In Which I Have A Life…

So… I’m very much a homebody, which suits me rather well most of the time. However, this weekend, I spent three whole days going Illogicon, which is a SciFi convention that was being held not too far from where I live. Typically I don’t go to such things, but my favorite author (Jacqueline Carey) was one of the guests of honor, so I HAD TO GO!!!

I’m not going to fangirl too much here, but if you are interested in how that part went, you can read about on my Tumblr (here and here).

In addition to various SciFi topics and authors, there were also some panels on writing and publishing, so I thought I would share some of the highlights.

On Friday I started at the All Roads Lead to… panel, which was a discussion about the various options we have for publishing: self-pub vs small/independent pub vs traditional/large pub houses, along with the pros and cons of each. Lots of great information, and probably one of the most important things that I learned, was that no matter which route you go, you are likely still going to have to do a lot of your own work, in terms of marketing and promoting. A thank you to author Michael G. Williams and Lynn McNamee of Red Adept Publishing, for their insight.

Also on Friday, I went to a reading by author Natania Barron, who I had not heard of before, but highly recommend others go and check out. The reading that she did was a submission from the Kaiju Rising anthology, but she also has a several other books, including Pilgrim of the Sky, which is now on my “to read” list.

Saturday I had to work, so didn’t get to do much other than go to a reading by Jacqueline Carey <insert fangirl swoon>, but Sunday, again had several panels on various topics, two of which revolved around “worldbuilding.” The first was more focused on the use of religion and mythology when writing (and doing it well vs epic fails), the second was worldbuilding in general and what sort of things are essential to ensuring that the readers are fully immersed in the world that you are creating. In both, the key seems to be research and making sure that (as the author) one knows all the details, even if those details are never used on the page, and not to ignore logistics. Things don’t just happen, and there are a million little things that we do and see daily that are essential parts of our world, even if we don’t fully acknowledge them – these are important when building a cohesive world for your readers.  In addition to Jacqueline Carey, also big thank you to authors Debra Killeen, Natania Barron, Misty Massey, Ada Milenkovic Brown, Gail Z. Martin, Clay Griffith, Thomas A. Mays and Chris Kennedy for giving such great discussion on the topics presented.

Also on Sunday, was the You’ve Finished Your First Draft, Now What panel, which discussed editing and getting feedback, along with the pros and cons of using critique groups. Another big thank you to authors Clay and Susan Griffith, Terri-Lynne Smiles and Betty Cross for their insight.

Anyhoo… had a lot of fun, but now I’m going to go sleep for a week to recover!! XD

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Emerging From My Cave

It’s been a bit on the quite side around here. Admittedly, with the change in seasons – and despite the fact that Fall is my favorite season, once the time change hits, I’m fairly useless. I was already feeling somewhat unmotivated beforehand, and after… well… yeah…

Didn’t help either that my beloved computer finally died. I’m not even sure how old she was, but let’s just say, she was still running Vista and leave it at that. >.>

So now that I’m not in fear of losing files every time I turn my machine off, it’s time to do a little more work. And perfect timing too!!!

In Plain Sight is currently up for nomination on Kindle Scout, which at the end of 30 days, if it gets enough votes, could be picked up for a publishing contract. It’s sort of like a Kickstarter for books, except it doesn’t cost you guys anything. Win-Win!!  So, even if you’ve read and reviewed an excerpt before, if you could check me out one more time and nominate me, I would seriously appreciate it!!

Best part, if it’s picked up for publishing – everyone who nominates gets a free copy of the book!!

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life… Or Something Like It

Sorry been so quiet. This summer was crazy, and I finally just had to put writing projects on hold and just let the crazy follow it’s course, rather than risk my sanity trying to deal with it all. XD

Only managed about 20K words on DarkHarte for July’s Camp NaNo, but I’m ok with that. Got “part one” finished, rough state to be sure, but still pretty happy with it, and I know more or less how it ends. Just that pesky middle bit, to go. I truly hate middles.  Also submitted another query letter for In Plain Sight (the process of which went much smoother this time), so hopefully something good will come of that as well.

So, other than that, it’s been a bit quiet. Though I’m still not quite ready to dive back in, David Evans, author of The Mistress of Dimmiga Berg, shared this wonderful article with me, and in turn I’m sharing it with you all.

While I didn’t model In Plain Sight’s Rylee on any specific person, real women through the ages have done similar to help in various war efforts and it appears that Maud Butler is no different…

A teenage girl from the Hunter Valley coalfields was so desperate to be a part of Australia’s war effort that she cut her hair, dressed as a soldier and stowed away on a troopship.

Her life is currently being researched, and hopefully will be told in full, but for now we can read a bit about it here – World War I: Teenage girl stowed away on troopship.

Enjoy!! 🙂

 

Hoppity… Hop… Hop… Hop

I was invited by M.L. Ortega, author of Turn Key Condition,  to join a little blog hopping discussion on “The Writing Process”, then to pass the baton on to a couple of other authors who will join in as well.  Let’s jump right in…

1) What am I working on?

I am currently about 20K words into a fantasy novel tentatively titled DarkHarte. It started, ironically, as a paragraph or so on a game a friend and I were playing on Storiumthe online storytelling game, and just sort of took off from there.

I’m supposed to be working on it as a part of the July Camp NaNo session, but between the kids being on summer vacation, and my work schedule being all out of whack, I don’t think I’m going to get it finished in 30 days this go around. Which is fine, really. There is a lot I want to do with this, and some of it is going to take a bit of time to set up. Exciting though, to be sure!

There is a rough (and I do mean ugly as sin) draft of DarkHarte on Book Country if anyone is interested in giving some feedback. It’s always appreciated!!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Guess I’m supposed to say something like, “IT’S AWESOME!!!” and “INCREDIBLE!!!”, but in truth, it probably doesn’t really. I don’t know. XD

My first novel, In Plain Sight, which is still being submitted to publishers, is historical fiction. It will likely be published as historical romance, and while the romance is a large component of the book – girl meets boy, they fall in love, etc… there is also a strong focus on the historical aspects of the story, and the family relationships as well – not only blood family, but those whom we may choose along the way as well. I think the extra details are important, in creating a world that someone can lose themselves in, at least for a time.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I used to write a lot as a child and into my teens, and though I took a long hiatus into my adult years, I continued to have plots and characters, and all the bits and pieces swirling around in my brain. I have all sorts of scraps of paper, and files with sentences and ideas. And after several years of half-assing it, I finally put some effort into doing something with those fragments.

Genres – I don’t (at least as of yet) have a particular one that I stick to. As I mentioned my first was historical romantic fiction, and my current one is fantasy. My last project, which will likely remain unfinished at least for the foreseeable future, would probably fit more as suspense. So, it’s clear to see that I’m a bit all over the place.

4) How does my writing process work?

Admittedly it’s still a struggle for me. Time management is not my forte, and between raising a severely autistic child, and work – quiet time is not something that I get frequently, and when I do I’ve usually already been sitting at my computer so long that I just want to fall into bed. So finding time to write is sometimes hard. But at the same time I have all these ideas, so while it might take me a bit longer to get to it (though not nearly as long as George R. R. Martin thankfully), I fully intend to do a lot more writing in the future.

In terms of actual process – it’s sort of fly by the seat of my pants. I keep notebooks by my bed, and am forever thankful that my cell phone has a voice recorder. I do some planning, outlines, character descriptions, etc… for which I tend to use Google Docs almost exclusively. I’ve tried fancy writing programs, and they just annoy me to no end. Too much extra clicking and hassle, I’d rather just scroll down the page. Guess it’s a case of knowing my own organized chaos, is easier than figuring out a new system. XD

Anyways, that’s about it for me. Next week on our lovely tour…

I would invite you to check out Dave Evans, author of The Mistress of Dimmiga Berg. I’ve spoken a bit about him previously, and really can’t say enough good things about him.

I Haz Brainz… I Swear

Well… that wasn’t stressful at all.

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Sent off my first query letter/publisher submission for In Plain Sight. WHEEEEE!!

After searching high and low on the main website for exact submission guidelines and only finding a few general guidelines, I did (what I thought) was my best effort to comply and hit the send button. I did get the auto-reply (yay… they got it!!!), and it directed me to their FB page if I had any other questions.

Now I did browse their FB page at one point earlier in the week, but never came across this, but today found a section with a more exacting detail of how to submit. Which would have been so much more helpful if it had been on the actual website under the FAQs. Because… best intentions aside, I left a few things off, which apparently they really wanted – like you know CONTACT DETAILS. Why the hell would they need those!!!! *headdesk*

I know, it should have been a no-brainer, but apparently I’m dumb – don’t judge, it’s been a stressful summer. XD Hopefully they’ll consider my email address valid enough contact information to start (assuming I get that far).

In any case… please send brains, apparently I’m in need of a few extra. ❤

 

Packing for Camp…

roasting-marshmallows

Or you know… grabbing a blanket, and some chips and moving the ten or so feet from my bed to my desk. XD

It’s just about time for the July session of Camp NaNoWrimo, and as it’s become abundantly clear that I can’t keep to any sort of writing schedule unless I have at least the semblance of accountability, I will be participating again this go around. If anyone wants to join me, or needs a bit of extra support/motivation to get through the month, feel free to add me over there and we can sweat it out together.

I’ll probably have some excerpts of the newest project up on Book Country within the next couple weeks for feedback. I’ll post more on that when the time comes.

Outside of camp preparations, I’ve been working on doing some final editing on In Plain Sight, so that I can get ready to send off some query letters. Exciting and nerve wracking… all at the same time!!

 

Fun While It Lasted…

All things eventually come to a end, it’s a fairly inevitable part of life. Sad to say, in this case – I did not make it through to the semi-finals of the ABNA, which as I mentioned previously wasn’t entirely unexpected, despite the somewhat positive PW review.

Anyways, still extremely happy to have made it as far as I did. It’s been a great experience, and looking forward to potentially doing it again sometime in the future. In the meantime, I’ll continue to do some last minute editing on In Plain Sight, and then start sending off some query letters, so I can get this baby published.

Thank you again to everyone who has stuck with me on this awesome journey. I truly appreciate everything you all have done for me. Would never have gotten this far without you!!  ❤ ❤

 

Publishers Weekly Review…

One of the benefits of participating in the ABNA and making through the quarter-finals, is getting a genuine Publishers Weekly review of your manuscript. If you are self-publishing, this is something that normally costs about $150 to submit, and it’s still sort of hit or miss as to when (or if) they will actually publish your review, so as a prize it’s a pretty cool deal even if one doesn’t make it to the final round.

So, even though the next round isn’t announced for another couple weeks, our PW reviews came in the other day. Judging by the amount of moaning and groaning in the various ABNA related forums, there were a lot that were fairly brutal. Even in cases (like mine) where the review was overall positive, it’s still one of those things that is more like a back-handed compliment in places, and trying to come up with a decent blurb out of it will likely take a bit of cut and paste.

The good news, is that it wasn’t a bad review… YAY!!!! There are even parts of it that are really encouraging, but the summary part is a bit funky in places – not that it’s necessarily wrong, just think it could have been phrased better.  Also… I beg anyone to find a romance novel these days that doesn’t have cliches. I’m pretty sure that there are very few truly “never been done before” stories in any genre at this point. Personally (as a reader) I don’t care either way as long as I enjoy the characters and the actual storyline, which thankfully my review seems to have felt the same way (at least in some aspects)…

Set against the backdrop of Civil War Virginia, this absorbing novel has clear enough prose and charming characters to transcend it’s familiar plot devices such as Confederate-Yankee romance, a woman in drag, and tired sexual cliches: “Ry was flying. Nothing in her life had prepared her for the multitude of sensations that were flooding her body.” Rylee James, a young beauty with dead parents, is getting through the war, holding her home together with the help of her two devoted (and free) African American servants.  She is counting the days until peace returns and her beloved brother Matthew can return home. When she learns that Matthew has been taken prisoner by Union troops stationed nearby, she hacks off her hair, binds her breasts, christens herself James Rylee and uses the medical know-how she learned from her father to talk her way into the Union camp. There she not only finds and helps her brother – she also falls in love with the sexy Union captain. The very real question of whether all the principals will make it through the war adds a bit of suspense to this engaging romance.

So…

“Set against the backdrop of Civil War Virginia… clear prose and charming characters… this absorbing novel … transcends.”

” Engaging romance.”

As to what this actually means in terms of moving to the next round, I truly have no idea. The next round relies solely on the PW reviewer and the score that they compiled while doing that review, based on the following (1-5 points for each section)…

  • Character development
  • Originality of idea
  • Plot
  • Prose/style
  • Overall strength of submission

Clearly I’m going to get dinged on “originality”, but hoping that the other ones might be at least fairly high scoring. But of course it will depend too on how the other entries do, so still a nail-biter till the end.

The thing too is that really the next round doesn’t really mean a whole lot, there’s no extra prize for it (other than the … hey I made it to the semi-finals blurb I could put on my book cover), it just narrows down the pool to the top 5 in each genre for the judges to pick the 5 finalists from (1 from each genre). I’m fairly certain (though it would be really cool if I was wrong), that I won’t make it all the way to being a finalist. But if I could make the top 5 that would still be awesome!!

Anyways… back to pulling my hair out waiting for the announcements. XD

 

Downtime…

Thought I’d check in.

Not too much going on around here. Finished up Camp Nano at the end of April and squeaked out a “win” barely (with a modified word count) – though the finished product is still icky, icky, and no where near being in a finished state.

Next round of ABNA doesn’t drop until closer to the middle of June either, so just sitting and waiting on that, trying not to drive myself crazy thinking about it. XD You can still download excerpts and review them here if you are feeling froggy.

Other than that, have a few ideas kicking around for new projects. Some I have been mulling around for a while, some are brand spanking new. Now to just make the time to work on them. Time management skills FTW!!!

🙂

 

 

ABNA – Excerpts Available to Review

Just realized I never posted this here. Sometimes I swear if my head wasn’t attached. XD

Excerpts of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entries are available on Amazon.com for the public to read and review. Anyone who would like to read a couple chapters of In Plain Sight and leave a review, can do so here (or click the image below).

For those who have already left theirs, THANK YOU!!!!! I really appreciate it. ❤ ❤