Header

Header

Saturday, October 31, 2009

'Tis The Season For Paranormal

Morning Folks,

Halloween Day seems like the perfect time to announce that I have a book preview video (not great quality, but I'm hoping to either figure out how to fix the problems or have my younger brother who knows about a lot of media stuff might be able to help when he's in town for Christmas).

You see, I don't have a Youtube account (I might end up getting one; but I'm not sure, yet) so I think maybe I'll wait until I have a website to put it up. But once I'm able to work out the kinks I think it's pretty good. The preview is for Surreal.

Other than that I'm working more on Conjure A Man. I worked on Chapter 2 yesterday, but I'm not sure if it's just right or if I went overboard a different direction. I'll have to review it and if necessary, I'll make changes. But I do like Delaney's character better for this, now. I just didn't like having her appear so weak because I know that in all her life she was pretty strong.

I haven't worked on Heartbeats in awhile, but maybe it'll help me figure out Delaney's character even further. I like the idea and story line I have for Conjure A Man, it's just the execution of it is proving more difficult than originally anticipated. But, oh well, some stories are easier to write than others. Just got to keep letting creativity flow and try not to let it bother me that this is a bit more frustrating than writing Surreal.

Speaking of paranormal and spooktacular stories, I've been reading Kim Lenox's So Still The Night. Pretty spooky stuff going on currently. This book is the sequel to Night Falls Darkly; she has another one coming out next year, Darker Than Night it says it supposed to come out April 2010. If you're interested in immortals, good versus evil and romance, these books are definitely worth checking out. So far I think Night Falls Darkly is my favorite (it was pretty creepy having Jack the Ripper involved, but I think So Still The Night is even creepier--I think a friend of mine would really like these, she likes spooky stuff).

In any case, whatever your plans are for today, I wish you well!

Question for the day: What are you currently reading? (something other than your own manuscripts).

Have A Spec-Spook-Tacular Saturday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

October Is Ending

Hi Everyone,

So, this weekend is Halloween. Yes, we have a pumpkin, no we haven't carved it. It's been kinda busy over here. We've had a lot going on. But Halloween also marks the end of October. A month I'm rather fond of because it's when I start feeling more of the fall weather, my birthday happens, my dad's birthday, one of my sisters and her husband have their wedding anniversary, and it's just nice to see Fall breezing in.

Kids of all ages look forward breathlessly to Halloween and everything they like about it (whether it's costumes, treats, parties or spooky movies) Halloween has a lot of things for people of all ages. I wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween--whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate, or what Oct. 31st means to you, I wish you well.

What does the end of October mean for my writing? Well, pretty much the same as it meant for every other month. Working, working, editing, revising, and improving and getting closer to querying.

Yesterday I reworked Chapter 1 of Conjure A Man and I think I like it better. I wasn't happy having Delaney blush often or be uncertain. It didn't make sense to me with the fact that she's the one who brings a human over into her world. I wanted her to be strong and outspoken to keep things lively and add a dimension to the relationship. Besides which, Sasha is the shy, quiet, blushing character, I don't need all my females to be like that. I want them to be themselves--not the same thing.

Today it looks like I'll continue reworking Conjure A Man to fit how I view Delaney's character, so hopefully that will make everything else make more sense and flow even better.

Also, yesterday, Regina paid me the nicest compliment about chapter 1 of Surreal. She read it to give me input on POV and tense and she was most helpful and kind. I appreciated her comments. She said that she wants to know what happens and can't wait for it to be published. Hopefully it will be published one day. That would be awesome for both my manuscript and me. Shout out and kudos go to Regina for all her help and her kind words!

Need to send out kudos to Tessy (my wonderful cp) and to Debbie my free-lance editor. They both deserve tremendous amount of credit, as well. Not to mention all of you who come, read, comment, offer encouragement, and input on this blog, as well. Thank you!

Anyway, so what does October ending mean to you? What are your plans for the ending of this month?

Have A Fantastical Friday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Works In Progress

Morning All,

I've got 3 manuscripts in the works:

Surreal is in editing. It's my first finished full-length novel. You've got a parallel world (The Third Realm), shape shifters (I call them Man-beasts just to differiante from other shape shifting beings) jealousy, desire, fight scene, and love. This story is still in editing, and I'm waiting on the last pages from my free-lance editor. I've discovered other ways of fixing up this manuscript, too, by doing Todd Stone's 7 Revision Passes (starting on slide 6 of the link I provide).

Conjure A Man has witches, warlocks, vampires, patronizing relatives, and Delaney Ryan (witch) risking imprisonment by The High Counsel when she brings a human into The Lands of Fantasy. She's risking being found out...not only that, risking her heart, as well.

Heartbeats is the tentative title to the companion novel for Conjure A Man. It's not a sequel, but it has Delaney's best friend, Caruso Valetti (vampire) in it. Revenge, lost love, former best friends, and a possibility for great love for the asking.

So, what are you all working on? Anything ready to be queried? You got a particular editing method? Got anything just lurking on the edges of inspiration?

