Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Visualization and Actualization

Taking a breather from my current wip, I went hunting up some old files on my 'puter for another project and came across some ancient covers I had done as a part of the visualization/actualization exercises I had done early on in my writing life. Basically, you're supposed to imagine your goals and dreams will come true and visualize a symbol of how that would look. So, I created these book covers and kept them handy when I worked on the manuscripts. Though y'all would get a kick out of seeing them :)

New Years Dieting

I have this "recipe journal" that I use quite often as I'm the one that does the cooking. It's also a fun way to try out new things and remember what was on the menu for various celebratory feasts. Going over the entry for "Christmas 2005" I realized why Dieting is such a hit with the New Year's Resolution folks! ;) Here's a listing of what we Polski's in the North Woods eat, items with an *asterik are brand new recipes this year:

Christmas Eve:

Duck L'Orange w/*wild rice stuffing (#1)
Clam Bites
*Homemade Coleslaw
*Raspberry Pears w/cool whip
Glazed Carrots
Baked Sweet Potatos
Romaine Salad
Whole Cranberries
Wheat Dinner Rolls
*Orange/Lemon Ring with Cream Cheese Frosting
Bananna Bread

Christmas Day:

Ham w/*Pineapple Clove Glaze
*Goose w/*wild rice stuffing (#2)
Greenbean Casserole
Sweet Potato w/Marshmallow bake
Mashed Potatos and Gravy
*Cran-orange salad
Fruit salad
(Romaine Salad, Coleslaw and Wheat rolls from above)
Apple pie
Pumpkin pie
*Pumpkin-Eggnog cheescake
Bourbon Pecan Pie (made by my lovely hubby!!)

So yeah, I think Weight Watchers is gonna be my first stop of the New Year!! ;) If you're interested in any of the recipes--feel free to contact me!

Monday, December 26, 2005

What Genre?

Okay, I've been thinking about science fiction and all it's lovely forms.

We have the obvious: outerspace. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlefield Earth, etc.

And the other obvious: Alien invasions: War of the Worlds, Signs, and--well Battlefield Earth :)

But what about all those great(?) movies of the 50s and 60s? The Fly, The Man with Two Brains, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, etc. (okay, I wasn't born yet then so I can't recall many.)

So my question now is, in todays literary world, would books like Jurrasic Park, Timeline, Prey (can ya tell I'm a Crichton fan? *G*) be considered science fiction--with perhaps an added clarifyer--like 'action' or 'adventure'?

How would you describe the non-outerspace, non-alien type of sci-fi? Would you call it sci-fi at all?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

PC Holidays and Writing

Well here we are, it's Christmas Eve in my house ;) I've heard about the "War On Christmas"--though not seen anything remotely like that in person. I even tested it all over town while I was out shopping. I said, "Merry Christmas" to many, many folks: the nice boy who helped me put my groceries in my car so he could take the cart back into the store, a lovely girl at the checkout, the Salvation Army bell ringer, the greeter at Walmart, the lady beyind the counter at the post office, the young girl in the Mountain Mudd shack who knows what I love in my coffee--and just in general, anyone I might have had cause to interact with even minimally. In return, I got smiles and a "Merry Christmas to you too."

If there's a war on, it ain't hit my neck of the North Woods yet ;)

But it got me thinking, about writing, about how it's so very, very important to know what makes a character believe what they believe. I've known authors who have a very hard time understanding "the villain is the hero (or heroine) of their own story." In this way, I think authors have a very unique perspective on the "PC" world. We really need to be able to comprehend (even if we could never embrace) the beliefs, ideals, and personalities that are utterly opposite of ourselves.

It reminds me of that old wise wisdom about "knowing your enemy as you know yourself" (and if you know who or where that's from, let me know! :) ) and even if the 'opposite' character isn't *our* enemy per se, it's much the same.

