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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Writer's Road

The writer's road can be a lonely one but it doesn't have to be. Have you ever wanted to chat with other writers, meet agents, editors of publishing housing, and authors? Or at least ease drop on their chat? You can achieve this by attending conferences but let's face it, they are getting hard to afford in this economy. There is another way.

Every Thursday night on Twitter there was a fabulous chat called #Scribechat. I met a lot of authors, agents, editors, and fellow writers by attending that chat. Unfortunately the hostess, Lia Keyes, had to step down due to other commitments so the chat is going away. I'm very grateful to her because I've made amazing friends, connections, and learned a lot from #Scribechat. You can find Lia hosting #SteamPunkChat on Fridays on Twitter at 6:00pm PT.

For those of you who loved Scribechat and are sad to see it go, have no fear, we have a plan. My friend and fellow chatter TS Tate,or @TeeTate as she is known on Twitter, plan to start a new chat in Scribechat's absence. The new chat will be called #WritersRoad and we'll be discussing everything about writing, reading, and getting published. The first chat will be a week from today on Thursday January 6th at 6:00pm PT on Twitter. We'll be chatting about all aspects of the #WritersRoad. A few of my friends who are debuting soon may be dropping in as well as a few represented friends and many who are just looking to learn. Did I mention there will be a giveaway for the very first chat? You don't want to miss it.

There are many ways to join in a Twitter chat but the one I've had the best luck with is TweetChat. Go to the link and just type WritersRoad into the box. You will need a Twitter account. Mark you calendars and join us!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writer's Resolutions 2011

Last year turned out nothing like I had hoped but probably exactly as I needed it too. Everything changed after an amicable parting of ways with my agent. It happens, a lot more than you hear about. He was restructuring his business model due to the economy and as a result our contract was dissolved. I learned a lot from him and feel that I am a better writer for having worked with him. As you can imagine though, with that happening much of what I had hoped to accomplish shifted. And my goals for 2011 have changed. I'm optimistic that it's going to be a fabulous year. Here are my resolutions:

1. I hope to sign with an excellent agent with whom I can build a career partnership with. What makes an agent excellent isn't necessarily their sales record or the size of their client list but their vision, work style, enthusiasm, and dedication. That's the kind of agent I'll be looking for!

2. I will continue to improve my craft and networking by attending workshops, retreats, and conferences. With registrations filled out for the San Diego State Writers' Conference in January and the San Francisco Writers' Conference in February, I'm on my way to accomplishing this one already!

3. I will finish writing and edit To Ride A Puca, my young adult historical fantasy set in Ireland and prepare to submit it. I'll also submit the two novels I wrote and edited in 2010.

4. I will write and edit two novels, a dystopian young adult novel, and a rewrite of a fantasy novel that I'm turning into a YA fantasy.

5. I will continue to provide you, my wonderful readers, with insightful and interesting posts that will hopefully help you in your own journey through the world of writing!

What do you have planned for 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~New Agent, Advice, & Open Submission Call

Since it was the week of Christmas I didn't make it onto Twitter much at all. But I did manage to catch a few great tweets for you. This one is from a literary intern on how many queries she read versus how many she passed on to the agent she reads for (AA stands for awesome agent. How cool is that?!):
@AC_Johnson89 Before I go, for those of you wondering: out of the 140 queries I read yesterday I sent 7 on to AA. 1 of which wasn't even a query.

Writers Digest and Chuck Sambuchino bring to our attention a new agent looking for YA. You don't want to miss this one. I've been Twitter & blogging friends with Vickie for a while and she rocks:
@WritersDigest New agent seeking YA as well as adult fiction: Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Associates http://tinyurl.com/3xvhb54

New agent extraordinaire let's us know what she wants to see in a query:
@Vickie_Motter My blog today: I answer the credentials question. What should you include in your query? http://tinyurl.com/265z6r7

Do you write science fiction or fantasy for adults? If so you don't want to miss this. It's an open call for submissions from Angry Robot Books, a sci-fi/fantasy imprint that doesn't normally open it's doors. Brought to us by my friend Em:
@EmApocalyptic RT @SFXmagazine: Calling all aspiring novelists: @angryrobotbooks open to unsolicited manuscripts, 1 month only in 2011 - http://ow.ly/3sNCG  

Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest gives us a late holiday gift with this link to her post of fantastic links for writers:
@JaneFriedman My best posts for writers from 2010: http://bit.ly/eIcDXI [plus a photo of my cat, Zelda!]

With the holidays over I will hopefully be much better about bringing you more links! I have to warn you though, I've been hearing crickets on Twitter lately because most of the publishing world takes the week between Christmas and New Year's off.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday's Muse~Dark Forest

This dark forest road made me think of a scene out of the novel I'm working on, last week's chapter in fact. The mist and darkness evokes an ominous feeling making one wonder if something terrible is waiting just behind the trees. This is the turning point where something happens that takes my main character down a path she cannot turn back on. I'm closing in on 39,000 words which is exactly where I want to be. At this rate I should easily reach my goal of 40K total by the end of December!

I finished reading The Hunger Games and I'm really glad I gave in to my friends recommendations and finally read it. I quickly overcame my initial reservations about it being written in present tense because it was done so well that I hardly noticed it after a while. It is easily one of the best books I've read this year. It passed the 'would I read the sequel test?' I absolutely will! I received Voices Of Dragons by Carrie Vaugn for the holiday and I'm eagerly starting that next.

I didn't listen to much beyond Christmas music last week so my muse is hungry for new music this week! We'll have to see what I come up with. How did your writing goals fare through the holidays? Did you have to set them aside?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Storyteller's Holiday

Of all the holidays this one is perhaps the one that truly belongs to storytellers. Since this holiday has begun we have been inspiring joy, sharing miracles, and making children smile with the simplest pleasure, storytelling. Think back to your favorite things about Christmas, the memories and experiences that come to mind before the day itself arrives. Many nights were spent huddled up around a book, perhaps on a grandparents knee or tucked in bed next to a parent or sibling. Here are a few that come to mind:


And that's just to name a few! We must not forget when we celebrate this holiday season to also celebrate the authors who've brought us the magic, miracles, and joy that make this season so special. What are your favorite holiday stories?

I won't be posting again until Monday~sorry no Creature Feature this Friday. I'll make up for it next week though! Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

Picture by Thomas Kinkaid. Click on his name for a link to his fantastic website!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Giveaways & Agent Advice

I'm sorry I don't  have a lot of Tweets for you this week but the holidays have kept me pretty busy. I did manage to catch a few really good ones though! Writers I know how curious you always are on what kind of trends agents are seeing in submission. Agent Mandy Hubbard reveals it here brought to us by my Twitter friend at LTWFblog:
@LTWFblog Literary Agent and Multi-Pubbed Author @MandyHubbard Posts On Trends in the Slush Pile: http://t.co/ZF1Oqi6 #amwriting #pubtip #writechat
(For my non-Twitter friends, a reminder that # followed by a word is a hashtag that allows you to search for any tweet that has it attached)

If you're submitting or plan to be soon, or even if you just want a good funny read, then you'll want to get in on this great giveaway by Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest. Look what you could win:
@ChuckSambuchino Free book giveaway! Enter to win the 2011 Guide to Lit Agents, & my Gnome Attack book -- http://tinyurl.com/26e7rjg

My Twitter friend Jolina caught this great tweet by author Jody Hedlund on whether or not a writer can make a profit self-publishing. Come on, you know you're curious:
@Jolina_Joy Can #Writers Realistically Make a Profit Self- #Publishing? http://bit.ly/ff4NEl (via @JodyHedlund)

Agent Jennifer Laughran helps us with the question of what happens after you get The Call from an agent:
@literaticat New blog post: Timelines, or, You got 'the call'... Yay you!...umm... now what happens? http://tinyurl.com/234a8ln

Some query advice from a fabulous literary intern that you are going to want to heed:
@AC_Johnson89 Please don't drop all (or any) of these names in your query: J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling

Sorry the list wasn't longer but hopefully you find something interesting or helpful in these tidbits!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday's Muse~Festive Spirit

This beautiful picture by Thomas Kinkaid was exactly what I needed to get me into the festive spirit both for the holiday and for the chapter I'm working on. Though the holiday they're celebrating in my chapter is quite different from Christmas it's the spirit of celebration that I was going for. Friends, family, the feeling that even if just for a moment, all is right with the world.

