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A Tale of One Author, Two Names

Today I'm announcing some very exciting news (well, for me, anyway!).

Children's: Young Adult
Cyn Balog writing as Nichola Reilly's DREAM KINGDOM, set in a future flooded world in which the heroine and her island people must all climb onto a precarious platform at high tide or be swept away and drowned -- or worse, attacked by deadly ocean predators -- and the secrets kept by the ruling class may be the end of their dwindling society, to Annie Stone and Natashya Wilson at Harlequin Teen, in a two-book deal, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Mana gement.

This is big news for me, and makes me probably more proud than any other deal I've made, because last year was really tough on me, personally. I'd written this book many years ago, but it took awhile before it felt ready for the world.  Also, despite being published, which I always thought would make me feel like the Queen Master of the Universe, I still felt like a poser who knew nothing about how to write. There were many times I never thought I'd ever publish again, and I even tried to walk away. But in the end, I realized that if I just need to do what makes me happy, and accept whatever happens after it, good or bad. This is one of the good things.

People have asked why I am writing under a pen name, and there are a number of small reasons that made it the best choice. The biggest of those is that it's a departure from paranormal and supernatural romance. It's post-apocalyptic fantasy, about a girl named Coe who has to overcome enormous odds to save the remaining members of her diminishing society. It is a very odd thing, though, to be writing under a pen name, and so I am sure people may wonder if they call me Cyn or Nichola or what, but hey, just don't call me big fat loser, and I'm good. :)

Also, it will be my very first series. I do not know why I'm so late to the series party... actually, I do. It's hard work. Series writers, you have my kudos! I'm hoping that both books from the series will be released in 2014, so you won't have to wait too long between them, because that drives me crazy, too. Well, I suppose I should just hope that you'll WANT to read the second book. Like I said, writing series = crazy hard. And I have not even really delved too deeply into the second book, yet. I am going to have a busy summer!

Thank you for reading my news. And it would mean a lot to me if you'd follow me on twitter and facebook, where I will be posting more updates about this book (I'm not calling it anything right now because the title is undergoing reconstruction!), Twitter: @NicholaReilly (I'll follow you back), or like my fan page on facebook.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
Congratulations, Cyn! This sounds so good! I can't wait to be able to read it.
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jessica!
Jan. 13th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
Congrats again! I'm still so behind on your previous books but hopefully I'll be caught up by the time this comes out. I followed you on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck with the series!
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks, James! I am so glad you said that because I almost feel like I MUST have one book out a year or else, but I suppose there is enough to read without me sticking to that schedule!!
Jan. 13th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC)
I'm happy to see you posting on LJ again!

I know that there was some llama drama you alluded to earlier last year, but not being familiar with your work, it was all a bit confusing to me. Nevertheless, I am very happy that someone else has figured out that they can be paid for something they love to do and damn the critics!

Remember that there is a difference with being a critic–someone who uses critical thinking skills to point out the flaws of someone else's work with the hope of improving future work–and being a spiteful asshole.

That having been said, I have two points of criticism I would like to offer about the words I have read here.

Firstly, I struggled with the second paragraph, rereading the beginning of that sentence several times. As I read it, the sentence claims that someone called DREAM KINGDOM who belongs to Nichola Reilly is doing the writing. I presume that the sentence was supposed to state that Nichola Reilly is writing a series called Dream Kingdom.

Secondly, your concept sound rather macabre and futile. If I were living in that world, I wouldn't be living in the flood zone. Instead, I'd go as high up as I could and live there. So there has to be some compelling reason to come back down to the flood plane; I assume this will be food if not water itself. Additionally, having to go up and down the mountain every day sounds like work to me. Again, there had better be a damned good reason that I need to go up and down that mountain with the rest of the plebs. It would seem to me that unless this is a group of uneducated people, there should be an economy develop where those with means pay those without to deal with high tide either as engineers building a sustainable living environment or as gathers of raw goods i.e. food, water, lumber, etc. Those with means would pay to live above the tide.

But that's just how my brain works and largely the reason why I don't consume fantasy or post-apocalyptical genre entertainment.

I also offer a piece of encouragement.

I think it's fantastic that you're branching out under a pseudonym. I think it's more accurate to state that what you are doing is creating a new brand. You as a person now own two subsidiaries: the artist formerly know as Cyn Balog and now Nichola Reilly. Unless you gain a huge following under one of those brands, I would encourage you to continue this business model of creating pen names for each genre you want to work in.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you get paid for your work and that you can continue to be profitable. If that means releasing all of your work under one name, fantastic! There have certainly been authors who have tried genres outside of their comfort zone and put the same name to both categories of work. As Dean Wesley Smith has said in his Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, you own a magic bakery. By creating more content, you've created more pies for your magic bakery. Good for you!

