Tracy Banghart

Tracy Banghart's books on Goodreads

Rebel Wing Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
reviews: 118
ratings: 199 (avg rating 4.18)

By Blood By Blood (By Blood, #1)
reviews: 50
ratings: 88 (avg rating 3.97)

Moon Child Moon Child (Prequel to By Blood)
reviews: 27
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.86)

Storm Fall Storm Fall (Rebel Wing, #2)
reviews: 27
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.22)

What the Sea Wants What the Sea Wants
reviews: 5
ratings: 20 (avg rating 3.10)

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    Entries in writing (28)

    Thursday
    May012014

    Spreading the luck

    So, lots of super cool stuff's been going on lately. :-D <----- that's an approximation of the big, dumb goofy grin I can't seem to wipe off my face.

    Sort of looks like this.... 

    (Okay, no it doesn't. But wouldn't we all rather see Benedict Cumberbatch's adorable face? The answer is yes. The answer is always yes.)

    Funny enough, I've also been finding TONS of four-leaf clovers. Like, every time I go outside to play with the lil' guy, I'll find a few. Not one. SEVERAL. One day I found ten! Maybe this overabundance is the reason for my wonderful luck lately. Maybe I just have freakish, deformed patches of clover. Either way, I would love to pass along a little of my luck to you. Because you are awesome and deserve it. I can tell.

    Enter below to win one of three signed paperbacks of Shattered Veil, complete with a lucky four-leaf clover (or two!) pressed into its pages. If you already own SV, I'll send you a signed By Blood, Moon Child or What the Sea Wants - your choice. Maybe this is super cheesy, but I've been so happy and excited lately, I really want to spread the love. I would hate for all these lovely, lucky four-leaf clovers to go to waste!

    Open US + INTL (limit 1 intl winner)

    You can also click the link at the top of this page to enter the Goodreads contest for a signed Shattered Veil (no lucky clover with those, though).

    Also....have you seen THIS???

    O_O 

    Yeah....things are getting pretty surreal over here. :-D (Uh oh. Goofy grin is back)

    Hope you have a wonderful day! And good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday
    Apr142014

    Writing Process Blog Tour

    My good friend and crit partner Laurie J. Edwards asked if I wanted to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour, which is actually a really cool version of a chain letter. I had to say yes! Laurie is an incredibly hard-working writer and editor, with tons of projects going and much success ahead of her. She has TWO books coming out this year: Grace and the Guiltless under the pen name Erin Johnson, and Cyber Self-Defense, which she's co-writing with expert Alexis Moore. Both sound amazing, no? For more info on Laurie and her upcoming releases, check out her website here.

    Thank you for tagging me, Laurie!

    So on to my answers to the Writing Process Blog Tour questions!

    1) What are you working on?

    I am currently writing the first draft of the sequel to SHATTERED VEIL, called TANGLED PROMISE. I also have a YA fantasy, A SEASON OF SINISTER DREAMS, that I'll be revising this summer for an August release.

     

    2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

    My Diatous Wars trilogy (SHATTERED VEIL, TANGLED PROMISE, etc) looks at first glance like a dystopian, in the vein of The Hunger Games or Divergent. But it's actually not...the main character, rather than fighting against a corrupt and oppressive government, is in fact fighting FOR her country against an outside threat. I think the love story is also an interesting take for the genre.

    3) Why do I write what I do?

    I have always enjoyed reading young adult fiction. It's my favorite genre, in particular because I found the stories so inspiring when I was a young adult. I write YA because the voice and types of stories are comfortable to me, and also because I'd love to think that my characters could be inspiring to someone as well. I feel really passionate about showing strong girls growing up to be empowered, empathetic adults. I also really enjoy exploring healthy female friendships in my stories, which I think is somewhat lacking in current YA fiction.

    4) How does my writing (or writing with pictures/illustrating) process work?

    I tend to do some but not a lot of plotting before I start writing. I need to know where the story and characters end up...and figure out the important details of the world and major plot points. But that's about all the planning I do. I try to write my first drafts fast, so my inner editor doesn't have time to rear her red pen and slow down the process. I enjoy revising more than I do writing first drafts. But I LOVE the moments when a character takes on a life of their own, or a plot snag suddenly untangles itself. Drafting is exciting and exhausting! 

    I tend to write shorter first drafts and fill out in revisions, rather than writing long and having to cut. And I am eternally indebted to my wonderful critique partners and beta readers who offer their feedback and support throughout the process!

    I'm tagging Ali Cross to continue the chain! Ali is the author of the popular Desolation series, as well as the exciting new scifi Blood Crown (which I absolutely LOVED). She likes to say she holds a black belt in awesome since the only kind of kicking-butt she does is on paper. She's a virtual ninja.

