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Friday, July 30, 2010

New Face, Movie Review & Such

Happy Friday All,

Hope you like the new layout. I saw the template on the design feature and I was like "Oooo, I like this one." So now it's part of my layout.

I recently saw Bandslam. It's not your usual teen movie (at least from my point of view).

I got the feeling that the appeal of this movie would be several things:

> Good music. I watched the Special Features and all the actors/musicians play the instruments and sing the songs that are featured in the movie.

>The Ramones were mentioned. I grew up hearing Ramones songs. I love their rendition of Baby, I Love You. (other bands are mentioned...The Clash, U2, The Beatles, etc...).

>Music history/trivia is mentioned. Such as CBGB. This makes it feel more "authentic".

>There's a lot of serious issues dealt with in this movie, including death of a parent.

The movie just feels "grittier" to me than most teen films. I think that's another selling point.

If you're a Lisa Kudrow fan, she does really well in this movie. A nice balance between humor and being serious for her.

Vanessa Hudgens steps into a deep and more serious role (in my way of thinking) than in most of the movies I've seen her in. I think she does a nice job.

I thought overall it was a good movie. I enjoyed it.

In writing news...been working on one of my manuscripts that's not finished and it's coming along nicely. :-)

Have A Fantastic Friday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

While You're Away Your Pets Will Play

Happy Thursday One And All,

I don't always know why or where I get these ideas--maybe it was sleep deprivation; but I'm guessing it's because I like making people laugh:

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and this particular friend and the family of this friend have several animals. I started coming up with this whole scenario of what their animals were up to when their backs were turned (or they were gone).

I up and decided the Doberman would conduct a Poker table, along with the Pugs that these people own. I came up with a host of supporting casts and their back stories.

I had my friends laughing (which, of course, was my goal).

So what about you? What do you think your pets are doing when you're not around?

I think we could come up with scenarios that would make good humor books :-)

Have A Thoughtful Thursday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Million Dollar Question

Happy Wednesday All,

The other day I was at the library talking to someone. The subject was first on books, then turned to the fact that I'm a writer and member of a writers' group and just took off from there. The person said, "I've always wanted to write, but I don't know how to start."

Okay...this is the over-simplistic answer, but it's where to start: When writing you just sit down and write.

That's it.

You write what you feel, you write what crosses your mind, you might even write about that crazy alley cat that jumps into your garbage and turns into a plastic eating tiger with an affinity for coffee grounds.

Until you start writing, you don't know what you have in you. I often forget this when I'm sitting there staring at a blank screen thinking, "Come on, I had this idea 5 minutes ago!" But if I wrote the way I write blog posts, I probably wouldn't have that writer's block or that fear of the empty screen...I'd just write. Which, is essentially what we're doing. Book authors aren't doing anything that much different from what poets, songwriters and essay writers do. Essentially, we're all just sitting down and writing.

We book authors take an idea that popped into our heads and transfer it to paper. Sometimes it's as smooth as melted chocolate over a strawberry and sometimes it's as rough as walking on hot black top in the middle of summer.

Some of us start with outlines. What kind of character is my hero/heroine? What's their attributes? What's the high concept? What are the internal/external struggles? Then flesh it out in the story.

The point is, you're not a writer until you write.

The more ambitious you are--that is, the more you want to publish, the more you have to polish your craft, but if all you want to do is write just because you have some things floating around in your head, then, just sit down and write.

For a number of years I kept journals (yeah some of those entries I like better than others) but that's one way I just sat down and wrote.

Another way is to write poetry and song lyrics. Other ways are short stories and essays.

The more you do it, the more it will come to you. The more you research it, the more you learn. The two go hand in hand.

So yeah, just sit down, write. What you write may not always be something you plan to show the general public, but it will exercise your mind and get you into the "groove" of things.

Have A Wondrous Wednesday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Next Big Thing

I know I'm late posting this for Friday, but it's just NOW I had this idea, so here we go...

Hi Everybody,

I was emailing with a fellow author and the topic of something being the next big thing came up. In my reply to her I said that because readers are all different (and of course, the publishing world often changes) for all we know "French speaking Leprechauns who dance ballet could make readers nuts" over the story.

A lot of big name authors say in interviews "I never expected this to happen." How could they? You write a story and get into it, you fix it up. Sometimes people get excited, sometimes they don't. You just never know.

