Sunday, May 31, 2009

I want to work!!!!

I find it really interesting when I hear friends, family members, even my own husband, say how they like their job, even love it, but they can't wait to get home to spend time with their families or do other things...basically they can't wait to be away from work each day and weekends are their paradise. And while I love my family immensely, I have many many days where I wish so badly I could go and do the work that I love. To me it doesn't feel like "work". Cleaning my house is work....doing laundry, cooking dinner, doing yard work...that is my definition of work.'s my nirvana. I start and I don't want to stop. I get so involved in my imaginary world that I hate pulling myself away from what I am creating. I want to continue..I want to see where my characters go. I want to create their problems and solve them. I want to create sexual tension and then relieve it (that's the best part!!) I want to create something that is all me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Writing a sex scene is quite exhilarating!

This morning I was to the point in my novelette/novella where the big sex scene came in...and whoa this was a steamy one!!! I thoroughly enjoyed writing it!!! I hope my readers will enjoy reading it!!!

I am still a bit unsure of myself when it comes to writing sex scenes. A lot of my early work kinda skips over the's there, but there's not much detail...most of my earlier work would be considered "sweet" on the sensuality scale. But lately, I've been feeling the need to write more detailed scenes. I have been reading up on romance lately, all levels of eroticism and I have to admit, the steamier ones are quite exciting to read! I wanted to add a bit more spice to my stories!

My downfall is the terminology though and getting it to sound right. Last thing I want is my scene to sound silly. I think my biggest hurtle is words for male and female genitalia. You can only use 'manhood' so many times! And clinical terms kinda ruin the mood for me! LOL! Guess I need to grab a few more Harlequin Blaze novels and pay closer attention to the actual wording....research...yes...I need to read these books for further research........ :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A lawyer has been secured!

I heard back from one of the lawyers I contacted. She is a friend of a friend and I'm thinking she's giving me a deal...$75 an hour. I was expecting it to be more. Hopefully I won't need more than 1-2 hours of her time.

Since I have the contract in a pdf form, she had me email it to her so she can review it and we'll do it all through email. Saves me a trip downtown (and paying to park) to meet with her at her office.

So, hopefully I will hear from her within a few days.

I read through the contract again and there are some questions I really want answered. They shouldn't give me any trouble, right?? If they do, I should take that as a huge red flag. I'd like to know how the average first time author does in sales their first month, first year, and how much I would actually make on each copy sold.

And then there's the whole secondary rights thing....and signing them away. Now I would still make royalties- 50%, but I gather that I'd lose all creative control. From what I've read on message boards, from other authors who are published through this same publisher, they will not budge on this. And many of the authors who published through them are extremely happy...I'm happy so far, the people are great. And I'm just starting out....what are the chances that someone will read this ebook and want to make it into a movie???

I just don't know....I'm torn!!! I don't want to walk away and then get no other offers. But I also don't want to be cursing myself down the road if this one in a million chance that it's made into a movie actually happens. The other two offers I received are nos in my book. The second one I got, the people never even sent me the contract after that first email. And the third, well, their catalog is extremely I'm guessing they are really tiny and I'd imagine, sales are very small. And the covers are horrid!

Decisions, decisions.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back to work!

I took the weekend to basically do nothing. And part of me was happy with that but the other part, not so much.

I knew my lawyer search would go no where over the weekend, so I guess it wasn't too hard to let that go for a few days. But I didn't write a single sentence the entire weekend either. I think I was just having a bummy weekend...I got on the computer of course, but I couldn't lure myself away from message boards and Facebook.

But it's a new week...back to work!

And I finally heard back from one of the lawyers I emailed. She asked me to call her to set up a meeting...I did, no answer...left her a voice mail.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"This is going to be your year"

When I turned 31 this past September, a dear friend and fellow writer said to me, "This is going to be your year!" I agreed/hoped. And thus far, those words have rung true. I've had a darn lucky year so far.

In December my first official paid publication was released...three short pieces that were part of Nickel City Nights: Erotic Writing in Western New York. Then in January, my work was chosen as the feature story in Flash Me Magazine, another paying gig. In March I won a radio contest to be whisked off the Hollywood for a NKOTB concert. April I was asked to be a featured reader at a local poetry/literary venue. And now this week, not one, not two, but THREE ePublishing contracts for my second novel.

