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October 28th, 2006

05:39 pm - And the wait continues....
I have to wait exactly 3 more days before "Valley of Silence" by Nora Roberts is officially on the stands for purchase. If you don't know, its the 3rd book in her latest trilogy.

I'm excited because, unlike so many other authors, she has chosen to once again release them in rapid succession one month after the other. I stumbled on the first one, Morrigan's Cross, by pure accident. I was having a really crummy day and went to Walmart where I see bright and shiny the 'New Release' with the NR underneath. OOOH, dont wait, dont think, just buy and go home and devour. That's exactly what I did - devoured it. I read it straight through that night. My Nana would've been proud.

Morrigan's Cross starts the tale of 6 who will come together to stand and fight for humanity and the universe against the queen of the vampires herself, Lilith. Now, before you go saying 'Oh, TRITE!' Hear me out. The book starts off with a one-two punch that knocks you on your tushie! Right from the beginning there are questions you want answered. Luckily she drags out all the answers throughout that book, into the second book, and if the previews and excerpts I've read are anything to judge by, you will finally get all the little nuances answered by the end of the third book. The first one focuses on the sorcerer and witch of the group. He's from Ireland way back in the day - she's from modern-era New York City. Two more opposite people you would never meet, oh at least until the 2nd and 3rd books ;) The first book goes through the gathering of the circle of 6, the training, the skirmishes, and the bonds that form as they prepare for the ultimate good vs evil battle.

Of course that was at the middle of September. Only 2 weeks later the next one arrived on bookshelves - again a quick trip to Walmart and 'voila!' another marathon night of voracious reading.

The second book, Dance of the Gods, continues to follow the circle as they move into their second month of training. This time, however, the spotlight is shifted to the relationship that is building between 2 different members of the 6. (are you seeing where this "trilogy of 6" is going??) If you're familiar with the "Romance Queen's" writing you'll have long since figured out how these matches are paired up. Its still more than entertaining to watch the story unfold before you. By the end of the 2nd book we've traveled to a different land - one of castles, dragons, fairies, princes, knights, and queens. Oh yes, and vampires hot on our heels. As we make our way through month 2 of training, we now focus on training a new army comprised of townsfolk from a land which has always lived and ruled in peace. We watch one of our 6 take her place and lead the country on a new path - one wihch will decide the fate of mankind which is to take place on Samhain (that's Oct 31 for those not in the know).

So now that you've been caught up - book 3 - Valley of Silence. It comes out, yup, you guessed it, on Samhain. Originally I had been told it would be released in Nov. Of course, I balked and griped. How could they be SO CLOSE to releasing it on the "big day" and not do it?! Was one day really going to make THAT much difference? Well, I should've trusted NR to have something up her sleeve. Turns out it will be released on Tues! Great news for those insane lunatics like myself who are lowering themselves to begging, bartering, and even offering 'favors' (ok, that last one was a joke!) to get my sticky little hands on a copy of this. I really could imagine what a meth addict must feel like when they're trying to score their next fix. I called all the bookstores. One said they had it and would put a copy aside for me - then called me back and said, WHOOPS, sorry! We DO have it, I just cant SELL it yet. He did tell me that since I would be up in the area (an hour from where I live) that if I wanted to come in and try to 'haggle and beg' a copy of it from the store manager Mon morning, it would be my best shot at geting one that day. Another store was kind enough to tell me they had 2 full shelves of the books in their store room - they just could NOT sell it before 10/31. Ok, now I'm getting desperate. I made the poor woman at Walmart go searching to see if THEY by chance had it yet. (I mean, come on, we all know Walmart will do just about ANYTHING for a buck, right?! What's a little 'early sale' among thieves?) - She comes back to inform me that they have "every thing by her BUT that book." (Ok, we all know that's not true, but it was cute of her to exaggerate like that.) Which leads me to where I am now. I'm having a cranky, pissy-ass 2 days, REALLY REALLY jonesin' for that NR fix and DESPERATE to find out if "the vampire (the good one) gets the girl!"

In my cranky-ass mood, I have managed to re-write the Prologue as well as Chapters 1-3 of Seascapes. I know people have expressed concern over point-of-view issues, so I have cut back and gone with just the two main characters' PoV and am trying to continue to refine and rephrase to keep that consistent. Yes, I know, you should only have one PoV... but you know, damn it, that's just not the kind of book I like to read. I read NR books for a very good reason - I get BOTH PoV - not just one. I want to be omnipotent - and so should you!
Current Mood: crankycranky

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August 25th, 2006

12:35 pm - Getting past the point of no return.

This comes from an article on eharlequin.com that is part of their 2005 series "Book in a Year" (which, in addition to this year's writing challenge, is also still available online.)  This comes from author Julie Beard and, while the whole article on "getting to page 100" is really amazing, these last two paragraphs really struck me:

In her book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Romance Published, Julie emphasizes a key turning point in the writing process. "From my observation of myself and other successful writers, it takes about 100 pages before you're really in the groove. Everybody wants to quit up until this point. I tell myself, 'If I can just start the book and get to page 100, I will know the characters by then, I'll be feeling good and the book will have a rhythm of its own.'"

"I should also mention that I always convince myself if I had the perfect writing space, all my problems would be solved. For the last five books I've written, each time I've bought a new desk and put it in a new part of my house. One time, it was in the sunroom, but that was both too hot and too cold. One time it was in the basement, but that was too quiet and dark. Sometimes my house is too noisy, so I go to the coffee shop. All of those tricks help me get the book started, but once I get to page 100, it doesn't matter where I am — I could be writing on a bus — the book has come to life."

Now, here's the really funny part about this, I never really recognized it until she put it into words, but that's EXACTLY how I felt about my story!  I got about 10 pages into it and shelved it.  I took it back out and dusted it off, worked on it a little more, and then shelved it.  Over and over again.  But, once I crossed the threshold, (which, for me I think was probably more like page 75-80ish), she's right, something inside me went off and I said, you know, I think this is a viable story!, and THAT was my own "point of no return."

Its like, as my mother would say, you have to have the emotional investment in the characters and the story line to keep you coming back.  As a reader, I know that's always been true about myself, but I never thought that would be true as an author as well.  Now, at page 165, I know this is a viable story and its a story I *HAVE* to finish.  Its almost like I have made a commitment to these "people" I have created to tell their story to the masses and I need to follow through.  Although *I* know how the story will turn out and *I* know what happens to the heroin and hero - no one ELSE will know unless I tell their story.  I guess, in a small way, its almost like when you're the "keeper" of the family history... unless you pass down the stories and the history, at some point it will die with you and that's just a crime.  I can't let Belle and Ryan's story die still inside me.   

So, for those of you who are still at page 10 and feeling very "bleck" about continuing on, push forward.  Fight to chisel out the first 80-100 pages of the story.  Then, and only then, if you are still saying "oh this is crap, I dont want to keep writing/reading this" then you can scrap it (although keep a copy for later, just to see where you've been and what you've done!) -  If you DO decide to scrap the project, remember that it wasn't a colossal waste of time, you wrote x-pages of a manuscript and I guarantee you've learned a LOT in the process about your own writing style, your voice, your taste and your ability to write.  Take that and go start on your next project.  Maybe this time you'll hash out an outline first - maybe you'll just jot notes - or, maybe, you'll just sit down and write.  Its all up to you.  The point is if writing is your passion then just go write, get experience, and keep going.   The more experience you get in life, the more things you'll have to write about.

Current Location: Sitting on the couch with my cup of hot tea next to me and the quiet stillness of morning still surr
Current Mood: inspired
Current Music: Rattles of ceiling fans and taps of the keyboard

(Tell me what you think)

August 22nd, 2006

09:15 pm - My first 'professional' peer critique!
I managed to overcome one of my first 'mental hurdles,' I have uploaded the first few chapters of my book to a writers' group for peer review and crits.  To top it all off, I've received my first crit from a person on the list.  What a day!

*WHEW*   It wasn't quite as scary as I thought it would be or as I had imagined it to be.  The crit was VERY good, very informative.  Lots of good points, especially about "points of view" and how jumpy I am, though I am told that it is a very common problem for new writers.  I also received comments about breaking up my longer paragraphs and being consistent about certain grammar issues.

Now that I've received my first peer review from another author, do I feel as confident about the work as I did before?  No.  Am I still confident that I can turn this into a great book?  Oh YEAH.  I think once I absorb the review and re-read the chapter keeping all of her information and suggestions in mind I'll be able to hack at it again and mold it into something even MORE professional and polished.  The main thing is that I keep as much objectivity as possible and not become overly emotional about comments and making changes.

In addition to the crits, a "positive" thing was that my reviewer thought it had the potential to be a great story!  HOORAY!

I am still shooting to have the manuscript (MS) done and in the hands of an agent by the end of the year, but maybe not by the end of October like I had originally hoped for.

There's something about having posted my first few chapters and opening myself up for peer review/crits that makes you feel vulnerable, but also very validated and on my way to being a "real" author.
Current Location: Watching Gilmore Girls on my couch with kitties and pups running around the house
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

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August 16th, 2006

03:13 pm - Book synopsis

Without the book complete, but the storyline mapped out, I have managed to put together a book synopsis (ala the back cover of a book) to see how it read. 

Please let me know what you think!   Seascapes synopsisCollapse )

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(2 comments | Tell me what you think)

12:26 am - Ch 4
By popular request (and with the standard 'caveat' of "work in progress") - Here's Chapter 4Collapse )
Current Mood: tiredtired

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August 13th, 2006

03:37 pm - Agents

Since I'm planning on having this MS polished, shining, and queries being sent off by no later than the middle-to-end of October, I've done a lot of reading and research about literary agents.  From what I can tell, there are a few different types of agents -  Big literary agencies, small literary agencies, and independent agents.  Over the last 3 months I've poured through reviews/comments on different agents/agencies.  I've looked at who works in my genre, what they do "outside the office" to help further the development of writers, the genre, and the industry (ie: do they attend conferences, are they guest speakers at local writers' guilds, etc), and, importantly, I've tried to scope out agents who have an online presence so I can "get to know them."  I want to "meet" these people as much as I can before I start sending out my queries so I can get a feel for who I want to send it to.  I am not someone who wants to send out 100 "random" query letters in the hopes that 1 person might choose my MS and then hope that this one person is someone I can have a professional relationship with.  Uh huh, not me.  (Then again, I was the person who "suicided" when it came time to pick my college and only applied ONCE to the one school that I knew I wanted to attend... so you decide how crazy I am.)   Do I think that just because *I* pick that one agent that he or she will pick my MS back?  No.  I am not arrogant enough to think that my MS is the best thing since Nora Roberts (*bowing appropriately here*).  I think its a first manuscript, and for that its not bad.  I do think, however, that its important to look at more than "just anyone who is accepting submissions."

That said, I have to give major "props" to arcaedia (aka: Jennifer Jackson, literary agent for Donald Maass Literary Agency).  Not only does she go out on a limb in her "User Info" section and say she's a gamer (HELLO! That's just dang cool!), but her question posed (What is the most/least important elements of an agent?) is a rare thing for most literary agents I've found so far- at least for them to say in a public forum to authors. 

The fact that she genuinely wants to know this says two things to me:
1.  She does not think she is perfect. 
2.  She is professionally "secure" in herself.  She is also an "information gatherer" and will, I would hope, use these answers from authors to evaluate her own attributes that she brings to an author-agent relationship.

For me the answer to the questions was a little different from some of the other authors on her site.  My "ideal" agent is someone who is down to earth, someone I can respect professionally and personally because I want to develop a career (long-term) relationship with my agent (not just a one or 2 book then 'see ya' type thing!), and it has to be someone who believes in me and my story.

I fully believe, though the agents get to decide who they will represent, they are REPRESENTING *ME* - which means to a certain extent I get to pick THEM too, and on that level I want it to be someone that I can be proud to say 'Oh, yeah, Jane Smith represents me."  I want to know that this person is a reflection of my own values/morals/ethics - that they truly REPRESENT me when I am not there.  The fact that Ms. Jackson can ask these questions of her readers and genuinely wants to know the answer, says a lot about who she is professionally and personally; I like that.  

I also believe that while previous sales/contacts/etc are important, they're not the MOST important things to me.  Someone posted that there was no way they would be willing to be the agent's "first signer."  I think that's bunk.  I'm sorry, but aren't you looking (or at some point were looking) for someone to give YOU your break - to believe in you?  If I find an agent who really WANTS to be an agent, who demonstrates they are willing to put in the time and effort, someone who is willing to give me a shot, I am willing to give them a shot - whether I'm their 100th signer or their 1st.   If you believe in me, and I see that you're dedicated to your goal of being a literary agent and you really WANT to do it, I'll believe in you.  Everyone has to have their 'first' - whether its your first book, first agent, first client - it has to start somewhere.  I think the person who is just starting out on their own is going to be so much more motivated and determined than the person who has 1000 clients and barely has time for 10. 

All in all, I think choosing an agent is almost as personal as picking a favorite blanket or pillow.  You have to pick the one that works for you - the one that you feel most comfortable with - and in the end, you hope the person you pick decides to pick you back.

Current Mood: pensivepensive

(Tell me what you think)

August 12th, 2006

10:12 pm - Chapter 3

Not to spoil anyone, but here's Chapter 3Collapse )

That's all you get for now... more to come soon.

Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Karyn White - Secret Rendezvous

(Tell me what you think)

10:08 pm - chapter 2
Asked for and answered - Here is Chapter 2Collapse )
Current Location: Sittin in bed with the laptop just because I can
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Air Supply - Making Love Out Of Nothing At

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12:46 am - The ebb and flow of the muse
Every once in awhile I get that wave of creativity that crashes on me and I just *HAVE* to type it all out.  I know exactly what he's going to say to her - how she's going to react.  I know how the action is going to be driven - I see the scene play out in my head.  The "next" part of the story just COMES to you.  Its at those very moments that I have to get it out of me and down in text. 

Then there are those times when I hit that wall.  The wall usually comes after a particularly manic wave of writing and often feels like this huge let down of energy and inspiration.  Of course you can't always be a manic writer - you need the 'down time' to revisit what you've written, edit, revise, and just absorb.  It doesn't change the fact that you still feel like you're cursed with the inability to make a coherent sentence, let alone to tell your story. 

Then there are the times when you really REALLY want to write - but the words just will not come - at least not to the keyboard or pen.  There's something holding you back.  Maybe you're not happy with what's been 'inked' already - something just doesn't seem to work quite like you want it to.  Maybe its just that you have a CONCEPT of how its going to play out - but are having problems getting the bridge to take you there.  Sometimes when I'm feeling this way I think, I could do it if I could just TALK it out.  Maybe I just need a digital voice recorder to dictate to and then type it up after I've talked through the issues.

I'm currently riding out a combination of the last two after a 3-day flurry of inspiration from my muse.  Granted, I did put 'place holders' in spots/mini-scenes that were just bogging me down, which, I suppose I COULD still do here - but its not so much a 'bogged down' issue right now as it is a 'I'm just not happy with this particular scene' thing and I'm fearing its too deeply woven into the fabric of the overall story to pull it or really change what I need to for me to be happy with it.  On the other hand, if I DON'T change it... I think I'm going to consistently feel like I was too lazy and my work is going to reflect that, which is, at its core, completely unacceptable to me.

Some times I feel like a 'muse junkie.'  Its those times that I really, genuinely *NEED* my muse to come back and inspire me for 2 or 3 hours - just to get me beyond the place where I am, help me decide what exactly to do in this situation, and help me figure out how best to do it.

Return to me oh great and creative muse and save me from the depths of the uninspired! 

Sadly, I even tried the "taco" thing - it not only didn't work, it left me feeling ill!  There should be a warning on "Taco Bell's" drive through to read "For consumption only by the overly drunk or poverty-stricken college student!  All others beware!"
Current Mood: draineddrained and uninspired
Current Music: DVD for background "noise"

(Tell me what you think)

August 11th, 2006

11:22 pm - Welcome Friends and Fans!


Welcome to my "shoreline haven." My place to share with you the experiences that go along with writing and publishing a novel. I plan to share my chapters as they are 'finished' and hope you will all bombard me with feedback and comments! I want to know what you think - I need to know what, you, my readers want and need. Are the characters too dry? Is there enough description? Not enough? Is the dialogue flowing? Give it all to me!!

*DRUM ROLL* So... as the 'grand opening,' I am sharing the following chapters with you. Read them and comment, please.

Seascapes - Chapter 1Collapse )

Current Location: home
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: WKTU.com

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