Have A Terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Previews, Websites, and Building A Platform

Good Mid-Morning Folks,

Today the sun is out, it's only slightly cloudy and the sun and shining and it's around 53-55 degrees out (Hello, Fall, where have you been?) Cooler weather has come back to my neck of Texas (or rather Southwest Texas, rather than a neck...probably more like the calf or something). Anyway, it's lovely and it's freezing in my house (guess it's not cold enough for the heater, but not hot enough for the air conditioner!) Hope the weather hangs around a bit (despite my allergies).

So...let's talk platforms. No, I'm not talking politics or Miss American Pageants, I'm talking writing platforms.

Writing platforms are talked about all over the place. By agents, by other writers, by readers (even though they might not call it a platform, they might call it a website or a book signing or something). In whatever case, it's a writer's reputation, it's information regarding the writer and his or her books/screenplay/poetry/et cetera.

Currently my platform mostly consists of what I put up on my blog--which is generally a combination of what I'm writing, advice, and books I've read. I kind of like to cover the myriad that's out there. (I do plan on having a website, soon, that's still in the planning stages).

Now there are writers out there with websites already (even some unpublished ones).

Published author of mysteries, Laura Childs, has a website up (with a great Mysterious/Halloween type feel)

There's Kerrelyn Sparks who has some book previews up (little videos talking about a book that's coming out or is out to give you a "taste" of what she's written/is writing).

There's also an aspiring author (and member of NWHRWA), Jennifer Bray-Weber who has book previews on her site as well.

Author Elizabeth Pina has an inspirational coming out next month (release date is on her website). The book, Learning To Let Go looks good. (P.S. I sat next to her at the Todd Stone Workshop. She's an awesome person and really nice. She's working on a Romantic Suspense that sounds really good, too--she's also a member of the NWHRWA).

And I can't mention members of NWHRWA's websites without mentioning a follower of this blog who has a website and is a member of NWHRWA, Ciara Gold.

There's other members of the NWHRWA who have websites (Kim Lenox being one, as well). But the point is, all these authors are working to build up their platform.

So, what are you doing to build up your platform? Do you have any advice for others in doing this?

Have A Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Applying The Tricks Of The Trade

Morning All,

All right, it's good that I look over things before posting them on here, because the title of this post was almost "Applying The Tricks Of The TADE" rather than "Trade". Yet, another reason for authors to proofread their work.

Okay, so I don't have to cover proofreading (that's pretty straight forward anyway, right?)

I don't know how you all feel about outlines. I personally don't usually do them. Every now and again I'll write up a synopsis when an ideas are just bursting out all over the place for me. But sometimes I start with a vague idea then it blossoms.

Todd Stone's workshop helped me organize those vague ideas:

If you go to slide number 14 on this link, you'll find a diagram that helped me organize those "vague ideas".

This one helped a lot. I had an idea for Delaney Ryan's best friend, Caruso as a companion novel to Conjure A Man, but I only had a vague idea of conflict and possible opponents. With this diagram I was able to start the ideas flowing. (In fact, yesterday, 2 pages of tentatively titled, Heartbeats came out--stronger than my original attempt).

Another concept that helped me (also from Todd Stone's Workshop) was what Todd calls "Book On An Index Card" (or, BIC). You can find out about this by clicking here and arrowing down until you get to where it talks about the BIC. Click here.

This BIC idea is used as the synopsis for Todd Stone's book, Close To Home.

Now granted, sometimes synopsis don't start with "When" but rather WHO. Things like:

"Such-and-such character has had it with______________. Therefore, she/he decides to___________. Problem is that________________________."

But it can help you organize the events in your story.

The other thing I do is let some ideas "marinate" for awhile--usually 1-2 days before I get started writing. This lets things "take shape" and develop so that I can sit down and write.

What are some of the tricks you use? What have you found most helpful?

Have A Thrilling Tuesday!

P.S. I've added The Novelists Bootcamp Blog to the list in the righthand margin under "Other Blogs To Read"

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Overpowering Your Writing Goal"--Todd Stone

Morning Folks,

Well, it's awfully yucky outside. Gray, dark, thunder, lightning and rain, rain, rain. Splat, splat, splat against the window panes (I suddenly feel very Dr. Seuss-ish LOL...Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? anybody know that book?)

In any case, in the fine tradition of continuing a theme, I'm gonna give you some of the pointers I learned from the Todd Stone's Novelist Boot Camp.

Todd Stone told us "Never fight fair" (and re-emphasized this at different times in the workshop). What he means is, if your goals are 5-10 pages a day and you're struggling to get it out, don't tell yourself "I have to do this!" And get all frustrated, consider lowering your daily goal until you get your rhythm. (even if this means you're writing 1-3 SENTENCES per day).

His point? When you break your writing down to simpler goals, then your creativity has room to grow.

Who knows, you could be up to 5-10 pages before the end of 2 weeks!

Todd Stone calls this "overpowering your writing goal" (hence the name of this post).

He says when you're writing a draft "You can't write anything bad because you're going to make it better."

I don't know about you, but when I learned about lowering my personal goals for my writing I felt much better about the whole creativity process. It felt like, "Wow, I could really get a lot done." Finding a rhythm is something all writers have to do.

Todd Stone says: "Writing should be fun work."