Yes...things have been pretty good......

But I can't help but wonder....if this year is gonna be great....will I use up all the greatness I'm due and next year will suck?? When are the bad things gonna start? When will my luck change??? I try to stay positive and live each day to the fullest, enjoying every moment, but I just cannot help these thoughts.

Soak it up now I just never know what the future will hold.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sitting here all bundled up!

Why? Because my house is so darn cold!!! It shouldn't's like 70 outside...but for some reason, my house, maybe cause it's brick, is always so darn chilly! (It does stay relatively warm in the winter though!)

So I'm here on the couch, in long pants, a long sleeve tee, socks, wrapped in a blanket...laptop sitting aglow.....I'm in my cocoon! This is where the name for my blog came from. My husband used to laugh at me. I'd be all tucked into my cocoon (electric blanket on high) and I'd need something or the kids would need somethng or the phone would ring. SUCH a hassle to get out and mess it all up. "Don't worry, honey," he'd say a bit sarcastically, but with a smile, "I'll get it, you're in your cocoon!"

So in the beginning, that's what the cocoon was all being warm and snuggly and a little bit silly (and perhaps, um, lazy). But then the cocoon seemed to take on a different meaning. If you read the line I have written at the top of my blog, this whole cocoon thing has become more about the beauty that metamorphoses (is this word right...not sure, but it's staying!) Anyway, it's about the amazing things that I create while I am in my cocoon. I go in as one person and come out as another and after doing this time after time, I am finally coming out a little closer to full magnificent butterfly status...aka....a published author!

Want to read some fantastic poetry???

My dear friend, Denise Amodeo Miller just released her first book of poetry!! She is really fantastic! Her style is very earthy, sensual, womanly. We love hearing her newest creations at writer's group meetings!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Okay...what's better than a publishing contract???

Um....two publishing contracts.......

I about fell over when I checked my email this morning. And there are still 7 more ePublishers I haven't heard from yet.

For as awesome as I feel today, I'm sitting her quite frustrated. (And I have a headache...which means I'll be in pain all day until I go to sleep unless I take some Excedrin....and that makes me nauseous). I've been trying for the past hour to find a lawyer to review my contract. I read that you need a lawyer who specifically deals with publishing contracts and I can't find one locally. I went to a website that gives publishing contract advice...they have a flat fee... $475. I just cannot manage that. I did find on Absolute Write a great page that deciphers a basic publishing contract and puts it into very simple terms.

So, after reading some of that, I have a better handle on the contract. If I keep doing what I'm doing, googling what I don't get and return to the Absolute Write webpage I found, can I manage this without a lawyer's advice?

For the most part, the contract seems fine. I read that you shouldn't sign away secondary rights, which this contract does, in a way, but I still get royalties: 50%. I guess the question is, do I REALLY think anyone is gonna wanna take a book from an ePublisher and make it into a movie???? Who knows. And my royalties on book sales are based on net sales, not list price...I read some publishers do it that way (even print publishers) while others don't.

I swear, writing the book is the simplest thing ever....all you writers who are having trouble getting the words down.....that part is cake!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Check this out!!! FUN contests!!!

Some very cool stuff going on!!!

How do you find a lawyer???

Aside from picking up the yellow pages and browsing over 100 pages of ads???? phone book has that many pages of lawyers.

The only time I've used a lawyer was when we bought our homes...once in 1998 and then again the end of 2007, and both times the real estate agent said "Here's someone I use often." I don't know any lawyers on a personal level so I did a search online and found a site you could search by city and found a list of contract lawyers. I hate just picking up the phone and randomly calling people. Same thing with finding a new doctor...I hate browsing the provider directory...basically picking what name sounds nicest and calling. Do I stick with that strategy?? It has worked pretty well in the past...only once did I get a doctor I wasn't happy with. And I am more comfortable with female doctors...should I call a female lawyer? And I tend to look for younger sounding names...not that I have anything against my elders...but I am more comfortable with someone I can relate to and maybe can relate to me a bit better.

