Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Still recouperating!

This weekend was a busy one. Every day we had something going on: concert, cook out with friends, cookout with family. And now today is Tuesday and my daughter is back to school, I should be catching up on housework and stuff...but I just have no energy or motivation.

I did zero writing or editing all weekend, including today. No motivation at all.

I guess I can justify it by saying I took a vacation.

I did still get to check email and such. I took a huge step forward in the technological world. I got a smartphone. It's pretty cool and I am still, almost a week later, trying to figure the darn thing out. But I am loving it! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Big Leagues

Like most writers, I have a project idea folder on my laptop. Whenever something new springs into my mind, I start a file for it. Some have names, some are just "Untitled #?." I type out whatever came into my brain. Sometimes it's just a basic plot idea, or like last night (after being in bed with a brain that wouldn't rest, I wrote down my idea so I wouldn't forget) the opening scene of the actual story.

And then those ideas sit there for who knows how long. They just wait for their turn to be brought forth and plotted out and written. It's a big deal to open a document and "Save As" in my "Novels" folder instead of just the "Project Ideas" folder.

It's kinda like baseball teams or hockey teams who occasionally bring up a player from their farm teams to play with the big boys. My little project ideas get their big chance to become a real novel!

And like baseball and hockey, there is no guarantee that the project will actually stay and become a full-length novel. I sometimes try them out, see if inspiration strikes. If not, it's pushed aside and another project gets a turn.

And that's where I am now. I have a new idea that came to me last night and I'd love to start it now...but I might take a look at my "Project Ideas" folder and see if there is anything else that strikes inspiration.

How do you choose what to write next??

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm the spotlight author!!!

At Lyrical Press's Blog today!! Please stop by and check it out!!

***Edited to add....but for some reason it's not there...maybe I screwed up the dates????

Monday, May 23, 2011

The profound effect stories can have on us

A great story can do such amazing things to us. It can renew faith, bring hope, flutter our hearts. It can show us somehting we never knew and change our minds forever. A great story can boil our blood or bring us to tears...and the latter is exactly where I was yesterday.

My mom and I saw a performance of Wicked at our local theater yesterday afternoon. We'd wanted to see it last time it came, like two years ago, but it just didn't happen. So this time my mom wanted to go and take me with her, her treat. You can't turn that down!! :) I'd heard from every single person who saw it how awesome it was. And they were so right. If you haven't seen this show, definitely do it!

But what really got me was the love story in it. I am a sucker for a great love story. And this one was one of those stories of forbidden love that isn't supposed to be...it isn't supposed to work out...but it does. And everything you thought in the beginning is wrong.

I stood there at the end, clapping manically, holding back tears so hard that it hurt my head.

Just. Wow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PSA: Writers, Don't Insult Other genres!

For me to say I am livid is an understatement. Nothing makes me more angry than someone disrespecting a specific genre of writing, any genre. But it's even worse when it's a fellow writer.

Now there are several genres I just don't read because I just don't enjoy them. Maybe some I might even think are a little silly. But you do NOT see or hear me telling the world that. I have respect for these genres even if it's not my thing. ALL writers deserve respect for their art, no matter what.

Yesterday, one of my writers group members made a comment on our message board about romance and erotic romance. I quote:

"To put it into slightly more pointed terms, it seems to be about the manufacture of overtly hyperbolic and (ever-so-slightly) hedonistic self-gratification material to satisfy sexually inhibited spinsters and untended soccer moms. Basically, it seems to be about writing pornography which allows its reader plausible deniability about the fact that she is reading pornography."

I can handle it when it's some Joe Shmoe insulting the genre...chalk it up to an idiot who's mouth moves and there's no brain attached. But a fellow writer?? Really?? That is just wrong. And this guy is in my writers group! How do I deal with that?? I read pieces of my manuscripts all the time. Is he secretly thinking I am an idiot undeserving of respect for my writing??

I did email the guy...I just couldn't sit back and hold my tongue. Maybe it was wrong of me to do it...but no one disrespects me, and my fellow romance writers and readers, and gets away with it. Do I need to bring up Judy Mays??? I think not. But I almost want to be really evil and give the whole romance community his email address. How would he react if millions of romance writers and readers knocked on his cyber door????

