Showing posts from January, 2011

Monday's Muse~San Diego State Writers' Conference

It may seem odd that a writers' conference was my muse last week but it was a special kind of conference. There are no expletives that can accurately express just how great this conference was for me. I've been to several different conferences and this is the first time I've had this type of experience. The evening of our arrival we attended a no host cocktail mixer. I've been to these at other conferences before. Usually you stand around and chat with a few other writers and sip on your drink until you get bored and leave. Not at the San Diego State conference. Agents and editors (identifiable by the red lanyards they wore) wandered around and engaged people in conversation. The next day I was shocked to discover that the consultations were ten minutes long. Anyone who has participated in a pitch slam (1-3 minutes of an agent's time) can appreciate just how precious and rare ten minutes is. The lectures were informative and engaging as well. Lunch was another o

HOT Mug Blogfest

As you know I don't normally participate in blogfests. Though I love reading them I don't usually have the time to write them. But this one hosted by one of my favorite set of bloggers, Erica & Christy , I couldn't pass up. This is the Hot Mug Blogfest in which we're supposed to show our favorite mug and give a little story behind why it's our favorite. This mug was a special gift from a dear friend who went above and beyond to support me. Anytime I'm feeling down or like I need a little extra encouragement this is the mug I reach for. Last year I attended a writer's conference in New York. It was my first time going to the Big Apple and I was going alone. Though she couldn't attend the conference with me, my critique sister Karlene Petitt hitchhiked on a flight (she's a pilot) and met me in New York for dinner. She brought me chocolates from Belgium and this beautiful mug as a memento of my trip. This mug will always be special to me, not

San Diego State Writers' Conference

This weekend my critique sisters and I are off to San Diego for the San Diego State Writers' Conference . It appears to be a conference of a different flavor. Like any other conference we'll get to attend lectures and workshops on the craft of writing and on the publishing industry. What seems to make it stand apart is the way they utilize meals and downtimes as further networking and mingling. During those times the faculty will be available to us on a casual basis to talk to. Most conferences I've been to are strict about not bothering the faculty at all when you aren't in a workshop or specific meeting with them so I'm really looking forward to this alternative way of conferencing. Another unique feature is what they call the Advanced Reading Appointment. If you add this feature to your conference experience then you get to send in the first ten pages of your manuscript and it is read by an editor often from a major publishing house of your choice. They read yo

Twitter Tuesday~Agent Advice & WriteOnCon

I caught a lot of great advice on Twitter last week that I've been dying to share with you! This first one is an even that occurred yesterday and I hope those of you looking for an agent had a chance to attend! It is the first WriteOnCon event of the year! @ElanaJ The January Live Event announcement is up. #WriteOnCon starts the New Year with Pippin!! #amwriting Writer's Digest shares this advice with us on how to write a synopsis for a novel with multiple important characters: @WritersDigest How to write a synopsis when you have a lot of characters:  #writing Agent Vickie Motter gives us a bit of great advice on why it's a good idea to come up with a great title : @Vickie_Motter Why your title can't suck: Agent Weronika Janczuk gives us some excellent advice on signing with an agent: @WeronikaJanczuk Advice on signing with an agent: . Agent Ginger Clark

Monday's Muse~Internal & External Threats

This brown bear helped inspire me last week and reminded me that not all threats are as obvious as they seem. In the case of this chapter is isn't the physical threat my main character needs to worry about but the emotional one that arises after the situation. I love working external threats into internal threats and really putting my characters to the test. This main character is turning out to be my favorite so far, but don't tell the others! Oh yeah, and I entered Trouble With The Dragon Empire into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest last night. Wish me fabulous luck! I'm going to need it with all the great competition. I'm still reading Rampant because I'm just that slow of a reader when I'm working on a new novel. Don't take my slow reading as a reflection on how Rampant is though. It is a unique story that keeps you moving along and I'm really enjoying it. Many days I've had to leave it in another room so I wouldn't pick it up a