For the most part, I understand the contract without a lawyer's once-over. BUT...I still need to have a lawyer look at it..make sure I'm not signing something I shouldn't be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm on my way....finally!!!!

I think as a writer...we get used to rejection, almost immune to it...."Another one to add to cork board...." And even email rejection letters...though they can't be saved and used to wallpaper a bathroom, unless you print them anyway, tend to be the same. You check your inbox and see a publisher or agent's name as the sender with a subject of Re: Query. You know what it says before even clicking on it............I did until yesterday that is........................

I was offered a publishing contract!

A few weeks ago as the final last ditch effort for my second novel, A Bitch Named Karma, I started looking into ePublishers. I had been on the traditional merry-go-round with the novel several times. I did a major rewrite with a name change and started again. I'd gotten several partial requests, even a full request...all ending in rejection. I just could not find a home for this story that I loved so much. I started looking into publishing it for free for Amazon's Kindle. But it sounded so confusing and I just wasn't real sure what I was getting myself into. I then started looking into ePublishers. Seemed like a decent way to go so I sent out some submission packets.

Then yesterday I got a response from Lyrical Press! I sat there for a few minutes unsure if I was actually reading what I thought I was reading:

We’re happy to inform you that after reviewing your submission, we’d like to extend a contract for A Bitch Names Karma. Our editors and screeners thoroughly enjoyed this read and we’d love to add it to our catalog.

My husband was outside trying to finish up the last few things on the wooden swing set we bought for our kids. I walked out in my pajamas, regardless that my neighbor was outside playing with his kids, and told him. He climbed down from the playhouse part of the thing and hugged me. We both found tears in our eyes.

I'd done some research on the company and it seems like it's on the up and up. Folks at Absolute Write Water Cooler had good things to say too. Plus, this company has really nice covers...some of the others......tacky is the nicest word I can think of!!!

No fat advance, but I have to say, royalties are really decent for ePublishing! I was kinda surprised....comparable to what I'd make if my book was picked up by a print publisher and sold in books stores.

So, once I have my lawyer take a look at the contract and I sign it and mail it to them, I will officially be on my way to being a published author!!!

Is this real??? This is ME???? So many days I wondered if this would ever ever happen to me......

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What I watch is similar to what I write

I see distinct similarities between my favorite TV shows and what I write. Clearly the kind of shows I love to curl up in a blanket with are the same kind of story lines I enjoy writing. I am addicted to love and romance combined with drama and even some comedy from time to time. I enjoy taking a reader through every emotion and I enjoy that kind of experience myself. I'd be completely lying if I said I never cried and laughed during the same episode of a show I watch.

Some of my favorite shows of all time: Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and All My Children. If Grey's Anatomy wouldn't have originally been on Sunday nights, I would have really gotten into that. (Just could not do two 1-hour shows on the same night...this was pre-DVR days. Someday I might watch them all on DVD.)

I love a character who is sassy and gets what she wants and stands up for herself and there are PLENTY of those type of characters on my shows. But I also find myself writing characters like myself: shy, unsure, not a ton of self esteem.

And of course, I do watch the occasional reality show...but I stay far away from the really stupid ones. I stick with Dancing with the Stars (I love to dance, in case you didn't know. I have been taking a jazz class for the last 10 years and have taken some ballroom classes too. I so wish I had unlimited funds to be able to continue...maybe even compete....Hey, do you think that a published author would be "star" enough for DWTS??? more reason to work hard to get my books published....LOL!!) We got hooked on Celebrity Apprentice this year, first time show for us. And we really love Chopped on the Food Network. That is actually the channel we flip to first when it's late and we have nothing to watch but we're not ready for bed yet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

*Sigh*...looks like a name change may be in order.

