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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Starting the New Year with - A Book Deal!

So here it is, the reason this blog was created, back when I sent my very first queries into the world. Today it's all official. The word has gone out into the ether where Official Words live, and so now I can share it here, too!

My debut middle grade novel, The Star Thief, is scheduled for publication by Little, Brown, in Spring 2017!






Ben Lewandowski
Deirdre Jones at Little, Brown has acquired debut author Lindsey Becker'sThe Star Thief, a middle grade fantasy adventure in which an orphaned girl is caught in the crossfire of a feud between a master of mythical constellations and the captain of a spectacular flying steamship – and doesn't know whose side to join. Publication is slated for spring 2017; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.


 And if that wasn't awesome enough, the deal was finished by my fabulous agent Natalie Lakosil, while she was in labor with her first baby! That's dedication!

I'm now working with my editor, the brilliant Deirdre Jones, on the process of turning a manuscript into a book.

 More news to follow, of course. For now, it's back to the very glamorous work of revising, more revising, and then a little revision to cap off all the revising.

Cheers to a happy 2016, and a million thanks to everyone who's helped along the way!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In Which I Have Not Written The Wrong Year On Anything - Yet

Five days in, and I have remembered that it is a new year every one of them.
Probably the first time in my adult life that has happened.
This is the place for the obligatory end of the year wrap-up, and new year goal setting, so let's knock them out in one post, yeah?
Last year, I did not read as many books as I wanted to. I did not write as much new material as I wanted to. I definitely did not put as many miles on the running shoes as I did in '14.
I did make some fantastic progress on my writing that already existed.
I also spent much of the year with the company of my husband and little son, as both of the gainfully employed adults here are now working from home. I have to say, I love it. We might be turning into a collection of hermits, but we're happy little hermits, for the most part.
We also got ourselves a shiny old dog. I highly recommend. He gets us out of the house and onto our feet every few hours, adds extra warmth to all snuggly locations during cold winter times, and dutifully alerts us to any knocks and doorbells, even if they are coming from the television or computer, because you just never know.
Goals for the coming year include Finishing Many Started Writing Projects, breaking in my brand new running shoes, refinishing a few pieces of old furniture (for which I have all of the supplies, but none of the motivation...)
I've already read 2 & 3/4 books. So just, keep that up.
And that's about it. Things are going well over here. It would be lovely to have another year just like the last one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Hardest Left Turn a Series Ever Took





Long ago, I was a horse crazy kid living in the suburbs, where horses were scarce, but books were abundant. I don't remember the exact moment I met The Black Stallion, but I know that somewhere between the end of the 80s and the first few years of the 90s, I read all 21 books in the collected stallion-related series by one Walter Farley, with help of his son Steven to finish the final installment. And I adored every one of them. 

The first book deals with the titular stallion being stranded on a desert island, along with the only other survivor of a shipwreck, Alec Ramsey. Together they learn to survive, form a lifelong bond of friendship, and are eventually rescued and brought back to live in the suburbs of 1940s era New York, where the horse is discovered by a retired thoroughbred trainer named Henry Daily, trained up as a proper racehorse, and entered in a match race against the fictional racing stars Sun Raider and Cyclone. (Probably a take on the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral, which took place just three years before The Black Stallion was published.) Spoilers - The Black Stallions wins. 

It's a fantastic story, later adapted into one of the most beautiful films ever made, staring Kelly Reno as a much younger than the book version, but brilliantly cast Alec, Mickey Rooney as Henry, and Teri Garr, who I absolutely adore. With cinematography by Caleb Deschanel (yep. Zooey and Emily's dad.). Again, a great story, with distinctly fantastical elements. 

The Black Stallion was followed up by 20 more installments in the series, mostly about The Black and a select few of his offspring, his sons Satan and Bonfire, and his daughter Black Minx, all, of course, following in their great sire's hoof prints and becoming world champion race horses. There is some broad artistic license throughout the series, starting with the Black's first son being trained as a racehorse, and entered in the Triple Crown (which he wins, off stage. A bold move for Farley, considering that at the time of writing and publication, thoroughbred racing was in the throes of the second longest dry spell between Triple Crown winners since the 37 years separating Affirmed and this year's American Pharoah.) Black Minx then goes on to win the Kentucky Derby. 

You can't do that in real life. Maybe The Black would be allowed special exception to enter the one off match race, but to enter any of the traditional stakes races, including the Triple Crown, your horse is going to have to be a Jockey Club registered Thoroughbred, which The Black and any of his potential foals would simply never be. Not to mention Bonfire, the who is a harness racer in the series, which is, again, an entirely different breed, with very specific skills and traits. 

But this is all curmudgeonly nit picking of the pickiest of nits. This is a fictional series about racehorses, after all. Readers want to read about champions wining races.  Some smudging of the boundaries of reality makes it all the more fun, even into the sort-of companion series about The Island Stallion. 

