Tag Archives: writing life

I Suck At Juggling

I could blame last week’s lack of post on technical difficulties or a ghost in the machine (now I want to watch I, Robot) but truly the fault was human error.

This human to be precise.  I spaced that it was Wednesday.  I had my 40+ hours at the Evil Day Job, writing, an out of town guest and my schedule just heaved itself out the window.  Wait. *I* threw it out the window.  There, took responsibility like a big girl (have to if I’m going to wear the BG panties).

I suck at juggling.  Not a new discovery but something I need to be reminded of periodically.  I know there are people who are writing, working an EDJ and taking care of home and they aren’t flinching.  I am not one of them.

I whine, swear, wish I had wine, and gnash my teeth trying to get it all done, and I still come up short.  I can live with the fact that I cleaned the bathroom on Monday, but the kitchen will have to wait until Thursday.  I can even operate at work on less than three hours of sleep (though by 2pm I’m a bit of a whack job laughing at my own jokes).

But I can’t be that flexible with my writing.  It all feels like suck and I can’t half or even 3/4 ass it into shape.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m incapable of accepting any less or if I’m still too new to my own process to figure it out.  But I’ve put it on my To Do List to find out.  Which I’m sure I’ll get to … some time this year.

Sasha, who could use a nap

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Do “Serious” Writers Write for the Web?

Here’s another question from the interview I completed a while back. This one touches on a bias I run across far too frequently…that e-pubbed writers aren’t really published.

The Question:

How would you respond to the “prevailing wisdom” that “serious” writers don’t write for the web?

My Answer:

Serious writers learn their craft. Sometimes that education comes from academia, sometimes from spendy writers’ workshops, sometimes from hiring a freelance editor. None of those avenues was available to me. I had earned my Masters Degree years earlier and had no desire to return to college. Costly avenues like Gotham or freelance editing were beyond my means. My critique workshop, Wordos,  gave me a great start, but they only critiqued short fiction. I wanted to write novels.

I found my education in e-publishing.

My publisher saw promise in my writing and was willing to work with me—as long as I was willing to sweat blood and learn. I was blessed with an amazing editor. Her skill coupled with my willingness to revise produced two novellas and two novels that I’m quite pleased with. They’re not my best work—that’s still to come, but they’re the best I was capable of at the time.

Because of the great foundation my e-pub gave me, I’m now represented by a fabulous agent with a well-respected NYC agency. I’ll admit, I’m hoping for a print publishing contract, but I’m also proud to be part of the e-publishing world. I’d like my career to span all available avenues of readership.

Serious writers follow the best path they can find. Most importantly, serious writers write.

Discussion:

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think e-published writers are second-class citizens in the literary world, or do you agree that e-publishing represents a different but legitimate business model?

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The Week in Review

I’ve had a seriously exciting week. Please join me for a retrospective…

First, you should know that I’m recovering from the flu so my energy has been low recently. Afternoon naps have been the order of the day for the last week or so *sigh*

Alrighty! On Sunday, I met a former Romance Divas mentee in the flesh and agreed to a renewed writing relationship. Wow! How cool is that? Someone who has felt the sting of my critique whip has voluntarily returned for more. I think I’m the winner in this encounter. Gwen is an awesome reviewer and brings those skills to her critiques. We’re going to be a productive team.

Next up, I was approached by a local writing group about speaking at one of their monthly gatherings. Whoa! Me? Speaking publicly on the craft of writing? Like someone thinks I know enough to inform others? I’m blown away…and VERY excited! I met the chairwoman yesterday afternoon and we had a delightful conversation. I’ll be presenting to the group in October on the subject of world building *squeee*

And then there were my Adventures in Nursery Land *happy sigh* As you may know, I’m a proud mother of twins. Mine are grown and flown, but one of the members of my weekly writing group is expecting her first child next month. Actually, she’s expecting her first children: identical twin girls! On Saturday, I joined three other members of our writing group at Mom-to-be’s home where we proceeded to empty the nursery, prepare it (removing doors / hardware, masking, protecting floors, etc.), paint it, paint baby furniture, and reassemble the room. Whew! Long, exhausting day, but excellently worthwhile labor. The twins now have a freshly painted room, all done in their mom’s excellent color scheme.

Since the day was spent in the company of writers, even Adventures in Nursery Land counts as writing related, doncha think?

AND to top it all off, I won a signed copy of AMAZON INK from Lori Devoti. Lori recently presented a fabulous workshop on dialogue at Romance Divas, so I was thrilled to be able to read one of her books. WOW! Let me repeat that backwards, “!WOW” Seriously AWESOME book. If you haven’t read it and you enjoy urban fantasy, put it at the top of your TBR pile! AMAZING story line that kept me guessing right to the end…which leaves the characters open to a sequel which I’m praying is coming SOON. WOW!

Okay. That’s it for my week. How was yours?

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My BFF Made Me Do It!

Best friends rock. Especially the ones you’ve known since before you could read…

My BFF bullied me into doing a photo shoot last weekend. I didn’t want to do it–even though it was just in her back yard with her hubby doing the camera work. I whined and whimpered and acted pathetic, but she showed no mercy. I needed an author picture and she was bound and determined to see that I got one…

Did I mention best friends rock?

Here it is–a picture I don’t mind publicizing:

Thank you, LMS and CWD!

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Expectations: Administer With Caution!

My experience at Willamette Writers Conference this last weekend is a perfect example of the dangers of expectation. I signed up at the last minute because it was a local conference for me and had a nice line-up of agents who represent what I write.

Notice, I didn’t mention excellent classes or enriching bonus activities: I signed up to pitch. I paid what to me was a large amount of money to have the opportunity to pitch my book in person.

I received slots for three ‘consultations’…two groups and a one-on-one. I’d have preferred 3 one-on-ones, but I came late to the party, so I considered myself fortunate. And, after all, group sessions were still opportunities to connect with industry professionals.

Friday afternoon I had a group session with an executive editor of a major NY press’s children’s division. He didn’t want to hear pitches; it was strictly a Q&A with an editor. Sigh. VERY nice man, though, and I evidently made a good impression. I saw him in the hall on Saturday and he called me by name (without glancing at the name tag dangling from around my neck) and asked how my day was going. I took the opportunity to ask him about the appropriateness of the age level of my manuscript. He was polite, attentive, and his eyes didn’t glaze over because I was careful to keep it general and concise. He said that it sounded like my book was in the ‘trough’ between middle grade (because of its length) and young adult (because of the main character’s age) and that’s a VERY tough place to sell. He suggested I either rewrite to about 75-80K or lower my heroine’s age to 11 or 12…neither of which is a particularly appealing option. I thanked him for his time and said, ‘Ah, well, if not this book, then the next.’ He absolutely beamed at me and praised my good attitude. Not the outcome I wanted, but valuable information and a positive impression. Who knows, he might even remember my name…

My one-on-one was Saturday morning. The blurb in the booklet said this agent specialized in juvenile and young adult fiction. That’s all I discovered about her when I checked her out online. I’d never heard of her before, but I figured being invited to Willamette Writers was SOME kind of endorsement. So I gave my pitch, and she said, ‘Well, it sounds like you have a well-developed story with all the key elements in place, but I detest fantasy, so I’m not the right agent for this project.’ Sigh. She couldn’t have mentioned that in her blurb? However, we spent the rest of my time with her discussing the book’s placement. She said the length was perfect for middle-grade and indeed the plot sounded more like middle-grade than YA…even with a 15-year-old heroine. Completely at odds with what the editor told me. Don’t you love conflicting information?

My third consult was a group session with another agent who specializes in YA from a well-known agency (one that I’ve heard excellent feedback on). I was VERY excited about this one and had been checking back all weekend to see if I could trade for a one-on-one, but she was booked solid. SO, I practiced my pitch, worked myself up to a fairly severe case of nerves, and finally approached the group session. When everyone was seated, she opened the conversation…and I knew she wasn’t someone I’d be comfortable working with. Very condescending. She wasn’t interested in hearing about our books, but made it clear we should be grateful for the opportunity to sit in her presence and ask questions about the industry. Sigh. She handed out business cards and said we should all feel free to query her through the normal channels.

I was rather despondent when I came out of her group. Not specifically because I didn’t get to pitch—I’d already decided I wouldn’t want to work with her—but because my expectations hadn’t been met.

Now that I have a little distance from the conference I can see that if I filter out my expectations, I had a wonderful experience. I met one woman with such similar interests that I anticipate a lasting friendship…what a treasure! I attended some excellent classes including one that renewed my excitement about on-line promotion…a very valuable commodity. And I got to spend three days among other men and women who understand and appreciate what I’m trying to accomplish…a priceless salve to the writer’s soul.

My lesson from the weekend? Be careful about your expectations. When they aren’t met in one area, they can cause you to miss the precious serendipities you encountered along the way.

Expect your dreams to come true, but remember to appreciate all the gifts you receive while you’re waiting…

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