As for the reading that's feeding my muse, I'm over halfway through The Hunger Games and am completely caught up in it. It takes a powerful, outstanding book to make me look past my dislike of first person, not to mention present tense so that should tell you a little about how good it is.

The music feeding my muse is more of Mairead's instrumental music. That lady is amazing with a violin. It isn't my normal kind of music but it fits the novel I'm writing so I'm rolling with it. What inspired you this week? Are you reading anything really good?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Giveaways Galore

Tis the season for book giveaways! I won't be doing one until after the holidays because you never know what you're going to get between now and the new year. But next month I'll be doing a great giveaway so stay logged in!

Last week I won the fantastic looking novel Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick from my good friend and soon to be debuting author Myra McEntire. If you don't know who she is quick go find out! She is beyond awesome and her book is one of next year's most highly anticipated for me.

If you're looking for some great giveaways all you have to do is check out the blogs I follow. Nearly every one of them is doing a giveaway or has done one this month. Check out Kari over on the Under The Fairy Dust (don't you just love that title?) blog for a great one. And don't forget all my favorite book bloggers. Many of them are doing giveaways as well. There are links to them on the sidebar just over there. -->

If you know of a great giveaway or are doing one yourself feel free to leave me a link in the comments.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My 2010 Writer's Resolutions

It's that time of year again. I have to admit, the thought of looking over this last year's resolutions to see how I did kind of makes me cringe. I know I didn't meet them all but that's okay. As long as I met a few of them then I have accomplished something. Let's rip the band aid off shall we? Here are my resolutions for last year:

1. Continue to build my author platform. I'll do so by continuing to meet great writers and people who love books, like those I've met on Twitter! I'll also attend whatever conferences & retreats I can.
Accomplished! My blog followers have grown more than I could have anticipated (I love you all!) and I've made many wonderful friends through blogging, Twitter, and Scribblerati.

2. Write three books this year. This could be thrown for a loop if/when my novel gets picked up and I have to work on edits, but until then I'll focus on these three new books.
Accomplished! I wrote (and edited, yes really!) Sanctity Of A Society, The Trouble With The Dragon Empire, and The First Dragonwatcher.

3. Rewrite the first fantasy trilogy I ever wrote and submit it to my agent. This could be thrown off course by the event mentioned in #2 as well. In which case, I won't complain!
Failed. I haven't got around to this yet. But that's okay because some wonderful ideas for it have been percolating.

4. Keep hitting the treadmill every week. I know it's cliché but as a writer I spend a lot of time on my bum. Unfortunately my 'day' job is the same. Gotta stay healthy!
Accomplished! And I bought an elliptical machine. I've been alternating between the two. I haven't lost any weight but I haven't gained any either and I have built a lot of muscle.

5. Continue to improve my writing. Really, this should be #1, it's that important. But, it's also something I plan to do while doing the other resolutions, so that's why it fell at #5
Accomplished! I attended a writers' workshop with bestselling thriller author William Bernhardt and a workshop with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I also read several of Noah Lukeman and Donald Maass' books on writing.


Four out of five isn't bad. I'm going to have to consider that a very successful year. Did you make any resolutions in 2010? If so how did you do on meeting them?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Editor & Agent Advice

This week is filled with even more agent advice than I usually dig up on Twitter. This first tweet is from Chuck Sambuchino of Writers Digest who brings us another great new agent who is looking for middle grade and young adult writers:

@ChuckSambuchino RT @CynLeitichSmith New #agent Joan Slattery seeks MG/YA at Pippin Properties: http://bit.ly/gZYniS

Agent Natalie Fischer was tweeting some great advice about query letters. Here are a few of the tweets that I caught:
@Natalie_Fischer How to shoot yourself in the foot in a query: typos. Wrong agent name. HUGE word count. "To Whom It May Concern." #queries
@Natalie_Fischer Cont: apologizing for the submission. Incoherent letter/plot. Bitterness. "My test readers loved it!" Books 2 and 3 complete. #queries

Agent Marisa Corvisiero announces her search for a literary intern. If you're interested in agenting and qualify then this is an opportunity you don't want to miss!
@mcorvisiero Literary Intern Search... http://nblo.gs/bAJ7l

Agent and author Mandy Hubbard gives us a bit of advice well worth heeding:
@MandyHubbard Hey guys: that whole underline-the-words-you-want-italicised thing disappeared with the typewriter. Just use italics! #pubtip

Editor Regina Griffin shares a bit of bad news about Borders (It isn't look good for them peeps. I hope you're buying books for the holidays!):
@Regina_Griffin More sad/bad news for Borders. RT @PublishersWkly: Borders Sales Disappoint, Loss Soars; Liquidity Issues Arise http://bit.ly/eM6X3u

Jane Friedman of Writers Digest brings us a gift of truly valuable advice about social media and online image:
@JaneFriedman My advice to writers on how to handle social media, transmedia, and online image: http://bit.ly/hIWcmb  (part 2 of interview w/@ThereseWalsh)

Editor Megan Records joins in on the publishing tips:
@meganrecords Don't refer to yourself in the third person in your query letter. It's weird. #pubtip

Are there any great tweets you caught last week that I missed? Any good contests or advice maybe?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday's Muse~Enchanting Encounter

I already had the scene in my mind when I came across this picture and I was blown away by how close it was to what I had imagined. It seems like magic when that happens, as if in some way you and some random artist out there are on the same wave length. In this chapter my character has to deal with the consequences of staying out too late and scaring her parents half to death. Haven't we all at some point?!

I finished reading Grave Witch by Kalayna Price and I really enjoyed it. In fact, it passed the 'would I read a sequel' test. Not only would I read a sequel, I'm eagerly awaiting it! Be advised though, Grave Witch is adult fantasy. You might have noticed by my sidebar that I'm now reading The Hunger Games. Finally, yeah, I know. It was jarring to discover that it is written in present tense first person. First person isn't my favorite and present tense is next to nails on a chalkboard for me. However, I had faith in my hoard of friends who recommended it and I kept reading. Now I'm on page fifty and I'm absolutely hooked. Who knew?

