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  • Writer's pictureSydney J. Shields

What on going the house of commons?

A lot, actually. A lot is going on.

Updates on THE HONEY WITCH are coming soon, so I'm not going to talk about it in this post. Instead, we'll talk about...everything else!

Happy holidays, friends! I am going out of town to spend the holidays with my family. We're doing a traditional Christmas dinner, courtesy of my British partner who makes the best roast dinner in the world. I got too many sweaters for my dog, but it's okay because she genuinely loves them. I think she has anxiety and the sweaters act like compression vests. Or...maybe she's cold? Either way, she's going to be very excited about her gifts.

I'm trying to do the whole work/life balance thing throughout the holidays...well, actually, that's a massive lie. I am not stopping or slowing at all. I am very lucky to have a boss who WANTS people to take time off and encourages time away from the screen, but I do this thing where I fill all of my spare time with other work. You know, this whole "author" thing. The problem is that writing does not feel like work and I genuinely want to do it all of the time. I feel like I have a lot of people telling me to slow down, but I don't want to!!!! Writing is my favorite thing to do! It's a hobby as much as it is a job.

So, that said, I'm writing so much and I'm loving it. I'm focusing on [redacted], and up next on the priority list is [also redacted actually], but THEN, I'm rewriting my first book! I think most of the people who follow me on tiktok found me through this book because it went viral so many times. There was this strange period where every time I posted a snippet from this book, it just EXPLODED. The problem was that the book was just...too much? It was the very first book I ever attempted to write, and I knew I wanted it to be a series. I made the mistake of info-dumping every little piece of the world in book one, without having a ton of plot to carry it. There was action, but it wasn't a cohesive story. Beyond that, it doesn't really match the brand that I want for myself as an author. I've been rereading it in preparation for this rewrite, and I do have to say that the WRITING ITSELF is...really good. I don't remember writing most of this because it was so long ago, so I feel like I'm actually experiencing my work the way that a new reader would, and I actually like it?!?!??? Normally I am very critical of my own work, and I do see the glaring plot errors of this story, but when it comes to the actual words on the page...damn, they are PRETTY.

Sometimes I wonder how different things would be if I stayed with this story. I sent out 1 query to 1 agent, got a request, and then a rejection. I spiraled. I did send it to maybe 5 other agents after about a month (because at the time, I didn't realize you were supposed to do that???? I thought you picked the agent you wanted, and if they rejected, you needed to start over) but they all rejected. I sent it to some small presses, since less than 10 rejections was apparently enough to kill my dreams of being agented with this book, and I started working on THE HONEY WITCH. Funny story: by the time I got my first offer on THE HONEY WITCH, I still had some open queries for my first book, and I randomly started getting requests??????? I ended up with 5 offers of publication for my first book from small presses, and I still had 1 full out with an agent. I ended up pulling the project because THE HONEY WITCH had so much more interest from agents, and being agented was ultimately what I really wanted.

But now, I'm seeing my first book in a whole new light, and I cannot wait to rewrite this so that the story SINGS. I genuinely think that y'all will absolutely love this book so much more than you would have if I published the old version. Think...victorian-inspired whimsigoth fantasy. Soooooo exciteddddd!!!

I hope you are happy and healthy this holiday season. More exciting updates are coming soon <3

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