Monday, August 27, 2012
I recently finished a short novella, and at this moment it is in the hands of my trusted critique partners for their much needed evaluations. One of my critique partners sent me a comment after reading the first few pages saying that this new piece felt a lot like one of my pieces from two years ago.
What? How? No way...right?
I had to take a quick look at my two stories because I don't really outline (I jot down story structures, but not full-blown outlines) there could be the possibility that something overlapped.
No one else pointed out the similarity, but the initial opening of the story is what caught her eye, the heroine relocates. Of the other pieces I've written, I've had characters relocate for jobs, college, or just to runaway. I tend to use cities in the Mid-Atlantic or Southern regions because I love those areas. But, now with this new revelation, I'm thinking...wow, am I stuck in a rut.
The characters never feel the same to me, and the stories don't read the same, but as a rule for me one reason I don't like to outline is because I like to let go as I write, and see what happens. So, is this what happens...my heroines relocate in order to have self-discovery of some kind.
I remember reading something somewhere where the person interviewed was either an editor or an agent, and they discussed one of their clients who seemed to have a story format that fell into Asian woman falling in love with White male (Western world) set against a historical background.
Regardless of which genre you write, if you analyzed your plot and really took a look at your hero/heroine do they have similar traits from story to story? And how do you stop it?
For my wip, I'm trying to decide if removing the relocation piece of the story will weaken the story. At the moment, I think it will because it's a part of the reason my heroine is isolated.
What do you think?
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Now, my cold isn't like...Donna's Minnesota cold. But then I'm not used to "real" cold, so it's all relative. Not that I haven't been in that kind of cold. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, Boulder, Colorado, skied in Killington, Vermont (where you couldn't have one inch of skin exposed or it would have frozen), and Colorado, though it wasn't as cold when I went up there as it was in Vermont. And St Louis was one of the coldest places I've been in, a really wet cold.
We can't always have the "right" weather when we're creating the stories though. Often I'd be writing about pouring rain in Oregon when it was drier than a desert in Texas. It's humid and hot now, so perfect for writing about the jungle in Jaguar Fever. But to "really" get the feel for it, I needed to throw in some more jungle ambience.
I listen to jungle sounds that were actually recorded in the jungle, none of this jungle sounds to wild and crazy music kind of stuff. I scour tons of blogs about visits to the Amazon or Belize, watch videos about jaguars and their hunting habits and other behaviors, learn about the kinds of plants and animals that live there.
Did you know that Tarzan didn't swing off vines? They look like vines, but that's not what they are.
But what I needed was to bring the real jungle life into my own surroundings. Not. It's happened without my express approval though.
First came the scorpions. I've never ever had them in this area since I lived here, nor since my parents had. Not that they don't live in other surrounding areas that are more rocky than this. Sure, they're around, but I've just never had a problem with them, either while gardening or in the house.
Then came the snake. And yes, I've had one in the house before. My daughter-in-law found a snake skin in the bottom drawer of my master bathroom! Ack! I never knew! At my old house, my dog let one in while I was trying to get her into the house. We NEVER found it!
So I'm out watering yesterday and the snake (big, green and yellow, narrowed eyes...okay, so they were wide-eyed like mine) and I scared each other half to death. He slithered away and I ran inside to get my camera. He's gone. Not sure where he's hiding but because I'm watering, he'll hang around.
Hopefully, he won't come inside.
A friend of mine found one in her bathroom...her husband was naked and yelling for her to save him! He was in the shower, the snake on the bathroom floor. Okay, now what's wrong with this scenario? Nah, it's okay. Sometimes the heroine has to rescue the...er...uhm, hero. :)
So that's it. My pseudo jungle world. Perfect for creating Jaguar Fever!
A Highland Werewolf Wedding is listed on Amazon now!
Duncan's story from the Heart of the Highland Wolf pack, coming Feb 2013!
Savage Hunger received 4 Star Review from Romantic Times Magazine! This will be released Oct 2013, just around the corner!
Next on the agenda is writing 40,000 words worth of blogs for SAVAGE HUNGER for the last week in Sept and all the month of October. That means free books daily on each of the days I'll be at a blog site.
Then??? I'm working on Highland Rake! This is the third book in the Winning the Highlander's Heart series. It's started and I can't wait to work on it again! I've been asked forever about Dougald's story!!
So am I bored yet? Not even when I dream.
Have a super great weekend! And may your world be wild and nasty critter free! Ever had a snake in the house???
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality!"
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I think friendships like this are a girl thing. The 2 women visiting us are a couple I met in the mid-90s, when I worked at a company with one of the women. Over the years I got to know her well and her partner, and we, along with 7 other women, met regularly for lunch or dinner. Through good times and bad, we've been friends. People have had heart attacks, cancer, deaths, divorce, job upheavals, kid upheavals and because we don't get together often, we usually get the summary of what happened.
I think it's important to stay connected to people. I don't know many men who have such a robust circle of friends as I do, and I do think of them as "circles" -- the writing friends, the work friends, the hometown friends, the family friends. None of them intersect in classic Venn diagram fashion, but they are all out there and all related to me through amazing ties of shared experiences.
As I said, I used to get together with a regular group at least every other week. One time my husband said, "You're meeting the Red Shoe Gang again? [We always wore red shoes when we got together] You just met them a month ago."
I said, "Yeah, but Emily has a teenager and Janet started a new job and Nancee has cancer and Laraine just got divorced. A lot can happen in 2 weeks."
I've known these women for 20 years and counting (and some of them, my hometown friends, I've known for 50 years and counting!)
Here's to many, many more decades of fun and frivolity together!
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
"If you have a big name already, you might be able to just throw up your work on Amazon and most likely your fans will find you."
So true. Previous Bestselling authors such as Gemma Haliday or Kathleen Long, and many more, hit the bestseller lists again as indie authors, but what's even more encouraging is that many new authors managed to achieve the bestselling status with their self-published books that were rejected by traditional publishing houses.
"If a publishing house has a reputation then people flock to it on release day to shop for new books and even if they don’t buy the book on the publisher’s website, they will look it up on the various online ebook stores associated with their favorite ebook reader and buy it there. The publisher’s website becomes the virtual bookstore to browse through."
I have been there with two publishers. Release Day is a big party with good sales. The trail lasts a week, a month, and then the new book falls into oblivion and is replaced by newer books. The author is left with the task of promoting her book. For months, she exhausts herself at gaining visibility through blog tours, contests, posting comments and emails on various loops, paid advertising, and hopefully a few good reviews posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and others.
I've experienced first hand the gamut of emotions that hit a new author: elation at seeing your book cover with your name, incredible satisfaction at holding your first printed book, and so much expectation. And then the disappointment and frustration set in, and the high and lows while struggling to increase the sales. To no avail.
As Janet specifies in her post,
"I see a publishing house offering three things of importance: good editing, good distribution, and a name for quality."
I agree with her, and I did concentrate on a good editing and a name for quality. As for the good distribution, Indie publishing gave me the incredible chance to set my own price and prepare my book cover the way I wanted. In addition, the Amazon KDP Select program offered me the visibility I so badly needed. My stories did the rest and gain the readers' approval.
Indie publishing gave me the incredible chance to set my own price and prepare my book cover the way I wanted. In addition, the Amazon KDP Select program offered me the visibility I so badly needed. My stories did the rest and gain the readers' approval.
Between October 2011 and now I published five ebooks, the last one only two three days ago.
February 2012 BABIES IN THE BARGAIN http://tinyurl.com/6mcd6e3
November 2011 RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, http://tinyurl.com/85o4wg7
October 2011 NO MORE LIES http://tinyurl.com/79r88wp
My only regret is that I hesitated for four months and didn't plunge into self-publishing earlier. Now even self-publishing is becoming more difficult than last year, but authors support each other through promotions and reviews.
Like any type of publishing, self-publishing involves a lot of work and stress, but you can do it and succeed if you put your heart in it.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Deadline: Sunday, September 2, 2012
Enter the first 50 pages of your unpublished manuscript plus an up to 5-page synopsis.