My music muse has been Orla Fallon's Celtic Christmas. It isn't Christmas in my novel but my muse has to compromise a bit for the season. How about you, are you able to keep up your writing momentum through the crazy holidays? If so, what is inspiring you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011 Debut Authors

2011 is closing in on us and that means it's time for a post listing the debut authors for next year. This is the class of 2K11. You can click on the author's name to find out more about them and on their book to find out more about it. Many of these will be at the top of my 'to buy' list for next year! If nothing is highlighted I couldn't find a link.

Julia Karr: XVI a YA speculative novel published by Puffin/Speak, January 6.
Bettina Restrepo: Illegal a YA novel published by Harper Collins-Katherine Tegen Books, March 11.
Amy Holder: The Lipstick Laws a YA novel published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Graphia, April 4.
Carole Estby Dagg: The Year We Were Famous a YA historical fiction novel published by Clarion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), April 4.
Angie Smibert: Memento Nora a YA dystopian novel published by Marshall Cavendish, April 15.
K. Ryer Breese: Future Imperfect a YA fantasy novel published by Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Griffin, April 26.
Gae H. Polisner: The Pull of Gravity a YA novel published by Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, Spring.
Christina Mandelski: The Sweetest Thing a YA novel published by Egmont USA, May.
Sheila O’Connor: Sparrow Road, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, May.
Alissa Grosso: Popular a YA novel published by Flux, May.
Tara Hudson: Hereafter aYA paranormal novel published by HarperCollins, June 7.
Geoff Herbach: Stupid Fast a YA novel published by Sourcebooks, June.
Carrie Harris: Bad Taste in Boys a YA urban fantasy (what does one call zombie books?!) published by Delacorte (Random House), July 12.
Amy Fellner Dominy: OyMG! a YA novel published by Walker Books, Summer.
Caroline Starr Rose: May B. a MG historical novel published by Tricycle Press, Fall.
Tess Hilmo: With A Name Like Love a MG murder mystery published by Margaret Ferguson Books/FSG, Fall.
Megan Bostic: Never Eighteen a YA novel published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall.
Trinity Faegen: The Mephisto Covenant: The Redemption of Ajax a YA novel published by Egmont USA, Fall.
Kiki Hamilton: THE FAERIE RING a YA urban fantasy published by Tor Books/Macmillan, Fall.

Not on the roster but still part of the class:
Beth Revis: Across The Universe a YA science fiction published by Razorbill in January.
Myra McEntire: Hourglass a YA paranormal published by Egmont, May.
Sonia Gensler: The Revenant a YA paranormal, historical published by Knopf, June.
Elana Johnson: Possession a YA dystopian published by Simon & Schuster, June.
Victoria Schwab: The Near Witch a YA paranormal published by Disney Hyperion, August.

If I've missed any debuts for next year let me know and I'll add the link. Each month next year I'll be featuring a debut author, many of them from this list so be sure to check back to learn more about them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Agent & Publishing Advice

Interested in being a marketing intern for a fantastic literary agency? Then you don't want to miss this link by agent Weronika Janczuk:
@WeronikaJanczuk Mary Kole of Andrea Brown (@kid_lit) is looking for a marketing intern: http://bit.ly/fOm89l.  *Awesome* opportunity for anyone qualified!

If you write young adult you don't want to miss this tweet by The Knight Agency about the YA imprints:
@KnightAgency Overview of new YA imprints: "Today's YA Scene: New Players, Innovative Directions, Fresh Voices" @publisherswkly http://bit.ly/hZd3Ip

Here is great news from literary agent Ginger Clark about a new sci-fi/fantasy/horror imprint at Quercus! But sorry peeps, they won't be accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
@Ginger_Clark Fantastic news about Jo Fletcher opening her own SF/F/H imprint at Quercus. Imagine that--a new SF/F/H imprint! Hurray!

Fellow writer and friend Roni Loren did a great post on things not to do on Twitter. If you're on Twitter or you're thinking about getting on it then you have to read this!
@RoniLoren Twelve Ways To Scare Away Twitter Followers - What are some of your pet peeves? http://bit.ly/gwZR4C

Author Elizabeth Craig reminds us that there is more than one way to get published and gives hope to those who are having trouble finding an agent:
@elizabethscraig Can't find an agent? Go to Plan B: http://dld.bz/8CA6

Jennifer Shirk gives a great list of some of the best agents on Twitter. I added a few of my own favorites to the list and re-tweeted her!
@HeatherMcCorkle I would add @NepheleTempest @DeidreKnight & @KnightAgency RT @JenniferShirk Best Literary Agents on Twitter-GalleyCat http://t.co/0zY79Dl

Here is another great tweet from Jennifer on what writers should do before their book releases:
@JenniferShirk Guide to Literary Agents - 5 Things Writers Should Do BEFORE Release Day http://t.co/yXL0EEJ

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December's Debut Author~Saundra Mitchell

I'm cheating a bit for December's feature debut author. Why, because she is that awesome and I couldn't go this year without featuring her. It is Saundra Mitchell and her riveting ghost story Shadowed Summer debuted just last year. Saundra is so awesome that along with the interview she gave us a deleted sequence! Keep reading to learn more and check it out. First a bit about Shadowed Summer.

Summer in Ondine, Louisiana is always predictable: hot and boring.

Not this one.

This summer, Iris is fourteen. This summer, she doesn't have to make up spooky stories for excitement, because a real one falls right in her lap.

Years ago, before she was born, a teenager named Elijah disappeared. All that remains of him are whispers. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she's convinced it's the ghost of Elijah.

What really happened to him? And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris?

Does that not give you the chills? I know it does me! So Saundra, what compelled you to write a ghost story?

Saundra: I've been a big fan of ghost stories all my life. Not only were they among my favorites at the library, my family has tons of ghost stories too. My grandmother always claimed she saw her late parents in her turned-off television just a few months before I was a born. She swore they told her that I would be a girl!

Wow, your family sounds awesome! What was your favorite part of writing this book?

Saundra: Shadowed Summer was a struggling kind of book to get on the page. The characters were uncooperative, the story didn't go where I expected it... But I think I had the most fun writing the scenes where Iris and Collette talk over each other. They've been friends for each other, so they just say what's in their head, and keep going whether they're on the same wavelength or not. (I really like the exchange where Collette tells Ben they have spells for invisibility, and Iris adds that they only work if no one's looking.)

I loved Irish and Collette's conversations so I can easily see where that would be fun to write! Can you tell us a bit about Shadowed Summer that we may not know from your website?

Saundra: The first draft of Shadowed Summer was significantly longer than the final book- twice the length as a matter of fact. And I had to cut one of my favorite parts because it really had nothing to do with the story. Here it is, a deleted sequence from the original manuscript:

Where I lived, people who went crazy were allowed to with respect. Nobody went to psychiatrists, we didn't take happy pills, and we didn't go to the state hospital unless we did something so wild nobody knew how to handle it. Clotille Rydell's granny had gone that kind of crazy; Clotille told us all about it during show and tell in fifth grade.

Apparently, when her granddaddy passed on, her granny waited until the family finally left with the last of their casseroles, then went down to the family plot to drag her husband from his crypt. A couple weeks later, an uncle came to check on Granny. He found her sitting at one end of the dinner table, making conversation with Granddaddy down at the other end.

Off to the institution went Clotille's granny while the family put granddaddy to rest again, that time with a cement seal on the slab to make sure Granny couldn't get at him again. For Clotille's show part, to prove her Granny really had been there, she held up a menu from the state hospital, and passed around letters Granny had written on hospital stationery.