There's way more information about all this on his site (in particularly in his book) so be sure to look that up (I provided the links in an earlier post, titled "Boot Camp Kicks Butt!").

Happy Writing!

Have A Marvelous Monday!



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Boot Camp Kicks Butt!

Hi all,



If you haven't checked out link (in my previous post) about Todd Stone, please do so. There is a ton of information I got out of the workshop, that if I tried to post it all in this post, it would be insanely long. So, I'll give you all some short cuts:



First of all, the workshop was called Novelists Boot Camp; the slides we saw are available in the margins of his website if you click here. Worksheets include this one (with the map) and several things from his book.



Second of all, if you can get to a Todd Stone workshop, I highly recommend it. He's informative, he's fun, he's helpful and he's dynamic. He had us cracking up more times than I can count. But he offered great advice.



I made more progress on figuring out what to do with the 3 scenes I brought with me (he has to bring 3 printed out scenes from a finished or work in progress) than I have in a long time. Granted, most of my pages now look like a war zone with lines and arrows and notes everywhere, but I have a clear direction on how to improve the scene as opposed to, "Oh cut this, and put this in...maybe."



Friday was pretty much an overview. We did a lot of drills, but it was "lightweight". There were authors writing all kinds of stuff there. I sat between two ladies working on suspense romance.



There was a lot of people from the Northwest Houston chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Awesome women (and men) Shout out to Will, Jen, Tessy, Melissa, Stacy, Jody, Judythe, Janet, Christie, Elizabeth, Marisa, Cheri, Melinda, Colleen, et al from the NWHRWA that were at the workshop. Y'all rock big time and are too cool and sweet! (Please note: Ciara Gold, a follower of this blog, and published author of Celestial Dragon as well as several e-books is also a member of NWHRWA).



In any case, it was fabulous. Todd Stone also recommended Donald Maas's The Fire In Fiction, which, I haven't gotten, yet, but have wanted it for awhile.



Saturday was the big stuff. We went through the 7 Revision Passes which I'll talk about more in later post (*If I get to Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 and I still haven't posted them, somebody remind me!)

By afternoon (just a little before the workshop was over) I was tired...but I was very, very, very glad to have gone. Like I said above, I highly recommend it. Don't worry about the tough stuff, it gets broken down and Todd walks you through it. It's probably some of the best writing instruction I've gotten in a long time (I took a class on Novel Writing some years ago). The editing process makes more sense now.

Make no mistake. It is a lot of work. You will work hard. But it's good work and it's extremely helpful.

Todd Stone says that when writing stops being fun, then you have to change your tactic. You have to find a way to make it work, but also should be fun work. He says what he has to offer are "tools not rules."

My wish and hope for all of you keep your writing as not just work, but fun work!

Have A Swell Sunday!





Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bring On The Internal Editor!

Good Morning All,

Today at the workshop we're working on revisions and this is the day we actually had to have our 3 scenes (from one of our own work) to work on. We haven't started, yet, but will be shortly.

I'm not quite all the way awake, but it's already been fun this morning. If you can get to a Todd Stone Workshop I recommend it! He's really good.

Also, if you can get to a chapter of the RWA for a meeting, go!

Have A Scintillating Saturday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Workshop So Far

Howdy Folks,

Just a quick update...I'm at the workshop...it's going great, getting a lot of awesome tools....you can get the information on the slides we see and everything here. We're about to start on the afternoon session.

Have A Fantastic Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow" (Thank You, Shakespeare!)

Morning Folks,

Okay, I'm not actually going away for very long (just one night and 2 days). I might have Internet access while I'm gone, but I'm not sure how much time I'll actually have. I'm actually not going far, but I'm going to be staying away from home so I can concentrate. I'm going to attend a Todd Stone Workshop that my local RWA chapter is sponsoring, it's Friday and Saturday so that's why I won't be available those days. (In short, I probably won't post a blog post for Friday and Saturday).

This week has been so busy. I've been editing the 3 scenes from Surreal that I'm taking with me. Looking over the corrections my free-lance editor, Debbie wrote on the first printed draft. One scene is ready for printing and then I just got to do another look at the other 2 before I print, so that will be what I'm doing today. (Fortunately the other two scenes are shorter, so they won't take as long as the other one). But this editing has reacquainted me with my characters and I'm remembering why I enjoyed this story in the first place. :-)

Last night I took the gift card I got for my birthday and bought me a book I had already read, but didn't have a copy of (The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber). And then the 2nd book in the Kim Lenox series, So Still The Night (sequel to Night Falls Darkly). Also bought my son some new socks, a hat and a Christmas outfit (yeah, I know it's early, but I didn't want to run the risk that I'd get there and they'd be all sold out!) My son was thrilled with his new hat and insisted upon wearing it for awhile around the mall, then at Waldenbooks (also affiliated with Borders) he was excited because he got to get a book, too. (He loves bookstores and libraries :-) ).

Anyway, so that's what's going on the next few days.

What are your plans for the next couple of days? Are you editing a work or still writing it? Have you started querying? If so, are you going for an agent first or straight to a publisher?

Have A Thrilling Thursday!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You're Too Tense

Hello One And All,

So, today's post was triggered by what I read on the blog post for today on Bookends, L.L.C--Literary Agency. They were talking about what tense is best.