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Query Hell or Cupcake Heaven????

Which would you prefer?


Or this:

Yeah...I know what I would pick!! Today I have the AWESOME Jen Daiker from Unedited here to guest blog!! If you don't follow her, definitely go do it now! Thanks Jen for being here!!


Your friends may call it Query Hell but I prefer Cupcake Heaven.

That’s right, you’re about to embark on a journey that includes cupcakes and honestly, who doesn’t love cupcakes?

Since Stephanie invited me here I’ll share both positive and negative aspects of querying – after all it’s only fair.

Steps to query

1. Master your query letter. If you’re looking for help Elana Johnson’s Query to the Call will seriously knock your socks off. From there to send to a couple of friends. Don’t go crazy because you don’t want the negativity bug to bite you.

2. Compile a list. Not every agent is going to like you. It will be subjective – very subjective. So be sure to get a few TOP agents you want to query paired with a few that you just want to ‘test’ the waters with. QueryTracker is a great guide to not only keep track of your queries and agents but also to see the turn-around time. When you first start out just send a few (3-5) and see how they take. I watched who responded quickly so I could get my first rejections out of the way.

Side note: This is where the cupcakes come in. To keep from getting the negative attitude that comes when querying we remove the word rejection and replace it with cupcake. When an agent gives you a cupcake rather than a rejection you can’t be that mad can you?

3. Cry. This one you will not get away from. They start to sting after a while and I’d be lying to you if I said they don’t continue to hurt. It’s best to cry it out… eat a cupcake (but not for every cupcake you receive – trust me you’d end up a cow).

4. Know when to stop. Walk away from the email, quit checking the said agents twitter account, and for junk sake step away from Querytracker. As much as they can be your friends the wait will tear you down. Watching all the requests you receive can give you major doubt syndrome. When you see all the positives and you start feeling the negatives take a day off from the computer. You’ll thank me.

5. Never give up. Requests will come and go along with the cupcakes. The point is to never second guess and never give up. You believed your work was good enough now let it do the talking. Meg Cabot was rejected over a hundred plus times and never gave up, now she’s on top. You worked hard now let the hard work do the talking.

So enjoy Cupcake Heaven. One day after you’ve eaten one too many you’ll laugh remembering how long it was, how hard it was, and how much it paid off.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kids say the darndest things!!

I just had to share this conversation with my son. He's 3.

Me: (I'm laying on the couch reading a book on my Sony Reader and he comes over trying to climb on me.) Careful E, I'm reading my book.

E: That's not a book.

Me: What is it then?

E: A silver thing.

Me: See, it's got words. It's a book.

E: A book doesn't have buttons. (He leaves and comes back with one of his books.) See, no buttons.

And then of course smarty pants Miss J (my 8 y/o comes over with a different book.) "This book has buttons." (It was one of those kids books with sound buttons to press at certain times during the story.)

As much as I adore my reader and the ease of digital media, I'm glad my kids have appreciation for paper books. I really would hate to see them disappear. Funny little reality check..... :)

Ps...The Very Hungry Caterpillar is his favorite book! :)

And make sure you stop back tomorrow!!!!!!!!! I have a FABULOUS guest blogger stopping by!!! She is my hero!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Posting over at Lyrical's Blog!!

It's Lyrical Press's 3rd Anniversary this month and they are celebrating big time!! Lots of book giveaways and spotlights on their authors!!! I am blogging over there today!! Please come check it out!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Epublishing is NOT the same as self publishing!!!

I am very proud of the fact that I persevered and found a publisher who adored my work as much as I do. They are a primarily digital house, meaning the majority of their titles are only available as eBooks.

There seems to be this HUGE misconception in the publishing world where people- published and non-published writers- think that epublishing is self publishing. Well let me tell you, it absolutely is not!

I have contracts with a fantastic publisher, Lyrical Press. They are an epublisher but by no means are they an avenue for writers to self publish their work. I had to submit and be reviewed before it was accepted for publication. Then I went through several rounds of copy edits, then line edits. Then I had to review a galley proof.

It really really irritates me to read blogs of writers and authors who use the terms epublishing and self publishing interchangeably. They are not the same. I am not self published.

