Thursday, September 30, 2010

Question Of The Day

Posted by Bethany at September 30, 2010 2 comments Links to this post
Happy Thursday One And All,

An interesting question came up in an interview I was reading earlier today (interview was debuting author, Robin Badillo). It was: "When did you first consider yourself a writer?"

The terms author and writer can mean different things to people, depending on who you are.

For me, author and writer are generally the same thing. An author usually writes in some way (whether it's through words, pictures or music) and a writer writes things.

So if published and aspiring writers/authors are writing with words (or pictures/music) when do you consider yourself one?

I think when I got serious about writing is when I started considering myself a writer/author. I mean, I played around with it for years. Everything from lyrics to poetry to essays, then finally, as I got into high school and adulthood, novels. I had story ideas even before high school, but I didn't get serious about it until I got older.

But truly considering myself a writer and author happened when I finally decided I was going to write, query, and hopefully one day, publish. That's when I really figured I was a writer.

So what about you? When did/do you consider yourself a writer and/or author?

Have A Thrilling Thursday!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

News, News, News

Posted by Bethany at September 29, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Wednesday All,

I wanted to post earlier, but for some reason the site was acting crazy, but it's mostly behaving right now. So, I can finally put something up.

New Releases:

Last night I picked up my copy of Kerrelyn Sparks' new book, Eat Prey Love, which is Carlos's story from Sparks' Love At Stake series. Looks good, by the way.

Coming up: October 1st:  Robin Badillo makes her debut with Journey Of The Damned: Retribution.

October also means Laura Childs' new book from her Scrapbooking Series, Fiber & Brimstone will be available.

Notes on Query Letters:

A couple of days ago Scott Eagan talked about query letters and what he has to say about them.

On a similar note today,  BookEnds, LLC talks about what their rejection letters look like.

On September 26th, Query Shark had a winning query letter posted.

Other News & Fun Things:

Another thing happening in October is something I've been talking about:  NWHRWA's Lone Star Conference.

Also, if you're looking for something healthier this autumn with a real fall feel (especially with Halloween and Thanksgiving coming around the corner) you might be interested in Eating Well's Roasted Pumpkin-Apple Soup. I haven't tried this recipe, but they have a lot of recipes that I'm interested in. Plus, this one sounded cozy, which is the feeling fall and winter often give me. (Besides, I won't tell if you sneak a piece of pumpkin or apple pie after eating this).

Have A Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spotlight On Author: Shanna Swendson

Posted by Bethany at September 28, 2010 6 comments Links to this post
Happy Tuesday Everyone,

I'm delighted to introduce to you, Shanna Swendson, author of the Enchanted, Inc. series. (the ones I was reading that one time and recommended to everyone?)

Shanna was kind enough to agree to do an email interview with me and I'm happy to make her my September author interview.

So, without further delay, I give you Shanna Swendson...

Me: Every author has a story about how they got with their publisher, so, how did you end up with Ballantine Books as your publisher?

Shanna: There's no real story to it. They happened to be the ones who bought the book. My agent submitted it to a number of publishers. Most rejected it. One publisher said they planned to make an offer, which triggered an auction. Then that publisher couldn't bid because the executive who needed to sign off on it wasn't available, and Ballantine ended up being the publisher to make an offer. What's funny is that at least one editor who rejected it later contacted my agent after reading the book when it was published and asked why she didn't get a chance at it.

Me: Is your character, Katie Chandler based on anyone in your life?

Shanna: Not really. I guess in a way all my characters are based in part on myself because I'm the only person I know inside out. Katie is made up of a bunch of different parts of myself, mixed up and put back together again in a different way. I am from a small town in Texas, but I was an army brat before I moved there, so I'd lived all over and wasn't nearly as naive or sheltered as Katie is. New Yorkers tend to think I'm local when I go there (I'm always being asked for directions in New York). She's a bit snarkier than I am. I find it takes me a little adjustment to get into her voice when I'm writing one of these books.

Me: You mention in your FAQ that ENCHANTED, INC. has been optioned for a film, do you have any news about that you can share?

Shanna: All I know right now is that they've renewed the option and that a script has been written. The last I heard is that they're hiring a writer to rewrite the script, so the project does seem to be moving forward, though that still doesn't mean that a movie will be made.

Me: For Fun: Do you have a favorite brand of chocolate?

Shanna: I'm partial to dark chocolate Dove Promises. I have had some fancy chocolates, but the Dove is perfectly fine for regular consumption and is readily available at Target.

