Monday, March 25, 2013

How social are you?

Do you enjoy getting out there and mingling, talking, seeing people face to face???

Today I'm blogging over at Sandra Sookoo's blog about this very topic! Come on over!

Friday, March 22, 2013

How the publishing world is like high school

Not necessarily in a bad way though :)

Recently I was chatting with an author friend about how we're both waiting ever so patiently for news from editors about our newest manuscripts. For anyone who is trying to get published the old fashioned way, you know the wait is often long. I said to her, "I feel like I'm in high school again. Why hasn't he called me back yet?"

And that got me thinking. The whole publishing process is a lot like those awkward self-concious years.

***Now I must say before you continue, this is high school in MY day....1991-1995. Things have changed a lot since then, with the internet and texting and such, so yeah, some of this might not happen exactly for teens today, or anyone who was in high school the last 10 or so years. But anyway, the feelings are still there. So now you can continue reading :)

When we send out that first query, it's like sending a note, or asking your friend to go over to so and so and ask if he thinks you're cute. It's the first line of communication. It's the opening, to see if this crush is gonna go any further.

And then you get a request, just the first 3 chapters. That's like the guy writing back or telling the friend, "Yeah, she's cute." There's a spark there.

Then comes the full request. That's the telephone number exchange and phone call. You're in! Partially, anyway. They want to know more about you....more about your story.

And then there's waiting. And more waiting. You're on the phone with your girlfriends whining, "Why hasn't he called again? What is he thinking? Does he like me?" In the publishing world, weeks and months will pass with no word. In the teen world, probably only a day or two, maybe a week. But both feel like FOR. EV. ER.

And then the contract or offer of representation lands on your doorstep, or inbox, which is equivalent to a guy asking a girl out. "He likes me. He really likes me!"And the jubilation commences.

But what if that doesn't happen? Yep...pretty much still the same thing. Rejection happens to us all. And just like 15 year old girls, us authors cry into our pillows wondering, "What's wrong with me? Why don't they like me? Am I not cute enough?"

And usually you never get an answer. Sometimes the publishing world will give you a reason, especially if you've gotten all the way to the full request phase. Teen boys, not so much. Usually it's because some other girl looks shinier. (Teen boys are easily distracted by shiny things.) They don't see the awesomeness that is you. And that's very true in the publishing world too. It's such a subjective business and maybe that particular agent or editor just doesn't see your book's awesomeness and shininess. But there will be someone else who does. I hope teenage girls know this. The right guy is out there. He just might not have seen you yet. For writers, the right agent or editor is out there...and you'll find them too.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring break is coming! Need some beach reads?

It seems everyone in the spring is escaping somewhere warm. Well, the ones who don't normally live in a warm location, anyway :) And being from the north east, many of my peers travel to warmer designations. And I'm totally jealous! But we rarely travel in winter or spring. It's usually summer and fall.

But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy one relaxing part of vacationing- the beach read! And it doesn't matter if you are actually on a beach or not! For me, a beach read is a book that sucks me in and I can easily sit/lay/lounge for hours in complete bliss.

I'm told my books are great beach reads, since readers are easily able to dive into my books and instantly lose themselves in the worlds I create. My books are fun and flirty, but full of emotion. I love creating characters people can identify with and root for.

So, for the spring escapists who have like a week or so, you may want to check out my Karma books!

Karma may be a bitch, but sometimes she knows what she’s doing.

When author Lexi Marshall’s perfectly fabulous life of designer clothes, nights on the town with her sexy boyfriend, and a successful writing career literally go up in flames, she must take on Karma and fight to gain control over her life.

Lexi believes her cliché-filled novels are the reason for Karma’s wrath and after a high calorie pity party, she’s determined to rebuild her life to what it once was...that is, until her gynecologist utters a phrase she never expected or wanted to hear: she’s pregnant. Unfortunately, the father is her fresh out-of-the-closet best friend and not the new man in her life.

Karma is back, but this time she’s not completely to blame. 

After surviving a heart- wrenching tragedy, Lexi Marshall is determined to find happiness with her wacky, new-age family. Stumbling through her first few months of motherhood, she's achieved the perfect balance living with her son, the love of her life, and her best friend and his lover. But happily-ever-after all under the same roof doesn't last long. 

For one thing, Rich doesn’t exactly agree living with everyone is ideal. With their gay/straight double wedding fast approaching, he wants to find a place of their own instead of continuing to sponge off of Marcus and Kevin. But Lexi isn’t ready to give up her easy lifestyle...or the never-ending wisdom of her lifelong best friend, Marcus. 

Torn between assured comfort and true happiness, Lexi has to make a choice, and fast. Will she lose everything, or can she trust karma, and have it all? 

And if you only have a few days away, here are some shorties:

Paradise is nothing if you choose to enjoy it alone.

When Shelby Meyer jetted off for a relaxing week in Cancun, she never expected to fall in love with the quaint piece of Mexican heaven. Or make on offer to buy it.

The Paradise Cove, a run-down Cancun resort, is in desperate need of TLC. Shelby can easily envision the resort as it was in its heyday and sees its potential. She vows to do everything in her power to return it to its former glory.

Though the previous owners’ grandson, Gabriel, insists that she will destroy his family’s resort, and a neighboring resort owner doubts in her ability, Shelby’s resolve strengthens.

But when she finds her lists of repairs and the stack of bills piling up around her, hope begins to fade. Will she swallow her pride and accept Gabriel’s love and financial help, or be forced to give up her dream of Paradise Cove?

It's never too late to start over. 

Robyn Miller is perfectly happy in her immaculate home, playing stay-at-home mom and devoted wife. That is, until she's channel surfing one day and sees her high school sweetheart Derek, acting in a lead role in her favorite old soap. Watching Derek's show becomes her secret pleasure...and brings back memories best forgotten. When Derek's mother throws him a big celebration in town, Robyn tries to avoid seeing him, but ends up in his arms for a dance. 

Derek has finally hit the big-time, but he hasn't found happiness. He regrets losing Robyn, and his show's ratings are falling. He longs to get her back in his life--both personally, and as a writer on the show. Those love scenes she used to dream up were Emmy material. Knowing her marriage is a sham, can he convince her to follow her dreams and give the show--and him--a shot?

Click the "Excerpts" tab above to read the opening chapter of each of my books! And Click here for purchasing info for all my books- Kindle, Nook, Etc..!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What to look for in a critique partner

Every writer needs feedback on their work from other people. It's a necessary part of the process. A writer is far too close to their own work to see its flaws and holes. A writer cannot always see their weaknesses and crutches. And we ALL have them. No one can put out the best product possible without help.

This is why it's so important to network and find other writers and critique partners. Whether you do it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or in your local community. Every writer needs the writing community. Even those who have been published several times.

I know it's not easy to send your baby off to some stranger, and I don't recommend that. It's important to find critique partners that are perfect for you. People you have some kind of relationship with, even if only online. Here are a few of my tips for finding the very best ones.

- Find partners who write what you write. I think it's very necessary to critique with someone who understands your genre and knows what to look for in a proper plot. Genres vary and what works for one may not work for others.

- Find partners who have experience. It's probably a good idea to critique with someone who has the same level as experience as you, or more. Learn everything you can from those who know more. I know lots of writers who love to help those who are just starting out. Even if it's just a chapter or two. It's amazing what little things can be corrected there that can be applied to the entire manuscript. I do it. I love to help when I can and kinda pay it forward. I wouldn't be where I am without the help I received early on.

- Find partners who will be tough. Gushing and unending praise do not help you perfect your craft. A writer NEEDS to know what they are doing wrong. If your chosen critique partners are too shy to tell you the truth, they are doing you an injustice. It's great to hear when people like your stuff...if feels awesome. But if they are holding back in fear of hurting your feelings, you will never learn what you are doing wrong.

- Find a couple non-writers to read your work too. I love having a mix of beta readers. My writer friends are great at pointing out plot inconsistencies, grammar, genre issues, etc.. But my non-writer betas, who read just to read and relax and escape, I love their input too. They are great at pointing out spots that are confusing. They give me a great idea of what the readers like.

Good luck!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why being selfish makes you a good parent

I know many will not agree with this post, but these are my thoughts and feelings :)

These days it seems so many kids are just given things without earning them. They are never made to deal with their problems, and clean up their own messes. They're babied way past the infant stage.

I adore my kids and I love being a mother, but I will not baby my kids. I will not clean up all their messes. I will not do things for them that they can do themselves....or that they should be learning to do themselves. If this makes me a bad mother in your eyes, then there's nothing I can do to change that.

I know some some people may consider me a selfish person. I do things all by myself. I enjoy being alone, or just me and my husband. We like doing things without our kids. We spend money on ourselves. I like to wear nice clothes. I have hobbies I buy things for. I take a dance class. My husband likes to work on his hot rod and golf. It doesn't mean we love our kids any less by not spending every spare dime on them (Cause trust me, they have PLENTY!) I think it shows them a good example of making sure you cultivate your relationship with your spouse and also that you need to take time for yourself and treat yourself. I want my kids to grow up and know it's okay to do things just for them. Not all the time, but spoiling yourself is okay. More than okay. It's a necessary part of life. I think we're happier people, and happier parents, because we allow ourselves to still be us as individuals and as a couple. And I think that's a great example for kids.

I won't do things for my kids. I mean, yeah, if it's something they physically cannot do, I do it, but most things, I make them do themselves. My daughter is almost 10. She can get her own beverages, her own snacks. I don't need to do that for her anymore. She can clean her own room. She can hang up her own coat. Though I do fold the laundry, she has to put hers all away. But I'm sure soon that will change! LOL! When it comes to school work, she must do it all on her own. I won't help, other than to try and explain things and help her come up with the answer on her own. I never spell words for her if she asks. I say "How do you think it's spelled?" And she'll tell me. If it's wrong, I help her sound it out and figure it out on her own. (Cause let's face it, the english language is pretty damn confusing sometimes!) I think too many kids are waited on hand and foot. I want my kids to be mature responsible people...not lazy bums who will always expect to be waited on. And hopefully my example will show them they should not be the one waiting on people either.

I truly believe when a parent does too much for their kids, they are providing them a serious disservice. I feel my job as a parent, after love and affection, is to prepare my kids for their life. I can only shelter them for so long. There will come a time when they will need to survive on their own. It's my job to give them the skills to aid in that. And learning by example and experience is the only true way to learn anything.