I don't think our teacher liked the presentation much, but Clotille hopped to most popular girl in our class. At least, until Peter Nash brought in a scrapbook of casket pictures that had been in his family for years. Rebel soldiers sleeping in pine trumped a crazy granny, and shortly thereafter, our teacher cancelled show and tell for good.

Saundra: Call me sick, but Clotille's granny cracks me up!

Thank you so much for sharing that! From your website I see that you have quite a bit of writing experience as a screenplay writer and successful short story writer. With that experience under your belt, is there anything in the publishing process that surprised you?

Saundra: Yes! I was surprised to find out that the chain bookstores- Barnes & Noble and Borders- didn't have to stock a book. In fact, they skipped books all the time! Until I was published myself, I just kind of assumed if I went to those bookstores at the right time, any book I could imagine would be there. Turns out, that's not the case!


From your website I also see that you have another novel, The Vespertine coming out in March of 2011, about a young woman in 1889 who has visions of the future. It sounds fascinating, I can hardly wait for it! Your writing tends to run along the mystic side, I love that. Where do you get your inspiration for such wonderful, creepy stories?

Saundra: It all depends on the story! I'm not sure where the idea of a girl who sees the future in the sunset came from. I'd been kicking that around for five or six years, and tried it out in various mis-starts. One version was set in contemporary southern Indiana. Another version was set at a boarding school in Maine. They never really took shape, though.

What kickstarted the story that became The Vespertine was this: I was watching Burn Gorman play Hindley in the recent BBC adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Watching his scenes with Catherine, I thought to myself, "Now that's a dude who would lock his sister in an attic!"

Something about that sparked my imagination, and before I knew it, I was writing The Vespertine at light speed. And yes, it does start with the main character being locked in an attic by her brother! Thanks, Burn!

I love how your mind works! What a wonderful way to come up with an idea for a novel. Any closing thoughts to leave us with?

Saundra: Thank you so much for your support of debut authors. I'm passionate about debuts myself, and I'm particularly looking forward to these fresh new debuts in 2011- Myra McEntire's Hourglass in May, Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch, and Sonia Gensler's The Revenant in June.

You're very welcome. I like to pay things forward and besides, so many debuts are fantastic! Thank you so much for joining us Saundra. I'm confident my readers are going to love your book just as much as I did. I can't wait for The Vespertine!
Hurry peeps, click on the title and grab a copy of the wonderfully creepy Shadowed Summer and get it read before The Vespertine comes out in March! Which by the way, I'm looking forward to so much that I have pre-ordered it.

Check out the website for Shadowed Summer here.
And learn more about Saundra and her upcoming works at her website here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Agent Advice, Networking, & Supporting

The list of tweets for writers that I scrounged up this week is a bit thin since I've been spending most of my time writing, but I did manage to find a few really good ones. This first one is from me but it is about an excellent post that Chuck Sambuchino wrote. If you're a writer you need to read this before you do your holiday shopping:
@HeatherMcCorkle The Publishing Industry Needs Our Support: http://tinyurl.com/24spacc A great post via @ChuckSambuchino of @WritersDigest #writing

Literary agent Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency let's us in on a little secret about when to submit:
@literaticat Do you want to know the secret, sure-fire time to submit so your query will definitely get noticed? http://tinyurl.com/32gv4s9

Are you curious about why Super agent Nathan Bransford left the publishing industry? Then you need to read this interview:
@NathanBransford In which I'm interviewed by the awesome @RachelleGardner about leaving publishing: http://bit.ly/ac8CnY

Author Myra McEntire gives us an excellent link from her literary agency on social networking for writers:
@MyraMcEntire Some genius from my lit agency, @jasonpinter at Waxman: "The 10 Commandments of Social Networking For Writers" http://ow.ly/3dHOI

Writer Julie Musil brought this link to my attention. It is an interview Chuck Sambuchino did with agent Michelle Brower on attending writer's conferences:
@juliemusil Agent Michelle Brower On: 10 Tips for Attending Writers Conferences (via @ChuckSambuchino) http://t.co/wbQ3Drh  #amwriting #writetip

Julie brings us another fantastic link from Jane Friedman on query red flags to avoid:
@juliemusil Query Red Flags (via @JaneFriedman) http://t.co/k62LjsL #amwriting

Want to be featured in Writer's Digest? Don't miss this opening sentence contest they're putting on! Better hurry, my entry is already in:
@WritersDigest Write the best opening sentence for a chance to be featured in Writer's Digest http://ow.ly/3etks

If you are a friend or family member of a writer then you really need to read this post by author Elizabeth Craig. Writers, we should read it too and pass it on:
@HeatherMcCorkle Friends with a writer? You HAVE to read this post by @elizabethscraig on Support http://tinyurl.com/25epwz3

What about you? Did you find any great tweets or blog posts last week that I missed?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday's Muse~NaNoWriMo

The picture that inspired me this week is much different from what you're used to seeing here on Heather's Odyssey. If you spend much time on the web you've probably heard the shortened version of this header, NaNoWriMo. For those who don't know what it is, NaNoWriMo is a month where writers of all kinds come together to encourage one another to pump out words. 50K in 30 days is the goal, though no one minds if you fall a bit short. The spirit of NaNoWriMo is to get words on the page by dedicating an entire month to your writing.

Though I didn't participate this year I cheered from the sidelines and did my best to keep my word count high in honor of those who were taking part. Every time I saw a tweet, Facebook, or Scribblerati update from one of my friends about their NaNoWriMo progress it encouraged me to pick up the pencil and do a bit of writing myself. You were my inspiration not only this week, but the entire month of November and I want to say thank you. Though it's nowhere near the 50k many of you pumped out I did manage close to 25k which gave my new work in progress a fabulous start.

Did you participate? If so I'd love to know what your final word count was and what you thought of the whole experience.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Writer's Thanksgiving

This year I am thankful for many things but since this is my blog about my writer's journey I thought I'd focus on that. Great links for writers will be involved so read on!

#1) I am thankful for the use of my right hand. It seems like a simple thing until you lose it. Several years ago I broke it and my right wrist. The doctor said I would be lucky to get 60% use of it back. That was unacceptable to me. I finished six months of physical therapy in two and not only got full use of my hand back, but full strength as well.

#2) I am thankful for my critique group the Scribe Sisters. A good critique group is like finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Such a thing is almost unobtainable it seems and yet is so worth the hunt when you do find it. If you're looking for your own you might try the wonderful writer's social network Scribblerati or Twitter.

#3) I am thankful for each and every one of my followers here on Heather's Odyssey, Twitter, Scribblerati, and Goodreads. I've made the most amazing friends in the blogging community and other writers social media sites. Before delving into them I had never imagined such a tight knit, supportive group could exist. You all give me hope!

#4) I am thankful to each and every agent and editor who has taken the time to read my query letter and submission materials. Without them searching for new talent we aspiring authors would be nowhere. If you're on the agent hunt yourself be sure to check AgentQuery. Remember to research each agent, read their blogs if they have them and check their websites.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving everyone. Tell me what you're thankful for then get back to your turkey basting, pie baking, wine tasting, or writing!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Query & Agent Advice, Plus A Book Royalties Calculator!

