Showing posts from June, 2010

What I Learned In New York

I learned nearly as much about the publishing industry just by going to New York as I did by going to the conference. Not to say I didn't learn a lot at the conference, I certainly did, but this was my first time in New York and I learned a lot about the people who live and work there by visiting it. I've been to Hawaii, Oklahoma, and now New York attending writer conferences and this is the first time I felt like I really got what the publishing industry was all about. The publishing industry can feel like a very cold, callous place at times, what with all the form rejections and good writing that is passed up. Much of what I've been told about New Yorkers reflects that. But I have to tell you, they aren't the rude stereo types you've heard about. There are a lot of people in New York and everyone is busy rushing off to do something so there isn't time for small talk and niceties. Until you see New York you can't grasp the scope of just how many people a

Twitter Tuesday~Tutorial

Instead of featuring someone specific today I'm going to talk about Twitter for those who haven't taken the plunge yet because you just aren't sure how it works. After you read this post, you will have no excuse! Those of you who are already on Twitter might drop in on the comments section and let me know if there's anything I've missed. This last week at the NYC Pitch conference I made a lot of great new writer friends. The problem was, they aren't on Twitter! I'm making it my mission to remedy this. Much of this will be basic for their sake. Twitter is unlike any other social network out there, which is part of why I love it so much. You don't have to follow everyone who follows you, it isn't like the 'friend' thing you see elsewhere. Those who follow you see what you tweet to everyone but they won't see what you answer tweet to someone else if they aren't following that person as well. The same thing goes for the people you choos

Monday's Muse~Publishing Houses

Since I was at the NYC Pitch conference most of this last week my muse was the publishing houses themselves. I couldn't possibly fit them all on here so I picked three. Despite being nearly one minded in my pursuit of pitching and selling to an editor, I actually managed to get a bit of writing done on the plane rides over! Ten new hand written pages of The First Dragonwatcher await entry into my computer. I won't keep you waiting breathlessly, the conference was an interesting experience. I met a lot of really fantastic people that I know I'll stay connected with. I hope to see their books on the shelves some day very soon, along with my own of course! This was my first trip to New York and I learned a lot merely by visiting the city. Knowing how New York works and how it's culture is will really help me on this journey. I expected it to be very business-like and abrasive. In a way it was, but underneath it you can tell the people have good hearts, they're just

What I'm Up To

This week I'm in New York for the NYC Pitch and Shop writer's conference. For those who haven't read my prior posts on it, it's a different kind of conference where you get to pitch to editors from the big publishing houses instead of to agents. The only workshops and classes are those which focus on improving your pitch. This conference isn't about improving your work, but selling it. By now I've already pitched to my first editor and am gearing up for tomorrow when I'll be pitching to two more. When I get back I'll tell you all about it but for now you can catch tidbits when I manage to squeeze time in on Twitter. Wish me good luck!

What Does An Agent Do?

What an agent does for their clients can sometimes seem like a mysterious thing to those who don't have one, or have just recently landed one. Agents are people~oh pick your jaw up, really they are~and therefore each one is different in the way they operate. However, there are some similarities in what you as a writer can expect from your agent. Most agents are actively seeking new clients at some point in their career. This is where you come in. But once you've been picked up, don't forget that your agent may still be seeking clients, which takes up a lot of their time. Imagine wading through a thousand queries a month. That's thirty three a day. Now you know why some send out form letters. After you've signed with an agent they will probably critique your manuscript and make suggestions to improve it. This means they have to read it thoroughly, probably more than once, and will most likely pass it on to a second reader within their agency, another agent or an in

What's In A Name?