    Sunday
    Mar092014

    In Which I Get Super Honest

    Blogging has been difficult for me lately. It's hard to find the time, when I have an adorable son to take care of and am trying to use every spare minute to write Tangled Promise, Shattered Veil's sequel. But I DO want to let y'all know I'm still here...and I have something I really want to say.

    If you've read some of my early posts you may know some of this already, but for newcomers, here's a quick, dirty history of my publishing journey: in 2009, I wrote Moon Child. I revised it, queried it in early 2010, and received three offers of representation from great agents fairly quickly and painlessly. I thought I was golden. The agent I chose had tons of experience, was forthright and honest, and super organized. We went on submission shortly after I accepted her offer. And...Moon Child didn't sell. I wrote By Blood. We submitted it to editors. It also didn't sell. MAJOR HOTSAUCE got deployed. I missed him terribly and awoke one morning with an idea for a scifi trilogy. Right from the beginning, I knew THIS one was going to be different. THIS ONE was THE one. I wrote the first draft, the second, the third. We went on submission. Dreams of three-book deals and auctions and general awesomeness danced through my head. Somehow, I'd been able to keep hope alive, despite my first two failed attempts. I told myself Shattered Veil was special. Things would be different. I was so confident, I started writing a fantasy just for me...not because I thought it might be marketable or because my agent asked me to (in fact, she didn't even want to read it), but because I just KNEW SV was going to sell and I'd be busy for years writing the rest of the trilogy, so why not have some fun and do something different now? 

    Well, Shattered Veil didn't sell. There were reasons for this, I'm sure, and the book it became is vastly different from the version that was shopped to publishers. 

    And that's what I want to talk about. I worked with several professionals on Shattered Veil during my traditional publishing journey. One suggested I cut an entire subplot. One thought the beginning didn't work and thought I should cut the first 60 pages. And I did it all. Every change. Even though the book it became WASN'T what I'd envisioned. Even though it made the story feel incomplete to me. But I did it because I was so desperate to sell a book to a major publisher that I was willing to do anything. Change my main characters motivations? Sure. Cut a storyline because it was too "adult"? Why not? I lost myself in trying to please everyone else. 

    This is the truth: I'm happy my books didn't sell to a publisher. I would have liked the money, the validation, the bragging rights. And I have SO MUCH respect and love for my traditionally published compatriots. This is not a rant against the establishment, I promise. But what I've realized over the past couple of years is that traditional publishing was NOT the right fit for me. I was MISERABLE waiting to hear back from editors. I was MISERABLE not having any control over the process. The constant rejection completely sapped my confidence and desire to write. When I decided to self-publish, it was like I could take a full breath again. I absolutely love working with my cover designer, having actual input into what my book is going to look like. I LOVE that I had the freedom to tell the story I really wanted to tell in Shattered Veil. I put the cut storyline back in. I took the feedback about the first 60 pages and rewrote them, but I did it my way, instead of just cutting them. I made the book the story *I* felt compelled to tell. To say I feel passionate about Aris's journey would be an understatement. The way she is at the beginning of the book - even though some people find her annoying - was IMPORTANT to me, because her growth wouldn't mean the same thing if we didn't see where she started.

    The rub: It's scary putting your stuff out there, even when you feel confident that you told the story you wanted to tell. I've been scared that all those editors were right about me and my stories. What if nobody wants to read them? What if they don't sell? 

    And this is what I've realized: Sales and quality don't always coincide. Sure, seems obvious, but it's tough to remember when your rank keeps sinking lower and lower. I'm an unknown indie author just starting to build my social media presence, just starting to get my name out there. Are people finding my books? Not yet. But I'm okay with that. And I stand by my decision to self publish. Because recently, I've read some of the most amazing reviews for Shattered Veil. And I've realized that I'd be happy giving my books away for free and never making a dime if it means I get to read strangers say such amazing things about them.

    Example:

    "It's about a person being restricted and confined to certain expectations by everyone - lover, family, society - and growing beyond those and realising that she's grown beyond those. As many times as Aris doubts what she's doing and thinks that she will fail, she keeps fighting. She's determined and stubborn and proud and that makes her story a joy to read." Read the full review here.

    To have people "get" what the story's about, and who Aris really is, to read how much they appreciate her transformation...well, that's the reward. 

    Do I want to make money with my writing? Yes, yes I do. I want to contribute to my family's financial security and to my little guy's college fund. But I can honestly say I'm no longer willing to define my success by how many books I sell. I'll be defining it by the kind words people share about my books, and the emails I receive begging for the next one. It doesn't matter if the people reading my books get them for free through NetGalley or for a blog tour. They're still readers. And guys, readers willing to read your stuff - even if they DON'T like it - are the most amazing people in the world.

    <3 

     Do you want to read Shattered Veil? I'll gift a Kindle copy to the first three people who comment on this post.

