21 April 2006

"News From Around Cyberland"

American Title III

Received this from one of my writing forums:

They always say that good things come in threes. So once again Dorchester is offering all unpublished authors a chance to participate in the American Title contest, co-sponsored by Romantic Times.

This year we’re looking for contemporary romance: chick lit, romantic suspense, paranormals, romantic comedies and anything that falls in between.

The finished manuscript should be 80,000-90,000 words, but to start we just need the first three chapters and a synopsis that summarizes the story from beginning to end. Send your entries by June 1st to:

AMERICAN TITLE III

Dorchester Publishing
200 Madison Ave., Suite 2000
New York, NY 10016

Please note that “unpublished” refers to authors who have never had a full-length novel appear in print form.

Behind the Scenes on Money and Publishing

Tor editor, Anna Genoese, writes about: “P&Ls and how books make (or don’t) money: part the first: the mass market original complete failure”

She gives an informative scenario on a first time author’s book and how the publisher determines advance as well as the run down for the costs of the manufacturing of a mass market book. Wow, this is really interesting and I had no idea on the costs involved for one book. If you want to learn more read this post!

Query News

On Pubrants and Agent Obscura’s blog, agents are spreading the word about an unprofessional query that seems to be going around that gets a straight “No” from certain agents.

So good to know to always be professional and courteous on your query letters, and of course, not overly confident. I’m sure many writers know this, but there are likely some who might not do the research! Yikes!


20 April 2006

"Tarot: The Moon"

If you’re a returning visitor, you might know how I feel about Tarot readings. =) They are super cool from one of my favorite people. 😉

I found this fun quiz on Diana Peterfreund’s blog.
And wow, isn’t this a beautiful picture?

You are the Moon card. Entering the Moon we enter the intuitive and psychic realms. This is the stuff dreams are made on. And like dreams the imagery we find here may inspire us or torment us. Understanding the moon requires looking within. Our own bodily rhythms are echoed in this luminary that circles the earth every month and reflects the sun in its progress. Listening to those rhythms may produce visions and lead you towards insight. The Moon is a force that has legends attached to it. It carries with it both romance and insanity. Moonlight reveals itself as an illusion and it is only those willing to work with the force of dreams that are able to withstand this reflective light. Image from: Stevee Postman. http://www.stevee.com/. Take this quiz.


19 April 2006

"A Gift"

Yes, I’m writing. Yes, the chapter is treading into dangerous territory and I’m loving it. Yes, I’m behind in a lot of cyber stuff, but I’m working down a list. =)

One of the fun parts of writing fiction is piecing together a story from scratch, creating worlds and characters simply from our own minds. Isn’t it amazing how we are able to paint words on a page? I don’t think everyone can do this. I’m not sure why this is so, but I’ll share with you an example of what I mean.

The other day I was at my kid’s school. The teacher had the children close their eyes and picture a scene with their mind. She kept telling the children to add objects to the picture. With her eyes closed, the teacher asked, “Do you see it?”

One child answered, “All I see is dark.”

I think writers are the ones who can close their eyes and envision the whole picture. Using words, we can add or take away from worlds at a whim. It reminded me storytelling is a gift. One realization I hope not to forget again. =)


18 April 2006

"Personal Life with Deadlines"

A view at deadlines…

I know I’ve written about this topic already, but I’d like to reiterate that when bumps happen in the road of your personal life the writing deadlines still remain. You may be going through something that interrupts your life, or changes your comfortable writing routine, and you may not feel the inspiration to write, but you still have to write.

I’m learning this. Oh am I.

My first brush with deadline reality was when the family caught the flu in the middle of revisions. It was a 2-week domino effect of virus swapping. 😉 I didn’t have the energy to write or edit while taking care of my family and myself. It put me behind my personal deadlines. I also had another project I owed my agent. I had a lot of catching up to do.

Well, the other project I had readied for my agent, paid off and sold–hooray!–and more deadlines were added. I didn’t let this freak me out because I want to write full-time and this is what I should expect, right?

I can only thank goodness I spaced my deadlines apart as much as possible, because I’m learning things come up that alter your plans. Such as my mother retiring and making a residence change a year earlier than planned. You might think, what does this have to do with you?

A lot, since I’m the only one to help her with this change and adjust to her new lifestyle. I am squeezing in writing, but I feel the pressure of the deadlines even though I still have months until I reach them. Like everyone, I also have personal life obligations that need to be taken care of as well. And I want my stories to be the best that I am capable of writing and as I’m making my way through extra obstacles, writing life and inspiration can get a little stressful.

Luckily the moms will be settled within a couple of days and I can let the stress level relax again. I can focus more on my current project. I can write!! *laughs*

Yes, personal life with writing deadlines is not a day at the beach. So note to self: plan for bumps in the road and always keep deadlines as far apart as possible. 😉


17 April 2006

"Recommending: Fiona Brand"

Tomorrow Spring Break will be officially over. My kids will go back to school and our routines will slide back in order. And this means back to serious writing action. 😉

This weekend I read a great Romantic Suspense novel: Body Work by Fiona Brand.

I began reading Fiona when she was writing category novels with Silhouette Intimate Moments and enjoying her SAS heroes. (Serious alpha males with a tender streak.) Now still writing category, she writes Romantic Suspense for MIRA. And Body Work strayed into a more gritty serial killer storyline that surprised me, and I’m so glad to have picked it up.

Body Work is one of those books you only put down when you have to and then you pick right back up again. Her heroine is also one tough woman, which of course I love to read! But you also can’t help feeling a soft feminine quality to her heroines. They are always soft yet tough, able to undergo hard work while hiding some sort of emotional pain. Very difficult to pull off, but Fiona manages it perfectly.

Blurb:

The killer liked his women young and defenseless.

He was never caught.

As a child, Jane Gale witnessed her mother’s murder and was nearly killed trying to escape. Left for dead, she has suffered complete memory loss, unable to recall who she was before the “accident” or the events that caused her mother’s death. Twenty-five years later, Jane has a new life and a blossoming career as a novelist-until the killer picks up her book and discovers that the only eyewitness to his secrets has survived. And told.

Oblivious to the fact that she has attracted the murderer back into her life, Jane has no idea where the inspiration for her bestseller came from. But she has a photograph that leads her back to Louisiana, to a place she knows but can’t remember-and to a stranger she wants to trust. Because somehow he is a link to her past…and her only chance of staying alive.

I highly recommend this book and Fiona Brand’s Silhouette Intimate Moments series. Her books hold my favorite elements of suspense, romance, strong heroes and heroines, and now also gritty storylines that manage to keep me riveted for the entire ride. =)