I really loved the name 'Spellbound' and in a lot of ways it really fit the story. My MC-Roda's religion was never the main plot, but it's a big part of who she is and who her family is. (Just like anyone, religion is a big part of who they are...this is real life here). In the beginning of the story, her mom tells her she said a spell for love for her and is convinced a friend's nephew is the answer. Just so happens the spell was actually answered in the form of a man Roda met earlier that same day. So to me, 'Spellbound' fit and it was cute.......but does it really fit the rest of the story??? after the response from that one publisher about not wanting to take at look at a book that "pits one religion against another" I am quite paranoid about the whole religious aspect and if I have emphasized it too much in the query. (hence the reason I may have gotten zero bites on this story).

The story is really about the couple and the challenges the face coming from two extremely different worlds...They have many differences, religion is part of it, but they have very different lifestyles in general; their parents and siblings, jobs, finances, hobbies, etc...they are just very different people. But they find a HUGE connection in the fact that both of their personal beliefs have scared away lovers in the past... They learn about each other, accept each others differences...grow...fall in love.

Things get messy when his mother sticks her nose where it doesn't belong...she does not approve of Roda's beliefs and does not want her son to marry her. It shakes Roda a bit, but they move along, ignoring his mother. Until one bizarre disaster after another...Roda starts to wonder if they are all signs that they moved too fast, (for her, signs are a big deal)...maybe they are too different after all... In a moment of pure stress and just being at the end of her rope, Roda calls off the wedding.

Roda is then thrown into drama in her family and must be strong for time to dwell on her own problems. But she finds out the unexplained disasters were not signs at all...her mother in law to-be had caused every single one. Roda grabs back the happiness that was stolen from her.

So anyway, my point in this mini synopsis is to ask your advice on a new name. Bottom line, the story is about love and the understanding of differences and the compromises that need to be made in any relationship. Here's what I got so far:

A Compromising Love
A Love of Compromises
A Happy Medium
The Happy Medium of Love
Love’s Happy Medium
The Sweetness of Compromise
A Spell of Compromise
Love in the Real World
The Reality of Love

Anything jumping out at ya???? Suggestions?? I am completely open!

P.S.- It's contemporary romance, so sappy titles are acceptable.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I LOVE a good bargain!

This blog doesn't so much focus on my writing today...but maybe a writing related blurb at the end....

I love a confessed shop-a-holic, I am obsessed with them. All though I wish for unlimited funds to shop with it's not a reality (till I'm selling millions of books anyway). So I need to bargain hunt and clip my coupons and take advantage of whatever deals and promotions my favorite stores decide to put out.

Yesterday I went to NY&Co, one of my favorite stores. It was my Mother's Day present....a couple hours of childless shopping. Armed with my City Cash vouchers (basically two coupons that allowed me $30 off if I spent $60), I stepped in the store and immediately began filling my arms with cute items for summer. Then I hit the dressing room and condensed about 10 items down to two. The dress was $42.95 and the cute sweater, $39.95. They were having a one item, get the second for 1/2 off. BONUS!! In the end, I spent $34 (including tax) for two items that regularly cost $83 before tax. Score for me! Isn't it wonderful to dress so chic for so little money!

Then today I was very excited to get a postcard in the mail from Home Depot. As a homeowner, I think possessing a Home Depot credit card is must. Every spring we do a major shopping trip for garden things, mulch, etc...then things that need updating in the house. This year it will be a light/exhaust fan for the bathroom. If you spend $299 or more (which is never ever a problem) you can put it on your Home Depot card interest free for 1 year!! AND with this special postcard I got today, 10% off your entire bill! Sweet! Should a discount on chain link fence supplies be such a thrill for me....HELL YEAH! Saving money is always a thrill.

So with all this talk of bargain shopping makes me wonder about book bargains and the section of Barnes and Noble and Borders and all those other chain stores that have a "Bargain Books" section, usually near the front of the store. How do the authors feel about this??? Do they make the same amount of money on their book??? I don't know the specifics, but I am almost sure they still earn royalties on the suggested cost. But would that feel, as a writer, to see your baby no longer on the main shelves??

I check these sections every time I go in there and have gotten some steals! Why pay double or even triple the cost for a basic slow cooker cookbook or a kids storybook??? Especially if the author is still getting their full royalties. My best deal ever was a copy of Vera Wang's wedding book....normally I think it was like $50 or $60...I think I snatched it up from the bargain section for $10 or $15. (Then a few years later sold it on ebay for like $20 or $25 LOL!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back to scheduled programming...FINALLY!!