Of course, third person, past tense is the most popular. But what happens when an author wants to write first person present tense (a la, my story, Surreal). Now, when I was first going over it I wasn't sure it worked because of all the "I" in it (Regina, bless her, has taken a look at chapter 1 and has some comments for me, which I can only be grateful for a "fresh set of eyes" on it). However, in some parts of the book I'm wondering if it works.

Breaking out of the "norm" isn't always easy for an author (as a lot of you know). Some authors never set out to be trailblazers but ended up doing just that.

So, what about you? What tense do you think is best? Which one do you normally use? What do you think of the different tenses/POVs (Point of views)?

Have A Wisdom-filled Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Voracious Reader

Howdy Folks,

Okay, yes, that's the Texan coming out again LOL. In any case, lately I've been reading like a fiend. Books are like air, water and food to me in many ways, so reading as much as I can is a big deal for me. Plus, it gives me an idea as to what's out there, writing styles, and sometimes even inspires me in my own writing.

I just finished the 3rd of the 3 books that was on my list to read. So, I thought today I'd talk about them:

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber was awesome. There's two books by her that have stood out in my mind (the most) and this is one of them. The other is Between Friends, which reminded me of the close friendship I have with Sarah J. The Perfect Christmas was a nice blend of holiday cheer, humor/mishaps and romance. I recommend it. I even think it's one my mom would really like.

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn was a retelling of The Sleeping Beauty. I love fairy tales, and this one didn't disappoint at all. Although, I still like Beastly (also by Alex Flinn) best, I think this one is great. I love her style and she has a nice blend of the modern with the fairy tale.

Wings by E.D. Baker blends in Shakespeare's A Mid-Summer Night's Dream with a myriad of other fey characters (including, nymphs, gnomes, fairies, goblins, unicorns, snake women, and trolls). I liked the way she pulled in the characters of Titania and Oberon. Nice "nod" to the Shakespearean play.

I'm planning on reading Ever by Gail Carson Levine as soon as I can get it. I've read Ella Enchanted, some fairy-tale retellings in 2 anthology format, and Fairest by her, so I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with Ever.

So what's on your reading list? What do you want to read, but haven't gotten around to, yet? Do you "gobble up" books or do you take your time?

Have A Treasure Trove Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Got Talent?

Good Morning Folks,

I used to operate under the assumption that those who were working to get published were those who were certain their work was "good enough". The misunderstanding that writing was about being the next Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, rather than an ability to transport a person into another world.

There are all kinds of writers in the world. Some are better than others. Some published ones are better than others. Some aspiring authors are better than other aspiring authors. This means we can't compare ourselves to other writers. We have to research, read, and learn. These are things that will help all writers improve.

One of my biggest pet peeves in coming across writers who are talented are those who are too scared to put themselves out there. Why? Several reasons:

1. At one time I felt that way. I got sick of living in fear and decided the only thing I could do is learn, grow, improve and put my best work out there. Meaning: sometimes having to write something that's not as good, then going back and improving it. Or gaining experience from the writing and making my next story better.

2. When a writer is "too scared" or thinks "I'm not good enough." They've already set themselves up for failure. If you don't believe in your work, then who else is going to? You have to believe that you have something going for you: plot, character, dialogue...anything--a spark. It doesn't mean you know for certain you'll be published (none of us aspiring authors know for certain we'll be published until we have that signed contract).

3. The world of book publishing "is not an exact science" (check out this agent blog post to see what I'm talking about).

Example: Stephenie Meyer has said that she sent out Twilight to 15 possible places (publishing houses). 9 rejections, 5 no answers, and then the magic 1.

Other authors have drawers and stacks of rejection slips from agents and/or publishers before they got their agent and/or publisher.

You have to love it...want to write, want to publish. You have to be open to learning, growing, and everything else. No, none of us can promise anybody that the road is easy. Sometimes it's really difficult, other times it all falls into place.

Bottom line: You won't know unless you try.

I can't emphasize that point enough. Sure, it might take some time and work on your part, but do you want to keep your story and characters locked away in a file cabinet? Granted, some work authors prefer to keep locked away in a file cabinet, but I think any author with a grain of talent has a chance to grow and maybe, just maybe, achieve the "golden moment" that I call getting published. It's just a matter of going for it. So, go for it. I'm not sure what's around the corner, but I'm willing to find out. I owe my stories and characters that much to give it my best effort and work at it.

Your thoughts?

Have A Miracle Monday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sprinkle In A Little Sunday

Afternoon One and All,

Well, it's Sunday and a very pretty one at that. I love this time of year when the weather starts looking nice (and feeling nice). Love having it get cooler and busting out the sweaters, jackets and such. Feels so cozy when it's cold out and you bundle up in coats, hats and pants. I love this time of year.

Yesterday's party was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing all who came. Some of my closest friends (and some I haven't seen in a long while) were there. It was great. 30 isn't too bad. Just odd in the sense that it feels weird to think that this is the era where I'm 30 and years from now some other time period will be another person's 30 era. Time really is a strange thing to contemplate. Especially changes in music, movies, dress, you name it.

