Monday, December 7, 2009

the wait

Yeah, so remember when I made that post about "the waiting game?" I'm in it again. After producing sparklies and throwing a few mini-tantrums, the partial has been sent. Now, it's just a matter of keeping my act together until I hear back from the agent. I have four ideas:

First, I can continue to make edits to the manuscript. I'm still waiting for most of the beta readers to get their act together and actually read the novel. So, I can certainly make corrections as they come and that way, perhaps the full manuscript will be ready when the request comes.

I don't want you to think that the novel isn't done. It's sooo done. In fact, it's so done that the sequel is done. That's how done it is. I just don't like the sequel, so I'm rewriting it. However, as I write, I continue to improve. So, logically, my writing can always get better and therefore, the manuscript can get better (even if it's done).

Second, I can try to fully hash out and complete my re-writes for the sequel. This has much appeal, but I'm brain-farting with what I want this conflict arc to be. It's tough when you have a major story arc that stretches over multiple books, yet each one has to have its own conflict arc. Sometimes, I wish this was simple epic fantasy. Things would be easier.

Third, I can work on another book entirely. This is also a very yummy concept. It is possible that the current novel will not get the love it deserves because it's part of a series. While I tried my best to make the novel have it's own conflict arc -- abstract as it may be -- there are still many unanswered questions and a cliff-hanger ending. I could work on one of my other book ideas and bang out a stand-alone. Then I can try and work on publishing that novel.

Fourth, I could just kick it and let what ever will happen happen. This includes catching up on my reading, listening to audio books, and having all sorts of fun. This doesn't tend to last for very long because I end up with a new story idea. I'll inevitably end up getting a new idea, writing half a book, and never finishing the dozen or so I've already got. But, this is a good idea if I don't want to blow out my candle -- so to speak.

So many possibilities, so little time. What would you do if you were me?

P.S. I really like Stars. They are an awesome band and you should listen to them!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

oh geez...

I have another partial request. I probably should have posted this marvelous piece of news when I got it nearly a week ago, but I've been busy with trying to make sparklies happen.

Yes, sparklies. If you're not Harry Potter, then you might realize how difficult it is to make sparklies occur. I am not Harry Potter. Nor am I in any way Hogwart's worthy. Therefore, this week has been like pulling a diamond out of a slug.

It wasn't that bad actually. I think my novel would be offended if I called it a slug. Heck, I'm offended by calling my novel a slug. Anyway, I have been working hard. In the last week I revised my story so many times that I'm actually confused, I have written a fairly strong synopsis, I've labored over an author bio, made up a title page, and polished a cover letter.

I've also plotted the downfall of numerous people who have either failed at beta reading in my time of need or have made me feel like a worm while I'm obviously a centipede. I've decided that I hate people who make you feel two inches tall more than I hate people who just can't keep a promise.

Now, the time has come. Tomorrow I will mail out my partial request and it will travel across the United States. When it hits Portland, I expect it to stop and make a visit. And hopefully the agent that I am interested in will love my partial and want more. Then I'll start the whole process again.

I've learned a lot this week, so even if this doesn't fly, it wasn't in vain. Please wish me luck!

In other exciting news: I'm getting a new laptop. This one will have both a webcam and a 12 cell battery. So, you can expect me to be working from Panera much more often and perhaps making a video.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

If it isn't obvious by this point in time that I've hit my "oh, my God I suck as an author" point, well I have. I recently read a blog post by Nathan Bransford an agent who is also a published author. In this post, he talked about how horrible it is to be in the waiting stage of getting published. You're constantly waiting with baited breath for a response. Then, when you finally get one, it's most likely a rejection.

I try to keep in mind that statistically only one out of twenty say yes. The story is: I already had one yes that turned out to be an eventual no and now I'm beating myself up. I keep thinking "if only my first few pages had been more XYZ." So, now I'm progressively going back to the drawing board and rehashing my book (AGAIN).

It's not too bad. I have about six new beta readers and one of them has already given me some very excellent feedback. I'm excited about these new readers because they are all in the age bracket I'm writing for. Plus, at least half of them are die-hard urban fantasy/paranormal fiction readers and two are grammar/literature people.

In addition to my new betas, I'm changing some minor plot details. I'm tightening up a few loose ends and I'm giving the book a couple of new scenes and two new chapters. In the interest of space, I'm cutting out a couple of scenes and chapters as well. The book has a new beginning and a new ending.

I'm changing the title from That Which Lies in Darkness to Lies in Darkness. It's more marketable that way.

In addition to all of that, I'm also going to rewrite my query. I figure there is no harm in trying a different approach to the market. I'm flirting with pitching as young adult, but I can't really see teens understanding some of the concepts and I don't want angry parents thinking I'm converting their children into some cult. We'll see.

My special project for Black Friday is to write a kick-ass summary for the book and maybe, if I'm not dead by the end of my summary, I'll work on a proposal. I'm a little apprehensive about both of these projects. I've never been very good at streamlining detail. I'm known for my ability to retell an hour long movie over the span of an entire day. As for the proposal-well, I haven't written one since Grossman's publishing class and I'm not sure I came out with a glaring understanding of the subtlety of book proposals. But, at least I'm willing to try.

I'm also completely convinced that I need a laptop, a web page, and a vlog account on YouTube.

I'm doing this all while I still have queries floating around and yes, I still consider my book complete. I'm under the general assumption that no good writer ever really lets any one of their pieces get published without that voice in the back of their head saying "I could have made that better" (even after they just spent a year of editing to make it better). If an agent or publisher doesn't like that philosophy I'm not sure if I want to work for them. A writer is always improving and I want someone who understands my desire to grow as a writer and story teller. Plus, I can't see anyone who is in the business getting ticked off at my desire to become more marketable.

Meanwhile, I'm still on strike from both reading and listening to books. I think it's helping. But, I'm suffering from spending far too much time networking with other authors. Now, I want to read their work. Oh well, guess my TBR stack is going to get a lot larger this winter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Comics, breaks, and music

I've decided that I need to take a break from listening to my audio books. I think they are infecting my ability to concentrate on my own writing. While I've come up with a number of promising story ideas, it will not help if I can't dedicate myself to actually writing any of them. I think a small part of this inability has something to do with being a little jaded with my efforts to find an agent. So, while trying to raise my spirits and focus positive energy in the direction of queried agents, I'm going to listen to lots of happy, upbeat music instead of wallowing in the success of other Best Selling authors.

I also have to announce that I'm addicted to Goblins. I don't really know why. I just found it when I was doing some research for one of my book ideas, started reading it and couldn't really stop. I'm not a gamer, but I'm dorky enough and have enough gamer friends that I can appreciate the humor of this strip. I recommend it.

Side Note: I just decided that the girl that sits next to me at work reminds me of a skinnier, less pimply version of Marigold from Questionable Content. Except the girl at work is obsessed with RoosterTeeth and not Yaoi.

Anyway. I'm focusing on The Blood Heritage Cycle for the next few weeks. I spent a couple of hours yesterday doing some proofing and major editing of the first book, Blood Foundling. I have most of it written, but I want to tighten it up and make it completely stand-alone. To do that, I have to have a major conflict resolution for Gwyn and I can't quite decide what that will be. I'm thinking of including some sort of major victory for the Mystereen Legion.

I also spent time clarifying the plot of the second book, Crossed Blood. I have quite a bit of this book written and I think it's going to end up being my favorite book out of the Mother Blood Series. It has a darker, more psychological turn to it and Gwyn is old enough that I can approach some more mature content. The major conflict resolution centers around the final end to the war and a final end to her relationship issues (maybe...).

After some deliberation, I think I'm going to expand the Mother Blood Series to four books instead of three and I'll probably do the same for the Child's Blood Series as well (one for each of Gwyn's children). I'm excited to be working on Blood Heritage again, it's been my little pet project since high school and I think, after already writing so much for Will of the Fallen, I'll be able to approach this with more experience under my belt.

P.S.-I want the shirt in the picture and the Concept/Art belongs entirely to Tarol Hunt. Yay Tarol!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Baccano of the Stand Alone Complex

Odd title, I know. But it has a point, I promise. I have this big problem with "The Stand Alone Complex." We're not talking Ghost in the Shell here, we're talking the stand alone novel. I am a writer who likes to write. I love my characters, I love my stories, I love my plot lines, and I love details about each and every little thing in my novels. I'm not a fan of the info-dump, so the only way to properly conduct a novel is to constantly chant: slow and steady wins the race.

What does that leave me? An excessively long (but good) story. It could be one story or a number of small stories making up the whole. You decide.

The issue with this is my sad luck of being an unpublished writer. A fact that is made more difficult by the truth that agents and publishers alike have cold feet when it comes to taking on new author's series. Not to say it doesn't happen. Look at J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer. It's just tough. And honestly, I don't know what the fuss is about.

No story that has ever been published has as beginning or an end. I say this after having just been enlightened. (And now I am talking about anime.) I just finished watching Baccano! and I'm having a mini spaz-fest over the punchline to this series. says this: "Each of the stories in the series involves several unrelated plots intersecting and crossing each other as events spiral further and further out of control. Immortal alchemists, mafia operated speakeasies, and many other elements of pulp fiction mashed together for a world straight out of the movies." I'd like to add that these stories occur within the framework of Carol learning a life lesson from the vice-president.

After watching 16 episodes of convoluted plot line and getting incredibly involved with all these characters (half of whom are immortal-so obviously you want to know what they've been up to and what they are going to end up doing) the series just ends. Well, it doesn't just end. Young Carol gets her lesson from the vice-president. And it is...Wait for it...There are no main characters and there are no beginnings or ends to a story.

The basic idea is that one person connects to many others whether they realize it or not. And because there isn't just one character, there is no end because characters keep getting added and once new characters are added you have to trace their past to get to know them, so there is no beginning either. Especially when you are dealing with immortals, gods, and other supernatural beings (I might add).

This makes me feel justified in writing books that are continuously moving back and forth among plot lines, characters, and time frames. It also makes me feel justified in writing long stories. Of course, not everyone in the publishing industry watches anime and that philosophy probably wont stick. But still, I don't feel so bad about writing a book about how someone who is older than the Flood (perhaps even caused the flood) has come to affect the life of a modern day shut-in. Not at all.

Oh, P.S. - I finished Stephanie Meyer's The Host and I loved it. Although, I'm hoping the next novel doesn't have a self sacrificing chick with split-personality love disorder. I think Stephanie has filled that quota in her professional career.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Ever hear that saying: Don't judge a book by it's cover? I'm having one of those cringe moments where my guilty conscience is thrashing my judgment with a cat o' nine tails. That, and I'm kind of ashamed of myself.

You see, I have this inexplicable reaction to certain people. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I just dislike people and everything associated with them. Even if I don't know them, I dislike them. I have this problem with Keira Knightly, Lindsay Lohan...and I had this problem with Stephanie Meyer.

Needless to say, I disliked Twilight and everything about it because I disliked Stephanie Meyer. At first I thought it was a jealously thing, but I don't dislike other authors who are just as famous or write in the same genre. I just didn't like Stephanie and I don't think I'll ever know why.

Anyway, I convinced myself that I was being an idiot. A lot of my friends recommended the Twilight Saga and I knew I should read it because it's popular and in my genre. So, I decided to face my dislikes and finally audiobook Twilight. It's two weeks later and I'm finished with the series. And I'm now officially a Twilight groupie.

This was one of the few series I've read that I didn't complain about when I wasn't listening. It was one of those few series that I found myself thinking about when I wasn't listening. I liked the voice actor. I wasn't bored by the story. Granted, I'm a little annoyed that my own YA is a little too similar (even though I'd never read Twilight before) and I'll have to rewrite a lot of it, but I'll get over it. I'm also a little sad I watched the movie before I read the book. I think it ruined the inevitable Edward Cullen infatuation...seeing Robert Pattinson when I think of Edward ruins my perfect man fantasies. He's so not hot in my world.

Many of my friends dislike Twilight because they say Stephanie Meyer is not a good writer. And I have to think to myself: This isn't literature, it's commercial storytelling. The story is brain fodder, something that is both interesting and engaging but not over the top when it comes to analytical thought. It's even a little predictable.

But, it's still good and I'll admit that I was wrong to have had such a seething dislike of Twilight. After having read her books and realized I misjudged, I'm no longer a staunch opponent of Ms. Meyer and I mentally apologize. I'm even looking forward to listening to The Host.

The point of this ramble to to remind myself that I should give everyone and every book a chance to impress me. Though I still don't like Keira Knightly or Lindsay Lohan, even after watching them act, I'm hopeful that one day I'll end up being wrong. I'd find it funny if they and I ended up being best friends or something (after I'm a famous novelist, of course).

As for Stephanie Meyer, I look forward to bumping into her at a conference one of these days and personally thanking her for not only writing an entertaining series, but making me realize I have this little problem that I need to work on fixing. Who ever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Way too early

It's officially three o'clock in the morning and I've been "up" since...Wednesday morning? So, I've got multiple infections again, and I'm on a lot of meds. So, I guess that means I can't sleep either? Been having some wicked strange twilight dreams, not the good ones that give you story ideas, but the ones that give you night sweats.

Other than that, I still haven't heard back from any of the agents who either still have my query or have my partial manuscript. I'm still erring on no news is good news. I'm going to fall back on that for about a month, give the agents time, and then I'm going to send another batch of queries out.

I finally finished The Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoyed this series quite a bit. I could definitely see some parallels between Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I wonder if that was on purpose or not...

I started Twilight by Stephanie Meyer yesterday. Already, I'm beginning to see some similarities between This Sidhe of the Hill (my wip YA paranormal fantasy) and this novel. Mainly new girl meets moody boy who treats her like crap and has eyes that change color. But, the similarities end there.

Anyway, it seems that the voice actor for Twilight will do a good job, which makes me happy.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I've been so busy with the events of the past few weeks that I've been truly shabby with my blogging. So, small updates on everything will be occurring over the next few paragraphs. To make life manageable, I'm going to focus on two things.

The first is the happy news that after three rejection letters and a small edit to my query letter, I have a partial manuscript in the hands of a very likable agent. Also, I have not yet heard back from two of the other agents that have my query. At this point in time, although I'm quite impatient when it comes to other people responding to me, no news is good news. I wait with baited breath.

The second is an update on my audio-book situation. I've been attached to my iPod whenever my in-put in conversations and mental computing skills are not needed by the general public. Basically, when I'm driving, walking, gyming, working at the archive, or eating.

Since my last post I've listened to the following:

All three books in His Dark Materials, an astounding series by Philip Pullman. *hearts, stars, and horse shoes* This series is an OMG sort of series. It's way up there on my likability scale in language, content, characterization, and plot. I would recommend it to anyone, adult and child alike, and I think the man is a genius. Pure. And. Simple. Not to mention, I think the lay-out is similar to a number of my own books... So, I can see myself sitting down and having a spot of tea with Mr. Pullman about making people think about things that make them uncomfortable.

The first five books in Christine Feehan's Dark Series. Brilliant in theory, sub-par in execution. Feehan is good with back story and coming up with quirky things to say, but after five books, you get sick of the same character dynamics and repetitive sex scenes. There were times that I promised myself that if I heard the same adjective or scene set up one more time, I was going to kill myself.

The biggest transgressors: male obsession with touching hair and messaging neck, derivatives of silk and satin, pure male, like a great predatory 'insert sharp toothed animal here', and -of course- her flat stomach, narrow rib cage, long hair, and big eyes. BLEH It's fun once, but when all your characters start looking like interchangeable frail, anorexic Barbie and steroid induced berserker Ken dolls, there is an issue.

Despite that, the books were like cheese doodles. My definition of a cheese doodle: fluffy junk that tastes like crap with mildly appealing stuff on top of it. My definition of a Feehan book: fluffy junk that reads like crap with a mildly appealing plot line. Cheese doodles may look a little different from each other, but they still taste and digest the same. I could repeat that in terms of a Dark novel, but I think you get the picture. However, as much as I don't particularly like cheese doodles, I find myself eating them time and again. I kind of had that problem with Feehan's books. You get attached to the Carpathian males, and even though I'm a feminist and I hate the male-female dynamics of her books, I find myself digressing back to my socialized gender role and wanting to coddle Feehan's men.

And don't even get me started on the voice actress for the Dark Series, Juanita Parker. Besides occasionally messing up who was doing what to whom and confusing me for a millionth of a second, acrosst? Yes, she pronounced ACROSS as ACROSST...every single time. IN FIVE BOOKS. Didn't anyone correct the poor woman after the first one? I mean, I suppose I should leave room for the possibility that she has a speech impediment or something, but really? Really? She did so well all the rest of the time, I guess that's what bugged me.

I'm currently making my way through the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I will admit that I have only read half of the books and thought it was high time that I actually made it through the whole series. I'm reminded, once again, of how much I love The Magician's Nephew. I will admit to liking the whole series so far, but will review it in entirety upon its completion. I'm currently on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and will be finished with the series by Thursday.

If you want to know what stories get me all squirmy inside, you simply have to imaginatively address spirituality, creation, or the supernatural. At least at this moment in time.

The next series will be The Twilight Saga. *shudders* I really don't want to, but I feel like it has become a necessity in my market, so please don't judge. I've heard some horror stories and I can bet I'm probably going to be ranking on it when I'm finished a few weeks from now. But, after that will be some Laurell K. Hamilton and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, so I'll try not to dig my eyes out with a spoon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The first rejection

There is no title for today.

I officially sent out a few agent queries yesterday and I got my first rejection back today. Nothing flowery. Just a simple: "Not for me, but thanks." That's it. At least it didn't take four hundred form letter words to let me down that gently. I suppose I sound bitter, but I don't mean it to be. This particular agent wasn't anywhere near the top of my list and I haven't sent my queries to all of my top picks yet.

I have to write a summary of the book to send to those cats. That's an endeavor all in itself. I have a half-way acceptable 3 page synopsis at this time, but I need to make it tighter and more active. Then, from what I've heard through the grape vine I have to write a five page one too. I'm not bothering with that quite yet. I'll make one if someone asks me to send me one.

I suppose that's running into the process a little blindly, but I'd rather be blind than too stressed and nervous to even put one foot in front of the other. I don't want to end up sounding like one of those people I read on forums: too obsessed with getting the proper percentage of character chemistry, climax, and suspense in the first chapter to ever move on to paragraph two.

To make life better I have discovered and it makes me happy. I've put a playlist for my book in my profile.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Theory of a Bored Girl

If you advertise cookies, they will come. Not the cookies, but the people who want them. I wanted a Bibliomation affiliated library card, and now I'm going to get one. For cookies. Yes, cookies.

Now, I'll be able to get my hands on Christine Feehan's Carpathian novels. I've also been given access to another audiobook database which will allow me to listen to Terry Brook's Shannara Series, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. I feel very lucky today.

So, about audio books. I took out Justinian's Flea and the Venetian Betrayal from the library and I didn't bother past the first chapter of either. They probably would have been interesting, but I couldn't stand the voice actors.

I must reiterate how valuable people who can use proper tonalities and inflections actually are to the human race. Let alone, storytelling. What Ever happened to the bardic tradition? What ever happened to telling stories to the kids?

I half want to become a voice actor because I can die in my sleep with more passion and life than these people can tell stories. The sad part is that one of them was an award winning voice actor. *shivers* uuhhhhg. Who is handing out these awards? Illiterate Zombies United of America? The Severed Larynx Society? Are they Financially backed by I Feel Nothing for Anything Incorporated and Monocles R' Us??

Seriously, people have to pay 40 bucks for an audio book. How much would it suck to pay that much money and find that you CAN'T STAND the voice actor? It's so bad that you can't even follow what's going on in the story. If my book ever becomes an audio book, I'm insisting on doing the voice-acting myself or at least helping to select the actor. I'll write it into my contract if I have to. What a way to ruin good literature. Bleck.

Anywho. I've been working on the Blood Heritage series. Slowly but surely. I'm going to have to rewrite some of it. Or just start the story after a certain point beyond where I fumbled as a freshman. It's all getting overhauled as it is. It's just a matter of what I do and do not want to keep...and what genre lines I want to follow. I could definitely make this a romance, but it's such high fantasy that I'm not all that sure. I'll probably stick with fantasy...even with the brothels and call-boys. Yeah, I'm having fun, can you tell?

le sigh. I digress.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something to sink my Teeth into, Thank God for Neil Gaiman

I was starting to loose hope in all literature. The last few books that I've read have made me feel like a snob. I mean, I'm not even published yet, so who am I to criticize other authors? But I can't help it. I read and things jump out at me, both good and bad, and sometimes it can ruin or make a book for me. I am, by nature, a critical person. If it makes the authors of books I've dumped on feel any better, I'm the same way with myself. You think I'm being critical of you? Imagine how badly I beat myself up.

Anyway, I haven't read a kick ass novel that I had nothing bad to say about since...The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. But hoorah, Neil Gaiman has re-established my conviction in delineating the good from the bad!

In the spirit of my new addiction to audio books I took out Anansi Boys from my library. I obviously knew who Neil Gaiman was prior to reading Anansi Boys. He's famous and you'd have to be living on a rock not to have at least heard his name. I've also seen a few movies based off of his books and I'm a fan of Amanda Palmer, who happens to be his girlfriend. And since I'm following Amanda of Twitter, I also decided to follow Neil. Then I told myself: You're following a famous author on Twitter, but you haven't read anything by him. Maybe we should remedy this, yes?

