Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A round of liquid courage for my fellow writers!

     I finally finished editing my YA novel, Across the Galaxy, on December 2nd, but then my sister came to town and we had what we called an "extravaganza" weekend. So I took a few days off, and then a few days more, to recuperate from the extravaganza. Then, last week, I got down to business and spent the better half of the week sweating and fretting over my query letter for Across the Galaxy.

     What is it about? How's this:
     Most teenage girls struggle with teenaged problems. Like what to wear to homecoming and did I shave my legs before gym class? Seventeen year old Alina has all of those problems and a whole lot more. The list does tend to get longer when you're an alien. An alien empress, to be exact.

     That's the opening paragraph of my pitch, or query letter. Anyway, Friday and Saturday afternoons were both spent researching agents and then lastly - sending out my query letter!!!

     Yup. That's right. I did it. Even though my knees were knocking together so hard, it left bruises. (Side note: Saturday I had a couple glasses of wine, a.k.a liquid bravery, and it kept my knees still long enough to hit 'send' without any more seizure-like mishaps.)

     So now it's out there, and I can't take it back. And so far, I've gotten a handful of responses that all say "Thanks for the look, but this isn't right for me right now"... And I'm taking their words exactly the way they've written them. Which means, I just need to find an agent that is looking for a great new breakout YA Fantasy and I'll be in there like swimwear.

     In the meantime, I got an email back from an editor on my short story, DreamKiller, who said it was a 'close call' whether or not to choose my story. In the end, they passed, but that one line of hope was all I needed to light a new fire, and since last night, I'm 5000 words into a new short story. I will finish it today or tomorrow and polish it by the end of the week, and then fire it right back to that same editor, who ended his email by saying "feel free to send us anything else you have". Let's see if he was shootin' straight or blowin' smoke.

     Mostly, though, that "close call" comment was validation. Validation that it wasn't total crap. Now, the egocentric in me knows my writing is great, maybe even genius some days. But the realist in me isn't so sure. Which is exactly what has held me back from e-publishing my novel - or short story for that matter. So who knows? A few more cuddly comments like these, a couple more courage-wine blends, and maybe I'll feel froggy enough to take the leap anyway.

     Until then, we'll leave well enough alone, and let the queries land where they may. Here's to "close calls"...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker

     I'm not a fisherman. I tried it once when I was a kid, and I couldn't stand it. I don't like worms, I'm not very patient, and I would much rather swim in the water than just stand there and stare at it, waiting for something to happen.

     Same goes for my agent querying. I finished Across the Galaxy back in August, edited for about a month and then put it away and worked on other things. About two weeks ago I decided to quit messin around, and get this thing off my plate, one way or another. So I went back and edited AGAIN, which was apparently a good idea, since alot of the sentence structure was pretty rudimentary. I mean, it probably still is, but I can already see how far I've come in the past year, just by writing something and reading something every day. I like to think of it as graduating from Pre-K to Kindergarten.

     So, I finished editing and while that was exciting, because that means Across the Galaxy is once and for all - DONE, it also means I have no choice but to move onto writing my query letter. Which I have expertly put off and put off for as long as possible. I've played around with it a few times, even claimed it was done enough to show an agent back in October, at that writer's conference, but deep down I know, I still need to come up with my hook. That one opening line that gets your attention right off, and sucks you in.

     And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this process of trying to land an agent is going to be just like my one fishing experience when I was nine. I hate worms, I'm not very patient, and I would much rather swim in the water than stand there looking at it, waiting for something to happen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

all caught up

     I am kicking NaNoWriMo butt, people! I'm proud enough of myself that I had to brag for just a second so here it is. I hit 45,000 words last night! Woohoo! Yes, that obviously means I'm writing a little more than the averge 1667 words you need daily to complete the 50,000 by November 30th. I'm averaging 2500 a day or so, and that just means I'll finish early.

     The problem is this: the story I had originally envisioned, with all the plot twists and turns, is basically already written. It took less words than I thought, and while I'll need to go back and add some details in later, to connect it all, its not going to take me to 50,000 so here's where it gets interesting. Kind of like a 'Choose your own Adventure'. If you never read one of those, you should find one and give it a go. BIG THANKS to Gramma and Poppi for providing me with one when I was a kid. It was the coolest concept I'd never thought of before it fell into my hands. Anyway, now I've gotta decide, do I draw out the "wrapping it up" that I'm doing now to hit the 50k or do I spin a whole new twisted tale, right off the first one, making it all a part of the complete story? If I do the second, it'll no doubt have a cliff hanger, and need a second book.(Which I'd been trying to avoid, since I already had two other stories I was in the middle of before NaNoWriMo started.) 

     This is the dilemma and most likely, the answer will come the minute my fingertips touch the keyboard again. So here's a general idea of what I'm working on...
     High school junior, Tara Young, wakes up a murderer with no memory of the killing and a strange guy in her room. His name is Wes and he's a werewolf. So was Tara's victim. Tara learns she is a 'Hunter' - a werewolf killer - and struggles with the decision to embrace her destiny as such, or turn her back and live a normal life. In the midst of this monumental decision, a werewolf with a grudge makes it hard to do anything but simply stay alive.

     Let me know what you think!

http://www.nanowrimo.org/ if you want to check it out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

on pins and needles...

     I realized, after staring at the title of my blog for the last hour or so, that if I'm going to do this right, I've got to be honest. No holding back, or not 'putting myself out there', as they say. If I've submitted something, I'm going to post that I've submitted it, even if it means drying my tears with a computer keyboard when I have to post that a story got rejected. Mainly though, I'm just cocky enough to believe (as most writer's have to be) that I WILL be published, someday. Its just a matter of time. So that's what we're really recording here: how LONG this is actually going to take.

     So, this is where we're at. Back in August, I wrote a short story called DreamKiller, which no one but my family, and a certain red-head laid eyes on. I wrote it in a day and edited it the next, knowing I needed to push it out the door and submit it ASAP. (i.e. before I changed my mind.) So I sat down with the laptop and a glass of wine and, after booting up the first and chugging the second, I sent it off into cyber space with high hopes. Over the next four to six weeks, the rejection letters trickled in. The thing you need to understand, though, is how truly excited I was over each and every one of those rejections. You'd think they'd accepted it, from the look on my face. Because all I cared about, was that a real live honest-to-goodness editor, somewhere in the world- had read my work. That was exciting enough for me. I saved every single one of those emails!

     Now, it's time to get serious. I went back to it, and cleaned it up some more. (I have a nasty habit of repeating the same word multiple times throughout a paragraph) and I feel much more "ready" with it now. So, again I've done my research, and - wine free - sent it out to magazines for submission.

     I received my first rejection today, though it was and it wasn't. They told me that, unfortunately, my story would not be accepted for their winter 2010 issue, but they would be considering it for their spring 2011 issue. So its a rejection and a maybe, all in one? Just enough to get your hopes up, I guess. Just reading the email felt like a roller coaster, I get so nerve-wracked over seeing them in my inbox.

     Whew. That felt good. Now you know. And it's true, most people don't tell you about a dream, because they think it won't come true. So I'm telling you mine as my way of giving that pessimistic attitude the finger! And when I get my acceptance letter, you'll be the first to know. =)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


     November is National Novel Writing Month. I've heard of it, read up on it, but this is the first time around that I've considered myself a writer in the month of November. So after much debate, and whining to myself and my husband, about all the reasons why I can't or shouldn't do it, I'm going to.

     The decision made, I tried visiting the website yesterday but it was chaos. Well, that's what I assumed anyway, since the webpage took like 20 minutes to download. Lots of traffic there. So I need to go back on and officially sign up (maybe tomorrow) but I'm committed, I think. =) And I've got 2300 words or something like that, so far. And I'm making it up as I go, since I hadnt actually been thinking of a new project to do. I've been working on The Raven for the past couple of months, in between editing DreamKiller (which is finally DONE) and Across the Galaxy- which isn't done but I was determined to start something new while I edited this one. Then, there's Kaitlyn, from which I posted an excerpt on this blog. But none of those will work for NaNoWriMo, because in order to NOT feel like a cheater, I needed to start from scratch. Hence, we now have The Hunter. I'm about a chapter or so into it. And like I said, making it up as I go, but this is what I know so far, its werewolves this time, and a wolf slayer. I'll figure out the ending when I get there, but its already alot of fun so far. So, wish me luck, and 'Godspeed!'  

Sunday, October 3, 2010


     The pain was excruciating. I glanced down at my stomach, sure I’d see a long knife protruding from my middle, a violent hand ripping it back and forth. That would explain the agony I felt rocking through me. I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to hold my body together. It felt like I was splitting apart. I closed my eyes and felt a wave of nausea. This couldn’t be happening.
     Behind me, my house loomed in the darkness and the last thing I wanted was to be inside it any longer. Grandpa Elliott could take it from here. When the sheriff had knocked on the door after dinner, saying he needed to speak to us, I figured there had been a bear sighting nearby. Or maybe even a mountain lion, and he’d wanted to warn us in person. But that wasn’t the news he had brought.
     My parents. I couldn’t even finish the sentence without doubling over in pain. I still didn’t understand what had happened. All I knew was that in an instant my world had shattered. The pain was physical. I had heard people say that emotional trauma could cause a physical pain. Heartbreak, loss, sorrow. Those emotions could be overwhelming. But this… this was beyond anything I could have imagined.
     Unable to bear the thoughts in my own mind, I doubled over again and let the pain take me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In The Beginning

     In the beginning, there was nothing. A void. An emptiness... and then along came my blog!

     This is the true, honest, only-embellished-for-your-entertainment, blog of a new writer. Well, I mean, I, personally, am not new. I've been around for almost 3 decades. But I am new to the "I want to publish my writing" world, and in following some (what will hopefully be good) advice I received recently, I am going public with my goal and enlisting the help of a perfect stranger: You.

     So, listed elsewhere on this blog will be samples of my writing, and I ask that you, either stranger or friend, read it, enjoy it, and feel free to comment on it afterwards. Even if what you have to say is what we like to call, constructive criticism, that's fine too. Don't worry, I can take it. I'm a big girl.