A Writer With A Perfect Plan

Today I came across a post by my good writer friend Anne Riley who is agented and has exhausted all options of submitting her novel to publishers, but she is not losing hope. Sometimes even an agent can't get your book sold. It happens, in fact, it happened to me. But Anne decided not to accept the idea of shelving her novel. She spoke with her agent about self-publishing and guess what? Her agent said go for it! Why do I think someone self publishing is so wonderful? Because, Anne's book has been thoroughly edited over and over again and it is good, good enough to land an agent. When you get an agent they go through the book with you thoroughly enough that it is highly polished for a publisher. But then it's up to the publishers and they, like agents, are often looking for something specific. Your book can be fabulous and not make it onto their list. Many of the editor (publisher) rejections I received myself were glowing about how they enjoyed the book but it just wasn

Writer's Platform Vs. Writer's Foundation

Should you be building a writer's platform or a foundation? What's the difference and why should you care? All good questions. Chances are you've heard the term writer's platform and you know that it's an important part of preparing for becoming an author. A platform is what it sounds like, the thing you'll stand upon to bring readers to you and sell your novels. For some people they find that in blogging, others find it in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or some other social network. You must choose what works for you and go with it. But there is an important factor that is often skipped. Before you can build a platform, a floor, you must have a solid foundation to build that floor on. Without a foundation your platform will be shaky, weak, and subject to all manner of disasters. Don't worry or cringe at the idea of yet more work, chances are you've been working on your foundation and you don't even know it. It is a solid base of friends, family, and/

Twitter Tuesday~Contest & #Pubtips

If you write literary fiction you don't want to miss Chuck Sambuchino's contest! It's judged by agent Lindsey Clemons: @ChuckSambuchino Agent Lindsey Clemons is judging a free contest for writers of literary fiction: Agent Weronika Janczuk gives us a bit of golden advice that will help keep you sane while you're submitted: @WeronikaJanczuk Write something new when you're querying. Always. It's beneficial for an agent to work with writers with multiple mss done. #pubtip Weronika gives us a bit more great advice on the ever popular #pubtip hashtag: @WeronikaJanczuk If you query widely and one agent asks for an exclusive, you are free to decline to give it, out of courtesy for the others. #pubtip If you're submitting or about to be, you NEED to read this. Agent Natalie Fischer gives us some tips on what not to do in a query: @Natalie_Fischer The absolute WORST things to do in a query (or, how to annoy the hell out of an

Monday's Muse~Dark Places

Sometimes it's in the darkest places that you find the light you've been searching for. My main character discovered that last week. The tension is ratcheting up and the stakes are increasing as I tip over the midpoint of this novel and start the climb to the finale. I can hardly believe I'm getting so close. I'm guessing I have less than 20,000 words to go. I haven't had to worry about a sagging middle on this one. It has just flowed right along naturally. I love it when that happens! The novel Rampant is definitely holding my interest and filling my head with all kinds of interesting ideas. Diana is a crafty writer who knows just how to suck her readers in. At first I thought, killer unicorns, really? I had to read it just to see how crazy it was. And it's really good! I'm listening to a lot of classic rock n'roll but I attribute that more to my new favorite show, Supernatural, rather than last week's chapter. The one that I listened to that fi

Double Giveaway for Best of 2010

Now that the holidays are over it's time for a book giveaway! I read some really good books in 2010 and most of them were debut novels, which is exciting because that means I have a lot of new authors to look forward to reading in the future. This is a two part giveaway with two different prizes to two different winners. You must be a blog follower and must comment to win. The first prize is a copy of Grave Witch  by Kalayna Price. This is an adult urban fantasy novel and it was one of the best adult novels I read in 2010. If you'd like to enter to win Grave Witch leave me a comment and let me know that's the one you're interested in. The second prize is a novel of your choice from the list of debut YA authors I featured in 2010. To enter to win one of these novels you must be a blog follower and must leave me a comment stating which one you'd like to win. Email addresses can come later. Here are the books: Under My Skin by Judith Graves  Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Twitter Tuesday~Writers Digest Conference Agents & #QueryTips