In addition to reading Sacred Cows I would also encourage you to check out Horace Dediu's take on brands, which he explains in Genericized Trademarks, the seventh episode in his podcast The Critical Path.
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I am happy to be back! Actually, I never left, I just rarely have anything interesting to say!!

The blurb for PM is written by other people. I just nod and smile when it is released. As for the concept being macabre and futile, you are right... it has basically boiled down to the very end of civilization where there ARE no safe places to live--it's survival of the fittest. But my brain works in odd ways, too, so it might make no sense to anyone but me!

And thank you for that encouragement-- love that idea of a magic bakery. I do enjoy trying out different genres, and I also find it very interesting when a book I wrote long ago seems to suddenly get legs. It is a very interesting business, this... you really never know what will work out, or when it might happen.
Feb. 24th, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
I am happy to be back! Actually, I never left
I have a bit of a confession to make: I got out of the habit of checking my FL almost a year ago. So on the one hand, I hadn't noticed the absence. On the other, now that you mention it, I hadn't seen your blog on my FL the few times I did check.

A phrase popped into my head years ago: "bloggers come, bloggers go." It can be hard to see a particular blogger quit blogging, but it happens. And we have to grieve for that loss, just like one would grieve for a beloved family member or close friend.

I just rarely have anything interesting to say!
To which I must respectfully reply HORSESHIT! A published author that does have anything interesting to say is a bit like a salesman with no product to sell. Are the books you've been flogging on this blog subtly disguised tech manuals? That's the only way I can square your statement with your actions.

The blurb for PM is written by other people. I just nod and smile when it is released.
Not to beat a dead horse, but isn't it a bit ironic that the very people who are trying to sell the words of someone else by using words can't effectively use words? But who are we plebs to question the Mad Men, eh? The mind boggles.

it has basically boiled down to the very end of civilization where there ARE no safe places to live--it's survival of the fittest.
That sounds exhausting, much like Nihilism to The Dude.

If it's survival of the fittest, does this mean that there will be one man/woman/couple left standing? I'm having flashes of The Hunger Games in my mind's eye.

But my brain works in odd ways, too, so it might make no sense to anyone but me!
In the prolog of his book The Total Film-maker, Jerry Lewis talks about what it takes to make film. I think you could change the words as appropriately and his quote would apply to anything–in this case, writing:

Where do you start? There's no Monopoly board. No Start. Do Not Pass Go. I think you start our by just being there and being curios and having the driver to make films.

More important: make film, shoot film, run film.
Do Something.
Make film. Shoot anything.
It does not have to be sound.
It does not have to be titled.
It does not have to be color.
There is no have to. Just do.
And show it to somebody. If it is an audience of one, do and show then try it again.
That is how.
It sounds simple.
It's not. Then again, it is.

Lest you become codependent, he also had this to say:

I want to make a piece of crap. If it is a piece of crap, let it be mine. Don't add and join. My crap and your crap do not meld. Let mine be good crap by itself.

The thing that most aspiring authors don't know that they need to know is that getting published–whether self or New York–is a business. You have to think like a business. So you can't just be some starry-eyed liberal arts dreamer. You have to be a worker. All that boring, repulsive, repugnant accounting bullshit? Kenny Rogers summed it up best in his song The Gambler:

You got to know when hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run

Good luck with your new magic pie.
Jan. 13th, 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
Excellent news, and well-deserved. Congratulations, Cyn :)
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jon!
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
That sounds awesome! I want to read it! I love post-apocalypse.
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Lauren! I hope so. The more I read it the more I wonder if it sounds totally ridiculous. Haha.
Jan. 15th, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)
If you think about it, all post-apocalyptic kind of is... But in a good way! I mean, have you read The Maze Runner? Ridiculous and crazy, but awesome.
Jan. 15th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)
You are totally right. That was ridiculous, but I still loved it. Thanks for the encouragement!
Jan. 13th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
That is awesome, Cyn! I love the sound of this world you've created. :)
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Deena!
Jan. 13th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
This is SO exciting! Congratulations!
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Aunt Jay!
Jan. 14th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Huge congrats, Cyn! I'm off to follow Nichola on twitter :)
Jan. 15th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much Tessa! I followed you back!
Jan. 14th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
Sounds great! Congratulations!! I've heard wonderful things about Harlequin Teen.
Jan. 15th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much Lisa! I have really enjoyed their books so far, so I am looking forward to working with them.
Feb. 24th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
I just had a funny little thought pop into my head:

Your handle here is cyn2write. Did it ever occur to you that, phonetically, your handle is sin to write?

Was the choice of your nick intended to be a not-so-subtle pun? Does your writing produce feelings of guilt or shame?
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )