Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teaser Tuesday!

Hooray for Teaser Tuesday :D!

I always love reading these snippets on other writer's blogs, so here is your dose for today from LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS. Background: Astrid (our heroine) has just escaped her mother's castle after a decade of imprisonment. Aaaaaand, go!

The servant boy fidgeted as he approached the door. As always the shadows writhed before it, making a shield of darkness blocking the doorway to the tower. He drew breath slowly, feeling the panic tightening in his chest. It’s okay, Tim. You can do this. The old man doesn’t have a problem with it, so I shouldn’t either. He ran a hand nervously over his face, feeling the sweat beading on his brow.

I shouldn’t have goaded him. If I’d only kept my big mouth shut, I’d be down in the stables where I belong. He thought of the horses; their musty smell, their soft snorting breath on his face, the feel of the hay under his feet as he moved through the stables. Why did I have to tease him for being afraid? Stupid, Tim, stupid. Bloody magics give me the creeps.

He edged toward the doorway, feeling the hair on his arms stand up as he approached the shadows. Setting down the food tray, he fumbled in his woolen breeches for the key the queen gave him. It was a small piece of paper. He unfolded it with shaking fingers and held it up facing the shadows. He didn’t look at what was written on it. I don’t want to know, he thought turning his eyes away. I don’t want anything to do with these bloody magics. Slowly, the shadows at the bottom of the door began to thin, swirling to each side, like water running off stone. A small sliding door appeared through the darkness. Tim swallowed, his tongue scraping like sandpaper in his rapidly drying mouth. He moved forward and reached a trembling hand through the gap to slide the door open.

The old man said she screams like an evil spirit when you open the sliding door. He said she can possess you if you’re not careful. Have to be careful… I can’t listen to what she says…

He pressed one hand over his left ear and pressed his right to his shoulder. Thank goodness no one can see me. I probably look a fool. Still, he thought. You can’t be too careful.

He bent down and slowly slid the tray through the doorway, flinching as it bumped and scraped over the stone floor. The tray made it an inch through before it hit against something and stopped. He felt his tunic clinging to him with perspiration as he bent down to peek through the doorway. Bile rose in his throat as he hunkered down. Don’t listen, don’t listen, don’t listen. Oh, Light, what have I gotten myself into? Peering through the gap, he saw another tray blocking the way, a bowl of congealing stew sitting on it untouched. It hadn’t moved since the old man left it there the night before.

She didn’t eat. Oh damn, oh, damn. He sat down outside the door, his hands still over his ears, trying to think. Is that okay? Oh, damn…

He looked at the tray and heard the old man’s instructions echoing in his mind. “Put the new tray in, take the empty tray, don’t look into the room, and don’t listen to her lies. She’s an enchantress. Dangerous, boy. Do you understand?” He shuddered, although the air in the hallway was stiflingly warm. What if this is a trap? What if she wants me to look so she can… do something to me? He stared at the doorway and suddenly felt that it was looking back at him, taking the measure of him, testing his nerve.

Tim licked his lips and stared back at the gaping hole in the darkness. He closed his eyes, steeling himself. With a shaking hand, he slammed the tray and the bowl of oat gruel through the door, jerking his arm back to the safety of the hallway. The corridor was filled with the sound of bare feet pounding the flagstones as he ran for the safety of the stables. The darkness swirled closed behind him, encasing the doorway once more.

The boy returned that evening bearing another tray; stew again. He’d been mentally kicking himself all day for his cowardice. I’m letting that old man’s superstitions get the best of me. What can the girl do to me after all? She’s the one locked away. Helpless, isn’t she? He looked down the corridor at the door before him. Then again, why would her Majesty have taken such precautions if she were helpless? Maybe she is as mad as they say, he thought, biting his lip. Oh, there I go again, like a fool.

He approached the door, the stew slopping onto the tray as his hands shook. He held up the paper, showed it to the door, and watched with mounting tension as the darkness pulled slowly away. Can she hear me breathing? Can she sense that I’m afraid?

He moved forward and slowly slid the tray in through the space in the door. It bumped against something with a metallic clang. I can’t believe this. Why now, Princess? What are you doing? He felt his hands becoming moist and wiped them on his tunic. He bent down slowly, breathing heavily, and peered through the door into the forbidden space beyond. Two trays sat in the doorway with two bowls untouched.