I mean it could happen that purple aliens who wear high-top shoes (or rather, chucks) and parachute pants would make people rush out and buy every single book in the series.

Or maybe it would be a cop who does miming in the park on Saturdays.

The wonderful thing about books and writing is that as long as you tell a good story that draws a reader in, there's all kinds of ideas a person can play with and write about.

The fact of the matter is, you won't know if you don't try. This is something I've said to myself (more than once). If you don't try to be professional and work at this and actually put yourself out there you won't ever know for sure.

True, you might not make it; you might have to use a different story, and even if you're not the next BIG thing, you could be the next good-enough-for-sales-and-a-good-amount-of-readers-love-your-story thing.

Like so many authors have already said:  don't give up.

Keep honing your skill, keep learning, keep growing.

Have A Great Weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spotlight On Author: MaryJanice Davidson And Anthony Alongi

Happy Wednesday Everybody,

I'm excited to announce I have another email author interview for you all. (To be honest, I get excited about each one of these interveiws I do. There's some really great information in each interview, plus many of them have fabulous senses of humor, so it's just a joy to interview them). 

Today, we have authors, MaryJanice Davidson and her husband, Anthony Alongi. These two talented writers have made a hit with their YA series, Jennifer Scales Novels. Their new one, Rise Of The Poison Moon has been released.

MaryJanice Davidson is also well-know for her Undead series, as well as a one featuring the mermaid, Fred (3 book series) and ones centered on the idea of if Alaska never became part of the USA and stayed under a king's rule.

Special thanks goes to MaryJanice Davidson's assistant, Tracy Fritze, who has been incredibly kind and very helpful in getting this interview to happen.

The interview will center mostly on the Jennifer Scales Novels due to the newest release. 

So, without further ado, I give you MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi...

Me: In light up the upcoming release of Rise Of The Poison Moon (the next book in the Jennifer Scales series), what got you two to collaborate on a series, and do you all intend to do another series together?



AA: WE HAD TALKED ABOUT DOING THIS FOR YEARS - SINCE OUR HONEYMOON, IN FACT. WE DIDN'T GET THE SPECIFIC IDEA FOR JENNIFER SCALES UNTIL YEARS LATER. A YOUNG FEMALE PROTAGONIST WHO HAD TO DEAL WITH (INVOLUNTARY) CHANGES TO HER BODY FELT LIKE A NEAT TOPIC. IT CAUGHT FIRE FROM THERE.


MJD: Also, at about this time I was getting fan mail for the Betsy books from 11 year old girls. "Me and my BFF just loooove Betsy because like she's the coolest grrrll evah!" Um, can I talk to your mom, please? Not only was I interested in writing about a teenage protagonist, I was happy to be able to write back, "Thanks, but have you tried the Jennifer Scales books?"


AA: RIGHT NOW, WE DON'T HAVE ANOTHER SERIES TOGETHER IN MIND. THE JENNIFER SCALES UNIVERSE (WHICH MAY INCLUDE BOOKS WHERE JENNIFER HERSELF PLAYS A MINOR ROLE) HAS TONS TO OFFER.

MJD: Yup, and our agent is even more psyched than we are (which is a good trick). I frankly don't see an end point to the JS series right now.


Me: What's you all's favorite part of writing and publishing?


AA: FOR WRITING, IT'S GETTING CAUGHT UP IN AN INTENSE SCENE AND LOOKING UP MANY PAGES AND HOURS LATER. WRITING A GOOD BOOK FEELS LIKE READING A GOOD BOOK.

MJD: What he said. Times a zillion.


Me: What advice can you give to aspiring writers?


AA: EAT FROM ALL FOUR FOOD GROUPS. EXERCISE. FIND SOMEONE YOU LOVE. LIVE LIFE.


MJD: For writers, doofus, not aspiring Olympic athletes. Submit, submit, submit. When you get a rejection slip, get something else out into the mail that very day. I got rejection slips for over a decade before I sold my first story. If I'd given up in my twenties, I'd still be slogging through SDJs (Stupid Day Jobs).


Me: For fun: What's one of your favorite movies and why?


AA: I ENJOY MOVIES WITH STRONG SCRIPTS, FROM JUST ABOUT ANY GENRE. MOST RECENT FAVORITES: DISTRICT 9, THE HURT LOCKER, TOY STORY 3. LOOKING FORWARD TO INCEPTION THIS WEEKEND!

