Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Okay, so it took me a couple weeks to get over the shock of signing a book deal for TANGLED TIDES. (One of the coolest moments was the first time I read the contract and it said “Karen Amanda Hooper (hereinafter referred to as "Author")” I mean, I can call myself an author all I want, even declare it on my blog, but a legal contract just made it REAL. I am hereby known as an author. )

Many people have told me I have to post the details of how it happened. I’m not really sure what details I’m supposed to include (it amazes me that anyone—besides my mom and close friends—are interested in ANY details) but I don’t want to let anyone down, so to be safe I will start at the beginning.

This is me at age 2.

I was super happy because I just opened a gift and it was Sea Wees. They were mermaid dolls that each came with a baby or pet sea creature like a seal or penguin. I collected them and played with them in the tub. (Hey, you wanted details. I’m giving ‘em to you.) As you can see, my love for sea creatures started very early.

Then, when I was about 5 or 6 years old, this movie came out.

I wanted to be Madison the mermaid. Every time I climbed into my bathtub I pretended I too had an orange tail that magically appeared. (Hmm, is anyone else noticing a tub theme here?)

There were lots of other mer stories, like how I’d swim around our pool with my legs and feet stuck together trying to pretend I was a graceful mermaid (I have no photos of that and thank goodness because it was anything but graceful.) Our pool even had a waterfall and I pretended that behind the waterfall was a secret gateway to Mermaid Lagoon.

Then of course there was The Little Mermaid. I’m like 19 or 20 in this pic. (And yes, I know, you WISH you had those pants.)

Fast forward to a few years ago, after I had finished writing my first novel, I was walking my dogs with my mom and we came across a neighbor’s sidewalk covered with dead dried-up worms. And I thought, “How sad. They never made it to the other side.” And WHAM! There was my next book idea. (Worms=mermaid story? Yup. I told you, I am a twisted little pixie with a very unique thought process.)

So I wrote the tale. In less than a year. I sent it to my CPs. They asked questions, made comments, and the story became better and my CPs said, “this is it! Agents are going to fight over this.”

In April of 2010, I confidently queried agents. I got LOTS of requests, many compliments, and not one offer. One agent even said, “I know I'll be kicking myself but..." (I’m still not sure what that means but I think it was a positive thing?)

Defeated, and a little depressed, I shelved my sea peeps. And I worked on another story.

Then, in May of this year, a few writer friends all sent me a link to the same USA Today article about mermaids being the next big thing. All of them suggested that I self-publish my story. I figured I must have received the same message from several people for a reason. It was a sign to put it out in the world regardless of the fact that it got so many agent rejections. It’s not like I’d ever query it again, so what did I have to lose?

Andbutso, I emailed two author friends who had self-published stories and I asked them about good sites or blogs they’d recommend for me to learn how to self-publish. They were both amazingly helpful, but one of them, Michelle Davidson Argyle told me to wait. She suggested I submit it to her publisher before I self-pubbed. So I did. Thinking, meh, one more industry rejection won’t kill me.

A couple weeks later, I was at Barnes & Noble on a Saturday night with one of my CPs and another writer friend. We were hanging out in the YA section and I was pointing out any and all mermaid stories when an email chirped through on my phone. It was Rhemalda Publishing. They read my query letter and first 50 pages and they wanted me to send the full to them and their review team. (And yes, of course, we went to the bar next door and had celebratory drinks.) That’s when hope kicked in. But I quickly put it back in check because I had a folder full of rejection letters that said no to the same story they were about to read.

A few weeks later, as I was packing my bags to go to NYC for the RWA conference, I received an email from Rhemalda that said “We enjoyed your story and would like to schedule a time to talk on the phone.” But a time that was mutually convenient for both of us was DAYS away. The scheduled phone time was on a Friday afternoon. The wait was mental torture.

Fast forward to me, standing in line waiting for a cab in NYC, (plans changed and I wasn't alone in a quiet place like I should have been). That’s when and where I heard the words “we love your story and want to publish it” for the first time ever in my life.

(This was me in the cab, calling Mom and Prince Charming to tell them the news.)

I wanted to jump up and down. I wanted to cry tears of joy. A publisher loved my story. MY story. My beloved tale of battling merfolk and selkies who are hot and cold, good and bad, sexy and sinister, and trying to survive in a realm where victory seems impossible and hopeless. (Hmm, sounds kind of familiar.) My sea peeps were going to make it! They were going to be released into the world! By a publisher who believed in them! Even over the hustle and bustle of people and honking cabs in NYC I could hear my merfolk, selkies, sirens, and gorgons, cheering and splashing around in celebration down off the Florida coast.

However, the publisher needed approximately an hour to talk to me. They wanted to go over some things, ask each other questions, and make sure we were the right fit for one another. So we rescheduled for the next day.