    Thursday
    Jan232014

    Shattered Veil Countdown: 5 weeks

    Just a little over a month before Shattered Veil hits the virtual (and some physical) shelves! Hooray! Right now I'm in the middle of finalizing the last little details of the manuscript and getting it set up so it'll be available for purchase come February 28th. These final details include a couple small changes to the cover...Regina of Mae I Design updated the plane in the top left corner with a more futuristic model, and added a VERY awesome blurb from Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse!

    Pretty, right? In case you're interested, the blurb says, "Shattered Veil is a heart-crushing, edge-of-your-seat, wild ride of love and war. A must read for fans of science fiction, romance, or just plain good books." ~ Jennifer Walkup, author of Second Verse

    So incredible. Seriously.

    Also, I just finished up the first draft of my YA fantasy, LADY LOST, which I am planning to release this summer. Yay!! I'm so, so excited about this one. I started it a couple years ago when I was in a really good place with my writing...and then went to a bad writing place (unrelated to this project) for a while and had to put the book on hold. It's been a struggle moving forward with it, but I really believed in the story and could just *feel* that the writing was special, so I kept with it, pushed forward...and voila! A shiny new draft to hide in a drawer for a few weeks before I dive into revisions. It's amazing how much my ability to write is affected by my perceived success or failure in this industry...and how much it's affected by having a baby and not sleeping more than four hours at a time for, oh you know, A YEAR. ;-) Honestly, I'm feeling really proud that I made it to "the end"... and am SUPER pumped to dive into writing Shattered Veil's sequel, TANGLED PROMISE. Hooray!! :-D

    Aaaanyway, moving on! Originally this blog post was supposed to be about whether I think Shattered Veil is a new adult or young adult book (hint: I think it's kinda both!) but I made this fun excerpt teaser for you and I just can't wait to share! So we'll talk more about Shattered Veil's genre leanings next time. For now, I hope you enjoy this sneak peak at Shattered Veil!

    Happy Friday! :-)

    Shattered Veil 
    February 28th, 2014
    For one young, talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face...and the one promise she swore she'd never break. 

    Monday
    Sep232013

    Why I Chose to Self-Publish

    Okay, so the following post is super long and probably rambling. Proceed at your own risk...

    gratuitous picture of my adorable child

    I’ve been thinking about the indie versus traditional debate a lot lately. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and those opinions in many cases are completely different than they were six months, a year, five years ago. I know my opinion on the subject has changed.

    Right off the bat, I’ll say that as a reader, I love both traditionally and self-published books. These days it’s getting harder and harder to even tell the difference. I read both, happily, and am really excited that one of the big results of the rise of self-publishing is MORE. More books in the hands of readers, more new authors to discover. In the case of literature, I’m of the opinion that more is never a bad thing. Especially with all the lovely bloggers, Amazon algorithms, and Goodreads reviews to help connect readers with the kinds of books they like.

    As a writer, my relationship with self-publishing is a bit more complicated. I’ve always wanted to be an author and what that looked like – Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR – has changed over the years. My day job out of college was editorial – I worked as a proofreader on business manuals. I knew I wanted to be in the publishing biz, but I wasn’t convinced I could make a living as a writer. But I figured it didn’t matter. I loved the industry; I’d get a job working in publishing, and Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR, would surely follow. At the time, my definition of author was “published by Random House (or similar).” It was 2003 – that was most people’s definition.

    I decided to move to Oxford, England to pursue a master’s degree in Publishing. I’d learn more about the business, and live in the UK for a year! It seemed like a great idea, and it was. I had a wonderful time, met some amazing people, and learned a LOT. This was 2005 and the world was still buzzing from J. K. Rowling’s incredible sales figures for the Harry Potter books. Many of our marketing classes revolved around what that breakout did for the industry, and “long-tail” marketing…the idea that a few books would be bought by EVERYBODY…and many, many, many books would be bought by a few. At the time, self-publishing was barely on the radar. Print-On-Demand was just coming onto the scene with a company called Lightning Source (I saw some of their early products – honestly, not that impressive in terms of production quality). Ereaders were a blip, and most people thought that “fad” wasn’t long for the publishing world.

    Back then, I was still trying to figure out how to combine my interest “behind the desk” as an editor or marketer with my overwhelming desire to be an author. So for my master’s thesis, I decided to create my own publishing company, and publish my own book. I basically did it all. I wrote a novella, edited it, designed the interior pages, hired an illustrator, found a printer, picked out paper, created a website. It was an incredible experience. WHAT THE SEA WANTS, the book I ultimately created, even received a good review from Voya Magazine, necessitating a reprint. Essentially, I self-published. I sold nearly 900 hardcover copies of that book (it wasn't available as an ebook), received an incredibly positive review from Voya, a reputable source, and yet never once considered myself a REAL author. There was no Random House. There were no editors or agents breaking down my door. By my standard, I hadn’t found success.