It took my a day to get through Anansi Boys. I liked it so much that I went and got the only other Neil Gaiman book my library carries: Stardust. And now, I'm officially going to go prowl the rest of Connecticut's libraries until I've heard them all.

Top three things I liked most:

1. The Readers. Lenny Henry, the reader for Anansi Boys, was awesome. He had great accents, read at the right pace, and hate the correct tonalities for each of the characters. Neil read Stardust and what can be better than the writer reader his own work to you? You know exactly how a certain statement was meant to sound. You know exactly where the dramatic pauses are. It's absolutely wonderful and I have no idea why more authors don't read their own books. Perhaps the ability to write doesn't necessarily mean you have an awesome ability to emulate old crones.

2. Neil has a great way of putting things. The way he creates metaphor and simile are fresh and flawless. I often found myself liking a character more because he had a different way of looking at the world. A funny way of looking at the world. Neil didn't come off as repetitive and none of his characters seemed dull or reflective of another character. His characters have life. I can close my eyes and see Anansi doing his soft shoe shuffle in the sand. I can see Tristran's strange fairy ear.

3. Anansi Boys was different. It wasn't a coming of age story...or was it? I like when a story can't be blatantly labeled. Stardust was a little more blatant, but I want to compare it to the story I listened to right before it: The Society of S by Susan Hubbard. Both are coming of age stories for halfling teens who must come to terms with what they are and who they want to be. Both are partly otherworldly, both must explore the part of them that is otherworldly, both of these teens also have separated parents. I think Stardust kicks The Society of S's tush. Why? Motive, climax, conclusion, story building, character building. I cared a lot more about Tristran Thorn than I did for Ariella Montero and Ariella was telling her own story and her story was much longer.

I could probably go on forever, comparing Neil Gaiman against the other authors I've been reading lately. But my husband said it best: Neil Gaiman is famous for a reason. Amanda Palmer dates him for a reason. Yes. Clever girl.

Now, I have to ponder another issue.

So far the top three books I've read this year are: The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. These are my winners because, not only are they good stories, but they are good pieces of literature. I didn't read either of these books without at some point stopping and thinking: "Wow, that was a great line" or "What an interesting way of putting it". Nothing I read in these books made me mentally draw back and think: "Did you really have to write that?" Nothing felt repetitive or contrived. The characters, both major and minor, were interesting and engaging. I cared about what happened to them. I cared about the worlds the authors were operating in. There were sold conflicts and resolutions and development and growth. Nothing was stagnant.

My issue is that these are all male writers and their main characters are also male. I find that concerning. Granted I've purposely been trying to read more male writers...but I just finished two novels by females and neither was as wonderful as it could have been.

Small addictions and The Society of S

After finishing Acheron and realizing just how much I've been missing by not having audio books in my life, I'm officially addicted. Of course, every addiction has that financial constraint and, seeing as how I am not yet a New York Times Bestseller, I certainly don't have the cash to feed the need for forty dollar audio books.

However, I do happen to have a library card and a rather sad excuse for a library not too far away from my humble abode by the quarry. After some investigating I came away with The Society of S. I was so very excited for this book because it was a vampire book and promised to have a new and exciting twist on modern vampires. I was not all that impressed.

First of all: The voice actress, Joyce Bean, was very boring. This may or may not have been on purpose. I think the main character, Ariella Montero, is sort of lack-luster herself and perhaps Bean was reflecting that. I just thought she read too fast and lacked the tone and inflection an audio book reader should have, especially for a pre-teen young woman (even if she is a cloistered little thing). It is (perhaps) Bean's fault that I thought the book was kinda 'eh'. You do run the risk of the voice actor completely dropping the characters when you listen to audio books.

I can't say specifically what about The Society of S I didn't like. But let me try and break it down to the little things that bugged me most.

For one, I didn't like Ariella addressing the reader. She'd say something like: "For me, the letter 'S' is blue. Is it that way for you too?" Can't stand that. I feel like it completely derails the plot. On top of that, I despised the journal entry wrap-up at the end. "My life continues to suck, I'm confused about everything, my parent's still aren't together, and I'm a vampire. Oh, and I'm writing all this down so that perhaps someone who gives a shit about vampires can make something of it." Really???

Two: It was too much the coming of age story and none of the conflicts that bring Ariella into her ultimate self get resolved. I think it was the lack of conflict resolution that got me feeling sour about this book. There wasn't really a climax and there wasn't really a solution. The book moves from good to bad to uncertain with all the uncertainties and conflicts having been stacked up inside the book and poorly addressed. I don't want to sound condemning. Although, I'm sure I have. Hubbard does a good job of building the world and the characters and the conflicts and then she does nothing with them. It's like following someone around all day long with the expectation that something amazing is going to happen and then you find that, at the end of the day, nothing happens at all. I followed Ari throughout the book, expecting something half-way interesting to happen to her (because Hubbard keeps stacking the boxes higher and higher and something has got to fall one of these days), but nothing does and I ended the book feeling really disappointed.

I think that if Hubbard wanted to leave open her options for expanding on Ariella and her situation, then she should have concluded on a more suspenseful note. At least in that manner the reader would be more enthusiastic about picking up another of Hubbard's books. The general feeling at the end of the book was: life's a bitch and then you die. That didn't make me feel really excited to read the next book, if there is one. Quite obviously, I haven't looked. Because I wasn't convinced enough by the first book that this character and her problems are worth my continued interest.

Overall, I give The Society of S three out of five stars. There was some interesting world and character building on Hubbard's part. The pacing and structure were good. The building of suspense and possible conflict were enough to keep me listening to Joyce Bean, but it lacked climax and resolution which ultimately made me loose interest in following the character or the author.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Acheron

Alright, so I bought the audiobook: Acheron, by Sherilynn Kenyon. I was attached to my iPod for three days. I've never read any of the Dark Hunter Series (or a lot of romance), so I'm a bit out of the circle of friends, but I think it's fairly stand alone, quite addictive, and not overly graphic like some romance novels can get.

First, I really enjoyed how this book was laid out. The first part of it is told through journal entries written by Acheron's sister. Then there is a section told through Acheron's eyes. Suddenly, history skips forward 11 thousand years and Acheron is faced with a situation that could reveal the past that the reader has just learned about. I loved how dark and moody it was, (at least in the beginning).

I admittedly preferred the first two sections over the last. It may just be me and my major preference for fantasy, but I find too many ways that urban fantasy can come off as cheesy. Sure, you can connect with it more, but I didn't like the change in tone. It just felt like the story turned from dark and serious to just another cheesy paranormal romance. I know that's Kenyon's market, but I thought some of the scenes in the final section just ruined it.

It made me cringe psychologically when Acheron walked in on Tori, Pam, and Lisa singing Fergalicious. There wasn't anything in the first two sections that made me smile and I was laughing at the stupidity in the final section. I realize this could be a way to show that Acheron has assembled some sort of enjoyable life and it lends gravity to the idea that his sister's journals might ruin that. It's just a personal thing, I guess. I didn't hate section three, it was enjoyable in it's own right. I just preferred sections one and two more.

That, and I noticed a lack of variety in character reactions. It started to sound a little repetitive. I'm not sure if that's just because I listened to it. Perhaps I wouldn't have picked up the addictive use of "cock" if I were reading instead of listening.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Acheron. Acheron is such a dark, moody character and you really get to know what a horrible past he's had and why he wants to keep it a secret. I definitely read the book for him!

Flip Flop

Sometimes I hate when I get bitten by the Muse. I want to work on everything all at once, and of course, that's not possible. I've been working on the Blood Heritage Series, added another forty pages or so...

And I'm starting to brainstorm ways to get around my issues with As Above, So Below. It's more important that I work on this story because it's going to be the sequel to That Which Lies in Darkness and if TWLID gets published, then I'm going to have to have As Above, So Below completed shortly there-after. The book was done, but I've decided to scrap the current layout and overhaul it.

I'm thinking of switching up the plot lines. Amaya's Passion occurs at the end of As Above, So Below and I think that is what is catching the plot lines up. I spent too much time in Pandemonium and Amaya's development and not enough on the surrounding conflicts. So, I'm thinking of making As Above, So Below the third book and moving The Ineffable Word to the forefront. The Ineffable Word deals more with Lilith and Caroline, but I can interchange it with some of the major plot lines in As Above So Below and flesh out the Holy Children and the Letters. I think that's what the readers are really interested in at this point because I didn't work very closely with either in TWLID.

On another note, I'm really enjoying writing about the other Sorocin Holy Children that live in Chesterfield. I think I'm going to make a book of short stories to go along with the series. I've also decided that I now want to call the series The Holier Than Thou Series. That will probably change next Tuesday, but it's what I'm enamored with at the moment.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shop Talk

Yeah, so I'm still waiting for my lovely final editors to send me my corrections. I'm a total of seven chapters edited! Get excited! No really, I mean it. I'm getting really good feedback from my final editors. Both good and bad, the combination of which doesn't leave me in a writhing mess on the floor. I'm actually liking the slower pace. I'm not feeling overwhelmed and my creativity was gone through the roof.

Want proof? Last week I wrote over a hundred pages in the Blood Heritage series. Good stuff, dark stuff, the kind of stuff I was talking about writing. The kind of stuff that won't need me to go in and do intensive surgery later on. Famous last words?

I've also been buying stuff. It has to happen sometime.

Bottom line is: The mechanic that I went to a couple months ago told me I needed to get Y replaced on my car and it would cost X. After saving X amount of money up to fix Y, I took my car to a different mechanic. The new mechanic can't find anything wrong with Y, but there is something wrong with the muffler. I have a lifetime warranty on the muffler (thank Monroe for that). And my once six hundred-something job came down to less than three.

The bottom line is that Moore's lies to their customers and Monroe is awesome!

So, I got some extra money. I bought new shoes. Steel toed workin' girl oxfords that will protect my toes from falling archive boxes and collapsible bagel walls. I heart Doc Martens. I also purchased Sherilynn Kenyon's audio-book version of Acheron on clearance. I'm excited to have it on my iPod at work and in the car. I also got a new helmet for riding the Harley. I went for my first ride yesterday and my butt officially hurts.

And my car is fixed...with enough left over for a new windshield. I'm very happy today, can you tell?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time Goes By

Man, I need Blogger to send me a reminder that a week has gone by. I keep forgetting to update! That's just because I'm having a life.

So I started reading The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.

I heart Brent Weeks with all types of glomps and squees.

I'm fairly certain that I can say that I love Brent Weeks' action scenes in this series (The Way of Shadows at least, I'll get back to you on the other two when I'm finished). He has a clear cut and simple style, but his use of description is like finding a sweet plum in a rice cake: surprising and satisfying.

There were actually parts when I literally stopped reading and thought: "Wow, what a great way of saying that." or "That's a beautiful description." But at the same time, I wasn't feeling like I was being drown in eight syllable words and grotesque verbosity. I love when a book can be conversational and simply written but intelligent and cavalier at the same time.

In addition to that, his main plot line is unique and dark. The life of a street rat turned assassin. I loved Azoth from the mud in his face to his vibrant denial of wanting to 'fuck' Elene. And of course, like every good novelist learning her craft, I've gotten some great ideas from reading as well.

After the Will of the Fallen series is published, I'm going to try for the Blood Heritage chronicles. Blood Heritage is something I've been working on for...ten years? Obviously, it will need a major overhaul, but Brent Weeks has inspired me to take a darker turn with Gwyn, the main character of the first trilogy.

You may be thinking darkness is nothing new since the Will of the Fallen series is fairly dark. But, Amaya is a character that has a brilliant way of turning things in her favor (IMHO) and I want Gwyn to get down and dirty with life.

So, while the Muse has got me, I've been working on the Blood Heritage chronicles in the free time I have between edits to That Which Lies in Darkness. That Which Lies in Darkness is coming along slowly but surely. I have two more people doing final reads. So far I've gotten some outstanding feedback in both the approval area and the tiny-nitty-gritty-perfecting-details area. I'm hoping that my readers will be done by the end of the month and I'll try sending some queries out. :)

Wish me luck and go read The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Writers Group

I officially think it would be awesome if I joined a writers group.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ten Reasons to Follow Someone on Twitter.

Ten Reasons to Follow Someone on Twitter.

1. They are hot. If they were famous, you'd buy the People's magazines with the latest scoop on their cellulite. If you had their address, you'd mail them you're dirty underwear; if you had their cell number you'd text them R rated photos of yourself. You'd browse Google images for naked pictures of them. You might even spend that extra five bucks to get their amateur porn from fifteen years ago.

2. They pone you in every way possible. They say the shit you wish you had thought of first. They have a better icon than you. They have more friends than you. They make you feel cool just by reading their material.

3. They're your friend. You have an obsessive concern with their personal hygiene and must know exactly when and how they are brushing their teeth. You have to know when Sally broke up with Jimmy. And you have to know if he scored first.

4. They are famous. Whether they are on the A list or the D list, or they are famous from a glitched twitter bot that just gifted them with a million followers, everyone loves them so you might as well jump on the band wagon.

5. They are your family. You'd like to pretend that Herman Melville the Third, the super-black sheep of your family, doesn't exist; but he just keeps friending you on Facebook and RTing your Tweets. You feel kind of obligated to at least return the favor. I mean if you don't follow him, who will?

6. They followed you first. Eh, if they are that interested in what's going on with you then maybe you should as well. It's not like you have anything better to do anyway. Or maybe you're just really nice.

7. You're trying to get famous. You'll follow just about everyone, cause those #6ers are out there somewhere and your books and cds wont just sell themselves in this crap economy. Who's interested in sustainable rutabaga gardening or copper tea-pot jazz in New York City? You need to reach your target audience.

8. They are you're news source. Face it, these days, no one has time to read those lengthy New York Times articles. You need fast reliable news in 140 characters or less. How else would you have found out Iran was having an election or that Michael Jackson had died? And who the hell is Farrah Fawcett? Talk about cultural enrichment!

9. They are interested in the same stuff as you are. In a world that is now dominated by Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, it's hard to find another Harry Potter and Hermione Granger 'shipper. We've got to stick together or loose to the forces of vampiric evil and Fanfic sites!

10. You are looking for love. It's so hard to meet people after you graduate. Especially if you are an RPG playing, Mac toting, triple-bypass surgery suffering, ex-DDR champion who's addicted to pocky. Besides, do you know how hard it is to find another Furry? Especially a badger?

Revision on Elm Street

Holy Mulligans. Talk about being bitten by the Muse. It's like Revision on Elm Street over here. Except it's A.L. hyped with caffeine on Fairfield Way. Regardless. There's more chopping, copulating, and secret plots than I can shake a stick at. Or rather, a dull machete. And there's blood. Yes, blood. Hooray for vampire-like religious fanatics! Or rather - Converts into a vampire-like religious cult! Hooray for In This Moment's album, The Dream, this is the tenth time listening to it today, compliments of a YouTube playlist.

Anyway, my tea rings are reminding me of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and I've got way too much to talk about. Mainly, I've given up on the whole squished book thing. It's stifling my creativity. I feel like As Above, So Below is holding me back from publishing That Which Lies in Darkness. And honestly. I'm apathetic to what agents and publishers want right now. What about what I want? I want my not-so-stand-alone That Which Lies in Darkness to get published. Cause it's awesome. Anyway, most of the readership think that it could be a stand-alone anyway. So, the Siamese twin, The Will of Night Rain, is out (It was a bad name anyway) and The Will of the Fallen Trilogy is back in with book one being the promising New York Times Bestseller: That Which Lies in Darkness.

Obviously I've been going back and polishing That Which Lies in Darkness and publicly avoiding As Above, So Below like it's the ugly, bastard, black sheep step-child. I'm probably going to end up re-writing most of it after That Which Lies in Darkness gets published.

Other than that, it's hot and muggy and Twitter is lying about my followers. Hope you have a sparkling day Ladies and Gentlemen, 'cause That Which Lies in Darkness is about to descend (or ascend) upon you all! (hey that's a catchy hook...)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

YAY caffeine

I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I've been busy. Went to Amanda Palmer concert. Went to a wedding, going to another one this weekend. Had my first wedding anniversary and ate horribly freezer burned cake because of the worst tradition to survive in the western world. Got a little too addicted to Twitter, refusing to go on rehab...add Deviantart to that (I've been struggling with that addiction for years).

And then there is work. Not the fun work of writing, but the work that actually feeds me and fuels my netflix addiction to anime.

I should technically be doing work, but I'm in a procrastinating mood lately, my Archive boss is out today and I don't have to work at the Bakery. So, I'm feeling overly free spirited today.

A couple book updates: getting through the second half of edits and proofing the first half. I've been working on a couple extra side projects just to keep my mind in the right place. Once I'm done with proofing and sending out queries, I'm going to take a break for a while and do some painting. I'm feeling inspired by Deviantart.

Sorry, not too much to talk about. Blame it on the caffeine and the flighty attitude...or maybe the blonde hair? Nevermind, just go outside and enjoy the sun after all that rain.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


If you haven't heard of Deviantart, you need to. Deviantart is a place where artists (and more rarely) writers can post their work and anyone can see it.

I've been surfing in and out of it for years and I'm just beginning to realize what a good tool it is for writers. In my case, I'm working on putting up an author webpage. I managed to find images that are very similar to some of my characters and I've gotten permission to use them on my website.

Permission from:
Permission from:
Waiting on (and really hoping to hear from):

What I like most about this is that I'm able to use artwork that I think is suitable to represent my writing. Because of this, I also think it is a very good resource for people who are self publishing. Normally, a publisher is the one who chooses the cover, not you. That's why some books don't look at all like what's inside of the cover. If you self publish, you have a lot more control over what your book looks like. That's one of the big reasons why people self publish.

While I was at CAPAU, someone asked about where they could get images to use for self published books. Someone suggested stock images. While you can find stock images on Deviantart as well, you can also find talented artists who are willing to work on commission, sell their work, or give you permission in order to make a name for themselves.

Oh well, that's my tid-bit for today. I'm going to go decide which pieces I am going to use for my website! Go have fun kids:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Economic bust

I FINALLY finished putting in the edits for Book 1. I mean, I still have to do a smooth read-through, but the heavy-duty junk is DONE. Of course, I still feel a little shaky about the whole thing. I just read a blog from an agent that I really respect. He was basically like: the economy sucks, and if you're not perfect in every possible way, there is no hope for getting published.

I'm honestly terrified of submitting my work. Why? It's a one shot kind of thing. I can submit my work once and get rejected once, after that it's over and I have to pitch a new book or overhaul a query I've been working on for months so that it looks like I'm not pitching the same book.

That translates to the economy possibly having a big effect on whether or not my book (which I'd like to believe would get accepted in a booming economy) may not get the love I wish it would.

The sad part is the turn over. It takes about a year or more-start to finish-for a book to get published after it is submitted. Which means if I get accepted tomorrow, I wont have books on the shelves until fall.

According to economists, things should be looking a lot happier for the economy by that time next year. Which means that my book could potentially do really well because the economy will supposedly be doing well.

Of course, a publisher is thinking about the here and now. The economy is suck NOW, therefore we will only buy the sure-wins NOW, even though they will be released when the economy will be in unsuck.

Another thing that confuses me is why book sales are falling. Let's think about this. People claim that in economic hard times, people turn toward outlets that get their minds off of things. Which means people should be buying fantasy novels.

Also, in an economic pinch, a book (roughly 8-9 bucks) will offer you more bang for your buck than a movie or going out to dinner. Think about it: hours of entertainment and you don't even have to get out of bed to enjoy it. And it's mentally enriching. It's the next best thing since sex! Or maybe even better than sex, if you're into the Romance genre.

SIGH. I'm done complaining. I'm going to start doing my read-through and wait for my editor to finish Book 2. Please so buy some books people, your brains will thank you for it! Wish me luck in this crap economy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rye Bread and Peanut Butter

A strange combination, I know. I've been eating peanut butter on rye for the past week. I'm still not sure how I feel about it and I'm pretty sure my friend: Christin in the Kitchen will roll over in her casserole dish if she reads this. Despite that, peanut butter on rye has been fueling me through my editing funk. I'm happy to announce that I've made it past page 200 in The Will of Night Rain. I officially have 86 pages left of Book One (then Book Two comes to eat my soul, but that's another story). I'm happy to announce that a third person has offically finished reading The Will of Night Rain. I'm also thinking of adding some strange eating habits in the sequel to The Will of Night Rain. Julian Dove should probably eat French toast with ketchup, or something like that, I think it's suitable, consudering his demeanor.

I also have to thank NPR for entertaining me. Woe is my Car Industry is a personal favorite from today's Morning Edition:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Still not all that much to report. I've plugged through to Chapter 24 and I'm expecting to get at least two more done this afternoon. Though, the next few chapters are a sort of long, so I can't promise anything. I'm giving myself at least an hour every day this week to work on editing, but I'm not sure how many pages that translates to. I have to go to a wedding this weekend so I'm not sure how much I'll get done, but I will try my best. I'm expecting Book 2 to come back with corrections any day now, so I need to get my butt in gear and finish Book 1.