Hubby has been out of work for about a month...long story short, slipped at work, hurt his knee, had to have an MRI, etc...doc at first thought he tore something, but didn't. He's better back to work.

And I am so glad.

Not that I don't love having him here, but ladies....I know you understand. A month is a long time and it just whacked my whole routine out of line...and I am not real happy with that.

So now it's back to business. I get to write while my son is napping....usually a good 2-3 hours in the late morning/early afternoon. Sometimes I get on early though........he loves Noggin....and a half hour to an hour of "preschool on TV" can't be completely awful, right?????? That's what I tell myself. Then at night once the kids are in bed, hubby and I relax a bit, watch a show we DVR'd then he gets ready for work. I get on the computer, check things and then by the time he walks out the door (sometimes 9:30, other nights 10) it's back to my writing. I have a strict in bed by 11 policy and I read for about a half hour. Except for last night though...just could not put it down....didn't go to sleep till a little after midnight.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Could I have picked a harder career to try and find success in???

I was thinking today about careers. Most people decide when they go to college what their eventual career will be. They then go to school for 2 years, 4 years, sometimes 6 or more. But when they're done, it's pretty much a guarantee that they will be handed their dream career. (Of course I am talking before the current economic status.)

Except for a writer. At least a fiction writer anyway.

In my experience so far, you can work and work and write and write and no matter how hard you work, it doesn't increase your chances of publishing success. Yes, honing your craft and keeping at it will definitely make you a better writer and we all hope that persistence will pay off someday, but there's no guarantee. Any writer, no matter their age, schooling or if they write for 10 hours a day or 10 minutes, they can never ever know if their dreams will come true.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just when you think the world is open to anything...

I by no means think my latest novel is when I started submitting it, it NEVER dawned on me that agents/publishers would have any problems with the content. The title is- Spellbound: A Tale of Wiccan/Catholic Love. Basically Wiccan girl meets Catholic boy, they fall in love, the learn about each others religions, accept them, at times, compromise. His mother is a major bee-otch, but she and my MC find common ground, start to become friends, until she finds out MC is Wiccan. The mother is a very ignorant person and is very unaccepting. She causes problems for the two, sabotages their wedding plans.

So anyway, I submitted my query to many agents and a few ebook publishers. After many form rejection emails, yesterday I heard back from Amira Press with a personal note:

Thank you for your submission. I have no problem with a
Wiccan. However, I prefer not to have books
that pit one
religion against another. It tends to cause
offense among some
readers and turn off others from giving
the work a chance. Works
that do not center around religion
are more apt to be accepted.

I really do not think my book "pits one religion against another". My Mc is not the one who has issues with religion, it's a secondary character. I could see her point if it was my MC that was being ignorant. I read a book once where the main character made a comment about pregnant women being fat and saying they shouldn't even go out in public, or something like that. I was offended by that and put the book down. BUT that was the MC that pissed me off. I'm supposed to like the main character!!! And isn't the antagonist supposed to anger the reader??? Isn't the reader supposed to want the mc to demolish the antagonist??

My story is about a couple with different backgrounds, which is what life is really like, and how they deal with the people in their lives who have issues with their relationship..if they chose to ignore it or let it destroy them.

I guess this editors comments took me by surprise... and it really made me wonder if other agents are thinking the same thing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is it okay to call myself a writer????

I do call myself a writer..I type words on a semi regular basis, not including emails, blog posts or message board posts. I write stories, sometimes even essays or yes I am a writer.

But to officially take on a job title, doesn't some money have to be exchanged??? Have I gotten paid??? Hmm...well.....yes, but in total, only around $50 (small published pieces make small amounts of money) I want to get paid. This is my goal..the career I'm striving for. Someday (hopefully soon) I want to make a decent living by writing.

So, the big question is, for right now, can I call myself a writer? And I ask this in regards to forms and things that ask for your occupation. I took my son to the dentist today and the form asked for my husband and my occupations. I wrote writer/homemaker...and the dentist commented and asked me about it. I gave a little explanation, told him I write fiction, short pieces as well as novels. Some of the short pieces have been published...the novels...still working on it.