Kind of like how the book business and the weather go through seasons, I think humans do the same. We all have our springs, summers, autumns and winters and it doesn't necessarily have to coincide with one's age. A person can have a springtime when they're 90 years old, but a winter when they're 15. All depends on what's going on and how they are doing.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful season in their life. I think it's important to let the sunshine in to let yourself find something positive to cling to.

So what's something positive in your life that anchors you? Maybe even helps you with your writing or just every day life?

Mine is faith, family and friends (the 3 F's!) What's yours?

Have A Stupendous Sunday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Saturday Saturday

Morning All,

I only have time for a short post today because I have to finish breakfast and get in the shower and get dressed. Today is my birthday party (Oct. 15th was my actual birthday, as many of you already know!)

My husband, myself and my son all have to go pick up 3 party trays and the cake, then get over to my parents' house (they're letting us have it there) and set up and decorate before the party starts. So I have a lot to do.

Yesterday I got some writing done on Conjure A Man so that's good.

What's your plans for today?

Have A Splendiferious (Sarah J.'s word that I happen to like) Saturday!

**(Kudos go to Sarah J. today for the great word!)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Five Favorites

Good Morning All,

Today is Friday, so I thought for this Friday we'd have Five Favorites Friday (at least for this Friday).

So, here we go:

1. Five Favorite Movies.

Here's mine (in no particular order):

1. "A Walk To Remember"

2. "Cinderella" (Disney and the Whitney Houston/Brandy versions)

3. "The Princess Bride" (are we seeing a trend here...?)

4. "The gods Must Be Crazy" (both movies go on one line here)

5. "Bruce Almighty"


2. Five Favorite Pieces Of Clothing.

1. Capris

2. My new pair of heels (despite having to break them in)

3. My cloak or cape (I call it my cloak, but others call it my cape)

4. Scarf

5. My velvet pants (purple pair and black pair)

3. Five Favorite Phrases

1. "Snap"

2. "Howdy"

3. "Awesome"

4. "That rocks"

5. "LOL"

4. Five Favorite Cyber-Space Things (Like Facebook, Twitter, Et Cetera)

1. Blogs

2. Facebook

3. Author Websites

4. Amazon.com

5. YouTube

5. Five Favorite Books.

1. "Beastly" by Alex Flinn

2. "Between Friends" by Debbie Macomber

3. "A Tale Of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

4. "Phantom Of The Opera" by Gaston Leroux (The English translation)

5. "Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer

(this is by NO means ALL my favorite books, but since only 5, this was off the top of my head).

Now it's your turn...use the 5 lists above to list your 5 favorite Movies, Items of Clothing, Phrases, Cyber-Space Sites and Books!

Have A Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Party On!

Hello Everyone,

Today is my 30th birthday, so I hope everyone has a great day (well I hope that for every day, but especially today!)

I haven't many plans. Workout, hopefully do some writing, maybe walk down to Blockbuster, enjoy the fact that it's not gloomy outside, hang out with my son and when my husband gets home from work, probably hang out with him!

My younger brother called me today (wonderful birthday thing to receive) and we had a nice little conversation. He's a great guy (he's also getting married next year :-) No, I'm not in the wedding, but me and my husband and son are invited, of course LOL).

My Facebook was alive with all kinds of birthday greetings. Took me a minute to answer them all, fortunately answers came to me quickly and I type pretty fast :-) I really appreciated it, though.

As to writing, I didn't get any done yesterday. I don't remember why not. I didn't have a good excuse, so today I definitely have to crack down and get some in.

Today is the deadline for Nathan Bransford's contest, I posted about this the other day. So, if you haven't already answered, check out the post and check out when the time deadline is and if you have time, hurry up and get your entry in!

As to everything else. I finished reading Princess Of The Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. It's a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and it was very good.

I have a book to pick up and read, so that one will be next. I also have a couple of other books to get to when I can pick them up.

Anyway, low key day, but still glad to be alive and glad I was born!

Have A Tremendously Terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's About Manners, My Dear. You Know, Professionalism

Morning All,

I've probably touched on this before, but I'm doing it again (for the sake of anyone who doesn't know it) and for those who do to give their two cents. Yes, I'm welcoming everyone to add advice, suggestions or comments to this to help one another :-)

If you're trying to get published (or that's your ultimate goal) remember your manners and professionalism. It's not that hard:

1. Agents/publishers are interested in what sells and what works. It's not to offend you, it's the way the business is. Despite what anybody might wish/want publishing is a business.

2. Just because there's not necessarily new ideas out there (just new twists on an idea) doesn't mean you're allowed to plagiarize another writer's work (i.e. take their characters, exact same situations, et cetera and write your own story and try to publish it). You have to come up with your own. This means knowing the rules, copyrights, and what flies and what doesn't. (this means your Harry Potter or Twilight or Interview With A Vampire fanfictions are not options for publication, sorry, the copyrights are still valid and you'll have lawyers writing you letters telling you to cease and desist). If you can write a fanfiction you can come up with your own stories, trust me. Imagination is a great foundation and muscle in writing. Exercise it.