Yes, there are many avenues online for writers to self publish and do it digitally. Amazon, Smashwords, etc...It's easier than ever to write anything you want and throw it out into the world of digitally publishing. But there are authors who have worked really hard with teams of editors through legitimate publishing houses that just so happen to also publish digitally.

I chose not to self publish and I need to state clearly that I am not trying to insult anyone who has chosen that route. I have read my fair share of self-published work. Some is good...some it is easy to tell the author did do the work necessary and has hired a professional editor to make sure the work is the highest quality possible. But I have also read utter crap where it is clear the author wanted to publish their work and had zero ability to see it's flaws. I honestly believe no writer is able to see all of their own flaws...and we do have them. If you think you don't, you are mistaken.

So please, give credit where credit is due. Don't call me a self-published author simply because my work is published electronically.

But the one fortunate thing here is the fact that the general non-writing, book-reading public does not know the difference. They will download ebooks that sound interesting to them and when they start reading the ones that obviously have had no editorial help, they'll lose faith in that author and stop spending their money on them. Thank God for sites like Goodreads!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Licence to Brag!

I've recently joined RWA and have attended a meeting of our local chapter. The women are fantastic and the meeting was very educational. I look forward to future meetings!!

One thing they do at every meeting is go around the room and each member shares their "news".

Now I am just not a bragger by nature. I rarely talk about my career to family and friends (well, accept my mom and dad...they always want to hear how well their baby girl is doing!). There has been so much good happening in my career the last year that I feel like I'm being annoying if I am always talking about the newest great thing that has happened to me. I usually will post it on Facebook though, a little status update with my latest news. But mostly I tend to keep things to myself unless asked. And when I am asked, I admit, I do revel in it.

But at my RWA meetings, it's encouraged to brag! It was so great to hear the achievements of these women and share my own recent accomplishments.

So how about you?? Do you share you fantastic news with anyone within earshot, or do you tend to keep things more quiet??

***Edited to add this awesome blog post from author Jody Hedlund today!! Please check it out!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What will it take to become famous???

Now, I need to start this post by saying that I AM NOT pursuing a writing career for fame and fortune and notoriety.....as we all know, that is extremely rare and these days with so many different venues for publishing work, it just doesn't happen like it used to.

I started writing because I had a story to tell and I thought it was fun and endearing, and witty and smart, and tugged at readers heartstrings. I thought it was a great story that deserved to be shared with the world. So I wrote it, I edited it, I submitted it, and then I waited and nothing happened. I went on to write other stories and finally found success with one of them. And the coolest part was that strangers were going to read my book...not just my mom and friends and writer's group. People who had no connection to me what so ever were going to read my words. THAT is why I wanted to be a published author. I just wanted to share my stories.

BUT when I read twitter posts about big time authors going out on book tours in major cities or read blog posts and articles about big time authors and their fans and how many people just adore them and their work...I can't help but crave it. They get to go out there and meet fans and there are a lot of them. I'd like to do some signings locally...but no one knows who I am....the people who'd come are most likely people who already know me.

Will I feel fulfilled if that never happens for me...of course! I feel fulfilled now. But the desire has only grown...to write more, to get more of my stories out there for the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Your Life in Lists

I saw this book in Barnes and Noble about a year ago and I just had to have it.

I love to keep journals...I have several. One for myself, one for each kid, one that is all about my Disney travels. They are hand written, with the exception of my personal journal, which I moved to my laptop in hopes of updating it more often...I go in spurts.

I have always kept a diary/journal. There were periods where I got away from it for a time, but I always went back to it. And from time to time I would make little lists...sometimes there were lists of my favorite songs. Or things I wanted to do someday. I once even made an extensive list of every boy I had kissed. Why? I have no clue. I just liked to keep track I guess! Didn't want to forget any of them! LOL!

And when I saw this book, I knew it was something I needed. An entire book of lists. Each page gives a topic and you make a list. Some are basic things like places you've lives, vacations, cities you've visited. But there are some steamier things too, like lovers and sexual fantasies!

I think it might be a fun thing to show to my kids one day. (hmmm...maybe not so much the lovers and sexual fantasies....) I am all about leaving a piece of myself behind when I'm gone I want my kids and grandkids to know me through my journals and such. How cool would it be now to read my grandparent's journals from the 20's and 30's, when they were kids, and then teenage years?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do you think authors can be vindictive?