If you're submitting or getting ready to then I have a treat for you this week! I happened to catch a literary intern friend of mine who was handing out fantastic #querytips like Halloween candy! First a few other tweets I came across though. This one is by agent Weronika Janczuk and shows just how busy an agent's day can be: @WeronikaJanczuk To do: reply to client's ?s re: edits; reply to other emails; work on publicity/marketing hdbk; read slush mss, client ms, #queries; write. Agent Jennifer Laughran gives us a heads up on a YA Novel Workshop: @literaticat Kickstart Your YA Novel Workshop at Books Inc. with @kristen_tracy and @nina_lacour Here's something you'll hopefully need soon, an email list for marketing your novel: @AngelaAckerman How Authors & Writers Can Build An Email List For Marketing - @thecreativepenn Writers Digest gives us a heads up on the awesome agents attending their conference th

Monday's Muse~Complications

Things started to get really complicated for my main character last week when this lad showed up. Everything she thought she knew about her enemy is challenged and she has to face some pretty uncomfortable situations. For those of you who don't know this is a picture of the late Heath Ledger in his younger years when he starred in the television show Roar. The picture was so close to my secondary antagonist that it was eerie when I came across it. That's right, secondary antagonist. This is the first time I've wrote a novel with two. It's both challenging and a lot of fun. I've reached the 50,000 mark, whoo hoo! Sadly I decided to set aside Voices of Dragons. It just wasn't pulling me in enough to stick with it. However, I will probably give it another try at a later time when my patience isn't so short. I hate giving up on reading a book. I've started reading Rampant  by Diana Peterfreund, a novel about killer unicorns. Really. It has already pulled m

January Feature Debut Author~Beth Revis

As a lover of great science fiction this month's debut is special to me. It is Beth Revis   and her breathtaking young adult science fiction novel, Across The Universe . Before we welcome Beth, first a bit about Across The Universe: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.   Doesn't that just make you ache for the book? Welcome to Heather's Odyssey Beth! Thank you so much for joining us. There is a painful shortage of Sci-Fi in the young adult genre. I'm so thrilled that you've added this excellent book to the ranks of great YA. What compelled you to write a YA Sci-Fi? Beth: I did not originally set out to write science fiction. I had an idea for a s

Twitter Tuesday~Agent & Editor Advice & #WritersRoad

It was a light week for writers on Twitter last week. I think everyone was still recovering from the holidays, I know I was! Here are a few great tweets I managed to catch. The first one is from Writer's Digest to an excellent reoccurring post on Chuck Samubuchino's blog about writers and what they've learned so far: @WritersDigest 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by writer Danica Davidson: Here is a bit of advice from the editor of the up and coming publisher Egmont: @EgmontGal Tip #1: Follow agents' guidelines to the letter, Don't write "requested ms" on envelope when submitting to pub #askYAed (itor) The editor of Egmont shares with us the trends she is predicting: @EgmontGal I predict we will see a resurgence of the middle grade novel AND of realistic YA--but historical fiction, not yet in 2011 #askYAed (itor) Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary graciously offers an open thread on her blog that you do

Monday's Muse~Darkest Fear

Last week I passed the 40k mark on my work in progress and my protagonist finally got her first look at the antagonist who until this point in her life had only been the subject of scary stories told around the hearth fire. The full horror of what she is up against finally hits her and she realizes that sometimes reality is much worse than stories. From the picture I found that inspired me you can get a small taste of how imposing of a figure the antagonist is. I'm a good fifty pages into Voices of Dragons and it just isn't pulling me in yet. Have any of you read it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. At this point I'm not sure if I'll stick with it so if you've read it and it get's better let me know! Last week I listened to a new CD I received for Christmas so I've been listening to it a lot. It's by Lisa of Celtic Woman. What inspired you last week? Were you able to get back into the writing groove easily after the holidays? If you know w