3. Professionalism doesn't mean you put down other writers, agents, publishers, readers, genres, magazines, you name it (especially in your query letters). Professionalism means you treat other people with the professional respect this industry demands. Putting down others doesn't mean you look better. Several agents have covered this very point. Or for that matter, do your best not to say "Never before has there ever been a book about..." because chances are there's 5 out there on the same subject. Talk about why yours is different and unique.

Those 3 rules seem to be the biggest pet peeves I've seen on some agent blogs. They're not trying to discourage, they're trying to give you pointers to help you get published.

What does this all mean for us writers? It means do your research. Read up on the publishing business (even if you don't know everything, the more you do know will help you understand how things work better).

The rejection slips you get aren't about the agents losing out, it's about whether or not they think they can represent you. Just because Agent A said no, doesn't mean Agent B will. Or Agents C-Z. To translate: have options. If one says "no", keep going.

Check out what each agent is willing to represent. Most agents out there have websites. These websites have "Submission Guidelines". Before you query, check them out so that you're doing things exactly the way that works for them. Part of this is based on their work load, or what they're most interested in. Some agents prefer e-mail queries--for them that's easier--others prefer mailed-in queries--that works best for them. Some agents want only Sci-Fi or Thrillers, others are open to almost anything. Some don't accept poetry, or YA novels, others welcome those YA novels with open arms. Translation: Know the agents you're querying, that is, know their preferences.

Some might think that agents are being too picky. My view is that agents know what they can sell. They know what they like best, and what they are most willing to take on. Ultimately, it is their descision. Why alienate them by complaining about the preferences rather than saying "Okay, I want an agent who will work their hardest for me. If Agent C doesn't like Thrillers, then I'll check out Agent F."?

The book business is huge. It has it's influxes and declines. There are a lot of options out there for writers. Everything from workshops to contests to a huge number of agents out there.

There's too many options for writers to get whiny about preferences. Too many options for us writers to sit there going "Oh this is so hard." Think about it: we write novels that are anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 words in length (roughly 200 to 400 pages in printed form). That's isn't always easy. We writers aren't writing/publishing because it's easy, we're doing it out of love of the craft--which is important. If you don't love what you do, then eventually someone will see that, and your work won't be the best you could do.

So, what's a little pride swallowing for the sake of that the 90,000 word count novel you have all prepped, polished and ready to query? In the long run, your characters, story, and craft will thank you for believing in it enough to check out who will best represent and best work with it. And in the end, you'll be happy you played it straight because others around you will appreciate your efforts...even if it takes a few rejection slips and rewrites to get there.

Best of luck! Feel free to "weigh-in".

Have A Working Well Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh That Blank Page!

Good Morning Folks,

Today's post is inspired by folk-rock group, Lowen & Navarro. Years ago, (my senior year of high school) I interviewed (via email) the members of Lowen & Navarro, Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro. I had met them when me and several of my family members had gone to a folk festival in 1997. They had given me their autograph and we had spent several minutes talking and laughing. Really talented guys and very nice to boot. (By the way, they're really great singers/songwriters, I have about 3 of their albums).

In the interview I asked them about song writing and one of them said, "the agony of the blank page". That quote brings me to today's topic. (By the way, that image really got to me, I thought it was fantastic and it inspired me to write a poem that later appeared in my high school's literary magazine).

Sometimes we writers get confronted by the blank page and how to fill that page up with a wonderful story, with great dialogue, fascinating characters, and superb scenery. This task can be both an agony (especially if you're suffering from writer's block or can be exciting when you have this great idea).

Either way, songwriters, novelists, screenwriters, poets, you name it, we're all confronted with the blank page in one way or another. We all must answer the call to fill said space with incredible imagery and talent.

Some days this is an easy accomplishment, other days it can be a real tough situation.

So, I'm asking you, my fellow writers (of all genre and types) tell me, how do you handle the blank page? Writer's block? And those flashes of fantastic inspiration that leaves you going "I can't stop, I can't stop, gotta get this story on paper!"?

Have A Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

For Those Who Don't Know...

Afternoon All,

If you haven't already heard, Agent Nathan Bransford is holding an impromptu contest (which I'm thinking of entering and invite anyone interested to also enter). You can find the details (rules, et cetera), here.

Have A Marvelous Monday Afternoon!

Books To Movies

Good Morning Everybody,

Ever noticed the influx of movies that are based on books? Maybe this has been a trend for a long time, but lately I've been noticing it more than ever.

For instance, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is a beloved children's book, one that I've read and many of my siblings have read and come October 16th it'll be a movie.

I found out that Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is an actual children's novel (by Judi Barrett). I discovered this one day when walking around Barnes & Noble.

The Twilight Saga is expecting the second installment on November 20th (New Moon) and the 3rd one on June 30, 2010 (Eclipse) and there's different speculation about the 4th book (Breaking Dawn) becoming a movie (perhaps in 2 parts). Then, if you go to Stephenie Meyer's website, you'll find out her adult sci-fi, The Host is in the early stages of movie planning.

Not to mention how many Nicholas Sparks books have become movies. To name a few, Message In A Bottle, A Walk To Remember, The Notebook, Nights In Rodanthe; there's 2 more coming out probably in 2010. The Lucky One is in production.