    Fast forward a few years. I was working as a technical writer, desperately trying to finish my first "real" book, and feeling completely discouraged by the process. My husband, bless him, convinced me to quit my job (QUIT MY JOB!!) and follow my dream. He was willing to support me financially while I wrote, despite the fact that I’d NEVER EVEN FINISHED a full-length novel, and had NO idea if I would find a publisher for one if I DID finish it. Talk about faith. My husband had it in me, before I even did. (Yeah. He’s definitely a keeper.) Even so, I made little progress. Until NaNoWriMo. I wrote my first full novel, start to finish, in three weeks during the month of November. It was the most exciting, fulfilling writerly experience I’d ever had. I proved to myself that I could really, REALLY do it. I could start and finish a novel. That story, a very early version of what became MOON CHILD, went on (after some revision, of course) to garner me three offers of representation from agents. I figured it was only a matter of time. Random House, Tracy E Banghart, THE AUTHOR...it was all about to happen.

    Only…it didn’t. It turned out getting an agent didn’t mean a book deal was a forgone conclusion. I got really close a few times, and received some beautifully, heartbreakingly positive rejections, but, ultimately, there followed three years of NO. Three different books, many, many different editors…and nothing ever connected.

    The experience was simultaneously demoralizing and energizing. Demoralizing because it was ALWAYS no…even after a second read, or a revision request, even after editors were pouring out their love for my writing or my characters or my story…it always ended in rejection. At first I thought it was just a question of writing a better book, doing a better job next time. And then I wrote a book that I KNEW was amazing. Seriously. AMAZING. I wrote it when my husband was deployed and it was full of war and longing and heartbreak, and most of all, a girl who finds her strength, who learns to believe in herself and who ends up kicking some serious ass. It was ABOUT something. I was saying something about our culture, about the war in Iraq, about “don’t ask, don’t tell”, about identity, all in this scifi book set in a completely different world. I KNEW it was going to sell, and sell big.

    And…it didn’t. And that’s when I realized (here comes the energizing part)...Sometimes, when it comes to traditional publishing, it doesn’t matter if you write a good book. More importantly, why let someone ELSE define for you what constitutes a good book? I love editors, and I was desperate to work with one and let them help me make my books really shine. But I had to let go of this notion that I was NOT AN AUTHOR without their validation. By that point, I KNEW my writing was “good enough”. I knew I was creating interesting stories with interesting characters that deserved to be put in the hands of readers. I had an agent, I had editors who WANTED to buy my books, if only the red tape of their publishing houses wasn't quite so sticky. And I LOVED WHAT I WAS WRITING. At the time, some of my writer friends were living through these absolute horror stories – book contracts being cancelled, agents dumping them, etc. And we were all trying to hold on to our faith in ourselves and in our writing.

    Up to that point, I thought I needed someone ELSE to tell me my work was good enough….just to be read. Self-publishing was starting to gain traction. I thought, you know what? Why don’t I decide what I think is good enough to be read…and let the READERS decide if I was right. 

    I started with BY BLOOD because it had gotten the closest to traditional publication. I’d worked with an editor on it, gone through a revise and resubmit…I felt confident that between her feedback and my faith, that book deserved to be published…and more importantly, was ready.

    And here’s what it comes down to for me. Ever since I made that decision…I have felt like Tracy E. Banghart, THE AUTHOR. No Random House necessary. My career, my writing...it’s been on my own terms. I get to be in charge of my self-worth. I get to decide what I want to share with the world. I’m not one of those indie success stories with thousands of sales and a place on bestseller lists – yet – but I am happy. Happier than I ever was pursuing traditional publishing. I have readers – fans, even! Instead of dealing with the endless waiting and lack of control over my own career, instead of bracing myself before reading every email from my agent, instead of feeling completely POWERLESS…I’m doing a little happy dance for every good Goodreads review. I’m celebrating every single sale because that sale represents someone who thinks my book is worth spending money on. I’m EXCITED because I have more stories to share, and I don’t have to wait until someone agrees with me before I can put them out in the world. I can offer them directly to you, readers, and YOU can decide their worth.

    I know not everyone will like my books. And I might never have “break out” success, whatever that is. But I do hope that someday my Army of Turtles (check out this article by Susan Kaye Quinn for the reference, though MAJOR HOTSAUCE insists I have an ARMY of turtles, not a herd) will find readers and make people happy. I hope the books will pay for themselves and maybe a little more.  I love writing them, and I love putting my publishing education to use. I am excited to be writing at a time when YOU, the reader, have so much choice and influence. I hope you’ll give my books a chance, and if you do, I hope you enjoy them. To me, having even one reader who loves your work -- THAT'S success.

    And that “amazing” book about war and heartbreak and strength and identity? Comes out February 2014. Just so you know. ;-)