RWA ended. I rushed to the airport early, found a non-crowded hallway with an outlet to plug my phone into, sat on the floor with my notepad, and waited for the call. Over an hour later, after a lot of exciting conversation, I had a numb butt and a publisher for my story (which Rhemalda suggested needed a new title and I wholeheartedly agreed).

A few days later, the contract was signed.

A couple days after that, TANGLED TIDES became my book's official title.

On May 31st, I threw out one last lifeline for my story. On July 8th I signed the book deal.

If I can do it, anyone can. The publishing industry is an infinite sea of unpredictability, but as they say in Finding Nemo, we writers have to just keep swimming.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Celebrating My Book Deal With Great Friends

Two of my fabulous CPs are giving away AWESOME books while celebrating my book deal for TANGLED TIDES. (In case you missed that epic news you can read my original announcement here.)

BUT, if you want to win ENTWINED by Heather Dixon visit Natalie Bahm's blog.

If you'd like to win SIREN'S STORM by Lisa Papademetriou, or SWEET VENOM by Tera Lynn Childs visit Alexandra Shostak's blog.

I'm giving away SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA by Terri Farley. (Just leave a comment and be a follower/supporter to win.)

Notice a trend? My YA paranormal/fantasy romance is about mermaids, selkies, gorgons AND sirens (yes, some people think sirens and mermaids are the same thing, but not in my twisted take on the legends!) who get tangled up in some serious underwater drama.

Natalie and Alexandra are giving away books that give a different take on fairytales and legends too! Some even have sea creature peeps! So go enter! And thanks for celebrating with me! xo

(The photo is one of my most favorite artworks ever. Mermaid Tea Party by Jim Warren. I've seen it in person at the Wyland Gallery at Disney World and it's so amazingly beautiful and precious. If Natalie, Alexandra and I were still kids, and mermaids, this is what we look like while we celebrated.)

Monday, July 11, 2011


I am so excited, ecstatic, and a little bit proud to announce that I have a book deal.

(It’s so surreal to type that.)

My YA mermaid/selkie story, Tangled Tides, is going to be published by Rhemalda Publishing.

The print release will be in Spring or early Summer of 2012. Eeeeek!

*huge smile*

(The ebook will be released before then.)

The story of how THE DEAL occurred is full of happenstances, shoves and nudges from the universe, and a bit of help from some good friends. I had actually shelved this MS a year ago after querying it and receiving no agent offers, but that’s a long story that I’ll save for another post.

This post is mainly so that I can SQUEEEEE and show off photos of me signing my FIRST EVER publishing contract. (Really? It’s really real?)

I am so thrilled to be part of the Rhemalda family. It’s filled with such impressive talent and some of the nicest, most helpful, and artistic people I’ve ever met. Whenever I have a conversation with anyone at Rhemalda, or one of their authors, I get the warm and fuzzies. I couldn’t be happier with the way this whole thing has unfolded. Seriously. I’m tickled pink.

So, to sum it up…YAY!!!

My sea creature peeps are going to be released into the world soon! That thought is SO thrilling, and a tad scary. I hope they will be loved—at least by some.

Thanks so much to all of you who have inspired me, encouraged me, and supported me through this journey. There’s so much more excitement ahead and I feel very lucky to be part of such a fabulous community of bloggers, writers, and readers (many of whom have become treasured friends.)

Thank you for celebrating with me! xo

Friday, July 8, 2011


I'm sorry I was so cruel yesterday and teased everyone, but today I can announce one of the two exciting shout-it-from-the-mountaintop pieces of news....

The fabulous Ricki Schultz has an agent!
And not just any agent. She got Poelled.
As in Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency.

As if that isn't cool enough on its own, the coolness continues...
I was THERE, in NYC, at the Irene Goodman Agency, with champagne (and camera) in hand, to witness Ricki sign her contract.

*throws confetti*

The pics are a snapshot of how it all went down, but they could never truly capture the epic awesomeness of the event.
(Ricki pretending to be nervous on the cab ride to the agency)

(Walking into the agency's building in THE DRESS)

(That's where we're going!)

(The actual signing!)


(Me, Ricki, and Cambria celebrating in Barbara's office)

Ricki and Barbara are going to make such a great team.
I can't wait to celebrate Ricki's first book deal!
This picture sums up how excited the dynamic duo are to be partnering together...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Did THAT Just Happen?

Okay, so last week, very last minute, I ended up going to RWA.
Whirlwind of crazy fun and excitement.

THEN, something seriously epic happened and my writer girls and I were all geeked out and celebrating, and dancing around with joy.

But THEN, something else epic happened and we geeked out some more, and I've been dancing around and celebrating ever since.

So, I know you're probably like, "WHAT IS IT? Tell me the news!"

And I will tell you. I promise.
Just not yet.

Stay tuned...

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