Thursday, 2 June 2016

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Shadow (The Romany Outcasts #2) by Christi J. Whitney


Find the tour schedule here.








Shadow (The Romany Outcasts #2) by Christi J. Whitney

Release Date: June 2, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager





The second volume in this incredible YA trilogy.



Sebastian Grey used to be a normal teenager.



Now he’s become a creature whose sole purpose is to act as guardian for secretive gypsy clans.



When the Romany gypsies claim Sebastian as their guardian, he is given a second chance to protect Josephine Romany, the girl he thought he might never see again.



But Sebastian is having his own problems. His transformation is still ongoing, and not everyone trusts the new gargoyle within their clan.



Then a tragedy pushes him to make choices to fulfil his duty, choices that might cost him everything.








Purchase Links:








Other Books in the Series:



 

Can you still love with a heart of stone?
 
Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.
 
But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems. There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies – and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own. The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.

Even if that means life might never be normal again.






Purchase links: 




 










My Publishing Journey


People often ask me how I ended up getting published, and my answer is always a long one! But the truth is, I love talking about my publication story because it’s been one of the most heart-wrenching, frustrating, and wonderful experiences of my life.

As a kid, I wrote stories all the time. I adored participating in the Young Authors Fair at school, and I even asked for a typewriter (yeah, I’m old) for my twelfth birthday so I could write more efficiently. But as I got into high school, my interest turned to theatre, and I went on to pursue an English and theatre degree in college. I took a job as a high school drama teacher, and my stories were left buried in boxes.

Fast forward ten years or so. 

I got the idea for Grey during the winter holiday break in 2008. When I came back to school, I ended up sharing the idea, along with some sample pages I’d written, to a few of my students. The immediately insisted I write the whole story, and they even offered to read and critique it for me. With their encouragement, I finished the novel in a few months and set out to find a publisher.

It would be the longest road I’d ever traveled.

Looking back, I realize that I had no idea what I was doing. I had some talent for writing, but I didn’t really know how to craft a YA novel. I didn’t have a critique group, apart from my students, and I wasn’t part of any organization that taught me how to hone my skills. I also didn’t know the first thing about query letters, agents, or publishers.

As the rejections piled up, though, I grew as a writer. I joined SCBWI (The Society for Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators), and I also found a fantastic critique group (we still meet every month). Grey went through several revisions and became much stronger.

Still, the rejections kept coming – both from publishers and agents. I worked on query letters and did more research. I got lots of fresh eyes on my novel and made it even better. More rejections. Every once in a while, I would get a bite – an agent who wanted to see my full manuscript or who loved my concept or writing style. But ultimately, they would pass. Somewhere around rejection 120 or so, I finally got the email I’d be dreaming about. An agent loved my novel and wanted to see if I’d be interested in doing a full revision. I agreed. Several months later, I landed my first agent.

It was a glorious time, revising and getting Grey ready for big publishers. The agency loved my work, and they were confident it would sell quickly. It never did. Two rounds of submissions went by. I received glowing compliments from editors who really loved Grey, but ultimately, no one was willing to take it on. At one point, a film agent got hold of my manuscript and fell in love with it as well. He took it around to Hollywood producers, and I had several conference calls with producers in LA. But without a book deal, they were hesitant to take it on.

Finally, my agent admitted she just didn’t know how to sell my kind of story, and we parted ways. All of a sudden, I found myself back at ground zero. I’d come so close, so many times, only to fall all the way to the bottom. But I refused to give up. I’d gotten too many wonderful notes and feedback from editors and publishers. I knew my story had something to offer, and I wasn’t going to let it go.

I began the process of submitting to agents and publishers again, continuing to acquire more rejections. (I think I lost count around 160). I had a very close call with another publisher, who ultimately passed. By this time, I’d written two other books and was in the process of editing and revising them. I knew many authors never sold their first books, but I just couldn’t put Grey aside yet. So while I continued to work on new projects, I kept Grey on the backburner.

Enter HarperVoyager.

HarperVoyager is the global science fiction and fantasy imprint of HarperCollins. They publish some of the most amazing talent in the sci-fi/fantasy realm, including George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb. I stumbled upon their website one day and read an announcement that changed the course of my publishing journey. HarperVoyager was opening its doors for two weeks in an open submissions call for un-agented authors. I’d been trying to find a home for Grey for about three years at this point, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I submitted and then put all thoughts of it aside. I started submitted another project I’d completed and kept writing new stuff. Eighteen months after I sent Grey in to HarperVoyager, I received a phone call from the editor of the UK branch of the publisher. My manuscript had been chosen out of nearly 5,000 submissions, and I still find myself grinning every time I think about the whole experience. It took another two years before publication, but it was worth the wait. Because of that open submissions call, I now have a three-book deal and a new agent, and I’ve gotten to work with the wonderful people at HarperVoyager.

So, the moral of the story is, don’t give up. If writing is your passion, stick with it. Educate yourself, find conferences to attend, get involved with a critique group, and keep at it. It’s the most challenging career I’ve ever had, but it’s so worth it.









About the Author



Christi J. Whitney is the author of The Romany Outcasts Series (HarperCollins/HarperVoyagerUK).

She's a former high school theatre director with a love for the dramatic. Christi lives just outside of Atlanta with her husband and two sons.

When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she is usually directing plays, geeking out over Doctor Who, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, watching superhero movies, or pretending she's a tad bit British.

Connect with her on Twitter @ChristiWhitney















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