Categories & Final Round Judges
Unpublished Golden Gateway:
Long/Short Contemporary Series Romance - Rachel Burkot, Love Inspired
Single Title Romance - Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
Mainstream Fiction with Romantic Elements - Katherine Pelz, Berkley Editorial
Historical Romance - Erika Tsang, Avon Books
Romantic Suspense - Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing
Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel Romance - Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publishing LLC
Published Golden Gateway:
All genres and length of manuscript may be entered and will be judged together, alongside entries of other genres. Final-round judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals, including:
Laura Barth, Harlequin Heartwarming
Tessa Woodward, HarperCollins/Avon
Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
The entry fee for FTHRW members is $20. For all other RWA members who are not members of FTHRW the entry fee is $25, and for all non-RWA members is $30.
For all RWA Members who would like to also join FTHRW, send $45 for membership and the contest at the same time ($25 membership fee + $20 contest fee = $45) and enjoy the many member benefits.
UNPUBLISHED: First Place in each category will receive a plaque and choice of a free FTHRW contest entry fee or a year's worth of FTHRW dues. Second Place in each category will receive an e-certificate and choice of FTHRW dues paid or a free FTHRW contest entry. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Place in each category will receive e-certificates.
In addition, a Grand Prize of $100 will be given to the highest overall scorer based on first round judging.
PUBLISHED: First Place will receive a plaque and the choice of $100 in cash, or $200 put toward a future writing conference of the entrant's choice. Second through Fifth place will receive e-certificates and logos celebrating their placement.
Complete contest rules for unpublished and published divisions are available at http://fthrw.com/contest/goldengateway/
Good luck to everyone!
2012 Golden Gateway Contest Coordinator
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I see a publishing house offering three things of importance: good editing, good distribution, and a name for quality. A do-it-yourselfer can hire a good freelance editor, and contract cover art that, if not the best in the world, at least they have control over. And the distribution isn’t that hard to manage with KDP for Amazon, Pubit! for Barnes and Noble, Kobo’s Writer’s Life, and Smashwords for everything else. But the last item, the reputation of the publishing house to attract readers, that is something a lot more difficult for an individual author to manage.
I’m very excited because this is my first title with Samhain and so far I’ve been very impressed with the editing, the covers, and the overall professionalism of the company and the people I've dealt with. I’m looking forward to seeing how sales are and if my publishing a book with Samhain gives me more profits than self-publishing.
Anyone else thinking about these things? How is the new publishing paradigm effecting you?
Monday, August 13, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
My partner will turn up the music loud, get in front of that keyboard and type away. She thrives on the beat and the music gets inside her and loosens up those creative juices that gets her imagination flying.
I am totally the opposite. I cannot focus if music is on. It blocks me. I don't know why. I love listening to the links she sends, but I listen to them as music. When I'm ready to sit at the keyboard, the music goes off. No matter how many times I have tried, listening to music distracts me, makes it difficult for me to concentrate and to get my muse working.
How about you? Can you have music on when you write? Do you listen to a certain kind of music or do you match the music to your current project or scene?
Tell me in the comments. I wonder if there are others like me that can't write with the music on. ( :
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The week since coming home flew by almost as quickly as the conference did. I had two blog posts to get out, a couple of requests from conference pitches needing polishing before being sent out, and had all the personal things you need to do after being out of town for a week requiring my attention.
I'm still mega-excited to move forward with my writing career and stay motivated. How will I keep up the momentum once I get caught up in everyday life? Well, I've accepted a writing challenge. Not a difficult one, but one meant to push me into the habit of writing everyday. 100 words for 100 days.
I'm not doing this on my own, but with a group of fellow writers from one of my RWA chapters. We'll be reporting our progress to each other, each day, starting yesterday. I'll recount my personal results from the challenge at Voices From the Heart in December. Wish me luck!
What do you do to stay motivated?
Saturday, August 4, 2012
I am blessed in having a computer savvy husband who finds the book I've been editing all morning when it mysteriously disappears. I would love any advice from those of you who have undertook this route from time management to organization. I need your help!