MJD: Inception! (My husband answered your questions before I did) I also love disaster movies like 2012, Armageddon, Deep Impact. And, of course, zombie movies: the Dawn of the Dead remake (fast zombies! arrggh!), 28 Days, etc.

Me: This question is probably one you get a lot, but since people are inspired by different things, what inspires you all to write?


AA: THE VOICES IN MY HEAD. THAT'S LESS DISTURBING THAN IT SOUNDS. CHARACTERS STICK AROUND AND PUSH FOR THEIR STORY TO BE TOLD. THE MORE YOU PUT ON THE PAGE, THE MORE THEY WANT TO COME OUT.


MJD: What he said. Sorry, there's just no way to make that not scary.


Me: Are you all members of any writers' groups, and if so, which ones? (I plug writers' groups a lot being a member of RWA and NWHRWA).


AA: I AM NOT.


MJD: Ditto. We're not against them, we've just never used them. Writing is solitary, so I can definitely see their appeal! My husband has been my writing group. ;-)


Me: MaryJanice has had great success with the Undead series, but she's also written about royalty, werewolves and mermaids. Any other paranormal creatures on the rise?


AA: WHAT, HERE IN THE HOUSE? WELL, OUR DOGS ARE A BIT WEIRD. THEY MAY BE MAGICAL.

MJD: I've got an anthology out next year where I'll introduce my super hero with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And I'm hoping to write more Alaskan books, as well as a zombie novel.


Me: Who are you all's favorite character(s)?


AA: IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO REALIZE THIS, BUT BOROMIR IN LORD OF THE RINGS WAS A TERRIFIC CHARACTER, EVEN THOUGH MOST PEOPLE THINK OF HIM AS THE JERK WHO TRIED TO STEAL FRODO'S RING. GOLLUM WAS AN EARLIER LITERARY LOVE OF MINE, BECAUSE OF HIS MORE OBVIOUS "DUAL" NATURE. CHARACTERS THAT AREN'T COMPLETELY "GOOD" OR "BAD" ARE THE MOST INTERESTING.


MJD: For my part, I love the bad guy who is convinced he's a good guy. They're the most terrifiying villains because they truly think what they're doing is RIGHT. Think General McClintock from OUTBREAK, the smarmy gvt. employee from Mission Imposible 3 ("It's complicated."), the creepy scientist from PLANET TERROR.


Me: Where's your favorite place to write?


AA: AT LAKE HOUSE, ON LAPTOP.


MJD: In living room, on laptop.




Me:  Feel free to add anything else you'd like to say.


AA: I REALLY APPRECIATE THE TIME YOU'VE PUT INTO THIS INTERVIEW - THANKS FOR THE CHANCE TO CONNECT WITH FANS!


MJD: Yes yes! Betsy tends to get most of the attention, so we're always thrilled to talk about Jennifer and her gang.




Thank you so much, MaryJanice and Anthony for doing this interview! I really enjoyed reading the answers and having a "peek" into the creative process!

Visitors and followers to this blog, feel free to leave comments. :-)

Have A Witty Wednesday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Reporting: "Darklight" by Lesley Livingston

Happy Thursday All,

As promised, I'm going to tell you about Darklight by Lesley Livingston, since I finished that Wednesday night.

Okay, at the beginning I was wondering if it was gonna grip me the way Wondrous Strange did, but I needn't have worried. It most definitely gripped me. Firmly.

Once again, Lesley has made a page turner.

Absolutely excellent. Loved it!

Unfortunately, the 3rd book, Tempestuous doesn't come out until December.

I shall have to sit and wonder what will happen to Kelley and Sonny for about 5 more months. It's unfortunate, but those are the breaks of waiting for books to be released.

If you haven't read Wondrous Strange I recommend it and then I recommend reading this one.

Great storytelling, gripping action, sweet romance, magic (well, magick as its spelled in the books), faeries, battles, destruction, gains and losses. Both books have them all!

Oh yeah, and I like the character, Gentleman Jack--he's cool! I haven't decided who my favorite Faerie ruler is. They all seem conniving to me. But, I think I like Gwynn ap Nudd best at the moment. So far he seems the less scheming of the lot.

Aside from Sonny, in the Janus Guard I like Maddox and the Wolf. I've decided the Ogre is cool, too.

