Cover Reveal for UNDYING by Valerie Grosjean

Cover Reveal for UNDYING by Valerie Grosjean

Cover Reveal!

Author Valerie Grosjean


This is a story of love . . . and zombies.

When eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian discovers his dormitory is crawling with the living dead, he knows he has a problem. But once he learns the whole country is overrun by the flesh-eating horde, he must race to protect what matters to him most.

Sixteen-year-old Iris, the girl he loves, is stranded eighty miles away, alone and completely unaware of the gruesome threat surrounding her.

Christian’s plan is to evade the zombies, drive the distance to rescue Iris, and get them both to his family farm—where there are guns, fuel, and everything else they’ll need to survive. His mission seems simple: Get the girl, get to the farm, and stay alive.

Things get complicated when Christian is forced to make an unthinkable choice between Iris and his family. Someone he loves must die, and he must decide.

Final Draft Complete!


Last Thursday, I finished my final revisions, based on the suggestions of my editor, and then I immediately emailed that sucker to the copyeditor for, basically, a high-level proofread.

Which means . . . happy dance–I’m done!

Sure, I still have to write the acknowledgments and whatnot. I’ll do that while I’m waiting for my copyeditor to get the edited manuscript back to me on Friday. Next I send the final copy with all the extras to the formatter to convert it to a Kindle ebook as well as a print version for Amazon. By the end of the month, I should see the proofs of my cover from the designer, and then I’ll upload all of that to Amazon.

But the story is finished, and I am really happy with how it turned out. It’s gone through a lot from first draft to final, and I like where it ended up. I hope you will, too!

Book Signing October 26th


Just heard back form my cover designer.  I put down my deposit, and she plans on having the proofs of the cover to me by the end of September and the final revisions done no later than October 15.

That means that I will probably publish UNDYING as a paperback on Amazon and an ebook in the Kindle store no later than October 15, just in time for Halloween 🙂

My designer is Regina Wamba of Mae I Design.  She has designed covers for New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jessica Sorensen.  Her covers are just plain gorgeous, especially the supernatural stuff like my novel.  Check out her work on the Mae I Design facebook page.

Hearing back from her, that the dates will work, I’m ready to announce that I am planning a book signing, with free custom-designed bookmarks, Halloween candy, and maybe a short reading on Saturday, October 26th in Nebraska.  Stay tuned for the venue and more info on my final revision.

News from my Editor


After sitting on pins and needles for the last couple weeks, I’ve finally heard back from my editor.  She emailed me the line-edited manuscript with the editorial letter and the copy for the query letter and the book description for Amazon to come tomorrow.

All I can say is: Yay!  Her comments so far were very positive.  The zombies sufficiently creeped her out, and the story pulled her in all the way to the end 🙂 

This preliminary praise was a huge relief to me.  I’ve worked hard writing and extensively revising, and I feel like I have a good story.  I’m no Dostoevsky, but I think it’s a fun, exciting young adult read.  However, I know that I can’t be objective about my own work, and in the back of my mind, I’ve been wondering if I think it’s good, but maybe it really sucks.  Now I know at least one other person, a professional in the publishing field no less, things it’s good 🙂

In other news, I’m in the process of contracting an awesome designer to create the cover for my novel 🙂  More on that in the next week, and I’m getting really excited to share my novel soon!

The Blog Is Back!

It’s been awhile since I last blogged, but for very good reason.  I was working literally day and night to finish editing my first draft.  I’d tentatively contracted my editor to begin on July 24 with the option to push it back into August if needed, but I really wanted to get my manuscript to her my that deadline.

Realizing I was about halfway through and it wasn’t going to happen at my current pace, I had two different friends help with babysitting for a total of eight days before the deadline.  By the end of it the kids had definitely reached their babysitting limit, and I was close to done, but now quite there. 

The next night after the last day of babysitting, after they went to bed, I stayed up until 6:30 AM, but didn’t quite finish.  I contacted my editor and told her I’d need a few extra days past the 24th and she was totally cool with it, but I was so close and still itching to finish, so I kept pushing hard to get to the end.

The last 60 pages were like walking to a hotel on the other end of the Vegas Strip.  You can see it, and it looks like it’s right there, but you keep walking and walking and walking . . . I stayed up the next night until 3 AM, the next until 5 AM, the next until 5AM, drinking obscene amounts of caffeine.  Finally, I caved and slept two nights.  Then I finished, staying up until 7 AM the last night.  The sun was coming up.  It was crazy, but it was great to have a complete second draft to email to my editor.

Since I got the manuscript to her about a week past the original deadline, she’s estimating she’ll have the edited version back to me about a week later than she’d originally anticipated, which will be August 14.

I can’t wait for the feedback!  I want to take her comments and suggestions and make this the best novel possible.

I already feel so much better about the second draft than the first.  I  halved the word count, upped the zombie count, and now I feel like the pacing is so much better.  I chopped all of the unnecessary back story, added a couple of scenes, and conpletely rewrote several chapters. 

All in all I’m really happy with the progress, and I can’t wait to share my novel soon.  If I self-publish I’d like to get it out by October.  I feel like I’ll have a better idea if that’s possible once I see what kind of changes the editor suggests.


Novel News: I Hired an Editor!

Okay, so I was waiting to receive confirmation before posting the news, but now my spot has been reserved, and I can tell you that I have hired a freelance editor to do a substantive edit of my manuscript.

I am super excited!  She came recommended by a successful self-published author I met at the writing conference I attended in March.  I read one of the books she’d edited just to check out her work, and it was very clean and error-free.

I like that she has experience in the publishing industry as a former editor at HarperCollins.  She did a sample edit of the first two pages of my manuscript, and we talked on the phone to discuss my goals.  She had an opening July 24, and that worked well with my own editing schedule, so I booked her for that date with the option to push it back into August if need be.