We've all stressed over the titles of our novels but what about the name of our characters? If you're like me, you put just as much thought into the names of your characters as you do the title of your novel. Actually, I put more work into naming my characters because the title usually comes along naturally at some point. But the names of my characters are a part of them and they affect a reader's first impression and perception. But Heather, a rose is a rose and all that right? Yes and no. If I told you my protagonist's name was Poindexter that immediately forms a picture in your mind does it not? Don't worry, that isn't really my protagonist's name. A name can be nerdy, masculine, feminine, beautiful, or complicated, among other things, which is exactly why you should choose carefully. Usually if the name feels right to you then it probably is right for your character. But you must be aware of how it sounds and feels to other people. Consider the name

Twitter Tuesday~Mercedes Yardley

I think I finally met someone who writes more than I do, well okay, maybe just as much. Mercedes Yardley and I met on a Twitter chat. She's funny, supportive to other writers, and has great taste in stories. Mercedes is a wife, mother, and an avid writer. Not only has she written a few novels, but she also writes poetry, short stories, essays, and nonfiction for Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted . As if that wasn't dedicated enough, she's also a member of SFWA  or the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Mercedes is currently shopping her latest novel around. Connect with Mercedes on her blog here: which is full of her distinictive and well crafted writing. And you can find her on Twitter here: As a Twitter follow Mercedes is one of those people who connects with her followers and is supportive of writers and those who love reading.

Monday's Muse~More Elmore

This picture titled D&D Air Attack by the fabulous Larry Elmore  has been inspiring me for many years. When I was a teenager I actually had a poster of it hanging on my wall. Now that poster is framed and hangs in my office. And you thought I wasn't a nerd, tsk, tsk. I visited Larry's website and was thrilled to see that he is teaching classes both on painting and drawing. If you are artistically inclined that way you should definitely check out his site. He is a master. I only wish I could do with a brush what I can do with words. You can also by prints of his work! From the picture you may think it inspired me on my work in progress, The First Dragonwatcher , but it actually didn't. Those that read my Agent Critiqued Manuscript  post know that I've been revising Grendar's Tale all week. Don't throw things at me for finishing in one week (please). The fixes were minor and I had the whole week off from work so I was working on my manuscript around the clo

June's Debut Author~Shannon Delany

This month's featured debut author post is a bit late but there is an excellent reason for that, one I know you're going to love! June's featured debut author, Shannon Delany has not only stopped by for an interview but she was gracious enough to include Heather's Odyssey in her Start Your Day With Serial Blog Tour in which she's leaving behind snippets of her debut novel 13 To Life ! So keep reading to learn more about Shannon, her novel 13 To Life , and to catch an excerpt! You may remember my Twitter Tuesday post featuring Shannon back on May 4th. If not you can check it out here and hear all about how 13 To Life started as a textnovel ! I'm so excited because I have been looking forward to Shannon's debut for several months now. Did I mention its about werewolves?! First a bit about 13 To Life (used with permission from the author): When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons.

Weekend Wolfy Fun

You may have noticed that I'm very late on featured a debut author this month. Don't release the hounds yet, I have a good excuse, one I think you're going to like. Normally I don't blog on the weekend because I like to give my readers a chance to catch up on the posts I've written througout the week. Tomorrow is special though. Heather's Odyssey has the honor of hosting part of author Shannon Delany's Start Your Day With Serial tour! What on Earth does that mean? Since you asked, it's Shannon's brilliant idea of visiting several different blogs throughout June~her debut month~and leaving behind not only information about herself and her novel, but a snippet of her novel! If you follow the trail of blogs you'll get to read more than a little of 13 To Life! And of course, Shannon is June's featured debut author! You can get up to date on all the excerpts and snippets she's left all over the blogosphere here: http://13-to-life-a-werewol

Agent Critiqued Manuscript

When I got back from vacation I was thrilled to see an e-mail in my inbox regarding Grendar's Tale , the latest manuscript I'd sent off to my agent for consideration. The first line of the comments read:      " Heather has created a detailed and inventive fantasy world that looks good to intrigue a wide fantasy audience. The writing style is easily readable and involving." Much squeeing commenced. Thank goodness I was home and not still in the hotel lobby on vacation. Folks would have thought me crazy. And they would have been right, crazy excited! Especially since that was followed by dancing around and chanting, "he likes it, he likes it!" For those of you who are unagented I'll share a bit of mystery and let you in on what an agent critique is like. The thing to remember is that every agent is different so they way they critique your work is going to differ slightly from one agent to another. However, I'm on my second agent now and I

