Monday, December 19, 2011

Gratitude, an epiphany and a publishing opportunity

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  Your comments were helpful and encouraging and just what I needed.  Thank you so much.  I took a week off and while I'm still having a rough time getting momentum on my WIP I think I figured out why.  If it hadn't been for your comments I wouldn't have given myself a break and perhaps wouldn't have figured out the reason for my funk.

So here's my epiphany.  All the work I've been doing on my WIP has somewhere inside made me feel like I'd given up on SEEDS.  And somewhere inside I wasn't prepared to do that.  I still believe in SEEDS.  I still think it's a good well-written story that deserves to be published.  I've got to somehow strike a balance where I put time into finding a home for SEEDS while still doing work on my WIP.  That's going to be tough.  Finding time to blog and work on the WIP while taking care of two young kiddos with all that entails is tough enough.  I'm not sure where I'm going to find the extra minutes and hours it takes to ferret out possible agents/publishing options for SEEDS, but it seems I'm going to have to try unless I want my writing to be on permanent hiatus (shudder).

On a semi-related note Dragon Moon Press is open for submissions for the month of December.  They are only looking for novel length (85,000 to 110,000 words) fantasy, but if you have a manuscript that fits those specifications this is a great opportunity.  Their submission guidelines are very specific, so if you're interested go here and read them carefully before submitting.  It was this tidbit of news and my subsequent submission of SEEDS that led to my little epiphany about the reasons for my funk.  I hope you find it similarly helpful in your pursuit of your writing dreams.  Good luck!

Monday, December 5, 2011

In a funk.

Do you ever find yourself going through your daily routine and thinking 'what's the point of this again?'  Yeah.  Today is one of those days for me. But I haven't been questioning everything today, just those things that relate to my writing life.

I logged on to blogger at few times today to do a post and that's the question that kept running through my mind.  Don't get me wrong.  I've met some great people and made some good friends through my blog and I love it for that reason, but I started my blog because of my writing.  And as I said, I've really been questioning the reason I'm putting all the time and effort I do into my writing.  That encompasses the blog as well.

I don't know, I guess it's just one of those days when I'm doubting my ability to get published, heck, even my ability to write anything worth giving to my critique group.  I'm sure it will pass, but for today I'm in a funk and I think instead of working on my WIP tonight I'm going to take a long hot bath and get a good night's sleep.  Hopefully that will be all I need to recharge.

How about you guys?  Anything you've found particularly helpful in banishing self doubt or getting out of a funk?  I'd love any suggestions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deleted!

No, I'm not talking about my WIP.  But I am talking about all the videos from my children's lives over the past five months, which is actually more tragic than had it been my WIP.   I'm still not entirely sure how it came about that I completely erased (as in not even Geek Squad could find them) those five months worth of videos.  Actually, I deleted the last three years but thankfully I had all but the past five months backed up.  But they are gone.  And it makes me tear up a bit every time I think about it.

That's my excuse for my late post.  I was scrambling frantically all day to find a way to restore those files and have only just in the last few minutes admitted defeat.  So here I am to blog and apparently to mourn some more.

On the writing front I'm approaching 25,000 words on my WIP and am reasonably satisfied with what I'm turning out.  I know it needs A LOT of work but the skeleton is there and what is revising for if not to put the muscles and flesh on the bones? 

And now the children are sleeping all snug in their beds and I'm off to add some more words to my WIP.  I hope you've all had better days than I did today and if I may offer some advice BACK UP YOUR FILES!  That is all.  Goodnight.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing during a rough week

In the past week both of my kids got their second cold of the cold and flu season and it's a doozy.  Despite humidifiers, baby rub, homeopathic cold remedies and everything else we could think of they've hacked their way through every night, waking up multiple times, sometimes coughing until everything in their little tummies come up.  I took them to the doctor and he said it was nothing that could be helped by antibiotics.  They're miserable.  I'm miserable.

On top of that I got my wisdom teeth removed on Thursday and started hacking and sneezing myself on Friday.  Then my poor husband got his dose of the crud on Friday.  It hasn't been a great week.  But here's the funny thing I've written more in the past week than I've managed to put down on paper in a long time.  I'm not sure how it happened.  I know I had a lot of time to think about my WIP while I was laying in bed at night wincing with each little kid cough, waiting to see if my kiddos would settle back to sleep or need me to comfort them.  Apparently that translated into a high word count.  I'm glad the gray cloud that hovered over last week had such a great silver lining. Now to see if any of the stuff I wrote while sleep dazed and drugged up is any good. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing vs. Reading

Yesterday I was laying in the tub getting a rare hour of relaxation while my husband took the kids.  I was also reading (as a mother, multitasking is a must even when relaxing) and I kept thinking how I should be writing my own book instead of reading someone else's.  Don't get me wrong, I know being well and widely read is as much a part of good writing as writing is.  However, lately my reading to writing ratio has been heavily skewed in reading's favor.