I believe that those aspiring authors who balk at knowing their opposites so intimately will find their works lack the strength and believability needed for a compelling read, and hence make finding a home for their work all the more difficult. Imagine: a Christian author afraid to make an atheist heroic, a Wiccan author afraid to make an ultra-conservative heroic, a Liberal author afraid to make a Republican heroic. Or if not heroic for each of the above, at least sympathetic.

I believe this is where the 'cardboard' character arrives to dampen what otherwise might be a stellar work. So, no matter what might be "PC" to you, as authors, we all really need to shake up our comfort zones and explore, intelligentally and with an open mind, those areas of life that we would never have considered had we not picked up the pen and chosen the vocation of authorship.

Thoughts? Comments? What do YOU believe?

Merry Hakwanmas!! *GRIN*

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Come Chat With Me Tonight!

Didn't they do an AWESOME write up for me?? ;)


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PASSWORD: starkknight

The Writers Chatroom is pleased to welcome back this Wednesday night's chat guest, author Jenny Turner. http://www.jennifer-turner.com Chat moderator Glenn Walker will be interviewing Jenny and also taking questions from the room. To find out more about our guest, see her bio below.

Please feel free to pass this announcement on to anyone or any groups that you think may be interested. Thank you.


The doorprize for this week's chat is very generous. Our guest has donated an autographed copy of her new book STARK KNIGHT, and one free download of "The Knight Before," its short story prequel. These will be awarded to two lucky, random chatters halfway through the night's event.

And in the tradition of Chats Past, don't forget to bring chocolate. Mmm… chocolate. :-) †

The Writers Chatroom is located at: http://www.jennifer-turner.com

Click on "Enter Chatroom," log-in with your name and Wednesday night's case-sensitive password will be:


If you are new to the Chatroom or having trouble logging in, please go to: http://writerschatroom.com/chatroom_help.htm

Wednesday evening, December 21, 2005

Pacific Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 7:00 PM
Mountain Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8:00 PM
Central Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9:00 PM
Eastern Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10:00 PM
Atlantic Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -11:00 PM
London Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3:00 AM Thursday
Sydney Time - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12:00 Noon Thursday

Not sure what time that is for you?† http://www.worldtimeserver.com/

Our chat guest Wednesday evening is award-winning author and friend Jennifer Turner. http://www.jennifer-turner.com

Born blonde and Polish, Jennifer Turner writes action adventure thrillers and romances. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband Eddie, a red-headed Texan, and her three children, Dustin, Molly and Matthew. Raised by an eclectic assortment of artists and musicians, her upbringing helped shape and hone her imagination and dedication to the romantic arts. Between her commitments to family and writing, she actively pursues three things-white chocolate, dark chocolate, and more chocolate.

For more about STARK KNIGHT and Jenny's other books: http://www.jennifer-turner.com/books/index.html In February, her how-to book: EXTREME WRITING: CRAFTING THE ACTION SCENE will be made available to the public for free.

Jenny is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Writer's Village University. She is also the owner of the excellent Roto-Writer Critique Service. http://jturner.00books.com/index.html She has run workshops at WVU and at Fear of Writing http://www.fearofwriting.com where she was moderator when this Chatroom resided there.

Please come out for what promises to be an informative and entertaining evening and chat with award-winning author Jenny Turner! http://www.jennifer-turner.com

Please check the Chatroom Schedule at: http://writerschatroom.com/schedule.htm for information on upcoming guests and topics. Guest chats are every Wednesday evening and chats on the business of writing every Sunday evening.

Sunday, December 25, 2005
No Chat Tonight - Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 26, 2005
FFW Chat with Hope Clark
http://www.fundsforwriters.com Password: fundsforwriters

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 ~ 10:00 PM EST
Chat with Earl Emerson
Password: smoke

Sunday, January 1, 2006
No Chat Tonight - Happy New Year!

We look forward to chatting with you!

