Monday, December 31, 2007

Starting Early.

Yep. I started early. It just felt right. I worked out Saturday and Sunday. And I'll be at the gym tomorrow as well. And today, I ate the way I'm supposed to eat. No sugar, no potatoes, no white flour. It really wasn't even a big deal. The health thing. Which we should all do and we know it but, know.
I once read that you should spend New Year's Day doing what you want to do for the rest of the year. So, tomorrow I will go to the gym and I will eat healthy (gotta put the black-eyed peas in a bowl of water soon), but for fun, I will write. I will force The Husband to listen to me talk about the plot and he will supply me with many twists. I will work on my outline. I will write character bios. I will add to my word/page count.

I will write.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Break through

Finally! I've been wrestling with a plot point for days. And it took me a couple of weeks to even realize that was the point that was hosing up everything else. This particular plot point doesn't seem to be all that important, but there's a lot of later stuff that is based on it, so it was.
I went to the gym today. Lifted weights for about 20 minutes, then swam for half an hour, then jumped in the hot tub. After about five minutes of stewing in hot water, it came to me. I could hardly wait to get home and write it down.

Tomorrow we're going to see I Am Legend. I've heard a wide range of reviews for it but, hey, it's got Will Smith. How bad could it be?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stuff I like to do, but goes so damn slowly

Synopsis. Yeah, I kinda like doing them. But this one is being difficult. I think it might be that I don't have the main character really set in my mind. But, actually, it feels like the whole story is there. Just churning around in the recesses of my mind. Possibly it's just not done yet.
If you're a writer, I know you're probably still sitting there wondering how I could actually LIKE writing a synopsis. There's a trick to it.
Write it before you write the book.
Seriously. It's so damn hard to write a synopsis after you've written 400 pages of story. You're too close to it, too invested in the individual stories that make up the whole book. My typical method of writing a book is this:
Get an idea. Sometimes it's a particular character, but usually it's just a premise.
Get a character. I figure out what kind of character would be involved with this premise.
Get all excited and pound out a chapter or a couple of scenes. Sometimes, this ends up being three chapters, but not more than that.
Realize that I love the premise, I love the character. And I have no idea where I'm going with it.
Then I write the synopsis.
I'm not so far along in the story that I'm married to any one idea. So, I just let my imagination go. It's not like I'm actually writing the book, so I can be as outrageous as I want to be. It's just a couple of pages. I can change it as often as I want.
Erica Orloff blogged about writing a synopsis on November 24. She mentioned that her agent always puts the tag line on the first page. I've never done a tag line but I liked the idea. So, I worked on one. Here's what I came up with:

Prophecy. Power. Corruption.
Everything hangs int he balance.

Probably doesn't make any sense to anyone but me. But it really encapsulates the book for me. As to whether it makes it into the final synopsis, we'll have to see.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stuff I hate to do

No, it's not cleaning the bathroom (what's the big deal about that anyway?). It's promotion. Actually, I don't hate promotion--I just never know what to do. Friday I got an email requesting three books that are similar to my next suspense novel with a list of similarities and differences for each one. I am now reasonably certain no one else has written a book similar to this one. I suppose that's a good thing.

Anyway, the problem I had was what kind of similarities were they really looking for? There are certainly other novels with female private investigators. And thieves. And covert groups. And international terrorism. And assassination attempts. Just not all together.

So, I spent about 5 hours coming up with something that I'm sure isn't really right and probably not what they wanted. Still I'm done. And it makes working on this synopsis look like fun.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Driving myself crazy

I'm sure other authors do this, too. At least, I like to believe they do. I wrote a perfectly decent first chapter to my WIP. Then by chance an agent asked me to send a chapter or so to her. From our communication, I have to believe that she understands this is not complete, that I'm still working on it--that's what WIP means to everyone, right?

Now, this agent is one of my TOP choices. I do NOT want tot blow this with her. I want to send her the very, very best first chapter I can possibly produce. (A little aside: The first partial she requested from me had a grammatical error in it that happens to be one of her pet peeves. I don't want to screw this up -- again.) So, I started second guessing it. I decided it didn't start with enough action. Actually, I decided the whole thing sucked. Anyway, I rewrote it. Moved scenes around. Did more second guessing. Then I sent it to my writing buddy, Jeff. Jeff is incredible, but more about him later. He read them both and chose the first one. Hands down. Then told me to trust my gut.

He's so right.

So, now I'm working on the second chapter. And I'm second guessing myself again. Maybe I'll just send the first chapter to the agent and the second one to Jeff. I hope he's got a lot of spare time right now.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Celebrating a Friend's Success!

I first met Lori Armstrong online in an author's group. Then I met her in real time at the RT Booklover's Conference last April. Lori's the kind of person that you become instant friends with. She's also incredibly talented.
Today she's celebrating some great news.
A two book deal with Touchstone Fireside for a new mystery series. Publisher's Marketplace lists it as a "good deal".
You can check her out at
As for myself, I'll be writing sink copy today. Now, what's wrong with that picture?

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm still here!
I got offered another copywriting job. It's like the old good news/bad news joke. Unfortunately the joke is that this time I'm writing copy for 154 sinks. At least they aren't all stainless steel.
Someday (soon, please the writing gods) I'll get back to my characters and stories. I just hope they haven't all forgotten what they're doing and why they're there and. . .I think I might have just given myself a headache.
But, seriously. Thanksgiving was wonderful. My daughter, Alana, and her family came over. Alana is a wonderful writer. But she has *completion issues*. She might outgrow them. She might not.
We all had a good time and lots of food. Somehow with a houseful of Buddhists and Pagans we ended up with a semi-Christian blessing. Although it did involve a "paws for Grace" which involves holding your hands up like kitty paws in memory of a cat named Grace. Pretty irreverent, so I loved it.
I had to laugh when Micah stood at the doorway of the kitchen and asked permission to enter. Then Alana explained that she'd told him the "rules" of my kitchen.
I'm one of those cooks who doesn't want anyone else in my kitchen when I'm cooking. I know where everything is. I know what has to be done and when (for the most part). Just stay the hell out of my way while I get the meal on the table.
I have a feeling I approach writing the same way. Evidently, I'll never give James Patterson a run for his money.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Slowly Hacking Away

At the TO DO list, that is. Copywriting is finished. Only one wall left to primer, although I still have 5 rooms left to paint. Starting the Business Plan this afternoon. Should finish the painting and the Business Plan by Friday. But, I decided I'm taking a couple of hours each day to write. Trying to break out of the "I can only do one thing until it's completed" mode.

And then there's promotion.
Some of my writer buds and I have been talking about promotion. We're all for it. None of us really has time to do it. I remember reading an interview with a fairly well-known, successful writer who said that she used to do book tours and signings and promotion but decided it wasn't getting her anywhere. It was much more important to write the next book and make it better than the last.
I have to agree. I really believe word of mouth is the most important promotion for a book. You can promote your ass off but if your book doesn't grab the readers, it won't do you any good.
Besides, I'm a writer, not a promoter. I'm happy to attend book signings, do interviews or whatever, but that's not my job. It's not my passion. I want to write. It's what I love. And if I'm good enough, the readers will seek me out. If not, then I need to fix my writing--not promote it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Day Job
I recently acquired a part time day job working at home writing copy for on-line retailers. The working at home part is perfect for me and the copywriting is something I did for years in a former life. Unfortunately I'm working on a fairly large project right now and the husband and I are painting and repairing our rental property.
Which means, I'm STILL not writing. Well, not writing fiction anyway. Soon, I keep telling myself. Soon.
Right after I primer and paint an entire house, finish the copywriting, oh, and write a business plan and update a website. By then, it'll be Thanksgiving. Wonder if everyone would be okay with frozen turkey dinners?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Catching up is just not possible.