Also, if you look around, you'll find there's various renditions of Jane Austen novels, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Sense & Sensibility, to name the titles I've noticed...there might even be more out.

I've also found out a book I recently read and loved (and do recommend), Alex Flinn's Beastly is due in theaters on July 2010.

What is it about books that makes people want to make them into movies? Is it the fan base? The storyline? The potential expanded readership/viewership? The expanse of choices out there? I think it's all of the above.

Sometimes people like the book better, and on a few occasions, there's those who prefer the movie over the book.

There's some authors who have no desire to sell their rights to film makers. There's others who jump at the chance to see their characters come to life on the big screen. But sometimes it's exciting to know that a book you liked becomes a movie.

So, what are some of your favorite books to movies? What did you like about them? Would you mind having your books become movies (whether you're published or unpublished) or do you care?

Personally, I'd make that decision if and when the question arose. For now, I'm just concentrating on the writing and creating. Like I said, if the question of a movie of my stories comes up, I'll make the decision then.

Have A Merry Monday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Light Bulb Moments

Afternoon Folks,

Happy Sunday Sundae and all that :-)

Ever had a moment when you're writing where you go "Oh duh!" Or "Hey! That's what I needed to do."?

One of mine happened yesterday. I was frustrated with Chapter 2 and 3 in Conjure A Man having rewritten them several times and it still wasn't working. Then I thought, "Wait, what about the original chapter 2 from before I changed chapter 1?" I hunted up the file and to my great relief I hadn't deleted it. So, now chapter 2 is back and I can relax and think "It really works best there." I think chapter 3 will be easier, now.

But has that happened to you? You have this moment where you've tried and tried and tried, only to realize the original was best...go find and and lo, and behold, there it is! Problem solved. Had those moments?

Anyway, today's short and sweet (like a sundae, ha, ha, bad joke).

Hope You Have A Scrumptious Sunday!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Retellings Or, The Former Story Is Now...

Good Morning Folks,

Last night (well really after 1 a.m.) I finished reading Judith Ivory's Sleeping Beauty. Pretty interesting work, tying in the fairytale with a story of the author's imagination. Towards the end it really picks up as you find out about a huge betrayal and the hero finally gets the heroine as his bride.

I've read a lot of retellings (and some references to well-known stories). Of course, there's some I like more than others. (I absolutely adore Cameron Dokey's Belle, a retelling of Beauty & The Beast and Robin McKinley's Beauty: A Retelling Of Beauty & The Beast).

Years ago I wrote a retelling of my own. Unfortunately, due to computer glitches (and my own failure to save more of it to diskette) I lost the majority of the story and mourned the loss of a character I had come to love. The story yet remains unpublished and rewritten. I have moved on to telling my own stories. I can think fondly upon the character I had really come to love fondly without feeling mournful. I have other wonderful characters now that need my attention and I will always be grateful to that story for the experience of writing it.

But I still love other authors' retellings.

Older fairy tales brushed up into a different point of view are lots of fun. Most of them take the beloved story and tell it from another angle rather than change the story much. Those are my favorite because often times you get the story from a different character's point of view and the chance to get inside another character's head is exciting.

Another great author on retellings is Gail Carson Levine. I positively loved Ella Enchanted (and I own the movie with Anne Hathway) and several others of hers, including one of her newer ones, Fairest. She takes a story that's well known, gives a different spin on it and adds a lot of her own elements, thus, while you could say the evidence of the original is there, she's taken upon herself to come up with almost a whole new story--or spin on it. I've read almost everything she's published.

So what about you? Do you write (or read) retellings? Were you ever influenced by retellings or stories that are well-known and loved?

Have A Stupendous Saturday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Wet Day To Whet Inspiration

Morning Folks,

Once again I'm playing with words that sound alike--homonyms. (Anybody who regularly reads this blog knows I love words). In this case wet and whet. Wet meaning damp, and whet meaning excite, inspire, encourage (like "whet your appetite").

Today it's pouring down rain. The clouds are thick, white sheets in the sky. Very gloomy. Not exactly the type of day that lends itself to pepping up my spirit (I'm a sunshiny, fall weather type). However, some people love rain. I have a friend who likes the rain. While I see droopy leaves and gray skies, she thinks the world looks fresh and new.

Generally the weather doesn't precisely inspire me, but I expect there's people out there who find the weather quite inspiring. So, if you do, what kind of weather inspires you and why? Do you like the rain or prefer sunshine? What season do you like?

Have A Fresh Friday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Missed Me?

Happy Late Night All,

It's after 10 p.m. and I'm thinking bedtime thoughts, but I wanted to make sure I posted before Thursday leaves.

Today has been super-duper busy. In the morning had to go to the doc's office (just allergies) and then run off to the bank, Blockbuster, and then later my parents came over. Mom had me go shopping with her, then had something to take care of at Church.

I watched My Life In Ruins this evening and it was cute. I thought there was some funny moments.

I'm working on finishing reading Judith Ivory's Sleeping Beauty...I have about 150-200 pages left, and am trying to push through it because I have 3 other books on my list to read.

Tomorrow I plan to start a regular exercise schedule. I'm resolved to be more healthy (ummm does that mean no more chocolate, because I gotta have my chocolate...and coffee...yes, coffee is a must. Good thing I'm not a serious Dieter).

