Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Today at The Pink Posse / Tuesday Tips

Today, I'm chatting with my fellow Cobblestone Musketeers (because I don't want to be a stooge!) Loribelle Hunt and Shelli Stevens at The Pink Posse. If you click that link, it'll take you to signup page at Yahoo, in case you want to follow along. It's sure to be fun. There will be contests and excerpts and other amusements. Hope to see some familiar faces there.

And, as today is Tuesday, I believe it's time to add a new day to the format schedule. I hearby decree this Tuesday and all those that follow: Tuesday Tip-day!

To kick things off, I thought I'd write (briefly!) about query letters, as I did some judging over at a Romance Divas contest and made the same comment a lot.

Writers are told over and over that in order to grab an agent or editor's attention and make them want to read the rest of your letter/first few pages/synopsis and three chapters, you need a hook. Something with punch, something just enough out of the ordinary that they MUST read on to find out what's happening.

I know that there are resources out there that suggest posing a question is the way to do this. They tell the writer that anything that makes the agent or editor consider how they'd react in the same situation engages them in the story and makes them read on to see if the characters choose the same answer. To tell the truth, it might work. I don't know.

But I think this technique can work against you. What is interesting and unique to your story is not what the agent or editor might do. It's what your characters do. That's what's going to make or break you. That's what will earn you either a rejection or a request for more.

So here's my tip:

Don't ask questions. Make statements. Rather than writing

"Would you give up your boring life to marry a prince?"


"Sophie's had the same job since she left high school. Her life is boring, repetitive, and completely safe. Now she's giving it all up for the chance to marry a Prince."

I can't guarantee it'll get you more requests, but I think it'll get you closer. Give it a shot.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Writing.

Lest you think it's already forgotten!

Here's the pic:

And my snippet:


"It's not exactly what I wanted," she said, tilting her head to consider the mouse. It was really very graceful, the way the tail curved up the mouse's back. She considered picking it up by it's 'handle', just for a moment. Just to feel its weight. But it wasn't quite right.

"I tried for a dog, but I kept messing it up. It didn't look like Trixie. Besides, an ice sculpture isn't going to last. It's not going to work as a memorial. Especially not in this heat."

"But a mouse?"

"It's cute!"

"Trixie was a Great Dane, Nelson."

"... it's cute?"

"How am I supposed to explain the cheese?"

Your turn!

Happy Memorial Day. Here's hoping you've had time to spend with friends and family today.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Sooo, the new weekly format didn't *exactly* go into effect this week. It may be that I add a new daily topic every week until I've filled up the five weekdays. That'd be handy. And less guilt-inducing if I mess it up, right? Right! Ha!

I have not disappeared. I am around and madly writing on various projects, not the least of which is the one for Cobblestone Press that I have a meter on, over there on the right hand side of the page. It doesn't go up by much daily, as the story is being difficult for now. But any progress is good, so I'm happy when it changes at all.

We are very close to the Grand Opening for Cobblestone Press and the release of my first published book, Fortune's Fool! I can't decide if I'm nervous or terrified. Maybe a little of both.

Skin Deep should be coming sometime soon from Freya's Bower. I'll be sure to post just as soon as I get a cover and a release date.

I'm working on the edits for The Dragon Undone and attempting to keep my house at least marginally clean. Busy times and oh so glamorous, as you can tell!

But I'm writing and that keeps me happy when the chores get me down.

Monday, May 22, 2006

New format! (Monday Motivation)

So, since I said I was going to change up the format of the blog a bit, why not kick it off with my new Monday feature: Monday Motivation!

On Mondays, for as long as I can find decent pictures, I will post a random image. Why? There's a game I used to play with some fellow writers. Someone would find an evocative image and share it with the group. We'd then all write for three minutes, using it as inspiration. You'd be surprised how quickly you can turn out a good story in three minutes, really.

For purposes of the blog I'm going to shorten it a bit. Here's how my version of the game works.

1. I post a picture.
2. When you see the picture, open up Notepad or Word or grab a piece of paper and write, for one minute. Just one minute! Set a timer. :)
3. If you'd like to share what you wrote, post a comment! I'll share what I write each time.

It's that simple. Sound like fun?

Here we go!

Sara's snippet:

"There are angels in my family," she said, "though you'd never know it to look at me. Plain Jane, mousy hair and big blue eyes. Just your average girl keeping secrets and wondering where she's going in the world. No reason to look again. No reason to think twice." She scratched her nose. "Until something happens and you don't have a choice. Until things go sideways and the world is on its ear, and suddenly your shoulders hurt from holding everything in. Holding them in. Then you can't help but notice. Then everyone wants to be your friend."

She shrugged. "I don't need friends so much. I just want to help."

A single feather fell from her wing and drifted to the ground.

So what'd you write? :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Weekly format.

Over at Romancing the Blog, PBW mentions a few things to liven up a blog. I've been thinking about doing a weekly format sort of thing for a while, so maybe I ought to just put it into effect, hm?

The question is, what would you, the reader who happens to stop by, like to see? There are people who do hunk of the week pics, but I'm not so great at tracking down the beefcake collections. Maybe a beauty of the week? A prompt-picture of the week? (Writing prompt, I mean.)

Would an excerpt day (150 or so words from the current WIP) be of interest?

Trivia day? Ask a question, earn points, a certain number of points earn you a free book download or gift certificate to my publisher or something similar?

Q&A day? Writing topic day?

Feel free to make suggestions!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

4 cups from Coffee Time

Yes, yes, Shelli, I do have more news to post. Thanks for the nudge. :)

I got my second review today, and I'm just as thrilled as I was before. Well, no. Twice as thrilled. Maura at Coffe Time Romance gave me four cups out of five!

Again, it's not publically posted, but I'm more than willing to share a bit. Check it out:

"Fortune’s Fool is a wonderful contemporary romance combining well-developed characters with a compelling story line. Dylan and Valerie are very real multilayered characters that the reader will like and identify with immediately."

All this happy dancing is good for my waistline.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My first review!

I got the actual text of Jen's review yesterday, and I am *so* excited! I happy danced. It was thrilling! Or pathetic, depending on your opinion of my dancing. :)

I'm snipping here as the review's not yet posted, and hey, that's what people do, right? Suffice it to say, I'm not chopping out bad stuff, as Jen wrote me a *glowing* review and you'll just have to read it when it's up.

"Fortune’s Fool is a riveting story about the agony and blessing of love. ... This is a great read and well worth the time. I highly recommend Fortune’s Fool."

All right, so maybe I'm dancing again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


In other news, the inaugural issue of our newsletter, Love, Lust and Other Oddities, was published yesterday. If you'd like to join us and get news about our new releases, contests and reviews, there's a button over there on the right hand side. :)

Agent anxiety?

I dreamt, last night, that I was a part of some publishing workshop devoted to learning about and pitching to an agent. The bulk of the day was spent with twenty or so other would-be clients, and we talked to and questioned the Big Name Agent's assistant.

She was blunt and occasionally surprised at the depth of our lack of knowledge, but she wasn't rude. Disdainful once or twice, but not particularly rude, anyway. She was also apparently a hologram (I did say it was a dream!).

We then hiked for a mile or so to get to another building, where the "real" assistant came to help us work on our pitches. Most people were told they couldn't pitch because the agency didn't handle that sort of material and/or it wouldn't sell. When I summoned up the courage to talk, I shrugged and said "well, I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy and fantasy (which I do!)".

You'd think I said I laid golden eggs. Everyone in the room was immediately amused and impressed (dream!) and the assistant picked me and another girl who--I don't remember what she said--to pitch.

Turns out I *knew* the agent. (He looked remarkably like Mr. Fox, one of my high school orchestra conductors). After a few moments conversation (during which I did not really pitch), he said, "I don't think you can do it." He paused. Then added, "But I'm going to give you the chance to prove me wrong."

Agent anxiety. Who knew?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


As confessed earlier, I've developed a sort of routine for myself when it comes to the writing environment I need. This means that when The Engineer is home, like today, I don't get peace and quiet.

Don't get me wrong, I love the man. I let him stay in bed when he's snoring. That should be proof enough. But he does not understand the concept of quiet. He plays video games or music or watches movies on his computer. Which is in the same room as me. He doesn't like it when I go hide to write for hours on end. So, I write mostly during the day when he's at work, or in those hours when I can tune his noise out.

I can't ask him to be quiet. It's not fair to him.

But occasionally, it drives me mad.

Tonight, we're going to a Jesse Cook concert. It's one of the rare times we're actually going out to do something together, so it makes me happy. But meeting my writing quota? Not so much, today. Or tomorrow, for that matter, as he's off work again.

Maybe he'll sleep in.

A girl can dream. ;)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cheered up!

Yesterday, upon logging on to chat, Shelli and Lori told me to go take a look at Jen's blog. (Linked out, yet?)

Surprise surprise, Jen was mentioning me on her blog. She's read my book for review and apparently liked it a lot and I am not ashamed to admit, I teared up. As we joked, she likes me! She really likes me. Ah, validation, it's a good thing.

Summer is on its way, school ends (for me) tonight save final exams, and that means I can kick back and relax. Right? Wrong!

The Engineer has a whole series of little home improvements he wants to do, which pretty much rely on me as he's out of the house working most days. And there's writing to be done, as I can't let myself slack off just because I'm technically on vacation.

But I *am* liking the pretty weather days we've been having. If the temperature would stay where it's been for the last few (mid 80s), I would not complain.

All right. I finished a three-page project for my next local RWA chapter meeting. That means it's back to working on the projects on my schedule board. No rest for the wicked!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Life goes on.

Still working, still writing. I'm turning out pages for a new project. It was slow to get started, but I think it'll pick up speed now.

I have a request for another fantasy ms. so when I get a chance to edit and clean that one up, it'll be out the door.

And then I dreamt up the idea for a whole new book. If ideas made money, I'd be filthy rich, I told you. But there's another answer to the 'where do you get your ideas' question. Dreams!

I have yet to get any reviews before release, which is a bit disappointing, but I'm sure they'll come. Maybe after the Grant Opening. Yes, I'm a writer. Having other people read my work terrifies and thrills me at the same time. Do I want people to hate the book? No, of course not. Do I want them to read it? Absolutely! Sometimes, I guess there's no separating the two.

We'll have to see.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Contest! Contest!

It's May 2nd! That means there's a month (give or take) until Cobblestone Press has its grand opening and Fortune's Fool is available for purchase. I cannot tell you how excited I am. I'm looking forward to getting my work out there and having people tell me what they think. Yes, good and bad. Obviously, I hope you all love it as much as I do.

So, to celebrate, I have published an excerpt on my website AND. . . *drumroll*

I am having my first ever official contest!

First prize, my friends, is a hand-beaded necklace and earring set (click for a bigger picture), made by yours truly. Also included is a free download of Fortune's Fool. Second prize is a download of Fortune's Fool.

Necklace set

To put your name in the hat, all you have to do is comment here or email me, and I'll be glad to add you. Both winners will be picked on June 2nd.

Good luck!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tra-la! It's May! The lusty month of may!

That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully as-er. Hi there. Musical interlude, apologies.

It's May. Time is flying by, the year is passing and we're one step closer to the release of my first published novel from Cobblestone Press! I'm excited! There'll be a contest starting on my website tomorrow so tune in for your chance to win a free download of the book and possibly something more!

I've been writing like mad to meet my deadline for Freya's Bower and finished today. I'll be cleaning that up and sending it on to my editor. Then I'll chew through a few fingernails waiting for the edits and the hope that they're not terrible. It's been a challenge trying to write romances based on the prompt I was given for my Bites. Bites are a pair of stories centered around a shared them or character or the like. It's harder than it sounds to make it work, but I think I came up with a couple good ideas. Cross your fingers for me.

Now, time to relax my brain and recharge for the next project.