And Bob rocks--whatever name he's under ;-)

Enjoy!

Have A Thrilling Thursday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Might Be A Writer If...

I've already posted the official Wednesday post, but this came to me, so...

In the grand tradition of Jeff Foxworthy...

You might be a fiction writer if...

-Fictional characters "talk" to you

-You think in terms of 'what if' rather than 'this is'

-books are like air to you and without them you'd die from lack of oxygen

-you're willing to throw yourself into an industry that may or may not render a good paycheck simply because you love what you do

-you can't stop stories and ideas from popping into your head...even when you're asleep

-rejection letter has a bittersweet connotation for you

-POV, GMC, CPs, and other acronyms are part of your every day vocabulary (and anybody outside the writing world has no idea what you're saying)

-Your computer/notebook/pen/pencil are extensions of yourself

-your power goes out and you're crippled

-you know exactly what a person means when they say "fleshing out" something

-You stare longingly at the bookstore shelves imagining your story sitting there with a gorgeous cover

-You actually offer advice to someone else even though you're writing the same genre (Todd Stone once pointed out that the writing industry is the only one he knew of that would help each other while competing with each other).

-People think you might be a little eccentric--but who cares, it works for you

-you have Nathan Bransford and Janet Reid and/or other agents/publisher blogs bookmarked

-you talk about characters as if they were real people

-when someone says there's nothing to writing you're convinced they've never tried it

You all have any? Share them in the comment section!

Have A Great Day!

Reality Check

Happy Wednesday All,

First of all, note (based off of Tuesday's post) I have started reading Darklight by Lesley Livingston, so I'll let you know how that is once I'm done.

Alright...

It's been said numerous times and I'm gonna reiterate it:

THERE ARE NO NEW IDEAS JUST NEW SPINS ON THE SAME IDEAS!

Yes, it's true...your idea is not as one-of-a-kind-nobody-has-ever-done-or-thought-of-this-before-in-their-lives-I'm-completely-unique. You just have a new idea/concept/thought/plot/character on an "old" idea.

On a personal note, this reality check happened to me on Tuesday night. I was in a bookstore and I got curious about his one author and so I picked up a couple of her books. Sure enough, part of an idea I had for a paranormal species (on a book I've already written but am editing and hope to query soon) was sitting on the shelf. I went through the synopsis of every book for that series.

Sure, I have a different take on the concept, but it's the same concept.

That's when you have to stop and think...

Same concept, same idea...different take, different storyline, different way of telling/showing the story.

So, now that you know your idea for a vampire fairy princess werewolf-leprechaun is not so new, you must ask yourself the following question:

What makes my story unique? What makes my spin on that concept different? How does my story stand out?

The stories on the bookshelves are same concepts, new way of telling. Different names for things, but basically the same ideas.

It's about how the author makes them stand out. How they make them different. Unique.

It doesn't mean your story won't sell. It doesn't mean your story isn't good. It just means you have to make it stand out and shine despite every other one that looks like it.

And, you especially have to work hard at that if you're up against a popular series and/or popular author.

I know the pressure level probably went up, but that's part of the mark of a good author/good storyteller...the ability to make his or her story totally stand out from the pack.

Have A Winsome Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Reporting: "Wondrous Strange" by Lesley Livingston

Happy Tuesday All,

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. My week's been pretty good. I've gotten some editing done, so I'm happy about that.

Okay, last night I just finished reading Lesley Livingston's book, Wondrous Strange. It's a YA novel (although, I don't see why grown up adults wouldn't enjoy it, seeing as how I, and several other adults I know, read YA and like them).

Picture if you will, taking faerie lore, Shakespeare's A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream, add some paranormal elements, and romance and presto! You've got Lesley's book.

Wondrous Strange was awesome. A real page turner. I had to know what was going to happen next. I really had a hard time putting this book down. 

I'm practically chomping at the bit to read the second book, Darklight.

It's different than a lot of things I've read...in the sense that it mixes fairies in a way I've not seen them. They might actually be dangerous creatures.

Oh yeah, and if you're a fan of Puck...you've gotta check this book out. Our lovable and playful fellow makes a grand appearance. (See if you can guess who he is! I had a feeling when I met this one character "Maybe that's him." and I was right!)

