Thursday, March 30, 2006

Balancing Act

This publishing thing is a tricky business. It really is a balancing act.

Which, yes, I knew before this round began, but every now and then I'm still surprised.

Authors are told very quickly (especially in the RWA but I'm sure it happens in other organizations too) that they shouldn't be one-trick ponies. Don't settle for one book. Keep writing, keep doing something new. Find critique groups, revise, rethink, and most importantly, submit.

Which is all well and good unless you go a little overboard. Remind me to write up that story sometime. Nothing bad came of it but a lesson in why I shouldn't underestimate myself. Still, a lesson learned.

So, in order to keep our names out there, we write many things, we submit many places and we sit and we wait and we chew our nails and pull our hair.

And sometimes, we have to take a step back and really take a look at what's good for the career. We all know (or should, anyway!) that writers and publishers see the business in different ways. Neither one is bad, it's just a matter of perspective. The end result--saleable, successful books--is the same, but the process and speed by which it's achieved differs quite a bit.

And we have to make choices. And we hope and pray that we made the right one.

(Note: This has nothing to do with any place that I currently have a contract. Just to be clear.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


That's where I was over the weekend, anyway. At my local RWA chapter's biannual writing retreat. There is no internet access up in the mountains where we go, so it's good for just hanging out with other writing pals, being incredibly silly, and learning a thing or two about writing.

As in 2004, we had Victoria Alexander and Linda Needham. I tell you what, those two are a hoot and a half. Maybe three hoots, all put together. Not to mention that they are awesome women and I'm glad to know them and to get to spend time with them now and then.

This retreat was all about beginnings and endings. We laughed a lot. We ate a lot. Not so much sleeping, but that's to be expected.

What's most important is that it gets me recharged and ready to tackle writing again. I have a few projects in the works at the moment. I have my fingers and toes all crossed and will soon have to resort to typing with my nose. There's a mental image, eh?

I'm sorry I missed Cobblestone's chat, but I'm sure I'll be there for the next! I'm looking forward to it, actually.

... and feeling vaguely guilty that there's no real content in this post, but I suppose we all have our off days.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The edits are done!

Yes, it's true, I got to see those magic words on an email tonight: Final Draft.

Woohoo! Pour the Drambuie and break off a hunk of chocolate. It's party time!

Well, no. Party time was selling. Having the edits done means putting real effort into the other projects I've been picking at. Authors do not build careers with one book, after all. Fortunately, I have a few others in the wings, but I have many more ideas, so it's time to get back to putting them on the page.

Something I stumbled over while poking around the net last night: Kinley MacGregor has a new book coming out. (She's a fantasy author, for the curious.) On the cover pic, on Amazon, there's a blurb from Sherrilyn Kenyon that reads, "Kinley MacGregor writes fantasy the way I would."

I cracked up.

Why? Kinley MacGregor is Sherrilyn Kenyon. This is no great secret. She even outs herself on her blog. There has been some debate on the internet about whether this is a clever marketing scheme or a tacky ploy to get more readers. Me, I think it's funny and clever and if it works to sell her books, more power to her.

Apparently there's an interview somewhere where Sherrilyn interviews Kinley, too. I can't stop laughing.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A writer's work...

Yes, yes, that old saw. Turned on its ear a bit, but it's true. Writing is a never ending process of trying things, messing them up, fixing them, falling down, and getting up again.

Which is what I wanted to write about.

I know that my fellow Cobblestone gals don't know this. The publishers don't either. Not many people do, but I've been thinking about it and I think it's important to write.

About two and a half years ago, I was sure I was one submission away from making it big. I had many books out there in the pipes. Every partial I wrote got requested (which is a topic for another day). Though I got rejections, they were pretty positive. I was flying high, I was high-spirited and gung ho.

Then in October of 2004, I got an early morning phone call saying my father had died. It was a shock and wasn't, at the same time, as he'd been sick for a while. Still, he was my Dad, for better or worse.

What ties this into writing, though, is that that very same day I had a manuscript returned to me. The rejection letter was specific about what was wrong with the book, but it was a resounding no thank you.

What was the manuscript?

Fortune's Fool.

Six months later, my father-in-law died as well. Needless to say, it was not a good time around my home. My writing fell by the wayside. Every time I looked at something I'd written, that rejection on that day in October came back to haunt me and I just gave up. My RWA chapter mates were encouraging and supportive. My friends told me I'd write again when it was time. I, on the other hand, was convinced I'd never write anything worth completing again.

And then Fortune's Fool sold.

And I've been filled with inspiration to write again.

It may sound silly, or petty, to need that little boost, that vote of confidence that someone who *isn't* a friend or a relative has faith in you and believes you're worth the risk, but sometimes that's exactly what gets you up and going again.

I've said that writing is like a drug, and I meant it. It's addictive, but it's not cheap, and it certainly doesn't come without cost. The high won't last forever, I know, and I have to keep writing to keep earning my "hits" of satisfaction, but now I know I *can* do it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fortune's Fool has a cover!

Thanks to the very talented Ms. Sable Grey at Cobblestone, I have my very first cover. And it's so cool. I may be biased -- well, no, I know I'm biased -- but I'm pleased, I must say.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The edits have begun.

So, I've received my first round of edits on Fortune's Fool. I was expecting tears, hair-tearing and tooth-gnashing. Perhaps some wailing and collapsing in a pit moaning, "What was I thinking? How could I possibly have written that dreck?"

What I got wasn't nearly as dramatic.


What I actually found when I opened that file were things that, honestly, you need someone else to catch. By the time you turn a book in, hoping for publication, you've read it so many times that you just can't see the mistakes anymore. You don't see the leaps in logic or plunge into the plot holes. The story's all in your head and you can see what's not on the page.

Your editor can't. Which is why you -- why I -- needed an editor.

I confess that when I got to the comment where she mentioned that she *liked* something that I wrote, I did a little dance. Very little. Three seconds or so. Trust me, we should all be glad it was so brief.

But I'm looking forward to the next round. Does that mean I need therapy? Possibly. But I can't help thinking that each round gets me closer to where I wanted to be when I started to write, and that, my friends, is a very good thing.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Book blurb

A brief blurb for Fortune's Fool is up over at my publisher's blog.

I think that pretty accurately demonstrates why I write the stuff inside the book and leave the blurb-writing to those with the knack.


Birthdays.. it's been a good week.

The week started off well. Unsurprisingly when you get a yes on a publishing opportunity, wouldn't you say?

Then celebrated my birthday, yesterday. I will be a lady and not disclose how old I am. All right, half a lady. Older than 30, less than 40. My mother and partner told me that I was not allowed to cry until I hit the big 4-0 so I guess I've been told.

I'm looking at the other books I have under my belt and deciding whether they're good enough to see the light of day and where and when I might submit them. Unfortunately, they don't all suit Cobblestone Press, but some of them might, so we'll just have to see.

Waiting for my cover from Cobblestone, speaking of, and I'm waiting on the very tips of my toes. The covers, thus far, have been incredible, I think, so I'm sure that mine will be as fantastic. Waiting's the hard part.

I should put a blurb up in our communal blog, but I'm half-holding back until I have cover art. Perhaps I shouldn't. I don't know. Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Jumping in with both feet.

Boy. Just when I thought I understood computers.

Hello, hi there, howdee do! I have finally got things up and running on my side of the internet, and I can wave to everyone, settle in with my chai and cake, and put my feet up for a while.

So here I am!

Why am I here?

I've just signed a contract with Cobblestone Press to have a book of my published when they open their doors on June 2nd of this year. I'm so excited! I haven't slowed down since I got the news on Sunday. My husband is hoping I unwind sometime soon, I think, but he's already been warned that this is just the beginning.

The book is titled Fortune's Fool. It's a contemporary romance between a widowed woman trying to make a new life for herself and her son and a CHP officer haunted by his past.

More news as I have it!