I started some rewrites on Surreal (thank you, Regina for your input, I appreciate it). And I gotta finish rewrites on chapter 2 of Conjure A Man and dash those off to my critic partner, the illustrious and awesome, Tess.

Next week is my 30th birthday. Hard to believe I'm already reaching my 30's, but I've decided it's going to be fun. My philosophy has been "Every year has good and bad things in it." So, we'll see what 30 brings for me. (Gasp, I know, a woman admitting her real age, but hey, so what if someone thinks I'm old...we all get older whether we want to or not...unless of course you're someone who says they're always 29 or 39...I know people who have said that year after year).

So, what about you? What's on your agenda for the rest of the week? If you write, how's that going? And what's your view on age?

Hope everyone had a Thrilling Thursday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Muddled Literature

Good Morning Everybody,

Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamt there was a play that was a combination of about 2 or 3 Shakespeare plays (including King Lear and A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream). Don't ask me how these two even remotely go together, but apparently anything can happen in dreams. (I'm not sure if there was a 3rd play mixed in there or what it was, but it's possible).

In the line of retelling stories...

I don't know if any of you have read Politically Correct Fairy Tales (I believe by James Finn Garner) but it's pretty funny. The prince, in Sleeping Beauty instead of marrying the princess decides to adopt something like the Lotus Position and meditate because he thinks that's what she's doing! LOL It's pretty funny. But it reminds me of my dream. Not exactly the stories you remember, but good for a laugh and entertainment.

I suppose I should say that the dream inspired me to great heights, but all it did was leave me with the proverbial desire to scratch my head and ask, "What was that?" I also don't know what my high school alma mater had to do with all that, and why it looked so different in my dreams, but that's unconscious thought for you.

Rarely do dreams inspire or influence my writing. Conjure A Man is the exception to that rule. It's loosely based off a dream I had, and inspiration that hit me immediately after I woke up.

What about you? Are your dreams as muddled as mine? Do they inspire you? Influence your writing in any way? Also, have you read any retellings of stories that made you laugh?


Have A Witty Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Turbulence--Fasten Your Safety Belts

Morning Folks,

So, yesterday I finally got back to writing. I opened up Conjure A Man, cut part of what I originally had to take the story in another direction. Then I thought, "Wait, does this go with the rest of the story?" Today part of what I want to do is see if the new goes with the old and fix what needs fixing and continue with writing the story.

Sometimes writing gets a little bumpy. You get jostled around as you try to pull your thoughts and inspiration into a coherent plot point. In some cases, you have to go back and take out something that seemed fine 2 days ago, but ends up not fitting.

Then you have to go untangling knots and figure out what needs to stick around and what needs to go. Sometimes it's a matter of getting in touch with your critique partner (cp) and saying "What do you think? Does it flow or am I off-kilter?"

Other times, you find out your new ideas are better than the old ideas or the old ideas are better than the new ones.

It's part of the writing process. Keep taking deep breaths...fasten your seatbelts and hang on. Sometimes the ride is smooth and sometimes it's not.

How about you? What's "turbulence" like for you? Going through it now or is it smooth sailing?

Have A Tranquil Tuesday!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moody Monday

Morning Folks,

Well, it's rainy, gray, and gloomy outside my window and yesterday I was under the weather (still not feeling completely back to my normal self, but trying to get better, and definitely not worse). One of my sisters and nephew are fighting the flu, but fortunately her fever is low. One of my nephews seems to be getting better, so that's good. A friend mine mentioned something about some strain of flu and I know someone who said they had swine flu for awhile (but it was not a bad case). And another friend of mine knows someone who has swine flu. So, tis the season for the flu, regardless of the strain. Yuck!

On a more positive note, like I said, I'm doing better. My ears are still bothering me, but hopefully they're mending. My son slept better than he has in days, so that's a blessing, as well. Neither one of us has had a fever so far, so I'm VERY glad of that.

I haven't done a lot of writing lately since I've not felt my best. I played a computer game, but mostly I didn't do much except some housework. I'm trying to catch up on the work around the house.

But I haven't forgotten about my manuscripts. On the contrary, they've been on my mind, I just have been trying to get better so I can use my best focus on them.

I've also been doing a lot of reading, which I feel is a good idea as a writer--compare writing styles, word usage, dialogue, descriptions--plus it's just plain all out fun.

I'm hoping to get back on my usual writing spree today and this week. Last week was crazy--I was in a car accident (the other driver was given a citation from the police...everyone was fine, except my back and neck were strained, but even that is getting better and one of my passengers is going to the doctor tomorrow, but she's fine, too). So I was talking to insurance people and tow truck folks most of the time last week.

I really would like this week to be calmer...easier to get writing done and do everything that needs to be done.

My birthday is coming up...but not until next week. I'm also thinking (or is that hoping?) that maybe the weather is getting cooler out--which would be great.

How are you doing? If you're a writer, how's that coming? Anything exciting happening in your world these days?

Anyway, again, I apologize for not posting yesterday, I wasn't feeling very well.

Hope every one is doing well, or if not well, on the road to things going well!

Have A Miraculous Monday!