GUEST POST: 10 Things Publication Has Taught Me by Brenda St John Brown

Today I get the pleasure of hosting the lovely Brenda St. John Brown, author of the New Adult Contemporary Romance SWIMMING TO TOKYO. Cards on the table, I absolutely adore Brenda, who is charming and funny and a hell of a writer and gal. I had the opportunity to read STT early and y’all. Y’ALL. Listen. Stop. Go pre-order it right now. Trust me on this one, okay? We’re talking gorgeously well-developed characters, killer chemistry, a voice that caught my attention on the first page, and a setting that just — sigh. So so good. You will not regret doing this thing, I promise.
I’ll wait.
Back? Pre-ordered? Awesome. In that case: onward to Brenda!

10 Things Pursuing Publication Has Taught Me
1. Being an author and being a published (or to-be-published, contract-in-hand) author are very different! Writing the story in your head/heart is uplifting, challenging, amazing. Knowing other people are reading it (including, in no particular order, your mother, 5th teacher and random strangers) is terrifying!
2. Twitter is an amazing way to connect with the writing community. Yay! Look how much my writer friends are actually writing while posting pics of cute cats. Yay! Look at my writer friends announcing their new agent/pub deal/movie option.
3. Twitter can make you feel like you’re the ONLY one without agent, pub deal or movie news. When this happens, close your browser, turn off wireless, do what you have to do to re-energize yourself. You are NOT the only one without agent, pub or movie news. It’s just that no one else is tweeting their non-news either.
4. I thought I read my book a lot during the writing process. It’s nothing compared to the number of times I read it during the editing process.
5. Copyeditors are amazing. I am forever in awe of – and in debt to – the copyeditor who turned my wonky grammar into proper English.
6. Self-promotion will probably make your little introvert heart go pitter-patter and not in a good way. BUT think of the stress calories you’re burning while you worry about walking the fine line between too much and not enough promo!
7. Being offline for a whole day – or better yet, a whole weekend – is good for you. Really. When I first started trying to be “out there” more, I was on social media to the point that it felt like a chore instead of an opportunity to interact. Once I scaled back, I enjoyed it a lot more.
8. I’m not really missing much on TV. I have my must-see shows (Who loves Suits? How about Nashville?) but post-kid bedtime is prime writing time.
9. Having an “elevator pitch” for your novel saves you a lot of uncomfortable stammering when people ask you what it’s about. 
10. And people will ask! Everyone – from your neighbour, to your kid’s teacher, to the librarian – will ask what your book is about. It helps to be prepared, although I have found that the deer-in-the-headlights response at least stops them from asking further.
See? Told you she was good people. Also she spells neighbor with a “u” and that’s just the most freaking adorable thing ever. Now, seriously, if you haven’t already: GO GET HER BOOK.
July 28, 2014
From Spencer Hill Contemporary
The rules for swimming are simple:
Rule #1: There is no lifeguard on duty.
Since her mom died three years ago, nineteen-year-old Zosia Easton’s been treading water. Living at home. Community college. Same old Saturday nights. So when her father breaks the news he’s taken a job transfer—and by the way, it means renting out the house that’s been her refuge—a summer in Tokyo feels like it just might be a chance to start swimming again.
Rule #2: Beware of unexpected currents.
Finn O’Leary has spent God knows how many years trying to drown out his past. Juvenile detention. Bad decisions. Worse choices. He’s managed to turn it around – MIT, Dean’s List, a sexier-than-thou body with a smile to match – at least on the surface. When his mom asks him to spend the summer with her, Tokyo seems as good a place as any to float through the summer.
Rule #3: Swim at your own risk.


Brenda St John Brown is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She hasn’t quite adapted to the idea of fireworks in November (despite now being a dual US/UK citizen), but she knows not to call trousers pants and often finds herself saying things are lovely…a word that never crossed her lips until she passed through UK immigration. She writes YA and NA fiction. When she’s not writing, Brenda loves running, reading and traveling, and talking about Greek mythology with her son.


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