All Day Q&A!

It's been a couple months since my last routine Q&A, so here we are! Ask all the questions you'd like—I am here for you today. Need advice on writing? I got it. Want to know sekrit stuff about my books? Ask away! Want an opinion on something totally random? Sure! Interested in book, anime, Kdrama recs? I have plenty.

I will take questions on comments below, on my Facebook page, on Twitter, AND on Tumblr (this is new I just got a tumblr like a month ago!).

Holiday Swag For You!

The holidays are upon us, guys, and it's kinda freaking me out because how in the world is 2013 almost over? It went by so fast! But anyway, I wanted to do a special offer because I think the holidays are a great time to gift books, and I hope some of you might consider my own for yourself, your friends/family, or a teen in your life.

So if you decide to buy TRANSPARENT or pre-order BLINDSIDED or HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW, please fill out this form—and I will send you both a hand-drawn, personalized book plate for the novel and bookmarks to go with it. Then your gift can be that much more special!

This offer will only be available now through December 31st, and it is US/CAN/UK only.

Happy holidays, everyone!

All The Decisions

If you've been following me at all this week or last, you've probably noticed a lot of references to the cover I've been working on for my self-published novel, RELAX, I'M A NINJA. I've been lucky enough to work with my close friend Michelle Argyle (who designs under Melissa Williams Cover Design), and it has been quite the interesting experience.

You see, I've been in traditional publishing for the past two and a half years since I sold TRANSPARENT. And as anyone who works with a publisher knows, you just have to let go of a lot of control. I never had much of a problem with that. I didn't feel like I needed to be intimately involved with cover design or marketing or whatever, and I've honestly really lucked out so far in the design department. I've LOVED the covers my publishers have given me.

So approaching a cover on my own was a foreign thing for me to do. Obviously I didn't do it ALL on my own—I hired a wonderful designer—but for the first time the direction of the cover fell solely to me. The approach from a marketing standpoint, the mood of the cover, the target demographic—these were things I had to decide. Little ol' me.

As I started working with Michelle, I gave her very vague directions and pretty much free reign. Then she kept coming back to me with a question that would surprise me every time she asked:

"Well, what do YOU want?"

And the variation: "What do YOU think?"

Each time I'd be like, "Me? What? Really? I have to decide these things and tell you what I want and what to do?"

I've never been asked for my opinion on a publishing thing so much in my life! It's both terrifying because the responsibility is all mine, but liberating because I'm in charge of my own work. This became another moment when the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing was a huge contrast. Neither necessarily bad. Just different. (Because if you've been in publishing at all, you probably know that no situation is ideal and every path has pros and cons.)

As I've said, I've loved having my covers designed for me by publishers. But I've also been pleasantly surprised by the process of personally collaborating with a designer myself.

Having this creative freedom is a refreshing thing, and I feel like it's injected a much-needed dose of fun, experimentation, and joy to my writing life. I'm learning new things, and that's exciting. It's also been very nice to have A Project to distract myself from being on sub on the traditional publishing side.

I can't wait to show off my new cover next year. It's going to be very hard to sit on for a couple months, but I know from my traditional publishing experience that releasing it nine months before launch is way too soon. So I will exercise self-restraint.

Blindsided! Less Than Two Months!

So today while I was working on the cover for RELAX, I'M A NINJA, it hit me that BLINDSIDED is less than two months away.

And then I promptly freaked out.

There's something about that two month mark that injects all the feels into an author. It means the book is going to be out there soon, not my own anymore. And that is a strange thing when I started said book this year and haven't had nearly as much time with it as my others.

But there's no stopping time. All I can do is ride the roller coaster and hope my readers will like where I took Fiona's story. I do, at least.

Enough of that, though. I have EVENTS to announce! I really hope to see you at these, especially my out-of-state signing that makes me fairly nervous.

BLINDSIDED Launch Party:
January 2, 2014
The King's English
Salt Lake City, UT.
(If you want to pre-order a signed copy—or you can't get there and want a signed copy—call the store at 801-484-9100 or order online.)

Southern California Signing—With Kiersten White and Shannon Messenger!
January 23, 2014
Oceanside Barnes & Noble
Oceanside, CA

Vegas Book Festival

If you're in the Vegas area this weekend, I will be at the Vegas Valley Book Festival! It's free to the public, and will feature a horde of amazing authors. Check out more info here. If you're just coming for me (because of course you are, right?), my panel is at 2:15 on November 2nd, and my signing is at 4:15 the same day.