Other fun stuff: I have to say, I like Curve. I've also started reading another book (well it's a collection of books, actually) Chronicles of The Black Company by Glen Cook.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

short stuff

Today's blog is short. You can all breathe a sigh of relief. Little update: TWoNR edits are now up to chapter 18...that's out of 81, yeah a lot more to go, but I'm enthusiastic that I'll get it done by the end of June...hopefully. Other than that, I finished reading Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot. It was about vampires. Kinda funny in a way, I didn't read the back, so I didn't know it was going to be. Nothing else to talk about. Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

lists, forums, and other things to keep me from editing

Ever have one of those days where you really did do a lot, but you didn't do what you were supposed to, and now you feel like you didn't do anything productive? Today was like that for me. Granted, the day is not yet done, but I know it's going to close out with me having not gotten any further on my edits on TWoNR. I did do some editing, I got six chapters done, which in the grand scheme of things isn't all that bad, but my goal was 50.

What else did I do? You know; did the edits, went and ran some errands, talked to Mom on the phone, then came home with every intent of doing more editing, and totally spent the rest of the day bumming on the internet.

It wasn't all waste though. I went through Amazon and made a wish list of about thirty books (most the beginning of series so you should triple that number, at least) that I think I should read in order to gain the experience I need to float in my genre. Top of the list is Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This is a book that a number of the readership thought the mythology in TWoNR was similar to. Then there is the Dark series by Christine Feehan. Her Carpathians intrigue me because they are also another take on vampires (like the Holy Children in TWoNR). Then Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter novels; just cause I want to read Acheron (the rogue God thing intrigues me) and hate reading books out of order. Then there are others that were mentioned at Cons and I wrote down because they sounded interesting or I felt foolish for not having read them.

I'm slowly getting through my list of people to read. I read Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip last week and this week I started working on 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I have Dean Koontz, Glen Cook, K.J. Parker, and Frank Herbert sitting on my shelf waiting for love.

I also joined the Absolute Writer Water Cooler which is a huge forum for people in the publishing industry and those aspiring to be that lucky. I put up a couple questions and they were answered promptly and intelligently. Two things that I can't love enough. Then I read some blogs, and found this interesting site called: Flogging the Quill. I want to submit to it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reflections on CAPAU

I went to CAPAU on Saturday. I'm breaking up the blog so that you can see the highlights of each event!

Opening speaker: Gina Barreka. She is a professor at UCONN and super sassy. I suggest everyone hear her speak at least once in your life, she's awesome. Her books (think feminist humor) have been added to my ever growing list of things to eventually read. She talked about what actually makes a writer. The most memorable attribute being EXPERIENCE. A dreaded word to a green writer like myself, but yeah. There is a reason why they say you have to write a million words before you can consider yourself a good writer. Practice makes perfect. There is a reason why my publishing professor told me to read more in my genre before attempting to publish. You need to be able to draw parallels between you and other writers. There is a reason why I have a list of things to read. I know I haven't got the experience I need, but I'm trying to publish anyway.

Agent Panel: Most of the 9 agents that were there handled non-fiction...that made me sad. The interesting stuff they had to say was mostly for people who were publishing in non-fiction and the other stuff they had to say I already knew.

Panel 1: Three professional editors (Beth Bruno, Rita Reali, Roberta Buland) talking about the editing process, the different kinds of editing (did you know there are three kinds of editing?), and why you should edit. It was interesting to learn about the different kind of editing:
1. Structural/Directional editing (which is basically someone reading your work to tell you what does and doesn't function well and where the big story gaps are),
2. Copy editing (someone going through and fixing grammar and sentence structure),
3. Proofing (going through with a fine toothed comb and fixing places where you didn't space things properly. Then someone asked the dreaded question: "What if your attempting to get published through a publishing house? Don't they provide you with an editor? In that case, I don't need to hire a professional editor before I submit to an agent, right?" Of course, the answer was: "Of course you need to hire a professional editor before submitting to an agent! It's so competitive these days that if you aren't perfect they won't even look at you!" Well, something to that effect. That just made me feel awful cause I know I need an editor and I certainly don't have the money (upwards around 50$ an hour) for one.

Panel 2: A self published fantasy novelist (M.J. Allaire) shared her thoughts on fantasy writing. It seemed like she basically pulled a bunch of research off of the internet, fed it to us for the first ten minutes and then talked about being self published for the rest of it. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was pretty interesting to learn how the self publishing process works and how she'd been marketing her series. It was obviously her element, so I don't blame her for being all over it like white on rice. It definitely opened my eyes and made me decide never to self publish. Why? You have to pay for it all up front, then do your own marketing and hope that you eventually break even. Though, the good side is that you are in charge of everything, from book contents to cover to where it gets sold.

Panel 3: This was a panel put on by Shel Horowitz who is like the promotional marketing whiz. I didn't get a lot out of this, mainly because my agent pitch was right in the middle of it and I got lost in translation. What I did hear was obvious marketing stuff Such as: Look for unlikely allies to sell your books. Basically that means: If you've written a book about troubled teens, try approaching youth hospitals and guidance counselors. He also put a big emphasis on the internet and social networking sites. I knew this already, that's why my blog is here.

Agent pitch: This was the thing I was most nervous about. Let me explain something to you first. When I applied to CAPAU, I was an early bird sign up. When you sign up, you go through a list of agents attending and pick the top three you'd like to meet with. Then CAPAU matches you up with one of your choices. The list, as mentioned earlier, was sadly lacking in distinct fantasy/sci-fi agents. There were a couple, they went on my list. Then the coordinator emailed me and told me my first choice (Susannah Taylor) wasn't coming, so he'd certainly put me with my second choice (Gina Panettieri). I had to mail in my query letter so that the agent could look at it before hand...the query clearly states that I have a FANTASY NOVEL. When I get to CAPAU I'm told that the agent I'm supposed to meet with isn't going to be there. So, I look at who they sign me up to meet with, Jessica Regel. Jessica Regel clearly states in her agent bio that she DOES NOT handle fantasy/sci-fi. That gets me a little upset. Not only did I not get my third choice (the only other agent who handles fantasy), but I end up with one who handles mostly non-fiction and clearly wants nothing to do with fantasy.

The story has a happy ending though. Jessica Regel was super nice and critiqued my query letter for me. Other than one or two little tiny things, she said that the query letter was very good. She also gave me the contact information for Jennifer Weltz, someone in her agency who DOES handle fantasy/sci-fi. So, special thanks to Jessica Regel for being awesome and not-so-special thanks to CAPAU for not putting me with someone who handled my genre when they obviously had my FANTASY NOVEL query and I should have had spot preference because I was an early registrant anyway! Okay, I'm done being bitter.

Final notes: Anyway, I had a fairly good time. I made some new friends and I'm considering joining CAPA. I felt like CAPAU was more for self published authors and small time publishers, but it doesn't hurt to know any of those people in the business.

EXTRA: I picked up the physical mark-up of Book 1 from my friend. I'm able to divide my friends by their editing abilities (now that I know the different kinds of editing). So far, most of the readership has only been able to give structural/developmental support. My friend who did the physical mark-up is the only reader I'd consider a copy-editor sort of reader. She made a lot of corrections, all very good ones. So, I feel a little better about not being able to afford an editor before I submit to an agent. It will take me a while to do the corrections, and she still has to do Book 2, but with a newly polished query and the types of updates I'll be giving to my manuscript, I'm feeling very confident about my book. I'm aiming for a final edit completion around mid-June and queries will be going out shortly after that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A little constructive advice

Here is the deal, I've been reading tons of agent blogs lately. The common thread: all of them blog about angry authors at least once a week.

