Archive for July, 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
I’m Sure By Now

I am sure by now you all have heard about the big stink bomb that hit BookEnds after they announced they’re starting a publishing branch to their literary agency. I left a comment and so did over a hundred and fifty other people (and counting). As I said on the site, I have nothing against literary agencies, but I truly believe that once an agent becomes a publisher there is no one (but the author) looking out for the author’s best interests no matter how good ones intentions are from the start.

Last night at a romance writer’s meeting I heard Jennifer Ashley talk. One of the things I really like about Jennifer is that she doesn’t mince words when it comes to the business of writing. She discussed the hell she’s been through this past year, trying to survive the demise of a publisher and keep her pen names afloat. She writes 2000 words minimum a day and most of the time much more than that (ie 5000). She made no bones about the fact that she’s had to give up a big chunk of her life in order to have the career that she’s developed. She’s done whatever was necessary to keep her career going. That’s something a lot of writers don’t like to hear and even fewer want to have to do. She discussed the weird transition that’s happening in publishing right now and how it’s both scary and exciting.

She did say something that I found extremely helpful. She said that she has to write the story in order to ‘find’ the story. Jennifer is a panster when it comes to writing. I used to write that way, but a few years back I switched to plotting. The reason I found that bit of info so helpful is that I’ve been struggling to figure out what the story is for my new YA. I have lots of elements and several characters, but no clear direction. She says that it’s not uncommon for her to write 100 pages and have to go back and rewrite huge sections of it because it takes that many pages to ‘find’ the story. She works from the inside out. As opposed to the outside in, which is how I’ve been going about it.

I also had a writer ask me if I’d been querying agents. She seemed genuinely surprised when I told her no. She proceeded to ask me the same question three different ways as if she couldn’t quite believe it. I told her that I was just writing. I understand that it’s unusual for a writer to have finished books and not query. My plan as I expressed it here before is to stockpile manuscripts. I’m currently editing my first YA novel and writing my second. I have a fifty page urban fantasy romance partial completed, along with the synopsis. I’m not sure if I’ll finish that book. I haven’t decided yet. I do plan to write another full-length urban fantasy based on my character in BLOOD LITE 2. Once I’m done with my second YA and at least a partial of the straight urban fantasy, then I’ll look at querying agents. Hopefully there’ll be real agents left by the time I’m ready. If not, I guess I’ll go the self-publishing route. It’s always an option.

Monday, July 25th, 2011
As The Schedule Turns

I’m still trying to adjust to having a schedule. I imagine it will take a few weeks before it becomes like second nature. Editing for the YA continues to go smoothly. I know that won’t last because I vividly remember struggling through later chapters, so I’m enjoying the process while I can. 🙂

Tomorrow I have a hair appointment and my monthly writers’ meeting. Really hope to come home energized from it, since the new YA has hit a snag. I know it’s only temporary. I need to do more brainstorming, so I can get a better feel for the lead character. He’s slippery.

For those not following me on Twitter, I’m still really enjoying The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I bought it in paperback because it was such a good deal. (A rare thing for me.) I know there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the book, but so far I haven’t had a problem with the author’s choices. The story is thoroughly engrossing. It’s definitely a Steampunk novel, but it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I really like that. Nice change. I can’t wait to see how she wraps the story up.

A few people have been freaking out about the change in the App store regarding other bookstores/sales sites. (ie Sony, Nook, Kindle, etc.) You can now no longer buy directly through your App. Is this a pain in the arse? Sometimes. Okay, really only at night when I’m reading an excerpt under the covers and decide to buy the book via my phone. In other words, not often. Personally, this is only a bit of an inconvenience. Instead of clicking buy, I have to go to the web browser and dial up whoever I’m trying to buy the book from. Will it take longer? Yes, if that’s your main way of purchasing reading material. Will it change my life? No, since I purchase most of my books while surfing on my desktop. Again, it’s only one extra step. I don’t blame Apple for doing it. They were losing business. I love Apple products, even the iBook shelf, but they aren’t really who I buy books from and that’s unlikely to change. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit.

I have already bought my tickets for Cowboys vs. Aliens. YAY! Four o’clock on Friday cannot come soon enough. 😀

One of the things I’m doing with my schedule is working my way through a craft book. I haven’t designated a set amount of pages to cover a day, but I have given myself a time limit. Today, I read a couple of pages that I hope will forever change the way that I write. It was a section on ‘Filtering words’ and ‘Linking verbs’. I’ve struggled to take my writing to the next level. Can I sell a publishable book? Yes, but today was the first day that I found some real tools on how to make my writing BETTER. Every author knows (or should know) what their writing weaknesses are. I’ve known for a long time, but I never knew how to fix them. I could identify how my writing was different compared to the people I admire, but that was about it. Today, I nearly wept when those two concepts were explained using examples. (I am the type of learner that REALLY needs examples, if I’m to get a concept.) I will have to read through those pages several times and fight old habits, but now I actually have the tools to do so. SUCH A MASSIVE RELIEF!

Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Creating A New Tribe

One thing that happens when you’ve been in writing/publishing for a while is that critique groups can slowly break apart. This isn’t a personal thing. It something that happens when the members start to get published and everyone operates on different deadlines. My original group of critique partners started falling apart a few years ago. We all had deadlines and different types of projects we were working on. In some cases, life intervened. In others, genres started to change and of course the industry imploded. (And continues to do so…)

For a while it was alright. When you’re busy, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. I have realized over the past year though that something important has been lost. Not just in having more eyes on your work (that almost always makes a book better), but having the companionship, the support. I’ve MISSED that aspect of writing life. I never knew how important it was until now. There are authors out there who work better on their own. I’d say I’m more of a hybrid. I work fairly well on my own, but there are times I could really use the input.

That’s why I’m trying to figure out if there is a way to create a new kind of critique group. One that works for the hybrids of the world. I’m looking for any and all input on the subject. If you have an idea of how something like this could work, please let me know. 🙂

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
Stories Have A Mind Of Their Own

I officially got my rights back on the Phantom Warriors yesterday. WOO HOO!!! So excited because I have a third story started. Will get them up on Kindle, Nook and everywhere else as soon as possible. Now I just have to go around the net and have them removed from the previous publisher. Yay, fun times. Not!

So yesterday dh and I were brainstorming my new YA fantasy. I’d been researching Norse mythology, when suddenly the story took a right at Albuquerque and just kept going. Meep! Meep! I’ve rarely had a story do such an abrupt change of direction, but this one sure did. I still have the whiplash to prove it. We came up with a lot of interesting ideas. (Mainly dh did, but muggins here has to write it.) There are a few key points that are missing, but it looks like it’s going to be a MASSIVE world with some pretty interesting story elements. No, I’m not going to tell you what because that would ruin the surprise. (evil grin)

I also started edited the YA I finished last year. That’s been an interesting experience for a couple of reasons: One, because I let the story sit for six months, so I could see it with fresh eyes and two, because the edits seem to be changing my main character’s overall tone. The latter is really weird, but I’m going to roll with it and see what I have when I’m done.

Yesterday, I also finished writing the synopsis for my urban fantasy romance partial. It actually came out longer than my usual synopses. Seven pages to be exact. I’m sure I’ll cut it down if I ever send it out, but it’s nice to have it done.

Well, I’d better get going if I want to get my word count, exercise, and craft studying in. I love my new schedule. I love my new schedule. I love my new schedule. I figure if I keep repeating it enough times it’ll actually become true.

Monday, July 18th, 2011
New Day, New Work Schedule

It has come to my attention that I might have a problem with time management. I haven’t been getting the work done that I’d like to get done and much of it was because of how I managed my days. (Nobody likes to hear that they have a problem. *g) Anyway, I went out to the local Office Max and bought a clipboard. (You know, to make things official.) Dh sent me a task sheet that I could print out. The idea is to put a reasonable amount of tasks on the sheet and try to do those tasks EVERY day. The key is not to load your list down. You put a hundred things on the list and you’re never going to get done. With that in mind, I put six things on the list and today the list handed me my arse like a T-ball player batting against Randy Johnson. Technically, it shouldn’t have. Technically, I should’ve been able to get everything done easily within five hours. The tasks were achievable, but for some reason I struggled to complete them, which in turn means that I never even made it to my actual ‘To Do’ list. 🙁

I think it’s just a matter of adjusting time limits or me getting ‘used to’ the new schedule. Also, one of the items will eventually be removed (ie research the new YA book I’m about to write)…if the &$%# story ever comes to me. Right now it’s teasing me in the way that a fifth grade class might if I say wet my pants in front of them. Yeah, it’s that pleasant. That said, I am determined to win this battle. Both battles actually, since I truly do believe I desperately need a schedule in order to be productive. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

In other news, I see that Borders is about to truly go bye, bye. I find it sad mainly because Waldenbooks was such a good bookstore and was destroyed by Border’s purchase. Of course that also means that authors will have one less location to sell their books. Cha-Ching…SUCKS!

Friday, July 15th, 2011
Endings and New Beginnings

I just got back from seeing Harry Potter. So many emotions, since I’ve been on this journey with these characters for so long. I have to say they did a really good job of pulling the story together on film and leaving the audience with a satisfying ending. Wasn’t sure if they were going to be able to do it, but they did. The wrap up is one of those movies that we’ll go see again at the theater and buy on DVD, but probably won’t watch often because it’s tough to watch something that you’ve grown to love being destroyed. Yes, I know it’s all make-believe, but it still hurt to see the school destroyed. Anyway, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, then this movie is a MUST see. If you are a fair-weather fan, then this movie is a MUST see. You get the picture. 😉

I finished my urban fantasy romance partial the other day and began to brainstorm my next YA fantasy. Thanks to Charli and Sasha, I have a great jumping off point. 🙂 I just have a few decisions to make…like what story am I trying to tell? You know little things like that. Snort!

What are you working on? Does it scare you? If not, why? (Oh, here’s a hint: It should.)

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Battling Sinus Crap

Hey Guys,

Sorry I’ve been fairly quiet. I came down with what I thought was a cold last week, but now I think it’s probably a sinus infection–either that or it’s the weirdest behaving cold EVER. Anyway, I had a quiet week. Didn’t do anything for the 4th other than watch fireworks from my porch.

I am five pages away from finishing my 50 page urban fantasy romance partial. I plan to get that done today, so that I can get started on the new YA fantasy idea that’s been poking at me for the last couple of weeks.

What does that all mean? It means I’ll probably be pretty quiet other than the occasional Tweet until I’m done. Exciting, I know. 🙂 At least I have something to look forward to at the end of the week. Yep, you guessed it, dh and I have tickets for Harry Potter on Friday. I’m packing the tissues now because I know there’s going to be tears.

Are you guys looking forward to seeing HP? If not, what are you looking forward to at the movies? My next up is Cowboys vs. Aliens. Cannot wait.