Me: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don't chase trends. You're fortunate if a trend happens to coincide with what you enjoy, but you'll only waste your time and frustrate yourself if you force yourself to write something you don't enjoy just because it's what's currently hot. Stick to what you enjoy and do well, and that may make it strong enough to sell no matter what the trend currently is. Or you could set the trend.

Me: What triggered (inspired) the Katie Chandler books?

Shanna: There were several things that all came together.

I came up with the initial idea early in 2002. That was when the chick lit trend was really heating up. Late the year before, I'd gone to England and most of my souvenirs were British chick lit books, and I'd been devouring them. On the same trip, I'd bought British editions of the first few Harry Potter books and had finally gotten into that series. I liked the chick lit books because they were easier for me to relate to than most romance novels. They were often about how hard it is to find Mr. Right, while romance novels usually involve Mr. Right showing up and the heroine not being too happy about it until late in the book. I also liked that the stories extended into job, family and friends, not just the relationship. Meanwhile, I found that the Harry Potter books reminded me of my own school days, aside from the magic and being in boarding school. I essentially was Hermione during my school years -- right down to the curly brown hair and being friends with guys who didn't realize I was a girl. One day, I found myself thinking that it would be really cool if I could find something like that, but about adults, you know, like the chick lit books, but with magic. And that was when it hit me, that blending the two genres would create exactly what I wanted to read.

The big lightning bolt came one day when I was on my way to my home office (I was telecommuting at the time) and thinking that it would be lovely if I checked my e-mail and found a message offering me the perfect job, like a job at a magical company. It was a big "oooh!" moment. At first, though, I was primarily thinking about what I wanted to read and looking for books like that. When I didn't find anything quite like that, I thought I'd have to write it, but I worried that the fact that there wasn't anything meant that there wasn't a market for it. It took a conversation with an editor to convince me that people might like it (though that editor actually ended up rejecting the manuscript).

A lot of personal experiences made their way into the books, from crazy co-workers to bad blind dates with guys who refuse to talk. I poured lots of stuff from my working life and dating life into the story.

Me: I read that your character, Owen Palmer, was often in your head when you were writing the ENCHANTED, INC. series. Have you ever thought of writing a book from his point of view or is Katie firmly ensconced as the "narrator"?

Shanna: A book narrated by Owen would be the shortest book ever because he's not exactly a talker. Or else it would get sidetracked into long, technical discussions about magic. Even doing a third-person narration from his point of view would be weird because I get the feeling that there's so much going on in there that it would be difficult to find the focus. I think he's a more intriguing character when seen from the outside. He did capture my imagination and more or less demand that I delve into who he was, but he definitely sidesteps being the center of attention.

Me: Do you think you'll ever get a chance to reveal the secrets of Owen's past?

Shanna: That's what the fifth book in the series is supposed to be about.

Me: For Fun: Who's your favorite character in your series?

Shanna: It would have to be Owen because he really took me by surprise. When I first started writing, he was supposed to be a very secondary character. The idea was that there would be two co-workers at the magical company, one guy that everyone else thought was attractive while Katie didn't see him that way and one guy who actually was attractive. This was just supposed to show Katie's magical immunity at work. I decided to mix things up and give the unattractive guy a really outgoing personality and the attractive guy the shyness, then when I started writing, the shyness became extreme, and then I started thinking about how that came about and developed his backstory. Owen's one of the more complex and intriguing characters I've created, and yet I did almost no character development work on him. My note for him in the notebook I used for brainstorming pretty much just says "attractive co-worker, kind of shy, best friend type." Everything about him just seemed to come up as I wrote, which is really unusual for me.

Me: Anything else you'd like to add?

Shanna:  Nothing I can think of!

Thank you, Shanna, for doing this! I really appreciate it.

I hope the 5th book gets published one day! I've been wondering about Owen for awhile now. :-)

Have A Tip-Top Tuesday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Go For It!

Posted by Bethany at September 27, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Monday,

In every email interview I've done with a published author there's one question I always ask:  What piece of advice do you find helpful? (or most helpful).

 With every interview, there's been different answers, but I think in a lot of ways it boils down to:  don't give up.

 Now that doesn't mean authors never get nervous about putting their name out there. It doesn't mean they never fear it won't work. What it means is that they've stopped letting the fear get in the way.
 So...what makes you keep goinging for it?

 One way you can "go for it" is in 2 weeks and 5 days the NWHRWA Lone Star Conference will happen (October 16, 2010). I don't know how much room they have, but you won't know if you don't "go for it".  Please click here and check it out.