I started thinking about how much easier it is to read than write and how I wish it were the reverse.  But that, of course, isn't going to happen because the difference is this; reading is the equivalent of climbing into a car on a roller coaster, dropping the bar to hold you in and that's it, that's all that's expected of you.  The coaster does the rest of the work to take you on (hopefully) a great ride. 

Writing is the equivalent making your own coaster.  You sit down with a great idea, sketch a bit, then realize you have no idea how to do what you want to do.  So you go hunting for tools to educate yourself.  Once you've done that you design and engineer your own coaster, then badger family, friends, recent acquaintances, perfect strangers to test ride it for you and tell you how to perfect it.  Then you spend countless hours working out the glitches, sanding out the rough spots, doing everything you can to make it a smooth, seamless, enjoyable ride.

It's a lot of work and it's hard work.  It takes self-discipline, fortitude and an almost pathological ability to believe in yourself despite all the rejections and criticisms and better roller coasters than yours.  But it also brings it's own sort of satisfaction and enjoyment.  After all if you're the one who makes it you're the first one who gets to experience the ride.  And though it's sometimes a hard slog, there are always those loop de loops and twisty turns that make you laugh and screech in delight and think wow, I created that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No new is good news, right?

I found out last Friday that Authoress over at Miss Snark's First Victim has already made her way through the adult entrants in her Baker's Dozen Agent Auction and notification to the finalists is going to be going out today rather than next Monday as originally planned.

I hoped this morning I would wake up to a bright shiny finalist notification in my inbox but there was nothing.  So in the best tradition of an internet stalker I popped over to her blog to see if there was anything there stating she'd sent out the notifications.  There wasn't.  Crap. But no news is good news, right?

Now I'm having horrible flashbacks to my first days of querying when my email inbox was open ALL THE TIME.  Getting more than twenty feet away from my computer caused heart palpitations, sweating and slight nausea and getting close enough to actually look at it caused light-headedness, graying out of my vision and extreme nausea.  Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but I just hope my kids are okay with the fact that we're not leaving the house today. 

On a different note, I just read The Raising by Laura Kasischke and loved it.  Other than the conclusion, which was a bit abrupt and ambiguous for my taste, it was a really excellent book. I love the author's use of language and the little details about human reaction that ring so true and are so well and uniquely described.  Also it was far creepier than anything I've read in the horror genre in a long time and it wasn't even horror.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Up and Running. Finally!

Well, as you can see it took the full three weeks to get me connected again.  It was a bizarre three weeks.  I never completely stopped feeling like I lost a limb.  It's amazing how dependent I am on the internet.

It's also, however, been a productive three weeks.  I've made quite a bit of progress on my new project.  It's coming fast and messy and I have to soothe my type A by telling myself it's okay not to edit as I write, that that's how a first draft is supposed to be.  A month in and I'm still excited about the project and my ideas are a-flowing.  I gotta say it feels good.  This is the easiest writing I've done in ages.

Also I entered Seeds (remember that manuscript?  If you do, good for you because I barely do) in this contest over at Miss Snark's First Victim which is a great blog.  If you don't follow it you really should at least pop over and check it out.

So that's all that's new with me.  I'm sure I've missed out on tons in the blogosphere.  If you have any exciting, good, quirky, awful or downright weird news please feel free to share in the comments.  Also to my two followers who defected in the last three weeks, I'm sorry you left my blog.  I'll miss you and I mean that in all sincerity. And to the two peoplewho started following in the last three weeks Hello! and thanks for following.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Internet Issues

So I'm writing this post in hopes that my internet connection will hold long enough for me to publish it.  We are having some serious problems with our internet connection and our provider has given us a time frame of three more weeks before it's fixed.  Until I've got a reliable connection I'm not going to be able to post and my ability to comment on other people's blogs is going to be seriously compromised.  Sorry guys, I'll pop in as much as I'm able, but it won't be a lot. So I'll see you all in three weeks (hopefully sooner, but I'm not holding my breath)!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I know two heads are better than one. Does that apply to writing projects?

So there I was driving along in my car on the way home from a family outing, my husband asleep in the passenger seat, my kids snoozing in the back.  The music was low.  I was twirling my hair not thinking about much of anything, letting my thoughts go where they would then KABLAM! An idea for a book.

And there I was with nothing to write on, nothing to record with, hoping I could hold onto the contents of my brainpan through the rest of drive and the long process of bedtime.  I clung on with all my strength, conserved thought energy by responding to my husband and children with noncommital grunts then dashed to my laptop the moment the last goodnight kiss had been given.

I pounded out my ideas and thought 'Okay, well that's that.  Now I know what I'm going to be working on when my WIP is done."  Or so I thought.  That idea rattled and tapped around in my head, tantalized me with its newness, its potential, its mystery until I finally said, 'I give!' So now I'm working on two projects; one revision, one first draft.  It's the first time I've ever done this and I'm a little nervous.  My main concern is that the projects might bleed into one another and they are so very different I don't want one to compromise the other.  For those of you who have or are right now working on dual projects, how do you prevent crossover?  And do you give both projects equal time or do you let your muse dictate which one you work on and when?  Any advice would be much appreciated.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creative paralysis

I've been attempting to edit my WIP since May.  Yesterday I finally reached Chapter 4.  That's a chapter a month.  That's pretty sad.  Granted, I moved from Colorado to Idaho in that time, but that's not the reason my edit is moving along at the pace of an octogenarian. 

In May, I submitted Seeds to Jennifer Weltz and was all afire to get to the edit of WIP so I could have it ready and waiting when she signed me and asked what else I had.  Optimistic thinking to the point of delusion?  Of course it was, but it never hurts to be prepared.  However, every time I opened my WIP to do what I had to to have it ready to hand over to Ms. Weltz, I was seized by an inexplicable fatigue, which was quickly followed by a sense of ennui and then somehow I ended up on facebook chatting with one of my old college roommates or taking the neverending book quiz on goodreads. I thought this had something to do with the fact that I was supremely unhappy with the place I was living at the time.

After I moved back to Idaho and put the depression inducing time in Greeley behind me I opened my WIP and blazed through edits on the first two chapters in a week.  Yes, I thought, here we go.  I'm finally picking up some momentum on this thing.  Then I got the rejection from Ms. Weltz and suddenly there I was fatigued, bored, distracted, spending more time on MSN games than my WIP.  I couldn't figure out whas was wrong or how to get past it and I hated it.

Then just last week I stumbled on this post by YA author Mette Ivie Harrison and in the same week this one by YA author Elana Johnson.  Both posts talk about how writing for publication is much different than writing for themselves and how they both tend freeze up when writing for publication because they're worrying what their agents, editors, fans and critics will have to say.  Both have a project on the side that's just for them, where they don't worry about what others are going to think of it because no one else is ever going to see it.

I kept thinking about these posts, feeling like there was something important there.  Then it suddenly came to me, even though I wasn't agented or published my paralysis on my WIP stemmed from the same source as Mette and Elana's.  When working on my WIP while Ms. Weltz had Seeds I had been worrying she wouldn't like it because it was very different from Seeds and wouldn't help me 'build my brand'.  After she rejected Seeds I began to worry that no one anywhere, ever would like my writing enough to publish it or, hell, enough to even read it.  Bingo, perfect recipe for creative paralysis. 

So I had a little pep talk with myself, told myself the only thing I might ever get out of my writing was my own enjoyment and that was more than okay.  I stopped worrying about what those faceless, amorphous agents would think and finally, finally I opened my WIP with the same sense of anticipation and enjoyment that has been so woefully absent the past four months.  I edited two more chapters this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Conclusion, I need to write for myself, because if I don't I can't seem to write at all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be . . . .

It's Watching Willow Watts launch day!  Hooray for Talli and her book!  In the spirit of Willow, Talli asked anyone who wants to participate in Willow's launch to put on their blog who they'd be if they could be anyone.
I put a lot of thought into this (probably way more than I needed to) and honestly, I hope this doesn't sound incredibly narcissistic (I know it's going to sound a teeny bit narcissistic), I'd be myself.  Not myself of today, but myself of fifteen or so years ago.   Yep, I'd be that girl right there (despite the bad hair and serious overplucked eyebrows and questionable fashion sense).  And here's why.  That girl has a lot of great days ahead of her, lots of adventures, lots of great people to become friends with, lots of lessons to learn, lots of dreams to dream.  And I hope in another fifteen years, I'll wish I could be the me of today for the very same reasons. 

So there you have it, who I'd be if I could be anyone. 

