulled a wrapped package out of his pocket and handed it to me.

“I can’t take that.”

“It’s not radioactive, I promise. Just got it from the ration station before the


“No, not that. I meant I couldn’t take it because it’s yours. Your food. I

can’t take that knowing—” I stopped. It seemed rude to imply directly to a

Rootless that I knew they were starving.


Melissa Lytton

Angela Parkhurst

Lisa Otto

Melissa Brady King

Katie Ernst

Michelle Bruhn

Melissa Hurst


Your turn!


Mar 1 2012




I have an agent!

And yes, it is the Dream Agent I did the Revise and Resubmit for.

While I wouldn’t recommend an R&R as way to maintain sanity, I’m beyond grateful that it worked out.  Mollie Glick of Foundry Media liked my revision enough to offer to represent me, and I — duh — said yes!  I first heard of Mollie when she flew out to Kansas City to convince Gennifer Albin to choose her as an agent.  It was so above and beyond anything I’ve ever heard of an agent doing, that I decided whenever I was ready to query, that lady was going to be at the top of my list.  And when she asked for an R&R, I decided that I would do it for a couple reasons: number one, her insights for revision would make Landry Park a better book, and number two, I knew that if she was willing to invest that much energy into talking with me about the book, then she would invest a ton more if she ever represented me.

So, yes.  I have an agent and (fingers crossed) submissions will happen soon.  Hopefully within a few months, Professor Farnsworth will have more news to announce to you all.

Jan 17 2012

Book update

My baby nuclear Frankenstein has been returned to me by Professor Lupin and Professor McGonagall, and I’m ready to rock and roll on some final revisions before I send it back to the agent who requested the revise and resubmit.  (*proverbial fingers crossed*)

Revisions are a funny thing.  In that they’re not that funny at all actually, and they end up taking more time and angst than the actual writing of the thing did.  This novel has been through so many incarnations, so many slash-and-burn rewrites, that when Professor McGonagall was like, “I think you should add a few things,” which would be another week or two’s worth of work, I was relieved.

Only add?  Only another week or two?

That’s nothing.  After these last three years wrestling with Landry Park’s severe labor dystocia, I can handle that.

I think.