An Exciting New Writer's Conference

If you're a regular here on Heather's Odyssey you've probably heard me rave about how you really should attend a writer's conference to help advance your writing career. You've heard me go on and on about everything I've learned at conferences and the wonderful connections I've made. And some of you, unfortunately, are bound by responsibilities or financial budgets and haven't been able to take my advice on attending conferences. My heart breaks for you, literally, because I hate to see people held back because they can't attend a conference. Today my heart is very happy though because I have an exciting announcement to share. A group of six great authors have come up with the fabulous idea of putting on a free  online writer's conference for kidlit writers. Elana Johnson , Casey McCormick , Jamie Harrington ,  Lisa & Laura Roecker , and Shannon Whitney have put their heads together to create  WriteOnCon . There are already a bunch of agen

Twitter Tuesday~Harley May

Harley May is one of the sweetest, funniest people I've met on Twitter. I love it whenever I see her avatar pop up on the site cause I know she's going to either make me smile, laugh, or think really hard. This is one writer who isn't afraid to share her thoughts and opinions, which can be kind of rare in today's world. Over the years Harley has moved around a lot, to the point where she actually attended seven different schools between kindgergarten and her senior year. Much of that time was spent in South Korea so you can imagine the stories and culture this lady has to share! Harley is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, or SCBWI for short. She's currently working on editing a coming of age faery tale. To learn more about Harley check out her website here:    And click here to connect with her on Twitter:

Monday's Muse~Green Valley

This incredible picture is called Environment: the Sun Light Of The Purple Vall and is by Green Valley. You can learn about it and the artist here:  While it doesn't remind me specifically of a the current chapter I'm working on, it seemed to have the right mood. There was a serenity to it yet held that promise that something was happening. In this week's chapter my main character faces his biggest challenge so far, impressing a group of people who have every reason to doubt him and no reason to like him. By contrast he is in one of the most peaceful places imaginable. I'm now reading Mistwood by Leah Cypess and am loving it! Her writing is like poetry, it flows eloquently and carries you along for the ride. Don't forget to stop by the contest link on the right for your chance to win this book! The song for this week is The Gathering Of The Clans off the Braveheart sou

When To Stop Editing

 Knowing when to stop editing and start sending their work out isn't easy for a lot of writers. It wasn't always easy for me. Many writers second guess themselves at every bend in the road to publication and because of it they may linger at the crossroads. Not only have I seen friends of mine caught at this crossroads, I've been caught there myself before. The question is, how do you break the cycle and go down the right road? Or more importantly, how do you know when it's time to take that road to submission? Going it alone without help of any kind will almost always result in taking a left, right, or going back instead of forward. Or worse, it can result in going forward when your manuscript isn't ready. I've been guilty of both. What do you do if you're going it alone as so many writers do? You've heard me say this before, attend conferences, workshps, retreats, any place where you can improve your craft. This will help build your confidence and p

Birthday and Contest Announcement

That's right, my blog turns one year old today! I can hardly believe it. Time flies when you're having fun and thanks to all of you I've been having a lot of fun. Since I started this blog I've landed a new agent, my young adult paranormal trilogy has gone on editor submission, and I've finished another book that my agent is now considering. It has been a very busy year, but a wonderful one! Because it's Heather's Odyssey's birthday and all you wonderful followers have made my journey so enjoyable, I'm announcing a mid-year/birthday contest! I've picked some of my favorite books from 2010 (so far). Here's the plan: There is no minimum follower acheivement for the blog requirement or any other catch. At the end of July I shall throw all the entries into the Random List Generator and pick a winner! Just be a follower and leave me a comment letting me know you'd like to be entered into the contest. Here's the really great part, since I&

Twitter Tuesday~Kristy Baxter

Kristy Baxter is a writer who loves writing (of course),the outdoors, music, oh yeah, and frog wrangling. Yep, you read that right, though you'll have to ask her about that one yourself! I've seen pictures and they're awesome. You'll definitely have to ask her about it! Like myself (and many other writers, maybe it's a writer thing) Kristy has a cat, though hers has a much more unique name than mine, Shakespeare, how awesome is that?! Kristy's intriguing sounding young adult novel, currenlty titled Grim Light , is represented by Marlene Stringer of The Stringer Literary Agency. As the frog wrangling probably cued you in, Kristy is a lot of fun. Follow her on Twitter and you'll see what I mean: Check out Kristy's website here to learn more about her and follow her journey to publication:

Monday's Muse~May's Reads

I was so immersed in my own world~literally as I worked on The First Dragonwatcher ~that I only read one book last month. However, if I had known I'd only be able to read one book I would have absolutely picked this one. Under My Skin by Judith Graves was like a high speed chase, full of excitement and hot guys. It is a young adult paranormal book set in a world that could very well be our own. The main character, Eryn, is spunky without falling into the tired snarky , clique, which is not easy to pull off anymore. Aryn has a rawness to her that makes her feel very genuine and makes you want to cry and celebrate along with her. For those who enjoy a good love triangle there is one in here, only it is understated very nicely so it doesn't dominate the novel. Of course my favorite part was the non-stop action. Because of it I think this book will appeal to both guys and girls in YA. The ending absolutely left me wanting more, in a good way. The ultimate question, would I buy

Approaching The Right Agent

"...there are a few things you can do to that may get you into a better pile-or at least a better position within the slush." ~ The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman . As my friends are all arriving at William Bernhardt's annual writing workshop my thoughts have turned to approaching the right agent. Your querying success depends so much upon this that I cannot stress the importance of it enough. With the state the economy and everyone's finances lately this becomes even more important when choosing which conference you should attend. Before registering for a conference because it's in a convenient location or is an old favorite, make sure there are agents attending that you want to~or more importantly, should~see. If the conference can't guarantee which agent you get to see that is a serious downside and a reason you may want to reconsider that conference. Let's face it, driving or flying a great distance, at great expense, just to end up seeing an a

An Author's Image

As the NYC Pitch & Sell Conference approaches I've been thinking a lot about an author's image, mine in particular. What am I going to wear to the conference? How should I do my hair? What should I take with me? All of that reflects who I am. First impressions can make or break you, especially in a situation like this and I'm acutely aware of that as I rifle through my wardrobe. Those of you who have attended a conference know just how much stress this can cause. Should you worry about your appearance? Yes and no. You are who you are and the agent or publisher isn't buying into you, they're buying into your work. Ah but wait, now days an author doesn't get to sit around the house in a pair of comfy sweats, drink coffee, and write their life away. Don't worry, there's much of that to be done, but an author has to wear more hats now than ever before. Publishers are doing less and less promotion. That is falling to the author more every day. You'

All About ARC's

With fantastic events like Book Expo America (BEA) going on I've seen a lot of discussion about ARC's across the internet. For those who don't know, an ARC~otherwise known as an advanced reader copy~is an advanced copy of an upcoming book meant for distribution for the purpose of promotion. When you get published you'll get a certain number of copies~amount is determined by your publisher~of your book in ARC form to give out to whomever you see fit. We're not just talking friends and family here, though hopefully you'll have enough to give out to them as well! ARC's benefit the author most when put into the hands of booksellers who will hopefully like it and then order the books, or to book reviewers who will review and support it, and of course to fans. Most ARC's say somewhere on them 'promotional copy, not for sale', so you should never see them at a reputable book seller. It's illegal to sell ARC's, and a bad idea if you like the au

Twitter Tuesday~Karlene Petitt

Today I'm featuring someone who is not only a great friend of mine, but a member of my critique group, the Scribe Sisters . Karlene and I met at the 2009 Hawaii Writer's Retreat. The friendship between she and I~along with the other two members of our critique group~developed instantly and we knew we had to keep in touch. We met up the following year at William Bernhardt's writer's workshop and our bond solidified into something we knew would last a lifetime. Since then the four of us have been e-mailing each other nearly everyday and have shared the journey from critiquing our novels, to our synopsis, to our query letters. Karlene is a very special lady. She inspires me to see the bright side of nearly every situation and to find the good in the world around me. Though she is working on a thriller, Karlene writes across the genre board, and even writes some fantastic inspirational material. I've now convinced her that as a wonderful mother and grandmother she wou