I got back from Tucson yesterday. It was a great trip and I really enjoyed spending a chunk of time with my family. I (mistakenly) thought I'd get some writing done while I was there. I didn't so now I'm anxious to get back to my WIP. But first there's the laundry, the housecleaning, the email, the blogs, the groups. They all need to be caught up on.
It ain't gonna happen.
The laundry, sure. The housecleaning, eventually. The email-- well, some of it. But the blogs and groups, no way. I'll just have to start over again and ignore the fact that I've obviously missed stuff.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Working it out
I'm feeling distracted. My current WIP is a mystery and instead of sitting down and hammering it out, I'm wanting to write something else. This isn't actually unusual for me. It happens when I hit a part that's hard. A part that require me to think about what I'm writing. I actually wrote the first half of this book a while back, then life and other books got in the way, so I'm just now getting back to it. I've rewritten the first three chapters and I'm right at the point where I remembered that I don't have the entire plot worked out. I know basically what happens but there are details I haven't settled on.
And I'm feeling pressure. I'm spending the month of October in Tucson with my family so my writing time will be limited. I'd wanted to get the first draft done by now, but there was the wedding and some other stuff that had to be attended to. Although if I'd had that burning desire to write, none of that would have slowed me down. I would have sacrificed sleep or housecleaning in order to write.
Writing isn't a 9-5 job. There are times when I literally don't do anything else but write. The story pours out of me so fast that I can hardly catch my breath. Then there are days when squeaking out a page or two seems monumental.
At least I wrote in the blog today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A rose by any other name would still have thorns

Today, I was reading some blogs and Tess Gerritsen posted about blurbs. I know I should be getting blurbs for the book that's releasing next August. But I hate to ask. I feel like it's imposing on the author(s) that I'd ask. Besides, the cover is already done (top right). I love the cover and there's no room for a blurb. And it's probably too late, right?
Anyway, thinking about asking for a blurb made me think about the book. I realized I've been calling it a cozy mystery but it really isn't. Sure, it has an amateur sleuth and there's no blood and gore. But it has elements that are most definitely NOT cozy. Gay husband, cross-dressing, divorce, unplanned pregnancy. The protagonist, Skye, even has sex with two different men. The sex is off-screen and it's not like she's doing both of them at the same time. Still, it doesn't seem like a cozy.
I don't think it qualifies as a chick-lit mystery either. Skye is in her 40's and that seems too old for chick-lit. I don't even know if hen-lit is a viable sub-genre anymore. Skye has a hobby that is important in the mystery, but aren't hobby oriented mysteries still cozies?
Then there's the WIP. It's a mystery, too, and I've been calling it a cozy, but really it doesn't qualify either. The main character, Frankie, is a little too snarky, and her family a little too crazy, to be in a cozy. Plus the murders are already adding up. I think maybe too many people die for it to be a cozy.
Bottom line, I guess I don't write cozy mysteries.
And don't get me started on the differences between Suspense and Thriller.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to the drawing board. Or keyboard.

I sent out a few queries on Friday, which is always a little nerve wracking. To my incredible delight one of my top picks for an agent emailed back asking for a few pages. Yippee! I sent the pages. Very soon, I received another email from her saying that she liked the pages and could I send her about 50 pages. I sent them.
Saturday morning I received another email from the agent pointing out some problems with the three chapters I sent. Then she wrote the magic sentence: Let me know.
Let me tell you. It doesn't get any better than this. Seriously. Of course, I mean other than the agent dropping everything to call and beg you to become her client.
I've been querying for a long time. I've queried several thrillers and one mystery. And I've received everything from the form rejection letter to handwritten notes telling me they really, really liked it but it wasn't right for them or they just didn't love it enough. Or vague comments that were hard to interpret like: "You have a great character, but you need to raise her game". Once an agent took the time to write me a 2 page letter of comments plus notes on the manuscript and sent the manuscript back at her own expense so I'd have the notes she'd made. Believe me I thanked her profusely. And it was probably an opening to a dialog, but I didn't take it. Because from the comments the agent made I knew that we would probably never see eye to eye about a manuscript. She just wasn't the right agent for me.
So, why was this one different?
Because her comments made sense to me. One thing she pointed out I'd thought of several times but had convinced myself was ok. It wasn't.
I wrote her back asking if she'd like to see a revision. I asked because it seemed the polite thing to do. I know this agent has to be busy because she's got a lot of really good writers in her stable. I'd like to become one of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jessica Faust had an interesting post about writers who have innate talent and writers who work harder to learn the craft and the writers who have finesse. She said that finesse goes beyond the writers who work to hone their craft and the innate talented writers to whom it comes so naturally. There's a lot of good and interesting comments about it.
I hope I have all three. I know I've worked hard to hone my craft. I try to believe that I have an innate talent. I'm afraid to even consider if I have finesse. But one thing I know I have is desire.
I'm not one of those writers who penned a story at the age of 3. I didn't tell stories as a young child. As far as I remember. I recall writing in Junior High School. I don't remember why or what the appeal was at the time, but it never went away. I had teachers who recognized it in high school. I did a little writing in my 20's and by the time I was 30, I was a copywriter. I continued to do that for another 10 years. Then I became a technical writer, and did that for another 10 years. And I made a few attempts at writing a novel. But even when I wasn't writing for a living or working on a novel, I wrote in my journal every day. He looked at me in surprise and said "Oh, you're a writer."
I think what he recognized in me was the desire to write. The inability to NOT write for any length of time. I don't know where that fits in with talent and craft and finesse, but it's there. It's a part of me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life is back to normal
Probably for only a few weeks, but I'll take it. The past few weeks have been eaten up by sewing some medieval/LOTR wedding garb, making a wedding cake, and working on some non-writing projects that suddenly became urgent.
But now, it's back to the usual routine, which I love. I finally finished the proposal for the fourth book in the Parker series. I'll finish polishing it today and hopefully get it off to my editor tomorrow. After that I'll get back to the cozy mystery. I'd wanted to get the first draft done before October, but I don't think that's going to happen. I still have about 150 pages to write and that means 10 pages a day every day and surely something will interfere with that.
That might actually be a good thing. The book is set in Tucson which is where I'll be in October, so maybe that will be good for some local color.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Has it really been that long?
Good grief, Charley Brown! I can't believe I haven't blogged for 6 days! Well, yeah,I can. But I was busy....REALLY.
First there was the wedding with all the sewing and the cake! The FREAKING cake! It came out great. Looked a great deal like the photo I was to copy and the bride and groom were thrilled so I'm off the hook.
Then, I'm thinking, good, the wedding's done, I can write. But NO.
There was other non-fiction writing to be done.
But tomorrow, I'm gonna write. Okay, first I'm going to see the massage therapist (does she have her work cut out for her!). Then, I'm going to come home and turn everything off and write.
If I can just remember where I was with the writing.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Making the most of rejection
oday Jessica Faust of Bookends blogged about a letter she received from a frustrated writer. It was almost painful to read the letter. You could feel the frustration bordering on anger from this writer. There have been a lot of comments about the letter. Some expressing sympathy for the frustrated writer and some not. Jessica was saddened by the letter and mentioned that it's really the author's job to figure out what's wrong, what is or isn't working.
Sadly, I have to agree with her. I say sadly, because it is so very very frustrating. I've queried a lot of agents with several different projects (yes, Jessica was queried on every single one). My last project was especially frustrating. I received a lot of interest so at least my query letters are getting better. But in the end, no takers. And I can't blame them. There is something wrong with the book. I just have no clue what it is.
The comments from agents were all over the place. I got everything from "great characters, good dialog, strong plot, good writing, but I just didn't love it enough" to hand written notes telling me they usually don't go into so much detail but my character was so good that she deserved to have her game raised. One agent even returned the full manuscript (at her own expense) with a two page letter of comments and notes on the manuscript. From the comments she made I doubt we'd ever be a good fit, but you better believe I wrote her an effusive thank you letter. Another agent wrote "
Still, there's something wrong with the book. I love the premise, I love the characters, I think the plot works, I think my writing is strong. But somehow it just isn't coming together in a pleasing way. So, for the first time in years, a manuscript is going under the bed with the dust bunnies. Well, mostly. First I'll cannibalize a few scenes that will work in another book. I just hate to waste anything.
Back to the writing
The fridge got fixed and I spent a chunk of the morning restocking it. I also went to the gym and to Wal-mart where everyone is shopping for back to school. Now, I can write. At least for a couple of hours before I have to do something else.
I'm finishing up the second chapter of a proposal for the fourth book in the Parker Investigations series. Hoping to get the third chapter finished by early next week and then I'll send it all off to my publisher (Medallion Press).
I also want to finish a cozy mystery by the end of September. I'm going to be in Tucson, visiting my family in October, so that would be a great time to edit the book--IF I get it done. So, that means writing about 8-10 pages a day.
Yeah, we'll see.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And the writing grinds to a smelly halt...
A couple days ago The Husband shoved a jug of milk under my nose and said, "Does this smell bad to you?" It didn't. But then I wasn't the one who was about to drink it. Minutes later he poured it out. The next day, I bought more milk. That evening, I thought my white wine was a little more tepid than I like. And the veggie drawer was taking on an odor that was less than fresh.
I got out my meat thermometer and discovered the fridge was a balmy 60 degrees. The next morning I called a couple of appliance repair places only to discover it would be 2 days before anyone could come out.
It's been a long two days. At first we just ate food in the order of the expiration dates. Then we began to sniff everything suspiciously before tossing it out. By today, it was all bad. Milk, veggie soup, sour cream, lettuce, cucumbers, salad dressings, meats. All of it. ICK!
Good way to clean out the fridge though. Now, it's sparkling clean for when the repair person gets here -- tomorrow.
And I got NO writing done today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Life is good!
I'm writing again. Working on a proposal for the fourth book in the Parker series. The first three books each focused on one of the women in the investigation firm. This time, I'm involving all three of them more equally, although I think Shelby will end up with a slightly bigger part than the other two.
My biggest challenge with this is keeping each of their personalities consistent and separate. It's much easier when you're only dealing with a single character. I'm thinking about going back and reading the first three books to refresh my memory of the characters. And I think that will be strange. I haven't read either of the first two books since they were published because by the time you get to publication, you've read the manuscript about fifty times and are sick to death of it.
I'm hoping to get the proposal finished and polished by the end of the week. Then it's on to the new cozy series.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thank (insert deity of choice here)!!!
The sewing is almost done. I finished 3 tunics today. The only thing left are the finishing touches on the daughter's gown. And the hem. I'd measure the hem, but then fussed with the %*(#)$* collar so much that all the pins came out. But by noon tomorrow, I'll be done.
Which means I can write again. I'm so eager I don't even know which project to work on. My choices are:
Proposal for the next book in the Parker Investigation series.
Second half of a cozy mystery.
An Urban Fantasy that I've only written about 60 pages on.
What a wonderful problem to have.
And I just sent in the cover spec sheets for the third Parker book and the second Skye Donovan book. I can't wait to see what they do with the covers.
Hopefully there will be more coherent and more timely posts in the following weeks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Drive By Announcement
My friend, Alexis Fleming, is celebrating the launch of her new website on Friday, August, 24.
Drop by for prizes and chatter.
Alexis writes funny. She writes hot. She's a lot of fun! I can't wait to see her new site.
Oh, you can just click here to go to her site.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Release Date!
Yippee. I just found out that the third book in the Parker Investigation series will release in February of 2009. The title (tentatively) is It Takes A Thief. The title fits the book really well, I think, but for some reason, I'm just not that happy with it. Medallion Press hasn't changed any of my titles so far, but maybe they'll have a better idea for this one.
I just posted an excerpt on my website, so if you want a sneak peek go here and click on the title. You can read other excerpts there, too. If you don't like them, I don't want to hear about it.
Seriously. Unless you're volunteering to give me a critique.
Yeah, I thought that would stop you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jonesing for the Writing
I'm still sewing. Somehow, several tunics got added to the wardrobe of medieval wedding garb that I'm making. The bride and one of the bridesmaids tried on their gown this weekend and all is well. The plan this week is to finish both of those, make the Groom's tunic and get another bridesmaid gown and the flower girl gown ready for fittings on Sunday.
I also need to do a OMG-we're-having-house guests housecleaning by Thursday.
Which means, I have no time to write. I managed to squeeze in a few pages over the weekend but it's just not enough. I need a full week of I-don't-care-if-anyone-eats-or-has-clean-clothes kind of writing.
Oh, well.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Path To Publication
Today Elizabeth Joy Arnold posted on the BookEnds blog about how luck, perseverance and talent are all needed in order to attain publication. I think I'd add a few things to that. Patience, a rhino hide, and a sense of humor.
Patience. This is an absolute necessity. You will always have to wait. Wait for replies to agent queries. Wait for replies to editor queries. Wait for contracts, wait for advances, wait for royalties. Get used to it.
Rhino hide. Suck it up. You're going to get rejected. Probably hundred of times. Some agents and editors will be great about it. They'll comment on why they are rejecting the writing. Some will be polite about it. Some will do it in a manner that makes you feel like you don't even exist. A few will even be mean about it. You can't do anything about it and if you even think about replying to a rejection, other than a brief and sincere 'thank you', stop yourself.
Sense of humor. With all the waiting and the wondering and the rejection, a sense of humor is absolutely necessary to keep you from tearing your hair out, or as Miss Snark was fond of, setting it on fire. I miss Miss Snark.
For most writers, the path to publication is a long trail with lots of switchbacks and dead ends. And to be honest, I'm not sure it ever really ends for most of us. I suppose a lot of best selling authors don't worry about getting an agent or selling that next manuscript. But maybe they have other things to worry about. You know, movie deals, that sort of thing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is this one of the cutest dogs you've ever seen?
And she's all mine!

Lately the husband and I have toyed with the idea of another dog. Our wolf hybrid died about a year and a half ago at the ripe old age of 14. This time we've been talking about getting a smaller dog. And maybe one that doesn't shed so much. It's taken us a long time to come to this decision because we were so attached to our wolf. Anyway, I've developed a habit of looking at the Humane Society web site and this week I saw the cutest little dog. We went to see her today and she'll be coming home with us tomorrow after being spayed.
She was found wandering around and they say she's 8 years old. I don't know who they let judge her age. I estimate that she's at least 12. She has cataracts but gets around ok. She's missing a few front teeth which is common in elderly Shih Tzus. She is very, very skinny, weighing in at only 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Her temperature was a little under normal and I'm a bit concerned about the spaying but they won't let me have her without it.
She's a sweet little girl and never barked once on our visit. I know she won't be the dog I take on hikes (unless he's in the backpack). But she'll lay next to my desk all day and sit in my lap while I read or watch television. We'll probably only have a few more years with her and I intend to spoil her the entire time.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Agent Hunt
Yesterday Tess Gerritson posted a link to this post on the Killer Year blog by author Marcus Sakey. It's excellent advice and I'd recommend you to read it if you're looking for an agent.
I think I first queried agents in 2002. I got a (very) few requests for partials and full manuscripts. But ultimately, no agent. When I wrote the next book, I queried agents again. I got a few more requests. Still, no agent.
In January of this year, I queried agents for the fifth time. I received what I consider excellent response. 25% of the agents requested a partial or full manuscript. That doesn't sound like a lot but it is. Because, I queried widely. Yes, I research agents as much as I can, but some are pretty quiet and about all I can glean from the internet is that they represent certain genres. So, with that factored in, I'm going to get a lot of "not right for me" responses.
But even with a good response I still don't have an offer of representation.
So, what's the problem?
I'm guessing it's what I'm writing. I don't mean the genre or even the storyline. Just that the particular book I queried wasn't what they were looking for. And I have to admit that I had hesitations about the last book I queried. I think some parts are great and some parts are not. And the agents agreed with me.
But do I quit? Give up? Whine about it? No! Okay, maybe a little whining. But only to my closest friends who would never tell because we live by Vegas Rules in our little group.
So what do I do? I learn from this experience just like I learned from the first four. And I query again.
Don't give up. Ever.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Self Promotion or Self Defeating?
I'm getting used to the blogging thing. I blogged almost every day during July and I got to the point that it wasn't such a big deal to find a topic and write a paragraph or two. I'll probably stick with it, at least for a while.
But to be totally honest, I started blogging because I thought I was supposed to. I kept reading how I needed to have a blog in order to let fans know about my books, to make sure agents and editors saw that I had one when they googled my name. Yeah, I'm sure that's happening multiple times a day.
Today on The Lipsticks Chronicles, Harry Hunsicker blogged about closing his MySpace account. I wanted to stand up and cheer. He likened MySpace to joining a club and that if you already belong to a club of like minded people and then you write a book, of course you'll tell all your friends about the book. Then he questions the wisdom of writing the book and then joining a club to promote it.
And in the comments, Nancy Martin notes that most of her MySpace friends are sending her notes on when their books are being released. Harley Jane Kozak wanted to cry when a friend suggested she do a MySpace page to promote her new book.
Well, pass the tissues.
Now, I don't mean to say I don't like the fans. I love them. And it's not that I'm such a hermit that I don't want to go anywhere or see anyone. I'm a fairly social person. And I loved going to RT and meeting fans and other writers. I don't mind doing the promotion thing. I'll go to conferences, I'll sign books. I'll pretty much do whatever anyone asks of me with in reason. I just don't want to do it all the time.
I'm a writer.
I write. I love to write. And I'm hoping that I have fans that want me to write. Because, really, do you want to read a blog post from your favorite author or do you want to read their next book?
Harry Hunsicker's next Lee Henry Oswald book, Crosshairs, will be out Monday.
Harley Jane Kozak's, Dead Ex, will be in stores on Tuesday.
Nancy Martin writes the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries, the latest of which release in March.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Not Getting There...
I'm still not ready to start the sewing. Jeeze. And I don't even know what has sucked up all my time this week. I think it was a lot of little things. I had to do a bid for a technical writing/project management gig. I got a HUGE survey to fill out from the Census People. And BTW, it's against the law to not fill it out.
I did get the office part cleaned up. Paid the bills, adjusted the budget. Listened to the husband vent about a real estate project that is operating on Murphy's Law. Signed a contract for another book with Medallion Press. This one is Let Sleeping Dogs Die, the second book int he Skye Donovan photographic mysteries.
Watched several episodes of the third season of 24. I think we only have five or 6 more episodes left in this season and we still don't have season 4. I've been hoping that the discount DVD place will get it, but I think I'm going to have to pay full price for it somewhere. And I will. I'm truly addicted.
The husband is leaving work early today so we can go see The Bourne Ultimatum. I'm so excited. I loved the first two movies and I adore Matt Damon.
But before the movie, I need to finish organizing the sewing area and mow the lawn. Yeah, don't hold your breath.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting Medieval
Today's goal is to clean up my sewing area and get everything organized so I can start on the medieval garb. I think I can get all the sewing done in a week and two weekends. Then I'll probably need to make a few adjustments.
So, for the next week, you probably won't hear anything from me but talk about fabric and measurements and patterns.
It's a lot of work but I enjoy sewing. I remember when I was about 4, I was at my grandmother's house and I wanted another outfit for my doll. this tells me it must have been raining or freezing because otherwise I was always outside. Dolls were just something to mess around with if you couldn't get to the pine thicket where we played.
So, my grandmother found some fabric scraps, looked at the doll, cut the fabric and stitched (by hand) together a dress. At that moment, I was certain I was seeing magic. I made my first dress at age 12, and almost all my clothes for high school. I made my prom gown and my business suits and my daughter's prom gown.
Soon after the husband and I were married, I announced that I was going to the fabric store to look for fabrics for our medieval garb. The husband said "I'll come with you." Possible this was because I'd be getting fabric for his garb and he wanted to have a say. So, we're at the fabric store and after about forty-five minutes, the husband said, "Are you almost done?"
I laughed. "No. I haven't looked at everything."
He frowned. "You're going to look at everything in the store?"
He rarely ever goes tot he fabric store with me now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The things that drive a writer to drink (heavily)

This is a sentence I wrote about a year and a half ago for a book that's still in progress because--well, I'm sure I've had really good reasons for shoving this one onto the back burner.

"During what I consider a previous lifetime, I’d been married to Nick for about ten minutes."

This is from Janet Evanovich's LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN, PAGE 4:

"Is this the Dickie you were married to for fifteen minutes in another life?"

So, you might be thinking that I can somehow hack into Ms. Evanovich's computer and lift such a little gem from her hard drive. Or possibly, I'm psychic enough to lift thoughts form her creative brain?

No. It's just one of those horrible coincidences. For me anyway. I now have to delete that line from my manuscript. No, it's not plagiarism. Even if I left the line the way I wrote it. I'm sure Ms. Evanovich wouldn't even furrow her brow if I kept my line.
But it would come off looking like I didn't have enough creativity to think of my own smart lines.

What's a little weird to me is that I bought the first Stephanie Plum book as soon as it was released because I was working on a mystery (my first, which explains why it no longer exists, even on my hard drive) that I had entitled "One For The Money". Yes, I wanted to write a series with numbers in the titles. I'm pretty sure Janet and I weren't the only writers who had that idea. Anyway, I wanted to read an author who'd had a similar idea to mine--even if it was only for a title. And I was impressed. I remember telling my sister about it. She read the book and loved it too. At the time she managed a bookstore and hand sold that book and all of the subsequent Plum books.

Still, even though it's just a couple of strange coincidences, I'm hoping that it means I can aspire to write as well as she does.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The 'other' kind of writing
No, I'm not talking about porn. I'm talking about Technical Writing. I met with a gentleman yesterday who wants met to bid on a Tech Writing project. It actually involves more than the writing. He needs someone to manage a few projects, do the writing for them, bid them out to printers, place the orders and follow up. Then there's the job descriptions and policy and procedures manuals.
I am strangely qualified to do all of this. Before I had the pleasure of only writing fiction, I was a Technical Writer. I wrote end-user documentation, procedures manuals, scripts for computer help desks, a bit of web site content, as well as retail ad copy. I was a Project Manager, Production Artist and Production Manager, and a Copy Writer and Copy Chief.
So, today will be spent working on the bid and dragging my writing samples out. I happened upon this by accident and the timing is perfect. I'm always bemused when these things just sort of happen in life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Life intrudes
This seems to happen on a regular basis. I'm working away on a new WIP, just getting to the point where I've got a lot of kinks worked out and I'm ready to hunker down and pound out a few thousand words every day until I've got a first draft.
Then, my mundane life rears its ugly head.
This morning I suddenly realized that I only have 5 weeks to make a medieval wedding gown, a medieval tunic (both taken from the Lord of the Rings movie), two bridesmaids gowns and a flower girl gown. Now, I have to admit, a medieval gown (at least the ones I'm making) are a LOT easier than a standard wedding gown. Still, it's a lot of sewing, so I need to get started on it.
And last night, the husband says to me, "We need to clean out the guest room." ACK! I just remembered we have guests coming for the weekend in a couple of weeks. The guest room is a mess because in my effort to attend a medieval event, I pulled tons of crap out of the closet and it's all over the room. I also have to find the sheets for the guest bed. I'm hoping that it really won't take me that long to clean up the guest room and make it presentable.
And all I want to do is WRITE!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seriously, people.
Yesterday Nathan Bransford shared his query stats from the past week. I'm dismayed by some of the stats:
9 mass mail queries (often with every agent's name visible)
2 misspelled his name
1 addressed to Mr. Brown (Nathan works at Curtis Brown, Ltd.)
2 angry replies to his rejection
23 personalized
11 began with a rhetorical question.

OK. I'll over look the rhetorical question starters. I'm sure the authors really, really believed that was the best way. Or they read a book that told them it was good. I'll even pass by the misspellings. It happens. Although I will say, check the name, then check it again. The two angry replies? Get over yourselves. This is a business and if you can't take rejection, you really don't want to be a writer.
But the rest? That is just laziness. Someone actually addressed the letter to Mr. Brown. I'm pretty sure they meant Mr. Albert Curtis Brown who passed over to the whatever a long, long time ago.
The nine who sent out mass mailings--I don't know what to say. Do you really believe that's a good way to contact someone that you are asking to read your work and possibly represent you? Do you think that impresses them or makes them feel they are dealing with a considerate professional writer? Um, not so much.
The 23 non-personalized. I read Nathan's blog about this and I know he's talking about personalization beyond "Dear Mr. Bransford". I've read about agents who really prefer this (Nathan, for example), and agents who really don't give a rat's ass one way or another. The thing is, if it's done well, it can't hurt and could possibly help a lot. But don't be smarmy or stupid. If you're going to personalize say something about their clients, their blog, a recent sale, the fact that you met them at a conference or heard them speak somewhere. This requires research, but really not that much.
If you are looking for an agent, Google (or the search engine of your choice) is your friend. Use it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poor Choices
Yes, I made one today. At the crack of dawn, actually. Instead of getting up and going to the gym, I decided my workout today would consist of mowing the lawn. It doesn't sound like much, but we have a ginormous backyard. And it's uneven, just one pothole after another. Makes mowing difficult at best. We have plans to have the entire thing rototilled but we don't want to do that until we've decided what to do with it. I want more (all) garden areas and less (none) lawn. Although what we have now can't even be considered lawn - even in the loosest sense of the word. I'm not mowing grass, I'm mowing weeds. The stupid front yard is also devoid of any nice little garden areas, so I'll be mowing that later too.
And to think I could be at the gym, sweating on a treadmill.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Writing is a business
Right now I have several projects that I could be working on.
A cozy mystery that I sold on proposal, but the manuscript isn't due for over a year.
Another cozy mystery that I want to query agents with.
A proposal for the fourth book in my Parker Investigation series.
An Urban Fantasy that I just recently started and is a lot of fun to write.
The writer in me would be perfectly happy just getting up each day and working on which ever project calls to me. But the published author in me wants to do what's best for my career. Each project has its pros and cons.
Writing the cozy that's already contracted would get one more thing off my To Do List, but it's not urgent. I have the synopsis done and plenty of time to write it. The Urban Fantasy would be fun. I love stretching my writing skills and letting my imagination run wild. But, I'm not published in UF so it would be taking my career on a different track and I'm probably not quite ready for that. The proposal is almost finished anyway and I'm not going to submit it for a while. The new cozy series I really like but it involves another agent search.
What did I do? I called the husband. He played devil's advocate, argued every point I made and got me to think it all through so I could make the decision that I knew was right. Now, I can get down to the business of writing it.
I don't think it's ever too soon to treat your writing as a business. Even if you're writing your very first book. If you want to have a career as a writer, you have to treat it as a business.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yes, I forgot to blog yesterday. And it's not easy to forget because I have a reminder in my Outlook which pops up at the most inconvenient times to remind me that I'm not blogging.
I also didn't get my reading in. Well, the little bit that I read when I go to bed. But not my designated hour of reading. Why do I need a designated hour of reading?
Because I write. So, reading is part of my job. Pretty cool job, huh?
I need to stay up on what's being published in the genres I write, and also in the genres I don't write because often a trend will begin in one genre and kind of work its way through to some other genres.
Also, I think reading a really good book is what initially made most writers want to write their own book. Either that or reading a really bad book. You know, the kind where you struggle to get through the damn thing, then end up throwing it at the wall before finishing it. I used to always read the entire book. Even if I decided it was crap by the second chapter. Now, I don't do that. As soon as I'm sure it's crap, the book gets tossed. But that usually doesn't happen until midway through the book. I mean, I want to give the book (and author) a fair chance.
What about you? Do you read the whole book even if it's crap?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Writing a Series
I'm writing the fourth book in my Parker Investigation series. The series centers around three private investigators and the first three books each featured one of the women. Now that I'm on the fourth book, I'm questioning my writing.
I think it's the voice thing.
Each of these women has a very unique voice. Now that I'm writing a second story about the first character, I want to make sure I'm writing her with the same voice as the first book. Also, this book involves all three women more than any of the other books, so I'll have to make sure I'm keeping all the voices separate and clear.
I never thought that I'd go back and read the books I've written. I mean, by the time a book is on the shelf, the writer has read it at least a dozen times. But, I'm thinking that reading the previous books will be the best way to keep the voice and personality intact for the 4th book.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life gets in the way of Art
Well, in the way of my writing anyway, which may or may not be art. Husband took the motorcycle to work today, leaving me the truck so I could run some errands later or possibly even go to the gym. Except. He called just minutes after leaving the house. Seems the bike was out of gas. Am I surprised? Not so much. Husband has a habit of believing there really is gas in the tank when it's only fumes. Must admit, this works for him most of the time. So, I take the gas reserved for the mower to him, but it doesn't do the trick. So we drive home, get the trailer, drive back and pick up the bike, then come home again and he takes the truck to work.
Now it's almost 10 and I'm a couple of hours behind my regular schedule. Which means I just read blogs and groups but haven't started writing.
Unfortunately there is still gas for the mower so I won't get out of finishing up the backyard today. Also, evidently all we did this weekend was trash the house so cleaning is now a priority. Writing is drifting further and further away.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th is a Lucky Day
At least it is for my friend and fellow mystery writer Lori Armstrong. Her second book, Hallowed Ground, has been nominated for a Shamus award. Way to go, Lori!

I'm hoping that it will be a lucky day for me as well. If it is, I'll figure out what the hell I've done wrong with this stupid WIP.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Smack on the Forehead
So, the WIP has been a problem. It's just going so slow. At this point, I'm usually flying along. I know my characters pretty well, and my world. I haven't gotten so deep in the plot that I'm seeing any mistakes yet. But, that's not happening with this one.
Than it hit me.
I mentioned yesterday that I've been writing this in third person. Even though most Urban Fantasy is written in first person. Maybe that's why this doesn't feel right?
I'm going to go back and rewrite it in first and see if that feels better than what I've got.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tense Person
Actually this is about both tense and person. Nathan Bransford had an interesting post about first or third person and some of the comments delved into the present or past tense. It seems some people really prefer one and hate the other. To the point that they won't even read a book if it's in the offending tense or person.
I write my cozy mysteries in first person and my thrillers in third person. Cozy mysteries are really stories about the characters--especially the main character. So, writing in first person feels more immediate. Also, I really prefer cozy mysteries where the reader only gets to know what the main character knows.
In thrillers, there's usually a need for more than one pov, so third is easier. Although I like James Patterson's way of using first and third in his Alex Cross series.
My current WIP is an Urban Fantasy. Most Urban Fantasy is written in first person, but for some reason I'm using third. We'll see how that goes.
The debate about present or past tense was interesting. Almost everyone preferred past tense. I can handle present tense with first person in some books, although it's not my favorite.
But once I picked up a book for a best-selling author. She's one of my absolute favorites and this was about the 8th book in a series. It was written in third person present tense and I just could not handle it. I put it down after about 5 pages. It was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book Titles

I've been lucky so far. My publisher hasn't changed any of my titles. Although it remains to be seen on the last two they bought. I wouldn't have minded on the first two books, Breeding Evil and Natural Selection, although I felt the titles were good ones for the book content.
I was in love with the title for my first cozy mystery, If It's Not One Thing, It's A Murder. And I was very happy that they kept that one. The next book in that series is Let Sleeping Dogs Die.

But I'm stumped for the title of the third book in the Parker Investigations Series. The title that really fits is It Takes A Thief. Kay Hooper wrote a Loveswept back in 1989 with that title. The other title that would work is Once a Thief, but she also wrote a book with that title. Neither of those books is anything like mine as far as plot, characters, etc.

Still, I'm reluctant to use the titles. Yesterday I saw a new book with the title Natural Selection. So, it's not like no one else is borrowing titles. Probably I'll leave this one up to the universe. If the book is meant to have a different title, it'll happen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Yay Monday!
Probably most people aren't all that happy with Monday. I used to be one of them. It meant that the weekend was over and I had to go back to work. Even when I liked my job I didn't look forward to Monday. But now I do. Now Monday means I get to write again. I write a little bit on the weekends, but not much. Weekends are normally spent with my husband, family, and friends. So, after two days of not being able to write, I'm eager.
Maybe I'm more eager today than usual because yesterday I realized a major change I need to make to the plot of my WIP. Hopefully this change will make the book different from the rest of the genre. At least a little.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Puppy Love
I came this] [ close to having a puppy this weekend. My sister-in-law called to ask us if we wanted a Pug puppy that her son was giving away. We thought about it for a day and said yes. Our dog (a wolf hybrid) died about a year ago and we've gone back and forth on the puppy issue. But, really, we're both dog people and we really miss having one. Our two cats are entertaining, but they just aren't dogs. Sadly.
I've never had a pug. Actually, I've never had a small dog. But from what I read, Pugs are big dogs in a small dog's body. Perfect.
But this morning we found out that our nephew and his wife decided to keep the puppy. So, we're puppyless.
It wouldn't be so bad, but I had really gotten myself ready for a puppy. Of course, there's still the pound. And I know how to get there, too.

Friday, July 06, 2007

From the War Front

Here are a few pictures of the Medieval war. This particular was was between The Kingdom of An Tir and the West Kingdom. Keith fights with The Ermine Company--the ones with the white shields and tabards with the black ermine spots. I think Keith is the one in the red sleeves. The second pic is a closer view of these guys. I have no idea of which ones they were or even which side they fought for. An Tir won.
Now, back to writing.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dream Agents
There are several blogs I read every day. One of them is Bookends, LLC. Yes, Jessica Faust is in the top ten of agents I'd be thrilled to have represent me. I'm sure there are about a hundred thousand other writers who feel the same way.
Anyway, today, she talked about her dream client and her favorite client and then asked who our dream/favorite agent would be. This is a good thing to think about occasionally. And not in the Wouldn't it be great if so-and-so were my agent and there was a bidding war over my next book and then Ron Howard paid me millions for the film rights kind of thinking. Not that there's anything wrong with daydreaming now and again. But thinking about what you really want in an agent is good. Because you just might get lucky and have an agent offer representation and you'll need to know what you're looking for.
I want an agent who can do some editing for me. Sure, I edit myself, but I don't see everything. And sometimes, I'm in the middle of the damn forest and can only see the individual trees. And the individual trees may look fine, but the forest is kind of a mess. So, that would be good.
But the first thing I thought of was that I'd like an agent who could magically produce the last one or two sentences I need to wrap up the synopsis I just wrote. The entire synopsis needs another go around, but I can't even come up with the last couple of sentences. This is the part where I need to resolve the romance. I so suck at this part.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday to our Republic!

A lot of Americans think we live in a democracy. Nope. We don't. Our founding fathers went to a lot of trouble to make sure of that and with good reason.
A democracy is majority rule and there's no law to prevent the individual's rights from being trampled. You might say a lynch mob is a good example of democracy in action.
A republic, on the other hand, consists of public officials who have been elected by the people to serve them. Hopefully the people made a good choice and the public officials are well suited for the job (you may all laugh now). A republic also requires a constitution and a system of checks and balances that keep everything running smoothly and protects our individual rights.
So, it seems that it's really up to each individual just how well the Republic runs. Have you done your part?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I like to be organized. I like lists. I like things that are sorted by color or size or use. I like being able to look in my file drawer and find exactly what I'm looking for.
Once when my daughter was about five, I organized her toys in plastic crates and on shelves and then showed her what I'd done. She looked at me like she couldn't believe this lunatic was going to raise her.
But as much as I LIKE organization, I don't do enough of it. I keep thinking that if I cleaned one room in the house each day, then it would always be fairly clean. Doesn't happen. I do other stuff all week and then take a whole day to clean the whole house. It's the same with the yard work. And the laundry.
Not with the writing, though. I write every day. Sometimes it's a lot of pages, sometimes it just a lot of crap. But it's writing.
Now, why can't I do that with the cleaning and the yardwork?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Back from the Middle Ages
We had a great time. I sat in the shade and did some cross stitching while Keith put on heavy armor and stood in the sun beating on his friends with a big stick. You'd be amazed at how many men (and a few women) think that's fun.
I made 5 gallons of really, really good red ale and it was all gone in one night. The King and Queen of The West (TRM Jade and Kaaren) roasted a pig on Saturday night and everyone brought side dishes.
And now I'm home. After I finish unloading the truck and do some laundry, it's back to the writing. There's nothing like a few days of not being able to write to make it seem like the best thing in the world. Hopefully today, I'll get a lot of the synopsis worked out so I can finish up the scene outline.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So, where was I?
I know, I know. It's been almost two months since I blogged. I've mentioned before that I'm very torn about this whole blogging thing. So, I'm going to give it a month. For the month of July, I'll blog every day. I may not have much to say, but I'll say something. If it's working for me at the end of the month, I'll continue. If not, I'll close the blog and go back to being a hermit.
Actually, the blogging will have to start on the 2nd of the month because I'm going to an SCA event tomorrow and won't be home until Monday, the 2nd. For those of you wondering, SCA stand for Society for Creative Anachonism. It's a Medieval Reenactment thing. My husband and I haven't been very active in The Society for a few years, but we still enjoy the occasional event. This event is the An Tir/West war and it's between Gold Coast and Port Orford, OR this year. We have a lot of friends from the Kingdom of the West, even though we now reside in the Kingdom of An Tir. So, Keith fights with a group from the West, The Ermine Company. Usually, I just sit and watch the fighting and read a book. Maybe make a few notes for whatever WIP I'm working on. Anyway, that the reason for not blogging on the 1st of July.
I think I need to go put a reminder in Outlook for the 2nd.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back from RT
This was the first time I'd attended an RT convention, and it was. . .interesting. Lots of entertainment. I think there were a couple of events planned for everynight but Saturday. That's the night they have the Mr. Romance contest. By then, I was too tired to do anything but sit in the bar and talk to my friends.
The most interesting part of being there was that I'm a thriller and mystery writer while most of the other writers there are romance and erotica writers. Four of my critique partners write erotic romance and they are very good at it. Another of my critique partners edits erotic romance. Makes me wonder if I'm missing something.
I just heard that the hotel had a problem with the bookmarks for the male-male erotic romance bookmarks being displayed in promo alley. This absolutely amazes me. The bookmarks I saw had half naked men and women in suggestive poses. Why the problem with half naked torsos of two men? The whole anti-gay thing is beginning to really get on my nerves. For one thing, why are people so concerned with other people's sex life? And more importantly, when you start to take away one groups human rights, you'd better look over your should to see who's there to take away your rights.
OK, I'll take a deep breath and step down off my soapbox now.
More about RT. There were so many fantastic costumes! One woman had a white feathered outfit that was stunning. I think she won the contest, but by then I was in the bar (again).
I also participated in the Chillin' with the Thrillers morning mixer for booksellers. We got moved to a much smaller room than we really needed and ended up sitting inthe hallway stuffing giftbags for the booksellers. It was very cool to meet the other thriller authors. It seems that RT is expanding to more genres every year, which only makes sense because a lot of romance readers also read a lot of other genres.
I sold more books than I expected at the booksigning and that was a plesant surprise. I met a lot of readers and other authors and aspiring authors.
For the most part, writers work in seclusion and with little interaction. Most of us have our online critique groups, but there's very little face-to-face interaction. That was probably the best part of RT. Talking about writing with other writers is about the next best thing to writing.
I also got to meet four of my five critique partners for the first time. We've been online friends for about 5 years so meeting them was terrific. And I got to meet a some other Medallion authors and the wonderful acquisitions editor for Medallion, Kerry Estevez.
And now I have to go polish some writing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good news!

I just sold the third book in the Parker Investigation series. All I know right now is that it will come out in 2009. Hopefully early in the year. I'm almost ready to submit the second book in the Skye Donovan Photographic Mystery series. I'd like to have no more than a year between those books.
Also, I've decided I need to either post more often or get rid of this blog. If you have any comments about that, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Agent Search Update

Unfortunately, I'm not updating to announce that I've signed with an agent. The agent search goes on. For those of you interested or just following the stats out of morbid curiousity, here's the latest:
127 Agents queried (About half were queried the first week of January (email and on-line forms) and half the last weekof January (snail mail))
81 Responses so far
11 Requests for a Full
8 Requests for a Partial
7 Fulls Rejected
4 Partials Rejected
Four of the rejections on the full came with comments and two of the patial rejections with comments.
The thing I find most interesting is that the comments are all over the place. One agent found a key element to be 'too convenient'. Of course, that was a part that I'd labored over. One agent, who read a partial, didn't like much of anything. A couple of agents wrote a LOT of comments and one of them made notes on the manuscript and returned it at her own expense. I'm so impressed with someone that dedicated to his or her profession.

The entire experience shows me just how subjective it all is. One agent thought the pace was slow and the text overwritten and uneven. Another agent thought the writing was whip-smart, the over all pacing good, characters well thought out and the narrative clipped along at a good pace.

So, when you get those rejection letters that say no and then tell you that this is a subjective business and another agent might love it -- well, they're right.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sucking up to Booksellers
Yes, I'm all for it! In fact, I'm doing a bookseller "basket" for the Romantic Times Convention. The RT people suggested stuff like tote bags, chocolate and (of course) autographed books. They also suggested something in line with the main character(s) of your book(s). My main characters so far are spies and PIs. So, I'm thinking of using a aluminium briefcase for my "basket", and of course I'll include several autographed copies of both books that are out now. Any other suggestions? I'm thinking of totes or coffee cups with my book covers on them but really, does anyone want to walk around with a tote that has a red veiny skull and the words BREEDING EVIL on it?
My friend Bobbie Cole/Lyn Cash suggested a maternity tee-shirt with that book cover. She's a sick woman, therefore a very close friend of mine.
It's really a shame that my next book isn't out yet because then I could include a camera. That book is a cozy mystery and the main character is a photographer. If you want to read an excerpt, go to my web site.
Oh, and I'm waiting for those suggestions!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just Who The Hell Do You Think You ARE?

I'm speaking of Perhaps you've heard of them? A lot of writers are talking about them. I sincerely hope you have not taken advantage of their offerings. is a site where you can download illegal copies of books, stories, movies, music, photography--all sorts of things. What they are saying, in effect, is that they do not value any of these things. They certainly do not value the effort put into creating them. After all, they're FREE.
Yeah, yeah, I've heard the excuses which basically boil down to: "It's not cheating the author/artist/publisher/whatever out of anything because I wasn't going to buy the book/movie/song/photo anyway, but since it's there, I might as well have it cause everyone else can."
Well, let me tell you, you are wrong. If you download from any of these sites, even if you weren't going to spend money to have the item anyway, even if you never read or listen to the download, you are pirating.
I don't expect to become rich and famous from writing. But I spend a lot of time, I put a lot of effort into my writing. If you don't want to buy it, fine. But don't download it because it's FREE.
Because it isn't. Ever.
It saddens me that we value our art and our artists so very little. By offering their work to everyone for nothing we are telling them that it is worth nothing. Is that really the message we want to send to our artists? To our society?
If it is, then I might as well keep my writing to myself. I can always print off copies for my friends who enjoy my work. The friends who actually go out and PAY for the book once it's published.
I hope that all the publishers, big and small, will unite to take this site down. We need to send a message to anyone who thinks this is a good idea.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Psychic, etc.

My husband watches a lot of the Sci-Fi channel. Therefore, I'm exposed to some shows I'd probably not watch left to my own devices. And I really like some of them. OK, most of them.
I'm noticing that there's more and more of the weird out there. And not just on the Sci-Fi channel. Heroes and Medium are both on NBC and are both hits. Dresden is doing quite well, I believe on the Sci-Fi channel. I've seen trailer so for several new shows that deal with psychic ability and paranormal activity.
And this is prevalent in books, too. I understand that paranormal romance is the fastest growing segment of romance books right now. And Urban Fantasy seems to be on the rise. Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) will be the captain of a panel at Romantic Times this April. I've had the pleasure of meeting Jim at a couple of conferences and I'm looking forward to hearing what he thinks about why people want to read about witches, werewolves, vampires, gargoyles, demons, ghosts and anything else that goes bump in the night. The reason this is so fascinating to me is that I've been making notes on a book that I want to work on after I finish the one I'm half done with.
And it wants to be an Urban Fantasy.
At first, I was more than a little surprised. Then I realized that I really like to write things that are just a little over the edge (and if it's the bleeding edge, all the better). So, maybe that's why it appeals to me.
So, what do you all think about the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal genres?

Friday, February 16, 2007

RT Booklovers Convention
This will be my first year. I'm haven't been to a conference for a year and a half, so I'm really, really looking forward to this one. To make it even better, I have three critique partners going. We've been online buddies and cps for several years and they have all met each other previously.
The conferences I've been to before were geared to writers rather than to fans. I understand there are a lot of fans at RT. Maybe one of them will have read one of my books.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

That's the current phase I'm in with my agent query process. I've queried a total of 126 agents for my latest thriller. 66 by email or on-line forms, 60 by snail mail. So, far, I've received 54 responses. Nine for fulls and Nine for partials. Four of the requested partials have been rejected. No really specific reasons except for one agent who suggested that I work on dialog and pacing. I found that interesting because I usually get the most compliments for my dialog and pacing. The others were the basic "not right for me" responses, although one agent mentioned that I "wrote well".
I'm actually pleased with this response. Nine requests out of 54 responses is over 16%. That is a good success rate, I think. Or, perhaps, what I choose to believe.
And if this recent endeavor isn't enough to obsess about, I still have three agents reading the full of another thriller. Two have ahd the full for almost a month. One has had it for almost 3 months. I suppose I could email her and ask about it. But what will I hear? Probably not "Oh, I meant to call you and offer representation, but I forgot. Thanks so much for reminding me." No, I'll either hear that she hasn't gotten to it yet or it's "not quite right for her". I can wait.
And I can obsess.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What's going on. . .
You might think I've been writing like a maniac since I'm done with the query process. But no. First of all, the query process isn't really finished. Now, I get all the responses. Mostly these are form rejections. Yes, it's true. When you query agents, mostly you get rejected. The more you query and the more rejections you receive, the easier it gets. But, so far, I've had really good response on this query (again, thanks to Miss Snark and the HH COM). And that's where the real nail biting begins. It's great that so many agents have liked my hook, but what about the writing? Of course, some agents got a few pages or chapters, so when one of those agents wants to see more, I get a little excited.
So, not so much writing going on just yet. Mostly, I check my email and my snail mail and print out the partials and fulls that are requested. I read blogs. I even clean the house (just a little, nothing to get too excited about).
Oh, and I had some good news. My daughter is in a management training program and just got a real manager position. She's so excited. Of course, I'm just smiling and nodding. No way am I going to burst her bubble.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Done. Finally. Just sent out a ton of queries to agents. 66 email queries and 62 paper queries. Everything from a basic query letter to three chapters and a synopsis. The email queries went out first and so far the results have been encouraging. I received 8 requests for partials and 6 for full manuscripts for a totalof 14. Nice! Also received 12 form rejections and 3 of the partials have received rejections.
The paper queries have just gone out so I won't hear anything from them for a while.
Again, I have to thank Miss Snark and the Happy Hooker Crap-O-Meter. I believe the results are directly related ot how strong my hook is for this book. And the HH COM really helped me craft it.
Now, I just hope the actual book doesn't suck.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yikes! Ten days since my last blog.
But I have a really good excuse--I mean reason. I sent out a bunch of queries by email about a week and a half ago (see the incredible coincidence?). Now at the time I sent the queries, I still had to do a final polish on the book and write a few pages to tie everything up at the end. I figured that wasn't really a problem, I could finish that in a few days of concentrated effort (I work well under pressure).
Well. I started receiving requests for fulls and partials right off the bat (thanks, I'm certain, to Miss Snark's Happy Hooker Crap-O-Meter). Now I sent the queries on Saturday so I wasn't really expecting to hear anything until Monday. By Sunday, I had a fistful of requests.
I still had to do the polish. And write those last few scenes.
The first part of the polish went reasonably well. I already had the partial polished and gleaming when I did the queries so all of those got out right away. Then I discovered a problem. I had a loose thread. So, I've spent the past ten days finding every instance of that thread and eliminating it, which often included rewriting some rather large portions or adding scenes. Now that I'm finished with the loose thread, I need to write the last few pages then one final read through.
I swear, I'm never doing this again.
Oh, but I have some excellent news!
One of my "dream" agents requested the manuscript I was peddling in November. Since she was on the list for this one too, I was able to send the full of the first manuscript with a partial of the second. I've queried her on several projects and she's always had something positive to say. Also, I met her a few years ago at a conference and I think I could work with her very well. OK. Off to do that final read through.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Drive-by Posting

I'm swamped. But there are a couple of things I wanted to mention. I promise a longer post in a couple of days.

First of all, fellow author Kent Braithwaite just told me his Jesse Ascencio series has been optioned for development into a TV Series. The pilot will be based on his novel THE WONDERLAND MURDERS.
I love to hear news like this because I believe if it could happen to him, it could happen to me. At least that's what I tell myself in order to keep the green-eyed monster at bay.
Congratulations, Kent!

The other announcement is about ITW's (International Thriller Writers) 150 Thrillers contest. Some lucky winner will receive 150 signed thrillers by some of the best thriller writers in the business. Unfortunately, my books aren't included because I (as usual) was not paying sufficient attention at the correct time. Still, it's a great contest. And all you have to do is sign up for the ITW Newsletter. The website is and as soon as I have time, I'll put a link in the sidebar. So, go, enter. Read thrillers.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I celebrated a belated holiday with my daughter today. She gave me a book (always an excellent choice) that will come in handy as research for my next novel. But, even better than the gift, was her inscription.

Knowledge is power.
Power corrupts.
Study hard, be evil.


It's always surprising to find that your daughter knows you so very, very well. And, perhaps, just a bit disturbing.