If this little post has peaked your interest in Talli's book, I invite you to pop on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy of it.  If you'd like a little more info before purchasing feel free to check out my review of Willow. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Watching Willow Watts Review!

I didn't even realize yesterday was Monday and my regularly scheduled posting day until 11:30ish last night.  A little late for posting, I thought, so my post this week (obviously) is going to be on Tuesday instead.

And have I got a post for you.  I got the privilege and pleasure of reading an ARC of Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts and I really enjoyed it, but I'd like to expound more below, so read on if you're interested in a more in-depth opinion.

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?


With a premise like that I don’t know how you could not want to read this book.  And it lives up to the promise of its premise.  Told from the differing viewpoints of its great cast of characters you’re introduced to lovable and endearing Willow who’s given up her dreams to take care of her father and his foundering antique shop.  You also get to meet Jay Bellamy, a villanous agent you’ll love to hate.  There’s Cissy Havering an aged, bitter, ex (sort of) starlet and Willow’s unlikely savior and, finally my favorite, Betts Johnson, middle-aged, ample waisted, Southern divorcee who is at the mercy of her ungrateful grown children and finds solace in her Marilyn memorabilia.  All these folks are brought together by the ‘new’ Marilyn aka Willow in Belcherton, Britain’s ugliest village.

With laugh out loud moments and a thread of a romance running through it, Watching Willow Watts is a very enjoyable read.  And though it starts out as a light hearted romp the book poignantly delivers the message that not only should you be true to who you are, you also shouldn’t let anyone else dictate your individuality, no matter the cost.

Willow releases on Kindle on September 14th and you can buy it here

Next week instead of posting on the 12th, I'm going to be posting on Wednesday ther 14th as part of Talli's If I Could Be Anyone I'd Be . . . . party celebrating Willow's launch.  It's going to be tons of fun, so if you're not already planning on participating hit up Talli's blog to find out how you can be a part of it too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My return to the working world.

Not that I'm not working now.  Taking care of two kiddos is easily the most exhausting and demanding job I've ever had. I'm just making the transition to a job I actually get paid for. 

I can't say I'm thrilled about this.  I have so little time now to write and I know this is just going to shave off more.  And I'm going to miss those two little people who fill up almost every moment of my waking life. However, the husband and I took a look at our debt situation and the economic situation and it just doesn't make financial sense right now for me to stay home. 

Oh well, at least I got four good years to be nothing but a mommy and an aspiring writer.  I guess I'll just have to dust off my legal secretary cap, stick it on top of the other two and hope like heck it all works out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And the agent said . . .

No. Poop.

After a year and a few months of revising and more revising and one phone call and some emails and A LOT of hoping I got the verdict from Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and it's a no.  Ms. Weltz was very helpful and very professional and I learned so much from my interaction with her and except for the end result wouldn't have changed a thing about the experience.

I'm struggling through a crisis of doubt right now, but I think I'm coming out the other side because I've already compiled a list of new agents to query and I spent last night dusting off my query and synopsis.

So back on the query-go-round for me.  I can't say I'm delighted to be there, but it is what it is, so I might as well make the best of it.

On a lighter note, I'm reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and am LOVING it.  If you like dystopian YA fiction with a lot of action and an edge this is the book for you.  It's one of those books that I want to burn through to find out what happens as soon as possible, but I don't want to read it too fast because then it will be done.  Happily, though, this is only book one of a trilogy, so I don't have to restrain myself too much.

How about you guys?  Did any big news come your way since last Monday?  Have you or are you reading any books you'd like to reccomend because heaven knows I'm always on the lookout for a good book.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crap, I'm supposed to do a post today.

Wow, that week went fast!  This weekend was my seventh wedding anniversary and my husband and I spent it at a really great B&B by the Teton Mountains.  I guess I must still be buzzing from the fabulous time I had because the fact that it was Monday and I needed to do a post whacked me upside the head just a few seconds ago. 

Needless to say this will be a short one.  Mostly I just wanted to tell Talli thanks again for giving me that great interview and for hanging out at my blog last Monday.  I also wanted to say thanks to all of you who stopped by and read the interview.  It was so great getting all of your comments.  Lastly, I want to welcome all of you new followers.  It's great to have you here!

Next week my post will be more focused and I'll put a bit more preparation than thirty seconds worth into it.  Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Featuring an interview with (drumroll please) Talli Roland

If you write and you've been around the blogosphere for the last year and a half or so you've probably heard of (and most likely follow) Talli Roland. If you don't, well, get on over to her blog and sign up.

This week I have the immense pleasure of featuring an interview with Talli. For those of you who don't know (and those of you who do) Talli's first work of fiction The Hating Game was released on Kindle by Prospera Publishing last November and in paperback March of this year. Here's a handy dandy link if you want to buy it in paperback and another one if you want it on Kindle. Her second work of fiction Watching Willow Watts will be released on Kindle next month!

I was a wee bit curious about life post publication and thought some (or all) of you might be as well, so I rustled up some questions and Talli graciously agreed to answer them. With no further ado I give you the interview.

Q: Prior to The Hating Game you had two travel guides published under the name Marsha Moore? How was the publishing experience for The Hating Game different?

It wasn’t dramatically different, really, although I was much more nervous for The Hating Game to be published. Writing fiction felt more personal, even if it was under a pen name. I was terrified yet super excited to put it out there.

Q: Did the contacts you made in publishing the travel guides play any part in getting The Hating Game published?

They definitely did, because I didn’t have to query. In fact, I didn’t even have the book written! I just pitched the synopsis and blurb to my editor, and I signed the contract on the strength of that information.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out The Hating Game was going to be published? What was Mr. TR’s reaction?

I was thrilled, because even though I enjoy writing non-fiction, fiction was really my dream. You can probably guess what Mr TR and I indulged in… it begins with W and ends with E!

Q:You pitched The Hating Game directly to Prospera Publishing who chose to publish it. Did you get an agent at some point in the process? If so, how did you go about that? If not, are you planning on getting an agent at any time in the future?

I don’t have an agent and I’m not looking for one at the moment. Publishing is changing so quickly at the moment, and I’m very happy where I’m at right now. A lot of opportunities are opening up for authors and I’m in a great position to move quickly to maximize them.

Q: On your blog you mentioned working with an editor at Prospera. How closely did you work with the editor? Did he or she have a lot of suggestions? Was it difficult making changes to your manuscript based on someone else’s suggestions?

Any novel that’s published is a collaborative process, and you quickly learn not to be precious about your work. I always appreciate any input, but whether or not I agree to changes depends on how strongly I feel about what’s recommended. Ultimately, it’s my name that’s going to be on the novel, so I need to be happy with it. So far, working with an editor has been a fantastic learning experience and once that’s resulted in a much stronger finished product.

Q:What is the process from manuscript to a book the public can purchase? What decisions did you have to make in regards to layout, design, cover art, those sorts of things? Did you like that aspect of the process?

The process differs depending on the publisher, but generally a manuscript goes through several rounds of edits before it’s laid out. Once it’s laid out, the opportunities for changing text diminish greatly, because one change can throw the whole document out of whack! I love looking at covers! That’s one of my favourite parts of the process, actually, because it’s when you realize your book is going to be out there in the world! Luckily, my publisher and I worked together on lay-out and design, so I had quite a bit of input into what I wanted and what I thought worked. Most authors aren’t that fortunate.

Q:Was there any part of the publishing process that you disliked? What part did you enjoy most?

I can’t say I find the seemingly endless line edits that enjoyable! It’s so frustrating when you read something over and over and over, yet still find mistakes. The part I enjoy the most is when the manuscript is laid out because then it’s almost finished and actually looks like a book. Oh, and when you hold the book in your hands, of course. There’s nothing better.

Q:I know the publishing industry has undergone a major shift in recent years and authors are required to do quite a bit more to promote their work. You’ve done an amazing job! I had a baby and pretty much disappeared from the blogosphere for about six months. I just happened to pop in on the day of your web splash and I was in awe. How did you come up with the plan for that? Do you have any advice for people who are trying to get the word out about their book?

Thank you, Angie! The plan came to mind because I’d seen another author do something similar, without tying it to Amazon. I thought it would be great to have a tangible outcome to give me something to drive towards. I didn’t want to ask people outright to buy my novel. Instead, I asked them to help spread the word. My advice to other authors is to spend time building relationships first, before you approach a large number of people for help. So many authors now send out messages asking for people to buy their book (on Twitter, in particular!) without even knowing who they’re asking. People are much keener to help if you’ve invested time in getting to know them.

Q: Tell me a little bit about what you went through on the release date of your book both emotionally and what you actually did on that day.

I was terrified, because I’d made such a big fuss about my quest to take on Amazon and I wasn’t sure if anything would actually happen! It would be terribly embarrassing if my rank stayed the same. But people started tweeting about my novel, buying, and my rank kept rising… right up to number 24 on Amazon.co.uk and into the top 500 on Amazon.com! Words can’t explain how thankful I was for all the support! By the end of the day, I was exhausted and elated.

Q: How does it feel to see your book in stores? Have you been out and about and seen anyone reading it? If so what was that experience like?

I haven’t seen anyone reading my novel but ninety per cent of my sales are on Kindle, which makes spying a little difficult! I’d love to spot a reader in the wild with my book.

Q: What’s been the most difficult part of having your work out there?

Definitely being judged – and sometimes not so favourably. Every consumer has a right to their opinion and of course I’m extremely grateful people are buying my novel and reading it, but sometimes reading a not-so-great review can be disheartening. I’ve toughened up quite a bit in the past few months, but I can’t say it doesn’t hurt! Still, one of the best things I’ve heard was that if everyone loves your writing, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Q: Has your life changed significantly since The Hating Game was published? If so, how?

Not really, except for the first time in four years (since I started writing full-time), I’m actually making a bit of money! I can buy shoes without feeling guilty, which is a rather nice feeling. But apart from that, nothing’s changed.

Q: I know you’re currently at work on Watching Willow Watts which will be released on Kindle November of this year. Has it been a different experience writing a book you know will be published versus one you really hoped would be? If so, could you give me a few examples of how it’s different?

Since neither book was written before I’d got the book deal, it wasn’t that different. The biggest difference with writing Willow was that now I had something to live up to. With a debut novel, there aren’t any expectations. For your second book, you don’t want people to be disappointed. You want people to love it more – or, at the very least – just as much!

Q: Did you learn anything in publishing The Hating Game that is making your experience with Watching Willow Watts easier? If so, what?

Er… no. I wish I could say yes, but every novel is different with its own unique challenges.

Q: What do you wish you would have known previous to getting published that you now know? And what nuggets of wisdom can you pass on to those of us in the as yet unpublished masses?

It doesn’t get easier. I don’t mean that in a negative way but somehow, I had the idea that once I got published, everything would just flow from that and there wouldn’t be any bumps on the way. Being published doesn’t necessarily open doors. Having a great story with a great concept does!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add that wasn’t covered in my questions?

Before I met other published writers, I wasn’t aware other people had struggled as much – and more – than I had. Some had written for years and years before getting published (and are now bestsellers!). I know it sounds horribly clich├ęd, but really: don’t give up. If you love to write and you want to get published, persistence is everything

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: romantic comedies, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. The Hating Game is her first novel and her second, Watching Willow Watts, will be out on Kindle in September. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Consistency thy name is Success (or is it the other way around?)

So you know how sometimes you'll be tooling around on the internet and suddenly read something that hits you right between the eyes kaBLAM!  I had that experience on Saturday (after we FINALLY got our internet connection running in our new place).  I was bopping around blogs to see what all I missed out on the last couple of week and came across this post about writing consistently on agent Rachelle Gardner's blog.  It was so great I just had to share it.

Since completing my revisions on Seeds, I've had a bit of an issue with consistency.  I'll sit down and in sort of a frenzy hammer out some edits on my WIP and then not touch it again for three or four days, sometimes, for as long as a week.  I thought as long as I was doing something on it I was okay.

The above linked post changed all that.  So for this week, my goal is to write/edit at least a little bit everyday on my WIP, even if it means (as it inevitably will)  resisting the siren call of So You Think You Can Dance or True Blood or the unbelievably gripping books I've been reading about the fatal May 1996 expeditions to Everest.

How about you guys?  Any life altering things come your way on the internet this weekend?  Any big goals (writing or otherwise) for the week?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moving Mayhem!

Short short post.  I'm sorry I've been MIA for the last week.  Last Sunday I made the drive from Colorado to Idaho and have since been bouncing from relative to relative's house trying not to wear out my welcome while frantically searching for a place for my little family to lay their heads permanently (or at least a year).  And success!  But now comes the unpacking. UGH!  Hopefully I'll be back next week so I can flit from blog to blog like a butterfly and sip the nectar of your words (how was that for a sappy and over the top simile?), but seriously I can't wait for things to settle down so I can see what all of you have been up to while I've been moving.

And welcome to all my new followers, all five of you!  I'm so happy to see you here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life gets in the way

You know those times when the universe itself seems to conspire against your writing goals?  Yeah, well, I'm there.  I'm trying to get through the first round of revisions on my WIP which I finished last JUNE!  Over a year ago and I'm still revising it.

