Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Patience and Publishing

On Patience and Publishing

The first query I sent received a request for a full in less than five minutes. (I know, right? I had an instant heart-attack.) Upon later enlightenment (much later) I realized that particular manuscript stunk on ice. This was an unfortunate event. Why you might think. Well, because it gave me unreal expectations about the timeline of publishing.

Don’t fool yourself kiddo. Writing is a long-term investment of your mind, and your heart.
What I've come to realize is that you’re going to do your time before you emerge triumphant. You’ll also head down into the Valley of Fail (many times) and work your way back up to the peak of I can do this. (If you want to win)

There will be rejections.

Either you’ll get them at the front from agents and editors or you’ll have them from reviewers. They will be there—in spades. But there will also be moments of pure joy. The day you write THE END on a story and the first time you hand pages to someone to read and you can see them sucked into the world you've created.

The best of all is the day you’re signed by your dream agent. (I was so floaty and flabbergasted that I lost a brand-new phone—seriously, I never found it again. Only Heaven kept me from wrecking the car because I absolutely do not remember driving.)

Everyone has a different experience. Some few go straight to the top. But most of us plug along day after day and take years. Don’t think you’re all alone out there in the dark.

The rest of us are rooting for you. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get to work. We know you can do this
Here is a hug. *HUGS*

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On Being Thankful and Zombies

On Being Thankful and Zombies

Sometimes, along with the stress and worries of the holidays, a great big boat load of amnesia takes over our brains. Not only do we forget we’re human, we manage to forget that the rest of the world is, too.
We scurry along in a rush of shopping, cleaning, cooking, and then turn into Holiday Zombies. Our faces are pale and black circles appear under our eyes. Fingers turn red and green from the food color in holiday cookies.
Eventually our hurried stride turns into a slow death walk while we moan “Sugaaaaaaaaaaaar.” (Okay, some of you groan “Caffeiiiiiiiiiiiiine,” but you do that every morning anyway,)
Pretty much, Zombies terrify the rest of creation —especially children. All of the pumpkin pie and stuffed turkeys in the world won’t make up for the fact that there is a monster in the house. (Seriously guys, it won’t.)

You don’t need fourteen side dishes—no one is that hungry. Your bedroom doesn't have to be redecorated just in case a guest needs to have a nap. You needn't zombiefy your poor self or drive the bank account into the red to pay for dinner
What people really want for the holidays is to enjoy time with friends and family. If they’re at your house, they already love you and will forgive a few dust bunnies. Before you start the tightrope walk on that silver wire of stress, take a minute to be thankful for what you already have. Count your blessings and cut your list.

You’ll thank me for it later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

10 Black Friday Sale Secrets

10 Black Friday Sale Secrets

For years my family and I have purchased most, if not all, of our holiday presents on Black Friday—the busiest shopping day of the year.  (Oh, by the way, if you’re one of those people who have money falling out of your ears, you won’t be interested in this post.)

There are tricks to getting the goods and not getting killed and/or maimed in the shopping crowds. Here’s a few of ours.

1.  Get a look at the ads early. Don’t expect to read them Thanksgiving night. That will be way too late. I go to this website.

2. You need blankets, an old lawn chair, and a thermos full of a hot drink. You’ll also need a friend or a relative. The worst part of the shopping is that the lines at the register are miles long. One of you  needs to grab a cart and get in line while the other gets the goods and dumps them in the cart. You’ll have plenty of time, at least 2 hours.

 3.  Many retailers have the same items online as they do in the stores. Some of them open their online sales hours before they open the stores. Last year I did 80% of my shopping before midnight on Thanksgiving. Check what time zone your retail store headquarters uses. They’ll go by midnight in their time zone. 

4. Buy computers at office supply stores. You won’t have a chance of getting one at the big retailers. If you’re at an Office Depot or such three hours before their opening, you’ll be one of the first three or four people in line and sure to get what you need. I’ve gotten $200 laptops five years in a row. 

5. If you’re at a big retail store for a large item (like a television) you’ll need a partner. One year my husband took three of our children with him, sat the children on the TV boxes, and instructed them to scream “STRANGER DANGER” if anyone got near them. No one wants to be arrested as a pervert so it worked great. He had time to find the bigger cart, and we had 3 new televisions.

 6. Wear a watch. Some stores have time limits on their sales and if you’re not at the register before the buzzer, you won’t get the sale prices. 

7.  Make a list of what you want from each store or you will forget. (Also there are such DEALS you’ll spend more than you intended to and break the bank.) Take a folder or envelope for the receipts.

 8.  Put some power bars and water in the car. You’ll need something while driving between stores.

 9.  Place all of your purchases in the trunk. There’s no sense getting your window busted out and losing your presents. 

10. Make sticky labels with names on them before the shopping (I use mailing labels.) As soon as you get home, before you rest, mark all of your purchases with their recipient. You won’t remember later because you’ll be exhausted.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby Evil Writers 101: Conflict, Resolution, Setback

I'm blogging at the Evil League of Evil Writers today On Conflict, resolution, and setback. You can see it here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Singing the NANOWRIMO Turkey Blues

Singing the NANOWRIMO Turkey Blues

November isn’t just for turkeys anymore. This month tens of thousands of writers take up the challenge to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. The internet goes still as these valiant scribes moan, groan, and slave away
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? You have 30 days to write and you need to produce 1.667 words each day to stay on your deadline. This seems impossible at the start.

But sweetie, this is the pace you need in order to write professionally. Unfortunately, with all of the other demands put on authors, blogs, social media, edits, and promotions—not to mention traveling, you need to keep at least the NANOWRIMO pace to meet your deadlines and to stay published
Eventually, your brain won’t feel like it is stuffed with cotton. Your hands will build muscles and won’t cramp after a long day at the keyboard. You’ll have thirty or forty stories waiting in the back of your brain. (You won’t feel like you only have the one.)

I promise
Keep at it. You can do it. I have faith in you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why My Birthday was Awesome!

There was cake.

Sometimes on my birthday I make a cake for myself. However, I believe that this is so way cheater-pants behavior. Making your own birthday cake is like reviewing your own book. (We totally know what we all think about that.)
Anyway, this year my dearest Shannon made me a lovely spice cake and it was awesome.
BUT...this wasn't the only thing that happened.

I started the morning with toast and jelly from my daughter. My mom and Shannon took me to lunch and there was steak--on a weekday. Then, as if this wasn't enough splendor, my brother gave me an ARC of Cold Days!

Then, I picked up the kids from school and when I came home there were huge bunches of beautiful flowers from the Dear Husband and a bottle of pink champagne!
Then The Evil League of Evil Writers fab Dina James posted for my birthday!
And the fun just went on! The fabulous Heather Brewer was signing that night at our local Barnes & Noble so I went to see her with my daughters. SHE IS MADE OF GLORY and if you ever get a chance to see her you should totally go!
So the daughters and I were having so much fun that I didn't even see the attack coming. All of a sudden, I hear Heather calling me and she made the whole store sing Happy Birthday. It was AWESOME and I got a present, too!

So this was the best birthday ever!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ten Commandments of Query Letters

The Ten Commandments of Query Letters

  1. Verily I say unto you, it is forbidden to mass query to Agents. Thou shalt not put many names and email addresses in the address line nor in the Carbon Copy nor in the Blind Carbon Copy. For each agent has a name.
  2. And thou shalt personalize thy query to each agent with a name and each has a name.
  3. Thou shalt put thy email address and thy street address and thy phone number on the query or thy children and thy children’s children shall rise up and call thee Stupid for missing an opportunity.
  4. Thou shalt not send a query for an unedited manuscript even in the enthusiasm following Nano for thy name shall be Mud and thy query rejected verily.
  5. Thou shalt respect the silence of Agents who have posted no response means no on their websites on pain of losing the opportunity to query to them forever and of taking the privilege from thy brothers.
  6. Thou shalt go onto the internet to research agents and to follow their guidelines lest thy query be lost to the evil of spam folders.
  7. Thou shalt keep thy query letter to one page for Agents have eyes and eyes can be broken.
  8. Thou shalt only send a query letter to an agent who represents thy genre which has a name.
  9. Thou shalt not hassle an agent about thy query on twitter or facebook or any social networking sites for they are there to be social. They are people and they have a name.
  10. And on the seventh day if a rejection shall come, thou shalt rejoice for thy skin is thicker with each rejection and thou shalt need a thick skin when you have a name, for lo and verily there are reviewers.