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  • Writer's pictureHolly J

I have news!! I sold a novella!!

I can't believe I finally get to write a post like this. I've been holding onto this news since the end of July, been working behind-the-scenes to get ready for this announcement, been anticipating how good it would feel to sign a contract. I can't believe that a novella I wrote and submitted in the month of May found the best home with Celine at Nyx Publishing. I can't believe I'll be published!

I'd known about Nyx because of their previous Kickstarter for their Unspeakable anthology. (I of course still haven't read it bc I'm terribly behind on my TBR but it sounds so damn good. queer Gothic fiction!) When I saw an open submission period for witchy stories back in April, I was like omg I could maybe do this?? But I'd just come off of finishing my 3rd book that took me 8+ months to finish *and* that story was about witches too. Did I really want to write something about them again in so short a time??

I was combing through my to-be-written doc, which not only includes fully-formed to half-formed concepts for novels I want to write in the future, but also plot bunny ideas. Things I love but that I don't have a place for yet. On it was a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. I love Greek mythology, have always had a love for it, but it wasn't until I watched Portrait of a Lady on Fire that I really wanted to tackle O&E. And somehow, when I was thinking about it, the concepts merged: a reimagining of Orpheus and Eurydice but with witches and set in a more modern secondary fantasy world.

I think May had JUST started, which meant I didn't have much time. I had a month. Could I do it? But as the first line formed (She couldn't find her favorite ritual dagger), the rest flowed from there. Everything about this world and its characters came about as I was writing it. Sometimes a first line or a half-formed concept is all I need! It was a story about love and death and two women who would do anything for each other. Even travel to the underworld and make a deal with its deadly princess. But unlike Orpheus and Eurydice (and unlike the witchy book I'd just written before it), this ended happily. :D

my stats!

23,440 words in 13 days!

As it so happens because I am THE WORST and leave the most work for myself at the end of any sort of deadline, I was hurrying to finish it. I didn't even have time to send it to a friend or two. (Probably shouldn't have admitted I didn't get this done until a half hour before the deadline on the call with Celine, but OH WELL LOL TOO LATE). I felt really good about the novella, anyway, and I'd read through it for surface-level errors and to make sure that it flowed well. Then I submitted and put it out of my mind.

I got the email a day before July ended. I'd seen that I'd gotten a reply from Celine on my phone and I was nervous. I was getting ready to leave for work. I'd been rejected over and over again for my writing, and I didn't want to hope for anything different. When I realized it was an offer email, I started crying. Finally, my hard work had paid off! The Skype chat went so well, and we laughed at the fact that we've been following each other for years, back when we were both just book bloggers.

Celine & Nyx Publishing is the perfect home for The Bone Way and I'm SO excited to eventually share this story with all of you. Watch this space + my Twitter account for more updates on this story and my writing journey in general. The Bone Way will be out early 2021 so you won't have long to wait!

some snippets to tide you over <3

(text below pictures)

There was no birdcall, no cracking of twigs as animals rushed through, no rustling of leaves in the wind. It was as if everything was dead, and even the trees looked sickly. Wilting leaves, broken branches and gnarled trunks, a gray hue to them like they’d been poisoned. Teagan hurt, seeing it. She’d always been taught to respect nature, to give it the care and attention it deserved. But this wasn’t anything like what she’d seen back in Wystira.


When Teagan saw her for the first time, painting in the light of the moon in one of the gardens around the city, she’d been struck with such an overwhelming attraction. Here was the most beautiful girl she’d ever seen, and Cress turned to her with a smile, and that was that. They’d talked and Cress painted her as a starlit goddess with the power to crush worlds, and by the end of it, Teagan had known the shape of her mouth and the taste of Cress so intimately that she’d never know another person like that.

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