Thursday, November 4, 2010
All in all, I thought the events and thoughts of the characters were described well. Funny, touching, and intense, the fast-paced story had me turning page after page (well, pushing the Next Page button at any rate), barely able to put down my Kindle except by necessity. Having a section from Jacob's perspective was pretty amazing. Oh, and seeing Vampire Bella was fun! And I will also leave you with two more tidbits. There is an absolutely adorable half-vampire/half-human child that may or may not pose a threat to vampires and humans alike. Oh, and I have to say that I love what the story did to showcase Bella's thought-blocking, protective gift.
The movie of Breaking Dawn comes out in theaters November 18,2011.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
You're packing for a month on a deserted island. What, as a reader and writer, must be in your backpack?
Not in my backpack, but my husband would be coming along with me. This lovely deserted island just wouldn't be paradise without him. With him, it would be. Yeah, so maybe this is supposed to be our getaway alone, but I wouldn't have to be alone to still get a lot of reading and writing done.
Sunscreen. And aloe after sun care. Wouldn't want to spend the time sore and uncomfortable, right?
Swimsuit. We'd be spending a lot of time out in the water.
Some clothes. I'd pack light, but would pack the essentials.
Lots of books. To save space I'd love to bring my Kindle, but I'd have to have a way of charging it and any electronics.
Forget the laptop. Wouldn't want anything to happen to it. So, instead I'd pack a few notebooks and plenty of pens for writing.
IPod. Gotta have my music!
A few assorted snacks for when we need a little something different from fish and coconuts. (Including sweets...thanks, Jen for the idea! Hmm...maybe with all that coconut around there'd be a way to make yummy coconut cookies...)
Ok, that pretty much covers it! I'd love to hear what others would bring.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I think there must be a lesson in that for us as writers.
Awesomeness Will Catch On.
Of course, we have to have an awesome product that people will want to read, packaged with an eye-catching cover and a great blurb on the back jacket to entice readers. The same also applies to blogs, and I've come across some really great author blogs!
Take it To Your Target Market.
But beyond that, we need to go directly to the people who will most want to read it. So for example, I'll be spending more time on YA forums and the Harry Potter sites I frequent to let people know about The MirrorMasters. I'll even make a pretty banner for it as my signature, including a link to my website. I've been starting to comment on blogs. And whenever I'm in a library or bookstore, maybe I'll start making it a point to check out the shelves in the YA section. Can't hurt to scope out what's current in the YA market, and to let potential readers there know about my book if it comes up in conversation.
Expand a Step at a Time
I can only imagine how easy it could be to get overwhelmed by having to keep up with a lot of social media. There's only so much a person can do in a day, and still keep up with writing and everything else. So ultimately it's about getting the word out incrementally, in stages, but keeping it manageable by focusing on maybe one or two different sites at a time as you rotate among a variety of website. Also, add in guest blogging and interviews, and you can get a lot of exposure online for free. Ultimately, you want to draw readers to your website and/or blog, and facebook page to keep things manageable. Developing a contact list for your readership and putting together a newsletter could be another great idea.
Ok, so our efforts may not catch on nearly as quickly as Facebook, and it takes a lot more effort. But it'll so be worth it! If you have some specific tips or suggestions that have worked for you, I'd love to hear them!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Two of the movies I'm most anticipating this fall are based on books. Of course, there's part one of the final Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows. Accio November 19! Then there's the third film based on the Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. That's coming out December 10. I'm also looking forward to one day seeing the first Stephanie Plum book become a movie (It's starring Katherine Heigl as Stephanie), and I've heard Stephenie Meyer's book The Host will be made into a movie.
What books do you want to see in film? I would be so thrilled to see one of my favorite trilogies from my teen years, The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Pierce, made into film. Having just read the hilarious Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson, I'd love to see that in film, too. Ok, so both are vampire stories. But they're each amazing in their own ways. Oh, and of course I'd one day love to see The MirrorMasters turned into a movie. Wouldn't we all love to see that happen for our books? Anyway, let me hear your suggestions!
Friday, September 3, 2010
What I'm Reading: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
So, what's on your bookshelves these days?
Lately I've been doing a bit of reading/listening to audiobooks. My husband and I borrowed the audiobook of Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's one of my new favorite books, and I love the narrator, Enzo, who happens to be a dog. Enzo is a very philosophical dog nearing the end of his life. He wants to be a human in his next life, just like he's heard about on a TV show about the belief in Mongolia related to what happens to a dog's soul when he dies. Enzo tends to watch a lot of TV, especially anything and everything to do with car racing. His master, Denny, is a race car driver struggling with a tragically difficult family situation, and it's a touching and often heartbreaking story. But it's really, really sweet and the ending is perfect!
On the way back from visiting my family for my birthday last weekend, we'd finished that book, so we started listening to Sizzling Sixteen on our Kindle. So far, it's funny, as usual. What I'll be reading next is Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. It was a birthday gift, and the story of the newly undead former model/prophesied Vampire Queen sounds like it'll satisfy my Buffy fix. I so miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Anyway, while I should be working on The MirrorMasters tonight, I've been doing other stuff online. Like blogging. And reading other blogs. Nathan Bransford had an awesome link to an Ode to Querying by Tahera. Absolutely hilarious! I'm definitely going to print that out when it's finally time to query. Oh, and I owe a role play post, which I will do this weekend, in addition to finishing chapter 10.
I feel a bit guilty for not working on The MirrorMasters tonight, but it's just not happening until tomorrow. Do any of you feel like that if you don't work on your writing on a given day?
As always, I'd love to hear from all you writers and fantasy fanatics out there :)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Create a facebook fan page. Join twitter. Become a member of online forums like AgentQuery Connect. Research literary agents, particularly agents who are interested in your genre, and join their blogs to participate in the discussions. Nathan Bransford and the Query Shark have particularly great blogs, with tons of great information and opportunities when it comes to getting your query letter the best it can be. Both offer query critiques to selected entrants, and Nathan Bransford also has Page Critique Mondays as a regular blog segment.
Your Writer's Platform/Web Presence
Establish a website and showcase your writing. Blog, and comment on the blogs of others (I confess I have to take my advice on that one, and visit others' websites to post). It also can be helpful to join a writing site such as HubPages. I've put a few chapters of The MirrorMasters there, and it's led to meeting some great writers and being invited to be part of a wonderful opportunity--a critique circle.
If you have a completed manuscript, this could be a wonderful way to network in person with literary agents, as well as fellow writers. It seems like a great experience, and one that would be well worth it.
There are many ways to network, and so far it's been an awesome experience. I look forward to receiving in-depth critique of my work, and learning to provide this as well for others. It's such a fun stage at the moment, jumping in and learning about the business of writing and dreaming of building a future career. I love the idea of helping others along the way, and it's been so exciting reading queries and meeting the next generation of new writers. May we all see our work on the bookshelves someday! I'd love to hear from all of you about what things you do to network. What's worked best for you, and have you discovered any other resources or strategies?
Sunday, August 1, 2010
The writing is coming along more quickly now, and hopefully that will keep up for the rest of the first draft. My goal is to complete the first draft by the end of October and have the revisions done by the end of the year. An ambitious timeline? Maybe.
Thought I'd celebrate tonight with a blog post. And I'll treat myself to something special, like an ice cream sandwich, tomorrow.
Here's to celebrating the milestones in our journeys to publications!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
1. If you want to publish traditionally, a literary agent is someone who can help look out for your best interests and broker the deal with the publisher he or she will (hopefully) find for your book. Sure, they earn a commission of about 15% on your earnings, but it would be worth it in terms of helping to explain the ins and outs of your publishing contract and in garnering the best deal possible for you.
2. There are many factors to consider in the decision of whether to go the traditional or self-publishing route. I won't go into all of those here, because a google search can reveal a ton of great resources and treatments on the subject. In general, the consensus seems to be on the side of trying the traditional route first.
3. Never, ever, ever pay to publish. Money flows to you, the writer. Sure, there are vanity publishers and self-publishing companies that offer packages to print and promote your work. But why pay for these, when you can do this for free? There are many scams out there (see the website called Preditors and Editors), so why risk it? If nothing else, it is totally free to self-publish your work in ebook format on free sites (I.e. the IPAD, the Nook, and Amazon's Kindle. There are even free sites such as Smashwords that can handle the formatting for you to make uploading your work easier, to ensure that it's available though as many distribution channels as possible. And there are many ways to develop an online presence to promote your book without paying a penny.
4. Find a place online where your manuscript can be critiqued, like Critique Circle. The feedback, provided you find a great community of knowledgeable writers with experience, is essential to helping you edit your manuscript. In addition to pointing out errors and ways to strengthen your writing, others may bring up points you might not have otherwise considered. All of this will help you make your work the best it can be.
5. Network, either at conventions or online. Network with potential fans of your work as well as industry professionals in person where possible, and on the many websites available. Many literary agents and publishers have websites and even blogs. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are great ways to gain fans and possibly connect with professionals (if done with appropriate etiquette). A site called AgentQuery is a valuable resource. You can research agents there, and connect with other writers as well as agents. It's also one of the great places to post your sample query to get feedback and assistance before sending it out.
6. Research the agents you might want to work with. Before querying, make sure they represent the genre of your work. Follow their specific submissions guidelines on their websites, as well as the other great guidance out there about the typical format of the query letter, and the presentation/delivery of the letter. Again the AgentQuery site has a lot of great information on this. Also, it helps to personalize each letter to indicate that you have researched the agent and have some strong, clear ideas of why you selected this particular agent as someone you'd like to represent your work. So, you should know something about who they are as professionals in terms of their tastes and other authors they represent.
7. There's a lot to learn about marketing (unless you happen to have a degree in it), and it's something you'll have to do as an author no matter what route you take to publish. Marketing is something I have zero experience with, but fortunately, there's also a lot of information online about it. Essentially, it boils down to utilizing social network sites, providing valuable information and participation in forums where others might find you and your work, developing a web presence through a blog and website, creating demand for your book by providing media (e.g., book trailers) to inspire people to want to buy it.
Anybody else have lessons or information to share related to the business side of writing? I'd love to hear from you
Sunday, July 25, 2010
So, tonight I worked a bit on actually typing it all into the computer. I'll do the bulk of that tomorrow. It was a wonderful weekend, and hopefully it won't be too difficult to keep up this level of progress. Finishing the book by the end of the year won't likely happen, but it's still a dream. It will happen when it happens. I'm not going to rush it.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The site itself has been a fun experience. Not only has it been great to become part of a writing community again, the people there have proven to be helpful, friendly, and welcoming. They have fun competitions, and there are incentives for writers to do well there. You can earn hubkarma and have an overall hub score based on the quality of your writing, as well as other factors, such as linking to other quality hubs, comments and other participation in the community, and feedback from others on what you have written. Creating a hub is easy, with a wide variety of features to include in your hub: text, pictures, news, YouTube videos, and more. And you can sign up for various avenues of monetizing your pages to earn a little money from your writing. If you already have a blog but are looking to join a writing community, this is definitely a good one.
I've posted the first two chapters of The MirrorMasters there so far, and may post more of it. If you want to check it out, the link to my hub pages profile is here.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
This is the piece of advice I've seen most often when it comes to writing, and I have to agree with it. We're going to be faced with lots of rejections from editors, publishers, and literary agents until we find the right one who decides to take a chance on our work. It only takes that one. We're going to face a lot of feedback, both positive and some even harshly negative.
Never give up in the face of it. We write because it is something we love to do, and even because it is something we have to do. We write because it inspires our emotions and creativity, and does the same in others. It makes us laugh, it makes us cry. It makes us angry, or leaves us breathless with anticipation. It even wakes us up in the middle of the night with an idea that just won't let go and we know we have to write out that story somehow.
Never give up, because this is what we were meant to do. Write, create, have fun, and love exploring the craft. Read, and learn, and write some more. Keep honing skills, and play. Persistence will pay off.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Just off the top of my head, here are a few free marketing ideas to let others know your work is available and to draw others to read it:
1. Participating in the Amazon forums, posting a plug for your work in the appropriate place to advertise. You could also have a link in your signature so that others can explore your work after seeing your posts that ideally should make a valuable contribution to whatever topic you decide to post in. It's free exposure for your work! For that manner, use this as a signature in whatever forums you participate.
2. Use the social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Join an existing group, or create one that potential readers will enjoy and find interesting.
3. Create a banner for your book that others can adopt and display on their sites. Offer to display their banner on your website in return.
4. Create an author website, and have a web page devoted to each piece of your work.
Anybody else have great ideas about marketing/promotion to share?
Thoughts of going forward with this are really giving me some motivation to work even harder on creating a portfolio of short stories. Who knows? Maybe I'd be able to work on short stories while still focusing on finishing my book...and manage to get it all done. Yes, I'm still working hard on The MirrorMasters. It's slow going, but today finishing up my edit of Chapter 1 is on the agenda. There's a lot more to do, really, but it's been fun. Maybe I'll do an update later when it's finished. Here's hoping that today will be a very productive day!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
What a creative way to market a story and immerse potential readers in the story's universe! I may have to keep some of these creative ideas in mind when the time comes.
What ideas have you done, or have you thought about trying, when it comes to marketing a book?
Monday, June 7, 2010
Admittedly, it's not at that level yet.
Time to go back and rework those pesky, awkward sentences that I know are in there. Time to go back and read out loud to see what sounds natural and what needs to change. That's something I've never done before, but recently I came across this great piece of advice. I'm going to try it. And, it's time to assess where improved descriptions are needed to make the writing lively and fresh.
In a way, all of this can seem so daunting. But I'll forge ahead in the faith that when everything is polished, it'll turn out really well. After several sessions of this along the way, the completed manuscript will be that much improved and ready for the final work of editing to begin.
For those of you working on a novel, what's your writing and editing process?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Lately, I've been wondering what comes next for the story once all my editing is done, and the work is as polished as I can make it. As a first time book writer, it's daunting even just beginning to explore the world of publishing. I've been googling searches on literary agents like Writer's House and science fiction/fantasy publishers like Tor. There are a ton of publishers out there, I'm sure, but so far it's taken a lot of searching just to find them. Maybe I'll add them in here as I find them, so keep checking back.
There are a ton of publishing options, from traditional publishers to self publishing (and print on demand books) to simply posting your work online. I've read many pros and cons of each lately, but the general theme of it all seemed to be that it's best to try the traditional publishing route...at least at first. Search for a literary agent, who can open the doors to publishers who don't accept unsolicited manuscripts. Many publishers and literary agents also don't accept simultaneous submissiions, but it's probably best to submit to as many places who do allow for it as possible. It can be months before you receive a decision either way, and this way you maximize your chances and cut down on time. If you only submit to one publisher at a time, for example, you have to wait for the first to turn you down before trying another, and the whole process could take years. If you go the self-publishing route, it may be more difficult to be taken seriously, not to mention getting your books into actual stores. But there are a lot of options to do this. Amazon Kindle has a way to post your book with them, and Barnes and Noble now has an option to upload a book for digital viewing. But it won't be printed or available in their stores. Just be on alert for any scams involving companies, whether it's self-publishing companies or agents, that want upfront fees. Never, never get involved in something like that.
So much to think about! But for those of us who want to share our stories with the world, it's heartening to know that one way or another, we can.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I did get a bit further in writing The MirrorMasters over the past two days, but didn't manage to reach the goal yet of finishing Chapter 5. Still, every bit counts, and I'm another few pages or so along. So, it's going to be fun. Just writing now about what I have in mind for the next scene in the chapter is transforming it into another candy bar scene for me :) Can't wait to write this!
By now, everyone's at the boardwalk pavillion, and Brian will be along soon. He'll be finished unpacking enough to set up his room and take a lunch break. The chemistry between him and Leah continues, and it'll be so cute to see the two of them together. And to see him getting to know the rest of the group, too. Enter a guy from school, Jason, who likes Leah. The feeling's not mutual. Not that he's that bad a guy, but there's just no feeling of connection on Leah's part. He's Mark Jacob's son, and not only is he on the football team, he's an aspiring cop like his dad. Anyway, Jason's somewhat moved on to dating head cheerleader Cailley, who's there at the beach with him. He's hoping Leah will be jealous, and even Cailley's flaunting the fact that Jason's dating her and not Leah.
Meanwhile, Leah's oblivious to all that and is going to be genuinely thrilled that the two of them are planning to go to the end-of-school bash together at the Wharf next Saturday night. She doesn't realize that Jason still likes her. Not to mention she's basically just relieved that he's not still pestering her to go out with him, though she's too kind to admit this to anyone but her best friends. And Jason and Cailley are going to be annoyed, each for their own reasons, that Leah's not jealous. Jason's going to end up being the jealous one instead, because Leah and Brian are clearly smitten with each other. Cailley is going to be miffed by Leah's lack of reaction to her taunting and flaunting. And Kara is totally amused by the whole thing. She's going to have to explain it all to our dear, innocent Leah afterwards. Poor Leah! Even without being smitten with Brian, Leah would probably still be endearingly clueless about Jason and Cailley's motives.
Hmm...I'm thinking that this is probably going to be a great moment where Kara will have something important to teach Leah about that. A lesson that will help Leah later as she faces the witch and the Drakes in a situation where she needs to figure out what everyone's motivations really are.
So as not to reveal too much about what's to come in the MirrorMasters, I'll avoid any major spoilers in any of my posts. Especially anything to do with plans for what's going to happen further down the line. But writing this little piece of scene development has really been helpful. It's given me a bit of extra motivation, because it promises to be really fun. It's shed a bit more insight into a few of the characters, and it's really going to help further the plot in ways I'm just beginning to imagine but can't yet reveal.
Friday, May 21, 2010
The advice to maintain your motivation through the entire process of finishing a book is to intersperse your "candy bar scenes" along the way. Isn't that a great name for it? These are the scenes that are the sweet ones, the dessert of your novel that you can't wait to write. In the MirrorMasters, I have a number of them. One of them I've already written, and it is the scene in which Leah finally confronts the fact that it's not safe for her to stay on Earth, and has to suddenly say goodbye to her brother as she escapes capture. Capture by who? I'm not telling yet ;). There are some other scenes that are going to be really awesome to write, like the first bonding moment between Leah and Brian, where they end up meeting out on the beach. She's just out for a walk and comes across him at a time when he's stormed out of the house after an argument with his dad after he learns some major family secret(s) that have been kept from him. I also can't wait to write the first glimpse of a new world, Jantyr. It's breathtakingly beautiful in my imagination, and it'll be such a fun challenge to bring it to life in the story!
The idea of candy bar scenes was new to me, but the feeling definitely isn't. I remember so many times during my role playing days the breathless anticipation of wondering what's going to happen next, and the eagerness to get to the next major scene when a revelation or dramatic event would happen. It's like that now in writing my current story, though it hasn't yet recaptured the intensity of those feelings. Maybe some of it was the suspense of waiting to see what my role play partner would come up with, and the synergy that working together on a storyline could create.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Ok, so I've enjoyed a recent shopping spree, and was determined to find some clothes at stores other than the ones I usually frequent. Ross had an adorable dress, and they have petite sizes! So, I snagged that and a pretty sleeveless top. I found a cute sundress at Aeropostale, and a couple of great shirts at Ambercrombie and Fitch. Finding slacks and pants the right length is still tricky, but then it's always a good idea to make friends with a good tailor. That mission has been accomplished, and I have a cute pair of white slacks from Kohls that finally got tailored to the right length (since practically every store insists on even petite inseams being 30"!) Ok, I'll have to stop complaining about that and just buy the cute pants from whatever store I see them in, and get them tailored next time. Old Navy has some great work slacks, and a lot of stores do have them.
Anyway, I've also managed to score a couple of cropped pants, as these tend to be the right length for me with no tailoring needed. American Eagle had really cute artist cropped pants in white, but my size wasn't in, so I had to pass them up. Otherwise, they'd have made great skinny jeans that I could probably get away with wearing to work. Oh, well. The thing about shopping is, once you find something you know you really like, you can look around for the right size...and watch for it to go on sale!
Did I mention that sale was my very first word? It was.
Is anyone else out there frustrated about the lack of cute petite clothing? Oh, it's out there, but the available styles are much more limited than the varied selection that non-petites enjoy. If I were a clothing designer, I would definitely provide my looks in a variety of sizes, so that the proportions would fit everyone, and so everyone who found a particular item of clothing could find it in their size to fit their frame perfectly.
But finding a designer who does that would maybe only happen in an ideal world. The reality of being really petite is that you have a lot more work to do to find tops, and especially slacks and jeans, in the right size. One tip, besides doing a lot of searching and trying on, is to make good friends with a tailor. I've also found that with a little heel, there are some cute petite slacks and cords that aren't too long. For those of us who need a very petite inseam, some brands like Dockers make slacks and jeans in petite-short length. And, if you're still having no luck with finding anything in the right length while you're out shopping, a cute petite skirt is always a great option! Sometimes outside of a petite department, it's possible to find tops that fit, particularly in small and x-small sizes that might be more proportional to a petite frame. I'm fairly petite, at 5 feet tall, and can still sometimes pull off tops at stores such as Charlotte Russe that don't have a petite department.
There are still many stores out there with good petites departments, or a selection of petite clothes. I hope all of this helps, and feel free to share any great finds and ideas you have!
Ann Taylor Loft - their slacks are usually too long for me, but they've got cute tops and dresses, and good sales!
Kohls - typically has a lot of cute petite clothes
Sears - the one in Neshaminy Mall has a really good petite department
JC Penny - another good place to find petites
Macy's - they have a great selection of petite clothing
Old Navy -they carry jeans in short length, and I recently found an adorable pair of Diva skinny jeans that were perfect!
Delias- has certain styles of jeans, cords, and trousers that come in various petite inseams, though most are online
The Gap - has petite fit online, and ankle length trousers