 Have A Merry Monday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moving Forward

Posted by Bethany at September 25, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Hi Everyone,

I've been reading and editing, and some other things, which is why I haven't been doing a lot of blogging. But I hope to get back to regular blogs, soon. (Possibly next week).

I still have to finish this round of edits--but I'm getting closer--less than 100 pages left. I got some comments back from a "beta" reader and played around with those edits; so I'll have to wait for the next several pages from her. Which, depending on the comments from her, could mean some more edits, but at least it's getting polished up and things that I didn't catch in my editing are being caught. I'm trying to make Surreal as polished as I can.

So, still moving forward.

I'm also gearing up for the Conference! 3 Weeks until the day of the Conference (October 16, 2010).

Have A Wonderful Weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Business Cards, Pseudonyms, Websites; Or Making Your Presence Known

Posted by Bethany at September 21, 2010 2 comments Links to this post
Happy Tuesday All,

My business cards with the name "Bethany Averie" on them just came in yesterday (the first box, that is). It feels surreal (to borrow from the title of the manuscript I'm polishing for querying) to have them. "Averie" is a pseudonym for me since I'm trying to keep my personal/private life personal and private and my writing life separate for a variety of reasons.

Also, I'm sending information off to my webmaster so that he can start looking around so I can buy my domain name and get that going. He's someone I know and good with the web mastering and easy to work with--very knowledgeable, too. So, he's gonna help me with that part. 

Anyway, there's exciting things happening on my end, so check back to see what's next :-)

What's going on with you?

Have A Terrific Tuesday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Posted by Bethany at September 17, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Friday Everyone,

If you have NOT signed up for the NWHRWA Lone Star Conference, you need to hurry and do so!



Randy Ingranmanson of the Snow Flake method is going to be there. (He's the keynote speaker).

Christine Witthohn (Luncheon Speaker) of Book Cents Literary Agency is going to be there.

Naomi Hackenberg of Elaine P. English, PLLC is going to be there.

Amy Boggs of Donald Maass Literary Agency is going to be there.

I was told Katy Budget Books was going to be there.

Several writers both published and unpublished just like you are going to be there.

So, don't wait another second...get over to the NWHRWA's website and register now:

There's only 4 weeks and 1 day left until October 16, 2010 when the Conference is happening. Don't be left out!

Have A Fantastic Friday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Updates, Etc...

Posted by Bethany at September 14, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Tuesday Everyone,

Here's the scoop:

Progress is being made on the "polishing" of Surreal. Ideas are popping up like daisies for this other story I'm working on, which, will cover a being completely different than that of Surreal or Conjure A Man. CAM's been on hold while I've been prepping Surreal.  This other story came to me and I had to get it out and we'll see where it takes me. The mermaid story is still being fleshed out. There's some details that aren't quite coming to me, yet.

I've ordered my business cards and I am hoping to get them before the Conference (info on the Conference can be found below). Life got a bit chaotic when my son got sick, so I had to play "catch up" for a bit.

A few notes on some release dates:

Debut author (and someone I know), Robin Badillo, has her first book (I believe an e-book title) coming out next month. Check out Retribution here.  Looks good :-)

I'm totally into Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & The Olympians books. I have the last one yet to read. Sad that a series has to end, but he has other series started that I'm interested in. And don't let the fact that they're geared toward mid-grade fool you. There's plenty of action and everything else in there to keep even an adult interested (otherwise I wouldn't read them and neither would my husband!) Check them out for yourself here.

I've also been reading Nicholas Sparks' The Last Song. Fun tidbit that I found out on his website is that he wrote the screenplay for this story first before he wrote the book. The movie was good and the book is pretty good, too. I think it's on the same level as A Walk To Remember (which I loved the book and the movie). My top favorites of Sparks' books are as follows:  Number 1 A Walk To Remember (book and movie), Number 2 The Notebook (the book) and Number 3 The Last Song (book and movie).  I'd have to watch The Notebook movie again to see if it can join ranks with the book.

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for the NWHRWA's Lone Star Conference, I think there's still time. Remember, it's on October 16, 2010. Click here for further information.

Anyway, what's everyone else up to?

Have A Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Extensive Road Mapping

Posted by Bethany at September 13, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Monday Everyone,

Recently a found out my son's God-brother (who is in his late teens) is looking into the writing world. He says he has several ideas and he told me one of them, asking if I'd have a look at it.

He's got quite an imagination and I'm interested to see where it'll take him.

The conversation has me pulling together some materials to give to him to help him research the craft of writing and understand the business better.