Also, you should probably know I will be giving away a copy of BLINDSIDED and a copy of HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW while I'm there. You just have to be able to answer a TRANSPARENT trivia question to get the chance. So if you are gunning for those books, if you see me please feel free to ask for the question!

A Full Circle Moment With Jodi Meadows

First—if you want to see some of my favorite/dream costumes—check out this guest post of mine. It was fun to put together and I don't want anyone to miss it!

Today I get to share a blurb that means a lot to me, because it comes from a person who has seen some of the worst examples of my writing. That person? The lovely Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series. Here's what she said about HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW:

Heartwarming, dangerous, and enchanting: Natalie Whipple's HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW offers a delicious tale filled with sacrifice, a terrifying villain, and so many people I'd love to call friends. It's better than pudding! 

Way, way back, like 2008, I was querying my second project. My first project hadn't gotten any requests, and I decided to move on to my Zombie Romance Novel (yes, for reals). I wasn't a good writer yet, but I didn't know how to get better and hoped that someone out there might see my potential anyway.

Querying the Zombie Romance Novel didn't go much better than my first attempt. I was getting a lot of rejections, BUT I did get one little request of the 25 queries I sent on that project before I gave up yet again.

And that request was from Jodi.

Jodi was an agent's assistant at the time, and she became The Very First Person In Publishing To Request My Work. Suffice it to say, that's not something I ever forgot. That first request is a big deal—it's the small thing that gives an author hope that maybe, just maybe, I do have some talent. It kept me going, as all requests do during that hard query road.

Of course, Jodi and her agent did ultimately pass on the Zombie Romance Novel, but when I came at them with my Dragon Novel Jodi requested again. And in the end rejected again. The same happened with The Ninjas. But clearly there was something in my writing/ideas that she got, even if my writing was still not there.

So Jodi and I kinda got to know each other. We're not crit partners, but I think we've been following each other's journeys closely through the years. I remember when she sold INCARNATE, and how happy I was for her. I feel really privileged to know that she read and liked my words—that I finally figured out this writing thing enough for Jodi to give her Stamp Of Approval. It's definitely a full circle moment for me.

7-Word Pitch Winners!

Thank you, friends, for the awesome pitches you sent in! My favorite thing about this contest is seeing how creative you guys get. And your stories! I get so excited to crit when I see how much talent is out there. I'm really looking forward to how these pitches translate into the pages I will be reading.

Now, I picked winners solely based on my personal preferences and what I wanted to read. If I didn't pick your pitch, it has no bearing on the quality of your work or its potential to attract an agent/publisher. There were many great pitches and I just had to go with what grabbed me the most.

Shall we get on with it? I will share the first 6 winners and why I chose them, and then I will end with the GRAND PRIZE winner, who will also receive an ARC of HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW.

Beth Smith "Faithless girl meet town of true believers." — I loved the inherent conflict in this pitch, and the many possible directions this could be taken. I immediately wanted to see how this played out.

Kara "Shakespeare Festival road trip leads to LOVE!" — This caught my eye because of the topics involved. I was a techie in high school, so the idea of a Shakespeare Fest road trip warms the cockles of my heart.

Jenny "Zombie disease causes anxiety for germaphobic teenager." — This grabbed me because it was both funny with a hint of creepy, which reminds me of the awesome Carrie Harris. I'm a wuss when it comes to horror, but when there's humor fused with it I can totally get on board.

Leandra Wallace "Grieving teen fights gargoyles in 1777 Boston." — I liked the historical aspect of this, and am interested to see how the implied paranormal elements play in. Maybe because I'm in love with Sleepy Hollow, but 1777 Boston sounds like a cool time period to showcase.

Nicki "Reluctant princess betrothed to father's murderer." — The potential for conflict in these 7 words is just fabulous. And hey, I like princesses. Who doesn't like princesses now and then?

Steph Sessa "Framed for treason, synesthete fights for freedom." — Synesthesia is something I've always found very interesting, so that immediately caught my eye. I want to see how that pov is handled. It's sure to be a unique take on a "framed for treason" story.


Stephanie Lynn Smith "Teen girl science prodigy resurrects dead boyfriend." — I just...this has "recipe for disaster" written all over it, which is golden. Also, I'm feeling like it may have a Mary Shelly connection, because of the Frankenstein themes. Either way, it sounds like good fun to me.

Winners! Please email me at so that we can work out the details of the prizes. If you MS isn't ready, please still email me so that I know to delay your crit (which is totally okay).

Thanks to all who entered! This will be a yearly thing, so I hope to see some of you next time!