Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Monday

First and foremost, let us remember the brave men and women who have fought for our freedoms on this soil and abroad. Without them, we wouldn't be here today.

I'd also like to say blogger has been giving me a migraine these last three days and I just can't seem to do anything with it. I can't comment, I can't blog, I can't rearrange my stuff, ARGH! I know this happens every six weeks or so, so it must be my time again.

Thank you so much for all your encouragement these last few days. Without you guys, I'd literally be a sniveling, cowering mess. With the new map I think I've gotten to where I want to be.

I checked out the category I want to work on, but ugh, what a mess! I mean the plot's great, the characters are real, I really like the setting but man, oh man, the writing just sucks. How many 'was' did I find in the first paragraph alone? Now granted, this is the first book I've ever written, literally, but it still resonates with me and I think the ending is perfect. I've got a lot of cleaning up to do, a ton of rewriting, but what else have I got to do?

Wait for the partial to come back that I sent out last week. Okay, I'm trying not to think about it, which is like trying not to think about why Monster Baby is so quiet in the kitchen. I've got to get it out of my mind and CONCENTRATE. I've got to write the next book. Scratch that. I've got to FINISH the next book.

Speaking of which, Gwen from This Is Not My Day Job is holding a Summer Novel Challenge, where we're trying to finish what we say we want to. Sort of like a summer NaNo. Check it out, join up if you want. I think being held accountable will help me. I have nothing to lose, except maybe 50k. And who knows, maybe I can finish two books this summer.

As to blogging, I'm not sure what I'm doing with it. I mean, you guys know I can't stay away even when I say I'm on break, which is where I'm supposed to be right now. It's just hard for me because I don't have normal people to talk to in the 'real' world. And you know how I love to talk. I'm trying to find the right balance so I guess we'll see where it goes. I'm supposed to be building my platform but right now it seems all I'm building is transience. (love that word) So if my posts are rapid fire one week, and none at all the next, sorry.

With school out and Monster Baby around all the time, it's going to be difficult. And I know so many of you have more than one child and quite frankly, I have no idea how you do it. I cried when she graduated the other day but secretly can't wait for her to go to school full time in the fall. Seven whole hours to myself, what will I do????

Anyway, that's where I am, that's what I'm doing. Thanks for sticking around my craziness and putting up with my whining. Have a great holiday.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blue Funkadelic Haze

My haze is not purple because we all know what happened to Jimi, mine is blue. And I think I finally figured out why. TA DA.

I have no direction. I used to live in RI. The smallest state in the union. No matter where you lived in the state it was only an hour to cross it. So living in the farthest southeastern corner, I could get to the farthest northwestern corner in an hour. Okay an hour and twenty minutes with traffic. I could hit all the malls and still be home in time for supper. I could go to an aunt's in Warwick, see another one in Cumberland, and hit my cousin's in Bristol before heading home to Tiverton. No big deal.

Along the way, I would pass historical sites and landmarks I had grown up with, cousins homes, familiarity. And always, there was the ocean. RI has 417 miles of coastline. (Or thereabouts. We have a lot of islands and for some reason, those count.) If I ever got lost, I always headed south.

Ever since I moved to the Piedmont I've been lost. I carry maps in my car. Whenever I have to go somewhere I have to plot out how to get there, look at my maps, Google it, MapQuest it, re-write it, and drive slowly so I don't miss what I'm looking for.

I don't drive the highway, so this makes for adventures all the way around.

You may ask what does this have to do with my haze? Simple. The queries I've been sending out have been for my Regency romance. I've also been writing a comtemporary women's fiction-y romantic kind of thing. I have a bunch of other Regencies, a few other contemporaries, a YA and a category romance thrown in for good measure.

I've been waiting to hear on the partials because if one gets picked up, then I know that I need to continue writing in that vein. I would like to get a 4 book deal with that. If it doesn't get picked up, then I would like to continue with Genna & Tony.

But how do I know what to do if nobody tells me? I'm lost. I have no direction. I need to know what to do.

I don't want to waste my time writing the Regencies if they're not going to get picked up (now). I'll write something else. Step Two. Plan B. I don't drive on the highway, in other words, I don't write fast. I can't just bang these things out, (although some people seem to think you can write a category in 3 days). I take my time, do a lot of revision and edits. I want no loop holes, plot holes, or that was just felts in my stuff. I take my time with the query to make sure it's perfect.

"They" say, once you send the query out, write the next book. Okay, I have 6 to choose from. But I don't want to waste my time writing something that won't get picked up either.

So I figured it out. I've come out of the haze and into the light. I have the answer. And it's not Genna & Tony. That story and Kate's (you don't know her, she's a 1K blurb that may or may not survive) are women's fiction and need to be captured, cultivated and caressed. (Gee, I like that, maybe I should use that in another post.)

I am going to continue my queries with the other 19 agents on my list. And I will finish my category romance because I found a house where it will fit. It's completely written (in longhand on paper with pen) so I only have to transfer it to word, clean it up, and let it go. There is also an agent who will look at it and hopefully sell it for me, and if not, I'll do it myself. It's not that hard to do for category.

Writing is a job. Sure it's fun and great and all that other stuff, but it's also work. And if I'm going to work, I'm going to get paid to do it. And pretty much, this is what it's all about. I'm not asking for 6 figure deal, I just want to get paid. When I started working in the restaurant business, I started as a dishwasher. If, as a writer, I have to start writing category, well then so be it. I'm still writing, does it matter what I write. Sure I'd like to become the next Julia Quinn or Susan Wiggs, but for now, I'm just me.

A little lost, but at least now I have a map.

PS And I don't mean to disparage any category romance writer's out there by comparing them with dishwashing. That was not my intention. It is just as hard to break into category as it is with New York. I was using the analogy for word count. 60-75k as compared to 85-95k. Dishwashing as compared to sous chef. That's all. And I was a dishwasher for a long time before I became a chef. They both handle the exact same number of dishes during the course of the night.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

Just thought I'd check in and let you know what's REALLY going on. And to tell you the absolute truth. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I took this time off the blog to get some writing done and I haven't done anything. Written not one word. I don't know what it is -- the weather, MB graduating, my mother leaving, the fence building, the queries, the partials -- I don't know.