The romance is there, and it's a central plot thread, but there's so much more going on, so it's not purely romantic. It's got action, it's got conflict, it's got suspense, it's got gruesomely frightening creatures, it's got magic,  it's got flying, horses, sirens, mermaids, adjacent worlds to the human world, it's got acting, it's got a horse standing in a bathtub eating soap.

It really didn't take me long to finish this book and I love it. The cover is gorgeous, which kind of made me wonder about it in the first place, then I read the synopsis on the back and thought "Hmmm, maybe." Then I read it and I was like "Oooohhhh this is good!"

Anyway, hopefully I can pick up Darklight soon and let you know how that one is!

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Reporting: "Shut Up And Kiss Me" by Christie Craig

Happy Monday All,


In light of the fact I've been talking about this book for at least a month and interviewed author extraordinaire, Christie Craig, I figured it was only fair I read the book, and I also thought it was only fair I reported on it to you all of you.


Shut Up And Kiss Me is an incredibly funny book. A contemporary romance with suspense thrown in, Christie's usual witty style shines like nobody's business.


You get to feel sorry for her character, Jose, who during the course of 3 days manages to have the following happen to him:


>a car accident


>fall in thorns


>get sprayed by a skunk


>fall through Sheetrock


Scott Gomez makes a fun, uber-protective studly hero; with enough mixed ethnicity (I think Latin and Native American) to make him exotic and interesting.


Shala Winters is an independent, no-nonsense heroine with a great sense of humor (gotta love her ED comment to poor Scott, who doesn't have the problem, but mishaps abound in this book).


By the way...it leaves me wondering...does mustard really help burns?


So I recommend, with a smile and a laugh, Christie Craig's new novel, Shut Up And Kiss Me


I laughed out loud reading it.


Have A Merry Monday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fashion Plates Not Necessary

Happy Thursday Everybody,

I hope you're having a good week so far. (Mine's been okay).

I was just watching something on my Yahoo homepage called Hollywood's Top 5 Fashionable Moms and well, it got me thinking...

You see, I've never been real big on fashion. I like looking at some of the clothes and determining if it's something I'd wear or not, but generally it's something that isn't my style.

I'm about comfort, modesty, and being presentable. I tend towards things like cotton shorts or Capri pants comfy short-sleeved tops, sandals or sneakers. In the winter, cotton pants, comfy big shirts, sweatshirts or sweaters (or my cloak--thing that reminds me of a blanket with sleeves and a hood in black). When I dress up I get fancier, obviously.

As writers, though, no matter our style, we must remember for certain things we have to be professional. This means dressing professionally. I don't think you necessarily have to wear a suit for everything, but wear something that shows you are serious and understand the publishing world is a business.

I actually have a gray skirt with white pinstripes that I could wear with a black or white blouse and black flats (I used to own closed toed black heels, but they got old and fell apart).

When I was in business school, they told us women should wear closed toed shoes and either a knee-length skirt (or longer) skirt or an another appropriate length dress. Men were to wear shirts, ties and dress pants with dress shoes.

So, for me, if I was to go into a pitch session or meeting, I'd probably be wearing something like I wore when I was interviewing in the corporate world. (I'm a stay-at-home wife/mom, now so I don't worry as much about corporations, unless it has to do with my husband's job, or the book publishing world or if I'm involved with that corporation somehow--like the Grocery store). Or at least something relative to it that was at least some type of professional clothing.

You want to make regular eye contact.

Have a firm, but not too tight, hand shake.

Hide your nerves as best you can. Don't fidget. Don't ramble.

Sell yourself, but be smart about it.

These are actually some of the other things Agent Scott Eagan talked about.

It's nice to know all those things that were drilled into me at business school will come in handy in the publishing world. Makes me feel like I'm using what I learned, which is always cool.

So yeah, you don't have to be a Fashionista or fashion plate, but you do have to be professional.

Have A Triumphant Thursday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back Up, Back Up, Back Up!

Happy Wednesday All,

The editing I did Tuesday was fun. It was because I loved watching my male main character in some of the scenes. I almost like him as much as I do "my" beast.

"My" Beast was the Beast from a re-telling of Beauty & The Beast that I wrote some time ago. This is a spectacular lesson in backing up one's work:

My retelling was from the Beast's point of view and it was kind of a psychological journey in one sense. I pulled out a lot of the Beast's emotional and temperamental side. I loved him dearly and there were parts that I absolutely adored (particularly, I think page 80 where he almost kisses her--forgetting he's a beast of course--but she pushes him away).

Well, my computer crashed and took a good chunk of that finished manuscript with it.

I had maybe a little over 100 pages saved on disc, but I hadn't backed it up.

Now I have a computer that doesn't accept those types of discs (the old small A drive ones)

So alas, my Beast died an unhappy death never having the story properly edited.

Moral of the story:  Back up your work. If your computer is stupid and won't burn discs, find other ways of backing up your work. But back it up! (which reminds me, I need to do that with the edits I've done recently).

As to the ending of that story:  I've gotten over the loss of "My" Beast. I enjoyed writing it while it lasted, but I'm enjoying writing my current stories more.

However, putting in all that hard work and then having it fall to pieces around you is a very mournful feeling (I'm not joking here).

Obviously, as I said, I got over it, and moved onto other manuscripts, but at the time it was a hard thing to have happen.

So please, spare yourself the agony I went through, and back up your work. You'll be glad you did.

Have A Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Flash Back

Happy Tuesday All,

Something interesting happened to me during Agent Scott Eagan's talk on Saturday (which I talked about in this post).

What happened was Scott brought up having been a Composition teacher at one point. Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. That isn't what invoked the flash back.

What invoked the flash back was when he was talking about having "3-5" of something (I think it was publishers). His advice was very good. (Sure, I cringed, but that was when he was talking about goofy mistakes people sometimes make).

I winced during him talking about those 3-5 things...but not because of having to come up with those things (although at first I was worried about what to do about it, but I'm not anymore, I've managed to figure a few things out since the talk), but because of what was running through my head:

I was remembering Junior year of high school...the dreaded term paper (worth 2 grades because it was one paper for 2 classes) and all the things that went into it. But even that wasn't what was playing through my head.

No, it was the style of writing we had to use (Jane Schaeffer, whom I hear is a really nice lady).  But I was remembering this:

"Statement.
Commentary
Commentary
conclusion

In the statement have 3-5 details."

I was remembering how hard it was for me to write essays in high school...how restricted I felt (couldn't use linking verbs; and you had to write everything a certain way in a certain style and by golly you better not stray--I hear they're not as strict. Go figure they'd wait for the writer to graduate before loosening up the rules, right? LOL).

Anyway, so I was remembering that. So I winced. I couldn't help it. I remember reviewing those essays, how many drafts we had to write for the term paper. How much research we were supposed to have. How many index cards of research (I think it was 50).

Trust me, being a writer is a job, publishing is a business and everything, but compared to that, writing fiction is like a party for me. Sometimes even the research is fun. I can deal with the nerves, and writer's block can be a pain, but please, don't make me go back and relive those essays.

Sure, it tightened up my writing and I learned a lot, but I love writing fiction. I love that my imagination can run wild. Editing takes time and yes, you run through a ton of drafts, but it's way more my niche than when I wrote high school essays. (Besides, in fiction, you can have things that don't even exist!)

For the record, I did love English class. I'm still friends with a couple of my high school English teachers, and they're wonderful people. They taught me a lot and they're some of my best cheerleaders--I am grateful to each of them for being the great teachers they were and are. I'm even grateful to the dreaded term paper because it helped me learn. But, I have no desire to go back and do it all again.

I'll stick to the writing and publishing business no matter the similarities or the differences in my experiences with essay writing, because, this is where I belong. I don't know where this road is going to take me, but I'm enjoying the ride.

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Agent Scott Eagan De-Mystifies Pitching

This post is for Monday, July 5, 2010. I'm just posting it early.

Hi Everybody & An Early Happy Monday To You,

One of the things I love best about being an RWA & NWHRWA member is that I get some really awesome information on writing and submitting. I also get some great tips and suggestions from fellow writers.

The NWHRWA chapter had Agent Scott Eagan (check his blog out here) come speak to us Saturday (July 3rd) on pitching your story and selling yourself as an author.

One of the interesting things he said was that writing synopsises and such were not hard, it's just that we make them hard. He said that all we had to do was say what the story was about..."How you get from Point A to Point B." He says that getting it down to 1 page is great because then it's straight to the point and concise (although, side note here...some agents request a 3-10 page synopsis, so make very sure you read submission guidelines and pay attention to what each agent and editor wants. You have to tailor your query letter/pitch/synopsis/proposal according to what each individual requests and Scott emphasized that point more than once).

Scott said when submitting to him, you don't have to tell him every single scene and everything that happens. If it's a really cool thing, sure, tell him (that could be a selling point when he pitches your story to editors).

We had a chance to pitch to Scott after his talk. I didn't pitch for 2 important reasons:

1.  My story isn't completely ready (still editing and polishing)

2.  I came to realize that my story wasn't really what he's looking to represent (I have a form of shape shifters in my story, and that's not what he's looking for in terms of Paranormal).

Scott also said not to force yourself to submit and pitch if you weren't ready. He said you have to be ready and be prepared. That gave several of the NWHRWA members a sigh of relief. They'd been feeling like they had to as soon as possible. But Scott said no, he said do it when you're ready and prepared.

He also said to make sure you do your research--know which line your story would fit into. 

He gave an interesting take on what lines a story would most fit based on the publishers you have on your shelf.  He said whatever publisher you have the most of is probably the line (or "voice") you fit best with.

I haven't looked at all the books on my shelf, yet, but in the bookstore I sat down and thought "Well, probably have most of this one publisher, but in other cases, I'm all over the place!"  But I was able to think of at least 3-4 that I probably had the most of on my bookshelf. So I thought "Well, that would be a good idea for me to research them and see if my stories would fit with them." That way I'd have a "target audience" (as the Lone Star Contest puts it) in mind, which, should an agent ask me, I'd have the answer to. (Important to think of what an agent would ask and be prepared with answers).

Like Scott said, it's about being ready and being prepared.

I highly recommend checking out his blog, even if he's not the agent for you. He gives good advice, he's specific, direct, and helpful--he's also encouraging.

Have A Melodious Monday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

"I'd Like To Thank..."

Happy Friday Everyone,

Before I get to today's post, want to wish fellow USA-ers a Happy 4th of July Independence Day! Have a happy and safe holiday. Now onto the topic at hand...

Normally these things appear in a published book...the finished product of what we writers toil and imagine and work on for hours and days and even years at a time.

But, I was thinking about a fellow NWHRWA member who recently got a short story published in Suspense Magazine and how happy I was for him.

Then I got to thinking about the different "cheerleaders" in my life. The people who have encouraged, prodded, supported, laughed with me, read over my work (and listened to it) and helped me learn and helped me get on this road, that I just have to name them. (And in the comment section, you can name anyone YOU'D like to thank!)

So here's my list of people, whether they'd appear in the Acknowledgements of a published story by me or not, I'm still grateful to them (in no particular order):

My husband

My parents and siblings

My child (who reminds me of my love of imagination)

One of my best friends, Sarah (who has listened to countless tales, readings and everything in between)

Jacqueline, my instructor from my class I took some years back from the Writer's Digest School. She told me I had talent, which made me feel I could've danced on air.

To Mrs. G who told me I could do this

Author Laura Childs simply for being so cool and encouraging (and letting me interview her)

The NWHRWA members for being encouraging, upbeat, fun, informative and helpful. (Each of you is awesome in your own way and I'm grateful for each and every one of you simply for being there!)

Tessy...Yes and Tessy again for her critique on one of my manuscripts and her being so cheerful and helpful.

Author Ciara Gold for supporting this blog (whom I need to ask if you'll do an interview. Why I haven't yet is beyond my comprehension)

Authors Elizabeth Pina and Christie Craig for supporting this blog by letting me interview them.

Author Kim Lenox for her encouragement.

For all of you out there who have read this blog, commented and encouraged me.

Also...

Les, for letting me write those parodies.

Ryan, for sharing his talent with me.

All my relatives...for the support, encouragement and belief in me.

Mr. J. and his wife, for their friendship, encouragement, prayers, and support.

And, of course, God and my faith, without which I'd be a ship without an anchor.

Oh yeah...and to author Stephenie Meyer for writing the Twilight books...those things helped remind me of something very important with my writing, which in turn kicked my rear and helped me realize "Yes, this is where I belong."

So, now you all know (if you didn't already)...a writer may start off "alone" but he or she always has others behind him or her holding them up and showing them the way. No writer is truly an island unless they never, ever try to publish or show their work to anyone ever.

Have a Fabulous Friday!