distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

New Blog Series: Turning Points (+ Opening Giveaway!)

It’s a new year, and time for a new blog series here on distraction no. 99.

The theme of the new blog series is a meaty* one: Turning Points

I asked various authors this question: What was your turning point as a writer? And, I have to say, from the posts that have been sent in to me so far, I am humbled, thrilled, surprised, and most of all inspired by the great response that came from the asking of this question.

There are some truly incredible posts coming up—all about writing struggles, writing breakthroughs, the low points, the high points, the shocking points that changed everything… and much more. I can’t wait for you to read them.

Now, where did the theme of “turning points” first surface in my head? Sort of accidentally, when, in March 2011 before Imaginary Girls was published, I blogged a story about how I gave up writing adult fiction and began writing YA.

I said things like:

Not so many years ago, I had a turning point in my writing career. An “Aha!” moment. Something made me remember it yesterday and I wanted to share it here—to show how you might think you’re going one way down a certain path you’ve carved for yourself, but in fact there’s another path carved for you. There it is, waiting, glimmering in the near distance. It was your true path all along.


…I remember very clearly looking up, straight into the sun shining through the office window, lighting up my new glossy wooden desk and the bright white proof pages, thinking, I didn’t know a YA novel could be like this! Thinking, What if—and this would be the first moment I’d consciously think this—what if I wrote a YA novel, too?

I’d only meant to tell my blog readers how I ended up writing YA, but that post seemed to resonate with a lot of people—and was featured on the WordPress “fully pressed” page, so more people than my usual audience here saw it and began flooding the piece with comments on their own turning points. Which I thought was pretty amazing.

[Click here to read the full post on my turning point as a writer.] 

So this got me thinking that many of us have these stories. Setting out to write and publish our books isn’t such an easy, well-lit path, is it? Not everyone knows exactly what they’re doing when they begin, and things very rarely—if ever—go as planned. In my case, things fall apart and stitch themselves back together in better, more brilliant ways than I’d originally intended. And once one turning point has been maneuvered, another comes around when it’s least expected. (I may be in the midst of one now, but I’ll need some distance to know for sure.)

The Turning Points blog series will be an ongoing feature on this blog, with about three posts a week, for as long as I have authors’ stories to share. There will be quite a few giveaways included with these posts, so keep an eye out for ways to win books, generously donated by their authors. [Keep checking back on the giveaways page to see all open giveaways on this site.]

The series is starting this week—on Wednesday, January 11 with a wonderful, inspiring guest blog by one of my favorite YA authors. Those of you who’ve been longtime readers of this blog may remember me posting about how much I love this author’s books. Who could it be? And what turning point might this author be revealing to us?

I think you’ll really want to come back on Wednesday to find out.

* I felt so weird typing that word, as a vegetarian. 

If you’d like to keep up with the Turning Points blog series, please add distraction no. 99’s feed to your RSS reader, or scroll down to the bottom of this site, on the left, and you will see a button to subscribe to this blog by email, so you’ll be notified whenever a new post goes up.


I want to say this:

Hey, you. Yes, YOU. If you are an author—published or on your way to being published; YA or adult or children’s or nonfiction or comics or screenplays or poems; or even a person who worked toward becoming a writer and has since gone on to become something else—and this theme of Turning Points deeply resonates with you, I’d love to include your guest blog in this series. Just email me.

A note about the artwork: All the Turning Points blog series illustrations, like the one at the top of this post, will be by Robert Roxby. You can contact him directly for more information about his design work and illustrations (and check out both the “What Scares You?” and the “What Inspires You” blog series to see more of his amazing illustrations!). 

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!






See you back here Wednesday for the start of the series—with guest blogs, and more giveaways, and stories of perseverance, reinvention, and inspiration.

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96 responses to “New Blog Series: Turning Points (+ Opening Giveaway!)”