I know some authors choose not to read reviews of their work. I thrive on them...probably because they've all been good. But I know a bad review will come and it will probably sting, but I am mature enough to understand that not every story is for everyone.

My debut, A Bitch Named Karma, has a pretty good rating on Goodreads, about 4-1/4 stars. Most rate it 3, 4, or 5. I know not every book can appeal to every person and I am completely open to critisism. I expect bad ratings now and again. But it irks me when someone gives it a low rating and no explanation.

There is one particular rating- only one star. The reader is a fellow author. Today I was on Goodreads and for the heck of it, checked when she had given me the rating. Yep...it was after I read and rated her short story. I did not enjoy it, it had almost no plot, and it just didn't make much sense to me. But in my review, I tried to be as courteous as possible.

Do you think she could have read the review and without even reading my story, gave it a bad review?? I know bad reviews sting, but should an author be vindictive like that?? I have no way of knowing if my theory is correct...she could have read my book, disliked it, and then rated it poorly. But she gave no reason as to why there was such a low rating.

I have since deleted my review of her book, but I may go back in and write something to explain my reason for the low rating. And BTW, the book has only a 2-1/2 star rating overall...so I'm not the only one who didn't like it.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this???

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brand Loyalty

Back in 1996, my boyfriend (now hubby) needed a new car. A friend of his dad's was a service manager at a local Nissan dealer. So he checked out what they had on their used car lot. We knew we could trust whatever he said. Hubby found a 1987 fully loaded Maxima. It had 120,000 miles, but it was a good price and his dad's friend had given it his seal of approval.

We've been loyal Nissan buyers ever since. That first Maxima we had was awesome. We drove it 70,000 miles over the next three years. (Hubby was downstate for a while for work and traveled 750 miles round trip most weekends to come home.) It became my car and hubby bought a small Nissan pick up truck.

Since 1996 we have owned an 87 Maxima, 97, 99, and 02 Altimas, an 88 truck, an 07 Quest and a 2010 Rogue. We still have the 02 Altima and the Rogue.

My point is, we've found a brand we know and trust. We don't need to do research on vehicles...we know we will love whatever Nissan comes out.

When it comes to writing, authors are kind of a brand. Most people I know, once they've found an author they love, they tend to stick with them and will buy their new releases without even knowing what they're about. I hope to find fans like that!!! I want my readers to trust me and trust in my work. I want them to expect great things from me and I never want them to be disappointed.

Now I know you can't please all the people all the time. I'm not looking for every reader on the planet to adore my every word. And I know I will have fans who will love some of my work more than others, but I do want that trust. I want readers to know that when they purchase my books, they won't be wasting money. I know some people will think that, regardless, but I hope to never disappoint my fans who have loved my work in the past.

And I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Laura from Chick Lit Love for bestowing this award on me!!

And here are some of my favorite new blogging friends:

The perverted minds of the ladies at Dirty Birdies!
Creepy Query Girl is so so hilarious!
Shannon Whitney Messenger...love her!
The cutest blogger on the planet! Teenage Bride
Awesome writer, awesome photographer! Heidi Willis

Monday, May 2, 2011

The end of an era :(

A few weeks back it was announced that my favorite soap, the long-running All My Children, has been canceled. This is the only soap I've ever watched and it's been a part of my day since I was 15 (almost 20 years). So I've been watching it for more of my life than I've not. Wow.

There had been rumors for a while, but the day they actually made the announcement...I was far more upset that I thought I'd be. Those characters were such a part of my life. I remember when I first started watching. My Grandma had fallen down some stairs in her apartment and needed to stay with us that summer. She just HAD to watch her story every day. And one day, in passing, I saw some teens on the show. I wanted to know what was going on. For you veteran AMC fans, it was Haley and Brian's love story way back in the early 90's. It sucked me right in and soon I needed to know what was happening in every other story line.

Many people may call soap operas silly and a waste of time. But these are stories of romance, drama, comedy, sometimes even suspense and intrigue. There was a little bit of everything. Yes, sometimes the storylines were corny and far-fetched, but after over the course of 40+ years, the writers had to get creative now and again. But it was always the romances the sucked me in.