I have never ever ever been a fan of the housewife label or even the stay-at-home-mom label. Most people will say that being a mom is the toughest job ever and while I do agree....even the moms that work full time out of the home jobs still have to take care of their kids and clean their homes and do all the things I do each day, but I have all day...not just the couple hours between work and bed. Being a mom that does not work a full time 9-5 type job is cake...a walk in the's easy. And the stay-at-home-mom label to me implies that I do this because I am taking the easy path or because I can't do anything else. I think it's important for me to be here with my kids while they are young. So while I am not ashamed of staying home, I feel like I need more to my label than just homemaker.

So for the time being I will stick with my writer slash homemaker label.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Since I've mentioned my featured reader spot...

I might as well post the link!

Scroll down and click on my name! And while you're there, take a listen to some of my favorite writers and poets: Blue, Marek, Denise, Carl, and Sue!

I'll warn is long...oops...I went over my time limit. First was a poem, the only poem I've ever written. Next was an essay that was published in Nickel City Nights: Erotic Writing in Western NY- but rest assured, my piece was pretty much the tamest one in the book! And lastly was the first two chapters of my novelette- Soap Dreams.

How does a shy person become bold???

I'm gonna try and figure out the answer to that.

I love the Internet. I feel very bold on the Internet...I say what's on my mind. In person, not so much. Am I a coward... possibly. I guess it depends on your definition.

In person, if someone doesn't like what you have to say, they are there in your face. I am not a fan of confrontation. In face to face situations, I often say things I don't really mean and not just in argumentative situations. In all sorts of situations. The thoughts in my head get jumbled and I never get them out fully. Quite frankly, I feel like an idiot. I always go over the conversations afterward and think of all the things I could have said and how much I could have improved on what I did say. Is this the writer in me, the need to constantly edit????

But anyway, on the Internet, whether it be a blog post, email, Facebook update, I can think about my statement and it comes out exactly how I want it to....even if I have to write and delete and write again.

So back to my original question. With all of this other stuff going on with me, can I overcome it and be the person I want to be? I want to be bold. I want to get myself out there and be respected. I tell myself I can and will. I think my public speaking is improving. I've been reading at live literary events for a while now. I was even asked to be the featured reader last month at The Screening Room. Quite the honor that was. I went over my time and ended up reading for over a half hour. But I had a sheet of paper in front of me. I wasn't just talking to the crowd. Baby steps.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are rules meant to be broken??

When you're a kid, if you say a bad word, you get a spanking, or a time out. When you're a teen and break curfew, you get grounded. When you break a traffic law, and get caught, you get a ticket. If you hurt someone, you get sent to jail (when the justice system works properly, that is).

Basically I'm break a rule/law, you get punished. That is what has been engraved onto my brain since the beginning of time.

But now I'm being told to break the rules...make my own rules.....

So far during this querying process....I've played by the rules. I did my research. I scoured the Internet for agent websites. I read everything they had to say. I determined if they were a good fit for my writing or not and then when the time came, I sent them my query. And I did it to the exact specifications on their website. Some ask for just a simple one-page query letter, some want a synopsis with it, others want the first 5 pages of the manuscript, some want the first chapter or even the first 3 chapters. But the point is...I followed their directions to a tee!

But now I have met someone in the publishing world who is telling me that the way to get noticed is to break the rules.

So now I'm torn.

Do I abandon everything I've ever known,
basically everything I stand for??? Do I try to do it this way??? Or do I stick with what I've done in the past??? Obviously it hasn't gotten me far.


Have you ever wanted to scream at someone: "What the &*%$ are you talking about?"

I did/do today!

Basically, someone told me I need to do something but it COMPLETELY goes against everything I have learned...and I've learned a lot..I've done my research..I do not claim to know everything, but I am really well informed about this particular topic.

It's quite infuriating...especially when I feel the person is implying that I know nothing...that I'm a beginner...uninformed. If she would have paid any attention the previous emails I sent her, she would know I am not uniformed..I know what I'm doing.....