The queen will kill me if something has happened to her. Oh, damn it all…

Working up his courage, he got down on his knees and slowly, ever so slowly, put his face down between the swirling shadows to peer into the tower room. Please don’t let there be a body. Tim scanned the room, his eyes lighting over the shelves of dusty books, the rumpled bed by the window, the chamber pot. The room was utterly still, except for a few flies flown up from the gardens to examine the remains of the stew. There was no body, no hand reaching for his throat, no screaming voice full of treachery and lies. No princess beyond the door.

I hope you enjoyed that sneak peak.

What are you guys working on right now? I'd love to know!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Promotion: What Do You Do?

I read a wonderful interview today over at the Cynsations blog that got me thinking about promoting books: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-voice-sydney-salter-on-my-big-nose.html.

Author Sydney Salter talks about what she's done to promote her book MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. She links a lot of good writers' resources and talks about the importance of overcoming your shyness to get yourself out there. It's a must-read.

In this day and age, most of us have come to realize that book promotion is going to land almost entirely on our shoulders, which leaves us asking... what do we do now?

I've read a few great books on the subject, including Steve Weber's PLUG YOUR BOOK, Lissa Warren's THE SAVVY AUTHOR'S GUIDE TO BOOK PUBLICITY, and Jaqueline Deval's PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK. I highly recommend these if you are looking for a place to start gathering info.

However, I find the most helpful tips come from authors themselves. You can see case-in-point what's working and what's not by following their careers and reading interviews.

What do you guys think? For those of you who are published, what efforts do you make to promote your work?

For those who are striving, what do you plan to do when the time comes? :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'll Miss You, Michael Jackson

Man, yesterday sucked for celebrities. Farrah Fawcett passing away and Michael Jackson dying at age 50. Holy crap.

Michael Jackson was a huge part of my childhood, so his death affected me the most. I only knew Farrah from that poster with her in the red swimsuit and the one rerun of Charlie's Angels I've seen. Michael, I felt like I knew, at least a little, and I felt a pang that the King of Pop was really gone.

My dad was a huge MTV nut when I was a kid, so I remember watching the videos for "Bad," "Beat It," and "Billy Jean" over and over during summer vacation. "Thriller" scared the crap out of me when I was little, and then turned into my favorite music video of all time when I got old enough to appreciate it. And practice those awesome zombie dance moves.

I think what I'm going to miss is the Michael Jackson from my childhood--the one we loved from the '80s and early '90s. He's had such a tortured life, but those were the times when he really got to shine and I'd like to remember that versus all the weirdness later on.

I love his music, I love that he invented the Moonwalk (which I still can't do, although I continually try), and I love that damn sparkly glove.

I want to remember that part of him and ignore all the crazy that happened afterward.

Were you guys affected at all by yesterday's news?
What are your thoughts?
Edit: Holy crap, Billy Mays just died :(. What the f, universe??? This has got to stop.

Writing a Synopsis or Outline

Happy Friday, everyone!

This will be a short post because it's my 4th anniversary (yaaay!) and I'm off to go watch Transformers 2 and hang out with my husband.

I wanted to share this post I found the other day on the fabulous blog The Rejector: http://rejecter.blogspot.com/2009/06/infamous-synopsis.html.

The Rejector is an agent's assistant, and is giving out tips on how to write a good outline or synopsis, and more importantly, telling us that all of the obsession and panicing we do over these things just doesn't matter.

What I learned from the article? DON'T PANIC.

The agents want a 1-2 page breakdown of your plot, not Shakespeare. We can all relax a tiny bit because we won't be instantly rejected if we use Times New Roman instead of Courier, etc.

What do you guys think? Have you ever worried about your synopsis/outline?

Any tips you have to share?

Happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Work In Progress Wednesday!

As promised, I have made progress this week! (*trumpets and choirs of angels*) Woooo hoooo!

Legacy of the Empress and I have been on a break and seeing other people, but on Monday we reunited. It was beautiful. And kind of brutal. We needed to change some things. A lot of things.

Thanks to my fabulous crit-er (Abby!), I realized that I have

a) a ton of words/imagery that I just love and can't seem to use enough, and

b) a lot of passive language that needs to get off it's bum and become active.
So, I put on my rubber gloves and dug in.

I managed to hack and slash all of the useless "thinking" tags off my inner monologue. After all, do you really need to say "she thought" after you've just put something in italics? I think we all get what I did there. Duh.

I went from using the word "clutching" 500 times to only using it 2-3 times in the novel (yay!), and am slowly phasing out "she realized."

I stopped using "hands/fingers" imagery for everything scary and am mixing it up.

"She saw" is now being removed. My main character has come to grips with the fact that she doesn't have to see or realize things for them to just happen around her. It's much more exciting that way.

All in all, there was much work done, and I feel good. It's always a tiny bit depressing when you realize that there are a ton of little things that could be stronger in your manuscript, but I know that I'm polishing it up into something wonderful.

When I'm done with it, it's going to be shinier than a new penny :).

Thanks for the support and accountability! You guys rock!

How are your weeks going so far? Any progress to report?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Review: Cast In Stone (Guilty Pleasure Reading)

After much internet peer pressure, I finally decided to cave and try out what you crazy kids are calling "Paranormal Romance." I like fantasy novels, I like romantic subplots--who am I kidding? It was only a matter of time.

This week I read and devoured the book CAST IN STONE by Kerry A. Jones.

Now, first off, let me disclaim that this is not great literature and is one of those Strictly For Funsies kind of books. Full on, Guilty Pleasure reading.

It's well written, but some things could definitely have been better plotted. There are holes. When I recommend this book, it's because that's not the point. The point is that the main characters are hot, hot, hot, and it's fun to escape into this land and enjoy the ride!

Julen is a man trapped by a curse put upon him as punishment for crimes he may or may not have committed 700 years ago. The only way for the curse to be broken is for him to find a healer. Sophia is a modern day coffee shop owner with a family secret--she's a healer, but also the woman sworn to destroy those under the "punishment." And here's the best part--to heal him, Sophia must agree to the Mingling. Meaning, instead of killing him, she must make sweet, sweaty love to him in order to break the curse.

See? Doesn't this sound like fun already? :D

Oh, and did I mention that Julen is smoking hot (at least in my head?)

I admit that I chuckled when I read the plot synopsis on the back. However, when I read the exerpt on Amazon I noticed that there is not only witty repartee from the start, but a dangerous and sexy atmosphere full of tension, my credit card popped out of my wallet, and the rest is history.

This book was a quick, engaging read and had some of the most tastefully executed, steamy bedroom scenes I've ever read. Not once was there a hilarious euphemism for man parts (although I was waiting for it, because let's face it--we expect it, and it's funny.) Everything was tasteful, sexy, and just plain fun.

As one who's not usually into romance, I will be forced to buy the sequel because I have to know what happens. This book is a good stand alone, but there are more adventures on the way from Ms. Jones.

What summer books have you enjoyed so far?

Do you have any Guilty Pleasure reads?


The lovely Abby Annis (http://abbyannis.blogspot.com/) gave me this shiny award today on her blog :D!

This totally made my day, and I appreciate the love!

If you haven't checked out Abby's blog alraedy, please do so. She's got great stuff to say about writing, publishing, and her own journey to be a published author.

Thanks, Abby!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"The Joys of Reading" or "I Need to Get Off my Butt and Write"

So, recently I realized that my job pays me money, and that I can actually exchange that money for books.

As my husband can attest to, I'm one of the cheapest people on Earth, so this was an actual epiphany for me. It all started with SILVER PHOENIX, then HUNGER GAMES... It was all downhill from there.

Now, I'm reading a book every 2-5 days, and my Amazon account is happily recommending even more exciting reads for me. I feel invigorated with all these new books (I'd been rereading old favorites or books that have been collecting dust since they were assigned to me in college), and am remembering how amazingly peaceful and wonderful it is to just sit down and have a read.


I've been stalling on my own writing. Sure, I'm waiting for my mom and husband to finish reading over my newly-revised Work In Progress before I go over it with that last fine toothed comb...


that doesn't mean I can't fix what I know needs to be fixed, or at the very least chip away at my new book, waiting patiently in the wings.

All of this wonderful and relaxing reading has relaxed me into Procrastinationville.

I am vowing here and now to post a "Work In Progress Wednesday" this week with actual updates to talk about. Reading other writers' blogs and hearing about their rising word counts and progress has silently prodded me into action.

I don't want to be a procrastinator, I want to be a writer. Sure, I know those things are interchangeable depending on day of the week, but I feel like it's time to stop stalling already and finish up LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS once and for all.

It's time for that lady to get out there onto the find-an-agent dating scene.

Wish me luck!

Do you guys ever have times like this where you have to just get off your butt already?

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Real Life of a Book Buyer

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today, I'd like to share a link that was on the agent blog Pub Rants: http://kashsbookcorner.blogspot.com/2009/06/random-houses-hail-mary-pass.html.

This is a post by the book-buyer Arsen KashKashian of the Boulder Bookstore breaking down his decisions to buy certain books, why he bought the number that he did, and why he may have passed on others.

Aside from Arsen having the most badass name ever, this is a fascinating look into how books are chosen to go on your local bookseller's shelves.

I'd love to hear what you guys think of the whole process. What questions does this bring up for you?

I was riveted by the thought that even though the booksellers think something is drivel, they will still buy it if it's popular enough.... as well as buy things they love even if they're not sure they will sell.

Good news? Scary news?

What do you guys think of this insight?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top 10 Ways You Know Your Novel is Finished

Hello, from sunny Revision Pergutory!

It's Thursday here, and it's been Thursday for what seems like eons, because time has no meaning in Revision Purgatory.

I'm sure a lot of you are with me right now, poised on the edge of "done," and ready to dive into the Query Pool.

This... is for you guys.

Top 10 Ways You Know Your Novel's Done!

10) Your own mother is tired of reading your drafts.

9) Your spouse flees the room if he/she sees you with your laptop.

8) You've changed "Steve said" to "said Steve" and back again. Thirty. Separate. Times.

7) You've memorized your opening and closing scenes.

6) Your main characters names are now gibberish to your ears. Steve? Steee-V. Stah--eev?

5) Your keyboard tray has chocolate stains.

4) You are Drunk Revising (much like drunk dialing, but worse.)

3) You've whined to all of your writer pals about how tough all the revising is, but haven't done a single thing all week.

2) Have already started revising your next book just to get away from the current one.

1) You're revising every book you read in your mind, and thinking if only Faulkner had consulted you first.

Happy Friday-Eve, everybody!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shout Out Tuesday!

I feel like this kitten right now.

This is the best day ever, and I have to share!

SHOUT OUT to God and Wells Fargo, for sending me a surprise escrow check. Yes, somehow we overpaid on taxes, and God hooked my husband and I up with literal money from Heaven.

We were planning on taking a vacation, but were budgeting how much fun we could have (we are cheap), and now, I feel all tension melting away and am picturing myself with an overly-priced umbrella drink in my hand and loving it!

I just wanted to share the happy :).

I actually danced around in the parking lot at work after calling Wells Fargo and grilling them to make sure this wasn't some horrible mistake.

Anything awesome happen in your life this week? I hope many blessings are going your way as well.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Writing Tip: Dialogue Tags

There was a great discussion happening on the QueryTracker.net forums where folks were discussing what annoys them when they're reading. One of the biggest pet peeves?

Unnecessary dialogue tags!

As a recovering Tag-aholic, I definitely agree that these are annoying and bother me when I'm reading.

Have you ever read dialogue that looks like this?

"You're so hilarious, Cindy," John laughed.
"Shut your mouth, you little bitch!" Cindy yelled angrily.
"But you are," John hissed, becoming angry himself.
"No, I'm not," Cindy argued.


From this discussion and my own Adventures in Rewriting, here are the Top 10 Things To Avoid:

10) Don't make people laugh or giggle their words. They can laugh in-between words, but laughing a whole sentence... yeah, not so much. Try it sometime. If you can actually manage to do it, it doesn't sound like you want your characters to sound. It doesn't sound breezy and fun. It sounds nutso.

9) People can't "hiss" words without an "S" sound. "But you are" can't be hissed, but "Silenceeee!" can be.

8) If you put inner monologue in italics, there is no reason to add "he thought" or "she thought." This was my #1 offense in my novel, and I am surgically removing any "thinking" tags. If thinking has been set apart visually, the reader gets it. Trust them.

7) Adverbs! Adverbs are like chili peppers. One used at the right time makes things zazzier. Tons of them all over the place give you watery eyes and flaming indigestion. Use words like "angrily," "happily," breezily," "saucily," sparingly if ever. And make sure not to rub your eye!

6) Redundancy. "BLARGH!" he yelled. "I hate going to Disneyland," the kid complained. "I despite you," he said, getting angry. We get it. If you show with the words, you don't have to tell with the tags.

5) Name dropping. This applies to both the dialogue itself and any tags.

Example of Badness:

"Hi, John," Cindy said.
"Hi, Cindy," John said.
"So, John, do you have any plans for today?" said Cindy.
"No, but if you want to go to the movies, Cindy, I'd love to join you," John said.

Just... whoa.

If you think about it, people don't often say one another's names in conversation. We also get who's talking after the first couple of tags, so you don't have to attach a name to every piece of dialogue. Put in enough that it makes sense, and leave the rest out.

4) Pronoun-a-palooza. He said/she said gets old just like name dropping. Make sure all of your sentences don't end the same way with a "he said" moment.

3) Structure Repeats. If all of your sentences end with a tag, try either removing the tag, or moving it to the beginning or middle to mix it up. If everything is "Blah blah blah," he said, then it will be jarring to the eye.

2) "Said" is the invisible word. Remember that when in doubt, using "said" instead of "hissed," "cajoled," "spat," "demanded," is invisible to the reader's eye, and not distracting like the others.

1) Do you even need one? The best tip of all is to use as few tags as you can while still getting across who is talking. Most of the time, you can do to delete a few.

I hope this is helpful! Any dialogue tag advice or tips from you guys?

What have you noticed when reading or writing that just drives you nuts?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fiction Friday: Work In Progress Wednesday's Slow-Moving Cousin

Yaaaay! I've accomplished things this week :).

They weren't the things I thought I'd accomplish, but I'm thrilled nonetheless.

Halfway through the week, I said "Screw you, LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS revisions. I want to work on my poor, neglected, work in progress, HOLLOW LAND!"

Let me tell you--nothing reinvigerates the writing mojo like working on something new. I'd forgotten how much fun that was to write new stuff instead of just rearranging old stuff.

I'm loving it! So far I've got 5,500 words (4% of a full manuscript, woot!), and have realized something that fired me up all over again.

The 5500 words don't suck so far. In fact, I'm rather proud, which is a new feeling for me when looking at a draft. Not horror, shame, or dejectedness. Pride.

This is such a far cry from my start on Legacy of the Empress, that I can already tell I'm improving as a writer. I think the rewriting pergatory I've been in has groomed me and helped me better understand plotting, pace, and how to get it in gear with a new story.

By the way, blog reader Scott's suggestions on the opening paragraphs I shared for HOLLOW LAND made it in, and the opening is already way stronger.

Thank you, Scott, and my other fabulous blog readers :)! I love it when you share tips and advice with me. As a writer community, I really feel that we all sharpen one another. Not only does that make us better individually, but it means we'll all have great stuff to read when all of our Works In Progress hit the shelves! So, thank you. Your commaraderie is invaluable!

Any updates from you this week? How did you do? Can we support you in any way?

Have a great weekend, and happy writing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Virtual Launch Party: Support Kids' Reading

Hi, guys!

I stumbled across this cool Virtual Launch Party for the middle grade novel "Paris Pan Takes the Dare" by Cynthea Liu. I wanted to share it with you, because you can bid on a ton of cool auctions for YA writers (which I know a lot of you are), like agent critiques of your queries, and published author critiques!

All of the money goes to help gets kids book boxes, and contribute to getting more books into classrooms across America:


So go hang out, have fun, and good luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Revising: When is Your Book Actually "Done?"

There has been a great discussion going on over at agent Nathan Bransford's blog today on how you know when your revisions are finally over with and you can type "The End."

Yesterday, he posted a very helpful Revision Checklist (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2009/06/revision-checklist.html), and followed it up today with a post titled "You Tell Me: How Do You Know When Your Novel is Really Finished?" (http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2009/06/you-tell-me-how-do-you-know-when-your.html)

A ton of people are participating in the discussion in the comments section, ranging from aspiring writers working on their first manuscript, all the way up to agented/published authors.

It's amazing how similar everyone's experiences are, which I find strangely comforting :).

Me being sick of Legacy of the Empress is apparently a good sign. The elusive end is near!

So, jumping onto the Bransford Bandwagon, I ask you...

How do you know when it's "done?"

Writing Exercise Happy Fun Time Hour!

I'd like to share something that I discovered today! This website: (http://www.redwhirlpool.com/3CH/3ch_web.php) is a Random Premise Generator.

How great would this be to create writing prompts?

Here's what I've gotten so far today:

1) A flying police officer completes a panda next to a waterfall. (Can we say "Movie Rights??")

2) A thundering dog zombie ignites a redneck in a giant crystal forest. (The dog zombie will be portrayed movingly by Ben Kingsley.)

3) A rough blind man catches a vehicle in space. (Hitchhiker's Guide meets Oscar night!)

4) A headless witch destroys a hired killer in the jungle. (I would read/watch the crap out of this.)

This is actually kind of addictive...

Anyway, enjoy if you need a quick writing prompt or just something fun to play with while procrastinating.

Do you guys have any writing prompts you enjoy? :) I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: the beginning of my new WIP

Hi, guys!

I'm nervous, because this is from my rough draft, but here is the opening I have so far for my new manuscript, Hollow Land. It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy/soft scifi (not sure which yet). I'd love to hear what you guys think. Enjoy!


In the beginning were the giants; corporations so large they grew until they thought they could touch the sun. We knew them by their moldy letterhead, blowing through empty rows in abandoned office buildings. We knew them by their burned out signs groaning as they swung in the wind. We knew them by the newspapers we found in the darkness of the underground, untouched by time. Nemue City sleeps, but it doesn’t forget. Someone has to be responsible.

My parents said it started almost 80 years ago. Our grandmothers and grandfathers started it with hope for protecting the city, the country, our little piece of the world. Nothing terrifies your enemies like disease—a weapon they cannot shield against until it is too late. The carriers they produced, the mutated rats, pigeons, and roaches chewed through their cages and clawed their way to freedom through a wall of their creators. That’s when Nemue began to die, but not everything was wiped out.

This is the beginning, but it is by no means the end. Perhaps, to give you an idea of what you’re up against, what waits for you, I should start at the beginning of my own story. Then you can decide for yourselves what choices you will make.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Giveaway Contest!

Hooray for free boooks :)!

There is a contest going on where you can win copies of THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by E. Lockhart, HOW TO BE BAD by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski, and TANTALIZE and ETERNAL by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post:


Plus, you can get extra entries per the instructions on Tabitha's blog.

Good luck, and happy reading!


"For we are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." --Romans 8:24-25.

Writers all have one thing in common, no matter how far along they are on their journey: waiting.

First we wait for ourselves as write our manuscript for months (or years). When the manuscript is done, we wait as we revise muliple times.

Then we wait for others to read the manuscript and advise us.

We wait as we revise again.

We wait for others to read it again and again, just to be sure.

More revising.

Then waiting as we query.

We wait for ourselves again as we busy ourselves writing a new story.

We wait for the fabulous agent we got to sell the story to an editor.

We wait for the launch date.

We wait for reviews, and good news or bad.

Then we start over again.

Sometimes it seems like a lot, doesn't it?

I like to spell this out for myself because I tend to be an ambitious, hasty individual. I like to get things done right, and get them done right now. How then, do I keep myself sane during all this waiting? And the future waiting?

I found a quote (I forget from whom) that reads "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want the most for what you want now." Whenever I'm feeling impatient I think about that, and think "what do I really want the most?"

I want to be a writer, published or not. I want to write for the rest of my life, and hopefully, eventually, make enough of a living that I can quit my dayjob and live humbly. My end goal isn't to be rich. It isn't to be famous. It's to write.

I can do that.

The bottom line for me is it's worth the wait, because I'm not actually waiting, I'm doing. My goal is to just keep going. As long as I can.

I read a great post the other day, giving writers the advice to try to quit (http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/06/guest-blogger-dan-case.html)

If you're feeling down, I encourage you to do that--try to quit, and see if you can do it. If so, then you have some closure. If not, you have peace because you know what your goal is.

It's to keep going!

What do you guys do when you have the Waiting Blues? What motivates you to keep going?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fantastic Reads: Book Recommendations

Happy Friday!

This week I finished two amazing books, and have to share in case you haven't read one or either. As you may know, I love science fiction and fantasy. Those are my favorite genres to read and write in.

Recently, thanks to Christine F's love of the book, I picked up THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collines. I was already in the middle of reading the fabulous book, A DOOR INTO OCEAN by Joan Slonczewski, but got horribly distracted and devoured Hunger Games in its entirety before I could pick A Door Into Ocean back up.

The Hunger Games is about a dystopian future America where 12 Districts revolted against the Capitol, were stamped down, and are now forced each year to select "tributes" to battle it out to the death on national television to remind them of their subservience. The tributes are children, and are selected by a lottery called the "reaping."

In case you haven't read it, you have to put it into your eyeballs immediately. Seriously. It's amazing.