Lots of life happened between then and now.  I had a baby.  I moved across two states.  I revised another novel and sent it to an agent (still waiting for word on that by the way, but that's okay by me because life is a little crazy right now). I had a good two months where I was getting in some quality writing time. And now I'm moving back to the state that I moved away from nine months ago, but really that's the best thing that's happened to me and my family in a long time.  In fact, I'm so excited to be moving back I (almost) don't mind the packing.

Once again, however, this poor WIP that can't seem to get off the ground is just going to have a wait a little longer, which is frustrating to me.  I feel like my writing muscles are getting all weak and flabby.  I'm hoping once the move is done I'll have a chance to really work them out and get this WIP revised already.

How about you guys?  Any big changes that are keeping you from working out those writing muscles?

P.S. 100 Followers!!!!! Hooray!  Welcome to all you new folks.  Thanks for helping me get to 100!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can you have glory without the guts?

I'm always on the lookout for a good horror novel.  What can I say? I love that tingle up my spine, that freaked out, walking down a dark hall and something's behind me feeling.  A few months ago I stumbled on a new horror novelist and I was so excited.  I checked out all of her books and read them one right after another bam, bam, bam. 

I liked the books. I was entertained and suitably freaked out by them, but I felt like there was something lacking.  I couldn't figure it out.  They had all the makings of a good book, a sympathetic and relatable protagonist, quirky or interesting supporting characters, great setting, high stakes, a no holds barred climax and a good ending. Somehow, though, they still left me feeling flat.

Recently, I came across this horror author's blog.  After reading some of her posts I realized what it was that was missing from her writing.  Technically, her books are near perfect, written to an exact formula (literally, she has the formula on her blog) to give her readers the most bang for their buck.  I could tell this woman had spent a great deal of time studying the science of crafting a good story.  However, I think in her search for writing glory she left the guts of her books by the side of the road.  By corseting her writing into this formula for literary success, there was no spontaneity in her plot, no room for the characters to become their own person and take the story to new and interesting places, no place where she allowed her creativity to take her and the reader off the beaten path.  Doing those things takes guts because it's scary not to know precisely where your book is going to go, whether it's going to come out right or if you're going to have to go back and delete 75 pages (and waste countless hours of writing effort) because you allowed a secondary character to rip the plot out of your hands and run with it.  It takes courage and a touch of insanity to allow that to happen, but I think those moments are the ones that have the potential to make a book shine.

This was my take on the whole situation, but I'd be interested to know what you guys think.  Have any of you had a similar experience? Or do you think following a formula is the best way to write a book?

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Pretend things aren't as important as things that are real."

The other day I was trying to get little blonde person and her towhead brother out the door.  Little blonde person kept insisting I wait until she finished having tea with her friend Rabuco (no idea who or what Rabuco is or where little blonde person came up with the name).  We were already late and the mercury was about to blow out the top of my frustration meter.  I said to little blonde person, "Little blonde person, we have to go right now.  We're already late." "But Mommy," she insisted. "I have to finish having tea with Rabuco.  We're playing pretend."  I snapped back, "Pretend things aren't as important as things that are real. Now let's go."

Instantly I felt like an enormous hypocrite.  Because, folks, there are days when what's going on in the world I'm creating in that oft-visited Word document on my laptop is just as, if not more important to me than the diaper changing and meal preparing and house cleaning and goodnight kisses.  In fact, there are days when I can't wait to escape my mommy duties and plunge into that world.

I thought about that as I tugged a crying little blonde person through the house and out to the car.  After stowing her little brother in his seat, I knelt and took her by the shoulders.  I apologized for being sharp with her and told her I was sorry we didn't have time for her to finish having tea with Rabuco.  I told her Rabuco was welcome to come with us.  Her tears switched off and were replaced by a grin as she shouted for Rabuco to hurry and get in the car because we were late.

I'm just wondering if any of you sometimes neglect a sinkful of dishes or let your child nap way longer than is good for you or send your husband and children off without you just so you can finish having tea with Rabuco, so to speak.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Catch up

So this posting every Monday, I'm struggling with it.  If you couldn't tell.  The last month has been nuts. 

I got the feedback from my critique group.  It was fantastic.  I love my group.  They're truly, as critique groups go, hell, as human beings go, stellar. 

Based on their suggestions, I revised for almost three weeks, then submitted Seeds to the agent.  I haven't heard anything from her yet, but, considering her busyness level, I expected that and truth be told I don't mind a bit. I sort of feel like someone on death row who's been granted a stay of execution.  I'm just so terrified she won't like it.

A week after I sent the manuscript I traveled to Idaho to visit my family and stayed there for two weeks.  I had a houseguest the following week and the week after that I spent trying to adjust to 'normal' life again.

I've been popping into all of your blogs, but haven't left any comments. I hope to get back to commenting on a regular basis now that things have slowed down a bit.  I also hope to get back to weekly postings.  I hope everyone's writing is going well and that you all have something (or several somethings) fantastically fun planned for your summer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Today is the day.

The meeting for the critique of Seeds is tonight.  As the day goes on the butteflies in my stomach spawn and increase their flaps per second just a little more.  At this rate, I'll probably be able to fly to the meeting.  Of course that would save me some gas money.  Hmm maybe that's the answer to the energy crisis right there, figure out some way for the population to maintain a state of delirious agitation.

Alright, I'm rambling.  Truly I can't pull my thoughts together enough to say anything else. 

Hope everyone's week is off to a less nerve racking start than mine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Freedom?

I'm going to try to do a post every Monday.  My success at this, of course, depends on my childrens' willingness to not need me long enough for me to do the post.  Here's hoping.

I decided to do this post on Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I'm not usually a fan of Oprah's picks, but the subject matter of this one was interesting to me, so I checked it out (literally, from my local library). 

Here's what I thought: bleak, bleak, bleak.  The writing was good and his ability to capture certain emotional states of being is phenomenal, but those emotional states of being ranged from sad to suicidal.  I'm not a person that needs everything sunshine and roses, but from the state of the world to the state of its characters this book left me feeling hopeless. The characters were so selfish and self-pitying I found it hard to like any of them. I could only take the book in small doses.  If I read more than ten or so pages at a time I found myself getting sucked into the oozing pool of self-pity and despair and hopelessness.  Seriously I felt like I needed to fortify myself with an antidepressant or two before opening the book.

The book ends with a few small rays of hope but after the rest of it I felt like they were either not enough or too much.  Not enough because in no way did they compensate for what he put his characters (and the reader) through in the previous hundreds of pages.  Too much because after all the hopelessness it almost felt to me like his editor said, 'too much sad. You need to brighten it up a bit', so he did and it wasn't believable. He should have just stuck with the bleak.

He must have done something right though because the book has been hanging out in my brain matter since I finished it on Thursday.  Not really in a good way though.  I find myself wishing I could open up my head and scrub out the scum of sadness the book left in there. So yeah, that's my opinion on Oprah's pick.  I probably won't read another one, since the last one I read had much the same effect.

I'm sure many of you read it long before me, but if you can remember I'd be interested in hearing what you thought of it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The critiquers have it.

I finished tweaking my manuscript at 1:09 a.m. yesterday morning and immediately sent it to my critique group for fear if I didn't I'd tinker it to death and never send it at all.

I'm a little nervous to hear what they have to say, because while these folks are nice, they're also honest.  Which is great!  But also a little intimidating.

However, I'm excited about having my novel that much closer to being ready to resend to the agent.

However, the closer I get to that point, the more scared I get that she's going to hate it.

Oh goodness, why can't this be easier?

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm back, baby!

I've logged on to blogger about a thousand times in the last month or so desperately wanting to post.  However, I made myself wait because I was in the midst of the revisions the agent suggested and thought my time and energy would be best directed there. 

As of 10:33 p.m. last night I completed those revisions.  Now I get the joy of turning them over to a really great critique group I found in my new hometown (P.S. I moved to Colorado last October).  I'm sure those good folks will have lots of suggestions for me, but the major overhaul is done and I can't tell you how good that feels. 

I'm hoping to have it all shiny and pretty and ready to submit on June 2nd of this year which is the one year anniversary of the initial phone call from the agent.  I'll submit it sooner, of course if my critique group has no major issues (That, however, is probably positive thinking to the point of self delusion).

So that's it.  That's my big news.

Now onto your big news! Though I haven't posted or commented I have been out there lurking in the blogosphere over the last few months and I want to give a belated Whoo Hoo! to Talli Roland for the publication of her book The Hating Game, to Jessica Bell for the upcoming release of her book String Bridge (check out the book trailer. How cool is that?), to Carolina Valdez Miller for signing with Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management and to Jen Daiker for getting her manuscript ready to query. 

I know there are lots of other exciting and wonderful things I missed out on only being able to nibble around the edges of your blogs for the last six months, so please post your exciting news, writerly or otherwise, in the comments so I can pass along my congratulations.

Though my posts and comments won't happen on any kind of regular basis for awhile (still adjusting to being the mother of two) it's good to be back and I'm looking forward to spending more time with all my blogger friends.