    • I couldn’t figure out how to post directly. I’m still a dinosaur in respects to computer media and tech. You book sounds intriguing. Please enter me in the drawing to.

  1. Ohh…. this series sounds AWESOME. I loved your post on it, can’t wait to see more. And of course I’d love an AZN version to go next to my current hardcover, and the paperback we both know I’m buying this summer. =)

  2. I can’t wait to read these! Your posts include such inspiring, uplifting stories. Thank you for sharing them!


  3. I’ve really, really been wanting to read Imaginary Girls, so I’d love to get in on this! 😀

  4. This looks wonderful! I’m definitely looking forward to this series (which is a really fantastic idea, if I do say so myself) and will now be following your blog and Twitter. 🙂


  5. I would like to read this book:) I like your blog. I rt’d your contest:) Thank you for the contest. Sorry sounds like such a boring comment, lol I just woke up.

  6. I just read Imaginary Girls over school break this year and it was so amazing to me. I always wanted a relationship with my sister that could be as close as Chloe and Ruby, but it never quite materialized. Imaginary Girls just sucked me in and wouldn’t let go.

  7. So glad I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months back. As a writer/aspiring author, it is invaluable to hear other writers’ stories and journeys. It means a lot to me to hear that published authors also go through moments of uncertainty and doubt. Thanks for the chance to win. I looooved Imaginary Girls. So. Seriously. Beautiful.

  8. Wow I am so very happy you decided to write Imaginary Girls because I definitely want to read it. I absolutely love the cover it’s so awesome. You can tell this book is very mysterious and haunted and it definitely calls my name lol. Thank you for a chance to win your book and I tweeted about this giveaway.

  9. Your novel sounds amazing! I just started reading your blog and I love hearing about your author journey. Thanks for including me in your giveaway!

  10. I just read and loved Feathered based on your turning point blog, and I loved Imaginary Girls as well! Can’t wait to read your next, and the blog series’ are always fantastic!


  11. Thanks for the great giveaway and thanks for making it international!

    I love your post series, they’re always so inspirational – gives readers great insight into what writing is like and lets you get to know authors in a really interesting way!

  12. I’m very much looking forward to following this series; I wrote today at my place about thinking outside the box, and I think this is very much on the same wavelength…sometimes we don’t even know why we start to wander down a different path at first, but our instincts are always worth paying attention to. Excellent idea for a series 🙂

  13. I am certain this series of blog posts is going to be AMAZING. I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories and am off to add your feed to my blog reader RIGHT NOW.

    Please include me in your giveaway as I’d love to read a copy of your novel! I haven’t yet, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it.

    Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

  14. I love this book, and would love a chance to have a signed copy 🙂
    Tweeted: twitter.com/#!/strandedhero/status/156424008991125504

  15. Looking forward to reading the series. Thank you for the chance to win Imaginary Girls and congratulations on your upcoming AUS/NZ release 🙂

  16. That series sounds like it’s going to be truly amazing! I think I’m in the middle of a turning point, too, and I hope those stories are going to help me pull through 🙂


  17. What a great series! I read your turning point post. It’s so inspiring. I’m glad you had that moment. I’m glad that things happened for you the way they did. *sigh* It was a lovely post.

    Side note, tweeted about giveaway.

    bookchellef at gmail

  18. Congratulations on another year for “distraction no.99.” I have just started a book blog myself for the very first time and wonder why I didn’t start earlier. As a fellow reader and writer, I look forward to reading your thoughts on books you’ll be reading (and writing). Thanks for a chance at winning this giveaway. I have yet to read “Imaginary Girls.” Great cover design.

    Email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com
    Book blog: http://www.zaraalexis.wordpress.com

  19. the series sounds amazing, not to mention deeply helpful and ispiring! Can’t wait to read the first post!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  20. Wait – do you always have paid advertisements on your blog? I watched half that video before I saw the small print that read “advertisement”! I guess that’s why the print is small 🙂 Anyway, I want to win a copy of your book! And count me in for a guest post about turning points, too. Happy New Year!