In The Island Stallion, Farley reworks the same basic elements of his first novel - boy, horse, hidden island - but instead of leaving, all the action takes place on the island itself. A kid named Steve finds a band of wild horses, descended from abandoned steeds of the Spanish Conquistadors, on a supposedly desolate rock of an island. And that's about it. He names the chestnut stallion on the island Flame, and he tames the horse just enough to ride him around inside the confines of the natural stone fortress that the horses call home. A little bit more fantasy, and 0 horse racing. Fine. Eventually, the reader assumes, Flame is going to become some sort of racing champion as well, and indeed that does happen, because 


- wait for it - 






Yeah. I'm absolutely not kidding. 
In The Island Stallion Races, published in 1955, aliens visit earth. Aliens who are so obsessed with horse racing that they offer to whisk Steve and Flame away to Cuba to participate in an international competition against the best race horses in the world. Aliens who dress like Nathan Detroit from Guys and Dolls, no less. There is a scene where the horse is loaded onto a spaceship, and flown across the ocean to an international race track.  

All the corners cut in the earlier tales of Farley's fictional horse racing dynasty are instantly erased by freaking ALIENS showing up to help some kid take some horse to some race in CUBA. If you're going to take a risk, why not? They'll read it. I did. I bought a copy, which still sits on a shelf above my desk, because I love that series, even with the bizarro  alien horse racing element tossed so casually in. The very best part? If you read the copy on the back of the book, there is absolutely nothing so much as hinting at the insanity within. All that's mentioned on the cover copy is that Flame is going to race, and that's going to be dangerous, with him being an untamed wild stallion and all. The Aliens come screaming out of left field in the first 50 pages of the book. And... that's it. They take Steve and Flame to race. Flame wins race. Flame goes home. Steve shrugs and pouts about his horse being faster than the legendary black stallion, racing up north in the US. Yes, The Black exists in this world, and one day goes on to meet Flame both on his island home, and later on the track in a legitimate race. 

So the next time you watch the movie, or just see the majestic image of the Black galloping down the beach, just remember that somewhere else in that same world, aliens are traveling to the Caribbean Sea to find Earth's Best Racehorse. 

Actually, this is mildly disappointing, now that I think about it. Why wasn't there an intergalactic horse race for Flame to win? Why stop at racing the Black, when he could be pitted against the fastest horses IN THE GALAXY???

 
Somewhere out there, is a true match for Flame, the magnificent Island Stallion*.

*this is still a book about horse racing.
So, what about you? Ever read something that was just completely bonkers, based on the cannon of the series up to that point? 






Thursday, October 22, 2015

Old Dog, New Tricks, and Titles.

So, Otis is officially the Best Dog Ever. 
He highly recommends you consider adopting an older dog. They come with all Good Dog Software already installed. 
 Housebroken? check. Socialized? check. Gets along with household felines? check. Likes kids? check. Good manners when walking on a leash? check. Knows how to give high fives? check. Seriously, just bring him home and you have an Instant Best Friend, no additional hardware required.
Here he is being all cute and relaxing on his blanket after a visit to the dog park.

"You are not currently petting Otis, or feeding him treats.
Let's try to work on that." 

After a few months with us, he's very settled in. When he first arrived, he had a bit of anxiety during thunderstorms, but now even that seems to be relaxing. A few days ago we had a rather loud afternoon storm, and he just hung out on the couch, instead of trying to cram himself under my desk as he had on previous occasions. 

The one thing he hasn't been very helpful with is picking out a title for my manuscript. 
That is one of the most aggravating parts of writing, I find. 
I walk through the book store reading spine after spine, thinking, "Wow, that's brilliant." and then I get back to my own project. I stare at my list of potential titles. And they are all somehow, in their own ways, completely terrible. 
I was never especially intimidated by queries - condensing my manuscript down into a little less than a page is one thing. Coming up with five words or less that can grab a potential reader and make them want to read the jacket, or better yet, open to page one? Eeek. 

So that's where I am in the writing world, fellow scribes. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Equinox is as Good a Time as Any

Summer is officially over. Dare I say, yay? I am an autumn person. A winter person, even. I'll take spring in a pinch, but summer. Ugh. I don't like heat, I don't like blazing sun. I don't like the sound of lawn care equipment raging through my neighborhood from dawn till dusk seven days a week.