Audrey Shaffer - Chatroom Moderator and Guest Scheduler
Linda Hutchinson - Moderator, Researcher and Bio Writer
Renee Barnes - Moderator, and Transcript Editor
Ronii Grace - Moderator, and Support
Glenn Walker - Chatroom Manager, Moderator and Guest Scheduler

Friday, December 09, 2005

Get Your Sneak Peek Here! ;)

Okay, It's official, my goofy artwork is loved well enough by the adorable Millikins and will now become the cover of my upcoming free ebook. (Watch for more details on that coming soon!)

So, get your chocolate chuckles on and take a peek :)

Hey! I said it was goofy ;) I hope you get as much a "kick" out of it as I do :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Chocolate, Humor, Chocolate, Prizes, did I mention Chocolate?

Ready for some FUN???

It's getting close to my launch date so hurry up and sign up for my newsletter ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jrturner/) if you haven't already. First issue will have three chances to win some cool prizes and will be coming to an inbox near you very shortly! Lets have a blast together :) Best viewed with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or any chocolate of your choosing.

Here are the terms and conditions:

A sense of humor fee has been included in the cost of each free membership. Offer available for established and new members only. Subject to availability and valid contact information. You will not be awarded a prize if you offer to help me increase the size or performance of any part of my anatomy. Offer not valid in any state, providence, contry or universe that does not sell or provide its citizenry with chocolate.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Busy, Busy, Bustin' the Groove :)

Woo Hoo! Back on track and Rockin' the Keyboard!!

For all you out there that haven't signed up for my newsletter, go ahead and get in on the game now ;) I'm putting together two great contests for my debut edition and getting ready to release a free ebook that will be avialable around the middle of January. Newsletter subscriber's will get a sneak preview before it arrives!

In the mean time, I'll be back here updating and letting everyone know what's happening on the publishing front fairly regularly. Oh! And look for some announcements coming soon about online chats, cuz ya know I'd love to hang out with you on the 'net! *GRIN*

Here's the latest greatest news!!


As a Stark Knight Download From Echelon Press

The Knight Before is Stark's only hope!

This night should be special…for family, but instead, Sara Stark is surrounded by danger at every turn. With Tropical Storm Allison bearing down on her home, Sara must face a blonde, blue-eyed snake worming her way into the Knight family. With Drake about to leave for London, she has only one shot at unmasking the deceiver, only one tube of Icy Hot, and only one chance to save him–the night before.


Order Your Copy Today!

Monday, November 28, 2005

What's Happenin!

No,Rerun hasn't returned to give us a few chuckles :) I figured that since this is the place to go for news about me and my career, I should probably spit out what I've been up to :)

Coming soon from Echelon Press

Ever wonder what went on between Sara Stark and Drake Knight when she was younger? Now you can find out. This longish short story will be available as an Echelon Download in the very near future. I'll be back with exact dates when I get them ;)

Coming in November 2006

Ever wonder what happened to Sara and Drake after Stark Knight? Well, you'll soon be able to find out! I'm deep into this book right now and the ride is thrilling! For a taste of what's to come, you can check out the unrevised first chapter here:


For all you patient folks out there, yes, there will be a newsletter coming soon! I'm putting together the first issue--due out around the 1st of the year. Anyone who signs up will be entered to win one of a few prizes--at least two winners for this contest ;) The first will be a free copy of "The Knight Before" and the second will be a great pair of fingerless gloves knitted by moi, from the pattern by Susan H. Aguirre: http://www.zenknit.com/mitts.html (Oh! And you knitters out there, don't forget to check out her way awesome stitch markers: http://www.zenknit.com/buy.html )

Here's a cool photo of what they look like:

I'll offer the winner a choice of a few different colors :) You can sign up for my newsletter through here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jrturner/

Of course I'm busy with a lot more, but these are the most "current events" going on in my writing world today ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

On The Road Again . . .

Okay, I'm over myself :) I think getting productive helps a whole lot, and too--learning how not to hope and pray so much. One of my biggest faults--believing in miracles. The world will not end tomorrow if I'm never on the NYTimes Bestseller's list. My children will not be scarred for life if I never find an agent. My husband won't stop worshipping the ground . . erm . . . loving me, if I can't write well enough to get him off the road. We will motor on--stay the course--and keep eating chocolate. :)

I finished the prequel short story to Stark Knight and sent it off to my publisher--managed to finally get the last of my Roto-Writer work off to my ever-so-patient and wonderful client (she wears a halo, I swear! :) ) And I compiled items already written, wrote out a bunch of new things, and got the outline completed for my new how-to nonfiction book, tentatively titled:

Crafting the Action Scene
by J.R. Turner

I like the title and now that over half of it is done, I'm extremely thrilled :) Oh, and I guess, hopeful too :) That others will find it helpful, that they'll read the advice and information I've gathered and come away motivated, inspired, and eager to write. So, let's pray that's not believing in miracles ;)

On another note, I'd like to thank all of you who wrote to support me while I had the blues. I don't think I could have yanked myself out of this one so quickly if I hadn't been so overwhelmed with warm wishes. Y'all truly Rock!! ;) Thank you bunches ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Note from Hell

I've hit bottom with this writing life. Sure, things should be looking up, but they aren't. I realized this morning that all my favorite agent bloggers have rejected every manuscript I've ever sent to them. Why do I keep reading them? I can't even muster a heartfelt congrats when they announce a new client. I'm not jealous--maybe envious--but nothing mean spirited. It just reminds me that maybe I'm not as talented as I hoped, or that basically . . . I couldn't write a good story if my children's lives depended on it, which in a way, they do.

I'm sifting through career options this morning. Oh, I'll keep writing, and likely keep publishing. My obituary will read something like:

"Author dies of old age. Her 150 books will be rememberd fondly by the four people who bought them. Walmart is having an in-store sale on the day of her funeral to honor her fifty years of service. After the funeral, stop on by to pick up a new toaster--but unfortunately, they don't stock her novels."

Yep, that's about it. *sigh*

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

On Rejections

Well, the rejection letter (on my Great Agent Hunt) came yesterday and I totally don't know how to feel about it. I suppose I should feel like I did for all the others I've recieved, but this one is different for a number of reasons.

First, I love this agency. They have such a wonderful team, great personalities, and real, true-life enthusiasm. Just being around them on the 'net has helped me find the 'fun' in this way hard writing life again. So, working with them was right up there with 'dream job.'

Second, I sort of expected the rejection letter. At first I had thought it would be an awesome fit--though I knew I was stretching the parameters of what they normally represent--I do have a lot of works-in-progress and a few completed novels that they might have enjoyed. The problem with the 'wips' was they weren't finished--and the problem with the completes was they're earlier works and need some revisions. *sigh* So, I had sent them my latest and greatest. And last but not least, a short while ago I discovered that the particular agent with in the agencies that had my book really isn't all that gung-ho for the style and genre.

The rejection letter was the sort you hope and pray for, if you have to be rejected at all, that is. It was personal, said what she liked, said what she didn't care for, and wished me the best.

The idea, though, that there's another agency out there with such a vibrant group of people, is hard to fathom. I've been around this publishing biz for a while, researched dozens and dozens of agencies looking for a fit, and I've never come aross such a wonderful place as this one. They truly are exceptional.

Maybe . . . maybe . . . one day . . . when I've paid more dues . . . maybe I'll be able to work with them later.

The problem now, however, is that I NEED representation. The type of writing that I do, the sort of career that I want to have, isn't possible without one. Which means I go back to my long list of agents and try to choose one that at least seems professionally friendly. I don't want to be in someone's 'stable', I want to be part of a 'business family.'

Back to the drawing board. . . .


I hope those who are in the Madison area will come on down and see me today! The coffee Burman's sent for the Reader's Basket smells heavenly--and there's some yummy looking chocolate in there too!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Meet Me in Madison!

Meet Me at Booked For Murder!