Basically, just so you know (I didn’t until I looked into editing) a substantive edit addresses structure, voice, character, narrative arc, and flow.  It will also include a line-edit, which means a correction of grammar and punctuation, drawing attention to factual or stylistic inconsistencies, rephrasing for clarity and style, and reworking or removing awkward language. In the end, I’ll get back a line-edited manuscript as well as an editorial letter with suggestions for structural changes and a phone call to discuss the changes and where to revise from there.

I think this high-level edit will be great for my novel as a first-time author and will also give me insight for my future writing.  After the novel goes through this substantive edit and I do a quick revision to incorporate the suggested changes, it will be ready to submit to literary agents.  Yay! 

I am also having the editor write a one-paragraph hook/summary to include in the query letters that I send to agents to market my book, a one-page synopsis to send to agents, and a book description for Amazon should I decide to self-publish.  I wrote a sample query letter for the conference I attended, and it was an epic failure in my opinion, so it will be nice to have an expert, outside opinion on the best way to market my book.

Anyway, I’ve taken a break from editing for a visit from my family, and now it’s time to get back to it, and try to make that July 24 deadline.

Progress Update: Git-R-Done


I’m through Chapter 15, and my word count dipped below 70,000 but then went back over as I added a new chapter, one of two I plan on adding as I revise.  I’m around page 120, over a third of the way through the 300 pages, and I’m happy with my progress, although it could always come faster.  I’m still on track to finish with around a 55,000 end word count.

Writing the new chapter was super fun.  It felt like a break after so much revising.  I wrote it in one day, which was extremely fast for me.  Then I took it through the revising process like everything else, and I think it really adds to the story.  It replaces a boring, action-less sequence with lots of zombie mayhem and a couple of side characters, one of whom I plan on writing a whole companion novel about once I finish the sequel.

As far as my plans for after I’ve finished revising, I have just taken a huge step and made a big decision on where I’ll go from there, and I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog in about a week from now.

New Plans for the Novel


When I started writing, I planned on a trilogy.  There was just way too much story for one novel, and trilogies are kind of the thing, so I figured, hey, why not?

As a reader, though, I realize that I often hate the middle books of trilogies.  There are some great exceptions, but in my case, I don’t feel like I have three complete stories to tell, so I’ve decided that my novel will only have a sequel.

I’ve also decided to change the name of the first book from My Undying Love to Undying, which will also be the name of the series.  When I came up with My Undying Love I thought it was a great double entendre, but now I’m thinking it just sounds too much like a romance novel.

I’ve also come up with a potential title for the sequel, so the first book will be Undying and the second will be Reliving.

Finally, although I’ve scrapped the idea of a trilogy, I do plan on writing a companion novel to the series, set in the same world, but featuring one of the side characters.  I also plan on writing two additional novellas or short stories told from the points of view of two other characters in the story.

For next week, another progress update.  I’m happily moving right along in my editing.

An In-Depth Look at My Writing and Revising Process With Pictures!


Before I explain how I edit, let me explain how I write.  First I had an outline in my head of all the main events of the story.  As I wrote, I made up the details in between, but I always knew where things were headed and where they’d end up, which prevented me from ever getting stuck.

Each day when I started working, first I’d go back and edit what I’d done the day before and then I’d keep writing from there.  It helped refresh me on where I was in the story, got me back into the flow of things, and also made what I’d written before manageable, so it wouldn’t be a total, undecipherable mess when I came back to it after finishing the first draft.

Revising, I use pencil on a printed copy of the manuscript, going through and making changes a chapter at a time.  Then I go back and enter the changes on a new document in the computer.  Reading through the edited chapter on the computer, I make my final changes, and then the process repeats.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m cutting about fifty percent of what I’ve written so far, which is fine, because I started with about 300 total pages.  Also, I plan on adding a couple of scenes when I’m through, making the length right where I want it to be.

Here you can see the scope of the changes I’ve been making in a picture of an average edited page:


And here is  picture of the ginormous binder (courtesy of my dad) I use to hold all 300 pages:


Thankfully, no one else will have to slog through all 300 pages.  It’s getting shorter, better, and more to the point each time I work on it.

Work has been going well.  I’ve been picking up the pace, and next week I’ll let you in on my new plans for the novel, including the new title I’m contemplating and plans for the series!

Novel Progress Update


I’ve been waiting to give an update on my revision process until I finished Chapter 6. Unfortunately, Chapter 6 took awhile. It needed heavy cuts as well as a complete rewrite of the end of the chapter to make it work.

Now I’ve finally gotten through that pesky chapter and I’ve reached a few milestones in the editing of my first draft. I’ve gotten through the first of four Parts in my novel, I’ve finished the first 20% of my book, and my word count is now under 80,000 words at 79,142.

That means that I’ve cut 9,229 words out of the first 18,289 words, a little more than half. My manuscript as a whole is now 273 pages instead of 295.

If I keep this up this rate of cuts my manuscript will be halved in the end from 88,370 words to 44,185, which would be a little short but okay. I don’t think I will continue to cut as much from each chapter, though. I know that the first few chapters were especially bloated. Plus, when I’m through this first round of revisions I plan on adding one or two scenes to the story, so the word count should end up right where I’d like it to be.

So far, though I’d like to pick up the pace of my editing, I feel like my work is vastly improving from the first draft to the second. I’m very happy with the results.

If I could only pick up the pace to a chapter a day, I’d be done in a little over a month, and then I’d be really, really happy.

Now it’s time for me to start on Chapter 7. I’ll try to blog about the steps in my revision process and my plans for afterwards in a post next week. Maybe I’ll include a picture of my revisions on paper, so you can see just how many changes I’ve been making.