But I know I'm not alone. There are several others out in the blogoshpere that are having this same problem -- can't write anything but word vomit, no energy or enthusiasm for any of their projects, and with the kids out of school for summer, well, it's just panic now, I mean what are we going to do with THEM?

I've tried timed writing. I've tried switching back and forth between stories (if you look at my sidebar you can see all the projects I'm attached to). I've tried putting some work into an old/new story to see where I come up. Nothing, nada, zilch. I can't write. And don't get me wrong, it's not writer's block. I know where all these are supposed to go, I have the next chapters all outlined, not to mention the copious notes on all the regencies, not to mention all the outliney stuff I did for Genna & Tony.

It just won't come.

And if it does, it's crap. I mean crappy crap that you hold against your normal brilliant writing self and say, "Was I kidnapped by aliens? What is this garbage?"
(And I'm not saying I'm brilliant but I am pretty good, but it's all crappy crap these days.) And I don't mind a little crap, but everything?

Truthfully, I think it has to do with the queries. There's something about querying that makes me nuts. Like I have to put my whole life on hold to wait for the agents to tell me if I'm any good or not. Thank God I've done this like three or four times already. At least I know what I'm getting into. It's like riding a bike without training wheels, the first few times, you fall down. You get hurt, get right back up again. I'm just afraid I'm going to have to put the training wheels back on.

One of the partials came back with a rejection. It probably wouldn't have hurt quite so much if the agent hadn't had it since Feb! She waited 90 days to tell me -- IN A FORM REJECTION -- so that hurt was just unbearable. I've cried, thanks, and eaten a whole big bag of M&M's, and decided when I query G&T, guess what, it's not going to that agency. Yes I might cut off my nose to spite my face but I'm not waiting 90 days for another rejection ever again. I even had to send her a nudge note, so what does that say to me? They can't get their work done in a timely manner. I know they're busy people but how long does it take to read 50 pages? Exactly 28 minutes. So you mean to tell me in the last 90 days you couldn't find 28 minutes to read my stuff?

Now I've also still got a few queries out from Feb. and those agents pre-requested pages with the query. I KNOW those are rejections. I don't have to get my hopes up.

So at least this rejection has told me something. The query is working. My biggest peeve is all the rejections have been FORM rejections. How am I supposed to know what's not working with the partial if nobody tells me? I've followed the damn romance "formula", everything is there. The last agent who rejected me told me the writing was fine, it was just the plot wasn't all that it should be. And that was ALL he said. Well, my question is -- How would you know? You didn't read the book, only the synopsis and we all know those things are just dry statements of fact, there's no nuance or subtly or great writing. You didn't even to bother to find out what happens to Penny at the masquerade ball and how the villain tricks her into getting into his carriage. (Hey, that was some great writing there boy howdy!)

I know, I know, this is what we all go through as writers. It just sucks and makes me want to give up. I know, I know, I won't give up, this dream is too important to me, and I am a Taurus, a Tiger and Irish so... it's just hard. Writing is hard work, rejection is a kick in the teeth, and querying just sucks.

So here is my question for the day -- Would anyone care to read THE LADY'S MASQUERADE? It's a Regency romance/cozy mystery with a little (very little) sex. I have it out to one other person and I'm waiting for her to give me her opinion. She's a mystery writer who reads Regency for fun so I've got the best of both worlds in her. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I wouldn't send it to anyone who wants it to read, however, I'd like to send it to people who read Regency romance and know the intricate subtleties of the genre. I'm not looking for a critique, I'm looking for an opinion. Those of you who read the genre know what I'm looking for. E-mail me at piedmontwriter at gmail dot com.

Also I just wanted to say, thank you so much for your comments yesterday on my Monster Baby. It was a nice graduation, she had her best friend over for a play date afterward (another one today with ALL her friends but I also get to play with the Mommies) and then we just lolled around in the afternoon. It was nice because I wasn't attached to the computer. I even cut the grass.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Congratulations Monster Baby!

Well, today my little Monster Baby is graduating from Playschool. I know, I know, I've already started crying and it's only 6:30 in the morning. She's so grown up now. It's funny what you don't think about when you hold your little bundle of joy in your arms for the first time. I never thought about this. Graduation from Oxford, yes, graduation from playschool, no. (Yes, I have high hopes and big dreams.)

I'm taking a page from Talli's blog when she got her contract and lit up the blogosphere with her lovely face.

Here's my Monster Baby. (And yes, I do really call her that. She thinks it's funny and calls me Monster Mommy. Then growls.)









To my one and only Monster Baby, may all your hopes, wishes and dreams come true.
I love you more than peanut butter,

Mommy

Monday, May 24, 2010

THAT WAS JUST FELT

Good Monday morning gentle readers. As you know, I'm still sort of on blogging hiatus, or at least trying to be. I've been around the blogosphere but haven't been posting as much as I'd like. However, I've been working on my manuscript and have found a few things I'd like to share with you.

For those of you who haven't heard, I received another partial request for MASQUERADE. I was quite astounded actually because it came 7 hours after I sent the e-mail query. I am thrilled, yet tempering that with a good dose of reality. My last 5 partials were met with rejections so.... But like the good little professional writer I am, I sent it out this morning. Snail mail. Hey, did you know it only cost $2.07 to send 36 pages cross country? Snail mail might not break my piggy bank after all.

Any-hoo, because of this, I decided to give the manuscript one last look-see. Boy howdy am I glad I did. The first three chapters were polished until they sparkled. Except for THAT. The bane of my existance.

The word -- THAT. Four letters, four tiny little letters, that, if used in the wrong place, make you sound like a newbie. Believe it or not, I went through the whole ms. again. And I did not use the 'find' feature on my program. I re-read the whole thing. Guess what? I am now, believe it or not, 632 words lighter in the ms. Yes, you read correctly, 632 freaking words.

Who knew? Now some of these were changed to 'which', which I happen to like, and only one was changed to 'who', (thank God I payed attention in English class) but for the most part, I removed them. I also found a few places where I could re-write the entire sentence to make it THAT much better. All in all, I think I did a pretty good job.

While I was going through this, I also decided to see if I could find any FELTS. I'm so proud of myself, I only had two. One I couldn't change, the other I reworded.

JUST is another one of my ugly words but I must have caught all those during the first 1200 revisions. I know they're in all my first drafts.

Then we come to WAS, however, this is a whole other animal. WAS is easy, WAS is quick, WAS is simple. Everybody loves WAS. She was tired, he was smiling, it was hot. OH. MY. GOD. I am now on page 192 (for this I cheated, I did use the 'find' feature as it WAS going to take me forever to find them all). I think the manuscript is so much better for it. Everything is more descriptive, has more flesh, more meat on the bones. I kept a few in there because sometimes WAS is just the best word to use. You know what I mean.

Perhaps now I know why I received the 5 rejections on the partials. I'm supposed to know what I'm doing when I say I'm writing a book. I thought I did. But you know, I have to say, it's true, you really do need some time away from a ms. before you go back and edit. It's been three months since I looked at it with fresh eyes. Unfortunately those fresh eyes caught every stupid mistake a newbie makes. So I guess I'm not as hot-shit as I thought I WAS!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by today. I don't know when I'll be back, probably when I find some other stupid thing I've done to tell you, so you don't do it. We can all learn from my mistakes. I think I've made them all.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Status Update

Just thought I'd let you all know, as of sending out queries on Thursday, I received a partial request 7 hours later. I know this agent to be one of the top in her field so I am thrilled that she requested it. I'm not holding my breath, I've learned from the last bunch of queries and requests, but it's nice to know, a top performer is requesting. At least I know the query is working.

Also, for all you out there querying, please learn from my mistake -- I accidentally sent the same query to two of the agents I sent to back in February. They both had a three month response time and I'm assuming they rejected and I feel stupid, so here's a lesson to you -- check your notes or spreadsheets or whatever you use carefully so you don't look like a stupidhead.

I've also spent the last 2 hours on Query Tracker researching other agents and I've come up with another 19. So all is not lost. Some of then are A-listers, some are B's, and some I've never even heard of. And as this business is so subjective, I don't mind categorizing my targeted agents in this way.

Monster Baby and I are going to *big box office superstore* to buy the required envelopes for the snail mail partial. Yeah, snail mail, but you know, if I were an agent, I'd rather read a partial on paper too, so I'm not minding so much. Besides I can use the other snail mail partial that was rejected. Return SASE's are useful.

I hope you are all having a delightful weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Head's Up

Just thought I'd let you all in on what I've been doing these last few days. Sending out more queries, cleaning up THE LADY'S MASQUERADE manuscript and scouring agents on Query Tracker.

Boy Howdy, let me tell you how fantastic this site is for finding agents. If you haven't gone, go now. If you haven't joined, join now. This is invaluable information that we all need and I'm really grateful to the guys and gals who put this together. (Thanks Elana, thanks Patrick.)

I have a really good feeling about a couple of the agents I sent out today, course that doesn't mean anything, could be just the Mexican food I had for breakfast, but I'm really hoping to land a few more partials with a few of them. You know what they say, query well, query widely. So I'm casting my net into deeper water. We'll see what happens.

I know today is Thursday, and I should have posted another excerpt from the Genna & Tony saga but I didn't as I had already done so on Tuesday. So if you need a fix, scroll down. (And yes, I know it still needs work but I've been so busy doing other things I just haven't gotten around to it yet.)

Anyway, I hope you are all being productive and getting some writing done. I miss you and will see you all soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest

I'd forgotten I'd signed up for Roni's (Fiction Groupie) blogfest (otherwise, I'm still unplugged).

This is from my current work in progress REMEMBERING YOU, a contemporary women's fiction-y romance. (having a little trouble with the genre)

Here's my entry, and for those of you who follow the story of Genna & Tony, this is a dirty little secret held onto by Genna's cousin Angie for more than a decade.

********* Rating R- strong language


**** This post has been removed by the author.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Unplugged

Good Monday morning gentle readers, as you can see from my title I'm unplugging. I need to. I really really need to. I've given myself a challenge, thanks in part to Roni at Fiction Groupie. She said she hadn't been around the blogworld much, as she had been writing, ending up with 12K at the end of the week. So, guess what I'm going to try and do. Monster Baby is only in school for two more weeks, and 3 of those days, I have to be there with her so...

I had wanted to finish with Genna & Tony by the time she got out of school but as you can see, I'm only a quarter of the way there. I know it's a big challenge to me, but I think I can do at least something.

Now, don't all go off and get agents on me or anything. If anyone needs me for anything you can find me at piedmontwriter at g mail dot com. You know how it works. Have fun while I'm gone, get some work done yourselves and try and stay out of trouble.

And don't forget to join DL over at Cruising Altitude's SPARTA contest for 300 followers. It starts today.

I'll see you on the flip side.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

My Friday posts are usually full of fun and frivolity, but today I've a discussion instead. Several people, here and elsewhere have expressed an interest as to what I think about e-publishers. I swore I'd never go there. I swore up and down and sideways, I'd never go there. Guess what? I'm being swayed. I should rephrase that -- I'm being swayed to think about it more.

My reasons for not heading straight to an e-publisher with MASQUERADE were very simple in the beginning. I wanted it to be a BOOK. A tangible, living, breathing thing, that people can hold in their hands, laugh with, cry with, then send on to their best friend saying, "Oh, this is so wonderful, you've simply got to read this." You know how you feel when you've read a good book, you want to pass it on. With an e-book you can't. (I don't think.) Unless your friends have their own e-reading device. You certainly aren't going to let them borrow your reader.

After reading Roni's post the other day (Fiction Groupie) and her discussion on the pros and cons of e-publishing, I went to a couple of e-pub web-sites. Some were very well presented, some were kind of schmaltzy, some made me want to cringe. The only one who gave (that I read anyway) any kind of mention of renumeration was Samhain Publishing.

Now I'm not crass enough to ask my published writer friends how much money they made on a book or what their contract looks like but being who I am, (and in the restaurant business for so long) I always want to know 'the numbers'. I appreciate Samhain's posting this on their website.

"Our pricing philosophy
Samhain believes the price of an ebook should be less than a print book; after all, it doesn’t need to be printed, stored or shipped! Why should it equal the cost of a print book? Samhain is dedicated to delivering excellent books at reasonable prices.

Short Stories: $2.50 12,000 to 18,000 words
Novellas: $3.50 18,001 to 35,000 words
Category: $4.50 35,001 to 60,000 words
Novel: $5.50 60,001 to 100,000 words
Plus Novel: $6.50 over 100,000 words


Royalty and Contracts
Samhain is a royalty paying ebook company that offers 40% of the cover price (as set by Samhain Publishing, Ltd) for a single-author ebook.

The author is not required to pay any fees for editing or for publishing in either digital or print. We are NOT a vanity publisher.

Our contract requests full rights to the work, including both digital and print, is fully negotiable and available for review upon acceptance of your story.

Contracts
5.1. Will I have to pay to publish my book or for it to go to print?
Absolutely not. Samhain is not a vanity or subsidy publisher. We pay royalties (40% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold through My Bookstore and More, 30% of the cover price on single-author ebooks sold through third-party vendors, and 8% of the cover price on single-author print books), and we require no money from authors at any stage of the publishing process.

5.2. What are your terms of contract? May I review the contract?
Our contract is for seven years, requires full rights, including digital and print, and is fully negotiable. All details are available for review when we offer a contract for your book.

5.3. If I contract the first book of a series with Samhain, do I have to give you first refusal on subsequent books in the series?
No. Samhain contracts one book at a time. We hope you’ll love working with us enough to send us all your other books, but we want you to be free to make that decision for yourself."
(All of this in italics was taken directly from the pages of the Samhain Publishing web-site.)


So for my novel (95K) to be published by them, I would get $2.00 per book. From them. Consequently, if I sold through other vendors the price per book would go down.

The problem with that is, I have to sell the books so I can get the money. (Yes, I know, isn't that the point but bear with me.) Ten thousand books equals $20,000.00. If I were Sabrina Jeffries, that wouldn't be a problem. However, I'm just me. I don't have a fan base, I have (to date) 128 "friends" on my blog, and I know maybe 6 people who would buy my book in real life. How long would it take me to make twenty grand?

In the traditional publishing world, you get an advance. As to what that would be, I have no idea. It all depends on the book, the contract, the publishing house, lots of other factors too numerous to mention here. However, that is the deciding factor (for me anyway) -- the advance. I need the money now. I can't wait for 10,000 books to be sold. I can't live my life on $38- a week, or worse yet, pay period.

That being said, in the traditional publishing world, you can always negotiate the contract. My thought has always been (and I'm strictly speaking about my Regency Romances here -- this is not about Genna & Tony -- that's a different animal) I sell MASQUERADE, I take a higher advance and a lower royalty rate on the back side. In each of the subsequent books in the series, I would negotiate for a lower advance with a higher royalty rate on the backside, so when I "sold through" I would earn more money.

With the contract from Samhain, you get $2.00 per book. Period. For seven years. And if anyone knows different here, please please please jump on this discussion.

If I, say, sold through MASQUERADE (with a traditional publisher on a seven year contract) in the first two years, (yes, I'm being very optimistic) the last 5 years of the contract would be royalties. And because I've built such a great fan base, the sell through of each of the subsequent books would earn me more royalties. (And also the publisher and the agent.)

(Note -- I had a whole paragraph on publicity to aquire a fan base but I took it out because I just don't know anything about that, and I don't want to insult anyone.)

Now, Samhain also doesn't say anything about serial rights, movie rights, audio, book club, or foreign rights either. And that's a whole other ball game. I think I would want an agent behind me to negotiate all those things.

Also with a traditional publisher, if the first book is well received by the editor there is the chance you could get a multi-book deal. With most of the e-publishers I read, you are bought, book by book. Query by query. And who wants to go through the query process for every book? With a multi-book deal, sure you have to write proposals and synopsis, (of which I have already done for the rest of the Regency series) and all kinds of other stuff, but you already have an agent, and an editor. You're already in. With an e-pub, you're a newbie every single time.

For me, right now, it's all about the money. Yes, it is also about fantastic awesomesauce writing and creating a book that will delight people when they read it, but it's also about the money. I'm not going to get into why, that's personal, suffice it to say, I need the cash. (Hey, who doesn't, but for me it's different.) And even if the traditional publisher is only willing to shell out say $8,000- for an advance, (I have no idea what a traditional pub is willing to pay, I just took a figure off the top of my head) that's nothing to sneeze at. And a multi-book contract would be totally freaking awesome. How many times have you heard, "So and so just signed with such and such for a multi-book, six figure deal." I want to be that so and so.

Which brings me around to the beginning of the discussion -- I've been swayed to THINK about e-publishing. It's all about the money. A girl's got to make a living (and in this economy, where I live, 237 resumes later, I still can't get a job) and I have Monster Baby to support.

Finding an agent for my genre is hard. There aren't many that will even look at Regency romance. And those that do, already have their very successful clients. It takes a lot of research and a fabulous plot to write a great Regency. It takes a great agent to take a chance on a newbie author like me.

That being said, I have to do what's right for me and my little family. I've never not worked. I've always had a job, sometimes, 2 or 3 at the same time. I've always had money. The reason I actually started writing MASQUERADE in the first place was because, besides restaurant-ing, writing is the only other thing I know how to do and do well. If I can't get a job as a waitress, or even a dishwasher, I can write a book.

The question is -- can I get an agent? And publish in the traditional way? OR do I bite the bullet if I can't, and publish in the 21st century way? I don't know, it's anyone's guess at this point. I still have a few queries out, one partial request that I pray turns into a full. It's all I've got for the moment. Which is why I'm starting to think about e-publishers.

And that's my take on e-publishers. Now please, if you have anything to add that I may have flubbed or mis-read or interpreted, please feel free to set me straight.

And this is only MY opinion as it pertains to the e-publishing world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Something - Something

Here is a little more of the tragedy playing out in Genna's world. And a surprise!

Please remember this is a first draft and will only be posted for two days. And yes, there are some cliches, and lots of -ly and -ing words. Don't hate me for them.

Rating -- PG 13.

***********


Sorry, this post has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random Stuff

Well, first I want to say, I must clean my desk. The notes I had written on little pieces of paper for this post are no longer on my desk, nor in my house anywhere. I must have gremlins. Oh the frustration of having to go through blogger once more for addresses and links.

The question for the day is -- when my post comes up on your blog roll, do you see just "Piedmont Writer" or does my new lighthouse picture come up as well? I don't know, I can't see it. I'd hate to think you all get exposed to my lighthouse every day.

I'd like to Welcome and say Thank You to all these new friends. Valerie, Tessa, Lisa, Bossy Betty, Catt, Amber, Damyanti, Jamie, Ted, Jen, Anamike, Deniz, Crimey, Wendy, Jessica, Shannon and Susan R. Mills. All are awesome writers. Thanks so much for joining me here. I've always got a pot of coffee and something to nibble on, so grab a gnosh, pull up a chair and join in the fun. I'll be round to your blogs to join you over the weekend.

Lucy Woodhull from You Say Weird Like It's a Bad Thing is having a contest. She's giving away a book from her friend Jennifer Haymore, who recently found out she has cancer. Lucy believes that if enoungh people buy the book, A TOUCH OF SCANDAL, the cancer will go away. A good thought, and support none-the-less, however if you have a minute, a prayer may do just as well.

Samuel Park from Daily Pep for Writers had this to say about writing a first draft. If you missed it, or haven't met him yet, do so now. This is fabulous!

Roni at Fiction Groupie had a post on whether or not to go with e-publishers. Interesting read. I have actually been mulling this one over for awhile even though I swore I would never. Hey, a girl's got to have some money right? But as I said I'm still mulling it over. (Not for Genna & Tony of course, but for the Regency series.)

If the links don't work, please go and see these talented writers.

Thank you all so much for coming to my birthday bash. I had a great time. Although no one guessed my age. Which is really okay, but I thought someone might have. I guess that means my stock in Oil of Olay is working.

And don't forget about another Genna excerpt tomorrow. (I've figured out what day it is anyway.) Shelley, this one's for you! There's a big surprise coming your way!

Happy HumpDay!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MASQUERADE Characters

Sarah at Falen Formulates Fiction asked me to do this quite a few months ago. (Susan Fields just did the same thing on her blog too.) As a blogging newbie I had no idea how to find pictures and all the other jazz that goes with this particular kind of post. But now that I do, here we go.

My first novel MASQUERADE (a single title Regency romance) is in the hands of an agent on a partial request (also still out with 7 others, whom I'm assuming are passing on this however, the requisite three month time period is not up just quite yet so one never knows.)

Any-hoo, I'm going to repost my query letter and then I'm going to post some pictures of who I think my characters are. Let me know what you think.

Someone is trying to kill Lady Penelope Leighton’s father and now the fiend has turned his sights on her! Frightened, she flees London in the dead of night masquerading as a traveling companion.

When William Smith, the Earl of Westerly, arrives at Wakefield to look after his aunt’s cousin, he is more than surprised when he meets her young, beautiful companion. William, a confirmed bachelor, is fascinated by the mysterious Miss Penny Higgins, whose sweet, sunny smile and unfathomable intellect are in direct contrast to her dowdy clothes and recurring stutter. The duchess keeps a strict eye on Penny, and William means to find out why, but no one is talking. He discerns the ladies are in trouble, it’s obvious they are in hiding, and now it appears that William will also have to masquerade… as the steward.

Before either of them realizes it, they’ve lost their hearts: Penny to a man who’s sworn never to marry, and William to a woman incognito and destined for a duke.

After Penny’s true identity and reason for hiding are revealed to William, he immediately engages his friends in the campaign to help catch the villains. However, upon their return to London, a confounding chain of events finds his cousin Robert posing as Penny’s fiancĂ©. William realizes his desire for Penny is more than just a passing fancy and is determined to marry her, but first he must find the blackguard who threatens her.



This is William Smith, Earl of Westerly.


This is Penny, Lady Penelope Leighton.





This is Quiggins, the butler.



This is Penny's aunt,
the Duchess of Caymore.



Robert Carlton, the Duke of Cantin,
William's best friend.



Captain Richard Gaines, Wil and Robert's friend.



Ellis, the Marquess of Haverlane, William's brother.





So what do you think? Are they believable as my characters?

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's My Belated Birthday Party

Good morning gentle readers, as I'm sure you can see I've changed my blog around again. I just couldn't handle the fake lighthouse so I went and found a real one. What do you think?

Today we will be celebrating my birthday which, unfortunately I couldn't do on Earth Day like I wanted to. We will have fun, we will have food and drinks, we will socialize. And I know it's Monday but for some strange reason I lost a day last week so I couldn't post this on Friday.

However, before we get started with the frivolities, I want to ask you, did you plant something green for Earth Day? As you know, or may not, Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson. He gave me my own holiday! Okay, maybe not, but what he did was create a day, to celebrate the Earth. In Native American tradition, Mother Earth doesn't belong to us, we belong to her. If we don't have her, then we don't have anything. We must protect her, and cherish her, and keep her alive. Because if we don't, bad things will happen. Look at the ozone, look at the volcanoes, look at the hurricanes. These things are happening because we pollute the air with our cars, and planes, and factories. (I don't even want to talk about the oil spill in the gulf.) We must help her to recover. It may not be done in our lifetime, but at least for the sake of our grandchildren, we must do all that we can NOW, to make a better tomorrow. So please, please, please, go plant something. Conserve the water when you brush your teeth, recycle, re-use, reduce. Every little bit helps.


Okay, I'm off my soap box, let the festivities begin.


First, here's where we'll be celebrating. It's quaint and I'd like it to be my home. Especially the kitchen.





Here's a picture of the back yard. I finally have twinkle lights. Pretty.




Here's what we'll be eating. I made everything myself.





Drinks are by the pool. Remember, keep your suits on until 9pm. The water's great.




This is my date. Isn't he just a dream? In more ways than one.




So, I want you all to have the best time. Frolic, eat, drink, be merry. And contrary to what DL might have told you, you are not required to help build the fence! I finished the fence this weekend and pictures will be forthcoming.

Oh yes, and feel free to guess my age. I wish I could give a prize to the winner, or maybe you'll all guess I'm really 32. Hee Hee. Have a lovely time at my party, I know with my date, I definately will.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Something-Something

I don't know how I did it but I lost a day. This was supposed to be posted yesterday as it was Thursday. Anyway, here we are G&T fans. Another little blurb from REMEMBERING YOU.

Set-up -- If you remember, last week Genna and Uncle Sally had gotten 'into it' about Nana Rocco's money. And Genna was walking home.

Rating -- PG 13. I think there's only one swear this time. (Yes, I'm toning down my potty mouth.)

Disclaimer -- Please please please also remember this is a first draft. I don't do any editing for these posts as I'm trying just to write it all down. And it will only be up for two days so if you want to wait until the weekend, it won't be here.

********
Sorry, this post has been removed by the author.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tag -- You're It

I was given this lovely little Tag session by Terry Towery over at A Writer of Wrongs.

Where were you five years ago? (Hopefully I've learned from my mistakes of the past.)

1) I was blissfully in love with my new daughter. (Thank God, because the rest of my life was shit.)

2) My ex had just thrown me and our daughter to the curb for the second time. (That's a long sad story.)

3) I was living at the beach. (Oh to go back.)

4) I was on welfare. (Yeah, sometimes life sucks.)

5) I didn't care about anything except my lovely angelic Monster Baby who was breastfeeding like a baby gorilla. (I couldn't care about anything because the little monster was sucking the life right out of me. Kidding, I love her more than life itself.)


Where do you want to be five years from now? (There's a difference between wanting and needing, and if you want something you will always want it, if you need something it has a better shot at manifesting.)

1) I need to be published with three books behind me and four more on the way.

2) I need to be living in a great town with an awesome school district.

3) I need to have some serious cash in the bank.

4) I need to be close to the ocean.

5) I need to be healthier.

What is on your to-do list today?

1) Finish this blog post.

2) Finish critiquing the remaining chapters for a friend of mine.

3) Try and get the next scene written for Genna -- she meets a new man!

4) Tackle the dishes and the laundry.

5) Play with the dogs.

What are your favorite snacks?

1) Watermelon.

2) Chocolate chip ice cream.

3) Pretzels.

4) Watermelon.

5) Peanut M&M's.


What would you do if you were a billionaire?

1) Donate half to charity. What would I do with a billion dollars? I don't need that much.

2) Buy one house as a home base and rent out houses in places I want to live for awhile -- Provence, England, Ireland.

3) Buy a new truck - Chevy/GMC long bed, regular cab, manual transmission. Gotta love a stick.

4) Put half the money in investments that will last.

5) Pay off all my debt. (Which isn't that much but it's enough.)

(As an aside I'd like to say with a billion dollars I'd hire a hit man to take care of my ex- but I don't really think I can say that on a blog. Besides the fact I could get in really big trouble, I think God might have something to say about it too. And Karma. So with a billion dollars I would make him disappear, like in the bowels of the deepest darkest Amazon jungle.)

I would like to tag

Sarah Jayne Smythe

Lola

Nicole Ducleroir

Tara

E. Elle

I've tried to think of people who I've seen haven't been tagged yet.


And don't forget about tomorrow's post for Genna -- something dreadful is about to happen.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To Post or not to Post... Excerpts. Continued.

Good morning gentle readers, before I start this morning's discussion I need to clarify one small error that I made in yesterday's post.

Chuck Sambuchino pointed out to me that his band rocks in Cincinatti, not Jersey. My apologies to Chuck. For those of you in Cinci, go see him, I hear by midnight, they totally smoke!

On to the discussion.

After reading all the generous comments on yesterday's post concerning the con's Chuck had presented about posting work online, I decided that I would also do the same for Jane Friedman's post, which says to do just that. And here I've taken her reasons and put them forth for all to see. (Getting to their website was harder for me than breaking into Monster Baby's piggy bank.)

Anyway, Jane says that it's perfectly fine to post work online, and

Here’s why:
1.Test marketing is one of the best things you can do to improve your work and build an audience. Agent Michael Larsen even recommends it in his classic, How to Write a Book Proposal.

2.Getting feedback on your work (whether you’re specifically asking for a critique, or just hoping for reader comments) can be critical to a writer’s development. No writer should ever be discouraged from posting their work online in a critique environment, EVER.

3.No sane agent or editor would disagree with points 1 or 2, since doing these things advance the quality and marketability of your work. Hiding your work in a closet until you feel it is “ready” for a “professional” to consider it? Folly. Hasn’t anyone told you that the gatekeeper era is coming to a swift end?

4.If we’re talking about novel-length works, then sharing pieces of it, or even serializing it, over a long period is NOT going to affect its market value. (Anyone who says it does has a very antiquated view of online media, as well as where traditional publishing is headed.)

5.Offering a work online, whether in serialized format or in an alternate media (e.g., audio), can increase interest and demand for a physical, print product. This is proven out by people like Scott Sigler and Seth Harwood who serialized their work as podcasts, made them absolutely free, and secured traditional book publishing deals after developing a significant following.

People who post their work online can do so in a very smart, strategic, and targeted way that feeds into demand for a traditional book that a publisher would love to produce (or that an agent would love to sign). *****(all work taken from http://www.writerunboxed.com/Jane Friedman/ I'm sorry I can't link this, I don't know why.)


And there we are. Both sides of the fence, and I think most of us are sitting in the middle. Sure we're all paranoid, this is what we've slaved over the last year or so, maybe longer. How would we feel if it was stolen? But, for those people who do steal other's work, I like to think that Karma would have a very firm grip on the situation.

What you do to others, comes back to you, therefore if you steal someone's book, when you go to publish that book, it will fail, miserably. At least I'd like to think so.

So you decide. Post online or not?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Post or not To Post...Excerpts?

Good Morning gentle readers, this topic has been on my mind since last Sunday when I was cruising the blogosphere. I was bouncing around reading a bunch of posts when I spotted this one by a newbie blogger. (Funny, after I commented on her blog, she took the post down. Go figure.) Anyway, I also ran across this same topic, whether or not to post excerpts of your work online, on several other blogs last week. I believe, the whole conversation was started by Chuck.

Chuck Sambuchino, from the Guide to Literary Agents blog. If you don't know who he is, go NOW to check him out. He's one of the smartest dudes I know, has fab blog posts about everything, and is a guitar player for a band in Jersey! I so wish he was an agent. I would be sooo stalking him. (Just kidding Chuck.)

Anyway, Chuck stated on his blog post from Sunday that he didn't think it was a good idea to post excerpts from your current novel on your web-site/blog and he gave a list of reasons why.
I agreed with all of them. I don't think it's a wise idea to post excerpts. He's right. Someone can steal them, or the idea for a story. He said he's seen it done. I believe him. Some secrets you have to guard. Please go read his article. It's totally spot on!

However, he posed the question -- What Are You Trying To Get Out of It?

So I will answer. The reason I post excerpts, (never the whole chapter), is not so much to get feedback/critiques, but to share what I've written with my friends. I believe that in showing some of my work, I'm dangling a little nugget for my friends, and with the way I'm doing it, a short excerpt from my WIP a little at a time, I'm creating a time line of sorts. Something like a soap opera in progress.

You know you can turn on any soap this afternoon, and even if the last time you watched it, you were in high school, you can follow along with the new events, people, old plot lines. (I mean Gawd, look at Sammy Brady. Now she's in love with EJ. Cripes I just wish they'd let that poor girl find someone who will love her back so she'll stop being such a weirdo. I digress but you know what I mean.)

This is what I'm trying to do with posting my work online. I began with Genna arriving home from being gone for 10 years. Little by little over the last few months, I've shown what has happened to Genna, her thoughts, feelings, issues with her family. I think no matter where you came into the story, it makes you say, "Gee, I wonder what will happen next." (Well, at least that's what I'd like you to say.)

I'm trying to build a sort of following for this book, so that whenever it gets published (not IF it gets published but WHEN -- I have high hopes for Genna) People will remember reading portions of it on my blog and say, "Hey, I remember that, I wonder whatever happened to Genna? I'll have to buy the book and find out." (Because as much as I love you all, I'm not posting the end. Sorry.) And when they read the book, they'll say, "Oh, this was so great, I'm going to buy a copy and send it to my sister-in-law in Dayton, and my best friend in Wisconsin."

I'm trying to create something word of mouth, that may or may not last. I'm hoping it does and doesn't backfire in my face. Sure, I'm afraid, (scared to death, totally freaking paranoid) that someone will take my baby from me and I'll find it two years from now in B&N with another author's name on it, but I think I've taken some fairly good precautions.

1) I don't post whole scenes, or chapters, just little blurby bits of dialogue with some setting thrown in so we know where we are.

2) I don't leave my post up longer than two days. I know it only takes about 10 seconds to cut and paste but, it's what I do.

3) I try and make sure there is enough time lapsed between scenes so that you can still follow along, but there's way too much stuff I haven't posted so if the plagirist wanted to write it, it couldn't be the same story.

I know Chuck is probably shaking his head and muttering, "Newbie, when are you going to learn?" But I like posting my work. I like sharing with my friends. I like knowing that I can get 17 people to my blog on Thursdays to read what I've written and comment. Besides, how would you know if I was a real writer if I didn't?

Sure I could write my blog and spew all kinds of information at you about rules of grammar and paragraph structure but that would just make me boring. And I am anything but boring. Don't cha' think?

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Lie Revealed

Good Monday Morning gentle readers. I hope you had a pleasant weekend. I cruised around the blogosphere reading Last Line Blogfest entries and they were all whizz-bang that's for sure. I should have entered but I gave out awards instead. For those of you who haven't picked up yours, please do so. Both Friday and Saturday's posts so scroll down. See if you're there.

I'm feeling almost back to my old self. They say the first week is the hardest and they are so right. But I'm coming back now and watch out. I've got a lot of stuff to talk about.

A couple of shorts:

The Birthday Fairy did bestow upon me the digital camera that I've been coveting. So soon I will be sharing pictures (as soon as I figure out how to use it.)

I finished hanging the first act of the fence. Did not realize I would fall short in the length so I need to get another 50 feet to finish the project. And let me tell you what, for an old city broad, this fence would rival any cowboy's out on the range. The poles are straight and level, the fence is straight and level with no sag up top. Of course, my fingers all have bruises and my back is sunburned again but hey, the fence is up. Well the first 1/3 anyway. Wait til you see the pictures. You'll all be so proud of me.

I believe I will be having my birthday bash this Friday. I have no prizes and will accept no presents but we will have food, fun, and twinkle lights in the trees. (I've always wanted a party with twinkle lights in the trees.) So come on down, it's an open invitation. Swimsuits are required until 9pm. (That's when Monster Baby goes to bed.)

Okay, so here we go with the lies and the truths. For those of you who missed it, Suzy Fields, (the writer, not the cookie maker) bestowed on me the Creative Writer award and with that, the need to make up 6 lies and one truth. I decided, because I can't lie, and I don't lie, I would make up 6 truths and one lie because 1 is easier than 6.

1) In my catering career I once did parties for: an attorney for the Clinton administration, an oil Tycoon from Texas, the president of Vassar College, the brother of the famous Hilton clan, Jasper White, and Todd English. (Jasper White and Todd English are famous food guys. Or they used to be.)

This is true. I was quite the caterer in the day. Clinton's attorney had a clambake for 40 people. That was a logistics nightmare. Jasper White and Todd English, if you know who they are, arent' all that. Believe me. I used to work for the President of Vassar College and his wife, someday I will tell you about the love they shared for 63 years. It's a tear jerker.

2) I have moved 38 times in my adult lifetime. By myself, no moving men involved.

This is true. When I first started out in the restaurant business, I lived at the beach, problem was, at the time the beach house had no heat, so I had to move back to the city, every October and April move back to the beach. I finally found a summer cottage I could rent, which was nice, but I still had to move out or in every six months. That lasted for a good long time. In the last 6 years I've moved 8 times. For someone who only wanted to stay in one place, I haven't. Once this fence is up I'm not going anywhere for at least 5 years. I swear.

3) I was once caught in the middle of a real live standoff between a crazy lady with a sawed off shotgun and the local sheriff's department. I was meeting a friend for BREAKFAST at the local cantina walking through the parking lot minding my own business when a hand reached out from between parked cars and smashed me down to the pavement. Before I could get the verbal abuse out of my mouth he jammed his knee on my chest and fired a shot. They fired back. I peed my pants. When all was said and done, they had arrested a drunk woman who was having a fight with her boyfriend and she decided that if he wasn't going to buy her another beer, she was going to kill him. Needless to say, I missed breakfast.

Yes, this is also true. One of the scariest days in my life. It was 10:30 in the morning, and you must believe, the town I was living in in Nevada was as lawless as they come. Think old west and the OK Corral. Yeah, like that. Everybody had guns in the backs of their trucks. People are larger than life out there.

4) I am a descendant from the Native Americans (Wampanoag) who met the Pilgrims at Plymouth. I am also a descendant of the Pilgrims who met the Wampanoag at Plymouth.

This is true. My Uncle Jake, traced our people all the way to the Massasoit, the chief of the tribe. My cousin David, traced our line back to England. I so want to do that show, "So Who Do You Think You Are" on Friday nights (Or whatever it's called.)

5) I once had to set my fractured ribs back in place, by myself, just me and my friend Jack Daniels. Do you have any idea how hard it is to bind your ribs with one hand? With boobs in the way?

To all who thought this was the lie, it's not, it's true. I had 3 separate accidents to my left side in the span of 2 days. By themselves, you laugh them off, put them together and you get a whole lot of hurt. Somehow in all the mess, I inadvertantly dislodged the scar tissue surrounding the ribs I had broken when I was 17. I thought I was going to die. Without insurance, and the looming medical bills, I decided to buck up and fix it myself. I'm good that way. Anyway, I laid in bed, drank a half bottle of Jack and then reached behind me with my good hand and began pressing things back together. I heard a thunk, then another, then another and I could breathe again. About the binding, yeah, not so much. Between the boobs and the Jack, I couldn't really do it. (Sorry Terry) so I slept sitting up for about 3 weeks. Is this a half-truth?

6) I once took care of a woman who had been in the Blitz during WWI in England. Whenever it would thunder and lightening, she ran around the house screaming, "There's a Duchess among us, stand tall, there's a Duchess among us."

This is the lie. When I worked for the President of Vassar, his wife told me the story of when they lived in England in an old castle during the war. There were several people living there (because most had gotten bombed out of their homes) one being a Duchess. There was also a poor woman who had lost her entire family and home and was quite mad. SHE was the one who would run around the castle when the thunder started, screaming, "There's a duchess among us, stand tall, there's a duchess among us." As an aside, I was told, this poor woman, also never wore clothes, usually an old housecoat and Welly's. She also had a pet duck and carried it everywhere. Poor thing.

7) My grandmother was always the biggest Red Sox fan. She left me her love of the game when she died and I took it to heart. Every summer it was one of anguish and heartbreak, but still I perservered. I never gave up hope. The year they won the pennant I was pregnant with Monster Baby. I always said, that she was the reason, "The Curse of the Bambino" was broken.

I don't know if this is true or not, but it happened and I believe it. So it must be true.


So there we have it, my Creative Truths. I hope you enjoyed them. And for all you who think I've lived an interesting life, well, thanks, sometimes I think yes, and other days, compared to other's I've met, yeah, not so much.

Have a lovely Monday, I'll see you tomorrow. Promise.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Sunshine

Good Morning gentle readers. I'm taking time this weekend to pass out all the lovely awards I received last week. Hopefully by Monday I will be back to my regular posting schedule.

I'd like to say Thank You and Welcome to some new 'friends'. Catt, Bossy Betty, Lisa, Valerie, Damyanti, Jamie and Tessa. The buffet has changed its menu for the summer months, so there's a lot more fruit, and I put the blender out for smoothies. Pool opens around 1pm, bring a suit. I've got extra towels.

Onto the Awards.

First up is the Blogger Buddy given from the lovely E.Elle.
I would like to pass this on to:

Angie Paxton

Amy Jo

Ann Best

Jayne

VR Barkowski

My dearest Nicole has bestowed on me the Blogger BFF award. Arent' these little girls just so damn cute!!!
I'd like to pass this on to:

Cynthia Reese

Talli

E.Elle

Crystal Cook

B. Miller

Lola

Wendy

And now for the piece de resistance, Susan Fields, I know, crazy Suzy, right, bestowed the "Creative Writer Award" on me. And so, I believe
I am charged with coming up with 6 lies and one truth. I decided I'm going to come up with 6 truths and one lie. You tell me, which is the lie.

1) In my catering career I once did parties for: an attorney for the Clinton administration, an oil Tycoon from Texas, the president of Vassar College, the brother of the famous Hilton clan, Jasper White, and Todd English. (Jasper White and Todd English are famous food guys. Or they used to be.)

2) I have moved 38 times in my adult lifetime. By myself, no moving men involved.

3) I was once caught in the middle of a real live standoff between a crazy lady with a sawed off shotgun and the local sheriff's department. I was meeting a friend for BREAKFAST at the local cantina walking through the parking lot minding my own business when a hand reached out from between parked cars and smashed me down to the pavement. Before I could get the verbal abuse out of my mouth he jammed his knee on my chest and fired a shot. They fired back. I peed my pants. When all was said and done, they had arrested a drunk woman who was having a fight with her boyfriend and she decided that if he wasn't going to buy her another beer, she was going to kill him. Needless to say, I missed breakfast.

4) I am a descendant from the Native Americans (Wampanoag) who met the Pilgrims at Plymouth. I am also a descendant of the Pilgrims who met the Wampanoag at Plymouth.

5) I once had to set my fractured ribs back in place, by myself, just me and my friend Jack Daniels. Do you have any idea how hard it is to bind your ribs with one hand? With boobs in the way?

6) I once took care of a woman who had been in the Blitz during WWI in England. Whenever it would thunder and lightening, she ran around the house screaming, "There's a Duchess among us, stand tall, there's a Duchess among us."

7) My grandmother was always the biggest Red Sox fan. She left me her love of the game when she died and I took it to heart. Every summer it was one of anguish and heartbreak, but still I perservered. I never gave up hope. The year they won the pennant I was pregnant with Monster Baby. I always said, that she was the reason, "The Curse of the Bambino" was broken.


So, there they are, lies / truths, you decide.

This award gets passed on to:

Carolina Valdez-Miller

Lyndsey at Dangerous with a Pen

Summer at And this Time Concentrate

Donna Hole

Andrew Rosenburg at The Write Runner

Tara

I'd also like to apologize to the lovely and brilliant Talli Roland for spelling her name wrong. Sorry Dearest, in all the excitment, I lost my mind.