Today summer is officially over.
Now we get to put extra blankets on our beds, snuggle without sticking together, drink hot coffee outdoors, have peace and quiet while the children are off at school. And pumpkin flavored everything. Basically all that's good and right with the world.
This summer was, as always, very eventful and over in a flash.
To condense the accounts to a reasonable size,
I've been hard at work on a top secret project* which will hopefully be revealed to the world very soon.
Mr. Cate worked on almost a dozen films, from short to feature length, that are heading out into the festival circuit, and one television pilot that looks fantastic. Next year looks to be even busier for him.
We lost a dear old friend, Lola the cat. She was with us from the beginning, when it was just me and Mr. Cate and one rascally cat in a little apartment in the city. That was nearly 16 years ago. She had a great run, and was a tough old bird to the end, but we had to see her off onto her next adventure in early August. She will always be missed, and always be remembered as a bright spot in our lives.

We also brought a new friend home to join the family, our very first official Cate family dog.
Meet Otis.




He's an older fellow, a little bit of greyhound, a little bit of lab, and something else probably too, something that loves to track and dig, based on his favorite outdoor activities.
He's spent the last few months with us now, sleeping on our sofas and beds, riding around with us in the car, enjoying snacks and walks in the neighborhood, and basically being the cutest, sweetest dog that ever was.
My apologies for the grainy photo. His propensity to come trotting right up to you whenever you look at him, combined with my inability to frame a shot has made me as good a dog photographer as I am a cat photographer. Which is, terrible. It was sheer luck that he sat still long enough for this picture.
We'll practice. We'll get there.


*Top secret project hint. A while ago I decided that if I ever sold a book, I would get a dog... to be continued :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Ever Book Cover Reveal! (Seriously, check this one out!)

Now this is an exciting day for me! 
Today I have the pleasure and privilege of helping host the cover reveal for Pat Edsen's forthcoming New Adult novel, A Hold On Me. I had a chance to sneak a peak at parts of this manuscript already, and I am so, so ready to read the whole book, as soon as I can get my greedy little hands on it. 
For now, we can all bask in the glory of this absolutely gorgeous cover  -  






That is just ridiculously cool. And now you have to know more, right? 
Here's the pertinents - 


A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart Book #1) by Pat Esden

Kensington Books
Release date: March 2016



She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue—until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine—and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support—Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings—and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…


Now would be the time to mark your calendars, because this gorgeous adventure will be out in March, which, as we all know, will be here before you know it! 


Click here to add A HOLD ON ME on Goodreads: 


 Or better yet,  go ahead and pre-order from your particular book source of choice 

  
Amazon  

B&N  



PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

GIVEAWAY!

Check out the fantastic giveaway on Pat’s Facebook page. Chances to win an Alex and Ani Path Of Life Heart Charm Bangle, or Amazon gift certificates.  Easy to enter! https://www.facebook.com/PatEsdenAuthor

And here are all the other ways to keep in touch with Pat while we wait for the day we can curl up with A Hold On Me, and then immediately get anxious for book #2 -


TWITTER: @patesden





Congratulations Pat!! I'm so thrilled for you!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Halfway Point of 2015 - Already

We've reached the halfway point. There are less days left in the year than we've already spent here. The last six months of every year seems to move a little bit faster for me. 
But so far, it's been a tremendous year here. 

Mr. Cate has been working on long list of film projects, some of which are starting to finally wrap up, and adding new ones every day, it seems. Everything looks very promising there, so far. 

I have writing related news which I cannot share yet, but it's been well, well worth the wait on this wandering journey of mine. 

Our 17 year old cat looked like she was getting ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, but somehow, after suffering a stroke, dental surgery, and going partially blind, she is still with us, and looking better than ever. She's become much more sociable and friendly in her golden years, and we'd love to have her around to celebrate the big 18 in six more months. (and 19, 20, 21... she can stick around forever, if she likes) 

We had, for the first time in my lifetime, a Triple Crown winner this past weekend. It was every bit as thrilling to see as I had hoped, every year that I've watched since I could remember. 

I've kept up with my list of films and books so far for the year pretty well. I wanted to have finished a bit more reading by this point, but I've had to prioritize writing time over reading time while my current project demands it. I should have the current revision done by the beginning of July, which means time for a break, and maybe a week of just me and some new books. 


And now, back to the manuscript. 
How about your year so far? Going well? Not so much? There's always time to turn it around :) 

Film Count 2015 : 118
Watched this week:
(*not first viewing)

Spun
The Words
50 Shades of Grey
Kiss of Death
The Shawshank Redemption*
Shopgirl
Big Eyes
Blade Runner
Monsters University
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Him
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Her
Snake Eyes
Before I Disappear
Winter Passing
Kiki's Delivery Service
The Blues Brothers*
The Others*
Welcome to the Punch
Cop Land
Inglorious Basterds*
Spring Breakers




Things that are technically TV shows even though I only watch them streaming on the computer: 18
New this week:

Nothing.

Books of 2015 : 20
New this week:

Books 2,3 & 4 of Catherynne Valente's Fairyland Series

Things I'm Looking Forward to in 2015 

Jurassic World (taking my kiddo to the ginormous screen for that, obvs) 
Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster