Saturday, March 31, 2007
Why a challenge? Well, there are 60 writers and each one gets to do one page. Okay, nothing odd or difficult about that. The story is being written round robin style - again, nothing really unusual about that.
But now is when it starts getting interesting. The writers are being divided into two groups - those who will write the front half of the book and those who will write the second half of the book. Those writing the front half will start at the beginning and work toward the middle. Those writing the second half will start at the end and work backward toward the middle. A little more difficult. The wrench is, no one author will know the entire book. Each author will get to see only the page directly in front of (for the beginning half) or directly following (for those in the second half) his or her own page.
An interesting challenge. I don't know if I'd want to do this - but at the same time, I'm intrigued enough by the concept that I'd like to see what I could do with it. I can't wait to see how this all turns out.
My progress: Busy day yesterday - only four new pages.
Birthdays: Octavio Paz, Leo Buscaglia, Judith Rossner, Marge Piercy
Tips and Teasers: Finish this scene using: snow, game, cell phone, timer: Mama, forgive me…
Thought for the day: "The first and most important part of writing fiction is just to think about the story." – Terry Brooks
Friday, March 30, 2007
I had a first yesterday. But mine didn't come with fear - just excitement. I received my first royalty check. Someone was actually paying me for my stories. Yes, I've been paid for my writing before - but that was because I was working for them, either as a journalist or a technical writing. This is my first payment for my books. I wanted to dance, to sing, to celebrate.
Okay, in the greater scheme of things, it was a very small check. It doesn't even begin to cover what I've spent in advertising and promotions. But still... the excitement is there and I think I'll hang onto it for a while - not the check - that's going into the bank. I'll hang onto the excitement. :)
Then I'll start writing again. Working on the next story. Working for my next "first". I can't wait to see what it is.
Birthdays: Anna Sewell, Sean O’Casey
Tips and Teasers: Show the characters through their emotions rather than telling us about them. Don’t tell the reader she’s angry, show her throwing the vase.
Thought for the day: "Writing is a privilege. A joy. A pain in the ass. The easiest thing in the world to do. The most difficult feat to pull off. It is profound. It is ridiculous. Better than making love. Akin to dying. More trouble than it’s worth. Like rolling down a hill. Like scaling the Alps. Whatever it is…it’s not for amateurs. You really have to want to write, to write." - Rod McKuen.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The trick is to go into the session with no pre-concepts of what you want to write. You just start. Some people set a timer so they do this for a specific amount of time - fifteen minutes or whatever. For others, it's a specific amount of pages - usually a minimum of three. This book takes it one step further - no time limits, no page limits. The book is called "Write Right from God" by Tom Bird.
Mr. Bird is a writer and motivational speaker. He lectures at colleges, has been on TV, does all sorts of promotions for his method of writing. The book itself is interesting to read and does have good exercises and inspirational quotes. But I have a problem with it. Actually, I have several problems.
If you're going to write a book about how to write, shouldn't your grammar be nearly flawless? Within the first few pages of this book, I found multiple errors - simple ones that should not have gotten past an editor or copy editor. Maybe I have an early edition and these errors have been corrected, but if not, this bothers me. Yes, writing is about the creating. But publishing is about the business of writing. There should be at least passing evidence that someone attempted to edit the manuscript.
My second problem with this book is that the first thirty pages are almost nothing but testimonial hype. Sort of the: "I was stuck, then I took Tom's course and everything is wonderful now." (not a quote - just my opinion) A couple of testimonials, okay. But not pages and pages of them. I got to the point where I was skipping over most of it trying to get to the meat of the book.
Then I checked out his website. All I can say is "wow" - and not in a good way. They push having you work one-on-one with him and it isn't cheap. And when you go to look at his "bookstore" - all you get is Bundle 1, Bundle 2, Bundle 3, Bundle 4 - and nowhere in there does it tell you what's in the bundle.
So, do I recommend him? Not at this juncture, but I'll let you know more once I finish the book. There may be something of worth in there, but at this point, all it looks like to me is a way for him to make megabucks off of people who could better spend their money on joining a writer's group or attending a lecture or two. Or better yet, pick up a copy of "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron or "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. At least these two books had good editors and read like they know something about the basics of writing.
Birthdays: Ernst Junger, Eric Idle
Tips and Teasers: Create a comic book superhero. Male or female? Human? What powers does s/he/it possess?
Thought for the day: "To write is a humiliation." – Edward Dahlberg
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
In writing, the anticipation is for a reply to all the submissions we send out. Months of waiting, then it's all over in a couple of seconds when we open the envelope. But we keep doing it. We keep hoping. We keep striving. We keep sending stuff out. Because there is always that hope that one of those subs will garner a sale.
Right now, I'm waiting for seven submissions. Patience is the name of the game in this business.
But that's not what I'm excited about. I'm also waiting for the next luncheon of my group of writer friends. We get together to talk about everything. We started this on a whim, but it has become important to us. We struggle over days that work for everyone to get together. We start talking about the next luncheon before the current one is even over. We spend the month anticipating our time together.
With submissions, I know I'll wait months - in at least one case, well over a year and the answers are more often than not a rejection. But with my writer's group - only a few weeks. And it's all good with them.
Last night's progress: 30 pages
Birthdays: St. Teresa of Avila, Nelson Algren
Tips and Teasers: Go through your latest manuscript and use a colored pen to mark all your main character’s dialogue. Use different colors to mark other’s dialogue. Your hero/heroine should be the one with the most to say.
Thought for the day: "To write is to create music. The words you write make sounds, and when those sounds are in harmony, the writing will work." – Gary Provost
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
In this story, my two main characters are both after the same bad guys. They have to work together in order to do this - but neither one is used to working with a partner. They are loners who prefer to do things their own way. I think one thing that's bothering me is that my female lead seems so wishy-washy. She's a strong woman, but I don't think that's coming across. I need to work on her a little more - let her tell me what she wants to do - and it's not take a back seat. She started off with a backbone and lost it somewhere along the way.
So, back to the plotting board to see what I can come up with. Anybody got any ideas? :)
Birthdays: Alfred de Vigny, Heinrich Mann,
Tips and Teasers: Little things around your house are missing. This week, a small pillow; last week, an old t-shirt; food that you know you bought is gone from the cabinet. Who or what is taking the stuff? How and why?
Thought for the day: "Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain." – Elie Wiesel
Monday, March 26, 2007
Our stories are a lot like that. We write what is in our imagination - in my case, it usually involves other worlds or magic. When we read books, we ask our readers to suspend their normal world and believe our worlds actually exist, that the possibilities are there. A truly good writer can transport us with no trouble at all. In others, we struggle to go beyond the boundaries. Those books are the ones we either don't finish or don't recommend to others.
But the ones that do work - the ones that take us beyond our cozy little nooks and transport us to other venues - those are the ones that keep readers reading - that bring them back again and again - that become part of us.
May we all be writers of those kind of books. It is a goal to strive for and when we do achieve it, something to be extremely proud of. I hope my books bring you that kind of enjoyment - that kind of suspension of disbelief.
Birthdays: Robert Frost, Alfred Housman, Joseph Campbell, Tennessee Williams, Erica Jong, Bob Woodward, Patrick Suskind,
Tips and Teasers: Your best characters will rise from personal experience. Dredge up everything bad (or good) that’s ever happened to you and let your characters experience it.
Thought for the day: "Never present ideas except in terms of temperaments and characters." – Andre Gide
Sunday, March 25, 2007
So many issues. So what did I finally decide on? Pretty much all of the above.
My current WIP - I'm up to 108 pages and going strong. It's a science fiction with a touch of romance. The problem with it is that it's part of a series for my publisher. Each book will be individual by separate authors, but will take place in the same universe and have some characters in common. Sound simple? Hah. Try getting two dozen authors to agree on anything. Especially when the genres range from short erotica to long science fiction with just a touch of romance. When we started, there were just eight of us and we had everything tied up in a neat little bundle. Our worlds had been created and we were going strong - then the powers that be opened the series up to all their authors and we got flooded. Now everything is confused and becoming unwieldy. We have good stories, but the details are bogging us all down. Very frustrating.
Also frustrating is the wait for yea/nay on manuscript submissions. Some places take up to a year to accept or reject you and demand that you give them exclusives while they take their good old time. I'm sorry, but that is unconscionable. Yes, I know they get thousands of submissions and that it takes time to read all this stuff, but they cannot expect us to sit around waiting for a year or more for a reply and not send the manuscript out to others. We should be able to send to as many as we want without fear of repercussions in the publishing arena. And yes, I know I may have just slit my own throat - but that is my opinion and guess what? It's also the opinion of thousands of other writers too intimidated to speak up.
Rejections this past week? Three altogether. One for my short story, one for my fantasy novel, one for my non-fiction work. Time to send them all out again.
And that's it for today. :)
Birthdays: Gloria Steinem, Flannery O’Connor
Tips and Teasers: Re-read one of your old stories. Circle adjectives that merely label or explain and replace them with descriptive nouns or adjectives that evoke concrete, sensory qualities
Thought for the day: "No rejection is fatal until the writer walks away from the battle leaving dreams and goals behind." – Jeff Herman (literary agent)
Saturday, March 24, 2007
So why did I waste my time and write it? First of all, I don't consider it a waste. Even if I never sell the story, I am working on my craft. Writing a short story forces you to be succinct - which can be difficult for many writers, especially novelists like me. Also, switching gears often opens up your brain to other ideas - ones you can use when you're stuck.
And ideas are what writing is all about. It's the "what if" factor. The funny thing about this short is that I got the idea from a rejection letter on another short I wrote a few months ago. In the editor's personal note, she asked a question. Her question led me to another and even on a short field trip. And voila, there was the setting for the story. If not for her rejection, this story would not have come into being.
It is odd where writers get their ideas, but this has to be one of the oddest for me. A rejection letter that actually had some value.
Wonder where the next idea will come from....
Birthdays: William Morris, Dario Fo, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Tips and Teasers: A vandal has trashed your street. When you find out who did it, you are shocked. Who did it and why?
Thought for the day: "Sometimes the only reason to keep writing is 'just because.'" – Ralph Keyes
Friday, March 23, 2007
One of the small writing groups I belong to (there are five of us) post weekly what we've accomplished that week. These are women who regularly write ten to twenty pages a day. For the most part, I keep up. But not this past week. I barely wrote anything. I was so embarrassed, I didn't post more than the basic "Hi, I'm alive" type of notes all week.
Then I sat down and posted what I did accomplish - and realized I have nothing to be embarrassed about. Although I imagined I hadn't done much, the reality showed that I actually did a lot. And this through not feeling good, being incredibly busy with other projects, and taking care of a bunch of stuff for other people.
I wrote/edited thirty pages of my new WIP,
*researched and sent out six submissions to agents (the darned research takes the longest!)
*blogged every day here on my personal blog
*blogged three times in my publisher's blog
*updated my website to include a link to reviews (I'm incredibly slow at that since I'm not adept with HTML tags and programming, but I'm learning)
*participated in three chats with other CP authors
*promoted my new book Prime Time as much as possible by participating in other chats, etc.
*worked on a short story for a magazine - and did a field trip to research the location I'm setting it in
*wrote a review for a book I didn't care much for
*wrote up the minutes for the last chapter meeting I attended for inclusion in the newsletter
That's the basics. So I did have a good week. I just feel like I should have done more.
Like I said - I'm rather competitive. :)
Birthdays: Jim Trelease, Gary Whitehead
Tips and Teasers: Ursula LeGuin sent out her first story when she was 11; she got her first acceptance at 33. Many authors are often asked "How long have you been writing?" What would your answer be?
Thought for the day: "Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo." - Don Marquis
Thursday, March 22, 2007
On the up side - and this is so up there, it's a different planet - my book Prime Time is available today from Cerridwen Press. It's $6.49 and is available in PDF, HTML, LIT and other formats. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm a Multi-published author.
Wow. That is so exciting. Me, who has been at this profession for a very long time. Multi-published.
I have reached one of my life's goals. Now I need to work toward the others. We all need goals and I have mine. Do you have yours?
Please pick up a copy of Prime Time and enjoy. It's science fiction, has romance, danger, mystery... and is a quick read. And thank you for your support.
Birthdays: Louis L’Amour, Wolf Blitzer
Tips and Teasers: Louis L'Amour had 350 rejections before selling his first ms. What other facts can you find out about famous author rejections?
Thought for the day: "Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are." – Greg Daugherty
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I included a blurb for my novel Prime Time yesterday and thought I'd follow up with another today. But this is it. For the rest of the story, you have to buy the book. :)Oh, and yes, the teasers, etc. are at the end.
“Got it,” she muttered. Deena grabbed the belt, fed one end through the wall grill and tied the other end to her cot with a slipknot. Feet first, she climbed back into the vent, pulled the grill into place and tugged the bed back into place. Once there, she gave the belt a yank and it came away from the cot. The door to her quarters slid open as she pulled the loose end of the gi through the grill. She caught her breath and held still.
“Deena,” Jake called.
As quietly as possible, Deena scuttled farther into the vent.
She couldn’t see the room, but she heard Jake’s steps as he crossed the small space to her bathroom and heard him knocking on the door to the cubicle.
“Deena, come on. Talk to me.”
An inch at a time, Deena backed into the vent. To her ears, she sounded like a crowd of workers at quitting time. The vent’s soft lining scraped against her sensitive skin. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic, she thought.
“Deena!” Jake called. She could hear the touch of anger in his voice. “Zeus, open the door.”
Deena could hear Jake swearing as she worked her way deeper into the vents. She didn’t stop until she got to a junction where she could turn around. Six vents opened off the space.
“Eenie, meenie, miney, moe.” Deena chose the vent at front right. It was larger than the one she’d exited, but not by much.
She crawled until she arrived at another junction. Large enough for her to stand in, it had dozens of openings, some small, some almost high enough for her to walk in if she ignored her straight posture. A strong wind blew through the junction. She turned around until she found the strongest breeze.
“Thank you, Mom,” she whispered. Her mother had worked on the vent installations and taught young Deena all about them. The larger vents led to the public areas. Huge fans designed to circulate the air throughout the habitat hung at their wall ends. The smaller ones led to private offices and quarters. She chose a large vent. Once she got to a public area, she could get her bearings and get home. She’d endured Techie prejudices all her life, but at least in the Uppers she had some respect. Even a steady gig with Security wasn’t worth putting up with their insults and innuendos. She may be a Porter, but she’d be space dust before she’d let them treat her like one.
A short time later, she pushed the button and opened the trap door in her old room. Although the ducts were dust-free, the effort of getting through them was hot work. A quick sonic cleansing did much to revive her. The two weeks away from the Uppers seemed like a lifetime. She closed the shower door and strode into her bedroom.
“What took you so long?”
Deena spun around. Jake leaned against the wall next to her closet. “What do you want, Techie?”
Her heart beat so hard, she could hear it, but she refused to let Jake know how she felt. The wide-eyed ogle on his face reminded her that, except for her brief panties, she was naked. She strolled over to her storage chest and pulled out a pair of shorts and a tank top. She felt anything but nonchalant but refused to show him how nervous he made her. The unwelcome stab of interest in him fueled her anger. He was a Techie.
Birthdays: Jean Paul, Mark Waid
Tips and Teasers: What would the soundtrack of your life sound like?
Thought for the day: "Write a good book." – Steven Taylor Goldsberry
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Oh, and the usual birthday/teaser/thought of the day stuff is still here - at the bottom where it always is! Enjoy. :)
Excerpt from Prime Time:
Deena lay her head in her arms. Now what? Jake was still unconscious and now Sean was out of commission. She needed to make sure Sean was okay, but how to get past Jake? There wasn’t much room between his chest and the top of the vent. She glanced at her chest. While she was thin, was she thin enough? There was only one way to find out. With a bit of difficulty, she skinned out of her clothes. Every millimeter counted. Jake’s head was closest to her. As gently as possible, she turned his head to one side and bit back a grin. It was a good thing he was out or this could get very interesting. She began her crawl. The tightest fit was chest to chest. For a few fleeting seconds, she was afraid she’d be stuck, then she exhaled as hard as she could and inched forward. A little farther and she smiled.
She felt Jake shift under her. “Not now. Please, not now.”
Her face was at the vent, her legs entwined with Jake’s. A quick listen told her the room was empty except for Sean. She popped the vent off and stuck her head out. Sean was sprawled in a corner by the bed. His wide-open eyes tracked her as she dropped down.
“Are you okay? Once for yes, twice for no.”
His eyes blinked once.
“I’ll assume that’s a yes and not a wink. And I’ll take you to task for the leer later.”
“As will I.”
Deena spun around as Jake slipped out of the vent. “Jake! Are you all right?” She grabbed him when he swayed.*********************
Birthdays: Ovid, Henrik Ibsen, Ned Buntline
Tips and Teasers: You come home to find fifteen messages on your answering machine. All from the same number – a number you don't recognize and can't find on-line. The first message says "If you want Darcy to live, you'd better answer." The messages get increasingly threatening. Who is Darcy? Do you know? What do you do?
Thought for the day: "Don’t be thin-skinned or easily discouraged, because it’s an odds-long proposition; all of the arts are. Many are called, few are chosen, but it might be you." – John Updike.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Between the chat and family dinner yesterday, I didn't get much actual writing done - only ten pages, but it's still progress.
Today, submitting a fantasy book I've finished to my researched list of agents, lots of home-type things to get done and more writing, hopefully, this evening.
And promotion of Prime Time. :) Only four days until her debut. Wow. Two books published. I can't believe this. I am so excited. For those of you who don't believe wishes come true - they do. Honest. And I am living proof of that.
Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep wishing. But most of all, keep working and learning. Wishes don't come true without you putting in some sweat time.
Birthdays: Irving Wallace, Philip Roth
Tips and Teasers: You have been cursed by a witch. You will never write another word unless you…. What? Do you do it?
Thought for the day: "You have to keep writing, keep submitting, and keep praying to the god of whimsy that some editor will respond favorably." – Peter Benchley
Sunday, March 18, 2007
I'm still not sure I do, but it is going better. I just think I have too much "tell" and not enough "show" in there. But I also know my crit partners will let me know.
I also spent some time yesterday researching and composing a list of agents to send my Blood Harp story to. In my mind, Blood Harp is my best work yet - and yet I keep getting rejections on it. I guess I just haven't connected with the right person yet. But I will. I'm sure of it.
In the meantime, today will be another author chat day. Unfortunately, I forgot I scheduled it and have family coming for dinner at the same time! Actually, dinner is just after the chat, so I either do a crockpot dinner that cooks while I chat, or they'll have to do the cooking! Hmmm - that might not be such a bad idea after all. :)
Birthdays: William Cosmo Monkhouse, Richard Condon, John Updike
Tips and Teasers: Don’t start all the characters names with the same letter. Keeping John, Joan, Jeff, Jane straight becomes too confusing for the reader. Vary your names and their attributes. Make them real.
Thought for the day: "Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money." – Jules Renard
Saturday, March 17, 2007
A tale full of adventure, magic, and a young woman who must grow into someone capable of saving the world, AKASHAN 'TE is a well written fantasy from an inspired imagination. Rowyn is just eighteen years old when the book starts, and like many girls her age, she yearns for adventure and the thrill of the unknown. Rowyn is constantly growing and expanding her boundaries throughout the book, becoming a woman who trusts her instincts, believes in the power of good, and defies Jeros, the evil one who seeks to control the world. Daniel is an interesting man, and while herbs and fighting don’t seem like compatible interests, they’re two of the places where his talents lie. When Daniel realizes how important Rowyn is, and that his dreams of a life with her are futile, you feel his heartbreak. Though Rowyn is the one who must defeat Jeros, she can only do it with the help of Daniel and the friends she’s met along the way. As in all good fantasies, true love and friendship will conquer all.
Jeros is one of the Others, people with powers far different from normal humans. His greatest hope is to rule the world, and he’s certain that with Rowyn by his side, he can triumph once and for all. If she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll kill her. Betzal has been Jeros’s servant for five long years, longer than any other man has lasted. He’ll be at Jeros’s side until the very end. Rowyn’s aunts, Emerald, Cerise, and Lapis, are interesting ladies; each has her own special set of skills, and they’ve raised Rowyn as their own, not only for her sake, but for the world’s as well. There are many other secondary characters who make important contributions to the story, but for the sake of space, I’ll let you discover them on your own.
If you love a good adventure spiced with magic, danger, and a thread of romance running throughout, don’t miss AKASHAN 'TE. Stop by Cerridwen Press and get your copy today.
So, thank you Lori Ann. And thank you Romance Reviews Today. You made what has been a trying week much much better.
Birthdays: Margaret Weis, Harding Lemay
Tips and Teasers: Identify your characters by showing not only what they own, but how they treat their possessions. Given an expensive, but ugly, gift, how would they treat it? What would they do with it? Write a short scene from two different character perspectives.
Thought for the day: "I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this." – Cormac McCarthy
Friday, March 16, 2007
Okay, I understand that many of them may be lurking, reading the posts later and just not "chatting", but it is frustrating from my point of view. I made the time to show up, put up what I thought were interesting blurbs and excerpts. Others in my group spent a lot of time setting this all up, getting the notices out - we put a lot of (wo)man-hours into this only to have nobody there. And I have another one today and one on Sunday.
I just took an on-line course that helped attendees look at their marketing strategies and see what was making the most impact for the time and money spent. While the chats are free, I have to say I don't see the value. Maybe that will show in sales from those thousand or so lurkers, but on the whole, I didn't find it very productive.
One thing I think might be the problem is that these chats are on closed loops. You have to belong to the group in order to participate. Yes, they have a lot of members, but I can't very well advertise them to anyone outside the group. Perhaps a chat on an open forum would be time better spent.
I'll let you know how the other two chats go and if anyone shows for them. In the meantime, here is a blurb from "Prime Time". Enjoy!
In the dark corners of the Lunar habitats, Deena has safety and friends. In the light—danger lurks. To find those responsible for the death of her parents and the disappearance of her friends, she must join those who work in the light—if they’ll let her. After all, they’re Techies.
Jake has every advantage of a Techie. Head of an elite security force investigating the Utopia drug, he is certain the pushers are the Porters. He needs to find a way to integrate with those who work in the dark, but Techies aren’t welcome.
Deena and Jake must put aside their differences and work together against a common enemy—a threat to both Techies and Porters. Along the way, they discover love doesn’t care where you come from, and evil has a long reach.
Birthdays: Margaret Weis, Harding Lemay
Tips and Teasers: Identify your characters by showing not only what they own, but how they treat their possessions. Given an expensive, but ugly, gift, how would they treat it? What would they do with it? Write a short scene from two different character perspectives.
Thought for the day: "I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this." – Cormac McCarthy
Thursday, March 15, 2007
What amazes me is that for someone who's life is uncluttered by a regular outside the house job, how much I have to catch up on. There are several hundred e-mails to go through, things to get ready for my chat today (and the ones tomorrow and Sunday), a couple of files to upload, edit and get sent - all the stuff I was going to do yesterday - and now have to do today which crowds out what I needed to do today.
And all I really want to do is crawl back into that bed and pull the covers up and let the world go by for another day - or so.
But that's not how life operates. I have responsibilities and I will meet them. Everything will get done with my usual efficiency.
*Then* I will crawl back into bed and pull the covers up and let the world go by. :)
Birthdays: Paul Heyse, Lawrence Sanders
Tips and Teasers: Stop pressuring yourself. Very few writers can write brilliantly from page one. Go ahead and write “junk”. You can come back and edit later.
Thought for the day: "Leave out the parts readers skip." – Elmore Leonard.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Under the weather. Hah. That's a joke, right? Considering I don't even know what weather is, I guess being under it is not a good thing. How can I not know what weather is? Well, if you must know, it's because I live on the moon. Get a clue. We don't *have* weather here. Inside the habitats, it's always perfect. But I understand you people on Earth have to put up with all sorts of garbage.
Anyway, as I was saying, she's not feeling well. Yeah, right. She takes off for a little thing like a migraine and stomach issues. Heck, I've been beaten, poisoned, drugged... and I still managed to get the job done. Yeah, I know, I had help. But I mean, come on.
Okay, I guess I should be a little more sympathetic. I'll let her sleep a little longer. But then she needs to get to work. My friends are waiting to have their stories told.
And a reminder to all of you - I make my debut next Thursday, the 22nd. Cerridwen Press will be launching me. Come enjoy the party.
Birthdays: Hank Ketcham, Pam Ayres, Kevin Williamson
Tips and Teasers: Character names are very important. Bertha and Tiffany conjure up very different images. Write a scene with both of them – but give them the opposite attributes of their names.
Thought for the day: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain
Monday, March 12, 2007
My cat, Pixel, is an extremely vocal cat. When she wants something, she meows. Loudly. And at fifteen years old, she wants it *now*! Up until yesterday, she wanted fed at 6:30 in the morning. She would sit in the living room and meow a couple of times. If I didn't respond, she would move back the hallway toward our bedroom, meow again. If I still ignored her, she would come to the bedroom and make sure the entire neighborhood could hear her.
Now I know I could ignore her - Hah! You've never heard her - she is NOT quiet - but my husband is a second shift worker who sleeps late in the mornings. So unless I want him to be awakened at 6:30 (I don't), I have to get up and take care of Pixel.
But not today. Today, she let me sleep until 7:30. I love time changes.
Of course, the flip side is, I'll hate it next fall.
And for those of you who noted her name - yes, Pixel is named after the cat in Robert Heinlein's books, esp. "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls". I started reading Heinlein when I was young and, thanks to him, fell in love with science fiction and fantasy stories. If you haven't ever read his books, try "Stranger in a Strange Land" - it's considered his best.
Birthdays: Jack Kerouac, Edward Albee, Gabriele D’Annunzio
Tips and Teasers: There is a ghost haunting you. Why? What have you done that brings this spirit to you? Is it a vengeful spirit? Or protective? Or impish?
Thought for the day: "Writing at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness, but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer, he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day." - Ernest Hemingway
Sunday, March 11, 2007
First of all, and this has nothing to do with writing, but my daughter called last night to tell me she's engaged!!! She lives in Texas and she and her fiance were in San Francisco for a long weekend vacation - and he popped the question there. So congratulations to her and him. :) Yay!
And huge thanks to my crit partners. Thanks to their comments, I won't have to trash the first seventy pages of my current WIP. They pointed out areas where I was having trouble and I worked on it last night. It flows much better now and I like the way it's coming together. Guess it wasn't as bad as I thought after all.
So today is finish the book review - not going to be a great one. I'm not liking this book a lot. It's terribly boring. I'll give you the particulars once the review is posted: www.wantzuponatime.com
Birthdays: Douglas Adams, Jerry Zucker
Tips and Teasers: A "Tom Swiftie" is a pun-like adverbial tag and should be eliminated unless being used for special effects. For this exercise, write a dialog scene using as many T.S.'s as possible. Example: "We need a new lightbulb," he said darkly.
Thought for the day: "Desire is creation, is the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement." - Willa Cather
Saturday, March 10, 2007
We started off with the basic blah design. Then she, who complains she's inept when it comes to web stuff, started tinkering. And blew me away. So to her, my hat is off and I bow to her accomplishment. Good going, V. :)
Anyway, if you want to take a look, check out: http://www.myspace.com/2vicks
Birthdays: James Herriot,
Tips and Teasers: You've moved into a new home. While doing some cleaning, you find a loose board in a closet. You pry the board up and find….
Thought for the day: "Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam." - A Whitney Griswold
Friday, March 09, 2007
One of my friends is taking a look at it. She's an excellent writer with a strong background in telling good stories. And I know she'll be honest with me. If it's as bad as I think it is, she'll tell me. If I'm just going through a "my writing is horrible and nothing is any good" phase, she'll tell me that too.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's the latter. (Although I do go through that on a more than regular basis.)
Actually, I've noticed writers tend to feel that way more often than not. We can't be objective about our own writing. We need others to pet us and tell us we're good. Even when we're not. I think it's the nature of the job. We get so many rejections and so little good feedback that we starve for it. We need that occasional little pat on the back to let us know that everything is okay. It's human nature. Nobody can continue to work well in the face of constant negativity.
My other friend who's been getting nothing but rejections was ready to quit the other day. But after some time together, reassurance that her writing is not the worst I've ever read, she's back out there, submitting. I applaud her. She will make it, eventually, because she did not quit.
So, for those of you out there who haven't had that positive pat in a while, please accept my virtual one. Find that spark deep inside you that says you are okay - I know it's in there somewhere. Hold onto it and keep the dream alive.
As will I - even if I have to scrap all 72 pages and start all over again. :)
Birthdays: William Cobbett, Vita Sackville-West, Mickey Spillane, Mircea Eliade
Tips and Teasers: A redundancy is the use of a word or words that are not necessary and can be eliminated without losing the meaning of the sentence. "That" is often a redundant word. Consider the sentence: She told him that she loved him.
Better: She told him she loved him.
The meaning is exactly the same but the second one is tighter, without out extraneous words. Go through your manuscript. Are there places where "that" can be eliminated? Look for other useless words (She looked up at the sky - up is unnecessary. If she's looking at the sky, up is implied.)(He sat down on the floor = He sat on the floor.)
Thought for the day: "To note an artist's limitations is but to define his talent. A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to his view, but a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his deepest sympathies." - Willa Cather
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Just like snail mail - all the waste I throw away each week because of unsolicited come-ons from everyone who can buy a mailing list. Some are legitimate, others are pure garbage - but that's where they all go - in the garbage or the shredder.
All this came to mind last night as I sat there making up a mailing list for my latest book. And I realized that when I send these notices out, I am a spammer. Okay, I'm sending out less than a dozen e-mails and maybe 50 postcards. It doesn't put me anywhere near the top of the list when compared to the millions of pieces sent out by the big boys. But my mail is unsolicited.
So where does that put me? Where does that put anyone who is trying to do a legitimate business and advertise? When does marketing become spam? Is it numbers? Subject matter?
That's my question to you today. What is the difference between legitimate marketing and spam?
Today's author birthdays: Erik LInklater, Kenneth Grahame, Sembene Ousmane
Tips and Teasers: Make a list of places you would like to visit. Now do the research. Besides money, what would you need to be able to go to these places? Why do you want to visit them? What draws you there? If you can't go, how much can you find out about them through research?
Thought for the day: "Writing is not about degrees or vocabulary or diagramming a sentence. It is simply about the desire to tell a story." - Fannie Flagg
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
At this stage of the game, I'm really excited about it. The characters are new, the world building is an adventure, the plot is developing nicely. Now, I just need to keep that feeling going.
And that is where the problem lies for many writers. I had one of my writer friends over yesterday. She was in need of some support and I was there for her, as she is for me when I need it. She's getting a lot of rejections and was ready to quit, but, according to her, she can't stop writing. I reminded her that a few months ago, I was in that same sinking boat and she and other friends told me to keep trying. A week later, I sold. Had I stopped submitting, stopped trying, I would not be where I am now - with one book out and another due out in two weeks.
Stubborness is what makes us writers. Perseverance in the face of constant rejections is what makes us (eventually) authors. The support of friends when we are the most down is what keeps us going; keeps us writing; keeps us hoping.
So for those of you having a crisis of determination, don't stop. Keep going. Keep trying. Keep writing and submitting. And if you need a supporting shoulder, I'm here.
Birthdays: Georges Perec, Donald Barthelme, Paul Preuss
Tips and Teasers: When preparing a manuscript for submission, go over it to make sure there are no missing pages, smears, misprints, etc.
Thought for the day: "One had better not rush, otherwise dung comes out rather than creative work." – Anton Chekhov
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Did I do it? Of course. But I was brain dead by the end of the day. Thank goodness Prime Time isn't a long book!
But it's done and all ready to go. Now I just wait for the release date - March 22. I am so excited. I will have two books out. Two very different books. It's rather strange. But cool. :)
Akashan'te is a fantasy - a quest not only to find the place of power and thwart evil, but also to discover the true person within. Relationship-wise, it would fall under the "sweet" category and is appropriate for any age.
Prime Time is a science fiction romance that takes place on the moon. While it is definitely not erotica, there is at least one graphic bedroom scene which puts it in a "hotter" category - adult reading.
Yes, I know, kids read anything these days. But we are required to note those scenes that may not be appropriate for younger readers and Prime Time contains one of those scenes. So take this as my official announcement. Prime Time is rated adult with some sexual content.
Okay, official announcements over and back to excitement. My second book comes out in 16 days!!!! :) Wheeeeee.
Birthdays: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Cyrano de Bergerac
Tips and Teasers: Stand up and stretch. Go for a walk. Do something physical. Keeping your body in shape is a great way to keep your mind in shape.
Thought for the day: "You have to have something vicious in you to be a creative writer ... something old-adamish, incompatible to the 'ordinary world.'" – D.H. Lawrence
Monday, March 05, 2007
From what I understand, hurry-up-and-wait is the way of this business. You get the book done, and send out the queries, then wait. If you get picked up, you are asked to make corrections - as quickly as possible. Then you wait. Get the cover art in by tomorrow. Then wait. Get the final edits done in 24 hours. Then wait.
It can be frustrating - but at the same time, I find it rather exciting. After all, once I have these done, the book will be ready for final production, and then published! I can wait. :)
I also got a nice surprise yesterday. On page 19 of the new Romantic Times Book Club issue is a Cerridwen Press ad with my book included! Wow. That was such and upper. Advertisement in a national magazine. Wow.
And so to work. Prime Time, here I come.
Birthdays: Mark Handley, Michael Resnick, Howard Pyle
Tips and Teasers: Go to your nearest public library and browse the stacks. Check out areas you don't normally go. What can you find that's new and different for you?
Thought for the day: "When I sit down at my writing desk, time seems to vanish. I think it’s a wonderful way to spend one’s life." – Erica Jong.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Why? Well, because of a technical glitch. I was working on my laptop from files I have on my desktop. I got to the last chapter - and it wasn't there. I checked my flash drive. Nope. Not there either. I'd neglected to download the last chapter and transfer it. And I'd already shut down my desktop for the night.
I can hear you all now. So why not just power the thing up and keep going? Mostly because of the time. By this time, I was bleary-eyed and barely awake. I knew I could finish the chapter, and had I been just reading it for fun, I might have. But I was reading this in edit mode (although I have to admit, the story is so good that I often forgot to do that during the read). By not finishing it last night, I could come to it with a fresh outlook this morning. And I did.
All I can say is wow. Unfortunately, by waiting, I also was kept awake a good bit last night wondering what happened to the characters. Maybe I should have read it just to have that closure, but still...
This writer is going to go far with her books.
Another writing friend may not. She is going through a crisis of choice right now. She has a dozen finished novels and has been marketing them, but can't get an agent or editor to go beyond her query. The books are good - not great, but definitely good. And sweet. She is thinking of quitting. Her finances are such that she needs to work at least part time and, believe it or not, writing can be an expensive endeavor. There's ink for printing out, postage, paper, and if you do sell, there's marketing expenses that can really add up. She loves writing, but is so discouraged that right now, she doesn't see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. All she sees is the darkness surrounding her.
And that's sad. This is not a profession for the weak-willed. It takes stubborn determination to reach the magic ticket to publication. But what she is going through is something we all go through. I was ready to quit when I sold. I know others who have been in the same spot. The thing to remember is, if you keep writing, keep submitting, keep going, you may someday make it in the door. But if you quit, it's and absolute certainty you won't. One thing to think of - you may quit submitting, but will you quit writing? Quit creating? Quit playing with characters that want you to tell their story? If you can honestly say "yes" - then you may not be a writer. But if you can't put it away and need to put down on paper that great idea you had last night, you are a writer. You may quit submitting and never become published, but you are still a writer.
So to everyone who is a writer I say wait. Keep trying. Keep submitting. Keep writing.
Birthdays: Alan Sillitoe, Johann Wyss,
Tips and Teasers: What is your book about? Boil the answer down to no more than two sentences. This becomes the basis for your pitch to editors and agents.
Thought for the day: "The muse whispers to you when she chooses, and you can’t tell her to come back later, because you quickly learn in this business that she may not come back at all." – Terry Brooks
Saturday, March 03, 2007
The last couple of weeks have been full of rejections for my friends and me. Among the six of us, we've managed to garner fifteen. That hurts. But it is also a sign of our industry. We're writing, we're working, we're submitting.
You can't sell if you don't get it out there. So we are.
Meanwhile my book, Akashan'te, continues to do well. Thank you.
In sending out publicity postcards, I connected with old friends whom I haven't heard from in a while. And that is always a good thing. I hope more of them contact me. It's always good to hear from friends - whether old, new or in-between.
I had lunch yesterday with some in-between friends - these are women I've known a couple of years so they're not new, but I've not known them my whole life - so not old ones either. It is so good to get together with them. They have become my best friends over the past few months. They are people I can be comfortable with - we can gossip, laugh, eat, discuss writing, movies, everything. Nothing is taboo for us. And it is wonderful. Yes, I am old enough to be at least one of their mothers. But age isn't an issue. Our love of writing is our link - and it is a strong cement that binds us closely. We are very different - and yet the same.
And that is all good. Friends, family, support - they are the things that bind us all.
Birthdays: Emile-Auguste Chartier, Sidney Lanier
Tips and Teasers: If you are not hearing impaired, try watching TV without the sound on, using closed captioning. What do you feel like you've missed, if anything? Write down your feelings about going all day without sound.
Thought for the day: "I know some very good writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts" – Anne Lemont.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Her husband made a good comment though. When looking at yet another rejection, he basically told her that, yes, she's getting a lot of rejections, but if she stopped sending stuff out, she would miss the one that eventually says yes.
What a mountain of support. In the face of so much negativity, he turns it to a positive and helps her keep on.
I've got that kind of support from my husband too. And I thank God every day for him.
But what about those writers who don't have that kind of support? Who struggle every day by themselves or in the face of family ridicule? I know a couple of people like that and my hat is off to them. They continue going even when there is nothing or nobody to lean on. Hopefully, they will find support in other ways. There are myriad on-line groups or in-person groups they can join. But even if they cannot, they have the strength and fortitude to support themselves. To them, I offer my admiration.
Support is important, no matter the source. We need it in many aspects of our lives. May you all enjoy some aspect of it, as my friend and I do.
Birthdays: John Irving, Philip K. Dick, John Jay Chapman, Theodor Geisel
Tips and Teasers: What happened on the day you were born? What is the history of that particular day? Search the web to find out, then write a scene about the day of your birth.
Thought for the day: "Sometimes, it's simply best to rip it all up and start over." – Chuck Leddy
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Natalie Damschroder has an incredible imagination. Her stories are evocative, sensual and the emotions of the characters draw you in and don't let you go. She writes paranomal romances - some hotter than others - but each one I've read has not let me down. Even if I didn't know her as a friend, I'd still buy her books just because she delivers such a good story. She can be found at: http://www.nataliedamschroder.com Most of her books are available from Amber Quill Press. If you like paranormal romance, try her out. You won't be disappointed.
Okay, commercial over.
As I said, I was working on the crit last night. I got about 80 pages done. In addition to that, I sent out a submission (my non-fiction work), and tried to clean up some of the mess I have laying on my desks.
That's my aim for today - filing, organizing, printing, and searching for some new agents/editors to submit my stuff to. Oh, and more of Natalie's critique. I cannot let that story go.
It's a new month. Time to check your goals for the month and year. How are you coming with yours? I'm on track so far with mine. Remember, goals are not cut into stone. Revisions are often necessary as things change. A goal is just that, something to aim for, but we often have to change them up or down - hopefully upward - because of the curves life throws us. So use today to check your goals. Do you need to revise, or are you on track?
Birthdays: Franz Hohler, Ralph Ellison, Robert Lowell, Judith Rossner
Tips and Teasers: This is National Elve’s Day. Imagine you are an elf – what kind are you? Are you the tall willowy kind as in The Lord of the Rings? Or small and pixie-like? Do you have magical powers? What are they? Are you kind? Or nasty? Where do you live?
Thought for the day: "Writing can’t be taught, but if the natural talent is there, it can be improved." – Rod McKuen