A little note on the publishing process: Write your book, write a query letter, send the query letter to an agent, wait for the agent to respond.

If the agent likes the query: You will get a request for a partial or full manuscript. If they like the partial, they request a full. If they like a full, they'll proposition you with representation. Then the agent has to sell your book to a publisher. Then you get an editor who will probably rip you a new one and tell you to re-write half your book. Oh, and in most cases, the publisher will choose the layout and cover for your book, not you. And they probably won't be the ones selling your book, you will.

If the agent doesn't like the query: You'll get a form rejection letter. Form letters are generic, unspecific letters that basically say: thanks but no thanks. Agents send form letters because they get hundreds of queries a week, sometimes thousands, and they just don't have the time to write you a 'Dear John' letter with perfume spattered all over it.

That's a simplified version of the agent process, but that's basically how it goes. It doesn't apply to all agents or publishers.

What the agents don't like are the writers who send queries, get a form rejection, and then throw a sh*t fit because they can't take the insincerity of a form letter. Or, in the very rare and auspicious case when an agent will write a personalized letter that offers constructive criticism, the author can't take the criticism and throws said sh*t fit. I sit and read these blogs and want to laugh at these authors. I understand where the authors are coming from. I've written a book myself, I've written two actually...they are just stuck together under one title. I've written all my life, my stories are my babies. I'm trying to get published just like everyone else. I can't believe these people would allow themselves to miff to the point where they bite back at an agent. Has America really come to that? Have we indulged in the honking horns so much that people think they are entitled to take up an agent's time with this kind of crud?

I try to tell myself not. I just think that people are not properly preparing themselves for the process before they jump into it.

My suggestions:

1. If you haven't submitted to small literary publications, journals, or magazines then do it. People suggest you submit to these in order to get your name out there and have something to put on your query letter. While publication in one of these magazines or journals might help, it's not necessary. There are a lot of nobodies who get their novels published. I'm telling you to submit because I think you need to learn how to get rejected. Yes, you need to learn how to be a looser before you can even hope to be a winner.

Write a short story or a poem or send a chapter of your novel. Send it to the hardest to get into magazine. If you go to (poets and writers) you can find a very comprehensive list of literary magazines and journals that take submissions of all types of work. Even better, you can find the ones that are hardest to get into by doing an advanced search. I say try for the hardest because the publishing industry will be about as hard as getting into one of these magazines (probably harder). The likelihood of rejection is also just as high. Plus, these magazines send out form letters (just like most agents). If you get yourself accustomed to your work getting rejected on the micro level then it wont hurt too bad to get form rejection on the macro level.

2. Let knowledgeable people read your work before you submit it. This is an all encompassing statement. If you write a query or novel let at least ten people read and critique it. Not just anyone. You want smart people to critique your work. The last thing you need is someone who doesn't know a thing about grammar telling you to make all these changes. I've found that the smarter the person is about grammar, the more well read they are, the more comfortable they are with being honest with you, the better feedback you'll get. I guarantee it won't be all good and if it is, then you aren't getting the right kind of feedback. Everything has room for improvement and you're kidding yourself if you think you or your work is perfect. I wanted to cry when I got my first really harsh critique, but I sucked it up and told myself how much better I could be if I could get that person to tell me I did a good job in re-writing my work. Yes, writing is a form of art, but it's so much more. It's entertainment and history in the making, you have to practice, make is accessible, and get it just right if you want other people to appreciate it as much as you do. Sometimes complete strangers are the best. If you have a writers group in your area, join it and let them critique your work.

Also, I highly suggest going to a writers conference and having an agent critique your query. I thought mine was peachy keen, but one of the agents at Lunacon thought otherwise and gave me some really good advice. If you can get yourself used to getting this kind of constructive feedback on your work, then you are less likely to get upset when an agent does you the favor of writing a personalized response to your query or manuscript. Also, learning on this level how to take criticism and turn it into something that makes you a better writer will be what continues to put you on the bestseller list and not constantly butting heads with your editor (who will tell you the same exact things your critics told you from day one).

3. Lastly, please re-read and continue to improve your work. Like I said, nothing is perfect. I guarantee that if you've re-read your work so much that you can't find something to fix then you need to take a break and come back to it a couple of weeks later or someone else needs to read it. Do yourself the favor of finding out what the agents want in a query letter or manuscript and save yourself from an embarrassing disappointment. You shouldn't send a query to an agent more than once, so if you blow it the first time, that's it. Don't jump the gun, have patience and you will be rewarded.

I admit I haven't actually been published yet, but I think my suggestions are pretty practical and I am reciting a number of them verbatim from agents and editors who have talked about these topics on blogs and at conventions


As the world turns

I've admittedly not been doing any work on my writing. I'm enjoying it. I've been getting together with friends and family, going out to eat, and engaging in all sorts of small entertainments that bring me great enjoyment. All for the sake of my sanity!

Sunday I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Brooklyn. It was both a satisfaction and a disappointment. The performances were awesome. I especially liked the Koto demonstration. The koto is a haunting instrument and I encourage everyone to see an ensemble at some point in their life. The garden was beautiful. The sakura (cherry blossoms) didn't disappoint, even in the rain, they let their petals loose like they were in a light spring breeze, making the effect of dozens of umbrellas even more dramatic. I've never been to the BBG and it truly is a diamond in the rough. I've been to a lot of botanical gardens, but this one was particularly well laid out.

The rain sucked and I thought there would be more booths selling traditional Japanese food and more shopping opportunities. Oh well, I suppose I'll have to find my red bean buns and kimonos somewhere else.

If it makes you feel better, I should be getting the first hundred pages of the physical mark-up of The Will of Night Rain within the next few days. This will be my grand over-haul before I actually begin o send out query letters. Also, CAPAU is this coming weekend. I'll be going to a number of helpful workshops as well as meeting with an agent who (hopefully) will give me a kick butt critique of my query before I send it out.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's all because of Twilight

I've decided that Swine Flu is an attempt by a group of vampire worshipers to get a sexy immortal guy to say: "You're dying? Here, drink my blood."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'm still enjoying my break. Not a break from writing entirely, I just HAVE to write. It's like my breakfast...I can't make it through the day without at least a little something to tide me over. So yeah...I started something new. DON'T JUDGE ME! Anyway, yesterday was my day off from the archive. I returned the books that I had from the library...more paranormal urban fantasy. I couldn't get into either. I spent more than an hour at the library...I just couldn't find anything that interested me. Finally I found a little something. A book of short stories that are all Fai themed and a good ol' high fantasy novel. I started with the Fai book and read a couple of the short stories...then I got some inspiration for a new story and had to sit down and write.

I did get some productive work dealing with The Will of Night Rain done. I read three chapters in my novel writing book...a bunch of stuff about character development...which I could probably use. I've been getting the general vibe from the readership that Amaya is everyone's least relatable character. Basically, no one really cares all that much about her...I can't tell if that's good or bad. Part of her character is that she is supposed to be like that, but at the same time, she is the main character. Everyone is really interested in the auxiliary characters. Silver Rings, Jeremy, and the Holy Children especially. I'm not sure if the auxiliary characters are capable of being the interest point in a novel. Although, the auxiliary characters do come to the forefront in the sequel.