      • That’s so bizarre. The video isn’t there now. Before, I scrolled down to comment and saw a cartoon, so I watched it halfway through before I realized that it was a VMWare ad. Now it’s gone! Maybe I’m going crazy. It is Twersday, after all.

  21. 🙂 You have the most inspiring ideas! I always find myself looking off into space (or more accurately, at a book on my bookshelf or another) and wondering – how did you actually get there? What’s your story? So I’m looking forward to your blog series, I can’t wait to find out more about authors’ turning points!

    Also, thank you for the giveaway!
    I tweeted about it: http://twitter.com/#!/DeeutzAs/status/156516337588514816

  22. I LOVE this book! And I would love a signed copy!! I never get signed copies because no one ever comes to Alabama 😛 I also tweeted about this at some point today 🙂

  23. Love this series! I can really relate to it and I’m sure a lot of other people will be able to as well. We’ve all had those “Ah-ha! moments”. :]

  24. Wonderful contest, Nova. I’m reading Imaginary Girls right now as an ebook and already know I’m going to want my own copy. I like the upcoming US paperback cover, and I prefer paperbacks, but there is something about the design for the original hardcover that just fits the book perfectly. I would love to have it in paperback form. Also looking forward to your upcoming posts.

    Tweeted here: https://twitter.com/#!/NightBookmobile/status/156877341711269889

  25. What a lovely idea for a blog series — can’t wait to read more!
    P.S. IG was just a killer read, from the arresting cover to the very last page.
    *(Found my way via a Twitter hop to the Blue Board and then a hop from the Blue Board here…)

  26. I look forward to reading articulate people talk about their turning point.
    {Actually, until the day is done (…) it’s turning pointS, (plural) isn’t it?}
    This is going to be good.

  27. A turning point for me was seeing that just because something was hard, and because I’m a slow learner, it doesn’t mean I can’t learn. For most of my life I avoided ways of writing because I thought I was too old to learn, that I couldn’t learn, I’m past that now and every day is a writing lesson and with each day I find new ways to love something I’ve been doing all my life.

  28. I love the idea of a blog post series about turning points.
    And a giveaway! Yay! I’d love to enter. Thank you for making it international!

  29. I love the idea for this and I loved Gayle Forman’s post. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  30. I’ve been loving the series so far. And I think the original cover of your book is fabulous.

  31. I love your blog entries, especially this topic! (I voted for it ;).) I’d love to be entered in your giveaway, and tweeted about it, too at @albionidaho.

    I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got lined up this year!

  32. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me into the drawing. I’ve loved this cover ever since it came out. Haven’t had a chance to get my own copy yet and would love to win one.

  33. What an interesting new feature! I am thinking back to my first writing venture, one which has made me contemplate what got me started writing. How did that fire get lit? What kindling was used? I will continue to mull this over and try to write an articulate and moving post for you soon, but for now I will look forward to reading more from you.
    Great giveaway too!

  34. At 57 and as someone who quit my job to write YA and MG, I so appreciate your tweets and wisdom! Saw you at SCBWI in LA…you are inspiring!

  35. I love that turning point idea! Everyone has to come to that moment n themselves… That Eureka moment… Love it!

    My goal.. Would love to be featured on Freshly Pressed one day! Thought I had a good post here & there (like my HP one from Saturday) but it never gets noticed 😦

    And thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your lovely book!

  36. Hi! I’m an author and my French Canadian debut novel is coming out later this year (Fall 2012). I loveeed your post and I think, as a writer, that we come accross many turning points along our writing journey, as we grow and define our art. So far, i’ve lived through 3 majors TP : when i signed the contract for my novel and realized it was REAL, when I wrote and shoot my first short film and again, this year, when I decide to write full time. I cant wait to read further on the subject and will be stalking your blog non-stop for the coming weeks. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    And YES, i tweeted this post too!!! 🙂

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