I found some gems among the publishing world tweets on Twitter for you this month. Some of these I'm sure you'll want to bookmark! This first one is fantastic. My friend Angela found a blogger, Shawntelle, who created a book royalties calculator. You definitely want to check this one out!

@AngelaAckerman Book Royalties Calculator by @shawntelle (How cool is THIS?) http://bit.ly/cKhv19  #writing #amwriting

Brian Klems of Writer's Digest answers the question, should you grant an agent an exclusive read if they ask?
@WritersDigest Should You Grant an Exclusive Read to an Agent? - Q: I recently had an agent respond to one of my queries and reques... http://ow.ly/1a05aK

You don't want to miss this interview by Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest with agent Katharine Sands about agent pet peeves. Read this carefully to make sure you don't do any of these things!
@ChuckSambuchino Lit agent Katharine Sands talks "Agent Pet Peeves": http://tinyurl.com/25f4xzh

This information by Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest on what to put in the bio of your query letter is a must read for anyone who is submitting.
@JaneFriedman What to put in AND leave out of your bio in a novel query (includes examples), latest in my query series: http://bit.ly/b9BD4Z

Editor Irish Blasi introduces us to a new agent, ex-editor Brie Mulligan.
@IrisBlasi There’s a new agent on the block: @BrieMulligan joins Moveable Type, repping YA/MG & adult fict&nonfic: http://bit.ly/deIqmq

For those of you who were wondering if you should get those author business cards made, check out what agent Natalie Fischer says about them:
@Natalie_Fischer One of my biggest pet peeves: author business cards. Unless I represent you, I do. not. want. them.

This is stellar advice on being a professional writer. It was tweeted by my writer friend Elizabeth first, then retweeted by my other writer friend Jolina. That's what happens on Twitter when the advice is that good!
@Jolina_Joy Want to Be a Professional Writer? Act Like One. http://dld.bz/6z8C  (via @elizabethscraig) #writetip #amwriting #writing

Okay, maybe this isn't one of the best tweets of the week, but I'm looking for feedback! If you want to learn a bit about my novel The Secret Of Spruce Knoll or just want to pay it forward with a comment on it, check out this exerpt from my query letter:
@HeatherMcCorkle The Secret Of Spruce Knoll: http://tinyurl.com/24rd3ky Taken from my query letter. Drop by & let me know what you think!

See, I told you they were gems! You're going to need to get yourself a file for all those links and name it treasure chest! Okay, maybe not that great. And maybe I should push the coffee away.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday's Muse~Main Character Inspiration

Finally I found a picture that makes me think of my main character! Since much of this novel takes place in a forest this picture couldn't be more perfect. Sure you only get to see her from behind but the subject of this picture has the same long, brown hair as my main character and about the same build. The picture has an air of magic and mystery to it that I thought was perfect. I have a feeling this will be my main picture muse for this novel!

I finished reading Blood Promise by Rachelle Mead and wow did it wrap up good! The second half of the book more than made up for the slow first half. I loved it and am definitely getting the next one. In the mean time I'm taking a break from reading the young adult genre and have picked up Grave Witch by Kalayna Price, an adult urban fantasy. After a great chat with the author over on The Knight Agency's blog I had to pick up one of her books. She is a fantastic, fun lady and I'm glad I did because this book has sucked me in from the first page!

As for the music that has been feeding my muse, this week it is Mairead Nesbitt's 3rd Movement. Don't make that face at me, click on it and check it out! What inspired you this week? How are my NaNoWriMo buddies doing on your word counts?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In My Mailbox This November


Luck was with me in the book winning department this November which has made my mailbox a very happy place. Unfortunately I fear it makes the UPS person a bit nervous as I appear to be stalking them. ;) But with good reason, just check out these fabulous books that I won!

I won Torment, the sequel to Fallen, by Lauren Kate from the wonderful Mundie Moms book bloggers. These ladies are always doing giveaways and their reviews keep my To Be Read list very long. The best part? They never disappoint. Every book they've recommended I love! Follow these gals!

I won Unconventional by J.J. Hebert from the fabulous and ever supportive writer of middle grade novels Eisley Jacobs. It looks like it is going to be a very inspirational novel which will make it an excellent read for December! If you aren't following Eisley you're missing out on knowing a truly special lady so click on her name and check her out. Now to get some reading done! What was in your mailbox this month?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Prepared For The Call

Now that I have a few fulls of my manuscript out to agents and editors I've started to seriously think about The Call. You know the one, the call every aspiring author dreams about. The call from an agent offering representation. I'm not so arrogant to think I have it in the bag, especially in today's economy. But, I know it's best to be prepared. Having gone through this before I know the excitement of that call can cause you to forget everything you were going to ask. And let's face it, this is a big decision. You don't want to forget your questions!

I've scoured the internet and have put together a list of questions that you should ask an agent when they call with an offer of representation. Some of these are questions I've come up with and some are from other sources. Some sources said to ask questions such as, is this agent a member of the AAR, who are their clients, what have they sold recently. All these things can be found on the internet so you don't need to waste your call on asking them. If you haven't done your research to discover these things before submitting to the agent who has your full or partial, DO IT NOW. Without further ado, here is my list:

Do you feel my manuscript needs editing, if so what do you have in mind?
What is your approach to providing editorial input and career guidance?
How fast do you like your clients to complete edits?
Who do you plant to submit to and when?
What is your preferred method of communication?
Will you be available to answer questions and offer feedback?
Do you forward or share information about editorial responses with your clients?
Will you consult with me on any offers from editors?
Will you be open to hearing about other projects I have, or will have in the works?

This is by no means a complete list. There may be different questions you want to ask. Remember, this will be a business partnership. You want to make sure this is someone you will be able to work well with. Best of luck, I hope you all get The Call!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Submission Call, Conferences, Agent Advice

I spent a lot more time on Twitter last week. It helps me when I have writer's block, which I suffered from a little last week. Check out this interview with one of the authors that will be attending the Writer's Digest Winter Conference:
@alicepope SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-conference Interview: Patricia Lee Gauch: The latest Annual Winter Conference faculty member... http://bit.ly/d04RXF

My friend Julie shared this link of agent Joanna Volpe talking about her views on realistic teen dialogue. If you write young adult or middle grade you don't want to miss this:
@juliemusil Agent Joanna Volpe On: Why Realistic Teen Dialogue Isn't Necessarily a Good Thing http://t.co/6G1G1nL  #amwriting #YA

This is a fun one by Christi about staying organized while writing:
@ChristiWhitney How do you organize all those little details that pop up during writing. Leave me a comment! Death By Post-It Notes http://t.co/sG4wFSZ

Do you have a great Christmas story? If so check out agent Marisa Corvisiero's call for submissions:
@mcorvisiero Call for SUBMISSIONS. I would LOVE to find the next great Christmas Story. Submit w/full synopsis & first 5 pages marisa@lperkinsagency.com

Do you have a short story, essay, or article you're looking to publish? Don't miss this link from Writer's Digest:
@WritersDigest Looking for markets for short stories, essays, articles? Don't miss our Top 50 Online Lit Journals & Top 25 Online Mags http://bit.ly/cltCoQ

The wonderful Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest dishes out some great advice on queries:
@JaneFriedman I've started a series on novel queries; here's 1st part on 5 query elements + how to lead off yr query: http://bit.ly/c3zNHj

Here is an excellent interview Chuch Sambuchino did with agent Mollie Glick about queries:
@ChuckSambuchino Agent Mollie Glick On: 7 Things Agents Want to See in a Query, and 9 Things They Don't: http://bit.ly/c9pfLw

Even with all those I bet there are at least a few great tweets I missed. Feel free to leave me a comment if you know of one!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday's Muse~Main Character Interest

For every novel I write I like to find pictures of people that look similar to how I picture my main characters. I can't find anyone that resembles my main character for this novel so I found one that resembles her love interest. He's enough to make a sixteen year old sigh don't you think? Things are moving along smoothly with this novel. I'm over 14,000 words into it now so it's starting to feel like it has a bit of substance. It's not quite a NaNoWriMo worthy word count, but it is a solid beginning!