Once I glanced casually at the first page, I couldn't put it down, and it definitely delivered. Tense, fantastic writing and plotting all the way through.

A Door Into Ocean is a science fiction novel that, at first glance, is about a race of lesbian space mermaids, but at second glance is an intricate and beautifully wrought world where the author leads us to question not only what makes us human, but what makes humanity free. It is a slower read than Hunger Games, but absolutely worth it. It's incredibly well thought out, and the world the author builds is emmersive and breathtaking. I struggled with questions while I read this, which is a fantastic feeling. This book will challenge you while telling a great story.

I'd love to hear what books you've been reading. Any recommendations for my Summer reading list :)?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WIP Wednesday: Neverending Story


Does revising ever really end?

Even though I love Atreyu, I don't really want my story to be neverending.

I think the phrase "a book is never really finished, only abandoned" becomes more and more real for me every week as I continue to revise ;). there's always another phrase that I use too often. Another scene that needs some polish. Another anachronism that only my magically delicious husband can catch.

It's not a bad thing, it's just a long thing. And I really think it's teaching me to be patient.

After all, isn't patience what separates the successful from those who quit? Also known as quitters?

I'm still in Final Revising Mode, which is exciting, but I can't wait to start querying again, and start working on my new novel.

I think I'm finally honing in on a title for it, too, which is exciting. Titles take me forever.

How is everyone else doing? Goals going well? Story limping off into the sunset after thousands of visions?

I'd love to hear how you guys are doing! God speed, and happy writing to all :).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Positivity Tuesday!

Why Positivity Tuesday, you ask?

It's easy to get discouraged while trying to revise, start a new project, get an agent, sell a book, or just actually get to the gym ever. I've had a hell of a week, and it's only Tuesday, so I wanted to take a moment to smell the roses and then share them with you guys.

Here are some happy thoughts that help me when I'm feeling less-than-positive about the writing/publishing process:

1) Rejections on full manuscripts are like getting a free professional Beta Reader for your project. Feedback is invaluable :).

2) Agents drink just as much Bourbon/Scotch as I do. And are darn proud of it!

3) If you are reading Agent Blogs or hanging out on the Query Tracker forums, you are already about 50% ahead of the competition. BOOYAH GRANDMA!

4) Wallowing in the rejection pool with other people is an awesome way to make friends. I love you guys!

5) If you think about it... and kind of squint... a slush pile is like a big hug for your query made out of paper.

6) Everyone out there is as nervous as you are. It's okay to be nervous, and agents get it. It's the writing that counts!

7) You CAN learn to be a better writer. Practice pays off!

8) Query piles = hilarious stories via agent blogs. My favorites are on http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/. Read the tag "Annoy Me," and get ready to build some Self Esteem!


10) So what if it's hard? If it were easy, everyone would do it.

And then we wouldn't be so AWESOME.

I'd love to hear your happy thoughts in the comments, too! :) Share the goodness!
I hope that you have an amazing Tuesday and rest of your week. God speed, everyone!

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Third Person Vs. First Person" or "The Voices in my Head Won't Shut Up"

"I allow my intuition to lead my path." --Manuel Puig

This would be a helpful quote, if all the voices in my head could ever agree.

My manuscript, Legacy of the Empress, is written in 3rd person, but the voices in my head are now telling me that the only way to really write my WIP is to switch gears and write it in 1st person.

There's just one problem. I LIKE 3rd person! 3rd person is easy for me. I get 3rd person. I'm a 3rd Person Person!

I'm noticing from reading other writer blogs that I am actually a freak in this regard. Others seem to love, love, love the freedom that 1st person allows. Some even write in present tense!

To those who do these things: I salute you! I also ask for your insight. How do you do what you do?

My main worry is when I'm in my character's brain and writing through their eyes is that I'll be too blunt or "tell" the reader too much, too soon. I've learned to play it pretty cool in 3rd, and reveal a little bit at a time, drawing people alone. If you're in someone's head... how do you maintain the mystery? How do you tread lightly in 1st?

I'm currently reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and am learning a ton about how to write effective, mysterious, wonderful fiction in this voice, but now I'd love to learn from YOU.

What do you prefer? If you write in 1st person, how do you work within that freedom? If you write in present tense like Ms. Collins, how do you keep your head from kersploding?

Please let me know how you do it if you do it.

I'd love to hear your tips and stories!