On Saturday, November 19th at 1pm I'll be signing "Stark Knight" at Booked for Murder in Madison, WI. Come visit me and be entered to win a chance at the ultimate reader's experience! The Reader's Basket will include a special treat from Burman Coffee Traders! Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Come on Down and Meet Me! :)

Come Meet Me at Book Finders in Stevens Point this coming Saturday, November 12th from 1-3pm!! I'm excited to get to know you, sign books, enter your name in a drawing for a terrific reader's basket: including items from Heaven in a Handbasket and Mountain Mudd! Make your reading experience great, or give the basket and an autographed copy of "Stark Knight" to a loved one this holiday!

I'd love to see you!! :)

J.R. "Jenny" Turner

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Feedback and Audience

I think the single, most important thing to remember when critiquing a work is to remain true to the author's vision.

I sometimes ask questions before offering feedback. This is mostly to ascertain what it is *exactly* the author's vision is before I begin to think about helping them. Some works are fairly obvious in their direction and intent, and I feel comfortable offering feedback without asking--however, some are more ambiguous--especially those that cross genres. It's fairly easy to decipher what a romance or sci-fi excerpt is aiming for ;) Literary, mainstream, and more 'umbrella' genres are a little tougher.

A lot of times, when I'm working with other writers, if they're having trouble sharing their vision, I often ask them to define their audience. So, if you're not sure what you're vision is for a work, or you're having a tough time figuring out how your work might best be marketed--think of the audience it addresses.

And no, not "Everyone" is gonna love what we write :) If you're having trouble figuring out who the audience is, think of who it ISN'T first. If you have premarital/explicit sex or strong language, there are those who wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. If you write primarily stories about strong women in quirky situations--it's likely not going to appeal to men who would rather get a vasectomy than watch a 'chick flick'. If your story contains overtly Christian themes and is a morality story--athiests and Marilyn Manson fans are likely not going to be interested ;)

When you narrow down the audience, you'll have a much better idea on how to define them, and therefore, can create a meaningful marketing plan that will save you tons of headaches in the future--both for your career and for that feedback that "just doesn't understand my writing."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Do a Good Deed, Get a Great Read!

Do a Good Deed, Get a Great Read!!

September 5, 2005–Until further notice, Echelon Press Publishing will be sending monthly checks to the Red Cross of America on behalf of those affected by the devastation in Louisiana. Echelon will donate 50% of our proceeds from the sale of EVERY download sold from www.echelonpress.com. We thank you in advance for your support of those who so desperately need our love and aid. Bless you.

Help the victims of Katrina!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Pic of Me ;)

This be me ;)

On First Books

I wrote this in reply to the question (paraphrased): "Is it better to go back and fix a bad first book, or move on to future work?" and thought y'all might find it interesting :)

I don't think a person can successfully rework the first book they wrote without a) writing a few more before hand (preferrably three) or b) professional help--such as the editor of a respected publishing house.

My experience has been that for myself and the dozens of authors I've worked with over the last five or so years, the first books are notoriously difficult to experiment, learn, and grow on. The original 'bad habits' are too tempting to fall back into, let alone see clearly, until there is enough growth and expereince writing full-length, completed novels between the original writing and going back to retool the completed first book. That means--writing three novels from start to finish--not four dozen poems or two dozen short stories. Writing a novel has it's own challenges, obstacles and rewards that can't be honed in the smaller mediums.My suggestion is to look over the older work and really pinpoint what your difficulty was.

Maybe the book is too wordy-but why? Maybe it wasn't gripping enough--but why? Find out what the *real* issues were and then set about writing a novel to address that problem. Here's what I did when I discovered that my first novel wasn't very good (after three years of working on it! Ugh!)

1) In Loving Lillie (book #1)--I thought by making the plot complex, it would 'hide' my relative amaturish writing style. I feared that a 'simple' plot would make me look simple. So, I wrote Bulletproof Bride (book #2)--making the plot as simple and straight forward as I could.

2) In Loving Lillie--I avoided a lot deeply emotional, internal passages because I was afraid to sound cliched or trite. In Bulletproof Bride, contest judges commented that my characters weren't strong enough to carry such a simple plot. In book #3--Stark Knight, I decided to make the plot deeply personal to the character's journey throughout the book. This book sold. However, I wasn't done yet.

3) In Loving Lillie--I mimicked a lot of my favorite authors--not in words, but in tone and style--I did the same for book #2, but while writing book #3, my own voice began to emerge. For the first time, I decided to write a book that relied heavily on my own personal experiences and combined all the knowledge of the previous attempts. My Biker Bodyguard (book #4) became an award-winning manuscript--though remains unpublished at the moment while I work on getting an agent.

4) In Loving Lillie--my shining moments were action-adventure scenes. I decided it was time to build on my strengths now that I'd strengthend up some of my weaknesses. I wrote book #5--an epic action adventure titled Racing the Moon--that manuscript is now being read by a fabulous agent in L.A.--it is the first request for a full manuscript I have received in almost six years of trying.

Will I rewrite Loving Lillie at some point? I hope so--I still love that book. Stark Knight also has a sequel that is in the works--but I have stopped production on that project until my publisher gives me the green light. At the moment, I am working on a follow-up book (researching) for Racing the Moon--a book combining the same sort of Michael Crichton sci-fi involving nanotechnology, government experiments, and the psychic connection between twins.

I am also developing a full-fledged series called "The Lockwood Legacy"--a sort of Lara Croft meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer series based on a family of five girls that have inherited supernatural powers from their mother. The point of sharing all this with you is that I wanted to share some of the excitement that can be found when you go beyond the first world you created and loved as an author.

There are so many different options one can pursue when building their writing repetoire and launching their career. Too often, that beloved first book is so tempting to keep at the forefront of an authors decision-making processes. Not always a mistake, but it can be limiting. The point is, I made some creative choices based on fear--fear of my own voice not measuring up, fear of writing emotionally deep, fear of being seen as an amature.

Why not try a new book, using your new perspective, and one that helps strengthen the weaknesses you found in book #1, while at the same time, builds on what you're good at and uses personal experiences from your own life? That sounds like a great project to me ;)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Just for Fun

We did this for our wedding anniversary about five years ago--I remember because I was preggers with Matthew :)

Red, Blue, and Bummed

Okay, so it's not totally thrilling to read about another person's state of exhaustion, but that's where I am. I burned the candle at both ends for over three weeks, getting two books polished and edited and back to their proper homes--one, the final proofs on Stark Knight that should now be on its way to the printers--and two, the final revised manuscript of Racing the Moon off to The Knight Agency. Added to that: one chapter critique and one story critique for Roto-Writer Critique service--about 300 pages of critique for my fabu-tastic writing group that I had fallen behind on--website content for my most wonderful web mistress--and a host of lesser (but no less important) business related emails. Also, one heart-stopping adventure in getting Racing the Moon printed and off to L.A.--twice.

First, after endless hours getting Racing the Moon ready, I finally completed all the revisions necessary and was ready to print. Of course, halfway through the printing process, my printer runs out of ink. Off to Wally-World I go--only to discover *GASP* they no longer carry my printer ink! Yikes! I rush over to staples, heart in my throat ( I do NOT have the funds to buy a new printer!) and to my relief, they carry the ink. I spend my budgeted submission money to buy it and hurry home to finish printing. Finally, it's ready to go to the post office--but unfortunately, I only have enough greebacks to send it cheap :( Not over night, as I had hoped.

Days go by and I decide to check if the manuscripat has arrived: it hasn't. Nephele Tempest is such a dearheart, she offers to let me know if it arrives one week after it was supposed to. No dice--so it's off to print the manuscript again and send it out in the mail. This time I'm a little more flush and can afford regular mail--with proof of delivery. But, I'm almost out of nails to chew. Finally, I get word via the USPS internet the manuscript was delivered--just in time for everyone to be busy at RWA's National conference. *sigh*

So, what do I do? I decide this tired author needs a day of R&R and take the kidlets to the beach for the day. Well, after enjoying the sun and fun, you can imagine what my Zombie skin did--and where the "Red" comes in the title of this blog ;) I am all over lobster-colored and ready to go live in a mud bath until I'm normal again. So much for re-energizing. *Sigh*

Now, I'm just seriously exhausted from lack of sleep and lack of real rest for over a month. But, I must soldier onward--Stark Knight will be out in a few short weeks and I'm way behind on marketing and promotion. *sigh*

I need a lot of chocolate and a good night's sleep!
And not to leave this note on a whine ;) I'll share what my Honey-bear Matthew was doing as I wrote this: The little guy (he's four) was standing in my bedroom doorway, thumbs in his ears, tongue hanging out, and bobbing his head up and down--all the while giggling at his reflection in the brass doorknob :) Ahh, to be that easily entertained again ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

Getting There

Almost finished with the huge big monstrous epic adventure sci-fi paranormal thriller I'm hoping will be my break out novel. Which is great, but now opens a whole new can of worms.

As many of y'all know, I've got a book coming out in a few short months. One of the things 'they' don't tell you about when you're first book is bought by a publisher, is what transpires between the time you wrote 'the end' on that novel, and the time it actually hits the shelves. Of course, I was just estatic to get 'the call'--but now, I'm more terrified that the book will not measure up to the new standards I've reached in crafting my very best book since then.

So be warned, those of you who are trying to break into publishing--your first books are likely not going to be the best thing you'll ever publish. I'm only hoping that I'll be given another chance to publish again if this first book flops. It's more nightmarish thatn I'm letting on--in fact, I Am losing sleep over it, tossing and turning.

I take heart in the fairytale of Stephen King's career, however. Everyone just loved Carrie, and although like Stark Knight, it wasn't his first book, it also wasn't his best book. It's true that authors evolve and grow stronger over time. I'm just really hoping I get that chance.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

On Getting Work Done . . .

All right, all right, I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working . . .

I've offered advice to harried authors on the importance of being focused and determined--do you think I could take my own advice? Not lately.

Sure, I've done the "let's get my house clean so I can really concentrate bit"--but with three kids and a demanding husband, the house is never clean. Which means my concentration is shot on a more or less regular basis.

I've also done the "prepare the night before so your writing time is used wisely"--but rarely do I wake up to emails that don't demand my immediate attention--of course, this is completely subjective. Will the world end today if I don't rebutt the jerk who's running amok with neadrethal epiphets and obtuse deragatory commentary about every political and global issue? No. But for some reason, while I'm drinking my morning java, i believe it does.

Then there's the old, "work while the kids are sleeping." I work while the kids are awake--cleaning, cooking, teaching, chauffering, laundry, groceries, budgeting, paying the bills--you name it, I have more 'jobs' than I can count. Who want's to work during the only time you have to relax? Imagine a man, on every lunch hour, fifteen minute break, and in every hour before and after his nine-to-fiver, busting his butt on 'work'. Can we say homicidal maniac? :)

Okay, so all of the above are just dumb excuses--and isn't it funny how those excuses become MOST popular when the writing tasks ahead are MOST daunting?

Right now, this is what my immediate writing demands are:

Finish writing AND editing a manuscript by July 1st (less than 2 weeks away)
Write a 5-10K short story that is exceptional and exciting--a task given by my publisher.
Write press releases (at least two to begin with)
Write three parenting short stories for Chris Vogler, for free (don't ask, I was dumb)
Write the first newsletter for my author's yahoo group.

Not to mention the myriad other tasks: a column I agreed to write, advertising and promotional materials, letters to book stores, website content, etc. etc.

I'm a writer, so why am I not WRITING?

I need a chocolate fix, quick!
Who just managed to meet today's deadline on the contest she volunteered to judge.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Writing and Relatives

I love my in-laws :) Every summer they drive over 1,000 miles to spend time with our family and spoil us rotten. However, it's murder on the writing time. After being lavished with gifts, treated to a pedicure, and being plied with one delicious, totally fattening and wonderfully tasty meal after another, I find myself returning to unanswered emails, deadlines approaching t warp speed, and obligations that I have yet to begin fulfilling, let alone meeting. *Sigh* To be independently wealthy! LOL!

Seriously though, a word to wise, if you know you will be away from your work for at least three days, there are steps you should take to make your 'homecoming' all the more easy--steps I neglected to take myself this time around. However, this is what I normally do when preparing for an extended leave:

1) Go on Digest or 'No Mail': If you belong to Yahoo groups, this is simply done by accessing your groups page and selecting your choice, then with one click of a button, you can 'set all' to that preference. If you don't have access to this feature in other list groups, try emailing the list manager and requesting either option.

2) Get BUSY!: Finish up as much as you possibly can--better to leave knowing you'll only have the 'new' to return to and none of the 'old' overburdening you. Finish critiques, if you belong to a critique group, finish any materials outstanding for your editor, publisher, or agent. Make sure all your correspondence is up to date.

3) Clean your Desk!: If you're like me, it's often clean beneath a host of open books, turned to the correct research information, notebooks, open folders, sheets of printed information, pens, and usually mail. Get this all tucked neatly away, completing tasks as you go. Treat yourself to candles, music choices, or special little accessories (such as chocolate, but I recommend you hide this if you have children!) that make working a pleasure. There is nothing more inviting than a beautiful workspace when you return!

4) Make a List!: Detail the work you wish to complete when you return--writing the next chapter, scene, or editing, research you wish to begin, anything that you couldn't complete before leaving. Having a sense of direction will greatly help eliminate that appeal of a few thousand games of solitaire or surfing Yahoo Messenger or MSN for a few chatty friends ;)

Had I done all that, I wouldn't right now be blogging :) I'd probably be finishing the manuscript that's due on the 1st of July. How quickly time flies!!!

Until next time, I leave you with with this excellent resource:

Charlotte Miller: Press Kit
Excellent information on putting together your own press kit--great for newly published authors like 'moi' (can you just hear Miss Piggy?? :) )

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Agent Pitch

Had my first agent pitch last night with Cheryl Ferguson of the Ferguson Literary Agency . She was extremely wonderful to me, especially when I choked during the pitch. The book, "Racing the Moon" I pitched to her is an epic adventure with a large cast and it was difficult to answer questions that might have been easier if the book were a traditionally crafted romance. So, just a warning to anyone who has a 'group' of heroes for their story--try to find a way to share that information in an agent pitch BEFORE you sit down with an agent.

Cheryl was extremely patient with me and seemed interested in my writing process, in the other works I have plotted or written, and did request a partial, so we'll see how it goes. Right now, she hasn't sent me the submission guidelines she asked me to email her for. It could be that it's just the weekend, or she could be having second thoughts.

In the end, I prefer the query letter. It's much easier to share a story of this magnitude. I do have a partial with The Knight Agency at this time, and a query with the Donald Maass agency, so I've got plenty to bite my nails over.

And I'm still trying to figure out how to share a photo of my book cover here, but for now, I'll put up the link to my newsletter. Feel free to sign up! I'll begin publishing in June with reader information, writing tips, contest news, and other fun tidbits :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

First Blog Entry--Stardate "Almost There"

Serendipity, co-inky-dink, or just plain weird. Who knows? All I can say is that my journey to become a successful author hasn't reached it's destination yet, but the events along the way have been fantastically interesting.

What author is rejected by a publisher, only to get a call a year later with a request for the full novel? I've never heard of this, but it's just one example of the 'weird but true' tales littering my literary journey.

Right now, I'm preparing for the release of my first book, "Stark Knight"--I'll put a link up soon so y'all can get a gander at the cover. But for now, I'll share the serendipitous co-inky-dink that happened just a few short weeks ago. The subject matter of the novel is now headline news--though I wrote the book two YEARS ago--go figure! Gotta love that ether :)

Here's a link to a great article describing the threat to our country:


That's it for now, I'll be back with more strange and wonderous tales of my journey!