As for reading, this last week I had the chance to really dive into Blood Promise and it has started to pick up, a lot. Now that Dimitri has come back into the picture I can't stop reading! I must admit though, until then it drug a bit. But I love Richelle Mead's writing and I will definitely be buying the next book in the series.

I've fallen in love with the music of Mairead Nesbitt. This week her 3rd Movement song off her CD Raining Up was my music inspiration. It sets the perfect mood for my historical YA fantasy and wow can that lady play the fiddle! What inspired you this week? Have you discovered any new music or books?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make Each Grain Count

When a writer is on submission, be it to agents or editors, each passing day can feel like a grain of sand that slips away. It is easy to get discouraged when days, weeks, and sometimes even months start ticking off. We understand that the grains~or moments~are precious but often we end up putting off any more writing and just waiting. All too often I hear writers say they are going to submit and see where that one goes before they move on and write anything else. If you want to make a career out of writing, that could quite possibly be the worst thing you could do.

Make every grain count. Start researching, brainstorming, and outlining for your next novel or project. Don't have any ideas? Read everything in your genre that is hot. Read some of the novels that aren't. Read outside your genre! Allow yourself to be open to inspiration of any and all kind.

Once you have your novel idea and are ready to start, set goals. Don't allow yourself to be aimless just because you're on submission. If you can get into a routine and discipline yourself to write every day then you'll be better prepared for getting an agent, a publishing contract, and making your deadlines. Besides, you'll feel better knowing you have new words almost every day. It will feel like you're moving forward, and you are. Prepare for success and you will reach it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~WriteOnCon & Harlequin

To say I was busy last week would be a gross understatement! I hardly poked my nose in at Twitter at all. Harlequin was putting on a fantastic So You Think You Can Write week in which they gave us unprecedented access to the editors of their house. It was a great learning experience but of course I had other motives as well. Ever since finishing one of my novels I have wanted to submit it to Harlequin because I felt it would be a great fit for their Teen imprint. The problem was, Harlequin's Teen imprint doesn't accept unsolicited (unagented) submissions, so I couldn't. Until last week! At then end of the week they opened submissions. Most of Harlequin's imprint's accept unsolicited manuscripts but for their Teen imprint this was special. I couldn't miss it! So I leave you with a meager two tweets from Twitter for last week.

The fabulous WriteOnCon ladies do it again. This will be a free chat with literary agent Stephen Barbara. Check it out here:
@ElanaJ Dude! Did you guys see? @WriteOnCon's monthly event in Nov w/ lit. agent Stephen Barbara and @LeilaSalesBooks! http://www.writeoncon.com/

And for you young adult writers whose story has a vein of romance to it, you don't want to miss this rare opportunity to submit to Harlequin! Hurry, it's only open until the 15th of December!
@HeatherMcCorkle The final challenge of the week, submit your novel! http://tinyurl.com/26cvcou YA writers you don't want to miss this rare opportunity!

Good luck to everyone who submits to Harlequin!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's Muse~Foggy Forest

This foggy forest inspired me last week because my main character takes a wild ride through a forest that looks very much like this one. She ends up somewhere completely unexpected that changes the course of her life. I'm really enjoying mixing historical with fantasy. It is both fun and challenging! I love it so much that I now have plans for at least two more historical young adult fantasy novels.

If you peeked over to the right you'll see I'm still reading Blood Promise. But, this last weekend I did make a huge dent in it. Though this novel in the series is a bit slower it's still very good and I'm really enjoying it when I get the chance to read it. I stopped at the bookstore and picked up Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. I looked at the first page and wow, I can hardly wait to read this!

The song that inspired me this week was Finan's Isle by Mairead Nesbitt. What inspired you this week? How are those of you participating in NaNoWriMo doing?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November's Debut Author~Kitty Keswick

This month Kitty Keswick, author of the young adult novel Freaksville takes time to drop in and answer a few questions about her novel. First a bit about Freaksville.

High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

Please welcome Kitty! Thanks for dropping by to visit us! I won't ask about the first story you published at the tender age of eight about a frog, or about how you're breeding paperbacks~you peeps will have to check out her website to read about that! But I will say I love that you believe one must read to write. I see you've been inspired by some of John Hughes’ great movies, but is there a particular author that has inspired you?

Every book authors read, they take something with them. Now, I’m not talking about plagiarism; it’s not cool lifting another’s work as your own. What I’m talking about is learning about story structure, pace, voice, even characterization. I learned how to sprinkle historical information into a story without it being info dump by reading Diana Gabaldon. I’ve learned what makes a great alpha hero by reading JR Ward. I learned about pacing by reading Kelley Armstrong, and how to write snarky by reading Katie Macalister. I’ve even learned how to be a better writer by reading my own work. Being able to detach oneself from the work is the hardest. Books take time to write, sometimes years and it’s hard to cut things or change things. But what I’ve learned most of all is that, in order to be a better writer, one must push to change and, if something isn’t working, have the courage to delete it. Readers will notice lazy writing. I’m challenging myself to be better with each project I do.

That's so true! We're all influenced by what we read. What was your favorite part of the writing process?

I love building worlds. I also love characters—getting to know them, spending time in their worlds, seeing things through their eyes, learning something new in order to write about them. I have a series I’m working on with Judith Graves, and my hero is a drummer, so I’ve started taking lessons. I’m also a fan of research, but the trick is to make the research work for the story to move it forward without slowing it down. Having each tidbit add a layer to the character or the world rather than turning it into an info dump that says, “Look at me. I studied this, and now so should you.” The research shouldn’t slap a reader in the face; it should caress them. In Freaksville I did a lot of research—1940’s fashion, how fire spreads, British slang… It was fun, and I think it adds layers to Freaksville.

Building worlds is one of my favorite things to do too! I love that Freaksville is told through the main character's blog. Can you tell us a bit about it that we may not know from the synopsis?

Blogging is a strange beast. People share more online than they would in person. Online nobody really knows you, so you can play whatever part you want. People feel safe. My heroine, Kasey, is a lot deeper than she appears on the surface. She hides behind humor. She’s struggling with her gift of sight, a gift that makes contact with people hard. If she touches objects, she’ll get a vision. In order to stop the visions, she wears gloves. This sets her apart, and she’s not able to touch the world around her, to experience it as a normal girl would. So in turn she reaches out in her blog. She’s really trying to convince herself that she’s not a freak. That’s why she shares her story. I don’t really think Kasey ever intended for people to read her blog. She’s always lived outside the world, so she thought cyber space would be no different. When Kasey’s voice became clear to me, it was very much like reading her diary—young, naïve in ways, and full of spunk, so I felt that blogging would be a good fit for FREAKSVILLE. In book two, FURRY AND FREAKED, blogging doesn’t have as large of role, just because Kasey has confronted her inner Freak. In book two she’s battling inner and outer demons. She had to grow up really fast, and in FURRY she’s forced to be more of a leader.

Blogging is a strange beast indeed! There will be more books, yay! That leads me right into my next question. What can you tell us about the series?

I have two more books in the FREAKVILLE series. I’m in edits for book two FURRY AND FREAKED. I’m also working on a series with Judith Graves, based on a pseudo-Salem world. And my muse has been screaming at me to write another YA, I started it about two weeks ago. This one I don’t have a contract for, but the voice is so loud and so different from my normal style that I’m very intrigued with the world. All I can say at the moment, is it’s a paranormal, but doesn’t have an ounce of vampires, werewolves or ghosts in it.

Awesome, I can hardly wait. Is there anything in the publishing process that surprised you?

Every day. First off, I originally sold my book in 2007. Yes, three years later it finally came out. My original publisher closed their YA line, and my rights were given back to me. I had been promoting the book already for one year. What was I going to do? I was FREAKED! The senior editor of the young adult line was offered a position at a new publisher. She offered me a contract for FREAKVILLE. I had already edited the book to the other publisher’s more gentle and tame guidelines and, because I was one of the debut authors, we had to run with FREAKVILLE as it was. I had wanted a slightly darker read, and I’ll have it more with book two and three. I guess what I’m saying is, even after you’ve finally sold, nothing is for sure. I’m glad I’m with Leap Books. They are small, but really respected. They’re part of the Children’s Book Council, and the staff is very interested in developing the best books they can, not just cranking out titles.

Any closing thoughts you'd like to leave us with?

Thanks, Heather, for having me. I understand you’re a writer, too. The best advice I can give is to keep trying, keep writing, keep reading. You have to develop thick skin, and even then the arrows do pierce. Push yourself to be a better writer with each chapter, each verse, each word you place on the paper. Like Corey Hart, sang, “Never Surrender.” I’m learning; I’ll be learning until my last breath.

To get a copy of Freaksville click on the title and to learn more about Kitty Keswick click on her name. Be sure to check out Kitty's site for a free short story that has a bit of bite to it, pun intended! You'll love it!

You can also find Kitty on the Wolfy Chicks blog where she blogs along with author Judith Graves. And don't forget to look for her on Twitter here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Conferences, New Agents, & More

Though Halloween is over I have a bag of treats for you! Last week was an excellent week for writers on Twitter. Registration for the Writer's Digest conference has opened! You can check it out here:
@WritersDigest Registration is open for the WD Writer's Conference: http://ow.ly/2YPmX

Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest introduces us to another new agent. Like he says, new agents are a golden opportunity for writers seeking representation.
@ChuckSambuchino New agent seeking writers! Denise Little of The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency http://tinyurl.com/2cdqcqu

If you live in the New York area and are seeking a job in publishing be sure to check out this excellent link from ex-agent turned editor Colleen Lindsay:
@ColleenLindsay taking resumes for awesome entry-level pub job. Love romance? Good writer? Online savvy? Read on: http://bit.ly/bAmYGD

I always thought I was kind of strange because my characters talk to me. Now, agent Weronika Janczuk tells me I'm not alone!
@WeronikaJanczuk New blog post! Swati Avasthi: You're Not Crazy; Your Characters Are Talking to You: I'd like to reintroduce everyo... http://bit.ly/cIZuGO

Chuck gives us another interview with a fabulous new agent. You want to check this lady out peeps. I follow her on Twitter and she is awesome:
@ChuckSambuchino Interview with lit agent @Natalie_Fischer, who is seeking kids books, romance, and adult fiction http://tinyurl.com/2bb7bo3

Jane Friedman clears up some of the confusion about the information we receive about writing and publishing:
@JaneFriedman Do you feel like you receive lots of mixed messages about writing/publishing? The antidote: http://bit.ly/aNJbu9

This is excellent advice on why agents reject your work:
@ChuckSambuchino My Guest Blog today for @Kid_Lit: Three Reasons an Agent Rejects Your Pages: http://bit.ly/a3vXWo via

Just like the title, this really is some of the best query writing advice I've heard:
@JaneFriedman The Best Query Writing Advice: http://t.co/mGyC6Ym  + get your query critiqued by me on 11/4: http://bit.ly/aVUl8K

Remember how I said Natalie was awesome? Here's proof of why. She let's us in on a fabulous week of writing, editing, and publishing advice from Harlequin. Complete with contests!
@Natalie_Fischer Romance authors, heads-up: http://bit.ly/cvoLxn  :)

Have a great link or news you want to share? Leave me a comment!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday's Muse~Black Horse

Okay so this is a friesian and the horse in my novel is an Irish cob. But I couldn't find a picture of an all black Irish cob so a Friesian it is. Of course the horse in my story may or may not be a púca, a type of shapeshifter, so close is good. I just passed 4,000 words on this freshly minted baby and I feel like the character in Stephen King's Tommyknockers. For those who haven't read it, she was a writer who had a 'special' connection with her typewriter. It wrote what she thought. Now wouldn't that be an awesome ability! The story is flowing so well that it feels like that.

As you probably noticed from the link on my right sidebar, I'm still reading Blood Promise. It's really good, I just don't have much time to get to it. I need to because I have The Hunger Games lined up to read next and I'm really looking forward to it! The book that will soon be feeding my muse after that is Torment thanks the wonderful Mundie Moms who I won it from! If you don't follow those fabulous book blogging ladies quick, click over and check them out!

The music that has been feeding my muse this last week is The Battle of Stirling off the Braveheart soundtrack.

What was your word count for the week? Or did you meet your editing goal? Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know and I'll cheer you along!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't Burn Bridges

The publishing world can appear gigantic but don't make the mistake of assuming it is so big that the things you do or say will not be noticed. This goes for good and bad things. The path to publication is a long one and it is paved with frustration and heartache. With footing like that it is easy to become disheartened and say or do things you might regret later. When this happens always think before you speak and think twice~or more~before you tweet, blog, or write on one of your network pages. Trust me, do it, you'll thank me for it later.

People in the publishing world all know each other, and even if they don't it's safer to assume they do. Agent and editors go to a lot of the same conferences, workshops, and book fairs. Just like writers, they hang out with their own kind, and they talk. If you send an agent a rude, abrupt or threatening email after a rough rejection you can bet he/she will talk to their colleagues about it. They're not evil, they're just human. They don't want their friends and colleagues to have to endure the same lashing they did.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean you can't vent, you just need to be cautious about where and how you do it. The safest way is to call your friends, or to send them an email. Don't DM, IM, or PM on a social media site though. Those sites often have glitches and sometimes private messages are seen by the public. Your best bet though is, if you don't want someone to see or hear it, don't say it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Agent & Editor Advice

Twitter was hopping with great advice and tweets for writers this week. I could hardly keep up with it all! Check out what an editor of Kensington books had to say about receiving an offer from a publisher:
@meganrecords Don't be coy if you have an offer. Don't simply inquire about status at other pubs, TELL THEM YOU HAVE AN OFFER. (cont) #pubtip
@meganrecords Will try to get to it quickly if you tell us. Otherwise, you'll wait your turn like everyone else. And don't lie to get faster read. #pubtip

Agent Mandy Hubbard was kind enough to let us know what trends she has been seeing in her inbox:
@MandyHubbard Today's trends: Dystopias, Angels, Dream worlds or living in dreams/meeting boy of your dreams IN a dream. #queries

Chuck Sambuchino from Writer's Digest shares some very encouraging words:
@ChuckSambuchino Wrote a guest column for @RachelleGardner today: You Can Write for Love AND Money http://bit.ly/b1ipSt

This is a different genre from last month's contest so be sure to check it out if you write YA. You could win a critique from an agent who just might like your work enough to consider representing you:
@WritersDigest Free contest for YA writers!! -- judged by lit agent Tamar Rydzinski of Laura Dail Literary: http://t.co/YOL3PQ3

This post is a must read if you have questions about contracts, copyright, or legal issues, which most of us do! I definitely learned a thing or two.
@ WritersDigest Have questions about contracts, copyright or legal issues? Amy Cook reveals all http://tinyurl.com/2covwwk

The fabulous new agent Weronika Janczuk sheds light on questions in the literary world with her new blog feature *Ask Weronika*. If you're not following this lady, you should be!
@WeronikaJanczuk New blog post! *Ask Weronika* -- Picture/MG/YA Books & Me: Jennifer asked:I was wondering if you represent childre... http://bit.ly/bMZM1l

Non Twitter peeps let me know if these were helpful! Twitter peeps, let me know if I missed anything else great!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Reality Of Author Advances

We all dream of the big six figure advance and hope that one day it will be handed to us. Unfortunately the reality is that with the tumultuous state the publishing industry is in, the six figure advance has become extremely rare. Brace yourself for a much harsher reality of four or five figures.

But there is good news! Smaller advances means you'll make them back for your publisher faster which is a very good thing. When you make back your advance for your publisher they are more likely to buy your next book. That also means you'll start to get royalty checks faster, which is where you're going to make your real money anyway, as long as you're prepared that is.

Smaller advances mean less money for marketing as well so be ready to do a lot of your own promoting. But that is a post for another day! A good friend of mine, Lindsey Edwards gave a fantastic link on her blog to someone who researched average advances. Check it out here, but brace yourself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Manuscript Request Etiquette

Getting multiple requests to read either a partial or your full manuscript can be a wonderful, confusing, and scary thing. It is a problem I sincerely hope every one of my aspiring author friends has. Now that I've wished that upon you, how do you deal with it? The good news is there is a sort of etiquette to it, the bad news, as you probably already know, is that every agent is different.

We'll start with partials. If you are lucky enough to have multiple agents ask for a partial of your work (which is typically 30-50 pages depending on the agent's preference) then you know you're on the right track. You don't have to notify agents that someone else has a partial of your work but it certainly wouldn't hurt anything. In fact, it may help. If they're aware that someone else has requested it then they know others have shown interest and they may get to it faster. If you aren't sure how much they want when they ask for a partial don't be afraid to ask.

Things change dramatically when someone asks for your full manuscript. This isn't just a casual read in one sitting kind of situation anymore. Now the agent is really interested and has committed to investing a good chunk of their time to your work. Do not take full requests lightly. If you get a full you don’t need to tell everyone else who has a partial of it, but again it can't hurt. However, if you get more than one person requesting your full manuscript you need to tell all the agents who have requested the full that it is out to other agents.

Some agents might ask for an exclusive look at the full. This means you cannot send another full out to anyone else who requests it until that agent gets back to you, if you agree. You have the power to say no. If someone else already has the full just tell the agent who is asking that an exclusive is not available because someone else already has it. I'm on the fence about exclusive requests. If you really believe that particular agent would be a great match for you, then I say go for it. But if other agents are asking and you want to keep your options open, then you can say not at this time. Multiple offers is a post for another time. Best of luck!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Twitter Tuesday~Writer's Cruise, Agent Critique, & WriteOnCon

I'm sorry peeps, I didn't get on Twitter much this last week at all! Chances are you caught more links than I did. But I did have a few really good ones for you. This first one is a writer's cruise retreat with super agent Deirdre Knight of The Knight Literary Agency. I'm keeping a space in my calendar clear for it just in case I can make it! Check out her tweet about it here:

@DeidreKnight Hey, tweeps! Want to come on a writing cruise with me? Deets here: http://bit.ly/9zDSx1 

The fabulous ladies from WriteOnCon have put together another excellent chat with literary agent Sara Megibow. You don't want to miss this one! It's occurring one week from now! Get the details here:
@Casey_McCormick Did ya see? Didja? We have Sara Megibow for our next WriteOnCon Live Chat! http://bit.ly/cwOkl8

Here's an opportunity to have your first page critiqued by an agent from The Knight Agency! Check it out here:
@KnightAgency Hey tweeps! We're starting a 1st pg critique feature on our blog very SOON! Get deets on how 2 enter ur 1st page: http://twurl.nl/lslmsh

I know I missed a bunch of great tweets so feel free to fill me in on them in the comments!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday's Muse~Giant's Causeway

This breathtaking picture isn't something from a sci-fi or fantasy movie, it's the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and it has been my inspiration for the last week. More than a few intriguing legends surround this wonder of nature and no doubt a touch of that will make it into my novel. I'm blown away by how inspired I am by the things I'm discovering about the world we live in. I've always been a hard core fantasy person who loved new and strange worlds, places that take me away from this one. But that was before I started researching and studying the history of the world around me. Now I'm filled with inspiration for stories that take place right here on Earth. Who would have thought?

I'm thoroughly enjoying Blood Promise (click on the image to the right to check it out). It has nice creepy feel to it, is filled with vampires, secret societies, and takes place in Russia. What more could a girl ask for in October? Well okay, a few werewolves would round it out nicely but I don't expect they'll make an appearance in this novel.

As for music, my MP3 player is still on shuffle, but I did hear a rumor that Avril Lavigne has a new CD coming out soon. You can bet that will by on my new novel's playlist! On a side note, a shout out to Kari from Under The Fairty Dust who just gave Heather's Odyssey the One Lovely Blog award. Thank you Kari! Be sure to check out her blog it is fantastic!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Digging Deep For Character Motivation

What truly motivates your character? I'm not looking for the easy answer here. I want you to dig down deep into their psyche and figure out what is really motivating them. Take my new main character for example. It's easy to say she wants to avenge the death of her brother. But that is what she wants, it isn't what motivates her. What motivates her is the tremendous hole eating it's way through her soul because he died fighting on the battlefield and she wasn't there to help him. What motivates her is that he was the only one in her family that saw her for who she was and supported her dreams.

To figure out what their motivators are look to their past. Is there something about the way they were raised that may affect their motivations? Is there a relationship that may be a driving force for them? Family, loved ones, or lack thereof all affect your character. What are their beliefs, culture, customs, occupation? All of those factors affect motivation and the way a person deals with life.

After you've figured out your character's motivations you must figure out what they want, which should be easier to do now that you've dug deep. My main character doesn't want to kill the man who killed her brother. What she truly wants is to feel supported and loved and to know that her brother didn't die in vain. Will she get that? We shall see. Do you know what your characters' motivations and desires are?
 
For more advice on characters check out this great post from Writer's Digest on How To Up The Ante For Your Character.