So now, I'm turning the question over to you...what would you include in resources for writing and publishing to someone?

Have A Marvelous Monday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Have You Signed Up Yet?

Posted by Bethany at September 11, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Hi Everyone,

Yes, I know it's the weekend; and I don't normally post on the weekends, but I'm here to remind you to sign up for the NWHRWA's Lone Star Conference happening in 1 month and 5 days!

Click here to sign up!

Have A Wonderful Weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Buff And Polish

Posted by Bethany at September 06, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Tuesday All,

Well, I finally finished this round of edits. Now I plan to buff and polish my manuscript in hopes that it'll "shine" for the agent querying process.

It was weird getting to the end of the manuscript and realize I had finished that round. I sat there thinking "Really? This is the last page?" I didn't believe it at first.

Then the relief fell through me and I thought, "Yay!"

I hope this will be ready by the Lone Star Contest, but I don't know. I just know I'm working on it and my goal is to have it ready by the conference date. If I don't, then I'll just finish it as early as possible.

My son is finally doing better and I'm starting to feel better, myself, so it's easier to concentrate.

So, what's everyone else working on?

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!

Fall Is Coming...Right?

Posted by Bethany at September 06, 2010 0 comments Links to this post
Happy Monday All (Happy Labor Day),

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. If you live in places where it gets past 90 degrees in the summer, you understand. I live in Texas, and it gets hot, hot, hot in the summer (plus you know, there's the humidity factor).

So, on Saturday evening when my husband, son, and I headed toward the entrance/exit of the mall near us and a breeze kicked up and I could smell the way the air smells in the Fall, you won't blame me if I got excited.

Seriously, it really did smell like Fall. There was that leafy, woodsy, cooler weather scent that always gives me a thrill. Plus there was a cool breeze! Not something you normally get in Texas in the summer.

Then I went to Bath & Body Works to get some more hand soap and my favorite body wash. After getting the body wash I went to the back of the store to where they had their hand soaps...and lo and behold, they had out their fall scents! There they were...lined up just waiting to be breathed in and loved. So I picked up Carmel Apple and sniffed it (never had that scent from them), fell in love, grabbed one of the bottles and moved on. I saw Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin was back, so of course I breathed that in and picked up a bottle.

The cashier told me their fall line has been flying off the shelves and they keep having to restock. Well, you just can't blame the customers. We live in hot, hotter, and hottest weather all summer long the Fall line gives us hope that the cooler weather is just around the corner.

In any case, even though it'll probably be awhile before it truly cools down here, I'm delighted to know we've entered the Fall months. I can't wait to pull my sweaters out from the back of my closet!

Have A Merry Monday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day -- Oxymoron Or Fitting Name?

Posted by Bethany at September 03, 2010 1 comments Links to this post
Happy Friday Everyone,

Well, this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. My husband is taking today off, rather than Monday. He still gets a long weekend, just in a different way.

But you know, I often wonder why Labor Day is called Labor Day when it's an off day. Should we call it Labor-Less Day?

I don't really know the history of how or why we got this Holiday, but I'm glad we do, because it's nice to have my husband home. (Hmmm, do I smell a reason for research here? I'll have to look it up and if anyone has any cool tidbits to add, let me know!)

So, if you could name a Holiday where people had off (and/or there were big sales) what would you call it?

Have A Flawless Friday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When A Writer Becomes Zombie

Posted by Bethany at September 02, 2010 2 comments Links to this post
Happy Thursday All,

You  might have noticed the lack of posting on my blog this week. I've had an unexpected occurrence son got sick.

Monday morning he was not doing well. He threw up in the doctor's office, found out he had an ear infection and went home. Tuesday and Wednesday he developed a cough and then Wednesday night he woke about 3 times sounding bad.

So, back to the doctor's office we went (today). Found out he's fighting croup. He should be better soon and the doc said we were doing what we could do.

Of course, all this going on means I'm walking around with my brain barely functioning. I've been reading--which has helped keep the imagination alive to keep those creative juices flowing for editing and writing.

I think today or tomorrow I might actually (drawing on my faith here, praying that nothing else happens) get to seriously focus, rather then sitting there staring at the computer screen thinking "Why am I at the computer again?"

So, I'm gonna get some extra coffee, read lots, and return to finishing up what I was hoping to do this week. I'm praying that my son gets better rather than worse. He's perkier than he was, so that's something I'm really glad about.

Just another example of what I'm always saying about authors being real people with lives that aren't just about writing.

Have A Toe-Tapping Thursday!

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